29 April 2011

A Picture of Dualism

.... Which is the true nature of Islam? Mecca and Medina contradict each other. One solution to this problem is to see Islam as a process and the Meccan phase is simply the first stage of development. This is true, but it does not explain how Meccan Islam does not go away, but co-exists with Medinan Islam.

The complete answer is that Koran is perfect in every way. So the peace of Mecca is just as true as the violence of Medina. In Western logic, if two things contradict each other, then at least one of them is false. But in Islam, both sides of the c0ntradiction are true at the same time. Hence, Islam is dualistic. Is Islam peaceful? Yes. Is Islam violent? Yes. [Political Islam] Read more [via EuropeNews]

28 April 2011

Indonesian president warns Islamic radicalism rising

Indonesia's president on Thursday warned that the world's most populous Muslim-majority country was confronting a rising tide of Islamic radicalism, after a spate of hate crimes and bombings.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the sprawling archipelago's cherished reputation for tolerance and pluralism was under attack by extremists bent on turning the nation of 240 million people into an Islamic state.

The country -- praised by US President Barack Obama in November as a "model" of tolerance for the world -- has been shaken by bloody assaults on religious minorities and persistent attacks by homegrown terror groups. [Channel NewsAsia] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Success of Wilders tilts mainstream politics sharp right

IT COULD turn out to be one of the great ironies of Dutch politics that the very love of consensus on which its modern-day coalition governments are based becomes the door through which populist right-wing parties gain a permanent foothold – not just in the Netherlands but across Europe as well.

While the far right in Holland may be synonymous with Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV), Wilders’s political ambitions stretch far beyond the modest boundaries of the Netherlands – as the pan-European International Freedom Alliance, which he set up last year, illustrates. [The Irish Times] Read more

Domestic violence rings alarm bells in Turkey

.... Activists say violence against women in the EU-candidate country has reached an alarming level and point the finger at the judicial authorities and the ruling Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

In February and March, 52 women were killed by men, according to a tally by BIAnet, a news site focusing on human rights abuses.

The figure was at least 217 for last year, and 27 percent of them were killed after asking for a divorce.

From 2002 to 2009, the number of women killed in pre-meditated murders rose 14-fold, according to Justice Ministry statistics that do not provide details on the perpetrators and circumstances. [Agence France-Presse] Read more

Campus extremism 'a serious problem' say MPs and peers

There are "grave concerns" students are being radicalised in British universities, according to a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homeland Security.

The problem should be tackled "with utmost urgency", the group says. Universities say there is no evidence to support the claims. The report - the group's first - also says some academics are not co-operating with the security services because they "do not want to spy on their students".

It says: "The problem of universities as places of radicalisation requires urgent and sustained attention by the new government. [BBC] Read more

Belgium moves closer to banning burqa in public

Belgium has taken a major step toward banning burqa-type Islamic dress in public when its lower house of parliament overwhelmingly backed the measure.

After Thursday's approval, the senate still has several weeks to decide whether to put the bill up for further discussion and another vote.

The Belgian legislature already came close to approving such legislation last year, but the process was held up at the last moment when the governing coalition collapsed. [AP] Read more

27 April 2011

Sadly, I've been proved right. Britain IS a centre of terror. Tragically, our rulers can't see the truth

.... I wrote, the British political, legal and security establishments were still refusing to get to grips with the threat posed to Britain by militant Muslims who wanted to conquer it for Islam.

At the time, such an analysis was considered pretty off the wall. I had a hard time getting the book published, and when it did appear I was called ‘mad’ by the Guardian, as well as ‘bonkers’, ‘alarmist’, ‘hysterical’ and, of course, ‘Islamophobic’.

Now, however, a new tranche of WikiLeaks documents, detailing the backgrounds of the inmates of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, confirms precisely what I wrote.

The UK, these papers reveal, furnished no fewer than 35 of the members of Al Qaeda — more than any other nation — who ended up in Guantanamo after having been indoctrinated by Islamic preachers in Britain into murderous hatred against the West. The documents record how terrorist recruits from across Africa and the Middle East flocked to London to claim asylum. [MailOnline] Read more

Radical Islamic Threat Grips Denmark

.... And while some Christians and Jews fear for their physical safety because of Muslim violence, in Denmark you had better not insult Islam or you could be charged for hate speech.

Hedegaard was charged with racism under Denmark’s hate speech law, then acquitted on a technicality. But prosecutors appealed and now Hedegaard could be found guilty by a higher court in May.

His alleged crime? He simply stated a statistical fact about the high incidence of sexual violence against Muslim girls. But under Denmark's hate speech law, it doesn't matter if what you said about Islam is true.

"It specifically does not matter if what you say is true or false or whether you believe it's true or can substantiate it," he said. "The only thing that matters is if someone feels offended by it."

But prosecutors have never charged Danish imams for saying those who leave Islam must be killed, or that immoral women must be stoned, or that sharia is better than democracy. [CBN News] Read more

University campuses are 'hotbeds of Islamic extremism'

Islamic fundamentalism is being allowed to flourish at universities, endangering national security, MPs and peers said yesterday.

Academics are turning a blind eye to radicals because they do not want to spy on students, a report claimed.

Despite "damning evidence" of a serious problem, little progress had been made in tackling the unsustainable situation, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homeland Security said.

They urged the Government to tackle the issue on campuses with "utmost urgency". [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

France's Islamic veil ban spurs passionate reaction worldwide

.... A practicing Shiite Muslim and correspondent for The Trentonian newspaper in New Jersey, Jaferi wears a head scarf, saying she believes strongly in her right to express freedom of religion.

At the same time, she said France has a right to preserve its culture and traditions.

"If France wants to preserve its beautiful ancient culture from the threat of the dual-identity of immigrants, then the government has a right to do so," said Jaferi, 34. [CNN] Read more

26 April 2011

Militants wanted to film, broadcast Indonesian church attack, police say

Islamic militants involved in a plot to bomb an Indonesian church ahead of Easter celebrations wanted to film and broadcast the inferno, which would have occurred as thousands of people were arriving for services, police said Friday.

The plot, uncovered Thursday, has put the nation in a state of high alert with hundreds of thousands of police deployed at churches, 20,000 in the capital alone.

Maj. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam, spokesman for the national police, said the 19 suspects who led authorities to bombs planted beneath a gas pipeline near the Christ Cathedral Church just outside of Jakarta did not appear to be part of any large, existing terrorist organization. [The Associated Press] Read more

Poll: Most Egyptians want Quran as source of laws

A majority of Egyptians believe laws in their country should observe the teachings of Islam's holy book, the Quran, according to the results of an opinion poll by a U.S.-based research center.

The results also show that Egyptians, who have shifted toward religious conservatism over the past 40 or so years, are open to the inclusion of religious parties in future governments. Only a minority, however, sympathize with fundamentalist religious parties, according to the results.

Overall, the results of the poll paint a picture of Egyptians as a people who prefer religious moderation over extremism and prize democratic values even if they come at the risk of some political instability. [Associated Press] Read more

Islamist extremism: so did we cure the problem?

The East London Mosque, the largest in Britain, hosted a "live telephone Q&A" with the world's most dangerous al-Qaeda preacher, advertised with a poster showing Manhattan in flames.

At the North London Mosque, equally important and well-known, one of the trustees is a supporter, and former leader, of a terrorist organisation. According to the BBC, he "is said to have masterminded much of [its] political and military strategy" from his perch in London. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

This multiculturalism debate is not about culture – this debate is being used as a proxy

In all the fevered comment, the assumption seems to be that British culture should be counterposed with other alien cultures, which are problematically separate from, and should be assimilated into, it. Unfortunately for this assumption, it is a truism of anthropology that cultures vary as much within themselves as between each other. Very few are homogenous.

[COMMENT] There is only one culture that matters and is superior - Western secular liberal democracy. The rest is negotiable as far as food, clothing, beliefs etc goes, but that is the bottom line. If you do not want western liberal secular democracy go somewhere else. There are plenty of nations where it does not exist.

[COMMENT] Of course the debate is being used as a proxy. If Cameron came out and said that he was worried about Muslims he'd be accused of being grossly irresponsible and racist.

The fact is though that many people are quite understandably more worried about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism than they are about a rise in Animal Rights terrorism.

