Posted by: becketfund | July 29, 2010

New Zealand: Jewish Community to Sue over Kosher Ban

WELLINGTON – The nation’s Jewish community has begun mounting a legal case against the government in a bid to overturn a ban on the kosher slaughter of meat, the Jewish Chronicle reported on July 29.  The legal case is likely to focus on the ban’s apparent violation of New Zealand’s Bill of Rights, which protects the right for a person to practice their religion, and its possible breach of the Animal Welfare Act, which contains provisions for religious rights.  Community spokesperson David Zwartz said that attempts to convince Agriculture Minister David Carter to reverse the ban on shechitah had failed.


Reuters reports on the first official celebration in Russia of a new holiday, approved by President Dmitry Medvedev, that commemorates the conversion of the nation to Christianity in 988.  This is the latest step Kremlin has taken to affirm its current and historical relationship with the Orthodox Church.  Rights groups have criticized the holiday as undermining Russia’s secular constitution, while members of the nation’s Muslim minority have noted the exclusionary nature of the holiday.

Moscow – Prosecutors have opened a criminal case against a Scientology center in the town of Shchyolkovo, 13 kilometers northeast of Moscow, on charges of inciting hatred, punishable with up to five years in prison, The Moscow Times reported on July 26. Without elaborating, a law enforcement official told Interfax that investigators had decided that documents and literature confiscated from the Scientology center promoted extremism.

RIYADH – Two Saudi clerics, Islamic jurisprudence scholar Mohamed al-Nujaimi and cleric Ayed al-Garni, have declared Muslim women exempt from wearing full veils in France, but added they should avoid visiting as tourists, Reuters reported on July 25.  The comments by the two clerics come two weeks after French lawmakers passed a bill under which women could be fined for appearing in public with the all-covering burqa or the niqab, which leaves the eyes exposed.

Posted by: becketfund | July 22, 2010

France: Two Muslim Women Expelled from Swimming Pool

PORT LEUCATE – Two Muslim women wearing bukinis, swimming attire that covers the whole body, were banned from a public swimming pool at the Rives des Corbieres holiday camp in Southern France, the London Mail reported on July 22.  The incident came ten days after French MPs voted to outlaw the burka in public places.  The new law, which brands the garment ‘an insult to the country’s values’, means women will be fined or jailed for hiding their faces in public.  Regional government official Marie-Paule Bardeche said: ‘This is an issue stemming from the holiday centre’s own regulations. ‘They state men and women must wear ordinary swimwear for hygiene reasons.  Men are not even allowed to wear long shorts in the water.’

Posted by: becketfund | July 20, 2010

Spain: Parliament Rejects Full Burqa Ban

MADRID – Parliament rejected on July 20 a proposal to ban women from wearing Islamic veils thatonly reveal the eyes in public spaces, the AP reported on July 20.  Following a lower chamber debate, 183 lawmakers opposed the ban, 162 voted for it and two abstained.  However, the Socialist government has said it favors including a ban on people wearing burqas in government buildings in an upcoming bill on religious issues to be debated after parliament’s summer vacation break. The nonbinding proposal had been put forward by the leading opposition Popular Party, which portrayed it as a measure in support of women’s rights. The ruling Socialist Party opposed the ban.

Posted by: becketfund | July 7, 2010

Further Reading: Uncertain Future of Sikhs in Afghanistan

The Sikh Times runs an article on the uncertain future of both Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan.  The religious liberties afforded both religious communities is examined before, during and after the height of Taliban rule. With only one non-Muslim parliament member, Sikh Awtar Singh, governmental enforcement of religious rights for minorities—as found in the nation’s constitution—often goes unrealized.

DUBAI – Ahmad Mohammad Bin Thani, head of Dubai police’s general department of airport security, announced that Dubai will not be using full-body scanners in either of its two airports as they “contradict Islam, and out of respect for the privacy of individuals and their personal freedom,” AFP reported on July 6.  Several European nations have tested the technology, including France, Britain and the Netherlands. Japanese and South Korean airports have also started test programs. The machines have remained controversial due to privacy worries, as they generate images of passengers’ entire bodies.

Posted by: becketfund | July 6, 2010

France: Parliament Debates Islamic veil

PARIS – The parliament is debating a bill that would ban the wearing of full Islamic veils in public, the BBC reported on July 6.  The bill envisages fines of 150 Euros (£119) for women who break the law and 30,000 Euros and a year jail term for men who force their wives to wear the burka.  A vote on the proposed legislation will be taken next week before a full vote in the senate in September.

Posted by: becketfund | July 5, 2010

Iran: Government Approves Islamic Haircuts for Men

TEHRAN – The culture ministry has outlined a number of approved “Islamic” haircuts for men in a journal, AFP reported on July 5.  “The proposed styles are inspired by Iranians’ complexion, culture and religion, and Islamic law,” said Jaleh Khodayar, who is in charge of a “Modesty and Veil Festival” later this month where they are to be promoted.  Clerics have called for firmer action against un-Islamic dressers and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came under fire last month for expressing opposition to a tough police crackdown on immodest attire.

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