“We worden moslim door onbewust halalvlees te eten”

Nu in Australië de zomer en het bijhorende barbecueseizoen aanbreekt, vond federaal parlementslid Luke Simkins het de hoogste tijd om te waarschuwen voor een sluipende dreiging. De mandataris van de Liberal Party of Australia meent dat we allemaal bekeerd worden tot de islam door onbewust halalvlees op de rooster te leggen.

Tijdens een toespraak voor de parlementsleden beschuldigde Simpkins de vleesproducenten en grootwarenhuizen er van dat zij hun halalproducten niet etiketteren labellen in de winkelrekken. “Door de Australiërs onbewust halavlees te laten consumeren, zetten wij met z’n allen een eerste stap in de richting van een bekering naar de islam. Op zich is er geen bezwaar om moslim te worden, als we daar evenwel zelf en bewust voor kiezen”.

Het 46-jarige parlementslid en voormalig legerofficier somde vervolgens een hele lijst van warenhuizen op die volgens hem meewerken aan het sluimerende vleescomplot. Hij raadde de rechtgeaarde Australische consumenten ook aan om die winkels te vermijden als ze vlees voor hun barbecue inslaan.

(www.hln.be / 25.11.2011)

Dewinter roept op tot boycot van O’Cool

Filip Dewinter (Vlaams Belang) roept op tot een boycot van diepvriesspecialist O’Cool omdat de winkelketen een uitgebreid gamma aan halaproducten aanbiedt. Dewinter verzet zich tegen de de groei aan het halal-aanbod in Vlaanderen.

Uit cijfers die Dewinter heeft opgevraagd bij Vlaams minister-president Kris Peeters blijkt dat de jaarlijks omzet van de halal-voedselindustrie in Vlaanderen zo’n 155 miljoen euro bedraagt. Halal is de term die voor moslims aanduidt wat is toegestaan.

Vlaams Belang-kopstuk Dewinter kant zich tegen de uitbouw van de halal-industrie in Vlaanderen. Volgens hem vormen de halal-voedselregels een legitimatie van de sharia en draagt de halal-industrie bij tot de ‘islamisering van Vlaanderen’.

Daarom stoort de VB’er zich zo aan diepvriesspecialist O’Cool. Die keten biedt een gamma producten aan van ‘Mekkafood’ een grote producent van halal-voedsel. Op die manier werkt de winkelketen volgens Dewinter niet alleen mee aan de halal-industrie, maar ook aan de ‘fundamentalistische islam’.

(www.nieuwsblad.be / 25.11.2011)

Malaysian Astronaut To Continue Raising Funds To Build Hospital In Palestine

KOTA BAHARU, Nov 25 (Bernama) — The Malaysian Islamic Organisations Consultative Council will continue its nationwide tour to raise funds for the construction of the biggest paediatric hospital in Palestine.

Malaysian Astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, who is also the fundraising committee chairman, said it was hoped that the hospital, which would be built with the cooperation from the Malaysian government at a cost of RM100 million, would enable the children in the Gaza Strip to enjoy a better healthcare service.

The council has also donated US$60,000 to Palestine through a recent memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, Sheikh Muszaphar said.

He said this after paying a courtesy call on Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, in conjunction with the council’s tour to the state, here Friday.

“After this, we will continue our fundraising tour to other states, including Penang,” he added

(www.bernama.com / 25.11.2011)

Scholars look to Bosnian Islam as a potential model for Europe


Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, a debate in Europe has heated up over the compatibility of Islam with secular, Western society. Scholars meeting in Stuttgart took a fresh look at the question.

International scholars met last week in Stuttgart to consider the question: What’s the ideal form of Islam for a European context, if there is one?

An estimated 20 million Muslims live in Western Europe. In many countries, the presence of a large Muslim minority has led to intense national discussions. The September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States stoked arguments in Europe that Islam was not reconcilable with European values, and that Islam was not adaptable to democracy.

With such debates raging about Muslim “integration,” many are looking to the way Islam is practiced in Bosnia-Herzegovina for the answers.

Institutionalized Islam

Dr. Armina OmerikaOmerika believes institutionalization would earn Muslims in Europe more trust“Islam has long been practiced [in Bosnia-Herzegovina] in a secular environment and in a secular state,” said Armina Omerika, an Islam scholar at the University of Bochum in western Germany. “Also, there’s a high level of institutionalization of Islam there, and that institutionalization has become the strongest support for the religion in that country.”

Muslims make up the majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they live harmoniously alongside Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Sephardic Jews. This diversity, along with the 130 years during which the country was ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, made Bosnian Islam what it is today.

