31 October 2009

My Guardian Knows What's Best For Me

A catchy slogan, certainly. It's a campaign led by Saudi Princess Jawaher bint Jalawi against those liberals and feminists who are trying to improve the status of women in the Kingdom: rather in the spirit of Marie Antoinette advising the poor on the benefits of eating cake. Here's a MEMRI look at some press reaction: [Mick Hartley] Read more

Pants ban for women draws condemnation

The sharia regulation prohibiting women from wearing pants in West Aceh regency drew strong condemnation from public circles in Aceh province. "The enforcement of the regulation is an accumulation of the negative views against women from the perspective of Islamic sharia," said Norma Susanti, the women and children's division head of Aceh Human Rights NGO Coalition.

She added that the regulation, issued by the West Aceh regent, was very discriminative in nature and very detrimental to women. "Islamic sharia is not discriminative against women, but it's different when it is used as a political means by men to restrain women's movements. [The Jakarta Post] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Multiculturalists diminish 'rough beast' ravaging Islam

.... Paraphrasing William Butler Yeats, Mansur contends that Islam is in the grips of a "rough beast" that has let loose anarchy upon the world. He traces the problem back to the earliest days of Islam, when perverse Muslim rulers renounced the peaceful teachings of the Qu'ran by slaughtering each other in a bloody struggle for political power following the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632.

"The Prophet's immediate family members were the most conspicuous massacre victims," writes Mansur. "Ever since those early blood-lettings, Muslims have been the primary victims of Muslim violence." [London Free Press] Read more [via Muslims Against Sharia]

30 October 2009

Muslims in Germany

.... Almost 90 percent of the students at Rainbow Elementary School in Berlin are from immigrant families, most of them Muslim. Fitting in can be tough, because a lot of them can’t speak German—even though many of their families have been here for decades.

.... When I started being a teacher more than thirty years ago I thought that problem we won’t have in ten years. They all will speak German. But they don’t. [Religion & Ethics Newsweekly] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

28 October 2009

Education is the most powerful weapon

Report after report from the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, and the Arab League emphasise that the education deficit in the Arab world is among the main causes of its underdevelopment.

With 5% of the world's population and the bulk of the world's oil and gas, the Arab world nonetheless lags behind most of the rest of the world, and suffers from what can best be termed "educational poverty." [Guardian Cif] Read more

Court in Kuwait rules female MPs are free to discard hijab

Kuwait's highest court has ruled today that female politicians are not obliged by law to wear the hijab, a blow to Muslim fundamentalists who want to fully impose sharia law. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

27 October 2009

Extremism Spreads Across Indonesian Penal Code

Just before noon prayers one recent Friday — a mandatory session for men — the Shariah police’s all-female brigade hopped onto a Toyota pickup to begin patrols. Dressed in olive uniforms, the officers hewed to the city center, away from the areas worst hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

They urged stragglers to hurry to the nearest mosque and exhorted the recalcitrant to yield to God’s authority. “Dear followers of Islam, people of Banda Aceh,” blared a loudspeaker on the Toyota, “our city has applied Shariah. It’s almost praying time. Close all shops, stop all business activities. No more buying and selling.” [NYTimes.com] Read more

Gotcha Islamism

The reticence with which HT asserts itself within community forums, media groups, and political organisations speaks of a group that knows that its public face and vague strategy of implementation has limited appeal. And without access to mass media, HT’s reach to the average Muslim will continue to remain difficult.

The coverage of this issue, coupled with the warmth with which Mogahed’s advisory position in the Obama administration was accepted by Muslims, could mean that undercover HT hosting of shows like Muslimah Dilemma could be in jeopardy. If so, HT will only have its image, tactics, and its message to blame. [altmuslim] Read more

US Religious Freedom Report Hits Speech Curbs

The U.S. State Department's annual report on world-wide religious freedom, released Monday, was critical of what it says are international efforts to limit free speech in the name of combating defamation of religion. The Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC, has been pushing such anti-defamation measures in U.N. bodies. [A New Drak Age is Dawning] Read more

Faith Schools

Recent reports highlight how a number of what appear predominately Muslim Faith schools have been criticised for biased teaching on the Middle East.

London Muslim has previously highlighted my concern about the educational achievement or lack of it concerning Muslim kids and I'm afraid these statistics may be driving Muslim parents to shun community schools for Faith schools some run by a bunch of nutters. Let me once again be clear London Muslim opposes all Faith schools for the reasons I outline here where I also highlight the admission criteria of two Catholic schools. [London Muslim] Read more

26 October 2009

Mosques don't need minarets

I saw a big yellow crane had gone up outside the Brick Lane mosque when I walked past there the other day, and my heart sank. Is this – finally – the start of the minaret project? Let me remind you, the building is a handsome, understated 18th century one.

It was built first of all by refugee Huguenots as their place of worship and then – 100 years or so later – taken over by refugee Jews as theirs. And now, another 100 years on, it's become a mosque used largely by Bengali Muslims.

Each time a new community has moved in, all they have done, effectively, is change the wallpaper. It is the best example of a shared multicultural space (the sharing separated, of course, by many decades) that I can think of. And I can only regret that I won't be alive 100 years hence to see who the new tenants will be. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Objections to Muslim and Homosexual Practices to be Unlawful in Europe

If all goes as planned, the 27 member states of the European Union will soon have a common hate crime legislation, which will turn disapproval for Islamic practices or homosexual lifestyles into crimes.

.... Last April, the European Parliament approved the European Union’s Equal Treatment Directive. .... Next month, the Council will decide on the directive, which places the 27 EU member states under a common anti-discrimination legislation. The directive’s definition of discriminatory harassment is so broad that every objection to Muslim or homosexual practices will be considered unlawful. [Hudson Institute] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Saudi female journalist gets 60 lashes for TV show

A Saudi court on Saturday convicted a female journalist for her involvement in a TV show, in which a Saudi man publicly talked about sex, and sentenced her to 60 lashes. Rozanna Al Yami is believed to be the first Saudi woman journalist to be given such a punishment. The charges against her included involvement in the preparation of the program and advertising the segment on the Internet. [Khaleej Times] Read more [via Women Against Shariah]

The Saudi Sex Braggart Back in July The Bold Red Line - a programme on the Saudi-owned Lebanese TV channel LBC, which specialises in probing the underbelly of Arab society .... ran an interview with a Saudi airline sales clerk called Mazen Abdul Jawad, who fancied himself something of a Lothario and gave advice on how to pick up girls.... The reaction of the Saudi religious police was swift and predictable: [Mick Hartley] Read more

Journalist spared lashes by Saudi king King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has pardoned a woman journalist who was sentenced to 60 lashes for her involvement in a controversial TV show in which a Saudi man boasted publicly about his sex life. Rosanna al-Yami was sentenced to be flogged on Saturday for her role in the July broadcasting on the Lebanese satellite channel LBC of the taboo-breaking episode of the Bold Red Line programme. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

25 October 2009

Islam’s Darwin problem

.... But there is another creationist movement whose influence is growing, and which is fueling challenges to science in countries where Christianity has little sway: Islamic creationism. Campaigners in countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Indonesia have fought the teaching of evolution in schools there, sometimes with great success.

