Jerusalem - Clergy representing Christians, Jews and Muslims met Wednesday near the Jerusalem synagogue where five people died in a grisly Palestinian attack to plead for tolerance amid spiking regional tensions.
The group stood in a sun-dappled courtyard outside the synagogue where two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers, knives and a pistol killed four worshippers and a policeman Tuesday. After a brief gun battle, security forces shot the assailants dead.
Absent from the meeting were Muslim authorities from Jerusalem and senior Israeli rabbis. [VB: Except here is a photo of Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Imam Mohammed Kiwan==>]
“People from all religions which are here in the Holy Land want to express the common belief that this is not the way,” said Rabbi Michael Melchior, a former Israeli legislator who is active in interfaith efforts. “We can have our differences, political differences, our religious differences, but this is not the way.”
Melchior’s moderation seems an increasingly scarce commodity in this region, which in recent weeks has been riven by religious tensions. During that time 11 people have died at the hands of Palestinian attackers — most in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and the West Bank.
It sounds like Islamophobia isn’t just a problem in the west. The Rohingya, a group of Muslims that live in the majority Buddhist nation of Myanmar are being severally persecuted. They are being denied basic human rights, and government is even planning to take away their right to vote, and ban marriages between Muslims and Buddhists. Things are only getting worse as violence and persecution increases. Make no mistake about it, our “counter jihad” loves this sad state of affairs.
Jane Perlez reports,
SITTWE, Myanmar — The Myanmar government has given the estimated one million Rohingya people in this coastal region of the country a dispiriting choice: Prove your family has lived here for more than 60 years and qualify for second-class citizenship, or be placed in camps and face deportation.
The policy, accompanied by a wave of decrees and legislation, has made life for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority, ever more desperate, spurring the biggest flow of Rohingya refugees since a major exodus two years ago.
In the last three weeks alone, 14,500 Rohingya have sailed from the beaches of Rakhine State to Thailand, with the ultimate goal of reaching Malaysia, according to the Arakan Project, a group that monitors Rohingya refugees.
The crisis has become an embarrassment to the White House ahead of a scheduled visit by President Obama to Myanmar next week. The administration considers Myanmar a foreign-policy success story in Asia but is worried that renewed conflict between Buddhist extremists, who are given a free hand by the government, and the Rohingya could derail the already rocky transition from military rule to democratic reform.
ROCKVILLE, Md. - Montgomery County Public Schools will remove religious labels from school holidays, but members of the Islamic community say the adjustments to the school calendar do nothing to gain parity and a day off for the Muslim holiday of Eid.
The school board approved the school calendar for the 2015-2016 school year Tuesday. The calendar will no longer reference specific religious holidays but rather state simply that school will be closed on dates that correspond with holidays like Eid, Yom Kippur and Christmas.
Saqib Ali, a former Maryland state delegate and co-chair of Equality for Eid, was not happy with the board of education’s action Tuesday.
“Equality is really what we’re looking for,” Ali said. “Simply saying we’re not going to call this Christmas, and we’re not going to call this Yom Kippur, and still closing the schools, that’s not equality.”
School board members said they were sympathetic to the desire to have Eid recognized and close schools but that legal precedent in Maryland bars them from closing for religious purposes.
“We can’t close for religious holidays. We can only close for operational purposes,” like high absenteeism, school spokesman Dana Tofig said.
That explanation doesn’t sit well with Zainab Chaudry, with the Council on American Islamic Relations. “What’s really concerning to us is that similar conditions weren’t placed on any other faith community.”
In the 1970’s school officials decided to close on Jewish holidays because of high absenteeism.
But school board member Michael Durso said that the schools effectively close for a religious reason: the schools had high absenteeism because of a religious holiday in the community.
Noting the attempt to move away from favoring religions by instead referring to school days off as “winter break” and “student holidays,” Durso said as long as the Islamic community’s concern for parity wasn’t somehow addressed “it comes off as insensitive, and I just think we cannot afford to be in that light”.
Read more: wtop.com
I think this is really, really stupid. Wingnut rage erupting in 4…3…2…1…
“You may not agree with Bill on everything. Yet I’m guessing you love it when he goes after the Uterun Police/Protectors of Child Rapists (also known as The Vatican), or when he brilliantly satirizes the crazy Christian Right which has controlled much of our politics for the past 33 years. I certainly do.
