31 December 2015

Egypt TV host jailed for thought crime

Egyptian TV presenter Islam Beheiry left court in handcuffs on Monday to begin a one-year prison sentence for thought crime. He had been convicted of "defaming" religion by calling for reform in Islam – a call previously made by no lesser figure than President Sisi himself.

In comparison with Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in jail and a fine of one million riyals ($266,000) on similar charges, Beheiry's sentence is relatively mild and for that reason his case is unlikely to attract much international attention. Nevertheless, it is an important case.

At one level it is yet another example of Egypt's notorious hesba system which allows religious busybodies to initiate prosecutions against people they disagree with or disapprove of. At a different level, though, it can be viewed as part of a wider battle to keep discourse about religion in the hands of those who claim to know best – the religious and political authorities. [al-bab.com] Read more

30 December 2015

“Not a house of prayer”: Petting zoo owner defends ejecting Muslim family

Huub van Leijsen, the owner of petting zoo Pukkemuk in Dongen, released a statement defending his decision to ask a Muslim family to leave the zoo on Monday. In the statement he says that he feels like a victim, not a perpetrator and that the decision was not based on discrimination in any way, Omroep Brabant reports.

According to Van Leijsen, he noticed kids getting anxious in the petting zoo about an hour after the Muslim family arrived and realized that the family started praying. “I tried to explain that Pukkemuk is not a house of prayer, but a playground for children. Children have the leading role and I do everything I can to make things go their way as much as possible.” he said in the statement.

The family, Bilal Salam, his three sisters-in-law, two other men and eleven children, accused him of being a Muslim hater. “I said that I do not hate Muslims. Praying in burqas in a petting zoo in the middle of playing children was an unpleasant experience for some of my guests.” [NL Times] Read more

28 December 2015

Apostates can be killed for food or organ transplants, IS says

.... in the Hanbali school of jurisprudence (from which many Wahhabi/Salafi ideas are derived), the bodies of Muslims are sacred and may never be eaten but the other side of that is that eating the bodies of "belligerents and apostates" is permitted after killing them because they are regarded as "beasts of prey" and are therefore not sacred.

This view is cited in a lengthy fatwa about transplants and the body parts of murderers posted on a Saudi website in 2012, and it is also the view adopted by IS in Fatwa 68.

The most worrying aspect of Fatwa 68 is that its conclusions will not seem illogical to anyone who accepts the underlying premise that apostates have no rights and deserve to be killed. IS supporters are by no means the only ones to view apostasy in that way; many ordinary Muslims do so too, as well the governments of several Muslim countries.

Without a concerted effort to promote freedom of thought and belief we can expect to see more abhorrent rulings along the lines of Fatwa 68. [al-bab.com] Read more

25 December 2015

Prevent programme 'lacking referrals from Muslim community'

A fraction of referrals to a key government anti-terror scheme are being made from within the Muslim community, leading to widespread distrust and threats of a national boycott, a report has found.

Less than 10% of the referrals to the Prevent programme, a central plank of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, come from within the Muslim community, according to figures obtained by The Times.

The collapse in referrals means that the bulk of tip-offs are originating from public services, such as schools or doctors. This in turn is breeding distrust and disillusionment among some Muslim communities, it is claimed.

The Times says that data released by the National Police Chiefs Council has revealed that of the 3,288 referrals to Prevent in the first half of the year, just 280 – or 8.6% – came from within the Muslim community, or from family, friends and faith leaders.

Nearly 2,200 referrals were made by public bodies outside policing, such as social services and the health or education sectors. The rest were said to have come from within prisons or from police investigations. [The Guardian] Read more

Archbishop gives warning over IS threat to Christianity

Christianity faces "elimination" in the Middle East, the region where it began, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned in his Christmas Day sermon.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said so-called Islamic State is "igniting a trail of fear, violence, hatred and determined oppression".

He also branded IS as "today's Herods" - a reference to the Biblical king at the time of Jesus's birth.

The archbishop delivered his sermon at Canterbury Cathedral.

He said: "Confident that these are the last days, using force and indescribable cruelty, they [IS] seem to welcome all opposition, certain that the warfare unleashed confirms that these are indeed the end times.

"They hate difference, whether it is Muslims who think differently, Yazidis or Christians, and because of them the Christians face elimination in the very region in which Christian faith began.

"This apocalypse is defined by themselves and heralded only by the angel of death." [BBC] Read more

24 December 2015

Shame On The Liberals Who Rationalise Terror

After the massacres in Paris on November 13, the US Secretary of State John Kerry made a statement so disgraceful you had to read it, rub your eyes, and read it again to comprehend the extent of his folly: “There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that,” Kerry began in the laboured English of an over-promoted middle manager.

“There was a sort of particularised focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, OK, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorise people.”

Did you get that? Then allow me to translate.

Kerry believes the satirists Islamist gunmen killed at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris’s 11th arrondissement on January 5 had it coming. It is not that they deserved to die. John Kerry is a New England liberal, after all, and does not endorse the death penalty for journalists. But liberalism is a two-faced creed.

It can mean that you believe in individual freedom and abhor every variety of prejudice, including the prejudice that allows men to shoot journalists dead for producing a magazine they disapprove of. Or it can mean that you go to such lengths to take account of your enemy’s opinions you become indistinguishable from him. [Standpoint] Read more

23 December 2015

The British Muslim family's refused entry reveals America's hypocrisy

The Mahmood family’s ordeal at Gatwick airport in London, where the Disneyland-bound group of 11 UK citizens was pulled out of the boarding line by American officials and had their tickets cancelled, speaks to more than just the apparent institutional prejudices of the American government’s security measures.

Also laid bare are the paradoxes of the fight over Islamophobia here at home. How can we ask Muslim communities the world over – including in the US – to forcefully reject the extremists among them and, more onerously, reveal themselves as the peace-loving people they are when at the same time we fail to treat them this way at our borders? [333 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 394 votes] Has there been any evidence which would indicate that this family was denied entry on the basis of their religion? Perhaps, or far more likely, there was another reason they were refused entry?

[2ND 369] The reason is right in the article ... Anyone who has travelled to Iran, Pakistan, Iraq or Syria since 2011 will be subject to the requirement to apply for a Visa instead of having a Visa Waiver, this was voted in by Congress after the Paris attacks. It says the wife was recently in Pakistan. Nothing to do with being Muslim. There we have our answer, check the law people...

[3RD 299] The Guardians approach to this is a disgrace.

How many Muslims traveled to the US this month from all around the world? Tens of thousands? Did all of the Homeland Security people who let those people enter not get the anti-Muslim memo?

How can you run multiple articles smearing the US, accusing them of racism, when you have ZERO evidence?

You really have just turned into the Daily Mail of the left. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Sombre Christmas for Iraq's Christians under threat from Islamic State

With Christmas falling this year a day after Prophet Mohammad's birthday, the city of Baghdad is holding Christmas celebrations in a sign of brotherhood with Iraq's hard-pressed Christian community.

.... But, though grateful, many Christians say the gesture comes too late to improve their lot in Iraq, their homeland for nearly 2,000 years, but where Islamic State is making their future increasingly bleak.

"I saw some nice gestures from many people on Facebook and this made me happy, to be honest, that people are celebrating Christmas together with us in defiance of Daesh," said Mariam, a 29-year-old school teacher in Baghdad, referring to Islamic State.

"But is it real? I don't think so," she said.

.... Islamic State, which swept through a third of Iraq in 2014 in its drive to build a caliphate, has displaced more than 200,000 Christians from the northern region of Nineveh, the cradle of the eastern Assyrian church, according to Iraqi Christian MP Imad Yohana. [Reuters] Read more

Islamic nation of Somalia follows Sultan of Brunei's example and bans Christmas celebrations because 'they are contrary to our culture'

Somalia has banned Christmas and New Year celebrations because they are 'contrary to Islamic culture' – days after a similar move by the Sultan of Brunei.

Director General of Somalia's Ministry of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow, warned that security forces would break-up any gatherings held in the capital Mogadishu.

He said: 'All events related to Christmas and New Year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage aqidah (faith) of the Muslim community.

'There should be no activity at all.' [Daily Mail] Read more

Christmas ban to be strictly enforced in Brunei after sharia law introduced

There are no tinsel-laden trees or Santa hats this year in the oil-rich sultanate of Brunei, where Christmas celebrations have been banned under a recent shift towards hardline Islamic law.

The all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world's richest men, announced last year he would push ahead with the introduction of sharia law, eventually including tough penalties such as death by stoning and severed limbs.

Religious leaders in the sultanate warned this month that a ban on Christmas would be strictly enforced for fear Muslims could be led astray.

"Using religious symbols like crosses, lighting candles, putting up Christmas trees, singing religious songs, sending Christmas greetings ... are against Islamic faith," imams said in sermons published in the local press. [ABC News Online] Read more

22 December 2015

Seven imams banned from Islamic conference in Eindhoven

Eindhoven mayor Rob van Gijzel has banned seven foreign imams from speaking at an Islamic conference in the city this week, local paper Eindhovens Dagblad said on Tuesday.

The imams were due to talk at a four day conference at the Al Fourqaan mosque. Van Gijzel decided to ban the preachers after consulting the counter terrorism watchdog NCTV, the paper said.

