Anger over the U.A.E. list of terror organisations

The inclusion by the United Arab Emirates of some of the most respected Islamic organizations established within Nordic states and the UK on a list of groups – including al-Qaeda and the ISIL- suspected of having links to terrorism has triggered a wave of protest.

In the UK, the Muslim Association of Britain expressed its “total and utter condemnation” at the move. The President of the organization, Omer el-Hamdoon, said from its north London headquarters: “We openly question the basis under which this list has been compiled and we call on the UAE to explain why this questionable and objectionable decision has been taken. The action places the lives of ordinary Muslim people in danger as they may be targeted and treated as terrorists or become the victims of hate crimes.”

Issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the list included major terror groups such as al-Qaeda as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as well as regional and local affiliates and smaller regional groups.

Britons ‘liable to Sharia divorces’ in UAE

August 5, 2014

The Foreign Office has warned expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates they could face Sharia courts in divorce or child custody cases. UAE personal status law provides expatriates, even if they are not Muslim, with the right to have their case heard under the Islamic law.

It comes after a British mother lost custody of her son to her French ex-husband following a Sharia hearing. In February, Afsana Lachaux was given a suspended prison sentence in Dubai. Ms Lachaux, from London, was found guilty of kidnap charges for failing to attend an access meeting between her son and her ex-husband. The 46-year-old claims she was scared – having been the victim of domestic abuse, which her former partner strongly denies.

She told the BBC’s Asian Network had she known Sharia law could be used by non-Muslims in court cases to decide divorce and child custody, she would not have moved to the UAE. “The fact that I didn’t obey my husband, that shouldn’t be a matter to condemn… it shouldn’t be a reason to take my child away from me,” she explained. The former civil servant was branded an unfit and un-Islamic mother for refusing to obey her husband and having gay friends. It also ruled she was a bad mother as her son had eczema. “I can’t see my son now until he’s 18. I don’t even know if my son is dead or alive. [My ex-husband] got custody through false information,” she said.

Since coming back to London, she has been campaigning for the British government to provide more support to women like her in the UAE.

Tess Lorrigan, from Southampton, also lost custody of her adopted daughter, Olianne, in a Sharia court. She was deported from the UAE in 2011 having been convicted of working without her British husband’s permission.

Human Rights Watch says UAE authorities are failing to respond adequately to reports of domestic violence and is calling on the country to revise its laws to recognise domestic violence as a crime.

Mars One encourages Muslims to join red planet mission despite ‘Fatwa’

February 21, 2014

 

A fatwa issued by Gulf imams has ruled it is un-Islamic to promote or be involved in a one-way trip to the Red Planet. According to reports in the Khaleej Times, a fatwa committee under the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the UAE prohibits Muslims from being involved in such a journey as it would pose “a real risk to life” and is tantamount to suicide.

The Mars One mission aims to establish a permanent human settlement on the red planet. Crews of four will depart every two years from 2024 following an initial unmanned mission in 2018. The mission would use a worldwide reality television show to raise the estimated $6bn required to send the team to Mars and give them a chance of survival. The company behind the Mars One mission has said that Muslims should sign up for a trip to the red planet, following reports of a Fatwa against it being issued.

“Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Koran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful,” the committee, chaired by Professor Dr Farooq Hamada, said.

Volunteers were invited to apply for a ticket to Mars last year at a price of less than £30. The Mars One website states: “In a 1000 years, everyone on Earth will still remember who the first humans on Mars were. More than 200,000 men and women from around the world responded to the first call for astronauts.”

However, Mars One, a non-profit organisation that proposes to send four people to the red planet in 2022, has responded to the reports stating that the “Muslim world has for centuries had a rich tradition of exploration”. In a statement to the Telegraph, Mars One claimed the Koran “encourages Muslims to go out and see the signs of God’s creation in the ‘heavens and the earth’. The most influential example of this was the Moroccan Muslim traveller, Ibn Battuta, who from 1325 to 1355 travelled 73,000 miles, visiting the equivalent of 44 modern countries,” Mars One stated. “The mission to Mars is a road that has never been walked before, even though the first settlers will be walking in the footsteps of Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, Neil Armstrong, or any of the other great explorers in history.”

 

The Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/gulf-imams-issue-fatwa-warning-muslims-not-to-live-on-mars-as-it-would-pose-a-real-risk-to-life-9141631.html 

The Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/unitedarabemirates/10649939/Muslims-warned-in-Fatwa-not-to-live-on-Mars.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/unitedarabemirates/10654014/Mars-One-encourages-Muslims-to-join-red-planet-mission-despite-Fatwa.html

What Muslim women really want in the bedroom

Sex is taboo subject for most Muslims. However, a growing number of young Muslim women are talking about what they really want when in the bedroom. Shelina Janmohamed, author of Love in a Headscarf, explains how women are leading the way in her faith when it comes to understanding sexuality.

 

The author mentions examples such as Abdelaziz Aouragh who runs an online sex shop for Muslims, as well as how Muslim women are leading their male counterparts in the discussion about sexuality and intimacy. According to Islamic law, sex is limited to between those who are married. But when it comes to exactly what you can do, and how sex is generally discussed, Islam itself is quite open. Sex is of course for procreation, but it’s also for pleasure. This openness has been lost over time, and discussions about sex have become taboo. However, things are slowly changing.

