28 February 2010

Most beautiful minaret contest

COJEP International and IMCOSE (Muslim Initiative for European Social Cohesion) with the support of Council of Europe, ISESCO and Organisation of Islamic Conference have launching a contest to select the most beautiful existing Minaret in Europe through a photographic competition.

.... It is therefore important that the universal peaceful presence of Islam is visible and its followers are able to practice their religion openly as is the case with other religions. This photo contest is also intended to remove the misplaced fears and prejudices in European societies that Islam and Muslims undermine the Western values and cultures. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Labour ‘infiltrated’ by Islamic radicals

Andrew Gilligan is usually sound, so there is no immediate reason to dismiss his report in The Sunday Telegraph that the Labour Party have been ‘infiltrated by a fundamentalist Muslim group that wants to create an “Islamic social and political order” in Britain’.

He quotes the Environment Minister Jim Fitzpatrick, that the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) have become ‘a secret party within Labour and other political parties’. He says the group ‘believes in jihad and sharia law, and wants to turn Britain and Europe into an Islamic state’. In order to do this, it ‘has placed sympathisers in elected office and claims, correctly, to be able to achieve “mass mobilisation”’. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

'The IFE have become influential in East London' The Sunday Telegraph is full of stories about the Islamic Forum of Europe's (IFE) growing influence in East London. It says the group has effectively infiltrated the local Labour Party and brought extraordinary pressure to bear on the local council, Tower Hamlets, where a number of the IFE's members and supporters have been installed in key positions. [Standpoint] Read more

Inextricably linked to controversial mosque: the secret world of IFE .... The key text, Let Us Be Muslims, by Syed Mawdudi, a high priest of Islamism, instructs recruits: “The sacred duty of Muslims … wherever you are, in whichever country you live, you must strive to change the wrong basis of government, and seize all powers to rule and make laws from those who do not fear God.”

This newspaper obtained an official transcript from the two-day annual training camp held for the IFE’s youth wing, the Young Muslim Organisation UK, held in Leicestershire last June. In one talk, Muhammad Rabbani, a trustee of the youth wing, told the recruits: “Our goal is to create the True Believer, [and] to then mobilise these believers into an organised force for change who will carry out dawah [preaching], hisbah [enforcement of Islamic law] and jihad. This will lead to social change and Iqamatud-Deen [an Islamic social and political order].” [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

This secretive agenda must be taken seriously Radical Muslims, in their unguarded moments, are unrepentant about what they believe to be their religious duty: the replacement of secular, tolerant and liberal democracy in Britain by a rigid theocracy, in which the country is governed by Islamic law. Those who aspire to that goal are usually, and correctly, dismissed as a tiny minority who are unrepresentative of the moderate majority of British Muslims. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

27 February 2010

“Muslims Don’t Mix”

Something struck me the other day whilst flicking through Facebook. I don’t have many white friends. Hell, I have around 20, from a list of 450. Damn. There’s a common conception I feel amongst many English people and non-Muslims in general – that Muslims “don’t mix”. Are we really that bad?

I think it’s important for Muslims to make that extra effort to integrate, but recognise it can be difficult at times. Like on my Law course for example. For a while I had a problem; every time I’d be invited out by my largely-white tutorial group, it would either be to a pub or a rave. [The Platform] Read more

Long, bloody road to Islam reform

.... They did not represent just another face of Islam; instead, they were its true face. Their efforts stood for renewal of Islam through reform consistent with modern times in terms of science and democracy.

Wahid repeated the words of Muhammad Iqbal — a poet-philosopher from undivided India in the early decades of the last century and one of Islam’s greatest scholars — who wrote Muslim progress required ridding Islam of the stain of Arab imperialism from its early history. [The Toroto Sun] Read more [via National Secular Society]

‘What type of idiot Muslim are you’?

.... The Conservative Party is as concerned with jobs, housing and education as any Muslim; it is as alarmed by family breakdown and the pervasive lack of respect for authority and tradition as any Muslim; it is as disturbed by poverty and prejudice as any Muslim; it is as motivated towards self-improvement and social advancement as any Muslim. That is why Muslims would find a natural political home within the Conservative family.

So when Inayat Bunglawala rebukes the Conservatives for a ‘needlessly offensive snub’, he might consider that the MCB is a self-appointed, self-perpetuating, self-important and self-indulgent organisation which no more speaks for the ‘Muslim community’ of Great Britain than Stephen Green speaks the 'Christian Voice’ for all Christians; it is the MCB which continually snubs the foundations of our liberal democracy; and it is Inayat Bunglawala who offends by perpetually falling into MPAC’s second category of Muslim idiot. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

26 February 2010

Fatwas against Facebook?

.... Recently, rumors about a religious ruling against Facebook went viral. A known figure from Al Azhar, Sheikh Abd Al-Hamid Al-Atrash, allegedly gave a fatwa against Facebook, finding it a breeding ground for illicit relationship between men and women, married and unmarried. The Sheikh has since denied issuing any such fatwa but has not officially disagreed with its essential holding.

The rumors of the fatwa sparked a debate from all corners. Some felt it ridiculed religious opinion, while others understood the underlined wisdom. The Sheikh may have given the fatwa and retracted it after the outburst, or he may not have said it in the first place. But however absurd a heading “Egyptian cleric bans Facebook” may sound, the rationale and the language that we read between the quotes attributed to the Sheikh are familiar to many of us. [altmuslim] Read more

Muslim goes to feds over head-scarf firing

Hani Khan, 19, of Foster City said she was fired Monday at the Hollister clothing store at the Hillsdale Shopping Center. She was dismissed a week after a district manager visited the store, called her into a meeting and said she was not supposed to wear the scarf while at work, said Khan, who is of Indian and Pakistani descent. [The San Francisco Chronicle] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Police to ride school buses to save girls from racism

POLICE officers are being drafted on to Merseyside school buses to stop Muslim pupils being racially abused. The problems centre around verbal attacks on hijab- wearing girls at West Derby’s Holly Lodge Girls’ College. Last night, bus drivers who are accused of refusing to stop for the veil-wearing Muslim pupils in order to avoid trouble were also branded “racist”.

.... While all forms of discrimination are wrong, the parents aren't helping these girls integrate by making them appear 'different'.

The worldwide terrorism threat is predominately from a minority of Muslim extremists. That alone can make some people suspicious of all muslim people, especially when they make a visible outward show of being Muslim. Integrating with the community they choose to live with, rather than standing apart, should help ease any tensions. [Liverpool Daily Post] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

A ‘model’ Islamic education from Turkey?

.... “Surely religion should have a public role,” he said, a view that flies in the face of Turkey’s 87 years of secularism. “Not only in Turkey, but throughout the world.”

Sitting among glass-walled cloisters, he warmed to the theme of Turkey’s suppression of the imam-hatip network, and by extension of its alumni, saying his country needed men like him to stand up for religion and traditional values.

“We want Turkish society to feel that it is right to fear us,” he said. Over their tea, his fellow pupils murmured in approval. [Todays Zaman] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Wilders goes for headscarf ban in the Hague

A ban on headscarves for city council workers and in all institutions and clubs which get local authority money will be the most important point in the PVV´s negotiations to join governing coalitions in Almere and the Hague, says party leader Geert Wilders.

Speaking to RTL news, Wilders said the ban would be central to talks to form new local authority executives in the only two cities where the party is contesting the March 3 local elections. [DutchNews.com] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Paper apologises for Mohammed cartoons

Politiken newspaper, one of 11 Danish newspapers that reprinted the Mohammed cartoons, has issued an apology to eight Muslim organisations for offending them in exchange for dropping future legal action against the newspaper.

The settlement reached between the paper and the organisations does not, however, apologise for the printing of the cartoons, nor prevent the paper from reprinting them in the future. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

“Sorry you were offended” Danish paper concedes to Saudi lawyers In a move condemned as “crazy” and “disgraceful” by politicians and journalists, the Danish newspaper Politiken has issued an apology to a team of Saudi lawyers acting on behalf of “94,923 of the Prophet mohammed’s descendants”.