Creationist conferences have been held in Pakistan, and moderate Islamic clerics are on record publicly condemning Darwin’s ideas. A recent study of Muslim university students in the Netherlands showed that most rejected evolution. [The Boston Globe] Read more

Islamist MP slams govt for approving "naked" singer

Two weeks before American superstar Beyonce Knowles is scheduled to hold her first ever concert in Egypt, an Islamist MP publically blasted the government for accepting to host the event and accused the government of violating Sharia law.

The bootylicious pop diva is set for a government-approved gig at the Red Sea resort of Port Ghalib, irking Muslim Brotherhood member Hamdi Hassan, who slammed the government for allowing a singer “who appears naked in her clips” to perform, which he said would spread vice. [AlArabiya.net] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Islamists who want to destroy the state get £100,000 funding

Leading members of a group that wants to bring down the British state and replace it with a dictatorship under Islamic law have secured more than £100,000 of taxpayers’ money for a chain of schools.

Accounts filed at the Charity Commission show that the Government paid a total of £113,411 last year to a foundation run by senior members and activists of Hizb ut-Tahrir — a notorious Islamic extremist group that ministers promised to ban. The public money helped run a nursery school and two Islamic primary schools where children are taught key elements of Hizb’s ideology from the age of five. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

White House Faith Adviser Defends Sharia Remarks

Dalia Mogahed, one of two Muslim members of President Obama's faith advisory council, has come under fire from conservatives for her early October appearance on a British television show connected with an extremist Muslim group.

.... the Daily Telegraph reported earlier this month that Mogahed told the show: "I think the reason so many women support sharia is because they have a very different understanding of sharia than the common perception in Western media . . . . The majority of women around the world associate gender justice, or justice for women, with sharia compliance." [U.S.News & World Report] Read more

Obama’s Muslim Faith Adviser Defends Sharia Remarks Not enough time to fact check Obama’s Muslim faith-based advisor, Dalia Mogahed, as she defends her remarks on Islamic sharia law, and since the Weekly Standard and conservative American writers and bloggers were singled out, we’re confident some of them will analyze her response in depth. [Creeping Sharia] Read more

Dalia Mogahed Makes More Excuses for HT Show Appearance As covered here at the Spittoon, one of President Obama’s advisors on Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed, appeared on a Hizb ut-Tahrir TV show on the Islam Channel. She then sent a letter to the Telegraph which, in a singularly unconvincing manner, tried to justify her appearance on the ‘Muslimah Dilemma’ show. Now she has written another defence of her appearance, this time for the Huffington Post. [The Spittoon] Read more

24 October 2009

The clash of uncivilisations

... So to try to damn the BNP as racist misses the point by a mile. Not that the accusation is untrue — despite its attempt to rebrand itself, the BNP remains a racist party with strong neo-Nazi overtones. But it attracts votes talking about religion and culture.

Crucially, it is cynically using the Islamisation of Britain as cover for its animus against all Muslims and non-white people. There are many British Muslims, after all, who are a threat to no one, who want to enjoy the benefits of a secular society and human rights and are themselves potential victims of Islamism and sharia law. [The Spectator] Read more

Muslim student, 18, banned from college because she refuses to remove her burkha

A Muslim student has been banned from enrolling at a college because she refused to remove her burkha. Shawana Bilqes, 18, wanted to wear the garment - which covers her body and face, leaving only her eyes visible - during lessons.

But staff at Burnley College refused to enrol her, claiming the burkha was a barrier to 'safety and communication'. In a strongly worded statement, the college said 'unimpeded' face to face contact between teachers and students was vital. [MailOnline] Read more

Muslim girl banned from college for refusing to take veil off .... When Sister Shawana Bilqes claims Islam forbids her from taking off her veil I say bollocks. Where in Islam, the Quran or Sunnah does it say Muslim women should dress like Ninjas.

Yes wearing the Hijab, simplicity, modesty, avoiding aggressively showing ones beauty are all within the tenets of Islam but this fad, that tends to stem from the backward up north brigade, who claim the veil is compulsory is bullshit. [London Muslim] Read more

23 October 2009

Address on niqab not meant to be offensive

A Toronto imam said on Friday he did not intend to insult non-Muslims during an address at his mosque on those who want the niqab and burka banned. Said Rageah, the imam at Toronto’s Abu Huraira Centre, said that only someone who did not understand Islam would have come away from last Friday’s prayers thinking that anyone at his mosque hated members of other faiths. He was specifically addressing an article that appeared in the National Post on Thursday in which some critics said the language he used was inflammatory. [National Post] Read more [via Creeping Sharia]

Marching against al-Muhajiroun

.... I would urge all British Muslims and non-Muslims to build on the brave steps we have already taken and condemn theocratic organisations everywhere who seek to segregate Muslims from mainstream society on the basis of twisted ideological interpretations and impose an intolerant way of life upon them, calling it sharia.

This is the basis on which British Muslims for Secular Democracy was founded. We believe that a commitment to plural and liberal values is necessary everywhere around theworld. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Pat Condell on Freedom of Speech

Wake Up America [International Free Press Society] See more

Teacher attacked for shaking hands with student

Danish police said on Thursday that a Palestinian father had hit a primary school teacher and bitten his ear after he had shaken the hand of the man's daughter.

The 47-year-old Danish teacher of Moroccan origin had invited the father and daughter for a meeting at the school in the town of Vollsmose on Wednesday when he had been "repeatedly hit and bitten in the ear", the police said. "The father, a Palestinian, apparently became furious that the teacher had greeted his daughter just before a meeting," said Joergen Andersen, the police superintendent in the nearby city of Odense. [Islam in Europe] Read more

22 October 2009

Ramadan: "We respect the fears of the people.."

".. but we resist instrumentalization of these fears by politicians". An interview with Tariq Ramadan on WRS about the place of Islam in Switzerland. Sadly, the interviewer doesn't ask him how he does intend to respect the fears of the people.

Ramadan says that the success of integration is to stop talking about integration. He speaks of being legally integrated (following the law) and intellectual integration (succeeding in academics) yet not having the sense of belonging. But for most people, integration doesn't mean being law-abiding or even being loyal to your country.

