Saturday, May 24, 2014

UK Muslims Deplore Anti-Prophet Posters

OnIslam & Newspapers
Saturday, 24 May 2014 

Western media has allowed repeated insults of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

CAIRO – A new provocative anti-Muslim campaign has hit the streets in eastern British West Watford district after Muslim residents found provocative posters depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which was rejected as “absolutely unacceptable”.

"The recent provocateurs attempt to Insult the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in West Watford is absolutely unacceptable,” Numan Majeed, who runs an accountancy business based in Queens Road, told Watford Observer on Friday, May 23.

"Watford’s Muslim Community amounts to several thousand and are part of the towns landscape. We are descendants of immigrants from the 50s and 60s, majority of the second and third generations were born in the town and it is the place we call home.

"The Watford Muslim community contributes positively to the fabric of the town, bringing cuisines from various different continents with the variety of restaurants, businesses that employ people from the town and the many who are employed in the public sector, providing invaluable services."

Earlier this week, a series of hand-drawn posters were put up around West Watford announcing a draw Prophet Muhammad day.

The posters, which also carried slogans such as "death to those who insult free speech", appear to be linked to a campaign that started in 2010 relating to the censorship of an episode of the cartoon South Park.

Though angered by the hateful posters, Watford Muslims tried to remove the posters quietly from the streets to avoid making a fuss over them.

Yet, the issue was highlighted in a heated exchange between Phil Cox, the UK Independence Party Watford mayoral candidate, and Liberal Democrat mayor Dorothy Thornhill.

According to the paper, Thornhill linked the rise of UKip party with growing anti-immigration sentiment and posters, which went up around West Watford at the weekend.

Phil Cox, the UK Independence Party mayoral candidate, later accused the mayor using the posters for "political ends".

No Right to Abuse

As police launched its investigations to reach the anonymous planner of the posters, Majeed, a founder of the Watford Muslims Facebook page, asserted that freedom does not mean the right to abuse others.

"As a community, we are peaceful, open minded and unfortunately due to the misinformation from some politicians and media outlets, we are misunderstood,” he said.

"We hold beliefs that are dear to us, which we are happy for people to question, debate, discuss and disagree but not insult.

“Surely, a civilized, mature community cannot be proud of elements that seek to insult, ridicule what others hold sacrosanct? Surely freedom cannot mean the right to abuse? If it does with no consideration for others, is that humane?" he added.

Western media has allowed repeated insults of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

In September 2012, massive protests swept the Muslim world over a US-made film insulting Prophet Muhammad.

Scores of people were killed in the protests against the film titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which was produced by a California man convicted of bank fraud.

The insulting material, which was promote by anti-Qur’an pastor Terry Jones, has also caused strain between the Muslim world and the West over the freedom of expression.

A French magazine has also published insulting cartoons of the prophet on the pretext of freedom of expression.

Insulting the Prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam.

In September 2005, a Danish newspaper published 12 drawings, including one showing a man described as Prophet Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb and another showing him as a knife-wielding nomad flanked by shrouded women.

The reprint of the controversial drawings by European papers strained Muslim-West ties.

The crisis prompted Muslims in Denmark and worldwide to champion local campaigns to wash away widely circulated misconceptions about Prophet Muhammad.

Friday, May 23, 2014

U.N. Decries Water as Weapon of War in Military Conflicts

By Thalif Deen -- May 23, 2014

Gaza is running out of drinking water. Credit: Eva Bartlett/IPS

UNITED NATIONS, May 19 2014 (IPS) - The United Nations, which is trying to help resolve the widespread shortage of water in the developing world, is faced with a growing new problem: the use of water as a weapon of war in ongoing conflicts.

The most recent examples are largely in the Middle East and Africa, including Iraq, Egypt, Israel (where supplies to the occupied territories have been shut off) and Botswana.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week expressed concern over reports that water supplies in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo were deliberately cut off by armed groups for eight days, depriving at least 2.5 million people of access to safe water for drinking and sanitation.