Last August, the Jeddah based law firm AZ Yamani approached the eleven Danish newspapers which republished the Turbomb cartoon after an attempt on Westergaard’s life. [MediaWatchWatch] Read more

Danish newspaper’s pathetic Motoons apology branded ‘stupid’ and a ‘sell-out’ A DANISH newspaper has apologised to Muslims for the offence caused by its decision to reprint Kurt Westergaard’s iconic bomb-in-a-turban cartoon

The Politiken daily said its apology was part of a settlement with a Saudi lawyer representing eight Muslim groups in the Middle East and Australia.

The drawing was one of 12 caricatures that sparked angry protests in Muslim countries in 2005 after they were published by another Danish newspaper. [The Freethinker] Read more

25 February 2010

This tide of anti-Muslim hatred is a threat to us all

.... As recent research co-authored by the former head of the Metropolitan police special branch's Muslim contact unit, Bob Lambert, has shown, such ubiquitous portrayals of Muslim ­activists as "terrorists, sympathisers and subversives" (all the while underpinned by a drumbeat campaign against the nonexistent Afghan "burka") are one factor in the alarming growth of ­British Islamophobia and the rising tide of anti-Muslim violence and hate crimes that stem from it. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Islamic preacher who called Jews ‘filth’ to speak at London university

A London university has been condemned for inviting an Islamic preacher with anti-Semitic and homophobic views to give a lecture to students.

.... Peter Tatchell, of pressure group Outrage, accused university bosses of cowardice and “complicity with fundamentalism” by giving the preacher a public platform. Sheikh Quick has denounced the “filth” of Jews and once gave a televised lecture in which he said the Islamic position on homosexuality is “death”. [Evening Standard] Read more

Biggest mosque in Poland to be built in Warsaw

The Centre of Islamic Culture, designed by KAPS Architekci, will be located in the close vicinity of the Blue City shopping centre, at the Zeslancow Syberyjskich roundabout just to the west of the city centre. The three-story building will have an 18-metre high minaret. But the characteristic sound of prayer will not be heard drifting over the city.

.... The construction of the mosque will be mainly financed by a Saudi investor but the League does not want to reveal who it is or what the cost of the investment will be. [Thenews.pl] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Time for Some Islamic Self-Examination in Norway?

The Muslims who have recently been demonstrating and agitating in Norway in reaction to the publication of a Muhammed cartoon in Dagbladet should be asking themselves: What is it about us Muslims that causes so much hubbub?

Why don’t any other groups occupy as much space in the public square, in public debate, as we do? Why do we so often represent ourselves as victims, as having been offended, and react with aggression? [Pajamas Media] Read more

Council closes swimming pool for Muslim women-only sessions

The row broke out after a would-be swimmer arrived at Hull Council's Beverley Road Baths, in Hull, East Yorks., last Thursday but saw a sign at the entrance saying the pool was closed for "staff training".

The user, who did not wish to be named, then discovered the council was advertising 10.30am to 12pm on Thursdays on its website as a training period as well as a "Muslim ladies session". [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

I Should Have Read My Islamic Marriage Contract

.... Other women I know walked into marriage wearing similar blinders. One friend, who works as a pediatrician at one of Pakistan's largest private hospitals, described her nikah ceremony as "confusing and far too quick." She said that her father had simply thrust a sheaf of papers toward her and instructed her to sign on the dotted line.

"Much later I realized I had no idea what I had signed," she said. Another friend—who is a lawyer!—said she never got to see the complete contract. "I was given this single sheet of paper and told to sign, while the rest of the contract was being vetted by my husband," she said. "Now, looking back, I don't know why I signed it at all." [Slate] Read more

Christians can't vote for Wilders, say vicars

A Christian cannot vote for Geert Wilders' anti-immigration party PVV, say 75% of church leaders in a poll of 1,200 ministers and church workers in the Nederlands Dagblad.

The ministers represent a cross-section of all the Netherlands' Protestant churches, representing 2.3 million people, the paper says. [DutchNews.nl] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

How to Stifle Free Speech

... the joke might go like this: A Christian tells a Muslim: “In the West, we have freedom of speech. I can go to the Vatican and yell, ‘Christianity is a crock!’ and nothing will happen to me.”

The Muslim replies: “We have just as much freedom in the Muslim world. I can go to Mecca and yell, ‘Christianity is a crock!’ and nothing will happen to me either.” [National Review Online] Read more [via Political Correctness Watch]

24 February 2010

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Country

Malaysia appears determined to make an international fool of itself. The latest news, according to Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the Women's Minister, is that the country is considering organizing an international conference on caning and whether it is an appropriate punishment for women under Islamic law. [Asia Sentinel] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Europe is Having an Important Burka Debate

Europe, with a seemingly large immigrant Muslim population – and not a well integrated one at that – is having open discussion on what to do about women wearing total face-obscuring garments. It is one thing to wear a headscarf, which bothers secularists, but another thing altogether to have women wearing the Arab niqab or Afghan burka. Why should this be such an issue?

Reciprocity has not been mentioned. If a European woman travels to Saudi Arabia or Iran, she must be covered up – in Arabia, totally. That is their custom, and they insist upon compliance. Very well, then, when in Rome – or Paris, Copenhagen, or Berlin –immigrant women and visitors should abide by local custom. Reciprocity is fair. [FamilySecurityMatters.org] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Norway: Immigrants, Muslims portrayed negatively in the media

The Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDI) published a report on Tuesday "Immigrants in Norwegian media: Media caused Islam fear and invisible day to day life", a detailed report on how immigrants are portrayed in Norwegian media.

The report shows that in 2009 there were just as many reports about Islam and Muslims (77,000) as there were about PM Jens Stoltenberg, and more than about the swine flu (74,000).

71% of all media reports focusing on immigration or integration were assessed as problem-oriented. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Frankfurt: Hospital removes crosses

A German hospital removed twelve crosses, supposedly due to objections from Muslim patients, Christian German news agency Idea reported Tuesday.

Workers in the Bad Soden hospital near Frankfurt took off the crosses from the wall in front of the patients and put them in trash bags, which led to criticism by patients.

Director Helmuth Hahn-Klimroth had his employees do the job with the required prudence. Crosses aren't considered common furnishings in a general hospital, according to the director. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Identity Politics & The General Election

Inayat Bunglawala demands that the Tories will show the Muslims some sugar, if they know what's good for them:

And with the latest polls showing that we may be heading for a hung parliament, the Conservative party leadership could yet come to regret their needlessly offensive snub last night. [Ambush Predator] Read more

The mythical Muslim vote

.... Yet his thinking is representative of a wider issue, which is the continued failure to treat Muslims as individuals. The BNP do it, the media does it and too many public figures do it as well. As Sunny has pointed out a number of times, there is nothing wrong with multiple identities, nor the idea that someone’s identities will probably influence they way they vote.

Yet the moment we start talking about things like the ‘Muslim vote’, we are putting people into a box and expecting them to behave in a certain way because of their label. We do not talk of chasing the ‘white vote’, as we see white people as individuals, albeit with multiple identities that might inform their politics..

Let the Conservatives chase the votes of people who happen to be Muslims; not the ‘Muslim vote’. [Pickled Politics] Read more

23 February 2010

Islam's role in an ethical society

Let us agree on this: we live in pluralistic societies and pluralism is an unavoidable fact. We are equal citizens, but with different cultural and religious backgrounds. So, how can we, instead of being obsessed with potential "conflicts of identity" within communities, change that viewpoint to define and promote a common ethical framework, nurtured by the richness of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds?

After all, a pluralistic society needs a strong and effective ethics of citizenship in order to face up to both its internal challenges (diversity, equal rights, racism, corruption, etc) and international challenges (economic crisis, global warming, migrations, etc). [Guardian Cif] Read more

[4225 votes on Guardian Cif out of 4359 (97 percent) say the author - Tariq Ramadan - is talking nonsense (and some even suggest he is "opaque and oblique and doesn't say anything straight out"). See LibertyPhile Research]

Islamists slam Kuwaiti women's football team

The participation of a Kuwaiti women's football team in a tournament in Abu Dhabi has caused uproar.Islamist MPs in Kuwait have demanded the minister of social affairs and labour launch a full-scale investigation into the participation of the Kuwait women’s football team in a tournament in Abu Dhabi.

The team, which was participating in an Asian championship in the UAE capital, lost 0-17 to the Palestinian team. However, according to the Kuwait Times, hardline MPs stand against any outdoor sports activity for women. [ArabianBusiness.com] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Standing for the Irish National Anthem

It is not permissible for the Muslim to stand up for any national anthem, nor any national flag out of respect. Rather, this is from the evil innovations which did not exist at the time of the Prophet, nor at the time of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.

