31 October 2014

Feminist activist detained in Saudi Arabia over 'calls for women’s liberation'

One of Saudi Arabia’s best known feminists was arrested this week and is being held for questioning on accusations she has “insulted Islam” by advocating greater women’s rights and supporting calls for a secular society.

Souad al-Shammary has been detained at a prison in Jeddah since 28 October after being summoned for interrogation, according to a family friend.

Shammary is a co-founder of the Saudi Liberals forum and was one of the first women to defend legal cases in court. She has played a prominent role in a campaign for women to be allowed the right to drive and regularly appears in the media to debate feminist issues. [Middle East Eye] Read more

30 October 2014

When does making fun of faith cross the line?

A comedian might say it's his job to make fun of everything and everybody under the sun - the more wicked, the better. In Germany, a debate has broken out after a Muslim citizen filed suit over a comedian's jokes.

.... Now the issue has returned to the headlines in Germany, after a Muslim - Erhart Toka - from the German city of Osnabrück filed charges against comedian Dieter Nuhr.

Toka said the comedian instigated "dumb, stupid agitation" against Islam. He called Nuhr a "hatemonger," making reference to quips including: "Islam is only tolerant whenever it has no power," and "In Islam, it's true that women are free - first and foremost, in fact, they're free of having to decide everything."

"He's to the point, and he exaggerates," says Barbara Hornberger, a German cultural studies scholar specializing in pop culture. "You can say it's tasteless and not very helpful in the integration debate, but that isn't his job - this is about entertainment." [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Pakistan province rewrites text books for Islam

Peshwar - A Pakistani province is rewriting school books to make them more Islamic, inserting verses on jihad, removing pictures of unveiled women and changing material on recent history, officials said on Thursday.

The public tussle over the changes mirrors a struggle for power at the heart of Pakistan's young democracy. Secular, liberal parties are vying with conservative, religious parties for influence in the nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people. [News24] Read more

29 October 2014

One in four Australians has negative attitude towards Muslims

The social cohesion report, published by Monash University and the Scanlon Foundation, measured public attitudes on issues like immigration and multiculturalism.

It found people were five times more likely to hold negative attitudes towards Muslims than any other religious group.

Report author Professor Andrew Markus said the results were troubling.

"What we're finding is negativity towards Muslims is five times higher than towards Christians and Buddhists, so there's quite a significant issue there," said Professor Markus. [ABC News Online] Read more

28 October 2014

Most Arab states share Isis’s ideology. They’re trying to have it both ways

Compulsion in religion is the ideological foundation stone of Isis and Islamist movements in general. Believing they have superior knowledge of God’s wishes for mankind, such groups feel entitled – even required – to act on his behalf and punish those who fail to comply with the divine will. In doing so, of course, they do not claim to be seeking power for themselves but merely trying to make the world more holy.

Bombing Isis and banning Islamist movements may suppress such movements for a while but it does nothing to address the ideological problem. Unless the question of compulsion in religion is tackled head-on, and in a serious way, they will resurface later or similar groups will emerge to replace them.

Although freedom of belief is a widely accepted principle internationally, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is still far from becoming established in the Arab countries. This is true of both governments and society.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 570 votes] Yes we have to be fair, they only want to kill you if you convert away from their religion.

That's why in many cases we are great mates with some of these states. Lovely guys

[ANOTHER] Thanks Brian. I would say that a lot of the mosques in the UK fit this pattern of pointing to full shariah as an ideal but backing off when necessary. One colleague has highlighted that extremism like ISIS will make mosque teaching get off the fence and either declare for or against it. It will be hard for them to walk a path that means turning a blind eye to consequences.

[ANOTHER] Wow, an honest analysis of the attitudes regarding religion and Islamic supremacy in the Guardian. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Turkey’s gender gap widens, ranks 125 among 142 countries

For 2014, 142 countries were ranked according to an index that measured national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health-based criteria.

The objective of the project is to find whether women are presented with equal opportunities as men, regardless of whether they are in rich countries or poor ones. In the first report, produced in 2006, Turkey ranked 105 out 115 countries surveyed.

Out of the 111 countries that have been measured since 2006, 105 have been making progress, but Turkey is one of the few that have fallen down the ranks.

Thirty percent of countries are losing gains they have made in education, and at 40 percent Turkey is one of them. Interestingly, in health Turkey scored 0.608 in 2013, with 0 representing inequality and 1 representing equality, which rose to 0.618 in 2014. [Today's Zaman] Read more

Inside Sharia law: SBS reporter Patrick Abboud reveals life under the morality police in Aceh

THE woman is led arm-in-arm and forced to kneel.

Behind her, a masked man holding a long cane prepares to whip her several times.

Her punishment was selling food during Ramadan.

This is how punishment is carried out in Aceh, Indonesia, the only province in the South-East Asian country to practice Sharia law.

Abboud said one woman was caned publicly for selling food during Ramadan, and as these pictures show her punishment is far from light.

For others it is even worse.

One policewoman told Abboud: “Women who wear tight clothes are inviting bad things to happen to them, such as rape. Actually, crime happens because we invite it. [news.com.au] Read more

27 October 2014

The Islamization of Great Britain

.... The first problem is that the cultural gap is widening. Unlike generations of immigrants across the globe, including Muslims, who have worked to become part of the culture and fabric of welcoming nations, many of today's newly minted British Islamic fundamentalists aren't just disinterested in following the laws and cultural norms of Britain -- in many ways, they seem openly hostile to them.

It's not just that parts of England today feel as closed as Saudi Arabia or that even non-Muslim women endure angry slurs in some neighborhoods for failure to wear head-scarves. Public opinion polls reinforce that sense of "other" -- like the 2009 poll that was revealed as part of the WikiLeaks stash of U.S. diplomatic cables, which found that every third British Muslim student supported killing in Islam's name; or the 2006 poll which found that four in ten British Muslims hoped that Britain would one day adopt the draconian Sharia law.

The second problem is the increasing frequency with which extremism is hitting close to home.

[A COMMENT] Demographics are destiny. The UK has apparently decided, through its immigration policies, that it wishes to become majority Muslim during the 21st Century. In 2001, England had 1.5 million Muslims; in 2011, that number had increased to 2.7 million Muslims, or 5% of the population.

Will it be 9-10% by 2021, 18-20% by 2031...50% by 2051? What a fascinating transition it will be, when Londoners hear calls to morning prayer from minarets of St Paul's Cathedral.

Don't believe it? Neither would the Byzantines have believed such about the Hagia Sophia, until it was converted into a mosque in 1453. Allahu akbar, old chum. [TheHuffingtonPost.com] Read more

Netherlands: When the Questions Become the Crime

Last March, Geert Wilders, the controversial right-wing Dutch Parliamentarian best known for his stance against Muslims and Muslim immigration, stood before supporters at a campaign rally and asked a simple question: "Do you want more Moroccans, or fewer?"