“Preventing people’s access to safe water is a denial of a fundamental human right,” he warned, pointing out that “deliberate targeting of civilians and depriving them of essential supplies is a clear breach of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

In the four-year Syrian civil war, water is being used as a weapon by all parties to the conflict, including the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the multiple rebel groups fighting to oust him from power.

The conflict has claimed the lives of over 150,000 people and displaced nearly nine million Syrians.

The violation of international humanitarian law in Syria includes tortureand deprivation of food and water.

Maude Barlow, who represents both the Council of Canadians andFood and Water Watch, told IPS water is being increasingly and deliberately used a a weapon of war in recent and ongoing conflicts.

During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the Mesopotamian Marshes were drained, she said.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein drained them further during the 1990s in retribution against Shias who hid there and the Marsh Arabs (Ma’dan) who protected them, she pointed out.

The privatisation of water in Egypt and its diversion to the wealthy was a major factor in the “Arab Spring” uprising. Picture here is the Nile River in Egypt.Credit: Khaled Moussa al-Omrani/IPS.

The privatisation of water in Egypt and its diversion to the wealthy was a major factor in the “Arab Spring” uprising, said Barlow, a former senior advisor on water to the president of the General Assembly back in 2008/2009.

Thousands suddenly had no access to clean water and “thirst protests” were partial catalysts for the large uprising.

Also, more than four decades of Israeli occupation have made it impossible to develop or maintain infrastructure for water in Gaza, causing the contamination of drinking water and many deaths, she declared.

Barlow also said Botswana used water as a weapon against the Kalahari bushmen in an attempt to force them out of the desert, where diamonds had been discovered.

In 2002, the government smashed their only major water borehole, a terrible act that was only overturned in court years later, she noted.

A group of Kalahari Bushmen acting out their hunting techniques. Botswana used water as a weapon against the Kalahari bushmen in an attempt to force them out of the desert, where diamonds had been discovered. Credit: Stuart Orford/CC By 2.0

Last week, Anand Grover and Catarina de Albuquerque, two U.N. experts on water and sanitation, said interference with water supplies even in the context of an ongoing conflict is entirely unacceptable.

They said the city of Aleppo has had intermittent access to water from the beginning of May 2014, with a total cut in supply on May 10, resulting in many, perhaps a million people, left without access to safe water and sanitation.

This affected homes, hospitals and medical centres, the two U.N. experts said.

The cuts appeared to come about as a result of deliberate interference with the water supply, with conflicting allegations suggesting that some armed opposition groups and the government of Syria have both been responsible at different times and to differing degrees, they pointed out.

Barlow told IPS the al-Assad government’s denial of clean water is consistent with its history of using water to punish its enemies and reward its friends.

In 2000, the Syrian regime deregulated land use and gave vast quantities of land and water to its wealthy allies, severely diminishing the water table and driving nearly one million small farmers and herders off the land, she added.

Ironically and tragically, many of them migrated to Aleppo where they are being targeted again, said Barlow,

She also said water has also been deployed as a weapon of “class war.”

Many thousands of inner city residents unable to pay their water bills have had their water services cut in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States, and more recently, as a result of Europe’s austerity programme, in Spain, Greece and Bulgaria.

“Water as a weapon of war is a strong argument to governments and the U.N. they must make real the human right to water and sanitation, regardless of other conflicts taking place,” said Barlow.

Meanwhile, since 1990, almost two billion people globally have gained access to improved sanitation, and 2.3 billion have gained access to drinking water from improved sources, according to a new U.N. report released last week.

The joint report by the U.N. Children’s Fund and the World Health Organisation said about 1.6 billion of these people have piped water connections in their homes or compounds.

Titled “Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2014 Update,” the report said more than half of the global population lives in cities, and urban areas are still better supplied with improved water and sanitation than rural ones.

“But the gap is decreasing.”

