30 November 2013

FBI Stats Further Debunk 'Islamophobia' Myth

The FBI's newly released hate crime statistics covering 2012 have once again thrown cold water on the tired narrative that American Muslims find themselves under siege from increasingly violent "Islamophobes."

The 2012 numbers reinforce the conclusion drawn by Islamist Watch's previous analysis of post-9/11 (2002–11) FBI data: Muslims endure fewer hate crimes per capita than other prominent minorities. A closer look at the details:

FBI-tabulated incidents of anti-Islamic hate crime fell from 157 in 2011 to 130 in 2012, a decrease of 17.2 percent. Incidents of hate crime spanning all victim groups dropped by only 6.8 percent, 6,222 to 5,796.

Of the 1,099 incidents of hate crime motivated by religion in 2012, anti-Islamic ones constituted just 11.8 percent. Anti-Jewish crimes dominated the tally with 674 incidents, comprising 61.3 percent. This distribution saw little change from 2011. [Islamist Watch] Read more

Human rights complaint filed against cab company over guide dog

A man who says he and his guide dog have been having trouble with a Saskatoon cab company has filed a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

Mike Simmonds says the problem started two months ago when a dispatcher for Comfort Cabs told him he would need a pet-friendly taxi.

He says he’s been told twice since then that drivers weren’t comfortable with his seeing-eye dog because of their religious beliefs.

He called the manager to complain and received an apology. [The Canadian Press] Read more

29 November 2013

Behind mask of secularism, France hardens face towards Islam

Paris — A landmark court ruling this week is set to increase the pressure on French Muslims, potentially at the expense of the country's fraught race relations, experts fear.

Frenchwomen who wear headscarves out of faith could see their freedom to do so curtailed after a Paris appeals court's decision to uphold a nursery's right to dismiss a worker who insisted on wearing a hijab at work.

At the heart of the case was the question of whether France's strict ban on any overt religious symbols being displayed in state schools and other public institutions could be applied to what was a privately run nursery. [AFP] Read more

‘You’re basically living in two different worlds’

Earlier this week BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme about the experiences of ex-Muslims in the UK, ‘Leaving the Faith’.

.... The fear of being disowned by one’s family, the distress experienced by those to whom this had already happened, loomed large in the programme.

.... Another ex-Muslim was a little more dispassionate; he said that, unlike others, he avoided describing Islam as an evil cult, instead thinking it was just another religion being followed more rigidly, at this point in history, than other faiths. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Nigerian Islamic police destroy 240,000 bottles of beer in Kano

Islamic police in northern Nigeria's main city of Kano used an earth haulage truck on Thursday to destroy around 240,000 bottles of beer seized from supply vehicles and minority Christian shop owners. [Reuters] Read more

Norway capital sees rising number of women in niqabs

The trend of wearing the religious garment, a black veil that covers a woman head to toe, has apparently developed rapidly over the past two years.

“Yes, the niqab is popular,” Kari Vogt, a historian on religion and Islam, confirmed to Aftenposten, Thursday.

“A new generation of Muslims is entering Norwegian society at full speed, and some of them choose a more Salafist Islam, a strict and literal interpretation of Islamic injunctions and prohibitions,” she added. [The Foreigner] Read more

Sectarian violence in Minya leaves five dead

One of the incidents took place in the village of Badraman where reports surfaced of a relationship between a Muslim girl and a Coptic boy. Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said the families of the girl and the boy held reconciliatory talks but the talks fell through after “Muslims burnt down the house of the boy’s father and an adjacent house.”

.... The other incident broke out between residents of the predominantly Coptic village of Nazlet Ebeid and the predominantly Muslim village of El-Hawarta. A statement by the Diocese of Minya and Abu Qurqas said a Coptic landowner whose land is close to El-Hawarta village was being prevented from building a house on his land. [Daily News Egypt] Read more

28 November 2013

French prison ordered to serve halal meals

A French court has ordered Saint-Quentin-Fallavier prison, near Grenoble in southeastern France, to begin making halal meals available to Muslim inmates, it emerged Wednesday, citing detainees’ right to “free exercise of religion” [FRANCE 24] Read more

Edmonton police blunder on hijab

We seek to be “inclusive” of all cultures in Canada — even the ones that shun Canadian values and conspire to undermine its democracy and diversity.

The Edmonton police service has announced its decision to design a hijab, the Muslim head covering, as part of a Muslim woman’s police uniform.

.... The real problem is not with the garb itself but what it represents. This accommodating move is designed to attract more Muslim women to the police force, but it conveys the impression the Edmonton police wish to attract only hijabi women.

They seem to think all Muslim women who join the force will want to wear the hijab.

.... By announcing this user-friendly hijab, the Edmonton police have, unwittingly, legitimized a mindset that is rooted in the value system of seventh-century Arabia, one that reduces women to the status of chattel. [TORONTO SUN] Read more

Saudi cleric says 'women driver ban guards against evil'

The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia said a ban on women driving in the conservative Gulf state protects society from "evil", in remarks published in the press on Thursday.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, in a speech delivered Wednesday in the western city of Medina, said the issue of giving women the right to drive should not be "one of society's major concerns".

The kingdom's most senior cleric called for "the matter to be considered from the perspective of protecting society from evil" which, according to him, included letting women drive. [AFP] Read more

Stoning will not be brought back, says Afghan president

Afghanistan's government has backed away from a proposal to reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery after the leak of a draft law stirred up a storm of international condemnation.

The president, Hamid Karzai, said in an interview that the grim penalty, which became a symbol of Taliban brutality when the group were in power, would not be coming back.

"It is not correct. The minister of justice has rejected it," he told Radio Free Europe, days after the UK minister Justine Greening urged him to prevent the penalty becoming law. [The Guardian] Read more

Efforts to impose Sharia law in Iraq spark controversy

Iraqi Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari announced Oct. 23 that he had prepared a Sharia-based personal-status law and submitted it to the cabinet for approval and referral to the Council of Representatives for passage.

Should the law be approved, Iraqi municipalities would be required to apply penalties that violate human rights, such as mutilation and stoning, among others. [Al-Monitor] Read more

Thousands of bottles of beer smashed in sharia crackdown in Nigeria

About 240,000 bottles of beer have been shattered by an earthmover as part of a widening crackdown in Nigeria's northern city of Kano.

Alcohol is banned under sharia law, imposed in the city in 2001, but authorities had turned a blind eye to its consumption in hotels and the Sabon Gari Christian quarter.

At the public destruction of beer on Wednesday the head of the religious police board warned that his officers would put an end to alcohol consumption. [The Guardian] Read more

Police called to school protest over religious workshop

Officers have been at Littleton Green Community School in Cannock every day since Friday because of parents’ fury which sparked yesterday’s demonstration at the school gates.

The 45-strong rally followed uproar last week when parents were warned their children would have a racial discrimination note recorded against them if they failed to attend the workshop. [Express & Star] Read more

27 November 2013

Egypt's Latest Fatwas from Salafis and Brotherhood

Al Azhar, in Cairo, is considered by many to be one of the oldest and most prestigious Islamic universities in the world. The study .... "The Misguided Fatwas of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis," reveals a great deal about how Islamists view women.

.... According to the report, "fatwas issued by both groups [Brotherhood and Salafis] regard women as strange creatures created solely for sex. They considered the voices of women, their looks and presence outside the walls of their homes an 'offence.'

The study addressed 51 fatwas issued during the rule of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Among them, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis "permitted wives to lie to their husbands concerning politics," if the husband forbids her from being supportive of the Islamists or their agenda; she may then, through taqiyya [dissimulation] -- a Muslim doctrine that permits deceit to empower Islam -- still be supportive of the Islamists while pretending to be against them. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Segregation on campus is never OK, whoever makes the rules

.... What it is advocating is Separate but Equal facilities. We’ve heard this term before and we should know better.

In the words of the US Supreme Court when it abolished separate but equal laws in the US South in the 1950s – “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”. Or if you prefer the words of Polly Toynbee in the Guardian this week – “whatever is segregated by diktat is rarely equal”.

The advice from UUK is nothing short of appalling.

.... In the hypothetical case put forward by UUK, the requester did so on religious grounds. But you could think of any grounds you like. What if a white supremacist speaker demanded that races be separated? How would UUK advise them.

What if the speaker demanded the audience be separated by religious belief – Sikhs on the right, atheists on the left, Christians to the centre right, Muslims on the centre left. Would UUK consider this arrangement equal? [The Conversation] Read more

Is this public pool giving special privileges to a certain religious group?

.... Pool management got the idea for gender-segregated swimming periods after two Muslim sisters began renting out the pool a few years ago so that women could use the facilities without being seen by men.

In June of 2013 the pool management turned this privilege into a public program.