In Yorkshire we have schools where 95% of the kids are Muslims and most of the girls wear headdresses. People don't like it. [Guardian Cif] Read more

25 April 2011

The rise of Islam and the future of secularism

To be a Turk is to be a Muslim. This is not just an observation but a generally accepted proverb. Secular Turks still call themselves Muslim, even though they do not attend the mosque regularly and do not uphold all of the pillars of Islam.

They participate in religious ceremonies such as circumcision and Ramadan’s month of fasting and partaking in special meals. This is partly because it is social solidarity. The religious activities and beliefs give a structure and a unity to corporate social life, which is deeply valued by Turks. [Today's Zaman] Read more

23 April 2011

Low-key Easter preparations for Pakistan’s fearful Christians

Christians in the small Pakistani town of Gojra are making low-key preparations for Easter this year. Residents of the neighbourhood, known as Christian Colony, in the town in Punjab province, are haunted by memories of a 2009 attack by a Muslim mob in which seven members of a family were killed and dozens of houses torched. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

David Cameron studies plans for multi-faith Lords

The controversial suggestion is revealed in a paper drawn up by Tory officials which calls for a wide range of different churches to be represented once reforms to the Upper House are carried out.

Currently 26 Anglican bishops have seats in the Lords. But Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, is drawing up a draft bill setting out wholesale changes to the Lords that are expected to include provisions for hundreds of existing peers, including the bishops, to be evicted while at least 80 per cent of new members are elected. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

22 April 2011

Row over political canvassing outside Cardiff mosques

A ROW over whether politicians should canvass support outside Cardiff mosques escalated last night – as Plaid Cymru were accused of “justifying violence and intimidation”.

Last week Labour politicians clashed with men outside the Jalalia Mosque following Friday prayers.

Scuffles broke out as the group demanded the canvassers left. The same men are understood to be behind radical material distributed last year warning all Muslims not to take part in elections. [South Wales Echo] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

NJ Worker Fired Over Quran Burning Gets Job Back

The New Jersey Transit employee fired for publicly burning pages of the Quran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is getting his job back.

A settlement obtained by The Star-Ledger Newark shows Derek Fenton will receive $25,000 for pain and suffering when he resumes his $86,110-a-year job. He'll also receive back pay equal to $331.20 for every day since his firing on Sept. 13, 2010.

The state will also pay $25,000 in legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit claiming Fenton's right to free expression was violated. [MyFoxNY.com] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

21 April 2011

The attacks on multiculturalism are linked to the economic crisis

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) publishes today Understanding the European-wide assault on multiculturalism - a detailed analysis by Executive Director, Liz Fekete, of key speeches made over the past six months by leading centre-right politicians from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

These speeches attack multiculturalism and immigration and link them to the economic crisis. The IRR finds that: [Institute of Race Relations] Read more

20 April 2011

Islamic cleric threatens jihad if child marriage is banned

Notorious pro-Taliban Islamist clergy in Bangladesh, Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini has threatened to wage jihad in the country if the government will pass any law banning child marriage.

He said, two hundred thousand Jihadists of his group are ready to 'sacrifice' lives if any such law, which goes against "Koran and Sunnah" will be passed by the current government in the country.

Mufti Amini said, "Banning child marriage will cause challenging the marriage of the holy prophet of Islam, who also married minor Ayesha, when she was just eight years old". [Weekly Blitz] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Muslims should ask Congress to outlaw Qur'an-burning -- because it incites violence

Liaquat Ali Khan teaches commercial law, arbitration and international law at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He argues here that Muslims should petition Congress to outlaw the burning of the Qur'an because doing so incites violence -- in contrast to the burning of the American flag, which, he says, the Supreme Court declined to outlaw because "no disturbance of the peace actually occurred or threatened to occur." [Jihad Watch] Read more

The 'Islamification' of Tower Hamlets

Scaremongering about the threat of "Islamification" facing the east London borough of Tower Hamlets has been popular in the right-wing press since Andrew Gilligan's witch-hunting Channel 4 documentary Britain's Islamic Republic was broadcast last year.

Several papers this week have published articles on that theme.

In a Sunday Times article headlined "London Taliban tell women to cover up" (see below) Dipesh Gadher reported: "The extremists appear to have taken the law into their own hands in Tower Hamlets, east London, one of the poorest areas of Britain, where native white people are in a minority."

The article centres on the case of "an Asian shop assistant who claims to have received death threats for refusing to wear a veil even though she is not a practising Muslim". [Islamophobia Watch] Read more

EU wants to label ritually slaughtered meat 'slaughter without stunning'

MEPs on the European Parliament's food safety committee have voted for the clear labels so consumers can see whether meat has been stunned or not before it has been slaughtered.

David Bowles, a spokesman for the RSPCA, welcomed the vote.

"We hope that all the countries in Europe will accept it," he said. "At the moment you can chose whether you want your eggs to be free range or cage-reared, but you don't know how the chickens were killed. We should be told whether our meat has been stunned or not before it has been killed because at the moment we could be eating it without knowing it." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

19 April 2011

The Latest Enemies of Iran: Dogs and Their Owners

.... Lawmakers in Tehran have recently proposed a bill in parliament that would criminalize dog ownership, formally enshrining its punishment within the country's Islamic penal code.

The bill warns that that in addition to posing public health hazards, the popularity of dog ownership "also poses a cultural problem, a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the West."

The proposed legislation for the first time outlines specific punishments for "the walking and keeping" of "impure and dangerous animals," a definition that could feasibly include cats but for the time being seems targeted at dogs. [TIME] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Muslim Brotherhood leader talks of applying Sharia law

EGYPT’S MUSLIM Brotherhood has launched a campaign to counter suspicions over the movement’s intentions because of remarks made by a senior figure at a forum in Cairo’s poor, devout Imbaba quarter.

Deputy supreme guide Mahmoud Ezzat said the Brotherhood wanted to transform the country into an Islamic state once its political arm, the Freedom and Justice party, secured widespread popular support.

Al-Masry al-Youm , an independent daily, reported that Sheikh Ezzat also said the movement wanted to apply Muslim canon law (Sharia), but said “enforcement of Sharia punishments will need time and will only come after Islam is planted in every heart and masters the life of the people . . .” [The Irish Times] Read more

Carlisle man jailed for burning Koran in city centre

A Carlisle man who set fire to the Koran in an act of “theatrical bigotry” has been jailed.

Andrew RyanAndrew Ryan, 32, shouted abuse about Muslims as he set the book alight in the city centre in January. Yesterday he was sent to prison for 70 days by district judge Gerald Chalk.

Ryan, of Summerhill, off London Road, Carlisle, claims to be a member of the English Defence League. He arrived at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court flanked by flag-waving supporters. Carrying the St George’s Cross, they were shouting “We love you England” and a variety of other nationalistic chants. [News & Star] Read more

Islamic Hypocrisy in Europe

.... The ban should not be seen as an act of hostility toward Islam; instead, it should be regarded as a move intended to prevent a phenomenon that even many Muslims see as an act of degradation against women.

Radical Muslims who are trying to impose their will on Western societies are only causing damage to their faith.

The campaign launched by some Muslims against the French ban will only alienate non-Muslims and increase their concerns about Islam.

By challenging the French ban, for example, Muslims are telling the French people that they are more interested in separation from Western culture than integration. [Hudson New York] Read more

'I wanted to be free': Muslim model upsets family by posing nude for Playboy cover

.... In what is undeniably a groundbreaking move, Ms Sahin is the first Turkish woman ever to strip for the cover of Playboy.

Indeed, in the 12-page article that accompanies the revealing photographs, Ms Sahin says she feels 'like Che Guevara', adding that the semi-naked photoshoot was a bid to express her freedom.

'My upbringing was conservative,' she told Playboy. 'I was always told, you must not go out, you must not make yourself look so attractive, you mustn't have male friends. [MailOnline] Read more

18 April 2011

Anti-Islam lawmaker's trial on hate speech charges to continue; move to dismiss judges fails

Appeals judges in a hate speech case against anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders have rejected a defence motion for trial judges to be dismissed because of alleged bias.

Wilders, leader of the country's third-largest political party, is charged with inciting hatred against Muslims with remarks branding Islam as violent by nature.