In 1990, more than 76 percent of the people living in urban areas had access to improved sanitation, as opposed to only 28 percent in rural ones.

By 2012, 80 percent urban dwellers and 47 percent rural ones had access to better sanitation.

“Despite this progress,” the report warned, “sharp geographic, socio-cultural, and economic inequalities in access to improved drinking water and sanitation facilities still persist around the world.”

Thursday, May 22, 2014

June 12 Ontario Election: The Need to Establish Relations with First Nations on a Modern Historical Basis

- Philip Fernandez - May 22, 2013

The Ring of Fire is a massive deposit of chromite and other strategic minerals in Northern Ontario worth some $60 billion. Located in the traditional lands of seven First Nations, it has been the subject of debate and discussion for a number of years since it was discovered. Its development has been blocked from proceeding because the First Nations concerned have affirmed their right to a say and control over how this mineral wealth is to be developed.

As soon as the Liberal government announced its May 1 budget, Noront Resources and Cliffs Natural Resources, two large mining monopolies who are vying to realize handsome profits in the Ring of Fire, expressed their delight at the $1 billion subsidy the Liberals promised to the mining industry to contribute to the infrastructure needed to exploit this resource.

This may have been a ploy by the Liberals to win votes in Northern Ontario and suggest that the Ring of Fire will move forward if they are re-elected. 

Ring of Fire mineral deposit in Northern Ontario (click to enlarge).

All along the line the First Nations concerned have demanded that the Ring of Fire development be organized in a manner that is mutually beneficial for them as First Nations and for the people of Ontario, expressed in the concept of "revenue sharing." They have insisted that the developments only go forward on the basis of their consent, a right which all First Nations in Canada have by virtue of their being and which is recognized in international law.

First Nations in Ontario, and those in the Matawa Territory in particular, have reason for concern based on the negative example of the Victor Diamond Mine owned by the international diamond monopoly De Beers. The mine is situated near Attawapiskat First Nation and has been fully operational now for more than five years. While the mine generates close to half a billion dollars in revenue each year, the Attawapiskat First Nation receives royalties of less than one per cent of that and the Ontario government gets between four and ten per cent, which should actually be going to the Attawapiskat First Nation.

None of the high paying jobs promised to the Attawapiskat First Nation when the mine was starting up have materialized. The mine employs about 100 Cree workers from the Attawapiskat First Nation to do low-paying maintenance and other jobs while high-skilled jobs are taken by workers flown in from the outside. This has been protested by the people of Attawapiskat, 70 per cent of whom live in abject poverty while the riches of their territories are exploited to line the pockets of De Beers. Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Chiefs of Ontario last year stated that there must be a new "resource sharing arrangement" between the mining monopolies and First Nations in Ontario and that it is the responsibility of the Ontario government to pass "enabling legislation to look at how First Nations can share wealth with the settlers."

In regards to the Ring of Fire, on March 26, there was a framework agreement signed between Ontario and the nine First Nations in the Matawa Tribal Council on whose lands the Ring of Fire sits. This was a requirement set by the First Nations concerned as a first step in a community-based negotiation process which began in July 2013.

The Ontario government's responsibility in this is to defend the interests not of Noront and Cliffs, but of the First Nations and the people of Ontario. The issue of who controls and benefits from the development of the resources of Ontario is an election issue which must be addressed by all parties. It is unacceptable that the added-value produced by the working people of Ontario go to subsidize monopolies developing the Ring of Fire so that they, like De Beers, can make a killing at the expense of the local First Nations. It is unacceptable that the rights of the first peoples of Ontario to a say and control over the development of their hereditary lands and the resources on them are abrogated and they are deprived of the revenues needed for their economic development.

