31 March 2014

London borough of Tower Hamlets could face inspection

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said he may send in inspectors to investigate a London borough.

Panorama has found that Lutfur Rahman, the Bangladeshi mayor of Tower Hamlets, has more than doubled funding recommended by officers for Bengali-run charities.

Opposition councillors say they believe the grants were made in return for electoral support.

Mr Rahman categorically denies the accusation.

In 2010, residents of Tower Hamlets voted in Britain's first directly elected Asian mayor.

Mr Rahman won as an independent with only 13% of registered voters.

Almost two-thirds of those who turned out to vote that day were from his own Bangladeshi community. [BBC] Read more

Lutfur Rahman faces government investigation after failing to stop BBC Panorama exposé

Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, is a worried man today. As I reported in this morning’s paper, the Government finally appears to be gearing up for a full investigation into his incredible regime, the subject of a broadcast by the BBC’s Panorama tonight.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, tells the programme that the allegations against Lutfur are of “a completely different magnitude to the worries and concerns that I have with other councils” and accuses him of “abusing his position”.

[A COMMENT] Are we all feeling enriched yet? are we all loving the Multiculti experience? Just 3 decades to go and people like this will be running the country, but at least we didn't get called racist, and that's what matters. [The Telegraph] Read more

Saudi Arabia Doubles Down on Atheism; New Laws Declares It Equivalent to Terrorism

We’ve seen before how Saudi pundits find it easy to conflate atheism and terrorism, but now it’s official: Saudi Arabia’s new terrorism laws say outright that nonbelievers and others who commit thought crime are the same as violent terrorists.

.... In Saudi Arabia, you’re asking for severe punishment even if you’re not an atheist or a dissident, but merely think that people must be allowed to state their piece. In fact, expressing any sympathy or support for freethinkers is now a crime in the kingdom: [Friendly Atheist] Read more

Panorama: Lutfur Rahman

Tonight’s Panorama programme raised a number of concerns about the mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman. It was suggested that a paper produced by the council, East End Life, was used as a vehicle for inappropriate political advertising, and also that the mayor had an overly cosy relationship with Channel S, a digital channel aimed at the Bengali community. This claim would seem to be confirmed by Ofcom rulings.

The second half of the programme focused on Rahman’s interventions in favour of projects which would benefit Somali and Bengali groups. Apparently the mayor supported applications not initially backed by his advisors, whereas those they had recommended for funding were sometimes overlooked. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Betrayal and Panorama: Student Bengali ‘journalist’ reveals BBC’s confidential sources to Lutfur Rahman

.... Panorama has been Islamophobic: Rubbish. Lutfur Rahman (by even his own admissions and boasts) is a highly public and controversial figure. He boasts he’s Europe’s first directly elected Mayor, he invokes Islam and Allah in his speeches and he boasts that he’s the first to put such high priority on faith buildings.

His support is drawn almost exclusively from one community, the Bangladeshi population in Tower Hamlets. There is undoubtedly a strong public interest in scrutinising him and his policies. [Harry’s Place] Read more

30 March 2014

Teachers 'assaulted and marginalised in Islamising plot’

Staff at one of the Birmingham schools targeted by Muslim hardliners in the so-called “Trojan Horse” plot were assaulted as part of a campaign against the school management, official documents show.

The disclosure comes as one local Muslim MP said he was certain there was an “extensive operation” to import fundamentalist views into supposedly secular state schools and “split young people away from their parents”.

Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, accused Birmingham city council of being “complicit” in the alleged plot and attacked the purported ringleader, Tahir Alam, saying: “It is very appropriately named Trojan Horse – that’s exactly what he has been doing.” [The Telegraph] Read more

29 March 2014

Fury as fanatic who trained 7/7 bomber sets up Islamic PRIMARY SCHOOL in Britain

A terror suspect who trained the ringleader of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London has been allowed to set up an Islamic primary school, teaching children as young as three, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

As a member of a banned extremist group, Sajeel Shahid, 38, called for violence against British troops and ran a training camp in Pakistan where known terrorists learned how to make bombs and fire rocket- propelled grenades.

One of his ‘graduates’ was Mohammed Siddique Khan, who led the gang of four suicide bombers on the deadliest terrorist attack ever committed in Britain, killing 52 people on the London Underground and a bus on July 7, 2005.

[A COMMENT] I'm not even shocked, this is what our country has become, a brittle shell of its former self. The men who stormed the beaches of Normandy are turning over in their graves right now, this is beyond sick. Vote UKIP and cut this disease out of our nation like the cancer that it is. [Daily Mail] Read more

Concern as Brunei brings in system of Islamic law with punishments that include the dismemberment of limbs and stoning to death

The Sultan of Brunei, one of the world’s wealthiest rulers and a close ally of Britain, will this week oversee his country’s transition to a system of Islamic law with punishments that include flogging, the dismemberment of limbs and stoning to death.

The 67-year-old absolute monarch declared last year that he wanted to introduce a full sharia system in his oil-rich nation and warned critics who took to social media sites to complain that they could be prosecuted using the new laws. [The Independent] Read more

Baroness Warsi Speaks Out On Islamophobia, Richard Dawkins, Bingo Posters And 'Racist' Ukip

"There is no doubt that the word 'sharia' carries huge challenges in relation to public relations," declares the UK's most senior Muslim minister, Baroness Warsi. "If you talk about anything [related to] 'sharia', the first vision people get is chopping off of people’s hands, having four wives and all sorts of unusual practices which, in today’s world, are not compatible with the values which we live by."

[A COMMENT] None of the 56 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation observes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although some of them originally signed up, they effectively repealed it in 1990 when they all subscribed to the sharia-compliant Cairo Declaration of Human Rights.

This bowdlerised abortion of a document removes so many of the rights conferred in the original Universal Declaration is it beyond ridiculous even to call it a charter for human rights.

Since Islam is demonstrably in the business of removing human rights from billions of people, I am proud to be both a militant secularist and an Islamophobe. Islam is a pestilence on the face of the planet. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

It's time to reclaim Islam from the fanatics

.... This brings me to sound one cautionary note. Islamophobia does exist, and it infuriates me that some who wish to wipe Islam off the map actually believe that their agenda helps reformist Muslims. It does not. By defining Islam in the same dogmatic terms as Muslim extremists do, Islamophobes gift those extremists with the authority to decide what Islam must be. In which case, Islam-haters are the allies of Islam-supremacists — not of reformists.

[A COMMENT] our idiotic Multiculturalist ideology created a monster, especially after turning a blind eye to the death threats and extremism visible in 1989 when Muslims called for the killing and torture of an innocent man for writing a book (Iqbal Sacranie was later leader of The Muslim Council - an unelected politbureau of bigots - and was made a Sir by Tony Blair).

The answer is simple: we should not give one inch to any Islamic demands. We should instead enforce our Western Enlightenment values on Muslims and all those who live in the UK, And if they do not like it, then they can go live in a failed state like Pakistan where they are free to marry their 12 year old cousins and murder gays or anyone who dares to speak the truth about Islam and its history and its so-called prophet (husband of a 6 year old), who was also utterly intolerant of criticism. [The Spectator] Read more

Judge apologises after saying "Muslims feel they can actually beat their wives" in court case

A judge has sparked controversy after saying he thinks that "Muslims feel they can actually beat their wives" while a Somali man was on trial accused of burglary at his ex-wife’s house.

Judge Anthony Halpin made the comments on Thursday in Tallaght District Court.

He has now apologised saying: "This week I made an unfortunate and incorrect remark in court.

"This has attracted some attention which gives the impression that I hold views less than favourable to the Muslim Religion.

[A COMMENT] Why is it a controversy? If Muslims believe their Koran, it specifically states a man can beat his wife. There is even wife beating etiquette. Maybe he should have said Islamists instead of Muslims. Semantics.

[ANOTHER] .... So in sum, what Judge Anthony Halpin said was true: if there are any Muslims who take the Qur'an and Muhammad's example seriously and act upon them, then there are Muslims who "feel they can actually beat their wives." But telling truths of that kind is what "sparks controversy" in this age of political correctness. [Irish Daily Mirror] Read more

28 March 2014

Women Who Don't Cover Hair Are 'Sluts,' Jordan Court Rules

A Jordan court of Muslim law ruled last week that women who don’t wear the Islamic hijab are “sluts,” much to the chagrin of Jordan’s women’s rights groups.