His lawyers had argued judges were biased after they declined to press perjury charges against a witness whose testimony contradicted earlier public statements. [Associated Press] Read more

Man faces court for burning Koran

A man who burned a Koran in front of city centre shoppers in Carlisle is due to be sentenced. Andrew Ryan, 32, took out a copy of the holy book from Carlisle library and then set it on fire with a lighter as a crowd gathered to hear his protests.

Police arrested Ryan, of Summerhill, Carlisle, shortly after the lunchtime incident in English Street on January 19. He pleaded guilty to religiously aggravated harassment and theft at an earlier hearing. Ryan was released on bail last month as the case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports. [Lytham St Annes Express] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Obama's Muslim faith adviser helped craft "perfect Islamic state" for Sharia project led by Ground Zero Mosque imam Rauf

Rauf was just in the Washington Post a few weeks ago saying that no Muslims, none, wanted to bring Sharia here. But he behaves differently in other contexts.

Meanwhile, a great deal about the U.S. Muslim Engagement here is not new: Pamela Geller has it in The Post-American Presidency, which I cowrote.

"Obama's faith adviser helped craft 'perfect Islamic state': Shariah project scrubbed from Internet, sought to 'implement' Muslim caliphate," by Aaron Klein for WorldNetDaily ... [Jihad Watch] Read more

Pointing the Finger: Islam and Muslims in the British Media

In this important book, several leading media commentators examine the phenomenon of “Islamophobia” and ask how to tackle it.

Charting recent media controversies, from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on Sharia law to the veil “debate”, the book argues that media hostility to Islam alienates Muslims and undermines efforts to combat extremism. With examples of press-fuelled myths about Islam in Britain, this is a captivating insight into how Muslims are depicted in the UK. [Oneworld Publications] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Man who burned Koran jailed for 'theatrical bigotry'

Andrew Ryan, 32, stole a copy of the holy book from Carlisle Library and then set it on fire with a lighter as a crowd gathered to hear his protests in front of a monument.

Police arrested Ryan, of Summerhill, Carlisle, shortly after the lunchtime incident in English Street on January 19.

Sentencing him at Carlisle Magistrates' Court, District Judge Gerald Chalk said: "This is a case of theatrical bigotry.

"It was pre-planned by you as you stole the book deliberately. You went out to cause maximum publicity and to cause distress." Before he was led to the cells, Ryan asked: "What about burning poppies?" [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Liberté, Egalité, And France’s Courageous Banning Of the Veil

Now, more than 80 years after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, outlawed religious attire (including the headscarf and full veil for women) in his own, mostly Muslim country, the first Western nation has finally followed suit.

Last week, France instituted its so-called “burqa ban,” making it illegal for women to cover their faces in the public arena. [Forbes.com] Read more

17 April 2011

Scotland and the veil: ‘I was attacked by a racist gang … It was because of what I was wearing’

WHEN a gang of youths launched a terrifying attack on a young Scottish Muslim family in broad daylight, the victims were left in no doubt about why they were targeted: the veil.

Glasgow-born Samina Ansari and her loved ones were assaulted because she was wearing a traditional Islamic hijab, which covers the hair, but not the face.

It happened last year, when Ansari, her husband and their baby were driving along a main road. The gang, armed with bricks and chains and accompanied by a snarling dog, surrounded the car, shouting “get the Paki bastards” and “go back to your own country”, before attempting to smash the car windows. [The Herald] Read more [via ENGAGE]

London police probing report that Islamist extremists told woman to cover up

British police say they are investigating a report that a group of men tried to force a non-Muslim London woman to wear body-concealing robes.

The Sunday Times quotes an unidentified Bangladeshi woman as saying she was threatened with death by men who told her to cover up because she works in an east London district with a predominantly Muslim population. The woman said she is an atheist. [The Associated Press] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

'Wear a headscarf or we will kill you': How the 'London Taliban' is targeting women and gays in bid to impose sharia law

Women who do not wear headscarves are being threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists intent on imposing sharia law on parts of Britain, it was claimed today.

Other targets of the 'Talibanesque thugs', being investigated by police in the Tower Hamlets area of London, include homosexuals.

Stickers have been plastered on public walls stating: 'Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment'. [MailOnline] Read more

Two Booked under the Blasphemy law

Two Christians Mushtaq Gill and his son Farrukh Mushtaq Gill residents of Gujranwala city 45 Km from Lahore were detained Friday night under the Blasphemy Law.

Gujranwala has been the center of attention in the past for burning Churches, occupying Christian properties, killing the Christians and falsely accusations for the Blasphemy law. Gujranwala and the surrounding areas are the hub of the extremists. Once again the Christians are being victimized.

Mushtaq Gill, in his sixties and his young son were accused of desecrating the Quran, and were taken away by the local police. Accusation came as some Muslims found ripped papers of the Quran in a bag near the accused residence. Mushtaq Gill is the vice principal of a Christian Technical Training Center (CTTC) which is a part of the theological seminary. [Scoop Media] Read more [via National Secular Society]

16 April 2011

Why banning the veil would only cover up the real problems for British Muslims

.... From behind the black cloth came, for the most part, accents indistinguishable from those of any other Londoner. Above all, they passionately insisted, nobody had forced them to wear the veil. It was their choice.

"I used to go clubbing, I used to drink, I used to wear skinny jeans," said Ms Jama, who is 28 and from Barking. "But I just got thinking it wasn't right. I had lots of men and I never got anything out of it. They would use me and then leave me. They would look at me like a piece of meat, and this [the niqab] stops all that.

"It is hard in other ways. I live near Essex, and people are sometimes hostile. But it's still better. It gives me confidence." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Muslim Council: women cannot debate wearing veil

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that not covering the face is a "shortcoming" and suggested that any Muslims who advocate being uncovered could be guilty of rejecting Islam.

In a statement published on its website the MCB, warns: "We advise all Muslims to exercise extreme caution on this issue, since denying any part of Islam may lead to disbelief.

"Not practising something enjoined by Allah and his Messenger… is a shortcoming. Denying it is much more serious."

The statement quotes from the Koran: "It is not for a believer, man or woman, that they should have any option in their decision when Allah and his Messenger have decreed a matter." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Mattress Firm refuses to sell to Muslim woman

.... on a recent weekend, she, her husband, and their three kids loaded up the car and drove less than a mile to Mattress Firm. Her husband, Mohammad, encouraged her to lie on different beds to see which one felt best.

She said the store manager approached, but oddly didn't want to help. He told the family that he wouldn't sell them a mattress for security reasons, she said.

Hussaini, 27, who is Muslim, covers all but her hands, feet and eyes in public to show respect for femininity and her religion. She said the manager told her she needed to show her face for service. Mohammad, a pathology resident at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, tried to explain that his wife dressed this way to be modest, much like Catholic nuns. But the manager stomped off, they say. [STLtoday.com] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

15 April 2011

Apology for performance stop over Koran quotes

Following a wave of criticism, the artistic director for Stockholm’s premier cultural venue, Kulturhuset, has apologized for hastily cancelling a feminist performance last weekend in which women were set to dance to a score that included recitation of verses from the Koran set to music.

In a blog posting Thursday, the head of Kulturhuset, Eric Sjöström, said his decision to cancel part of a two-day performance piece entitled “Celebration of Womanhood” was taken under duress and that he regrets the action. [Sveriges Radio] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Muslim group declares jihad against ‘extremist’ Christians

An umbrella coalition of Muslim groups held a protest today and declared bloodshed against ‘extremist’ Christians that insult and ridicule the position of Islam in the country.

The Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (Pembela), comprising 20 groups, protested after Friday prayers at the National Mosque against Putrajaya’s release of Malay-language bibles and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s promise to never impound the Alkitab again.[Malaysia Today] Read more

The EU vote on 'no-stun slaughter' meat

Should consumers know whether or not the animals that they’re eating were stunned before slaughter? I’m in no doubt about this: of course they should. Animal welfare is important, and consumers should have access to this fundamental information about the animal on their plates.

I’ve blogged about no-stun slaughter many times before, and the subject is back in the news this week. The committee of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) of the European Parliament is in the process of deciding what information must be made available to consumers on food labelling. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Pakistan switches on to Islamic radicalism peddled by TV stars

Wearing shoes with green soles can make you lose a cricket match. So goes the logic of a prominent Pakistani religious scholar, Aamir Liaquat, in comments he made on a leading private TV channel.

He was analysing the reasons behind the defeats suffered by Pakistan's cricket team. Apparently this is because green is the colour of Islam - and also the colour of the national flag.

