Survey finds deep mistrust for Muslims in Canada

News Agencies – March 26, 2012

A new poll shows that more than half of all Canadians distrust Muslims. The nationwide survey indicates that as many as 52 percent of Canadians feel Muslims can be trusted “a little” or “not trusted at all.” The poll showed that 48 percent of respondents said Muslims can be trusted “a lot” or “somewhat.”

What’s more, 42 percent of Canadians said discrimination against Muslims is “mainly their fault.” Muslims registered the lowest levels of trustworthiness of the religious groups asked about in the survey. Overall, about 70 percent of respondents expressed high levels of trust in Protestants, Catholics and Jews, while 64 percent trusted aboriginal Canadians and 63 percent trusted immigrants.

Among French Canadians, only 30 percent said they trust Muslims, compared with 57 percent of English speakers who said they felt that way.  The online poll surveyed 1,522 Canadians on attitudes toward religions, multiculturalism and sources of racism. The survey was conducted for the Association for Canadian Studies in Montreal and the Toronto-based Canadian Race Relations Foundation as part of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.

Algeria doesn’t want French gunman’s body

News Agencies – March 28, 2012

 

A young man who claimed responsibility for France’s worst terror attacks in years will be buried Thursday in a Muslim cemetery near the southern city where he was killed in gunfight with police, religious leaders said. Burying Mohamed Merah is a sensitive issue for both his native France and his father’s native Algeria.

His father wanted him buried in a family plot in Algeria. Merah’s body was brought to the airport in the city of Toulouse, and his mother had been expecting to accompany it to Algiers on a flight later in the day. But Abdallah Zekri of the French Muslim Council, or CFCM, told The Associated Press that Algerian authorities refused for “reasons of public order.” Zekri had been liaising with Algerian authorities in Toulouse. Instead, Merah will be buried at the Muslim cemetery in Cornebarrieu, near Toulouse, Zekri said.

Pakistani Taliban training Frenchmen

News Agencies – March 24 2012

 

Dozens of French Muslims are training with the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan, raising fears of future attacks following the shooting deaths of seven people in southern France allegedly by a man who spent time in the region, Pakistani intelligence officials claim.

Authorities are investigating whether Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman of Algerian descent who is suspected of killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers in Toulouse this month, was among the training group. Merah was killed in a dramatic gunfight with police after a 32-hour standoff at his Toulouse apartment. The 23-year-old former auto body worker traveled twice to Afghanistan in 2010 and to Pakistan in 2011, and said he trained with al-Qaida in the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan.

Approximately 85 Frenchmen have been training with the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan tribal area for the past three years, according to the intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Most of the men have dual nationality with France and North African countries.

French survey reveals loathing for ‘violent’ suburban youth

News Agencies – March 28, 2012

Nearly 60 percent of the French say they distrust youth from the ‘banlieues’, France’s impoverished, immigrant-dominated suburbs, according to a new survey that has laid bare the country’s divisions. “The results are extremely worrying,” Thibault Renaudin, national secretary of Afev, the organization that published the poll.

The poll conducted by Afev shows that while 75 percent of the French have a positive opinion of young people, 57 percent have a negative opinion of youths from impoverished suburbs. Renaudin says French authorities and the media are partly responsible for this negative image. Renaudin says the poll also reveals French racial divisions, given that many banlieue youths are from immigrant backgrounds. “They are always reduced to their origins, multiple, different and dangerous.”

French mosque attacker kills one

News Agencies – March 16, 2012

A man armed with a baseball bat has attacked worshippers at a mosque in the northern city of Arras in Pas-de-Calais, France, killing one person and seriously wounding another, police say.
A suspect was detained after the incident. Police sources say the man is a 32-year-old French national of Moroccan origin. The man, who is being questioned, has a history of psychiatric problems, the sources said. French Interior Minister Claude Gueant condemned what he called an act of “unbelievable brutality”.

