31 December 2011

Netherlands: 117 attacks on mosques in 6 years

In 99 incidents the culprits were not found. The incidents are difficult to solve, since the "culprits don't leave a signature," says Van der Valk. Violence against mosques is relatively rare in the big cities, though relatively many Muslims live there, says the researcher.

The Discrimination Internet hotline also gets regular reports of racist statements against Muslims. A spokesperson said that by Friday there were 317 reports of "hate against Muslims", which made up 20% of the total number of reports this year. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Christian student jailed in Egypt for anti-Islam images on Facebook

Egyptian prosecutors Saturday ordered a Christian student be kept in custody for four days for posting images lampooning the Prophet Mohammed on his Facebook page, reported state television.

Jamal Masoud, a secondary school student in the southern Egyptian province of Assiut, faces charges of contempt for Islam, the report said.

He told investigators the images had been posted on his Facebook page without his knowledge, it said. [Monsters and Critics.com] Read more [via Religious Watch]

30 December 2011

The joys of multiculturalism: Christian head of Muslim school claims he was dismissed because of his religion

Professor Malory Nye, 47, claims he was dismissed from his job at the Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education in Dundee, Scotland, because its hierarchy viewed his race and religion as a threat to its Muslim values.

His wife Isabel Campbell-Nye, 42, alleges she was also forced out of her position as head of the college’s English language centre because she brought in too many students who were not Muslims or Arabs.

The independent college, sponsored by the Dubai royal family, advertises itself as a research-led institution “that promotes a greater understanding of different religions and cultures in a multicultural context, for the benefit of the wider community”. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Why are imams telling us about nail polish?

.... The surreal nature of this state of affairs was summed up in an Iranian TV programme I watched during the celebration of a female saint's birthday. In a room crowded with women dressed in black chadors, I saw a bearded imam on the stage preaching through the microphone to the female congregation.

He was telling the hundred or so female believers what it meant to be a Muslim woman, as if the women themselves were clueless about this particular matter. [Guardian Cif] Read more

An Islamist Winter?

Is the Arab Spring morphing into an Islamic Winter? The question is haunting those interested in the outcome of the series of political earthquakes that, from the start of 2011, have shaken most of the 21 member states of the Arab League.

Those who remember the initial days of the Arab uprising on Bourguiba Avenue in Tunisia and Tahrir Square in Cairo wonder what happened to the promise of the modern liberal society that was supposed to be about to be born out of the pages of Facebook accompanied by the jingles of mobile phones.

Where have all the clean-shaven, jeans-wearing, cappuccino-imbibing young things gone? And where did all these bushy beards and extra-thick hijabs, absent from the early stages of the "revolution", come from? [Standpoint] Read more

Boko Haram, the Arab 'Spring', and the radical Islamic Revival

.... Here is the nub of the matter. Yasin is appealing to Muslims' dream of a benevolent, tolerant Islam from a golden past era when non-Muslims were afforded 'dignity, protection', 'tolerance', and 'religious rights' under Islamic rule, which is to say, after Muslim conquest.

(In fact he is referring to the sharia system of dhimmitude, in which non-Muslims as conquered people are granted the right to practice their faith as long so they submit to discriminatory laws laid down in a dhimma or pact of surrender. It is on this basis that sharia law affords the right to non-Muslims to keep their heads in an Islamic state.)

Yasin opines that Nigerian Muslims are 'trying to get back to that model'. [markdurie.com] Read more

Could You Be A Criminal? US Supports UN Anti-Free Speech Measure

While you were out scavenging the Wal-Mart super sales or trying on trinkets at Tiffany and Cartier, your government has been quietly wrapping up a Christmas gift of its own: adoption of UN resolution 16/18.

An initiative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly Organization of Islamic Conferences), the confederacy of 56 Islamic states, Resolution 16/18 seeks to limit speech that is viewed as “discriminatory” or which involves the “defamation of religion” – specifically that which can be viewed as “incitement to imminent violence.” Whatever that means.[Forbes.com] Read more [via National Secular Society]

29 December 2011

Islamist rule in Egypt may scupper tourism if it is followed by crackdown on alcohol and bikinis

.... Azza al-Jarf, the Islamist lawmaker, says Egyptian officials need to rethink their approach to tourism.

She argues that appealing to Muslim visitors abroad and domestically will boost tourism, as would hosting more international conferences.

She adds that separating beaches by sex and curbing public consumption of alcohol won't affect these new markets or even the old ones.

Such pronouncements are naive, says Elhamy el-Zayat, who chairs the Egyptian Tourism Federation and runs a company specialising in conference tourism.

He says he's talked with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists at length about their tourism proposals and why they won't work. [MailOnline] Read more

Woman with niqab detained in Schaarbeek

Police detained a woman in the Brussels borough of Schaarbeek on Tuesday because she was wearing a niqab. The garment is a full veil sometimes worn by Muslim women that only leaves the eyes uncovered. It is banned in Belgium.

The incident arose when the police attempted to check the woman's identity. Police officer Roland Thiébault :"Her husband refused to let us carry out an identity check invoking the woman's human rights. The couple became more and more aggressive and then a bystander intervened. [flandersnews.be] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Veiled woman given driving fine

A woman in Brittany was slapped with a €35 ($45) fine after police spotted her driving her car wearing a full-face veil.

The woman, who was visiting family in the north-west coastal town of Saint-Brieuc, was wearing the face-covering niqab, reported daily newspaper 20 Minutes.

Police stopped the woman who "seemed hesitant in her driving," said local police spokesman Laurent Dufour.

"On closer inspection, they realized she was veiled," he said.

"This is an issue of skill, safety and visibility," said Dufour.

He compared driving with a full face veil to driving a car with ice on the windscreen, eating a sandwich or smoking a cigarette. [The Local] Read more

Egypt Muslim group orders Christian TV station off air

An offshoot of Egypt's top religious institution, Al Azhar, has called on the government to take a Christian television station off the air, allegedly for offending Muslims, the semi-official Al-Ahram newspaper reported

The Islamic Research Centre, which made the demand, is headed by Ahmed al-Tayeb, the sheikh of Al Azhar, which is the Sunni Muslim world's oldest seat of religious learning.

The centre accused US-based Christian broadcaster Al Karma (Vineyard) of insulting Islam and inciting sectarian divisions in Egypt …. the newspaper reported.

.... Christians, who make up around 10% of Egypt's population, often complain of being treated as second-class citizens and feel marginalised by the predominately Muslim population. [Times LIVE] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Ken Livingstone's running mate attacks his 'misjudgement' on Islamic extremism

Ken Livingstone’s mayoral running-mate, Val Shawcross, yesterday denounced Ken’s support for the Muslim extremist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, as a “misjudgment” and a “mistake” and criticised Ken for “not apologising sooner” for the “stupid and unpleasant things” he said to Oliver Finegold, the Jewish journalist he likened to a “concentration camp guard.” [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Minority rights: Silence, increasing intolerance make for another grim year

.... The year opened with the assassination of then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer by his own security guard Mumtaz Qadri in Islamabad on January 4. Taseer was killed for speaking against the blasphemy law and raising a voice in favour of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death on charges of blasphemy.

Minority rights activists believe that the incident was a huge setback as not only did they lose a supporter, but the PPP-led government also distanced itself from those who supported amendments in the blasphemy law. [The Express Tribune] Read more

Europe's Inexorable March Towards Islam

.... In France, it was revealed that Islamic mosques are being built more often than Roman Catholic churches, and that there now are more practicing Muslims in the country than practicing Catholics.

Separately, Muslim groups in France asked the Roman Catholic Church for permission to use its empty churches as a way to solve the traffic problems caused by thousands of Muslims who pray in the streets. The request, which was variously described by French political commentators as "alarming," "audacious" and "unprecedented," was yet another example of the growing assertiveness of the Muslims in France.

In October, it was also reported that the country's decrepit city suburbs are becoming "separate Islamic societies" cut off from the state, according to a major new study, "Banlieue de la République" (Suburbs of the Republic), that examines the spread of Islam in France. [Hudson New York] Read more

The top ten good (Muslim) news stories of 2011

Sometimes it seems Muslims can’t get a break, and 2011 was no exception. The "creeping sharia" paranoia in the US continued unabated (despite any evidence that there is any real threat of sharia law supplanting the Constitution) with the passage and/or introduction of anti-sharia legislation in over 20 states, and alleged threats posed by Muslim Americans were brought up at nearly every Republican debate this year. But step back a bit and you’ll see that Muslims in America as generally feeling more hopeful than ever .... [altmuslim] Read more

Veiled woman given driving fine

A woman in Brittany was slapped with a €35 ($45) fine after police spotted her driving her car wearing a full-face veil.