"These are matters of belief," explained Mr Liaquat. "Those who worship at the altar of reason will never understand them."

.... It's worth noting Mr Liaquat is not a small-time scholar with a fringe following. Rather he is one of the most recognised religious figures in the country thanks to his TV shows. He has even served as minister of state for religious affairs under ex-dictator Pervez Musharraf. [The Scotsman] Read more

Conservative Muslims protest against Christian governor in Egypt

Thousands of conservative Muslims protested in the southern Egyptian province of Qina Friday against the appointment of a new Christian governor.

Witnesses said the protesters, mostly observers of the conservative Islamic Salafist movement, threatened to bar Emad Mikhail, the new governor, from entering the province.

The previous governor, whom Mikhail will replace, was also Christian.

Qina has seen sectarian strife in the past. Late last year, dozens of Christians and Muslims were arrested in the province after nearly a dozen homes were burnt in clashes between members of the two religions. [Monsters and Critics.com] Read more

So whose liberty, equality, fraternity is really at stake?

In a sign that the ban is creating new ideological fault lines, Bernard-Henri Lévy, France’s swashbuckling “warrior philosopher” leapt to its defence. “This is not about the burka, it’s about Voltaire.

What is at stake is the Enlightenment of yesterday and today, and the heritage of both,” he wrote in the National Post. “A step backwards, just one, on this front would give the nod to all obscurantism, all fanaticism, all the true thoughts of hatred and violence.” Given the rash of calls to attack France on militant web forums since Monday, he has a point.

But Hind says her choice has nothing to do with fanaticism. “If I want to strut around in a miniskirt, I should be allowed. If I want to put feathers on my back, why not. We have all sorts in this world and are obliged to try to live together.” People are beginning to listen, she insists. “There’s less of the hostility or mocking smiles and more of a look that says: 'Well done for having the cheek to carry on’.” [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

14 April 2011

Jordan to try Danish artist over Mohammed cartoon

A Jordanian court will begin this month the trial of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, pictured in 2010, over a controversial caricature of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, but it was unclear if he will attend. AFP - A Jordanian court will begin this month the trial of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard over a controversial caricature of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, but it was unclear if he will attend.

Zakarya Sheikh, spokesman for a group of local media outlets that sued Westergaard in 2008 for depicting Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, said on Thursday the artist and others have been summoned by a magistrates' court in Amman to stand trial on April 25." [FRANCE 24] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Who is to blame for fractured Britain?

.... Many people across Britain – from big cities to smaller towns – will have nodded along to Mr Cameron’s comments. I now live in central London, which I love, but there is no pretence that it is a community: it is the most cosmopolitan city state in the world and largely reflects the upside of immigration – a dynamic employment market and a diverse cultural scene.

The downside is visible a few Tube stops down the line from me in places like Tower Hamlets and New Cross where the communities are far more fractured than South Ealing. These areas also suffer from the worrying, spreading rash of Islamism. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Egyptians alarmed over rise in influence of Salafis in post-Mubarak era

.... Salafis were tolerated as a religious group under the former president as a counterweight his top foe, the Muslim Brotherhood group. But they appear to be playing a more political role in the country after the January 25 revolution.

That has alarmed many of the secular and liberal forces in Egypt because of the group’s extremist discourse and imposition of sharia (Islamic law.)

Reports of some acts of hard-line vigilantism, which lately dominated the news in Egypt, include an arson attack on the home of a woman deemed of “ill-repute,” and a punishment attack which involved a man’s ear being cut off. [Al Arabiya] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

David Cameron: immigration has led to ‘discomfort and disjointedness’

Discomfort and disjointedness? Maybe that’s the case in Witney, the Prime Minister’s constituency; or even around Chequers at the foot of the Chiltern Hills, where he has his country residence.

But in many towns and cities the length and breadth of the country, you’d be hard-pressed to know this was England. Immigration has led not so much to discomfort and disjointedness, as suffering, strife and sectarianism. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Pakistan's blasphemy vigilantes kill exonerated man

Mohamed Imran had been accused, jailed, tried and cleared: if anything, society owed him a debt as a man wrongfully accused.

But his crime was blasphemy. He was meant to have said something derogatory about the prophet Mohammed, so in Pakistan justice worked a little differently.

Two weeks after he returned to his small patch of farmland on the rustic outskirts of Islamabad, his alleged crime caught up with him.

Two gunmen burst into the shoe shop where he was sat talking to a friend. Imran tried to duck, to seek cover behind the man next to him -- terrified so greatly for his own life that he perhaps forgot about those around him. [CNN] Read more

Muslim beauty contestant faces critics on all sides, she says

Shanna Bukhari gets some pretty nasty messages through Facebook, she says. They call her a "dirty Muslim." They say England is a "white nationality country" and she shouldn't be allowed to represent it.

But that's just what she hopes to do at the Miss Universe beauty contest this year. If the Manchester, England-based fashion model wins the British contest next month, Bukhari will become the first Muslim to represent Britain at the international contest.

The idea isn't going down well with everyone - Bukhari says she has gotten hate mail from across the board. [CNN] Read more

Damian Green rules out ban on burkas in Britain

.... There have been calls for Britain to follow the French example in banning citizens from wearing the burka, a loose-fitting garment worn by some Muslim women to cover their entire body and face, in public.

But Mr Green said he would stand by his decision not to outlawing the traditional clothing, despite a YouGov poll last summer indicating that two in three Britons support an outright ban.

He told the BBC’s Today programme: “It is precisely the difference between British values and French values. France is a western democracy, it’s a friendly country, it is similar to us in many ways, but it is different. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Bangladesh to legalize political Islam, ignore courts order to restore secularism

Despite electoral promises and an apex court’s ruling to restore secularism, the Bangladesh parliament is poised to pass an amendment to establish Islam as the state religion and legalize religious politics.

The Sunni Muslim majority nation of 158 million will relax stringent restrictions imposed in the constitution of 1972.

The constitutional amendment committee members said in “prevailing political reality” the parliamentary special committee on constitutional amendments on Monday decided to advocate for relaxing restrictions on political Islam so that Islamic parties can continue functioning without any restrictions.

The provision of Article 38 of the Bangladesh constitution bans use of religion for political purposes. Instead, the article allows every citizen to form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of morality or public order. [AHN] Read more

Two thirds Brits want burqa ban

Two thirds of the British public agree with the statement ‘the burqa should be banned in Britain’, our poll has found, in the wake of the ban on the niqab, or any face covering (with a few exceptions) coming into force in France this week.

We polled over 2,000 nationally representative British adults, in a question that explained the burqa is a loose garment worn by some Islamic women, which covers the face and body in public, and which is removed when the woman returns home to her household out of the view of men who are not her immediate family members.

•66% agreed with the statement ‘the burqa should be banned in Britain’
•42% strongly agreed
•27% disagreed with the statement, with 9% strongly disagreeing
•Men and women are largely in agreement over the issue (68% of men and 65% of women think it should be banned)
•While older people are more likely than their younger counterparts to favour a ban (79% of the over 60s agreed with a ban, compared to 51% of those aged 18 to 24)

[YouGov] Read more

13 April 2011

Turkish PM raps France for face veil ban, militants online urge punishment for Paris

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused France of violating the freedom of religion on Wednesday after Paris began enforcing a law barring Muslim women from wearing full face veils in public. He told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that Turkey was the only Muslim country that had copied the French law on secularism, or separating church and state.

“It’s quite ironic to see that secularism is today under debate in Europe and is undermining certain freedoms,” he said. “Today in France, there is no respect for individual religious freedom,” he said. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Lutfur Rahman councillor charged with fraud

One of the most prominent supporters of Tower Hamlets’ extremist-backed mayor, Lutfur Rahman, has been charged with fraud.

Councillor Shelina Akhtar (also spelt Shelina Aktar) appears in court next month. Her arrest, last year, was first reported by this blog.

Akhtar is one of eight councillors who were thrown out of the Labour Party after backing Lutfur – himself barred by Labour for his close links with the extremist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

We too should ban the burka

.... If you go to the centre’s website, as I did yesterday, and click on Women’s Issues you will find the Islamic equivalent of the Cathy and Claire problem page. Only instead of an agony aunt, we find a chap called Muhammad offering solutions to those tricky, girly dilemmas that keep us awake at night.

