30 June 2010

Veiled Truths - The Rise of Political Islam in the West

In The Flight of the Intellectuals, Paul Berman argues that it is not violent Islamists who pose the greatest danger to liberal societies in the West but rather their so-called moderate cousins, such as Tariq Ramadan. Such a reading of contemporary Islamism, however, misses the many nuances of the movement and the real battles between reformers and Salafists. [Foreign Affairs] Read more

Tory MP bids to 'ban the burka'

A Tory MP has launched an effort to pass a law banning Muslim women from wearing the burka. Philip Hollobone will attempt to steer legislation through the Commons to regulate the wearing of "certain facial coverings".

The Kettering MP said his Bill would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public "which would obviously have a big impact for those who wear full-face Islamic veils". He told the Press Association: "I think it's inappropriate to cover your face in public, whether it's a burka, a balaclava or anything else. [UKPA] Read more

Burka ban put to Commons by MP Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, will present his Private Members Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday in the wake of a Council of Europe ruling saying no bans should be imposed.

MPs from 47 countries voted that outlawing the hijab would deny women the right to cover their faces even if they genuinely want to. Mr Hollobone, who previously likened wearing the garment to "going around with a paper bag over your head", said the ruling proved European politicians are out of touch. [Northants Evening Telegraph] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Is monarchy the answer in the Middle East?

The name Bernard Lewis provokes very different reactions in different people. For some he is the world’s foremost historian of Islam and the Middle East, the English academic who originally coined the term ‘clash of civilisations’ (as Samuel Huntingdon, who popularised it, freely acknowledged).

For some he is a Princeton man, a neocon who celebrated his 90th birthday (four years ago) with Cheney and Kissinger; whose ‘Lewis Doctrine’ was said to have inspired the invasion of Iraq and botched the war on terror. [The Spectator] Read more

Hizb ut Tahrir’s Few Remaining Friends

It hasn’t been a good year for Hizb ut Tahrir (HT), the radical Islamist group that seeks to conquer the world through armed Jihad and enforce a medieval and de-contextualised understanding of Shariah on everyone.

The Marriott in Chicago has refused to host their big over-hyped annual U.S. conference, membership has continued to decline, other Muslim groups have further distanced themselves from them and their pathetic attempts to appear ‘moderate’ have failed because their Pakistan and Bangladesh branches have continued to issue highly racist press releases. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Homely Homemaking Homebodies? Why the Quran Commands Muslim Women: “Stay in Your Homes”

.... In contrast, those women who keep their home their priority, or shall we say, their “primary occupation”, but continue to dabble in their professions and hobbies on a part-time or freelance basis – viz. at a level that doesn’t obstruct fulfillment of their responsibilities at home - lead a more satisfied life, entering into a win-win bargain.

Their homes and families are taken care of, fulfilling their maternal and nurturing instincts, whereas their mental and intellectual faculties also remain stimulated because their spare time is used constructively for the benefit of others in society. [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

29 June 2010

Syria bans the Burka

London Muslim is no fan of the Niqab as I've made clear on numerous occasions however, I'm also no fan on banning things.

With banning the Niqab all the rage in Europe thanks to France and now moving on to Italy and Spain imagine my surprise when I learn that Syria has decided to ban the Niqab for teachers and even worse suspend them for wearing the veil.

Surely with a bit of common sense prevailing the authorities in Syria could have reached a more amicable solution because I do understand the difficulty caused from kids failing to see a teacher and understand the emotions that usually arise through facial expressions. [London Muslim] Read more

Turkish Minister says Europe sees other cultures "enemy"

Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydin on Tuesday said Europe considered its own culture as "superior" and all other cultures as "enemy".

"The Europeans should quit seeing themselves the higher culture and get to know the Islam better," Aydin told a "High-level Conference on Tolerance and Non-discrimination" of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Astana, Kazakhstan. [World Bulletin] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Netherlands: NL 2023, a vision for the future

Establishing high-level cultural institutions in disadvantaged neighborhoods, beyond the usual 'elitist' locations, upgrading the neighborhood, developing a Dutch 'Harvard', companies who sponsor parks and nature reserves, encouraging 'circular migration' instead of closing the doors.

These are several points in the vision of the future NL 2023, developed by a group of highly-educated Moroccan-Dutch in an attempt to break through the polarized social debate. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Morocco: Concern about Belgian Islam

Morocco, which is trying to protect itself from Muslim extremists, sent a delegation of female preachers to Belgium last week, in order to convince the Belgian authorities that Moroccan Islam has gone through a real revolution in recent years and is an alternative to the extremist Islam which developed in recent years in Brussels. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Saudi Textbooks: Still Teaching Hatred

.... In its 2010 annual report on human rights, the State Department itself concluded, with diplomatic understatement, that Saudi Ministry of Education textbooks continued to contain “some overtly intolerant statements” against various religious groups, that they “provided justification for violence against non-Muslims,” and that reforms remained “incomplete.”

Meanwhile, Saudi royals have stepped up their philanthropy to higher education around the world, for which they have garnered many encomiums and awards.

Hardly a month goes by without a news report that one of the princes is endowing a new center of Islamic and Arabic studies, or a business or scientific department, at a foreign university — so far, the list includes Oxford, Georgetown, Berkeley, Berlin, Harvard, Moscow, Sarajevo, Australia, and many others. [National Review Online] Read more [via EuropeNews]

28 June 2010

Europe poised to commit suicide, admit Turkey into EU

Turkey would immediately become the largest state in the EU. Rapidly Islamizing Ankara would be calling the shots for people in Berlin, London, Paris, and Rome. 70 million Muslims or more, including an untold number of active Islamic jihadists, would be able to enter Europe easily and travel around it freely. European Death Watch Alert: [Jihad Watch] Read more

French PM urges Muslims to reject "hijacked Islam"

Prime Minister Francois Fillon urged France's Muslims on Monday to reject full face veils as a sectarian caricature of Islam, a week before parliament debates a law banning burqas and niqabs in public.

Inaugurating a mosque in a northwestern Paris suburb, he said French Muslims should combat a tiny radical minority using face veils as a way to combat the integration of a tolerant Islam that respects the separation of church and state.

"The Islam of France, the Islam you practice daily, has nothing to do with this caricature that dims the lights of your faith," Fillon, the most senior French politician to inaugurate a mosque in decades, said to applause from the crowd. [Reuters] Read more

Hard-line groups target Christianity with sharia law

A joint congress of Muslim organizations demanded the Bekasi regency and municipality administrations immediately implement Islamic sharia law to deter the growth of Christianity in the area.

“We will urge the [Bekasi] regency and municipal administrations to pass more sharia-based bylaws and regulations to limit apostasy and squeeze out attempts to weaken Muslim unity in the city,” Sulaiman Zachawerus, the chairman of the Bekasi branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), said Sunday at the conclusion of a congress of more than 500 participants at Al Azhar mosque. [The Jakarta Post] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Pakistan TV Debate on Concubines and Slavery in Islam

Speaking on "Point Blank with Luqman," a television program hosted by Pakistani television presenter Mubasher Luqman, prominent Pakistani clerics said that Islam permits Muslims to keep concubines. Video footage of the program was posted on the Pakistani website pakistanherald.com.

The show, which airs at 11:00pm from Monday through Friday, is a talk show on which a variety of social and political issues in Pakistan are discussed. The particular edition of the program on which the clerics spoke was aired on Pakistani television channel Express News on May 31, 2010. [MEMRI] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

27 June 2010

Midland charity invited radical Muslim preacher to speak to crowds

AN MP has called for an inquiry into a Midland charity which invited a radical Muslim preacher to speak to crowds in Birmingham. A Sunday Mercury investigation has also revealed that Islamic Dawah Centre International (IDCI), is selling books by Muslim extremists through its website.

The Alum Rock-based group had invited Dr Zakir Naik to speak to 13,000 people at the LG Arena this weekend – despite him publicly backing Osama Bin Laden in the past. [Sunday Mercury] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Islamophobia no longer even questioned

An article in a Brooklyn, NY local paper is typical of the sort of blind hatred that is now totally acceptable in the U.S.

It opens with: “There’s no denying the elephant in the room. Neither is there any rejoicing over the mosques proposed for Sheepshead Bay, Staten Island and Ground Zero because where there are mosques, there are Muslims, and where there are Muslims, there are problems.” [The American Muslim] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Stockholm: City settles in headscarf case

A woman who was forced off a state-run training program because she wore a long headscarf has now won damages from Stockholm's local authority.

