30 December 2009

Women in Islam and Society

Not long ago – Professor John Esposito (Georgetown University) wrote an article, titled Muslim Women Reclaiming Their Rights, It’s was a good try by John Esposito to debunk some of the anti-Islam lies usually repeated by pro-Israel ISLAMOPHOBES almost every day in the Zionist-controlled western mainstream media.

However, while blaming Muslim societies for being oppressive towards female gender, such as lack of education, lack of prominant role at mosques, segregation of sexes at community gatherings, lack of women leadership, financial dependency, etc. – he conveniently ignor the fact the women in Judeo-Christian world were living in worse conditions than that until they dropped the religion for Bikini. [Rehmat's World] Read more

29 December 2009

Muslim Brotherhood behind new Muslims Rights group

Unsurprisingly, the new European Muslim Human Rights group announced on the IslamOnline site, is the brainchild of the FIOE (Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe), the umbrella group for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. The FIOE say they invited many experts in law and Muslim activists, but only 26 showed up. European media didn't pay much attention either. [Islam in Europe] Read more

EU Muslims Launch Rights Body CAIRO — Muslims activists from 26 European countries have come together to launch the first rights association to enlighten European Muslims about their rights, monitor rising Islamophobia and defend Muslim rights in European courts of law. [IslamOnline.net] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

The West Must Ban the Burqa and Nix the Niqab

.... Some pundits argue that the numbers of women in France in full coverage are small — in the low hundreds. But more recent estimates run much higher. A report by the minister of the interior conservatively estimates there are at least 2,000, not a nugatory figure, considering that 15 years ago there were virtually no niqabs or burqas in France. If they are not banned now, it may be impossible to do so when there are critical masses of them, as there surely will be as radicalization rates trend upward, if not checked.

Critics will claim that these garments do no harm to others and nobody has the right to interfere with women’s religious choices in a free society. But President Sarkozy got it right last June in explaining to Parliament why the burqa is “not welcome in the French Republic”: “The burqa is not a sign of religion; it is a sign of subservience.” [Pajamas Media] Read more

Doctor turns away woman wearing veil

On Christmas day, a family doctor in Utrecht refused to allow a woman into his surgery because she was wearing a niqab, or burqa.

The 23-year-old woman had brought her baby to see the doctor. The three-month-old child had diarrhoea and had not drunk for several hours, a situation which is potentially dangerous in young baby. However, the doctor refused to see the woman because she was wearing Islamic dress, with her face covered. [Radio Netherlands Worldwide] Read more

Bowing to Shariah law aggravates radical Islam

Generally speaking, showing respect to other cultures and religions is a great virtue that can create peace and harmony among different civilizations.

However, it is vital to distinguish between, for example, traditional dancing and the stoning of women until death as parts of various cultures. Tolerance for the former is useful; however, tolerance of the latter is entirely destructive.

It is also fundamental to know the effects of respecting some cultural or religious aspects on those who belong to the culture or follow a particular faith. There is a delicate balance between showing respect and showing weakness to some cultures. [The Washington DC Examiner] Read more [via Political Correctness Watch]

28 December 2009

Royal Mail workers angry after vegetarian option contained meat

MUSLIM Royal Mail workers blasted the company for including pork in its seemingly meat-free Christmas lunch options. Staff at Birmingham’s Aston sorting office were treated to a festive buffet for their efforts throughout the year.

But the gesture backfired when Muslim workers realised the scotch eggs contained pork. The party food favourite was one of the options available to vegetarians and those from religious backgrounds who were unable to eat meat. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Mosque burned to the ground by arsonists

Ten fire crews were called to Cradley Heath Mosque and Islamic Centre in Plant Street, Cradley Heathe, near Dudley in the West Midlands, on Boxing Day.

But they could not save the mosque building, which was completely destroyed in the attack. It is the second time the hall has been targeted in recent years. The Islamic education centre next door was also burned out during the attack at 10.15pm on Boxing Day. Fire crews said the fire was started deliberately and police are now investigating. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

27 December 2009

Muslim scholar debunks Darwin

YEMENI cleric Abd Al-Majid Al-Zindani explains all that is wrong with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Darwin, he says, may have concocted his theory as a result of having “hidden psychological feelings”. Here is an extract from the learned cleric’s TV address: [The Freethinker] Read more

It's Much Better If Things Are Discussed Openly

Muslims aren't integrating as well as many Europeans would like to believe. American political journalist Christopher Caldwell, author of a recent book on Islam in Europe, argues that taboos and wishful thinking prevent an honest discussion of the issue. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Sharia tightens its grip on Banda Aceh

.... While there is support for sharia, particularly in socially conservative rural areas, many Acehnese have reservations. Lindawati, a seamstress, says: "Women are dressing more modestly now, and there are fewer cases of adultery, which is good. But as for the stoning regulation, I don't know how I would feel if one of my family had to suffer that kind of punishment."

Back at the harbour, a woman selling barbecued sweetcorn by the roadside is displeased to see Kuzri's team. "To be honest, most people don't like the sharia police," she says. One of her customers, a young man, agrees. "I got a warning for being out with my girlfriend," he says. "It's annoying. We weren't doing anything wrong."

But the Wi-Ha is happy in its work. "There are two advantages of our job," says Herman. "We get to carry out our duties, and we also get blessed by God because we're strengthening Islam." [independent.co.uk] Read more

French Mosque’s Symbolism Varies With Beholder

The minaret of the new Grand Mosque of Marseille, whose cornerstone will be laid here in April, will be silent — no muezzin, live or recorded, will disturb the neighborhood with the call to prayer.

Instead, the minaret will flash a beam of light for a couple of minutes, five times a day. Normally, the light would be green, for the color of Islam. But Marseille is a port, and green is reserved for signals to ships at sea. Red? No, the firefighters have reserved red. [NYTimes.com] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

26 December 2009

Statement from Lars Hedegaard, founder and president of the Danish Free Press Society.

.... What I make clear in the interview as well as in the book is that Islam – i.e. the religion or the ideology, if you will – contains a declaration of war against everyone who will not bow before its divinely ordained duty to rule everywhere. That this duty is part and parcel of Islam is beyond discussion.

This central observation is amply documented, not just in Camre’s and my book, but in countless other works that cite Islam’s canonical texts and recognized spokespeople throughout 1400 years. And as far as I know, till this day not a single authoritative spokesman of Islam has said anything else. [International Free Press Society] Read more

Reviving the spirit of Islam

"It is my hope that by attending this conference you will leave better than you come," Imam Johari Abdul Malik told the crowd. "You and I must struggle to understand the Qur'an in our context. Islam can only be practised in the world we live in.

"Maybe it's time to save the ship to say that I am going to take an oath to be non-violent," he said, speaking of the widespread violence in the world by Muslims against other Muslims.

"And that I refuse as a Muslim to kill another Muslim and also as a Muslim to defend the rights of others." He added that he thought Islam should not be practised as it was 10 centuries ago. [Toronto Star] Read more

"I refuse as a Muslim to kill another Muslim" .... Here is another case where a supposedly moderate Muslim confidently and conspicuously leaves wide open the implication that the killing of non-Muslims is of no concern or is permissible, or, perhaps, is at best subject to a different set of standards than the killing of a Muslim.

.... On the surface some of the rhetoric sounded benign, almost encouraging, but when you read it slowly and absorb every word, there was nothing new or inspirational. It was an insult to Christians to have the conference on Christmas …. Nothing was stated that could be considered reformative or conducive to alternate interpretations of islam's bellicose, intolerant doctrine. [Jihad Watch] Read more

24 December 2009

Minister accuses Islamic Faith Society of thwarting integration

.... "I'm not sure there's a basis for further debate. I can see that while an increasing number of immigrant are integrating - and joining the labor market - it's clear that this organization is openly led by people, who have a questionable attitude to equality and a questionable attitude to the entire debate about equality," says Inger Støjberg.

Last week the Islamic Faith Society accused Inger Støjberg of acting against the law by saying that Muslim women could lose welfare benefits if they refuse to work in a place which required them to remove their headscarf. The Islamic Faith Society said that Støjberg was attacking those women's constitutionally protected rights. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Muslims Must Not Pay Price for Europe's Identity Crisis

It seems that the targeting of Muslims and Islam has become a kind of national theater in France. Unlike theater, however, the disturbing trend can, and will turn ugly – in fact to a degree it already has – if the French government doesn’t get a grip on reality.

