31 July 2013

Jail and flogging for Saudi who mocked religious extremists

.... At a hearing before Jeddah District Court on December 17, a judge reportedly ordered Badawi to "repent to God". When he refused, the judge referred the case to a higher court, recommending that it try Badawi for apostasy – a charge that carries the death penalty.

The threat of execution appeared to be lifted in January when a court rejected the apostasy charge. Part of the evidence for Badawi's supposed apostasy was that he had pressed the "Like" button on a Facebook page for Arab Christians.

Badawi had been harassed for several years, Human Rights Watch says: [www.al-bab.com] Read more

Cambridge dinner lady sacked for accidentally serving pork to Muslim pupil

A Cambridge primary school dinner lady has reportedly been sacked for accidentally serving pork to a Muslim pupil.

Alison Waldock, 51, claims she served 7-year-old Khadija Darr the gammon after the youngster pointed to the dish on the lunch menu.

It is understood the mistake was spotted by the school’s headteacher who swept the plate away from the youngster before she had chance to eat it, and the girl’s parents were then informed who complained to the school’s catering firm. [Cambridge News] Read more

Egyptian Muslim cleric instructs European Muslims on how best to beat their wives

"Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God's guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them." (Qur'an 4:34)

I am sure that all the Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. who constantly assure us that only greasy Islamophobes think that that verse actually means beat them are jetting over to Egypt right now, to explain to Mahmoud Al-Denawy how he is getting the wife-beating verse all wrong, wrong, wrong. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Syrian sharia committee issues fatwa against croissants

While the croissant-doughnut or “cronut” is all the rage in New York, some in Syria have pushed back against the famous French component of the trendy new pastry.

A sharia committee in a rebel-controlled part of Aleppo has issued a fatwa condemning croissants due to their “colonial” origins, according to the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

The fatwa, which declared croissants “haram” or forbidden under Islamic law, said the pastries’ trademark crescent shape celebrates European victory over Muslims. Restrictive fatwas have recently proliferated in areas of Syria under Islamist influence. [THE DAILY CALLER] Read more

Pakistan's Sectarian Meltdown

.... Sectarian strife is most often associated with the Middle East, but Pakistan is rapidly becoming one of its deadliest new fronts.

According to estimates, roughly four hundred Pakistani Shias were killed in sectarian violence last year—the highest number since the 1990s. There were more than five hundred overall deaths from sectarian strife in 2012, more than double the 2011 figure.

A new U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom report concludes that large numbers of attacks have targeted Pakistani religious communities over the last eighteen months.

Shias and other minority communities are assaulted in their homes, at their centers of worship, in recreation centers and on public buses. In 2011, Pakistan’s minority-affairs minister, a Christian, was gunned down in his car in broad daylight. [The National Interest] Read more

Banned scholar's texts in Woolwich Library

"Divisive" works by an Islamic scholar barred from the UK because his presence was ruled not conducive to the public good are available at Woolwich Library.

Dr Zakir Naik was banned in 2010 by the Home Secretary, who found his comments amounted to "unacceptable behaviour".

BBC London has now discovered three of his works in a public library. They contain controversial statements on women, Jews and terrorism. [BBC] Read more

30 July 2013

Saudi website editor gets seven years in prison and 600 lashes for liberal forum

The editor of a Saudi Arabian social website has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for founding an Internet forum that violates Islamic values and propagates liberal thought, Saudi media reported on Tuesday.

Raif Badawi, who started the “Free Saudi Liberals” website to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, has been held since June 2012 on charges of cyber crime and disobeying his father – a crime in the conservative kingdom and top U.S. ally.

Al-Watan newspaper said the judge had also ordered the closure of the website. [Reuters] Read more

Leading imam during Cartoon Crisis regrets involvement

.... Akkari’s days as an imam are now behind him and he says that he is “no longer a part of the Islamic mission". He further claims that many of his former colleagues are hypocrites with a mindset that is “horribly wrong”.

“The world doesn’t need a lid on human expression. That also goes for people you might disagree with. There was something deep-seated in the mentality of the group I belonged to, which I just didn’t notice. There was this fundamental idea that people were not allowed to express themselves freely, and that is just wrong,” said Akkari.

Were the cartoons misused?

“The way I see it today, yes. Behind all the talk of protecting religious imagery, there is always power and abuse," he said. "It is simply revolting.” [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

A Frank Debate about Identity and Islam - A young Sudanese author explores his fraught relationship to religion

.... Amir's quest for his "truth" is one that focuses on empiricism and sound reasoning. As Amir puts it, one of the first and toughest questions is: "How did Islamdom really lose its virtue?"

In trying to find an answer, his quest takes him to the ninth century and the war of ideas between two schools of theological philosophy: One that advocated reason, free will, and an allegorical reading of sacred texts (al-Mu'tazila); and another that advocated tradition, predestination, and a more literal reading of the Quran (al-Ashariya).

Eventually al-Ashariya's school of thought prevailed because it was supported by the stronger political establishment of the time; and eventually it became the predominant mode of thinking about and interpreting Islam. [Foreign Policy] Read more

Police force university to cancel Muslim feminist lecture

A scheduled lecture by an Islamic scholar from the United States was forcibly cancelled by police who cited possible law and order problems in view of opposition by Muslim groups.

Amina Wadud, an Islamic feminist, was due to deliver a lecture on ‘Gender and Reform in Islam’ at the University of Madras in Chennai, India, when she was informed by the unversity’s vice chancellor that local police had informed him to cancel the event.

It has been reported that the news was delivered to the vice chancellor via a text message that read, “Police cannot allow this (the lecture) considering law and order (sic). Please take action to suspend / cancel the programme.” [Trending Central] Read more

29 July 2013

Former Lancashire county leader is criticised over animal stunning motion

LANCASHIRE Council of Mosques chairman Salim Mulla has criticised former county leader Geoff Driver for imposing his animal welfare views on the Muslim community.

He spoke out after the Tory urged the giant authority to pre-stun all animals killed for meat in school meals.

Coun Driver put a motion to this month’s county council meeting calling for this to become official policy despite the view of some Muslims that such meat was not ‘halal’ as defined under Islamic law. [Lancashire Telegraph] Read more

Sharia Law In The USA 101: A Guide To What It Is And Why States Want To Ban It

North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday (July 24) approved a bill to prohibit judges from considering “foreign laws” in their decisions, but nearly everyone agrees that “foreign laws” really means Shariah, or Islamic law.

North Carolina now joins six other states — Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee — to pass a “foreign laws” bill. A similar bill passed in Missouri, but Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it, citing threats to international adoptions.

The bills all cite “foreign laws” because two federal courts have ruled that singling out Shariah — as Oklahoma voters originally did in 2010 — is unconstitutional.

So what’s the big deal with Shariah?

[A COMMENT] In case you've been secreted under a rock for the last 200+ yrs. you might know that this country was predicated on a separation of church and state, no state religion. You will not explain, I'm certain, why under sharia law a rapist goes free and the poor, unfortunate victim receives a 12 yr. sentence. [The Huffington Post] Read more

France is suffering from a 'crisis of authority'

In an interview with Le Parisien newspaper on Monday, France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls said France was faced with a “crisis of authority” following the riots earlier this month in the Paris suburb of Trappes.

The violence erupted after a man was detained for allegedly attacking a police officer who had stopped his wife for wearing a full-face veil – a practice that is banned in France - outraging many in the Muslim community. However many said it had nothing to do with Islam and was more to do with the tense relations between France's youth and its forces of order. [The Local] Read more

My sacking is an attack not just on journalism, but on Turkish democracy

.... Turkey's media has always suffered from not having enough qualified journalists; this is now more of a problem than ever. But there is more at stake here than just the future of individuals.

Turkey's democratic development is being observed with high hopes by the world. Its success or failure will have defining consequences for the region and beyond.

The country needs freedom of expression and an independent media more than ever. But Erdogan is moving the country in the opposite direction: instead of enhancing media freedom, he and his media mogul allies are trying to suffocate it. A media under a political yoke will bring Turkey's transformation to a dead end.

[A COMMENT] Erdogan is being careful, patient and methodical in replacing democracy with oppressive Islamist theocracy -- quite the opposite of Morsi in Egypt. Ataturk was no saint, but he understood the incompatibility of fundamental Islamic ideology and democracy very well. RIP Turkish secularism. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Tunisia on the Brink

.... Ennahda is described as “moderate” in almost every single article published by wire agency hacks, but the only reason it’s relatively moderate is because it’s forced to share power.

Tunisia’s Islamists conceded to building a civil state instead of an Islamic state because they face massive resistance and they don’t have enough seats in the parliament to do anything else. Since the police and the army are loyal to the country and not the party, that’s that.

