31 July 2009

Muslims in Christian-Democratic parties

Many Muslims in Europe are active in Christian-democratic parties. Together they appear to work against a growing secularism. A trend?

It had never so busy by the press section. From all the corners of the world, they came to look at the swearing in of Mahinur Özdemir as regional parliament member of Brussels last month. It was a first in Europe. Never before was there a parliament member with a headscarf.

Less attention was paid to the fact that Ms. Özdemir, a practicing Muslim, represents a (traditional) Christian-democratic party, the Humanist Democratic Center (until recently the Social Christian Party). That is not a first, on the contrary. Everywhere in Europe Muslims are devoted to Christian-democratic parties. [Islam in Europe] Read more

No to multicultural society

Many Danes believe immigrants should leave their culture at the door when checking in. Many people in Denmark want immigrants to drop their own culture for traditional Danish values.

More than half of those who answered a nationwide poll say that immigrants and their offspring should adjust to Danish society and customs instead of preserving those of their native countries. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

30 July 2009

What do (some) Muslims (really) think?

For those with the time and patience to read it all the blog posts and their comments pointed to below reveal (sometimes unintentionally) what may or may not help make Islam compatible with secular democracy.

0724-17hrs-Harry’s Place » Mehdi Hasan Exposed. Part I – Atheists and disbelievers are “cattle” and “of no intelligence”

0727-11hrs-Pickled Politics » An attempt to smear Mehdi Hasan from New Statesman

0727-12hrs-Harry’s Place » Mehdi Hasan Unexposed

0727-16hrs-Harry’s Place » Mehdi Hasan Part II - Muslims and non Muslims

0727-21hrs-Pickled Politics » The ‘expose’ – from embarrassing to downright stupid

0728-02hrs-Harry’s Place » Pickled Polibollocks

0728-19hrs-Harry’s Place » Mehdi Hasan Part III A New Direction for the New Statesman

0728-20hrs-New Statesman - Who are you calling an Islamist

'The Myth of Eurabia'

Newsweek decided to enter the Eurabian arena by adorning the front cover of its European edition (July 20, 2009) with a white turban and a clear message for the world at home and at large: “THE MYTH OF EURABIA: THE FALSE FEARS OF A MUSLIM TAKEOVER”.

The article by William Underhill, announced under Features, rings loud and clear with its journalist message: “Why the alarmists are wrong”; and his title is even more explicit: “Why fears of a Muslim takeover are all wrong: Analyzing the forecasts of an emerging ‘Eurabia’, hostile to America and Western Values”.

My attempt to remind the Newsweek editor of a pertinent omission regarding the most serious analysis of this subject was not published. Below is my letter sent by both email and fax on July 22 and the email exchange with the associate editor. [Jihad Watch] Read more

See LibertyPhile original report on Newsweek article: Why Fears Of A Muslim Takeover Are All Wrong

Burka wearing 'marginal phenomenon', popular among converts

French newspaper Le Monde reports on two recent reports prepared by the French police intelligence agencies for the government on the topic of the burka in France. Both conclude that it's a very minor phenomenon, but the investigators point out that less than ten years ago, the burka and niqab, were unknown in France.

These documents, seen by Le Monde, come to inform the government, precisely at the moment when a parliamentary commission was set up on the topic. [Islam in Europe] Read more See Also: [Reuters.com] Read

Blasphemy Made a Crime in Ireland

.... Now I oppose this law, for the obvious reasons, which I won’t repeat here. The Irish Constitution does expressly calls for the punishment of blasphemy — “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law” — so the absence of a blasphemy law until now (an earlier law was struck down for not defining “blasphemy”) has itself been unconstitutional.

But it seems to me that Irish legislators should have tried to amend the constitution via referendum rather than enacting this sort of ban. [International Free Press Society] Read more

DOJ gives Maine police training to learn Muslim culture

PORTLAND, Maine — Police officers planning to interview members of a Muslim household approached the door, only to spot a woman inside dashing into a back room. Was she grabbing a weapon? Warning a suspect? Fleeing out a back door?

”She did not want to answer the door without getting her head covering,” said Foria Younis, a former terrorism investigator with the FBI. In many Muslim cultures, ”if a woman doesn’t have a head scarf on, it’s almost as if she’s nude.” [Creeping Sharia] Read more

29 July 2009

More Dutch Muslims are skipping the mosque

Churches in the Netherlands have been emptying out for some time, but a new study shows that mosque attendance too is declining. The number of Dutch Muslims who go to mosque at least once a month has dropped by 12 percent from 47 percent ten years ago to 35 percent today.

That is the conclusion of a report, Religion at the beginning of the 21st century, published on Wednesday by the Dutch statistics office CBS. The report is a follow-up to a 2001 study about religion in the Netherlands in the 20th century. It also shows that - contrary to popular belief - the number of Muslims in the Netherlands has not grown in the past few years. [NRC International] Read more

28 July 2009

Pony takes place of guide dog for blind Muslim

Cali is the first guide animal for Ramouni, 28, a devout Muslim whose parents - Jordanian immigrants - would not accept a dog into their home. Dog saliva is considered unclean in Islamic teaching, although dogs are permitted to be used as work animals, such as guards or shepherds. [NEWS.com.au] Read more

Should Public Schools Close for Muslim Holidays?

New York City public schools have long recognized Christian and Jewish holidays. Now many Muslims want classes canceled for theirs as well. Last month the City Council agreed, passing a nonbinding resolution which urges that Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha be included.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has the final say on the matter, is not so enthusiastic. "If you close the schools for every single holiday," he argued, "there won't be any school. [Islamist Watch] "Read more See Also: [Examiner.com] Read

NYC School Holidays for Muslims Proposed by Radical Imam?

At a time when nearly every American school district has been pushed to expunge the words Christmas and Easter from the official multicultural lexicon, the New York City Council has mandated that two Islamic holidays, Id al-Fitr and Id al-Adha, be observed. [Creeping Sharia] Read more

27 July 2009

Muslims welcome police scarf move

Avon and Somerset Police is issuing head coverings to its female officers so they can enter mosques. The force says the move will help its officers respect Muslim religious customs while carrying out their job. [BBC] Read more See Also: [Archbishop Cranmer] Read See Also: [Times Online] Read

Islamic school ban sparks protest

Hundreds of people have protested against a government's decision to scrap plans to build an Islamic school in Australia's biggest city, Sydney. Parents and prospective students have said the decision was unfair and racist. Islamic groups have insisted that the Muslim community in Australia, which is comparatively young and fast-growing, needs more tailor-made education. [BBC] Read more

Practicing what they preach?

Controversy erupted last week when Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT), the decades-old Islamic political organization dedicated to the re-establishment of the Khilafa, or Caliphate, held its first ever convention on American soil in suburban Chicago, right in my backyard.

