Report: France ‘worst in the world’ at guessing Muslim population

French people are the most likely to hold misconceptions about the current and predicted Muslim population in their country, according to a study by Ipsos Mori published on Wednesday.

French people believed that 31 percent of the population was Muslim, when the real figure according to Pew research in 2010 was 7.5 percent.

Among the 40 countries polled, respondents in South Africa, the Philippines, and Italy also wildly overestimated the Muslim population.

French respondents also predicted that 40 percent of the population will be Muslim by 2020, but the same researchers predict the current number will rise to 8.3 percent (see graph below).

In Britain, respondents put the Muslim population at 15 percent – three times higher than reality.

The survey also asked people about their country’s views on issues like homosexuality and abortion, and how much they thought the government spends on healthcare every year.

Ipsos said that nearly all countries overestimate their Muslim population, and many are “extraordinarily wrong”.

Karim Benzema says he is victim of racism

Source: http://fr.reuters.com/article/idFRKCN0YN3J7

 

June 2, 2016

 

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema said he was denied the chance to play for France in the Euro 2016 this month because of his Algerian origins.

 

The French Football Federation denied the accusation, but Benzema’s comments, published just nine days before France hosts the tournament, have deepened a row about alleged racism in a national team once seen as a model for ethnic integration.

 

Last week, Eric Cantona accused coach Didier Deschamps of omitting Benzema and another French-born football player of North African descent, Hatem Ben Arfa, because of their foreign roots.

 

Deschamps’ lawyer said he planned to sue Cantona for slander. The two have a longstanding rivalry since the mid-1990s when Deschamps replaced Cantona as France’s captain and led the team to World Cup and Euro successes in 1998 and 2000. Benzema is under investigation over an alleged plot to blackmail a teammate, something Prime Minister Manuel Valls said made him unfit to play for the national team. Benzema said his legal problems were being used as an excuse to drop him from the squad.

 

“They said I couldn’t be picked, but on a sporting level I don’t understand and, on a legal level, I’ve not been convicted and I’m presumed innocent,” he told Spanish sports magazine Marca.

“Deschamps succumbed to pressure from a racist part of France,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s only Didier’s decision, because I get on well with him, the president (of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet) and everybody.”

 

Deschamps was not immediately available for comment. Le Graet said Deschamps was neither for nor against Benzema and had previously picked the forward even when he was not in good form.

 

“I think he has got carried away a little bit,” Le Graet told reporters at the French team’s training camp in Austria.

 

“I would have liked him to have been a bit more kind. These are words that don’t correspond with the realities.”

 

The racism row has added to tensions in a country hit by widespread strikes over proposed changes to work contracts and fears about terrorist attacks.

Ahead of the European Championship’s June 10 kick-off, the French team has also been hit by a spate of injuries.

 

The squad has players from various ethnicities. Deschamps last week called up Adil Rami, who is of Moroccan origin. But memories of 1998, when France’s “black-blanc-beur” (black-white-Arab) team won the World Cup, have faded, especially since the disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa when the players fell out with the team’s managers.

 

At the time, the far-right National Front party complained that the team did not fully reflect France, where the vast majority are still white.

 

Sports Minister Thierry Braillard dismissed Benzema’s comments as “unjustified” and “unacceptable.”

 

“The French team is selected only on technical criteria and ability. There is not an inch of racism in this federation. The time has come to stand by our team,” Braillard told BFM TV.

 

A successful striker for Real Madrid, Benzema has often failed to excel for the national team, scoring 27 goals in 81 games at international level

France’s first gay-friendly mosque sparks controversy

News agencies – December 2, 2012

 

A Muslim prayer centre, which has been dubbed Europe’s first gay-friendly mosque, opened in Paris. Its founder described it as the first step in breaking “prejudices in Islam”, but it has been criticised by religious leaders for going “against the spirit of Islam”. The new “mosque”, which opened on Friday in a small room inside the house of a Buddhist monk, has smashed a taboo in Islam by welcoming transgender and transsexual Muslims. But the prayer room located in the eastern suburbs of Paris is not supported by any formal Muslim institution and many imams in France oppose it.

While a handful of gay-friendly mosques now exist in Canada, South Africa and the United States, Zahed believes his project is breaking new boundaries in France and Europe. It now boasts over 300 members.

 

Imam marries gay couple in Paris

News Agencies – March 2, 2012

 

Ludovic and Qiyaam were married in South Africa last August. This week they got married by an imam in Paris. More than forty friends and members of HM2F – Muslim gays of France – attended the event. Christian and Jewish LGBT organizations were also invited. The ceremony was conducted by Jamal, originally from Mauritius, who heads the Prayer and Meditation group in HM2F. Christian and Jewish clergymen then added their blessings.

