Rennes: Girl attacked by man who wanted to make ‘sacrifice for Ramadan’

Source: http://www.lepoint.fr/faits-divers/rennes-attaquee-par-un-desequilibre-qui-voulait-tuer-pour-le-ramadan-14-06-2016-2046654_2627.php

June 14, 2016

 

A teenage girl was seriously injured in a stabbing attack in Rennes when a man assaulted her on the street. The attacker, who has a history of psychiatric problems, claimed that he needed to make “a sacrifice for Ramadan.”

 

The girl, 19, was stabbed two times in the wrist and once in abdomen, Rennes prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet told journalists, adding that her wounds are not life-threating.

 

The girl’s assailant told a witness that he was a Muslim. He was immediately detained by police at the scene of the crime and later told officers that he was obeying voices in his head that had ordered him to make a sacrifice for Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting that began on June 6.

 

“Voices told him that he had to make a sacrifice on the occasion of Ramadan,” Jacquet said.

 

The attacker, 32, was assessed by a medical specialist immediately after his arrest and sent to a psychiatric hospital. The Rennes prosecutor said that the man had already received special treatment at psychiatric hospitals several times.

 

The assailant later told investigators that he was being treated for schizophrenia and was supposed to receive an injection on Tuesday. An enquiry has been opened into attempted murder.

 

The attack came just a day after another attacker killed a police officer and his partner in the town of Magnanville, 50 kilometers from Paris. The murder was later classified as a terrorist attack. The assailant, who was identified as 25-year-old Larossi Abballa, had pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

 

Police also found a list of other potential targets at the site of the killing near Paris that included the names of public figures, rappers, journalists, and police officers, Molins added.

More American than apple pie, Muslims have been migrating to the US for centuries

Muslims have been coming to the US for centuries, but you wouldn’t know it by the intense debates that continue to surround the movement of Muslims across international borders.

Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have called for the US to effectively ban Syrian refugees from entering the country. The South Carolina Senate passed a bill that would require all refugees to register with the state, subjecting themselves to surveillance. On social media, the hashtag #StopIslam trended internationally in the hours after the Mar. 22 terrorist attack in Brussels.

Together, these reactions contribute to the idea that Muslim migration to the US is somehow distinct from America’s history as a “nation of immigrants.” Columnist Mark Nuckols summarized the sentiment when he wrote in Townhall about “problematic immigrants” to the US.

The “most problematic,” he writes, are Muslims from the Middle East and Africa. “This most recent wave of immigrants are often more resistant to easy assimilation and more reluctant to accept this country as truly their own,” he says.

In truth, Muslims have been part of this country since before the thirteen original colonies even declared their independence and became a nation. The examples below offer a glimpse of the long history of their migration and contributions to the US.

Muslims were among the first to explore the “New World”

A circular map in black and white lines

In his book Meadows of Gold, published around 950 CE, Muslim geographer Al-Musudi described the experiences of Khashkhash Ibn Saeed Ibn Aswad, a Muslim explorer who he claims sailed across the Atlantic in 889 CE. This reconstruction of a world map from Meadows of Gold depicts a world before Europeans arrived in the Americas.

Individuals like Christopher Columbus are often recognized as among the first to “discover” the Americas (despite, of course, the long presence of the indigenous).

But those explorations would not have been possible without Muslims.

Historian Leslie Brout Jr. notes in his book The African Experience in Spanish America: 1502 to the Present Day that many Muslim men accompanied European travelers clamoring to “discover” the Americas in the 1500s. Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Hernán Cortés, Pánfilo de Narváez, Pedro de Alvarado, Francisco de Montejo, and other conquistadors all brought Muslims with them to aid in their early expeditions in the Western Hemisphere.

For example, a Muslim man named Estevanico was sold into slavery in the 1520s and brought to the Americas to aid Spain’s exploration of present-day Florida. Although he was a slave until his death, Brout writes that Estevanico became famous for completing an eight-year journey on foot from Florida to Mexico City.

The labor of enslaved Muslims helped build the United States

As historian Sylviane A. Diouf writes in her book Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas, Muslim men, women, and children were among the first people taken by force from their homes in West Africa in the Atlantic slave trade.

It’s estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of all Africans forced into bondage in the United States were Muslims. These individuals, many of whom were among the most educated and renowned in their homelands, were forced to work as slaves in the Americas. Several of them published narratives about their time in captivity.

