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Israel banned call to prayer 298 times at key mosque

Israeli Jews walk outside the Ibrahimi Mosque, also called the Tomb of the Patriarchs, during the Jewish Passover holiday, in the West Bank city of Hebron, April 5, 2015

Israel prohibited the Muslim call to prayer 298 times in the first half of this year at a historical mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Anadolu reports.

“Occupying Israeli forces prohibited the Azan, including calls to Friday prayer, at the Ibrahimi Mosque 298 times in the first six months of 2018,” Palestinian Religious Endowments Minister Yousef Adais said Tuesday in a written statement.

He said Israel was strengthening its presence at the mosque and closed it for two consecutive days using Jewish festivals as an excuse.

He also touched on violations committed by Jewish settlers.

“The immorality and violations of Jewish settlers have also crossed the line – so much so that they organized parties with music until midnight inside the Ibrahimi Mosque. They have also set up huge camps in southern courtyards of the mosque,” Adais said.

Read: Rights groups petition Israel to end arms sale to neo-Nazi group

In June, dozens of Jewish settlers backed by Israeli police forced their way into the mosque, where they performed Talmudic rituals and held a music concert attended by senior Jewish rabbis and Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Arad.

Adais added that Israel was also interrupting restoration work at the mosque and its courtyard.

“All efforts must be made to strengthen the resistance of the people living in the region to protect the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Old City and to fight against the occupation regime and racist actions,” he stressed.

The Ibrahimi Mosque is located in Hebron’s Old City district, which is home to some 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers, with the latter living in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.

In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli-American Jewish settler, gunned down 29 Palestinian Muslims as they prayed at the mosque before being killed himself.

Since then, the mosque – believed to have been built on the tomb of Prophet Ibrahim – has been divided into a Muslim section (45 percent) and a Jewish section (55 percent).

(Source / 11.07.2018)

Top Egypt court orders temporary YouTube ban over Prophet Mohammad video

Youtube screenshot [File photo]

Egypt’s top administrative court ruled on Saturday that regulators must block the video file-sharing site YouTube for one month over a video that denigrates the Prophet Mohammad, a lawyer who filed the case told Reuters.

A lower administrative court had ordered that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology block YouTube, owned by Google, in 2013 over the video, but the case was appealed and its ruling stayed during the appeal process.

The ministry at the time said it would be impossible to enforce the ruling without also disrupting Google’s Internet search engine, incurring potentially huge costs and job losses in the Arab world’s most populous country.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was not immediately available for comment. YouTube appeared to be working in Egypt on Saturday as of 1250 GMT.

The film “Innocence of Muslims”, a low-budget 13-minute video, was billed as a film trailer and made in California with private funding. It provoked a wave of anti-American unrest in Egypt and other Muslim countries when it appeared in 2012.

Mohamed Hamid Salem, a lawyer who filed the case in 2013, said the ruling also orders that all links that broadcast the film be blocked.

The ruling is considered final and cannot be appealed.

(Source / 27.05.2018)

Charlie Hebdo joins media campaign against Muslim girl in France

Student Union Leader at Paris’ Sorbonne University, Maryam Pougetoux, stirred controversy in France after she appeared on TV wearing a headscarf

Student Union Leader at Paris’ Sorbonne University, Maryam Pougetoux, stirred controversy in France after she appeared on TV wearing a headscarf

atirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo has joined a campaign of hatred waged by politicians and media circles in against Student Union Leader at Paris’ Sorbonne University, Maryam Pougetoux, who appeared on television wearing a headscarf.

The magazine published a provocative cartoon depicting Pougetoux as monkey wearing the Muslim headscarf with the caption “they chose me to head the UNEF” (French National Student Union).

Commentators said the cartoon is the latest in the magazine’s long history of abuse against Islam and Muslims.

French Interior Minister, Gerard Collomb, stirred controversy when he criticised Pougetoux’s attire saying he was shocked to see the 19- year-old girl appear on French television, saying it is clear that young Muslims are planning to fight a cultural battle.

Meanwhile, Pougetoux defended herself in an interview, saying her headscarf has nothing to do with politics and stems from personal faith.

