31 August 2009

Building a Church is a 'Sin' Against God, Says Egyptian Muslim Council

A controversial Fatwa (Islamic edict) prohibiting the construction of new churches in Egypt has provoked considerable discussion and spiraled into a crisis, involving the Fatwa Council, Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh, Christian and Muslim religious personalities, and the media.

.... The Fatwa (Arabic) in question was issued by the Al-Azhar affiliated "Dar el-Eftta" -- Fatwa Council for Islamic interpretations of laws in Islam. It stated "the will of a Muslim towards building a Church is a sin against God, just as if he left his inheritance towards building a nightclub, a gambling casino, or building a barn for rearing pigs, cats or dogs." [AINA - Assyrian International News Agency] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Western Immigration and Global Jihad

Comment from Australia - There is always a moral asymmetry between the free West and its enemies. The West is meant to play by the rules, and it usually does. It seeks to conduct it affairs within a moral framework, and certain things are simply off limits.

But the enemies of freedom and democracy know no such compunctions. They are quite happy to use any means, including the exploitation of freedoms in the West, for their own purposes.[Immigration Watch International] Read more

Follower of radical Islamic movement granted asylum in Australia .... The Refugee Review Tribunal has recommended a protection visa for an Egyptian man, who is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political group with links to al-Qaida.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed in several countries, including Egypt. It seeks to establish a pan-Islamic state ruled by sharia law and is committed to the destruction of Israel. The Egyptian man initially was denied a protection visa by the Department of Immigration, but the decision was overturned by the tribunal. [heraldsun.co.au] Read more

30 August 2009

Tory Muslim fumes after Ramadan community service request refused

A TOP Tory Muslim, found guilty of racial harassment, claims he is being “persecuted” after a request to postpone his community service during Ramadan was refused. Gulfram Khan, from Handsworth Wood, Birmingham, was ordered to carry out 270 hours community work after admitting racially abusing an Irish policeman – and a second offence of harassing a judge.

.... the father-of-two asked West Midlands Probation Service for a two-hour break throughout Ramadan – the month-long religious ceremony which bans Muslims eating and drinking during daylight – as he feared he would lack enough energy. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

29 August 2009

The Prophet Retains Counsel

On behalf of Mohammed’s myriad descendants, a Saudi law firm has brought legal action against all the Danish newspapers that published the Motoons.

It’s important to bear in mind that this is another probe, like the “Flying Imams” in the USA several years ago. The Islamic world just keeps pushing and pushing against the kuffar to see how far they can get. Every line of civilized defense is probed — military, police, media, social, legal, political — and if any weakness is found, the push in that direction is intensified. Or, if they meet resistance, they withdraw and push somewhere else. [Gates of Vienna] Read more See Also: [Your Freedom and Ours] Read

28 August 2009

My absolutely, positively final word about Yale and the Danish cartoons

By now, all the world knows that the President’s office at Yale intervened at the last moment to censor a scholarly book about the wave of violence that followed publication of some caricatures of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2005.

Thus we will have the absurd situation that The Cartoons that Shook the World, a rigorously vetted study of the controversy by the Danish-born Brandeis professor Jytte Klausen, will be published without the cartoons that are the subject of the book.

And that’s not all. Since any representation of Mohammed is offensive to many Muslims, Yale also insisted that Professor Klausen omit the other images of Mohammed, e.g., by Gustave Doré, that she had intended to include in the book. [Pajamas Media] Read more

Tariq Ramadan Repudiated

In an important development for the fight against extremist Islam in the West, the Dutch city of Rotterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam have dismissed Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Islamist academic, from his two local jobs.

Born in Switzerland, Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He is a close associate of the fundamentalist Muslim theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, with whom he collaborates in the so-called European Council for Fatwas and Research [ECFR], a Brotherhood-oriented body.

Al-Qaradawi is the leading theorist of a "European Islam" that would abuse Western standards of religious freedom by erecting a parallel system of Shariah law alongside established civil law, coupled with aggressive da'wa or Islamic proselytizing. .... The ECFR scheme, and Tariq Ramadan's involvement in it, are documented in the recent .... report, A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe, 2007-2009. [Center for Islamic Pluralism] Read more

27 August 2009

The Center for Religious Freedom Invites you to a discussion on Hate Speech Laws, Islamic Blasphemy Strictures, and Freedom of Speech

December 2004, pastors Daniel Scot and Daniel Nalliah of the evangelical group Catch the Fire Ministries (CTFM) were found guilty by an Australian judge of religious vilification for criticizing Islam in the course of a religious seminar and were ordered to publicly disavow their beliefs.

Four and a half years after the lawsuit was brought, the pastors ultimately prevailed in the courts. Pastor Scot, who had grown up in Pakistan and fled the country after being accused there of the capital crime of blasphemy, remarked that religious vilification statutes like that under which he had been convicted in Australia were “blasphemy laws in disguise” and “sharia by stealth.” [International Free Press Society] Read more

A treacherous path?

A pessimist’s view of what Islamic immigration may be doing to Europe - Christopher Caldwell is an American journalist who writes for the liberal Financial Times as well as the conservative Weekly Standard.

He has spent the past decade studying European immigration, travelling widely and reading voraciously in an impressive variety of languages. His controversial new book repeatedly echoes Powell’s warnings all those years ago. Mr Caldwell argues that “Western Europe became a multi-ethnic society in a fit of absence of mind.”

.... Policymakers were even more mistaken about culture than they were about numbers. They assumed that immigrants would quickly adopt the mores of their host societies. But a surprising number of immigrants have proved “unmeltable”. [Economist.com] Read more

A committee against Islamophobia

Anti-Muslim prejudice is finding expression in more hate crimes. We need to tackle the problem at a nationwide level.

.... The events in Loughton are by no means isolated ones. Recent months have seen several arson attacks on mosques around the country including in Luton, Bishop's Stortford and Woolwich.

.... In 2005 a parliamentary committee against antisemitism was established to "confront and defeat antisemitism in this country and beyond". At a time when anti-Muslim bigotry has become pervasive and is now translating into actual hate crimes, it is surely crucial that a similar committee against Islamophobia is also set up to monitor and help combat anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination. [Guardian CiF] Read more

See what Guardian Cif readers think of this post here.

A parliamentary committee on Islamophobia? Inayat Bunglawala, one of the grandees at the Muslim Council of Britain, has had a sensible idea....

.... If it performs as well as the committee on anti-Semitism, it could turn out to be very useful. It would be able to highlight incidences of low-level Islamophobia, as well as more shocking cases. Of course it isn’t a panacea, but it would demonstrate to Muslims that the authorities are taking Islamophobia (or Muslimophobia to be more accurate) seriously. [Pickled Politics] Read more

Eurabian Safari

It is hot in Brussels. Ramadan has begun. The faithful in the predominantly Muslim borough of Molenbeek are not allowed to eat or drink from sunrise until sunset. Non-Muslim policemen, patrolling the streets of Molenbeek in their sweltering cars, are not allowed to eat or drink either.

