Will the French government’s anti-jihad campaign be effective?

The French government began a campaign aimed at dissuading young Frenchmen from leaving France to fight in Syria and launched a video to combat jihadism. The video is primarily aimed at showing the “myths surrounding jihadism” by explaining what awaits them as foreign fighters. To combat the propaganda used by ISIL and rebel groups the video contrasted the promises made by jihadi recruiters with the harsh reality: war, violence and massacres.

It targets both young men and women. One line says, “They tell you: come make a family with one of our heroes. In reality, you will raise your children in the midst of war and terror.” The film ends with: “The indoctrination speeches made by jihadists lead to new victims every day,” followed by the hash tag #stopdjihadisme. The site contains several other sections, such as “Understand the terror threat,” “Decipher jihadist propaganda,” and “React-The state’s action,” and “Mobilize-Together.”

Each section is composed of several chapters containing interviews with experts, explanations, historical references and links to other sites. For example, anthropologist Dounia Bouzar explains how the Internet’s popularity allows jihadi recruiters to establish contacts, especially with young people.

“We are going to widely circulate this video on social networking sites in order to reach the most people who might be influenced by these claims and these sirens. We hope to create shock among them. And the site proposes solutions, remedies, and help for young people, their families and their friends,” said Christian Gravel, director of the Government Information Services. (SIG)

“Do they think they’ll scare or dissuade with such a site?” Asked Florian Philipport, Vice President of the FN. “Is this a firm enough response to the grave danger to which France is exposed? This communication operation only serves to mask the blatant inaction of those with political power,” he said.

In a Midi Libre poll, 71.6% of respondents said they don’t believe the government’s anti-jihad initiative will be effective, 18.6% think it will be, and 9.8% didn’t have an opinion.

Islam/ A Letter to Napolitano (the newly re-elected president): Guarantees or we will take to the piazzas

A Letter from the Islamic Community to Napolitano (the Newly re-elected President). Italian piazzas have become spaces of heated tensions where popular discontent is most visible. Today, on behalf of the Italian Islamic community Sharif Lorenzini, Vice President of the Islamic Community in Puglia wrote a letter to Giorgio Napolitano, the newly re-elected president. Lorenzini has become the face of resistance against Muslim hostility including leading the charge against those who call for Muslims to leave Italy. Lorenzini called for Napolitano to eliminate all forms of social tensions. If the tensions are not addressed, Muslims will protest in Piazzas across Italy according to Lorenzini.

Obama, Biden attend inaugural prayer service at Washington National Cathedral

Some 2,200 guests filled the Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday morning for the inaugural prayer service, a tradition as old as the country itself.The service is meant to provide a spiritual boost to the newly sworn-in president. Prominent national clergy — from the Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh traditions — will offer prayers to Obama, who is accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Jill Biden.“The reason we come together to pray is because we want the best for our country,” said Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of the Washington Catholic  archdiocese, as he entered the cathedral early Tuesday. “We pray for our president, we pray for our vice president. We pray for our leaders as we move forward.”Among those participating in the service at the cathedral are: Wuerl; the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America and leader of the Sterling mega-mosque All Dulles Area Muslim Society; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of rabbis from Judaism’s Conservative movement; and the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Azkuna adverts that opening Praying Centers without a permit could damage the coexistence

08 May 2012
The mayor of Bilbao, Inaki Azkuna has adverted the Basque Government that the Law of the Praying Centers (allows religious groups under the number of 300 people to be able to edify their own Praying Center without the City Hall permission) will generate more security and integration problems. Also Javier Maroto, Vice-President of the Eudel (Basque City Halls Association) has affirmed that his organization will not keep quiet in front of a norm that will allow “mosques to be open like mushrooms”.

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.

Bush Says U.S. Stands With Muslims

The United States has a proud history of standing with Muslims and “mainstream citizens across the broader Middle East,” President Bush said Thursday during a dinner to mark the end of the daily fast during Ramadan. Speaking to about 90 attendees during the White House’s annual iftar dinner marking the occasion, Bush said the United States has supported Muslims seeking liberty in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon and has stood with Muslims across the world facing hardship. He said violent extremists do not represent Islam. “They believe that by spreading chaos and violence they can frustrate the desire of Muslims to live in freedom and peace. We say to them, you don’t represent Muslims, you do not represent Islam – and you will not succeed,” Bush told the attendees, who included Muslim leaders and ambassadors, as well as first lady Laura Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Intellectuals Condemn Mohammed Caricatures