One of the sisters, Jamila Farole, explained to King Five News that she needed the private swimming time because her religion did not permit her to swim in the presence of men. [The Daily Caller] Read more

France reaffirms limits on Muslim headscarves, veils

A French appeals court, ruling in a hotly debated religious rights case, on Wednesday upheld the dismissal of a Muslim daycare worker for wearing a headscarf at a creche that demanded strict neutrality from its employees.

The Paris court's decision was announced at the same time as French lawyers defended the country's ban on full-face veils in public before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The two cases have divided French public opinion for years, with the bans enjoying wide support in public opinion but being denounced by many Muslims as discriminatory. [Reuters] Read more

26 November 2013

FBI Stats Again Belie Islamophobia Myth

.... we are asked by the mainstream media to believe that a group which claims to have roughly the same small slice of the national population as the Jews but which, at best, suffers only a fifth of the hate crimes incidents as Jews, is actually laboring under a grievous and discriminatory wave of bias attacks.

It not only makes no sense, it is not even remotely congruent with the facts. [Commentary Magazine] Read more

Political and Legal Status of Apostates in Islam

.... Twenty-seven (27) countries consider apostasy from Islam illegal and a prosecutable offence. Depending on the influence of Islamism and Sharia law, in places like Malaysia, Morocco, Jordan and Oman punishments vary from fines, imprisonment, flogging and exclusion from civil or family rights.

In eleven (11) countries (namely Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Somalia, Afghanistan, Qatar, Yemen and Mauritania), apostasy is punishable by the death penalty. [Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain] Read more

British universities shouldn't condone this kind of gender segregation

.... Muslim speakers demand segregation to make a very public point about their belief in women's "separate" role in the universe, one step behind a man, even in a place of learning.

After all, as Maryam Namazie, head of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, says, the speakers and the audience have all travelled there on trains and buses that are not segregated. Mosques and synagogues may hide women out of sight, but by agreeing not to "offend", the universities condone what they should confront.

[A COMMENT] You hit the nail on the head: “Muslim speakers demand segregation to make a very public point about their belief in women's "separate" role in the universe…” My family left the country of my birth to escape oppressive illiberalism only to find that it’s followed us here. [Guardian Cif] Read more

25 November 2013

Baroness Warsi and the OIC

.... The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – as well as imposing the death penalty for "witchcraft" (and blasphemy and apostasy), Saudi Arabia does not allow anyone to build a church or read a Bible.

So committed to religious freedom is Saudi Arabia that non-Muslims are not permitted to enter its holy city of Mecca. So committed to religious freedom is Saudi Arabia that simply sending a tweet deemed blasphemous can have you arrested and facing the death penalty, as the journalist Hamza Kashgari found out to his cost in 2012.

These are some of the countries that Baroness Warsi will be working with to promote religious freedom around the world. There are others of course, you can find them here. [National Secular Society] Read more

No place for radicalism

EAN Higgins' article about Hizb ut-Tahrir ("Muslims urged to turn back on country", 23-24/11) should be mandatory reading for all Australians, because this organisation is the thin end of the wedge.

Year by year Australia's Muslim population will grow and our liberal attitudes to Islam will allow the likes of Hizb ut-Tahrir to flourish.

.... Muslims can go a long way to resolving these suspicions by denouncing radical Islam. Until this happens, many will not unreasonably believe that Muslims who are not part of the solution might well be part of the problem. [The Australian] Read more

Public stoning consideration is latest setback for Afghan women's rights

The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country's penal code being drawn up by the ministry of justice.

It is the latest in a string of encroachments on hard-won rights for women, after parliament quietly cut the number of seats set aside for women on provincial councils, and drew up a criminal code whose provisions will make it almost impossible to convict anyone for domestic violence. [The Guardian] Read more

Segregating men and women at university events won't lead to equality

.... Segregation perpetuates discriminatory social norms and practices, shaping male attitudes about women and restricting the decisions and choices of women. By allowing gender segregation, Universities UK are complicit in the gender inequality being perpetuated by Isocs.

[A COMMENT] That a British University should even consider asking audiences to segregate themselves on a gender basis is apalling. A unversity should be about learning, not ignorance. .... Is this what taxpayer subsidized education has come to?

[ANOTHER COMMENT] 'Separate but equal' used to segregate Jewish students in 1930's Poland. 'Separate but equal' used to segregate blacks in pre 1960s USA. 'Separate but equal' used to segregate women in 21st century British universities. Unbelievable! [The Independent] Read more

23 November 2013

Head teacher apologises over 'racial discrimination' letter

A head teacher has apologised for sending parents a letter saying a "racial discrimination" note would be added to their child's education record if they did not go on a religious trip.

Pupils from Littleton Green Community School, Cannock, were expected to go to Staffordshire University to "learn about different cultures. [BBC] Read more

We can turn round Derby crisis Al-Madinah School, says trust chief

DERBY’S failing Muslim free school has been thrown a lifeline by the Government.

After being threatened with closure because of its poor academic standards and dire financial situation, Al-Madinah School could become part of a 22-strong academic trust.

The school’s three founding trustees – Shazia Parveen, Shahban Rehmat and Ziad Amjad – have said they will step down, paving the way for new sponsors.

[A COMMENT] The problem with allowing an Islamic/Muslim based school is the obvious visible and social separation of their children!

[ANOTHER COMMENT] Quote by the attorney general - "'wake up' to the threat of corruption posed by minority communities using a 'favour culture'". Even politicians are beginning to see whats happening - finally.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] Its NOT a school, it's an excuse for brain washing children with a barbaric so called "religion" at taxpayers expense. [Derby Telegraph] Read more

Woman accuses firm of sacking her for wanting to wear Muslim headscarf

A Wollongong woman has accused a local accountancy firm of sacking her for wanting to wear the Muslim headscarf.

Mariam El Hassan, 23, had worked at the firm for five years.

Her lawyer says she asked the firm if she could start wearing the headscarf to work for religious reasons but permission was denied.

Michelle Walsh from Turner Freeman Lawyers says Ms El Hassan was told not to come into work when she said she wanted to wear the headscarf.

"She'd had a day off to celebrate Eid and she was to come into work," Ms Walsh said. [ABC] Read more

Terror-link group met in parliament

.... it can also be revealed that one of the Government’s police and crime commissioners will this week speak on the same platform as a man who has justified the killing of British troops and called for democracy to be replaced by Sharia.

The ECHR is fronted by a young white British man, Rori Donaghy. It makes no mention on its website or in any other publicity of its close links with the Islamist Cordoba Foundation, described by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, as a “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood”. [The Telegraph] Read more

‘You are a woman, you can’t sit here’: UK Universities condones gender segregation

.... In what seems to border at the absurd, the organisation indeed says that “an act of indirect discrimination can be ‘objectively justified’ if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. According to Universities UK, forced gender segregation is thus “legitimate”.

.... The guidelines of Universities UK are a shocking display of what happens when religious privilege is allowed to trump other considerations of equality and basic human rights. As long as religious beliefs are “genuinely-held”, they will override any other principle that have come to be the egalitarian consensus on which interaction between genders is built in the UK. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Freedom of speech: are Muslims excluded?

.... Whatever one thinks of Griffin, Geller and co, none of them has views so chilling as some of the speakers who were exercising their right to free speech at the Waterlily. Here’s Haitham al-Haddad, for example, calmly endorsing the death penalty for apostates (in an ideal state).

These speakers seem both mistaken and hypocritical in complaining about limits on their freedom of speech, given that some of them would love to impose the most tyrannical restraints on the freedoms of others.

Here is one speaker, Abdur Raheem Green, demonstrating his complete disdain for the rights of non-Muslims who wish to express themselves freely: [Harry’s Place] Read more

School Backtracks After Islam Workshop 'Racial Discrimination' Warning

A school has revised a letter branded "heavy-handed" after parents were told they must send their children to a workshop on Islam or have them labelled racist in their school file.

Mothers and fathers were warned: "Refusal to allow your child to attend will result in a Racial Discrimination note being attached to your child's education record, which will remain on this file throughout their school career.

"All absences on this day will be investigated for their credibility and will only be sanctioned with a GP sick note."

Parents branded the letter "ludicrous." [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

An intolerant educational system made me indifferent to the death of non-Muslims

This boy was no suicide bomber in the making. He was not the product of an extremist madrassa nor was he the son of a jihad veteran.

In fact, this was a boy who was being educated at one of the finest institutions this country had to offer. Yet, the boy had failed to appreciate the value of human life. He was insensitive to the deaths of more than 2,000 people.

What is more alarming is that at the tender age of eight, this boy had justified his delight by distinguishing between the life of a Muslim and a non-Muslim.

As much as I hate to admit it, I was this boy. [The Express Tribune] Read more

22 November 2013

Moroccan teen, forced to marry her rapist, commits suicide

A Moroccan teen committed suicide last month after her family forced her to marry her rapist, rights activists told Al Jazeera after reports of her death surfaced in the North African kingdom's media on Friday.

