Anger and apathy from Brooklyn Muslims over NYPD spying report

src.adapt.960.high.1377927742177On Friday afternoon at the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, a large mosque and community center in an especially diverse neighborhood of Brooklyn, Muslim men double-parked their cars and ran from adjacent storefronts to catch the start of the 1 p.m. prayer.

As the interior of the mosque filled up with more than 100 people, those left outside began claiming space on the sidewalk, using Arabic-language newspapers as substitutes for prayer rugs.

It was a normal Friday, except that many in attendance were a little more tense than usual. This was the first Friday prayer following the release of documents by The Associated Press that showed several mosques in New York, including the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, had been labeled as suspected “terrorist enterprises” by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and were under the department’s watchful eye for years.

The AP also revealed in 2011 that the NYPD was keeping several Muslims under surveillance, but the new revelations came as a shock to many in the Bay Ridge Muslim community, who said they’ve had nothing but good relations with the police.

But to others, the documents were just another sign of a continually worsening relationship between what they say is an overly suspicious NYPD and Muslim-Americans just trying to go about their lives.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL JAZEERA AMERICA 

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Egypt’s Struggle Is Against Political Islam, Christian Editor Says

AMR02_EGYPT-_0215_11BY ANUGRAH KUMAR, CHRISTIAN POST CONTRIBUTOR
August 24, 2013|1:10 pm

While the Western world sees the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi as a military coup, the editor of Egypt’s weekly Christian newspaper says it was a coup by the people of the country and an attempt to abort efforts towards political Islam.

Youssef Sidhom, editor of the weekly called Watani (My Homeland), told Voice of America in an interview that Egyptians were hopeful that the Islamist President Morsi would govern the nation impartially, which did not happen.

“Months and months had elapsed when they failed to do so. And there has been during the past year of the rule of President Morsi an accumulating level of bitterness and anger on (the) part of Egyptians – that the Muslim Brotherhood are only clever in taking power in their hands and ousting every other political faction,” Sidhom said.

Referring to massive protests that preceded Morsi’s ouster, he added, “Egyptians enormously went down to the streets – whether Christians or Muslims – saying enough is enough and we’re not taking any more of the rule of Morsi. And I have to admit they were very lucky that their anger, which erupted, was sided by the Egyptian military.”

The editor went on to say that the vast majority of Egyptians were happy with Morsi’s removal despite the recent bloodbath. “…On June 30, according to most of the estimations, it was an overwhelming 30 million Egyptian people going down to the streets, both Christian and Muslim. It seems that no less than 85 or 90 percent of Egyptians are very relieved to get rid of political Islam led by the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN POST 

Islam’s ability to empower is a magnet to black British youths

Muslims pray at the Central London mosqueA seminar was hosted last month by Christians Together in England to consider ways to “stem the flight of black British youths to Islam and radicalisation”. In an unprecedented move, Muslims were invited to attend – and they did. Together, both faith groups discussed the reasons why a growing number of young black people are choosing Islam in preference to Christianity. According to this morning’s BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, one in nine black Christian men are converting to Islam.

Following in my father’s footsteps, I was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended Sunday mass regularly as a child. I also attended a Roman Catholic secondary school – initially a cultural shock as I found myself the only black student among a predominantly white class. The religious focus of the school was, however, a refreshing contrast to my urban, street background. Teachers and students were more serious about God than at my previous schools. A student was not considered “nerdy” or “odd” due to their religiosity. I was therefore able to excel in religious studies and was successful in my final O-level exam.

During these lessons, the more we learned about religion, the more we questioned and challenged particular concepts, particularly relating to Christianity. Questions about the concept of the trinity – the Godhead being three in one – caused many debates as some of us; myself and others did not find this logical or feasible. Our religious studies teacher became exasperated by persistent questions on this topic, and arranged for the local priest to attend and address the question. His explanations did little to remove our doubts in this very fundamental and important area of faith.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN 

Human Rights Watch urges Egypt to protect churches, end Islamist incitement

2013-635127765647108746-710Egyptian authorities must protect churches and Christian homes and businesses from attack and Islamists must stop inciting sectarian violence, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

The group said it had documented attacks on 42 churches and dozens of Christian institutions, schools and homes, as well as Christian-owned businesses across the country.

It said at least four people were reported killed in sectarian violence, three Christians and one Muslim.

Attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority have escalated since the July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The attacks dramatically increased since the August 14 dispersal of two pro-Morsi protest camps in the capital.