The training course was aimed at leading to work as a cleaner. But when the woman arrived for the start of teaching, in April 2008, she was told that employers would not accept her clothing - and she was struck off the course. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Attacks on Muslim girls

These are the shocking injuries inflicted upon schoolgirl Sureyya Ozkaya during a brutal daylight assault near her Thornton Heath home.

The 14-year-old’s hair was set on fire and her hands and feet were cut with glass during the attack in Grangewood Park, before her attackers smashed her head against a tree and left her bleeding in a bush. [Islam in Europe] Read more

26 June 2010

KFC forced to ditch halal-only menus after disappointing sales

KFC has scrapped its policy of serving halal food only in some of its takeaways, following customer protests.

One hundred of the fast food chain's restaurants removed non-halal items from their menus last year in an attempt to attract Muslim customers. But thousands of regular customers complained, including Alan Phillips, who was furious when the Burton-on-Trent branch refused to serve him his favourite Big Daddy chicken burger with bacon and cheese topping. [MailOnline] Read more

25 June 2010

Piety top criteria for Muslims when seeking a marriage partner

.... London Muslim had to laugh because what exactly do you expect Muslims to say, "oh I much prefer that slapper from University". Lets be honest for all the beards and hijabs one sees amongst the youth there is massive hypocrisy also within the Muslim community.

Yes of course there are devout brothers and sisters but I would be more interested in a poll about what proportion of these very same individuals who seek a devout partner are themselves virgins and did not sleep around when at university before suddenly discovering their pious side just before marriage. [London Muslim] Read more

Ex-Muslim wants multiculturalism and ‘poisonous’ faith schools ditched

DR Rumy Hasan is a quietly-spoken academic with a winsome smile who is quite unlikely to win many friends among mainly left-leaning British liberals who have, over the last 30 years or so, insisted on accusing critics of hard-line Islamic ideology as “Islamophobic” and – by extension – “racist”.

Hasan, a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex who cut his teeth on left-wing politics, has long pooh-poohed the notion of “Islamophobia”, and in a book just published – Multiculturalism: Some Inconvenient Truths – he goes to great lengths to explain in forthright, no-nonsense terms just how effectively radical Islamists, playing the victim card, have used the term “Islamophobia” to further their influence, create intolerant male-dominated enclaves, and stifle any critical examination of their isolationist agendas. [The Freethinker] Read more

Pakistan to monitor Google and Yahoo for 'blasphemy'

Pakistan will start monitoring seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, for content it deems offensive to Muslims. YouTube, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail and Bing will also come under scrutiny, while 17 less well-known sites will be blocked. Officials will monitor the sites and block links deemed inappropriate. In May, Pakistan banned access to Facebook after the social network hosted a "blasphemous" competition to draw the prophet Muhammad. [BBC] Read more

24 June 2010

Moderate Islam must find its voice

.... And Muslims? What can they do? What can they do to make future YouGov surveys better? Well, they can do the posters, and the open days, and the leaflets, if they want to. They could also find some new scientists, artists and thinkers to boast about, ideally not ones from the Middle Ages.

But here's something simple to start with. Forget about Journey to Mecca and offer screenings in mosques of Four Lions. Chris Morris's funny and poignant portrayal of not-quite-failed jihad in Bradford and London would, I'm sure, do more to wreck the violent fantasies of impressionable wannabe jihadists than any number of lectures by Mr Hassan Mohi-ud-Din Qadri.

It would also show the world that Islam has a jewel beyond compare, one that has hitherto been largely hidden. It's called, of course, a sense of humour. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Human rights test case call for sharia law

A ‘parallel’ system of justice based on Islamic law should face a test case under the Human Rights Act, a group campaigning against religious laws said this week.

The One Law for All Campaign called for a case to be initiated to determine whether Muslim arbitration tribunals and sharia councils are public authorities under the 1998 act. If found to be so, they would be prohibited from acting in any manner contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, according to the report Sharia Law in Britain.

The campaign group says the practice of sharia law falls short of accepted standards for the administration of justice. [Law Society Gazette] Read more [via National Secular Society]

True Colours of the MCB

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which claims to be Britain’s ‘largest Muslim umbrella organisation’, has been attacked in the past for promoting extremist speakers and being controlled and run by Islamists.

In response, they have often gone to great lengths to clear their name, providing the media with entertaining and ambiguous sound bites in the process. However, a former senior member of the MCB has finally publicly admitted what we all knew all along. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Ban on headscarves in schools upsets devout Muslims in Kosovo

The leader of a protest against Kosovo’s ban on headscarves in public schools says devout Muslims could resort to violence to get their way, though Islam is not central to the lives of most Kosovo Albanians.

The June 18 rally in the capital Pristina by 5,000 women in headscarves, supported by some bearded men, was held after a few headscarf-clad girls were prevented from entering their schools. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

23 June 2010

Canada cancels travel visa of Islamic preacher

Canada has cancelled the travel visa of a controversial television preacher from Mumbai who was scheduled to speak at an upcoming religious conference in Toronto.

Officials from the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi telephoned popular Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik earlier this week to say the 44-year-old doctor’s five-year, multiple-entry visa to Canada has been cancelled, said a colleague of Naik’s at the Islamic Research Foundation in Mumbai. The visa was issued just last year.

.... Last week, he was barred from attending a conference in London after the British Home Ministry said the department had discovered evidence “of his unacceptable behaviour.” Canada followed suit a few days later. [Toronto Star] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Støre bans Sharia councils

“I believe desegregation is our society’s biggest social challenge. We must have a common fundament and a set of values anchored in universal principles of law if we are to succeed,” he tells Aftenposten.

According the paper, Norwegian Imams and the National Courts Administration have already said they’re open to the idea of establishing a council for civil matters such as divorce, inheritance, and domestic violence.

Støre, head of Labour’s integration panel that’s to present its report at next year’s Party Conference, argues there’s no place for a parallel system that makes judgements based on Islamic law. His Party has also given the principle the thumbs-down. [The Foreigner] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Spain's Senate Votes to Ban Burqa

In a significant escalation of Spain’s debate over how to handle radical Islam, the Senate on Wednesday narrowly and unexpectedly approved a motion to ban Muslim women from wearing in public the burqa or other garments that cover the whole body.

The vote, 131 to 129, was another setback for the Socialist government of Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, which had favored more-limited restrictions on Islamic clothing and has instead been pushing to curtail religious fundamentalism through better education. [The New York Times] Read more [via National Secular Society]

MPs vote against general burka, minaret bans

MPs from 47 countries have unanimously voted against a general ban on the wearing of the burka in public. The Parliamentary Assembly of Europe's human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, passed a resolution warning that if governments imposed such a ban they would be denying women "who genuinely and freely desire to do so" their right to cover their faces. [Islam in Europe] Read more

A Question for Mohammed Amin, vice-chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum

You say you wish to combat anti-Muslim hatred. [N.B. hate = to dislike intensely]

How to you propose that should be done? What would you like to change?

Awareness campaigns, promoting a positive image of the community, new terminology, PR spin, won’t do the trick.

Contrary to the view that critics of Islam are ignorant, they don’t know enough about Islam, it hasn’t really been explained to them, and they are unaware of the contributions to national life made by Muslims, most critics know a lot, some know a great deal and have studied Islam carefully, and they don’t like it, intensely in many cases.

What would you change about Sharia? The dreadful situation currently emerging here in Britain is summarised in a report published this June, “Sharia in Britain”, by “One Law for All”.

Just to remind you of a few of the things that people don’t like: Sharia stipulates that a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man's (see the UK based Islamic Sharia Council); a man may easily divorce his wife whereas a woman must argue her case and undergo a lengthy Sharia legal process; girls get half the inheritance of boys; and child custody is given to the father at a preset age irrespective of the welfare of the child.

The Islamic Sharia Council charges a fee for Muslims seeking a divorce, the fee for a man it is £100 and for women it is £250 because (they say) it is more work to process a woman's application as her word has to be corroborated. Sharia law rules on child custody were described by judges in the House of Lords as ‘arbitrary and discriminatory’ in the case of M (Lebanon) v Home Secretary ([2008] UKHL 64).

Would you like to change the view of Yusuf al-Qaradawi that Islam does not accept secularism (which also seems to be the aim of IFE the Islamist group that infiltrated the controlling political party in Tower Hamlets)?