If Ennahda had won a majority and had the strength to muscle everything through, we would be looking at a different Tunisia—an Egypt in the Maghreb. [World Affairs] Read more

Saudi Website Founder to be Imprisoned, Lashed

Free Saudi Liberals website founder Raif Badawi was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes earlier today. Badawi was arrested on 17 June, 2012 in Jeddah and was charged with “setting up a website that undermines general security” and ridiculing Islamic religious figures.

The Free Saudi Liberals website was an online forum for public discussions. It was shut following Badawi's arrest, and it had been blocked within the country for years. In today's sentence, the judge also ordered the permanent shutdown of the website: [Global Voices] Read more

Caught on video: Indian Mufti enjoys music despite calling it ‘un-Islamic’

A video clip of the Grand Mufti of Kashmir enjoying Kashmiri ghazals, musical poems and Punjabi folk tunes, has gone viral on YouTube this week, after it was revealed that it was the same man who branded muslic as “un-Islamic.”

Bashiruddin Ahmad was recently filmed in a houseboat on the scenic Dal Lake, in the company of several other people, including women, according to India Today.

Political figures and commenters accused the Grand Mufti of hypocrisy following his earlier condemnation of an all-girl rock group. [Al Arabiya] Read more

28 July 2013

Muslim Persecution of Christians: April, 2013

Before Egypt’s President Muhammad Morsi was ousted, April was one of the worst months for Christian Copts there. On April 5 near Cairo, a longstanding feud between a Christian family and a Muslim family—based on male Muslims sexually harassing Christian girls—culminated in the violent deaths of six Christians.

After two of the participants, a Christian and a Muslim, were set on fire, local Muslims went on another “collective punishment” spree, resulting in the injury of at least 20 more Copts, an Evangelical church being set on fire and an attack on a Coptic church. [Clarion Project] Read more

Bristol Jamia Mosque concerned about residents' parking zone

People using a mosque in Bristol have said a possible residents' parking scheme could risk its future as a place of worship for the Muslim community.

Bristol Jamia Mosque, in Totterdown, is in one of 18 parking zones identified by the mayor. Plans for eight of the zones are on hold after criticism.

Mosque chairperson Wazir Ali said people used the mosque throughout the day, all week and needed free parking. Mr Ali said people came to the mosque about seven times a day. He said he was also concerned elderly and disabled people needed to be able to park close by. [BBC] Read more

Those who want secularism in Iran are 'seditionists', judiciary chief warns

Iranians claiming to be moderates who seek 'western democracy and secularism' are guilty of sedition and have no future in the regime, the country's head of judiciary chief has warned.

Sadeq Larijani described those who took part in the 2009 anti-regime protests was 'rising again like pythons that have been struck by the heat'. [NCRI] Read more

27 July 2013

Trouble in Trappes - Violence erupts over the controversial burqa ban

.... Although outsiders may see the burqa ban as a constraint on freedom of expression, France’s belief in laïcité, a tough form of secularism born of its historical fight against authoritarian clericalism, enjoys cross-party support.

A ban on the wearing of all “ostentatious” religious symbols, such as the Muslim headscarf, in public schools was passed with Socialist support in 2004.

Many French Muslim women approved of the burqa ban, on the grounds that the covering has no tradition in the northern African countries with historic ties to France, and had become a political statement, if not a tool, of those trying to impose hardline Islam. [The Economist] Read more

What Happens When You Hire Muslims

.... Some of my readers will protest that they have Muslim co-workers and that those co-workers haven't made any demands for accommodation on the job. So far, but one day they will.

Imane Boudlal worked for a few years for the Walt Disney Company without a headscarf before she decided she absolutely had to wear one in front of customers.

And even if they make no demands directly, just hiring Muslims means more will come for jobs until they start demanding municipal and educational demands: [Planck's Constant] Read more

26 July 2013

The storm in the kebab shop: The great halal debate returns

.... Danish animals are stunned before slaughter, but that is not always the case in Europe. Per Clausen of far-left party Enhedslisten (EL) argues that this is problematic.

“The problem is that we don’t have the opportunity to label meat from other EU countries, either by its nationality or any other method," Clausen told Berlingske.

"It means that we are importing meat into Denmark that is probably slaughtered in cruel ways. I don’t know how many EU countries have these sorts of rules and I have asked the [agriculture] minister to address this. But there is no doubt that there are many countries in which anaesthetics are not used.”

Clausen said EL would rather have a debate about overall animal welfare rather than an insignificant prayer made as a stunned animal dies. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

‘Save animals from distress’

Calls have been made to look at the way animals are slaughtered before being served as meat in Lancashire’s schools.

A motion put forward at a meeting of Lancashire County Council has asked for only meat where the animal is stunned before being killed to be provided.

The move has caused ‘confusion’ among Muslim leaders in Lancashire, saying the practice could go against Halal rules. [Lancashire Evening Post] Read more

25 July 2013

For INSULTING ISLAM, pageant contestants may be next in line to be charged

The four Muslim women who disputed the National Fatwa Council decision banning Muslim women from participating in beauty pageants can be charged in the Syariah Court.

Deputy president of Pahang Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Muip) Datuk Seri Wan Abdul Wahid Wan Hassan said they could be charged under Sharia law if they participated in the beauty pageant. [Malaysia Chronicle] Read more

Sharia law ban

State lawmakers have given final approval to ban courts from recognizing "foreign law" in family court matters.

The House originally approved the bill in May, but it was turned into an abortion bill by Senate leaders. So, a new version had to be produced, said sponsor Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania.

It prohibits courts from recognizing "foreign law" if it infringes on U.S. or state constitutional rights. The bill doesn't use the term "sharia" because a federal appeals court ruled in 2012 that a sharia law ban passed in Oklahoma was unconstitutional and discriminatory against Islam. [Capitol Broadcasting Company] Read more

Surgery center for Muslims drops religious label

A Chicago doctor who proposed opening the state's first “Shariah-compliant” surgery center is dropping references to Islamic law, a bid to reduce confusion — and controversy — about the plan.

Dr. Naser Rustom's original proposal for a $5.5 million medical facility in southwest suburban Orland Park that would adhere to the tenets of Islam was issued a preliminary denial in May by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board. The proposal was a sign of the growing population of Arab-Americans and other Muslims in the Chicago area. [Crain Communications] Read more

Filipino women teachers urged to remove wearing veils in the classroom

Women teachers have been 'strongly suggested' to remove their veils when teaching in the classroom in the majority Catholic country of the Philippines.

It is the latest twist in the ongoing controversy over the wearing of the religious garment, that sparked a riot in the French capital Paris on Friday.

An order was sent out by the Filipino Government yesterday instructing females who teach Arabic language and Islamic values to take off the religious niqab, which covers all of the face except the eyes. [MailOnline] Read more

Tunisian politician Mohamed Brahmi assassinated

.... Prime Minister Ali Larayedh condemned his assassination, but said: "We are against all calls to dissolve the government to create a [power] vacuum."

In February, the killing of prominent secular politician Chokri Belaid sparked mass protests and forced Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to resign.

An uprising in Tunisia in late 2010 kick-started a series of revolutions that spread through the Middle East and became known as the Arab Spring. [BBC] Read more

Presence of pregnant women in public is ‘disgraceful,’ says Turkish lawyer

Turkish lawyer and Sufi thinker Ömer Tugrul Inançer has sparked a public outcry after telling state television station TRT 1 that it was immoral for pregnant women with huge bellies to reveal themselves in public.

“Announcing pregnancy with a flourish of trumpets is against our civility. [The]Y should not wander on the streets with such bellies. [Daily News] Read more

Philippines says Muslim veil directive only a request

A Philippine government directive for female Muslim teachers to take off their face veils in class is not mandatory nor meant to curtail religious rights, the education minister said Thursday.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro issued guidelines last week on wearing the "niqab" in schools, intended mainly for the southern Philippines, where most of the country's Muslim minority live. [AFP] Read more

History Textbook 'Too Favourable To Islam' Parents Claim

Parents and a state legislator in the United States want to remove a history textbook they believe is too favourable to the Muslim faith.

Legislator Rep. Ritch Workman says "this book very much sugar-coats the rise of Islam to be this wonderful new world order while teaching Christianity as dogmatic."

The book is used by students throughout Brevard County high schools in Florida with Workman and parents complaining there are 36-pages devoted to the Muslim faith as opposed to three paragraphs detailing Christianity and Judaism. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Thousands take to the streets after opposition leader gunned down in Tunisia

Tunisian opposition member Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead in the capital Tunis on Thursday, six months after the murder of another secular leader sparked a national crisis. Thousands of secularists have poured on to the streets in protest.

