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Muslims on Capitol Hill learn how to lobby

sq500-f2ef5a1c4b590c260ceaef4f433ffdd4By: Aysha Khan and Lauren Markoe, RNS May 2, 2017
WASHINGTON (RNS) In the community room of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the nerve center of a two-day Muslim lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill, both first-time and veteran lobbyists compared notes:
More than three times as many people — 400-plus — showed up to lobby at this year’s annual Muslim Advocacy Day (Monday and Tuesday, May 1-2), compared with the first time the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations held the event in 2015.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, still seemed to be avoiding them. Even the staffers working for Congress members with anti-Muslim reputations appeared friendly. “Muslims are in catching-up mode,” said Zahid Bukhari, of the Islamic Circle of North America, one of the groups that founded the coalition that organized the lobbying days.
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Clayton mosque holding open day to promote understanding of Muslims and Islam

086fe3dfdbecd0ec81392b13685c3828Jesse Wray-McCann, Monash Leader
May 2, 2017
A CLAYTON mosque is throwing open its doors and welcoming people in this Sunday to help people understand their Muslim neighbours and their faith. The Islamic Association of Monash Mosque at Monash University will be joining other mosques around the state as part of the new initiative Victorian Mosque Open Day. Islamic Council of Victoria president Mohamed Mohideen, who is a microbiology lecturer at the university and worships at the Monash mosque said the occasion was aimed at strengthening community spirit, building better relationships with neighbours and breaking down misconceptions about Islam.
“We want the Victorian community to look beyond what is portrayed of Muslims and build dialogue and friendships while sharing mutual respect and understanding,” Mr Mohideen said.
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Indonesia promotes more tolerant brand of Islam

Burma PresidentPUBLISHED MAY 3, 2017
JAKARTA • The imposing, 1.8m-tall painting is a potent symbol of modern Indonesian history: the country's founding father, Sukarno, cradling a dead, barefoot rebel killed by Dutch colonial forces amid rice fields and smouldering volcanoes in late-1940s Java. The fighter's bloodied shirt draws immediate attention - but so does a necklace dangling from the body: A Christian cross, worn by the independence martyr for the world's most populous Muslim- majority nation. The 2006 painting has become the symbol of a global initiative by the Indonesian youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest mass Islamic organisation in the world, that seeks to reinterpret Islamic law dating from the Middle Ages in ways that conform to 21st-century norms.

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Yemeni-Americans shut hundreds of shops in NY City to protest travel ban

AMANA Picture on Yemeni NYBy Gina Cherelus | NEW YORK, POLITICS | Thu Feb 2, 2017
Hundreds of New York City bodegas, grocery stores and restaurants owned by Yemeni Americans closed for hours on Thursday in protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policies, organizers said. Loyal patrons who rely on the stores for staples of daily life had to look elsewhere for lunch after more than 1,000 locations shut their doors from noon to 8 p.m. in a move coordinated by groups including the Muslim Community Network and the Yemeni American Community. Bodega, a Spanish word meaning wine shop, is New York City slang for small stores selling everything from deli foods to newspapers and cat litter. "We want to send the message that we're here," said Sulaiman Alaodyi, a 24-year-old cashier at the Best and Tasty deli in the borough of the Bronx, a bodega that is normally open around the clock. This was the first time it closed its doors since it started business nine months ago. The protests followed the decision by Trump's administration to put a four-month hold on letting refugees into the United States and to temporarily bar travelers from Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.
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Sessions' Mixed Message to Muslims

downloadBy Rachel Levinson-Waldman | Contributor, Jan. 11, 2017
On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions faced the first day of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee to determine whether he will be this country's next attorney general. The all-day hearing covered issues ranging from voting rights, to encryption, to immigration, to drug courts, to whistleblowers. One major topic of discussion, to which the senators returned repeatedly, was how the nation's next top cop would treat Muslims in light of President-elect Donald Trump's suggestions (and subsequent denials) that he might institute a flat ban on Muslim immigration or establish a registry for Muslims within the United States. Sessions' answers offered both assurances and cause for alarm. When asked whether he supports a registry of "United States citizens who happen to be Muslims," Sessions rejected the proposal. He referred, as he did several times throughout the hearing, to the importance of religious freedom, which he emphasized applied to Muslims to the same degree as any other religions. And while previous administrations instituted a country-based registry, there are compelling arguments that those registries would be unconstitutional today. Given Trump's incendiary comments about Muslims, Sessions' disavowal was therefore a critical and much-needed statement.
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Canada’s Trudeau to Defend Muslims, Tout Immigration to Trump

