Russian Newsweek warned not to incite ethnic, religious enmity

The Prosecutor’s Office in Moscow has warned magazine Russian Newsweek on the illegality and unacceptability of publishing stories instigating ethnic and religious hatred. “Issue 40 of September 29 – October 5, 2008 carried two stories entitled “He Who Comes with the Mosque” (a play on the phrase “He who comes to Russia with the sword will perish by the sword” and “Mosque Carriers,” in which Muslims and Christians are in opposition),” the prosecutor’s office said.

The articles in question contain captions satirizing the prophet Muhammad. Photos and inspiration were taken from the Danish newspaper ‘Jullands-Posten’ which caused worldwide protests and condemnation after publishing insulting material mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

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Russia: Russian Muslims protest against ban on book

The Council of Muftis, Russia’s highest Muslim council, issued a protest against a ban on some Islamic publications that are being considered by authorities as extremist. The Council “has taken a decision to request that the relevant institutions of the Russian Federation carry out a repeat analysis of the books,” adding that they were seriously concerned over the subjective compilation. Starting in 2007, authorities have complied a regularly updated list of publications that deemed banning, many of which are linked to Islam. The Council of Muftis represents Russia’s 20 Million Muslims.

Euro-2008 poisoned with Nazi remarks against Russia and Turkey

The 2008 UEFA Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro-2008, a sports event, has found itself involved in dirty politics. Austria’s notorious politician, Joerg Haider, set out his indignation about the participation of Russia and Turkey at the European Championship. He was particularly concerned about Turkey’s success. Haider’s open self-promotion at Euro-2008 uncovered a very serious political problem for the European Union – future relations with Turkey and a huge Turkish community in the EU countries. Euro-2008 continues for three weeks already. Fortunately, football has not been dragged through the mud of politics. However, hardly had Russian and Turkish national teams made their way to the semi-finals, when one of Europe’s most scandalous politicians, Joerg Haider, released a political statement on the matter. He was particularly angered with the success of Turkish footballers at the Championship. Mr. Haider said he did not understand why Euro-2008 semi-finalists Turkey and Russia had been allowed to play in the tournament. I wonder what these two nations have to do with Europe, Haider, the governor of the Austrian state of Carithia was quoted as saying in an interview with Die Presse newspaper. Haider is known for his comments on Nazi concentration camps, which he described as labor and punishment camps. When his party became a part of the ruling coalition in 2000, 14 EU countries considerably diminished their cooperation with Austria and introduced sanctions against the country. Haider was strongly against the expansion of the European Union, as well as against Austria’s incorporation in it. The politician believes that it would be better to unite Austria with Germany – a remark, which made many draw a parallel between Joerg Haider and Adolf Hitler, since Hitler was the last person in the world to touch upon such an idea.

Muslims attacked by rightists in Germany

Two young neo-Nazis wielding baseball bats attacked a group of Muslims on their way to a mosque in the eastern German state of Thuringia, police said Sunday. A 23-year-old required medical treatment for injuries to his arm after the attack on Saturday evening in Nordhausen, some 250 kilometres southwest of Berlin. The assailants fled after hurling verbal abuse at their victims from Morocco, Russia and Pakistan, a police spokesman said. Attacks on foreigners are not uncommon in the eastern part of Germany, where unemployment is high and right-wing groups have an easy time recruiting new members. In a case that made international headlines last year, a mob of Germans chased a group of Indians through the eastern town of Muegeln and tried to kick down the door of the restaurant where they sought sanctuary.

Headscarves In The Headlines

France is not the only country where headscarves have proved contentious. A number of countries already ban the garment from schools and other public buildings, while elsewhere it is the failure of women to don a veil which prompts outrage.

Singapore
Singapore, keen to avoid racial and religious tensions between its ethnic Chinese majority and the Malay Muslim minority, has banned the scarf from schools. The Singapore government believes the ban is necessary to promote racial harmony, but Muslims say it infringes upon their religious freedoms.

Germany
The issue has come to a head in recent months after Germany’s supreme court ruled that a school was wrong to exclude a Muslim teacher because she wore a headscarf. The judges declared that current legislation did not allow for such a decision, but added that individual states would be within their rights to make legal provisions to this effect.

France The French parliament is widely expected to approve legislation banning overt religious symbols – including headscarves – from schools. President Jacques Chirac believes such a ban is necessary to preserve the secularity of the French state.

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority recently warned of “”grave consequences”” if women continued to appear unveiled.

Turkey
For the past 80 years Turks have lived in a secular state founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who rejected headscarves as backward looking in his campaign to secularise Turkish society. Scarves are consequently banned in civic spaces in the country.

Belgium
Two politicians, inspired by developments in neighbouring France, are hoping to push legislation through parliament that would ban the headscarf from state schools.

Russia
Muslim women last year won the right to wear the headscarf for identification photos, which was banned in Russia in 1997.

Denmark
A Muslim woman last year lost a high-profile court case against a large supermarket chain in Denmark after she had been fired for wearing a headscarf at work in 2001. The court ruled that her contract contained a dress code banning headgear.”