Several Islamist party offices and government buildings have been set on fire. Police in Tunisia’s second-largest city of Sfax have fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters who stormed a local government office while demonstrators threw stones at them. There were no immediate reports of casualties. [RT TV] Read more

24 July 2013

Sabin Khan: the Islamist ally in the Home Office

.... News now reaches us that Khan has been busy promoting some rather dubious outfits in the Home Office; these have also been presented to Prevent Officers up and down the country as groups the government endorses (we have seen the email).

This includes the group ‘Inspire‘ which is also partly run by her sister Sara Khan (the former President of the MCB affiliate Young Muslim Sisters) and her close friend, the Islamist friendly Tahmina Saleem (MCB’s former Press Liason Officer). [Harry’s Place] Read more

23 July 2013

Security forces abandon Coptic Christians during deadly attack in Luxor

Security forces stood by and failed to intervene during a brutal attack on Coptic Christians in Luxor, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today.

During the sectarian violence, security forces left six besieged men –four of whom were then killed and one hospitalized – to the mercy of an angry crowd. [Amnesty International] Read more

PTA asks parliament to define blasphemy and make new laws

A meeting to discuss the blasphemous material and the ban on YouTube turned into an exchange of abuses on Monday and the Pakistan Telecom Authority lobbed the issue in the court of parliament, asking legislators to pass a new law and create a new set-up to decide what is blasphemous.

After witnessing nasty scenes in the official meeting on Monday called for holding consultations for blocking access to blasphemous material on YouTube, the PTA proposed to the government to enact new laws through parliament for establishing an independent department having the mandate as well as the authority to block access of such links on the internet. [The News International] Read more

Fasting month, so pupils told to take recess meals in bathroom

A decision by a primary school administration to order its non-Muslim pupils to have their meals during recess in what appears to be the school’s shower room has gone viral and angered netizens. Photographs of the pupils having their meals in the bathroom at the Sungai Buloh school have been posted in Facebook. [Malaysia Edition] Read more

The shocking case of Marte Dalelv shows why we should be boycotting Dubai

If there's one positive message to come out of the shocking case of Marte Dalelv, the Norwegian woman sentenced to prison in Dubai for the crime of unlawful sex with her alleged rapist, it's the speed with which she was pardoned once the story became an international scandal at the weekend.

That happy outcome is largely due to her own courage in speaking out and to the worldwide storm of protest her case unleashed. Strong if belated criticism from the Norwegian government may also have played its part. [New Statesman] Read more

Yemeni girl's speech against child marriage goes viral

A video of an 11-year-old Yemeni girl's account of escaping her arranged marriage has gone viral. In the 3-minute clip, Nada al-Ahdal says she would rather die than get married at her age and calls the potential marriage "criminal."

According to a report in NOW Lebanon, Nada fled to her uncle when her parents agreed to marry her to a Yemeni expatriate living in Saudi Arabia.

A version of the video with English captions received more than 5.6 million views in two days. [Al Jazeera] Read more

Islam and Islamism

Since 9/11 the West has been confounded with the question whether Islam and Islamism are one and same, or if there is a critical distinction to be drawn between the two.

How this question is answered has profound implications for understanding and explaining the immense convulsion seizing the Muslim world, and on how best to frame a proper response without undermining or eroding the secular and liberal democratic culture of the West.

Islamism is -- from the perspective of someone born and raised within the mainstream majority Sunni Islam -- an ideology fascistic and totalitarian in impulse and action, masquerading as religion. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

22 July 2013

Fatwa prohibits 4 Muslim finalists from taking part in beauty pageant

Four Muslim finalists have been dropped from the Miss Malaysia World 2013 pageant due to a fatwa banning them from joining such events.

Organiser Datuk Anna Lim said the decision was made following a statement by Federal Territories mufti Datuk Wan Zahidi Wan Teh who had opposed the four finalists' participation.

"The competition will go on as usual and we are very excited about presenting the best beauty pageant for our non-Muslim finalists," she told Mingguan Malaysia. [The Star/Asia News Network] Read more

Malaysian Muslims ask Vatican to recall envoy over use of “Allah”

The Vatican’s first envoy to Muslim-majority Malaysia should quit and go back to Rome, angry Malaysian Islamists said after the Roman Catholic cleric said Christians may use the Arabic word “Allah” to describe God.

In an escalating confrontation, dozens of Islamists marched to the Vatican’s mission in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, after prayers at a mosque on Friday (July 19), and presented a 670-word memorandum demanding his recall. [The Washington Post] Read more

Muslim Colonists In Western Europe

.... It should be properly identified. The Muslims who enter Europe are not coming to integrate into European society, to embracve the Enlightenment and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Nor are they coming to contribute -- with a very few exceptions -- to the economic or any other kind of wellbeing of the lands within Dar al-Islam. They come to get what they have heard, what they know, is available so generously for their taking. They take it as by right, as the Jizyah they deserve but at present, cannot exact since Muslims do not yet rule.

This is not a strange and fantastical description but, rather, sober and measured. What will you do about it? [The Iconoclast] Read more

Islamism's Likely Doom

.... Should the fissiparous tendency hold, the Islamist movement is doomed, like fascism and communism, to be no more than a civilizational threat inflicting immense damage but never prevailing.

This possible limit on Islamist power, which became visible only in 2013, offers grounds for optimism but not for complacency. Even if things look brighter than a year ago, trends can quickly turn around again. The long and difficult job of defeating Islamism remains ahead. [The Washington Times] Read more

Afghan Religious Leader Approves Of Restrictive Edict On Women

One of Afghanistan's top religious figures has defended a series of religious decrees that observers warn could further erode women's rights in the country.

The eight-article fatwa was issued by a local ulema, or religious council, in the district of Deh Salah in the northern province of Baghlan last month.

Among the edicts was a ban on women leaving their homes without a male companion and another that banned the sale of cosmetics on the basis that they are "un-Islamic" and promote adultery. [Radio Free Europe] Read more

It’s fine to be a ‘new’ atheist, so long as you don’t object to Islam

The American liberal magazine Salon has recently run a series of pieces denouncing the new atheists, with one article accusing them of ‘anti-Muslim hate’.

New darling of the Anglo-American left Glenn Greenwald has accused Dawkins and co of ‘fuelling the sustained anti-Muslim demonization campaign of the west’; while Independent columnist Owen Jones claimed last year that there is a “rising tide of anti-Muslim prejudice which dresses itself up as secularism”.

To the casual observer this may seem slightly confusing. A closer examination of the polemics, however, reveals why Dawkins and co have so upset the left. They have fallen foul of an important unspoken code: while Christianity may be cursed to the skies, criticism of Islam must be bookended with ‘religion of peace’ disclaimers or refrained from entirely. [The Spectator] Read more

France forced to defend ban on Islamic veil

France's interior minister moved to defend the country's controversial ban on full-face veils after it triggered yet another bout of unrest outside Paris, which he said had now been "contained".

The weekend violence in the suburb of Trappes erupted after a man was detained for allegedly attacking a police officer who had stopped his wife over her full-face veil -- a practice that is banned in France, outraging many in the Muslim community. [The Local] Read more

'Gay' killings in Yemen - How big is the problem?

Hashim al-Asimi, a 20-year-old Yemeni, was heading home last Monday night when two men on a motorbike approached and shot him dead.

Drive-by killings involving unlicensed motorbikes are a regular occurrence in Yemen and usually they are blamed on militants linked to al-Qaeda.

Mostly, these attacks are directed against members of the security forces but Asimi’s killing was different. According to police and witnesses, he died because he was thought to be gay. [www.al-bab.com] Read more

21 July 2013

Religious hardliners declare 'jihad' on Afghanistan's TV talent shows

Religious hardliners have declared a jihad against the television talent shows that have taken Afghanistan by storm, condemning the way they feature unveiled women singing and dancing.

The programmes – modelled on Western favourites such as The Voice and Pop Idol – are hugely popular in a country with a young population and where television ownership has rocketed since the Taliban were ousted from Kabul in 2001.

At the same time there is a growing backlash against what many see as foreign values. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

France veil row sparks Trappes unrest

Crowds of youths have thrown stones at French police and set fire to cars in a second night of disturbances in the Paris suburb of Trappes.

The trouble was sparked by the arrest of a man whose wife was told by police on Thursday to remove an Islamic face-covering veil, banned in public.

He has been accused of trying to strangle the officer.

Up to 300 people attacked a police station in Trappes on Friday night where the man was being held. [BBC] Read more

Islamic finance sits awkwardly in a modern business school

.... Islamic banking, in its current form, will go down in history as a mighty deceit based on an operational principle that is simply unfeasible. Islamic banks give and take interest as a matter of course, though under the guise of commissions, fees, penalties or profit shares.

