31 May 2013

Feds suggest anti-Muslim speech can be punished

A U.S. attorney in Tennessee is reportedly vowing to use federal civil rights statutes to clamp down on offensive and inflammatory speech about Islam.

Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, was quoted by the Tullahoma News this week suggesting that some inflammatory material on Islam might run afoul of federal civil rights laws.

"We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected," Killian told the newspaper.

Killian, along with the FBI special agent that runs the Knoxville office, are set to speak next week to a special meeting with the local Muslim community, informing them. [POLITICO] Read more

University introduces "blasphemy law" for fear of Muslim violence

The Australian National University (ANU) has apparently banned the satirisation of Islam for fear of inciting violence and creating a backlash.

The Australian newspaper reported this week that the ANU cited international violence in the wake of the Danish cartoons and Innocence of Muslims film to justify its decision to force student newspaper Woroni to pulp a satirical infographic which described a passage from the Qu'ran as a "rape fantasy".

The university also reportedly threatened student authors and editors of the infographic with disciplinary action, including academic exclusion and the withdrawal of the publication's funding. Critics have argued that the university is effectively introducing a "blasphemy law" seeking to protect Islam from criticism. [The Commentator] Read more

Among Muslims, Internet Use Goes Hand-in-Hand With More Open Views Toward Western Culture

Around the world, Muslims who use the internet are much more likely than other Muslims to have a favorable opinion of Western movies, music and television and are somewhat more likely to see similarities between Islam and Christianity, according to an analysis of a recent Pew Research Center survey.

The survey of Muslims in 39 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa finds that a median of 18% use the internet in their home, school or workplace. However, internet use varies widely across the countries surveyed, ranging from just 2% of Muslims in Afghanistan to a majority (59%) in Kosovo. [The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life] Read more

Islamophobia Comes to Canberra

.... This university could dig deeper and consider two implications of their actions.

One is: Why is it they have such fear of Islam? Do their actions show that they agree with Geert Wilders that "Islam is the problem"?

Do they agree that it is Islam's own theological characteristics that have caused Australia's leading university to threaten its students with expulsion, simply for doing what students have always done?

The second question is: How will discrimination among religions based upon the criterion of fear distort human rights and the very fabric of the society in which we live? Are we to bow down before Islamic dogmas in every domain of life, out of the fear of being shot "as in Pakistan"?

Will the demands of Islamic sharia determine the boundaries of human safety in every corner of the globe, as the September 2012 Sydney protestors so brazenly demanded? [Gatestone Institute] Read more

29 May 2013

The BBC and its bias towards pro-immigration lobby: Report accuses 'left-wing Corporation of downplaying violence by Islamists'

The BBC gives too much weight to pro-immigration voices and ‘almost totally ignores’ the negative social impact of multiculturalism, a new study has claimed.

The corporation suffers from left wing ‘groupthink’ that prevents its journalists from challenging institutional bias and results in pro-immigration ‘propaganda’, according to the research published yesterday.

It was also accused of ‘downplaying’ violence by Islamists while being happy to criticise Christianity and report on the activities of other violent extremists. [MailOnline] Read more

The East London Mosque Poses As Moderate While Hosting Extremists

.... It sticks in the craw to hear the East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre condemn terrorism and gripe about the obnoxious English Defence League, when at the very same time it is hosting pro-terrorist preachers like Abu Abdissalam.

I hope very much that some of those who co-signed this public statement will take the ELM/LMC to task for its continued, unabated promotion of hate preachers. Perhaps some of them can sign a statement calling on this institution to cease its relentless pouring of poison into the East End of London. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Working women should be molested: Saudi writer

A Saudi writer has urged his Twitter followers to sexually molest women hired to work as cashiers in big grocery stores, the latest backlash from conservatives who want to roll back limited social and economic reforms launched in Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah Mohammad Al Dawood, who writes self-help books including one called The Joy of Talking, has stirred fierce debate this week via the internet microblogging service with the use of the hashtag harass_female_cashiers, to press for Saudi women to be forced to stay at home to protect their chastity. [Financial Times] Read more

Newport shopkeeper told to remove ‘obey our laws’ T-shirt

A NEWPORT shopkeeper has been forced by police to remove a T-shirt from his shop window because they felt it “could be seen to be inciting racial hatred.”

Matthew Taylor, 35, the owner of Taylor’s clothes store on Emlyn Walk in the city, printed up and displayed the T-shirt with the slogan: “Obey our laws, respect our beliefs or get out of our country” after Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, was killed in near Woolwich barracks in London last week. [South Wales Argus] Read more

28 May 2013

French firms see rising religious demands at work

Close to half the staff managers at companies in French urban areas have seen problems arising from religious demands by employees and expect them to increase in future, according to a new study issued on Tuesday.

Listing faith-related problems, the new study said some men refused to take orders from a woman boss or shake hands with women and some refused to handle alcohol or pork products. [Reuters] Read more

Turkey's culture wars

.... Nisanyan is known for his biting tongue, which is common among Turkish writers and intellectuals, whether they are secularists or Islamists. He wrote tauntingly in his blog last year: “Making fun of an Arab leader who claimed he contacted Allah hundreds of years ago and received political, financial and sexual benefits is not hate speech. … It is an almost kindergarten-level test of what is called freedom of expression.”

The prosecutor brought charges against him for “insulting the religious beliefs held by a section of the society” and Nisanyan received a 58-week prison sentence from an Istanbul court on May 22. The court could not say he had blasphemed since this would be out of tune with Turkey’s claim to be a secular democracy. But he had blasphemed in the eyes of those who charged and convicted him. [Mick Hartley] Read more

27 May 2013

Cartoon satirising Islam pulled from student newspaper website

A cartoon satirising Islam has been pulled from the internet by editors of the Australian National University student newspaper, amid concerns of offence and potential for violent backlash.

The Woroni student newspaper originally published the cartoon on April 18 as part of its “Advice from Religion” infographic, the fifth in a series previously featuring Catholicism, Scientology, Mormonism and Judaism. [The Canberra Times] Read more

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The Problem of Muslim Leadership

.... On both sides of the Atlantic, politicians, academics and the media have shown incredible patience as the drumbeat of Islamist terror attacks continues. When President Obama gave his first statement about the Boston bombings, he didn't mention Islam at all. This week, Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson have repeated the reassuring statements of the Muslim leaders to the effect that Lee Rigby's murder has nothing to do with Islam.

But many ordinary people hear such statements and scratch their heads in bewilderment. A murderer kills a young father while yelling "Allahu akbar" and it's got nothing to do with Islam? [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

Islamists attack Turkey "kissing protest"

ISLAMIST EXTREMISTS attacked a group of kissing couples who locked lips in a Turkish metro station to protest a morality campaign by the authorities in Ankara, the local press reported on Sunday.