Qaradawi is recently quoted by the Saudi Gazette as saying "Secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society. …. As Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions."

Do all Muslims strive for an Islamic society?

John Esposito, the well known expert on Islam, nominates Qaradawi one of Islam's "Martin Luthers" in his book the “Future of Islam” in which he unsuccessfully tries to show that there is genuine Islamic reform. This "Martin Luther "is no passing nuisance like Anjem Choudary.

I ask these questions because I would really like to know the answers.


22 June 2010

Britain wakes up at last to home-grown Islamists’ war on freedom and democracy

IN WHAT turned out to be the biggest anti-sharia law demonstration ever staged in the UK, hundreds of people gathered in London on Sunday to support the One Law for All rally to show their opposition to Sharia and other religious-based laws in Britain and elsewhere, and to demand universal rights, equality and secularism. [The Freethinker] Read more

Is a religious bus ban on my dog right?

On two occasions last week my dog was barred from London buses, not because she's particularly fierce or big, but on religious grounds. A friend and I had taken her to the park, and as I went across to the grocer, my friend took Daisy, a Manchester terrier, to the bus stop.

As they tried to board the bus, the driver stopped her and told her that there was a Muslim lady on the bus who "might be upset by the dog". As she attempted to remonstrate, the doors closed and the bus drew away. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Saudi women and men sentenced to flogging and prison for mingling at party

The men, who are between 30 and 40 years old, and three of the women, who are under the age of 30, were sentenced to an unspecified number of lashes and one or two year prison terms each. The fourth woman, a minor, was sentenced to 80 lashes and was not sent to prison. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Rethinking Islamism IV

The type of Islamic state -- a term which allows for many interpretations, and even denials that it makes sense -- that Islamists aspire to, varies according to what kind of Islamists they are.

The International Crisis Group, an NGO led by the former UN high commissioner for human rights Louise Arbour and which has been described as "the eyes, the ears and the conscience of the global community" by Bill Clinton, defined three main categories of Islamist in a 2005 report: political Islamists, missionary activists and violent jihadists. [New Statesman] Read more

Planned mosque near New York’s Ground Zero sparks debate

Plans to build a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks have touched off a firestorm among New Yorkers nearly a decade after Muslim extremists linked to al Qaeda slammed planes into the World Trade Center. The Cordoba House mosque, part of a Muslim center to be built two blocks from what is now known as Ground Zero proposed as a conciliatory move, was overwhelmingly approved by a local community board in May.

But the plans are being resisted by some New Yorkers who say a mosque would be inappropriate so close to the place where nearly 3,000 people were killed. “I’m certainly not against religious expression, but I feel it’s an insensitive place to do that,” said Paul Sipos, a member of the community board who did not vote on the issue. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

21 June 2010

Muslim domestic abuse

Sheikh Amir Jamil a leading Muslim scholar in Scotland is launching a campaign to prevent domestic abuse and in particular wife battery within the Muslim community.

Sadly the level of abuse that goes on within some Muslim families is feared to be high although the difficulty remains the number of unreported cases which hides the issue.

London Muslim supports the campaign to highlight the issue of domestic abuse in order to attempt to reduce it. [London Muslim] Read more

When Multiculturalists Get Bitten By Multiculturalism

.... What Hundal is advocating here and what multiculturalists in general want, is surmised in the second of Malik’s two-point exposition. Multiculturalists would like it so that people should organise themselves along the lines of some or other ethnic or religious descriptor, say as “brown people” or as “Muslims” or as “Sikhs” etc, in order to oppose or protect themselves from some or other putative draconian or adverse law.

Now the diametrically opposite position to this would be if “white people” were to bind together politically in order to oppose this or that piece of legislation, corporate marketing or even other “brown people”. [The Spittoon] Read more

Muslim Council of Britain Elects New Leadership and Pledges to Build Alliances

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) concluded its 13th Annual General Meeting in London on Sunday 20th June 2010 with the election of a new Secretary General, Farooq Murad, Deputy Secretary General, Dr Shuja Shafi and Treasurer, Harun Rashid Khan.

.... He also pledged, "with grit, determination and heart, I will tirelessly champion the great challenges of our time. We are a diverse, young and evolving community and I want to say to the rest of the country – we are all in this together.

We may differ in our religious convictions but we all have the same worries and concerns – whether we can cling on to our jobs in this recession, whether our schools cater for the needs of our children or whether we are moving in the right direction in creating a more cohesive Britain”. [MCB] Read more

The MCB's Wonderland election .... Those now reaching middle age envisaged a very different future for the Muslim community – one of much greater self-confidence and participation in mainstream British life.

But entrenched conservatism stubbornly persists in the local mosques and dominates the MCB membership, while a younger contingent continues to fall prey to radicalisation. One of the few issues which binds both those generations together is the rallying cry of Islamophobia – but it's a preoccupation which digs the community even deeper into isolationism and suspicion. [Guardian Cif] Read more

20 June 2010

Inside the Muslim Eton: 20 hour days starting at 3.45am with the aim of producing Muslim elite of leaders

.... This is Darul Uloom, a Muslim madrassa or religious school, set in the pretty Kent village of Chislehurst. It is one of 166 Muslim schools in Britain today.

Of those, 26 are Darul Ulooms, religious seminaries rooted in the Islamic orthodoxy of sharia. According to an ICM poll, almost half of British Muslims wish to send their children to Muslim-only schools.

‘Our parents represent the cross-section of British Muslim society,’ the mufti – an Islamic scholar – of one leading school in northern England told me. These parents include teachers, doctors and shopkeepers.

Secretive and protective, Darul Uloom schools have been operating in Britain for 25 years. But since 9/11 they have faced closer scrutiny by police who fear they may be academies of radicalism – something the headmasters deny. [MailOnline] Read more

19 June 2010

Banned Paris “sausage and wine” party goes ahead at Arc de Triomphe

A “sausage and wine” party went ahead in Paris despite a police ban but was staged near the Arc de Triomphe instead of in a neighbourhood with many Muslim residents as originally planned.

Friday’s event had been criticised as highly provocative because it was planned for the day of weekly Muslim prayers and the World Cup soccer match between England and Algeria, a former French colony that is majority Muslim. [Reuters FaithWorld] Read more

Trouble in paradise? Chair of Iran's Guardian Council criticizes Thug-in-Chief's lack of enthusiasm for aggressive enforcement of veiling

You know you've got a problem when Ahmadinejad is the one momentarily sounding more "moderate" than the next guy (though that's all "moderation" is -- a position relative to others). And the photo above from May, which accompanied this report, shows Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati has some supporters... except that for all we know, the one on the right could be Rip Taylor with a bag of confetti. [Jihad Watch] Read more

It's not in our interest to ban the burka

Religious tolerance – and I mean of Muslims, too – is not only right, it is in our interest. When I read that Barcelona has become the latest European city to ban the burka in civic buildings, I shudder. Is there a faster way to create an “us” against “them” mentality? There are 300,000 (out of a population of 1.5 million) Muslims in Barcelona.

Their reaction to such diktats will be twofold: resentment with an attendant sense of victimhood; and further segregation of women. Given that they will no longer be able to ensure their wives’ and daughters’ modesty (as they see it), Muslims may keep them behind locked doors. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

IFE’s bathetic response to the Unity Platform

The tone of the IFE is statement the usual ‘oh-woe-is-me’ discourse we have now come to expect from the failed collective of clerical-fascists embedded in Tower Hamlets. But oh the bathos!

Describing extreme far-right Islamist politics as ‘fascism’ is not “Islamophobia”, just as calling the EDL ‘fascists’ is not “anti-white racism”. The anti-fascist/anti-Jamaat statement by the Unity Platform is impeccable and pitch-perfect. It articulates the necessity to stand against fascism in Tower Hamlets in all its manifestations. [The Spittoon] Read more

The Zakir Naik School of Comparitive Religion

.... As to be expected, Inayat Bunglawala, the Muslim Council of Britain, Islamophobia-Watch and MPACuk rush to Naik’s defence so that he may preach this cultural illiteracy and religious supremacism and pass it off as mainstream Islam to people living in Britain’s multicultural society. [The Spittoon] Read more

Iran cleric says dogs "unclean" and not to be kept as pets

Dogs are considered "unclean" under Islamic tradition but, while relatively rare in Iran, some people do keep them as pets. By issuing a fatwa -- a religious ruling -- Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi has sent a clear message that this trend must stop.

"Friendship with dogs is a blind imitation of the West," he was quoted as saying in Javan daily. "There are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children."