Under the empire, a Muslim institution was created which was modeled on the structures of Christian churches. In fact, it was then that the role of the Grand Mufti, the leader of Bosnian Muslims, was established.

Omerika believes this kind of organization of the religion could make Islam more welcome in Europe: “It’s this form of institutionalization that represents a known quantity for many Europeans, because they see parallels with religious organization in church structures.”


Back in the 1990s, German political scholar Bassim Tibi introduced the term “Euroislam,” meaning a combination of Islamic principle and modern European culture and values.

However, many scholars, such as Kerem Öktem of the European Studies Centre at Oxford, disagree and believe the idea of “European Islam” is not useful.

Dr. Kerem ÖktemÖktem says Islam is not necessarily a foreign element within Europe

“The main problem,” he argues, “is that there’s a basic assumption that Islam is something foreign, something different, something that’s not from Europe – and that the religion must therefore be domesticated, Europeanized or nationalized.”

Öktem argues that’s not the case, and that Islam has existed in Europe for centuries. Bosnia, he maintains, is not the only example; there’s also Turkey, Albania and Bulgaria.

And then there are the Tatars, who’ve lived in Poland for more than 600 years. They make up under 1 percent of the population, but, according to Adam Was, an Islamic studies scholar at the Catholic University in Lublin, they’ve now been joined by a second wave of Muslims.

“Those are the students from various Arab lands who came to Poland in the second half of the 20th century. Most married in Poland and started families, and that’s how the second group came to be,” he said.

So there are Turks and Algerians, Albanians and Bosnians, Pakistanis and Iranians, and two streams of the religion in Poland alone – all of them speaking different languages and having different cultures and religious traditions.

“Is it even theoretically possible to find a model for such a diverse challenge?” asked Öktem. “Even on a theoretical level, I would say no. There is simply too much diversity, and this diversity must be addressed.”

A unique flavor

Dr. Adam WasDr. Adam Was points out that there are multiple Muslim traditions in Poland aloneWas agrees there can be no unified European Islam – whether Bosnian or something else – but perhaps rather an Islam with a European flavor, as there is African Islam, which differs from the Islam of Southeast Asia.

“We need an Islam with certain European characteristics: democracy, human rights, freedom of religion. This will involve a process of reinterpretation of the Koran, and that will require a certain new exegesis of the holy scripture,” said Was. “And that’s a discussion to which Muslims who have already been in Europe for centuries can contribute.”

(www.dw-world.de / 25.11.2011)

Leader says Islamic Jihad will not participate in elections

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Islamic Jihad will not take part in upcoming Palestinian elections for the legislature or presidency, a leader in the Islamist movement, Nafeth Azzam, said Friday.

The heads of Fatah and Hamas agreed in principle to hold elections in the near future, but a date was not set during the negotiations Thursday in Cairo, officials said.

(www.maannews.net / 25.11.2011)

Jordanians protest Israeli settlements

Thousands of Jordanians have rallied near the Israeli border to protest against the construction of Jewish settlements in al-Quds (Jerusalem).

More than 7,000 Jordanians from all over the kingdom have gathered in the town of Sweimeh in the Jordan Valley, a few kilometers from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on Friday to condemn Israel’s settlement expansion activities on Palestinian lands.

They also called for the liberation of al-Quds, home to the al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the second holiest site for Muslims.

“We sacrifice our souls and blood for al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Quds,” they chanted after the noon prayers.

The demonstrators also set an Israeli flag ablaze and called on Jordanian authorities to scrap its peace treaty with Israel.

The rally was organized by the Muslim Brotherhood movement in a bid to shed light on Israel’s settlement expansion activities in East al-Quds, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed in a move not recognized by the international community.

Meanwhile, thousands of Jordanians have rallied in the northern Jordanian city of Sahab demanding serious political reforms.

They also urged the government of Prime Minister Awn al-Khasawneh to step down.

Jordanians have been holding street protests demanding the election of the prime minister by popular vote and an end to corruption since January. There have been no calls for the removal of King Abdullah II.

Since the beginning of protest rallies, the Jordanian ruler has sacked two prime ministers in a bid to avoid more protests. Awn al-Khasawneh, a judge at International Court of Justice, is Jordan’s third premier this year.

The king has also amended 42 articles in the 60-year-old constitution, giving parliament a stronger role in decision-making.

(www.presstv.ir / 25.11.2011)

Bahrain will start new talks

Protesters wave the flags of the Arab Spring countries, including the Bahraini flag, during a rally in Aali village

Despite numerous government crackdowns, Bahrain’s Shia-led protest movement continues to call for more political rights.

Bahrain will start new talks on political reforms and overhaul its security policies but still blames Iran for fomenting civil unrest,  the country’s foreign minister said.

Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said that the main opposition party Wefaq, which commands support among majority Shi’ites, would need to be involved but it should distance itself from daily clashes between riot police and Shia protesters in villages which the government says are empty vandalism that hurt the economy.

“For them to be present we should make sure that all important issues are on the table,” the minister said.

“Everybody concerned should be in it, and we are taking that as an important step forward. We ask everybody not to keep themselves out of these talks. Keeping yourself out means we won’t be able to discuss all the demands.”

(blogs.aljazeera.net / 25.11.2011)

Fighting erupts in Yemen amid protests

Security forces and army defectors clash in Sanaa after protesters reject deal signed by Saleh to transfer power.

Officials in Yemen say heavy fighting broke out in the Yemeni capital between security forces and army defectors despite the signing of a recent deal to transfer power.

One man from each side was killed in Friday’s clashes in Sanaa, a military official said.

Central security forces under the command of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s nephew battled the army’s First Armoured Division, led by a general who defected to the opposition in March, the official said.

The protests in Sanaa and Taiz follows Saleh’s signing of a deal, brokered by the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council, transferring power in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Many protesters reject the deal – under which Saleh will leave the president’s office in 30 days.- and demand that Saleh stand trial.

Five protesters were killed in Sanaa on Thursday as government loyalists dressed in plain clothes reportedly opened fire on the protesters from rooftops and moving cars.

Al Jazeera’s special correspondent, reporting from Sanaa on Friday, said the protests went off peacefully and that the clashes had occurred in a different part of the city.

“The protests have gone off peacefully. But obviously, the crowds are very angry here. The fighting has been happening in separate area of the city. That violence has been going on all week, and we have seen outbreaks of fire.

“Today, we haven’t had reports of protesters being shot.”

Demanding trial

Abdo Al Janadai, Yemen’s deputy minister of information, told Al Jazeera the implementation of the power-transfer had begun already.

“The vice president is now having full powers and support by the president to implement the gulf initiative.

“For sure, there are some demonstrations and protesters in the streets, which is against the initiative. They [opposition] need to talk to the people in the streets and stop what they are doing,” Janadai said.

For more on Yemen, visit our Spotlight page

Inspired by uprising across the Middle East and North Africa, demonstrators have been demanding an end to Saleh’s 33-year-long rule since January.

After backtracking on several occasions, Saleh finally signed a deal on Wednesday to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, who is expected to preside over a national unity government.

Saleh will retain the honorary title of president until new elections take place within 90 days.

Hadi will have to negotiate a power transfer with the opposition in return for a promise of immunity from prosecution for Saleh and his family, a concession that has angered activists.

“The blood of the martyrs which has thrown you out of power, Saleh, will throw you in prison,” Fuad al-Hanjari, a preacher, told thousands of activists after funerals in Sanaa on Friday for four of the slain protesters.

Referring to the proposed power transfer, our correspondent said: “Some opposition members have backtracked, saying we are with the youth and we want to see Saleh on trial. Right now, there is a bit of a confusion on who is and who is not supporting the deal.

“These demonstrators are putting the parties that signed the deal in an awkward position.”

(www.aljazeera.com / 25.11.2011)

More civilians killed by Syrian forces; U.N. voices alarm at torture of children

Syrians living in Turkey shout slogans as they protest against President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in front of the Syrian consulate in Istanbul. (Reuters)

Syrians living in Turkey shout slogans as they protest against President Bashar al-Assad after Friday prayers in front of the Syrian consulate in Istanbul.

Syrian security forces on Friday pressed a months-long crackdown on dissent, killing scores of more people with gunfire as protesters flooded the streets, activists said as the United Nations voiced fresh alarm at reports of torture of civilians including children in Syria.

Syrian activists told Al Arabiya that security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing as many as 19 civilians, at various flashpoints in the south, center and east of the country.

Meanwhile, Syria’s military said that 10 of its personnel, including six pilots, were killed in “terrorist” attack, which it said proved there was foreign involvement in the eight-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

“An armed terrorist group undertook an evil assassination plot that martyred six pilots, a technical officer and three other personnel on an air force base between Homs and Palmyra, ”the military spokesman said on state television.

“This confirms the involvement of foreign elements and their support of these terrorist operations in an effort to weaken the fighting capabilities of our forces. ”

The attack was claimed on Thursday by the rebel Free Syrian Army who said seven military pilots were killed in an ambush on a bus.

Internet activists had called for a day of massive protests nationwide in support of the rebel Syrian Free Army (SFA) which has stepped up attacks in a bid to topple the regime, according to AFP.

“The Free Army is the guardian of our peaceful revolution, ”anti-regime activists said on their Facebook site Syria Revolution 2011.

