31 December 2013

France: The Looming Battle over Muslim Integration

.... "Immigration used to go hand-in-hand with integration into French culture. That was the rule of the game. Many of the new arrivals no longer want to play by that rule.

If the immigrants are in the majority in their neighborhoods, how can we integrate them? … Many Muslims in Europe are re-Islamizing themselves. … The left does not want to accept that there is a clash of civilizations."

Finkielkraut sums it up: "I am of the opinion that our generation's task is not to recreate the world, but to prevent its decline. … I become sad and feel a growing sense of anxiety. Optimism would seem a bit ridiculous these days. I wish the politicians were able to speak the truth and look reality in the face. Then, I believe, France would be capable of a true awakening—of contemplating a policy of civilization." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

30 December 2013

The Islamization of Britain in 2013

The Muslim population of Britain topped 3.3 million by the end of 2013 to become around 5.2% of the overall population of 63 million, according to figures extrapolated from a recent study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe.

At the same time, opinion surveys consistently show that voters in Britain view Islam and the question of Muslim immigration as a top-ranked public concern. The British public, it seems, is increasingly worried about the establishment of a parallel Muslim society there.

But government efforts to push back against the Islamization of Britain have been halting and half-hearted.

[A COMMENT] In 1997 six% of schoolchildren were Muslim. Now it's 13%. The Muslim population is growing at a 15% pace. By 2030 it will be a third of the total population. It will dominate the major cities. It may well be in power. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Sharp increase in anti-Muslim crimes in the Thames Valley Police area

Thames Valley Police recorded 39 of the hate crimes from January to mid-November this year in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, compared with 20 in 2012 and 31 in 2011.

The force also recorded 75 anti-Muslim incidents this year, compared with 46 in 2012 and 63 in 2011. [Witney Gazette] Read more

You can't parody Islam, says Palin: Monty Python star believes religious sensitivities have increased so much it would be impossible to make Life of Brian today

He said: ‘Religion is more difficult to talk about. I don’t think we could do Life of Brian any more. A parody of Islam would be even harder.

‘We all saw what happened to Salman Rushdie and none of us want to get into all that. It’s a pity but that’s the way it is. There are people out there without a sense of humour and they’re heavily armed.’

In 1989, Mr Rushdie was forced into hiding after the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa calling for him to be killed in revenge for his novel The Satanic Verses. [Daily Mail] Read more

29 December 2013

Is Islam A Religion of Peace?

The near-three-year-old civil war in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people. It has also caused a refugee crisis, resulting in the displacement of millions of people.

For many, the conflict appears like a religious war between the Sunnis and the Alawites, who are an offshoot of Shia Islam. Almost all Sunni countries support Sunni-dominated rebels, while Shiite-led nations and groups such as Iran, Iraq, and Hizbollah support and aid the Allawite regime of President Bashar al-Assad. [Rudaw] Read more

Daily Mail lifts veil of secrecy judge threw over trial of two Muslim lawyers on trial for perverting the course of justice 'for cultural reasons'

A judge allowed two Muslim solicitors accused of trying to cheat the legal system to hide behind a cloak of secrecy for ‘cultural reasons’, the Daily Mail can disclose.

He banned reporting of the case of Asha Khan, 30, and her brother Kashif, 34, to prevent them allegedly being shamed in the eyes of their community.

In the latest farce involving secret justice, the pair were told they could enjoy the court’s protection because members of their family would pass judgment if the case was reported. [Daily Mail] Read more

28 December 2013

Richard Dawkins’ Hate Mail

.... RH: You have turned your attention to Islam recently. Why is that?

RD: I think my love of truth and honesty forces me to notice that the liberal intelligentsia of Western countries is betraying itself where Islam is concerned. It's stymied by the conflict between being against misogyny and discrimination against women on the one hand, and on the other by the terror of being thought racist—driven by misunderstanding Islam as though it were a race. So people who would normally speak out against the maltreatment of women don't do it. I do fret about what I see as a betrayal by my own people, the nice liberals. [Slate] Read more

27 December 2013

UK anti-Muslim hate crime soars, police figures show

.... Hundreds of anti-Muslim offences were carried out across the country in 2013, with Britain's biggest force, the Metropolitan police, recording 500 Islamophobic crimes.

Many forces reported a surge in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamic extremists in Woolwich, south-east London, in May.

But the figures could be much higher as nearly half of the 43 forces in England and Wales did not reveal how many hate crimes had targeted Muslims. Some forces admitted they did not always record the faith of a religious hate-crime victim. [The Guardian] Read more

PIA pilot goes on leave after being accused of blasphemy

A senior pilot of Pakistan's state-run airlines has gone on leave after he being accused of blasphemy for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed.

This is the first incident of its kind in the history of the Pakistan International Airlines.

Officials said today that the president of the PIA employees association, Hidayatullah Khan, complained to the airline's chairman that the senior pilot used derogatory words about a 'kalma' or Islamic declaration of faith and the Prophet in the presence of many colleagues. [dna] Read more

Paris mosque sparks fury over separation of sexes

Female worshipers at the Great Mosque of Paris, the oldest and most prestigious in the country, are demanding the right to pray alongside men following the mosque’s decision to separate the sexes.

After a ruling earlier this month, women must pray in a separate room located underneath the main prayer hall.

The decision has sparked uproar among members of France’s Muslim community, French television TF1 reported this week.

.... Until then, women had prayed in the main communal prayer room behind a curtain that separated them from the men, according to Muslim tradition, TF1 reported.

“To give them more comfort, we have granted women a large room – not in the basement, but in the mezzanine. All the women are satisfied. Of course they can’t see the imam, but they couldn’t before either, because they were behind a curtain,” a spokesman for the mosque told Le Figaro. [The Local] Read more

Human rights are under attack in post-tsunami Indonesia

Here’s a seasonal snapshot from Indonesia’s Aceh province: on 20 December, dozens of militant Islamists rallied outside one of the largest hotels in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, threatening violence if the hotel management attempted to organise Christmas or New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The protest was to support an edict from the province’s leading Islamic cleric’s organization, the Consultative Ulama Council, prohibiting Muslims from any recognition of the Christmas season.

.... discriminatory laws have become increasingly common across Indonesia. An August 2013 update by Indonesia's official Commission on Violence against Women reported that the national and local governments have passed 342 discriminatory regulations since 1999, including 79 local bylaws requiring women to wear the hijab, backed by various sanctions.

[A COMMENT] I understand that Indonesian Islam used to be pretty mellow, befitting its tropical locale. Thank Wahhabist madrassas, imported from Saudi Arabia over the past several decades, for turning it into such an instrument of oppression. [Guardian Cif] Read more

26 December 2013

Saudi activist faces new execution threat

An online activist in Saudi Arabia whose views angered religious conservatives is threatened with apostasy charges that could result in his execution, CNN reports.

Raif Badawi, former editor of the "Saudi Arabian Liberals" website, is already serving a seven-year jail sentence but a judge has now recommended that he be tried for apostasy, according to his wife.

Badawi has been imprisoned since June 2012, having been initially detained on charges that included "setting up a website that undermines general security" and ridiculing Islamic religious figures. [www.al-bab.com] Read more

Saudi activist could be executed for alleged apostasy

A Saudi judge has recommended that a liberal activist be tried in a higher court for apostasy, a charge that could carry the death penalty, rights campaigners said Thursday.

A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom sentenced Raef Badawi in July to seven years in jail and 600 lashes for setting up a "liberal" network and for allegedly insulting Islam.

On Wednesday, a judge remanded Badawi to the General Court on charges of apostasy, rights lawyer Waleed Abulkhair told [AFP] Read more

Saudi blogger recommended for apostasy trial

A judge in Saudi Arabia has recommended that imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi go before a high court on a charge of apostasy, which would carry the death penalty upon conviction, according to Badawi's wife.

Ensaf Haidar initially told CNN on Wednesday that her husband had been sentenced to death. She later clarified to CNN that a judge has recommended he be tried for denouncing Islam, or apostasy. Apostasy carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty International. [CNN] Read more

24 December 2013

Muslim leaders slam M&S over 'ridiculous' till policy: Influential figures say workers' veto 'beggars belief' as store apologises over affair

Influential Muslims have lined up to criticise Marks & Spencer for letting checkout staff refuse to serve shoppers buying alcohol or pork.

They described the workers’ veto as ridiculous and said it was ‘a policy that beggars belief’.

The incredulity among Islamic observers came as M&S chiefs issued an apology over the affair, in which shoppers at a London store were told to find another till when they tried to buy wine from a Muslim member of staff. [Daily Mail] Read more

23 December 2013

Beware of Islamism with a liberal veneer

.... A thoroughly reactionary, sexist, practice was justified on the basis of rights – specifically the right of Islamist speakers and Muslim women to have segregated seating. This demand is thought reasonable because of the importance afforded to religious beliefs – non-religious beliefs are not granted this privilege.

