31 January 2011

Why We Should Fear the Moslem Brother

.... the Moslem Brothers were a small, unpopular group of anti-modern fanatics unable to attract members, until they were adopted by Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich beginning in the 1930s.

Under the tutelage of the Third Reich, the Brothers started the modern jihadi movement, complete with a genocidal program against Jews.

In the words of Matthias Kuntzel, "the significance of the Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik Party to communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda and Hamas." [American Thinker] Read more

BBC on the 'moderate and non-violent' Muslim Brotherhood

.... the BBC's Middle East profile on the Muslim Brotherhood states: The Muslim Brotherhood, or al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, is Egypt's oldest and largest Islamist organisation... While the Ikhwan say that they support democratic principles, one of their stated aims is to create a state ruled by Islamic law, or Sharia.

So, according to Auntie, 'moderate and non-violent' is congruent with 'committed to Sharia law'.

Could the BBC please explain to its licence fee payers which aspects of sharia law they consider 'moderate'? [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

30 January 2011

Brussels: Judge rules niqab fine illegal

The Brussels suburb of Etterbeek may not fine people for wearing a niqab (NL) in public, according to a decision by a magistrate.

Mayor Vincent De Wolf says the magistrate said the regulation was disproportional compared with the goal of public safety. The municipality will consider whether to appeal the sentence.

Last spring the local police twice fined a woman who walked to the Islamic school past the Etterbeek municipality. The woman refused to pay the administrative fine. After the second time she was called to the Brussels magistrate court. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Outrageous teachings by new GZ mosque big

The new imam at the Ground Zero mosque and cultural center believes people who are gay were probably abused as children and that people who leave Islam and preach a new religion should be jailed.

Abdallah Adhami's remarks on homosexuals, religious freedom and other topics have brought renewed criticism of the proposed community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site, which purports to be an inclusive organization.

Adhami, in a lecture on the Web site of his nonprofit, Sakeenah, says being gay is a "painful trial" caused by past trauma. [NEW YORK POST] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Andrew Gilligan closes his eyes to rising Islamophobia

Andrew Gilligan – who seems to be keen to take on the mantle of being the UK’s leading ‘Islamist’-hunter – today rubbishes the idea that Islamophobia is on the increase in the UK and claims that “the available evidence simply does not support this.”

This will no doubt come as news to many UK Muslims who have seen an unprecedented rise in hostility towards themselves, their faith and their religious institutions in recent years.

By way of example, I looked at the websites of ENGAGE and Islamophobia Watch who both try and collate evidence of anti-Muslim incidents based on local newspaper reports - reports that almost always do not appear in the national press – across the country. Here is a quick list of publicly reported anti-Muslim incidents since December 2010 (ie all within the last eight weeks): [inayatscorner] Read more

Islamists establish a bridgehead in Parliament, get Commons pass: MP and peer resign

In November, I disclosed how the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Islamophobia had unwittingly appointed a group of Islamist sympathisers called Engage (or iEngage) to act as its secretariat.

Engage are an extremely dubious bunch of people who have repeatedly attacked Muslim moderates and defended extremists. After I publicised the evidence on this blog (detailed below) the chair, the Tory MP Kris Hopkins, and the vice-chair, Labour’s Lord Janner, requested the sacking of Engage as the secretariat to the all-party group.

Now, however, after what is described as an “orchestrated lobbying campaign,” Engage have apparently convinced a number of the more gullible members of the APPG that they are authentic representatives of Britain’s Muslim communities. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

MPs walk out in battle over Islamist group Kris Hopkins, Tory MP for Keighley, and the Labour peer Lord Janner, quit the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia after failing to persuade their colleagues to sack a body called iEngage as the group’s secretariat.

iEngage, also known as Engage, is an organisation of Islamist sympathisers which has repeatedly defended extremists. Last year, it called on the Government to revoke a ban on a hardline foreign preacher who has said that “every Muslim should be a terrorist”. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Islamophobia: does Labour measure up?

"The Islamophobia Myth" was the title of an influential article by Kenan Malik published in the February 2005 issue of Prospect magazine.

It argued that violence, hatred and discrimination against Muslims were at a very low level and that the threat of Islamophobia had been invented or at least greatly exaggerated, mainly by religious leaders hoping to suppress legitimate criticisms of their beliefs and to enhance their own status as community representatives. Malik's thesis was welcomed in some quarters at the time, including among sections of the left. [Islamophobia Watch] Read more

Bob Pitt’s new article (abridged version) Liberal and leftist Islamophobia is typically couched in terms of a defence of Enlightenment values, secularism, feminism or gay rights … Nick Cohen … Muslim Association of Britain … the Palestinian people’s oppression by the Israeli state … Zionist agenda … Palestinian resistance … the Muslim Council of Britain with its 500 affiliates … Daud Abdullah … British foreign policy … placed the blame on Islamist ideology …. [Harry’s Place] Read more

29 January 2011

Islam: A lifestyle choice

Here is a secular view of what Tory peer Baroness Warsi said on your front page (Leicester, January 21).

It was simply a demand that Islam is above criticism. She claims "prejudice against Muslims in Britain is at an all time high", but offered no evidence to support this claim, unless you count the e-mail she received as an example of prejudice against Muslims.

But the e-mail was nothing more than a concise sentence typical of hard political debate, that used a play on halal, which is indeed a Muslim custom/superstition hated by many, especially animal rights folk, that seemed a fair way to have a dig at her to me.

This is the e-mail: "Instead of bleating like some halal lamb being led to the slaughter, how about ending the knee bending to Islam at every opportunity." [Leicester Mercury] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Where’s the divide? The British debate about political Islam is catastrophically muddled

The outcry over Sayeeda Warsi’s speech on Islamophobia last week cannot be understood without a clear grasp of the balance of power within the coalition government.

There are two factions, and the strongest can loosely be described as neoconservative. This faction remains an unconditional supporter of the United States of America, continues to defend the Iraq invasion, powerfully admires and in some cases worships Tony Blair, and automatically takes the side of Israel in the middle east.

.... It is not too late for the prime minister to consider whether he has drawn the dividing line in the wrong place, to reconsider his definition of extremist, and to ask whether some of the most blinkered and dangerous extremists are not to be found within the ranks of his own government. [The Spectator] Read more

Five Muslims charged for inciting hatred against homosexuals

.... And when that Independent article was written, just two Muslims had been charged with stirring up 'hatred' for handing out leaflets outside a mosque suggesting that gay people should be executed.

Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27, were accused of handing out a leaflet entitled 'The Death Penalty?', which called for the execution of homosexuals. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Two charged with gay hate crime Two men have been arrested and charged with stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, in the first prosecution of its kind. Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27, are accused of handing out a leaflet headed The Death Penalty? outside the Jamia mosque in Derby in July 2010, the Crown Prosecution Service said. [The Guardian] Read more

Islamophobia? Not until after dessert

.... Warsi further castigates those non-Muslim Britons who say the following sort of thing: ‘the family next door are Muslim but they’re not too bad’. But this is an almost perfect expression of indigenous British tolerance and in a sense the perfect riposte to Warsi’s muddled argument: the ideology of Islam frightens us with its implacability, with its severity, with its vindictiveness — but most Muslims are not like that.

They do not sign up to it. They are, like us, ‘not too bad’. Warsi says that we should view British Muslims as British Muslims, rather than making distinctions between ‘extremist’ and ‘moderate’. But it would be better if we saw them not as Muslims at all, just as people like us who happen to be derogated thus by the white liberal elite and the Muslim pressure groups. Even if, in the end, it would limit our conversations at dinner. [The Spectator] Read more

Responding to Rod Liddle. Sigh. .... Now, Liddle, in such columns, often claims, as he does here, that he draws "a distinction between Islam and Muslims" - i.e. Muslims as people = good; Islam as ideology = bad.

I tend to take the reverse view - Islam is a religion of morals and justice and peace; it is Muslims who fail to adhere to its tenets, pervert its principles and hijack the faith for self-serving, politicized and/or criminal purposes.

As George Bernard Shaw is said to have remarked, "Islam is the best religion but Muslims are the worst followers." I'd add: judge Islam on its own principles and not the barbaric and backward practises (female circumcision, suicide bombings, anti-Semitism) of a minority of its followers. [New Statesman] Read more

28 January 2011

Islam not compatible with a secular society

The recently appointed leader of France’s far-right National Front party has once again turned her fire Islam, saying it is “absolutely not compatible” with a secular society. Le Pen, who took over as head of the party two weeks ago, has regularly faced accusations of Islamaphobia.

“I think that France can be secular because it’s a Christian culture and you notice that in Muslim countries they have more difficulty,” she told LCP, the French parliament's TV channel.