.... One wonders why, after so many years of simply distributing leaflets and their newsletter ("Khalifornia"), they decided to have a conference in America, where they have heretofore had a minimal impact at best. This contrasts sharply with their relative success in other countries across the world, such as the U.K., Denmark, Australia, and even Indonesia, where they attracted 100,000 supporters to a rally in Jakarta.

In their American debut, they could not even attract 1,000 people. This may have to do with their identity politics: they are all about "us vs them," and this may resonate more with Muslim minority communities in Europe and elsewhere, where the Muslim minority - especially after 9/11 and with the rise of the right - has lately been under siege. [altmuslim] Read more

26 July 2009

Netherlands: Mosques not interested in Dutch-trained imams

The cabinet wanted to stop ... "imported imams", who don't speak Dutch and who bring with them radical ideas. But the 'polder imams' who were to take their place aren't catching on. Imams trained in the Netherlands can't count on a job right now. Mosques have no money and no trust in the 'polder imam'. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Even infidels are turning to sharia law

.... This proved to be a run-of-the-mill squabble over whether the non-Muslim had been cheated out of the profits of their jointly owned car-fleet company by the Muslim. What made the case out of the ordinary is that it was the the non-Muslim who had chosen to take his grievance to a religious tribunal run by imams according to the laws of sharia — an ancient Islamic code of conduct that dates back to the time of the prophet Muhammad in the 7th century.

.... The sheikh, however, does not accept that our values are too different. He countered smoothly: “We do believe in equal rights for women. One of the things we do is work with the community on the issues of forced marriages. Some of our imams are female because they have the talent and temperament to do the job.

“On gay rights, this is not a legal issue — it is a political issue. Lesbianism, sodomisation is not natural. It is not right. It is immoral.

“When people talk of husband and husband, I’m sorry: I laugh. But if a gay person comes to my tribunal, will I discriminate? No, I will not. I will deliver justice.” He criticised the British media for its obsession with beheadings and other extreme punishments. “They constitute only 10% of sharia.” [Times Online] Read more

Blasphemy provisions clash with Constitution

This is the first in a series of posts, articles and editorials I will be doing for the IFPS on the matter of the new ‘blasphemy laws’ recently passed in Ireland by an astonishingly small number of votes. We feel that this issue is an important one, and worth watching closely. It most certainly is a law vague enough to lend itself to arbitrary and selective enforcement and is unlikely to be in any way conducive to freedom of speech. [International Free Press Society] Read more

Fears of an Islamic revolt in Europe begin to fade

Five years ago bombings and riots fuelled anxiety that Europe's Muslims were on the verge of mass radicalisation. Those predictions have not been borne out..... But there is nonetheless a sense, even among Europe's counterterror strategists, that the tide of radicalisation of young Muslim men may be ebbing.....

"We estimate about 10% of our Islamic population are in a dynamic of rejection of the west and Europe, 10% are more European than the Europeans, and about 80% are in the middle, just trying to get by," said Alain Bauer, a criminologist and security adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy. [The Observer] Read more

25 July 2009

Why it matters that honor killing has Islamic sanction

"While the practice is not confined to a specific cultural group and has no links to Islam, there is 'no question,' Mr. Oppal said, the numbers of honour killings are higher in certain communities." No links to Islam? Really?

Consider these: A manual of Islamic law certified by Al-Azhar as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). [Jihad Watch] Read more

Muslim nurse fired for not wearing short sleeves

A judge dissolved the employment agreement of a nurse from Den Bosch (the Netherlands), since she refused to come to work in the Jeroen Bosch hospital with bare arms.

The 33 year old nurse has been working since 2001 in the Den Bosch hospital. In 2007 she started becoming more engrossed in her faith, according to her lawyer, Frank Vermeeren. For this reason, she started wearing long sleeves under her work uniform. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Muslims refuse to use alcohol-based hand gels over religious beliefs

Some Muslims have refused to use alcohol-based hand gels to combat the spread of swine flu because they claim it is against their religion. Some of those employed by St Albans Council in Hertfordshire have complained about the antibacterial lotion, which is considered a key strategy in containing the virus. [MailOnline] Read more See Also: [London Muslim] Read

Georgia courts to allow religious head coverings

Georgia courtrooms will allow religious headgear after last year's arrest of a Muslim woman who refused to remove her headscarf in a west Georgia courthouse. [Islamophobia Watch] Read more

Muslim headscarves to be allowed in Georgia courtrooms The Judicial Council of Georgia voted unanimously this week to allow religious and medical headgear into Georgia courtrooms. It also allows a person to request a private inspection if a security officer wants to conduct a search. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution] Read more

24 July 2009

Anti-Semitic, Anti-Christian Propaganda on Display at Caliphate Conference

While Hizb ut-Tahrir, a pro-jihadist group which met openly near Chicago last weekend, is surprisingly candid about its desire to re-establish an Islamic Caliphate, literature available at its conference shows the group also views Christians and Jews as untrustworthy enemies of God. [IPT News] Read more

Sharia contradicts Islam’s sacred text

.... The claim that many non-Muslims are seeking redress in Sharia courts needs to be verified by an independent audit, not by some self-serving Muslim organisation that is itself a principal instigator of this unfortunate trend in British Islam (reports, July 21).

This co-ordinated campaign by pro-Saudi traditionalists to enforce medieval Muslim jurisprudence by stealth and by increments has to be resisted. The pretext of promoting a benign and benevolent juristic code is far from the truth. In reality, this corrosive Wahhabi and Salafi drive to (initially) implement selective aspects of an anachronistic legal system is nothing but the thin edge of the wedge, a Trojan horse for the later adoption and/or grafting of Islamic law on to British jurisprudence. [Times Online] Read more

What Inayat Said

The government has announced it will be conducting a major review into ‘Prevent', one of the pillars of its overall counter-terrorism strategy known as ‘Contest'. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will be setting up a Committee to examine: [...] the effectiveness of the 'Prevent' programme to date, and its likely effectiveness in the future, with particular reference to the following questions: .... [Standpoint] Read more

Anti-Semitic attacks increase in the UK

.... If these marches had been against Islam, the authorities would have stamped out the protest and arrested people for "Islamophobia". No government minister would have said, “It may be legitimate for individuals to criticise or be angry at the actions of Muslims.”

But Israel and Jews?

There is no recognised ‘phobia’ to incite the police to intervene, especially when the hatred is manifest by a swarm of masked, extremist Muslims baying for Israeli-Jewish blood. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

23 July 2009

Boo hoo! Anti-Muslim social engineering rules hit white couple

This is the story of a couple consisting of a British man and his Canadian bride, who married quite legally in the UK last year, and their marriage was delayed because of paperwork getting lost. Four days after their marriage, new rules were brought in which meant that foreign spouses under the age of 21 were no longer going to get spousal visas.