The holder of a “halal” credit card pays a penalty on unpaid balances; this penalty is proportionate to the size of the balance, which makes it equivalent to interest. [Financial Times] Read more

20 July 2013

5 injured in clashes at burka riot outside Paris

About 250 people hurling projectiles clashed with police firing tear gas west of Paris, in apparent protest over enforcement of France’s ban on Islamic face veils. Five people were injured and six detained in the violence, authorities said Saturday.

The interior minister urged calm and dialogue, insisting on both the need for public order and respect for France’s Muslims. The incident in the town of Trappes on Friday night reflected sporadic tensions between police upholding France’s strict policies of secularism and those who accuse authorities of discriminating against France’s No. 2 religion. [AP] Read more

No compromise on individuals mocking religion

The communication and multimedia ministry will not compromise with those who insult or mock religion on social websites.

The minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, said stern action would be taken against perpetrators, if it was proven that social websites were used to touch on religious sensitivities, resulting in anger and unrest among believers.

According to him, the arrest of controversial couple Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee was a reminder that matters touching on religions could not be brought to ridicule. [The New Straits Times] Read more

Child Marriage our Right as Muslims

Asari Dokubo Defends Under-aged Marriage Law In Nigeria… “We Muslims Can Marry Girls Of Any Age”. A prominent Niger Delta Muslim, Alhaji Mujahid Abubakar Dokubo-Asari, has lashed out at critics of the moves by Nigeria’s Senate to approve under-age marriage.

Expressing his opinion on the issue this morning, Dokubo, who converted to Islam as an adult, insisted that it is the right of Muslims to marry or give out their daughters at any age they wish, adding that this is not the business of non-Muslims. [The Nigeria Today] Read more

French police, youths clash after veil incident

About 250 people hurling projectiles clashed with police firing tear gas west of Paris, in apparent protest over enforcement of France's ban on Islamic face veils. Five people were injured and six detained in the violence, authorities said Saturday.

The interior minister urged calm and dialogue, insisting on both the need for public order and respect for France's Muslims.

The incident in the town of Trappes on Friday night reflected sporadic tensions between police upholding France's strict policies of secularism and those who accuse authorities of discriminating against France's No. 2 religion. [THE ASSOCIATED PRESS] Read more

Women 'banned from shopping alone' in northern Pakistan

Islamic clerics and tribal elders in Pakistan's north-west Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have barred women from shopping without a male relative.

The decision was made during a meeting at a mosque in Karak district and announced over its loudspeaker.

Most women in Pakistan's tribal north-west cover their heads and bodies. [BBC] Read more

19 July 2013

An exceptional act of courage

In the Islamic Apartheid Republic of Iran, all religious minorities have been made into second class citizens. Even Shiites who adhere to a different interpretation of the faith than the official state ideology have been victims.

However, one can say without a shadow of doubt that the Iranian Bahaiis have suffered the most and have been the biggest victims of this religious apartheid regime. [Harry’s Place] Read more

NC Senate passes 'Sharia law' bill

The state Senate on Friday passed a bill that would keep courts from recognizing Sharia law.

While proponents of the legislation said it would keep people safe from foreign laws, critics derided the bill as sending a message of intolerance and bigotry to followers of Islam.

.... The danger doesn’t come from the legislation’s exact wording, said Omid Safi, a professor of religious studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. He contends this wave of anti-foreign-law legislation comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of Sharia law and a “bigoted” perception of Muslims.

“We would be delighted to have a conversation about what Sharia law actually is and what it is not,” he said. “It would be important, if we’re passing legislation on the topic, for (lawmakers who support the bill) to actually benefit from the expertise of people who might actually know something about the subject.” [News & Observer] Read more

18 July 2013

Malaysian Sex Bloggers Charged With Sedition For Inciting Religious Enmity With Ramadan Image

Sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee have been charged and imprisoned without bail in Malaysia after they posted a photo offensive to Muslims on their Facebook page. They face up to eight years in prison.

The photo in question featured the duo eating pork stew, "bah kuh teh," while greeting fasting Muslims for Ramadan.

The image was construed as highly offensive given the fact that pork is considered haram, or forbidden, to Muslims, and they put a halal, or permissible, logo on the post. Though they claimed they meant the picture to be humorous, it's been perceived as highly disrespectful and provocative given the content of the photo and the occupation of the uploaders, who have a Youtube channel called "Sexcussions with Alvivi" and an erotic blog. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Aceh, increasing intolerance against Christians: 17 house churches closed

The Islamist pressures against Christian communities in Aceh "have become intolerable. Within a year, with non-existent legal pretexts, 17 house churches have been closed: these also include Catholic chapels.

The islamization of the province continues , just as promised by the governor Abdullah. " It is the sense of the Annual Report published by IndonesianChristian.org, Protestant organization which monitors the situation of the Christian community in Indonesia. [AsiaNews] Read more

The New Muslim Generation

A month ago, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked whether the Taliban is a terrorist organization. The question appeared to stump her. “Well, I’m not sure how they are defined at this particular moment,” she told reporters.

So how refreshing was it to hear Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old Pakistani girl, speaking from a U.N. podium last week, unequivocally and forthrightly denouncing the Taliban as terrorist and, for good measure, calling into question the courage and intelligence of its members?

“They are afraid of women,” she said. “And I remember that there was a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist, why are the Taliban against education? He answered very simply by pointing to his book, he said, ‘A Talib doesn’t know what is written inside this book.’ [National Review Online] Read more

Malaysians accused of insulting Islam

A Malaysian couple was charged Thursday with posting online a Ramadan greeting that allegedly mocked Islam and its holy month of fasting.

The picture on the social networking website Facebook showed Alvin Tan Jye Yee, 25, and his partner Vivian Lee May Ling, 24, eating what appeared to be pork rib soup, with the caption "fragrant, delicious and appetising", in Malay.

But the photo also carried the round logo used to indicate products that are halal, or permitted to Muslims, in Malaysia.

The two were charged with committing acts likely to cause feelings of enmity on grounds of religion. [Bangkok Post] Read more

Taliban to Malala: Stop smearing us

THE Taliban has written to Malala Yousafzai, the teen activist shot by militants, accusing her of "smearing" them and urging her to return home.

Gunmen from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) shot Malala, now 16, in the head in her home town in Swat, in the country's northwest, where she campaigned for the right of girls to go to school, last October.

Malala made a powerful speech to the UN on Friday in her first public appearance since the attack which almost killed her, vowing to continue her struggle for education and not be silenced by the militants. [AAP] Read more

17 July 2013

Norwegian woman who reported being raped in Dubai is jailed for 16 months

A young Norwegian woman has been sentenced to 16 months in jail after she reported a rape in Dubai.

The 25-year-old was in the United Arab Emirates on a business trip when she was raped and reported the assault to the local police.

Dubai police did not believe her, and instead took her passport and jailed her on suspicion of having had sex outside marriage. [MailOnline] Read more

Taliban's letter to Malala Yousafzai: this is why we tried to kill you

A senior member of the Pakistani Taliban has written an open letter to Malala Yousafzai – the teenager shot in the head as she rode home on a school bus – expressing regret that he didn't warn her before the attack, but claiming that she was targeted for maligning the insurgents.

Adnan Rasheed, who was convicted for his role in a 2003 assassination attempt on the country's then-president Pervez Musharraf, did not apologise for the attack, which left Malala gravely wounded, but said he found it shocking.

[A COMMENT] This letter should have simply read: Dear Malala, We tried to kill you because we are worthless misogynists who only understand violence and brutality and have such a blinkered view of the world that we can justify anything to ourselves including attacking little girls. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

The Taliban's letter to Malala is a sign of their failure

The letter sent by a senior figure in the Pakistan Taliban to Malala Yousafzai setting out the case against her is an extraordinary document by any standards. It is an attempt to defend the indefensible – the attempted assassination of a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

In it, Adnan Rasheed deploys all the arguments he can think of, referencing Henry Kissinger (a Jew, he helpfully points out) and quoting Bertrand Russell on the way modern science might be manipulated – via diet and injections – to control populations.

His letter complains that she is pushing UN propaganda, of promoting an education system that has no place for Islam and it wonders whether there would have been such an outcry if she had been injured in a US drone strike. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

16 July 2013

"Let America And Britain Hate The Caliphate; Let Britain, America, And The Entire West Go To Hell, Because The Caliphate Is Coming, Allah Willing"

In an address at a symposium in Jordan marking the 92nd anniversary of the fall of the Islamic Caliphate, Prof. Mohammed Malkawi, the founder of Hizb Al-Tahrir in Chicago, stated that when the Caliphate was destroyed the world lost "an exemplar of justice, a model for humanity in its entirety."

Claiming that President Obama has "chosen heresy as a religion" for Muslims "in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere," he urges the Muslims to reject this, urging the crowd to chant "Allah Akbar" and urges Muslims in general not to hesitate to use the term "Caliphate."