by Josh Wingrove, January 12, 2017
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will speak up in defense of Muslims, immigration and feminism in talks with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
Trudeau typically avoids direct critiques of Trump, instead pledging to work with any occupant of the White House. He confirmed early Thursday his officials have met with Trump’s team in a bid to boost trade ties.
Later that evening, however, Trudeau went further than usual in speaking about Trump during a town hall session in Belleville, Ont., as he sets out on a campaign-style national tour.

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Top Saudi cleric says Iran leaders not Muslims as haj row mounts

Saudi on ShieWORLD NEWS | Wed Sep 7, 2016
By Dahlia Nehme | MECCA
Saudi Arabia's top religious authority said Iran's leaders were not Muslims, drawing a rebuke from Tehran in an unusually harsh exchange between the regional rivals over the running of the annual haj pilgrimage. The war of words on the eve of the mass pilgrimage will deepen a long-running rift between the Sunni kingdom and the Shi'ite revolutionary power. They back opposing sides in Syria's civil war and a list of other conflicts across the Middle East. Tensions between them have been rising since Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran in January following the storming of its embassy in Tehran, itself a response to the Saudi execution of a dissident Shi'ite cleric. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a message published on Monday, criticized Saudi Arabia over how it runs the haj after a crush last year killed hundreds of pilgrims. He said Saudi authorities had "murdered" some of them, describing Saudi rulers as godless and irreligious. Responding to a question by Saud
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Muslim women in headscarves cry as they are thrown out of Paris restaurant by manager yelling vile abuse

GettyImages-468514458News World news Racism
The women, both in headscarves, caught the horrifying moment on their mobile phone camera just days after outrage was sparked by police forcing a woman to remove a burkini on a beach. This is the moment two women wearing headscarves were allegedly thrown out of a Paris restaurant by a member of staff who told them "Terrorists are Muslims, and all Muslims are terrorists". Captured on a mobile phone it shows a man, thought to be a manager of the restaurant, confronting two women sitting at a table and telling them "I don't want people like you in my place, I’ll make that clear". The incident took place at Le Cenacle restaurant in Tremblay-en-France on Saturday night and follows a series of incidents in which grandmothers and mothers have been thrown off public beaches in France for wearing Islamic looking clothing . Now a criminal enquiry has been launched into Saturday’s vicious attack at the restaurant in a northeast suburb of the French capital.
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Campaign rhetoric against Muslims spurs mosques to get out the vote

ct-ctfl-20160821-muslimvoter-009-jpg-20160828By Manya Brachear PashmanContact Reporter
Chicago Tribune, August 30, 2016
When Imam Nazim Mangera arrived at Chicago's Muslim Community Center in December, he immediately encountered a feeling of deja vu. In his last months as leader of a Vancouver mosque, Mangera had helped mobilize Canadian Muslims to cast their vote in a heated race for prime minister — a contest between a liberal candidate who went out of his way to show respect for Muslims' religious rights and a conservative incumbent who had pushed to ban from Canadian citizenship ceremonies the face veil worn by some Muslim women.
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Muslims prepare for potential for holy day to fall on 9/11

21017372-mmmainBy Ivey DeJesus | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
August 31, 2016
A new moon – which may appear in the sky by week's end – will determine if one of the most important Islamic holy days coincides with the annual commemoration of this country's worst terrorist attack.
The potential lining up of dates is engendering a national dialogue based, in some instances, on conjecture about its implications, but most Muslims in America agree on one basic point: That whether Eid al-Adha falls on or near the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is solely ordained by the celestial sky. "One thing to keep in mind is that this is a coincidence," said SherAli K. Tareen, assistant professor of religious studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Eid al-Adha — the feast of sacrifice, which commemorates the end of hajj, the annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca, like other Islamic holy days, is determined by the lunar calendar.
In North America, the Eid al-Adha could fall on Wednesday, Sept. 11, or some time close to that day, depending on the moon sighting. The holy day is observed 10 to 11 days after the sighting of a new moon at the start of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, according to the Islamic calendar. "It's not something Muslims decide," Tareen says. "It's not like Muslims have taken on the decision."

