31 January 2015

Iraqi libraries ransacked, books burned by Islamic State in Mosul

.... "These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned," a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to The Associated Press.

The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation, said the Islamic State group official made his impromptu address as others stuffed books into empty flour bags.

Since the Islamic State group seized a third of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, they have sought to purge society of everything that doesn't conform to their violent interpretation of Islam. They already have destroyed many archaeological relics, deeming them pagan, and even Islamic sites considered idolatrous. Increasingly books are in the firing line. [ CTV News] Read more

Another Birmingham school put in special measures amid 'Trojan Horse' fears

Another Birmingham school has been placed in special measures by Ofsted – with its head and governors likely to be removed – as fears grow of a resurgence of the “Trojan Horse” plot.

In a report to be published this month, Small Heath, a previously “outstanding” non-faith state secondary, will be downgraded to “inadequate”, the lowest possible score.

Inspectors who visited 10 days ago found a “narrowing of the curriculum” and staff in turmoil after the previous –secular – head left. [The Telegraph] Read more

30 January 2015

Millions more animals are slaughtered for halal food: Numbers rise 60 per cent amid calls for them to be stunned before death

More animals are being slaughtered by having their throats cut because of increased pressure from Muslim campaigners, it emerged last night.

Some 2.4 million sheep and goats were put to death using the religious method in halal and kosher abattoirs in one year – a rise of 60 per cent.

According to analysis by the British Veterinary Association, some 37 per cent of sheep and goats, 25 per cent of cattle and 16 per cent of poultry were killed in this way in halal premises.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1204 votes] Ban it.

[2ND 1014] This barbaric method MUST STOP. See how ISIS deals with it's "enemies"? This is no different.

[3RD 798] This is the most barbaric way of slaughter

[4TH 633] It was supposed to be a religious exemption from our animal welfare laws but now its all about money. Our politicians are to blame and should be held to account. There is no excuse, even religious, for animal welfare laws in Britain, especially painless killing, to be sidestepped.

[5TH 591] If this petition is discussed parliament, it will be by back benchers. This is the information which was e-mailed to me by HM Government in a response to a petition which I signed on this subject. The law in the UK states that all animals must be stunned before slaughter and I fail to see how a minority group have been exempted from this. Perhaps there should be a discussion about one law for all at the same time. [Daily Mail] Read more

Mark Steyn Pushes Back on the Media’s Denial of ‘No-Go Zones’

Among the longtime observers who pushed back against no-go zone denialism is author Mark Steyn, who has mentioned these hostile, unassimilated communities in his columns and books for years.

Steyn appeared on Canadian host Ezra Levant’s program to discuss no-go zones and the Islamization of Europe on Thursday:

Steyn makes a crucial point about how Islamization thwarts the healthy assimilation process of immigrant communities, leaving them permanently alienated from host cultures they perceive as weak and spiritually unsatisfying.

The resulting “hole in the heart,” as Steyn describes it, is a void radical Islam eagerly rushes forward to fill. The degree of alienation present in these no-go zones is horrifying. We can debate what percentage of a community’s population is accurately represented by the angry and dispossessed people who make outsiders reluctant to travel into a hostile district, but the practical result, no matter how informally it might be understood, cannot be erased with happy thoughts or media spin. [Breitbart] Read more

Raif Badawi: Saudi Arabian blogger spared lashing amid global scrutiny

Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger whose punishment has been condemned around the world, was spared another round of flogging today amid speculation that the international attention on his case is having an effect.

Mr Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, administered at a rate of 50 per week, for criticising Saudi Arabia’s clerics through his liberal website. However, he has not been flogged since the first punishment was carried out on 9 January. [The Independent] Read more

Charlie Hebdo attack: Teachers tell of classroom struggle

.... Then I faced my class of 14 to 15-year-olds, with whom I have a wonderful relationship. I asked how they felt about the events of the previous day, without giving my own reaction.

Their response hit me in the guts: "Miss, the journalists got what was coming to them"; "You should not mock the Prophet." Only the Muslim pupils spoke - about a third of the class. The others did not say a word. When they saw the tear on my face, they held back: they did not want to upset me.

More recently, a boy mimicked the killings in a corridor, firing an imaginary Kalashnikov and shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great, in Arabic).

I thought the battle of secularism had been won, and that after several years in school they had absorbed all this. But I now realise that this is not the case. But I will not give up. I will continue to fight for my convictions. I am a daughter and granddaughter of teachers: secularism and the values of the Republic are in my genes. If there were more teachers like me - more teachers who believe in what they do and stop looking the other way, things would be better. [BBC] Read more

29 January 2015

Petition To Ban Religious Animal Slaughter Reaches 100,000

More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition demanding the British government prohibit the slaughter of animals without stunning them first. Yet despite the strength of public feeling, the government said it had “no intention” of outlawing the type of religious slaughter that dictates an animal cannot be stunned before death.

Arguing that the coalition cannot simply "ignore public felling", Britain's top vet John Blackwell said he would continue the fight over animal welfare and push for greater public knowledge over how meat is killed.

Campaigners will now press for a fresh Commons debate on the issue after quickly exceeding the six-figure threshold required on the parliamentary petition site to trigger a possible time slot. [PA/Huffington Post UK] Read more

German carnival drops Charlie Hebdo-inspired float after Paris attack

A German carnival has dropped plans to build a "Charlie Hebdo" float with a cartoonist forcing a pencil into the barrel of a terrorist's gun, after receiving messages from locals worried about safety if the float went on show.

Jitters about public displays of words or images that might anger some Muslims have risen in Europe since Islamist gunmen attacked the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris on Jan. 7-9, killing 17 people.

.... Explaining its decision, the carnival committee in Cologne said they wanted to preserve the event's lighthearted mood in the west German city and make sure no one felt afraid -- even though they had been assured by police that displaying the figures would not pose a security risk. [Reuters] Read more

Sharp rise in halal abattoirs slaughtering animals without stunning them first

The number of animals killed in halal abattoirs without being stunned first soared in the last year, figures have revealed.

Campaigning by Muslims for traditional methods of slaughter has led to a 60 percent rise in the number of non-pain free killings, industry experts said.

Last year 2.4 million sheep and goats had their throats cut without being stunned in halal and kosher abattoirs, according to the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

In halal premium, 37 per cent of sheep and goats, 25 per cent of cattle and 16 per cent of poultry were killed without being stunned first.

For meat to be halal, the animal must be alive when its throat is cut and die from loss of blood. [The Telegraph] Read more

28 January 2015

Facebook censors images of Prophet Mohammed

Facebook has agreed to block pages showing images of the Prophet Mohammed after a Turkish court ruling, despite its chief executive giving his support to freedom of speech proclaiming "Je Suis Charlie".

A court in the Turkish capital, Ankara, ruled that several Facebook pages were "insulting the Prophet Mohammed" and Facebook agreed to block access on January 25.

The court also said if the ruling was not adhered to, Facebook access would be wholly removed in the country, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

The company's decision comes after Mark Zuckerberg said on Facebook that the site followed the laws of the country "but we never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world". [The Telegraph] Read more

Prayer rug artwork pulled due to Muslim concerns

An art installation showing high heels on Islamic prayer rugs was pulled from an exhibition near Paris after a Muslim group complained the work could provoke "uncontrollable" reactions, the artist said on Tuesday.

"Silence", which has already been shown in Paris, Berlin, New York and Madrid, was supposed to go on display in Clichy La Garenne, which is just north of the capital, in a woman-themed art show.

But French-Algerian artist Zoulikha Bouabdellah (photo below) decided to replace the work after a local Muslim group told the town hall last week that "uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents could result" if the installation was shown there. [The Local] Read more

Teacher suspended for defending Paris attacks

The man, who teaches at a school for ten to 14-year-olds, reportedly told his students that it is acceptable to hurt somebody if they have offended Allah.

The school board told the Austrian Press Agency (APA) that his students also said that he told them in a conversation outside of school that he considered killing someone to be a legitimate form of punishment for insulting Islam.

His students reported him to social workers and the school principal.

The case has been handed over to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (BVT). If the allegations are confirmed the man will be banned from teaching, the president of the school board told APA. [The Local] Read more

Egyptian poet goes on trial accused of contempt of Islam

A prominent Egyptian poet could face up to three years in jail over a Facebook post in which she criticized the slaughter of animals at a Muslim festival, a case which rights activists say shows how the government is muzzling free speech.

Fatima Naoot described the Prophet Abraham's dream - in which, according to Islamic belief, God tells him to sacrifice his son as a test of his faith - as a "nightmare". Before Abraham can carry out the deed, God provided a sheep instead as a sacrifice.

In her post, the poet criticized the sacrifice of animals at Eid al-Adha, also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, a festival that honors Abraham's willingness to obey God. [Reuters] Read more

Shakeel Begg and Haitham Haddad

You have seen that Shakeel Begg is plainly an extremist. His very own words, on video, make it as clear as can be.

The record of his mosque, the Lewisham Islamic Centre, provides further evidence against him. Evidence that stretches back for years on end, in fact.