.... Whilst recognising that Islamists in Muslim-majority countries – from the Wahabbi House of Saud to Sunni Pakistan to Shia Iran – are contemptuous of liberal, democratic, values, many Islamists in the west now realise that this rejectionist approach is counterproductive to their cause. Hence they are skilfully resorting to arguments coated with liberalism.

It is, therefore, imperative that those concerned by the corrosive values of Islamism: gender segregation, attack on freedom of expression, and veiling are only three instances – should see through this liberal veneer to reveal the reactionary agenda underneath and to put up robust opposition to their demands. [openDemocracy] Read more

France to maintain a headscarf ban despite legal advice

France decided on Monday to maintain a ban on Muslim headscarves for volunteer school monitors despite a warning that it overstepped the law requiring religious neutrality in the public service.

The Council of State, which advises the government on disputed administrative issues, said in a 32-page analysis that this neutrality did not apply to mothers who help escort schoolchildren on outings such as museum visits.

Education Minister Vincent Peillon promptly announced the ban would continue because the Council's opinion also said that schools could impose internal rules against religious wear. [Reuters] Read more

Anti-Fascists Caught Looking the Wrong Way?

.... What is especially a striking is that, as this video shows, among those young "Muslim youths" allegedly "protecting their community" was one of the people convicted this week -- Michael Adebolajo. He can be seen in the video standing on a soap box, addressing the crowd with words that seem not remotely intimidated and certainly very far from being anti-fascist.

It begins with the usual cries of "Takbir" [A call to prayer and a call to the defense of Islam] and '"Allahu Akbar" [Allah is Greater]. And then Adebolajo begins his address:

"My Brothers remain in your ranks and do not be scared of these filthy Kuffar [non-believers in Islam]. They are pigs. Allah says they are worse than cattle. Do not be scared of them. Do not turn your back to them. Our messenger Mohammed fought way worse than them."

"Do not be scared of them, do not be scared of the police or the cameras. You are here only to please Allah. You are not here for any other reason. If you are here just for a fight, leave our ranks. We only want those who are sincere to Allah. Purify your intention." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

M&S apology over Muslim alcohol refusal

Marks & Spencer has apologised after a Muslim member of staff refused to serve a customer trying to buy alcohol.

The retailer said it usually tried to assign "suitable roles" to staff who could not handle certain items because of their religious beliefs.

[A COMMENT] .... this isn't about 'Muslim bashing' as you so call it. This about someone who refuses to carry out a basic requirement of her job, but blames it on her religious beliefs. She should get another job....

[ANOTHER COMMENT] This latest piece of positive discrimination just about sums up where we are in the UK. It's going to take one incident like this for there to be all out rioting across the country. MPs may be blind to it, but the overwhelming majority of people in this country are absolutely sick to death of pandering to the needs of a very vocal, militant minority. WE'VE HAD ENOUGH. Editor's note: This was the 5th highest recommended comment among 944 comments] [BBC] Read more

22 December 2013

Persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a crime against humanity

.... The venerable churches of Mesopotamia, ancient even in the days of patriarch Timothy, have suffered a terrible reaping. Since 2003, so it has been estimated by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), almost a million Christians have left Iraq.

Those few that remain face an ongoing martyrdom. The warning given in 2010 by an al-Qaida front group, that "the doors of destruction and rivers of blood will be opened upon them", threatens to become all too real. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Lee Rigby murder: Why do some Muslims choose politics and others violence?

.... we need reliable facts on how Wahhabism – Dark-Age Islam, funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States – has infiltrated Britain, especially in educational and religious institutions.

Imagine China trying to disseminate Maoism in the UK, in a veiled, but planned and systemic way. There would, quite rightly, be an uproar. But because of oil dependency, Saudi Arabia et al are free to do just that and are protected by our cowardly state.

Unless there is a serious, concerted effort to tackle these three evils, there will for sure be more savagery. Politicians and the media still don’t get it and don’t want to.

[A COMMENT] Unlike any other religion, Islam also claims to be a political system; a way for ordering one's life (and everybody else's) in a frankly medieval and wholly totalitarian manner.

There is no room for human rights as the world now understands them, no room for equality, no room for democracy. Any believer who fails to advance this discredited political agenda is in all honesty probably not a "good Muslim", whatever that is. [The Independent] Read more

M&S faces furious backlash from customers over Muslim policy

.... Meanwhile, Heather Playdon posted on M&S's official Facebook page: “I shan't be shopping in M&S anymore. The quintessentially British retailer bows down to Muslim beliefs. And in turn alienates the majority of Christian and non-religious customers. Outrageous.”

Another customer using the name Mike Hubby Coneman Pearce posted: “PC gone mad! WHAT?! I don’t get it you walk into a shop, you want some bacon, you get served by someone who is a vegetarian do they then get the right to refuse to sell you meat? NO”

And Tony Frost posted: “I hope the halfwits behind this insulting idea are ashamed. I will never shop in your stores again & will be spreading the word in the hope you lose maximum customers.” [The Telegraph] Read more

Marks & Spencer apologises after saying Muslim staff may refuse to serve customers pork and alcohol

a spokesperson for M&S last night said: "Where we have an employee whose religious beliefs restrict food or drink they can handle, we work closely with our member of staff to place them in suitable role, such as in our clothing department or bakery in foods.

"As a secular business we have an inclusive policy that welcomes all religious beliefs, whether across our customer or employee base... We apologise that this policy was not followed in the case reported."

The issue arose after an unnamed customer told the Telegraph they were “taken aback” when “I had one bottle of champagne, and the lady, who was wearing a headscarf, was very apologetic but said she could not serve me”.

It has highlighted a split amongst the major supermarkets, between those who will and those who will not excuse staff from certain tasks for religious reasons. [The Independent] Read more

M&S tells Muslim staff they CAN refuse to serve customers buying alcohol or pork

Marks & Spencer has told Muslim staff they can refuse to serve shoppers buying alcohol or pork, it has been revealed.

The chain has granted checkout workers in more than 700 stores permission to politely decline to serve customers for religious reasons.

Instead, shoppers are being asked to wait to pay for certain items at a different till. [Daily Mail] Read more

Muslim Marks And Spencer Staff Told They Can Refuse To Serve Alcohol And Pork Products

Muslim checkout staff at Marks and Spencer have been told they can refuse to serve customers alcohol and pork products.

The directive from company bosses means people wishing to buy these items will have to wait for an alternative till to become available, the Telegraph reported.

In contrast, staff at Sainsbury's have been told there are no religious grounds for not handling pork and alcohol products, highlighting a split among major food retailers. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

21 December 2013

Muslim staff at Marks & Spencer can refuse to sell alcohol and pork

.... Asda said it would not deploy Muslims on tills who objected to handling alcohol, while Morrisons, which is based in Bradford where there is a large Muslim community, said it had widespread experience of dealing with the issue and would “respect and work around anyone’s wishes not to handle specific products for religious or cultural reasons”.

At M&S, Muslim staff who do not wish to handle alcohol or pork have been told they can politely request that customers choose another till at which to pay.

[A COMMENT] "At M&S, Muslim staff who do not wish to handle alcohol or pork have been told they can politely request that customers choose another till at which to pay." Maybe the Muslim staff involved should be politely asked to look for another job, preferably with a Muslim employer. This is simply unbelievable.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] If you are refused to be served by a cashier in M&S because you have alcohol or Pork just walk out and leave the trolly load of food for them to sort out they will soon get the message.

[AND ANOTHER] Here in Morocco, supermarket staff, almost all of whom are Muslims, sell alcohol and pork products. As they are packaged so they don't come into direct contact with the product, they have no problem handling them. They would never think of embarrassing a customer simply because they do not eat or drink the product being purchased. [The Telegraph] Read more

20 December 2013

Update on the LSE Atheist, Secular and Humanist Society

Although it is positive that the LSE Atheist, Secular and Humanist Society has received an apology from Professor Craig Calhoun, the Director of the LSE, they correctly point out several unsatisfactory elements in his letter. (This does not seem to be in the public domain.)

.... We are disappointed by Professor Calhoun’s admission that there was no “audit trail of the number and substance of complaints received”. We believe that such flippancy does not behove the LSE’s commitment to freedom of expression, and hope that the LSE will reform its procedures to better reflect this commitment.

In light of the LSE’s inability to produce any evidence of complaints, we continue to believe that there were, in fact, none, and to suspect that our real crime was to offend the politics of the officials concerned, not the sensibilities of our fellow students. [Harry’s Place] Read more

LSE apologises to students asked to cover Jesus and Muhammad T-shirts

The London School of Economics (LSE) has apologised to two students who were forced to cover up T-shirts depicting a cartoon of Jesus and the prophet Muhammad.

Christian Moos and Abhishek Phadnis were representing the students' union Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (ASH) at the university's freshers fair in October, when they were told that displaying a depiction of Muhammad, prohibited under Islamic law, may constitute harassment of a religious group.