Guard dogs and sheep dogs are considered acceptable under Islamic law but Iranians who carry dogs in their cars or take them to public parks can be stopped by police and fined. [Reuters] Read more [via The Freethinker]

Norway: Sharia courts a possibility

.... "It's probable that this will exist in Norway. It wouldn't surprise me if it already exists. Imams counsel Muslims today, and it's natural that they use Sharia because it's the legal tradition they're accustomed to," says director Tor Langbach of the Courts Administration.

.... Norwegian judges and courts also increasingly note that Sharia is an important part of the life of Muslims. PhD student Katja Jansen Fredriksen of Bergen reviewed cases which went through the Norwegian legal system.

"Sharia is resorted to in Norwegian law today too. In Norwegian court decisions, especially in family cases, I see that Muslims argue in the same way in Norwegian courts as they would in Sharia courts in Muslim countries." [Islam in Europe] Read more

18 June 2010

Inspired by Muhammed

I think the problem sensible moderate Muslims have is that the Koran is supposed to be the word of God dictated (not read) to Muhammad and is exactly as it’s supposed to be. It’s a single work and as I understand the state of scholarship on the Koran is nowhere near that of the Bible. Unlike Christians, they can’t blame Paul and other Church fathers for the bad things in their holy book. [Jesus and Mo] Read more

Islamic scholar in UK offended by turkey bacon "It could well lead towards eating the real thing."

The question is, why is this a story on the BBC at all? If Rod Adlington wants to produce turkey bacon, why should it be a controversy for anyone? The unspoken subtext of this article seems to be that Adlington should stop producing this product if Naveed Ashrafi's opinion wins out in the Islamic community. So what if the non-Muslim "pork-free market" and "the slimming market" wants turkey bacon? [Jihad Watch] Read more

Unveiling religion in the public sphere

.... In Islam, it is believed that Muslim women and men are supposed to be modest, and this modesty takes many forms. It can be internal with one’s thoughts, external in one’s speech, or in how one carries themselves and in how one dresses.

While both men and women are enjoined to dress modestly, it is women who are most easily recognizable when doing so. In a post-1963 society that has become highly sexualized, to be modest sometimes means one stands out more in a crowd. [altmuslim] Read more

A Marine, a Mosque, a Question

.... He had gone to the town hall meeting with no view about the sale of the convent to the Muslim group. “I could care less,” Mr. Finnegan said. “If they need it and want it and it was going to help the community, and they would work together, fine. If it’s not needed and not wanted, and it’s going to be put there, that’s not good for anybody. Not the community, not the members of the mosque.”

He was not surprised, he said, by the negative response to his question. “They were not booing at me,” he said. “They just said ‘no’ when I asked if they would work with members of the mosque.” [New York Times] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Some Muslim practices cause poverty, Muslim religious leader says

For Ibrahim Musliyar Bekal, the dowry system, the ban on married women working, and frequent desertion by husbands explain indigence in Muslim communities. .... Bekal, a Muslim religious leader in Karnataka’s Udupi District, the Muslim community is largely to blame for its poverty. After visiting ten families living in abject poverty, he said that some Muslim practices explain widespread underdevelopment.

Bekal, who is Qazi (Kadi, religious judge) in Udupi, said that it “is very important to eradicate the dowry system and other such evils prevailing in the Muslim community”, which undermine “its overall development”. [AsiaNews] Read more

EU: Ethnic diversity at school has a negative effect on learning

.... Having a higher proportion of pupils from Islamic countries at a given school negatively influences the performance of all pupils at that school. But in contrast, a higher share of pupils from South and East Asia has a positive effect. This is just one of Jaap Dronkers’s conclusions from his empirical research using international PISA data, which he discusses in his inaugural lecture. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Home secretary Theresa May bans radical preacher Zakir Naik from entering UK

In her first major test of being tough on extremism, Theresa May, the new Home Secretary, said she was banning Zakir Naik from entering the UK. Dr Naik, a 44-year-old Indian televangelist, had been due to give a series of lectures at arenas in Wembley Arena and Sheffield.

The Home Secretary can exclude or deport an individual if she thinks that their presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

The 'Conservative Muslim Forum' has some explaining to do .... So, do the Conservative Muslim Forum approve of the decision of the Home Secretary? Or do they think the invitation to this now-banned extremist from a charity they praised and financed should have gone ahead? If there is to be agreement within the Conservative Party I think we should probably be told. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

If we care about free speech, let these Muslim speakers in This is just the latest in a series of "naming and shaming" exclusion orders that began a couple of years ago when the former Labour government said that it would introduce a policy of banning "preachers of hate" from visiting the UK. At the end of last month the Sunday Times ran an article about Zakir Naik that seems to have panicked some people in the government. [Guardian Cif] Read more

17 June 2010

Mother and daughter left 'heartbroken' by vicious race assault

RACISTS launched a vicious attack on a Muslim woman who was struck on the head and almost had her headscarf torn off.They also hurled racial abuse at the mother and her young daughter as they walked through the city.

The shocking assault has been condemned by the city's Muslim community, along with religious leaders across Exeter.

Hayat Kaddouri Roddy, of Polsloe Road, Exeter, has spoken of the frightening attack in which she describes her attackers as "animals". The 37-year-old was with her 13-year-old daughter Huda when the assault happened. [This is Exeter Blog] Read more [via London Muslim]

Moroccan Islamists Use Facebook to Target Christians

Moroccan Christians say Muslim extremists in the country are aiding and encouraging the government to pursue them by exposing and vilifying them on social networking site Facebook.

Facebook user Gardes Maroc Maroc has posted 32 image collages featuring dozens of Christian converts, calling them “hyena evangelists” or “wolves in lamb’s skins” who are trying to “shake the faith of Muslims.” That terminology on the website, which is in Arabic, matches that of Morocco’s anti-proselytizing law, which outlaws efforts to “shake the faith of Muslims.” [Compass Direct News] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Police probe Facebook chief over 'Draw Muhammad' contest

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is being investigated by Pakistani police under a section of the penal code that makes blasphemy against Muhammad punishable by death.

BBC Urdu reports .... that Pakistan's Deputy Attorney General has launched a criminal investigation against Zuckerberg and others in response to Facebook hosting a "Draw Muhammad" contest on its site late last month. On May 19, Pakistani authorities blocked access to Facebook over the contest, and this ban was lifted on May 31 after Facebook removed the page in Pakistan and other countries. [The Register] Read more [via The Freethinker]

Anti-Muslim Danish MP faces charges

The Danish parliament voted on Wednesday to remove a far-right politician's immunity from prosecution so he can face charges over anti-Muslim comments, parliamentary sources said.

Jesper Langballe, a veteran member of the Danish People's Party (PPD), a crucial ally of the centre-right government, wrote in a newspaper column published in January that "Muslims kill their daughters (over crimes of honour) and turn a blind eye while they are raped by their uncles".

The column, which discussed the status of women in Islam and the "Islamisation of Europe", triggered a political storm and his comments were condemned by Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen. [AFP] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

New Report – Sharia Law in Britain – A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights

A new report by One Law for All has found Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals to be in violation of UK law, public policy and human rights.

Based on an 8 March 2010 Seminar on Sharia Law, research, interviews, and One Law for All case files, the report has identified a number of problem areas: - Sharia law’s civil code is arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular.

With the rise in the acceptance of Sharia courts, discrimination is being further institutionalised with some UK law firms additionally offering clients advice on Sharia law and the use of collaborative law. [One Law for All] Read more

Discriminatory regimes continue to push anti-discrimination agenda at UN

I see the Organisation of Islamic Conference are up to their usual tricks again, abusing the UN Council on Human Rights to push the pernicious notion that "defamation of religion" - in other words, anything remotely critical of either Islam or their own countries' dubious human rights records - should be an international crime on a par with genocide. [Heresy Corner] Read more

UN petitioned over West's "islamophobia" Muslim states said on Wednesday that what they call “islamophobia””is sweeping the West and its media and demanded that the United Nations take tougher action against it.

Delegates from Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Egypt, told the United Nations Human Rights Council that treatment of Muslims in Western countries amounted to racism and discrimination and must be fought.

“People of Arab origin face new forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and experience discrimination and marginalization,” an Egyptian delegate said, according to a U.N. summary. [Ottawa Sun] Read more [via Religious Watch]

16 June 2010

Conductor banned from wearing crucifix necklace

The verdict backs an earlier ruling at the end of last year. Egyptian-born tram conductor Ezzaz Aziz appealed against the decision after the transport service suspended him for refusing to take off or conceal his necklace during working hours.