“Muslim countries that are secular got there in general by force,” she continued, citing the examples of Turkey and Iraq. [RFI] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Former BBC Presenter: “Islam Could Not be Offended at Any Price, Christians Fair Game”…

Christians are “fair game” for insults at the BBC whilst Muslims must not be offended, one of the broadcaster’s veteran news anchors has warned.

Peter Sissons, whose memoirs are being serialised in the Daily Mail, slammed the BBC for its bias. Mr Sissons said: “Islam must not be offended at any price, although Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended.”

His comments are unlikely to surprise many Christians who have become increasingly concerned about a perceived anti-Christian bias at the public broadcaster. [Weasel Zippers] Read more [via EuropeNews]

The Criminal Truth

If you criticize the Religion of Peace, your are likely to be accused of 'hate speech' by people who go on to accuse and to threaten you as graphicly and disgustingly as their feeble imaginations will allow, yet you'll be the one guilty of hate speech. And if you're unlucky enough to live in certain parts of Europe, you'll also be persecuted as a criminal.

Anyone who thought that Denmarks' experience with the cartoons would encourage that country to grow a backbone would be dismayed to hear that Denmark is the latest European country to persecute its own citizens for telling the truth about the Religion of Permanent Offence. [Pat Condell] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Netherlands: Immigrants make up two thirds of emigrants

Two thirds of emigrants from the Netherlands are of immigrant origin. They're tired of the intolerance and see better career opportunities in their land of origin.

Highly educated Moroccan or Turkish youth leave the Netherlands due to the harsh political climate. Though it's not a mass emigration, these groups of immigrants say 'increasing intolerance' is a reason for leaving.

This according to a study by Regioplan for minister Piet Hein Donner (CDA, Internal Affairs). Half of the emigrants are 20-45 years hold and have an MBO diploma

Moroccan and Turkish emigrants in particular say that the harsh political climate is a reason for leaving. They don't feel they belong in the Netherlands. For highly-educated Turks the economic growth in Turkey is often a decisive factor. There's a good chance for a good job there. [Islam in Europe] Read more

1 in 10 Britons Will Be Muslim

.... On one level this is a personal choice. My contacts with devout Muslims have made me consider my own Catholic faith in a fresh light. I have taken Lent more seriously after talking to one Muslim about the fasting and abstinence demanded by Ramadan.

But on another level British society needs to reflect the growth in British Islam.

Watch TV and wait for the evidence of British Islam - it is virtually invisible. Or, at least, it projects a particular kind of progressive or regressive Islam.

You will know Islam is being taken seriously when, by 2030, there is a commercial for soap powder featuring a woman in a hijab.

[COMMENT] Will this take British society forwards or backwards? ....Why do you think Moslems are not allowed to criticize or challenge any aspect of Islam? Strongly suggests an attempt at brainwashing the faithful and something to hide. Islam has many serious skeletons in its cupboard. At least Christians are at last mature enough to admit and to talk openly about theirs! [Sky News] Read more [via London Muslim]

Here's one story the Right-wing media didn't make up: in 2030 Britain will be 8.2 per cent Muslim

.... I hate some of the comments this subject attracts, but I also hate the complacency with which so many people treat this subject.

People who have studied history rather than Marxist theories of race relations can see that as the population grows, prejudice against Muslims will certainly grow, and this will help to reinforce Islam as an identity. In turn those in the “anti-racist” consensus will continue to blame the problems on the “Right-wing press” rather than the inevitable consequence of social engineering.

That’s the problem about being a sceptic on this subject – we’ll never be vindicated, because the true believers, just like old communists, will never accept that the structure itself is to blame. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Waitrose Halal lamb causes concern

Concerns have been raised because food packaging does not display the fact that most ranges of Lamb sold at the Saffron Walden superstore conform to Halal.

Little Walden Road resident and loyal customer Jim Ford, pictured, explained that he feels like he is being forced to eat meat which “violates” his consciousness.

“While I have respect for the rights of Muslims to worship in freedom,” he said. “As a Christian I do object to being in effect forced to eat meat blessed in this way.

“I am sure Muslims would feel equally concerned if the issue was the other way around.” [Saffron Walden Reporter] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Muslims and Jews join forces to tackle religious hatred

Jewish and Muslim students are joining forces to tackle anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on university campuses - in a bid to spread a message of tolerance.

One of those with first-hand experience of religious hatred is Yassir, who as a student in 2004 was abused as he set off for his mosque in London. Four teenagers spat at him and called him "Bin Laden". [BBC] Read more

27 January 2011

Practising Muslims will very soon overtake weekly churchgoers in Britain

Only a third of churchgoers actively practise their faith, as opposed to 80 per cent of Muslims, according to new research by the Office of National Statistics (above, and it can’t spell “practising”).

As I reported last month, the number of British Muslims has grown at an astonishing rate, from 1.65 million to 2.87 million since 2001. This figure, from the respected Pew Forum, means we must radically revise predictions that practising Muslims will outnumber practising Christians by 2035, which were based on the outdated 2001 census figure of 1.65 million (which was too low even at the time). It will happen much sooner than that. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Hundreds of rocks are thrown at her head

As the Afghan Government continues its wooing overtures to the Taliban, and Karzai whines about “foreign interference” in his latest meddling in Afghan parliamentary democracy, the Taliban execute a couple by stoning them to death in Kunduz province in front of a crowd of hundreds.

The crime? The couple fell in love and attempted to elope, beyond a community where relationships based on mutual love and attraction, and not on money and perversion, might have a chance of fulfillment.

The BBC has short clips of the horrific murders, noting that “most of the video is too graphic to be shown.” The event is described as follows: [Butterflies and Wheels] Read more

Christians 'less devout' than Muslims in Britain

Just one in three churchgoers “actively practises” their faith compared with more than two-thirds of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

Christians are also less likely to say that their beliefs influence their everyday life, although they do affect the school to which they send their children.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday, provide more evidence that Britain remains a Christian country but most of its residents do not feel the need to attend church regularly and prefer to keep their beliefs private. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

R4 Face the Facts: Islamophobia

Radio 4s Face the Facts series has just broadcast a short 23-minute programme about Islamophobia. It looked at inflammatory news reports about Muslims in the UK media and the role of the Press Complaints Commission in dealing with many complaints about media coverage.

I was interviewed regarding the Daily Express’s coverage of a story involving me. In 2008, the Express was forced to apologise to me and pay damages (which certainly helped with the mortgage!) and costs after I successfully sued the vile paper. The Radio 4 Face The Facts programme on Islamophobia is now available to listen to on BBC I-Player here. [Inayat's Corner] Read more

Will Pew Muslim birth rate study finally silence the “Eurabia” claim?

One of the most wrong-headed arguments in the debate about Muslims in Europe is the shrill “Eurabia” claim that high birth rates and immigration will make Muslims the majority on the continent within a few decades.

Based on sleight-of-hand statistics, this scaremongering (as The Economist called it back in 2006) paints a picture of a triumphant Islam dominating a Europe that has lost its Christian roots and is blind to its looming cultural demise. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

The Future of the Global Muslim Population Projections for 2010-2030

Region: Europe. The number of Muslims in Europe has grown from 29.6 million in 1990 to 44.1 million in 2010.34 Europe’s Muslim population is projected to exceed 58 million by 2030. Muslims today account for about 6% of Europe’s total population, up from 4.1% in 1990.

By 2030, Muslims are expected to make up 8% of Europe’s population. Although Europe’s Muslim population is growing, Europe’s share of the global Muslim population will remain quite small. Less than 3% of the world’s Muslims are expected to be living in Europe in 2030, about the same portion as in 2010 (2.7%). [The Pew Forum] Read more

We should not absolve Islam of the crimes committed in its name

.... asked a representative from the Muslim Council of Britain if he agreed with the sentence handed down in Bangladesh on that 16-year-old girl. He was pretty clear that it was a ‘monstrous interpretation’ of Islamic law regarding the strictures against sex outside of marriage.

But it is hardly an uncommon monstrous interpretation, if it is a monstrous interpretation at all, rather than a perfectly rational interpretation. In any case, he accepted that it was an attempted interpretation of Islam — in other words, that the inspiration for the lashing of that abused child was drawn from the ideology, even if it was an inspiration based on a misapprehension. [Spectator] Read more [via National Secular Society]

A New Link in Farr’s Pro-Extremist Network?

.... Now, however, troubling news reaches me that the FCO may have a new problem on their hands in the shape of a bright young thing named Simon Staffell.