And this action negates the obligation of the completeness of Tawheed, and the purity of respect for Allaah alone, and it invites towards Shirk. And in this action is resemblance of the disbelievers, and blind following of them in their despicable customs, and deviating along with them in their extreme attitude towards their leaders and their ceremonies. Indeed the Prophet prohibited resembling them and emulating them. And the success is with Allaah. [MPAC Ireland] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Implementing Shariah – A Patriotic Duty?

O’ Muslim, it is your duty as a citizen of Ireland to work for its best interests, and who could doubt that establishing the authority of Allah in the land is in the best interests of Ireland?

To remove injustice and establish fairness, to remove moral degradation, immorality and licentiousness and establish propriety, righteousness and restraint and to establish tawheed (the worship of the Only One worthy of worship) are surely noble Islamic aims. [MPAC Ireland] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Saudi cleric backs gender segregation with fatwa

A prominent Saudi cleric has issued an edict calling for opponents of the kingdom's strict segregation of men and women to be put to death if they refuse to abandon their ideas.

Shaikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak said in a fatwa the mixing of genders at the workplace or in education "as advocated by modernisers" is prohibited because it allows "sight of what is forbidden, and forbidden talk between men and women". [Reuters India] Read more

BMSD Take On Gender Mixing Death Fatwa Cleric British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD) is alarmed and disappointed to hear that Abdul Rehman al-Barrak, a cleric who is highly regarded in the Saudi religious establishment, had issued the following fatwa on his website regarding mixing between the sexes: [Harry’s Place] Read more

22 February 2010

Shari’a and minority rights in Egypt

Over the past decades, numerous polls have demonstrated that the majority of Egyptians want shari’a - or Islamic principles - applied to parts of their country's legal system. Egypt’s constitution reflects this: Article 2 of the constitution states that shari’a is the principle source of legislation.

Even with the popular support that Article 2 has in Egypt, it has also been the source of heated controversy. Voices from the Coptic Orthodox Christian community in Egypt, which makes up 12 per cent of the population, contest what they perceive as implied discrimination against the non-Muslim minority in this article. Secularist human rights and pro-democracy activists express similar views, saying that the application of Islamic law is incompatible with democracy, which they argue can exist only in a secular state. [altmuslim] Read more

Secularism vs Islamism

In a recent TV debate on this subject, the applause meter would have given the win to Islamism. The debaters, three on each side, faced a small mixed audience — quite a few girls, many wearing hijabs, also young men in jeans and a handful of beards.

The ‘secularists’ appealed, in measured tones, to the intellect, made references to European history, called for tolerance, pluralism and progress. The ‘Islamists’ were assertive, emotional and received applause when they spoke of the ‘moral decadence’ of the West and condemned, to louder applause, the West’s aggression against Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Iraq.

So do the people of Pakistan want an Islamist state? Well, yes and no. [Dawn.com] Read more [via National Secular Society]

France is right to assume that the burqa is a political statement

A French parliamentary commission’s recommendation to ban the burqa, or full veil, from public places such as buses, banks and hospitals, is the most recent skirmish in an ongoing culture war between Islam and the West.

But the importance of the potential ban – and the firestorm of debate that the parliamentary proposal has generated – goes far beyond setting sartorial boundaries for those traveling on the Paris Metro. It also highlights competing views on how best to fight back against radical Islam, the interpretation of the faith that seeks to bend life in the 21st century to accommodate the medieval norms enshrined in Muslim law, or Sharia. [Daily Star] Read more

Don’t wear burkhas begs Straw

JUSTICE Secretary Jack Straw has said he wishes Muslim women would not wear burkhas in the UK. But Mr Straw, who in 2006 asked his female Muslim constituents to remove their veils at his surgeries, said a ban would not work in Britain. [The Daily Express] Read more

Defence chiefs fight plans to build £3m giant mosque that 'will loom over Sandhurst'

.... The group wants to demolish a listed Victorian school building in use as a mosque at the centre and replace it with a sprawling Saudi Arabian-style building. Planning papers reveal that the massive structure would tower over local buildings.

As well as the two minarets, it would feature a large central dome, five smaller outlying domes, a morgue, a library and a separate worship area for women. The first attempt at securing planning approval led to objections from 1,000 locals. Planning officers were also opposed but Conservative-dominated Surrey Heath gave the mosque the go-ahead last month.

However, a procedural error means the application now needs to go to a full council meeting for approval. [MailOnline] Read more

And just where do you think you're putting those minarets you 'orrible little man? .... 14 years ago the Bengali Welfare Association in the town bought an old Victorian former school (St Gregory's) to use for their mosque. The building is in a conservation area and is listed.

Now they have applied (and been granted) planning permission to knock the old building down and build what is described as a 'traditional' mosque with the dome and big minarets. Local people are outraged, both at the lost of the historic building and the likely increase of traffic etc from the new mosque. And, which they have to be careful articulating, the unease which the thought of dominating minarets gives them. [The Iconoclast] Read more

21 February 2010

Saudi women to be allowed to argue cases in court

Saudi Arabia is planning to bring in a new law to allow women lawyers to argue cases in court for the first time. Justice Minister Mohammed al-Eissa said the law was part of King Abdullah's plan to develop the legal system. The law - to be issued "in the coming days" - would allow women to appear in court on family-related cases, including divorce and child custody. [BBC] Read more

Is Islam a Violent Religion?

The title of this post is a question often asked these days. The so-called experts on Islam seem to almost concur on some link between Islam and violence. Though it’s hard to exonerate any of those experts from a political agenda or sometimes a pure hatred for Islam and/or Muslims, it still remains a valid question that every Muslim should be able to answer for himself or herself and for others.

Does Islam condone violence? Is Islam to blame for the rise of terrorist activities? Even if we’re able to clear the name of Islam, clearing Muslims from it is another challenge. [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

Al-Qaradawi to BBC: "Freedom Is Produced by the Application of the Shari'ah"

.... I found the last two paragraphs to be the most interesting, where on one hand he compares the lack of freedom of religion in the Hijaz to the fact that the Vatican doesn't allow proselyting in its territory, but then on the other hand he goes on to say that there should be no proselyting of other faiths at all among Muslims. So why even waste the time with the Vatican comparison, if there's no freedom of religion in Islam at all? [Translating Jihad] Read more [via EuropeNews]

20 February 2010

Unveiling the truth behind Shariah

.... At the top of the Islamist demands is to make defamation of religion a punishable offence. Since Judaism and Christianity are open to criticism, even ridicule in free and secular societies of the West, such a demand is to make an exception for Islam.

The trial of Geert Wilders in Amsterdam for offending Muslims indicates the extent to which Holland, one of the most open European countries, has tilted in the direction of becoming a “Shariah-compliant” society.

Holland is not alone in this effort to appease the Islamists. Across the West, a chill has fallen over the fundamental right to think and speak freely about Islam like any other subject of public interest. [lfpress.com] Read more

Taliban court amputates thieves’ hands in Orakzai

A Taliban court amputated the hands of five people charged with theft in the Orakzai Agency on Friday, sources said.

Sources told Daily Times that the Taliban court administrated the decision in Dabori area of the agency, and the people were amputated in the presence of several tribesmen. [Daily Times] Read more [via Religious Watch]

19 February 2010

A parliamentary inquiry into Islamophobia is needed

Ask most Muslims what they think is the cause of rising Islamophobia, the reply is invariably “the media”. Every little incident is sensationalised as a major national catastrophe by right-wing tabloids based in England in particular.

Sometimes it is even made up. Often they say they are legitimately covering the utterances of right-wing commentators. This has been going on relentlessly for a decade and has undoubtedly fed the grievances of the far-right who just hold up the front pages of these newspapers without comment. The Nazis on our streets are their sons, their ugly spawn.

I am not saying that Muslims are beyond criticism. Just that reporting should be true and proportionate. Politicians who want to have “debate” should, if they are sincere, talk to Muslims, not at them. Talk with Muslims, not about them. [Rolled-up Trousers] Read more

Book Review: “The Future of Islam” By John Esposito

For better or worse, Islam has been at the forefront of domestic and international affairs for at least the past decade. It’s truly a wonder, then, that according to a recent Gallup poll a majority of Americans still have little to no knowledge of the religion’s basic tenets.