One person was stabbed when about 20 Islamists chanting "Allah Akhbar" (God is Greatest) and some carrying knives attacked the demonstrators on Saturday, the Milliyet and Hurriyet newspapers reported. [AFP News Limited] Read more

26 May 2013

This week's utterly disturbing Leftists

There is one phrase that has stood out for me over the last few days. One jarring, horrible sentence that betrays the warped mindset of many on the Left when it comes to Islamic extremism: “What happened on Wednesday was terrible, but...”

We have heard it, and its variations, from almost all of the usual suspects since the Woolwich terror attack. Ken Livingstone gave a long condemnation of the terrorists on Friday, only to try to blame Tony Blair and the Iraq War for what happened.

Glenn Greenwald, very careful to thrust the words “horrific act of violence” into the first line of his utterly disturbing piece for the Guardian, compares the killing of a British soldier in London by terrorists to the killing of terrorists in the Middle East by western forces as like for like. [The Commentator] Read more

On the far right

.... While ordinary Britons and non-Muslims around the world are bewildered by these never-ending acts of terrorism, the response of the leaders of the Islamic community is the tired old cliche -- Islam is a religion of peace, and jihad is simply an "inner struggle."

The fact these terrorists are motivated by one powerful belief -- the doctrine of armed jihad against the "kuffar" (non-Muslims) -- is disingenuously denied by Islamic clerics and leaders.

Yesterday, instead of calling on Muslims to shelve the doctrine of armed jihad, predictably, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) issued a quick press release claiming the "barbaric" attack has "no basis in Islam."

Not true, MCB. As a Muslim, I can say without fear, the latest terror attack has a basis in Islam and it's time for us Muslims to dig our heads out of the sand. [Mick Hartley] Read more

You can't tackle Islamism with another committee

.... The costs of coercing religious conformity are no longer politically acceptable: the state is not willing to accept the price in social conflict and so adopts a position of ‘neutrality’ on the competing claims of various religious bodies and moral values.

And that 'neutrality' has brought us to where we are. We are so obsessed with not offending minorities that we not only tolerate but advocate their alien cultural beliefs and practices.

And if we do not, we are 'racist' and 'bigoted'. Mindful of minority ethnic voting communities, politicians have trodden very carefully along the via media between religious liberty and cultural prohibition. There has been no demand for assimilation. That is what must now change.

But it needs no shiny new committee to tell us that. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

25 May 2013

Take off the Headscarf!

The translated writings of Necla Kelek, a secular German Muslim, have appeared several times in this space in the past. The opinion piece below, which proposes to remove Islam from the grip of the traditionalists, was originally published in the German MSM and has been translated by JLH.

The translator includes this note:

Necla Kelek is a highly educated, thoroughly assimilated Muslim woman, whose books and articles in various organs of the press speak with common sense and unassailable scholarly command about Islam in Germany. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

Chatham pensioner, 85, charged after allegedly abusing Muslims outside Gillingham mosque in wake of Woolwich terror murder

An 85-year-old woman arrested outside Gillingham Mosque after allegedly hurling abuse at Muslims has been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.

The pensioner, from Chatham, was handcuffed and taken away in a van by officers after trouble flared as worshippers left Friday prayers.

She was held by officers outside the Canterbury Street mosque as Kent Police vowed to take a hard line against reprisal attacks following the terrorist murder of a soldier. [Kent Online] Read more

Poll reveals rising fears of clashes in wake of Woolwich killing

Nearly two-thirds of people believe there will be a 'clash of civilisations' between British Muslims and white Britons in the wake of the murder of a British soldier in Woolwich, a new poll shows.

The number of those who believe such a clash is inevitable has increased by 9% from last year.

There has also been a small increase in the proportion of people who believe British Muslims pose a serious threat to democracy, up to 34% on Thursday and Friday from 30% in November 2012, according to the YouGov survey of 1,839 adults. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Permissive Britain is a fertile recruiting ground for Choudary

.... By contrast, in Saturday's Mail, Andrew Malone appeared more in touch with the reason why permissive Britain is proving a fertile recruiting ground for young male Islamist killers.

In a piece asking "why, in the name of sanity, is Anjem Choudary, whose poisonous teachings influenced the Woolwich killers, free to draw benefits and tour BBC studios spouting murderous hatred against Britain?", Mr Malone described the case of Richard Dart, a white British 26-year-old from Weymouth, Dorset and one of Choudary’s proteges: [Heresy Corner] Read more

London attack: generations divided on feelings about Muslims after killing

.... There are some challenging results, such as the finding that the number of citizens who think that conflict between groups is "largely inevitable" has risen by seven points to 40%, or that agreement with the suggestion that there will be a serious clash between British Muslims and white Britons has also risen, by nine points to 59%. But these buck the broader trend.

Compared with last year, when we ran the same survey, people are now either just as likely, or more likely, to endorse a series of more positive statements: that Muslims are compatible with the national way of life; are good citizens; make important contributions to society; and share British culture and values.

In fact, while far-right groups were pointing to the murder as evidence that Islam poses a fundamental threat to modern Britain, the percentage of respondents who view Muslims as compatible jumped by almost 10 points to 33%. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

24 May 2013

Woolwich killing: universities crack down on the preachers of hate

.... Mohammed Amin, vice-chair of the Conservative Muslim forum yesterday urged the faiths minister, Lady Warsi, to consider publishing a list of the proscribed preachers.

Amin said: "Too many times institutions say they would have banned someone if they had known about their background, but by then it is too late. Only government has the resources to publish this list and to be free of the threat of legal action. If someone objected to being on the list they could appeal. It is not illiberal."

Rupert Sutton, from Student Rights, an organisation aimed at preventing extremism at universities, said he hoped universities would develop internal lists of speakers liable to preach hatred or violence.

He added: "There is a problem with Prevent at many universities, partly because it comes from government and partly because it is seen as anti-Muslim. It needs to be refocused much more clearly as being opposed to extremism of both right and left." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Swedish Multiculturalism Goes Awry

Hundreds of Muslim immigrants have rampaged through parts of the Swedish capital of Stockholm, torching cars and buses, setting fires, and hurling rocks at police.

The unrest -- a predictable consequence of Sweden's failed model of multiculturalism, which does not encourage Muslim immigrants to assimilate or integrate into Swedish society -- is an ominous sign of things to come.

The trouble began after police fatally shot an elderly man brandishing a machete in a Muslim-majority neighborhood. Although the exact circumstances of the May 13 incident remain unclear, police say they shot the 69-year-old man (his nationality has not been disclosed) in self-defense after he allegedly threatened them with the weapon. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Dutch anxiety over ‘Sharia triangle’ police no-go area in The Hague

There have been calls for an urgent debate in the Dutch parliament about the integration of Muslim immigrants amid claims that one area of The Hague, known locally as “the Sharia triangle”, is being run by a form of unofficial Sharia police.

