31 August 2013

Church in Helsinki defaced with Islamic slogans

It’s amazing that it took so long. The Seurakuntalainen (The Congregationist) states that there’s ”no information about the background of those responsible”, but it’s plain to see, the perps are Muslims, the big dead giveaway is the ”Jesus is a Muslim” graffiti. No non-Muslim would have written it, let alone come up with the thought.

NOTE: The other interesting aspect is that the church is deep inside enemy territory, east Helsinki is full of Muslim migrants, and the church is jutting up against the Islamic center itself, and if memory serves me right, the Pentecostals are very very… evangelistic. [Tundra Tabloids] Read more

Muslim conference cancelled after Quebec objects to speakers

A Muslim conference has been cancelled after the PQ provincial government objected to the participation of four speakers invited from France.

The conference, entitled Between Heaven and Earth, was to take place at the Palais des congres convention centre in downtown Montreal on September 7 and 8.

About 1,000 to 2,000 people were expected to attend the conference, which the convention centre cancelled Saturday morning due to security concerns after some groups threatened to protest against the event.

It is not clear whether the organizers will now attempt to hold the conference elsewhere. [CTV News] Read more

Egyptian Christian Leader: 'Shame on Obama'

An Egyptian Christian leader is calling out President Barack Obama and his administration for not doing enough in face of intense persecution against the Church by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Following the recent barrage of church burnings, Father Rafic Greiche, the chief spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, criticized President Obama for not speaking out against the worst violence against Egyptian Christians in nearly 700 years. [CBNNews] Read more

30 August 2013

The Price Paid for Criticising Islam

.... As someone who has also received threats for my criticisms of Islam, and had my complaints dismissed — "what did you expect?" — I am fully aware of the prevalence of such responses.

A friend recently suggested to me that the police are in effect enforcing sharia law by stealth. This is no as ridiculous as it sounds. In Islamic societies, insults to Islam can result in death. One way or another, one is highly likely to be severely punished.

The police in this case gave a strong message to Nahla, and to anyone else who might be tempted to commit the heinous offence of criticising or dismissing the religion of Islam: you'll be punished, we won't help, and you probably deserve it anyway. [Standpoint] Read more

Egypt: What poll results reveal about Brotherhood's popularity

.... So the Brotherhood's "five victories" were favourable political results, but they concealed that the group's base of dedicated political support was smaller - even at its height - than many believed possible given its organisational capabilities.

The Brotherhood has enjoyed, and still enjoys a significant support base. Yet analysis of past votes indicates that it never achieved mass popularity.

Opinion polls can be doubted, and election data can be interpreted in different ways, and neither can fully explain how the Muslim Brotherhood went from power to persecution within the space of a few weeks. [BBC] Read more

Burqa 'a sign of oppression'

A Liberal candidate in a western Sydney electorate where nearly half of voters were born overseas used his campaign launch to urge an end to Muslim women wearing the burqa, drawing a link between the Islamic tradition and criminality.

Ray King, a former Liverpool police commander standing against Treasurer Chris Bowen in McMahon, claimed the burqa was a ''sign of oppression'', according to one attendee. [The Age] Read more

29 August 2013

Fledgling democracy could survive crisis in Islamist-led Tunisia

Tunisia, birthplace of the Arab uprisings of 2011, is locked in a standoff between its Islamist-led government and secular opposition that could be decisive for the success of its experiment in democracy.

The small North African nation could still make this work, if its political class can rise above party rivalries to follow a road map to the rule of law laid out in 2011, analysts say.

Optimism has waxed and waned over the past week as the central figure of Tunisian politics, Islamist leader Rached Ghannouchi, offered to consider a deal for new elections that could produce an orderly transfer of power to the opposition. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Islamic leaders in India issue fatwa against cartoons

Islamic clerics in India have issued a fatwa against cartoons, saying the animated shows make a mockery of what they say are Allah’s creations.

The ban stems from religious leaders at Darul Uloom seminary in the India community of Deoband, BBC reported. It encompasses all animated shows, even those with comedic tones, such as cartoons, saying such watching violates the basic principles of Islam, the Deccan Herald reported.

“A cartoon is a picture,” said senior cleric Mufti Arif Quasmi in the Deccan Herald. “Besides, it is not for the children. It should not be watched.” [The Washington Times] Read more

Qaeda suspects kill "gay" man in Yemen, security source says

Suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen on Thursday shot dead a Yemeni man because they believed he was a homosexual, a security official told AFP.

"Armed Al-Qaeda suspects on a motorbike opened fire on 29-year-old Salem Ahmed Hasan in a market in Huta," capital of the southern province of Lahj, the official said, adding the man died immediately.

He said the man was targeted because the attackers thought he was a homosexual.

Another four men have been killed in similar attacks on supposedly "gay" men in Huta this year. [AFP] Read more

Welcome to the 21st century: Saudi Arabia makes history with a law against abusing women

.... Reports like this – and there have been hundreds written about Saudi Arabia’s entrenched misogyny – have apparently stung the authorities into doing something about the problem, and today the Internet is buzzing with the news the Muslim kingdom’s cabinet has passed a law prohibiting domestic violence and other forms of abuse against women for the first time in its history.

The ban on physical or sexual violence is to apply both at home and within the workplace. [The Freethinker] Read more

Saudi Arabia cabinet passes ban on domestic violence

Saudi Arabia's cabinet has passed a ban on domestic violence and other forms of abuse against women for the first time in the Kingdom's history.

The cabinet approved the ban on physical or sexual violence earlier this week, which applies both at home or within the work place.

The legislation makes domestic violence a punishable crime for the first time. It also provides treatment and shelter for victims of abuse and holds law enforcement agencies accountable for investigating and prosecuting allegations of abuse. [independent.co.uk] Read more

28 August 2013

Stoning is good for your soul, says Canadian cleric

Death to sinners. That is the religious message brought to you by YouTube. Homosexuals and adulterers, you’d better start running because it’s directed at you.

Don’t believe me? Well, plenty of people watched Wednesday as Sheikh Faisal Hamid Abdur-Razak put his death by stoning show on the digital high road courtesy of the Internet.

A YouTube video featuring an insightful look at the ideas of the Brampton, Ont., preacher who stated that “sinners,” as defined by his own interpretation of Islamic law, can benefit from a jolly good stoning was running all day until it was belatedly taken down.

The sheikh explained that a Muslim who is sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia law actually benefits from this gruesome punishment as her soul is being purified even as the stones rain down on her sinful head. [Sun News] Read more

'Sentenced to death for being thirsty': Christian woman tells of moment she was beaten and locked up in Pakistan after 'using Muslim women's cup to drink water'

A Christian woman has spoken of how she was given a death sentence in Pakistan because she drank water from a well with a cup used by Muslim women.

Mother-of-five Asia Bibi, 46, has spent the last four years languishing in a prison cell after being condemned to hang following a conviction for blasphemy.

She denied the charge of defiling the name of the prophet Mohammed during an argument with Muslim co-workers but was convicted following a trial. [MailOnline] Read more

27 August 2013

Florida: Mosque to broadcast Islamic call to prayer, Councilman says potential noise ‘nuisance’

Clermont City Council member Ray Goodgame has told supporters that an Islamic group’s plans to build a mosque in south Lake County is “bad news” and warned of “wailing music” if the mosque becomes a reality.

The Islamic Center of Clermont, which had tried to get planning approval for an Islamic center last year, has purchased a 4.4-acre parcel at Hancock and John’s Lake roads.

Goodgame, first elected in 2004 and re-elected last week, raised questions about the potential mosque in a newsletter he emails to supporters. He called it “bad news” that the Islamic group had bought the property and has submitted preliminary plans for its project. [Creeping Sharia] Read more

Quebec Muslims speak out against French Islamists

A conference called “Between Heaven and Earth”, scheduled for September 7 in Montreal, has stirred controversy in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, with several people protesting against the expected presence of radical Muslims from Europe.

Agnès Maltais, the region’s minister of women’s issues, has spoken out against the Islamists, calling them “radical” and penning a letter to her federal counterpart, Kellie Leitch, to urge her to ban the speakers in order to “avoid the spreading of a discourse that is unacceptable for the women of Quebec”.

“These [radical] preachers express values that are totally contradictory to the principles of equality between men and women that we protect in Quebec,” Maltais said via a statement. [FRANCE 24] Read more

What’s wrong with Pakistan?

Malala Yousafzai was given the Tipperary International Peace award this week in Ireland. The Pakistani teenager had been writing an anonymous blog for the BBC chronicling the difficulties of being a girl and trying to get an education under the Taliban. When her identity was revealed, the Taliban boarded her school bus and shot her point blank in the head. Miraculously, she survived.

You may think winning an international peace prize, being nominated for the Nobel peace prize and giving a speech at the United Nations would be a cause for celebration. It is nearly universally so. Except in Pakistan of course.

