Actions of Finsbury Park Mosque leading up to attack

Darren Osborne, who attacked Muslims gathered outside Finsbury Park Mosque early Monday morning, had previously expressed his intentions to “do something about them,” meaning Muslims. Patrons at a Cardiff Pub say that Osborne had ranted about the pro-Palestinian Al Quds Day march occurring in London on Sunday. As such, it is believed that he intended to attack the march but did not make it to London in time to do so.

He talked about a need to “stand up to Muslims.” Others in the pub argued with him but did not report him to authorities.

Later that night, Osbourne was reported by a neighbour for being unresponsively drunk in his van but police found him not to have committed any crime and did not arrest him. A day later Osborne attempted to kill a group of Muslim worshippers leaving prayers and attending to an elderly man in need of first aid.

Osborne had a history of violence and was banned from all pubs in his old hometown of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. He was not banned in his new town of Cardiff. He recently seperated from his partner and reportedly is living in a tent. He has four children.

Police are investigating if he has ties to extremists. Far-Right extremism and domestic terrorism has been on the rise and police are struggling to keep up with related investigations. There have been some calls for the inclusion of intelligence services.

Union of French Mosques condemns London attack

The Union of French Mosques strongly condemns the attack carried out in London on June 3, 2017, leaving seven victims and 50 wounded, of which four were French. Among those hurt, 21, including one Frenchman, are in critical condition. The UMF extends its sincerest condolences to the victims’ families and hopes for a swift recovery for those wounded and reaffirms its support for and solidarity with the British people who have faced these last months, with courage and dignity, against a despicable and cowardly terrorist fury.

Immersed in enormous suffering as a result of these crimes, France’s Muslims cannot find enough strong expressions to denounce the betrayal of their religion by criminal organizations that claim to act in their name. Faced with this suffering, the UMF calls on France’s Muslims to carry on their struggle, by all legal means, against extremists and followers of hate and violence.

The UMF calls on French Muslims to keep the victims of terrorism in their thoughts and to intensify their prayers, during this sacred month of Ramadan, for Peace in the World.

Paris, June 4, 2017

 

Row over students’ prayers highlights questions of Islam’s visibility in the German educational sector

“Provocative” and “conspicuous” praying

A secondary school in the Western German city of Wuppertal has caused a stir by prohibiting its Muslim pupils from “conspicuous praying”. In an internal memo directed at the teaching staff, the administration of the Johannes-Rau-Gymnasium encourages its instructors to prevent “provocative” praying activities.

For the administration, this includes the performance of ablutions in school bathrooms or the rolling out of prayer carpets. Should students pray in spite of the prohibition, teachers are to determine the names and to pass them on to the school administration.(( http://www.derwesten.de/region/muslimische-schueler-fallen-durch-provozierendes-beten-auf-wirbel-an-wuppertaler-gymnasium-id209791697.html ))

Commentators remarked upon the memo’s police-style formulations, questioning whether this signalled the school’s generalised suspicion against its Muslim pupils. While defending the thrust of the text, the local government conceded that the language used had been “unfortunate”.(( http://www.rp-online.de/nrw/panorama/schule-in-wuppertal-verbietet-muslimischen-schuelern-sichtbares-beten-aid-1.6648704 ))

Religion in the educational sector

The case touches upon the larger question to what extent educational establishments must accept the presence and expression of religious convictions. Legal professionals point out that within the German framework, schools are given wide latitude to regulate religious expression if such regulation is necessary in order to guarantee “school peace”.(( http://www.rp-online.de/nrw/panorama/schulfrieden-schlaegt-religionsfreiheit-aid-1.6648883 ))

To what extent this ‘peace’ was threatened in the case of the Johannes-Rau-Gymnasium of Wuppertal is difficult to ascertain. No details of the precise chain of events leading up to the prohibition on prayer have been released.

