World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think

President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily freezing immigration from seven predominantly Islamic countries would affect only about 12% of the world’s Muslims, according to estimates from a 2015 Pew Research Center Report on the current and projected size of religious groups. In fact, of the seven countries named in the new immigration ban – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – only one, Iran, is among the ten countries with the largest Muslim populations.

As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity. And although many people, especially in the United States, may associate Islam with countries in the Middle East or North Africa, nearly two-thirds (62%) of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Pew Research Center analysis. In fact, more Muslims live in India and Pakistan (344 million combined) than in the entire Middle East-North Africa region (317 million).

Jean-Marc Ayrault speaks out against Trump’s travel ban

French and German foreign ministers met on Saturday to discuss President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on nationals from seven countries entering the US. The ban affects citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and is in effect for an extendable initial period of 90 days.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said, “We have signed international obligations, so welcoming refugees fleeing war and oppression forms part of our duties. There are many other issues that worry us. That is why Sigmar and I also discussed what we are going to do. When our colleague, [Rex] Tillerson, is officially appointed, we will both contact him.”

The International Rescue Committee said, “The agency is calling President Donald Trump’s suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program a ‘harmful and hasty’ decision. America must remain true to its core values. America must remain a beacon of hope.”

French President François Hollande said, “We should engage in discussions that sometimes should be very firm … When he rejects the arrival of refugees, while Europe has done its duty, we should respond to him.”

Meanwhile, Trump has said the new ban is working out “very well.”

“It’s not a Muslim ban. It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over. We’re going to have a very, very strict ban and we’re going to have extreme vetting which we should have had in this country for many years,” Trump said.

The entire text of the executive order can be read here. Although most media coverage refers to a ban on Muslim refugees, the executive order makes no explicit mention of Islam. It does, however state that “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.

“In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

Sudan ‘apostasy’ woman Meriam Ibrahim arrives in US

August 1, 2014

A Sudanese woman who fled to Italy after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam has arrived in the US. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday evening with her American husband and her children. Welcoming her on a brief stopover in Philadelphia, the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, described her as a “world freedom fighter”.

He compared her to Rosa Parks, who became a symbol of the civil rights movement in the US when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Alabama.

When in Rome, she met the Pope, who “thanked her for her witness to faith”, according to a Vatican spokesman.

Apostasy woman Meriam Ibrahim

July 26, 2014

Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who saw her death sentence for apostasy overturned, has been released after being accused of attempting to use forged travel documents by passport officials. Ms Ibrahim was detained along with her Christian-American husband Daniel Wani and two young children at Khartoum airport in Sudan for trying to use documents issued by the South Sudanese embassy to flee the country. Eman Abdul-Rahman, the lawyer for 27-year-old, said she was released from a police station after foreign diplomats pressed the government to free her.

In a statement issued on its Facebook page, Sudan’s security service said earlier this week that passport police had “arrested” Mr Ibrahim after she presented “emergency travel documents issued by the South Sudanese embassy and carrying an American visa”.

Ms Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Orthodox Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian and refusing to renounce her Christian faith during a four-day grace period. She was sentenced to death while eight months pregnant and gave birth in prison with her legs chained in February. Her sentence sparked an international outcry and led to campaigns headed by Amnesty International calling for her release.

When rumour of her release from prison first surfaced, we didn’t dare to believe it. When it was confirmed by the Sudanese authorities, we began to have real hope. When she walked out of Omdurman women’s prison on Monday afternoon, we finally had faith: Meriam Ibrahim, after six months on death row for her religious beliefs, was free. What is happening in Sudan? Why the confusion? How can a woman whose incarceration caused headlines around the world – with Bill Clinton, David Cameron and Ban Ki-moon all discussing her case – be treated in such a way?

Sudanese media claim that the US vice consul was with them at the time of their arrest, and Ms Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, said that they were on their way to Washington DC. Mr Wani was born in South Sudan before independence, and has dual US citizenship. Suffering from muscular dystrophy, and in a wheelchair, he lives in New Hampshire and had been trying to secure permission for his wife to join him in the US when she was first arrested, in December. What appears to have irked the authorities is that they had not approved the family’s moves – or perhaps that her release was being seen as a global human rights victory.