.... the country has drifted further and further towards Islamism with the result being a Pakistani identity shaped by its opposition to all things non-Muslim, non-Western and most of all: non-Pakistani. [Trending Central] Read more

26 August 2013

Britain: Muslim TV Hate Preachers "Inciting Murder"

.... The Manchester-based channel, which says it has a worldwide audience of 30 million, describes itself as bringing "Asian and English cultures closer by integrating its people, the cultural diversity, communities and the economy.

In its ruling, Ofcom cited a program called Rehmatul Lil Alameen, which was broadcast on October 9, 2011, and featured a live lecture it said was "likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder."

Ofcom stated that some of the scholar's comments could be seen as "a generic call to all Muslims encouraging or inciting them to criminal action or disorder, by unambiguously stating that they had a duty to kill anyone who criticizes or insults the Prophet Mohammed and apostates."

DM Digital TV had also previously been fined £17,500 ($27,200) by Ofcom for perpetrating a series of financial scams in which it misled viewers into investing in phony real estate projects. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Moderate Islamists? Really?

.... There is nothing moderate about the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, to be clear, they may not be as immediately or as indiscriminately violent as al-Qaeda, but Andrew McCarthy refers to the Brothers as “Muslim supremacists” for a reason. (I prefer the term “jihadists.”)

Unlike your typical Arab strongman, who may aspire to regional hegemony, the Muslim supremacist seeks the dominion of Islam, not just in the Middle East and other historically Muslim regions, but over Europe, the United States, and the rest of the non-Islamic world.

[A COMMENT] A "moderate Muslim" is simply a Muslim who has not yet been threatened or terrorized into submission by the thugs who are "radical". The Jihadists aim to fight to the death, "moderates" (of all stripes) always want to avoid fights. We know, historically, which side prevails when one side will not fight for themselves, don't we? [National Review Online] Read more

N.C. governor allows anti-Shariah bill to become law

North Carolina became the seventh state to prohibit its judges from considering Islamic law after Gov. Pat McCrory allowed the bill to become law without formally signing it.

The state joins Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

Supporters hailed the bill as an important safeguard that protects the American legal system from foreign laws that are incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, while critics argued that the bill’s only purpose is to whip-up anti Muslim hatred because the Constitution already overrides foreign laws. [Religion News] Read more

Proposed ban on religious symbols proving popular in Quebec

Quebec’s proposed ban on the wearing of religious symbols has drawn criticism from across the country, but a new poll suggests it has strong support in the province.

The measures designed by the minority Parti Québécois government to underscore Quebec’s secular nature may also now have the political support necessary to pass the legislation into law in the coming months. [Toronto Star] Read more

How about a British Muslim carnival?

This year, despite my total lack of rhythm, I'll be dancing in the Notting Hill Carnival with a group called Heritage. I've been to Carnival plenty of times, but the two months of rehearsals before this year's festival have convinced me that British Muslims should have one too.

[A COMMENT] .... what will the women be allowed to wear? Will they be covered up? A really poor article.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] .... how about just having a carnival with everyone rather than splitting yourselves apart from wider society. [AND] Or how about we just stop with the divisive and counterproductive identity politics? [Guardian Cif] Read more

24 August 2013

Inferior but Equal: Response to Vicky Beeching’s interview with Mo Ansar

.... When asked about the perception that Islam is anti-woman, Ansar invites us to overlook the terrible conditions many Muslim women live in across the world. Instead, we should gaze at how “rivers or confidence, empowerment, education, peace and prosperity flow together.”

But he fails to tell us where these rivers can be found. Instead we are told that the abuse of women’s rights is part of unspecified “geo-political machinations” – presumably he means colonialism and Western intervention.

As I will go on to show, the way religion is understood and practiced impacts the lives of women, especially in countries where religious laws and Sharia are enforced. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Richard Dawkins attacks Muslim bigots, not just Christian ones. If only his enemies were as brave

.... I have picked on her, not because her case is unusual, but because it is so typical. She is a Sudanese refugee who became a leading figure in the British Council of ex-Muslims. Earlier this year Channel 4 gave her one minute and 39 seconds precisely to talk about the evils of Britain’s Sharia courts in Britain.

.... She was shocked to find the same system here in her land of refuge. ‘Muslims have been living in Britain for hundreds of years and never needed sharia courts,’ she concluded. ‘Everyone should have equal rights and live under one secular law.’

She and her family have suffered for her simple moral clarity. Salah Al Bander, a leading figure in the Cambridge Liberal Democrats, went for her. (I was going to write, ‘who, surprisingly, is a leading figure in the Cambridge Liberal Democrats’ — but given the Liberal Democrats’ awful attitudes towards women and Jews, nothing they do surprises me anymore.) [The Spectator] Read more

Richard Dawkins is not an Islamophobe

.... For Dawkins, says Lean, “everything great about the West is the result of secularism and everything miserable about the rest is the fault of religion.” This is Lean’s reductionism, not Dawkins’, but, I grant, he’s not far off the mark.

The Industrial and scientific revolutions, modern medicine, political pluralism, freedom of speech and even freedom of religion (re both, see the U.S. Constitution, First Amendment), equal rights, and all sorts of movements aiming to ameliorate humankind’s lot came about in the West after it smashed the shackles of religion, and those governing in its name, imposed on us for centuries.

We should not shy away from declaring this truth loudly and forcefully, and from defending it whenever and wherever it is necessary to do so. [Salon] Read more

Turkish government promoting Islamic schools at the expense of secular education

The Turkish government is restricting access to secular schools to the benefit of Hatips Imam, Islamic schools that focus on Qur'anic studies.

According to Unsal Yildiz, deputy chairman of Egitim-Sen, an independent trade union representing teachers and educators from primary to high school, Erdogan is using such schools to raise a new generation infused with Islamic values and erase the country's secularist past. [AsiaNews] Read more

UK Church reports over 100 attacks on Christian properties in Egypt

The Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK has received reports of over a hundred attacks on churches and other Christian buildings in Egypt since the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

In addition to churches, attacks have been carried out on Christian homes, businesses, institutions and individuals.

It has published a full list of the properties attacked between 14 and 22 August here

At least seven Christians have been killed in the violence that ensued after the military broke up sit-ins by supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. [Christian Today] Read more

23 August 2013

Judge refuses to let Muslim defendant wear burqa in court

.... "There is the principle of open justice and it can't be subject to the religion of the defendant whether the principle is observed or not.

"I am not saying this because of the particular form of dress by this defendant, I apply that to any form of dress that had the same issues."

The case was adjourned for legal argument over whether or not the defendant should have to remove her veil. It will be heard again on 12 September when the defendant is expected to enter a not guilty plea and go to trial. [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Muslim woman must remove burka in court, judge insists

Judge Peter Murphy would not accept a plea from the 21-year-old defendant because he said he could not be sure that the person in the dock was who she claimed to be.

The woman, from Hackney in East London, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had refused to remove her niqab, claiming it was against her religious beliefs to allow any male other than her husband to see her face.

Judge Murphy said while respecting her religious beliefs the interests of justice had to remain paramount. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Police investigating Islamic preacher's call for violence in online video

An online video of a radical Islamic preacher calling for Hindus and Buddhists to be killed is being investigated by South Australian police.

The video in Arabic contains extracts from a sermon by Sheikh Sharif Hussein who was formerly employed at the Park Holme mosque in Adelaide's south.

Sheikh Hussein quit about three years ago after concerns were raised about his extreme views. [ABC] Read more

Indonesian Muslim clerics lash out at Miss World

Indonesia's top Islamic authority lashed out Friday at the country's decision to host the Miss World beauty pageant next month, saying that women exposing their bodies went against Muslim teaching.

The pageant is already facing opposition in Muslim-majority Indonesia, with radicals vowing to stage protests against the contest even after organisers agreed to drop the bikini round in a bid to avoid causing offence. [GlobalPost] Read more

Muslim Woman Told To Remove Burka In Court, Because Judge Must Confirm Identity

A young Muslim woman in a burka was told by the judge to take off her face veil, as she took to the dock to enter her plea, because someone could impersonate her.

Judge Peter Murphy at Blackfriars Crown Court said the principle of open justice overrode the woman’s right to her religious beliefs, but the woman, 21, from Hackney, refused to remove the covering in front of men in the court room, Court News UK reported.

The woman is accused of allegedly intimidating a witness, involved in a separate case, in June this year.

Judge Murphy told the woman, who had only her eyes uncovered, that she must remove the veil, saying : "It is necessary for this court to be satisfied that they can recognise the defendant. [COMMENTS WERE NOT POSSIBLE ON THIS ARTICLE!!!] [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Ex-Imam Akkari in Copenhagen says: "All Danish Mosques are Run by Extremists"

Credit Lars Hedegaard, executive editor of Dispatch International and the Danish Free Press Society (DFPS) with a scoop. Yesterday the DFPS held a press briefing with former Danish Imam Ahmed Akkari who pierced the veil of taqiyya revealing that virtually all Danish Mosques are run by extremists.

