Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Swiss Muslims Rise Against Islamophobia.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

Over the past years news stories about Muslims in Switzerland were widely highlighted in the media, shedding some light on a community that was not fairly introduced to either the Swiss or the international societies.

Before the big fuss about the minarets ban, there was little information about Muslims in Switzerland, in terms of their challenges and contributions to the society which they are living in and belonging to.

Today, October 29, Swiss Muslims are demonstrating against Islamophobia and racism in the city of Bern by hosting a conference which is expected to be the largest Islamic festival to have occurred in Switzerland.

The conference is organized by The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS) under the theme, “Day Against Islamophobia and Racism”. This conference is supported by a wide variety of groups both in Switzerland and across Europe, to ensure the basic human rights of Muslims in the Swiss society.

As highlighted on the official website of ICCS, speakers of the conference include Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair- a well-known British journalist who converted to Islam in 2010, two prominent and influential leaders of Islamic communities - Sheikh Abdullah al-Samit Frank Bubenheim from Germany and Mufti Muamer Zukorlic from Sandžak.

On the other side, it is planned to include in the conference schedule special performances from Labbayk, an Islamic vocal group from the as well as one of the most popular singers in the Muslim Albanian Diaspora in Western Europe, Adem Ramadani.

One of the event's supporters is Yvonne Ridley, a well-known British journalist made famous for her capture by the Taliban in 2001 and her subsequent conversion to Islam.

Anti- Islam Agenda

The conference comes as an outcry from the Muslim community in Switzerland against what they define as "shocking attitudes" towards them directed by some political parties.

The conference comes as an outcry from the Muslim community in Switzerland against what they define as "shocking attitudes" towards them directed by some political parties like the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) - which was behind the referendum of banning the building of new minarets in the European country.

On November 29, 2009, The Swiss electorate voted in favor of the far-right call for a blanket ban on the construction of minarets, the issue that made Muslim leaders fear that the minaret ban would only be the first step to undermine their presence in Switzerland.

However the anti-Islam move in Switzerland have other manifestations, like ostracizing of Muslim women in the workplace because of wearing the veil (headscarf) and numerous debates surrounding the banning of the face veil (the niqab).

A bill initiated by the SVP far-right party entitled “Masks off”- which was approved on September 28, 2011 by Switzerland’s lower house of parliament - called for the ban of wearing face-veils in public places.

"At a time when insecurity is growing in our streets, more and more people are hiding their faces behind a balaclava, a mask or a burqa,” said Oskar Freysinger, a lawmaker of the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP), reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"This makes it impossible to identify these people, a fact that is particularly troublesome in case of violence or identity checks."


"Day Against Islamophobia and Racism" conference comes as "a chance for Muslims and non-Muslims to stand together and support one another to ensure a fundamental human right: the freedom of religion."

"It is an ideal chance for attendees to gain a closer insight into the life of Muslims in Switzerland," as mentioned on the official site.

It is highlighted through the conference posters and brochures that the day aims to stifle the growth of Islamophobia ideology that has the capacity of destroying the framework of a social order where Muslims can both exercise their religious rights and function as part of the Swiss society without discrimination or fear of reprisals.