Human Rights Watch said authorities had failed to protect Christians from attacks, and that Islamists, including Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, had failed to properly condemn the violence and prevent future attacks.

“For weeks, everyone could see these attacks were coming, with Muslim Brotherhood members accusing Coptic Christians of a role in Mohamed Morsi’s ouster, but the authorities did little or nothing to prevent them,” said Joe Stork, the group’s acting Middle East director.

“In the vast majority of the 42 cases Human Rights Watch documented, neither the police nor the military were present at the start or during the attack,” the group said.

It said a priest in Minya province told the group he had called police and emergency services multiple times as mobs attacked his church, but no one came.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL AHRAM 

Only in Egypt: Muslims defending churches, Christians protecting mosques!

Sawy Cultural WheelCairo, Egypt-After a long stressful day due to increasingly crazy events and ever changing news, I had to quickly return home before curfew,  which the government imposed to reduce the chances of Muslim Brotherhood violence in the streets.

As I entered my home,  I heard the bells of the nearby church ringing in a strange way.  Next came screams and the sound of many gunshots.  I t old my children to stay away from the balconies, and got ready to defend my family against any possible attack.

But my curiosity as a journalist kept on pushing me to get out and cover the story despite the risk because I know that journalists are most targeted by the Muslim Brotherhood gangs, even more so than police and army members, because they are present in an unmarked way with no badges or uniforms and work to uncover the facts of the Muslim Brotherhood to the public.  The Brotherhood have already killed a dozen journalists and wounded many others.

Heading fast to the nearby church,  I noticed many of my neighbors, both Muslims and Christians, carrying knives, sticks and like me, scurrying to the church where the sounds of gun shots had stopped.  I saw man with a serious wound to is arm as his brothers put him into a car to go to the closest hospital.

Getting to the church, I had expected to see a large number of dead and injured people, and worried that the church would be torched.  But thank God, I found only 3 wounded with minor injuries in the hand and the head, wounds that were the result of citizens fighting with Muslim Brotherhood members before people quickly converged on the church, forcing to Brotherhood to retreat and run away.

There were hundreds of Egyptians of all ages. All of them made it clear they were willing to kill Brotherhood members if they turned up again. About half of them were Muslims.  A few Salafists, too, came to be with us as they live in the same neighborhood and refuse to attack the church.  I heard a lot of dialogues between Christians and Muslims.  I felt the warmth of real cohesion and unity against the new danger, and knew that there is no difference between our needs and destiny because everyone was there to protect the House of God.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CANADA FREE PRESS

Islamic Leaders Urge Egyptian Muslims to Protect Christians Facing Violence

Gaynutdin_islamThe Russian Association of Islamic Accord, which is also known as the All-Russian Muslim Board, has called on Egyptians to protect the country’s Christian population.

Mufti Farid Salman, head of the Ulema Council of the association, called on the Egyptian Muslim population to maintain the safety of churches in the country, to protect Muslim and Christian clergy and to “severely punish the extremists who sowed the seeds of chaos and revolt,” according to Interfax independent news group.

“It is unacceptable to tolerate the continuation of this orgy of Saran followers, who have burned down several dozens of churches and have looted monasteries in the past few days in an attempt to further fan the flames of this fratricidal war, cease the efforts of those to desecrate, destroy and loot numerous mosques and madrasahs [religious schools],” the mufti continued in a statement.

He accused the Muslim Brotherhood of using religious language to “open the gates of chaos and disasters.” He said the recent violence in the modern histories of Syria, the Palestinian territories; Sudan, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt all demonstrate the destructive impact of the Brotherhood on societies.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN POST 

Egyptian Muslims Forget Muhammad’s Letter to Christian Monks at Mt. Sinai

1eg60One issue often discussed on news sites and blogs over the last several days is the many attacks on Egypt’s Christian communities. Several outlets have reported that violence by Mohammad Morsi supporters has left dozens of Christian churches, Coptic-owned businesses and properties burnt. Fears of widespread sectarian strife seem to be growing among Egypt’s Christian minority.

The violence against Egypt’s Christians reminds me of the important symbolism of Muhammad’s letter to Christian monks at St. Catherine’s, Mount Sinai (Egypt) in 628 AD.

In his letter, Muhammad championed universal peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims. Not only did he outline how Christians are to be treated by Muslims, but Muhammad also touched upon human rights, including freedom of conscious, freedom of worship, and the right to protection in war.

Here is an English translation of Muhammad’s letter:

“This is a message from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens, and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them.

Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey his prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.

The Muslims are to fight for them.

If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.

No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the last day (end of the world).”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST