31 October 2012

Poll finds what Muslims really think about Constitution, Shariah

Nearly half of 600 Muslim-American citizens polled who plan to vote in the 2012 presidential election believe parodies of Muhammad should be prosecuted criminally in the U.S., and one in eight say the offense is so serious violators should face the death penalty.

The results came in a groundbreaking scientific poll for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies. It was taken Oct. 22-26 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percentage points.

The poll also found 40 percent of Muslims in America believe they should not be judged by U.S. law and the Constitution, but by Shariah standards. [WND.com] Read more

Minorities Fear End of Secularism in Egypt

Egypt's president sat cross-legged on a green rug with his eyes closed and hands raised in prayer. His lips moved as Futouh Abd al-Nabi Mansour, an influential Egyptian cleric, intoned: "Oh Allah, absolve us of our sins, strengthen us and grant us victory over the infidels. Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, disperse them, rend them asunder."

This was a Friday prayer service held in the western Egyptian port city of Marsa Matrouh on October 19. The words of this closing prayer, taken from a collection of sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, seemed quite familiar to Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's new president. [SPIEGEL ONLINE] Read more

France expels Tunisian imam who preached holy war, violence against women

France says it has deported a radical Muslim preacher known for his anti-Semitic speeches and calls for violent holy war.

Mohamed Hammami, who preached at the Omar Mosque in Paris, was expelled to his home country of Tunisia on Wednesday. [Associated Press] Read more

Muslim Candidates Vow Islamic State After Belgium Win

Two Muslim candidates vowed to establish an Islamic state in Belgium based on Sharia law, after winning local elections in Brussels two weeks ago.

Air Jeddig L’Houcine and Redouane Ahrough, both from the fledgling Islam Party, handily won seats in two major districts of the Belgian capital Brussels, Molenbeek and Anderlecht, respectively. The election was held on October.

.... A 2008 study showed that 6-percent of the Belgian population, about 628,751, is Muslim. Muslims construct 25.5-percent of the population of Brussels, 3.9-percent of Flanders, and 4.0-percent of Wallonia. [The Right Perspective] Read more

30 October 2012

Heated 'Muslim' outburst earns headteacher reprimand

Almost immediately after she made the comments earlier this month, Sonsby had apologised for shouting, “I’m so bloody tired of you Muslims ruining the teaching lessons,” at a group of disruptive students she had called into her office. She explained her outburst came after the boys started laughing at her, but added that she did not feel it amounted to racism.

Shaib Mansoor, the father of one of the children being admonished and present during the meeting, later reported Sonsby to the police for racism. He subsequently dropped the charges, saying that the media attention had succeeded in creating a debate about the issue. [The Copengahen Post] Read more

Breaking the silence over genital mutilation horror

More than 120,000 migrant women in Australia have suffered genital mutilation - a brutal religious practice common in Islamic populations in Africa, South America, parts of Asia and the Middle East.

There is no data held on how widespread female genital mutilation is in Australia, but 7.30 has spoken to women who are voicing their concerns despite the fear of rejection from their communities.

The genital mutilation is carried out by women on girls between the age of four and 10.

It is a crime in Australia and is not sanctioned by the Koran; nonetheless, it is happening behind closed doors. [ABC] Read more

Somali comedian who poked fun at Islamists shot dead

Gunmen assassinated a well-known comedian and musician who poked fun at Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police and colleagues said Tuesday.

Warsame Shire Awale, a famous composer who had worked with Somalia's national army band before joining Radio Kulmiye as a drama producer and comedian, was attacked by two gunmen late on Monday. [The Daily Star] Read more

Turkish police clash with secularists

Marchers were reacting to the Islamic-rooted government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which they accuse of raising the profile of Islam in predominantly Muslim and officially secular Turkey.

The government has recently allowed Koran courses in schools while lifting the ban on graduates of imam and preacher schools to become military cadets. [Brisbane Times] Read more

Back Sharia or go to Hell - Egypt's Voters Warned on Constitution Poll

Voters in Egypt will go to hell if they back a new constitution that fails to set in stone fundamentalist Islamic law, a top politician has claimed.

Adel Afifi, the leader of the Al-Asala party, delivered the warning on his Facebook page ahead of a referendum expected before the end of the year.

"Support God and reject the constitution," announced Afifi. He claimed that voting in favour of the draft constitution was committing a sin, for which voters would be "casting themselves into hell". [International Business Times] Read more

A Fear Within France Which Grows - Muslim and Jewish Relations in the Country

.... The meeting was a wake-up call for me. The journey back to London gave me time to think. What would make someone feel so insecure to give up their life and move to another country to start up again? What would make a woman feel that her security lay in a country 2,000 miles away?

Why did I feel guilty? Yes, I was a Muslim, but I was not responsible for making her feel insecure. At each turn of my mind, I was uncomfortable, worried and aggravated as to the future of Muslim and Jewish relations in France. [The Huffington Post] Read more

29 October 2012

The Real Islamophobia

.... The conflict is confused, and each side uses the terms of debate interchangeably. In response to concern over the anti-homosexual, anti-Jewish and misogynist lectures given by Islamist hate preachers at British universities, the faculty increasingly invokes the right to free speech in defense of such rhetoric, but not in opposition to it.

However, this skewed appeal to the ideas of Locke and Stuart Mill is not so much a rediscovery of Enlightenment values, but rather just another act of submission to only one side. Instead of challenging extremism and hatred on their own university campuses, the faculties, by their inaction, are complicit with it -- they enable it and embolden it. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Christians persecuted throughout the world

Imagine the unspeakable fury that would erupt across the Islamic world if a Christian-led government in Khartoum had been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Muslims over the past 30 years.

Or if Christian gunmen were firebombing mosques in Iraq during Friday prayers. Or if Muslim girls in Indonesia had been abducted and beheaded on their way to school, because of their faith.

Such horrors are barely thinkable, of course. But they have all occurred in reverse, with Christians falling victim to Islamist aggression. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

A Trip Through Hell - Daily Life in Islamist Northern Mali

.... Then Omar Ben Saïd, the senior executioner, pulls a knife out of its sheath. "In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful," he calls out, takes the convicted man's hand and begins to slice into it, as blood squirts out.

It becomes more difficult when Saïd reaches the bone, and it's a full three minutes before the hand drops into a bucket. The executioner reaches for his mobile phone, calls his superior and says: "The man has been punished." [SPIEGEL ONLINE] Read more

28 October 2012

Norway: Salafist organisation allows men and women to mix in order to receive state funding (17,000 USD)

The leader of Islam Net, Fahad Qureshi, will allow men and women to sit together to receive 100,000 NKR (17,000 USD) from Norwegian taxpayers.

"We are aware that the the organisation preaches a conservative version of Islam. We nevertheless think it is right to support this organization because they are known as opponents of forced marriage," says section leader Morten Tjessem to NRK.no. [Jihad Watch] Read more

The unbelievers: Post-Alber Saber, more atheists struggle to assert their identity

.... The state “does not recognize atheism, as a belief or religion, by law,” says Sherif Azer of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.

Egyptians can’t put “atheist’ on their national ID cards in the space allocated for religion, Azer explains. They must choose from three religions: Islam, Christianity or Judaism.

One atheist, Ahmed, says atheism “is not a religion, it is the lack of religion. I do not want it written on my ID. I don’t want to have any beliefs written on anyone’s ID.” [Egypt Independent] Read more

Muslim Girls Miss Own Weddings

.... Hardline separatists Tablighi Jamaat, dubbed an “antechamber of fundamentalism” by intelligence officials, insist on segregation between sexes.

Last night Dr Taj Hargey, imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation and director of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said: “The ceremony is normally a male-only affair where a male relative, usually a father or brother, signs on behalf of the woman and the service is conducted by a male priest, an imam, in front of male witnesses exclusively. [Daily Star] Read more

How families on both sides of the law face tough choices in Somalia

Relatives of murder victims must pardon the perpetrators, kill them or demand blood money – currently set at about $20,000.

When Ali Faras's 21-year-old son was murdered, the local court gave him three options: to pardon the killer, demand blood money from the man's family or call for his execution. If he decided the latter, he would have to perform the killing himself.