For example, only an extremist group would want the notorious hate preacher Haitham Haddad to preach to its followers. Well, this is just what the Lewisham Islamic Centre has done with Haddad. He has been very welcome there.

.... So there you have it. Stand up for jihad, hate non-Muslims, and kill apostates. This is the Islam of Shakeel Begg’s mosque. [Harry’s Place] Read more

27 January 2015

Why is the V&A hiding a picture of Mohammed from its website?

The V&A has recently decided to remove an historic image of the Prophet Mohammed from its website. The image remains in the collection and will be made available to scholars and researchers by appointment.

I am not sure it is a very uplifting example, this censorship of the past, but they are certainly not alone in doing this. Indeed over the last generation, a slow but efficient iconoclasm has been at work in Britain pruning images of the Prophet from published books, not just about the life of the Prophet but also illustrated surveys of Islamic Art.

It is extraordinary how successful this campaign has been, based not on any physical threat but on a deluge of orchestrated complaints by telephone and email. [The Spectator] Read more

Islamism 'threat' greater than Nazism: SD leader

Acting Sweden Democrat leader Mattias Karlsson has said Islamism is "a greater threat than Nazism", sparking a strong response from Jewish and Muslim communities as the world marks 70 years since the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.

.... he added that he felt the threat from Islamism today was "perhaps greater than from Nazism". The word Islamism broadly refers to the ideology that says a country's government and society should operate in accordance with Islamic laws.

"One must of course take all ideologies seriously and fight them in every way," said Karlsson on Tuesday. [The Local] Read more

Danish Islamists refuse to deradicalize, insist Danes change their values

An Islamist group in Denmark has hit out at a local policy to de-radicalize Muslim youths. It cites “widespread depression, addiction… and alarming rates of suicide” as proof it’s really “sad Western culture” that is in dire need of help.

The scornful statement, which includes allusions to a “sad capitalist existential void,” was printed on the website for the group, called Hizb-ut-Tahrir. It’s a massive organization with branches in 40 countries and a regional chapter in Copenhagen.

There is no consensus in Hizb-ut-Tahrir worldwide on support or condemnation of terrorism, as both have taken place. The group is banned in Russia and some of its activities are proscribed in a number of Muslims countries. [RT News] Read more

26 January 2015

Paris attacks prompt fresh concerns about online Islamophobia

Amid concerns over an increase in Islamophobic content on social media following the recent Paris attacks, BBC Asian Network has been hearing from Muslims about their experience of being the target of anti-Islamic sentiment online.

.... Activist Akeela Ahmed says she uses Twitter to campaign on equality issues. Her profile picture shows her in her hijab.

"If I tweet something to do with women's rights, I'll get tweets usually from men saying, 'How can you tweet that when you've got that thing on your head?' They're talking about my hijab. [BBC] Read more

'Somali immigrants' cause pub closures, says minister

Pubs are closing as a result of Somali immigrants arriving in Britain, a Government minister has said.

Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat communities minister, told the House of Commons that new waves of immigration replacing the “white working class” had led to the pub trade evaporating in some parts of the country.

His comments came as the Government unveiled new plans to protect pubs which are valuable to local communities. [The Telegraph] Read more

25 January 2015

Lady Warsi launches bitter assault on coalition strategy towards Muslims

Lady Warsi has delivered a blistering critique of the government’s approach towards Britain’s Muslims, warning that failure to engage properly with communities across the UK has created a climate of suspicion and undermined the fight against extremism.

In her first major intervention on the relationship between Muslims and the rest of society since she resigned from the cabinet five months ago, Warsi says the coalition’s policy of non-engagement has caused deep unease and resentment towards the government.

.... She says: “The reality is if you haven’t cultivated a friendship, if you haven’t fostered trust, then a letter out of the blue to a mosque… with whom government has refused to engage creates a climate where even the most benign of correspondence can become toxic.” [3094 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1358 votes] Might be a better idea to encourage the Muslim community to engage with the rest of Britain.

[2ND 916] "The onus on integration of immigrants into the UK should most definitely be on the incoming people"

That would help. But I would bet that most Muslims in the UK were born here as British citizens. And that is worrying. They choose alienation by religion and culture instead of enjoying the benefits of integration. And it is from within that group of British born Muslims that violent Islamism is emanating.

[3RD 856] In an Islamic state, Baroness Warsi would be flogged for her audacity

[4TH 825] It is maddening that the Muslim voices that the media allows us to hear are invariably those who view everything through a filter of victimhood.

Could we please hear from some liberal Muslims who wish to see a reformation in their religion, who wish to improve integration, who believe that it is possible to be both a proud Muslim and and a Briton simultaneously, who wish to see an end to horrific notions of 'apostasy', who wish to see gender equality and an end to homophobia?

[5TH 707] I like her in the conservative party. She's a great embarrassment to them.

[446] Perhaps if they integrated more, there would be less of a problem?

[424] And what does she mean by "engage"? Roll over and sell out all we value about our culture and democracy in order to appease fanatics who chose to live here and would impose their values on us? No thank you. It should have been like it or lump it from the start, in no uncertain language, if Muslims want the benefits of living in the UK they can adapt or live where there is a Muslim state. [The Guardian] Read more

Why Eric Pickles’ letter to mosques was right and wrong

.... Did he really think he had the capital that would allow him to address mosques, and those who frequent them, in that fashion? Did he really think a round robin letter, released to the press in a risible show of dynamism, was the most effective way to connect?

As a do-nothing communities secretary in a government that has been lazy at best, and negligent at worst, in its day-to-day relationship with minority communities – particularly Muslim ones – did he really feel well placed to offer advice with any expectation of constructive dialogue? If he did, time for a reality check. Context matters; sometimes it’s everything. [259 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 291 votes] His letter was perfectly reasonable. We live in a society greatly influenced by the thinking of the 18th century Enlightenment. We now need a Muslim Enlightenment ... three hundred years later

[2ND 257] Perhaps the Muslim community needs to look at how and why similar groups in Britain (Hindus, Sikhs) seem to coexist without losing their cultural identity ....

[3RD 199] The behaviour of some sections of the Muslim community is more likely to cause the far right to get power in the UK and Europe than anything else I can think of. .... other minority groups seem to co-exist and prosper perfectly well in the UK.

[4TH 141] I dislike Islam. It frightens me. I wish that it didn't exist. Can I say this? We shall see. Censorship frightens me too.

[5TH 122] Do you remember any Roman Catholic priests in Britain calling for catholics to murder anyone that made a joke about the Pope?

[6TH 121] So...he was right but you can't bring yourself to say so because he's an evil Tory. For goodness sake have we not progressed beyond the everything one side does is perfect whilst the opposition is always wrong dynamic?

[7TH 121] The most successful migrant groups .... are those best able to strike a balance between the cultural possessions they keep for themselves, .... and the things they give up, or dilute, to thrive in a society that demands a degree of collective compliance.

If they are going to give up the homophobic, women-hating, execution of infidels sections of Islam; if they are going to give a quite smile to Muslim jokes, then great. But it doesn't leave much left in the Koran.

[8TH 105] "When he sent that now infamous letter to mosques, telling Muslims they really ought to stop the terrorism ..." That's just a plainly stupid statement which bears no relation to the content of Pickles letter.

But it's Eric Pickles isn't it? So we can pretend his letter amounted to him strutting down Whitehall in a Nazi uniform if we want. It desn't have to be true. Because it's Eric Pickles isn't it?

[9TH 86] We need new voices to be the spokespersons for British Islam. Liberals and reformists, who successfully combine being a proud Muslim with a proud Briton, and who know exactly what Pickles was trying to say, are the Muslims Britain needs to hear from in the media.

The MCB, Warsi and the like are stuck in the groove of the 'grievance narrative' peddled by those who think that anything not Salafism is an insult, is an offensive, is Islamophobic.

They do far, far more harm than good. ....

[10TH 76] Once upon a time, we used to be a country. Now we're different "communities" and that is where it is going wrong ... [The Guardian] Read more

Thousands join anti-Islam rally as Germany worries about image

Thousands of people joined a march by the German anti-Islamisation PEGIDA movement on Sunday, the group's first rally since threats surfaced against the group and its leader resigned over "Hitler" photos

The new demonstration in Dresden came after Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier voiced concern that the group's anti-Muslim sentiments were harming Germany's image.

Police estimated that 17,000 people had turned up for the rally. [AFP] Read more

Imam at mosque where Lee Rigby's killers worshipped sues the BBC for calling him an 'extremist who encourages religious violence'

A hardline imam at a mosque where the killers of soldier Lee Rigby worshipped is suing the BBC, saying it described him as an 'extremist'.

Shakeel Begg, 37, is taking legal action after presenter Andrew Neil said on the Sunday Politics Show that the imam had praised jihad as 'the greatest of deeds'.

Mr Begg, head of the Lewisham Islamic Centre in South-East London, is demanding libel damages and that the BBC doesn't again call him an 'extremist' who 'encourages religious violence'. [Daily Mail] Read more

What are ‘Muslim values’, Lady Warsi?