“But when Bill goes after Islam, or crazy people professing to be Muslim, we grow uncomfortable. Why is that?”
Good news, even some top conservative Republicans realize that laws attempting to ban sharia or foreign law are ridiculous and pointless (Unless of course you want to demonize Muslims). Its good to see a member of the Alabama Christian coalition openly opposing this stupidity. Tara Culp-Ressler reports.
Next week, Alabama voters will be asked to cast their ballots on Amendment 1, a carefully worded measure that would prohibit “the application of foreign law” in the state’s courts. The ballot initiative is ultimately seeking to ban sharia law, an increasingly popular right-wing legislative tactic that serves to demonize the Islamic faith as something that Americans need to be protected from.
The push to ban sharia law is often spearheaded by prominent Religious Right figures like Pat Robertson and Bryan Fischer. But somewhat of a different scene is playing out in Alabama in the lead up to the election, as Christian leaders in the state are speaking out against Amendment 1.
Randy Brinson, the president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama — one of the state’s largest network of conservative evangelicals — is one of the religious figures lending his voice to the opposition campaign. In an interview with the Birmingham News this week, Brinson said that the effort to pass Amendment 1 is “just silliness,” adding that “it’s all something that lawmakers can trumpet back to constituents that they’re protecting Christian values, but they need to be working on other stuff.”
Chief Rabbi David Lau met wiith Sheikh Muhammad Kiwan, an imam and chairman of the Council of Muslim Leaders in Israel, on Thursday to issue a joint call for a cessation of violence and calm in Jerusalem following weeks of riots and unrest.
Lau invited Kiwan to his home in Modi’in, where the two religious leaders discussed the need for increasing the values of tolerance in the Israeli education system and expanding opportunities for religious leaders to meet.
“We must call for unity and peace between peoples in order that we can all live together in a better way,” said Lau. “We are the children of one God, and we must live together side by side, and everyone must work in every way to prevent extremism and hatred,” Lau concluded.
Kiwan agreed with Lau’s comments, and said that are many opportunities to bring the two sides together.
“We are meeting with the chief rabbi, who is a friend and like a brother to me, and as heads of the [different] religious communities, we call on all those responsible to prevent violence and to enter into dialogue of peace,” said Kiwan.
“The holy places are a red line and such wildness and the spilling of blood is unacceptable,” he continued.
So much for the common claim by Islamophobes that mainstream or moderate Muslims never protest the extremists. Here is yet another example of that occurring, which the anti Muslim wingnuts expects us to believe never occurs. David O’leary reports.
Refugees cross into Turkey from Syria to escape fighting in the border town of Kobani. Picture: Getty
SCOTTISH Muslims are to stage an anti-Islamic State protest rally in Edinburgh condemning the group’s “heinous activities”, with thousands expected to attend.
The demonstration will take place on 2 November at The Mound in Edinburgh and is organised by the city’s Muslim community, who say it will be “open to members of all communities” who wish to voice their opposition to the barbaric acts of IS and condemn the murders of David Haines and Alan Henning.
Organised by award- winning restaurateur Matin Khan, speakers confirmed for the day include Labour MPs Sheila Gilmore and David Hamilton, with more to be announced.
Khan is the owner of Itihaas restaurant in Dalkeith and the current Scottish Curry Chef of the Year, and says he was moved to organise the peace rally in an attempt to show that IS “do not in any way represent Islam”. He said: “The IS beheading of David Haines and Alan Henning and the posting of their actions on the internet is barbaric.
Once every 33 years, the religious holidays coincide so that one of the biggest feast days of the year for Muslims falls on the biggest fast day of the year for Jews.
This year, Yom Kippur will coincide with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the second most important holiday in the Muslim calendar, and the faiths radically opposed ways of marking their holidays have some worried that interfaith tensions may rise even higher than in past years.
Eid al-Adha means “The Feast of the Sacrifice” and commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. The festival is often marked with the slaughter of a goat or sheep, and families travel to get together in a celebratory mood.
