31 January 2013

Catholic event cancels talk by Islam critic

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester rescinded an invitation Wednesday to Robert Spencer, a Catholic whose work depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion, to speak at its annual Catholic Men’s Conference in March.

The invitation was withdrawn after Muslims in Massachusetts expressed concerns to the diocese about the appearance of Spencer, scheduled to be a featured speaker at the DCU Center on March 16.

Spencer is director of the blog Jihad Watch and a leader of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, both of which are seen as anti-Muslim groups by some organizations that monitor extremism. [BostonGlobe.com] Read more

“Deep Down, Muslims Feel That They Have Failed”

In the following interview from Der Spiegel, a Pakistani nuclear physicist gives a lucid account of the state of Islam in the 21st century. Notice that the interviewer is actually more Islam-friendly than his Muslim interlocutor.

.... You view Muslim societies as having collectively failed. What do you mean by that?

Hoodbhoy: There are around 1.5 billion Muslims in the entire world — but they cannot point to a substantial achievement in any field.

Not in politics, not socially, not in the sciences or art or literature. The only thing they do with great devotion is fast and pray. But there are no efforts to improve conditions of life in Islamic societies. Unconsciously, people naturally feel this is a collective failure. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

Anti-Muslim Attacks: Telling MAMA Is Not Going to Solve the Problem

.... I think I can safely speak for the majority of the community when I say that the government is guilty of double standards and an inability to tackle the issue appropriately.

On the one hand we have politicians frequently scapegoating Muslims when they need to distract the public from their own failures, and on the other they think we should be grateful for the fact that they have provided us with a helpline to monitor the consequences of their actions.

If there is too be any real change in attitudes then Sayeeda and her peers need to get to the root of the problem, which is, the ongoing wars in Muslim countries and the resulting demonisation of Muslims living in Britain.

Until then, Muslims will remain the primary targets of hate crime. The next time someone is brutally attacked on the street, I don't think they will find solace in the fact that the government has allowed them the privilege of Telling MAMA all about it.

[COMMENT] Islam IS incompatible with the west. Read the Quran. A Warlord and professional slaver who claimed conference with his creator who is nothing more than a terrorist cast into the heavens who will burn you forever if you refuse to 'believe' in him. Islam is incapable of reform. Everyone else has to 'reform' around it. [The Huffington Post] Read more

BBC accused of 'extraordinary' censorship after cutting honour-killing references from radio drama for fear of offending Muslims

The BBC has been accused of 'extraordinary' censorship by a leading playwright after dialogue was cut from her hard-hitting drama in case it offended Muslims.

Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, whose 2004 play Behzti was pulled from a Birmingham theatre after it sparked Sikh protests, says the Corporation tampered with her work because it involved an honour killing.

Ms Bhatti was commissioned by Radio 4 to write an episode of its police drama Stone.

Her episode, The Heart of Darkness, will be broadcast this Friday, but she says the BBC has caused an 'awful situation' which has led to a 'betrayal' of her work.

At the centre of her story is the honour killing of a 16-year-old Asian girl, and DCI Stone is told by his bosses to treat the case 'sensitively' because she is Muslim. [MailOnline] Read more

It's Islamic? Don't panic

Muslims. They're everywhere. Muttering in foreign languages, obscuring their faces, and yet somehow managing to shove their way of life down our throats. Patrols of youths intimidate gay people in the name of Allah.

Even suburbia isn't safe: Arabic calligraphy on a house in Newport has caused the kind of fuss your average leylandii could only dream of. At the same time, some find Islam seductive. Just ask the female converts on BBC3's Make Me a Muslim.

Others look at this as all the evidence you need of a dangerous takeover: sharia's back, and this time it knows where you live. [Guardian Cif] Read more

30 January 2013

Victoria's peak Muslim body lashes out at 'hysterical' objections to mosques

VICTORIA'S peak Muslim body has lashed out at "hysterical" objections whenever plans for mosques go before local councils.

Islamic Council of Victoria board member Nazeem Hussain said there was an underlying level of Islamophobia in society and Muslims had to do more to educate people about their religion and mosque proposals.

"People are clearly fearful of Muslims and Islam, and it's easy to create that fear and hysteria in some ways," Mr Hussain said.

Several applications are in the spotlight, including a bid by an Afghan community group to build a mosque and community centre in Doveton, on the city's south-east fringe. [Herald Sun] Read more

Ideas About Modernizing Islam

.... Toward the end, the audience also discussed ways to "modernize" Islam. Was Islam going through a reformation similar to that of Christianity's 400 years ago?

I am of the opinion that these "reformations" cannot be compared. Whereas the Christian Reformation involved a revolt against the Papacy, Islamic reformation would have to include challenges to doctrine and dogma. I noted that it is easier to challenge institutions rather than entrenched religious beliefs.

I nonetheless offered the following solutions from Islam's own philosophical framework. First, the principle of "istihsaan" or "juristic preference" must be revived and deemed an overarching exegetical principle. This would result in the most equitable religious rulings. All else must be subordinated to this supreme Islamic principle. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Qaradawi: “If They [Muslims] Had Gotten Rid of the Apostasy Punishment Islam Wouldn’t Exist Today”

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Spiritual Guide to the Muslim Brotherhood and popular Al-Jazeera television personality, whose oeuvre of Sharia supremacism and traditional Islamic Jew-hatred inspired the Orwellian-named Al-Qaradawi Centre for Islamic Moderation and Renewal in Qatar, and The Arab Spring itself, has once again aired his Sharia-compliant views on apostasy.

As is his wont, Sheikh Qaradawi makes his opinions—and their sound Islamic foundations—pellucid: [Andrew Bostom] Read more

Salman Rushdie's Kolkata visit canceled over concerns that Muslims might mount jihad attack

.... Last year Rushdie had withdrawn his name from the Jaipur Literature Festival after reports of a death threat. He was also forced to abandon plans to address the gathering by a video link after protesters threatened to march at the venue.

Meanwhile, anticipating Rushdie's arrival in the city around a hundred people from various Muslim groups had gathered at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport in the morning to protest against his visit. After the airport police told them the author was not coming to Kolkata from Mumbai, they gradually dispersed. [India Today] Read more

Muslim patrols could become more prevalent and more violent, warns anti-extremist

As British jihadists venture abroad to capitalise on the aftermath of the Arab Spring and then return to the UK, they are likely to bring a greater level of violence back home, Maajid Nawaz, the chairman of the Quilliam Foundation, suggested.

His comments follow incidents in which groups of Muslim vigilantes, dubbing themselves 'Muslim Patrols' have approached Londoners and demanded they behave in an Islamic way by not drinking.

They have also told women to put more clothes on, claiming they are entering 'Muslim areas'. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

29 January 2013

Mufti's threats over civil marriage in Lebanon

In an extraordinary fatwa yesterday, the Grand Mufti of Lebanon

threatened to excommunicate any member of parliament or government minister who supports the legalisation of civil marriage.

"Every Muslim official, whether a deputy or a minister, who supports the legalisation of civil marriage, even if it is optional, is an apostate and outside the Islamic religion ….

"[Such officials] would not be washed, would not be wrapped in a [burial] shroud, would not have prayers for their soul in line with Islamic rules, and would not be buried in a Muslim cemetery. [www.al-bab.com] Read more

Muslim businessman told to remove sign from home proclaiming Allah is the only god

Mahmood Ali, 54, fell out with residents and planners over the Arabic slogan which reads: "There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger".

He claims it is just a proclamation of his faith and he should be allowed to write whatever he wants in a free country.

But the council said it contravenes planning laws which are designed to stop people placing advertising hoardings on their homes. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

STOKING FIRE: Islamophobia Trumps "Pro-Life" Ideology

.... Ah, yes, facts. According to Doug Saunders, author of The Myth of the Muslim Tide, [Vintage, 2012] “the family size of Muslim immigrant groups are converging fast with those of average westerners—faster, it seems, than either Catholic or Jewish immigrants did in their time.

Muslims in France and Germany are now having only 2.2 children per family, barely above the national average. And while Pakistanis in Britain have 3.5 children each, their British-born daughters have only 2.5.”

As for the United States, Saunders writes that there are presently 2.6 million Muslims living in the 50 states, and while this number is expected to increase to 6.2 million by 2030, the overall Muslim population will still comprise just 1.7 percent of the total. In other words, 17 years from today, Muslims will account for the same proportion of the American body politic as Jews and Episcopalians. [RH Reality Check] Read more

France to deport radical Muslim clerics

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Tuesday that Paris is set to deport a string of radical imams as part of a fight against "global jihadism".

Tell us what you think on Twitter, and share your views on Facebook.

"Several radical foreign preachers will be expelled in the coming days," Valls told a Brussels conference called to tackle extremism in Europe, without identifying any of the individuals concerned.

"I don't confuse this radical Islam with the Islam of France but there is a religious environment, there are Salafist groupings, who are involved in a political process, whose aim is to monopolize cultural associations and schools," he added.