.... Firstly, to set out proposals for the construction of normative ‘Muslim values’, which may or may not coalesce with those which the Government has defined as ‘British values’ (not least because, as we are seeing, there is an increasing tension between those and certain ‘Christian values’).

.... Presumably, we must begin by excluding those Muslim leaders (however they have emerged) who oppose freedom of speech and expression; revile our traditions of political and religious satire; oppose foreign intervention in the defence of liberty and justice; consider that the testimony of women is not equal to that of men in a court of law; believe that girls should sit behind boys in the classroom, and that a daughter’s marriage is best ‘assisted’, if not quite arranged.

Or do we include Muslim leaders (however they have emerged) who demur from any or all of these ethical guidelines? [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

24 January 2015

Charlie 'survivors issue' sells more than 7 million

Circulation of the "survivors'" issue of Charlie Hebdo, published after a deadly attack on the French satirical weekly's Paris office, is set to top seven million, more than a hundred times its normal circulation, the distributor said Friday.

A total of 6.3 million copies were for France alone, amid an outpouring of grief and anger over the attack by two Islamist gunmen this month which left 12 people dead, including some of Charlie Hebdo's top cartoonists. Five more people were killed in related attacks by a separate gunman.

Another 700,000 copies have been sent to overseas markets, the distributor Messageries lyonnaises de presse (MLP) said. The edition dubbed the "survivors' issue" was published on January 14, a week after the attack. Before then an average circulation for the controversial weekly, which lampoons everyone from the president to the pope, was 60,000. [The Local] Read more

I don’t want to live under Islamic blasphemy law. That doesn’t make me racist

.... In the immediate aftermath of the Paris atrocities most of the people who thought the journalists and cartoonists in some sense ‘had it coming to them’ kept their heads down. I encountered a few who did not, including Asghar Bukhari from the MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Committee).

In the aftermath of the atrocity Asghar was immediately eager to smear the cartoonists and editors of Charlie Hebdo as racists. From what he and others of his ilk have been sending around since, they appear to have dug down into a narrative which now goes something like this:

‘The murders had nothing to do with Islam, Muslims or Islamic blasphemy law. They certainly had something to do with Western foreign policy or domestic Islamophobia. But by the way Charlie Hebdo is a racist magazine.’ [The Spectator] Read more

Radical Islam poses a real, direct threat to the West — including Canada

.... The underlying problem has almost nothing to do directly with the West: Muslim countries have failed at self-government almost everywhere, and have had very little success in developing civic values. This is one of the many reasons why both George W. Bush’s crusade for democracy and Barack Obama’s Cairo speech exalting Arab history were nonsense.

The democratic choice of Muslim Arab electors is apt to be the anti-democratic, Islamist party, as with Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and, until the army intervened in its constitutional role as conservator of democracy, Algeria. (The Algerian army stopped the free election of an anti-democratic party to preserve democracy, in 1992.)

The comparative success of the West gnaws at Muslim sensibilities, and the poor living conditions of many Muslim immigrants in the West aggravate their unhappiness. [National Post] Read more

23 January 2015

Private Islamic University in Rotterdam under special supervision

The private Islamic University Rotterdam has been placed under special supervision by education ministry inspectors and the quality of its courses is under investigation, news agency ANP says on Friday.

This includes a review of the way in which the university’s vision on ‘citizenship and social integration’ is put into practice, education minister Jet Bussemaker said in answer to MPs questions. Potential foreign funding is also being looked into. If the research shows a need for intervention, Bussemaker said she would ‘not hesitate to take that step’.

In addition, the university’s rector has been spoken to about ‘potentially anti-western and undemocratic’ comments by its rector Ahmet Akgündüz, Bussemaker said. [DutchNews] Read more

Vets protest non-stun halal abattoir

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has called on the Welsh government to end talks with a halal meat provider over an approved non-stun slaughterhouse.

Pak Mecca Meats own the abbatoir in Caernarfon

Rebecca Evans, deputy minister for farming and food told the BVA the Welsh Government was “in dialogue with a private company regarding job creation at an abattoir in Caernarfon”.

The abbatoir in Caernarfon is owned by halal meat specialists Pak Mecca Meats, which supplies meat from non-stun animals. [meatinfo.co.uk] Read more

22 January 2015

Looking Away from Europe’s Muslim Problem

.... While some of the banlieues of Paris and other big cities are relatively cut off from their metropolises, as were the townships of South Africa, it would be an exaggeration to call them no-go areas—even if that is what some of the criminal youth would like them to be, so that they can get on with their domination and trafficking with more impunity than they already enjoy.

Schools and other state or public institutions remain in these areas. The police and the fire brigade may sometimes be stoned by the grateful recipients of their services, but they are not totally absent. They are therefore not extra-territorial in the most literal sense. Other European countries—Belgium and Sweden, for example—have not dissimilar problems. [City Journal] Read more

Only institutions wishing to promote faith-based identity politics could object to Pickles’ letter

.... the minute that our mosques are asked for support, the apologia brigade swings into action to complain that Muslims are being isolated or targeted to apologise for the terrorist acts of a few. Surely, they must realise that, at times like these, we need solidarity and not apologia if we are going to combat this cancer within our society?

It is only unreasonable people and institutions that wish to promote their own version of faith-based identity politics that would have an issue with this letter.

It is clear that Pickles wrote these letters to offer support and a credible strategy for mosques to deal with the problem of extremists who would wish to take advantage of their institutions.

Moreover, what with the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the knock-on effect that law enforcement agencies are under increased pressure to maintain security, we must, as a community and society, ensure that more energy should be focused on undermining the ideology which extremists promote to create this division within our societies.

This letter, although long overdue, is a start. [Left Foot Forward] Read more

How the legal punishments handed out in Saudi Arabia compare to those of Isis

For many, the Saudi justice system sounds not unlike that of Isis, the extremist Islamist group also known as Islamic State, which has struck fear in much of the Middle East.

This week, Middle East Eye, a website that focuses on news from the region and is frequently critical of Saudi Arabia, contrasted a set of legal punishments recently announced by Isis with the corresponding punishments in Saudi Arabia. [The Independent] Read more

Isis publishes penal code listing amputation, crucifixion and stoning as punishments - and vows to vigilantly enforce it

Isis has published a penal code listing crimes punishable by amputation, stoning and crucifixion, along with a chilling vow to ensure the code is vigilantly enforced in areas under its control.

The document, entitled: "Clarification [regarding] the hudud ( a set of fixed punishments), was published by the militant group as a reminder and warning to those living under its rule in Syria and Iraq, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri).

The document’s release was followed by an unprecedented spate of violent executions that saw a woman accused of adultery stoned to death, 17 men crucified and two men accused of homosexual acts thrown off a building within 48 hours of each other. [The Independent] Read more

Egyptian President Sisi: Muslims Need To Reform Their Religious Discourse

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said Thursday that Muslims need to adapt their religious discourse to the present and eliminate elements of their rhetoric that could foster violence.

“Islam is a tolerant religion, but this wasn’t always clear to the rest of the world during the last 20 or 30 years,” Sisi said during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “The terrible terrorist attacks and this terrible image of Muslims led us to think that we must stop and think and change the religious discourse and remove from it things that have led to violence and extremism.”

The Egyptian leader's comments likely referred in part to Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French newspaper whose Paris offices were recently attacked by Islamist extremists, though Sisi did not specifically mention the terrorist attack. [The Huffington Post] Read more

The mutating terror threat: what do the Charlie Hebdo attacks mean for Britain?

.... In both cases previously mentioned, in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, religious groups or leaders played a role but the source of persecution was the state. Indeed, it is principally Muslim states that heat the febrile international climate surrounding Islamic attitudes towards apostasy.

This is why they have tried to introduce legislation to censure and stifle all forms of debate regarding Islam. Even though those attempts have failed, at home they routinely crush satirists, reformers, dissenters­ and apostates.

So, it comes as little surprise that satirical depictions of the Prophet Muhammad have repeatedly occasioned global convulsions of splenetic fury. In such an atmosphere, who from within the Muslim world could legitimately tell terrorists not to kill the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo? [New Statesman] Read more

21 January 2015

Former Miss Turkey, 26, facing trial after being arrested for posting satirical poem that criticised the country's president

A former Miss Turkey is facing trial for posting a satirical poem on social media that criticised her country's president.

The arrest of Merve Buyuksarac, 26, follows a crackdown in the country on critical media in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris.

Armed Turkish police last week stopped delivery lorries leaving a newspaper's offices to make sure that they had not included section of the French satirical magazine that might be offensive to Muslims.

Although officially Turkey is secular, 99.8 per cent of the population are registered as Muslim and there has been heated debate over freedom of expression in the wake of the Paris massacres. [Daily Mail] Read more

Muslim scholars urge UN to outlaw 'contempt' of religions

A leading Islamic organisation has called on the United Nations to make "contempt of religions" illegal and urged the West to protect Muslim communities following the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by influential preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, appealed to Muslims to continue peaceful protests against images of the Prophet Mohammed but "not to resort to any violence".

The latest cartoon of the prophet in Charlie Hebdo has angered many Muslims and triggered protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. [Daily Mail - AFP] Read more

20 January 2015

Dear Eric Pickles – why single out Islam for this patronising treatment?