As every year during Ramadan, that they have been told by their superior, Philippe Moureaux, the Socialist mayor of Molenbeek, they have to respect Muslim sensitivities and not to “provoke” Muslims by violating Islamic Ramadan restrictions in public. In effect, Islamic or Sharia law is already applied - for everyone - in the Muslim areas of Brussels. [Hudson New York] Read more [via Political Correctness Watch]

26 August 2009

Norway: "We don't need them!"

Debating the issue of Muslims and extremism, people sometimes argue with me that Muslims never speak out against Muslim extremists.

I argue back that there are those who do, but they don't make the headlines. Here's a case in point. Shakil Rehman, writer and translator, wrote the following editorial in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. [Islam in Europe] Read more

The burka – an isolation cell

The debate over the burka and whether to ban wearing it in public has raged this summer in France and has now come to Denmark.

.... The burka is intended as a means to hide women and protect them from contact with strangers, particularly men. That kind of thinking goes completely against the way we in Denmark have organised our society. People are included in society by taking part – at work, in associations and in clubs. This is something these women, and in many cases their children, are cut off from. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Burka ban proposal splits government The governing party has rejected a proposal from its coalition partner, the Conservative Party, to ban people from covering their face with clothing such as burkas and niqabs.

‘We do not want to see burkas in Denmark,’ said Naser Khader, the integration spokesman for the Conservatives.Khader, who immigrated to Denmark from Syria and who helped established the Modern Muslims group, said the burka symbolised the Taleban and oppression of women. It had nothing do to with Islam. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

25 August 2009

Mawdudi: The Godfather of Islamism

There is a common misconception that the roots of radical Islamism stem from grievances in the Middle East i.e. Israel/Palestine. This is actually not true.

The Indian Sub-continent is just as responsible for radical Islamism as the Middle East is thanks to one man in particular, largely ignored in the Western media, Maulana Mawdudi. In this article I will be looking at Mawdudi’s personality and ideology. [The Spittoon] Read more See Also: [Harry’s Place] Read

When Will Westerners Stop Westernizing Islamic Concepts?

.... I had written: "From what American schoolchildren are being taught by their teachers to what Americans are being told by their presidents, concepts unique to Islam are nowadays almost always 'Westernized.'… [T]his phenomenon has resulted in epistemic (and thus endemic) failures, crippling Americans from objectively understanding some of Islam's more troublesome doctrines.

.... even though I indicated Muslims are actually forbidden from bestowing zakat onto non-Muslims, her opening sentence stubbornly describes zakat as a "mandate to be charitable." Surely "charity" that discriminates according to religion cannot be deemed all that "charitable," a word that, in a Western context, is connotative of universal beneficence. [Middle East Forum] Read more

M. Cherif Bassiouni strikes back

M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus and President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University, has responded to my email posted here with the 1,000-word email that follows.

You will note that nowhere in it does he resolve the contradiction in his statements about Islamic apostasy law that I asked him about in my email to him. I'll address that in more detail below. [Jihad Watch] Read more

More Blague from M. Cherif Bassiouni .... He does, after all, acknowledge that for more than a millennium, the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence have recognized that death is a suitable punishment for apostasy -- from Islam, bien entendu, the Only True Religion. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Malaysia postpones woman's caning

A Malaysian model, who was set to become the first woman to be caned in the southeast Asian country for drinking beer in public, had her sentence postponed Monday until the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno's punishment is unique in that she has opted to go through with it. Authorities had picked up Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, from her father's house Monday morning and were taking her to a prison in the eastern state of Pahang when the van turned around and brought her back. [CNN] Read more

24 August 2009

Burqinis Stir Troubled Waters in Public Swimming Pools

Summer is winding down in Europe, but controversies over "Islamic" swim gear and gender segregation in public pools are heating up, giving form to familiar questions about how to accommodate religious needs without restricting the rights of non-believers.

In France, a woman has been barred from wearing her burqini — a loose-fitting wetsuit that covers all but the face, hands, and feet — because municipal pool regulations "forbid swimming while clothed," according to an official. "These clothes are used in public," he argued, "so they can contain molecules, viruses, et cetera, which will go in the water and could be transmitted to other bathers."

.... The Telegraph notes an opposite trend in the UK, where "swimming pools are imposing Muslim dress codes" and gender segregation [Islamist Watch] Read more

Northern Italian mayor bans burkini Women wearing Islamic swimsuit will be fined A mayor of a northern Italian town decided on Wednesday to slap a hefty fine on women seen wearing the Islamic head-to-toe swimsuit or 'burkini' in local pools. Gianluca Buonanno, the mayor of Varallo Sesia in the northwestern region of Piedmont, said the sight of ''a masked woman could cause dismay, especially among children'' enjoying a day at the pool. [ANSA] Read more

Sebastian Faulks apologises if his comments about the Koran have offended Muslims

There seems to be an almost inevitable irritation when novelists in Britain and America, with their long history of free speech, touch on matters Islamic.

I am not the first and probably won't be the last to have ruffled some feathers, though I feel sad about this, because my new novel, A Week in December, is carefully researched, and, among its main characters, presents a hugely sympathetic and loving Muslim family; it is furthermore made clear that the parents' kindness and good citizenship spring not just from being naturally good eggs but from their devotion to the Koran. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Sorry seems to be the easiest word The New Humanist blog reports that author Sebastian Faulks has got into a spot of bother. In an interview with The Times, our wordsmith with a disciplined pen but a careless tongue expressed the following opinion: The Quran is very disappointing from a literary point of view and lacks an ethical dimension. [Harry’s Place] Read more

The Koran: not a patch on the Bible .... He's a brave man to put it in quite such direct, indeed brutal, terms, but Faulks's experience is a common one. Many non-Muslims feel they ought to take some sort of look at the Koran, because Islam is in the news a lot, or because it's an important part of world culture that everyone should know about, or because they've heard it's full of inspired poetry.

And the vast majority, in my experience, are distinctly underwhelmed. They assume they're going to find a profound, immortal classic of spiritual wisdom. Instead they find things like this (from Sura 9, which I selected entirely at random from an online Koran): [Heresy Corner] Read more

Faulks baulks The novelist Sebastian Faulks made some frank and accurate comments about the Koran in an interview with the Sunday Times, only to abjectly apologise for them in Monday’s Daily Telegraph. To be fair to Faulks, he probably did not expect his comments to be picked up by controversy-hungry hacks at the Mail and The Express, always keen to write self-fulfilling predictions about Muslim anger. Then again, what has he got to apologise for? [MediaWatchWatch] Read more

23 August 2009

A Question of Priorities

.... And when I was reading their latest nonsense I noticed something interesting. On the left hand side of Islamophobia Watch’s website is a list of categories of articles on the website. At the very top is the category ‘Anti-Muslim violence’ whilst at the bottom of the (long) list is ‘Yusuf al-Qaradawi’. If you are unfamiliar with this name, he is the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, a man who supports wife-beating and FGM and who doesn’t like Jews or innocent Israelis very much. [The Spittoon] Read more

Egyptian ex-Muslim: "Some of them believe whoever kills me is rewarded"

And why would they think that? Because they would be following the orders of Muhammad himself: "If anyone changes his religion, kill him" (Bukhari 9.84.57).

