29 June 2013

Canada in landmark move to strike out "hate speech" law

Free speech advocates are hailing a move by the Canadian Senate this week to abolish a highly controversial section of Canada's Human Rights Act which, critics say, has been used to stifle the opinions of right-leaning journalists such as Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.

.... Commenting on the move, Steyn, who had been a victim of Section 13 due to his writings against Islamism and terrorism, said:

"So victories against the state’s encroachments on free speech are protracted and difficult, but still just about possible. I am honored to have played a small role in a modest victory for liberty in Canada, and I hope my friends in London, ashamed by what their government has done, will take heart." [The Commentator] Read more

Turkey – Erdogan Global Twitter Conspiracy

Having been accused of being a paid part of the global conspiracy to destabilise Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey I thought it was time to revisit Turkey via the foreign media angle which has included twitter for as Erdogan said:

“There is now a scourge that is called Twitter. The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.” [Homo economicus] Read more

Topless Femen activists target Swedish mosque

Three women from the feminist activist movement Femen entered a mosque on Södermalm in central Stockholm on Saturday morning, baring their breats and chanting "No sharia" and "Free women".

The women entered the main central Stockholm mosque at around 11am on Saturday.

Mosque employees called the police who dispatched several units to the scene. Shortly after their arrival they emerged with the still bare-breasted women and walked to a transport vehicle. [The Local] Read more

Blasphemy convict: Aasia Bibi’s appeal at least two years away

Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman on death row whose blasphemy conviction was decried as unjust by slain former governor Salmaan Taseer, faces a wait of at least another two years behind bars before her appeal is likely to come up before the Lahore High Court.

Bibi, 45, has been jailed since June 19, 2009, when her neighbours in a village near Nankana Sahib accused her of making derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). An additional district and sessions judge convicted and sentenced her to death in November 2010, pending confirmation of the decision by the LHC.

The case attracted the attention of then Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who visited Bibi in jail and denounced her conviction as well as the blasphemy law. A couple of months later, Taseer – and any hope Aasia Bibi had of a quick release was killed in a hail of bullets fired by his own bodyguard. [The Express Tribune] Read more

Shia And Sunni Tensions In Syria Threaten To Split British Muslim Community

On the surface, it was a demonstration in support of the rebels in Syria. In reality, the objective was to intimidate members of the minority Shia Muslim community in the UK, Muslims whom followers of Choudary's brand of extreme Salafist Sunni Islam do not consider true believers.

Activists carried banners rallying against the "Shia Enemies of Allah" and police had to be called to the scene when members of the group apparently attacked a man who was Shia, hitting him almost a dozen times.

The demonstration is the first time that bitter Muslim sectarian tensions, now one of the driving forces behind the war in Syria, have bubbled to the surface, leading to violence on the streets of London. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Halifax primary may fight block over hardline Islam fear

A CONTROVERSIAL free school allegedly linked to hardline Islamic views may challenge the Government’s decision to block its plans to open in September.

A statement from Northern Lights Educational Trust said “all possible options” were being considered after the Department for Education (DfE) withdrew approval for a primary free school in the Park ward area of Halifax.

The DfE launched an investigation after Calderdale Council and Halifax MP Linda Riordan raised fears about community cohesion. Schools Minister Lord Nash told Ms Riordan concerns around “inclusiveness” formed one of the reasons behind the decision. [Yorkshire Post] Read more

28 June 2013

Why is the left so blinkered to Islamic extremism?

.... People only see what they want to see and shut out anything uncomfortable which contradicts their world view. Evidence is no longer evidence at all but rather white noise to be filtered out, or ammunition to be twisted and used against the other side.

The existence of a large amount of this type of confirmation bias in politics is a conclusion one is bound to draw after reading a new report by the One Law for All campaign: Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left.

In the past decade or so some progressives have found themselves - either through political expediency or something worse - on the side of the far-right. [independent.co.uk] Read more

HRW: Lynching of Shiites in Egypt follows months of negative rhetoric

Human Rights Watch expressed alarm on Thursday over the lynching of four Shiites by a mob led by an Egyptian Salafi Sheikh in Greater Cairo on Sunday.

The rights group said the violence in the village of Abu Musallim comes after months of anti-Shiite rhetoric.

“The brutal sectarian lynching of four Shiites comes after two years of hate speech against the minority religious group, which the Muslim Brotherhood condoned and at times participated in,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at HRW.

“This horrific incident in Abu Musallim shows that Shiite can’t even gather in the privacy of their homes to celebrate and heightens fear of persecution among all religious minorities in Egypt.” [Al Arabiya] Read more

Half of Britain’s mosques have been attacked since 9/11

.... Despite the warning signs, a senior Government adviser told The Independent that there remains a “lack of political will” to take on the rise of Islamophobic attacks in Britain.

The adviser, who did not want to be named, said that attempts to “tackle this issue – even before Woolwich – struggled to attract buy-in,” with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, identified as the primary source of frustration. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Obama Courts Jihad Apologists

.... As jihad watchdogs have reported, the administration has rolled out the red carpet for dozens of Muslim Brotherhood officers, flacks, and sympathizers. IPT noted last year: “White House visitor logs show that top U.S. policymakers are soliciting and receiving advice from people who, at best, view the war on terrorism as an unchecked war on Muslims.

These persons’ perspectives and preferred policies handcuff law enforcement and weaken our resolve when it comes to confronting terrorism.” [National Review Online] Read more

Turkish PM's treason claims against BBC reporter chills other journalists

Selin Gerit, a London-based presenter for BBC's Turkish service, was until last week relatively unknown in her home country. However, that changed when Recep Tayyip Erdogan told parliament she was guilty of treason over her coverage of the anti-government protests sweeping the nation.

The prime minister's condemnation has triggered concerns among fellow journalists, who believe Erdogan – who accuses the media of fanning the demonstrations – is attempting to stifle dissent. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Saudi Arabian Women's Conference... With Not A Female In Sight

An image of a conference in Saudi Arabia on the topic of “women in society” – with not a single female present - has gone viral.

The picture features row upon row of men in traditional headscarves and white thobes. A single Westerner in a flannel shirt is the only person breaking up an otherwise uniform sea of what appear to be Arab men. [Huffington Post UK] Read more

27 June 2013

Saudi police stop wedding in park

Saudi Arabia’s religious police raided a park in the Gulf Kingdom and stopped a wedding they considered as a violation of conservative local traditions.

Hundreds of visitors to the park south of the capital Riyadh surrounded the newly-wed Egyptian couple to take part in the party before members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice entered the park and stopped the event.

“A source in the Commission said the wedding was stopped because it violated local traditions as the bride was not covering her face and the groom was holding her hand and hugging her sometimes,” Ajel newspaper said. [Emirates247.com] Read more

Theresa May's ban on Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller reveals a troubling relativism

.... Even an Imam had to recently admit that Spencer knew his stuff. Don't believe me? Listen to this interview of his with the BBC Asian Network last week. And also, weep at how uninformed Nick Lowles of the Hope Not Hate group is. And before you claim, "OMG you're endorsing Robert Spencer!" No I'm not. I'm just saying, he's not as "out there" as people claim. And he's certainly not ban-worthy.

But anyway, it doesn't really matter if I agree with them or not. And that's the point, isn't it?

Britain likes to trumpet itself as a 'tolerant' country. The government and politicians certainly do. It sounds lovely, doesn't it? We're incredibly 'tolerant' over here, don't you know?