The suicide happened amid protracted efforts to repeal a law, Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal Code, exonerating rapists who marry their victims, after the high-profile suicide last year of another teen, Amina Filali.

In March 2012, 16-year-old Filali killed herself in the northern town of Larache by taking rat poison after she was forced to marry her rapist. [Al Jazeera America] Read more

Universities 'can segregate men and women for debates'

Universities can segregate students during debates as long as the women are not forced to sit behind the men, university leaders have said.

Segregation at the behest of a controversial speaker is an issue which arises "all the time” and banning men and women from sitting next to each during debates is a "big issue" facing universities, Universities UK has said.

[A COMMENT] This is ridiculous, stop pandering to moslem action groups! If people want to be segregated by sex let them go and study in a country where that is the norm. It is not the norm in Britain.

[ANOTHER COMMENT] I wonder if they would be as accommodating to a member of the BNP speaking at a university who wanted everyone segregated based on colour. Then again, the only people allowed to express 'offensive views' seem to be Islamist preachers, so the BNP would never get an invite. Whoever wrote these guidelines truly is the most useful of idiots. [The Telegraph] Read more

'Allowing university speakers to segregate genders is outrageous'

As new guidelines suggest universities could allow gender segregation .... it would be a step backwards for a modern Britain. .... never, ever should someone, regardless of their faith or background, be forced to sit apart from the opposite sex just because of the controversial views of the speaker. We live in a modern, grown up Britain. Let's start acting like it.

[A COMMENT] If muslims or others do not follow this philosophy of gender integration then it is not appropriate to accommodate them with public facilities. The can go back to countries where such gender discrimination is practised. Academic institutions which encourage this activity should be aware that this is a form of inhibition of free speech.

Any academic institution which is publicly funded should have their funds withdrawn as they are being gender discriminatory and practising activities which run counter to the philosophy and mores of the UK. [The Telegraph] Read more

U.S. Should Speak Out Against Human Rights Violations Caused by Kuwaiti Blasphemy Laws

Human Rights First condemns the sentencing of Musaab Shamsah to five years in prison in Kuwait. He has been convicted of insulting the Prophet after posting a message on Twitter about the role of imams in Islam. According to press reports, his lawyer noted that he had deleted the tweet ten minutes after publishing it.

.... Shamsah was arrested in May 2013 and charged in accordance with article 111 of Kuwait’s penal code, which prohibits mocking religion including “ridicule, contempt, or belittlement of religion or religious doctrine.”

He was also accused of violating the 2012 National Unity Law, which criminalizes the publication of material offensive to religious groups. [Human Rights First] Read more

Children of 8 are 'racist' if they miss Islam trip: School's threatening letter to parents is met with outrage

Parents were ordered to send their children to a workshop on Islam or have them labelled as racist for the rest of their school career.

They were sent a letter warning that the primary school pupils would have a ‘racial discrimination note’ put on their records if they did not go.

Families were told to pay £5 per child for the Explore Islam trip next Wednesday to Staffordshire University, which would involve Year 4 and Year 6 children being shown Islamic artefacts.

[A COMMENT] Seems to me this type of things is being forced upon us from every direction. It can and will result in resentment

[ANOTHER COMMENT] Would non-Christians have received such a letter if it had been a Christian outing? [Daily Mail] Read more

'Refusal will result in a Racial Discrimination note being attached to your child's educational record…'

What is the single most depressing aspect of this letter? Is it the idea of labelling eight-year-olds racists? Is it the moronic conflation of religion and ethnicity?

Is it the ugly grammar ("As such our expectations are that all children in years 4 to 6 attend school on Wednesday…")? Is it the bullying tone? [The Telegraph] Read more

21 November 2013

Eleven more airports, including Luton and Stansted, to use full-body scanners

The full-body scanners are already in use at 10 of Britain's largest airports.

Initial trials of full-body scanners at Manchester airport since 2009 proved controversial as they produced a detailed, ghost-like image of the naked body, which was viewed by security staff.

Those machines, which used x-ray technology, were scrapped a year ago because of privacy and health concerns. Some Muslim passengers refused to walk through the full-body scanners on religious grounds. [The Guardian] Read more

Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism

.... they contest attempts by fundamentalists to place restrictions on their day-to-day lives, and Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here was prompted by the lack of attention paid in the West to those struggles.

.... She also writes about the public places – cafes, museums, cinemas and puppet theatres – that are deemed to be against religious teachings, followed by a discussion of the women’s organisations that lobby against everything from street harassment, imposition of dress codes and infringements of women’s legal rights to homophobia and stoning. [Times Higher Education] Read more

Halal body to withdraw poultry approval if EU’s new stunning rule is enforced

A halal food certifier has decided to remove certification from stunned poultry if new EU regulations on stunning voltages are imposed.

In a letter sent to poultry operators on poultry operators on 12 November 2013, and seen by Meatinfo.co.uk, the Halal Food Authority (HFA) claimed enforcement of EC 1099/2009 on 1 January 2014 – which includes requirements for higher stunning voltages – could result in the death of birds prior to slaughter, something that is not permissible under halal rules. [MeatInfo.co.uk] Read more

Labelling the Halal meat market for consumers

Sitting chatting with Dr Mohammad Naseem over tea in the Birmingham Central Mosque he explained to me that for him Halal meat should not be stunned before slaughter. It may be an uncomfortable idea for many but for him it's non-negotiable.

.... the industry body, is consulting on how to improve this state of affairs and for the first time that could involve labelling to make it clear if the animal has been stunned or not. [BBC] Read more

British Muslims Should Stand Up and Say It: There Is Nothing Islamic About Child Marriage

.... Child, or underage, marriage is very much a part of British society. And the inconvenient truth is that it is Muslims - not Christians, Jews or Hindus - who are responsible for much of it. There is no point pretending otherwise.

Nor is it morally tenable to stand idly by as young girls in the UK are forced into marriages before they are physically or psychologically ready, against their will and against the law.

.... The influence of Saudi Arabia, and its decades-long export of a reactionary, retrograde brand of Islam, cannot be ignored. The damage that has been done to a nascent British Islam by pre-modern, Saudi- inspired, literalist dogma is incalculable.

[A COMMENT] .... a large faction (perhaps not the majority... but you never know...) of his fellow believers sweep grossly unjust and inhumane practices under the carpet - and then pull the race/colour/freedom of religion card out whenever the rest of us object! [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

20 November 2013

The Right’s attitude to radical Islam is as bad as the Left’s

.... When presented with men who will murder to protect the supposed honour of their religion, the state in Europe, Canada and Australia notes the intensity of Islamist feeling and instead of fighting it, appeases it.

‘If they feel so strongly that they are willing to murder,’ the state says, ‘we must step in, blame those who “provoke” violence, and silence them’. [The Spectator] Read more

Man arrested for sharing blasphemous content on Facebook

A young man in Pakistan's Punjab Province has been arrested for sharing blasphemous content on Facebook, as the government launched a crackdown on the spread of such content on social media.

Authorities arrested Raza Kharal in Toba Tek Singh district of Pakistan's Punjab province, about 200 kilometres from here, for sharing blasphemous content on Facebook. [THE TIMES OF INDIA] Read more

Teenage poet, Islam critic, assaulted in Denmark

In his poetry, Hassan has criticized what he claims is a culture of hypocrisy underpinning Denmark's Muslim population.

.... He has also lashed out at Muslims for committing fraud with social benefits, beating their children and failing to integrate in Danish society while clinging to the Quran.

His book of poetry "Yahya Hassan" has sold more than 17,000 copies since its publication on Oct. 17. Most poetry books in Denmark sell under 500 copies, according to the industry.

The publication has triggered numerous death threats against Hassan, who has police protection during public readings. [Associated Press] Read more

Ukip Peer Warns Of Muslim 'Dark Side'

.... "If we come home to the United Kingdom, we see large and growing Muslim communities which are set against integration with the rest of us; we see thousands of home-grown potential terrorists; we see Sharia law running de facto in our land; and we see a birth rate several times higher than ours, to which our democracy is already exposed." [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Ex-UKIP leader Lord Pearson warns of Islamist threat

UK Muslim communities are home to "thousands of potential home-grown terrorists", former UK Independence Party leader Lord Pearson has warned.

Such people "hate us with frightening religious fervour", he said during a parliamentary debate on Islam.

Sharia law was "running de facto in our land" and calls for violence were not simply coming from a "few extremists".

But faith minister Baroness Warsi said Lord Pearson was either "ignorant" or attempting to "distort" views of Islam. [BBC] Read more

19 November 2013

Muslim critic Yahya Hassan assaulted at Central Station

Poet was attacked from behind by a 24-year-old man who allegedly shouted that Hassan was an infidel and should die.

Hassan was assaulted with punches to his head and body while waiting on a platform at Copenhagen Central Station yesterday, according to media reports.