My sources in the FCO tell me that in a short space of time Staffell has become well known for his pronouncements on why a range of Middle Eastern terrorists groups/individuals aren’t in fact ‘that bad’ and that the government should even be doing business with some of them. [The Spittoon] Read more

Muslim cabbie bans a mum for having beer

A MUSLIM taxi driver kicked a woman out of his cab because her shopping contained a 12-pack of lager.

Alison Dawson had just climbed in with her son and six bags of shopping when the cabbie saw the beer and said: “You’re not getting in with that.”

The stunned market stall holder was forced to haul her belongings out of the cab and across the rank to another taxi.

She said: “The driver looked at the beer and said: ‘You’re not getting in this cab. You can go and get in another one.’ [Daily Star] Read more

26 January 2011

A Review: Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: UK case studies 2010

By Robert Lambert and Jonathan Githens-Mazer. Published by European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC), University of Exeter.

This is a political report. It is about ….

…. blaming the British Government, the media, and the War on Terror for being the major causes of anti-Muslim hate crime.

…. promoting the interests of so-called traditional Muslim organisations in an attempt to hi-jack the issue of anti-Muslim hate crime to promote their worldview at the expense of other Muslim voices and views. [LibertyPhile - This is Why] Read more

Islamophobia & the British Press - Sources, Basic Facts & the Wrong Questions

The Media, in particular, the British Press, is blamed for Islamophobia. It continually publishes bad news and critical comment on Islam and Muslims.

Muslims say this is unjustified. The Press concentrates on negative stories that reflect badly on them and Islam, often twisting or exaggerating the news to show Muslims and Islam in a bad light. Even false stories are published.

Two studies are often quoted in regard to this issue: [LibertyPhile - Surveys] Read more

This is Why - Part 3

This post continues the series showing why British people (and Europeans) have such poor opinions of Islam and Muslims. [LibertyPhile - This is Why] Read more

What Educated Non-Muslims Don't Like About Islam in a Nutshell

THE QURAN is Islam's most holy book. Sixty-one percent of the Quran is about non-Muslims. Writings about what Muslims should do is religious.

Writings about what non-Muslims should do or how Muslims should deal with non-Muslims is political (read more about this). Therefore, based on Islam's most holy book, Islam is more political (61%) than religious (39%).

There are 245 verses in the Quran that could be considered "positive verses" about non-Muslims. Every single one of those verses have been abrogated by later, negative verses about non-Muslims. Not one positive verse about non-Muslims is left.

In contrast, there are 527 verses of intolerance toward non-Muslims, and 109 verses specifically advocating violence towards non-Muslims. Not one of these verses has been abrogated. [EuropeNews] Read more

Portsmouth councillor in imam prayer protest

A Portsmouth councillor walked out of a council meeting because an imam was asked to deliver an opening prayer.

Conservative councillor Malcolm Hey left Tuesday night's Portsmouth City Council chamber while Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo was speaking.

The imam, from the Al Mahdi mosque in Wickham, had been invited by the city's lord mayor Paula Riches.

Mr Hey said it was not appropriate for a Muslim to deliver prayers at the start of a full council meeting. [BBC] Read more

A French Intifada

A process described by some as the Islamization of Europe, by others as the failure of Europeans to integrate Muslim immigrants, has reached a breaking point in France.

One of the most troubling manifestations of this discord is the development of a particular type of violence that is more than the sum of its parts.

A sampling of this year's news reports reads like a catalogue of stomping, stabbing, shooting, torching, and sacking; attacks on teachers, policemen, firemen, old ladies, and modest retirees; turf wars, tribal fights, murder over women, over attitude, over nothing; dead youths, murderous youths, bodies scattered across a national battlefield. [Middle East Quarterly] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

25 January 2011

'80 Percent Of Mosques In This Country Are Controlled By Radical Imams'

The reasons for New York Republican Rep. Peter King's insistence on holding a series of controversial hearings about the alleged growth of radical Islam in America may have grown clearer this week, when King expressed his belief that "over 80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical Imams."

During an interview with the "Laura Ingraham Show," caught here by ThinkProgress, King described his belief about the extreme extent of radical leadership in the nation's Islamic places of worship. [The Huffington Post] Read more

School can restrict headscarf size, but only for new pupils

A secondary school in Utrecht was within its rights to set demands on how Muslim girls wear their headscarves, the equal opportunities commission said on Tuesday.

However, the commission said the ruling only applies to pupils who started at the school this academic year, after the rule was introduced, the Telegraaf reports.

In June, the Gerrit Rietveld College told girls who wear Islamic headscarves they must make sure at least 90% of their face is visible. In particular, headscarves should not cover their eyebrows and chin, which makes communication with teachers difficult, the school said. [DutchNews.nl] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Tunisian women fear Islamist return

TUNISIAN women are watching warily should the uprising that ousted the authoritarian president also unravel women's rights bolstered by his secular regime in this predominantly Muslim country.

"I'm scared of the return of the Islamists," said Sonia, a 35-year-old government official who declined to give her last name, as the long-banned Islamist movement Ennahdha (Awakening) prepares to re-enter the political scene.

"They'll impose a new culture that is totally alien to us, like the fundamentalist dress code," she said, referring to the Muslim headscarf worn by some women in the north African state. [AFP] Read more [via National Secular Society]

The comedy guide to anti-Islamic prejudice

.... the panel were asked to provide new definitions for existing words. "A la carte," offered Tim Brooke Taylor. "A Muslim wheelbarrow". "That was Tim's joke" said Jack Dee pointedly, after a short pause – the basic implication being clear: Muslims don't have much of a sense of humour when it comes to Allah.

And while there wasn't any malice in this off-the-cuff remark it struck me that it might be a little depressing for any Muslim listener to be so reflexively associated with retaliatory violence. [independent.co.uk] Read more [via National Secular Society]

24 January 2011

Baroness Warsi Special Edition

In addition to the regular update this week LibertyPhile includes a Baroness Warsi “Special Edition”, 25 extracts and links to articles reporting her recent controversial speech.

Baroness Warsi is Minister without Portfolio in the British government and Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party.

This particular story gets this degree of extra attention because it elicits and sums up so well the huge gap between European Muslims and the rest of us. If Lady Warsi gets it so badly wrong we have a difficult road ahead.

The articles are all reported under the 24 January, so they are listed all together below, and are classified, Positive, Negative and Neutral or Yes & No.

The first post links to the speech itself.

Baroness Warsi's Sternberg lecture at the University of Leicester

Neutral or Yes & No

A debate which goes far beyond the dinner table – and back again Wales Online
Sayeeda's Warsi's right about Muslims but wrong about extremism Paul Goodman, ConservativeHome
Sayeeda Warsi: A matter of pride and prejudice Andrew Anthony, The Observer
David Cameron won't back 'Islamophobia' claims James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph


Lady Warsi is right to confront anti-Muslim prejudice Ghaffar Hussain, Guardian Cif
Warsi was right to speak out: Hatred of Muslims is one of the last bastions of British bigotry Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
Muslim leaders back Lady Warsi's comments on Islamophobia Robert Booth, Guardian
In defence of Baroness Warsi - the sequel Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman
Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain Giles Fraser, Guardian Cif


Baroness Warsi triggers backlash over 'Islamophobia' James Chapman, Daily Mail
Lady Warsi and the concept of extremism Andrew Brown, Guardian Cif
Baroness Warsi: the politics of Muslims, liberals and intolerance James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph
Just whose side is Baroness Warsi on? Melanie Phillips, The Spectator
Lady Warsi's problematic distinction Heresiarch, Heresy Corner
Lady Warsi's speech will do more harm than good Daily Express
What kind of dinner parties do you go to, Baroness? Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
Baroness Warsi Has Some Explaining To Do Effendi, The Spittoon
It was selfish – and wrong – of Lady Warsi to give that speech Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
Peter Oborne is making excuses for Muslim totalitarians David Green, ConservativeHome
The Brits don't diss over dinner, Baroness Warsi Victoria Coren, Guardian Cif
It's not a phobia, Lady Warsi - it's rational to fear Minette Marrin, The Sunday Times
Baroness Warsi's speech on Islamophobia was packed with sanctimonious generalities Jenny McCartney, Daily Telegraph
Speech Fails To Address Concerns About The Rise of Sharia in Britain Aeneas, Liberties Alliance
Open warfare round the dinner table: the mediasphere responds to Baroness Warsi British Humanist Association
Baroness Warsi should think twice before accusing Christians of bigotry Norman Tebbit, Daily Telegraph
and Jesus & Mo

Baroness Warsi's Sternberg lecture at the University of Leicester

Here is the full text of Sayeeda Warsi's lecture:

Back in September I made a speech about faith at the Bishops Conference. It was the first time that a Cabinet Minister had spoken so frankly about faith for many years.

I think it’s fair to say that the speech caused a bit of a stir in some quarters.

