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Woman thrown out of Paris opera because of Muslim veil

22 10 2014
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Daily Mail (20.10.2014) – France’s Socialist government today pledged to toughen up its anti face-covering law after a veiled Muslim woman was ejected from a major Paris opera house.

In an incident which has divided opinion in the city’s liberal arts community, cast members performing La Traviata ‘objected strongly’ to the presence of a woman in the audience wearing a niqab-type veil.

‘A singer spotted her in the front row during the second act,’ said Jean-Philippe Thiellay, director of the Bastille Opera, which was opened by Socialist president Francois Mitterand in 1989.

‘Some performers said they didn’t want to sing,’ said Mr Thiellay, who confirmed that she was kicked out.

There has been a ban on Muslims covering their face in public in France since the introduction of a law in 2011.

Women living on housing estates on the outskirts of major cities like Paris are regularly criminalised with a fine, but this is the first incident of someone being ejected from an artistic venue.

So far unnamed, she is believed to be a well-off woman from a Gulf State, and was attending the performance with a friend.

Referring to a security guard, Mr Thiellay said: ‘He told her that in France there is a ban of this nature, asked her to either uncover her face or leave the auditorium.

‘The man asked the woman to get up, they left. It was unpleasant getting her to leave.

‘But there was a misunderstanding of the law and the lady either had to respect it or leave,’

But other opera lovers in a city historically renowned for its tolerance were less impressed.

‘What possible harm could a woman sitting quietly in the audience with face covered do to anyone?’ said Guy Laurent, a regular at the Bastille Opera.

‘The woman would clearly have felt utterly humiliated by what happened – French culture should be more tolerant.

‘It is not the job of theatres to enforce petty laws.’

The incident happened on October 3, but it is only now that it is becoming a national polemic.

Technically the woman now faces a fine of just over £180, although there is not thought to have been any police involvement.

The woman and her friend were not refunded any of their ticket price.

A spokesman for France’s Ministry of Culture today said it was ‘producing a new set of rules’ to make sure the so-called ‘burka ban’ was better enforced in theatres, museums and other public institutions.

France, which is home to some five million Muslims, was the first European country to ban the full-face Islamic veil in public places.

Belgium followed suit soon afterwards, but there is no veil ban at all in Britain, despite calls by a minority of right wing MPs for one.

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Eid ul-Fitr 2014: A celebration at the end of Ramadan (PHOTO ESSAY)

28 07 2014

CENTRAL-EUROPEAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM INSTITUTE WISHES ‘EID MUBARAK’ TO ALL MUSLIM BELIEVERS

 

One of the most joyous days in the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Fitr, also known as Eid ul-Fitr or Eid, is a celebration that marks the end of Ramadan (a holy month of fasting observed by Muslims). This year Eid al-Fitr will most likely be observed on Monday, July 28. It is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Traditionally, the observance begins with the sighting of the new moon.

To mark the beginning of Eid and in accordance with the Sunnah, or practices of the Prophet Muhammad, many Muslims wake up early in the morning and pray Salat ul-Fajr, or the pre-dawn prayer. After brushing their teeth, taking a bath and wearing perfume, they have breakfast before heading off to perform special congregational prayers known as Salaat al-Eid. Many Muslims recite the takbir, a declaration of faith, on the way to the prayer ground and give special charitable contributions known as Zakat al-Fitr.

Eid al-Fitr is a day of great merriment and thanksgiving. Muslims celebrate by gathering with friends and family, preparing sweet delicacies, wearing new clothes, giving each other gifts and putting up lights and other decorations in their homes. A common greeting during this holiday is Eid Mubarak, which means, “Have a blessed Eid!”  Here, we round up some of the best photos of Eid 2014 celebrations across the globe.