The NCTV screened the men on the basis of earlier speeches and found they had been preaching anti-semitism, anti-gay rights, anti-women’s rights and hatred against unbelievers as well as praising violent jihad and martyrdom. The visas of all seven, who come from Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Kuwait have been withdrawn. [DutchNews] Read more

Iranian pastor released after five years behind bars for his faith

An Iranian pastor has been released from prison after spending five years behind bars for being Christian.

Farshid Fathi was jailed in 2010 by intelligence officials after converting from Islam and openly preaching Christianity.

He was charged with "acting against national security through membership of a Christian organisation, collection of funds, propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country".

Pastor Farshid, 36, is married to Leila and has two children, Rosana and Bardia.

He was due to be released on 10 December and it is unclear why his freedom was held up.

The Christian was ordered to serve an extra year in prison in 2014 after prison staff claimed to have found alcohol in his cell.

He spent 100 days in solitary confinement when he was first jailed and has suffered a broken ankle at the hands of the brutal regime. [Premier Christian Radio] Read more

18 Months For Woman Who Assaulted Police After Being Told To Remove Niqab

Stephanie Djato was arrested on 31 May 2012 at a bus stop in the Brussels borough of Jette. She had been asked to remove her niqab — a cloth face covering that forms part of the hijab worn by some Muslim women — in accordance with Belgian law, but refused.

Ms. Djato resisted arrest but was eventually taken to a police station. On the way there she continued to put up resistance, and head-butted one of the female police officers.

On arrival at the police station she continued acting aggressively, and as the situation deteriorated further still two women police officers were injured and Ms. Djato was taken to hospital.

Dutch newspaper, Het Laatste Nieuws, reports the court today found Ms. Djato solely responsible for the fracas, handing down a prison sentence of 18 months and a 900 euros fine. She was also ordered to pay compensation to the police officers she attacked, with most going to the one who sustained the headbutt. [Breitbart London] Read more

U.S. Muslims Reach Out to Address Questions on Islam and Violence

.... Instead, no matter how exasperated they may privately feel, some Muslims are beginning to publicly confront the uncomfortable questions that non-Muslims have about Islam and violence, and trying to provide answers, both through words and through the example of how they live their lives.

Here in the classroom, Mr. Issa told students to look beyond Islam to the deeper and more universal causes of violence. “What’s happening right now is not religious, even though ISIS and Al Qaeda are covered as a religious thing,” he said. “In reality, it’s political.”

Mr. Issa also spoke this month at the downtown public library with Boyd Patterson, an assistant district attorney, who self-published a book compiling verses in the Quran that could be used by extremists to justify violence and terrorism.

The two held a forthright discussion about those verses, and why most Muslims do not read them as justification for terrorism because, Mr. Issa said, they were written in a very different historical context, when Islam was an upstart faith challenging the status quo, and are primarily prescriptions for self-defense — not justifications for terrorism. [NYTimes.com] Read more

21 December 2015

Damage by ISIL no less than Prophet Muhammad cartoons, says head of Turkish Diyanet

Damage done by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants is no less than the damage caused by that wrought by “Islamophobic” drawers of "intolerable cartoons," Mehmet Görmez, head of the Turkish Religious Affairs (Diyanet), has said.

“Today, the damage caused the networks, distant from any belief, reason and wisdom, who engrave the name [of God] on their so-called flags is no less than the [damage caused by] cartoons –intolerable by any means– by the pioneers of Islamophobia,” said Görmez on Dec. 21 in his message on Mawlid an-Nabi, the Islamic anniversary of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, which is on the night of Dec. 22 this year.

ISIL’s flag has God written on their black flag.

Muslims are the ones to present Prophet Muhammad’s guidance to the whole world, Görmez said.

“However, I regret to say that the biggest problem of Muslims today is that they have lost the status of being an example and cannot deservedly represent of our prophet’s message of grace and mercy,” he said. [Anadolu Agency] Read more

Police Commissioner: ‘Young Muslim Men S*** On Germany’

One of Germany’s most high profile police officers has spoken out about the abuse faced by her fellow officers from migrants, and the total failure of integration for thousands of young Muslims who proudly proclaim “sh*t on Germany!”

Despite being of a migrant background herself, commissioner Tania Kambouri has not been shy in her criticism of the failures of the integration process in Germany which is making life difficult for police, as they are harassed and even ganged up on by migrant men.

Speaking in an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung, Mrs. Kambouri said the German state was not taking the problem seriously enough, and said the police were under threat. While identifying “young Muslim men” as the main problem she and her colleagues faced, she did qualify herself, remarking: “They are, as far as I can see, men from Muslim countries. But whether they are practising Muslims or not, I can not tell”. [Breitbart London] Read more

May orders independent review into Sharia courts

Theresa May has ordered an independent inquiry into Sharia courts to begin in the new year amid concerns that they operate a parallel system of justice that discriminates against women.

It comes after the government’s counter-extremism strategy highlighted claims that women in the Sharia system were unaware of their rights to leave violent husbands and were being pressed to attend reconciliation sessions despite injunctions to protect them. Men and women have been charged different fees by Sharia courts for the same service and women face lengthier processes for divorce than men, it has been claimed.

Estimates of the number of such courts in Britain vary from 30 to 85. This month 150 women’s organisations urged the government to ban courts seeking to uphold Islamic law. [The Times (£)] Read more

As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity

.... For us, as mainstream Muslim women, born in Egypt and India, the spectacle at the mosque was a painful reminder of the well-financed effort by conservative Muslims to dominate modern Muslim societies. This modern-day movement spreads an ideology of political Islam, called “Islamism,” enlisting well-intentioned interfaith do-gooders and the media into promoting the idea that “hijab” is a virtual “sixth pillar” of Islam, after the traditional “five pillars” of the shahada (or proclamation of faith), prayer, fasting, charity and pilgrimage.

We reject this interpretation that the “hijab” is merely a symbol of modesty and dignity adopted by faithful female followers of Islam.

.... In the name of “interfaith,” these well-intentioned Americans are getting duped by the agenda of Muslims who argue that a woman’s honor lies in her “chastity” and unwittingly pushing a platform to put a hijab on every woman.

Please do this instead: Do not wear a headscarf in “solidarity” with the ideology that most silences us, equating our bodies with “honor.” Stand with us instead with moral courage against the ideology of Islamism that demands we cover our hair. [897 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 61 votes] As a former university lecturer in Islamic Studies, I found this both erudite and in line with my own experience. I would just add two things. One is that the face-covering veil was developed, not at first within Islam, but from the Sasanid and Byzantine royal courts after their conquest by Arab Muslim armies.

The other is that wearing the hijab, niqab, burqa or other covering today is to wear a symbol of the real oppression of women. In Iran, even having your hijab too far back on your head leads to an accusation of bad-hejab, a night in a police cell, and a fine. Persistent bad-hejab could lead to a spell in prison. In Saudi Arabia and several other countries, not wearing a veil can lead to a flogging and even a death sentence.

Westerners who smile at the hijab as a token of multicultural benefit would do well to ask what they value most highly: absolute tolerance or allowing women to walk in public wearing a symbol of a form of oppression they would noty tolerate for a moment in their own culture. [The Washington Post] Read more

20 December 2015

U.S. fast food chain now caters to Muslim consumers, replacing pork with halal beef and chicken

An American fast food chain is taking advantage of the growing Muslim population in France by replacing all pork and bacon products from its menu with halal-certified beef and chicken.

Burger King is going after the 5-million strong Muslim consumers in France, the country with the biggest Muslim population in Europe, WND reported.

This came about after Burger King took over hamburger chain Quick's 405 outlets in France, according to The Local and Le Parisien. [Christian Today] Read more

We need to talk about Islam, says former radical Maajid Nawaz

People in the West are reluctant to discuss Islamism because they are frightened of being portrayed as racist, according to Maajid Nawaz, a British politician and former extremist who spent five years in an Egyptian jail.

Mr Nawaz, 37, whose political journey has seen him move from Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist group linked to violence, to Britain's centrist Liberal Democrat party, compares debate about Islamic State to the reds-under-the-bed panic of the 1960s.

"Fifty years ago, this would have been about communism," he told The Age via telephone from London. "What I would caution is that I would say we were very comfortable being able to discuss communism, partly because communism emerged in a country that was majority white.

"Because of our various colonial hang-ups – many of them justified – we are uncomfortable being able to discuss Islamist extremism for fear of being labelled anti-Muslim, or racist. I think that's unfortunate." [The Age] Read more

Most Syrian rebels sympathise with Isis, says thinktank

More than half of the rebel fighters in Syria who are opposing President Bashar al-Assad are sympathetic to Islamic State views, a leading thinktank has claimed.

The Centre on Religion and Geopolitics said efforts to wipe out Isis in Syria and Iraq would not end the global threat from jihadi groups because extremist views were common among Syrian fighters of all stripes.

At least 15 militias, numbering 65,000 fighters, could fill any vacuum resulting from a defeat of Isis in Syria and Iraq by a coalition led by the US, a report by the thinktank found.

About 60% of fighters in rebel factions in Syria identified with a religious and political ideology similar to that of the terror group, it added.

