28 February 2013

Staff to target Islamic College of South Australia on scarfs

THOUSANDS of school workers are being urged to protest directly to an Islamic school that threatened to sack non-Muslim female staff if they did not wear a headscarf.

The Independent Education Union of Australia's SA branch is encouraging its 7000 members to email the Islamic College of South Australia's principal and board chairman asking them to reconsider the policy.

An email sent to all members yesterday asks them to copy and paste text that says "as a concerned IEU member I implore you to reconsider your requirement for all women at the Islamic College to wear a head covering". [The Advertiser] Read more

The Kafkaesque reality of Pakistan's blasphemy laws

.... The blasphemy law has created and facilitated a culture of vigilantism. As soon as someone has been accused of blasphemy, they live under the threat of death. When the young Christian girl Rimsha Masih was falsely accused of blasphemy last year, her family was forced into hiding.

According to the Islamabad-based Centre for Security Studies, at least 52 people accused of blasphemy have been killed since 1990. Many die at the hands of angry mobs before they are convicted. Given this high threat of violence, it is perhaps unsurprising that politicians are afraid to touch blasphemy law. [New Statesman] Read more

Belgian Islamophobia: MPs vow to ‘impeach’ Muslim extremists

Belgian politicians have submitted a proposal to impeach or limit the influence of Muslim extremists in power. MPs fear that Muslim politicians do not shake hands with women and are creating an isolated community.

Alain Destexche, a liberal member of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, and Deputy Mayor of Koekelberg Philippe Pivin submitted the proposal in front of the Belgian Parliament on Wednesday to exclude extremist parties from a range of local functions. The proposal is currently open for signatures by other members of Parliament.

“The people of the Islamic party do not want to be mixed with others in public transport and other communal places,” local media quoted Alain Destexhe as saying. “They advocate getting married and wearing a veil at 12 years old, based on Islamic law.” [RT TV] Read more

Sudan man's foot, hand 'amputated' by court order

Government doctors in Sudan amputated a man's hand and foot to carry out a sentence for robbery, rights groups said on Wednesday, describing the extremely rare punishment as a form of torture.

The amputation of Adam Al Muthna's right hand and left foot took place by court order at the interior ministry's Al Rebat hospital in Khartoum on February 14, the rights groups said, citing "reliable sources."

Muthna, 30, was convicted of armed robbery related to an attack on a truck carrying passengers, said a statement issued by New York-based Human Rights Watch, also on behalf of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, London-based REDRESS and US-based Physicians for Human Rights. [AFP] Read more

Spanish city's ban on Islamic veils overturned

A Spanish court has overturned a city's ban on wearing face-covering Islamic veils in municipal buildings, saying it infringes religious liberties.

In 2010, Lleida, in the northeastern region of Catalonia, became the first Spanish town to impose such a ban. It was temporarily suspended by a regional court following an appeal by a Muslim association but then later upheld.

Spain's supreme court on Thursday accepted a second appeal and said the city was not entitled to order such a ban. [Associated Press] Read more

Oppose Channel 4 and BBC’s censorship when it comes to Islam

You may remember Lloyd Newson’s verbatim hit play ‘Can We Talk About This?’ which enjoyed a successful run at London’s National Theatre and Sydney Opera House amongst others. The play focused on the reluctance of media and political figures to openly discuss the dangers of Islamism and Sharia law.

Featuring speeches and interviews with leading figures from across the political and cultural spectrum, including One Law for All’s Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters, the play explored issues of freedom of speech, censorship and violence, as well as the impact of significant events such as the ‘Rushdie Affair’, the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh, and the Mohammed cartoons. [Maryam Namazie] Read more

Book on Islam ruffles feathers in Germany

Some of Germany's Muslim leaders are criticizing a book which says that belief in God is not mandatory in Islam. The author is on the defense - particularly since he heads the organization that trains Islam teachers.

For an outsider, the situation sounds odd: a Turkish newspaper, "Türkiye," prints an article in which three high-ranking functionaries of Muslim organizations in Hamburg accuse an Austrian with Palestinian roots of betraying the roots of Islam.

The reason: the Austrian wrote a book in which he claimed that paradise was open to anyone who lived a good life - regardless of whether he or she believed in God. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Reading University cancels “kill gays” Islamist preacher

Cleric’s advocacy of murder ignored in cancellation decision. Muslim Society not rebuked for hosting a murder-approving speaker.

Reading University has cancelled today’s scheduled speech by “kill the gays” Islamist preacher Abu Usamah at-Thahabi, which was to be hosted by the university’s Muslim Society.

A letter had been sent by the Peter Tatchell Foundation to the Vice Chancellor of Reading University, David Bell, protesting at the university’s decision to host Abu Usamah at-Thahabi, on the grounds that Thahabi had been filmed by Channel Four’s Dispatches programme justifying the murder of gay people. Incitement to murder is a serious criminal offence. [Harry’s Place] Read more

The ‘Harlem Shake’ becomes a protest in Egypt and Tunisia

The viral dance video that has spawned thousands of copycats and plenty of eyerolls around the world is not so popular with authorities in Tunisia, where education minister Abdeltif Abid called it “an insult to the educational message” and promised an investigation into a version filmed at a local high school. In Egypt on Feb. 23, police arrested four university students for filming a version of the dance outside in their underwear, reports Lebanon’s Daily Star.

Since then, Egypt Daily News reports a student group called “Satiric Revolutionary Struggle” has cropped up in Cairo, with plans to dance the Harlem Shake in front of the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters. [The Washington Post] Read more

Four found guilty over sharia law whipping

Four men have been found guilty of assault after a Muslim convert was whipped as punishment under sharia law for drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

It is the first time a case like this has come before the Australian courts.

Four men broke into Christian Martinez's Silverwater unit in Sydney's west in 2011 and whipped him 40 times with an electrical cord in the name of religious law. [ABC] Read more

27 February 2013

Two years on, what’s happened to Egypt’s dream of religious freedom?

Egyptians who took to the streets in mass protests in January 2011 demanding the downfall of Mubarak’s authoritarian regime were rebelling — amongst other things — against restrictions on their civil liberties and infringement on their rights.

Religious minorities, like Coptic Christians and Baha’is, who participated in the January 2011, 18- day mass uprising had hoped that toppling Egypt’s oppressive regime would usher in a new era of greater freedom of expression and equality. More than two years on, many of them say it has not. [Index on Censorship] Read more

Child Marriage Act overrides Muslim Personal Law: Karnataka high court

The Karnataka high court on Tuesday ruled that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) has overriding effect over the provisions of the Muslim Personal Law, where the marriage of a girl child is allowed once she attains puberty.

Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri, sitting at the Dharwad circuit bench, dismissed a petition in this regard while upholding the state government's contention that PCMA provisions had far-reaching and overriding power vis-a-vis personal laws. [www.timesofindia.com] Read more

Christians grow anxious in "100 percent" Islamic Sudan

When Pastor Kamis went to visit his small church in the Sudanese capital just before Christmas last year, he found a pile of rubble and the remains of a single blue wall.

Hours earlier, authorities had sent in a bulldozer and workers backed by police to demolish the Africa Inland church, which used to lie in a slum suburb of Khartoum.

The structure was one of several small churches that the government has knocked down over the past few months, shocking Christians who worry they will not be able to practice their faith in majority-Muslim Sudan now that the country's south - where most follow Christianity or traditional animist beliefs - has seceded.[Reuters] Read more

26 February 2013

Council of mosques calls for boycott of school meals

The Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) has called for a blanket boycott of all school meals provided by Lancashire County Council (LCC).

It comes after revelations that “Halal” beef burgers made from horsemeat were served in Lancashire schools.

Cllr Salim Mulla, chair of LCM, said, “The responsibility of this horrendous act lies solely with the LCC which has once again undermined the value of the Islamic faith and one of the most fundamental aspects of Islam.” [Asian Image] Read more

US imam calls on Muslims in US to wage jihad

The controversial imam of a prominent mosque in Arlington, Va., has urged immigrant Muslims in the United States to wage war for Islam.

“The enemies of Allah are lining up. The question for us is, are we lining [up] or are we afraid because they may call us terrorists?” Shaker Elsayed told a crowd of Ethiopian Muslims during a lecture at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va.

“Let me give you the good news: they are already calling us terrorists anyway. Whether you sitting at home, watching TV, drinking coffee, sleeping or playing with your kids, you are a terrorist because you are a Muslim.” [THE DAILY CALLER] Read more

Atheists Persecuted In Many Muslim Countries: Report

A new report presented by the International Humanist and Ethical Union to the U.N. Human Rights Council for consideration on Monday, detailed stories of abuse and discrimination that atheists around the world face, particularly in Muslim countries.

The document says that “atheism is explicitly or effectively outlawed in many states, where people are forced to adopt a religion … or where leaving a religion, in particular Islam, is itself criminalized,” the IHEU press release said.

