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Parliament Board Condemns Violence in France and Nigeria; Invites All Faith Communities to Issue Joint Statement

“The Parliament of the World’s Religions vehemently condemns revengeful attacks killing 12 journalists and four Jews in France, and an estimated 1500 women and children in Nigeria. Now this cycle of revenge has engulfed the French Muslims with more than 20 attacks on Islamic buildings. We send our condolences to the families of the victims and to all of France and Nigeria as they grieve.

The Parliament believes that use of religion or any other socio-political ideology to “justify” violence is simply not acceptable.

The Parliament urges the global community to remember that such acts violate the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and asks that faith communities stand together to break this cycle of revenge by speaking out and organizing programs which enhance positive human relationship of compassion and forgiveness.

The Parliament plans to organize special programing in the forthcoming 2015 Parliament in October 15-19th on the cycle of war, violence, and hate. We invite all faith communities to participate in a joint declaration with a clear resolve to do our utmost  to develop a movement against war, violence and hate.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

The French Interfaith Youth Movement Stands Up For All

Via The National Office of L’Association Coexister/The Coexist Association/Interfaith Tour: 

“After the attack to the Paris office of the French Magazine Charlie Hebdo, Coexist interfaith youth movement, wishes to express its shock, fear and sadness at such an act of barbarism. We are deeply affected by what has happened.

This odious act affects not only journalists, police officers, their families and friends to whom we offer our condolences. It affects our national community. It undermines social cohesion of our country, our citizenship, France. Freedom of the press and opinion are part of the foundations of our democracy. And this freedom is not negotiable.

We seek to promote respect for all, all faiths, all convictions. We also defend the right to criticism, caricature and derision. Freedom is a precious asset is our common heritage.

Extremism, wherever it comes from, must be fought and put out of harm’s way. Against all fundamentalism, against fanaticism that disfigure the image of the communities they claim to represent. It is urgent to work for national unity. The intolerance must be fought, ignorance defeated.

“They wanted to put France on her knees, instead let us send them a message. We are here in solidarity and united. The goal of terrorists is to divide a population that is the victim. Panic, division, or denouncing a culprit in our national community would prove them right. ” said Samuel Grzybowski, Chairman of Coexist

It is time for the Republic to emerge.

For freedom of expression, brotherhood among citizens. ”

 

 

Avenging the Prophet Who Banned Revenges

By Abdul Malik Mujahid

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Parliament of the World’s Religions

“We have avenged the Prophet Mohammad,” the gunmen shouted after killing 12 at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, yesterday. The publication is known for lampooning the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

Well. The Prophet banned revenge as he built his peace sanctuary in seventh-century Madinah, establishing instead the rule of law.

He never killed anyone. Only, after God’s command to defend his peace sanctuary, under attack by the non-Muslims of Makkah, did he picked up arms. These defensive battles lasted a total of six days in his life and the number of dead from both sides was less than 300.

Peace was his goal, which he achieved by developing alliances between Madinah’s non-Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

Violent extremists who accuse others of disrespect, then consider this a license to kill have nothing to do with the Islam taught by the Prophet they claim to be avenging. They have nothing to do with the message of forgiveness and mercy which Allah revealed to the Prophet; nothing to do with the law and order the Prophet established and upheld, which led to him being considered one of the world’s greatest lawgivers by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Muslim love for Prophet Muhammad is unquestionable. God’s peace and blessings be upon him. It does hurt us when people are abusive towards the Prophet.

It is, however, the ignorant, who do not know the loving path of mercy and forgiveness taught by the Prophet; they are turning into violent extremists and committing crimes in his name.

This is not love. This is hate.

The Prophet would be horrified at what is being done in his name to avenge disrespect to his honor.

The non-Muslims of Makkah tortured the Prophet and his followers. He did not retaliate. He preferred to move away, first encouraging migration to Abyssinia, which was ruled by what he described as a “just king”, who was a Christian, Najashi or Negus.

When some tribes agreed, he established the peace sanctuary in Madinah via constitution and consensus. He built a society that promoted inclusiveness, freedom, rule of law, and peace.

