31 July 2011

The pro-immigration Left should stop using Anders Breivik to further its political agenda

.... David Cameron and Angela Merkel should be applauded for having the courage to confront the centre left consensus about multiculturalism. Whatever your feelings about the manner in which immigration has transformed the countries of Western Europe, you should welcome the opportunity to engage in a public debate on the subject.

For Thorbjørn Jagland to invoke the crimes of Anders Breivik in order to avoid doing so is a disgrace and suggests that he’s not confident this is an argument he and his fellow multiculturalists can win.

[A COMMENT] Persuading Europeans that their countries are better off for having imported the Third World and its weird religion is an argument that can never be won, which is why the Left is reduced to the pathetic tactic of dreaming up ever more fanciful ways of demonizing the Right. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Iranian sentenced to blinding for acid attack pardoned

An Iranian man who was ordered to be blinded for carrying out an acid attack on a woman has been pardoned by his victim, state television has said.

Ameneh Bahrami had demanded qisas, a rarely used retributive justice under Sharia law, but the report said she had forgone that right at the last minute.

A court had backed Ms Bahrami's demand in 2008 that Majid Movahedi be blinded. He attacked Ms Bahrami in 2004 after she had refused his offer of marriage, leaving her severely disfigured.

Rights group Amnesty International had lobbied against the sentence, calling it "cruel and inhuman punishment amounting to torture". [BBC] Read more

Be warned: Real courage is being ready to step on a few 'cultural' toes

.... The local Imam, when I challenged him about such a barbaric practice, which he justified as a religious and cultural necessity to ensure their purity at marriage, had steely eyes which bored through me. ‘In the not too distant future,’ he intoned, ‘all British girls will be circumcised when Islam rules this country.’

That kind of thinking has not gone away. Last week we saw posters declaring that areas of East London are now subject to Sharia Law – a clearly unacceptable concept in a society with its own, highly developed legal system.

My second moment of terror came last Monday when Stephen Lennon, who leads the English Defence League (EDL), warned in conversation with Jeremy Paxman that the kind of extreme Right-wing violence witnessed in Norway was likely to be happening here in five to ten years. [MailOnline] Read more

Who inspires the Anders Breiviks and their hatred of Muslims?

.... This is where Cohen's distinction between Islamism and Islam breaks down. For, if a major figure like Qaradawi is, as Cohen claims, a barbarian intent on killing homosexuals and genitally mutilating young girls, if a liberal Muslim intellectual like Ramadan embodies the threat from "radical Islam", if the MCB and the East London Mosque are led by dangerous extremists whose objective is to establish an Islamic empire – then you can only conclude that the Muslim communities in which these individuals and organisations are rooted must surely be suspect too. [Islamophobia Watch] Read more

Iran man pardoned from acid in eye punishment at last second

Majid Mohavedi waited on his knees weeping, a doctor standing over him with a phial of corrosive chemicals in his hand, when his victim, watching from above, had a last-minute change of heart.

Ameneh Bahrami, once a woman of striking beauty, was blinded and hideously disfigured after Mohavedi threw a bucket of acid over her in 2004 in a fit of anger after she had rejected his proposal of marriage.

Under Iranian law, Miss Bahrami was entitled to seek retribution in kind – a practice, endorsed by the Koran known as qesas that prescribes "eye-for-an-eye" justice. The court that convicted Mohavedi ruled, however, that he could only be blinded in one eye. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Cairo protest highlights clash of visions

A huge rally Friday meant to symbolize unity highlighted instead the deepening splits between secular and religious parties over Egypt's future, signaling battles certain to unfold in coming months over the influence of Islamic law on the nation's new constitution.

The demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square, one of the largest since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February, reaffirmed the power of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations that amassed tens of thousands of supporters. It comes as weeks of protests have convulsed the country and polarized political parties whose true agendas are emerging. [Los Angeles Times] Read more

War for the furtherance of Islam and against non-believers is considered ethically acceptable

Islamic experts assure me there is no prohibition of warfare during Ramadan. On the contrary, many of Islam's great conquests occurred during this holy month, including the first clash between Muslims and infidels, which occurred in 624 when Muhammad led his troops to victory in the battle of Badr. War for the furtherance of Islam and against non-believers is considered ethically acceptable by scholars, even during the month of fasting and prayer. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Norwegian Terrorist Special Edition

In addition to the regular update this week LibertyPhile includes a Special Edition, 13 extracts and links to articles analysing Anders Breivik’s motives and the background to them.

On Christian fundamentalism Archbishop Cranmer, July 24
Anders Breivik is not Christian but anti-Islam Guardian Cif, 24 July
Christian Terrorism and Islamophobia Sam Harris, 24 July
Norway, we salute you - Radicals across the globe will use Anders Breivik against the West The Commentator, 27 July
SIAN Blames “Politically Correct Norway” for Breivik’s Murders The Spittoon, 27 July
Mass-murder in Norway highlights the need to oppose the ideas driving the European far right New Humanist, 27 July
Breivik and Fascism – A Lesson from George Orwell Harry’s Place, 27 July
Romancing Eurabia The Huffington Post, 27 July
Is Wilders partly to blame for Norway attacks? Radio Nederlands Worldwide, 27 July
Has the UK ignored the threat from the far-right? Wallscometumblingdown, 28 July
In his rage against Muslims, Norway's killer was no loner Guardian Cif, 28 July
The Norway Massacre and Europe's War on Free Speech Hudson New York, 28 July
Was Anders Breivik a ‘fascist’ or something else? Liberal Conspiracy, 28 July

On Christian fundamentalism

.... But never over recent centuries has ‘Christian fundamentalism’ been used to justify mass murder. We are not talking about bombing Dresden or sinking the Belgrano or any appalling loss of life within a context of war: we are talking about a professing Christian who decides to take the law into his own hands and act unilaterally.

Anders Behring Breivik shows a remarkable ignorance of the teachings of Jesus, who exhorted Peter to put away his sword. To be a fundamentalist follower of Jesus would be to dedicate one’s life to celibate pacifism.

And not only that, it would be to give away all that one has to the poor and live in a commune where everyone shares everything and all possessions. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Anders Breivik is not Christian but anti-Islam

[A COMMENT] As a Muslim, & as a human being, I offer my condolences to the victims. This Norwegian terrorist is not much different than Osama Bin Laden. Hatred & intolerance will lead to these types of atrocities no matter on which side of spectrum. The Fascism in Islam = Fascism in Christianity = Fascism in any other religion or philosophy.

For the intolerant Europeans, if you want to limit the Immigration of Muslims into your countries, just modify your rules & laws. You are in charge of your own countries and governments.

Try to only allow educated & progressive Muslims into your lands who will assimilate more easily into your communities. If you create ghettos for the Arabs like in France, then you can not expect assimilation!!! [Guardian Cif] Read more

Christian Terrorism and Islamophobia

.... One can only hope that the horror and outrage provoked by Breivik’s behavior will temper the growing enthusiasm for right-wing, racist nationalism in Europe. However, one now fears the swing of another pendulum: We are bound to hear a lot of deluded talk about the dangers of “Islamophobia” and about the need to address the threat of “terrorism” in purely generic terms.

The emergence of “Christian” terrorism in Europe does absolutely nothing to diminish or simplify the problem of Islam—its repression of women, its hostility toward free speech, and its all-too-facile and frequent resort to threats and violence.

Islam remains the most retrograde and ill-behaved religion on earth. And the final irony of Breivik’s despicable life is that he has made that truth even more difficult to speak about. [Sam Harris] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Norway, we salute you - Radicals across the globe will use Anders Breivik against the West

.... Radicalization is a threat to our freedoms and equality; we too have wishy-washy politicians eager for votes and terrified of offending, thereby pandering to the Islamists; we have our share of Sharia-pushers; we have huge loopholes in our immigration system, an open welcome-to-one-and-all policy regardless of background and intention and most of all, like Storhaug’s prediction, time is running out for us.

The radicals have become bold across the globe and are using scare tactics. They will milk the Oslo massacre against the West forever. For them this is a triumph.

We need to act now for tougher immigration policies, harsh legal consequences for those wishing to harm the West , transparency and accountability for all religious organizations along with clearance from organizations such as RCMP and Revenue Canada and a strict policy of separation of church and state. [The Commentator] Read more

SIAN Blames “Politically Correct Norway” for Breivik’s Murders

.... the group asserts that ‘Politicians have strangled Islam debate and refused to take on the threat Islam represents for countries and people’, and that ‘newspaper editors’, ‘TV and radio executives’, ‘anti-racists’ and ‘left-extremists’ have prevented ‘the real Islam critics from being heard’, citing themselves as silenced experts.