CFCM leader says that French shooter’s acts contradict Islam

News Agencies – March 21, 2012

France’s top Muslim leader said that a besieged suspected Islamist who claims to have carried out a string of shootings to avenge Palestinian children had acted against Islam. “These acts are in total contradiction with the foundations of this religion,” said the head of the French Muslim Council, Mohammed Moussaoui. “France’s Muslims are offended by this claim of belonging to this religion.”

Moussaoui and Richard Prasquier, the head of France’s main Jewish organisation, the CRIF, were to meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy as the siege outside the shooter’s apartment continued in the southwestern city of Toulouse. The joint meeting shows “an important thing,” Prasquier said, “that it is absolutely impossible to confuse this person and the Islamist, jihadist, al-Qaedist movement that he represents, with Islam in France, which is a religion like any other.”

No proof French shootings suspect had ties to Al Qaeda

News Agencies – March 23, 2012

French authorities have no evidence that Al Qaeda commissioned a French gunman to go on a killing spree that left seven people dead, or that he had any contact with terrorist groups, a senior official said. France’s prime minister and other officials have been fending off suggestions that anti-terrorism authorities fell down on the job in monitoring 23-year-old Mohamed Merah, who had been known to them for years before he went on three deadly shooting attacks from a motorcycle.

Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, was killed in a dramatic gunfight with police after a 32-hour standoff at his Toulouse apartment with police. Prosecutors said he filmed himself carrying out the attacks that began March 11, killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers with close-range shots to the head. Another Jewish student and another paratrooper were wounded.

A senior official who is close to the investigation into Merah said there was no sign he had “trained or been in contact with organized groups or jihadists.” Merah had travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and prosecutors said he had claimed contacts with Al Qaeda and to have trained in the Pakistan militant stronghold of Waziristan. He had been on a U.S. no-fly list since 2010. The official said Merah might have made the claim because Al Qaeda is a well-known “brand.”

Greater Toronto Area to open first cemetery catering to all Muslims this summer

News Agencies – March 7, 2012

The province of Ontario has granted a license to the Toronto Muslim Cemetery
Corporation, allowing it to operate the site in Richmond Hill. The corporation says the
cemetery is a joint project between Sunni and Shia Muslim communities and will open in
June. The group plans to open the 14-hectare cemetery officially in June. It’s expected to
serve the needs of the estimated 300,000-strong Muslim community for at least 25 years.
He says the cemetery will be the first in the area which manages services according to
Muslim custom, operates on weekends and will have all graves correctly aligned toward
Mecca.

The 14-hectare land for the cemetery was bought for $6.8-million from a Jewish
company – Beth Olam Cemetery Corporation – which provided the Muslim corporation
with an interest-free mortgage. A Muslim cemetery to meet the needs of residents in
Ottawa and Gatineau, Que, is expected to open in June as well.

Imam marries gay couple in Paris

News Agencies – March 2, 2012

 

Ludovic and Qiyaam were married in South Africa last August. This week they got married by an imam in Paris. More than forty friends and members of HM2F – Muslim gays of France – attended the event. Christian and Jewish LGBT organizations were also invited. The ceremony was conducted by Jamal, originally from Mauritius, who heads the Prayer and Meditation group in HM2F. Christian and Jewish clergymen then added their blessings.

Ludovic says he received the blessings of his family, who reside in Marseille and came for the occasion. He added that he has more problems with French law.

Green star worn in France to oppose debate on Islam

News Agencies – March 28, 2011

Abderahmane Dahmane, Sarkozy’s former diversity advisor called on Muslims to wear a green star to protest the debate on secularism proposed by the UMP. A statement issued by Dahmane and Hassan Ben M’Barek, spokesperson for Banlieues Respect, which presents itself as a union of associations but whose influence seems limited, said that the green star on their clothing will show that Muslims in France have decided to demand the cancellation of the debate on Islam and the end of UMP Islamophobia.