30 November 2009

Faith school plan to be scrutinised

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

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

Muslim dentist loses discrimination suit

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

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

Tory Muslim peer pelted with eggs

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

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

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

Hizb ut-Tahrir and the 1997 Redress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 November 2009

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

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

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

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

If only I could explain where this violence comes from

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28 November 2009

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

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

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

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

UK Muslims make case for Sharia law

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

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

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

27 November 2009

A setback for the Brotherhood in Britain

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

Oh Bungle!

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

26 November 2009

Can a Muslim say happy Christmas to his friends?

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

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

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

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

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

Schools of incendiary thought

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

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

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

25 November 2009

Islam's arrested development

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

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

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

Cameron questions PM on Hizb ut- Tahrir affiliated schools

David Cameron, Leader of the Opposition, during Prime Minister’s Question Time today questioned the PM on the subject of public funds allegedly given to two Muslim schools that are said to have links to Hizb ut-Tahrir. Cameron also touched on proscribing the group arguing that despite an ‘explicit promise’ by the former Prime Minister to ban HT, it remained active in the UK. [ENGAGE] Read more

Schools supremo Michael Gove learns painful lesson about getting the facts right Seeing that two schools linked to Hizb ut Tahrir had received cash from the Early Years Pathfinder scheme which funds free nursery places, Mr Gove had mistakenly thought that it was part of the Preventing Violent Extremism pathfinder project that is supposed to tackle indoctrination. In fact the two schemes are entirely separate. [Times Online] Read more

24 November 2009

Multicultural Crime Blotter: Male Medics, Police Touch Muslim Women

Islamists would not be Islamists without demanding that Muslims live by separate rules and that the rest of us modify our behavior to suit them. Male-female interactions form a common battleground in this respect, with even neighborly hellos to Muslim women known to stir trouble.

Whether hypnotized by multiculturalism or simply hoping to avoid conflict, some Westerners clearly have internalized the view that female Muslims are to be kept off limits to unrelated men, regardless of the specific circumstances and context — including car crashes and police raids. [Islamist Watch] Read more

Europe's identity crisis

In future an immigrant arriving in Germany and wishing to stay may have to sign an "integration contract". That is the idea of the Integration Minister, Maria Boehmer.

The contract would set out basic German "values," including "freedom of speech" and "equal rights for women". The idea behind this is the club: if you join you have to accept the rules.

"Anyone who wants to live here for a long time," says the minister, "and who wants to work has to say 'yes' to our country". In different forms ideas like this are surfacing across Europe. The concern is that significant parts of European cities exist as "parallel societies". There is not a shared identity and so there is not a common citizenship. [BBC] Read more

Debate between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Tariq Ramadan - Part 1 of 3

Reform Islam is still by far a minority reading of Islam.
- The majority of Muslims believe in an orthodox, literalist reading of Islam.
- What is written in the Quran and Sunnah is not compatible with the modern values held in the secular states we live in today.
- If we accept the idea that the Quran was written by human beings then we can easily change or abrogate parts of the Quran.
- If you are a Muslim who believes the Quran can be changed you are under the threat of death.
- The Ismailis, the Bahai, and the Ahmadis have taken some steps to change Islam, not necessarily to match modern values but in their own way. They are now considered Non-Muslims by other Muslims are not allowed to enter Mecca for Hajj.
- There is some movement on more modern, dynamic readings of Islam in the Muslim community in places like Germany and Morocco (Germany has many Moroccan immigrants, Morocco is known for being somewhat liberal in their Islam). [Muslims Against Sharia] Read more

Rich potentates, hate preachers, and creationists - the world's most influential Muslims

The world’s top 500 Muslims - Read and vote .... A new book .... lists prominent Muslims from different fields — politics, religion, women, media, even radicals — with informative short biographies explaining who they are. It starts with an overall “top 50" list and then surveys the most prominent Muslims in their fields. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

I’m a Orthodox Traditional Fundamentalist Sunni according to “Top 500 Most Influential Muslims” .... From what I read it’s clear there is a clear bias of anti-Salafism. They said that “Traditional Islam” makes up about 96% of the world Muslims. “Islamic Modernism” makes up about 1% and “Islamic Fundamentalism” makes up about 3%. I thought to myself, that’s a pretty good analysis and understand of Muslim demographics worldwide. Within any masjid community that’s pretty much what I say (give or take a few percentages). [Mujahideen Ryder] Read more

23 November 2009

Successful rally against Sharia law in UK

.... Many speakers criticised the right of religion to special status to undermine fundamental human rights. David Pollock of the European Humanist Federation said: ‘Sharia courts seek to provide a parallel legal system…

Arguments for Sharia law are based on the concept of group rights. And group rights are inherently hostile to human rights.’ MP Evan Harris condemned the government for giving privileged advisory status on policy and legislation to often unrepresentative faith leaders. Lawyer Rony Miah said: ‘Having separate systems of law for different communities .... will only lead to a fragmenting of communities – not cohesion.’ [One Law for All] Read more

22 November 2009

Where are all these militant atheists ruining Britain?

.... That brief moment of principled politics is over. There's talk of the government giving the MCB's Sir Iqbal "death perhaps is a bit too easy for Salman Rushdie" Sacranie a peerage. Meanwhile, ministers are about to cut financial support for Sufi Muslims who, like the majority of Britain's Muslims, Sunni or Shia, are not represented by the MCB.

.... Islamists are all over Whitehall again. Denham is entertaining Inayat Bunglawala of the MCB, who gave a taste of the "progressive" policies Labour is encouraging when he wrote an article defending Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a preacher who recommends wife-beating, genital mutilation of girls and the murder of apostates and homosexuals. [Guardian Cif] Read more

We'll defend freedom in Harrow

Ever since our successful demonstration against al-Muhajiroun (under the name of Islam4UK) .... we have been inundated with calls and emails from Muslims and non-Muslims alike who have expressed their appreciation at our efforts to uphold democratic values and those of freedom and liberty in the face of extremism and bigotry. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Stop the Islamisation of Europe and the Madness of Stephen Gash In Comment is Free (CiF), Shaaz Mahboob, the Vice-Chair of British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD), has written a piece in which he asks Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) to call off their planned demonstration outside the Harrow Mosque. BMSD have also written an open letter to the SIOE head, Stephen Gash, which carries the same message. [Standpoint] Read more

bmsd’s letter to “Stop the Islamisation of Europe” Dear Mr Gash, We are a group of Muslim democrats who are committed to the values that define the British state, including legal and constitutional equality for all, equal rights for women and minorities, and religious freedom, including the right to be free of faith.