A new modern relationship is required between First Nations and Ontario. It must be based on a new historical basis which means that the rights of First Nations must be provided with a guarantee. Their constitutional, treaty and hereditary rights must be affirmed in real practical ways. Unless their right to be is recognized as the guiding principle, the attempts of present governments to treat them as nothing but a cost to be eliminated will not be done away with. Economic development must be based on the principle of mutual benefit and not one of colonizer and colonized.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Boko Haram and the shame that we share

by Abdallah Schleifer -- May 21, 2014

From one end of the Muslim world to the other, from Europe and America as well as from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Muslim religious leaders have denounced the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian school girls by the militant Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar - which is considered the center of Islamic learning in the Sunni world - imams of mosques , the editorial writers for print and broadcast media have condemned Boko Haram and its activities as despicable, horrendous crimes and the perpetrators as blasphemous for claiming that the authority for them to kidnap the girls and threaten to sell them as slaves in the market place comes from God and the Quran.

This is not the first outrage committed by Boko Haram. Over the past few years they have attacked churches and mosques and assassinated a number of Muslim religious leaders in Nigeria who have denounced both the activities of the organization and its claim that it represents a pure Islam. But there is something so grotesque about this latest crime that it has made public denunciation an imperative for the Muslim religious and community leadership.

Domain of action

But in the domain of action it is Britain, France, the United States, China and even Israel who are sending security experts , special force operatives and reconnaissance planes to Nigeria to help track down Boko Haram and free the girls. One would have expected that the first countries to offer experts and special forces to Nigeria, to have been Muslim countries, not only for the honor of all Muslims but also because it is precisely this sort of terrorism that has over the years plagued law and order in a number of Muslim countries. But not one Muslim country, at least to public knowledge, has sent or offered to send counter-terrorist experts or Special Forces to Nigeria to participate in the campaign against Boko Haram.

If I were writing the declarations I would speak of Boko Haram as “the perversion of Islam.” But once again there are Muslim voices saying that Boko Haram and this kidnapping in particular has “nothing to do with Islam,” that the perpetrators of this and other crimes in Nigeria are not “Muslims.” In a recent column published in The Daily Beast, a relatively popular American website, a Muslim writer has lashed out at the media for even identifying the Boko Haram terrorists and groups like it as “Islamist terrorists” or “ Islamist extremists,” or even using the word “Islamist” in reference to acts of terrorism.

This not a new trope. More than ten years ago, when participating in a closed seminar in which some 12 or so Muslim scholars or community leaders gathered in Washington, DC to discuss the problem of terrorism committed in the name of Islam, a representative of a well known American Muslim civil rights group raised the same issue. Like the author of the column in the Daily Beast, he asked why Christians committing terrorism were not identified as Christian terrorists. As an example, the same representative asked why the IRA were not addressed and challenged as” Christian terrorists.”

Christian terrorists

I pointed out that neither of the two factions of the IRA in action at that time identified themselves as Christian. They did not say they were killing in the name of or inspired by “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” The media knew that the IRA factions were either nationalist or Marxist and in neither case claim allegiance to a religious identity, whereas Islamist terrorist groups did do their evil acts to shouts of “Allahu Akbar” and would raise a war banner with the words of the first of the two testimonials of Muslim Belief: “La Ilaha ilAllah” – there is no god but God!

I might have added that it was almost a courtesy by the media to use the word “Islamist” rather than “Islamic” or “Muslim” in identifying a terrorist group, that was engaging in more than simple self-identification, but justifying their action as a means to establish the rule of “true” or “pure” Islam and the establishment of a particular political order.

I would imagine that a non-Muslim who knew little or nothing about Islam would think that a Muslim spokesman who said Osama bin Laden, or in these days the leader of Boko Haram, “was not a Muslim” and their respective terrorist organizations had “nothing to do with Islam” was either mad or devious to the utmost degree.

That it was why it would be much more creditable and true for a Muslim to say in effect that these are men who have perverted Islam and we Muslims will fight them until they are destroyed. We should also point out that all of these groups have killed far more Muslims than they have killed non-Muslims.