In recent months and years, public scrutiny of Muslim students’ religious practices had been focused mostly on prayer rooms or multifaith spaces at universities. Some of them were closed after reportedly attracting hard-line religious purists who sought to engage in missionary activity and enforce a strict morality code. Others continued to function and were praised as success stories.(( http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/deutsche-universitaeten-gebetsraeume-unter-generalverdacht-14118890.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2 ))

Secularisation and publicly visible religion

The presence of a growing number of Muslim students with higher levels of religious observance comes as the historically active Lutheran and Catholic student associations are experiencing a slow but steady decline. Concomitantly, an increasing number of students and commentators advocate a strictly secularised university that offers no institutional space for religiosity.

The visibility of Islam in these establishments has emerged as an important political battlefield in its own right. After all, some of the 9/11 attackers had used a supposed prayer circle at the Technical University of Hamburg for conspiratorial purposes.(( http://www.zeit.de/2017/11/religion-universitaet-beten-verbot-wissenschaft ))

Although this case has remained isolated and no other Muslim university circles have spawned jihadist groups since, the seed of distrust has, in many cases, been sown. As a result, a considerable portion of educational decision-makers is increasingly willing to question the traditionally generous attitude towards the public expression of religiosity in the educational sector.

Saudi funded mosque opens in Nice after 15-year struggle

A Saudi-funded mosque in Nice opened its doors for the first time on Saturday, after a 15-year struggle with the local town hall.

The Nicois En-nour Institute mosque received authorization to open early on Saturday from the local prefect, substituting for town mayor Philippe Pradal, who recently took over from Christian Estrosi.

Estrosi was opposed to the construction of the mosque and in April had secured the green light to sue the French state in a bid to block its opening in the southern city.

He had accused the building’s owner, Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz, of “advocating sharia” and wanting to “destroy all of the churches on the Arabian peninsula”.

Estrosi, mayor since 2008, said that the project, which was initiated under his predecessor in 2002, was unauthorized.

People in Nice had shown their support for the mosque, with a petition for it garnering over 2,000 signatures.

It’s no surprise that the mosque is popular. Practicing Muslims in the Riviera city have so far only had one smallish downtown option at which to pray, where worshippers can spill out on the street at peak praying times.

The mosque’s opening was described as “a real joy” by Ouassini Mebarek, lawyer and head of a local religious association.

“But there is no smug triumphalism,” he said. “This is recognition of the law, and a right to freely practise one’s religion in France in accordance with the values of French Republic.”

Ten Muslim faithful entered the mosque’s basement, which can hold 880 worshippers, for evening prayers.

“A Muslim prefers the house of God to his own home, provided it is beautiful,” said Abdelaziz, one of the worshippers who came to pray with his son Mohamed.

In the room reserved for women, Amaria, a mother from neighboring Moulins said: “Today we are happy. Happy and relieved to have found this place. … We are tired of hiding ourselves, we aren’t mice.”

The construction of the mosque began in 2003 in a building in an office district.

July 2, 2016

Original Source: http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2016/07/02/la-mosquee-de-nice-ouvre-apres-15-ans-d-une-gestation-douloureuse_1463633

CAIR-Cleveland: Ohio Muslims Condemn the Mass Shooting in Orlando

Cleveland, OH, 6/13/16) – The Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) joins Muslims across Ohio and nationwide in condemning the horrific mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.
CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson issued the following statement:
“Like all Americans, Ohio Muslims express their condemnation of this horrific act of violence. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families, friends and loved ones of the deceased and the injured.
“As a civil rights organization that works to end bigotry and hatred, CAIR-Cleveland stands in solidarity with the Florida LGBTQ community at this time of great sorrow for our entire country.
Cair.com: http://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/13604-cair-cleveland-ohio-muslims-condemn-the-mass-shooting-in-orlando.html

Sarkozy wants an “Islam of France” and supports “assimilation more than integration.” [Video]

“To equate all Muslim with jihadists, it’s an enormous injustice, to equate all religions with problems of fundamentalism, it’s an enormous injustice,” declared former president Nicolas Sarkozy on Europe 1. “We must therefore create the conditions that allow for an Islam of France…an Islam that would have societal practices that are compatible with what we want,” he stated. “Those who join us must adapt our way of life and our culture and not impose theirs on us, for me, that’s called assimilation more than integration.”

