Ivanka Trump in Jerusalem for embassy opening as Gaza braces for bloodshed

Israeli army deploys extra combat battalions and snipers at Gaza frontier

Ivanka Trump is seen during a reception held at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on Sunday ahead of the opening of the new US embassy
Ivanka Trump is seen during a reception held at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on Sunday ahead of the opening of the new US embassy. Photograph: Amir Cohen/Reuters

Ivanka Trump has landed in Israel for the inauguration of the US Jerusalem embassy on Monday, as protesters in Gaza prepare for a day of rallies along the frontier that are expected to be met with gunfire.

The US president’s daughter said she was returning “with great joy” to Jerusalem, which Donald Trump has recognised as Israel’s capital to the dismay of Palestinians, who claim part of the holy city as the capital of a future state.

“We look forward to celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary and the bright future ahead,” Ivanka wrote on Instagram ahead of the opening, which will take place on Monday, exactly seven decades since the country declared independence. “We will pray for the boundless potential of the future of the US-Israel alliance, and we will pray for peace.”

Ivanka, a presidential adviser, and her husband, Jared Kushner, were expected to attend a gala dinner on Sunday evening ahead of the event on Monday which is due to start at 4pm local time.

In Gaza, a strip of land Israel has blockaded for a decade, tens of thousands of people are anticipated to gather for protests along the perimeter fence.

An Israeli man draped in the stars and stripes at Damascus gate in Jerusalem on Sunday
An Israeli man draped in the stars and stripes at Damascus gate in Jerusalem on Sunday. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

Frustration and desperation at Trump’s December declaration helped ignite a six-week movement in which residents of the enclave have gathered near the frontier, with groups throwing stones and burning tyres. They have demanded an end to severe restrictions on movement and called for a “right to return” to their ancestral homes.

Israeli snipers have killed dozens and wounded more than 1,700 when firing on demonstrators in past rallies, according to Gazan health officials.

Organisers hope Monday’s will be the largest demonstration to date, on the eve of the 70th anniversary commemorating the Palestinian “Nakba”, or catastrophe, referring to their mass uprooting in the war surrounding Israel’s 1948 creation.

Israel has portrayed the movement as a “terrorist” ploy by Hamas and as a security threat to its civilians, pointing out attempts to damage and breach the fence. No Israeli has been wounded since protests began on 30 March.

Hamas, which rules Gaza and has supported the protests, said it would not stop people from attempting to break through the fence.

The Israeli army said on Sunday that it held Hamas accountable for anything in the Gaza Strip “and its consequences”. It added it had increased the deployment of “combat battalions, special units, field intelligence forces and snipers”.

In Jerusalem, dozens of foreign diplomats are expected to the attend the opening of the new mission, set on the site of the US consulate, although many ambassadors who oppose the move will skip it.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed the hilltop city in a move not recognised internationally. Most countries have kept their embassies in Tel Aviv.

An Israeli man confronts a Palestinian woman at Damascus gate in Jerusalem on Sunday as Israeli settlers celebrate Jerusalem Day in the Old City
An Israeli man confronts a Palestinian woman at Damascus gate in Jerusalem on Sunday as Israeli settlers celebrate Jerusalem Day in the Old City. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

The fate of the ancient city has been a critical and unresolved issue in past US-brokered peace talks. The Palestinian leadership rejected Washington’s traditional role as a mediator following Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

More than 1,000 Israeli police, including special patrol units and undercover officers, will be working near the event on Monday. Security preparations have taken three months.



What are the Five Pillars of Islam ?

They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith, prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification, and the pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.


There is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is His messenger. This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which all the faithful pronounce. In Arabic, the first part is la ilaha illa Llah – ‘there is no god except God’; ilaha (god) can refer to anything which we may be tempted to put in place of God – wealth, power, and the like. Then comes illa Llah: ‘except God’, the source of all Creation. The second part of the Shahada is Muhammadun rasulu’Llah: ‘Muhammad is the messenger of God.’ A message of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.

