30 September 2011

Austrians see high multiethnic conflict potential

A new survey has revealed a significant potential for conflicts between Austrians and foreigners.

A poll by the Centre for Future Studies of Salzburg’s FH higher education college shows that 53 per cent of Austrians considered the change that existing difficulties in the coexistence of themselves and immigrants could worsen as "very high".

Around 45 per cent of interviewed Austrians said the same considering Christians and Muslims while 31 per cent were of the same opinion as far as the situation between rich and poor was regarded. [Austrian Times] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

This brutality is not Islam

.... Muslims have to ask ourselves: Is the God we worship so weak and needy that he requires us to force our fellow humans to worship him? Is our religion so frail and insecure that it cannot tolerate any rejection whatsoever?

And why are we silent as an innocent Christian is sentenced to death in the name of Islam? To hang a man for refusing to believe in Islam is theologically and morally unjustifiable; it is not just unIslamic but anti-Islamic.

[A COMMENT] Simple fact is, the Hadiths (which the majority of Muslims follow) do prescribe death for apostasy. At the moment, Muslims have a much more literal reading of the Koran and the Hadiths than say most Christians. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Why Are British Muslim Leaders Silent About Yusuf Nadarkhani's Death Sentence?

Is anyone else deafened by the silence of Britain's self-styled Islamic community leaders? I say this in the context of the impending death of Yusef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian who is an apostate living in a nation that seems to have lost leave of its senses.

This is despite the fact that the Iranian constitution guarantees the rights of minority religious groups.

Like many I have, in the past, referred to the War on Terror as a clash of civilisations. For that to be true, of course, those jihadists and their fundamentalist fellow-travellers would need to be civilised, instead of believing in the subjugation of women, criminalising homosexuality, stoning adulterers and underage sex in their warped effort to take the world back to some 7th century idyll. [Dale & Co] Read more

Bombing bikini-clad women to enforce Islamic dress codes

The beach is crowded with men these days. …. Some sit around, enjoying boiled ears of corn with butter and salt; others play soccer or ride on their buddies’ shoulders in the waves, competing to see who can last longest without collapsing into the water.

Rare groups of shy women in long flannel dresses enter the sea holding children by the hand; their long skirts and colorful hijabs immediately soak up salty water, like sponges. Bikinis?

There are almost none. The social change here has been fast and radical: just two summers ago, only a smattering of women swam in their long dresses and scarves on Russia’s Caspian Sea beaches. [The Daily Beast] Read more [via Religious Watch]

A Rational Fear of Islamism - Not all fears are irrational, nor criticism unwarranted

In recent months, several reports have appeared to a generally uncritical reception in the press, which purport to expose alleged conspiracies organized by “Islamophobes” against American citizens who mean us no harm.

These reports single out for condemnation a dozen prominent conservative figures (and mostly the same dozen) who have publicly criticized the misogyny, bigotry, and terrorism promoted by many (but not all) Islamic institutions and religious texts. [National Review Online] Read more

29 September 2011

Pastor Nadarkhani: NO ANNULMENT of the death sentence

.... CSW has facilitated the sending of over 19,000 emails from campaigners to the Iranian embassy in the UK and continues to pursue advocacy on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani.

…. Until a written verdict is confirmed to have been received by credible sources, there must be no let up in pressure on the Iranian regime. Continued international vigilance and pressure is vital: the life of this man is still very much in the balance.” [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Muslim Polygamists Exploiting British Welfare System

.... The exposé quotes two senior social welfare experts based in Lancashire (one of the most "multicultural" areas in Britain) who estimate that there are now at least 20,000 bigamous or polygamous Muslim unions in England and Wales. This would imply that around 300,000 people are living in polygamous families in Britain if the average size of such a "family" is 15 people.

The multiple marriages are encouraged by recent changes to the British welfare system which allows Muslim immigrants to have a second, third or fourth wife (or in some cases five or more) treated as a single mother who can get a house and an array of other state payments for herself and her children.

The exposé shows how Muslim men can take a new spouse from anywhere in the world, father any number of children with her, and have British taxpayers assume responsibility for this family's upkeep and care. [Hudson New York] Read more

Christian pastor facing execution in Iran after refusing to recant his faith

.... He was reportedly accused of questioning the compulsory Islamic education of children in Iran, and eventually charged with apostasy and evangelising Muslims. Apostasy is not a capital offence under Iranian law, but the sentence is based on fatwas by Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

While it should, of course, make no difference from a human rights perspective, it is interesting to note that the court in Rasht has ruled that Nadarkhani was never a practising Muslim, but has upheld the conviction on the basis of his Muslim ancestry. [New Humanist] Read more

The contradictions faced by Saudi women

What's it like being a Saudi woman? A common question I've come to expect from outsiders – even fellow Arabs.

The restrictiveness of the guardianship system, gender segregation and a persistently sexist culture add up to create an exotic and mysterious lifestyle that is difficult to not only explain but also to comprehend.

.... How do you explain the huge amounts of money the government spends on educating and training women, so much so that 60% of college graduates in Saudi are women – educating and training all these women, despite the fact that gender segregation laws makes employing them virtually impossible. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Activists in Arab World Vie to Define Islamic State

Few question the coming electoral success of religious activists, but as they emerge from the shadows of a long, sometimes bloody struggle with authoritarian and ostensibly secular governments, they are confronting newly urgent questions about how to apply Islamic precepts to more open societies with very concrete needs.

In Turkey and Tunisia, culturally conservative parties founded on Islamic principles are rejecting the name “Islamist” to stake out what they see as a more democratic and tolerant vision.

In Egypt, a similar impulse has begun to fracture the Muslim Brotherhood as a growing number of politicians and parties argue for a model inspired by Turkey, where a party with roots in political Islam has thrived in a once-adamantly secular system. Some contend that the absolute monarchy of puritanical Saudi Arabia in fact violates Islamic law. [The New York Times] Read more

Islam’s History of Forced Conversions

Finding and connecting similar patterns of behavior throughout Islamic history is one of the most objective ways of determining whether something is or is not part of Muslim civilization.

Consider the issue of forced conversion in Islam, a phenomenon that has a long history with ample precedents. Indeed, from its inception, most of those who embraced Islam did so under duress, beginning with the Ridda wars and during the age of conquests, and to escape dhimmi status. This is a simple fact.

Yet, when one examines today’s cases of forced conversions with those from centuries past, identical patterns emerge, demonstrating great continuity. [Pajamas Media] Read more

U.S. condemns Iran over Christan pastor facing execution for apostasy

White House spokesman Jay Carney stated yesterday: "A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities' utter disregard for religious freedom."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague and US House Speaker John Boehner have both joined in calls for Mr Nadarkhani to be freed.

Yesterday his lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said he was "optimistic" that Mr Nadarkhani would be freed soon - despite admitting: "Mr Nadarkhani did not repent and the last court verdict said he would face a death sentence if he did not." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

28 September 2011

Turkey's Elephant in the Room: Religious Freedom

That debate will have to deal with the elephant in the room: the total control that the state exerts over Islam through its Religious Affairs Department, and the lack of a legal status for all other religions in a predominantly Sunni Muslim society.

“Turkey may look like a secular state on paper, but in terms of international law it is actually a Sunni Islamic state,” Izzettin Dogan, a leader of the country’s Alevi minority, charged at a joint press conference with leaders of several other minority faiths last week in Istanbul. [The New York Times] Read more

Another Face of Tahir ul Qadri

.... Reasoning for Government support being re-directed to groups such as MuQ is that they stand in contrast to other interest groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain or individuals such as Daoud “You Sunk My Navy” Abdullah whose evasive statements in English – and not so evasive statements in other languages – point to a support for extreme violence against minority groups and civilians.

Although Qadri leads a numerically small following in the UK, anything which countered the above is to be welcomed. Immediately, alas, I had suspicions as, from excerpts of his 600 page fatwa, he appeared to oppose firstly the killing of innocent civilians (my emphasis). What about guilty civilians? [Harry’s Place] Read more

Egyptian Christian Girl Banned From School For Not Wearing a Veil

A Christian girl was prevented for over a week from entering her school in Beni Mazar, Minya province, because she refused to wear a veil. "The school management described her as 'flaunt' for not covering her hair," said Coptic activist Nader Shoukry, who uncovered the story.

"Coptic students were forced to obey for fear of the school management's threats," said Mr. Wagdy Halfa, the attorney for the girl, "except for 14-year-old Ferial Sorial Habib, whose family refused this decision because it is inconsistent with religious freedom and a blatant Islamization of education."

