9/11 Islamist from Hamburg

February 28, 2014

 

In December 2001, German security service supported the CIA to kidnap the Islamist Mohammed Haydar Zammar,52. He had lived in Hamburg for many years and was suspected to be a key figure within the 9/11 Hamburg terror cell of Muhammad Atta. He was brought to Syria and stayed in jail for the last twelve years. According to an Arab news portal, the Islamist militia “Ahrar ash-Sham” released Zammar during an operation in autumn 2013 from the prison in Aleppo. The militia has offered him and five further „political prisoners“ for exchange.

 

German security authorities seek to locate Zammar, who went to hiding but contacted relatives in Hamburg and Aleppo. Zammar cannot be arrested again, as the statue of all charges against him is barred after ten years.

 

In 1971, Zammar moved from Aleppo to Hamburg. In 1982, he became a German citizen and moved to Afghanistan to join the Mujaheddin. In 1991, Zammar travelled again to Afghanistan and Bosnia to show other activists how to work with explosives. He became a radical preacher in Hamburg and was in touch with the pilots of September 11th, Muhammad Atta und Zuad Jarrah. Despite of his close relationship to the Islamists terrorists, Zammar denied any involvement or to be informed about the terror plot.

 

However, the case is peculiar for German security authorities and former government officials. The Office of the German Chancellor was informed about all plans related to the kidnapping of Zammar, a German citizen, to Syria. Zammar claims to be tortured under Syrian custody and questioned by German authorities.

 

(Süddeutsche Zeitung)

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/hamburger-islamist-zammar-verschleppt-verhaftet-ausgetauscht-1.1901694

 

British Muslims Condemn Anti-Muslim Bigotry Printed in the Daily Mail

February 22, 2014

 

Leading British Muslim and interfaith organisations today wrote to Paul Dacre, the Editor of the Daily Mail condemning an article by columnist Richard Littlejohn that deployed hateful Muslim stereotypes. The column purports to criticise an individual but instead uses slurs commonly found in racist and far-right websites to make its point.

Entitled “Jolly Jihadi’s Outing to Legoland”, the article satirises a community event that is to be held at the theme park, organised through a private group booking. Mr Littlejohn uses hateful tropes to fill his article. Mr Littlejohn jokes that the group, which will in real life have parents and children in attendance, will travel to Legoland in a coach “…packed with explosives stops in Parliament Square. As Big Ben strikes ten, driver will blow himself up”.

As a result of Mr Littlejohn’s article, far-right groups are threatening to turn up at Legoland, thus causing distress to the children present.

The letter is signed by a cross-section of British Muslims. It is in no way a defence of the views attributed to the person Mr Littlejohn criticises, but rather a challenge to our media not to accept such hateful language in our discourse.

 

The letter reads:

Dear Mr Dacre,

We write to express our condemnation of a recent article published by Richard Littlejohn in your newspaper. Entitled “Jolly Jihadi’s Outing to Legoland”, Mr Littlejohn deploys the most hateful stereotypes of Muslims to attack an individual.

Our condemnation is not about the attacks on Mr Haitham al-Haddad: he is perfectly capable of responding to the accusations put to him if minded to do so. Many of us may well disagree with the views attributed to him. Rather, we are speaking out at the insidious and hateful tropes Mr Littlejohn uses for his argument.

Mr Littlejohn may think he is humorous, satirical in fact. But there is nothing funny about inciting hatred. The language he deploys is exactly the same as those used by racists and the far-right. One needs only to peruse the comments below his article online to see the hatred against Muslims Mr Littlejohn has generated.

Would you allow similar hateful stereotypes to be used when writing about other faith or race communities?

Mr Littlejohn may suggest his words of hatred are directed at one figure rather than mainstream Muslims. This is a poor excuse. He accuses one figure of using hate speech by deploying hate speech himself.

As a cross section of Britain’s Muslim community, along with many of our fellow Britons, we state clearly and loudly that Mr Littlejohn’s article is the worst form of bigotry. This goes beyond causing offence. Your newspaper has published an incitement to hate Muslims.

