28 February 2011

Half the country would vote for a 'far-Right' party – whatever that means

.... And, as this poll shows, minorities do not want it either. The enormous costs of greater diversity are felt by minorities just as much, if not more, than the population at large, in terms of greater segregation, hostility and religious intolerance (besides, most immigrants into Britain chose it for a reason, and never asked for its entire cultural fabric to be torn down – they just wanted a bit less racism).

On top of this there are the downsides of diversity which everyone feels – lower social trust and solidarity, and the subsequent end of the welfare state that inevitably follows. Think that ultra-Thatcherite dystopia I proposed is absurd? Wait until we see the long-term effects of Labour’s attempt to make Britain truly diverse. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Erdogan urges Turks in Germany to integrate, not assimilate

Turkish immigrants in Germany should integrate into society but not assimilate to the point where they abandon their native culture, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on a visit to Germany on Sunday.

Speaking to some 10,000 members of Germany’s large Turkish community in the wake of last year’s heated debate over the place of foreigners in the country, Erdogan took up the theme of integration amid what he sees as persistent European xenophobia.

“You must integrate, but I am against assimilation … no one may ignore the rights of minorities,” he said, adding that individuals should have the right to practice their own faith. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

German president defends school burqa ban to Qatari students

Speaking to a group of University of Doha students in Qatar, German President Christian Wulff stood behind a his country's ban on burqas in schools, saying the full-body veil and education don't mix.

German President Christian Wulff wrapped up a trip to the Gulf states on Monday, with a question-and-answer session at the University of Doha in Qatar. Wulff answered a veiled student's question with a defense of a ban on burqas in German schools.

"The conscious decision to cover yourself up clashes with the duty of the state to educate its children," he said. "Showing your face is part of a free society."

A person wearing a burqa in Europe appeared to be calling into question the equality between men and women, Wulff said. "But we don't want to question this equality." [Deutsche Welle] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Erdogan Urges Turks Not to Assimilate - 'You Are Part of Germany, But Also Part of Our Great Turkey'

.... Immigrants are waving hundreds of Turkish flags and the chanting and the music are deafening. One woman shouts "Turkey is great!" into a microphone to cheers from the crowd. Everyone in the ISS Dome, a huge sports and concert venue, is fired up, as if they're waiting for a rock star. There's only one show in town this Sunday, and his name is Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish prime minister has come to Germany. He wants to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel but first he wants to speak to his "compatriots." To people who have been living in Germany for decades, who were born here, and of whom many have German passports. [Spiegal Online] Read more

Germany hits back after Turkish PM tells immigrants to resist assimilation

Germany has hit back at explosive remarks by Turkey's prime minister, who told his compatriots that they should learn Turkish before German and resist assimilation into German society.

During a visit to Germany, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told 10,000 members of Germany's large Turkish community of his "growing unease" about the way immigrants are treated in Germany.

"You must integrate, but I am against assimilation ... no one may ignore the rights of minorities," he said, adding that individuals should have the right to practise their own faith. "Our children must learn German but they must learn Turkish first," said Erdogan.

He added: "I want you to learn German, that your children learn German – they should study, get degrees. I want you to become doctors, professors and politicians in Germany." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Wilders: Anti-Islam wave unstoppable

In an interview with Dutch news channel NU.nl, Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders has said that the PVV’s ideas are striking a chord with increasing numbers of people across Europe.

Mr Wilders spoke of an unstoppable ‘anti-Islam’ wave. “We are having our own little revolution down here,” he said.

Mr Wilders believes that some of the measures he wants to take in collaboration with the ruling Dutch coalition will eventually be introduced across Europe. Some critics say many of the current cabinet’s intended measures are in violation of European legislation. However, Mr Wilders argues that many people in other European countries support the measures. [Radio Netherlands] Read more [via National Secular Society]

What Next? There is a deep resentment to immigration, as well as scepticism towards multiculturalism

The Fear and HOPE survey gives a snapshot of current attitudes in England today. It explores the level of fear, hate and hope in society. It details what pulls us apart and what brings us together.

With 5,054 respondents and 91 questions it is one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys into attitude, identity and extremism in the UK to date.

On one level it is not happy reading. It concludes that there is not a progressive majority in society. And it reveals that there is a deep resentment to immigration, as well as scepticism towards multiculturalism. There is a widespread fear of the ‘Other’, particularly Muslims, and there is an appetite for a new right-wing political party that has none of the fascist trappings of the British National Party or the violence of the English Defence League.

Of course attitudes and identity are fluid and multilayered. Attitudes held today may not be held tomorrow. [Searchlight Educational Trust] Read more

27 February 2011

Anti-immigration poll 'disturbing'

Almost two-thirds of white Britons think immigration has been bad for the UK, according to a survey which anti-racism campaigners called a "disturbing picture" of society's attitudes.

Research commissioned by the Searchlight Educational Trust also found that Asians were most likely to back a halt to all immigration, at least until the economy had recovered.

Labour MP Jon Cruddas said the findings should "ricochet through the body politic" as they showed the potential for the rise of the far-right unless mainstream parties acted soon.

.... Almost half (48%) were open to supporting a new far-right party as long as it eschewed "fascist imagery" and did not condone violence. And 52% agreed that "Muslims create problems in the UK" [UKPA] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia: Womens’ Suffrage Movement Is a ‘Machination’ of the Enemies of Islam

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh ‘Abd-al-’Aziz Al al-Shaykh .... responded to a question in 2006 regarding whether women should be allowed to vote. The Grand Mufti responded, as seen below, by first blaming the whole issue of womens’ rights and suffrage on “machinations” of Jews and Christians and other non-Muslims seeking to destroy Islam.

Then he warns them against “open[ing] up the door of wickedness for the people of Islam” by pushing for these rights. He makes clear that the issue of womens’ rights must be subservient to the more important issue of “serv[ing] the Islamic religion.” [BIG PEACE] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Europe’s Extreme Righteous

Only a few years ago, many of Europe’s far-right politicians were openly anti-Semitic. Now some of the same populist parties are embracing Israel to unite against what they perceive to be a common threat.

Over the past few years, Europe’s right-wing political leaders have tapped into rising worries over immigration from Islamic countries to predominantly secular and Christian Europe, where the number of Muslims has grown from 29.6 million in 1990 to 44.1 million in 2010, or up to 10 percent of the population in countries such as France.

Geert Wilders, an anti-Islam firebrand whose Party for Freedom last July gained a record 24 seats in the Netherlands’ Parliament, likens the Quran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf and has called Muhammad a “devil” spreading a “fascist ideology,” and has vowed to stop Muslim immigration. [Newsweek] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

26 February 2011

What sharia law actually means

.... Other than the fact that such bans are unconstitutional -- a federal court recently held that a ban would likely violate the Supremacy Clause and the First Amendment -- they are a monumental waste of time. Our judges are equipped with the constitutional framework to refuse to recognize a foreign law. In the end, our Constitution is the law of the land.

.... That a dozen states are actively moving to adopt anti-sharia laws demonstrates that this is part of a pattern. This is not haphazard. Someone -- a group of people -- is trying to turn this into a national issue. I believe this will become an election issue. Are you with the sharia or with the U.S. Constitution? It is absurd.[Salon] Read more [via National Secular Society]

East London Mosque keeps on lying

The East London Mosque, that legendary home of tolerance and moderation, has condemned a series of posters which have appeared in its local area, Tower Hamlets, containing a Koranic invocation and declaring the borough a “gay-free zone.”

Dilowar Khan, the mosque’s director, was quoted in a council press release saying: “We stand together with our fellow citizens against all forms of hatred, including homophobia. We are committed to building strong and cohesive communities in Tower Hamlets, and our strength is that we will not let incidents of hate divide us.”

As so often, however, the East London Mosque speaks with forked tongue. Yesterday, it was due to demonstrate its deep commitment to “standing together against homophobia” by hosting a gala dinner with one Uthman Lateef, a homophobic preacher who has stated: “We don’t accept homosexuality… we hate it because Allah hates it.” [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Migration needs serious debate

.... The conventional wisdom among most elites is that we should not discuss these issues because it will unleash the racist sentiments that still lurk in the hearts of most Australians.I think the opposite is true.

It is because most Australians believe in the immigration and integration of all comers that what is going on in southwest Sydney is of concern.

Perceptive politicians have picked up on this.