Ferial was prevented from entering her school by the social worker, Ms. Ola Abdel Fattah, for eight consecutive days. [AINA] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani to be hanged in Iran - for converting to Christianity

.... Yet today, Iran is scheduled to hang a Christian pastor for 'apostasy', and the collective silence from our scurvy politicians, trappist churchmen and hypocritical media is positively deafening.

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was found guilty two years ago of 'apostasy', even though he was never a practising Muslim. His guilt was determined because he 'has Muslim ancestry' (which is a kind of convenient catch-all in a place like Iran), and he was sentenced to death.

That sentence may be suspended if he renounce his faith. This week, in court, he has twice refused to recant. A third refusal today will result in his execution. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Guildford council criticised over Islamic centre

Guildford's Muslim Education and Cultural Association wants to convert a former garage in Recreation Road. The council rejected the plans because of possible disturbance to residents and concerns about parking.

Osama Khan, from the group, said the council had not understood the application and they would appeal against the decision.

He said the town had at least 1,000 Muslims and the only meeting space currently available for prayer was a room at the university which had a capacity of 500. [BBC] Read more

Saudi woman driver's lashing sentence 'revoked' by King Abdullah

.... The news came in a tweet from Princess Amira Al Taweel, wife of the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who wrote: “Thank God, the lashing of Sheima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved King. I’m sure all Saudi women will be so happy, I know I am.”

Arab news channel Al Arabiya confirmed that the sentence had been revoked, but no official statement from the government or royal court has been released. [The Washington Post] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Turkish cartoonist to be put on trial for renouncing God

A Turkish cartoonist will be put on trial for a caricature he drew in which he renounced god, daily Habertürk reported on its website Wednesday.

The Istanbul chief public prosecutor's office charged cartoonist Bahadir Baruter with "insulting the religious values adopted by a part of the population" and requested his imprisonment for up to one year. [Hurriyet Daily News] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Attackers destroy nightclub near mosque

A Mali parliament member says seven people were hurt and tens of thousands of dollars of damage were done after a group of Muslims attacked a hotel and nightclub complex he owns in the capital of Bamako.

Nataniel Dembele said Tuesday the followers of a nearby mosque had been threatening his complex for some time saying it was too close to their place of worship. The complex is about 320 feet (100 meters) away. Dembele said more than 100 men armed with sticks, machetes and molotov cocktails attacked the building early Monday morning. [Associated Press] Read more

Switzerland May Ban Burqas as Lawmakers Vote ‘Down With Masks’

Switzerland may ban facial veils, including the burqa worn by some Muslim women, after the country’s lower chamber of parliament backed a resolution called ’Down With the Masks!’

Today’s approval by 101 lawmakers to 77 with nine abstentions in Bern means the motion, proposed by Oskar Freysinger, a representative of the Swiss People’s Party, now passes to the upper house. [Bloomberg] Read more

Saudi woman who defied drive ban to be flogged

.... In recent months scores of women have driven vehicles in Saudi cities in an effort to put pressure on Saudi's absolute monarchy to change the law. Two other women are due to appear in court later this year on similar charges.The king's proclamation this week that women could vote was widely hailed as ground-breaking move in the right direction.

But under Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic laws, women still require a male guardian's permission to work, travel abroad or even undergo some medical procedures.

Although women are not permitted to drive in Saudi Arabia, 45,000 Saudi women have licences obtained abroad. They also purchase 40 per cent of all cars sold in the country. [The Scotsman] Read more

Egypt: What statistics say about the role of religion in politics and society

.... Interestingly, 76% said that for a person to be of good manners and noble character, he “must” be religious, a clear indication of the prevalence of the belief that good character mainly emanates from religious practice & faith, with implications on the selection of political candidates of course among other things.

Of particular interest, however, is the statistic that claimed that 83% of the sample believed that religion is a private matter and that every person should be free to choose his own religion.

Conversely, a whopping 76% said they are against removing the religion-specifying section in the national ID card, while 16% said they are for such removal, an issue of thorny debate in recent times. [Bikya Masr] Read more [via National Secular Society]

Ofcom fines Islamic TV channel in cash for prayers ruling

An Islamic TV channel that encouraged viewers to donate money in return for prayers has been fined £75,000 by Ofcom.

The media regulator said "susceptible members of the audience may have been persuaded to donate money to Noor TV when they would not otherwise have done so". [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Return of the Islamists - A Questionable Form of Freedom for North Africa

.... The Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa are over, and in the wake of the change of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, a coalition of Islamists and secular insurgents has emerged victorious in Libya. But now that the war is almost over, the deep differences between the two groups are becoming more apparent. [Spiegal Online] Read more

27 September 2011

Authorities Debate Surveillance of Islamophobes

Islamophobes in Germany could come under increased surveillance by the country's domestic intelligence agency. There are concerns that the anti-Muslim scene is becoming increasingly dangerous, and some intelligence officials want it to be subject to greater scrutiny, despite stringent German privacy laws.

.... Most states are reluctant, however, and the federal interior ministry has also not yet committed itself on the matter. In essence, the question is whether the hatred of Muslims is enough to endanger freedom of religion and international understanding -- or whether it is a radical but legitimate expression of opinion by individual authors within the limits of the constitution. [Spiegal Online] Read more

100,000 Christians Have Left Egypt Since March

The Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations (EUHRO) published a report today on emigration of Christians from Egypt, saying that nearly 100,000 Christians have emigrated since March 2011.

The report, which was sent to the Egyptian cabinet and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), warned that this emigration has been prompted by the escalating intimidation and attacks on Christians by Islamists.

"Copts are not emigrating abroad voluntarily," said Naguib Gabriell, the director EUHRO, "they are coerced into that by threats and intimidation by hard line Salafists, and the lack of protection they are getting from the Egyptian regime." [AINA] Read more

More religious pamphlets for government workers

.... A “Ramadan: the Muslim Month of Fasting” guide was issued to 67,000 Ontario government workers last July telling them to be “sensitive” to Muslim co-workers because they are fasting and praying from dusk to dawn.

The document advises managers to provide a safe room for Muslims to pray and that they may require to make more trips to the bathroom to wash before they pray. They are required to pray five times a day. [Toronto Sun] Read more

Halal rage: Did bacon burger start brawl?

Now 32 witnesses will be called to give evidence at a hearing about how an incorrect order allegedly led to a violent assault on two police officers at a western Sydney McDonald's in April.

Mouhamad Khaled, 23, his 20-year-old girlfriend Daphne Florence Austin and his father Walid Khaled, 53, have been charged over the brawl at the Bankstown fast food outlet. [News.com.au] Read more

Getting the vote could herald real change for Saudi women

In a surprise move, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz has announced that women will be able to participate in municipal elections in 2015.

He also announced that women may become full voting members of the consultative Shura council. While this is extraordinary news for Saudi women, their participation in the country's public life is long overdue. [BBC] Read more

Saudi woman to be lashed for defying driving ban

Saudi women will soon be allowed to vote but driving remains a banned activity. A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for breaking the country's ban on female drivers.

The woman, identified only as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July.

Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already lodged an appeal. [BBC] Read more

German Intelligence to Spy on…’Islamophobes?’

The German daily newspaper Der Spiegel reported today that “Islamophobes” could be placed under surveillance by the BfV, the German equivalent of Britain’s MI-5 or, less precisely, our FBI.

.... The German states of Bavaria and Hamburg have already started to view “Islamophobes” and other “right-wing populists” as extremists who pose a threat to order and security. Hamburg officials have declared they monitor a German internet web forum with the less-than-threatening name “Politically Incorrect,” though they say the site is not technically under watch by spies. [The Blaze] Read more

26 September 2011

“Occidentophobia”: The Elephant in the Room

.... The “selfish” or “greedy” traits attributed by Muslims in Britain to Westerners are especially noteworthy, since the majority of the top-ranking ranking countries in terms of charitable behavior .... happen to be countries that are typically associated with “Western culture,” such as Australia, Canada, Switzerland, USA, or Great Britain.

.... people living in Western countries appear to be far more likely to donate money or volunteer their time than those living in predominantly Muslim countries.

This even holds true for relatively wealthy Muslim countries such as the UAE or Saudi Arabia, which came in at ranks 50 and 86 for charitable behavior, whereas Great Britain achieved an international rank of 8. [Guernica Magazine] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

GOP blocks Muslim activist from party membership at raucous meeting

Islam and tea-party activism clashed at a raucous meeting Monday night when a group of Broward County Republicans blocked a Muslim activist from becoming a member of the party’s executive committee.