The claims relate to the district of Schilderswijk, about two kilometres from the city centre, where an almost entirely Muslim population of some 5,000 people surrounds the El Islam mosque, fuelling criticism that the government has failed to ensure a proper ethnic mix in schools and local housing.

One recent investigation, in which local people were extensively interviewed, concluded that Schilderswijk had become “orthodox Muslim territory” which was now largely ignored by the city authorities, by politicians and even by the police, on the grounds that it had become self-regulating. [THE IRISH TIMES] Read more

U.S. Praises Sharia Censorship

.... Some circles including free speech advocates, national security experts, and those concerned about the Persecuted Church, have beaten the drum against Resolution 16/18 and the continuation of the Istanbul Process. Their efforts have been to no avail as the Istanbul Process continues.

However, while awareness of the perils of Resolution 16/18 is on the increase, news on Resolution A/HRC/22/L.40 has gone virtually unreported. It retains the same title as Resolution 16/18, but has glaringly dangerous amendments.

To focus on just one, it asserts that “terrorism…cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.” This is obviously problematic. The lumping together of these categories implies a false equation of immutable characteristics such as nationality and ethnicity with those that are subject to choice such as religion or belief. [Front Page] Read more

Iran's clerical leaders cut presidency down to size

Even before a vote is cast, the Iranian presidential election on 14 June is effectively over as a process for choosing who holds power in Iran.

“I think it is not possible to run the country worse than this,” said the former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, right, after he became one of 700 candidates barred from standing in the election this week. He is normally reticent in criticising the Iranian authorities. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Swedish Multiculturalism Goes Awry

Hundreds of Muslim immigrants have rampaged through parts of the Swedish capital of Stockholm, torching cars and buses, setting fires, and hurling rocks at police.

The unrest -- a predictable consequence of Sweden's failed model of multiculturalism, which does not encourage Muslim immigrants to assimilate or integrate into Swedish society -- is an ominous sign of things to come.

The trouble began after police fatally shot an elderly man brandishing a machete in a Muslim-majority neighborhood. Although the exact circumstances of the May 13 incident remain unclear, police say they shot the 69-year-old man (his nationality has not been disclosed) in self-defense after he allegedly threatened them with the weapon. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

23 May 2013

Woolwich slaughter: sorry, MCB, but this *is* a school of Islam

.... The MCB needs to acknowledge that Sunni Islam contains the malignant ideological strand of Salifism. They must own it, condemn it, and seek to reform it. It is that very same militia devil that has overrun Timbuktu and Mali, and is crushing everything that opposes it.

The Salafi-Wahhabi movement is now a global phenomenon: it has spread way beyond it primitive desert tribalism and burst forth into our civilisation. It not an Islamic denomination of peaceful shrines, sacred texts and respect for aesthetic heterogeneity: it is one of death and destruction in the name of Allah, following the zeal of Mohammed. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Confronting the causes of religion-motivated terrorism

.... Most important, the time has come for our media, politicians and anti-fascist organisations to expose, name and shame any Muslim organisation, mosque, imam, scholar or spokesperson who refuses to condemn and distance themselves from the unacceptable interpretations of Islam that are far-too-often promoted without challenge in Britain today. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Outrage After Sharia Court Allows Rapist to Marry His 13-year-old Victim

.... “Simply marrying the victim will be seen as seeking the back-door attempt to escape punishment,” Ng continued. “We can never allow a rapist to go scot-free after raping a victim by marrying her. Gerakan Wanita firmly believes that prosecution should be mandatory in statutory rape cases and marriage can never be a solution.” [The Diplomat] Read more

The Muslim Brotherhood Has Turned Cairo Into A Dystopia

.... Many disillusioned Egyptians say things are worse than ever. Thugs often run the streets, crime rates have skyrocketed, and police feel they're outgunned, faced with the flood of weapons filling Cairo's streets.

Making matters worse, everything from utilities to gasoline is both more expensive and more difficult to acquire than it was before the Muslim Brotherhood. [Business Insider] Read more

Blasphemy: ‘Prisoners say I deserve to die’

“Other women prisoners say that I deserve to die because I’m a blasphemer,” a woman, accused of defiling two copies of the Holy Quran, told the Additional District and Sessions court on Wednesday.

“Why are people saying I should be killed while the court has not declared me guilty of blasphemy yet?” she said.

The police, she said, had not allowed her relatives to visit her. Neither did the police give her the items or food that her relatives had brought for her, she said. [The Express Tribune] Read more

A Muslim Scout Group has launched in Basingstoke – the first to open in Hampshire

The new group, which runs at Aldworth Science College, in Western Way, has 17 members made up of Beavers and Cubs, who made their promise at a special ceremony.

The Scouting movement launched a campaign several years ago to recruit more Muslim volunteers to cut long waiting lists.

But the recruitment drive came under fire by the National Secular Society, which campaigns to reduce the role of religion in public life, for reinforcing any perception that Muslims are outside the mainstream. [This is Hampshire] Read more

22 May 2013

Ruling party member calls for the ‘annihilation of atheists’ on Twitter, sparking controversy

An official from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sparked controversy after he called for the “annihilation of atheists" on his Twitter account.

Mahmut Macit, a senior member of AKP’s Ankara provincial board and keen user of social media, flared up on May 21 about insults against believers via Twitter. “My blood boils when spineless psychopaths pretending to be atheists swear at my religion.

These people, who have been raped, should be annihilated,” Macit wrote in one tweet. He also argued that “insulting Islam could not be considered freedom of expression.” [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

Turkish-Armenian scribe sentenced to 13 months for blasphemy in blog post

An Istanbul court has sentenced Turkish-Armenian writer Sevan Nisanyan to 58 weeks in prison for an alleged insult to the Prophet Muhammad in a blog post.

The prosecutor had been seeking one and a half years of jail time for Nisanyan on charges of “insulting the religious beliefs held by a section of the society.”

The sentence cannot be converted to a financial penalty, but Nisanyan has the right to appeal. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

Halal food dishing out change in our fast food society

HALAL food is now sold at a dozen McDonald's restaurants and bacon is off the menu at some KFC outlets to accommodate the religious sensitivities of Australia's growing Muslim population.

The Muslim population has soared by 40 per cent to 476,291 in just five years - paving the way for a building program of schools, mosques and prayer rooms in the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne.

Even the country's biggest sports stadiums, including ANZ Stadium and the MCG, have moved to offer multi-faith prayer rooms for devout Muslims.