Effective politicians will honestly address the issues and propose solutions. Ineffective ones will shut their eyes and lecture an unimpressed electorate about respecting "diversity". [The Australian] Read more [via Political Correctness Watch]

Rival clerics battle for control of seminary that inspired Taliban

One of the world's most important Islamic seminaries, a university whose influence stretches across South Asia and pervades the lives of millions of Muslims, is in a state of crisis.

Amid a dispute over the recent appointment of a modernising cleric as its senior official, the Darul Uloom seminary in northern India has been rocked by protests between different student factions involving the use of firearms.

Rival clerics, opposed to the appointment of the man who has a masters degree in business administration as well as a Facebook fan page, have been plotting his downfall. Allegations of idolatry have been levelled and death threats received. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Multiculturalism in Retreat

At long last a European politician, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, has lifted the curtain on the pernicious dimensions of multiculturalism. After several decades of homegrown terrorism and an acceptance of separation by Muslim groups in the United Kingdom, the prime minister said, “Enough.”

A new course will be charted that moves from accommodation to integration. There may be a risk of xenophobia with the Cameron approach, but it is a worthwhile trade-off if terrorist impulses are thwarted. [HUMAN EVENTS] Read more [via National Secular Society]

25 February 2011

Muslim Shelf Stockers Can Refuse to Handle Alcohol

A Muslim supermarket employee in Germany was sacked when he refused on religious grounds to stock shelves with bottles of alcohol. Now the country's highest labor court has ruled that the man's objection was justified.

.... The case has already raised eyebrows in Germany. Media commentators have pointed out that the Koran only forbids drinking alcohol, not touching bottles. A front-page editorial in the Friday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany's leading conservative newspaper, criticized the fact that the man had apparently only discovered his religious leanings in 2008; he had previously worked in the supermarket's alcoholic drinks section without complaint. [Spiegal Online] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Gaza's elected Islamist rulers crack down on secular community

After nearly four years of Hamas rule, the Gaza Strip's small secular community is in tatters, decimated by the militant group's campaign to impose its strict version of Islam in the coastal territory.

Hamas has bullied men and women to dress modestly, tried to keep the sexes from mingling in public and sparked a flight of secular university students and educated professionals. Most recently, it has confiscated novels it deems offensive to Islam from a bookshop and banned Gaza's handful of male hairdressers from styling women's hair. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

24 February 2011

Tennessee Jumps on the Anti-Sharia Bandwagon

Refraining from eating pork? Giving alms to the poor? These could become criminal activities in Tennessee, where a proposed law would make adherence to Sharia -- or Islamic law -- illegal and punishable with jail time.

While a number of other states have filed legislation seeking to keep Sharia out of the courts, Tennessee is going one giant step further by attempting to outlaw it entirely. [TPMMuckraker] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Why are we not challenging violent Islamism in our schools?

.... In the parallel reality of 21st-century Britain, however, little has been done to help teachers challenge pupils who espouse violently Islamist views. The 7/7 inquiry hearings have even coincided with calls to scrap the Channel project, a scheme set up to work with teachers to identify and support children being groomed by violent extremists.

This discrepancy between responses to violence inspired by Islamist ideology and violence inspired by racism is what David Cameron discussed in his recent speech in Munich:

"So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn't white, we've been too cautious – frankly, even fearful – to stand up to them." [Guardian Cif] Read more

Tunisia "needs separation of mosque and state"

Tunisia's revolution is unlikely to trigger Islamic militancy in the traditionally secular state, but Muslim leaders should avoid mixing religion with politics, the government's minister of religious affairs said.

North Africa's most developed country has been in flux since protests ended the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last month, sparking riots across the Arab world that analysts fear could play into the hands of al Qaeda.

"After the January 14 revolution, the country experienced change on every level, including the religious sphere," Aroussi Mizouri, minister of religious affairs in the caretaker government, told Reuters. [Reuters] Read more

Catalonia: Muslims ask to ban dogs from streets

Islamic associations in Lleida have asked the city council to ban dogs from city buses and in areas and certain municipal facilities frequented mostly by Muslims, so as not to offend Muslims.

The associations say that the presence of those impure animals violates their religious freedom and the rights of Muslims to live according to the Koran. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Immigrant ghetto could become a 'state within a state'

The Aarhus municipality recently held a meeting on how to make the Gellerup immigrant ghetto a safer place. Several social workers of non-Danish origin warn of the developments in Gellerup.

"We are heading towards a 100% parallel society, if we don't intervene now. It's become normal for people to clear up problems behind closed doors," says Wamid Hassan, coordinator for Unge 4 Unge (Youth4Youth), who is doing outreach work among children and youth in Gellerup.

He was one of the speakers at the municipality's conference titled "Safety in Gellerup" and he sees a trend where imams are increasing being used to solve conflicts. [Islam in Europe] Read more

'Muslims must melt into French culture'

In a live-broadcast interview with French Channel One television, the French president condemned multi-culturalism and described it as a failure. Sarkozy said France had been too concerned about the identity of people who came to live in the country.

He stated that Muslims should "accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community." Sarkozy even went on to instruct the imams at French mosques on how to give their sermons.

France, home to some five million Muslim inhabitants, mostly of North African descent, takes pride in the “special relationship” it has with the Arab world, and its former colonies.

In the wake of revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, Sarkozy also warned the Middle Eastern countries of falling into what he calls “religious dictatorship.” [Ahlul Bayt News Agency] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Can we talk about Muslim homophobia now?

Last autumn, mysterious posters began to appear all over the East End of London announcing it is now a “Gay-Free Zone.” They warned: “And Fear Allah: Verily Allah is Severe in Punishment.” One of them was plastered outside the apartment block I lived in for nearly ten years, next to adverts for club nights and classes at the local library, as if it was natural and normal. I’d like to say I’m shocked – but anybody who lives in Tower Hamlets knows this has been a long time coming.

Here’s a few portents from the East End that we have chosen to ignore. In May 2008, a 15 year old Muslim girl tells her teacher she thinks she might be gay, and the Muslim teacher in a state-funded comprehensive tells her “there are no gays round here” and she will “burn in hell” if she ever acts on it. (I know because she emailed me, suicidal and begging for help). [Johann Hari] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Qaradawi on Muslims and Jews

With Sheikh Qaradawi back in Egypt and back in the news, it is worth revisting a collection of his rulings and other writings on Israel, Jews and Zionism, Fatawa on Palestine, which was published some eight years ago, translated into English in 2007 and reviewed by myself and Mark Gardner in Democratiya.

Those people who opposed Qaradawi’s exclusion from this country have consistently mischaracterised the reasons why British Jews, along with several other minority groups, objected to his presence here in the past. Inayat Bunglawala, for example, this week wrote that: [The CST] Read more [via Harry’s Place]

No cash to fund privacy curtains for female-only pool classes

THE State Government has refused a council's bid to help fund $45,000 curtains at a public pool so Muslim women can have privacy during female-only exercise classes.

There were calls yesterday for the City of Monash to dump the controversial plan amid claims it promoted segregation and was a waste of ratepayers' money.

Monash Council confirmed the Victorian Multicultural Commission had knocked back a grant application to fund half the curtains' cost.

Two weeks ago, the Herald Sun revealed that VCAT had given the green light for Monash to bypass equality laws and run the fortnightly women-only sessions. [Herald Sun] Read more

23 February 2011

'Islam is regarded as the biggest threat to Europe for many Europeans'

Police allege the shooting at Malmo's Islamic center — Sweden's largest mosque — was not random. Investigators say it was one of ten attempted murders and at least one killing perpetrated by a gunman whose objective was to "shoot at immigrants."

The apparent bid to kill a Muslim in a place of worship provoked much soul-searching in Sweden, long regarded as one of Europe's most liberal and welcoming societies. [msnbc.com] Read more

Islamophobia, not Islam, is the real threat

When British National Party head Nick Griffin went on Question Time in the UK, every other panellist launched sharp attacks on him, one after the other. The harshest attacks came from politicians: from a Liberal Democrat, to a Conservative, to a member of Labour. They all thought it important to reject such an openly racist party, and to stress that racism should have no part in their national political dialogue.

When our equivalent show, Q&A, featured One Nation’s Ian Nelson on Monday night, the ALP’s Anna Bligh and the Coalition’s Barnaby Joyce did not behave similarly. In fact, the only people who really attacked and ridiculed Nelson were in the audience. [ABC News] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Nearly half of Australians are anti-Muslim: study

A decade-long national study has found that nearly 50 per cent of Australians identify themselves as having anti-Muslim attitudes.

