Kansas fraternity expels 4 members for mocking Muslims

A fraternity at the University of Kansas has kicked out four members who admitted involvement in a video posted on social media that mocks Muslims.  The fraternity statement said the members admitted their involvement, leading the organization to invoke a “strict zero-tolerance policy” regarding racism, discrimination and prejudice.
Zeta Beta Tau chapter president Jason Finkelstein said Wednesday that the traditionally Jewish fraternity learned of the video April 10 and expelled the members the next day. The student paper obtained the clip, which shows a man wrapped in a blanket with his face and head covered. He can be heard saying “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great” as others laugh.

US Teen Attracted to IS Sentenced to Prison on Gun Charge

A South Carolina teenager who authorities say was attracted to the Islamic State group and who was plotting to kill U.S. troops in North Carolina has been sentenced to five years in juvenile prison on a state gun charge, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Officials told media outlets the 16-year-old is an American citizen whose family is from Syria. They didn’t release his name.

The prosecutor said the boy was plotting with a Muslim militant from North Carolina to rob a gun store near Raleigh, North Carolina, with plans of killing soldiers as revenge for U.S. military action in the Middle East.

A Tour Of The United States, One Mosque At A Time

A filmmaker and a stand-up comic get in a car with the “half-baked” idea to visit 30 mosques in 30 days.  “The mission was to tell interesting and compelling stories about Muslims in America,” Ali, the 29-year-old stand-up comic, told The Huffington Post. “There is no monolithic story of our community.”
What Ali and Tariq stumbled upon was the well-documented but little-known history of Muslims in the United States, a history that dates back at least to the 17th century. They were getting to see firsthand what President Barack Obama spoke about in February, during his closing remarks at the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism: “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”
“We’re a kick-ass community,” he said, “and we want to showcase this.”

France against Jihad 2.0: How the Islamic State Recruits

On April 19 Olivier Toscer’s documentary, Djihad 2.0, premiered on the Grand écran series on LCP.


As the Islamic State continues to gain recruits, France is the first target of jihad. There is an estimated 1,500 young Frenchmen fighting in Syria and Iraq for the Islamic State.


Throughout the documentary Olivier Toscer attempts to understand how the Islamic States convinces recruits to leave their homes and join them. Additionally, what role does social media play in radicalization?


The screening was followed by a debate led by journalist Emilie Aubry. Olivier Toscer, joined by Sebastien Pietrasanta, socialist MP of Hauts-de-Seine and member of the surveillance committee of jihadist networks, and political scientist Abdelasiem El Digraoui, author of Al Quada par l’image, discussed what counter measures can be implemented.

Review: ‘Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity,’ Young New Yorkers Tell Their Stories

Mr. Dehqan, who turned 19 last week, is one of five young New Yorkers who tell their stories at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City. Seated at music stands, they are a chorus of voices gently demolishing the notion of Muslim culture as monolithic.
Directed by Mr. Chong, “Beyond Sacred” addresses a topic that feels very much of the moment. But that has been true for most of these performers’ lives, which is a large part of the point. All of them were children when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks took place. All but Mr. Dehqan, who arrived in this country in 2013, remember a sudden shift in the way they were perceived.

François Hollande explains the difference between Charlie Hebdo and Dieudonné

During an episode of Le Supplement, Francois Hollande debated with a group of five high schoolers. The students, who were not all Muslims, called out the newspaper for being Islamophobic and argued there was a double-standard concerning Charlie Hebdo and comedian Dieudonné.


“In France, we can mock religion. It’s even a principle of freedom. There is no prohibition of blasphemy in French law like there is in other countries. However, no one has the right to spread hate. That’s why Charlie, when there was a doubt, was brought before the courts and was not convicted, and why Dieudonné, due to certain circumstances, after certain remarks, was convicted,” Hollande said. He even distinguished between “freedom of expression pushed to its limits” and “advocating hatred.”


One of the students responded, “Should we hide laughing at Dieudonné? Should we be ashamed of liking his shows?” Surprised, Hollande responded: “We must think…why do we laugh at that? When he dresses up as a Nazi and says we must kills Jews, is it funny?” He continued, “If he mocked Hitler, it’s not a problem. If he mocks Jews who escaped concentration camps or who died in gas chambers, that is advocating hatred.”



Book by Charlie Hebdo editor published posthumously

In a short book by Charlie Hebdo editor Charb – whose real name is Stéphane Charbonnier – expressed concern that the fight against racism is being replaced by a struggle against “Islamophobia,” which he argued defends Islam more than it does Muslims.


He also defended Charlie Hebdo, which stirred outrage in much of the Muslim world after publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on numerous different occasions.

“One day, for a laugh, I will have to publish all the threats I received at Charlie Hebdo,” Charb wrote.


In the book, which is titled “Letter to the Islamophobia swindlers who play into the hands of racists,” Charb asked why Islamophobia, which technically means “fear of Islam,” is being used to denounce hatred of Muslims and wondered why “Muslimophobia” is not used instead, or simply “racism.”


He argued that “a lot of those who campaign against Islamophobia don’t actually do it to defend Muslims as individuals, but to defend Prophet Mohammed’s religion.”