Women Exposing Their Arms Whilst Driving – Should It Be Allowed? Are Tampons Permissible to Use Before Marriage? Can Women Travel Without a Male Relative? The Female Voice and Singing (is it OK to sing in front of men?) and – this has to be my absolute favourite – A Comprehensive Guide to Women’s Nakedness.

For those of you scratching your head over the toast and marmalade, the answers are as follows: Women are most certainly not allowed to expose their arms while driving. Anything above and including the wrist is likely to inflame passing motorists so “Muslim sisters must not be careless in this regard and should wear long tight sleeves.” [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

12 April 2011

The burka is an alien, cultural monstrosity.... and it CAN be banned in Britain

.... Forward-looking and progressive British Muslims who resist the Talibanisation of Islam in the UK should lead a coordinated campaign to rid this country of this alien cultural monstrosity.

Two days before the French law became operative, a group of integrated Muslims in Oxford burned the burka as a mark of our collective disgust and disdain.

What needs to be done now is to introduce a twin track strategy of LMR (lampooning, mocking and ridiculing face-masking) which will be combined with a systematic programme of re-education and information that will empower Muslim women and make them realise that this tribal rag and cultural cloth is not intrinsic but incidental to Islam. It is purely the product of male chauvinism and not religious necessity. [MailOnline] Read more

11 April 2011

So why can't we do this here? Just two arrests as France brings in burka ban (and the only real demo is in LONDON)

France's controversial burka ban became law today sparking a protest in Paris during which two women wearing full face veils were arrested.

The demonstrations, however, were on a relatively small scale with the handful of protesters being outnumbered by police, reporters and tourists.

Ironically, the biggest protest was actually in London where a group of women in full black burkas gathered outside the French Embassy. [MailOnline] Read more

What Country in the World Has the Most Journalists Imprisoned?

What country in the world has the most journalists imprisoned? The answer might surprise you. According to a recent study, China and Iran are tied at 34 each. But that’s only second place.

In first place is Turkey with 57. Yes, that supposed model for Arabic-speaking states, that supposedly ideal example of a moderate Muslim democratic state, NATO member, and candidate for European Union membership is in first place according to the International Press Institute.

And how many journalists there are facing legal proceedings? Hold onto your fedora hat: Between 700 and 1,000. [Pajamas Media] Read more

May rules out burka ban in Britain

The prospect of any attempt to ban the Islamic full veil in public in Britain has been firmly ruled out by Theresa May, the Home Secretary.

Ministers believe there is little pressure, either politically or among the public, for the UK to follow the French lead and outlaw the use of face-covering veils such as the niqab or burka.

Although David Cameron has warned of "different cultures" being encouraged by "state multiculturalism" to live separate lives, the Government is adamant that to impose a ban on the veil would run contrary to British instincts.

Calls for a ban have been limited so far to one Tory MP, Philip Hollobone, and the UK Independence Party. Mr Hollobone attempted last year to champion a Commons bill outlawing face coverings, but received no public declarations of support from any other MP. [independent.co.uk] Read more

10 April 2011

BNP member arrested for burning the Qur'an in his own garage

On the left is a copy of the Bible, desecrated (at the taxpayer's expense) by Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art. On the right is a copy of the Qur'an, allegedly burned in the garage of BNP member Sion Owens (at his own expense).

Contrast the response of the police over this man's decision to burn a copy of the Qur'an with their complete indifference to the desecration of the Bible. The response to that 'exhibit' was measured, but the offence to many Christians was no less palpable. But Sion Owens has been arrested under the Public Order Act. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Medieval justice... in the 21st Century: Woman caned in front of a baying mob for having an affair

A woman flinches as she is about to be repeatedly caned for having an extramarital affair.

Irdayanti Mukhtar, 34, received nine lashes by Sharia Police for having a relationship with another man, even though she is said to be in the process of divorcing her husband.

The harsh punishment was meted out in front of a crowd of 200 people outside the Al Munawwarah Mosque in Jantho, Indonesia. [MailOnline] Read more

Two candidates for Welsh assembly arrested for burning Qur'an

Their party affiliation is immaterial to this, the central question: Would they have been arrested for burning a Bible? A Bhagavad-Gita? A Torah? A Talmud? The Analects of Confucius? The Tao Te Ching?

Why not? Absurdities lie on either end of the spectrum of enforcement: either admit there is a double standard and the Qur'an is protected unlike any other book, or exhaust resources protecting all religions' holy writ from physical desecration, from the most ornate King James Bible to a paperback copy of Dianetics. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Islam Threatens Freedom Everywhere

One discovers subtle nuances and obvious complexities within the Muslim community and personalities. Suffice it to say, many good Muslim-U.S. citizens respect our U.S. Constitution and they are simply trying to live the American Dream; and, an equal number of Muslim-Americans despise our sense of freedom and liberty and prefer Sharia Law to the U.S. Constitution, and they would see the American Dream shattered.

In its current form and through its leaders, Islam will always attempt to subvert and supplant any system it inhabits. This is inherent within Islam, and its adherents are eventually given no choice. If it cannot supplant a system through political jihad, Islam eventually seeks to destroy it. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Liberté, égalité, fraternité – unless, of course, you would like to wear a burqa

.... What a lot of fuss over a piece of cloth. And we haven't seen the last of this debate in the UK. Last year, Conservative MP Philip Hollobone introduced a private members' bill proposing a ban. Its supporters include Nigel Farage of Ukip and, more surprisingly, Saira Khan, the entrepreneur and one-time Apprentice contestant, a British Muslim.

They all parrot the French argument. Khan says a ban is "not racist, it's common sense". They claim the veil is a symbol of a "divided Britain", that it's a potential security threat and oppressive to women.

But the women's rights defence is a ridiculous excuse for something very close to racism. As Ed Balls, then schools secretary, put it last year: "I wouldn't want to be part of a religion myself where we said to women and girls, 'You have to wear a veil.' But I also would not want to be in the kind of society where people were told how to dress when they walked down the streets." [Guardian Cif] Read more

'Burqa ban' in France: housewife vows to face jail rather than submit

.... She adds: "I never covered my head when I was young. I came from a family of practising Muslims, but we were not expected to even wear a headscarf.

"Then I began looking into Islam and what it meant to be a Muslim and decided to wear a headscarf. Afterwards in my research into the wives of the Prophet I saw they wore the full veil and I liked this idea and decided to wear it. Before, I had felt something was missing. Then I put it on and I felt serene and complete. It pleased me and it has become a part of me."

Drider says it is only since Sarkozy's government began discussing the veil ban that she has been subject to insults, harassment and death threats.

"When President Sarkozy said: 'The burqa is not welcome in France', the president, my president, opened the door for racism, aggression and attacks on Islam. This is an attempt to stigmatise Islam and it has created enormous racism and Islamophobia that wasn't there before." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

09 April 2011

Koran grandstand at security meet

A Manhattan hearing on homeland security exploded yesterday after an Arab-American activist testified that she was taught as a youngster to "hate Jews" and "hate America," enraging a Brooklyn lawmaker who gripped a Koran and grandly accused her of spreading "hate and poison."

"Check what's going on -- it's not a secret," Nonine Darwish, president of Former Muslims United, said at a heavily policed state Senate hearing on homeland security at 250 Broadway.

"You're supposed to hate Jews, you're supposed to hate America, you're supposed to hate Western culture," said Darwish, who grew up and was educated in Egypt and came to the United States in 1978. [NEW YORK POST] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Crepes and Cider (Halal of course!)

.... While it focuses primarily on Brittany, halal is becoming endemic throughout France and other countries:

When you arrive in Lorient from Lanester, just before the train station, you see on your right a perfectly traditional butcher shop, the kind we all like. But it is closed. Across the street, there is a large modern butcher shop. Halal. This scene is worth all the speeches anyone could make on Islamization.

On January 31, in Lorient, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the department of Morbihan organized a conference entitled "The Halal Market, a market within your reach". The topics covered: [GalliaWatch] Read more

Muslims must be free to debate issues such as evolution without fear

The imam of a mosque in east London, Dr Usama Hasan, was earlier this year subjected to death threats over his support for the theory of evolution.

Whatever the underlying reasons, and there are clearly other tensions within the mosque, we must categorically condemn tactics of intimidation and the suppression of diverse opinions within the Muslim community.