As for the word “Islamist” it is not the invention of the nasty mass media or of Orientalists but used and justified by a former Arab ambassador, and an important figure in Islamic activism in Europe back in the early 1960s. He declared “Islamists” were those who believed that” Islam was more than a religion; that it was an ideology.” Years later, when this issue came up at still another conference, and the introduction of the word attributed to Zionists or “Crusaders,” I responded by recalling the statement of the prominent Arab former diplomat, credited his description of the Islamist and of Islamism for its honesty and authenticity. But, I remarked, when I converted to Islam I was surrendering to God, not to a political movement.

Abdallah Schleifer is a veteran American journalist covering the Middle East and professor emeritus at the American University in Cairo where he founded as served as first director of the Kamal Adham Center for TV and Digital Journalism. He is chief editor of the annual publication The Muslim 500;  a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute (USA) and at the Royal Aal al Bayt Academy for Islamic Thought (Jordan.)  Schleifer has served as Al Arabiya Washington D.C. bureau chief; NBC News Cairo bureau chief; Middle East correspondent for Jeune Afrique; as special correspondent (stringer) , New York Times and managing editor of the Jerusalem Star/Palestine News in then Jordanian Arab Jerusalem.

How Muslim Americans Combat Online Hate Speech

A new report documents incidents of bigotry and suggests fighting bad speech with counter speech.

May 21, 2014 

Last month, in the wake of the Fort Hood Military Base shooting spree that left four dead and sixteen injured, conservative filmmaker and contributor Patrick Dollard tweeted, “If there is even one more act of Muslim terrorism, it is time for Americans to start slaughtering Muslims in the streets, all of them.”

As it turned out, the killer was not Muslim, and the motivations for the assault were not terrorism. But this did not stop the backlash from reaching the Muslim-American community.

Although Dollard received criticism from a few media outlets, his actions were never formally punished. As of this writing, he has neither deleted nor apologized for the tweet, despite being told that several Muslim Americans felt offended and threatened by it. When it comes to online hate speech against Muslims, this is frequently the case. Dollard’s tweet is only the most recent high profile case in a string of online bigotry and violent hate speech against Muslims living in the United States, the vast majority of which often goes unpunished and unaccounted for, even when voiced by public figures. 

It’s in this context that the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) released a report titled Click Here to End Hate: Anti-Muslim Bigotry Online & How to Take Action. The report breaks down perpetrators of Islamophobic hate speech into three categories: public officials, hate groups and activists, and individuals.

“We have repeatedly heard from community members about their concern about how hate speech spreads online,” Madihha Ahussain, the lead author of the report says. “But they don’t know how to respond or what tools are available to them through Internet platforms to try to counter the hate that is online.”

On the Internet, there are approximately 11,500 websites devoted to anti-Muslim hate, not including isolated posts. In addition to politicians and other public officials using their platforms to advance stereotypes about Islam and sway their constituents’ perception of Muslims and Muslim-Americans, there are several independent hate groups and “Celebrity Islamophobes” with large online followings. Although some of these groups are exclusively online, many galvanize their supporters into offline actions that often have real-life consequences for the Muslim community.

The most notorious example of this is Pamela Gellar’s Stop the Islamization of America, a group that, shortly after forming in 2009, galvanized enough support to oppose the Park 51 “Mosque at Ground Zero” bringing thousands of right wing activists to the streets of lower Manhattan, and Gellar and her organization’s agenda to the national spotlight. These protests, although relatively short-lived, changed the perception of Muslims in the United States. A 2010 Public Religion Research Institute study showed that 49 percent of Americans believed the values of Islam were incompatible with the American way of life, a notable increase from previous studies. Hate crimes against Muslim Americans and vandalism and arson attacks on mosques leapt to an all-time high.

Although Geller has not necessarily made mainstream news headlines since then, her personal Facebook following has exploded from 19,000 to over 78,000 in the past year alone.