Influential figures from the world of politics and the arts added their voices to the protests by Muslims worldwide over the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that were published in the European media as the holiest day for Shiites, Ashura, was observed in various countries. Polish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa condemned the publication of a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed by a top-shelf Polish national daily newspaper. The legendary freedom fighter of the 1980s anti-communist Solidarity trade union criticized the “disturbing activities of media in Poland, propagating texts impinging on the good principles of respect and value for religious convictions … which strike Muslims in a painful manner.” Two Nobel Prize-winning authors blasted the media that published the caricatures as irresponsible or arrogant in interviews with the Spanish daily El Pais. “It would not be a question of censoring oneself, but of using common sense,” said Portugal’s Jose Saramago, winner of the 1998 literature Nobel. “This was a conscious and planned provocation by a right-wing Danish newspaper,” said German Guenter Grass, who took the Nobel Prize in 1999. Grass described the Danish publishers of the caricatures as “xenophobic right-wing radicals” and the subsequent violent Muslim protests as “a fundamentalist response to a fundamentalist act.” “Where does the West take that arrogance to impose what must and must not be done?” Grass asked, stressing the relativity of the freedom of opinion in the West where the media are controlled by conglomerates “monopolizing the public opinion.” Others called for a redefinition of the freedom of expression that incorporates “standardized” universally-accepted religious taboos, prominent Muslim scholars said. “There are religious axioms which are enshrined in the well- established international norms and conventions, and the Western world does know they should be respected,” said Ibrahim Ezzedine, chairman of Jordan’s state-run Higher Media Council. The condemnation came as hundreds of thousands of Shiites and followers of the Hezbollah movement marched through the streets of Beirut’s southern suburbs in protest against the caricatures. Several thousand South African Muslims staged a demonstration in the streets of Cape Town. The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), the body that organized the march, handed to Danish Ambassador Torben Brylle a memorandum calling on the Danish government to apologize to Muslims around the world. Protests were also planned for Hong Kong, the city’s 70,000-strong Muslim community has announced. Meanwhile in Denmark, the newspaper at the centre of the ongoing row refuted reports that it planned to publish anti-Semitic or anti- Christian caricatures, the chief editor said Thursday. Jyllands-Posten’s editor Carsten Juste’s statement was published on the newspaper’s website after a Danish television channel reported that publication was pending this Sunday. Websites have in recent days been set up in Denmark and elsewhere offering people a chance to send an apology to Muslims offended by Jyllands-Posten’s publication as one group of Arab and Muslim youths apologized for the violence that followed the caricatures. The government continued efforts to defuse the crisis Thursday. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen was “prepared to listen to all proposals,” a Rasmussen aide told Deutsche Presse- Agentur but was unable to meet Thursday with a parliamentary deputy of Turkish origin to discuss an idea of Turkey mediating in the ongoing row over the controversial Mohammed cartoons. In a related development, Aarhus police said they would not pursue a complaint of blasphemy filed against Jyllands-Posten over the publication last September of the controversial caricatures. In Norway, the Muslim al-Jinah Foundation filed a police complaint against Vebjorn Selbekk, chief editor of Christian weekly Magazinet that recently reprinted the Mohammed caricatures. In Iran, Vice President Isfandiar Rahim Mashaee denied US accusations that his country was inflaming Muslim anger against the West over the caricatures. “It’s a lie, 100 per cent baseless,” Mashaee told reporters after meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Vice President Yusuf Kalla, in Jakarta. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday accused Iran and Syria of stoking anti-Western sentiment among Muslims for their own purposes. Attempts to publish the controversial caricatures in the Muslim world have met fierce opposition. Malaysian cabinet members demanded the immediate suspension of a major newspaper after it reprinted the caricatures. The editor of the English-language Sarawak Tribune had resigned Sunday after admitting to approving the publication of the caricatures. Station directors, editors and journalists were suspended from their posts at two Algerian television stations because their news programmes showed the Mohammed caricatures. An American university professor in the United Arab Emirates was fired after distributing among her students a copy of the caricatures, saying her action was within the rights of “freedom of opinion and expression.” Protests in the Muslim world took a back seat as Shiites celebrated their holiest festival, Ashura, that commemorates the martyrdom of Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussein, who they believe to be the prophet’s true successor. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shiites marched in the holy city of Karbala in tribute to Hussein who was killed in battle there in the year 680. Clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the western Afghan city of Herat left at least four people dead, while violence also clouded Ashura commemorations in Pakistan, where at least 12 people were killed and 20 wounded when two bombs ripped through a procession of Shiite Muslims in the Hangu district of North-Western Frontier Province, 245 kilometres west of Islamabad.