Akkari should know that as he was one of the two Danish Imams who stoked the fires of the Jyllands-Posten Mohammed cartoons controversy by traveling to the Middle East following their publication. [The Iconoclast] Read more

The imam who defected: Extremists run all Danish mosques

Finally he is there – on the podium of The Free Press Society. It is half past seven PM, Thursday, August 22, 2013, as the former Islamicist imam and deadly enemy of the Free Press Society, Ahmed Akkari, faces his most fierce critics.

A tiny man with more than a hundred deaths and the burning of two Danish embassies on his conscience.

– Thank you for inviting me. I don’t know if I deserve all this, but perhaps my journey through life may be of use to you, says Ahmed Akkari as he timidly surveys the packed hall in the heart of Copenhagen.

Since ex-Islamist Ahmed Akkari came out of the closet three weeks ago, he has been the man of the hour. On television shows, in newspaper articles and on radio, he has tried to explain what has happened to him. He went from being a hardened and fierce Islamicist to a kindly and thoughtful person, filled with love and gratitude for Denmark. [Dispatch International] Read more

Clampdown on Shi'ism in Malaysia a cause for concern

Life has not been good for Shi'ite Muslims in Malaysia. Christians, Hindus and Buddhists are free to practise their religions in this Muslim-majority country but the Shi'ite form of Islam has been outlawed.

Last month, the Malaysian home ministry banned their organisation, the Pertubuhan Syiah Malaysia. Several state governments also gazetted a 1996 fatwa (ruling by an Islamic council) of the National Fatwa Council declaring Shi'ism as deviant and, hence, haram or forbidden.

Offenders charged under the Syariah Criminal Offences Act for defying the fatwa face a fine up to 3,000 ringgit (US$904) or a jail term of two years. [The Straits Times/ANN] Read more

'Islam destroys democracy in France'

France's Interior Minister Manuel Valls said that there was a need to review the country's migration policy in relation to Africans and questioned the compatibility of Islam and democracy.

France has long been assimilating immigrants, but in recent years the situation has changed, and the locals are now the ones that are asked to adjust. [PRAVDA.Ru] Read more

22 August 2013

Adelaide mosque preacher Sheikh Sharif Hussein directs fury at Buddhists, Hindus, Howard and Obama

An Adelaide Islamic preacher is under police investigation after he was filmed calling for all Buddhists and Hindus to be killed.

Detectives are examining the sermon given by Sheikh Sharif Hussein, who has previously been visited by the intelligence services, in which he described Australian soldiers as "Crusader pigs”.

In the video clip, published online this week by the US-based Middle East Media Research Institute, the preacher attacked Jews, former Prime Minister John Howard and US President Barack Obama. [Advertiser.com.au] Read more

Islamic TV channel fined £85,000 by watchdog for broadcasting hate preacher's saying it was 'acceptable to murder anyone who disrespected Mohammed'

The offending show was broadcast on May 3 last year and featured the presenter Allama Muhammad Farooq Nizami taking phone-in from audience members around the world.

.... following a question from a Pakistani caller asking what the 'punishment' should be for those who disrespect the Prophet, his answer was that they 'should be eliminated.'

Speaking directly into the camera Mr Nazimi said: 'One has to choose one’s own method.

'Our way is the peaceful way but when someone crosses the limits, faith-based emotions are instigated...The mission of our life is to protect the sanctity of our beloved Lord.

'May Allah accept us wherever there is a need [to kill a blasphemer]. We are ready and should be ready at all times [to kill a blasphemer]' [MailOnline] Read more

Cut into pieces: ‘She challenged God’s orders’

A cleric cut his wife into pieces on Wednesday for refusing to wear a veil and sending their children to school, police said.

They said the body was recovered from near their house. They said they found his confession on the body and had also recovered the weapon he had used.

.... He said he had been telling her to cover her face with a veil when she stepping outside, but she had not listened. He also wrote that he did not want to be responsible for her sins and thus killed her.

He said it had taken him time to make up his mind for this. [The Express Tribune] Read more

Violence in Sweden, echoes in Britain

On Saturday a pregnant Muslim woman was viciously attacked in a Stockholm suburb for wearing a hijab.

She ended up in hospital, while the cause of persecuted Muslims was splashed all over the papers. A group of prominent Swedish women posted on the Internet photos of themselves wearing head scarves. These were accompanied by a heart-felt statement, warning of an impending “march of fascism.”

.... That’s why the danger of escalating violence is real in Europe. It can be triggered off by the indigenous people feeling that their country is being taken away from them – either by a supranational bureaucracy, as Nigel Farage would have it, or by a seismic demographic shift, or perhaps by an economic collapse.

Sweden, France and other European countries are dropping hints to that effect all over the place. Is anyone listening? [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Alarming Views of the Muslim Brotherhood on the Rights Of Women That Should Shame Their Apparent Western ‘Progressive’ Sympathisers

.... Actual Western policy suggests that Western policy makers, many of them self-described as progressives, appear to sympathise with the Muslim Brotherhood and act to help its cause, perversely in the name of democracy and tolerance.

The views of the Muslim Brotherhood on the subject of women’s rights should alarm such progressives, but probably will not because they are progressive in name only. They will continue to undermine secular elements in both Syria, and Egypt, and will continue to encourage Islamism at home.

The public admission of the Muslim Brotherhoods views on Women’s rights came after the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that met in March of this year. They were opposed to ratifying the Declaration to End Violence Against Women for the following remarkable reasons (1): [ICLA] Read more

21 August 2013

Maldives: Girl rape victim to be spared outrageous flogging sentence

A flogging sentence against a 15-year-old rape victim in Maldives has been annulled, but the girl should never have been prosecuted at all, Amnesty International said.

A Maldives High Court today quashed a sentence of 100 lashes and house arrest against a 15-year old girl for the “offence” of extra-marital sex. The girl, who was convicted of “fornication” in February this year, had reportedly also been sexually abused repeatedly by her step father. [Amnesty International] Read more

Muslim TV station broadcasts preacher 'inciting' murder - then fined just £85k

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has ordered Al Ehya Digital Televison, which runs Noor TV, an Islamic channel that broadcasts in the UK and internationally, to pay the fine after one of its presenters made the remarks live on air.

The regulator considered the remarks to be so inflammatory they could have inspired a repeat of the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gough, who was killed after Islamic clerics condemned his film which criticised the treatment of Muslim women. [Daily Express] Read more

Iranian jailed for distributing Bibles

An Iranian Christian convert has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for distributing Bibles in his home country, the Vatican missionary news agency Fides reported on Wednesday.

Mohammad-Hadi Bordhar was arrested in Iran in December and reportedly said he wanted to "evangelise by handing out 12,000 pocket bibles". [AFP] Read more

20 August 2013

Ipswich candidate in call to "eradicate mosques"

IPSWICH Muslims have defended their faith in the wake of Rise Up Australia Party candidate Anthony Mackin's calls to eradicate mosques and ban the burka.

Mr Mackin, a bible teacher, is the Blair candidate for a party that has banning the burka as one of its key policies.

In an interview with The QT yesterday, Mr Mackin explained why he was opposed to burkas.

"Part of the problem is the obvious one, that you can't identify who is underneath it," he said.

.... "When we go into a petrol station the first thing a motorcyclist is asked to do is remove the helmet before the cashier will receive payment for the bill, for security purposes.

[A COMMENT] Rise Up Australia Party wants to protect Australia from the failure of multi-culturalism that is evident in places like France, Germany and Britain where all national leaders have stated that multi-culturalism has failed in their nations. This was stated in the context of Muslim immigrants who have created great conflict and unrest. [The Queensland Times] Read more

Hunterdon Central school board asked to consider Islamic holidays in future calendars

When Hunterdon Central school officials start work on the 2014-15 calendar this fall, representatives from the county’s Muslim community will likely be involved.

The school board had already decided it would involve religious leaders in planning the calendar when, on July 10, Yaser el Menshawy, chairman of the Islamic Center of Hunterdon County, wrote to the board of his community’s interest in participating. [New Jersey On-Line] Read more

Islam in America: Mosques Popping Up Across US

New mosques are popping up across the United States.

Virginia Beach, Va., is now poised for its first mosque. A city planning commission has voted for the Crescent Community Center project to go forward in a rural part of the city.

In neighboring Maryland, the government of Turkey is building a $100 million mega mosque. The Turkish-American Culture and Civilization Center will cover 15 acres in the town of Lanham.

Meanwhile, the Clarion Project reports that about 1,200 mosques are now operating in the U.S., and almost 80 percent of them were built within the last 12 years.

The majority of those mosques are led by Wahhabi clerics -- from the same branch of Islam that Osama bin Laden followed. [CBNNews] Read more

Rupert Murdoch attacked for 'irresponsible' tweets about Muslims

Rupert Murdoch has backed comments from Britain's chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, who says multiculturalism has "had its day", with the media mogul adding that "societies have to integrate. Muslims find it hardest."