The criminalization of atheism is contrary to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the report argued, which protects “the universal human right to freedom of thought …[and] the freedom of conscience of every human being.” [International Business Times] Read more

Maldives girl to get 100 lashes for pre-marital sex

A 15-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex, court officials said.

The charges against the girl were brought against her last year after police investigated accusations that her stepfather had raped her and killed their baby. He is still to face trial.

Prosecutors said her conviction did not relate to the rape case. [BBC] Read more

Nearly half Saudi women are beaten at home

Nearly half Saudi women are beaten up by their husbands or other family members at home and many of them are hit by sticks and head cover, according to a university study published in local newspapers on Tuesday.

Surprisingly, the study found that the Bedouin men who still dwell the desert in the conservative Gulf Kingdom, are less violent than Saudi men in urban areas.

The study was conducted by Dr Lateefa Abdul Lateef, a social science professor at King Saud University in the Capital Riyadh. It involved female students at the university and some Saudi women covered by the government’s social security. [Emirates247.com] Read more

25 February 2013

Turkey’s Failed Attempt at Democratization

U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone incurred the wrath of the Turkish government when he drew attention to the shortcomings of the country’s legal system. Military leaders are locked up as if they were terrorists, parliamentary deputies and university professors are detained on unclear charges, and non-violent student protesters are imprisoned for protesting tuition hikes as evidence. Despite this, the United States remains a staunch supporter of Turkey’s European Union membership.

When accession talks started in 2005, the reform process which began under Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit’s coalition government and continued under the AK (Justice and Reform) Party’s rule in 2002 started to grind to a halt.

Soon after talks started, Olli Rehn, the European Union’s Enlargement Commissioner, noted that the pace of change had slowed and the implementation of reforms remained uneven. Rehn also warned that pluralism and free speech were basic values which could not be compromised. [International Affairs Review] Read more

How did modern Islam become so intolerant?

Internal and external intolerance is now Islam’s brand. Those great past Muslim civilisations famous for diversity, humanity, science, extraordinary achievements have died. Education, the arts, photographs, television, sports, even work are denounced by crazed imams online and in mosques worldwide, including the UK. In Brittain’s book, some women took on these values, and in effect, imprisoned themselves.

Polymath Ziauddin Sardar has met “countless Muslim scholars, thinkers, writers and activists” who are impatient for change and reform. That can’t happen while there is an aversion to criticism and self-criticism.

Thoughtful and honest Muslims stay silent because they fear ostracisation or inciting more racism against Muslims – both real perils. But silence now is cowardly, and collusion with the corrupters of our faith. True believers have a duty to speak out against that corruption. [independent.co.uk] Read more

24 February 2013

‘Prostitutes’: Saudi cleric insults recently-appointed female Shura members

A controversial Saudi cleric used Twitter to publicly insult the recently-appointed female members of the Shura Council.

Derogatory terms such as "prostitutes" and "the filth of society" were used to describe the highly-achieved female academics and technocrats who were only sworn into the Council a few days after a highly-acclaimed Royal Decree was issued by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

The tweets quickly became widely-spread through the social media network and rapidly developed their own hash-tags; however, many Saudi tweeps condemned the attack on the female Shura members, especially since they came from figures who are supposed to preach tolerance, compassion and respect. [AL ARABIYA NEWS] Read more

Free speech stoned to death

IF you needed proof that free speech in Australia is on the run, look at what happened when Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders came to town.

With 10 per cent of the vote in Holland, Wilders is a mainstream politician, leading the third largest political party in one of the most tolerant liberal democracies in the world. Yet in Australia he is treated like a pariah, denied a visa for months, and unable to secure a venue for his speaking tour in Perth.

Instead of a "welcome to country" before he spoke to audiences in Sydney and Melbourne last week, organisers had to read aloud a statement of Victoria's racial and religious tolerant act.

As much as anything, this curious legal requirement adhered to by the Melbourne-based Q society which hosted Wilders, explains why Australians are open to his message of creeping Islamisation. [The Sunday Telegraph] Read more

Egyptian Arabic Booker winner faces blasphemy charges

Egyptian Arabic Booker prize winner Youssef Zeidan, the author of Azazil, is facing charges of blasphemy and contempt of Islam, Christianity and Judaism for his book The Arabic Theology.

Zeidan was summoned to appear in front of the High State Security Prosecutor last week.

The official memo notifying Zeidan of the investigation was very stern and did not include any details, only the case number 686, Zeidan said via Facebook.

The case was brought by the Islamic Research Institute (IRI) and 11 Coptic organisations, claiming Zeidan had scorned Christianity and mocked the doctrine of the trinity, which is at the core of Christian belief. The IRI also accused Zeidan of sparking sectarian strife and encouraging religious extremism. [Ahram Online] Read more

23 February 2013

The silent Islamization of Egyptian society

From the continuing attacks against Christians, to the proposed ban on alcohol and belly dancing, Egypt is increasingly being transformed into an Islamic state. The signs of this change are not only within the Constitution, based on sharia, but the imposition of customs until now the preserve of a minority of society.

In recent days, a decision of an Administrative Court of Cairo has made headlines. The court is allowing police officers to wear beards the "Islamic way" after a thirty years ban. In February, dozens of police officers were suspended for violating the law.

They protested for days in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior arousing the sympathy of several Salafi imams and police officers who lobbied on the Court to remove the ban. [AsiaNews] Read more

Pastor Saeed writes to the world from his Iranian prison

His Grace has long been following Iran's appalling persecution of Christians. Here now is another: Pastor Saeed Abedini is currently serving an eight-year sentence in one of Iran’s most brutal and deadly prisons – merely for exercising his fundamental human right to religious freedom; simply because he is a Christian.

His case is not as high-profile as that of Pastor Nadarkhani, but it ought to be. Please help spread the word. Please Tweet #SaveSaeed. Please sign the ACLJ Petition. Please pray. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

22 February 2013

Imprisoned American says Iranian captors 'waiting for me to deny Christ'

American pastor Saeed Abedini, jailed in a notoriously brutal Iranian prison for his Christian faith, is facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors demanding he renounce his beliefs, according to supporters.

The 32-year-old married father of two, who left his home in Boise, Idaho, to help start an orphanage in his latest country, detailed “horrific pressures” and “death threats,” is a letter to family members, according to his U.S.-based attorneys. [FOX News Network] Read more

Four killed in Bangladesh clashes over 'atheist bloggers'

At least four people were killed and over 200 injured in Bangladesh on Friday as hundreds of Islamists clashed with police here and other major cities demanding execution of "atheist bloggers" they accused of blasphemy.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse Islamists backed by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party whose leaders are facing trial in special tribunals for "crimes against humanity" during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.

While two deaths were reported from western Jhinaidah and northeaster Sylhet, two others died in northwestern Gaibandha. [Zee News] Read more

Universities Act Against Islamist Extremism and Bigotry

This has been an extraordinary week.

First of all, following the “Homosexuals would be executed” rant from the Manchester University Hizb ut Tahrir front, the “Global Aspirations of Women Society”, the society has been suspended and disbanded:

.... There’s a long history of extremism and hate preaching at City ISOC. This post from 2010, at which time the ISOC was protesting about having to share a prayer room with other faiths, recounts some of its greatest hits. You should also read the Quilliam report into this ISOC.

You’ll see that this ISOC hosted (by video) a talk by the Al Qaeda recruiter, Anwar Al Awlaki in 2009: [Harry’s Place] Read more

Welcome to Phase Three of the Arab Spring - Islamists are waning in the Arab world. But will Obama notice?

So it is not true that, in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood speaks for society as a whole. Nor does Islamist ideology, with its invocations of superstition and its exaltations of obedience, express the Egyptian “street.”

Nor does the Brotherhood possess the canny ability to bend history to its will. The crisis in Egypt over the Brotherhood’s proposed new constitution broke out in December, and, three months later, the riots and demonstrations and killings have still not come to an end. Even the police have been demonstrating.

Nor is it true that, in Tunisia, the reputedly more moderate version of the Brotherhood, Rachid Ghannouchi’s Ennahda party, has offered a sounder alternative.

On the contrary, the moderates have presided over what appears to be a steady patter of violence by the radical Islamists, in token of the fact that, in Tunisia and everywhere else, moderates and radicals tend to be quietly allied, if only because the moderate leaders have to pacify their own radically-inclined rank-and-file. [THE NEW REPUBLIC] Read more

City University London locks Muslim prayer room on Friday

City University in London has been accused of discrimination by a group of Muslim students after it started locking a room used for Friday prayers.

A group of students have formed Muslim Voices on Campus, calling on the university to reverse its decision.

The group said it was being "unjustly targeted".

City said it acted because students had refused to submit the proposed content of sermons to the university before prayers to check its "appropriateness". [BBC] Read more

21 February 2013

The Difference Between American and Muslim Culture

.... It is true that long ago our Constitution counted blacks as 3/5ths of a person. But in time we changed that. American culture today finds slavery intolerable.