Republicans, who changed their rules to publicly vet Nezar Hamze and then vote on his application by secret ballot, said they didn’t oppose him because he was a Muslim — but because he is associated with the Center for American-Islamic Relations, whose Washington-area affiliate was an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal terrorism indictment. [Miami Herald] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Congressman’s Remarks About Rising Islamophobia Stirs the Blogosphere

Congressman Mike Quigley addressed a crowd at the American Islamic College and apologized for the “rising Islamophobia” in the United States. Many in the Right-Wing took exception to this with Quigley being castigated as a dhimmi-leftist pandering to “the Mooslims” about a fictional “rise in Islamophobia.”

Bill O’Reilly even thought it fit to do a segment on his show about it, having anti-loon Ahmed Rehab on. At the end of the segment O’Reilly admitted that Rehab’s stats on the “rise of Islamophobia” bolster his argument. [loonwatch.com] Read more

Sharia at work - Al-Qaeda cut off Yemeni boy's hand

Suspected al-Qaeda militants have severed the hands of two people, including a 15-year-old boy, who stole electrical cables in a southern Yemeni town, witnesses summoned to watch the punishment say. [AFP] Read more

Bradford convert to Islam attempts tit for tat whine

.... how about a bit of balance. I spent spent 4 years in Bradford and walked from Hall Ings to Forster Square train station every working day and I was spat on and abused by Pakistani youths most days (pakistani, not asian).

Why? because I was white and was wearing a suit, and obviously to these abusers I was a christian. Time to take back our country. This lady can have which ever faith she wants, but do not close your eyes to the eveil that is going on in Bradford, it is a land grab by islamists. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Festival is hit by anti-Islam claim

ORGANISERS of a cultural event have blamed a poor turnout on posters telling people not to attend as the festival was "against Islam."

Thousands of music fans were expected to descend on Central Forest Park for one of the region's biggest mela celebrations yesterday.

The event ran from 11.30am to 7.30pm and featured well-known Bhangra and Bollywood performers, along with local singers and mainstream musicians.

A fun fair, Asian food stalls and clothes market had been set up in anticipation of the crowds, but only a few hundred turned up. Posters had been displayed telling some religious groups they were forbidden to attend. [This is Staffordshire] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

Excuses for Polygamy?

What's Wrong with Polygamy? (Asian Network) was studded with moments to make you hurl things at the radio. "I just went ahead and did it," one polygamist said of his second marriage. "My first wife found out about it afterwards".

He was quite the spokesperson for multiple marriages. "It's just so much better than a man screwing around," he argued. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Women in Saudi Arabia suffer numerous problems

....Violence: It is believed that huge numbers of rapes go unreported because of women's fears of punishment (the woman could be found to have flouted sex segregation rules) and bringing "shame" on their family.

Rape within marriage is not recognised. "In reporting these crimes [at the police station], women have to take their male guardian with them, who may very well be the same person who is assaulting them," says Khalife. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Blasphemy accused Christian school girl in Pakistan flees with family

The 8th grader Christian girl expelled from her school on accusation of blasphemy on misspelling poetry term dedicated to praise Prophet Mohammad fled from her hometown with her family for safety of life.

The protests in town of Havelian erupted yesterday to file charges of blasphemy against 13 years old Christian girl Faryal Tauseef Bhatti, student of Sir Syed High School.

Faryal Tauseef Bhatti was expelled from school when her teacher Farida Bibi checked her test paper in which instead of “Naat” poetry to praise Prophet Mohammad was spelled as “Lannat” which means curse. [Pakistan Christian Post] Read more

Pakistan school expels girl for blasphemy

A Pakistani school expelled a 13-year-old Christian girl for alleged blasphemy and her mother was transferred from her job as a nurse near the town where Osama bin Laden was killed, officials said Monday.

The conservative Muslim country has been increasingly criticised in the West for tough anti-blasphemy laws that make defaming Islam punishable by death and over the persecution of the tiny non-Muslim minority.

Faryal Tauseef, an eighth grade student at Sir Syed High School in the northwest garrison town of Havelian, was asked with her class to define "naat", a style of poem written in praise of the Prophet Mohammed. [AFP] Read more

Workers refuse request for Muslim prayer room

A bid to convert a sick room into a Muslim pray area at a downtown office of the province’s top lawmakers has been nixed by some senior Ontario government officials.

A proposal by a Muslim employee to turn the room used by Ministry of Attorney General employees on the 12th floor of 655 Bay St. as an Islamic prayer room was rejected earlier this year, according to concerned workers who feared dismissal if their identities were revealed. [Toronto Sun] Read more

Attitudes of polygamous British Muslim men

The number of polygamous relationships among British Muslims is increasing, according to British Muslim groups. So what is it like to have two wives or be married to a man and share him with someone else?

"I love both of them. Obviously you can love one more than the other.

"I spend one day and one night with one, and one day one night with the other," says Imran (not his real name), one of the growing number of second generation British Muslim men who have two wives. [BBC] Read more

Blinding in one eye for Iranian waiter for hurling acid in man’s face five years ago

Iran will meet out eye for an eye justice when it blinds a waiter who hurled acid at a man five years ago, it was revealed today.

The Islamic Republic's supreme court sanctioned the punishment after the victim asked for revenge. The 26-year-old waiter, identified by his first name, Mohammad, had confessed to the attack. [MailOnline] Read more

25 September 2011

The Pope vs. Muslims

.... What, in his heart of hearts, does the Supreme Pontiff of the world’s estimated 1.15 billion Roman Catholics truly feel about the future of Western civilization in a continent that has seen such large-scale Muslim immigration over the past half century?

.... the then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—now Pope Benedict—"lamented 'the slow suicide of Europe:' its population was aging and shrinking, and the unborn were being partly replaced by unassimilable immigrants. [The Daily Beast] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Our troubles are over: thousands of Muslims rally against "extremism" in London

.... Much as I hate to be the one to throw a rotting cabbage onto the sofa, I must yet again point out that Qadri "says killing innocents is forbidden in Islam," but who defines who is "innocent"?

Islamic jihadists believe that "non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet." So if they believe that non-Muslims are never innocent, a Muslim who declares that killing innocents is forbidden in Islam is not going to stop them from mounting attacks against non-Muslims. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Indonesia suicide church bomber kills at least one

At least one person has been killed and several injured by a suicide bombing at a church in Central Java, Indonesia.

Witnesses said the bomber struck as people were leaving the Bethel Injil Sepuluh church in Keputon, Solo after a Sunday service.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country but is officially a secular state. [BBC] Read more

Girl accused of blasphemy for a spelling error

It may have been a mere misplaced dot that led to accusations of blasphemy against a Christian eighth-grader, whose miniscule error led to her expulsion from school and uproar amongst local religious leaders.

Faryal Bhatti, a student at the Sir Syed Girls High School in Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) colony Havelian, erroneously misspelt a word in an Urdu exam while answering a question on a poem written in praise of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The word in question was ‘laanat’ instead of ‘naat’ – an easy error for a child to make, as the written versions of the words are similar. [The Express Tribune] Read more

Women in Saudi Arabia to vote and run in elections

Women in Saudi Arabia are to be given the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, King Abdullah has announced.

He said they would also have the right to be appointed to the consultative Shura Council.

The move was welcomed by activists who have called for greater rights for women in the kingdom, which enforces a strict version of Sunni Islamic law. [BBC] Read more

24 September 2011

The Islamization of British Police

Since the police (by definition) is a security force for all British citizens, formally having the objective of upholding British law equally for all citizens, it is meaningful to put the mission statement of the Association of Muslim Police (AMP) under some scrutiny:

.... Put more bluntly, this is a pressure group working to introduce Islamic rules into the police force, promoting the strange concept of “religious needs”, changing the working environment to be in line with Islamic demands, with an implicit threat that Muslims should not work as police officers unless these demands are met by the force. [EuropeNews] Read more

Exploitation of the benefits system by polygamous Muslim men is a big problem

.... The issue was recently bravely highlighted by Baroness Flather, a crossbench life peer who was herself born in Lahore, now part of Pakistan.

She warned the Lords .... about how our shambolic benefits system is being exploited by men hailing from Pakistan and other Muslim nations who indulge in multiple marriages — with taxpayers forced to foot the bill.

As Baroness Flather explained: ‘The wives are regarded by the welfare system as single mothers, and are therefore entitled to a full range of lone parent payments.

.... Although the Government says there are only 1,000 such bigamous or polygamous unions in the UK, two experienced Lancashire social workers — one of Indian-English heritage and the other with Pakistani origins — told me that, although it’s difficult to be precise, in their estimation the figure is closer to 20,000. [MailOnline] Read more

23 September 2011

Prayer ban in break room not discrimination

The National Discrimination Tribunal has ruled that a ban on prayer in employee break rooms is not an act of discrimination.

