30 June 2014

Two in five Party members back Gove’s view on extremism. One in four back May’s

.... Islamism is very much in the news, both here and abroad, and it seemed worth getting their sense about the rights and wrongs of the matter. The answer to the question of which minister’s view is closest to theirs is as follows: Gove 43 per cent, May 25 per cent, Neither 14 per cent, Don’t Know 18 per cent.

The relatively high proportion of Don’t Knows surely reflects the obscurity of the disagreement. Different explanations will be offered for the fact that Gove’s view has emphatically more support than May’s.

Mine is that Party members want a tough line to be taken on such extremism, and in their view Gove’s view is tougher than May’s – which meets their approval. [ConservativeHome] Read more

When eating becomes a crime

In a blog post on Saturday I wrote about efforts by some of the Arab states to criminalise anyone – non-Muslims included – who is seen eating, drinking or smoking during the daylight hours of Ramadan.

Compulsory fasting, as I suggested on Saturday, mis-uses the power of the state in order to maintain a public facade of religiosity regardless of what happens behind closed doors. In that sense, it's opportunistic and hypocritical. It also overlooks the fact that fasting is supposed to be an exercise in self-discipline, not a test of people's obedience to authority. [Brian Whitaker] Read more

Pakistan: Rampant Killings of Shia by Extremists

Pakistan’s government should take all necessary measures to stop Sunni extremist groups in Balochistan province from committing further killings and other abuses against Hazara and other Shia Muslims, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 62-page report, “‘We are the Walking Dead’: Killings of Shia Hazaras in Balochistan, Pakistan,” documents Sunni militant group attacks on the mostly Shia Hazara community in Balochistan. [Human Rights Watch] Read more

Islamic extremism concerns at Tower Hamlets school

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by BBC London shows Tower Hamlets Council holds information concerning the possible Islamification of Kobi Nazrul Primary School in Whitechapel.

It follows the so-called Trojan Horse plot in Birmingham, in which some schools were the target of an alleged Islamic takeover plan.

Kobi Nazrul school is yet to comment.

The FoI request demanded details of alleged attempts to infiltrate any school by Islamic extremists in the borough, subvert the school's teaching, or oversee the increasing Islamification of lessons. [BBC] Read more

Not all Muslims are jihadists – and it's a shame such reassurances are needed

.... For example, a poll last year revealed that 60% of 18- to 24-year-olds in Britain thought the public had a negative image of Muslims, while 44% said Muslims did not share the same values as the rest of the population. More than a quarter distrusted Muslims, believed Britain would be better off with fewer of them, and thought Islam was not a peaceful religion. Less than a third believed Muslims were doing enough to tackle extremism.

A reaction to such negative perceptions is the constant need to reassure the public that the vast majority of British Muslims are "decent, law-abiding citizens". For example, words to that effect were repeated ad nauseam on the BBC's Question Time last week.

It should be a given that British Muslims are decent and law-abiding. The intention behind pointing this out is good, but the result is patronising. The majority of every religious community in Britain is decent and law-abiding, but it is only Muslims about which constant reassurances need to be given.

[A COMMENT] I find it annoying when you are trying to denounce radical Islam, you are often met with 'not all Muslims are terrorists'. I'm aware of that, but what are you going to do about the ones that are radical.

[ANOTHER] Jihad is only one of many issues that the average Briton has with Islam. The total intolerance of any minority exhibited inmost Islamic countries probably disturbs people just as much whether it's the murder of Christians in Egypt, kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria, denial of education to girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan, denial of careers to women in Saudi, death sentences for supposed adulterers in Sudan, "honour" killings and forced marriage just about anywhere, etc, etc.

These actions are not compatible with the current British value system and there are many within the British Muslim community who want to change the value system rather than their own behaviour and the majority of Britons find that unacceptable.

[ANOTHER] So, the proportion of muslims is effectively higher than you're suggesting, and it is predictable that we're heading towards civil war. The fact that most muslims are perfectly nice people is neither here nor there.

Ultimately they'll rally as an umma and the UK will cease to be a secular democracy and will become hell. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Iraq crisis: Isis changes name and declares its territories a new Islamic state with 'restoration of caliphate' in Middle East

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has reportedly declared the areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria as a new Islamic state, removing Iraq and the Levant from its name and ushering in “a new era of international jihad”.

The announcement will see Isis now simply refer to itself as The Islamic State, and the group has called on al-Qa’ida and other related militant Sunni factions operating in the region to immediately pledge their allegiance. [The Independent] Read more

29 June 2014

Church Bells Fall Silent in Mosul as Iraq’s Christians Flee

Last Sunday, for the first time in 1600 years, no mass was celebrated in Mosul. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized Iraq’s second largest city on June 10, causing most Christians in the region to flee in terror, in new kinship with the torment of Christ crucified on the cross.

The remnant of Mosul’s ancient Christian community, long inhabitants of the place where many believe Jonah to be buried, now faces annihilation behind ISIS lines. Those who risk worship must do so in silence, praying under new Sharia regulations that have stilled every church bell in the city. [The Daily Beast] Read more

Radio presenter Michael Smith dumped after comments about the Prophet Mohammed

Sydney talkback radio host Michael Smith has been told he will no longer be filling in on 2GB after making controversial comments about the Prophet Mohammed.

The former 2UE presenter made the comments on Thursday during his regular guest spot with 2GB host Ben Fordham.

Smith was discussing the recent controversy over a talk the Festival of Dangerous Ideas had booked - and later cancelled - with a Muslim activist, titled Honour Killings Are Morally Justified.

He compared the festival's invitation to Uthman Badar to asking the leader of the Ku Klux Klan to speak.

Smith said the founder of Islam was "a man who promoted the idea that it was OK to marry a six-year-old and consummate the marriage when the little girl was nine".

[A COMMENT] It happens to be a fact that Muhammad married his niece at age 6. Its written in the Quran. Muslims don't say this is untrue. Secondly he, Muhammad wasn't ever thought to be a deity. This is political correctness and political cowardice.

[ANOTHER] ok so firstly Muhammad is not a deity he is just the guy who started the religion and secondly if people take issue with him being called a paedophile please do feel free to inform me what a man who marries a 6 year old and then consummates the marriage at 9 should be called. People have a right to their religion but their religion has no rights, you can't hurt an idea's feelings. [ABC] Read more

Australia to question Brunei over stoning laws before trade talks

The Australian government will question Brunei over its new criminal law regime – whose punishments include limb amputation for theft and stoning to death for adultery or homosexuality – before deciding whether to proceed with trade negotiations with the tiny, but oil-rich, Sultanate.

The dictatorship on the island of Borneo faces increasing international hostility over its draconian new laws, and democratic countries are being urged to break off trade talks in protests.

The United Nations called the laws illegal and inhuman. Amnesty International says they will send the country “back to the Dark Ages”. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

ISIS's political Islam the latest Arab tragedy

It is as if history has reverted a hundred years. Some are calling for a caliphate to unite the Arabs under its shadow, others call to rely on a Western ally, British mainly and French by necessity, as an alternative to the Ottoman sultan and his “secular” heirs, who have abandoned religion.

.... We are now living the first of many chapters of the new political conflict in its awfully honest sectarian language and in its bloody practices that eliminate politics and religion.

It seems that this chapter will be very costly, in terms of blood, people and wealth, as well as in stability and in getting closer to the dream of a just, capable and modern Arab state. [Al-Monitor] Read more

28 June 2014

Perth Muslim praises extremists

A radical Perth preacher has praised militants responsible for beheadings and mass killings in Iraq and labelled Christians and Jews filthy rapists.

In a series of online postings and videos Junaid Thorne, 24, has called on Muslims to defend their religion.

Junaid, who spent much of his youth in Saudi Arabia, sits in front of the black flag of al-Qaida breakaway group ISIS and calls on young Australian Muslims to reject their moderate leaders. [The West Australian] Read more

27 June 2014

It's time for Sudan to focus on the real villain in Meriam's ordeal

.... The case has demonstrated a common feature of so many fragile states: It is terribly difficult for common sense to prevail.

Once has an allegation has been made and a police report filed, the justice system takes on a creaking momentum of its own. There are rules to be followed. Forms to be filed. Procedures to complete.

[A COMMENT] "He has played the system brilliantly, using every arcane corner of Sudanese law to keep his sister from choosing how to live her life."

Far from it, all he has done is to use the basic, universally agreed provisions of Sharia law as implemented throughout the Islamic world for the last 1400 years and now in literally dozens - the number is growing constantly - of countries worldwide,

1) The child of any Muslim parent remain be a Muslim no matter how she is raised, so Meriam is guilty of apostasy - penalty, death by stoning.

2) The head of every Muslim family is the eldest male - in this case, Meriam's brother now that her father is dead.

3) A Muslim woman cannot travel without the permission of her family head.

4) Marriages between Christian men and Muslim women are illegal because Christians are inherently inferior (but sex between Muslim men and Christian women is sanctified by rule 1 above.)

5) Since her marriage is illegal Meriam is guilty of adultery - penalty death by stoning. She also still belongs to her brother, not to her "husband"...