India Today reports that a lawyer objected to a witness by arguing that there is a fatwa stating that any woman does not cover herself or hear a hijab is a “slut” who should not be allowed to testify in court. The Amman Sharia Court of Appeal agreed to the claim that the woman’s lack of headwear would compromise her testimony. [OpposingViews.com] Read more

Number of Muslims in prison doubles in decade to 12,000

The dramatic rise prompted calls for ministers to investigate whether police and the courts are treating Muslims more harshly, with some suggesting the rise is due to Islamophobia.

Muslims represent only 4.7 per cent of the population in England and Wales, according to the most recent Census, yet one in seven prisoners (14 per cent) in England and Wales is a Muslim, according to the statistics. [The Independent] Read more

Baroness Warsi's sharia priorities

.... His Grace can't help feeling that if Baroness Warsi exuded as much fervour and zeal about the persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East as she manages to conjure for sharia finance, HM Government might just begin to identify ways of alleviating the suffering, trauma and bloodshed that is occurring, as the Baroness observed last year, "on a biblical scale".

It is utterly unacceptable that the only statement issued following the meeting of the Foreign Office group on Freedom of Religion or Belief was "Thought provoking". What are they going to do? When are they going to do it? How will foreign policy be geared toward the objective?

It is good that we have this group, but its brief is vast, abstruse and discursive. There may very well be a pressing problem for Bahá'ís in Iran or the Serers in Senegal, and their suffering is no doubt profound.

But until the Government establishes a group dedicated solely to the appalling plight of Christians across the Middle East, and acknowledges that this is invariably being meted out by Muslims, there is no hope of evangelic deliverance appearing anything like a political priority. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Pakistani Christian gets death penalty for blasphemy

A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, in a case which sparked fierce rioting in the eastern city of Lahore last March.

Sawan Masih was convicted of using derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in a row with a Muslim friend.

Hundreds of Muslims attacked the city's Christian Joseph colony, torching homes, when the allegations surfaced. [BBC] Read more

Pakistani Christian Sawan Masih Sentenced To Death For Blasphemy Against Prophet Muhammad

A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Sawan Masih was convicted on Thursday of using derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad in an argument with a Muslim friend.

The 26-year-old was sentenced to death by hanging and fined 200,000 rupees.

The case sparked two days of fierce rioting in the city of Lahore in March last year when the allegations surfaced, with a 3,000-strong group of Muslims torching some 100 Christian homes, Newsweek Pakistan reports.

[ACOMMENT] Staggering!!!! Any nation that has a "Blasphemy law" that can lead to a death sentence (or threat of death) should NOT be welcomed, traded with or aided by ANY civilised secular modern 21st Century nation!!!! [Huffington Post UK] Read more

27 March 2014

Trouble with the Law? Just Plead "Islam"

.... a British judge banned the press from reporting on the trial of two Muslim lawyers, a brother and a sister -- accused of cheating to avoid a speeding ticket -- to save them from allegedly being shamed in the eyes of their community "because members of their family would pass judgment if the case was reported."

But what about non-Muslim defendants -- don't they have communities and relatives who also would "pass judgment" if their trials are reported?

What we see are Muslims in the West trying to get special legal treatment by using their religion as an excuse, and we also see an established judicial system bowing down to their demands perhaps because it is afraid to look anti-Islamic or worse, be labelled as "Islamophobic". [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Equality of sexes trumps religious rights

An old debate between secularism and religion was re-ignited this week at the University of Waterloo.

The controversy that initially sparked it concerned a religious student’s request to be exempted from interacting with female classmates at York University.

Prof. David Seljak of the University of Waterloo has again put this issue in the spotlight.

His stance is that Prof. J. Paul Grayson, who denied the student’s request at York, has it all wrong.

Seljak believes secularism has become so intrusive that it violates Charter rights, which guarantee religious freedom to all Canadians. He asserts religious rights should be valued as much as gender equality. [TORONTO SUN] Read more

Is ‘Moderate Islam’ an Oxymoron?

.... Bottom line: If Islam teaches X and a Muslim upholds X -- how is he being “extreme”? Seems more logical to say that it is Islam itself that is being “extreme.”

Similarly, if a self-professed Muslim does not uphold Islamic teachings -- including prayer, fasting, paying zakat, etc. -- how is he being a “moderate”? Seems more logical to say that he is not much of a Muslim at all -- that is, he is not submitting to Allah, the very definition of “Muslim.”

It’s time to acknowledge that dichotomized notions like “moderate” and “extreme” are culturally induced and loaded standards of the modern, secular West -- hardly applicable to the teachings of Islam -- and not universal absolutes recognized by all mankind. [The Commentator] Read more

Diversity? No, the Law Society’s Sharia guidance has created division

.... In the space of just seventy two hours the Law Society highlighted the unequal treatment of women in its profession, and then it gave guidance on how to use English law to use a medieval religious code which is fundamentally contradictory to English law. What a thoroughly modern interpretation of “equality”, and how very “diverse” indeed. Or perhaps the term should be divisive.

The Law Society’s practice note on Sharia succession rules demeans liberal and secular Muslims, it demeans women, it demeans children, it demeans non-Muslims, it demeans the very term “diversity”, it demeans the equality and diversity provisions of the Solicitors Code of Conduct, it demeans solicitors, it demeans the Law Society, and it demeans the English legal system – and so it demeans every single one of us.

As a lowly member of the Law Society I ask its president – I urge him – to draw a line under this fiasco and withdraw this disturbing practice note without a moment’s delay. [Lawyers' Secular Society] Read more

26 March 2014

Councilman calls for halal menu at city schools

City Councilman Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn) announced Wednesday he wants to expand school lunch menus to include halal food options for Muslim students.

About 20% of city schoolchildren - 170,000 students - are Muslim and often go a full day without eating school lunch because of religious dietary restrictions, Espinal said. He said the proposal for universal free lunch, which was introduced by Public Advocate Letitia James earlier this month, should be inclusive of all students according to faith-based needs.

[A COMMENT] I don't believe these numbers one bit. NY officials said themselves that there is no way to determine these numbers. Also, before the recent PEW study which showed that there were 0.8% muzzlims in the US, CAIR kept claiming it was 5-6%, i.e. 7x more.

So one could assume that there's not 12% muzzlims in the schools, but rather 7x less, i.e. 1.5%. Also, there was an attempt recently by CAIR to introduce muslim holidays in Maryland schools (which failed); they also claimed that there is a large number of muslim students but then it turned out it was around only 1.2%. [NEW YORK DAILY NEWS] Read more

Austria: Muslims Outnumber Catholics in Vienna Schools

Muslim students, according to new statistics, now outnumber Roman Catholic students at middle and secondary schools in Vienna, the capital and largest city of Austria.

The data—which show that Muslim students are also on the verge of overtaking Catholics in Viennese elementary schools—reflect an established trend and provide empirical evidence of a massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country.

The Muslim population in Austria now exceeds 500,000 (or roughly 6% of the total population), up from an estimated 150,000 (or 2%) in 1990. The Muslim population is expected to reach 800,000 (or 9.5%) by 2030, according to recent estimates. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Gender segregation: Universities and Student Representatives continue to fail their students miserably

.... LSE and UCL are not the only universities implicitly or explicitly condoning or enforcing gender segregation. An even more worrying example of official endorsement of gender segregation can be found at the University of Keele.

On the Facebook page, students can be found discussing an event involving several religious speakers. As one of the student expresses that the Muslim speaker had displayed a "backwards mind-set" by saying that the cutting off of hands as corporal punishment was justified, and that men and women were different so must be treated as such, the university chaplain Reverend James Stewart takes it on himself to retort: "He said cutting off hands was acceptable as a punishment ONLY ONCE certain very specific, very extreme criteria were met. […]

It's a cultural, not a "backward" mind-set." In the ensuing discussion, several students then go on to express discomfort about the fact that the event was ostensibly gender segregated.

In what becomes clear in the following exchange, the university administration, in the form of Reverend Steward, does not only dismiss the concerns of the students, but actively defends gender segregation: [National Secular Society] Read more

25 March 2014

Senators stick by Wilders as anti-Moroccan chant row rumbles on

Senators representing the anti-immigration PVV in the upper house of the Dutch parliament continue to fully support Geert Wilders despite the anti-Moroccan chanting of last week.

Wilders has refused to apologise for leading supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant in the wake of Wednesday’s local elections.

Two MPs, one MEP and a handful of local and provincial councillors have broken ties with the PVV since Wilders asked his supporters in The Hague ‘and do you want more or fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’ To which the crowd chanted ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’. [DutchNews.nl] Read more

Sharia Law just means less human rights especially for women

The Law Society has written a guide on Sharia succession laws which it claims will enable lawyers to “help clients from all backgrounds”.