Here is a brief account of the life of Peter El-Gohary since converting, and since the Egyptian court denied his right to be legally recognized as a Christian. "A Christian on the run in Egypt," by Jeffrey Fleishman for the Los Angeles Times, August 22. [Jihad Watch] Read more

22 August 2009

Professor Richard Dawkins wants to convert Islamic world to evolution

The author of The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene, whose new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, is serialised in The Times next week, has topped bestseller lists all over the world but never in a predominantly Muslim country. None of Professor Dawkins’ books, on evolution as well as religion, has ever been translated into Arabic, and his work has been heavily censored in Turkey.

In an interview with The Times, he said that popularising evolution in the Islamic world, where creationist beliefs are strong, was a challenge he is keen to take up. “To be a bestseller in a Muslim country would be a personal triumph,” he said. [Times Online] Read more

For information on Muslim belief in Creationism see here and here

Somalia and the Two Faces of Islamism

Somalia is now an open battleground between two main strains of Islamism: that of the more "moderate" and pragmatic Muslim Brotherhood, and that of the more rigid and violent al-Qaeda.

The situation in Somalia is a prism through which can be seen the differences that exist worldwide between Muslim Brotherhood inspired Islamists and al-Qaeda Islamists. The former, represented by Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, show a flexibility and ability to adapt their ideology to certain times and places.

The latter, al-Shabaab, are al-Qaeda jihadists who are completely inflexible and uncompromising in their aims to take control of Somalia and the surrounding region, and will not be placated by a long term programme of Islamisation and sharia. [Standpoint] Read more

Anything that contradicts the Sharia in UN anti-discrimination convention is prohibited

The advancement of human rights in Islamic countries is perennially blocked by Sharia. It's promoters argue that, sure, it allows for human rights, but all the "rights" one is allowed -- supposedly by divine fiat -- are spelled out in Sharia. Stories like this show the obvious limitations on Sharia's respect for human rights by modern standards, and should serve as a cautionary tale for the West. [Jihad Watch] Read more

What Islam Says about Music

It is often said that music is prohibited in Islam. Upon hearing this statement most people doubt that such an absurd claim could possibly be true. If the religion of Islam actually does forbid music, even the majority of devout Muslims would probably find this to be very strange and a cause for concern. Why in the world would a religion prohibit Music? [Islamist Watch] Read more

21 August 2009

Swedish MP criticises Irish blasphemy law

A Swedish MP says he has lodged a complaint with the European Commission over Ireland’s new blasphemy law. Karl Sigfrid, a conservative member of the Swedish Parliament, says he is concerned that Swedish citizens travelling in Ireland ‘could be punished for merely expressing a view on a religion or religious symbol’. [National Secular Society] Read more

Irish defamation law and EU human rights .... The new legislation has made blasphemous speech illegal, which means that a citizen of the European Union can be punished for making a comment that is determined to be offensive to a substantial number of followers of a religion.

The punishment of a fine, up to €25,000, can hardly be consistent with human-rights obligations under the EU treaties, and I have therefore filed a complaint to the European Commission.

.... a law against blasphemy is an obligation to live your life according to the religious beliefs of others. [EUobserver.com] Read more

Compass Blows Islam's Cover – a bit

Recently Compass showed a 2-part program about the Qur’an where it daringly mentioned some of Islam’s less savoury bits (many more remained hidden) and showed evidence that the Qur’an as we know it didn’t exist until much later (despite Muslim claims that the qur’an has existed unchanged from allah to Mohammad, to the present.)

Of course Muslims were given the opportunity to provide a sugar-coated explanation for the unsavoury nature of Islamic texts and practices, but no-one critical of Islam spoke. [Australian Islamist Monitor] Read more

Want to learn about Ramadan? Not today, thank you

All over the country in public services, staff and managers are being told that they should, in the interests of diversity, find out all about Ramadan and maybe even observe it, whether they are Muslim or not.

Well, most of us know what Ramadan is. For Muslims it’s a “holy month” in which the devout among them fast between dawn and dusk. Fine. Can we leave it at that? Well, no. Nowadays, if you work in the police, prison or civil services or a local authority you are probably being bombarded with “guidelines” and training courses to raise your awareness of the significance of Ramadan for the true believers.

The Human Resources director at Westminster City Council, Graham White, has warned that when the new Equality Bill comes into effect, public sector bodies “will be expected to monitor employee beliefs to help promote religious equality at work, in the same way organisations monitor race, gender and disabilities.” He said workplaces could find themselves in trouble if they didn’t do more to understand and prepare for religious festivals. [National Secular Society] Read more

The mythical European Umma

Given that only about 4% of the EU's population is Muslim, why is the fear of a coming Eurabia so strong in certain quarters?

.... Some dismiss this demographic time bomb as being far-fetched and as fantastical as Saddam Hussein's non-existent arsenal of WMD, but yet another smoking gun has been found in the Netherlands. Troubling evidence has emerged that Muhammad has become the most popular boy's name in the country's four biggest cities.

.... Then, there is the plain old fear stoked by the overexposure given to the most intolerant Islamic fringe groups and individuals. .... But Muslims in Europe are not some unified, monolithic force. .... they are also as varied ideologically as the rest of the population.

.... I suspect that the future cultural fault lines in Europe will not run along traditional religious lines, but will pit believers against non-believers, creating a kind unity of purpose between conservative Muslims and Christians intent on preserving faith in a "Godless Europe".

While Eurabia is a fantasy, Europe is almost certainly going to become more diverse in the future, and so a debate is worth having about how to adapt to this reality and what constitutes citizenship in an increasingly mobile world. [Guardian CiF] Read more

See what Guardian Cif readers think of this post here.

Court Expected to Send Runaway Teen Home

A 17-year-old girl who fled to Florida after converting from Islam to Christianity will almost certainly be forced to return home to Ohio, experts say, despite her fears that she will become the victim of an honor killing for abandoning her parents' faith.

Rifqa Bary, who hitchhiked to an Ohio bus station earlier this month and took a charter bus to Orlando, remains in protective custody with Florida's Department of Children and Families. A judge is expected to rule Friday on the jurisdiction of the case, but several legal experts contacted by FOXNews.com say the girl is bound to be sent back to Ohio. [FOXNews.com] Read more

20 August 2009

UK: British Muslim youth more assimilated

.... the problem is many of us Brits no longer care about your cultural sensitivities which we see as a backdoor to dhimmitude. Multiculturalism is dead. I'm sure you are well meaning and I'm sure many Mulsims are decent folk, but the real problem is Islam itself.

It cannot live within western democratice pluralist society. Islam is the problem, not us, not our values, nor our understanding of your so called sensitivities. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Multiculturalism is working better in the UK than elsewhere in Europe, a poll of young Muslims suggests Muslim teenagers in the UK are much more assimilated with the nation than their counterparts growing up in other European countries, new research claims. Young British Asians are less radical, do better in school and suffer less discrimination than Muslim youngsters brought up in France and Germany, according to the survey. Researchers at Lancaster University claim that their poll, based on 2,500 young adults aged 16 to 25, is proof that multiculturalism is working. [MailOnline] Read more

World’s first Muslim superheroes, the 99, out to conquer the West

They are fighting for truth, justice and the Islamic way and are heading for your living room — prepare to say salaam to the world’s first Muslim superheroes. Despite the ample wrongs waiting to be righted across the Middle East, Superman, Spider-Man and Batman mainly fight evil in America.