They went on to posit that if politicians had not ‘shut their eyes and ears but taken necessary steps’, Breivik’s killing spree could have been prevented. [The Spittoon] Read more

Mass-murder in Norway highlights the need to oppose the ideas driving the European far right

.... I don't believe such views should be censored (we should all follow the lead of Norway's Prime Minister, who immediately expressed the importance of defending his country's open society), but I do believe we should be asking, as the Liberal Conspiracy blog did yesterday, what exactly it is that commentators like Melanie Phillips want?

They do not, in my opinion, have any constructive answers to the questions and challenges posed by our modern, multicultural society. [New Humanist] Read more

Breivik and Fascism – A Lesson from George Orwell

.... The ultimate aim of Breivik’s fantasy revolution is that of placing the government of European nations under the direct, authoritarian, control of a series of ‘tribunals’ made up of ‘cultural conservatives’; bodies which, facing no democratic or constitutional limitations, would exercise unlimited power and authority over every single aspect of the lives of citizens, using this power to bring about an enforced state of ‘cultural unity’ – a pan-European monoculture.

Although much abused, and derided by Orwell as having come to lack any meaning other than ‘something not desirable‘, there is only one word that adequately describes that political agenda. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Romancing Eurabia

.... Other Eurabia theorists have also made such sensationalist claims with some going as far as suggesting that Europe will be 40% Muslim by 2020. So the question arises - to what extent are these claims true, and more importantly, what underpins them.

In early 2009, we at Quilliam published a report entitled 'In defence of British Muslims: A response to BNP racist propaganda'. In this report, author Lucy James comprehensively debunked the Eurabia myth by showing how the entire thesis rests on manipulated statistics and speculation.

The facts are that currently only 4% of Europe is Muslim, this number could rise to 6% by 2020 and possibly to 10% by 2110. Furthermore, studies have shown that whilst birth rates do tend to be higher amongst Muslims and non-Muslim immigrants from developing nations in the first generation, these usually level out by the second and third generation. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Is Wilders partly to blame for Norway attacks?

Discussion has started in the Netherlands about the influence Geert Wilders had on the Norwegian bomber Anders Behring Breivik, since he praises the Dutch anti-Islam politician 30 times in his manifesto. Whether it's fear of polarisation or political correctness, Dutch political parties seem to be inclined to protect Wilders.

Democrat MP Boris van der Ham called it an "idiotic reflex" to link Mr Wilders with the massacre, while Socialist Party leader Emile Roemer said it was unwise to point the finger at Mr Wilders. "If a murderer quotes me tomorrow does that make me responsible too?" he asked. [Radio Nederlands Worldwide] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Has the UK ignored the threat from the far-right?

.... It is not as though there isn’t evidence to suggest a very real threat exists from within the far-right. Far-right groups and organisations over the past decade have been increasingly successful in presenting a more populist front in spite of being founded on an explicit anti-Muslim, anti-Islam agenda.

The British National Party (BNP) won two seats in the European elections on the back of campaigns entitled ‘Islam out of Britain’ and ‘Islam Referendum Day’ amongst others. Whilst the BNP has waned, the English Defence League (EDL) has blazed a new frontier.

Rapidly growing in just over two years, the EDL has taken the protest against ‘Islamification’ to Britain’s streets. Collaborating on the basis that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, the EDL has broken with traditional far-right ideology and established Jewish, Sikh, LGBT and women’s divisions amongst others. [wallscometumblingdown] Read more

In his rage against Muslims, Norway's killer was no loner

.... It has become the new acceptable form of racism – far outstripping in opinion polls the level of hatred for any other religious or racial group, and embraced by those who delude themselves that anti-Muslim bigotry has nothing to do with ethnicity – and even represents some sort of defence of liberal values.

For those who failed to deliver decent jobs, wages and housing, and encouraged employers to profit from low-wage migrant labour, how much easier to scapegoat minority Muslim communities than deal with the banks and corporate free-for-all that triggered the crisis?

[A COMMENT] It has long suited the extremist left to use this weasel term "Islamaphobia" to lump together everyone concerned about the growing presence and influence of Islam in Europe and the West in general, as if everyone had the same objections to Islam. In fact, there are many different reasons why so many are worried by Islam. [Guardian Cif] Read more

The Norway Massacre and Europe's War on Free Speech

British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have all declared in recent months that multiculturalism has failed.

In June, the Dutch government announced it would abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands. In Spain, the conservative Popular Party, which is widely expected to win the next general election, has promised to enact new measures that will require all immigrants to learn the Spanish language to obtain residency permits.

Some analysts say these measures are too little too late. But one thing seems clear: European multiculturalists are feeling some unfamiliar political heat. After decades of high-handed stifling of debate, the gradual unravelling of multiculturalism in Europe explains the obsessive zeal with which many are exploiting the Norwegian tragedy. [Hudson New York] Read more

Was Anders Breivik a ‘fascist’ or something else?

.... In this he shares the “awakening” belief of many other terrorists before him, that through one spectacular act he can both raise awareness among those of like minds that they can personally do something, and also hopefully provoke the authorities into so overreacting that they make things worse, the same trap the West walked into after 9/11.

.... In my view, he’s best compartmentalised as a 21st century European white nationalist, who while others talked decided to act, by murdering the “friends” of his enemies. [Liberal Conspiracy] Read more

30 July 2011

There is no place for Sharia Law in my city

The Muslims Against Crusades march to inaugurate Waltham Forest as England's first Sharia controlled zone set off from Leyton station over an hour late today. There was no official EDL counter demonstration but individuals went to observe and try to express their contempt. The pictures say more than words.

.... I made my way back to my car. I hope the people of Leyton and Walthamstow have learnt a little more today of what Islam has planned for them, so that they can join those who will stop its encroachment. [The Iconoclast] Read more

29 July 2011

Over half of Dutch say Wilders anti-Islamic rhetoric fine - poll

A majority of Dutch believe that Geert Wilders, the anti-immigration politician much admired by Norway's mass murderer, does not need to tone down his inflammatory anti-Islamic comments, a poll on Friday showed.

A polarising figure in the Netherlands, Wilders has been criticised for speaking out against Islam and immigration, with comments comparing Islam to Nazism. Last month, a Dutch court acquitted Wilders of inciting hatred of Muslims. [Reuters] Read more

Probe into secretive Sharia law courts scrapped as Muslim leaders close ranks

.... The failure of the Government's investigation was disclosed to MPs by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly. He told Tory backbencher Kris Hopkins that before last year's general election his department acted to 'commission an exploratory study of Sharia councils in England with respect to family law'.

Mr Djanogly said: 'This identified a number of challenges to undertaking robust research in this area. The study was therefore limited and adds little to the evidence base.

'The findings cannot be regarded as a representative assessment of the operation of Sharia councils. Following expert peer review of the draft report, the Ministry of Justice decided not to publish the findings.'

A further statement to the Mail made it clear the 'challenges' researchers experienced boiled down to the Sharia courts failing to co-operate. [MailOnline] Read more

Light sentence for Muslim extremists sends 'chilling message'

An Indonesian court has sent a "chilling message" by giving Muslim extremists light sentences for a vicious mob attack in which three sect members died, rights activists say.

Twelve people stood trial but none faced murder charges in what human rights campaigners say is a travesty of justice in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

The sentences range between three and six months' jail - less than prosecutors had sought and well below the maximum penalty of 12 years. [Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

How a .... Incident Brought Back my Extremist Past

This week I rediscovered a dark part of me that I thought I had put to rest. For most people, the routine journey home from work brings few surprises. Mine took me back 20 years in a flash.

At the station a man was harassing a grandmother, her daughter and grandchildren. It happens. But it was the timing that shook me. The family were Muslims of South Asian origin, in headscarves and the man was gesticulating: “Go home, this is England.” This was three days after Oslo. The children looked petrified. And the man did not expect what happened next. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Egypt uprising: Islamists lead Tahrir Square rally

Tens of thousands of people have packed Cairo's Tahrir Square, after the first call by Islamist leaders for nationwide demonstrations since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February.

Many protesters - dominated by Muslim Brotherhood supporters - are calling for an Islamic state and Sharia law.

Correspondents say the rallies will be a worrying development for secularists.

The Brotherhood is the most organised political force in Egypt, although it was not prominent in the revolution.

Tensions have been running high between Egypt's Islamist and secular groups, who are at odds over the transition to democracy in the Arab world's most populated country. [BBC] Read more

Probe into secretive Sharia law courts scrapped as Muslim leaders close ranks

.... The failure of the Government's investigation was disclosed to MPs by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly.

