BRUSSELS – The government of Flanders will officially recognise a total of eight mosques for the first time this autumn. The mosques will then be entitled to receive the same subsidies as other religious institutions. The recognised mosques will be spread over the various provinces and will also be divided among the Arab and Turkish-speaking communities. Minister for Integration Marino Keulen (Open VLD) has discussed this with the Muslim Executive, the representative organisation for Islam in Belgium. It will also take into account recommendations from the provincial governments, municipal governments and the state security service. Not all the recommendations have yet been submitted.
The works of 25 modern Arab composers are to be performed in major European concert halls for the first time, with London hosting a preview in June, organizers said on Wednesday. After London, the programme will go to festivals in European capitals, including Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and then, from 2009, to the respective native countries of the composers. “All of these musicians deserve international exposure and recognition, and most are underappreciated in their own communities,” said the statement. The concert series has been named after Islamic philosopher and scholar Abu Nasr al-Farabi (870-950), who wrote a major treatise on music and taught in Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that Bosnian refugees living in Slovenia have a difficult time integrating in the country. Groups with special needs are often overlooked when there re mass refugee movements, and those who are above the age of 60 have a much harder time adapting than young and middle-aged refugees. Among the difficulties they experience are adapting to new homes, achieving economic self-sufficiency, legal-recognition, and absorbing the socio-cultural characteristics of the host country.
VIENNA – German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called on Monday, September 11, for a state recognition of Islam and teaching the Muslim faith at schools as part of a state-backed curriculum, while unveiling plans to toughen the country’s anti-terror laws.
President Jacques Chirac paid homage Sunday to the hundreds of thousands of Muslim soldiers from former colonies who fought for France in World War I, unveiling a memorial on the site of the battle of Verdun. “The Verdun army was the army of the people, and all the people took part,” Chirac said, inaugurating a white-walled Moorish-style monument. “It was France in all its diversity.” The commemoration has come at a time of turbulence in France’s relations with its ethnic minorities. A senior Muslim leader said he hoped the belated recognition of his community’s war dead would help ease the tensions. Chirac himself looked back almost with nostalgia at the way France rallied in 1916 to fight the Germans. “This ceremony reminds us how in that moment of history, at Verdun and for Verdun, the French nation knew how to unite,” he said after laying a wreath at the monument. Separate memorials already stand for the Christians and Jews who died in the mud and misery of the trenches, but up until Sunday the Muslims only had a small plaque dedicated to them. France mobilized close to 600,000 colonial subjects in World War I, including many from Muslim territories like Algeria and Tunisia, and 78,000 were killed. Total French dead numbered 1.2 million. Some of France’s former colonies have complained that France has been ungrateful to its colonial troops, arguing that without their efforts, Paris would have fallen to the Germans. Dalil Boubakeur, head of the French Muslim Council, told reporters he hoped the new memorial would help close old wounds. He said he hoped it would provide “an impulse for the future for a closer integration of all of France’s Muslim communities,” adding that they are “completely French communities, thanks in no small part to the blood they have shed.” A wave of rioting in mainly poor, immigrant suburbs rocked France last autumn, laying bare the difficulties the country faces in integrating its multi- ethnic society. The government has responded with a mix of tough immigration laws and increased efforts to recognize minority groups. In May, France marked its first annual commemoration day for victims of the slave trade and last week Chirac opened a major new museum celebrating ethnic art from around the world. Verdun, where more than 300,000 troops died, lends itself to the task of reconciliation and was the setting for a memorable gesture of friendship between France and Germany, which fought three disastrous wars in less than a century. President Fran_ois Mitterrand of France and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany stood together in Verdun in 1984 to display the new ties between their two countries.
The institutionalization of Islam in the West continues to raise many questions for a range of different constituencies. Secularization represents much more than the legal separation of politics and religion in Europe; for important segments of European societies, it has become the cultural norm. Therefore, Muslims’ settlement and their claims for the public recognition of Islam have often been perceived as a threat.
This volume explores current interactions between Muslims and the more or less secularized public spaces of several European states, assessing the challenges such interactions imply for both Muslims and the societies in which they now live. Divided into three parts, it examines the impact of State-Church relations, ’Islamophobia’ and ’the war on terrorism’, evaluates the engagement of Muslim leaders with the State and civil society, and reflects on both individual and collective transformations of Muslim religiosity.
Sch_ler Unklar The Ministry of Education in North Rhine Westphalia has accepted the offer of the Alevitischen Gemeinde Deutschland to provide religious instruction in schools. This follows Berlin, Hessia, Bavaria, and Baden Wurttemberg in the recognition of the community. The instruction will follow the determination of the number of students desiring this instruction. The recognition of the community highlights the lack of Muslim religious instruction. Although the number of Muslim students is well-known, this has not yet taken place. Some see this as a step towards remedying the lack of instruction in Islam. Das Schulministerium in NRW hat den Antrag der Alevitischen Gemeinde Deutschland (AABF) zur Einf_hrung eines alevitischen Religionsunterrichts angenommen. Nach Berlin haben damit die Bundesl_nder NRW, Hessen, Bayern und Baden-W_rttemberg das Alevitentum als eine eigenst_ndige Glaubenslehre anerkannt. Die Kultusministerien dieser L_nder hatten Prof. Ursula Spuler-Stegemann damit beauftragt, _ber das Alevitentum ein religionswissenschaftliches Gutachten zu erstellen. Zudem sollte Prof. Stefan Muckel von der K_lner Universit_t feststellen, ob die AABF eine Religionsgemeinschaft im Sinne des Art. 7, Abs. 3 Grundgesetzes ist. “Beide Gutachter sind zu dem Ergebnis gekommen, dass die AABF als eine Religionsgemeinschaft alle Voraussetzungen f_r die Einf_hrung des alevitischen Religionsunterrichts nach Art. 7.3 erf_llt”, sagt Ismail Kaplan, der als Bildungsbeauftragter der AABF t_tig ist. In einem Zeitraum von zwei Jahren will die Landesregierung ehrgeizig auf der Grundlage des alevitischen Lehrplans Lehrkr_fte f_r diesen Unterricht fortbilden bzw. ausbilden. Die genaue Zahl der alevitischen Sch_ler m_sste jedoch im n_chsten Schuljahr durch die Schulstatistik erfasst werden. Auf der muslimischen Seite sind die Zahlen bekannt, jedoch gibt es bisher keinen islamischen Religionsunterricht nach Art. 7.3, wie es jetzt der alevitischen Gemeinde zugesprochen wurde. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass die Landesregierung diesen elementaren Nachteil f_r die muslimische Gemeinde endlich aufzuheben bereit ist.
Authors: Jocelyne Cesari and Peter DeWan
This first report presents the state of the art of the situation of Muslims in Europe. The socio-economic marginality, the legal status of religions, the recognition of multiculturalism, the immigration laws, all dimensions that shape the condition of Muslims in Europe have been modified by the security policies of post 9/11. We will also draw the outlines for the next steps in the research.
Liberal Democrats will have for the first time a Muslim, and that a woman, in the Parliament, reports The Muslim News. Mrs Kishwer Falkner, 49, was selected among 46 new working peers appointed today to the House of Lords. The list, approved by Prime Minister, Tony Blair, included no Muslims selected for peerages by either the Labour Party or the Conservatives. None of the seven new independents are Muslim. Falkner said that she was “honoured and delighted to take up this new role”. “I see this as a recognition of the contribution that so many immigrants make to life in Britain. I look forward to be a voice for diversity in the House of Lords,” she told The Muslim News.