He expected the question to raise enthusiasm among the crowd, and drive his party to greater Parliamentary success. It has also possibly landed him before the courts, to be tried for "hate speech" -- a crime in the Netherlands, which, despite its claims of "freedom of speech," still criminalizes speech that "offends" on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or even personal convictions and ideology. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Thousands of Muslim children not being vaccinated against the flu after Kirklees imams reject NHS nasal spray

Thousands of Muslim children in Kirklees and Calderdale could miss out on the flu vaccine because of religious rules.

Health officials have admitted concerns after it emerged that the majority of Muslim parents would not accept the use of a new nasal vaccine called Fluenz.

The product is being used to vaccinate all children in England while Kirklees has also been chosen as a pilot area for a school programme for 11 to 13-year-olds.

Health officials have confirmed there is a tiny amount of pork gelatine used in the vaccine but Islamic scholars in other parts of the UK and the world have declared it is halal. [Huddersfield Examiner] Read more

25 October 2014

Tunisia is showing the Arab world how to nurture democracy

.... Events in Tunisia are significant not only for its 11 million inhabitants, but for the wider region. The birth of this first fully fledged Arab democracy could offer a model of hope amid the feverish voices of despair and nihilism, and the backdrop of military dictators, corrupt theocrats and militant anarchists.

Just as Tunisia showed Arabs the way out of the prison of dictatorship three years ago, today it is again demonstrating that on the ruins of the old order a democracy can be built, arduous as the road there may be.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Rereading this piece I noticed an extraordinary hypocrisy. This is what Ghannoushi says now:

"Tunisia’s strongest asset may be its cohesive society. With no sectarian, ethnic, religious or tribal divides, political and ideological differences do not turn into societal divisions."

In other words, Tunisia's strongest asset is its lack of multiculturalism, pluralism, and religious diversity. Tunisia was once of course a Christian place, home to great Christian intellectuals, in the days before the Arab conquest. But now it is 99% Islamic and bans Christians from trying to attract new believers. This enforced homogeneity, Ghannoushi now implies, is Tunisia's unique source of strength.

So when she lived in London what was her attitude to pluralism? What was her attitude to the spread of Islam in lands that had never had a single mosque until living memory? Did she lament it as a political curse, a source of 'societal division'?

Of course not. Look at some of these excerpts from her previous columns in The Guardian. They're all about how nasty Europe is not to be more open to diversity, by which she usually means not being more open to Islam. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Turkey: The "Great Muslim Democracy"

Where Turkey stands today is a perfect example of how, when Islamists -- mild or otherwise -- rule a country, even the most basic liberties are systematically suppressed. The seal of approval for the terrible failure of what U.S. President Barack Obama once called a "successful Muslim democracy" came from the country's top judge.

Hasim Kilic, President of Turkey's Constitutional Court, and himself a conservative, recently said that, "A climate of fear has emerged in Turkey;" and he called on the Turks "to resist [it], and not give up." It is not always easy to do so.

.... "The adoption of legislation undermining the independence of the judiciary, massive reassignments and dismissal of judges and prosecutors and even detention of a high number of police officers, as well as blanket bans imposed on social media" are among the findings of the report.

Did President Obama read the EU's assessment of the "great Muslim democracy?" [Gatestone Institute] Read more

24 October 2014

Afghan newspaper’s ‘blasphemy’ causes protests after rebuking Isis and Islam

A newspaper columnist condemning Islamic State (Isis) and the Taliban triggered demonstrations in several Afghan cities on Friday, with protesters denouncing the article as blasphemous and calling on the government to punish the publication.

In Kabul, a crowd of approximately 500 people, including clerics and several members of parliament, gathered in front of the Eid Gah Mosque, the city’s second largest house of worship.

“The government must stop the people who insulted the prophet, the Qur’an and Islam, and prevent them from leaving the country,” said Fazl Hadi Wazin, an Islamic scholar at Salam University who spoke from the outdoor podium. [The Guardian] Read more

23 October 2014

Why Is Islam So Attractive To Criminals And Homicidal Maniacs?

Isn't that the question that ought to be asked all over the Western world? Not to try to say that the mentally ill, who just happen to be converts to Islam, kill people, but that those who are psychically off, if they convert to anything, nowadays will almost certainly to convert to Islam.

So what is it about Islam that makes it so attractive to them?

Let's give the answers now, again, before some clever fellows apply for a government grant of five or perhaps ten million dollars to answer, after ponderous studies, involving lots and lots of researchers, and papers, and conferences, and come, finally, tortuously, to the conclusions which you and I can come to right now, and spoil their well-paid, overpaid, fun.

1. Islam offers a Total Regulation of Life. Like the Junior Woodchucks of America, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, you get special Arabic words to learn: Allahu Akbar, alhumdulillah, Jihad, Kuffar, things like that. You get to make up a special name, in Arabic, for yourself. .... A new identity, and an instant Community of Bruvvers, fellow Believers, one for all and all for one (that can be especially important in prison).

2. Islam offers a Compleat Explanation of the Universe. Life is so confusing, so overwhelming. But to the True Believer, life suddenly beomes simple. See Eric Hoffer. There is the Enemy -- in Islam,it's the non-Muslims, the Unbelievers, the Kuffars, the Ungrateful Ones. .... [New English Review] Read more

Ottawa shooting: Canadian Muslims denounce attacks - Muslim groups respond to the Ottawa shooting

Canadian Muslim groups have condemned the two deadly attacks this week, saying the incidents have no connection to Islam or its beliefs.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed a guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday before launching an attack in the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings.

This came two days after Martin Couture-Rouleau, struck and killed a Canadian Forces member with a vehicle. Police had said Couture-Rouleau had been recently "radicalized." [cbc.radio-canada.ca] Read more

22 October 2014

My brother wanted to be a jihadi – and society is creating many more like him

.... The inherent problem in attempting to tackle radicalisation is that often it is too late. By the time its signs begin to show, the scene is already set. Extremism of any kind is a symptom of an unhealthy society and, like any illness, in order to eradicate it, we should look to treat its cause.

Yes, charismatic ideologues play a part in the radicalisation process. But deep down, for those who are vulnerable, it’s not really about religious conviction or saving the world from oppression or defeating the evil west – these are just emotional vents; justifications for appeasing the deep lonely spaces of the human condition. It’s about feeling important, valued and ultimately, having a stake in the world surrounding them.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1061 votes] Oh, right. It's societies fault. That must be why there are millions of ordinary UK citizens over in Syria fighting a war.