Those are things you expect from citizens. Integration doesn't mean succeeding in your endeavors, either. Economic self-fulfillment is the reason many immigrants come to Europe, after all. Integrated means being loyal to the country's values - being culturally integrated. And the only thing Ramadan has to say about this, repeating it in various ways throughout the interview, is that we must stop talking about it. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Couple blackmail Muslim girl over Western dress

A couple blackmailed a Muslim girl by threatening to show her family pictures of her in Western dress. The woman, in her 20s, wore a veil in public in line with her parents' strict beliefs. But she changed into a T-shirt and jeans for an "innocent" but secret seaside day trip with Emal Ismaeli and Joanne Richards.

The couple took snaps of their Muslim friend in casual clothes. One apparently showed her with her arms around a man. A court heard that at the time of the blackmail Miss X lived at home and was engaged to a man from her community. [Daily Mirror] Read more

Faith schools 'shunning other religions'

More than one in five private schools is failing to teach children about other religions, according to Ofsted. Many complain that it is “inappropriate” for pupils to learn about faiths other than their own, particularly at a young age, it is disclosed.

According to Government inspectors, some schools also used teaching materials that displayed a “bias” in favour of certain groups. In one instance, a Muslim school used "inflammatory language” to describe the situation in Palestine and a Jewish school stocked books with “strong language” about the MiddleEast. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

21 October 2009

Islamic Criminal Justice: Is it Barbaric?

I would be very glad if you kindly respond to this sensitive issue: It relates to the ongoing accusations levied by the west against Islam and the Shari`ah.

In western modern culture Islam is presented as a particularly violent and cruel religion, its law is termed as barbaric. That’s why we hear many uproars being stirred nowadays by the western media against Islam. I would like you scholars to enlighten us on the significance of Islamic criminal justice, especially the aspect of punishment. [Islam Online] Read more

Swedish Pol Charged With “Hate Speech” Against Islam

Swedish politician Jimmie Åkesson has been charged with “hate speech” for writing an opinion piece in which he calls Islam the biggest threat to his country since World War II. In piece published in Swedish daily Aftonbladet, the Sweden Democrats leader writes that his country has the most rapes per capita in Europe, and most of the perpetrators are Muslim.

.... According to Åkesson, “today’s multicultural Swedish power-elite are totally blind to the dangers of Islam.” [The Right Perspective] Read more [via Relious Watch]

An Islam at home in Britain

This month saw the launch of a report authored by a theologically diverse group of leading British Muslims entitled "Contextualising Islam in Britain"

..... The authors of the report also try to explain how Islam can be faithfully understood as compatible with a secular state. It explores the "problematic understanding of divine sovereignty" and suggests that the separation of temporal and spiritual authority may be closer to the Islamic ideal.

A number of 20th century proponents of political Islam have argued that God's sovereignty is manifested through the incorporation of a political framework where a single individual or group claims divine authority to act on God's behalf, a notion completely incompatible with secular democracy. [ASIAN News] Read more

A letter to progressives who flirt with reactionary Islam

.... According to the authors the situation is serious, for sure in certain Brussels neighborhoods. "There is a banalization of antisemitism. "Dirty Jew" is as acceptable a curse-word there as 'damn'.

Every day young women are called whores because they don't wear a headscarf or because their skirts are too short according to some. There are schools where girls systematically refuse to swim or exercise. Homosexuals are intimidated on the street. It's impossible." [Islam in Europe] Read more

Which Islam are you afraid of?

.... Over lunch after the London bombings a very old friend of mine, who might be regarded by some as such a caricature of the relativist British liberal that he is even the son of a "gay vicar", told me he was scared about "Muslims".

"What do you mean," I asked. "Which ones?" "All of them," he replied. I found this honest response profoundly chilling - not least for the ignorance it showed about the many and varied shades of Islam as it is practised around the world. [New Statesman] Read more

20 October 2009

BBC reporters highlight racism on Bristol estate

Two BBC reporters of South Asian origin who lived for eight weeks on a housing estate in Bristol, posing as a married Muslim couple with limited English, were racially abused more than 50 times, a documentary will show tonight. The edition of Panorama, titled Hate on the Doorstep, also features the pair suffering physical assault.

.... Tamanna Rahman, who wore a hijab headscarf and acted as if she spoke very little English, was pelted with stones and glass and on one occasion an 11-year-old boy tried to steal her purse, threatening to kill her. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Panorama: hate on the estate (updated) Update: when watching the programme, it became obvious that all the people who were taunting the “couple” were local yobs who were hanging around and causing trouble, some of whom had ASBOs (court orders against them intended to stop them making a nuisance of themselves).

The footage gave the impression that there were a lot of people who helped them, both in simple things like giving them directions and in scaring off the yobs, and they were as white and ‘working-class’ as the kids. There was also a little girl who was obviously trying to be friendly despite the undercover reporter pretending not to speak much English, calling her a “beautiful lady” (how sweet!).

.... The programme did not seem to investigate whether these .... people were making life miserable for others on the estate as well. Given what these kinds of youths do on pretty much every other run-down estate where they exist, not just to non-whites, that would seem likely. [Indigo Jo Blogs] Read more

18 October 2009

Islam 'Sweden's biggest threat'

An article by the leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats claiming that Islam is the biggest threat to Sweden since World War II is tantamount to hate speech, according to legal experts. A number of jurists believe the text, published in the opinion section of the Aftonbladet newspaper, qualifies as agitation against an ethnic group (hets mot folkgrupp).

.... On Monday, Aftonbladet published an opinion piece by party leader Jimmie Åkesson in which the prominent far-right politician slams Islam. According to Åkesson, “today’s multicultural Swedish power-elite are totally blind to the dangers of Islam.” [The Local] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

17 October 2009

The Muslim Council of Britain weighs into the Geert Wilders debate

.... The MCB is obviously in a quandary about whether to suck up to government (and much of the media) by supporting the decision to let him in, or to play to the Muslim activist gallery by saying that he should remain barred from the country. However, it has now apparently chosen the worst of all options: to issue a press release officially stating that they have no opinion on the matter to officially state. [The Spittoon] Read more

Row over school closures for Muslim, Hindu and Sikh holidays

Two councils have instructed all schools under their control to shut for the annual celebrations of Eid-Ul-Fitr, Diwali and Guru Nanak's Birthday, in addition to the Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter.

The directive, by Waltham Forest and Newham councils, in east London, even affects schools where very few pupils are Muslim, Hindu or Sikh. After concerns were raised, a review of the policy has been launched in Waltham Forest, with some criticising the closures as inappropriate, unnecessary and "political".

Whereas one in six Waltham Forest residents is Muslim, according to the last census, Hindus make up only 1.8 per cent of the borough's population, and Sikhs only 0.6 per cent. Jews outnumber Sikhs in the borough, according to the census, yet schools have not been told to close for any Jewish holidays. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Wilders' world of protest and publicity

.... There was then a heated exchange with reporters standing on chairs at the back of the room, craning to get a look at him over the forest of microphones, about whether he should also have called for the Bible to be banned, given that some Christians were terrorists.