We take such pride in these virtues that we actively seek to defend them against any individual, political group or organised religious outfit which seeks to impose their religious beliefs upon others (thereby infringing the right of all people to practice any religion or to be free of any religion). [British Muslims for Secular Democracy] Read more

'Muslim suffragettes' fight for mosque vote

MUSLIM women have launched an audacious campaign to win the vote at Scotland's biggest mosque. A group of students, many aged under 20, say they are being effectively barred from taking part in elections because applications from women to become voting members are being turned down. [news.scotsman.com] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Muslim "suffragettes" Muslim females in Scotland look set to take on the Bearded wonders at Glasgow's central Mosque who refuse to allow Sisters to take part in elections as they are indirectly banned from voting.

.... Far to many mosques in this country are run by illiterate peasants from Pakistan who have successfully established a cottage industry for their families while using the mosque as a front for their various nefarious activities. [London Muslim] Read more

21 November 2009

God and Government: Islam and West Are Incompatible

.... These comments reflect a belief that Islam should be treated no differently from the various sects within Christianity. Some people go to Baptist churches, some attend Lutheran services, some attend Catholic mass, some play golf -- and some attend their local mosque. After all, we have "freedom of religion" guaranteed by the Constitution, don't we?

Doesn't that extend to Islam as well? The truth is that the Constitution's treatment of religion is premised upon concepts originating from within Christianity that are irreconcilable with the Islamic worldview. The Constitution prevents the "establishment" of a state religion. But the very idea that the state cannot or should not establish a religion is unique to Christianity. There is no parallel for this idea in Islam. [American Thinker] Read more

Muslim fury over 2012 doomsday movie culminates in students torching DVDs

IF YOU thought the Muslim world would be grateful that the Kaaba in Mecca is spared from destruction in Roland Emmerich’s latest doomsday movie, 2012, think again.

A bunch of witless Muslims .... have condemned the apocalyptic offering as “blasphemous” and is urging Muslims to boycott it. .... the movie contains scenes that “contravene the principles of Islam”. What has enraged Muslim leaders most is a scene showing the salvation of a family who decide to shelter in a church, while a mosque is completely destroyed. [The Freethinker] Read more

France: Report denounces 'destructive' polygamy

According to a survey of French Muslims, 70% think polygamy should be banned in France. 22% think it should be permitted for those people whose religion allows it. Sonia Imloul, the author of the report, estimates there are 40,000-50,000 polygamous families in France today, totaling at least 400,000 children.

These children, she says, live in crowded apartments and do not get the same opportunities for success. They suffer psychological troubles, no special support from their parents. There are also many cases of domestic violence in such families, particularly between the wives. The climate is destructive. [Islam in Europe] Read more

20 November 2009

Not at Home in Germany - Almost Half of Turkish Migrants Want to Leave.

This week, results of the first study comparing opinions of Germans, Turks and Turks living in Germany were announced. There were some grounds to celebrate integration but there were also problems.

Many immigrants say they feel out of place in both countries, almost half want to return home and Turkish youth are becoming more conservative than their elders. There are almost three million Turkish people living in Germany and, according to a new study released this week, almost half of them intend to return to Turkey at some stage. And interestingly, more younger Turks want to return to Turkey than their elders. [SPIEGEL ONLINE] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

19 November 2009

Chopping off hands of thieves is 'deserving punishment'

Imam Mohamed El Sadi, the Muslim leader in Malta, believes chopping off the hands of thieves is a "deserving punishment". Mr El Sadi made the statement during Monday's television programme Bondiplus, where he defended Sharia law

.... Contacted yesterday, Mr El Sadi stood by his comments and added the world was incurring the "wrath of God" through its permissiveness and destruction of spiritual and moral values, namely through the acceptance of "same-sex marriages, homosexuality, adultery and abortion".

..... "What is wrong with Sharia law? If someone steals, he is taking from the country or the poor, so why is it wrong to cut off his hand?" the Imam replied. Mr El Sadi said the punishment should terrify thieves and criminals, "not the good people". When speaking to The Times about his remarks, the Imam said: "Why don't you concentrate on what is common rather than pick on what is controversial?" [Times of Malta.com] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Muslim students want to use gym hall for prayer, deans object

The Muslim Student Society asked to use a gym hall at Oslo university (Blindern) for half an hour every Friday for prayer, but the university administration is skeptic. Deans Hans Petter Graver (Law) and Trygve Wyller (Theology) are critical of such use of common areas.

They want a principle debate on how you can meet the demands for exercising one's religion and at the same time protect the common, secular space, reports Uniforum, the university's newspaper. There's an especially big influx into the university's prayer room for Muslims on Friday afternoon, when 40-80 Muslims come in to pray. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Just say no to sharia law

.... This the key point of the protest is to show support for the many courageous, inspiring Muslims who are campaigning against the inequalities and inhumanities of sharia law, often at great risk to their liberty and life.

Contrary to the way our critics are trying to misrepresent our campaign, this is not an attack on Muslims or Islam. Nor are we uniquely condemning sharia law. We reject all religious laws and courts, including those inspired by Judaist and Christian fundamentalism. [Guardian Cif] Read more

We must lead fight against extremists

.... I suggested it was a tragedy that east London, for so long associated with Jewish immigration and the fight against fascism, had now become the home of the Islamist extreme right.

How had East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre, both dominated by Jamaat-i-Islami (South Asia’s version of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood) come to be the first port of call for British politicians? .... The reality is that the institutions have played a central role in promoting a sectarian Islam that represents only one strand of thinking within the magnificent diversity of this world religion. [The JC.com] Read more

Martin 'The Great Koran Con Trick' Bright Issues Call For Alliance Against 'Islamists' .... There is a lazy pseudo-intellectualism that pervades the thinking and writing of those, like Bright, who employ the sort of reductionism that allows them to equate Jamaat-i-Islami with the Muslim Brotherhood, and both these movements with ‘totalitarian politics’.

The reductionism is deliberately employed to conjure up images of a single pervasive enemy with no regard for the multiplicity of views which prevail within movements such as the JI and MB, let alone at the East London Mosque and the London Muslim Centre. [ENGAGE] Read more

18 November 2009

In WA, old mining town elects a Muslim mayor

Granite Falls residents are suspicious of any newcomers, let alone a Muslim native of Pakistan who moved to this rugged, blue-collar mining town to open his own bar. But 54-year-old Haroon Saleem has thrived, winning over the town with hard work and an easy smile. He has become so popular that, on Nov. 3, he won the mayor's job in a landslide, getting 61 percent of the more than 800 votes cast — a result that residents say would have been inconceivable not long ago.

"In the old Granite Falls, there were no minorities. It was a rough, rough, logging town. Any outsider, whether a minority or somebody from Everett, was the same. It was very difficult to be accepted in this town," said Sharon Ashton, a close confidant of Saleem. Saleem said he was nervous about being accepted, and hired a white assistant manager to ease local concerns when he opened his bar in 2000. [The Associated Press] Read more [via Talk Islam]

MPs approve bill to outlaw places of worship for non-Muslims

MPs called for lengthy jail sentences and hefty fines in a bill to outlaw places of worship for non-Muslims in the Maldives. At today’s sitting, a bill .... on making it illegal to either build places of worship for “false religions” or practice other faiths in public was sent to committee for further review with unanimous consent. [Minivan News] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Still extreme

As has been pointed out here before, the idea that the Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Inayat Bunglawala is a reformed character who now espouses moderate and liberal attitudes was always risible. Now he himself has helpfully provided fresh evidence that the very opposite is the case.

On the Islamist website Islam Online, he has again supported the Muslim Brotherhood religious authority Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who supports human bomb attacks against both Israelis and coalition forces in Iraq, not to mention the execution of homosexuals and other similarly fanatical positions. [The Spectator] Read more

Witch-Hunt Against UK Muslim Organizations In the wake of the tragic killing of 13 US soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas, a number of Britain-based think tanks, newspapers, and websites have sought to capitalize on reports saying that the suspected gunman, Nidal Malik Hasan, was allegedly in contact with a well-known Yemeni imam called Anwar Al-Awlaki. The purpose of such focus is to engage in a modern version of a McCarthyite witch-hunt against leading UK Islamic organizations and Muslim individuals. [IslamOnline.net] Read more

Integration in the Netherlands 'largely successful'

The heated Dutch debate about ethnic minorities and their integration could leave the impression that immigration in the Netherlands has been a complete failure.

But a government report released this week says some progress has been made in the past ten years. According to integration minister .... "integration has been largely successful," although he added that "for many it has not". [NRC International] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Somali woman stoned for adultery

A 20-year-old woman divorcee accused of committing adultery in Somalia has been stoned to death by Islamists in front of a crowd of about 200 people.

A judge working for the militant group al-Shabab said she had had an affair with an unmarried 29-year-old man. He said she gave birth to a still-born baby and was found guilty of adultery. Her boyfriend was given 100 lashes. [BBC] Read more

Faith is a fact and we must work with it

AC Grayling's hyperbolic rant about my panel of faith advisors reminded me of something. But it took me a few minutes to realise that it was of those dogmatic, overbearing and arrogant preachers who exist in most faiths and of whom we would both disapprove. It certainly failed to engage in any serious consideration of the relationship between government and faith. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Denham's misplaced 'faith group' faith John Denham, our government's minister for communities, is going to have an advisory body made up of representatives of "faith" groups, further eroding the de facto secularism that has kept our society relatively stable and collegial, at least until recently.

He pours scorn on secularists, which means the majority of the population who, whatever their faith or lack of it, are secularist in the sense that they do not wish religion, still less any one particular religion, to be in the driving seat of policymaking in this country. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Faith talk .... The terminology reveals the government's basic dishonesty here. Take Denham's most recent speech, launching "Inter-Faith Week" (and announcing that he had £2 million to spend on the "Faiths in Action" programme).

The word "faith" appeared seventy-nine times in the course of his remarks. The word religion, by contrast, appeared once - and that was in a quote from a Dr Singh about "barriers of misunderstanding and prejudice that divide our different religions". It's easy to see why. "Faith" is a friendly, mushy catch-all, encoded with positive ideas such as commitment, honesty, trust, integrity and wholesomeness.

It's one of those words - "diversity" is another - that are used to circumvent thought. "Religion", by contrast, brings in all sorts of awkward questions - claims to truth, exclusivity, peculiarity of practice, the wagging clerical or divine finger proclaiming Thou Shalt Not. Religion separates; faith unites. [Heresy Corner] Read more

Faith groups to be key policy advisers John Denham, the communities secretary, said the values of Christians, Muslims and other religions were essential in building a "progressive society". He attacked secularists who have called for religion to be kept out of public life. Mr Denham revealed that a new panel of religious experts has been set up to advise the Government on making public policy decisions.

The move has been criticised by secularists who warned that it represented a worrying development. However, Mr Denham argued that Christians and Muslims can contribute significant insights on key issues, such as the economy, parenting and tackling climate change. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

17 November 2009

Right-wing Finnish councillor, fined for calling Big Mo a kiddy-fiddler, is to appeal

JUSSI Halla-aho, an independent member of the Helsinki City Council elected to the council on the True Finns ticket, plans to appeal against his recent conviction of violating the sanctity of religion.

The Helsinki District Court fined him 330 Euros. The right-wing politician who runs a popular blog insists that he did not intend to hurt anyone, and said: The indictment is wrong. Violating the sanctity of religion requires an intent to hurt. [The Freethinker] Read more

Conservative Muslim Forum shunned by CCHQ

.... It transpires that the Conservative Muslim Forum has been so keen to win the Muslim vote that they have been lifting entire sections of text from ‘IslamOnline’ – a website founded by Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

That he happens to be a ‘hate preacher’ and banned from Britain is apparently of no consequence..... Yusuf al-Qaradawi doubtless spouts an awful lot that is ‘in line with mainstream Muslim thought’: it is the custom of the devil to appear as an angel of light. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Muslim academics and students are turning against Darwin's theory

Muslims in many countries are increasingly rejecting Darwin’s theory of evolution, under the influence of conservative elements in Islam, a science conference was told yesterday.

.... in too many places students and academics believed they had to make a “binary choice” between evolution and creationism, rather than understanding that one could believe both in God and in Darwin’s theory. [Times Online] Read more

Muslim creationism is back in the news, this time in Egypt .... There’s been a spate of articles in the U.S. and British press recently about the spread of this scripture-based challenge to Darwinian evolution among Muslims, mostly in the Middle East but also in Europe. The fact that some Muslims have embraced creationism, a trademark belief of some conservative American Protestants, is not new. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Al-Aulaqi's extremism is nothing new

.... Most disturbingly of all, Aulaqi has been actively promoted by some of the United Kingdom's most prominent Islamist organisations. Bunglawala's description of Aulaqi's relationship with these organisations is an understatement of the seriousness of the problem. There are two points that are central to Bunglawala's discussion of Aulaqi's connections in the UK.

The first is that when Islamic organisations began inviting Aulaqi to this country in the late 1990s, Aulaqi showed "no hint of his later extremism". The second, that Aulaqi only became radicalised due to the US war against Iraq in 2003, and is therefore somehow the product of western foreign policy. However, under greater scrutiny, neither of these claims stand up, even from the data available in the public domain on Aulaqi. [Guardian Cif] Read more

The Awlaki Colony – Infested by Denialists Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens’ remarkable report (pdf) uncovering Anwar al-Awlaki’s links to Islamist organisations and individuals, exposed an extensive array of linkages, meetings, lectures and articles all designed to distribute and disseminate Awlaki’s ideology here in the UK has led to a flurry of denials and disclaimers from various Islamist organisations. Amongst the named and shamed are the Islamic Forum Europe (IFE), East London Mosque (ELM), Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), Cage Prisoners (CP) and the Cordoba Foundation (TCF). [The Spittoon] Read more

16 November 2009

Renouncing Islamism: To the brink and back again

.... Seventeen former radical Islamists have "come out" in the past 12 months and have begun to fight back. Would they be able to tell me the reasons that pulled them into jihadism, and out again? Could they be the key to understanding – and defusing – Western jihadism?

I have spent three months exploring their world and befriending their leading figures. Their story sprawls from forgotten English seaside towns to the jails of Egypt's dictatorship and the icy mountains of Afghanistan – and back again. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Hard Evidence - Seven salient facts about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan

The admonition not to rush to judgment or jump to conclusions might sound fair and prudent enough, perhaps even statesmanlike when uttered by the president, as long it's borne in mind that such advice is itself a judgment that is more than halfway to a conclusion.

What it plainly implies in the present case is that the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan should not be assumed in any meaningful way to be related to his Muslim faith. [Slate] Read more

Sarkozy bottles banning the burka

.... Your hopes for ban have stumbled after legal experts, local officials, Muslim leaders and even some militant secularists told the veil inquiry during the debate on national identity that a ban could be anti-constitutional, counterproductive and impossible to enforce.

French Islamic community leaders have also warned against passing a law that would stigmatise Muslims. I cannot comment on a ban being anti-constitutional, but the issue of a ban being counterproductive and ‘impossible’ to enforce merits discussion. [Letters From A Tory] Read more

15 November 2009

No TV, no music, beards a must: new rules in a Gujarat riot relief camp

A London-based charity that set up a rehabilitation colony for Muslim victims who lost their homes in Gujarat’s 2002 riots is laying down a hard “Sharia law” for those living there — forcing many to pack up and leave.

The Muslim Relief Organisation, run by NRI businessmen in London, built 46 houses in Detral, a village in Bharuch, for families of riot victims. Now it has imposed a blanket ban on what it calls “shaitani” (devilish) things such as TV, music systems and all forms of electronic entertainment. It has threatened to evict the riot victims if they don’t adhere to these. [Indian Express] Read more [via Women Against Shariah]

Responding to the Fort Hood Tragedy

This is my response to the Fort Hood tragedy and events both associated with it and ensuing from it. I begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the families of all of the dead and wounded.

There is no legitimate reason for their deaths, just as I firmly believe there is no legitimate reason for the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians who have perished as a result of those two conflicts. Even though I disagree with the continued prosecution of those wars, and even though I believe that the US war machine is the single greatest threat to world peace .... [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

We need to talk about Islam, now

.... It's not politically correct to admit -- or even discuss -- the fact that the West is facing one of the greatest challenges to its traditions of plurality, democracy, freedom of speech and expression.

Instead we call it "multiculturalism" or "cultural relativism" and applaud it, as if tolerating unfair, inequitable and in some cases downright barbaric 'traditions' is somehow a noble, righteous cause. It's not. It's a deliberate and cowardly attempt to ignore what is going on right under our noses in case we may be branded racist, sectarian or worse. [Independent.ie] Read more [via National Secular Society]

54% think Islam is intolerant

50.4% of Europeans think their country has too many immigrants. In general, half of the Europeans have prejudices against immigrants, religious groups or minorities, according to a German report that questioned 8,000 Europeans in 8 countries.

The response varies considerably from country to country. 27.1% of Poles think there are too many immigrants, compared with 46% in the Netherlands and 62.4% in Italy. 54.4% of the respondents said that Islam was an intolerant religion. 22% thought that most Muslims justify terrorism. [Islam in Europe] Read more

14 November 2009

Iranian envoy says British Muslims must quit Armed Forces

The Iranian Envoy to London, another Ayatollah with a long name has advised/warned British Muslims to leave the armed forces. Apparently according to the Ayatollah " Muslims are not allowed to go and kill Muslims". Interesting as this comes from a regime that has just slaughtered its own Iranian Muslims who happened to be democrats calling for the restoration of a genuine representative democracy.

London Muslim finds it interesting how certain Muslims like to hide behind our faith selectively quoting the prohibition of Muslims killing other Muslim yet history shows that biggest killers of Muslims are Muslims. The lack of self awareness within our community is amazing. [London Muslim] Read more

13 November 2009

Groups Oppose U.N. 'Defamation of Religions' Proposals

More than 100 organizations, including Muslim and secularist ones, have signed a petition against the proposed U.N. resolutions on the "defamation of religions," which they contend will do more harm than good for religious freedom.

The “Common Statement from Civil Society on the Concept of the ‘Defamation of Religions,'” signed by organizations in over 20 countries, opposes the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s (OIC) proposal for the United Nations to adopt a binding treaty that would protect religions from defamation. The groups pointed out that a similar resolution adopted earlier this year only cites Islam as the religion that should be protected. [Christian Post] Read more [via Religious Watch]

France will oppose but not ban burqas

France will issue recommendations against full face veils but not pass a law barring Muslim women from wearing them, a leading backer of a legal ban said on Friday. Andre Gerin, chairman of a parliamentary inquiry into use of full face veils in France, reluctantly ruled out a ban one day after President Nicolas Sarkozy repeated his conviction that "France is a country that has no place for the burqa." [Reuters] Read more

Quilliam v Craig Murray: another misconceived libel claim?

.... Brett from Harry's Place - a blog that has consistently championed Ed Husain and his "think-tank" - wrote of his disappointment that "our friends" at QF sent for the lawyers, although he claimed Craig Murray was "mad as a hatter and sometimes quite nasty".

.... "It is not nice threatening bloggers with letters from lawyers," wrote Brett - who should know, HP itself was threatened with legal action last year by Mohammed Sawalha of the British Muslim Initiative. "What’s more, it is generally unnecessary." Indeed. [Heresy Corner] Read more

Parents say son was tormented for eating salami sandwich during Ramadan

A SYDNEY couple has withdrawn their two children from a public primary school, claiming their 11-year-old son was bullied by Muslim students because he ate a salami sandwich during Ramadan. Andrew Grigoriou said yesterday he complained to the school and to police after his son Antonios was chased and later assaulted by Muslim students after a confrontation over the contents of his lunch, [The Daily Telegraph] Read more

Christians abused our children too, say Muslim parents MUSLIM parents have told how their children were also victims of abuse and bullying from other students as they fasted during the daylight hours of Ramadan. The families said yesterday some "Christian" children provoked Muslim students by thrusting food or drinks in their faces during observance of the sacred religious month. [The Daily Telegraph] Read more

12 November 2009

Does Islam Breed Violence?

There is a division of the house. On one side are the politically correct in government, the leftist mainstream media, and a raft of Islamist apologists. One and all are tripping over each other in reassuring us the mass murderers such as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and suicide-bombers who detonate their explosive vests in crowded marketplaces and even mosques are individual anomalies and Islam is not responsible for what they do. [American Thinker] Read more

11 November 2009

Chief Rabbi: Muslims should learn from Jews

The Chief Rabbi in a lecture to religious wonks in London recently called on Muslims to learn from the experience of Jews in separating religion from power when living as a minority. In an interesting and at times mildly provocative speech he outlined the need for flexibility and adaptability which, to some of the nutters who call themselves Muslims a bit of an anathema.

The irony of course is turn on any Muslim channel in the evening and you find people phoning scholars asking for advice on all matters of daily contemporary life in the UK which to all intent and purposes is exactly that, adapting to life as a Muslim in a non Muslim society. [London Muslim] Read more

Muslim lawyer ordered not to wear headscarf at Spanish court

A Spanish female lawyer has filed a complaint against a judge who ordered her to leave the courtroom because she was wearing the Muslim headscarf, press reports said Wednesday.

Moroccan-born Zoubida Barik Edidi, 39, was assisting a colleague at a trial related to Islamist terrorism at the National Court on October 29, when judge Javier Gomez Bermudez told her she could not stay in the room because of the headscarf she was wearing with her gown. [The Earth Times] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Muslims are welcome, if they're integrated and unobtrusive

.... Generally well accepted, Islam in Switzerland raises some doubts. First, a large minority (40%) think that Islam isn't compatible with the values of a Swiss democracy. And then, while Muslim communities aren't seen as a threat for state security (63%), 49% of respondents think that Islam more easily leads to extremism than other religions (41% disagree).

Marie-Hélène Miauton, the manager of MIS Trend says that the results are "very reasonable. Very Swiss." She says there's no lack of awareness regarding Islam, but there's concern about extremism. For the rest, the message is essentially: Muslims are free to live their faith, but they must integrate. [Islam in Europe] Read more

What is 'Defamation of Religion'?

United Nations resolutions on the 'defamation of religions' are incompatible with the fundamental freedoms of individuals to freely exercise and peacefully express their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. Unlike traditional defamation laws, which punish false statements of fact that harm individual persons, measures prohibiting the 'defamation of religions' punish the peaceful criticism of ideas.

Additionally, the concept of 'defamation of religions' is fundamentally inconsistent with the universal principles outlined in the United Nations' founding documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms the protection of the rights of individuals, rather than ideas. [Center for Islamic Pluralism] Read more

Denying Reality, or the Heavy Cost of Political Correctness

In the wake of the murder of 13 and the wounding of 38 soldiers at Fort Hood .... the killings were presented as a result of racism. They were attributed to fear of deployment in Afghanistan and harassment from other soldiers. Cited were Major Hasan’s supposed maladjustment to his life and his sense of not belonging, pre-traumatic stress disorder, and various personal and mental problems.

All these explanations are variations on what I have called “the Root Cause Fallacy,” which has been committed time and again since the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. The Root Cause Fallacy was designed to deflect attention away from Islam, in effect to exonerate Islam, which, we are told, is never to blame for acts of violence.

On this view we must not hold a great world religion of peace responsible when individuals of that faith resort to force. We must dig deeper: the real cause is poverty, U.S. foreign policy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Western colonialism and exploitation, marital problems of individuals, and so on. The present “psychological” interpretations in the case of Major Hasan are just the latest example of the Root Cause Fallacy at work. [Center for Inquiry] Read more [via Mick Hartley]

10 November 2009

The Myth of Moderate Islam

It is probably true that in every faith ordinary people will pick the parts they like best and practise those, while the scholars will work out an official version. In Islam the scholars had a particularly challenging task, given the mass of contradictory texts within the Koran.

To meet this challenge they developed the rule of abrogation, which states that wherever contradictions are found, the later-dated text abrogates the earlier one. To elucidate further the original intention of Mohammed, they referred to traditions (hadith) recording what he himself had said and done.

Sadly for the rest of the world, both these methods led Islam away from peace and towards war. For the peaceable verses of the Koran are almost all earlier, dating from Mohammed's time in Mecca, while those which advocate war and violence are almost all later, dating from after his flight to Medina. [Right Side News] Read more [via National Secular Society]

First Islamic Party ready for Elections

The first Islamic party in Spain is getting ready to have representation in the key municipalities in the administrative elections in 2011. The Renaissance and Union of Spain Party, promoted by Mustafa Barrach, a former journalist and Arabic professor in Granada, is close to Rabat, according to a report today in the ABC conservative newspaper.

Member of the Al Hegira Muslim community and treasurer of the Spanish Islamic Council, Barrak aspires to gathering not only votes from the nearly 1,300,000 Muslim residents in Spain but also from immigrants who represent 10% of the Spanish population. [ANSAmed] Read more

Resurrecting the Caliphate

A scholar who has influenced Turkish foreign policy since 2002, and became the country's chief diplomat in May this year, Davutoglu has pursued what his critics have labeled a "neo-Ottoman" foreign policy.

He speaks of "historical depth" of Ankara's relationship with the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East, and argues that conflicts in these areas originate in their separation from the Ottoman Empire

.... when he talks about "reintegrating" the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East, and how Turkey is a "safe haven and homeland" for Bosnian, Chechens and Albanians, it isn't hard to fill in the blanks. What Ahmet Davutoglu wants is to resurrect the empire of Mehmet el-Fatih and Suleiman the Magnificent. [Khilafah.com] Read more

Fort Hood gunman had told US military colleagues that infidels should have their throats cut

.... He also told colleagues at America's top military hospital that non-Muslims were infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire. The outburst came during an hour-long talk Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, gave on the Koran in front of dozens of other doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington DC .... Colleagues had expected a discussion on a medical issue but were instead given an extremist interpretation of the Koran, which Hasan appeared to believe. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

The Tragedy of Nidal Hasan’s Fort Hood Shootings: Media Discipline & Muslim Condemnations .... If we learn conclusively that Maj. Hasan believed he had religious justifications for his actions, our condemnations as Muslims actually reinforce those making that connection instead of refuting it. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have to separate the actions of Muslims from the religion of Islam.

.... Understanding this separation of terms for the religion and the follower -- that is unique to Islam -- would lead to a better strategy like offering condolences to the families who lost loved ones and focusing on the loss of life. [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

Muslims must combat hate speech Last week's tragic incident at Fort Hood has inevitably added to the anxieties felt by US Muslims about how they and their faith are perceived by their fellow citizens. American Muslim organisations are to be commended for their swift action in excoriating the actions of Nidal Malik Hasan and calling for restraint while the authorities properly investigate what factors could have led to the killing spree. [Guardian Cif] Read more

09 November 2009

Spreading intolerance, one fatwa at a time

Muhammad Salih Al-Munaj jid is a well-known Saudi cleric who has a large following in Canada and the West. Like other so-called Islamic scholars, he maintains an active presence on the Internet, which he uses as a platform to tell young Muslim men and women how to lead proper Islamic lives.

His Saudi-based Islamic web portal, Islam Q& A, caters to Muslim youth not just in English, but Mandarin, Cantonese, Turkish, Urdu, French, Spanish, Russian, Uyghur and of course Arabic. .... It is fascinating to see how medieval-minded scholars serving a dictatorial theocracy .... are shaping the mindset of a segment of Canadian youth.

