SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –The first-ever call to Muslim prayer was heard for the Friday prayer at Fittja Grand Mosque in Sweden.
Muslim worshippers gathered for the Friday prayer, or Jummah, at a mosque in Stockholm which saw the first-ever call to prayer (adhan) to be recited in Sweden.
Sweden's state-run television broadcast live while Fittja Grand Mosque's imam recited the prayer call (adhan) via a loudspeaker from the minaret.
"I have been living in Sweden for 25 years and this is the first time I have ever heard the adhan from the minaret. I am very happy," Guluz Kayhan told Turkish press as she tried to hold her tears back.
"This is a historic day," said Iman Upmann, a Swede converted to Islam 13 years ago.
Earlier in April, local police ruled to allow the prayer calls following a September 2012 decision by local government to remove a ban on reciting the adhan from minarets. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – As the news revealed that Boston suspect widowed wife was an American convert to Islam, stereotypes and misconceptions have been reignited about US women who have chosen Islam, portraying them as brainwashed and submissive who sacrificed their American life to satisfy their husbands.
“The moment you put on a hijab, people assume that you’ve forfeited your free will,” Lauren Schreiber, who favors traditional Islamic dress, told NBC News on Friday, April 26.
Schreiber, who became a Muslim in 2010, expected to hear comments being brainwashed after the media revealed that 24-year-old Katherine Russell, a New England doctor’s daughter, was married to Boston dead suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Comments from former acquaintances and complete strangers immediately suggested that Russell must have been coerced and controlled by her husband.
“She was a very sweet woman, but I think kind of brainwashed by him,” reported the Associated Press, quoting Anne Kilzer, a Belmont, Mass., woman who said she knew Russell and her 3-year-old daughter.
Expecting these false assumptions, Schreiber wanted to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions that US women who have chosen Islam.
“It’s not because somebody made me do this,” explains Schreiber, who converted after a college study-abroad trip to West Africa.
“It’s what I choose to do and I’m happy.”
Rebecca Minor, 28, of West Hartford, Conn., a special education teacher who converted to Islam five years ago, agreed.
When her students, ages 5 to 8, ask why she wears a headscarf, she always says the same thing: "It's something that's important to me and it reminds me to be a good person," Minor, who is secretary for the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, said.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.
According to a 2011 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, about 20 percent of US Muslims are converts to the faith. Of those converts, about 54 percent were men and 46 percent were women.
An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
Finding Islam, US Muslim converts usually face harsh accusations of being brainwashed women who sacrificed their American life to please a man.
“Accusations of brainwashing are harsh,” Yvonne Haddad, a professor of the history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations at Georgetown University, said.
“They cover up the fact that we don’t comprehend why people like ‘us’ want to change and be like ‘them.’”
“Islam is attractive to women that the feminist movement left behind,” added Haddad, who co-authored a 2006 book, “Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today.”
Chosng to wear a headscarf and traditional Islamic garb in public, Lindsey Faraj, 26, of Charlotte, N.C., usually faces false assumptions that she has sacrificed her American life to please a man.
“'You must have converted in order to marry him,' I hear it all the time,” said Faraj, who actually converted simultaneously with her husband.
Getting married to Wathek Faraj, who is from Damascus, about four years ago, she heard people say that her husband is allowed to beat her, that she’s not free to get a divorce, that she and her two children, ages 4 months and 2, are subservient to the man.
“In the beginning, it did offend me a lot,” says Faraj, who grew up in a Christian family in Florida.
“But now as my sense of my new self has grown, I don’t feel offended.”
Her fair features, reflective a white American in hijab, did not ban others from screaming insults in her face.
“They screamed: ‘Go back to your own country’ and I thought, ‘It doesn’t get more white than this, girl,’” says Faraj, indicating her fair features.
Faraj, a stay-at-home mom, says she never saw herself "as a religious person, in the least," but became enthralled after trying to learn more about Islam before a visit to see her husband's family.
“The concept of Islam hit me,” Faraj recalls.
“It was just something that entered my heart.”
Schreiber, who is a community outreach and events coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says she was drawn to Islam after meeting other Muslims on her trip abroad before graduating from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2009.