More disheartening, if not outright frightening, is that even given this avowed lack of knowledge, a sizeable percentage of U.S. citizens nonetheless maintain a negative perception of Muslims.

So, either an informed, nuanced understanding of Islam is being obscured by the voluminous – and venomous – misinformation that clutters the media, or an accessible and authoritative account of what Muslims truly believe and how they interact with the world around them simply hasn’t been produced. [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

“Unofficial” CPAC Event Takes On Islam

The speakers participating in "Jihad: America's Third Rail," an "unofficial" panel at today's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) wanted their standing-room only audience to know that there's more to fear than jihad -- it's Islam itself that is the threat.

Sentiments like that are what has made this panel -- which just ended here at the Marriott Wardman Hotel in D.C -- one of the more controversial at the three-day conservative confab.

"Everyone knows Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked by a tiny minority," said Robert Spencer, sarcastically and to a great amount of applause and guffaws. [Fox News] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Europe moving away from Freedom of Speech

.... and you don't even need to wait for somebody from this religion or ethnical group to actually get offended, as it is also stated in the Framework Decision that the state should be eager to find and prosecute these cases on its own, on the grounds that people who are subject to racist crimes are "often particularly vulnerable and reluctant to initiate legal proceeding".

So, although Austria, Finland, and now Holland have all shown unusual vigor in using their legal system to muffle politicians who are criticizing Islam, rest of Europe might not be too far behind.

As always with vague laws, the question is of course how these laws will be implemented. Considering the politically correct atmosphere in Europe and the western world in general, the answers that come to mind are not very optimistic. [EuropeNews] Read more

Durie: A New Envoy to the United Nations of Islam

Comprising 57 states, the Organization of the Islamic Conference is the second-largest intergovernmental institution in the world after the UN. It is a unique body. A political organization, it pursues a religious mission.

The charter of the OIC makes clear that it exists, not only to promote the economic and humanitarian goals of member states, but also to “defend” and “disseminate” Islam itself.

The OIC even has a “Department of Islamic Propagation (Dawa) Affairs” dedicated to establishing Islam. Earlier this month the OIC’s High Commissioner for Dawa, Salem Al Houni, presented a speech in Cairo in which he affirmed the OIC’s commitment to spread Islam through the world.

It would be inconceivable for nations with Christian majorities to band together to form an intergovernmental organization devoted to advancing Christianity and the global interests of the Christian Church. The existence of the OIC is testimony to the reality that mainstream Islam recognizes no distinction between politics and religion. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Caned Malaysian women welcome their shariah punishment for ‘illicit’sex

THREE Muslim women – the first in Malaysia to be caned for illicit sex – claim that their punishment was an opportunity for them to repent of their sins, according to this report.

Prison authorities caned the women on February 9 after an Islamic court passed sentence. The caning has outraged rights groups and revived speculation that conservative Islamists, who advocate harsh punishment, are gaining influence.

The three women, aged 17-25, said they turned themselves in after feeling guilty for sleeping with their boyfriends before marriage and getting pregnant. [The Freethinker] Read more

Malaysia canes women for having sex out of wedlock Malaysian authorities have caned three women under Islamic laws for the first time in the Southeast Asian country, the interior minister said on Wednesday.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the sentences were carried out on February 9 after a religious court found them guilty of having sex out of wedlock. Two of the women were whipped six times. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Women’s groups decry caning of females The recent caning of three Muslim women for illicit sex has drawn outrage from women’s groups but Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs) say the punishment should not be “sensationalised.”

All Women’s Action Society (Awam) president Sofia Lim Siu Ching said the Home Ministry needed to explain why the punishment was carried out in secret.

“The expediency and the secrecy reek of bad faith and betray a troubling disregard for public opinion on an issue that has drawn attention around the globe,” she said in a statement Thursday. [The Star Online] Read more

18 February 2010

British Conservatives Support Hard Line Islam

Top Conservative party members have donated thousands of pounds to an organization that has hosted speakers known for their hard line Islamic views.

In August, Lord Sheikh, chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum (CMF), and Mohammed Amin, the CMF’s vice chairman, attended the launch of Iqra TV, founded by Al-Khair. According to the CMF website, after he had had made a presentation, Lord Sheikh gave a check for 5,000 pounds (approximately 8,000 US dollars) to Al-Khair for the establishment of a library. Al-Khair runs Islamic schools (in Britain and Kashmir), a prison outreach program, and hosts speaking and cultural events, including some that are “interfaith.” [The Brussels Journal] Read more

Halal Hatred: French Pols Claim Discrimination Over Pork-less Muslim-Friendly Menus

A French town filed a legal complaint Thursday accusing a branch of a mainstream fast food chain of discrimination because it only serves burgers prepared according to Islamic dietary law.

The mayor of the northern town of Roubaix, Rene Vandierendonck, told The Associated Press that he wants the Quick burger restaurant to "propose a new, diversified" menu that satisfies a broader clientele. [Huffington Post] Read more

French fast food chain Quick sparks halal burger appeal A French council has lodged a complaint against a fast food chain that serves only meat that conforms with Islamic dietary laws at a local branch.The mayor of Roubaix, in northern France, said the halal menu constituted "discrimination" against non-Muslims.

The Roubaix branch is one of several restaurants at which the chain, Quick, took non-halal products and pork off the menu in November. [BBC] Read more

Pork-dodgers are delighted with French food chain’s new halal menus I AM not quite sure which annoyed me more … the news that a French fast food chain has gone all halal at some of its branches, or the fact that the French have given up bulldozing fast food outlets. Instead – quelle horreur – they are even encouraging them to take root in places like the Louvre in Paris.

Leaving aside my utter disdain for Big Macs, Burger Kings and the like, there’s a bright side to the report that the popular Quick chain has replaced bacon with smoked halal turkey at several of its outlets – it has infuriated some Catholics, and anything that annoys the Catlicks must have some merit. [The Freethinker] Read more

Hubbub over halal in France After the noise over the niqab, now there’s a hubbub over halal in France. Police in the northern city of Lille launched an investigation on Friday into claims that a fast food restaurant was discriminating against non-Muslim customers by dropping bacon burgers from its menu and using only halal meat. The public prosecutor ordered the probe after the Socialist mayor of the nearby town of Roubaix sued the Quick fast food chain for switching to follow Muslim dietary laws in eight of its 350 branches. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

17 February 2010

Film explores Muslims struggling with life in West

German-Afghan director Burhan Qurbani shines the spotlight on the difficulties facing young Muslims in the western world in his first feature film "Shahada", set in multicultural Berlin.

The film, which won applause at its screening at the Berlin film festival on Wednesday, is about the intertwining tales of three young German-born Muslims struggling to reconcile their family faith and traditions with a modern, Western lifestyle. [Reuters.com] Read more

Norway: Sharia student continues to threaten

Mohyeldeen Mohammad (24), the Norwegian-Iranian who threatened Norway with its own 9/11 during the anti-Dagbladet demonstration last week, remained in the news this week.

On Tuesday Mohammad was interviewed in Communist newspaper Klassekampen and said gays deserved to be stoned. Then Dagbladet lodged a complaint against him for threatening to kill two of their journalists, after which the police detained and interrogated him today. [Islam in Europe] Read more

16 February 2010

What the British think of Freedom of Speech

The great majority of Britons support or tend to support freedom of speech (71%). They are against legal restrictions on criticising (attacking) a religion even though the followers of that religion might be offended.

A third (33%) are definitely against legal restrictions whereas only a tenth (11%) would definitely support them. [LibertyPhile Research] Read more

Many schools making religious concessions

Although some politicians' ire was raised over mothers-only meetings, many schools make concessions based on a student’s religion

Gender-segregated school meetings, special washrooms, prayer rooms and days off for holy days are just some of the concessions many of the nation’s primary and secondary schools have been making for students of non-Christian religions.

.... Politiken took the survey after the issue made headlines recently when Holberg School in Copenhagen held a ‘mothers-only’ meeting. School administrators said this was because some Muslim fathers would not allow their wives to attend the regular meetings in the company of other men. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Digital divorces being used by Muslims

At least two Muslim men in the Netherlands have terminated their marriages via digital technology, according to an Islamic scholar who spoke to Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Shaikh Amer, a lecturer in Sharia Studies at Rotterdam's Islamic University, said he knew of one man who divorced via e-mail and one who sent a message via MSN. SMS text messaging is also used.

