Muslim families push Montgomery County for school holiday to mark Eid al-Adha

October 14, 2013

 

Muslim families in Montgomery County are pushing to make the Islamic holy day Eid al-Adha a full-fledged school holiday.

Muslim leaders have started a petition in recent weeks and have won support from some elected leaders and religious groups. Montgomery County has a growing Islamic population, though there are no county or census figures on the Muslim community.

This year, the Eid al-Adha holiday falls on Tuesday. Some families plan to keep their children home from school, even though they will miss classes and sporting events. But they point out that school is closed for Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and for the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

“It’s like we don’t feel equal to other people who get their holidays off,” said Hannah Sharim, 14, who is a sophomore at Northwest High School in Germantown.

Former state legislator and co-chair of the new Equality for Eid Coalition Saqib Ali said this is a civil rights issue.

School officials said they give excused absences to students who are absent for religious holidays but that they can’t legally close schools for religious reasons. They said granting a day off requires a secular reason, such as minimizing the impact on instruction because of high absenteeism rates on a holiday.

The school board asked staff to examine attendance on Muslim holidays last year, but the numbers showed little impact on attendance.

In the 1970s, Montgomery schools began giving students the day off for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

“Our understanding is that decision was made for operational reasons,” schools spokeswoman Dana Tofig said.

Muslim leaders object to the county’s focus on absenteeism to justify an official day off. Some families have often sent their children to school on the religious holiday so that they wouldn’t miss instructional time. But leaders said Christian and Jewish holidays haven’t been under the same scrutiny.

“We think it’s not right when there are different standards for different people,” Ali said.

 

The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/muslim-families-push-montgomery-county-for-school-holiday-to-mark-eid-al-adha/2013/10/14/82d971cc-34d8-11e3-89db-8002ba99b894_story.html

Collective makes appeal to Muslim shop owners during Ramadan

RTBF

11.07.2013

Egalite, sans guillements (Equality without quotation marks), a social collective, has decided to make an appeal to Muslim show owners to offer cheaper aliments to socioeconomically weak Muslims during Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is traditionally coined by high expenditures for festive iftar meals following the breaking of the day-long fast after sunset. A Muslim family in Belgium spends in average 60 to 70 Euro for one iftar meal.  A significant amount of Belgian Muslims are, however, unable to afford such expensive meals during Ramadan.

Egalite, sans guillements argues that Ramadan is the month of sharing and conviviality, thus shop owners should in this tradition enable all Muslims to participate in the iftar celebrations. Due to a sharp rise in earnings during Ramadan, in average three times more halal products are sold during the month, shop owners should be able to still make profits whilst making concessions to help fiscally restraint Muslim families.

Dutch-Turkish MPs Call for Muslim Foster Parents to “Take Responsibility”

March 18 2013

 

Two Dutch MPs of Turkish origin have called on more Muslim families to volunteer as foster parents. The comments follow recent unease in Turkey about a lesbian couple fostering a boy born to Muslim parents.

The MPs used social media networks to spread a message asking Islamic parents to “stop taking offence, start taking responsibility”.

The dispute has threatened to take on diplomatic overtones with Turkey. The Dutch couple has raised the boy, now nine, since he was a baby. The commotion began after the boy’s birth mother made an emotional appeal for the boy’s return on television, generating debate in Turkey and coloring an upcoming visit to the Netherlands by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A Turkish parliamentary commission is currently researching the fostering of Muslim children by gay or Christian couples, which they say will lead to them becoming estranged from their cultural background.

‘Halal Homes’ Discussion n the Netherlands

25 November 2012
Dutch newspaper Parool last week covered designs for Amsterdam apartments by the  Eigen Hard housing corporation which accommodate the needs of some Muslim families. The apartments feature cupboards for shoe storage, additional water taps for ritual cleansing, and dividing doors around the kitchen.
The paper described the apartments as ‘halal homes’, but the housing company stressed that the designs could be suitable for many occupants, also suiting the needs of students and those with a physical handicap.
Home affairs minister Robert Plastkerk commented in response that he has no Robles with housing corporations taking the wishes of Muslim tenants into account during renovations.

AP Exclusive: Informant says NYPD paid him to ‘bait’ Muslims, take photos inside mosques

NEW YORK — A paid informant for the New York Police Department’s intelligence unit was under orders to “bait” Muslims into saying inflammatory things as he lived a double life, snapping pictures inside mosques and collecting the names of innocent people attending study groups on Islam, he told The Associated Press.

Shamiur Rahman, a 19-year-old American of Bangladeshi descent who has now denounced his work as an informant, said police told him to embrace a strategy called “create and capture.” He said it involved creating a conversation about jihad or terrorism, then capturing the response to send to the NYPD. For his work, he earned as much as $1,000 a month and goodwill from the police after a string of minor marijuana arrests.

“We need you to pretend to be one of them,” Rahman recalled the police telling him. “It’s street theater.”

Rahman said he now believes his work as an informant against Muslims in New York was “detrimental to the Constitution.” After he disclosed to friends details about his work for the police — and after he told the police that he had been contacted by the AP — he stopped receiving text messages from his NYPD handler, “Steve,” and his handler’s NYPD phone number was disconnected.

Rahman’s account shows how the NYPD unleashed informants on Muslim neighborhoods, often without specific targets or criminal leads. Much of what Rahman said represents a tactic the NYPD has denied using.