Like most Fridays since the start of the pro-democracy movement in mid-March, protesters emerged from midday prayers to face security forces who bolstered their deployment at key centers of dissent.

The official SANA news agency, meanwhile, reported that two experts were killed trying to defuse a bomb in the restive city of Hama, in central Syria, accusing “armed terrorist groups” of planting the device.

The state-run agency, quoting a police source, said three other bombs exploded in Hama.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, huge protests took place across Idlib on Friday, mainly in Maaret Noman where demonstrators called for the “fall of the regime.”

But SANA said massive counter-rallies were held in Damascus and Syria’s second city Aleppo, with protesters denouncing Arab League decisions against Syria and vowing to confront “the conspiracy” facing their nation.

U.N. alarmed at reports of executions and torture

Meanwhile, the United Nations voiced fresh alarm on Friday at consistent reports of executions and torture of civilians including children in Syria as well as killings of demonstrators in pro-democracy rallies, according to Reuters.

The U.N. Committee against Torture cited “rife or systematic attacks against (the) civilian population, including the killing of peaceful demonstrators.”

More than 3,500 people have been killed since March, according to the United Nations, and activists say that more than 30,000 have been arrested, including families of dissidents.

The U.N. committee said reports of children suffering torture and mutilation during detention were of particular concern, and that Syrian authorities had been acting with total impunity in what it called “gross and pervasive” human rights violations.

The committee, composed of 10 independent experts, called on the government of President Assad to report back by March 9 on measures taken to halt abuses which it said were “allegedly conducted under direct orders from public authorities. ”

The committee’s chairman, Claudio Grossman, also voiced concern for the “extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, arbitrary detention by the police forces and the military; and enforced and involuntary disappearances. ”

Grossman, an expert from Chile, told a news briefing: “Needless to say the serious massive violations of human rights take place in a context of total and absolute impunity. There haven’t been investigations on this matter. ”

(www.alarabiya.net / 25.11.2011)

Organized chaos and bare life (*): The non-story of the night raids

There exists a general, intentional, cleverly constructed misunderstanding surrounding the true nature of the Israeli occupation. Some say it’s a simple dispute over land, like many others in the world; other think the conflict is about national independence for the Palestinians, prompting statements like, “The Basques and the Kurds aren’t independent either, so why do people pick on Israel?”

But the occupation is something else. It is the ongoing military control over the lives of millions, and everything that comes with it: The lack of civil rights, the absence of legal protection, and perhaps more than anything else, a sense of organized chaos, in which the lives of an entire civilian population is run at the mercy of soldiers 18 to 20 years old. Most of the time, it’s almost hard to explain how bad it is for those who haven’t seen it with their own eyes.

Night raid in Nabi Saleh 24 November 2011.Night raid in Nabi Saleh, 24 November 2011.

Joseph Dana posted this picture today, of a military raid on the home of an imprisoned Palestinian activist in Nabi Saleh. This is a non-story in the West Bank: The army enters Palestinian homes as it pleases, day or night. No warrant is needed, just like you don’t need a warrant to arrest a Palestinian (even a minor). Once the soldiers are in the house, the nature of the interaction between them and the family living there depends on their good or ill will – and in the 44 years of the occupation, we have had everything: from “polite” visits, to beatings and cursing, all the way up to the murder of civilians in their beds. A Palestinian is never safe – not even in his own home. He can never know what’s coming, the way most of us can even during unpleasant encounters with the authorities. The important point is that both the Palestinian and the soldier know that.

To illustrate this issue, here is a video from a couple of weeks ago. It was taken in Nabi Saleh, the same village where the picture above was taken. The soldiers enter a man’s house at night, and demand he wakes up his children, so they can take their pictures in order to keep them for identification in case of stone-throwing. I think that it is the calmness of the entire scene, the fact that the soldiers are polite and that nothing “horrifying” happens, which makes this video truly shocking.

You can say that everything is okay, as many Israelis would. But you can also ask yourself – why do the soldiers come at night? Or why do they come at all? After all, you don’t normally take people’s photos in the event they might be involved in illegal activities. And from there, you can also start questioning the whole logic of a permanent situation in which the army runs civilians’ lives.

I wonder what is the real effect of this scene, on all parties involved: The kids who are being awakened in the middle of the night; the humiliated father; the soldiers, who know that they can do whatever they want to this man and his family. And what is the effect of this scene taking place again and again and again, for 44 years?

Most important is to truly ask ourselves whether we can imagine the same thing happening to us, the same army visit taking place in our home. Would we respond so calmly? Probably not, because we have a different understanding of our existence than the Palestinians and soldiers in this clip. In many ways, we live in a different world.

(972mag.com / 25.11.2011)