The world, including France, is a complex, multifaceted and fascinatingly diverse place; it cannot be co-opted to fit national specificities determined by a group of irritable far right racists with a distorted interpretation of themselves and others. [IslamOnline.net] Read more

How Islam is taking on the world

In Britain we are seeing worrying signs of a new Islamic assertiveness, with condemnation by self-appointed Islamic leaders of every perceived insult to Islam, demands for special treatment for Muslims in schools, hospitals and the workplace, and the acceptance of sharia law for the settlement of family disputes.

But this phenomenon is not confined to Britain, or even Europe. It is part of an international campaign, orchestrated by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), demanding the worldwide acceptance and adoption of Islamic norms and values. [G&LH] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

Muslims told to refrain from buying Christmas gifts by high-profile cleric

Islamic ruling forbidding Muslims to participate in Christmas celebrations or mark the holiday is troubling Egypt's Christians. The call …. came from Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradawi, an influential firebrand cleric criticized in the West for his controversial rulings.

.... The Egyptian-born Al-Qaradawi denounced the purchasing and selling of Christmas gifts, including Santa Claus dolls, Christmas trees and turkeys for Christmas dinner as "Christian and Western." Sales of Christmas gifts in Egypt have gone down by nearly a third this year because of the edict, according to one news report. [AINA] Read more

23 December 2009

Quilliam Foundation vs Green Lane Mosque (Birmingham): the war of words continues

The war of words between the Quilliam Foundation and the Green Lane Masjid (Birmingham) continues. Today saw the Quilliam Foundation issue an open letter to Faisal al-Jassim - who is due to speak at the Winter Conference at the GLM - and whom Quilliam had described in a previous press release as being a 'fellow-traveller' with al-Qa'ida. [ENGAGE] Read more

Saudi attitudes in Birmingham An instructive row has broken out between the Quilliam Foundation, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, humanists, and progressive rabbis on the one hand, and the Green Lanes Mosque in Birmingham, over a couple of visiting Saudi imams who will preach there this weekend.

The Quilliam/BMSD complaint is that these people are well-documented anti-semites and preachers of hate; the mosque responds indignantly that the preachers are thoroughly opposed to al-Qaeda and to terrorism, and that the objectors are unrepresentative stooges. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Saudi extremism continues to influence British Muslims In recent years, several leading UK Muslim organizations have moved away from hosting extremist foreign clerics and have instead begun promoting UK-born and -educated speakers who can facilitate the growth of a native, harmonious Western Islam.

Next week, however, a major Birmingham institution, the Green Lane Mosque (headquarters of the national Markaz Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith organization) will host two extreme Wahhabi clerics who bolster al-Qaeda narratives by advocating:

• Taking up arms against the ‘enemies of Islam’ in order to spread Wahhabi Islam • ‘Preparing all the weapons we can’ and raising the ‘banner of jihad’ • Forcibly implementing their understanding of Shari’ah as state law. [Quilliam] Read more

22 December 2009

Isolation to Integration: Befriending our America

.... How is it that men that have had many female teachers, attended schools with both men and women, work in environments with both men and women, and shop at stores with male and female sales associates cannot be mature enough to listen to a woman in proper hijab give a talk to a diverse audience, or shudder that women be given equitable seating in a lecture hall or masjid? [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

The Curse of Being a "Moderate Muslim"

.... By saying that you are a ‘moderate Muslim’ you are basically saying that you moderately follow the tenets of Islam.

The problem with this is, is that you are basically admitting (and thus, giving into the narrative that is spouted by Islamophobes) that there is something so inherently unmoderate in Islam that you need to exercise caution when it comes to being a Muslim.

The effect it has on the Muslim mind is so powerful, because the subtext is basically saying: “your religion is extreme, so you need to be moderate”. [MPACUK] Read more

Britons Side with Banning Minarets in UK

People in Britain are open to the idea of banning minarets, according to a three-country poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 37 per cent of respondents in Britain would vote in favour of a ban, while 25 per cent would vote against it.

In the United States, 21 per cent of respondents would vote to ban minarets, while 19 per cent disagree. In Canada, 35 per cent of respondents would vote against a ban, while 27 per cent would endorse one. [Angus Reid Global Monitor] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Amsterdam: Welfare cut for refusal to shake hands, shorten beard

.... It was correct to cut the welfare benefits of an Amsterdam Muslim who refused to shake hands with women, an Amsterdam court ruled.

The man is unemployed and the municipal employment department (DWI) is guiding him to a new job. In that context he was given the possibility earlier this year to train for a security guard. He refused when it turned out that he would have to shorten his beard for that. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Curb on veil in Egypt backed by Islamic clerics

Egypt's three most prominent religious leaders have backed a government ban on the niqab, or full face veil, in dormitories and examinations, saying it had no basis in Islam.

In October, Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, the head of al-Azhar, a major seat of Islamic learning, issued a religious edict barring the niqab in Azhar-run all-girl schools and in dormitories.

The minister of higher education subsequently banned it in university examinations. "Al Azhar is not against the niqab but against its misuse," the government-run al-Akhbar newspaper cited Tantawi on Tuesday as saying. He said it was a social habit that had no roots in sharia (Islamic law). [Ynetnews] Read more [via National Secular Society]

A Radical New Year From East London Mosque

.... The deluded and hateful arrogance of this eliminationist position is shocking. Finding one of its advocates welcomed at the London Muslim Centre is not. It is extremist business as usual in Whitechapel.

According to its annual reports, over the last two financial years the East London Mosque has received over £1 million in public sector funding. [Harry’s Place] Read more

21 December 2009

Denmark: "The one thing Muslim immigrants fear is being deported"

.... My experience from working psychologically with Muslims shows that the Muslim culture does not find it easy to be “equal.” Either you are over or you are under: You can be different and unequal, but you cannot be different and equal. The chiefs of the police and many politicians hope for some kind of “mutual acceptance,” but this is not possible in cultures developed under Islam. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Good news: Support for Islamic anti-free speech measures at UN eroding

An Islamic-led campaign against religious "defamation" has taken another blow the United Nations, where support among member states has dropped to a new low amid escalating concerns that defamation resolutions endanger non-Muslims in Islamic societies and harm freedom of expression. [CNSNews.com via Jihad Watch] Read more

What We Mean When We Talk About Reforming Islam

There is of course a great deal of talk about reforming Islam these days, and just about anyone from Tariq Ramadan to the Saudi King, to people who actually see what is wrong with Islam and want to reform it, can legitimately claim the title of the reformer of Islam. But that is because the question of what exactly “Reforming Islam” means remains open. [Canada Free Press.Com] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Segregation in Bradford

It's been a few weeks since I swapped my cosmopolitan London home for Bradford. Despite the fact that I was born here, I can't deny harbouring prejudices built up during a 25-year absence.

Perhaps I even bought into the Bradistan mythology that envelops this northern industrial city, notorious for polarised Asian, predominantly Muslim, and white communities living in what is a bi-cultural rather than multicultural society. [Guardian Cif] Read more

20 December 2009

France takes hard look at Muslims

WHEN Muslim worshippers showed up at the Bilal Mosque early last Sunday morning, they found two pigs' ears and a poster of the French flag stapled to the door; a pig's snout dangled from the doorknob. ''White power'' and ''Sieg heil'' were spray-painted on one side, they recalled, and ''France for the French'' on the other. [The Age] Read more

Copts Complain of Islamic Leaders’ Double-Standards Over Minarets Vote

Whilst leading Muslim clerics complained of the Swiss decision to ban the building of further minarets, there was not a word from the same for the continued denial of the right to worship freely for religious minorities across the Muslim-majority world.

In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Christian minority make up some 10% of the population; yet they continue to face hostility and persecution, largely whipped up by the Islamists.