The thinktank, run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, said: “The west risks making a strategic failure by focusing only on IS. Defeating it militarily will not end global jihadism. We cannot bomb an ideology, but our war is ideological.” [The Guardian] Read more

19 December 2015

Muslim Council of Britain CONNECTED to controversial Muslim Brotherhood, report shows

.... The report also found that over the years the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella body which comprises more than 500 Islamic organisations, has established close ties with individuals who are also ardent Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Those supporters have become “politically active” in places like Palestine and Iraq, playing a role in the national and local elections of those countries, the report said.

In 2009, the Government cut ties with Muslim Council of Britain, after the organisation signed a public document which appeared to condone violence against any country supporting an arms blockade of Gaza.

The review was conducted by a group of senior civil servants, including Sir John Jenkins, who until recently was the UK’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

At a time when Britain’s Muslim community is under increased pressure to do more to tackle Islamic extremism, the report also found that a number of Brotherhood groups have for years been raising funds in the UK. Some of those funds have allegedly been linked to Hamas, whose military wing was proscribed by Britain as a terrorist organisation in 2001. [Daily Express] Read more

Al-Jazeera blocks article slamming Saudi Arabian human rights record

The Qatar-based news network, Al-Jazeera, has prevented an article slamming human rights in Saudi Arabia from being viewed outside the US.

The article, titled “Saudi Arabia Uses Terrorism as an Excuse for Human Rights Abuses” and published on Al-Jazeera America’s website on 3 December, cites reports 50 people are intended to be executed for alleged terrorist crimes, injustices in the treatment of Saudi’s minority Shia population and criticises the country’s relationship with the US.

The article is understood to still be available in the US, but when viewed in other countries is replaced with an error page.

A tweet from Al-Jazeera America’s account with the article’s headline, pictured on a Bahraini website, appears to have been deleted, while the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz quotes Al-Jazeera's director apologising for the article, The Intercept reports. [The Independent] Read more

No rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in UK after Paris attacks – poll

.... The new research, conducted by Rob Ford and Maria Sobolewska of the University of Manchester, comes amid growing concerns about western hostility to Muslims after the Front National’s strong performance in regional elections in France and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration to the US.

The academics asked the same questions both before and after the Paris attacks on 13 November. Before Paris, 33% of respondents agreed that ‘Muslims have a lot to offer British culture’, compared to 35% who disagreed. After Paris the proportion who disagreed remained the same, but an additional 2% agreed with the statement.

A similar modest increase in the proportion of tolerant respondents was shown in the responses to the statement ‘Muslims in Britain have respect for the way of life of others’. Before Paris, 23% of respondents agreed with that statement, compared to a far larger 53% who disagreed. After the Paris attacks, the positive proportion increased to 27%, whereas the proportion disagreeing declined to 51%. [The Guardian] Read more

18 December 2015

'They don't speak for me': New Muslim groups reject CAIR representation

Within hours of a terror attack that left 14 dead in Southern California, the nation’s best-known Islamic advocacy group held a press conference with the killers’ family – and Muslims around the country cringed.

In the days following the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, Council for American-Islamic Relations representatives partially blamed U.S. policy for terrorist attacks, accused gunman Syed Rizwan Farook’s co-workers of making fun of his beard and sought to downplay comments by Farook’s father linking him to ISIS. Like Muslims throughout the U.S., CAIR officials condemned the attack, but too often with what sounded to critics like subtle caveats.

“CAIR is a primary obstacle in the effort of many honest American Muslims who recognize our need to own up and lead long-overdue reforms against the root causes of radicalization: Islamism and its separatism,” said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, an ex-U.S. Navy officer who founded and heads the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

.... Jasser’s group hopes to bring together progressive Muslims who share American values, practice their faith in their own way and reject the idea that one agenda-driven group speaks for them.

“We want to wake up the 85 to 90 percent of Muslims in the U.S. who are sitting at home, who don’t go to mosques, but love their religion,” Jasser said. [FOX News Network] Read more

Muslim cabby fined for not allowing woman up front

A Muslim taxi driver refused to let a woman ride up front with him as her family piled into his yellow cab at Penn Station — later claiming that his religion forbids him from being that close to a female stranger.

But a city judge didn’t buy the Islam argument and socked the driver with a $350 fine for his discrimination.

Fellow Muslims on Friday said Tamsir Drammeh’s excuse was a stretch.

“There’s no such rule in Islam,” said the manager at his garage, J and I Maintenance Corp. in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, who refused to give his name. “There’s no such thing.” [NEW YORK POST] Read more

Schoolwork about Islam triggers backlash in Virginia county

A Virginia county closed all of its schools Friday because of intense backlash over a class assignment about Islam, with some parents alleging that their children were being subjected to Muslim indoctrination and educators emphasizing the importance of exposing U.S. students to the world’s fastest-growing religion.

A high school geography teacher in rural Augusta County asked students to try their hand at writing the shahada, an Islamic declaration of faith, in Arabic calligraphy. The task, community reaction to it, and a sudden influx of outrage from around the country — including angry emails, phone calls and threats to put the teacher’s head on a stake — led the school district to close rather than risk disruption or violence. [The Washington Post] Read more

17 December 2015

Muslim Brotherhood Review - Main findings

(1) In April 2014 the Prime Minister commissioned an internal review of the Muslim Brotherhood, including its origins, ideology, record in and out of government; and its organisation and activities in the UK and abroad.

(2) The review comprises a classified report to th e Prime Minister. However, the Prime Minister made clear that the main findings of the rev iew would be made public. These findings are set out below.

(3) The Government is committed to developing a much better understanding of groups which have been or are alleged to have been associated with extremism and terrorism, and has made further resources available for that purpose. Research into the Muslim Brotherhood will continue. The subject matter is complex, with significant domestic and foreign policy implications. [House of Commons] Read more

Mosque without minaret? Baroness Warsi spectacularly misses the point

.... “I want to see an Islam which sits comfortably within Britain and a Britain that sits more at ease with Islam,” says the Baroness. Well, so do we all. But it doesn’t begin with external matters of architecture, dress or what you eat. That is the blind leading the blind. What did Jesus say to the Pharisees and teachers of the law when they criticised his disciples for not washing their hands before they ate?

He talked of those who honour God with their lips while their hearts are far from Him. ‘But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men’ (Mt 15:9). It isn’t what goes into someone’s mouth that defiles them, but what comes out of their mouth.

It isn’t a minaret on a mosque that offends the English spiritual disposition, but the evil thoughts and vile sermons of too many imams in those mosques, not to mention the perpetual cosying up to the fons et origo of the Islamist ideology.

Why didn’t Baroness Warsi say much against Saudi-Salafism when she was a Foreign Office Minister? Too busy obsessing about the evils of Israel and the virtues of Palestinian statehood?

Forget the minarets: a “quintessential English” Islam urgently needs a robust Mohammedology for modernity (and the freedom to develop one without allegations of preaching ‘hate’, ‘Islamophobia’ or being summarily beheaded). [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

UK will not ban Muslim Brotherhood, says David Cameron

Membership or association with the Muslim Brotherhood is a "possible indicator of extremism" but it will not be banned, the prime minister has said.

A long-delayed review of the international Islamist network found parts of it had an "ambiguous relationship with violent extremism".

David Cameron told MPs the group's activities would be kept under review.

The group's British lawyers say the Brotherhood will legally challenge the "deeply flawed" findings.

In a statement, the group said the UK's position was unjust.

The Muslim Brotherhood has many different branches and affiliated organisations across the world - and remains banned in some parts of the Middle East.

Some groups proscribed under terrorism laws in the UK adopted the Brotherhood's core thinking about a global Muslim identity into their own ideologies. [BBC] Read more

Muslim Brotherhood are possible extremists, David Cameron says

.... An 11-page summary makes it clear the government accepts that the “Muslim Brotherhood has not been linked to terrorist-related activity in and against the UK” and has “often condemned terrorist-related activity in the UK associated with al-Qaida”.

However, the report raises concerns over the “sometimes secretive, if not clandestine” way the Brotherhood operated in the recent past and noted it sought to shape – by stealth – Muslim thinking through three UK mainstream organisations: the Muslim Association of Britain, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Society of Britain, which has now disowned its roots.

The Jenkins report says that “for some years the Muslim Brotherhood shaped the [then] new Islamic Society of Britain, dominated the Muslim Association of Britain and played an important role in establishing and then running the Muslim Council of Britain.”

.... “Though their domestic influence has declined, organisations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood continue to have an influence here which is disproportionate to their size.”

The report also concludes that while engagement with the government has at times been facilitated by what appeared to be a common agenda against al-Qaida and militant Salafism: “But this engagement did not take account of Muslim Brotherhood support for a proscribed terrorist group and its views about terrorism which, in reality, were quite different from our own.” [The Guardian] Read more

Union chief says Air France has a 'fundamentalist' problem

Is Air France becoming a hotbed of religious fundamentalism, as the head of one of the company's unions suggested in recent comments? Some employees have also reported a rise in sectarian attitudes at the airline.

Air France employee Sophie* clearly remembers the 2011 halal "scandal" at the French capital's Charles de Gaulle airport.