As I wrote in The Difference Between Shariah and Civilized Laws, "If our Constitution were like the Shari'ah we could never change it nor add amendments. Slaves would still be slaves and women would not be allowed to vote."

So yes, long ago, we were a bigoted, intolerant nation. [Planck's Constant] Read more

The Humiliation of Egypt’s Grand Mufti

.... isn’t it ironic how Islamists un-caged and empowered always turn on those Muslims who, while long nurturing of Islam, are just not “Islamic” enough? For example, former Egyptian President Sadat, though much more sympathetic and tolerant to Islamists than his predecessor — Sadat included Sharia in the Egyptian constitution and released a great many jihadis imprisoned under Nasser – was repaid by being assassinated by those he freed, those he un-caged, under the rationale that he was just not Islamic enough. [FRONTPAGEMAG.COM] Read more

Horror expressed over multi-faith school’s failure to ‘ensure the integrity’ of halal-only food

YES, you read that right. ALL pupils attending Moseley School in Wake Green Road have to be fed only food acceptable to Muslims, and the school got a roasting after a ghastly non-halal episode of an unspecified nature, occurred late last year.

It was apparently serious enough to spark a full-blown enquiry by the city council, and yesterday it was reported that the head teacher Craig Jansen has issued a grovelling apology over the incident.

Oh, and someone was sacked! [The Freethinker] Read more

OIC coming back with another attempt to stamp out free speech

Getting the go-ahead from the Cairo Islamic Summit, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been actively trying to get the "denigration of religions" recognized as a criminal offence, according to a top official.

"Next session of the Istanbul Process on Islamophobia will be held in the first half of this year, and the session will squarely focus on the issue of criminalizing denigration of religions," said Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, director of cultural affairs at the OIC general secretariat and spokesman for the OIC secretary general. [National Secular Society] Read more

Islam or death? Egypt's Christians targeted by new terror group

A group of Christian priests from a local Coptic church in Egypt were told to convert to Islam or face death, according to an Arabic news site.

The incident, which comes in the midst of continued persecution and pressure on Egypt’s Christian community, took place this week in the town of Safaga, near the Red Sea, the El Balad site reported.

According to El Balad, the threats are from a new group in Egypt, Jihad al-Kufr, whose name translates to Jihad against non-believers or non-Muslims. The group targets non-Muslims, and reportedly pressures them to convert to Islam. [FOX News Network] Read more

Pakistani man accuses ambassador to U.S. of blasphemy

Pakistani police registered an accusation from a businessman on Thursday that the country's ambassador to the United States had committed blasphemy, a crime that carries the death penalty, in connection with a 2010 TV talk show.

The accusation against Ambassador Sherry Rehman is the latest in a string of controversial blasphemy cases in Pakistan, a largely Muslim nation whose name translates as Land of the Pure.

According to Pakistan's blasphemy laws, anyone found to have uttered words derogatory to the Prophet Muhammad can be put to death. Those who are accused are sometimes lynched by mobs even before they reach court. [Reuters] Read more

20 February 2013

Wilders gets standing ovation in Melbourne

Controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders received two standing ovations in Melbourne during an hour-long speech in which he depicted a grim future for Australia under the rule of Islamic law.

Several hundred people who attended the speech were confronted by a large group of vocal protesters and some were pushed to the ground as they tried to enter the hall at Somerton to hear the Dutchman, who has round-the-clock protection. [SBS] Read more

The Assassin at the Door

.... Dispatch International is critical of mass immigration to Sweden and Denmark from third-world countries and takes a dim view of Islam. As a consequence, we have been reviled as "racist." We are not.

We simply insist on our right to defend freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and individual and sexual equality. We also insist on our right to criticize religious fanatics of every stripe who try to impose theocratic laws and customs on free societies. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

Orthodox patriarch opposes plan to make Hagia Sophia a mosque

.... Once the patriarchal basilica of Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque when Muslims conquered the city. In 1935, Turkey’s government made the building a museum, as part of the secularizing campaign under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk.

But today Turkey’s government, while professing the same secular principles, has supported a campaign to build new mosques and convert some historic buildings into mosques. [CatholicCulture.org] Read more

Bernardi defends Wilders' right to speak in Australia

LIBERAL senator Cory Bernardi has spoken out in support of anti-immigration Dutch MP Geert Wilders, saying a double standard on free speech is emerging in Australia.

Mr Wilders, who is on a speaking tour of Australia, has in the past called Islam ''a retarded culture'' and in Melbourne on Tuesday called the prophet Muhammad a ''warlord, terrorist and paedophile'' and called for a ban on migration from Muslim countries.

His comments drew widespread condemnation, and a large group of protesters delayed the onset of his speech in Melbourne.

Australian Multicultural Foundation chief executive Hass Dellal told Fairfax Mr Wilders' comments were so outlandish there was no sensible reply. [The Age] Read more

Free Speech Double Standard

It seems that there is a double standard when it comes to free speech in Australia.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ public speaking tour has run into constant problems as venues continue to pull out or refuse to host his events.

Mr Wilders had to cancel his speaking tour last year when the government reportedly took over two months to approve his visa. Wilders' visa approval only came through as he was in the process of cancelling his trip. [Cory Bernardi] Read more

Birmingham school says sorry for serving non-Halal meat to Muslim pupils

A head teacher has apologised to parents after admitting his Birmingham school served non-Halal food to Muslim pupils.

A member of staff at Moseley School, in Wake Green Road, has been removed from their post following an investigation into the ‘unintentional error’.

Council catering staff had wrongly dished up the non-Halal food to Muslim pupils on December 12, but details have only just come to light.

On Monday parents received a letter from Craig Jansen, head of the 1,400-pupil secondary school and sixth form, in which he apologised unreservedly for the incident. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

The religion of hate

.... May God grant us the wisdom to know what is right and the courage to act on it. We may never be given this chance of righting a wrong that is forever becoming more pervasive in our society, we cannot afford to sit idle and do nothing.

The religion of hate will devour everything that we hold dear; we cannot let it thrive. Whether your approach is Islamic or secular, the principles of justice remain the same. United we can achieve the impossible, our faith gives us hope and hope will give us strength. May God help us. [The Nation] Read more

Dinner lady sacked for serving Muslim children with non-halal meat at multi-faith school

A dinner lady has been sacked for accidentally serving non-halal meat to Muslim students at a multi-faith school.

The incident outraged parents at the 'halal-only' Moseley School in Birmingham, and they have forced the headmaster to apologise for 'insulting' their faith.

The member of staff has been dismissed after the 'unintentional error' on December 12 last year recently came to light. [MailOnline] Read more

Saudi Arabian women take seats on advisory body

Women will be given a voice in shaping Saudi Arabia’s laws for the first time after the country officially swore in 30 female members to the Shura Council.

The council is an appointed body that advises the government on new laws, and functions in place of an elected parliament.

The move represents the first time in country's history that women have been able to hold any political office, and has riled conservative clerics in the Islamic monarchy. [independent.co.uk] Read more

19 February 2013

Wilders in Australia: Islam is an ideology because it aims for an Islamic state and wants to impose Islamic Sharia law on all of us

.... I am here to tell you how Islam is changing the Netherlands and Western Europe beyond recognition. We are in the process of losing our culture, our identity, our freedom.

I am also here to warn Australia about the true nature of Islam. It is not just a religion as many people mistakenly think; it is primarily a dangerous totalitarian ideology.

I am here to warn you that what is happening in my native country might soon happen in Australia too, if you fail to be vigilant.

And I am here to advice you on how to turn the tide of Islamization. Inform people. Confront them with the truth. Don’t be afraid to speak. Use your right of free speech. [The Iconoclast] Read more

When An Arab Denounces The Arabs For Their Backwardness, Etc. What Is It He Can't Say?

Every so often, at www.MEMRITV.org, you can see a video of an Arab journalist, or professor, or political figure, who denounces the sorry condition of his fellow Arabs, deplores their miserable state, their plight, their wretchedness, their backwardness, their conspiracy-mentality, their everything.

But what lies behind this vehemence? What is it that that speaker, brave as he may be or seem, cannot speak about?

.... So those Arabs who see that something is wrong, but do not live in the West, and therefore cannot speak the truths that such people as Wafa Sultan or Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak, are not to be taken at face value.

Look behind their denunciation of "the Arabs" to what they are really semaphoring: a denunciation of Islam. [The Iconoclast] Read more

A response to Geert Wilders: Unravelling 'Islamic myths'

Islamic studies expert Dr Jan Ali of the University of Western Sydney responds to comments made by Geert Wilders after the controversial Dutch MP spoke to SBS about his anti-Islamic agenda.

Wilders stated in his interview with SBS yesterday that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim, claiming that “according to the Koran, they are not Muslims anymore”. Is it possible to be a moderate Muslim? [SBS] Read more

Islamic house sign ban in Newport reversed

A Newport man who was banned by local planning officers from having an Islamic sign outside his home has won his appeal against the local authority.