So, we urge you, in the interests of decency and fairplay, to retract Mr Littlejohn’s article and to issue an apology not just to British Muslims, but to your readers and the great British public at large.

Yours,

 

 

Farooq Murad,

Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

 

Fiyaz Mughal,

Founder and Director, Faith Matters and Tell Mama

 

Julian Bond

Director, Christian Muslim Forum

 

Steven Derby,

Director, Interfaith Matters

 

Ali Qureshi

Secretary General, Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO)

 

Maulana Sarfraz Madni,

Chairman, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board

 

Ameena Blake,

Vice-President, Muslim Association of Britain

 

Ali Master,

Council of European Jamaats (COEJ)

 

Saleha Islam

Chief Executive, Muslim Youth Helpline

 

Sufyan G Ismail,

Trustee, Engage

 

Mazhar Khan

Executive Board Member, Muslim Council of Scotland

 

Saleem Kidwai OBE,

Secretary General, Muslim Council of Wales

 

Mohammed Aslam-Ijaz,

General Secretary, Council of Mosques, South London and Southern Counties

 

Abdul Hamid Qureshi

Chair, Lancashire Council of Mosques

 

Ufuk Secgin

Chairman, London Islamic Culture and Recreation Society (LICARS)

 

Ahmed Khelloufi

Executive Director, Muslim Welfare House (London)

 

Mohammed Kozbar

British Muslim Initiative and Finsbury Park Mosque

 

Sheikh Hojjat Ramzy

Chair, Iqra Institute, Oxford

 

Shifa Shahab

Federation of Muslim Organisations Leicestershire

 

Muhammad Jinani

Young Muslim Organisation UK

 

Dr Mohammed Idrees

General Secretary, UK Islamic Mission

 

Ajmal Masroor

London Imam and Director of Barefoot Institute

 

Yusuf Al Khoei

Al-Khoei Foundation

 

Moulana Shahid Raza,

Founding Trustee, British Muslim Forum

 

Sir Iqbal Sacranie

Balham Mosque & Tooting Islamic Centre

 

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari

Author and Commentator

 

Talha Ahmad

Head of Media, Dawatul Islam UK & Eire

 

Yousuf Bhailok

Trustee /Chair. ‘Al Jamiah Al Islamiyah Darul Uloom Lancashire

 

Rashid Brora

General Secretary, Southampton Medina Mosque Trust Ltd

 

Unaiza Malik

Muslim Women’s Association

 

Muhammad Habibur-Rahman

Chairman, East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre

 

Dilowar Khan

President, Islamic Forum of Europe

 

 

The Muslim Council of Britain: http://www.mcb.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2463:pr-template&catid=40:press-release

Best Buy commercial points way to greater Muslim acceptance

January 24, 2014
(RNS) Viewers watching the American Football Conference championship game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots earlier this month may have seen a Best Buy commercial for a Sharp 60-inch television that seemed ordinary, but in one way was extraordinary.
The ad shows a young, clean-shaven salesman named Mustafa talking about the television, advising customers and relaxing at home watching movies and football with his friends.

“I’m never going to get these guys out of here,” he jokes to his girlfriend at the end.
While the commercial never identifies Mustafa as a Muslim, many might assume that given his name, a diminutive for Muhammad. For viewers used to seeing negative images of Muslims on television, the commercial was a rare exception.

“He has all the right stuff,” said Timothy de Waal Malefyt, a longtime advertising executive who now teaches at Fordham University in New York. “He has a girlfriend. He has Anglo friends. And he’s watching ‘Despicable Me’ and football. It’s very American.”

Muslims in commercials are still rare, but that could be changing as the acceptance of Muslims accelerates across America.

The Best Buy commercial, scheduled to run through Feb. 1, sparked a flurry of Twitter chatter after it debuted.

Best Buy spokesman Jeffrey Shelman said the ad featured actual Best Buy employees, chosen based on their tech knowledge and on-camera performance. As for Mustafa, he works one day a week at Best Buy’s El Segundo, Calif., store.