“The General Workers Union (CGT) wanted to introduce halal meat in the staff cafeteria. There were petitions, then security was increased… It went very badly,” said Sophie, who has worked at France’s largest airport for 10 years.

The controversy prompted several unions to step in, citing what they saw as rising sectarianism at the company. There have been several accounts in the press about employees who refused, for example, to shake hands with or speak to women, or who became angry with Muslims who chose not to observe Ramadan. [France24] Read more

Society of mosques to boycott 'racist' anti-terror Prevent programme

A society of mosques that represents up to 70,000 Muslims has vowed to boycott the government’s anti-terrorism Prevent programme after accusing the policy of being a racist attack on the Islamic community.

The Waltham Forest Council of Mosques made the move in the wake of increasing tensions between the area’s council and the Muslim community.

It is the first time a council of mosques has issued such a boycott and it will be seen as a blow to the government’s attempt to involve religious communities in the fight against radicalisation.

The WFCOM statement was triggered by a motion at a meeting of Waltham Forest council on Thursday endorsing the need for the controversial Prevent programme and an associated programme known as Brit, launched to identify signs of radicalisation in primary school children. [The Guardian] Read more

16 December 2015

Iran seizes more than 40,000 cars over women’s veil offenses

Iran has impounded tens of thousands of cars since March because women inside the vehicles had not properly covered their hair with a headscarf, Tehran’s traffic police said Tuesday.

“Over the past eight months, more than 40,000 cases of bad hijab [headscarf] have been dealt with,” said Brig. Gen. Teymour Hosseini, quoted by ISNA news agency.

“In most cases, the cars were impounded and cases were referred to the judiciary,” he said, while some of the women stopped could face cash fines or warnings.

Police warned in November that women who fail to observe hijab, the mandatory Islamic dress code in Iran, while driving would have their cars impounded for a week. [Agence France Presse] Read more

Sudan threatens 25 Muslims with death on charges of apostasy

Twenty-five Muslim men, including three teenagers, are facing the death penalty in Sudan after being charged with apostasy for following the wrong version of Islam.

The men were released on bail on Monday after being arrested in Khartoum in November while listening to religious teachings and imprisoned for more than five weeks.

The men, aged between 15 and 51, belong to the minority Hausa ethnicity, many of whom follow a different interpretation of Islam to the one sanctioned by Omar al-Bashir’s government.

They are accused of “rejecting the prophet Muhammad’s teachings”, rejecting the Hadith and taking the Qur’an as the sole source of religious legitimacy – a crime punishable by death in Sudan. [469 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 98 votes] All of the countries to criminalize apostasy as of 2014 were majority Islamic nations [...] no country with Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, agnostic or atheist majority had any criminal or civil laws forbidding or encouraging apostasy, or had laws restricting an individual's right to convert from one religion to another.

No further comment.

[2ND 85] It is puzzling that the world targets ISIS for following a literal interpretation of Sharia but turns a blind eye to a dozen or so other states which apply exactly the same interpretation and derive the same outcome for those with non-conformist religious views. Somehow it would be more satisfying if there was one principle for all.

[3RD 80] The sad reality which the West refuses to acknowledge is that apostasy is considered a serious crime by moderate Muslims. It tells you that religious freedom in the ranks of the 'good' faithful is far more fascist then it pretends to be.

Muslims can 'tolerate' that other people are not born in the Islamic faith but the ones who leave it are very often seriously castigated by their own communities. There are examples of this happening in Europe but these news story are quickly swept under the rug. An inconvenient truth which cannot be let out. The radicals go one step further by sentencing them to death. I don't know why Western liberals are so obsessed in defending the indefensible. [The Guardian] Read more

Muslims can reinterpret their faith: it’s the best answer to Isis

There is a great deal of talk about reform and reinterpretation of Islam these days, in order to counter the views of extremists such as Isis.

Liberal and progressive interpretations depend mostly on nuanced readings of the Qur’an and Sunna, or forcing new meanings out of them. But by playing the extremists’ game of interpreting the texts, we allow them a semblance of legitimacy. We also give them the opportunity to come back with theological workarounds.

In my opinion we Muslims need to take the bold step of challenging the very idea that the Qur’an and Sunna are infallible. This will come as a shock to those of us brought up on the idea that the Qur’an is the perfect word of God, but some Muslims are already doing this. Thinkers such as Abdul Karim Soroush from Iran, Sayyed Ahmad Al-Qabbanji from Iraq and Saeed Nasheed from Morocco are questioning traditional views about the Qur’an. [1158 comments]

[TO RATED COMMENT 158 votes] "Why is this such an essential step? Because once you stop protecting ideas on the basis that “God said it”, you create a level playing field where good ideas can battle it out with bad ideas on an equal footing."

Excellent piece, and you make very important points.

The reason this approach has such opposition among the religious is - once you acknowledge that these things are fallible (and therefore not divine), then you undermine the entire edifice. That's a slippery slope to believing none of it, and living your life without concern about what happened in the 7th Century. That's exactly what we in Europe did with our own myths.

A few hundred years ago, the Christian church in Europe responded to things like that with swift, extravagant violence, so no one did it. It was long process of gradual erosion of the edifice of 'respect' the church had erected, which delivered us to a more-or-less entirely secular society.

I think that if we opened the gates to humour and satire and hard-headed criticism - books, plays, cartoons, political commentary - then Islam would start to lose some of the awesome, mysterious, and entirely undeserved 'respect' it has accrued at gunpoint. Then - hopefully - people in 40 or 50 years can live in the same rational, secular, liberal environment that we were lucky to be born into.

[2ND 131] "In my opinion we Muslims need to take the bold step of challenging the very idea that the Qur’an and Sunna are infallible."

At last! - A sensible article on Islam in the Guardian. And it has only taken around 10 years to recognise that Muslims need to start reflecting on, and reforming, their religion.

Excellent article.

[3RD 101] Islam has had 1200 years to reform - I am not holding my breath.

[4TH 93] I had to do a double take when I read the article and the site I was reading.

This is what most of us have been banging on about for years but labelled as Islamaphobic. Perhaps, in the coming years, we will be allowed to have an actual debate about Islamic reformation rather than the suppression of criticism and apology pieces, that has become so part of politics and the MSM in Europe over the last couple of decades.

It needs more thinkers and realists like the writer of this piece to lead the way. Sadly though I think his voice will be drowned out as as others who have made similar suggestions in the past, were also silenced.

Good luck though. I think you are going to need it!

[5TH 82] Why not just give up the entire notion of god? Lots of people have, are perfectly happy about it and get on with their lives without fearing some invisible celestial overseer. [Guardian Cif] Read more

15 December 2015

Saudi conviction of poet for renouncing Islam seriously flawed, lawyer argues

A Saudi court that ordered the beheading of a Palestinian poet for renouncing Islam denied him a fair trial and ignored evidence that he suffered from a mental illness, according to an appeal against the ruling.

The appeal against the death sentence handed down last month to Ashraf Fayadh, a leading member of Saudi Arabia’s contemporary art scene, states that allegations that he publicly blasphemed and promoted atheism to young people were uncorroborated.

The document, filed this week by Abdulrahman al-Lahem, a human rights lawyer, contends that the case against Fayadh, 35, was seriously flawed. Lahem told the Guardian: “Fayadh’s life is not in danger … We are confident that the trial will be reversed and Fayadh will be freed based on the [legal] precedents in the kingdom.” [The Guardian] Read more

Americans closely split over whether Islam is violent

As Republicans prepare for a debate likely to be dominated by talk of Islam and terrorism, new polls show Americans divided on the question of whether the religion is violent by nature.

Republicans are far more suspicious than other Americans of an inherent link between Islam and violence, the polls show, a fact that is likely to strongly influence the GOP presidential hopefuls as they debate.

A survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center released Tuesday found that a large majority of white evangelical Protestants -- a key Republican constituency -- as well as smaller majorities of older Americans and those with less education said Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers. [Los Angeles Times] Read more

Views of Government’s Handling of Terrorism Fall to Post-9/11 Low - Little change in views of relationship between Islam and violence

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., the public’s concerns about terrorism have surged and positive ratings of the government’s handling of terrorism have plummeted. But other attitudes relating to terrorism and security, as well as perceptions of whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, have shown far less change.For first time since 9/11, government’s job rating on terrorism turns negative

The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 8-13 among 1,500 adults, finds that since the start of this year, the share of Americans who say the government is doing well in reducing the threat of terrorism has fallen by 26 percentage points – from 72% to 46% – and now stands at its lowest point in the post-9/11 era.

.... The partisan divide over whether Islam encourages violence is now as wide as it has ever been. Fully 68% of Republicans say Islam encourages violence more than other religions, a historical high but little changed since last fall. By contrast, just 30% of Democrats say Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions, down from 42% in September 2014, but on par with Democratic opinion at other points in recent years. [Pew Research Center] Read more

Veil row halts race trial - Muslim’s refusal to show face

A SHOCKED sheriff who halted a trial after a Muslim witness refused to remove her veil said he’s been forced to balance “religious beliefs against the interests of justice”.

Lawman Craig McSherry dramatically postponed the court case against Richard Hynd, 50, who is accused of racial abuse near a mosque.