The AP corroborated Rahman’s account through arrest records and weeks of text messages between Rahman and his police handler. The AP also reviewed the photos Rahman sent to police. Friends confirmed Rahman was at certain events when he said he was there, and former NYPD officials, while not personally familiar with Rahman, said the tactics he described were used by informants.

Rahman said he eventually tired of spying on his friends, noting that at times they delivered food to needy Muslim families. He said he once identified another NYPD informant spying on him. He took $200 more from the NYPD and told them he was done as an informant. He said the NYPD offered him more money, which he declined. He told friends on Facebook in early October that he had been a police spy but had quit. He also traded Facebook messages with Shahbaz, admitting he had spied on students at John Jay.

More than a million and a half Muslims in Spain celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice

26 October 2012

More than a million and a half Muslims in Spain celebrate the Feast of  the Sacrifice in which they must sacrifice a lamb in remembrance of the moment when God asked Abraham’s sacrifice of his eldest son, and then changed it to a lamb.
Furthermore, this event is the culmination of the pilgrimage to Mecca that currently millions of Muslims are making around the world, including 1,500 who left last Wednesday from the Spanish areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Andalusia.
Speaking to Europa Press, the president of the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE) Riay Tatary, said that the number of lambs to be sacrificed in Spain these days depends on the area because, some Muslim families have “donated their sacrifices” to the needy countries like Palestine, Syria, Mali or Somalia.

A Planned Mosque Inches Along, but Critics Remain

A cluster of young Muslims in matching yellow T-shirts and broad smiles handed out free school supplies to a line of needy families in front of a gated construction site in the waning days of summer. Across the quiet residential street, two men glared at them, holding up protest signs.

The narrow avenue divided the two views of a three-story mosque and Islamic community center that is slowly being built on Voorheis Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, capturing the lingering tensions over a project that has split this multiethnic, but mostly Russian-Jewish, residential neighborhood that hugs the Atlantic shoreline.

The mosque’s backers say 150 to 200 Muslim families who live within walking distance are in need of a local place to pray. The mosque, they want to reassure neighbors, will be an asset, providing afterschool activities to children, a Boy Scout troop open to all and charity events, like the school supply giveaway.

But a determined group of opponents see in the half-built concrete and brick frame a provocation. To them, it is a blight, a source of future traffic congestion and worse: a beachhead for Muslim expansion in Brooklyn and a beacon for anti-Semitism.

“Yes, they are smiling, but you know what’s behind their smiles?” said Leonid Krupnik, 62, one of the two protesters late last month. Like many of the mosque’s opponents, he has strong memories of anti-Semitism as a Jew from the former Soviet Union. “Hatred. They want to create a caliphate. They want to push people out of this neighborhood.”

Mr. Krupnik and other opponents say they are being unfairly typecast as xenophobes and racists. They do nevertheless worry that the neighborhood will change so much that non-Muslims will want to leave and they fear that the mosque will be used to promote radical thinking.

“If the area, suddenly, is like a suburb of some Muslim country, it’s not very pleasant,” said Alexandr Tenenbaum, who lives several blocks away. “I am always scared because you see these kind of people, but we can’t say it.”

Mr. Ahmed and the Muslim American Society, which bought the property from him, say the suspicion is unfounded. They also say the statements by the politicians engender hate.

Mr. Ahmed, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1997, said that because of the tolerance he found in Brooklyn over the years, he had not expected such determined opposition.

P.E.I.’s first permanent mosque opens in Canada

News Agencies – July 14, 2012

 

Muslims on Prince Edward Island are celebrating the opening of the province’s first permanent mosque. They’re hoping the new $700,000 place of worship on MacAleer Drive will attract new immigrants to the Island. Currently, about 100 Muslim families live on the Island.

“We have been dreaming for this space for the past 40 years,” said Dr. Najam Chishti, president of the Muslim Society of P.E.I. “I have lived 32 years on the Island. And it’s a really historic day at the birthplace of Canada.” For the past eight years, Muslims have prayed in the basement of a building in Charlottetown’s downtown.

Besides offering a space for worship, the new mosque will offer youth and social programs for the community. The mosque will also act as an Islamic Centre, so non-Muslims can also learn about the religion. Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee, who was on hand for the opening, and said the mosque will give Muslims an added incentive to stay on P.E.I. in addition to helping attract immigrants.

Islam has made London a more conservative place than it was 50 years ago

One of the most common mistakes people make about cultural and politics is suggesting that history is inevitably heading in one direction. We hear it most commonly in the argument made that “we can’t turn the clock back” to the 1950s, as if anyone is planning to ban garlic bread or continental lager. (I don’t see why achieving 1950s levels of crime would be either undesirable or impossible).

History does not work like that, and in a strange way London today is even more conservative than it was in the 1950s – thanks to liberals.

This week London Metropolitan University’s vice-chancellor suggested that parts of the campus be made alcohol-free because some Muslim students believe it is “evil” and “immoral”.

This paper reports:

Prof Malcolm Gillies of London Metropolitan University said he wants to create alcohol free areas on campus out of “cultural sensitivity”. About a fifth of students at the university come from Muslim families – many of them young women from traditional homes. For many of them, the drinking culture among students marred rather than heightened their student experience, he said.

In principle there’s nothing wrong with this. If one university wants to make itself more attractive to teetotal students, then heavy-drinking students (ie 99 per cent of them) can go to the many colleges where cheap beer flows abundantly. That’s the free market. Muslims aside, many people would prefer a less boozy environment. But I can’t help but feel that this new puritanism is not what the young people who once shouted “disembowel Enoch Powell” in opposition to immigration restrictions had in mind.