This was supposedly to prevent forced marriages. This all sounds like nonsense. The laws were aimed at Muslims, but not to stop forced marriage. [Indigo Jo] Read more

Victims may be able to request their cases investigated by Muslim police

MUSLIM crime victims could gain the right to have their cases overseen by police from their own religion, it emerged last night. Police in London already give victims the right to ask for a Sikh officer to be involved in an investigation but the scheme could be introduced for other religions elsewhere. [Daily Express] Read more

Keep the faith: Should Muslim children receive sex education?

A lot of young people I know are scared of asking their family questions because they might get judged. We need to change that even if it feels uncomfortable. The Koran doesn't say you can't think or talk about these things, it just says you can't act on them. I worry that people like Hizb ut-Tahrir don't want kids to talk about these issues at all."

Further investigation makes one realise there is no single Islamic position on the issue. Dr Shaaz Mahboob, an NHS manager who is also vice-chairman of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, wants his seven-year-old daughter to be taught sex education. He worries that SREIslamic and groups like it could advocate a whole range of policies in the name of Islam that he does not recognise as legitimate. [independent.co.uk] Read more See Also: [Pickled Politics] Read

Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe and Yusuf al-Qaradawi

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) has seemingly commissioned superstar jihadist scholar Yousuf al-Qaradawi to compile a report on ‘Nation and Citizenship'.

FIOE presents itself as a coalition of moderate European Muslim organisations ....

.... but a quick look behind the curtains of peace and love, will show a more sinister agenda.

FIOE have very strong links with the Muslim Brotherhood, and their recent involvement with Yusuf al-Qaradawi is only the latest example. Qaradawi is considered one of the unofficial leaders of the Brotherhood, and according to the official Brotherhood website he "is a pure product of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. [Standpoint] Read more

22 July 2009

150 women face adultery flogging on Maldives

Almost 150 women living in the Maldives face a public flogging for indulging in extra-marital sex after being convicted by the Muslim country's conservative courts. Around 50 men also face the punishment.

Earlier this month, an 18-year-old woman fainted after she was flogged 100 times having been found guilty of having sex with two different men. The woman, who was pregnant at the time of sentencing, had her punishment deferred until after the birth of her child and the court said the teenager's pregnancy was proof of her guilt. In contrast, the accused men were acquitted, with one of them escaping punishment simply because he denied the charge. [independent.co.uk] Read more

21 July 2009

Library Association Abandons Principle, Allows Censorship

When an organization organizes an annual banned books week to celebrate "the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular," it is a little disturbing to see the same group cancel a panel discussion because one of the invited speakers is considered objectionable.

But that's how the American Library Association (ALA) handled pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to silence an invited speaker for a panel discussion at its annual convention who has a perspective on Islam, jihad, and terrorism that CAIR doesn't like. [IPT News] Read more

Sharia courts are getting out of control

An abitration service that both Muslims and non-Muslims can go to to settle their personal disputes – how can I possibly object?

Actually, the question should be ‘how can I possibly support this’. Firstly, claiming to put weight on oral agreements is fraught with problems. You might have noticed that the British legal system is founded on the basis of requiring EVIDENCE that something has or has not occurred. For gods sake, even ’Judge Judy’ requires the participants to provide evidence about what allegedly happened!

If both parties agree on the terms then so be it, but it leaves your rulings wide open to subjectivity and distortion. Secondly, why is it that someone would use a Sharia court for abitration instead of a non-religious organisation? Hmmm?

Why do you think that might be? Do you really think it all comes down to efficiency and cost-effectiveness? Seeing as Islam has a well-deserved reputation on unequal rights for women, for example, I can see why Sharia courts would be extremely popular with certain sections of the community. [Letters From A Tory] Read more

There really is no compulsion

Islamic law on apostasy has been much misinterpreted, as the work of several prominent scholars shows.

Faith is an intensely personal issue and plainly each person should be allowed to find their own path in life. Yet freedom of worship and the right to change one's religion from Islam to another are often disregarded in many Muslim majority countries.

Apostates can find themselves being hauled in front of a court to face punitive measures including a potential death penalty for abandoning Islam. How can this be .... ? [Guardian CiF] Read more

See what Guardian Cif readers think of this post here.

The co-author of the new book Does God Hate Women? discusses patriarchy, the burka and capitalism

I hate the idea of making special new laws on dress, and all the more so when the laws can't help targeting immigrants or any other vulnerable minority. I also realise that Sarkozy's motives may be very suspect, or at least a mixture of suspect and defensible.

.... One reason I don't flat-out oppose it is because community pressure can force other women and girls to wear the hijab or the burqa, and from that point of view a ban is like any other law that creates a level playing field. If no one can wear the burqa on the street, then no one will be forced to wear it on the street.

This is hard on women and girls who want to wear it but good for women and girls who don't want to. If I have to choose which should be helped, I choose the latter. I respond with great weariness to Muslim women who claim they have reappropriated the garment. Given the reality of what happens to women who try not to wear it in Afghanistan, I think it's simply grotesque to think it can be any kind of feminist symbol. [New Statesman] Read more

More non-Muslims turning to Sharia courts to resolve civil disputes

Increasing numbers of non-Muslims are turning to Sharia courts to resolve commercial disputes and other civil matters, The Times has learnt. The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) said that 5 per cent of its cases involved non-Muslims who were using the courts because they were less cumbersome and more informal than the English legal system. [Times Online] Read more

The niqab, fact v fiction

How much do you really know about the niqab? An insider guide to common misconceptions.

.... None of the niqab-wearing women who I know, wear it because they have been forced to. They see it as an act of devotion to their Creator: the culmination of a spiritual journey. In fact most of them are women who were born and brought up in the UK; many are White or Afro-Caribbean Muslim converts to Islam who have chosen to observe it.

The hijab, niqab and abaya are outer garments and are worn only when outdoors or in the presence of men who are not close relatives and so, contrary to popular belief, underneath their robes, in family and female-only settings Muslim women are often very fashion conscious and outgoing. [Times Online] Read more

This post generated over 170 comments the great majority of which were critical. The most popular sentiments were:

Just as it is considered inappropriate for westerners to dress in skimpy outfits in Islamic countries, so it is culturally inappropriate for Muslim women in western countries to cover their faces. It is considered rude and intimidaing for people in western countries not to be able to see the face of who they're talking to, especially if they're unable to even see the eyes. Why does cultural sensitivity only go one way?

…. Covering oneself is not "normal" in my books and reveals an unhealthy mind. However many excuses are presented, it smacks of subjugation. To see the promotion and normalisation of such behaviour in The Times is both surreal and absurd.