Those in Europe who see Muslims as a threat to western values will see this episode as a further validation of their stereotypical viewpoint of Muslims. We should take care, however, not to let extreme positions on both sides define the issue.

.... In Europe, however, just like the issue of hijab, the rejection of evolution is increasingly becoming an issue of identity and may serve as a cultural marker among Muslim-minority populations. [Guardian Cif] Read more

08 April 2011

Police hunt woman in burka over knife attacks

A WOMAN wearing a burka attacked two shoppers with a knife on separate occasions last week. The two men were attacked as they looked at a shop window in Walthamstow's St James's Street, near Ladbrokes.

A 55-year-old received a graze to the leg in the first incident, which happened at around 11.30am on Friday (April 1).

A 42-year-old was stabbed in the leg, but not seriously, when he was attacked on Saturday (April 2) at about 3.40pm.

.... The woman, described as Asian, wore a full length black burka with mesh covering her eyes and a cream cotton jacket during the first attack. She wore a full face covering head scarf, pink trousers and a beige jacket the second time. [Waltham Forest News] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

"A Daily Massacre of Animals..."

Almost fifty years ago, in 1962, when I was a young woman, I waged my first combat against the torture of animals when I denounced the horror of slaughterhouses, long before the massacre of baby seals. After years of efforts, the stunning of animals before bloodletting became obligatory (Article R. 214-70 of the rural code).

Today we are witnessing a frightening regression and a terrifying "I don't care" attitude on the part of guilty authorities when confronted with the offenses in these places of death. Nowadays they slaughter animals alive, without concern about the regulation and even less about the pain that is unbearable and ignoble. [GalliaWatch] Read more

Teenage blasphemy suspect to be tried inside prison

The case of a teenage student suspected of writing blasphemous remarks in his annual examination answer sheets has been transferred to the Judicial Complex at the Central Prison due to security reasons, Advocate Anwer Hussain Solangi told The News.

.... Samiullah, a first-year pre-engineering student, has been charged with writing blasphemous remarks about the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the answer sheets of his intermediate examination in April last year.

The 17-year-old suspect was picked up from his home in Mujtaba Town, Malir, on Jan 28 after a complaint was lodged against him by the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi. [The News] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Dutch consider banning religious animal slaughter

.... The Royal Dutch Veterinary Association has come out in favor of banning the practice. The organization said in a position statement it believes that during "slaughter of cattle while conscious, and to a lesser extent that of sheep, the animals' well-being is unacceptably damaged."

Scientists, animal rights groups and religious groups disagree about the amount of pain and suffering animals experience during slaughter under regular conditions — though all say violations of current law are widespread.

Ali-Salah predicted an outright ban would fail not only due to Dutch domestic political considerations, but also because it is not workable in practice. [Associated Press] Read more

07 April 2011

Tax Authority teaching employees about Islamic culture

About 100 employees of the Danish Tax Authority will be taking a course in Islam next month, in order to learn why male Muslim pizzeria owners won't shake hands with female Tax Authority employees. They will also learn not to take it personally if a kiosk owner of Middle Eastern background curses them

.... "What on earth does Muslim culture have to do with tax collection? And what is the deeper meaning of having Tax Authority employees understand why some Muslim women won't shake hands, while some Muslims men are loud when the Tax Authority comes for a visit?

There are equal tax laws for everybody and the Tax Authority should treat everybody the same." Mikkel Dencker says that it smells bad when there's special consideration for Muslims. Additionally, this course is a waste of taxpayers' money. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Organization of the Islamic Conference vs. Freedom of Expression

On March 24, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution aimed at combating "negative stereotyping" and "intolerance" against persons based on religion or belief.

For the first time since 1999, this resolution does not include a condemnation of "defamation of religion," by which the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has repeatedly sought passage of a global blasphemy law to protect Islam from criticism.

.... The threat to freedom of expression is however, far from over, and the wording of the adopted resolution includes several worrying elements. That threats to the freedom of expression remain is also confirmed by a new OIC initiative.

In a March 30 press release, the OIC promised to present a new draft resolution on the issue of "Islamophobia" at the General Assembly in September. The press release also insisted that the OIC "did not back down from its position" in the Human Rights Council. According to the OIC, it was in fact Western countries that "made a major concession by accepting the new version of the resolution." [Assyrian International News Agency] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Syria lifts niqab ban, shuts casino, in nod to protesting Sunnis

Syria lifted on Wednesday a ban on teachers wearing the full face veil and ordered the closure of a casino, moves aimed at placating conservative Muslims in the tightly-controlled country that has seen weeks of unrest.

Last month pro-democracy protests erupted in the majority Sunni Muslim city of Deraa and later spread to other cities, including the religiously-mixed port city of Latakia, posing the greatest challenge to Assad's 11-year rule. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Reciting from Quran only allowed if it’s to understand religion

ACTION can be taken under the Penal Code against those who cite Quranic verses with the ulterior motive of causing hatred or ill-will, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said.

He added that while there was no law prohibiting non-Muslims from reciting verses from the Quran, they were only allowed to do so in an effort to know more about Islam. [The Star] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

How TV Islamic extremist who hates Britain enjoys £1,250-a-month benefits and rent-free luxury flat

Rich Dart, 28, worked for the BBC before he became a Muslim and changed his name to Salahuddin to brand British troops 'murderers' and peddle Muslim extremism.

But he has been branded a 'hypocrite' after it emerged that he takes benefits off the same state he claims to despise. The fanatic was pictured hanging out the washing on the balcony of a £300,000 two-bedroom apartment next to a picturesque canal in Bow, East London. [MailOnline] Read more

Malaysian MP Says Men Have Affairs Because Wives 'Neglect' Their Duty in Bed

Malaysian men have extramarital sex because of “wives who neglect their responsibilities” to their husbands, a Malaysian lawmaker told Parliament on Thursday, outraging women’s groups.

“Husbands driving home after work see things that are sexually arousing and go to their wives to ease their urges,” said independent lawmaker Ibrahim Ali, according to online portal Malaysiakini.

“But when they come home to their wives, they will say, ‘wait, I’m cooking,’ or ‘wait, I’m getting ready to visit relatives’,” Ibrahim said.

“In Islam, wives are supposed to stop everything to fulfill their husband’s demands.” [Jakarta Globe] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Media runs shy of Islamic extremists

.... one presumes, burning Christians, destroying their homes and churches and attacking congregations is illegal in even the most devout of Muslim countries.

Yet compare the coverage given to Jones’s pathetic act to that accorded to the murders of at least 20 Christians (12 of whom, including a family of eight, were burned to death) and the destruction of numerous churches and homes in Pakistan since 2009.

For years now, there has been a sustained anti-Christian onslaught in the Muslim world, the horrific details of which puts Jones’s insult in the shade, but its existence is barely even acknowledged in the West.

In January of this year, 21 worshippers were killed in a bomb attack on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt, and another six Copts died in a gun attack on a congregation at a church in Nagaa Hamady.

Apparently, Egypt’s Christian minority has been suffering increasing sectarian attacks since the early 1970s. These latest incidents in Egypt were at least mentioned by the western media, but most anti-Christian atrocities by Islamists are not. [The Irish Times] Read more

Chechnya, where stability comes at the price of secularism

.... Women face coercion to wear headscarves as part of a "virtues" campaign, including an Islamic dress code. Men are allowed polygamous marriage and alcohol is forbidden, though it remains tucked away inside shops.

However, Ramzan Kadyrov, the ruling governor of Chechnya who's just been reappointed for another five years, says for Chechnya's 1.2-million population, it's all voluntary.

To outsiders, the scene is a mixture of the medieval and pseudo-religious machismo. Kadyrov seems, however, unperturbed by the foreign criticism. "Don't fantasize. Don't portray us as unsociable beasts. We're only serving our people," he says. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

06 April 2011

France’s ruling party discusses Islam

France’s conservative ruling party has held a controversial debate on the practice of Islam, rejecting charges of bigotry and saying that airing the issue could help stem the rising popularity of the far-right.

President Nicolas Sarkozy had called for Tuesday’s discussion on Islam and secularism to address fears that some overt displays of Muslim faith - including street prayer and full-face veils - were France’s secular identity.