Except it won’t be helping Islamic women, will it? It’ll just be helping

their brothers to double their money on the inheritance.

And it certainly won’t be helping any non-Muslim women who marry into a Muslim family.

I’m very relaxed about people retaining their culture in Britain – but the law is just a different matter. It’s what safeguards all of us. Equally. Or it should do.

Women have fought – and died – in this country for laws that would give

us equality.

The idea that these will be eroded by some muddled sop to diversity is all completely wrong. [The Mirror] Read more

Lib Dems go cold on candidate after ‘Jesus and Mo’ row

The Lib Dems are considering scaling back their fight for Maajid Nawaz to win the Hampstead and Kilburn seat after the row about his ‘Jesus and Mo’ tweet, I have been told.

This very marginal seat, which Labour’s Glenda Jackson holds with a majority of just 42, had been one of the Lib Dems’ key target seats. But a very well-placed senior source tells me that after the ‘Jesus and Mo’ row (which Nawaz had an extremely bad-tempered debate about with Mehdi Hasan and Mo Ansar on yesterday’s Newsnight), those involved in the party’s campaigns have privately concluded that the candidate has seriously damaged his chances of winning the seat and that ‘chucking the kitchen sink at it might not be worth the effort’.

[A COMMENT] Even a visionary like [George Orwell] couldn't have foreseen the sheer conceit and self-absorption necessary to think that "being offended", either yourself or even more laughably on behalf of nameless and faceless others, would be the second greatest secular sin imaginable - after Waycism. [The Spectator] Read more

24 March 2014

The hypocrisy and duplicity of the Law Society

.... This is not just a professional trade body explaining how its members may best serve the interests of its Muslim clients within the current law.

This is The Law Society of England and Wales adopting and propagating Islamic law even where it conflicts with human rights and equality legislation. Of course their recognition of Sharia-compliant wills does not confer legal right: it is for the courts to determine whether such anti-women, anti-gay, anti-kuffar, anti-illegitimate inequalities, if contested, may be enforced.

But the recognition by The Law Society that such discrimination may be written into a will amounts to a de facto apologia for Sharia, and that is bound to deter all manner of gay/female/apostate/illegitimate Muslims from ever contesting a will in case it should result in community "pressure" to comply with the wishes of the deceased.

But this guidance is also not a "non-story" because it shows The Law Society to be hypocritical, duplicitous and fundamentally anti-Christian. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Clothing store bosses fined over headscarf sacking

Helsinki District court has fined managers at a Helsinki clothing retailer for discriminating against an employee on the basis of religion. They received 20 day-fines for sacking a Muslim worker who was told she should not wear a headscarf.

The new worker, who had been hired on a one-month contract, was fired on her first day at work when managers realised she wore a headscarf. She had been hired over the phone, and told to turn up wearing a t-shirt and denim overalls.

The store manager forbid her from wearing the headscarf in the store, and after discussing the matter with a senior manager fired the new employee. [Yle] Read more

Ofsted cracks down on school that faced takeover by Muslim fanatics: Academy forces harassment sanctions after snap inspection

.... Last week it emerged how other teachers were forced out by hardliners in a similar way after opposing plans to ban sex education and stop the teachings of other religions.

Michael White, a former associate headteacher at Park View, described the latest action taken by Ofsted as ‘a step in the right direction’.

But he condemned Birmingham City Council for ‘failing to take action at the time’. Mr White said the council and Government have been ‘too afraid to upset communities, choosing to sweep things under the carpet’.

[A COMMENT] Well now we can see the consequences of leftists and their achieved goals of bring in communities that will not integrate into our society. But don't worry everyone just carry on as you were. Everything is just fine.

[ANOTHER] In a recent radio interview for Radio WM Khalid Mahmood said that he knew hard line Muslims have been influencing the running of many schools for some time. He knew!

I know a school where a white female deputy was driven out purely because she was a white woman. The local authority are aware also but bury their head in the sand. [Daily Mail] Read more

23 March 2014

How "progressive" is Jordan now? New court ruling on veiled women may suggest otherwise....

The Jordanian Women’s Union, along with lawyers across the Hashemite Kingdom, expressed shock last week after a ruling discriminating against women who do not wear the Islamic hijab was issued by the Amman Sharia Court of Appeal, according to Al Medanah News.

The court announced late last week that it agreed with one lawyer's statement - based on a fatwa - that says a woman who does not cover up or wear a hijab is considered a “slut” and shouldn't be allowed to testify in court.

In response, The Women’s Union released a statement published on Amman net that describes the court’s decision as discrimination against women and a violation of the Jordanian Constitution, which considers all Jordanian men and women as equals. [Al Bawaba] Read more

“There is no political will for reforms in Islamic law”

.... A more crucial question is whether there is a serious political will for moderation and containing extremism. My experience is that there is no political will for reforms in Islamic law. Islamic modernism as a school of thought has lost its relevance today.

The choice is not between moderates and extremists; it is between Islamists (that includes Jamaát-e-Islami and all religious parties) and secularists. [TheNews on Sunday] Read more

On the writing of Sharia compliant wills

All this is is a set of guidance notes to make sure that the usual Islamic religious desires are incorporated into wills in a manner that is indeed consistent with English law.

It is not, at all, a change in that underlying law itself. It’s “if this is what you want to do then here’s how you go about doing that”.

Sure, we can all have lovely arguments about whether such a will is being misogynist and all the rest (but then so is primogeniture) but it’s sod all to do with bringing Sharia into English law.

[A COMMENT] This adds nothing new legally; you can leave your property to whoever you like, subject to a right for certain classes of people to bring a claim for reasonable provision.

The bigger issue, which indirectly promotes Sharia as more mainstream, is why the Law Society, out of all the things they could focus on, decide to come up with promoting some aspect of Sharia law. [Tim Worstall] Read more

Ban the burka for students, Parti Québécois says

.... The charter obliges an uncovered face for people giving or receiving a governmental service. Listen to me: a citizen giving or receiving a governmental service must do so with an uncovered face. For all the rest, the prohibition of religious signs applies to agents of the state.

You’re right, the employees, the nurses, police officers, judges, everyone paid with public funds. But for people who are requesting a service, like students, must do so with their faces uncovered. The Liberals were once in favour of this, and now they can’t even agree with that. They aren’t even able to ban the niquab or the burka. [Yahoo News Network] Read more

The Government is investigating "serious allegations" against Park View School, including a claim that £70,000 was spent on speakers used to call Muslim pupils to prayer

A non-religious state school at the centre of a plot to install Muslim staff is under investigation for allegedly spending £70,000 on loudspeakers to summon pupils to Islamic prayers, it has emerged.

Park View School in Birmingham is facing an inquiry by the Government’s Education Funding Agency amid fears it misused taxpayers’ money.

The school – officially a secular institution that teaches predominately Muslim pupils – is also facing claims of nepotism.

School leaders insisted the “primary” use of the speakers was for “functions and performances within the hall” and not to summon pupils to prayer. [The Telegraph] Read more

Islamic law to be enshrined in British law as solicitors get guidelines on 'Sharia compliant' wills

.... Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society told the newspaper that the document, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.

But some lawyers have described the recommendations as “astonishing” and campaigners have warned that the move marks a step towards a “parallel legal system” for Britain’s Muslim communities.

[A COMMENT] The whole idea of a law is that it applies to everyone, equally. That is what a law is. If we allow Sharia to operate as a separate, parallel, legal code, then we are no longer living under the rule of law.

I realise that of course the Law Society's advice will not alter the law of the land. It will, however, alter the way the law is applied. In legal theory there will be no change. In legal practice there will be. Some groups will become legally privileged over others as a result.

[ANOTHER] It is fairly obvious what the Law Society are doing. They are touting for business. They are trying to help their members get some fees for drawing up "Sharia-compliant" wills for those that want them.

"The Law Society seems determined to sacrifice the progress made in the last 500 years." Well, yes, quite right. But never underestimate the attraction of a fee. Wave money under their noses and lawyers will do literally anything. [The Independent] Read more

Sharia law for wills - and then what?

.... This raises serious questions about professional ethics and the role of the Law Society. The guidance seems not to recognise that there is a serious potential conflict between the code of conduct for solicitors and the guidance.

Here is what the code – which all solicitors must abide by – says about equality and diversity: “As a matter of general law, you must comply with requirements set out in legislation – including the Equality Act 2010 – as well as the conduct duties contained in this chapter.”

In other words, it makes clear that solicitors cannot discriminate; yet this new guidance encourages us to facilitate discrimination in advising Muslim clients on how to draft their wills in way that is incompatible with equality legislation.

