Should the internet game Muslim Massacre be banned?

Critics say the game of modern religious genocide contains a blatantly destructive message but there is little authorities can do about it. Computer games in which players aim to kill as many people as possible are, sadly, pretty common. But what sets “Muslim Massacre – the game of modern religious genocide” – apart from the others is that an American soldier sets out to “wipe out” the entire Muslim race. Worse still, the game is available free on the internet, with no restrictions to prevent children and the vulnerable from accessing it. The world wide web is one area that the law still struggles to regulate. Some may see the game as a parody of American foreign policy and point out that it is aimed at adults, rather than children. After all, the average US video game player is a 35-year-old man. But the game reaches a new low in bad taste and contains a blatantly destructive message. The game’s premise is that the US has declared war on Islam and invites players to take control of the American “hero” who will wipe out the Muslim race with “an arsenal of the world’s most destructive weapons”. The “hero” uses machine guns and rocket launchers to kill as many Muslims as possible – ranging from terrorists and what appear to be civilians to Osama bin Laden, Muhammad and Allah. The game’s creator, a freelance programmer called Sigvatr, describes the game as “fun and funny” and says to his critics: “Don’t whinge about how offensive and ‘edgy’ this is.” Jenny Percival reports.

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Swiss Government Opposes Minaret Ban

The government reiterated on Wednesday, August 27, opposition to a campaign by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) for a referendum on banning minarets in the central European country, branding it unconstitutional and discriminatory. “The popular initiative against the construction of minarets has been submitted in accordance with the applicable regulations but infringes guaranteed international human rights and contradicts the core values of the Swiss Federal Constitution,” it said in a statement cited by Reuters. The SVP, who is spearheading the campaign, has amassed 113,540 signatures, enough to force a nationwide vote on the minarets ban. Under Swiss rules, the electorate can request a popular vote if it manages to collect 100,000 signatures within 18 months from eligible voters for the initiative. The minaret proposal has to be discussed by parliament before being put to a popular vote and the process could take several years.

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Officials in Calgary Allow Hijabs, Saris and Other Religious Clothing at City Pools

Residents of Calgary, Alberta will now be allowed to swim in city pools wearing saris, hijabs and other clothing deemed “religious” in a new policy designed to encourage the participation of ethnic and religious minorities. For safety reasons, saris will be banned from the deep end. The city´s superintendent for aquatics and fitness stated that the policy clarifies what before had been a grey area, typically handled on a case-by-case basis. Ms. Bruce stated, “We wanted to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and they can participate with dignity when they use our facilities.” Clothing must be clean and swimmers must shower in the garments before entering the pool.

Similarly, last winter, the Alberta Soccer Association changed its rules to, like in the provinces of British Colombia and Ontario, allow female soccer players to wear the hijab while playing. The headscarf is banned on Québec soccer fields.

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The Globe and Mail

The Calgary Herald

Nicolas Sarkozy Defends the Notion of “Positive French Secularism”

French president Nicolas Sarkozy recently defended the notion of “positive secularism” which allows place for religion in the public sphere. While Sarkozy has not introduced any real reform, making the statement in speeches in Rome in December 2007 and in Riyad in January 2008, the suggestion has created fierce debate. In the past Sarkozy has read the 1905 law separating Church and State broadly, notably in allowing the new construction of religious spaces for Muslims and in the controversial creation of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) in 2003.

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Remodeling Organised Islam in Germany

Organized Islam in Germany faces a major reconstruction and reorganization period in order to provide adequate representation of Muslims in the public sphere and to react quicker in situations of crises and public debates (such as debates on extremism, cartoon crises or Mosque controversies), Mounir Azzaoui, speaker of the Central Consistory of the Muslims in Germany, says. According to Azzaoui, Germany’s Muslim community had to face an increasing interest by the German public. Therefore it needs to speak clearly and with one voice. Sulaiman Wilms reports.

Politics of Visibility: Young Muslims in European Public Spaces

This book takes into view a large variety of Muslim actors who, in recent years, made their entry into the European public sphere. Without excluding the phenomenon of terrorists, it maps the whole field of Muslim visibility. The nine contributions present unpublished ethnographic materials that have been collected between 2003 and 2005. They track down the available space that is open to Muslims in EU member states claiming a visibility of their own. The volume collects male and female, secular and religious, radical and pietistic voices of sometimes very young people. They all speak about “being a Muslim in Europe” and the meaning of “real Islam”.

More than 120 New Mosques

KOLN: With about 3.4 million believers, Islam is, after Christianity, the second-largest religion in Germany. This becomes ever more visible: the construction of mosques is booming. Of course, as with all representations of religion in the state and public sphere, this boom comes with conflict. According to the Islam-Archiv, there are 143 “classical mosques” in Germany. There are 128 mosques in the planning stages . Most of them are very sparse. According to the Muslim Central Committee, there are in addition more than 2000 “hidden mosques”, that were not originally built as houses of worship but are today used as prayer rooms or mosques.