"We will expel all these imams, all these foreign preachers who denigrate women, who hold views that run counter to our values and who say there is a need to combat France. [The Local] Read more

Lebanon’s top cleric issues fatwa against civil marriage

Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim authority on Monday issued a fatwa against moves to legalise civil marriages inside the country, where couples of different faiths have to travel abroad to tie the knot.

The religious edict came a day after President Michel Sulaiman tweeted that he would remain steadfast in supporting such unions, while Prime Minister Najeeb Mikati wrote on his Twitter account that a consensus was required to address the issue. [Gulf News] Read more

'I feel like a stranger where I live’

"When you go swimming, it’s much healthier to keep your whole body completely covered, you know.” The Muslim lady behind the counter in my local pharmacy has recently started giving me advice like this. It’s kindly meant and I’m always glad to hear her views because she is one of the few people in west London where I live who talks to me.

The streets around Acton, which has been my home since 1996, have taken on a new identity. Most of the shops are now owned by Muslims and even the fish and chip shop and Indian takeaway are Halal. It seems that almost overnight it’s changed from Acton Vale into Acton Veil. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Saudi vice police order shops who employ men and women to put up segregation walls to keep them apart

Shops in Saudi Arabia have been ordered to put up walls to separate their male and female employees in accordance with the country’s strict vice laws.

The barriers need to be at least 5ft 3in high and will keep staff from seeing and communicating with workers of the opposite sex.

This follows Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islam which prohibits men and women who are not immediate relatives from socialising. [MailOnline] Read more

28 January 2013

Controversial Wilders launches anti-mosque website

Anti-Islam Wilders claimed: Netherlands is not an Islamic country and should never be. Yet we see the influence of Islam increase hand over hand....

Geert Wilders has launched a new website, MoskNee (MosqueNo), which aims to offer advice to non-Muslims who want to mount a legal challenge to plans for a new mosque in their area. The site claims:

"Netherlands is not an Islamic country and should never be. Yet we see the influence of Islam increase hand over hand.... Under the influence of the fast-growing Muslim population – around 1 million people in 2013 – the number of mosques has increased sharply.

Netherlands now has more than 450.... What would be nice is a Netherlands without mosques. The PVV therefore says: enough is enough. As far as we are concerned there will be no more mosque in Netherlands." [Ahlul Bayt] Read more

British Muslims Act Like 'Idiots' Because Of Isolation

The increasing isolation of Britain's Muslim community is leading to stepped-up attacks against Muslims and a sense that Muslims can act like "idiots" against outsiders in some parts of the city, British government and Muslim leaders say.

Parts of London's East End have turned into Muslims-only zones, they say, where gays and lesbians are harassed, men are forced to pour alcoholic drinks down the gutter and women have been ordered to cover their bare skin. [The Huffington Post] Read more

‘Admitting you are a secularist can get you killed in Pakistan’

Urdu linguists have distorted the meaning of the word “secular,” and falsely translated it as la-deen (non-religious). The use of the word is so dangerous now that even mainstream leftist political parties in the country are afraid of talking about it.

Civil society representatives highlighted these points as they participated in a seminar titled ‘Democracy and secularism in Pakistan: Its need and importance’, at the Arts Council on Saturday. The event was organised by the Forum for Secular Pakistan. The participants urged political leaders to push for a secular state, “as there can be no democracy in the country without secularism”. [The Express Tribune News Network] Read more

Mistaking Islamism for Islam

We are daily inundated with news of horrors from the Arab-Muslim world to the extent that for many in the West Islam as a venerable faith-tradition can no longer be distinguished from the organized terror and violence of radical Muslims, or Islamists.

There is something gone terribly wrong in the world of Islam, and setting aside political correctness there is the urgent need to publicly identify and discuss the evil of Islamism masquerading as a religion.

But what is this ideology, Islamism, for which we must not make any allowance, as we would not for Nazism? [Ottowa Citizen] Read more

Iran unveils new finger-amputating machine ahead of announcement of increasingly severe punishment of thieves

Iran has unveiled a brand new finger-amputating machine that it will use in its increasingly strict punishment of thieves.

Photographs published by Iran’s official press agency show a blindfolded man having his fingers severed by what appears to be a crude amputation device.

According to the Insa news service, the man had been convicted of theft and adultery in a court in Shiraz the previous week. [independent.co.uk] Read more

27 January 2013

Iran sentences American pastor Saeed Abedini to 8 years in prison

.... The 34-year-old father of two denied evangelizing in Iran and claims he had only returned to his native land to help establish an orphanage. Authorities pulled him off a bus last August and threw him into the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran.

The exact crimes he is accused of only became public on Monday, when the prosecutor outlined charges that Abedini undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and that he was attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam. [FoxNews.com] Read more

Radical Muslims try to get their message across

IT IS unfortunate that Conservative peer Baroness Warsi picked last week to claim Muslims feel alienated in British society, while across London in Whitechapel arrests were made after Muslim gang members apparently filmed themselves confiscating alcohol from revellers in a pathetic ­attempt to impose a form of Sharia Law.

Coming after attacks on women wearing “revealing” clothing and homophobic violence, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that a small minority of young Muslims don’t want any part of the tolerant, liberal society into which they were born. [Sunday Express] Read more

Are Muslim democracies a new kind of political system?

.... This type of democracy is not specific to Islam: the nationalization of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, or of the Orthodox Church in Greece, to name just a few, attest to the spread of such non-secular regimes.

Some could argue that the fact that religion still plays an important role in Muslim emerging democracies can be seen as a sign of a “necessary” step towards greater secularization, considering, for example, that the United States defined itself as a Christian democracy where blasphemy cases were current until the second wave of secularization in the 19th century granted freedom of speech to all individuals.

Others would say that this combination of religion and national institutions is not a phase but actually a new kind of democracy, which is a result of the inclusion of Muslim and other non-Western nations within the international system. Only the future will tell. [washingtonpost.com] Read more

Lutfur Rahman: some facts the Guardian forgot to mention

For reasons I can’t quite understand, the Guardian newspaper, “the world’s leading liberal voice,” has appointed itself spokesperson for some of the most illiberal forces in London, notably the extremist-dominated East London Mosque and the council leader closely connected to it, Lutfur Rahman (above).

Maybe the Guardian likes them simply because the Telegraph doesn’t like them – but even for the left, that seems an outstandingly stupid reason to embrace people who oppose everything you’re supposed to believe. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Muslim faith school’s misogyny led to teen’s rape conviction

THE failure of an Islamic faith school in the UK to provide a pupil with any knowledge about sexual relations, other than to teach him that women were “no more worthy than a lollipop dropped on the ground”, led to the trial of an 18-year-old who was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl.

But, according to this report, instead of being jailed, the “naïve” Birmingham teenager, Adil Rashid, was handed a suspended sentence in Nottingham Crown Court by Judge Michael Stokes, who said:

"Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters." [The Freethinker] Read more

26 January 2013

Baroness Warsi: Is anybody paying attention? Not to her views but what the British public think of them

Baroness Warsi thinks the Media is fuelling Anti-Muslim hatred. She has given a speech

The British public don’t agree. They think the Media is doing its job, reporting the world as it is. They blame Muslims themselves.

In this country, they don’t integrate, they keep to themselves, don’t bother to learn or speak English, want their own laws, special treatment for their practices, and do things which the rest of us find objectionable.

Now, the Public are not stupid. They know this is a minority (albeit a very large one, some suspect) but what gets up the nose, is the lack of British Muslims of public standing, pointing this out and calling for change. No, we get, or the press does, scolded by the likes of Baroness Warsi.

Her speech is reported in the Huffington Post and it has so far attracted over 1500 comments, an enormous number. They overwhelmingly disagree with the Baroness. Nearly 90% think she is wrong. [Islam Surveyed] Read more

Faith in Science

.... The problem is that Muslims today do not teach the stories of their great historic thinkers other than in vague terms proving how great Muslims once were. The first step would actually be to understand what they stood for and how far their thinking went and how regressed thinking is today.

With regression comes intolerance. Ideas of scholars of almost a millennia ago would be considered blasphemous by many traditionalists today. So what is needed is the space to debate these ideas freely without fear of censure and to have the confidence that true religion will never clash with science.

Where they apparently do, science must trump and that in turn leads to a new way of seeing the world and of interpreting the Quran in the light of new knowledge: a new, more profound understanding of the natural world, and the ‘miracles’ of God keep revealing themselves. [Muslim Institute] Read more

Islam and science - The road to renewal

THE sleep has been long and deep. In 2005 Harvard University produced more scientific papers than 17 Arabic-speaking countries combined. The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims have produced only two Nobel laureates in chemistry and physics. Both moved to the West: the only living one, the chemist Ahmed Hassan Zewail, is at the California Institute of Technology.

