Legislators pass bill that had been nixed over Islamic law

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Legislature approved federally mandated child support rules Monday, undoing a rejection that had jeopardized U.S. involvement in an international treaty and threatened to collapse the state’s payment system.

Idaho’s rejection last month — by one vote on the last day of the legislative session over fears it could subject the U.S. courts to rulings made elsewhere under Islamic law — threatened an international effort intended to make it easier for parents to receive funds.

Dutch parliamentary member calls for “closure of all mosques” [VIDEO]

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Zaandam, the Netherlands. (AFP)
Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Zaandam, the Netherlands. (AFP)

Beneath one will find a link to the full speech in the Dutch Parliament by PVV member Machiel de Graaf on the suggested “closure of all mosques” in the Netherlands (with English subtitles). These and other statements on Islam have sparked controversy throughout the country.

[See Full Speech Here]

Con Ed Sells Building Near Ground Zero Where Plans for Mosque Caused Uproar

August 21, 2014

Consolidated Edison, which once owned the nuclear reactors at Indian Point, has finally unloaded a property that may have been the source of even more controversy.

The utility company notified state regulators this week that it had sold the site of a proposed Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan that came to be known as the “ground zero mosque.” Con Edison has not used the building since 1969, but the company got caught in the uproar over the proposal when it surfaced nearly five years ago.

By then, Con Edison had been nothing more than the landlord for the building at 49-51 Park Place, about two blocks north of the World Trade Center. It was close enough to the twin towers destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, that a wing flap from one of the crashed jets was found there last year.

That proximity to a place where more than 2,700 people were killed by terrorists set off a national debate about the plan for a mosque and Islamic cultural center on the property. The developer, Soho Properties, eventually abandoned that idea and now plans to build a three-story museum dedicated to Islam on the Con Ed site and a condominium tower on an adjacent lot, 45 Park Place, Roxanne Donovan, a spokeswoman for the developer, said on Wednesday. (The museum would contain a sanctuary for prayer services.)

That plan has been years in the making and it is still not clear if Sharif El-Gamal, the chief executive of Soho Properties, has the financing necessary to move forward. But he cleared one of the hurdles at the end of July, when he bought the Con Edison property for $10.7 million, Ms. Donovan said.

Even that transaction was fraught, though. Soho Properties had been leasing the property until it decided in 2010 to buy it from Con Ed. The utility set the price at $10.7 million, but the developer challenged that valuation in court. After a judge in State Supreme Court in Manhattan confirmed the valuation, the developer appealed.

In a statement issued by Ms. Donovan, Mr. El-Gamal said: “We are pleased to have concluded a complex acquisition from Con Edison allowing us to complete the assemblage for our upcoming developments at Park Place. This further exemplifies our strength as a buyer of real estate from institutional sellers.”

The latest proposal for the Con Ed site, disclosed in late April, called for a “museum and sanctuary space” designed by the architect Jean Nouvel and “dedicated to exploring the faith of Islam and its arts and culture.”

At the time, Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman for Mr. El-Gamal, said the developer was not anticipating an outcry similar to the one that erupted over his plan for a much larger Islamic community center and prayer space.

Muslim associations demand better protection for mosques after repeating assaults

August 24, 2014

A new episode of assaults against mosques has shocked Muslim communities last week in Germany. Furthermore, a Jewish synagogue was attacked in Wuppertal. A prayer room and samples of Koran books were burning in a mosque in Bielefeld. The next day, firefighters turned off fire in a new constructed mosque in Berlin. Perpetrators attacked again the mosque in Bielefeld burning Koran books. The police expects a political motivation for the recent assaults. Eight days ago, after the first assault, police authorities excluded every hint or suspicion regarding a xenophobic, political or religious motivation.

The chairman of the association ´League of Islamic communities in Bielefeld´ (BIG) Cemil   Şahinöz, showed had understanding for the hasty conclusions of the police. The goal of the perpetrators would be “maximal destruction”. The signs of the assaults would be evident. The mosque communities would be “deeply disappointed” by the lack of solidarity within German society. According to Şahinöz, racism would flourish when the majority of society would keep silent. The chairman of BIG called politicians and the public to break their silence.