You question our loyalty for no reason other than our spiritual beliefs. Will you ever sit down with the diverse peoples who make up Britain and really listen to us?

Serious question. Will you be sending a letter any time soon to members of the Roman Catholic church following the child-abuse scandals in Catholic institutions? Or a letter to the Board of Deputies of British Jews on the subject of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank? No? Thought as much.

.... You are communities secretary. You have a duty of care to the diverse peoples who make up Britain and define British values. Sadly, it seems the only time you engage with us is under the rubric of counter-terrorism. [2879 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1467 votes] "why single out Islam "

That should be pretty obvious!

[2ND 1188] "Do you really think that little of our young people? That they can’t tell the difference between right and wrong?"

.... there is .... a problem when hundreds of your young people go out to fight for an organisation which carries out such dreadful crimes against humanity as ISIS. I suggest you are in denial of this.

[3RD 885] "We already know that 83% of Muslims living in the UK say they identify with British values"

OK and how many of that 83% thought that a publication in the UK (consistent with British values of a free press and freedom of speech) should be permitted to print an image of the prophet?

That's the problem. Its all very well claiming to identify with British values but its meaningless if its a cherry picked interpretation and one that is subordinate to an identification with religious values.

[4TH 871] .... The pattern of violence and aggressive disregard for human suffering that is persistent in Muslim history and contemporary attitude toward non-believers reflects the message of the Quran, which is one of personal superiority and arrogance.

.... There is simply no other religion on earth that draws such sharp distinction between its own members and others, or devotes as much time of its holist text toward condemning and dehumanizing those who merely choose not to follow its dogma.

[6TH 853] Well, it wasn't Buddhist extremists that attacked Charlie Hebdo.

[10TH 601] "Dear Eric Pickles – why single out Islam for this patronising treatment?"

Yeah, what about all those mormons running around shooting cartoonists?

[11TH 563] The catholic church has admitted its culpability in turning a blind eye to that abuse, no such admission from Islam for turning a blind eye to radicals amongst them.

What Israel does is condemned by all political parties and across all faiths including Jews.

Yet we see daily pictures of moslems celebrating extremism in their midsts and the atrocities carried out in the name of their religion. [Guardian Cif] Read more

ISIS executing 'educated women' in new wave of horror, says U.N.

The United Nations on Tuesday decried numerous executions of civilians in Iraq by the Islamic State group, warning that educated women appeared to be especially at risk.

The jihadist group is showing a “monstrous disregard for human life” in the areas it controls in Iraq, the U.N. human rights office said.

The group, which controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and in neighbouring war-ravaged Syria, last week published pictures of the “crucifixions” of two men accused of being bandits, and of a woman being stoned to death, allegedly for adultery. [Al Arabiya - AFP] Read more

Federal minister accuses Saudi govt of destabilising Muslim world

Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada has accused the Saudi government of creating instability across the Muslim world, including Pakistan, through distribution of money for promoting its ideology.

Addressing a two-day 'Ideas Conclave' organised by the "Jinnah Institute" think tank in Islamabad, the federal minister said 'the time has come to stop the influx of Saudi money into Pakistan'. [Dawn.com] Read more

19 January 2015

The readers’ editor on… the Guardian’s values and Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of Muhammad

I am aware that many Muslims, some of them friends and colleagues, will have been offended by the Guardian’s use of that image, and I am sorry for that. However, I believe the countervailing argument is that on this occasion the image of the cover had an important and legitimate news value.

Showing the magazine’s response in the wake of the deaths was an important part of telling the story, and the Guardian did so in a measured, restrained fashion. It has to feel free to tell it in its own way. [1050 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 710 votes] "I am aware that many Muslims, some of them friends and colleagues, will have been offended by the Guardian’s use of that image, and I am sorry for that."

You shouldn't be.

[SECOND 510] "There were also articles that sought to separate the actions of terrorists from the deep offence felt by many Muslims at the depiction of images of Muhammad."

But none did it successfully. The central point is, being 'offended' when seeing a cartoon is profoundly absurd – it's condescending to reform-minded Muslims as well as the secular majority to say 'well WE all understand that this is just a cartoon, but you can't expect everyone to understand'. Why not?

Charlie Hebdo sought to highlight this absurdity and paid the price for it. The Guardian, by paying lip service to these preposterous 'sensitivities', just continues this strange status quo where the absurd is to be 'respected'

[THIRD 431] "The Guardian used a thumbnail picture of the cover with a warning that some readers might find the image offensive. There were also technical issues to overcome to ensure that the image stayed as a thumbnail across all platforms."

Who needs satire when reality is this absurd?

[FOURTH 358] I think, overall, the Guardian struck the wrong balance, and that nearly everyone will be in agreement that by refusing to do more than sneak a tiny image of the commemorative Charlie Hebdo cover into one article, you have bowed to the demands of terrorists.

However, that's small potatoes when compared to the hundreds (probably literally) of subsequent articles drumming home the message that Islam is the real victim. I don't think I have ever seen as many Guardian readers so diametrically opposed to the paper's editorial policy, and I have to say that I'm not surprised, because if you genuinely believe that Islam is the victim in all of this then you're hopelessly out of touch not only with the prevailing public mood, but also with the very values the Guardian is supposed to promote.

The UK's leading liberal voice, bending over backwards to accommodate the sensitivities of a religion (the Guardian - bending over backwards for a religion!) which hates gays, hates Jews, subjugates women and places arbitrary limits on free expression - I never thought I'd see the day.

[FIFTH 344] "He said he certainly didn’t agree that it was necessary to show solidarity by republishing the offensive cartoons."

So Rusbridger has now classified them as "offensive?" Mmmmmm.

[SIXTH 307] Admit it- you are afraid (I would be too). Stop pussyfooting around with ridiculous excuses.

[SEVENTH 293] Since The Guardian has acquiesced to the demands re images of the prophet, stay tuned for further demands ongoing.

[EIGHTH 292] Had Charlie Hebdo been published in the UK the Guardian would have led the charge in denouncing it as racist.

It's doubtful there is a mainstream cultural platform in the English speaking world, which features so many calls for so many diverse things to be banned, enforced or curtailed, as does the Guardian. Due to its establishment influence far too much of this subsequently makes its way into legislation.

This, and indeed the entire history of the left, renders all the trumpeting about free expression somewhat risible.

[NINTH 269] You got the call wrong, the hundreds if not thousands of comments on CIF backed the call to publish the cartoons, after all they are only cartoons. The cartoons were the excuse for the act of terrorism and so were highly newsworthy. The readers should have been allowed to see the cartoons to try and understand the mindset of the perpetrators of the killings.

We should be challenging the Muslim community as to why they find images of Mohammed so offensive, or why they find any criticism of the implementation of their religion out of bounds.

[TENTH 254] On the face of it, a reasonable piece. However, what it does not do is address the particularly pervasive notion that while it is okay to insult and belittle through cartoons and literature innumerable objects of derision (deserved or otherwise), the sensitivities of muslims are somehow more deserving of respect than the sensitivities of any other group.

I have no issue with muslims being deeply offended by images of their prophet but that does not give them special rights - there are many people who are deeply offended by all sorts of things and they have no special rights either. It is ironic that by treating muslims a special interest group of particular sanctity the Graun indirectly fuels the the likes of UKIP who gain leverage by claiming that ordinary white working class people are being oppressed and marginalised by a lefty, eltiist establishment.

[ELEVENTH 250] There was nothing offensive about that picture whatsoever.

A supposedly free press should not make such an abject, grovelling apology to religious fanatics for simply reporting the news.

[TWELTH 228] So basically, the Guardian wants to surf on the back of Charlie Hebdo's fight for freedom of speech but doesn't actually want to put its head above the parapet and invite jihadis with AK's into their offices? [Guardian Cif] Read more

UK plea to imams to fight extremism draws charge of Islamophobia

Muslim groups accused the British government of copying the language of the far right on Monday and of stoking Islamophobia after ministers wrote to imams asking them to explain to Muslims how Islam is compatible with being British.

In a letter to over 1,000 imams last Friday, Eric Pickles, the minister for local government and communities, asked them to explain to Muslims how Islam can be "part of British identity", arguing they had a duty to do more to fight extremism and root out anyone preaching hatred.

Muslim groups said the letter unfairly singled them out.

"The letter has all the hallmarks of very poor judgment which feeds into an Islamophobic narrative, which feeds into a narrative of us and them," Tahla Ahmad of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told Sky News. [Reuters] Read more

Aldi withdraws soap brand 'insulting to Muslims'

With Europe facing terror alerts and Germany in the grip of anti-Islam protests, the supermarket chain Aldi has found itself in the middle of controversy over liquid soap bottles that depicted a mosque.

The German discount chain Aldi Süd has withdrawn its own-brand Ombia 1,001 Nights liquid soap from sale after complaints that its packaging was insulting to Muslims – only to face new complaints from non-Muslim customers demanding it be reinstated.