.…. Police stopped the woman who "seemed hesitant in her driving," said local police spokesman Laurent Dufour.

"On closer inspection, they realized she was veiled," he said."This is an issue of skill, safety and visibility," said Dufour. He compared driving with a full face veil to driving a car with ice on the windscreen, eating a sandwich or smoking a cigarette. [The Local] Read more

28 December 2011

Bosnia's Muslims urged to "boycott New Year"

The Islamic Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina has called on Muslims in that country to boycott the upcoming New Year celebrations. By taking part, said the organization, they would "violate Allah's boundaries, and do something their master hates and despises".

The Islamic Community statement on Wednesday quoted from a book by Almir Dumica, entitled, "Pearls of the Sunnah in the Mosaic of Time":

"On that night, turn off the lights early and let everyone see you're boycotting everything happening on that night. Do not fear anyone's objections. Don't you have a right to choose? Do not say, 'how can I do that, I will change nothing, most people do it... I will be declared a black sheep'." [B92] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Muslim American comics’ tour and documentary

Beware, America. The Muslims are coming, and they look and act suspiciously like you.

Negin Farsad, an Iranian American stand-up comic from California, wears eye-catching mini dresses, curses liberally and has awkward sex talks with her mother (though hers sound more like alien encounters. Actual quote: “You had intergender flesh relations without the security of external safety product?”).

Such conversations, painfully private in traditional Muslim societies, are public fodder for Farsad and three other Gen X and Gen Y Muslim comics with whom she traveled to the deep South this past summer. [The Washington Post] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

All-American Muslim?

.... People who have written books critical of Islam were described by Al-Marayati as “Muslim-haters” whose “work is reminiscent of the pre-Nazi propaganda…that regarded Judaism as a threat to Germany.” Al-Marayati railed about the controversy over the TLC reality show “All-American Muslim,” which, he sneered, “became a controversy because it did not include a terrorist.”

America, he claimed, is being misled by those who, refusing to define American Islam by what he called its “mainstream,” insist rather on viewing it “through the lens of extremism.” “I love my faith and I love my country,” maintained Al-Marayati at the end of his piece. “The fact that some readers still question which country I am referring to indicates a serious level of distrust toward Muslim Americans.” [Front Page] Read more

Muslim comics and documentary pushing Muslim Brotherhood-invented concept of "Islamophobia"

.... The fact that there are other Muslims not fighting jihad is just great, but it doesn't mean that the jihad isn't happening. This comedy show simply doesn't address the problem of jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism.

As David Horowitz and I show in our pamphlet Islamophobia: Thoughtcrime of the Totalitarian Future, the term "Islamophobia" is a politically manipulative coinage designed to intimidate critics of Islamic supremacism and jihad into silence. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Muslim Extremists in Uganda Throw Acid on Bishop

Islamic extremists threw acid on a church leader on Christmas Eve shortly after a seven-day revival at his church, leaving him with severe burns that have blinded one eye and threaten sight in the other.

Bishop Umar Mulinde, 37, a sheikh (Islamic teacher) before his conversion to Christianity, was attacked on Saturday night (Dec. 24) outside his Gospel Life Church International building in Namasuba, about 10 kilometers (six miles) outside of Kampala. [Compass Direct] Read more

27 December 2011

Nigerian man’s hand amputated for theft

The right hand of Abdulsamad Ismail Abdullah Hawsawe, a Nigerian national, was amputated here Friday after he was found guilty of the theft of gold, a pistol and a mobile phone and taking part in the theft of a car.

The sentence was carried out as per Shariah law, a Ministry of Interior statement said. The ruling, passed and endorsed by the Criminal Court, Court of Cassation and Supreme Court, was forwarded to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques who endorsed it according to Islamic Shariah law, the statement said. [The Saudi Gazette] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Muslim Brotherhood Taking Over America, Six Hour FBI Meeting

.... "I just went to a briefing in Washington DC, across the street from the Capitol, at the Longworth building at 8:30 am two days ago and it changed my life," Jackson said last week on her web show, "Politichicks."

"For six hours, I saw pictures and names and dates and facts and Islamic law books and Korans, Surahs for six hours and they proved to me... that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated our highest positions in government and this is serious." [The Huffington Post] Read more

Iran does not have necessary facilities to stone Sakineh to death so want to hang her instead

Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of the judiciary in East Azerbaijan, said on Sunday that the prison does not have the “necessary facilities” to carry out Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani’s sentence of stoning!!

Therefore, he said, they are considering hanging as an alternative. Really? Have they run out of stones and hired Islamic sadists? [Maryam Namazie] Read more

Women are not for battering

RAFIQUL Islam hacked off five fingers from his wife, Jui's right hand because she was studying at college against his wishes. Hassan Sayeed Sumon stuck his fingers into his wife, Rumana's eyes and blinded her. He wanted to stop her from returning to Canada where she was a Fulbright scholar.

Rafiqul and Sumon were exceptionally vicious in their action but by no means unusual in their reaction. The physical chastisement of a woman is widely regarded in our society as a man's entitlement and a woman's just desert. Acid attacks, stalking, widespread wife battering and harsh punishment of women by village shalish bear testimony to this social assumption of male "privilege." [Daily Star] Read more

26 December 2011

The Persecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a free speech activist who was charged last year in Austria with “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” for asserting that “Mohammed had a thing for little girls.”

In February of this year she was convicted, and will have to pay a fine of up to €480. Just recently, on December 20, 2011, her conviction was upheld by the higher court. If she refuses to pay the fine, she may spend a maximum of two months in jail. She grew up and lived in Muslim countries and experienced Islam first-hand. [Front Page] Read more

"A Black Day for Austria"

An Austrian appellate court has upheld the conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a Viennese housewife and anti-Jihad activist, for "denigrating religious beliefs" after giving a series of seminars about the dangers of radical Islam.

The December 20 ruling shows that while Judaism and Christianity can be disparaged with impunity in postmodern multicultural Austria, speaking the truth about Islam is subject to swift and hefty legal penalties.

Although the case has major implications for freedom of speech in Austria, as well as in Europe as a whole, it has received virtually no press coverage in the American mainstream media.

Sabaditsch-Wolff's Kafkaesque legal problems began in November 2009, when she presented a three-part seminar about Islam to the Freedom Education Institute, a political academy linked to the Austrian Freedom Party. [Hudson New York] Read more

Ahmadinejad steps into Iran’s dress-code debate

In the Islamic republic of Iran, the law requires women to cover their hair and bodies in public. But how to do so remains up to them, and the result is persistent confusion in the streets.

Though leading Shiite Muslim clerics advise women to wear chadors — the traditional head-to-toe cloak, usually black — Iran’s urban fashionistas increasingly prefer tight-fitting coats and scant head scarves.

Now, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is stepping into the dispute. He wants to settle it by promoting government-approved apparel for women, garments intended to introduce an array of clothes that are “Islamic and beautiful” at the same time. Hard-liners are not amused. They say that the new designs encourage “Western values.” [The Washington Post] Read more

Iran Detains Sunday School Kids Celebrating Christmas

Iranian authorities raided a church that was celebrating Christmas and detained everyone in the building, including children attending Sunday school, a U.K.-based Christian charity said.

Officials in the southern town of Ahwaz raided an Assemblies of God-affiliated church last week and herded the entire congregation into two buses, according to the Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

While the majority of the members were “interrogated, threatened and eventually released,” the church’s senior pastor, identified only as Farhad, remained in detention, along with his wife and some church leaders, at press time. [The Christian Post] Read more

Pakistani Christian on death row cooks own meals for fear of being poisoned

.... it has also exposed the power wielded by extremist clerics and the persecution faced by a tiny Christian minority.

In her first interview from behind bars, she described the miserable conditions in prison as she waits for the chance to appeal against her conviction.

"I am allowed to go out for only 30 minutes every day, and allowed to meet my family for one hour every Tuesday," she told Life for All, a Christian organisation.

"I am given raw material to cook for myself, since the administration fears I might be poisoned, as other Christians accused of blasphemy were poisoned or killed in the jail." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Muslim cadets WILL be allowed to wear hijab after 14 year old forced to quit

Following the case of a 14-year-old Muslim high school student who was who was forced to leave her Junior ROTC unit, because she could not remove her head scarf to take part in the homecoming parade, the Defense Department has reviewed its uniform policy, it emerged last week.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to ask for religious accommodations, as protected by the constitution, for Demin Zawity and future Muslim cadets at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, in Tennessee. [MailOnline] Read more

24 December 2011

Dutch language gaining ground in mosques

.... The majority of the approximately 200 Moroccan-Dutch mosques, however, stick to Arabic for their sermons, although they are usually followed by a summary in Dutch.