He states that Obama and other rulers are "all dwarfed by the Islamic Caliphate and law," and concludes by saying: "Let Britain, America, and the entire West go to hell, because the Caliphate is coming, Allah willing." [The Iconoclast] Read more

15 July 2013

It's Time the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia Found Its Teeth

I feel as though I have some personal stake in the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Islamophobia. It first began two years ago when I submitted a report to it, examining the very public fallout that ensued following the appointment of iENGAGE as the Group's secretariat.

I had been approached to compile the report by the APPG's co-chairs who believed I would be able to offer an "objective view". Noting the complex and contentious nature of doing so, I accepted the approach on the basis that I believed that the fallout was damaging the very real opportunity the APPG presented to finally have Islamophobia taken seriously at the political level. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Pakistani man given life sentence on blasphemy charge, despite lack of evidence

A Pakistani Christian has been sentenced to life imprisonment for sending an allegedly blasphemous text message on his cell phone.

Sajjad Gill, a Seventh Day Adventist, was tried under the country’s draconian blasphemy law after he was accused by a neighbor. The messages were sent from an unregistered phone, and Gill’s own phone, which was examined by police, showed that it had not been the source of the messages. Nevertheless the court found him guilty. [CatholicCulture.org] Read more

Malaysia's 'Galloping Islamization'

In Malaysia, the tone of the anti-Christian campaign has become shriller. One of the new government’s first moves was to amend the Administration of Islamic Law so that consent from only one parent or guardian was required for a child to be converted to Islam.

It drew flak from an array of rights groups, lawyers and politicians, and surprised by the fierce reaction, the bill was withdrawn earlier this month.

But it is not over yet. Some see it as an attempt by the government to shore up its conservative Muslim voter base, while others say it is a sign of the continuing Islamization of Malaysia.

Other examples abound: the barely veiled threats against the papal nuncio Archbishop Joseph Marino, who has defended the rights of Malaysian Christians to use Allah as the word for God in the Malay language, are cause for concern. [UCAnews] Read more

More Hatred and Extremism at the East London Mosque

The East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre addresses concerns about jihadist and hate preaching at their institution by means of two devices.

First, they issue misleading “clarifications” and promise to address extremism in the future. Second, the worst speakers are packed off to an associated local venue: usually The Water Lily for a few months. When the dust has settled, all promises to deal with the promotion of bigotry are forgotten, and the hate preachers are invited right back. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Pakistani Christian Gets Life in Prison for Blasphemous Text Messages

A court in Pakistan's Punjab province has sentenced a Christian man to life imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 for sending blasphemous text messages to Muslim clerics to seek revenge from his ex-fiancée.

A court in Punjab's Toba Tek Singh district sentenced the Christian man, Sajjad Masih, for sending blasphemous text messages from a mobile phone to Muslim clerics and others in Gojra town in that district, according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper. [The Christian Post] Read more

14 July 2013

Popular U.S. Imam: Constitution Inferior to Sharia

.... the message they heard from one prominent speaker was particularly offensive in light of the holiday: The U.S. Constitution is inferior to Islamic Sharia Law.

The imam is named Zaid Shakir; he’s no stranger to readers of the Clarion Project. We’ve documented his Islamist ideology and anti-American rhetoric repeatedly.

Despite the shredding apart of his “moderate” costume, he continues to be a sought-after speaker at Islamic venues across the country. He’s also co-founder and chairman of Zaytuna College in California, the subject of a recent New York Times whitewashing. [Clarion Project] Read more

Muslims’ threats to stab pork eating UK prisoners

Caged radicals issued the threats at maximum security Long Lartin prison, which has held fundamentalists including Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza.

A prisoner at the jail said: “We are able to cook our own food here but if we attempt to cook pork in the communal kitchen it is deemed dangerous and even a threat to your life.

“The kitchen is usually occupied by 90% Muslims and we have been told if we cook pork we will be stabbed.”

The inmate, who told of the Islamic tyranny in lags’ mag Inside Time, also confirmed the Daily Star Sunday story that Muslim prisoners celebrated the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, 26, who was buried on Friday. [Daily Star] Read more

13 July 2013

Muslim extremists kill our priests, burn our churches and kidnap our women: How Egypt's Arab Spring dream descended into a nightmare of religious hatred

The mob converging on a church on the outskirts of Cairo were armed only with sticks and stones.

But their frenzied attack on a lone, elderly Coptic priest was merciless. Father Matthew Awad had refused to reveal the whereabouts of a Muslim woman who had converted to Christianity. For this offence, he was assaulted, suffered death threats and barely escaped with his life.

Today, he is in hiding. His entire family fear for their safety. Matthew’s son, shop owner Marco Awad, cannot set foot in public after he was arrested and tortured by Egyptian police officers sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. [MailOnline] Read more

A religion at war with itself

.... The Oxford peace resolution was supported by Mehdi Hasan, a British journalist, the political editor of Huffington Post’s U.K. edition. His opponent, Anne-Marie Waters, of the National Secular Society, cited 9/11, 7/7, Mali, Somalia and other instances of war-like behaviour.

Hasan argued that violence involves only a small percentage of believers and Oxford shouldn’t slander the majority and “fuel the arguments of bigots.”

At least 185 people killed in hours of fighting between Nigeria’s military and Islamic extremists

Yet Muslims are currently involved in persistent conflicts, including many Muslim vs. Muslim struggles. We know about Syria, where Muslims have killed 100,000 or more Muslims, but there are many other cases that rarely make the international news. In Nigeria, for instance, the conflicts are numerous and bloody — and usually grounded in religion. [National Post] Read more

Teachers deny water to schoolboy, 10, on the hottest day of the year

AN angry mother has accused a ­primary school of denying her child water on one of the hottest days of the year to avoid upsetting Muslim pupils observing Ramadan.

Kora Blagden, 32, claimed a teacher at her 10-year-old son Luke’s school refused to let him drink from his water bottle because it was “unfair” to ­fasting classmates.

Many pupils at Charles Dickens ­Primary School, in Portsmouth, Hants, are following the religious edict that forbids them from eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset.

Mother-of-four Ms Blagden said: “Just before bedtime my sons and I were talking about Ramadan as we had seen it on the news. Luke said to me he was told he wasn’t allowed to drink in class by his teacher. [Daily Express] Read more

12 July 2013

Building bridges in Australia: Ads against "Islamophobia" use fabricated George Bernard Shaw quote praising Muhammad

.... Not long after some heated public discussion over the use of a Koran in the swearing-in of a Muslim frontbencher in federal parliament, The Australian publishes the following statement by George Bernard Shaw, on the belligerence of Islam, taken from GBS's rebuke to a Mohammedan da'wa artist:

'"You spoke on Philosophy of Peace, but as a Muslim it would have been more appropriate if you had delivered a lecture on the Philosophy of War, for Islam doubtless was spread at the point of the sword," Shaw is quoted as having said.'

The other quote was even juicier: "You accepted Allah or you had your throat cut by someone who did accept him, and who went to Paradise for having sent you to Hell." [Jihad Watch] Read more

The Question of Islamic Reform

Perhaps the major theological problem confronting the revisionist Muslim community today—i.e., those whom we call “moderates” or “secular-oriented intellectuals”—is the canonical scriptures which define their faith and without which Islam would cease to exist.

The dilemma for these “enlightened Muslims” is the Koran itself, with its ubiquitous summons to warfare, conquest, enslavement and social and economic persecution of vanquished peoples, which is why they are preoccupied, to the brink of obsession, with the twin concepts of re-interpretation and contextualization. [FRONTPAGEMAG.COM] Read more

Poland's parliament reject reinstating religious slaughter of animals

Polish parliament's lower house has voted to reject a government plan to reinstate the religious slaughter of animals. Lawmakers rejected the divisive issue in a 222-178 vote Friday as 38 members of the ruling Civic Platform party joined the opposition to vote against it.

.... Usually, slaughterhouses stun livestock before killing them, while kosher rites demand an animal is killed by slitting its throat while it is alive and allowing it to bleed to death.

The halal meat consumed by observant Muslims is killed the same way.

The government had hoped the proposed law would allow Polish abattoirs to resume production of kosher meat, which was forced to stop last year by the constitutional court. [World Bulletin]

Read more

11 July 2013

Mehdi Hasan tries, fails to prove that Islam is a peaceful religion

.... Hasan says that 113 out of the 114 chapters of the Qur'an begin by introducing the god of Islam as a god of mercy and compassion.

He doesn't mention that the one chapter that does not, sura 9, is the one that contains the verse of the sword ("slay the pagans wherever you find them" -- 9:5) as well as the verse calling on Muslims to wage war against and subjugate Jews and Christians (9:29).

He admits that Islam is not a pacifistic religion, and that the Qur'an contains verses that enjoin war and violence, and says that "a minority of Muslims" take those verses out of context.