…. a Muslim woman, who by wearing a burqa, straight away sends out a message of I do not want anything to do with you. …. surely those from other cultures should also adapt to the cultural sensibilities of the British. If some Muslims reject or are unwilling to adapt to modern British values, why should the rest of society accept their views?

…. The British people are far too tolerant and we get taken advantage of. It's time we looked to the French for some direction and moved to ban the wearing of such garments.

Sharia penal codes would benefit Britain says Muslim Sheikh

Hardline Islamic penal codes, such as the amputation of limbs as punishment for theft, would make Britain a safer and better place, the founder of the country’s oldest sharia court has told The Times.

Sheikh Suhaib Hasan, the secretary of the Islamic Sharia Council, said that the enforcement of such laws was “something to bring you more peace and security”. [Times Online] Read more

For response to above article see letter below.

Hardline Islamic penal sanctions Sir, Sheikh Suhaib Hasan, of the Islamic Sharia Council, says that the introduction into Britain of hardline Islamic penal sanctions (by which he implies the amputation of limbs, stoning for sexual misdemeanours, public beheadings etc) would make our society a safer and better place to live in.

He is very, very wrong. The lessons of history show clearly that draconian punishment is an ineffective deterrent to truly violent criminals. .... The introduction of a penal code based on the barbaric and sub-medieval practices of 7th-century Arabia cannot be an answer to our current problems. [Times Online] Read more

Home Guard does about face on headscarves

Political pressure forces home guard to change position on wearing Muslim headscarves while on dutyThe Home Guard was forced to publicly announce a ban on headscarves this weekend, after it emerged that a Muslim volunteer had carried out her training exercises wearing one. Maria Mawla and her camouflage headscarf were featured in one of the Home Guard’s own news articles. That article has since been removed from the guard’s website. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

20 July 2009

Sonia Sotomayor and the Future of Anti-Islamist Speech

The United States holds a unique advantage in the fight against radical Islam: buttressed by the First Amendment, Americans' freedom to speak and write about the Islamist threat is unmatched anywhere in the Western world.

However, such protections can suffer at the hands of judges who seek to mold the Constitution according to their own personal preferences. With Sonia Sotomayor nearing confirmation to the Supreme Court, there is no better time to explore which judicial approaches are most likely to weaken First Amendment rights. [Islamist Watch] Read more

Princess facing Saudi death penalty given secret UK asylum

Woman feared she would be stoned after giving birth to an illegitimate child in Britain. Saudi Arabian princess who had an illegitimate child with a British man has secretly been granted asylum in this country after she claimed she would face the death penalty if she were forced to return home. The young woman, who has been granted anonymity by the courts, won her claim for refugee status after telling a judge that her adulterous affair made her liable to death by stoning. [independent.co.uk] Read more See Also: [Pickled Politics] Read

Western hostility to Islam is stoked by double standards and distortion

The political and media bias is clear. But we Arabs and Muslims too must combat false, retrograde ideas around our religion. .... In short the west, politically and in the media, generally adopts points of view and policies that are hostile towards Arabs and Muslims.

But are Arabs and Muslims merely the innocent victims of this prejudice? Definitely not. We cannot use "the west" as an exclusive term meaning only one thing. There are millions of ordinary westerners who neither love nor hate Islam, simply because they know nothing about it. [Guardian CiF] Read more

See what Guardian Cif readers think of this post here.

19 July 2009

Muslim care home owner 'bans pensioners from eating bacon sandwiches'

A Muslim care home owner has been branded 'a disgrace' after banning his pensioner residents from eating bacon.The 40 pensioners - none of them Muslim - were shocked when all pork products were cut off the menu by owner Dr Zulfikar Ali Khan.

He stopped deliveries from the butcher who supplied the home for years and instead ordered halal-meat only from another firm. The 40 pensioners - none of them Muslim - were shocked when all pork products were cut off the menu by owner Dr Zulfikar Ali Khan.

It meant that the elderly residents at the 40-bed Queen's Care Centre in the pit village of Maltby, near Rotherham, missed out on traditional favourites like bacon sandwiches, sausage and mash, ham sandwiches and sausage rolls. [MailOnline] Read more

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and Europe by Christopher Caldwell

Caldwell’s argument is timely, powerful and wrong. Caldwell is no racist, but it is this confusion of peoples and values that connects his argument to that of Stoddard. For both, the presence of too many non-Europeans in Europe is a threat to European values.

The confusion of peoples and values also reveals how Caldwell himself was imbibed the contemporary European uncertainty about its values, of which he is so critical. There are no such things as "European values", of course.

What has eroded is faith in the idea that it is possible to win peoples of different backgrounds to a common set of secular, humanist, Enlightened values. And that is the real problem: not immigration, nor Muslim immigration, but the lack of conviction in a progressive, secular, humanist project. [New Humanist] Read more

LBC signal blocked by Islamic radio station

The broadcasts by the pirate radio station vary from readings from the Qur’an to calls from the imprisoned Abu Hamza al-Masri saying “until you see the Khilafa sitting in the White House ruling from there like the Prophet Muhammad said, that Allah showed him the Earth, that Allah told him that the whole Earth will be for Muslims, booty for Islam.” [The London Daily News.com] Read more

Minister moves to buy back Islamic school site

AN ALP-dominated western Sydney council has lobbied the NSW Government to prevent an Islamic school opening in its area, despite Land and Environment Court approval for the development. Soon after the court dismissed Bankstown Council's appeal against the school, the council wrote to the Minister for Education, Verity Firth, asking that the Government acquire the Bass Hill site, either by agreement or compulsorily. [Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

8000 forced marriage cases in 2008

A recent government report has found that around 8,000 cases of forced marriage were reported in 2008 in Britain. The majority of females involved were of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin. Around 85% of victims are female. The Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) dealt with 420 cases last year, up from 152 in 2005, though this is down to the FMU becoming more widely known and accessible. [Pickled Politics] Read more

An untrodden path: getting Muslim women into work

It’s neither un-Islamic nor dishonourable to work, according to Quilliam’s latest report, Immigrant, Muslim, Female: Triple Paralysis?, containing a poll of more than 600 South Asian Muslim women, the vast majority of whom were born in the Indian subcontinent (63% of whom immigrated as spouses).

Although 24% stated they need more support from their family in order to consider work, and 22% that it was their husband’s/ family’s decision for them not to work, this is likely to stem from concern about the women managing their domestic and childcare responsibilities than necessarily reflect a community’s disapproval of a woman’s presence in the marketplace. [Harry’s Place] Read more

18 July 2009

Christian teacher tells of race slurs by pupils aged 8

A teacher claims he has been sacked for reprimanding pupils who made racist remarks about his being a Christian. Nicholas Kafouris said he lost his £30,000-a-year post because he would not tolerate the 'openly racist' behaviour of pupils as young as eight. He said the predominantly Muslim youngsters openly praised Islamic extremists in class, and hailed the September 11 terrorists as 'heroes and martyrs'.