Writing in the New York Times, Daniel Williams observes the double-standards of the leaders of the Islamic community in condemning the Swiss referendum on minarets, whilst remaining silent about the continued denial of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority’s right to worship in peace: [The Spittoon] Read more

German official's call for Muslim headscarf ban stokes integration debate

Muslim girls should be barred from wearing Islamic head scarves in German schools, a senior official has demanded, fuelling a debate about how to improve the integration of the country’s four million Muslims. [The National] Read more [via EuropeNews]

German official's call for Muslim headscarf ban stokes integration debate

Muslim girls should be barred from wearing Islamic head scarves in German schools, a senior official has demanded, fuelling a debate about how to improve the integration of the country’s four million Muslims. [The National] Read more [via EuropeNews]

France: Religious demands discussed in parliament

.... Clearly they want separate dining halls and do not want to sit anymore next to people who are eating pork, said Jacques Myard UMP deputy. Others create the eqivalent of a religious union: they demand recognition of Muslim holidays, places of worship at work, and want the serving women to cover their arms. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Muslim police chef defeated in 'bacon roll' tribunal faces £75,000 legal bill

A Muslim chef who lost a claim of religious discrimination against Scotland Yard after complaining he was forced to cook sausages and bacon faces a legal bill of more than £75,000. [MailOnline] Read more

19 December 2009

Wiedl on Ramadan

[In] an article titled “Dawa and the Islamist Revival in the West” scholar Nina Wiedl explores the views of global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. In the same article, the author explores the work of global Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan.

Of particular interest is her focus on Ramadan’s attempt to make common cause with the European Left. The author notes that Ramadan frequently cites ” the principle of ’social justice’ as one of these shared values between Europeans and Muslims”: [The Iconoclast] Read more

British Muslims most patriotic in Europe - Misleading Headlines and Unreliable Market Research!

A statistic from the Open Society Institute’s Report on 11 EU Cities recently hit the headlines.

“UK Muslims are Europe’s most patriotic” said The Sunday Times on 13 December. “….. on average 78% of Muslims identified themselves as British, although this dropped by six points in east London.”

It also allowed a least one commentator to conclude that multi-culturalism British style really works and we need more of it. "…. British Muslims more likely to identify with this country and be proud of the liberal traditions they live in ....”

.... Nevermind the fact that the statistic is highly suspect and the claims based on it very dubious. Remarkably, even the authors of the report themselves say that the findings are not representative. And the report examines neither patriotism nor liberal attitudes as its purpose and coverage is something else altogether.

.... The full report looks suspiciously like the fulfilment of a political agenda, picking and choosing from existing research and literature, and the market research with its many faults as a device to give the results and conclusions the appearance of objectivity.

.... the sampling method means that respondents are not wholly representative of the population. The findings contained in this report are not intended to be taken as a comprehensive reflection of the Muslim population and their concerns in these 11 cities. [The LibertyPhile] Read more

18 December 2009

Index on Censorship Becomes A Laughing Stock

The current edition of Index on Censorship magazine carries an interview with Jytte Klausen about her book The Cartoons that Shook the World: an intelligent look at the MoToons affair. The editor of Index on Censorship wanted to publish these cartoons to illustrate the article.

Now, some of the most controversial cartoons of Mohammed could be read as offensive and racist stereotypes of Muslims. They could equally be read as critiques of jihadists who embrace and promote violence in the name of their religion. However, the bulk of the cartoons could in no way be regarded as racist, and provided an intelligent commentary on religious extremism, and on the fear that threats of religious violence engender. That, after all, was their primary purpose. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Censorship row at Index on Censorship The campaigning magazine and organisation Index on Censorship, the most reliable and pugnacious monitor of abuses against freedom of expression, has become involved in an internal censorship row of its own. [New Humanist] Read more

Index On Self-Censorship? .... Here is one of the leading free speech organizations censoring itself on an issue over which it has been highly critical of other organizations. Kenan Malik, a Board member, was not present at the meeting when this matter was decided but, rightly, kicked up a stink when he found out what had gone on. He agreed not to resign so long as this did not remain simply an internal debate. [The Spittoon] Read more

MP condemns plan to build a 'Muslim Eton' for girls

A Labour MP has bitterly attacked plans for a Muslim ‘Eton’ for girls. The college for 1,500 pupils would be both the largest Muslim faith school and the biggest boarding school in the country – larger than 1,330-pupil Eton. Yesterday Gordon Prentice, MP for Pendle, near the school site in Burnley, warned that it could damage existing schools and colleges in the area and stoke community tensions. [MailOnline] Read more

MP attacks Muslim "Eton" school for Girls .... However, the genie is out of the bottle now on Faith Schools where sadly and unfortunately for perfectly understandable reason Muslim parents will want exactly what Catholic and Jewish parents are getting.

Should this grotesque legacy to New Labour's education plans get the go ahead we increasingly will have a serious problem with Kids segregated on the basis of Faith rather than harmoniously brought together at an early age to understand others from a different faith and no faith. [London Muslim] Read more

16 December 2009

Not Jolly Good: Islamists in the UK Government

Is there any degree of radicalism that disqualifies someone from holding a sensitive government post in the UK? Probably. But it would be difficult to tell based on two recent stories.

First, Treasury official Azad Ali has begun advising the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on combating Islamic extremism. Apparently his suspension earlier this year for blog entries steeped in — you guessed it — Islamic extremism presented no barrier to his joining the "community involvement" panel chaired by the CPS anti-terror chief.

In addition to naming radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki, the email pal of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan, as "one of my favorite speakers and scholars," Ali's musings include these gems: [Islamist Watch] Read more

France set to compromise over burka ban by only outlawing them in public buildings

France appeared to be moving towards outlawing full Islamic veils in some public buildings - stopping short of a wider ban.

A parliamentary inquiry into the wearing of burkas and niqabs, where the face is covered, is due to publish its recommendations next month. President Nicolas Sarkozy has described the garments as unwelcome. [MailOnline] Read more

Bedfellows at war - Islam and the west

.... Islam, at least in theory, claims to provide a cure to all the ailments of today’s man, forcing its way into the social, political, physical and metaphysical spheres of life, all at the same time.

This claim is not baseless if we keep in mind the fact that the word used by the Quran for Islam is deen, and not madhab. While the former is almost impossible to translate into English with a single word, the latter, being the literal translation of the word ‘religion’ connotes a dogmatic countenance that stands incompatible with the dynamic, progressive, and all-encompassing paradigms laid forth by some of the greatest thinkers produced by Islam …. [The Samosa] Read more

15 December 2009

Why is my council tax funding a school linked to Islamists?

As Andrew Gilligan has reported, Haringey Council, the north London failed state that spent £2.2m on public relations last year (not quite enough to erase the damage done by the Baby P case, or its various other disasters) has given £113,000 of public money to a school run by supporters of the separatist Islamic group, Hizb ut Tahrir [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

First request for muezzin

Following similar requests in Germany and Belgium, a Swedish mosque is now talking about broadcasting a call to prayer. There are already mosques in Europe with a muezzin call: most only for Friday afternoon prayers, though some do have a muezzin call five times a day.

Though the sudden flurry of stories about mosques making such requests might be due to increased media attention, it does seem like it's a trend, a sort of Muslim response to the minaret ban referendum. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Islamic militants stone man to death for adultery in Somalia as villagers are forced to watch

This barbaric scene belongs in the Dark Ages, but pictures emerged today of a group of Islamic militants who forced villagers to watch as they stoned a man to death for adultery.

Mohamed Abukar Ibrahim, a 48-year-old, was buried in a hole up to his chest and pelted with rocks until he died. The group responsible, Hizbul Islam, also shot dead a man they claimed was a murderer.

.... Apparently if you give these kind of men British passports they instantly become civilized and law abiding and there [is] no link whatsoever.... [MailOnline] Read more

14 December 2009

Notes on the “Islamification of Britain”

The evening of 10th December 2009 saw an event being hosted in London, which brought together an array of speakers ranging from the far right, to the nationalists down to the aspirers of a global Wahabi-Islamic Caliphate. Perhaps the most significant feature of the debate [Islamification of Britain: Myth or Reality? See here] was the well behaved manner in which both the audience and the speakers conducted themselves. [The Spittoon] Read more

Sweden: Muslim leader could get to parliament

.... But Abdirisak Waberi's candidacy puts the spotlight on the debate about Islam in Sweden. Aje Carlbom …. thinks that the Islamic Association is part of the Islamic movement which wants it's own public space, with its own schools, kindergartens and so on. This parallel structure is at odds with the party's integration policy.

"It doesn't annul segregation. It strengthens it. But the Islamists want segregation. They believe that it protects Muslim children." [Islam in Europe] Read more

Britain's tolerance to Islam results in more than 1m Muslims setting up home here

More than a million Muslims have migrated to Britain because it is more sympathetic towards Islam than other European countries, a study has found.