After security staff threatened them with expulsion from the fair, the two students agreed to cover up the T-shirts. [The Guardian] Read more

Retail park owners dismiss claims it will be run by Sharia law

THE new owners of a Kidderminster retail park have dismissed “rumours” they would run the shops according to Islamic law.

Bosses of 90 North Real Estate Partners, which has taken over Crossley Retail Park, said claims the park would be subject to Sharia law were “inaccurate”.

Fears were raised that levies would be imposed on the sale of pork, gambling and alcohol – prohibited under Sharia law – after the investment advisory firm, which specialises in Sharia-compliant real estate, acquired the park from Chester Properties earlier this month. [Halesowen News] Read more

European research on religious “fundamentalism” criticised

.... Two-thirds of Muslims interviewed about their attitudes towards religion said religious rules were more important to them than state laws, according to the report from the WZB social science centre.

The survey also showed more than half of Muslim respondents believed the West was “out to destroy Islam”.

.... Nine thousand people were interviewed in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Sweden. However, the Muslim respondents were drawn only from Moroccan and Turkish communities.

This choice of sample reflected the strong presence of these groups in those countries. But Europe’s Muslim community is much broader based, including people with origins in the Middle East, South-east Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Maghrebin and African countries. [The National] Read more

Mohammad most popular name for Glasgow babies in 2013

.... Glasgow follows London where the combined spellings of the name Mohammad have been the most popular in the city for the past three years.

Many other European cities have recorded Mohammad as the most common boys name in recent years, particularly in France and Belgium and as the most popular Islamic forename it is estimated to be the most common given name in the world.

[A COMMENT] If the people of this country cannot see what is happening and are too stupid to have a knowledge of the history of the spread of islam then we will lose this country and deserve to lose it! [HeraldScotland] Read more

19 December 2013

TV show on Taslima's writings scrapped after Muslim protests

.... The serial ran into trouble when Syed Mohammad Noorur Rahman Barkati, the Shahi Imam (custodian) of the Tipu Sultan mosque in Kolkata, raised objections about the programme.

"I spoke to CM Mamata Banerjee and told her that such a show will stir communal disturbances. Mamata also assured me that the state government would not allow anything that would disturb the communal fabric of Bengal," Barkati said, adding that banners of the show put up in Kolkata were pulled down.

"The CM has given instruction to state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim to take necessary action," said the Imam, who issued a fatwa against the exiled author in 2007. [Daily Mail] Read more

Muslim protest stalls Taslima Nasreen serial

The planned launch of an Indian television serial scripted by a Bangladeshi-feminist author living in exile has been scrapped after several Muslim groups demanded that her writings be banned.

Dussahobas (Miserable Life Together), a Bengali serial written by Taslima Nasreen, was to go on air on Thursday, but the TV channel behind the programme was forced to defer its plan after local police said the serial could stir unrest.

“In her writings, she routinely seeks to ridicule Islam and vilify our revered Prophet Mohammed. In this serial, she might come up with something to show Islam in bad light again,” Syed Mohammad Noorur Rahman Barkati, the Shahi Imam (custodian) of the Tipu Sultan mosque in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, told Al Jazeera. [Al Jazeera English] Read more

Swedish parliament removes Baroque artist's bare breasted painting for offending feminists and Muslims

A nude painting named Juno, which was painted by baroque artist G E Schröder and has hung in the dining room of the Swedish Parliament for 30 years has been taken down for fear of offending the sensitivities of feminists and Muslim visitors, Swedish newspaper, The Local reported on Thursday.

Explaining the ban on the baroque breasts, a source from the parliament said: "You have to think of the foreign guests, especially those from Muslim countries."

The deputy speaker of Sweden's parliament, Susanne Eberstein, also a prominent Social Democrat, added:

"I think it is more a feminist issue. It's tiresome (looking at) a bare-breasted woman when I sit at public dinners with foreign guests. I think it feels a little hard to sit there with men who look at us women." [The Commentator] Read more

Black Britons confront 'radical Islam'

.... Islam is quickly emerging as the religion of choice for young black people, many raised as Christians, in the UK. About 270,000 people in England and Wales (14.5 percent of the black population), identified themselves as black Muslims in the 2011 census, compared with just 106,000 (nine percent) a decade earlier.

But that trend has become a cause for concern among some community leaders who see the embrace of Islam as partly symptomatic of a widespread rejection of a society, in which many black people continue to experience discrimination and marginalisation on a daily basis, and in which young black men are being criminalised and jailed in ever greater numbers. [Al Jazeera English] Read more

Prince Charles confronts Baroness Warsi over 'Political Islam'

While the Government's Minister for Faith and Communities Baroness Warsi insists that the persecution and eradication of Christians in the Middle East has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, the Prince of Wales has exposed the lie.

While the Noble Baroness asserts quite vehemently that such persecution is "mostly the work of extremists who do not follow any faith", Prince Charles tells it like it is: he terms them (somewhat tautologically) "fundamentalist Islamist militants".

Certainly, the Islamist may not be the Baroness's preferred sort of Muslim expressing her preferred interpretation of Islam, but the Prince of Wales does not sweep the matter under the carpet, as the Baroness prefers to do, by seeking to divorce the systematic 'cleansing' of Christians in the Middle East from the virulent strain of Islamic theology which inspires and feeds it. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

18 December 2013

Christians persecuted by Islamists, says Prince Charles

Christians in parts of the Middle East are being deliberately targeted by Islamist militants in a campaign of persecution, Prince Charles has said.

The Prince of Wales made his comments after visiting the British branches of churches based in the region.

The prince heard accounts of Christians being murdered and families forced from their homes.

The upheavals of the Arab Spring have left many religious minorities vulnerable to accusation and attack. [BBC] Read more

17 December 2013

Dansk Folkeparti wants to end Muslim immigration

Dansk Folkeparti (DF) will vote against the bi-annual citizenship law that will grant Danish citizenship to around 1,600 individuals later this week because the list contains the names of too many Muslim immigrants.

Only parliament can confer citizenship through law, which is done twice a year, but DF does not want to confer citizenship to the the 422 Iraqis and Afghanis who have otherwise fulfilled all the necessary requirements.

DF argues that Denmark risks being taken over by Muslims and that the soon-to-be Danes ought to instead go home and build up their respective countries. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Christianity beginning 'to disappear' in its birthplace, warns Prince of Wales

Christianity is beginning “to disappear” in its own birthplace after 2,000 years because of a wave of “organised persecution” across the Middle East, the Prince of Wales has warned.

In an impassioned intervention, he said that the world is in danger of losing something “irreplaceably precious” with communities tracing their history back to the time of Jesus now under threat from fundamentalist Islamist militants. [The Telegraph] Read more

16 December 2013

Europe: Islamic Fundamentalism is Widespread

The majority of Muslims in Europe believe Islamic Sharia law should take precedence over the secular constitutions and laws of their European host countries, according to a new study, which warns that Islamic fundamentalism is widespread and rising sharply in Western Europe.

The "Six Country Immigrant Integration Comparative Survey"—a five-year study of Moroccan and Turkish immigrants in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland and Sweden—was published on December 11 by the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, one of the largest social science research institutes in Europe.

According to the study which was funded by the German government, two thirds (65%) of the Muslims interviewed say Islamic Sharia law is more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Anjem Choudary warns Muslim restaurateurs they face being flogged if they sell booze at Brick Lane rally

Firebrand preacher Anjem Choudary today defended leading dozens of Muslim protesters on a march through east London demanding businesses stop selling alcohol, warning: “This is just the beginning.”

The group circulated leaflets in the Brick Lane area warning restaurants and off licence owners selling alcohol they face 40 lashes under Sharia law.

Around 60 men and women dressed in burqas handed the letters to Muslim-owned businesses. [Evening Standard] Read more

Gender segregation in our universities is not a black and white issue

.... There are many situations in which gender segregation is justifiable, but where racial segregation would cause outrage. Furthermore, many of these apply to universities, including the provision of student accommodation, sporting activities and, of course, toilets and washrooms. Then there’s Cambridge University, which still has a few all-women colleges. Should all of those be forcibly integrated?

.... It would be better to focus on the hard and fast lines that we can draw – between what is legal and illegal and what is voluntary and involuntary. That doesn’t mean that we have to like everything that falls within the rules. After all, that’s what tolerance is – putting up with what you don’t like.

[A COMMENT] We are not talking about private meetings in a private space. We are talking about public, open, meetings in a public space (tax payer funded). If 99% of the audience wish to voluntarily segregate themselves Ok by me, but if my wife and I turned up we would expect, and would, sit together. Incidentally, this policy almost certainly violates the provisions of the Charters of the universities involved. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Female students banned from speaking at Islam seminar .... at leading London university

Female students were banned from speaking at a 'degrading' university seminar at a top London university, it has emerged.

Women attending the class at Queen Mary University were also forced to walk through a 'sisters only' entrance before taking their seats at the event which was held by the university's Islamic society.

The event last month forced female attendees to write down their questions for Ustadh Abu Abdillah, while male students raised their hands to be addressed by the speaker.