The Shahada inscribed over entrance to Ottoman Topkapi Palace (the museum contains a mantle worn by the Prophet, among other treasures), Istanbul.


Salat is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Quran, chosen by the congregation. These five prayers contain verses from the Quran, and are said in Arabic, the language of the Revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in one’s own language.

Prayers are said at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus determine the rhythm of the entire day. Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories and universities. Visitors to the Muslim world are struck by the centrality of prayers in daily life.

A translation of the Call to Prayer is:

God is most great. God is most great.
God is most great. God is most great.
I testify that there is no god except God.
I testify that there is no god except God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success (in this life and the Hereafter)!
Come to success!
God is most great. God is most great.
There is no god except God.

Courtyard of Great Mosque, Herat, Afghanistan.


One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. The word zakat means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.

Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat individually. For most purposes this involves the payment each year of two and a half percent of one’s capital.

Zakat keeps the money flowing within a society, Cairo.

A pious person may also give as much as he or she pleases as sadaqa, and does so preferably in secret. Although this word can be translated as ‘voluntary charity’ it has a wider meaning. The Prophet said ‘even meeting your brother with a cheerful face is charity.’

The Prophet said: ‘Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. ‘ He was asked: ‘What if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet replied: ‘He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.’ The Companions asked: ‘What if he is not able to work?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should help poor and needy persons.’ The Companions further asked ‘What if he cannot do even that?’ The Prophet said ‘He should urge others to do good.’ The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet said ‘He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.’


Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and to observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier.

Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded principally as a method of self purification. By cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as growth in one’s spiritual life.


The annual pilgrimage to Makkah – the Hajj – is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makkah each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another. Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not solar, so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer, sometimes in winter). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so that all stand equal before God.

Pilgrims praying at the mosque in Makkah.

The rites of the Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin, include circling the Ka’ba seven times, and going seven times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa as did Hagar during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand together on the wide plain of Arafa and join in prayers for God’s forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview of the Last Judgment.

In previous centuries the Hajj was an arduous undertaking. Today, however, Saudi Arabia provides millions of people with water, modern transport, and the most up-to-date health facilities.

Pilgrim tents during Hajj.

The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere. This, and the Eid al-Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are the main festivals of the Muslim calendar.

Deadly attack on South African mosque has ‘hallmarks of Islamic State’

One killed and two critically wounded in knife and petrol bomb assault on Shia worshippers near Durban

Police investigators gather at the entrance to the Imam Hussain Mosque on the outskirts of Durban
Police investigators gather at the entrance to the Imam Hussain Mosque on the outskirts of Durban after an attack. Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP/Getty Images

South African police searching for three men who stabbed worshippers at a mosque near Durban have said the attackers’ motive was unknown but “elements of extremism” were involved.

One Muslim leader said the mosque was targeted because it was a Shia place of worship that had received previous threats, exposing deep tension between the Shia and Sunni population.

The assailants killed one man by slitting his throat and critically injured two others after midday prayers on Thursday at the mosque in Verulam, a town on the outskirts of Durban.

“There are elements of extremism,” said Simphiwe Mhlongo, a spokesman for the Hawks police unit. “It shows hatred towards the worshippers.”

A local Islamic leader, Aftab Haider, said Shias in South Africa had been subjected to a prolonged hate campaign. He said the attack may be connected to the Sunni extremist group Islamic State.

“There has been a huge organised hate campaign in different mosques, radio stations and on social media against the Shia community. There have been threats at this mosque before, but not in the weeks leading up to this incident,” Haider said.

“It has all the hallmarks of the Isis style of operations in Iraq and Syria.”

The assailants, who also set off a petrol bomb inside the mosque, escaped in a car. Emergency services found the victims lying in the forecourt.

“These people were not robbers. They did not want phones, they did not want laptops or money,” said Ali Nchinyane, who was stabbed in the abdomen. “They came to the gate saying they want to perform prayers. They prayed and afterwards they wanted to kill.

“One of the suspects told me: ‘I will kill you’. If I did not fight, I would have been dead,” Nchinyane added, saying he used a martial arts weapon to defend himself.

Mhlongo said: “Law enforcement forces are [looking for the assailants], including private security, local detectives and police.”

The incident appeared to be unprecedented in South Africa, where about 1.5% of the 55million population is Muslim. The country prides itself on religious acceptance.

The parliament’s police committee condemned the attack. “A mosque is a religious institution, and South Africa’s constitution guarantees and protects the right to religious practices,” its chair, Francois Beukman, said.

“We want our communities to live in harmony, practising their religions without fear.”



Muslim and fabulous: how the internet changed fashion for Aussie hijabistas

For Yassmin Abdel-Magied, clothes shopping used to be a nightmare. Those days are over

Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Yassmin Abdel-Magied: ‘Hijabistas is a look into the world of Aussie hijabis on their own terms.’ Photograph: courtesy of Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Clothes shopping as a teenager was a nightmare for me. There were the usual teen concerns about body image, budget, and whether my booty would fit in my jeans (booty hadn’t hit the mainstream in the early 2000s). But there was also the additional challenge that uniquely faced young Muslimahs (Muslim women) like me: almost nothing in stores was suitable for my hijabi needs.

This was before the days of online shopping, so my choices were disastrously limited to the local mall. Days were spent layering long-sleeved skivvies under short-sleeve tees, tights under dresses with thigh-high slits, and singlets under blouses with deep-Vs. These sartorial decisions might have been just about survivable in a cold European climate, but they were not built for Brisbane’s humid summers.

My Sudanese mother did her best to offer alternatives, repeatedly suggesting I try the airy cotton kaftans (jalabeeyas) worn by men and women up and down the Sahara. Kaftans, however, were not what a 14-year-old girl wanted to wear to school on free-dress day to impress Shane from the rugby team. So I’d sweat away in polyester layers and thick cargo pants instead.

Play Video
Hijabistas! with Yassmin Abdel-Magied: how to tie a side-turban – video

Young hijabis like me all around Australia grew up attempting to retrofit clothing to suit their needs but the reality was clear: we were not a demographic considered fashion-forward and with disposable income. We were not a demographic considered at all. We were completely invisible in public spaces, save for the occasional televised debate on banning the burqa. Young girls like me would depend on trips to Muslim majority countries such as Malaysia, Egypt or Pakistan to stock up on clothing that might work, and if a friend or relative was travelling, they’d leave with a list of clothing requests from almost every hijabi in the community. We were nothing if not enterprising.

The internet changed things. With the proliferation of fashion blogs and spaces like Instagram and Tumblr, young Muslimahs were connected to fashion inspiration from around the world, the likes of which we had never seen before. Muslim women quickly learned to capitalise on these platforms and share their tips, style and looks with global audiences – and Dina Torkia was a British Egyptian blogger that led the way.

For me, a dorky Sudanese kid in Queensland, being able to see other young Muslim women take up space, tell their own stories and look fabulous was empowering in the most unexpected way. I’d not grown up being interested in clothes per se, because they weren’t made to talk to me. But online I learned that, hijabi or not, I could express myself in ways that were halal, uniquely my own – and that if and when I did, there would a community around me that got it.

Malaysian hijabista Nabila Razali, who features in Yassmin Abdel Magied’s ABC iView series Hijabistas.
Malaysian hijabista Nabila Razali, who features in Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s ABC iView series Hijabistas!. Photograph: ABC

Conversation about hijab is so often wrapped up in ideology, moralising and political bickering that people often forget about the women who are under the garments. Shockingly, hijabis are typically regular human beings doing their best to live their best lives, and some want to look fabulous doing it. We’re also a fashion force to be reckoned with, given the global spending on apparel by Muslims was US$230 billion in 2014. Who would have thought, right?