But not so much that we can tolerate people who have a critical reading of Islamism and Islam, it seems. No. That'd be too much. Deport the atheists (like me) while you're at it. Because we think all religions are cuckoo. So perhaps the Home Secretary's rationale for banning Gellar and Spencer (being 'not conducive to the public good') would extend to all of us, too? [THE COMMENTATOR] Read more

A gross double standard over hate speech

According to the Home Office if you are a non-Muslim and you make the following statement your presence will be deemed ‘not conducive to the public good’ and you will be barred from entering the United Kingdom:

‘It [Islam] is a religion and a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers for the purpose for establishing a societal model that is absolutely incompatible with Western society. Because of media and general government unwillingness to face the sources of Islamic terrorism these things remain largely unknown.’ [The Spectator] Read more

Brotherhood inciting hate

Human Rights Watch accused Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood Thursday of inciting religious hatred that led to the lynching of four Shiites in Cairo this week.

Residents of the suburb of Zawiyat Abu Musallem surrounded a house where a prominent Shiite preacher had arrived Sunday for a religious festival.

They attacked the guests, killing at least four and mutilating their bodies. [The Daily Star] Read more

The British government's jihad against free thought

By banning from the country as extremists the American anti-jihadis Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, the Home Secretary Teresa May has not only made herself look ridiculous but has sent the enemies of the United Kingdom the message that they have it on the run.

I do not support the approach taken by either Geller or Spencer to the problem of Islamic extremism. Both have endorsed groups such as the EDL and others which at best do not deal with the thuggish elements in their ranks and at worst are truly racist or xenophobic. [Melanie's blog] Read more

26 June 2013

OIC Opens Office in Brussels to Fight "Islamophobia" in Europe

The primary objective of the OIC, headquartered in Saudi Arabia and funded by Islamic countries around the world, has long been to pressure Europe and the United States into passing laws that would ban "negative stereotyping of Islam."

The establishment of a permanent OIC presence in Brussels implies that the group intends to redouble its lobbying efforts aimed at outlawing all forms of "Islamophobia" [a term invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1990s] within the 27-member EU, where restrictions on free speech regarding Islam-related issues are already commonplace (see here, here, here and here). [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Banning of Geller and Spencer from UK will only build grievance

.... This is the problem with banning people such as Geller and Spencer, Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and others: Once we have an established principle that we can ban people who have not actually committed a crime in this country, on the grounds that what they say may not be conducive to the public good, then we risk an ever higher stakes game: the next time a controversial Muslim preacher passes through the country, there will be cries that that person was allowed in but not Geller; likewise when the next Geert Wilders enters, it will be asked how come he can enter, but Zakir Naik cannot? And on it goes, grievances building.

If these people break the law while in the country, and are prosecuted and barred, whether for hate speech, incitement to violence or relevant criminal offences, then at least it can be said that we are all subject to the same law, and the law has been broken. But this pre-emptive extra-judicial move is a strategy that risks undermining cohesion and entrenching bitterness in an already vicious argument. [Index on Censorship] Read more

25 June 2013

Good news: "Behead Those Who Disrespect Our Prophet P.B.U.H" has a Facebook page!

This is what real hatred and incitement to violence looks like: the page is here. But note that none of those who are so exercised about "Islamophobia" and who smear our work against jihad and Islamic supremacism as "hateful" have a word to say about this.

It is not "hate" when it's a Facebook page. It only becomes "hate" when I report about it. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Islam At War -- With Itself

.... Somewhere in or near Quetta a group of men chanted with pride, Allah-u-Akbar (God is great), eulogizing the female suicide bomber for killing the very women who held the most promise for Pakistan. Their spokesperson called the news outlets to claim responsibility for the attack on unarmed women. Later, at the Bolan Medical Complex in Quetta, another group of men, armed with AK-47 and wearing suicide vests, engaged the security personnel in a standoff that left several more dead, including four nurses who were attending to the wounded from the earlier blast.

This was all done in the name of Islam. This will be repeated sooner than later. Some would argue this is not the "real" Islam. Does it really matter what real Islam is when its true followers cannot stand up to those who use religion to commit genocide? [TheHuffingtonPost.com] Read more

24 June 2013

Sectarian killing rattles fearful Egypt

Egypt's president, accused of fuelling sectarian hatred, promised swift justice on Monday for a deadly attack on minority Shi'ites as he tried to quell broader factional conflict to avoid a threatened military intervention.

The army, which handed power to elected Sunni Islamists a year ago after decades of oppression, have warned Mohamed Mursi - and his liberal opponents - to end an increasingly violent deadlock or see troops back on the streets to impose order. [Reuters] Read more

Sadiq Khan has unwittingly highlighted the problem of Islamic extremism

.... So – here’s the thing. Sadiq Khan has attempted to patronise Charles Moore, say he knows nothing about what he is writing about and says that, in any case, it’s all in hand because although there are some rotten apples they are being rooted out.

Should the rest of us – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – take Mr Khan’s word for this? Is it appropriate for us to all turn away?

Or would it be rather more appropriate for us to keep saying, ‘How’s the “rooting out” and “tackling” of that “very small number” of extremists going?’ [The Spectator] Read more

Statement regarding BBC reporters in Turkey

The BBC is very concerned by the continued campaign of the Turkish authorities to discredit the BBC and intimidate its journalists.

A large number of threatening messages have been sent to one of our reporters, who was named and attacked on social media by the Mayor of Ankara for her coverage of the current protests. [BBC] Read more

23 June 2013

Muslim prison numbers soar as staff warn of Islamic “gang culture” in jails

Prison officers have warned of Islamic “gang culture” in jails after ­figures showed the number of Muslim inmates has rocketed compared with other faiths.

Stats obtained by the Sunday People reveal convicts in England and Wales who say their religion is Islam have passed the 11,000 mark for the first time.

The total for Christians is 43,235, ­according to data given out under ­freedom of information laws.

Prison officers’ association ­general secretary Steve Gillan said: “The POA are aware that some ­individuals are bullied into conversion. [MIRROR.CO.UK] Read more

The dark side of the force

.... Andy Newman over at the rather peculiar Socialist Unity website is continuing his witch-hunt against Anne Marie Waters, the One Law for All campaign and this website all of whom he accuses of “Islamophobia” (whatever that term actually means) in a rather torturous article entitled On not fearing Muslims.

Newman seeks in particular to defend a charming character called Yusuf Qaradawi and persuade us that this reactionary cleric is not a bigoted hate monger, so let’s have a quick look at this mans thoughts:

On Women: In his book The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, states that wife-beating is permissible after the failure of all other means of persuasion. In such circumstances, a husband may beat his wife “lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive areas.” (Daily Telegraph)

On Genital Mutilation: “whoever finds it serving the interest of his daughters should do it, and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world. (Modern Fatwas) [Harry’s Place] Read more

Egyptian women rising up against sexual harassment

Women here say it crosses class barriers, generations and faiths. It prevails in public buses, trains, streets and homes. It exists online, on university campuses, and in parks, markets, at work and in cafes.

Sexual harassment of women is epidemic in Egypt, where men pay few penalties for grabbing and groping women in a violent manner.

The harassment appears to permeate the nation's every pore, academics say. After decades of such behavior, a growing number of groups and initiatives are working to do something about it. [USA TODAY] Read more

What is wrong with Islam today?

Is there really a problem with Islam today? Critics see Muslim women as downtrodden and sectarian conflict dominates the headlines, but for many Muslims this is a gross misrepresentation.

In this episode of Head to Head at the Oxford Union, Mehdi Hasan challenges controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji, writer of The Trouble with Islam Today and also Allah, Liberty and Love on the need to reform Islam, the notion of Ijtihad, the problem of Islamophobia and what Muslims need to own-up to.