This is a dangerous precedent and legitimises a discriminatory practice that, without this guidance, clients may have been embarrassed to ask about. The Law Society’s endorsement normalises it and makes it acceptable.

That, in turn, will make it easier for calls to be made for such rules to be formalised, thereby opening the way for Sharia to permeate other areas, such as family law. The guidance should be withdrawn. [The Telegraph] Read more

Sharia law in UK: calls for Parliamentary inquiry

Calls for a Parliamentary inquiry into the scale of Islamic law in the UK are mounting after the body representing solicitors in England and Wales issued formal guidance on making “Sharia compliant” wills.

The Law Society was accused of giving its stamp of approval to discriminatory practices after it published advice on writing wills which deny women an equal share and exclude “illegitimate” children or unbelievers.

The society denied promoting Sharia and insisted that it was simply responding to demand. [The Telegraph] Read more

Sharia law to be enshrined in British legal system

This isn't coming from agitating Muslims or Sharia-friendly legislators, but from the 200-year-old Law Society – the professional association that represents and governs the solicitors' profession and provides services and support to solicitors as well as serving as a sounding board for law reform.

That the Law Society should issue guidance to its members which effectively creates a parallel legal system to that which has evolved over centuries is, as some lawyers have said, "astonishing". [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Islamic Sharia Law Effectively Enshrined In UK Legal System With New Will Guidance

Guidance on 'Sharia compliant wills' has been drawn up by The Law Society meaning high street solicitors can draft documents in line with religious principles, reports the Telegraph.

The wills will be able to deny an equal share of inheritances to women and non-Muslims and children born out of wedlock can be excluded completely.

Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society the measures would promote "good practice" but others have condemned the move as risking creating a parallel legal system for UK Muslims.

Baroness Cox said: "This violates everything that we stand for. It would make the Suffragettes turn in their graves.

[A COMMENT] The law of succession in this country has evolved over hundreds of years to create fairness and equality under the law irrespective of sex, race, belief, marital status or accidents of birth. We threw off the cruel, uncivilised stigma demonising gays, unmarried couples and illegitimate children decades ago and any attempt to reintroduce them on religious precepts should be vehemently opposed, particularly by those of us in the profession.

Everyone has a right to freedom of belief but religion has no place in the law making process and no religious group should become privileged over any other in this regard for little more than its capacity to complain loudly. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

22 March 2014

Government intervenes at school 'taken over’ by Muslim radicals

.... Matters came to a head, three separate sources said, last December when all the normal Christmas activity, including a tree, cards and the pantomime, was cancelled because it was considered un-Islamic, and the school’s Arabic teacher, Asif Khan, delivered an assembly “ridiculing” Christian beliefs. “It was like a rally,” said one person present. “He was leading them in chants of, 'Do we believe in Christmas? No! Do we give out Christmas cards? No! The seven days of Christmas, they [Christians] can’t even count!’ [The Telegraph] Read more

Unrepentant Wilders refuses to apologise for anti-Moroccan chant

Geert Wilders, head of the anti-immigration party PVV, on Saturday refused to apologise for leading supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant in the wake of Wednesday’s local elections.

Two MPs, one MEP and a handful of local and provincial councillors have broken ties with the PVV since Wilders asked his supporters in The Hague ‘and do you want more or fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’ To which the crowd chanted ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’.

'We'll arrange that,' Wilders said when the chanting died down. [DutchNews.nl] Read more

Muslim body warns of bloodbath to protect Islam

The Malaysian Islamic Propagation Organisation (Pekida) said today that it was willing to suffer a bloodbath for Islam and the country, including defending the word "Allah", Sinar Harian reported today.

The president of the government-backed Muslim body, Datuk Jamaluddin Yusof, said its members all over the country were always using their energy to protect and fight in the name of “Allah” in defending the religion, race and the country, the Malay daily reported. [The Malaysian Insider] Read more

Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.

Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs. [The Telegraph] Read more

So now we know – the BBC is more scared of offending Muslims than gay people

.... In the BBC’s hierarchy of political correctness, not offending Muslims trumps not offending gay people. How utterly pathetic. And I had been looking forward to hearing Mehdi Hasan explain that, actually, Islam isn’t really homophobic at all and how Allah was a big fan of The Wizard of Oz and owned a boxed set of Abba CDs. The corporation still doesn’t get it; you fear it never will.

[A COMMENT] Why can't we produce a politician like Geert Wilders? He goes campaigning in the Hague and when asked what the city needs, he replies "Fewer Moroccans." All hell predictably breaks loose.

He refuses to apologise and at his next rally asks the audience if the Netherlands needs more Moroccans or fewer Moroccans - the crowd roars back "Fewer!" If only Farage had his courage - but then, Nigel has a wife and kids, and a bulletproof vest wouldn't suit him. [The Spectator] Read more

21 March 2014

Iran: Woman Sentenced to Stoning, Pardoned

Ayatollah Larijani, Head of Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, announced on March 18, 2014 that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been pardoned. Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning in 2006, having been convicted of "illicit sexual relations" and "complicity in the murder of her husband" -- a decision that sparked international outrage from human rights groups and celebrities alike. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Sharia law is well and truly operating in the UK – thanks to the Law Society

.... This guidance essentially provides legitimacy to use a system of law that is discriminatory towards women, particularly in the area of inheritance provisions.

There seems no recognition of the fact that solicitors are being asked to use and accommodate instructions which in any other circumstances would be socially unacceptable or at which a solicitor may balk. Suppose a client instructed that their assets should not go to a relative because they happened to be of a different colour?

This raises serious questions about professional ethics and the role of the Law Society. The guidance seems not to recognise that there is a serious potential conflict between the Code of Conduct for solicitors and the guidance. Here is what the Code of Conduct – which all solicitors must abide by – says about equality and diversity (at Chapter 2):

.... The guidance should be withdrawn. Solicitors are still officers of the Court and have a duty as clearly stated in the Code of Conduct to abide by the Equality Act. How solicitors can do this and still draft "sharia compliant" wills is beyond me. [National Secular Society] Read more

Muslims dismayed over store’s alcohol license fearing anti-social behaviour

MEMBERS of the Muslim community have been left “upset and angry” by West Berkshire Council’s decision to allow a new supermarket to sell alcohol next door to Newbury Mosque, Pound Street.

The secretary of the mosque, Shamim Ahmed, has warned that the decision may well prompt them to look at moving to another area. [Newburytoday] Read more

Islamic democracy: Corrupt and undemocratic

The Arab Spring did not blossom (or fade) because of Turkey’s Islamic democracy. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s short-lived popularity on the Arab Street was not because Arabs envied Turkey’s Islamic democracy; but because they embraced his love affair with Hamas and accompanying hatred of Israel. None of which has sufficed to keep the Turkish model afloat.

In fact, Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim country, could have appealed to the less and much less democratic countries in the Middle East had it been a democracy instead of an Islamic democracy.

Most Arabs who wanted to breathe democracy, before or after Mr. Obama’s Turkish euphemism, thrived to immigrate to the country Mr. Obama rules, or to Europe where there is democracy, not to Turkey where there is Islamic democracy – unless for force majeure, like in the Syrian case. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

20 March 2014

Islamic death threats force online Bangladeshi bookstore to stop sales of books by Avijit Roy

.... Roy pioneered the popular Bangladeshi online blogging site Freethinker and rose to prominence with his books on philosophy, scientific thought and human rights issues.

The decision to withdraw his books was prompted by death threats posted to Facebook by Farabi Shafiur Rahman, an Islamist extremist allegedly linked to the hardline Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami.

Farabi accused Roy of defaming Islam and the “prophet” Mohammed and accused Rokomari.com chairman Mahmudul Hasan Sohag of “promoting atheism” by selling Roy’s books. [The Freethinker] Read more

Critiquing Islam or Islamophobia?

For nine years in a row a controversial resolution on, "Combating Defamation of Religions," described by some as an, "international blasphemy law," has been consistently losing support in the United Nations General Assembly.

Until 2010, the only religion mentioned in the legislation was Islam, when the authors of the legislation, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, invented the terms; "Judeophobia and Christianophobia," too quell criticism. Domestically too, the term Islamophobia has come under intense scrutiny, just this week. Opinion is sharply divided. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Saudi Arabia's human rights 'rebrand' is fooling no one

The latest reports of Saudi concessions on human rights might as well be called Operation Rebrand Saudi Arabia. Of 225 demands issued by the UN human rights council in 2013, the Saudi delegation conceded to 180.

Over the past couple of days, Saudi representatives have been on BBC's Newsnight, CNN's Amanpour and other outlets billing this as a landmark step in the right direction, sanctioned by no less a person than the king himself.