The UMP party were considering 26 ideas officials said were aimed at bringing France’s stringent laws decreeing the separation of church from state into step with the times. [loonwatch.com] Read more

Understanding Sharia Law

In the past year, a group of conservative pundits and analysts have identified sharia, or Islamic religious law, as a growing threat to the United States. These pundits and analysts argue that the steady adoption of sharia's tenets is a strategy extremists are using to transform the United States into an Islamic state.

A number of state and national politicians have adopted this interpretation and 13 states are now considering the adoption of legislation forbidding sharia. A bill in the Tennessee State Senate, for example, would make adherence to sharia punishable by 15 years in jail.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives and potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has called for "a federal law that says Sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States." [Huffington Post] Read more [via loonwatch.com]

05 April 2011

Bus advertising campaign tackles Islamophobia

An advertising campaign to tackle Islamophobia has been unveiled on buses across the UK.

Vehicles in several cities will carry the message "Muslims for loyalty, peace and freedom" in an attempt to challenge negative stereotypes of the faith.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, the group behind the campaign, said it hoped it would educate people about Islam and remove misconceptions. [BBC] Read more

Muslim row over minister's speech

THE INTERIOR minister Claude Guéant has been accused of Islamophobia and dishonouring France after saying the growing population of Muslims in the country 'poses problems'.

His comments were made on the eve of a debate within his party, the UMP, on Islam and secularism in France.

The debate, organised by party leader Jean-François Copé, is itself controversial, with many party figures finding excuses not to attend, including Prime Minister François Fillon.

"The question worries our citizens: there are many who think the rules of secularism are being stretched," said Guéant on a trip to Nantes. [The Connexion] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

"Wouldn't it be Better to Support the Peaceful Muslims (than to Criticize the Violent Ones)?"

EVEN IF the number of Muslims who believe in the basic political objective of Islam and are willing to vote in that direction (and take other actions) are as small a minority as people hope they are — this small minority is, by definition, more politically active and more committed than the "peaceful majority of Muslims."

If the majority is largely silent and politically-inactive, then it doesn't really matter what they think. They are having no influence on the public sphere.

In other words, the idea of stopping the Islamization of the West by strengthening, encouraging, and supporting politically-apathetic Muslims is a fool's errand.

This approach will do nothing. It will not stop the politically-active Muslims, and it will have very little impact on the apathetic Muslims, since they don't really care much about politics or religion anyway, and they just want to live a normal life in peace. [Citizen Warrior Heroes] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Islam debate undercuts far-right

.... Now Sarkozy's party has published a list of 26 ideas including distributing a "secularism charter" that would showcase legislation, edicts and police orders on secularism.

The UMP proposes forbidding citizens from invoking religion to disobey rules, such as in public swimming pools where Muslim women may seek to swim clothed or in the absence of men.

"None of these proposals targets any one faith or community in particular," said Cope. "Of course, some of the clarifications that we are proposing today have been made necessary by the development of Islam."

A sensitive issue, first raised by Le Pen, is Muslim street prayers which are taking place in many cities because of a lack of mosques.

The UMP proposes granting long-term leases to religious groups that want to build prayer sites, with an option to buy. The Catholic Church has long used such a facility, in addition to subsidies for the upkeep of historically important buildings. [Reuters] Read more

My Brother The Islamist

.... The documentary-maker, Robb Leech – the step-brother of one convert, Richard (Salahuddin) – said at the end that he thought his brother had not been brainwashed but had just reacted against what he saw as serious defects in the society around him. I think, on balance, that is only partly true.

In my experience, extremists such as Anjem Choudary’s followers, are encouraged to read and study from a highly limited set of resources. They are not taught to learn about the huge variety of thought and tendencies that exist among Muslims, let alone the rest of the world, and end up looking at the world in very binary colours. [Inayat's Corner] Read more

Security objection to mosque near Sandhurst is 'scaremongering'

.... The Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey Bengali Welfare Association is seeking to overturn a decision refusing planning permission for the demolition of a locally listed former primary school in Camberley and the erection of a £3m mosque complete with a domed roof and 30-metre (100ft) minarets in its place.

The contested site, which the association bought in 1996, is in Tory education minister Michael Gove's constituency. It is also 350 metres away from Sandhurst.

The proximity has alarmed a local campaign group, Save Our School, which believes the minarets are a security threat and one of several arguments against the proposals. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Iran upholds prison sentence for Baha'i leaders ahead of Christians' blasphemy trial

Seven leaders of the Baha’i faith, currently detained in Gohardasht prison in Karaj, have been informed that their original 20-year prison term has been reinstated. The judgment came days before the blasphemy trial of five members of the Church of Iran is due to begin.

The seven Baha’is were arrested in early 2008 and held for over two years without trial. In August 2010 they were finally tried and found guilty of espionage, acting against national security and forming an illegal cult.

The group was acquitted of the two former charges at appeal following vocal international condemnation of the case, and the original sentence of 20 years was halved. [Christian Today Australia] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Lutfur Rahman council pays at least £50,000 a month to front organisations for extremist IFE

It is payback time – at taxpayers’ expense – for the Islamic Forum of Europe, the fundamentalist Muslim group which, in its own words, is working to turn Europe into a sharia state and whose senior official, Azad Ali, has stated that “democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no-one agrees with that.”

For the last thirteen months, the Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches have documented the close links between the IFE and the man who is now the directly-elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

More On Koran Burning

.... This is a particularly aggressive and vivid way to express disdain, but I don’t know that it is much different in principle from orally condemning some of the Koran’s suras and verses.

Sura 9 of the Koran, for example, states the supremacist doctrine that commands Muslims to kill and conquer non-Muslims (e.g., 9:5: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) . . .”;

9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day, nor hold forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the people of the Book [i.e., the Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya [i.e., the tax paid for the privilege of living as dhimmis under the protection of the sharia state] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued”).

I must say, I’ve got a much bigger problem with the people trying to comply with those commands than with the guy who burns them. [National Review Online] Read more

04 April 2011

Boycott, protests set stage for French Islam debate

France's ruling conservatives are pressing ahead with a public debate on Islam and secularism on Tuesday despite criticism that it is an excuse to pander to far-right voters ahead of a general election next year.

Sarkozy's UMP party said in December that it would host a public forum to address fears about Islam's role in French society, following controversy over Muslim street prayers, halal-only restaurants and full-face Islamic veils. [Reuters] Read more

Dozens injured as Bangladeshi Islamists protest women's equality laws

The violence came as the hardline Islami Oikyo Jote, a coalition of Islamic groups, enforced a nationwide general strike on Monday, demanding the government institute Islamic law and scrap policies aimed at giving women greater rights to property, employment and education.

Thousands of riot police fanned out across Dhaka, the capital, and laid barbed wire fences to cordon off the country's main Baitul Mokarram mosque. Bangladesh is governed mainly by secular laws, but follows traditional Muslim family laws, which allow women to only claim a quarter of the inheritance men get from their parents. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

The Myth of the “Hate Crime” Wave Against Muslims

We’ve posted in the past about the spurious claims by CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood front groups that “hate crimes” against Muslims are increasing in the United States. When official law enforcement statistics are examined — rather than mere statements by Muslim apologists and their leftist friends — the actual incidence of such crimes is seen to be very low, and getting lower.

In an effort to counter Rep. Pete King (R-NY), who recently held hearings on radical Islam, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is currently holding his own hearings on prejudice and hate crimes against Muslims. The Center for Security Policy has just issued a press release to remind Americans of the actual statistics involved: [Gates of Vienna] Read more

The Truth About American Muslims At the Justice Department, it’s called the post-Sept. 11 backlash — the steady stream of more than 800 cases of violence and discrimination suffered by American Muslims at the hands of know-nothing abusers. These continuing hate crimes were laid bare at a valuable but barely noticed Senate hearing last week that provided welcome contrast to Representative Peter King’s airing of his xenophobic allegation that the Muslim-American community has been radicalized.

Offering federal data rather than mythic scapegoating of an easy political target, the Senate hearing focused on the fact that while Muslims make up 1 percent of the population, they are victims in 14 percent of religious discrimination cases. These range from homicides and mosque burnings to job, school and zoning law abuses, according to the Justice Department. [loonwatch.com] Read more

Veiled Muslim women are under attack in the UK claims new research

Research into the experiences of veiled Muslim women is to be presented at a public event to be held at the University of Leicester on April 6.