Manji is an author and broadcaster, but also the director of the Moral Courage Project. She strongly believes that Islam needs reform. Mehdi Hasan challenges Irshad, asking where the problem lies, and whether critics sometimes encourage Islamophobia. [Al Jazeera English] Read more

21 June 2013

Special Report: Deepening ethnic rifts reshape Syria's towns

As the revolt against Bashar al-Assad that began as a mostly secular call for democratic reform descended into civil war, communities have split along religious and ethnic lines.

Majority Sunnis have come to dominate the opposition, while Shi'ites and Alawites, the offshoot sect of Shi'ite Islam that Assad belongs to, have largely sided with the government. Other minorities, such as the Christians, Druze and Kurds, have split or tried to stay neutral.

Across the country, violence and fear have emptied entire villages, forced millions of people to flee their homes, and transformed the social landscape. [Reuters] Read more

Syria: 'I saw rebels execute my boy for no more than a joke’

Nadia Umm Fuad watched her son being shot by Islamist rebels in Syria after the 14-year-old referred to the Prophet Mohammed as he joked with a customer at his coffee stall in Aleppo. She speaks to Richard Spencer.

.... The murder of Mohammed, a drummer boy in the revolution's early protest marches, has shocked even the battle-hardened people of Aleppo. It is easy for some to blame, as they do, the regime for inserting spies behind rebel lines to carry out atrocities to discredit the rebels.

But the killing, to many, only confirms what they already know: that a wild and untamed version of the most militant Islamist credos has entered the conflict. Jabhat al-Nusra, the local affiliate of al-Qaeda, has issued a statement condemning the death and denying responsibility. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

20 June 2013

Artists versus Islamists in Egypt's culture war

.... The battle for the culture ministry, along with the recent appointments of Islamist governors for Egyptian provinces, looks set to become another flashpoint in the wider confrontation between pro- and anti-Morsi supporters.

A more constructive approach, though, would be to have a genuine debate about the relationship between culture and state in post-revolution Egypt: is it really necessary to have a culture ministry and, if so, what should its role be?

But at present there's little prospect of that. More and more, the Brotherhood seems to be copying the high-handed behaviour of the Mubarak regime even if its ideological goals are different. [Brian Whitaker] Read more

Extremism Overpowering Indonesia

.... During her first visit there as a new Secretary of State in 2009, Hillary Rodham Clinton remarked at a dinner in Jakarta on February 18, "As I travel around the world over the next years, I will be saying to the people if you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity and women's rights can co-exists, go to Indonesia."

But now Indonesia has become a state where extremism and fundamentalism are rapidly increasing; it has now unsafe for both non-Sunni Muslims and liberals. The country's constitutional guarantee of religious freedom is under heavy threat. The country's Islamists are now at the highest point of their campaign to establish a Sharia state, while the government is from time to time leaning toward that by introducing new legal codes. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Violence and Context in Islamic Texts

Islam forbids the killing of innocents. The key question, then, is what constitutes "innocence" in Islam? According to some Muslim authorities, to disbelieve in Allah is to be guilty of the crime of "committing disbelief…[which is] worse than slaughter."

Just being a Christian, a Jew or a pagan, is worse than murder. As soon as one converts to Islam, however, one is no longer guilty, but "innocent." By this logic, anyone anyone inside Islam is "innocent,"and anyone outside Islam is "guilty" and deserving of death. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Preacher Who Backs Wife-Beatings Let Into UK

.... He certainly takes a different view of what in the UK is considered domestic violence. He argues that a man "may use beatings to discipline his wife", but he says, "he must beat her lightly".

This caveat may explain why the Home Office, post Woolwich/Nigella, feels this is the sort of foreign preacher this country needs.

Despite our enlightened cleric's dubious views on Shia Muslims and Jews, which the Swiss felt were not the sort of the thing people should be propagating in the land of cuckoo clocks, the Home Office seems to take a different view. Mr al Arefe is expected to preach at a London mosque at the weekend. [Sky News] Read more

Letter to the Sydney Morning Herald on "Twisting Islam to Justify Cruelty" by Paul Sheehan

I am writing to congratulate you on publishing Paul Sheehan's courageous and fair-minded piece "Twisting Islam to Justify Cruelty" (May 27, 2013). There needs to be a conversation about radical Islamic theology and its Koranic foundations. Sheehan is to be commended for tackling this thorny subject.

Concerning Mohamnmad Abdalla's response "Critical opinion of Islam ignores the fundamental truths", his article is littered with misrepresentations. [markdurie.com blog] Read more

Study: Religious oppression rises despite Arab Spring

People who hoped the Arab Spring would lead to greater religious freedom across the Middle East have been sorely disappointed, and a new Pew study confirms that the region has grown even more repressive for various religious groups.

“In 2011, when most of the political uprisings known as the Arab Spring occurred, the Middle East and North Africa experienced pronounced increases in social hostilities involving religion, while government restrictions on religion remained exceptionally high,” according to the report by the Pew Research Center. [The Washington Post] Read more

Egypt's Coptic Christians say they are 'no longer safe'

Thousands of Egypt’s Coptic Christians are fleeing to Europe, the United States and elsewhere rather than face mounting discrimination at home.

Copts, Egypt’s ancient Christian community, are the country’s largest minority, making up nearly 10 percent of its 85 million people.

But clashes between Christians and Muslims have become more frequent since the ouster of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 uprising – some say due to a breakdown of government security. Many Copts feel Egypt's Islamist-led government is not doing enough to protect them from religious hate crimes and inflammatory rhetoric – so many are leaving. [NBC News] Read more

Third of teens in Amman, Jordan, condone honor killings, study says

Almost half of boys and one in five girls in Jordan's capital city, Amman, believe that killing a woman who has "dishonored," or shamed, her family is justifiable, a study of teenagers' attitudes published Thursday revealed.

A third of all teenagers involved in the study by researchers at Britain's Cambridge University advocated so-called honor murders. [CNN] Read more

19 June 2013

Marine Le Pen to face prosecution for comparing Muslims to Nazis

The full parliament is now expected to formally lift her protection from prosecution as an MEP after a vote on the recommendation on July 3, clearing the way for her to face race hate charges in a French court.

Sajjad Karim, a British Tory MEP on the parliament's legal affairs committee, voted in favour Ms Le Pen losing her parliamentary immunity.

"There is a red line between freedom of speech and inciting racial hatred," he said. "I, along with many other MEPs, today voted to drop Ms Le Pen's immunity and I am confident that the majority of the European Parliament will follow our lead in July." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Christians Sentenced to Prison as ‘Moderate’ Comes to Power in Iran

.... The Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, 571 miles (920 kilometers) south of Tehran, issued prison sentences of 44 months to Mojtaba Seyyed-Alaedin Hossein, Mohammad-Reza Partoei, Vahid Hakkani, and Homayoun Shokouhi for “attending a house church, spreading Christianity, having contact with foreign ministries, propaganda against the regime, and disrupting national security,” according the Mohabat News Agency. They were tried in absentia.

They had been arrested in February 2012, when police raided their house-church meeting. Officials rejected their appeal for release on bail. Hossein and Shokouhi, previously arrested in 2008 on similar accusations and handed five-year suspended sentences, received an additional eight months of imprisonment above last week’s sentence of 44 months. Additionally, Shokouhi’s wife, Fariba Nazemina, and their son, Nima Shokouhi, each received two-year suspended prison sentences. [Morning Star News] Read more

Vets in animal welfare call over halal meat

VETS have called for stricter labelling of halal and kosher meat and immediate post-slaughter stunning of animals being prepared for the religious markets in a bid to improve welfare conditions.