One woman who was present at the event titled Deception of the Dunya described the experience as 'degrading'. [Daily Mail] Read more

Seven Years Jail for a Facebook Post: Tunisia's Not-So-Social Media

.... It's these laws that blogger Jabeur Mejri fell foul of when he published a picture of the Prophet Muhammad on Facebook.

Instead of allowing Jabeur to freely express his opinion, the Tunisian authorities sentenced him to seven and a half years in prison, and imposed a hefty fine. Jabeur's punishment sent a message to other writers, bloggers and journalists: don't dare speak out. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

15 December 2013

Inside the British university where Muslims were segregated by sex: Shocking picture shows how men were reserved front-row seats while women had to sit at the back

With women obliged to sit yards behind chairs reserved exclusively for men, the photograph above shows the shocking reality of gender segregation at a British university.

It was taken earlier this year at a training course at Leicester University organised by its Islamic Society. The course was entitled Call Of Duty and it featured a guest speaker from a hardline Islamic group.

[A COMMENT] I am a 53 year old woman. I remember fighting for the right to wear trousers in school (1970's), the right to sign for my own operation as a married woman(1980's), for rape in marriage to be a crime(1990's) and many other gender inequalities in the U.K. And yes, these are my personal experiences. SHAME ON THIS UNIVERSITY [Daily Mail] Read more

Sharia creeping into the police force?

Recently, a new trend has arisen in many provinces: Policewomen donning Islamic headscarves while on duty.

It followed new National Police chief Gen. Sutarman’s announcement that Muslim police officers would be permitted to wear the Islamic garb as pious groups had long demanded, but had previously fallen on his predecessors’ deaf ears.

Politicians and interest groups backing his candidacy showered Sutarman with praise, something he badly needed to lift his posture that suffered from his questionable performance while he served his previous stints as the National Police chief detective and regional police commander. [The Jakarta Post] Read more

The Talibanisation of British universities has got to stop

.... Nicola Dandridge, UUK’s CEO was on the Today programme. Presenter Justin Webb, in a probing, yet reasonable way, put to her the arguments against male-female separatism. She rejected them all, alight with self-righteousness.

I threw a glass of water at the radio. The glass broke and I picked up the pieces, almost weeping with rage. Such white liberals from left to right need to grow up. By Friday UUK had shed its overconfidence and seemed to be wavering. I predict the guidance will be binned.

This Talibanisation of British universities has got to stop. Now I think it might be. [The Independent] Read more

Arrested in Islamic Pakistan for reading the Koran: Ahmadi sect under siege

A 72-year-old British doctor is in prison in Pakistan for "posing as a Muslim", charges that reveal an escalating ideological fight that often spills over into violence.

Masood Ahmad is a quiet, reserved widower who returned to Pakistan to open a pharmacy in 1982 after decades of working in London to pay his children's school fees, his family said.

He is also an Ahmadi, a sect that consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims, and Ahmadis can be jailed for three years for posing as a Muslim or outraging Muslims' feelings.

Some mullahs promise that killing Ahmadis earns a place in heaven. Leaflets list their home addresses. [Reuters] Read more

13 December 2013

France should allow headscarves, Arabic in schools: report to PM

.... Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who will chair a ministerial meeting next month on improving integration based partly on the report, told reporters there was no plan to drop the headscarf ban and distanced himself from the study.

"Just because I receive a report doesn't make it government policy," Ayrault said after the daily Le Figaro drew attention to the document, which was posted on the prime minister's official website last month.

Among the proposals presented by senior civil servant Thierry Tuot and a group of experts was to forbid authorities and the media to refer to people's nationality, religion or ethnicity, and the creation of a new offence of "racial harassment". [Reuters] Read more

How widespread is Islamic fundamentalism in Western Europe?

One narrative about Muslim immigrants in Europe is that only a relatively small proportion holds views that are sometimes labeled as “fundamentalist.” Ruud Koopmans from the Wissenschaftszentrum in Berlin argues that this perspective is incorrect.

He conducted a telephone survey of 9,000 respondents in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, and Sweden and interviewed both Turkish and Moroccan immigrants as well as a comparison group of Christians.

His first finding is that majorities of Muslim immigrants believe that there is only one interpretation of the Koran possible to which every Muslim should stick (75 percent), and that religious rules are more important than the laws of the country in which they live (65 percent). Moreover, these views are as widespread among younger Muslims as among older generations. [The Washington Post] Read more

Universities UK withdraws advice on gender segregation in lectures

The body that represents Britain's universities has withdrawn guidance on the gender segregation of audiences in lectures and debates after an intervention from David Cameron.

Universities UK (UUK) said on Fridaythat the controversial policy which allowed the voluntary separation of men and women at events such as lectures on Islam by visiting speakers was being dropped pending a review.

The body had sought guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which said that, while the law allows segregation by gender in premises being used for religious purposes, it was not permissible in an academic meeting or in a lecture open to the public. [The Guardian] Read more

Gender segregation guidelines to be reviewed as David Cameron steps into row for the first time

Controversial guidelines which endorsed gender segregation at British universities are to be reviewed after a massive public backlash.

Universities UK (UUK), which last month said Muslim societies and other groups were entitled to practice gender segregation at public meetings on campus, said it would work with the equalities watchdog to look again at its guidance.

It came as David Cameron's official spokesman said the Prime Minister disagreed with rules set out by the vice-chancellors' body.

"He does not believe that guest speakers should be allowed to address segregated audiences, so he believes that Universities UK should urgently review its guidance," said the spokesman. [The Telegraph] Read more

12 December 2013

As a Muslim, I oppose gender segregation in universities. But its advocates have every right to their opinion

.... The fact that some Islamic societies are run or dominated by ultra-conservatives is undeniable and I share concerns that such individuals limit female participation, either as speakers or as members.

Separate seating can reflect an idealisation of a Saudi-style system where men and women hardly interact outside of a familial setting. This de-facto disempowers women who are reduced to existing in a male universe.

This is neither desirable, nor Islamic. But prohibiting separate seating doesn’t resolve underlying sexism, it merely forces its advocates off campus where the views expressed are less likely to be challenged. And what does it say of more progressive interpretations if the only way to encourage them is through legal imposition?

[A COMMENT] "Banning segregated seating will do nothing to resolve the misogyny which at times underpins it." So you want to condone it? Some logic you have going on there lady.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] The Abrahamic religions were developed in deeply patriarchal and misogynist cultures. All three regard women as 'the other' to be subjugated and controlled.

They now try to impose their outmoded orthodoxy by arguing freedom of speech or freedom of conscience.

If a speaker demanded that jews or blacks or homosexuals were segregated at events, they wouldn't get a hearing, so why are these arguments accepted where women are concerned? [The Independent] Read more

Official watchdog says university sex segregation plans 'not permissible'

Official guidelines which endorse sex segregation at British universities have been declared potentially unlawful by Britain's equality watchdog, The Telegraph can disclose.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced it will help re-write guidance, published by Universities UK (UUK) last month, which said Muslim societies and other groups were entitled to practice gender segregation at public meetings on campus.

Mark Hammond, the EHRC’s chief executive, said gender segregation was “not permissible” under equalities laws, adding that UUK’s guidance required clarification. [The Telegraph] Read more

Do You Think The Wrong Thing?!

.... The reaction to the Glasgow story was reminiscent to that which followed the publication of a poll carried out by BBC Radio 1 in June of this year. When it was released in September, it transpired that of 1,000 young people polled, 27% said that they did not trust Muslims, with 44% saying they thought Muslims did not share the same views as the rest of the population.

On that occasion, too, the BBC and other media went into overdrive to work out what had gone wrong and how Britain could better "address" the problem that so many people thought this way.

Conversely, when the same poll showed that 15% of young people did not trust Jews, 13% did not trust Buddhists and 12% did not trust Christians, those facts were not deemed figures of significance. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Danish rap poet Yahya Hassan faces racism charge for knocking Muslims

A young Danish Palestinian rapper and poet, whose debut collection criticising the Danish Muslim immigrant community provoked death threats and a physical assault, appeared in court this week to see his attacker sentenced to five months in prison.

But 18-year-old Yahya Hassan still faces a charge of racism in a second case brought in the same week by a local politician, who claimed that non-Muslims who spoke and wrote as he did would be open to prosecution.

Hassan burst onto the scene with an interview in Politiken newspaper in October entitled "I F***ing Hate My Parents' Generation". [The Guardian] Read more

Students demonstrate against 'gender apartheid' as Universities UK refuses to ban the separation of sexes during visits by speakers

Men and women are being segregated at universities as academics bow to the beliefs of extremist Islamic speakers.

University authorities are allowing the separation of sexes in fear of infringing the rights of the firebrands.

In most cases, women are made to sit at the back of rooms but in some instances they have been made to sit in a separate room and watch proceedings on screens via a live feed.