.... Someone asked: "Can a Muslim be a sincere friend to a kaafir [non-Muslim]? Sheikh Al-Munajjid replied clearly: "Praise be to Allah. It is not permissible for a Muslim to make friends with a mushrik, or to take him as a close friend, because Islam calls on us to forsake the kaafirs and to disavow them, because they worship someone other than Allah." [National Post] Read more

Foreigners to get 100,000 kroner incentive to leave Denmark

The Danish People’s Party (DF) has strengthened its immigration stance by securing an agreement to pay ‘anti-social’ foreigners 100,000 kroner to leave Denmark.

.... Neither the government nor DF has yet elaborated on what constitutes an ‘anti-social’ foreigner, but have said that it would be aimed at those who ‘can’t or won’t integrate’. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more [via Women Against Sharia]

Head of Civil Service Islamic Society tells Muslims to ‘resist’ Prevent programme

Azad Ali, the head of the Civil Service Islamic Society, has called on Muslims to ‘resist’ the government’s counter-terrorism ‘Prevent’ programme. Ali, who also works at HM Treasury, said that the Prevent programme aimed to ‘hurry people away’ from the Muslim religion and to ‘help non-Muslims increase in their hatred of Muslims’. Writing on 18 October on the web forum of Easy Talk, a radio programme which he hosts every week, Ali wrote: [The Spittoon] Read more

Iranian police 'ready to carry out hand amputation' in return to Sharia punishment for criminals

The head of the Iranian police force has said that he is prepared to use Sharia law in a bid to cut crime. Iranian police have said that they are prepared to use the full force of Sharia law such as amputating hands, after failure to use such punishments led to an increase in crime.

Under Iran's Islamic law, repeat offenders face amputation of their fingers for theft, but sentences are seldom carried out, especially in public, and in recent years, such sentences have rarely been reported. [MailOnline] Read more

Muhammad: The "Banned" Images

.... the newly founded Voltaire Press at Duke University has just published Muhammad: The "Banned" Images. The book includes all the images that were omitted by the Yale University Press from Jytte Klausen's The Cartoons That Shook the World -- including the 12 Mohammed cartoons -- plus many more historically significant items (a total of 31), together with brief discussions of the context behind each work.

The images, reproduced in high quality and in full color, include works by William Blake, Gustave Dore, and Salvador Dali, as well as Muslim artists from the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires. [The Huffington Post] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Islam in Focus (Wife Beating)

Peace TV is an international satellite television channel, which describes itself as providing “Islamic spiritual ‘edutainment’.” Islam in Focus consisted of a public lecture (“the Lecture”) in front of an audience, in English, by a religious speaker, Hamood Ashemaimry.

In the Lecture, entitled “How to build a righteous family”, the speaker set out, in his opinion, what the rights are of husbands and wives, in the context of creating a righteous family from an Islamic viewpoint.

.... A complaint objected to part of the Lecture which, it considered, suggested that it would be permissible for husbands to beat their wives. [Ofcom (UK Communications Regulator)] Read more [via Religious Watch]

08 November 2009

Aceh Shariah Police Chase the ‘Immoral’

The young couple is totally busted. They sit at a beach-side park, near signs forbidding teens from sitting too close. He has his arm around her shoulder. She isn’t wearing her jilbab, the traditional Islamic head scarf. Just like that, the morality cops are in their face.

.... He separates the two and confiscates their IDs. Later, he says the team will open an investigation of the couple, especially given that the young man lied, at first insisting the girl was his sister. “We want to see how far this relationship has progressed,” Syafruddin says. “What they were doing could have led to something sexual.” [The Jakarta Globe] Read more [via Women Against Sharia]

Companies confronted by religious demands

A third of French companies say they are concerned by demands from their employees regarding wearing the headscarf, holidays and prayers. "Managing Eid is a real headache,' says the manager of a transport company. "Half of the bus-drivers are Muslim. When they all ask to be absent on that day, how do you assure 100% service?" [Islam in Europe] Read more

In Turkey, fertile ground for creationism

Sema Ergezen teaches biology to Turkish students interested in teaching science themselves, and she has long struggled with her students' ignorance of, and sometimes hostility to, the notion of evolution.

But she was taken aback when several of her Marmara University students recently accused her of being an atheist, or worse, for teaching anything but the doctrine that God created the Earth and everything on it. "They said I was a liar if I called myself a Muslim because I also accepted evolution," she said. [The Washington Post] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

06 November 2009

Blasphemy law set to be repealed

Earlier this year justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin agreed to suspend the blasphemy laws and amend the discrimination legislation to make it a criminal offence to insult groups of people instead.

That plan followed a high court ruling earlier this year, in which a man was found not guilty of insulting an entire group of people on the grounds of their religion. He had hung up a poster with the text 'stop the tumour that is Islam'. [DutchNews.nl] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Widespread opposition to Muslim girls' school plans in Brierfield

.... Mr Prentice said: "The scale of what is being proposed is truly staggering. We can only go on Press reports, but 5,000 students is a huge number - equivalent to the population of Earby. It would dwarf every one of our secondary schools in Pendle.

I want to see young people of all faiths and genders study and mix together as they grow up. "British National Party councillor Brian Parker said the school and an Islamic college proposed for Burnley were not needed. "Quite apart from anyone's view on the desirability of having two communities living side by side with little in common and divided by religion, the sheer scale of these proposals make them unsuited to our two towns. [pendletoday] Read more

Equality under the law is abrogated by shari'a councils

.... Recognition of shari’a tribunals introduces a new breed of judges with a mindset alien to this country and which provides ample evidence of its hostility both to western Christian and Enlightenment secular values.

..... Why should my next-door neighbour live by a different idea of what is ‘fair’ – for example, what is seen as fair in a default position on inheritance or the relative difficulties between men and women in the procuring of a divorce? Surely ‘what is considered fair’ is a universal that binds people together and gives them a sense of identity

.....The Government has allowed and is encouraging the establishment of a parallel legal system for Muslims on matters that affect all of us. .... The official recognition of shari’a councils as arbitration tribunals is simply another mechanism by which Muslims are being segregated from the rest of the population: it is a further barrier to integration and reinforces the fragmentation of society. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Somali adulterer stoned to death

Islamists in southern Somalia have stoned a man to death for adultery but spared his pregnant girlfriend until she gives birth ..... Meanwhile, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has accused al-Shabab of spoiling the image of Islam by killing people and harassing women. [BBC] Read more

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks: Islam must separate religion from power

.... "I think some of the Muslim thinkers today are some of the most courageous thinkers I have come across and it is very striking how many of them are women. It is very interesting. So Islam will get there. But I would hope that one of the ways they would get there is just coming to understand how things work in Britain.” [Times Online] Read more

Is the Chief Rabbi worried about Muslim immigrants? .... I was unable to make the speech given by Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, at Theos, the religion think tank, on Wednesday evening. But I hope he wasn’t making a thinly-veiled attack on European Muslim immigrants, when he said that Europeans are more interested in material things than having children. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

05 November 2009

Stand tall against extremists

Most people doubt "moderate's" proposal and motives. See here

Anti-Minaret Initiative and Interfaith Dialogue

Muslims around the world await the coming 29th of November on which Switzerland will vote on an initiative to ban the construction of minarets. Although the initiative was introduced by the biggest party in Switzerland, the Swiss People's Party (SVP), the government, Parliament, and most political parties and religious communities are against it. The issue of minarets sheds light on many other aspects and uncertainties about Muslims' integration in Swiss society. [Islam Online] Read more

The Elephant in the Room: A war of ideas within Islam

Three Muslim students approached me after I had finished a speech at Harvard University. I was there to talk about the threat of radical Islam across the globe, as part of the Ethics and Public Policy Center's Program to Protect America's Freedom.