He blamed the media for helping popularize the term, because “any scandal that contains the word ‘Islam’ in its title sells.”


“A terrorist is scary, but if you add that he’s an Islamist, everyone wets themselves,” he wrote.


Charb also questioned organized religion, and particularly some of its followers.

“To be afraid of Islam is without a doubt moronic, absurd and many other things as well, but it’s not an offense,” he wrote. “The problem isn’t the Qur’an, nor the Bible, [two] badly written, incoherent and soporific novels, but the believer who reads the Qur’an or the Bible like one reads an instruction manual on how to assemble an Ikea shelf.”


He defended Charlie Hebdo‘s controversial depictions of the Prophet over the years, which have been criticized as Islamophobic.


“By what twisted logic is humor less compatible with Islam than with any other religion? … If we let it be understood that we can laugh at everything except certain aspects of Islam because Muslims are much more susceptible than the rest of the population, isn’t that discrimination?”


“It’s time to end this disgusting paternalism of the white, bourgeois, intellectual ‘left’ who seek to exist among the ‘unfortunate, under-educated poor,’” he wrote.


He also chillingly wrote about a list published by the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Inspire magazine in 2013, which identified 11 people wanted “dead or alive” for committing “crimes against Islam”.


“I find my name, badly spelled but accompanied by a photo where you can recognize my alarmed face” — a picture he said was taken when the newspaper’s offices were burnt down in 2011 shortly after a special edition was published under the banner “Charia Hebdo.”

“The skillful montage is titled ‘YES WE CAN’ and below you can read: ‘a bullet a day keeps the infidel away.’”

French Muslim Soccer Player Decries Islamophobia

Sharing his journey to Islam two decades after reciting the shahadah, French Muslim soccer player Nicolas Anelka decried the increasing occurrences of Islamophobia and discrimination against North Africans in France.

“French people of North African origin try to make things work for them, but French society keeps them in check. There are a lot of obstacles in the way,” said Anelka. “For example if you send a CV with the ‘wrong zip code’ and a Muslim sounding name then you won’t be considered for a job. Only in France do you need to hide your name and picture in the hope of getting work. Such a degree of discrimination is unacceptable.”

According to France’s National Observatory Against Islamophobia, more than 214 separate acts of anti-Muslim behavior were recorded in the first month after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, more than in all of 2014.

Discussing his reversion to Islam, Anelka said: “I was sixteen when I converted to Islam. Beyond the fraternal aspect, my conversion did not change my life. I was already living by the same principles – being righteous, having values… I used to fast during Ramadan because I admired the people fasting around me.”

He continued: “What made me convert was that I had that certainty that Islam was for me. I felt this relationship with God, and that enlightened my life. I had that conviction in my heart that that was my religion.”

Anelka recently moved to North Africa where he works as a consultant for the Algerian soccer club NA Hussein Dey. “I’m very excited about developing Algerian soccer. Right now it is mainly represented by Frenchmen of Algerian background who play in France, the Netherlands, and the UK… I’d like to set up coaching academies in Algeria,” he said.

“The biggest challenge is to train youngsters, and build up the foundation of the game. Once the basis is in place, the rest follows,”

Anelka reverted to Islam in 1994 in the United Arab Emirates, adopting the Muslim name of Abdul-Salam Bilal. “I have an affinity with Algeria, because I grew up with plenty of Algerian friends in the suburbs of Paris,” he said.

“We had lots in common, including Islam. In fact, people kept telling me that I had an Algerian character. I was very touched by that because they are a very proud people. I’m proud but not arrogant.”

Praising Algerian players, the soccer play said: “Algerian players have great qualities, especially their technical game. It seems to be innate in Algerian soccer.”

“It really is an art. Algerians are above average when it comes to technique, but there are shortcomings, which need to be worked on. I simply want to transmit my knowledge on soccer to Algerian youngsters and inspire them. Algerian soccer reminds me of the style of Brazilian soccer.”

#Nietmijnislam faces difficulties finding place for meeting

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks an online initiative called #nietmijnislam (#notmyislam) arose spontaneously. The group distances itself from extremist Islam and favours dialogue, but found it really difficult to find a place for their first gathering in real life.

Acccording to one of the initiators Mostafa Hilali one of mentioned reasons for a organization in The Hague to annul the appointment was ‘controversial persons’ being related to #nietmijnislam. Their source was GeenStijl (a website known for its’ inflammatory and sarcastic way of bringing ‘news’, without taking political correctness and journalistic principles into serious consideration). Later on the organization denied the reason being a fear for radical Muslims and explained that Hilali was spoken to by someone who was no part of the decision process. Another argument is that safety cannot be guaranteed.

Lodewijk Asscher, minister Social Affairs, regrets the difficulties #nietmijnislam faces, stating that an initiative like #nietmijnislam is just what is needed in a time wherein a lot of people are afraid of terrorism. Asscher emphasizes the importance of an ongoing dialogue on religion and tensions in the rest of the world.

In the end #nietmijnislam was able to arrange a meeting with help of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Work.