That was not his argument at all, he told the reporters, although his attempt to elucidate further was drowned out by more questions. He denied his call for the Koran to be banned had been an affront to free speech. "Even in the United States, where they have a first amendment, there is one red line, which is the incitement of violence and this was exactly my point," he told reporters. [BBC] Read more

An Own Goal? How on earth do protesters complaining about a visit by anti-Islamic scaremongering Dutch MP, Geert Wilders think they’re countering his message by, according to the BBC, chanting “Wilders go to hell” and waving placards saying “Sharia for the Netherlands” and “Islam will be superior”. Other chants and placards said “the Muslims will be dominant” and “we want Sharia law”, as well as “free speech go to hell”and “freedom can go to hell”. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Wilders' Welcome It was good to see that Geert Wilders made it to Britain today. Not because he contributed anything to the public debate. Not because he is right. Not even because his presence here heaped yet more humiliation upon the appalling Jacqui Smith - though it would probably have been worth it for that alone.

But because February's decision to ban him was an international disgrace. It made Britain look simultaneously timorous and repressive. For a country that has traditionally prided itself as a home of free speech, it was embarrassing. As embarrassing, in its way, as a super-injunction. [Heresy Corner] Read more

Geert Wilders is back and causing trouble The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been let into our shores. Let him, I say. The guy is an offensive idiot but he should be debated. However, I doubt that Wilders will take up invitations by Quilliam Foundation or the Oxford Islamic Centre to debate because it would be easy to expose him.The ITN video shows a protest by Muslims, but fails to mention that it’s a stunt by the publicity-seeking extremists from al-Muhajiroun nutjobs. Shoddy journalism. [Pickled Politics] Read more

16 October 2009

French Muslim team out in the cold for refusing to play gay rivals – again!

WE reported earlier this week that a mainly Muslim football team in a suburb of Paris had reversed its decision not to play gay a gay side. Their initial refusal was based not on homophobia, they said, but because they disapproved of the name of the team – Paris Foot Gay. Go figure.

Anyway, the Muslim side – Creteil Bebel – then did a U-turn on their U-turn, and refused for a second time to play PFG in a match scheduled for October 4. Organisers of the match called foul, and have now thrown the Muslim side out of a local Paris league for its refusal. [The Freethinker] Read more

To know a veil for what it is

I think grown adults should be able to wear what the hell they like short of exposing their genitalia to people who don’t welcome it. Of course, it is equally valid for dress codes to be set as conditions of entry or participation. It is not unreasonable that a bank requires one to remove a helmet or balaclava before entering. Nor is it unreasonable that a swanky restaurant asks male diners to wear ties, or bans trainers, or that a building site requires employees to wear boots and a helmet.

It is not a breach of one’s rights to be required to wear a uniform in certain jobs, or to remove other items of clothing or jewelry in order to participate in certain activities. But what one wears in the streets or in one’s own home, one should be left alone to do. Having said that, I am under no illusion that the hijab is anything but a form of religious oppression. I find it particularly upsetting when, in the heat of summer, I see Muslim men wearing fashionable and season-appropriate clothing while their wives trail behind in a black tent. [Harry’s Place] Read more

15 October 2009

Stoning, Caning Are Now the Law in Aceh, Local Legislator Says

A controversial bill that includes a provision for the stoning to death of adulterers is now officially law, even without the signature of the Aceh governor, a local councilor said on Thursday.

.... The measures call for the stoning of adulterers and 100 lashes for anyone caught engaging in premarital sex, among its other punishments. [The Jakarta Globe] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Teachers upset at Muslim woman who doesn't shake hands

The appointment of an employee who does not shake hands with men due to her beliefs, is causing resentment among some teachers in the School for Journalism in Utrecht. The person in question has been working since September in an administrative position.

In an email to the teachers she said that she does not shake hands with men, but will greet these colleagues with a hand on her heart. The Muslim woman wanted in this way to prevent annoying situation when getting to know people. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Italy: Muslim intellectual urges action on fundamentalism

The president of the association of Italian Muslims, Ahmad Gianpiero Vincenzo, has urged measures to tackle the problem of religious extremism. "We need to analyse fundamentalism and develop practical action to combat this," said Vincenzo.

His call came after a 35-year-old Libyan earlier this week carried out a botched bomb attack against a military barracks in Italy's northern city of Milan. "We know very little about the channels through which extremists are being funded," said Vincenzo. [AKI - Adnkronos] Read more

14 October 2009

A fool and his religion are never parted

LIVING proof that religion is apt to destroy all forms of clear thinking surrounds us in depressing abundance. But Iftikhar Ahmad, head honcho over at the London School of Islamics is in a class of his own when it comes to dogged stupidity.

For years, it seems, Ahmad has been pumping out press releases, all on the same subject: the need for Muslim schoolchildren to be educated in Muslim schools by Muslim teachers. This, according to his cock-eyed reasoning, will lead to better integration of Muslims into British society. [The Freethinker] Read more

Antwerp: 40% of elementary school students are Muslim

(UPDATE: Comparison with 2007) 40% of the students in the Antwerp municipal elementary schools (4,150) chose Islam as their religion class subject this year, according to data provided by the Antwerp alderman for education Robert Voorhamme (SP.A) upon request by Vlaams Belang.

According to Filip Dewinter (Vlaams Belang), by extrapolation, in 2012 a majority of the students in the Antwerp elementary schools will be Muslim. Voorhamme says this is an hypothesis. "People see a threat where there is none," says the alderman for education. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Married at thirteen

In her book Generous Betrayal Prof. Unni Wikan brings several cases where Norwegian authorities let down immigrant girls in need. I recently translated an article from the Norwegian media about children as young as 14 who are being forcibly married off by their parents. [Islam in Europe] Read more

French Muslim leader says full-body veil is a door to radical Islam but any ban carries risks

The head of France's Muslim council said Wednesday that the full-body veil worn by a minority of Muslims in France is an "entry way" to radical Islam, but that a national debate over whether to ban the garment in public is stigmatizing the entire Muslim community. Mohammed Moussaoui told a panel of lawmakers that any decision to outlaw the veils that cover the body and face risks feeding a sense of discrimination. [Yahoo - The Associated Press] Read more

13 October 2009

Turkish leader says kids need Islamic holiday off

The leader of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD) Kenan Kolat said Tuesday that non-Muslim schoolchildren should be allowed out of school for an important Islamic religious holiday. Kolat said that such a gesture would be a sign that German society is engaging with its immigrant population.