Mr Aziz objected to the fact that he was forbidden to wear his religious symbol, while Muslim women were allowed to wear headscarves. Mr Aziz claimed he was a victim of discrimination because headscarves are also an expression of religious belief.

“The judge didn’t consider the equal treatment of two religions within one company – only whether the company rules applied. But that wasn’t my intention. In the company we have two religions, and one religion is allowed to do what it likes and the other isn’t allowed to do anything. That’s why I appealed against the ruling.” [Radio Nederlands Worldwide] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

On second thought…

Recent admissions by some clerics in Saudi Arabia that the monarchy's strict gender segregation may have been the result of Qur'anic misinterpretations could help align that country more towards its moderate peers. But it also raises questions about the infallibility of past Islamic rulings.

... Why are they saying this now? Why was this not revealed before? Were these "weak Ahadeeth" recently discovered? Why didn't more scholars speak up? If the separation of sexes is more of a cultural issue and not religious, then why place a "stamp of religious approval" on the practice? Why, Sheikh Muhamad al-Nujaimi, who supported a fatwa calling for death to those who advocate mixing of the sexes, was shown mixing with women himself at a conference in Kuwait. [altmuslim] Read more

Rap on the knuckles for Cherie from top judge

Cherie Blair has suffered the humiliation of a secret dressing down from a top judge after sparing a Muslim criminal from jail because he was 'religious', it emerged last night.

The revelation has given rise to accusations of a cover-up by the Office for Judicial Complaints - because it originally issued a statement claiming Mrs Blair had been cleared of wrongdoing while sitting as a judge. The secret tribunal claimed last week that an investigation found her decision to give a lenient punishment to Shamso Miah did not amount to misconduct. [MailOnline] Read more

Netherlands: Muslim converts to Christianity live in fear

Muslims who become Christians in the Netherlands often have to deal with persecution. Harassment by former coreligionists are on the order of the day, and death threats come regularly. The Gave foundation is sounding the alarm. Other sources confirm the threats. [Islam in Europe] Read more

15 June 2010

Bremner fears joke about Islam would mean death

The political satirist Rory Bremner has claimed that the "chilling" effect of fundamentalism means that every time he writes a sketch about Islam he fears that he is signing his own death warrant.

Speaking to Sir David Frost in a BBC documentary about the future of satire, Bremner argued that self-censorship was the biggest problem for practitioners of topical comedy today.

Bremner's views are echoed by other comedians including Ben Elton, who has accused the BBC of being "scared" to allow jokes about Islam. But Bremner went further by speaking about fears for his own personal safety. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Defining Proactivity: The ‘Inspired by Muhammad’ Campaign

.... However, others felt making a big fuss and simply shutting ourselves off from Facebook were not the best strategies to adopt – rather, there was a need to address the core issue: why do many in the world seem to perceive the Prophet (pbuh) in a negative light? Don’t they know him?

Exactly. They don’t know him. And we Muslims, the great majority of us, have not exactly been telling the world either. Rather, many of our cultural traditions and even daily habits contradict the Sunnah, thus giving the world a very distorted version of our beautiful Deen and the Messenger who was Allah’s(swt) Mercy upon mankind. [MuslimMatters.org] Read more

A veil, a traffic ticket and deep unease in France over Muslims

.... He pledged to continue seeking a legal way to strip people such as Hebbadj of French nationality if they live in what he called “de facto polygamy.” A report from the National Consultative Human Rights Commission estimated in 2006 that from 16,000 to 20,000 families, chiefly immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, live in such arrangements.

“This is not a taboo question,” Hortefeux said at a televised news conference. “If a foreigner acquires nationality thanks to his marriage with a French woman, and, in the years that follow, he lives in a situation of de facto polygamy while abusing the social welfare system, is it normal for him to keep his French nationality? My response is no.” [Peninsula News Paper] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Appeal for Afghan Christians, sentenced to death for their faith

VijayKumar Singh, from the India Bible Publishers and the Delhi Bible Fellowship, has launched an appeal to the Christians of India and the world to pray and express their support for Afghan Muslim converts to Christianity who were convicted on conversion charges and sentenced to death on 31 May.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Sing said, “We need Christians’ help all over the world to stop the Afghan government from arresting Dari-speaking Afghan Christians and condemning them to death by public execution.” [AsiaNews] Read more

I’ve Become an Enemy of the People for Speaking the Truth About Islam

.... The question is: what comes next? I’ve now been singled out, in a report commissioned and funded by the government of the country in which I live, as a perpetrator of Islamophobia. The items about me appear under the heading “Prohibit and Eliminate All Forms of Racial Discrimination and To Ensure All Equality before the Law.”

Exactly how does the Ministry of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion propose to “eliminate” the supposed “racial discrimination” on my part? Will I be arrested and prosecuted under the Discrimination Law of 2005? Am I about to join the company of those who have been hauled into court for daring to speak the truth about Islam, Muhammed, and the Koran? [Pajamas Media] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Hizb ut-Tahrir America Uses Social Media to Promote its "Emerging World Order" Conference

The radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir America (HTA) will host a conference in Chicago on July 11 to hype the virtues of an Islamic state ruled according to the strictest interpretation of Islamic law. The group launched an online social media campaign to promote the event; one that serves as a prime example of how extremists are able to expose the mainstream to their ideology.

HTA hosted a similar conference outside of Chicago last year, which drew about 500 participants. This year, the campaign to promote the conference is more comprehensive, and the group expects many more participants as a result; it has booked an 11,000-square-foot ballroom at the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook that can accommodate more than one thousand. [Huffington Post] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Spain planning burqa ban

Spain's government plans to ban the use of the Islamic burqa in public places under a proposed new law on religious freedom, the justice minister said Tuesday.

"We believe that there are things like the burqa which are hard to reconcile with human dignity and which especially pose problems of identification in public places," Francisco Caamano told reporters. The burqa is a body-covering Islamic garment worn by women.

The new law "will have to include measures on these symbols which impede identification in public places" for reasons of "security", Caamano said. [AFP] Read more

14 June 2010

Muslim hijab to be allowed in Norwegian courts

Oslo - Norwegian judges and other court officials are to be allowed to wear religious dress including the Muslim headscarf or hijab during court sessions, the board of the National Courts Administration said Monday.

However, if a party in a case has objections to the use of such attire - which also includes the Sami national costume - the person wearing such clothing could be recused - in other words excused from the case - the board said.

The National Courts Administration had initially proposed that all religious attire be banned in court rooms but revised its proposal after hearing opinions from various agencies. [The Earth Times] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Barcelona plans Islamic veil ban

MADRID — Barcelona plans to be the first large city in Spain to ban the use of the full-face Islamic veil in public buildings, its mayor announced Monday.

Jordi Hereu said he will sign a decree which will apply in all public spaces such as the city hall and municipal covered markets and creches. "It should not be possible that someone enters into a place without being identified," the Socialist mayor said.

He said the measure is not aimed at "any particular religious group" and would also apply to people wearing crash helmets and balaclavas. [AFP] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Why don't Catholics get taxpayer funding, like Muslims, to propagandise?

Oh dear. The “Inspired by Mohammed” poster campaign .... was only just rolling and already the wheels have fallen off. You’ll remember this is the campaign that was fronted by, among others, a head-scarfed woman saying, “I believe in women’s rights: so did Mohammed”.

Well, as the admirable Edmund Standing has shown over at Harry’s Place, the poster-girl for Mohammed’s Gok Wan-style makeover turns out to be a close associate of the Khomeinist group called the Islamic Human Rights Commission. I wish I could say this is surprising. Do read it all. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Mohammed believed in women's rights, says poster campaign. Oh, really? But what did Mohammed mean by women's rights? This week sees the launch of a hilarious new campaign called “Inspired by Muhammad” (as we are now all expected to spell Mohammed). It claims to want to “improve the public understanding of Islam and Muslims”.