The ruling followed a complaint filed by an individual claiming to have been subjected to discriminatory practice when he and fellow Muslim employees were banned by their employer from holding prayers on the job or in the employee break room.

According to the Tribunal, the employer did not permit employees of any faith to hold religious ceremonies at work. For this reason, it ruled that the complainant had not suffered discrimination. [YLE.fi] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Islamism’s war against women

One of the warning signs of fundamentalism has been identified by the International organization, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) as anti-women policies.

Whether it’s attacks on freedom of movement, the rights to education and work under authoritarian and theocratic regimes, or imposition of unjust laws – there is a serious struggle at hand for women to get equal status and justice which I outline as gender jihad. [The Commentator] Read more

An early test for the new Prevent strategy

.... The Home Affairs Select Committee is currently carrying out an enquiry into violent radicalisation. Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam recently told the committee that "there is no evidence that this new strategy is yet being rolled out on the ground by civil servants to any meaningful degree."

He claimed that there is "no national strategy to challenge non-violent extremism" and that there "is no criteria for engagement with extremists". Is he right? To find an answer, I would start by examining three test cases. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Will secularism work in the Middle East?

.... I understand a Muslim’s desire to live in a country dictated by the laws of the Quran, but I don’t find it right.

I know that their willingness to accept secularism is simply based on the situation at hand, and that for as long as they continue to perceive this condition as temporary due to there being no alternatives, they will not escape from what is essentially an artificial democracy. [Today's Zaman] Read more

The Persecution of Music and Musicians in the Islamic World

At a recent conference on ethnomusicology held in the U.S., I met an Arab researcher. His paper on traditional Arab music was indecipherable and full of postmodern jargon.

After he finished his presentation, he confided to me in private, "We have to be careful what we say about music -- the fundamentalists are everywhere." And they certainly are. The tyrannies that control the Islamic world are at war with music and musicians, and they seem to be winning.

Jonas Otterbeck, a Swedish expert on the status of musicians in the Islamic world, writes, "States and local authorities have taken action against heavy metal musicians, female singers, music, videos and public concerts.

Islamist and conservative Islamic organizations ... try to disturb and breakup [sic] concerts, demand censorship on recordings, or call for the punishment of individuals for being blasphemous. At times musicians are killed or attacked physically[.]" [Assyrian International News Agency] Read more

Pole dancer outrage in Saudi Arabia

A British fitness instructor who visited the strict Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia to teach a Saudi woman the art of pole dancing has sparked disapproval among UK Muslims back home.

27-year-old Lucy Misch was invited to the country by one of Saudi's richest and most influential families after a woman from the family attended a pole dancing class in Europe and reported back to her relatives living in the kingdom.

Misch's host - a 36-year-old working mother named Qahtani, one of only 15 per cent of women to have a job in Saudi, arranged for her to bypass the complicated laws of entrance and exit to the kingdom single Britons usually face, whisking her through Riyadh airport unimpeded. [MailOnline] Read more [via London Muslim]

French burka rebel to stand for president

Two Muslims have become the first women in France to be fined for wearing a burka.

Hind Ahmas, 32, and Najate Nait Ali, 36, were sentenced yesterday under a law that bans anyone from hiding their face in public.

But they were not in court because they had both refused to take off their burkas in the dock.

Ahmas was fined £105 and Ali was told to pay £70 for wearing the full Islamic face veils during a protest march against the law in May.

A judge in the Paris suburb of Meaux rejected prosecutors’ demand to send them on a ‘citizenship training’ course. [MailOnline] Read more

22 September 2011

Danish Mega-Mosque Funded by Iran

.... Unlike most mosques in Europe, which cater to Sunni Muslims, the mosque in Copenhagen pertains to Shia Islam. The mosque is being financed by the Islamic Republic of Iran; critics say that theocrats in Tehran intend to use the mosque to establish a recruiting center for the militant Shia Muslim group, Hezbollah in Europe.

Critics of the Shia mosque have warned local politicians that the building will be owned by the Iranian regime for use as a propaganda center as well as a platform from which to recruit impressionable Muslim immigrant youths for service to Hezbollah.

But the Copenhagen city council states that who pays for building the mosque is none of its concern. [Hudson New York] Read more

When Muslims Are More ‘Radical’ than ‘Islamists’

.... The sheikh, representing traditional Islam, stressed two points to exonerate Mubarak:

1) Dealing with the enemy (in this case, Israel) is permissible according to Sharia; Muhammad himself often appeased his infidel enemies, including Jews, when to his advantage, “for” — as the sheikh quoted Muhammad — “war is deceit”;

2) According to Sharia, the only justification for deposing a ruler is if he becomes an infidel; if he is unjust, violent, and tyrannical to his Muslim subjects, that is not reason enough. [Pajamas Media] Read more

'Not wrong' to move aide after Islam slur: ruling

”There are no indications that the employee has suffered a drop in pay or any disadvantageous consequences from the move,” read the statement from the Swedish Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern – JK).

The man, a non-political appointee, shared his opinion on Islam on his blog in September 2008 when he commented on an article by writer Lena Andersson in which she warned against the "religious terrorism" directed at artists, writers and journalists.

The civil servant's own commentary on the article was that "Islam is like Communism or Nazism. There are no good practitioners - just confused or evil." [The Local] Read more

Albuquerque Hotel Refused Muslim Woman’s Request to Wear Head Scarf, Federal Agency Charges

.... MCM Elegante Hotel in Albuquerque, violated federal law by subjecting a Muslim woman to religious discrimination and to retaliation for opposing the discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on September 21, 2011.

In its suit, the EEOC said that the hotel failed to accommodate Safia Abdullah’s request to work wearing a hijab, a head scarf worn by Muslim women for religious purposes.

In addition, the EEOC alleges that the hotel either failed to hire Abdullah or discharged her because of her religion and/or because she engaged in the protected conduct of opposing discrimination, including requesting religious accommodation. [U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Malaysia is not ready for the implementation of hudud law

The Deputy Prime Minister said as a multi-racial and multi-religious country, Malaysia was not ready to introduce hudud laws as brought up by PAS leaders.

"Our stand is that in Malaysia, we cannot implement it in the present situation. I do not think in the present condition, it is suitable for implementation. We did not question the need to implement hudud law," he told a news conference after chairing a Cabinet Committee on Supply and Prices meeting here Thursday.

Muhyiddin said hudud laws could only be implemented when the situation was really conducive.

He said explanation and understanding of theses laws needed to be extended to cover all the people in the country so that they truly understood them. [The Star Online] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

21 September 2011

Muslim and Christian pupils clash at school

Conflict between two faiths at a Bradford catholic school must be stopped before it escalates into full-scale gang war, a councillor has warned.

Imdad Hussain (Lab, Heaton) said he feared unrest at St Bede’s Catholic Grammar School could “trigger unwanted scenes”.

.... Police were called to St Bede’s at lunchtime on Monday after reports of a stand-off and later that day, as school buses left the site, the vehicles were set on by a group of Asian pupils. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Extremism and the East London Mosque

.... Muhammed Abdul Bari is presently the chairman of the East London Mosque and a former chairman of an organisation called the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), which is based in the mosque's London Muslim Centre.

The IFE promotes extremism and aims to spread its influence through entryism. The IFE is closely connected to the political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). JI is the South Asian equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood. The mosque's clear links to JI are outlined in this government report (pdf). [The Huffington Post] Read more

Libya Islamists push political role

Using organisational skills honed over decades in the opposition underground, Islamists are carving out a place in Libyan postwar politics more rapidly than other former dissidents preparing for a hoped-for future of pluralism.

Islamist spokesmen have won prominence by complaining on Arab satellite television channels that veteran advocates of Islamic rule are largely shut out from the North African country's interim administration and its official media.

They argue that Libya's unelected caretaker administration known as the National Transitional Council (NTC), is keeping Islamic groups at arm's length and dominating the political stage to please Western powers worried about militant Islam following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi, an avowed foe of Islamism. Claiming injustice, [Reuters] Read more

Iraqi Christians find safety in the Muslim Kurdish north, but no jobs

.... Iraq’s Christians — most of them Syrian or Chaldean Catholics — numbered around 1.5 million before 2003 and are now estimated at about 450,000-600,000, according to Christian leaders. Iraq has not conducted a full census since 1987, but the largely Muslim country is estimated to have a current population of about 30 million people. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Dudley Council mosque refusal is 'Islamophobic'

Dudley Council refused permission on Monday for the buildings measuring 6,415 m sq. Dr Kurshid Ahmed, chairman of the town's Muslim association, said the decision was "Islamophobic".