.... Hassan – whose parents are Palestinian – gained national attention after he, in an interview with Politiken newspaper, blamed Muslim parents, and not the state, for the fact that so many immigrants of his generation have become criminals. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Bolton Council apologises after pork product is served to Muslim youngsters in school dessert

TOWN hall chiefs have issued an apology after a pork product was discovered in chocolate mousse being served to Muslim youngsters as part of their school dinner.

Bolton Council’s school meals service which provides dinners to many of the borough’s school is now working closely with Bolton Council of Mosques and an investigation is under way.

The incident only involved Gaskell Community Primary School in Thomas Holden Street, Bolton, and as soon as the ingredient — pork gelatine — was spotted, the dessert was withdrawn. [The Bolton News] Read more

Islam's views on freedom to women has not changed

Kerala's prominent Muslim cleric Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar has observed that Islam has not changed its obstinate approach with regard to the freedom for Muslim women and their relation with men on the reason that the women were educated.

.... Muslim women should not work in a place where only a woman and a man are present. They should go for job only in a place where there are enough number of women and trustworthy men. About 90 per cent of jobs do not require man-women mingling. These rules cannot be changed.

.... On women's mobility, Musaliyar said they should travel only in unavoidable circumstances. These journeys should be for the purposes ratified by Islam. The Islam could not accept the argument that women have to travel extensively these days. If they go out, it should be in the company of male family members or of large group of women. [The Indian Express] Read more

18 November 2013

Australia conference hears 'this country at war' with radical Islam

A HARDLINE Islamic group has warned Muslims that the government was trying to "brainwash" their children and that they should resist any attempts to water down their strict view of Islam.

"The government is playing a dirty, dirty game," Wassim Doureihi told the 600-strong audience at the Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia conference in Lidcombe yesterday.

Hizb ut-Tahrir wants global sharia law. Yesterday in Sydney it launched a 124-page report on what it sees as Australian government attempts to divide the Muslim community into extremists and moderates.

"The fundamental objective of these policies is to change Islam, to secularise Islam, to produce a so-called 'moderate Islam': a state-sanctioned version of Islam that is secular, politically impotent and localised," it said. [NEWS.com.au] Read more

Advice on respectful treatment of Muslims arrested in Torquay

ADVICE has been given to Torquay Police on the best way to treat Muslims held in custody.

.... Sgt Howard Brugge of Torquay custody said: "We wanted to identify how we looked after Muslim detainees and were visited by Dr Ali from the Torbay Islamic Centre.

"Torquay didn't have any issues but we wanted to make sure things were being done in a respectful way."

Dr Ali gave advice about issues including halal food, food preparation, the Koran, washing before prayers, and prayer mats..

[A COMMENT] We need to treat everyone equally regardless of who they are. Unfortunately British liberal society seems to think some people are more equal than others. [Herald Express] Read more

Turkey: deputy PM hopes to convert Hagia Sophia to mosque

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has expressed his hope to see Istanbul's Hagia Sophia Museum be used as a mosque, while already calling it the "Hagia Sophia Mosque" while speaking to reporters.

"We currently stand next to the Hagia Sophia Mosque... we are looking at a sad Hagia Sophia, but hopefully we will see it smiling again soon,"

Dogan News Agency quoted Arinc as saying in a speech during the opening ceremony of a new Carpet Museum, located adjacent to the ancient Hagia Sophia complex. [ANSAmed] Read more

15 November 2013

Call to reinstate Hagia Sophia as mosque

One of Turkey’s most senior ministers has called for Istanbul’s ancient Ayasofya museum to be converted back to being a mosque, amid an intense debate about the social and religious agenda of the country’s Islamist-rooted government.

.... Ayasofya, designed as a Christian basilica in the sixth century by Anthemios of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletus, is dubbed a “unique architectural masterpiece” by Unesco and is one of Istanbul’s most visited tourist attractions. [Financial Times] Read more

Egypt's women refuse to be intimidated

.... The elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, rescinded some of these rights: restrictions on polygamy were lifted; a reduction of the marriage age was proposed; women's right to seek divorce was limited.

This reflected the Brotherhood's patriarchal attitude to gender roles and family structures, and had little to do with the reality of the Egyptian economy, where women make up a large proportion of the labour force and are found in all sectors of public life. [The Guardian] Read more

Islam-critical art exhibition survived despite threats

.... On a pillar, Article 102 of the Iranian penal code is displayed. It describes how unfaithful spouses should be stoned to death, and what the ideal stone looks like.

It must not be too small and not too big. The process of killing shouldn’t be too fast.

The artwork is called "The Perfect Stone" and, like many other works in the Passion For Freedom exhibition, it has a clear reference to Islam. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Protests as 'child marriage' imam back at Birmingham mosque

An imam caught agreeing to marry off a 14-year-old girl has been welcomed back to his mosque job, despite protests from worshippers. He was caught on film agreeing to arrange the wedding ceremony by undercover TV reporters posing as the mother and brother of the schoolgirl.

Mr Hussain was immediately suspended by the mosque but the Mail has discovered he was allowed to return to work last Monday. Yet the decision has divided worshippers, with one mosque member claiming the ‘unjustifiable’ return had caused bad feeling.

They said: “When the imam entered the mosque to lead prayers a number of members and trustees protested and asked if he would do the decent thing and resign to avoid causing division within the community. The imam refused to comment. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Libya ‘seeks to make its laws more Islamic’

Libya is seeking to revise existing legislation to make it conform more to Islamic sharia law, a justice ministry document obtained by AFP shows.

The text announces the establishment of a “committee charged with revising current legislation and to propose amendments that would not contradict the fundamental rules and regulations of Islamic law”.

.... One law imposing strict restrictions on polygamy, that was instituted by the regime of dictator Moamer Kadhafi who was toppled and killed in 2011, was abolished after the revolution.

The justice ministry’s plan would appear to be aimed at satisfying the demands of Salafist, or extremist Sunni Muslim, groups in the violence-wracked North African nation. [Daily Times] Read more

The Saudis spread their ideas around the world

The issue therefore is not just that Christians are being punished because of anger at the West. It is the specific application of Islamic law, and most centrally its ideas about freedom of religion.

... Much of the intolerance in Pakistan stems from the influence of the Saudis, who are trying to reshape Islam in their image, and are helped by Westerners because of their vast reserves of money.

Shamefully the British Museum put on an exhibition on Mecca funded by the Saudis, even while those iconoclasts were vandalising the city. [The Spectator] Read more

14 November 2013

George Orwell betrayed: Islamist Tariq Ramadan gives a lecture in his name

This week in London, the annual George Orwell Lecture was given by the Islamist writer Tariq Ramadan. Where is one to start?

George Orwell was against religious censorship. Tariq Ramadan campaigned successfully to cancel a production of Voltaire’s play Le fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophete in Geneva.

Orwell was a rational man. When Ramadan taught at the College de Saussure he argued in favour of Islamic biology over Darwin. [The Telegraph] Read more

Sharia Law Thrives In Berlin Accidental Death Case

A Muslim family negotiating for compensation as part of an accidental death case suggested the family of the man responsible for killing their 17-year-old son give them a herd of 100 camels.

In Berlin’s Muslim-dominated immigrant neighborhoods, a parallel justice system based on Sharia, the moral code and religious law of Islam, has developed and is, in fact, thriving, Die Welt reports.

.... A hundred camels would have amounted to about 55,000 euros. After much haggling, the aggrieved family instead settled for 20,000 euros. [Worldcrunch] Read more

Christians 'face extinction' amid sectarian terror, minister warns

Christianity is in danger of becoming extinct in its ancient homelands because of a rising tide of sectarian attacks, a senior minister will warn on Friday.

Violence against Christian worshippers and other religious minorities by fanatics has become a “global crisis” and is the gravest challenge facing the world this century, Baroness Warsi will say.

“A mass exodus is taking place, on a Biblical scale. In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct,” she will say at a speech at Georgetown University in Washington. [The Telegraph] Read more

13 November 2013

The veil is nothing but the flag of the Muslim far right

.... THE ‘Islamic’ veil is neither cultural nor religious but a political flag that fundamentalists use in order to increase their political visibility at the expense of women, then we must also admit that wearing this form of veil - now - in Europe and North America has a political purpose; the women who wear it, whether they are aware of it or not, are wearing the flag of a far-right political party.

Hence I could hardly agree with the formulation: ‘a woman choosing how to dress.’ This veil is definitely not to be equated to wearing high heels versus flat shoes, or miniskirts versus trousers. It is not a fashion; it is a political marker.

If one decides one is going to wear a swastika as a brooch, one cannot ignore its political meaning; one cannot pretend one does not care for the fact that it was the ’flag’ of Nazi Germany. One cannot pretend one just likes its shape. It is a political statement. [Fitnah!] Read more

Nude paintings blocked in German school spark debate

An adult education centre in Berlin has hung a collection of nude paintings days after censoring them out of deference to Muslim immigrants in what critics Wednesday called an overzealous bid at cultural sensitivity.

