Mabda Report 23.05.11

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Facing Towards Mecca: Episcopal Cathedral Confronts “Islamophobia”

The call to sunset prayer issued by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf echoed through the room, and worshippers came forward – some in Muslim garb, others in western clothing. Removing their shoes and kneeling to face Mecca, the worshippers uttered prayers from the Qur’an, led by the cleric known for his plan to build an Islamic center near the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan.

Yet this Muslim prayer observance took place not in a mosque, but in the sanctuary of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle.

Dialogue group praises schools where Catholics, Muslims study together

Schools where Christians and Muslims study together, as they do at many Catholic schools in the Middle East, should be supported and cherished by both communities because they promote dialogue and lead to real friendships, said dialogue participants.

Delegations representing the Vatican and the Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies in Jordan met in Rome May 18-19 to discuss “human and religious values shared by Christians and Muslims for a common education.”

A statement released May 20 by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said participants affirmed that “Christians and Muslims share basic human values like the sacred character of human life, human dignity and the fundamental inalienable rights deriving from it.”

Bulgarians lay flowers in solidarity with Sofia mosque

A number of Bulgarian citizens have come to the Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia to lay flowers as a gesture of apology, ashamed of Friday’s incident in which the nationalist party Ataka assaulted praying Muslims.

The incident occurred as the far-right party led by its leader Volen Siderov rallied near the mosque to demand a ban of the use of loudspeakers but the rally quickly got out of hand.

Islamophobia discussed in London conference

Last month, as a French citizen, she made a public stand against France’s new law outlawing the wearing of the niqab or face veil. She’s been arrested twice, but has refused on principle to pay the fine.

She was one of many speakers at a conference on the spread of anti-Muslim hatred across Europe. Academics and activists have noted a change in social interaction as fears of abuse and attacks grew.

There have been many instances of violence against Muslims across Europe. One case which highlights the consequences of leaving Islamophobia unchecked is the story of Marwa Sherbini, now known as the hijab martyr. She was killed after being stabbed 18 times by a man who’d called her a terrorist.