Amah bint Khalid.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

Her father was Khalid ibn Saeed ibn Al-Aas, one of the very early Muslims. She is reported to have said that he was the fifth man to embrace Islam. She reports: “Sometime before the start of Islamic revelations, my father saw in a dream as if Makkah was engulfed in total darkness to the extent that one could not see one’s own hand. Then suddenly a light came out of the well of Zamzam, going up into the sky and enlightening the Kaaba and the Haram. It spread further and enlightened the whole city of Makkah before moving much further away to enlighten Yathrib, i.e. Madinah. He could see its date trees. He reported his dream to his brother, Amr, who was a man of wisdom. Amr told him that such goodness will come out of the clan of Abd Al-Muttalib (the Prophet’s grandfather). He added: ‘Did you not see the light coming out of the well dug by their grandfather?’ Later, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) received his message, my father mentioned his dream to him. He said: ‘Yes, Khalid. I am that light, and I am God’s messenger’. He mentioned to him the main principles of Islam, and my father immediately accepted Islam.”
Her mother, Umaymah bint Khalaf, was also an early believer. Both her parents were among the Prophet’s companions who immigrated to Abyssinia, when the Prophet sought to establish a new base for Islam, away from the tyranny of Quraysh. Indeed, she was born in Abyssinia. She remained there until that immigration ended. The total duration of that immigration was 15 years. So, she was not more than 13 when she joined the Muslims in Madinah. She spoke the Abyssinian language, as a second mother tongue.
After the conclusion of the peace agreement between the Muslim state in Madinah and the Quraysh, the Prophet sent an envoy to Negus, the King of Abyssinia, to repatriate his companions who were in his country. Negus arranged their trip in two boats. As he bid them farewell, Negus asked them to give his greetings to the Prophet. Umm Khalid reports: “I was among those who gave Negus’ greetings to the Prophet”.
The Prophet was delighted when his companions who were in Abyssinia rejoined him in Madinah. They were on a mission of spreading Islam among non-Arabs. Therefore, he looked after them when they returned, and ensured that they would settle well in their new environment. Once he received a gift of clothes that included a small black dress with a yellow or red stripe. He asked those who were with him: “To whom shall I give this one.” No one answered. Perhaps they had their own young daughters, but they did not wish to claim it. Therefore, he said: “Bring me Umm Khalid”. She reports: “I was carried to be brought to him. He dressed me with his own hand. He said: ‘May you wear this and others to follow’. He repeated this two or three times. He looked at the strip and said to me: ‘This is fine, Umm Khalid; this is fine.’ She wore that dress while it fitted her. She then kept it with her for the rest of her life. Who would not keep a gift from the Prophet?
Sometime later, she married Al-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam, one of the ten of the Prophet’s companions who were given the assured promise of being in heaven. She gave him two sons: Amr and Khalid.
When the Prophet said a prayer to any of his companions, that person lived to enjoy the answering of that prayer in the best possible way. As the Prophet prayed that Umm Khalid would wear other clothes after the dress he gave her, she lived long, perhaps reaching ninety years of age. Indeed, she was the last of the Prophet’s women companions to die. May God bless her soul.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Islam & Da'wah in Ghana.

Al Salamu ‘Alaykum
A Jama’h left from Bombay for Ghana on Sunday for 4 months. A dear friend, who also happens to be a Consultant Ophthalmologist left with the Jama’h of 11 people. May Allah protect them all, make their Islaah and Da’wah easy and make them a source of enlightenment for everyone they meet.
Since, I did not know much about Ghana, I thought about reading up about it and about the condition of Muslims over there. According to Ghanaian Muslims, they account for about 45% of the total population of the country. According to Wikipedia, Muslims account for only 16% of the population. What is pleasantly surprising is that Muslims and Christians in this African nation have always had cordial relations with one another despite tensions in the Middle East and other parts of Africa itself. Most Muslims are Sunnis who follow the Maliki school of Fiqh. The Firaaq-e-Baatila have also set up shop here with Lebanese businessmen bringing the Shi’a faith with them. The Ahmadiyya (Qadiyaniyya) – a frankly non-Muslim group- have also made inroads in this country. May Allah protect the Ummah from the heterodoxies that are sprouting everywhere.
Those who want to read about Islam in Ghana can see the following links:
‘Alaykum Salam.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Western Bullying At Climate Talks.