The students, one man and two women, wore Western-style clothes and spoke English with little or no accent. They disputed my description of Islam as it's practiced in the Middle East, maintaining that al-Qaeda's version of Islam in no way reflects the Islam that is practiced around the world. So I asked them a question: Should apostates - Muslims who convert to another religion - be subject to execution? [The Philadelphia Inquirer] Read more [via Creeping Sharia]

The Islamist who wanted to come in from the cold

.... Now that Bunglawala has been endorsed by the likes of John Denham and Shahid Malik, expect to see a complete about-turn in Inayat Bunglawala’s opinions on Prevent. The new Inayat Bunglawala will come forth espousing wonders of Prevent.

And the heavy hitters from John Denham’s office will be willing to forget all the articles and blogs spewed by the self-styled ‘grassroots Muslim representative’ who has spent so much time and energy discrediting Prevent. [The Spittoon] Read more

'Hardcore' Islamist gets top anti-terror post at Home Office

.... Mr Hafeez was described by one fellow adviser as “hardcore Salafi”. Salafism is a strictly puritanical branch of Islam, often associated with Saudi Arabia. It does not promote violence, but does urge the creation of an Islamic state.

The new Home Office adviser is reported to have raised eyebrows at his new department during the Muslim festival of Ramadan, when he lectured guests at a reception about the benefits of fasting. Before his appointment at the Home Office, Mr Hafeez worked as an adviser to the Welsh Assembly where he had a reputation for his strict views on Islam. [TheJC.com] Read more

Islamists impose sharia by stealth

.... At least one leading Islamist thinker with close ties to al-Qa'ida has publicly repudiated terrorism and adopted political means. Sayyid Imam al-Sharif (also known by the nom de guerre Dr Fadl) was born in Egypt in 1950 and trained as a medical doctor.

He emerged as a leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group in the 1980s and came to public attention with the 1988 publication of his book, Al-'Umda fi I'dad al-'Udda (The Essentials of Preparation), in which he argued for perpetual violent jihad against the West. With time, however, Sharif shifted gears: observing that violent attacks are counterproductive he instead advocated a strategy of infiltrating the state and influencing society. [The Australian] Read more [via Muslims Against Sharia]

Islam's world peace: Now or later?

.... Moderate Muslims believe the world will submit to Allah later, maybe at the end of the world, or maybe just figuratively. Since it is so far off in the distant future, moderate Muslims have a more relaxed, patient attitude that allows them to get along in a friendly way with non-Muslim infidels.

Moderate Muslims can live comfortably in a free, democratic society. Fundamental Muslims, on the other hand, think the world is in the process of submitting to Allah now. They are very excited and want to establish Shariah law, even justifying threats of violence and terrorism. [WorldNetDaily.com] Read more [via Political Correctness Watch]

04 November 2009

An Instrument of Western Intellectual Hegemony

This sheds an interesting light on the difference between Al-Jazeera's English and Arabic outputs. Remember Ardipithecus Ramidus? A month ago? - Ardi for short:

.... “Ardi Refutes Darwin’s Theory,” Al Jazeera announced, in an Oct 3 article not available on the English version of the website. “American scientists have presented evidence that Darwin’s theory of evolution was wrong,” the article opened. [Mick Hartley] Read more

The continuing madness of Melanie Phillips

.... Husain clearly feels that Phillips is a potential ally in the battle against radical Islam, although quite why judging by her record it’s difficult to tell.

His main concern now seems to be that rather than being an ally, she’s becoming a prominent obstacle to any kind of progress. Especially in the way she seems determined to see conspiracies where there are none, in this instance with Inayat Bunglawala and his determined opposition to the remnants of al-Muhajiroun. [Liberal Conspiracy] Read more

The personal jihad of Melanie Phillips 31 October 2009 .... However, I believe in the human ability to change and, in that hope of helping Melanie see the the flaws in her analysis, I met with her several times in private and appealed to her to stop blaming Islam and Muslim scripture for (the decidedly un-Islamic phenomenon of) terrorism. [Guardian Cif] Read more

A less than united front 29th October 2009 .... Alarmed by the threat that such moderate Muslims pose to the Islamist stranglehold over public discourse, the Muslim Brotherhood moved swiftly to try to neutralise them.

Thus a surprising article appeared on the Guardian’s Comment is free blog by Inayat Bunglawala of the Brotherhood’s British arm, the Muslim Council of Britain – which, having been briefly given the cold shoulder by the former Communities Secretary Hazel Blears .... [The Spectator] Read more

Stand tall against the extremists 21 October 2009 - Back in March 2009 a small group of fewer than 20 thugs from al-Muhajiroun staged a deliberately provocative publicity stunt in Luton by demonstrating and holding up some offensive placards at a parade for soldiers returning from their tour of duty in Iraq.

The event predictably resulted in outrage, made national headlines, caused massive embarrassment to UK Muslims and – as it was clearly designed to do so – worsened community relations in the UK. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Religion and the crisis of authority

In the post-enlightenment era, the term religion refers to beliefs outside the realm of reason, science and politics. It is a form of ethics without foundations in philosophy or political theory. Religion, like tribal and national identity, is a resource for political legitimacy.

Just as the idea of national interest legitimizes war and discriminatory policies between citizens and non-citizens; religion too is deployed in the interest of partisan politics in many societies in developed as well as developing nations. Therefore as in the past, religion is still a source of identity, boundaries, discrimination, violence and oppression in modern times too.

.... Islam to me is not a religion – it is deen – a way of life. It is a philosophy that provides meaning to the ontology of my existence. It is a critically dynamic and evolving ethics that shapes my politics and lifestyle. [altmuslim] Read more

Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion

A prominent thread was woven throughout last week’s legal conference: the increasing pressure exerted on Western nations by Islamic law, or sharia. Wherever free speech is under threat, much of the impetus for censorship and repression comes from Muslims who wish to restrict the words and actions of others based on the tenets of Islamic law. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

03 November 2009

Are There Muslim Reformers?