The News Corp chief took to Twitter to make his remarks, which have caused anger among diversity campaigners in Australia. He tweeted: "Good for UK Chief Rabbi Sacks! 'Let's put multiculturalism behind us'. Societies have to integrate. Muslims find it hardest." [guardian.co.uk] Read more

Islamism's slow genocide against Christianity

.... The hostile verses naming Christians “infidels” occur towards the end of his career, so they override any tolerance for Christians in earlier verses. Ibrahim writes: “The Koran’s final word on the fate of Christians and Jews is found in Koran 9:29 [where] Allah commands believers, [to fight them]...'until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.'”

Ibrahim cites the writing of renowned Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun [1332-1406]:

"[Jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force ... The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them…But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations." [The Commentator] Read more

Egypt's political strife puts Christians in peril

Last Wednesday, Ayub Youssef was driving to the southern Egyptian town of Delja where he works as a Catholic priest when a friend called and told him to turn back.

By the time he reached the town on Sunday, about 20 houses had been burned. An ancient monastery was smashed and ransacked. One of his parishioners, a 60-year-old barber named Iskander Tous, had been killed in the chaos.

Now, Youssef said, Christians in Delja were living like prisoners in their homes. "No one goes out at all. Not to buy food, not to get medicine, not for anything," he said. [Reuters] Read more

Egypt: 'unprecedented' rise in sectarian attacks on Coptic Christians must be stopped

Amnesty International is calling for the Egyptian authorities to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of Egypt’s Coptic Christians after an unprecedented rise in sectarian violence across the country.

Coptic Christians have been targeted - seemingly in retaliation for their support of the ousting of Mohamed Morsi - since the violent dispersals of pro-Morsi sit-ins in Greater Cairo on 14 August. Several Coptic Christians have been killed, while churches, businesses and homes have all come under attack. [Amnesty international] Read more

19 August 2013

Islam's ability to empower is a magnet to black British youths

A seminar was hosted last month by Christians Together in England to consider ways to "stem the flight of black British youths to Islam and radicalisation".

In an unprecedented move, Muslims were invited to attend – and they did. Together, both faith groups discussed the reasons why a growing number of young black people are choosing Islam in preference to Christianity. According to this morning's BBC Radio 4's Today programme, one in nine black Christian men are converting to Islam.

[A COMMENT] Because in these cults, sorry, religions, masculinity tends to resolve around your dominance of the woman and of non-believers. Being a warrior of God and all that.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] Some might consider the 'empowerment' to be brainwashing. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Is it time to move on from multiculturalism?

.... the Indian community has largely integrated without losing their cultural identity and their food? Well that's become central to the British way of life. Every town now has it's curry house, even if these are in the main run by the Pakistan/Bangladesh community. Problems remain (forced marriages and the like) but things are changing barriers being breached.

Regretfully this does not appear to be happening amongst large sections of the Muslim community. In fact the fierce growth of religiosity, especially amongst many of the British born Muslims does give rise to some concern. This is not because of their beliefs in themselves, freedom of worship (or not) is sacrosanct in any democracy. [Howie's Corner] Read more

Karzai: a legacy of failure on Afghan women's rights?

.... Unfortunately, women have been marginalized in the decision making for the peace process and their petitions have been ignored by national leaders.

Except for a general statement that women’s rights will not be sacrificed in the name of peace, nothing concrete was taken to guard against the reversion of women’s status to the pre-2001 era.

President Hamid Karzai has been turning a deaf ear to the pleadings of women’s rights activists, claiming that he had already faced a lot of embarrassment in defending women’s rights would no longer do anything in this regard. [openDemocracy] Read more

18 August 2013

Muslim woman 'intimidated, humiliated' when mall guard asked her to remove veil, lawsuit says

A muslim woman who was asked to remove a traditional face covering, or niqab, by a shopping mall guard, has filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination against the guard and the mall's owners.

Wakeelah Salaam, of Elizabeth, has filed a lawsuit against Bridgewater Commons mall, its owner, General Growth Properties, its mall security vendor, IPC International Corporation, and Marc Krause, a former mall guard.

On May 20, 2012, Salaam was shopping at Bridgewater Commons with her two young children when she claims she was "victimized, harassed, intimidated, insulted and subjected to unlawful discrimination" by Krause, according to the complaint. [NJ.com] Read more

Egypt’s Islamists target Christian churches, schools in backlash as chaos spreads

After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like “prisoners of war” before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority.

The campaign of intimidation appears to be a warning to Christians outside Cairo to stand down from political activism. [The Washington Post] Read more

16 August 2013

Judge bars Oklahoma from implementing anti-Sharia law

Oklahoma's attorney general said on Friday he was reviewing the decision of a U.S. judge that barred the state from adopting a measure that would ban its state courts from considering Sharia law under any circumstances.

"We have received the order and, as always, we are in the process of carefully reviewing the judge's decision," said Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt. He did not say if the state would appeal the decision.

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled on Thursday that the measure, contained in an amendment to the Oklahoma state constitution, violated the freedom of religion provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Sharia law is based on Muslim principles.

"It is abundantly clear that the primary purpose of the amendment was to specifically target and outlaw Sharia law," she wrote. [Reuters] Read more

Egypt's Christians face unprecedented attacks

Amid the violence, alleged Morsi supporters carried out on dozens of attacks on churches and Christian-owned properties throughout the country.

Mina Thabet, an activist with Christian rights group the Maspero Youth Union, told Al Jazeera on Friday that at least 32 churches had been “completely destroyed, burned or looted” in eight different governorates over the previous two days. The group also recorded dozens of other attacks on Christian-owned shops, businesses and schools around the country. [Al Jazeera] Read more

Islam and Women

.... It is noticeable that support for sharia by Muslims in Europe is a significant minority (18%) according to Pew Research. Compare that to the Middle East and North Africa (74%).

Release women from the tribal, cultural and religious shackles of seventh century thinking and designated roles so they can get on with much needed change. Mullahs, Taliban, elders and other misogynistic pricks are in the way and religion is the excuse they use.

I would also beware anyone who is for segregation of men and women, and calling for women to be modest, being enlightened about anything. For seen in the true light of the real enlightenment such people are shadow puppets to real rights for women. [Homo economicus] Read more

Why we should oppose Islamic Sharia courts in Britain

.... These courts have been overlooked because, well – they are filled with eccentric religionists doing things among themselves.

This is idle. Women are being manipulated into endangering themselves, on the basis of ideas that most of them will have been raised to accept without question. Panorama alleged that kids have been ordered to be given up to violent husbands.

Moreover, men like Hasan, who wants to “offer” sharia law to the United Kingdom, and Haddad, who has spoken of the “Islamic Republic of Britain”, hope to one day expand their power over everyone. It is time we made it harder for them to indulge their fantasies. [Liberal Conspiracy] Read more

Denmark Bans Meatballs to Accommodate Muslims

One of the largest hospitals in Denmark has admitted to serving only halal beef -- meat that is slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic guidelines -- to all of its patients regardless of whether or not they are Muslim.

The revelation that Danes are being forced to eat Islamically slaughtered meat at public institutions has triggered a spirited nationwide debate about how far Denmark should go to accommodate the estimated 250,000 Muslim immigrants now living in the country.

The halal food row erupted in July when the Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet reported that Hvidovre Hospital near Copenhagen has been secretly serving only halal-slaughtered meat for the sake of its Muslim patients, for the past ten years. The hospital serves more than 40,000 patients annually, many (if not most) of whom presumably are non-Muslim. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Indonesian president worried by growing religious intolerance

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he was concerned by growing religious intolerance in the country with world’s largest Muslim population, which many analysts say his administration has failed to contain.

Indonesia has recently seen a series of increasingly violent attacks on religious minorities like Christians, Shia Muslims and members of Ahmadiyah, a small Islamic sect which is considered heretical by mainstream Muslims.

“I am very concerned about the continuing incidents of intolerance and communal conflict we see, which are often violent,” Yudhoyono said in an annual address to parliament. [REUTERS] Read more

Coptic churches burn amid violence in Egypt

Violence in Egypt has taken a dark turn for sectarianism as more than 45 churches and Coptic institutions were torched or stormed across the country.

The wave of attacks against Copts and their houses of worship, businesses, schools and homes came as Egypt’s security forces dispersed two large pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo.

In cities across Egypt, from Sohag and Minya to Cairo and Assiut, Islamists took to the streets attacking churches. In one case in Minya, a Coptic man and his wife were detained before being killed by armed individuals. [EgyptianStreets.com] Read more

15 August 2013

Kevin Rudd challenger for Griffith, Sherrilyn Church, proudly opposes Islam and wants mosques banned

.... Sherrilyn Church of the Rise Up Australia Party says her top policy priority in the election is to ban the building of mosques in the electorate, south of Brisbane.

Ms Church - a small-time citrus farmer from Crows Nest on the Darling Downs - said her primary concern for the electorate was "the Islamisation of the city by councils giving permission for mosques to be erected".

