.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ramadan in Europe

At Hudson-NY, Soeren Kern gives a rundown of how Europeans are accommodating their Muslim residents on Ramadan, and how their Muslims are demanding more. Excerpts:
In Norway, the Oslo-based Imam Syed Farasat Ali Bukhari told the Norwegian state television channel NRK that any Muslim not fasting during Ramadan should be beheaded. He made the comments shortly after asking the government for permission to open a private Islamic school for 200 pupils in the Ammerud neighbourhood of Oslo. The government subsequently denied his request.



In Spain, where an estimated 95 percent of the country's 1.5 million Muslims are observing Ramadan this year, hundreds of municipal and provincial governments have issued special instructions to help non-Muslims avoid offending Muslims during Ramadan.

Ignoring the advice, a municipal councillor in the Barcelona suburb of Sant Adrià del Besós was attacked by a Muslim mob on August 7 while trying to photograph an illegal mosque in the town.

Meanwhile, a court in Tarragona on August 2 absolved a local imam who had been sentenced to one year in prison for forcing a 31-year-old Moroccan woman to wear a hijab head covering. The imam had threatened to burn down the woman's house for being an "infidel" because she works outside of the home, drives an automobile and has non-Muslim friends. But the Socialist mayor applied political pressure to get the ruling overturned to prevent "a social conflict."

Also, the Taliban issued a statement saying: "Most Islamic battles, like the conquest of Spain, were fought during Ramadan. So, we can conclude that the month of Ramadan has an astonishing place in the history of Islamic jihad."


Also in Germany, the television channel RTL2 launched a special service for Muslim viewers during Ramadan, letting them know when to begin and end the daily fast. "You can theorize all you like about integration, but we wanted to send a clear signal," said Carsten Molings, chief of marketing at the channel.

In Berlin, Özcan Mutlu, a Turkish member of the Berlin House of Representatives, was charged with assault after allegedly starting a fight after a Turkish sausage seller insulted him for ordering a currywurst during Ramadan.

In Sweden, the Social Democrats have called for turning Ramadan into an official Swedish holiday. "Almost all of our public holidays, except for Midsummer and May 1st, have a Christian religious connection. Sweden is today a multicultural society, and it is worth looking at how it can be done," Social Democrat Party secretary Carin Jämtin told the centrist Svenska Dagbladet daily newspaper.

I found these sports-related vignettes especially interesting (I changed the order):

In Germany, the Central Council of Muslims said Islamic professional football players were not obliged to fast during Ramadan, ahead of the regular season that resumed on August 5. "The professional player can make up the fasting days during periods when there is no match and in that way show his respect for God and the holy month of Ramadan," council president Aiman Mazyek said in a statement.

A dispute over the issue in Germany began when the second-division team FSV Frankfurt gave three Muslim players an official warning in October 2009 for fasting during Ramadan and failing to inform their managers. After much debate, Islamic scholars at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo concluded that an exception to the strict Ramadan fasting rules could be made for professional players so their performance would not be compromised.

The 2012 London Olympics have been plunged into controversy by the discovery that the Games will clash with Ramadan. The clash will put Muslim athletes at a disadvantage as they will be expected to fast from sunrise to sunset for the entire duration of the Games. In 2012, Ramadan will take place from July 21 to August 20, while the Olympics run from July 27 to August 12. About 3,000 Muslim competitors are expected to be affected. Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: "They would not have organized this at Christmas. It is equally stupid to organize it at Ramadan. It shows a complete lack of awareness and sensitivity."

Even though this video linked to in the article was not produced during Ramadan, it is worth watching:

Following are excerpts from a statement by London Islamist Abu Waleed, which was aired on the internet.


Abu Waleed: "What is the nightmare on Downing Street? The nightmare on Downing Street, my dear brothers, is when the door of 10 Downing Street is kicked down by one monotheist, and the Caliph walks in and establishes the shari'a....The nightmare on Downing Street, my dear brothers, is when one monotheist pulls a rope, and raises the banner of 'There is no god but Allah' above the Big Ben. The nightmare on Downing Street is when one monotheist flies a helicopter all the way to the top of the Big Ben. He removes those numbers, and replaces them with Arabic numbers. That is the nightmare of Downing Street, my dear brothers.

"As you all understand, we, as Muslims, are not those types of coconut-chocolate moderate Muslims – the ones who bow their heads down to the government. Rather, we are the ones who want to work for the sake of Allah, to establish the manifestation of Islam, and make sure that David Cameron comes on his hands and knees, and give us the jizya – yeah, that's right – and cover up all the women and put a niqab on their faces, including Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton, the whore, the fornicator."