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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jews and Muslims challenge Geneva cemetery law with calls for own burial spaces - Faithwise Review of the Week

This post updated Oct 19, 2006

  • Jews and Muslims challenge Geneva cemetery law with calls for own burial spaces The Associated Press, October 11, 2006
    GENEVA A cemetery law that has kept the peace between Protestants and Catholics for 130 years is being challenged by Muslims and Jews who want their own space for graves, apart from public burial grounds.

    Geneva, shaped as a "Protestant Rome" by religious reformer Jean Calvin in the 16th century, has in recent decades sought to foster religious harmony.

    The Swiss city has practiced a strict secularism that extends to the grave, requiring that all cemeteries be public and nondenominational, with equal plots aligned the same way.

    But the city's Jewish and Muslim communities want separate cemeteries that would allow them to bury their dead according their religions' rites, and a proposed law is up for approval by the cantonal (state) parliament Thursday.

    "We (Jews and Muslims) both need a place where we can bury our dead according to our rituals," said Hafid Ouardiri, spokesman of the Foundation for Islamic Culture in Geneva

  • The Way Internet Links Muslims During Ramadan, Andy Goldberg, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Arab News,
    SAN FRANCISCO, 18 October 2006 — In the real world Sheikh Mohamed Al-Moktar Al-Shinqiti presides over a small Muslim community in Lubbock, Texas. But in the online world he ministers to millions of believers all around the globe who ask for spiritual and legal guidance on the popular religious site

  • Salman Rushdie: His life, his work and his religion Independent News, 18 October 2006
  • If this onslaught was about Jews, I would be looking for my passport
    Politicians and media have turned a debate about integration into an ugly drumbeat of hysteria against British Muslims, Jonathan Freedland, October 18, 2006, The Guardian
    But Muslims would be right to reply that they should be under no more obligation to distance themselves from the 7/7 bombers than Britain's Irish community were expected to denounce the IRA in the 1970s and 1980s. And this, too, is a prime task for politicians and media alike - to distinguish between radical, violent Islamism and mainstream British Islam. Too often, the line between the two gets blurred, lazily and casually. Helpfully, the 1990 Trust yesterday published a survey which deserves wide dissemination. They found that the number of Muslims who believed acts of terrorism against civilians in the UK were justified was between 1% and 2%. Not good, but less than the 20% or higher found by some newspaper polls. The trust reckons those earlier polls asked a loaded question - and got a highly charged answer.

  • Cartoon Mohammed: A Jewish Perspective, Rabbi Daniel Brenner's blog
    Our challenge today, In America and around the world, is to find the right balance between traditional religious values and a society which affords us freedom of expression. Continue reading @ Faith Commons

  • Ontario to push character education, Oct. 16, 2006. CANADIAN PRESS, Toronto Star
    Classrooms will become more civilized, and students will be better behaved and get higher grades under the province’s plan to introduce character education across Ontario, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Monday.
  • Our skewed priorities
    It's obscene to hound powerless Muslim women while Muslim world is under siege, says Haroon Siddiqui, Oct. 15, 2006. HAROON SIDDIQUI, Toronto Star
    A British commentator, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, wrote that niqabi women are "just as much the victim of sexual objectification as a half-naked woman in a tube top." By this formulation, the state would be kept busy covering up the "half-naked" women and uncovering the niqabis.
    Just because a majority of Jews do not wear the yarmulke does not negate the fundamental rights of those who do.

    That some Sikhs shave off their beards and cut their hair does not mean that the majority who keep a beard and wear the turban can be ordered to do otherwise.

    Just because a majority of Jews do not wear the yarmulke does not negate the fundamental rights of those who do.

    That some Sikhs shave off their beards and cut their hair does not mean that the majority who keep a beard and wear the turban can be ordered to do otherwise.

  • Veil furor hides an arrogant bias, Oct. 19, 2006. HAROON SIDDIQUI, Toronto Star
  • Diwali should be called national festival of bribes: Bhatti, October 20 2006
    CHANDIGARH: Comedian Jaspal Bhatti has come out with a new joke on Diwali. He set up a 'Bribery Gift Shop' in the city on Friday and even demanded that the festival of lights be declared the national festival of bribes.

    "This is the best day in the year when bribe-seeking ministers, politicians, bureaucrats and officials unashamedly seek bribes in the form of Diwali gifts," he said.

  • British Airways worker sues over cross
    Woman says she was sent home from work for wearing crucifix,, Oct 14, 2006
    LONDON - A British Airways employee was suspended from work for refusing to remove a necklace bearing a Christian cross, a British newspaper reported Saturday.

    Nadia Eweida, a check-in worker at Heathrow Airport, told the Daily Mail she was suing the airline for religious discrimination after being sent home for breaching BA’s dress code.

    “British Airways permits Muslims to wear a headscarf, Sikhs to wear a turban and other faiths religious apparel. Only Christians are forbidden to express their faith,” Eweida was quoted as saying.

  • Where Have All The Peaceful Religions Gone?,Thu 19 Oct 2006
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    On the news item: Veil furor[e] hides an arrogant bias

    As Muslims, we have a duty to live by the Law of God and the Example of the Prophet - upon whom be blessings and peace.

    As you state correctly in your article ("Veil furor[e] hides an arrogant bias"), first there is agreement among us that the Koran does not instruct women to cover their faces, and second it is forbidden for women to cover their faces when performing the Hajj. The wearing of the of the niqab is therefore not a religious requirement in Islam (unlike for Zoroastrian priests tending the sacred flame or for Jains wishing to avoid causing harm to insects).

    Given that this mode of dress is not a requirement in the Sharia, it cannot be unlawful for a Muslim woman's face to be visible to members of the opposite sex. On what basis therefore do some Muslims demand the right not to show their faces when reasonably required to do so?

    "O Prophet, why to you forbid what God has made lawful for you?" (66:1)

    Why are we, as Muslim intellectuals, incapable of distinguishing clearly for the benefit of the less educated between what our religion permits and what it requires? Why do we feel compelled, like pre-Islamic pagan tribesmen, to defend our co-religionists' behaviour even at the expense of the principles of our faith?

    Anyone who has lived in those Muslim-majority countries of the Persian Gulf, where the fashion of the niqab has persisted unbroken, cannot fail to have observed the fact that those women who wear the niqab in public, either through personal choice or out of compulsion by their menfolk, are as often as not accompanied by foreign female servants whom they do not expect to do likewise. Does such behaviour accurately reflect the principle behind the authentic hadith which ends: "In sooth, I say unto you, were Fatimah bint Muhammad to steal I would surely cut off her hand"?

    Please stop defending those whose behaviour appears calculated, like the Bolscheviks of the Russian Revolution, to inflame negative emotions and inter-communal strife without benefitting anyone, and instead look at examples of what good we Muslims can and do do in this world which God has given us.

    If aught that I have said is wrong, correct me. And may God guide us all along the straight path.

    Roderic Vassie

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