Latent Islamophobia in Europe means that many of those who move to the continent eventually end up in Britain, because it is seen as more tolerant. There are now some 1.1million Muslim immigrants in the UK, according to the report by IPPR, the Blairite think tank.

It means around 46 per cent of Britain's 2.4million-strong Muslim population were not born in this country. [MailOnline] Read more

13 December 2009

Moral Patrols... Religious vigilante patrols in Spain

The reported capturing of a Muslim women in Reus (Tarragona) and the issuing of a stoning sentence for adultery by religious fanatics are a gauge of a phenomenon that has already appeared in Holland and France, and which is now taking root in Catalonia: the creation of Islamic moral brigades by fundamentalists, who claim the role of judges and police officers imposing a strict observance of Sharia, or Islamic law. [Religious Watch] Read more

Lawyer may remain seated

.... It is customary for lawyers to stand when the judge enters the court, in order to show respect. Enait is an orthodox Muslims and says that due to his religious convictions, he doesn't want to stand. [Islam in Europe] Read more

School backs down from halal-only Christmas meal

An elementary Catholic school in Weert (Netherlands) decided to serve just halal food this year for its Christmas meal. The school has about 400 students and about ten Muslim students. However, after some parents complained, the school backed down. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Is the Reformation over?

.... Why does language, music or 'feeling at home' make Islam European? Only Ramadan knows.

Can a Muslim expect Europe to adapt to his religion - that polygamy should be legalized and that freedom of speech doesn't include insults to religion - and still claim that his religion is now European?

According to Ramadan, we don't need to adapt to European values. As long as we have a language and a job, we're all Europeans, right? [Islam in Europe] Read more

UK Muslims are Europe’s most patriotic

Levels of patriotism are higher among second-generation Muslims, the report found. Muslims in Britain are the most patriotic in Europe — but more than a quarter in some parts of the country still do not feel British, according to a new study.

The report, funded by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, found that on average 78% of Muslims identified themselves as British, although this dropped by six points in east London. [Times Online] Read more

New poll shows why multi-culturalism works .... The study and report is a slap in the face for right-wing dogma on the issues concerned for many reasons. Firstly, it shows that Britain’s relaxed attitude to differences in religion and culture has made British Muslims more likely to identify with this country and be proud of the liberal traditions they live in, rather than constantly face state-sanctioned discrimination like in Switzerland and France. [Pickled Politics] Read more

British Muslims feel the most patriotic in Europe, survey claims British Muslims feel a greater sense of patriotism than their counterparts living in mainland Europe, according to a study by the Open Society Institute funded by the billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros.

In the UK OSI researchers focused on Leicester, which is on course to have a non-white majority by the next census in 2011, and Waltham Forest, east London, where high-profile counter-terrorist operations in 2006 angered and alienated some members of the borough's Muslim community. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

British Muslims most patriotic in Europe A report has found that on average 78 per cent of Muslims identify themselves as British, compared with 49 per cent who consider themselves French and 23 per cent who feel German.

The findings suggest that Muslims may be better integrated in Britain than in other parts of Europe and will reopen the debate about the merits of multiculturalism. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

12 December 2009

Switzerland: Trouble finding the hate preachers

.... The study begins by saying that most Muslims can practice their faith while following the constitution. Religion is rarely the main reason for integration problems. A minority of imams, however, preach radically, in a way which prevents the integration of Muslims.

At least 8 imams in a dozen mosques preach a radical interpretation of Islam. …. These mosques are mostly Arab mosques, and seven of the eight imams are North Africans. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Spread of Islam feared by 3 out of 4 Germans

Nearly three quarters of Germans fear the spread of Islam, according to a survey released on Friday. A poll by Infratest dimap for public broadcaster ARD showed a third of those asked expressed great concern that Islam was growing too quickly in Germany.

Thirty-nine percent were still worried about Islam’s impact on society, but to a lesser degree. Only 22 percent said they had no problem with the religion. [DPA/The Local] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Spread of Islam ”Cause for Concern”

…. Päivi Räsänen, chairwoman of the Christian Democrats, said the spread of Islam in Europe is a “real cause for concern.” Räsänen says Islamisation should be taken seriously because the religion seems to include expansionist aspirations and demands for adopting Sharia law. [Yleisradio] Read more [Via Islam in Europe

The Government Has Completely Dropped The Ball on Hizb ut Tahrir

.... Here are two documents that Ed Balls should be reading this weekend. The first is the curriculum of the ISF Schools – signed off by OFSTED in 2005. The second is the article on education policy written in Khilafah, a Hizb ut Tahrir publication, by one of the three trustees who run the school, Farah Ahmed who is the headteacher of the Slough ISF School.

He should note also that, until very recently, one of the other trustees was Yusra Hamilton, was not only another member of HT, but the wife of HT “Media Representative” Taji Mustapha. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Incredible: Haringey resumes funding Islamic school with links to Hizb ut Tahrir .... And the verdict? “No evidence was found to suggest inappropriate content or influence in the school.” Funding has resumed.

The claim that “no evidence was found to suggest inappropriate influence” is breathtaking. Eight days ago, I myself sent – to Haringey Council’s chief press officer, Monica Brimacombe – quite indisputable evidence. She acknowledged receipt and tells me that she passed it on to the people doing the investigation. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

11 December 2009

"It is not the role of the West to tell Muslims what is Islam and what is not Islam"

Crispin Blunt is right. All too often we see non-Muslim government officials, politicians, judges, etc. say what Islam is -- generally that it is a Religion of Peace™ that teaches tolerance and respectful coexistence as equals with non-Muslims. This is an iron dogma that is never questioned, but is never backed up by actual evidence from Islamic teaching, either. [Jihad Watch] Read more

You can’t call the Islamic call to prayer a noise or a nuisance’, says Muslim leader

MUSLIMS in Kenya should not be subjected to new noise pollution rules. Reacting to a recent directive issued by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Adan Wachu, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, has advised mosques to ignore the initiative and continue calling the faithful to prayer as they have always done.

Adan Wachu Wachu added: For Muslims and Islam, a call to prayer cannot be under any circumstance or instances be equated to a sound or noise that is undesirable or nuisance. [The Freethinker] Read more

Geert Wilders, loved and loathed

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has come in second in two polls for politician of the year. A panel of Dutch television viewers said he is the second best politician this year, while Mr Wilders' colleagues in parliament named him the second worst. Quite a discrepancy.

But, actually, not so surprising. It is yet more evidence of the gap between the public and the elite. [Radio Netherlands Worldwide] Read more

What is Islamism? A Muslim Replies

.... The ultimate objective of Islamism, in contradistinction to historical and scriptural Islam, is the creation of a super expansionist Islamist state, or a Caliphate, that would do away with borders and unite all Muslim majority countries into one unitary state. [Religion Compass Exchanges] Read more [via Harry's Place]

10 December 2009

Hizb ut-Tahrir barred from London university debate

The University of London has cancelled the appearance of a speaker from an Islamic group that opposes democracy and integration into British society. A representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir was due to appear at Queen Mary college in east London to debate Sharia law in the modern world.

But the group was told it could not take part after students campaigned about its "blatantly aggressive" views. The university's union said the debate organisers acted to avoid controversy.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has previously said "those who believe in democracy are Kafir" [unclean] and said it was "dangerous" for Muslims to integrate into British society. [BBC] Read more

Burkini swimmers want men to leave pool

A group of Muslim women in Amsterdam is demanding that men be banned from the Zuiderbad pool while they're swimming there. …. A burkini almost completely covers the body, but the Muslim women feel uncomfortable if the men in the pool see their feet and hands. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Sharia law tribunal is proposed

Wales could get its first court based on Islamic law under proposals from a Muslim body, BBC Wales has learned.

A Sharia law tribunal in Cardiff will help community relations and give some Muslims services they want, supporters have told the Dragon's Eye programme. But the Ministry of Justice said that Sharia law "has no jurisdiction in England and Wales".

A spokesperson said: "Regardless of religious belief we are all equal before the law". Some commentators, such as the think-tank Civitas, say a Muslim arbitration tribunal undermines the concept of one law for UK citizens. [BBC] Read more

Bomb-sniffing dogs on Vancouver transit worry Muslim leader

Specially trained bomb-sniffing dogs might soon be patrolling Metro Vancouver's buses and SkyTrains just in time for the Olympics, but that has some Muslims concerned.