"Basically, I see Islam not primarily a religion but a system of law because to the Islamic mind the existence of a mosque in an area means they believe that Sharia law applies and the Islamic flag must fly - now that is high treason in a sovereign nation," she said. [Quest Community Newspaper] Read more

Why Did a Tennessee Grade School Ban Pork?

Third grade teachers at Sunset Elementary School in Brentwood, Tenn. sent home an “Approved Snack List” for the school year and it specifically banned anything that comes from a pig.snacklist

“No meats containing pork,” read the memorandum. .... your child must provide their own snack from the above approved snack list.”

Kids could nosh on raw vegetables without dips or sauces, fresh fruit, crackers, pretzels, and popcorn – but no ribs or pork rinds.

“Only choose a food from the following list to bring into school for snack,” the memorandum stated in bold-face type. “No other food items are permitted.”

One day after the pork ban went into effect, Williamson County Schools posted a message on their Facebook page telling parents to ignore the rules. [Todd Starnes] Read more

Ex-Muslim woman threatened after anti-sharia comments on Channel 4's 4Thoughts programme

Following an interview on Channel 4 on Sharia law, Islamists have threatened Sudanese secular campaigner and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Spokesperson Nahla Mahmoud with death, calling her a Kafira and Murtada who has offended Islam and brought fitnah.

The threats have been reported to the police who have closed the case and advised that nothing could be done. [Religious Watch] Read more

Sufi Muslims Feel the Heat of Indonesia’s Rising Intolerance

The plight of the Al-Mujahadah Foundation madrassa in southern Aceh illustrates the perils of rising religious intolerance for Indonesia’s religious minorities.

The school, a private institution that instructed dozens of students 8 to 25 years of age in the principles of Sufism — devotion to more mystical interpretations of Islam — lost its dormitory on July 5 due to an apparent arson attack.

Less than a month later, on Aug. 1, the wall surrounding the school compound was destroyed in what the school authorities believe was an act of vandalism. Police are investigating the alleged arson attack, but say the school’s wall collapsed due to faulty construction. [THE JAKARTA GLOBE] Read more

Egypt's churches are burning, but Christianity will not be extinguished

Egypt's military junta have cracked down on the Islamist supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi: some 327 are reported to have been killed; almost 3000 injured.

A month-long state of emergency has been declared and curfews imposed in Cairo and other Egyptian cities. The carnage has been condemned by the UN Secretary General, along with the world's presidents, prime ministers, secretaries of state and the EU's Cathy Ashton.

But instead of retaliating against the military, Muslim Brotherhood members have decided to attack the Christians, just as they do in all Muslim-majority countries. They're going for the Copts, Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Baptists - it doesn't really matter. Churches and monasteries have been torched and burned to the ground. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

14 August 2013

City council candidate 'too attractive' for Iranian politics

An electoral candidate who won a place on a city council in Iran has reportedly been barred from taking up the seat because she is too attractive.

.... She was named as an “alternate member of the Council” – in effect, the first reserve. But when one of those ranked above her was selected as mayor and gave up his seat, Ms Moradi was disqualified and prevented from filling the vacancy.

A senior official in Qazvin was quoted in the Times to have explained the decision by saying: “We don’t want a catwalk model on the council.” [The Independent] Read more

Halal debate lives on as requirement to stun slaughter animals is proposed

An application to slaughter animals without stunning them first has led the agriculture minister, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), to call for a ban on the practice.

No animals are slaughtered in Denmark without first being stunned, though EU regulations do allow for the practice if the animals are being slaughtered according to religious guidelines. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Switzerland's Ticino canton set to vote burqa on ban

A burqa ban will be put to vote in a referendum on September 22 in Switzerland's southernmost Ticino canton and it will be the first popular vote to prohibit wearing of full Muslim face veils in public in the country, which had already banned the construction of new minarets.

It is estimated that less than 100 women wear burqa in Switzerland, according to official data, and they are used mostly by Afghan women.

The upcoming referendum is the end result of a petition campaign launched in Ticino in March 2011 that saw the collection of nearly 12,000 signatures. [World Bulletin] Read more

Islamism and the Scapegoating of Muslims

.... Nor will I for the sake of embracing different cultures accept the degrading of human rights as if that was what multiculturalism called for. The left misunderstood this and continue to with the Muslim Brotherhood.

If you oppose sharia support “One Law For All”. Ending extremism within Islam and young people Quilliam Foundation. The human rights of blasphemers and apostates The Council of Ex Muslims of Britain.

Religion poisons everything – people of indefatigable good will to all are the antidote. They are to be found as atheists and theists.

There is no scapegoat to drive off this island, and no high priest to absolve us of our sins. We have to work hard together to defeat the extremists that would rule us by fear or coercion. [Homo economicus' Weblog] Read more

13 August 2013

Art as Humanity: Islamism and Music

In late August, the Al Maghrib Institute, an extreme Wahhabi group, is hosting a seminar on “entertainment and recreation in Islam.” The seminar will include a discussion on “how to advise someone to stop listening to music.”

The Al Maghrib Institute is based in Texas but also has branches in the UK. In 2008, the ‘underwear bomber’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attended seminars by Al Maghrib in both London and Houston. The Institute’s Director, Mohammad AlShareef, claims that Jews control the media and are “cursed.”

.... Ayatollah Khomeini, the theocrat who established Iran’s Islamic Republic, once told the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci that, “Music dulls the mind, because it involves pleasure and ecstasy, similar to drugs.” Fallaci asked Khomeini of Bach, Beethoven and Verdi, to which he responded, “I do not know their names.” [Harry’s Place] Read more

12 August 2013

Helle on halal: "We shouldn't lose sight of our own culture"

In a series of interviews on Sunday, Thorning-Schmidt said that Danes should only go so far to accommodate religious customs.

“We need to remember in our zeal to welcome new citizens not to lose sight of our own culture,” Thorning-Schmidt told DR Nyheder.

Thorning-Schmidt said that she is opposed to the suggestion to remove all pork products from daycares. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Celebrating French Dhimmitude at the New York Times

Last week, under the headline “A French Town Bridges the Gap Between Muslims and Non-Muslims,” New York Times reporter Alissa J. Rubin celebrated what she depicted as the multicultural harmony of Roubaix, a heavily Muslim burg in northeastern France.

Muslims, she raved, “feel at home here,” largely because Roubaix “has made a point of embracing its Muslim population, proportionately one of the largest in the country.”

This deliberate “embrace” of Muslims, Rubin explained, distinguishes Roubaix from other French municipalities, where, she maintained, Muslims are systematically made to feel like “outsiders” by bigoted natives. [FRONTPAGEMAG.COM] Read more

Calls for more stringent laws to deter insults against Islam

The Pertubuhan Penyatuan Pembelaan Melayu Malaysia (PPPMM) today urged the government to enact a more stringent law that will deter individuals from belittling Islam.

Its president, A.Rahman Mahadi said the law was crucial in the wake of such acts being committed rampantly particularly during Ramadan right up to Aidilfitri.

"PPPMM sees the existing provisions as no longer relevant and lax. We are concerned that people will perceive the government as weak in enforcing the law and would feel provoked to take matters into their own hands," he told reporters at a peaceful demonstration staged by about 30 people at the surau of a resort near Sedili Besar here, that was claimed to have been used for Buddhist religious activities. [Sun Media Corporation] Read more

Muslims told Facebook and Twitter accounts are un-Islamic by religious leader

Muslims should not create profiles on Facebook or Twitter because they are ‘un-Islamic’, religious leaders in India have claimed.

Influential helplines for believers in the country have been flooded with calls asking if the popular social networks are compatible with Islam.

But Muslims - and especially women - have been told by two leading Islamic scholars not to tweet.

Mufti Abul Irfan Naimul Halim Firagni Mahli said: “Women should not post pictures on Facebook or anywhere else on the Internet. [Mirror.co.uk] Read more

Ignorance and progress

.... Sadly, we are just not prepared to face reality. The reason Muslims have been left so far behind is their refusal to embrace modern education, and to cling to rote learning and dogma. By confusing Western thought and influence with rationality, we think we are better Muslims by rejecting modernity.

.... I find it slightly odd that while so many Muslims reject modern education as being ‘Western’, East Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China have made remarkable progress by embracing the same ‘Western’ education.

I suppose if you believe that we need to focus on the after-life, our physical existence on this world is of secondary importance. This makes it acceptable to have a second-rate educational system that is somehow ‘Islamic’. [DAWN MEDIA GROUP] Read more

Christians are being slaughtered by Wahhabi Islamists all over the world

In April 1996, Pope John Paul II attacked the intransigence of ‘followers of other religions’ who were persecuting Christians. He didn’t specify Islam, but everyone know who he meant.

In his Easter message Urbi et Orbi, he said Christians in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe had "legitimate aspirations" to jobs, housing, social justice and religious freedom which were "hindered" by other faiths.

The Times continued: 'The Pope recently condemned Islamic persecution of Christians in Sudan and will travel to Tunisia next weekend to plead for Islamic tolerance and Islamic-Christian dialogue.'