Mr Jones said the BVA wanted to see slaughterhouse conditions improved, particularly in relation to the production of halal and kosher meat, by introducing immediate post-cut stunning.

He said: "We are grateful to the Scottish Government for consulting over these sensitive issues and we look forward to working with you to implement a solution that offers the highest levels of animal welfare, while respecting the views of certain religious communities. [Herald Scotland] Read more

NY Times 'Model Muslim' Endorses Sharia for America

.... “If only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate. If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own emir and give allegiance to him. Take my word, if eight million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.”

Abdus-Salaam’s reaction is equally as startling. His immediate response is, “Listen, I don’t have a problem with that.”

Taken aback by the blunt response, the interviewer made sure he understood correctly, asking, “So you would like to see Sharia law in place of the Constitution?”

Leaving no room for ambiguity, Abdus-Salaam responds, “By all means.” [Clarion Project] Read more

Taliban peace talk plans lead Afghan women to fear loss of rights

Even the dimmest prospect of peace would be welcome in most countries that have endured more than three decades of conflict, but news this week that the Taliban planned to sit down for peace talks with the US was met with trepidation by many in Afghanistan.

Women in particular are nervous, because Taliban rule was so bitter for them. They lost the right to an education, to most work, even to show their face in public. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

18 June 2013

Christendom's Greatest Cathedral to Become a Mosque

While unrest in Turkey continues to capture attention, more subtle and more telling events concerning the Islamification of Turkey — and not just at the hands of Prime Minister Erdogan but majorities of Turks — are quietly transpiring. These include the fact that Turkey's Hagia Sophia museum is on its way to becoming a mosque.

Why does the fate of an old building matter? [PJ Media] Read more

Egyptian Muslim Leader to Pope: Declare Islam a Religion of Peace

The leader of Islam’s most important university and also the Egyptian mosque by the same name, Al-Azhar, has offered to renew relations with the Vatican. The olive branch came with a note that first Pope Francis should publicly declare that "Islam is a peaceful religion."

In response, a Christian Coptic organization suggested that Muslim leaders are the only ones who can make Islam a peaceful religion, and encouraged the imam to make that happen.

The Muslim world severed ties with the Catholic Church in 2006 after Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned this spring, discussed an incident in which Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, was described as a warmonger who spread evil teachings. [Clarion Project] Read more

Free Speech Goes Down in Defeat Down Under

Student newspaper members at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra have recently learned the hard way how various Muslims do not accept criticism and condemnation like adherents of other faiths.

Amidst the ecumenical satire of ANU's Woroni, the outrage and disciplinary threats provoked by the school newspaper's mocking of Islam suggests that this faith shall enjoy a privileged position among all beliefs. [FAMILY SECURITY MATTERS] Read more

Islamists Press Blasphemy Cases in a New Egypt

Egypt’s prosecutors have been flooded with blasphemy complaints since 2011 as Islamists exercising their new societal clout have pushed for prosecutions and courts have handed down steep fines and prison terms for insulting religion.

Blasphemy cases were once rare in Egypt, and their frequency has increased sharply since the revolution. More than two dozen cases have gone to trial, and nearly all defendants have been found guilty. At least 13 have received prison sentences.

The campaign is driven at the local level, where religious activists have also forced officials to suspend teachers and professors. In at least 10 cases, Christian families have been expelled from their homes after perceived insults, according to Ishaq Ibrahim of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. [The New York Times] Read more

17 June 2013

Tunisia faces political struggle over Islam

Two and a half years after kindling a revolution that flamed across the Arab world, Tunisians have moved on to the next chapter, a political struggle between Islamic fundamentalism and the tolerant, Mediterranean-style Islam that has characterized their nation’s 57 years as an independent state.

Although Tunisia is a small country of 11 million people, its looming decisions on national identity, the role of religion and political organization touch on — and are likely to become a beacon for — the main challenges facing reformers across North Africa and the Middle East. [The Washington Post] Read more

16 June 2013

Contractor loses out on his 'dream' £1,000-a-week IT role after unwittingly saying he would treat his Muslim recruiter to a bacon sandwich

An IT contractor was accused of racism and refused a £1,000-a-week NHS job after innocently offering to buy an Asian recruitment consultant a bacon sandwich.

Clive Hunt, 58, had already been given the eight-month contract – worth £32,000 – and was invited to recruitment firm Reed’s office in Manchester to show his passport and provide bank details.

At the end of the 15-minute meeting earlier this month, recruitment consultant Sharika Sacranie, 29, shook Mr Hunt’s hand and said she would come and meet him for breakfast the following week, to which he replied: ‘I’ll get the bacon sandwiches in.’ [MailOnline] Read more

MP reignites burqa debate

SUNSHINE Coast MP Peter Wellington is set to reignite the debate over Muslim women being forced to remove burqas and face veils.

The Independent Member for Nicklin has warned the State Government it has just weeks to act on the issue or he will reintroduce a private member's bill he drafted in 2011.

Mr Wellington wants the laws changed to give police, courts and the security industry powers to compel people to remove the veil for identity checks.

The move came just days after a Brisbane magistrate expressed concerns about sentencing a woman who was wearing a veil that left only her eyes visible. [Bundaberg NewsMail] Read more

14 June 2013

“Islamic Science” or Islamic Propaganda?

.... On its website, the museum invites adults and children alike to come see “Sultans of Science” and thus “get acquainted with an important scientific legacy from Islamic culture.”

Singing the praises of “the golden age of Islamic science,” during which “science was encouraged and supported” by “the great Islamic caliphates,” the museum’s website informs us that “the development of European culture was…directly influenced by Islamic culture,” but that the traces of this influence were eventually, and tragically, “erased.” Simply put, the purpose of this show is to acquaint Western audiences with the riches of Islamic science and its immense impact on Western science and technology. [FRONTPAGEMAG.COM] Read more

Aberdeen taxis ‘refusing guide dogs’ on board

AN investigation has been launched into claims that taxi drivers in Aberdeen are refusing to allow guide dogs into their cars on “religious” grounds.

Members of Aberdeen City Council’s taxi consultation group have ordered the investigation following complaints raised by the city’s Disability Advisory Group.

According a minute of a recent meeting of the consultation group, the Disability Advisory Group had provided details in relation to “several instances” where taxi drivers in the city had allegedly refused to take “visually impaired” passengers to their destination due to the fact that they were accompanied by their guide dogs. [The Scotsman] Read more

Man jailed for whipping Muslim convert under Sharia punishment

A MAN who whipped a Muslim convert as punishment for drinking alcohol and taking drugs because of a "contorted" belief in Sharia law has been jailed for at least 16 months.

Earlier this year, Magistrate Brian Moloney found Wasim Fayed, 45, Zakaryah Raad, 21, Tolga Cifki, 21, and Gengiz Coskin, 22, guilty of assaulting Christian Martinez in July 2011.

In the Central Local Court on Friday, Mr Maloney sentenced Fayed to a maximum two years' imprisonment for assault occasioning actual bodily harm. [The Australian] Read more

Woolwich outrage: we are too weak to face up to the extremism in our midst

.... All journalists experience this disparity. If we attack the EDL for being racist, fascist and pro-violence, we can do so with impunity, although we are not being strictly accurate. If we make similar remarks about Islamist organisations, we will be accused of being racist ourselves. “Human rights” will be thrown at us.

We shall also – this has happened to me more than once – be subject to “lawfare”, a blizzard of solicitors’ letters claiming damages for usually imagined libels. Many powerful people in the Civil Service, local government, politics and the police, far from backing up our attacks on extremism, will tut-tut at our “provocative” comments. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Islamic states frown on Islam-opposing paragraphs of UNHCR violence against women resolution

Islamic member states of the United Nations Council for Human Rights (UNHCR) rejected on Friday paragraphs violating the Islamic law in the council's resolution on the elimination of all forms of violence against women, noting that the member states must make sure that their laws and national policies are consistent with the rejected demands.

