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A sombre Eid for Muslims worldwide

Millions of Muslims across the world have celebrated the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the monthlong fast of Ramadan.

The three-day-long Eid al-Fitr holiday is a time to celebrate the completion of Ramadan, a month devoted to fasting, worship and repentance during which observing Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset every day.

But the mood was dark for millions of people affected by the Syrian civil war, the Gaza war and the militant advance in Iraq. Many were just too busy trying to survive to observe the holiday.

Beyond the Middle East, the few remaining Muslims in the Central African Republic’s capital city ventured out to a mosque under the watchful guard of armed peacekeepers. Others like Aminata Bary stayed at home, still too fearful to venture out for fear of attack from Christian militias who drove thousands of Muslims from the capital this year.

In the Philippines, an insurgent group attacked people traveling to celebrate with their families, killing 21, including at least six children, in the bloodiest incident by the gunmen in recent years.

In Gaza City, streets were largely deserted, as residents huddled indoors for safety. More than 1,040 Gazans have been killed, more than 6000 wounded and tens of thousands displaced in the last three weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas, according to Palestinian officials. Israel has seen 43 Israeli soldiers and three civilians killed.

“All we think about is to stay safe,” said Fedaa Abul Atta, a nurse and mother of six. The family was grieving the death of her nephew, killed in an airstrike. Her house among hundreds demolished by Israeli fire in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shijaiyah.

The mood was equally subdued for the more than 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“Eid has no flavor here at all,” said Umm Ammar, who fled her country three years ago with her family and now lives in an encampment in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley. “We want to celebrate Eid in Syria, in our homes.”

Despite frequent car bombings in Iraq’s capital of Baghdad, shoppers packed malls and stores ahead of Eid in anticipation of family gatherings.

In West Africa, Eid prayers were dedicated to the victims of two tragedies in the region – the crash of an Air Algerie plane that killed 118 people and an ongoing Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 670.

Eid celebrations were less extravagant than usual in Malaysia as it tried to come to terms with loss of two Malaysian Airlines flights. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Cabinet canceled their celebrations to mourn for the victims.

Similarly, Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam announced that he would not be receiving guests or congratulations because of the situation in nearby Gaza. Turkish President Abdullah Gul reminded people in his Eid message that though Turkey was enjoying a peaceful holiday, many of its neighbors were not.

In Qatar’s capital city of Doha, celebrations were cancelled in one area and in another the festivities were curbed back to mourn victims in Gaza. Some restaurants also had donation boxes and said they would donate their Eid profits to Gaza.

Iman Eddbali, 26, said the imam leading prayers in her local mosque in Doha urged worshippers to be happy for those who cannot be happy this year.

“It is a religious duty to celebrate the end of Ramadan, … but at the same time it would be indecent to overdo it this year,” she said. “We just can’t ignore that there are many, many people, not just in Palestine, that simply just can’t even have a proper day to rest and mourn their dead.”   »»»

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Statement by President Obama on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr

Muslim slaveAs Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr [marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan], Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families. This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate. While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.

On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.   »»» The White House

“Eid Mubarak” is an Arabic greeting meaning “Blessed Celebration”. Among those who contributed to building the U.S. were thousands of Muslims who were brought to the country in its early days as slaves. With some exceptions, they were not allowed to openly follow their faith. Slavery was not outlawed until the mid-19th century and racial segregation continued in many places until the mid-20th century.

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Muslims pray in Gaza church as bombs fall ahead of Eid

For Gaza resident Mahmud Khalaf, it was a bizarre new experience, prostrating himself for his daily Muslim prayers beneath the gaze of an icon of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).

But since the war in Gaza began, he has had no choice but to worship in a Christian house of God, where he took refuge after Israeli air strikes pummelled his neighbourhood in the north of the Palestinian territory.

“They let us pray. It´s changed my view of Christians — I didn´t really know any before, but they’ve become our brothers,” said Khalaf, 27, who admitted he never expected to perform his evening prayers in a church.

“We (Muslims) prayed all together last night,” he said. “Here, the love between Muslims and Christians has grown.”   »»» The News (Pakistan)

When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was visited by a delegation of Christians from the nearby province of Narjan, he allowed them to pray in his mosque, in Medina. According to historical accounts, some of the Prophet’s closest companions sometimes prayed in Christian churches when they were in places where there was no mosque.

The Qur’an says, “And you will find that those nearest in affection to the believers (Muslims) are those who say: We are Christians.”

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Ghana’s Christian Council Greets Muslims

The Christian Council of Ghana has sent an advanced congratulatory message to the Muslim community as they prepare to end the holy month of Ramadan and mark eid-ul- Fitr Festival.

In a statement yesterday, General Secretary of the Council, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong said:

“For a whole month, our brothers and sisters have fasted from dawn to sunset, refraining from food and drink; offering special prayers for forgiveness, guidance, prosperity and unity; sharing love; engaging in peacemaking and charitable works for our homeland Ghana.”

The statement said, “as a Council, we join them in this great celebration, and assure them of our continuous partnership, in living as one people who believe in the one, true God and in making Ghana great and strong.”   »»» Daily Guide Ghana

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Iraq: Isis warns women to wear full veil or face punishment

Islamic State (Isis), the al-Qaida offshoot that seized large swathes of northern Iraq last month, has warned women in the city of Mosul to wear full-face veils or risk severe punishment.

The Sunni insurgents, who have declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria and have threatened to march on Baghdad, also listed guidelines on how veils and clothes should be worn, part of a campaign to violently impose their radical brand of Islam.   »»» Iraq: Isis warns women to wear full veil or face punishment | World news | The Guardian

The ISIS people are heretics, blasphemers and renegades. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was specifically asked how much of a woman’s body could be left uncovered and he indicated the feet and the face. Women who make the pilgrimage to Mecca and who are in very close proximity to thousands of other pilgrims (male and female) are NOT allowed to cover their faces. It is said that the wives of the Prophet sometimes wore full face veils to avoid being recognized when they were in public places. If that is true, it is possible that some women wear the full face veil out of pious imitation of the Prophet’s wives. However, that is a voluntary act of piety and cannot be imposed on any woman.