Leading figures in western governments have been accused of using bullying tactics with developing countries during climate change summits.
The criticisms will cast a shadow over the climate conference in Durban, South Africa, which begins tomorrow, in the latest attempt to stabilise greenhouse gas levels around the world.
A new report, published by the World Development Movement, contains previously unpublished testimonies from insiders at both the Copenhagen and Cancún climate summits in 2009 and 2010. Officials of developing countries complain of divide-and-rule tactics and threats to withhold vital funds unless agreements are signed.
In one section the report criticises threats by richer countries to withdraw funds to help poorer nations cope with climate change if they failed to sign up to the accord. It says: "The US and the UK openly stated that climate finance would be limited to those that signed up to [it]. Ed Miliband, the UK minister, was blunt about linking the funding of developing countries with accepting the accord. The concerns he raised must be duly noted, he said, 'otherwise we won't operationalise the funds'."
The authors add: "The US said they would deny climate finance to Bolivia and Ecuador because they had objected to the Copenhagen accord proposal. The EU's Connie Hedegaard had also suggested that the small island-state countries "could be 'our best allies because they need finance'."
One diplomat from the tiny Polynesian island of Tuvalu said at the time: "Can I suggest that it looks like we are being offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people and our future? Mr President, our future is not for sale."
It is a standard tactic at UN climate meetings for rich countries to try to divide and rule developing countries' negotiating groups. Developing countries admit they are bamboozled by the tactics and are often unable to keep up with the negotiations.
One diplomat told the report's authors: "At one point in Copenhagen there were 26 meetings taking place simultaneously. How can a developing country delegation of two people possibly hope to cope? These numbers are life and death. There is no intention to agree a fair scenario, whether voluntary or by obligation. It's so clear: we only need your signature here, we have figured out everything, we have designed the role of your country, there is no more time, please sign here now.
"Developed countries sit down and delay, and just repeat inanities, and then they go out and tell the media that the developing countries are blocking the negotiations, and all the world believes it, even developing countries!"
Another diplomat said: "There is the small stuff, like travels, scholarships, jobs, but the favours are also small stuff, or so it seems, until the implications come in, especially for developing countries' interests in general. And then there is always the threat to cut off funding for a project, or something, if one gets too aggressive."
In Cancún last year the rich countries created a new system of meetings. "It created confusion, it was so hard to challenge this and to say procedurally this is wrong. Procedures were totally ignored. If this would happen in Fifa the whole world would be scandalised!" WDM was told.
Bolivia felt particularly aggrieved by UN tactics in Cancún, where its representatives lobbied for deeper cuts in emissions than richer countries were prepared to accept.
According to a Bolivian diplomat, their delegation agreed to participate in a side-meeting on condition that no plenary meeting took place at the same time.
The diplomat said: "Three minutes after they left the hall, an official plenary [to adopt the outcomes of the Kyoto protocol] started. It was a deliberate trick! We could only lodge reservations, and run to try and find our senior negotiators and get them back in to the room."

Friday, 25 November 2011

Iran Will Strike Back Hard At Israel.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi says the Islamic Republic's armed forces will respond most powerfully to the “slightest mistake” by the enemy.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the Army, and the Basij forces are completely vigilant and will respond to the slightest mistake by the enemy in the severest manner, Fars News Agency quoted Brig. Gen. Vahidi as saying on Thursday. 

The Israeli and US authorities have in recent weeks stepped up their aggressive war rhetoric against Iran. 

On November 6, Israeli President Shimon Peres threatened that an attack against the Islamic Republic was becoming 'more and more likely.' 

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Military Affairs Ehud Barak have also reportedly been lobbying the Israeli cabinet to approve of a military strike on Iran. 

Similar calls, ranging from executing covert operations such as terrorism and assassinations to launching a military strike on Iran, were also made during a November 12 US presidential debate by a number of Republican candidates. 

These threats have no effect but to strengthen us further, the Iranian defense minister pointed out. 

Earlier on Monday, Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said that Iran would “dump Israel into the trash bin of history,” should the Tel Aviv regime commit the folly of launching an attack against the country. 

The United States and Israel have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the "option" of a military strike, based on the allegation that Iran's nuclear work may consist of a covert military aspect. 

Iran has strongly rejected the allegations, saying that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

'Alaykum Salam.