Researchers from universities across the country polled thousands of people about their attitudes to different cultures and whether they had experienced racism.

.... About one-quarter of those surveyed said they had anti-Semitic or anti-Asian attitudes, while a slightly larger number were prejudiced against Aborigines. Anti-Muslim sentiment was even higher, at 48.6 per cent. [ABC News] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Racism figures just don't add up ....

Although 49 per cent of us are "anti-Muslim", only half as many are "anti-Semitic", "anti-indigenous" or "anti-Asian". And our dislike of Buddhists is so minor that it's not measured at all.

.... It's the Muslim minority which provokes by far the most concern, and another Government campaign announced this week may explain why. This one is aimed at Muslims, with $1 million to be spent on convincing the young to be against extremism, so that other Australians don't get killed.

Well, that's nice, although I confess I've never heard a government say such a plan was needed for Sikhs, Catholics, Indians, Chinese or anyone else. [Herald Sun] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Oklahoma Police Captain Faces Disciplinary Action for Refusing to Attend Islamic Event

The Tulsa Police Deptartment is investigating a captain who refused an order to assign officers to attend an upcoming Islamic event because he said it would violate his religious beliefs.

Capt. Paul Fields was reassigned after he refused to order officers under his command to attend the Islamic Center of Tulsa’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a spokesman for the department said. [FoxNews] Read more

22 February 2011

'Action needed' on forced marriage says abused teenager

According to new figures seen by Newsbeat, there were 1,735 incidents of potential or actual cases involving British nationals reported to the forced marriage unit (FMU) in 2010.

More than half of the cases dealt with last year by the government's forced marriage unit were related to Pakistan.

.... She says her father wanted to marry her off to a man 16 years older than her so he could come to live in the UK. Last year the FMU rescued seven people each month from rural areas "It was just about the money," she admitted.

"He was literally selling me and he was selling my nationality so I could bring the person back. "I think it would have been £10,000." [BBC] Read more

Mullahs Fight Math in Madrassas

The government has launched a programme to modernize religious schools so that students get a basic education in such subjects as math, English and even computers.

Sardar Hussain Babak, education minister for the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said the move was aimed at providing both students and teachers proper education. But leaders of religious schools see the programme as interference, and have turned down government support.

"Most of these teachers are unable to teach properly. They don’t have modern education. The government wants to support them financially and technically but they don’t want (that)," he told IPS.

Babak said the decision to modernize was made amid reports that some of these schools were the breeding ground of militants. The government wants to integrate religious education with formal education and bridge the gulf between the two systems. [IPS-Inter Press Service] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Another Pakistani Christian woman faces blasphemy charge

As the world waits for news about Asia Bibi, the young Pakistani Christian mother who has been condemned to death after being convicted of blasphemy, another Christian woman has been arrested on similar charges.

Agnes Nuggo was denounced for blasphemy after she became embroiled in a property dispute with Muslim neighbors in the Punjab province. Accused of making statements that insulted the Mohammed, she insists that she is innocent.

The case is typical: a Christian is accused by unfriendly neighbors; the charge is entirely dependent on the testimony of those neighbors. Despite the obvious weakness of the legal case, courts are under heavy pressure from Islamic militants to convict the accused. Christian women face additional risks because Islamic societies favor the testimony of male witnesses. [CatholicCulture.org] Read more [via Religious Watch]

iEngage: Foreign Affairs

iEngage presents itself as a body which campaigns against Islamophobia. However, it spends its time attacking Muslim liberals and progressives, as well as journalists and politicians who oppose hate preachers and Islamist political parties.

.... There is a simple explanation for iEngage’s support for Hamas, Hezbollah, and Ahmadinejad’s regime in Iran. They substantially share their politics.

More to the point, if Sadiq Khan, Jack Straw, Simon Hughes and Stephen Timms manage to install iEngage as the Secretariat to the APPG, it is likely that they will seek to define Islamophobia as opposition to Islamist political parties. Such an outcome will deeply undermine the fight against racism, sectarianism and bigotry. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Four men slashed teacher's face and left him with fractured skull 'for teaching other religions to Muslim girls'

Four men launched a horrific attack on a teacher in which they slashed his face and left him with a fractured skull because they did not approve of him teaching religion to Muslim girls.

Akmol Hussein, 26, Sheikh Rashid, 27, Azad Hussain, 25, and Simon Alam, 19, attacked Gary Smith with a Stanley knife, an iron rod and a block of cement.

Mr Smith, who is head of religious education at Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow, east London, also suffered a fractured skull. [MailOnline] Read more

European Free Speech Under Attack

.... How can all this be possible in supposedly liberal Europe? The Dutch penal code states that anyone who either "publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in any way that incites hatred against a group or people" or "in any way that insults a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief, their hetero- or homosexual inclination or their physical, psychological or mental handicap, will be punished."

Early in 2008, a number of leftist and Islamic organizations took me to court, claiming that by expressing my views on Islam I had deliberately "insulted" and "incited hatred" against Muslims. I argued then, as I will again in my forthcoming book, that Islam is primarily a totalitarian ideology aiming for world domination. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

21 February 2011

Chechnya Encourages Islamic-Style Customs

Chechnya has asked state workers to dress conservatively, including headscarves for women and an Islamic dress code on Fridays, in its leaders' latest assertion of Muslim customs.

"We recommend that male state workers come to work in a suit and tie, and that women dress in a skirt below the knee and the appropriate headgear," Chechen government deputy head Magomed Selimkhanov told reporters.

On Fridays — the main day for prayers in Islam — employees of both sexes should observe "a traditional Muslim dress code," meaning covered arms and legs. Selimkhanov said his "recommendation" was "purely advisory." [Reuters] Read more [via Islam inEurope]

Warn against communist, secular parties - Muslim preachers laude revolution, slam democracy

.... The statement, however, criticized the revolution’s call for the installation of full democracies. Democracy, Muslim clerics argued, allows the people have the final say in their countries’ affairs, which leads to the prevalence of several un-Islamic practices.

“In democracies, people might vote for things that are prohibited in Islam like establishing brothels, allowing homosexuality, drinking alcohol, and usury, and prohibiting the call for prayers or the veil.”

The alternative, they argue, is to apply the concept of “shura,” or consultation, only in matters that are sanctioned in Islam while prohibited matters should be out of the question.

The statement also warned of the involvement of “un-Islamic” parties in the countries’ political scene and cited the example of political parties with communist or secular ideologies. [Al Arabiya News] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Christian Union wants constitutional Sharia ban

The Christian Union politician wants to ban Islamic law because it is "not rooted in principles which form part of Dutch culture. Our rights, the way we treat each other, our norms of good and evil have all been molded by Christianity."

Mr Kuiper argues that Islamic law is still grounded in retaliation, while the laws of a democratic constitutional state are geared toward forgiveness, correction and reconciliation. "Our laws are not based on 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Our legal system applies the law, but knows reconciliation must follow."

Senator Kuiper also wants to regulate the flow of money from Arab countries to Dutch mosques. The Christian Union politician says these measures are necessary "to take the Islam debate in the Netherlands a step forward". [Radio Netherlands Worldwide] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Human rights are more important than democracy in Islamic countries

.... The constitutions of newly independent Muslim majority countries were typically based on secular law, although sometimes retaining a special status for certain aspects of shari'a.

However, since the 1970s there has been a reversal of this trend, with increasing attempts to apply and enforce shari'a instead. This has led to serious restrictions on basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and academic freedom.

For example, between 1982 and 1986 Pakistan introduced the so called ‘Blasphemy laws’ (sections 295b and 295c of the penal code) which effectively made any criticism of the Qur’an or Muhammad punishable by either life imprisonment or execution.

This amounted to an enormous erosion of both freedom of speech, academic freedom and religious freedom. Effectively this meant that any non Muslim who was asked whether they believed the Qur’an was ‘the infallible word of God’ faced the most severe penalties. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Al-Qaradawi returns to Cairo

After a 50-year exile, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has returned to Cairo to preach his particular bloody interpretation of Islam to more than a million followers.

He is a Muslim Brotherhood cleric who advocates the slaughter of Jews, supports wife-beating and female genital mutilation, and is positively effusive about the execution of apostates and homosexuals. He is also the spiritual adviser for the Palestinian Authority terrorist group, Hamas.