When the East has featured as a setting for superhero antics — as in the recent film Iron Man — it has tended to be as a source of villainy. That is about to change, courtesy of The 99, a Sharia-compliant version of the X-Men that has taken the Arab world by storm and has its sights set on the West. [Times Online] Read more

19 August 2009

This shameful gender segregation

An MP who walked out of a Muslim wedding acted out of principle - Two countries, two weddings, two outcomes. In the first instance, a minister in the British government has been accused of bad manners for leaving a Muslim wedding in east London when he was asked to sit in a separate room from his wife. In the second, 41 women and children died when fire broke out in the women's marquee at a wedding party in Kuwait.

Reports of the latter event are hugely distressing, while only feelings seem to have been hurt in the row involving the minister, Jim Fitzpatrick. But the tragedy in the Gulf is not as remote from events in Whitechapel as it first seems. [independent.co.uk] Read more

18 August 2009

Mosque hits back at 'Sharia Law' claims

HARROW Central Mosque has hit back at suggestions that the new building will host a Sharia Law Court after protesters against extremism released plans to rally outside the centre. Last week the Observer revealed the English Defence League's plans to protest outside the Station Road based Mosque on August 29, after suggestions it would host a court on the site.

But Ghulam Rabbani, general secretary of Harrow Central Mosque, said: "It is important to make clear that there are no plans to hold Sharia court meetings at the new Mosque. [Harrow Observer] Read more

Hizb ut-Tahrir: “What is required is actual war”

Hizb ut-Tahrir claims to be a non-violent political party. Its members publicly state this, however critics are not convinced. In this article I look at some of its literature and its stance on the use of violence. All quotes appear in their correct contexts and all references used in this article can be supplied upon request. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Dutch university fires Islamic scholar Ramadan

A Dutch university fired Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan on Tuesday for hosting a show on Iran's state television, which the school said could be seen as endorsing the regime. Ramadan — known as a reformist who condemns terrorism, seeks to modernize Shariah law and urges Muslims living in Europe to integrate — has recently been criticized in the Dutch press for allegedly voicing more conservative views for Muslim audiences than he does in the West.

Both the City of Rotterdam and Erasmus University dismissed Ramadan from his positions as "integration adviser" and professor, saying his program "Islam & Life" airing on Iran's Press TV is "irreconcilable" with his duties in Rotterdam. Ramadan "continued to participate in this program even after the elections in Iran, when authorities there hard-handedly stifled the freedom of expression," Rotterdam and the university said in a joint statement. [Yahoo] Read more See Also: [independent.co.uk] Read See Also: [Islam in Europe] Read

Bomber comedy angers Muslim group

An online sitcom about a group of suicide bombers living in Bradford could be damaging, a Muslim group says. Dr Abdul Bary Malik, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Bradford, said the series Living With the Infidels would upset some young Muslims. Producers of the series, which is made in London, say they have the backing of the Muslim Council of Britain. [BBC] Read more

Extract from Introduction to The Book of Hadith

It cannot be denied that there has been an unwarranted elevation over time of the Hadith as a source of guidance in competition with the Qur’an itself, to the extent that verses of the Qur’an which appear to conflict with favourite Hadith may be declared to be abrogated by other verses which agree with the Hadith in question.

This idolization of Hadith contradicts the incontrovertible truth that the Qur’an alone should always be referred to as infallible guidance even if the Hadith have been second only to the Qur’an as the basis of Islamic law. [The American Muslim (TAM)] Read more

17 August 2009

Bosnia: Muslim spiritual leader urges more Sharia law

Bosnia’s Muslim spiritual leader, Reiss-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric, has drawn strong criticism from moderate Muslims and from Bosnian Serbs, after he called for Islamic Sharia law to be incorporated into the Bosnian constitution. Ceric made the controversial suggestion when he conducted Bosnia's first Sharia mass wedding on Saturday in the central city of Zenica.

..... Strict Sharia law drastically reduces the rights of women, allows polygamy for men, forbids marrying non-Muslims and sanctions cruel penalties including stoning. [AKI - Adnkronos International] Read more See Also: [Talk Islam] Read

Why did Yale University Press remove images of Mohammed from a book about the Danish cartoons?

The capitulation of Yale University Press to threats that hadn’t even been made yet is the latest and perhaps the worst episode in the steady surrender to religious extremism—particularly Muslim religious extremism—that is spreading across our culture.

A book called The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Danish-born Jytte Klausen, who is a professor of politics at Brandeis University, tells the story of the lurid and preplanned campaign of “protest” and boycott that was orchestrated in late 2005 after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran a competition for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. [International Free Press Society] Read more

Oh No! The Muslims Are Coming!

Sure as eggs is eggs, you can count on some folk being terribly exercised each time it is "revealed" that lots of boys named Mohammed, or some variation of the prophet's name, are being born in europe. This time it's the revelation that in four Dutch cities Mohammed is the most popular name for boys.

Oh no! The Muslims are coming! Never mind that Mohammed is only the 16th most popular boys name in Holland as a whole, better by far to raise the spectre of an Islamic "takeover" of Dutch cities. [The Spectator] Read more

15 August 2009

New paper exposes the lies behind BNP’s anti-Muslim rhetoric

This weekend the far-right British National Party (BNP) will hold its annual ‘Red White and Blue’ festival in Derbyshire. The event comes soon after the BNP won two seats in the European Parliament after running an election campaign based explicitly on hostility to Muslims ....

In response to the BNP’s growing popularity, Quilliam has produced a paper detailing the BNP’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and showing how their attacks on Muslims are based on:

  • A deliberate misreading of Islamic texts in order to depict Muslims as inherently violent and backward.
  • A deliberate decision to see the acts of Islamist extremists as representative of all British Muslims.
  • A malicious intention to portray the acts of individual Muslims (for instance, criminal acts by Muslim individuals) as symptomatic of Muslims in general.

[Quilliam] Read more

Swimmers are told to wear burkinis

British swimming pools are imposing Muslim dress codes in a move described as divisive by Labour MPs. UK councils running restricted swimming session for Muslims. Under the rules, swimmers – including non-Muslims – are barred from entering the pool in normal swimming attire.

Instead they are told that they must comply with the "modest" code of dress required by Islamic custom, with women covered from the neck to the ankles and men, who swim separately, covered from the navel to the knees. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

14 August 2009

Afghanistan passes law against Shia women

A US-based rights watchdog said Friday an Afghan bill that 'formalises discrimination' against Shia women had become law and accused President Hamid Karzai of using it to win votes.....