But he doesn't explain what that context is; instead, he shifts ground to point out that the people who are arguing against his proposition are not experts on Islam. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Muslim Deceit re Supposed Pro-Islam Statements by George Bernard Shaw

'Anti-"Islamophobia" [sic: and I love those scare quotes, which are, for once, exactly where they belong - CM] advertisements due to screen on major free-to-air channels from today rely on a fabricated quote from Irish playwright and avowed atheist George Bernard Shaw, from a book that does not exist, according to the International Shaw Society.

'The 30-second ads have been funded by the Sydney-based Mypeace organisation, which says it hopes to "build bridges" between Muslims and other Australians. [The Iconoclast] Read more

10 July 2013

Divine rights - The problem of democracy and Egypt's Islamists

The overthrow of President Morsi has prompted new debate about the future of Islamist movements in Egypt and beyond. To some, it signals the beginning of the end for political Islam. Writing in the London Review of Books, for instance, Hazem Kandil suggests “the country that invented Islamism may well be on its way to undoing the spell”.

In the long run such predictions may prove correct but we are not there yet. What can be safely said, though, is that at present the wind is not blowing the Islamists' way. [www.al-bab.com] Read more

Supreme Court upholds ban on Muslim headwear in schools

A branch of Russia’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a group of Muslims for the right of schoolgirls to wear traditional religious attire, specifically the hijab, in classrooms.

The appeal was made by a group of citizens of Muslim faith from southern Russia’s Stavropol Region.

They complained that a decree by the local administration ordering all schoolchildren to appear in classes only in regular secular clothes, which came into force in January this year, infringes their freedom of faith as guaranteed by the constitution.

Certain denominations of Islam requires that all women wear special headscarves called hijabs, covering their hair and necks. [TV-Novosti] Read more

09 July 2013

Women-only tennis sessions launched in Blackburn

Women can play on the private outdoor courts, at Crosshill Tennis Club, Corporation Park, every Tuesday, at 10.30am.

The privacy of the courts makes them suitable for Muslim women, director Waqar Hussain said, although everybody is welcome.

He said: “The local women wanted something to do, and somewhere private, something without a car, and in the local area.”

Mr Hussain said he welcomed the debate on the clash between tennis rules and Islam. The Women’s Tennis Association rules said players should not wear sweatshirts, sweat pants, T-shirts, jeans, or cut-offs. [LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH] Read more

The Myth of Spain's Islamic Golden Age

We have traditionally been told that the first two centuries of the Spanish Emirate, supposedly founded in 756 by Abd’ er Rahman I, constituted a veritable Golden Age of Spanish history. And indeed the opulence and prosperity of Spain during these years is contrasted very favorably with the poverty and ignorance of Christian Europe in the same period.

.... Over the past sixty years intensive efforts have been made to discover this astonishing civilization - to no avail. Try as they might, archaeologists have found hardly anything, hardly a brick or inscription, for the first two centuries of Arab rule in Spain. Between 711 and 911 there is almost nothing, with substantial remains only beginning to appear around 925 or 930. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Saudi to expel foreigners disrespecting Ramadan

Saudi Arabia threatened on Tuesday to expel non-Muslim expatriates who eat, drink, or smoke in public during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Ramadan begins in the kingdom on Wednesday.

"Non-Muslim residents in the kingdom must not eat or drink in public during Ramadan, in respect to the holiness of Ramadan and the feelings of Muslims," said an interior ministry statement published by the official SPA news agency.

Foreigners caught breaking the fast in public "will be subject to deterrent measures that include terminating their employment contracts and expelling them from the kingdom," the ministry said. [AFP] Read more

Islamist groups: Egypt’s crackdown vindicates use of violence as political tool

The Egyptian army’s escalating crackdown on supporters of the country’s ousted Muslim Brotherhood government is being seized on by many radical Islamists as proof that violence, not democracy, is the only solution to the region’s problems.

In the days since Egypt’s military toppled the country’s first freely elected government, jihadist groups in the region and elsewhere have rushed to assert the futility of elections and Western-style democracy, in statements and in chat forums on jihadi Web sites. [washingtonpost.com] Read more

Bedford dad beat kids while forcing them to read Koran

A father punished his children by making them stand by a window reciting the Koran whilst he assaulted him, a jury was told today.

It was part of 'physical, psychological and emotional abuse' allegedly carried out by the 49-year-old man from Bedford on his wife and six children. [Bedfordshire news] Read more

Temporary marriage becomes popular among young UK Muslims

.... Omar Farooq Khan, president of the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Society at Bradford University, said the practice is on the increase among Shia students on university campuses. He agreed that it was a taboo subject but provides a buffer to the “girlfriend or boyfriend” culture.

Khola Hassan, a spokesperson for the UK Islamic Sharia Council, said the practice is strictly not allowed.Sayyad Fadhil Milani, spiritual leader at the Al-Khoei Centre in Brent, north-west London, said: “Islam does not permit relationships like those between a boyfriend and a girlfriend. So a nikah mut’ah gives them an opportunity to get to know each other before committing themselves to a full marriage.”

Omar Ali Grant, a convert to Islam from London, told the programme he has had around 13 temporary marriages but argued that he was just trying to find the right person to spend his life with. [The News International] Read more

08 July 2013

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

....Watching the Oxford Union debate it felt opponents of the motion were holding something back in their vigour, with the exception of Daniel Johnston who made clear a need to speak against the motion without hesitation.

The real reason may have been the events in Woolwich only the day before, and fear of repercussion for suggesting that Islam was in total not a peaceful religion. Totality matters because just like any other religion Islam makes universal claims on everything and claims absolute authority to be followed.

Adam Deen (Islamic theologian) for the motion made clear that the Koran and Hadith had something to say about just war, social justice and living in peace – with a right to defend itself justly from repression and extermination (pacifism morally wrong he claimed).

He could have said it also covered eating, banking, the bedroom and the art of going to the lavatory as well in how Islam advises in total on all things. [Homo economicus' Weblog] Read more

France: Mayor of Nice Says Islam Not Compatible With Democracy

The MP declared his opposition to a declaration made by François Hollande during his official trip to Tunisia, when he declared that "France knows that Islam and democracy are compatible".

"We can't go around proclaiming secularism everywhere and at the same time say that Islam and democracy are perfectly compatible", he declared.

"In France as soon as you have in a crèche, in a school, in a public place, someone who would display an ostentatious sign of belonging to a religion, everyone starts yelling, which seems to me totally legitimate, because I defend the principles of secularism," declared the mayor of Nice. [Islam versus Europe] Read more

Islamophobia rises in British society

On the 8th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings, and in the aftermath of the killing of British army soldier Lee Rigby, it is timely to assess how Islamophobia within Britain’s political landscape has evolved since that tragic day in July 2005. Much evidence suggests that Islamophobia has moved beyond small fringe far-right groups to being far more widespread across broad sections of the population.

[COMMENT] The first line of text in this Islamist drivel says it all. After listing the carnage of Islamist terror attacks, the issue is not the savagery of Islamist terrorism. No, the great humanitarian issue of our time is the fact that non-Muslims react to Islamist terrorism in a negative way. This is the best article that I have ever read that so conclusively demonstrates the extent to which Islam destroys the ability of the human mind to reason objectively. [Al Jazeera English] Read more

Venstre to unhappy Muslims: "Find somewhere else to live"

Inger Støjberg (Venstre) thinks that Muslims who are unhappy with Danish values should find somewhere else to

Muslims who show no interest in adopting Danish values ought to think about why they settled in Denmark in the first place, the immigration spokesperson for leading opposition party Venstre argued in an opinion piece published in Politiken newspaper today.

In her piece, Inger Støjberg criticises Danish Muslims who actively try to shield themselves from Danish values and norms and who think that their religious beliefs should not be allowed to be mocked.

Støjberg pointed to a study of Danish Muslims in which 55 percent responded that criticising religion should be banned and 64 percent thought that free speech should be limited in particular circumstances. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Egypt’s lesson for political Islam: politics comes first

When the Muslim Brotherhood won power it seemed Egypt’s nascent democracy would allow the movement to realise its dream of making Islam the guiding principle in politics.

The Arab Spring revolts had opened the door to full Islamist participation in politics after decades of oppression or exile.

A year later, Egypt’s first Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, has been forced out, illustrating the Islamists’ dilemma as they champion faith while newly empowered citizens look more for effective pluralist governance. [Reuters] Read more

The future of political Islam

.... My own concern lies in the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood's short-lived experiment with democratic politics was seen as a barometer for Muslim sensibilities in the Arab world today, which remains in a state of semi-permanent crisis.

The Brotherhood was criticised by some of the more radical and violent Islamist groups of Egypt for "selling out" and transforming themselves into a political party, and by doing so accepting the rules of the democratic game.