He told Tory backbencher Kris Hopkins that before last year's general election his department acted to 'commission an exploratory study of Sharia councils in England with respect to family law'.

Mr Djanogly said: 'This identified a number of challenges to undertaking robust research in this area. The study was therefore limited and adds little to the evidence base.

'The findings cannot be regarded as a representative assessment of the operation of Sharia councils. Following expert peer review of the draft report, the Ministry of Justice decided not to publish the findings. [MailOnline] Read more

Groups quit Egypt rally saying hijacked by Islamists

More than 30 political parties and movements withdrew from a rally on Friday that was organized to send a united message to the ruling army about reform, saying the event was hijacked by Islamist groups.

“Islamic law above the constitution,” read banners in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that was packed with tens of thousands of people. Protesters who fear Islamists will seek to dominate plans to rewrite the constitution demanded they be taken down.

“Islamic, Islamic, we don’t want secular,” they chanted in the square filled with many followers of the strict Salafist interpretation of Islam.

“There are so many (Islamic) beards. We certainly feel imposed upon,” said student Samy Ali, 23. He said Salafists had tried to separate women and men camping there. [Reuters] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

There is no place for Sharia law in British Society

.... it has been left to a crossbencher in the House of Lords, Baroness Cox, to table a Private Members’ Bill on sharia law which would make it an offence, punishable by up to five years in jail, for sharia courts to misrepresent their powers or pressurise anyone into accepting their judgments.

If the Government does not like Baroness Cox’s law it should pass its own legislation. When Parliament passed the 1996 Arbitration Act it did not envisage that Islamicists would use it to establish a system of sharia courts and there is no reason why it cannot be revised to exclude them.

The alternative as we have seen this week is for the Government to sit back while extremists try to claim parts of the country as their own fiefdoms, subject to their own arbitrary laws.

It is a disgrace that a country so outwardly committed to human rights should allow this to happen. [Express.co.uk] Read more

28 July 2011

'No porn or prostitution': Islamic extremists set up Sharia law controlled zones in British cities

Islamic extremists have launched a poster campaign across the UK proclaiming areas where Sharia law enforcement zones have been set up.

Communities have been bombarded with the posters, which read: ‘You are entering a Sharia-controlled zone – Islamic rules enforced.’

The bright yellow messages daubed on bus stops and street lamps have already been seen across certain boroughs in London and order that in the ‘zone’ there should be ‘no gambling’, ‘no music or concerts’, ‘no porn or prostitution’, ‘no drugs or smoking’ and ‘no alcohol’. [MailOnline] Read more

UN human rights body criticizes restrictions on free expression

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has issued a commentary on freedom of expression that says anti-blasphemy laws and restrictions on criticism of governments are incompatible with existing norms and that free expression is essential for the protection of human rights, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported today.

The committee also said counter-terrorism measures, including laws that outlaw acts that allegedly “encourage” or “justify” terrorism, “should be clearly defined to ensure that they do not lead to an unnecessary or disproportionate interference with freedom of expression;” and laws against defamation of public officials and heads of State “should not provide for more severe penalties solely on the basis of the identity of the person that may have been impugned.” [UN News Centre] Read more [via National Secular Society]

27 July 2011

Dubai court fines UK woman for calling colleague a 'Bin Laden supporter'

A Dubai court has fined a British woman for insulting Islam after she accused her Muslim co-worker of being 'a fan of Osama bin-Laden' on Facebook. The 31-year-old landed in court on charges of calling her colleague a 'Bin Laden supporter' on the social network site, the Daily Mail reports.

The race-horse trainer, named only as EL in court proceedings, was hauled before a judge last week after the online spat in September 2010.

Her Egyptian ex-colleague accused her of disrespecting 'Islam and Ramadan' when she posted a series of disparaging remarks on Facebook. [NEWS TRACK India] Read more [via EuropeNews]

Churchgoer who dumped bacon outside a mosque is jailed for race hate crimes

A churchgoer who left pork products outside a mosque during a hate campaign against Muslims has been put behind bars. John White, 63, left rashers of bacon outside the religious building in South Shields, and similar products outside worshippers' homes.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that despite the distress caused to the members of the Jam-E-Masjid mosque, chairman Mohammed Miah has told police he bears no grudge. [MailOnline] Read more

26 July 2011

Woman defies Belgian Burka ban

....The law in Belgium, which follows a similar measure in France passed in April, prevents someone’s identity being obscured by clothing in public places. Offenders face a fine of 137.5 euros or even up to a week in jail if they re-offend.

Despite critics saying the ban is over the top as so few women in Belgium actually wear the full veil, others defend the move.

Denis Ducarme, a Belgian Member of Parliament, says: ‘‘We think in terms of security it is completely unacceptable to see a certain number of masked figures in the street who are unidentifiable. That is the first point. The second thing is we believe there has to be equality between men and women.’‘

Reporting from Brussels euronews’ Galina Polonskaya says: ‘‘The fear of being fined or going to prison. Those who cannot or won’t change their dress prefer to stay home. They await a Constitutional Court decision. The first hearing is in September.’‘ [euronews] Read more

Slander and lies from the East London Mosque

The self-styled anti-racists of “Unite Against Fascism” have published an interview with Dilowar Khan, a director of the East London Mosque. Khan engages in straightforward slander:

The EDL, inspired by the documentaries and writings of journalists such as Andrew Gilligan, Martin Bright and others, claimed that Muslims were attempting to turn Tower Hamlets into an Islamic state, which is absolute nonsense.

Both journalists have exposed Islamist extremism in a number of pieces. This is why Khan smears them with the EDL tag. He would prefer silence, since his mosque is very much part of the problem. His words are reprehensible. [Harry’s Place] Read more

25 July 2011

Protesters oppose Muslim prayer in public schools

They waved signs that warned of “creeping jihad” and proclaimed “Islam must be reformed or banned.”

They chanted — “No Islam in our schools”; “No Mohamed in our schools”; “No Sharia law in our country.”

About 100 protesters, many from groups such as the Jewish Defense League, the Christian Heritage Party and Canadian Hindu Advocacy, came to the Toronto District School Board Monday evening to protest its approval of formal Friday prayer services for Muslim students at Valley Park Middle School.

[A COMMENT] My children go to public school. And even though I'm a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I neither expect nor want for them to have prayers or Bible reading classes in public school system. If anybody wants to have prayers and religious classes, let them open their own schools and leave public school system out of this. [Toronto Star] Read more

Is a 'Little Bit of Sharia' Okay?

Some Americans argue that U.S. civil and criminal legal codes and courts should recognize Islamic law (sharia), as applied to Muslim families, at least. But sharia critics need point no further than Australia to show the utter incoherence of that contention.

Polygamy is illegal in Australia, as is marriage of underage women and children. Nevertheless, Australia accepts "valid Muslim polygamist marriages, lawfully entered into overseas,... with second and third wives and their children able to claim welfare and other benefits," according to The Australian legal affairs editor Chris Merritt.

Australia accepts them, even though in many such marriages a woman is "under [Australia's] lawful marriage age." [American Thinker] Read more [via National Secular Society]

24 July 2011

On Segregated Prayers in Public Schools

An essential characteristic of public schools is that they should be secular, should be schools that neither endorse a particular view on religion nor discriminate against students with a particular view on religion.

These prayers are being described by some as an example of religious freedom (i.e. students being allowed to practice their religious beliefs), but there are some aspects of the situation which make me question this assessment. [The Eternal Bookshelf] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

23 July 2011

Belgian ban on full veils comes into force

The country is the second European Union nation after France to enforce such a ban. Offenders face a fine of 137.5 euros (£121; $197) and up to seven days in jail.

Two women who wear full veils launched an immediate court challenge, saying the law is discriminatory. France, home to Europe's biggest Muslim population, enforced its ban in April.

Belgium's law bans any clothing that obscures the identity of the wearer in places like parks and on the street. [BBC] Read more

Malaysia: Christians can not use "Allah" to define God

The use of "Allah" for God by Christians must stop because it may cause Islamic anger: this is the position of a prominent Islamic Malaysian Mohd Sani Badron in a speech yesterday at the Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikimono) reopening the dispute over the Bible translation of the vernacular term to refer to God.

The Islamic scholar’s attack comes only a few days after the historic meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Pope Benedict XVI, a first step toward diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Holy See. [AsiaNews / Agencies] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Norway suspect attacked multiculturalism

The man suspected of Norway’s gun and bomb massacre had belonged to an anti-immigration party and opposed multi-culturalism, Islam and the “cultural Marxists” of the establishment, web postings, acquaintances and officials said on Saturday.

Anders Behring Breivik was accused of gunning down 85 people at a youth camp and killing another seven in a bomb attack on Friday.