RNS.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/24/best-buy-commercial-points-way-greater-muslim-acceptance/

Islam scholar in Münster under pressure

January 10, 2014

 

Prof.Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide, a scholar at the Centre for Islamic Theology (ZIT) at the University of Münster has been under recent public pressure. In an open statement, students of the centre raised their concerns about these issues, which would negatively effect the reputation and image of the ZIT.

Prof. Khorchide has been accused of plagiarism having used content and ideas of the Syrian Koran interpreter Muhammad Shahrour, inappropriately for his book “mercifulness”. The central council of Muslims in Germany spread the news as well as the daily news paper in Vienna “Standard”.

The central council of Muslims does not recognize Prof. Khorchide as a theologist. Yet, the accusations against Prof. Khorchide have not been verified. In his book, Khorchide is said to demand the modernization of Islam, which has been criticized by Muslim associations such as the coordination council of Muslims. In 2010, the coordination council permitted Khorchide to teach as a certified religious scholar. The same council is aiming to dispose Prof. Khorchide.

 

Die Zeit: http://www.zeit.de/studium/hochschule/2014-01/khorchide-muenster-islamische-theologie-kritik

Students’ statement (In German): http://fachschaftzit.blogspot.de/?m=0

LSE apologises to students asked to cover Jesus and Muhammad T-shirts

The London School of Economics (LSE) has apologised to two students who were forced to cover up T-shirts depicting a cartoon of Jesus and the prophet Muhammad.

Christian Moos and Abhishek Phadnis were representing the students’ union Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (ASH) at the university’s fresher’s fair in October, when they were told that displaying a depiction of Muhammad, prohibited under Islamic law, may constitute harassment of a religious group.

After security staff threatened them with expulsion from the fair, the two students agreed to cover up the T-shirts. The students then submitted a formal complaint, which has prompted LSE to issue an apology from its director, Prof Craig Calhoun, acknowledging that, “with hindsight, the wearing of the T-shirts on this occasion did not amount to harassment or contravene the law or LSE policies”.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/students-win-lse-apology-over-ban-on-tshirts-depicting-prophet-mohamed-and-jesus-christ-9018476.html

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/20/lse-university-apology-students-atheism-tshirt-religion-jesus-muhammad

Italian man arrested for Anti-Islam graffiti while on vacation in France

August 14, 2013

An Italian was arrested during the night in Avignon, southern France, because he smeared the walls near the entrance to the historic Palace of the Popes with anti-Islam writings. The Le Parisien reported today, citing the deputy prosecutor of Avignon, Thierry Villardo. The man, in his thirties, has been identified thanks to surveillance cameras and he was stopped as he prepared to deface other walls with slogans against Muhammad. At least seven other similar writings were found in the city.

It seems that the young Italian has had an altercation with some men of North African origin before committing the act. “He had a fight with them” said the deputy attorney Villardo “and went to buy some spray paint, he is not necessarily a chronic racist and xenophobe; he was really angry.” The man is currently in police custody. The town hall of Avignon, the Papal Palace and the Bank of France have all filed a complaint against him, according to Le Parisien. Even the Observatory of Islamophobia in the French Council of the Muslim Faith has announced its intention to file a complaint for incitement to racial hatred.

Appearing in the afternoon before the court of Avignon, the tourist smeared the walls of the Palace of the Popes with anti-Islam writings. The ANSA reported the deputy prosecutor of Avignon, Thierry Villardo, stated that the young man, who was arrested on the night between Monday and Tuesday in Avignon, “regrets his action.” Francesco Cattaneo, 31, from the province of Como, arrived in Avignon on Monday morning; he was to continue to Spain, after a brief stay in Avignon.

Cattaneo, confirmed the deputy prosecutor suspicions that he acted “in anger” after having a dispute with a group of people from North Africa. From a psychological report it was found that the 31 year old had a “difficult past,” in the words of the deputy prosecutor, and that “he was not in full possession of his faculties.” Cattaneo could spend up to seven years in prison.