The council said its decision was based solely on planning reasons as the scale and design of the building would be out of keeping with buildings in the area.

The council originally refused outline planning permission for the Hall Street mosque in February 2007 on the basis the land had already been designated exclusively for employment use under the council's unitary development plan. [BBC] Read more

PVV calls for referendum on minarets

The anti-Islam PVV wants to hold a referendum on the building of new minarets in the Netherlands, along the lines of the Swiss vote, party leader Geert Wilders said on Wednesday.

Wilders said he is to submit draft legislation to parliament to pave the way for a public vote.

‘Minarets hurt the eyes. They are the towers of a rising desert ideology ,’ the Telegraaf quoted Wilders as saying. [DutchNews.nl] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

We must keep up the fight against Sharia and for secularism and rights

We recently wrote to you about the Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill which has been introduced to the House of Lords by Baroness Caroline Cox. Baroness Cox has welcomed us on to her team and we will work together – with various other groups – to promote the passage of the Bill and to persuade members of Parliament to back it.

Unfortunately, whilst the Government acknowledged our recent debate and having received numerous letters on this issue, it has already confirmed that it will not support the Bill. We are currently working on a response to this and will share it with you when we can.

Baroness Cox has highly praised the work of One Law for All and regularly states that she was ‘inspired’ by us. Here is more information on the Bill. [Maryam Namazie] Read more

Meet the New Mufti Down Under. Busy Peddling the Usual Lies About Sharia, But the Sneaky Aussie Infidels Are Not Easily Convinced

Let me introduce the new Grand Mufti, capo dei capi (by unanimous vote, we were informed - so Shiite and Sunni imams agreed upon him as candidate?) of all the Muslims in Australia, supposedly.

Here is his CV, to be found here .... along with the official Muslim CVs of various other prominent Mohammedans in Australia.

Excerpt: "Dr Ibrahim Abu Muhammad is one of the most prominent Muslim scholars in Australia. 'He is a hafiz (he memorised the entire Qur'an in his childhood).'He continued his studies in Islam at the renowned and historic Al-Azhar University. 'He completed Masters at the College of Usuluddin, Al-Azhar University and later completed his PhD at the same institution.

'His PhD thesis was in relation to how Islam makes peace in practise [sic]. His thesis earned him a high distinction to achieve top of the class. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Somali Islamic radio gives an AK-47 kids first prize!

Children as young as 10 were given the chance to win AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles as part of a Koran-reading and general knowledge quiz in Somalia, it has been revealed.

To celebrate the holy month of Ramadan the country's al-Shabab Islamist group ran the competition and said the guns were offered so youths can use them 'to defend Islam'.

Andulus radio, based near capital Mogadishu, gave groups of youngsters aged between 10 and 17 the chance to compete for deadly weapons and a £450 cash prize. [MailOnline] Read more

Islamism's war on women

.... broadcaster/activist Natasha Fatah lamented that even now, and even in Canada, we often are blind to Islamism's true face: In the name of "tolerance," we permit the sort of degradation of Muslim girls women that would be completely unacceptable if perpetrated against whites. [National Post] Read more

20 September 2011

Facebook to be blocked

The Lahore High Court Justice Sh Azmat Saeed on Monday ordered ministry of information and technology to block access to all websites in Pakistan especially American social networking website “Facebook”, spreading religious hatred on internet and to submit a compliance report by October 6.

The judge, however, made it clear that no search engine including “Google” would be blocked.

The court issued this order while hearing a petition seeking a permanent ban on the access to American social networking website “Facebook” for hosting competition featuring blasphemous caricatures. [Pakistan Today] Read more [via Religious Watch]

The burqa in a secular society

.... Nowhere in Islamic teaching are women required to wear the burqa, the niqab or any other swaths of clothing. The only injunction for both men and women is to dress modestly.

These coverings are a matter of choice for Muslim women, and nothing to do with faith. As they choose to draw attention to themselves in this way they can hardly complain when people notice and comment.

Women wearing these styles of dress render their humanity invisible, which is presumably part of their purpose, so they should be prepared to accept the consequences in secular European countries. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

19 September 2011

Stop Amputation Now

.... Zamfara state was the first to introduce sharia law. And in 2000, Zamfara’s first amputation of Buba Jangede attracted widespread international condemnation(2). Amputation is an inhuman and degrading form of punishment.

Like the penalty of stoning ‘criminals’ to death, amputation is a form of punishment that was introduced at a time there were no jails to keep and rehabilitate convicted criminals. Simply put, amputation is a primitive and barbaric form of penalty and lacks any justification in the name of culture, religion or tradition in this 21st century. [Butterflies and Wheels] Read more

Brussels: Muslim youth 're-Islamizing'

.... The neo-Salafists, inspired by Saudi preachers, attract the most attention: men with beards, women with a long black or gray veil (jilbab). Neo-Salafists read the Koran literally and go to the grand mosque in Jubille park.

El Bachiri says that the neo-Salafists (Wahabbists) recruit mostly poorer Muslims who draw dignity from strictly following their faith, and therefore have more of a tendency to break with the rest of society. [Islam in Europe] Read more

No such thing as good Islam, Baptist theologian argues

.... He discounts the fact that majority of Muslims are not aggressive and oppressive: “You don’t define a faith by the behavior of its slackers or its observants who lack the numbers and power to fully advance their agenda, as is currently the case with Muslims in the West.”

And then gives his own reasons why Islam is a bad religion doomed to ruin: “When you start with an adulterous warrior-profit, who is literally anti-Christ (though touting a non-biblical version of Jesus), mix in generous helpings of totalitarianism and the marginalization/persecution of women and non-Muslims, and cultivate tribalism, legalism, and victimism, you have a recipe for disaster.” [Orlando Sentinel] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Give me an Islamist any day...

The British Humanist Association’s debate on Islam in a Secular Europe reminded me of yet another BBC* sponsored programme.

Every ‘Muslim’ on the panel claimed to represent ‘Muslims’ worldwide as if there are no differences of opinion amongst Muslims or those labelled as such. They had no trouble excusing and trivialising Sharia law, the burka, child veiling, sex apartheid [Maleiha Malik even spoke of fatwa shopping as if women’s desperation to secure justice is a joke].

They deemed universal rights and secularism western concepts and asked for people to mind their own business quoting Shirin Ebadi no less. [Maryam Namazie] Read more

Islam in a secular Europe

.... So was it useful to debate the subject of Islam in a secular Europe? I'd say it certainly highlighted the fact that secularism isn't something that is valued only by atheists, with all the Muslim speakers pointing out that it is essential for guaranteeing the religious freedoms of Muslims as a minority living in a multi-faith society.

The debate also highlighted numerous disagreements, but that too is useful for understanding the position of Islam in Europe. [New Humanist] Read more

Saudi Arabia beheads Sudanese “sorcerer”

Saudi Arabia beheaded a Sudanese man by sword in the western city of Medina on Monday after he was convicted of practicing sorcery, the Interior Ministry announced.

Abdul Hamid al-Fakki "practiced witchcraft and sorcery," which are illegal under Saudi Arabia's Islamic sharia law, said a ministry statement carried by state news agency SPA.

.... His execution brings to 42 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia this year, according to an AFP tally based on official and human rights group reports. [AFP/NOW Lebanon] Read more [via Religious Watch]

Muslim Supremacism Leads, Even Within Muslim Countries, To An Inability To Compromise

If you are raised on Islam, forced to memorize the texts of Islam, live in societies suffused with Islam, inculcated with the tenets of Islam, and take as your model a military leader whose main interest was in extending his own power and dominion over men, and, in turn, making sure that his foillowers, the Muslims, would extend their own power and dominion over non-Muslims, then it would be surprising if you did not, in the end, live in a world where the only possibliites are Victor and Vanquished. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Mosque plans rejected

PLANS for a mosque and community centre on land in Hall Street, Dudley have been rejected by Dudley Council planners.

Members of the Development Control Committee unanimously refused the application for Dudley Muslim Association to build the mosque.

Despite last minute alterations and changes to the design by the applicant, councillors still slammed the multi-million pound proposal, calling it “characterless” “featureless" “inappropriate” and an “alien feature”. [Dudley News] Read more [via The Iconoclast]

UK's First Free Muslim School Criticised for Fostering Segregation

The first free school for Muslim pupils in Britain has been given the go-ahead amid claims it will cause division in the community. The application for the Tauheedul Islam Boys' School won Government approval despite council and union opposition.