.... Some devout Muslims consider dogs to be unclean animals and try to avoid any contact with them. Some Muslim cab drivers in Vancouver have even refused to take guide dogs in their vehicles and will call for a second vehicle to take the fare instead. [CBC News] Read more [via New English Review]

The Cost of 'Islamophobia'

.... Before I go any further, it is important to look at what, if anything, Islamophobia actually means.

In 2005, Ken Livingstone famously embraced Islamist preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi despite being repeatedly warned of the extreme homophobia and antisemitism that was regularly spewed out in his sermons.

Peter Tatchell lead the chorus of voices against this meeting and because he dared to point out that Qaradawi wanted him dead just because he was gay, Livingstone's office and its Islamist partners reached instantly for the most disgraceful option available: accusing Tatchell and his allies of spreading "lies and Islamophobia". [Standpoint] Read more

Hizb ut-Tahrir takes yet another slap

Things have not been going well for Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) recently. Key leading members have left, their annual conferences have had very poor turnouts and their sham sex education campaign was exposed.

Even their attempt to branch out into the education sector was exposed by the Conservatives and Newsnight and, to top it all off, they held a poorly attended press conference in which fumbling Fombo (aka Hizb ut-Tahrir’s answer to Alastair Campbell, Taji Mustafa) made a complete tit of himself. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Sarkozy defends Swiss minaret decision [Swiss Ban Post 6]

THE French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has voiced sympathy for Switzerland's controversial decision to ban the building of minarets, calling on religious practitioners to avoid ''ostentation'' and ''provocation'' for fear of upsetting others.

Mr Sarkozy said he was surprised by the widespread criticism of the outcome of last month's referendum in Switzerland, when 57 per cent voted to proscribe the building of minarets in a country that has four, and is home to 400,000 Muslims. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more [via Political Correctness Watch]

France and the Swiss minaret vote …. the French civic contract requires everyone to practise their religion discreetly. The Swiss referendum vote against the construction of new minarets raises many legitimate issues. Can one really be expected to answer yes or no to such a complex question, as the Swiss were asked to do? [Guardian Cif] Read more

Majority oppose mosques and minarets A majority of Belgians oppose building mosques. Almost 56.7% don't want mosques to be built in Belgium, and 61% don't want one in their neighborhood, according to a survey conducted by iVOX for Le Soir Magazine. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Islamic Religious Persecution …. Islamic governments are in no position to complain. They tend to not only violate human rights, but also persecute Christians, Jews and other religious minorities.

…. Muslim nations are almost unique in their willingness to persecute religious minorities to promote religious ends, as is evident from the State Department's latest report on religious liberty abroad.

Even the most moderate Islamic states often fall far short of respecting religious minorities. For instance, Morocco detained converts from Islam to Christianity, expelled Christian missionaries, and restricted ``non-Islamic materials and proselytizing.'' Many other Islamic states are far worse. [Korea Times] Read more

Why Boycotting Swiss Cheese is Not a Good Idea More and more people are calling to boycott the Swiss industry to punish them for their vote against the minarets. So after the Danish cookies, we are told to give up the Swiss cheese, the Swiss chocolate with the purple cow, the Swiss watch and as proposed by a Turkish minister, we should close our Swiss bank accounts ….. [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

Don't Blame the Swiss .... No one quite says what the real issue is, but everybody knows: As grotesquely unfair as a referendum to ban minarets may have been to hundreds of thousands of ordinary, well-integrated Muslims, I've no doubt that that the Swiss voted in favor primarily because they don't have much Islamic extremism—and they don't want any, either. [Slate] Read more

09 December 2009

Saudi TV presenters break new ground by wearing niqab

Until recently you would never have seen women presenting television programmes dressed from head to toe in the niqab or burqa. But on the Saudi religious channel Awtan TV it has now become the norm.

Female broadcasters at the station are draped in the all-enveloping dresses, which are usually black and also cover their faces. The work environment too is very different. Male technical assistants do not enter the studio while the women are presenting. [BBC] Read more

Christian hoteliers cleared of ‘religious hatred’

.... They denied Mrs Tazi’s version of events and claimed she had told them that Jesus was ‘a minor prophet’ and that the Bible was untrue.

No religious hatred there, of course.

.... How much longer will it take our politicians to realise that freedom of speech must be tolerated, and everyone living in the United Kingdom must accept that they may occasionally be insulted about their beliefs, however sincerely held, or indeed be offended, purposely or inadvertently, and that this is something which they must simply endure? [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

'Freedom of speech' victory as Christian hoteliers are CLEARED of insulting Muslim woman as judge slams her evidence Christian hoteliers accused of insulting a Muslim guest for wearing the hijab and berating her for her beliefs were dramatically cleared this afternoon. Benjamin and Sharon Vogelenzang denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words which were religiously aggravated against white British Muslim convert Ericka Tazi, 60.

District Judge Richard Clancy, who heard the case in the absence of a jury, told the couple that religion and politics was the 'tinderbox which set the whole thing alight and it would appear because of strongly entrenched positions that is what has happened here'. [MailOnline] Read more

Hotelier Ben Vogelenzang cleared of insulting Muslim guest A district judge yesterday questioned the character of a Muslim convert as he dismissed the case against husband-and-wife Christian hoteliers accused of offending her new-found religion.

…. After a two-day trial, Richard Clancy, a district judge sitting at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, threw out the allegations of religiously aggravated threatening behaviour, suggesting that Mrs Tazi’s account could not be relied upon and that she was not quite the religious person that she presented herself as in the witness box. [Times Online] Read more

Christianity has been demoted by the political class BY FAR the most significant thing about the case against Benjamin and Sharon Vogelenzang was that it reached a court of law in the first place. This evangelical Christian couple who run a hotel were accused of making derogatory remarks about the religion of one of their guests, Ericka Tazi, a Muslim convert, and thereby spreading religious hatred and contempt. [Daily Express] Read More

Common sense triumphs in Liverpool .... This is the kind of thing that brings the law, Islam, Christianity, and the idiot police who charged them all into disrepute. For once, the Christian Institute, which funded their defence, was right to portray Christians as the victims of a biased secular bureaucracy.

But it was not the Christian Institute which brought the law and the police into disrepute. The police did that themselves. [Guardian Cif] Read more

08 December 2009

Still not Fooled by Islamophobia

Stephen Gash, leader of the Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) group has criticised CST blog for its condemnation of SIOE’s Islamophobic cartoon. It shows a mosque dripping blood from its minarets, and from a crescent moon that sits on its roof. The front of the mosque is covered by a skull that is dripping blood from its teeth. [CST] Read more [via Harry’s Place]

07 December 2009

Slouching Toward Eurabia?

…. Maybe the encounter with a post-Christian Europe will supply the Islam of recent immigrants with the cultural vigor that’s been missing, for centuries now, in Baghdad and Cairo and Damascus.

Maybe a kind of “Euro-Islam” is being forged that’s capable of contending with secular liberalism for converts. Maybe a Tariq Ramadan-esque figure will emerge to play the Muslim Saint Paul to the E.U.’s Roman Empire. Or maybe, as Steyn and others argue, differential birth rates alone will suffice to create a Muslim-majority Europe.

But I’m just not sure you can extrapolate that far from current trends. I think it’s reasonable to look at Europe and see decadence — demographic, cultural and otherwise. But even a decadent society can be stronger than its rivals, and capable of containing, assimilating, and outlasting them. [NYTimes.com]
Read more

Another Huge Blow to Bunglawala's Credibility

In a Parliamentary committee room last week, I witnessed the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Mohammed Abdul Bari, present evidence at a Communities and Local Government (CLG) hearing about the effectiveness of the Prevent agenda.

As well as being reminded of just how little this man and his organisation had to offer to such a complex debate, I was also struck that CLG still sought their opinion. Three days after the hearing, Martin Bright gave us yet more evidence about the unpleasant nature of the MCB. [Standpoint] Read more

Doing the extremists’ dirty work - Ignoring Muslim intolerance plays into the racists’ hands

.... The head teacher of one of the schools (and a trustee of the ISF), Farah Ahmed, is the author of a Hizb ut-Tahrir pamphlet, Education and Identity, which denounces attempts to integrate Muslim children into British society.