Choosing Islam, she rejects accusations that Islam encourages men to abuse their wives.
"Abusive men come in all colors, nationalities, ethnicities and from all religions," she says.
"No one says that Christianity teaches abuse of women because some Christian men are abusive."
Schreiber, who frequently gets comments from people surprised to see her fair skin and hear her American accent from beneath a scarf, said she appreciates it when people ask questions instead of making assumptions.
“I just want people to know that there are American Muslim women who wear hijab by choice because they believe in it and it feels right to them, not because anyone tells them to,” she said.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) In order to understand the meaning of "Muslim" in the Quran it is necessary to understand the meaning of "Islam".
The word "Islam" is an infinitive with the root letters of "س ل م", the root letters mean healthy and devoid of an defects and corruption, but the infinitive means surrendering and obeying one's commands with no opposition. 
The Quran has used the term in its broad sense as well: "All of those who are in the heavens and the earth or all of the creatures in the heavens and the earth are Muslims and have (willingly or unwillingly) submitted to Allah’s generative (takwini) or legislative (tashri’i) will."
As for the Islam of people towards Allah, it means for them to be satisfied with their destinies that Allah (swt) has determined for them, both the destinies that have to do with what happens to the individual in this world and the ones related to Islamic rulings and the do’s and don’ts. 
In normal usage though, "Islam" denotes the religion that Prophet Mohammad brought to the people.
The tie between the two meanings is that this religion is all about surrendering to Allah (swt) and adhering to His decrees and the laws He has legislated without question.
In the Quran, not only those who were among the companions of prophet Mohammad are considered Muslims, but rather all people throughout history who have surrendered and submitted to Allah and rejected paganism are Muslims and this is why the Quran introduces Prophet Abraham as a Muslim even though he lived before prophet Mohammad.
When Allah addresses the prophet saying: "" Say:" I have been commanded to be the first who (becomes Muslim)." And do not be of those who set-up partners (for Allah)", what is meant is the second meaning of Islam, meaning that the prophet was commanded to be the first one amongst his people to believe in what was revealed to him, not to be the first person in history to surrender to Allah because all other prophets that lived before him had already surrendered to Allah and obeyed his commands.
It can be understood from verse 85 of Surah Ale Imran (Whosoever chooses a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him) and verse 3 from Surah Al Ma’edah (Today I have perfected your religion and am happy with Islam as your religion) that Muslims are only those who follow the religion of the prophet (pbuh), because by choosing Islam as their religion and believing in all previous prophets and divine religions, they have proven their submission to Allah (swt). According to this definition, today people of other religions are not Muslims because they have not surrendered to Allah by accepting the new religion that was revealed to the seal of prophets. Therefore nowadays only the followers of Prophet Muhammad are Muslims, even though they may not act according to the teachings and rulings of Islam. The first verse of Surah Hujurat shows that even if one does not truly practice Islam he is still considered a Muslim due to his belief. The verse is about a group of bedouins that came to the prophet saying that they had become believers (mu’mins) and thought by such, they were doing him a favor. The verse commands the prophet to tell them to say that they have become Muslims and not Mu’mins. Of course, although practicing does not change the fact that one is Muslim or not, but to be a true Muslim not only should one believe in Islam but he must also act according to his belief and the teachings and laws of his religion, let those laws be social ones such as haqqul-nas or personal ones such as prayer and fasting.
Al-Nokat wal-Uyun, (Tafsir Maverdi), vol1, p 379-380
 Tafsir Nemooneh, vol2, p 643
 Tabatabei, Mohammad Hossein, Almizan(translation), vol1, p 454
 Al-Wujuh wal-Nadha’er, vol1, p248.
 Mabadiul-Islam, p 7.
 Ale Imran:67.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –The number of Muslims in Russia has increased in the past ten years, president of Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) Society in Moscow said.
Nezami Balaklanev said Islam, which is the last and most perfect Divine religion, attracts everyone by referring to issues like equality, fraternity, peace and friendship.
“This has led to the rising number of Muslims not only in Russia but all over the world,” he stressed.