An orthodox Muslim man can repudiate his wife by saying the word "talaq" three times, usually in direct conversation with her, or in a written letter. Shi'ite men who want to divorce, however, need to supply two witness accounts of infidelity, in addition to saying the word. Under Islamic law, divorce is not legal until confirmed by a judge or an imam. [Radio Nederlands Worldwide] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

15 February 2010

Suspension of Conscience - Amnesty International has lost sight of its original purpose

.... Amnesty International has just suspended one of its senior officers, a woman named Gita Sahgal who until recently headed the organization's "gender unit." It's fairly easy to summarize her concern in her own words.

"To be appearing on platforms with Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender," she wrote, "is a gross error of judgment." One might think that to be an uncontroversial statement, but it led to her immediate suspension. [Slate] Read more

Gove's unprincipled mosque stand

.... First, he seems to want to placate those whose opposition stems from a deep antipathy to Muslims generally. That is not the standard of statesmanship and integrity I expect from a member of parliament who should represent the interests of all his constituents.

Secondly, by asking the local Muslim community to withdraw the application, he is asking Muslims to give up their aspirations for a purpose-built place of worship. I go to our local church and that's an important building for me and many other local people. [Guardian Cif] Read more

The great majority (73%) of the readers of this Guardian Cif post support Michael Gove. See here.

Michael Gove opposes mosque at centre of 'inflammatory' campaign A Conservative frontbench spokesman, Michael Gove, has opposed plans to build a mosque in his constituency after it became the target of an "inflammatory and offensive" online campaign.

The shadow schools secretary, who warned that the west was facing a "total war" from Islamists in his book Celsius 7/7, had initially refused to take sides in the dispute over proposals to build a mosque next to Sandhurst barracks in Camberley, Surrey.

But this week he said he had been convinced that the strength of feeling was threatening the area's "good community relations" and called on local Muslims to withdraw the application. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Conference on Muslims in the media too hot for some of its speakers

Western media have a "spiteful policy" toward Iran of inventing "fraudulent" news to "increase false national expectation" and "encourage disturbance," according to the cultural attaché in the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Hamid Mohammadi said media deception has caused hatred and fear of Muslims by presenting the "false belief that religion is incapable of running a country" and that Iran is therefore illegitimate. [National Post] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Muslims are seeing Koranic injunctions where none exist

Confused Dad Mohamed from somewhere in the US sends his dilemma to an Islamic guidance website through whom Allah apparently communicates his orders – on how we dress, what we do minute by minute, unholy TV programmes, wicked vitamins and even wickeder relations between males and females.

I paraphrase Mohamed's frantic appeal for clarity. His children watch cartoons, and have stuffed toys, quilts and pillow cases with Mickey Mouse on them. Is all that halal? Now many of us detest the addictive and manipulative Disney brand which targets young children. But this fully grown, procreative adult cannot trust his own mind and seeks instructions from unverified voices of authority. How abject is that? [independent.co.uk] Read more

14 February 2010

Muslims Confront Islamism, Get Targeted by Islamists

French imam Hassen Chalghoumi recently learned firsthand that Islamists despise non-Islamist Muslims as much as they do anyone else. Chalghoumi attracted their ire by coming out strongly in favor of a ban on face-covering veils, a prohibition that is moving closer to reality. Echoing President Nicolas Sarkozy, he described the niqab as a "prison for women, a tool of sexist domination and Islamist indoctrination" that "has no place in France."

Moreover, he explained: Having French nationality means wanting to take part in society, at school, at work. But with a bit of cloth over their faces, what can these women share with us? If they want to wear the veil, they can go to a country where it's the tradition, like Saudi Arabia. [Islamist Watch] Read more

The Anachronism of Apostasy

Whereas the practice of slavery enslaves the body, the dogma of apostasy ensnares the mind. Whereas slavery is a shameful practice of the past, some shameless religionists still use the doctrine of apostasy to intimidate and severely punish people who elect to choose their own belief.

Islam is extremely possessive of its subjects. It is a religion that admits anyone into its fold by the person simply uttering a one-sentence statement of faith, shahada: "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is Allah's messenger." By so saying, one becomes Muslim for life and surrenders the right to ever leave it. Anyone who leaves the Islamic fold is murtad (revert), or an apostate. [American Thinker] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Germany plans Islamic studies institutes to curb extremism

Germany plans to set up institutes for Islamic studies to train new generations of imams and religious teachers more attuned to western society, and to exert subtle control over how the country’s growing Muslim population is taught about its faith.

The government has welcomed a proposal by its academic advisory council to set up centres of Islamic theology at two or three state-run universities. “The number of children and young people of Islamic faith in Germany is high and increasing,” said Annette Schavan, the education minister. [The National] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Ostriches at Harry's Place

Harry's Place is a curate's egg of a site. While it is very good at digging dirt on what it mistakenly calls "Islamism" or "political Islam", it remains in denial about Islam itself. The sheer number of posts about violent and seditious Muslims does not prompt the contributors to ask why Islam, alone among religions, gives rise to so many hostile political groupings. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Second Amnesty chief attacks Islamist links

.... In an internal memo leaked to The Sunday Times, Zarifi, who oversees Amnesty’s work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, claimed the charity’s campaigns blurred the line between giving support for a detainee’s human rights and endorsing extremist views. [Times Online] Read more

The Hijaab: 20 Years On?

Over the last 10 years, the British Muslim community has endured and witnessed the toughest decade since the post-war period when mass migration of Muslims to Britain took place. Unlike our elders whose self-segregation from mainstream British society was a defensive reaction to racism, second and third generation Muslims have been under attack for their faith.

.... as far back as 1990, my sister Fatima Alvi and I won the right to wear the Islamic headscarf at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls in Cheshire. ...., in December 1989, we made a completely independent decision to attend school and refused to remove the covering from our heads. What did we go armed with? Our faith in God and knowledge of our educational rights. [The Platform] Read more

13 February 2010

Norway: 61.5% of Muslims think demonstrations are unreasonable, 44% see signs of radicalization

There were protests by Muslims on both Friday (~3,000 people ) and Saturday (~300 people). Both were mostly peaceful, and the organizers put great emphasis that it would be so, though one of the speakers in the Friday protest 'warned' Norway of a terrorist attack if things continue as they are. Aftenposten also reports people shouted "bomb, bomb", but their video report about it doesn't show that. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Egypt bans all Christians from travelling to the Holy Land

Cranmer has commented before upon the appalling plight of the Coptic Christians and the persecution they endure. They are being religiously cleansed from their homeland; forced to convert or emigrate, or risk being murdered, with not a lot of compassion from the British Government. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Muslim woman's veil case represents clash of values in Spain

But Cunit has gained a new distinction: It is famous in Spain as the town where a Moroccan-born Muslim woman with a master's degree and a head of curly hair says she was threatened by Muslim fundamentalists because she took off her veil and tried to live like a Spaniard.

The treatment of Fatima Ghailan, 31, prompted an investigating magistrate to bring charges against the sheik of the local mosque, Mohamed Benbrahim, and the head of the Islamic Association, Abderraman el-Osri, the leading figures in Cunit's Muslim community. [The Washington Post] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

12 February 2010

Govt warned against amending blasphemy law

LAHORE - Leaders and representatives of over 30 religious parties of the country, while reiterating the universal stance of Muslim world that blasphemy of any kind was liable for death punishment, have stressed that neither rulers nor legislature or any court had the power to amend blasphemy law.

…. these leaders regretted that pro-west ruling elite of Pakistan had been from time to time trying to amend blasphemy laws. They warned the government that a movement would be launched in case rulers tried to carry out such unholy designs. [The News] Read more [via Religious Watch]

The worrying rise of attacks fuelled by hatred

.... Anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic attitudes are also increasingly commonplace. As the British Social Attitudes Survey recently highlighted, not only are Muslims the least popular religious community in Britain today but over half the population would be bothered by a large mosque being built in their community.

Neither of these attitudes are specifically Islamophobic but they do suggest a hardening of attitudes especially when Muslims and Islam are considered against other religions. As Professor David Voas provocatively put it, Muslims are increasingly being understood as posing a threat to British society. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Muslim police? Christian doctors? Sikh judges? What happened to neutrality in the delivery of public services?