The killer, Mohamed Sanbaare, had been his son's friend and business partner. Sanbaare owned a fishing boat and the pair worked together as human traffickers, ferrying immigrants across the sea to Yemen. One day, out at sea, Sanbaare shot and killed his friend. It was, he said, an accident. [The Huffington Post] Read more

27 October 2012

A German Victory for Free Speech

In a letter dated October 10, 2012, and received by its addressee four days later, the Marburg, Germany state prosecutor announced a suspension in the prosecution of medical historian Dr. Armin Geus.

.... Geus had run afoul of German authorities because of his book Die Krankheit des Propheten (The Sickness of the Prophet), in which Geus had argued that Islam's prophet Muhammad was not divinely led, but rather psychologically disturbed.

Despite this victory for free speech with respect to Islam, briefs submitted by Geus' defense lawyers and a public declaration by a German Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) highlight various long-term issues still seeking ultimate resolution. [American Thinker] Read more

Islamic world unleashes the demons of misogyny

THE targeting of Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old girl shot this month by a Pakistani Taliban assassin, brought back memories of my teenage years in Tehran, where theocratic zealots were similarly in control.

The words of the Taliban's chief spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, had a chillingly familiar echo in my ears. A bullet had Malala's name on it, he explained to the news media, because ''she has become a symbol of Western culture in the area; she was openly propagating it''. He also called her ''the symbol of the infidels and obscenity''.

The zealots of my era, circa 1982, prowled Tehran's streets in khaki-coloured Toyota four-wheel-drives and stopped girls and women of all stripes, ages and ethnicities, warning them if their scarves had slipped back. On good days, rather than arrest and haul us away, they would only scold: ''Our men are being martyred by Saddam to protect your virtue.''[brisbanetimes.com.au] Read more

Saudi king urges UN action against religious insults

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Saturday demanded a UN resolution condemning insults on monotheistic religions after a low-budget film produced in the US sparked deadly protests last month.

"I demand a UN resolution that condemns any country or group that insults religions and prophets," he said during a meeting at his palace with religious figures and heads of hajj delegations in the Mina valley where pilgrims were performing final rituals of hajj. [AFP] Read more

26 October 2012

Europe is turning away from Turkey – and the rest of the world: Whatever happened to liberté, égalité, fraternité?

.... Nowadays, as Europe struggles with the euro crisis, and EU expansion has slowed down, very few of us still bother to think and talk about these issues. And unfortunately, the positive interest surrounding Turkey's possible future membership has also waned.

This is partly because freedom of thought remains regrettably underdeveloped in Turkey. But the biggest reason is undoubtedly the large influx of Muslim migrants from north Africa and Asia into Europe that, in the eyes of many Europeans, has cast a dark shadow of doubt and fear over the idea of a predominantly Muslim country joining the union.

[A COMMENT] Firstly, Turkey is not geographically a European country. 97% of the country is in Asia - and this 97% shares borders with Iraq, Iran, Georgia, Armenia and Syria.

Secondly, how would adding a comparatively poor, increasingly religious and reactionary Asian nation of 75 million Muslims aid European cohesiveness and unity? At current trends, if Turkey became a member it would quickly become the most populous. What effects might there be for an organisation having as its biggest member a country so different from all the smaller ones?

Finally, if Turkey were serious about wanting to join the EU and meeting the requisite standards for human rights and the rule of law, why is its government become increasingly authoritarian and repressive?

[ANOTHER COMMENT] If you set out to invent an ideology which represented the exact opposite of liberté, égalité and fraternité, you'd probably come up with something exactly like Islam. It could be that what Europeans fear is that Islam is irreconcilable with Western secular liberalism.

Not since the middle ages in Europe has any religious doctrine claimed an adherence of 99% of the population. The fact that Islam does so in Turkey today is a rightly frightening statistic. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Parents roast school over halal meat

A TOWN primary school sparked outrage after announcing plans to serve halal meat in meals to all pupils.

But within hours it made a dramatic u-turn and sent a text message to parents telling them the decision had been reversed.

Lynnfield Primary School sent a letter to parents on Tuesday afternoon which revealed all chicken, beef and lamb dishes served in school would be prepared with halal meat after the half-term.

But just hours later at 8am yesterday, after complaints from fuming parents, the school sent out a text message revealing the changes would not go ahead as planned. [Hartlepool Mail] Read more

Survey exposes French anxieties over Islam

The role of Islam in France was once again under the spotlight on Thursday after right-wing daily Le Figaro published the results of an opinion poll that suggested 43 percent of French people believe the religion is a “threat” to national identity.

Six out of ten French people believe the influence of Islam in France is “too big” and 43 percent see the religion as a “threat” to national identity, according to the results of an opinion poll published on Thursday.

.... Two thirds of people surveyed said they thought French Muslims and people of Muslim origin were not well integrated into French society. Among them, 68 percent blamed this lack of integration on Muslims’ “refusal to integrate”, while roughly half said they believed it was a result of “insurmountable cultural differences”. [France24] Read more

A 6-month prison term for walking a dog in Mashhad, Iran

A newly-wed man who was arrested in a Western suburb of Mashhad (Northeast Iran) for walking his pet dog in public was sentenced to six months in prison for violating Iran's anti-pet laws.

But an Appeals court suspended the prison term for two years subject to probation and parole. Anti pet-ownership laws in urban areas of Iran are said to be rooted in religious edicts, health concerns and (Anti-Westernization) cultural norms. [Mohabat News] Read more

Al-Shabaab order woman stoned to death for sex offence

A young woman was stoned to death Thursday in Somalia after being convicted of engaging in out-of-marriage sex, reports say.

Residents of Jamama town, 425km south of Mogadishu in Lower Juba region, said that militants loyal to Al-Shabaab carried out the stoning at the town’s main square in late afternoon.

“Many residents were called to attend the execution of the punishment,” a resident who requested anonymity for own safety told Kulmiye, an independent broadcaster in Mogadishu. [Africa Review] Read more

25 October 2012

Hate content against religious minorities rampant in school textbooks across Pakistan'

Textbooks used in Pakistan's schools include factual errors and hate content, which fuels the increasing levels of intolerance and extremism in the society, according to education experts.

According to the experts, the government, civil society, education experts and citizens need to contribute to a serious process of curriculum and textbook reform to help combat the growing levels of intolerance and violence towards minority groups in society, reports the Daily Times. [NEWS TRACK India] Read more

Blackburn pupils win headscarf fight

A NEW school headscarf is set to be introduced following pressure from pupils.

Pleckgate High School, Blackburn, saw girls rebel after bringing in a uniform hijab, complaining it was ill-fitting or against their Islamic principles.

The school began working with a group of girls on a new design which will become uniform policy after the half-term holiday.

Headteacher Cherry Ridgway said: “All the girls have behaved well throughout the process and parents have been very supportive.” [Lancashire Telegraph] Read more

Most French see Islam too influential in society: poll

An increasing majority of people in France believe Islam plays too influential a role in their society and almost half see Muslims as a threat to their national identity, according to a poll published on Thursday.

The survey by pollster Ifop in Le Figaro newspaper showed that 60 percent of people believed that Islam was "too important" in France in terms of its influence and visibility, up from 55 percent two years ago.

It found that 43 percent of respondents considered the presence of the Muslim community as a threat to their national identity, compared with just 17 percent who said it enriched society. Forty percent of those questioned were indifferent to the presence of Islam, Le Figaro said. [Reuters] Read more

Muslim women need to talk about love

Growing up in 1980s Bradford, I always knew I'd take the traditional route to marriage. If I harboured teenage dreams of walking down the aisle to marry a man I loved, then my fantasy was blighted by the insurmountable burden of breaking away from my family. Besides, I'd always known I was lined up to marry a cousin – my uncle's son.

[A COMMENT] Perhaps your focus should be on not doubling the chances of your children carrying a genetic fault as the result of marrying such a close relative.

This is a practice which needs to be wiped out, the gene pool in parts of the country is bad enough as it is. [Guardian Cif] Read more

24 October 2012

LSESU Atheist, Secularist, Humanist Society brings the concerns of Ex-Muslims to the fore

.... The status of ex-Muslims in Islam is particularly precarious, and the historical and present-day Islamic response to people who become ex-Muslims is one that justifies our inclusion of the term in our name. We do not ask our members for their beliefs, but we estimate that approximately 20% of our members are ex-Muslim or from a Muslim background and we want to be inclusive and welcoming toward them.