He has been banned from Egypt since 1961, but found refuge in the UK and was welcomed with open arms by Ken Livingstone. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

20 February 2011

Robert Fisk: These are secular popular revolts – yet everyone is blaming religion

.... Even weirder was the reaction from Iran, whose supreme leader convinced himself that the Egyptian people's success was a victory for Islam. It's a sobering thought that only al-Qa'ida and Iran and their most loathed enemies, the anti-Islamist Arab dictators, believed that religion lay behind the mass rebellion of pro-democracy protesters.

.... So it's a sea-change in the Middle East's political, social, cultural world. It will create many tragedies, raise many hopes and shed far too much blood. Better perhaps to ignore all the analysts and the "think tanks" whose silly "experts" dominate the satellite channels.

If Czechs could have their freedom, why not the Egyptians? If dictators can be overthrown in Europe – first the fascists, then the Communists – why not in the great Arab Muslim world? And – just for a moment – keep religion out of this. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Cameron’s Crusade

To most British people, including most British Muslims, this was a statement of the Pretty Bloody Obvious. Cameron’s remarks follow similar speeches by his French and German counterparts.

Across Europe, there is a recognition that multiculturalism has failed in its own terms, creating ghettos and cutting off some immigrant women, in particular, from full participation in a free society.

The trouble is that it takes a long time for such sentiments to percolate through the government machine. State bureaucracies, especially in local government, remain wedded to their diversity advisers, their interpreters, their racism-awareness counselors. As Upton Sinclair once remarked, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends upon not understanding it.” [Newsweek] Read more

19 February 2011

Australian Senator receives death threats over 'Islam is problem, not Muslims' claims

.... He had earlier told radio station MTR that: "Islam itself is the problem - it''s not Muslims. Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology."

"It tells people everything about how they need to conduct themselves, who they''re allowed to marry and how they''re allowed to treat other people." he added. [New Kerala] Read more [via National Secular Society]

iEngage Attacks Muslim Liberals, Defends Islamists and Hate Preachers

iEngage is an attack organisation, which hopes to be appointed as the Secretariat to the APPG on Islamophobia. As we will show, this is not an organisation whose primary focus is opposing racism and anti-Muslim bigotry. Instead, it is significantly devoted to attacking non-Islamist Muslims and liberals, while defending hate preachers and Islamist political parties. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Oppose ENGAGE Presence In the APPG Now is the time to protest against the decision by the APPG to allow entry of the Islamict extremist aligned group ENGAGE because of the actions of irresponsible politicians Peter Bottomley, Simon Hughes, Steven Timms and Sadiq Khan who have been deluded by ignorance, political cowardice and electoral cynicism and their wilful inability to distinguish mainstream Islam from extremist Islam. You can oppose the presence of the ENGAGE in the APPG. [The Spittoon] Read more

Islamophobia group keeps controversial anti-Zionist link The new all party parliamentary group on Islamophobia has voted by a narrow margin to retain the controversial anti-Zionist iEngage organisation as its secretariat.

Concerns about the sectarian politics of iEngage (also known simply as Engage) led to the resignation of the group's Conservative Chair Kris Hopkins MP and one of its vice-chairs, veteran Jewish Labour peer Greville Janner.

.... The APPG has pledged to fully investigate concerns about iEngage before it is officially confirmed as the secretariat to the group, although it is unclear who will carry this out, or how long it will take. [TheJC.com] Read more

Pro-Israel lobby continues smear campaign against ENGAGE We have in recent weeks witnessed what appears to be a shrill and orchestrated campaign from pro-Israel elements seeking to undermine ENGAGE and have it removed as the secretariat for the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia (and no doubt replaced by a more pliant Muslim group). Here are a couple of examples of the articles that have appeared. [inayatscorner] Read more

18 February 2011

French far-right sees boost from planned Islam debate

France's far-right National Front said on Friday that a planned national debate on Islam and secularism would boost its support and improve its chances in the presidential election next year.

Party leader Marine Le Pen, who took over last month from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, mocked the planned debate as a new opinion poll showed she could score a strong 20 percent in the first round of the presidential vote.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government wants the debate, due in April, to discuss whether France's five-million-strong Muslim minority supports the official separation of church and state. [Reuters] Read more

Tablighi Jamaat mosque accused of encouraging Muslim isolationism

.... According to evidence from Dr Taj Hargey, an imam who runs a progressive Islamic educational centre in Oxford, the "isolationist dynamic" of Tablighi Jamaat has caused the growth of a "separatist Muslim enclave" in the streets around its Dewsbury headquarters.

.... He said: "Over the past 14 years that TJ has occupied the site it has furnished no proven track record of opening their facilities to the wider Muslim community, let alone non-Muslim community.

In that time they have not even managed to create any facilities for women. The facility itself currently contributes substantially to marginalisation". He described it as a "supremacist movement with adverse implications for the government's community cohesion policies". [guardian.co.uk] Read more

BBC Wilders Documentary Promotes Extremists and Members of Extremist Groups

Anyone interested in the worrying rise of the far right in Europe might have tuned into “Geert Wilders: Europe’s Most Dangerous Man?” about the controversial and deeply divisive anti-Islam Dutch MP. However, you would have been surprised by the content, the participants and the conclusions of the programme.

Your discomfort might start when the programme introduces Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra thus: “He works for an organisation seeking to promote a distinct Muslim identity in tune with British cultural norms and values.” [Harry’s Place] Read more

Egypt Gets Its Khomeini

Friday, February 18 may be a turning point in Egyptian history. On that day Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the best-known Muslim Brotherhood cleric in the world and one of the most famous Islamist thinkers, will address a mass rally in Cairo.

Up until now, the Egyptian revolution generally, and the Brotherhood in particular, has lacked a charismatic thinker, someone who could really mobilize the masses.

Qaradawi is that man. Long resident in the Gulf, he is returning to his homeland in triumph. Through internet, radio, his 100 books, and his weekly satellite television program, Qaradawi has been an articulate voice for revolutionary Islamism. He is literally a living legend. [American Thinker] Read more

'The Quran Is Our Law; Jihad Is Our Way'

'Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." So goes the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood.

What's extraordinary about this maxim is the succinct way that it captures the political dimension of Islam. Even more extraordinary is the capacity of these five pillars of faith to attract true believers. But the most remarkable thing of all is the way the Brotherhood's motto seduces Western liberals.

Readers of this paper are familiar with the genesis of the Muslim Brotherhood: its establishment ... [WSJ.com - Behind paywall] Read more

Illegal to say Muhammad was a pedophile

I thought this story would get some attention from the mainstream media. I was wrong.

The only 'mainstream' site I found that mentioned it was the Austrian Times. They headlined their article Lecturer fined for calling Koran 'evil', though apparently, that wasn't the case.

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was put on trial for saying that "Islam is in a perpetual state of war with us", "Islam is vicious" and "Muslims hate us."

But apparently that's OK. What really bothered the judge, and what she fined Sabaditsch-Wolff for, was calling Muhammad a pedophile. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Egypt revolution unfinished, Qaradawi tells Tahrir masses

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a leading Egyptian Islamic theologian popularized by Al Jazeera, returned to Cairo today to deliver a stirring but overtly political sermon, calling on Egyptians to preserve national unity as they press for democratic progress.

“Don’t let anyone steal this revolution from you – those hypocrites who will put on a new face that suits them,” he said, speaking to at least 200,000 who gathered for Friday prayers in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt's uprising. “The revolution isn’t over. It has just started to build Egypt … guard your revolution.” [The Christian Science Monitor] Read more

An Aide-Memoire About Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Perhaps you were impressed with Yusuf Al-Qaradawi's rhetorical outreach, in passing, to Copts in his speech at Tahrir Square. If so, then you need reminding as to what Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is really like, when he is not making nice in the early stages of the post-revolutionary period, when everything is confused, everything is up in the air, and no one knows what will be the outcome, or kto kogo, and besides, the Western television people are here, and for now we have to be careful what we say.

So here is a little more information, so you can have a clearer sense, if you were taken in by any part of his address in Tahrir Square, by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi: [The Iconoclast] Read more

Further Infiltration of iERA at University of Birmingham ISoc

There are times when I think that these University Islamic Societies are filled with secular Muslims and democrats who bring in these hate-preachers in a rather covert, clever, black-ops way of saying “Look, we have these people in a room for you, now, someone, challenge them!”

That is, I do some of the time. Most of the time, I think they’re full of hateful bigots.