Double desecration
Writing insults to Muhammad on the walls of the Palace of the Popes of Avignon, the Italian tourist, who is in custody in the southern city of France, has committed a “double desecration” against the Prophet and against a symbol of Christianity said Mohamed Moussaoui, honorary president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith. The desecration “of the first name of the prophet, the greatest symbol of Islam, and also the desecration of one of the major places of Christianity,” said Moussaoui on radio France. He also condemned the act as “odious,” calling on Muslims to remain “vigilant but calm, know that extremism can thrive only in an atmosphere of tension.” Several acts added to the anti-Islam rhetoric in recent days. Just three days ago, a soldier was arrested while planning an attack on the mosque in Venissieux, a suburb of Lyon.

PBS series ‘Life of Muhammad’ explores diverse opinions of prophet

The portrait of the Muslim prophet, which emerges from a PBS documentary “Life of Muhammad,” may surprise some American viewers.

 

“As major polls by Gallup, Pew, and others have reported, astonishing numbers of Americans, as well as Europeans, are not only ignorant of Islam but have deep fears and prejudices towards their Muslim populations,” said John Esposito, professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University who appears in the three-part series that debuts Tuesday (Aug. 20) on PBS.

 

Esposito praised the series’ “balance,” and its attempts to describe controversial aspects of the prophet’s life with a diversity of opinions.

 

Produced for the BBC in 2011, the series examines the world into which Muhammad was born and his marriage to his first wife, Khadijah. The second hour focuses on the “Night Journey to Jerusalem,” his departure from Mecca and the eight-year war with the Meccan tribes. The third analyzes events during his later life, including the introduction of the moral code known as Shariah and the concept of jihad.

 

Narrated by Rageh Omaar, a Somali-born journalist, the series presents Muhammad in a respectful, positive light, though it doesn’t shirk from the controversies that surround Muhammad, who was born in Mecca in 570 A.D.

 

Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at University of Oxford, says in the film, “We never represent or have any images of any of the prophets.”

 

Omaar’s signoff at the end of the three-hour documentary attempts to contextualize all of the stories—flattering and damning—surrounding the prophet.  “He left Arabia a better place than he found it,” Omaar says.

In the Casbah of Turin, a Christian Can Die

Magdi Cristiano Allam

July 22, 2013

Born in Egypt, he wanted to evangelize the “Muslim quarter” of the city. For this reason the fundamentalists will threaten and beat.

 

Sherif Azer, an Italian citizen, born Coptic Christian in Egypt, has the courage to do what the Pope, the cardinals, bishops and priests should do but do not do: publicly evangelize Christianity to Muslims residents in Italy in piazzas, spreading the extraordinary testimony of faith in Jesus in Porta Palazzo as Italy becomes Islamized.

 

This is how last Thursday, July 18, Sherif was savagely attacked with chains, punched and kicked by a dozen fanatical followers of Allah, they cried “we’ll kill you, Christian shit,” after Sherif admitted that he did not observe Ramadan, he also refused to repeat a ritual saying which would explain that he was a follower of Islam “Salli ala al Nabi” (Praise the prophet Muhammad begins the saying).

Sherif has the courage to do what the head of state, the President of the Council, the Parliament, the judiciary, law enforcement, the presidents of regions and provinces, and finally the mayors should do but do not: safeguard every inch of Italian sovereignty and enforce our laws to all residents regardless of their nationality, culture or faith. The Christian witness corresponds to a civil commitment against arbitrariness, arrogance and violence raging in Porta Palazzo to the point of being transformed into an extraterritorial area, the casbah of Turin. The area is now risky for Italians, who are forced to sell off their homes at bargain prices after being ousted from the market due to degradation and insecurity.

The evangelization of Sherif, 54 years old, his wife and four daughters with Italian citizenship, has happened for two reasons: it shows a deep respect for Muslims as people, even helping them materially due to his work as a building contractor (although he has a degree in Philosophy and Letters), he also knows the Koran by heart even the majority of Muslims have not read the ancient Classical Arabic authoritative text.

 

The barbarous assault on Sherif, who admits to being barely alive after being hit in the head with heavy chains, requires the Church to reflect on the substantive legitimacy of Islam reiterating the litany of the “big three monotheistic and Abrahamic religions” this attack emerges at a time when even Pope Francis sent well wishes for Ramadan on July 8: “I turn to the dear Muslim immigrants who today, in the evening, are starting the fast of Ramadan, which I wish them  abundant spiritual fruits.” Ironically almost all Islamic countries require not only Muslims but also non-Muslim residents to observe Ramadan with the penalty of not following can be imprisonment for the contempt of religion. The institutional legitimacy of Islam was confirmed again this year when the Foreign Minister Emma Bonino was offered Iftar by 42 leading members of the Islamic Conference Organization and of the Arab League.

