Muslims question whether girl’s killing in Virginia was road rage, not hate crime

Islamic leaders are questioning Virginia detectives’ insistence that the beating death of a teenage Muslim girl appears to have been a case of road rage, saying the attack looks all too much like a hate crime.

Nabra Hassanen, 17, was bludgeoned with a baseball bat early Sunday by a motorist who drove up to about 15 Muslim teenagers as they walked or bicycled along a road, Fairfax County police said. A Hassanen family spokesman said all the girls in the group were wearing Muslim headscarves and robes.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said there is a strong possibility the crime wouldn’t have happened if the teenagers weren’t Muslim.  CAIR called on Muslim communities to increase security during the holy month of Ramadan in light of the young woman’s murder and a string of other attacks in America and in Britain.

What imams talk about during Eid

In their holiday Eid al-Fitr khutbas, or sermons, on Thursday (Aug. 8) many imams across the country noted a growing climate of acceptance in America, but urged Muslims not to forget the problems facing their communities in the U.S. and overseas.

 

“The Eid khutba is like the State of the Union address,” said Oklahoma-born convert Suhaib Webb, imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the biggest mosque in New England, to an overflowing crowd — men dressed in crisp robes, tunics, and three-piece suits, women in black abayas, long floral wraps, and colorful headscarves.

 

“Our community is at a unique crossroads,” Webb said, issuing a call for older Muslim generations to allow younger generations to have greater roles in community affairs. “There are a lot of young people with a lot of excitement, and a lot of old people with a lot of fear. And that’s not a healthy thing.”

 

Muzammil Siddiqi, the imam at the Islamic Society of Orange County (Calif.) and a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, urged Eid worshippers to be involved in civic affairs. He said they should support pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants, protest government surveillance policies, and participate in the NAACP’s anti-racism program.

 

While Islamophobia is still a potent force in America, Siddiqi said, Muslim efforts to become more engaged in American public life has led to greater acceptance by the broader American public.

Indeed, many Muslim observed Eid doing good work projects. In Washington state, some 4,000 Muslims were expected to visit non-Muslim neighbors offering holiday greetings and gifts.

The U.S. Postal Service has unveiled a stamp commemorating Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the twin Muslim holy days.

The stamp, designed by Ventura, Calif.-born calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya, was first issued in 2001, and reissued a few times since. It features gold calligraphy that spells out “Eid Mubarek” in Arabic, the traditional greeting meaning, “May your religious festival be blessed.”

Some congregations celebrating Eid were much smaller, but showed an increasingly diverse Muslim-American landscape. The Los Angeles chapter of Muslims for Progressive Values was expecting several dozen worshippers at its Eid service, where the khutba was going to be given by a young gay member of the community.

As in years past, many imams focused on Muslim’s struggles abroad.

Oregon mosque under FBI scrutiny says it’s being pushed to adopt Americanized Islam

PORTLAND, Ore. — On a bright April afternoon, hundreds of worshippers spilled into a Portland parking lot, exchanging hugs and handshakes after the weekly sermon. Children scampered around the property, bordered by a white picket fence. The man who has guided the congregation for more than a decade greeted the faithful.

The scene could be from any Sunday in America. Except this one unfolds on a Friday, among a crowd of U.S. and foreign-born Muslims and local converts. The women, in full-length dresses and headscarves, emerge from a side door while the men, in robes or casual wear, exit through the front.

There’s one more distinction: At Masjed As-Saber, Oregon’s largest mosque, the people sense that God isn’t the only one scrutinizing their spirituality.

In the past two years, the FBI has placed at least five men with affiliations to the mosque, including its longtime religious leader, on the nation’s no-fly list, a roster of suspected terrorists barred from flying in the United States. None has been charged with a terrorism-related offense, and federal officials haven’t told them why they’re on the list.

The unexplained actions are aggravating the FBI’s already poor relationship with the mosque and fueling fear and frustration among Muslims that their house of worship appears to be once again in the government’s cross hairs.

Robbers, disguised as Muslim women, hit banks in Philadelphia

A string of bank robberies, carried out by people disguised in traditional Islamic woman’s garb, has prompted concerns among religious, government and law enforcement officials in the Philadelphia area.

The robberies, at least five since December, were carried out by people wearing full-length robes and veils to hide the hair and part of the face, according to some surveillance tapes broadcast by local stations in Philadelphia. Muslim leaders fear use of the disguises could put Muslim women in danger or make them objects of scrutiny.

“We regard this act as discriminatory,” Imam Isa Abdul Matin told reporters at a news conference Tuesday. “It is in actuality a type of hate crime against Muslims.”

The Muslim leaders offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the robbers.

The use of Muslim disguises seems to be contained to the Philadelphia area, according to Muslim groups and law enforcement officials.

In the past, bank security officials in other parts of the country raised concerns about the potential for Muslim head scarves to hide identity, Amina Rubin, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said by telephone from Washington, D.C. They were worried that the scarves might hide faces from security cameras; when shown that the scarves don’t in fact hide faces, they were satisfied, she said.

