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Posts Tagged ‘Muslims’

 

Source:  International Herald Tribune 

Published Date:  October 2, 2008

 

ATHENS: About 80,000 migrants have traveled to Greece this year and decided to stay illegally, according to the authorities, who say the country can no longer handle the task of guarding the European Union’s southeast flank.

While initial problems with the flood of migrants from Africa and the Middle East who are desperate to enter Europe centered on the Aegean islands, migrants are now wreaking havoc in the capital.

The historic center of Athens has been riven by several street battles in recent months, involving what the police characterize as rival groups, often involved in dealing drugs, from Afghanistan, Iraq and war-torn African countries wielding swords, axes and machetes.

After 11 people were hurt in one such brawl in late August, the police began 24-hour patrolling of the area. Store owners and residents are leaving the busy central shopping and restaurant district.

According to a residents’ group, dozens of people renting in the area have left their homes in the past year, and several stores have closed, chiefly small but long-established neighborhood conveniences like bakeries, hardware stores or delicatessens.

“People are scared and depressed, it’s getting worse and worse,” said Vassiliki Nikolakopoulou of the group, Panathinaia.

The top policy adviser for immigration issues at the Interior Ministry, which also oversees public order, blames the influx of about 80,000 migrants this year.

“Because of this phenomenon, we see more and more immigrants in central Athens trying to survive, often through illicit activities,” the official, Patroklos Georgiadis, said in a telephone interview. “This unpleasant situation – for the migrants and for us as an EU country – has become unbearable.”

Georgiadis said that Greece supported the stricter line on immigration being promoted by the bloc’s French presidency. “There will not be another wave of legalization of immigrants in Greece in the near future,” Georgiadis said, referring to the three programs that have granted work and residence permits to some 500,000 migrants, most of them undocumented foreigners – at least half from Albania – since 1997.

The unrest in Athens has triggered a backlash from the far-right party Laos, whose popularity has jumped to 5.4 percent in opinion polls from 3.5 percent when it entered Parliament a year ago.

“The city center has been taken hostage by gangs of illegal immigrants with knives – isn’t it about time we asked ourselves if we have too many of them?” a Laos legislator, Antonis Georgiadis, said during a recent television debate. He is not related to the immigration official.

Although some on the Greek left have warned against demonizing migrants, the Athens prefect, Yiannis Sgouros, who belongs to the main opposition Socialist party, Pasok, refers to an “explosive problem” in the heart of the capital, where thousands of migrants living in cheap hotels and derelict houses struggle to find work.

“Illegal immigrants are becoming pawns to local drug barons and are forming gangs,” Sgouros wrote last week in a letter to Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. He added: “Something has to change or the area will become an arena for race clashes and gang wars.”

Thomas Hammarberg, a Swede who is human rights commissioner at the Council of Europe, has criticized Greece and other EU states for “criminalizing the irregular entry and presence of migrants as part of a policy of so-called migration management.”

“Political decision-makers should not lose the human rights perspective in migration,” Hammarberg wrote in an e-mail message when asked to comment for this article. “Migrants coming from war-torn states should be given refuge.”

The government says that Greece grants protection to all refugees, as long as their status can be proven. But UN refugee agency statistics show that Greece approves less than one percent of asylum applications, compared with a European Union average of 20 percent.

According to minority groups, the treatment of migrants from war-torn states as “illegals” rather than refugees requiring protection forces them to eke out a life on the fringes of society.

“Most don’t get asylum or social support and have to find other ways to survive,” Adam Ziat, leader of the Union of Sudanese Refugees, said in a dingy café behind central Omonia Square that serves as his office.

According to Ahmed Mowias, coordinator of the Greek Migrants’ Forum, newly-arrived refugees from conflict zones are being exploited by rackets run by Nigerians, Moroccans and Algerians established in the area for many years. “Refugees are the smallest links in the dealing chain,” Mowias, a longtime resident of Athens who is from Sudan, said.

Police figures show that most immigrants arrested on drug-related charges in central Athens this year were from war-torn states like Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

For most of these migrants, their first stop in Greece was one of the Aegean islands where reception centers are overcrowded and the local authorities are losing their patience.