Or maybe it's just a lot of clueless fuckwits with dreams of martyrdom and glory?

Good riddance to them.

[ANOTHER 477v] Islamic apologist bullshit. It's not society's fault that your brother is a psychopath. We live in the 21st century. To most of us killing in the name of religion is unthinkable.

[ANOTHER 384v] No, I don't think 'society' is to blame for Islamic extremism. Islam is to blame for Islamic extremism.

[ANOTHER 328v] And for every person like your brother there are a thousand lonely vulnerable people our society is failing and yet they do not go on to become religious freak wannabe murderers. Perhaps because, unlike your brother and his ridiculous mates, they aren't pillocks. What exactly does society owe the pillock? [Guardian Cif] Read more

Twitter 'source of all evil' says Saudi Arabia cleric

Twitter users often complain the site is addictive and time-consuming.

But according to Saudi Arabia's top Muslim cleric, Twitter is "the source of all evil and devastation".

Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, made the comments on his Fatwa television show earlier this week.

"If it were used correctly, it could be of real benefit, but unfortunately it's exploited for trivial matters," he said about the social networking site.

"People are rushing to it thinking, 'It's a source of credible information' but it's a source of lies and falsehood." [BBC] Read more

Ottawa shooting: Harper’s pro-US agenda has turned Canada into a target – and divided society

The safest country in the world is no longer a safe place and many Canadians will be asking today whether this is because the Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper pushed Canada into joining the US-led war in the Middle East.

A multicultural society which prided itself on tolerance became divided when the Conservative government put a number of Muslims on a “watch list” in addition to announcing three weeks ago that it would send 600 special forces members along with fighter jets to support the US effort in their fight against Isis in Iraq.

Two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car on Monday near Montreal – one of them died later. The attacker was shot dead and identified as a Muslim convert influenced by “radical Islamists”.

[A COMMENT] Pardon me, but how can you claim to be a "journalist" when you're so clearly absolutely uninformed or willfully lying about the subject matter which you write about? I think it's time you shut up and let the grown ups handle things.

[ANOTHER] "Are you actually suggesting that Canadian Muslim's, as a group, will be radicalized and turn to terrorism because the Canadian government is responding a request for assistance from the Iraqi government?"

That is exactly what he is suggesting, which in turn basically translates as we should allow our foreign policy to be dictated to us by murdering terrorists.

Yeah, that'll work.

[ANOTHER] So ISIS started buying space in leading new papers too? [The Independent] Read more

20 October 2014

Paris Opera ejects woman for wearing veil

.... The incident took place when a veiled woman was spotted on the front row of a performance of La Traviata at the Opera Bastille, Jean-Philippe Thiellay told AFP, confirming a media report.

.... The woman was sitting just behind the conductor, visible to monitors, wearing a scarf covering her hair and a veil over her mouth and nose during the performance on October 3.

"I was alerted in the second act," said Thiellay, adding that "some performers said they did not want to sing" if something was not done. [The Local] Read more

Controversial Parliament House burqa ban dumped

.... Senator Lambie labelled the backdown on the burqa ban a morale booster for Islamic extremists.

"The decision today to allow burqas and other forms of identity concealing items of dress to be worn in Australia's Parliament will put a smile on the face of the overseas Islamic extremists and their supporters in Australia," she said.

"Today's decision will prove how weak and indecisive we have become as a nation and how our PM lacks the courage of his convictions when it comes to Australia's national security."

Senator Bernardi welcomed the new identity checks but said he was disappointed the new measure didn't extend to a total burqa ban.

"I welcome the requirement to be visually identified," Senator Bernardi told Fairfax Media.

"But I think the decision against a blanket ban on identity concealing garments is more a sop to political correctness than anything else.' [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

Paris opera ejects woman in Muslim veil after cast refuses to sing

A woman in niqab, a traditional Muslim veil, was asked to leave the opera in Paris after the cast said they wouldn’t perform if a solution wasn’t found. She had to leave the auditorium, because wearing a veil covering the whole face is banned in France.

The incident happened during the performance of La Traviata at Opera Bastille in Paris on October 3, Jean-Philippe Thiellay the opera house’s deputy director, told AFP.

The fuss blew on Sunday, October 19, in French media.

The woman and her companion, tourists from one of the Gulf States, were sitting just behind the conductor and were visible to monitors. Their seats were reportedly the most expensive in the opera, costing 231 euros ($294) each. [RT/TV-Novosti] Read more

19 October 2014

'Violent' Muslims? 'Amoral' atheists? It's time to stop shouting and start talking to each other

Lost in the venomous arguments that have recently been flying back and forth between Muslims and atheists – on HBO and on op-ed pages, in the United States and beyond – is just how much these two marginalized, underrepresented groups have in common.

According to a Pew poll conducted this year, Muslims and atheists are the two least favorably viewed religious or ethical groups in the US.

Both communities are severely underrepresented in the general population – roughly 2% of Americans identify as atheists, compared to 1% for Muslims. Both face rising levels of animosity from the general public. And both tend to be defined by the loudest voices within their communities.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 425 votes] Can we stop comparing atheists with 7th century supremacist political ideologies please?

[ANOTHER 338v] "At the same time, the atheist community continues to struggle with fraught debates over anti-theism, sexism and racism among atheists."

That's news to me. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in the existence of God, that's it. How that has anything to do with race or sexism is unfathomable.

The monotheistic religions on the other hand carry baggage. There are certain tenets and dogmas we can rightly ascribe to Muslims, Jews and Christians; such as their views on abortion and sexual practices.

[ANOTHER 283v] "When 46% of Americans think Islam is more violent than other faiths but only 37% even know a Muslim."

But this is a completely meaningless statistic. I don't really know any Muslims personally outside of work however, recent history has taught me that a minority of Muslims who murder in the name of Islam tend to give everyone else of the same faith a reputation for violence and intolerance.

[ANOTHER 193v] The apologists for Islam are becoming ever more desperate in their attempts to defend the indefensible. Name-calling, illogical cultural relativism (when is the last time the Jains or Amish bothered anyone) and the ever present threat of violence have run its course. Time to put the "teachings" of 7th century desert nomads into the history bin where they belong. [Guardian Cif] Read more

18 October 2014

Revealed, the private academy set up by teachers barred over Trojan Horse plot

Teachers sacked, suspended or banned for their roles in the Trojan Horse plot have set up a private academy and are continuing to teach children.

It can also be disclosed that Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, has written to one of the five school at the heart of the plot, expressing regret at the publication last week of highly critical Ofsted reinspection reports saying the schools had done little to fix their problems.

