Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE) note

December 12, 2013

 

We, the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE) view with concern the alarming news about the replacing of Muslim staff and of other religious convictions in certain areas of the Army, based on of religious prejudice and discrimination.

 

UCIDE: http://www.ucide.org/es/content/defensa-y-lealtad-demostrada-espa%C3%B1

Growing racism in Europe: Published annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance

October 29, 2013

 

Financial instability leads to an increase of resentment and prejudice against migrants, Muslims and Roma.

Now available online, the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI ) which shows the level of racism in EU countries. European countries, the report says, must come to terms with their multiculturalism and recognize the important role that immigration plays in the economy.

According to the report, the financial instability leads to an increase of resentment and prejudice against migrants, Muslims and Roma. This is what ECRI noted in visits to member countries in 2012. It also highlights the increasing consensus of xenophobic parties and their growing presence in European parliaments and the spread of hate speech on the internet.

The report also notes the plight of Roma children who have little access to education or suffer school segregation. According to ECRI it is important that EU and non-EU countries implement strategies for Roma inclusion.

Finally, ECRI calls on member states to implement a constructive dialogue with representatives of Muslim communities and the media to encourage discussion and strengthen inter-religious dialogue.

 

The full report [in English] can be found here: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/activities/Annual_Reports/Annual%20report%202012.pdf

ImmigrazioneOggi: http://immigrazioneoggi.it/daily_news/notizia.php?id=005833#.UnOeXxD9zTo

American Jews say others face more discrimination

October 24, 2013

 

American Jews say they face discrimination in the U.S., but they see Muslims, gays and blacks facing far more.

This and other findings from the recently released Pew Research Center’s landmark study on Jewish Americans help make the case that Jews — once unwelcome in many a neighborhood, university and golf club — now find themselves an accepted minority.

“While there are still issues, American Jews live in a country where they feel they are full citizens,” said Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism.

“You have (Jewish) Ivy League presidents in schools that used to have Jewish quotas,” he said.

Most American Jews are descendants of the great migration of Jews to the U.S. from 1880 to 1920. Today, they make up little more than 2 percent of the population, but their influence is outsized. Jews make up 10 percent of the U.S. Senate, and they lead major cities, corporations, philanthropies and arts organizations.

Anti-Semitism has most certainly waned in the U.S.

Seventy-two percent of American Jews surveyed believe that Muslims face “a lot” of discrimination in the U.S., and the same percentage said gays and lesbians face such levels of bigotry. Slightly fewer — 64 percent — said blacks face such prejudice.

“One way of looking at these numbers is to say that Jews perceive a lot of discrimination against a whole bunch of groups in American life,” Cooperman said.

Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the largest movement of Judaism in North America, called Jews’ perceptions of prejudice against others “inspiring.”

“Because of our somewhat painful history of persecution, we have a deep sensitivity to the suffering of others,” he said.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Pew numbers reflect the reality of “an increasing Islamophobia in American society today.”

Islam is the least favorably viewed of four U.S. religions in a 2010 Gallup poll, with nearly a third (31 percent) of Americans saying their feelings about Islam were “not favorable at all.”

 

Religion News Service: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/24/american-jews-say-others-face-discrimination/

Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States

Key Findings

Finding 1: Subject matter experts perceive a small, but highly welcome, decline in Islamophobia in America during the period covered by this report. In 2012, CAIR rates Islamophobia as a 5.9 on a scale of one to 10, with one representing an America free of Islamophobia and 10 being the worst possible situation for Muslims. In 2010, CAIR rated the state of Islamophobia in America as a 6.4.

 

Finding 2: The U.S.-based Islamophobia network’s inner core is currently comprised of at least 37 groups whose primary purpose is to promote prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims. An additional 32 groups whose primary purpose does not appear to include promoting prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims but whose work regularly demonstrates or

supports Islamophobic themes make up the network’s outer core.

 

Finding 3: The inner core of the U.S.-based Islamophobia network enjoyed access to at least $119,662,719 in total revenue between 2008 and 2011. Groups in the inner core are often tightly linked. Key players in the network benefitted from large salaries as they encouraged the American public to fear Islam.