The rejections include the paragraph, which gives women "the right to control matters concerning their sexual lives as well as their reproductive health without coercion, discrimination or violence."

They also rejected the paragraph that allows performing judicial proceedings in cases of rape within marriage, the abolition of provisions that require the matching of certificates and allow the rapist to escape prosecution by marrying him to his victim as well as subduing victims of sexual violence to prosecution for moral crimes or slander. [The Kuwait News Agency] Read more

13 June 2013

French veiled woman check sparks clashes

French police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd angered by their questioning of a woman wearing a full facial veil, which is banned in the country.

The trouble started when officers stopped a 25-year-old woman in a suburb northwest of Paris, wearing a full-face Muslim veil, or niqab. [Sky News] Read more

Magistrate questions whether Islamic woman should wear full-face burqa in Brisbane court

A MAGISTRATE has questioned whether a Saudi woman appearing in court should have been allowed to wear "a full burqa'' or face covering, telling her "this is an Australian court".

Brisbane Magistrate John Costello was sentencing a woman who pleaded guilty to leaving her baby, four and half months, unattended in a car in direct sun for 45 minutes last year. [THE COURIER-MAIL] Read more

Egyptian artists rally against 'Islamisation' of culture

For days now, dozens of Egyptian artists and intellectuals have been occupying the headquarters of the Ministry of Culture in Cairo to demand the resignation of the new culture minister, whom the protesters accuse of “Islamising” the sector.

Alaa Abdel Aziz taught film editing at the Cairo Higher Institute of Cinema. President Morsi nominated him to become the culture minister in early May in order to “fight against corruption”. [France 24] Read more

“If you criticize Islam, you will suffer consequences”

When Islam or the Prophet Muhammad are criticized or vilified, the whole Islamic world may get into an uproar. Islamic leaders worldwide are seeking to make any negative comment about their religion criminalized.

Above all, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which several times has proposed such resolutions at the United Nations. Felix Strüning of Citizen Times spoke with Deborah Weiss, journalist and an expert on the UN Defamation of Religions resolutions, about this and the consequences for the free world. [Citizen Times] Read more

Mob Attacks Afghan Doctor and Female Patient

A mob attacked an Afghan medical doctor and his female patient, stoning the doctor after the two were discovered in his private examining room without a chaperon, Afghan officials said on Thursday.

There were conflicting accounts that the doctor had been killed or that he had been severely injured and sent out of Afghanistan for treatment. The woman was initially feared missing, but was later reported to be at a women’s shelter, according to an official there. [The New York Times] Read more

12 June 2013

Iranians mixed on having religious figures in politics: Pew poll

As Iran heads into presidential elections this week, Iranians have mixed views on political roles for religious figures but a large majority backs sharia law, according to a poll published on Tuesday.

As part of the Pew Research Center poll that shows contradictions between republicanism and theocratic rule in Iran, 40 percent of Iranians said religious figures should play a large role in politics.

Twenty-six percent said religious figures should have some influence in political matters. Thirty percent said they should have not too much or no influence. [Reuters] Read more

Taking a Stab at It

Daniel Pipes, a regular contributor round these parts, appeared on a somewhat fractious panel in Toronto recently, and toward the end (scroll down) was asked where the “moderate Muslims” were. He responded that many of them were in the room.

Indeed, it seems entirely possible that all of them were in the room. Daniel eventually took a crack at the numbers and concluded that “Islamists” made up 10 to 15 percent of the Muslim population, “moderates” about 1 to 2 percent, and the remaining 85 percent in between are presumably either cowed or indifferent.

I’ve no idea whether Daniel’s estimate is correct, although, in my experience, “moderate Muslims” invariably turn out on closer inspection to be apostates or so syncretic as to be barely recognizable as co-religionists to their livelier brethren. [National Review Online] Read more

Tensions high in British town after "Muslim youths" attack "white girls"

Tensions are running high in the northern English town of Ashton-under-Lyne after a video circulating online showed a gang of what is reported as British-Pakistani youths attacking young "white girls" at a bus stop.

The incident, which occured in the town just outside of Manchester, has led to a number of groups calling for a 'march' or 'rally' in the town this coming Saturday, with the English Defence League quickly setting up an 'Ashton-Under-Lyne' branch of the group. [The Commentator] Read more

Palestinian Islamists are cleansing the Holy Land of Christians

Last week the Catholic Herald reported that five Church Schools ("two Catholic and three Christian") are under threat in Gaza because of the ruling party Hamas’s intention to extend their Muslim Brotherhood-inspired version of Islam throughout their fiefdom.

Their edict, which forbids the education of boys and girls together, will mean that the schools must close down because of lack of space and staff. That most of the students are Muslim matters not at all. What’s important is the segregation of male and female as far as possible. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

11 June 2013

German author in hiding after receiving Islamist death threats

The calls for the author to be killed apparently came after a speech he gave in Cairo last week in which he criticized radical Islam and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, accusing them of spreading "religious fascism."

Abdel-Sadam reportedly also said he did not intend to insult Islam but had a right to express his views.

Shortly after his speech Assem Abdel Maged, a leading member of the radical Egyptian group Gamaa Islamiya, used a television appearance to declare Abdel-Samad an "infidel."

Numerous Islamist web sites subsequently published a picture of the author with the words "wanted dead" written above. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Egyptian Christian Teacher Convicted of Blasphemy, Receives 14K Fine

An Egyptian Christian teacher has been convicted of insulting Islam, receiving a large fine instead of being sentenced to jail time.

Dimiana Abdel-Nour, a 24-year-old history and geography teacher of the Sheikh Sultan Primary School in Luxor, was not present in court on Tuesday to hear her verdict, which found her guilty of insulting Islam in an incident back in May and sentenced her to pay a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($14,000). [Christian Post] Read more

TalkSPORT sends Tom Holland to Bantanamo Bay

.... But it was not to be. Last night he received an email from the producers telling him his appearance had been cancelled. And not because listeners to the Hawksbee and Jacobs show aren't interested in cricket.

Not even because they had been warned that all Tom really wanted to do was talk about his Six (in which case one might have forgiven them). No. Apparently they were worried that the author of Rubicon and, more recently, In The Shadow of The Sword, was too controversial. [Heresy Corner] Read more

The anti-Islam backlash plumbs new depths

Watford’s MP has written to the Home office after anti-Muslim graffiti appeared outside a West Watford infant school.

The words “Quran is rubbish” have been scrawled on the pavement near Chater School, in Harwoods Road.

The slur makes reference to the central holy text of Islam.

.... The spelling, "Quran" (with a reverse Q, if you check the photo), surely suggests someone brought up as a Muslim: a disgruntled ex-member, as it were, of the "excellent community" of Watford Muslims. Non-Muslims would likely use "Koran".

Whatever, it's good to know that this sort of behaviour - suggesting, on a public highway, that the Quran might not be all it's cracked up to be - is now deemed sufficiently outrageous to be brought to the attention of the Home Office Minister. [Guardian Cif] Read more

10 June 2013

Christians face being driven from the Middle East

This could be the greatest story never told.

The Arab Spring has turned to bitter mid-winter for Christians across the Middle East.

Members of orthodox faiths are being driven from their biblical heartlands by hard line Muslim governments with no toleration of religious diversity.