6) ...so in addition to her crimes of apostasy and adultery Meriam is committing a further crime by attempting to travel without her brother's permission. Penalty is imprisonment.

All of these points rise naturally from Sharia law. Of course they are brutal, mediaeval and inhumane - that is what Sharia law is and must always be. Confusion only arises when people like Rob Crilly here, Rowan Williams, Prince Charles, Baroness Warsi, Barak Obama and so on persistently lie to us about the real nature of Sharia by pretending that it can somehow be made compatible with the modern world. [The Telegraph] Read more

Mosque hardliners gave extremist lectures at school

A hardline mosque accused of helping to radicalise the Cardiff youths filmed in a jihadi propaganda video delivered regular extremist lectures to pupils at the state school they attended.

Cathays High School allowed regular Wednesday lunchtime sessions in its main assembly hall with Ali Hammuda, a hardline preacher from Al-Manar mosque in Glynrhondda Street.

The sessions, entitled "Reminding Cathays High", included teaching pupils that music and "free-mixing", contact between boys and girls, were "not permitted in Islam". In a separate lecture at the mosque, Mr Hammuda described music as a "sickness". [The Telegraph] Read more

South Yorkshire mum’s anger over school burger mix-up

An angry mum is demanding an investigation after her son was mistakenly served a non-halal burger for his school lunch.

Thirteen-year-old Hassan Ramzan was given the wrong meal at Rotherham’s Brinsworth Comprehensive School.

He was told by a friend an error might have been made and when Hassan asked a member of the catering staff she admitted there had been a mix up.

Mum Imtiaz Khan, of Raby Street, Brinsworth, said she had felt sick after hearing about the incident.

“As Muslims we are simply not allowed to eat non-halal meats and for someone to say sorry to Hassan just doesn’t cut it,” she said.

[A COMMENT] I'm absolutely sick of these hate mongers trying to dictate to us, if you want Halal go and live in Saudi Arabia or all you have to do is say Bismallah before you eat anything!

[ANOTHER] You choose to live in the west, if you want everything to cater for you there are plenty of Islamic hell holes to choose from.

[ANOTHER] Why would you even go crawling to the papers with this? After monetary compensation me thinks. It was a genuine mistake, get over it and get on with your life or even think about people that have no food.

[ANOTHER] Ritual slaughter belongs in the dark ages.

[ANOTHER] Is there any religion anywhere in the world that demands as much understanding,tolerance and acceptance from others as this one ? Is it any wonder why most people are sick of it? [The Star] Read more

Sudan releases Christian convert but insists she stay in the country

A Sudanese woman who was spared the death penalty for converting to Christianity but was then detained as she tried to leave the country was released from custody on Thursday, on condition she remains in Sudan, her lawyer said.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, was detained at Khartoum airport on Tuesday, one day after an appeals court overturned a death sentence imposed for having converted from Islam to marry her Christian American husband. [Reuters] Read more

Non-Muslim Expats Who 'Disrespect' Ramadan Threatened With Expulsion From Saudi Arabia

Non-Muslim expatriates are being threatened with expulsion from Saudi Arabia if they eat, smoke or drink in public during the holy month of Ramadan.

The ruling comes from the interior ministry and urges respect during the fasting month, which begins this weekend.

The AFP cites a statement carried by the SPA state news agency which says: “They are not excused for being non-Muslim”, adding that “labour contracts stipulate respect for Muslim rites.” [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Schools' Trojan Horse Probe Has Led To Backlash That Increases Islamist Radicalisation Risk, Say Campaigners

A crackdown on the so-called "Trojan horse" schools in Birmingham has only increased the risk of children being radicalised, through the Governments "provocative and unhelpful" response, it has been claimed.

Two weeks ago the head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw, concluded there "was a culture of fear and intimidation in some schools" after the publication of an unprecedented series of inspections, triggered by the so-called Trojan Horse claims.

Campaigners say the central claim, contained in the Trojan Horse letter sent to the local council, that there was an extremist agenda remain "unproven" following those inspections.

[A COMMENT] So much time, money and vital police and security effort is put into this tiny (but growing) religious minority and their inibility to assimilate into British society.

[ANOTHER] These schools have been found wanting, and they don't like it, so what do they do!..They try and discredit Ofsted, and turn the blame on radicalization back on the government. Get over it, either adopt all of the governments and Ofsted's findings, or face closure.

[ANOTHER] She is simply making a threat. When Muslims complain we should listen, but when folk complain about hem, we should do nothing - or else.

[ANOTHER] OOOHHH..if there is a problem, do not speak of the problem, do not challenge the problem, do not even suggest there is a problem..and that will make the problem go away...can someone explain to me how that helps?

[ANOTHER] In other words, every problem caused by Muslims (of which there are many) must be ignored for fear of them taking offence and creating even worse problems. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

26 June 2014

French court backs firing of childcare worker for wearing Islamic headscarf

France's top court has upheld the decision of a childcare centre to fire an employee for wearing the Islamic headscarf, the hijab. The case has dragged on for six years, pitting French legal interpretations of secularism against laws guaranteeing personal freedom of expression.

The privately run Baby Loup childcare centre in Chanteloup-les-Vignes, near Paris, fired Fatima Afif for violating a rule against displaying symbols of religious faith in 2008.

Years of legal battles have been fought against the background of the long-running debate on Islamic dress and the secular French republic and also raised questions of employers’ and employees’ rights in the workplace.

Wednesday’s ruling was the fifth court decision on the case. [RFI] Read more

A new headscarf row

EVER since the French banned conspicuous religious symbols from state schools in 2004, the country has grappled with striking the right balance between religious freedom and enforcement of its strict secular rules.

On June 25th the scales tilted again after a landmark ruling by the top appeals court that a private day-care firm was within its rights when it fired a woman for wearing a Muslim headscarf.

.... The court insisted this week that its ruling should not be interpreted as a green light to apply secular rules to private companies. Yet the judgment nonetheless starts to blur the line. Until now, the idea of a public space in which religious neutrality could be enforced included public hospitals, state schools, town halls and other public institutions, but not privately run organisations. The chances are that other lawsuits will now follow. France's struggle with the headscarf is not over yet.

[A COMMENT] France is no more and no less successful than the UK, Italy, Germany, Sweden or the Netherlands when it comes to welcoming and integrating immigrants with other cultures.

Where the US seems to perform better, that is mostly because it filters its immigration - almost all immigration from outwith the Americas is middle class (people with education, wealth & good earning prospects). Most immigration from within the Americas comes from people that had decent alternative options in Mexico or elsewhere - only the most determined and hard working get into the US.

France (and most European countries) just doesn't have the same quality of pre-filtering

Current volumes of third world immigration (and especially people with political Islamic sympathies) are a direct threat to liberal Western society.

No amount of secularism in French education will compensate for the fact that people affiliated to these oppressive institutions now hold a strong presence and influence over France. [Economist.com] Read more

There's no bigotry in challenging Islamic extremism

“Have not the Islamophobes already won the day when a person dare not speak on controversial matters because he is Muslim?” asked Simon Longstaff on Twitter last week.

That was a very strange rhetorical question in the circumstances.

He was commenting on the fact that Uthman Badar, spokesman for the radical Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, had had his invitation withdrawn to speak at the Sydney Opera House on the proposition that "honour killings are morally justified".

[A COMMENT] Of the 3 Abrahamic major religions, Islam is by far the most rigid. From Nigeria to Kenya to Egypt to Iraq to Pakistan to the Phillipines and to Indonesia, the actions, not just the ideas of Islam are laid bare for us all to see. And rightfully we are very hesitant in embracing it.

I consider myself a progressive on most issues, but allowing a platform for bigotry, intolerance and mysogeny which conveniently hides behind an all powerful invisible sky daddy, who just happens to encourage the same bigotry, intolerance and mysogeny as his earthly deciples is beyond the pale.

When Islam can take the same criticism and ridicule that Christianity and Judaism endure without advocating violence in retaliation, then I might agree with Mr Longstaff. But that day is a very long way off.

[ANOTHER] To demonstrate this ignorance of the core differences between Islam and Christianity I predict there will be many who will post the usual 'the Bible says this or that too'. We need to understand the Muslim concept of abrogation in the Quran and that the Quran is the unalterable word of God for all men for all time and that Mohammad set the example for all men for all time.

If you read the Quran & Hadith you will understand the Catch 22 bind that leaves reformist moderate Muslims weak and the extremists, with the assistance of the PC crowd, strong and in control of Islam.

[ANOTHER] While all religions are pretty backward in todays terms you only need to look at what countries ruled/crippled by islam have given us in regards to science or technology in the past 200 years. Nothing.

They rant and rave about the west and how morally bankrupt we are and that with the power of alah we will all be destroyed. Interestingly all scream into a Sony microphone and camera while waving around a gun made in Russia, uploaded through satellite technology developed in the US. When they go to the doctor or hospital they are treated with western science by people often educated in the west

They go home and watch religious vitriol on DVD's burned on a Korean made laptop running an operating system developed in the US and watched on a TV and DVD player made in Japan. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

BBC: Institutional fear of speaking truth on Islamism

.... Certainly for this listener, Sir Peter’s response was strained and convoluted. By the end of that BBC interview, there was the distinct impression that young British jihadists are, just like drug addicts, victims rather than rational operators. Sir Peter sounded more like a social worker than a counter terrorist official.

