31 March 2015

Islam and “British values” – do Brits believe them to be compatible?

.... of the 1641 adults polled by YouGov, only 22% said they felt “Islam is generally compatible with the values of British society”. Fifty five percent of people agreed with the statement “There is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society”, while almost 25% didn’t adopt either statement or answered ‘don’t know’.

That is, more people opted not to offer a response to the statements than affirmed that “Islam is generally compatible with the values of British society”. And over half of those polled said they believed “There is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society”.

The data broken down by party affiliation shows that UKIP supporters are most likely to believe in the clash of values between Islam and Britain (89%) and the Lib Dems least likely (38%) with the Conservatives taking second place after UKIP (68%) and Labour, third place (48%). [MEND] Read more

Young British Muslims declare own jihad against Isis and other terrorists who 'hijack' Islam

A group of young British Muslims have declared their own “jihad” against Isis and all other terrorist groups.

The Muslim Youth League UK announced an ideological holy war against the Islamic State at a conference in Glasgow on Sunday, saying militants had “no link with Islam or the Muslim community”.

It is concerned that recruitment by the group is on the rise in the UK, targeting teenage girls and boys with gory propaganda videos and social media accounts boasting of life under the “caliphate”. [The Independent] Read more

Portsmouth school’s mistaken ‘halal’ note sparks parents’ fury

A PRIMARY school said a note sent to parents saying it will stop serving pork to children was sent out by mistake.

But angry parents had already taken their concerns online and set up a petition condemning Milton Park Primary School on change.org where more than 3,000 people have joined.

Milton Park Primary School, in Eastney Road, Portsmouth, sent a note which read: ‘We have a new menu for school dinners starting on April 20, 2015.

‘Please be assured there is no pork on the menu and the sausages served are halal chicken.’ [The News] Read more

A Parallel World Confronting the abuse of many Muslim women in Britain today

The issues outlined in this report address one central principle: there must be equality for all British citizens under a single law of the land. However, evidence suggests that the increasing influence of Sharia law in Britain today is undermin ing th is basic principle. U rgent action is required . The rights of Muslim women, and the rule of law, must be upheld. [The Bow Group] Read more

30 March 2015

The majority of voters doubt that Islam is compatible with British values

.... A clear distinction must be made, Mrs May concluded, between followers of the Islamic faith, which is “entirely compatible” with British values, and extremists who claim there is a “fundamental incompatibility”. Hence the keystone of her new strategy is a proud promotion of “the values that unite us”.

Except they don’t unite us, according to a majority of the British public. As a recent survey by the YouGov-Cambridge Programme shows, a striking 55 per cent of British voters currently think “there is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society”, compared with just 22 per cent – little over one in five – who say Islam and British values are “generally compatible”.

Among Tory supporters, this gap increases to 68 per cent who say “clash” versus 17 per cent who think “compatible”. Ukip supporters look almost unanimous on the issue (89 per cent “clash” versus 4 per cent “compatible”) while roughly half of Labour supporters take the negative view (48 per cent “clash” versus 27 per cent “compatible”) and Lib Dems are divided (38 per cent “clash” versus 39 per cent “compatible). [The Telegraph] Read more

UK: Whatever Happened to that Muslim Brotherhood Review?

The former head of MI6, Richard Dearlove, has described the Muslim Brotherhood as "at heart a terrorist organization."

Officials who are soft on extremism hope that both the extremism strategy and the Muslim Brotherhood review are not merely being kicked into the long grass but will, in fact, never see the light of day.

This is, it must be said, politics at its very worst. The Muslim Brotherhood has wreaked havoc for decades. Its desire to carry out coups and to rule Middle Eastern countries according to the rule of a hardline interpretation of Islamic law is not ancient history — it is very recent history. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Is Britain losing the war against radical Islam?

.... And then, piece by piece, the real story comes out. An early sign that something was not right could be spotted in the croc idea that the Muslim communities of Great Britain – whose leadership have spent recent years campaigning against any and all surveillance on Muslim communities in the UK – in fact expect the British police to keep such a close eye on young Muslims that they should know their intentions and movements better than the people who sleep in the room next door (ie. their own families).

Sure enough it then turns out that the lawyer representing the families turns out to himself epitomise the problem. Tasnime Akunjee, who has spent recent weeks berating the police for their ‘failures’ turns out to be a man who has previously said that British Muslims should not cooperate with the British police – a very commonly expressed opinion among British Muslims. He also turns out to believe that the security services ‘created’ Michael Adebolajo who killed Drummer Lee Rigby. [The Spectator] Read more

Knife attack kills Bangladesh blogger Washiqur Rahman

A blogger has been hacked to death in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, a month after a prominent atheist writer was killed in a similar attack.

Washiqur Rahman was attacked close to his home in Dhaka's Begunbari area, a police official told AFP news agency.

Two students at an Islamic seminary have reportedly been arrested.

Last month, Avijit Roy, a US-based writer who had criticised religious intolerance, was killed in a machete attack while he was visiting Dhaka.

His death sparked fresh concerns for freedom of speech in Bangladesh, where several secular-minded writers have been targeted by militants. [BBC] Read more

Second blogger hacked to death this year in Bangladesh

A blogger was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka on Monday, the second attack in five weeks on a critic of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

Washikur Rahman, a secular blogger, was attacked by young religious students on a busy street in the centre of Dhaka on Monday morning, a police official said.