Greek-born Mr Kafouris, 40, taught for more than ten years at Bigland Green Primary in Tower Hamlets, East London, where according to the most recent Ofsted report 'almost all' the 465 pupils are from ethnic minorities and a vast proportion do not speak English as a first language. [MailOnline] Read more

BBC to Pay £45,000 in Damages to Secretary General of MCB

What is also puzzling me is that other senior members of the MCB *are* considered to be supportive of the targeting of British service personnel: notably the current Deputy Secretary General, Daud Abdullah. A few days before the broadcast of Question Time, the Observer had reported that Abdullah and other senior British Islamists (including Chief Imam Shaykh Abdul Qayyum of the ELM) had signed what has become known as the Istanbul Declaration. [Harry’s Place] Read more See Also: [Archbishop Cranmer] Read

Europe's Islamic culture: How the Muslim world can help the West

Where Caldwell is on sure ground is his insistence that "diversity" means more than a city full of colourful ethnic restaurants. Radically opposed cultures do grate against one another. One reason that mass immigration in the United States has worked reasonably well is that the bulk of this immigration -- generally labelled Hispanic or Latino -- fits reasonably well with dominant mores in the United States. "Latino culture, in its broad outlines, is like the American working-class white culture of forty years ago," Caldwell writes. [National Post] Read more

17 July 2009

Islamic Supremacist Group Holds First U.S. Conference

A group committed to establishing an international Islamic empire and reportedly linked to Al Qaeda is stepping up its Western recruitment efforts by holding its first official conference in the U.S. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Sunni network with reported ties to confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda in Iraq's onetime leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

It has operated discreetly in the U.S. for decades. Now, it is coming out of the shadows and openly hosting a July 19 conference entitled, "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam," at a posh Hilton hotel in a suburb of Chicago. [Fox News] Read more

The Jihad fanatic peddling a message of hate to 11-year-old Londoners (funded by the taxpayer)

Teams of young, tough-looking men - all clearly devoted to their leader - dart through the crowds, handing out leaflets and haranguing anyone who questions their message.

.... For the man with the microphone is Anjem Choudary, branded the most dangerous man in Britain. An extremist who believes his sole-calling is to wage holy war against Britain and her 'infidel' allies, he is trying - and succeeding - to prepare the ground for his global Islamic jihad.

Funded by the taxpayer - he claims benefits so that he has plenty of free time to spread his message - Choudary is openly staging these 'Islamic roadshows' across Britain. And their aim is to recruit young British men prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for his chilling cause. [MailOnline] Read more

Our Government back to their scheming

Another scheme is now being initiated to fight so-called ‘Islamist extremism’ and the Government is funding an “intervention scheme” which is also known as "The channel project” . This scheme is merely seeking to cause disunity and mistrust amongst the members of the Muslim community.

It is hilarious how the Government hasn’t yet arrived at the root of what they call “extremism”, which is of course only a reaction to an oppressive foreign policy. Yet, they still work on more and more schemes and legislation to continue the great “War on Terror”, which should really be known as the “War of Terror”! [MPACUK] Read more

What Muslim women want

South Asian Muslim women are the most economically disadvantaged group in terms of religion, ethnicity and gender in the UK today. A recent poll of unemployed South Asian Muslim women showed that not only are they disadvantaged, but that they are misunderstood and not being given sufficient support in order to break a cycle that, given the chance, will transmit similar attitudes on to future generations. [Pickled Politics] Read more

16 July 2009

Christians in Sumatra: jilbab norm, an excuse to introduce the Shariah

The Jilbab is not part of Indonesian culture, but comes from the Arab tradition, to impose a form of dress that conforms to the precepts of Islam reveals "a project to introduce Shariah" and is a blatant "abuse of power." That is the reaction of Christians in Pekanbaru, capital of Riau province, Sumatra, to the local mayor’s decision to make the traditional clothing that leaves only the face uncovered mandatory by law.

" I strongly oppose the idea,” says a local Christian, speaking on the condition of anonymity for security reasons - of imposing the Muslim attires to any students in Pekanbaru”. .... " Another resident - also under conditions of anonymity - adds that "the introduction of the law is just one more step towards the full implementation of Islamic law in the city" and an example "of abuse of power." [AsiaNews] Read more

Top 10 excuses for not wearing Hijab

Get on the train of repentance my sister, before it passes by your station. Deeply consider my sister, what is happening today before tomorrow comes. Think, my sister - starting now. [Gulf Times] Read more

MCB secures full apology and £45,000 in damages from BBC

ENGAGE congratulates the Muslim Council of Britain for pursuing its libel case against the BBC and securing a full apology today in open court together with £45,000 in damages.

The BBC broadcast slanderous comments by the Daily Telegraph columnist Charles Moore on its Question Time programme last March which we commented upon at the time. [ENGAGE] Read more See Also: [Archbishop Cranmer] Read See Also: [The Spectator] Read

14 July 2009

Over 50 per cent of Muslim women in the UK say they want to work according to a new report

The largest poll to date of unemployed South Asian Muslim women carried out by the counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam Foundation has found that contrary to popular stereotypes, not only did 57 per cent of the UK's unemployed Muslim women want to work but they are held back by lack of support from their families and the government. [The Asian News] Read more

Why Muslim women are unemployed

Why don't Muslim women work outside the home? The Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslim communities in this country contain many of the poorest and least employed women in Britain. Why are they both poor and unemployed? Is it racism, or religion, or some combination of the two?

A report from the Quilliam Foundation dismisses both these simple answers and suggests some complex and worrying ones. The statistic that really jumped out at me was the extent to which marriage has become a means of immigration to this country. A study by Professor Angela Dale, of Manchester University, cited here suggests that 50% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women and 40% of men in this country married spouses from overseas between 1998 and 2005. It seems reasonable to suppose that most of these women come from poor, rural families, and those are exactly the ones with the highest rates of female exclusion from the job market here. [Guardian CiF] Read more

Challenging the Irish blasphemy law – first shot across the bow

While we are waiting for Atheist Ireland to come out with its official challenge to Ireland’s shiny new blasphemy law (branded by Richard Dawkins as “a wretched, backward, uncivilised regression to the middle ages”), columnist Ian O’Doherty has had bash at it himself in the Irish Independent: [MediaWatchWatch] Read more

Egypt's Mosques Fight Sexual Harassment

Egypt has finally decided to fight the rising phenomenon of sexual harassment on its streets, choosing mosques as the launching pad of its war against stalkers. "Harassment has reached very dangerous levels," Sheikh Saad al-Takky, a senior Ministry of Religious Endowments official, told IslamOnline.net. .... The Ministry, which is responsible for mosques and places of prayer, has distributed a booklet about sexual harassment in what appears to be a new bid to curb sexual harassment which continues to claim new victims on the crowded streets of Egypt.