A Palestinian vendor offers balloons for sale at the market in the Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 27, 2014. During normal times, families in Gaza would be busy now with preparations for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Traditionally, children get new clothes, shoes and haircuts, and families visit each other. In the outdoor market, vendors set up stands with clothes and shoes, but said business was slow. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

A Palestinian vendor offers balloons for sale at the market in the Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 27, 2014. During normal times, families in Gaza would be busy now with preparations for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Traditionally, children get new clothes, shoes and haircuts, and families visit each other. In the outdoor market, vendors set up stands with clothes and shoes, but said business was slow. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

A Palestinian vendor plays with balloons at the market in the Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 27, 2014. During normal times, families in Gaza would be busy now with preparations for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Traditionally, children get new clothes, shoes and haircuts, and families visit each other. In the outdoor market, vendors set up stands with clothes and shoes, but said business was slow. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

A Palestinian vendor plays with balloons at the market in the Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 27, 2014. During normal times, families in Gaza would be busy now with preparations for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Traditionally, children get new clothes, shoes and haircuts, and families visit each other. In the outdoor market, vendors set up stands with clothes and shoes, but said business was slow. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

A Yemeni woman, center, shops in preparation for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr festival, at a market in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

A Yemeni woman, center, shops in preparation for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr festival, at a market in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

An Indonesian girl holds a balloon during Eid al-Fitr prayer that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan on Parang Kusumo Beach in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Slamet Riyadi)

An Indonesian girl holds a balloon during Eid al-Fitr prayer that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan on Parang Kusumo Beach in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Slamet Riyadi)

Muslims listen Eid al-Fitr sermons at the Lakemba Mosque in western Sydney on July 28, 2014. Thousands of Australian Muslims celebrated their religious Eid al-Fitr festival at the end of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO / Saeed Khan (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Muslims listen Eid al-Fitr sermons at the Lakemba Mosque in western Sydney on July 28, 2014. Thousands of Australian Muslims celebrated their religious Eid al-Fitr festival at the end of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO / Saeed Khan (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

An Egyptian child plays as Muslims pray Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Azhar mosque, the highest Islamic Sunni institution, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

An Egyptian child plays as Muslims pray Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan at Al-Azhar mosque, the highest Islamic Sunni institution, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

 

Pakistani girls buy traditional bangles at a market ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, ending the fasting month of Ramadan, in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Pakistani girls buy traditional bangles at a market ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, ending the fasting month of Ramadan, in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

A Pakistani beautician paints the hands of customers with henna ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, ending the fasting month of Ramadan, in Karachi, Pakistan, on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistani beautician paints the hands of customers with henna ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, ending the fasting month of Ramadan, in Karachi, Pakistan, on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistani beautician paints hands of customers with henna ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, ending the fasting month of Ramadan, in Karachi, Pakistan, on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistani beautician paints hands of customers with henna ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, ending the fasting month of Ramadan, in Karachi, Pakistan, on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Kosovo Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers outside the Sultan Mehmet Fatih grand mosque during the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Pristina on Monday, July 28, 2014. The Eid al-Fitr, one of the holiest religious practices, is celebrated with prayers and family reunions and other festivities among Muslims all over the world. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Kosovo Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers outside the Sultan Mehmet Fatih grand mosque during the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Pristina on Monday, July 28, 2014. The Eid al-Fitr, one of the holiest religious practices, is celebrated with prayers and family reunions and other festivities among Muslims all over the world. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

A Pakistani woman browses traditional bangles at a market ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, ending the fasting month of Ramadan, in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

A Pakistani woman browses traditional bangles at a market ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, ending the fasting month of Ramadan, in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

Muslim worshippers pray during the first day of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Muslim worshippers pray during the first day of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

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A Yemeni girl poses for a photograph as she attends the Eid al-Fitr prayer with her father, in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, July 28, 2014. Monday marked the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims usually start the day with dawn prayers and visiting cemeteries to pay their respects to the dead, with children getting new clothes, shoes and haircuts, and families visiting each other. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Bahraini fishermen look at the sky where a slim crescent moon should be visible to indicate the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, in Malkiya village, Bahrain, Sunday, July 27, 2014. Bahrain and several other Gulf countries announced Eid will begin on Monday. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Bahraini fishermen look at the sky where a slim crescent moon should be visible to indicate the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, in Malkiya village, Bahrain, Sunday, July 27, 2014. Bahrain and several other Gulf countries announced Eid will begin on Monday. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

GRESIK, JAVA, INDONESIA - JULY 27: An Indonesian Muslims uses a telescope to hold a Rukyatul Hilal to see the new crescent moon that determines the end of Ramadan at Condro Dipo Hill on July 27, 2014 in Gresik, Java, Indonesia. There was confirmed sightings of the new moon, which ends the holy month of Ramadan with the Muslims holiday Eid ul-Fitr. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