By contrast Jews, outnumbered 100 to one by Muslims, have won 79. The 57 countries in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference spend a puny 0.81% of GDP on research and development, about a third of the world average. America, which has the world’s biggest science budget, spends 2.9%; Israel lavishes 4.4%. [The Economist] Read more

Muslim Group Threatens Egypt's Coptic Christians; Tells Them to 'Pay Tribute'

An armed Islamic movement calling itself the "Brigade of Muslims" released a statement on Saturday threatening Egypt's Coptic Christians and asking them to pay tribute.

"Egypt is an Islamic country and will be ruled according to Shariah," the statement added.

The movement threatened all Egyptian media professionals who "mock religion and Islamic rule," adding that it has a special list of media professionals and their persistence in mocking will result in the "shedding of their blood in the ugliest way." [The Christian Post] Read more

Muslim clothing companies flourishing in Southland

Islamic clothing is getting a bit more hip in Southern California.

Home to one of the largest Muslim communities in the nation, the Southland has become fertile ground for a new generation of designers crafting clothes for women who are limited by faith and conviction from flashing too much skin.

Although Muslim women have been dressing fashionably for years, many in the U.S. say they still face tricky challenges when getting dressed — and especially dressed up. [Los Angeles Times] Read more

25 January 2013

Manufacturing ‘Islamophobia’ at UC Berkeley

Scholars of the Middle East would do well to follow the lead of the Associated Press (AP), which last year struck the political term “Islamophobia” from the new edition of its widely used Stylebook, explaining that “‘-phobia,’ an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness should not be used in political or social contexts, including ‘homophobia’ and ‘Islamophobia.’”

.... Why then are the number of academic programs, reports, and journals devoted to combating “Islamophobia” on the rise? Simply put, it’s in the interest of Islamists to paint a picture of Muslim victimization in order to silence legitimate voices of criticism. In the latest evidence of its years-long decline into politicized scholarship and teaching, the field of Middle East studies has become a principal vehicle for this endeavor. [FRONTPAGEMAG.COM] Read more

Iran unveils machine for amputating thieves’ fingers

One of Iran’s official press agencies published photos showing the public amputation of a thief's fingers on Wednesday. These show a man getting his finger chopped off with a machine resembling a rotary saw.

We contacted many of our Observers in Iran to ask them about this machine. Some of them had heard about it before, but many discovered its existence through these morbid photographs, which were reportedly taken on Thursday.

According to the INSA press agency, the man shown getting his finger cut off was charged with robbery and adultery by a court in the southwestern city of Shiraz. He was also accused of being at the head of a criminal organisation. On top of losing one of his fingers, he was sentenced to three years in prison and 99 whip lashes. [France 24] Read more

No photo of pigs, please

Sir, I am sure that non-muslims and muslims know what a pig looks like. Therefore, was it absolutely necessary to publish the story about the Texan mosque with a picture of that animal?

The story was fine by itself and did not require the photo. We are continually telling our children to a avoid reading books, or watching tv programmes about this animal as well as being careful about what they eat. My whole family were shocked that a muslim newspaper should publish such a photo.Please be more sensitive to your readers in future. [Muslim News] Read more

FOSIS and the promotion of extremist narratives

Despite its continued protestations that the problem of extremism on university campuses is a smear used to attack Muslim students, Student Rights have once again found evidence of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) engaging with extremist narratives.

Since the beginning of January, the FOSIS London Twitter account has indulged in promoting the notion that Muslims are oppressed by the justice system, driving grievances that can be used by radicals to recruit support. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Candidate's halal post sparks new storm

A candidate for Bob Katter's fledgling political party declared his preference for buying ''guaranteed non-halal meat'' so his money does not ''go to the Muslim community''.

Jamie Cavanough, who is standing for Katter's Australian Party in Sydney's most marginal federal seat, Greenway, is under fire for the apparently divisive comments he made to a community forum in one of the city's most ethnically diverse areas. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

24 January 2013

EgyptAir reviews ‘hot’ in-flight movies after Islamist complaint

Egypt’s national airline said on Thursday it will analyze its onboard movies to make sure they respect “Egyptian values and customs,” following a complaint by a Muslim Brotherhood member who took offence at a film screened during one of its flights.

The head of Egypt’s Shoura council caused a stir during a flight from Sudan to Egypt when he called on the plane’s staff to stop screening a movie featuring “Hot Scenes,” according to an Egyptian daily. [AL ARABIYA NEWS] Read more

Three held in Muslim gang probe

Detectives investigating a self-styled Muslim patrol gang have made three more arrests, Scotland Yard said.

Officers are investigating a string of incidents in east London over the weekend where the group harassed members of the public.

A video posted on YouTube showed the gang hurling homophobic abuse at one man, who the police have urged to come forward. [Press Association] Read more

Baroness Warsi: Fewer than one in four people believe Islam is compatible with British way of life

Fewer than one in four people now believe that following Islam is compatible with a British way of life, Britain's most senior Muslim minister will warn today.

Highlighting unpublished research showing that a majority of the country now believes that Islam is a threat to Western civilisation Baroness Sayeeda Warsi will say that “underlying, unfounded mistrust” of Muslims is in itself fuelling extremism. [independent.co.uk] Read more

East London Mosque condemns homophobia, yet advertised four anti-gay speakers last month alone

.... One Tower Hamlets organisation of undoubted national importance that continues to laugh up its sleeve at us is the East London Mosque, the capital’s largest. The mosque’s PR machine lost no time cranking out a statement condemning the “vigilantes” and claiming that the mosque was “committed to building co-operation and harmony between all communities in this borough.

The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith.” This claim has been trustingly repeated by various journalists in the coverage this week. But, as the most cursory investigation would show, it is a brazen lie. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

The storm is just beginning

Whenever there are sectarian problems in Africa, the Middle East or Europe, Islamism is more often than not the root cause.

The recent insurgency in Mali is simply the latest episode, and as Islamist rage spreads across regional fault lines in Africa and the Middle East, the battle between the West and Islamism is clearly intensifying.

In 2010, this conflict was described by the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as an ideological war against the cultural and religious equivalent of revolutionary communism. He believed this conflict would play out as a ‘generational-long struggle’, a view recently echoed by the current British Prime Minister, David Cameron. [The Commentator] Read more

Islam: 74% of French say it's an 'intolerant' religion

A new survey by Paris-based Ipsos research company on Thursday showed 74% of French respondents believe the Muslim religion is ''intolerant'' and incompatible with their social values.

The survey, published on the Le Monde newspaper website, also showed eight out of 10 French people believe the Islamic religion tries to impose its views on others, 10% believe a majority of Muslims are fundamentalists, and another 44% believe a many but not all Muslims are fundamentalists. Most respondents did not know how to define fundamentalism, however. [ANSAmed] Read more

Lego Accused Of Racism Amid Claims Jabba's Palace Resembles Istanbul's Hagia Sophia Mosque

A Turkish community in Austria has accused Lego of racism amid claims a model from its Star Wars range resembles a renowned mosque.

The model in question is Jabba’s Palace – a dome topped structure housing the slobbering Star Wars villain Jabba the Hut.

It includes an arsenal of toy weapons and urges fans to free Hans Solo from the structure – as goes the plot in the film Return of the Jedi. It is also the location where Jabba enslaves Carrie Fisher's character Princess Leia. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Baroness Warsi Slams Media For Fuelling Anti-Muslim Hatred

Baroness Warsi will hit out at the media for spreading negative stories about Islam on Thursday, arguing it must share the blame for a rise in hate crimes against Muslims and for "fuelling Islamophobia".

In a speech in London this evening, the minister for faith and communities and senior Foreign Office minister will say there is an "underlying, unfounded mistrust" among many Britons towards Muslims as well as a "misinformed suspicion of people who follow Islam".

Warsi will make the comments at a dinner held by Mama, a new government-backed group dedicated to measuring and monitoring anti-Muslim attacks. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

23 January 2013

Call to burn Bibles heightens Malaysian election tensions

Malaysia's Bar Council said on Wednesday an independent member of parliament should be prosecuted on grounds he called for the mass burning of Bibles as religious tensions flare ahead of a tight election which must be held within months.

Ibrahim Ali, the head of Perkasa, a group that champions rights of the ethnic Malay Muslim majority and has close links to the ruling coalition, was reported in media as advocating Muslims should seize and burn copies of Bibles which use the word "Allah" to refer to God. [Reuters] Read more

Man gets 5 years for insulting Islam on Facebook

The Bandung High Court has added one more year to the prison term of Sebastian Joe, who was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for the blasphemy of Islam by the Ciamis District Court in West Java. [The Jakarta Post] Read more

Islam in, Darwin out?

.... it is an undeniable fact that a tension between Turkey’s religious conservatives and Darwinian evolution exists. I would hence not doubt that had the AKP had the means to design an all-ideal education system, it would give little, if any, credit to Darwinism.

But why? Why do we have such a tension in Turkey and many other countries of the world, including the United States?