Mrs Morgan questioned the timing of the reinspections, which were done early in the new term, saying they were only a "snapshot" of the position at that time and claiming that "a great deal of progress" had been made in the month or so since.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] This is the real immigration problem - not the EU immigrants who very often take on work at minimum pay and zero hours contracts.

It might be a sweeping generalisation, but it appears that the majority of Muslim immigrants do not integrate into their host society and accept their values. Unless and until these immigrants are prepared to accept British values and integrate fully into the British system, there will always be problems.

[ANOTHER] Their Koran tells them "Do not make friends with any but your own people".

With an instruction like that, integration is impossible.

[ANOTHER] The fact that most Muslims are law abiding doesn't detract from the fact that Islam itself is inherently violent, supremacist and highly anachronistic.

It's quite telling when there are such convoluted explanations from apologists about certain verses and hadiths which are quoted by Jihadists as their justification in order to make the literal reading of those texts the exact opposite of their 'explanations' [The Telegraph] Read more

The Lahore court’s decision to uphold Asia Bibi’s death penalty is far from just

.... The power of extremist groups, and the acquiescence of politicians, has had a big impact on the direction of public discussion in Pakistan. The targeting of anyone who speaks out about blasphemy laws has had a chilling effect, and even outspoken liberal voices are reluctant to make the case for reform publicly. Several years ago, while living in Karachi, I wrote on the subject for one of Pakistan’s leading liberal English-language newspapers. The editors decided not to publish it because the subject was deemed too risky.

[A TOP RATED COMMENT] And those of us fortunate to live in modern societies must fight this at every level. We should sanction Islamic regimes who kill blasphemers and apostates, and we should resist the pressure for censorship at home. Next time let's hope the Guardian prints the cartoons.

[ANOTHER] It is utterly crazy, and not a little frightening, that a country with a nuclear capability clings to outmoded and outdated religious beliefs within their laws.

While Pakistan allows religious belief to influence its laws and politics to this extreme then we need to be very careful about our dealings with them.

[ANOTHER] "Asia Bibi’s death penalty is far from just". Understatement of the year.

Why not have a headline that actually reflects what's in the article? Something like "Bibi's death penalty is at outrage to civilisation" or "Bibi's Death penalty shows religious intolerance at its worst" or "shows Pakistan to be as barbaric as ISIS". [The Guardian] Read more

17 October 2014

Trojan Horse: There was no extremism in Birmingham schools, says teaching union chief

The general secretary of teaching union NASUWT has claimed there has been no radicalisation or religious extremism in Birmingham’s Trojan Horse schools.

Chris Keates, general secretary of Rednal-based union, has dismissed the findings of two independent reports and has written to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to complain about one penned by former anti-terror chief Peter Clarke.

Mr Clarke, who led a Government-ordered probe into the Trojan Horse plot after five Birmingham schools were placed in special measures following snap Ofsted inspections, found “compelling evidence” of an attempt to “gain control” of some school governing bodies. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Pakistani Christian loses appeal against death sentence for blasphemy

A Pakistani court upheld the death penalty on Thursday against a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, her lawyer said, in a case that drew global headlines after two prominent politicians who tried to help her were assassinated.

In 2010, Asia Bibi, a mother of four, became the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law.

She is alleged to have made derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.

Bibi’s lawyer, Naeem Shakir, said his client had been involved in a dispute with her neighbours and that her accusers had contradicted themselves.

Two witnesses allegedly involved in the incident did not appear in court, he said. A prayer leader did appear, saying he did not witness the original altercation, but that Bibi had confessed in front of him.

“I was expecting the opposite decision,” Shakir said. “We will file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a few days.” [Reuters] Read more

LHC upholds blasphemy convict Asia Bibi's death penalty

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday upheld the death sentence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy four years ago, as her lawyers vowed to appeal.

Asia Bibi, a mother of five, has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) during an argument with a Muslim woman.

“A two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court dismissed the appeal of Asia Bibi but we will file an appeal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” her lawyer Shakir Chaudhry told AFP.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where 97 per cent of the population is Muslim and unproven claims regularly lead to mob violence. [AFP] Read more

16 October 2014

Imam: It's 'code red' for American Muslims

.... They wanted to hear Imam Suhaib Webb, resident scholar of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and widely considered one of the country's most influential Muslims, respond to Sam Harris and Bill Maher, who recently called Islam the "mother lode of bad ideas" and compared Muslims to the Mafia.

.... Instead of attacking Maher and Harris, though, Webb challenged his fellow Muslims. "It's code red," he preached last Friday, pounding the minbar for emphasis. "People do not like us, and we need to get with it!"

.... "No community survives that fails to identify itself," Webb said, "and right now the rhetoric and the perception of the Muslim community, whether we believe it or not, is not very good."

Instead, American Muslims frequently find themselves judged by how Islam is practiced overseas: stories about the group calling itself Islamic State, death sentences in Sudan, and restricted rights for women in Saudi Arabia. [CNN] Read more

Pakistan: Death sentence for Christian woman latest 'poisonous' blasphemy law outrage

A Pakistani court’s decision to uphold the death sentence against a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy is the latest unjust use of ‘poisonous’ blasphemy laws in the country, Amnesty International said today.

The Lahore High Court today rejected the appeal against the death sentence imposed on Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad during an argument, a charge which she vehemently denies.

Charges brought against individuals under the blasphemy laws in Pakistan are often unfounded malicious accusations stemming from personal enmity. [Amnesty International UK] Read more

15 October 2014

Outrage over swim class for Muslim women

.... The swimming course, which was proposed by town’s Islamic Centre, will take place between January 19th and April 20th next year and is aimed at bringing women of the same faith together, Corriere della Sera reported.

Both Muslim and non-Muslims women will be allowed to join.

While the burkini is not obligatory, Muslim women are requested to wear wet suits with sleeves and knee-length shorts as well as a swimming cap. The instructors will all be female.

The proposal was welcomed by the Geas sports association in Sesto, which described the initiative as “an important moment for integration”. [The Local] Read more

'Trojan Horse' teachers banned from the classroom

Teachers at the centre of a social networking group that allegedly circulated homophobic and anti-Western messages have been barred from the classroom in the wake of the “Trojan Horse” affair.

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, confirmed that two teachers had been subjected to interim banning orders pending a full hearing of the profession’s regulatory body.

In evidence to MPs, she confirmed that a number of other teachers were also being investigating. [The Telegraph] Read more

Tony Blair's 'war of ideas' - What, exactly, is religious extremism?

.... This is pie-in-the-sky stuff. Let's take the example of a nice, "moderate" Wahhabi school (or even a state school) in Saudi Arabia. Students there will be taught that anyone who is not a Wahhabi is destined for hell, and that non-believers are generally inferior because they haven't accepted the true faith. A visit from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation asking them to treat people from different faiths equally isn't going to change that, because it's an essential part of Wahhabi doctrine.