It is being strongly pedalled by taxpayer-funded Muslim organisations. Which makes it another nice example of the British people being preached to and proselytised in an Islamic way, presumably at our own expense. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Oh no, the idiots are unhappy with a positive Muslim campaign The desperation of neo-con and the “decent left” never ceases to amaze me. A few weeks ago a group of Muslims got together to launch a campaign called ‘Inspired by Muhammed‘ that wanted to challenge negative perceptions of Muslims. It features Muslims saying they also believe in women’s rights, protecting the environment and social justice (among other things) and so does their religion. [Pickled Politics] Read more

13 June 2010

Seeing the 'Other' as American: Moving Past Islamophobia

America has dealt with the question and issues resulting from immigration since its birth in the 18th century. The most cancerous aspects of America's response to immigration are bigotry and racism, and they are flaring up again, this time in reference to Muslims. [Huffington Post] Read more [via loonwatch.com]

Why is secularism incompatible with Islam?

Secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society. For Muslim societies, the acceptance of secularism means something totally different. As Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions.

It is indeed a false claim that Shari’ah is not proper to the requirements of the present age. The acceptance of a legislation formulated by humans means a preference of the humans’ limited knowledge and experiences to the divine guidance: “Say! Do you know better than Allah?” (Qur’an, 2:140) [The Saudi Gazette] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Norway: Bogeyman propaganda or investigative journalism?

On Thursday VG printed a feature article about the head of Islam Net, with the headline "Holding course in extreme Islam in Norwegian college" spread all over the front page. Several Muslims responded to that.

"Islam Net isn't representative of Islam in Norway and VG chooses to focus on Islam Net instead of other moderate groups," the head of the Anti-Racism Center, Kari Helene Partapuoli told NRK. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Oslo: "They've taken my religion and are using it in a way that scares me" .... A young Muslim who went to several of Islam Net's events, told VG that he thinks there's pressure on Muslim students:

"They have a monopoly on being the Muslim association for students in the college. But after participating in a wide variety of events, I feel they've taken my religion and are using it in a way that scares me," says the student. [Islam in Europe] Read more

12 June 2010

Pious Young Muslims

Pity poor Christian Pfeiffer. He's conducted a major piece of criminological research, only to find that the results aren't at all to his liking:

A new German study shows that boys growing up in pious Muslim families are more likely to be violent. The study, which involved intensive questioning of 45,000 teenagers from 61 towns and regions across the country, was conducted by Christian Pfeiffer of the criminal research institute of Lower Saxony.

Pfeiffer was quick to assure the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that he was not a racist or ‘Islamophobe’... [Mick Hartley] Read more

Women’s Rights: Inspired by Muhammad?

A new Islamic propaganda campaign called ‘Inspired by Muhammad’ has been launched, and advertising posters are now going up in London featuring slogans such as ‘I believe in social justice. So did Muhammad’ and ‘I believe in women’s rights. So did Muhammad’. It’s hard to tell if this campaign is run by sadly deluded people who actually believe the slogans are accurate or if this is an example of dissimulation for a kufr audience.

Either way, the idea that Muhammad ‘believed in women’s rights’ in the sense in which we in the 21st Century understand that concept is utterly absurd, as anyone who has taken an honest look at the Qur’an should be aware. [Butterflies and Wheels] Read more

11 June 2010

My Take: New portrait of Muslim America shows community on edge

.... On that day, I–along with several researchers working with Professor Akbar Ahmed, American University’s Chair of Islamic Studies–began a grueling project aimed at studying America’s Muslim population and its relationship to American identity. Now, nearly two years, 75 cities and 100 mosques later, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, will be published by the Brookings Institution Press this month.

In addition to providing unprecedented insight into America’s Muslim community, it also led me to look at my own country, the United States, in a different way. [CNN] Read more [via loonwatch.com]

Saudi convicts young man for kissing woman in mall

A Saudi court has convicted a man and sentenced him to four months in prison and 90 lashes for kissing a woman in a mall. The government-owned daily Al-Yom reported on Thursday that Saudi religious police arrested the man and two women after they were seen on mall cameras "engaging in immoral movements in front of other shoppers." [The Associated Press] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Zero tolerance at Ground Zero

A recent effort meant to heal the trauma many New Yorkers continue to feel from the tragic events of 9/11 by building a mosque near Ground Zero named Cordoba House has garnered a great deal of angst.

Tensions reached a new low recently when Michael Berry, a Texas radio show host, on air, urged his listeners to bomb the area if it is built. This, along with other charged allegations have been harnessed by Stop the Islamization of America and Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams, as an opportunity to express their extreme, arguably Islamophobic, views. [altmuslim] Read more

Oklahoma's "Save Our State" amendment to ban Sharia law is abominable

The Christian fascists who call Oklahoma home are proposing a constitutional amendment to "Save Our State" from what has been deemed the "coming onslaught" of Sharia law on the good white Christians of Oklahoma.

"Sharia law coming to the U.S. is a scary concept," state Sen. Anthony Sykes, a Republican who co-authored one proposal, dubbed the "Save Our State" amendment, told The Edmond Sun. "Hopefully the passage of this constitutional amendment will prevent it in Oklahoma." [The Examiner] Read more [via National Secular Society]

'My death will cost Norwegian society'

Yesterday Mullah Krekar held a press conference, for the foreign press in Norway. He didn't want to speak to the Norwegian press, whom he says are his enemies, and slipped out of the room before they could catch him outside. During the press conference he threatened anybody who might be responsible for his death.

"My death will cost Norwegian society. If, for example, Erna Solberg kicks me out of the country and is the reason that I die, then she will suffer the same fate. I don't know by whom. Ansar al-Islam, Al-Qaida, I don't know. Whoever," said Krekar. Solberg is the head of the Conservative Party. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Columnist Peter Oborne slams media’s Muslim slurs as ‘un-British’

COLUMNIST Peter Oborne warned that Muslims were being unfairly represented in the media at a conference on Islamophobia on Saturday. The Highbury-based journalist said his anger at Islamophobia stemmed from patriotism.

He said: “We should stand up for British values and that means examining how society treats Muslims.” The journalist, who writes for the right-leaning Spectator and Daily Mail, spoke alongside left-wingers including Tony Benn and Islington North Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn at the conference in the Camden Centre, off Euston Road. [Islington Tribune] Read more [via ENGAGE]

Rethinking Islamism III - A brief response to critics

.... what I find disturbing is not just this identification of sharia solely with what happens in Saudi Arabia, for instance, but the sense that these commenters actively wish that to be the only available version.

Given the popularity of Islamist parties, some of which have already won freely fought elections, such as the AKP in Turkey and Hamas in Palestine, and the fact that more would be sure to do so if some of the Middle Eastern autocracies loosened their grip, these commenters must foresee very bleak times ahead.

[COMMENT] "...focusing on the most extreme forms of sharia..." Fine, not every Muslim country actually permits amputation, stoning to death for adultery, killing apostates, but even in the more "enlightened" ones I really wouldn't want to be gay, a woman, a religious convert or have teddy bears named after prophets. [New Statesman] Read more

The Statesman and Sharia II Sholto Byrnes of the New Statesman defends his accommodative views on sharia from his critics, including me. He's not convincing. He accuses me of engaging in ad hominem attacks, though he doesn't say what these are, doubtless because they exist only in his imagination. And on the evidence of the post I've linked to, his case has now dwindled to the unexceptionable proposition that sharia exists, so it "ought to be a legitimate subject for discussion" - which I wasn't aware I'd disputed. [Times Online] Read more

Rethinking Islamism II - Misconceptions and fears about sharia One of the first, and foremost, fears about Islamism is that its aim is the imposition of sharia law. That in itself is open to question, and I will come to that in a later post. But the very concept of sharia has been so oversimplified by scaremongers that, in the popular imagination, it is inextricably linked with the punishments of beheading, flogging and amputation for crimes such as theft and adultery, and for which Saudi Arabia has long been notorious.

[COMMENT 1] What "misconceptions about sharia"? What is the point of this article? Is it a case of being so open minded that your brains fall out. I would rather die than live in a world where sharia law was any part of it. "Rethinking isalm" what a great title for an article, perhaps the author needs to get out more or visit a mental health clinic. I have just stopped buying the new statesman.

[COMMENT 2] Surely the main problem with sharia law is that the propositions on which it is based - that the Koran is the perfect word of god, and Mohammed's life is the perfect model for human behaviour - are untrue. Not just possibly untrue, or probably untrue, but head-slappingly obviously untrue. [New Statesman] Read more

Submission, abject Just a little more about Sholto. It doesn’t seem to have gone very well for him – the comments at the New Statesman are scathing, and Google blogsearch turns up only more scathe, no pleased cries of “At last somebody talking sense about sharia.” He must be feeling sadly disappointed in the multicultural broadmindedness and flexibility of – of – well of everybody but himself, I guess. There’s one comment at the NS that looks favorable at first blush, but when you read on it becomes obvious that it’s a parody. So Sholto is 0 for 0 with the “let’s look at the good side of sharia” enterprise. [Butterflies and Wheels] Read more

The New Statesman Defends Islamism .... Again, a total confusion between what ordinary Muslims want and what Islamists are calling for. The author began and ended his piece by defending Islamists yet all the examples he uses are of non-Islamist regimes and individuals.