Islam In Romania.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

Islam in Romania


Yusuf Fernandez
Islam in Romania is followed by about 70,000 people, about 2% of the country´s 22 million population, who have become citizens of the European Union since the 1st January of this year. There is an important Muslim community in the Constanta Country. There are also many Muslims living in Bucharest and other big cities. Ethnically, most Muslims are Tatars, although there are also Turks, Albanians and some Muslim Roma, as well as immigrants of some Middle East countries. Muslim Gypsies identify themselves as “Horahane Roma” – Horahane meaning Turkish in the Romani language. Islam first entered Romania in the 13rd century at the hands of Ottoman Turks.
In 1990, the Muslims who studied in Romania founded the Muslim Students Association of Romania with the purpose of protecting the rights of students and to inform Romanians about the Islamic religion. In 1999 the association changed its name into the Cultural Islamic League of Romania. Its headquarters is in Bucharest, but it has offices around the country, in cities such as: Timisoara, Iasi, Cluj Napoca and Constanta.
There are also some Muslim charities in the country, such as the International Tiba Charity in Constanta. This charity organized a charge-free Hayy for Muslim youths who won a series of cultural and religious competitions. “We organized religious and cultural competitions for youths, offering the winners charge-free trips to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj,” Kareem Anjin, the representative of the International Tiba Charity, told The number of pilgrims have doubled last year to 350 people compared to 180 in 2005.
The charity co-organized the International Conference on Islam in Europe in October 2005 and brought together representatives of Muslim minorities in up to 40 European countries. The charity has translated dozens of Islamic books into Romanian and issued the first magazine on Islam in Romanian, Islam Today. The magazine comes in 36 coloured pages, says.
The charity have also launched a campaign to distribute clothes donated by rich Muslims among the poor of the country. In order to promote this campaign, the organization has posted adds in Internet and leaflets inside mosques. “Mosques have been receiving generous donations from remote areas ever since,” said a responsible for the charity to
Many Rumanian Muslims have had to fight to overcome some difficulties. One of them is Istan Liliana, who embraced Islam three years ago. Liliana lost her job when she became Muslim and her family and friends abandoned her due to her new religion. She was one of the Romanian pilgrims that visited Mecca last year.
However, Muslim leaders think that there is now religious freedom in the country. “Romania provides an example of religious tolerance and co-existence,” the country´s Islamic mufti, Iusuf Muurat, was quoted as saying by the Ziua daily newspaper on 29th November. Speaking about a controversy on religious symbols at public schools, Muurat said, “Muslims have lived for more than eight centuries in these lands. The existence of other religious symbols in public institutions never bothered us and does not bother us now.”

Thursday, 24 November 2011

A Son For God?

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

"And they said, 'The Most Merciful has taken (unto Himself) a son. Surely you have advanced something most hideous. The Heavens could well-nigh explode thereby, the earth split asunder and the mountains collapse into ruins. That they should attribute to the Most Merciful a son. It behooves not the Most Merciful that He should take a son."
(Surah Maryam verse 88-92)

Qurtubi writes: Muhammad ibn Ka'b has said that the statement about Allah taking a son is so heinous that those who uttered it almost broke the Last Hour on human beings. And Ibn al 'Arabi said, "If not for the fact that Allah is neither affected by the disbelief of the disbeliever, nor is He elevated by the belief of the believer; neither the former decreases His Kingdom by aught, nor does the latter increase it by aught, such a blasphemy would not have been allowed to roll off tongues. But the thing is, Allah Most High takes no notice of what the misguided ones have to utter about him.
Taken from Sayyid Iqbal Zaheer's Tafseer Ishraq al Ma'ani.(shortened and adapted slightly).
Wa salamu 'alaykum.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

"Encountering" The Innocent.

