The ceremony, held along a blocked-off portion of Madison Avenue, marked the start of the American Muslim Day Parade on Sunday, an annual event, first held in 1985, that brings together Muslims of many ethnicities and nationalities who worship in the New York region.
The parade is intended as a celebration of diversity and pride in the Muslim community, but this year it had a difficult context: national controversies over a planned Islamic center and mosque near ground zero, the threatened desecration of Korans by anti-Muslim ministers, and recent incidences of what the authorities called hate crimes against Muslims, including a New York Citycabdriver who was slashed.
Some marchers had feared protesters on Sunday, but only the occasional Christian missionary appeared. Still, the turnout was far smaller than at the city’s better-known ethnic parades, and a few organizers speculated that safety concerns kept many Muslims away. “Some people are too scared to show up,” said Zaheer Uddin, executive director of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, a sponsoring group.
To some, it can seem intimidating. To others, it is outdated and oppressive. Yet to those whose faces are shrouded beneath it, it can be a liberator, symbolising religious modesty in an increasingly secular West. To others still, it is nothing more than a piece of cloth. The future of the veil, Liberal Democrat minister Jeremy Browne told this newspaper, must be urgently reconsidered. “There is genuine debate about whether girls should feel a compulsion to wear a veil. We should be very cautious about imposing religious conformity on a society which has always valued freedom of expression.”
The matter is garnering political momentum. Philip Hollobone, Tory MP for Kettering, has proposed a private member’s Bill that would make it an offence for a person to wear “a garment or other object” intended to obscure their face. Backing his proposal is Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes. Writing in this newspaper yesterday, she described veils as “deeply offensive”.
Striking the right balance – between an outright ban and leaving the issue to the discretion of schools – is difficult. Official guidance on facial coverings in schools – from the niqab, a veil in which the eyes are visible, to the burka, a full body veil in which the eyes are covered by mesh – was updated last year. Though the Department for Education has conspicuously avoided legislation, it backs head teachers who ban veils “on the grounds of health, safety and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.
Now public opinion in Britain is swinging. A recent YouGov poll of 2,205 adults found that 67 per cent supported a complete sanction on wearing the burka. Proponents of a ban say schools in multicultural areas are calling out for clear restrictions on facial coverings, which, they argue, can impede learning, socialising and jeopardise an institution’s security policy.
Catalonian police has now to control all women wearing burqas. “The Catalan police is convinced that the existence of a woman covered with a niqab or a burka can be indicative, along with other elements, of an environment of radicalization or of a Salafi vision of Islam”, say the government sources. The Parliament approved on July 18, a motion under public safety arguments, that forbiddens face covering in public spaces.
Former mayor of Reykjavík claims a mosque will threaten Iceland’s culture and safety. Ólafur F. Magnússon, who was mayor for little less than 7 months in 2008, is highly pessimistic about plans of a mosque being built in the open space of in the eastern part of Reykjavík.
City council approved of the plans last week, after Muslims in Iceland having waited 13 years to get a property to raise the first mosque in Iceland. Ólafur writes in Morgunblaðið today, expressing his concern about the matter.
“It is worrying that Muslims here don’t seem to have any difficulties financing the project, receiving aid from Muslim organizations abroad. Those organizations might want to increase the influence of Islam in Iceland, as well as in other countries.”
Instead of a mosque, Ólafur suggests a temple of the Nordic gods to be built in the plot. “Such a cultural gem would bring joy to the majority of the city’s residents, as well as other Icelanders, and wouldn’t be as out of place as a mosque would.”
Discussed was the idea of creating a mosque in Salerno, which was started days ago by the mayor Vincenzo De Luca. Not in accordance, to start with, is the deputy of Fratelli d’Italia, Edmund Cirielli: “The idea of building a mosque in Salerno as a center of Islamic culture is not justifiable. I do not see a need to do so.” he said.
“Building a new structure, would mean further contributing to the overbuilding of a city that already suffers from over land use due to decisions made in recent years by De Luca: the creation of a mosque, however, could be a magnet for other Muslim immigrants and I do not think Salerno can afford this luxury with all the problems of daily life,” said Ciriello. To conclude, councilor Roberto Celano said: “At a time of great economic difficulty, such as the one we are experiencing, proposing the idea of building a mosque in Salerno, is entirely misplaced and inappropriate. The mayor seems to want to pursue visibility at all costs with proposals that, in his opinion, are innovative and would focus on his administration, but in reality they are do not support the city.”
“In the absence of a national law that gives clear guidance with respect to the freedom of religion but also guarantees the safety and support of the Italian citizens, the mayor, in his current capacity, will promote a law that regulates the building of places of worship which would actually be in conflict with the Italian state, “said Peduto.
Solidarity in Verona by the Brussels Northern League and citizens who have advanced a petition: “There is little difference between a cultural space and a mosque”
There were demonstrations against the Islamic Center of Peri in the city of Dolcè. Following a petition organized by some of the citizens of Verona, to push for more restrictions, Lorenzo Fontana, Head of Delegation of the Northern League to the European Parliament, wanted to express his support for the demands of the people of Verona.
“This is a delicate situation” explains Fontana “too often we had to take note of how subtle, in some cases, the difference between Islamic cultural center and mosque. The number of citizens who have expressed their concerns by signing a petition testifies to legitimate concerns.” Given that the concerns are arising from the social impact that an Islamic center would produce in the community and the importance of compliance with the safety standards at its core. Fontana explains “I hope that the request of citizens to be involved in the decision, via a public meeting should not ignored by the mayor and the council, which will have to assume responsibility to carry out a careful check on the compliance with health and urban planning of the initiative. “
“It is not pride or racism. We ask the city government in the hope that voters try not to go against the real needs of the city and remember that excessive tolerance and permissiveness cannot help. Imperia is in decay because it allows those who do not belong”
“It is important to mention that on via Cascione, there is now a symbol of all that we never wanted to occur in our city. In what has always been considered the ‘living room’ of Porto Maurizio, home to historic palaces with frescoed ceilings and prestigious architectural beauty, is now uncontrolled Muslim invasion that carries with it the degradation, the offense and the consequent abandonment of the citizen, even though our citizens are entitled to reside and live in peace and security in the street where he was born. ”
The above was written by the Northern League of Imperia, just days before the elections. The Northern League also explained “via Cascione is just one example of what recent years has hit Italy. The situation in Imperia is striking and known to all: Muslims have taken over an area that is now reduced to what is called the Islamic quarter. This is not campanilismo, not racism and it is not demagoguery. It is of fundamental importance to support cooperation between citizens and institutions and, at the same time, you need a specific regulation which implements checks and inspections to curb any lawlessness connected to immigrants.”
The League asks:
Not to grant licenses for the opening of new businesses without carrying out audits
Carry out, in stores that are operated by non-Italians, periodic inspections regarding tax, sanitation, and undeclared work and safety
Perform a controlled sanitation in housing rented to foreigners
Make efficient and productive structured Districts
BALTIMORE —Another phone call had come from a desperate Muslim woman living in a distant state, searching for the lady draped in lavender known simply as Sister Asma.
As the founder of Muslimat Al-Nisaa, the only known shelter in the country that exclusively serves Muslim women, Hanif has devoted nearly a decade of her life to providing safety and stability for women in a place where they could comfortably practice their faith.
But she had focused so fully on giving comfort to strangers that she had neglected to care for her mother. Back in Hanif’s home town in North Carolina, the 83-year-old woman had slipped into dementia and was dying in a hospital. Hanif, who had no income and no home of her own, didn’t know how or where she would tend to her.
President Obama cautioned the nation not to rush to judgment about the Boston Marathon bombers. But that’s not stopping Republican Rep. Peter King.
King, who chairs the House subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, is urging authorities to beef up their surveillance of Muslims in the U.S. following Friday night’s arrest of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Police must “realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,” the New York lawmaker told National Review.
King—who spearheaded controversial hearings on the radicalization of Muslim-Americans in 2011—also told CNN that “we can’t be politically correct. I think we have to see, has radicalization extended into the Chechen community?”
Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said in a statement that the Obama administration should resist the calls to treat Dzhokhar as an enemy combatant.
“This is not a foreign national caught on an enemy battlefield, but an American citizen arrested on American soil. The Justice Department has demonstrated a far greater ability to successfully prosecute suspected terrorists in federal courts than the military commissions have thus far been able to show. Nothing must be done to compromise the public safety, the ability of prosecutors to seek justice for the victims or our constitutional principles,” he said.