The paintings' exclusion from an exhibition Friday met with public outcry in a neighbourhood where tensions were already running high after demonstrations against a new refugee centre earlier this year.

"Human nakedness is something natural. Muslims need to get used to it if they want to live here. It's part of the culture here," [AFP] Read more

UK: The Interfaith Industry

.... Interfaith dialogue is a powerful industry in Britain. Many hundreds of groups receive many hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' funds to promote dialogue between groups of different faith.

On the face of it, such initiatives appear to indicate progress and civilized discussion. But what sorts of groups are involved with the world of interfaith?

.... As the British Islamist preacher Haitham Al-Haddad noted, not only do Islamist groups employ interfaith dialogue as a deception, but it is a deception that is crucial: "We are talking about minorities living in the West so we have to provide them with workable solutions in the short run.

It is not the far ultimate aim of Muslims because the far ultimate aim for Muslims is to have Islam governing the whole world, Islamization of the whole globe." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Baroness Warsi and her self-serving anti-secular agenda

.... In her anxiety to promote the idea that religion and government belong together, Warsi makes statements without factual basis, distorts statistics and edits out inconvenient truths.

Her latest masterwork was a speech full of divisive rhetoric that she delivered to a "Faith in Politics" conference at the University of Cambridge Churchill Archives. You can read the whole thing here.

Let's have a look at some of what she says:

"You only have to look around this building to see the evidence. Winston Churchill's letters, speeches and papers make repeated references to faith."

This is true, but they were not always complimentary. Take this from his book The River War: [National Secular Society] Read more

All Faiths Network: Debate on Interfaith at the House of Lords

.... Murray questioned the point of interfaith dialogue, given that people of different religious beliefs are severely limited in how much common ground they can meaningfully find.

He also spoke eloquently of the way in which Muslims have been let down by the establishment’s decision to engage with hardline representatives of Islam. He emphasized the need to treat people as individual citizens and avoid dialogue with extremists, whether violent or non-violent.

.... He began with moral equivalence: “There are Christians who also believe that gays should be killed”.

Clearly, this is a pretty disingenuous claim as no prominent or mainstream Christian organisation says any such thing and as Douglas Murray pointed out, such organisations would never be engaged with by the government or the interfaith industry.

Unquestioning ‘respect’ and engagement is a privilege uniquely afforded to Muslim groups. [Harry’s Place] Read more

12 November 2013

Saudi Arabia's double standards

In the field of human rights, double standards are Saudi Arabia's stock-in-trade. Despite operating what is probably the world’s most comprehensive system of institutionalised discrimination against women, the kingdom is a party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

It has also signed up to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (while continuing to behead people in for a wide range of crimes) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (while continuing to allow child marriages). [al-bab.com] Read more

Greek Supreme Court places sharia law above civil law

The last will and testament of a Muslim man, which was prepared according to Greek civil law, has been annulled in the Greek Supreme Court because it is not compliant with sharia law.

Demeter Simeonidou, who was Muslim and lived in Thrace, wanted to leave all his assets to his wife. He prepared his will with this in mind under Greek law.

.... Previously only family law fell under the jurisdiction of Islamic muftis in Greece, but that was changed after sharia courts were condemned by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights as being discriminatory. [National Secular Society] Read more

Arab Spring nations backtrack on women’s rights, poll says

.... “The whole image of women during Mursi's rule was that a woman is a mother who should be bearing children and that is the most important thing,” Fatma Khafagy, who heads the Ombudsman office for gender equality in Egypt, told Reuters. “The whole discourse was against women's rights and gender equality.”

The Brotherhood warned that a U.N. declaration on women's rights could destroy society by allowing a woman to travel, work and use contraception without her husband's approval and letting her control family planning. [Al Arabiya] Read more

Revealed: Egypt is the worst Arab country for women

Increasingly commonplace sexual violence has combined with plummeting female representation in parliament and a growth in more extreme Islamic views to push the country to the bottom of the region for women’s rights.

Egypt was ranked 22nd – below Iraq and Saudi Arabia – in polling on 22 Arab states’ treatment of women by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. [The Independent] Read more

Women among the biggest losers in Arab Spring

.... A survey of 22 Arab states by the Thomson Reuters Foundation found three of the five Arab Spring countries – Egypt, Syria and Yemen – at the bottom rung of the women’s rights listing.

Egypt ranked lowest in the listing, with the highest rates of violence against women – including sexual harassment and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Two years after Egyptian women joined their male counterparts on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in other cities to demand the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, women have borne the brunt of discriminatory laws and endured a spike in sexual assault, the study found. [France24] Read more

11 November 2013

Why the West Fears Islam

Harvard professor and Islam expert Jocelyne Cesari looks into the mechanisms of the West's fear of Islam, and ponders on how the dominant narrative that tends to present Islam as an alien religion can be countered

The integration of Muslim immigrants has been on the political agenda of European democracies for several decades. However, only in the last ten years has it specifically evolved into a question of civic integration closely related to religious identity.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the socio-economic integration of immigrants with a Muslim background was the primary focus of academic literature, but with the emergence of the second and third generations, the interest has shifted to political mobilization.

Beginning with the Rushdie affair in the United Kingdom and the hijab affair in France from 1989 to present, the spotlight has moved to the legitimacy of Islamic signs in public space, such as dress code, minarets, and halal foods. [Qantara.de] Read more

Sharia Law: No Place in Europe

.... The application of sharia law to criminal cases leads to perpetrators escaping long prison sentences while paying the victims large sums in compensation. In return, the victims must make sure that their testimony in German courts does not lead to a conviction.

.... mosques in the Netherlands are implementing sharia rules of marriage, divorce, inheritance, child custody and parental authority, among others. [Lawyers' Secular Society] Read more

Iran arrests author of controversial article on Shiite Islam

Iran on Monday arrested Ali Asghar Gharavi, the author of a controversial article seen by critics as questioning the beliefs of Shiite Islam, a prosecutor general said.

"In regards with the banned newspaper (Bahar), the author of that article was arrested yesterday," prosecutor Mohseni Ejeie was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

In late October, the pro-reformist Bahar daily published an opinion piece penned by Gharavi, which drew heavy criticism from the authorities. [The Daily Star] Read more

Two Muslim girls leave nursing school over hijab ban in Prague

Two Muslim girls left a nursing secondary school in Prague as they were not permitted to wear their hijabs, being the first to have ended their studies for this reason in the Czech Republic, Czech Television (CT) said Friday.

CT said the case would probably end up with the ombudsman's office and lawyers were considering filing an anti-discrimination lawsuit.

The principal of the Prague school Ivanka Kohoutova said the school had made no mistake. [Czech News Agency] Read more

Greek Supreme Court puts sharia law before civil law

The Greek Supreme Court has annulled the last will and testament of a deceased Greek Muslim man as it was not compliant with sharia law. The decision overturns the rights of Greek minority Muslims in Thrace to prepare wills under Greek civil law.

Demeter Simeonidou, a Muslim man that lived in Thrace, had prepared his will in accordance with Greek civil law, leaving all his assets to his wife. The will was challenged by the deceased man's sister who claimed a share of his assets, claiming that the Islamic law of succession does not recognize the right of a Muslim to make a public will. [Digital Journal] Read more

Muslim Survey On Sunnis And Shias Reveals Worries About Religious Conflict

Sectarian tensions occupy the minds of many Muslims living in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Pew Research Center polls conducted in 2011-2012 report high levels of concern regarding religious conflict in many countries where Shia and Sunni Muslims live together, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. [The Huffington Post] Read more

“Are Muslims Doing Enough?”

.... Yasmin Alibhai Brown .... described how she was subject to threats and pressure in response to her reasoned debate on subjects such as hijab. She saw a problem now with a growing idea that you could never belong to the societies in which you live.

Significantly, Samira Ahmed observed at this point that along with a growing conservatism in the public face of Islam in the UK, there is a growing sectarianism; for example, she said, there were a lot more attacks on Ahmadiyya Muslims in modern Britain. [BBC] Read more

West must stop appeasing efforts to ban criticism of Islam

.... for at least fifteen years a concerted effort has been made by Islamic organizations, particularly the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to prevent or limit criticism of Islam and the Prophet.

This effort of the OIC has led to calls for controls of free speech in democratic countries as well as implementation of repression in its own member states.

Although this OIC objective and its consequences have become familiar, it is puzzling that the Obama Administration, and Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, did not resist it but rather seemed to compromise with it. [The Commentator] Read more

Liverpool University Agreed To Host Islamic Preacher Ismail Menk, Who Says Gays Are 'Filthy'

A leading university agreed to provide a platform for an openly homophobic Islamic preacher, despite YouTube videos showing the cleric denouncing gay people as "filthy".