There does seem to be a problem in Britain talking about or discussing objectively the issue of Islamism. There is often fear and burying of heads in sand when it comes to Islamic terrorism. In fact, the writer and journalist Melanie Phillips wrote a whole book on the subject in 2006, Londonistan.

Judging by Sir Peter’s BBC interview, little seems to have changed. [The Commentator] Read more

Ultra-conservative branch of Islam growing in popularity in Wales

The ultra-conservative strand of Islam followed by two young Cardiff men seen on a jihad-recruiting video from Syria has been growing in popularity in Wales.

Up to six Welsh mosques are now part of the Islamic movement known as Salafism, including Cardiff’s Al-Manar centre, where Nasser Muthana, 20, younger brother Aseel Muthana, 17, and Reyaad Khan, 20, are said to have worshipped.

Nasser and Reyaad appeared in the video by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which now controls huge swathes of territory in the two countries. [WalesOnline] Read more

Putting Birmingham Children First?

Islamists can certainly be slick when it comes to propaganda. Salma Yaqoob is busily promoting a public meeting tonight in the second city entitled “Putting Birmingham School Kids First”.

Two issues of the many which emerge from this. Firstly consider the remarkable picture used to advertise this event – a dozen or so mixed race school children in a circle, with boys and girls holding hands. As might be expected with children so young, there is not a hijab to be seen. The kids appear to be wearing sports kit, and if so, are taking part in mixed games.

[A COMMENT] She didn't distinguish between the schools where there is straightforward financial malpractice as well as religious conservatism (Oldknow) and those where the accusations are only about Muslim entryism (the PVET schools), and she didn't distinguish between the schools that are straightforwardly failing academically (Golden Hillock, Saltley) and those which look OK on narrowly academic measures (Park Hill). [Harry’s Place] Read more

Uthman Badar: both Islamophobia's victim and unwilling accomplice

Islamophobia is not just bigotry or fear. It's a frenzy that fills the gaps in our social imagination. As Badar's cancelled talk shows, it also doesn't require the Muslim to say anything.

[A COMMENT] The question is always just how tolerant should we be of an ideology as intolerant as Islam?

Now I am delighted to see so many here who are willing to stand up and be critical of the totalitarian ideology of that is Islam, sadly there are so many on the left who will do anything to avoid criticizing this faith no matter what affront they may present to our secular values.

[ANOTHER] So outrage at giving this guy a platform for his abominable views is "xenophobia " now?

I look forward to your defense of Andrew Bolt in his upcoming talk - "Killing Muslims is morally justified".

[ANOTHER] You'll forgive me for laughing in the face of accusations of 'islamophonia', this individual is a spokesperson for a particularly nasty organisation that not only wants a global caliphate ruled by sharia law, but actively calls for the annihilation of Israel and Jews.

He has form for veiled threats of terrorism in this country & regularly disrespects our rule of law and those who don't follow his cults teachings.

It should be noted that even other Muslims consider his organisation to be particularly evil.

He has never denied that he and his organisation actively seek to destroy our way of life. Read some of his earlier stuff, it's frightening. [Guardian Cif] Read more

25 June 2014

Egyptian Christian Sentenced to Six Years for Blasphemy

A Christian in southern Egypt has been sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison and fined the equivalent of $840 on charges of blasphemy and contempt of Islam for simply "liking" a Facebook page, according to International Christian Concern.

Kerolos Shawky didn't intend to insult the Islamic religion, Rafla Zekry Rafla, a lawyer representing Kerolos, told ICC. He only clicked "like" on the Facebook page of "Knights of the Cross".

Rafla said Shawky didn't have have much experience with the Internet and also suffers from poor eyesight; he never had any intention of committing contempt, or even blasphemy.

Kerolos was accused of violating Article 98(f) of the Egyptian Penal Code, which prohibits "ridiculing, or insulting heavenly religions or inciting sectarian strife". [Worthy News] Read more

French high court upholds firing over head scarf

France's highest court has upheld an appeals court ruling in favor of a nursery school director who fired an employee for wearing a Muslim head scarf to work.

Wednesday's decision closes a six-year legal wrangle between the dismissed employee and the head of the private nursery school. The case has captured headlines because of potential implications for companies who want to extend a 2004 school ban on Islamic head scarves or a 2010 law banning face veils in the street.

However, the Court of Cassation made clear its ruling doesn't mean France's principle of secularism, which is behind the bans, can be universally applied to private-sector employees.

The court said the nursery's rule forbidding religious displays was "justified by the nature of the tasks."

[Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article] [ASSOCIATED PRESS] Read more

Cardiff Mosque Denies Fostering Extremism After ISIS Fighters Visit Revealed

A mosque attended by two British jihadis fighting with Islamist rebels in Syria has denied teaching extremist ideologies.

The Al-Manar Centre reportedly confirmed that two men who appeared alongside a third Briton in an Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (Isis) propaganda video had visited the mosque.

But it denied encouraging members to take up arms to join extremists abroad.

[A COMMENT] EXTREMISM IN MOSQUES / SCHOOLS / ONLINE / BEHIND CLOSED DOORS - is anyone in government out there listening????? Please start taking this problem seriously! [The Huffington Post UK/PA] Read more

Christian Heathrow Worker Nohad Halawi, 'Harassed' By Muslim Colleagues, Takes Duty Free Employer To Court

A Christian working at Heathrow Airport who claims that religious harassment by Muslim colleagues led to her losing her job is taking her case to the Court of Appeal.

Nohad Halawi is suing for unfair dismissal and unlawful discrimination, saying that she and other Christian staff were victims of systematic harassment, with one friend reduced to tears for wearing a cross.

[A COMMENT] If we are are afraid of a group, they can influence our laws and affect all daily life. I read that there are already no-go areas for white non-Muslims in parts of France.

Burying our heads in the pc sand is making it impossible to address vital issues, but Labour, which depends on immigrant votes, does absolutely nothing and the Tories, who live in posh areas where most faces are white, have little interest.

We are in this together as a country, religious and unbeliever alike. Stay free. It's of no interest to me what you believe but if you start to bully me I take an interest.

[ANOTHER] Get with the program people, the UK is a secular country, but for quite possibly the most backward of all the religions, we are going to bend over backwards, to adapt to its harsh ways. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

The Left’s blind spot with Islam: opposing bigotry does not mean liking a religion

.... And the problem for the Left is that once you look into religious freedom around the world it becomes very hard to sustain the idea that Islam is a tolerant faith, as they would like to believe. There are tolerant versions of Islam, now and historically, and it’s right that the Islamist version of history is countered by appeals to more progressive traditions of the faith, but the religion has had trouble adapting to pluralism and liberalism.

[A COMMENT] The Left won't criticise Islam because they use the same modus operandi.

Both claim to be a force for good, both claim to be peaceful and fair. Both play the victim card, both gain followers by claiming to be oppressed whilst issuing daily updates on who they're going to Hate more today.

Both outlaw any kind of debate because true open and honest discourse will expose both parties as the hateful, violent ideologies that they really are.

Like all bullies they use fear and intimidation to hold all critics at bay which is why they demand laws to oppress anyone who speaks against them and too often demand their opponents are Destroyed. [The Spectator] Read more

Nigerian man is locked up after saying he is an atheist

Campaigners call for release of 29-year-old Mubarak Bala, who lives in Kano in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north. A Nigerian man has been incarcerated in a mental health institution by his family after saying he had lost his belief in God.

Mubarak Bala, 29, is said to have been forcibly medicated for "insanity" for nearly two weeks, despite a doctor's opinion that he has no psychological problems.

Campaigners are calling for his release and say the case highlights the fact that atheists are a persecuted minority in many African countries.

[A COMMENT] Yet people will still continue to knock Richard Dawkins for being strident in the face of this kind of bigotry.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you allow fanatical God Botherers to get control of your goddamn country. Atheism suddenly becomes a crime. You wonder why we still make a big deal about secularism? Case in point.

Let's see if we can get him out of that religious shithole.

[ANOTHER] I struggle to think of any nation build on a theocracy that isn't a miserable failure. [The Guardian] Read more

Britain bans controversial Saudi cleric al-Arifi

Controversial Saudi preacher Mohammad al-Arifi has been banned from entering the United Kingdom, the British foreign office confirmed to Al Arabiya News on Wednesday.

This week, the cleric was accused by the British media of radicalizing three young British citizens allegedly now fighting in Syria.

“We can confirm Mohammad al-Arifi has been excluded from the United Kingdom,” a Home Office spokesperson said in a statement. [Al Arabiya Network] Read more

Why an Isis caliphate is no more than a pipe dream

.... But ISIS’ leaders are ultimately power-hungry ideologues. I am sceptical that they can keep up this charade. Sooner or later, they will move towards draconian sharia law, prompting the sort of backlash they faced last year in Syria. This is already apparent in Falluajh.