A KFC spokesman yesterday said three of its restaurants, including two at Bankstown and Punchbowl, are certified to sell halal food prepared in a way that is acceptable to Muslims. [THETELEGRAPH.COM.AU] Read more

21 May 2013

How to deal with Tunisia's Salafists - Ennahda's crackdown could be smarter, integrating moderates and reserving tough stuff for those who back domestic terror

.... The organisation peddles highly religious policies that leave a bitter taste in the mouths of westerners and secular Tunisians. But surprisingly thoughtful, if at times fanciful, theories underlie them.

Take halal tourism. Ansar al-Sharia wants Tunisia to focus less on the traditional western tourist market and target a Muslim market, especially from Europe. Such a policy wouldn't be stupid: global interest in halal tourism is growing, with Muslim countries like Malaysia and Turkey already showing interest in developing models in their own countries. Ansar al-Sharia also supports Islamic trade unionism, financial reforms and tackling education inequality.

[A COMMENT] Good grief. After running a series of editorial pieces about Tunisia straight out of Ennahda's press office, the Graun has now found someone to enlighten us on the gentle side of Salafi. Next up: why some suicide bombers are worth listening to. [Guardian Cif] Read more

20 May 2013

Accused rioter Mohammed Issai Issaka berated in court after refusing to stand for Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge

A MAN accused of rioting during last year's violent Muslim protests has been berated for his "disrespect" after refusing to stand before a magistrate at his court hearing.

Mohammed Issai Issaka, who was charged with riot, assaulting police and resisting arrest over the September incident, this morning said his religious beliefs stopped him for rising for the court - the standard practice whenever a judge or magistrate enters or leaves. [THETELEGRAPH.COM.AU] Read more

As a Muslim, I struggle with the idea of homosexuality – but I oppose homophobia

.... Yet ultimately I didn’t set out to write this piece to try to bridge the gap between Islam and homosexuality. I am not a theo­logian. Nor am I writing this in response to the ongoing parliamentary debate about the pros and cons of same-sex marriage. I am not a politician.

I am writing this because I want to live in a society in which all minorities – Jews, Muslims, gay people and others – are protected from violence and abuse, from demonisation and discrimination.

And because I want to apologise for any hurt or offence that I may have caused to my gay brothers and lesbian sisters. [New Statesman] Read more

Twitter Will Damn Your Soul, Warns Saudi Religious Police Boss

The head of Saudi Arabia’s religious police has condemned Twitter and all those who use it.

Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said a Saudi who uses social media sites – specifically Twitter - “has lost this world and his afterlife”, the BBC reports.

He added Twitter was “the platform for those who did not have any platform”.

It comes as the country ranks second among the world’s fastest growing countries on Twitter. [Huffington Post UK] Read more

Man refuses to stand for magistrate

A man accused of rioting during last year's Sydney Muslim protests has been read the 'riot act' by a magistrate.

Mohammad Issai Issaka refused to stand up in court claiming it was against his religion.

Mr Issaka appeared in court faced with charges of riot, assaulting police and resisting arrest over last year’s riots.

In a 20 minute stand off, the Lakemba man refused to stand for the Magistrate, claiming it was against his religion. [Yahoo! New Zealand] Read more

Two maids get 10 years, 1,000 lashes for sorcery

A Saudi court sentenced two Asian housemaids to 10 years in jail and ordered their lashed 1,000 times each after they were found guilty of indulging in sorcery at their employers’ houses in the Gulf Kingdom, a newspaper reported on Monday.

Their Saudi employers reported the two maids to the Gulf country’s feared religious police, saying they had discovered that their families had been harmed because of sorcery practiced by the maids against them. [Dubai Media] Read more

19 May 2013

Police, locals deny claim part of The Hague is a 'Sharia triangle'

Claims by newspaper Trouw that part of The Hague’s Schilderswijk district is so dominated by orthodox Muslims they are dictating what people should wear and how they should behave, have been denied by both police and local politicians.

Under the headline ‘Hague district is orthodox Muslim territory’, Trouw said ‘short skirts and dresses are not accepted on the street’.

The paper said the area, with a population of some 5,000, is known by locals as ‘The Sharia Triangle’. 'Very slowly, the rules in the area are beginning to change,' the article said. 'The norms of the majority are beginning to take over.' [DutchNews.nl] Read more

Mohsin Hamid: 'Islam is not a monolith'

.... Lived religion is a very different thing from strict textual analysis. Very few people of any faith live their lives as literalist interpretations of scripture. Many people have little or no knowledge of scripture at all.

Many others who have more knowledge choose to interpret what they know in ways that are convenient, or that fit their own moral sense of what is good. Still others view their religion as a kind of self-accepted ethnicity, but live lives utterly divorced from any sense of faith.

[A COMMENT] Islam has the concept of Ummah, which is a supra-national brotherhood. When a Muslim sees themselves as part of the Ummah, then the geographical and cultural boundaries pale into insignificance.

In addition, there is this concept of Pan-Islamism, which "is a political movement advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic state – often a Caliphate". [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Afghan blow to women’s rights

The failure is a severe blow to progress made in women’s rights in the Muslim country since the Taliban was toppled 12 years ago.

Religious MPs objected to at least eight articles in the legislation, including maintaining the legal age for women to marry at 16, the existence of shelters for domestic abuse victims and the halving of the number of wives permitted to two. [Daily Express] Read more

Does Islamic law, Sharia, have a place in American courts?

A lot of state legislatures don't think so and there is a movement to ban its application in domestic courts, state and federal.

It's one of those national issues that for now is not before the U.S. Supreme Court, but almost inevitably will be before the justices somewhere down the line, even if just in the petition stage.

Sharia, based on the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, is often a consideration in family issue cases involving U.S. Muslims. But its precepts apply to all aspects of life, and its severest critics allege it is a factor in some acts of terror. [UPI] Read more

18 May 2013

Islam Vs. Islamism: A Case for Wishful Thinkers

“Our killer question is ‘How do you propose to defeat Islamism?’ Those who make all Islam their enemy not only succumb to a simplistic and essentialist illusion but they lack any mechanism to defeat it.”

This is what historian and Middle East analyst Daniel Pipes asks in his recent Washington Times article.

To support his argument, Pipes makes an unsubstantiated claim that a majority of Muslims are moderate and that Islamism is only, supported by 10-15 percent of Muslims…

So how and why did he come up with such numbers? Pipes uses different studies and surveys about which he himself confesses: “These ambiguous and contradictory percentages lead to no clear, specific count of Islamists.” Why then use such statistics? It is only to serve the major argument he made in my first paragraph. [PJ Media] Read more

45% of Belgian Prison Inmates Are Muslim

5000 inmates in Belgian prisons are Muslim. That represents 45% of the prison population. A situation which impose constraints on the prison organisation.