The New Humanist Magazine ran a poll of their readers which ranked me the fifth most dangerous enemy of reason last year. I was about to think that actually, I hadn’t done too badly, when I discovered that the Koran-burning Pastor, Terry Jones, came one place below me!

But overall I believe the impact of the speech was really positive. [21 Jan. Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

A debate which goes far beyond the dinner table – and back again [+-]

.... A Welsh spokesman for the Evangelical Alliance, a group which worked to persuade Florida pastor Terry Jones – famed for his threat to burn a Koran – not to come to Britain, said he hoped she would “speak out on behalf of Christians and those from other minority faiths who are currently coming under intense persecution in Muslim-majority countries such as Iraq and Egypt.”

Baroness Warsi has touched a nerve. She has triggered a debate which extends from neighbourhood politics to geopolitics and crosses the sacred-secular divide.

If the conversation can be characterised by generosity, goodwill and hope, there is a chance new friends from different backgrounds will join families at dinner tables across Britain. [21 Jan. Wales Online] Read more

Sayeeda's Warsi's right about Muslims but wrong about extremism [+-]

The Daily Telegraph splashes today on Sayeeda Warsi's speech on Muslims and religion. We'll have to read the speech to see the details in full, but what's reported conveys the Party Chairman's long-standing views. I worked with her, and know them well.

In brief, she's right about Muslims and wrong about extremism.

She's right about Muslims because some of what's broadcast and written about them and their religion is dangerous. Try swapping the word "Muslim", when you see it in a newspaper headline with the word "Jewish".

The parallel isn't exact, but it's close enough to give pause for thought. One would have to be a Muslim oneself to know how it feels, but I've talked to enough to leave me in no doubt. [20 Jan. ConservativeHome] Read more

Sayeeda Warsi: A matter of pride and prejudice [+-]

.... In reaching so emotively and in such an ill-defined manner for the "Islamophobia" charge, she is in danger of conflating a reservation about particular aspects of Islam with a condemnation of all Muslims.

It's no coincidence that Islamophobia is the smokescreen used by those who seek to redefine followers of Islam as a de facto race and stigmatise any and all disapproval of Islam as objectively racist.

Warsi should be commended for defending Muslims against discrimination, but not for placing Islam beyond critical debate. The bottom line is that the distinction between people and ideas is one that should be rigorously upheld, even at dinner. [23 Jan. guardian.co.uk] Read more

David Cameron won't back 'Islamophobia' claims [+-]

Downing Street repeatedly refused to endorse the remarks of the Conservative chairman, which were criticised by some Tories.

Lady Warsi, the first Muslim woman to attend the Cabinet, sparked controversy when she declared that prejudice against Muslims had “passed the dinner table test” and was now seen as socially acceptable.

In remarks first reported by the Daily Telegraph, she also said that the practice of describing Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” fosters prejudice against all Muslims. [20 Jan. telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Lady Warsi is right to confront anti-Muslim prejudice [+]

.... Although these groups claim to be against "Muslim extremism", many of their protests are simply against the building of new mosques – in other words against ordinary Muslims and religious buildings that have no relation to extremism. The sudden popularity of these groups is one indication of rising antipathy towards Muslims among some sections of society.

[COMMENT] If the British public is to gain respect for the Islamic faith and its adherents, (moderate) Muslims like Sayeeda Warsi should be addressing problems within the religion before pointing fingers elsewhere.

As a very basic example, why should the British public respect a faith that allows a Muslim man to marry a Christian woman, but does not allow a Muslim woman to marry a Christian man? [20 Jan. Guardian Cif] Read more

Warsi was right to speak out: Hatred of Muslims is one of the last bastions of British bigotry [+]

It is not in the least surprising that Sayeeda Warsi’s speech last night against Islamophobia has created anger. Many people will disagree profoundly with her claim that British Muslims suffer discrimination.

This is because of the common assumption that Muslims have brought almost all of their problems on themselves, above all through their refusal to assimilate and play a full role in mainstream society.

Nor is that all. It is often claimed that Muslims have behaved differently from other immigrant groups, such as Sikhs or Hindus, by refusing to accept the legitimacy of the British state. Of course, there is some truth in this assertion. [20 Jan. telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Muslim leaders back Lady Warsi's comments on Islamophobia [+]

Muslim leaders tonight backed the Conservative party chairwoman, Lady Warsi, after she claimed Islamophobia had "crossed the threshold of middle-class respectability" in Britain and was now seen as normal and uncontroversial.

The Muslim Council of Britain warned the spread could be "the beginning of something horrendous" in a British society with an estimated 2.4m Muslims.

At Leicester University tonight Warsi claimed that parts of the press had embraced casual Islamophobia and that other parts of society including employers and even school children would be next.

Warsi said that people were fed up of "the patronising, superficial way faith is discussed in certain quarters, including the media", adding that Muslims are too often baldly characterised as either moderate or extreme. [20 Jan. guardian.co.uk] Read more

In defence of Baroness Warsi - the sequel [+]

I am delighted by her latest intervention precisely because I share her faith and am a co-religionist. Why wouldn't I be?

Like every other Muslim I know, I've been waiting years for a leading politician to speak out against the growing, depressing and nasty anti-Muslim bigotry that has disfigured our public and private discourse.

If that politician happens to be a Muslim herself, as Warsi is, then so be it. (And there's a lesson here for British Muslims of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir/segregationist variety, who argue that Muslims should stay out of politics and public roles. The words "ostriches", "head" and "sand" come to mind.) [20 Jan. New Statesman] Read more

Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain [+]

.... Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of 21st-century Britain. Warsi got the emphasis wrong in placing responsibility for this at the door of hostility to religion per se – though the tone of that debate is sometimes a proxy for much uglier sentiments.

David Hume was right: reason is a slave to the passions, especially our darker ones. The real driver is that otherwise polite people have given themselves permission to be racist. Now is the time to disturb the cosy rules of the dinner party and speak up against the bigots. There may well be a row. You might not get invited back. But so what?

[COMMENT] Rubbish. Stop trying to confuse the issue. Islam is a nonethnically homogeneous religion. What people who object to Islam object to are a) Its objectionable practices and beliefs and b) Its militancy. Get that though your head and stop defending a homophobic, mysognistic, racist creed. [22 Jan. Guardian Cif] Read more

Baroness Warsi triggers backlash over 'Islamophobia' [-]

Tory chairman Baroness Warsi faced a fierce backlash last night after claiming anti-Muslim bigotry was commonplace around British dinner tables.

The peer, the first Muslim woman to be appointed to the Cabinet, said Islamophobia had ‘seeped into our society’. She also suggested that followers of Islam should not be divided into ‘extremists’ and ‘moderates’.

Her remarks were condemned by the Right of her party and church leaders, and Downing Street refused to endorse her views. [20 Jan. MailOnline] Read more

Lady Warsi and the concept of extremism [-]

.... Warsi seems to be arguing against the perception of social extremism or weirdness, while maintaining that political extremism, or violence, has to be stamped out. I don't think that the strategy will work.

At the very least, it depends on sufficient economic growth to suck more Muslim families into the social mainstream. The social distance is already there in some cities and towns across England. If she, or the government, find themselves arguing that political extremism can only be overcome by ignoring social extremism, they are onto a hiding for nothing.

[COMMENT] Has prejudice against scientology or evangelical christian sects “passed the dinner-table test”? I rather think it has, and they haven’t even bombed us yet. So no idea why she’s surprised people aren’t falling over themselves gushing about how great islam is. [20 Jan. Guardian Cif] Read more

Baroness Warsi: the politics of Muslims, liberals and intolerance [-]

.... And that brings me, as so often, back to JS Mill, who said a lot of things about religion, many of which still resonate. In The Subjection of Women, he noted: “Every established fact which is too bad to admit of any other defence is always presented to us as an injunction of religion.”

But in pondering Lady Warsi’s speech, this, from the Essay on Liberty, seems particularly apposite:

So natural to mankind is intolerance in whatever they really care about, that religious freedom has hardly anywhere been practically realised, except where religious indifference, which dislikes to have its peace disturbed by theological quarrels, has added its weight to the scale. [20 Jan. telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Just whose side is Baroness Warsi on? [-]

She is expected also to say terror offences committed by a small number of Muslims should not be used to condemn all who follow Islam. But no-one does so.

The suggestion that to condemn some Muslims for violence or extremism is to condemn all Muslims is an absurd canard. People like myself make strenuous efforts always to acknowledge the many Muslims who pose no threat to anyone. Yet that distinction is precisely what Warsi says is evidence of prejudice!