.... These include giving a husband the right to withdraw basic maintenance from his wife, including food, if she refuses his sexual demands and that guardianship of children is granted only to fathers and grandfathers. [DAWN Media Group] Read more

Misunderstanding Islam on a grand scale: 78% of Pakistanis favor killing apostates, 83% want adulterers stoned

The Pew researchers are happy that the Pakistanis are worried about "extremism," but given their attitudes toward traditional Islamic laws regarding apostasy, stoning, and more, it is clear that the Pakistanis surveyed have a very different idea of what constitutes "extremism" from what the Pew folks probably have in mind. [Jihad Watch] Read more See Also: [Muslims Against Sharia] Read See Also: [The Washington Post] Read

Growing Concerns about Extremism, Continuing Discontent with U.S. Pakistanis see their country in crisis. They give their national government lower ratings than at any time in this decade, and almost no one is satisfied with national conditions. Crime and terrorism are seen as major problems by virtually everyone. And huge percentages of Pakistanis also see their country struggling mightily with corruption and a deteriorating economy. [Pew Global Research] Read more

Swiss move to ban minarets as 'symbols of Islamic power'

The normally sleepy Swiss country town of Langenthal has become the focus of a virulent right-wing campaign to ban minarets from all mosques in the Alpine republic on the grounds that they symbolise ideological opposition to the country's constitution.

Switzerland's "stop minaret" movement is backed by the influential ultra-conservative Swiss People's Party, (SVP) which was re-elected in 2007 with its largest ever share of the vote after mounting an anti-foreigner campaign that was denounced by the United Nations as racist. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Hamlet without the Prince

There's a book about the motoons due out in November from Yale University Press: "The Cartoons That Shook the World", by Danish-born author Jytte Klausen. Except that it won't actually include the cartoons themselves....

What’s more, they suggested that the Yale press also refrain from publishing any other illustrations of the prophet that were to be included, specifically, a drawing for a children’s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad being tormented in Hell, an episode from Dante’s “Inferno” that has been depicted by Botticelli, Blake, Rodin and Dalí. [Mick Hartley] Read more See Also: [Creeping Sharia] Read
See Also: [International Free Press Society] Read
See Also: [NYTimes.com] Read

MP defends Muslim wedding walkout

A government minister has defended his decision to walk out of a Muslim wedding in east London because he was told he must sit apart from his wife. Jim Fitzpatrick, food, farming and environment minister, left a ceremony at London Muslim Centre, Whitechapel.

.... a spokesman for the centre said the segregation was at the request of the couple getting married. Mr Fitzpatrick, whose constituency is home to a large Muslim community, blamed the tough stance on the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) - an organisation that calls for Sharia law - which is based in the same building. [BBC] Read more See Also: [Harry's Place] Read See Also: [BBC] Read

Jim Fitzpatrick Gets it Wrong on Gender Segregation and the East London Mosque Jim Fitzpatrick, the Labour MP for Poplar and Canning town was offended this week when he was asked to sit separately from his wife at a private Muslim wedding. He has taken the wrong fight to the right people. [Standpoint] Read more

An ungodly row with no respect on either side .... The separation, veiling and hiding of Muslim women .... is a troubling reflection of a tradition .... of giving women inferior status in property, marriage, divorce and self-determination. Also, like the niqab or burka covering the face, it carries an atavistic undertone of sexual suspicion that is equally offensive to men: as if one glimpse of bright hair or bare arm would provoke them to rape. [Times Online] Read more

Education of Bilingual Muslim Children

The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos. Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith. .... There is a belief among ethnic minority parens that the British schooling does not adequatly address their cultural needs.

.... State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue.

.... Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslims have the right to educate their children in an environment that suits their culture. This notion of "integration", actually means "assimilation", by which people generally really mean "be more like me". That is not multiculturalism.

British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different.

.... There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school. Iftikhar Ahmad, London School of Islamics Trust. [The Brussels Journal] Read more

In Germany It Is Better to Be a Muslim than a Baptist

.... The difference in treatment of the so-called fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims by the German secular school authorities and courts gives rise to the suspicion that in contemporary Europe some religious minorities are “more equal” than others. While Christians are prosecuted and fined, Muslims are appeased.

It makes one wonder if the school authorities would also have prosecuted if, instead of the sons of a Baptist couple, the 8- and 9-years old daughters of a Muslim couple had been kept from school on the day of the sex-ed school play? The answer to this question is probably “No.” Baptists are a peaceful minority, who want to be left alone and live according to their own values without trying to impose these values on others.

Muslim fundamentalists are aggressive and demand that everyone live according to their values. Saying “No” to Baptist demands is not a security risk for a school; saying “No” to Muslim demands is. The German school authorities are well aware of this. [The Brussels Journal] Read more

The Muslim Council of Britain: Coming In From the Cold

The groups which our government works with on the Prevent agenda must adhere to some basic values and, as political Islamists, the MCB fall well short of this. A number of their members represent an ideology which is inimical to the values of a liberal democracy and, although they are free to say and do what they like, their belief system should not be legitimised. [Harry’s Place] Read more See Also: [The Spittoon] Read

MCB Get Ahead Of Themselves John Denham, new Secretary of State for Communitites and Local Government, recently stated his desire that the government’s Prevent strategy shift its focus from being on “al-Qaida-influenced terrorism” to looking at extremism of all varieties. As outlined by David T earlier this week, there are many reasons for this being A Good Idea. [The Spittoon] Read more

13 August 2009

An exchange with an Islamic scholar

M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus and President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University, has taken issue with my reference to him in this article. This is what I wrote.... Islam’s death penalty for apostates is only a dead letter if no one cares or is able to enforce it in a particular case, but it is deeply rooted within Islam. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Professor Ramadan on Iranian TV

Dutch site ScienceGuide reveals that Tariq Ramadan has his own show "Islam & Life" on Iranian broadcaster PressTV. On his show Ramadan discusses various social and political issues from an Islamic point of view.

.... ScienceGuide reports that Ramadan is joined on his show by British parliament member George Galloway, .... Dr. Nicholas Kollerstrom, a former astronomer at University College London, who was fired for Holocaust denial, is also on the show. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Ramadan criticised over Iran connection Opposition members in the Rotterdam city council are once again calling for the resignation of integration consultant Tariq Ramadan, this time because he is hosting a talk show on an Iranian TV station.

Ramadan, a Swiss Muslim academic of Egyptian descent, was hired by the city of Rotterdam in 2007 to help bridge the divide between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities. He also lectures at Rotterdam's Erasmus university. [NRC International] Read more

Heterogeneous Muslims

One of the problems with both left-wing critics ...., and their right wing counterparts, is that they both paint a picture of Islam as a large monolithic block.

This can occur because of ignorance of the wide differences of opinion held by Muslims, or because of an intellectually dishonest attempt (you know who you are) to paint any criticism of Islamists (in the case of the left wing) or any defence of a Muslims against bigotry (in the case of the right wing) as a statement about this illusory Islamic monolith. [Harry’s Place] Read more

12 August 2009

Our blasphemy laws face Euro challenge

Ireland is being hauled before the EU Commission over its new blasphemy law. Swedish MP Karl Sigfrid today said he had lodged a complaint with the Commission, asking it to rule if the new Irish law is consistent with EU treaties. These include EU provisions on free speech enshrined in the current EU treaty and the European Convention on Human Rights. [Herald.ie] Read more

Netherlands: Mohamed most popular name in major cities

Over the past year, there were quite a few stories regarding the issue of whether Moroccans in the Netherlands are being 'forced' by the Dutch and Moroccan authorities to give their babies Moroccan-approved names. Most Moroccans in the Netherlands are Berber, yet the Moroccan government only allows Arab names.