Or they will clash with their allies. We have already seen hints of this in Kirkuk, where ISIS came to blows with JRTN, a group led by Saddam’s former deputy, over control of fuel tankers. Moreover, where will the money come from? Iraq’s north and west depend on subsidies from the capital. Isis is rich, but it can’t run its own state in perpetuity.

Reports of the Middle East’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Isis is laying the foundations for a caliphate, and it may remain entrenched in Iraq and Syria for years, but its grandiose, imperial vision is a pipe dream. Jihadists are utopians and nihilists. That’s not a particularly durable combination.

[A COMMENT] An Isis caliphate may be "no more than a pipe dream" but with fanatics ready to die for Allah in order to collect their "reward", the question is how much slaughter, carnage and misery will they cause, not just in ME but here in the UK, before we stop them?

These nutters haven't found something new hidden in the Koran, something that goes against Islam, they preach the pure message of the Koran, it's supremacy, it's intolerance, it's misogyny and it's hate. They revel in the extreme violence of it all, beheading civilians will the usual Allah ackbar, yes how great to brutally slaughter someone.

They have been brainwashed, but not by extremists, by Islam itself and they need to be deprogrammed or crushed. [The Telegraph] Read more

24 June 2014

UK: How We Want to Stop Radical Islam

Anti-radical Muslims must break their silence to oppose the revived for building a Tablighi Jamaat [TJ] mega-mosque in the West Ham neighbourhood of London. Mobilisation against the mega-mosque should include Muslims of all interpretations who are moderate, traditional, conventional and even conservative, in all locations where TJ is active. TJ cadres are mainly present in South Asia, the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America.

.... As people of religion, British Muslims have the duty to protect their own community and the broader society in which they live by repudiating all extremist doctrines, including Deobandism, and by repairing conflicts that have already emerged with their non-Muslim neighbours.

Saying no to the Tablighi Jamaat mega-mosque in West Ham is an indispensable action in fulfilment of this devoutly Islamic mission. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Convert British music star Ashley Anthony advises Muslim youths to uphold Islamic values, shun sectarianism

.... Talking to the media people at after his lecture to the general masses at Dreamworld Family Resort on Sunday evening, Belal said that the detrimental effects of not having the Islamic social system can be felt regardless of whether we live in the Muslim lands or elsewhere.

There is nothing more painful than seeing our youth grow up amidst a non-Islamic atmosphere leading, in some cases, to Muslim youth losing their Islamic identity, their values and even their Deen. He advised the youth of Pakistan to adhere to Islamic values in true spirit. He expressed his dismay over creating many sects in Islam who depict their own type of religion. [Daily Pakistan Observer] Read more

Sheikh to turn bullring into mega-mosque

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the ruling Emir of Qatar, has reportedly offered to invest €2.2 billion ($3 billion) over five years to convert Barcelona's Monumental bullring into a 40,000-capacity mosque which would be the biggest in Europe.

The planned mosque, featuring a 300m minaret would be the third-largest in the world outside Mecca and Medina, and would include a conference hall, a 300-capacity Koran study centre and a museum of Islamic art and history. [The Local] Read more

Critics of Muslim extremism need to learn – ‘radical’ isn’t the same as ‘terrorist’

.... I don’t find it difficult to believe that 15-25% of Muslims around the world believe extreme interpretations of Islam. For example, a poll carried out by Policy Exchange suggested that 37% of young British Muslims would prefer to live under sharia law and a third believe that the death penalty should apply for apostasy. In Pakistan, Pew Global puts these at 84% and 76% respectively.

Pew shows a frighteningly high level of support throughout Muslim-majority countries for implementing sharia as the law of the land, with significant support for punishments such as limb-amputation for theft and stoning for sex outside of marriage (which would include homosexual sex).

Most alarming is the support declared for sharia to be imposed on non-Muslim citizens – this ranges from 19% in Kasakhstan to a staggering 74% of Muslims polled in Egypt. [Harry’s Place] Read more

The accused is the oriental other

.... Notice, also, the pretentious pseudo-literary word-juggling, the “critical theory” airs and graces, the palaver about symbols and the epigram about condeming some and celebrating others – notice it and feel nausea at the cynical frivolity, the vanity, the having it both ways, the showing off.

This isn’t some fucking game. This is girls and women like those of the Shafia family, pushed into a canal in the family car. This is a girl like Banaz Mahmod, brutally murdered by her father and uncle. This is real girls and women murdered by their real fathers and brothers, it’s not something to preen about and bandy words about on the stage of the Sydney Opera House.

What a piece of scum, this Utham Badar. [Butterflies & Wheels] Read more

World Cup 2014: Iran Arrests Three Over 'Vulgar' Music Video

Police in Iran have reportedly arrested three young people who appeared in an online video singing and dancing in support of the country’s football team for the World Cup.

The country's official IRNA news agency quoted police chief Colonel Rahmatollah Taheri as saying the video clip, produced by the London-based Ajam Band, features scenes from outside and inside Iran, including the city of Shahroud, where two 23-year-olds appearing in the film and a 26-year-old photographer were arrested.

The video shows young people, including women not wearing mandatory headscarves, singing and dancing in support of the national team, who are currently taking part in the World Cup. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

23 June 2014

Iran arrests 2 over world cup video

Iran's official IRNA news agency says police have arrested two people who appeared in an online video of young people singing and dancing in support of the country's World Cup football team.

Police chief Col. Rahmatollah Taheri is quoted as saying the video clip, produced by the London-based Ajam Band, features scenes from outside and inside Iran, including the city of Shahroud, where the two were arrested.

The video shows young people, including women not wearing the mandatory headscarf, singing and dancing in support of Iran's national team. [Associated Press] Read more

Malaysian Court Reserves Word 'Allah' for Muslims

Malaysia's top court on Monday rejected the Roman Catholic Church's appeal for the right to use the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God in its newspaper.

The high-stakes case, which dates back seven years, has provoked strong feelings in the Muslim-majority country at a time that advocates of conservative Islam have been gaining clout.

The Catholic Church first brought a case in 2008 to try to overturn a ruling by Malaysia's then-home minister, Syed Hamid Albar, which prohibited the Herald newspaper from using the word "Allah," to refer to the Christian God, arguing it should be used solely by Muslims.

The minority Christian population had hoped that a win in the case would strengthen religious tolerance in a nation where Islam is the official religion. An initial ruling in favor of the church in 2009 sparked mob vandalism and arson at both Christian and Muslim places of worship. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

Did this preacher groom the jihadi Britons? Notorious cleric visited mosque where terror brothers worshipped

A notorious Saudi cleric preached at a mosque accused of radicalising three young Britons fighting in Syria.

Mohammed al-Arifi, who has called for holy war to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime, spoke at Cardiff’s Al Manar centre.

The trio – two brothers and a friend – attended the mosque before leaving their homes to join the civil war.

Although banned from entering Switzerland because of his extremist views, al-Arifi has visited the UK several times. A Sunni Muslim, he has been accused of stirring up tensions with the rival Shia sect, reportedly calling it evil and accusing adherents of kidnapping, cooking and skinning children. [Daily Mail] Read more

British mosques aren't that moderate after all

The introduction of a madrassa curriculum at a secular state school in Birmingham and talk of Christian pupils at risk of ‘cultural isolation’ seem to have come as a revelation to non-Muslim Britain. They should not have. Islam in Britain is dominated by a very specific, and rather illiberal, version of the faith — one that, if anything, seems to be becoming more conservative over time.

As the Muslim population became more established, one might have assumed that a westernised form of Islam would have come to dominate Britain’s mosques. According to a database of British Islam, however, only two out of 1,700 mosques in Britain follow modernist interpretations of the Koran.

It’s not the same elsewhere in the West. In a 2011 survey of Islam in the United States, 56 per cent of mosques described themselves as following an interpretation of Islam adapted to modern circumstances. This has not happened in Britain.

[A COMMENT] One particular piece of information struck me. Someone brought up the subject of the Pakistani "diaspora" in the West, and how they might positively influence the problem developments and extremism in Pakistan.

This notion was greeted by the experts with great scepticism. One (a cleric I think) said he had spent some time in the UK and his impression was that Pakistani Britons were overall significantly more extreme than mainstream Muslims in Pakistan itself.

[ANOTHER] The predominance of the Deobandi influence explains a great deal and this is the first time I have seen a clear explanation of their numbers and influence.

If the Deobandis control almost half of the mosques in the UK, then when politicians and left-leaning members of the media trot out their catch-phrase of "the vast majority of ordinary, moderate Muslims..." we know they are talking rot.

Given that the Deodandis are not the only extreme sub-sect of Islam operating in UK mosques, we can assume a majority of British Muslims are anything but "moderate". [The Spectator] Read more

22 June 2014

The Inconvenient truth about Islamic immigration

The political and media debate on the alleged Islamist Trojan Horse infiltration of Birmingham schools reveals -- like no other issue regarding Islam in Britain -- a deep and long-held political fear in confronting the truth about the nature of Islam and large-scale Muslim immigration.

