Report: France ‘worst in the world’ at guessing Muslim population

French people are the most likely to hold misconceptions about the current and predicted Muslim population in their country, according to a study by Ipsos Mori published on Wednesday.

French people believed that 31 percent of the population was Muslim, when the real figure according to Pew research in 2010 was 7.5 percent.

Among the 40 countries polled, respondents in South Africa, the Philippines, and Italy also wildly overestimated the Muslim population.

French respondents also predicted that 40 percent of the population will be Muslim by 2020, but the same researchers predict the current number will rise to 8.3 percent (see graph below).

In Britain, respondents put the Muslim population at 15 percent – three times higher than reality.

The survey also asked people about their country’s views on issues like homosexuality and abortion, and how much they thought the government spends on healthcare every year.

Ipsos said that nearly all countries overestimate their Muslim population, and many are “extraordinarily wrong”.

Dutch Muslim news paper to publish glossy of the prophet Muhammed

The Dutch Muslims new paper called Moslimkrant has announced that it will publish a glossy on the Prophet Muhammed. The Muslim news paper writes: “The glossy magazine Muhammed will be about the different faces of Muhammed. Muhammed the husband and father, the general and strategist, the trader and merchant, the strict protector of norms and the emphatic bon vivant, just and charitable. Muhammed was all of them.”

The reason for the making this glossy by the Dutch Muslim newspaper are the continuing misconceptions and minimal knowledge on the Prophet, according to the main editor Brahim Bourzik. “In 63 full color pages articles explain the relationship of the Prophet’s various roles and the current dilemma’s and people in today’s Nethelands. Additionally the glossy Mohammed will provide recipes for delicious meals inspired by the live of the Prophet. They will be liked by Dutch people of all colors, Muslims and non-Muslims!” the editor stated.

The publication is aimed to be during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

An interview on the glossy Mohammed can be seen via this link (in Dutch): http://www.republiekallochtonie.nl/moslimkrant-maakt-glossy-magazine-over-profeet-mohammed

Church Dialogue on Islam

January 12, 2014

 

While world events play out around the globe, it can be hard to fully grasp the role that religion plays. One local church is helping people better understand the world around them, but not exclusively through Christianity. “Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church if you’re visiting. This is our Tour of Islam,” said Adult Formation Leader at Christ Episcopal Church Charles Crawley. Islam is one of the world’s largest religions, accounting for about 20 % of the earth’s population. But, “people are just trying to understand what it is, because we just don’t have a good basic understanding,” said Crawley.

Kirkwood Professor of Religion Dr. Peter Jauhiainen says people often narrowly define the religion. “That provides a distorted understanding of what it’s all about,” said Dr. Jauhiainen. So Christ Episcopal Church organized its Tour of Islam. The idea is to help people of all faiths have a better understanding of world events and other religions. “We, it seems to me, operate on rumors, on information from people who don’t have a complete understanding,” said Doug Anderson.

Those misconceptions can easily affect how we understand the world around us, both past and present. “The other thing I remember from ’73 is the Arab Oil Embargo. Most of us are old enough to remember 25-cent gas,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
Organizers say knowing more about our surroundings often leads to knowing more about other people, but simple tolerance isn’t enough. “Tolerance is lower on the diversity scale if you want to speak that way. But to move to acceptance, approval and affirmation of people that are different than us,” said Crawley. “I’m more concerned about understanding broad ideas and movements and changing attitudes, that’s more important,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
CBS Iowa: http://www.cbs2iowa.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/church-dialogue-islam-24459.shtml

Muslim Artists Perform to Break Stereotypes

November 12, 2013

 

For decades, Arab actors have been successful in Hollywood. Among the most successful are Omar Sharif, Tony Shalhoub, and F. Murray Abraham; the latter won an Academy Award for his role in Mozart. However Muslims, openly proclaiming their religion, are a minority in the U.S. population and an even smaller minority in the U.S. entertainment industry. Those who are breaking in are trying to use their talent to discredit negative stereotypes. Several showcased their work at a recent gathering of predominantly American Muslims in Los Angeles.

Dean Obeidallah is not just an American comedian.

“My ethnicity and my faith make me a little different than many other comedians,” said Obeidallah.

He is a Muslim with Palestinian roots, and says his identity has not created barriers for him. However, he also says that stereotypes of what he represents do exist in the U.S.

Obeidallah uses comedy to talk about misconceptions and about what it means to be Muslim. He has co-directed a comedy documentary on this theme called, The Muslims Are Coming! Obeidallah said he has received positive reviews from both Muslims and non-Muslims, but sometimes non-Muslims don’t know how to respond to his jokes.

American Muslim poet Amir Sulaiman points out that some Muslims feel uncomfortable listening to him perform.

“Some people they feel nervous. Some things I say are not politically correct. They’re not fashioned and perfected in a political kind of way. Some people will say we don’t want you to say this; we don’t want you to say that as a Muslim person. When you are an artist or a public figure, many times you automatically become a spokesperson for millions of people. All these people have different points of view and different way that they want to be portrayed, but every artist can’t be responsible for everyone,” said Sulaiman.

 

Voice of America: http://www.voanews.com/content/muslim-artists-perform-break-stereotypes/1789097.html

Muslim youths plan peace rally

BOSTON (AP) — A group of Muslim youths is planning a rally on Boston Common, saying they want to emphasize that true Islam is a religion of peace.