[A COMMENT] Here's an idea. The West takes in the women who want to be refugees but the blokes stay where they are.

"Westerners have a hard time "understanding"." There's not a lot to understand. I've worked there. It's shite (No pun intended) and they really do hate Westerners. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Homosexuality Is Like Murder, Birmingham Mosque Chairman Says After BBC3 Gay Muslim Debate Row

The chairman of one of Europe's largest mosques has launched a tirade against those who criticised him for banning a BBC3 discussion about gay Muslims at his mosque, comparing homosexuality to being "a compulsive murderer, gambler, or paedophile".

The panel show called "Free Speech", was aired last week live from Birmingham Central Mosque, trailing the question ‘When will it be accepted to be Muslim and gay?’

But after an introductory clip was shown featuring Asifa Lahore, a Muslim drag queen, presenter Rick Edwards said the mosque had demanded the segment not be discussed.

[A COMMENT] When are we going to wake up to the abhorrent reality of this religion. It is backward, insular and very very dangerous. Not as if there is not plenty of evidence to back these facts up.

This man is just voicing the opinion of his religion. If they do not like our society and freedoms then one good thing about being a free country they can leave at any time.Unfortunately they know when they are onto a good thing and the takeover bid is not too far away. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Mohammed Naseem on ‘weaknesses and tendencies’

.... Going back to Naseem’s observation that the drag queen Lahore was free to subscribe to another ideology if he wanted to pursue a lifestyle incompatible with Islam – that is true in this country, but not in those Muslim countries (held up as the ideal by Naseem) where apostasy and homosexuality are proscribed.

Naseem’s rhetoric – ‘human rights’, ‘respect’ – has a liberal veneer, but his views are thoroughly illiberal and will, I trust, be countered robustly when the postponed ‘Free Speech’ debate on Islam and homosexuality is broadcast later this month. [Harry’s Place] Read more

19 March 2014

ABC Family's 'Alice in Arabia' sparks outrage

ABC Family’s recently announced drama pilot Alice in Arabia is inciting significant backlash on Twitter and from a Muslim civil liberties organization. The pilot follows an American teen who is kidnapped by her Saudi Arabian extended family and must “find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, called for the cable network to meet with Muslim and Arab-American community leaders to discuss their grievances with the potential series. CAIR sent a letter to ABC Family president Tom Ascheim on Tuesday requesting a meeting with its organization and other groups. [Entertainment Weekly] Read more

Forced out by fanatics: Head teachers reveal how they've been bullied, smeared and driven from their jobs for resisting Islamic extremists

Erica Connor's eyes widen as she reads the four-page letter purportedly outlining a plot by Muslim fundamentalists to take over state education.

It brings back terrible memories for the former headmistress who won £400,000 in compensation after religious zealots forced her out of the primary school she loved in the English Home Counties.

‘It’s a letter that makes me realise nothing has changed in our schools,’ she tells us with a sad smile. ‘Muslim extremists used an identical strategy to get rid of me and nearly ruined my life.’

[A COMMENT] This is what happens when you bend over backwards to accommodate any kind of religious fanatics; they keep escalating their demands until everyone else is pushed out.

I'm glad to be from a country that bans publicly supported religious schools, but if we let people like this into our country, it would only be a matter of time before they found a way around any constitutional barriers. Religious fanaticism is like a disease. It needs to be stamped out, by whatever means necessary. [Daily Mail] Read more

'Trojan Horse whistleblower' urged to come forward by council boss

Council leader Sir Albert Bore has called on communities and residents to play a greater role in their local schools to prevent a ‘jihadist’ take over of city schools.

The Labour leader also said that the council, while investigating claims that Islamic fundamentalists are employing dirty tricks campaigns against teachers to take over schools, has double checked and will toughen up its own school management systems to prevent any attempts to infiltrate schools.

He described claims contained in a letter known as Trojan Horse as ‘defamatory’ and said that being an ‘anonymous collection of material’ is difficult to investigate and offered the source protection if they come forward. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

18 March 2014

Pakistani Islam students set Hindu temple ablaze over blasphemy rumour

Hundreds of angry Pakistanis attacked a Hindu temple and set it on fire in southern Pakistan overnight following a rumour that a member of the Hindu community had desecrated the Koran, police and community leaders said on Sunday.

The incident took place just before midnight on Saturday after locals in Larkana district alleged that Sangeet Kumar, 42, had torn out pages of Islam’s holy book and tossed them down on the street from the roof of his home.

“Our Dharamshala (community centre) has been gutted and the temple has been partially damaged. All the statues have been destroyed by the attackers,” Kalpana Devi, chairperson of the local Hindu committee, told Reuters. [Reuters] Read more

Muslims booted from Empire State Building for praying: suit

A Muslim family from Long Island slapped the owners of the Empire State Building Tuesday with a scathing $5 million lawsuit that claims they were booted from the building’s observation deck for praying.

Fahad and Amina Tirmizi of Farmingville said their civil rights were violated when they were “assaulted, battered and forcibly removed” from the famed observatory last July.

The suit, filed against Malkin Properties, security company Andrews International Inc. and others, claims that Fahad, 32, and his 30-year-old wife were unfairly targeted because they were Muslim and wearing traditional Muslim attire. [NEW YORK POST] Read more

Islamic schools condemned by David Cameron receive state funding

.... The department said it was “looking into” concerns over the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, which is being awarded grants worth more than £70,000 each year to fund free school places for toddlers.

The funding, distributed by local authorities, is part of the Government’s “free early education” scheme which provides all three and four-year-olds, and some two-year-olds, with 15 hours of free teaching each week.

However, while in opposition Mr Cameron and Michael Gove, now the Education Secretary, criticised the Labour Government for funding Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation despite its “extremist” links. [The Telegraph] Read more

Top Saudi Cleric says true Muslims must believe the Sun revolves around the Earth

In a revelation that has left scientific research across the world in tatters, a top Saudi scholar and cleric has affirmed that the thinking of the Middle Ages was right after all: the Sun does in fact revolve around the Earth.

The startling discovery was announced in January on Saudi Arabia's Channel 1 TV and was related to the world by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Saudi cleric and member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, Saleh Al-Fawzan, was given a platform as follows:

Moderator: "And Allah says in a Koranic verse: 'And the Sun runs towards its stopping point. That is the determination of the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing.'

"Does the Sun revolve around the Earth?"

Switching to guest, Saleh Al-Fawzan: "There's no doubt about it. The Koran says: 'The Sun runs....' Nevertheless, they say that the Sun stands in place and the Earth moves. This contradicts the Koran. Ignoring the Koran and adopting modern theories is not something a Muslim can do. A Muslim must follow the Koran." [The Commentator] Read more

16 March 2014

Extremists taking control of most mosques in Tunisia

Three years after the 2011 revolution in Tunisia, the country's interim government has published a report on the state of mosques in big cities.

Based on the report, more than 50 % of mosques across the country are under ideological control of foreign-backed Takfiri groups. Religious scholars have issued a fatwa prohibiting hate speech and promoting war on Syria that most Imams perceive as a Zionist conspiracy against the Muslim world. [Press TV] Read more

Angry crowd burns Hindu community centre in Pakistan over alleged Qur’an desecration

An angry crowd set fire to a Hindu community centre in southern Pakistan after allegations circulated that a Hindu had desecrated Islam's holy book, police said Sunday.

The incident took place overnight in the city of Larkana in Sindh province after some people said they saw burned pages of the Qur’an in a garbage bin near the home of a Hindu man, said Anwar Laghari, the area police officer. [THE ASSOCIATED PRESS] Read more

Muslim extremists, and a worrying lesson for us all

.... The document behind the claim, supposedly a “how-to” letter from one Muslim extremist to another, certainly had its problems. At least one of its claims was wrong, taking credit for the ousting of a head teacher that had occurred 20 years before.

The very name the letter gave to the alleged operation, “Trojan Horse”, was perhaps a little too obvious. For that reason, this newspaper and others described it as a “purported” document.

But whether or not the letter is genuine, much of what it describes is certainly real. [The Telegraph] Read more

14 March 2014

Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn Maajid Nawaz claims Muslims find liberalism reprehensible

The Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn has claimed that Muslims find liberalism reprehensible during a book launch.

Maajid Nawaz sparked heated exchanges with audience members at the event where he spoke about his book Radical at Waterstones in Hampstead.

It was the 36-year-old Muslim’s first public appearance since he was selected for the sought after seat.