Out of 180 visits by extremists monitored over a 12-month period, a quarter – or 46 – at 21 institutions were found to have promoted segregation by gender. Six of these events were cancelled, usually after complaints from students. [Daily Mail] Read more

11 December 2013

The segregation of women and the appeasement of bigotry at Britain’s universities (part two)

.... They insist that the wishes of the misogynist cleric must be paramount. If he wants sexual segregation, he must have it, regardless of the views of the audience. It would be an attack on his human rights to refuse him.

As I said in my original piece for the Spectator, Universities UK is giving religious fanatics a power over the audience at a public event no other speaker enjoys.

It is as if Justin Webb were to invite me on to the Today programme, and I were to say, ‘Before I appear, you must guarantee that you and the Radio 4 listeners will behave as if you agreed with my prejudices.

Think carefully before you refuse. If you do, my advisers say that I can sue the BBC for attacking my human rights.’ [The Spectator] Read more

Pakistani Mob Kills Man After Fruit Found Wrapped In Koran Pages

Pakistani officials say an angry mob killed a man and wounded three others in the southwestern city of Quetta over the desecration of a Koran.

Balochistan's provincial home secretary, Asad Gilani, says the violence began on December 11 after a man at Quetta's Hazar Ganji fruit market found a crate of Iranian-grown pomegranates that were wrapped in pages torn from the Muslim holy book.

An angry mob quickly formed and began shouting slogans against Shi'a, who form a majority in Iran, and then marched to Quetta's main market, Liaquat Bazar, in the city center trying to shut down shops. [Radio Free Europe] Read more

OIC Blames Free Speech for "Islamophobia" in West

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an influential bloc of 57 Muslim countries, has released the latest edition of its annual "Islamophobia" report.

The "Sixth OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia: October 2012-September 2013" is a 94-page document purporting to "offer a comprehensive picture of Islamophobia, as it exists mainly in contemporary Western societies."

But the primary objective of the OIC—headquartered in Saudi Arabia and funded by dozens of Muslim countries that systematically persecute Christians and Jews—has long been to pressure Western countries into passing laws that would ban "negative stereotyping of Islam."

In this context, the OIC's annual Islamophobia report—an integral part of a sustained effort to prove the existence of a "culture of intolerance of Islam and Muslims" in the West—is in essence a lobbying tool to pressure Western governments to outlaw all forms of "Islamophobia," a nebulous concept invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1990s. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

10 December 2013

Gender segregation: protests against university guidelines

Campaigners are targeting Universities UK (UUK) offices in Tavistock Square, London, after the organisation published a report last month saying universities could segregate by gender during talks from external speakers.

In the report, UUK claimed that universities faced a complex balance of promoting freedom of speech without breaking equality and discrimination laws.

The report presented some hypothetical case studies which come up on campuses, including whether a speaker from an ultra-orthodox religious group requests an audience is segregated by gender. [Channel 4] Read more

Canada split over hijab-style Muslim police uniform

Police in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, this weekend unveiled official hijab-style headscarves approved for use by female Muslim officers, in a move that has revealed a growing split in attitudes towards the wearing of religious symbols across the country.

.... “One of the perceptions about Edmonton and Alberta is that we’re kind of redneck,” he told reporters, adding that the decision to allow headscarves was “sort of saying that we want to have a diverse police service that reflects the diversity and multicultural aspects of Edmonton.”

Alberta Canada's third biggest Muslim community (some 45,000 Muslims in a total population of 700,000), followed by Ontario, which has allowed women police officers to wear hijabs since 2011, and then Quebec.

Ontario capital Toronto is looking to extend the freedom to wear religious symbols to other areas of the public service and there is also a campaign to make hijabs permitted in hospitals. [FRANCE 24] Read more

Muslim group to march in Brick Lane against drinking and selling of alcohol

A Muslim group will march through Brick Lane on Friday to campaign against the drinking and selling of alcohol, which they say is “sinful” under Islamic law.

Members of The Shariah Project say drinking alcohol is “strictly prohibited” and hope to highlight the ills of alcohol with a rally after Friday prayers on December 13.

Spokesman Abu Rumaysah, 30, said: “There’s a lot of problems in the area like anti-social behaviour caused by drinking and a lot of the Muslims are involved in selling alcohol in their shops.”

He added: “The one who is not a Muslim is already going to the hell fire. The one who drinks or sells alcohol ... God can forgive if he mends his ways.” [East London Advertiser] Read more

'Atheists face death in 13 Muslim countries'

In 13 countries around the world, all of them Muslim, people who openly espouse atheism or reject the official state religion of Islam face execution under the law, according to a detailed study issued on Tuesday. And beyond the Islamic nations, even some of the West's apparently most democratic governments at best discriminate against citizens who have no belief in a god and at worst can jail them for offences dubbed blasphemy, it said.

The study, The Freethought Report 2013, was issued by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), a global body uniting atheists, agnostics and other religious skeptics, to mark United Nations' Human Rights Day on Tuesday.

"This report shows that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers although they have signed UN agreements to treat all citizens equally," said IHEU President Sonja Eggerickx. [Reuters] Read more

09 December 2013

Islamic fundamentalism is widely sprea

Religious fundamentalism is not a marginal phenomenon in Western Europe. This conclusion is drawn in a study published by Ruud Koopmans from the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

The author analyzed data from a representative survey among immigrants and natives in six European countries.

Two thirds of the Muslims interviewed say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live. Three quarters of the respondents hold the opinion that there is only one legitimate interpretation of the Koran.

These numbers are significantly higher than those from local Christians. Only 13 percent of this group put religious rules above national law; just under 20 percent refuse to accept differing interpretations of the Bible.

[The WZB was founded in 1969 by members of the German parliament from all parties. The WZB is funded by the Federal government and the state of Berlin.] [WZB Berlin Social Science Center]

Read more

Muslim vigilantes who terrorised non-believers ‘deserve pat on back’

Hardline Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary today said two followers jailed for attacking non-Muslims “deserve a pat on the back”.

Convert Jordan Horner, 19, and Ricardo MacFarlane, 26, admitted being part of a “Muslim Patrol”, a group of vigilantes opposing Western culture on the streets of the East End.

They told one couple they could not hold hands because it was “a Muslim area” and said a young woman would face “hellfire” because of the way she dressed. Mr Choudary said the men regularly attended his lectures, adding: “Essentially, they didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t harm anyone. What they did in essence, it’s commendable. They are trying to address issues like drug abuse and prostitution.” [Evening Standard] Read more

08 December 2013

Mufti slams advocates of free mixing of sexes

The advocates of intermingling between men and women at the workplace want decadence and immoral behavior to spread among Muslims, said Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Alsheikh.

Giving his Friday sermon at Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh, he said such mixing poses a great danger to society and women in particular.

The Grand Mufti also stressed the importance of not taking divorce lightly, warning men against making hastened decisions in issuing concerning their family life. [Saudi Gazette] Read more

It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics

.... Muslim educational achievements are so abysmally low because our educators do not liberate them from dark age interpretations of Islam but rather encourage them. (Perhaps it’s a cunning plot to keep them down and out of mainstream life!)

I know of female medical students – three Muslim and one Orthodox Jew – who will not touch male patients, of all-male religious professional networks and even worse examples. [The Independent] Read more

06 December 2013

Noted Convert in Egypt Arrested, Likely Tortured

Egyptian authorities this week arrested a Christian who is arguably the nation’s most well-known convert from Islam and are investigating him for several activities, including allegedly inciting “sectarian strife.”

Bishoy Armia Boulous, 31, formally known by his Muslim name, Mohammed Hegazy, was arrested Wednesday morning (Dec. 4) at a cafe in the city of Minya, 260 kilometers (161 miles) south of Cairo, and is likely being tortured, sources said.

Security forces said he had a camera and four flash drives when they arrested him and claimed he was working for The Way TV, a Coptic Christian-owned, U.S.-based religious television channel that broadcasts into Egypt via satellite. [Morning Star News] Read more

French Philosopher Finkielkraut: 'There Is a Clash of Civilizations'

Finkielkraut: I am pained to see that the French mode of European civilization is threatened. France is in the process of transforming into a post-national and multicultural society. It seems to me that this enormous transformation does not bring anything good.

SPIEGEL: Why is that? Post-national and multicultural sounds rather promising.

Finkielkraut: It is presented to us as the model for the future. But multiculturalism does not mean that cultures blend. Mistrust prevails, communitarianism is rampant -- parallel societies are forming that continuously distance themselves from each other. [Spiegel Online] Read more

Woman reports doctor after religious row

The incident took place in Malmö last spring when the woman was referred to a specialist by her own doctor as she was suffering stomach pain.

According to the Equality Ombudsman .... the woman did not have any issue with being examined by a man. However, when the specialist reached out to shake her hand she refused the gesture, arguing it was against her religious beliefs.

"She decided not to shake his hand and instead placed her hand against her own chest and nodded to him which she considered to be a courteous gesture," Clas Lundstedt, spokesman for the Equality Ombudsman, told The Local. [The Local] Read more

'Muslim Patrol' jailed for harassing couple holding hands and men drinking in a bid to enforce Sharia law in East London

Three members of a so-called 'Muslim Patrol' were today jailed at the Old Bailey for repeatedly trying to enforce Sharia law in East London.