A framed portrait of an elderly man on one side; a stately oil painting on the other

Left: Omar Ibn Sayyid, a Muslim slave in the United States, published his autobiography in 1831. Right: The first known portrait of an African man by a British portraitist was completed shortly after Job Ben Solomon’s arrival in London in 1733.

Omar Ibn Sayyid, for example, was taken from his home in present day Senegal and forced into slavery in South Carolina around the year 1770. In 1831 he published his autobiography in Arabic, which was later translated into English.

Sayyid’s autobiography reveals in his own words his experiences being taken from his home, his life under slavery in the United States and his devotion to Islam. Today, a mosque in Fayetteville, North Carolina is named in his honor.

In his book Muslims in America, historian Edward Curtis describes the experience of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, who became known as Job Ben Solomon after he was taken from West Africa in 1731 and sold into slavery to a tobacco farmer in Annapolis, Maryland.

Solomon was able to escape slavery after less than three years of bondage. He could read and write in Arabic, so he wrote a letter to his father with the hopes that he might send money to ransom his freedom. His father never received the letter. However, the letter did finds its way to the hands of James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, who had it translated into English.

Oglethorpe was so impressed with Solomon that he purchased the freedom bond himself.

Slavery ends, Muslim influence continues

Historian Edward Curtis writes in his book Muslims in America that Alexander Russell Webb used Islam in America to “promote Islam as a religion that expressed some of America’s most deeply held values, especially those of rationality, human equality, broadmindedness, and acceptance of religious diversity.”

Muslims played important roles in securing a Northern victory in the United States Civil War and bringing about the end of slavery. Curtis’s Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History explains that nearly 300 people with Muslim last names fought in the Civil War.

Several became officers, including Moses Osman, a captain in the 104th Illinois Infantry. After being subjected to slavery in Turkey, Russia, and the US when he was forced to serve a European traveler who crossed the Atlantic, Mohammed Ali ben Said fought in the Civil War from 1863 to 1865 and earned the rank of sergeant in the Union Army. After his emancipation, Said went on to travel the world before settling in Alabama. He  published his autobiography in 1873 before passing away in 1882.

While emancipation allowed former Muslim slaves to practice their religion more freely, they were not the only ones who practiced Islam in the US after the Civil War.

Alexander Russell Webb, born in 1846, was a middle class white Protestant who converted to Islam in 1887 after traveling the world in his capacity as the US Consul to the Philippines. When he returned to the US in 1893, he started a newspaper called “The Moslem World,” published a book called Islam in America and was selected to be a representative of Islam at the Chicago World Fair.

Nativism and exclusionary immigration laws took hold in the early 1900s, but Muslims lived all over the country

Mother Mosque in Iowa, white building with green roof

By the 1930s, Muslims established mosques in Maine, North Dakota, Michigan, Indiana and Iowa. The Mother Mosque of America, built in 1934 by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants and their ancestors in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, remains the oldest surviving mosque in the US.

Credit: RifeIdeas/CC BY-SA 3.0

With the turn of the 20th century came the rise of anti-immigrant feelings among Americans. Nevertheless, Muslim American communities continued to grow. In North Dakota, for example, Syrian and Lebanese Muslim immigrants worked as farmers in the Great Plains.

As part of the New Deal, the Works Progress Administration interviewed Mike Abdullah, a Syrian native, about life in North Dakota. Abdullah and his fellow community members in North Dakota were practicing Muslims whose experiences mirrored those of many farmers who worked the land in the American heartland from the 1900s through the middle of the century.

The Dillingham Commission formed in 1907 out of growing anti-immigrant sentiment in the US. The “Dictionary of Races or Peoples,” included in the 41-volume report that the Commission published in 1911, tried to legitimize ideas about racial difference, which were often intertwined with religion. The Commission’s report helped create laws that curtailed immigration from countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Southern and Eastern Europe.

Credit: University of California Libraries via archive.org

Muslims lived and worked across the US. Historian Vivek Bald writes in Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian Americans that Muslims labored not only as farmers but also as industrial and service workers. They immersed themselves in Creole, African American and Puerto Rican neighborhoods in New Orleans, Detroit, Baltimore and New York City. The growth of these diverse communities continued despite the passing of laws that didn’t bode well for Muslims hoping to come to the US.