That truth -- and it has been a concern of governments for some time -- is that with Britain’s rapidly increasing Muslim population, the teaching of any culturally conservative interpretation of Islam (the bare minimum that any serious Muslim would insist on) is entirely incompatible with the secular, liberal and pluralistic values that define British society, and even perhaps incompatible with the long-term political stability of the country.

.... The immediate issue with Birmingham’s Trojan Horse debacle is not the threat of Islamic terrorism, but the threat of an eventual cultural Balkanisation of the country as Muslim demographics increase and Muslims gradually assert their own deeply felt religious identity, particularly in the area of education.

.... However, with a rapidly growing Muslim population, how will governments in forty or fifty years defend these freedoms when Muslims are a majority or plurality in many of Britain’s towns and cities?

Will Islamic values not then be a major feature of those towns and cities? Will Islamic values not then be British values? [The Commentator] Read more

'There is no life without Jihad' - the feebleness of the MCB

.... the Muslim Council of Britain is not a pope: in Islam, there is no magisterium; no supreme global religious authority issuing divine words of wisdom (whatever sundry ayatollahs may believe).

But the MCB does purport to represent Britain's Muslims and is "one of the UK’s largest and most diverse Muslim umbrella organisation (sic) with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools". So you'd think they'd be a bit more robust in their denunciation of teenage jihadis.

Ahmed Muthana, 57, is the father of Nasser had Aseel. He is understandably sad, shocked and devastated at his sons' actions, and so is his wife.

But the father has excommunicated the son. "It's a Muslim thing: you don't keep the devil in your house," he said, as he binned pictures of Nasser. He said if his sons ever return to the UK, he would like to see them jailed. He added that his sons have "betrayed his family and betrayed Britain". "They don't represent me now and I don't want to see them again," he added.

Would that the MCB spoke in such potent terms. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

Convert to Islam or face the sword: Iraqi Christians flee cities captured by extremists known to kill non-Muslims

That was the stark message Christians in the Syrian city of Raqqa received last year when ultra-fundamentalist Sunni extremists, proclaiming themselves to be members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), seized power and launched a reign of terror against Shiites and Christians that has included beheadings and at least three crucifixions.

Aware of ISIS’ ferocious reputation for murder and mayhem, thousands of Christians who lived in Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh Plain fled in panic when ISIS rebels captured Iraq’s second largest city from government forces on June 10. Many of those who escaped have sought refuge in this Christian enclave in the Kurdish city of Irbil, only an hour’s drive away from Mosul. [National Post] Read more

Education is the key to combating fundamentalism

Given all the facts, it is now impossible to deny that Britain has a problem with fundamentalist Islam. This is not an indictment of the venerable faith of Islam, or of the millions of law-abiding, patriotic Muslims who live in this country. But it is a challenge that we ignore at our peril. A challenge that should be met with a positive restatement of British values.

On the one hand, there is the example of the Birmingham schools that became dominated by ultra-conservative Islam, a scandal that this newspaper has fearlessly exposed.

As Ofsted's report stated, governors and teachers failed to prepare their pupils for life in a multicultural, multi-faith society – leaving them isolated from their British peers. Raffles and tombolas were banned from one primary school on the grounds of being "un-Islamic"; Christmas activities were discouraged, yet subsidised trips to Mecca occurred.

The phrase "white prostitutes" was allegedly used in assembly, and classes were segregated by gender: boys at the front, girls at the back. [The Telegraph] Read more

21 June 2014

Burqa ban at Luxembourg public schools

Education Minister Claude Meisch on Friday announced that girls at Luxembourg schools will no longer be allowed to cover their faces with a veil, as part of a series of measures to ensure the neutrality of schools in a multi-faith environment.

The ban affects only veils which cover up a student's face and hide their identity, Meisch explained. Headscarves remain allowed.

Meisch also insisted that all students have to take part in the school's official curriculum and activities, including physical education, and that they will continue to be taught in mixed-sex classes. Students will be taught by both male and female teachers, with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel saying at the Friday press conference that demands to have girls taught by only female teachers are unacceptable.

[A COMMENT] More clarification is needed The Burqa should be banned in all public places! My understanding of Luxembourg Law is that you are only allowed to wear a masque (conceal your face) one day a year which is carnival... We don't want to end up like the UK ...... [Luxemburger Wort] Read more

“There is no life without Jihad”

.... They appear to regard the territory that ISIS are said to control as a ‘Khilafah’ and one of them is heard sending a message to the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi saying “the hope of this ummah is on your neck.”

There have appeared a number of groups amongst Muslims in recent decades seeking to re-establish the Khilafah and what they refer to as the ‘rule of Allah’.

It is easy to imagine the thrill for someone who is young and idealistic and wants to help overthrow cruel despots in other parts of the world by joining groups like ISIS. In practice though, these groups have invariably demonstrated huge intolerance of others who are not in their group and their actions are often synonymous with terrible human rights abuses. [inayatscorner] Read more

Trojan Horse: Former Birmingham council chief slammed after claiming action was taken last year

A former Birmingham City Council boss has been accused of ‘‘covering his back’’ after claiming the authority was tackling Trojan Horse allegations before the controversy erupted.

And Stephen Hughes, who retired as chief executive in February, said the Government and Ofsted had over-reacted to the anonymous document which he said was ‘designed to stir up racial and religious antagonism’.

But his comments prompted a furious response from Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood who accused Mr Hughes of ‘trying to cover his own back’ after the council was criticised for previously ignoring concerns from teachers and parents. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Ofsted inspection for school linked to Islam row

A BRADFORD school facing claims that governors forced out a former head teacher has been inspected by Ofsted this week.

Carlton Bolling College has been dragged into the row which started with the Trojan Horse takeover allegations in Birmingham.

The head of an organisation representing schools in Bradford claimed last week that there has been a co-ordinated attempt to pursue an Islamic agenda by a small number of school governors in the city. [Yorkshire Post] Read more

20 June 2014

Yes, the West has fought the Muslim world for centuries. But Islam must accept much of the blame for today's bloody chaos

.... Their desire to promote a new caliphate, ruled by sharia law, reflects a rejection of the West rooted in a pitiful inability to compete with the West in any constructive fashion. Glorious death represents their highest aspiration.

The relative success of such fundamentalism is a measure of the despair pervading many Muslim societies.

The lessons of history are that we Westerners can do little to change the course of events in the Middle East, and are ill-advised to try.

Meanwhile, here at home we must fight with every weapon in our hands — legal, cultural and educational — to prevent the curse of Islamist militancy from spreading its wholly pernicious influence within our own societies.

What they do within their own regions of the world, it must be their affair to resolve, with such modest support as we can give. But there can be no compromise with such warped doctrines here, in the sorry name of multiculturalism. [Daily Mail] Read more

Trojan Horse: Saltley School Board Resigns Over Ofsted Inspections

Governors at a school placed in special measures over the alleged hardline Muslim plot to take over governing boards have resigned in protest, calling the Ofsted report "flawed". Board members at Saltley School said they "have been left with little faith or trust" in the inspection process or Birmingham City Council in the fall-out over the Trojan Horse allegations. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Iranian Child Bride Razieh Ebrahimi Set To Be Executed For Murder Of Husband

An Iranian child bride, forced to marry at the age of 14, is to be hanged in Iran after killing her husband.

Razieh Ebrahimi, 21, who shot dead her husband when she turned 17, is now the subject of an angry international campaign to stop her execution, with Human Rights Watch calling for Iran to end the death penalty for juveniles. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Could Gove 'Effectively Stop' Muslims Becoming School Governors, With 'British Values' Rules?

.... Unacceptable actions are defined as anything "aimed at undermining the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs".

The Muslim Council of Britain has raised fears that the reforms, which will apply to new academies and free schools, could prevent people with conservative Muslim beliefs viewed as incompatible with "British values" being involved - a claim the Department for Education denies.

Talha Ahmad, a senior member of the MCB, told the Guardian: "As a matter of principle, to have so much power vested in one hand is wrong. But then to have powers over an area over which there is no consensus is, frankly speaking, quite dangerous.

[A COMMENT] If someone does not like our values, they shouldn't be l!ving here or educating their kids here, it's as simple as that.,.

[ANOTHER] "Could Gove 'Effectively Stop' Muslims Becoming School Governors, With 'British Values' Rules?" I certainly hope so.

[ANOTHER] I don't care what religion you are, if you don't believe in democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs then you shouldn't be governing a school. End of.

[ANOTHER] Religion shouldn't be a factor in education, all faith schools should be phased out. Most kids are too young to make a decision about their religion, they just have it forced upon them by their parents and school. RE should, at the very least, be optional. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

American Conservative Tries To Smear Muslim Student After Berating Her At Benghazi Panel

.... “We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there are 1.8 billion followers of Islam,” said Ahmed. “We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don't see them represented here.”