Researcher Landman pointed out that the picture is different in the Turkish community, where Turkish is still the dominant language, both in mosques and outside.

The Roman Catholic church gave up Latin-only masses after 1964, following a papal decree which allowed the use of vernacular languages. In protestant churches, Dutch has been used since they were founded in the 16th century. [RNW] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

This Is What Islam Does to You

.... Have you ever read the Quran in English? I never did, I mean all my life I just recited the Quran in Arabic without understanding a single word until August of this year, when I purchased a copy of the English Quran and read the translation for the first time.

Previously I had read some parts of it in English, but never the whole thing. But this year in August I read it from cover to cover, and then also read other references on the internet.

Then I finally reached the conclusion that this book is the most evil thing on the face of this earth. It teaches nothing else except hatred and violence. I can no longer be a part of a cult which subjugates its followers, making them mere blind puppets with no mind of their own. [Liberated] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

23 December 2011

Are Egyptians Using Democracy to Vote Against Democracy?

.... When asked about his position on democracy and elections just a few weeks ago, al-Shahat responded that he continues to maintain the same opinion, namely that democracy is "disbelief in Allah (kufr) and forbidden (haraam)."

However, to justify his candidacy in the elections, he offered his opinion that "Egyptian-style democracy is permissible, while Western democracy is disbelief in Allah".

Perhaps explaining what al-Shahat meant by 'Western democracy,' other Nur Party candidates have affirmed that "the understanding of democracy with the meaning of people ruling themselves is disbelief in Allah."

They also went further, arguing that democracy was merely "Masonic-Jewish propaganda". One of the candidates also praised Saudi Arabia's application of Shari'ah-law penalties, which are generally much harsher than what Egypt experienced under Mubarak. [Translating Jihad] Read more

Why the Egyptian People Are Choosing Islamists

The overwhelming victory for Islamists in the first stage of the Egyptian elections deserves closer examination.

Careful analysis of the situation in Egypt reveals that the selection of Islamist parties was due to a number of factors:

Desire to implement Sharia rules in the country. Several polls suggest that a significant number of Egyptians want to implement Sharia rules within the country.

The overwhelming number of women who have been wearing the Hijab (Islamic head scarf) and the Niquab (face cover) in recent decades provides a clear indication of the degree that religious fervor has spread among the population.

As many as 80 percent of all women are thought to be wearing the traditional Hijab. [Newsmax] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Diversity – Islamic style

.... It’s true that the IDC rejects Islamist violence and rhetoric. On the other hand, try clicking through to the profiles of team members.

While there are photographs of the men, every woman is represented by an identical headshot showing a pair of eyes peeking out of a niqab.

This is seriously conservative Islam, in other words. Its courses aim to inform, not convert – but at weekends, IDC staff can be found proselytising vigorously on street corners. They run a New Muslim Support Centre “to meet the needs of the burgeoning numbers of Muslim converts in the North East”. Significantly, it also acts as a “Diversity and Equality Centre”. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Arabic school textbooks show children how to chop off hands and feet under Sharia law

Barbaric textbooks handed out in Saudi Arabian schools teach children how to cut off a thief's hands and feet under Sharia law, it has emerged.

The shocking books, paid for and printed by the Saudi government, also tell teenagers that Jews need to be exterminated and homosexuals should be 'put to death'.

Recent editions were obtained by the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, D.C., which says they should raise fears in the West over the use of jihadist language. [MailOnline] Read more

Veiled threat to fairness or a right?

The contention that a witness should be permitted to veil her face on religious grounds, partly because facial cues are generally unreliable, was probed vigorously at a recent Supreme Court hearing.

“If you asked 100 experienced counsel whether it is of importance to them, in the conduct of their defence, to see the face of the complainant in any case?—??intuitively, what do you think they’d say?” asked Justice Morris Fish.

“They’d say that it is,” conceded David Butt, who acknowledged that his argument challenges the “great weight” the legal profession puts on assessing a witness’s demeanour. [Canadian Lawyers Weekly] Read more [via National Secular Society]

22 December 2011

Two Spanish-Language Islamic TV Channels to Broadcast in Spain & Latin America

A new Islamic TV channel in the Spanish language starts broadcasting today December in Spain with a second Islamic station following a week later.

Hispan TV will be available in Spain and Latin America starting today. The station has Iranian backing. Following closely on its heels on 01 January 2012, the Saudi-backed Cordoba Television station will be launched, o¬wned by the Foundation for the Message of Islam. [Ahlul Bayt News Agency] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Muslim man jailed for punching nurse who tried to remove his wife's burqa during childbirth

A Muslim man who punched a nurse for trying to remove his wife's burqa during childbirth has been jailed in France.

Nassim Mimoune, 24, had already been expelled from the delivery room for branding the midwife a 'rapist' as she carried out an intimate examination of his wife. [MailOnline] Read more

Aasia Bibi – One Year Later

Just over a year ago, Human Rights First reacted to the harsh punishment given by a court in Pakistan to Aasia Bibi, the first woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death for committing blasphemy under the country’s draconian laws.

Aasia, an illiterate Christian farm worker and mother of five, was convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohammad following a disagreement with Muslim co-workers who accused her of tainting their drinking water. [Human Rights First] Read more [via National Secular Society]

The persecution of Christians sweeping the Middle East

The Americans have gone now, and Iraq’s Christian communities – some of the world’s oldest – are undergoing an exodus on a biblical scale.

Of the country’s 1.4 million Christians, about two thirds have now fled. Although the British Government is reluctant to recognise it, a new evil is sweeping the Middle East: religious cleansing. The attacks, which peak at Christmas, have already spread to Egypt, where Coptic Christians have seen their churches firebombed by Islamic fundamentalists.

In Tunisia, priests are being murdered. Maronite Christians in Lebanon have, for the first time, become targets of bombing campaigns. Christians in Syria, who have suffered as much as anyone from the Assad regime, now pray for its survival. If it falls, and the Islamists triumph, persecution may begin in earnest. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Dutch government to appoint commission on ritual animal slaughter

The Dutch government said it will appoint a commission to study new tightened rules for ritual slaughter to satisfy animal rights activists without infringing on Jewish and Muslim traditions.

The announcement came as the leader of the small Animal Rights Party, Marianne Thieme, decided to withdraw a bill calling for a ban of the practice of kosher slaughter, or shechita, without stunning after a majority of members of the Dutch Senate, the upper house of the parliament, objected to such a ban because it violates freedom of religion. [EJP] Read more

21 December 2011

Come back in a year and tell me about Arab Spring

.... Nearly nine years after the invasion of Iraq, the theory that western-style democracy could be successfully transferred to the Middle East has been tested to destruction. No Arab country has the law-abiding middle-class that will dutifully follow the edict of a democratically elected government.

Arab societies are usually divided by family, clan, sept, sect and tribe, and in such complex fissures as to prevent simple adherence to the state. And in all Arab countries, their Christian communities are now increasingly under physical threat.

.... The myths of the Arab Spring even infected the Nobel awards; the joint peace-prize went to Tawakkol Karman, for her role in the "pro-democracy" movement in Yemen. Yet her party is the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. How long before its fundamentalism consumes her and all the hopes and dreams of women in Yemen, a country where 25pc of girls still undergo the evil of genital-mutilation? [Independent.ie] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Extremist Teachings Remain in Saudi Textbooks Despite Kingdom's Claims of Reform

.... In a textbook for 10th-graders, printed for the 2010-2011 academic year, al-Ahmed said teenagers are taught barbaric practices. “They show students how to cut (the) hand and the feet of a thief,” he said.

In another textbook, for ninth-graders, the students are taught the annihilation of the Jewish people is imperative. One text reads in part: “The hour (of judgment) will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. ... There is a Jew behind me come and kill him.”

According to the textbook translations provided to Fox News, women are described as weak and irresponsible. And al-Ahmed said the textbooks call for homosexuals to be put to death "because they pose a danger at society, as the Saudi school books teaches.” [FoxNews] Read more

Marital rape and FOSIS Ireland this weekend

.... In this he was recorded saying of a wife’s duties that “if the husband wants sex and she is busy she must respond”. He followed this by denying that marital rape exists, stating that if “she does not want to…and he ends up sleeping with her by force it is known to be as a rape. Amazing, how can a person rape his wife?”