Respect for other faiths was a key element of Madinah society. Muslims, are by Scripture and Prophetic practice, ordered to accept God’s revealed books, as well as His Prophets and Messengers. We are also ordered to never insult the cherished beliefs of others, for humor or in retaliatory anger. This is why even today, throughout the Muslim world, you will not find newspapers being disrespectful of other religions. The terrorists are not the norm. They are the exception.

Muslims in France, America, and around the world are sick of terrorists perpetuating violence that is a violation of their faith in their name. We are against war and hate. We are also tired of the abuse of freedom of speech to spew hatred, mistrust, fear, and misunderstanding.

War, terrorism, and Islamophobia are a nexus, connected to each other and condemnable. They feed off of each other, perpetuating violence and fear. We Muslims condemn terrorism, war as well as hate. We must strive against them all.

——-

Being just in the love of the Prophet

We need to understand this abuse of the Prophet for what it is: a form of psychological violence intended to hurt and harm. Our response when we encounter such attacks must be to seek God’s forgiveness and respond with what is better: prayers on the Prophet and Duas for him.

The Prophet and the people who opposed him

Our Prophet was a mercy to all human beings, regardless of their religious, racial, cultural or ethnic background. We, as his followers, must live and spread this message today at a time when hatefulness and ugliness towards each other has become the norm.

Please stop abusing the Prophet

It is abusive to partially quote the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, thus distorting what he said.

 

Prophet's Mosque in Madinah

Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah

Euro Imams, Rabbis Pledge Zero Tolerance for Hate Preachers

British Imam Abdul-Jalil Sajid (in white) seated next to Yitzhak Halba, the Chief Rabbi of Turkey and Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Photo by Alan Azaria from Ha’aretz.

by Tom Heneghan and Nicholas Vinocur
from Reuters

PARIS (Reuters)- Seventy European Muslim and Jewish leaders pledged on Wednesday to show “zero tolerance” to hate preachers of any faith including their own ranks, citing what they called rising religious intolerance on the continent.

Imams, rabbis and community leaders from 18 countries agreed to jointly counter bigotry against Jews and Muslims and combat legal threats to common religious practices such as circumcision of boys and the kosher and halal ritual slaughter of animals.

The two-day meeting brought together Muslim-Jewish teams from around Europe to compare experiences in fighting religious prejudice and report on recent trends against minority faiths.

There have been several attacks on Jews in Europe this year, some from radical Muslims. In the worst case, a French Islamist killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse last March.

Extreme right-wing political parties are also increasingly agitating against Jews and Muslims, participants in the meeting said.

“We must institute a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against religious leaders of any faith who misuse their pulpits to incite religious bigotry,” they said in a declaration.
Click here to read the full article

 

September 15th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Bussy-Saint-Georges, the Town with Built-in Religious Harmony

Photography Credit to Philippe Wojazer/Reuters from the Guardian.

Workmen prepare the European Regional Temple in Bussy-Saint Georges.

by Stephanie Le Bars
from The Guardian Weekly

Hugues Rondeau is the Radical party mayor of Bussy-Saint-Georges, a new town in the Paris suburbs. His taste for “ordered urban space” has led to an innovation: the multi-faith district. On a plot of land just beyond the built-up area, he has authorised the construction of several places of worship.

“Here there will be two Buddhist temples, a mosque, a synagogue, a Chinese evangelical church and an Armenian cultural centre,” said the mayor, a practising Catholic who is convinced that in a secular state the government should not turn a blind eye to religious fact. “Our 30,000 inhabitants are mostly of foreign origin with 45% from Asia,” he said. “We couldn’t deprive them of their religious practice.”

Click here to read full article

Europe’s Biggest Buddhist Temple to Open Outside Paris

The new temple in Bussy Saint Georges, near Disneyland Paris DR/blog-habitat-durable.com

by Angela Diffley
from Radio France Internationale

With a month to go until its official opening on 22 June, workers are adding the finishing touches to the biggest Buddhist Temple in Europe, situated in a special eco-friendly zone, just outside Paris.