That’s why we made Hijabistas!: to showcase the range of textures within the modest fashion scene. There are the hijabi fashion designers – some who position themselves as hijabi fashion designers and some who see themselves as designers who happen to wear the hijab. There are social media influencers who have built large followings, sharing their daily outfits and make-up tutorials. There are entrepreneurs who are starting their own businesses, catering to a market that is enormous but so often forgotten. It’s a fun, exciting space that you might not have heard about before, but now get the chance to.

Hijabistas is a look into the world of Aussie hijabis on their own terms, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.



Sweden Team Goalie Converts to Islam

Sweden Team Goalie Converts to Islam

STOCKHOLM – The goalkeeper for Sweden national team under 19, Ronja Andersson, has converted to Islam, after years of studying the religion.

“I’m proud to be a Muslim,” she said in an interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Expressen.se reported.

Andersson, a member of the Uppsala Women’s Football team, said she was first introduced to Islam when she was 15-year-old by her friend.

Later on, she began to read about religion and then felt that she saw Islam in another light.

“I discovered that there were so many nice things that addressed me. I then began to attend religious events. I went to the mosque,” she said.

“First of all, people said that I just wanted to convert because of my boyfriend, but it’s definitely not. I made this decision without him,” she added.

Nevertheless, Andersson’s decision to become Muslim has faced huge criticism from people around her, including her family.

“They are full of prejudice against me. I was also exposed to hatred,” she lamented.

Yet, Andersson stressed that she was happy to become a Muslim.

“After I became a Muslim, I realized that I had entered a very beautiful religion. I believe in all the contents of the Quran. I know God and I feel his help,” she said.

Now she is learning how to fulfill the Islamic rituals, saying she plans to fast this Ramadan, set to begin next Wednesay, May 16.

Muslims make up between 450,000 and 500,000 of Sweden’s nine million people, according to the US State Department report in 2011.


Sweden Team Goalie Converts to Islam

Tomb of Zaid-bin-Haritha (may Allah be pleased with him)

Tomb of Zaid bin Haritha (may Allah be pleased with him)

The tomb of Zaid-bin-Haritha (may Allah be pleased with him) – Photo: Y.Isap

This is the tomb of Zaid-bin-Haritha (may Allah be pleased with him), the first amir appointed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to lead the Muslim army in the battle of Mu’ta.

  • Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him) was the first to embrace Islam after Ali (may Allah be pleased with him).
  • When still a small child he was travelling in a caravan when it was attacked by the tribe of Banu Qais. He was taken as a slave and sold in Makkah to Hakim-bin-Hizam who purchased him for his aunt Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with him), who offered him as a present to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) at the time of her marriage to him.
Tomb of Zaid bin Haritha (may Allah be pleased with him)

Front view of the tomb of Zaid bin Haritha (may Allah be pleased with him)

  • Zaid’s father was in immense grief at the loss of his son and roamed about in search of him. Zaid met some people of his clan during their pilgrimage to Makkah and sent a letter to his father assuring him that he was quite well and happy with his noble master. Zaid’s father and uncle came to Makkah with sufficient money to ransom Zaid and approached the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to free him so they could take him back. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) gave Zaid the free choice to go back with his father but he refused saying, “How can I prefer anybody else to you? You are everybody for me, including my father and uncle.” On this the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) took Zaid in his lap and said,“From today, I adopt Zaid as my son.” Zaid’s father and uncle were quite satisfied with the situation and gladly left Zaid with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).
Sign for the tomb of Zaid bin Haritha (may Allah be pleased with him)

Sign for the tomb of Zaid-bin-Haritha (may Allah be pleased with him) – Photo: Z.Patel

  • Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him) is the only companion (Sahabi) of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) mentioned by name in the Quran which concerned his divorce from Zainab (may Allah be pleased with her): “So when Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her, We gave her unto thee in marriage.” [Quran 33:37]
  • Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him) died at the age of 55.