Now we have “Hindu police” and “Christian doctors” and “Muslim scouts” and “Catholic teachers”. In all these instances, surely the religion of the person being referred to should be of secondary importance. Instead it appears to be the primary definer.

Doesn’t anyone see the danger of encouraging “Muslim police officers” rather than simply “police officers”? How, for instance, will people in the Jewish community react to officers who want to define themselves as “Muslim police” and vice versa? See here for an instance of it. How will “Sikh police officers” deal with Hindus when we know there is a history of conflict between their communities? [National Secular Society] Read more

Religious Strike in Norway

Last week-end, almost a thousand taxi drivers in the Norwegian capital Oslo and neighboring municipality Bærum went on what could be called a religious strike. Both on Friday evening and Monday morning, Muslim taxi drivers refused to drive in protest against Wednesday's front page of the Norwegian tabloid paper Dagbladet.

That day, the tabloid ran an article about some of the “dangerous” pages the website of the Norwegian security service PST links to, and illustrated that with a screen shot of a cartoon showing the prophet Muhammad as a pig trampling the Qur'an. [The Brussels Journal] Read more

Good Muslim, bad Muslim

.... Relations with the "west" offer another interesting standard by which to evaluate the political and religious stances of contemporary Muslims. The violent extremist groups view their relations with the west only in terms of complete opposition and enmity, couched in religious, political, cultural and economic ­conceptual language.

Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims - particularly western Muslims - recognise the achievements of western societies, while at the same time claiming the right to determine for themselves the parameters of their identity, the nature and extent of their religious practices, and their spiritual and moral convictions. Seen from this perspective, criticism and rejection of the west are linked only to a refusal to accept political, economic or cultural domination. [New Statesman] Read more

Saudi Arabia’s religious police out in force in run-up to Valentine’s Day

If you can’t stand shops filled with roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, teddy bears, cards and novelty gifts, Saudi Arabia is the place to be this Valentine’s Day.

The country’s feared muttawa — religious police — have launched a campaign to banish from the shelves anything that could be construed as a romantic gift. As Sunday approaches, they have been patrolling the shops and posting warnings in local newspapers to remind traders that anyone caught violating the ban will be punished. [Times Online] Read more

Quote of the day “We call on all believers and sensible people to say no to celebrating this day, since it contradicts not only the norms of Islam, but also recognised human morality.” - a statement from a council of Muslim leaders in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region, who are calling for a “ban” on celebrating Valentine’s Day, which is growing in popularity in Russia. [Letters From A Tory] Read more

11 February 2010

International Journal of Cardiology publishes Islamic apologetic tract

The article claims that "Found within the Qur'an and Hadeeth are accurate descriptions of anatomical structures, surgical procedures, physiological characteristics, and medical remedies."

This is a staple of contemporary Islamic apologetics, but does such a claim really have a place in a scholarly medical journal? One wonders if The International Journal of Cardiology would publish an article about how Christian or Buddhist texts reflect some modern scientific understanding. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Religious law hinders Muslim countries

Infusing religion and nationalism can produce a people totally obsessed with their relgious identity. Many Muslim countries are suffering from the effects of this combination.

Religion of every denomination provides us hope and solace in moments of despair. However, whenever religion becomes the rallying cry of a nation’s system of government, it can easily become a tool for suppression of minorities and result in fascist states.

Imagine the United States and Europe declaring themselves Christian republics, with orthodox Christianity of the inquisition era enforced by the state. I think the Muslims of Europe and the United States, with populations of 37 million and more than 6 million, along with the Jews would find life a living hell. [Baltimore Sun] Read more

Airport Body Scanners Violate the Teachings of Islam, Says Muslim Group

A group of Muslim scholars says it supports airline safety, but it is "deeply concerned" about the use of airport scanners that show nude images of the human body.

“The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) emphasizes that a general and public use of such scanners is against the teachings of Islam, natural law and all religions and cultures that stand for decency and modesty,” the group said in a Feb. 10 statement posted at Islam Online. [CNSNews.com] Read more

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West – Reviewed

.... What this means is that the diversity of Islam is an illusion that masks a deeper truth - namely, that problems of immigration are in fact aspects of a larger, overarching clash of civilisations. Moreover, there is no point in relying on "moderate" Muslims in this conflict, as there is no such thing - moderate Muslims, such as the reformist scholar Tariq Ramadan, are in fact secret fascists.

Indeed, Caldwell suggests that Ramadan's ideas are identical with those of the murdered Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn: they both present Islam as a religion of domination that is about to overwhelm and subdue Europe. [New Statesman] Read more

Radical departure

When I was a student at Newham College in the East End of London in the 1990s, and an activist of Hizb ut-Tahrir, "Islamism", or political Islam, seemed to have answers to difficult questions about identity and belonging. It offered an explanation of the world as I found it.

It offered solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It gave definition and direction to a global social network of savvy, supremacist Muslims, who were in revolt against the status quo at home and abroad. My teenage rebellion was channelled into conflict with my parents' much more sober Islam. [New Statesman] Read more

Ed Husain on 'Islamism' and Mawdudi .... And it is exactly Husain’s deprecation of ‘Islamism’ and of British Muslim organisations like IFE and MAB that blinds him to the fact that the thinkers he champions as benign ideologues for a new generation of British Muslims, Maulana Madani or Imam Shatibi, advocate no more than what these organisations themselves pursue: Maqasid ash-Shari’ah and all that it entails by way of the full participation of Muslims in British society and public life for the collective benefit of all. [ENGAGE] Read more

10 February 2010

Justice Secretary Jack Straw rejects burka ban for Muslim women

Muslim women should never be banned from wearing burkas on Britain's streets, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said yesterday. France has banned female students from wearing face-covering veils in schools and more widespread measures are under consideration.

Peter Bone, Tory MP for Wellingborough yesterday asked Mr Straw in the Commons whether he believed there should be a change in the law in Britain. Mr Straw said he would 'strongly recommend against'. [MailOnline] Read more

Election candidate in headscarf causes uproar in France

Olivier Besancenot, the postman-turned-revolutionary at the helm of France's anti-capitalist movement, has been fiercely criticised from all sides of the political spectrum for fielding a headscarf-wearing candidate in forthcoming elections.

Ilham Moussaid, a 21-year-old Muslim woman who describes herself as "feminist, secular and veiled", is running for the far-left New Anti-Capitalist party (NPA) in the south-eastern region of Avignon. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Norwegian imam doesn’t get apology, mutters threateningly

He doesn’t want trouble, you see. He just wants an apology. Imam Malana-hafiz Mehboob-ur-Rehma met with the editor of Dagbladet, and was disappointed to find the newspaperman standing by his principles. In other words, no apology was forthcoming for the Norwegian daily’s printing of a Mohammed cartoon to illustrate an article. [MediaWatchWatch] Read more

Menace in mad march of the thought police

THE dark spectre of illiberalism is slowly poisoning Western liberal democracies. You won't hear about it from much of the left-liberal press. It is part of the problem and its silence only confirms that basic liberties integral to Western liberal democracies are under threat.

That is why you may not have heard about the trial of Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is being prosecuted under hate laws in The Netherlands for his opinions about Islam. Agree or disagree with Wilders, this is the thundering march of the thought police. And don't for a moment imagine that Australia is immune from this menace to democracy. [The Australian] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

09 February 2010

What the British think of religion and Muslims

.... Theories abound regarding the integration or otherwise of British Muslims and what the public think. Now we have an authoritative measure of the extent of the problem.

The NatCen itself says “…. the adverse reaction to Muslims deserves to be the focus of policy on social cohesion, because no other group elicits so much disquiet”. [LibertyPhile Research] Read more

How Amnesty chose the wrong poster-boy

.... The problem came to prominence at the weekend when The Sunday Times reported that one of Amnesty’s senior officers, Gita Sahgal, had circulated a memorandum extremely critical of the organisation’s collaboration with a group called Cageprisoners.

Cageprisoners’ most famous figure is the former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg, a man whose three years’ incarceration without trial has helped, for many liberals, to turn him into a kind of Muslim Mandela — an embodiment of the wrongly accused. [Times Online] Read more

Buttering up the Islamic states

IN JULY 2009, the Dail passed the amended Blasphemy Act, which curtailed the freedom of speech. It came into operation on January 1, 2010. This law appalled many people, including religious people. The arch non-believer, Professor Richard Dawkins, described it as a "wretched, backward, uncivilised regression to the middle ages".