In the same lecture he also claimed that whilst his listeners should not hit their wives, it was acceptable if “you smack them, you beat them…just to shape them up”. He followed this by stating that if any woman was to ask her husband for a divorce “without a reason…she will not smell the fragrance of paradise”. [Student Rights] Read more

Muslim baby was at risk of "honour killing"

A baby at risk of becoming the victim of an "honour killing" because she was born as the result of her unmarried Muslim mother's secret affair must be adopted to keep her safe, the Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday.

Three senior judges rejected a bid by the one-year-old girl's natural father to have her live with him and his wife.

The child's natural mother is in favour of adoption so that her own family will not find out about the birth. [Reuters] Read more

Dutch Cabinet says it will tighten rules on Muslim, Jewish animal slaughter, won’t impose ban

The Dutch government said Wednesday it will study new standards for ritual slaughter to satisfy animal rights activists without infringing on ancient Jewish and Muslim traditions, and will not ban the practice outright.

The announcement that a commission will be appointed to draw up a tightened regime for supervising the slaughter followed a political deadlock in the Dutch parliament. [Associated Press] Read more

20 December 2011

"Bosnia moving toward Sharia law"

The president of the Serb Republic (RS) deduced that this was "leading toward a creation of a Sharia state".

"I have nothing against Bosniaks and Islam, I respect freedom of religion, but it is the desire of the Islamic Community in Bosnia-Herzegovina to direct political processes in the country that is completely unacceptable," he said. [B92] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Why a burka ban defends the rights of women

Both multiculturalism and the burka need to be taken away from the cultural reciprocity footing.

It was sad, yesterday, to see Nigel Farage of UKIP considering ditching his party’s policy of the burka ban. Contrary to mass popular belief there is nothing intolerant or illiberal about this policy.

Let me explain. It is a common, flawed assumption that it is intolerant not to tolerate other, alien, cultures on the British Isles. There is a missing part to this, of what would otherwise be, erroneous equation.

The other part can be posed in a question: How can it be tolerant of immigrants and other non-indigenous cultures not to give up their own cultures and assimilate once on the territory of the British Isles? [MailOnline] Read more

Quebec accused of caving over guard’s hijab, will allow Muslim head scarf in prisons

The Quebec government, which said Tuesday it will allow Muslim women working in provincial jails to wear a hijab head scarf, has been accused by the Opposition of caving in to an “excessive” demand.

The Quebec Public Security Department passed the new rule after reaching a deal with Quebec’s human rights commission, following a complaint made four years ago.

The ministry chose to enforce what it calls an “accommodation” rather than take the matter before the provincial human rights tribunal. [National Post] Read more

A Place for Pride (or Not)

The Daily Mail ran “Muslims 'are more patriotic than most British people'” The Sunday Times said “Muslim's prove to be Britain's greatest flag wavers”. And the Daily Star shouted “MUSLIMS TOP PRIDE CHARTS”.

.... In a report summary Demos say “…. patriotism does not, and should not, come from either top-down narratives about Queen and country nor from so-called ‘progressive’ notions based on values.” Demos seem to have mixed feelings about values.

But, values do come in to it. The report reveals “82 per cent of respondents agreed that the naturalisation process should include a ‘values test’. Our qualitative research reinforced this. …. Far more important, they argued, was that the [citizen] test should ensure a person shared British values and was involved in British society. (p53/54) [Islam Surveyed] Read more

19 December 2011

Saudi women's suffrage mired in suppression

.... These examples demonstrate how long and treacherous the road will be for the cause of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Even decisions at the highest level of government in an absolute monarchy such as ours will only just begin to dent the armor of fundamentalism behind which many hide their misogyny.

.... Steps such as appointing women to the Shura council and allowing them to participate in municipal elections, positive as they may be, are not as influential as enabling and empowering the average Saudi woman to represent herself without the obstacles of male guardianship, male drivers and strict segregation work codes.

What’s the use of having a female Shura member as a representative to the government when a woman cannot represent herself in her own life? [GlobalPost] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Arab Spring stretches "Islamist" tag to its limits

The open politics spawned by the Arab Spring have stretched the term "Islamist" to its limits, covering everyone from hip moderate young Muslims to long-bearded hardliners bent on imposing a divine dictatorship.

The rainbow of varieties of political Islam has forced world media to start using unfamiliar terms such as Salafi -- an ultraconservative champion of an Islamic state -- to bring out some of the diversity in the emerging Muslim democracies. [Reuters] Read more

Muslim kindergartener permitted to block out music

A kindergarten student in Saint-Michel will be allowed to wear a noise-reducing headset in class, because her parents' say their religious beliefs don't allow the five-year-old girl to listen to music.

Though music is an integral part of the kindergarten program, the principal of Bienville School decided to grant the accommodation request made by a Muslim family and allow their daughter to block out music at school.

"The principal thinks the family is acting in good faith," said Diane de Courcy, president of the Montreal School Commission. "(They) would have otherwise kept the child at home." [ctvmontreal.ca] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

UN drops call to outlaw 'defamation of religions'

For the first time in more than a decade, the U.N. General Assembly on Monday condemned religious intolerance without urging states to outlaw "defamation of religions," an appeal critics say opened the door to abusive "blasphemy" laws.

The call on countries to prohibit "defamation" had been included in a non-binding resolution on combating religious intolerance passed annually by the 193-nation assembly.

The resolution approved on Monday declares that "discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes a violation of human rights."

It also expressed concern about the incitement to religious hatred and the failure of some states "to combat this burgeoning trend." [Reuters] Read more

"Let's Turn Belgium into an Islamist State"

"It is now 86 years since the fall of the Islamic Caliphate. The tyranny and corruption in this country [Belgium] has prevailed; we go from one scandal to another: Economic crises, paedophilia, crime, growing Islamophobia, etc."

"As in the past we [Muslims] have saved Europe from the dark ages, we now plan to do the same. Now we have the right solution for all crises and this is the observance of the divine law, namely Sharia. We call to implement Sharia in Belgium.

"Sharia is the perfect system for humanity...As a result, we invite the royal family, parliament, all the aristocracy and every Belgian resident to submit to the light of Islam. Save yourself and your children of the painful punishment of the hereafter and grant yourself eternal life in paradise." [Hudson New York] Read more

Denmark: Schools drop Christmas traditions out of consideration for Muslim students

Schools are increasingly changing Christmas tradition in order to take into account a growing number of bilingual children.

At the Klostervænget school in Copenhagen, the school administration changed a few verses in the 'A Child is Born in Bethlehem' hymn sung by the children because they thought it would be preaching too much to the bilingual children.

At Møllevang school in Aarhus the school administration asked a music teacher to choose hymns that took into account the Muslim students, after students in a 3rd grade class and their parents protested that the children were expected to sing "Here come your little ones, Jesus. [Islam in Europe] Read more

18 December 2011

Europe's Islamic future

Islam is on its way to become the most practiced religion in Europe. In a new book published by the University of Leuven, “The Iris and the Crescent,” sociologist Felice Dassetto says that Muslims will comprise the majority of the population of Brussels by 2030.

The title of the book refers to the yellow flower symbol of Brussels’ region and to the Islamic emblem: While the first is decaying, the second is growing.

Muslims now make up one-quarter of the population of the capital of the enlightened Europe and they are asking to use the empty churches for Islamic prayers. Since 2008, the top seven baby boys’ names in Brussels were Mohammed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza. Mohammed is also the most popular name for baby boys in Belgium’s second-largest city, Antwerp, where an estimated 40% of elementary school children are Muslim. [Ynetnews] Read more

17 December 2011

Never Mind "Occupy." The New Solution Is Sharia

First it was WikiLeaks, and Anonymous. Then came Occupy. Now the movement to watch is Shariah4, as in Shariah4France, Shariah4America, or Shariah4Belgium, members of which threatened earlier this month to break the neck of Muslim activist Irshad Manji during a debate in Amsterdam.

Their numbers are growing, and their voices are increasingly being heard in the media around the world. But who are they, exactly? Do they comprise a real movement, even a real threat – or are they just a bunch of religious nuts carrying on as religious nuts often tend to do? [Forbes.com] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Saudis urged to stop amputation sentence

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged Saudi King Abdullah to commute amputation sentences handed down against six men convicted of highway robbery in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.

The sentences to chop off the right hands and left feet of the six Saudis is currently before the Supreme Court for approval and could be carried out within days if ratified by the king, the London-based group said on Friday.

It said they were forced to confess.

''Cross amputation' is a strikingly cruel form of punishment that amounts to torture and should have no place in a criminal justice system,' said the watchdog's Middle East and North Africa interim director, Philip Luther. [Sky News] Read more

The Istanbul Process Conference in Washington was "Perverse"

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom attended the Istanbul Process for Combating Intolerance held this week in Washington at the State Department

.... Shea’s observations on the Istanbul Process conference, published today in a New York Post op-ed, are spot on. The Istanbul Process is not only perverse but an affront to our Constitutional rights of free speech under the First Amendment.