.... there is a division between those British Muslims who are happy to live as British citizens under one law for all and thus subscribe totally to British and western values of democracy and who thus pose no threat to anyone at all, and those who want instead to live under sharia and as such are attempting to subvert Britain and the west in order to negate its democratic values and human rights and replace them by an Islamic theocracy. [20 Jan. The Spectator] Read more

Lady Warsi's problematic distinction [-]

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi's Sternberg lecture, delivered at Leicester University yesterday, was a bizarre and rather alarming rant against opponents of all religion, especially her own. Intellectually, it was utterly vacuous.

Its tone was churlish and more than a little paranoid. Some of her remarks struck me as dangerously naive. She may have been "got at" by Islamists (Harry's Place carried an interesting piece that discussed, among other things, her friendship with Lord Ahmed, the somewhat dodgy Labour peer).

Her presence around the cabinet table suddenly seems troubling - as does the fact that so well-integrated and successful a British Muslim as she can harbour such thoughts. [21 Jan. Heresy Corner] Read more

Lady Warsi's speech will do more harm than good [-]

.... If Muslims prove receptive to her message they will ease back on attempts to confront abhorrent practices within their own communities and instead become even more entrenched in a grievance culture that blames every difficulty on alleged oppression by “Islamophobes”.

In fact there are many serious problems within Muslim communities in Britain, as sensible groups such as the Quilliam Foundation have recognised. From its support for terrorism to its attempts to deny female emancipation and free speech, militant Islam is making life difficult both for moderate Muslims and for wider society.

Lady Warsi claims that applying labels such as “moderate” and “extremist” to different groups of Muslims fuels misunderstanding. In fact it is done mainly to emphasise that most do not support the few who place society in peril. [21 Jan. Daily Express] Read more

What kind of dinner parties do you go to, Baroness? [-]

.... Most of us just think anyone who wears a burka in Britain is barking mad and wonder why someone who so utterly rejects our society and our liberal values would want to live here. Surely they would be much happier in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.

It’s instructive that in all the TV footage of the unrest in devoutly Muslim Tunisia, there hasn’t been a burka in sight.

Sayeeda even has a pop at the media, accusing us of dividing ­Muslims into ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’. In a sense, she’s right. It is impossible to write about Islamic terrorism without including prominently a caveat about ‘the vast majority of peace-loving Muslims’.

Newspapers bend over backwards to distance the headbangers from mainstream British Muslims. It’s good manners, as well as good business. [21 Jan. MailOnline] Read more

Baroness Warsi Has Some Explaining To Do [-]

.... Another point Warsi makes which sets of alarm bells is on the question on what constitutes the plausible difference between the extremist and moderate positions. It seems Warsi only wants Al-Muhajiroun, al-Qaeda terrorists and perhaps, at a push, Hizb-ut-Tahrir to be labelled “extremists”.

Every other Muslim, in her world, is moderate. This is worrying because it means she is arguing for excusing the elements of Jamaat-e-Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood which dominate groups such such as the Muslim Council of Britain and its sibling Southasian Muslim Islamist groups from the IFE to iEngage.

.... However, she has used “Islamophobia” to shut down criticism of extremist Islam by playing on the notion, much beloved of Islamists, that “extremism” is a “confusing” epithet when applied to any Muslim collective. We have heard this line of reasoning many times before, of course. [21 Jan. The Spittoon] Read more

It was selfish – and wrong – of Lady Warsi to give that speech [-]

.... Worse still, Lady Warsi was embroiling herself in a vital, contested area of Government policy on which her leader is about to take a grip.

Over Christmas, David Cameron reflected on the confusion within government about how to deal with the phenomenon which Lady Warsi says does not exist, Islamic extremism, widely known as Islamism. He has always had a straightforward approach: the extremists are, as he puts it, poisoning young minds. Government has to stop them.

This involves innumerable aspects – border control, terrorism laws, education policy, policing. Some of it is about law, some about who gets public money, some about attitudes. But what became clear to the Prime Minister in his brief Chequers-assisted repose, was that the Government's response is a mess, and must change. [21 Jan. telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Peter Oborne is making excuses for Muslim totalitarians .... [-]

Peter Oborne defended Baroness Warsi’s claim that Muslims were the victims of bigotry by launching an attack on the press. Many of our most famous newspapers, he claimed, ‘routinely fabricate or pervert stories about Muslims’.

Violence against Muslims, he insisted, was legitimised by ‘so much of the daily conversation which takes place in the media’. Really? And is it valid to accuse newspapers of ‘routinely’ inventing false stories about Muslims?

Some stories may prove to have been incorrect, but the term ‘routine’ implies that day in and day out our newspapers are making up untrue stories about Muslims. [21 Jan. ConservativeHome] Read more

The Brits don't diss over dinner, Baroness Warsi [-]

.... Most people really do mean well. I imagine there are people at dinner parties all over Britain saying stupid things about Muslims (or Jews), revealing their unfamiliarity. But hatred? No. I don't think there's a lot of hatred. It's there, of course, but it's not in the average person's character or expressed at the average person's dinner table.

The place to seek and fight against hatred is in fringe groups, on political platforms, in dangerous local activism, in voters for the BNP. Dinner parties? Meh, that's just a lot of people saying anything they can think of, and feeling embarrassed in the morning. [23 Jan. Guardian Cif] Read more

It's not a phobia, Lady Warsi - it's rational to fear Islam [-]

.... What on earth was she up to? As a politician she has made herself look an idiot her party will never wear this. As a prominent citizen she reveals herself not as the voice of moderate common sense but as a menace, because this kind of stuff is misleading and inflammatory.

It is likely to whip up the very antagonism towards Islam and Muslims that she claims to detect. What is striking in Britain, actually, is the general tolerance towards Muslims, even though many people are understandably anxious about them in some ways.

.... The efforts of the race relations industry and multiculturalism seem to have been distressingly counterproductive; we haven't seen the usual immigrant experience of gradual integration.

The Policy Exchange report attributed this in part to the growing sense of victimhood among young Muslims, whipped up by those who complain constantly of Islamophobia, often without evidence. It is dangerous and it is wrong, as a sensible Yorkshirewoman ought to know. [23 Jan. The Times - Behind Paywall] Read more

Baroness Warsi's speech on Islamophobia was packed with sanctimonious generalities [-]

.... Baroness Warsi says it would be a terrible thing if a passer-by thought about a woman wearing a burka: "That woman's either oppressed or making a political statement." But would either be so inaccurate? In London, I often meet women who wear the hijab, or headscarf, and never raise an eyebrow.

But the burka is different: it publicly isolates its wearer, rendering ordinary communication impossible, and references a specific strain of Middle Eastern fundamentalism which was rarely seen over here until relatively recently.

Journalists such as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, herself a Shia Muslim, have written courageously and passionately against the burka – "their veils are walls, keeping them in and us out" – and pleaded for a national conversation about it. Baroness Warsi could add to that conversation, rather than clothing it in sanctimonious generalities. [22 Jan. telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Speech Fails To Address Concerns About The Rise of Sharia in Britain, But Demonises The Messenger [-]

.... Of course there was no mention of concerns about Islam or means of addressing them, just an implied criticism of the host society. Islam has to take some credit if it is indeed held in such low esteem in Britain.

She talked about ‘religious illiteracy’, and she is right about that but not necessarily in the way that she may have meant. People are prevented from gaining an unbiased understanding of Islam because they are actively prevented from doing so.

It is impossible to discuss matters of faith openly and honestly in Britain because of the fear generated by the Racial and Religious Hatred Act. In addition, anyone who questions Islam these days seems to be demonised by being labelled a “racist” or a “bigot”.

The real issue not the criticism of Islam but the issue of Muslim bigotry towards non-Muslims. That may be something that the political and media elite are unwilling to adequately address but it is something that very many people are concerned about. [22 Jan. Liberties Alliance] Read more

Open warfare round the dinner table: the mediasphere responds to Baroness Warsi [-]

.... Though the press has responded mainly to her already infamous central claim that “Islamophobia has now passed the dinner-table-test”, much of the speech is on anti-religious views in general, and when it comes to that “now” which makes everything seem so pressing, her examples quickly dry up.

Warsi claims that she’s not censuring fair criticism, only highlighting that there is too much irrational bigotedness against religious people and especially Muslims. There are few really current examples, which might be seen as a flaw in a speech made so soon after a very obvious example of bigotedness flowing in the other direction, from religion, outward.

Warsi digs back to 2004 and the appointment of Ruth Kelly as Education secretary, in which Kelly’s firm Catholic conviction was widely discussed (but then, Kelly was proudly connected with Opus Dei, so it wasn’t exactly a passing reference to private belief that provoked the commentators). Warsi’s limited examples quickly retreat into history… [21 Jan. British Humanist Association] Read more

Baroness Warsi should think twice before accusing Christians of bigotry [-]

Had Baroness Warsi sought my advice, I would have counselled her not to make the speech which has been trailed in The Daily Telegraph today.