Newport council had said that the sign was an "obtrusive advert" and ordered it to be taken down.

But Mahmood Ali argued that the sign - which is bright green plastic and two metres long - was a blessing on his home. [BBC] Read more

Islam a 'dangerous and totalitarian ideology': Wilders

FAR-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders has called the Prophet Muhammad a murderer and used Anzac soldiers as an example of the courage needed to speak out against Islam at a speech to Melbourne supporters.

Tight security surrounded Mr Wilders' hour-long speech to members of the ultra-conservative local group the Q Society of Australia at La Mirage reception centre in Somerton in Melbourne's north on Tuesday night.

Fifty police, some on horseback, separated about 100 vocal but peaceful protesters standing on the Hume Highway verge outside the venue. [The Age] Read more

18 February 2013

Lebanese women take on Muslim judges who call rape a 'marital right'

Lebanese women are taking to the streets to demand that the government takes domestic violence seriously, by introducing laws to protect women from abusive partners.

Nadine Mouwad, a founder of feminist collective Nasawiya, says the prevalence of unveiled, glamorous women in Beirut can create the impression that Lebanon is more liberated from patriarchal cultural attitudes than neighboring countries.

But that's merely an illusion, she says. [CNN] Read more

"Homosexuals would be executed" says Islamist speaker at campus event

Footage seen by Student Rights has revealed shocking statements made at an event at Manchester University, showing various Islamist speakers promoting ideas such as the execution of homosexuals and the amputation of thieves' hands.

Student Colin Cortbus attended a meeting at the Students’ Union last Wednesday 13th February organised by the Global Aspi­rations of Women society. He asked the chairperson of the meeting if “in the Islamic society in which you strive for” they would “feel comfortable, personally and morally, to kill a gay man?”

“Absolutely” came the response. The speakers added later that homosexuality was an “atrocity, because it goes against what God says". [Student Rights] Read more

OIC gears up to get denigration of religions criminalized

Getting the go-ahead from the Cairo Islamic Summit, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been actively trying to get the denigration of religions recognized as a criminal offense, according to a top official.

“Next session of the Istanbul Process on Islamophobia will be held in the first half of this year, and the session will squarely focus on the issue of criminalizing denigration of religions,” said Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, director of cultural affairs at the OIC general secretariat and spokesman for the OIC secretary general. [Saudi Gazette] Read more

What the hands of men have wrought

Why are punishments visited upon Muslim countries? And why in particular at certain times?Egyptian anti-porn activist Muhammad Raed has worked out the answer:

Interviewer: I understand we have a report that you did on the screen. Can you explain to us what these statistics mean?

Muhammad Raed: Yes. It’s about the Muslim countries. [The study covered] seven or five years, [and found that] the eight weeks in which people watched the most porn sites were six weeks after we finished Ramadhan, and during the summer holidays.

There were punishments from Allah in our countries during these days. The guy who did this [stud]Y found whole reasons – like what happened to Gaza, in Palestine, on this day, and what happened… [Mick Hartley] Read more

Pro-gay marriage Muslim MPs get threats

Muslim MPs who voted for same-sex marriage have since received death threats and fatwas from Islamist extremists and clerics in the UK and Pakistan.

Five Muslim MPs voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, two abstained and one voted against.

Mufti Muhammed Aslam Naqshbandi Bandhalevi, imam at the Jamia Islamia Rizvia mosque in Bradford, has issued a fatwa, or ruling, declaring one of the five pro-gay marriage Muslim MPs, Sadiq Khan, an “apostate” and that he should “repent before Allah”, reports the Daily Mail. Mr Khan has received death threats since the parliamentary vote and is now under police protection. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Egypt ministry appeals against order to block YouTube

Egypt's telecoms ministry has refused to block access to YouTube and has filed an appeal to reverse a court order asking it to do so.

Last week, a judge ordered a block on access to the site for 30 days for hosting of an anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims, in 2012. The film sparked anger across the Muslim world.

YouTube blocked access to the video in Egypt last September after widespread riots. [BBC] Read more

17 February 2013

Death threats to UK's top Muslim MP who voted for gay marriage

Britain's most senior Muslim MP has received death threats after voting in favour of gay marriage.

Police have told Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, that the threats are credible enough that he should review the security around him and his family following the Commons vote.

Officers in his Tooting constituency in London have been put on high alert, and will respond ‘extra-quick’ should an incident be reported at his home. [MailOnline] Read more

Iran confiscates Buddha statues to stop promotion of Buddhism

An Iranian newspaper is reporting that government authorities are confiscating Buddha statues from shops in Tehran to stop the promotion of Buddhism in the country.

Sunday’s report by the independent Arman daily quotes Saeed Jaberi Ansari, an official for the protection of Iran’s cultural heritage, as saying that authorities will not permit a specific belief to be promoted through such statues. Ansari called the Buddha statues symbols of “cultural invasion.”

He did not elaborate on how many have been confiscated so far, but said more would be seized from shops. [Associated Press] Read more

Detained: Egyptian sheikh who said it is ‘halal’ to rape female protesters

Egypt has issued an arrest warrant on Sunday against the Salafi preacher, who recently said it was “halal” (permissible) to rape female protestors, charging him with the defamation of religion, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported.

Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, known as “Abu Islam” owner of the private television channel of “al-Ummah,” sparked further controversy after he attacked women and Christianity.

He is already on trial for tearing up a bible during a protest outside the American embassy in Cairo in September over a short film made in the United States that insulted the Prophet Mohammed. [AL ARABIYA NEWS] Read more

Muslim preacher urges followers to claim 'Jihad Seeker's Allowance'

Anjem Choudary was secretly filmed mocking non-Muslims for working in 9-5 jobs their whole lives, and told followers that some revered Islamic figures had only ever worked one or two days a year.

“The rest of the year they were busy with jihad [holy war] and things like that,” he said. “People will say, ‘Ah, but you are not working’.

“But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar [non-believers].

“So we take Jihad Seeker’s Allowance. You need to get support.” [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

16 February 2013

Libya arrests 4 foreigners suspected of trying to spread Christianity in Muslim nation

Four foreigners were arrested in Libya on suspicion of distributing books about Christianity and proselytizing, a Libyan police spokesman said on Saturday.

Police spokesman Hussein bin Hamid said the suspects were from South Africa, Egypt and South Korea, and one held both Swedish and U.S. nationality. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed that a dual national Swedish-American citizen was arrested while traveling on a U.S. passport. The U.S. Embassy in Libya declined comment. [Associated Press] Read more

Bomb blast in southwest Pakistan kills at least 65

A bomb blast killed at least 65 people in the southwest city of Quetta on Saturday in what appeared to be the latest episode of sectarian violence against the country’s beleaguered Shiite Muslim minority.

The explosion occurred near a market crowded with shoppers in a Shiite-dominated neighborhood, local and federal government officials said. Authorities believe the blast was caused by a remote-controlled bomb planted in a water tanker.

Women and children were among the dead, police said, and at least 175 more people were injured, some of them critically. [Los Angeles Times] Read more

Hip Hop Hijabis

Earlier this month I wrote about a documentary which explored the motives and experiences of female converts to Islam in the UK. I’ve recently come across a rather different treatment of this topic, which focuses on two women from Bristol who converted in 2005.

Sukina Abdul Noor and Muneera Rashida, born in Bristol to Jamaican parents, formed Hip Hop Hijabis after finding that they had to battle the views both of those opposed to Islam and those who insisted on the most conservative interpretations of their religion.

The belief that music, the female singing voice, was unislamic posed a particular problem for them. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Islamic extremists attack Coptic church, wounding pastor

A mob, incited by local Salafi fringe, threw stones and set fire to the church of St. Georgas in the village of Sarsena, Tamiya District, in the Egyptian province of Fayoum, about 103 km south-west of Cairo.

According to sources of the Assyrian International News Agency (Aina), the attack took place yesterday evening and caused damage, particularly to the dome of the place of Christian worship. The attack destroyed the towering cross on top of the building, and many of the icons and sacred images inside. [AsiaNews/Agencies] Read more

‘I may be killed if I write this’ - Lars Hedegaard, founder of Denmark’s Free Press Society, speaks from a secret location after an attempt on his life

.... And what of the media, which — particularly after the smears around the failed prosecution — have regularly portrayed him as a bigot? Do they have any culpability in this? Hedegaard is reluctant to apportion secondary blame, but finally says this:

‘You can certainly say that if you are constantly presented as an enemy of the people, as I have been, then you are fair game for any lunatic.

You cannot blame some lunatics for thinking that you can easily come and kill me, because if you read all this day in and day out, year in and year out, the man is an absolute lunatic and full of lies and bile and what not, you can get him with impunity. Yes, of course I think it plays a role.’ [The Spectator] Read more

15 February 2013

Saudi Arabia finally limits its religious police

After repeated assurances, Saudi Arabia has announced legislation that reduces the authority of the controversial Islamist police.