“Before we can start our crusade we must do our duty by decimating cultural marxism,” said a caption under a video called “Knights Templar 2083” on the YouTube website. [Reuters] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

22 July 2011

Public mostly blame media for ‘Islamophobia’

A national poll of Britons has found that the media industry is seen as most to blame for ‘fear of Islam’.

Muslims abroad and far-right parties such as the BNP and EDL come a joint distant second in the poll by Comres.

They were asked: “Which one of the following groups, if any, do you think is most to blame for Islamophobia, fear of Islam, in the UK?”

29% of Britons blamed the media. 14% blamed Muslims abroad and 13% blamed far-right parties.

[A COMMENT] Anyone who has worked in market research will tell you it is not too difficult to get the results you want by the design of the questionaire and the wording of the questions. [Liberal Conspiracy] Read more

Court challenge to Belgian burqa ban set as law comes into effect

The Belgian burqa ban is set to be challenged before the country's constitutional court by two women who willingly wear the full-body Islamic covering, their lawyer said Friday - one day before the new law was to come into effect.

'My clients are far from being the only ones,' Ines Wouters told the German Press Agency dpa. 'This is really a head-on attack on the Muslim world.' [Monsters and Critics.com] Read more

How sexual apartheid works with children - in photos

Here are three consecutive photos of the Parsian Children's Ensemble. The first photo was rejected because the girls are unveiled. I assume that the reason they are unveiled is that they are too young for compulsory veiling, which is the age of nine, when incidentally girls can also be 'married' off and you know the rest.

In the second one, though the girls are now veiled, the photo was still rejected because their veils were insufficient and their arms were showing; the genders were also mixed (shock, horror!) .

The third photo finally satisfied the censors - it was perfect. Girls nicely covered up and in the back where they belong... [Maryam Namazie] Read more

BBC Promotes "Radical" Preacher in Documentary

A recent BBC documentary on the Life of Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, has featured a known ‘radical’ preacher, Abdur-Raheem Green.

Green, a convert to Islam, is known for appearing at campuses across the country, infamously stating that society pressures ‘our daughters to get degrees, to become doctors or engineers’. He refers to this as ‘sick’ numerous times.

He has argued that men are responsible for the guidance of women and supports a husband’s ‘use of physical force’ for a ‘light beating’. The BBC have reported this themselves. [Student Rights] Read more

Egypt women work to protect rights from Islamist groups

Feminists dismayed that Egypt’s revolution is failing to advance their cause are trying to rally disparate women’s groups to defend women’s rights from perceived threats from Islamists and other conservatives.

“The revolution [has been] stolen by the military, the government, professionally organized groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and traditional political parties headed by opportunists,” veteran feminist Nawal al-Saadawi told Reuters in an interview.

Campaigners say Egyptian women face some of the harshest treatment in the world: domestic violence, harassment and discrimination in the law.

Female genital mutilation practiced on children is rife. Its advocates assert, wrongly, that it is called for in Islam’s holy texts. Forced marriage of young girls is still common outside big cities. [Daily Star] Read more [via National Secular Society]

European Muslims: ‘Refusal to integrate the root of most problems’

Muslim immigrants in Europe have faced many challenges post-9/11, and there is a need to enhance intra-community harmony to address the situation. This was stressed at a seminar titled ‘Muslim Immigrants in Europe’, held here on Thursday. The seminar was organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), in collaboration with the Pakistan-Norway Association (PANA).

.... Director IPS, Khalid Rahman, said that the main problems faced by these immigrants include the unavailability of infrastructure and social set up to perform Islamic rituals and obligations, legal issues related to citizenship; social issues like assimilation and integration in non-Muslim societies, and other issues such as liberal, secular and anti-religion trends in Europe. [The Express Tribune] Read more [via National Secular Society]

“Chris Allen’s stupid report”: responses to my report to the APPG on Islamophobia

Following on from the APPG on Islamophobia’s decision to remove iENGAGE from its role as Secretariat on Monday, listed below are links to some of the coverage that has mentioned my report.

…. Inayat’s Corner’s states that “the report gave the Islamophobies just what they needed” at the same time noting Bob Pitt’s “very firm response” which was basically him calling me a “fucking idiot”.

Martin Bright in the Jewish Chronicle uses the following quote from the report:

“[i-Engage] rarely seem to differentiate between what might be legitimate criticism, what might be illegitimate criticism, and what might be rather more derogatory or Islamophobic. Without any critical differentiation, [i-Engage] responded in exactly the same way, failing to recognise the difference between legitimate and illegitimate criticism but more crucially the difference between criticism and Islamophobia.” [wallscometumblingdown] Read more

21 July 2011

New Saudi Fatwa Defends Pedophilia as ‘Marriage’

Muslim “child-marriage” — euphemism for pedophilia — is making headlines again, at least in Arabic media: Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, a prominent cleric and member of Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, just issued a fatwa asserting that there is no minimum age for marriage, and that girls can be married “even if they are in the cradle.”

Appearing in Saudi papers on July 13, the fatwa complains that “Uninformed interference with Sharia rulings by the press and journalists is on the increase, posing dire consequences to society, including their interference with the question of marriage to small girls who have not reached maturity, and their demand that a minimum age be set for girls to marry.” [Jihad Watch] Read more

Muslim-Western Tensions Persist

.... One note of agreement between Westerners and Muslims is that both believe Muslim nations should be more economically prosperous than they are today. But they gauge the problem quite differently.

Muslim publics have an aggrieved view of the West – they blame Western policies for their own lack of prosperity. Across the Muslim publics surveyed, a median of 53% say U.S. and Western policies are one of the top two reasons why Muslim nations are not wealthier.

.... Nearly a decade after September 11, 2001, skepticism about the events of that day persists among Muslim publics. When asked whether they think groups of Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., most Muslims in the nations surveyed say they do not believe this.

.... On balance, respondents in the non-Muslim nations surveyed believe Muslims in their countries want to be distinct from the larger society. Majorities or pluralities hold this view in Western Europe, the U.S., Israel and Russia. This opinion is particularly widespread in Germany (72%), Spain (69%), and Russia (66%). [Pew Research Center] Read more

Oklahoman gets $20,000 in lawsuit against retailer

A federal jury has awarded $20,000 in compensatory damages to a Muslim woman who alleged that Abercrombie & Fitch discriminated against her because she wore a head scarf.

The six-member panel deliberated more than four hours Wednesday before deciding on damages against the clothing retailer.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on behalf of Samantha Elauf, who alleged she was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch store in Tulsa's Woodland Hills Mall because she wore a hijab. The hijab is part of her religious beliefs.

[A COMMENT] If I try to wear shorts at my work I would be sent home and fired if I refused to change to long pants. When did a business loose the ability to have a dress code? [AP - NewsOn6.com] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

PAS slammed over MTV protest

PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad and the party's Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi had objected to the concert, scheduled to take place at i-City in Shah Alam on Sunday.

Khalid said he was opposed to the concert because it was being held too close to the fasting month and that the venue was not conducive, while Nasrudin said the party was not agreeable to concerts which encouraged immoral activities.

MCA state secretary Wong Koon Mun said the protest by PAS showed the party might claim to take on a moderate approach, but “intrinsically, PAS remains dogmatic”. [The Star] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Muslim woman forced to flee for marrying a Christian

The religious intolerance that is destroying Pakistan continues unabated. The latest case in point is that of a couple comprising a Christian and a Muslim, who married without the consent of the families of origin and are now forced to live on the run from one place to another for fear of violence.

The bishop of Islamabad has defended them: "Marriage should be free. The state must guarantee them freedom of choice. " [AsiaNews] Read more

Iran's supreme leader attacks 'harmful' books

Iran's former culture minister, Ataollah Mohajerani, has criticised the country's supreme leader for restricting access to literature after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly attacked "harmful books" and likened them to "poisonous" drugs.

In a meeting with librarians and officials from Iran's book industry on Wednesday, Khamenei spoke out against books "with a cultural appe arance but with specific political hidden motives.

"Not all books are necessarily good and not all of them are unharmful, some books are harmful," he said, according to his official website, Khamenei.ir. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Coalition rules out legalising multiple Islamic marriages after Whitehall leak

An internal document, prepared for ministers by civil servants, warned that women who enter religious marriages are “unprotected” if their husband then takes a second or third wife.

One possible solution could be to require all Islamic and other religious marriages to be registered with state authorities, the document suggested.