References:  Fazail-e-Aamal – Sheik Zakariyya Kandhalvi, The Holy sites of Jordan – TURAB

Germany sees 1,075 Islamophobic crimes in 2017

Germany sees 1,075 Islamophobic crimes in 2017


BERLIN (AA): German police recorded 1,075 Islamophobic crimes in 2017, according to new government figures announced on Tuesday.

Far-right extremists or groups carried out some 994 attacks against Muslims and mosques, which made up 92.5 percent of all Islamophobic crimes, the report by the Interior Ministry said.

Anti-Muslim crimes included physical assault, threatening letters, hate speech and spraying Nazi-themed graffiti and attacking mosques.

Last January, police began registering Islamophobic crimes under a special category, after calls by the country’s Muslim community to take more serious measures against the growing number of anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Germany, a country of 81.8 million people, has the second largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France.

Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin. Many of them are second or third-generations of Turkish families who migrated to Germany in the 1960s.

The EU’s largest economy has witnessed growing Islamophobia and hatred of migrants in recent years triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties, which have exploited fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism


Germany sees 1,075 Islamophobic crimes in 2017

60 Photos of Beautiful Mosques Around The World

Mosques (or masjids for Arabic) are places of worship for followers of Islam. These places of worship for muslims around the world have existed for more than a millennia. With the spread of Islam across the world for a thousand years, distinct styles have inevitably evolved from the earliest masjids. In the past century, fusions in architectural styles from different cultures have even resulted from the effects of globalization.

With today’s rapid modernization of the world, we can even see more advanced forms of architectures in the latest masjids. Nevertheless, the beauty and reverence for such sacred places of worship remains in these structures, all thanks to the rich history that these masjids possess.

What better time than to appreciate the beauty of these Islamic architectures than the month of Ramadan? Here’s 65 awe-inspiring mosques from various countries around the world that’ll leave you breathless

Siddiqa Fatima Zahra Mosque (Kuwait) (Image Credit: Matthew Jacob)

Emir Abdelkader Mosque (Constantine, Algeria) (Image Credit: Beautiful Mosques)

Blue Mosque (Yerevan, Armernia)(Image Credit: Beautiful Mosques)



Abu Derwish Mosque (Amman, Jordan) (Image Credit: Beautiful Mosques)

Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque (Grozny, Chechnya) (Image Credit: Beautiful Mosques)

Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad, India)(Image Credit: Beautiful Mosques)

Masjid Raya Mosque (Tanjong Pinang, Indonesia) (Image Credit:Beautiful Mosques)

Great Mosque of Xining (Xining, China) (Image Credit: Beautiful Mosques)

Tokyo Mosque (Tokyo, Japan)(Image Credit: Beautiful Mosques)

Lead Mosque (Shkoder, Albania)(Image Credit: Beautiful Mosques)

Hui Mosque in Ningxia (Ningxia, China) (Image Credit: Islamic Arts and Architecture)

Shrine of Hazrat Ali (Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan) (Image Credit: Famous Mosque)

Saint Petersburg Mosque (St. Petersburg, Russia) (Image Credit:Zaratra)

Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan (Cairo, Egypt) (Image Credit: Ernie Reyes)

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (Muscat, Oman) (Image Credit: Jerome Ryan)

Al Nida Mosque (Baghdad, Iraq)(Image Credit: Mihoub Fares)

Sunshine Mosque (Victoria, Australia) (Image Credit: William Bullimore)

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque (Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei(Image Credit: Tylerdurden1)

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque 2 (Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei)(Image Credit: NeilsPhotography)

Baitun Nur (Alberta, Canada) (Image Credit: Engr. Mazhar-ul-Haq Khan)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Abu Dhabi, UAE) (Image Credit: Dennis Teoh)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 2 (Abu Dhabi, UAE) (Image Credit: Best in Travel)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 3 (Abu Dhabi, UAE) (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Taj Mahal Mosque (Agra, India)(Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Qolsharif Mosque (Kazan, Russia)(Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Imam Reza Shrine (Mashhad, Iran)(Image Credit: Meysam110)