Encountering the innocent

By Shafaque Alam for
The Gujarat High Court-appointed SIT report that the controversial encounter with Ishrat Jehan and three others was ‘fake’ as they were killed prior to the incident, indicates to the larger ill in police machinery in the state. The fresh revelation also strengthens the report of SP Tamang, who, based on his inquiry on forensic and medical evidence, had come to similar conclusion. However, this is not the first case of extra judicial killing in the state. The killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi had already indicated the malice in the state police and protection of guilty police personnel by the state government.
The whole development before this revelation indicates that it was to project Mr. Modi the main target of terrorists. Hence the killing was termed fare for garnering sympathy and support from Hindus in the state. While the cops, involved in the encounter, would have wanted to add a feather in their caps by proving efficient professionals, managing to protect the chief minister.
Now the bad thing is that innocent people are victimized for no explicit reasons, but the worst is the government’s repeated denial of accepting the guilt and shielding the guilty. Repeated similar development makes public opinion to an ambiguous nexus between the cops and politicians, which is hollowing our democratic system.
However, it is not that only Gujarat is witnessing such inhuman act of violence. Such incidents are usual in border concerning areas like north-east and Jammu & Kashmir. Tehelka, August 08, 2009, carried an eye-opening investigative news story of a shootout that took place in the heart of Imphal, Manipur’s capital, barely 500 metres from the state assembly, showing the moments before, during and after the ‘encounter killing’ of a 27 year-old boy. (follow the link).
Fake encounters have larger implication besides pushing the hapless family to a hell-like situation. Such inhuman acts of extra judicial killing alienate people from mainstream to an extent they start supporting or at least sympathizing with wrongdoers. Repeated revelation about fake encounter raises doubts on the functioning of a democratic society, top level bureaucrats, police officials and national level bodies, besides maligning the face of the nation globally.
Now what has been done can’t be undone and nothing can compensate to the family. However, at least strict action should be taken against the guilty police personals involved in this fake feat and also to the black sheep who have been providing overshadowing hands to them for years as in a recent order the Supreme Court has also said that those responsible for fake encounters should be given the death sentence and hanged in what marks a significant toughening of stand against extra-judicial killings by trigger happy cops.
The SIT report is a relief to the aggrieved family in washing away the scars of not being the kin of a ‘slain terrorist’. But will it bring the ‘guilty cops behind bar’ and uncover the unholy nexus of larger implication which leads to such inhuman acts of violence. (The writer is post-graduate student of Media Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

United States Of Stupid & China.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
The United States of Stupid just won’t learn. Talk of biting the hand that feeds you.
The latest enemy in the eyes of the world’s biggest thug is China. Barack Obama wants to “counter” China’s growing influence in Asia. So, he is sending 250 US marines on 6 month tours  "down under" (to Australia) starting next summer. Understandably, China is not amused. In typically subdued Chinese fashion, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin questioned whether expanding the military alliance (with Oz)“is in line with the common interest” of countries in the region. And the best part is that China is that self-same country where Hillary Clinton made a pitch for buying up more US debt. 
See here: 
Not only the Chinese but even Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul spoke out against this amazingly dumb move by the American Prez.  He made some pertinent comments: “We are so broke and there’s no hesitation with this administration or with previous administrations to continue to go in more and more countries,” Paul said. “My position has been very clear, we spend way too much money overseas, it’s a good place to start bringing the troops home from around the world.”
Paul said Obama does not agree with the stance of bringing U.S. troops home that are based internationally.
“He thinks we need more troops spread around the world. So he’s over in Australia, promising to send thousands of our troops to Australia. Why do we have to occupy Australia? I mean what’s going on? He said well maybe the Chinese will attack us. The Chinese are our banker, they’re not going to attack us— you know it’s not going to happen,” Paul said. 
See the entire article here:
By the way, recently the US envoy to India called both China and India the “enemy”. So I guess that soon they will be sending some of their troops to one of our neighboring countries.
Wa Salamu ‘Alaykum.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Catholic Porn.

GERMANY - One of Germany's largest publishing companies, Weltbild, has more than 2,500 erotic novels in its online catalogue - interestingly enough, it owned by no one other than the German Catholic Church. Yes, the Vatican owns 100% of Weltbild, which generates profits similar to
German newspaper Die Welt, has published that the Catholic church for over 30 years. Some catholics complained of this and the climax of this opposition resulted in 2008, when a 70-page report on the book sales was sent to the catholic bishops.
Die Welt reports that the situation came to light after a report this month mentioned the erotica distributed by Weltbild, which generates overf €1.7 billion ($2.4 billion) annually and has a 20 percent market share when it comes to selling books. That makes it the second largest online retailer of books behind Amazon.
But the Vatican's profits from pornography does not end there.
The global corporation known as the "Catholic church" also owns a 50 percent stake in publishing company Droemer Knaur, which also produces pornographic books.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Child Trafficking in Argentina.

ARGENTINA - The recent discovery of the evil baby trafficking schemes put in place in Spain by catholic nuns and priests who stole more than 300,000 babies from mother-baby homes has proven to be an organized crime scheme employed by the Catholic Church in multiple countries.