The Department for Communities and Local Government quickly ruled out legalising multiple sharia law marriages. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

The Government may recognise polygamous shariah marriages

.... The paper for an internal "Integration and Tolerance Working Group", titled "Creating the conditions for integration", says:

"Similarly, religious marriage is not recognised by the State unless you choose for it to be so. This leaves an individual who enters into religious marriages unprotected if their partner enters a second or third religious marriage. This can be remedied by requiring both religious marriages and religious divorces to be registered with civil authorities. Likewise, there could be a duty on anyone conducting religious marriages and divorces to register with the state."

Although this language doesn't specifically cite Islamic marriages, it clearly refers to them, since no other mainstream faith allows a person to enter into more than a single marriage at one time.

[A COMMENT] .... the government is not considering repealing the law prohibiting bigamy. Instead, this is simply the latest in a long line of attempts to provide extra legal protection for those trapped in the minority of rigid patriarchal groups of Muslims who seek to treat women as second-class citizens at best, and property at worst. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Muslim groups to face funding "public interest test"

The test will be overseen by a cross-government group, which has already been established, "to ensure that extreme and intolerant groups cannot gain public engagement or funding".

It could apply to groups that "support the implementation of a Caliphate; rejection of democracy or fundamental rejection of UK instititutions (as opposed to trust or criticism), and calls for the wholesale implementation of sharia".

.... It also cites "Salafism...a separate theogical rather than political trend, but one which raises similar questions of integration. Many Salafi groups encourage exclusionary and confrontational behaviour although this is now being moderated in some cases due to concerns about Islamist extremism and tackling terrorism". [ConservativeHome] Read more

Polygamous Sharia marriages don't belong in Britain

.... Islam has much to teach British culture: abstemious self-discipline, respect for elders, modesty, charity.

But its treatment of women is too often objectionable: in many parts of the Islamic world, girls are discouraged from continuing their education once they enter puberty; honour killings and forced marriages are frequent; women who seek divorce rarely get a hearing.

Women, in other words, are short-changed by Islam, and polygamy is one reason for this. When a man knows he’s worth four wives, his attitude to the fairer sex is bound to be unfair. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Bigots can have brown skin too

As is so often the case, there is more to the story than immediately meets the eye.

Bob Pitt, for example, has blandly re-posted this article under the heading ‘EDL drunks disrupt Muslim meeting in Reading’. On the surface, that’s accurate, but just what kind of Muslims are we talking about?

The Berkshire Islamic Information Group website links to the following information about the talk in question, where we learn that the ‘inspirational talk’ is the work of Sheikh Khalid Yasin.

Now, here’s the problem: Yasin is a hate preacher who calls gay people ‘faggots’ and says they should be put to death. He also says: There’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Tory MPs packed APPG on Islamophobia meeting to remove ENGAGE

.... It would be interesting to see a list of the Tory MPs' names. I think we can assume that the overwhelming majority of them don't have the slightest interest in, or record of, combating Islamophobia and having achieved their aim of removing ENGAGE won't ever be seen at the APPG again.

Of course, their task in ousting ENGAGE was made a lot easier by Chris Allen's stupid report to the APPG, which provided a cover for this crudely politically motivated decision. A short summary of my own views on Allen's role can be found here. [Islamophobia Watch] Read more

20 July 2011

Female illiteracy: 41% of Pakistani girls fail to complete primary school

Approximately 41% of Pakistani girls fail to complete primary schooling, according to a report published by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) and American NGO Results.

“Girls in Pakistan lag behind due to social and cultural restrictions in a patriarchal society,” Syedul Hassan, girls’ education programme coordinator for Oxfam, told The Express Tribune. [The Express Tribune] Read more [via The Samosa]

Council of Europe blasts burqa ban

The Council of Europe, the oldest European institution which specialises in human rights, today (20 July) strongly criticised recent French and Belgian legislation targeting the burqa, a veil that covers entirely women's faces.

Penalising women who wear the burqa does not liberate them, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, said today in a written statement.

Hammarberg explained that a law in Belgium will enter into force on 23 July, introducing fines and up to seven days of imprisonment for women wearing such dress. Meanwhile in France, since April anyone who wears the niqab or burqa in public is subject to fines of 150 euros and/or "citizenship training". [EurActiv.com] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

EU: World Alamanac of Islamism

.... Buoyed by steady immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as negative native demographics among continental states, the Muslim communities in Europe are becoming larger, more complex and more vocal. Within these communities, the past year saw Islamism continue to grow in strength as a political phenomenon.

The dominant mode of Islamist activism in Europe remains to operated within the parameters of existing political systems. Some groups, such as the Union of the Islamic Communities and Organizations of Italy, confine themselves to expanding the participation of Muslims in national politics, while others, like the Muslim Association of Britain, work to promote Islamist political thought, as well as the message and appeal of foreign Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Sharia Law is a code of despair; a code obsessed with women

Sharia law should have no place in Britain or anywhere else for that matter because it is fundamentally discriminatory and misogynist at best (as are all religious laws).

Just because the Sharia courts in Britain and Europe are dealing primarily (but not exclusively) with implementing Sharia’s civil or family code rather than its penal code, it doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

As campaigner Gita Sahgal says: ‘It is supported precisely because it is limited to denying women’s rights in the family. No hands are being cut off, so there’s no problem...’

In fact, Sharia’s family code is a pillar of women’s oppression in countries under Islamic laws. And it often exists even when the penal code no longer applies. [Maryam Namazie] Read more

Sharia law at work in Australia

A system of "legal pluralism" based on sharia law "abounds" in Australia, according to new research by legal academics Ann Black and Kerrie Sadiq.

They have found that Australian Muslims have long been complying with the shadow system of religious law as well as mainstream law.

But in family law, not all Muslims were registering their marriages and some were relying on religious ceremonies to validate unions that breached the Marriage Act.

This included "polygynist marriages", in which a man takes multiple wives, and marriages where one party is under the lawful marriage age.

Their research, which will be published on Monday in the University of NSW Law Journal, says that the wider community has been "oblivious to the legal pluralism that abounds in this country". [The Australian] Read more

19 July 2011

Malaysian 'teapot cult' woman loses Islam legal bid

Malaysia's civil court has refused a woman permission to leave Islam to avoid being jailed for apostasy.

Kamariah Ali, 60, says she should not be tried under Islamic law because she is no longer a Muslim.

She follows the Sky Kingdom sect, known as the teapot cult because it built a giant teapot to symbolise its belief in the healing purity of water.

But judges ruled that only Malaysia's Islamic courts could decide on the case because Ms Kamariah was born a Muslim. [BBC] Read more

Sharia whipping case: Sydney man's $60,000 bail order

One of four men who allegedly held a man against his bed and whipped him with a cord as a religious punishment for drinking has been granted strict bail.

Tolga Cifci, 20, was charged yesterday over the attack on the 31-year-old man, who was allegedly lashed 40 times as a sharia punishment in his Silverwater apartment on Sunday morning. Mr Cifci faced Burwood Local Court today charged with aggravated break and enter and committing a serious indictable offence.

Police prosecutor George Lolis opposed his bail application, telling the court that Mr Cifci held a "complete and utter disregard for the laws of this particular state". [Sydney Morning Herald] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Turning school into a mosque victimizes minorities

.... Faith needs can be accommodated without introducing that faith into the school. Valley Park is hardly the only school where religious minorities are the majority, yet Valley Park is apparently alone in mosquefying its cafeteria.

One could argue, though, that prayer services in the cafeteria are much different than teacher-led prayers in the classroom. But in both instances it forces religious minorities to conform and to also publicly identify themselves as religious minorities.

.... How might these groups feel about a Muslim family living in Morinville forced to send their children to a Catholic school? Or a Muslim student in Manitoba forced to stand quietly while his classmates recite the Lord's Prayer?

For those who might otherwise support secularism they need to realize that by once again opening public schools to religion they are ultimately doing religious minorities a major disservice. [Calgary Herald] Read more

Chechnya moves to ban 'un-Islamic' energy drinks

Chechnya's increasingly draconian interpretations of Islamic law, with alcohol all but banned and women required to wear head scarfs in state buildings, has drawn criticism that the North Caucasus republic is introducing laws that are often in breach of the Russian constitution.

"Energy drinks are comparable to beer," Rukman Bartiyev, Chechen deputy health minister said. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Sharia in Toronto: the Muslim Girls on Their Period Have to Sit in the Back

It never ceases to amaze. Sharia is putting down roots all over the West, in ever more explicit and obvious ways. And bien pensant folks on the Left continue to insist, fiercely and self-righteously, that nothing of the kind is going on — even though it’s happening right under their noses.

One of the lastest breathtaking examples: a public middle school in Toronto where Friday prayers are part of the curriculum.