She says that subjects such as foreign history, foreign languages and foreign literature should be taught only at higher levels with the view of refuting their ideas and exposing their falsehood. [Times Online] Read more

Jewish Chronicle editor displays ignorance of Muslims .... What the EDL and SIOE will have gained from all of this is an emboldened determination to vilify HT, and by extension British Muslims, despite the proclamations of Ed Balls and Jack Straw that the schools in question have been cleared of any inappropriate activity by Ofsted and that no legal justification exists for proscribing the group, however deluded its ideas. [ENGAGE] Read more

06 December 2009

'Men sought to kill woman for adultery in Spain'

SPANISH police have arrested nine men suspected of seeking to have a woman killed after they accused her of adultery, claiming they were following Islamic law, authorities said. The men were arrested on November 14 and seven have been held in jail, a police spokesman said. …. Authorities say the men set up a court there to judge her for adultery. [AFP - Herald Sun] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Muslim Brotherhood vs Saudi Salafis – The Political War for the Muslim Mind

.... It seems strangely like the battle MPACUK is having with Muslim groups in Britain. MPACUK advocates political empowerment to bring about the freedoms that Muslims have so long been denied.

Other groups have baulked at that and instead demanded Muslims prioritise other aspects of Islam and remain out of politics, a dangerous road for Muslims in the west as it means the only options for Muslims is either no action can be taken to protect the Ummah or a violent one. [MPACUK] Read more

Swiss Irony

For Ayaan Hirsi Ali the Swiss referendum banning the building of minarets needs to be understood in the context of Islam as a political force, rather than simply a religion:

.... Islam is an idea about how society should be organized: the individual's relationship to the state; that the relationship between men and women; rules for the interaction between believers and unbelievers; how to enforce such rules; and why a government under Islam is better than a government founded on other ideas. [Mick Hartley] Read more

Veil's spread fans Egypt's fear of hard-line Islam

When Egypt's government banned Islamic veils and all-encompassing robes in the dorms of public universities, it cited reports of men wearing the garb to sneak into the women's quarters.

But there was a deeper reason behind the move: an intensifying struggle between the moderate Islam championed by the state and a populace that is turning to a stricter version of the faith, whose most visible hallmark is the niqab - the dress that covers the entire female form. [The Associated Press] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

Muslims should learn to build Bridges before they demand any more minarets [Swiss Ban Post 5]

.... Muslims must also understand that every criticism of their acts is not Islamophobia (a term too widely and easily used for my comfort). First they should understand that the term Islamophobia means “fear of Islam” and yes there is fear of Islam and Muslims and we don’t seem to be doing much to eliminate it.

Our knee jerk reactions and instinct to defend Muslims, no matter what they do, is back firing. …. Our …. duty is to learn to live in peace and harmony with other human beings, which we are not doing very well. For example, rarely do Muslims take time to discuss and debate how non-Muslims are treated in Muslims lands. [AverroesPress] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Scholars from a country that doesn't allow churches or synagogues slam Swiss minaret ban Hypocrisy. That is, it is hypocrisy from a Western point of view. As far as these "scholars" are concerned, Islam is the truth, its truth is self-evident, and therefore the Swiss are obligated to accommodate it in a way that the Saudis are not obligated to accommodate non-Muslim religious observance. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Minaret message to Muslims in Europe Essentially the message sent by Swiss voters and now repeated across Europe is one that could be summed up by a French proverb: “To live well, live hidden”.

In other words, you can practice your religion, but only privately and discreetly. Moreover, there is the idea that Muslims who choose to live in a European country should adopt the ways of the land. The onus is on them to adopt the local culture and the fear is that the opposite will happen.

.... There is undoubtedly a growing paranoia against Muslims and Islam as a religion. There are aspects of Islam or of the way it is practiced in certain countries that are unpalatable to Western thinking. [Arab News] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

It’s not just the Swiss — all Europe is ready to revolt Banning minarets is, on the face of it, a fabulously inept and crude means of expressing disquiet about a growing alien minority within one’s country, rather like the Malaysian fundamentalist Islamists PAS banning McDonald’s and KFC ….

It does not really get to the heart of the problem, any more than does the suggested banning of the burka in France, or Jack Straw moaning about Muslim women attending his surgery while covered from head to toe in hessian sacking. [The Spectator] Read more

France will not ban minarets: PM France will not follow Switzerland's lead and ban the construction of minarets as long as the towers blend in with the surroundings, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Friday.

…. Switzerland's referendum vote to ban minarets reverberated in France, which is home to Europe's largest Muslim minority and is building big mosques in Marseille, Strasbourg and in Paris. Fillon said the issue would be left to mayors to decide, based on urban planning regulations. [Agence France-Presse] Read more

05 December 2009

MINISTERS have been BANNED from using words like Islamist and fundamentalist - in case they offend Muslims

An eight-page Whitehall guide lists words they should not use when talking about terrorism in public and gives politically correct alternatives. They are told not to refer to Muslim extremism as it links Islam to violence. Instead, they are urged to talk about terrorism or violent extremism. [Sun Online] Read more [via Religious Watch]

04 December 2009

The Price of Being Born Muslim

I am by no means an expert on the topic of Islam or Muslims. However, by accident of birth, being Muslim was thrust upon me.

.... But with this increased awareness of the Muslim, there is a lack of appreciation of the nuances within our group. The reality is that many Muslims are secular. We do not pray five times a day, do not read the Koran and have not spent much time inside a mosque. We only turn to Islam when a child is born, someone gets married or someone dies.

We certainly have no interest in participating in civilizational battles. We are, in fact, loathed by the religious minority. And yet we have no clear voice, no representation and no one in the Western world appears to be aware of our existence. Every time a terrorist attack occurs, we suffer the most. [NYTimes.com] Read more [via Talk Islam]

A Letter from Osama Saeed

.... Osama Saeed was, until recently, Spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain. The MAB is the British franchise of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is good to hear that Osama doesn’t support the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the article that he links to doesn’t say that he isn’t a supporter. It merely says:
[Harry’s Place] Read more

03 December 2009

CAIR Report Shows Jump in Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents, Decrease in Hate Crimes

An annual report released today by a prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization shows an increase in the total number of bias-related incidents, but a decrease in anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2008.

.... CAIR and its affiliate chapters nationwide processed a total of 2,728 incidents in 2008. That figure represents a three percent increase in reported cases from 2007 (2,652 reports) and an 11 percent increase over cases reported in 2006 (2,467 reports).

It is the highest number of civil rights cases ever recorded in CAIR’s annual report. (Note: The higher number of cases is due in part to inclusion of a new category of cases related to mailed, faxed and e-mailed threats and hate messages.) [CAIR] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

The Swiss have voted to ban the building of minarets. We should applaud them [Swiss Ban Post 4]

.... Due to the country’s system of direct democracy, that decision will now be incorporated into the Swiss constitution. It’s a decision that has attracted international condemnation from the Muslim world, Europe and even the Vatican, which called it a "blow to religious freedom". But the Swiss people had their say, and it turns out that they don’t want to see minarets on their skylines. [Intelligence Squared] Read more

France: 41% oppose more mosques, 46% oppose minarets .... It's not only minarets that they're upset about. Just 19% of the French accept that a mosque should be built if the Muslims request it. It's the lowest ratio in the past twenty years. While the number of opponents has returned to the level of the 1980s. 41% oppose building mosques, 36% said they were indifferent and 4% have no opinion. [Islam in Europe] Read more

75% support for the ban on minarets in London Daily News poll Londoners support the Swiss government’s decision to ban minarets and mosques according to a new poll in The London Daily News, further highlighting the "sensitivities" and concerns in the capital at the growing influence of Islam.