GRESIK, JAVA, INDONESIA – JULY 27: An Indonesian Muslims uses a telescope to hold a Rukyatul Hilal to see the new crescent moon that determines the end of Ramadan at Condro Dipo Hill on July 27, 2014 in Gresik, Java, Indonesia. There was confirmed sightings of the new moon, which ends the holy month of Ramadan with the Muslims holiday Eid ul-Fitr. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

GRESIK, JAVA, INDONESIA - JULY 27: An Indonesian Muslims speaks during a Rukyatul Hilal, to see the new crescent moon, which determines the end of Ramadan at Condro Dipo Hill on July 27, 2014 in Gresik, Java, Indonesia. There was confirmed sightings of the new moon, which ends the holy month of Ramadan with the Muslims holiday Eid ul-Fitr. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

GRESIK, JAVA, INDONESIA – JULY 27: An Indonesian Muslims speaks during a Rukyatul Hilal, to see the new crescent moon, which determines the end of Ramadan at Condro Dipo Hill on July 27, 2014 in Gresik, Java, Indonesia. There was confirmed sightings of the new moon, which ends the holy month of Ramadan with the Muslims holiday Eid ul-Fitr. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

 

 





PHOTO ESSAY: Nasir al-Mulk ‘Pink Mosque’ Of Iran

16 03 2014

By  Yasmine Hafiz / The Huffington Post

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From the outside, the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran, seems like a fairly traditional house of worship — but it’s hiding a gorgeously colorful secret.

The multitude of stained glass windows turn the inside of the mosque into a riotous wonderland of color that is absolutely breathtaking.

Japanese photographer Koach was blown away by the mosque’s beauty which is best appreciated in the morning light, explaining:

You can only see the light through the stained glass in the early morning. It was built to catch the morning sun, so that if you visit at noon it will be too late to catch the light. The sight of the morning sunlight shining through the colorful stained glass, then falling over the tightly woven Persion carpet, is so bewitching that it seems to be from another world.Even if you are the world’s least religious person, you might feel your hands coming together in prayer naturally when you see the brilliance of this light. Perhaps the builders of this mosque wanted to show their “faith” through the morning light shining through this stained glass.

Not to mention the gorgeously painted, intricate arches and niches. It’s also known as the “Pink Mosque” for the rose-colored tiles that cover the interior. However, picking out just one color doesn’t do justice to the plethora of hues that decorate it.

Though Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and Istanbul’s Blue Mosque both feature stained glass windows, on the whole they are fairly uncommon in mosque architecture. The rarity of architecture like this makes Nasir al-Mulk all the more precious.

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Nasir al-Mulk Mosque 4 (6)

Nasīr al-Mulk Mosque aka "Pink Mosque" | Shiraz

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VIDEO: Muslims and Jews vow to stand up for each other, build global movement of reconciliation

24 10 2013

hope_sign-fp-02af074c6d50b1caef2fb6e2d985bae1There is a widely accepted belief that Muslims and Jews are enemies and will always remain so. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

For the past six years The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding has not only challenged this narrative, but has facilitated a global dialogue between Muslims and Jews that is taking place on all six populated continents.

This Muslim-Jewish dialogue is our annual Weekend of Twinning which encourages joint Muslim and Jewish programming on the grassroots level in every community across the world where Muslims and Jews reside.

Our efforts reveal the actual harmony that exists between these two faiths and peoples and here is a video that we produced with Unity Productions Foundation, which documents this global Muslim Jewish coalition that is vowing to stand up for one another by combating Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred.

Next month, in cities around the world, these peacemakers will come together and break bread and discuss ways of improving the world as part of the Weekend of Twinning, which officially takes place November 15-17th.

To participate in the Weekend of Twining, please contact us ffeu@ffeu.org
To view the longer version of this film: vimeo.com/75355955

Follow Russell Simmons on Twitter: www.twitter.com/UncleRush

 





ISRAEL: Tel Aviv mayoral candidate, launches campaign to mute Muslim call to prayer in Jaffa

11 10 2013
Jaffa, one of the oldest ports in the world, today Arabic neighborhood of Tel-Aviv. Mentioned in Olt Testament four times, Jaffa was the port prophet Jonah embarked from before he was swallowed by a whale.