The other day the Toronto Star ran a picture showing a group of students at prayer. There were three groups, ranged according to status. In the front were the praying boys. Behind them were the praying girls. Way in the back were the girls who were menstruating, and thus forbidden from participating in prayer. [Pajamas Media] Read more

The BBC: falsifying art and history in the name of respect

The BBC's decision to make a series about Mohammed without showing his face - a concession to what are said to be Muslim sensibilities - struck many observers as reasonable. It is, after all, a straightforward matter to make a documentary without resorting to the kind of dramatic reconstructions that seem to be de rigeur nowadays. It might even be an improvement. And, since no contemporary depictions of Mohammed (so far as anyone knows) any image of him can only be conjectural. (The same goes for Jesus, of course, although everyone in the world knows what he looked like.) [Heresy Corner] Read more

MPs vote to drop iEngage from Islamophobia group

MPs on the all-party group on Islamophobia have voted against using iEngage, the controversial Islamist group, as its secretariat.

The vote on Monday evening, by 60 to 2, followed the resignation in February of its Conservative chair Kris Hopkins and Labour vice-chair Lord Janner over an earlier decision to use iEngage.

Despite their resignations the group retained the link with iEngage. However it pledged to investigate fully concerns before iEngage was officially confirmed.

Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, who took over as from Mr Hopkins and Lord Janner as one of the group's chairmen, was tasked with considering iEngage's record. In June he asked Birmingham University academic Chris Allen to compile a report to be sent to members of the group. [TheJC.com] Read more

Independent report to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia

“Most damning … is the realisation that Islamophobia – the very issue that the APPG was set up to consider – was completely removed from the frame within which all of the participants – commentators, iENGAGE and Parliamentarians – operated within.

Islamophobia was lost. All overlooked or sidelined any focus on Islamophobia, some in preference of pursuing their own individual, organisational, political or other agendas, causes and campaigns.

In truth, since its launch in November 2010 the APPG on Islamophobia has been little more than a sideshow: an unhelpful, unwanted and unnecessary distraction from giving Islamophobia the rightful, timely and necessary attention it so desperately needs. There can be no doubt whatsoever that the credibility of the APPG has been damaged.” [wallscometumblingdown] Read more

18 July 2011

More extremist posters appear in East London

More extremist posters have been discovered in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets. It is understood the posters were found last Thursday morning at council-managed housing blocks in Shadwell, next to the DLR and Overground station.

They state: “You are entering a Shariah controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced.”

Underneath, images declare that smoking, alcohol, music, drugs, prostitution and porn are forbidden. Although they do not mention homosexuality, the posters are expected to cause concern among the local gay population. [PinkNews.co.uk] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

A Craze for Pooches in Iran Dogs the Morality Police

Iranians have turned to the Internet to organize antigovernment protests. Now they're flocking online to defy another Islamic Republic edict: buying and selling dogs.

Pooch lovers in Iran are clicking on popular websites like Woof Woof Iran Digital Pets and Persianpet to pick their favorite canine, study dog grooming or swap pet tales.Buying and selling dogs is illegal in Iran, unless they are guard dogs or used by police.

Dogs are considered "haram," or unclean, in Islam. Until recently, keeping dogs as pets was limited to a small circle of Westernized Iranians. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

17 July 2011

Radio talk show host warns of global Islamic agenda

From one perspective and to some Muslims .... Islam is a religion where Allah is worshiped. But Islam is much more than a religion. It is a complete way of life that encompasses financial, judicial (through Sharia law), political, military and religious aspects of life, he said.

That way of life, said Hice, stands in diametric opposition to the American belief in human rights based on Judeo-Christian concepts and the U.S. Constitution. [The Citizen] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Morality police hit Tehran streets

Iran's morality police unit commenced its annual campaign last month to uphold the Islamic dress code and raise "moral security" in the streets of Tehran, leading to many arrests and fines.

Local media published pictures of police men and women belonging to the "chastity squads" who detained for questioning women who were not wearing their traditional hijab headscarf properly.

Some women were arrested and taken to police stations across the city until they could post bail. The authorities went as far as to fine some of the 'sinners' for their behavior. [Ynetnews] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

Trouble at Tawhid Masjid Leyton

.... I believe the current management committee have made a huge mistake in seeking to portray Usama’s Hasan’s views on evolution as being in ‘opposition to the constitution of the [mosque] Trust.’ The theory of evolution is supported by the overwhelming majority of scientists.

.... In seeking to deny the truth of evolution – while also conspicuously failing to offer any credible scientific alternative – the management of the mosque display their ignorance and also help illustrate why the Muslim world is not exactly at the cutting edge of science in today’s world.

Having said that I can well understand why many in the local community have taken a stand against Usama Hasan. I myself was very dismayed when I found out a few years ago that he had agreed to be an official advisor to the government-funded Quilliam Foundation. [inayatscorner] Read more

Americans Have The Right To Ban Mosques In Their Communities

.... "Our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state," Cain said in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” "Islam combines church and state.

They're using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in that community, and the people of that community do not like it. They disagree with it."

Last week, the Republican presidential candidate expressed criticism of a planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, telling reporters at a campaign event that "This is just another way to try to gradually sneak Sharia law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that." [The Huffington Post] Read more

Europeans Against Multiculturalism

.... But while it is hard to know what exactly the politicians of Europe mean when they talk about multiculturalism, one thing we do know is that the issues they raise—real or imagined—have complex historical roots that have little to do with ideologies of cultural difference.

Blaming multiculturalism may be politically useful because of its populist appeal, but it is also politically dangerous because it attacks “an enemy within”: Islam and Muslims. Moreover, it misreads history. An intellectual corrective may help to diminish its malign impact. [Boston Review] Read more [via loonwatch.com]

Demonising Muslims

.... While EDL leaders maintain that their concern is with Islamic extremism, Tarry says their marches target a far broader section of society. “They’ve actually hardened their position over the last two years,” he explains.

“Now they are pretty much saying they are against Islam itself as a religion, that it’s evil, that it’s incompatible with the West, and this feeds into a whole other set of arguments that they make about the general Islamification of Britain.”

.... Terrorism is surely a perfectly valid reason to be critical of Islam, alongside, for example, attitudes towards women or homosexuality. “The term is used to shield not only Islam but Islamism from criticism,” says Maryam Namazie.

“So anything from opposing stoning in Iran to demanding an end to Sharia courts in Britain is deemed racist. Whereas it’s actually the opposite – why must people, because of where they or their families were born, have different standards of rights available to them?” [New Humanist] Read more

16 July 2011

Wilders aide suspended over burqa “scum”

Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party has suspended a parliamentary aide for describing a number of women dressed in burqas as “scum” in a clip he posted on the internet.

Sam van Rooy taped the women in a shopping centre in Scheveningen, near The Hague, and posted the video on YouTube. The footage has since been removed.

“This clip goes much too far”, a PVV spokeswoman said. “It is regrettable that these women wear a burqa and we would like to see a ban on burqas, but these women are not scum. We deeply regret this incident.” [RNW] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

15 July 2011

Kulsoom Abdullah honors Muslim faith, makes history at US weightlifting nationals

Kulsoom Abdullah has become the first woman to compete in the U.S. weightlifting championships while wearing clothing that covers her legs, arms and head.

Abdullah was cleared to compete in accordance with her Muslim faith after the International Weightlifting Federation ruled two weeks ago that athletes could wear a full-body “unitard” under the customary weightlifting uniform. [Associated Press] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Left's Islamist fetish will end

John Staurt Mill thought that speech should always be free except when it directly incited a crime. Mill explained what he meant in On Liberty by citing the example of corn dealers, who were widely loathed as profiteers in 19th century Britain.

If agitators claimed that corn dealers starve the poor, the law had no right to punish them, he said. Only if agitators say the same to an angry crowd ready to burn the corn dealer's house down can the state intervene.

Notice that Mill does not say that the law can punish the incitement of hatred against corn dealers – for it is not a crime to hate people, any more than it is to envy them or lust after them. Free speech is such an essential right, the state can only silence speakers who rouse violent mobs. [TheJC.com] Read more

UK Unlikely To Ban Burqa After Belgium And France, Says Key Muslim Organisation

.... “Implementing the burqa ban will not happen because the UK is a more open and inclusive society than the rest of Europe ... Multiculturism is a British institution and the whole nation wants to preserve it,” the MCB told The Huffington Post.

Nabila Ramdani, a Paris-born UK-based journalist and academic, told The Huffington Post that a lack of tolerance is the reason European countries are adopting the burqa ban. “There’s a more tolerant environment in the UK and they are much more inclusive than the French and Belgian societies.