The packaging, which Aldi said was intended to evoke the exotic Orient, depicted a Turkish-style mosque with dome and minarets, together with a lantern and a set of prayer beads.

The row began when Muslim customers posted complaints about the design on Aldi's Facebook page. [The Telegraph] Read more

18 January 2015

Germany’s anti-Islamic movement Pegida is a vampire we must slay

As suspicion of Muslims grows in Germany and France, the danger of a vicious spiral is palpable. We need to counter this xenophobia now – before it is too late.

.... While never compromising on the essentials of an open society, including free speech, we non-Muslim Europeans must keep sending these small signals to our Muslim fellow Europeans, both online and in our everyday personal interactions. The best signal of all is the one that indicates no explicit signal is necessary.

This is what happens most of the time in a city like London: you just take it as given that Muslim British people are as much Brits as anyone else – that in truth there is no “they”, just a larger, gloriously mixed and muddled “us”. That is how we will win the plebiscite every day. And that is how we will see off a vampire called Pegida. [Timothy Garton Ash, 1608 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1188 votes] What is it about the sexist, anti-intellectual, barbaric religion that wishes death on all non believers that people dislike so much?

[SECOND 1185] I suspect that in Germany, as in the United Kingdom, the elected leaders have simply ignored the rise of Islam. We have constantly been told that there is no problem with Islam; and often it has been said that it's our fault anyway.

And now that some people have run out of patience we are supposed to throw up our hands in horror. But many will take a lot of convincing before they see the right as a bigger threat than Islam

[THIRD 1099] The Islamic problem is much more pressing than the Pegida problem.

Only an ostrich would disagree.

[FOURTH 1026] What "game" do you propose we play?

Should the uncivilized rabble be allowed to run free, murdering anyone who disagrees or does not believe in their program?

[FIFTH 1032] But it is a clash, isn't it? Whichever way you put it, in the end the ideal situation will always be for Muslims to accept that being a national citizen comes first than being a religious person.

[SIXTH 1004] Timothy,

please tell us what have been the advantages to date for Europe of importing large numbers of Muslims and what advantages will there be in the future

[SEVENTH 961] Absolute rubbish!

How dare you, after all that has happened in the last two weeks attempt to derail opinions you do not care for. That is exactly the problem in Europe at the moment. Islamists want to force their opinion and terror on the rest of us, they want to bully and threaten those who oppose them into silence, and apologists, like yourself, are agreeing with their wish to silence opposition.

Shame on you. These people have the same right to free speach as the Charlie Hebdo publication, and that victim of Islamic barbarism in Saudi Arabia. We do not have to agree with people to agree they have a right to state their opinion.

You article twists the Pegida case, which is almost entirely peaceful protest, which you have tried to pollute by throwing in a murder case. No, those we need to fear are not the anit-Islamics, but the rabidly pro Islamic lunatics that are the real threat to peace in Europa and peace throughout the globe.

[EIGHTH 959] I am sure more mass immigration into nations with record youth unemployment can only dampen the flames.

[NINTH 935] A shocking 57% of non-Muslim Germans now see Islam as a threat.

How can one not see Islam as something of a threat? Every day in the news we see atrocities carried out in its name. The Muslim demographic is increasing dramatically in many European countries and with it comes more influence – inhumane killing of animals, harassment of women, Sharia law courts, Female Genital mutilation, Muslim patrols around mosques, etc.

Call me a Fascist or Racist if you must but the thing is I am neither. I just see that all my liberal and humanist values are negated and challenged by political Islam.

[TENTH 899] As long as the jihadists propose war against non-believers, the bigger threat will be islam.

Why cannot they practice their religion in peace?

[ELEVENTH 818] The rise of antisemitism is equally alarming, Islam has been a huge factor in this. [Guardian Cif] Read more

The British Muslims not afraid to fight extremism

Last week four British Muslims told the BBC’s Panorama why they believe the government is right to identify “non-violent extremism” as the ideology that helps lays the ground for violent extremism.

They explained that this non-violent ideology is the politicised version of puritanical Sunni Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia and which has been exported to Britain and around the world over decades.

The programme showed how Salafi Wahhabism is wreathed in anti-westernism, contempt for parliamentary democracy, reactionary attitudes to gender equality and gay rights, and disdain for other faiths. [The Independent] Read more

Government tells mosques: force out the preachers of hate

The Government has taken the unprecedented step of writing to every mosque in the country to tell Muslim leaders that they must do more to root out the “men of hate” who are preaching extremism.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has written to 1,100 imams and Islamic leaders urging them to publicly condemn the Al Qaeda terrorists behind the Paris massacres, The Telegraph has learned.

Whitehall is unable to defeat jihadist ideology alone and Muslim leaders have “a responsibility” to prevent young men and women from becoming radicalised, Mr Pickles said in a letter sent last Friday. [The Telegraph] Read more

Islam, a religion of peace — and Kalashnikovs

The West was terrified by the horrific massacre at the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. But it should not have been surprised. This was not an attack by a mentally deranged, lone-wolf gunman. This was not an “un-Islamic” attack by a bunch of thugs — the perpetrators could be heard shouting that they were avenging the prophet Muhammad. Nor was it spontaneous.

If there is a lesson to be drawn from such a grisly episode, it is that what we believe about Islam truly doesn’t matter. This type of violence, jihad, is what they, the Islamists, believe. [The Sunday Times (£)] Read more

17 January 2015

'Religion of peace' is not a harmless platitude

The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.

In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London....

.... We have spent 15 years pretending things about Islam, a complex religion with competing interpretations. It is true that most Muslims live their lives peacefully. But a sizeable portion (around 15 per cent and more in most surveys) follow a far more radical version.

The remainder are sitting on a religion which is, in many of its current forms, a deeply unstable component. That has always been a problem for reformist Muslims. But the results of ongoing mass immigration to the West at the same time as a worldwide return to Islamic literalism means that this is now a problem for all of us. To stand even a chance of dealing with it, we are going to have to wake up to it and acknowledge it for what it is. [Douglas Murray, 873 Comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 697 votes] Good luck with all that Douglas, but I don't fancy your chances. The liberal left have too much to lose by admitting they were wrong about Enoch, wrong about Honeyford, wrong about Rushdie and wrong about everything since. That's why were in this mess.

[ANOTHER] The warning signs were there 20 years ago with the Rushdie affair who was given damn all support at the time,the hysterical reaction of so called "moderates" to the faintest criticism of Islam means we have a very long way to go.If Islam can not find its own "enlightenment" it will remain totally incompatible with Western Democracy.

[ANOTHER] So we are supposed to tip toe around the "moderate" Islam, like some reformed alcoholic, just in case it falls off the wagon and goes all jihadi on us.

Oxford University Press, a leading publisher of schoolbooks has banned its authors from mentioning pigs, sausages, and anything pork related in their books, lest the words offend Muslims and Jews (yes they mentioned Jews also, but I leave it up to you to guess why they did that).

Don't you see, it is the very threat of violence that intimidates us into granting more and more concessions? [The Spectator] Read more

Turkish anchorwoman faces 5 years in jail for tweet

Prosecutors seek up to five years of imprisonment for Turkish journalist and anchorwoman Sedef Kabas for her tweet in which she called on citizens not to forget the name of the judge who dropped the Dec. 17, 2013 corruption probe that involved high-profile names and former Cabinet members.

An indictment has been prepared by the prosecutors on charges of “targeting people involved in the fight against terrorism and making threats,” which is punishable with jail time from one-and-a-half years to five years. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

France must reach out to disillusioned young Muslims, says director of The Class

The large numbers of children in mainly Muslim areas of France who refused to observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris terror attacks shows that the country has “serious work to do to avoid a catastrophe”, warns Laurent Cantet, director of an award-winning film set in a multi-ethnic Paris school.

Cantet, who won the Palme d’Or at the 2008 Cannes film festival for The Class – which starred real pupils and staff from a secondary school in the capital’s 20th arrondissement – said he was “not surprised” at the reaction of some young Muslims to the murders of 17 people by three Islamist gunmen, who also died.

“There is such a huge social gulf now between these young people and the rest of society,” he said. “It can’t be bridged in a minute’s silence.” Cantet said France had to “look at what’s behind that reaction – at the ghettoes we’ve created, the contempt we’ve instilled.

For some of these young people, the only path we’ve left open is a kind of horribly deformed version of their religion they see as a kind of identity card.” [The Observer] Read more

Turkish anchorwoman faces 5 years in jail for tweet

Prosecutors seek up to five years of imprisonment for Turkish journalist and anchorwoman Sedef Kabas for her tweet in which she called on citizens not to forget the name of the judge who dropped the Dec. 17, 2013 corruption probe that involved high-profile names and former Cabinet members.

An indictment has been prepared by the prosecutors on charges of “targeting people involved in the fight against terrorism and making threats,” which is punishable with jail time from one-and-a-half years to five years. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

Radical Islam in Europe: No One to Blame But Us

.... For years, established political parties and the mainstream media have done everything to undermine a genuine debate on the rising threat of militant Islamism in midst of European societies -- and even today continue to do so. Where our political mainstream has failed us, far-left, far-right and neo-Nazi groups have been quick to materialize.