A church, a synagogue, and a mosque in the same environmentally-friendly complex, will eventually complete this special ecumenical venture.

The huge 8000m2 construction in Bussy-Saint-Georges is built mostly in glass, wood, and unrefined concrete dotted with roof gardens. It is set amid extensive grounds filled with fruit trees.

The structure houses both a place of worship and a Buddhist cultural centre, and was designed by the Frédéric Rolland firm of architects.

An area open to the general public will include a vegetarian restaurant, and space for regular calligraphy workshops, meditation sessions and activities such as oriental tea-tasting.

Click here to read the full article

French Catholic School a Refuge for Muslims

Photo credit: Benoit Jurzynski

by Ruadhan MacCormaic
from the Irish Times

Marseille: It’s the Friday before mid-term break at Tour Sainte, and there’s a giddy mood in the yard as the children file out past Stéphane Thiébaut, the school principal. “Bonnes vacances,” he calls out to the parents and teachers milling about in the spring sunshine.

Tour Sainte has some of the best views in Marseille, its hilltop perch giving a wide panorama of the city and the Mediterranean. Birds are singing from the trees in the yard, while the glare of the warm sun against the peach buildings accentuates the calm. ‘We have built ourselves a little oasis of peace,” Thiébaut remarks.

Click here to read the full article

Strengthening Muslim-Jewish Ties in the Face of Evil

Jewish and Muslim leaders attend a silent march on March 25 to honor the victims of the Ozar Hatorah school shooting in Toulouse, France. Photo by REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Jewish and Muslim leaders attend a silent march on March 25 to honor the victims of the Ozar Hatorah school shooting in Toulouse, France. Photo by REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

by Marc Schneier and Shamsi Ali, JTA
from Jewish Journal

As a rabbi and an imam, we deeply mourn the tragic loss of innocent lives in the murderous terrorist attacks in France. We express our heartfelt sympathy and compassion for the bereaved.

Amid the wall-to-wall media coverage of the attacks and their aftermath, one piece of the story has received less attention: the inspiring manner in which Muslims and Jews in France have stood side by side in denouncing these heinous acts.

Thousands of Muslims and Jews reacted to the savage killings of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse and the earlier murders of three French soldiers, including two Muslims, by joining together in solidarity marches in communities throughout Paris.

Click here to read the full article

April 3rd, 2012 at 7:55 am

French burqa and niqab ban: ‘Muslim women are being scapegoated’

Niqab wearer explains why she will continue to wear a veil despite the new ban in France

from the Guardian

Anne [not her real name], 32, is French and lives in a village south of the Burgundy town of Mâcon. A mother of four, she converted to Islam at 18 and has worn the niqab for five years

I’ve got a pregnancy scan on Friday. My doctor supports me wearing the niqab, but I’m not sure I’ll be allowed into the hospital. I could wear a medical facemask, bird-flu style. Other women have told me they’ll wear them to get round the ban and to keep their faces covered in state offices.

My husband, whose parents are Algerian, is afraid for me, but I won’t take the niqab off. I won’t change. That would be to renounce my values. I’m French, I was educated to believe in liberté, égalité, fraternité. My grandfather was an army officer on the beaches of Dunkirk and was imprisoned in Germany during the war. He always taught me: “If there’s an injustice in life, you can’t stay silent.”

Click here to read the entire article

April 19th, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Posted in News

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Facing the veil in France

From The Washington Post

The newly enacted French ban on all face veils is a really poor response to a quite legitimate concern. The concern to which I refer is not what some see as the inevitable takeover of Europe by fundamentalist Muslims. That is an Islamophobic fantasy designed to instill fear and provoke hostility.

Nor is the concern that people who remain attached to the cultural practices which they bring from their nations of origin to their new homes will never acclimate to, or constructively participate in, the larger culture in which they live. That concern, while more legitimate than the first, ignores the fact that effective acculturation is always a two-way street.

Click here to read entire article.