Mohamed is by far the most popular name for babies in the four major cities in the Netherlands. Unlike what is often reported, the name of the Muslim prophet is also in the national top twenty. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Pool bans Muslim woman in 'burqini'

Officials in the Paris suburb of Emerainville said they let the woman swim in the pool in July wearing the burqini, designed for Muslim women who want to swim without revealing their bodies.

But when she returned in August they decided to apply hygiene rules and told her she could not swim if she insisted on wearing the garment, which resembles a wetsuit with built-in hood. Pool staff "reminded her of the rules that apply in all (public) swimming pools which forbid swimming while clothed", said Daniel Guillaume, an official with the organisation that manages pools in the area. [ABC News] Read more

French woman threatens legal action over 'burkini' ban A 35-year-old French convert to Islam has threatened legal action after she was evicted from a public pool for wearing a "burkini" – a veil, trouser and tunic covering that she said allowed her to swim while preserving her modesty. The case revolving around the pool east of Paris has reopened France's bitter row about how Muslim women can dress. [Guardian] Read more See Also: [Religion Dispatches] Read

Islamic tradition and religious pluralism

Contrary to popular perception, history reveals that Islam - as preached in the Qur’an and exemplified by the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions - accepts, celebrates and even encourages diversity.

There is a pervasive view in the media today that Islam does not support pluralism. Sadly, we often hear how difficult it is for non-Muslim minorities to live in peace and harmony in Muslim countries. Violent extremists who misuse Islamic theology to justify terrorist attacks have exacerbated prejudices against Muslims and today many people think that Muslims do not believe in pluralism and diversity. [altmuslim] Read more

Sensationalism is a gift to extremists

Brawls at recent protests highlight how all of us, and especially the media, have a responsibility to fight extremism. On Saturday 8 August a much-touted demonstration in Birmingham turned into a big brawl involving more than 100 people and pitched battles in the high street. In one corner a loose alliance of two groups – Casuals United and English Defence League – in the other, a counter-demonstration called by Unite Against Fascism. [Guardian Cif] Read more

10 August 2009

Kenya's muslim leaders pushing for extension of sharia in Kenya

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Muslim leaders are calling for Sharia to be enshrined in Kenya’s constitution. The move is opposed by Christian leaders who fear that it will lead to greater persecution, as it has in Sudan and Nigeria. [Religious Watch] Read more

Government seeks to recast relations with British Muslims

The communities secretary, John Denham, is to attempt a fresh start in the government's relationship with British Muslims after acknowledging that mistakes have been made in the drive against violent extremism in the UK.

Denham said he wanted to see a clear policy shift away from defining the government's relationship with Muslim communities entirely in terms of tackling extremism. New, revised guidance on the operation of the £45m Prevent strategy, which is intended to challenge violent extremist ideology and disrupt those who promote it, is to be drawn up this summer. [Guardian] Read more

Prevent scheme is alienating Muslim communities and should be scrapped The Government's flagship scheme on tackling extremism is alienating Muslim communities and should be scrapped according to a new report. The New Local Government Network (NLGN) think tank is calling for the £45million scheme to focus on tackling all extremism – including far-right extremists – rather than just focusing on Islamic extremism. [Islamophobia Watch] Read more See Also: [Harry’s Place] Read See Also: [Pickled Politics] Read

Ideological passion sells us short

As believers in the primacy of sharia and the divine truth of the Koran, they are deeply compromised by living in a society built on civil law and secular customs. Our legal system is an imposition on them.....

In other words, they accept only sharia, the rest is a charade. Even the family and supporters of the accused went out of their way to express contempt for the legal system and, by extension, the society it represents. .... I have observed the same thing first-hand numerous times during criminal trials involving Muslim defendants, families and supporters. In every case, the idea that Muslims are in trouble because they have been ''marginalised'' by society is reality turned on its head. They are the ones who have marginalised a society they are happy to exploit but not respect. [Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

09 August 2009

I Don’t Care About “Your” Quran – I’m Worried About What the Violent Muslim Thinks

I received a comment on a previous piece, in which I outlined why I am not a Muslim. You can read the piece for the whole reason, but mainly I find Islam narrow-minded in its view on humanity finding fulfillment. The commentator took it upon him- or herself to machine-gun me with bullets of quotations from the Quran that speaks of human rights and equality and other nice stuff.

Many “liberal” Muslim scholars, like Tariq Ramadan and Reza Aslan, speak similarly and beautifully about Islam and its past. Indeed, Aslan’s debut, No god but God, was a lovely book on the history of his particular form of a particular faith. I found a lot of his arguments unconvincing, since in order to repudiate his claims for peace, love and equality in Islam we can look to the same source as Aslan – namely, the Quran. [Tariq Moosa] Read more

08 August 2009

Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent

Britain and the rest of the European Union are ignoring a demographic time bomb: a recent rush into the EU by migrants, including millions of Muslims, will change the continent beyond recognition over the next two decades, and almost no policy-makers are talking about it. The numbers are startling.

Only 3.2 per cent of Spain's population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent. Europe's Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015. In Brussels, the top seven baby boys' names recently were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

We need policies for integrating Europe's immigrants We publish today a large piece pointing out that the huge growth of immigrant populations, including Muslims, in the European Union is very soon going to change what we understand by “European”.

This is not sensationalist, and we make no judgment at all about whether immigration is good or bad for the EU. .... It has been held up - erroneously - as an answer to our ageing populations and pension problems. The point is that everything is going to change quickly - probably far quicker than you realise - and needs a policy response. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

07 August 2009

Welcome to Eurabia? - Will France be a Muslim Republic in 39 years?

If you have watched the "Muslim Demographics" video on YouTube - and many millions have - you might have wondered whether the statistics presented in it are reliable. The seven-and-a-half minute video uses slick graphics, punctuated with dramatic music, to make some surprising claims, asserting that much of Europe will be majority Muslim in only a few decades. [BBC] Read more

BBC & Open Uni debunk ‘Muslim Demographics’

The BBC’s radio programme More or Less, produced in collaboration with the Open University, debunk the notorious “Muslim Demographics” video which has been a big hit on YouTube and has been reproduced on dozens of websites. The statistics are often unsourced and sometimes invented along with statements by official statisticians: [Indigo Jo Blogs] Read more

06 August 2009

Turkey is part of Europe. Fear keeps it out of the EU

The Turkish question rarely figures in the foreground of European debate today, yet its spectre hovers over discussions of "European identity", "immigration" and the "Muslim question".

Political parties that call for an increasingly narrow view of Europe are gaining ground. These parties promote a strictly Judeo-Christian perspective of European history, mistrust of Islam, repressive hardline immigration policies and reject a Turkey they claim is overpopulated and excessively Muslim. [Guardian CiF] Read more

See what Guardian Cif readers think of this post here.