The New York Times has just published an alarming article that speaks of the Victoria Montenegro case, which unveils how this innocent woman was stolen as a baby by nation’s top military leaders engaged in a systematic plan to steal babies - and of those involved is no one other than the Catholic Church - exactly how they conducted the scheme in Spain during the Franco era. Once again you see how the Vatican and the State work hand in hand to implement crimes against humanity.

The New York Times article unveils how 
Jorge Rafael Videla, who led the military during Argentina’s dictatorship, stands accused of leading the effort to take babies from mothers in clandestine detention centers and give them to military or security officials, or even to third parties, on the condition that the new parents hide the true identities. Mr. Videla is one of 11 officials on trial for 35 acts of illegal appropriation of minors. The trial is also revealing the complicity of officials of the Roman Catholic ChurchThe abduction of an estimated 500 babies was one of the most traumatic chapters of the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. There has been frantic effort by mothers and grandmothers to locate their missing children - just like it is happening in Spain.

As expected, the Catholic Priests and bishops in Argentina justified their support of the government on a supposed "national security concerns". After all, they always utilize the name of Christ and motto of so-called "charity work" to disguise their evil. They even defended that the child abductions were a way to ensure they were not “contaminated” by leftist enemies of the military, said Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a Nobel Prize-winning human rights advocate who has investigated dozens of disappearances and testified at the trial last month. They sang the same song in the evil OPERATION PETER PAN of Cuba, where the Catholic Church abducted 14,000 Cuban children to "keep them from the harm of the Castro ruling". Today, we know of the significant profits made from each child sold into adoption, from the income generated for each child placed in orphanages, and the stories of abuse, torture speak for themselves.

But now that more and more victims around the world are speaking out about the organized crime schemes put in place, the world is now learning how the Vatican tentacles have infiltrated the nations, trafficking babies and selling them into an evil adoption scheme around the world.
You can check out the stats by visiting: 

The New York Times also reported that Church officials in Argentina and at the Vatican declined to answer questions about their knowledge of or involvement in the covert adoptions. They have once again attempted their silence game, just like they have done in Ireland regarding the30,000 children abuse in residential schools, just like they did in Canada regarding the 150,000 native children abused in residential schools, and just like they have refused to speak about the300,000 babies stolen in Spain and sold into adoptions. The Catholic Church to-date remains silent about the 30,000 women the nuns tortured in Ireland's Magdalene Laundries. They have refused to speak about the 500,000 children stolen and migrated from Great Britain into Australia. Is this all starting to sound familiar now? Perhaps you were not yet aware that Australia has recently been speaking out about the 500,000 women who were coerced by the nuns into giving up their babies into adoption - but of course they would claim this was the "right thing to do" to repent from so-called "sin" for having a baby out of wedlock - after all, each child sold brought in astronomical profit for the criminal organization known worldwide as the CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Germans Leaving Catholic Church In Droves.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.
Following the child abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church across Germany, a record 180,000 German Catholics are said to have left their church for good in 2010.
50,000 more Catholics cancelled their church membership last year than in 2009 representing an increase of 40 percent, according to published data 24 of Germany's 27 Catholic dioceses as reported by Deutsche Welle.
Germany's largest diocese of Cologne, was hard hit, experiencing the biggest drop in membership ever last year while a number of dioceses in deeply Catholic Bavaria saw up to 70 percent more people leaving the church than the previous year.
Cologne's vicar-general, Dominik Schwaderlapp, described the exodus of members as "their personal form of protest and of expressing their disgust at the scandal."
Last year, the release of 2009 defections reportedly signaled a growing wave of departures even before the scandal fully erupted as several officials at schools run by the church were accused of abusing children.
Press spokesman for the German Catholic Bishops' Conference, Matthias Kopp, said the church suffered a human loss for every single person who left. "The German bishops won't ignore that, they want to win back lost credibility," he added.
The bishops have reportedly offered compensation of up to $6,900 to the sexual abuse victims. Some of the sexual abuse cases occurred in the 1950s, but many of them took place in the 1970s and 1980s.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Muslims Saved Jews From Nazis.

Al Salamu 'Alaykum.