Jaffa, one of the oldest ports in the world, today Arabic neighborhood of Tel-Aviv. Mentioned in Old Testament four times, Jaffa was the port prophet Jonah embarked from before he was swallowed by a whale.

by Simone Wilson / Jewish Journal

What would life be like in Jaffa without the Muslim call to prayer blaring over crackly loudspeakers five times a day, lulling the hipsters and bohemians to sleep each night with its sweet Otherness and making the Muslim third of Jaffa’s population feel a little more at home in a hard Jewish nation?

likud_mosqueTel Aviv Deputy Mayor Arnon Giladi, the right-wing city councilman who will represent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in the Tel Aviv mayoral election this month, wants to find out.

Jaffa is a former Arab port town that was swallowed by the city of Tel Aviv in 1948 but never quite integrated. Today, the neighborhood retains its Islamic arches and headscarves, despite a new Jewish majority. But Deputy Mayor Giladi apparently doesn’t find the same charm in this slice of Palestine as the alt-Tel Aviv artists who have all but overtaken the hood: According to a Hebrew article on Ynet and a translation over at the Daily Beast, Giladi and his flack set about wallpapering Jaffa’s surfaces in troll-y campaign posters on Monday night. The posters promise to “silence the Muezzin,” or the men who recite the call to prayer in Jaffa, and “return Jaffa to Israel.” These slogans are plastered over a background photo of the Nouzha Mosque on Jerusalem Boulevard, the most popular modern mosque in Jaffa.

And in case Giladi’s big F-U to Jaffa’s historic Muslim community wasn’t loud enough, the Likud party posted an explanation to its official blog the next morning (again, translation by the Daily Beast):

On Tuesday night the Likud-Beiteinu party’s branch in Tel Aviv-Jaffa distributed flyers and posters calling for the silencing of the muezzin, the Muslim call for prayer. Distributed throughout all the neighborhoods of Jaffa, the slogans on the flyers and posters call for the law regarding noise pollution to be enforced on mosques, and for a halt to the spread of the Islamist party.

Radical leftist activists and Islamist organizations have in recent years gained control of the public discourse in Jaffa. The Likud-Beiteinu have decided once again to bring this matter to the public’s attention, because this past Yom Kippur and throughout the entire month of the holy days, Jewish residents of Jaffa lodged numerous complaints about the holiness of those days being methodically disturbed in order to create a hostile atmosphere. Radical leftists and Islamist organizations have turned Jaffa into their playground, with the obvious intention of cutting it off from Tel Aviv and the rest of Israel.

Arnon Giladi, deputy mayor of Tel Aviv and chairperson of the Likud-Beiteinu’s Tel Aviv branch: “In recent years Jaffa has been occupied by radical leftists and Islamists who are trying, via religious education and [political] activism, to separate Jaffa from Israel and cut it off from Tel Aviv. We will act to correct this situation and develop a plan to ensure that Jaffa maintains its Jewish character. It is unacceptable that an autonomous Palestinian national entity exists just a few kilometers from downtown Tel Aviv, detached from the State of Israel’s values.”

So this is clearly about more than “noise pollution.” If Likud politicians were so into keeping the quiet, they would have stuck a cork in the pounding party-Jew trance of that psychedelic Na Nach van years ago. More likely, Likud members, notorious among Israel’s Left for helping incite a race riot against African asylum seekers in South Tel Aviv last year, just can’t stand to see their great modern Jewtopia overrun by non-Jews. (Even though the Israeli government’s haphazard attempt to join Tel Aviv with Jaffa, an apple with an orange, allowed the awkward middle ground to become the segregated ghetto it is today.)

Riad Mahamit, a Muslim resident I found standing outside the Nouzha Mosque, said his is the same golden voice that recites the call to prayer through the mosque’s loudspeaker each day. Despite Giladi’s threats, said Mahamit, “I’m not stopping, ever.”