In Forest, the decision has been made to simply no longer serve pork in the meals. 80% of the inmates are Muslim and refuse to eat pork. It has become simpler to no longer provide it on the menu at all rather than create different dishes. [Islam versus Europe] Read more

Afghan parliament fails to pass divisive women's law

Afghanistan's parliament failed to pass a law on Saturday banning violence against women, a severe blow to progress made in women's rights in the conservative Muslim country since the Islamist Taliban was toppled over a decade ago.

President Hamid Karzai approved the law by decree in 2009 and parliament's endorsement was required. But a rift between conservative and more secular members of the assembly resulted in debate being deferred to a later date.

Religious members objected to at least eight articles in the legislation, including keeping the legal age for women to marry at 16, the existence of shelters for domestic abuse victims and the halving of the number of wives permitted to two. [Reuters] Read more

Bangladesh Bloggers Face Constant Death Threats Since Government Labeled Them 'Atheist'

"They have pushed my life to a state in which I cannot walk free. I remain in self-confinement day after day, and my social relations are mostly snapped," said Parvez, 36, in an interview with The Huffington Post.

He is talking about the Bangladeshi government, which arrested him and three other bloggers last month for "derogatory comments about Islam." Parvez, who is currently out on bail, has been branded with the label "atheist" blogger because he dared to criticize the abuse of religion by politicians. [The Huffington Post] Read more

16 May 2013

Anti-Shariah movement changes tactics and gains success

.... To date, Oklahoma is the sixth state — joining Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee — to adopt a law prohibiting courts from using foreign or international law, with some exceptions, in their decisions.

This year, at least 36 anti-foreign law bills have been proposed in 15 states, down from 51 bills in 23 states in 2011. While most of this year’s anti-foreign law bills have failed, several others, have advanced: [The Washington Post] Read more

Sharia law ban heads to Senate

A proposal to ban the recognition of Islamic Sharia law in North Carolina courts is headed for the Senate after winning final House approval Thursday.

Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, said House Bill 695 is unnecessary, would conflict with constitutional due process rights and would damage North Carolina's image in the eyes of the international business community.

Bill sponsor Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania, disagreed.

"Take it as fact that this is a very, very present threat that must be dealt with," Whitmire said. "We are making sure that the most fundamental basis on which we exist is protected." [Capitol Broadcasting Company] Read more

Blasphemy Charges Becoming New Weapon Against Egyptian Christians

According to a new study, blasphemy and evangelizing accusations are disproportionately used against members of Egypt’s Christian minority—especially those working in education.

A study to be released at the end of this month by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) found that 41 percent of blasphemy cases taken to court from Jan. 25, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2012, were filed against Christians, who make up only about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 83 million people. Ishak Ibrahim, freedom of religion and belief officer for the EIPR, said people are targeting Christians using the nation’s blasphemy statutes as a weapon. [Christianity Today] Read more

15 May 2013

The Oxford sex ring and the preachers who teach young Muslim men that white girls are cheap

.... The view of some Islamic preachers towards white women can be appalling. They encourage their followers to believe that these women are habitually promiscuous, decadent and sleazy — sins which are made all the worse by the fact that they are kaffurs or non-believers.

Their dress code, from mini-skirts to sleeveless tops, is deemed to reflect their impure and immoral outlook. According to this mentality, these white women deserve to be punished for their behaviour by being exploited and degraded.

On one level, most imams in the UK are simply using their puritanical sermons to promote the wearing of the hijab and even the burka among their female adherents. But the dire result can be the brutish misogyny we see in the Oxford sex ring. [MailOnline] Read more

Muslims Demand Germany "Make Islam Equal to Christianity"

.... this is not the first time the German Islam Conference has ended in failure. The official focus of the conference in 2012 was to find ways to deal with the spiraling rates of forced marriages and domestic violence among Muslims in Germany.

But Muslim representatives attending that event were in no mood for compromise. Then, like now, they refused to accept responsibility for any of the innumerable irritants in German-Muslim relations. Instead, they insisted that the German government amend its "misguided" approach to Muslim integration.

The 2012 event ended without a joint press conference because of lingering Muslim pique at "offensive" comments that were allegedly uttered at the press conference that ended the 2011 event. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Baghdad alcohol shops caught in deadly attacks

Gunmen using silenced weapons have attacked a row of alcohol shops in Baghdad, leaving 10 people dead, officials say.

The attackers arrived in four vehicles and restrained policemen at a checkpoint in the eastern district of Zayouna, where the stores are located.

They reportedly struck when the shops were at their busiest, as commuters on their way home stopped to buy drinks.

All of the dead and four left critically wounded were Christians working in the shops. The gunmen allowed customers to leave unharmed. [BBC] Read more

Too much Bengali spoken in council meetings, visitors complain

.... The Labour councillor claims he was called a "shurer batcha" - which means "Son of a pig" -- by a rival councillor during a heated exchange last month.

The slur is extremely offensive to Muslims. Councillor Ullah said in letter to the council's Standards Committee: "Whilst we may have our differences, councillors should afford one another courtesy in our exchanges rather than resorting to unnecessary and abusive insults." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

14 May 2013

Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution is not over yet

.... the failure of this form of government needs to be recognised. This is why, given the growing unrest, Mr Jebali and his mentor, Rachid Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist party and the true strong man of Tunisia, have been forced to announce that they will fall back on a form of government made up of non-partisan technocrats.

In the end it was Ali Larayedh, considered as a moderate within Ennahda, who succeeded Mr Jebali in February 2013. He immediately declared that he wanted to fight ‘the attacks on women, artists and culture’. Pious hopes, to say the least. [WorldReview.info] Read more

13 May 2013

Muslim Council Worker Sacked for Refusing to Shake Hands with Female Supervisor

A Belgian convert to Islam, employed by the City Council of Brussels, was sacked because he refused to shake hands with his supervising municipal magistrate, Karine Lalieux (PS), the newspapers Sudpresse and Le Soir reported on Monday.

The municipal magistrate in charge of town council staff, Philippe Close (PS), a explained that the former employee of the Brussels museums refused to shake hands with Karine Lalieux "claiming that his religion prohibited him from touching women". [Islam versus Europe] Read more

Preaching by extremists and discrimination through segregation has become widespread trend at UK universities equality group claims

Preaching by extremists and discrimination through segregation at student events has become a widespread trend at many UK universities, a student equality group claims.

Radical preachers spoke at nearly 200 events at universities including Cardiff and University College London (UCL) over the last year.

Research found that segregated seating for men and women was promoted or implied at more than a quarter of the events, at 21 separate institutions, despite university rules forbidding it. [The Independent] Read more

Turkey considers tighter limits on alcohol sale and consumption

The Turkish government has prepared a draft law that would ban advertising alcoholic drinks in what officials say is an effort to protect children but could further divide religious and secularist Turks.