With no direct flights from Sudan to the US, due to sanctions, South Sudan was to be a transit country. Washington placed sanctions on Sudan in 1993, listing Khartoum as state sponsor of terrorism for hosting prominent militants including Osama bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal. It added a trade embargo in 1997.

The past few days have been mainly about politics. But in the beginning it was certainly about religion – Sudan imposed Sharia law in 1983, and apostasy is a crime punishable by death. Sudan hasn’t put anyone to death for apostasy since 1985, and the application of Sharia in the country is often clumsy, inconsistent and dictated by political whims. Furthermore, Ms Ibrahim’s case became muddied by claim and counter-claim as to her childhood faith. She insisted she was raised a Christian; other family members vehemently maintained she was a Muslim, and even the death penalty should be given if she did not return.

That added to suspicion that this wasn’t about religion, but rather a nasty family feud – to gain control, it was speculated, of Ms Ibrahim’s successful businesses. That the glamorous woman in the wedding photographs was imprisoned chained to the ground heavily pregnant, certainly resonated more because she was a woman. Would we have reacted with such anger if it was a man? She was arrested because her family denounced her for leaving Islam. Could you imagine a woman in Sudan, which imposes Sharia law, being able to inflict the same punishment on her brother?

“Meriam knows about the campaign to free her, and is grateful. But all she wants is to get out of prison. She doesn’t want to be a star.” According to lawyer, Elshareef Ali Mohamed.

 

Sources:

The Independent 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/apostasy-woman-meriam-ibrahim-us-ambassador-summoned-by-sudan-government-after-christian-convert-detained-trying-to-flee-country-9563842.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/meriam-ibrahim-sudanese-apostasy-woman-rearrested-with-family-at-airport-9559894.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/meriam-ibrahim-release-woman-jailed-for-apostasy-reunited-with-husband-as-family-looks-forward-to-new-life-in-us-9558891.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/apostasy-woman-meriam-ibrahim-brother-says-she-deserves-to-be-executed-unless-she-returns-to-islam-9498929.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/apostasy-woman-meriam-ibrahim-freed-after-sudanese-court-orders-release-state-media-report-9557086.html

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/27/sudanese-woman-meriam-ibrahim-safe-well-us-embassy

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jun/27/christian-convert-meriam-ibrahim-freed-sudan-prison-apostasy-video

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jun/27/world-in-a-week-meriam-ibrahim-apostasy-death-sentence-overturned

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/26/meriam-ibrahim-freed-rearrest-sudan-airport

The Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/sudan/10938264/Meriam-Ibrahim-My-baby-is-disabled-because-I-gave-birth-with-my-legs-chained.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/sudan/10929031/Meriam-Ibrahim-freed-from-custody-in-Sudan.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10926452/Meriam-Ibrahim-What-is-really-going-on-in-Sudan.html

“You Might Get Hit by a Car”: On Secret Tape, FBI Threatens American Muslim Refusing to be Informant

New details have emerged about the FBI’s efforts to turn Muslim Americans living abroad into government informants. An exposé in Mother Jones magazine chronicles the story of an American named named Naji Mansour who was living in Kenya. After he refused to become an informant, he saw his life, and his family’s life, turned upside down. He was detained, repeatedly interrogated and ultimately forced into exile in Sudan, unable to see his children for years. Mansour began recording his conversations with the FBI. During one call, an agent informs Mansour that he might get “hit by a car.” Mansour’s story is the focus of a new piece in Mother Jones titled “This American Refused to Become an FBI Informant. Then the Government Made His Family’s Life Hell.” We speak with Naji Mansour in Sudan and Nick Baumann, who investigated the story for Mother Jones.

Montreal Muslims respond to Anti-Islam film

CTV News – September 16, 2012

 

As turmoil spreads across the Middle East, Ottawa closed embassies in Libya, Egypt and Sudan for the day, citing growing protests over an anti-Islam film. The move came after four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed in an attack last week. In Montreal, leaders in the Muslim community are condemning the violent reaction to the film. They say the content may be offensive, but it doesn’t justify bloodshed.