The speaker of the coordination council of Muslims (KRM) Ali Kizilkaya called the society to stand united. Kizilkaya condemned the assaults against mosques asking security authorities to do everything possible to arrest the perpetrators and to protect the mosques. He regretted the low amount of solidarity with Muslims. Statement defining “Islam as part of Germany” would be meaningless without solidarity in such critical moments. Nevertheless Kizilkaya welcomed the visits Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) to the attacked and burned Mevlana mosque in Berlin.

During his visit at the Mevlana mosque, SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel condemned the assaults underlining that criticism against the terror organization ´Islamic State´ would not target Muslims and Islam. “Islam is a part of Germany” Gabriel repeated. The chairman of the the central council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek asked for more protection of mosques and called for a united society across Muslims and non-Muslims. Fazli Atin, president of the Islamic federation in Berlin, welcomed the visit of Gabriel as a clear sign for Muslims, showing that they would not be left alone with these assaults.

A mosque in Tarragona attacked with a Molotov cocktail

August 22, 2014

 

A mosque located in Tarragona has been attacked with a Molotov cocktail which caused “limited damage”.  The leaders of the mosque have had knowledge of the attack by a call made by the Fire Department. At the time of the attack there was no one inside.
The Autonomous Police, will now try to clarify who were the perpetrators of the attack and whether the motivations had a religious background.

Riay Tatary, President of the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain, when asked about whether it said: “this is done to create an atmosphere of confusion and rejection about the Muslims in Spain.”

She described Islam as “filth”: 3,000 Euro fine

Former teacher and current president of an extreme-right association, Christine Tasin was fined 3,000 Euros on August 8 in Belfort after she made “insulting remarks against Islam” during the celebration of Aid-el-Kebir. She was charged with “incitement of racial hatred.”

Tasin made these comments on October 15, 2013 in Belfort during an exchange with Muslims. “Yes I’m Islamophobic, so what? I’m proud of my hate for Islam. Islam is filth…it’s a danger to France.” Her statement, which was filmed and posted on YouTube, occurred in front of a slaughterhouse that was installed for the ritual sacrifice during Aid-el-Kebir.

The Organization Against Racism and Islamophobia soon filed a complaint against Tasin. When she appeared in court on July 2 she was dressed in blue, white and red and made no attempt to deny her remarks. Prosecutors in Belfort stated that the words were “likely to incite rejection of Muslims by referring to them as a threat to France.” She received a three months suspended prison sentence and a 3,000 Euro fine. Tasin’s lawyer Joseph Scipilliti announced that his client would appeal the decision. “I find this judgment incomprehensible,” he said, “These are negative comments about Islam and not Muslims.”

Immigration Street will show ‘thriving’ community

July 29, 2014

“Immigration Street”, a follow-up to Benefits Street, is being filmed in Southampton, despite residents campaigning against it. Channel 4 and Love Productions were criticised for showing people on benefits in a negative way in their previous programme. Mohammed Afzal Khan, secretary of nearby Abu Bakr Mosque on Argyle Road, agreed to be filmed and told BBC Asian Network: “This is a thriving community; there are Asians here and Polish. So far they have asked me questions about Islam and Muslims in general and about this mosque, which have been positive and I am pleased to be taking part.”

At the meeting Kieran Smith, creative director of Love Productions, said: “We would never come and film a series in order to cause division, or where there is harmony, cause disharmony.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur, who grew up in the area, said: “Just like me, the majority of people who live in Derby Road are not first generation immigrants. They will be second or third generation. This begs the question, at what point do me and my neighbours stop being classed or considered as immigrants and start being considered British?”

Muslim residents sue U.S. over citizenship denials

August 1, 2014

Five long-time U.S. residents who are Muslim or from Muslim-majority countries sued the federal government on Thursday, saying the Department of Homeland Security was unfairly denying or delaying requests for citizenship and permanent residency on vague security grounds.

The plaintiffs, all immigrants who are either practicing Muslims or are from predominantly Muslim nations, complain their immigration or naturalization petitions were illegally thwarted after they were flagged for potential national security concerns under a federal program.