Maryam appeared in a documentary on French television to discuss student protests over education reforms proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

France: Jewish deputy mayor complains of ‘too many Arabs’

(Source / 25.05.2018)

Saudi Arabia closes twitter account of Makkah Imam

The Saud Arabian authorities closed the twitter account on Friday morning of Sheikh Saud Al-Shuraim, one of the Imams in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, AlKhaleejonline.com has reported.

Al-Shuraim had posted comments about political and social issues in the Kingdom and criticised what he believes are violations of Islamic teachings.

Sheikh Saud Al-Shuraim, one of the Imams in the Grand Mosque in Makkah

The Imam was born in Riyadh in 1964. He has held several senior academic positions, including the Dean and Specialist Professor at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah. He is also a judge at the High Court in the Holy City.

His fellow Imam at the Grand Mosque, which houses the Sacred Kaaba, is Sheikh Abdul Rahman As-Sudais, who is loyal to the policies of the Saudi royal family. While Al-Shuraim has been praised by Muslims within and beyond the Kingdom over his courageous stances, Al-Sudais has been criticised for his “blind” support for the ruling House of Saud, which is regarded by many as irreligious.

(Source / 07.04.2018)

Israel banned call to prayer at Ibrahimi Mosque more than fifty times in March

A view of Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, West Bank on 8 July 2017 [Issam Rimawi/ Anadolu Agency]

A view of Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, West Bank on 8 July 2017

Israel’s occupation authorities prevented the call to prayer being made at Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque at least 52 times in March, a Palestinian Authority official said on Sunday.

Religious Endowments Minister Yousef Edees pointed out that the Israelis blocked the adhaan on the pretext of reducing noise affecting the illegal Jewish settlers living in the occupied city.

“[Israel] continues to harass Muslims and prevent them from performing prayers at the honoured mosque through tightening military measures at its entrances and frequent raids,” said Edees. “These measures are a violation of the right to freedom of worship guaranteed by international law.”

He accused the Israeli occupation forces of “blackmailing” Palestinians at the gates and military checkpoints leading to Hebron’s Old City and Ibrahimi Mosque. He called upon worshippers to spend as much time as possible in the mosque in order to undermine the Israeli occupation’s nefarious plans.

PA: 96 Israel violations against Al-Aqsa, Al-Ibrahimi Mosques 

(Source / 02.04.2018)

German court bans mosque’s outdoor call to prayer

Mosque in Germany

A rainbow shines above the minaret of the DITIB Mosque in Kehl, southwestern Germany 

BERLIN (REUTERS) – A mosque in northwest Germany may no longer broadcast its Friday midday call to prayer by loudspeaker for now after a local court upheld a challenge by a couple who live nearly 1km away.

The Gelsenkirchen administrative court found that the town of Oer-Erkenschwick had not assessed the local Muslim community’s request properly in 2013, but a court spokesman said on Friday (Feb 2) that this did not prevent the mosque making a new application for a permit for the prayer calls.

The local Christian couple had argued that the call to prayers violated their own religious rights.

Anti-Muslim sentiment and support for anti-immigration policies are growing in many parts of Germany after the influx of well over a million migrants from Iraq, Syria and other mostly Muslim countries, beginning in 2015.

Huseyin Turgut, a senior official with the affected mosque, said the court’s decision was disappointing.

“The call to prayer lasts for two minutes, just around 1pm, but only on Fridays,” he said. “We’ve never had any complaints and we have German neighbours who are much closer – just 10 metres away.”

The town’s administration could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Source / 04.02.2018)

Muslim boy of 14 stabbed outside mosque in Birmingham

This image taken on September 30, 2017 shows outside the  Idaara Maarif-e-Islam mosque in Herbert Road, Small Heath, Birmingham.

This image taken on September 30, 2017 shows outside the Idaara Maarif-e-Islam mosque in Herbert Road, Small Heath, Birmingham

A teenage Muslim boy has been stabbed several times outside a mosque in Birmingham, UK, leaving the 14-year-old victim in critical condition.

Police cordoned off the crime scene in Herbert Road while specialist police teams carried out forensic investigations.

The incident occurred on Friday night when the boy was dropped off at the Idaara Maarif-e-Islam mosque, commonly known as Hussainia, by his father, who went to park the car.