He spoke to author Tom Holland in front of a packed audience about his memoir exploring his journey from Islamic extremist to co-founder of counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam. [Brent & Kilburn Times] Read more

BBC3's Free Speech denies censoring debate about being gay and Muslim

The makers of BBC3's Free Speech have denied censoring a debate about being gay and Muslim, saying the topic was pulled because of security concerns after threats were received by the mosque where the programme was filmed.

The live show on Wednesday night prompted accusations of censorship after it postponed discussion of a question put by Muslim drag queen Asifa Lahore, who asked: "One question I would like to ask the Muslim community is, when will it be right to be Muslim and gay?"

Presenter Rick Edwards told viewers and the studio audience that the question would not be tackled until a later edition of the programme because Birmingham Central Mosque, where the programme was filmed, had "expressed deep concerns with having this discussion here". [The Guardian] Read more

Multiculturalism: What Happened to Responsibility?

.... It is now necessary to rescue Canada's identity from "withering away" and to resuscitate other Western countries from the foreign infiltrations that have usurped the common values that made these countries great and attractive to immigrants in the first place. Multiculturalism will not disappear, nor will immigration from societies with values inconsistent with Western democracies.

As the West faces a continued influx of immigration, it is imperative that we do not limit ourselves to mere criticisms of multiculturalism. Instead, policies need to be established and implemented -- at every level of society -- that would facilitate in a practical way a multiculturalism that includes, under law, responsibility as a central focus -- and on the same level of importance -- as equal rights and freedoms. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Iraq considers allowing girls as young as EIGHT to marry as part of new laws that also force wives to submit to sex at their husband's whim

A new law being considered in Iraq could lead to girls as young as eight getting married and wives having to submit to sex at their husband's every request.

The controversial proposals have provoked outrage from activists both within Iraq and around the globe, who see it as a huge step backwards for women's rights.

The measure, aimed at creating different laws for Iraq's majority Shiite population, could further fray the country's divisions amid some of the worst sectarian bloodshed since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. [Daily Mail] Read more

Blasphemy laws - Wrong on so many levels

A CONCISE but densely-packed briefing paper on the penalties faced by "blasphemers" in various countries has just been published by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an agency which is mandated by Congress to monitor liberty of conscience around the world and identify violators.

The paper points out that governments which punish sacrilege are giving representatives of the state, from bureaucrats to judges to village elders, a kind of arbitrary power. This can very easily be used for nefarious purposes. [The Economist] Read more

BBC3's Free Speech denies censoring debate about being gay and Muslim

The makers of BBC3's Free Speech have denied censoring a debate about being gay and Muslim, saying the topic was pulled because of security concerns after threats were received by the mosque where the programme was filmed.

The live show on Wednesday night prompted accusations of censorship after it postponed discussion of a question put by Muslim drag queen Asifa Lahore, who asked: "One question I would like to ask the Muslim community is, when will it be right to be Muslim and gay?"

Presenter Rick Edwards told viewers and the studio audience that the question would not be tackled until a later edition of the programme because Birmingham Central Mosque, where the programme was filmed, had "expressed deep concerns with having this discussion here" [The Guardian] Read more

13 March 2014

BBC drops homosexuality debate from 'Free Speech' show after objections from mosque

The BBC has controversially dropped a debate on homosexuality from a live panel discussion show because of objections from Birmingham Central Mosque in which the programme was being filmed.

As first reported by Breitbart London, the BBC Three live debate and discussion show aimed at young people, Free Speech, had intended to ask the question, "When will it be accepted to be Muslim and gay?"

However, after showing a clip featuring Asifa Lahore, the UK's first Muslim drag queen discussing his multiple identities of Muslim, gay and British, the show's host, Rick Edwards, announced that the debate would not take place as planned. He told the audience: [National Secular Society] Read more

The trouble with France: the largest Muslim community in Europe seethes on the periphery

In his dark, disturbing new book, The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs, Hussey, dean of the University of London Institute in Paris, again ventures to parts of France that aren’t on any tourist itinerary – the impoverished, outlying areas of French cities known as the banlieues.

More than one million immigrants reside in the banlieues around Paris, mostly from North and Sub-Saharan Africa, living in gritty housing estates. Not all banlieues are poor; but the perception remains in France that such places are rife with social problems. [The National] Read more

Whoever wins Turkey's power struggle, democracy is already a casualty

In the continuing political turmoil in Turkey, the suicide of Hatice Can might have gone unnoticed. Hatice's son, Onur, was a talented young architect – a graduate of one of the leading universities.

In 2010 Onur was taken into custody on suspicion of selling drugs. He was allegedly tortured, verbally and sexually abused and, on his release, put under pressure by police to become an informer. After weeks of anguish the architect jumped from the balcony of his home, ending his life. This month his 57-year-old mother followed suit. The family's efforts to bring the police officers responsible for Orun's death to justice had all come to nought.

[A COMMENT] I'm not surprised. Turkey is the world's leader for imprisoning journalists, something the western MSM has disgracefully remained silent about.

Another example of the different standards applied to muslim and non-muslim countries by our media luvvies I'm afraid. Any western country would be torn to shreds if they treated their journalists like Turkey. [Guardian Cif] Read more

12 March 2014

We don't want 330 students next door in Mill Road, says Cambridge mosque

Supporters of Cambridge’s new mosque have said they don’t want more than 300 student flats to be built next door.

In a statement, Cambridge Muslim Academic Trust said a “concentration” of undergraduate accommodation on the former Priory Motors site in Mill Road “would not represent the best amenity value and is unlikely to be the development option most beneficial to local residents or mosque users”.

The trust said it was concerned by plans for the student development to front directly onto the street, preferring a continuation of the community garden planned for outside the mosque. [Cambridge News] Read more

Laws prohibiting underage marriage un-Islamic

The Council of Islamic Ideology on Tuesday ruled that Pakistani laws prohibiting marriage of underage children are un-Islamic.

At the end of its two-day session on Tuesday, the CII said there is no minimum age of marriage according to Islam.

Islam does not forbid marriage of young children, the council said. However, the Rukhsati (consummation of marriage) is only allowed in the case that both husband and wife have reached puberty.

The CII’s ruling comes a day after its chairman Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani said laws regarding second marriage of a man in the presence of a first wife were against religious principles. [Daily Pakistan Observer] Read more

11 March 2014

Court upholds writer’s five-year prison sentence for insulting religion

The Beba Misdemeanour Court in Beni Sueif upheld on Tuesday a court verdict handing author Karam Saber five years in prison for insulting religion.

Saber is accused of contempt of religion for a book he wrote in 2010 entitled “Where is Allah”. He received his jail sentence in June 2013 in absentia; the author challenged the verdict. [Daily News Egypt] Read more

My Name is Muhammad Islam and I am an Islamophobe

My name is Muhammad Islam and, as my name suggests, I was born and raised a Muslim. I come from a devout religious family in which my sisters wear hijab and strictly observe Islamic rituals whilst my parents do their best to encourage their children to live according to strict Islamic principles. I was also raised in a large Muslim community and so most of my childhood friends and class fellows were Muslim. [Harry’s Place] Read more

10 March 2014

'Is Your White Elephant Halal?' - Why Religious Slaughter Must Stay

The issue of religious slaughter hit the headlines again last. Andrew Rosindell, the secretary of Parliament's animal welfare group, has joined voices demanding the end of religious slaughter in the UK.

As someone with experience in the meat industry, specifically halal, this news troubles me. It troubles me because the argument is flawed, and flawed on many levels.

By way of developing this debate, I wanted to share some of my thoughts and opinions in the hope of broadening readers' understandings of ritual slaughter and why the issue is in fact a massive white elephant.

[A COMMENT] How unconvincing. The farm animal welfare council researched whether slaughter without stunning could cause more distress and pain and found that it did. The time taken for animals to die by halal methods is longer and can take up to two minutes, similarly the additional time taken to get larger animals into position was considered an additional stress. Don't rest easy -read up RSPCA have a leaflet. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

More on ‘Operation Trojan Horse’

There have been some interesting developments in this story, although I am not sure whether they bring a solution any closer. Tahir Alam, one of the people named in the leaked documents, has now issued a press statement denying their authenticity.

There are indeed, as he asserts, reasons for suspecting ‘Trojan Horse’ may be a hoax. However one argument he uses is perhaps not fully convincing. [Harry’s Place] Read more

09 March 2014

Extremists and the 'Trojan Horse’ approach in state schools

.... On November 28 last year, The Telegraph has learnt, Park View organised an “extended Islamic assembly” for its Year 10 and 11 pupils with Sheikh Shady al-Suleiman, an extremist preacher who has called on God to “destroy the enemies of Islam”. Al-Suleiman has also asked God to “give victory to the Muslims in Afghanistan and Chechnya,” to “give victory to all the Mujahideen all over the world” and to “prepare us for the jihad”.

