Government crackdown on radicals ‘will lead to attacks on Muslims’

December 4, 2013

 

A fresh crackdown on Islamist extremism risks backfiring by fuelling anti-Muslim prejudice and driving hardliners underground, the Government was warned last night. A group that monitors attacks on Muslims said it was preparing for an upsurge of violence as a result of the moves being announced today by David Cameron.

Under the Prime Minister’s proposals, Islamist radicals face being expelled from mosques, Muslim community groups and universities in a fight-back against fundamentalism. The courts would be given new civil powers – similar to Asbos (Anti-social behaviour order) – to ban suspected extremists from preaching or indoctrinating others. At the same time internet companies have been asked to block terrorist material from overseas being accessed in this country.

Last night Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Tell Mama, which records anti-Muslim incidents, said he feared Mr Cameron’s announcements would reinforce negative perceptions of Muslims. Mr Mughal said he had asked extra staff to be on standby because of an anticipated surge in hate attacks. He added that the new rules should cover all forms of extremism, including the activities of the far right.

Isabella Sankey, the director of policy at Liberty, said it was important to confront “ugly ideologies across the spectrum”. But she added: “Driving those who despise diversity further underground does nothing to expose their beliefs and only acts as another recruitment tool. You cannot protect our democracy by shutting down the very freedoms that sustain it.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-crackdown-on-radicals-will-lead-to-attacks-on-muslims-8981288.html

Bible College Helps Some at Louisiana Prison Find Peace

ANGOLA, La. — Like most of his fellow inmates, Daryl Walters, 45, can expect to spend the rest of his days in the infamous prison on a former slave plantation here. Yet there he was on a recent evening, preaching the Gospel to 200 men in a spired church in the heart of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, talking salvation and joy to murderers and rapists and robbers who waved their arms to an inmate band’s Christian worship music.

Mr. Walters is a graduate of one of the most unusual prison programs in the country: a Southern Baptist Bible college inside this sprawling facility, offering bachelor’s degrees in a rigorous four-year course that includes study of Greek and Hebrew as well as techniques for “sidewalk ministry” that inmates can practice in their dorms and meal lines.

There are 241 graduates so far, nearly all lifers who live and work among their peers. Dozens of graduates have even moved as missionaries to counsel or preach in other prisons.

Beyond the bachelor’s degrees, the college has granted hundreds more certificates or associate degrees, producing a cadre of men who lead churches, provide informal counseling in their dorms and take on what many describe as their hardest task — informing fellow inmates when a loved one on the outside has died.

The graduates include 15 Muslims, who took the same Bible-based courses but minister to the 250 Islamic inmates.

Some 2,500 inmates attend church regularly, according to Cathy Fontenot, assistant warden — mostly Protestant or Roman Catholic but also Muslim, Jewish and Mormon services. The prison population is 75 percent black, with a small number of Latinos.

The prison college has received growing outside attention. A similar collaboration with a Southern Baptist seminary has started in Texas, where inmates with sentences of at least 10 years are eligible. In-prison Bible colleges have also been started or are under discussion in California, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi and other states.

The American Civil Liberties Union has watched for signs that the seminary or the prison has crossed constitutional lines by using state money or coercion to promote religion. In the past, the group has sued Angola to force the removal of a biblical citation at the entrance and to give a Muslim graduate of the seminary access to materials from the Nation of Islam, the American Muslim group that is more entrenched in northern prisons.

Still, the seminary appears to be legal because it is paid for privately, is voluntary and admits non-Christians, said Marjorie R. Esman, the executive director of the A.C.L.U. in Louisiana.

New book – Islam in the West: Iraqi Shi’i Communities in Transition and Dialogue

430905_cover*Islam in the West: Iraqi Shi’i Communities in Transition and Dialogue*

By Kieran Flynn

Oxford: Peter Lang

259 pp. | ISBN 978-3-0343-0905-9 | £40.00

This book studies the historical, religious and political concerns of the Iraqi Shi‘i community as interpreted by the members of that community who now live in the United Kingdom and Ireland, following the 2003-2010 war and occupation in Iraq. It opens up a creative space to explore dialogue between Islam and the West, looking at issues such as intra-Muslim conflict, Muslim–Christian relations, the changing face of Arab Islam and the experience of Iraq in the crossfire of violence and terrorism – all themes which are currently emerging in preaching and in discussion among Iraqi Shi‘a in exile. The book’s aim is to explore possibilities for dialogue with Iraqi Shi‘i communities who wish, in the midst of political, social and religious transition, to engage with elements of Christian theology such as pastoral and liberation theology.

Contents: Shi‘i Muslim Migration and Settlement in Ireland and the UK – Shi‘i Religious Narratives in History and Ritual Memory – The Narrative of Emancipation Among Shi‘a in Iran – Narrative Shi‘i Opposition and Emancipation in Iraq – Shi‘i Political Empowerment in Iraq – Shi‘i Sermons and Narratives – Catholic Theology in Dialogue with Shi‘i Narratives.