“It happened on the pavement. By the time the dad parked his car his son was on the floor. There was a young man who was brutally beating the boy with a knife,” Azhar Kiana, the president of the mosque, told local media on Saturday.

“There was blood everywhere, he was hitting the boy’s neck and head. Then the attacker ran off and got into a car.”

The attack was one of several violent incidents in four cities that left two people dead and several others injured on Friday night and the early hours of Saturday.

West Midlands police said a 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on Saturday morning and is in custody.

Police said they were not treating the attack as a terrorist incident but the motivation remained unclear.

It is suspected, however, the incident could have been a racially or religiously motivated hate crime.

“Our investigation is progressing quickly but it is still in the early stages. We do not believe it to be terror-related. The motivation for the attack is not yet known. We are keeping an open mind as to whether it could be racially or religiously motivated,” said DI Jim Colclough from the complex crime investigation team at Bournville Lane police station said.

London’s Metropolitan police recorded more than 1,200 hate crime incidents against Muslim victims from April 2016 to March 2017, pointing to a surge of Islamophobia in the UK.

Last year, a Huffington Post UK poll showed more than half of Britons viewed Islam and Muslims as a threat to the liberal democratic values popular in the United Kingdom.

(Source / 01.10.2017)

Austria’s parliament bans full-face veil in public

The provision, part of a larger integration package, means those wearing the veil in public will be fined $166.

The provision is part of a larger 'integration' law [File: The Associated Press]

The provision is part of a larger ‘integration’ law

Austrian members of parliament have approved a new bill which bans garments that fully cover the face of women – the latest restriction for the country’s Muslim population.

The provision, adopted on Tuesday night, was backed by both ruling parties and means that people wearing full-face veils in public will be subject to 150-euro ($166) fines starting in October.

The measure was first announced by Austria’s coalition government in January as part of wider proposals aimed at countering the rise of the far-right, anti-Islam Freedom Party.

Farid Hafez, political scientist at the University of Salzburg and editor of The European Islamophobia Report, said the ban was just the latest move imposing restrictions on Muslims. In 2015, Austria, home to some 600,000 Muslims, passed a bill requiring imams to be able to speak German.

“This is another example of the far right becoming the hegemonic force in the public discourse,” he told Al Jazeera.

READ MORE: What the hijab means to me

The ban is part of a larger package which also forbids the distribution of the Quran and requires all migrants in Austria to participate in an “integration” year during which they take classes to learn German and ethics considered customary in Austria.

That measure is targeted at refugees and asylum seekers viewed as having a good chance of remaining in Austria.

“It will definitely empower people who have just arrived here to get acquainted with society more,” Hafez said.

“But at the end of the day, what is needed is access to the labour market. Austria has one of the most restrictive labour markets in Europe and this has not fundamentally been changed.

“So it sounds good, but the real improvement is still lacking,” he said.

Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, is the man behind the new legislation

Asylum seekers are also expected to perform unpaid public work under the new law – a proposal, supporters say, that is designed to make migrants better suited for the Austrian labour market.

Migrants refusing to take part in the integration courses or public work will see their welfare benefits cut.

The nationwide ban on full-face veils comes on the heels of a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in March, which stated that employers are entitled to ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols, a decision Muslims said was a direct attack on women wearing hijabs at work.

“The court could and should have seized the opportunity to put a halt to the multiple discriminations faced by Muslim women and protect their fundamental rights, but they chose not to,” Kim Lecoyer, president of Belgium-based Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera in reaction to the ECJ ruling.

(Source / 19.05.2017)

Rash Of Mosque Burnings Stuns American Muslims, Civil Rights Advocates

With four mosques burned in the last seven weeks and 385 anti-Muslim acts recorded just last year, the rise of Islamophobia can no longer be ignored.