Britain has always been more inclusive and practically deals with multiculturalism. You see it everywhere with minorities represented in media, politics, business -- something you don't see in France or Belgium.” [The Huffington Post] Read more

Seeds of Arab Spring sown in Islam’s past, Turkish author says

His new book, “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty,” which is being released in the United States on July 18, aims to tell people that there is a long history of freedom in the Islamic world.

“The fact that so many Arab countries have been run by dictators fostered the myth that it’s the only type of government that those countries can produce,” Akyol told Reuters. “The current uprisings are showing that this is wrong.”

.... Recounting a record of religious tolerance under Muslim rule, Akyol traces this tradition to the time of the Prophet. In 7th century Medina, for instance, Jews were allowed to openly practice their religion with the protection of their Muslim rulers.

People in Syria, Yemen and other countries who are campaigning for democracy today, can look to history for inspiration, Akyol said. He offers up the notion that the governmental ideas of one respected 10th century Muslim thinker, Al-Farabi, sound almost identical to modern democracy. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Hillary Clinton seeks to smooth Islamic defamation row with OIC

Clinton met Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the head of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), in Istanbul to help set up new international mechanisms both protect free speech and combat religious discrimination around the world.

"Together we have begun to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of religion. We are pursuing a new approach based on concrete steps to fight intolerance wherever it occurs," Clinton said.

Under heavy U.S. pressure, the OIC agreed in March to set aside its 12-year campaign to have religions protected from defamation, a step which allowed the U.N. Human Rights Council to approve a broader plan on religious tolerance. [Reuters] Read more

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is crucial in an Islamic Inquisition

.... There is something fundamentally wrong when the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain can’t get charity status but the Sharia Council legislating misogyny in its sharia courts can.

And how absurd that defending secularism is not a charitable object but advancing religion is, particularly in this day and age when we are living under an Islamic Inquisition.

Much of the struggle for change throughout history has included demands for changes in the law and in religion’s role in the public space. And this is something the Council of Ex-Muslims will continue to do with your support.

Again, thank you. Please do continue to support us in any way you can; every little bit helps go a long way in the fight that lies ahead. [Maryam Namazie] Read more

Is the Istanbul Declaration Really Pushback against Blasphemy Laws or More Taqiyya?

.... All very well and good, but the UNHRC has been a veritable snake pit filled with vipers from hate-filled anti-Semitic Muslim member countries of the OIC seeking to impose Islamic blasphemy laws on Western Democratic countries, used to intimidate and subjugate religious minorities in predominately Muslim lands.

We hope that the HRF which has criticized the UNHRC on this issue is correct. However, we remain skeptical that this Declaration reached in Istanbul is anything but a taqiyya tactic to mollify infidels and continue to manipulate our human and civil rights laws against us under Stealth Jihad. This is what the Islam Exposed blog said when the UNHRC resolution was up for a vote in March:

The resolution represents a change of tactics, not strategic objectives. It is designed to deceive human rights activists, and it appears to be a success. We agree. [The Iconoclast] Read more

14 July 2011

Belgium to ban the burqa next week

Belgium will enforce a burqa ban from July 23 with a fine and possible jail time for women who wear it, joining France as the second EU nation to forbid full veils, Belgian media said Thursday.

The new law was published Wednesday in the kingdom's official journal after deputies approved it unanimously in parliament in April.

Offenders will face a fine of 137.50 euros ($195) and up to seven days behind bars. An estimated 270 people wear the face-covering niqab or the full-body burqa in Belgium.

France -- home to Europe's biggest Muslim population -- became the first European Union country to ban the burqa on April 11. [Expatica] Read more

Fears for riots in national burqa protest

Almost 14,000 people have signed up for Monday's "Ban the Burqa Day", which urges protesters to wear a balaclava or mask. But Islamic leaders labelled the event racist.

Organiser Kye Keating, 20, instigated the protest with two friends via Facebook after Sydney woman Carnita Matthews used her burqa to quash a jail sentence for deliberately making a false statement to police. "This event is not aimed at race, it is not aimed at religion," Mr Keating said. [Herald Sun] Read more

Muslim leader from Leicester says Islam must integrate

Islam should develop further to become a "normal and integral" part of British life, the new president of a national Muslim society has said.

Leicester's Dilwar Hussain, from Islamic Society of Britain (ISB), hoped to encourage the Muslim community to "think very seriously" about its place in the nation at large.

Mr Hussain, who was elected in June and is based at the Islamic Foundation in Leicestershire, would like to adapt Islamic practice to feel more British and European.

He said that there were universal principles in Islam as there are in Christianity.

But he added Christianity had found a home in cultures very different from the time and place in which it was founded. "Christianity began in the Middle East, but nobody in Europe thinks of Christianity as a Middle Eastern religion," he said. [BBC] Read more

Breast-feeding mother 'told to leave council headquarters because she would offend Muslim visitors'

A mother was ordered not to breastfeed her baby in public because she was in a ‘multicultural building’.

Emma Mitchell, 32, was about to feed 19-week-old son Aaron when a receptionist at a town hall warned her to stop.

Last night Mrs Mitchell condemned council staff, saying it was time people recognised the law which allows nursing mothers to breastfeed in public.

[A COMMENT] I'm a Muslim, and i'm getting fed up with people assuming what will offend and not offend me, has anybody actually asked me?? No!! And anyway, you go to any Muslim country and they breastfeed very openly until their babies are 2 years old. It seems all these stories are set to make the hate continue towards different cultures, especially towards to the Muslim community. [MailOnline] Read more

Wilders Acquittal is the Best Outcome

.... the court decided that Wilders did not offend people on the basis of their religion, nor did he encourage people to discriminate against others on the basis of their religion because Wilders never said anything about Muslim people, but about the Islamic religion.

Offending a religion, or a religious entity, is officially forbidden under Dutch law, but has been accepted for a very long time. The court said that Wilders's statements qualified under this prohibition, but in practice it is no longer a punishable offense.

However, once it intends to cause hate or discrimination against a group of people on the basis of their religion, it goes too far. With some of Wilders's statements, the court said, he reached the outer limits of the law without going over.

The fact that people feel offended by what Wilders said does not mean that it was intended to insult them. Since it was aimed at the religion and not the people following this religion, this was not a punishable offense. [JURIST] Read more [via National Secular Society]

The Rise of Moderate Islam

.... I had to wonder if Habib's message was custom-made for a Western journalist or whether it offered a glimpse of a new possibility. Over the next few days, in the incipient Arab democracies of Egypt and Tunisia, I find that Islamists of all stripes — from extremist Salafis to members of more orthodox groups like the Muslim Brotherhood — say they are breaking with the past and reinventing themselves as the moderate mainstream.

"We can no longer be the party that says 'Down with this' and 'Down with that,'" says Essam el-Erian, a top Brotherhood leader. "The thing we stood against is gone, so now we have to re-examine what we stand for." [Time] Read more

13 July 2011

Egyptian Shaykh: "We still kill him, even if he repents!"

The above clip was taken from an interview given by Shaykh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni on the Egyptian satellite television station al-Hikma on 7 July 2011. Al-Huwayni here explains that whoever insults Muhammad, even if he later repents, must be killed.

.... After recounting a hadith regarding Muhammad being mocked by poetry from the Quraysh, al-Huwayni explained that Muhammad "had complete authority to waive his right (to kill those who mocked him).

But the ruler does not have the authority to waive the Prophet's right." Al-Huwayni reported that Muhammad could waive this right whenever he wanted, but after his death he retained this right, meaning no one could waive the right for him. That is why those who insult the Prophet now must be killed. [Translating Jihad] Read more

Denmark: Many Muslims practice religion on an individual basis

.... "There's a trend where religion is practiced on a more individual basis among Muslims and adapted to everyday life. Instead of the imam saying in the mosque how religion should be carried out, among some Muslims the individual determines how religion is practiced.

It's not about what I can do for God, but what God can do for me," explains Phd student Nadia Jeldtoft. As part of her uncompleted doctoral thesis, she carried out quality interviews with 39 non-activist Muslims in both Denmark and Germany.

She explains that many of the Muslims she interviewed display a spiritual religion, where they mediate and use new-age elements.

"some have, for example, a spiritual approach to Ramadan. They think it's good to test their body and test their endurance by fasting," says Nadia Jeldtoft. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Iranian Pastor Sentenced to Death Could Be Executed if He Doesn’t Recant, Says Verdict

Iran's Supreme Court says an evangelical pastor charged with apostasy can be executed if he does not recant his faith, according to a copy of the verdict obtained by a religious rights activist group.