All behind the increasingly opaque veil of chaos and civil war as the rest of the world looks the other way. [TORONTO SUN] Read more

Egyptian author appeals for protection following Islamist threats

A Germany-based Egyptian author has requested protection from Egyptian authorities after ultra-conservative Islamists in Egypt declared him an "apostate" and launched an online campaign calling for his death.

Hamed Abdel-Samad, a researcher in political and Islamic studies, was invited by Egypt's so-called 'Secularist Movement' to speak at a 4 June forum devoted to "Islamic fascism." Abdel-Samad's speech, however, appears to have put him in hot water – and may even have put his life in jeopardy. [Ahram Online] Read more

Afghan parliament upholds right to marry children

Afghanistan’s parliament has rejected a measure that would have barred men from marrying girls younger than 16, saying the proposal ran counter to Islamic ideology.

The measure also would have banned “baad, [the] traditional practice of buying or selling women to settle disputes,” and outlawed criminal charges being imposed on rape victims, Breitbart reported. Rape victims in Afghanistan often are charged with fornication or adultery.

President Hamid Karzai reportedly supported the measures, but opponents said they “violate[d] Islamic principles,” Breitbart reported. [The Washington Times] Read more

Haitham al Haddad guest speaker at City University Islamic Society event

I am sure most readers will be familiar with the views of Haitham al Haddad. He has been banned from more than one university, and has also been the target of a Hope not Hate campaign. Now it seems that he has been invited to speak at City University’s Islamic Society’s annual dinner. I’ll remind people of just one of his horrifying statements.

“from my angle it does make perfect sense” (on the death penalty for apostasy in the context of an Islamic state) (13:25) [Harry’s Place] Read more

Why the Turkish protests matter to the west

Secularism: what does it mean to the people of Turkey? Is it simply a question of whether we can buy alcohol when we please, or whether the cabin crew of Turkish airlines are allowed to wear red lipstick?

It cannot simply be these eye-catching issues, beloved of the media, that have brought people out on to the streets in their tens of thousands. Let me draw a different picture of the current challenges to secularism in Turkey, as protesters continue to express their frustration with a government that seems to be defined by inflexible religiosity.

[A COMMENT] A good summary of the perils of allowing the religious a say in the running of a country. [Guardian Cif] Read more

09 June 2013

Ahmadinejad’s successor is supposed to be chosen by the people, not guardians

Hand-picked to a man. That’s what you can say about the “candidates” for Iran’s presidential election this week. The Guardian Council have ensured that the eight men – all are indeed men, of course – have the approval of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

Power remains with the clique of clergymen, which was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s intention. Supreme Leader. I’ve always been troubled by that word. The supreme leader is a guide. And the German for guide is “führer”. [independent.co.uk] Read more

Muslim Brotherhood watches ‘successful’ Turkey model go up in smoke - Growing discontent with political Islam

The pro-secular protests rocking Turkish cities have sent ripples across the Arab world, unnerving Islamist leaders who have long touted Turkey as a successful model of political Islam, analysts say.

Thousands of Turks have joined in mass anti-government demonstrations, defying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call to end the worst civil unrest of his decade-long rule. [Middle East Online] Read more

Muslim hate monitor to lose backing

A controversial project claiming to measure anti-Muslim attacks will not have its government grant renewed after police and civil servants raised concerns about its methods.

The project, called Tell Mama, claimed that there had been a “sustained wave of attacks and intimidation” against British Muslims after the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, with 193 “Islamophobic incidents” reported to it, rising to 212 by last weekend.

The group’s founder, Fiyaz Mughal, said he saw “no end to this cycle of violence”, describing it as “unprecedented”. The claims were unquestioningly repeated in the media.

Contrary to the group’s claim of a “cycle of violence” and a “sustained wave of attacks”, only 17 of the 212 incidents, 8 per cent, involved the physical targeting of people and there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment.

There have been a further 12 attacks on Islamic buildings, three of them serious, including a probable arson attack on a Muslim community centre in north London, which burned it to the ground. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

08 June 2013

‘Sharia’ sets off alarms in Canada. Here are the facts

As a typical Canadian who supports choice on religion, I found another Pew finding shocking related to apostasy – when a Muslim leaves the faith. Pew found most of the world’s Muslims can live with a Muslim converting to a new world view.

But in Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia, Afghanistan and other countries, more than two out of three Muslims who say shariah should be the law of the land “favour the death penalty” for those who convert to another religion.

That, to put it mildly, is not good news.

The Canadian Muslims I have interviewed over the years always make it clear they do not agree with such extremist beliefs.

No matter what some Muslims believe in other parts of the world, Canadian Muslims have reassured me they respect this nation’s secular laws regarding religious freedom, divorce, sex outside marriage and women’s equality.

Let’s hope that always remains true. [Vancouver Sun] Read more

Newcastle to SELL Cisse if his religion forbids him from wearing lender's logo

Newcastle United may end up selling £8million striker Papiss Cisse to avert the crisis that is threatening to derail their sponsorship deal with money lenders Wonga.

Cisse informed the club several weeks ago that he does not want to wear the Wonga.com branding on Newcastle United’s shirts next season because of his beliefs as a Muslim.

Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias will wait until Cisse returns from World Cup duty with Senegal so the pair can sit down to discuss the delicate issue. [MailOnline] Read more

Afghanistan: Women in parliament receive threats - from fellow lawmakers

It takes a lot to rattle Shukria Barakzai, a staunch defender of women's rights and one of more than 20 very outspoken women members of parliament in Afghanistan.

But even though she’s run two successful parliamentary campaigns and has taken on conservative members of Afghan society, she is shocked by how easily some male members of parliament are now publicly threatening their female counterparts in the middle of parliamentary meetings.

“A [male] member of parliament stood up in our general meeting yesterday and said parliament is not a place for women, your time is up here, you must not pursue this fight for women’s rights,” says Ms. Barakzai. [The Christian Science Monitor]

Read more

07 June 2013

Iran's barbaric new laws

Iranian lawmakers have legislated stoning as part of the new Islamic penalty law. The decision, taken by the Guardian Council after nine months’ examination of the draft proposal, means that stoning has now moved from Islamic to State law.

The criminal law had been discussed over the past six years inside various state institutions. Now it is official. Stoning now forms part of the new version of the Penal Code, Article 132, paragraph 3: A man or a woman can be stoned to death for multiple extramarital affairs.

Additionally, in article 225 of the new criminal code, it is stated that a man and a woman can be stoned to death with the approval of the judge, who may decide if other forms of executions are appropriate. The accused person may also be punished with 100 lashes. [The Commentator] Read more

Selfridges robbery: 'Men in burkas' in 'smash and grab'

Six men armed with axes have carried out a "smash-and-grab" raid at London's Selfridges department store.

Police said the robbers, reportedly dressed in burkas, smashed glass cabinets to steal high value watches.

Two suspects were later arrested when they came off a moped and members of the public stopped them fleeing. [BBC] Read more

Why Sunni-Shia conflict is worsening

When the influential cleric Yusuf al Qaradawi recently called on fellow Sunni Muslims to join the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, he effectively called for the Sunni-Shia conflict in the Middle East to escalate in some countries and start anew in others.

Qaradawi said he was not demonizing all Shia Muslims -- but that is precisely the effect of his inflammatory words. He denounced al-Assad's Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam, as "more infidel than Christians and Jews." signaling a broader demonization of all Shia. He also said the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah (whose name means "the party of God") is really "the party of the devil." [CNN] Read more

06 June 2013

Indonesian Muslim Hard-liners Vow to Stop Miss World

Islamic hard-liners vowed Thursday to stop the “immoral” Miss World beauty pageant taking place in Indonesia even after organizers agreed this year’s contestants would not wear bikinis.