We have been squandering away the freedom the allied forces secured on the continent at the end of the Second World War at a huge human cost.

If we fail to stand up for our values, nobody else will. If we wish to safeguard them, we should start by admitting what seems obvious: as Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, put it: "The international jihadist movement has declared war." Our decision in the West is whether we wish to defend this freedom, or whether we wish to submit to rising Islamist intimidation even more. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

16 January 2015

Man dressed in burka tries to rob NatWest bank, Oadby

The man, who was also carrying a white handbag and wearing sunglasses, wore the traditional female Muslim robe during the raid on the branch of NatWest, in The Parade, Oadby.

He threatened staff and ordered them to hand over cash. Witnesses have told police they believed the man was carrying a gun.

[TO RATED COMMENT] I personally find seeing burkas in the uk offensive - it segregates the women that wear them - it's an extreme religion - and I class the Burka as symbol of an extreme - no place in our society

[ANOTHER] Should do the same as France!! Ban the Burka

[ANOTHER] It not about causing offense. Full face covering is a barrier between people that makes communication more difficult. We need more communication/understanding between people, not people shutting themselves away behind barriers. [Leicester Mercury] Read more

As a Muslim, I'm Fed Up With the Hypocrisy of the Free Speech Fundamentalists

.... Muslims, I guess, are expected to have thicker skins than their Christian and Jewish brethren. Context matters, too. You ask us to laugh at a cartoon of the Prophet while ignoring the vilification of Islam across the continent (have you visited Germany lately?) and the widespread discrimination against Muslims in education, employment and public life - especially in France. You ask Muslims to denounce a handful of extremists as an existential threat to free speech while turning a blind eye to the much bigger threat to it posed by our elected leaders.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 2122 likes] This is such a ridiculous article. .... the idea that the consequences of free speech - which in this case include the threat of death by fanatical extremists - should be borne by Charlie Hebdo is complete capitulation to the killers because it legitimises their threat of violence. Now, it is established that if you depict the Prophet you must, in some way, be prepared for the fact that your life may come under threat.

.... Unfortunately, this article seems to deflect the problem completely, going instead for the ever predictable line of Muslims are victims .... The fetish that many of the Left have for victims (especially of the capitalist, imperialist west) has distorted our ability to fully comprehend the issue at hand.

[ANOTHER] All this from a fruitcake who was recorded whilst debating with Richard Dawkins that he loved the prophet Mohamed more than he loved his son, what a brainwashed creep of a father, Sorry no time for a person like this. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Paris attacks: in this debate fear is the factor that dare not speak its name

In the debate that has been raging these last 10 days, fear is the factor that dare not speak its name. In the public sphere, the discussion following the Paris killings has been intense, wrestling with questions of philosophy and principle, especially the rights, responsibilities and inconsistencies of free speech.

But in the private sphere the conversation has been quieter and more anguished. It has grappled above all with a sentiment that few voice with pride: namely, their own terror. [Jonathan Freedland, 1032 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 533 votes] We have to face up to the fact that Islam in Europe and the West is a problem, not simply a 'challenge'.

[SECOND 517] But the problem is not just the small number of jihadis. As the excellent Panorama last week pointed out the problem is also the large number of conservative Muslims who hold the same ideology as the jihadis: that Muslims are superior to unbelievers, that sharia is best for the whole world, that apostates and blasphemers and homosexuals should be punished, that women aren't equal to men etc.

The vast majority of these conservative Muslims are not terrorists, but they are ripe for radicalisation and their beliefs do fundamentally contradict those of western societies. And ultimately as the number of Muslims in the west grows including large numbers of conservative Muslims, either they will have to change or the west will.

[THIRD 498] "But perhaps it can be seen as the sometimes painful price of living in a free society, one that makes freedom of religion – and the freedom to live as a Muslim – possible"

But isn't living in a free society and living as a Muslim something of a contradiction in terms?

[FOURTH 495] If allowing people to practice Islam means allowing people to murder you for insulting Islam then I don't want to live in a free society any more.

[FIFTH 480] Why on Earth should we be afraid? I'm far more likely to die crossing the road to go the shop to get a pint of milk than I will from dying from a terrorist attack.

If we live our lives in fear then they win and I'm not going to be afraid of some silly wankers who believe in silly sky fairy stories.

[SIXTH 401] On the radio this morning they had a group of Muslims on who stated they loved Mohammed more than their own family, why do I have to respect that, it's simply awful. I wouldn't for a seccond say they aren't allowed to give that view but why on earth should I respect it

[SEVENTH 354] Isn't another "undercurrent" put forward by those among the Muslim community who would like to see non-Muslims prevented from depicting Muhammed one of immense hubris. That their opinion and beliefs to which they adhere should be adhered to by all?

[EIGHTH 337] One thing in the past week has terrified me, left me very, very fearful. The reaction from nearly every Muslim commentator, either above the line, below the line, on social media, in print or on television.

Save a few sane voices, the majority of opinion has saddened me beyond words. We say, almost as muscle memory "of course it's a small minority" whenever we talk of any group, muslim or not, who are in the public eye when something terrible occurs.

But the polling shows that the beliefs, if not the methods of the murderers in Paris are shared by a great many Muslims across the globe.

[NINTH 323] The fanatics are not tiny in number and they are not a handful. Addressing reality on this fact should be a priority,

[TENTH 305] "One is the default insistence that western foreign policy is at the root of all this evil. It’s reassuring, offering the comforting hope that what we are up against is not a fanatic death cult but rather the armed wing of the Stop the War Coalition, a movement that will be placated as soon as our governments make the right moves on the geopolitical chessboard. But that assumes the likes of the Paris murderers have the same analysis of international affairs as the anti-imperialist left – and they don’t."

Finally Guardian, Finally.

[ELEVENTH 299] "... the default insistence that western foreign policy is at the root of all this evil. It’s reassuring, offering the comforting hope that what we are up against is not a fanatic death cult but rather the armed wing of the Stop the War Coalition, a movement that will be placated as soon as our governments make the right moves on the geopolitical chessboard.

But that assumes the likes of the Paris murderers have the same analysis of international affairs as the anti-imperialist left – and they don’t.

...It’s soothing to imagine that the blame, and therefore the solution, lies in our own hands. But it’s hardly convincing."

Well said Jonathan. When will you be telling Seumas Milne this? [Guardian Cif] Read more

France’s much vaunted secularism is not the neutral space it claims to be

.... there is a huge difference between targeting grand bishops in Rome and a beleaguered, economically fragile Muslim community that has received a great many knocks at the hands of the French state and its colonial past. Rabelaisian derision aimed at the House of Saud or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is one thing.

But aimed at the disaffected banlieues it is bullying and goading. You have to be suspicious that French secularism is not the neutral thing it purports to be when racists such as Le Pen start defending it so enthusiastically. And yet there is nothing the leaders of al-Qaida want more than the French state to be seen to declare war on its religious citizens once again. [Giles Fraser, 1600 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 807 votes] "You have to be suspicious that French secularism is not the neutral thing it purports to be."

You have to be suspicious about Giles Fraser's belief in liberty when he writes apologias like this. Charlie Hebdo was crass. The Islamists were murderers.

[SECOND 705] "There is a huge difference between targeting grand bishops in Rome and a beleaguered, economically fragile Muslim community"

No there isn't, they are both fair game for the harsh light of wider societies scrutiny.

[THIRD 665] Giles, I'm sure you're a nice guy, but a mere few days after the murders and with other plots foiled yesterday (every day) that sounds too much like " the aggressors are the victim here" talk.

[FOURTH 661] "You have to be suspicious that French secularism is not the neutral thing it purports to be when racists such as Le Pen start defending it so enthusiastically."

At the same time, there are lots of left-wing anti-racists who also defend it enthusiastically and last week, four million people from all walks of life staged the largest demonstration in France's history to defend secularism.

Your nasty attempts to smear secularism as some kind of evil, right-wing conspiracy won't wash.

[FIFTH 598] So what are you saying then Giles. The French state "had it coming?"

As did the French Gendarme protecting inside the offices of Charlie Hebdot? He was from our town, and was buried yesterday, with the service at 11am. I can send you a few photos of his wife and kids if it would help.

Personally, I think folk hearing directly, or indirectly, from God that they MUST murder others are completely bonkerooni, and require some corrective therapy. Preferably secularist in nature.

[SIXTH 551] .... Economically fragile Muslim community: why are other religious communities not economically fragile? Maybe because the educate themselves in schools instead of madrasses? Speaking of which, these get financed by economically very robust oil sheiks; why do the wealthy ME oil countries get or take so few poor Muslim immigrants? A match made in Heaven/Jannah any rational person would think.

[SEVENTH 375] So you're comparing Charlie Hebdo with Le Pen and the FN - and implying they're part of a whole under your usual boogeyman of 'secularism'?

Nice try, Giles - anyone even remotely familiar with CH's output will know they mock the FN alongside Islam as a whole.

And that's the critical difference - the religion as a whole has power, which is what makes the religion a target for scrutiny, critique and ridicule. They are not targeting kids in the banlieues.