Free schools do not fall within local authority control and get their funding direct from the Government. They have greater freedom than academies to set their own agenda. [Ahlul Bayt News Agency] Read more

Burqa ban puts women “under house arrest'

.... If the French law is challenged in this way, the result would be crucial for Muslims across the continent. Belgium introduced its own niqab ban this summer, punishable not just by a fine but seven days in prison.

In Italy, the far-right Northern League has resuscitated a 1975 law against face coverings to fine women in certain areas of the north. Silvio Berlusconi's party is now preparing an anti-niqab law. Denmark is preparing legislation to limit the wearing of niqabs; politicians in Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland are pushing for outright bans.

Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, blogged this summer: "The way the dress of a small number of women has been portrayed as a key problem requiring urgent discussion and legislation is a sad capitulation to the prejudices of the xenophobes." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

18 September 2011

Tempers flare over school prayers

A demonstration outside Toronto's public school board headquarters turned into an ugly, bitter confrontation Saturday between groups on both sides of the issue.

Opponents and advocates of the Toronto District School Board's controversial policy to allow prayer in the city's publicly funded, secular school system shouted and viciously taunted one another across a police line.

"We are here because religion has no place in our schools," said Ron Banerjee, of Canadian Hindu Advocacy. "We want religion out of all our schools." [QMI Agency] Read more

You believed Erdogan when he was an Islamist

.... The Muslim Brotherhood announced its rejection of any interference in Egypt’s internal affairs, even if this was by Mr. Erdogan himself, who the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Salafists had warmly received at Cairo Airport with welcoming slogans like “Erdogan Erdogan…the Muslim Brotherhood welcomes you” and “Egypt and Turkey – we want an Islamic Caliphate.”

My God! The praise turned to mockery, and joy turned to shock, and this was all while Mr. Erdogan was still in Cairo. Indeed this was on the same day that some people chided me for writing that the Turkish Prime Minister wanted – through his Arab League speech – to ride the raging bull through the Arab region.

Following this, we saw Mr. Erdogan’s friends being unable to handle the first public advice he gave them, indeed they were the first to attack him! [Al Arabiya News] Read more [via National Secular Society]

John L. Esposito: Apologist for Wahhabi Islam

Three things are immediately obvious when one examines the biography of John Louis Esposito, American academic expert on Islam.

The first is that .... he seems indefatigably prolific, though the bulk of his writings present interpretations of contemporary phenomena rather than original research.

The second is that he luxuriates in honors, including those bestowed by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other parties in whose objectivity about Islamic affairs few can believe. Finally, his work has provided an unremitting "explanation" that amounts to a committed defense of radical, rather than traditional, Islam. [American Thinker] Read more

Acid attacks: 7 women burned in two days

.... First year student Tayyiba was on her way back home from a local tuition academy when students Ali Raza and Hamza allegedly chased her and threatened her life.

“Both boys go to the same college as me and they were heckling me for not wearing a dupatta on my head. They tried to grab me and when I yelled at them they attacked me with acid,” Tayyiba told police officials before being admitted to the hospital.

“She said that both men had said she ‘deserved for her face to be ruined because she had not covered her head’,” Station House Officer Malik Zafar Iqbal said. [The Express Tribune] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

The New Faces of Islam

.... Sahli, who is both Arab and Muslim, was also growing up in a culture where modeling bumps up against significant cultural taboos. As a matter of religion and tradition, female modesty is expected—not the kind of provocative and exhibitionist behavior the mainstream fashion industry rewards.

As Sahli strutted around the room, her mother—a deeply religious homemaker who wears the hijab—was amused by these preoccupations. Sahli’s father, a policeman, was not. Still, neither of them had much to say. It was just make-believe, after all. [The Daily Beast] Read more

17 September 2011

Islam set to be dominant religion in France

New research suggests there are now more practising Muslims in France than practising Catholics.

While 64 percent of French people describe themselves as Roman Catholic, only 2.9 percent of the population actually practice the Catholic faith. That compares to 3.8 percent of the population who practice the Muslim faith. The research was carried out by the French Institute of Public Opinion on behalf of the Catholic newspaper La Croix.

More worrying for Islamic authorities in France is the finding that only 41 percent of the country’s 6 million Muslims actually describe themselves as “practising,” although 75 percent are happy to label themselves “believers.” Seventy-percent also claim to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. [CNA/EWTN News] Read more

Solution is Islam, not Western secularism, Iran tells Arabs

Iran's supreme leader on Saturday called on Arab states to rely after their revolutions on Islam as the future political solution and not Western powers and their secular systems, state media reported.

'Never ever trust the United States, NATO or criminal regimes such as Britain, France and Italy, which have once mugged your countries,' Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in Tehran. [Monsters and Critics] Read more [via National Secular Society]

A Critic of Political Islam Warns of 'Misguided' West

.... It is very difficult for Muslims to reform Islam, as the religion has turned into a political movement, and she compares the situation to the Christian Inquisition, when any criticism against those in power was considered dangerous.

Eventually, the Inquisition was reined in. If Islamism were also curbed, she believes reform would follow, and Islam would be relegated to a personal, rather than a state matter.

Muslim women, particularly in Iran, are in the forefront of the reform of discriminatory laws because they have the most to gain, but they need grassroots solidarity in the West, similar to the support networks that were established during the battle against racial apartheid in South Africa. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti: new falsehoods from the police

Pakistani police are spreading new falsehoods and new doubts about the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic Minister for Minorities, killed last March 2 by a group of Muslim extremists. Bhatti had long led a fight against the death sentence of Asia Bibi for blasphemy and in defense of religious minorities in his country.

According to the police in Islamabad, the two suspects in the killing, Zia-ur-Rehman and Malik Abid, would be two ex-Christians from Faisalabad, converted to Islam, who allegedly have a property dispute with the Bhatti family. The police have also stated that there is no evidence against them. [AsiaNews] Read more

16 September 2011

Dutch government drafts burqa ban legislation

The Dutch prime minister says the government has drawn up legislation to ban face-covering veils such as the burqa worn by some Muslim women.

Mark Rutte says the proposed ban will be sent to the government's legal advisory body, the Council of State, before lawmakers vote on it, a process likely to take months. [AP] Read more

Men banned from Oz council to prevent mixing with Muslim women

The Darebin City Council ban in Australia has banned men because it is "not appropriate" for men to mix with Muslim women.

The decision has been backed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), declaring there was no discrimination and councils no longer needed to apply for exemptions.

The council sought the bans because it was "culturally inappropriate for young women to participate in recreational activity with males present", the Herald Sun reports. [New Kerala] Read more

Little Protest in Paris as a Ban on Street Prayer Begins

A ban on street prayer came into force on Friday, driving thousands of Muslim worshipers in northern Paris into an improvised prayer site in an old fire brigade barracks, angering a small but vocal minority.

The prayer ban has highlighted France’s difficulties in assimilating many of its five million Muslims, who often lack spaces to pray, and it follows a long-smoldering dispute fanned by the far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

The Interior Ministry under Claude Guéant has directed Paris’s Muslims to temporary spaces made available pending the construction of a new space and warned that force would be used if necessary as the police enforce the ban. [Reuters] Read more

How Islamic polygamy is used to exploit welfare benefits

.... the state handouts do not end there, for under Islamic Sharia law, polygamy is permissible. So a man can return to Pakistan, take another bride and then, in a repetition of the process, bring her to England where they also have children together — obtaining yet more money from the state.

Because such Islamic multiple-marriages are not recognised in Britain, the women are regarded by the welfare system as single mothers — and are therefore entitled to the full range of lone-parent payments.

As a result, several ‘families’, fathered by the same Pakistani man, can all claim benefits as they are provided for by the welfare state, which treats them as if they are not related.

Figures are hard to obtain, but it’s thought there may be around 1,000 polygamous families living in the UK, costing taxpayers millions of pounds every year. A friend of mine, who investigated the issue for a BBC Panorama programme, told me of one street in a Yorkshire town where all the residents are Pakistani women with children living on social security. There is not one man living in the street. [MailOnline] Read more

New law needed as French firms facing religious demands from employees

French companies are increasingly facing religious demands from their employees and need a change in the labour code to be able to reject requests they find unreasonable, according to an official report.

Most cases concern Muslims seeking time off for prayers or halal food in company cafeterias, but demands have also come from other faith groups as well as workers resentful of colleagues who get special treatment, officials said while presenting the report in Paris on Thursday.