Callers to London's leading early morning radio show, the Nick Ferrari programme on LBC, also expressed their concerns with one caller citing how "out of character" a minaret would be if built in London. [The London Daily News.com] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

The case of the Swiss minarets .... How cherished and universal Western freedoms and values really are is a question that the West itself will have to answer. What happens to these values and freedoms in the next few years will be critical in the formulation of a new Western identity: one that will either be universal and inclusive, or selective and exclusive. [altmuslim] Read more

Swiss Muslims urged to seek removal of ban on minarets Sheikh Qaradawi Qatar’s prominent Islamic scholar and chairman of the International Federation of Ulema (IFU) Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has urged the Muslims of Switzerland to seek the annulment of the ban on the construction of minarets on mosques in that country, according to reports published in the local Arabic press. [Gulf-Times.com] Read more [via Islamphobia Watch]

Minarets are not an essential part of Islam Switzerland’s referendum vote to ban minarets is needlessly xenophobic but it does not infringe the religious liberty of Swiss Muslims. Minarets remain emblematic of mosques in the Muslim heartlands but there is no theological reason why houses of worship in the West have to incorporate such towers. [Times Online] Read more

02 December 2009

Hertz sued over Muslim prayers

Hertz, the second-largest U.S. rental car company, was sued by former employees who say its policy of allowing Muslims to take daily prayer breaks discriminates against non-Muslim workers.

Katie Barkley and Shirley Harris, who worked as part-time drivers …. claim Muslim employees were given as many as three paid, 15-minute prayer breaks each shift while non-Muslim employees were denied equal time off ... [BLOOMBERG NEWS] Read more

Iran bans make-up for women on TV

Women appearing in television programs will not be allowed to wear make-up because it is against Islamic law, or sharia, media on Wednesday quoted the head of Iran’s state television as saying.

"Make-up by women during television programs is illegal and against Islamic sharia law ... There should not be a single case of a woman wearing make-up during a program," Ezatollah Zarghami was quoted as saying by the reformist Etemad newspaper. [AlArabiya.net] Read more [via Talk Islam]

Muslim scholar berates France over burqa debate

.... A professor of Islamic studies at Oxford, Ramadan warned lawmakers that a law banning the burqa would be counter-productive and urged them to instead work with French Muslim leaders for change. “All of this commotion over the burqa does tell ordinary citizens that there is something wrong with Islam and leads to stigmatisation,” he said.

.... France’s “burqa debate” came back to the fore this week after Switzerland voted in a referendum to ban minarets, putting Islam’s place in Europe again in the headlines. Ramadan said the Swiss vote showed that “we under-estimated the level of fear and distrust (of Islam) among the general population. [Khaleej Times] Read more

Sharia-Compliant Science

.... A study by academics at the International Islamic University Malaysia showed that OIC countries have 8.5 scientists, engineers, and technicians per 1000 population, compared with a world average of 40.7….

Forty-six Muslim countries contributed 1.17% of the world’s science literature, whereas 1.66% came from India alone and 1.48% from Spain. Twenty Arab countries contributed 0.55%, compared with 0.89% by Israel alone. [Committee for Skeptical Inquiry] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

01 December 2009

What lesson does the Swiss ban on minarets hold for Britain? [Swiss Ban Post 3]

.... The Swiss have been forced to recognise that many of their people are worried about Islam's unquestioned, undemocratic encroachments into Western society. And unless our own Government now takes note and instigates a rational but robust debate on the subject, we can expect far more trouble ahead. [MailOnline] Read more

U.N. rights boss denounces Swiss ban on minarets …. She said the ban was “discriminatory, deeply divisive and a thoroughly unfortunate step for Switzerland to take, and risks putting the country on a collision course with its international human rights obligations.” [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Here comes the backlash: Swiss say no more ‘bayonets of Islam’ .... The Swiss government was able to ban anti-minaret posters (below) before the vote, but they were unable to stop the people from voting. …. The question still remains, are minarets the problem, or is it the ideology that is taught in the buildings they are built upon? [Creeping Sharia] Read more

30 November 2009

Faith school plan to be scrutinised

Plans for an "unprecedented" 5,000-place Muslim girls' boarding school will be scrutinised closely by the Government, junior minister Diana Johnson has said. Ms Johnson told MPs there would have to be "very careful consideration" of such a school, which would be easily the biggest boarding school in the UK.

She was responding to a question from Labour MP Gordon Prentice (Pendle), who warned that building the school in his constituency could "undermine community cohesion". [UKPA] Read more

Muslim dentist loses discrimination suit

A Muslim woman from Kista north of Stockholm who was denied a job as a dentist after refusing to wear short-sleeved work clothes for religious reasons has lost her discrimination case against the Swedish Public Dental Service

“It’s incomprehensible,” the woman told The Local following the ruling by the Stockholm District Court. Following the completion of her dental studies in January 2008, the now 29-year-old woman applied for a position with the public dental service in Stockholm. During the hiring process, she was informed that the dental agency requires personnel to wear short-sleeved gowns when treating patients. [The Local] Read more

Tory Muslim peer pelted with eggs

Conservative peer Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury, named Britain's most powerful Muslim woman, has been pelted with eggs during a visit to Luton. Baroness Warsi was taking part in a walkabout in the predominantly Muslim Bury Park area of Luton when she was confronted by a group of protesters. The male protesters accused her of not being a proper Muslim and supporting the death of Muslims in Afghanistan. [BBC] Read more

Baroness Warsi ‘doesn’t even look like a Muslim’ She is deemed to be the most powerful female Muslim in the UK: she is certainly the most powerful Muslim of either gender in the Conservative Party. Her Labour co-religionists have been in no doubt as to why she was elevated to the peerage and promoted straight to the Shadow Cabinet, and they may have a point.

But Baroness Warsi’s walkabout in Luton, during which she was pelted with eggs (haram), is interesting on a number of levels. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Hizb ut-Tahrir and the 1997 Redress

.... When will HT realise that political paradigms of the 7th century will not work in the 21st century? Political systems, social structures and economic systems have changed over the centuries. Today dreams of global Muslim unity are laughable especially when a small group like HT can’t even stay united. …. HT is a failed movement with a bankrupt ideology that is no longer relevant in the 21st century. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Ed Balls comes out fighting - for 'racist' Islamic schools

.... But it turns out to be Ed Balls, just as much as Cameron, who's been playing politics and failing to check the facts. The issue is not the situation with the schools now. It's the situation at the time the public money was paid. It turns out that the schools' chief Hizb ut Tahrir trustee, Yusra Hamilton, only resigned last month, in response to my story, long after the Government grant came in.

…. who remains a trustee to this day, refuses to deny that she was a Hizb member and has written in a Hizb journal condemning the "corrupt western concepts of materialism and freedom." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

The Hizb School Row Is Far From Over .... I don’t know what is going on in OFSTED. It is possible, as Gilligan suggests, that there has been entryism into OFSTED – who knows. But it is equally possible that OFSTED just doesn’t take seriously the possibility that a fascist group is trying to work the system, to get public funds, and to further their campaign for sectarian politics of the worst sort. [Harry’s Place] Read more

UK: Hizb ut-Tahrir in schools dispute A month ago I reported that Hizb ut-Tahrir was receiving gov't subsidies in order to run a nursery and two schools in the UK.One commentator on my blog claimed that those allegations were untrue, and that the school did not teach a Hizb ut-Tahrir ideology. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Public funds must not be used to propagate an Islamic state .... The Government has failed to refute our central allegation, that public money has gone to an organisation with extremist views that run counter to our democratic values. This is part of a wider failure by this government to recognise the seriousness of the threat posed by Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

…. I, too, have seen a curriculum from the school. It has also been reviewed by several former Hizb-ut-Tahrir members. They confirm that it propagates, in detail, every particular of the group's vision of an Islamic state. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Switzerland's flawed minaret vote [Swiss Ban Post 2]

.... it's perfectly reasonable to believe that public displays of religious symbols should be kept to a minimum, whether they take the form of crucifixes or hijabs.

…. the referendum was a proxy for a much wider argument which doesn't divide easily into "for" and "against" camps. Somewhere in all this noisy rhetoric of racists and religious apologists, the reasonable voice of secularism urgently needs to be heard. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Shadow of the minaret …. After all, Saudi Arabia bans all Christian churches, not just those with bell-towers, while in Egypt religiously-motivated planning rules have made it virtually impossible for the Coptic community to repair their existing churches, let alone build any new ones.

When it comes to religious pluralism, few Muslim countries are in much position to complain. [Heresy Corner] Read more

Switzerland tackles Islamification in a very un-neutral way .... There is arguably a danger of discrimination in terms of how different religions are treated, but to my mind the solution is very simple: ban all religious buildings that seek to dominate the landscape rather than blend into it.