An audience in Wales will be told tonight of one of the most extraordinary acts of humanitarianism seen anywhere in wartime Europe – the rescue of 2,000 Jews from Nazi persecution by a group of Albanian Muslims. 
Martin Shipton reports:
AN extraordinary and largely forgotten piece of history will be commemorated tonight when two Welsh communities come together to hear about a group of Muslims who rescued Jews from Nazi persecution.
American photographer Norman Gershman will be at Cardiff University to talk about his investigation into how the lives of 2,000 Jews were saved by Muslims in Albania in 1942 and 1943.
The event, hosted jointly by the Muslim Council of Wales and the university’s Jewish Society, is being seen as an historic occasion aimed at creating greater understanding between adherents of the two faiths in Wales.
Gershman’s book Besa is named after the Albanian honour code which obliges individuals to protect anyone in danger, regardless of all religious and political affiliations.

He said: “When I first learned of the WWII rescue of Jews in Muslim Albania and Kosovo my reaction was visceral. Muslims who saved Jews?
“I must record this forgotten event with my camera and tell the story through the various family histories I was to meet.
“As a Jew and a Sufi, my spiritual connection with the beauty of Islam and Judaism is seamless.
“The old adage of a picture is worth a thousand words is manifested in our photographic project.
“For over six years I have been travelling to Muslim Albania and Kosovo documenting and doing portraits of Muslim families that saved Jews in World War Two.
“Although Besa is a traditional Albanian code of honour, many Muslim families have incorporated Besa into their religious beliefs and often were inspired by their faith in saving Jews from the Nazis.
“The rescue of Jews in Albania was a unique experience in Holocaust history, as Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler were welcomed not as refugees but as guests.
“I always made it a point to thank those Muslim families I photographed for the saving of Jews during those harrowing times.
One of the survivors, Dr Scarlett Epstein, spoke at an event in the House of Lords on Monday. She said: “I owe my survival to Albania and the generosity of its Muslim people.
“No country was prepared to offer my family and I asylum from the horrors of the Holocaust, except Albania.
“The Muslim Albanians welcomed us warmly which came as an extraordinary relief after having experienced the excesses of Nazi persecution.”
The reason the story has only emerged recently is because Albania was cocooned for 50 years by a xenophobic dictatorship that permitted its citizens no contact with the outside world.
Remona Aly, campaigns director of the Exploring Islam Foundation, which is helping promote Gershman’s book, said: “We want to show how Islam promotes diversity and co-existence and has no tolerance of anti-Semitism. The message of this project is more vital now than ever before.
“Tensions in the Middle East need to be separated from the common shared theological heritage and values of the two faiths, and history of peace and solidarity between Islam and Judaism. Denying the Holocaust undermines the principles of Islam and through this campaign we hope to voice our solidarity with the aims and objectives of Holocaust Memorial Day.”
Gershman’s book documents the stories of many Muslim Albanians who looked after Jews.
Albanians gave them clothes and Muslim names, and rather than hiding them in the attic treated them as part of the family.
One of the Albanians photographed by Gershman, Rifat Hoxha, said: “I was born after the war. My father only told me of his rescue of a Jewish family shortly before he died, when I was 17.
“In 1944, under the German occupation, my parents sheltered the family of Nesim Hallagyem, his wife Sara and their son Aron.
“They were refugees from Bulgaria who stayed with my parents for six months.
“There were times of great danger when Germans went from house to house seeking Jews.
“Towards the end of the occupation my father escorted Nesim and his family to the port city of Durres, where they embarked as refugees hopeful of gaining access to Palestine.
“Just before leaving, Nesim entrusted to my father three beautifully bound books in Hebrew to keep for him until he could retrieve them.
“After the war my father did receive a letter from Nesim saying he and his family were safely in Palestine.
“This was during the Communist period in Albania when any correspondence from abroad was considered a crime subject to arrest.
“My father was prohibited from answering the letter and that was the last time there was any communication.”
Saleem Kidwai, secretary of the Muslim Council of Wales, said: “This is a very important piece of history that shows how people will selflessly help others out of pure humanity.”
Danielle Morashti, joint president of the Jewish Society at Cardiff University, said: “Until contacted by the Muslim Council of Wales, I had no idea this happened.
“It deserves to be much better known.”
'Alaykum Salam.