 

Finding 4: In 2011 and 2012, 78 bills or amendments designed to vilify Islamic religious practices were introduced in the legislatures of 29 states and the U.S. Congress. Sixty-two of these bills contained language that was extracted from David Yerushalmi’s American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation. While the bias behind the bills is clear, the presence of an actual problem that needed solved was not, even to the legislators introducing the measures. In at least 11 states, mainstream Republican leaders introduced or supported anti-Muslim legislation.

 

Finding 5: Anti-Muslim trainers serving law enforcement and military personnel were dealt a significant blow in late 2011. The tone and content of these training sessions reflected the trainers’ personal biases more than any subject matter expertise. Multiple Federal government outlets agreed to review their training on Islam and remove biased or inaccurate materials.

The continued use of such trainers by state and local entities deserves further investigation

 

Finding 6: There were 51 recorded anti-mosque acts during the period covered by this report, 29 in 2012 and 22 in 2011. Two notable spikes in anti-mosque acts occurred in 2011-2012: May 2011 (7 acts), likely related to the killing of Osama bin Laden and August 2012 (10 acts), probably all in reaction to the massacre of six Sikh worshippers by a white supremacist in

Oak Creek, Wis.

 

Finding 7: Islamophobic rhetoric remains socially acceptable. Research released in 2011 found, “citizens are quite comfortable not only opposing [extending citizenship to legal Muslim immigrants], but also being public about that fact.” A number of mainstream candidates for the Republican presidential nomination used Islamophobic rhetoric. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) held a series of five anti-Muslim congressional hearings, which were subjected to broad spectrum push back but also enjoyed significant support. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) partnered with inner core leader Frank Gaffney to launch a campaign accusing Muslims in public service of infiltrating the government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

This last episode ended up being a very welcome example of public officials

supporting Americans of the Islamic faith in a bipartisan manner.

The best way to fight the EDL’s anti-Muslim bigotry is by showing solidarity on the streets

Before the renewed wave of anti-Muslim bile after the horrendous murder of Lee Rigby, the EDL seemed to be staring into the abyss. Their rallies attracted increasingly derisory turnouts, notable for punch-ups between drunk racists: impressive shows of force by anti-racists in Walthamstow and elsewhere humiliated them.

 

But last week, their leader – who operates under the pseudonym “Tommy Robinson”– was treated to a reprehensibly soft interview on BBC’s Today programme: the activities and beliefs of Robinson and his gangs were barely scrutinised. Such appearances do nothing but help legitimise racism, treating it as just another valid political perspective that can be calmly engaged and debated with just like any other set of beliefs. A bunch of thuggish racists are running rings around the Establishment. In the Daily Telegraph, its former editor Charles Moore defends the EDL as “merely reactive”, as non-violent, as “the instinctive reaction of elements of an indigenous working class which rightly perceives itself [as] marginalised by authority, whereas Muslim groups are subsidised and excused by it”. Allegations of racism or fascism “are not strictly accurate”, he reassures us. Tommy Robinson himself demands that Muslims follow British law: odd from someone who struggles with the same advice, having served a 12-month prison sentence for assaulting an off-duty police officer who tried to stop a domestic incident with his partner, as well as convictions for “threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour.” He once warned “every single Muslim watching” that the “Islamic community” would face “the full force of the English Defence League” if any British citizen was hurt or killed. Here are Moore’s non-racist, non-violent “reactive” band.

 

Anti-Muslim prejudice, however, remains worryingly widespread. Over a third of Britons think they pose a serious threat to democracy; and while the number who believe Muslims are compatible with the “British way of life” has increased, just one in three believe that. The EDL threat has to be taken seriously, but it needs careful thought. The truth is the EDL are simply a striking symptom of a society where anti-Muslim bigotry is acceptable: it passes the “dinner table test”, as Tory minister Sayeeda Warsi has put it. Now it’s Muslims; once it was Irish people who faced racist scapegoating after terrorist attacks: a twisted irony, then, that Tommy Robinson is himself the son of Irish immigrant parents. But this prejudice is not confined to the right. Some on the left seem to believe defending Muslims  is somehow a betrayal of secularism. Studies show newspapers routinely portray Muslims in a negative light. And so here is the dark truth. After a month in which the EDL have enjoyed a resurgence; Muslims abused on the streets and online; mosques firebombed – all those who have fanned bigotry, take responsibility, because these thugs are your children.