Now that they have been deposed, the more radical voices in the Arab world might find themselves in a stronger position to say that democracy cannot be reconciled with religion.

That would be the wrong and dangerous path to follow and one that may end up being self-defeating in the long run. But, for now, the Brotherhood's democratic experiment has come to a halt and the world waits to see if rational voices will be heard again. [Malaysia Chronicle] Read more

Christian Convert Tried in Tehran

Mostafa Bordbar, a Christian convert, was tried in the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. He is one of several Christain prisoners currently being held in ward 350 of Evin prison for their faith.

.... The court announced his charges as "illegal gathering and participating in a house church". As Ms. Shima Qousheh, his lawyer and a member of Iranian Human Rights Commission says, if Mr. Bordbar is found guilty, he can be sentenced to anywhere from 2 to 10 years in prison. However, the court has not issued its final verdict yet. [MohabatNews] Read more

07 July 2013

Ofcom fines muslim channel 105K for inciting murder... A little less than Playboy was fined for slightly too sexy babe channels

Ofcom has fined the muslim channel DM Digital £105,000 for 2 transgressions of Ofcom's programme code.

DM Digital is a television channel primarily aimed at an Asian audience in the UK, which features broadcasts in a number of languages including English, Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi, Kashmiri and Hindi. The service is also received in the Middle East and parts of Asia. The licence for this channel is held by DM Digital Television Limited.

The first fine was £85,000 over the programme Rehmatul Lil Alameen broadcast on 9th October 2011 at 18:30. [Religious Watch] Read more

Egypt overthrow shakes Islamists in the region

The military's overthrow of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood's fall from power in Egypt have sent Islamist parties around the region scrambling to preserve gains made in the Middle East and North Africa as a result of the Arab Spring uprisings.

The stunning reversal has instilled caution among some Islamists against pushing their agenda too hard, but it has also strengthened hard-liners long opposed to democracy. [AP] Read more

05 July 2013

Political Islam now in a state of crisis

.... ‘Emperor with no clothes’. Challenged to rule, however, the organisation has been exposed, as Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics puts it, as “an emperor with no clothes”.

“The dismal performance by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, ” he argues, “undermines the Islamist image, standing and narrative throughout the region, in Egypt, in Jordan and even in Turkey. It raises questions about their competence, their ability to manage.”

The brotherhood slogan “Islam is the solution” is now to many Egyptians empty rhetoric, and there is a demand for real policy ideas. It is facing perhaps the worst crisis in its 80-year history. [THE IRISH TIMES] Read more

Muslim TV station fined for allowing contributor to incite murder

.... The other programme featured comments by Dr Liaqat Malik, DM Digital's chief executive, which breached Ofcom's views on political statements and impartiality, leading to a £20,000 penalty.

Earlier this year Dr Malik said that he was dissatisfied with Ofcom's ruling because there were cultural differences that Ofcom does not understand. He said that the regulator's adjudicating committee should have members picked from the Muslim community.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: "Inciting murder is against the law. Why aren't the police knocking on Mr Jilani's door? Why is he not under arrest? Surely he cannot be allowed to get away with such blatant call to kill innocent people? Other people have been sent to prison for far less than this." [National Secular Society] Read more

Muslim television channel fined after preacher of hate incited murder live on air

Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, ordered Manchester-based DM Digital to pay an £85,000 fine for a programme which told Muslims it was their duty to kill anyone who insulted the Prophet Mohammed.

The company was also fined a further £20,000 for other breaches of the broadcasting rules.

Earlier this year The Telegraph revealed how a number of British-based Islamic stations, including DM Digital, were inciting violence and murder on the airwaves. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

The failure of this Islamist experiment poses a danger far beyond Egypt

Even the most global events, those whose reverberations are felt far beyond their borders, are rooted in the specific and the local. This week's coup d'etat in Egypt, the army stepping in to remove and then arrest the democratically elected president, is no different. The toppling of Mohamed Morsi had a hundred causes, many of them wholly peculiar to Egypt.

A choice example: Morsi wanted to close all shops at 10pm, so that Egyptians would be fully rested in time for morning prayers. That didn't go down well in famously nocturnal Cairo where, as the New Yorker put it, "there are still traffic jams at 2am and where internet usage peaks at 12.45am".

[Guardian Cif] Read more

Our crippling fear of the truth

Pat Condell on the subject of the EDL, the UAF, Hope not Hate, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. I can't fault him lately. It's good stuff. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Don’t Blame Islam for the Failure of Egypt’s Democracy

.... This may have been the turning point in Tunisia’s constitutional process. Ghannouchi’s position is straightforward: He wants Tunisians to adopt Islamic values, but piety means nothing if imposed by coercion. Islam, he believes, will succeed in persuading people to adopt its truths more effectively if they don’t have its teachings shoved down their throats.

Ghannouchi’s diehard critics would say that omitting Shariah from the constitutional draft was only a tactical retreat, not an ideological one. But if they are right, that is yet another reason why Tunisia’s constitutional process is working: Leaders have displayed willingness to compromise in the face of ideological opposition. [BLOOMBERG] Read more

Iranian swimmer Elham Asghari: 'My 20km record has been held hostage'

On a Tuesday morning in June, Elham Asghari stepped into the tidal waters of the chilly Caspian sea in northern Iran to swim 20km in full Islamic dress. But her record-breaking nine-hour feat has not been recognised by national authorities because she is a woman.

"Although I [stuck to] the full Islamic dress code and had swimming officials present at all times, [the authorities] said no matter how Islamic my swimming gear, it was unacceptable," she told the Guardian. "They said the feminine features of my body were showing as I came out of water. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Turkish Scientists See New Evidence of Government's Anti-Evolution Bias

Relations between Turkish scientists and their government just got even tenser. The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK)— the country's main research-funding agency—has rejected a funding application for a summer workshop on quantitative evolutionary biology because "evolution is a controversial subject."

The organizers are calling this the first open admission of a bias against evolutionary biology by Turkey's conservative government. But a TÜBİTAK official counters that the rejection was the result of objective peer review. [SCIENCE NEWS] Read more

04 July 2013

Public Oppose Channel 4 Muslim Call to Prayer

Britons opposed to the TV broadcast of the daily call to prayer during Ramadan outnumber supporters two to one – but there are significant splits by politics and age

Channel 4 announced this week that it will broadcast the calls to prayer during the Muslim festival of Ramadan, as "a deliberate provocation” for viewers associating Islam with extremism.

The majority (52%) say Channel 4 is “wrong to mark Ramadan in this way”; twice as many as who say it is right (26%). [YouGov] Read more

Catalonia lifts veil on 'burqa ban' plans

The proposed rule will also control the public wearing of other garments including helmets and masks, Ramon Espadaler, Interior Minister for Catalonia, announced in the autonomous region's parliament on Wednesday.

A full debate will follow the introduction of the public safety motion designed to combat people concealing their faces in public places.

Espadaler argued that it had nothing to do with "religious issues", according to Catalan daily La Vanguardia. [The Local] Read more

German finance minister says Turkey is not part of Europe

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Wednesday Turkey should not join the European Union as it was not part of Europe, bluntly underlining Berlin's opposition to the long-running membership bid.

Germany pressed the 28-member bloc to delay a new round of membership talks last week, in response to Ankara's crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Brussels postponed the discussions for at least four months, but said the path to Turkey's membership was still open. [Reuters] Read more

Right-wing party tops Dutch poll

Right-wing leader Geert Wilders has called for a series of mass demonstrations in the Netherlands following an opinion poll that shows his anti-euro Freedom Party would become the largest political party in the Dutch parliament if an election were held tomorrow. [The Irish Times] Read more

Egypt shows the failure of ‘political Islam’: Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad yesterday said the massive protests against his Islamist Egyptian counterpart brought the fall of “political Islam,” in statements posted on his official Facebook page.

The Egyptian army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi yesterday after a week of bloodshed that killed nearly 50 people as millions took to the streets to demand an end to his turbulent single year of rule. [The Daily Star] Read more

03 July 2013

Turkey stands at the crossroads. Will it opt for democracy?

....This is a crossroads for the country. If the government realises that it represents those who have not voted for it just as much as those who have; and celebrate diversity through more democracy, freedom of speech and human rights, Turkey could become an exemplar state throughout the Muslim world.

If the government takes the other path, however, and uses today's tensions as convenient propaganda material for the forthcoming elections, not only will Turkish democracy be badly bruised, but the entire region will also be affected. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt Says Problem of Immigration Concerns "Foreign Cultures Marked by Islam"

Helmut Schmidt: As regards Italy or Greece, there's no problem. One day the Italians and the Greeks will go home or they'll integrate into society in the course of time. That's what we've seen for decades. The problem isn't due to Italian, Greek or Spanish immigration. The problem is due to immigration from foreign cultures, for example cultures marked by Islam.