Jordan Horner and another Islamic extremist told one couple they could not hold hands while walking down the street, because it was in a 'Muslim area'.

The radicals also attacked a group of men drinking in the road, and told a woman she would face 'hell fire' because of the way she was dressed.

Horner, 19, Ricardo MacFarlane, 36, and a 23-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons were sentenced to 68 weeks, 12 months and 24 weeks in prison respectively. [Daily Mail] Read more

05 December 2013

Can Saudi women join the 'morality' police?

.... Last month saw a confrontation between the religious police and Princess Nora University in Riyadh which is the world's largest women-only university with around 56,000 students and staff.

The religious police – officially known as the Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice and locally know as the Haia – tried to enter the campus but were turned back by the university's security. The Haia had apparently received reports of men sneaking into the campus and of women running in a marathon (female sport is something they disapprove of). [www.al-bab.com] Read more

A major retail park has been sold to a group headed by a former star of TV’s Dragons’ Den in a £41.5 million deal – and will be subject to Islamic law restrictions

.... A Middle Eastern investor, represented by Dubai-based Arzan Wealth, was advised on the purchase of the retail park by 90 North, an independent advisory firm specialising in Sharia-compliant real estate investment.

Certain trades and activities are prohibited under Sharia law and these include gambling, the production or sale of alcohol and the production or sale of pork.

However, where any real estate includes a shopping centre with, for instance, an off-licence, the investment can be structured so that part of the income is ‘purified’ by being donated to an Islamic charity. [Express & Star] Read more

Muslim cleric objects to Taslima Nasreen's tweets

.... In the complaint, it was alleged that with her remarks against clerics on Twitter the writer had hurt the feelings of the Muslim community.

Earlier, during a meeting last evening, Noori Miyan said a fatwa is issued in the light of Hadees and Quran. It was demanded that the passport of the writer should be seized and she should be arrested.

These are the supposed tweets that got Nasreen into trouble: [India Today Online] Read more

Keighley Muslims dispute use of ‘halal’ nasal spray

Keighley Muslims have been advised a nasal spray flu vaccine for youngsters is compatible with Islam.

But local religious leaders have questioned this view.

Shirley Brierley, consultant in public health for Bradford Council, was responding to concerns this type of vaccine was derived from pork.

.... “As the nasal spray contains a form of pork gelatine, it would not be permissible for Muslims to administer,” he said. “Therefore, Muslim children should be offered the injection as an alternative.” [Keighley News] Read more

France: Muslims take Charlie Hebdo magazine to court for "blasphemy"

A Muslim defence association in France has launched a legal attack on the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo in Strasbourg for "blasphemy", the magazine's lawyer, Richard Malka, declared on Friday.

Made public several weeks ago, this summons to appear in front of Strasbourg Criminal Court was only received this week by the magazine. "Blasphemy" is not a crime in France except in the Alsace-Moselle region, on the border with Germany. Like another action, initiated recently in Paris for Incitement to Racial Hatred, these charges are based on Charlie Hebdo's front page on 10 July last, whose title was: "The Koran is crap, it doesn't stop bullets". [Islam versus Europe] Read more

Death only penalty for blasphemer: Shariat Court

After 23 years, the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) has issued orders to remove the provision of life-imprisonment from the blasphemy law, stating that only death is punishment for blasphemy and sought a report from the government for implementation of the order within a couple of months. [The News International] Read more

Beyond belief - Open letter to the UK’s vice-chancellors

Dear vice-chancellors, you should repudiate unequivocally the abhorrent guidance on external speakers recently issued by the publicly funded body that claims to represent you: Universities UK (The week in higher education, 28 November).

This document mandates any British university to accede unconditionally to the conditions imposed by any external speaker who demands a gender-segregated audience.

Indeed, in the UUK document’s Orwellian newspeak, it is the “imposition” of an “unsegregated” area contravening the “genuinely-held religious belief” of the speaker demanding segregation that British universities should oppose so that the “freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully”. [Times Higher Education] Read more

Mistake of multiculturalism aided extremists says PM: Report finds politicians' failure to tackle the hard-line views allowed fanaticism to take root

Timid politicians with a ‘misplaced’ fear of offending Muslims have allowed Islamist extremism to take root in the institutions of Britain, the Prime Minister warned yesterday.

A task force chaired by David Cameron said the policy of treating different cultures as ‘separate and distinct’ – known as multiculturalism – had been a ‘mistake’.

The panel said it was far easier to combat the fanaticism that leads to terrorism when different communities ‘come together to challenge it’.

Yesterday’s report – a response to the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich – was scathing about the ‘reticence’ of politicians to confront Islamists. [Daily Mail] Read more

FIR against author Taslima Nasreen for hurting religious sentiments

.... In the complaint, it was alleged that with her remarks against clerics on Twitter the writer had hurt the feelings of the Muslim community.

Noori Miyan said a fatwa has been issued in the light of Hadees and Quran. It was demanded that the passport of the writer should be seized and she should be arrested.

Taslima said she was shocked to hear about the FIR as she had only spoken the truth.

"I do not know what wrong have I done with those tweets. I only spoke the truth and once again they are after me," Taslima told PTI from New Delhi.

[A First Information Report (FIR) is a written document prepared by police organizations in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence.] [PTI] Read more

Imam Incites kids to ‘Slaughter’ Syrian Christians

A widely disseminated video recently appeared of an Islamic Sunni cleric in Syria inciting Muslim schoolboys, most of whom appear to be between the ages of five-twelve, to hate and kill Christians and others.

According to a report in Arabic which has gone viral (scroll down it for video), among other things, the sheikh calls on the children to “slaughter all Christians for being infidels” and boasted that “the Christians of Syria are under continuous attack and their churches and monasteries subject to violence.”

In the video, the sheikh first talks of Islam’s egalitarianism -- that it does not consider the race, nationality, or language of people, only whether they have submitted to Islam by becoming Muslims or not, adding, “because the entire world is for Allah.” [The Commentator] Read more

04 December 2013

Tunisia: Salafites threaten to kill teachers without veil

A group of Salafites has issued death threats against teachers at an elementary school in Djerba, Tunisia, if they will not start wearing the Islamic veil within a week.

In a letter with the logo of Ansar al Sharia, a Salafite Islamic group suspected of terror activities and banned by the Tunisian government, the teachers are threatened by an organization which calls itself a repression cell in the region. [ANSAmed] Read more

Government crackdown on radicals 'will lead to attacks on Muslims'

A group that monitors attacks on Muslims said it was preparing for an upsurge of violence as a result of the moves being announced today by David Cameron.

Under the Prime Minister’s proposals, Islamist radicals face being expelled from mosques, Muslim community groups and universities in a fight-back against fundamentalism.

The courts would be given new civil powers – similar to Asbos – to ban suspected extremists from preaching or indoctrinating others.

[A COMMENT] We must treat the growth of islamofascism in the UK as a major danger to our normal liberal and mostly secular way of life.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] How dare Mr Mughal compare the murderous behaviour of Muslim fundamentalists, of which the murderers of Lee Rigby is but one example, to the behaviour of the EDL. Identifying this extremists should be the first step. Expelling them from this country the next. [The Independent] Read more

The 'Segregation' Debate and Muslim Female Empowerment

.... The term 'segregation' denotes discrimination and isolation - and this couldn't be further from the general reality. There needs to be a linguistic shift in the discourse - but more importantly, the shift must be an ideological one which accepts that there exist differences based on sound spirituality, and these need to be embraced, led by brave and nuanced organisations such as Universities UK.

[A COMMENT] This entire article is no more than an air-headed attempt to justify that which is unjustifiable and excuse that which is utterly inexcusable.

The problem is not us sophisticated Westerners calling actual Gender segregation "Gender segregation" but with the feeble-minded fantasists imposing their infantile idiocy and backward Dark Age dogma where it clearly has no place whatsoever. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

OHPI and online anti-Muslim bigotry

"...the vilification of a group of people on the basis of their religious belief or practise, or of individuals on the basis of membership of such a group, is a fundamental affront to human dignity."


I reserve the right to vilify anyone whose "religious belief" includes the belief that gays, apostates or someone who criticises or ridicules their religion or prophets should die - even in an 'ideal' world.

I reserve the right to vilify anyone whose "religious practice" includes killing or cooperating with the killing of people for any reason whatsoever.

.... It's my belief that Allah, morality and all human decency opposes such evil. [Harry’s Place] Read more

How a creationist fatwa proved a shocking example of Wahhabi Islam's influence

Usama Hasan was the imam of a mosque in Leyton until he was driven from the post by death threats. This is perhaps the most extreme reaction there has ever been to an article on Comment is free: the death threats were the response of a section of his congregation to a piece he wrote here defending the truth of evolution.