 

The organizers of the Muslims for Peace rally Sunday afternoon say they’re responding to recent violence, including the Boston Marathon bombings in April and the killing of a soldier in London in May. Both incidents have been linked to Islamic extremists.

 

The group, which includes many youths who attend the Islamic Society of Boston mosque, says it wants to clear up misconceptions about Islam. It says it also wants to stress that the people accused in the crimes are responsible for their own actions and don’t represent Islam.

 

About 100 youth are expected to show up at the rally, which will include signs, chants and speeches.

No Food for Muslims in the Parliament Building: Rep Chaouki thinks this should Change

August 8, 2013

“I have asked my party to bring up this issue tomorrow (today, ed.) and to attend the ceremony for the end of Ramadan.” The deputy Khalid Chaouki, elected by the Pd, is a practicing Muslim, and this month has followed the fasting of Ramadan; he now asks his colleagues to join in the celebration. What’s more, he also proposes that the refreshment stalls have halal meat.

He will tell you the problems faced by Italians are part of his campaign…
“I know that what I say may seem like a provocation, but my intent is to open a debate on the perspective of our multi-religious society and this includes our Parliament.”

How was the month of Ramadan?
“Difficult for the pace of work that we have had. I was also excluded from the conviviality of my colleagues who celebrated here with refreshments. Here you risk getting served croquettes that should be vegetarian and instead contain ham…”

Yeah, because he does not eat pork …
“I think it will be important to open a discussion on how public places and institutions should ensure the opportunity for all to have food that fits into the laws of their respective religion.”

Then would he like meat to be butchered according to Islamic rites?
“I think it is a duty to guarantee all citizens the right to eat. Here for example we have a chaplain but I would like to speak an imam.”

 Are you not afraid to start a controversy?
“We need to make changes to institutions in our society. Although there are many misconceptions about Islam: similar to the Catholic representatives who cast their votes according to their constituency, there are also Muslims who are secular legislators.”

Parenting courses for Muslims aim to untangle culture from religion

Family Links scheme addresses concerns among parents of how to reconcile western values with their religious upbringing. Ifat Nisa feared her teenage son was hanging out with “the wrong crowd”, drinking, smoking or experimenting with drugs – but when she questioned him, they always argued.

 

Brought up not to challenge her own parents, Nisa was confused about how to parent an apparently disrespectful teenager. She heard about a parenting course at her mosque in Slough, Berkshire, and despite initially dismissing it – “My reaction was ‘it’s not Islamic'” – when she discovered it was tailored for Muslim parents, decided to try it out. Family Links realised that the course concepts were in tune with Islamic religious ideas but that Muslim women were reluctant to attend. To engage them, the course’s core principles (self-awareness or empathy, for example) were matched with religious verses.

 

One concern among parents is how to reconcile western values and life with their religious or cultural upbringing. The course, as Naeem says, supports parents towards adopting positive practices consistent with Islamic religious values, helping them be “good Muslim British citizens”.

 

Now Family Links is rolling out this version of its course, Islamic Values and the Parenting Puzzle, and partnering with the charity UK Islamic Mission (UKIM) to reach families who might not join mainstream programmes. The organisations ran the first training in Birmingham last year, teaching 21 volunteers to deliver the course, and a second course took place in London last month. The courses train parent leaders to deliver the programme to others. Evaluations have yet to be published, but Family Links says it could reach 200 people a year.

The courses involve roleplay and discussions about concepts such as praise and positive discipline. Participants use various approaches in different scenarios, from dealing with uncommunicative teenagers to discussing sexual issues.

 

Naeem’s aim is to untangle culture from religion, encouraging participants to realise that some of their parenting has little to do with Islam, but are learned cultural practices. She recalls dealing with misconceptions about discipline; when several participants on one course discussed smacking, suggesting that bearing punishment was a virtue, she told a religious story about oppression to reinforce messages about fair treatment.

 

The plan is soon to to train a group of Muslim fathers so they can deliver the programme to their peers, countering any assumptions that domestic life is solely the remit of the mother. As one father recently told Naeem: “No one ever asks us how we feel as a parent … [there are] so many cultural things – you can’t cry, you can’t feel sad, you have to be strong.”

 

Amnesty Reports on Discrimination Against Muslims in the Netherlands

24 April 2012

 

A new report by Amnesty International reveals that Muslims face discrimination in the Netherlands and other European countries. The report notes that Muslims face particular discrimination in education and on the job market, and addresses the pending ban on the burqa on the grounds of public safety. Also addressing discrimination in Spain, Switzerland, Belgium and France, the report adds that governments should dispel misconceptions about their Muslim population, though also stressing that criticism of Islam within the bounds of freedom of speech is not the same as ‘specific discriminatory patterns’ against Muslims.

Talk organized in Toronto about Canada in the wake of 9/11

The Toronto Star – December 4, 2011
Reading the Aftermath of 9/11: the Sociopolitical and Moral Implications was organized by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, a Turkish Canadian peace group. Toronto’s police chief zeroed in on a single legacy of the 2001 terrorist attack on America that shocked — and changed — the world. The strongest partnership the police developed, he said, was with the Muslim community. It was instrumental in the arrest of the Toronto 18 — all radicalized young Islamic men — five years later.
The region’s imams also worked together. They agreed on a three-part plan. They would tackle Western misconceptions about Islam. They would urge Muslims to speak out against practices that had nothing to do with their faith. And they would seek help from the wider community.