We await confirmation of how perverse the Washington Istanbul process conference was when exposure drafts of the "best practices" of combating alleged religious intolerance are released early next year. They should be the subject of intense scrutiny in hearings by Congress. Read more

Arab Spring: Women in the line of fire

In Egypt, with almost 82 million people, the Arab world’s most populous country, men and women lined up this month for hours to vote in the country’s first free elections since a military overthrow in 1952. Yet despite the fact that 376 women ran for election – a third of all candidates – by the time voting is over in January there is a distinct possibility that no women will be elected.

.... “For Tunisian women, the personal status law is really something like their bible. They didn’t want anyone to touch it. It gave them gender parity. The prospect of losing it galvanized women into action.”

Other countries, like Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, are still “at a formative stage” when it comes to women’s rights, said Khalife. “They are still putting the building blocks together. They don’t have the advantage of the Tunisian women.” [The Gazette] Read more

16 December 2011

The Islamists Within

The panel discussion below recently took place at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida (Nov. 17-20, 2011). The transcript follows. Frank Gaffney, a former Assistant Secretary of the Defense Department, Raymond Ibrahim, Daniel Greenfield. And last but not least, Robert Spencer. [Front Page] Read more

Clinton says women sidelined in Egypt transition

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that women were being sidelined in the hoped-for transition to democracy in Egypt, including during the current parliamentary elections.

"In Egypt, women have been largely excluded from the transition process and even harassed in the street," Clinton said in prepared remarks for a speech on women, peace and security.

"The best-organized political parties supported few women candidates in the recent elections," she added, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. [AFP] Read more

The Failure of Secular and Liberal Egyptians

Contrary to the expectations of many analysts, both the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist al-Nour coalition trounced the secular Egyptian Bloc and the Wafd Party in the first stage of voting for the parliamentary elections. Indeed, whereas Wafd received 7.1% of the vote and the Egyptian Bloc 13.4%, al-Nour alone took 24.4% of votes and the Brotherhood's party 36.6%.

.... The army probably desires to continue managing things behind the scenes and is certainly aiming to remain independent. However, the army may come to feel that it has no other option but to rely on the Muslim Brotherhood, or perhaps even the Salafists.

Ironically, the liberals and secularists may soon discover -- if they are able to get their act together -- that the military they have so vigorously opposed could also be the last institution that can prevent an Islamist takeover. [American Spectator] Read more

The Specter of Jizya Returns to Egypt

In Egypt, calls for jizya—the tribute doctrinally demanded and historically collected from conquered infidels—are increasing day by day, by those who wish to be true to the words of Koran 9:29:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid that which Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor follow the religion of truth [Islam], from the People of the Book [Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves utterly subdued.

Accordingly, days ago, Ahmed Imran—a candidate of Egypt’s Salafi party, the “Party of Light,” which won some 20% of votes in recent elections—called for the return of jizya (which was abolished under colonial pressure in the mid 19th century). Sounding like a Western apologist of Islamic supremacism, he distorted history and spoke of jizya in glowing terms: [Front Page] Read more

Council that put up women's privacy screen at pool wins award

A COUNCIL that will spend at least $45,000 on curtains so Muslim women can have privacy at a public pool has been given a multicultural gong by the Baillieu Government.

The City of Monash has won a Victorian Multicultural Commission excellence award for its promotion and support of cultural diversity. But the council was widely criticised earlier this year for funding a privacy screen at a Clayton pool for female-only swimming sessions.

Monash was lobbied by a charity group acting on behalf of Muslim women who mainly came from African countries. [Herald Sun] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

A happy extremist Christmas at the East London Mosque

.... Tonight, there’s a special treat (strictly gender-segregated, of course) to get the non-festive season underway. It’s the final round of the “Battle of the Isocs,” a quiz for university Islamic societies, former stamping-grounds of so many of our finest young terrorists.

Among the celebrity guests is a certain Haitham al-Haddad, a big favourite at the East London Mosque. One of his previous appearances there was at an event to pronounce music a “social ill.” Haitham has also described music as a “prohibited and fake message of love and peace.” Let’s hope there aren’t any questions about last year’s Christmas Number One, shall we? [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Anonymous protests against the Cambridge ‘megamosque’

.... I haven’t seen the full leaflet myself, despite living near the planned mosque. However, it seems to combine an EDL style message, claiming the building is ‘intended to overbear its surroundings and to send a message of physical and numerical dominance’ with an appeal to potentially reasonable anxieties to do with traffic and parking – a sore issue for Cambridge residents.

So – here’s what seems to me to be a perfectly sensible comment in response to the report on the Cambridge News website. [Harry’s Place] Read more

The Saudis at Salem - The regime engages in literal witch-hunts

.... The latest victim of medieval thinking, Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nassar, was condemned in al-Jawf province, having been, according to the Saudi interior ministry, “convicted of what was accused based on the law.”

What was accused was that Nassar was a “witch” who had been performing “sorcery.” What the “law” prescribed was that she be beheaded. Such language parodies the Western argot, but not the nature of our judicial tradition. Witchcraft is a “crime” intrinsically incompatible with the classical Western conception of justice, relying as it does on proof that will — nay, can — never be forthcoming. [National Review Online] Read more

15 December 2011

Bangladeshi Muslim cuts his wife's fingers off because she wanted an Education

Human rights groups in Bangladesh have demanded a severe punishment for the husband of a young woman who allegedly cut off most of her right hand.

Police say Rafiqul Islam, 30, attacked her because she pursued higher education without his permission.

They say Mr Islam, a migrant worker, admitted to the crime shortly after returning home from the Gulf. However there has been no independent confirmation from the suspect that he carried out the attack.

The incident is one of a number of acts of domestic violence targeting educated women in recent months. [BBC] Read more [via London Muslim]

Islam’s abominations are too obvious for you to excuse

.... Our opponents, Ayyaz Mahmood and Jonathan Butterworth, were quick to brush aside any evidence of Sharia law’s negation of human rights by saying that none of it is true Islam nor is it mentioned in the Koran.

They say this even though they know full well that Sharia law is based not only on the Koran but the Hadith (sayings and actions of Mohammad) and Islamic jurisprudence.

Stoning is one such example. Proponents will dishonestly say that stoning is not mentioned in the Koran knowing full well that is mentioned in the Hadith and that it is part and parcel of Sharia law: [Maryam Namazie] Read more

What’s Islam Got to Do with It?

Qutb, of course, was the “intellectual godfather” of modern Islamism. He proclaimed that “a Muslim has no nationality except his belief,” and that Islam is “not a ‘religion’ in the sense this term is commonly understood.”

Instead, Islam is meant to encompass “all fields of living,” emphatically including politics and economics. He opposed democratic systems of governance because they replace God’s laws with man’s laws, thereby blasphemously diminishing the former and elevating the latter.

.... Mawdudi was a Pakistani who argued that “the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution.” He advocated that Muslims begin by transforming the states in which they live into “Islamic states.” Once those Islamic states have “power and resources,” their obligation is to “fight and destroy non-Islamic governments and establish Islamic states in their place. . . . Their ultimate objective is none other than world revolution.” [National Review Online] Read more

14 December 2011

It’s his culture; he can’t shake your hand

‘It’s his culture; he can’t shake hands with women.’ That’s what the student from the Ahmadiyya Youth Association came to say to me before last week’s debate on Sharia law negating human rights at the UCL. ‘It isn’t personal’ I was told but Ayazz Mahmood of the UK Ahmadiyya Muslim University of Theology and Languages would get all dirty if he touched my hand.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘it’s my culture to shake hands with men and be treated as an equal’ and that is what I did. [Maryam Namazie] Read more

American chain faces backlash over boycott of Muslim TV show

Controversy erupted late last week, when the CEO of Lowe’s, Robert Niblock, decided to pull his firm’s advertising from “All-American Muslim,” a programme on the cable network TLC, which follows five seemingly-unremarkable Muslim families living in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

His move came at the behest of The Florida Family Association, a small and little-known evangelical organisation which for the past two decades has mounted campaigns against everything from strip clubs to gay rights and the teaching of evolution in schools. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Pennsylvania: Anti-Sharia bill offends Muslims

The point has to be made that these anti-Sharia measures are aimed at political Islam, an authoritarian ideology at variance with the Constitution in numerous particulars -- notably, in its denial of the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of women and non-Muslims. But unfortunately, even many of the proponents of these measures are unable to make this case effectively. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Indonesian police crackdown to promote strict moral values

Dog-collar necklaces and chains were also taken from the youths before they were thrown in pools of water for "spiritual" cleansing, Indonesian local police chief Iskandar Hasan said on Wednesday.