Gabriel responded: “When you look throughout history, most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda and, as a result, 60 million died,” she said. “Almost 14 million in concentration camps. The peaceful majority were irrelevant." Gabriel's rant drew a standing ovation from the crowd.” [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

New rules 'could bar conservative Muslims from being school trustees'

.... The Department for Education has inserted new clauses into the model funding agreement for academies stipulating that its governors should demonstrate "fundamental British values", and giving the Education Secretary powers to close schools if they do not comply.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told the Guardian that the new rule would make it very difficult to become a school governor if conservative Muslim beliefs were deemed to be incompatible with "British values", and that it put too much power in the secretary of state's hands to define those values.

[A COMMENT] "The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told the Guardian that the new rule would make it very difficult to become a school governor if conservative Muslim beliefs were deemed to be incompatible with "British values" "They are absolutely right. islam is incompatible with everything it comes into contact with. [The Telegraph] Read more

19 June 2014

Saudi preacher under fire for saying face veil is not mandatory

A Saudi preacher has sparked controversy on social media after Tweeting that Muslim women are allowed to uncover their faces and not wear the face veil known as the niqab, but that if someone wants to wear it, she is free to do so.

.... “If you enjoy looking at other Muslim women then it means something is wrong with you! And you are the one who needs advice,” commented @k_almassad. Another user, @m_MesOo, described the preacher’s Twitter comment as “Liberals’ heresies.” [Al Arabiya News] Read more

Noted Convert in Egypt, Formerly Known as Hegazy, Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

The 31-year-old Christian received the prison term and a fine of 500 Egyptian pounds (US$70) for what the judge called “disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information” after documenting political unrest in Egypt brought on by numerous Muslim extremist attacks on Christians, attorney Wagdy Halfa said. [Morning Star News] Read more

An opening mosque gathers no shortage of controversy

Mohamed Al Maimouni, a spokesperson for the Danish Islamic Council – who earlier in the week lamented the limited number of politicians attending the opening (see page 2) – made the comments.

“Within Islam, homosexuality is wrong, of course,” he told Jyllands-Posten. “It’s considered an illness.”

Al Maimouni underlined that everyone was welcome at the mosque whatever their sexual orientation, and that they would be happy to advise people who want to “get out of the situation they are in”.

The minister of integration, Manu Sareen, called the remarks ridiculous.

“That homosexuality should be a disease is a completely absurd statement, and I think it is sad that a prominent person within Islam comes forward with rubbish like that in today’s Denmark,” Sareen said. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Governors of new academies and free schools told to abide by 'British values'

Community leaders have warned that some Muslims could be effectively barred from becoming trustees or governors of new academies and free schools under rules introduced by the education secretary, Michael Gove, in response to the "Trojan horse" controversy.

The Department for Education has inserted new clauses into the model funding agreement for academies stipulating that its governors should demonstrate "fundamental British values", and giving the secretary of state powers to close schools if they do not comply.

[A COMMENT] Given that not accepting the imposition of a common set of values is itself a core British value this may a bit tough.

Far better to simply flush all religions out of the education system, from Quakerism and Buddhism to militant Islam and Christian fundamentalism. 959 votes

[ANOTHER] Sensible policy - good news. It is the minority that ruin it for the vast majority. 289 votes [The Guardian] Read more

Sisi's Egypt to 'eliminate' atheism

Following Saudi Arabia's absurd decision to outlaw "calling for atheist thought" on the grounds that it is a form of terrorism, Egypt is trying a different approach.

Labelling Egyptian atheists as terrorists might be just a bit too confusing because the Sisi regime has already allocated the Muslim Brotherhood to the terrorism slot.

Instead, the government is preparing to launch "a national plan to confront the phenomenon of atheism".

Atheists have become increasingly visible in Egypt since the 2011 revolution and have been using social media to explain their point of view. For example, one Egyptian atheist, Ismail Mohamed, presents a regular talk show on YouTube called Black Ducks. [www.al-bab.com] Read more

18 June 2014

Politicians blast Islamic Council's anti-gay comments

Mohamed Al Maimouni, a spokesperson for the Danish Islamic Council – which is behind the construction of Denmark’s new grand mosque set to open tomorrow – is in hot water after saying that homosexuality is a "disease".

Al Maimouni, who earlier in the week lamented that the limited number of politicians taking part in the mosque opening celebration would compromise integration, said that homosexuality was wrong and should be considered an illness.

“Within Islam, homosexuality is wrong, of course,” Al Maimouni told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “It’s considered an illness. In the Koran homosexuality is what we call ‘haram’ – forbidden.” [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

17 June 2014

Meaty row over halal-only KFC

A LOCAL Muslim leader has defended the use of halal food after a fast-food restaurant was criticised for dropping a popular item from its menu.

A customer was angered when she tried to order four KFC “Quadwraps” — chicken and bacon in a tortilla — at the chain’s Centre Retail Park, Royton, branch - only to be told it no longer sold them becvause it was one of 100 branches selling halal-prepared meat only

Fazal Rahim, Oldham Interfaith Forum co-ordinator, said: “Bacon is something Muslims and Jews have in common. They won’t consume bacon or use any derivative of it.

[A COMMENT] Remove a staple food of the vast majority of the population to accommodate the medieval barbarism of around 5% of the population. Sounds fair to me!

[ANOTHER] What country are we in? [Chronicle Online]

Read more

Ofsted scraps controversial faith school inspection rules

Controversial guidance allowing Muslim schools to segregate boys and girls and restrict subjects such as music has been scrapped by Ofsted, it emerged today.

Guidelines for the inspection of faith schools has been withdrawn pending an official review following claims that it effectively gave schools permission to discriminate between the sexes.

The move follows an Ofsted investigation into 21 schools in Birmingham over allegations they had been infiltrated by hardline Muslims seeking to promote strict Islamic practices. [The Telegraph] Read more

Religious Persecution in Pakistan

.... In Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government continues to both perpetrate and tolerate the persecution of Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, and Shiites. The government’s enforcement of repressive blasphemy laws — under which 40 Pakistanis are currently jailed — and anti-Ahmadi laws also constitute serious religious-freedom abuses and open the door to religious extremists.

And three years after the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian and former Pakistani cabinet member for interfaith harmony, the government has failed to bring his killers to justice. [National Review Online] Read more

15 June 2014

"Get rid of the white kids" say Pakistani parents as Cameron urges British values

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, head teacher at Anderton Park Primary School, told the Sunday Times that when a small number of white children arrived at her school, which was predominantly Muslim, parents started making a series of racist demands:

"We had kids saying 'What are you playing with the white kid for? What are you playing with the Christians for?' The dad of one of the Pakistani heritage pupils at the school even told me I should 'get rid of the white kids'.

"He said, 'If I was head I would get the white kids and shove them in the corner with white desks and a white teacher and keep them away from the rest of the kids. I told him that what he had said was racist and I was going to write it down. Then he said, 'You should get rid of the white kids, that is what the community would want you to do.'" [Breitbart] Read more

Egyptian Christian teacher sentenced for blasphemy

An Egyptian appeals court upheld a blasphemy conviction against a Coptic Christian teacher and sentenced her to six months in prison on Sunday, overturning an earlier ruling that only imposed a fine.

Egypt's state news agency MENA said the appellate court in Luxor ruled that elementary school teacher Dimyana Abdel-Nour had insulted Islam in front of her pupils.

Last year, Abdel-Nour was convicted and ordered to pay a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds (about $14,000), but she appealed. MENA reported that the prosecutors also appealed, saying the crime must be punishable by a prison sentence, not only a fine. [Associated Press] Read more

Trojan Horse: how we revealed the truth behind the plot

.... He said the claims made him “feel really angry”. Asked about reports in this newspaper that Asif Khan, Oldknow’s Arabic teacher, led nine- and 10-year-old children in anti-Christian chanting, he said: “As far as the staff are aware, nothing of the sort happened.”

Christmas had not been cancelled, Mr Rauf insisted, and as for Oldknow’s non-Muslim headteacher, Bhupinder Kondal, her absence was due merely to “sick leave, and I pray that she recovers quickly”.

Mr Rauf has since disappeared from our TV screens after this newspaper revealed last Sunday that he is in fact a key member of a group called “Educational Activists”, in which he discussed how to pursue an “Islamising agenda” in another school where he is a governor.

[A COMMENT] As a retired lecturer I can pass on my experience of Teaching Unions , both in schools and Colleges.....they have an agenda which is to help promote and protect minorities against the perceived values and principles of the host country.

They have been actively involved in pushing Islamic values and practices in inner city schools which have dominant Muslim demographics. They will actively undermine and frustrate any Govnt, initiatives to promote " Britishness " and " British values " seeing it as inherently " racist " and in direct conflict with their liberal / socialist approach to education.

[ANOTHER] The very fact there are muslim teachers in a secular school is the problem. Being a muslim 'means' they do not believe in the same things as a non muslim. Islam is totally incompatible with equality & democracy, it is as simple as that. [The Telegraph] Read more

Trojan Horse plot driven by same 'warped' Islamic extremism as Boko Haram, says Tony Blair

The alleged Islamic extremism seen in the 'Trojan Horse' scandal in schools in Birmingham is the same as that practised by Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist network, Tony Blair has said.