.... As well as being outraged, many people, myself included, were puzzled as to why it suddenly became so vital to pass this law, especially as Ireland had, in 2008, joined other EU countries in opposing an attempt by Islamic states to have the UN introduce a world-wide law making defamation of religion a crime. [Independent.ie] Read more

Christian teacher 'forced out' after complaining Muslim pupils praised 9/11 hijackers 'as heroes'

A Christian teacher yesterday claimed he was forced out of his job after complaining that Muslim pupils as young as eight hailed the September 11 hijackers as heroes. .... He claimed that during a religious education lesson about Jonah and the whale, one of the pupils asked if Jonah was a Jew, before shouting: 'I hate the Jews, they're our enemies.'

Mr Kafouris said he again tried to speak to Miss Hankey about it. 'The head's response was hostile and offensive again. The very first thing she said to me was, "Oh, you again! You're the only teacher that reports these things! Nobody else does!". [MailOnline] Read more

Saudi Arabia upholds 'sex boast' conviction

A Saudi Arabian appeals court has upheld a sentence of five years in jail and 1,000 lashes for a man who boasted on TV of his sex life, reports say.

Mazen Abdul Jawad was convicted in October of immoral behaviour under the country's strict Islamic law code. Sentences of two years in jail and 300 lashes were upheld for three friends of his who were also on the programme. [BBC] Read more [via Religious Watch]

American Living In Saudi Arabia .... Loves Latest By Saudi-Supported And Saudi-Supporting John Esposito

Here's that disinterested book review by Joseph Preville, a writer "living in Jeddah," in the disinterested Saudi Gazette, of a book by the disinterested-beyond-reproach "scholar" John L. Esposito, of the Prince Talal ibn whathisname Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Did I forget to mention that the foreward is by that great scholar of Islam and humanity Karen Armstrong? [The Iconoclast] Read more

08 February 2010

Taxi drivers continue Muhammed-cartoon protest

Muslim taxi drivers in Oslo parked their cars Monday morning in protest against the publication of a Muhammed cartoon by Norwegian media.

A long line stretched out outside the Oslo Central Station, a stone's throw from Dagbladet's offices, when Muslim taxi drivers parked their cars in protest against the newspaper, which printed a Muhammad cartoon as illustration to an article. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Newcomers to France should sign 'no-burqa' clause, says Families Minister

Foreigners who come to live in France should sign a contract recognising that the wearing of the full Islamic veil is banned, a minister said

The "no burqa" clause and a second provision rejecting female genital mutilation should be added to the "integration contract" that newcomers have been asked to sign since 2007, said Families Minister Nadine Morano.

The government is drafting legislation to restrict the wearing of the face-covering veil after a parliament report last month called for a burqa ban in all schools, hospitals, government offices and public transport. [Times of India] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

City to get first Muslim scout group

The first Muslim Scout group has been set up in Bradford to be based in one of the city’s mosques. More than 50 youngsters attended an open day in Manningham today to sign up as members of the new group. [Asian Image] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Passengers left stunned after Muslim bus driver pulls over and begins praying in the aisle

A Muslim bus driver stunned passengers by pulling over mid-route and beginning to pray in the aisle. The driver stopped the bus without warning before removing his shoes and, using a fluorescent jacket as a prayer mat, beginning to chant in Arabic.

Passengers said they feared the driver could be preparing for a terror attack. No one was able to get on or off the vehicle during the five-minute prayer session. [MailOnline] Read more

Muslim on the Buses A Muslim Bus driver in London delayed his passengers while he decided to have a pray. In the good old days when On The Buses was a popular show Stan would regularly pop home to do a bit of shopping or take home his latest flame while passengers waited so what's the fuss. For all his passengers know, the Brother could have been praying for a safe and comfortable ride. [London Muslim] Read more

Western Civilization on Trial

The Geert Wilders trial ought to be an international media event; seldom has any court case anywhere had such enormous implications for the future of the free world. The case against him, which has all the legitimacy of a Stalinist-era Moscow show trial, is a manifestation of the global assault on free speech sponsored chiefly at the U.N. by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). If Wilders loses, the freedom of speech will be threatened everywhere in the West. [National Review] Read more

The Crooked Judges of Amsterdam Pat Condell sounds more angry than usual in his condemnation of Geert Wilder's treatment in the Netherlands courts. See video [via Religious Watch]

Geert Wilders: Manipulator of the Koran? Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated a pair of articles about a letter from six scholars of Islam who claim that Geert Wilders manipulated the text of the Koran when he made his film Fitna.

VH suggests that the term “Stockholm Syndrome” should perhaps be changed to “Amsterdam syndrome”. He also says, “I think one of these professors has a university chair funded by Oman, but I will have to look into this.” [Gates of Vienna] Read more

Dutch politician Geert Wilders launches websites on political trial Dutch politician Geert Wilders launches two websites on the political trial against him and the freedom of speech. From now on both the Dutch (http://www.wildersproces.nl/) and the international public (http://www.wildersontrial.com/) are able to keep up with the trials' proceedings. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Job agency fined for religious discrimination

Sweden’s National Public Employment Agency has been fined for discriminating against a Muslim man who had his benefits withdrawn after refusing to shake the hand of a female CEO. .... at a firm with which he was seeking work experience.

The court ruled that the agency was aware that the man's religious convictions prevented him from shaking hands with women he did not know. The company elected not to offer the man an internship, later arguing that the decision was taken due to his lack of appropriate skills and experience. [The Local] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

An anti-burqa law to renew Islam in Europe

Wearing the all-enveloping outer garment is not a religious requirement, but a cultural tradition from Saudi Arabia. It is the symbol of an attack by extremist Islam on Europe, and this has generated contempt for a certain retrograde form of Islam.

A law is needed against wearing full-face veil in public spaces, but what is even more needed is a broad dialogue between East and West that would allow Islam to be modernised and integrated into European culture, and thus have an opportunity to contribute to world civilisation. [AsiaNews] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

UK Government and MCB Restore Relations

On January 15th 2010 the UK government announced that it was restoring ties with the Muslim Council of Britain – the UK’s largest Islamic umbrella organization.

The UK government had suspended all contact with the MCB some ten months earlier in March 2009 after the MCB’s Deputy Secretary-General; Daud Abdullah, had signed the Istanbul Declaration in solidarity with the occupied Palestinian nation following the criminal Israeli bombardment and invasion of Gaza. [IslamOnline.net] Read more

07 February 2010

Plan for anti-Muslim march blasted

FIVE men have been arrested after a Facebook site was set up declaring “all Muslims should be thrown out of Wales”.

Around 150 people joined the group on the social networking site claiming they would march through the Rhondda Valleys to make their feelings known. The proposed march has been described as “mindless bigotry” by racial equality groups. But South Wales Police have now stepped in and arrested five men for religiously aggravated public order offences.

It is one of the first occasions people have been arrested over comments posted on Facebook. [Wales Online] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Muslim man demands right to bring second wife to Ireland

A Muslim man has gone to the High Court in Ireland demanding that he be allowed bring in his second wife to Ireland. The native of Lebanon, where polygamy is allowed, says his polygamous marriage must be recognized.

Liam Egan, a member of the Muslim Public Affairs Congress, told the Irish Sunday Times the man was being discriminated against unfairly. “It is draconian to treat this family differently,” said Egan. [IrishCentral] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

You, Britain, are the breeding ground for Muslim terrorists

Ever since I told the US website The Daily Beast that Britain was a cesspit and a breeding ground for fundamentalist Muslims, people have been asking me what I meant: “Why do you, a Nobel laureate, say such things? Where’s the evidence?”

....Where are these students developing these attitudes? Mostly off-campus in local mosques. There are so-called schools of Islamic teaching attached to mosques in certain British cities. These ghetto schools, which are often situated in innocuous places, are a real problem in Britain. You have them in many of your northern cities; you have them in London. They are not mainstream Islamic schools. [Times Online] Read more

Student Islamic Societies “provide the mood music to which suicide bombers dance” “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army” Edward Everett a former President of Harvard and US secretary of State said.