People of a Muslim background face unique difficulties in abandoning their religion, both in predominantly Muslim countries and in Europe. A name that openly represents them will provide a visible support option: a society populated by like-minded people who have survived similar experiences, from whom they can draw support. [London School of Economics & Political Sciences Students’ Union] Read more

Pakistan’s threat within – the Sunni-Shia divide: Special Report

About 20 men dressed as Pakistani soldiers boarded a bus bound for a Muslim festival outside this mountain town and checked the identification cards of the passengers. They singled out 19 Shi’ites, drew weapons and slaughtered them, most with a bullet to the head.

The shooters weren’t soldiers. They were a hit squad linked to the Sunni Muslim extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or LeJ. They had trekked in along a high Himalayan pass that hot August morning to waylay a convoy of pilgrims.

Here and across Pakistan, violent Sunni radicals are on the march against the nation’s Shi’ite minority. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

More women are getting married under religious law, unaware they lack legal rights

Religious quasi-courts run in parallel to British courts, but unlike our courts, they operate behind closed doors and make decisions that are likely to be unfair to women.

There are at least 85 religious quasi-courts ruling on family and criminal matters in Britain, according to a report by independent think-tank Civitas, and their judgments can be made legally binding if approved by national law courts.

Concerned that many women are pressured to submit to such courts, women’s rights organisations, including Karma Nirvana and British Muslims for Secular Democracy, have campaigned for years to stop religious courts from operating in Britain. [independent.co.uk] Read more

After slitting his wife’s throat, Toronto man complained of unbearable burden of children’s insufficiently Muslim clothes

.... “He went on to make a comparison by stating that even an elephant, when it has too much weight on its back, will start to moan or cry.”

For Mr. Khairi, the court heard, that weight was his family’s willingness to embrace Canadian culture after emigrating from Afghanistan by way of India. It was the fact that his children did not dress sufficiently Muslim. It was that his wife not only allowed this, but stood up for those freedoms, and her own.

And so, one night at the tail end of winter 2008, Mr. Khairi decided enough was enough, the court heard. [National Post] Read more

Adultery laws unfairly target women: UN

.... “Strikingly, these laws have not, to my knowledge, ever been applied to the elite in these societies, which also makes their implementation discriminatory on the basis of class,” said Hassan.

Many women’s groups which are working within the Islamic framework, she said, would agree with getting rid of these laws, or at the very least, ensuring that they are not implemented in the manner in which they currently are being used.

“I feel strongly that religious and cultural arguments – that I think can be extremely fluid and flexible when they need – should not be used to justify adherence to principles of inequality and discrimination,” Hassan noted. [Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)] Read more

23 October 2012

NGO decries endorsement of girl child marriage by Sudan’s state-controlled clerics

The head of Sudan’s main clerical authority, the Religious Scholars Committee (RSC), has publicly advocated girl child marriage, drawing the ire of women activists rights who called for an immediate ban against the practice.

According to the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA ), a local NGO, RSC’s chairman Mohamed Osman Salih, made his endorsement of girl child marriage in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on 17 October during a debate organized by the United Nation Fund for Population (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Sudanese Ministry of Religious Guidance on Girl’s Child Marriage. [SUDAN TRIBUNE] Read more

Mali: no rhythm or reason as militants declare war on music

.... The ban comes in the context of a horrifically literal and gratuitous application of Sharia law in all aspects of daily life. Militiamen are cutting off the hands and feet of thieves or stoning adulterers.

Smokers, alcohol drinkers and women who are not properly attired are being publicly whipped. As one well-known Touareg musician from Kidal says: "There's a lack of joy. No one is dancing. There are no parties. Everybody's under this kind of spell. It's strange." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Qatar aims for UN sponsored blasphemy law

Attacks on ‘blasphemers’ are threatening free speech in many countries. Christians and atheists are under fire in Egypt. Clampdowns on satire are just one of many problems facing Greece. And of course keeping up with the various attempts by the OIC to use the UN to enforce blasphemy rulings can feel a bit like playing whack-a-mole. The topic’s been up and down and up and down and now up again.

The Qatari Justice Minister is behind the latest initiative, a drive to creative an international law against blasphemy ‘with the help of the United Nations’: [Harry’s Place] Read more

22 October 2012

"I Will Answer Only to Allah"

Murat K, a 26-year-old German-born Salafist of Turkish heritage from the western state of Hessen, openly admitted that he had attacked and wounded the two police officers with a kitchen knife during the cartoon riots in May. He showed no remorse, however, during his trial at the district court in the city of Bonn; he said he had been morally obligated to follow Islamic Sharia law.

Murat, whose last name has not been made known to the general public due to German privacy laws, claimed that the attacks on the police officers were justified because the German state had allowed offensive images of the Prophet Mohammed to be shown in public. Many Muslims believe that according to Islamic law, it is forbidden to depict Mohammed in images. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

A Tale of Two Rowans

.... A week after his call for a stricter law against giving religious offense, Williams delivered yet another six-thousand-word piece of oratory. This time his subject was sharia law, which, he urged, should be allowed a greater role in British jurisprudence.

As I have written elsewhere, the speech was “a masterly…exercise in euphemism and circumlocution” in which Williams sought over and over to convey the idea that sharia isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be, all the while wriggling and slithering around the incontrovertible facts of the matter in a way reminiscent of the most slick, slimy, and slippery of used-car salesman.

Williams’s disquisition was a full-out disgrace: an expression of an obscene readiness to forfeit British liberty – and to sacrifice the truth itself – in the name of sham “tolerance” and bogus “respect” for Islam. [Front Page] Read more

French Muslims demand group ban after mosque attack

The French Muslim Council (CFCM) urged the government on Monday to ban a far-right group that occupied a mosque on Saturday and issued a "declaration of war" against what it called the Islamization of France.

CFCM President Mohammed Moussaoui said the Council also wanted better protection for mosques and Muslim cemeteries against racist attacks, which he said jumped sharply in 2011 and continued to rise this year.

Some 73 protesters from a movement called Identity Group seized a mosque in the western city of Poitiers on Saturday and unfurled a banner referring to Charles Martel's historic defeat of advancing Muslim troops there in 732 [Reuters] Read more

The government kicks the Sharia debate into the long grass

.... Of course the official line of the government remains that there is no need for a clarification or amendment of the arbitration act. The government’s line continues to be that there is nothing to see here, and please could everybody look away and move on. It is the view of a number of people who have recently been in the cabinet, and some who remain there.

Thank goodness for Baroness Cox, that she and a range of other peers remain committed to highlighting issues which Parliament must address but all too rarely does address. If there were more people like Baroness Cox in the House and fewer Gardiners, Parliament might recover some of the esteem among the general public which it so conspicuously currently lacks. [The Spectator] Read more

21 October 2012

Headscarf debate highlights Russian Muslims' grievances

.... "To force her (to remove her headscarf) would violate her integrity. She would be torn in a conflict between her soul and the others around her, and I think that is wrong," said Kaibaliyev, wearing a long beard and white prayer cap.

The school's principal, Marina Savchenko, said she had received threats over her decision, but did not regret it.

"Here everything should be very simple: it is an institution, so it's a secular dress code, business-dress style. That's all. End of discussion," she said outside the school. [Reuters] Read more

Sharia should be enforced without vote - says Salafi

Younes Makhyoun, member of both the constituent assembly and the Salafi (ultraconservative) Nour Party, asked the people to vote for the first draft of Egypt’s constitution if it supports Sharia (Islamic law).

“Even though Sharia must be enforced without vote”, Makhyoun added.

Salafi members of the constituent assembly quarreled with secularists over whether Egypt’s new constitution should enforce Sharia laws or principles, Makhyoun said at a Nour conference in Suez.

Makhyoun claimed he told secular parties to look for another people to live under the secular constitution, arguing that Egyptians want Islamic law implemented. [Aswat Masriya] Read more

What Muslims should actually be angry about

.... Islamist parties, seeking to galvanise the masses behind their apocalyptic message, encourage Muslims to look west and seek answers in the foreign policies of the US and the UK. Unfortunately, many Western leftists also encourage this defeatist and self-deprecating trend in the vain hope that it supports their cause.

The primary victims of this phenomenon are Muslims themselves who are left dis-empowered and undermine their own agency by placing all responsibility elsewhere. The winners are Islamists and Jihadists who continue to wage war against art, culture, women, and vulnerable minorities, safe in the knowledge that most Muslims are distracted by their obsession with the next Danish cartoon or American YouTube clip.