Christian Solidarity World says Iranian-born Yousef Nadarkhani, who was arrested in 2009 and given the death sentence late last year, could have his sentence suspended on the grounds that he renounce his faith. [FoxNews.com] Read more

Lingerie shops in Riyadh fear fresh Haia raids

The Ministry of Labor has vowed to implement a plan to replace male clerks at various types of shops, preferably with Saudi women, as well as to offer job opportunities at grocery checkout lanes.

But it is unclear if the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) would stand idle when it comes to women working in any commercial service that isn't explicitly for women only.

The ministry has targeted lingerie and cosmetic shops in particular, but many of these businesses allow both men and women inside, especially husbands with their wives. The Haia is opposed to women sales clerks interacting with male customers, as it is considered illegal mingling of women with unrelated men. [ARAB NEWS] Read more

What happened in East London re: gays and the ELM

.... There is an internal battle going on at the ELM right now between conservative and more moderate voices. Like in the Usama Hasan case, I hope that saner, moderate voices prevail. In fact I’m sure they eventually will.

But the likes of Andrew Gilligan and certain blogs with their incendiary and one-sided reporting don’t help this debate. In fact they poison it.

I hope the ELM will pay close attention to the progress report and listen to local communities in how it can tackle homophobia, regardless of what racists outside of the area say online. [Pickled Politics] Read more

How Unclean was my Valley

The picture is taken from the back of the cafeteria. In the distance are the boys. They’re male, so they get to sit up front at prayers. Behind them are the girls. They’re female, so they have to sit behind the boys because they’re second-class citizens – not in the whole of Canada, not formally, not yet, but in the cafeteria of a middle school run by the Toronto District School Board they most certainly are.

.... The men who separate boys from girls and menstruating girls from non-menstruating girls every Friday at Valley Park Middle School are not Canadian. Perhaps, were we a different kind of society, they would over time become Canadian.

But, because they don’t have to, they won’t. .... This year it’s maybe just one mosqueteria. Next year, two or three more. Half a decade on, who knows? South of the border?

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, for reasons that are unclear, already has a taxpayer-funded “Muslim Community Affairs Unit”. But don’t worry, your small town in Minnesota will be getting one soon enough. As this Salafist lady told the woman from The New York Times, demonstrating how she gradually adopted full-face covering: It just takes time… You get used to it. [SteynOnline] Read more

12 July 2011

Poll: Young in Malaysia, Indonesia oppose polygamy

The vast majority of young Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia appear to disapprove of the traditional acceptance of polygamy but remain reluctant to openly support interfaith marriages or premarital sex, a new survey shows.

In the survey coordinated by two German-based cultural organizations, 86.5 percent of 1,496 Indonesians interviewed and 72.7 percent of 1,060 Malaysians said they were against polygamy. More females opposed polygamy compared to males, who are permitted four wives under Islamic law.

.... Ninety-two percent of the Indonesian respondents and 62 percent of the Malaysians said they were unwilling to wed someone from a different religion, the summary said.

"Even if they are willing to marry a spouse of a different faith, they wish for them to convert to Islam," it said.

Only 1.4 percent of the Indonesians and 1.6 percent of the Malaysians polled said premarital sex was acceptable. [Associated Press] Read more [via London Muslim]

11 July 2011

End gender apartheid in U.S. mosques

Just over a month ago, a group of Muslim women and I strode through the marble courtyard of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., just down the street from the vice president's official residence on the exclusive Massachusetts Avenue, lined with embassies and mansions. "Down!" a man barked.

"Down where?" responded Fatima Thompson, 45, an American-Muslim convert who lives in the city. "In the grave?"

In fact, the man wanted the women and me to go through a side door designated for women and climb down a stairwell into a basement space reserved for "sisters." It's beside the men's restroom.

My stomach turned. My son, Shibli, 8, was with us, and he had more rights than we as women. We were intent on rejecting second-class status. To me, it amounts to gender apartheid. Our goal was to walk through the front double doors designated for "brothers" and pray in the forbidden space of the opulent musallah, or main hall, of the mosque. [USA TODAY] Read more

Girls should not be segregated on public school property

The Toronto District School Board has gotten a lot of flak this week for its decision to allow weekly Islamic prayer sessions in one of its school’s cafeterias.

While supporters and critics have been relentlessly debating the existential question of prayer in public schools, one group caught in the middle has garnered only a fraction of the attention.

I’m referring to the female students who participate in Friday prayers at Valley Park Middle School, relegated to the back on the cafeteria and not permitted to participate when menstruating.

Indeed, the TDSB itself has mostly skirted (no pun intended) the issue of gender segregation during prayers at Valley Park, absolving itself of responsibility by stating, ”We do not have the authority to tell faith groups how to pray.” [OnCampus] Read more [via Butterflies and Wheels]

Hizb ut-Tahrir: Islam Has Replaced Communism as Top U.S. Enemy

.... At the conference, activists portrayed Islam as the only real force in the world standing up to the United States and the West. With Soviet communism gone, the West is now confronted with the threat posed by Islam, said a speaker identified as Reza Imam. He has served as a spokesman for the organization.

"And they see the return of Islam," he warned. "And this, brothers and sisters, is the shaking [of] the thrones." Islam's foes "see the coming revival of Islam, and they know what that means and they know what it means for their policies," Imam said.

At the conference, HT activists distributed a brochure detailing how the Muslim state would be governed. The document is "to be studied by Muslims while they are working to establish the Islamic State that will carry the Islamic da'wah (proselytizing) to the world," it says. The document would govern "the Islamic State in the Islamic world" and does not target individual countries. [IPT News] Read more

10 July 2011

Netherlands: 'Schools should initiate immigrants into Dutch culture'

While teaching he had to deal with the shadowy sides of immigration: "Honor murder, forced marriage and coercion in religion.

…. "The arrival of the satellite dish brought about a sea change. Ever since dishes became affordable, a parallel society came into being in Rotterdam. I've had girls in my class who were born and raised here, but led fully Turkish lives in the heart of Rotterdam.

They go to a Turkish hairdresser, watch Turkish TV, read Turkish papers and go to to a Turkish funeral director. they're Turks who happen to live in the Netherlands. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Bangladesh Islamists stage strike against dropping Allah from constitution

Police in Bangladesh Sunday fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse Islamist activists trying to enforce a nationwide strike over the removal of a Muslim phrase in the constitution, and witnesses said around 50 people were injured.

The clashes erupted when thousands of bludgeon-carrying Islamists cut off a stretch of highway leading to the capital’s eastern suburbs with barricades. The protesters also damaged several cargo trucks before the police crackdown, and some 100 people were detained.

The strike, which began two days after the country emerged from a 48-hour stoppage enforced by the opposition, was called to protest a recent amendment to the constitution which dropped the words “absolute faith and trust in Allah.” The Islamists also want to scrap “secularism” as a state principle in the Muslim-majority country. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Lib adviser sacked after anti-Islam web posts

.... After being branded a bigot on Facebook , he responded: ''Your biblical quotes are as ridiculous as your comparisons. I guess you never paid attention at Sunday school. Jesus spoke in parables. Mohommed on the other hand gave orders to kill.'

'You seem to like standing up for killers and murderers. Is Ivan Milat a good person too? Perhaps you think Hitler was a great Prophet too? After all he did put a book together called Mein Kampf. Don't waste our time here Aaron. The only bigot here is someone with an uninformed view.''

Mr Adams, who identifies himself as an Australian of Assyrian Christian descent, told The Sun-Herald on Friday that he was not ''thinking politically'' when he made the remarks.

''Rather than listen to what people say about the Koran I decided I would read it myself,'' he said. [Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

Muslim women to be forced to remove veils for Australian police or risk a prison sentence

Controversial laws forcing Muslim women to remove their veils for police could soon be made law in Australia.

The Australian Government believes the ban should be applied as motorists and criminal suspects need to remove any head coverings so that police can identify them.

Officials say unless people show their faces to police on request they will risk a year in jail and a huge fine. [MailOnline] Read more

09 July 2011

Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science

Contemporary Islam is not known for its engagement in the modern scientific project. But it is heir to a legendary “Golden Age” of Arabic science frequently invoked by commentators hoping to make Muslims and Westerners more respectful and understanding of each other

.... Such tributes to the Arab world’s era of scientific achievement are generally made in service of a broader political point, as they usually precede discussion of the region’s contemporary problems.

….. Nevertheless, while the decline of Arabic civilization is not exceptional, the reasons for it offer insights into the history and nature of Islam and its relationship with modernity.

Islam’s decline as an intellectual and political force was gradual but pronounced: while the Golden Age was extraordinarily productive, with the contributions made by Arabic thinkers often original and groundbreaking, the past seven hundred years tell a very different story. [The New Atlantis] Read more [via Mick Hartley]