Annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention takes place in Toronto

News Agencies – December 19, 2012

 

Thousands of Muslims from across North America gathered in Toronto from December 21 through December 23 for the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention. “The conference has always been about uniting and joining hands with scholars, journalists, academics, representatives from other faiths, and artists to promote messages of peace and tolerance,” RIS spokeswoman Farhia Ahmed told OnIslam.net.

Themed “Divine Light for Living Right: The Light of Prophetic Guidance in the Midst of Modern Darkness”, the convention is organized and managed by approximately 400 young Canadian volunteers. It brings a galaxy of prominent Muslim scholars including Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, Karen Armstrong and Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Islamic studies professor at George Washington University. Also attending are the Grand Mufti of Bosnia Mustafa Cerić, scholar Habib Ali Al-Jifri, Swiss professor Tariq Ramadan, Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled, Dr. Aisha al-Adawiyya; Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury; Yasmin Mogahed and Edina Lekovic.

Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention was first launched in 2003 by Muslim youth to tackle the backlash on Islam and Muslims after the 9/11 and to build a bridge of understanding with non-Muslims. Last year, over 20,000 people attended the event and for the first time tickets were sold out by the second day of the 3-day program.

 

French Muslim groups sue magazine over Prophet Mohammed cartoons

News Agencies – December 7, 2012

 

Two Muslim organizations launched legal proceedings against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, accusing it of inciting racial hatred after it published provocative cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The allegations concern cartoons that caricatured the Prophet, including two drawings which show him naked, published at a time, on September 19, when violent anti-Western protests were flaring across the Muslim world in response to an US anti-Islam amateur film. The Algerian Democratic Union for Peace and Progress (RDAP) and the Organization of Arab Union are claiming a total of €780,000 in costs and damages. According to the complainants’, the drawings were “damaging to the honour and reputation of the Prophet Mohammed and the Muslim community”.

 

Thousands of extra copies of the weekly had to be ordered after the publications usual print-run of 75,000 sold out within hours of going on sale. The first hearing in the case has been scheduled for January 29 at a court in Paris.

 

Canadian’s death sentence in Iran appears to have been lifted

News Agencies – December 2, 2012

 

Reports that Iran has suspended the death sentence of Canadian Saeed Malekpour have not been officially confirmed, and his family remain concerned for his fate, an activist close to the family says. The lawyer for Mr. Malekpour, on death row since 2010, has told Iran’s Mehr new agency that the sentence has been commuted after he “repented,” Agence France-Presse reported.

 

But in Canada, those campaigning for his release remain skeptical, noting that Iranian officials have in the past reinstituted death sentences they had supposedly commuted. Mr. Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada, was arrested in December of 2008 in Iran when he returned to his native land to visit his dying father and accused of operating up an offensive website.

 

Mr. Malekpour developed a program for posting pictures on the Internet and that it was used without his knowledge for the creation of porn sites, human rights group and his family said. In late January, Iran’s supreme court confirmed the death sentence against Mr. Malekpour, Iranian media reported. The verdict provoked an international outcry.In February, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Iran to halt the execution while Canada and rights watchdog Amnesty International also called for Mr. Malekpour’s immediate release.

New helpline for Muslim women may be Canada’s first

News Agencies –  November 15, 2012

 

Months before the Muslim women’s helpline was launched, the phone at the Mississauga-based Women’s Resource Centre started ringing. In October 2012, after months of research, training and fundraising, the Women’s Resource Centre launched what is believed to be the country’s first helpline specifically for Muslim women. Confidential and anonymous, it’s meant to be a place to which women can turn for emotional support, peer counselling and referrals.

In its first few weeks, the helpline has already received dozens of calls from women across the GTA, with concerns ranging from marriage and relationships to information on shelters and food banks, and in a few cases, abuse.The helpline is staffed by 13 counsellors and is open for two hours a day, five days a week.

French nationalists protest in Paris against radical Islam, allege Muslims won’t integrate

News Agencies – November 10, 2012

 

Hundreds of French nationalists demonstrated in Paris against Islamist extremism, chanting the French anthem and saying the religion has no place in the country. Three weeks ago, dozens of far-right French activists stormed an unfinished mosque to protest immigration policies that have made France home to Western Europe’s largest population of Muslims. The protest was organized by a nationalist group called the Republican Resistance.