He kept his head down for a couple of years after that, to protect his family, but has now resurfaced as a fellow at the Quilliam Foundation, the counter-extremism thinktank. [Guardian Cif] Read more

03 December 2013

The segregation of women and the appeasement of bigotry

For over a week now, astonished reaction has been building to the decision of Universities UK to recommend the segregation of men and women on campuses.

The astonishment has been all the greater because, in a characteristic display of 21st century hypocrisy, the representatives of 132 universities and colleges clothed reactionary policies in the language of liberalism.

[A COMMENT] Has our useless government got nothing to say about this? Are we not paying out of our taxes for the university facilities where this segregation is now being allowed or imposed? [The Spectator] Read more

Survey on Islam in Austria: 18% of Muslims support death sentence for apostasy, 21.9% oppose democracy

Muslims in Austria, especially those of official Islam, are highly nervous about the study that was made public two days ago.

Mouhanad Khorchide is a fairly well-known scientist, often invited to discussions. He was also on the panel at the recent discussion at the political academy of the ÖVP, where he filled in for Tariq Ramadan. He can certainly be considered a liberal Muslim, but a Muslim nonetheless.

.... Muslims cannot complain about the study having been written by infidels; it was written by one of their own. This is the main reason for their nervousness. Even the political left is nervous about the results of the study. Some even consider revoking Islam’s status as a religious group if changes are not made. [Muslim Statistics] Read more

Faith schools are creating more and more boundaries between pupils

Twelve years ago, almost to the day, I launched the report on behalf of the Community Cohesion Review Team, which I had chaired.

This had considered the causes of the race riots in the summer of that year, and I coined the phrase "parallel lives" to describe the way in which different communities had become segregated and lived in fear and ignorance of each other. Communities were divided in housing, schooling, workplaces and culture, and had little contact with each other.

.... Despite great work in some schools over the years, pupil segregation has been getting worse. [Guardian Cif] Read more

02 December 2013

Eblex has dismissed an “inaccurate” attack on its proposed halal assurance scheme

Newly formed organisation the Islamic Council for Halal Affairs (ICHA) released a statement before a meeting at the weekend (Saturday, 30 November), claiming Eblex had conducted a survey on halal “without consulting Muslim consumers and scholars” and introduced “confusing halal logos to set quality standards for the halal industry” [MeatInfo.co.uk] Read more

Islam: The subject artists won't tackle

.... try to think of a novel, play, film or piece of installation art which, for example, seriously criticises the doctrine of multiculturalism. With a tiny number of honourable and genuinely brave exceptions — Lloyd Newson's DV8 dance troupe's 2011 production of Can We Talk About This? being one — there is a deafening silence on what is one of the most urgent issues of our time.

.... Christianity of course remains the fair game it has always been. Jerry Springer: The Opera was oh-so-bravely broadcast by the BBC, in the face of thousands of telephone complaints from Christians. It could of course be done in the safe knowledge that nobody might face death as a result.

But we can safely say that a country that produced the popular classic The Life of Brian must get used to the fact that it will never, ever see The Life of Iqbal.

[The Commentator] Read more

30 November 2013

FBI Stats Further Debunk 'Islamophobia' Myth

The FBI's newly released hate crime statistics covering 2012 have once again thrown cold water on the tired narrative that American Muslims find themselves under siege from increasingly violent "Islamophobes."

The 2012 numbers reinforce the conclusion drawn by Islamist Watch's previous analysis of post-9/11 (2002–11) FBI data: Muslims endure fewer hate crimes per capita than other prominent minorities. A closer look at the details:

FBI-tabulated incidents of anti-Islamic hate crime fell from 157 in 2011 to 130 in 2012, a decrease of 17.2 percent. Incidents of hate crime spanning all victim groups dropped by only 6.8 percent, 6,222 to 5,796.

Of the 1,099 incidents of hate crime motivated by religion in 2012, anti-Islamic ones constituted just 11.8 percent. Anti-Jewish crimes dominated the tally with 674 incidents, comprising 61.3 percent. This distribution saw little change from 2011. [Islamist Watch] Read more

Human rights complaint filed against cab company over guide dog

A man who says he and his guide dog have been having trouble with a Saskatoon cab company has filed a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

Mike Simmonds says the problem started two months ago when a dispatcher for Comfort Cabs told him he would need a pet-friendly taxi.

He says he’s been told twice since then that drivers weren’t comfortable with his seeing-eye dog because of their religious beliefs.

He called the manager to complain and received an apology. [The Canadian Press] Read more

29 November 2013

Behind mask of secularism, France hardens face towards Islam

Paris — A landmark court ruling this week is set to increase the pressure on French Muslims, potentially at the expense of the country's fraught race relations, experts fear.

Frenchwomen who wear headscarves out of faith could see their freedom to do so curtailed after a Paris appeals court's decision to uphold a nursery's right to dismiss a worker who insisted on wearing a hijab at work.

At the heart of the case was the question of whether France's strict ban on any overt religious symbols being displayed in state schools and other public institutions could be applied to what was a privately run nursery. [AFP] Read more

‘You’re basically living in two different worlds’

Earlier this week BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme about the experiences of ex-Muslims in the UK, ‘Leaving the Faith’.

.... The fear of being disowned by one’s family, the distress experienced by those to whom this had already happened, loomed large in the programme.

.... Another ex-Muslim was a little more dispassionate; he said that, unlike others, he avoided describing Islam as an evil cult, instead thinking it was just another religion being followed more rigidly, at this point in history, than other faiths. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Nigerian Islamic police destroy 240,000 bottles of beer in Kano

Islamic police in northern Nigeria's main city of Kano used an earth haulage truck on Thursday to destroy around 240,000 bottles of beer seized from supply vehicles and minority Christian shop owners. [Reuters] Read more

Norway capital sees rising number of women in niqabs

The trend of wearing the religious garment, a black veil that covers a woman head to toe, has apparently developed rapidly over the past two years.

“Yes, the niqab is popular,” Kari Vogt, a historian on religion and Islam, confirmed to Aftenposten, Thursday.

“A new generation of Muslims is entering Norwegian society at full speed, and some of them choose a more Salafist Islam, a strict and literal interpretation of Islamic injunctions and prohibitions,” she added. [The Foreigner] Read more

Sectarian violence in Minya leaves five dead

One of the incidents took place in the village of Badraman where reports surfaced of a relationship between a Muslim girl and a Coptic boy. Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said the families of the girl and the boy held reconciliatory talks but the talks fell through after “Muslims burnt down the house of the boy’s father and an adjacent house.”

.... The other incident broke out between residents of the predominantly Coptic village of Nazlet Ebeid and the predominantly Muslim village of El-Hawarta. A statement by the Diocese of Minya and Abu Qurqas said a Coptic landowner whose land is close to El-Hawarta village was being prevented from building a house on his land. [Daily News Egypt] Read more

28 November 2013

French prison ordered to serve halal meals

A French court has ordered Saint-Quentin-Fallavier prison, near Grenoble in southeastern France, to begin making halal meals available to Muslim inmates, it emerged Wednesday, citing detainees’ right to “free exercise of religion” [FRANCE 24] Read more

Edmonton police blunder on hijab

We seek to be “inclusive” of all cultures in Canada — even the ones that shun Canadian values and conspire to undermine its democracy and diversity.

The Edmonton police service has announced its decision to design a hijab, the Muslim head covering, as part of a Muslim woman’s police uniform.

.... The real problem is not with the garb itself but what it represents. This accommodating move is designed to attract more Muslim women to the police force, but it conveys the impression the Edmonton police wish to attract only hijabi women.

They seem to think all Muslim women who join the force will want to wear the hijab.

.... By announcing this user-friendly hijab, the Edmonton police have, unwittingly, legitimized a mindset that is rooted in the value system of seventh-century Arabia, one that reduces women to the status of chattel. [TORONTO SUN] Read more

Saudi cleric says 'women driver ban guards against evil'

The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia said a ban on women driving in the conservative Gulf state protects society from "evil", in remarks published in the press on Thursday.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, in a speech delivered Wednesday in the western city of Medina, said the issue of giving women the right to drive should not be "one of society's major concerns".

The kingdom's most senior cleric called for "the matter to be considered from the perspective of protecting society from evil" which, according to him, included letting women drive. [AFP] Read more

Stoning will not be brought back, says Afghan president

Afghanistan's government has backed away from a proposal to reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery after the leak of a draft law stirred up a storm of international condemnation.

The president, Hamid Karzai, said in an interview that the grim penalty, which became a symbol of Taliban brutality when the group were in power, would not be coming back.

"It is not correct. The minister of justice has rejected it," he told Radio Free Europe, days after the UK minister Justine Greening urged him to prevent the penalty becoming law. [The Guardian] Read more

Efforts to impose Sharia law in Iraq spark controversy

Iraqi Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari announced Oct. 23 that he had prepared a Sharia-based personal-status law and submitted it to the cabinet for approval and referral to the Council of Representatives for passage.