This is yet another example of liberal lefties in the UK having a soft spot for clerical fascists, viewing them as noble anti-imperialist campaigners with social justice in mind. It reminds one of the Iranian regime making common cause with the BNP in the 1980s. [Harry’s Place] Read more

The Statesman and Sharia A couple of years ago the Archbishop of Canterbury gave a lecture that elicited, from my colleague Ruth Gledhill, a post entitled "Has the Archbishop gone bonkers?" This was not a Great Historical Question to Which the Answer was No.

Rowan Williams had floated the idea of the adoption of Sharia in some parts of the UK. But it turns out that he was a visionary, for the New Statesman - seriously - has just published a commentary by Sholto Byrnes entitled "Rethinking Islamism II". He argues: [Times Online] Read more

DCLG still using the wrong advisers

It has recently emerged that Mohammad Abdul Aziz, a 'Senior Muslim Adviser' to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) - a department tasked with promoting community cohesion - is an honorary member of the East London Mosque (ELM), an institution that is not uncontroversial. [Standpoint] Read more

Is DCLG’s Senior Muslim Advisor Mohammad Abdul Aziz an Islamist Supporter? Mohammad Abdul Aziz is a Senior Muslim Advisor at DCLG. He is also a honorary trustee of East London mosque (ELM) and the London Muslim Centre (LMC), as well as having been an advisor to the MCB.

He was formerly an executive committee member of YMO, which is the youth wing of Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) – an Islamist entryist group. After spending years in YMO propagating the teachings of the Islamist ideologue Maulana Mawdudi, Mohammad Aziz resigned to follow a stricter and more conservative form of Islam known as ‘Salafism’. [The Spittoon] Read more

10 June 2010

Surge for Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party

.... The unexpected big winner was the anti-Islam Freedom Party, the PVV, which took its number of seats from nine in the last parliament to 24 - its best-ever finish. The campaign had been dominated by a debate over the economy, which was thought to have eclipsed immigration as an election issue.

But the strong showing for the Freedom Party, led by the controversial Geert Wilders, is a sign that immigration was still a powerful theme, correspondents say. Mr Wilders has campaigned to stop the "Islamisation of the Netherlands". He wants the Koran banned, and has suggested a tax on headscarves worn by Muslim women. [BBC] Read more

Cherie Blair wins misconduct claim. No reasons given

In a terse statement released today, the Office for Judicial Complaints dismissed a complaint brought by the National Secular Society against Cherie Booth, QC. Mrs Blair, you may recall, told a convicted assailant - a supposedly devout Muslim - that she was giving him a non-custodial sentence "based on the fact you are a religious person". "You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour." [Heresy Corner] Read more

09 June 2010

Shari'a experiment disrupted by right-wing activists

The extreme right-wing group Voorpost disrupted an experimental session of a Shari'a court in the Amsterdam cultural and political centre De Balie on Tuesday evening. Footage shown on Wednesday by local TV station AT5 shows activists occupying the stage with a banner reading "Stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands".

The session was intended as a one-off experiment to gain insight into the development and operation of a court based on Islamic Shari'a law. Members of the public were invited to put cases while qualified judges passed judgement. [Radio Netherlands] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Muslim community leader 'made up story he was kidnapped by BNP', court told

The 36 year-old falsely claimed he was abducted at knifepoint by racist thugs from the far-right wing political party after being subjected to hate mail and an arson attack, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.

He had told police he had feared for his life when he was kidnapped in broad daylight from his home in Loughton, Essex on August 24 last year and bundled into a car, it was claimed. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Suspected Muslim polygamist charged with welfare fraud

A French Muslim butcher at the centre of a firestorm over polygamy was charged on Wednesday with welfare fraud and his four companions will also face charges, a prosecutor said. Lies Hebbadj, who runs a halal butcher shop in the western city of Nantes, made headlines after his wife was fined for driving in her full-face veil in April.

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux had threatened to strip the Algerian-born man of his French passport after accusing him of polygamy, which is illegal in France. Following a nearly two-month investigation, Hebbadj has been charged with welfare fraud and violating labour laws, Nantes prosecutor Xavier Ronsin told a news conference. [AFP] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Irish woman sentenced to seven years for religious row in Qatar

AN Irish woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison after she ignited a religious row in a mosque in Qatar. Sheena Sharma (39) was charged with "insulting the Koran" when she visited the Arab state last September.

Witnesses explained that Sharma walked into the airport's female-only mosque where a number of cleaners were working and proceeded to flip the Islamic holy book upside down. A head employee said that she tried to intervene and flip the book upwards, but Sharma reportedly flung it to the ground. [Herald.ie] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Muslim teens enraged by pop star’s name

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Denmark’s answer to Lady Gaga, decided to put on a free concert in the southern Copenhagen suburb of Ishøj, home to one of Denmark’s largest minority communities.

But Medina, whose real name is Andrea Fuentealba Valbak, didn’t get to sing more than a few notes before a hail of eggs began to rain down upon the stage. The perpetrators, reports tabloid B.T., were a gang of between 10 and 20 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 17 all ‘with an immigrant background’.

Their reason for attacking the songstress? Apart from taking exception to Medina’s hot pants and sexually suggestive song lyrics, it appears that the gang were provoked by the singer’s stage name which is also coincidentally the name of the second holiest city in Islam and the burial place of the Prophet Mohammed [The Copenhagen Post] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Libyan Leader Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi: The Muslims Will Inherit Europe; Turkey will Join the EU as a Trojan Horse

In a recent speech, Libyan leader Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi said that the Muslims, who currently constitute a minority in Europe, would become a majority and would "inherit the continent," despite attempts by the new imperialism to eradicate the Muslims from the world.

Al-Qadhafi told heads of delegations of the Islamic People's Leadership and of Muslims from the Balkans – including scholars, sheikhs, young people, and women's rights activists – that Turkey's joining the European Union would be a Trojan horse. [MEMRI] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

08 June 2010

Prisoners convert to Islam to win perks and get protection from powerful Muslim gangs

Prisoners are converting to Islam to win benefits and gain the protection of powerful Muslim gangs inside jails, the Chief Inspector of Prisons has warned.

Up to a third of Muslim prisoners adopted the religion while serving their sentence, a new report by inspectors has found. Inmates say their reasons for converting include the protection of belonging to a gang and perceived material perks offered to Muslims. [MailOnline] Read more

Niqab: Religious right or step backward?

.... Was the Toronto Muslim woman angry, pleased, dismayed by arguments made on her behalf before the Ontario Court of Appeal? We certainly couldn’t tell as she sat listening to lawyers debate a lower court ruling that she must remove her veil when testifying against two relatives charged with sexually abusing her as a child.

Arguing for her right to testify from behind her niqab was her lawyer, David Butt, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and, wait for the irony, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. [Toronto Sun] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Canadian court to rule on 'veil' testimony

An Ontario court is considering whether an alleged rape victim may testify with her face covered, which defendants say would call her truthfulness in question.

At a preliminary hearing last year, a judge ordered the 32-year-old woman to remove her niqab, or burqa, so defense lawyers could assess her claims of being molested. She resisted, saying her religion bars her from exposing her face to non-family members, the Globe and Mail reported Tuesday. [UPI] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

07 June 2010

How papers feed bigotry about Islam

At the last census, High Wycombe’s population was 92,300, of whom 10,838 were Muslim (11.7 %). If you prick them, do they not bleed? Like the rest of us, Muslims die. Therefore it can come as no surprise that there is a demand for Muslim burials in High Wycombe.

The Local Authority has to meet this. Population is growing, and room running out. It would suit Hysterical Islamophobics to be able to say space had been clawed back from consecrated ground in the local graveyard; but that would be barmy because the other 88% of the population also continue to die, so there's absolutely no sense in not extending the graveyard, and land is available. [Bishop Alan's Blog] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Campaign Launched To Improve Image Of Islam

"Inspired by Muhammad" aims to promote Islam as a faith which contributes positively to British society. Posters of Muslims with captions like: "I believe in rights for women... so did Muhammad" will feature at bus stops, Tube stations and on London cabs.