.... Adding an element of religious education, as opposed to instruction, would be a step forward of sorts, but a more radical proposal, advocated by A C Grayling at the recent conference on secularism in London, would be to abolish religious education in schools altogether and replace it with "the history of ideas" – a history in which according to Grayling religion would be no bigger than the dot on a TV screen when you switch it off.

[al-bab.com] Read more

14 October 2014

'Trojan Horse' schools which are ‘taken over’ by Islamist ideas are still not improved

Five Birmingham schools declared failing in the wake of the alleged “Trojan Horse” takeover plot by hardline Muslims have still not improved, Ofsted has warned.

“Very little action” has been taken to address the serious concerns raised about each school’s performance, amid slow progress in appointing new governors and senior leaders, the watchdog said.

In the first update since the schools were inspected earlier this year, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw said that “too much poor practice remained unchallenged during the summer term”.

The action and improvement plans of all five schools are “not fit for purpose”, he declared. In one case, at Park View Academy, “little had been done” to tackle segregation between the sexes, and encourage boys and girls to sit together in lessons and share ideas, inspectors warned.

At Golden Hillock school, teenagers studying for a GCSE in Religious Education “have to teach themselves” options other than Islam, Ofsted said, leaving students at a “significant disadvantage”. [The Independent] Read more

13 October 2014

Islamic State Have A Magazine Out, And It Justifies Sex Slavery

Islamic State fighters captured, enslaved and sold Yazidi women and children, and claim the act is justified in Islam to prevent men from feeling "tempted" by other, non-enslaved women, according to a piece in the group's full-colour magazine.

The magazine, which is published in English and evidently aimed at a Western audience, confirms the long-rumoured atrocities committed by the group in Iraq, where Yazidi women have reported being kidnapped, sold for a few dollars and repeatedly raped.

.... Anyone opposing slavery in such circumstances is not a Muslim, the piece says. "Enslaving the families of the kuffar [non-believers] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharia that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur'an... and thereby apostatizing from Islam." [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

12 October 2014

Trojan Horse 'just the tip of the iceberg’

The "Trojan Horse” affair in Birmingham was merely the “tip of the iceberg” of Islamist infiltration in British schools, according to the man appointed by the Government to investigate the scandal.

Peter Clarke spoke amid indications that the plot, where hard-line Muslims hounded out secular head teachers in order to “Islamise” state schools, is flaring up again and broadening its reach.

He strongly disputed a statement made two weeks ago by Nicky Morgan, the new Education Secretary, that ministers had “got to the bottom of the issue”. Asked if he agreed with the claim, made on BBC Radio WM, Mr Clarke said: “Of course the Government hasn’t got to the bottom of the Trojan Horse affair, nowhere near it. [The Telegraph] Read more

11 October 2014

Child abuse policy at school run by Muslim hardliner was based on sharia: Islamic scholars were to be consulted in welfare cases

A school run by a Muslim hardliner was citing sharia in its child protection policies, it emerged yesterday.

Ofsted inspectors found that Al-Aqsa school in Leicester operated on the basis that ‘Ulama’ – Islamic scholars – should be consulted in child abuse and welfare cases, as well as ‘relevant outside agencies’.

The school – founded by Ibrahim Hewitt, an Islamist fundamentalist who says homosexuals should be lashed – declared ‘sharia and the law of the land will be the prime arbiters in child protection concerns’.

This raised the prospect of a different level of protection for Muslim children, said critics. [Daily Mail] Read more

10 October 2014

Terrorists have valid grievances, say some Muslims

Government and law enforcement authorities have failed to win the "hearts and minds" of Muslim Australians with a landmark survey finding that 21 per cent think terrorists have legitimate grievances.

New counter-terrorism laws and police operations risk becoming counter-productive because they have "over-reached" and have created a "siege mentality", researchers found.

The nation-wide study, a government-funded Australian Research Council Discovery project, is the first to quantify the consequences of Australia's fight against terrorism for Muslim communities.

Dr Adrian Cherney, from the University of Queensland, and Associate Professor Kristina Murphy, from Griffith University, surveyed 800 Muslims between June and August and conducted 14 focus groups across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. They will present their full report next year. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

09 October 2014

Australia's terrorism laws 'could criminalise preaching from Qur'an'

Preaching from parts of the Qur’an calling on Muslims to defend their land could fall foul of Australia’s new counter-terrorism laws, senior Islamic clerics fear.

The Australian National Imams Council said the proposed broadening of the offence of advocating terrorism to include those who “promote” and “encourage” violence would have “serious implications on free speech and will have a chilling effect on legitimate religious and political debate”.

In a submission to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security on Wednesday, the organisation, which represents 250 imams around Australia, said a member could find himself charged with advocating terrorism “if he for example advocated the duty of a Muslim to defend his land”.

[A TOP RATED COMMENT] Of course this is the nub of the issue. ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, Taliban, Al-Qaida, Bali bombers, abu Sayif etc etc take their inspiration from the pages of al Koran. Now even the clerics recognize publicly the martial and deadly nature of the moslem scriptures.

Before anyone jumps up and declares "the Christian/Jewish Bible has similar, if not the same", you must recognize that according to Christian belief, the words of the Bible have "been written by men inspired by God" whereas the Moslem dogma is that the words of the Koran are directly from Allah via Michael to Mohammed. Therefore as such it is unchanging and immutable for all time.

It has always been thus. Bombing and wars will not change a letter of it nor the desire to follow it. Reformation is not possible as that would involve resisting and disputing the word of Allah. The Koran cannot be compared to the Bible and to do so is naive to the extreme. [The Guardian] Read more

Fareed Zakaria: Let’s be honest, Islam has a problem right now

When television host Bill Maher declares on his weekly show that “the Muslim world .?.?. has too much in common with ISIS ” and guest Sam Harris says that Islam is “the mother lode of bad ideas,” I understand why people are upset. Maher and Harris, an author, made crude simplifications and exaggerations. And yet, they were also talking about something real.

I know the arguments against speaking of Islam as violent and reactionary. It has a following of 1.6 billion people. Places such as Indonesia and India have hundreds of millions of Muslims who don’t fit these caricatures. That’s why Maher and Harris are guilty of gross generalizations. But let’s be honest. Islam has a problem today. The places that have trouble accommodating themselves to the modern world are disproportionately Muslim.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] "A small minority of Muslims celebrates violence and intolerance and harbors deeply reactionary attitudes toward women and minorities."

No. A small minority of Muslims PERPETRATES violence, but unfortunately a far larger subset - perhaps a majority - permit it, enable it, and harbor it.