Well church and state can learn a lesson from the attack at Porta Palazzo: Islamized sharia is imposed by force because obviously Islam is not a religion but an ideology that is comparable to seventh century Christianity, rife with war and terrorism. Muslims can be moderate as a people but the Islam of the Koran and Muhammad is inherently violent.

Wednesday, July 24 at 7 pm there will be a demonstration in Porta Palazzo in Turin in solidarity  with Sherif Azer and to say “No to sharia in Porta Palazzo.” The Mayor Piero Fassino, President of the Province Antonio Saitta and the President of the Piedmont Region, Roberto Cota are invited. The hope is that participation will condemn the cowardly attack on a Coptic Christian and an Italian citizen in the center of Turin, and to take all necessary political and administrative measures to prevent the recurrence of such attacks, terrorism, and return the Italian spirit to Porta Palazzo which has been transformed into a raging area where sharia prevails.

NY Times Book Review: The Messenger and the Message

‘The First Muslim,’ by Lesley Hazleton

 

FirstMuslim-CoverIn today’s febrile cultural and religious climate, what project could be more fraught than writing a biography of Muhammad? The worldwide protests at “The Innocence of Muslims,” 14 minutes of trashy provocation posted on YouTube, are a terrible reminder to the would-be biographer that the life story of the prophet of Islam is not material about which one is free to have a “take.” Lesley Hazleton’s “First Muslim” is a book written by a white woman of dual American and British citizenship, published in America more than a decade after the 9/11 attacks. For many believers it is already — even before it is read, if it is read at all — an object of suspicion, something to be defended against, in case it should turn out to be yet another insult, another cruel parody of a story such an author has no business telling.

 

“The First Muslim” tells this story with a sort of jaunty immediacy. Bardic competitions are “the sixth-century equivalent of poetry slams.” The section of the Koran known as the Sura of the Morning has “an almost environmentalist approach to the natural world.” Theological ideas and literary tropes are “memes” that can go “viral.” Readers irritated by such straining for a contemporary tone will find it offset by much useful and fascinating context on everything from the economics of the Meccan caravan trade to the pre-Islamic lineage of prophets called hanifs, who promoted monotheism and rejected idolatry.

 

In the terms it sets itself, “The First Muslim” succeeds. It makes its subject vivid and immediate. It deserves to find readers. However, its terms are those of the popular biography, and this creates a tension the book never quite resolves. Though based on scholarship, it is not a scholarly work. Factual material from eighth- and ninth-century histories is freely mixed with speculation about Muhammad’s motives and emotions intended to allow the reader, in the quasi-therapeutic vocabulary that is the default register of so much mainstream contemporary writing, to “empathize” or better still, “identify with” him.

From Man Who Insulted Muhammad, No Regret

LOS ANGELES — Fuming for two months in a jail cell here, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has had plenty of time to reconsider the wisdom of making “Innocence of Muslims,” his crude YouTube movie trailer depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a bloodthirsty, philandering thug.

Does Mr. Nakoula now regret the footage? After all, it fueled deadly protests across the Islamic world and led the unlikely filmmaker to his own arrest for violating his supervised release on a fraud conviction.

Not at all. In his first public comments since his incarceration soon after the video gained international attention in September, Mr. Nakoula told The New York Times that he would go to great lengths to convey what he called “the actual truth” about Muhammad. “I thought, before I wrote this script,” he said, “that I should burn myself in a public square to let the American people and the people of the world know this message that I believe in.”

In explaining his reasons for the film, Mr. Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian born in Egypt, cited the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Tex., as a prime example of the violence committed “under the sign of Allah.” His anger seemed so intense over the years that even from a federal prison in 2010, he followed the protests against the building of an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero in New York as he continued to work on his movie script.