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North American Community News, Volume 8 Issue 38

Minister Welcomes Shari’ah In Netherlands If Majority Wants It

THE HAGUE- Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner considers the Netherlands should give Muslims more freedoms to behave according to their traditions. Muslims refusing to shake hands is fine with him. And Sharia law could be introduced in the Netherlands democratically, in the minister’s view.

Muslims have the right to experience their religion in ways that diverge from Dutch social codes, accordign to the Christian democrat (CDA) minister. He thinks Queen Beatrix was very wise not to insist on a Muslim leader shaking hands with her when she visited his mosque in The Hague earlier this year.

Integration Minister Verdonk did previously scold an imam who would not shake her hand. Without directly referring to this incident, Donner considers “a tone that I do not like has crept into the political debate. A tone of: ‘Thou shalt assimilate. Thou shalt adopt our values in public. Be reasonable, do it our way’. That is not my approach”.

Donner strongly disagrees with a recent plea by CDA parliamentary leader Maxime Verhagen for a ban on parties seeking to launch Sharia (Islamic law) in the Netherlands. “For me it is clear: if two-thirds of the Dutch population should want to introduce the Sharia tomorrow, then the possibility should exist,” according to Donner. “It would be a disgrace to say: ‘That is not allowed!’.”

Donner makes his remarks in an interview in a book entitled, ‘The country of hate and anger’ (Het land van haat en nijd). The book was written by journalists Margalith Kleijwegt and Max van Weezel of weekly magazine Vrij Nederland. Minister Verdonk will be presented with the first copy today.

Muslim Students Remember 9-11

CLEVELAND, OH—Muslim students at the Faith Islamic Academy in Cuyahoga Falls paused to reflect on how the events of September 11, 2001 has changed their lives. They said they are having a hard time adjusting as they continue to face increased racism.

“People say you’re a terrorist. You’re different; you’re this and that,” said 13 year old Jwayyed Jwayyed in an interview to the WKCY-TV.

He and his fellow classmates at the Faith Islamic Academy in Cuyahoga Falls, continue to deal with racism since the September 11th attacks.

“It’s not my fault what happened.”

But since the 9/11 hijackers claimed to Muslim, Jwayyed says the Islamic community is taking the heat. “But I just remind them, I’m sure there are people from your religion and your minority that have done things too.”

But at 13 he already knows that terrorism does not represent Islam.

“What we believe is the person who did that is not part of our religion. When you do something like that, that means you’re not part of our religion.”

Church sign attracts protest

LAUREL, FL—A provocative invitation on a Church’s signboard has evoked sharp reaction from the Muslim and interfaith leadership in Laurel, Florida. “Muslims can convert to Christianity here!” reads the sign in front of the Congregational Church. K.C. McCay,the pastor of the Church, says he put up the sign in response to a man from Texas, whose name he did not remember, who recently called on Christians to convert to Islam.

“If church leaders are really interested in saving people, they would find much less offensive ways to do it,” said Ahmed Bedier, director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in an interview to the Herald Tribune. “Religious leaders are adding fuel to the fire. It’s a shame.” CAIR plans to take pictures of the sign to document the incident.

“If Muslims want us to water it down, that might be all right for you, but we’re not biting,” McCay said.

Janet Onnie, chairwoman of the Venice Interfaith Community Association, said McCay’s sign did more harm than good in the effort to bring people together.

Celebrating the commonalities between Islam and Christianity is a better way to bring people together, she said.

“You have to ask yourself what Mr. McCay thinks this will accomplish,” Onnie said. “It seems childish and doesn’t contribute to a dialogue.”

Halal food at Texas A & M

COLLEGE STATION,TX– Muslims students at Texas A & M don’t have to go hungry while at school from last week. On Sept.4, Texas A & M became the first college in Texas to offer Halal foods on its menu. This a blessing for students, especially with the onset of Ramadhan.

“I was approached by several Muslim students who were seeking to eat on campus and were having a significantly hard time finding Halal food,” said Nadeem Siddiqui, executive director for Dining Services, in an interview to the Battalion.

Siddiqui, who has experience working with and implementing Halal and Kosher food programs at Cornell and Stanford, said the program was finally realized after the students acquired administrative support and signatures for a petition.

Islamic Society subpoenas writer, television company

BOSTON, MA– The Islamic Society of Boston issued subpoenas to Tamar Morad, a Waltham-based writer for The New Republic, and the Cambridge-based Christian Broadcasting Corp. as a part of its defamation case against the Boston Herald, WFXT-TV (Fox 25) and other, non-media groups.

The subpoena asks Morad, who declined to comment, to turn over any communications between her and the lawsuit’s defendants concerning the ISB and Osama Kandil and Yousef Abou-Allaban. The Christian Broadcasting Corp. is being asked to submit any of its broadcasts on the ISB, Kandil and Abou-Allaban, documents show.

International–Muslim councillor appointed to British taskforce

LONDON– A HACKNEY councillor is to serve on a new government taskforce set up in response to arrests made in connection with the alleged plot to blow up transatlantic flights in mid-air.

Cllr Nargis Khan is a member of a 13-strong commission launched last Thursday, which will report directly to Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The new Commission for Integration and Cohesion will undertake a programme of consultation events and public meetings across the country before making final recommendations in June next year.


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