".... Whereas in this society, what they call debate and positive discourse is printing cartoons. What they call debate and positive discourse is creating a rhetorically-driven, and gender-motivated, politically-motivated film. Is this facilitating debate and discourse in a positive way in a postmodern society? Of course not." [The Spittoon] Read more

The Post-Islamist Future

Recent events in Egypt indicate the beginning of the end for the Middle East’s fascination with Islamist opposition politics. Egypt’s revolution is no deathblow to Islamism—it is not even a debilitating injury. But when thinking in terms of decades-long trends, it is the start of a new intellectual era for the region.

The 1950s and ’60s witnessed the rise of pan-Arab socialism. Autocratic strongmen brought in by military coups were the order of the day in Egypt, Syria and beyond. By the 1980s and ’90s, there was a fierce explosion in angry Islamism, as seen in the jihadist insurrection in Egypt and the rise of both Hamas and Hezbollah. [Wall Street Journal - Spittoon] Read more

Our high-profile Muslim minority

.... Senator Cory Bernardi summed it up in a nutshell, opining on his website:

"Across the world there have been new waves of immigrants who have decided that their greatest allegiance is to the religious and political ideology of Islam rather than to their adopted land. This is the multiculturalism that an increasing number of leaders are prepared to declare has failed."

In short, according to the popular narrative, the problem with multiculturalism is Muslims. Or, to be more precise, the perceived failure of Muslim migrants to integrate and embrace the cultures and traditions of their adopted lands, which in turn allows Islamic extremism to thrive. [The Australian] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

17 February 2011

Sarkozy wants law to rein in Islam

JUST days after saying that multiculturalism had failed in France, President Sarkozy is launching a debate on religion and the secular state, asking what limits should be placed on Islam.

Speaking to his UMP MPs at the Élysée, he said he wanted concrete measures on the place of Islam in France and its compatibility with the country’s secular laws.

He said the French had “paid dear” for their blindness towards immigration during the 1980s, when debate was taboo.

“There was a growing disruption between the concerns of the media and the concerns of ordinary French people. The racists of yesterday are today’s populists.” [The Connexion] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Controversial Islamic preacher speaks at Union

Controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik addressed the Oxford Union on Friday despite the exclusion order against him entering the UK.

Naik gave a speech and answered questions via video link from India to a crowd of students and other onlookers at the event, organised by the famous debating society.

In his speech, Naik blamed the “virulent propaganda” in the media for the “misconception of Islam” and for his own ban on entry to the UK.

He claimed the media printed portions of his speeches “out of context” and so portrayed him as a “preacher of hate”. [The Oxford Student] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Islamists bent on killing Jordan’s nightlife

JORDAN, an Islamic country surrounded by Syria, Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia, has – according to this guide – a night “that simply rocks”.

But all this could change if the Jordanian authorities meet the demands of a bunch of lunatic Muslim “scholars” who want the country’s 60 or so nightclubs shut down. They say that the clubs and discos are eroding the nation’s morals.

Jordan’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has made such demands in the past. But yesterday they were were joined by others, a sign that the clamping down on fun is becoming more popular in Muslim circles. [The Freethinker] Read more

Calls for Morrison's head in 'anti-Muslim' row

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is standing by his immigration spokesman Scott Morrison amid calls for his sacking over his alleged proposal for the Coalition to pursue an anti-Muslim agenda.

A Fairfax report says Mr Morrison urged shadow cabinet to capitalise on electorate fears of "Muslim immigration", "Muslims in Australia" and Muslim migrants' "inability to integrate".

The report says Mr Morrison's suggestion was slapped down by senior Liberals including Julie Bishop and Philip Ruddock, but the Opposition has been under pressure over reports of a continuing split within the party over the issue. [Australian Broadcasting Corporation] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

The world's most dangerous broadcaster

I have only just caught up with the BBC1 documentary on the Dutch politician Geert Wilders that was transmitted on Tuesday evening. Did I say documentary? ‘Europe’s Most Dangerous Man' was a vicious hatchet job that was a disgrace to journalism.

.... This travesty of a documentary was made by two radical Dutch film-makers for a production company called ‘Red Rebel’. Questions need to be asked how the BBC could transmit something on such an inflammatory subject which ignored the most basic standards of journalistic fairness, -- and was effectively the broadcasting equivalent of a flier distributed by the Socialist Workers’ Party.

But of course, we all know the answer to that already. BBC ‘group- think’ means that BBC executives will have assumed the lazy and vicious left-wing demonisation of Wilders is axiomatically true and unchallengeable. [The Spectator] Read more

France plans nation-wide Islam and secularism debate

France’s governing party plans to launch a national debate on the role of Islam and respect for French secularism among Muslims here, two issues emerging as major themes for the presidential election due next year.

Jean-François Copé, secretary general of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party, said the debate would examine issues such as the financing and building of mosques, the contents of Friday sermons and the education of the imams delivering them. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Top Tory Defends iEngage, Attacks Lord Janner

The JC reports that Marjorie Thompson, formerly the Chair of CND but now chair of the Conservative Cooperative Movement and spokesperson for the Islamist campaigning group, iEngage, has made an utterly disgraceful attack on the veteran Labour Peer, Lord Janner:

In what is becoming an increasingly bitter dispute, iEngage spokesperson Marjorie Thompson told the JC she did not believe Lord Janner had signed up to the APPG in good faith. “It strikes me that Greville Janner joined the group to directly sabotage it,” she said. [Harry’s Place] Read more

In Defence of Lord Janner It is outrageous for Marjorie Thompson who is the chair of the Conservative Cooperative Movement to besmirch Lord Janner by claiming that he had not signed up to the All Party Parliamentary Group looking into Islamophobia in good faith.

According to the JC, she said: “It strikes me that Greville Janner joined the group to directly sabotage it.” But after further inspection, I noticed that she was speaking in the capacity as spokesperson for Engage, the organisation behind the controversy.

Here we have a person who is leading the charge for David Cameron’s Big Society representing an organisation that at the very least is sectarian, and supports banned extremist hate speakers as well as Islamist political networks and organisations – so soon after the PM’s speech in Munich.

As the Muslim Labour peer, Lord Gulam Noon says “Greville Janner has always fought all forms of racism, including Islamophobia”. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Post-Islamic Revolution" -- Events in Egypt Analyzed by French Expert on Political Islam

.... By “Islamists,” I mean people who see Islam as a political ideology that can provide answers to solve all the problems confronting society. The most radical people in this group have left their countries to join the international jihadist campaign, so they are no longer on the domestic political scene.

They are in the deserts of North Africa with the group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or in Pakistan, or in the suburbs of London. They have no social or political base in their own countries. Global jihad is completely disconnected from the social, political or geopolitical struggles of the local populations there. [The European Institute] Read more

16 February 2011

Jesus and Mo and Moses ponder multiculturalism

‘In one sense assimilation means treating individuals as citizens and not as members of a particular group. That seems to me to be a very good thing.

But that is not what assimilation has come to mean in practice somewhere like France, where policies of assimilation have resulted in the authorities treating different groups of people differently by pointing up their differences, insisting that certain groups – Muslims or the Roma, for example – cannot belong to our culture, to our society, because their culture, their values, their ways of life are so different and inimical to ours. That is the way assimilation policies have developed and I think that is very dangerous.’ [Jesus and Mo] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

Vetting calls for teachers in mosques

Children 1st, Scotland’s leading child protection organisation, said the time had come for minority faith groups to sign up to Disclosure Scotland checks routinely carried out by almost all other bodies that work with children.

The Herald yesterday revealed that Strathclyde Police were investigating allegations of assault against teachers at three Glasgow madrassas or Islamic schools operated in mosques. All the claims centre on the kind of corporal punishment that was widespread in mainstream education until the 1980s. [Herald Scotland] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Egypt Women Clash on Sharia After Equality on Tahrir

The women who rallied against former President Hosni Mubarak challenged social taboos in a culture that favors men. Now the triumph of the uprising has given way to cautious optimism among liberal activists who want an entirely secular legal code, with no Sharia, or Islamic-based, laws.

They are at odds with other women in the pro-democracy movement as the military sets the stage for the new Egypt, suspending the constitution and dissolving the parliament. [Bloomberg Businessweek] Read more [via National Secular Society]

15 February 2011

Multiculturalism has failed: Verhagen

Christian Democrat leader Maxime Verhagen on Monday said the multicultural society has failed. He was speaking during the recording of tv show Nova College Tour, reports the Algemeen Dagblad.