The common answer you will hear in the media is that many religious believers are simply dogmatic and they can’t stand to hear “scientific facts” that contrast their literal reading of scriptures.

But my answer is a little different: I think there is dogmatism on both sides of the debate, for the ones who want people to subscribe to their non-scientific beliefs are not only religious believers, but also atheistic believers. (Atheism is a faith in the non-existence of God; a “faithless” person is an agnostic.) [Hurriyet Daily News] Read more

Isabella Freeman: Lutfur Rahman's little helper who brings council standards 'into serious disrepute'

Among the most interesting members of the dreadful crew around Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-linked executive mayor of Tower Hamlets, is the council’s assistant chief executive, a woman called Isabella Freeman (above). She is one of the borough’s shrinking band of senior white officials who has not been sacked or decided to leave.

Last year, it can now be revealed, both Labour and Conservative members of Tower Hamlets council overwhelmingly passed a motion recommending disciplinary action against Freeman.

It was passed in a secret session of the full council but has so far made no difference whatever to Freeman’s position. It has not even been reportable until now. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

21-year-old jailed for dumping pig's head at mosque

A 21-year-old man who dumped a pig's head outside a mosque has been jailed for three months.

Rory Rowbottom left the animal part outside the Muslim place of worship in Pound Street, Newbury, Berkshire, last October.

Rowbottom, of Poffley Place, Thatcham, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment and a Section 4 public order offence at Reading Magistrates' Court today, Thames Valley Police said. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Iran's morality police crack down on coffee shops

As the June presidential election in Iran draws near, authorities have

stepped up political surveillance by ordering coffee shop owners to install cameras on their premises and turn over the recordings on demand.

Cameras have proliferated in Tehran coffee shops since last summer. "Most people thought they were part of the security systems installed by owners to protect against theft," one Tehrani said. However the cameras are now required to be on during work hours and police have demanded access to the tapes, according to several business owners. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

22 January 2013

Understanding Sharia law and Islamophobia

"Sharia law" and "Islamophobia"are popping up more often these days, but are they still largely undefined to most Americans?

While the horrible hostage violence in Algeria last week was brief, it received considerable attention from the media. But the Algerian situation was an offshoot of on-going strife in Mali which has been raging for nearly a year with virtually no attention.

During that time, northern Mali has become controlled by Al Qaeda associated groups, who have introduced Sharia law into an area as large as the country of France.

Now we are steadily hearing the terms "Sharia law" and "Islamophobia," but do we understand their significance? [The Washington Times] Read more

Saudi police stop woman from driving car even though she'd taken over from her husband who had fallen ill

A Saudi woman was questioned by police for driving a car after she was forced to take over the wheel when her husband fell ill.

Officers stopped the woman after receiving reports she was driving near the city of Madinah - flouting a strict ban that prevents females from getting behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia.

However, the police soon discovered she had only done so because her husband had complained of feeling unwell. [MailOnline] Read more

More on the East London Mosque and Homophobia

.... The ELM/LMC’s reaction to requests to ban these hatemongers was to “go quiet” for a few months, and then return to hosting the worst of Britain’s extremists. It is pretty clear that promoting hatred is part of the ELM/LMC’s core mission.

The ELM/LMC has hosted the following anti-gay hate preachers in the month of December, alone: [Harry’s Place] Read more

Spanish Artist Receives Threats After Eating Koran

The Navarran artist Abel Azcona, international exponent of performance art, is receiving threats because of his work "Eating a Koran", in which he eats pages from the book sacred to Muslims.

The piece forms part of an invetigation project initiated during a residency on the topic of religious fundamentalism and the need to "nourish ourselves with fiction, lies and fear". [Islam versus Europe] Read more

'Muslim patrol' investigation leads to double arrest

Two men have been arrested after a series of incidents in London saw members of the public harassed by self-styled vigilantes who posted footage of their activities online. One included a clip showing a man being subjected to homophobic abuse.

The incidents are believed to be linked to a group claiming to be behind "Muslim patrols" of Whitechapel. In the latest video in which a group of men described themselves as "vigilantes implementing Islam upon your own necks", a man is followed and told: "Get out of here you fag … Don't stay around here any more." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Homophobic 'vigilante' video appears online

A video has appeared online showing men shouting homophobic abuse at another man in east London, telling him to "get out of here" as "it is a Muslim area".

Last week, the East London Mosque condemned men shown in another video posted on the internet claiming to be "patrolling" Whitechapel.

Police started an inquiry and two men were later arrested.

In the latest video a man is told: "Get out of here you fag... Don't stay around here any more. [BBC] Read more

21 January 2013

Why Germans distrust Islam

Fewer than one-fifth of Germans believe Islam is compatible with German culture.

The cashier at the supermarket wears a headscarf, copies of the Koran are handed out on the streets, and mosques have become part of some cities' landscapes. Islam appears to be encroaching on life in Germany and that bothers a lot of people.

"For decades, woman fought for equal rights, and we have attained something. And now, women are choosing to wear headscarves. I don't want that and it scares me," a unversity-educated woman from Cologne says.

Her attitude is not uncommon. In the long debate over the new Cologne Central Mosque, which will be one of Europe's largest, fear and distrust of Islam have come to light and are widespread. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

New report: Iranian Christians denied basic rights

A new report has claimed that despite the Iranian government’s assertions that it respects the rights of its recognised religious minorities, the Christian community in Iran faces systematic state persecution and discrimination.

The plight of Iranian Protestants, says the report, is of particular concern. The community faces tough restrictions on religious practice and association, arbitrary arrests and detentions for the practice of its faith. State executions and extrajudicial killings have also been noted, in the report by the New York based ‘International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran’. [The Commentator] Read more

Free speech dogged by politics of difference

The obvious question is, what are they afraid of? Is it fear of violence, or vandalism, or simply fear of association?

Debbie Robinson, a small business operator who describes herself as an ordinary citizen, wants to bring to Australia a Dutch political leader who is a supporter of democracy, freedom of religion, feminism and gay rights. But when she started making arrangements all she encountered was fear.

.... Debbie Robinson believes the fear she has encountered in Australia merely confirms her reasons for arranging Wilders' visit: ''With every refusal I asked why, and was almost always informed that management had concerns about the repercussions. The audience was never the issue. The issue was offending Muslims. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

Forced into extinction - Religious police remove dinosaurs

.... It was unclear precisely why the religious police objected to the exhibit, which apparently had been innocently featured at shopping centres across the Gulf for decades.

Malls are one of the few public spaces where Saudis mix socially, and so often draw the Hayaa’s attentions. Gone, however, are the days when its agents can go about their business unchallenged.

Within minutes of the incident, a freshly minted Arabic Twitter hashtag, #Dammam-Hayaa-Closes-Dinosaur-Show, was generating scores of theories about their motives. Perhaps, suggested one, there was a danger that citizens might start worshipping dinosaur statues instead of God. [The Economist] Read more

20 January 2013

Harris Zafar's Islamic Intellectual Incoherence

Harris Zafar, national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, posted recently at the Washington Post's online Guest Voices blog the article "Making Islamic Sense of Free Speech." Review of Zafar's analysis shows that he makes no sense, Islamic or otherwise, at all with respect to free speech. If anything, Zafar deceptively offers justification for censorship all the while proclaiming respect for intellectual freedom. [American Thinker] Read more

Iran Resorts to Hangings in Public to Cut Crime

An eerie silence filled the air as a crowd of around 300 gathered Sunday just before sunrise in a Tehran park. They awaited the arrival of two young men who were about to die.

The condemned stood shoulder to shoulder, motionless, in front of two police trucks with two nooses hanging from extendable cranes, about 15 feet high.

Black-clad executioners were inspecting the remote controls they would use to hang the men, both in their early 20s, who were convicted of stabbing a man in November and stealing his bag and the equivalent of $20. [The New York Times] Read more

The wondrous scientific nature of Islam

Egyptian cleric Rasmi ‘Ajlan enlightens us with some observations relating to matters of an intimate nature, as vouchsafed by The Prophet. Al-Omma TV, January 8:

Rasmi ‘Ajlan: The Prophet Muhammad said: “Do not copulate with a slavegirl before she menstruates again.”

Interviewer: Allah Akbar! Allah! Allah!

Rasmi ‘Ajlan: And also: “Do not irrigate the seed of another man with your own water.”

Interviewer: With your permission, Sheik Rasmi, I’d like to point out to the viewers the beautiful, civilized, and sublime prophetic language. “Irrigating the seed” means copulating with a woman. This is a sublime prophetic phrasing, which means that a man should not copulate with a slavegirl before she menstruates again. [Mick Hartley] Read more

More 'insulting president' lawsuits under Morsi than Mubarak

There were four times as many 'insulting the president' lawsuits during President Mohamed Morsi's first 200 days in office than during the entire 30-year reign of former president Hosni Mubarak.