Dutch Queen and Princess Cover Heads for Mosque Visit

8 January 2012

Considerable press attention has followed an appearance by Queen Beatrix and Princess Maxima in long robes and head coverings during a visit to the biggest mosque in the United Arab Emirates. The Queen tucked a blue headscarf around her hat at the Sheikh Zayed grand mosque as part of the 50th state visit of her reign. Both she and Princess Maxima donned long gowns. Their dress prompted considerable press attention in the Netherlands, of both praise and critique.

Members of the PVV raised the issue in parliament, suggesting that the Queen’s dress legitimized the oppression of women. In an unusual move, the Queen publicly responded to the criticism, calling it “utter nonsense”. According to the NRC it is unusual for the Queen to publicly react to politically sensitive issues such as this. She further said that she had no problem complying with Islamic dress as a mark of respect to the space she visited. Supporting the Queen’s assertion that there is no question of oppression for many women in the United Arab Emirates, Princess Maxima noted that it is rather the region’s young boys who may be at risk.

Fire damages office of French newspaper after it ‘invites’ Mohammed as guest editor

News Agencies – November 2, 2011

A fire early November 2nd caused serious damages at the headquarters of a satiric French newspaper that “invited” the Prophet Mohammed as a guest editor. A police official said the fire broke out overnight at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and the cause remains unclear. No injuries were reported. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because an investigation into the fire is under way. Police cited a witness saying that someone was seen throwing two firebombs at the building.

Newspaper employees said they had received numerous threats as a result of the issue, subtitled “Sharia Hebdo,” in reference to Islamic law. The front-page of the weekly showed a cartoon-like man with a turban, white robe and beard smiling broadly and saying, in an accompanying bubble, “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing.”

Page 2, called “Sharia Madame,” is made up of a series of cartoons featuring women in burkas, the face-covering robes. And the paper’s tongue-in-cheek editorial, signed “Mohammed ,” follows on page 3, centred on the victory last week of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party in the nation’s first free election – and saying that the party’s real intention is imposing Islam not democracy. Leading French politicians, citing the right to freedom of expression, condemned the attack on the paper.

Muslim lawyer removed from Madrid court for wearing veil

A Muslim lawyer has protested after being excluded from court for refusing to lift her veil. The General Council of the Judiciary, which supervises the Spanish court system, says it has opened a preliminary probe of the complaint from attorney Zoubida Barik Edidi. Edidi, a Spaniard of Moroccan origin, was attending a trial in the National Court in Madrid when Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez asked her to leave because she refused to raise the veil. She was there accompanying a colleague acting as defense attorney, but was not formally part of the defense team, wearing her lawyer’s robes and a veil. She left the courtroom, but then filed a complaint with the body that oversees the judiciary in Spain, citing “discrimination” and “abuse of power.”

Denmark: Minister’s dissention ushers in headscarf ban

Judges in Danish courts will be banned from wearing headscarves and other religious apparel, under a new proposal put forth by the government. The bill, which also states that judges in all courts would be required to wear robes, is being supported by the parliament, including the Social Democrats – which is the largest opposition party. The proposal comes after almost a month of debate that would exclude Muslim women who wore headscarves from becoming judges. However, the ban, if passed, would apply to all forms of religious apparel, including Jewish yarmulkes and Christian crosses.

Sex, violence, the trouble with Islam and why we need our Christian roots

The football-loving archbishop tipped to be the next leader of Britain’s Roman Catholics talks to our correspondents Helen Rumbelow and Alice Miles On Wednesday afternoon in Birmingham a young Muslim woman found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The doors of St Chad’s Cathedral opened and hundreds of men surged out, their yellow robes flapping in the sunshine. She, in black robes, glanced back, alarmed, and broke into a run. She had better keep running. Last out was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, agitator-in-chief and hot tip to be the Church’s next leader in Britain. He had just blessed the priests of his diocese, urging them to fight a culture that he said was becoming aggressively antireligious. Name a controversy where politics and religion meet and invariably the Archbishop’s name pops up. Faith schools? It was he who forced the Government to back down on admissions quotas. Gay adoption? His views made him the liberals’ punchbag. So why, we asked as we met after the service, did he think that Britain had become so antireligious? He thought for a moment and his gentle Liverpudlian accent at first beguiled us to the strength of his opinions. It turns out that it is the Muslims’ fault, because the unease the West has with them gives other faiths a bad name. The acts of terrorism have shaken people’s perception of the presence of faiths in this country and around the world and I just wish there was a bit more differentiation in the reflection about the role of faiths in society. Some politicians jumbled all faiths into one. Sometimes the anxieties that are expressed around faith schools are actually to do with Islamic schools. And when you press a politician they say, _Well of course we don’t mean Catholic schools and we don’t mean Church of England schools’, but they still hesitate to move away from the umbrella phrase of faith schools. […]

Turkey: Europe Diary: Turkish Tensions

BBC Europe editor Mark Mardell finds Turks wary of the Pope’s historic visit and grapples with the religious controversy sparked by the pontiff’s speech in Bavaria. It must be a very strange visit for the Pope. In Turkey there are none of the cheering, adoring crowds he must be used to by now. The largish figure in white robes is hustled along by men in dark suits from mausoleum to bullet-proof car, from the car into the next meeting.