He made the decision after a key prosecution witness insisted she was unwilling to appear without a full face veil which left only her eyes visible, like the one above.

The woman’s refusal to remove the covering was announced just minutes before proceedings were set to start at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday.

Defence solicitor Alexander Flett said: “When asked if she was prepared to remove the veil for identification, she said, ‘No’.”

Sheriff McSherry said he found it “extremely hard to understand” why the matter had not been raised at preliminary hearings. But he added: “If that’s her position, then in order for the Crown to have evidence from her there would have to be a decision from the court. [The Scottish Sun] Read more

Inside Britain's Sharia courts: There are now EIGHTY-FIVE Islamic courts dispensing 'justice' across the UK. This investigation into what really goes on behind their doors will shock you to the core

Sitting in one room, a young Muslim woman tells an elderly cleric about the parlous state of her marriage to a 50-year-old man.

‘He oppressed me to the maximum,’ she declares. ‘He is violent, physically, and treats me like a dog.’

The woman — who looks barely out of her early 20s — describes her spouse as verbally and physically abusive about ‘every little thing’ she does.

When the husband’s around, he forces her to wear a headscarf. When he isn’t, which is often, he likes to travel to Tunisia, where she suspects he has secretly married several other women.

For all she knows, she adds, he might have accumulated as many as ten other wives. Fighting back tears, as she finishes this tale of betrayal, the woman glances to the cleric, who has a long white beard, and sits at a raised desk in front of a bookcase full of Islamic texts. Perhaps she’s hoping for a supportive smile, confirming she’s not at fault. Maybe she’s seeking reassurance that the man will hold her misogynistic, wife-beating husband to account.

Instead, the elderly cleric, whose name is Suhaib Hasan, starts laughing. ‘Why did you marry such a person?’ he chuckles. [2805 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 18542 votes] I blame the governments that have allowed this backward justice towards women to prosper in this country,

[2ND 16043] Could we set up an English court in their country????????? no thought not...

[3RD 13952] The should only be 1 law and that is English law,if thats not acceptable,then live elsewhere.

[4TH 11786] The only shocking thing here is our successive governments have allowed this to happen!!! I hate what has happened to my country

[5TH 10948] If this country is allowing sharia courts this is an affront to our legal system. It must be outlawed immediately and those who have allowed it brought to task. What a mess we are creating!

[6TH 9054] For me things like this are simply unacceptable. I'm just waiting for somebody to lead us out of this. [Mail on Sunday] Read more

Merkel is wrong – demanding Syrians assimilate could backfire

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in an address to the annual conference of the Christian Democrat party on Monday, said: “Those who seek refuge with us also have to respect our laws and traditions, and learn to speak German. Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies, and therefore multiculturalism remains a grand delusion.”

Some will find this odd given that Merkel has taken a brave stand in allowing large numbers of refugees – perhaps up to a million – to enter and be welcomed in Germany over the past few months.

Of course the plan is that their claims for refuge and asylum will be processed, some may be refused and repatriated, some may stay until there is peace in Syria, but it is not unrealistic to assume that the large majority will become long-term settlers in Germany. Some may even think that her anti-multiculturalist remarks are a sop to her party’s angry right wing, who are opposed to her humanitarian stand.

.... Germany, unlike Britain, has a declining population, and one of the consequences of the large refugee inflow is to boost the labour force. That many of the Syrian refugees are professional and business people has not been lost on analysts and employers, and already some companies have new apprenticeships targeted at the refugees. Merkel’s humanitarian instincts may yet bring long-term material benefits for her country, as long as Germany is careful not to alienate prospective citizens by demanding assimilation as the price of citizenship. [837 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 483 votes] "Germany is careful not to alienate prospective citizens by demanding assimilation as the price of citizenship"

omfg, then don't come to Germany!

[2ND 436] Multiculturalism died a decade ago.

All that remains is a zombie ideology flogged by the left.

[3RD 427] "Merkel’s humanitarian instincts may yet bring long-term material benefits for her country, as long as Germany is careful not to alienate prospective citizens by demanding assimilation as the price of citizenship."

The author makes it sound like it is the Syrian refugees who are doing Germany a favour...

[4TH 400] I think if you want to live in a country you should be prepared to accept the values and laws of that country, live in accordance to them and make an effort to learn the language of that country.

[5TH 356] Multi culturalism in Sweden has been a disaster if you measure it by crime, employment, education outcomes and the like.

[6TH 355] Do any Muslim countries support multiculturalism? Would Saudi Arabia, for example, allow 500,000 Christians to move there, build churches, drink alcohol, wear whatever they feel like, and so on? I don't think so.

The idea that any country would or should allow hundreds of thousands of people to suddenly turn up, for whatever reason, and with the idea that they do not have to adhere to that country's traditions is ludicrous. That is not seeking refugee status, that is in an invasion.

[7TH 333] "Merkel’s humanitarian instincts may yet bring long-term material benefits for her country, as long as Germany is careful not to alienate prospective citizens by demanding assimilation as the price of citizenship."

I'd love to see what would happen to European women if they refused to change their own cultural values when they are in "Muslim" countries.

[8TH 328] Are we supposed to take this article seriously? There is not one single multicultural country in this world that can be called a success.

[9TH 326 ] Why is so wrong to ask immigrants to assimilate into their host community? Why should the host community lose its traditions, identity and values to accommodate people who have just arrived? This premise is absurd and leads to division and alienation not the fair request that new immigrants assimilate as waves of people before have done so over hundreds of years. [Guardian Cif] Read more

14 December 2015

Republicans embrace Trump’s ban on Muslims while most others reject it

A majority of Republicans support presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to temporarily block Muslims from entering the United States, even as a clear majority of the public overall rejects the idea in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey finds broad sympathy for Muslims in the United States following recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California. The poll shows that more than seven in 10 adults think Muslims in the United States face discrimination for their religion, with nearly six in 10 saying such discrimination is not justified. Fewer than three in 10 say mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims, a similar finding to surveys conducted before the recent violence.

.... Support for Trump’s plan falls to 38 percent among political independents and to 17 percent among Democrats. His proposal also receives varying support across religious lines. Fewer than one-quarter of Americans with no religious affiliation support a ban on Muslims, 24 percent, compared with 40 percent of all Christians and 54 percent of white evangelical Protestants. [The Washington Post] Read more

Anti-Radicalisation Strategy 'Alienating Pupils'

There are mounting concerns about the implementation of the Government's deradicalisation programme in schools, amid warnings that Muslim children are being singled out and demonised.

The Prevent strategy - which since July has imposed a legal duty on schools across Britain to prevent radicalisation - is being accused of targeting Muslims with inappropriate messages, risking alienation and even pushing vulnerable children further towards extremist material.

One woman has told Sky News how her 14-year-old Muslim son was separated from his class and interrogated alone by two adults, after he made a comment about "eco-terrorists" during a class discussion on the rainforest.

"My son came home and said 'I’ve been asked today if I was affiliated to ISIS',” said Ifhat Smith, of Haggerston, east London. [Sky News] Read more

Why Has Prevent Policy Been Branded 'Toxic'?

There's no question of the need for public authorities to take steps to counter extremism.

Since 2007, when Prevent was first introduced, there has been growing awareness of the problem of radicalisation within communities in the UK, and the need to step in and counter extreme narratives before they manifest in violence.

But there have been persistent problems in both the conception and execution of the strategies used in achieving prevention.

In July, the Counter Terrorism and Security Act imposed a new legal duty on public bodies - including schools and nurseries - to take steps to prevent people being drawn into extremism, schools have been scrambling to train staff to comply with the requirement.

Companies are cashing in on the sudden demand from schools and colleges to train staff on how to comply with the duty, offering online training modules and materials for pupils. Other schools are simply inviting Prevent officers in and asking them to address staff on how to detect and act on the warning signs. [Sky News] Read more

Muslim scholar backs Christian pastor's right to call Islam 'satanic'

A Muslim academic has spoken outside a Belfast court in support of a born-again Christian pastor who is on trial after denouncing Islam as “satanic” and “heathen”.

Pastor James McConnell is being prosecuted under the 2003 Communications Act over his anti-Islam remarks during a controversial sermon at his church in Newtonabbey, County Antrim, last year.

The 78-year-old evangelical Protestant preacher faces two charges – improper use of a public electronic communications network and causing a grossly offensive message to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network – because his remarks, made at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, in north Belfast, were posted on the internet.

But speaking outside Belfast magistrates court to hundreds of McConnell’s supporters, Muhammad al-Hussaini, a senior research fellow in Islamic studies at the Westminster Institute, said he was in the city to back McConnell’s right to free speech. [The Guardian] Read more

'Jihadis must get the hell out of Britain': Shaker Aamer says what many UK Muslims dare not in his first interview since release

The Briton held at Guantanamo Bay for 14 years said last night that Muslims who support terror attacks have no right to live in this country – and demanded would-be jihadis 'get the hell out'.

Shaker Aamer has spent five days talking to The Mail on Sunday in a series of world exclusive interviews – his first since his release.

Courageously, he made his angriest comments about Muslims who plot terror in Britain, even though he was tortured, beaten and held for 5,007 days at Guantanamo under suspicion of terrorist activities without ever being charged. He has been cleared by the US twice.