The Trojan Horse 'plot' to bring hardline practices into Birmingham classrooms is part of a global extremist movement stretching from Britain to Africa to the Far East, the former Prime Minister claimed

[A COMMENT] Is the man who flooded this island with 3 million (maybe more) immigrants in just over a decade really the right person to be warning about "extremism".

By the way, its not "extremism", its simply the legal and political aspects of the Islamic WAY OF LIFE.

That's actually what Islam is - a way of life, that also incorporates aspects of a cult - such as not being allowed to leave it after you joined and the founder member being above criticism.

[ANOTHER] Tony Blair appears to be peddling the (deceptive) ‘myth’ of a “warped” version of Islam.

Boko Haram (et al) are not following a “warped” version of Islam. They are following the SAME Islam as set out in the Koran and Sunnah. .... In reality, Boko Haram “understand” Islam ALL TOO WELL

[ANOTHER] I would very much like a politician who clings to the idea of 'moderate' Islam to point to one Islamic country where 'moderate Islam' is the prevailing doctrine. Of course they can't because it doesn't exist. That is not to say that all muslims would volunteer for a spot of Jihadi extremism or would relish the prospect of Shari'a law if it was coming for their neck or hands. [The Telegraph] Read more

14 June 2014


There is a new category called "Islam in Schools". It includes the large number of recent reports and articles concerning efforts by Muslims in Britain to turn secular state schools into Islamic schools promoting extreme versions of Islam.

The latest batch of reports and articles in this new category has red headlines. Earlier relevant items have been retrospectively added to this new category going back to the beginning of 2014.

Extracts of the publication's readers' most recommended comments are often given.

How Britain left its Muslim children to the Islamists

.... Of course, there are technical solutions: improved inspections, no-notice inspections and more. But this is not just about ‘policing’, it is about a battle for hearts and minds. This week, Michael Gove stressed the importance of teaching ‘British values’ in schools. Many people will shudder at that. What does it mean?

Until recently, we were a Protestant Christian country — now, Britishness is meant to be about being ‘tolerant’ and ‘diverse’. Do such vague and abstract ideas stand a chance against a determined and fixed ideology?

.... Many Muslims came to this country precisely to leave their religion’s medievalists behind. It would be a tragedy if we stood by while their children — British children to whom we have a duty of care — were indoctrinated by a reconstituted version of that medievalism here.

[A COMMENT] This episode is deeply concerning, not least when one glances towards events over the last 24 hours in the Middle East. This barbarism is being taught in British schools, and naive liberals are carping about tolerance and diversity. There is nothing more intolerant than Islam, so even if we're to name 'tolerance', rather flaccidly I must say, as one definable British value, Islam most certainly isn't it!

[ANOTHER] Tolerance for islam is a one way street, their way. [The Spectator] Read more

The Koran and Child Marriage

.... What Jennifer Burn seems to be trying to do is entirely laudable. She seems to be attempting to persuade Muslim communities to reject forced marriages of female children. However to do so she claims that this practice is not supported by the Koran, which is quite false.

Is it praiseworthy to make a false statement about a religion’s teachings in order to incite its followers to behave well? Whatever the answer to this question may be, this strategy is bound to fail, because anyone who is better informed about the religion will simply reject advice based upon ignorance.

A strategy which acknowledges the authorities in Islam for a practice, and then mounts a case against the practice, is far more likely to have enduring success than one based upon wishful thinking or misleading information. [markdurie.com blog] Read more

In America, most mosques profess to teach a version of Islam adapted to the modern world. That's not what I've found here...

The introduction of a madrassa curriculum at a secular state school in Birmingham and talk of Christian pupils at risk of ‘cultural isolation’ seem to have come as a revelation to non-Muslim Britain. They should not have. Islam in Britain is dominated by a very specific, and rather illiberal, version of the faith — one that, if anything, seems to be becoming more conservative over time.

[A COMMENT] If the Deobandis control almost half of the mosques in the UK, then when politicians and left-leaning members of the media trot out their catch-phrase of "the vast majority of ordinary, moderate Muslims..." we know they are talking rot.

Given that the Deodandis are not the only extreme sub-sect of Islam operating in UK mosques, we can assume a majority of British Muslims are anything but "moderate".

Your figures that over 50% of mosques in the USA claim to follow a modernity-friendly version of Islam while in Britain only TWO out of 1,700 mosques claim the same tells its own story.

[ANOTHER] Only 1 in 10 of the UK's mosques is registered to perform civil marriages. So 75% of Muslim marriages in the UK have NOT been registered under the Marriage Act. This is an appalling state of affairs and leaves a large minority of British muslim women at the mercy of the misogynist sharia councils when a relationship fails. [The Spectator] Read more

13 June 2014

Was the 1980s Bradford headteacher who criticised multiculturalism right?

.... Ofsted's report finds that in Park View school, the sexes are segregated inside the classroom, their sports events are scheduled for different days and that a "madrasa curriculum" denies evolutionary theory and omits reproduction from biology classes.

One teacher has handed out a worksheet stating that women must always obey their husbands, and another has been using school facilities to copy Osama bin Laden DVDs.

[A COMMENT] Yes - of course he was. What is happening now could have possibly been predicted all those years ago. Muliti-culturism, interspersed with cultural marxism, (political correctness) was bound to fail. It might all look good on paper, and as an idea or ideology - the unpredictable part of the equation are "People and their attitudes and behaviours!"

They do not always bend to the whims of the social scientists who create these social systems and ideas.

[ANOTHER] Ray Honeyford was pilloried by the left because he disagreed with them. Now we know he was right all along.

The left's blind faith in multiculturalism has done incalculable damage to the social and cultural fabric of this country, and we will be reaping the consequences for years to come.

The Guardianistas have been tried in the court of public opinion, and found guilty. It is only a pity they cannot be prosecuted in a real court of law and made to pay for their crimes against the people.

[ANOTHER] He was right. Fundamental Islamic beliefs are clearly incompatible with Western values of democracy, equality, freedom of conscious and freedom of expression. The West certainly doesn't always live up to these values, but at least they are still considered Western values.

They might not remain so if so many Western political, media and academic elites keep undermining them with slavish devotion to political correctness and willful blindness to the obvious faults of Islamic ideology. [Guardian Cif] Read more

12 June 2014

Atheism explodes in Saudi Arabia, despite state-enforced ban

.... The number of people willing to admit to friends to being atheist or to declare themselves atheist online, usually under aliases, is certainly not big enough to be a movement or threaten the government.

A 2012 poll by WIN-Gallup International of about 500 Saudis found that 5 percent described themselves as “convinced atheist.” This was well below the global average of 13 percent.

But the greater willingness to privately admit to being atheist reflects a general disillusionment with religion and what one Saudi called “a growing notion” that religion is being misused by authorities to control the population. [SALON] Read more

The rules in ISIS’ new state: Amputations for stealing and women to stay indoors

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is now effectively governing a large chunk of Iraqi territory. Considering this is a group that al-Qaeda broke ties with for being too extreme, that's a pretty big deal.

.... Among the 16 notes are a number of rules ranging from the benign to the worrying. Here are some of the highlights (these are paraphrased, not direct translations):

.... Money taken from the government is now public. Whoever steals or loots faces amputations. Sharia law is implemented. Graves and shrines are not allowed, and will be destroyed. A women are told that stability is at home and they should not go outside unless necessary. They should be covered, in full Islamic dress. [The Washington Post] Read more

11 June 2014

Muslim school inspector employed by Ofsted refuses to shake women’s hands

A Muslim schools inspector employed by Ofsted in London refused to shake hands with women teachers, the education watchdog admitted today.

Teachers complained that he snubbed female members of staff because he said it went against his Islamic faith.

The revelation follows the “Trojan horse” extremism row that saw Ofsted and the Government attacking schools for failing to “promote tolerance”.

In particular Government officials criticised one Birmingham primary where a male teacher had refused to shake hands with a female inspector. [Evening Standard] Read more

Make all state schools secular, and all faith schools – if we must have them – private

.... We talk often, and rightly, of the gender divide, and its effect on generations of young people who grow up just as affected by pay gaps and unequal opportunities as the generation before. But we rarely talk about the faith divide. It is the last taboo; a national scandal that facilitates segregation and fosters the suspicion of outsiders.

So make all state schools secular, and all faith schools – if we must have them – private. Teach the theology of faith – all faiths – and allow children to express themselves through religious dress. But keep religion clear and distinct from decisions over who may attend the local school, and who should be shunned. That, rather than religious discrimination, is the way to a Big Society.

[A COMMENT] A good piece -- religion should have no place within the education of children beyond a purely educational, neutral course on the world's faiths. We don't have schools run according to political viewpoints, so why should we have schools affiliated with religious bodies?

If parents want to have their kids taught their religious ideas and values, then this should be done at their expense and outwith school hours, a private matter. [The Independent] Read more

The British values that need to be taught in school

I HAVE tried and failed to think of another country where it would be considered in any way controversial to propose that schools be required to build their education around that nation's values.

Can you imagine the US senate descending into mealy mouthed argument as to whether promoting American values in the classroom might upset some minority or other?