This is the claim made by Gamal Eid, human rights lawyer and executive director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). [Ahram Online] Read more

19 January 2013

Prosecutor general investigates 'defamation of Islam' charges against Eissa

Prosecutor General Talat Abdallah will investigate a report accusing Al-Tahrir newspaper Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim Eissa of defaming Islam and ridiculing the Quran and Sharia.

The complaint was filed by a lawyer, who also handed over videos of Issa allegedly mocking Islam and its rituals on his satellite show. [Egypt Independent] Read more

18 January 2013

'I am told I will hang for my faith in Jesus': American pastor faces death sentence in Iran

Saeed Abedini, 32, who is Iranian born, is expected to go on trial next week before a revolutionary tribunal in Tehran in a hearing presided over by a judge blacklisted by the European Union for handing down harsh verdicts.

US officials have already voiced concerns over the fate of Mr Abedini, who has been held in custody since July 2011 after being arrested while on a visit to Iran from America.

His wife, Najmeh, says he has suffered beatings during interrogation and has expressed fears for his life in letters to her. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Police investigation launched after footage of ‘Muslim patrols’ in Tower Hamlets emerges online

The video shows a self-styled ‘Muslim patrol’ approaching people in Fieldgate Street, close to the East London Mosque.

Members of the patrol announce themselves to passers-by as “vigilantes implementing Islam against your own necks”.

“We are Muslims who patrol the area, forbidding evil”, they can be heard saying.

One passer-by is told to “remove yourself away from the Mosque”.

They tell others: “Go away now. Don’t come back. Keep your mouths closed. [East London Advertiser] Read more

17 January 2013

Popular Atheist Blogger Stabbed Repeatedly by Suspected Islamist Fundamentalists in Bangladesh

An atheist blogger in Bangladesh has been stabbed repeatedly by three suspected Islamist fundamentalists and is currently in critical condition in a local hospital.

Asif Mohiuddin, 29, was attacked earlier this week as he was leaving work at night in Dhaka, when a group of unidentified men jumped him and stabbed him repeatedly.

Mohiuddin is one of the nation's most well-known atheists, and runs a Bengali blog titled "Almighty only in name, but impotent in reality," which is one of Bangladesh's most visited websites. [The Christian Post] Read more

Banged up for banging on?

Anyone in the UK prone to ranting on Facebook should be afraid. Given a case earlier this week, it now seems that simply posting offensive comments is enough to have you arrested and forced to pay regular visits to a police station.

The comments posted by the co-leader of the English Defence League (EDL), Kevin Carroll, will certainly offend some people. Responding to an article about a ritual slaughter of cattle for the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival, complete with pictures of a dozen cows lying in pools of blood in an arena, Carroll wrote in block capitals: ‘They are all fucking backward savages, a devil-spawned death cult worshipping all that is unholy and barbaric, pure evil. [spiked] Read more

Raised on Hatred

.... All over the Middle East, hatred for Jews and Zionists can be found in textbooks for children as young as three, complete with illustrations of Jews with monster-like qualities.

Mainstream educational television programs are consistently anti-Semitic. In songs, books, newspaper articles and blogs, Jews are variously compared to pigs, donkeys, rats and cockroaches, and also to vampires and a host of other imaginary creatures.

Consider this infamous dialogue between a three-year-old and a television presenter, eight years before Morsi’s remarks. [The New York Times] Read more

Where are the Healthy Gender Relations in the Muslim Community?

.... Some guys have another idea on how to manage in finding a wife. Pick one from “back home” and bring her to America, where she will be happy and indebted to you for life. Ah, that doesn’t work all the time — actually, rarely does it work–but to each his own.

If Islam’s essence is justice, then aren’t we violating the essence of Islam when we accept Muslim men marrying non-Muslims while we violently reject Muslim women doing the same? I’m not saying I have the answers, but what I am saying is there needs to be more conversations about this crisis. [altmuslim] Read more

Claims of 'disorder and noise' at mosque

Neighbours of Cambridge’s main mosque claim they have been threatened by worshippers when they complain about noise and illegal parking.

Residents said the impact of the Mawson Road mosque had become “intolerable” and warned large crowds that gathered outside were “intimidating”, calling on Islamic leaders to police their congregation. [Cambridge News] Read more

Pakistan's envoy to US faces potentially deadly blasphemy accusation

A petition accusing Pakistan's ambassador to the United States of committing blasphemy has been filed with the country's Supreme Court.

Police were directed on Thursday to investigate allegations against Sherry Rehman, who has already faced death threats from militants after calling for reforms to the country's anti-blasphemy law, according to court documents. [NBC News] Read more

Election is banned in Islam: Saudi scholar

A well-known Saudi Islamic scholar has issued a new fatwa (edict) saying holding elections for a president or another form of leadership is prohibited in Islam.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Nassir Al Barrak, reputed for his radical views, described western-style elections as an alien phenomenon to Islamic countries.

“Electing a president or another form of leadership or council members is prohibited in Islam as it has been introduced by the enemies of Moslems,” he wrote on his Twitter page, according to Saudi newspapers. [emirates247.com] Read more

'Mosque buster' claims he can stop 'tide of Islam' by giving free advice on how to block building plans for new places of worship

A planning lawyer and self-styled 'mosque buster' claims he is fighting to stop the 'tide of Islam' by successfully blocking plans for the building of mosques across the UK.

Gavin Boby, once linked to the far-right English Defence League, boasts he has already blocked plans for 16 out of 17 mosques being built.

Under the banner of the Law and Freedom Foundation, he calls for people to come to him for free professional legal help in opposing mosque proposals and claims that Islam encourages paedophilia, sexual abuse and pimping. [MailOnline] Read more

Family Jailed In Egypt For Becoming Christian

.... one of her children was arrested in 2006 and police became suspicious after looking at his documents and noticing he had changed his name.

He confessed the documents had been changed illegally and Nadia, her children and clerks who processed the identity cards were all arrested and charged.

The family was sentenced to 15 years in prison in court last week.

Christians in Egypt who convert to Islam have complained they face difficulties if they decide to convert back, especially in changing names on official documents.

This leads many people to forge the documents, risking prison sentences. [Sky News] Read more

Hooded 'Muslim Patrol' vigilantes remove alcohol from drinkers and tell women to cover up as they stalk London suburb

Police are investigating reports a gang claiming to be Islamic vigilantes have been confronting members of the public and demanding they give up alcohol and women cover their flesh in their 'Muslim area'.

The hooded men, who call themselves Muslim Patrol, have been filmed walking London's streets and calling white women 'naked animals with no self respect.' [MailOnline] Read more

16 January 2013

Five years of meta research concludes: Danes are not racists, xenophobes or Islamophobes, we have "rational concerns"

A phobia means "irrational fear" and there is nothing irrational about worrying about a religion preaching genocide or the obvious and gigantic negative consequences of the many immigrated, fanatical, criminal and violent followers of this religion. [Islam versus Europe] Read more

Muslims Demolish Church Building in Egypt

Hundreds of Muslims came out of mosques today with hammers and destroyed a social services building belonging to the Coptic Church while chanting Islamic slogans. Security forces arrived after the building was completely razed.

The 100 square meters social services building in the village of Fanous, Tamia district in Fayoum province, 130 KM south west of Cairo, had all the necessary government permits; it had a reception hall on the first floor and a kindergarten on the second.

But the Muslims insisted that it would become a church.

A meeting had taken place beforehand between the village mayor and elders from Muslim and Coptic sides and it was agreed that only the first floor was to remain and the second be demolished. [AINA] Read more

Egyptian court sentences Christian family to 15 years for converting from Islam

The 15-year prison sentence given to a woman and her seven children by an Egyptian court for converting to Christianity is a sign of things to come, according to alarmed human rights advocates who say the nation's Islamist government is bad news for Christians in the North African country.

A criminal court in the central Egyptian city of Beni Suef meted out the shocking sentence last week, according to the Arabic-language Egyptian paper Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Nadia Mohamed Ali, who was raised a Christian, converted to Islam when she married Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab Mustafa, a Muslim, 23 years ago. He later died, and his widow planned to convert her family back to Christianity in order to obtain an inheritance from her family. [FOX News Network] Read more

Ken Livingstone 'ridiculed' as he tries to help Lutfur Rahman

Ken Livingstone was openly laughed at by members of Labour’s National Executive Committee today, I am told, after he urged them to readmit the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, to the party and let him stand as the Labour candidate in the borough’s 2014 mayoral election.

.... Lutfur, who was sacked as Labour candidate in the 2010 mayoral election for his close links to an Islamic fundamentalist group, the Islamic Forum of Europe, which believes in turning Europe into a sharia state. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

15 January 2013

Washington Post op-ed makes "Islamic sense" of free speech by denying free speech

Ahmadi spokesmen like the strutting Qasim Rashid and the execrable Harris Zafar, the author of this op-ed, carry water for the same Islamic supremacists who would cheerfully slit their throats if they were back in Pakistan, and instead target those who stand up for the Ahmadis and decry their persecution.