Another teacher at the sister primary school controlled by Park View, Razwan Faraz, has defended his brother, Ahmed, a man dubbed the “terrorists’ favourite bookseller” whose Birmingham shop, now closed by police, distributed extremist literature to many involved in terror plots, including one of the 7/7 bombers. [The Telegraph] Read more

Why Muslims in Birmingham Feel Like a 'Suspect' Community

As I walk down some of the most vibrant and lively neighbourhoods in Birmingham I can feel a sense of unease and suspicion from the locals. Made up of a large South Asian population, the people of Alum Rock, Sparkbrook, Small Heath and Washwood heath tell me of a 'them' versus 'us' culture.

They also remind me of past incidents which has led to a 'breakdown' of relationship between the police and the Muslim community in Birmingham. That form of anxiety and suspicion is epitomised in the words of Moazzam Begg, who in his last post on Facebook wrote: "Sometimes knowing too much can be a curse".

[A COMMENT] I was born in Belfast and lived most of my life in mainland UK, I have been questionned at gunpoint by the Army, I have been stopped by police and asked my business, I have been held at airports until I could prove my identity, my parents had their car stripped down by security services.... Did we moan ? Did we complain ? NO ! We realised that those actions were necessary to protect us from terrorism. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

08 March 2014

Facts and Context Be Damned - Moazzam Begg & Philo-Salafism

Begg was arrested - along with a woman and two other men - on the morning of 25 February on suspicion of attending jihadi training camps in Syria. Begg has since appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court and been formally charged with "providing instruction and training for terrorism and facilitating terrorism in Syria."

In a piece entitled "The Moazzam Begg Arrest: Part of the Effort to Criminalize Muslim Political Dissent" (published after Begg was arrested, but before he was charged), Greenwald and Hussain argue that this is part of a campaign on the part of Western governments and security services to harass, intimidate and silence Muslims engaged in what they describe as "aggressive political dissent". [Jacobinism] Read more

Women protest against proposed Iraq law that would allow marriage of nine-year-old girls

About two dozen Iraqi women demonstrated on Saturday in Baghdad against a draft law approved by the Iraqi cabinet that would permit the marriage of nine-year-old girls and automatically give child custody to fathers.

The group’s protest was on International Women’s Day and a week after the cabinet voted for the legislation, based on Shi’ite Islamic jurisprudence, allowing clergy to preside over marriages, divorces and inheritances. The draft now goes to parliament.

“On this day of women, women of Iraq are in mourning,” the protesters shouted. [Reuters] Read more

Hollywood blockbuster film ‘Noah’ faces ban in the Arab world

Three Arab countries have banned the Hollywood film “Noah” on religious grounds even before its worldwide premiere and several others are expected to follow suit, a representative of Paramount Pictures told Reuters on Saturday.

Islam frowns upon representing holy figures in art and depictions of the Prophet Mohammad in European and North American media have repeatedly sparked deadly protests in Islamic countries over the last decade, fanning cultural tensions with the West.

“Censors for Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) officially confirmed this week that the film will not release in their countries,” a representative of Paramount Pictures, which produced the $125 million film starring Oscar-winners Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins, told Reuters. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Islam needs its John Locke

.... However, there was also a less traveled, even less noticed, road as well: An Enlightenment of the Anglo-Saxon type, which does not attack religion, as done by its French counterpart, but reinterprets it within a new political framework that values liberty, tolerance and diversity.

Not the road of Luther or Voltaire, if you will, but the road of John Locke.

The British philosopher has long been in my heart and mind with regards to his approach to religion, but a fine book that I recently had a chance read made things even clearer: “Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy” by scholar Nader Hashemi (Oxford University Press, 2009). [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

Islamic boys' school bars women from applying for job as science teacher

The job description – placed by outsourcing company Capita – referred to an Islamic school and specified a “male science teacher” for lessons until the end of the current academic year.

A woman science teacher seeking work spotted the advert and complained to the National Secular Society (NSS), the charity campaigner for separation of religion and state.

The Department for Education brought the issue to the attention of Leicester City Council and the advert for Madani Boys’ School in Evington, Leics, was axed. [Daily Express] Read more

07 March 2014

Parents fury as pork sausages are banned from the school menu and replaced with halal meat

Parents have condemned a school's decision to ban all pork products from the menu and replace other meats with halal versions.

Pupils aged between three and 11 at Brinsworth Manor Infant and Junior Schools in Rotherham - which Ofsted identifies as having only a small number of pupils from minority ethnic groups - will no longer be able to enjoy sausages, bacon or ham.

Parents at both schools, which share a site, were told of the decision in a letter from Rotherham Council’s principal catering officer Ron Parry, who wrote that there had been ‘minor adjustments’ to the lunch menu.

The move comes as Britain's vet John Blackwell called for Muslims and Jews to use more 'acceptable' methods of killing.

And parents have branded the decision 'a scandal' as only twenty per cent of the 600 pupils are Muslim and the decision to provide halal meat was up to individual schools in the town.

[A COMMENT] Yet again, the majority have to bow to the will of the chosen few, when will it end. [Daily Mail] Read more

Will debate over halal meat lead to a rise in Islamophobia?

Muslim people deserve to have halal meat available to them. This debate feels like double standards are being created, and they could fuel religious hatred and Islamophobia. There is so much confusion surrounding this issue, and people are quick to jump on the bandwagon.

[A COMMENT] YOU are the one jumping on the bandwagon Mr Malik - the bandwagon of hiding behind claims of racism in order to get your way. The issue here is animal welfare - if an animal is to be killed for food then that animal deserves a quick death with as little pain and distress as possible, not to slowly bleed to death in a blind panic. Double standards do indeed seem to be an issue here - religious beliefs driving a barbaric slaughter. Shocking. [The Bristol Post] Read more

Turkey PM says YouTube, Facebook could be banned

Turkey's embattled prime minister has warned that his government could ban social media networks YouTube and Facebook after a raft of online leaks added momentum to a spiralling corruption scandal.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already tightened his government's grip over the Internet, generating criticism at home and abroad about rights in the EU-hopeful country.

"There are new steps we will take in that sphere after March 30... including a ban (on YouTube, Facebook)," Erdogan told private ATV television in an interview late Thursday. [The News International] Read more

Animal Welfare MP, Joins In Condemnation Of Ritual Slaughter

An MP and animal welfare campaigner has joined the call for the religious slaughter of animals for halal and kosher meat to be banned in the UK.

Andrew Rosindell, the secretary of Parliament's animal welfare group, has joined the new leader of Britain's vets in demanding that Muslims and Jews stop the religious slaughter of more than half a million creatures a week.

"If you ask the average British citizen whether they agreed with this, they would say no. An animal has to be killed for food, but it needs to be done in a humane way," he said.

[A COMMENT] All done in the name of Medieval beliefs by people with minds still locked in that period in time. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Alleged plot to 'take over' and run schools on strict Islamic principles

.... A Birmingham city council spokesperson said: "We have received letters making allegations in relation to some schools in the Birmingham area. The city council is continuing to investigate these allegations and therefore cannot comment further."

The alleged plot was condemned by Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, a group which aims to promote active Muslim engagement in British society. He said: "The contents of this document are very disturbing.

On the face of it this would appear to be part of a radical agenda by a tiny yet highly committed group of activists to impose their very conservative and bleak vision of Islamic teachings in our schools by fomenting division and distrust against the existing school leadership. It constitutes highly objectionable and unethical behaviour." [The Guardian] Read more

Iranian man sentenced to having his eyes gouged out, right ear and nose cut off after hurling acid in young girl's face

An Iranian man should be sentenced to having his eyes gouged out after pouring acid over a young girl's face leaving her blind, an Iranian court has ruled.

Opposition group, The National Council of Resistance of Iran, said the man could have his right ear and nose cut off as punishment for attacking the girl with acid, causing her to lose her eyesight and right ear.

The man was convicted last October of intentionally attacking the girl, haartez.com reported.

The national council said Iran's high court defended cutting off the body parts of those found guilty of a crime, and removing eyes, as part of the country's judicial system.

Last month, the state-run Mehr news agency, reported another Iranian man was sentenced to have one hand and one foot cut off as punishment for an unspecified crime. [Daily Mail] Read more

Afghanistan still one of the worst places to be a woman, says EU ambassador

President Hamid Karzai's government has let down Afghan women, according to the new EU ambassador to Kabul, who singled out the failure to end prosecution of rape victims and other abused women for "moral crimes" as a particular "disgrace".

