Ontario liquor store sells alcohol to 14-year-old in burka, no questions asked

News Agencies – July 24, 2012

A 14-year-old boy was able to buy liquor at three LCBO [Liquor Control Board of Ontario] outlets without having to show identification. A stunt orchestrated by the Sun News Network has shed light on how easy it can be for minors to buy alcohol in the Greater Toronto Area — provided they dress the part. As the Toronto Sun reports, controversial broadcaster and writer David Menzies sent a 14-year-old boy clad in a full-length burka and face veil to buy liquor at three LCBOs north of the city.

His goal, he said, was to expose deficiencies in the province’s Liquor Licence Act, which prohibits the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 19, and to challenge their claims of social responsibility. The three unopened bottles, he said, were later taken from the teen after he left the store. Critics of the host’s undercover crackdown flipped the legal accountability finger back at Menzies, calling for his arrest over “coercing” a young boy to purchase alcohol and for “corrupting the morals of a minor.”

French Minister of the Interior seeks to put an end to the “instrumentalization” of Islam

News Agencies – July 27, 2012
French Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, has said he wants to reinforce Islam in France “in the interests of French Muslims and of France.” Valls noted that he wants to see an end to an “instrumentalization” of Islam as the French Conseil of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) remains divided. He said that it is up to the organization itself to solve internal issues. Nevertheless he stated that “divisions must be put to an end so that the Islam of France can reflect the interests of French Muslims and of France more generally.”

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.

12th annual Summer Muslim Festival takes place in Ottawa

News Agencies – July 14, 2012


The annual Canadian Muslim Festival was held in Ottawa with the participation of over 20 Muslim countries. The event which celebrates the culture and traditions of the Muslim world, included country exhibitions, Islamic arts and handicrafts, a bazaar as well as fun activities for children.  The festival, which is held annually by the Muslim Association of Canada, aims to introduce Islamic culture and civilization to the local community.


The one-day event provided each participating country with a tent to present the arts and culture of that nation. The result was a display of the tremendous diversity of the Islamic world. This annual festival provides a great opportunity to introduce Islamic culture to Canadians.


The Mosque of Strasbourg opens its doors for Ramadan

News Agencies – July 20, 2012


Said Aalla, the president of the new Mosque of Strasbourg announced to 2,500 faithful who attended Friday prayers on the first day of Ramadan, “You have waited so long.” After 20 years of talk and six years of construction, the mosque was unveiled. The building will be officially inaugurated by President Hollande et Interior Minister Valls on September 27th, 2012.

The French Football Federation will not authorize headscarves

News Agencies – July 7, 2012


The French Football Federation (FFF) said that it would “not authorise players to wear a veil” while playing for France or in organised competitions, a day after world footballing authorities said the hijab could be worn on the pitch.

The FFF’s announcement came after a French MP had urged the government earlier yesterday to ban the Islamic headscarf for women soccer players. The International Football Association Board (IFAB), custodians of the rules of football, overturned its 2007 ban on the Islamic headscarf, a garment it had argued was unsafe and increased the risk of neck injuries. Critics said the ban promoted inequality at the highest level of the world’s most popular game.

French lawmaker Gerald Darmanin wrote to Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron asking that Paris denounce the U-turn “in the name of universal and republican values”.

Cergy Mosque inaugurated with capacity for 1,500

News Agencies – July 6, 2012


At 2,000 square metres, it has capacity for 1,500 people and cost 3.75 million euros to build. The town of Cergy pitched in by guaranteeing half of a 2.2 million loan taken out by the Cergy Muslim Federation, and by leasing the land at a nominal price for 99 years. The rest came from donations from Federation members.


”We want it to be clear that we paid for this, through donations,” Imam Tahar Mahdi said. There have been projects to build a mosque in Cergy since the 1980s. The new mosque also has a cultural center, a tea room, a funeral parlor, and schoolrooms.

Algeria fetes 50 years of independence from France but war memories, and rancour, still thrive

News Agencies – July 5, 2012


As the Muslim North African nation celebrates 50 years of nationhood, the two countries are locked in a war of memories that still weighs on lives on both sides of the Mediterranean, and on the two countries’ ties. There have been no apologies for the brutal eight-year war that ended 132 years of French rule in Algeria or admissions of the longstanding allegations of torture. A half-century after Algeria broke free and wrenched from France the crown jewel of its empire, there is no reconciliation.

But Algerians keep waiting, while the French remain traumatized by loss and guilt. “Time is not sufficient” to make the wounds on both sides disappear, said Benjamin Stora, a leading French historian on the era. “We see that the more time passes, the more memory returns.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika kicked off a year of celebrations, laying a wreath at the soaring monument dedicated to the Algerians who lost their lives in the war — known as “martyrs.” On a hill overlooking Algiers, the monument is a symbol of the legitimacy of the Algerian state, whose ideological foundations are embedded in the independence war.

Algeria claims that 1.5 million people died in the 1954-1962 war, which they call a revolution. That figure is contested by historians who believe 300,000-400,000 died — still more than the number of French killed in World War I. That compares to about 30,000 French soldiers killed in Algeria.

At an exhibition hall at the French Army Museum in Paris, under the roof of the gold-domed Invalides where Napoleon is buried, there is a quiet effort under way to own up to one rarely spoken truth. Part of an exhibition devoted to the French conquest, the war and the evacuation, the photos depicting French torture are a first. The photographer, Jean-Philippe Charbon, refused their publication while he was alive.

French Arrest Man Suspected of Financing al Qaeda

News Agencies – July 3, 2012


French authorities have arrested the administrator of an extremist French website suspected of playing a key role in financing and recruiting for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups from Pakistan to Spain, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.The man—whom prosecutors call an “operational vector and formidable financier of the bloodiest terrorist groups”— faces preliminary charges of planning terrorist acts and financing a terrorist enterprise, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.


The prosecutor cited “serious and concordant evidence” that the suspect sent material from his computer to terrorist groups. It says he played a “centralizing role” in collecting funds for terrorist groups to buy weapons, but didn’t elaborate on how much money was involved. Prosecutors say he is suspected of acting as a financier and recruiter for groups including al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (North Africa), Fatah al Islam, and the Islamic State of Iraq.