The bill, which was sent to parliament on Friday, would also ban companies that produce alcohol from sponsoring events, restrict where alcoholic drinks are sold and consumed, and require Turkish producers to place health warnings on packaging. [Reuters] Read more

I do... for now. UK Muslims revive temporary marriages

.... Khola Hassan, a Sunni Muslim and spokesperson for the UK Islamic Sharia Council, says the practice is strictly not allowed. She says it is equal to prostitution because of the time limit applied to the union.

"I have never come across a Sunni scholar, throughout history, who declares mut'ah marriage to be halal," said Mrs Hassan.

Khola Hassan says there is no difference between nikah mut'ah and prostitution

"There is no difference between mut'ah marriage and prostitution. There is a time limit on the marriage, and the mahr given as a gift [from the man to the woman] is the equivalent as a payment to a prostitute," she added. [BBC] Read more

Extremist Islamist leaders preaching to UK students, says study

A total of 180 events promoted by union-affiliated societies had talks given by people who had “a history of extreme or intolerant views”, according to a study of external speakers at 21 universities, which also included University College London and Birmingham.

More than a quarter of those public talks held by Islamic societies in the year until March are thought to have had segregated seating for male and female students. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Sharia law used in the United Arab Emirates to jail Australian woman after she was gang-raped

.... she took herself to hospital. What she did not know is that under the UAE’s strict sharia laws, if the perpetrator does not confess, a rape cannot be proved without the testimony of four adult Muslim male witnesses. She was charged with having illicit sex outside marriage, and thrown in a filthy jail cell for eight months.

Now, finally home and struggling to move on with her life, Gali, who is suing the hotel group, broke her silence for the first time on television to reporter Ross Coulthart the weekend.

Yahoo News’ Sunday Night programme emailed Alicia’s employer in the UAE with a detailed list of questions pertaining to her case. This was their response: [The Freethinker] Read more

12 May 2013

Saudi Jails Man For Helping Woman To Convert - 300 Lashes

A Saudi court jailed a Lebanese man for six years and sentenced him to 300 lashes after convicting him of encouraging a Saudi woman to convert to Christianity, local dailies reported Sunday.

The same court sentenced a Saudi man convicted in the same case to two years in prison and 200 lashes for having helped the young woman flee the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, local daily Al-Watan said.

A court delivered the verdict in Khobar in the kingdom’s east, where the woman and the two accused worked for an insurance company. [AFP] Read more

10 May 2013

Egypt: Teacher accused of blasphemy

A Coptic Christian teacher detained in Egypt on charges of “defamation of religion” must be immediately released and the criminal case against her dropped, said Amnesty International today, ahead of her appearance in court on Saturday.

Dimyana Obeid Abd Al Nour, 24, has been in custody since 8 May, when she went to the public prosecution’s office in Luxor to respond to charges of “defamation of religion”. The case against her is based on a complaint lodged by the parents of three of her students alleging that she insulted Islam and the Prophet Muhammad during a class. [Bikya News] Read more

Muslim teens not exempt from swim lessons

Integration of foreigners is more important than their religious beliefs, Switzerland’s highest court ruled on Friday. The court denied a 14-year-old girl from a strict Muslim family in Aargau the right to dispensation from school swim class.

The family argued that their strict religion prevented the girl from taking part in swimming lessons, where she would be seen by her male teacher and possibly other men. The girl already knew how to swim, having attended a private class strictly for Muslim girls, they added. [swissinfo.ch] Read more

Tunisian Muslim cleric: "Our goal is to instate the shari'a, and regain Andalusia and Jerusalem," and conquer Rome

"This is the age of the Muslims. Gone are the days of secularists and of democracy." Zarouq apparently thinks that Islam and democracy are incompatible. He must be some kind of Islamophobe.

"Tunisian Salafist Kamel Zarouq Talks about Future Conquest of Andalusia, Rome, and Jerusalem," from MEMRI, April 30: [Jihad Watch] Read more

09 May 2013

Nepali teacher detained in Qatar on blasphemy charge

A Nepali teacher at a school in Qatar has been fired and subsequently put in prison for allegedly making derogatory remarks on Islam.

According to Doha News, Dorje Gurung, a chemistry teacher at Qatar Academy, was fired by the school last week after he allegedly made derogatory remarks on Islam during an argument with a group of his students. Dorje was subsequently arrested by the police and put in jail. [Nepal Republic] Read more

If only Hitler had finished them off

A small excerpt from an anti-Semitic rant by IUMS member Tareq Hawwas on Al-Quds TV (Lebanon):

They are the most miserly of all the peoples. Wickedness, trickery, and deception are engrained within them. The Jews – with only few exceptions – have a natural disposition toward treachery. The Jews think nothing of violating treaties. They have no respect for them.

What has happened in Palestine from the beginning and to this day shows us that the Jews have never respected, for a single day, any international agreement or treaty that they signed. [Mick Hartley] Read more

Coptic schoolteacher detained for 'insulting' Islam in Egypt's Luxor

Public prosecutors in the Upper Egyptian Luxor governorate on Thursday ordered the detention of a Coptic-Christian schoolteacher for four days pending investigation on charges that she had insulted the Islamic faith.

Demyana Emad, a 23-year old social studies teacher, was charged with insulting Islam and the Prophet Mohamed at a primary school in south Luxor, state news agency MENA reported on Thursday.

The complaint was first filed in April when the head of the parents association at the Sheikh Sultan Primary School lodged a complaint with the Luxor Educational Directorate. [Aswat Masriya] Read more

08 May 2013

Muslims Do Not Come To America to Accept Our Way of Life

.... a Muslim woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma wants a local bank to make Muslims exempt from their "no hats, no hoods" policy. According to the policy, anyone who doesn't want to remove their head covering must be escorted to and from the teller; even a cancer patient wearing a head scarf.

Now I think that's a wise and appropriate policy considering that bank robbers have been using burqas to both cover their faces and to hide weapons, see my article Philly Cop Killed: Time to Ban the Burqa. However, CAIR wants to make religious headgear exempt from the ban on hats and hoods. What's the point of that? If religious headgear is exempt, then a bank robber will simply use a burqa instead of a ski mask to rob the bank

CAIR doesn't care about the safety of infidels or the bank, as long as Muslims get their way. Cancer patients have to be escorted to a teller, but Muslims feel that since Islam is supreme, exceptions must be made to accommodate them. [Planck's Constant] Read more

We need answers to the doubts and distrust raised by call for sharia law

.... Some men are choosing not to marry through the civil law process, because it makes divorce simpler and does not enable a woman rightly to claim her share of the assets at the time of divorce.

There is also an opportunity for men to marry a second wife, because the first sharia marriage is not recognised in law.

We have to ensure that the rights of women are protected. I therefore concur with Inspire’s call that all sharia marriages be simultaneously registered as civil marriages, thus offering much-needed protection to women.

