News Agencies – August 26, 2012
Leading a double life, reversion to Islam has saved French rapper Regis Fayette-Mikano from falling victim to heroin, murder and suicide that ended the lives of his close friends.
Born in Paris, Abd Al Malik was raised in Neuhof, a neighborhood of Strasbourg, to a Catholic family. He also dealt with drugs, selling hashish at nightclubs and restaurants.
After falling with a hardline group for six years, Abd Al Malik grew disenchanted with a “simplistic” Islam. Abd Al Malik as well as many French rappers sings about racism, identity and the plight of the “banlieues,” France’s impoverished suburbs.
News Agencies – February 6, 2012
France inaugurated its first municipal Muslim cemetery in the city of Strasbourg, a move hailed by Islamic leaders as a step in recognizing one of the country’s largest minority groups. Local officials and Muslim leaders attended a ceremony in the northeastern French city to launch the cemetery, which has space for about 1,000 graves. Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, hailed the cemetery’s opening as a “historic” moment for Muslims in France and said it was “an important symbol of belonging” for the community.
“If a religious community is to feel entirely at home in a city, it must be helped in building places for worship and for the burial of its believers,” said Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries. France’s 1905 law on the separation of church and state forbids the building of municipal cemeteries restricted to only one religion. But the Alsace-Moselle region, which includes Strasbourg, operates under different basic laws dating from its reversion from German to French control after World War I.
By Richard Reddie, author of “Black Muslims in Britain: Why are a growing Number of Young Black people are Converting to Islam?”:
Black conversion or “reversion” to Islam is not new; it has been taking place in the African diaspora since time immemorial. However, I looked deeper into the phenomenon to find out why a growing number of Black Britons, especially younger ones, are embracing Islam. Although I am not a Muslim, I have always been interested in Islam — three of my all-time heroes, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and Jamaican singer Prince Buster were Muslim converts, and I was intrigued by the way Islam inspired all three to transcend their respective vocations to become icons.
My research reveals that there is no one, straightforward reason for conversions, but a plethora of theological, emotional and cultural motivations. Practically all those interviewed suggested that Islam had given their lives meaning and woken them from a spiritual malaise. Others said that their faith provided inspiration and strength to engage with a society they regarded as corrupted by materialism and moral relativism. And for those whose lives had previously been errant, Islam’s decisiveness on a range of religious and socio-cultural matters had given them a focus and an anchor. Equally, many of the women interviewed suggested that the Islamic focus on modesty had liberated them from the rampant fashion-related consumerism that objectifies all women, and sexualises pre-pubescent girls.