Officials said the Saudi Cabinet has approved legislation that would limit the power of the religious police, formally the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

The religious police prevent women from driving, require them to be covered from head to foot in black, ban public entertainment and force all businesses, from supermarkets to petrol stations, to close for prayers five times a day.

The new law was approved on Jan. 28 after numerous official statements that the commission would not have the power of arrest or criminal investigation. [WorldTribune.com] Read more

Anti-Islamist blogger killed in Bangladesh

A blogger who had been critical of Bangladesh's Islamist groups was killed in the capital late Friday, police said, a day after he attended a big rally against leaders of the country's largest Islamic party.

Protests championed by the country's bloggers have seen thousands of people take to the streets demanding the execution of leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party who are under trial for war crimes. Clashes between police and Islamist protesters demanding the trials be halted have also rocked the capital. [Agence France-Presse] Read more

Three churches attacked with petrol bombs in Indonesia

ATTACKERS threw petrol bombs at three churches in central Indonesia, in the latest assault on religious minorities in the world's biggest Muslim-populated nation.

Police in the south of Sulawesi island reported three consecutive attacks between 1am and 4am local time national police spokesman Agus Riyanto told reporters. [AFP] Read more

14 February 2013

Pat Robertson Claims Islam Is 'Demonic' And 'Not A Religion' But An Economic System

Controversial conservative Christian Pat Robertson doubled down Tuesday on claims that Islam is not a religion.

According to Right Wing Watch, Robertson, an elder statesman of the evangelical movement, made the inflammatory claim during an episode of his TV program, "The 700 Club."

"Every time you look up — these are angry people, it’s almost like it’s demonic that is driving them to kill and to maim and to destroy and to blow themselves up," Robertson said of Islam. "It's a religion of chaos." [The Huffington Post] Read more

Islamists denounce Valentine’s Day as an excuse for forbidden sex, ban gift-buying in Indonesia

Indonesian officials and Muslim clerics called for young people to skip Valentine’s Day on Thursday, saying it’s an excuse for couples to have forbidden sex. People in one province were also banned from buying gifts.

Many teenagers use the Western holiday as a time to express their love, which often leads to premarital sex, said Idris Abdul Somad, deputy mayor of Depok, a town on the outskirts of Jakarta, the capital. [Associated Press] Read more

13 February 2013

Radicalization of Young British Muslims

A newly-released study from the British organization Student Rights exposes a problem of which the moderate British Muslim community has been aware for years: the advance of radical ideology among young Muslims, through videos and direct preaching.

A report, "Case Study: London South Bank University Islamic Society," discloses that the London South Bank University (LSBU)'s Islamic Society (Isoc) has exploited social media to disseminate terrorist propaganda. The LSBU Isoc, an affiliate of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), has long been known for harboring radicals and their sympathisers. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Tunisia's young 'General' sees future in sharia

.... "I am against the current government because it betrayed its promises, it betrayed people's expectations," he says. "Ennahda, the party in power, is more political than religious and this is what is disappointing."

Under President Ben Ali, Islam - both as a religion and as part of political life - was repressed. Now the country is experiencing a religious renaissance that is deeply divisive.

Ennahda, which won Tunisia's first post-revolution elections, is an Islamist party, but it is a moderate one. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Muslim man who claimed religion allowed him to hit wife

A Muslim man who claimed his religion entitled him to hit his wife has been given a community order.

Shamshu Miah, 58, of Alexandra Road, Llandudno, struck his wife three times after she did not get him a cigarette.

He later told police his religion allowed him to hit his wife if she did not do as she was told.

Yesterday Llandudno magistrates court heard his wife continued to support Miah, who suffered from bipolar episodes.

The court heard she wanted him to move back to the family home.

Miah was ordered to undertake community mental health treatment. He has to pay £85 costs. [Daily Post] Read more

Nothing to fear from me, says Geert Wilder

CONTROVERSIAL rightwing anti-Islamic Dutch politician Geert Wilders says Australia has nothing to fear from him when he visits the country starting next week.

Mr Wilders, speaking on the ABC's Lateline on Wednesday, said he was on a global jihad to preserve freedom.

He said he wants to warn Australia against allowing the mass immigration of people from Muslim countries "because Islam and freedom are incompatible".

"I believe with mass immigration into our free societies, those societies will change, and they will change for the worse," Mr Wilders said.

The leader of the Party for Freedom holds the balance of power in the Dutch parliament after receiving around 10 per cent of the national vote. [AAP] Read more

Non-Muslim staff told to wear headscarves in Adelaide

An Islamic College in Adelaide has threatened to dismiss its non-Muslim female staff if they don't wear headscarves, as critics say it's wrong to compel women to identify with a religion they don't practice.

An Adelaide school's dress policy has exposed a grey area in Australia's discrimination laws.

The Adelaide Islamic College has long had an unwritten rule that female staff would wear hijab or if they weren't Muslim, headscarves.

The last principal had relaxed that rule. Now the board has reinforced the dress code policy in writing. [SBS] Read more

12 February 2013

Gore, Current silent as cleric affirms death penalty for leaving Islam on Al-Jazeera

Aides to former Democratic Vice President Al Gore have failed to respond to a recent Al-Jazeera TV broadcast, in which a top imam affirmed the death penalty for anyone who quits Islam.

Gore sold his Current TV network to Al-Jazeera, which now plans to extend its broadcast into the United States this summer, according to Ashok Sinha, vice president of corporate communications at Current TV/Al-Jazeera America.

Gore reportedly sold Current TV for $500 million and endorsed Al-Jazeera’s news programs. [THE DAILY CALLER] Read more

Islamic leaders regret Cartoon Crisis role

Two participants in a 2006 trip to the Middle East that stoked the flames of the controversy now say they regret their roles, but that Jyllands-Posten newspaper still holds the lion’s share of blame

One of the central characters in the Mohammed Cartoon Crisis in 2006 says he regrets his role in the controversory that propelled the country to the top of the target lists of terrorists.

Ahmed Akkari, the former spokesperson for the Muslim faith group Det Islamiske Trossamfund, now says that he regrets his trip to the Middle East which he said had "unintended consequences" and helped catalyse the crisis. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Sharia Law: Extremism the Government Ignores

.... David Cameron once said that multiculturalism had failed - he has yet to prove that he means it.

There is no better opportunity than this; he should shut down the sharia councils (or any other body that facilitates the rape of children and encourages violent misogyny) that his government currently defends in the name of culture, prosecute hate speech and incitement to murder, prosecute child marriage as rape, end cultural relativism and racist separatism once and for all..... and enforce One Law for All. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Saudi royal family intervenes over preacher released despite raping and killing daughter

The Saudi royal family has intervened to block the release of a ‘celebrity’ preacher accused of raping, torturing and killing his five-year-old daughter.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi was set to be released after agreeing to pay “blood money” to the mother of his daughter Lama, who suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken back, broken ribs, a broken left arm and extensive bruising and burns. Social workers say she had also been repeatedly raped and burnt. [independent.co.uk] Read more

After doubting the child's virginity

Lama al-Ghamdi was admitted to hospital in the town of Hotat Bani Tamim in November with a crushed skull, broken back and shattered ribs. Social workers said that she had been repeatedly raped and her body burnt.

Her father, Fayhan al-Ghamdi, admitted using a cane and electric cable to inflict the wounds after doubting the child’s virginity. The cleric is something of a celebrity in the ultra-conservative kingdom, appearing regularly on television to discuss correct religious observance and social affairs.... [Mick Hartley] Read more

11 February 2013

Islamist Censorship Charges On - Now sharia advocates are trying to stop the use of the word “Islamist”

In just the latest episode of censorship in the prophet’s name, Muslim activist groups now want reporters to stop using the word “Islamist.” “Islamist” is an important and useful word — it identifies the politically motivated Muslims who are intent on injecting sharia into Western law and culture, and distinguishes them from other followers of Islam.

There is no question that sharia is anathema to the American sense of individual liberty and civil rights, so actual Islamists must hide behind Muslims who have no interest in bringing Muslim Brotherhood–style regulations to America. Uninhibited discussions of the conditions in Western Europe’s sharia enclaves evoke instant rejection of similar arrangements here in the U.S. [National Review Online] Read more

A long overdue counterblast to the Left’s thinking on Islamists

.... The story of Gita Sahgal has been covered before but is worth revisiting. A lifelong human rights activist, Sahgal worked on issues relating to women’s rights, religious extremism, and racism before heading up the Gender Unit at Amnesty International.

Then, three years ago she was dramatically sacked after expressing concern at the way the group was embracing deeply reactionary Islamists. [The Spectator] Read more

"Women cause rape upon themselves" says Egyptian Human Rights Committee

Egypt's 'Shura Council Human Rights Committee' today addressed the recent wave of sexual harassment proliferating during mass protests, calling for specific places of protest for females in a move that is being interpreted as gender segregation.