Mahamit and a handful of other Jaffa residents told me that Jews and Arabs are relatively at peace in Jaffa (save for the occasional march or price tag), and that a separatist ban like the one Giladi is proposing would only serve to pit them against each other. “All the people here don’t have a problem,” he said. Motty Ohayon, a Jewish resident of Jaffa who lives right around the corner from the Nouzha Mosque, agreed: He said that although the blare of the muezzin often wakes him up in the wee hours, that’s just part of life in Jaffa.

“I don’t care,” said Ohayon. “Only Arnon Giladi cares.”

Yoel Golvert, a young native of Haifa studying at Tel Aviv Academic College in Jaffa, said: “I could live without it, but it’s such an old custom. And I’m a visitor here.” He explained that the Israeli government pays him a monthly stipend to attend the college, located across from the Nouzha Mosque. “Jaffa’s getting bigger — for the Jewish scene at least,” he said.

“It’s like to say to the Jewish people that they can’t make noise with the horn — the shoffar — during Yom Kippur,” said Adi, a cab driver and self-proclaimed atheist Jew who did not wish to give his last name because “we live in a very delicate situation.”

Rami Sawaed, the Muslim clerk at a liquor store near the mosque, was especially suspicious of Giladi’s intentions: “This is a political exercise for him to take Jewish [votes],” said the clerk. “This is not Tel Aviv — this is Jaffa.” When asked what he thought would be the consequences of silencing the muezzin, Sawaed said only: “Intifada.”

I didn’t spot any of Giladi’s posters over a full afternoon in Jaffa today, but they could very well have been torn down by a fierce opposition campaign that has reportedly taken shape since Likud’s midnight leaflet party. In response to Giladi’s campaign tactic, Wahl Mahmoud, chairman of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, issued a stern call for religious freedom to Channel 7:

“Over the past several years we have had excellent relations between Arabs and Jews. We coexist in a manner that cannot be seen anywhere else in Israel. We respect synagogues and Jewish holidays. But if they try to start problems over the call to prayer, they are in for a real fight. It is not noise, but a part of the ‘soundtrack’ of Jaffa, which includes the call to prayer and church bells. I live near the border of Bat Yam, near a Breslov synagogue, where they go out into the street to recruit people for prayers. I am happy to see someone reminding people of their religious obligations.”

Even the Church of Scientology has found a home in Jaffa, in the iconic shell of what used to be the Alhambra Cinema. After spending two hours on personality test and analysis at the Scientology building on my way home, the familiar call of the muezzin as I rejoined my fellow Earthlings was enough to give me the warm fuzzies all through Little Sudan.





Bosnia’s ‘Euro-Islam’ on show during Ramadan

9 08 2013
Baščaršija-noću

People walk in downtown Sarajevo main square after a sundown prayer. ©AFP

By Rusmir Smajilhodzic

In Bosnia, which prides itself as the home ground of “European Islam”, religious fervor and relaxed joie de vivre live easily side by side, even during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, AFP reports.

While many Sarajevans strictly observe the Ramadan fast, the cafes in the cobbled streets of the Bosnian capital’s Ottoman old town still abound with tourists and locals alike.

Young veiled women walk by, crossing others with hair blowing wildly in the wind, as Bosnians’ beloved beer flows freely — and not just for visitors.

“Bosnian Muslims have lived in a European context, politically and legally, for a century and a half,” since what is modern day Bosnia became part of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of the 19th century, said Dzevad Hodzic, a professor of ethics and philosophy at the Sarajevo Faculty of Islamic Studies.

Apart from a radical fringe, which emerged during the Balkans wars of the 1990s, Bosnian Muslims tend to keep religion a private matter, in line with what has become known as “European Islam” or “Euro-Islam”, he said.

The term, which emerged during the 1990s and is still the subject of debate, generally refers to an Islam where religious duties are held as compatible with so-called “European” values including human rights, rule of law and gender equality.

Some even call it a “made in Europe” Islam that fully embraces separation of church and state, unlike some North African, Middle Eastern or predominantly Muslim countries where Islam is the state religion.

The faith of Bosnian Muslims was forged by “a lay outlook on the world, one that is not opposed to religion but makes a distinction between religion as part of the moral, private, spiritual and family domain, and the state, which is separate from one’s faith,” explained Hodzic.

Islam was repressed here with all other religions during the 1945-1990 communist period. It was given a new impulse, however, during the devastating inter-ethnic war of 1992-95 that pitted Bosnia’s Muslims, majority Orthodox Christian Serbs and traditionally Roman Catholic Croats against each other.

‘Euro-Islam’

But even during the bloodletting, a cynical joke going around illustrated the relaxed attitude that underlies Bosnians’ approach towards religion.

“How do you recognise a Muslim?” it asked. “He’s the one who does not go to the mosque. Then how do you recognise a Serb? Well, he’s the one who doesn’t go to church”.

The end of communism and the horrors of war did see a “clear re-Islamisation” in Bosnia, noted a French Balkans specialist Xavier Bougarel.

The vast majority of Sarajevo’s residents, 80 percent according to various estimates, are today Muslim, a number far higher than before the 1992-95 conflict — and its demographic consequences — when the city was famously more mixed.

Overall, Muslims represent some 40 percent of the estimated 3.8 million inhabitants of Bosnia. They are mainly Sunnite and usually adhere to the kind of moderate Islam introduced by the Ottomans.

“The tradition of Islam in Bosnia is also strongly influenced by the Sufi brotherhoods, a mystical tradition in Islam known for its tolerance. Sufism holds that religion is a deeply personal experience for everyone,” Hodzic said.

While many Bosnian Muslims flocked to the nearest mosque in the morning for the first of prayer of the day during the fasting month, an equally large number stayed home to pray with their family.

On a typical morning during the holy month, believers gathered in the courtyard of the old Sumbulusa mosque on a hill overlooking Sarajevo.

Before taking off their shoes to enter the building as tradition requires, some turned towards the cemetery where former neighbourhood imams lie buried to recite a quick prayer for the dead, hands turned to the skies.

“This special month triggers wonderful emotions in the faithful, we say here that you should enjoy every Ramadan like it will be the last,” young imam Edin Spahic said.

Far from the contemplation at the Sumbulusa mosque, it was business as usual back at the outdoor cafes and restaurants in downtown Sarajevo.

Many Bosnian Muslims, even if they are not particularly religious, do abstain from drinking alcohol during Ramadan in line with religious precepts. But beer-loving Bosnians tend to catch up both on the Eid al-Fitr feast that marks the end of the fasting month … and the rest of the year.

For more information see: http://en.tengrinews.kz/religion/Bosnias-Euro-Islam-on-show-during-Ramadan–4151/





PHOTO ESSAY: Eid Al-Fitr – a celebration at the end of Ramadan

6 08 2013

One of the most joyous days in the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Fitr, also known as Eid ul-Fitr or Eid, is a celebration that marks the end of Ramadan (a holy month of fasting observed by Muslims). This year Eid al-Fitr will most likely be observed on Thursday, August 8, 2013. It is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Traditionally, the observance begins with the sighting of the new moon.

To mark the beginning of Eid and in accordance with the Sunnah, or practices of the Prophet Muhammad, many Muslims wake up early in the morning and pray Salat ul-Fajr, or the pre-dawn prayer. After brushing their teeth, taking a bath and wearing perfume, they have breakfast before heading off to perform special congregational prayers known as Salaat al-Eid. Many Muslims recite the takbir, a declaration of faith, on the way to the prayer ground and give special charitable contributions known as Zakat al-Fitr.

Eid al-Fitr is a day of great merriment and thanksgiving. Muslims celebrate by gathering with friends and family, preparing sweet delicacies, wearing new clothes, giving each other gifts and putting up lights and other decorations in their homes. A common greeting during this holiday is Eid Mubarak, which means, “Have a blessed Eid!”

Here, we round up some of the best photos of Eid 2012 celebrations across the globe.