It doesn’t take a celebrity Islamophobe like Geller or notorious right-wing commentator like Patrick Dollard to stir anti-Muslim sentiment in the community. Smaller blogs, particularly ones focused on local communities can have serious and violent repercussions. One of the most common—and sinister—examples is online bullying amongst high school students.

“There was one instance where an American-Muslim high school student was threatened online, and told her school administrators and the police about it, but there was no action taken,” Ahussain says. “Later she suffered from a concussion because of it.”

After the assault, the students who attacked her were talking and bragging about it online.

Should the Internet be regulated? Legally, hate speech is too loosely defined to fall squarely inside or outside of the First Amendment. Although the First Amendment includes caveats, such as speech that could “incite” violence or be deemed threatening, it is difficult to pass comprehensive laws that address all forms of hate speech to make a meaningful impact.

What about the Internet companies? As private companies, online platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook can enforce regulations on content that are not as beholden to the First Amendment as they would be coming from Congress. Still, with an average of 58 million tweets and 4.75 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook per day, it would be nearly impossible to monitor everything.

In the absence of comprehensive regulation, the MACLC report advises community members to report hateful content and engage in what Ahussain terms, “counter speech.”

“Really the conversation about hate speech should not impact the first amendment in anyway. We are not advocating for speech to be censored,” says Ahussain. “But hate speech online has consequences for people’s real lives. We need to talk about it in a way that allows people to respond using more speech, counter speech.”

Ahussain defines counter speech as anything ranging from promoting positive portrayals of American Muslims to holding public officials who engage in hate speech accountable.

Sabina Mohyuddin, a board member of the American Muslim Advisory Council in Coffee County Tennessee engaged in counter speech concerning an incident with county commissioner Barry West. Last year, West posted a picture on Facebook of a man cocking a gun straight at the camera. It was captioned “How to Wink at a Muslim.” After many members of the Tennessee Muslim community called and voiced their outrage, West issued an apology.

“We were happy that he apologized, but we felt like we needed to do more than just get an apology. He needed to understand who we were,” Mohyuddin told The Nation.

“So, me and my husband decided the best thing is to get together with him in an informal setting,” she continues. “I think he understood that we’re part of the community, we have kids that we want to succeed, we volunteer in the community. So, slowly over tea and some baklava we had the spark of a friendship forming.”

Inspired by their dialogue, Mohyuddin planned a public forum called “Public Discourse in a Diverse Society” so that more of Coffee County could get to know the Muslim community. News of the forum went viral, and 1,000 came from across the country to protest, including top level Islamophobes like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

“I gave a talk about American Muslims and hate crimes,” Mohyuddin recounted. “When I showed a picture of a burned down mosque, people in the audience were cheering.”

Barry West was in attendance.

“You could tell he was emotional,” Mohyuddin says. “He understood that me and our families are good people and he wanted to show some support for us. The lesson learned is if you reach out and talk to people, and offer a hand in friendship, good things come out.”

Wilders: Dutch politics at an all-time low


Published — Wednesday 21 May 2014

The Netherlands is one of those few western countries, which has long and direct ties with the Muslim world. It had colonized Indonesia that has the largest Muslim population in the world. They called it the Dutch East Indies and the Dutch companies had been in touch with the Muslim world since the beginning of the 17th Century.

It was the first country to have established a bank, Albank Alhollandi, to facilitate Indonesian Muslims in performing Haj. The ties between Saudi and Dutch people had always been strong based on mutual respect. It was very popular among the Saudi youths during 1970s due to its football team led by Johan Cruyff. It was only in 1994 World Cup in the United States that Saudis did not support the team because Saudi team was playing against it.

In the 1970s, the Saudi high school English curriculum included a book containing a story from Holland “The Black Tulip.” In addition to that young Saudis were also fascinated by a story about a legendary ship, The Flying Dutchman, which never made to its destination. In other words, the Netherlands enjoyed good relations not only with Saudi Arabia but also with the entire Muslim world. Philips products can be seen in every Saudi household.