…. Even though the government didn’t support the ban, Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz said that ”muslims should be able to practice their religion and have access to minarets in Switzerland too, but the call of the muezzin [call to prayer] will not sound here.” He gets it. Shame British politicians don’t. [Letters from a Tory] Read more

Against the ban on minarets …. a great disservice to Libertarians everywhere by holding up this as an example of democracy in process. Bizarrely he concludes with “The people told the Government, not the other way round” when in fact what has happened is the “the people told some other people to stop doing “that”.” Moreover, they told them to do it by co-opting the massive repressive potential of the state. [Liberal Conspiracy] Read more

Minaret Vote: Muslim reactions Various reactions from European Muslims. [Islam in Europe] Read more

European Right: Let's all ban minarets (UPDATE: France, Sweden, Vatican) Various responses to the Swiss decision to ban minarets. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Quote: "Islam is by now a Swiss and a European religion" I agree with Tariq Ramadan on one point here: the message of this referendum is that the Swiss don't want to see the Muslims. But his conclusion is exactly what the Swiss fear. Islam might be a religion in Switzerland, just as other minority religions, but it is not a 'Swiss religion". [Islam in Europe] Read more

The Case of the Swiss Minarets (as Switzerland votes to ban minarets) .... What makes this bad situation even more worrisome is the fact that such an overtly xenophobic and racist attitude finds so much support in an otherwise neutral country. If this vote had occurred in, say, Denmark, one would not be surprised, after the Danish cartoon controversies and the reaction in the Muslim world, to find a majority of Danes voting for such a referendum.

But, of all places, Switzerland? Muslims worriedly and rightly ask: If these negative attitudes are so popular in Switzerland, what does that augur for other European countries? [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

29 November 2009

Fort Hood and Swiss Minarets: The Existential Problem of Scorpions in a Bottle

Tom Friedman is quite right in his New York Times op-ed piece of November 29th where he exclaims to Muslims: “Whenever something like Fort Hood happens you say, ‘This is not Islam.’ I believe that. But you keep telling us what Islam isn’t.

You need to tell us what it is and show us how its positive interpretations are being promoted in your schools and mosques. If this is not Islam, then why is it that a million Muslims will pour into the streets to protest Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, but not one will take to the streets to protest Muslim suicide bombers who blow up other Muslims, real people, created in the image of God?

You need to explain that to us — and to yourselves.” [The American Muslim (TAM)] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

If only I could explain where this violence comes from

A well-known atheist emails me to ask how a good, kind and intelligent woman like myself can be part of such a "disgusting" religion. I thank him for his genuine concern and pity his inability to understand those elements of human nature - like love, tenderness and jealousy too - which cannot be precisely measured or validated by rationality alone.

I can see how a hard-wired scientific mind is programmed to reject divine mysteries and inner faith which cannot be verified. But disgust? Such extreme denunciation? Among western elites - artistic, political, scientific, media - I notice more expressions of abhorrence of Islam and its diverse adherents than ever before. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Swiss voters back ban on minarets [Swiss Ban Post 1]

Swiss voters have supported a referendum proposal to ban the building of minarets, official results show. More than 57% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons - or provinces - voted in favour of the ban. The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People's Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which says minarets are a sign of Islamisation. The government opposed the ban, saying it would harm Switzerland's image, particularly in the Muslim world. [BBC] Read more

My compatriots' vote to ban minarets is fuelled by fear The Swiss have voted not against towers, but Muslims. Across Europe, we must stand up to the flame-fanning populists.

It wasn't meant to go this way. For months we had been told that the efforts to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland were doomed. The last surveys suggested around 34% of the Swiss population would vote for this shocking initiative. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Defend Religious Freedom in Switzerland .... The visual message is clear, isn’t it? Minarets are a metaphor for Muslims, and they’re taking over Switzerland, in their sinster veiled minions. There is no attempt here to differentiate between ordinary Swiss Muslims and the particular clerical fascist parties that present themselves as religious movements. This is broad brush attack on anybody who identifies as Muslim. [Harry’s Place] Read more

28 November 2009

A U.N Threat to U.S. Free Speech

Regarding the Nov. 12 letter from Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley …. defending the sponsorship by the U.S., together with Egypt, of a resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council denouncing any "negative religious stereotyping" that constitutes "incitement to discrimination":

Mr. Crowley's letter ignores the dangers to free expression inherent in any such resolution.

It is perfectly true, as Mr. Crowley observes, that the U.S. continues to oppose any resolution (and the U.N. has already adopted many of them) seeking to impose direct legal sanctions against what has been referred to as "defamation of religion." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken out unequivocally against such efforts and the Obama administration has already cast the first of what is likely to be many votes against such efforts. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

UK Muslims make case for Sharia law

.... The decisions of the council’s hearings – Sheikh Haddad insists they are not courts – are widely respected in the Muslim community. Except in cases where a spouse, usually the wife, has been abandoned, both parties agree in advance to accept the findings.

But he acknowledges that uncertainty about the legal status of the proceedings was a cause for concern. “It is one of our biggest problems that there is no formal recognition of Muslim personal law within the judicial system,” he said.

“But we are talking to politicians and to people in the churches in the hope that Britain will make some accommodation for our work. That would make it easier for the legal system generally, and easier for us.” [The National] Read more

27 November 2009

A setback for the Brotherhood in Britain

The struggle against Islamism in this country is a long war, with all that entails. It unfolds in a world of skirmishes, false-starts and minutely shifting power balances. Every now and then, however, comes a set-piece moment: “The Trustees of Policy Exchange are delighted to report that Mr Justice Eady yesterday struck out the claim brought against us by the North London Central Mosque. [The Spittoon] Read more

Oh Bungle!

.... Inayat says that he has moved away from his enthusiastic support for Hamas and Osama Bin Laden, and now embraces liberal secular democracy. If so, what is he doing writing for the website of a man whose entire mission in life is to oppose liberal secular democracy, and a political movement whose programme has been described by a Egyptian secularist as “an assassination to the civic state“. [Harry’s Place] Read more

26 November 2009

Can a Muslim say happy Christmas to his friends?

Suheil Azam was sitting in a coffee shop in east London last month when one his friends began a debate on whether it was permissible under Islamic scripture for Muslims to wish their non-Muslim friends happy Christmas.

As a 23-year-old professional who socialises widely, Mr Azam had never considered the possibility that someone in his community might frown upon him for going round to his neighbours at Christmas or partying during New Year. But his friend, who had become increasingly devout, was adamant that such behaviour was haram (forbidden). [independent.co.uk] Read more

Is a senior Home Office ‘Prevent’ employee an Islamist?

Asim Hafeez, the head of the ‘Prevent Interventions Unit’ at the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism, has recently been profiled by Martin Bright of the Jewish Chronicle, who quoted Home Office officials as describing him as a ‘hardcore salafi’.

A number of Hafeez’s talks are available online which appear to not only back up Bright’s accusations but also to suggest that Hafeez might additionally be a hard-line Islamist who wishes to replace the British constitution with ‘the Quran and the Sunnah’. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Schools of incendiary thought

Any institution that promotes segregation and openly prescribes members of society to lead separate lives deserves no sympathy and most definitely not public support in the form of tax money.

Certainly not in a secular modern democracy such as Britain, where the graduates of such institutions are at risk of coming out the other end less able to integrate with the rest of the society. On top of this, they are potentially liable to fuel the disintegration of society by firmly believing in segregation, not only of the sexes but also along the lines of faith and belief.

It is therefore quite disconcerting to find that countless "Muslim or Islamic schools" – whatever the distinction might be – receive public funds, and which go to extreme lengths in instilling the seeds of segregation into these young minds. [Guardian Cif] Read more

25 November 2009

Islam's arrested development

.... scientific progress in Muslim countries requires greater personal and intellectual freedom. Without this there can be no thinking, ideas, innovations, discoveries, or progress. The real challenge is not better equipment or faster internet connectivity. Instead, to move ahead in science, Muslims need freedom from dogmatic beliefs and a culture that questions rather than obeys. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Belgium: Anti-discrimination body opposes the headscarf in elementary school

The Center for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism (CGKR) wants to take the edge of the headscarf debate. Therefor the Center will from now speak about the 'external expression of convictions' instead of the 'external expression of religious, philosophical and political convictions'. Furthermore the Center wants a ban on the external expression of convictions in elementary schools. [Islam in Europe] Read more