On Patmos, in the eastern Aegean, the authorities this month blocked their ports to boats carrying passengers from Turkey, saying the number of unwanted visitors on their island had exceeded its 3,000 permanent residents.

The popular islands of Lesbos and Samos, which report getting boatloads of migrants almost daily, are calling on the government to take action.

But, according to Mowias, the government’s failure to create a comprehensive immigration and asylum system is the root of the problem. “When a group of people has no social support and cannot solve its problems, this leads to a crisis,” he said.

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I thought this was a nice reminder.

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(Translated loosely as ‘Wishing you well being every year’)

 

I just got confirmation from our local community that tomorrow,

Tuesday, September 30 is Eid day

Things have been a little crazy in preparation for the big day so that’s why I haven’t been posting as much. 

I pray that Allah has accepted our fast, prayers, dua and good deeds.  Ameen.

May Allah give you a joyous Eid celebration. 

Taqqabal Allah mina wa minkum.  (May Allah accept from us and from you all.)

 

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Oh, and for those of you who gave feedback about me using Arabic phrases (that for the most part are common knowledge to Muslims around the world regardless of the dozens of languages that they speak), here is an Islamic phrase glossary to help you out.  Hope that helps! 😉

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I loved the beauty of these photos taken all around the world.  I wonder if someone can send me a photo of Ramadan in your local area or Greece/Cyprus so we can add it to the list.  (You can send it to info@greeksrethink.com)

Source: www.boston.com

Sample photos:

(Pakistan)

(Kashmir)

 (Palestine)

Check out the rest here: Ramadan pictures around the world

They are really beautiful; don’t miss out.

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I found this article to be quite interesting considering I didn’t even know there were that many mosques in Bulgaria to begin with! 

 

Source:  Adnkronos.com   

Published Date: September 24, 2008

 

Bulgaria’s highest Muslim authority has announced the closure of 200 mosques due to a lack of religious leaders or imams to lead prayers.

“Although the number of faithful has grown, we are forced to close the mosques due to a lack of religious leaders,” said Bulgaria’s Grand Mufti, Mustafa Haji.

“Many years of Communist rule and a lack of funds are the reasons for this crisis,” he said.

Bulgaria has 1,500 mosques, but only 900 are currently open to the faithful and 200 of those are likely to be shut down indefinitely.

Bulgaria has 8.7 million inhabitants, of whom 12 percent are Muslim. The country joined the European Union in January last year.

Most Muslims in the country are Bulgarians of Turkish origin that have been living in the area since the time of Ottoman rule from the late 14th until the late 19th century.

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We can relate to the example of purifying gold by extracting it from unwanted metals of particles, but I find it interesting that the literal meaning of zakat means the same thing -to grow (in goodness), increase, purify or make pure, just like you would do to your gold. 

 

So, we give a very small portion of our assets to purify our wealth, to protect us from misfortunes and to gain Allah’s blessing to make it grow in goodness.

 

Many people like to pay their zakat in Ramadan.  Here are the recipients you can pay it out to:

 

  1. Poor
  2. Needy
  3. Those who administer the zakah
  4. Those whose hearts are reconciled for Islam (new Muslims or non-Muslims opening their hearts to Islam etc.)
  5. To free the slaves
  6. Those unable to pay their debts
  7. Travelers rendered helpless
  8. In the way of Allah

 

(Note: These categories are mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah At-Tawbah:60)

 

 

Many people tend to have lots of questions about how to go about calculating zakat etc. so you can post your questions/comments here below and I will try to answer or find the answer for you insha Allah.

 

 

 

 

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I just found out that there are daily heartwheel journal YouTube video reflections that are recordings taken from IslamChannel. 

 

Have you been feeling that you are not doing enough this Ramadan? 

Perhaps, your just going through the motions? 

 

Then, check out these really awesome short emanrush messages.

 

They are not your typical fluffy Islamic reminders.  They are short, to the point and practical – something you can implement immediately in Ramadan. 

 

Here’s a sample video:

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