Talks About Mosque Being Built in Genoa

11 February 2013 reported an important meeting between the Genovese Muslim community and high-level Genovese officials (including the Mayor) for a conference called “Hate and Prejudice: Citizens Promise to Allow a Place of Worship.” The meeting, which took place on February 7th, built on previous talks about the construction of a mosque in Genoa. The conference also sought to combat prejudice and was a continuation of talks that begin in 2008, in which the selection of location was near the major train station in Genoa. As of now, Muslims in Genoa have no central place to pray and are confined to basements and shops for Friday prayers.

French Council of the Muslim Faith commends French President

14 January 2013

 

In a communiqué released by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), the organization praises the French President’s avoidance of the term ‘islamist’ and ‘islamism’ in his recent speech, announcing French support to the Malian government’s battle against armed rebels.

 

The CFCM salutes the President’s precaution and brings to attention the significance of language as a tool of producing as well as fighting prejudice and abuse against Muslims.  Whilst President Francois Hollande’s careful usage of language finds praise, the organization however also points out to the widespread disregard towards misleading and confusing language and vocabulary by a number of French politicians and the French media industry.

Glasgow Muslim students fight against prejudice

3 December 2012

Glasgow City Council has been working hard to promote racial and religious equality in Glasgow, in order to foster better relations between religious groups residing in the city. In the wake of the anti-Islamic movie, Innocence of Muslim, the City Council has discussed plans to support Glasgow’s 30,000-strong Muslim community and protect faith groups from similar behavior.

Madihah Ansari, a student at Glasgow Caledonian University, is joining the efforts to promote religious understanding in Pollokshields. She has introduced ‘New to Islam’ classes for the city’s recent Muslim converts, Madihah is taking the chance to share the message of her religion with those who have only a basic understanding of Islam.

The classes are held at Madrasa Taleemul Islam on Nithsdale Road, on weekly basis and give all attendees an insight into the world’s fastest-growing religion.

Pluralism and prejudice: How conflicts over religious pluralism reveal America’s new ‘Sacred Ground’

The only Protestant running for president in 2012 is President Obama, an American of both a racially and a religiously diverse family background. Both vice-presidential candidates are Catholics, and Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, is Mormon.

Does it matter?

Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core thinks it does. In his new book, “Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America,” Patel sees our political process as a mirror of our increasing diversity, especially religious diversity. He writes, “America is among the most religiously diverse countries in human history and by far the most religiously devout nation in the West.”

The question Patel poses, however, is how are we, as a nation, managing these factors? Are we furthering the narrative of “American exceptionalism” in which religious freedom and tolerance are supposed to be one of the best ways we showcase our values to the world? Or are we losing “social capital” to religious fragmentation and even enmity?

Patel takes quite a risk in this book, starting with the manufactured Islamophobia around the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” and his own anger and disgust at this blatant manipulation of religious intolerance for political purposes.

And then, as Patel often does, he provides a teachable moment. At the height of what has been called the “summer of hate” in 2010, he writes that he gets a phone call from Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, one of the most respected Islamic scholars and public intellectuals in the United States. He tells Sheikh Hamza of his anger at this “ridiculous hatred” by a “handful of bigots.”

The core message of “Sacred Ground” is exactly that. Now is the time for not only Patel and Interfaith Youth Core, but also for all of us who believe in the promise of America, to do our best work.

Sheikh Hamza’s words to Patel also reminded me of what we often say in the peace movement: a conflict that cannot be named cannot be mediated.

Muslim Women find their place in the Olympics

3 August 2012

 

Female Muslim athletes made a historic appearance in London Olympics, not for their victories which were scored against their opponents but against widespread prejudice both from biased non-Muslims and Muslims.  Unlike their opponents Muslim females who have chosen to observe modest dress code due to religious reasons had to overcome political and cultural obstacles.

 

Judoka Shaherkani was the first female Saudi to join to the Olympic Games, yet she had to fight with countries clergymen who give a cultural spin to their interpretation of the religion. This was not only problem she had to deal with the International Judo Federation that had initially said Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani could not compete in a headscarf.

 

There have been a few other Muslim female athletes from who had to overcome similar obstacles and struggle to overcome the prejudice embedded in the minds of people at home as well as in the West.