.... Among many other things, the authors blame unemployment and provoking clothes worn by some women for the increase in the number of harassment cases. [IslamOnline.net] Read more

13 July 2009

Hizb ut-Tahrir “Brandishing the Sword”

There are many people who try to argue that Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent organisation. That we can use them to prevent al-Qaeda style extremism. That they really only represent a peaceful opposition movement to current regimes around the world. This is not the case. [The Spittoon] Read more

Blasphemy law a return to middle ages – Dawkins

THE NEW blasphemy law will send Ireland back to the middle ages, and is wretched, backward and uncivilised, Prof Richard Dawkins has said.

The scientist and critic of religion has lent his support to a campaign to repeal the law, introduced by Atheist Ireland, a group set up last December, arising from an online discussion forum. The law, which makes the publication or utterance of blasphemous matter a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine, passed through the Oireachtas last week. [irishtimes.com] Read more

Wearing the burqa is neither Islamic nor socially acceptable: To deny face-to-face interaction is to deny our shared humanity

I am a Shia Muslim and I abhor the burqa. I am offended by the unchallenged presumption that women covering their heads and bodies and now faces are more pious and true than am I.

Islam in all its diverse forms entitles believers to a personal relationship with Allah – it cuts out middlemen, one reason its appeal extended to so many across the world. You can seek advice from learned scholars and imams, but they cannot come between your faith and the light of God. Today control freaks who claim they have a special line to the Almighty have turned our world dark. Neo-conservative Islamic codes spread like swine flu, an infection few seem able to resist. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Veiled threats

Alibhai-Brown is almost the only public intellectual in Britain today with the self-confidence to criticise the hair-covering hijab along with the face-obscuring burqa. She knows - or at least thinks - that her background renders her immune to the charges of racism or Islamophobia that white secular liberals would attract if they said the kinds of things that she says. Or rather, she is sufficiently convinced of her own Islamic credentials to simply not care what others will think. [Heresy Corner] Read more

Sudan women 'lashed for trousers'

Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who says she is facing 40 lashes, said she and 12 other women wearing trousers were arrested in a restaurant in the capital, Khartoum. She told the BBC several of the women had pleaded guilty to the charges and had 10 lashes immediately. Khartoum, unlike South Sudan, is governed by Sharia law. Several of those punished were from the mainly Christian and animist south, Ms Hussein said. [BBC] Read more See Also: [The Freethinker] Read

Shariah Courts in Britain

Recent reports on the operations of Shariah courts in the UK , such as that of Edna Fernandes in the July 4th London Mail on Sunday often cobble together many fragments of prior and flawed reportage and analysis.

But they miss the main point: traditional Islam holds that Shariah cannot be introduced into non-Muslim countries, and that Muslim immigrants are required to obey the laws and customs of non-Muslim countries in which they seek to reside.

This principle dates to the life of the Prophet Muhammad and cannot be legitimately challenged. We believe Muslims have no need for the importation of Shariah law into Britain or elsewhere in the West. According to our survey, the majority of British Muslims follow the established guidance requiring their obedience to Western authorities, and prefer to live under Western legal standards than under Shariah. [Center for Islamic Pluralism] Read more

The “hijab martyrs” among us

Despite the murder of Marwa el-Sherbini in Germany, Muslims still benefit from European hate speech laws, in contrast to blasphemy laws which restrict freedom of conscience in Muslim countries. In one scenario they are offered special protection; in other, they are more vulnerable to persecution. [altmuslim] Read more

Iran: Artist gets five year jail term for musical Koran

An Iranian artist has been sentenced to five years in prison for having put the Koran to music. According to 'Fardanews', the Iranian authorities considered the move "offensive to Islamic morality". Mohsen Namju is accused of having ridiculed the Koran, "reciting it in a western and anti-Islamic style". [AKI - Adnkronos International] Read more See Also: [The Freethinker] Read

12 July 2009

Why can't Muslims be gay and proud?

Intolerance is not necessarily part of Muslim tradition, De Sondy argues. Islamic cultures are diverse and, historically, there are examples of people living openly in same-sex relationships. He blames conservative political Islam, spread by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi Wahhabi sect, for creating a puritanism which limits sexual freedom and demands the subjugation of women. [Times Online] Read more See Also: [Pickled Politics] Read

11 July 2009

Why Fears Of A Muslim Takeover Are All Wrong

To listen to Europe's far right, it would be easy to conclude that the continent is poised for another round of bitter conflict with a centuries-old adversary. "The first Islamic invasion of Europe was stopped at [the battle of] Poitiers in 732. The second was halted at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Now we have to stop the current stealth invasion," argues Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, which claims that Islamic doctrine encourages terrorism.

It's rabble-rousing stuff. But underlying Wilders's polemic is an argument shared by many more mainstream right-leaning thinkers on both sides of the Atlantic. Europe, its will sapped by secularism and anything-goes tolerance, has allowed decades of mass immigration without serious challenge. Too feeble to defend their own values, governments have been ready to appease Muslim opinion and must expect the worst. [Newsweek] Read more See Also: [The Spittoon] Read

For criticism of the above article see the Comments section of the article below.

Eurabia Debunked "For the number of Muslims to outnumber non-Muslims by midcentury, it would require either breeding on a scale rarely seen in history or for immigration to continue at a pace that’s now politically unacceptable”

If this is correct then the writer seems to be arguing that if current trend continue then the Muslim majority talk is right. In other words it will only be avoided if the objections he is seeking to discredit are heeded. Which seems like a strange way to refute something.

.... By the way, roughly half of all British born Muslims of South Asian origin marry someone from South Asia. I notice that non-Dutch-born Muslims still have much higher birth rates. Just looking at immigration through marriage, if half of all Muslims marry someone and bring them to the UK, how long will it take for the Muslim population to double? [Harry’s Place] Read more

Another reason to hate laws against inciting hatred

Dear BBC, Your anti-fascist agenda is thinly veiled these days and your delight at the jail sentences handed out to two rather unsavoury individuals yesterday was obvious enough. What you failed to realise, however, was that these jail terms demonstrated how seriously the free speech of British citizens is now being curbed.