Talking Turkey Turkey is part of Europe states Tariq Ramadan in the Guardian as he argues boldly that the state in question should be allowed to join the European Union. Those who disagree with Turkey’s accession are guilty of Islamophobia and a faulty reading of history. [Harry’s Place] Read more

For information about Mr Ramadan see here

Ankara Shows Its Hand - Turkey's scheming at the Strasbourg summit proves it doesn't belong in the European Union .... But very suddenly, the Turkish delegation threatened to veto the appointment. The grounds of Turkey's opposition were highly significant. Most important, they had to do with the publication of some cartoons in a Danish newspaper in 2005 lampooning the Prophet Mohammed ..... "I was very shocked by the pressure that was brought upon us," he said.

"Turkey's evolution in, let's say, a more religious direction, towards a less robust secularism, worries me." This is to put it in the mildest possible way. It's not just a matter of a Turkish political party undermining Turkey's own historic secularism. It is a question of Turkey trying to impose its Islamist and chauvinist policies on another European state—and indeed on the whole NATO alliance. [Slate] Read more

Turkey is not European Will Turkey ever join the EU? Writing in the Guardian, Tariq Ramadan argues that the EU must let the former Ottoman power back into Europe and that they’ve only barred Turkish membership out of fear, xenophobia and, of course, Islamophobia: [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

The Hijab Debate

This is a very interesting take on the hijab debate – a video about a British Muslim woman who decided to take off the hijab after realising she was wearing it not for personal pious reasons but political ones – contrary to what Islamists claim. [The Spittoon] Read more

A Moderate Muslim Revolution

.... In Ireland, Imam Shaheed Satardien left his mosque, repulsed by their following of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a top Muslim Brotherhood theologian. He has started his own mosque, where he preaches against Wahhabism and extremism and teaches moderate Islamic beliefs, such as the belief that women should be seen and heard freely. He’s received numerous death threats as a result.

The United States is seeing moderate Muslim organizations rise up to compete with Muslim Brotherhood fronts like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has seen a dramatic decrease in support from the Muslim American community.....

.... This headline is just two days old: “Turkey: Man Assaulted for Missionary Activities.” No number of ‘encouraging’ factoids that you may cite will cancel the fact that non-Muslim minorities in Muslim majority countries will always be in decline and under pressure from a supremacist and bigoted majority. .... Even at the very best, your trends would take decades of progress to reach something barely resembling Western freedom. [Pajamas Media] Read more

Islam and heresy - Where freedom is still at stake

Wanted: Islam’s Voltaire. To most Western ears, the very idea of punishing heresy conjures up a time four or five centuries ago, when Spanish inquisitors terrorised dissenters with the rack and Russian tsars would burn alive whole communities of ultra-traditionalist Old Believers. Most religions began as heresies. Today the concept of “heresy” still means something. [The Economist] Read more

From harsh terrain

We should love heretics, not kill them, says an unconventional scholar. On the face of things, Sudan is stony ground for Islamic reformers.

It is a country where allegations of apostasy—departing from Islam, or merely straying slightly from the received interpretation of the faith—have often been deployed as a lethal weapon in political power struggles. In 1985 a leading opponent of the regime was hanged after a court declared him to be an apostate. [The Economist] Read more

The battle for a religion's heart

Significant .... is the recent award by Egypt’s culture ministry of a prize to one of the country’s most combative secularist writers, Sayed al-Qimani. The Egyptian authorities would hardly have dared to offer such a prize a decade ago. Beleaguered then by Islamists and a tide of public piety, the ostensibly secular government was prone to posing as a defender of orthodoxy.

Book bannings, charges of blasphemy, and death threats against secularists (one of which, against the writer Farag Foda, was carried out by Islamist militants in 1992) all served to silence criticism of the conservative line. [The Economist] Read more

Misunderstanding Islam?

It is a unquestioned dogma of American policymakers and the mainstream media that Islamic jihadists have twisted and hijacked the authentic, peaceful teachings of Islam, and are motivated not by Islamic imperatives but by poverty exacerbated by ignorance and other factors.

Yet from the words of the Islamic jihadists themselves, one gets just the opposite impression: recent statements by a variety of Islamic jihadists reinforce the fact that jihadists gain recruits and justify their actions within the larger Islamic community by claiming for themselves the mantle of Islamic authenticity. [FrontPageMagazine.com] Read more

05 August 2009

Faisal on Secularism

Faisal has a magisterial article in the Daily Star, a Bangladeshi newspaper.I won’t extract extensively from it, because I think you should read it in full. His starting point is the struggle within the Islamic philosophical tradition between the Mutazilites, who drew upon Aristotelian metaphysics, and the Asharites, who rejected the rationalism espoused by the Mutazilites, and took the view that Hellenistic philosophy was a nasty alien import.

Their perspectives shaped the debate as to where the line of demarcation between the sovereignty of God (huquq Allah) and the sovereignty of man (huquq ibaad) should properly be drawn. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Live and Let Live - Faisal Gazi explains why secularism is key to Islam Secularism, as an ideal and a political assertion, has not had an easy ride in traditional Muslim history. But contrary to popular belief, secularist philosophy is not alien to Islam. In fact, a close reading of classical and modern Islamic history exposes an ongoing tension between the forces of secularism and theocracy since the medieval age. [The Daily Star] Read more

Dhaka, death threats against the family of a Christian convert from Islam

Upon hearing of his son’s conversion, Rashidul’s father Ruhul suffered a stroke and was partially paralysed. He remains under treatment. The family home was ransacked by local Muslims. Ruhul told AsiaNews that since his son’s conversion he has been ostracised by Muslim clerics and cannot even go to the local mosque to pray.

He and his family are confined to their own home and no one pays them any visit anymore. He cannot understand why they have been rejected. Following his son’s conversion he read the Bible and the Qur‘an and did not find that many differences. Instead he said that the Holy Qur‘an itself describes Christians as Muslims’ closest friends. [The Asian News] Read more

Nod for Mosque brings despair

The leader of Dudley Council says she is “very disappointed” after a High Court judge rejected their appeal against an £18m mosque. Sitting at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, Judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams granted outline planning permission to Dudley Muslim Association's plans to build the mosque and community, training and enterprise centre (CTEC) on derelict land in Hall Street. [Halesowen News] Read more

Lubna Hussein: justice deferred

Lubna Hussein's trial for 'indecent dressing' has been postponed. But whatever the result she has struck a blow for women's rights. The trial of Lubna Hussein was postponed for the second time yesterday.

Under the pretext of attempting to determine whether Hussein had truly revoked her immunity from prosecution when she resigned from her UN position, the authorities have bought more time to find a face-saving resolution to the debacle. This is looking more and more unlikely as Hussein's campaign gathers momentum both at home and abroad. [Guardian CiF] Read more See Also: [Associated Press] Read See Also: [Pajamas Media] Read

Why Shariah Must Be Opposed

Those of us who argue against Shariah are sometimes asked why Islamic law poses a problem when modern Western societies long ago accommodated Halakha, or Jewish law. In fact, this was one of the main talking points of those who argued that Shariah should become an accepted part of dispute resolution in Ontario in 2005.