Daily News Egypt reports that Reda Al-Hefnawy, Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) member said, “Women should not mingle with men during protests. How can the Ministry of Interior be tasked with protecting a lady who stands among a group of men?” [The Commentator] Read more

10 February 2013

Egypt court orders YouTube blocked

A Cairo court yesterday ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website YouTube for 30 days for carrying an anti-Islam film that caused deadly riots across the world.

Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered YouTube blocked for carrying the film, which he described as "offensive to Islam and the Prophet (Mohammed)." He made the ruling in the Egyptian capital where the first protests against the film erupted last September before spreading to more than 20 countries, killing more than 50 people. [Gulf Daily news] Read more

Woman Condemned for Placard Warning of Turkish and Muslim Threat to Europe

Maria Frank, a 74-year-old woman, who leads an organisation called "Association for the Future of Germany" peacefully gathers signatures calling for a referendum on whether an "Islam in Europe" centre should be built in Munich. She is constantly mobbed by antifa, green and trade union activists, so her placards are hardly visible. Despite that, she is prosecuted for incitement to hatred.

"In Rotkreuzplatz the 74-year-old pensioner exhibited a placard on this day, which among other thing said that after the siege of Vienna by the Ottoman empire in 1683 now "the arrogant Turks and Muslims ... [are threatening] Europe again".

The accused thus established and suggested the reference to a war of aggression, at least "implicitly accepting" that fear of Islam and Turks would be generated, argued the state prosecutor. She thus disturbed the public peace." [Islam versus Europe] Read more

Muslim MPs Were Right to Vote in favour of Gay Marriage

A number of Muslim MPs voted in parliament last week in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The House of Commons voted in favour of the Bill with the final tally being 400 in favour and 175 against, giving the Bill a large 225 majority.

The Muslim MPs have come in for expected criticism from more traditional quarters. I even received a text message allegedly from one UK-based ‘Shaykh’ saying that the Muslim MPs needed to repent and renew their faith! [Inayat's Corner] Read more

Violent tide of Salafism threatens the Arab spring

Late last year, largely unnoticed in the west, Tunisia's president, Moncef Marzouki, gave an interview to Chatham House's The World Today. Commenting on a recent attack by Salafists – ultra-conservative Sunnis – on the US embassy in Tunis, he remarked in an unguarded moment: "We didn't realise how dangerous and violent these Salafists could be …

They are a tiny minority within a tiny minority. They don't represent society or the state. They cannot be a real danger to society or government, but they can be very harmful to the image of the government."

It appears that Marzouki was wrong. Following the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid last Wednesday – which plunged the country into its biggest crisis since the 2011 Jasmine Revolution – the destabilising threat of violent Islamist extremists has emerged as a pressing and dangerous issue. [The Observer] Read more

09 February 2013

Preachers of hate on British TV: what they said that broke the broadcasting rules

Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, has made a series of new rulings against minority channels, which are disclosed here for the first time.

The broadcasters and stations which broke the rules are:

.... What Ofcom ruled: “In Ofcom’s view it is potentially offensive for any service to broadcast comments suggesting that it is acceptable to apply a 'penalty’ and kill any individual for renouncing their faith. Broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.” [Telegraph] Read more

No role for Islamists in Tunisia’s next Cabinet: PM Jebali

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced on Saturday that the key ministries held by fellow Islamists would be assigned to independents in his planned new government of non-partisan technocrats.

“All the ministries will be independent, including the interior, justice and foreign affairs ministries,” Jebali told France 24, when asked by the satellite news channel about the plan which his Ennahda party opposes.

In an earlier statement to the media, Jebali said he had asked political parties for suggestions regarding his the new Cabinet line-up, saying he “will not accept any condition from any party,” the state news agency TPA reported. [AL ARABIYA NEWS] Read more

Tunisian Islamists rally to show "power of street"

Thousands of Islamists marched in Tunis on Saturday in a show of strength, a day after the funeral of an assassinated secular politician drew the biggest crowds seen on the streets since Tunisia's uprising two years ago.

About 6,000 supporters of the ruling Ennahda movement rallied to back their leader Rachid al-Ghannouchi, who was the target of angry slogans raised by mourners at Friday's mass funeral of Chokri Belaid, a rights lawyer and opposition leader.

"The people want Ennahda again," the Islamists chanted, waving Tunisian and party flags as they marched towards the Interior Ministry on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the city centre. [Reuters] Read more

Egypt court suspends YouTube over anti-Islam film

An Egyptian court ordered the suspension of online video service YouTube for a month on Saturday for broadcasting a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad, state media reported.

The country's administrative court ordered the ministries of communication and investment to block YouTube, owned by Google, inside Egypt because it had carried the film "Innocence of Muslims," said state news agency MENA. [Reuters] Read more

Plans for Chipping Norton mosque scrapped after threats

A MOSQUE will not open in Chipping Norton after its landlord received a threat that it would be burnt to the ground.

The town’s Muslim community had been celebrating after they won permission to open the permanent home on Monday. But their 79-year-old landlord Georg Wissinter has received a threatening phone call and pulled out of the deal.

He said: “Someone rang up and said if you go ahead with the mosque then it will get very hot. They were saying they would burn it down. [Witney Gazette] Read more

08 February 2013

The cowardly and hypocritical media abandons Lars Hedegaard

It is now three days since a European journalist was visited at his door by an assassin. For three days I have waited for any response to this.

The BBC reported the story in brief, as did the Mail and the Guardian posted the Associated Press story.

But where are all the free-speech defenders? Where are all those brave blogs, papers and journals who like to talk about press freedom, human rights, freedom of expression, anti-extremism and so on?

Where are all the campaigners? I have been scouring the internet and apart from Mark Steyn at National Review and Bruce Bawer at Frontpage, and a few other US conservative blogs, hardly anybody seems willing even to report events in Copenhagen on Tuesday. [The Spectator] Read more

Secular Tunisians fight back after murder of opposition leader

.... Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra said that “[Belaid] has been a vocal critic of the government, saying that the outcome of the revolution in Tunisia was the growing power and influence of the Islamists.

He’s been reiterating the same message of the Islamists being a threat to democracy in the country, and said that what the country needs to have instead is a democratic government which has been deeply entrenched in Tunisia to prevail.” [Harry’s Place] Read more

Are female converts to Islam part of a new wave of feminism?

.... Whatever we may think of these converts, their decision to become Muslim may be a powerful indictment of some women’s lives in the west. That’s the impression they all left me, especially Jessica who would repeatedly ask whether feminism had delivered on its promise. So amidst all the everyday sexism and cultural creepiness hounding British women, is Islam somehow squaring their circle?

[A COMMENT] Ridiculous. These idiotic women seem to assert that everyone is promiscuous and immoral, with exception of the devotees of this bizarre Arabian religious sect. They reveal their own ignorance that they cannot imagine people being moral and principled without having a deity to threaten eternal damnation for not conforming to the dictats of its frothing apologists. Then they dress like Arabs from the Middle Ages, conforming with the cultural traditions of those desert tribes, but they insist it's "religious". [independent.co.uk] Read more

Fact-Busters and the “Mosque-Buster”

.... He used reliable studies and poll results to show why mosques are different in kind from churches, synagogues, or other places of worship, being not centers of religious contemplation only but command centers of jihadist recruitment where believers are indoctrinated to support and commit violence against non-believers.

A 2011 study by Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi found that 81% of 100 American mosques randomly surveyed contained materials promoting “moderate” (30%) or “severe” (51%) violence, while only 19% of the mosques contained no material promoting violence. (As Boby pondered, what would constitute “moderate violence?”)

Perhaps even more significantly, Muslims attending the pro-violence mosques vastly outnumbered those attending the non-violent mosques. The researchers found that non-violent mosques had a mean attendance of only 15 worshipers; on the other hand, violence-promoting mosques, whether falling in the “severe” or “moderate” category, had a mean attendance of 178 worshipers. It is Muslims themselves, Boby concluded from such statistics, who have defined what form of Islam they find authentic. [Front Page] Read more

The Liverpool View: Islamophobia in contemporary Britain

.... Like anti-semitism, Islamophobia is not used to dismiss disagreement over belief, but rather, is used to highlight those instances when a person essentialises all Jews or all Muslims as having certain characteristics, or conveying all Jews or all Muslims as a threat that needs to be dealt with using discriminatory policy.

It may be uncomfortable to accept, but throughout history, many people, tribes and nations have been guilty of racist and xenophobic attitudes and behaviour, including Brits.

We need to have enough maturity to recognise that even in the present era, prejudices against various groups are still rampant.

In Britain, one of these marginalised groups are Muslims, who are often imagined in negative ways which not only leads to oppression and injustice, but is typically based on inaccurate understandings of a group constructed as an Other, who are in reality, more similar to the average Briton than many realise.” [University of Liverpool] Read more

07 February 2013

Sharia Law Swallowing Indonesia

Although Indonesia, "the world's largest Muslim country" with an 87% Muslim population, was once considered a moderate Muslim country, day by day it has been leaning more and more towards conservative Islam and Sharia laws. Initiated in 2009, bylaws in the light of Sharia rulings were implemented that conflict with the values of human rights, and are creating a difficult land for minorities to live in.