He also expressed revulsion at the murder of hostages by Islamic State, saying the extremist group's treatment of prisoners had abused basic principles of Islamic law.

.... Aamer also voiced fears about the rift between Muslims and non-Muslims, as shown by last week's calls by US presidential candidate Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the US.

'It worries me,' he said, explaining it is what extremists want. 'It helps their cause… if you keep looking at people like they are terrorists before they do anything, then you will push them towards violence.' [458 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 4141 votes] Please continue to be a strong voice for pro British Muslims! Sorry for your lost years. Peace and love to your family x

[2ND 3316] He's right. Anyone who supports the problem is part of the problem.

[3RD 3151] Many Muslims ARE against the what's going at the moment and DO openly oppose it. It's just media outlets like DM fail to highlight this. Anyways, what an absolutely lovely smiling, friendly face. Thank goodness this poor man's ordeal has finally had a 'happy ending' and he is reunited with his loved ones. Welcome home. [Daily Mail] Read more

13 December 2015

Lombardy in Italy bans burqas and Islamic veils following European terror attacks

A northern region of Italy has amended legislation and approved a ban on wearing burqas and Islamic veils in hospitals and local government buildings, following terror attacks in Europe.

The new regulation in Lombardy, which comes into force on the first day of the New Year, marks the first time an Italian region has explicitly outlawed Islamic face coverings. Existing law in the country, dating from the 1970s, already forbids clothing that makes identification difficult in public places.

[A TOP RATED COMMENT] The whole body and face cover brings nothing but division.

I live in the north of England and in many towns now it is completely bi-cultural. The possibility of any integration into our English way of life is 0 if someone is completely covered. If the Burka is not banned in open society this division will only grow and grow.

[ANOTHER] Italians do the most right thing in the interest national security. Same must be applied across Europe. Total abolishing of niqab must form part of “refugee” (are they really?) mandatory “integration” (will they ever?) policy.

For 100 thousand years, as long as we human(oids) have evolved, the ability to recognize and identify facial features, to observe facial expressions when interacting, was of paramount importance. Any interviewer (i.e. job interviewer, department manager, passport control, immigration, medic, police officer, teacher, security guard, etc etc etc) will affirm, that words carry just 5% of value.

The rest is read from face, body language, hands' appearance etc. One cannot read those from persons whose body and face is covered in a uniform , black garb (including black gloves).

This sinister garb has nothing to do with religion. It is garb of oppression, and garb of criminality.

[ANOTHER] It is getting worse...

Ten years ago very few were seen where I live. Now I would say 10% wear them, especially younger girls who are at college.

Islam needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world and this is one of the few options we have to start that process.

[ANOTHER] All western countries should ban it. Despite the argument that women 'choose' to do this the mjority do not. Where it is not forced on them by law they do it because of cultural, family or religious pressure, or to make a statement that they are 'different'. You can only say you choose to do it if you can stop doing it with no consequences.

I would go further in the UK, I would ban all forms of religious dress for children. No headscarves, no long skirts, no school uniforms that mandate that form of dress. And no segregation or being excused from gym and swimming. School dress should allow 'modest' options in any case, allowing a knee length skirt or trousers, a gym skirt or track suit bottoms, a full swim suit. That is enough.

Women who must dress like this, and men who insist they do are simply not going to integrate into western society and we need to demand that they integrate to ensure the future identity of Europe. Or do we wish to become muslim countries? [The Independent] Read more

Saudi Arabia elects up to 17 female councillors in historic election

Saudi Arabia has elected its first female local councillors in a historic step for a country where women are banned from driving and face routine discrimination.

Results from Saturday’s municipal council elections indicated there were about 17 female winners. These included four in Jeddah, one near Mecca – home to Islam’s holiest site – and others in Tabuk, Ahsaa and Qatif. Several more, reported by al-Sabq online newspaper, were expected to be confirmed later.

Rasha Hefzi, a prominent businesswoman who won a seat in Jeddah, thanked all those who supported her campaign and trusted her, pledging: “What we have started, we will continue.” Hefzi and other candidates used social media to contact voters because of restrictions on women meeting men and bans on both sexes using photographs. [353 comments]

[A TOP RATED COMMENT] Actually, I have a question about the council meetings. Are they allowed to attend without male relatives? And how do they discuss things if they are not allowed to see or talk to people of the opposite sex? Genuinly interested.

[ANOTHER] The article states "...the country’s Grand Mufti, its most senior religious figure, described women’s involvement in politics as “opening the door to evil”.

The Grand Mufti should be barred from entering Western countries for this hate speech.

In fact, he should be barred from entering any other country for this mysogyny. [The Guardian] Read more

11 December 2015

Raif Badawi: An Urgent Appeal

According to a Facebook statement by his wife, Saudi political activist Raif Badawi has been transferred from his current location to another facility called Prison Shabbat Central.

According to her post this is being seen as an ominous development as the prison is known to be reserved for prisoners whose sentence is confirmed and who have exhausted all appeals. She also mentions that he has been on hunger strike since Tuesday, possibly in protest against this decision by Saudi Authorities.

Badawi was initially arrested in Jeddah on June 17, 2012 for charges that still remain unclear but that include "insulting Islam by electronic means" and "apostasy". Aside from the moral repugnance of such draconian charges that run contrary to what the Koran states, to date there has been no evidence that any of these charges are even true. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Federal Court rejects school headscarf ban

The Swiss Federal Court has rejected a St Gallen cantonal commune’s ban on wearing Muslim headscarves, or hijabs, in school.

Friday’s decision finalises a case that began in 2013, when the school authorities of the commune of St Margrethen objected to 14-year-old Muslim student who wore her hijab to class. The school’s complaint was based on a communal regulation banning the wearing of religious garments.

The cantonal administrative court refuted the school’s protests after the student’s parents refused to allow her to attend school without the hijab.

On Friday, the Federal Court decided four-to-one against the school’s appeal of the cantonal administrative court’s decision. The higher court argued that the ban against wearing a hijab was not a prerequisite for effective teaching. [swissinfo] Read more

Saudi women allowed to vote for first time

On Saturday 12 December people in Saudi Arabia go to the polls.

This is a rare event in itself, but on this occasion women in the country will be voting and standing for office for the first time in history.

Voting for the municipal elections take place across Saudi Arabia, but we managed to speak to the first women to register to vote in the capital Riyadh. [BBC] Read more

With Islamophobia on the rise I fear for my friends and family

It’s too easy to dismiss Donald Trump as a buffoon – to point and laugh at a man whose worldview is as ridiculous as his hairdo. But to do so is to make light of a very serious threat.

Trump is just the latest public figure to articulate a growing wave of Islamophobia across the western world. His shocking views justify the actions of those who commit hate crimes and worse, play into the hands of terrorists such as Daesh (Islamic State) – making Britain less safe.

Islamophobia is on the rise. The number of Islamophobic incidents recorded by the Metropolitan police increased by 70% over the past year alone. Every time there is a terrorist incident involving evil fanatics who abuse the name of Islam ordinary, law-abiding Muslims pay a heavy price. [Sadiq Khan, 1853 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 516 votes] "We must do more to challenge Islamophobia. As mayor of London, I’ll make tackling hate crimes – including Islamophobia... – a top priority for the Metropolitan police and ensure they get the resources they needs to make a real difference. I’ll work with the police and community organisations to improve the way we report and record Islamophobic crimes – so we have the best possible information to act on"

Really? Why is everyone insistent on pandering to this cult/religion, the polices resources should be spent investigating Murder/Rape and working and walking the beat in order to help people feel safe. You will not get my vote.

This country is not an Islamic one, we are fed up of Islam being put on some sort of pedestal as some sort of inscrutable way of life, it inst we are all humans, if they want to go talk about made up fairy tales, fine, but maybe you should spend police resources on ensuring Islamic hate preachers, problematic mosques and groups of growing radicalised members are being monitored rather than monitoring everyone else in case someone says something that could be considered remotely offensive to Muslims.

[2ND 428] Of course. It's our fault that people want to join ISIS and kill infidels.

[3RD 369] "Few people in Britain take Trump’s words seriously"

The great majority of what he says should not be taken seriously. Some of it should be, such as the following statement, which the Guardian's own analysis shows as essentially accurate (if you read through its attempt to change the question):

"In Britain, more Muslims join ISIS than join the British army".

[4TH 359] A COMMENT SAID: "Tell Mama, the organisation that monitors Islamophobia, revealed there were 115 attacks in the week after the terrorist attack on Paris – a spike of more than 300%"

A lot less than the number that died or had their lives ruptured by the Paris attacks.

'Islamophobic Attacks', all non-fatal and a lot likely to have been verbal or merely perceived.

Not nice, but inevitable and - forgive me - inconsequential, in the scheme of things.

[5TH 234] Trump is a fool and I would not like his finger within a hundred miles of the nuclear button.

But over the Muslim issue he is not advocating violence or breaking any of our laws.

Oh and about all these thousands of names on the petition to ban him I'd just love to know if there are many from people who sympathise with the murder of cartoonists and apostates or approved of the fatwa against Rushdie.

Now that is real criminal incitement to violence.