“Thank God, the Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) Society in Moscow has managed to attract a considerable number of people in Russia to Islam through efforts made by the servants of the Quran and by using appropriate methods of propagation to present true Islamic teachings.”
He hoped that the trend will continue and the number of Muslims in the Russian Federation will grow further.
The Ahl-ul-Bayt (AS) Society, which is the only Shia organization in Russia, has been established by Azeri-speaking people living in the country. -www.shafaqna.com/English
Source:Islamic invitation turkey
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Human Rights Watch on Monday accused authorities in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State of crimes against humanity in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims last year, charges the government dismissed as one-sided and “unacceptable”.
Security forces were complicit in disarming Rohingya Muslims of makeshift weapons and standing by, or even joining in, as Rakhine Buddhist mobs killed men, women and children in June and October 2012, New York-based HRW said.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) According to the sacred Shari’ah of Islam, it is haram (unlawful) to consummate marriage with married women. However, women who are taken captives by Muslim warriors are an exception and marriage with them is permissible under certain circumstances.
God, the Exalted, has permitted marriage contract with a female captive after one assures she is not pregnant from her first husband provided that the captive and her husband should be in two different places. If the woman and her husband are taken captives along with each other, she will not be halal for anyone other than her husband. This order is not applicable to the battles fought between two nations even though one of them might be the oppressor and transgressor.
The reason and philosophy behind Islam permitting marriage with female captives can be explained as follows: While the capture of women as prisoners is an unfortunate and bitter outcome of battles between warring nations, it is also a reality that is common to both the past and the present. Undeniably, the women that were captured and taken captive in wars were a part of the enemy’s army, and to release them would only assist the enemy in recuperating their lost numbers and strengthening their army. As a result, it would be completely illogical to release these captives unconditionally. In addition, keeping them in custody was also not a proper solution.
A feasible solution would be to employ these captives in positions of work such as mines, agricultural fields, etc., but this would mean denying them the fulfillment of their sexual drives which could give rise to very undesirable complications, moral and ethical degradation of the women. If these prisoners have their emotional and physical needs met within reasonable limits, these adverse effects can be avoided. Furthermore, if a big number of people are excluded from the society, the consequences would be graver because it would give rise to an impure generation in the society, a generation that will end up taking a position against moral and ideological values. In other words, they would represent the enemy’s thought and ideology and if this stance is not adopted, then there would come into being a population which is practically incompatible with the moral values of the society. Therefore, Islam officially recognized the permissibility of conjugal relations with them under specific circumstances. Such relations are thus considered within the realms of Islamic Shari’ah and intended to improve the social well-being of the parties concerned and society at large.
For further information vide: answer 1076 (site: 2541).
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A high-ranking Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood official has linked the deadly Boston attacks to the U.S.-backed French war in Mali.
Essam Elerian, vice chairman of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), wrote in a statement posted in Arabic on his Facebook account that the “events began with the sending of French battalions to Mali in a war against organizations that are said to be part of al Qaeda.”
Elerian expressed sympathy with the families of the victims, but said the attacks “do not stop us from reading into the grave incident.”
“Who interfered in democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred and intolerance to freedom, justice, tolerance, development, human dignity and social justice?” he asked. “Who created Islamophobia through research and media? Who funded this violence?”
Earlier, Elerian’s FJP party published a statement in English condemning the “heinous attacks in Boston,” which killed three people and wounded more than 170 others.
The party said it “offers heartfelt sympathies and solemn condolences to the American people and the families of the victims.”
“Islamic Sharia [law] strongly condemns the attacks on civilians and the terrorizing of innocent people.”-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Al Arabiya
Plans by French President Francois Hollande to impose further restrictions on the wearing of hijab in public are sparking deep fears among Muslims about their future in the southern European country.
“I can't work in public institutions, and now I can't work in private institutions,” Algerian graduate student Souad told Al-Arabiya website on Wednesday, April 10.
“In my opinion, this is a disastrous law.”
Worries have gripped French Muslims after Hollande reiterated support to a cross-party move to extend the ban on the wearing of hijab to the private sector.
The move followed a ruling by France’s top court that the dismissal of a Muslim woman from a private nursery school for refusing to remove her hijab amounted to "religious discrimination".