Liverpool University was happy to host Mufti Ismail Menk as part of his tour around UK institutions, which has now been cancelled after every other university refused to take part. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

10 November 2013

Inspiration or danger? Private schools in Pakistan ban Malala Yousafzai's book

The All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, which says it represents more than 152,000 institutions across the country, has decided that allowing pupils to read the book, I am Malala, would have a "negative" effect on them. The federation also said it believed the book was not entirely respectful of Islam.

".... having reviewed it we came to the decision that the book was not suitable for our children, particularly not our students," said the federation's president, Mirza Kashif. "Pakistan is an ideological country. That ideology is based on Islam.... In this book are many comments that are contrary to our ideology." [The Independent] Read more

Al-Qaeda in Syria raids wedding party, warns against music and singing

.... “One leader of the Islamic State warned residents that if a music band is invited to a wedding again, the person responsible will be arrested because this is immoral,” the newspaper reported, citing an internet page of the Syrian Revolution in Menbej. [Al Arabiya] Read more

09 November 2013

Saudi-funded John Esposito to speak in Tulsa on how Americans "misunderstand" Islam

.... His agenda here is identical to that of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which routinely ignores how Islamic jihadists quote the Qur'an and invoke Muhammad to justify violence and terrorism, but cries "Islamophobia" when non-Muslims quote those jihadis quoting the Qur'an and invoking Muhammad.

They want to fool people into thinking that non-Muslim "Islamophobes" are responsible for "linking Islam with terrorism," when actually the ones doing that linking are the jihadis.

The objective is to intimidate non-Muslims into thinking that it is "bigoted" and "hateful" to discuss the Islamic motives and goals of jihadis, much less to resist them -- so that those jihadis can do their work unopposed and unimpeded. [Jihad Watch] Read more

Why can't we admit we're scared of Islamism?

.... As a Danish citizen, she saw journalists go into hiding and mobs attack her country’s embassies just because Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of Muhammad that were so tame you could hardly call them ‘satirical’.

Bazrafkan is also the daughter of an Iranian family, and the Islamic Republic’s subjugation of women revolts her.

When I met her, she was enduring a crash course in politically correct Europe’s many hypocrisies. White Danes reported her to the police for writing that Muslim men abuse and murder their daughters, and adding for good measure that the ‘Koran is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined’. [The Spectator] Read more

08 November 2013

Islamophobia Awareness Month

This November sees the launch of the second Islamophobia Awareness Month, first in 2012. The month-long campaign will see activities and projects held throughout Britain to combat the continuing rising tide of Islamophobia.

Islamophobia or anti-Muslim hatred is reaching worrying heights in Britain, across Europe and globally. Racist and fascist fringe parties are gaining ground amidst economic crisis, and mainstream parties increasingly catering to populist, nativist and xenophobic electoral agendas fanned by sensationalist media scaremongering. [The Muslim Council of Britain] Read more

Young Christian charged with blasphemy living on a knife-edge

A young Christian pastor, in hiding after being accused of blaspheming against Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), has surrendered to police due to serious threats to his life reportedly from extremists belonging to a banned religious organisation, his lawyer told Pakistan Today.

Aneeqa Maria advocate said that Pastor Adnan Masih agreed to surrender to police on Wednesday, the end of his pre-arrest bail period, because of serious threats to his life. Lahore Additional Sessions Judge Khizar Hayat Khan acknowledged the risk to Masih’s life and ordered police to ensure his security while he is in custody, she said. [Pakistan Today] Read more

Teenager detained for insulting Islam on Facebook

A school dropout from Malacca who made remarks insulting Islam on Facebook was arrested by police on Thursday.

Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad said the 17-year-old was picked up by police in Bandar Hilir, Malacca at 3pm and was later handed over to officers from the Dang Wangi police district headquarters here. [The Star] Read more

Ryanair Boss Michael O'Leary Says Ban The Burka, Brits 'Leaning Over Too Much' For Muslims

Michael O'Leary has called for the burka to be banned in Britain, warning that the country is "leaning over far too much" for minority religions like Islam.

.... Speaking to the Times, he said: "I think we should ban burkas here in the UK. If you go to Saudi Arabia and they say the ladies have to veil up, you respect the local culture. Over here we are leaning over far too much for some of these minority religions.

.... O'Leary's comments come as Ryanair has sought to open itself up in a media "charm offensive', which has seen the airline chief take to Twitter for question and answer sessions and ask passengers for suggestions on how to improve customer service. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

07 November 2013

UK Politicians Collaborate with Muslim Brotherhood Islamists?

.... Of the 29 announced conference speakers, six are public officials or politicians. Of the remaining 23 announced speakers, 19 have expressed extremist views, as listed above.

In other words, the conference speakers can be categorized as follows: 65% are self-proclaimed anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic and pro-terror preachers, 20% are public servants offering legitimacy and moral credibility to them, while the remaining 15% could perhaps claim to be part of the conference's "project dedicated to creating a more harmonious world" -- or, as Simon Hughes MP told the conference in 2008, "Peace and unity...thanks be to Allah...a fantastic thing."

It is all the more astounding, then, that leading politicians have chosen to proclaim the men who espouse these views as cheerleaders for "peace and unity" and a "diverse...tolerant Britain." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Moscow MP urges to school ban on Muslim head veils

Municipal deputy of the Yakimanka District Dmitry Zakharov is going to address Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin with a request to ban wearing hijab in city. The author of the initiative answers the questions.

"I believe it is not right for any religious formation to demand special attitude. In fact, hijab is outer manifestation of such demand. It's no good, I think we need to ban wearing it in public places: in the streets, in state and educational establishments," Zakharov said in his interview published by the Metro daily.

He notes that even in such Islamic countries as Tunisia and Algeria hijab is banned in state institutions and schools. [Interfax] Read more

‘I am Malala’ banned in private schools

.... “Our academics have thoroughly studied her (Malala’s) book and have concluded that reading that book will only confuse our children. Malala’s defence of Salmaan Rushdie in the name of freedom of expression, not writing Peace Be Upon Him after the name of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and criticising the Quranic injunctions about the status of women in testifying as witnesses are only a few things which will challenge the ideological foundations of our next generation,” Kashif said while talking to Pakistan Today. [Pakistan Today]

Read more

Quebec introduces legislation to prohibiting public employees from wearing religious symbols

The Quebec government moved forward Thursday with a proposed law that would ban public employees from wearing overt religious symbols, setting the stage for a showdown over the place of religion in the province.

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said the law aims to preserve the province’s fundamental values, including the equality of men and women and the separation of church and state. Her separatist Parti Quebecois on Thursday introduced its Charter of Values in the province’s legislature. [Associated Press] Read more

Meet ‘cultural norm’, he kills girls: The tragedy of child brides

This week a court in Birmingham heard the case of a 14-year-old girl who became pregnant after she was taken to Pakistan against her will and forced to marry a 24-year-old man.

A shocking case to learn the details of, such incidents are, regretfully, not a rarity. Each year across the globe two million girls aged 14 and younger become mothers. They do so mostly because they live in societies that regard them as little more than property.

The World Health Organization estimates that girls giving birth aged less than 15 are five times as likely to die. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in low and middle income countries. [The Independent] Read more

Mueen Uddin – Convicted in Bangladesh: what it means in the UK

This week one of Britain’s most prominent Muslim leaders was found guilty of war crimes during Bangladesh’s war of independence from Pakistan in 1971.

.... It would be naïve to expect a parliamentary inquiry into Jamaat-i-Islami and its institutions in Britain — too many prominent politicians across the political spectrum are compromised. But their influence stretches back to the Salman Rushdie affair in 1989 and beyond.

It is a historic catastrophe that we chose to give power to the offshoots of Jamaat-i-Islami rather than seek out genuine voices of moderation within our Muslim communities. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Universities cancel Muslim cleric’s speaking tour over concerns about his anti-gay views

A Muslim cleric who preaches that gay people are worse than animals is at the centre of a fierce “free speech” row after being invited to speak at universities across the country.

Mufti Ismail Menk was due to visit six universities – Oxford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow – next week. But the speaking tour was cancelled after student unions and university officials expressed concern about his views. [The Independent] Read more

06 November 2013

British Muslim girl of aged 14 was forced to marry her husband at gunpoint

The girl, now 17, was also raped by her husband two weeks after the ceremony.

The UK-born teenager was sent to Pakistan by her father and made to marry the man, who was 10 years her senior.

Following the rape attack, she gave birth to his baby on her return to Britain. Despite telling how she was subjected to “harrowing” violence and threatened with a gun to go through with the ceremony, Mr Justice Holman told the High Court he was unable to quash the marriage. [Daily Star] Read more

No place for Sharia law in Russia - senior MP

The head of the State Duma’s Constitutional Legislation Committee has blasted as “extremely dangerous” the suggestion to regulate some relations in certain regions by adhering to the norms of Sharia law.

