30 June 2008

Religions should not be allowed to make ghettos: Some ardent Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims wish to demolish our secularism

.... As usual, subtle warnings run through this report. Apologist Muslim organisations use blackmail. Give them what they want or many more Muslims will become domestic hellhounds. If the state does not agree to fund further educational institutions of cultural, religious and gender apartheid, Muslim girls will be "disappeared", forced into marriages. From segregated schools, which, says Odone, are "crucial to traditional Muslim families", they will one day go into higher education.

This stream of irrational consciousness leads to separate universities and colleges, for how can Muslim women be in the same lecture hall, tutorial group, common room, dining room with other Britons and men? Is Ms Odone going to recommend that too, next?

Go into any British university and you see huddles of manifestly Muslim men and women sitting apart from others, including Muslims who refuse to cover up or live separate lives. You never saw this before because, until a decade back, there wasn't this distorted Islamicisation of Muslim life. [independent.co.uk] Read more

22 June 2008

Freedom of Expression and Political Islam

Freedom of expression matters. It is not a luxury, a western value and it’s certainly not up for sale (though obviously governments and the UN mistakenly think it to be so). Sometimes - actually more often than not - it is all we have.

But like many other rights and freedoms, it becomes most significant and finds real meaning when it comes to criticising that which is taboo, forbidden, sacred.

I think this criticism has always been an important vehicle for progress and the betterment of humanity’s lot in centuries past. This is also true today in the 21st century and particularly with regard to Islam. [Maryam Namazie] Read more

Easily Astonished

Last year, I wrote a short post titled It’s Okay to Dislike Islam. In it, I argued: One of the creeping, unanalysed myths of our time is that it is somehow wrong to dislike Islam, or any part thereof, and wrong to take a dim view of its tenets and demands, and wrong to take a still dimmer view of the figure who founded it.

I can practically hear the distant tutting and grunts of disapproval. Poor Islam. Poor Muslims. Their beliefs are being mocked. How hurtful. How “racist”. How terribly unfair. [David Thompson] Read more

14 June 2008

Indonesia backs sharia law, poll shows

Asked if women should be made to wear a head scarf 45 per cent said yes, while 40 per cent favoured chopping off the hands of thieves. A lot of people think the idea is very good, but when you start talking of every day implications, the number dropped," said Ira Soekirman of Roy Morgan Research, an Australian company which conducted the survey. Indonesia has traditionally practised a tolerant brand of Islam, although there are some trying to pull the country in a more conservative direction. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

07 June 2008

A champion of secular Islam looks to harness 'heresy'

It was billed as the first-ever "Muslim Heretics Conference." Provocative? To be sure. But when Sudanese-American scholar Abdullahi An-Naim organized it in Atlanta this April, what he really wanted to do was ignite some innovative thinking – brainstorm the predicament of traditional Islam in the modern world. "I deliberately wanted to shock people into seeing `heresy' as a creative force," he laughs.

Naim may describe himself as a Muslim heretic (his conservative critics certainly do), but his peers in academia prefer the rather more admiring designation of public intellectual. Either way, the Emory University law professor has become famous throughout the Muslim world for championing the concept of secular Islam. The case he makes for it is simple but, given the political tenor of the times, paradigm-changing. To wit: Human rights are universal and trump religious dictates. The state must be secular because neutrality protects all religions. Faith belongs in the private, not the public, domain. [TheStar.com] Read more