Irene Zempi, from the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester, is conducting postgraduate research into the victimisation of veiled Muslim women and their experiences as direct victims of Islamophobia in the streets of Leicester.

With her in-depth qualitative research revealing the ‘hidden’, often ‘invisible’ nature of Islamophobia, Irene will also identify ways to improve services and support offered to victims of anti-Muslim hate crime. [University of Leicester] Read more

French police warned not to arrest Muslim women covering up near mosques as country prepares for 'burka ban'

Police in France have been warned not to arrest any women wearing Muslim veils ‘in or around’ mosques.

The strict instructions, from Interior Minister Claude Guent, are contained in a nine page circular issued to officers prior to a full-blown burka ban coming into force next week.

With tensions running high within the country’s six million strong Muslim community, people have already been warned not to perform ‘citizen’s de-veilings’. [MailOnline] Read more

03 April 2011

Pastor Jones and the blame game

…. It was certainly unwise and provocative of Terry Jones to burn a copy of the Koran, especially given that last year he promised not to do so. He may secretly have hoped to provoke a violent response, and thus been cavalier with other people's lives.

After all, the riots that have occurred in Afghanistan and Pakistan serve only to confirm him in his belief that Islam is inherently a violent religion. But that does not make him morally responsible for a single death.

One might as well blame the 9/11 hijackers, or the rioters against the Danish cartoons, without whose actions it would never have occurred to Mr Jones that the Koran was a book worth burning.

By all means criticise the Koran-burning if you disapprove of it on grounds such as respect for religion or for the feelings of believers. But to condemn it on the grounds that it incites violence betrays severe moral confusion. [Heresy Corner] Read more

Sandhurst mosque plans prompt public inquiry

Plans to erect a mosque next to Sandhurst that have divided locals and prompted interventions from a Tory minister and the Ministry of Defence are to be considered at a public inquiry this week.

The proposals – to demolish a locally listed Victorian schoolbuilding in a conservation area in Camberley, Surrey, and replace it with a £3m domed mosque – have pitted members of the Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey Bengali Welfare Association against thousands of residents, army chiefs and the constituency MP and education secretary, Michael Gove. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

The difference between “multiculturalism” and “state multiculturalism”

.... A friend recently asked me how I think of myself. I replied that I think of myself as a Briton whose ethnic origin is Punjabi and whose religion is Islam. Neither of those divides me from my fellow citizens, irrespective of their ethnicity or religious views.

The essence of my objection to state multiculturalism is that I demand that the state treats me as an individual citizen with individual rights, and does not assign me to an ethnic or religious group which must be dealt with as a block. [ConservativeHome] Read more

02 April 2011

Koran or Human Life: Which one is more important to Muslims?

.... For it is clear that today the Islamic world attaches more importance to the Koran than to human life, to the name or image of prophet Muhammad – who is dead and gone – than to any living human being. Muslims attach more value to Islam than to human rights. Human beings have little or no value. Human life is nothing. Islam is everything. The Koran is everything.

Allah is all in all. Human life can be sacrificed for the sake of Islam, for the furtherance of Islam or in reaction to an insult to Islam. The lives of those we know, see and touch can be snuffed out in reverence of somebody or the imagined sensibilities of someone whom we do not know, see or touch.

These are the misconceptions at the root of Islamic fanaticism and terrorism. These are the misguided doctrines most Muslims are brainwashed with from cradle to the grave. These are the dogmas that darken the lives of Muslims. These are the dogmas Muslim fanatics use to destroy other lives. [Butterflies and Wheels] Read more

Sixteen reasons why I object to this dangerous cover-up

.... More arguments are on the website of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, which I co-founded. Bans are too harsh, but without some state intervention most Muslim women will be rendered faceless and probably voiceless too.

We have societal expectations and conventions – naturists can't go about starkers; motorbike helmets are removed in office receptions; woman don't wear tight miniskirts to serious job interviews. A dress code for Muslim women when in public institutions would free up our faith from the grip of fanatics and reintegrate us into our country.

Remember, when France disallowed hijab in schools, there were similar, dark warnings. All is calm today. As Almira, a 17- year-old, told me: "The state looked after us." Ours must too. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Judge rules for group touting anti-Islam ad

The ads, which will soon be ready to go on the side of some local public buses, read "Fatwa on your head? Leaving Islam? Refuge from Islam.com. Got questions? Get answers!"

The controversial ads from the New York City-based American Freedom Defense Initiative group are aimed at people who want to leave the Islamic faith. Metro Detroit has one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in the nation.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Denise Hood granted a preliminary injunction against the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority's rejection of the ads, ruling SMART violated the group's First and 14th Amendment rights. Both sides are due back in court April 11. [The Detroit News] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Is France right to "ban the burqa"?

.... Salma Yaqoob: I separate my personal, emotional reactions from the right of other people to make their own decisions. I don't personally like it. I can understand why some people are uncomfortable about it. But I'm even more uncomfortable about taking that choice away.

My mother didn't wear a hijab and was hostile when I began to. But when my sister was in her early 20s, she began wearing a full burqa. I was very uncomfortable with that, but she saw it as an expression of her spirituality. Now she doesn't wear the burqa. It was part of her journey. What's fundamental to me is that no one should dictate to anyone else whether to cover or uncover.

YAB: This relativism is my big problem with what you've just said. The faith does not demand this. This is a Wahhabi project, funded by the Saudis, which has been very successfully planted here. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Afghanistan: when gentle Mazar-e-Sharif erupted in violence

And there were mixed feelings about the rights and wrongs of an incident that cost the lives of seven UN staff – four Gurkha security guards and three European UN diplomats – making it the worst crisis to hit the international organisation in Afghanistan.

Yes, they thought what happened on their doorstep was wrong – particularly the beheading of two UN staff, who they accepted were only in Mazar to "serve Afghanistan". But, they said, "the foreigners" needed to understand the level of anger at the desecration of the Qur'an by a Christian extremist on the other side of the world.

"Why do they not respect us?" asked Jamal. "We do not burn their Christian books, so they need to understand that the Qur'an is our most holy book." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Afghanistan: United Nations mission rocked by mob killings

.... The head of the Blue Mosque, Atiqullah Ansari, said only a minority were responsible for the violence, claiming they were the followers of a mullah who served under the Taliban regime. "They went to the UN compound and killed the foreigners, this is what they wanted," he said.

Last night Jones told the BBC he could not be held responsible for the attack on the UN. Instead he blamed Islam. "We must take a serious, serious look at Islam," he said. "It's a violent religion that promotes acts of violence, I believe we need to bring this before the UN."

Barack Obama condemned the attack, saying: "We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to reject violence and resolve differences through dialogue." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

The consequences of Qur'an burning

Ten UN staff have been killed in a violent protest in Afghanistan against the burning of a copy of the Qur'an by a Christian fundamentalist pastor in Florida last week. Is the Florida pastor who burnt the Qur'an morally responsible for the deaths of UN staff in protests in Afghanistan?

44.7% Yes, it is a provocative blasphemy against others' beliefs

55.3% No, it should be considered a legitimate free speech act

[COMMENTS] Of course not! The moral responsibility for the brutal acts of muder in Afghanistan lies with the murderers. Abrogating them of responsibility for their own actions is to suggest they are incapaable of judgement or reason.

Would the same question be posed if a Christian, distraught at the burning of a Church in Egypt, masaccred the nearest Muslim he could get his hands on? [Guardian Cif] Read more

01 April 2011

Saudi Arabia's anti-protest fatwa is transparent

The official Saudi religious scholars' fatwa banning mass demonstrations, issued on 6 March, is a lengthy but, for the Muslim reader, a transparent document. It embodies the balancing act that has become necessary for the royal family to maintain its authority.

Saudi subjects desire social reform profoundly, and most of them trust King Abdullah to lead them on the path of change. The Saudi monarchy and the religious authorities with which it is allied must channel such demands through existing "Islamic" means of redress, generally consigned to the heading of "consultation". [Guardian Cif] Read more

Do We Have the Right to Burn the Koran?

.... The point is not (and will never be) that some free person spoke, or wrote, or illustrated in such a manner as to inflame the Muslim community. The point is that only the Muslim community is combustible in this way.

The controversy over Fitna, like all such controversies, renders one fact about our world especially salient: Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of craven and blinkered acquiescence. [Sam Harris] Read more