[ANOTHER] "So, the strategy to reform Islam is to tell 1.6 billion Muslims, most of whom are pious and devout, that their religion is evil and they should stop taking it seriously? That is not how Christianity moved from its centuries-long embrace of violence, crusades, inquisitions, witch-burning and intolerance to its modern state."

Sorry Fareed, but that is exactly what happened. The West started to take our holy book less seriously. The Old Testament is just as warlike, intolerant, sexist, and homophobic as the Koran. But we started to take things like constitutions and democracy and science and human rights more seriously than religion. And until Islam does the same we will have problems. [The Washington Post] Read more

Salman Rushdie condemns 'hate-filled rhetoric' of Islamic fanaticism

Accusations of 'Islamophobia' are being levelled at anyone who dares to speak out against the "hate-filled rhetoric" of Islamic fanaticism, Salman Rushdie has claimed in a speech condemning Isil and "this new age of religious mayhem".

Rushdie voiced his fears that the language of "jihadi-cool" is seducing young British Muslims, many via Twitter and YouTube, into joining the "decapitating barbarianism" of Isil, the group also referred to as Islamic State or Isis.

In his PEN/Pinter Prize Lecture, the author said all religions have their extremists but "the overwhelming weight of the problem lies in the world of Islam". [The Telegraph] Read more

08 October 2014

The Sun’s ‘Unite against Isis’ campaign is a proxy for anti-Muslim bigotry

You, Muslim! Is your Islam ‘British’ enough? Are you standing up to extremism? If not, you are Part of the Problem, apparently.

Imagine your average British Muslim family sitting around the breakfast table with the papers this morning. On the front page of the Sun, an image of a woman in a hijab fashioned out of the Union Jack and the headline “United Against IS” hollers out at them. In the right-hand corner, a subheadline urges them to “stand up to extremists”.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1581 votes] If you want to be part of a decent society, you are expected to stand up to anything that threatens that society.

If you define yourself through your religion, you should really stand up and say these people don't represent my religion.

[SECOND 1453v] "Police swoop on first suspected Islamic terror cell in UK" and it gets twisted to be about "Islamophobia". Why am I not surprised?

[THIRD 1251v] But a tiny minority of Muslims are proving to be an enemy within, aren't they? They undeniably exist. A few have joined IS. They are happy to listen to anti-British hate-speech at their mosques, they bring up their children to think of mainstream society as inferior and contemptible. Why aren't you directing your fury at them?

.... Bloody hell. You behave as though mainstream society should just ignore this in order that some Muslims are not 'offended'. I mean, really?? You are quite comfortable with things continuing to escalate and pour contempt on people like Sara Khan who are trying to help?

[FOURTH 1225v] People aren't deaf to muslim condemnation of extremism, it's just that the condemnation isn't very loud. In fact it's a whisper compared to the accompanying screams of 'Islamophobia!'.

[FIFTH 1039v] .... this would never have been a problem if British Muslims had done more to integrate into society in the first place. No other community seems to have the same problems. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Muslims warn anti-terror laws could prevent teaching from Kora

A Muslim cleric who preaches from certain passages of the Koran could be caught in the "broad" net of the government's new anti-terror law, Islamic leaders have warned.

Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohammad and the Australian National Imams Council have called for the offence of "advocating terrorism" to be removed from the so-called Foreign Fighters Bill, currently before Parliament.

They went public with their opposition on the same day Prime Minister Tony Abbott backed the draft legislation as essential to reining in "preachers of hate", including the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

07 October 2014

Identifying the Real Cause of Terrorism

.... We simply need to open our eyes and see the problem as it is. The thread that connects almost all so-called "Muslim" terrorists is militant Salafism.

The same violent ideology that the late Saudi crown prince and the royal family's most influential ideologue Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz referred to when he said "the state of Saudi Arabia is a Salafi state. We will forever remain as such and shall never deviate from our Salafi roots as it is the source of our pride and greatness". [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

06 October 2014

The niqab makes me feel liberated, and no law will stop me from wearing it

.... Tony Abbott and Jacqui Lambie say that any restriction on the burqa or niqab is a matter for national security. I completely understand, but their claims are ignorant: in fact it is is part of sharia law that we must uncover our faces for identification. When I went to get a parking permit at my university, I asked if I needed to show my face.

Banning the niqab or burqa would take away my right to live in the way that fits me. That restricts my freedom and puts me in a position where I must be especially cautious of my surroundings. Violence and abuse against Muslim women has increased as a result of the fear-mongering on this issue.

No matter what law is passed on the niqab, it will not stop me from wearing it. I don’t want to be controlled and told what I can and can not wear: that is oppression.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 968 votes] And you should accept that the rest of us are just as free to determined to choose what we deal with and if we decide that someone hiding under a cloth due to lack of personality and intelligence rather than because of it, don't then cry discrimination. Do you wonder whether people may not actually want to see or deal with someone with so much bad faith towards them?

[SECOND 621v] "I feel liberated by the fact that I choose what you see." And I choose what I interact with. This will not include you. If you do not trust me then you are not asking for my trust, either.

[THIRD 598v] "When we meet, I choose what you see". Can you not see why hiding yourself from us is a guarantee that you will be faced with suspicion?

[FOURTH 592v] I don't think I've ever read such a self referential, yet very brief article in a very long time.."I" this "I" that, Perhaps, for a pleasant change, the author could take time out to consider Us & We instead of making the usual demands of her ilk.

[FIFTH 561v] "Violence and abuse against Muslim women has increased as a result of the fear-mongering on this issue"

The greatest perpetrators of violence against muslim women are other muslims.

"I completely understand, but their claims are ignorant: in fact it is is part of sharia law that we must uncover our faces for identification"

So why hasn't the muslim community been proactive in the debate about covering and identification? and I'm not sure that appeals to sharia law will sway people to your arguments.

"When you deal with me, you deal with my mind, my personality, my emotions and what I have to offer as a person – and that’s it."

No we don't. We deal with a person who has their face covered and all the baggage that that entails. [Guardian Cif] Read more

05 October 2014

Muslims call for stricter hate crime laws to go with national security powers

The Queensland Muslim community has called for a lower threshold for arrest and increased penalties for people convicted of hate crimes that can be linked to the introduction of national security legislation.

A submission to a parliamentary committee endorsed by a large number of groups and individuals underlines how the current debate has inflamed racial and religious tension, with Muslims the main target.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] So to protect us from the terrorist problems of radical Islam, Muslim leaders want to muzzle the rest of us presumable to prevent us from speaking our minds about the problems of radical Islam.

What other religious group has demanded that in order for them to support our protection we must give up the right to criticise them?