Interviewer: You said before that immigration from outside the European Union was problematical. What do you mean exactly? [Islam versus Europe] Read more

“BOYCOTT Channel 4!” “Is this a Muslim country?” “Last one to leave, turn out the lights.”

.... Three minutes in the middle of the night hardly signifies a death knell for Britain.

So, do I agree with it? Not at all.

According to Ralph Lee, Channel 4’s head of factual programming, the broadcast is an act of deliberate “provocation”. Ain’t that the truth.

This is the channel that recently aired Dogging Tales and The Man With The 10-Stone Testicles.

And the channel that gave us The Untold Story last August — a documentary pouring scorn on the belief that Muhammad was a prophet of God — prompting 1,200 complaints.

Channel 4 doesn’t worship Islam, it worships controversy.

With the killing of soldier Lee Rigby and a number of retaliatory attacks on mosques across the country, this is the sort of provocation we can all do without.

The world doesn’t need more provocation, it needs more understanding. And I say: Amen to that. [The Sun] Read more

Iranian hardliners apoplectic over Shakira Confederations cup shot

When the cameras panned to the Colombian singer Shakira cheering on her footballing husband, Gerard Piqué, during a Confederations cup match, to many it was just another shot of a glamorous celebrity. But in Iran, the few seconds of a woman with bare arms and a revealing top broadcast on national television for the first time prompted furious debate.

Hardliners in Iran attacked the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) network this week for a series of gaffes, showing "indecent" and "un-Islamic" images in the middle of its live sports coverage, including the glimpse of Shakira. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Islam and democracy: Tunisia at a crossroads

A primary driver of the Tunisian revolution was the unanimous call for freedom of expression and mass participation in national politics. With the demise of the Ben Ali regime, Tunisians hoped their liberation would remove controls on freedom of speech and freedom of the press and further expand women’s rights.

In theory, journalists were freed up to share information, unhampered by fear of imprisonment or the harassment that characterised press censorship under Ben Ali, while newly empowered citizens exercised their right to vote in Tunisia’s first democratic elections.

However, after recent developments, not only are Tunisia’s newfound liberties under threat, but rights previously enjoyed for decades are being eroded in the process. [openDemocracy] Read more

Islamism and the Left

Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left (pdf) is a report by One Law for All which "focuses on the most conspicuous examples of the pro-Islamist Left in Britain – namely Stop the War Coalition, Respect Party, Unite Against Fascism and individuals such as Ken Livingstone and George Galloway". They are, mostly, condemned from their own mouths:

‘Calls for an Islamic state by some corners should not scare us nor should it bring about a negative reaction. […] In Muslim countries where Islam forms a focal point of history and society, this must not be dismissed as mere political or ideological fanaticism, but rather viewed as a collective aspiration.’ Anas al Tikriti, Vice President, Stop the War Coalition. [Mick Hartley] Read more

02 July 2013

Anti-Muslim acts rising in France, rights group says

.... The group said in its annual report that anti-Muslim acts rose to 469 last year, after 298 in 2011 and 188 in 2010. The rise reflected trends cited by other recent reports that also noted increasing levels of anti-Semitism and racism in France.

CCIF President Samy Debah said Le Pen and other politicians were making anti-Muslim rhetoric commonplace. France's estimated five million Muslims form the largest Islamic minority in Europe but are poorly represented in politics and business.

.... The CCIF report said anti-Muslim acts were increasingly aimed against people, especially women, rather than institutions such as mosques, cemeteries and shops. Attacks against mosques had almost doubled to 40 in 2012 compared with 2011, it said. [Reuters] Read more

Beheading of Catholic priest in Syria highlights fears over arming opposition

The Vatican has confirmed that a 49 year old Catholic priest from the Franciscan Order was beheaded by Syrian rebels in late June. Father Francois Murad was establishing a monastery in the northern Syrian village of Gassanieh when he apparently fell foul of Islamist opponents of the Assad regime linked to the Jihadi Nusra Front.

In graphic video footage circulated online, Father Murad is seen tied up and pushed to the ground as a man slowly cuts his head off from behind with what appears to be a kitchen knife. Several dozen onlookers, including several children, chant Allah Akhbar (God is Great) as the beheading, which takes about a minute, takes place. [The Commentator] Read more

Ukip fury over Channel 4 broadcasting daily Muslim prayer during Ramadan next month

In what the station called an act of “deliberate provocation”, it will play the “adhan” chant to mark the start of the day’s fasting from next Tuesday.

Broadcasting the prayer, which will be heard for three minutes from 3am, has raised concerns over religious tensions following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby last month.

Yesterday a Ukip spokesman said: “The channel knows people will be angered by this and it can’t be good for community relations.

“Religious Muslims do not need a TV broadcast to remind them to fast.” [EXPRESS.CO.UK] Read more

The boy killed for an off-hand remark about Muhammad - Sharia spreads in Syria

The murder of a boy accused of blasphemy has come to symbolise concerns about the power of Islamist radicals in Syria's armed uprising. Paul Wood reports from Aleppo on how Sharia is spreading in rebel-held areas.

Mohammed Qataa's mother wanders the streets of Aleppo looking into strangers' faces as she tries to find her son's killers.

She knows she would recognise them. She was looking right at them when, in front of a dumbstruck and terrified crowd, Mohammed was shot dead, accused of blasphemy. [BBC] Read more

Can Islam Be Reformed?

Islam currently represents a backward, aggressive, and violent force. Must it remain this way, or can it be reformed and become moderate, modern, and good-neighborly?

Can Islamic authorities formulate an understanding of their religion that grants full rights to women and non-Muslims as well as freedom of conscience to Muslims, that accepts the basic principles of modern finance and jurisprudence, and that does not seek to impose Sharia law or establish a caliphate?

A growing body of analysts believe that no, the Muslim faith cannot do these things, that these features are inherent to Islam and immutably part of its makeup. Asked if she agrees with my formulation that “radical Islam is the problem, but moderate Islam is the solution,” the writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali replied, “He’s wrong. Sorry about that.” She and I stand in the same trench, fighting for the same goals and against the same opponents, but we disagree on this vital point. [JewishPress.com] Read more

British TV channel plans call to prayer at Ramadan

Channel 4, one of Britain's top mainstream television media stations, has announced plans to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer this year on all 30 days during the Muslim festival of Ramadan, which begins next Tuesday.

This is merely the next logical step for a station steeped in the cliched agenda of 21st century political correctness and which shocked the world on Christmas Day 2008 by offering Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's Holocaust-denying president, a seven minute uninterrupted propaganda slot as a kind of riposte to the traditional Queen's speech to the British people which takes place every year on the same day.

That same intent to invert traditional Western values by replacing them with a grovelling exhibition of Western self-hatred was made explicit by the words and associated themes offered by Channel 4's Ralph Lee, who has (given the circumstances, what can only be described as) the Orwellian title of, "Head of Factual Programming". [The Commentator] Read more

Channel 4 to broadcast Islamic call to prayer throughout Ramadan

.... Let us be clear about what is going on here: this is Channel 4 simply facilitating Islamic worship. By sounding the adhan, they are fulfilling the function of a muezzin in a mosque. Ralph Lee says: "The calls to prayer prompt Muslims to carry out quiet moments of worship, but hopefully they’ll also make other viewers sit up and notice that this event is taking place."

The objective is clear: it is proselytism.

Amidst all the media coverage and widespread comment this story is attracting, there has been absolutely no religious analysis at all. And it is only in the religio-political realm that the significance of this decision can be understood.

Firstly, let us dismiss the notion that the call to prayer is somehow the the Islamic equivalent of bell-ringing. Church spires with pealing bells are a British cultural manifestation with a thousand years of history, and the sound is theologically neutral. Indeed, it is merely audible symbolism.

But the adhan belongs to quite a different culture: it is an unequivocally insensitive theological declaration with profoundly political implications, and is invasively ‘in-your-face’ and ‘down-your-throat’ (or whatever the audial equivalent be). It includes the words: [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

01 July 2013

The East London Mosque: A Place For Hate

The event is backed by Labour MP Rushanara Ali, Unison, the extremist-backed mayor Lutfur Rahman, and the Islamic Forum Europe: a group which is aligned with the South Asian Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and which was founded by men who are wanted for the most horrific war crimes perpetrated against Bangladeshi liberals in the 1970s.

Last week at the East London Mosque, you could have heard the Friday sermon being delivered by a hate preacher who has been banned from Sheffield Hallam university: Assim al-Hakeem. You can watch his sermon on the institution’s own Youtube channel.

Assim al-Hakeem teaches that apostates must be killed: [Harry’s Place] Read more