So are we monitoring the people who enter our country to find out their attitudes about apostasy, punishments for homosexuals etc.?

Should we admit anyone who is advocating murder. [Guardian Cif] Read more

10 December 2015

Mother of terror attack victim booed in French parliament for wearing a headscarf

The mother of a man killed in a terror attack in France has been booed after she wore a headscarf during a public talk, with one attendee saying the atmosphere was “like being at a meeting of the National Front”.

Latifa Ibn Ziaten, whose 30-year-old paratrooper son was one of seven people killed by Mohamed Merah in a series of targeted attacks against Jews and soldiers in Toulouse and Montauban in 2012, was invited to parliament to speak at a conference on secularism.

In the wake of her son’s death, Mrs Ibn Ziaten founded a group in his name to “defend the values of the Republic and secularism,” and wears the headscarf in his memory, Buzzfeed News reported.

When she came to speak at the conference, organised by France’s Socialist Group at the National Assembly (the body that debates France’s laws), Mrs Ibn Ziaten was booed and an audience member – wearing a headscarf – who defended her was also heckled. [The Independent] Read more

Merkel's party says burqa should not be worn in Germany

Under pressure to toughen their stance on migrants, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives called on Thursday for an effective ban on the burqa, saying the full body covering worn by some Muslim women should not be worn in public.

In its main resolution for a looming party congress in the city of Karlsruhe that is shaping up as a test of Merkel's authority, the leadership of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) resisted calls by some members for an "Obergrenze", or cap on the number of refugees entering Germany.

But to satisfy the critics, they adopted tough language on a range of immigration-related subjects, from security to integration.

Roughly one million asylum seekers, many from Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, are expected to arrive in Germany this year, far more than in any other European country. This has hit support for the ruling CDU and pushed down Merkel's popularity ratings. [Reuters] Read more

Persecuting the non-believers - Report highlights a grim picture across the Middle East

The global Freedom of Thought Report for 2015, published today, begins with a map of the world where every country in the MENA region, from Morocco and Mauritania on the Atlantic coast to Iran in the Gulf. is coloured either black (indicating "grave violations) or red (indicating "severe discrimination").

The Middle East is not by any means the only problem area and the 542-page report, compiled by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), also highlights Bangladesh where four humanist bloggers and one secular publisher were hacked to death.

But the Middle East is striking in – shall we say – its consistency and a prime illustration of the way humanists, atheists and the non-religious are increasingly persecuted and discriminated against. Across the globe there has been a rise in extrajudicial violence targeting such people, the report says, and in some states "harsher judicial sentences have been handed down for crimes such as 'blasphemy' and 'apostasy'."

Even in Kuwait, which in comparison with its neighbours ranks well in terms of civil liberties, press freedom and judicial independence, the past few years have seen a notable crackdown, the report says. The country "is found to be declining due to recent prosecutions for 'blasphemy' and a general deterioration of freedom of expression post-Arab Spring." [al-bab.com] Read more

Kurz defends probe into Islamic nurseries

Austria’s Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) has been defending a controversial study into Islamic kindergartens, which has prompted him to call for the immediate closure of "many Islamic kindergartens" and insist on tighter controls to prevent radicalization.

He told ORF television that he believed the study was necessary because there is a danger that “parallel societies are emerging". He said it had been difficult to carry out the survey and that the city of Vienna had not been very cooperative.

He said that he had discovered that one nursery had invited a Salafist to visit as a guest of honour, that some of the kindergartens were teaching aspects of Sharia law, and that there were serious inadequacies in the way some kindergartens taught German.

Vienna councillor Sonja Wehsely has asked Kurz to hand over a list of the kindergartens that have been identified as problematic, so that they can be dealt with as soon as possible. [The Local] Read more

Lombardy bans the burqa and niqab

Italy's northeastern region of Lombardy has amended legislation in order to outlaw the burqa and niqab from public offices and hospitals.

The regional government said it has amended a piece of 1975 legislation so as to prevent people from entering public buildings with their faces covered "without a valid reason".

Until now the traditional burqa and niqab - two types of face veil worn by many Muslim women - have been justifiable on grounds of faith, but they will be outlawed under new rules that take effect on January 1st.

“We have updated the law and now nobody with a covered face will be allowed to enter [public offices and hospitals],” Lombardy governor, Robeto Maroni, from Italy's right-wing Northern League party told Il Fatto Quotidiano. [The Local] Read more

David Cameron urged to ban 'discriminatory' sharia courts from hearing divorce cases

David Cameron was today urged to ban “discriminatory’ sharia courts from hearing divorce and other family cases as women’s rights groups warned of growing oppression by “fundamentalist forces” in Britain.

The campaigners said that action was needed because “unaccountable and arbitrary” religious courts were treating large of Muslim women as second class citizens.

They added that women were being exposed to unfair treatment, cruelty and sometimes danger as a result and “dragged into living out a fundamentalist vision of Islam” that was contrary to equality.

The groups, who were today presenting a petition at 10 Downing Street setting out their demands for reform, said the Prime Minister should respond by ensuring the “separation of religion and law” and by holding an inquiry into the discriminatory nature of Sharia and other religious courts. [Evening Standard] Read more

Republicans Split on Donald Trump’s Proposal to Ban Muslims, Poll Finds

Donald J. Trump’s plan to ban foreign Muslims from entering the United States has received bipartisan condemnation from lawmakers and advocacy groups, but Republicans in general appear to support the idea, according to a national poll released Thursday.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found that 57 percent of all those polled opposed Mr. Trump’s idea, with 25 percent supporting it. However, Republicans in the poll were essentially split on the proposal, with 42 percent backing a moratorium on Muslims’ entering the country and 36 percent opposing such a policy.

When looking at just potential Republican primary voters, views were even more sharply divided, with 38 percent for the ban and 39 percent opposed to it.

The results show that despite the fact that people around the world have accused Mr. Trump of being a bigot for wanting to bar Muslims, the proposal may not hurt him in the race for the Republican nomination. In fact, it could help. [The New York Times] Read more

09 December 2015

'Trump's not wrong – we can't wear uniform in our OWN cars': Five police officers claim Donald Trump is RIGHT about parts of London being so 'radicalised' they are no-go areas

Serving police officers today backed Donald Trump's claim that some Muslim communities in the UK are no-go areas because of extremism.

Several Met officers have said the 'Islamification' of some parts of the capital requires 'extra vigilance' and they can't wear uniforms for safety reasons - despite Scotland Yard claiming the tycoon 'couldn't be more wrong'.

Home Secretary Theresa May tonight rejected Mr Trump's claims, insisting: 'The police in London are not afraid to go out and police the streets.'

The US presidential contender caused worldwide consternation yesterday after a string of incendiary remarks about Muslims, including in Britain, and said: 'We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that police are afraid for their own lives.'

But one serving officer said today Trump had 'pointed out something plainly obvious, something which I think we aren't as a nation willing to own up to'.

Another policeman said that he and other colleagues fear being terror targets and spoke of the 'dire warning' from bosses not to wear a uniform 'even in my own car'.

It came as more than 250,000 people - seven people every second - signed a petition demanding Mr Trump is banned from Britain for being a 'hate preacher' - an idea rejected by Chancellor George Osborne. [Daily Mail] Read more

Tony Abbott: Societies can't 'remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam'

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has said Islam must change and called for a "hearts and minds campaign against the versions of Islam that make excuses for terrorists".

In an opinion piece for News Corp, Mr Abbott writes that societies "can't remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam" after terrorist attacks in Paris and the Middle East, the deaths of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson in the Martin Place siege last year and Curtis Cheng outside Parramatta police station in October.

"Dealing with terrorism and the Islamist fanaticism that inspires it is the great challenge of our time," he writes.

And Australians should stop apologising for the Western values that "have made our country as free, fair and prosperous as any on Earth." [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

Saudi Hatred in Luton

The Luton Islamic Centre has one mission in this world: the promotion of vicious Saudi hatred.

This January it will hold a three day event which provides a case in point.

.... This post covers Saudi preacher Salih al-Suhaymee, one of the scheduled speakers. He is telling indeed.

Let’s start with something which may appear trivial but has its own revealing significance.

Valentine’s Day is loathed by many extremists. Let them froth, sure, but mind just how Suhaymee does it. Celebrating the day is ”blind following of the Jews and Christians”, “imitating the kuffar”, and “following the West”, which is “prohibited” for Muslims.

You see, even little and harmless issues are enlisted for the cause – firm rejection of the West, rigid social separatism, constant painting of Jews and Christians in general as markers for the impermissible and the unacceptable. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Most Americans dislike Islam

A majority say that they view Islam unfavorably, and even Democrats are almost twice as likely to view Islam negatively than positively

One week ago the United States saw the deadliest terrorist attack it has seen since 9/11, after 14 people were killed in San Bernadino by Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik.

In the wake of the attack Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took his most aggressively anti-Muslim stance so far by calling for Muslims to be barred from entry into the United States. Though the United States has millions of Muslims, anti-Muslim sentiment has become increasingly common in public discourse.

YouGov/HuffPost's latest research shows that most Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Islam. 58% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Islam, and just over a third (35%) say that they have a 'very unfavorable' opinion of the religion.