In recent years, France has banned religious dress such as Muslim headscarves in state schools and full facial veils in public, but it has no laws covering religious issues that may arise in private companies. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

15 September 2011

The Systematic Destruction of Our Democratic State

.... Now he is retired and he can speak freely and openly, without risking his job. Joachim Wagner is now one more drop from a barrel concerning the dark side of immigration. As a lawyer, Wagner points out many alarming examples of the fact that there is already an parallel Islamic justice system in Germany that is canceling out our constitutional republic.

The book, Judges Without Law, is worth reading. With a great deal of expert knowledge, it meticulously shows even the legally uneducated where our state is heading because of immigration from Islamic countries — to ungovernability. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

Dutch burqa ban maximum fine to be 380 euros

Women wearing the Islamic burqa full body cloak or niqab face veil in public will soon be subject to a maximum fine of 380 euros. The planned measure is to be discussed by the Dutch cabinet on Friday.

A ‘burqa ban’ formed part of the minority Dutch government’s programme agreed with the populist Freedom Party PVV on whose parliamentary support the cabinet relies. [Expatica Communications] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

Islam prejudice rampant in Europe's school books

European school books present a distorted image of Islam and Muslims, using stereotypes that breed mistrust of the faith and its people, a five-country study published Thursday showed.

This slanted view reflects "cultural racism," concluded Germany's Georg Eckert Institute for textbook research, which analysed 27 volumes used in classrooms in Britain, France, Austria, Spain and Germany.

The report, which was presented at the foreign ministry in Berlin, was billed as the first of its kind in Europe.

"Islam is always presented as an outdated system of rules which has not changed since its golden age," Susan Krohnert-Othman, the institute's project director, told reporters. [AFP] Read more [via London Muslim]

Islamic Sharia Law Court Opens in Belgium

An Islamic Sharia law court has been established in Antwerp, the second-largest city in Belgium.

The Sharia court is the initiative of a radical Muslim group called Sharia4Belgium. Leaders of the group say the purpose of the court is to create a parallel Islamic legal system in Belgium in order to challenge the state's authority as enforcer of the civil law protections guaranteed by the Belgian constitution.

The Sharia court, which is located in Antwerp's Borgerhout district, is "mediating" family law disputes for Muslim immigrants in Belgium.

The self-appointed Muslim judges running the court are applying Islamic law, rather than the secular Belgian Family Law system, to resolve disputes involving questions of marriage and divorce, child custody and child support, as well as all inheritance-related matters. [Hudson New York] Read more

Converts must die: imam to Swedish radio

Swedish public service broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) has been reported for hate speech after featuring a programme in which a Somali imam called for all converts from Islam to be killed.

The programme in question was a panel discussion and was broadcast live by SR International's Somali service.

The police report was filed by Erik Johansson, at the Swedish Evangelical Mission (Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen - EFS), after friends told him of the imam's words underlining every Muslim's responsibility to kill anyone who leaves Islam.

"I received a call from my Somali friends who had heard the programme. I don't speak the language myself and when they explained to me, I concluded that this wasn't a message which should be on an SR channel," Erik Johansson told The Local on Thursday. [The Local] Read more

Dutch burqa ban – maximum fine to be 380 euros

Women wearing the Islamic burqa (full body cloak) or niqab (face veil) in public will soon be subject to a maximum fine of 380 euros. The planned measure is to be discussed by the Dutch cabinet on Friday.

A ‘burqa ban’ formed part of the minority Dutch government’s programme agreed with the populist Freedom Party (PVV) on whose parliamentary support the cabinet relies.

Rather than singling out burqas and niqabs, the senior partner in the coalition, the conservative VVD, is in favour of a general ban on people wearing clothes that cover the face including balaclavas and helmets with opaque visors. On the VVD website, it is argued that people can find such clothing threatening. The extent of the ban will become clear after Friday's cabinet meeting. [Radio Netherlands Worldwide] Read more

Accused of proselytising, American family attacked by Indonesian extremists

Only the intervention of police saved the lives of an American family that was attacked by an enraged mob spurred by a local religious leader. Muslim fundamentalists were incensed by charges that the head of the family was engaged in proselytising in the predominantly Muslim area.

The latest of its kind (a few days ago clashes between Christians and Muslims left people dead and wounded in Maluku, this incident is further proof of Indonesia’s steady slide towards extremism, a situation that threatens the country’s constitutional foundation, namely its pluralism. [AsiaNews] Read more [via Jihad Watch]

French ban praying in streets

Claude Guéant said that ban could later be extended to the rest of France, in particular to the Mediterranean cities of Nice and Marseilles, where "the problem persists".

He promised the new legislation would be followed to the letter as it "hurts the sensitivities of many of our fellow citizens".

"My vigilance will be unflinching for the law to be applied. Praying in the street is not dignified for religious practice and violates the principles of secularism, the minister told Le Figaro newspaper. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Greek Government caves in to pressure to build a mega-mosque in Athens

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build a mega-mosque in Athens – at taxpayers’ expense – was given approval last week

The move, according to this report, was driven by the fear of an uprising by thousands of Muslim residents of the city. Rather than face a violent situation, the Greek Parliament voted on September 7 to meet Muslim demands for the mosque. The vote as supported by 198 out of 300 deputies from the left, right and centre. [The Freethinker] Read more

14 September 2011

FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired. In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity. [Wired] Read more [via loonwatch.com]

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood criticizes Erdogan’s call for a secular state

.... “Do not be wary of secularism. I hope there will be a secular state in Egypt,” Erdogan said.

He stressed that people have the right to choose whether or not to be religious, adding that he is a Muslim prime minister for a secular state.

Dr Mahmoud Ghuzlan, the spokesman of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, considered Erdogan’s comments as interference in Egypt’s local affairs.

Ghuzlan was quoted by an Egyptian newspaper as saying that the experiments of other countries should not be cloned. “Turkey’s conditions imposed on it to deal with the secular concept,” he said. [Al Arabiya News] Read more

13 September 2011

Imam calls to kill converts on Radio Sweden

"It is the duty of every Muslim to kill those who leave Islam." This statement was made on Radio Sweden recently when an Imam from Rinkeby (Stockholm) was allowed to speak about how people should act against Somalis who convert to Christianity.

The program with the death threats against converts was broadcast by the Somali department of Radio Sweden and was a follow-up on a previous segment about a group of Christian Somalis who came to Rinkeby Square to evangelize. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Islamists take aim at Libya rebels' secular leaders

.... On Tuesday, a prominent Islamist scholar denounced Jibril and his allies as "extreme secularists" who seek to enrich themselves via "the deal of a lifetime."

Jibril and his associates were guiding the nation into "a new era of tyranny and dictatorship," Ali Salabi told the satellite news channel Al Jazeera in comments posted Tuesday on its website. The cleric charged that the new administration could be "worse than Kadafi." [Los Angeles Times] Read more

12 September 2011

Christian-Muslim tensions simmer in Malaysia, minorities worried about rights

A raid on a church by Muslim authorities has raised religious tension in Malaysia and could cost Prime Minister Najib Razak votes in an election set for 2013 but which many expect to come much earlier.

The raid has sparked an angry verbal battle between Christians and the majority Muslims, forcing Najib to seek what may be an elusive peace between the ethnic Malays and minorities, both of which believe the government isn’t doing enough to safeguard their rights. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

"Denmark, as we know it, can be destroyed in 10-15 years"

"Sharia law already operates in several neighborhoods. In Nørrebro there are some places where you have a parallel society, where religious dogmas run things next to the Danish," integration consultant and anti-terrorism expert Mohammad Rafiq tells Ekstra Bladet.

"This way we'll have many neighborhoods where you as a Dane and democrat won't have any chance to object," says Rafiq, who has visited many of the countries extremist neighborhoods.

"We have a big problem, because the different fundamentalists are able to get all the power in those areas, because the system isn't able to intervene. Denmark, as we know it, can be destroyed in 10-15 years," says Mohammad Rafiq. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Iran bans half-naked men, love triangles on TV

Iran has banned TV programs showing half-naked men and love triangles, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Monday, in the latest sign of a conservative crackdown on media in the Islamic state.

It was not clear what prompted the ban. Iran TV, which has a monopoly in the country, dedicates large parts of its schedule to religious shows and announcements from the government.

But viewers were gripped a few years ago by a locally-produced soap opera called Forbidden Fruit which told the tale of an old man who decided to leave his wife after falling in love with a young girl. [Reuters] Read more

11 September 2011

School prayer protests heat up

Faith groups are ramping up protests against Muslim students praying in Toronto public schools as they vow to make the controversial practice an election issue in Ontario.