During the question and answer sessions at my talks to various Humanist groups .... I am often asked about the possibility of reform within Islam, and of the existence of moderate Muslims.

These are not easy questions to answer. There are said to be 57 Islamic countries, and the situation obviously varies from country to country, from year to year. Even countries trumpeted as "moderate", "liberal" or "tolerant" have, in reality, a mixed record as far as Human Rights are concerned. [Center for Inquiry] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

02 November 2009

Religious parties reject plans to amend blasphemy law

Rejecting any changes to the Namoos-e-Risalat Act – or the blasphemy law – religious parties have warned the government that they will not accept any move to repeal or amend the law.

The Jamaat Ahl-e-Hadith Pakistan and the Tehreek Tahafuz-e-Haqooq Ahl-e-Sunnat – which hold more sway in Lahore, Multan and southern Punjab compared to other areas of the province – organised religious conventions on Saturday to “condemn” suggestions by the government to amend the act. [Daily Times] Read more [via Religious Watch]

The demo that wasn't

The cancellation of the so-called "March for Sharia" which was to have been held last Saturday by Islam4UK (al-Muhajiroun's latest incarnation) should be viewed as a clear victory for all those who were fed up with the group's inflammatory antics.

A couple of weeks ago on Cif I discussed the planned march. It had been set to start outside the Houses of Parliament, where al-Muhajiroun said they would call for the dismantling of our democracy, and end at Trafalgar Square, where they said they would hold a rally to demand that "authority is handed over to the Muslims". [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Sutton Council women-only swim sessions to cater for Muslims

Sutton Council has launched its first female-only swimming session which it says is suitable for Muslim women. The council said it had taken care to make sure Muslim women can take part by putting blinds on windows and having female lifeguards and pool staff. It hopes the new sessions will allow more people in the community to take part in swimming. [Sutton Guardian.co.uk] Read more

'Mohammed' - The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

.... But no actor will be in line for an Oscar, because no actor will be playing the Prophet. The film is financially backed by the Qatar-based production company Alnoor Holdings, ‘who have installed the Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (not a joke) to oversee all aspects of the shoot’. So, in accordance with Islamic law, Mohammed will not actually be depicted on screen. They will ‘shoot around’ him (so to speak). [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Matrix producer plans Muhammad biopic Barrie Osborne, part of the Oscar-winning team behind the Lord of the Rings films, says the new production 'will educate people about the true meaning of Islam. .... Osborne cast Keanu Reeves as the messiah in The Matrix and helped defeat the dark lord Sauron in his record-breaking Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now the Oscar-winning American film-maker is set to embark on his most perilous quest to date: making a big-screen biopic of the prophet Muhammad.

Budgeted at around $150m (£91.5m), the film will chart Muhammad's life and examine his teachings. Osborne told Reuters that he envisages it as "an international epic production aimed at bridging cultures. The film will educate people about the true meaning of Islam". [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Life of Muhammad to be filmed, but don’t expect to see him on screen .... According to the Gulf Times newspaper he told journalists in Doha that the film was a response to “the crusader-styled distortion of Islam [that] continues to influence [the] world population today.”

“I will say we Muslims have not exerted sufficient efforts to correct the fake tales as Christians have used [in] the media. The life of the Prophet Muhammad is richly documented from the cattle he raised to the weapons he used to his private life.” [Times Online] Read more

It's Radical Islam, Stupid

.... the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was created to serve as a front group for Hamas. Since that time, it has morphed into a quasi legitimate “Islamic civil rights” group portrayed in some circles as the equivalent of the NAACP.

For 14 years, CAIR got away with the lying to us about who they are, justifying Islamic terrorist attacks, legitimizing suicide bombings, presenting speakers who had been Holocaust deniers, making incendiary presentations about the United States and urging Muslims not to talk to the FBI. [Hudson Institute] Read more

01 November 2009

The High Price of Patriotism

.... As his affidavit to the employment tribunal dryly remarks, "The documents that I disclosed showed that the FCO and other UK government departments were continuing to work with and assist organisations that promote extreme Islamist politics.

My concern was that this policy would have the effect of legitimising and supporting groups with extreme Islamist politics and that such an effect was entirely contradictory to FCO and UK government policy of attempting to prevent the radicalisation of young British Muslims. Furthermore, I believe that the FCO and other government departments pursue a policy of portraying these organisations as mainstream and moderate." [Standpoint] Read more

The Very High Price of Patriotism Pasquill is viewed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as the most devastating whistle-blower in its recent history. Between August 2005 and January 2006, he leaked 40 bundles of documents, that exposed the FCO’s Mockbul Ali’s support of Islamists. This included Ali’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood and his support of the radical Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the Bangladeshi Islamist Delwar Hossain Sayeedi of Jamaat-e-Islam, both of whom had condoned violence. [The Spittoon] Read more

US clinic denies Muslim doctor right to wear hijab

A medical clinic in Dallas, Texas has sparked controversy after saying a Muslim doctor applying for a job cannot wear her headscarf if hired. Dr. Hena Zaki of Plano, Texas said Friday that she was shocked to find a no-hat policy at the CareNow clinic extended to her hijab. "He interrupted the interview and said he didn't want me 'to take this the wrong way,'" Zaki said. "Like an FYI." The 29-year-old doctor has called for an apology and a change in CareNow's policy. [Press TV] Read more

Texas Medical Group Denies Muslim Doctor Right to Hijab Muslim civil rights organization says 'no hat' policy must have religiousExemption. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on a major medical group in Texas to change its policy denying accommodation for Muslim employees who wear religious attire such as Islamic head scarves (hijab) or beards.

CAIR said a Muslim doctor being interviewed for a position with CareNow, a medical group with 22 facilities in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area, was told that a "no hat" policy would prohibit her from wearing hijab. She was also reportedly informed that CareNow prohibits employees from wearing beards. (Many Muslim men view wearing a beard as a religious requirement.) [PRNewswire-USNewswire] Read more

Sacrificing free speech won't appease fanatics

... Law professor and FindLaw.com columnist Marci Hamilton this past week called out the Obama administration for its willingness to compromise. Michael Posner -- the assistant U.S. secretary of state for human rights, democracy and labor -- worked with Egypt to draft compromise language for the U.N. resolution that condemns religion-oriented harassment and discrimination, making a fragile distinction from defamation. [Las Vegas Review-Journal] Read more [via National Secular Society]

America comes out in opposition to defamation of religion move Christian groups around the world have joined human rights and civil liberties organisations in opposing the reintroduction of a motion at the United Nations Human Rights Council that would outlaw “defamation of religious” – in effect an international blasphemy law.

The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), a bloc of 56 Islamic states, is proposing the non-binding motion, as it has done every year since 1999. In effect, it would make it illegal to “defame religion” anywhere in the world, although the only religion named in the motion is Islam. [National Secular Society] Read more