Franz-Michael Mellbin said that despite huge practical improvements in areas from maternal mortality to the number of girls in schools, Afghanistan was still one of the worst places to be a woman and a frontline in the global battle for women's rights. [The Guardian] Read more

'Islamic takeover plot' in Birmingham schools investigated

An alleged plot to oust some Birmingham head teachers and make their schools adhere to more Islamic principles is being investigated, it has emerged.

A letter detailing the plan, known as "Operation Trojan Horse", claims responsibility for leadership changes at four schools.

These schools are Adderley Primary, Saltley School, Park View School and Regents Park Community Primary School.

Saltley's head teacher resigned last year after a critical Ofsted report.

Inspectors said there was a "dysfunctional" relationship between head teacher Balwant Bains and governors which was hindering the school. [BBC] Read more

06 March 2014

Geert Wilders backs new anti-Islam party, the Australian Liberty Alliance

Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders will welcome a new anti-Islam political party, the Australian Liberty Alliance, in a pre-recorded message to a conference on “Islam and liberty” starting in Melbourne on Friday.

The conference, organised by the “Islam-critical” Q Society, will start on Friday morning at a secret location, and will feature two speakers who were last year barred entry into Britain.

“It’s a bringing together of many people who are concerned about the march of Islam into many western democracies, and how it changes the laws and values of western democracies,” Q Society’s spokesman, Andrew Horwood, said. [The Guardian] Read more

Sultan of Brunei hits back at foreign criticism of looming implementation of Sharia law that will introduce amputations and stonings as punishments

The sultan of Brunei has rejected foreign criticism of the countries impending introduction of a form of strict Islamic Sharia law, saying it is not a backwards step.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said all races should unite under Sharia law and that the new penal code was a 'great achievement' for the small Southeast Asian nation.

Starting in April, Brunei will begin implementing a version of Sharia that allows for penalties such as amputation for theft and stoning for adultery. [Daily Mail] Read more

Stop slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat, says new leader of Britain's vets

Halal and kosher slaughter of animals should be outlawed, Britain's leading vet said today.

John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, has argued the ritual killing of poultry, sheep and cattle by cutting their throats causes unnecessary suffering to animals.

Traditionally, Jewish and Islamic slaughter practices involve animals having their throats slit and the blood drained because it is 'humane'

But Mr Blackwell, who has been accused of 'inflaming prejudice' by religious leaders, says animals must be stunned before the cut because some will be conscious for up to two minutes before death.

[A COMMENT] This ritual slaughter of meat is medieval, barbaric, cruel and totally unnecessary. It has absolutely no place in the civilised world and I am astonished at how widespread this has become. There is absolutely no justification for it whatsoever and it is about time practise was stopped. [Daily Mail] Read more

Islamic Jihad and the doctrine of abrogation

.... Moreover, going back to the doctrine of abrogation, Muslim scholars such as Ibn Salama (d. 1020) agree that Koran 9:5, known as ayat as-sayf or the sword verse, has abrogated some 124 of the more peaceful Meccan verses, including “every other verse in the Koran, which commands or implies anything less than a total offensive against the nonbelievers.”

In fact, all four schools of Sunni jurisprudence agree that “jihad is when Muslims wage war on infidels, after having called on them to embrace Islam or at least pay tribute [jizya] and live in submission, and the infidels refuse. [The Commentator] Read more

Britain's Top Vet, John Blackwell, Calls For End To Ritual Slaughter

The new leader of Britain's vets has called for the religious slaughter of animals for halal and kosher meat to be banned.

Religious customs associated with slaughtering animals should be adapted to take in more humane methods of killing, John Blackwell, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association has said.

The religious slaughter of poultry, sheep and cattle causes unnecessary suffering to animals, he said in an emotive appeal. [The Huffington Post UK/PA] Read more

05 March 2014

Germany's New Islamophobia Boom

.... According to a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 56 percent of Germans consider Islam to be an "archaic religion, incapable of fitting into modern life" and many believe religious freedom for Muslims should be "substantially restricted."

There are several potential explanations for the rising skepticism of Islam in Germany. For one, many third-generation Muslim immigrants are living more strictly than their parents did, making them more conspicuous.

Also, in some neighborhoods in large German cities, Muslim girls are afraid of going outside without wearing a headscarf. There have also been several reports in the German media recently of ethnic-German men converting to Islam, radicalizing and going to Pakistan for terror training.

Just this past week, the Minister of the Interior warned that a total of 300 German Jihadists have left Germany to fight in Syria. [Spiegel Online] Read more

Sultan of Brunei Threatens Critics of Sharia Law

Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah warned online critics of the country’s Sharia Law that they could face prosecution once the new penal code takes effect next month:

They can no longer be given the liberty to continue with their mockery and if there is a basis for them to be brought to court, then therefore, the first phase of the Syariah (criminal) law this coming April will be relevant to them.

The Sultan issued this statement during the 30th National Day celebration after many Brunei netizens reacted negatively to the decision of the government to implement Sharia criminal laws.

Brunei is a Muslim-majority country. It is a monarchy where the Sultan is also the Prime Minister and wields absolute power in the government and in Brunei society. The Sultan is also one of the wealthiest people in the world. [Global Voices Advocacy] Read more

Tunisian blogger given 7 years for blasphemous cartoons has been released early

The lawyer for a Tunisian blogger sentenced to seven years in prison for posting cartoons deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad says her client was freed late Tuesday.

Lawyer Bochra Belhaj Hamida said Wednesday that Jaber Mejeri had left prison for his hometown of Mahdia 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the capital and measures were being taken to ensure his safety. [THE ASSOCIATED PRESS] Read more

04 March 2014

Muhammad's View of Women

Muslims often claim that Muhammad promoted women's rights. Islam's most trusted sources, however, tell a different story. According to the Qur'an, the testimony of a woman is only half as reliable as a man's testimony.

Muhammad explains why in the hadith, where he declares that women are less intelligent and more immoral than men. When we combine these teachings with other Qur'anic teachings (e.g., Allah allowing men to beat their wives into submission, to rape their female captives, and to have sex with prepubescent girls), Muhammad's view of women becomes perfectly clear. [Answering Muslims] Read more

01 March 2014

The Ordeal of Muslim Women: No More Excuses

During the past decade, something insidious has happened to global feminism. White Western women are being punished, insulted and demonised for speaking out against the atrocities heaped on our sisters from Muslim cultures.

Despite the fact that the international women's liberation movement has helped bring about worldwide recognition of and action against the many forms of male violence and abuse of women and children, the new "cultural sensitivity" towards Islamic practices has resulted in a two-tiered system.

It is fine, for example, to be appalled at widespread child sexual abuse by the likes of Jimmy Savile, but "racist" to respond in the same way to forced marriage, gender segregation, or the requirement that girls and women are veiled from head to toe. [Standpoint] Read more

Mainstream charities have donated thousands to Islamic group fronted by terror suspect

A controversial Islamic rights group fronted by a man charged with attending a terror training camp in Syria is being bankrolled by two mainstream British charities, including a foundation set up in the name of Dame Anita Roddick.

CagePrisoners, an organisation founded by Moazzam Begg - who has just appeared in court on terror charges - has been given £120,000 by the Anita Roddick Foundation, which distributes part of the former Body Shop owner’s £100 million fortune.

A second charity, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a Quaker-run fund set up by the chocolate-maker and philanthropist a century ago, has also paid CagePrisoners £305,000 over six years. [The Telegraph] Read more

New Anti-Sharia Legislation Introduced in Several States

The 2014 legislative year has already seen legislation proposed that would ban the application of Sharia law in state courts. There are currently nine states that have introduced some variation of a bill aiming to block Islamic law. Most of the bills have carried over from 2013 with the exception of Vermont, which has introduced its first bill of this stature.

The bills are intended to combat the perceived threat that Muslims are undermining the United States Constitution and imposing Sharia law. Although almost none of the bills mention Sharia or other religious law specifically, instead opting for more neutral language, such as “foreign” and “international” law, their intent to vilify Muslims remains very much the same. [loonwatch.com] Read more

Muslims press council for free parking near mosque

MUSLIMS attending prayers at a city mosque say they should be able to park without having to worry about getting a ticket.

Ever since the Magdalen Road North controlled parking zone (CPZ) came into force in 2012, the Madina Mosque has faced problems.

It has previously asked Oxfordshire County Council to relax the controls in the evenings so worshippers can park nearer to the mosque on Stanley Road without being ticketed. [thisisoxfordshire] Read more