Pakistani Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Badshahi Masjid Mosque in Lahore on August 20, 2012. Millions of Muslims across Asia began celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday on August 19, with a month of fasting giving way to feasting, family reunions and raucous festivities. (Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Badshahi Masjid Mosque in Lahore on August 20, 2012. Millions of Muslims across Asia began celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday on August 19, with a month of fasting giving way to feasting, family reunions and raucous festivities.
(Arif Ali – AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Badshahi Masjid Mosque on August 20, 2012. (Arif Ali - AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistani Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Badshahi Masjid Mosque on August 20, 2012.
(Arif Ali – AFP/Getty Images)

Kashmiri Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar on August 20,2012. (Rouf Bhat - AFP/Getty Images)

Kashmiri Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar on August 20,2012.
(Rouf Bhat – AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian Muslim caretaker removes carpet after Eid-al-Fitr prayers at the Shahi Jama Masjid Mosque in the Walled City of Ahmedabad on August 20, 2012. (Sam Panthaky - AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian Muslim caretaker removes carpet after Eid-al-Fitr prayers at the Shahi Jama Masjid Mosque in the Walled City of Ahmedabad on August 20, 2012.
(Sam Panthaky – AFP/Getty Images)

Indian Muslim devotees offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the historic Taj Mahal in Agra on August 20, 2012. (Strdel - AFP/Getty Images)

Indian Muslim devotees offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the historic Taj Mahal in Agra on August 20, 2012. (Strdel – AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian street vendor sells food to Muslim faithful after Eid al-Fitr prayers near the Jama Masjid Mosque in the old quarters of New Delhi on August 20, 2012. (Roberto Schmidt - AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian street vendor sells food to Muslim faithful after Eid al-Fitr prayers near the Jama Masjid Mosque in the old quarters of New Delhi on August 20, 2012.
(Roberto Schmidt – AFP/Getty Images)

A Muslim family prays on the first day of Eid al-Fitr at Niu Jie Mosque to celebrate Eid al-Fitr on August 19, 2012 in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang - AFP/Getty Images)

A Muslim family prays on the first day of Eid al-Fitr at Niu Jie Mosque to celebrate Eid al-Fitr on August 19, 2012 in Beijing, China.
(Lintao Zhang – AFP/Getty Images)

Indian Muslims stop to enjoy traditional sweets after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers in Kolkata on August 20, 2012. (Dibyangshu Sarkar - AFP/Getty Images)

Indian Muslims stop to enjoy traditional sweets after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers in Kolkata on August 20, 2012.
(Dibyangshu Sarkar – AFP/Getty Images)

Indian Muslims stop to enjoy traditional sweets after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers in Kolkata on August 20, 2012. (Dibyangshu Sarkar - AFP/Getty Images)

Indian Muslims stop to enjoy traditional sweets after offering Eid al-Fitr prayers in Kolkata on August 20, 2012.
(Dibyangshu Sarkar – AFP/Getty Images)

Bangladeshi Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the National Mosque of Bangladesh, Baitul Mukarram in Dhaka on August 20, 2012. (Munir Uz Zaman - AFP/Getty Images)

Bangladeshi Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the National Mosque of Bangladesh, Baitul Mukarram in Dhaka on August 20, 2012.
(Munir Uz Zaman – AFP/Getty Images)

Young Muslim girls show their hands decorated with henna after attending prayers on Eid Al-Fitr at the Regent's Park Mosque in London on August 19, 2012. (Adek Berry - AFP/Getty Images)

Young Muslim girls show their hands decorated with henna after attending prayers on Eid Al-Fitr at the Regent’s Park Mosque in London on August 19, 2012.
(Adek Berry – AFP/Getty Images)

Filipino Muslim women gather to pray celebrating the start of Eid al-Fitr in Manila on August 19, 2012. (Noel Celis - AFP/Getty Images)

Filipino Muslim women gather to pray celebrating the start of Eid al-Fitr in Manila on August 19, 2012.
(Noel Celis – AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lankan Muslims wash before prayers during Eid al-Fitr celebrations at the Galle Face esplanade in Colombo on August 19, 2012. (Ishara S. Kodikara - AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lankan Muslims wash before prayers during Eid al-Fitr celebrations at the Galle Face esplanade in Colombo on August 19, 2012.
(Ishara S. Kodikara – AFP/Getty Images)

A Muslim boy prays at the start of Eid al-Fitr at the Peace and Friendship stadium in Piraeus near Athens on August 19, 2012. (Louisa Gouliamaki - AFP/Getty Images)

A Muslim boy prays at the start of Eid al-Fitr at the Peace and Friendship stadium in Piraeus near Athens on August 19, 2012.
(Louisa Gouliamaki – AFP/Getty Images)








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