The Immigration Act of 1917 barred immigration from Asia, and the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 introduced numerical quotas that restricted the entry of immigrants according to their country of origin. Many countries with sizeable Muslim populations received low quotas and Muslims from Asian countries were excluded outright.

The Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 eventually eliminated national origins quotas and made it easier for Muslims — at least those who were skilled and professional workers — to migrate to the US. This landmark legislation was just part of the continuation of Muslim migration to the US — not the beginning.

British government’s silence over attacks on Muslims is worrying, and divisive

Britain's prime minister David CameronLast week, a nail bomb partially exploded at a mosque in the West Midlands – the fourth attack in two months on mosques in Britain during Friday prayers. A suspect in one of those attacks is also being questioned in connection with the killing of Mohammed Saleem, a Muslim pensioner in Birmingham, who was stabbed to death as he returned home from prayers. The police response to these attacks has been heartening, but the silence from government and the establishment in general, has been deeply worrisome.

 

When Lee Rigby was murdered, politicians of every stripe scrambled to condemn and reassure. Cobra, the country’s top emergency response mechanism, was convened under the home secretary, Theresa May. David Cameron reassured Britons that “we will never buckle in the face of terrorism”. Compare this with near-silence that greeted the recent mosque attacks. Muslims have become accustomed, almost resigned, to media double standards – there is no example starker than the wildly different coverage of Rigby and Saleem’s killings. But the failure to mobilise, condemn and reassure on the part of the political class is potentially far more dangerous.

 

It suggests not only that a Muslim life is less sacred than a non-Muslim one, but that Muslims do not have the same rights as others to be reassured. That attacks on them are attacks on a minority, and not on British citizens. Muslims are not members of a minority that should be grateful Cameron magnanimously declares it not a threat. They are British citizens who are increasingly under more urgent and immediate risk of terrorist attack than others.

 

These are not the everyday hate crimes that we have sadly become inured to, and which are faced by all religious minorities. Jews in the UK, for example, have for years experienced anti-Semitic attacks including desecration of holy sites and abuse of religious figures. In this most recent wave of targeting Muslims, however, we are not simply talking severed pig’s heads and swastikas, but violent terrorist crime that aims to maim and claim lives. To some extent the disproportionality of the response can be attributed to the fact that Britain has suffered a scarring terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims, and foiled others in the making. But the government is there to serve its citizens equally. The constant refrain is that Muslims are an insular minority that poses an integration challenge, existing on the fringes of British life. But when they are consistently treated by different standards in terms of their rights as citizens to security and succour, it only confirms that the fringe is where they belong.

 

Islamedia interviewed the imam and president of the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain, Mr. Riay Tatary.

13 May 2013

 

Islamedia interviewed  the imam and president of the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain, Mr. Riay Tatary.

I- What is the Islamic religious perspective of terrorism?

RT-Both the Koran and the Sunna express prohibition and condemnation of the grave sin of killing another human being, this transgression being matched and related to genocide and crimes against humanity. (…)Therefore, terrorism and criminal acts against civilians are clearly declared contrary to Islamic faith (…).

I-There seems to be confusion in defining a terrorist attack, in your opinion, how could we define terrorism?

RT-Any aggression against civilian or military targets by individuals or armed groups is reputedly terrorism (…).

I-Although terrorism is motivated by political extremism reasons why does it seem that the speech of Muslim terrorists is more loaded with religious vocabulary?

RT-Muslims are well aware that assaulting and endangering the life of others goes against the law of God, so to attract followers violent extremists distort the Word of God and make evil seem like good (…). Pretending that a cruel slaughter is considered a legitimate defense, or a minor jihad has caused today talk of “jihadist terrorism” to be a reference to this false speech. Falsifying the message of the Creator to the humanity to such a degree and consequences is a serious sin against God and human beings.

I-The general public has the impression that Muslims keep in silenceabout the terrorist attacks. Do they not condemn the attacks or are they not given enough publicity when they make such public condemnation?

RT-The Union of Islamic Communities of Spain, (…), has always condemned terrorism and attacks, with more emphasis in 2001 and 2004, however we cannot failing force the national press to reflect our press notes over the years, but they are available for anyone who wants to be properly documented.