Sarkozy had previously discussed the issue on February 7 during a speech to his party’s national council, when he announced that the UMP should organize “a work day dedicated to the question of Islam in France or Islam of France.”

While speaking on Europe 1 he affirmed: “We don’t want veiled women, not for religious reasons, not for reasons concerning an interpretation of Islam,” but “simply” because “in the Republic, women and men are equal.”

In 2010 Sarkozy enacted a law prohibiting any covering of the face in a public space, which therefore restricted women from wearing the niqab and burqa. Violators are subject to a 150-euro fine and/or citizenship training. The European Court of Human Rights upheld the law in 2014, after it was challenged by a French woman of Pakistani origin.

“Secularism was built on our country’s hardship and there are a certain amount of societal practices that we don’t want,” he stated, citing the veil and prayers in the streets.

Students late for school because of prayer?

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said that in Mulhouse, numerous Muslim students arrive late to school because of daily prayer.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said that in Mulhouse, numerous Muslim students arrive late to school because of daily prayer.

Jean Rottner interviewed Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who said that in Mulhouse, numerous Muslim students arrive late to school because of daily prayer. She claims that Mulhouse’s UMP mayor Jean Rottner first discussed the issue with her. Rottner originally stated that several teachers had complained that parents who attended morning prayers with their children brought them to school late.

An inspection by the department of education refutes NKM’s allegations and Rottner clarified his remarks following an internal meeting of UMP members, contending that it is not the students themselves who go to pray but rather their parents.

Municipal leaders released a statement asking that the mayor to “discuss these questions with the Municipal Council et Malhousiens” rather than “confiding in Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet.”

Thierry Sother, who represents the group Europe Ecology-The Greens deplores “elected representatives who stigmatize their town as well as portraying a false and negative image of Mulhouse.”

Supreme Court upholds legislative prayer in Town of Greece v. Galloway

This morning the Supreme Court held in Town of Greece v. Galloway, that the town’s practice of beginning legislative sessions with prayers does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It was a 5-4 decision, split along traditional right-left lines, though there is not a clear majority opinion.

Justice Kennedy wrote for the Court, joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Alito in full and Justices Scalia and Thomas in part.  Scalia and Thomas refused to join part Part II-B of Kennedy’s opinion, which concluded that a “fact-intensive” inquiry of the specific practice at issue in this case did not unconstitutionally coerce individuals to engage in religious observance. Justice Alito wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Scalia. Justice Thomas wrote an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Scalia in part. On the other side, Justice Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion for himself, and Justice Kagan wrote a dissent joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor.

Justice Kennedy’s decision appears to rest squarely on the Court’s decision in Marsh v. Chambers, which upheld the state of Nebraska’s practice of opening legislative sessions with a state-appointed chaplain.  Although the practice might appear to constitute an establishment of religion under the Lemon test, the Court in Marsh noted that such legislative prayers date back to the First Continental Congress and concluded that such a well-established tradition could not violate the Establishment Clause.   Thus unless the Court were willing to overturn Marsh, the only way to invalidate the prayer at issue here would be to conclude that it was more sectarian or more coercive.

Justice Kagan, writing for the four dissenters, sought to distinguish the prayers at issue here from those upheld in Marsh.  Her dissent begins:

For centuries now, people have come to this country from every corner of the world to share in the blessing of religious freedom. Our Constitution promises that they may worship in their own way, without fear of penalty or danger, and that in itself is a momentous offering. Yet our Constitution makes a commitment still more remarkable— that however those individuals worship, they will countas full and equal American citizens. A Christian, a Jew, a Muslim (and so forth)—each stands in the same relationship with her country, with her state and local communities, and with every level and body of government. So that when each person performs the duties or seeks the benefits of citizenship, she does so not as an adherent to one or another religion, but simply as an American.