Verhagen told the programme the Dutch no longer feel at home in their own country and immigrants are not entirely happy here either.

The minister wants the Dutch to be prouder of their country like people in the US where they first say they are American and then where they originally come from, says the paper. [DutchNews.nl] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Malaysia Arrests 100 Muslim Couples for Celebrating Lovers' Day

Malaysian religious authorities arrested more than 100 Muslim couples on Monday who defied a ban on any activities marking Valentine's Day.

Islamic authorities in Malaysia in 2005 issued a fatwa to warn Muslims against celebrating Valentine's Day, saying that the occasion could lead to vice activities, especially pre-marital sex. [Straits Times] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

The Trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Day 3

Today was the third and final day of the “hate speech” trial against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. Below is the brief live-blog for the occasion.

To recapitulate: the charges against Elisabeth were “incitement to hatred” and “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion” for giving informational seminars on Islam.

On the count of “incitement to hatred”: Not guilty. On the count of “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion”: Guilty. The judgment against the defendant is a €480 fine. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

LSE cancels event with German critics of radical Islam

A panel discussion addressing the integration of Muslims in Europe, scheduled to be held at the London School of Economics on Monday, was canceled after the school said it could not provide adequate security for planned student protests.

A group of mainly German LSE students and academics opposed the decision by the school’s German Society to invite two sharp critics of political Islam and Germany’s integration policies: Thilo Sarrazin, a former member of the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank and a former head of finance for the State of Berlin, and Henryk M. Broder, a well-known German-Jewish journalist.

The protesters circulated a petition headlined “Integration instead of clash of the cultures.” [JPost.com] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Islamic group appeals Olympic site mosque

.... Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary movement with 80 million followers worldwide and six centres in the UK, is trying to overturn an enforcement notice on its mosque, called the Riverine Centre, after temporary planning permission expired in 2006. The inquiry also heard that the group missed a crucial deadline to submit a plan for a permanent structure.

Proposals for a 12,000-capacity place of worship, boys' boarding school and community centre led to more than 48,000 people petitioning the government to block the development, dubbed the "megamosque". [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Mosque school arrest following Channel 4 documentary

Police have arrested a man concerning alleged assaults on children at a mosque after viewing a Channel 4 documentary screened on Monday.

Dispatches, Lessons in Hate and Violence, secretly filmed a man apparently hitting and kicking children during Qu'ran lessons at a school in the Markazi Jamia mosque at Keighley, West Yorkshire.

An Islamic school in Birmingham in the same documentary, where a preacher was filmed making offensive remarks about non-Muslims, said it would close early for half-term, amid fears pupils could be the target of far-right groups. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Last night's Dispatches was disturbing, but faith schools are not the problem For me the most disturbing thing about last night’s Dispatches was the schoolteacher’s warning that pupils must stay away from men with less than “a fistful of beard… like you would from a serpent or a snake”.

Leaving aside the pedantic point that a serpent and a snake are the same thing, as someone who is unable to grow a proper Taliban-style “fistful” of beard how would I survive in a society run by Muslim fanatics? (For that matter what about Native Americans?)

Say I wanted to convert to hardline Islam and send my kids to one of those lovely madrassas featured on last night’s programme, can I get beard extensions? After all, they’re strong on discipline, those faith schools – perhaps a bit too strong sometimes. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

'Muslim Eton' at centre of Channel 4 hate-preaching allegations is forced to shut over far-Right safety fears An Islamic school at the centre of a documentary row will close tomorrow amid safety fears.

Teachers at the Darul Uloom Islamic High School, in Small Heath, Birmingham, have held meetings with police chiefs and fear that youngsters could be targeted by the far-Right.

The Dispatches documentary, Lessons in Hatred and Violence, aired tonight and showed footage of a preacher making offensive remarks about Hindus and ranting: 'Disbelievers are the worst creatures'. [MailOnline] Read more

Religion of bullying Many of today's unruly teenagers could do with a clip round the ear. As Esmerelda points out, it is not so long ago that corporal punishment was common in British schools, and of course some teachers abused this right. But corporal punishment is not the same as bullying, and it is bullying that was demonstrated in last night's Dispatches documentary about a Muslim school.

Bullying started with the teacher, who lashed out at random - with blows, kicks and even throwing a bench at one poor child. The same teacher, and his assistant, turned a blind eye when older boys beat up children half their size. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Dispatches Islamic school to complain to Ofcom An Islamic school in Birmingham says it is drafting a complaint to Ofcom in light of a Channel 4 Dispatches show. Lessons in Hatred and Violence, aired on Monday evening, showed footage of a preacher at Darul Uloom School displaying extreme views.

Head teacher Mujahid Aziz said the school had been misrepresented. Dispatches said it stood by its investigation and that "numerous" adults had been filmed teaching contempt for other religions. [BBC] Read more

Review of C4's 'Lessons in Hate & Violence' Investigative journalism at its best uncovers issues that should warrant further scrutiny or remedial action and presents the media as fourth estate to best effect.

But it’s difficult not to detect in the purported investigative journalism uncovering issues in the Muslim community some degree of tacit social engineering. And last night’s Dispatches programme, like the preceding one on “Undercover Mosque” or the various panorama programmes fronted by John Ware (“A Question of Leadership” or the more recent “British Schools, Islamic Rules”), was no different.

The programme’s presentation of Dr Taj Hargey and the Muslim Educational Centre in Oxford (MECO) as the model Muslim school for teaching Muslim schoolchildren about other faiths and life in Britain is not without the obvious questions: [ENGAGE] Read more

14 February 2011

Dutch MP Geert Wilders 'can challenge' Islam hate trial

Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has been granted the right to challenge the charges against him of inciting hatred.

The ruling was made by a new panel of judges appointed after the initial trial collapsed in October when Mr Wilders complained of bias against him.

Mr Wilders' lawyer will now be given a chance to set out the objections he made at the start of the initial trial.

One of the judges told the court on Monday that if the objections were successful, "the case will be closed". [BBC] Read more

Muslims prefer democracy but want stoning for adultery and death for apostasy - Pew Global Attitudes Survey 2010

.... But death for apostasy! For your beliefs, your conscience. Well, that gets right to the heart of the problem with Islam.

And around a half (85% in Pakistan!) want gender segregation in the workplace. Can Muslims think only of nothing but procreation. How can you run a modern economy like that?

You might wonder too, what the results would have been if Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq had been included in the survey.

See survey results conveniently summarised in tables for ease of comprehension. [LibertyPhile Surveys] Read more

French and Germans consider Islam “a threat”

.... A poll by France’s Le Monde newspaper also found a majority in both countries believe Muslims have ‘not integrated properly’. Le Monde ran the results under a headline which brands efforts to get different religious communities to live side by side as a ‘failure’.

See survey results conveniently summarised in tables for ease of comprehension. [LibertyPhile Surveys] Read more

Over half of French Muslims say they will marry only another Muslim

.... The poll found that 84% opposed the legalization of polygamy in France, while 83% reject the notion that parents should choose spouses for their children.

Roughly three out of four (73%) are against sex outside marriage, while 53% said they were unwilling to marry a non-Muslim. [LibertyPhile Surveys] Read more

What Europeans Think about Islam – Some Recent Surveys

75% of Czechs oppose building mosques
Netherlands: 73% support a burqa ban
Swedes cite integration issues as a 'problem'
Majority approve debate following Sarrazin's claims
Denmark: 30% see Islam as a threat to Denmark
Denmark: 55% say Islam bad for social cohesion
Germans most critical of Islam
Most Germans see Muslims as a 'burden': poll
Xenophobia takes root in German mainstream

[LibertyPhile Surveys] Read more

David Cameron’s Speech

Over the last two weeks LibertyPhile has published extracts from 17 reports of David Cameron’s speech. They are also all listed here with links for ease of access.