In a landmark case, neo-Nazis Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle are the first Britons to be convicted of inciting racial hatred via a foreign website, having printed leaflets and controlled websites in the US featuring racist material, for which Sheppard was jailed for 4 years, 10 months and Whittle for 2 years, 4 months. [Letters from A. Tory] Read more

Gag the Internet! An Obama official's frightening new book

When it comes to the First Amendment, Team Obama believes in Global Chilling. Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor who has been appointed to a shadowy post that will grant him powers that are merely mind-boggling, explicitly supports using the courts to impose a "chilling effect" on speech that might hurt someone's feelings. He thinks that the bloggers have been rampaging out of control and that new laws need to be written to corral them. [NEW YORK POST] Read more

10 July 2009

Help Muslims escape the tyranny of sharia law

Sharia law in the Netherlands may not be practised in an actual 'sharia court', but that makes little difference. The point is that Islamic rules about marriage, divorce, custody, parental authority, alimony and inheritance are being implemented according to the sharia, and that these contradict Dutch law. [NRC Handelsblad] Read more

09 July 2009

Debating a burqa ban with a French MP — in English

Myard wanted to ban full facial veils in France two years ago but could not muster enough support at the time. The mood in the National Assembly has changed since then and another deputy, the Communist André Gerin, got together 58 deputies from different parties to launch the inquiry that began work yesterday.[Reuters] Read more

Know your enemy

Why isn’t the trial of a man charged with preparing for terror attacks using tennis-ball bombs being reported? He’s not a bearded Muslim. Imagine, for a moment, that Neil Lewington, who is on trial at the Old Bailey for preparing for a “campaign of terrorism” using tennis-ball bombs, was a British Muslim. The story would be splashed across the front page of every newspaper in Britain, and Sky News would be rolling a loop of images of his scowling, bearded, dark face. [New Statesman] Read more

For analysis of the above article see:

A cracker of a lie about a bomber I stumbled upon this article in the New Statesman (via Islamophobia-Watch, which enthusiastically endorses it). Here, here’s a screen grab so you can see I’m not making this up: [Harry’s Place] Read more See Also: [Harry’s Place] Read

08 July 2009

Ireland Bans New Testament and Father Ted

Well, they’ve really screwed up this time. They’ve only gone and passed an offence of “blasphemous libel” which will outlaw any statement or publication “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”

Father Ted is obviously out. So is the New Testament, which contains the false and intentionally outrageous claim that Jews killed Jesus and then asked to be blamed from generation to generation for his death. [Harry’s Place] Read more See Also: [MediaWatchWatch] Read more

Was David Davis Right?

Last night David Davis caused a minor storm in the House of Commons when he used parliamentary privilege to accuse MI5 of indulging in what he called 'passive rendition'. He alleged that they had allowed a terrorist suspect, Rangzieb Ahmed, to travel to Pakistan, and then encouraged the Pakistani authorities to arrest him and then, while questioning him, they tortured him. [Iain Dale] Read more

The burka is a cloth soaked in blood: Western Muslim women who talk of choosing the hijab dismiss the struggles elsewhere

At a time when Islamophobia is at an all-time high, a ban will feel like yet another assault on Muslims and drive more women into adopting the hijab or burka as a flag of resistance.

However, that should not silence the debate. I believe it is misplaced for women to prioritise their race or communal identity over their gender identity. This is a cloth that comes soaked in blood. We cannot debate the burka or the hijab without reference to women in Iran, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, where the wearing of it is heavily policed and any slippages are met with violence. [Guardian CiF] Read more

07 July 2009

In England, .... Vulnerable to Islamic Law

The disparity between English and sharia law was highlighted only a month later, as the House of Lords passed judgment in the case of a Lebanese woman who had claimed the right to remain in the UK with her son. An earlier Lebanese court decision, under sharia law, meant that, despite a history of abuse, her former husband would get automatic custody of the child when he turned seven.

Lord Hope of Craighead observed that under the sharia judgment, “[…] there is a real risk of a flagrant denial of their article 8 rights [of the European Convention on Human Rights] if the appellant and her child were to be returned to Lebanon.” Lord Bingham of Cornhill added, rather triumphantly, that her case was supported “[…] by JUSTICE and Liberty.” Justice and liberty, Lord Cornhill appeared to say, are not supported by sharia. [The Brussels Journal] Read more

Secret ‘Sharia court’ claims are rejected

.... Amir Kabal, chairman of the East Staffordshire Racial Equality Council, said the mosque councils did resolve some civil disputes.

He said: “If people have issues to do with religion, the Imam is always happy to listen to them and help them, but that’s not a Sharia court as such. “Imams and councils do sort out civil disputes and help to resolve issues, but that is not entirely based on Islamic principles, more human decency, respect and tolerance.

“That is much the same as in any other religion, like someone attending a Catholic church, for example.” Mr Kabal said he believed Sharia law cannot co-exist with UK law. [Burton Mail] Read more

Is Europe really Islamophobic?

Anger over the killing of the 'martyr of the hijab' is understandable – but are Muslims right to say they are targeted in Europe? - "The martyr of the hijab" is what Egyptians are now calling Marwa al-Sherbini. The 31-year-old veiled Egyptian wife of a postgraduate student in Germany was fatally stabbed – in court – by a German man identified only as Axel W, who had been prosecuted for calling her a terrorist (among other things) while she was playing with her three-year-old son in a park. [Guardian CiF] Read more

Radical Muslims jailed for arson at publisher of book about Prophet Muhammad

Three Muslim men who poured petrol through the letterbox of a publisher who they had heard was printing a controversial book about the Prophet Muhammed were today each jailed for four and a half years.

Ali Beheshti, Abrar Mirza and Abbas Taj planned to set fire to Gibson Square Books after discovering it was going to publish The Jewel of Medina, a book about the Prophet and his young wife. [Times Online] Read more

Ireland: blasphemy law a backward step

Here are three reasons why this law is both silly and dangerous: Reason One: The proposed law does not protect religious belief; it incentivises outrage and it criminalises free speech. Under this proposed law, if a person expresses one belief about gods, and other people think that this insults a different belief about gods, then these people can become outraged, and this outrage can make it illegal for the first person to express his or her beliefs. [Index on Censorship] Read more

06 July 2009

The Muslim Challenge to Nationalism

There is plenty of evidence that the world’s Muslims do not take the nation-state for granted. WorldPublicOpinion.org, supported by the University of Maryland, has run two sets of surveys in Muslim-majority countries to gauge public opinion of geopolitical affairs. The most recent poll, “Public Opinion in the Islamic World on Terrorism, al Qaeda, and U.S. Policies”, published in February 2009, produced much the same results as the first one two years earlier.

Both surveys showed majority support for a new Caliphate in some large Muslim countries. [Diplomatic Courier] Read more

Denying sharia arbitration to Muslims singles them out unfairly. The UK should follow the US example and relax about the issue

Last week the British press frothed over a report that at least 85 sharia tribunals now operate in the UK. British law is supposedly under attack, threatened by the creeping tide of radical sharia.
It's understandable that talk of "sharia" makes some people nervous. Some interpretations of the sharia ban on apostasy clearly violate religious liberty and other basic human rights. There are also legitimate concerns that some elements of the Islamic community in the UK already ignore various civil laws. [Guardian CiF] Read more

Italy: Al-Qaeda threat against MP sparks Muslim support

Italian MP and Muslim women's rights activist Souad Sbai has received the support of hundreds of moderate Moroccan immigrant and Muslim groups after she received threats in an Internet video message by an alleged Al-Qaeda supporter in Italy.