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No One Wants to See ISIS Defeated More Than Muslims

n-BAGHDAD-628x314Dean Obeidallah, Political comedian, SiriusXM radio show host and commentator
July 16, 2016
The so-called Islamic State is the enemy of Islam. In fact, ISIS is the enemy of Judaism, Christianity, Yazidism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, atheism and all others who oppose its evil and barbaric agenda. The difference, however, is that Muslims suffer by far the most from ISIS’ horrific attacks. We saw that again this past week with ISIS’ bloody rampage against Muslims. The most horrific incident was over the weekend in Baghdad where an ISIS suicide car bomb targeted the Karrada shopping area, killing over 175 people including numerous children. One moment Muslim families were shopping and socializing after breaking the Ramadan fast at sundown. The next, entire families were gone in a blink of an ISIS bomb. The blast targeted a primarily, but not exclusively, Shia neighborhood. But if you think ISIS hesitates at slaughtering Sunni Muslims, you simply don’t know what ISIS has been up to the past few years. The group has brutally murdered countless Sunni Muslims, including three women who reportedly refused to treat ISIS fighters and others who refused to pledge allegiance to ISIS.

Muslims Will Be Fined for Wearing a Burka in Switzerland

reuters burka switzerland jpg 1718483346July 8, 2016
“Those who want to integrate are welcome, irrespective of their religion, but those who rebuff our values and aim to build a parallel society based on religious laws, and want to place it over our society, are not welcome,” said Giorgio Ghiringhelli, a member of Ticino’s populist party who proposed the ban in 2015. Muslim Woman Denied Abercrombie Job Gains U.S. Court Backing
Government officials in Ticino had collected signatures to outlaw burkas throughout Switzerland, but Swiss lawmakers ruled that such a prohibition was illegal in 2012. France became the first country in Europe to ban the face veil in 2010. The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Bern warned citizens visiting Switzerland about the ban. "The embassy wishes to emphasize that the Ticino cantonal authorities in southeastern Switzerland have announced that as of July 1, 2016 they will start to enforce the burka (niqab) ban in public places in the canton, including in Lugano, Locarno, Magadino, Bellinzona, Ascona and Mendrisio," said the embassy on Twitter.
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‘Pokemon Go’ Fatwa Issued: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Cn1 IRMWEAAdbT9By Jessica McBride, July 21, 2016
Saudi Arabian clerics have issued a “fatwa,” banning Pokemon Go, says Gizmodo. A fatwa is an “Islamic religious ban.”
In the fatwa, the clerics call Pokemon Go “un-Islamic,” according to Cnet. The fatwa is technically number 21,758, said Cnet. The Pokemon Go mobile phone application is now the most popular mobile game ever in U.S. history. Al Jazeera reports that Pokemon Go is also becoming a phenomenon in the Middle East.
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Muslims Flooded Streets to Condemn Terrorism, 70,000 Clerics Issued Fatwa Against ISIS

London-Twitter-Mohammed-Al-Sharifi-by Terry Turner -  Jul 21, 2016
For “Throwback Thursday,” we thought we’d highlight some anti-ISIS activities in the Muslim community that you may have missed in the news during the last year.
Roughly 1.5 million Muslims signed petitions condemning ISIS after 70,000 Muslim clerics declared that the terrorist group is not an Islamic organization.
The India-based clerics also condemned the Taliban and al-Qaeda as non-Islamic. Their fatwa against the groups called the terrorists a threat to humanity.
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Newt Gingrich Wants To Deport Muslims Who Believe In Sharia

AP 120208027231-1024x683BY ESTHER YU-HSI LEE, JUL 15, 2016
Muslims who can’t pass a test to ensure that they are compatible with Western civilization should be deported, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested following a terror attack involving a man who plowed into a crowd and killed more than 77 people in Nice, France. “Western civilization is in a war,” Gingrich said on Thursday night during a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity. “We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization.”
In the same interview, Gingrich — who is being considered as a potential running mate for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump — said the idea that Islam is a peaceful religion is “bologna.”