Positive or Neutral

David Cameron's Munich speech - an end to multiculturalism and an end to Islamic extremism [Article includes full speech] Archbishop Cranmer
State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron BBC
The days of doing deals with Muslim extremists are over Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
David Cameron versus the Islamists: the Prime Minister throws down the gauntlet to a deadly enemy Nile Gardiner, Daily Telegraph
Cameron: My war on multiculturalism Oliver Wright and Jerome Taylor, The Independent
At long last we have a Prime Minister who rightly makes the distinction between Islam and Islamism Haras Rafiq, ConservativeHome
Assimilation depends on a shared sense of national pride Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph
If David Cameron goes on like this, he could win the next General Election Norman Tebbit, Daily Telegraph
Lord Tebbit's "cricket test" is more significant now than ever before - and I write as one who used to fail it Parvez Akhtar, ConservativeHome
David Cameron's important speech Melanie Phillips, The Spectator
Jungle drums and the politics of hate Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
What David Cameron should have said about multiculturalism John Milbank, ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Muscle v multiculturalism - David Cameron challenges radical Islamists to a contest of ideas Bagehot, The Economist


Why David Cameron is wrong about radicalisation and multiculturalism Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman
Three problems with David Cameron’s speech on multiculturalism Sunny Hundal, Liberal Conspiracy
Cameron's confusion on multiculturalism Andrew Brown, Guardian Cif
Cameron’s cynical Muslim-bashing – and Labour’s shabby response Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman

13 February 2011

Malaysia warns Muslims of Valentine's Day 'trap'

Malaysia has stepped up a campaign to stop Muslims celebrating Valentine's Day - labelling it a "trap" that could encourage immoral behaviour.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Monday's celebration of romantic love was "not suitable" for Muslims. Several Malaysian states are planning to carry out checks on hotels to stop young couples having premarital sex.

The anti-Valentine's Day campaign by the country's Islamic authorities goes back to a fatwa issued in 2005. Leaflets have been distributed to Muslim university students urging them to avoid Monday's celebration. [BBC] Read more

Shame of Britain's Muslim schools: Secret filming shows pupils being beaten and 'taught Hindus drink cow p***'

…. Holding the children’s attention is a man in Islamic dress wearing a skullcap and stroking his long dark beard as he talks.

‘You’re not like the non-Muslims out there,’ the teacher says, gesturing towards the window. ‘All that evil you see in the streets, people not wearing the hijab properly, people smoking . . . you should hate it, you should hate walking down that street.’

He refers to the ‘non-Muslims’ as the ‘Kuffar’, an often derogatory term that means disbeliever or infidel.

.... This school is required by its inspectors to teach tolerance and respect for other faiths. But the Channel 4 current affairs programme Dispatches filmed secretly inside it – and instead discovered that Muslim children are being taught religious apartheid and social segregation. [MailOnline] Read more

12 February 2011

Pupils must not be forced to eat halal Church tells schools

The Church of England has told its schools to ensure they are serving non-halal food after concerns that a number are only providing meat slaughtered according to Islamic law.

The official guidance was issued after Church members complained that the use of halal meat was effectively ‘spreading sharia law’ across Britain.

The Church’s financial arm has also come under pressure to withdraw its investments – worth millions of pounds – in supermarkets that do not clearly label halal food. [MailOnline] Read more

11 February 2011

Let's change the tune on official multiculturalism

.... "The fact is, Canada has an enviable culture based on Judeo-Christian values - not Muslim values - with British and French rule of law and traditions and that's why it's better than all of the other places in the world. We are heading down a dangerous path if we allow the idea that sharia law has a place in Canada. It does not.

It is completely incompatible with the idea and reality of Canada," says Kanwar, who in the 1970s was the founder and president of the Pakistan-Canada Association and a big fan of official multiculturalism.

Kanwar says his views changed when he started listening to the people who joined his group. They badmouthed Canada, weren't interested in knowing Canadians or even in learning one of our official languages. They created cultural ghettos and the Canadian government even helped fund it. [Calgary Herald] Read more [via The Spittoon]

Douglas Murray: Multiculturalism in Britain is 'divisive"

Neo-conservative author and the director for the centre of social cohesion, Douglas Murray, says multiculturalism in Britain is "divisive" and has created a society with "different values for different people".

The New Statesman's Mehdi Hassan responded to Mr Murray's comments claiming that multiculturalism in Britain had been a success.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister David Cameron made a speech in which he said he wanted to see the end of "state multiculturalism". [BBC] Read more

Salon worker fired over headscarf, she says

A young Markham woman who works as an esthetician claims she was fired for wearing an Islamic headscarf because the salon “promotes hair.”

Mehwish Ali, a 22-year-old esthetician with Trade Secrets in Pickering, was fired Tuesday, a day after she says the co-owner told her the hijab was unacceptable.

“I was devastated when I heard that,” Ali told the Star. “I have worn the hijab for more than 10 years and never felt any kind of discrimination.”

But Robert Facchini, co-owner of the franchise near Highway 401 and Brock Rd, categorically denies that. “This is a performance issue, strictly a performance issue,” he said. [Toronto Star] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Conservative MP wants to ban veiled voting

A Quebec Conservative MP introduced a private member's bill Friday that would require Canadians to show their faces before they vote, reviving a debate first sparked more than three years ago.

Steven Blaney, who represents the Quebec riding of Levis-Bellechasse, said the bill would fix a "gap" in the electoral system and is not meant to discriminate against religious groups, such as Muslims. "For me it is important that we all share this transparency," he said. [Vancouver Sun] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Sarkozy declares multiculturalism "a failure"

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday declared that multiculturalism had failed, joining a growing number of world leaders or ex-leaders who have condemned it.

"We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him," he said in a television interview in which he declared the concept a "failure."

,,,, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia's former prime minister John Howard and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar have also in recent months said multicultural policies have not successfully integrated immigrants. [AFP] Read more

Banned hate preacher still broadcasting after 'Jews are enemy of Islam' claim

.... But eight months on, the 45-year-old cleric is still a key figure in a company that holds an Ofcom-approved licence for Peace TV.

Now, the broadcasting watchdog has confirmed it is investigating the satellite channel, broadcast in English and Urdu, after receiving a complaint from a viewer over its extremist messages.

Programmes on Peace TV have included praise for "mujahideen" fighting British troops in Iraq, labelled Jews as an "enemy of Islam" and made claims about the 9/11 terror attacks being an "inside job". [The London Evening Standard] Read more

Pat Condell: Islam Shoved Down Your Throats

David Cameron's recent speech against multiculturalism struck me as mealy-mouthed. He refused to acknowledge that Islam is the problem, not "Islamism" or "extremism". Still, it has offended the usual suspects - the Muslim Council of Britain, for example, and demented loon Madeleine Bunting.

Somebody, possibly Hugh, wrote something along the lines that Cameron is like the Chief Executive of a large corporation. You get the feeling that he gave his anti-multiculturalism speech because he was in Munich and wished to please his client Angela Merkel, just as his awful speech in Turkey was pitched at Erdogan and any business opportunities he could get out of the Turks.

Pat Condell draws attention to the missing bit in Cameron's speech - the camel in the room, as it were. He packs quite a punch for someone who may well be a vegetarian: [The Iconoclast] Read more

10 February 2011

Muscle v multiculturalism - David Cameron challenges radical Islamists to a contest of ideas

.... In its final counter-terrorist strategy in office, Labour plumped for challenging such “non-violent extremists”. Mr Cameron is intervening because he thinks that decision has not been followed through, says a Whitehall source.

The prime minister, says the source, has been persuaded by the “conveyor belt” theory—the belief that non-violent extremism is often a “way point” on the road to lethal radicalism. Mr Cameron thinks multiculturalism has drifted from a tolerance of other cultures towards a tolerance of other value systems, some of them hostile to Britain.

That stress on values raises some daunting problems. First, there is a tension between values and tactics. The most coherent critics of dangerous preachers are often imams who hold “pretty unpleasant views” themselves, argues a senior official. [The Economist] Read more [via National Secular Society]

I’m still a critic of multiculturalism, honest

I have long been a critic of multiculturalism. And I have debated the issue with Tariq Modood more times than I care remember, including on Start the Week, Newsnight Review, and at public meetings in London, Bristol, Manchester and countless other places.

So when The Moral Maze decided this week to debate multiculturalism, in the wake of David Cameron’s speech, and invited Modood to be one of the witnesses, it seemed inevitable that I would be grilling him.

If only life were so simple. As it turned out, I ended up on the ostensibly pro-multiculturalism side, grilling not Modood but Douglas Murray, the self-described ‘neo-conservative’, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, and himself an acerbic critic of multiculturalism. [Kenan Malik] Read more [via The Spitton]

Cameron’s cynical Muslim-bashing – and Labour’s shabby response

.... Can Labour in opposition develop a political narrative that reflects and promotes the reality of multicultural Britain, while addressing the genuine if misguided concerns of some "white working-class" core voters as well as wider anxiety about the radicalisation of a minority of young British Muslims?