Here, Zafar offers a manifesto for the destruction of the freedom of speech worthy of a true totalitarian. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Iranian single women might need father's permission to go abroad

Single women in Iran will need the permission of their guardians to be able to leave the country if a new bill secures enough votes in parliament.

At the moment, unmarried women and men above the age of 18 can leave the country if they have a passport but, according to the new bill, single women would need official consent from their guardian, usually their father.

Married women in Iran always need their husband's permission to be able to hold a passport both under the current legislation that dates back to the pre-1979 Islamic revolution and under the proposed bill. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Saudi clerics protest against appointing women to advisory body

Dozens of Saudi clerics staged a rare protest in front of the Royal Court on Tuesday against King Abdullah's decision to appoint women to a body that advises the government on new laws, a sign of growing conservative unease at modest social reforms.

On Friday, King Abdullah appointed 30 women to the Shura Council, giving them a fifth of the seats in the consultative body - a move he promised to make in 2011. [Reuters] Read more

14 January 2013

Norway’s Happy Lies on Muslim Immigration

.... Among those who should have raised their eyebrows at Østby’s statement were the editors of Aftenposten itself, whose archives, after all, are packed with news stories that flatly contradict his pretty picture of today’s multicultural Norway.

Only three days earlier, for example, that newspaper ran an article about a new government report which, among much else, recommends that Islamic worship services be permitted in public schools and argues that schoolteachers shouldn’t criticize Muslims’ objections to sexual equality. (To push them on this matter, the head of the report committee insisted, would be to violate their religious freedom.) [Front Page] Read more

Hate Crime Stats Deflate 'Islamophobia' Myth

A detailed analysis of FBI statistics covering ten full calendar years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks reveals that, on a per capita basis, American Muslims, contrary to spin, have been subjected to hate crimes less often than other prominent minorities.

From 2002 to 2011, Muslims are estimated to have suffered hate crimes at a frequency of 6.0 incidents per 100,000 per year — 10 percent lower than blacks (6.7), 48 percent lower than homosexuals and bisexuals (11.5), and 59 percent lower than Jews (14.8). Americans should keep these numbers in mind whenever Islamists attempt to silence critics by invoking Muslim victimhood. [Right Side News] Read more

Wall Street Journal Denies Existence of Islamophobia

.... But what the Wall Street Journal doesn't seem to get is that at the core of Islamophobia is the belief that there is something about the religion of Islam itself that is evil and dirty and bad -- that groups like al Qaeda and Hezbollah and others are motivated only by the tenets of their faith and not by their political grievances or ambitions. That unbalanced view places the world's 1.6 billion Muslims under the magnifying glass, and that's not OK.

It is also that belief -- that Muslims possess, as a result of their religious faith, some inherently violent characteristic -- that links discussions of racism and Islamophobia. Schanzer scoffs at the possibility that Islamophobia may be a distant cousin of racism.

[NOTE: HP did not allow Comments for this article] [The Huffington Post] Read more

The constitutionality of the Belgian burqa ban

Following France, Belgium was the second European country to introduce a general prohibition on covering one’s face in public, or “burqa ban”. The Act of 1 June 2011 renders it an offence to publicly “cover or conceal one's face in whole or in part, so that one is unrecognisable”. Exceptions are limited to “legal provisions”, “labour regulations”, and “local ordinances regarding festivities”, which impose or allow for face covering.

The Act was intended to guarantee public safety. Other stated purposes include considerations of a societal nature, including “promoting ‘living together’”, with an emphasis on communication and recognisability, and protecting women’s rights. [openDemocracy] Read more

Wahabi’ Islam gaining ground in the country

The ultra-conservative brand of ‘Wahabi’ Islam has lately managed to find more takers among the country’s Muslim community, thanks to the efforts of the Wahabi preachers who constitute a major chunk of the over 20,000 foreign Islamic preachers that descend on Indian shores every year to preach at huge congregations in the hinterland.

In fact, a quarter of the preachers hailing from at least 25 countries are from neighbouring Pakistan and they move about in Tablighi Jamaats, according to intelligence and police sources.

The Indian visa regime does not allow entry to Pakistani nationals if they do not have local sponsors and also bars entry to preachers of faith. Hence, all the scholars travel on a tourist visa. [The New Indian Express] Read more

Making Islamic sense of free speech

The ultimate goal of Islam is to unite mankind under a single banner of peace. The Koran– Islam’s holy scripture – says God created everyone in unity, but our own man-made differences has compromised our unity (2:214).

In order to unite mankind, Islam instructs to only use speech to be truthful, do good to others, and be fair and respectful. It attempts to pre-empt frictions by prescribing rules of conduct which guarantee for all people not only freedom of speech but also fairness, absolute justice, and the right of disagreement.

.... The most vocal proponents of freedom of speech, however, call us towards a different path, where people can say anything and everything on their mind. With no restraint on speech at all, every form of provocation would exist, thereby cultivating confrontation and antagonism.

They insist this freedom entitles them the legal privilege to insult others. This is neither democracy nor freedom of speech. It fosters animosity, resentment and disorder. [The Washington Post] Read more

Turkey's science state council halts publication of evolution books

The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) has put a stop to the publication and sale of all books in its archives that support the theory of evolution, daily Radikal has reported.

The evolutionist books, previously available through TÜBITAK's Popular Science Publications’ List, will no longer be provided by the council. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

The Muslim theory of evolution

The debate amongst Muslims about the compatibility of evolution by natural selection with Quranic teachings has gained real momentum in recent years. With an increasing number of Muslim scientists coming forward and publicly declaring their belief in evolution, the debate has also began to attract the wrath of conservatives, who feel threatened by evolution and view it as a falsifiable western concoction.

Belief in evolution remains a minority position in virtually all Muslim societies around the world today. According to studies, 22 percent of Turks, 16 percent of Indonesians, 14 percent of Pakistanis, 11 percent of Malaysians, and 8 percent of Egyptians believe in evolution. In comparison, belief in evolution is between 60 – 80 percent in most European societies, and 40 percent in the US. [The Commentator] Read more

13 January 2013

Egypt's Coptic Christians fleeing country after Islamist takeover

Coptic Christian churches in the United States say they are having to expand to cope with new arrivals, as priests in cities like Cairo and Alexandria talk of a new climate of fear and uncertainty.

"Most of our people are afraid," Father Mina Adel, a priest at the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria said. "Not a few are leaving - for America, Canada and Australia. Dozens of families from this church alone are trying to go too."

Father Mina's church has an important place in the history of the Arab Spring. It was struck by a car bomb on New Year's Eve 2010, Egypt's worst sectarian attack in recent decades, in which 23 people were killed. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

We don't want our burqas back: women in Afghanistan on the Taliban's return

.... Outside Kabul, in Balkh Province where the Taliban is gaining strength, signs of its influence are everywhere. Few women in Mazar-i-Sharif travel without a burqa – last year the religious council of the famous Blue Mosque, one of the few places where women are able to socialise in public, banned women from its weekly meetings.

The women I spoke to in Afghanistan were deeply afraid of the future, and thoroughly exhausted by their precarious lives, in which bombs and rockets still explode. 2014 will bring elections and a powerful network of conservative men; Taliban and warlords are edging into the gap the internationals will leave. And the little clay ovens still cook up women's bread and men's bread in a country expecting their return. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

12 January 2013

Wife-beating: "My husband said it's okay, he told me the Koran says it's okay"

.... I am all for a campaign to persuade Muslim men not to beat their wives. But here we come up to the perennial problem: denying that the texts of the Koran and Hadith regarding wife-beating say what they clearly say is not reform; it is just deception.

It may play well with non-Muslims who don't know what those texts say, but it won't convince any wife-beating Muslim husband to stop beating his wife: he knows that "the Koran says it's okay." [Jihad Watch] Read more

Extremists attend more than 200 university events

Hizb ut-Tahrir was represented at six per cent of the events even thought the NUS has a policy not to give the organisation a platform.

The research also found eight events were moved off campuses following complaints while another ten were cancelled.

In other moves, 17 video or audio clips featuring the late terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki was shared online with students.

Rupert Sutton, Head Researcher at Student Rights said: "These statistics demonstrate that the presence of extremist preachers on campus is not a figment of people's imaginations, but a serious issue that universities cannot afford to be complacent about. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Architects are rethinking mosque design - Just not too big, please

TO SOME it resembles a budding flower; others see a spaceport. The building that draws stares in the German city of Cologne is a new mosque, under construction since 2008, and one of a growing crop in countries where a large Muslim presence is new.