"In the last few months, we have seen an outbreak of aggressive, extremist and terroristic Islam which is particularly dangerous," said a statement signed by numerous immigrant and Muslim associations in support of Sbai. [Adnkronos International] Read more

Why “tolerance” is not enough

The compatibility of Islam and pluralism is sometimes defended by referencing examples of Islamic "tolerance" of minorities in centuries past. Some Muslims' interpretation of pluralism is colored by Islam's political power in the past,[1] and they define religious tolerance in terms of how religious minorities were treated in the Islamic Empire—that is, as groups that were free to practice their religion as long as they obeyed the Islamic political order and paid taxes in return for protection by the Islamic state.

As some modern Islamic thinkers argue, however, this form of religious tolerance is inadequate in light of changing human rights standards.[2] Whereas the Islamic Empire's notion of religious tolerance may have been appropriate for that time, Muslims in the modern age must re-evaluate and realize that the historical approach to religious tolerance must be modified. Conditional and condescending "tolerance" must be redefined to include mutual respect, equal treatment, and robust pluralism. [altmuslim] Read more

Careful now! Father Ted creators warn against “insane” blasphemy law

The creators of the classic comedy series Father Ted have come out in support of Atheist Ireland’s campaign against the proposed blasphemy law. Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan gave their backing to a proposed “blasphemous statement,” which will be published by Atheist Ireland next Saturday in the likely event of the law being passed at the Dail this week. [MediaWatchWatch] Read more

Liberal gays are scared to tell the truth about Muslim homophobia

When question time came around, I made the point to the panel that a recent survey by Policy Exchange had showed that 72 per cent of young Muslim men thought that homosexuality should be recriminalised. As the Channel 4 Dispatches programme on Mosques showed last year, there are some pretty disturbing things being said by some Imans about what is best for gays, ie death. Given the rapidly increasing proportion of the population which is Muslim, did they not think that there might be some possible problem in the future? [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

05 July 2009

Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque should quit over 7/7 bombings row says MP

A LEADING Muslim MP has called for the chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque to resign after the cleric suggested the July 7 London bombings were a Government conspiracy. Dr Mohammed Naseem’s inflammatory views were exposed after he distributed thousands of copies of the conspiracy film 7/7 Ripple Effect to worshippers at the Mosque.

Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood last night insisted that Naseem should quit his high-profile role for insulting the memory of the 52 people who died in terror attacks on the capital’s transport network four years ago. [Sunday Mercury] Read more

Leaders are extremist

LAST WEEKEND marked a milestone in the history of interfaith relations in Boston. On Friday, local Muslims, public officials, and interfaith leaders celebrated the opening of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury - a religious complex paid for largely by the Saudis and run by what federal authorities describe as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. [The Boston Globe] Read more

04 July 2009

Sharia law UK: Mail on Sunday gets exclusive access to a British Muslim court

.... sharia is a law still rooted in the 7th Century; it sees modernity as the path to an immoral society. While sharia gives Muslim women a chance to escape unhappy marriages, it fails to grant them equal status - they are considered inferior to men as witnesses, they have unequal status in divorce and custody of the children, and abuse by the husband is not directly tackled by the courts. All these things go against the equality of British law.

Meanwhile, in a back room, Sheik Haitham Al-Haddad, one of the most senior imams in Britain, is once more contemplating the fundamental split between religion and state. 'There is a conflict between these two sets of values,' he concedes. ' Muslims believe our values are best. The non-Islamic British believe theirs are better. But at the end of the day, understand this: Muslims are never going to give up certain principles, even if they are in conflict. That is a fact.' [MailOnline] Read more

02 July 2009

Minister to cut proposed fines for blasphemy to €25,000

MINISTER FOR Justice Dermot Ahern is to cut proposed fines for blasphemy from €100,000 to €25,000, under changes to be made to the Defamation Act next week. Mr Ahern said the legislation, which passed its committee stage in the Dáil yesterday, has been drafted to “make it virtually impossible to get a successful prosecution [for blasphemy] out of it”. A blasphemy prosecution has not been won for a century, while powers already in force under the 1961 Defamation Act have never been used.

The Government is currently modernising Ireland’s defamation laws, which passed its committee stage in the Dáil last evening. Under Article 40 of the Constitution, “the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter” is a criminal offence.

Mr Ahern insists blasphemy must remain a crime, unless the reference to it in the Constitution is removed. “It is already there in the 1961 Act, and it is in the Constitution and we have to comply with the Constitution. You are in derogation of your duty if you ignore the Constitution,” he told Opposition TDs. [irishtimes.com] Read more

01 July 2009

In my experience, sharia judgments can seem arbitrary, unfair, even cruel. Better to trust British law

Having been on the receiving end of sharia rulings – I must make it clear that sharia courts are often nothing of the sort and are more likely to be an imam at the end of a phone I can speak about the arbitrary and random nature of these bodies.

Ultimately, from my own experiences and from those of my friends, sharia is driven by the needs of a community rather than an individual. Whatever the protestations of its fans, this system of law does not favour women or local custom. While it is impossible to outlaw it, a better and more realistic solution would be to educate people about the advantages of British law, which, while it has its flaws, is more developed and grounded in reality and fairness. [Guardian CiF] Read more

Learn from France -- and consider banning the burka

Of course you would have to be crazy to try to rob a bank while wearing a burka, even if you were a heavily armed man: The whole point of the garment is that it weighs you down, restricts your movements and abolishes your peripheral vision. It's like being condemned to view the world through the slit of a mailbox.

But that observation - if you will excuse the expression - brings us to another and even more powerful objection to this mode of dress. It is quite plainly designed by men for the subjugation of women. One cannot be absolutely sure that no woman has ever donned it voluntarily, but one can certainly say that, in countries where women can choose not to wear it, then not wearing it is the choice they generally make.

This disposes right away of the phony argument that religious attire is worn as a matter of "right." It is almost exactly the other way around: The imposition of burkas or even head scarfs on women - just like the compulsory growing of beards for men - is the symbol of a denial of rights and the inflicting of a tyrannical code that obliterates personal liberty. [NYDailyNews.com] Read more

Dentist 'had Islamic dress code': Dr Butt regards himself as 'a Muslim first and a dentist second'

A dentist told Muslim patients he would only treat them if they wore Islamic dress, a disciplinary panel has ruled. Dr Omer Butt, of Prestwich, Greater Manchester, ordered two women to wear head scarves before he would see them, the hearing was told. The professional conduct committee of the General Dental Council (GDC) will now decide whether this impaired Dr Butt's fitness to practise. [BBC] Read more