The Hizb ut-Tahrir group slammed the show as like “selling women’s bodies” and threatened to hold demonstrations against it, while a group in the province where the final is due to take place also voiced strong opposition. [Agence France-Presse] Read more

Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood: what is the difference?

For western lay people, it can be hard to distinguish one radical Muslim from another. What is the difference between Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood? Are they really all that different? And why do Western governments seem to favour and even partner with Brotherhood-backed groups, but denigrate Salafis?

The 2011 People’s Assembly elections in Egypt focused the world’s attention on the Salafis when they proved to be the ‘dark horse’ of that poll, winning 25% of the seats. This, together with the Muslim Brotherhood’s 47%, gave Islamists almost three quarters of the seats in the Assembly. How do these two powerful Islamic groups compare? [Mark Durie] Read more

Alcohol, Islam and Turkey’s Founding Fathers

.... He noted, however, that prohibition not only deprived the government of a rich source of revenue but also was at odds with the secularism of the founding fathers. Their decision to repeal the ban reflected the belief that the state had no business to enforce an article of religious faith.

In a sentence that might resonate today among Turkey’s protesters, he wrote, “The Turks must be taught that religious and legal duties are not one and the same thing, that the former are entirely a matter of conscience and that the Government is not obligated to enforce them.” [The New York Times] Read more

Blasphemy Laws: An impediment to Democracy and Humanity

Unrelenting and unrepentant, the draconian blasphemy laws have struck again; this time in Egypt, where prominent public figures have been convicted for blasphemy. These convictions, along with the still hot embers of the conflagration over the movie Innocence of Muslims, have reignited the debate over where to draw the fine line between freedom of expression and defamation of religion.

Liberals point out that the former is the most sacrosanct human right and a prerequisite to holistic development, whereas conservatives are quick to highlight that one person’s freedom ends where another’s begins. [Foreign Policy Journal] Read more

Iran bans dog-walking in public and warn animals could be 'arrested' if caught outside

Walking dogs in public or driving them around in cars is set to be banned in Iran.

Now dog owners fear their pets will be 'arrested' if they are caught in public and they could also face a fine.

It is the latest attempted crackdown on dogs in the country, where the animals are viewed as unclean. [MailOnline] Read more

05 June 2013

Pupils withdrawn from trip to Edinburgh mosque

A RACE row has broken out after almost a third of the children due to take part in a school field trip to a city mosque were pulled out by their parents.

Children from Newtongrange Primary visited the Central Mosque in Potterrow, but from an original group of 90 pupils, 28 were withdrawn.

The trip had been organised to help educate the primary one, two and five pupils about other religions and cultures.

But one parent today said they didn’t want their child “mixed up in the hate being preached in mosques”. [The Scotsman] Read more

Islamophobic hate crime: is it getting worse?

.... In the light, airy London offices of the project, Tell Mama's young workers say the criticisms are unjustified. While the spike seemed to be short-lived (Tuesday saw only six incidents reported), the attacks created a real atmosphere of anxiety in communities around the country, which cannot be quickly forgotten, they say.

The organisation fielded calls from hijab-wearing women who were scared to go out, while those who had experienced "low-level" harassment, such as Ali, were often deeply affected. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Edinburgh Pupils Denied Mosque Visit Over Parent's Fears Of 'Hate'

Children due to visit a mosque in Edinburgh as part of an educational visit have been pulled out of the trip by parents worried about "hate" being preached inside.

The trip to the Central Mosque in Potterrow on Tuesday was arranged to educate pupils from Newtongrange Primary about other religions and cultures.

Almost a third of pupils due to attend were pulled out, the Scotsman reported.

One parent told the paper: "I don’t agree with sending my child to a mosque to learn about a religion that isn’t my own. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Dutch Poll: Most Say Stop Islamic Immigration

In the Netherlands, a new de Hond poll - the Dutch equivalent of a Gallup poll – showed that more than three quarters of the Dutch (77 %) believe that Islam is no enrichment for their country. More than two-thirds (68 %), say that there is enough Islam in the Netherlands.

The poll was taken from among the Dutch people from all political parties. Interestingly, the poll showed that a majority of voters from all political parties share the same view. [Clarion Project] Read more

The Muslim hate preacher and the T-shirt salesman: a bizarre study in double standards

.... Choudary then added, in typically disarming manner, that Adebolajo and Adebowale, the two men charged with Drummer Rigby’s murder, were doing "what they believed to be Islamically correct", while noting that Michael Adobelajo was "a very nice man".

Quite properly, the police refused to step in. After all, we have the right to free speech in this country, and Choudary said nothing illegal.

Now let’s cross the country to Newport, south Wales.

At roughly the same time that Choudary was making his statement, T-shirt seller Matthew Taylor was printing, and displaying, a T-shirt inscribed with the words: "Obey our laws, respect our beliefs, or get out of our country".

As Taylor told reporters, the brutal killing of Drummer Rigby had spurred him into making the shirt, because the shocking attack had "left him upset". Taylor added: "If you don't like the way a country is run, and don't like our beliefs, then go somewhere else, don't go killing people." [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

04 June 2013

Saudi Women More Educated Than Men Are Wasted Resource

When Saudi recruiter Tariq Alkahily interviews female job applicants, one of the first questions they usually ask is: Will I be required to mix with men at work?

In a country where the sexes are strictly segregated in schools, restaurants and other public places, many women are apprehensive about working in offices where they’ll be in close proximity to men, Bloomberg Markets will report in its July issue. [Bloomberg] Read more

Is Sharia law infringing upon our American rights?

.... As Lopez writes, “the Department of Justice appears poised to move one step closer to enforcement of Islamic law on slander and blasphemy in America by threatening prosecution of citizens who exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech – if such speech dares to criticize Islam.”

The last seven words of that sentence are frightening.

Even more disturbing is that Killian made statements to The Tullahoma News that if online postings or printed observations are deemed to be inflammatory by the FBI’s Muslim advisors, no matter how truthful, or even if they are taken from original Islamic scriptural texts, so-called offenders may face severe consequences. [The Washington Times] Read more

03 June 2013

Teachers Told Not to Cover the Topic of Turkish Sieges in Class In Case Immigrant Children Feel Offended

Out of consideration for immigrants of Turkish background teachers in a Vienna elementary school have been advised to no longer cover the topic in their teaching. Whoever does not comply is threatened with being transferred, reports the newspaper Krone.

After all the Turks could feel insulted when they are reminded of their defeats. The Turkish wars are of major significance for Austrian history, however. Vienna alone twice faced major Turkish sieges - and beat back the attackers both times. Parents are angry about the initiative of the Vienna headmasters; even the Krone speaks of a "falsification of history". [Islam versus Europe] Read more

Woolwich and the dark underbelly of British Islam

.... Uncomfortable though it is for some, we need to examine the dark underbelly of what goes on in some of our mosques. True, the vast majority of British Muslims would never associate themselves with Islamism.

Yet preachers of hate as well as their followers and fellow travellers, worship in the same buildings, speak to, work with, and are related to that sensible majority.

And those law-abiding citizens have a duty to challenge them, expel them and, if necessary, report them to the authorities. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Simmering anger at Erdogan's authoritarianism boils over in Turkey

Turkey's most violent riots in decades may have been started by the destruction of a small Istanbul park, but they have exploded in a show of defiance at what many see as the creeping authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

In power for more than a decade, Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party has increased its share of the vote in each of the past three elections, ushered in unprecedented political stability and overseen some of the fastest economic growth in Europe. [Reuters] Read more

Erdogan Over the Edge

.... almost every sector of the electorate has felt unease about one part or another of Erdogan’s agenda. Restrictive new alcohol legislation, rammed through parliament, as usual, with contempt for the minority opposition, has prompted outrage; the so-called peace process with the PKK, which no one understands, has caused great unease.