Yom Kippur, on the other hand, the Jewish day of judgement, is marked by fasting and prayer. Secular Jews mark the day by refraining from driving cars, in what has become an inseparable cultural aspect to the holy day.
The phenomenon of a shared date happens once every 33 years - in 1948, in 1981, and in 2014. Due to the quirks of the Jewish leap year and the fact that the faiths use different lunar calendars, it will also happen again next year.
Tensions are already high between Arabs and Jews after the war in Gaza this summer and near-constant rioting in East Jerusalem.
The confluence of the two holidays has some worried that any interaction or misunderstanding between Jews and Arabs could quickly degenerate into widespread violence as it has in years past.
Police aren’t taking any chances. National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the police will increase their presence in mixed cities, especially in Jerusalem and Acre.
The police try to limit their patrols in cars on Yom Kippur but will have more policemen patrolling the area on foot. The Old City is an area of special concern. “There are tensions, but police officers have met with leaders in different communities to coordinate the fact that holidays are falling at the same time,” Rosenfeld said.
In Acre, which saw riots on Yom Kippur in 2008 when an Arab resident drove through an observant Jewish neighbourhood blaring music from his car stereo, local Muslim official Abbas Zakur said an agreement had been reached between the two communities on the timing of celebrations. Muslims would celebrate and feast on Sunday, but from Saturday small electric cars will be provided for those wishing to go to the mosque to pray.
The electric cars would create less noise than motorized vehicles and would be less likely to upset religious Jews, Zakur explained. The old city of Acre would be closed to all traffic, he added.
In the city of Hebron, which sees daily confrontations between Jewish settlers and Palestinians — or between Palestinians and police — soldiers will be manning dozens of checkpoints.
The IDF said it would implement a general closure of the West Bank and Gaza starting at midnight Thursday night and lasting until Saturday night. Palestinians will only be allowed into Israel for humanitarian reasons or for emergencies.
Each religions’ customs for celebrating their holy day could also lead to increased tensions.
“The way that the Jews celebrate [Yom Kippur] is very internal,” explained Rabbi Michael Melchior, a former MK who is also the chairperson of Mosaica Center for Interreligious Cooperation, a group promoting religious tolerance and understanding across the Middle East. “We go inside ourselves on Yom Kippur, looking at our relationships and ourselves. As opposed to other [Jewish] festivals, we go into our homes and into our synagogues, it’s not a day of external celebrations.”
Read more: Leaders bid to downplay tensions as Yom Kippur, Eid al-Adha clash | The Times of Israel timesofisrael.com
Well, my Imam was contacted by Hannity, as this little piece scooted onto my FB Timeline:
Well, what can we get out of this?
Firstly, it appears Fox may have been trying to spin their way out of trouble, after they had to pull up a story that was done last night, but at the same time still trying to smear Muslims. This can be seen in how there was an immediate hangup after being told that it would need to be a live show, to prevent the butchering of words.
Secondly, I do find it interesting he wanted to use the OKC memorial as a backdrop, considering it is the memorial to the second largest act of religious terrorism in the US, the OKC Bombing, done by a right-wing Christian Terrorist.
Thirdly, and most sadly, there is a large element among the Republican Party that wishes harm against any Muslims in the US. While I do know Republicans who think otherwise, including one very, very close friend, they need to wake up to the hate in their midst. Starting now.
Mosque had security issues with the Fox guys.
Unfortunately, Fox News carries on with the character assassination of people that care going to the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.
Of course the anti Muslim “counter Jihad” will claim that they’re only “pretending” to be againsts violence and extremism, without any real evidence, other than the fact that they’re Muslims. Regardless this is a good thing.
A powerful campaign by British Muslims to condemn the actions of the Islamic State militant movement is gaining momentum.
“Not in my name”, led by the Active Change Foundation, is attempting to counter the presence of extremism on social media.
The campaign was praised in the recent speech by the US President to the UN General Assembly.
President Obama said the whole world, especially Muslim communities, had to expose and publicly renounce the ideologies of hatred and violence.
He added the militants cannot be allowed to continue “perverting one of the world’s great religions”.
The “Not in my name” campaign has now spread to other countries too.
I also want to thank Daniela for alerting me to this story