Police tape marks off the burned front lobby of the Islamic Center of Palm Springs in Coachella, Calif., on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Flames were reported just after noon on Friday. The fire was contained to the small building's front lobby, and no one was injured. (AP Photo/David Martin)

Police tape marks off the burned front lobby of the Islamic Center of Palm Springs in Coachella, Calif., on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Flames were reported just after noon on Friday. The fire was contained to the small building’s front lobby, and no one was injured

While Sept. 11 is most often remembered as a day that drastically changed U.S. foreign and domestic policy, particularly due to the advent of the never-ending “War on Terror,” many American Muslims look back on the event as a major turning point in the national perception of their religion. Islamophobia, although undeniably existent prior to the attacks, began to surge throughout the United States, later spreading to other countries throughout the Western world.

Now, nearly 16 years later, Islamophobia is more prevalent than ever, thanks to years of propaganda justifying the bombing of Muslim-majority nations and the Muslim migrant crisis in the European Union, among other factors.

Indeed, 2017 – after just two months – has already become a year of high-profile Islamophobic incidents, some of which turned deadly. The most recent of these took place last week, when a man in Kansas shot two Indian men, one of whom was killed. The attacker, upon confessing to the crime, stated that he believed his victims were not Indian, but Iranian. A month prior, a Canadian man opened fire in a mosque, killing six people and wounding 19 others.

Mosque burnings have also been surprisingly common in 2017, with four mosques destroyed just in the last seven weeks. The first took place on Jan. 7, when the uncompleted Islamic Center of Lake Travis in Austin, TXcaught fire and “burned to the ground.” A week later, an Islamic Center in Bellevue, WA was badly damaged by a fire confirmed to be the work of an arsonist.

The FBI, ATF and other agencies sift through the burned remains of the Victoria Islamic Center a mosque in Victoria on Jan. 29 2017. Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The FBI, ATF and other agencies sift through the burned remains of the Victoria Islamic Center a mosque in Victoria, Texas on Jan. 29 2017

On Jan. 27, another Texas mosque was destroyed by fire, this time an Islamic Center in Victoria, TX. More recently, on Feb. 24, a fire broke out in front of the Islamic Society of New Tampa. This fire was also attributed to arson.

This has not been terribly surprising in light of the fact that 2016 was one of the worst years on record for Islamophobic acts. Last September, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stated that 2016 was set “to be one of the worst years ever for anti-mosque incidents.” A CAIR survey conducted around the same time found that 85 percent of Muslim voters believed that Islamophobia and general anti-Muslim sentiment had increased within the past year.

The Huffington Post’s Islamophobia tracker registered a total of 385 anti-Muslim acts over the course of last year, while the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 112 anti-Muslim incidents just between Nov. 9 and Dec. 12 last year.

Despite the fact that 2017’s anti-Muslim violence has been part of an existing trend, American Muslims and their advocates have been stunned nonetheless by the uptick. “In normal times, I will see one to two mosque incidents of any type per month, and rarely is it arson,” Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, told Buzzfeed.

Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, echoed Saylor’s words, stating that “We’ve never seen four mosques burned within seven weeks of each other. It’s part of a whole series of dramatic attacks on Muslims. […] The short answer is we haven’t seen anything like this in the past.”

(Source / 04.03.2017)

Young White Men Are Being Radicalized. It’s Time To Talk About It

As Trump pitches fight against ‘Islamic terrorists’, where is the alarm over disenfranchised men being lured into white supremacist movements?

Richard Spencer, the founder of the so-called “alt-right” movement, an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism. (AP Photo)

Richard Spencer, the founder of the so-called “alt-right” movement, an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism

White supremacy swept to power the day Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. His most ardent supporters championed him across the world. For them, Trump signaled the resurgence of white male dominance and they weren’t ashamed to celebrate it.

The Southern Poverty Law Center documented 1,094 hate related incidences in the US since the first month of Trump’s election victory

Their influence is growing. Following Trump’s executive order to ban citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US – a decree overturned by federal courts – white nationalists took to Reddit to express their joy. Trump, it seemed, was the real deal.

One user even said that he was so proud of Trump that he couldn’t possibly “raise his right arm any higher” – a reference to the Nazi salute.

These posts aren’t anecdotal. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented 1,094 hate-related incidences in the US since the first month of Trump’s election victory. In 37 percent of all cases, there was a direct reference to Trump or something he said.

The SPLC has also counted 892 hate groups in the US, the clear majority of which espouse white supremacist views.

Many of these movements are active on gaming networks and internet forums such as Stormfront, which has become a breeding ground for far right-wing extremists.

