Dutch civil society organizations organize “Manifest Against Islamophobia”

Recently a meeting was organized in the Nelson Mandela Centre in Amsterdam by various civil society organizations under the title “Joining Powers Against Islamophobia.” Among the organizers where the Collective Against Islamophobia and Discrimination (CTID) and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Migration and Development (EMCEMO).

Among other things the meeting resulted in the establishment of a “Manifest Against Islamophobia.” Organizations and individuals can sign the manifest. Th initiative made a powerful statement against all forms of discrimination stating that “The government and politics should strive for a solidary society in which every citizen is valued and protected: gays, Jews, women, men, old or young, regardless of skin color, religion or ethnic background. A solidary society which in the most forceful manner takes a stand against homophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, or any other form of discrimination.”

To read the full manifest see the following link:

http://www.republiekallochtonie.nl/manifest-tegen-islamofobie

British Muslim Organizations Condemn Charlie Habdo Terror [Collected Press Releases]

Muslim Council of Britain

Paris Murders are a Greater Insult to Islam:

The Muslim Council of Britain reiterated its condemnation of the barbarous murder of journalists at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.  The attack has been condemned by Muslims in France, in Europe and around the world. In France,  the French Muslim Council (CFCM) has said: “This extremely grave barbaric action is also an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press.”

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “Nothing justifies the taking of life. Those who have killed in the name of our religion today claim to be avenging the insults made against Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace. But nothing is more immoral, offensive and insulting against our beloved Prophet than such a callous act of murder.  Our thoughts, prayers and solidarity go to  the families of the victims and the people of France.

Naturally, and unfortunately discussion will now fall on the right to intentionally publish hurtful material that denigrates religious figures and traditions. But however offended we may be, the ultimate denigration of our faith comes from these murderers who have unjustifiably taken life.

In the coming weeks Muslims will face the test of having to justify themselves and their place in Western society. As Muslims we are ever mindful of our Lord’s injunction to convey our true faith with wisdom and beautiful words. Indeed in the noble Qur’an we are told: ‘The true servants of the Merciful are those who walk humbly on the earth and when the ignorant address them they say: Peace.’

In addition, while Muslims must engage with fellow citizens in a spirit of dialogue and friendship, we must all come together to seek unity and defy the terrorists whose only aim is to divide us. The best defence against closed minds is for a truly open society, welcoming of all.”


 

Association of British Muslim Students

The Association of British Muslims calls for Europe to Confront Violence and Protect Freedom.

The Association of British Muslims (AoBM) strongly condemns the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has killed at least 13 people according to the news reports. Our thoughts are with the victims of this terror attack and the families affected at this difficult time.

At AoBM, we have maintained our differences with the editorial policies of Charlie Hebdo. We always have had questions about the judgement (but not the right) of publishing images which are predictably deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. However, at the same time we stand in support of freedom of expression and believe that there is no justification whatsoever, to take lives of people who we disagree with while exercising this right.

We note that the Quran instructs its believers to argue with the challengers in ways that are best and most gracious. The attacks in Paris symbolise nothing close to these Koranic instructions but instead represent a distortion of faith which is forgiving and open to debate.

AoBM also takes this opportunity to condemn the bomb attack in Yemen which killed at least 40 people. AoBM stands in solidarity with the people of France and Yemen and seek justice for the victims as well as the perpetrators of the attacks.

Zahid Ali AkbarHuman Rights Director, The Association of British Muslims
Paul Salahuddin ArmstrongCo-Director, The Association of British Muslims
Mohammed AbbasiCo-Director, The Association of British Muslims


Muslim Association of Britain Statement

Muslim Association of Britain expresses its total condemnation of the senseless and brutal killing of 12 French people including two police officers at the offices of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ newspapers in Paris.

MAB is shocked by the tragedy and deplores this unwarranted violence. MAB would like to state that whilst it is well-known that this controversial newspaper has previously published provocative cartoons of the Prophet (may peace be upon him), there can never be any justification for this criminal act.

MAB also believes that while the hunt for the offenders continues it would be unhelpful to make undue speculations about the circumstances surrounding this incident. It would even be more harmful if this incident would be used by extremists to increase Islamophobic attacks or rhetoric against Muslims in France, and Europe in General.

Omer El-Hamdoon, MAB President commented: “It is suffice to say this is an extremely sad day for the French and we support the British Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons that this is a ‘barbaric’ attack which he described as an attack on freedom.”

 

Dual Nationals to Lose Dutch Nationality for Membership in Terrorist Organizations

31 August 2013

 

New legislation in the Netherlands revokes Dutch nationality from dual nationals found to be members of terrorist organizations. Currently, individuals who voluntarily serve in an army engaged in military action against the Netherlands or one of its allies can have their Dutch nationality revoked.  However, the law will change to include those found “irrevocably guilty” of membership in a terrorist organization, or of helping to prepare a terrorist act by “providing information, knowledge and skills, or making materials available.” According to junior Justice Minister Fred Teeven, such a person is acting so much against the essential interests of the estate that there can no longer be a connection between him and the Netherlands.

 

Documents: NYPD Secretly Designated Entire Mosques As Terrorism Organizations to Record Sermons and Spy on Imams

NEW YORK — The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.

Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.

The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.