Only 17% of Americans view it positively. Democrats (27%) are the most likely to have a favorable opinion of Islam, but even they tend to say that they view Islam negatively. Among independents (58%) and Republicans (75%) most people have a negative view of Islam. [YouGov] Read more

08 December 2015

Hundreds of Muslims marching against terrorism in London 'ignored by British media'

Hundreds of Muslims marched through central London at the weekend to call for peace and unity.

Yet the organisers of the annual procession said not one single mainstream media outlet covered it because it was not "juicy" enough.

Men, women and children were pictured and filmed waving brightly coloured banners during the UK Arbaeen Procession on Sunday.

It is is organised every year by the Husaini Islamic Trust UK and according to their website is the ‘largest annually organised Islamic event in Europe’

The march aims to promote the teachings of Imam Husain – a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed they revere as a freedom fighter for standing up against dictators trying to deny citizens their rights. [Daily Mirror] Read more

Saudi Arabia to retry Sri Lanka maid sentenced to death by stoning for adultery

Saudi authorities have agreed to retry a Sri Lankan housemaid sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, her country's deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Harsha de Silva told parliament in Colombo the government had secured a fresh trial for the woman after Sri Lankan diplomats visited her in a Saudi jail over the weekend.

"Through our intervention, they (Saudi authorities) have agreed to reopen the case," Mr de Silva told parliament.

"This can be considered a big victory. We will provide her with legal counsel," he added, without elaborating on the grounds for a retrial.

The woman, a 45-year-old married mother of two who has not been named, was convicted of adultery in August.

She was sentenced to death by stoning, while an unmarried Sri Lankan man convicted alongside her was sentenced to 100 lashes. [AFP] Read more

'Trojan Horse' school 'renamed Easter eggs so they did not sound Christian'

Teachers at a school linked to the Trojan Horse affair renamed Easter eggs to remove any links to Christianity, a former employee claims.

Hilary Owens, a former teaching assistant at Adderley Primary School in Birmingham, told an employment tribunal they were rebranded "chocolate eggs".

Another former staff member said Muslim pupils were put on lists to stop them going on Easter basket-making classes.

Ms Owens is claiming unfair dismissal alongside three other ex-staff members.

Adderley Primary School was one of the schools mentioned in the so-called Trojan Horse letter, a four-page document that alleged there was a plot by Islamic hardliners to take over schools.

It came to public attention while Ms Owens and her colleagues' tribunal was taking place. [BBC] Read more

Australia's ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott declares: 'Islam must change, not us'

Australia's former prime minister Tony Abbott has declared "we can't remain in denial about the massive problem with Islam" in an opinion piece for the right-leaning publication the Daily Telegraph.

The former conservative leader, who was ousted in September by a member of his own party, Malcolm Turnbull, used the column inches to further push his views regarding foreign policy and the western war on the Islamic State. The controversial piece was titled: "Islam must change, not us."

Calling for an escalated approach to dealing with terrorism, Abbott said that bombing targets in the Iraq and Syria region is not enough. He believes a "hearts and minds" campaign against radical Islam is needed to curb the increasing incidents of terrorism. [Mashable] Read more

07 December 2015

Germany records 964,000 new asylum seekers since Jan

Germany registered 964,574 new asylum seekers in the first 11 months of the year, putting Europe's top economy on track for a million arrivals in 2015, official figures showed Monday.

Some 206,101 migrants came in November alone, a new monthly record, up from a previous high of 181,166 in October, according to the interior ministry.

The number of arrivals for the year so far was more than four times the total for all of 2014 with Germany now the top European destination for people fleeing conflict, repression and misery in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The data did not provide a breakdown of the nationalities of the new arrivals.

In previous months, Syrians topped the figures, with around one in three applications coming from citizens of the war-torn country, for whom Germany has adopted an open-door policy. [AFP] Read more

Moderate Muslims Have Hit Their “Wall”

.... That there is no heaven or hell. Or rather, we no longer need a heaven and a hell to curb us into moral behavior. We have evolved. We know more of the universe, too much to be afraid of it anymore. We know more of this earth, and we know that every human being is made of exactly the same material.

There is no Us, no Them. There is only We. We need to move on. We need to break free. We need to scale the wall so we can push back against the forces that seek to snatch our children’s minds and bodies. We need to protect them, we need to inhabit our own intelligence instead of surrender it in the service of an archaic structure of beliefs that make absolutely no sense to follow in this day and age.

We have to break the chains in our own minds in order to do any of this. And it is scary. Especially when you’ve believed your whole life in the concept of blasphemy. Especially when you know that to openly come out and reject these beliefs would be to risk alienation, to be ostracized and maligned, rejected and alone. And in many cases, dangerous to your own person. [Camels With Hammers] Read more

Dinner lady sacked for burka joke overwhelmed by "fantastic" show of support

THE school dinner lady sacked for sharing a Facebook burka joke has dubbed the flood of support from Mail readers “fantastic”.

And Nita O’Dell, given her marching orders after 21 years at Billesley Primary, has been moved to tears by news an online petition has been launched demanding her reinstatement.

The 54-year-old lost her job for sharing a photo of a dog wearing a towel. The accompanying caption reads: “Guide dog for a Muslim woman. It’s called a Barka.”

The school has stressed Nita, from Kings Heath, had been previously warned about inappropriate posts.

Birmingham Mail readers have rushed to the gran-of-seven’s defence, with close to 500 messages of support posted on our Facebook site.

Alex Hollis said: “Dinner ladies not allowed a life or sense of humour these days, what a joke.” [Birmingham Mail] Read more

06 December 2015

Saudi must stop financing fundamentalist mosques abroad: Merkel's deputy

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Sunday said Saudi Arabia must stop financing fundamentalist mosques abroad which are accused of breeding extremism.

“From Saudi Arabia, Wahhabi mosques are financed throughout the world,” said Gabriel.

“In Germany many extremists considered dangerous persons emerge from these communities,” he told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Gabriel, who is Chancellor Angela Merkel’s deputy in a left-right coalition, warned against alienating Saudi Arabia, a crucial player in the bid to end the Syrian war, with too much criticism. [AFP] Read more

Prevent programme 'spying on our young people', say east London imams

Muslim religious leaders in one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs in Britain have criticised the government’s programmes to stop people turning to extremism and terrorist violence as “divisive” and leading to a “breakdown in trust”.

In a rare sign of public discontent, east London imams – backed by teachers, community organisations and student unions – have claimed the measures adopted under the anti-radicalisation Prevent scheme and the Counter-Terrorism Act result in “spying on our young people” and lead to “increasing division and to a breakdown of trust in schools and colleges”.

In a statement, religious and community leaders in Newham – who regularly draw thousands of locals into their mosques – warn that the schemes are “exclusively targeting young Muslims for the views they hold on religion or issues such as government foreign policy”. [The Guardian] Read more

Sharia courts in the UK should be stopped from presiding over divorces, campaigners warn

Sharia courts should be prevented from presiding over divorces and other family matters, and the Government should stop them from becoming an alternative legal system, campaigners will warn this week.

The calls to act against the controversial courts are being made in a letter signed by more than 150 organisations and individuals which will be delivered to the Prime Minister on Thursday.

This comes after The Independent revealed how sharia courts are keeping women in “marital captivity” and failing to properly report domestic violence.

Among the signatories to the letter are the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation; the Quilliam Foundation; the philosopher AC Grayling; and the National Secular Society. [The Independent] Read more

05 December 2015

Sharia Law is alive and well in the UK as investigation uncovers shocking details

An Islamic judge "laughed" at a domestic violence victim who had gone to him seeking help and asked her "Why did you marry such a man?", it has been claimed.

The shocking allegations have been revealed in a report into the use of sharia councils in the UK which also claims men only need to say "I divorce you" three times to separate from their wives while women need the sanction of clerics.

Dutch scholar Machteld Zee managed to get unparalleled access to a number of the religious courts currently operating in the UK - thought to number around 30.

Her report, entitled Choosing Sharia? Multiculturalism, Islamic Fundamentalism and British Sharia Councils which has been seen by the Independent newspaper, also claims one judge, known as a qadi at a sharia council also said UK law did not matter in cases of divorce.

In one court in east London, it is claimed the qadi told a couple who had already obtained a civil divorce that the paper counted for nothing. [Daily Mirror] Read more

Anti-Muslim prejudice ‘is moving to the mainstream’

The “counter-jihad” movement in the UK is expanding rapidly, according to new analysis showing that 24 different far-right groups are currently attempting to whip up hatred towards Muslims and provoke a cultural civil war.

The most comprehensive report yet into the alliance of international counter-jihad organisations warns that Islamophobic groups in Britain are capitalising on public concerns following the Paris attacks and ongoing refugee crisis.

Next month, the former leader of the English Defence League, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, often known by the pseudonym Tommy Robinson, will make his political comeback by fronting the relaunch of the UK arm of Pegida, the German anti-Islam organisation whose provocative rhetoric has prompted attacks on refugees.

The report, by the anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, chronicles 920 anti-Muslim organisations and key Islamophobes in 22 countries, noting that such groups are becoming increasingly well-resourced, particularly in the US, where eight foundations have donated more than £38m since the 9/11 attacks. [The Guardian] Read more