..... Yeah why not. Then you can give them a day off for Ulambana then one for Sukkot another one for Kwanzaa and another one for a bit of paganism and another one for .... [The Local Europe] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Flanders: half of women in shelters are minorities

Half of the women who seek shelter in Flemish women's shelters are from ethnic-cultural minorities. A considerable part are of Turkish or Moroccan origin. East Europeans show up more often in recent years and to a lesser degree there's also an increase in the number of illegal aliens. [Islam in Europe] Read more

French Muslim soccer team refuses to play gays

An amateur Muslim soccer team has provoked an outcry in France after refusing to play against a team which promotes homosexual rights and has gay players. The Creteil Bebel Muslim team pulled out of its planned tie with Paris Foot Gay (PFG) at the weekend, saying it went against their religious beliefs to play against homosexuals.

The PFG said they would sue Creteil Bebel for homophobia, but the team defended the pullout, saying religious convictions were much more important than any sporting event. “As a Muslim, I have the right not to play against homosexuals because I don’t share their ideas,” Zahir Belgarbi, one of the team directors, told France Bleu radio. [Reuters] Read more

Gays too dirty for Muslim Team .... This brings me to my, admittedly, provocative headline. Regrettably, the only conclusion I can come to is that the Muslim players were afraid they may be infected or contaminated by contact with the gay team. Presumably they play against teams who are perhaps Christian or Atheist. These are not views they share or philosophies they agree with either, but it doesn’t seem to cause a problem. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Muslim footballers deny homophobia and reverse their refusal to play a gay team A MAINLY Muslim non-league French side said they would, after all, take on rivals consisting of gay players, four days after snubbing them. Paris Foot Gay (PFG) – according to this report – were set to play fellow Creteil side Bebel, who are composed of mainly Muslim players last week but Bebel cried off a day beforehand, sending an email in which they regretted they could not honour the match as doing so was “against their principles”. [The Freethinker] Read more

MCB Doesn’t Understand the Term “Islamists”

.... We don’t regard Islamism as monolithic. Therefore, Harry’s Place writers try to specify which Islamist group we’re talking about - be it Jamaat-e-Islami, Hizb ut Tahrir, the Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda. It goes without saying that we object to any version of Islamist theory which seeks to enact scripture as law, particularly if it relies upon undemocratic councils of clerics with the power to strike down laws they transgress against religious principles. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Geert Wilders wins appeal against ban on travelling to UK

.... Judge CMG Ockelton, who chaired the tribunal, said that Wilders's opinions were expressed strongly and in a way that was bound to cause offence but that the right of freedom of expression was important in a democratic society. "Substantial evidence of actual harm would be needed before it would be proper for a government to prevent the expression and discussion of matters that might form the opinions of legislators, policy makers and voters," he said. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Court rules UK was wrong to bar Geert Wilders The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in London has ruled that Dutch rightwing politician Geert Wilders should not have been refused entry to the United Kingdom in February.

.... Mr Wilders said he was “very happy” about the ruling. He said the British government decision to bar him had been politically motivated and described today’s ruling as “not a victory for me, only a victory for freedom of speech”. He said he would be consulting with his UK lawyers, and planned to travel to Britain at the earliest possible opportunity. He denied being an extremist. [Radio Netherlands] Read more

12 October 2009

Touring the spiritual side of NYC

New York City is home to a significant Muslim population, and the community is a reflection of the city itself: vibrant, diverse, and colourful. Muslims in New York are South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, East Asian, European and African-American, speak an array of languages and practice Islam in their own culturally nuanced ways. [altmuslim] Read more

Kuwaiti women MPs refuse to wear hijab in parliament

The MPs, who were among the first four women to be elected to the country's National Assembly in May, have angered their Islamist colleagues, who say they say they are flouting sharia, or Islamic law. One of the two is going further by demanding the scrapping of an amendment to electoral regulations that says they have to observe sharia in parliament.

"You can't force a woman going to the mall to wear a hijab and you can't force a woman going to work to wear the hijab," the MP, Rola Dashti, told The Daily Telegraph. "This is not Iran or Saudi Arabia." The MPs' stand is part of a backlash against the fashion for stricter dress codes for women across the Arab world. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Aceh outrage over Miss Indonesia

Clerics in Indonesia's conservative Muslim province of Aceh say they are outraged that an Acehnese woman has won the title of Miss Indonesia. Qori Sandioriva, 18, won the Miss Indonesia title on Friday, beating 37 other contestants for the crown. The clerics say that by failing to wear a veil [sic] during the competition she has betrayed her Acehnese roots and brought shame to the province. Aceh has special autonomy in Indonesia and has implemented partial Sharia law. [BBC] Read more

11 October 2009

Swimming classes for Muslim girls pose dilemma

The head of the youth committee in Bergen thinks that it's a dilemma that many Muslim girls don't learn to swim because they're not allowed to go into a pool with boys. "In Norway we're not allowed to separate boys and girls in education. I think that's a principle that we should adhere to and that also Muslims parents should accept," stresses Røssland. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Sarrazin wins support for integration comments

Half of Germans agree with controversial remarks by federal bank board member Thilo Sarrazin, who said that most Arab and Turkish immigrants are “neither willing nor able to integrate,” a poll revealed on Sunday.

Sarrazin, Berlin's former finance minister, said in a recent interview with the Lettre International magazine that "a great many Arabs and Turks in this city, whose numbers have grown because of the wrong policies, have no productive function other than as fruit and vegetable sellers.

.... But a survey by pollster Emnid for Bild am Sonntag found that 51 percent of Germans agreed with Sarrazin while just 39 percent disagreed. [The Local Europe] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Burqa Debate in Denmark: Values or Expediency? (Part 1)

At its annual summer retreat, the Danish Conservative People's Party adopted a new policy platform on immigration and integration. Its general tone was to tighten up Denmark's already very strict immigration rules, but policy suggestions to speed up integration of minorities were also made.

Yet, what hit the headlines on the morning of Monday, August 17, was the proposal to ban the wearing of burqa in public. This seems to have caught all politicians by surprise, even some of those in the Conservative party itself. [Islam Online] Read more

Immigration made America strong - but it threatens to ruin Europe

Are Britain and Europe being swamped, overrun, defeated by a wave of mostly Muslim immigrants and their descendants? Or are Europe's ethnic problems the figment of a febrile political imagination - something created by racism, dishonesty and manipulation by extremist parties such as the BNP? Those are not the only two possibilities, of course, although a lot of people behave as if they are. [MailOnline] Read more

09 October 2009

Rights and wrongs of Baroness Warsi

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the shadow Community Cohesion Minister, made a speech at the Conservative Party Conference this week about religion and government. It was a bit of a curate’s egg.