I would have told her that the Muslim faith was not discussed over the dinner tables of England, nor in the saloon bars, before large numbers of Muslims came here to our country. Then I would have told her to go to our Christian churches and listen to what was said about her religion and those who practise it, then to the Mosques to hear what is said in some of them about the Christian faith and those who practise it (or about Buddhists, Jews, or even those who have no faith at all). [20 Jan. telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Beauties v the Beast

RESPONDING to a Muslim’s cleric’s accusation that she had “insulted Islam” on an Indian reality show, Pakistani actress Veena Malik hit back at Mufti Abdul Qawi the weekend – and was immediately catapulted into the international limelight.

According to this report, an angry Malik, appearing on the Express TV channel, asked Qawi: What is your problem with me? You tell me your problem!

The imbecile Qawi, speaking via a television link, had told the actress: You have insulted Pakistan and Islam. [The Freethinker] Read more

Why the MCB still can’t be trusted

.... The MCB states that ‘Islamophobia is the number one concern of all Muslims in this country’. How does so the MCB know this? Because it has surveyed its affiliate organisations (mostly composed of mosques and a disproportionate number of Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim Brotherhood front organisations) and this is what every single one of them has (apparently) said in response. [Harry’s Place] Read more

23 January 2011

Are You a Sarrazinista?

Kitman has distilled nine points from a television presentation given by Thilo Sarrazin, the well-known Islam-critic in Germany:

.... 5. Muslim immigrants have a troubling tendency to form parallel societies and are almost entirely unable to intermarry with their new countrymen.

6. It is the Islamic culture which is responsible for these problems, not the ethnic background. This culture is only marginally compatible with secular Western society.

7. The problems in economic and cultural integration of immigrants from Islamic countries mean that they have an unquestionably negative impact on the host society. [Gates of Vienna] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

22 January 2011

Collapsing Churches Prompt Protests in Egypt For New Law on Church Construction

Unusually bad winter weather in Upper Egypt all last week focused attention once again on the controversial restrictions on church building. The rainy weather caused roofs of dilapidated churches -- which have been waiting for years to receive construction permits -- to collapse.

Much of the on-going sectarian strife in Egypt is related to the ability of Christians to build churches. Most human rights organizations in Egypt have called on the Egyptian government for the last 15 years to promptly adopt "a unified law governing construction of the houses of worship." believing that this law would eliminate more than 90% of the sectarian tension. [AINA] Read more

Women soccer fans in Iran may be banned from live broadcasts

Iranian authorities have ordered a ban on women from watching live broadcasts of soccer matches at public movie theaters, the semi-official ILNA news agency reported.

A state police agency that monitors Iranian businesses called for the ban because "the presence of women and families at movie theaters increases security risks and inappropriate behavior," ILNA reported.

Movie theaters in Iran's major cities have broadcast matches from this year's Asian Cup, where Iran's national soccer team has advanced to the quarterfinals after winning its first three matches. [CNN] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

21 January 2011

The Council of Ex-Muslims needs your support!

An ex-Muslim from Birmingham writes: “I've discarded Islam and I want to be with others like me in the effort to break the taboo associated with leaving Islam. This organisation is significant because it represents one of the most difficult things I must deal with in my life, and is the only effort in the UK to tackle the hardships of those in much worse situations than I.”

Another ex-Muslim woman from the UK writes: “After 20 years of Islam, I finally gave up the prison for my freedom... It has been a long and painful journey, with many more obstacles ahead, but I am confident that things can only get better for the long-term. Well done CEMB for creating this unified voice for ex-Muslims!” [Maryam Namazie] Read more

Tony Blair on Islamic Extremism

He may be a charlatan, a liar, a hypocrite, a dissembler, a fraud and even a war criminal.

His Grace does not know: he is content now to leave Tony Blair to the Judgement of the Almighty. But on the issue of 'Islamic extremism', as he expounded the threat today at the Chilcot Inquiry, he is absolutely, undeniably and irrefutably right.

Baroness Warsi may demur (sometimes).

But, as the former prime minister says of the extremists, "...they disagree fundamentally with our way of life... At some point we've got to get our head out of the sand and understand..." [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

No prosecution over Gateshead car park Koran burning

Seven men accused of burning a copy of the Koran in a Gateshead pub car park will face no further action. The men were detained in September after a video appeared on the internet.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was not sufficient evidence for a realistic chance of conviction.

It said it had looked at a number of areas for possible prosecution but there was insufficient evidence. However, if any new evidence came to light it would be looked at, it said.

Northumbria Chief Crown Prosecutor Wendy Williams said: "This was a serious incident which the vast majority people will rightly find repugnant. [BBC] Read more

Harry Potter star's brother jailed

The brother of a Harry Potter star has been jailed for six months for a "prolonged and nasty" attack on the actress in which she was beaten and branded a "slag" for dating a non-Muslim.

Afshan Azad, 21, who played Padma Patil, a classmate of the teenage wizard in the blockbuster Hollywood films based on JK Rowling's children's books, feared for her life during the three-hour ordeal, Manchester Crown Court heard. [Belfast Telegraph] Read more

Judge raises concerns over 'enormous emotional pressure' put on Muslim women after rape case collapses

A judge today raised concerns over the 'enormous emotional pressure' exerted on women in Muslim communities after a rape case collapsed at the eleventh hour when the wife of an Asian man refused to give evidence against him.

The 35-year-old woman had accused her 34-year-old husband - a convicted sex offender - of raping her twice and was due to testify against him at a trial earlier this week.

But prosecutors were forced to offer no evidence and the case collapsed when the women suddenly decided to retract the allegations. [MailOnline] Read more

“Allah Is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion”

.... As we have struggled to come to grips with the alien nature of Islam, many of our hopes have been laid aside. Some have been brutally hacked away. For example, the myth of the moderate Muslim was a hard notion to let go. When it left, the idea that Islam could be ‘reformed’ (in the sense that Judaism and Christianity have experienced) followed soon after.

Sure, there are secular Muslims, but when push comes to shove it is not they who are in charge of Islam. And their cloak of moderation can be deadly for themselves in the face of their masters. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

Uproar as Muslim cleric calls Queen "disgusting"

A RADICAL cleric sparked fury ­yesterday by branding the Queen a “disgusting woman” and slamming British Muslims who join the Army.Ranting Shaykh Asrar Rashid also suggested white people were the main cause of racism.

The controversial imam, who preaches in mosques in Birmingham, told radio listeners the Queen was a ­“disgusting woman because she knighted Salman Rushdie”.

In 1989 Iran’s leaders called for ­author Rushdie’s death for writing The Satanic Verses, deemed “blasphemous”. He became Sir Salman at a Buckingham Palace ceremony in 2008 for his services to literature. [Daily Express] Read more

20 January 2011

Obama adviser Mogahed says West must show respect for Islam to ease Muslim anger toward U.S.

.... "We discovered that those who viewed the root cause of Muslim-West tensions to be political were more likely to see the conflict as avoidable. Those who viewed it as religious were more likely to see it as unavoidable," she said.

"However, we also found that religiosity in the Muslim community works to the advantage of engagement," Dalia, who is also Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center (ADGC) for Muslim Studies, said in a lecture on "Measuring the State of Muslim-West Relations," held in Kuwait by the Advocate for Westerners-Arab Relations (Aware) Centre on Monday evening. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Europe's Muslim Lobby

.... few Europeans like to talk about the growing influence of Europe's Muslim lobby, a conglomeration of hundreds of Muslim political and religious organizations -- many of which are media-savvy mouthpieces for militant Islam that openly pursue anti-European, anti-Western and anti-Semitic agendas and often receive financial support from Islamic fundamentalist countries like Saudi Arabia.

In a Europe where Islam is the fastest-growing religion, and where the number of Muslims has tripled over the past 30 years, Europe's Muslim lobby is becoming increasingly assertive and skilled at pressuring European policy-makers into implementing countless pro-Islamic policies, especially ones that institutionalize Islamic Sharia law. [Hudson New York] Read more

Police braced for protests over proposed Islam culture centre in Deeside

COMMUNITY leaders in Deeside have met after plans to build an Islamic cultural centre in Shotton threatened to spark protests.

The Flintshire Muslim Cultural Society (FMCS) is aiming to set up the centre at the former Shotton Lane Social Club, which has been empty since it closed in August.

The group is more than halfway to raising the £150,000 needed to buy out the club after a TV appeal broadcast to the wider Muslim community.