The French government criticized the verdict, with Interior Minister Manuel Valls describing the ruling as putting “secularism into question”.
“The Muslims here are French too, and we are proud of their presence,” Socialist Party MP Olivier Four told Al-Arabiya.
“But I agree with the president on the importance of issuing a law that will block the right wing from promoting a complete ban on headscarves.”
France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places in 2004.
Several European countries followed the French example.
France also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public in 2011.
A poll by the French marketing and opinion center BVA last month found that the majority of French support imposing tougher laws on the wearing of hijab in France.
In October, a poll by Ifop's opinion department found that almost half of French see Muslims as a threat to their national identity.
The poll also found that most French see Islam is playing too influential role in their society.
Muslim leaders have warned of repercussions of imposing further restrictions on hijab wearing in France.
“The balance is living our religious life in freedom and dignity and at the same time avoiding anything that may provoke the other,” Mohammed Moussaoui, President of the umbrella French Council of Muslim Faith, said.
France is home to a Muslim minority of six millions, Europe’s largest.
Muslims and their customs and traditions have been under the spotlight in recent years in France.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy had adopted a series of measures to restrict Muslim freedoms in an effort to win support of far-right voters.
Under Sarkozy, the French government had held a national debate on the role of Islam in French society.
The French government has also outlawed Muslim street prayers, a sight far-right leader Marine Le Pen likened to the Nazi occupation.
Muslims have also complained of restrictions on building mosques to perform their daily prayers.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Making history in the multicultural country, a Pakistani-origin Muslim has been appointed as the first Muslim woman in the Australian parliament, breaking new grounds for politics in Australia.
"We do need a spectrum of diverse politicians in Australian parliaments who can represent our communities,” Mehreen Faruqi told 9MSN News on Sunday, April 7.
"It shows the world that we really value multiculturalism.”
Faruqi, a Muslim academic, will represent the Greens Party in the Upper House in the New South Wales.
She will replace Cate Faehrmann, who will resign in June to run for a seat in the Senate.
“Mehreen's Pakistani heritage not only breaks new ground for the Greens but it breaks new grounds for politics in NSW, and indeed the whole country,” Faehrmann said in a statement.
Migrating from Pakistan with her family in 1992, Mehreen describes herself as an “environmental engineer, climate change and education activist, proud union member and feminist.”
She won the Greens pre-election on Saturday following a postal ballot from among a field of seven women-only candidates, in another first for the party.
The move makes Dr Faruqi the first Muslim woman appointed to any parliament in Australia, the party said.
“As the first Greens MP in NSW from a migrant background, I'm also excited about building stronger relationships between the Greens and migrant communities,” Faruqi said.
Politics & Religion
Taking pride in her multicultural background, Faruqi said her Islamic faith was only "one element" of her background.
"I am proud of my culture and heritage but I'm also proud of my professional achievements,” she told 9MSN.
"I believe I might be the first environmental engineer in the NSW parliament as well."
Dr Faruqi said her appointment was a "very progressive" move for Australia, and she would seek to build stronger relationships with migrant communities in her new role.
Though being the first Muslim woman in any Australian parliament, she is not the first Muslim to hold a parliamentary seat.
In 2010, Ed Husic, of Bosnian origin, was elected a member of parliament for western Sydney.
He took the oath with his hand put on a copy of the Noble Qur’an.
New South Wales is home to 168,788 Muslims, about 4.96 percent of the total population, making the state a habitat to the largest Muslim population, according to the 2006 government Census.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
In post 9/11-era, Australian Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –The militants reportedly decapitated Sheikh Hasan Saif al-Deen before dragging his lifeless body on the streets.
They also hung the sheikh’s head atop the minaret of the mosque where he used to preach.
Local media blamed the gruesome assassination on al-Qaeda-linked group, al-Nusra Front.
Sheikh Saif al-Deen purportedly had anti-militant views and spoke out against the ongoing war against the Syrian government.
He is the latest cleric to have been killed by armed groups in Syria in recent months.
Earlier this month, prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti was murdered along with 49 others at a mosque in the capital, Damascus.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.-www.shafaqna.com/English