Nothing has really changed in almost 20 years. Indeed, the situation for Christians in these regions has actually become an awful lot worse. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

11 August 2013

Afghanistan's pioneering female MP seeks asylum as progress for women unravels

Noor Zia Atmar, a young activist and then one of the country’s first woman MPs, travelled the world with her colleagues to show that things were changing.

That was three years ago. Now, she lives in a shelter for battered women, the victim of an abusive husband - and a symbol of the way progress in women’s rights is unravelling as the West withdraws and more traditional conservative values return to the fore.

“Women are in a worse condition now. Every day they are being killed, having their ears, noses cut,” said Ms Atmar, 40, speaking in a strong, clear voice, her eye make-up hidden behind dark glasses. “It is not just women in villages - it is also people like me.” [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

Zanzibar Acid Attack: Radical Muslim Preacher Shot After Attack On Katie Gee, Kirstie Trup

A radical Muslim preacher wanted in connection with an acid attack on two British teenagers in Zanzibar has been shot by police, it was reported.

Sheikh Issa Ponda Issa was hit in the shoulder with a tear gas canister as he tried to escape from officers after being cornered near Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam, The Sunday Mirror said.

Friends Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, continue to be treated in hospital today and are said to be "well rested and comfortable".

[A COMMENT] Well! Good thing that Mr. Cameron's launching an anti-"Islamophobia" campaign just now! Because, you know, so many have an irrational fear of Islam or Muslims... [PA/The Huffington Post UK] Read more

10 August 2013

Religion does not trump our nation's laws

.... it is hard not to regard the religiously-mandated wearing of any of this gear as medieval nonsense which is all about the oppression of women. It also reflects the absurd view - best evidenced by Sydney Muslim cleric Sheik Taj el-Din al-Hilaly's reference to women without scarves as "uncovered meat" - that men cannot be expected to control their urges if women do not remain covered up.

But if countries such as Australia are not going to ban the wearing of this garb, surely we are not going to allow a situation where Islamic organisations here can insist that other people should wear it?

From what has been reported, that is the situation at one of Australia's biggest Islamic schools - the Islamic College of South Australia - where the dress code requires that all female teachers must wear head scarves. One teacher has taken court action for unfair dismissal over her failure to abide by the rule. [SUNDAY HERALD SUN] Read more

Against All Saidists...

.... In the ninth century, the Abassid Caliphs Harun al-Rashid and his son al-Ma'mun moved their capital to Baghdad and there established the House of Wisdom - a vast archive of world knowledge, a translation institute and the most important centre of learning and scientific inquiry of the Islamic Golden Age.

However, by the end of the ninth century, its influence was already in decline, not least because the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil believed Greek thought to be un-Islamic.

As the traditionalist Ash'arite school of Islam asserted itself over the rationalist Mutazilites, this decline would accelerate and free thinkers in the Muslim world found themselves subject to vicious persecution.

The Orientalist Ernest Renan noted in an 1883 lecture that any progress made in the Muslim world during the second half of the Middle Ages occurred despite Islam, rather than because of it: [Jacobinism] Read more

'Muslims peaked in the Dark Ages. But since then?': Richard Dawkins embroiled in Twitter row over controversial comments

Richard Dawkins has provoked anger after he claimed Muslims have contributed almost nothing to science since the Middle Ages.

The outspoken biologist and atheist wrote on Twitter that a single college at Cambridge University had won more Nobel Prizes than all the world’s Muslims.

His comments sparked fury on the social network where he was accused of disguising his ‘bigotry’ as atheism.

But last night the 72-year-old best-selling author of The God Delusion refused to apologise for his remarks. [MailOnline] Read more

David Cameron Says High-Level Taskforce To Tackle Violence Against Muslims

A high-level taskforce set up by David Cameron to tackle extremism will focus on violence against Muslims at its next meeting, the Prime Minister has said.

The move comes after a wave of attacks on mosques and Islamic centres following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich in May.

Mr Cameron said the next meeting of the tackling extremism and radicalisation taskforce would be "looking at the problem of violence against Muslim communities".

[A COMMENT] 'The taskforce, which was launched in May in response to the death of Fusilier Rigby' it actually sickens me that the authorities response to that terrible murder is to focus on non-existent violence against Muslims, so they can continue securely in their false victimhood. [The Huffington Post] Read more

09 August 2013

Burqa bill not a ban: Peter Wellington

A BILL prompted by the actions of a burqa-wearing woman in New South Wales has been introduced into State Parliament by Nicklin independent Peter Wellington.

But Mr Wellington stressed his bill was not targeted at any particular group and distanced the move from controversial French legislation aimed at preventing the wearing of burqas.

"It could apply to a person wearing a Darth Vader mask, or whatever people wear that covers their faces," Mr Welllington said of his proposed amendment to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 and four other Acts. [Sunshine Coast] Read more

Mideast Christians: endangered in their ancestral land

.... In 2010, Salafist extremists attacked a Baghdad church during Sunday Mass, killing or wounding nearly the whole congregation. Such incidents turn any communal gathering into a potential massacre, forcing Christians across the Middle East to ask the ultimate question of faith: "Am I prepared to die for Christian worship?"

The so-called "Arab Spring" threatens to exacerbate matters in much of the Middle East, as Islamists now either control the government or influence it enough to persecute Christians with impunity.

As new Islamist regimes in the Middle East condone religious intolerance and introduce Sharia and blasphemy laws, the long-term trend for Christians in their ancestral lands will only grow bleaker. [The Commentator] Read more

In surprise reversal, Danish Muslim leader regrets role in rage over Muhammad cartoons

.... Their journeys helped turn the dispute into an international crisis. Dozens were killed in weeks of protests that included violent attacks against Danish missions in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Tiny Denmark found itself on a collision course with the Muslim world — something Akkari now regrets.

“I want to be clear today about the trip: It was totally wrong,” Akkari told The Associated Press this week. “At that time, I was so fascinated with this logical force in the Islamic mindset that I could not see the greater picture. I was convinced it was a fight for my faith, Islam.”

He said he’s still a practicing Muslim but started doubting his fundamentalist beliefs after a 2007 trip to Lebanon, where he met Islamist leaders.

“I was shocked. I realized what an oppressive mentality they have,” Akkari said. [The Washington Post] Read more

Trouble in paradise as Islamist power grows in Zanzibar

.... the island is bedevilled by social problems, including widespread unemployment, a heroin epidemic and widespread poverty.

There have been a series of disputed elections with allegations of electoral fraud, accompanied by the rise of the Islamist party Uamsho (The Awakening) leading to violent clashes with the authorities. Dr Mike Jennings, a lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said the group was a political rather than a terrorist organisation.

He added: “They want an Islamic interpretation of law on the island. [The Daily Express] Read more

Lies, Damned Lies and Religious Lies

.... Laban travelled around the Middle East and with him went an imam, Akhmad Akkari. To big up the blasphemy they included three extra drawings that were far more grossly offensive than the originals.

The first of the three additional pictures, which are of dismal quality, shows Muhammad as a pedophile deamon , the second shows the prophet with a pig snout and the third depicts a praying Muslim being raped by a dog. Apparently, the 12 original pictures were not deemed bad enough to convince other Muslims that Muslims in Denmark are the victims of a campaign of religious hatred.

Akhmad Akkari, spokesman of the 21 Danish Muslim organizations which organized the tour, explained that the three drawings had been added to “give an insight in how hateful the atmosphere in Denmark is towards Muslims.” Akkari claimed he does not know the origin of the three pictures. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Can secularism survive in Egypt?

.... Wael Nawara, co-founder of the al-Dustour Party, which is focused on preserving the moderate Egyptian identity, explained that the Western notion of secularism is "not exactly the right word to describe what is happening in Egypt".

"No-one is calling for separation of mosque and state," he added.

"There are calls not to abuse religion or to use religious merchandising or trading in politics."

The notion of a society or rule of law entirely free from religion is not a popular one in Egypt, where the country's brand of Islam, said Nawara, "is moderate and doesn't eliminate religion from law and society". [Al Jazeera] Read more

Danish Muslim leader regrets role in cartoon rage

A Danish Muslim leader who seven years ago traveled the Muslim world fueling the uproar over newspaper caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad is back in the headlines in Denmark after doing an about-face on the issue.

Once a leading critic of the Danish cartoons, which sparked fiery protests in Muslim countries, Lebanese-born Ahmad Akkari now says the Jyllands-Posten newspaper had the right to print them.

His unexpected change of heart has received praise from pundits and politicians in recent weeks, though some question his sincerity. It has also disappointed some in the country's Muslim minority who were deeply offended by the cartoons. [Associated Press] Read more

08 August 2013

Law requiring Muslim women to remove burqa to prove their identity to police introduced to WA Parliament

A NEW law that would require Muslim women to remove a burqa or niqab to prove their identity to West Australian police has been introduced to the state's parliament.

The legislation was drafted in specific response to public outcry about the case of burqa-wearing mother-of-seven Carnita Matthews, who had a conviction of knowingly making a false statement quashed.