The Government needs to do what is required to protect us irrespective of what Muslim leaders say. [The Guardian] Read more

My faith has been hijacked by extremists. After Alan Henning’s murder, we must reclaim it

.... This is why, last week, we launched #makingastand. The campaign encourages women to take the lead in exerting influence in their communities and to root out extremists who are preying on their children. But it is also designed to provide an alternative narrative for young British Muslims: to pledge their allegiance to their country, to respect human rights and to be a peaceful, thoughtful member of British society.

It is in stark contrast to what extremists preach. Our campaign is a “jihad against violence”, an attempt to reclaim the word jihad from those who have wrongly attributed it to mean holy war. Jihad means no such thing. Instead, it is a struggle for goodness, for truth, for justice, for compassion and for peaceful coexistence.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 612 votes] "If Muhammad – a man who was sent as a “mercy to the world” – were alive today..."

...he'd be on trial at the Hague for crimes against humanity.

[SECOND 595v] "... and even violates the basic tenets of mercy, peaceful co-existence and love spoken of in the Qur’an?"

Yes, I'm sure that are such words in the Qur’an. Unfortunately, there are lots of other words that mean the opposite and those are the ones ISIS believe.

You will just have to get it into your head, one day, that the Qur’an is a mish mash of human thought (and legend) from late antiquity much of it put together by a clever individual struggling for power and influence.

[THIRD 485v] In reality this is a civil war between different strains of Islam with tragic consequences. I don't know which side is in the majority. What I do know, and I have demonstrated, is that the jihadi / ISIS strain of Islam did not come out of nowhere. It was nurtured by Saudi and other Gulf money and was espoused by the leaders of the British Muslim community for decades.

"If the prophet Muhammad – a man who was sent as a “mercy to the world” – were alive today, what would he make of these followers?"

I'll leave it to people to read the koran and the ahadith and form their own opinion on that question. However, in truth, we all know the answer. Any seventh century warlord would have welcomed such a dedicated band of followers.

If you take your moral compass from a seventh century load of codswallop of dubious provenance you need to face up to realities like that. If Muhammad existed he would have welcomed them. [Guardian Cif] Read more

04 October 2014

Ofsted: Trojan Horse schools 'still failing to promote British values'

Schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse scandal are still promoting an “unbalanced curriculum” and segregating boys and girls in the classroom, according to Ofsted.

The education watchdog said "very little action" had been taken to address major failings at five Birmingham schools suspected of being subjected to an alleged takeover plot by hard-line Muslims.

.... This includes an example of one school that requires pupils to teach themselves about any faith other than Islam, including Christianity. At another, a supply teacher taught a religious education lesson that "appeared to promote an inappropriate Islamist agenda".

One school even took pupils on a trip to Mecca despite telling governors that it had been cancelled "due to failures in safeguarding".

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Do you honestly believe these schools or councils will carry out these recommendations? They will carry on as before, knowing that the government will do nothing.

[SECOND] "Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary, said: “It is utterly incomprehensible that six months after these serious concerns became public David Cameron’s Government has still not taken action".

Shame he chooses to overlook the fact that Labour Birmingham City Council did its best to ignore the problem and cover it up, and is still doing so.

[THIRD] "Failing to improve", "Struggling to promote", "Too much poor practice" remaining "unchallenged". These are all polite euphemisms for "they've dug their heels in". And "very little action" means "nothing's been done". So, to interpret, they've dug their heels in and nothing's been done. [The Telegraph] Read more

Europe grapples with whether to ban Muslim burqas and niqabs

After France banned veils in 2011, a French woman in her early 20s decided to fight for her niqab.

Backed by a group of Birmingham lawyers, the Pakistan-born university graduate and devout Sunni took her case to the European court of human rights, asking them to support her faith, culture and personal convictions.

But her suit was rejected in a decision handed down three months ago. And the decision has given new fuel to an already growing push across Europe to remove Muslim veils from society.

The woman, known to the court as "SAS", said neither her husband nor any member of her family pressured her to dress in the burqa and niqab – her aim was "to feel at inner peace with herself". She was happy to take it off for security checks at banks or airports, or other necessary identity checks, but wanted the right to wear it around town. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

Qatar and Saudi Arabia 'have ignited time bomb by funding global spread of radical Islam'

.... The two Gulf states have spent billions of dollars on promoting a militant and proselytising interpretation of their faith derived from Abdul Wahhab, an eighteenth century scholar, and based on the Salaf, or the original followers of the Prophet.

But the rulers of both countries are now more threatened by their creation than Britain or America, argued Gen Shaw. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has vowed to topple the Qatari and Saudi regimes, viewing both as corrupt outposts of decadence and sin. [The Telegraph] Read more

03 October 2014

Headscarf ban turns France’s Muslim women towards homeworking

Every day Meryem Belmokhtar turns her tidy sitting-room into a workshop. She lays out the equipment on the table, puts on rubber gloves and dips into various jars to make up 250g bags of sweets. Each packet is marked with her logo, featuring a stick of barley sugar.

Belmokhtar, 39, lives in Compiègne, northern France, and manages the Candine Halal website (a pun on candy in English and dine, religion in Arabic), which markets the usual chocolate-coated marshmallow bears, preserved cherries and acid drops, except that hers contain no pork gelatine and are halal. In other words, they comply with Islamic dietary rules.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Are we supposed to feel sorry for her? Forgive me if I don't.

Although this article speaks of a headscarf ban as if this is something radically new, the principle of not wearing religious items of clothing or jewellery in public workplaces and schools has been in place for decades.

If she wants to be petty minded and refuse to work because she can't wear a scarf, fine. But the problem is with her, not with the French government. [The Guardian] Read more

When schoolgirls dream of jihad, society has a problem. Look at France - Don’t underestimate the role of the burqa ban in turning teenagers into would-be militants

Teenage angst can cause all kinds of unfortunate behaviour, but when schoolgirls tell their parents they want to join the fight in Syria and Iraq, then society has a serious problem. Alarmingly, this is increasingly happening in France, as young Muslims express their desire for jihad. Worse still, an estimated 100-150 young women and girls have actually joined groups such as the self-styled Islamic State (Isis), travelling to a war zone to devote their lives to setting up a highly militarised caliphate and, if necessary, dying for the cause.

.... Choice of clothing might rightly be regarded as inconsequential in the context of a terrorist movement carrying out atrocities against its western enemies but, as the French case shows, the influence of repressive and discriminatory legislation on vulnerable young minds should not be ruled out.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1410 votes] Banning the burqa is the best thing France could do. The logic of these poor suffering victims of discriminations is amusing:

"She texted her parents, telling them to search her bedroom where, under the mattress, they found a pained letter saying she was “heading for a country where they do not prevent you from following your religion”."