But the proposal has sparked opposition from residents who took to Facebook to protest against what they call the planned ‘mosque’, while the BNP is co-ordinating a leaflet distribution campaign against the plans. [Flintshire Chronicle] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Islamic Al Azhar University suspends dialogue with Vatican

The Islamic Research Academy from the State University Al-Azhar decided, during a special meeting held this morning in Cairo, to suspend dialogue with the Vatican. Academy member, Abdel Muti al-Bayoumi, told Aki agency, "this decision was made in response to the position taken by Pope Benedict XVI on Islam."

In this regard, al-Bayoumi recalled the Pope’s controversial Regensburg address of 2006. The Al-Azhar academic added that the decision also takes into account, " the recent unacceptable interference (the Pope, ed), who sought protection for Coptic Christians," after the massacre in Alexandria. [AsiaNews] Read more

19 January 2011

Sculptor Sergio Redegalli defies 'bullies' and refuses to take down anti-burka mural

A SYDNEY artist whose anti-burka mural has infuriated left-wing and Islamic activists is vowing that the provocative artwork will stay in place despite death threats, abuse, a string of vandalism attacks, a violent weekend protest and a police request to remove it.

Newtown glass sculptor Sergio Redegalli has this week restored the mural painted outside his studio for more than the 40th time after dozens of graffiti and paint-bomb attacks by protesters who say it is racist and inflammatory.

In the latest incident last Sunday, a crowd of 50 activists hurled paint at the mural and then turned on police who had to call in reinforcements to restore order. [news.com.au] Read more [via Political Correctness Watch]

Basketball Player Sidelined for Wearing Religious Headscarf

A middle school girl was kept out of the first half of a basketball game Saturday because a referee ruled her religious headscarf, called a hijab, was a safety hazard.

Thirteen-year-old Maheen Haq of Hagerstown, Md. was sidelined until Lou Bachtell, the Mid-Maryland Girls Basketball League regional director, arrived to the court at halftime, called league President Jim Shannon and got an exemption approved.

Haq's parents were upset, though they didn't protest the referee's decision. Other parents watching the game volunteered to pull their daughters out of the game and walk out in protest, but Haq's mother Anila, declined the offer. [ABC News] Read more

'Wear the hijab or I'll kill you, cousin told girl': Muslim tells of terrifying phone threats

A man threatened to kill his cousin and harm her family after she decided to stop wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf, a court has heard.

Mohamed Al-Hakim, 29, allegedly phoned Alya Al-Safar to tell her she must die because of the ‘shame’ she had brought – leaving her too afraid to leave the house.

He had already branded her family ‘bitches and whores’ because of her decision, the court heard. [MailOnline] Read more

Bans on the Wearing of the Full Face Veil in Public: What Is the Impact on Human Rights? - Part I

In a recently released report entitled Bans on the Full Face Veil and Human Rights, international freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19, argues that s general prohibitions on wearing full face veils - such as those adopted in France and Belgium - to be incompatible with states’ human rights obligations on freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to non-discrimination and equal treatment.

The report released on December 17th 2010, analyses national laws banning the public wearing of the Islamic veils from a freedom of expression perspective, in particular. [eGov monitor] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Putting the law in Afghan hands

.... Grieve told me he saw female police officers and met a female judge on his visit. "If you go to Kabul, Afghanistan appears to be far less rigid towards women than you might experience elsewhere in the Middle East," he said.

Afghan law is based on the continental civil code backed up by hanafi law, regarded as the most liberal variant of sharia. "There are lots of women with a small headscarf chucked over their heads," Grieve said, "rather than people walking around in burqas or Arab garb, which has not crept into Afghanistan in the way that it probably has into parts of Pakistan – or Bradford." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

17 January 2011

A Stranger in My Own Land

I have just returned to London, where, I have lived since I was 11. I have been away for four years, living as an ethnic minority in a monocultural part of the world, amassing a host of stories to tell to disbelieving friends.

On the whole, I am glad to return. I shan't miss some locals' assumptions that, being a white woman, if I was outside after dark, as I occasionally was, usually to walk the few metres between my house and the church, I must be a prostitute eager to give them a blow job.

I shan't miss the abuse my priest husband received: the daubing of "Dirty white dogs" in red paint on the church door, the barrage of stones thrown at him by children shouting "Satan". He was called a "f***ing white bastard" more than once, though, notably, never when in a cassock.

For four years, we lived in inner-city Birmingham, in what has been a police no-go area for 20 years. We know that because some plain-clothed cops told us when they asked to use our vicarage as a stake-out to bust drugs rings that pervade the area. [Standpoint] Read more

Rhineland-Palatinate: Ministry wants schools to be Islam-friendly

.... The guidelines recommend offering sex-ed in gender-homogeneous groups and segregated gym and swimming classes from puberty. School trips should, as much as possible, not be planned for the month of Ramadan.

The sensitivities of Muslims should be taken into account when planning internships and school events. Fasting could lead to loss of performance and concentration among the students, the authors warn. It is difficult if they have to deal with a lot of schoolwork during Ramadan, and so flexible solutions should be found. [Islam in Europe] Read more

The Power of Political Islam

.... Western leaders must understand that Tunisia is an exception in the region, and the best chance for democratization in the Arab World rests with the Islamist opposition.

Some, like Daniel Pipes, continue to cast non-violent Islamists as wolves in sheep’s clothing who are just waiting for their chance to establish Islamic states and, ultimately, reestablish a world caliphate.

But politically engaged Islamic parties have been participating in the electoral process in Indonesia, Turkey, Lebanon, and elsewhere for some time now, and the dire predictions of the pessimists have yet to substantially hinder U.S. interests. [Foreign Policy in Focus] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Fundamentalist IFE banned by Labour council

The Labour-controlled London borough of Newham has made the important and valuable decision to deny the use of its facilities to the fundamentalist, Muslim supremacist group, the Islamic Forum of Europe.

The IFE – which controls the hardline East London Mosque, host of many terrorist sympathisers and hate preachers – openly advocates Sharia law in Europe and the destruction of democracy. Last year, one London Labour MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, accused it of infiltrating and “corrupting” his party in the same way as Militant in the 1980s. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

16 January 2011

Egypt sentences Muslim to death for Coptic shooting

An Egyptian state security court on Sunday sentenced a Muslim man to death for killing six Coptic Christians and a Muslim police officer in a drive-by shooting on Coptic Christmas Eve in January 2010.

Mohamed Ahmed Hussein, 39, known as Hamam Kamouni, had been charged with the “premeditated murder” of the Christians and the police officer and with “intimidating citizens” in Nagaa Hamady in southern Egypt after mass on the eve of Coptic Christmas.

The judge said Hussein’s sentence would be sent to the Grand Mufti for confirmation, a reference to Egypt’s top religious authority who is called on to confirm death sentences. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Yes, Islam condones wife beatings, misogyny

.... The issue of wife beating and gender inequality in Islam has become convoluted and highly controversial as many Muslims try to sugar-coat the ugly truths and others try to shed some light on it.

Soharwardy's statement that "beating one's wife is not only wrong, it is criminal and completely un-Islamic" is incorrect.

The Qur'an says that "men are in charge of women because Allah has made one of them (men) to excel the other (women), thus man's superiority over women . . . good women are the obedient ones . . . admonish the rebellious women and banish them, and scourge them (whip them severely to inflict pain) (4:34) . . . smote them (hit or strike with the hand or with a weapon causing pain, beat them) (4:62)". [Calgary Herald] Read more [via National Secular Society]

15 January 2011

Somali women say Islamists becoming more draconian

Women living in areas controlled by Somalia's Islamists say they are increasingly the target of more draconian rules meted out by the rebels bent on enforcing their ideologies.

In the latest decree by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group that governs most of southern Somalia, women in the seaside town of Kismayu have been banned from carrying out barter trade with the male crews of ships calling at the port.

The women have also been told they cannot shake any male's hands in public, travel on their own, sell anything or work in an office. [Reuters] Read more

St John's Church magazine under fire after anti-Islam article

.... I am concerned about the ever increasing Islamisation of our own country, and think we should take a stand against: —

a) uncontrolled immigration of Muslims whose birth rate exceeds that of other groups.

b) allowing Turkey to enter the EU with the inevitable consequence of the increase in our Muslim population.

c) establishment of non-integrated Islamic communities, including no-go areas to so-called ‘infidels’ in our cities.

d) imposition of ‘sharia’ laws, taking precedence over our legal and banking systems.

e) ‘halal’ meat and dairy products stealthily introduced into our prisons, schools and shops.

f) the sometimes intense, and often subtle promotion of Islam in many primary schools in order to influence impressionable young minds.