The answer is easy: a fundamental difference separates the two. Islam is a missionizing religion, Judaism is not. Islamists aspire to apply Islamic law to everyone, while observant Jews seek only to live by Jewish law themselves.Two very recent examples from the United Kingdom demonstrate the innate imperialism of Islamic law. [Daniel Pipes] Read more

Strangers in the Land

A departure and a return: In the legend of Moorish Spain, Boabdil, the last Muslim ruler of Granada, is said to have paused on a ridge for a final glimpse of the realm he had just surrendered to the Castilians. Henceforth, the occasion, and the place, would be known as El Último Suspiro del Moro, The Moor’s Last Sigh. The date was Jan. 2, 1492. [NYTimes.com] Read more

Who Is Really Being Dishonest About Islam? In his "The Faith Divide" blog at the Washington Post's website, Eboo Patel took umbrage Monday at two recent reviews in the New York Times Book Review charging "Dishonesty About Islam in the NYT Book Review". [A New Dark Age Is Dawning] Read more

A dishonest review about Islam I am with Ajami when he goes after the "militants, freeloaders and opportunists" discussed in Caldwell's book - the imams who criticize Western culture while living off the European welfare state, the Muslim men who refuse to educate their daughters and practically lock their wives in the kitchen, the Muslim youth who threaten the societies they should be seeking to contribute to. But, having lived there for three years, I know this is far from a full description of Muslims in Europe. [altmuslim] Read more

04 August 2009

Sayyid al-Qimni and the Tony Sopranos of Islamism

Yet another hit has been put out on a vocal critic of Islamism. Sayyid al-Qimni is a leading Egyptian secular intellectual who has written scathingly about the dangerous and intolerant ideology of Islamism.

He has been particularly critical of some sections of al-Azhar University, which he accuses of trying to drag Islam ‘back to the Middle Ages', and the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2007, he delivered a heroic performance on al-Jazeera where he bemoaned the lack of liberal democracy in the Arab World, and described how Arabs are suffering under both military dictatorships and Islamist theocracies. [Standpoint] Read more See Also: [Harry’s Place] Read

Three policewomen spend full day dressed in Muslim burkhas in controversial 'In Your Shoes' exercise

.... Critics yesterday lined up to denounce the scheme as ‘political correctness gone mad,’ and accused South Yorkshire Police of losing sight of its main objective. Douglas Murray, of the Centre for Social Cohesion think-tank, said: ‘You just couldn’t make it up.

‘The victims of crime must be amazed that the police have so much time on their hands that they can spend a day playing dress-up.‘This is a complete waste of police time and taxpayers’ money.

It’s not the duty of police to empathise with particular sections of the community. It is the duty of the police to prevent crime and catch criminals.‘After this are they planning to dress as members of other communities such as Hindus and Buddhists?’ [MailOnline] Read more See Also: [BBC] Read See Also: [The Spittoon] Read

German Muslims furious at claim that Mohammed knew nothing about football

The Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency reports that Muslims in Germany have decided to take offence to the official club song of a Bundesliga football team.The Central Council of Muslims has deemed that a verse in FC Schalke 04’s “Blau und Weiß, wie lieb ich Dich” (Blue and White, How I love you) “did not show sufficient respect towards Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).” [MediaWatchWatch] Read more See Also: [Syracuse Online] Read See Also: [BBC] Read

Helsinki: Sharia mediation courts

Mosque mediators settle disputes weekly , and divorce according to Islamic principles. Many Muslims prefer to request assistance from an Imam than from the authorities. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Britain Welcomes the Imam of Hate

The imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, Abdur Rahman as-Sudais is currently on a tour of Britain. He is known as the man who leads prayers observed by two million followers during the time of the Hajj pilgramage.

Al-Sudais’ repurposes allegorical references to the Jewish tribes of Mecca from the Quran and converts them into supercilious anti-semitic hate sermons for the consumption of his followers.[The Spittoon] Read more See Also: [Jihad Watch] Read See Also: [Islamophobia Watch] Read See Also: [Evening Standard] Read

03 August 2009

Netherlands: Muslim Party on election ballot in five cities

The Dutch Muslim Party (NMP) will take part in the municipal elections next year in Amsterdam, Almere, the Hague, Rotterdam and Noordoostpolder, chairman Henny Kreeft of Emmeloord said on Monday. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Open Thread: "politically impossible" level of immigration

Newsweek and the Guardian both came out recently with articles claiming that fears of a Muslim takeover of Europe were exaggerated. Newsweek with the article Why Fears Of A Muslim Takeover Are All Wrong and the Guardian with Fears of an Islamic revolt in Europe begin to fade

..... But even more than that, they claim there's no fear of a Muslim takeover, while at the same time claiming that the European authorities, under public pressure, will introduce "new controls to slow Muslim immigration". Fear or no fear? [Islam in Europe] Read more

02 August 2009

Brussels: 83% of Muslim students believe in creationism

Almost a quarter (23.5%) of students in secondary, higher and university education in Brussels believes that man is God's creation. The number of creationists is strikingly higher by young Muslims.

Among them, 82.8% opted for this answer in a multiple-choice question. Among Catholic youth, 20% thought, 'evolution was not completely convincing." [Islam in Europe] Read more

01 August 2009

Most Muslim nations immune to Obamamania, says survey

Thanks to the new president, America's image is on the rebound throughout much of the world, with more than nine-in-ten in France and Germany reposing faith in Obama's leadership, he said. Because of Obama, ratings for the US itself are up dramatically, with sizeable increases in Latin America, Africa and much of Asia, Wike wrote.

However, when it comes to Muslim nations, America's overall image remains unchanged, though Obama is viewed more positively there than George Bush. In Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and the Palestinian territories, fewer than 30 percent of the people have a positive view of America, according to the survey. [Irish Sun] Read more

Judge slams Hilali spokesman Keysar Trad

KEYSAR Trad, the long-time spokesman for Muslim cleric Taj Din al-Hilali, was yesterday denounced as "racist", "offensive" and "untruthful" by the Supreme Court judge who rejected his defamation claim against radio station 2GB.

Judge Peter McClellan said he agreed Mr Trad "incites acts of violence, incites racist attitudes, is dangerous and perhaps most significantly is a disgraceful individual". [The Australian] Read more

For lively discussion of above topic see:

Trad trodden The thing I like here is that a racist Muslim leader is being held up for public ridicule. Thinking Muslims would do well to back the judgement or risk very bad perceptions on Muslims in general. Our political-legal system is stronger than them. This is not some middle east shambles. As Clint would say, “Mufti’s make my day.”

It is high time for moderate Muslims to speak out. You either speak out or you don’t deserve our freedoms which come with a high price. Pay your dues and defend freedom. [HeraldSun.com.au] Read more

Jewish and Islamic repression of women continues unabated

Dear Miriam Saleh, Thank you so much for being brave enough to speak about what has happened to you. Too often, religious communities do not speak about their internal dealings, which can sometimes lead to great injustices going unnoticed.

The appallingly anti-women bias held in some sections of the Jewish community is almost as disturbing as the creeping encroachment of Sharia law into this country, and I therefore vehemently object to rulings made by these Jewish courts. [Letters From A Tory] Read more

Belgian Policemen No Longer Allowed to Check Burka Wearers

Male police officers are no longer allowed to check the identity of a woman wearing a burka. Only the few female officers of the police force may do so. This is laid down in a new directive which the Federal Police have issued to its staff. [The Brussels Journal] Read more