Ms Matthews was originally given a six-month jail sentence after being found guilty of falsely accusing a senior constable of forcibly trying to remove her burqa when she was pulled over while driving in Woodbine in Sydney's southwest in June 2010. [perthnow.com.au] Read more

Please be quiet, Richard Dawkins, I'm begging, as a fan

.... Dawkins has gone from criticising the religion itself to criticising Muslims, as a vast bloc. They're not individuals with names, they're "these Muslims" or "some Muslim or other", undifferentiated, without personhood.

They haven't managed to get very many Nobel prizes, presumably because they're stupid, or brainwashed into zombiehood by their religion. Yes, it's only a "fact", but in different contexts, the same fact can have different meanings. For instance, would Dawkins have tweeted another fact, which is that Trinity also has twice as many Nobel prizes as all black people put together?

[A COMMENT] Many of us are sick to death of this reflexive pandering to the sensitivities of Muslims and the religion of Islam, especially in the atmosphere of criticizing and or mocking any other religion being perfectly acceptable and without consequence. Now get up off your knees and get a spine ... please. [telegraph.co.uk] Read more

07 August 2013

Wadjda and the Saudi women fighting oppression from within

It would be hard not to like Wadjda, a new film from Saudi Arabia and the first to be directed by a woman in the male-dominated kingdom. A rare cinematic glimpse of a barely known country, the film tells the story of an independent-minded, cheeky young girl, Wadjda, who wants to buy a bike so she can race with her neighbour, Abdullah (who she shouldn't be playing with).

One blogger, Randa Abdel-Fattah, writes: "Ultimately, I do not see Islam as the problem; I see it as the platform for change. I believe in gender equality – including the rights of Muslim women to dress as they please – because, as a Muslim feminist, I value agency, choice and autonomy."

[A COMMENT] Muslim feminism' is an oxymoron. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Blasphemy, the ‘crime’ that cannot be spoken

.... In the United States, there’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In too many other countries, when it comes to blasphemy there’s guilt based on nothing but doubt if you happen to be a member of a religious minority … like a Christian in Pakistan.

Recently the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released a report detailing Pakistan’s history of violence against religious freedom.

The findings are deeply troubling – in just the last 18 months, the commission documented 203 incidents of violence in the name of religion, resulting in some 1,800 casualties and more than 700 deaths. [The Washington Post] Read more

Tunisia crisis: Tens of thousands join protest

Tens of thousands of protesters have marched in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, to demand the resignation of the Islamist-led government.

It is the largest demonstration of its kind since the latest political crisis began two weeks ago when a prominent opposition politician was assassinated.

Earlier, the constituent assembly was suspended until the government and opposition open negotiations.

The assembly is drawing up a new constitution. [BBC] Read more

06 August 2013

France debates extending headscarf ban to universities

France's 2004 ban on headscarves in schools and 2010 ban on full face veils in public have alienated many of its five million Muslims. Rioting broke out in a Paris suburb last month after police checked identity papers of a fully veiled woman.

"This is one more step in the legal stigmatization of Muslims," the March 15 Liberty Committee, a Muslim group opposed to the school headscarf ban, said on Tuesday.

"The separation of church and state cannot be reduced, as some want it to be, to an arsenal of laws against Muslims."

Several politicians also weighed in, warning a new ban could fan tensions between the Socialist government, which stands for a strong defense of France's official secularism, and Muslims who feel such laws are aimed at isolating and punishing them. [Reuters] Read more

‘Iran Christian Sentenced To 10 Years Jail For Evangelical Activities’

An Iranian Christian convert has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on what his supporters say are false charges linked to his evangelical church activities, local activist said Tuesday, August 6.

Mohammad-Hadi (Mostafa) Bordbar, a 27-year-old resident of the city of Rasht, was "tried by Judge Pir-Abbasi on the morning of June 9, 2013 in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran," amid a wider government crackdown on spreading Christianity in Iran said Mohabat News, an agency of Iranian Christian and activists. [BosNewsLife] Read more

Turkish Court Gives 19 Life Sentences

A Turkish court sentenced a former military chief and 18 other people to life in prison on Monday, concluding a landmark case that has divided the nation and come to symbolize the conflict between the Islamist-rooted government and the secularist-dominated opposition.

Ilker Basbug, the 70-year-old head of Turkey's armed forces until 2010, was among those given a life sentence along with 13 other military officers, a soldier, a journalist, a lawyer, a politician and an ex-publisher for plotting to overthrow the government. Of the 275 defendants, all of whom said they were innocent, all but 17 were convicted. [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL] Read more

'This is a Muslim area and we don't want to see that': Mob pelts brothers-in-law wearing mankinis on sponsored walk with stones and accuses them of being paedophiles

Two brothers in law who went on a sponsored walk wearing comedy mankinis had to be picked up by police - after they were pelted with stones and eggs by residents who told them 'this is a Muslim area' and demanded they leave.

Steven Ellis, 41, and Jason Hendry, 22, wanted to walk eight miles from Solihull to Birmingham city centre wearing the outfit featured in 2006 film Borat to raise money for Birmingham Dogs' Home.

But they ended up being escorted by officers after they were attacked as they passed through the Sparkbrook area of the city, claiming police said they had offended local Muslims during Ramadan. [MailOnline] Read more

Tories for Sharia - oh, and Enoch

.... And our banks are adapting to sharia by offering products which do not charge interest or make investments in alcohol, gambling or pornography. Indeed, Barclays, RBS and Lloyds Banking Group have all established subsidiary companies specifically for Muslim clients. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this: one may argue that it simply market provision.

Except that the increasing acceptability of sharia finance has the effect of legitimising other aspects of sharia law. How long before whole areas of cities are alcohol-free? Or the public advertising of women's underwear is banned? Or certain books are taken off the shelf because they offend? Or schools and restaurants serve everyone with halal meat?

How long before the non-Muslim population finds itself complying with sharia law, whether they like it or not?

Thankfully, the Ukip statement above is unequivocal: Nigel Farage rejects sharia law, presumably in its entirety.

Despite the rhetoric, David Cameron clearly supports aspects of it: there are Tories for sharia.

[Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

05 August 2013

Assyrian Christians told 'If you want to come back, convert to Islam, or you will be killed'

According to the Assyrian International News Agency, Assyrian Christians who have fled from an area of Syria called al-Thawrah (also known as al-Tabqah), have been told by rebels, "If you want to come back, convert to Islam, or you will be killed."

.... "On February 11, rebel fighters from the al-Nusra Front took control of the city and its strategic dam, the largest of its kind in the country. They also seized control of the three quarters that housed dam workers - many of whom were Christian Assyrians.

"Whilst they allowed the dam's original staff to remain in the city in order to continue its operation, management and upkeep, those who were not Sunni Muslim were not afforded the same privilege. [Christian Today] Read more

Muslim veil ban urged in French universities

A French government agency responsible for maintaining the country’s secular values has recommended banning university students from wearing religious symbols such as crucifixes, Jewish skullcaps and Muslim headscarves.

In a report seen by French daily Le Monde on Monday, the High Council for Integration (HCI) said it was alarmed by “growing tensions in all sectors of university life” that were undermining the country’s secular values.

In 2004, France passed a law banning school children from wearing religious symbols in all educational establishments, except for universities. The move, the report noted, has been successful in reducing problems arising from religious differences in schools. [FRANCE 24] Read more

Britain’s Part-Time Wives

Aisha laughs out loud at the thought of how her colleagues and clients would react if they knew she shares a husband. The laughter makes her loose hijab slip slightly, exposing a few strands of dark hair. “They would be dumbfounded and probably prurient,” she sniffs.

As far as they are concerned, her 42-year-old factory-owning husband has only one wife—this thoughtful attorney sipping Earl Gray tea in the sitting room of a pleasant and very middle-class Edwardian house in a leafy residential road in northwest London.

Her immediate family and close Muslim friends know the truth: 41-year-old Aisha is a second wife and for three years has been conveniently—at least for her—sharing her businessman husband with his first bride. “It was my choice to marry him. There was no coercion.” With a wry giggle she says: “I wanted a partner and man-hunted for one using a marriage agency and this suits me.” [Daily Beast] Read more

04 August 2013

More states move to ban foreign law in courts

A growing number of states are targeting what they see as a threat to their court systems: the influence of international laws.

North Carolina last month became the seventh state to pass legislation barring judges from considering foreign law in their decisions, including sharia. The bill awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

Six other states — Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee — have already enacted similar legislation since 2010, and at least 25 have introduced such measures, according to the Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life Project. [USA TODAY] Read more

Algerians protest against mandatory fasting

About 300 people in a restive northern region of Algeria have joined a public lunch during Ramadan to protest against what they say is persecution of people who refuse to observe the religious fast.

The lunch on Saturday was highly unusual for North Africa, where people can be arrested for not fasting during the Muslim holy month.