I believe that, sadly, the word ‘sharia’ has more negative connotations than positive images in our country. Only by exploring why will we begin to address those concerns. [Yorkshire Post] Read more

Halal meat withdrawn from 18 schools in Luton

Halal meat has been taken off the menu at 18 schools in Luton after concerns were raised by Muslim groups.

Luton Borough Council, which has served the meat in schools for 15 years, said it had suspended the service while it looked into how the meat was certified.

The decision followed a meeting with Luton Council of Mosques and Sunni Council of Mosques.

A council spokesperson said it did not relate to the "safety of the food or whether it has been contaminated".

Children at the schools affected by the decision, which was made at the end of April, are being served vegetarian meals while the checks are being made. [BBC] Read more

Muslim cleric condemns violence in Islam's name, is declared an apostate and threatened with death

From modern, moderate Morocco comes yet another example of why we don't see more sincere Muslim reformers. Ahmed Assid said: "To call [upon people] to follow Islam by the use of violence and constraint is an act of terrorism." For that, he has been condemned, declared a non-Muslim, and threatened with death.

Now wait a minute. We're constantly told that the overwhelming majority of Muslims condemn violence and terror and abhor the violence done in Islam's name. So why isn't Ahmed Assid celebrated as a hero, instead of fearing for his life? [Jihad Watch] Read more

07 May 2013

The mass exodus of Christians from the Muslim world

A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway. Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other.

We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world, much of which prior to the Islamic conquests was almost entirely Christian, came into being.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.” [FOX News Network] Read more

‘Un-Islamic democracy’: The other election campaigning

While the major political parties have ramped up their electioneering as polling day fast approaches, at the same time a raft of smaller groups, most of them religious, have stepped up campaigns calling for the scrapping of democracy and elections altogether.

These campaigns appear in pamphlets and banners and backs of rickshaws. Some call democracy un-Islamic and demand a caliphate, while others decry elections as a mechanism controlled by the rich and powerful and devoted exclusively to their benefit. [The Express Tribune News Network] Read more

Battle over blasphemy deepens divisions in Bangladesh

As the death toll rises to at least 38 after Sunday and Monday’s crackdown on Islamist protesters in Bangladesh, an Observer in the capital, who filmed the aftermath of these clashes, explains how divided the country has become.

Following a call by the hard-line Islamic group Hefajat-e-Islam, at least 200,000 people took to the streets of Dhaka to try to pressure the government into adopting strict blasphemy laws, notably the death penalty for bloggers they accuse of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. [France 24] Read more

France struggles to fight radical Islam in its jails

In France, the path to radical Islam often begins with a minor offence that throws a young man into an overcrowded, violent jail and produces a hardened convert ready for jihad.

With the country on heightened security alert since January when French troops began fighting al Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali, authorities are increasingly worried about home-grown militants emerging from France's own jails. [Reuters] Read more

06 May 2013

Norwegians: Outsiders in Their Own Country

.... Every now and then, to be sure, one of the major national newspapers will proffer a brief glimpse of reality. But more often, you have to look elsewhere for it. On April 27, it was the business newspaper Finansavisen, of all publications, that served up a tonic dose of the truth.

Reading the headline, “Life as a Minority,” readers might have expected the usual sob-sister fantasy about how tough it is to be a Muslim in Scandinavia.

But this article was something different. It was a searing portrait of the New Normal in Groruddalen, a huge stretch of East Oslo, where the “minority” in question is Norwegian. [FRONTPAGEMAG.COM] Read more

Sharia in UK: Women Pressured to Stay in Abusive Marriages

.... On its website, the Leyton Sharia Council writes: "Though the Council is not yet legally recognized by the authorities in the UK, the fact that it is already established, and is gradually gaining ground among the Muslim community, and the satisfaction attained by those who seek its ruling, are all preparatory steps towards the final goal of gaining the confidence of the host community in the soundness of the Islamic legal system and the help and insight they could gain from it.

The experience gained by the scholars taking part in its procedures make them more prepared for the eventuality of recognition for Islamic law. [Clarion Project] "Read more

Of the 15 worst violators of religious freedom in the world, 10 are Islamic states

Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam severely restrict religious activities by harassing individuals and groups for their beliefs; therefore they have been classified as "countries of particular concern" in the 2013 report by the Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The Commission is an independent advisory body that monitors abuses of religious freedom by identifying nations such as Egypt — whose transitional government has failed to protect religious minorities, usually Coptic Christians, from Islamic-inspired violence — as "governments that are the most egregious violators."

Muslim-dominated Iraq was cited for tolerating "violent, religiously motivated attacks" and the Islamic Republic of Iran for "prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily, or entirely on the religion of the accused." Iran often accuses converts to Christianity of crimes against state security. [Worthy News] Read more

05 May 2013

Danish researcher compare religious texts of 10 biggest religions and concludes: Islam is the most violent religion

The religious texts in Islam calls upon its followers to commit terror and conflict to a much higher degree than any other religion, concludes Tina Magaard, who graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris as a PhD in Textual Analysis and Intercultural Communication after a three-year research project that compared the basic texts from 10 religions.

'The texts in Islam are clearly distinct from the other religious texts as they to a much higher degree calls for violence and aggression against followers of other faiths. There are also direct incitements to terror. This has long been a taboo in Islam research, but it is a fact we have to acknowledge,' says Tina Magaard.

Furthermore, the Qur'an contains hundreds of calls to fight against followers of other faiths.

'If it is true that many Muslims view the Qur'an as God's own words that can not be interpreted or rephrased, we have a problem.'" [Islam versus Europe] Read more

04 May 2013

World's Muslims Reveal Their "Literalist, Supremacist, And Brutal View"

.... Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, numbering some 1.6 billion humans [no, that is the Muslim figure -- the neutral figure, arrived at by adding up the Muslim populations of each country, and not merely accepting the Muslim practices of 1) assumming that everyone in a Muslim-dominated country must be counted as Muslim and 2) the exaggerated figures that, for propaganda purposes of the "Islam-is-the-world's-fastest-growing-religion" and "we-are-outbreeding-you-the-kuffars" type ] (behind only Christianity’s 2.2 billion).

There is, thus, enormous diversity of opinion on many issues of doctrine and practice, and essentializing Islam as either “peaceful” or “violent” is fraught with peril. Nonetheless, this latest Pew study provides empirical evidence that many — far too many — Muslims cling to a literalist, supremacist and indeed brutal view of their religion. Insha’allah, this will change eventually — but time is not necessarily on our side. [The Iconoclast] Read more

62% of Turkish Men Support Wife Beating

A survey of 3500 Turkish men conducted by the University of Kirikkale and the organisation “Happy Children” prove what is anyway a truism in Turkey: of course most Turkish men consider violence against women to be completely normal, sensible and practical.