Should the law be approved, Iraqi municipalities would be required to apply penalties that violate human rights, such as mutilation and stoning, among others. [Al-Monitor] Read more

Thousands of bottles of beer smashed in sharia crackdown in Nigeria

About 240,000 bottles of beer have been shattered by an earthmover as part of a widening crackdown in Nigeria's northern city of Kano.

Alcohol is banned under sharia law, imposed in the city in 2001, but authorities had turned a blind eye to its consumption in hotels and the Sabon Gari Christian quarter.

At the public destruction of beer on Wednesday the head of the religious police board warned that his officers would put an end to alcohol consumption. [The Guardian] Read more

Police called to school protest over religious workshop

Officers have been at Littleton Green Community School in Cannock every day since Friday because of parents’ fury which sparked yesterday’s demonstration at the school gates.

The 45-strong rally followed uproar last week when parents were warned their children would have a racial discrimination note recorded against them if they failed to attend the workshop. [Express & Star] Read more

27 November 2013

Egypt's Latest Fatwas from Salafis and Brotherhood

Al Azhar, in Cairo, is considered by many to be one of the oldest and most prestigious Islamic universities in the world. The study .... "The Misguided Fatwas of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis," reveals a great deal about how Islamists view women.

.... According to the report, "fatwas issued by both groups [Brotherhood and Salafis] regard women as strange creatures created solely for sex. They considered the voices of women, their looks and presence outside the walls of their homes an 'offence.'

The study addressed 51 fatwas issued during the rule of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Among them, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis "permitted wives to lie to their husbands concerning politics," if the husband forbids her from being supportive of the Islamists or their agenda; she may then, through taqiyya [dissimulation] -- a Muslim doctrine that permits deceit to empower Islam -- still be supportive of the Islamists while pretending to be against them. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Segregation on campus is never OK, whoever makes the rules

.... What it is advocating is Separate but Equal facilities. We’ve heard this term before and we should know better.

In the words of the US Supreme Court when it abolished separate but equal laws in the US South in the 1950s – “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”. Or if you prefer the words of Polly Toynbee in the Guardian this week – “whatever is segregated by diktat is rarely equal”.

The advice from UUK is nothing short of appalling.

.... In the hypothetical case put forward by UUK, the requester did so on religious grounds. But you could think of any grounds you like. What if a white supremacist speaker demanded that races be separated? How would UUK advise them.

What if the speaker demanded the audience be separated by religious belief – Sikhs on the right, atheists on the left, Christians to the centre right, Muslims on the centre left. Would UUK consider this arrangement equal? [The Conversation] Read more

Is this public pool giving special privileges to a certain religious group?

.... Pool management got the idea for gender-segregated swimming periods after two Muslim sisters began renting out the pool a few years ago so that women could use the facilities without being seen by men.

In June of 2013 the pool management turned this privilege into a public program.

One of the sisters, Jamila Farole, explained to King Five News that she needed the private swimming time because her religion did not permit her to swim in the presence of men. [The Daily Caller] Read more

France reaffirms limits on Muslim headscarves, veils

A French appeals court, ruling in a hotly debated religious rights case, on Wednesday upheld the dismissal of a Muslim daycare worker for wearing a headscarf at a creche that demanded strict neutrality from its employees.

The Paris court's decision was announced at the same time as French lawyers defended the country's ban on full-face veils in public before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The two cases have divided French public opinion for years, with the bans enjoying wide support in public opinion but being denounced by many Muslims as discriminatory. [Reuters] Read more

26 November 2013

FBI Stats Again Belie Islamophobia Myth

.... we are asked by the mainstream media to believe that a group which claims to have roughly the same small slice of the national population as the Jews but which, at best, suffers only a fifth of the hate crimes incidents as Jews, is actually laboring under a grievous and discriminatory wave of bias attacks.

It not only makes no sense, it is not even remotely congruent with the facts. [Commentary Magazine] Read more

Political and Legal Status of Apostates in Islam

.... Twenty-seven (27) countries consider apostasy from Islam illegal and a prosecutable offence. Depending on the influence of Islamism and Sharia law, in places like Malaysia, Morocco, Jordan and Oman punishments vary from fines, imprisonment, flogging and exclusion from civil or family rights.

In eleven (11) countries (namely Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Somalia, Afghanistan, Qatar, Yemen and Mauritania), apostasy is punishable by the death penalty. [Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain] Read more

British universities shouldn't condone this kind of gender segregation

.... Muslim speakers demand segregation to make a very public point about their belief in women's "separate" role in the universe, one step behind a man, even in a place of learning.

After all, as Maryam Namazie, head of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, says, the speakers and the audience have all travelled there on trains and buses that are not segregated. Mosques and synagogues may hide women out of sight, but by agreeing not to "offend", the universities condone what they should confront.

[A COMMENT] You hit the nail on the head: “Muslim speakers demand segregation to make a very public point about their belief in women's "separate" role in the universe…” My family left the country of my birth to escape oppressive illiberalism only to find that it’s followed us here. [Guardian Cif] Read more

25 November 2013

Baroness Warsi and the OIC

.... The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – as well as imposing the death penalty for "witchcraft" (and blasphemy and apostasy), Saudi Arabia does not allow anyone to build a church or read a Bible.

So committed to religious freedom is Saudi Arabia that non-Muslims are not permitted to enter its holy city of Mecca. So committed to religious freedom is Saudi Arabia that simply sending a tweet deemed blasphemous can have you arrested and facing the death penalty, as the journalist Hamza Kashgari found out to his cost in 2012.

These are some of the countries that Baroness Warsi will be working with to promote religious freedom around the world. There are others of course, you can find them here. [National Secular Society] Read more

No place for radicalism

EAN Higgins' article about Hizb ut-Tahrir ("Muslims urged to turn back on country", 23-24/11) should be mandatory reading for all Australians, because this organisation is the thin end of the wedge.

Year by year Australia's Muslim population will grow and our liberal attitudes to Islam will allow the likes of Hizb ut-Tahrir to flourish.

.... Muslims can go a long way to resolving these suspicions by denouncing radical Islam. Until this happens, many will not unreasonably believe that Muslims who are not part of the solution might well be part of the problem. [The Australian] Read more

Public stoning consideration is latest setback for Afghan women's rights

The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country's penal code being drawn up by the ministry of justice.

It is the latest in a string of encroachments on hard-won rights for women, after parliament quietly cut the number of seats set aside for women on provincial councils, and drew up a criminal code whose provisions will make it almost impossible to convict anyone for domestic violence. [The Guardian] Read more

Segregating men and women at university events won't lead to equality

.... Segregation perpetuates discriminatory social norms and practices, shaping male attitudes about women and restricting the decisions and choices of women. By allowing gender segregation, Universities UK are complicit in the gender inequality being perpetuated by Isocs.

[A COMMENT] That a British University should even consider asking audiences to segregate themselves on a gender basis is apalling. A unversity should be about learning, not ignorance. .... Is this what taxpayer subsidized education has come to?

[ANOTHER COMMENT] 'Separate but equal' used to segregate Jewish students in 1930's Poland. 'Separate but equal' used to segregate blacks in pre 1960s USA. 'Separate but equal' used to segregate women in 21st century British universities. Unbelievable! [The Independent] Read more

23 November 2013

Head teacher apologises over 'racial discrimination' letter

A head teacher has apologised for sending parents a letter saying a "racial discrimination" note would be added to their child's education record if they did not go on a religious trip.

Pupils from Littleton Green Community School, Cannock, were expected to go to Staffordshire University to "learn about different cultures. [BBC] Read more

We can turn round Derby crisis Al-Madinah School, says trust chief

DERBY’S failing Muslim free school has been thrown a lifeline by the Government.

After being threatened with closure because of its poor academic standards and dire financial situation, Al-Madinah School could become part of a 22-strong academic trust.

The school’s three founding trustees – Shazia Parveen, Shahban Rehmat and Ziad Amjad – have said they will step down, paving the way for new sponsors.

[A COMMENT] The problem with allowing an Islamic/Muslim based school is the obvious visible and social separation of their children!

[ANOTHER COMMENT] Quote by the attorney general - "'wake up' to the threat of corruption posed by minority communities using a 'favour culture'". Even politicians are beginning to see whats happening - finally.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] Its NOT a school, it's an excuse for brain washing children with a barbaric so called "religion" at taxpayers expense. [Derby Telegraph] Read more

Woman accuses firm of sacking her for wanting to wear Muslim headscarf

A Wollongong woman has accused a local accountancy firm of sacking her for wanting to wear the Muslim headscarf.

Mariam El Hassan, 23, had worked at the firm for five years.

Her lawyer says she asked the firm if she could start wearing the headscarf to work for religious reasons but permission was denied.

Michelle Walsh from Turner Freeman Lawyers says Ms El Hassan was told not to come into work when she said she wanted to wear the headscarf.

"She'd had a day off to celebrate Eid and she was to come into work," Ms Walsh said. [ABC] Read more