 

The author recalls a story about a woman came to see Mohammed on her wedding night, to complain her husband was too busy praying and hadn’t come near her. The Prophet went to see the husband, admonished him for being too engrossed in religious prayer and instructed him to pay more attention to his bride.

 

Wedad Lootah is a UAE marriage counsellor who published an Arabic sex guide, Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples, on how to achieve sexual intimacy with your partner. Her book was blessed by the mufti of the UAE. But she received intense criticism.

 

There are accounts regarding pre-marital seminars, included sex education. The aim is that the young women receive this education, and criticism is kept at bay because “The girls don’t know what should be happening in their intimate lives and the men tell them to do X or Y and they don’t know any better.”

 

There are descriptions of books that Muslim women themselves are using to try to open a discussion about sexuality, its role in their identity, and their fears and aspirations. For those Muslims who want to live a chaste life, the pressures are immense especially as their surroundings are increasingly sexualised. Virginity is seen as abnormal. And rejection of ‘sexual liberation’ is seen as backward.

The article points out that if contextually appropriate teachings are not available – whether at home, in the mosque or in other social settings – then the taboos about sexuality become entrenched, lead to diminished knowledge, and pleasure or even negativity about sex.

CAIR Seeks Probe of Whether FBI Sought Torture of U.S. Muslim

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division to investigate whether an American Muslim citizen detained last year in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was tortured at the behest of the FBI.

In its letter to the DOJ, CAIR cites an exclusive report by Mother Jones magazine about the case of Yonas Fikre, an Oregon Muslim who was detained and tortured while visiting the UAE last June. The letter was also signed by Fikre’s attorney Thomas Nelson.

Fikre reports that he was “beaten on the soles of his feet, kicked and punched, and held in stress positions while interrogators demanded he ‘cooperate’ and barked questions that were eerily similar to those posed to him not long before by FBI agents and other American officials who had requested a meeting with him.”

According to Fikre’s lawyer: “When Yonas [first] asked whether the FBI was behind his detention, he was beaten for asking the question. Toward the end, the interrogator indicated that indeed the FBI had been involved.”

Fikre said he had previously rejected an FBI demand that he act as an informant. He is currently seeking asylum in Sweden because he fears what U.S. officials may do to him if he returns.

Dutch Mosque Suspends Radical Sheikh

31 March 2012

 

Sheikh Fawaz al-Jneid has been suspended from the Sunnah mosque in The Hague for at least three weeks after allegedly insulting board members and disturbing a meeting. In an interview Sheikh Fawaz commented that he does not intend to abide by the mosque’s injunction and accuses the board of trying to prevent him from speaking on political matters during Friday prayers. Meanwhile a lawyer acting on behalf of the mosque board has provided a letter proposing measures to curtail Sheikh Fawaz’s authority within the mosque.

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Sheikh Fawaz Jneid (1963) was born in Syria, trained in Saudi Arabia and became an imam in the United Arab Emirates. He left the UAE after protesting the presence of American troops in 1991, and arrived in the Netherlands where he became one of the primary figures in the Dutch salafist movement. Jneid is affiliated with the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague and is prominent at a national level for his political activity, but is not linked to violence. He has been at the center of several controversies which have received considerable attention in the national press, including his condemnation of Theo van Gogh and Hirsi Ali.

Former German diplomat and author Hofmann was selected as the Muslim personality of the year.

Former German diplomat and author Dr. Murad Wilfried Hofmann was selected as the Muslim personality of the year during a Qoran competition of Dubai International Holy Quran Award (DIHQA). Meanwhile, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will give away awards and certificates to the winners of intense competition among 77 contestants and a rich cultural programme of 35 lectures during the closing ceremony on Thursday night at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. DIHQA annually honours an Islamic figure for their immense contributions to Islam; with this year’s 13th session granted to Hofmann. DIHQA awarded earlier important figures among Islamic wolrd such as Alija Izetbegovic and Sheikh Yusuf Al-Kardavi. Dr. Hofmann, born in Aschaffenburg, Germany 1931 is well-known German diplomat and author, was born a Catholic, but embraced Islam in 1980. His conversion to Islam was controversial due to his high profile in the German government. He has authored several books on Islam, including “Journey to Makkah and Islam: The Alternative”, other works and essays which focus on Islam in the West, UAe news agency said.

Seeking Funds for Mosque in Munich

Dubai: A German from Munich came to the UAE to sell the idea of a major mosque in the heart of the city recently, but this mosque is surrounded by controversy at home, ranging from its size and location to the mere existence of a major Islamic symbol in the city. Munich is the capital of Bavaria, the heartland of Christian Germany, and home of Pope Benedict XVI. Ruled by the Christian Social Union, Bavaria is also one of eight German states that ban teachers from wearing the Islamic headscarf in school. “I guess there is a fear of Muslims arriving at the gates of Vienna again,” laughed Heinrich Klier, the Christian president of Munich’s Cultural Cooperation Committee. But we need to dispel those fears. Abbas Al Lawati reports.