28 per cent of those polled thought violence against spouses to be indispensable: it was needed to discipline them. 34 per cent were more moderate and thought violence against spouses was only “necessary” “occasionally”. [FRONTPAGEMAG.COM] Read more

Sharia Über Alles

Despite a number of (deliberately?) mitigating biases, both methodological and interpretative, the latest Pew Research Forum report, "The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society," released April 30, 2013, confirms the broad appeal of the totalitarian Sharia, Islam's religio-political "law," across Islamdom

.... Derived from Islam's most important canonical texts -- the Koran and hadith (the canonical collections of the Muslim prophet Muhammad's deeds and pronouncements) -- and their interpretation and codification by Islam's greatest classical legists, Sharia, is not merely holistic, in the general sense of all-encompassing, but totalitarian, regulating everything from the ritual aspects of religion to personal hygiene to the governance of a Muslim minority community or an Islamic state, bloc of states, or global Islamic order. [American Thinker] Read more

03 May 2013

"Different and Threatening": Most Germans See Islam as a Threat

More than half of all Germans view Islam as a threat to their country and believe it does not belong in the Western world, according to a major new study on religious attitudes in Germany.

The findings confirm the results of dozens of other surveys, and reflect a growing divide between the views of ordinary Germans and those of Europe's multicultural elites, who, in the quest for "diversity," have been promoting mass immigration from Muslim countries for decades.

The study, entitled, Religion Monitor 2013: Religiousness and Cohesion in Germany (currently available only in German) was produced by the Bertelsmann Foundation, one of the most influential think tanks and lobbying groups in Europe, and a strong proponent of "progressive" causes such as multiculturalism and global governance.

According to the survey -- designed to measure the "most important forms and intensity of the religiosity" of German citizens -- the majority of Germans view Islam as "foreign, different and threatening." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

An Atheist Muslim's Perspective on the 'Root Causes' of Islamist Jihadism and the Politics of Islamophobia

The ambassador answered us that [their right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

.... To us, the "root causes" of jihadist terrorism are the same today as they were when Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja said those historic words to Thomas Jefferson. We want to be honest about it so that we can actually do something about it.

For the fast-growing secularist/humanist movement, criticism of religion isn't a demonstration of bigotry but a struggle against it. To us, bigotry against bigotry isn't bigotry, and intolerance of intolerance isn't intolerance. [The Huffington Post] Read more

02 May 2013

Polarizing anti-Sharia bill "effectively dead" in the Florida Senate

A polarizing bill designed to prevent the use of Islamic Sharia law in Florida courts appears doomed for the year, after it failed to gain enough support in the Senate on Thursday afternoon.

The bill (HB 351), sponsored in the Senate by Lake County Republican Sen. Alan Hays, fell a single vote short of the two-thirds it needed to overcome a procedural hurdle on the second-to-last day of the annual legislative session. The bill needed the support of 26 senators and 25 voted for it. [Orlando Sentinel] Read more

01 May 2013

Muslim Woman Says Her Faith Was Attacked in Court

A Hammond, Ind., woman says she felt she and her Islamic faith were under attack Tuesday night when she declined a request to remove her head scarf during a visit to traffic court.

Yolanda Gray says she has been a Muslim her whole life and began wearing head scarves to signify her devotion to the Islamic religion. Gray said she was confronted about her head scarf once by a security guard at the entrance of City Hall and again by a court officer.

The security guard gave her no problem, she said, but a court officer threatened to make her leave the courtroom if she didn't either show proof of her religion or remove the head scarf. [NBC Chigao] Read more

Sharia councils: unjust, unequal and consequence of failed integration policies

Personally, I wasn't surprised watching the Panorama on 'Secrets of Sharia Councils in the UK' broadcast on the BBC last week. I am aware of these dangerous practices by similar courts adopting the same Islamic constitution elsewhere outside the UK.

However, the main issues to be addressed here aren't only the discriminatory nature and inequality of these councils, but also the broader context of the failed integration polices of the current government. The failure to integrate migrants and refugees and the government's pro-faith agenda has resulted in the demand and justification for such parallel systems to fulfil the needs of those who feel they are 'different'.

There is a common argument that a right to Sharia councils are part of an individual's rights to their own religion and beliefs. It is important here to link the establishment of Sharia councils in the UK with the rise of Islamism internationally. Muslims have lived in the UK and Europe for centuries and didn't need an Islamic court to provide them permission to adopt, worship or practice their religion. [National Secular Society] Read more

Muslims back Islamic law, disagree on meaning

Devotion to Islam shapes the lives of most Muslims but their views on democracy, religious law known as sharia, and family life are varied, a new study finds.

.... However, they don't agree on what sharia means. "There is no monolithic code. … No common understanding from Africa to Asia to the former Soviet Union," said Amaney Jamal, professor of politics at Princeton University and special adviser to Pew for the report.

Indeed, the more experience Muslims had with living with "a narrow, rigid form of sharia," the less supportive they were of it, Jamal said. "In counties that have less experience with (laws ordained by God) you find widespread support," she said.

This may be because their view of the law is "informed by Islamic ideals about social justice and equality and redistribution," not a strict code of what is permissible and what is not. [USA TODAY] Read more

Saudi school to punish female student hugs with therapy, religious education

A Saudi Arabian university has barred female students from hugging each other.

A Saudi Arabian website shared a document allegedly issued by an all female university warning them to not “hug” each other or they would face being transferred to a mental examination by the school.

The document also states that al-Baha University, located in the south of the ultra-conservative Kingdom, will force female students who violate the rule and hug each other to take religious studies all year around, to “amend” their behavior. [Bikya News] Read more

Muslim leaders 'need to be clear on Sharia plans'

Islamic leaders “urgently” need to explain what they mean by the term Sharia to prevent “fear of the public lash,” according to a member of the Bradford Council of Mosques.

Ishtiaq Ahmed feels that although the UK is generally tolerant in allowing Muslims to freely practice their faith, the ideas behind Sharia need to be better explained if the community wants to move ahead with proposed Sharia councils.

.... The Council of Mosques has since accused Mr Hopkins of misrepresenting their wishes, and insist that Sharia councils would only be there for guidance, and not to supersede UK law. [Bradford Telegraph and Argus] Read more

Turkish Airlines starts implementing Sharia law

Lipstick ban is latest in string of conservative measures adopted by airline, which have sparked ire of fiercely secular Turks.

Turkish Airlines has banned air hostesses from wearing brightly-coloured lipsticks such as red or pink, a move which has sparked fierce debate as the government is accused of trying to Islamise the country, local media reported Wednesday.

Numerous women posted pictures of themselves wearing bright red lipstick on social media websites to protest at the measure, part of a new aesthetics code for stewardesses working for Turkey's main airline. [Middle East Online] Read more