It is not easy to initiate rational conversation in such a context – ask those who have tried. [The Commentator] Read more

20 October 2012

When Even Shooting 14 Year Old Girls In the Face Attracts Outrage

.... It is so painfully amusing to note how the ‘moderates’ and armchair revolutionaries, would sit there with a glass of vine in their hands, uninhibitedly hanging out with the opposite sex, not having offered a prayer or fasted for ages, claiming how the Taliban – who lead their lives strictly according to the Shariah – are infesting their religion of harmony.

The poor chaps are only doing what their scriptures – the ones that the pseudo intellectuals extol, or don’t have the cojones to criticize – tell them to do.

When you are being taught, through the scriptures that are universally recognized by the followers as ‘authentic’, that all the non-believers or threats to the grandeur of your ideology should be killed, you will kill them, where is the misinterpretation here? [Harry’s Place] Read more

German Dentist Fined for Anti-Hijab Bias

Around half of German states have already banned hijab for school teachers.

A German court has ruled against a dentist who had refused to employ a veiled Muslim woman because she declined to remove her headscarf, blaming him for breaching the Equal Treatment Act.

"The dentist broke the law because he refused the plaintiff the position only because she didn't want to take off her headscarf," the spokesman for the Berlin industrial tribunal said, UPI news agency reported on Friday, October 19. [OnIslam.net] Read more

In France, tensions flare over proposed sale of church to Muslim group

When the Rev. Alain Krauth preached to his dwindling flock at Mass last Sunday, the subject was real estate. But it was also Christian charity, tolerance and, indirectly, the gnawing malaise in France over an increasingly visible Muslim minority.

The issue was Saint-Eloi’s, a graceless 1950s-vintage church on the edge of this declining French city 150 miles south of Paris. With six churches to maintain and fewer faithful every year, Roman Catholic authorities decided they could no longer afford Saint-Eloi’s.

It must be sold, Krauth lamented, and if one of the prospective buyers is a peaceful Muslim association looking for a new mosque, then so be it. [The Washington Post] Read more

Sharia courts ‘as consensual as rape’, House of Lords told

MUSLIM women in Britain are being forced to “live in fear” because of the spread of unofficial and unregulated sharia courts enforcing Islamic rules, the House of Lords was told.

Rulings by informal religious “councils” and tribunals are sometimes no more “consensual” than rape, peers were told.

The warnings came in the first ever full Parliamentary debate on the subject in the UK.

Baroness Cox, the independent peer and Third World campaigner, last year tabled a private member’s bill in the Lords setting out plans to rein in a network of unofficial self-styled “courts” which apply Islamic principles. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Pak man shot dead after being acquitted of blasphemy

A Pakistani man who was acquitted of a blasphemy charge has been shot dead by two men in Punjab province, police officials said on Saturday.

Sajjad Hussain, a resident of Khan Muslim village in Gujranwala district, 80 km from Lahore, was gunned down on Friday. He had been arrested in February 2011 after Sath Sanaullah, a resident of his neighbourhood, accused him of committing blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed during a private conversation.

Hussain was booked under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, the harsh blasphemy law. A district and sessions court acquitted him last month for lack of evidence. [Hindustan Times] Read more

Turkish schoolbooks denounce Darwin, Einstein as 'Jews'

Turkish schoolchildren in Istanbul received a series of books denouncing scientific figures, including one denying the theory of evolution and describing Charles Darwin as a big-nosed Jew, the Financial Times reported Friday.

According to the paper, the books were distributed last week to hundreds of students in the Maltepe district of Turkey's capital after the government-affiliated local education authority approved their content.

The book on Darwin reportedly states that the evolutionary biologist “Had two problems: First he was a Jew; second, he hated his prominent forehead, big nose and misshapen teeth.” Darwin was not Jewish. [The Jerusalem Post] Read more

19 October 2012

Tweeting Turkish pianist Fazil Say denies religious insult charge

Turkish concert pianist Fazil Say’s exuberance has won him fans around the world, but it has also helped land him in court as a cause célèbre for those alarmed by Turkey’s creeping Islamic conservatism.

On trial for insulting religion in citing a thousand-year-old poem on his Twitter account, the 42-year-old performer and composer told a first brief hearing in Istanbul on Thursday that he denied the charge, which can carry an 18-month sentence.

As fellow artists crammed the courthouse in a show of support for Say, who performs with some of the world’s leading orchestras, the case was adjourned for four months. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Mali Islamists bulldoze more Sufi tombs in Timbuktu

Heavily armed Islamists bulldozed the tombs of three local Sufi saints near Mali’s desert city of Timbuktu on Thursday, residents said, the latest in a series of attacks in the rebel-held north that critics say threaten its cultural heritage.

“They arrived aboard six or seven vehicles, heavily armed,” said Garba Maiga, a resident of Timbuktu, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its ancient shrines. “They flattened everything with a bulldozer and pulled up the skeletal remains.” [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Takeaways should say if their meat is halal, says campaigner

A MAN is calling for all Bournemouth cafes and takeaways to be obliged to say whether their meat is slaughtered by Muslim rules.

Animal rights campaigner Gary Hazel claimed some of the methods used are “very cruel” and people should be able to make an informed choice.

Jewish and Muslim communities are exempt from a law that requires animals to be stunned before their throats are cut.

The RSPCA said that Muslim interpretations differ and sometimes the animals are stunned and sometimes they are not. [Bournemouth Echo] Read more

Opponents to Muslim headscarves get a powerful new ally: Vladimir Putin

President Vladimir Putin spoke out Thursday against the wearing of headscarves in Russian schools in his first public comment on a potentially explosive issue.

Putin’s statement follows a recent incident in Russia’s southern region of Stavropol during which a school principal forbade girls from Muslim families from wearing headscarves to class. Their parents protested and the principal said she was threatened.

Asked to comment on the issue, Putin clearly voiced his opposition to headscarves at schools, saying that Russia is a secular state and must create equal conditions for all its citizens. [Associated Press] Read more

Treating Islam with special reverence is cultural suicide and just plain wrong

My brilliant niece Freya was talking to my brother the other day about the religious education curriculum at her predominately white, middle-class state school in a pretty English cathedral city. She happened to mention ‘Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him.’ ‘Eh?’ said my brother. ‘It’s what we’re taught at school. After we mention “Mohammed” we have to say “Peace be upon him”.’

Now I know what you’re thinking: that Freya must surely have got the wrong end of the stick. ‘If this were a madrassa in Bradford, well maybe,’ you’ll be thinking. ‘But at a white, middle-class state school in a pretty English cathedral city? No way. Things aren’t that bad. At least not yet, anyway…’ [The Spectator] Read more

18 October 2012

Putin opposes the wearing of headscarves at school

President Vladimir Putin spoke out Thursday against the wearing of headscarves in Russian schools in his first public comment on a potentially explosive issue.

Putin's statement follows a recent incident in Russia's southern region of Stavropol during which a school principal forbade girls from Muslim families from wearing headscarves to class. Their parents protested and the principal said she was threatened.

Asked to comment on the issue, Putin clearly voiced his opposition to headscarves at schools, saying that Russia is a secular state and must create equal conditions for all its citizens. [Associated Press] Read more

Shariah’s Limits

.... “The Islamists dominate and they want not only an Islamic Egypt but a Caliphate,” Manal El-Tibi, a human rights activist, fumed to me. She quit the constituent assembly last month, convinced that a process that began with the quest for consensus has become hopelessly skewed. “I was in the kitchen and I saw all the dirty details.”

Her concerns, like those of many other women, center on what is now article 68 (previously article 36). This says, “The state shall take all measures to establish the equality of women and men in the areas of political, cultural, economic and social life, as well as all other areas, insofar as this does not conflict with the rulings of Islamic Shariah.”

The last clause amounts to saying, “We commit to equality between the sexes except when we don’t.” It should be dropped. [The New York Times] Read more

Court: Woman can wear headscarf at work

A young Berlin woman applied last summer for a traineeship to become a dental assistant. Despite being qualified and getting along with staff, she was told that she could not have the position unless she removed her headscarf, the Tagesspiegel newspaper said.

This was religious discrimination, the city's labour court ruled. A headscarf was not an “arbitrary piece of clothing” but an expression of her beliefs and wearing it was part of her right to religious freedom.