Badshahi Mosque (Lahore, Pakistan) (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Green Lane Masjid (Birhingham, United Kingdom) (Image Credit:Wikipedia)

Wazir Khan Mosque (Lahore, Pakistan) (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Sabancı Merkez Camii (Adana, Turkey) (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Al-Saleh Mosque (Sana’a, Yemen)(Image Credit: Himo)

Jumeirah Grand Mosque (Dubai, UAE) (Image Credit: Elvis Payne)

The Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha (Cairo, Egypt) (Image Credit:Brian Connor)

Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre (Hong Kong, China) (Image Credit:ZN Web Studio)

Al-Azhar Mosque (Cairo, Egypt)(Image Credit: Jan Matysek)

Grande Mosquee de Paris (Paris, France) (Image Credit: Fredcan)

Great Mosque of Hohhot (Inner Mongolia, China) (Image Credit:Chaloos)

Imam Mosque (Isfahan, Iran) (Image Credit: HybridLava)

Nur-Astana Mosque (Astana, Kazakhstan) (Image Credit: Frost-uw)

Jamia Mosque (Nairobi, Kenya)(Image Credit: Laird Scott)

Crystal Mosque (Terengganu, Malaysia) (Image Credit: Azam Hashim)

Crystal Mosque 2 (Terengganu, Malaysia) (Image Credit: Mohammad Azmi)

Masjid Bahagian Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysia) (Image Credit: Bingregory)

Putra Mosque (Putrajaya, Malaysia)(Image Credit: Ming Chan)

Grand Mosque (Mecca, Saudi Arabia) (Image Credit: Hossam All Line)

Grand Mosque 2 (Mecca, Saudi Arabia) (Image Credit: Sharif Afridi)

Jama Masjid (Delhi, India) (Image Credit: Sharif Afridi)

Hassan II Mosque (Casablanca, Morocco) (Image Credit: Rosino)

Abuja National Mosque (Abuja, Nigeria) (Image Credit: Irene Becker)

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid (Cotabato City, Philippines)(Image Credit: Eazy Traveler)

Faisal Mosque (Islamabad, Pakistan) (Image Credit: Ian Cowe)

Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque (Colombo, Sri Lanka) (Image Credit: Rushika Silva)

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Islam Mosque (Paramaribo, Suriname)(Image Credit: Malakospapakos)

Dome of the Rock (Old City, Jerusalem) (Thanks -mb- and r.reds in the comments for clearing this up.)(Image Credit: Malakospapakos)

Great Mosque of Damascus (Damascus, Syria) (Image Credi:Bashar Shglila)

Omayyed Mosque (Damascus, Syria)(Image Credit: Hussein Alazaat)

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Istanbul, Turkey) (Image Credit: Discodoener)

Seoul Central Mosque (Seoul, South Korea) (Image Credit: Izamree)

Mosque of the Prophet 2 (Medina, Saudi Arabia) (Image Credit:Azozphotography)

Al Fateh Grand Mosque (Manama, Bahrain) (image Credit: Roger Solas)

France: French proposal lead by former President and PM want changes in verses of Qur’an

France: French proposal lead by former President and PM want changes in verses of Qur’an

(AA & The Atlantic): On April 21, 300 prominent French figures, including former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls signed a manifesto published in the French daily Le Parisien demanded some parts of the Qur’an, which they claimed have included violence and anti-Semitic references, be removed.French Muslims have condemned the manifesto saying they have “distorted” the Qur’an.

The manifesto generated an immediate outcry among Muslims in France and beyond, with critics labeling its usage of the phrase “low-volume ethnic cleansing” hyperbolic and accusing it of homogenizing all Muslims. Days after the manifesto’s release, 30 imams signed a counter-letter in Le Monde.