Indonesian Aceh province authorities recently launched an initiative, despite opposition from human rights activists, to ban women from straddling motorcycles when riding behind a man.

Suaidi Yahia, mayor of Lhokseumawe, the second large city of the province, said to the Associated Press, "It is improper for women to sit astride. We implement Islamic law here." He later said, "women sitting on motorbikes must not sit astride: it will provoke the male drivers." Instead, they allow women to sit sidesaddle, which is dangerous on a motorcycle. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

'Anti-Sharia Bill' Passes Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee

The Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee has passed HB 351, formally titled "Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases" but more popularly referred to as an "Anti-Sharia Bill."

The bill is modeled after legislation proposed by activist groups who claim Islamic law, which discriminates against women and non-Muslims, is stealthily encroaching upon the American judicial system. [Sunshine State News] Read more

Is violence a sign of Islam's strength or its weakness?

.... Some take pride in the apostasy law as evidence of Islam’s supremacy. Dr Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad, senior fellow at the Institute of Islamic Understanding in Kuala Lumpur, commented that the apostasy law reinforces Islam’s truthfulness and perfection, and respect for ‘freedom of worship’ demands that non-Muslims must grant Islam the right to use violence against apostates:

.... With sixty million regular viewers of his ‘Sharia and Life’ program, the views of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawy are not to be sneezed at. And they certainly cannot be written off as Islamophobic!

As long as the apostasy law is upheld, and even praised, by leading Islamic scholars such as Al-Qaradawy, no-one can credibly dismiss the proposition that Islam relies on and was advanced by violence.

The question is not whether Islam has prospered through violence, but whether this shows Islam is a great religion, or a weak one. [markdurie.com] Read more

Romford nurse allegedly told dad to ‘leave control to Allah’ when daughter turned blue

.... Sanam was eventually moved onto children’s wards for treatment, where her condition continued to worsen.

“Suddenly I saw my daughter turning blue with froth coming from her mouth, I shouted at the [nurses’] counter about her condition,” said Mr Ali, from Barking.

“At this, one of the nurses on duty, told me to be a good Muslim and leave the control to Allah.

“The nurse said she was Muslim. I am a Muslim but I do not expect a nurse to say this when my daughter needs medical help. It’s not professional.” [Romford Recorder] Read more

Muslims in deadlock with Lancashire County Council over halal school meals

THE Lancashire Council of Mosques is in deadlock with the county council over halal meat provision to schools.

Three months ago the organisation urged parents not to allow their children to eat school meals provided by Lancashire County Council which contain meat.

The warning came because of concerns over whether halal products were properly accredited by the authorities approved by the council.

.... “I am prepared to discuss this, but the council of mosques must recognise that the ccouncil will not provide meat from animals that were not stunned before slaughter.” [Lancashire Telegraph] Read more

Warsi and the OIC

.... earlier in the speech she speaks enthusiastically about her friendship for the same Ihsanoglu who wanted to restrain our freedom of expression. Admittedly, this is not quite the same as wanting to enforce a particular belief – we are to be allowed to be quiet, polite atheists.

But if we are not allowed to poke fun at the religious beliefs of others, why should the religious be allowed to insist on their own superiority, and, in extreme cases, assert that those who don’t share their views deserve eternal torment? She speaks with equal delight of her meeting with Sheykh Ahmed Al Tayyeb, who was involved in a rally described by many as anti-Semitic, and who – guess what – thinks the defamation of religion should be criminalised. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Raping women in Tahrir NOT ‘red line’: Egyptian preacher Abu Islam

An Egyptian Salafi preacher said raping and sexually harassing women protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is justified, calling them “crusaders” who “have no shame, no fear and not even feminism.”

In an online video posted Wednesday, Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, known as “Abu Islam” and owner of the private television channel of “al-Ummah,” said these women are no red line.

“They tell you women are a red line. They tell you that naked women -- who are going to Tahrir Square because they want to be raped -- are a red line! And they ask Mursi and the Brotherhood to leave power!,” he said. [AL ARABIYA NEWS] Read more

Western conservatives need to engage positively with democratic Islam

.... the new regimes are remarkably uninterested in each other. Many North African government include what might loosely be termed Islamist groups: the PJD in Morocco, Ennahda in Tunisia, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and so on.

Yet the idea, sometimes promulgated by Western writers, that these parties are branches of a single Islamist movement, is quite misleading. Despite facing similar challenges, and sharing a language, they are almost wholly focused on their domestic affairs, and have little to do with one another.

They vary enormously in their approaches to politics. Indeed, the more you discover about them, the more you realise that Islamist is a wholly inadequate label. To posit a continuum between salafist radicals, who want a sharia-based theocracy, and pluralist Muslim parties that see themselves as local equivalents of Europe’s Christian Democrats, is preposterous. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Police arrest 3 for threatening Kashmir girl band

Three people have been arrested in Indian-controlled Kashmir for allegedly threatening the first Kashmiri all-girl rock band, which disbanded after its debut concert following abusive comments on social media and a demand from a top Muslim cleric that they stop performing. [The Associated Press] Read more

06 February 2013

Over 70 per cent of Belgium Muslims interested in Islamic finance

Key findings published this week from Belgium’s first independent market study, Islamic finance in Belgium – sizing the retail market points to a very strong interest from local Muslim consumers in Islamic finance products and services. Over 70 per cent of survey respondents interviewed for the study have indicated their likelihood to take up such services if local banks were to begin offering them.

Islamic finance in Belgium – sizing the retail market was independently commissioned by the Association for the Development of Islamic Finance (ADEFI) in conjunction with IFAAS (Islamic Finance Advisory & Assurance Services). [CPI Financial] Read more

05 February 2013

Coptic Pope Tawadros II criticises Egypt's Islamist leadership, new constitution

Egypt's Coptic patriarch delivered a cautious but unusually sharp criticism of the nation's Islamist leadership in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, dismissing the new constitution as discriminatory and rounds of national dialogues sponsored by the president as meaningless.

Pope Tawadros II's dive into politics came as he tried to energize the spiritual solidarity of a demoralized community with a visit to a historic monastery that no Coptic pontiff has been to in decades because of security tensions in southern Egypt. [Associated Press] Read more

Sharia Law has no place in Britain or anywhere else

.... Sharia discriminates against non-believers, atheists and apostates.

I have seared in my memory the brutal persecutions and executions of many atheists and scientists for the “crime” of critical thinking.

Cases such as Iranian Ali Ghorabat for apostasy, Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Haj Aghaie for enmity against God, Sudanese theologian Mahmoud M. Taha for his progressive Islamic views and Egyptian Nasr H. Abu Zaid are examples of the widespread persecution of people who dare to question blind belief.

Being an atheist and an ex-Muslim should have been a private matter for me under a secular state.

However, under an ‘Islamic Inquisition’, as fellow secular campaigner Maryam Namazi describes, it is necessary for minority groups, especially those who are persecuted, to publicly air our views and call for equal treatment because this persecution will not end until we stand together and speak out. [Left Foot Forward] Read more

Only 11 in 100 Muslims take up higher education

Eleven of 100 Muslims in India take up higher education – the lowest as regards religion-based enrolment in higher education. In comparison, 20% Hindus and 31% Christians pursue higher education, states a draft report compiled by the union ministry of human resource and development.

The figure for other religions is above the national average pegged at 18.8% of the country’s total population. The draft report, which is based on the National Sample Survey (2009-10) data, attributes the low percentage among Muslims to “various socio-economic reasons”. [Daily News & Analysis] Read more

"If They [Muslims] Had Gotten Rid of the Punishment for Apostasy, Islam Would Not Exist Today"

The most influential Sunni leader in the Middle East has just admitted what many of us who grew up as Muslims in the Middle East have always known: that Islam could not exist today without the killing of apostates.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood and one of the most respected leaders of the Sunni world, recently said on Egyptian television, "If they [Muslims] had gotten rid of the punishment [often death] for apostasy, Islam would not exist today."

The most striking thing about his statement, however, was that it was not an apology; it was a logical, proud justification for preserving the death penalty as a punishment for apostasy. Al-Qaradawi sounded matter-of-fact, indicating no moral conflict, nor even hesitation, about this policy in Islam. On the contrary, he asserted the legitimacy of Islamic laws in relying on vigilante street justice through fear, intimidation, torture and murder against any person who might dare to leave Islam. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Islam's Atempts To Impose Blasphemy Laws Everywhere

.... Hillary Clinton made a few good points at the United Nations back in September when the Egyptian and Yemeni government pushed to impose their prejudices on the rest of us. “None of us can insulate ourselves from insult,” she said. “In the time since I began speaking just minutes ago, more than three hundred hours of video has been uploaded to YouTube. Some of it, no doubt, is vile. Some of it, no doubt, is offensive to my religion or yours. But we must not give these views power they do not deserve.”