Refusing to employ because of her headscarf was in breach of the Equal Treatment Act, the judge said. [The Local] Read more

Turkish pianist on trial for insulting Islam

.... Fazil Say, who has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and others, is on trial for sending tweets that included one in April that joked about a call to prayer that lasted only 22 seconds.

Say tweeted: "Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?" Raki is a traditional alcoholic drink made with aniseed. Islam forbids alcohol and many Islamists consider the remarks unacceptable.

Prosecutors in June charged Say with inciting hatred and public enmity, and with insulting "religious values." He faces a maximum 18 months prison term, although any sentence is likely to be suspended. [Associated Press] Read more

17 October 2012

Saudi Textbooks Incite Hate, Say Leaders in American Publishing

Despite promises to reform their textbooks, the Saudi education system continues to indoctrinate children with hatred and incitement.

As current and former heads of major American publishing houses, we know the value of words. They inform actions and shape the world views of all, especially children. We are writing to express our profound disappointment that the Saudi government continues to print textbooks inciting hatred and violence against religious minorities.[The Daily Beast] Read more

Egyptian teacher 'cut hair of schoolgirls who refused to cover heads'

A teacher in southern Egypt punished two 12-year-old schoolgirls for not wearing the Muslim headscarf by cutting their hair, the father of one girl said on Wednesday.

The governor of Luxor province – where the incident occurred – called the teacher's actions shameful and said she had been transferred to another school.

But rights groups say that some Islamic conservatives have been emboldened by the success of groups like Muslim Brotherhood and the ultraconservative Salafi trend in parliamentary and presidential elections and have been increasingly brazen about forcing their standards on other Egyptians. [Associated Press] Read more

The church of San Francesco attacked in Karachi: the Franciscans in fear

The Catholic Church of St. Francis, the oldest of the archdiocese of Karachi, in the old town, was attacked by a mob of about 600 Islamic radicals that devasted the yard, but did not manage to break through the front door.

The two Franciscan monks who live there, Fr. Victor Mohan and Fr. Albert Jamil, OFM, and the sisters who work there "are afraid, they fear more attacks, but trust in the Providence of God," they tell Fides.

The episode, which has aroused indignation and concern throughout the Catholic community in Karachi, took place at 7 pm last Friday, October 12. [Agenzia Fides] Read more

16 October 2012

Religious freedom could lead to devil worship: Salafist leader

Several articles that had been agreed upon by the assembly, and others that had been suggested for inclusion, had been removed from the latest draft, Borhamy said via a statement on the Salafist Nour Party's Facebook page.

"We will not compromise on several of the removed articles," Borhamy said, especially those relating to rights and freedoms.

He added that rights and freedoms should only be protected under the constitution if they do not "violate society's norms." He did not elaborate on what those norms were.

He said some freedoms should be restricted to prevent other norms from being violated.

Borhamy further complained that freedom of religious belief, which was left unrestricted by the new draft, might lead to "devil worship or apostasy from Islam." [Ahram Online] Read more

Swiss makes Muslims cross over billboard ads

Alluding to its logo, taken from Switzerland’s national flag, the slogan says in German, “Kreuz ist Trumpf”, literally, the “cross is trumps”, or the “cross is a plus”.

The words are used in a billboard campaign, launched within the country last month, that highlights the white cross on the back of one of its planes.

Muslims in Switzerland have responded negatively to the advertising, which they believe promotes Christianity over other religions. [The Local] Read more

Muslim states won’t seek worldwide blasphemy ban despite insults to Islam – OIC head

Western opposition has made it impossible for Muslim states to obtain a ban on blasphemy, including anti-Islamic videos and cartoons that have touched off deadly riots, the Islamic world’s top diplomat said.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said his 57-nation body would not try again for United Nations support to ban insults to religion, but appealed for states to apply hate-speech laws concerning Islam.

“We could not convince them,” said the Turkish head of the 57-member organisation which had tried from 1998 until 2011 to get a United Nations-backed ban on blasphemy. “The European countries don’t vote with us, the United States doesn’t vote with us.” [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Mali: Girl in Timbuktu whipped for speaking to men

A teenaged girl received 60 lashes in Timbuktu after Islamist extremists convicted her of speaking to men on the street.

The girl, about 15 years old, was allegedly caught standing alongside men by the Islamists of Ansar Dine who now run Timbuktu. [AP] Read more

Taliban says its attack on Pakistani schoolgirl justified

.... Pakistanis have held some protests and candlelight vigils but most government officials have refrained from publicly criticizing the Taliban by name over the attack, in what critics say is a lack of resolve against extremism.

"We did not attack her for raising voice for education. We targeted her for opposing mujahideen and their war," said the Taliban. "Shariah (Islamic law) says that even a child can be killed if he is propagating against Islam." [Reuters] Read more

Lawyers retrained for Sharia-compliant wills

.... Despite the Qur'an manifestly permitting women to inherit, we are likely to see developments in certain households of Muslim women not being able to draw up their own wills independently, or Muslim daughters being prohibited 'by the community' from disputing their parents' wills which have bequeathed an entire estate to her brothers.

There are manifest gender and generational differences in Sharia inheritance which are antithetical to human rights and equality. And there are many more areas where the Islamic jurists and Quranic jurisprudence are 'in tension' with England's legal traditions and precedents, including issues of intestate, testamentary freedom, joint tenancy, superannuation benefits, etc., etc.

.... But here we are, brazenly retraining the solicitors of England and Wales in how they must comply with Sharia inheritance law. This is an insidious attempt to reverse centuries-old legal precedents which hitherto have applied to all citizens equaly. It should be resisted with the greatest possible vigour. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Fighting To Be Heard

I attended the launch of the Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow at the invitation of Raheel Raza, journalist, author, public speaker and activist. She founded MFT to amplify the moderate Muslim voice at a time when it’s in danger of being lost in the clamor of extremist rhetoric.

An energetic advocate of women’s rights and social reform, Raheel wants the group to be unconstrained by religion and open to all who share a vision of tolerance and diversity.

She sees it more as a movement than an organization, connecting and motivating people around the globe, holding conferences and workshops to educate and strengthen the progressive Muslim identity. Of particular concern to her is providing direction and support for Muslim youth. [expatlogue] Read more

15 October 2012

Europe’s Islamization: Brussels local election candidates all Muslims

As Belgium-based Armenian Samvel Avanesyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, one of the central districts of Brussels Sint-Jans-Molenbeek had only Muslim candidates.

The photos of the election campaign posters he took showed the true situation.

“Either Jalal, or Husein, or Muhammad will win the elections. That’s the true image of Europe’s future,” he said.

Avanesyan pointed to the district administration head Philippe Moreau as the only Belgian candidate, who long ago converted to Islam after marrying a Muslim woman. [PanARMENIAN] Read more

Cardinal causes uproar with "Muslim scare" video at Vatican

.... The clip, which has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube since it was uploaded by an anonymous user in 2009, combines dramatic music with skewed population statistics to make claims about various European countries such as "In just 39 years France will be an Islamic republic."

Critics have pointed out that the fertility figures used in the video, which claim French women have an average of 1.8 children while French Muslim women have 8.1 children, cannot be genuine as France does not collect statistics by religion. [Reuters] Read more

Canada immigration confusion: Multiple wife visa requests by Saudi men

The Canadian embassy in Saudi Arabia says it has found itself in an awkward situation after it was flooded by applications from Saudi men seeking visas to visit the western country along with more than a wife. The embassy says while polygamy is permitted in Saudi Arabia, it is a punishable crime in Canada.

“The Canadian embassy in Riyadh said it has sent a letter to its government asking for clarification regarding visa for Saudi men having more than a wife,” the Saudi Arabic language daily Sabq said on Monday. [Emirates247.com] Read more

Film on Muslim birthrates in Europe raises eyebrows at synod

On Saturday evening, a seven-minute YouTube video warning of the rise of Islam in Europe was shown to the bishops at the synod on the new evangelization.

“I think it would be fair to say that several in the room questioned the veracity of the facts followed by ‘who can this be attributed to?’ and ‘who actually wanted this film to be shown?’” Father Thomas Rosica, the English-language briefing officer for the synod, told journalists.

A cardinal in the Roman curia requested that the film be shown at the synod during Saturday night's free discussion period. [Catholic News Agency] Read more

Dear Muslim Protestors: Yes, Freedom Of Speech Does Mean That The Prophet Can Be Insulted

There was a protest outside Google‘s offices in London yesterday. The protest being about the presence of that film clip, The Innocence Of Muslims, on YouTube. The demonstration is really an example of the way in which some people just haven’t quite grasped the concept of free speech.