So they are leaving a country that bans the repression of women to join a clan that beheads people of different religions or none. France should celebrate this exodus.

[SECOND 1117v] It is, of course, reactionary western 'intolerance' of muslim cultural choices that lies at the root of the problem. Sheeesh! I wouldn't have guessed it.

[THIRD 1051v] "Don’t underestimate the role of the burqa ban in turning teenagers into would-be militants." Absurd. What a stupid argument; These Muslim supremacists would not be killing people if people were not so mean to them. They are fascist. They believe in Fascism, not Burqas.

[FOURTH 935v] I think they should respect her choice and let her go. I also think France should tell her to fuck right off if she wants to come back. You make your bed, you better lie in it.

[FIFTH 803v] Tell me how many disenfranchised western teenagers dream of Jihad? There is the odd nutter who has access to weapons and goes on a rampage, but other than that you won't find many cases. The problem is Islam not our society. Stop pointing the finger in the wrong direction and see the big elephant in the room, i.e. a 7th century moral code that has no place in this day and age. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Police called after reports of disorder at ‘Trojan horse’ school in Birmingham

Officers were called to reports of disorder at Welford primary in Birmingham after a group of parents allegedly attacked the efforts headteacher Jamie Barry is making to improve diversity and inclusiveness at the school.

It is understood that around six police cars attended the primary school in the Handsworth area of the city and helped calm the situation. Officers are investigating whether any offences took place. [The Guardian] Read more

Turkish President Erdogan tells conference: 'I am increasingly against the internet every day'

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended his government’s efforts to control online speech, telling a press freedom conference: “I am increasingly against the Internet every day.”

Local newspapers and major publications such as The New York Times and CNN International were among those slammed by officials, according to the CPJ.

"Media should never have been given the liberty to insult," Mr Erdogan was quoted as saying during the 90-minute meeting.

He also expressed concern that criminal and terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State go online to recruit followers, saying he is "increasingly against" the internet. [The Independent] Read more

02 October 2014

Sudan's 'morality' laws used to punish women, report finds

Amira Osman Hamed knows better than most how Sudan’s so-called morality laws can make life a nightmare for women in her country.

A civil engineer, Osman faced a public flogging after her arrest by 10 police officers last year for falling foul of a catch-all provision barring “indecent dressing” because she failed to cover her hair.

She was spared a lashing only after a global outcry and now Osman and other women’s rights activists are hoping to gain international support to overturn Sudan’s public order laws.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Another Sharia success story. Can anyone point to an example of this vile, disgusting ideology being "correctly" implimented?

All we hear from moderate western Muslims is how Sudan, Nigeria, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Niger, ISIS, Saudi, Qatar, all have Sharia "wrong." Apparently these regimes have all read the same texts and reached the same incorrect conclusions.

What exactly is Sharia supposed to produce if not the total shite that it's produced so far? [The Guardian] Read more

Facing fears over extremism, Austria unveils new law on Islam

Austria called on Thursday for standardised German-language translations of the Koran and moved to prohibit foreign funding of Muslim organisations on its soil in a draft law aimed in part at tackling Islamic extremism.

The bill will overhaul a 1912 law governing the status of Austrian Muslims, prompting concern from a major local Islamic body, which saw it mirroring widespread mistrust of Muslims.

The initiative comes at a time of robust support for the far-right in Austria and also alarm over reports of Muslims from the small, neutral country joining Islamist militant forces fighting in the Middle East. [Reuters] Read more

01 October 2014

Why banning extremists is wrong

.... Except I have not seen skinheads with swastika tattoos on Newsnight. I have seen plenty of Islamists being interviewed. Crucially also, seen them challenged. Giving a platform for sensationalism and ratings is irresponsible. I would argue however, that the media are the ones revealing what Islamism is, and countering it.

The government is not. It will state Islam is a religion of peace. It will not publicly countenance that within Islam is the seed of theocracy, violence and intolerance. As it exists in all religions. The rise of religious extremism – that even Buddhists are massacring Muslims in Burma with monks approving – should be a wake up call. [Left Foot Forward] Read more

Muslim Women Deserve Better than Sharia Law

.... The guidelines penalise widows, non-believers and children born outside marriage. Illegitimate and adopted children are not sharia heirs. The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class.

Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death.

All women are adversely affected by the implementation of sharia, as it perpetuates the notion that it is reasonable to privilege men over women for no reason other than they are born male. [Standpoint] Read more

What do Muslim women want? Finding women’s rights in Islam

In Muslim countries, where I’ve spent most of my professional life, complex relationships between women and Islam are defined by Islamic texts, as well as by the historical, cultural and social contexts. Often, the same passage can be interpreted in multiple ways depending on the religious leaders, resulting in stark differences in practice within various Islamic societies.

Even though the Koran proclaims equality between the sexes, men’s superiority is also clearly indicated: “Men are in charge of women by right of what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in the husband's absence what Allah would have them guard. But those wives from whom you fear arrogance—advise them; forsake them in bed; and, strike them. But if they obey you, seek no means against them.” [openDemocracy] Read more

Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Soars In London, According To New Police Figures

Muslim hate crime in London has shot up by almost 65% in twelve months, with spikes in violence linked not to Islamic State beheadings, but to incidents closer to home like the Rotherham grooming scandal.

Metropolitan Police figures show that incidents of hate crime rose from 344 to 570 in the last year, and women are key targets because of their identifiable Islamic dress.

Fiyaz Mughal, director of the Islamophobia monitoring group Tell MAMA, said that he had been expecting an increase of between 30-50%, and had not predicted such a dramatic rise.

[A TOP RATED COMMENT] Hate crime will increase against Muslims for as long as Islam keeps preaching stone age dogma, about time it experienced some modernisation.

[ANOTHER] I am surprised that hate crime has soared in London against Muslims because more than half the population of London is no longer of British origin.

[ANOTHER] Tell Mama: This organisation has been shot down and discredited before for trawling the internet for anti-Islamic posts, just like this one, and logged them as Hate Crime or violent incidents against Islam.

The only actual physical crime reported being someones tyres being popped. Come on, who in the right mind, in Britain today would physically assault or verbally threaten a Muslim? That would be a one way ticket to jail as the Police and the Courts would take it very seriously.

On the other hand, if you walk to the Mosque on a Friday night and get pushed into the middle of the road by a Muslim Patrol for walking on the pavement on the same side of the road as the said Mosque, and you report that to the Police, they laugh at you. And that is when I had an appointment to see the Iman. Tell Mama are funded from the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatari money. They are very important elements of the civilised Jihad that intends to make Britain an Islamic State. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more