It was held as a demonstration against the decision of security forces to question three young people who were eating outside last week in the Kabylie region during the 18-hour daily fasting period. [Al Jazeera] Read more

03 August 2013

Arab Atheists, Though Few, Inch out of the Shadows

Rafat Awad fervently preached Islam at his university, encouraging his fellow students to read the Quran and pray. But throughout, the young Palestinian-born pharmacist had gnawing doubts. The more he tried to resolve them, the more they grew.

Finally he told his parents, both devout Muslims, that he was an atheist. They brought home clerics to talk with him, trying in vain to bring him back to the faith. Finally, they gave up. [Associated Press] Read more

Al-Qaeda leader says Egypt coup proof that Islamic rule cannot come through democracy

Al-Qaeda’s leader said Egypt’s military coup that ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi provides proof that Islamic rule cannot be established through democracy, and urged the Islamist leader’s followers to abandon the ballot box in favour of armed resistance.

In a 15-minute audio message posted online late Friday, Ayman al-Zawahri also lashed out at the Egyptian military, the country’s secular and liberal elites as well as the Coptic Christian minority, accusing them of conspiring against Morsi solely because he was an Islamist. [Associated Press] Read more

02 August 2013

Gammongate: Hammed Up Story Hiding Bigger Picture

Many stories during Ramadan have come to media attention – the serving of pork actually occurred some months ago, but the story broke in the last few days. Bigger issues of children fasting seem to be in the background.

When the dinner lady story broke in the Sun regarding Alison Waldock serving Gammon to a child of Muslim parents, consumption of which was prevented by beady eyed headmistress Caroline Peet, some questions occurred. [Homo economicus' Weblog] Read more

Britain: Muslim Prison Population Up 200%

The number of Muslim convicts in British prisons has surpassed the 11,000 mark for the first time, according to data included in a new report produced by the British Parliament.

The statistics -- from a July 29 House of Commons research report entitled, "Prison Population Statistics" -- show that the number of Muslim inmates in England and Wales jumped to 11,248 in 2012, up from 3,681 in 1997. Stated another way, over the past 15 years, the number of Muslims in British prisons has jumped by more than 200%.

The rate of increase of Muslim inmates in British prisons is eight times faster than that of the overall prison population, and the numbers show a clear overrepresentation of Muslim convicts: Muslims, who make up roughly 5% of the British population as a whole, now make up 13% of the British prison population (compared to just 6% in 1997. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Muslim woman asked to remove headscarf during bar exam in Springfield

On Wednesday and Thursday, law school graduates aspiring to practice in the Commonwealth gathered in Boston and Springfield to take the 16-hour bar exam, broken into several parts. During the morning portion of the test Thursday, recent graduate of the University of Michigan Law School Iman Abdulrazzak was handed a note from an exam proctor asking her to remove her headscarf.

As many Muslim women do, Abdulrazzak wore a hijab, covering her head and chest, during the exam held at the Western New England University School of Law.

The note, written in capitalized block letters read, "Headwear may not be worn during the examination without prior written approval. We have no record of you being given prior written approval. Please remove your headwear and place it under your seat for the afternoon session." [MassLive] Read more

Kafka in Saudi Arabia - When human rights "violate" God's law

I wrote recently about the Kafkaesque rules designed to restrict civil society activity in Bahrain, and I mentioned in passing that numerous Arab countries have similar laws.

Saudi Arabia, as might be expected, is one that keeps a firm grip on civil society organisations (CSOs) though it doesn't have a specific law for this purpose – yet. A law has been promised (or perhaps I should say threatened, because if it ever materialises it will probably be just as restrictive as that in Bahrain).

In the meantime, some CSOs (the sort the authorities approve of) operate under licences, while others exist without licences in a legal limbo, unable to raise funds, organise events or have their own premises to hold meetings. [www.al-bab.com] Read more

Unveiling Female Muslim Teachers So Students See Their Lips

The Philippines, Asia's only Catholic-majority country, has ordered Muslim women to remove their facial veils when teaching the government's experimental curriculum of Arabic language and Islamic values, because students benefit by "seeing the teacher's lips."

"Teachers handling Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) are requested to remove the veil covering the face -- 'niqab' -- when teaching in the classroom," said Education Department Secretary Armin Luistro in an Official Gazette announcement dated July 24.

"This is to promote better teacher-pupil relationship, and to support effective language teaching since seeing the teacher's lips helps in the correct production of letter sounds," Luistro said. [Scoop Media] Read more

01 August 2013

Nigel Farage attacks culture of political correctness amid growing sacked dinner lady row

.... Muslim groups have come out in support of Ms Waldock saying innocent mistakes should not be punished.

And during a discussion with Ms Waldock on ITV’s Daybreak programme this morning, Mr Farage said: “It's outrageous, isn't it?

“We've all made mistakes in our lives and in our jobs, and I can imagine 250 kids coming through chattering, it's noisy, you've got time pressures on you, and mistakes get made.

"The reason that Alison's been sacked is that we're so terrified in this country of causing offence to anybody, particularly the Muslim religion." [The Daily Express] Read more

Kohl Wanted Half of Turks Out of Germany

"SECRET," the top of the densely typewritten document reads. Underneath, an official had added a handwritten note: "NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION."

It was a controversial plan that the newly elected German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, confided to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during her visit to Bonn, then the West German capital. "Chancellor Kohl said (...) over the next four years, it would be necessary to reduce the number of Turks in Germany by 50 percent -- but he could not say this publicly yet," state the secret minutes of the meeting dated Oct. 28, 1982.

It adds: "It was impossible for Germany to assimilate the Turks in their present numbers." Only four people were in the room at the time: Kohl, his longtime adviser Horst Teltschik, Thatcher and her private secretary A.J. Coles, the author of the document. [SPIEGEL ONLINE] Read more

Gang chanted ‘Lee Rigby’ as they kicked soldier in Exeter underpass

A SOLDIER was attacked in an Exeter underpass by a gang who chanted “Lee Rigby” as they kicked him on the floor.

The 18-year-old, known as Alexander, has been a member of the Coldstream Guards for six months.

But on route to his home in St Thomas, Exeter, he said he was targeted by the hateful mob as he is a serving member of the armed forces.

After a period of about two minutes he managed to escape after fighting off but fear his injuries could have been a lot worse. [Exeter Express and Echo] Read more

Family who got dinner lady fired after she accidentally served their child gammon are emigrating to Muslim country

The parents involved in the sacking of a school dinner lady who mistakenly served gammon to their daughter are to emigrate to a Muslim country.

Alison Waldock, 51, was accused of gross misconduct and says she lost her job after Zahid and Rumana Darr asked that she be dismissed.

Today it can be revealed that Mr and Mrs Darr and their three children are emigrating to the United Arab Emirates later this month. The family have chosen to move from their home in Cambridge to Sharjah, where alcohol is banned and there are the strictest decency laws in the emirates.

Mrs Darr, 33, wrote on her Facebook page: ‘So we’re leaving the country end of August for good … We’re moving to Sharjah. We want to go relax in a nice hot Muslim country where the kids know their identities as Muslims.’ [MailOnline] Read more

600 Lashes for Raif Badawi: Saudi Arabia’s Latest Savagery

Islamic authorities sentenced a liberal journalist to 600 lashes and seven years in prison, after he questioned the role of religion. David Keyes reports on the latest outrage in the Kingdom.

“I feel sick. I think I’m going to throw up,” a prominent Saudi academic told me yesterday. “I was waiting for something like this to happen but I didn’t think it would be Raif. I’m thinking of his wife and kids. I really feel sick.

On July 29, Raif Badawi, founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, was sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years in prison. His crime? Insulting Islam, speaking ill of Saudi Arabia’s religious police and, most puzzling of all, “parental disobedience.” [The Newsweek/Daily Beast] Read more

Killing Christians

.... The attacks are incited by jihadist groups, Salafist imams, the Muslim Brotherhood, and even, at times, the security forces.

Their situation has become ever more perilous since Morsi’s ouster, with assassinations and kidnappings for ransom of individual Copts, the torching of a Coptic neighborhood, and mob attacks on several churches, all documented over the past month.

This is partly due to scapegoating, and partly due to the fact that Islamists with a religious-cleansing agenda take advantage of political disorder to provoke a mass exodus, as is occurring in Iraq and Syria. [National Review Online] Read more

Nigerian Senator: "So under Sharia law, any country that practices Sharia, age is not a defining factor for marriage"

Few things are more abundantly attested in Islamic law than the permissibility of child marriage. Islamic tradition records that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:

“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)” (Bukhari 7.62.88). [Jihad Watch] Read more

1,000 Pakistani clerics seek pardon for Governor's assassin

.... The clerics belonging to different schools of Islamic thought signed a letter seeking a pardon for Qadri, and it was submitted to the President by Sunni Ittehad Council chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza.

In October 2011, an anti-terrorism court awarded the death penalty to Qadri, an Elite Force commando, for gunning down Taseer in Islamabad earlier the same year.

The policeman, who was part of Taseer's security detail, confessed to the murder and said he was angered by Taseer's calls for changes in Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law. [Business Standard] Read more