However, since former UCL Islamic society president Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed attempt to blow up a plane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day, it is the level of liberty allowed to radical ideologues by Universities in Britain, institutions which are seen as the pinnacle of the British Education system, which has come to be questioned. [Harry’s Place] Read more

06 February 2010

Muslim group urges acceptance of niqab

THE IRISH Council of Imams, a group which represents Muslims living in Ireland, has spoken out against attempts to ban the niqab elsewhere in Europe and called on members of the religion to contribute positively to the societies in which they are living.

The council said that a ban on the niqab – a veil worn by Muslim women that covers everything except the eyes – violates personal freedoms guaranteed by democratic systems. [The Irish Times] Read more

Egyptian Cleric Issues Fatwa Against Accessing Facebook, Others Object

.... the former chairman of the Fatwa Commission in Al-Azhar University, issued a fatwa yesterday that has aroused a loud clamor on the Egyptian street. Al-Atrash prohibited access to the social networking site Facebook after the rate of divorces and cases of marital infidelity have risen.

…. the consequences of accessing this site are extremely dangerous to public opinion and to people in general, especially Arab and Muslim peoples that have their own special characteristics. Al-Atrash said that Facebook is a destructive tool since it leads to illicit liaisons, which are banned by shari`ah. [BiyoKulule Online] Read more

Al-Azhar says no fatwa against Facebook CAIRO: Egypt’s top religious academy has denied it issued a fatwa against the social network Facebook. The rumors had spread after al-Azhar’s Islamic Research Academy allegedly said the site would lead to sexual affairs between unmarried men and women, which had sparked an outrcy from Egyptian activists, rights groups and average citizens who use the network to stay in touch with friends. [Bikya Masr] Read more [via Virtually Islamic]

05 February 2010

“Reviving the Islamic Spirit” or Promoting Islamic Dominance?

Billed as “Canada’s largest Muslim convention,” Reviving the Islamic Spirit – 8th Convention was held in Toronto on December 25 – 27, 2009. Having heard the reports that 17,000 attendees from Canada and the U.S. were expected, I decided to see for myself. I also wanted to know if the convention would stress spirituality, promote moderate Islam, or offer apologias for radical Islam. [Front Page] Read more

What would Muhammad do?

Omid Safi is best known to many of us as being at the forefront of the Progressive Muslims movement, a movement that finds in Islamic spirituality a powerful voice for social justice and pluralism. In his latest book, Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters (Harper Collins), Safi explores the origins of that spirituality: the character and being of the Prophet Muhammad. [altmuslim] Read more

Germany's Very Own Minaret Debate Turns Nasty

A small Muslim community in a western German town would like to build a minaret on its mosque. But the plan has triggered passionate opposition from locals, many of whom rely on rhetoric from the extreme right in railing against the "symbol of Islam's quest for power." [Spiegal Online] Read more [via Islam in europe]

Is there racial segregation in Britain's towns?

This year’s general election will see the British National Party try and exploit divided communities in towns and cities across the country. Charlie Baker, who has worked for regeneration cooperative URBED in cities across northern England, looks at the causes of prejudice and segregation in Britain’s racial hotspots.

.... in many of the towns that I‘ve worked in up here there is very little integration, but integration is a politically charged term. It has expressed itself as expected in schools, in housing choices, in workplaces. But you cannot force integration. And should you if you could? In a healthy society plurality and diversity enrich life – why would you want to homogenise? It would be ridiculous to crush the myriad of differing identities. [The Samosa] Read more

04 February 2010

Mothers-only school meeting attracts outrage

The decision taken by a Copenhagen school to ban fathers from a parental meeting out of respect for Muslim mothers has drawn deep divides between politicians and school leaders.

Holberg School in the city’s Bispebjerg district has scheduled a meeting for parents about the school’s anti-bullying policy this evening. But the meeting at the multi-cultural school is mothers only, and neither Danish nor immigrant fathers of pupils have been welcomed to attend. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Complaint after Cherie Booth spares religious man jail

A secularist group has lodged an official complaint against Cherie Booth QC after she spared a man from prison because he was religious. Shamso Miah, 25, of Redbridge, east London, broke a man's jaw following a row in a bank queue.

Sitting as a judge, Ms Booth - wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair - said she would suspend his sentence on the basis of his religious belief. [BBC] Read more

Cherie Booth either hates Muslims or is on drugs There better be another explanation for this story. …. Sitting as a judge, Ms Booth – wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair – said she would suspend his sentence on the basis of his religious belief.

His religion is completely unimportant in this sense and this is a completely idiotic decision that will only further give the impression that Muslims are afforded special rights that others are denied. Cherie Booth must either hate Muslims or smoking something. [Pickled Politics] Read more

03 February 2010

Hirsi Ali calls on Americans to fight for the human rights of Muslim women

Freedom fighter Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last night, and Rashid Dar, the head of the campus chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Muslim Students Association, in this article affects a posture of wounded victimhood, claiming that Hirsi Ali -- who was raised a Muslim in a Muslim country -- paints an inaccurate picture of Islam, and whining about that ever-present phantom backlash that never materializes. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Wedding trouble as UK Muslim marriages not recognised

A growing number of young Muslims in the UK are entering marriages that are not legally recognised, BBC Asian Network has found. This is because couples are having an Islamic wedding without the civil ceremony needed for the marriage to be recognised under British law.

.... Shaheeda Khan married her fiance in a traditional Islamic religious ceremony, the nikah, at her home in Birmingham. .... "I had to show a marriage certificate when I was enrolling at university. It was then I realised I didn't have one and it came as a big shock to me," she said.

.... A few months later she came home and found that the locks to her front door had been changed and that she had been thrown out of her home. [BBC] Read more

Citizenship denied to man with burqa wife

A FOREIGN national who forced his French wife to wear the full Islamic veil will be denied French citizenship, the immigration minister said today. Eric Besson said he had signed a decree rejecting the man's citizenship application after it emerged that he had ordered his wife to cover herself with the head-to-toe veil.

"It emerged during the inquiry and the interview process that this person forced his wife to wear the full veil, deprived her of freedom of movement with her face exposed and rejected the principles of secularism and equality between men and women," said Mr Besson. [news.com.au] Read more

02 February 2010

Poll shows Britons back limited curbs on the veil

The British people support some restrictions on wearing the burka in public but oppose an outright ban, according to a new poll for The Independent.

The ComRes survey found that almost two out of three people believe it should be illegal to wear a burka in places such as banks and airports. But six out of 10 people oppose a ban on wearing it in all public places. [independent.co.uk] Read more

[For a comparison of this poll's results and another recent survey on this issue see this article at LibertyPhile Research]

01 February 2010

All Terrorists are Muslims… Except the 99.6% that Aren’t (Surely some mistake. Ed.)

No mistake, the statistic is from the Europol EU Terrorism 2009 report. It has been seized upon by LoonWatch.com, a Muslim run American-based web site explaining how everyone always gets it wrong about Muslims. They say:

"….. The results are stark, and prove decisively that not all terrorists are Muslims. In fact, a whopping 99.6% of terrorist attacks in Europe were by non-Muslim groups; a good 84.8% of attacks were from separatist groups completely unrelated to Islam. …. Only a measly 0.4% of terrorist attacks from 2007 to 2009 could be attributed to extremist Muslims."

Unfortunately, they haven’t bothered to read the report they quote.

The great majority of European terrorists attacks are indeed to do with separatism (Basques and Corsicans) and most of these are aimed at property, businesses or government establishments. The Europol report says:

“ ….. targets of Corsican separatist terrorist groups are holiday apartments and houses. In addition, cars of non-Corsican residents and real estate agencies renting holiday houses were attacked

…. Target selection remains dependent on the political goals of the groups concerned. As in previous years, Corsican separatist terrorist groups mainly targeted private property or individuals, while Basque separatist terrorist groups mainly carried out attacks against business and governmental targets.

…. The majority of left-wing and anarchist terrorist attacks targeted business and governmental targets.”

Now compare that with the failed Islamic underpants bomber who wanted to bring down an airliner with 300 innocent people on board over Detroit, a major city, and kill hundreds, if not thousands more.

A single successful Muslim attack could be 100 times greater than what the separatists, lefties and animal rights nutters have done in decades!

This is the defining characteristic of Muslim terrorism (and the resources behind it in places like Pakistan), the mass slaughter of as many innocent people as possible. Read LoonWatch article here