Organiser Masoud Alam said: “Our next protest will be at the offices of Google and YouTube across the world. We are looking to ban this film. “This is not freedom of expression, there is a limit for that. This insult of the Prophet will not be allowed.”

I’m afraid that Mr. Alam has not quite managed to grasp this essential concept of a free society. [Forbes.com] Read more

14 October 2012

Muslims protest 'age of mockery' as thousands descend on Google HQ

A protest by 10,000 Muslims outside the offices of Google in London today is just the first in an orchestrated attempt to force the company to remove an anti-Islamic film from website YouTube in Britain.

Thousands had travelled from as far afield as Glasgow to take part in the demonstration, ahead of a planned million-strong march in Hyde Park in coming weeks. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

13 October 2012

Iran Launching Massive Arrests Of Evangelicals

There is mounting concern about reported massive arrests of Christians in Iran.

Massive arrests of evangelical Protestant Christians, including many former Muslims, are reported in Iran, with men and women being dragged to prisons across the Islamic nation.

"We have learned that at least 100, but perhaps as many as 400 people, have been detained over the last 10 days," said Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the 'Church of Iran' house church movement. [BosNewsLife] Read more

12 October 2012

The terrifying world of child brides: Devastating images show girls young enough to be in pre-school who are married off to older men

At age 11, Ghulam was married off to 40-year-old Jaiz in a rural Afghan village, making her only one of more than 10 million young girls who are being forced to wed men old enough to be their fathers or grandfather every year.

In an effort to start a global conversation about the devastating effects of early marriages, which are currently practiced in more than 50 developing countries, the United Nations designated October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child this year.

To mark the occasion and draw attention to the problem of child brides, photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair teamed up with National Geographic to create a series of heart-breaking photos depicting girls as young as five years old being married off to middle-aged men in countries like India, Yemen and Ethiopia. [MailOnline] Read more

Aaro v Mehdi

.... The phenomenon of hugely emotional responses to stories with religious flavours is not restricted to Islam – think US televangelists, for example – although it is something which is a particular feature of some forms of Shi’ism. Mehdi isn’t pretending to be upset. He is genuinely expressing how he feels.

I’m a bit distrustful of religious fervor which is expressed in this manner. I’m inclined to mistrust the judgement of people for whom religion isn’t simply a set of moral and ethical lessons, passed from God through the ministries of righteous men and women: but an occasion for wildly emotional fervor. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Pakistani police register blasphemy case against Christian teen after mob ransacks his house

Pakistani police have opened a blasphemy case against a teenage Christian boy accused of sending derogatory text messages about Islam's prophet to neighbors in the southern city of Karachi, an official said Friday.

The 17-year-old is in hiding along with family members after neighbors angrily came to his house Wednesday to inquire about the text messages, said senior police officer Shahid Hayat. [Associated Press] Read more

11 October 2012

Islamic diplomacy triumphs over EU flagellants

.... among EU politicians, the joint declaration of September 21st has also attracted attention. Member of the European Parliament for the Danish People’s Party Morten Messerschmidt stated on the same day: “If the EU chooses to enter into such an agreement, then all EU citizens must rely upon a definition of freedom of expression that is as far away from Europe as one can get.”

It is worth remembering that when Denmark suffered the wrath of the Islamic world, there was no support to be had from the EU. Today the Muhammad cartoons crisis has become a part of the Danish cultural heritage, and it is therefore worth keeping an eye on how the 13 Danish politicians relate to the fact that the EU, also on behalf of Denmark, flagellates itself to suck up to the Islamic world. [Dispatch International] Read more

Scottish Islamic lobbying group faces closure

The Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF), which was launched by Alex Salmond and includes an SNP minister among its former directors, is in "pre-dissolution" and six months late in filing its annual accounts at Companies House.

All but one of its board members have resigned, and its phone line and website are offline.

Launched in July 2008, the group was intended to improve community relations, raise awareness of the Muslim faith and help its young leaders. [Hillingdon Times] Read more

10 October 2012

Newcastle United's Muslim players told wearing Wonga-sponsored shirts infringes Sharia law

The Muslim Council of Britain's (MCB) intervention is the latest batch of criticism the club has received since signing a four-year £24 million sponsorship deal with the short-term loan company on Tuesday that will also see the club's ground revert to its long-standing title of St James' Park.

.... Newcastle's starting eleven against Manchester United contained four practising Muslims, Demba Ba, Papiss Cissé, Cheick Tioté and Hatem Ben Arfa.

Under Sharia law, a Muslim is not allowed to benefit from lending or receiving money from someone, which means that earning interest is not allowed. Muslims comply by interest not being paid on Islamic savings, current accounts or Islamic mortgages. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Why a Global Blasphemy Law Is the Wrong Response to Islamaphobia

.... In 2011, the OIC did not put forward the annual "defamation of religions" resolution, and instead, both OIC member countries and Western countries, including the United States, replaced it with the vastly improved Resolution 16/18 entitled "Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief."

It focused on the rights of individuals to be free of intolerance and discrimination based on religion while calling upon states to take concrete steps to protect religious freedom, prohibit dissemination and hate crimes, and counter offensive expression through dialogue, education and public debate rather than criminalization of speech.

In response to the calls for concrete actions, member states launched the Istanbul Process, which focuses on how state can actually implement the recommendations in this resolution. One expert-level meetings already occurred, in 2011 in the United States, and the next one will be held in Dec. 2012 in the United Kingdom. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Taliban says it shot Pakistani teen for advocating girls’ rights

A 14-year-old Pakistani student who won international acclaim for speaking out for girls barred from school by the Taliban was critically wounded Tuesday by a gunman who boarded her school bus, asked for her by name, aimed his pistol at her head and fired, officials said.

The Pakistani Taliban asserted responsibility for the attack on ninth-grader Malala Yousafzai, who gained notice in early 2009 when she wrote a diary about Taliban atrocities under a pen name for the BBC’s Urdu service.

Yousafzai lives in Mingora, a city in the scenic northwestern Swat Valley, where Taliban insurgents imposed harsh Islamic law for two years before being routed by a major military operation in May 2009. [The Washington Post] Read more

09 October 2012

Prisoner escapes under a burka

Using a burka supplied by a visitor, a prisoner managed to escape from Nyborg State Prison in Funen on Saturday evening.

The inmate was visited by a man and a woman clad in a burka, a traditional Muslim garment that veils the face. At some point during the visit, the inmate put on the burka and calmly strolled out of the prison with the other man at around 18:30. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Germany: Co-ed Swimming Goes to Court

.... The presiding judge, Hans Rothaug, declared: "The applicant should have attended swimming lessons. In this particular case, there are no grounds for exemptions."

In its ruling, the court said the girl could wear the full-body swimsuit (also known as the "burkini"), which is already being used by several other Muslim girls at her school, and that this solution would be sufficient to guarantee her religious freedom.

Citing an earlier ruling by Germany's constitutional court, the court also stated that one of the objectives of the education system is to promote integration, and that the fundamental rights of the freedom of religion must be balanced with the rules established by the school. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Islamic extremist group in Cardiff tried to radicalise young Muslim

For months, an undercover reporter for the Week In Week Out programme has been meeting with a member of a group called Supporters of Tawheed.

A man called Rofi attempted to radicalise the undercover reporter by directing him to extremist websites and videos that preach hate.

He denied radicalising the reporter.

The reporter said: "Going undercover has opened my eyes to their world and how dangerous it could be.

"It's only when someone starts trying to radicalise you that you realise what it could lead to.

"And what really scares me is how they are influencing others with that hatred and disaffection." [BBC] Read more

07 October 2012

The mega mosque! Muslim place of worship with four times the capacity of St Paul's Cathedral planned for east London

Plans for a 10,000-capacity mega-mosque the size of Battersea Power Station have led to fears it could create a hardline Islamic enclave in the capital.

The east London mosque, earmarked for West Ham, near the Olympic Park, will hold four times as many worshippers as St Paul's Cathedral, have 40ft minarets, an Islamic library, sports facilities and eight flats for visiting clerics.

It has been described by the architects as a 'contemporary Islamic sacred space'.