…. The crackdown marked the latest effort by authorities to promote strict moral values in Aceh, the only province in this secular but predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million to have imposed Islamic laws. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

‘If you hate the west, emigrate to a Muslim country’

Hamza Yusuf is probably one of the pre-eminent Muslim scholars alive today. So it is pleasantly surprising when he talks straight and honestly about the situation as it stands.

There is nothing he says in this interview which contains any of the postmodernist dissimulation, the special pleading, the theological victimhood and the question begging we get by the bucketload from Muslims across the board from extremists, moderates and their apologists. [The Spittoon] Read more

Senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader says Turkey’s secularism not suitable for Arab states

Turkey’s Western-like secular political structure is not suitable or compatible for Middle Eastern countries in the post-Arab Spring era, Ali-Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said at a news conference.

Turkey’s model of “secular Islam” was a version of western liberal democracy and is unacceptable for countries that are going through what he said was an “Islamic awakening,” the Financial Times reported Velayati as saying on Tuesday. [Al Arabiya News] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Why is the OIC Having a Say in Our Right to Free Speech?

.... For those not familiar with OIC's activities at the UN, for over a decade it has sponsored one speech-restrictive resolution after another aimed at criminalizing what it calls "defamation of religions."

While the terminology has changed over time (from "defamation of Islam" to "defamation of religions" to "vilification of religions"), the goal has remained the same—to limit expression that the OIC deems critical of or offensive to Islam or Muslims (using a rather thin-shelled standard of what constitutes "offensive," to boot).

Next week's meeting is about "implementing" that latest iteration of these resolutions, Resolution 16/18[1], which was introduced in and adopted by the Human Rights Council (HRC) at the UN last March. [FamilySecurityMatters.org] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Clinton: Free speech mustn't be squelched to protect religion

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says religious liberty includes the right to criticize or change religions.

Clinton addressed representatives of Muslim and Western governments considering how to combat religious intolerance, including acts that Muslims find offensive. [Associated Press] Read more

Top Islamic scholar objects to women running in election

Prominent Kuwaiti Islamic scholar Dr Ajeel Al-Nashmi has said that Islam does not allow women to run in elections, even as he approves of giving women the right to vote in elections, reports Al-Anba daily.

The Head of Sharia Scholars League in the GCC countries Dr Ajeel Al-Nashmi maintains that women have the right to participate in political issues by expressing their opinions or demanding their rights in the media.

…. women may be given the chance to select their representatives for public offices in the ministries or National Assembly, but objected to women running in elections for appointment in similar positions because “during the era of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and subsequent periods, history has not registered women appointments in government to manage affairs in any Islamic state.” [Arab Times Kuwait] Read more [via National Secular Society]

French woman faces jail for wearing the burka

It appears as if France is, for the first time, about to jail a woman for wearing the burka.

Hind Ahmas was arrested for wearing the Islamic veil on April 11 in Paris. She had already refused to pay a fine of approximately £100 for the same offence on another occasion, and has now been told to attend 15 days worth of civic duties training.

However, she refuses to do so and is now facing two years in prison and a £27,000 fine. She was not allowed into her hearing at court because she refuses to remove her veil, and now plans to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights. [The Henry Jackson Society] Read more

Christians in Pakistan

Richard Bartholomew has just posted a useful summary and update of the effect Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are having on Christians (and others). He tells of suspected ‘blasphemers’ who are endangered both by mob violence and by Pakistan’s prison regime.

…. The blasphemy laws can be used to get rid of business rivals or punish personal enemies. Christians are not the only victims. Ahmadis are also targeted, and so are (mainstream) Muslims. [Harry’s Place] Read more

13 December 2011

Without responding, we're like lambs to the slaughter

.... To me, the biggest worry is that at no time during this debate have I seen anyone from our meat industry or the High Commission in London contributing to the online comments with New Zealand's side of the story.

They could have made some very good points. Such as, lambs are stunned before having their throats cut and the practice meets New Zealand's animal welfare laws. This was actually stated by a Beef + Lamb representative in the original article but ignored by the outraged commenters. It obviously needed to be reinforced. [Stuff.co.nz] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

The Veil Isn't About A Woman's Right to Choose

.... Women in fact cannot make choices freely as she contends, when control over their lives is as invasive and pernicious as it is. Muslim women are led to believe that they must accept their husbands as their imams in all matters. What Shariah law demands of them is complete subservience. Women must hence comply if their husbands require them to don the veil.

Such patriarchy is contrary to Canadian values based on gender equality. Minister Kenney has taken a step in the right direction by requiring veiled women to remove their face coverings during the oath taking ceremony. He must now go a step further to ban the face veil from all public spaces. [The Huffington Post] Read more

How NOT to oppose the Muslim veil

.... One of those times was when a Muslim women was helping teach a British public-school class. Phillips argued that the veil restricted communication between teacher and student. In other words, it was mostly a practical problem. But it was also one of liberal values.

Even though the Muslim women said she had to wear her veil if men were in the classroom, Phillips, said: “I think that it’s a bit problematic to send a message to 11-year-old children that it’s impossible for men and women to engage in face-to-face communication.” [Vancouver Sun] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Controversy Drives Advertisers From ‘All-American Muslim’ — Or Does it?

At least two advertisers have withdrawn commercials from “All-American Muslim,” a new series on the TLC cable channel, since an activist organization called the Florida Family Association condemned the show. But others cited by the organization as pulling out as sponsors are disputing the claim.

The organization has attacked the series as propaganda that obscures “the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” The series, which has been on TLC at 10 p.m. Sunday since mid-November, follows the lives of five Muslim-American families in Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a sizable Muslim population. [The New York Times] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Daily Mail’s Bigoted and Inaccurate Reporting Provokes More Right-wing anti-Muslim Hysteria

.... None of this justifies the violence to which Rhea Page was subjected, of course. It is even possible that Page was indeed attacked at random, purely because she was white, though that strikes me as unlikely. It might be argued that the assailants should have received heavier sentences. Or you could argue that Lewis Moore should have been charged with assault too, for that matter.

But in order to make a judgement on these issues it would be neccessary to have much more reliable information about the case than we currently do.

It is a shameful reflection on the state of journalism in the UK that the Mail, and the rest of the press that unquestioningly followed its lead, have shown not the slightest interest in uncovering that information and presenting us with an accurate account of the events. [loonwatch.com] Read more

Mixed reaction from Calgary's Islamic community at niqab ruling

.... There's always a way around that would allow them to (take the oath) within parameters which would still allow a Muslim, or a Sikh, Hindu or Christian to observe their religious practices," said Tilly, who suggested that Muslim women be allowed to take the oath in a more private setting.

Malake El-Malt emigrated to Canada more than a decade ago and says it's reasonable for the government to ask to see a woman's face.

"Wearing the niqab (or burka) is more cultural than religious," said El-Malt. "I don't see the harm for the government to move this way, as long as this is not the beginning of a ban on other things, like the hijab for instance, because that is religious and mandatory in Islam." [Calgary Herald] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

India: pastor who baptized Muslims appears before sharia court

The All India Christian Council--an ecumenical organization that defends Christians’ religious freedom--is expressing concern about the implications of the arrest of Rev. C. M. Khanna, a Protestant pastor who baptized Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir, a largely Muslim state.

Conversion, writes John Dayal of the All India Christian Council, is not illegal in Jammu and Kashmir. Yet Khanna was arrested, at the behest of the local grand mufti, on charges of “promoting enmity between different groups” and “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.” [CatholicCulture.org] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Dutch ban on ritual slaughter in doubt as Senate considers Jewish, Muslim objections

Political support for a proposed ban on slaughtering animals without stunning them first appeared to crumble Tuesday as the Dutch senate debated legislation that Muslim and Jewish groups say violates their religious rights.

The ban — proposed by an animal rights party and widely supported by Dutch voters — passed Parliament’s lower house by a 116-30 margin in June, raising an international outcry from religious groups.

Although senators will not vote until Dec. 20, it appeared from Tuesday’s debate that several parties that initially backed the ban in parliament — including the Netherlands’ two largest — have changed their mind. [Associated Press] Read more

Salafist party vows to ban alcohol, beach tourism in Egypt

The Salafist Nour Party would enforce a ban on serving alcohol to foreigner nationals and Egyptian citizens alike if it came to power, party spokesman Nader Bakar told tourism-sector workers in Aswan on Monday.