Ludovic says he received the blessings of his family, who reside in Marseille and came for the occasion. He added that he has more problems with French law.

French Football Coach Laurent Blanc keeps job after race controversy

French Football Coach Laurent Blanc keeps job after race controversy

News Agencies – May 12, 2011

France football coach Laurent Blanc has kept his job after being cleared of wrongdoing in the racial discrimination controversy. The French Football Federation said that it “renews its entire confidence in Laurent Blanc”. Blanc attended a meeting in November at which federation members discussed the idea of a quota for players with dual nationality in youth academies. The majority of the players in question are of black or Arab origin. FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy said: “The [FFF’s] federal council has taken note that no discrimination was ever put in place.”

Blaquart used the word “quotas” in the meeting, while Blanc has admitted he also made comments which could “offend some sensibilities”. Influential French great Zinedine Zidane, have offered him their support. Blanc is rebuilding the France team following their disastrous showing at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa under former coach Raymond Domenech.

Germany’s Team for South Africa: The Multicultural Squad

Of the 23 players representing Germany at the World Cup, 11 have foreign backgrounds. More than half of the outfield players selected by Joachim Loew were either born outside Germany themselves, or have a non-German parent. The squad has roots in eight different countries — nine when Germany’s included.

According to the most up-to-date figures from the Federal Statistics Office, one in five people living in Germany in 2008 was of foreign descent. From the total of 15.9 million with roots abroad, 2.9 million were from Turkey. Two likely starters for the national team at the World Cup — Serdar Tasci and Mesut Oezil — both have Turkish parents. “A gift for German football,” was how Joachim Loew described Oezil. It works both ways. The sport plays a leading role in a successfully multicultural society today. Germany hopes to reap the rewards with its ethnically-diverse team on the pitch in South Africa.

Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Piotr Trochowski were born in Poland, and moved across the border as children. All have been part of Germany’s international set-up for years. Youngster Marko Marin was born in war-struck Bosnia-Herzegovina. His parents moved to Frankfurt when he was two, and, when he came of age, Marin decided on a German passport. Mario Gomez was born in Baden-Wuerttemberg, but his father comes from Spain. Gomez is likely to miss out on a place in Germany’s attack, in favour of an in-form Brazilian-born striker nicknamed “Helmut.” More commonly known as Cacau, he was born in Sao Paulo province, and moved to German lower-league football ten years ago. Cacau became a German citizen in 2009, and the call from Joachim Loew came quickly. “I am glad that Germany has adopted me,” he said. “My whole mindset is German.”

Algeria is France’s Other Team in the 2010 World Cup

This article in Le Monde describes popular support for the Algerian team in France during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Of its 23 players, 17 were born in France. Controversy emerged when striker Rafik Saifi was involved in an altercation with a journalist after his team was eliminated in a 1-0 loss to the United States.

Al-Qaeda dismisses dutch football team as potential target

Al-Qaeda has dismissed claims it is planning to attack Dutch and Danish players and fans during the World Cup in South Africa as ‘cheap lies’, according to the Telegraaf. The statement comes after a militant arrested in Iraq claimed to be talking with his friends about attacking Danish and Dutch teams at the World Cup.

First Sharia-Compliant Exchange-Traded Fund Available Soon in Canada

Islamic financial services company UM Financial Inc. and Jovian Capital Corp. hope to list Canada´s first sharia-compliant exchange-traded fund (EFT) in the next week. In compliance with Islamic law, the index avoids firms involved in financial services alcohol, gambling and pork products. It would target Canada´s growing Muslim population (approximately one million) as well as foreign investors. In recent years, sharia-compliant EFTs have emerged in Britain, India, Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia and South Africa.

Film about Gay Muslims Wins GLAAD Award

The film “A Jihad for Love” by American Muslim director Parvez Sharma following gay Muslim men and women in twelve countries, gas won numerous awards, and most recently received the ‘Best Documentary’ award in the GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation) awards in March. Sharma traveled through Iran, Egypt, Turkey, India, South Africa, and others – to examine the experiences of being gay and lesbian in an “intensely Muslim community.” He consciously decided against pursuing his project in America or a Western country in which homosexuality has a markedly different experience of acceptability, but cautioned against wanting to save gays and lesbians in predominantly Muslim countries. Sharma found that many are happy where they are, and do not desire asylum, displacement, or change to a different paradigm. “We tend to assume the Western model of this GLBTQ identity. Unless there’s a pride parade you’re not really free. These ideas are way more complicated than that. Sexuality is so complex in Eastern and Islamic cultures,” he says.”