Or imagine South Africa humming and hah-ing as to whether the values on which the country proudly rebuilt itself after apartheid had a place in schools?

Even Sweden, the liberal pin up nation where David Cameron made the announcement on the teaching of British values, recently passed a law preventing religious schools teaching material that conflicts with Swedish ideals of tolerance.

Yet predictably enough as soon as the Prime Minister had made his announcement Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt accused Michael Gove of failing to live up to the British values of multi-culturalism. [Daily Express] Read more

Ofsted inspecting further schools in wake of Trojan horse affair

Ofsted inspectors are visiting more schools across England over concerns of unbalanced curriculums and poor governance in the wake of the Trojan horse affair in Birmingham, the Ofsted chief, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has announced.

A school in the London borough of Tower Hamlets and several schools in Bradford and Luton – with predominantly Muslim pupils – have been visited recently by Ofsted staff. This week the schools inspectorate published its inquiry into 21 schools in Birmingham.

[A COMMENT] I am in no way a friend of Gove but if it can be shown that there is underhandedness and private agendas going on in schools then I support more inspections. [The Guardian] Read more

Trojan Horse debate: We were wrong, all cultures are not equal

.... The crisis in Birmingham made me look up Ray Honeyford. The headmaster of a school in Bradford, Honeyford published an article highly critical of multiculturalism around the same time that I was wondering why Muslim girls in west London weren’t allowed to learn how to swim.

Honeyford was damned as a racist and forced to take early retirement, but how prophetic his words seem now. The alarmed headmaster referred to a “growing number of Asians whose aim is to preserve as intact as possible the values of the Indian subcontinent within a framework of British social and political privilege”.

[A COMMENT] If it is racist to want to see British schools teach and promote British culture and British values as the overriding and paramount culture , then I am a racist.

If it is racist to desire to live amongst people of my own ethic background, then I am a racist.

If it is racist to see sensible limits on immigration from third-world countries, to protect our infrastructure, our healthcare, our education, our services, then I am a racist.

If it is racist to want our major cities to remain free of multicultural ghettos and the social problems associated with them, then i am a racist.

If it is racist to want to live in a country that is not overwhelmed by adherents of a mediaeval religion and social structure, then I am a racist.

If it is racist to expect that the law, its enforcers, and the social services behind them , treat those who have lived and contributed to this nation at least as well as it treats incomers who have arrived in droves solely to suck at the taxpayers' teat, then I am a racist.

If it is the decision of those of our leaders who hate their own people and seek to have them replaced by outsiders, to call me a racist in the hope of silencing me,then let them; for we will one day have our revenge. They themselves will be cast out and reviled for always and replaced by a party that puts British values , British culture and the historically indigenous people of Britain FIRST. 1080 votes [The Telegraph] Read more

Michael Gove's toxic assault on schools is based on naked discrimination

.... But the campaign to bring to heel Birmingham's schools and humiliate the Muslim community in the process is a wider threat in a country where war-fuelled Islamophobia is already rampant. Dog-whistling to Ukip bigotry might seem a cute electoral trick.

However, it risks driving Muslims from participation in public life, pushing Muslim pupils out of the state sector and boosting the extremism the government claims to be battling. Gove's assault on Muslim schools in Birmingham isn't about British values: it's a poisonous campaign of discrimination and intimidation.

[A COMMENT] "It's just that they have nothing to do with extremism or terrorism" Apart from inviting an extremist terrorist-recruiter to speak at one of the schools, just off the top of my head... no, nothing to see here... 944 votes

[ANOTHER] "This is the defining example of a right wing Murdoch journalist getting the chance to carry out all his wildest dreams.." Like enforcing secularism in state schools and ensuring that children are not taught that being LGBT is wrong or that girls are inferior to boys?

"For the rest of us ..the world has gone mad." Quite. The day that liberals are demanding secular schools be allowed to teach conservative doctrine whilst conservatives point out this is insane is indeed an odd day - but here we are. 563 votes [Guardian Cif] Read more

Islamist Pressure Forces Closure of Churches in Indonesia

Pressure from Islamic extremists has forced the closure of seven churches by the authorities in Cianjur district of West Java, Indonesia. An average of 40 churches are being shut down every year.

Building permit irregularities were cited as the reason for the closures, which are the latest in a long line of similar incidents, most of them in West Java.

Church officials in Cianjur have reported the matter to the national human rights commission, which says local authorities “should not be so quick to close down and disqualify [places of worship]”.

Some of the members of the seven churches have moved to other locations for security reasons. [Barnabas Fund] Read more

Saudi minister says beheading, lashings 'cannot be changed'

Saudi Arabia’s Justice Minister has defended tough Sharia punishments such as beheading, cutting off hands and lashing, claiming they “cannot be changed” because they are enshrined in Islamic law.

“These punishments are based on divine religious texts and we cannot change them,” Mohammed Al Eissa reportedly said during a recent speech in Washington.

The minister said Islamic law had helped to reduce crime in the conservative kingdom.

Capital punishment was carried out in many other countries, including the US, and was not isolated to Islamic states, he said. [ArabianBusiness.com] Read more

10 June 2014

Baroness Warsi At Odds With Michael Gove Over Extremism Claims in Schools

Baroness Warsi has distanced herself from the education secretary's response to allegations of an Islamist plot to take over Muslim-majority schools in Birmingham - and took a jab at Gove for not having any relevant life experience on the issue.

.... She made the comments after being asked about Gove's desire to "drain the swamp" of Islamist extremism. Warsi replied: "I'm not going to comment on the language other people have used."

[A COMMENT] She has come out like the good Muslim she is and defended her Muslim brothers as that is what she has to do to save face with her community and religion. The truth is as she well knows her religion and community have no intention of integration.

[ANOTHER] Trouble is muslims want their own countries free of any faith other than their own but also want the freedom to indoctrinate their religion into the countries they have chosen to emigrate to. We simply mustn't be so stupid as to rollover in the name of multiculturism and freedom of religion. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Bradford school governors 'promoted Islamic agenda'

.... However, confidential documents seen by the BBC reveal head teacher Chris Robinson resigned from her position in 2012 because she felt her reputation, integrity and leadership were being questioned by governors.

Nick Weller, a head teacher in Bradford and chief executive of the Bradford Partnership, an organisation which supports the city's schools and represents head teachers, believes Ms Robinson was unfairly driven out by the governing body.

"I think an excellent, outstanding head teacher has been driven out by a governing body because she would not give in to their agenda of making it reflect the culture and traditions of the Muslim students, more than it did, or more than is right and proper for a state-funded school. [BBC] Read more

Trojan Horse: I warned about this years ago

.... No one should have been surprised at what was going on in schools in Birmingham. It is precisely what I was talking about over 20 years ago and Enoch Powell was warning against long before that. We have imported far too many immigrants who have come here not to live in our society, but to replicate here the society of their homelands.

This is not a tirade against migration from the EU, which we are largely unable to control, but from the rest of the world, which we could have controlled if we had had the will to do so.

However, even if suddenly the inward flow of those unwilling to adapt their society to ours were to be entirely cut off, it might already be too late to prevent the establishment of enclaves in which our values are treated with contempt, while foreign values and even laws are promoted. [The Telegraph] Read more

Gove imposing 'British values' is simply old-school political meddling

.... Gove's other show of strength was the apparent introduction of British values into our curriculum. For those wondering, British values are not weather-related moaning; neither are they the phrasing of commands as though they were questions.

Instead they are focused on respect for fellow citizens, the rule of law and democracy. We might ask how these values are uniquely British rather than, say, Icelandic. Or why a government minister, aware of the staggering rise in Islamophobia, is happy to mouth empty nationalistic phrases.

[A COMMENT] There are such things as British Values. They exist. You should not be allowed to create religious enclaves in Britain. We have to abolish faith schools and follow the example of France. 385 votes

[ANOTHER] Astonishing isn't it, despite being diametrically opposed to the values that liberals hold dear hard-line Islam gets not just a pass but active support from a large part of the left. 429 votes

[ANOTHER] I agree with Gove, and I am on the left. 462 votes

[ANOTHER] What's wrong with British schools promoting British values? 392 votes.

[ANOTHER] So what if it is meddling? Based on all the evidence we have seen it is essential if belated meddling. We need an education system that teaches tolerance and secularism, not that one that tolerates or even espouses intolerance. Just because that intolerance calls itself a religion it should not be protected, especially given its attitudes towards women, homosexuality and other faiths. 198 votes

[YET ANOTHER] I thought it was interesting that the author chose Iceland rather than Saudi Arabia for that particular example, which would have been more apt given the context of this debate. But then that would have diluted the attempted misdirection wouldn't it. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Zeman will not apologize for statements on Islam

Czech President Milos Zeman will not apologize for his recent statement linking the Islamic ideology with violence, his spokesman Jirí Ovcácek told the Czech News Agency today, reacting to critics' demand that Zeman apologize.

The apology is claimed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), indignant at the statements Zeman made at the May 27 celebration of the Israeli Independence Day in Prague. [Czech News Agency] Read more