The disclosures come as the NYPD is fighting off lawsuits accusing it of engaging in racial profiling while combating crime. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that the department’s use of the stop-and-frisk tactic was unconstitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union and two other groups have sued, saying the Muslim spying programs are unconstitutional and make Muslims afraid to practice their faith without police scrutiny.

One confidential NYPD document shows police wanted to put informants in leadership positions at mosques and other organizations, including the Arab American Association of New York in Brooklyn, a secular social-service organization.

 

Muslims Respond to the Pope’s Letter for Best Wishes during the end of Ramadan

August 8, 2013

 

With “extraordinary pleasure” Muslims of Italy accepted the goodwill message sent by Pope Francis which acknowledged the end of Ramadan and in particular, best wishes for the feast of Eid al-Fitr. The Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy (Ucoii) wrote today in a letter to the Pope; the organization wanted to emphasize the “kindness” of Pope Francis: an attitude which, along with education and respect must “become part of our daily practice, often a smile is worth a thousand words.”  Ucoii expands by saying “we are strengthened by the purification period which has just ended and we want to express to his Holiness our gratitude for the message which he personally sent.”

Study Shows Increase in Negative Messages About Muslims in the Media

WASHINGTON, DC, November 29, 2012 — Organizations using fear and anger to spread negative messages about Muslims have moved from the fringes of public discourse into the mainstream media since the Sept. 11 attacks, according to new research by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sociologist.

 

Titled, “The Fringe Effect: Civil Society Organizations and the Evolution of Media Discourse about Islam since the September 11th Attacks,” the study appears in the December issue of the American Sociological Review.

 

Christopher Bail, an assistant professor of sociology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, used plagiarism detection software to track the influence of 1,084 press releases about Muslims from 120 organizations on more than 50,000 television transcripts and newspaper articles produced from 2001 to 2008.

 

“I found that organizations with negative messages about Muslims captivated the mass media after the Sept. 11 attacks, even though the vast majority of civil society organizations depict Muslims as peaceful, contributing members of American society,” said Bail, who also is a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar at the University of Michigan. “As a result, public condemnations of terrorism by Muslims have received little media attention, but organizations spreading negative messages continue to stoke public fears that Muslims are secretly plotting to overthrow the U.S. government.”

 

Bail said the mass media has not only contributed to the spread of negative messages about Islam, but also given fringe organizations the opportunity to raise funds and build social networks within elite conservative circles.

 

“They are now so much a part of the mainstream that they have been able to recast genuinely mainstream Muslim organizations as radicals,” he said.

Most importantly, Bail added, “The rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment in the American media not only tests foundational principles about religious tolerance, but may also validate foreign extremists who argue that the United States is at war with Islam, since American media messages routinely travel to the Middle East.”

Bail is working on a book that expands on this study. The book will explain how fringe groups not only create cultural change in the mass media, but also public policy and public opinion more broadly.

Bottle Filled with Acid Thrown at Full Time Islamic School in Illinois

An Islamic school in west suburban Lombard is at least the second Muslim institution to report an attack this past weekend.

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago says the College Preparatory School of America, an Islamic school at 331 W. Madison St. in Lombard, was subjected to vandalism on Sunday night.

The council says someone hurled a 7-Up bottle filled with acid and other unspecified materials at the school during the nighttime Ramadan prayers.

During the prayer session, worshipers heard a loud bang and went to find an empty bottle thrown on the window of the school. No one was injured.

Le Pen Calls for UOIF to be banned

News Agencies – March 30, 2012

 

French Presidential Candidate, Marine Le Pen, leader of the nationalist Front National party, called for the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) to be banned and its congress next week to be scrapped, the FN said. “Marine Le Pen calls for a ban on the event in Le Bourget. Marine Le Pen wants the break up of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France,” Le Pen said in a statement. The congress is scheduled for April 6-9. The French government has recently banned four Islamic religious leaders heading for the UOIF congress from entering France.

The ban came after President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered a crackdown on “preachers, continually attacking French values” from entering the country. Nationalist feeling has been rising in France, with the far-right National Front performing better than expected in recent local elections. Marine Le Pen is widely expected to make the run-off in presidential polls set for April 22.

Religious Organizations De-Escalate Tensions Around Islam

8 March 2012

A research project by members of the University of Amsterdam has concluded that religious organizations provide a source of de-escalation in tensions around Islam in the Netherlands. Commissioned by the justice ministry’s Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), the project studied five cases of criticism of Islam in western countries, including the Swiss minaret ban (2009), the anti-Islam film Fitna (2008), the Danish cartoon affair (2005-2006). Researchers analyzed the public reactions of Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist organizations and their leaders. Researcher Gerard Wiegers commented that in their responding to these instances of criticism, “the original and inventive approach of some Islamic organizations has pleasantly surprised us.”

Dutch Organizations Launch ‘Vote Compass’ for Egypt Elections

14 November 2011

 

Preceding the parliamentary elections to be held in Egypt from 28 November, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and the VU University Amsterdam have launched an online ‘vote compass’. The site presents respondents with multiple choice questions as a means for determining which political party best represents their interests. The test was compiled through analysis of official documents and the stated views of the parties or statements made by their leaders. The Egyptian version of the Vote Compass site, which is not affiliated with any political or government body, also involves several Egyptian collaborative partners, from al-Jazeera to Cairo University.