They complained that the criteria for flagging applications under the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP) were secretive and broader than authorized by the U.S. Congress, essentially creating an immigration blacklist.

The ACLU said the five plaintiffs were among thousands of U.S. residents of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim or South Asian backgrounds who are similarly being blocked from citizenship, asylum, green cards and visas, without explanation.

The plaintiffs include Ahmad and Reem Muhanna, Palestinian Muslims and U.S. legal permanent residents whose 2007 citizenship application was denied in 2012 and is under appeal.

Fellow plaintiff Ahmed Hassan, a Muslim refugee from Somalia, has been seeking legal permanent residency since 2006.

The lawsuit comes a month after a federal judge ruled that the government’s no-fly list banning people accused of links to terrorism from commercial flights was unconstitutional because it left them no way to contest that decision.

Letter to Natacha Polony: the “Muslim youth” of her fantasies doesn’t exist

On July 28, 2014, journalist Natacha Polony wrote a letter in the Figaro addressed to a “young Muslim compatriot.” The letter was “vague and abstract, and feeds without doubt a traditional fantasy, that of a homogenous and reified Muslim community, stuck between ‘the balance of rights and responsibilities for the old country.””

The article’s writers-Nadia Hemmi-Moulai, Hanane Karimi, and Fatima Khemilat- argue that the figure that Natacha addresses does not exist. “To invent a person is not to have dialogue, to exchange or to interact, it’s to fantasize, to speculate and to make remarks to which the figure can neither respond to nor refute.” There are over five million people in France with Muslim origins, “that would be a lot of people to talk to!”

The writers contend that Polony’s article implies that the Muslim youth should be responsible, under the pretext of a communal Islam, for every atrocity committed by those “on the other side of the planet.” The remarks Polony makes on the Christians persecuted in Iraq, Tariq Ramadan or the Syrian “jihadists,” demonstrates a growing tendency to express “a negative solidarity and a collective responsibility of ‘Arab-Muslims.’”

The three authors point to the similarities between Polony’s description of an “Arab-Muslim” society that is “full of freedom, intelligence and sensuality” and Edward Said’s chronicles, of the East’s “romanticism.” The three authors argue that within this context, French Muslims will then be asked to choose between two beliefs that are presented as contradictory: that of a citizen in the public sphere and a religious believer in the private sphere.

Natacha Polony refers to the “young Muslim compatriot” in the less formal verbal address, “tu” rather than “vous.” “This skewed relaxation is reminiscent of the ‘little negro’ of paternalistic language” the article argues. The authors state that Polony speaks from a position of privilege: college professor and essayist, which promotes the problematic figure of the “Muslim youth.”

“The never-ending episode of the three students refusing to read the text of Genesis, the amalgamation and infantilization of the devotees of Islam…is who she claims to educate. How can she reproach adolescents for a lack of understanding of secularism when a large number of journalists and politicians use it as a tool of discrimination?” they ask.

The article concludes: “If ignorance was a threat to secularism, certain members of the journalistic body would unfortunately be the flag bearers.”

Germany: Assaults on Mosques and Anti-Muslim Racism

July 2014

In a recent interview Aiman A. Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, emphasized the increase of anti-Muslim racism in Germany. Mazyek stressed that assaults on mosques have increased in significant ways and urged to address this issue. First and foremost it would be necessary to accurately capture anti-Muslim racism. For this, it would be essential to have a distinct category which captures anti-Muslim offences. Other than that he suggested to implement special departments in political-administrative bodies of the state, dealing with and monitoring anti-Muslim racism in Germany.

In a different incident Nicolaus Fest, vice editor-in-chief for Bild am Sonntag, forwarded Islamophobe and anti-Muslim comments leading to a public outcry about his racist theses. In an op-ed article Nicolaus Fest not only stereotyped Muslim youth as being criminal in general, but equated Islam with oppressing women and homosexuals as well as encouraging forced marriage and honor killings. The editors-in-chief of the tabloid newspaper Bild, Kai Diekmann and Marion Horn, distanced themselves from these comments.