But critics point to the fact it has been submitted by Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary movement once described as an 'ante-chamber of fundamentalism'. [MailOnline] Read more

Islamists shoot in air to disperse protest by Timbuktu women

More than 100 women marched against the imposition of strict Islamic law in the northern Malian town of Timbuktu on Saturday, but were dispersed by gunmen linked to al Qaeda firing shots in the air, witnesses said.

Islamists linked to al Qaeda's North African wing, AQIM, have been in control of the fabled desert town since April and have steadily imposed their interpretation of sharia law, banning music and forcing women to cover themselves with veils. [Reuters] Read more

The Muslim world awaits its Great Separation

.... what we are seeing in the cities of the West is what commentator Daniel Pipes calls the “separation of civilizations” — Muslim-only enclaves where Sharia laws pertaining to matrimony, education, economics and even calendar time hold sway.

This augurs ill for the future. The West has imported the conditions that allow for the emergence of the kind of religious conflict that Hobbes warned against in Leviathan.

The question, of course, is whether westerners will shed the illusions of multiculturalism and reject the Islamist effort to impose medieval religious laws antithetical to a modern liberal society. Unless they do, the result may well be what Hobbes most feared: a war of all against all. [Ottawa Citizen] Read more

Tunisians worry about loss of freedoms gained under the Arab Spring

.... critics claim Islamists are pressing many other women to conform to their views. On the streets of the capital, hijabs and the face-covering niqab are more common than just a year ago.

"I have no figures, I have no scientific studies," said Khadija Cherif, Tunis-based secretary-general of the International Federation of Human Rights. "But the assessment I make daily is that the vast majority of women are veiling because of pressure from their family or neighborhood or political manipulation."

In a separate campaign, rights advocates are pushing to scrap a clause in Tunisia's draft constitution that describes women as "complementary" but not equal to men. Jelassi views the two pieces of draft legislation, on blasphemy and on women's rights, as twin fronts in the same battle.

"There's a deliberate effort to roll back our gains," Jelassi said. "It's very worrying." [The Christian Century] Read more

06 October 2012

Debate on Islam and free speech at the Frontline Club

.... It is possible to agree that Muslims face bigotry on several fronts – from some sections of the media, via legislation in France and Switzerland, and of course through the hateful speech and in some cases intimidatory and even violent actions of extremists. No one on the panel disputed this.

But, when it comes to the issue of whether a religion, or religious figure, can be mocked, I’m with the barmaid, and with David Aaronovitch who observed: “We’re going to have to be a hell of a lot less bloody touchy, frankly” [Harry’s Place] Read more

Women in northern Mali hold protest against Islamist in charge of veil requirement

A resident says about 200 women have marched in protest in the Malian city of Timbuktu, where Islamists are requiring women to wear veils.

Mahi Toure said the Islamists fired shots into the air Saturday morning to disperse the women protesting against the man in charge of implementing veil requirements [Associated Press] Read more

Faith groups launch campaign to counter controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad

Jewish and Christian groups have unveiled three separate ad campaigns to counter what they claim is hateful speech toward Muslims contained within an advertisement posted at some New York City subway stations.

The new ads tout religious tolerance and offer support to the Muslim community.

"Help stop bigotry against our Muslim neighbors," reads one. "Support peace in word and deed," reads another. [CNN] Read more

05 October 2012

New Cause for Muslim Leaders: ‘Defamation’

Something serious happened at the United Nations this September, and it should be getting a lot more attention than it’s gotten. A string of Muslim heads of state rose before the General Assembly at its annual summit and demanded that America and the West substantially abridge their notions of freedom and human dignity.

What they’re calling for, in various forms, is an international treaty banning the “defamation” of particular religions or their sacred figures. In practice, they want Western nations to outlaw the publication or broadcast of ideas that Muslims would likely find insulting to Islam or its prophet. [Forward Association] Read more

Europe's fight over free speech flares up again

.... But not all agree with this in Europe, which has a history of curtailing speech the government deems offensive or disruptive. Governments here do not have constitutions that enshrine the rights of individuals to express themselves, and are looking for ways to legally prevent their citizens from criticizing Islam however crudely.

.... Unlike the United States, free speech is limited in Europe with numerous statutes that ban hate speech, blasphemy, Holocaust denial and even phrases deemed insults to bureaucrats and police officers. [USA TODAY] Read more

Sharia Law: Man Gets Seven Lashes In Indonesia For Playing Dominoes

These pictures show a man being given seven lashes in Indonesia after being found guilty of gambling, punishable by whipping under the region’s strict sharia.

Dozens of people turned up to watch the beating in the highly conservative country, which took place after Friday’s prayers, reported AP.

Four men were sentenced to the punishment after being found playing dominoes for money in a local cafe. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Sharia-Medicine: Egyptian Clinic Treats People with Camel Urine Per Prophet’s Advice

.... The greater lesson for non-Muslims is that, if Islam’s most prominent thinkers—the many ulema, muftis, sheikhs, and “Islamic thinkers” like Naggar himself—tenaciously cling to Islam’s teachings even when they defy objective science (not to mention grossly defame Islam), surely they must cling to those other ironclad teachings that deal with “subjective” matters, from freedom of religion and freedom of speech, to hostility, jihad, and subjugation for the infidel.

At one point in the debate, Qemany made this connection when he likened the mentality that would give sick people camel urine to drink, to the mentality that attacked U.S. embassies and killed people. In both cases, blind obedience and/or fanaticism is at work—and all to Muhammad’s words, which advocated drinking camel urine for health no less than they banned mockery of the prophet. [The Algemeiner] Read more

Egypt women face uncertain future as constitution draws near

.... The article causing a fury is Article 36 of the new Egyptian constitution (under the duties and freedom section) that states that both genders are equal, but there is a caveat, as long as Sharia law is not affected.

It reads, “The state is obliged to take all legislative and executive measures to entrench the principle of women’s equality with men in the fields of political, cultural life, economic, social and other areas without violating Islamic law (Sharia).”

Feminists have come out in anger, saying no two people can have an agreement on Sharia, making such a statement worrisome and threatening to gender equality. Pessimists in Egypt argue it is the natural product of a religious state in the making. [Women News Network] Read more

Can Islam handle rational criticism?

.... Western politicians and liberal journalists, who continually spout that Islam is a noble religion of peace, are in reality propagating a deception that they have been deceived into parroting.The impression is that the entire Quran promotes peace, love, equality and tolerance for all.

That is far from the truth. Most Muslims fully understand that the few Quranic verses that seemingly promote equality, peace and justice are more often than not overridden/ nullified by later verses that validate such things as terrorism and legalistic restrictions on routine human and women’s rights.

You must remember that the Koran has never undergone any changes unlike the Bible and other religions. It is claimed to be the word of god and can never be changed that is why the followers and preachers of Islam still have archaic 7th century views.

I just wish the media and the PC liberals would see the truth in Islam, it's a false totalitarian ideology. I always ask this question to the PC people; Go and live in a Muslim country where the government uses Islamic (Sharia law) and let me know how it went? Islam has a strong ideological dimension - it seeks to control all aspects of life, from politics to how you have sex with your wife. [News24] Read more

04 October 2012

Muslim Persecution of Christians: August, 2012

Categorized by theme, August's batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

The First Amendment vs. Multiculturalism

.... Outraged Arab Americans in Dearborn, Mich., demonstrated in favor of anti-blasphemy laws last week. They demanded an end to any expression that they find religiously offensive — and thereby proved to be embarrassingly clueless as to why many in their communities left their own homelands to come to America in the first place.

The new Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, recently lectured the U.S. on its decadence and wants a global ban on the caricaturing of Islam. He, too, forgot that he once fled to the United States to be educated and employed and to freely say things that would have gotten him killed in his native Egypt. [National Review Online] Read more

Islamist responsibility for ‘Muslim rage’

.... Whilst Haqqani is right to point out the issues of poor governance and development in Muslim majority countries, his article grossly over simplifies the long term impact of colonisation and the years of western support for authoritarian regimes on the progress on democracy and development.

His comments on the lack of socio-economic development similarly ignore the advances that has been made in many Muslim majority countries such as Malaysia and Turkey, as well as in the contributions of European and America Muslims minorities.