France sets remembrance date for Algerian war victims

News Agencies – November 8, 2012

France has set March 19 as the annual date of remembrance for victims of the 1954-62 Algerian war, in a diplomatic gesture to Algeria before a visit by President Francois Hollande next month. The Senate upper house of parliament approved the date in a vote that ended years of disagreement over when to mark the conflict that ended more than a century of French colonial rule in Algeria and left deep scars on both sides.

The Senate, controlled by the ruling Socialist Party, voted by 181 votes to 155 in favor of a bill to use the date of the March 19, 1962 ceasefire to remember hundreds of thousands of dead on both sides in Algeria, and also in parallel Moroccan and Tunisian independence struggles.

The fixing of a remembrance day, exactly 50 years after the war ended, is symbolic, but groups representing relatives of victims of the war have said it will not fulfill their desire for a full apology for France’s colonial past.

Canadian man accused of murder rejects notion of ‘honour killing’

News Agencies – November 1, 2012

When the Canadian Crown asked Peer Khairi the Afghan immigrant — accused of murdering his culturally permissive wife to preserve the family’s Muslim honour — whether he expected his children to adhere to Islamic dress codes, he became indignant. “This is a free country, [so] how could I deny people of such freedom?” Mr. Khairi testified, speaking through a Dari interpreter.

Now in its fourth week, Mr. Khairi’s second-degree murder trial in Ontario Superior Court is focused on the accused’s state of mind on March 18, 2008, the day he killed Randjida Khairi at the peak of a heated argument. The Crown characterizes the slaying as an honour crime, alleging Mr. Khairi was driven by his growing frustration at his wife’s willingness to embrace Canadian values and to allow their children to do the same. Mr. Khairi, who began testifying in his own defence this week, has offered a myriad of alternative motives: in one, he was provoked by his wife’s ceaseless insults; in another, he acted out of self-defence when she lunged at him with a knife; in a third, he killed her in a moment of blind insanity.

French Muslims seek to have Islamophobia recognized in awareness campaign

News Agencies – November 1, 2012

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France; CCIF) has launched a media campaign to “open dialogue” and “deconstruct clichés” regarding Islam in France. The message of their campaign is “We are the Nation” or that Muslims are central to France whether it be “by birth, but also by their feeling of belonging, by their daily contribution and by the history of our country,” according to the CCIF on their website. They also add that “Islamophobia is not an opinion but is a crime.” The CCIF noted a rise in Islamophobic incidents in 2011 compared to the previous year.

Mosque in Poitiers France Stormed by Far Right Protesters

News Agencies – October 20, 2012

 

Dozens of far right extremists stormed atop an unfinished mosque in western France to show their hostility toward it and denounce immigration that has brought millions of Muslims into the country, a regional official said. About 70 protesters traveled from around France for the demonstration in the city of Poitiers, which has symbolic meaning as the place where a French medieval ruler once drove away Arab invaders, regional prefect Yves Dassonville said by phone. After police arrived, the protesters dispersed without resistance – and three were detained to face accusations of “incitement of racial hatred” and damage to property, he said.

French TV broadcast images of dozens of rowdy, waving and chanting protesters on the mosque roof next to its minaret. Muslim leaders said the protesters had disrupted a prayer inside, and expressed incomprehension over the stunt.

P.E.I. Muslims refuse to be intimidated

News Agencies – October 8, 2012

 

Zain Esseghaier has been a Charlottetown, Prince Edward Islam resident for the last 33 years, married an islander and raised a family here. Though his modest two-story mosque has been the target of three serious threats over the past year — last week a bottle of gasoline was left at the entrance and the structure plastered with “Defeat Jihad” posters — he remains steadfast, refusing to be intimidated.

Four years ago, the native of Tunisia and his fellow Muslim Society of P.E.I. members set about finally acquiring their own place of worship. A cross-country fundraising campaign raised about $500,000, enough to purchase a plot of land in an industrial park and build Masjid Dar As-Salam mosque. Last October, two days after a community celebration to mark the official groundbreaking at the site, a pig’s head was left nailed to a post on the property. Just over a month ago, a contractor’s truck parked near the mosque overnight was set ablaze.

In all, P.E.I. boasts roughly 500 Muslim residents, most of whom live in Charlottetown and pray together. Before having their own mosque, they would worship wherever they could find the space, from a temporary basement mosque to gymnasiums to university classrooms. Building the mosque was a way of retaining the province’s Muslim population, said the society’s president Najam Chishti.