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Genital mutilation against Islam sanctity

The reported (but not yet substantiated) order passed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants for girls and women in and around Mosul in Iraq to undergo so-called “female circumcision” (excision) was Friday condemned by Indian Muslim clerics who said that such an order is completely against Islam and has brought shame to the religion.

The order passed by the ISIL has denigrated Islam and is completely against the sanctity of the religion. I condemn such a non-lethal order and want it to be withdrawn, Maulana Mufti Mukarram, the Naib Imam of the 17th century Fatehpuri Mosque in Delhi, told IANS.

In the report, the jihadist militants of the ISIL have are said to have said all women aged between 11 to 49 must undergo genital mutilation, a fatwa that can affect over 4 million girls and women in Iraq.   »»» Nerve (India)

Female genital modification among Muslims (and some Coptic Christians and African animists) is NOT a religious act in Islam. It has been practised in some places as a cultural tradition. There is no mention of it in the Qur’an and only one known reference to the practice by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his immediate disciples. According to one unsubstantiated hadith (saying) attributed to the Prophet, it is reported that while travelling, he came upon a woman who circumcised girls in her village. According to the hadith the Prophet may have said, “Go lightly and do not cut deeply.” If the hadith is authentic, it seems to suggest a tolerance for a mild form of excision in which a small part of the clitoral hood may be removed (which would be a female analog of male circumcision). However, it is NOT an obligation, and like male circumcision, there is no specific age for it to be carried out if desired. The radical forms of excision practiced in some places and that involve partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora is a form of mutilation and is NOT allowed under Islamic law. In fact, it is illegal in most Islamic countries.

The ISIS sect is the home of blasphemers, heretics and renegades. They claim to be Sunni Muslims, but they commit horrible acts that are contrary to Islamic law. They commit a major crime that the Qur’an describes as “spreading mischief in the land” and “waging war against Allah and his Prophet”. Under shari’ah law that crime can be punished by death.

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Sri Lanka Supreme Court Orders Govt. Institutes To Permit ‘Hijab’

SC Orders Govt. Institutes To Permit ‘Hijab’

De facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris in the Supreme Court today recalling a visit he made to an international school in Colombo where Muslim students were dressed in traditional Punjabi attire said, “I see no reason why this should not be permitted”.

He made these remarks when a Fundamental Rights petition filed by a parent of Janadipathi Balika Vidyalaya detailed how she was prevented from entering the school dressed in her traditional attire.

When the case that was taken up today the Supreme Court ordered the Attorney General of Sri Lanka to give directions to officials of all public institutions not to obstruct Muslim ladies who are attired in their traditional cultural dress.

”This is a traditional dress and no one can be offended by it” Mr. Justice Mohan Pieris said.   »»» Sailan Muslim (Sri Lanka)

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FBI pushed Muslims to plot terrorist attacks

The FBI encouraged and sometimes even paid Muslims to commit terrorist acts during numerous sting operations after the 9/11 attacks, a human rights group said in a report published Monday.

“Far from protecting Americans, including American Muslims, from the threat of terrorism, the policies documented in this report have diverted law enforcement from pursuing real threats,” said the report by Human Rights Watch.

“In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report said.

In the cases reviewed, half the convictions resulted from a sting operation, and in 30 percent of those cases the undercover agent played an active role in the plot.

“Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,” said Andrea Prasow, the rights group’s deputy Washington director.

“But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”

The HRW report cites the case of four Muslim converts from Newburgh, New York who were accused of planning to blow up synagogues and attack a US military base.

A judge in that case “said the government ‘came up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles,’ and had, in the process, made a terrorist out of a man ‘whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope,’” the report said.   »»» The West Australian

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Muslim body denounces persecution of Iraq Christians

The world’s top Islamic body denounced on Monday the persecution of Christians in Iraq’s second city Mosul as an “intolerable crime“, and offered to help those displaced by a jihadist offensive.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation secretary general Iyad Madani said the “forced displacement” of Mosul’s Christians showed the IS’s “practices have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for tolerance and co-existence”.

“These atrocities also contradict the principles of the OIC,” of which Iraq is a member, Mr Madani added, noting that the body was “ready to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance to displaced persons until they be able to return to their homes”.

At the weekend, hundreds of families fled Mosul, abandoning homes and belongings after IS fighters running the city issued an ultimatum for Christians to convert, pay a special tax, leave or face execution.    »»» Muslim body denounces persecution of Iraq Christians

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Turkey’s top cleric calls new Islamic ‘caliphate’ illegitimate

The declaration of a “caliphate” by Islamist militants in Iraq lacks legitimacy and their death threats to Christians are a danger to civilization, Turkey’s top cleric, the successor to the last caliph’s most senior imam, said.

Islamic State, an armed group formerly allied to al Qaeda that has captured swathes of territory across Iraq, last month declared its leader, Ibrahim al-Baghdadi, “caliph” – the historical title last held by the Turkish Ottoman sultan who ruled much of the Muslim world.

“Since the caliphate was abolished … there have been movements that think they can pull together the Muslim world by re-establishing a caliphate, but they have nothing to do with reality, whether from a political or legal perspective.”

Gormez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging.

“The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Gormez is in a unique position to question Baghdadi’s claim to the caliph’s seat. His office was created in 1924 to replace the Ottoman Sheikh al-Islam, the mufti with authority to confirm new sultans and who also served as chief legal adviser.   »»»

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