America’s mosque count rose from 1,209 to 2,106 between 2000 and 2010. In both France and Germany 200 new ones are under way—a 10% increase. [The Economist] Read more

11 January 2013

The Meaning of Jihad

CAIR's Ahmed Rehab describes their #MyJihad ads this way: "The campaign is about reclaiming Islam, and not just ‘jihad,’ from both Muslim and non-Muslim extremists... Whether it’s the bin Ladens and the al-Qaidas of the Muslim world, or the Pam Gellers and Frank Gaffneys of the non-Muslim world, ironically — even though they come from the two opposite ends of the spectrum — they agree exactly on the same definition of ‘jihad’ and on the same worldview of Islam versus the rest of the world.”

.... these American Muslim organizations teach and/or promote a book on Islam called Minhaj al-Muslim. This book offers a simple definition of Jihad that has little to do with fitness or friendships:

"The specific ruling of Jihad – which is fighting against the disbelievers and those who wage war against Islam – is that it is a collective compulsory duty." [Revuse] Read more

Protester who tore up Koran has case dropped at Leicester court

.... James Bide-Thomas, prosecuting, said in his opening address to the jury last month that freedom of speech was "tradition in this country" and "people are entitled to say what they want, as long as it's not illegal in relation to the law which prevents people going out to cause harassment, alarm or distress by insulting behaviour".

He said: "It's for you to decide whether what he did was insulting or whether it was a legitimate piece of freedom of speech being exercised, or whether what he did was deliberately calculated to upset the people from the Islamic Information Centre."

The jury told the judge there was no prospect of them reaching either a unanimous verdict or one on which at least 10 of them agreed. [Local World] Read more

"Democracy is Forbidden in Islam"

Why are radical Muslims opposed to the upcoming parliamentary election in Jordan?

Because they believe that democracy is in contradiction with Islam's concept of the sovereignty of Allah's law. They argue that Islam and democracy cannot go together, and they are obviously right, especially if one considers the experiences of people living under Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Thanks to the "Arab Spring," which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of countries, Muslim extremists today feel free to express their opinion on political and religious issues.

One of them, Abed Shehadeh, leader of the Salafi Jihadi movement in Jordan, ruled this week that democracy in its concept as "ruling of the people by the people" and "should be forbidden in Islam." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Muslim thought on evolution takes a step forward

An imam of an east London mosque, Usama Hasan, received a death threat for arguing in support of human evolution two years ago. On Saturday, London played host to a riveting intrafaith dialogue on Islam's stance on the theory of evolution. The east London imam was one of the speakers – but this time there were others who shared his viewpoint.

[A COMMENT] Surely the real breakthrough will when Islam or any religion for that matter not only admits to evolution but admits that it invalidates claims that their books are inerrant.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] Since those who attended the debate are young professionals in london, we cant really speak of this as a breakthrough for the british muslim community. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Hate-Crime Stats Deflate ‘Islamophobia’ Myth

A detailed analysis of FBI statistics covering ten full calendar years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks reveals that, on a per capita basis, American Muslims, contrary to spin, have been subjected to hate crimes less often than other prominent minorities.

From 2002 to 2011, Muslims are estimated to have suffered hate crimes at a frequency of 6.0 incidents per 100,000 per year – 10 percent lower than blacks (6.7), 48 percent lower than homosexuals and bisexuals (11.5), and 59 percent lower than Jews (14.8).

Americans should keep these numbers in mind whenever Islamists attempt to silence critics by invoking Muslim victimhood. [National Review Online] Read more

10 January 2013

Anti-Muslim Ads Return to NYC Subways

The new year has brought new anti-Islam attack ads to New York City’s subway system.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, a conservative organization infamous for its controversial take against the Islamic faith, has purchased ad space in 39 subway stations across New York City.

When passengers look up to check the time on 228 of the subway system’s clocks, they’ll also see a photo of flames engulfing the World Trade Center accompanied by a quote, attributed to the Quran: “Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.” [Time] Read more

Norwegian Students to Become a Minority in Oslo Schools in 8 Years

This is the way Norway ends, not with a bang (well eventually with a bang) but with an immigration policy.

The real majority in a country is not the percentage of the total population, but the percentage of the population under 18. When you know that percentage and its trend, then you know the future. [FrontPage Magazine] Read more

Man jailed for 10 years in blasphemy case

After a trial spread over 14 months and conducted in an uneasy environment, Additional District and Sessions Judge Raja Pervez Akhtar jailed a blasphemy accused for 10 years and imposed a fine of Rs200,000 on Tuesday evening.

The verdict left the lawyers of both groups baffled and they now intend to go to the Lahore High Court — one would file an appeal for getting the sentence quashed while the other would file a review petition. [DAWN.COM] Read more

09 January 2013

Muslims engage in quest to understand evolution

.... As the event closed I was left restless and sensed that others felt similarly conflicted. I tried to envisage how to establish a consensus of Muslim opinion on this topic. Where was the call to action? Who would bring the necessary scholars and scientists together to form a legitimate committee?

The debate has lifted the lid on this Pandora's Box, but the next steps are uncertain. Without more structured engagement with Muslims, the concept of human evolution will continue to be both an intellectual and spiritual minefield. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

A veiled witness obstructs justice

A camel, goes the saying, is a horse designed by a committee. That’s an apt metaphor for the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision last month on whether a woman should be allowed to hide her face behind a niqab while testifying in a courtroom.

The court was split, and the four-member majority finally reached a compromise – but what’s a compromise that is unworkable and that will achieve nothing but a further muddling of the issue? [The Globe and Mail] Read more

Sharia money trail: British website pushes halal

Industry rag does sharia’s bidding. Meat trade news service calls for harsher halal slaughter methods

Elements of the British meat industry appear to have gotten in bed with sharia zealots. Why? They see a lucrative business opportunity to sell “true” halal meat to British Muslims and export halal meat to the growing market of the Islamic world.

A website created by English slaughter-men, has run a series of broadsides against Masood Khawaja, president of the Halal Food Authority (HFA), for being too lax in enforcing draconian strictures of sharia law in livestock slaughter. [Money Jihad] Read more

Iraqi 'benefit cheat refused to declare £36,000 in savings from father claiming it would have broken Sharia Law'

An Iraqi immigrant who wrongly claimed £35,000 in benefits claims he did it in order to follow Islamic law.

Majid Hussain received income support, housing benefit and a council tax reduction for 13 years - despite having a secret bank account worth £36,000.

The unemployed 62-year-old signed forms saying he did not have any undeclared savings - and now says that under sharia law he did not consider the money to belong to him. [MailOnline] Read more

'Swedish prayer call debate treats Islam like a static religion'

Ignorant politicians have allowed a vocal minority of the Swedish Muslims who don’t want to adapt to life in a secular and democratic state to dominate the debate about calls to prayer at Sweden's mosques, argues contributor Nima Gholam Ali Pour.

.... A national debate has sprung up on this topic when it actually should concern the municipalities and their environment departments. It has become a national debate because we still have politicians who do not understand that Sweden is secular and who have bought into the image of a static Islam, the Islam of fundamentalists. [The Local] Read more

Rejecting Mosque Applications - How We Win

Gavin Boby of Law and Freedom has scored another victory. He sent out an email earlier today describing his recent success against the Brent mosque, and looking ahead to the coming challenges in Leeds and other locations in the UK.

We’ve won 16 out of 17 mosque cases that we’ve fought — a 94.11% success rate.

That could be beginner’s luck, right? Maybe we just keep stumbling on four-leafed clovers. So I thought I’d drill down into one of our recent wins where the evidence is online.

Please see the Brent case, here, our last win but one. Our brief write up is here.

We hit the ground with this application on 20th October 2012. Please see the Council’s comments page, here: 298 comments in total, and all but 10 of them were objections. Pretty strongly worded, too. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

A Nasty Neologism - The term Islamophobia treats political ideology as akin to race

.... Americans today are caught in the grip of an irrational fear of Islam and its adherents. In his short book on the subject, Mr. Lean, a journalist and editor at the website Aslan Media, identifies this condition using the vaguely medical sounding term "Islamophobia."

It is by now a familiar diagnosis, and an ever widening range of symptoms—from daring to criticize theocratic tyrannies in the Middle East to drawing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad—are attributed to it.

In reality, Islamophobia is simply a pejorative neologism designed to warn people away from criticizing any aspect of Islam. Those who deploy it see no difference between Islamism—political Islam and its extremist offshoots—and the religion encompassing some 1.6 billion believers world-wide. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

Jury dismissed in Leicester trial of man accused of ripping up his Koran – no retrial planned

The trial has collapsed of a Leicester man who was accused of causing "religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress by demonstrating hostility based on membership of a particular religious group".

Peter James Crawford was said to have torn pages from his own copy of the Koran and thrown the book on the ground shouting "Your religion is a load of b***cks". He did this next to a stall run by the Islamic Information Centre, near the Clock Tower, in Leicester city centre, last May.

.... Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, commented: "The Muslim volunteers put themselves out there in a public place with an idea that should not have special protection from argument or strong disapproval.