“We cannot leave an excessively large space of unregulated relations because when we do, other regulators start to fill that space in, and these other regulators are extremely dangerous,” MP Vladimir Pligin (United Russia) told a parliamentary expert council on Wednesday, according to Interfax news agency. [RT] Read more

Muslim workers say they were fired for praying

.... On the night of Oct. 9, the entire group of 24 stopped working at 7:24 p.m., walked to a corner of the large mail room and began silent prayer in separate huddles of men and women. The sexes are not allowed to pray together in Islam.

The new supervisor then called the three DHL Muslim employees into an office and told them to wait, workers said. According to police reports, the supervisor, Eric Buckler, then called the Boone County Sheriff's Office and asked for deputies to come to the property to make sure the workers left without incident after being fired. [USA TODAY] Read more

Teen Poet Sparks New Debate on Islam in Denmark

Hassan – the 18-year-old son of Palestinian immigrants who are Muslims – is now creating his own brand of controversy in Islamic circles and elsewhere with a new book of poetry that was published in Denmark last month. The writing student’s self-titled book contains around 150 poems, many of which are severely critical of the religious environment he grew up in.

His book has been a surprise strong seller since it hit the relatively small Danish market Oct. 17, with 32,000 copies being sold in about two weeks.

.... In addition to targeting hypocrisy, his poetry, he says, speaks to the problem of Muslims “exploiting the society they live in.” On free speech, Hassan says “Muslims love to take advantage of (it), and as soon as there is someone else saying something critical against them, they want to restrict it.” [The Wall Street Journal]

Read more

Desperate oppression of women continues in MidEast

.... The 2013 report is published by the Geneva based World Economic Forum. It is concerned with the gender-based disparities in 136 countries (more than 93 percent of the world's population) relating to economic, educational, health, and political policies. It measures the relative gaps between the sexes in these four areas, not the levels of absolute achievements.

The region in the world that is worst and has least improved in these regards is the Middle East and North Africa. That region has closed only 59 percent of the overall gender gap. In the economic area, it has closed only 39 percent, and in political empowerment less than 7 percent.

The Arab Middle East countries have the lowest performance of the 136 countries in both the economic and political fields. [The Commentator] Read more

Nine uses for a burqa … that don't involve bashing them

Yes, the burqa-bashing season is upon us yet again. The latest catalyst is a terror suspect-turned-transvestite who entered a London mosque in "western clothing" and popped out later in his burqa day-suit, fleeing security services and evading cameras.

[A COMMENT] The word patriarchy is used a lot in this paper, and is decried everywhere, yet when you get an actual concrete example of something which is a product of a real patriarchal system, as the burqa is, this paper runs to defend it? [Guardian Cif] Read more

Stop dithering and ban the burka

When will the British establishment bite the bullet and ban the burka? The distressing report that a terror suspect has escaped surveillance by changing into a burka (5 November) comes hard on the heels of Ken Clarke’s non-PC remarks that women covered in “a kind of bag” should not be permitted to give evidence in court.

This and other recent incidents should convince pusillanimous politicians to follow the lead of France and Belgium and proscribe this preposterous costume that has nothing to do with Islam.

For too long a misinformed British public has been swayed by moderate as well as militant Muslim apologists – including Baroness Warsi – that female face-masking is a religious requirement, a free personal choice, or a woman’s prerogative to maintain public anonymity.

None of these spurious assertions pass critical scrutiny. [The Independent] Read more

05 November 2013

Andrew Neil Exposes Farooq Murad on BBC's Sunday Politics Show

I never thought I'd be able to say this about a BBC program that has anything to do with Islam, but this was an excellent interview. Andrew Neil of "Sunday Politics" questions Farooq Murad (Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain) about various issues related to Islamic extremism.

Watch how Murad tries to avoid directly answering questions, and how uncomfortable he becomes when Neil presses him for a clear response. [Answering Muslims] Read more

Boris Johnson has questioned whether burqas should be allowed in British classrooms and courts, but stopped short of suggesting a ban altogether

.... "I certainly think it's a bit much to ask teachers or judges to deal with people who have their faces covered," he told listeners to his regular phone-in on LBC.

"That seems to me to not be how we do things in this country and it is absolutely reasonable to say that face veils, burkas, whatever, should not be acceptable in state-funded classrooms in this country and nor should they be acceptable in the system of British justice." [ITV] Read more

For the Sake of Faith, Remove Face Veils

.... The reason is simply that its effect is to impede the most basic forms of social intercourse, face to face communication. Of course one can talk perfectly well over the telephone without seeing another person, and of course blind people can be highly sensitive to verbal nuances and other signals that sighted people can miss.

But, generally, we do use facial expressions as a way of interacting with someone. Conversely, hiding one's face, involves hiding away from them.

Concealment also creates a sense of suspicion - why are they hiding? Do they present a danger to us? Or do they find us threatening? Whether justified or not, it raises a barrier.

Is this anti-religious? Certainly not, for there is no problem with the nun's wimple or Sikh turban or Jewish head-covering, none of which interfere with facial communication.

[A COMMENT] I too feel fortunate to live in a society which values tolerance and seeks to accommodate differences but there are limits. I have no problem with hijabs, turbans or skull caps etc, but covering the face is a step too far and it does cross a sort of red line. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Girl, 14, pregnant after Pakistan forced marriage, judge says

A 14-year-old girl became pregnant after being taken to Pakistan by her father and forced to marry a man, a judge has said.

She was subjected to violence during which a gun was produced, according to Mr Justice Holman.

The girl returned to England where she gave birth.

Details emerged in a written ruling following a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in Birmingham. [BBC] Read more

Heathrow Employee Sacked over Alleged Insult to Islam

Halawi worked the cosmetics counter in the duty free zone inside London's Heathrow Airport for 13 years. She was by all accounts hardworking and well-liked.

But when Halwai ran afoul of her Muslim co-workers, she was effectively fired.

"I didn't say anything wrong. I was complimenting a colleague of mine," she said.

Halawi, a Christian from Lebanon, was having a conversation in Arabic with a co-worker and praising a Muslim colleague when it was misinterpreted by another Muslim employee as an insult. [The Christian Broadcasting Network] Read more

04 November 2013

Muslim Veils are 'kind of a bag', Says UK Minister

A former interior minister in the cabinet of UK Prime Minister David Cameron stirred up another controversy regarding Islamic scarves on Sunday, when he advised the government to ban Muslim women from wearing a veil in British courts while giving a statement.

Ken Clarke, a minister who used to work as a criminal barrister, said that he found the traditional female Islamic dress 'a most peculiar costume for people to adopt in the 21st century'. [International Business Times] Read more

Woman faces whipping over refusal to cover hair in Sudan

A Sudanese woman accused of “indecent” attire because she refused to cover her hair remains in legal limbo after a court appearance on Monday.

Amira Osman Hamid faces a possible whipping if convicted of violating Sudan’s laws governing morality, which took effect after the 1989 Islamist-backed coup by President Omar Al Bashir. [Gulf News] Read more

Nice Islam versus Nasty Islam

.... Thanks to decades of moral relativism, Nasty Islam is now entrenched in the UK and considered legitimate by a significant proportion of the Muslim population.

What’s more, it is clear that the media, establishment and political class have long taken the cowardly and dishonourable approach of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ when dealing with the Muslim communities – such has been their overwhelming desire to avoid giving offence.

This must stop. Our only chance is to change our culture of moral relativism for a culture of moral consistency. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Kuwaiti woman arrested in Saudi Arabia for driving her diabetic father to hospital

Citing police, the paper reported that the woman, who said her diabetic father could not drive and needed to be taken to hospital for treatment, is being held in custody pending an investigation.

Kuwaiti women are free to drive in their country and enjoy far more rights than those in Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to travel abroad, open a bank account or work without permission from a male relative. [The Independent] Read more

03 November 2013

Are We Losing The War For The Soul Of Islam?

I have been studying and thinking about Islam for almost half my life. I got a slight head start on much of the rest of the world thanks to a Sufi Muslim friend. From her I learned, in those pre-9/11 days, about the horrors of the Wahhabis and the Salafis, the Deobandis and the Khomeinists.

And I heard about one thing in particular which I have since observed: how moderate movements in Islam have repeatedly lost out to the hardliners and how some of the most enlightened people you might meet can be trampled over by the most barbaric.

It was a timely lesson. In the struggle for an enlightened form of Islam one can find many Muslim allies. But their organised history is one of repeated failure. [Standpoint] Read more

Muslim leader living in Britain sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes in Bangladesh

A prominent Muslim leader living in Britain was today sentenced to death by hanging by a Bangladesh war crimes tribunal.

Chowdury Mueen-Uddin, 63, was found guilty of murdering 18 people including nine university professors, six journalists and three physicians in December 1971 with an accomplice, now living in New York.

The atrocities took place during Bangladesh's war for independence from Pakistan when an estimated 3 million people were killed and 200,000 women were raped. [Daily Mail] Read more

My somewhat angry thoughts on the MCB segment on Sunday Politics

.... There is a lot to be said for reform in the MCB, which is in many ways more disconnected from the mainstream now than ever before.