Now, the White House is presenting racism as an acceptable ideology, resulting in the radicalization of young white men across the world.

It’s time we talk about it.

Richard Spencer is a self-declared “white nationalist” who founded the Alt-Right – Alternative Right – movement in 2010. He has erecently kicked off a tour of college campuses to recruit new members who are disillusioned with the Republican political establishment.

In 2015, Muslims experienced a 67 percent increase in hate crimes directed towards them

At its core, the Alt-Right claims to protect white people from an unfolding “cultural genocide” perpetrated by the empowerment of feminists and people of colour. But who is supposed to protect everybody else from bigots like Spencer?

In 2015, the FBI reported that out of the 2,125 hate crime offences recorded against blacks, white people were the perpetrators 58 percent of the time. Whites, on the other hand, were victims in only 10 percent of the total of 5,850 reported incidences.

Meanwhile, Muslims experienced a 67 percent increase in hate crimes directed towards them in the same time frame. Anti-Semitic attacks remained the most frequent.

The real figures could be much higher since many states don’t report hate crimes to the FBI. That’s only part of the problem. The fact the White House is propagating hate speech is more worrying.

Lecia Pickett, the outreach director for SPLC, said that their centre has started a programme on college campuses to try and safeguard young white men from radicalisation. She also emphasised the importance of engaging with Republican groups who sponsor talks by people like Spencer.

“[Minorities] are very concerned with the increase of anti-Semitism and anti-feminism,” Lecia told MEE.

“[America] just can’t afford to backtrack on these things. [SPLC] is speaking on campuses all the time and speaking to administrators as well.”

Despite the efforts of groups like SPLC, propaganda is difficult to counter.

Last year, Breitbart News – an Alt-Right outlet that Trump promoted during his campaign – experienced a considerable spike in traffic from 13 million to 19 million visitors.

The resurgence of Nazi aspirations hasn’t compelled governments to seriously ponder how to safeguard young white men from extremism – unlike the hysteria that follows people of colour and Muslims when a crime is committed in their name

Such platforms and the leaders who endorse them are radicalising people beyond the US. That much was clear after a white French-Canadian student stepped into an Islamic Cultural Centre late last month and killed six men for no reason other than their faith.

It was later revealed that the shooter supported Trump and the far-right French politician Marine Le Pen.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the killing a terrorist attack. However, the resurgence of Nazi aspirations hasn’t compelled governments to seriously ponder how to safeguard young white men from extremism – unlike the hysteria that follows people of colour and Muslims when a crime is committed in their name.

That trend is certain to continue. Donald Trump’s administration is already pushing to remove neo-Nazis and white supremacists from the US governmment’s counter-extremism programme. Instead, they want to concentrate solely on “Islamic terrorists” and change the name of the programme from ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ to ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism’.

Never mind an FBI report, written more than 10 years ago, that warned about white supremacists groups infiltrating local and state law enforcement. The disturbing truth is that they won’t have to look over their shoulder as long as Trump is in charge.

If only the same can be said about young black men who continue to be profiled, harassed and killed by the police.

The banality of Trump

Many Trump supporters, while understandably fed up with the corrupt political establishment, failed to combat the bigotry of their candidate.

His campaign catered to the most extreme prejudices of white America. The nation’s racist past appeared to be an afterthought for his supporters. Not much has changed in the first weeks of his presidency.

The latest Reuters opinion poll reported that more people supported Trump’s executive order to ban Muslims than opposed it. Opinions were divided almost entirely along political party lines.

That’s not to say that everyone who agrees with Trump is radicalised. But it does suggest that people are buying into the fears being fed to them.

Trump is shoving a vision of the world – deprived of nuance and tolerance – down the throats of anyone willing to swallow it.

His tactics aren’t new. The Jewish German political theorist, Hannah Arendt, once wrote: “the sad truth is that most evil is done by those who never make up their minds to be good or evil”.

These words couldn’t be more relevant. Trump’s administration is counting on their most passive supporters to approve presidential decrees while hoping those who resist eventually normalise the unacceptable.

If that happens, white supremacy will thrive in the wake of indifference.

(Source / 18.02.2017)