During a special inter-faith meal on Sunday, those leaders said it was important to speak out to try and balance negative images of Islam with positive ones. The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations also issued a statement this week, calling on Canadian Muslims to ignore the film.

 

“We regard a lot of things as sacred and we do not like it to be dragged down in the mud if you will,” said Farida Mohamed, from the Muslim Community of Quebec. “The trouble is these few inflammatory elements cause havoc for the Muslim world because, let’s face it, in the media Muslims are portrayed very negatively. Muslims are portrayed as terrorists.” The mosque’s president, Mehmet Deger, called for peaceful demonstrations and dialogue. The imam at the Dorval mosque said that he’s grateful that Canadian Muslims seem to be better off than Muslims in America, although tensions do flare from time to time.

Sudanese government accuses Danish director of making Islamophobic movie

The Danish director Susanne Bier is now shooting a new movie in Kenya, titled Hævnen (The Revenge). The movie primarily takes place in Denmark and depicts a young boy’s problematic relationship with his father, who works in a refugee camp as a doctor.

Part of the story touches on the war in Sudan’s Darfur region. The movie tracks refugees from camps in Sudan to their new lives in a small Denmark town.

Bier says the movie has nothing to do with Islam.

But the Sudanese government has released a statement saying Bier’s movie aims to represent “non-existing conditions in Darfur”, and that the movie is being made in the same spirit as the Islamophobic Dutch film Fitna, as well as the Danish Muhammad-cartoons.

Danish PhD-fellow and expert in Sudanese Affairs, Anders Hastrup, stresses that the Sudanese government takes every opportunity to re-describe the conflict in Darfur as a conflict between the Islamic and Western world. Hastrup says: “The Sudanese government is very vigilant and everything Danish is already demonized because of the Muhammad-cartoons so when a Danish director is making a movie about something related to Sudan the Sudanese government blows it up and tries to foster distrust to everything Western among the Sudanese population”.

The Danish minister of Foreign Affairs has answered the Sudanese government by saying there is freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression in Denmark. He underlines that no other Muslim country has provided a critique of Bier’s movie.

Abdulmutallab had passport, contrary to eyewitness report

Abdulmutallab is said to have presented a passport in the Amsterdam airport, contrary to Kurt Haskell’s report. Haskell claims to have seen Abdulmutallab with a well-dressed Indian man who told ticket agents Abdulmutallab “doesn’t have a passport…he’s from Sudan. We do this all the time.”

The passport was valid and from Nigeria, and had a valid US visa.

Abdelrazik Returns to Canada After Six Years of Exile in Sudan

Abousfian Abdelrazik ended six years in exile in Sudan, where he faced torture at the hands of Sudanese authorities, several thwarted attempts to return and spent over a year stranded at the Canadian embassy in Khartoum. Mr. Abdelrazik was born in Sudan but fled the country in 1990. He received refugee status in Canada in 1992 and Canadian citizenship in 1995. In 2003, Mr. Abdelrazik traveled back to the country to visit his ailing mother. He was repeatedly imprisoned by Sudanese authorities and tried to return to Canada several times but was denied a passport because he was put on a United Nations no-fly list at the request of the United States.

Both CSIS and the RCMP have said publicly that they have no evidence that Mr. Abdelrazik has been involved in terrorist activities.

Ottawa says citizen stranded in Sudan poses too great a national security risk

Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, poses so grave a threat to Canada that he can’t come back, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon recently announced, abruptly reversing the government’s written promise of an emergency one-way travel document less than two hours before his flight home was to depart from Khartoum.

Abdelrazik was to reach Canada after more than six years of imprisonment and forced exile in Sudan, on a ticket purchased by hundreds of supporters who defied the government’s threat to charge anyone with helping him because he was put on a United Nations terrorist blacklist by the Bush administration.

Instead, two hours before his flight was to depart, government lawyers faxed a one-sentence letter to his lawyers in Ottawa, saying he had been deemed a national security risk and refused travel documents. Abdelrazik responded, “The Harper government says I am an Islamic extremist. This is a lie. I am a Muslim and I pray to my God but this does not make me a terrorist or a criminal.”