The Observatory for Islamophobia, an organization affiliated with the Egyptian government, described the manifesto as “hateful racism” that proves that “France is not a land that welcomes Islam.”

Tareq Oubrou, the prominent French imam who oversees the Grand Mosque of Bordeaux, called the characterization of the Qur’an “nearly blasphemous.” Viewing the scripture as anti-Semitic, he told me, is the falsified interpretation promoted by the very radicals France seeks to combat: “ignorant Muslims who remove texts from their historical context.”

Furthermore, the notion that anti-Semitism is built into Islam is “theologically false,” he added. As monotheistic “People of the Book,” Jews and Christians enjoy a special status in Islamic law.”

The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs slammed Monday a French proposal to remove some verses from the Qur’an, saying it is “out of line”.

The Directorate issued a written statement blasting the French proposal, which took the form of a manifesto signed by 300 French authors and politicians, saying that the signatories “are the Western versions of Daesh” terrorists, suggesting that they too have distorted Islam.

It said that certain groups in France had started a smear campaign against the holy book of Muslims, rejecting the call as “provocative”.

“It is disrespectful for the group, which adopts this understanding, to propose the removal of some verses from the Quran with an attitude that is out of line,” the statement said, stressing that misinterpreting the Qur’anic verses in a context-free manner cannot be approved, neither scientifically nor morally.

“According to the Qur’an, whatever his/her belief is, human life is valuable, untouchable, and the unjust killing of a human being is like killing all humans, and the survival of a human being is like keeping all the humankind alive.”

The statement strongly condemned “such provocative acts, which will hurt all Muslims and disrupt peace in the world” and called on the global community to be more “equitable”.

[Logo of the Qur’an by Ibrahim Ebi/Creative Commons]

France: French proposal lead by former President and PM want changes in verses of Qur’an

Germany: Berlin court insists on headscarf ban

Germany: Berlin court insists on headscarf ban

BERLIN (AA): A Berlin court ruled on Wednesday against a Muslim primary school teacher who wanted to wear her headscarf at work.

The labour court argued that the school administration’s decision to not allow the teacher to wear the hijab was in conformity with the Berlin’s “neutrality law”, which prohibits public employees, including teachers, police and justice officials from wearing religious symbols.

“The neutrality law does not violate the constitutional provisions,” the court argued in a press release, and noted that primary school administration has asked the teacher to work at a high school, where such restrictions were not in place.

Justice Arne Boyer said such neutrality takes precedence over the right to free religious expression.

“Primary school children should be free of the influence that can be exerted by religious symbols,” said Martin Dressler, a court spokesman.

The court, however, said the plaintiff could continue teaching older students in a public secondary school if she desired. The teacher, who was not present during the ruling, filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming she was denied the right to religious freedom.

In 2015, a major ruling of Germany’s Constitutional Court had annulled a “general ban” on teachers wearing headscarves, and ruled that such a ban could only be imposed if a teacher’s headscarf creates a controversy, and threatens the peaceful environment at a school.

Last year, a Muslim teacher won a lawsuit against Berlin authorities, arguing that they had discriminated against her because she wore a headscarf. The teacher was awarded €8,680 ($10,300) in compensation, but the court said it was a one-off ruling.

However, Berlin is among the few federal states which insists on prohibiting headscarves for teachers working at primary schools.

Although several German states ban headscarf for teachers, the country has no law banning Muslim female students from wearing headscarves in schools or universities.

In Germany, where nearly 4.7 million Muslims live, religious freedoms are protected by the German Constitution.

However, Muslim women who wear headscarves have faced an increasing level of discrimination in recent years amid a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments, triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties which have exploited the refugee crisis.

[Photo:  The Fatih Mosque in Bremen-Gröpelingen, Germany. By HanFSolo/Creative Commons]

Germany: Berlin court insists on headscarf ban