Speaking at a public rally in the Upper Egyptian city’s Midan El-Mahatta, Bakar clarified that the party would only allow tourists to drink liquor they brought with them from abroad, and only in their hotel rooms. [Ahram Online] Read more

Pakistan Blasphemy Law Continues to Victimise Christians and Others

.... To an outsider, the report’s recommendations seem common sense: regulate better the network of “madrassas,” or religious schools, these parties run; prosecute people for speeches that incite violence against religious minorities; require Islamist parties to disband their militant wings; and, most importantly, work to repeal the blasphemy law and other legislation that discriminates against non-Muslims.

But Pakistan’s secular political parties, including the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, remain cowed by what they view as the power of the Islamist parties to wreak havoc through violent protests across the country in defense of their religious prerogatives. [Bartholomew's Notes on Religion] Read more

12 December 2011

Islamist-led Tunisia installs secularist dissident Marzouki as president

Tunisia on Monday installed as its new president a former dissident who was imprisoned and then exiled for opposing former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, a new landmark in the country's post-revolutionary transition to democracy.

Members of the constitutional assembly, Tunisia's interim parliament, voted to elect Moncef Marzouki as president, the second most powerful role after the prime minister.

Marzouki, 66, is respected by many Tunisians for his implacable opposition to the autocratic Ben Ali. As president, he will be a secularist counterweight to the moderate Islamist party which is now Tunisia's dominant political force. [Reuters] Read more

Lowe’s Pulls Ad from Learning Channel All-American Muslim Program

.... This is the latest advertiser to pull out of the controversial program, an eight part series, about the quotidian activities of five Muslim Arab-American families, residents of the largest Muslim community in America, Dearborn, Michigan, and site of several protests by Christian evangelical and counter-Jihad groups and at least one alleged honor Killing.

The spur for Lowe’s, Home Depot and the more than five dozen companies who have dropped their advertising from All- American Muslim, has been an email writing campaign instigated by the Florida Family Association (FFA) of Tampa, Florida headed by executive director David Caton, which has accused the Learning Channel production of: "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values." [The Iconoclast] Read more

Inside a Muslim primary school

In 2008, after years of campaigning and opposition, Iqra opened as one of the first Muslim primary schools in the United Kingdom. Film-maker Masood Khan talks to its head, chair of governors and a teaching assistant whose children attend the school, who make the case for faith-based education.

Taking the opposite position, Jonathan Romain of the Accord Coalition tells Khan of his fear that such schools ghettoise children and fail to prepare them for a multicultural society. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Shocked by Tunisia’s “Discriminatory New Constitution”

.... In a real democracy, running for the presidency should be open to any adult citizen. Using the constitution to impose other requirements is wrong in principle. It limits voters’ choice (sometimes with specific “undesirable” candidates in mind) and implies that the electorate is not to be trusted – that if given half a chance voters would choose someone who is unsuitable for the job.

It is also wrong in principle to stipulate that presidential candidates must belong to any particular religion.

[A COMMENT] The idea of a “moderate” and an “extremist” Islamists is entirely a western invention. In fact, the only difference is between gradualist and revolutionary islamists – they all want to get to the same place, they just differ about tactics. And who is going to be in charge, of course. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Saudi woman beheaded for 'sorcery'

A Saudi woman was beheaded Monday after being convicted of practising sorcery, which is banned in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the Interior Ministry said.

Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar was executed in the northern province of Jawf for "practising witchcraft and sorcery," the ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency. [The Daily Star] Read more

Saudi woman executed for 'witchcraft and sorcery'

A Saudi woman has been executed for practising "witchcraft and sorcery", the country's interior ministry says.

A statement published by the state news agency said Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser was beheaded on Monday in the northern province of Jawf. The ministry gave no further details of the charges which the woman faced.

The woman was the second person to be executed for witchcraft in Saudi Arabia this year. A Sudanese man was executed in September. [BBC] Read more

Qaradawi and ‘moderation’

.... The article quotes Muslim Brotherhood founder – and Nazi sympathiser – Hasan al-Banna as stating: ‘Those who wait patiently for the seed to sprout, the tree to grow, the fruit to ripen, and the harvest to arrive – their reward will be with Allah’.

It concludes by expressing the Muslim Brotherhood’s desire ‘to rally the Islamic streams in order to unite the Muslim word and effort, restore the caliphate, and prepare a practical plan to implement the law of Allah the Exalted’.

Not that any of this will make a blind bit of difference to the idiots who continue to hold up the likes of Qaradawi as ‘moderate’ and ‘progressive’, of course. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Independent Muslim schools pose are not divisive says headmistress

.... The establishment of independent Muslim schools, which still only accommodate 4% of Muslim children, represents a maturing of the British Muslim community rather than a "worrying" trend or "divisive" threat.

It also represents a proactive attempt to remedy low levels of achievement in our communities. The honest, unsensational truth is that we pose no threat to state schools or society.

[A COMMENT] There's no need for a separate Muslim, catholic, Jewish, or any religious school which separates a community as we need more inclusion and less of this exclusion from mainstream society by hiding behind the shroud of religion.

[Another COMMENT] Yes, religious based schooling worked so well in Northern Ireland when it came to healing the divides in society. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Face veils banned for citizenship oaths

The government is placing a ban on face coverings such as niqabs for people swearing their oath of citizenship, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Monday.

The ban takes effect immediately.

As a result, Muslim women will have to remove their niqabs or any other face-covering garments, such as burkas, before they can recite the oath of citizenship to become Canadians. Citizenship judges will be directed to enforce the rules at ceremonies over which they preside. [CBC News] Read more

11 December 2011

‘No Islamic dress code for women’

.... The party is anxious to reassure powerful secularists in the Moroccan establishment, foreign investors, and the tourists who provide much of the country’s revenue, that it will not try to impose a strict Muslim moral code.

“We are proud that our point of reference is Islamist,” Benkirane, the PJD’s secretary general and prime minister designate, told a small group of reporters invited to a briefing.

“I will never be interested in the private life of people, Allah created mankind free. I will never ask if a woman is wearing a short skirt or a long skirt.”

“But there are things forbidden by the law. I think even in some European countries, people cannot be naked in public places,” he said. [Arab Times Kuwait] Read more [via National Secular Society]

One law for all? Not if you’re Muslim

.... When I covered this story on my phone-in radio show I’m delighted to tell you no one was more condemning of this lunacy than the many Muslims who called in to register their fury.

They agreed that this sends a shocking message out and the gang should have gone down. It can also, sadly, be used by the knuckle- dragging far Right to peddle the myth of “one law for them”.

If this wasn’t a race crime, what the hell is? And whatever happened to the Government’s promise that any foreignerconvicted of a violent crime would face deportation? [EXPRESS.CO.UK] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Can you be gay and Muslim?

.... Being a Muslim and gay at the same time sounds incompatible. Without attempting to make subjective justification based on religious texts, however, both aspects can coexist if we look at the idea that serving God has nothing to do with sexual preference.

In many verses of the Koran there is no explicit sentence saying that someone cannot serve God if he or she practices same-sex relationships. Also, there are competing ideas about whether the people of Lot were punished because of their homosexuality or their negligence in serving God. [The Jakarta Post] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Sweden: Muslim woman required to taste pork in Employment Service course

A woman from Finspång was supposed to go to a chef's course as part of a labour market program last year. During training, the employment service required her to taste pork. She claimed she couldn't take the course for religious reasons, but got no response.

"They wanted to force me to taste pork and then spit it out out. But I refused, I couldn't take the course. I was really depressed," she says.

The woman reported the case to the discrimination ombudsman, who thinks she was subjected to indirect discrimination. The authority also says that the requirement to taste pork was completely unnecessary. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Muslim Brotherhood's Yusuf al-Qaradawi calls for "gradualism" in applying Sharia

Some might try to spin this statement as "moderate" and somehow reassuring, but it is exactly why the implementation of any Sharia is alarming and must be resisted: Sharia is a package deal (as even Imam Rauf knows), and any Sharia is a foot in the door with which to leverage more: after all, now that you have allowed this, why not that? Or, oh, wait: we can't fully exercise the power we've been allowed without this or that additional authority.

We are seeing this approach in action in Britain, where Sharia courts have been caught in "jurisdiction creeping." We are also seeing it in Malaysia, where the deputy prime minister said the country is not ready -- yet -- for amputations and stonings under Sharia. [Jihad Watch] Read more

10 December 2011

Protesters calling for religious tolerance attacked with stones, threatened with death

.... ‘”What we should be worried about holding discussions against the fundamentals of Islam in a 100 percent Muslim country such as the Maldives is that we may start questioning about worshipping God Almighty tomorrow,” said opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Dr Afrashim Ali.

Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed said the Maldives “will never ever open doors for religions other than Islam in the Maldives. We’ll not give the opportunity to speak against the fundamentals and principles of Islam in the parliament.” [MINIVAN NEWS] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

French far-right group has message in menu

.... The extreme right Bloc Identitaire, or Identity Bloc, was lashing out at Islam while dining on pork roast and local wine — off limits to practicing Muslims.

The group, an emerging force on France's far-right scene, likens Muslim immigrants to invaders threatening the identity of the French heartland and menacing European civilization. The movement — with a wild pig as its logo — is gaining traction through its blend of Islam-bashing and romanticizing of French rural culture.

Increasingly, it is being used as an "idea box" for the National Front, a well-established far-right party and force in European politics that could play a crucial role in French presidential elections five months away. [Associated Press] Read more

Contrary to Sharia

Fourteen-year-old Reem, from Sanaa, was 11 years old when her father married her to her cousin, a man almost 21 years her senior.

.... On March 21, 2010 a number of clerics issued a fatwa (a legal pronouncement in Islam, issued by a religious law specialist on a specific issue), which stated that defining an age for marriage is contrary to Sharia and that “God had legitimized marriage to safeguard births and their protection.” The fatwa included evidence of instances where prominent women in Islam were married at a young age, specifically Aisha, one of the Prophet Muhammad’s wives.

So there you have it. To admit that child marriage is wrong would be to admit that the Prophet Muhammed did something wrong. That's impossible. Therefore.... [Mick Hartley] Read more

Turkish government's filter censors "evolution"

The Council of Information Technology and Communications (BTK) released the "Secure Internet" filtering system on 22 November. Sites that includes the words "evolution" or "Darwin" are filtered if parents select the child-friendly settings on the filter, as though it's porn.

Among the sites banned, according to Reporters Without Borders, is Richard Dawkins' website richarddawkins.net. The homepage of Adnan Oktar, an Islamic creationist, is still accessible. The system has already attracted controversy: apparently it bans terms linked with the Kurdish separatist movement, and Reporters Without Borders has accused the Turkish government of "backdoor censorship". [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

09 December 2011

Collective Punishment Under Islam “Wherever You Can Reach Them”

During a recent altercation in Egypt, a Christian inadvertently killed a Muslim. This incident, according to an AINA report, “turned into collective punishment of all Copts in the majority Christian village.”

Two Christians “not party to the altercation” were killed; others were stabbed and critically wounded. As usual, “after killing the Copts, Muslims went on a rampage, looting and burning Christian owned homes and businesses.”

Despite all this, “Muslims insist they have not yet avenged” the death of their slain co-religionist; there are fears of “a wholesale massacre of Copts.” Many Christians have fled their homes or are in hiding. [FaithFreedom.org] Read more

Obama Administration Welcoming Islamic Group to Washington for Discussion on ‘Tolerance’

The Obama administration says a meeting in Washington next week seeks to make progress in combating religious intolerance, but critics say the U.S. is pandering to an ideological agenda aimed at restricting speech critical of Islam.

According to the State Department the aim is to find ways to combat religious hate without compromising freedom of expression. Detractors are skeptical that this can be done, and they suspect that free speech will end up the loser. [CNSNews.com] Read more

Hertz to fight Muslim workers' suit over prayer breaks

Hertz rental car company, facing a religious discrimination suit by 25 fired Muslim drivers, said on Thursday it would "vigorously defend" itself in a dispute involving prayer breaks at its Seattle airport office.

Hertz says the drivers, all of them Somali natives, refused to clock in and out for the 10-minute paid breaks they took twice daily, as required under their union contract, and abused their breaks by failing to return to work promptly. [Reuters] Read more

Spitting, egg-throwing, Allahu-akbaring Islamic supremacist thugs disrupt liberal Islam debate

Why we don't see more Muslim reformers, part 578. And these aren't real reformers in any case, as you can see from their reference below to "Islamophobes."

"Islamophobia" is a manipulative coinage invented by the Muslim Brotherhood to silence criticism of Islamic supremacism and jihad; that Manji and Dibi would buy into it casts doubts upon their interest in genuine Islamic reform.

Manji, for her part, touts recovery of a fantasy Islam of her own making that she claims existed in the mythic past. Self-delusion and deception are not reform. But the fact that she dares criticize Islam in its present form in any way brought out the Allahu-akbaring thugs. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Can traditional Islam adapt to the needs of western Muslims?

.... Muslim clerics have a long way to go in order to make Islam relevant to the needs of the diasporic communities of the west. The religion has travelled hundreds of miles but the imams themselves have a hard time adjusting to the west, let alone being able to offer the community the comfort and guidance it needs in order to live peacefully between two civilisations that seem so hostile to one another.

It's the blind leading the blind, I concluded, as I left the mosque, hoping to find solace in solitary contemplation conducted in my own language.

[A COMMENT] If your religion seems like a load irrelevant medieval nonsense to you, imagine what it seems like to the overwhelmingly secular native UK population? [Guardian Cif] Read more

Christians under attack in the Middle East

Today the Archbishop of Canterbury will introduce a debate in the House of Lords in which he will speak about the Islamists’ persecution of Christians throughout north Africa and the Middle East.

Threats, violence, the burning of houses and churches, and murder are the regular fate of Christians in these countries, but the persecutions are set to intensify following the so-called Arab Spring. In fact, Christians’ predicament has worsened already. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

How calling someone a "white bitch" is not racist and being a drunken Muslim saves you from jail

This week's news story about the twenty-two year old care worker beaten senseless by a drunken gang of Somalian women would have sent chills down the spine of anyone who defends the rule of law as applicable to all. They were spared a jail sentence after their defence lawyer claimed that as Muslims they were unused to drinking.

In a society where we’ve recently railed against our representatives and corporate types for "corruption", "greed" and for appearing to believe that "the rules don’t apply to them" – we’re apparently still making excuses for our citizens based on gratuitous or farcical claims to "extenuating circumstances", especially where some of those circumstances can be fitted inside a politically correct agenda. The rules still apply. [The Commentator] Read more

The Rabbi, The Hate Preacher and The East London Mosque

.... The East London Mosque is not a liberal institution. Rather, it is a promoter of the worst forms of extremism that the Middle East has to offer. It actively seeks to import these hatreds into the United Kingdom. Then, with the help of Neil Jameson and London Citizens, it uses liberal Rabbis to deflect criticism.

Here is the problem in a nutshell. Engagement will not change the East London Mosque’s nature. It will only strengthen and legitimise the hatred that it promotes. Worst still, by choosing the East London Mosque as a partner, Muslim liberals are undermined and marginalised. [Harry’s Place] Read more

08 December 2011

Malaysian Muslim thought police ban Lee Kwan Yew's book that suggests that Muslims should be 'less strict'

.... Lee, who served in Singapore’s Cabinet as PM, senior minister and minister mentor for 52 years before retiring in May, said in the book that Muslims in Singapore were socially “distinct and separate” and should “be less strict on Islamic observances” to aid integration and the city-state’s nation-building process.

It led to uproar from Malay and Muslims groups on both sides of the Causeway with his old rival and former Malaysian PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad accusing Lee of having no respect for religion. [The Malaysian Insider] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Tunisia: Concerns Grow Over ‘Morality Police’

Reports that Tunisia may establish a committee for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice have sent waves of anxiety among citizens, especially as the country struggles to preserve its social gains.

“It would be a major disaster if such a committee was given a legal license,” Jawadi said, adding that the body would be “alien” to Tunisia and its habits.

Committee founder Adil El Almi, however, argued that the creation of religious police has become “indispensable” in Tunisia.

“The recent election has proved that the Islamic identity of the Tunisian people is out of the question,” he told Magharebia. [Eurasia Review] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Democracy is heresy, says Salafi Nour Party

Democracy is heresy because it contradicts the principle of allegiance that was used after the death of prophet Mohamed, whereby people choose their caliph once and then remain loyal to him, said the Salafi Nour Party at a rally in Giza.

The party called the campaign of the liberal Egyptian Bloc a campaign of “Zionism” and “Freemasonry.”

“We must obliterate the liberalism that was introduced by Sadat and Mubarak and reinstate the rule of Islam,” said Shaaban Darwish, a member of the party’s supreme committee.

“The liberals have corrupted political life in the last 60 years,” he added. “All they want is to protect their interests with the Americans and the Arabs.” [Al-Masry Al-Youm] Read more [via Jihad Watch]