Nowadays, the Saudi-Dutch ties are strained due to the irresponsible behavior of an individual, Geert Wilders. A right-wing politician of the Party for Freedom, Wilders is testing the patience of the Saudis and the Dutch. Whatever he is saying will not hurt Saudis but it will affect the ties between the two sides. 

Wilders vitriolic attacks on Islam and Saudi Arabia has raised a question in my mind: What does this politician want? 

We understand how the global media operates. But, I think Wilders is getting boring by the day. We think he just want to get right-wing voters to rally behind him? 

His attitude is putting his country’s interests at risk not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the entire Arab and Muslim world. He should realize the difference between freedom of expression and common sense. It is fine if you say something once or twice but repeating it daily not only makes it boring but to a great extent pathetic. He seems to be in a state of delusion. It is easier for him to chase The Flying Dutchman than to make dent in what we believe in.

Wilders is trying to instill fear, which is not a good tactic to be used in the name of freedom of expression. Interestingly, many media outlets in the West simply called him a hypocrite. A politician who is full of hatred is more dangerous than anything else because he will be blinded by his attitude and will not see the other side no matter how bright it is. 

The Netherlands is a country, which is very highly respected in the world but to see one individual continue his unprovoked attacks on Saudi Arabia will leave no other option for the Saudis but to act to stop this irresponsible politician who doesn’t know the basics of politics. He should know that each country or region has its own unique way of life, religion and culture. So, it is not appropriate for any politician to criticize other people. These acts are not appropriate even between nations with similar identities. We saw this when the United Kingdom denied entry to Wilders because they considered him a persona non grata because of his views. People can differ in their views and beliefs but it is not appropriate to try to impose your views on others. As a result of Wilders’ actions many Dutch companies will be affected. Many of the frequent Dutch visiting businessmen and women will not be able to do business the way they used to and it is all because of one pathetic politician.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

-For Immediate Release- National Muslim advocacy group denounces attempted firebombing of Quebec mosque

(Ottawa - May 20 9, 2014) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties advocacy organization, today denounced the recent attempted firebombing of a mosque in Montreal, Quebec. According to a report the suspect attempted to throw a Molotov cocktail through a window the Centre communautaire islamique Assahaba on BĂ©langer St. before threatening officers with a sword. The report goes on to say that this is the fifth time since April that the mosque has been the target of vandals.

"We call on community leaders, interfaith partners, and elected officials at all levels, to unequivocally denounce this act as a hate crime against the Montreal Muslim community," says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

"Most importantly, we are relieved that no one was injured in this attack which was a cowardly attempt to intimidate local citizens. Despite the seriousness of the incident and the potential for serious injury, we do not believe this act represents the sentiments of the majority of citizens of Montreal, or the majority of Quebecers," adds Gardee.

"The attack comes on the heels of the recent highly divisive and rhetoric-laden election in the province around the issue of the Charter of Values. This would seem to indicate that much work remains to repair the societal damage done by the proposed values charter and the discord it sowed. The new government must speak out against this and work harder to help foster a safe and equitable province for all Quebecers."

"The attack is also the second high profile attack on a place of worship in a week. On May 16, 2014, St. Martin de Porres church in Ottawa was vandalized and robbed. Attacks on places of worship can be particularly harmful as they are designed to intimidate entire communities. "

Community members in Quebec and elsewhere are advised to reference NCCM's Community Safety Kit to secure their places of worship and to remain vigilant. Any suspicious activities should be reported immediately to local authorities and to NCCM so a clear record of these incidents can be kept.

In recent years, similar incidents of vandalism of mosques or mosque construction sites have also occurred in Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, Hamilton, Waterloo, Vancouver, Guelph , Winnipeg, Durham and Charlottetown.


Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director 613-254-9704 or 613-853-4111

Amy Awad (French interviews), Human Rights Coordinator 613-254-9704

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit grassroots advocacy organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.