It is a reaction to a YouGov poll which found that 58% of the British population surveyed associated Islam with extremism, 50% associate it with terrorism and 68% feel the religion encourages the repression of women. [Sky News] Read more

Britons link Islam with extremism, says survey Most people in the UK associate Islam with extremism and the repression of women, a survey has suggested.

The online YouGov poll was conducted for moderate Muslim organization the Exploring Islam Foundation. Some 58% of those surveyed said they linked Islam with extremism. Asked if Muslims had a positive impact on British society, four out of 10 disagreed with the statement while seven out of 10 said the religion encouraged the repression of women. [BBC] Read more

06 June 2010

Is Gravity 'Shirk'?

At the 2010 Vienna Forum hosted by EICEE and the Hudson Institute, a very interesting session held by Robert R. Reilly, ”Status of Reason in Islam and Christianity”, illuminated the differences between Islamic and Western logic, differences that has significant implications for the respective world views, and as to what is considered heresy ('Shirk') in Islam. This essay is inspired by that session. [EuropeNews] Read more

Dutch anti-Islam party set to double in election

"The sluice gates are wide open," Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders says in a campaign video that shows planes landing in Holland as women in headscarves outnumber natives in shopping street scenes.

"Every day we are confronted with mass immigration: headscarves, burqas, minarets, social security dependence, crime ... it never ends," Wilders laments as dramatic music plays in the background of the clip released ahead of June 9 parliamentary elections. [INQUIRER.net - Agence France-Presse] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Oslo: Little girls in hijab

Traditionally the tight, religious garment is worn in several countries to cover a women's head and hair from the teenage years. But now it's steadily little girls aged five or six who come to school in Norway with a hijab - in fact earlier than what's common in the parent's homeland.

This is documented in a survey VG conducted in elementary schools in Oslo. The principals of 45 of the schools in Oslo said that hijab is worn in primary school. In total, 58 of the elementary school in the capital answered VG's survey. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Study finds young, devout Muslims in Germany more prone to violence

A study conducted by the German authorities has found that the more devout young Muslims become, the more prone to violence they get. The study says the phenomenon is not due to Islam itself, but to the way it is taught.

The willingness to commit violent crimes grows among young Muslim immigrants in Germany the more religious they become, according to a joint survey by the German interior ministry and the Institute for Criminology Research of Lower Saxony (KFN). [Deutsche Welle] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

The Gadfly

.... Now Hirsi Ali is working on antagonizing even more people in yet another memoir. “Nomad” argues that Islam creates dysfunctional families — like her own — and adds that these distorted families constitute “a real threat to the very fabric of Western life.”

Western countries, she says, should be less tolerant of immigrants who try to preserve their lifestyles in their new homelands. It might seem presumptuous to write another memoir so soon, but Hirsi Ali is a remarkable figure who has plenty of memories to record. [NYTimes.com] Read more [via Butterflies & Wheels]

Nick Kristof's Unhinged Attack on Ayaan Hirsi Ali .... If one is looking for overheated and overstated rhetoric, consider Kristof’s assertion of modern Islam that the reason that it is “one of the fastest-growing religions in the world today” is not simply that Muslims statistically have more children than Christians and non-Orthodox Jews, but instead because of ‘the warm hospitality toward guests, including Christians and Jews” (tell that to the Christian and Jewish communities that have been expelled from all too many Middle Eastern countries over the past six decades), “charity for the poor” (easy enough in oil-rich plutocracies without social security), and "the sense of democratic unity as rich and poor pray shoulder to shoulder in the mosque” (but can’t vote shoulder to shoulder in the non-existent polling booths). [The Daily Beast] Read more [via Butterflies & Wheels]

Always look on the bright side of FGM Nicholas Kristof tells off Ayaan Hirsi Ali because of course he knows far more about Islam than she does. "To those of us who have lived and traveled widely in Africa and Asia, descriptions of Islam often seem true but incomplete."

Including, apparently, descriptions by people who grew up immersed in Islam, genitally mutilated under Islam, beaten up by their teachers of Islam, issued death threats from adherents of Islam. The descriptions are true – but Kristof wants more. He wants to hear about the pretty calligraphy. [Butterflies & Wheels] Read more

05 June 2010

Should the West Ban the Burqa?

.... In my view, the burqa and niqab function as isolation and sensory deprivation chambers. Such garments do not allow the wearer to interact freely with others. Wearing the burqa (and niqab) may also lead to health hazards. Lifetime burqa wearers may suffer eye damage and may be prone to a host of diseases which are related to sunlight deprivation, e.g. osteoporosis, heart disease, hypertension, and depression.

Religious headgear and garments that do not cover the five senses are obviously permissible .... all allow the wearer to breathe, hear, see, smell, and speak. Those who wear such attire are easy to recognize and identify. They can move freely, see clearly, and are easy to identify. This is not true of the niqab or burqa wearer.

For such reasons, I suggest that we begin a national conversation about whether Americans should ban the burqa. [FOXNews] Read more

No, I don't believe in God

I am an atheist. I imagine that the typical Cif belief reader may not think this is a particularly big deal, but it is for me, because I'm not just an atheist – I'm an apostate from Islam. Apparently there are people who would happily kill me for making such a statement.

But I'm not expecting to be killed, or even threatened; despite what the BNP and certain elements of the press might want you to think, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not rabid fundamentalists who respond with violence to every perceived slight. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Group jolts Sweden's tolerant self-image

From his party's office in the basement of a Stockholm parking garage, Jimmie Akesson is running for Parliament, preaching sharp cuts in immigration and calling Islam the greatest threat to Swedish society.

That message until now has gained little traction in Sweden, but polls are predicting gains for Akesson's far-right Sweden Democrats that could give them a king-maker role in national elections this year if neither mainstream bloc wins an outright majority. [Associated Press] Read more

04 June 2010

Muslim group alleges 'misuse of religion'

A precedent-setting case that could determine whether a woman can wear a niqab while testifying in Canadian courts has a leading feminist group and a national Muslim organization on opposite sides of the contentious debate. But their respective positions, outlined in written arguments filed with the Ontario Court of Appeal, may come as a surprise.

The Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) is arguing that an alleged victim of sexual assault must be permitted to wear the Muslim veil if it is part of her religion. [National Post] Read more [via National Secular Society]

French Muslim Council warns government on veil ban

France's official Muslim council has warned the government not to expect it to impose a planned ban on full face veils for women that legal experts argue will be unconstitutional and police predict will be unenforceable.

Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), said his group opposed the full veil and would try to convince the tiny minority of veiled women that it was not a religious obligation and was out of place in France.

But Muslim leaders could not act as agents of the state during a six-month "mediation period" during which veiled women will be stopped and informed about the law but not fined. [Reuters] Read more

Pat Condell - No Mosque At Ground Zero

[COMMENT] People involved asked (they were not required to) local politicians first who approved and now it will be built. If you can't distinguish between different groups within muslims and want to punish them all, you are just an ignorant extremist (when you try to punish all muslims, you alienate moderates and increase number of extremists). [Atheist Media Blog] Read more

Sharia law, courts likely on 2010 ballot

EDMOND — State lawmakers say it’s a pre-emptive strike against Sharia law, needed to prevent here what has happened in the United Kingdom. An Islamic leader says it’s another example of a rising tide of anti-Islamic bigotry in America.

State Question 755, which likely will be on the ballot in November, would make in-state courts rely on federal and state laws when deciding cases and forbid courts from using international law or Sharia law when making rulings. [The Edmond Sun] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Has al-Jazeera changed its style?

Al-Jazeera's Arabic channel takes pride of place among Middle East's satellite news outlets. It was the first of its kind, broadcasting – ostensibly with an unprecedented level of editorial independence – to a pan-Arab audience.

It broke taboos and shocked audiences by hosting guests on debate shows who attacked the hitherto unassailable: the Saudi royal family, the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim clergy. In 2006, the channel even helped launch the infamous Wafa Sultan's career when she was a guest on The Opposite Direction. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Al-Jazeera presenters quit over 'modesty' dress comments In a row which has split the channel, the five complained about harassment from a senior editor, whom they accused of making "offensive remarks" about their appearance.

After the channel refused to back them, the five women, some of the best-known faces in the Middle East thanks to the channel's popularity, quit. Three others have registered protests while staying with the station. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more