Extremist Islamist leaders preaching to UK students, says study

Extremist Islamist leaders preached to crowds of students at almost 200 official events at universities including Cambridge in the past year, a study has revealed. Segregation at student events has become a widespread trend at many UK universities, a student equality group claims. Radical preachers spoke at universities including Cardiff and University College London (UCL) over the last year. Research found that segregated seating for men and women was promoted or implied at more than a quarter of the events, at 21 separate institutions, despite university rules forbidding it. Some of the speakers have a history of misogyny, promoting violence against homosexuals and advocating jihad against non-Muslims, as a new generation of extremist speakers inspired by radical clerics such as Abu Qatada tour campuses to spread their version of Islam. Anthony Glees, an intelligence and security expert consulted by the All-Party Parliamentary Homeland Security Group, said: “Clearly, there’s a failing in our higher education system. Student Rights, which was set up to tackle extremism on campuses and carried out the research, said universities were failing to provide students with work and study environments that are free from discrimination and harassment. The organisation said that universities were failing in the responsibilities to tackle discrimination, and called for better communication of policies and a closer monitoring of events to ensure that discrimination does not occur.

A Tunisian Imam Expelled

Wednesday October 31, French police expelled 77 year-old Tunisian imam suspected of preaching the jihad. Mohamed Hammami, the imam of the Mosque of Omar in central Paris, was charged with making comments openly hostile to the values of the Republic. In a statement to the AFP, Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls accused Hammami of preaching violent jihad, anti-Semitism and the use of violence and corporal punishment against women including whipping-to-death of women accused of adultery.

French Interior Minister Pledges Zero Tolerance for Islamists

 

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned Islamists that preaching hatred in France would not be tolerated, telling hardliners as he inaugurated a mosque that they would be expelled if they challenged the Republic’s principles. Valls’ message underscored the tough line that President Francois Hollande’s government has taken towards Islamists who were furious over the publication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad in a French magazine last week.

Valls also used the mosque’s inauguration to say more prayer sites for Muslims needed to be built, an issue that arose during Sarkozy’s term with a controversy over illegal street prayers.

Anwar al-Aulaqi’s death reopens wounds for Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church

At the Northern Virginia mosque where Anwar al-Aulaqi once preached, the news of his killing ripped open a wound that congregants wish would heal.

For a decade, Dar al-Hijrah has been haunted by its association with Aulaqi, who was the imam at the Falls Church mosque on Sept. 11, 2001, but had yet to publicly embrace the anti-American extremism that would make him a target of U.S. drones.
Imam Shaker Elsayed acknowledged Aulaqi’s death at a crowded Friday afternoon prayer service. “May Allah give him mercy,” the imam told dozens of worshipers, noting that “when anyone leaves this life . . . their judgment is reserved by Allah.”

Those who killed Aulaqi, Elsayed added, “need to equally prepare for that moment” when they also will be judged by Allah.

They stressed that when Aulaqi preached at Dar al-Hijrah 10 years ago, he “was known for his interfaith outreach, civic engagement and tolerance in the Northern Virginia community.” It wasn’t until he left the United States and was allegedly tortured by Yemeni authorities, the statement said, that he began preaching violence and encouraging “impressionable American Muslims to attack their own country. With his death, Al-Awlaki will no longer be able to spread his hate speech over the internet to our youth.”

Pilot Training for Imams at the University of Osnabrueck Completed

04.07.2011

The University of Osnabrueck, which implemented the first programme at German universities to train imams in October 2010, celebrated the 30 participants’ successful completion of the two-semester course last week. The key agenda of the course is to train imams in Germany (who are predominantly from Turkey) in the German language as well as ways of preaching Islam that are consistent with Germany’s liberal democratic order and values such as religious freedom and tolerance. Being able to speak the German language facilitates better interaction with young Muslims in Germany – the group most prone to radicalisation and extremism. In addition, participation in the course also has symbolic meaning, as imams demonstrate their willingness to integrate.

Muslim creationists tour France denouncing Darwin

Reuters – May 16, 2011

 

Muslim creationists are currently touring France preaching against evolution and claiming the Qur’an predicts many modern scientific discoveries.

Followers of Harun Yahya, a well-financed Turkish publisher of popular Islamic books, held four conferences at Muslim centers in the Paris area at the weekend with more scheduled in six other cities.

 

Harun Yahya, one of the most prolific publishers in the Muslim world, gave proudly secularist France a scare in January 2007 by mass-mailing thousands of free copies of his “Atlas of Creation” to schools and libraries across the country.

 

The Education Ministry quickly ordered headmasters to seize and hide copies of the large format book. It followed up with a special seminar to train teachers how to counter a small but growing group of pupils who challenge evolution with creationist theories. In October 2007, with strong French support, the Council of Europe denounced the creationist views laid out in the “Atlas of Creation” as a religious assault on science and human rights.

“People who defend evolution can’t accept the existence of a Creator,” Sadun said at La Reussite (“Success”), one of the few Muslim-run private schools in France.

“Life is not the result of chance, it’s the creation of a higher power, which of course is Allah,” he said in fluent French, adding that the confiscation of the “Atlas of Creation” was similar to book-burnings staged by the Nazis in the 1930s.

A teacher at the La Reussite meeting said French educators called him an Islamic fundamentalist for his creationist views, but he thought they were actually secularist fundamentalists.

 

British Muslims support ban on radical Islamic cleric

The British Muslims have supported the UK Government’s decision to ban radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik from entering the country and said his preaching was contrary to the concepts of Islam which is a religion of peace and harmony. In this regard, a delegation consisting of leaders from various Islamic sects delivered a petition at the Downing Street voicing their concerns at Naik’s negative influence on followers particularly Muslim youth and the inaccurate knowledge those interested in learning more about the faith were receiving from his speeches.