We would protect the right of the Islamic Society to distribute their propaganda, but, providing it is done non-violently, we should also protect the right of those who dispute it to freely express their disproval." [National Secular Society] Read more

The British MPs who want to ban “The Innocence Of Muslims”

This one sneaked under the radar before Christmas. On 6 December, UK parliamentarian Alex Cunningham, the Labour MP for Stockton North, tabled an “Early Day Motion” demanding that the British government ban the controversial anti-Islam film “The Innocence of Muslims”.

The moved was backed by 14 other MPs — 11 Labour, two Liberal Democrats, and RESPECT’s George Galloway. Here’s the text of the EDM in full: [Index on Censorship] Read more

The Muslim world needs a ‘women’s uprising’

.... Stereotypes can be frustrating, especially when they imply that your ancestral homeland is barbaric, that its culture is archaic, and that its associated religion is oppressive. They are even more frustrating when consistently perpetuated—so much so that the stereotype begins to look less like a generalization and more like an observation. In the “Arab” or “Muslim” world this seems to be exactly what’s happening.

As the rest of the world evolves, grows, and progresses, this world is—in many respects—stunted. In South Asia, stories like Aesha’s are way too common. Well documented in the award-winning film Saving Face, women in the region are often victims of domestic abuse involving acid violence, leaving them with near-permanent facial disfigurement. [The Washington Post] Read more

Preacher alarms many in Egypt with calls for Islamist vice police

Many Egyptian viewers were horrified when preacher Hisham el-Ashry recently popped up on primetime television to say women must cover up for their own protection and advocated the introduction of religious police.

That an obscure preacher could get publicity for such views was seen as another example of the confused political scene in Egypt since the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak gave birth to a cacophony of feuding voices. [Reuters] Read more

Plan for Muslim housing enclave in Sydney suburbs

AN interest-free housing project aimed at the Muslim community and boasting 100 per cent halal housing has sparked a major row, with critics labelling it a discriminatory plan that could lead to a Muslim enclave.

Qartaba Homes' plan offers "100 per cent Halal housing to the growing Muslim community of Australia" in the heart of the northwestern Sydney suburb of Riverstone.

While the company has insisted people from all religious backgrounds are free to take up the offer, it advises that the loans are "100 per cent Halal" and a "chance to escape Riba (interest)" because interest is a sin under Islamic law. [The Daily Telegraph] Read more

08 January 2013

Domestic violence campaign targets Scottish Muslims

A new campaign asking Muslim men and women to speak out against domestic violence is being launched in Scotland.

The Change This campaign wants people to report any violence they have seen or experienced.

Muslim women's charity Amina will use Islamic teachings and an Imam to challenge the misconception that Islam allows violence against women.

The charity said it was aware of many cases where people used their religion in an attempt to justify violence. [BBC] Read more

More Ads With Inflammatory Messages About Islam Appear In NYC Subway

Another set of inflammatory ads has appeared in 39 New York City subway stations, paid for by the same group that posted ads equating Muslims or Palestinians with savages last year.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, co-founded by conservative firebrand Pamela Geller, purchased space next to 228 clocks in 39 stations for the ads.

The ads feature an image of the twin towers of the World Trade Center burning on Sept. 11, 2001, and a quote attributed to the Quran saying: “Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.” [CBSNewYork/AP] Read more

Why Have The Islamic Countries Failed To Develop Even With Resources Like Oil

Anti-intellectualism and anti-science bias of modern fundamentalist Islam. .... education in many Muslim countries consists primarily of religious rather than scientific programs, and those who do get quality educations in the west tend to remain overseas.

Women as second-class citizens. It’s not just that women can’t contribute directly to the workforce (although that’s a big factor), but that women aren’t educated to the same standard, and thus aren’t able to raise children to be scientists and engineers as effectively. This is one area where great progress has been made, but there’s a generational lag. [Forbes.com] Read more

Hijab will not be permitted in the police force

Minister of Culture Hadia Tajik concludes that the hijab will not become part of the Norwegian police uniform or be used in the court system in the near future.

Despite the Norwegian Faith and Ethics Policy Committee's recommendation to make the hijab legal to wear for police officers and judges while at work, Tajik rejected the committee's proposal in Parliament Monday. [The Norway Post] Read more

How Muslims Created Islamophobia

The debate as to who speaks for Muslims in the West has festered among the minds of the western intelleigentsia and politicians since Islamists have capitalised on this question.

There are hundreds of Islamic organizations in North America and each one wants to take ownership of it. Is it all about ownership? It shouldn't be. Is it all about portraying a better image of Muslims? I doubt it. Is it all about challenging the self-created fear of Islamophobia? Perhaps.

What do I mean by "self-created fear of Islamophobia"? Do I dare to say that Islamophobia actually doesn't exist at all? Yep, it didn't exist but some of our Islamic centres created the term and spread it around through their actions. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Egypt: the Islamization of state policy

.... The introduction of article 219 can potentially open up a wide array of possibilities concerning the ways in which legislation can be made to conform with Islamic jurisprudence.

The diversity of stances, justifications, laws and opinions and sources in Islamic jurisprudence ,and their variability through time and contexts means that interpretations can become hostages to political will.

Jurists’ stances may vary from the ultra-reactionary and conservative to the more progressive. Given the strength of Salafi thinking not only within the Salafi movement but also within the Muslim Brotherhood, it is reasonable to assume that progressive stances may not prevail. [openDemocracy] Read more

07 January 2013

German bigotry shifting from race to religion

.... His theory is not new – a study from Münster university found that in 2010, 66 percent of western Germans and 74 percent of eastern Germans had a negative attitude towards Muslims.

.... Heitmeyer also found that Islamophobia seemed to exist not only in the far-right, but was also present in more left-leaning and centrist circles. The sentiment was identifiable throughout the country, from the highest echelons of society to the lowest. [The Local] Read more

Mother jailed for beating son to death for failing to memorise Qur'an

A mother who beat her seven-year-old son to death for failing to learn the Qur'an by heart and burned his body in an attempt to hide her crime has been jailed for life.

Sara Ege, 33, collapsed and had to be helped sobbing from the dock after being told she would serve 17 years before she could be considered for parole.

Ege treated her son Yaseen "like a dog" when he struggled to memorise passages of the holy book of Islam, Cardiff crown court heard. Over three months, she beat him until he collapsed on the floor of his bedroom — still mumbling verses — and died. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Muslims Did Not Invent Algebra

.... When Arabs overran Persia, Egypt, Constantinople and other countries they found great literature and books of discovery. But ascribing greatness to Muslims for translating the ideas of others into Arabic is like saying the Nazis were artistic geniuses for invading the museums of Europe and carting off the great works of art back to Germany 1. Give me a break.

If Islam inspires its adherents to make great discoveries in science and technology then why are 99% of Muslims in the world:

"... the poorest, the most illiterate, the most backward, the most unhealthy, the most un-enlightened, the most deprived, and the weakest of all the human race..." (Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf). [Planck's Constant] Read more

06 January 2013

CAIR to Media: 'Stop Using the Term Islamist'

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), identified by the U.S. government as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, is suggesting a New Year’s resolution for the media: Stop using the term “Islamist.”

CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, who expressed his desire for “the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future” in 1993 and, again, in 2003, writes that the media shouldn’t say “Islamist” anymore because it is “currently used in almost exclusively pejorative context.” [RadicalIslam.org] Read more

Mosque building in the shires

It is no longer mill towns and urban conurbations where news mosques are being planned. This is what their own website says about this beautiful town in the Cotswolds.

Chipping Norton is a Bustling, Buzzing Cotswold Market Town - Market day is Wednesdays and there is a monthly Farmer's Market usually on the third Saturday of the month. It's a great place to live, with a superb range of shops, schools and facilities. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Democracy, Elections are Forbidden in Islam: Salafist Leader

The Jordanian leader of the hardliner Salafi Jihadi current said that democracy in its concept as "ruling of the people by the people" is in contradiction with Islam's concept of the sovereignty of God's law.

Abd Shahadeh, known as Abu Muhammad al-Tahawi said in statements to Ammon News that democracy in its common conception is forbidden in Islam, where sovereignty and ruling belongs to God's law and not people's authority. [Ammonnews.net] Read more

05 January 2013

In 2012, sharia enforcement continued to spread around the world

A year ago it was clear that, despite the widely presumed promise of the Arab spring, 2011 had been a year in which sharia enforcement has both spread and intensified both in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. This is part of a longer term pattern of increasing Islamisation that has been happening since the late 1970s and which has continued in 2012.

.... Islamists primarily using non violent methods at present — such as the Muslim Brotherhood that originated in Egypt — have increasingly become masters of using the democratic process as a one way street to attain their Islamist goals.

Other Islamists, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, focus on violent methods. However, the end goal of both is the same. Both of these strands of sharia enforcement have continued in 2012.

The following is by no means an exhaustive account of sharia enforcement in 2012. In many respects, it's just touching the visible tip of a giant iceberg. [ConservativeHome] Read more