I-For several years, some accused the imams and mosques to be the source of extremism. Has the population changed this perception?

RT-It has been changing and citizens realize that from the temples, including mosques, peace and brotherhood has been preached, and that the true breeding ground for violent extremists are the closed small groups who do not frequent the mosques (…).

I- How do you see the coexistence of Spanish Muslim communities with the rest of society?

RT-Overall there is a correct coexistence between neighbors of different religions, except in some specific cases municipalities where the public opinion has been poisoned therefore creating animosity between neighbors and Islamophobic fears about the opening of mosques (…).

Fort Hood shooting rampage survivors, victims’ relatives want it declared terrorist attack

FORT HOOD, Texas — Nearly three years after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, many of those affected are urging the government to declare it a terrorist attack, saying wounded soldiers and victims’ relatives otherwise won’t receive the same benefits as those in a combat zone.

About 160 people, including relatives of the 13 people killed at the Texas Army post and some of the more than two dozen wounded and their families, released a video Thursday expressing their frustration.

They say soldiers injured or killed deserve fair benefits and Purple Heart eligibility.

“The victims are being forgotten and it’s frustrating,” Kimberly Munley, one of the first two officers who arrived at the shooting scene on Nov. 5, 2009, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, an American-born Muslim, faces the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. The case is on hold as his lawyers fight the trial judge’s order that Hasan either shave his beard, which violates Army rules, or be forcibly shaved before trial.

U.S. officials have said they believe Hasan’s attack was inspired by the radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and that Hasan and the cleric exchanged as many as 20 emails. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last fall.

Muslims are arrested under suspicion of attacking to the Olympic Games

5 July 2012

Six British Muslims including one British convert have been arrested by the police. The suspects were held under anti-terrorism charges. They are thought to be planning to attack the Olympic Games, however, the police has not released the details about the arrests.

The British security forces have been on high alert ahead of the Olympic Games in order to prevent a possible terrorist attack. Thus, Muslims community came under great scrutiny due to common perception that they are the breeding ground for terrorism.

Dutchmen in Belgian Terrorism Trial

31 March 2012

A terrorism trial in Mechelen, Belgium has commenced involving three Dutchmen of Moroccan origin. The men are accused of participating in terrorist activities, including plotting but not executing a terrorist attack. They are also alleged to have recruited Islamists to train in camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The fourteen defendants on trial include in addition to the three Dutchmen: three Russians of Chechen origin and eight Belgians of Moroccan origin.

Terror Risk Remains Low in Netherlands

26 March 2012

 

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten told Dutch parliament in a briefing that the risk of a terrorist attack in the country remains low.  The limited threat which the country does face, Opstelten commented, stems from the potential perceived discrimination against Muslims in the country and the Dutch army’s role in military missions in Muslim majority countries such as Afghanistan.

Terrorist Suspects Arrested in Amsterdam Fight Extradition

November 24 2010

Three men from Amsterdam were arrested on Tuesday afternoon for alleged involvement in a Belgian terrorist plot. They have been remanded in custody and are accused of preparing a terrorist attack on an unknown target. The men, aged 25, 26 and 28, are alleged to have recruited jihad fighters and funding from a Chechen organization. They are fighting extradition to Belgium.

Police find nothing suspicious after Eiffel Tower terrorism threat

News Agencies – September 14, 2010
The Eiffel Tower and its immediate surroundings were evacuated the evening of September 14th after an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat, but a police search turned up nothing suspicious. Officials evacuated about 2,000 people and combed through the 324-metre tower, a Paris police spokesman said. By midnight, people were walking around and riding bikes underneath France’s most popular tourist spot again. Media reported that the scare was a false alarm. Paris police did not immediately return calls seeking information.
French media also said parts of a second tourist hub — the Saint-Michel subway station near Notre Dame Cathedral — were briefly evacuated following a similar threat. The station was the target of a terrorist attack in 1995 that killed eight and injured scores of people. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the threats. But it comes after the head of France’s counterespionage agency was quoted last weekend as saying that the risk of a terrorist attack on French soil has never been higher.
Bernard Squarcini told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that France’s history as a colonial master in North Africa, its military presence in Afghanistan and a bill aimed at banning burqa-style Muslim veils in public all make the country a prime target for certain radical Islamist groups.