A demonstration took place Sunday night outside the Toronto District School Board on Yonge St., and another is planned for Sept. 18 at Queen’s Park to demand an end of the prayer service.

The protests stem from a decision to allow Islamic prayer sessions every Friday in the cafeteria at Valley Park Middle School, on Overlea Blvd., which have been going on for more than a year.

Local imams lead a 40-minute service — non-Muslims are banned from the cafeteria during that time — to prevent about 400 students from leaving the school in the middle of the day to go to prayers, during which boys sit in front of the girls. [Toronto Sun] Read more

Ten Years On: Saudi Textbooks Yet to be Cleaned of Violence!

.... We learned that Saudi Arabia has long been indoctrinating its students in an ideology of religious violence, which key U.S. intelligence officials have linked to facilitating and supporting terrorists.

Ten years on, Saudi textbooks, disseminated on websites and translated here, have yet to be cleaned up.They continue to teach:

.... We also learned that the U.S. government has been unwilling to take on the ideological challenge posed by Saudi-sponsored education. Over two administrations, it has annually praised Riyadh for the “glacial” (as a Wikileaks cable put it) pace of reform. Meanwhile Saudi Wahhabi extremism spreads in Somalia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Algeria, the Balkans, the U.K., and elsewhere. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Western, Muslim societies ‘irreconcilable’: poll

A majority of Canadians believes conflict between Western nations and the Muslim world is “irreconcilable,” according to a new national survey that revealed a strong strain of pessimism in the country leading up to Sunday’s 10th anniversary commemorations of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

The survey of 1,500 Canadians, conducted over three days last week for the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies, showed 56% of respondents see Western and Muslim societies locked in an unending ideological struggle, while about 33% — just one-third of the population — held out hope that the conflict will eventually be overcome. [National Post] Read more

10 September 2011

Imam Rauf’s Da’wa Spin on 9/11

.... Imam Rauf performs the usual editing of Sura 5:32 when he writes that the Qu'ran "says that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he killed all mankind."

It is always best to go to the foundational text. The Sura reads: " For that cause WE decreed for the children of Israel that whoever killeth a human bring for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and who saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and who saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he has saved the life of all mankind."

What is "corruption in the earth"? It refers to those who do not follow the eternal, perfect and unalterable words of Allah through the final prophet Muhammad. [The Iconoclast] Read more

09 September 2011

Muslim group wants Harper apology over 'Islamicism' remark

The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada is urging Muslims to speak out against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent remarks about their religion.

Harper told CBC this week that "Islamicism" poses the most pressing threat to Canada's security, and that the country's intelligence service is mostly preoccupied with Islamic extremism.

Harper's spokesman later clarified to CBC News that the prime minister was "referencing Islamic terrorism — the Islamists" in his remarks.

The council is urging Harper to apologize for the comments, saying the actions of fanatics do not represent Islamic beliefs. [The Canadian Press] Read more

Muslims Blockade Christian Village in Egypt, Demand Demolition of Church

Christians in the Upper Egyptian village of Elmarinab in Edfu, Aswan province, have been forbidden to leave their homes or buy food until they remove the dome of St. George's Church, which was rebuilt in its previous location. Village Muslims, backed by Muslim Salafists from neighboring villages, have threatened to demolish the church on Friday September 9 after prayers and use it as a mosque.

Despite the presence of security forces, Muslims have blocked the roads to the village, refusing passage of any Christians under any circumstance.

Yesterday the military governor in Aswan was contacted as Christians were starving in their homes. Security officers were sent and accompanied two Christian youths to buy food for the villagers. Muslims at the entrance of the village tried to stop the two security cars. "Failing that they threatened that this would be the last time," said one villager. "It was heart-breaking to see the elderly running with the children to get a loaf of bread." [AINA] Read more

Sharia court sentences two to amputation for theft

An Islamic sharia court in Zamfara State has sentenced two men to amputation of their right wrists for stealing a bull, with the amputation to be carried out in public if it is given final approval.

The sharia court in the village of Nassarawan Mailayi in the northern state of Zamfara on Thursday ordered that Auwalu Abubaka, 23, and Lawalli Musa, 22, have their right hands chopped off for stealing a bull worth 130,000 naira ($867, 628 euros).

However, the two men have 30 days to appeal their sentence and the state governor must approve any amputation. Such sentences have only rarely been carried out in Nigeria. [AFP] Read more

New Libya should be governed by sharia: imam

Speaking to thousands of worshippers attending weekly Muslim prayers in Martyrs' Square, formerly known as Green Square, Sheikh Abdel Ghani Abu Ghrass said "we must underline the Islamic character of the new Libyan state." He added the future Libya "should be governed in conformity with sharia." [Sapa-AFP] Read more

08 September 2011

Germany: 'The problem is with the Muslims'

.... The problem is with the Muslims. It’s not the people who constitute the problem, but Islam. And Islam comes with Muslim people. They build active groups that promote Islam and advocate the establishment of Sharia law.

And Sharia law, particular its criminal section, is absolutely impossible for European relationships. We have religious pluralism in Europe and not a single religion is dominant. But Islam is the religion that tolerates another religion as long as it has no power. [Islam in Europe] Read more

Poll: American views on Islam closely follow party affiliation

.... Some 47 percent of all Americans, according to the poll, believe that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life. And the splits along ideological lines reveal a deeply divided public.

Large majorities of Republicans (63 percent) and people who identify with the Tea Party (66 percent) say that Islamic values are in contrast with American values. At the same time, however, a majority of Democrats (55 percent) and independents (53 percent) disagree with that view. [Examiner.com] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

Western Muslims will beat al-Qaeda

.... Over the past decade, the idea of the “Islamist state” has been devalued among Muslims in the West. But that is not to say that the benefits of secular democracy have been accepted.

Secularism remains a dirty word in Islamist political parlance. And there is still a yearning among some British Muslims for a state ruled by sharia, as they understand it. A small minority suggest that this should be in Britain, but others wish to see this fantasy state emerge somewhere in the greater Middle East.

Still, calls among young activists for an “Islamist state”, or for the use of violence to create it, are symptoms of deeper social issues. A Muslim population that feels at home in and with the West will not produce people who wish to undermine it.

Yet Muslim leaders in Britain and America are still struggling to articulate confidently a form of Islam that is in harmony with the modern world. Too often, Islam becomes a political rallying cry, and not the devotional, contemplative religion that it ought to be. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

WikiLeaks discloses Qaradawi’s extremism

The latest batch of US embassy cables leaked by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks have uncovered further evidence of the extremist views of the prominent Sunni cleric Yousuf al-Qaradawi. Coverage of Qaradawi tends to omit his extremist views, emphasising instead the respect with which he is held in the Muslim world.

Examples of this include The Guardian’s reporting of his fatwah against Colonel Gaddafi, which portrayed him as a pro-democracy moderate, and the BBC’s coverage of his appearance at a rally in Egypt, which simply described him as ‘influential’.

The leaked embassy cables appear to reveal Qaradawi’s support for Hamas, suicide bombings against Israel and the stoning to death of those found guilty of ‘collaboration’ with the Jewish state. They also reveal his contempt for inter-faith dialogue. [JustJournalism.com] Read more

Fear of being labelled as extremists forces Muslims into silence

.... I have lost count of the number of British Muslim students, activists and imams who have told me of their fear of being labelled as extremists or terrorists if they dare take an unconventional, unorthodox or radical position on a political or religious issue.

It is ironic, if depressing, that a doubling of the number of Muslim MPs in parliament and the appointment of a Muslim woman to the cabinet has been matched by a narrowing of the range of opinions and views expressed by ordinary British Muslims in public.

[A COMMENT] Western Muslims that integrate and don't try to force their beliefs on others do well. Those whose beliefs are at odds with the 21st century probably should never have moved to a Western country in the first place.

Like it or not, and for any number of sociological and political reasons that I won't delve into here, British Muslims are generally more radical than their counterparts in the US, Canada, France, Germany, or Australia. [Guardian Cif] Read more

06 September 2011

Extremists exploit taboos

.... Professor Jytte Klausen, a Dane, is professor of comparative politics at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, an expert on Muslim communities in Europe and author of the book The Cartoons That Shook the World.

She believes there is no doubt the cartoon controversy has led to more self-censorship: ''The bottom line is that on this issue, the extremists won.''

.... ''The unfortunate thing is that religious hatred laws have created this expectation in [Muslims'] minds that their religion can't be insulted,'' he says.

''Whereas anyone interested in free speech would say people should be protected but ideas should not be protected; that religions should be open to scrutiny and sometimes should be mocked … but now a new 'right not to be offended' comes into play.'' [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more