There is a great deal more to be said for improving women’s rights and amplifying their voice in Muslim communities. These changes are occurring in the various Islamic communities in the UK, but there is a lot more to be done.

Television such as that documented on today’s Sunday Politics will go a long way in making sure that never happens. Instead, it will alienate those who want to make changes, and infuriate those who do not. [Yahya's Nuggets of Wisdom] Read more

Ban court witnesses from giving evidence in veil, says Ken Clarke

The former justice secretary Ken Clarke has rekindled the debate about wearing veils in court by claiming that a proper trial is impossible if a defendant is "in a kind of bag".

Clarke, who is now minister without portfolio, said a judge and jury had to see a defendant's full face to assess whether they were telling the truth.

"I don't think a witness should be allowed to give evidence from behind a veil," Clarke told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend.

Clarke, a barrister and the coalition's justice secretary until last year, said body language and facial expression were key factors in assessing the credibility of witnesses and defendants. [The Guardian] Read more

The rise and fall of a New York imam

Although many of his conservative peers interpret the Koran to prohibit the use of music, Ali listens to rap and hangs out with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons. He even shrugs, disinterested, at cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

In short, Shamsi Ali is the Muslim that liberal America wants. But he is not the leader all New York's Muslims want. Ali is a divisive figure in New York's Islamic community, and two years ago, the same mosque that gave him a platform to grow influential and popular, suddenly pulled the rug from under him.

.... An essential part of doing that is education, which is why religious institutions are so important, says Latif, and why Ali's exit from the Islamic Cultural Center was such a blow to religious coexistence in New York.

"That mosque could be amazing in terms of really helping to educate and do outreach, right? But it's not really doing that," says Latif.

.... The resistance to Ali's work extends beyond his overtures to the Jewish community. His teachings in general, about how to lead a modern Islamic life in a Western society, are infuriating some congregants. [BBC] Read more

02 November 2013

Increasing number of extreme Islamists in Norway

The number of extreme islamists in Norway is on the increase, according to a survey made by Dagbladet. It says that close to 200 persons in Norway are considered Islamists.

These Islamists have one thing in common, - they want to introduce Sharia laws in Norway, the newspaper writes. [The Norway Post] Read more

Ban the veil in courts, say barristers

Most barristers favour a ban on defendants wearing the full-face veil during the whole of a criminal trial, a new poll suggests.

Some 90 per cent were in favour of the veil, or niqab, being banned when a defendant gives evidence. The support for a ban comes in a poll by the Bar Council for The Times, to be released today at the annual Bar Conference.

.... The survey of more than 400 barristers showed that 34 per cent supported the ban only when the defendant gave evidence, while 57 per cent would go further than the judge in the pending case and insist on the removal of the veil for the entire proceedings. [The Times] Read more

Afghan Religious Council Denounces TV Programs

A council of religious authorities in western Afghanistan has denounced what it calls “immoral” shows on Afghan television.

The Herat-based Ulema Council said shows it deems offensive to Muslims pose a greater danger to the country than do suicide bombers.

The spokesman of the council, Mir Faroq Husseini, also warned that if “immoral” shows were not prevented the clerics would not denounce suicide attacks any more. [Radio Free Europe] Read more

Word to the west: many Saudi women oppose lifting the driving ban

The Saudi economic newspaper El-Iqtisadiah ran a front-page news story suggesting that women's driving is just a luxury rather than a necessity and that protesters against the ban seek to undermine the kingdom's stability and create sedition.

That wasn't just propaganda. I conducted a survey of my former Saudi female students at Al-Lith College for Girls (at Um al-Qura University, Mecca). .... It wasn't exactly scientific, but their responses are worth considering. I offered them anonymity in their answers, but even so, some wanted to be recognized.

To my surprise, 134 (out of 170) respondents said female driving is not a necessity and that it opens the door for sexual harassment and encourages women to not wear the niqab under the pretext that they cannot see the road when driving. Some also fear that it gives husbands a chance to betray and agree with the assertion that it creates sedition in society.

[A COMMENT] How nice of a man to tell us that Saudi women prefer not to drive. That's absolutely fine. Nobody was ever suggesting they should all be forced to drive. It would be nice if they were given the choice though, don't you think? [Guardian Cif] Read more

Turkish female MP makes historic plea to preserve Turkey’s secularism

.... Pavey emphasized that the headscarved deputies should display the same sensitivity to others’ rights and ask themselves why Turkey is number 120 in the world for respecting women’s rights.

Quoting Hillary Clinton, that “The future will change if women do”, she expressed her fears about women losing their individual freedoms as 5-year-old girls are being covered up and 15-year-olds given away in marriage.

She said the headscarf is like a double-edged sword, representing freedom of conscience on the one hand, and repression on the other. [Examiner.com] Read more

Turkish female MP makes historic plea to preserve Turkey’s secularism

.... Pavey emphasized that the headscarved deputies should display the same sensitivity to others’ rights and ask themselves why Turkey is number 120 in the world for respecting women’s rights.

Quoting Hillary Clinton, that “The future will change if women do”, she expressed her fears about women losing their individual freedoms as 5-year-old girls are being covered up and 15-year-olds given away in marriage. She said the headscarf is like a double-edged sword, representing freedom of conscience on the one hand, and repression on the other. [Examiner.com] Read more

01 November 2013

Muslim students pray in the rain after Queen Mary University denies them access to facilities

Hundreds of students at Queen Mary University in London, braved the rain today to pray outside, in protest against what they claim is inadequate resources for Muslims on their Mile End campus.

It was their second 'prayer protest' in two weeks, with the student union counting 350 demonstrators last Friday.

Muslims account for 20 per cent of the student body, according to Islamic Society representatives.

[A COMMENT] Why should a university provide Muslims (or Catholics, Protestants, Jews) with a place to pray? They are there to educate! [The Independent] Read more

Islam or Islamophobia?

.... The Chairman of Islam Net, Fahad Ullah Qureshi asked the audience, and the answer was clear. The attendees were common Sunni Muslims. They did not consider themselves as radicals or extremists. They believed that segregation was the right thing to do, both men and women agreed upon this.

They even supported stoning or whatever punishment Islam or prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) commanded for adultery or any other crime. They even believed that these practises should be implemented around the world.

Now what does that tell us? Either all Muslims and Islam is radical, or the media is Islamophobic and racist in their presentation of Islam. Islam is not radical, nor is Muslims in general radical. That means that the media is the reason for the hatred against Muslims, which is spreading among the non-Muslims in western countries. [Sam Harris] Read more

Europe’s Migration Crisis

Europe’s recent migration crisis may have led directly or indirectly to the rise of the far-right parties in the European political scene. However, the apparent inability of some European countries to deal effectively with the flood of illegal migration from Africa and the Middle East will eventually make European-Islam a political force European leaders and political parties have to reckon with.

Moreover, the unwillingness of some Muslim immigrants in Europe to fully assimilate into the main stream European society constitutes in itself a real challenge to peace and tranquility inside and outside Europe. [Arab Times Kuwait English Daily] Read more

Muslim women can be forced to show faces under new West Australian law

A new law requiring Muslim women to remove a burqa or niqab to prove their identity to West Australian police has been passed by the state's parliament.

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

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 south west in June 2010. [Australian Associated Press] Read more

NSW school inspectors recommend closure of Australia's largest Muslim school

Australia's largest Muslim school, Malek Fahd Islamic School, is facing imminent closure after New South Wales Board of Studies inspectors recommended its registration not be renewed in 2014.

ABC News has obtained a letter that NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli wrote to the school on Wednesday stating he was "gravely concerned" about the school.

He also said that the board had recommended to him the kindergarten to year 12 school's registration not be renewed in 2014.

Among the Minister's concerns are questions over attendance, Higher School Certificate curriculum, educational quality, safe environment and building. [ABC News] Read more

Open Mosque Day – Muslims Serve Up Tea and Taqiyah

When asked about this verse, the imam of the Islamic Society of Orange County, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, responded that you cannot take one verse alone to make a point about Islam because that verse may take things out of context.

He added that the demeaning of Jews and Christians occurred only during a certain period of time when Muslims were fighting Jews and Christians (If that is so, why do Muslims continue to pray their anti-Jewish and anti-Christian prayer seventeen times a day some 1400 years later?) The host at the Lomita mosque acknowledged that the interpretation was true, but he said he was “not comfortable” with that interpretation.

.... Another verse in the Quran that demeans Jews and Christians is Surah 5:51: “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” The same prohibition is reflected in Surahs 3:28, 3:118, and 9:23.

Responding to this command, the host at the Lomita mosque said that a lot of his friends were Jews and Christians and that Muslims respect all religions. To prove his point he called up some middle school students who parroted the same mantra. [No Compulsion] Read more