Moreover, his negative appraisal of ‘Islamists’ gives little respect to the Arab Spring and the potential progress that may emerge from newly elected leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and An-Nahda in Tunisia. [ENGAGE] Read more

Secularist students kicked out of Freshers’ Fayre for offending Muslims with pineapple labelled Mohammed

Students from the University of Reading Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Society (RAHS) were forced to leave the Freshers' Fayre this week after they labelled a pineapple "Mohammed" and put it on their stall.

Staff from the Reading University Student Union (RUSU), as well as a number of Muslim students objected and asked the society to remove it, with a statement from the society stating that they were told "Either the pineapple goes, or you do". [National Secular Society] Read more

Brother Tariq's Last Stand

.... Turkey under Mr. Erdogan has emerged as the world's top jailer of journalists. Mr. Ghannouchi, meanwhile, has declared that, for Islamist parties, democracy is merely a steppingstone toward "the long-term objective of establishing an Islamic government."

These developments don't concern Mr. Ramadan, who waves away the "empty controversies" dividing the region's Islamists and secular forces. He wants to keep the focus on evil Western governments and corporations, on Guantanamo and America's security apparatus, on an endless litany of Israeli crimes. Railing against these demons made him a media darling during the first decade of the war on terror. But, for good or ill, much of the region has moved on. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

Koran art exhibit pulled in France after near riot

.... on Tuesday evening, with no preventative measures in place, the video was projected onto the busy bridge and quickly attracted the attention of locals who gathered to try and stop people walking over the verses.

Tensions rose when the demonstrators called in young people from the city's housing projects to help them, and erected barriers to keep pedestrians away.

One young woman was slapped for putting her foot on a verse.

Police sent in a riot squad but the situation was peacefully resolved -- and the demonstrators dispersed -- after an imam appeared on the scene and called for calm. [The Local] Read more

Egypt’s hardline Islamist party unravels, pointing to fragility in political Islam

Internal feuds are threatening to unravel the political party of Egypt’s ultraconservative Islamist Salafis, as pragmatists try to shake off the control of hardline clerics who reject any compromise in their stark, puritanical version of Islam.

The fight for leadership could paralyze the Al-Nour Party, which rocketed out of nowhere to become Egypt’s second most powerful political force, behind the Muslim Brotherhood. Together, the Brotherhood and Al-Nour embodied the rise of Islamists to prominence after last year’s fall of Hosni Mubarak. [Associated Press] Read more

03 October 2012

The Reality of Anti-Blasphemy Laws

.... it's an even worse form of bullying to arrest children on trumped up charges of "blasphemy." Yet this is happening, time and again, in several Muslim-majority states. The latest examples from Egypt are only the most recent.

That's what the push for a global anti-blasphemy ban—which will not and must not succeed—is ultimately designed to do: rationalize such oppressive restrictions in those Muslim-majority states where they actually apply.

And, in practice, that means religious minorities, including children, will inevitably be subjected to grotesque abuses. If this isn't a wake-up call for everybody who thinks they are committed to freedom and democracy, I don't know what will be. [The Daily Beast] Read more

Egypt Christian boys, 9 and 10, taken from parents, arrested after accused of desecrating Qur’an

Two Egyptian Christian children, Nabil Rizk, 10, and Mina al-Farag, 9, have been taken from their parents and arrested after a Muslim man accused the two youngsters of desecrating the holy Qur’an in a small village in Bani Sweif in the Nile Delta region.

They will face the public prosecutor on Sunday as the investigation begins.

According to reports, confirmed by local media, both secular and religious, the children are now facing an investigation for allegedly urinating on the holy book and putting it next to a mosque, al-Shorouk newspaper reported. [Bikya Masr] Read more

The lunacy of Islam #14,998 (or thereabouts): Halal cat food

BURIED in a report that Defra – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – has granted £366,000 to an Islamic meat company in Norfolk is a reference to the recent opening of the Halal Pet Products Company, a misleading title as it only produces nosh for felines.

This called for immediate investigation, and sure ’nuff, the company has a website where an explanation is given for the need for Halal fare for Muslim-owned pussies. [The Freethinker] Read more

Posting on Calgary Muslim website suggested ‘lightly hitting’ disobedient wives

Members of a Calgary Muslim association appear to have removed marital advice from a website that suggested “lightly hitting” one’s wife in “extreme cases of disobedience” after a query about the content was made by Metro.

The posting dated Sept. 29 on muslimsofcalgary.ca appears to be an English-translated summary of two books written in Arabic by Sheikh Mohammed Abdelhaleem Hamed, titled “How to Make Your Husband Happy” and “How to Make Your Wife Happy.”

Other websites that have published the translation suggested a University of Alberta students’ association created it in the late 1990s; however, members of that group had not been reached at press time. [Metro Toronto] Read more

The Folly of Appeasement

.... During a debate, the representatives of the U.K. pointed out that during World War II, Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" had not been banned, and said that Britain "would maintain and fight for its conception of liberty as resolutely as it had fought against Hitler."

Despite their principled stand, the liberal democracies ultimately lost the fight and have since implemented some of the restrictions on speech they once opposed.

If leaders of liberal democracies now don't even want to put up a fight, what are the odds that they will win the battle this time? Before giving in entirely, as Ms. Ashton appears to have done, they might first consider the cost of defeat. [THE WALL STREET JOURNAl] Read more

Two Coptic children arrested in Egypt for 'insulting Islam'

Two Coptic Christian children Nabil Nagy Rizk, 10, and Mina Nady Farag, 9, were arrested, Tuesday, for insulting religion in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Beni Suef, after the imam of their local mosque filed a complaint against them.

By order of the prosecution the two boys are now being held in the Beni Suef juvenile detention pending further investigation on Sunday. Ibrahim Mohamed Ali, the village imam, accused the children of tearing up pages of the Quran. [Ahram Online] Read more

02 October 2012

Denmark still largely in support of ‘blasphemy’ law

.... Speaking about the report, religious expert Tim Jensen from the University of Southern Denmark said, “Danes may see the blasphemy law as helping integration because it promotes the acceptance of a multicultural and multi-faith society.

But it can also be problematic if it reflects a belief that the feelings of religious people have a special status and require special protection,” the Berlingske news agency reports. [IceNews] Read more

01 October 2012

No females allowed! IKEA under fire for deleting pictures of women from its Saudi catalogue

Ikea has apologised for airbrushing women out of the Saudi version of its furniture magazine - which was previously identical across the world.

The Swedish manufacturer said today that it regrets the decision to delete all woman and most girls from the Saudi printed edition and website, after questions were raised over the company's commitments to gender equality.

A comparison of the Saudi version alongside its other catalogue shows exactly the same photographs of interiors and products - but with all women erased. [MailOnline] Read more

Sweden: Mosque to Blast Prayer Calls from Minaret

.... The issue was put to a vote after Ismail Okur, the chairman of the Botkyrka Islamic Association (Islamiska föreningen i Botkyrka), filed a petition with the city in January demanding permission to allow public prayer calls at the mosque.

In an interview with the Swedish newspaper Dagen, Okur said earlier generations of Muslim immigrants "did not dare" to press the issue, but that he represents the "new guys" who are determined to "exercise their right to religious freedom" in Sweden.

Okur said: "We have lived our whole lives in Sweden. We have paid taxes. We have been exemplary citizens. We have given a lot to Sweden. Now we want to get a little back. Now we want to have religious freedom." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

On what, exactly, do Baroness Warsi and her British government colleagues intend to “cooperate” with the OIC

.... So the question which naturally arises is on what, exactly, do Baroness Warsi and her British government colleagues intend to “cooperate” with the OIC? What “mutual goals” does the UK government think it has with an organization which seeks to limit universal human rights, curb freedom of expression, and establish its headquarters in the capital city of a UN member sovereign country?

The trouble with this kind of diplomacy is that it only works when both sides share the same perceptions of its intent. Otherwise, in a part of the world where “speak softly” is usually interpreted as a sign of weakness, it can be seen as acquiescence to the kind of agenda one would expect the British government to reject rather than encourage. [The Commentator] Read more

Ikea deleted women from Saudi version of catalogue

Ikea is being criticized for deleting images of women from the Saudi version of its furniture catalogue, a move the company says it regrets.

Comparing the Swedish and Saudi versions of the catalogue, free newspaper Metro on Monday showed that women had been airbrushed out of otherwise identical pictures showcasing the company's home furnishings.

The report raised questions in Sweden about Ikea's commitment to gender equality, and the company released a statement expressing "regret" over the issue. [Associated Press] Read more