Anxiety is growing as well, not only about press censorship, but also about the prosecution of those who insult government officials or “Islamic values” on social media. [The Manhattan Institute] Read more

02 June 2013

A new study shows that many problems stems from Muslims trying to force their beliefs on others at work

Managers of French companies have increasingly been reporting workplace problems with many incidents relating to Muslims trying to force others to observe their practices, a new study showed.

The report was based on the study by university researchers in Rennes and the international recruitment agency Randstad. Reuters reported that forty-three percent of staff managers reported “faith-related” problems at work, and forty-one percent expected the problems to increase in the future.

"These initial results show the issue of religion at work exists and is not a marginal question," the study said. [Clarion Project] Read more

Tony Blair: There is a problem within Islam, but not a problem with Islam

.... And as for the idea that Islam's true nature is peaceful, which Qur'an did he read? Did he read the sura entitled "The Spoils of War" (chapter eights)? Did he read that Muslims must fight until religion is all for Allah (8:39)?

That they must make ready the steeds of war to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah (8:60)? Slay the pagans wherever they find them (9:5; cf. 2:191 and 4:89)? Fight against and subjugate the Jews and Christians (9:29)?

Behead the unbelievers (47:4)? Did he read the many hadiths that support the idea that Muslims must fight against and subjugate Infidels? Did he study the rulings of Islamic jurists who all say the same thing? [Jihad Watch] Read more

There's a problem within Islam, says Tony Blair. He should know. He helped create it

.... The "problem" is that young British Muslims, some of them converts, are even now being propelled towards the terrorist end of the spectrum by preachers who embedded themselves here under the government of Tony Blair.

Academics close to the New Labour project emitted flatulent platitudes while universities threw open their facilities to repulsive demagogues; prisons became recruiting grounds for extremists while their simpering chaplains said nothing; meanwhile, Blair's ministers and their courtiers in the police poured countless millions of pounds into subsidising some of the very Islamists whose influence they needed to contain. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Tony Blair launches a brave assault on Muslim extremism after Woolwich attack

.... There is not a problem with Islam. For those of us who have studied it, there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature. There is not a problem with Muslims in general. Most in Britain will be horrified at Lee Rigby’s murder.

But there is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it.

Of course there are Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu ones. But I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies. [MailOnline] Read more

Tony Blair Discusses Lee Rigby Murder, Says There Is A Problem Within Islam

.... "We resisted revolutionary communism by being resolute on security; but we defeated it by a better idea: Freedom.

"We can do the same with this. The better idea is a modern view of religion and its place in society and politics. There has to be respect and equality between people of different faiths. Religion must have a voice in the political system but not govern it.

"We have to start with how to educate children about faith, here and abroad," he said.

Blair added: "Now, more than ever, we have to be strong and we have to be strategic." [PA/The Huffington Post UK] Read more

01 June 2013

After Woolwich, what will change?

.... When the Prime Minister gave his key Munich security conference speech on multiculturalism and counter-terrorism in 2011, he made several classic prime ministerial mistakes. Among them was one Margaret Thatcher could have warned him about.

For giving a speech is just giving a speech: it is not the same thing as forcing that speech to shape policy.

Shortly after Munich I heard a statement by a senior civil servant — one of the men at the very top of the British government’s security policy. When asked about the Prime Minister’s speech, this civil servant said, ‘The Munich speech is Cameron’s personal view, it is not policy.’

This is the view of much of the civil service. They work against the government’s counter-terrorism agenda, fail to implement it, implement it wrongly, or go after pet peeves of their own as a condition of doing the job they are supposed to do. [The Spectator] Read more

Forget 'Islamophobia'. Let's Tackle Islamism

.... Perhaps the "Islamophobia" of which Warsi speaks, and anti-Muslim hatred can be stopped. But it will only happen if the spotlight remains on the right people.

Only then will more people in the Muslim communities stand up, speak out, and tackle the extremists out of rage that they are causing so much trouble for everybody else.

When people try to deflect attention from the community, the radicals continue to get away with anything. A government or individual who sincerely desires to tackle "Islamophobia" must start by dealing not with the reaction but with the cause.

And that is not a thing which is the invention of paranoids, but the reaction of many ordinary, alert people to a real problem. Deal with radical Islam and what is rightly or wrongly called "Islamophobia" will disappear. [STANDPOINT] Read more

Islamic Hate Crime Won't Last: The UK Is a Tolerant Place

'Tell Mama' - the hotline to report anti-Muslim hate crime has documented a large increase in rerports in the week since Woolwich: from around four-five a day to more like 40. I would rather it were none, of course, but it should not cause for panic: the UK is in fact a remarkably tolerant country.

Let's not forget, a soldier has been brutally butchered on a busy road by a main claiming to be acting on behalf of his religion. Plenty of people are rightly horrified and angry - and some of them want some kind of revenge. A spike in repraisal attacks is, unfortunately, usual.

A recent US study looked at 500 cases of terrorism found a significant spike in activity after a terror act, most pronounced if the attack was carried out by Jihadists against a symbol of national identity.

Following 7/7, there was an equally large rise in hate crime for during July - and this was before social media lowered the bar for participation. (Many of the reports to Tell Mama have been social media abuse - something we barely had in 2005). [The Huffington Post] Read more

What a Muslim Brotherhood State Looks Like

.... It is a state that tramples on basic human rights and freedoms. It is a state that rejects freedom of speech and of the press, religious freedom, academic freedom, and artistic freedom.

It is a state that crushes liberal Muslims and would-be reformers of Islam. It is a state that systematically discriminates against non-Muslims. It is a state that persecutes converts from Islam to Christianity with shocking cruelty.

.... We will stop here, however, and content ourselves with the following conclusion: the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood is both deeply rooted in classical Sunni sharia and utterly hostile to the personal freedoms that are at the foundation of the American constitutional order.

It has created a human rights nightmare in Egypt. That nightmare will only get worse as the Brotherhood consolidates its power. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Egyptian Christian lawyer convicted of blasphemy

An Egyptian court has convicted a Coptic Christian lawyer in the southern province of Assiut on charges of blasphemy and sentenced him to one year in prison with hard labor.

The verdict against Roman Murad Saad was handed down on Saturday. It's the latest in a surge of blasphemy cases following Egypt's 2011 uprising.

Saad was sentenced in absentia. If he's arrested or surrenders to authorities, he will be given a retrial and will have to pay 10,000 Egyptians pounds (around $1,400) in fines. [Associated Press] Read more

The truth about the 'wave of attacks on Muslims’ after Woolwich murder

.... "The scale of the backlash is astounding … there has been a massive spike in anti-Muslim prejudice. A sense of endemic fear has gripped Muslim communities.”

The media, especially the BBC, have accepted the claims without question. A presenter on Radio 4’s influential Today programme stated that attacks on Muslims were now “on a very serious scale”.

Talk of a “massive anti-Muslim backlash” has become routine. And it is that figure issued by Tell Mama – of, to date, 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” since the Woolwich murder – which has formed the basis of nearly all this reporting.

.... Tell Mama confirmed to The Sunday Telegraph that about 120 of its 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” – 57 per cent – took place only online. They were offensive postings on Twitter or Facebook, or comments on blogs: nasty and undesirable, certainly, but some way from violence or physical harm and often, indeed, legal. Not all the offending tweets and postings, it turns out, even originated in Britain. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more