.... She could have been quoting directly from NSS policy when she said: .... State multiculturalism is not integration, is not unifying and is not the British way.” We have been saying this for the past ten years. So far so good. But then the Baroness goes on to fall for the “religion is being persecuted” line.

.... she complains about Islamophobia, saying that religious extremists in the Muslim world are not representative, and ordinary Muslim citizens are getting a raw deal. [National Secular Society] Read more

Sayeeda Warsi criticises ’state multi-culturalism’, English Defence League Sayeeda Warsi gave a speech today at the Conservative Party conference. .... She said she had three key messages: 1. Labour’s reliance on multiculturalism has failed Britain 2. The state’s continued suspicion of faith is wrong 3. And the threat of terrorism is no excuse for demonising a whole community. .... She specifically focuses on ’state multiculturalism’ and makes a distinction by saying: [Pickled Politics] Read more

Minority religious holidays forced on schools

Teachers in the east London borough of Waltham Forest are expressing concern at the imposition of minority religious holidays on schools. Community schools in the borough will be obliged to close during Eid-Ul-Fitr, Guru Nanak and Diwali – regardless of whether or not they have any Hindu or Sikh pupils. But some teachers are questioning the appropriateness of the closures. [National Secular Society] Read more

‘Tolerating intolerance is not a virtue’

.... "The entire Arab world has lived in total indoctrination for a very long time. They are used to being oppressed, living under Sharia, having no freedom of speech whatsoever. They hear only one side of the news, and they vote accordingly.

Even wealthy Arabs believe the most incredible theories - I had that experience even before 9/11." But Islam has been moderate from time to time, I point out. Voltaire put it best in describing it as a violent sect that had become "benign and tolerant".

"I tell you why Islam was becoming moderate, and that was because Islam was weak. Then they discovered oil and a lot of Muslims looked on Saudi's oil as a blessing from God." But it is also, perhaps, because the West does not believe in itself. [Catholic Herald] Read more

Canadian Muslims Seek Ban On Public Wearing Of Burka

The Muslim Canadian Congress asked Ottawa on Wednesday to ban the public wearing of the burka and the niqab in Canada. The two items are Middle Eastern clothing used for covering a woman's face. Congress spokeswoman Farzana Hassan said the two garments are symbols of extremism and should not be worn in a country that supports gender equality. Hassan described the burka and the niqab as medieval and misogynist. [AHN] Read more

Fatwa stirs heated debate over face-veiling in Kuwait

The controversy over a ban of fully-veiled women in Egypt is sweeping the Middle East region, including Kuwait, with some voices against the full veil, niqab, and some others in favor. Egypt's leading cleric, Mohammad Tantawi, has issued a fatwa (religious edict) saying that wearing a face veil was not an obligation for women under Islam. Salafist Kuwaiti lawmaker Mohammed Hayef Al-Mutairi on Wednesday lambasted the senior Egyptian cleric by branding Tantawi's statement as shameless. [Kuwait Times] Read more [via Religious Watch]

08 October 2009

Zurich allows anti-minaret poster

Switzerland's biggest city, Zurich, has allowed the use of a controversial poster which urges a ban on the building of minarets in the country. The poster shows a woman dressed in a burka in front of black minarets standing on a Swiss flag. But Zurich city council said campaign posters were protected by free speech. [BBC] Read more

US hypocrisy on free speech at United Nations

The United States has backed a new UN resolution on free expression which would be considered unconstitutional under its First Amendment — which protects freedom of expression and bans sanctioning of religions. [Index on Censorship] Read more

The First Amendment and Obama’s Administration On October 2, 2009, the U.N. Human Rights Council approved a resolution that was cosponsored by the United States and Egypt which called on states to condemn and criminalize “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence."

The resolution also condemns "negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups", which can only mean that any criticism of Islam, and we know that Islam is the real issue here, will be seen as “negative stereotyping”. Furthermore, what will be perceived as “negative stereotyping” is to be decided subjectively by Muslims themselves. [Center for Inquiry] Read more [via Butterfliesandwheels.com]

Is the Obama Administration Supporting Calls to Outlaw Supposed Hate Speech? That's what it looks like, with this Joint U.S./Egypt draft U.N. Human Rights Council resolution (dated Sept. 2005). The resolution generally seems to be an attempt to urge more protection for free speech throughout the world, and some praise it for that; moreover, it lacks the exception for "defamation of religion" that some Muslim countries have urged.

.... But I'm worried that it might be a step backward for our own constitutional rights, because of what seems to be the U.S. endorsement of the suppression of .... "negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups." [huffingtonpost.com] Read more

Barack Obama adviser says Sharia Law is misunderstood

Miss Mogahed, appointed to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia was "oversimplified" and the majority of women around the world associate it with "gender justice". The White House adviser made the remarks on a London-based TV discussion programme hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

07 October 2009

New mosque breaks mould with local English-speaking imams

A new English-language mosque that opened earlier this year in the West End has been labelled a “beautiful example of a distinct European Muslim Identity” by an Edinburgh academic.

.... In a move designed to go against the tradition of foreign religious leadership of Britain's Muslim places of worship, the imams at the Blackhall mosque are all native English speakers and Scottish citizens. However, the Khutba—the Friday prayer—is still held in Arabic or Urdu. [The Edinburgh Journal] Read more

Egypt purges niqab from schools and colleges

Egypt has embarked on a campaign to restrict the most conservative forms of Muslim dress after one of Islam's most respected clerics ordered a schoolgirl to remove her niqab, or veil.

Sheikh Mohammed Tantawi was reportedly angered during a tour of a Cairo school when he saw a girl wearing a niqab, the full veil worn by some devout Muslim women which covers the entire body except for the eyes. Sheikh Tantawi, regarded by many as Egypt's Imam and Sunni Islam's foremost spiritual authority, asked the teenage girl to remove her veil saying: "The niqab is a tradition, it has no connection with religion." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Sheikh Tantawi orders a schoolgirl to remove her niqab The imam of Cairo's prestigious mosque of Al-Azhar has ordered a schoolgirl to remove her niqab, expressing determination to prohibit the wearing of the full veil in schools dependent on Al-Azhar, reported Monday the independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yom. [Ennahar] Read more

A powerful man humiliates a young girl .... It is quite shocking that this man can speak to a religious Muslimah this way in front of her teachers and classmates. I’m sure he does have more knowledge than her; if he did not study books which mention the rulings on female dress, he would not have become a scholar (then again, to do the job he seems to be doing now, you would not need to study for decades to become a proper Islamic scholar).

He surely knows that many major imams said that the niqab was compulsory, and that the rest said that it was an act with great merit and that the ‘standard’ hijab we know of today is only the minimum. He has thus lied publically in order to humiliate a young woman. [Indigo Jo Blogs] Read more

With scholars like these… Dr. Sayyid Tantawi hardly needs an introduction, for he has already established a reputable career, and his resume boasts of such fatwas as the one which encourages Muslim women in France to abandon the headscarf so that they may be in conformity with French law.