Chicago Muslim group erects massive billboards urging fellow Muslims to 'see something, say something' in a bid to fight terrorism

Monday, Jul 18th 2016
A Muslim group in Chicago has erected two massive billboards over the city's highways that they hope will fight terrorism and combat Islamophobia. The Association of Pakistani Americans of Bolingbrook paid almost $7,600 for the billboards, which went up on Sunday over Interstate 290 and I-55, the Chicago Tribune reported, and will be displayed for four weeks.
The signs read: 'Muslims to Muslims: See Something. Say Something. Save Innocent Lives.'
Talat Rashid, the association's founder, said the billboards call on Muslims to alert authorities if they suspect anyone of such acts. They are meant to show average Americans that Muslims don't condone terrorism, he said.
'It is time that we should go out and tell everyone that we are not what you hear and what you see,' Rashid told Fox News.
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Imams of holiest mosques on fighting terror

Holy MadinaBy Wam, Published Saturday, July 09, 2016
Imams of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medinah and the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam's two most sacred sites, today urged a firm and tough approach to fighting the "forces of evil" that are seeking to wreak chaos and destruction and violate the all the sanctities of Islam, undermine security and spread corruption. Terrorist attacks hit the three Saudi cities of Medinah, Qatif and Jeddah last week. In Medinah, the attack targeted the mosque built by the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The mosque also houses the Prophet's tomb. In the Friday sermon, Sheikh Khalid Ali Al Ghamedi, the imam and preacher of the Grand Mosque of Grand Mosque of Makkah (Masjid Al Haram) said terrorism is a an outlandish phenomenon for Islam and in particular for Saudi Arabia, home to the two holiest mosques. The greatest and most appalling of all sins, the scholar said, is for anyone to deliberately and premeditatedly sheds the blood of innocent people... wreak chaos and havoc and undermine security and stability in order to achieve the evil goals of criminal gangs and sectarian terrorist organisations.
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Singaporean Muslims looked amazing in their traditional outfits for Eid

https-blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.comuploadscardimage137421f811e2bd1b7a452084bbcfb11f12a169BY ALICIA TAN, July 7, 2016
SINGAPORE — Wednesday marked the end of the month-long fasting period of Ramadan for Muslims all over the world. Known as Eid al-Fitr or Hari Raya in Southeast Asian countries, Muslims celebrated by opening their homes to friends and families, greeting one another in their finest traditional robes.
SEE ALSO: Singapore's K+ is a celebration of fine local design
In Singapore, the hashtag #EidsTheTakeOver started trending on Twitter after this post from Glowly Suji, which urged fellow Muslims here to stand proud of their heritage and not be affected by the negative opinions of what others had toward them.
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Muslims face fines up to £8,000 for wearing burkas in Switzerland

islamic-dress-gettyHarriet Agerholm @HarrietAgerholm Friday 8 July 2016
A controversial Swiss law prohibiting Islamic dress has been used to fine a Muslim convert and a businessman, who protested the ban. The rule, which came into effect in Ticino on Friday, was voted in by referendum and outlaws face-covering headgear. Nora Illi and Rachid Nekkaz, who are prominent campaigners for the rights of Muslims, walked in the streets of Locarno in full Islamic dress soon after the rule was introduced. They were stopped by police officers, who fined Mr Nekkaz, a French-Algerian national, £180 (CHF230). Ms Illi, from Zurich, who converted to Islam when she was 19, will receive a penalty of up to £7,700 (CHF10,000). In 2011, Mr Nekkaz set up a million euro fund to help women all over the world who chose to wear a veil or burka where it is not allowed. As the protest was being carried out by Ms Illi and Mr Nekkaz, local government officials collected signatures calling for a nationwide ban on the burka.
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Rallies Held in New York, Boston, Portland in Support of Palestine

139504121218518448053764News ID: 1120315 Service: World, July, 02, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tasnim) – Hundreds of Muslims and human rights activists staged demonstrations in the US cities of New York, Boston and Portland in solidarity with the Palestinian people on the occasion of International Quds Day. According to Tasnim dispatches, more than 400 people held a demonstration in New York City on Friday to condemn heinous crimes committed by the Israeli regime against the Palestinian nation and urge the international community not to keep silent on the issue. Some 100 people also staged a rally in Portland, the largest city in the US state of Oregon, to mark the International Quds Day and express their support for Palestinians. In another protest rally in the US, around 300 people, including peace activists, gathered in Boston, Massachusetts, to voice their solidarity with the Palestinian nation. The demonstrators carried various placards, saying “Stop Funding Genocide,” “Free Palestine,” and “End Zionist Apartheid”.
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