[EIGHTH 339] Those who perpetuate the victim narrative are really not helping, even though they might have good intentions.

Like the invasion of Iraq it is a failed tactic - we need some fresh ideas here. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Europe needs to better integrate Muslim communities: Obama

Europe must do more to better integrate its Muslim communities, and not "simply respond with a hammer," US President Barack Obama said Friday in the wake of last week's terror attacks in France.

"Our biggest advantage, major, is that our Muslim populations -- they feel themselves to be Americans," Obama told a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"There are parts of Europe in which that's not the case. And that's probably the greatest danger that Europe faces. [AFP] Read more

Sweden: From "Humanitarian Superpower" to Failed State

With vast parts of the Middle East and North Africa in turmoil, there is every indication that the number of asylum seekers will increase in the coming years. And as there is no sign that Sweden's seven united parties will dismantle their open door policy, one may safely predict that Sweden's goose will be cooked well before the December Agreement runs out in 2022.

Sadly, its days as a free and democratic welfare state will be over. A population of perhaps eight million Swedes cannot accommodate and pay for perhaps four million such immigrants in eight years. It is as if the United States were to accept 150 million immigrants.

If we estimate that 80,000 asylum seekers will be granted permanent residence every year for the next eight years, we reach a figure of 640,000. As it is generally estimated that every new permanent resident from third-world countries will be followed by 2-3 family members or dependents, we are probably talking about an influx of two and a quarter million by 2022.

By that time, Sweden, which prides itself on being a "humanitarian superpower," will have become a failed state and there is nothing the discontented can do about it except leave the country. This was precisely what the UN predicted, but subsequently, it withdrew this prognosis. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

'Trojan Horse review': DfE 'lacked inquisitiveness'

The Department for Education "has in the past lacked inquisitiveness" about extremism in schools, an internal review by the department has found.

The review began after claims that hard-line Muslims had tried to gain control of school governing bodies in Birmingham - the "Trojan Horse" affair.

"Procedures could have been tighter than they were," says the report into its handling of the claims. [BBC] Read more

In Wake Of Paris Attacks, Turkey's President Erdogan Warns Of A 'Clash Of Civilizations'

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday warned of a "clash of civilizations" following the wake of the Islamist militant attacks in Paris and he also appeared to criticize France for allowing the wife of one of the gunmen to travel via Turkey to Syria.

.... Speaking at a businessmen's meeting in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said Charlie Hebdo was known for its provocative publications.

"We are following with great concern the attacks against Islam hidden behind the attack on the satirical magazine in France," said Erdogan, who has become an increasingly vocal critic of what he sees as mounting Islamophobia in the West.

"Despite all our efforts to prevent it, the clash of civilizations thesis is being brought to life." [The Huffington Post - Reuters] Read more

15 January 2015

Why There Are So Many Jihadists in Belgium

.... What is going on in Belgium? About 6 percent of the country’s population is Muslim, predominantly North African and Turkish immigrants living in isolated neighborhoods in major cities. As the Belgian blogger and freelance terrorist tracker Pieter Van Ostaeyen writes, “The Belgium government over the last several decades never really succeeded integrating the Islamic communities.” Moroccan and Turkish immigrants and their children are far more likely than other Belgians to live in serious poverty. Many in the Muslim community were also angered by bans on the public wearing of hijabs in Antwerp in 2009 and nationwide in 2011.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] European notions of multiculturalism are at least, in part, to blame. Rather than foster tolerance, multiculturalism may have only exacerbated isolation of ethnic/religious sub-groups in Europe. This problem is compounded by the fact that obvious friction exists between Islamic social and cultural values and European ideas of secular liberalism.

.... This puts Europe in a terrible predicament. A genuine threat exists to European culture that as a matter of demographic reality may only increase.

.... Certainly, not all Muslims — not even most Muslims — are responsible for terrorist attacks. However, there is sufficient active and passive support within the Muslim community for the Jihadist ideology to pose a serious threat to Europe and other Western nations. And it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between those who might kill us from those who won’t. The Muslim community might be able to make this distinction, but European or American policeman cannot. And the Muslims either can't or won't police themselves. Therefore, we are left in a state of war. [Slate] Read more

'Hang the cartoonists!' Pakistani Muslims demand death sentence for Charlie Hebdo staff for committing 'worst act of terrorism' by drawing the Prophet Mohammed

Pakistani Muslims today called for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists to be hanged for drawing the Prophet Mohammed on its latest front cover.

As worldwide protests continued for a second day, nearly 300 people from a religious group rallied in the eastern city of Lahore, carrying placards saying 'Down with Charlie Hebdo'.

One banner read: 'Making blasphemy cartoon of the Prophet is the worst act of terrorism. The sketch-makers must be hanged immediately.' [1939 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 11715] Why do they come to the WEST ??

[SECOND 10520] Is their religion so frail that a cartoon can end it?

[THIRD 8294] And we fund this country to the tune of £400m a year! Perhaps they should direct their energy towards protecting children from the appalling levels of sexual assault in their country.

[FOURTH 7272] We could always stop sending them millions in aid..... [Daily Mail] Read more

No, we haven’t banned books on pigs – but sensitivity is key in global publishing

At Oxford University Press we have to balance children’s cultural and learning needs, while retaining some healthy common sense.

.... Managing cultural sensitivities isn’t about reducing educational quality, pandering to minority views, restricting freedom of speech or self-censorship. It’s about ensuring the educational value of our publishing is able to navigate the maze of cultural norms for the benefit of students around the world. We want to ensure we can make the widest possible impact. [597 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 339 votes] "It’s about ensuring the educational value of our publishing is able to navigate the maze of cultural norms."

In other words: you can bet your bottom dollar we are all about reducing educational quality, pandering to minority views, restricting freedom of speech or self-censorship.

[SECOND 271] "So, for example, a definition of a pig would not be excluded from a dictionary, and we wouldn’t dream of editing out a “pig” character from an historical work of fiction. "

Does that mean you would not have a pig in a future work of children's fiction?

So to satisfy the mind-bogglingly irrational demands of imported cultures/religions we will have an ever-growing list of proscribed animals.

Why are we not proud of very-hard won Enlightenment,liberal values and try to push them world-wide instead of giving into this nonsense.

[THIRD 239] Your post might've made more sense if 'Islamophobia' wasn't just a way of trying to shoehorn criticism of religion into the 'racism' definition.

Some people are idiots and can't distinguish Muslim people from Islam - Muslim people can of course be lovely, kind people. Islam itself as a so called moral code is dreadful though - don't lump criticism of Islam in with things like homophobia and racism which are actual issues.

[FOURTH 229] I guess "Animal Farm" is on the dodgy list.......

[FIFTH 218] It's self-censorship to avoid offending people.

[SEVENTH 215] What a disgracefully mealy-mouthed apologia for censorship.

[EIGHTH 181] "So, for example, if animals are depicted shown in a background illustration, we would think carefully about which animals to choose. In doing so we are able to ensure children remain focused purely on their learning, rather than cultural characteristics."

So effectively it's a ban on depicting pigs in new work. Why not just have the guts to come out and say it.

[NINTH 120] Muslim parents demanded the abolition of pork in all the school canteens of a Montreal suburb. The mayor of the Montreal suburb refused, and the town clerk sent a note to all parents to explain why.

Muslims must understand that they have to adapt to Canada and Quebec, its customs, its traditions, its way of life, because that’s where they chose to immigrate. “They must understand that they have to integrate and learn to live in Quebec.“They must understand that it is for them to change their lifestyle, not the Canadians who so generously welcomed them. [Guardian Cif] Read more

This cruelty to Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is a cruelty to all Muslims

.... To all those who proclaim bafflement at the actions of those punishing Badawi with such gross barbarity, the answer can only be that it is being done to remind Muslims that they should fear and respect Islam. This cruelty to Badawi is a cruelty to all Muslims, who are being exhorted to fear nothing more than the temptation to start thinking for themselves.

.... One thing that has emerged in the wake of the Paris killings is the large degree to which westerners do respect the idea that Muhammad should not be represented figuratively. Before the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were slaughtered, their own provocations were not widely encouraged or reprinted. [550 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 459 votes] "One thing that has emerged in the wake of the Paris killings is the large degree to which westerners do respect the idea that Muhammad should not be represented figuratively."

This is utter, utter rubbish; the vast majority of Westerners, either publicly or privately, want Muslims to take their religion and its repressive diktats, and do something unnatural with the lot.

I have no compunction at all with drawing pictures of Mohammed. Muslims are not allowed to draw images of Mohammed, but I am not a Muslim, and will give no more credence to Islamic scripture than I do the works of L. Ron Hubbard, or those of JRR Tolkien, or any other work of fiction for that matter.

[SECOND 445] "One thing that has emerged in the wake of the Paris killings is the large degree to which westerners do respect the idea that Muhammad should not be represented figuratively"

No - this is wrong - it has finally woken many up to the fact that medieval, fascisitic types are using their 'offence' to impinge upon our liberty.

If you are a Muslim don't read the effing thing.