It appears, however, that the venerable Shaykh understands that his role cannot stop at merely removing the headscarf from our sisters. In his concern for the welfare of the Ummah, he has now taken an even bolder step. [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

Egyptian authority will issue an edict banning ‘full veils’ Egypt’s highest Muslim authority has said he will issue a religious edict against the growing trend for full women’s veils, known as the niqab. Sheikh Mohamed Tantawi, dean of al-Azhar university, called full-face veiling a custom that has nothing to do with the Islamic faith. [Talk Islam] Read more

06 October 2009

Contextualising Islam In Britain report released

A report which explores the philosophical and theological perspectives on what it means to be a Muslim in Britain today has been published.

.... It marks the culmination of a nine month research project which was hosted by the University of Cambridge in association with the Universities of Exeter and Westminster. A total of 26 Muslim scholars, academics and activists representing a diverse spectrum of views from Muslim communities in the UK took part in discussions about what it means to live as a Muslim in modern Britain. The report covers a wide range of issues including secularism, democracy, Shariah law, human rights and citizenship. Read more

Girl gets a year in jail, 100 lashes for adultery

A 23-year-old unmarried woman was awarded one-year prison term and 100 lashes for committing adultery and trying to abort the resultant fetus. The District Court in Jeddah pronounced the verdict on Saturday after the girl confessed that she had a forced sexual intercourse with a man who had offered her a ride. The man, the girl confessed, took her to a rest house, east of Jeddah, where he and four of friends assaulted her all night long. [The Saudi Gazette] Read more

Now Italy considers banning the burqa too

Italy today became the latest European government to announce it was considering introducing a law which would make wearing a burqa illegal. MPs from the anti-immigration Northern League party, a member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ruling right wing coalition, have presented the proposal in a bill. [MailOnline] Read more

A revolution in Saudi Arabia!....

KAUST is the first coeducational university in Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah has banned the Kingdom's much feared religious police - the mutaween - from entering its grounds. For the first time, there is a part of Saudi society where their authority does not reach.

.... In addition to being fully coeducational women are also allowed to drive and remove their headscarves on campus. Freemixing between the sexes will similarly be encouraged - something that can still land you in jail elsewhere in the Kingdom! Classes will also be delivered in English. [Standpoint] Read more

Saudi king sacks cleric for attack on his university King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch, has dimissed a senior Muslim cleric after he described a new university that will teach male and female students together as 'evil'.

.... Sheikh Saad al-Shethri was "relieved" of his duties on the influential Council of Religious Scholars, according to state television. He had described the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology as a "great sin" and had demanded that fellow scholars vet the curriculum to be taught at the flagship institution, which opened near Jeddah last month. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

05 October 2009

Gay Muslims need support

Discrimination based on sexuality is as wrong as that based on religion. The Muslim Council of Great Britain can take a lead. Some religious communities are not reciprocating the tolerance and respect they insist on from others when it comes to gay rights, particularly in Muslim and some Christian communities.

.... I had been invited to Dublin for a public discussion on issues surrounding religious freedom and sexuality alongside the production's director, Lloyd Newson, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Dr Katherine Zappone and Father Michael Collins. [Guardian CiF] Read more

Gay Rights Are An “Islamic Goal” Here at the Spittoon we have tended to give Inayat Bunglawala a bit of a hard time. But we also give credit where credit is due. In that spirit, he certainly deserves credit that, on the back of a panel discussion about religious freedom and sexuality in Dublin (in which he participated with Peter Tatchell), he has just written a spirited defence of gay rights. [The Spittoon] Read more See Also: [Talk Islam] Read

Muslim councillor faces protests as she takes prayer break at Tower Hamlets

A Muslim Labour councillor faced a backlash when a Town Hall meeting was adjourning while she went to pray. The development committee at Tower Hamlets stopped after five minutes to allow Muslim councillors a prayer break during its last meeting. Cllr Rania Khan faced shouts of "disgusting" from the public gallery as she left to pray and on her return said she had been disturbed by the "abuse hurled at her".

A former Labour councillor, Ronald Osborne, sitting in the gallery, said: "We weren't hurling abuse at her. But you don't stop a meeting to pray, that should be done beforehand. Are they paying her to pray? People rushed home from work to get to this meeting and it's not fair to keep them waiting." [East London Advertiser] Read more [via Europe News]

Islam and Polygamy

.... a major newspaper recently carried an opinion piece by a Muslim spokesman advocating polygamy in Australia. If a Christian were to write an article suggesting something equally bizarre, it would never see the light of day. .... But the Melbourne Age evidently thought it was quite alright to actually run with this nonsense, presumably because a Muslim was pushing it. [Culture Watch] Read more

Why should polygamy be a crime? .... While Islam sanctions polygyny [sic], it does not condone threesomes. Islam also does not permit polyandry, a form of relationship in which a wife takes more than one husband. There are many reasons for this. Some are medical, some relate to paternity. [theage.com.au] Read more

04 October 2009

Muslim groups hit out over 'funding with security strings attached'

The government is facing a rebellion over its anti-terrorism strategy from Muslim groups that claim public funding to tackle social deprivation has been made contingent on security co-operation. Leaders of Muslim organisations have told the Guardian that the Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE) initiative is stigmatising Muslims and that much-needed money to tackle widespread social problems is only being granted with strings attached.
[guardian.co.uk] Read more

Bundesbank official under police investigation after blasting Turks for 'conquering Germany'

Dr Thilo Sarrazin, a member of the executive board and head of the bank's risk control operations, told Europe's culture magazine Lettre International that Turks with low IQs and poor child-rearing practices were "conquering Germany" by breeding two or three times as fast.

".... What's more, they cultivate an aggressive and atavistic mentality. It's a scandal that Turkish boys won't listen to female teachers because that is what their culture tells them", he said. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Germany's Turks indignant at comments by Bundesbank board member Germany's Turkish community expressed indignation on Thursday over derogatory comments by Thilo Sarrazin. Sarrazin, 64, had said in an interview that many of Berlin's Turkish and Arab population were 'unwilling, and unable to integrate,' and worsened conditions in the German capital. [Monsters and Critics.com] Read more

United Nations Declares Jihad On Free Speech!