Or will shadow ministers continue to cower at the feet of the Daily Mail? Miliband et al should think long and hard about everything that was wrong about Cameron's simplistic and inflammatory speech - and how best to respond to it. [New Statesman] Read more

No exceptions to school lessons for religious reasons

At least a dozen Muslim families, newly arrived on the Canadian prairie, have requested that their children be exempted from phys. ed and music classes for religious reasons.

This isn’t about religion. It’s a self-invented superstition on a par with a girl I knew in high school who thought she could avoid bad luck if she lifted her feet off the floor of the bus as we passed over railway tracks. To paraphrase from noted atheist Christopher Hitchens, just because you say something is sacred does not make it so.

The Muslim objection to phys ed. and music classes is derived from a perverted literal interpretation of Islamic texts that has also led to cultural clashes in Minneapolis, where taxi drivers have refused to pick up riders with alcohol or seeing eye dogs, insisting that contact with either would make them unclean. [National Post] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Tariq's Tricks: How the West's Favorite Islamist Spins His Web

.... "The Islamist presence has for decades justified the West's acceptance of the worst dictatorships in the Arab world. And it was these very regimes that demonized their Islamist opponents ...."

Well, let's see. Which were the worst dictatorships in the Arab world that demonized their Islamist opponents? Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egypt; Algeria's military junta; Syria and Iraqi Ba'thist regimes? None of them were Western-backed.

What countries were Western-backed? Saudi Arabia, which gave refuge to Islamists including many members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood; Jordan, whose government often worked with Islamists; Lebanon, where Islamists could operate freely. [American Thinker] Read more

Whither the Muslim Brotherhood? Even as the mass demonstrations began in Tunisia, who would have thought that Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime would have collapsed so quickly? Who could have predicted that Egypt would soon witness such unprecedented popular protest? A barrier has fallen. Nothing will be the same again. It is quite likely that other countries will follow the lead of Egypt, given its central and symbolic significance. But what will be the role of the Islamists after the collapse of the dictatorships?

The Islamist presence has for decades justified the West’s acceptance of the worst dictatorships in the Arab world. And it was these very regimes that demonized their Islamist opponents, particularly Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which historically represents that country’s first well-organized mass movement with the political influence to match. [The New York Times] Read more

Grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder whitewashes Muslim Brotherhood in New York Times The French journalist Caroline Fourest has published a book-length study of Tariq Ramadan's sly duplicity, Brother Tariq.

Fourest concludes that this much-lionized putative Muslim Martin Luther is actually anything but a reformer: in reality, Ramadan is "remaining scrupulously faithful to the strategy mapped out by his grandfather, a strategy of advance stage by stage" toward the imposition of Islamic law in the West. [Jihad Watch] Read more

09 February 2011

Why “militant Islam” is a dangerous myth

.... Yet Gallup research paints a very different picture; an ambitious new study suggests that casting tensions between Muslims and the West in religious terms may actually weaken the ability of America and Europe to fight religiously-branded extremists.

This report, which inaugurates Gallup’s Abu Dhabi Center, is entitled “Measuring Muslim-West Relations: Assessing the “New Beginning,” and presents the results of more than 100,000 interviews with citizens in 55 countries.

A key finding is that those who see the conflict as primarily due to religious differences are more likely to see a clash as inevitable. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Minister: Scrapping Ham from Menu Not Islamisation

Home Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner has rejected suggestions that the fact the police in Gelderland are not served pigmeat any more is an illustration of Islamisation of Dutch society.

The province's corps is no longer served any ham rolls, according to local newspaper De Gelderland. This meat is not 'halal' for Muslims. Party for Freedom (PVV) MPs Geert Wilders and Hero Brinkman had complained to the minister about this "example of unacceptable Islamisation of the Netherlands." [NIS News] Read more

Liberal MPs warn of 'Islam danger'

Opening up a new political faultline, former immigration minister Kevin Andrews lashed out at political leaders who failed to speak out on the rise of extreme Islam, claiming the silence contributes to the rise of One Nation-type movements.

Another Liberal frontbencher, Mitch Fifield, warned of the danger of "parallel societies" developing as has occurred in Europe where hardline Muslim groups preached sharia law rather than Western values.

Amid a robust debate in Europe over failed "state multiculturalism", Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi warned Australia must avoid the mistakes of nations that allowed religious fanatics to prosper "before it is too late". [Herald Sun] Read more

Lambert: So Wrong On So Many Levels

.... Mr Lambert’s project at the EMRC is politically aligned to Islamist interests, being funded by the Cordoba Foundation. Lambert’s ideas on “counter-terrorism” wich underpin the “academic” output of the EMRC amounts to little more than promoting and feting the jihadist causes based in the UK while ensuring that their Muslim detractors are marginalized and the non-Muslims tainted as racists and “Islamophobes”.

However, Lambertism calls itself a strategy for counter-terrorism and anti-racism. But if you look at the people Mr Lambert is in partnership with you quickly realise it is, in reality, little more than a political strategy. [The Spittoon] Read more

Muhammad Shafiq and the Ramadhan Foundation

.... Cameron’s speech was an indictment of failed government policies not an attack on all Muslims. He went to great lengths to differentiate Islam the faith and ordinary Muslims from Islamist extremism, just as every politician before him has done so. He continues:

“Those people engaged in terrorism do not represent our community, and the prime minister is deeply irresponsible to try and link extremism, terrorism and our successful multiculturalist society.”

Shafiq must be one of the few people who thinks we live in a ‘successful multiculturalist society’, again I suspect he doesn’t understand the term. He assumes, like the Guardian crowd does, that Multiculturalism merely means the co-existence of different people. No wonder he thinks it should be de-linked from terrorism. [Harry’s Place] Read more

What David Cameron should have said about multiculturalism

.... This message is that government support for Islamic organisations who espouse any variant of political Islamism, though not violence in its pursuit, has been a mistake. The aim of this support was to wean Islamists away from violence. But the real effect has been to increase support for Islamism and thereby indirectly for Islamist violence.

In any case, as Cameron made clear, even if Islamist objectives are pursued by peaceful means, they are incompatible with European politics, because they involve the idea that Muslims should only be living under an Islamic polity and legality. To support organisations which encourage such views is therefore semi-suicidal. [ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation] Read more [via National Secular Society]

08 February 2011

Cameron's confusion on multiculturalism

The most striking thing about David Cameron's speech on multiculturalism was how little it had to do with conservatism. It had absolutely nothing to do with limited government or traditional values. Some of it was sensible, some of it was even persuasive. One passage seemed to echo directly the good bits of Baroness Warsi's speech.

"People think whether someone is an extremist is dependent on how much they observe their religion. So, they talk about moderate Muslims as if all devout Muslims must be extremist. This is profoundly wrong. Someone can be a devout Muslim and not be an extremist. We need to be clear: Islamist extremism and Islam are not the same thing."

But most of the talk is right off the rails, He denies any connection between Islamic extremism and the foreign policies of his own government: something which is at best arguable, but then goes on to blame it on the domestic policies of of other, unnamed governments: [Guardian Cif] Read more

Muslims in Java Protest 'Lenient' Sentence For Blasphemy

Hundreds of radical Islamists stormed a courthouse and set two churches on fire in Indonesia's Central Java province today to protest what they said was the lenient sentence for a Christian accused of blaphemy.

Antonius Bawengan, 58, was found guilty of distributing books and leaflets that "spread hatred about Islam" and sentenced to five years in prison for blasphemy.

The protesters shouted that the man should have been sentenced to death. [Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty] Read more [via Religious Watch]

David Cameron's important speech

.... the Prime Minister did indeed travel a huge distance from the ruinous position taken by the previous government on both multiculturalism and Islamic extremism. The most important change he made was to end the absurd idea that the only threat comes from ‘violent extremism’. Cameron has understood instead that the source of the threat lies in a set of ideas, and not just in the terrorist actions that sometimes result from those ideas:

‘...we need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of where these terrorist attacks lie. That is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism.’ He has understood that there is a continuum here, and that those on this continuum pose a threat even if they are not involved in violence:

.... Will it, as this also inescapably implies, sack the Brotherhood types who are now acting as advisers on Muslim extremism within Whitehall? Will it finally take action against Islamist groups preaching jihadi subversion on campus? Will it arrest the spread of sharia law, end the Saudi funding of mosques and university Islamic studies departments, and row backwards on sharia financing? [The Spectator] Read more