She’s right, of course, but she’s still on the defensive. She’s explaining why we shouldn’t criminalize blasphemy in the United States. But she’s not even quite doing that right.

It’s fine that she’s arguing in a diplomatic way that those who are offended need to grow up and get over it, but she’s eliding the most crucial point, that the persecution of blasphemers is tyrannical. It wouldn’t just be tyrannical in the United States. It’s tyrannical in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and everywhere else. [New English Review] Read more

Denmark shooting: Gunman targets Islam critic Hedegaar

A prominent Danish critic of Islam, Lars Hedegaard, has been targeted in a gun attack in the capital Copenhagen, police say.

The 70-year-old writer and historian was not injured in the shooting.

The gunman approached Mr Hedegaard pretending to be a postman and missed with a shot at his head, police said.

Mr Hedegaard heads Denmark's Free Press Society, which argues that religious and ideological interests are threatening freedom of expression. [BBC] Read more

Danish critic of Islam says gunman shot at him, then fled

A gunman tried to shoot a Danish writer and prominent critic of Islam on Tuesday, but missed and fled after a scuffle with his intended victim, police and the writer said.

Lars Hedegaard, who heads a group that claims press freedom is under threat from Islam, told The Associated Press he was shaken but not physically injured in the attack at his Copenhagen home. [Associated Press] Read more

04 February 2013

Lawsuit forces Chicago to accept anti-jihad bus ads

The Chicago Transit Authority has agreed to display plain-spoken anti-jihad ads on city buses, following a lawsuit by the American Freedom Law Center.

City officials initially rejected the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s anti-jihad ads, even after the city accepted bus ads that advertized a sanitized portrayal of jihad as exercise and education rather than warfare.

The center’s new anti-jihad ads are “morally reprehensible — advocating racism, hatred and intolerance of cultural diversity,” said a Feb. 4 letter from Karen Seimetz, the general counsel of the city’s bus authority. [THE DAILY CALLER] Read more

Singing is un-Islamic, says Grand Mufti to girls rock band

Praagaash - the Valley's first all-women rock band, initially faced threats and abuses online, now, Muslim groups have said singing is "un-Islamic". Grandmufti of Jammu and Kashmir Bashiruddin Ahmad on Sunday, Feb 3 termed singing as "un-Islamic" and asked them to abandon it.

The Grandmufti issued a decree, terming singing as un-Islamic. "I have said that singing is not in accordance with Islamic teachings," Ahmad said. The cleric said he has advised the members of the rock band to "abandon" singing as it is against Islamic teachings and will not help them in playing any constructive role in the society. [Oneindia] Read more

A day after fatwa, Kashmir's all-girl band calls it quits

Kashmir lost its only all-girls rock band on Monday as its three teenage members decided to call it quits, a day after the Grand Mufti issued a fatwa terming singing as un-Islamic and asked them to abandon it.

Although the girls have maintained silence over the issue, sources close to them said, they have decided to quit singing and music. [THE TIMES OF INDIA] Read more

03 February 2013

Two Children to be Tried for Insulting Islam in Egypt as Anti-Christian Hostility Escalates

Among files on arrested converts from Islam, kidnapped Christian girls and beaten monks piling up on the desk of a noted lawyer in Egypt, on top is the case of two boys about to be tried for allegedly showing contempt of Islam.

Attorney Karam Gabriel said anti-Christian hostilities in the restive country are getting worse as the two boys are to be tried in a court in Beni Suef – the same city where a mother and her seven children were convicted last month for reconverting to Christianity – for showing "contempt to Islamic religion and insulting the Koran." [The Christian Post] Read more

Geert Wilders’ Speech in Bonn

.... Allow no one to tell you that Islam respects freedom. Freedom and Islam are not compatible. Allow no one to tell you that Islam is a religion of peace. Islam is an ideology of violence. Allow no one to tell you that the intolerant must be tolerated.

We have to show our colours. We have to draw a red line. We have to call for the following: Firstly, no more mosques; secondly, no more Islamic schools; and thirdly, all criminal immigrants with double citizenship must be deported!

We have to cease giving in to every Islamic demand. Winston Churchill said once, when he was confronted with Nazi tyranny: “never, never give in, in nothing, great or small, large or petty; never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.” Instead of following Churchill’s example, Western politicians allow themselves to be intimidated by Islamic sensitivities. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

The Silent Conquest of a Continent

Overall, the birthrate across the continent is far below the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple. Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany have a fertility rate of only 1.4, while Poland and Russia languish at 1.3 and 1.2, respectively.

However, as a subgroup, Muslims in Europe are producing from 4 to 6 children per couple. Encouraged by some sheiks in Muslim countries who have forbidden the use of birth control, Muslim immigrants are producing children at two to three times the rate of Europeans.

Even Muslims in Europe who came from more westernized Islamic countries, like Turkey and Tunisia, have twice the birthrate of other Europeans. And the rate among their second generations is holding to that factor [Townhall.com] Read more

More in France Are Turning to Islam, Challenging a Nation’s Idea of Itself

The spacious and elegant modern building, in the heart of this middle-class suburb of Paris, is known as “the mosque of the converts.”

Every year about 150 Muslim conversion ceremonies are performed in the snow-white structure of the Sahaba mosque in Créteil, with its intricate mosaics and a stunning 81-foot minaret, built in 2008 and a symbol of Islam’s growing presence in France. Among those who come here for Friday Prayer are numerous young former Roman Catholics, wearing the traditional Muslim prayer cap and long robe.

While the number of converts remains relatively small in France, yearly conversions to Islam have doubled in the past 25 years, experts say, presenting a growing challenge for France, where government and public attitudes toward Islam are awkward and sometimes hostile. [The New York Times] Read more

“Burkas for babies”: Saudi cleric’s new fatwa causes controversy

A Saudi cleric has called for all female babies to be fully covered by wearing the face veil, commonly known as the burka, citing reports of little girls being sexually molested.

In a TV interview on the Islamic al-Majd TV, which seems to date back to mid-last year, Sheikh Abdullah Daoud, stressed that wearing the veil will protect baby girls. The Sheikh tried to back his assertion with claims of sexual molestation against babies in the kingdom, quoting unnamed medical and security sources. [AL ARABIYA NEWS] Read more

02 February 2013

It is a Lie that Turkey Has a Lot of Churches

.... I know precisely how many churches there are in Turkey, a few dozen active ones. While the Turkish Government will list hundreds and hundreds, most are either in ruins or being used for other purposes such as storage or garages.

There are a hundred or so Greek Orthodox Churches but only a handful are active since almost all Greeks have been forced out of Turkey (there are less than 2,000 Greeks left today). As for non-Greek churches, here are 4, only the third one is still in use. [Planck's Constant] Read more

01 February 2013

New Hijab Controversies Looming in Europe

The Belgian branch of the popular Dutch department store chain HEMA has lost a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a Muslim shop assistant whose contract was not extended after she refused to stop wearing a hijab, the traditional Islamic headscarf.

The woman had worked for the store in Belgian city of Genk for two months while wearing a headscarf, but after the store manager received complaints from customers, was then asked to remove it.

The woman, a Belgian convert to Islam, had been employed as temporary sales staff; HEMA declined to renew her contract because, its representatives said, of her refusal to remove her hijab.

In its defense, representatives of the Belgian shop said that to maintain the "neutral and discreet image of HEMA, the shop did not want employees wearing any kind of religious symbols." The store then offered the woman a job in its warehouse, where she would not have direct contact with clients. She said the alternative job offer was unsatisfactory and then consulted a lawyer.

[AND] A member of the Kuwaiti delegation of the UN Human Rights Council, Malik Al-Wazzan, said France should revoke the ban [on full-face Islamic veils] to "protect the human rights in discrimination and inequalities toward foreigners and those with different beliefs." This comes as the Kuwaiti Parliament considers a draft law banning the construction of churches. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Muslims allowed to 'take action' if islam disputed or mocked

Federal religious authorities today urged Muslims nationwide to respect non-Muslims, but warned against compromising their faith in tolerating other beliefs.

Today’s message comes a week after last Friday’s sermon that warned Muslims of attempts by “enemies of Islam” to confuse them into believing that all religions are the same.

In today’s sermon, in conjunction with World Interfaith Harmony Week here, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) urged Muslims to respect and protect the rights of adherents of other faiths.

“The most important lesson (in Islam) is that we are prohibited from treating others unfairly just because of religious differences,” it said.

The sermon however said Muslims were allowed to “take action” if their religion was disputed or mocked, citing verse 60:9 from Quran: [Malaysia Chronicle] Read more

Sharia divorces could be allowed after legal ruling

The prospect came after a couple had their divorce settlement under Beth Din, or Jewish law, referred to by the High Court.

According to the Times, it is the first time in British legal history where an English family judge has agreed to refer a divorce dispute to a religious court.

Experts said that the judgment could have far-reaching consequences and clear the way for other couples to seek a divorce in a religious court, including Sharia. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more