Criticising Islam is a violation of Sharia law and now the United Nations seeks to impose that aspect of Sharia on the entire world. The United Nations seems quite eager to acquiesce in this unacceptable attack on the free world, and no doubt Western leaders, who obviously hate their own cultures and the freedoms that form part of them, are willing to spit on our most precious of values. [Liberties Alliance] Read more

Times Exposes Jack Straw Links With Blackburn Radicals

.... A senior security figure who has seen the report said it underlined concern among cabinet colleagues that Straw could be "too close" to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), a prominent Muslim umbrella group. The government formally severed links with the group after a blazing row over extremism earlier this year. [Standpoint] Read more

More Insults, Please - Blocking Muslim cartoons and other attempts at Web censorship

Insults are a longstanding part of free expression in much of the West but are under pressure in our digital era of instantaneous communication. Instead of the Internet adding to freedom as we usually assume it does, its global reach makes it an excuse for censorship.

Many governments lobby for anti-insult laws, even though insults are a key means of criticism. Leaders of several Muslim countries have tried to get perceived insults to their religion reclassified as offenses. [Wall Street Journal] Read more

03 October 2009

Will We Ever See a Pro-Active MCB?

MPACUK has always asked Muslims to get politically aware and active and it is sad to see that our most prominent organisations can still get accused and attacked so easily by elements within our society whose raison d'être is nothing more than to try and malign or portray Muslims in a negative light at every possible opportunity. [MPACUK] Read more

Foreign brides face tougher immigration rules

.... 'Women often end up living with their parents-in-law and this can lead to situations bordering on slavery,' Van der Laan was quoted by Nos tv as saying. Some women are not allowed out, speak hardly any Dutch and are unknown to the Dutch authorities, the ministers said.

There is a real risk that their children are not raised to be adequate citizens... which can lead to them dropping out of school, becoming a public nuisance or, at worst, turning to crime,' the minister said in his proposal note to MPs. [DutchNews.nl] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Some more on Paul Kurtz

.... The relevant UN convention (see Article 20 of the ICCPR) requires the legal suppression of religious hate speech that causes mere "hostility". But many things cause some hostility, and a degree of hostility (provided it is not violent) is not actually unwelcome in pluralistic societies.

For example, there's a fair bit of hostility between political parties, supporters of rival football teams, opposed economic theorists, etc. The word "hostility" is potentially very broad. [Metamagician and the Hellfire Club] Read more [via butterfliesandwheels.com]

German publisher drops novel over fears of Muslim backlash

A German publisher has cancelled plans to publish a mass-market novel out of fears that it might face violent protests due to a rude reference to the Koran, Der Spiegel magazine reported Saturday. [Monsters and Critics.com] Read more

02 October 2009

Syed Qutb: The Philosopher of Militant Islamism

What’s wrong with Syed Qutb? I’ve heard this said many times by different people. Some see him as a hero, others the inspiration behind terrorist movements like al-Qaeda. There are even those, like Inayat Bunglawala, who see him as nothing more than a little controversial. In this article I will be taking a brief look at Qutb’s life and ideas, and why he is still admired by militant Islamist movements today. [The Spittoon] Read more

Manningham parents fear food doesn't comply with Islamic law

A school where the majority of pupils are Muslim has removed Halal meat from its menu amid fears that children might have been eating school dinners that do not comply with Islamic law.

Parents at Green Lane Primary School, Manningham, demanded an emergency meeting to discuss mounting concerns that Halal meat supplies were not being monitored properly. Today, Bradford Council assured the Muslim community that it could have “complete confidence” in the authenticity of its Halal food. [The Telegraph & Argus] Read more

Immigrant Muslims in Belleville

Anyone wanting to understand the situation of Muslims in Europe should visit Belleville. The rundown Parisian neighbourhood just east of the city centre is packed with couscous restaurants, Islamic bookshops and French citizens of Arab origin.

About 1.5 million nominal Muslims live in the Paris region, more than in any other ­European city..... What is happening now is that the Republic is drawing the borders of French Islam. France has accepted the presence of Muslims – “We are a mixed country. It’s done,” Roy told me – and now it’s setting limits. The Republic had already stamped on flirts with terrorism and on imams who praised wife-beating.

Now “weird” clothing is out, too. Muslims can remain Muslims if they wish, but they are also to be turned into “petits français”, like those toddlers in Belleville holding hands with their Franco-Chinese and white pals. It’s the same path followed by the Italians, Jews and Poles who have come to France at different times in the past 150 years. All were once considered alien. All have since been assimilated. [FT.com] Read more

Head of St Paul's, Dr Martin Stephen, attacks 'divisive' faith schools

The head teacher of one of the country’s leading independent school has criticised the country’s faith schools, arguing that they are divisive and fail to teach respect for other faiths. Martin Stephen, the High Master of St Paul’s, in Barnes, West London, itself a school with a Christian foundation, said that faith schools were too often “founded on fear”. [Times Online] Read more

01 October 2009

Egypt anger over virginity faking

A leading Egyptian scholar has demanded that people caught importing a female virginity-faking device into the country should face the death penalty.

Abdul Mouti Bayoumi said supplying the item was akin to spreading vice in society, a crime punishable by death in Islamic Sharia law. The device is said to release liquid imitating blood, allowing a female to feign virginity on her wedding night. [BBC] Read more [via The Freethinker]

Muslim girls and women with problems in Austria

Austrias Broadcasting Corporation reports that girls and women with a religious preference to the Islam have massive problems in Austria. Few days ago a muslim schoolgirl was attacked by two schoolmates, which tried to set her on fire with a lighter. Now Muslim associations in Austria claim that such kind of encroachments are no individual cases.

Muslim women have to suffer sneer and discriminations day in, day out. Roswitha Al Hussein is the spokeswoman of the female Muslim club called “SOMM”. She said that the case of the Muslim schoolgirl in Styria is extraordinary savage, but also psychological violations, which Muslim women in Austria has to accept day by day, are also quite bad. [Austria News] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Headscarf/Muslim Veil roundup

In the Netherlands, Belgium and France, there are various discussions about acting against the Muslim headscarf or burqa.

Brussels: A young jurist, who is not a lawyer, asked to take the oath and argue in court with a headscarf. The Francophone Law Society of Brussels denied her request. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Why I drew the cartoon: The ‘Muhammad Affair’ in retrospect

.... As I noted at the beginning of my article and in my talk yesterday, the ‘cartoon affair’ is the central barometer of values in our time, particularly regarding free speech. The university is based on the idea of discourse and discussion free from fear of reprisal or terror.

Princeton, and all academic institutions, therefore have a particularly large stake in this debate. If my cartoons could not be published, then the whole idea of a liberal university is a sham. And so, finally, do I regret having made the cartoon? Not for a moment. Despite the price I have had to pay, I am sure that I did the right thing. I would draw it again given the chance. [Daily Princetonian] Read more

Muslim leader in plea for harmony

A NEWMARKET Muslim leader has appealed to town organisations and residents to work with its growing community, which is set to triple over the next two years. [Newmarket Journal] Read more