If we are honest, we know about the oppression of Islamic regimes in Muslim lands, where ‘infidels’ are not tolerated. Is that what we in Britain really want? [this is Kent] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Blasphemy is a Victimless Crime

.... After hearing of the Taseer assassination, Salman Rushdie eulogized a country's once possessed moderation with "RIP Pakistan." It is important to consistently remind ourselves that there is no guarantee that liberal-secular values will, of themselves, triumph in the long run. Thus, justifying a related laziness with naive optimism is a dangerous and unethical gambit.

As humanity is global, so are its rights. Anything less than full-throated and equitably applied advocacy of this fact should no longer be tolerated. [HuffPost] Read more

14 January 2011

Iran: Evangelical Christians are 'corrupt and deviant, like the Taliban'

While we were busily preparing the second round of turkey, stuffed to satisfaction with seasonal excess, the homes of more than 70 Christians in Iran were invaded.

In the early hours of 26th December, armed, plain-clothed, ‘special’ security officers forcefully entered the homes of Christians while they slept, and proceeded to abuse them verbally and physically. They were handcuffed and taken for interrogation. Among those arrested were five married couples. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

The War Against the Christians

Imagine if Muslims in Europe were being arrested for nothing more than peacefully practicing their religion. Imagine if Muslims in South America were being sentenced to death for “insulting” Jesus. Imagine if mosques were being bombed and burned by terrorists in a growing list of Christian-majority countries.

Now here’s what you don’t need to imagine because it is all too real: In recent days, Christian churches have been bombed in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, and the Philippines. In Indonesia a mob of 1,000 Muslims burned down two Christian churches because, according to one commentator, local Islamic authorities determined there were “too many faithful and too many prayers.”

In Iran, scores of Christians have been arrested. In Pakistan, a Christian woman received the death penalty for the “crime” of insulting Islam; the governor of Punjab promised to pardon her — and was then assassinated for the “crime” of blasphemy. [National Review Online] Read more [via Political Correctness Watch]

Our blasphemy law is a disgrace

IN Pakistan, two people have been sentenced to life in prison for blasphemy. Pakistan's outrageous belief that the blasphemy law is just is strengthened by other countries, including Ireland, which also have blasphemy laws.

In the case of Ireland, it is even more pronounced because Pakistan wants our blasphemy law to be adopted by the United Nations as a global law because it is so worded that once a person is accused of blasphemy, they are guilty until they can prove their innocence. [Independent.ie] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Queasy stomachs on the Today programme as the BBC looks into multicultural Britain

Are young men of Pakistani origin really fizzing with testosterone, and do they target young white women for sex because they see them as easy meat, as Jack Straw claimed last week?

The Today programme went to Bradford this morning to find out, and you got the distinct impression that no one was more shocked than the BBC to find young Asian men, by and large, confirming what Mr Straw said. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

13 January 2011

PM vow on radicalisation of Muslims

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he hopes Britain and France can open up a new front in the fight against violent extremism by working together to prevent the radicalisation of young Muslims.

After talks with French prime minister Francois Fillon, Mr Cameron said: "I am becoming increasingly convinced it is not enough just to target violent extremism - we have to target extremism itself.

"We have to drain the water from the swamp in which the violent extremism grows. I am sure that Britain and France can work together on this and learn from each other." [Daily Express] Read more

Europe Goes Halal

The European Union, bowing to pressure from Muslim lobby groups, has quietly abandoned a new measure that would have required halal [religiously approved for Muslims] meat products to carry a label alerting consumers that the animals were not stunned, and therefore conscious, just before slaughter.

With the exponential growth of Europe's Muslim population in recent years, thousands of tons of religiously slaughtered halal meat is now entering the general food chain, where it is being unwittingly consumed by the non-Muslim population.

Muslims have the right to choose halal foods, but non-Muslims do not have the right to choose not to eat the ritually slaughtered meat. [Hudson New York] Read more

The U.S. Supreme Court and Islam

The United States Supreme Court honors Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, as a source of law and justice alongside Moses, Solomon, and Confucius. He is depicted in the Courtroom Frieze among the great law-givers of mankind.

Muslims understand that depictions of the Prophet are unlawful. However, in this case, this depiction created by a non-Muslim was done with the intention of honoring Islam and making the statement that Islam is an important part of American life and history. From the Supreme Court’s website: [IslamophobiaToday.com] Read more

Mohammed the Brit

.... The reaction of Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary, was to say a problem exists with “Pakistani heritage men thinking it is O.K. to target white girls in this way.” He said they were “popping with testosterone, they want some outlet for that, but Pakistani heritage girls are off limits and they are expected to marry a Pakistani girl from Pakistan, typically” — so they seek the “easy meat” of white girls.

It was a neat — and explosive — argument. Vigorous debate has ensued. Racial slur? Courageous frankness? I don’t think Straw’s argument stands up to scrutiny of overall sex-crime patterns, but I do think Britain’s Muslim community needs to take a hard look at repressive attitudes toward women. The debate is salutary. [The New York Times] Read more [via National Secular Society]

12 January 2011

When will we end the curse of state multiculturalism?

Politicians who once espoused this once-immutable orthodoxy now deride it as ‘a wrong-headed doctrine that has had disastrous results’; Church of England bishops blame it for failing the very immigrants it was supposed to assist; the Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said it is causing us to ‘sleepwalk towards segregation; and even senior employees of the BBC declare that it is responsible for causing the indigenous white population to feel ‘alienated, threatened and voiceless’.

.... Some of these Muslims are more British than the British. It is a theme His Grace has taken up on more than one occasion. But this is not for some future government to sort out.

If we do not act, and act now, we will bequeath to our children the strife of apartheid and sectarianism, and to our grandchildren the curse of civil war. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

This has been scientifically established

.... When I was a student at university, in 1975-1977, they conducted a survey which showed that the female American student, who spends, an average, four years at university, has sexual intercourse with 200-300 guys during these four years. When a woman has sex with more than one man, it causes her a medical problem, because it weakens her immune system.

.... Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: Several doctors have achieved excellent results in treating impotence by having their patients grow their beards long. Interviewer: Allah be praised!

Jamal Al-Din Ibrahim: Beard-growing encourages the production of testosterone. When people who suffer from impotence and cannot get an erection grow beards, the level of [testosterone] rises... They measured it in micrograms, and found that the testosterone level rises among men who grow beards. [Mick Hartley] Read more

Muslim Good, Islamophobe Bad

.... These are the questions our critics want to drown out, with the bleat of slogans and slurs they use in place of rational discourse. Just as the sheep in Orwell's Animal Farm were trained to bleat "Four legs good, two legs bad," Muslim apologists and appeasers will continue to use the rhetoric of victimhood to forbid questions and put us on the perpetual defensive.

They will model their efforts on the hugely successful example of anti-anti-Communism, which for decades let Western leftists dismiss the atrocities of Stalin and of Mao. They will call us McCarthyites, xenophobes, bigots, and most of all Islamophobes.

They will hide, as the Hollywood Ten and their defenders did, behind our most sacred beliefs and treasured freedoms. All we can do in response is to keep on asking our inconvenient questions. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Odense (Denmark): Iranian priest attacked for displaying cross

The Iranian-born head of the Church of Love, Massoud Fouroozandeh, fled with his family from the Odense district of Vollsmose to a little a secret location in a small town, after the two of the family’s cars were smashed since they had a cross hanging inside.

“I was told by young people in Vollsmose that I shouldn’t drive around the area with the cross hanging in the car. Afterward our car was completely smashed up and burned and the seats slashed. Since then the side-windows of our new car were smashed three times,” he says.

After the vandalism, Massoud Fouroozandeh and his wife didn’t dare let their children play in the playground in Vollsmose. “They don’t go with a headscarf, and 99% of the other children do that, so they attracted a lot of attention, and it wasn’t safe to send them out to play. Therefore we moved far away from Vollsmose,” he says. [Allah.eu] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Saudi Arabia Now Forcing News Bloggers to Obtain Licenses, Promote Islam

The Middle Eastern kingdom has just enacted one of the world's most stringent sets of blogging regulations: Non-citizens can't write about news, chat room users are encouraged to register with the government, and everyone needs to be very careful about religion.

Saudi Arabia has enacted stringent new regulations forcing some bloggers to obtain government licenses and to strongarm others into registering. In addition, all Saudi news blogs and electronic news sites will now be strictly licensed, required to “include the call to the religion of Islam” and to strictly abide by Islamic sharia law.

The registration and religion requirements are also being coupled with strict restrictions on what topics Saudi bloggers can write on--a development which will essentially give Saudi authorities the right to shut down blogs at their discretion. [Fast Company] Read more [via Jihad Watch]