If you are Saudi then change the system of government. The problem is the only real opposition is even more religiously fanatical than the ruling family.

The problem is the religion.

[THIRD 322] "This cruelty to Badawi is a cruelty to all Muslims, who are being exhorted to fear nothing more than the temptation to start thinking for themselves."

It is difficult for us in the West to appreciate that a large proportion of Muslims do not want to let go of their mediaeval beliefs.

The imposition of Sharia law is popular not just in SA or other parts of the ME, but also among many Muslims living in the West.

Hence the upset about the ludicrous concept of 'blasphemy' and demands to curtail our freedom of expression.

[FOURTH 310] I have every sympathy for those Muslims who are open and understanding towards homosexuals, who treat men and women in broadly the same way, who would happily allow their daughters to marry the sons of their non-Muslim friends, and who don't bat an eyelid at criticism of their religion.

That is to say, I have sympathy with those Muslims who are not actually Muslims. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Paris is a warning: there is no insulation from our wars

The attacks in France are a blowback from intervention in the Arab and Muslim world. What happens there happens here too.

The official response to every jihadist-inspired terrorist attack in the west since 2001 has been to pour petrol on the flames. That was true after 9/11 when George Bush launched his war on terror, laying waste to countries and spreading terror on a global scale.

It was true in Britain after the 2005 London bombings, when Tony Blair ripped up civil liberties and sent thousands of British troops on a disastrous mission to Afghanistan. And it’s been true in the aftermath of last week’s horrific killings at Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris. [2037 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1091] It was our fault. Should have known.

[SECOND 626] I'd wondered to myself how long it would be after the attacks before Seumas turned up and explained why it was all the fault of the West. I presume the delay is due to the fact that he's had to take his default article of blaming everything on the Iraq War and tweak it because France didn't take part.

Still, the time taken has paid off. This is a masterpiece of contorted logic, trying to explain that French foreign policy is what led to attacks on, er, cartoonists and a kosher supermarket.

[THIRD 578] So Seaumus, kindly explain why the terrorist attacks started BEFORE Iraq and Afghanistan?

Do you remember 9/11?

[FOURTH 555] I really don't know how the author manages to live in our society.

He hates it so much he does it down at every turn.

[FIFTH 466] .... France famously did not get involved in the Afghan/Iraq shitfest. The only areas they do tend to get involved (Francophone Africa) tend to be seen by most people (Muslims included) as generally the correct course of action. Certainly the intervention in Mali was justified.

[SIXTH 384] Seamus seems to be suggesting that everything that ever happens in the wider world is more or less a refraction of US foreign policy, i.e the Chomsky position.

All those theocratic states that are in crises for one reason or another have not arrived at such a position because of their own belief system, that concept does not compute for Seamus or Noam.

[SEVENTH 370] "It was our fault. Should have known."

It's a ludicrous article. Towards the end, Milne seems to have remembered the French were not involved in Iraq, so contradicting some of what he's already written, but he covers it with yet more bollocks and just carries on. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Coffee shop owner faces death threats over 'Je suis Charlie' sign outside Brick Lane cafe

A coffee shop owner today vowed he would not back down after receiving death threats for displaying a “Je suis Charlie” sign outside his cafe.

Adel Defilaux, a French-born Muslim, was terrified when a man stormed into The Antishop in Brick Lane, East London, at 9.30am yesterday.

The intruder demanded that Mr Defilaux take down the sandwich board featuring the slogan that has become a rallying cry in support of the 12 victims of Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

But when Mr Defilaux, 32, calmly protested the man became aggressive and warned that anyone who supported the French satirical magazine should die. [Evening Standard] Read more

Enough of the “moderate Muslim”

There can be few more insulting coinages than the tedious phrase “moderate Muslim”. What does it mean? Who does it benefit? In the past week, since the atrocities in Paris, we have heard it often: “moderate” Muslims must condemn terrorism. Or, alternatively, the images of Mohammed printed by Charlie Hebdo (and others in solidarity) were alienating “moderate Muslims”: “free speech fundamentalists” must reach accommodation with “moderate Muslims”.

The suggested dichotomy — that one cannot believe in free speech and in Allah, is a dangerous one. More dangerous still is the underlying implication that the “moderate Muslim” is less of a believer than the Muslims who murder, supposedly in the name of God. [Index on Censorship] Read more

Raif Badawi to be publicly flogged every week for months after ‘insulting Islam’

HE IS brought before the crowd and whipped relentlessly 50 times with a long, hard cane.

But his wounds won’t have healed by the time Raif Badawi is due to be brought back to the same site tomorrow where he will endure the horrific punishment all over again - as he will every Friday for the next five months.

The father-of-three’s crime may seem innocent enough to most, but according to Saudi authorities Badawi, who set up a website for public debate, he insulted Islam.

The blogger, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes for setting up the Saudi Arabian Liberals website, was publicly flogged last week after Friday prayers when he was lashed 50 times outside al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. [news.com.au] Read more

14 January 2015

Nigel Farage claims that Muslims are running UK 'ghettos' according to Sharia law

Nigel Farage has claimed that "ghettos" in parts of the UK are being run according to Sharia law as authorities "turn a blind eye" because of their "moral cowardice".

The Ukip leader claimed that “big ghettos” had sprung up in Britain and Europe where child sex abuse, female genital mutilation, extremism and Sharia law were allowed to flourish.

"We've been turning a blind eye to preachers of hate that have been coming here from the Middle East and saying things for which the rest of us would be arrested," he added.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Moral Cowardice', Yes Rotherham for starters know all about that. The truth that dare not speak its name.

[ANOTHER] Farage is right, and Independent readers who have become hysterical over his comments seem prepared to hide from the truth, because they just don't want to believe that Islamisation - albeit on a small-scale - is taking place.

[ANOTHER] Sharia courts are allowed legally to operate in the UK. If you want evidence then come to Oldham, Rochdale, Bradford, Luton, etc, etc. In fact watch Stacey dooleys show on Luton!!!!

[ANOTHER] While it may not be every Muslim in Britain it is certainly a respectably-sized group of extremists who do not like what Britain stands for. This is the extremism we have turned a blind eye to. Sexual grooming in Rotherham, and Islamic plots in schools are small in comparison.

[ANOTHER] Well Farage is right. [The Independent] Read more

The role of Islam in radicalisation is grossly overestimated

There is no empirical evidence that religion and ideology are primary motivators for violent extremism. Radicalisation is a social issue.

.... The removal of passports and legal measures to arrest and detain returned fighters are part of Australia’s counter-terrorism approach. The UK and Canada have taken similar measures. While removing the opportunity to carry out violence is important, these measures cannot stand alone. They need to be supported by measures that approach radicalisation not just as a security problem but as a social issue that can be prevented. [902 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 241 votes] Hahahah. I'm glad satire is still alive, and hasn't been shut down by the Islamo-Fascists at the weekend.

This has, easily, been the best laugh I've had all week, a subtlety nuanced, perfectly pitched satire of a bankrupt pscho-babble ideology: "lets go and talk to their parents"....hahaha...its like something out of the mid 70s.

As our civilisation visibly now evaporates, and way of life now dies, to become a footnote of history, as the enlightenment is reversed...we certainly all need a good laugh.

[SECOND 234] "Excellent article. Hopefully this can be the start of some intelligent discussion on this issue." (22 votes)

It is not, and she is being an apologist for murder and beheading.

[THIRD 219] The terrorists literally state while they are committing terrorist acts "We are doing this in the name of islam" and yet we still have countless people from the west saying "Oh that has nothing to do with islam"

[FOURTH 188] This is just another attempt to argue that we are somehow responsible for people becoming terrorists.

We are not, and I find the suggestion offensive.

Further, this article makes no mention of the fight to create a Calliphate that extends over Europe and Australia.

[FIFTH 169] The idea that the ideology of Wahabism, Qutb-ism, Maududi-ism, the theocratic streams that emanate from Ibn Tamiyah and the theology of 'takfir', the rich beliefs and ideas of Salafi-Jihadism, and political Islamism, the idea that these have nothing to do with violent extremism is simply not credible.

That is not to say that there are not different factors that feed into why men and women turn to jihadism.

Its to say that to discount and absolve these ideas, propagated by ideologues consistently and purposefully, even though they don't represent the 'true' face of Islam (because Islam as practised is diverse), but are very much a part of Islam as a varied faith -- to say it has nothing to do with Islam is a form of avoidance, an ethical absurdity, dangerous, and lacks moral integrity. It is, frankly, preposterous. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Muslims' mixed response to new Mohammed cover

.... Other Muslims said they appreciate the magazine's sentiments.

Rashid noted that the cover's central message -- forgiveness -- resonates not only throughout Islam but through other faiths as well. "The cover is a call to our better angels, and an acknowledgment that religion also offers good to the world."

Other Muslim leaders criticized the cover.

"That the depiction appears benign is of little consequence because it will be seen as offensive and deliberately provocative," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

There's nothing in the Quran, Islam's primary text, about depicting the prophet. But according to the hadith -- stories and sayings attributed to Mohammed and his companions -- he discouraged Muslims from making images of him. [CNN] Read more