"Police on duty near the spot caught two attackers red-handed with three machetes as they were fleeing the scene after the incident," police official Humayan Kabir told Reuters.

The killing comes just weeks after U.S. secular blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death while returning with his wife from a book fair in Dhaka. His wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a finger in the Feb. 26 attack. [Reuters] Read more

29 March 2015

British Muslim girls and extremism: what I learned on my journey across the UK

.... The experience of the roadshow has reaffirmed that the factors that lead to extremism are numerous, complex and multilayered. Focusing on the academic achievements of A-grade schoolgirls who join Isis fails to look at the wider picture. Religious illiteracy, exposure to extremist influences and the lack of strong credible religious leadership all play a part.

But so does a limited life experience and a search for a sense of belonging. Weak familial relationships, where the emotional, language and cultural gap between parent and child presents a vulnerability, are often exploited by extremists.

Our campaign, I hope, will inspire women to take the lead. “I will be #makingastand because I want to make this world a safer place for my children to grow up,” one woman promised. Empower women to counter extremism and it is they who will take on this battle. But this is not a “community” challenge. We need to help as a country; we need to support these women.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 151 votes] There was an article in the Mail showing one of the girls father at an extreme Islamist rally.

After they left he was on tv saying how they didn't raise their daughter like that.

It is the parents fault.

[2ND 135] Wouldn't these girls be better off wearing make up, texting boys, drinking the odd pint then going overseas to be treated like dirt and as sex slaves by some illiterate yobs? I think muslim parents who worry too much about their daughters becoming 'westernised' aren't realising that there are worse dangers out there.

[3RD 132] When children ask searching questions about extremism and religion, parents often close down the debate because they can’t answer theological questions. The lack of religious knowledge among families was recognised as a weakness.

So people bring their kids up to be Islamic but then fail to answer questions about it? This is the problem that no one dares to mention and it's a massive elephant in the room. Bringing up kids to be religious is wrong.

It's wrong because they don't have the means of judging these ancient myths as being what they are. It's wrong because your first metaphysical underpinning is like your first language - it becomes the minds default mode and in the case of religion they refer back to oit constantly, if it doesn't measure up to early adopted memes about Islam (or whatever) it gets rejected.

So these girls getting "radicalised" is the parents fault in more ways than one. Or rather not their fault because they were brought up like this too. But here we have a potentially dangerous creed that the parents don't care so much about and so they leave a bunch of mullahs at the mosque to finish the job.

People should have British values and it's clear from the census that we are a secular nation therefore we shouldn't have religious schools and parents should bring up their children to be free of dogma that was laid down 1400 years ago and doesn't really say much these days.

How we get there from here is anyone's guess but having highly religious children of all creeds and denominations makes me queasy. Poor little things - condemmed to believe one thing until the decide to risk apostasy. We can do better than this!

[4TH 117] I remember when The Guardian was a paper that promoted secularism and rational thought. It turns out now it's the media arm of a seventh century religion that is wholly incompatible with its previous core ethos of liberal, secular democracy.

[5TH 109] But it is a 'community' challenge. Perhaps the practice of employing imams from abroad should be stopped? [Guardian Cif] Read more

Muslim journalist in Sydney says Australia pushing youth into the arms of terrorists

AN African-American Islamic journalist living in Sydney says young Muslims are better off in the US than Australia, where welfare and multicultural policies are driving them into the arms of terrorists.

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, who has been unable to find work since migrating a year ago, says if Australia was more welcoming of Muslims and willing to employ them instead of leaving them on welfare, they would be less likely to become radicalised.

Mr Abdur-Rahman, who used to work for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, has written a book Under Siege: Black Muslim Down Under, which is scathing about Australia’s “cultural isolation and short-sightedness” in its treatment of Muslims.

He says he understands why out-of-work Australian Muslims have fled to the battlefields of the Middle East to become paid Islamic State mercenaries. [The Sunday Telegraph] Read more

The perils of speaking out against Islamic law in Malaysia

A satirical video has exposed the sensitivity over Islamic law in Malaysia - as well as the limits of online speech in the country.

It was supposed to be a light-hearted poke at proposals to expand Islamic law in one state in Malaysia. But a video starring journalist Aisyah Tajuddin resulted in death and rape threats along with a police investigation.

It all began when the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (known by its Malay acronym PAS) proposed implementing hudud laws on Muslims in Kelantan, a mostly rural state in the northeast of the country.

Hudud laws cover prohibitions against things such as adultery, apostasy, robbery and theft, and prescribe punishments considered cruel or unusual in most Western countries: public beatings, stoning, amputation and public execution. They're also relatively uncommon in most Muslim nations with the exception of those such as Saudi Arabia or Iran which follow the most strict interpretations of Islamic sharia law. [BBC] Read more

28 March 2015

The Muslim Community from Rushdie to Hebdo

I went along to the Muslim Institute in Old Street, London, earlier this afternoon to take part in a panel discussion entitled “The Muslim Community from Rushdie to Hebdo”. I have written about this topic on several previous occasions so I used the opportunity to place the topic in a wider context that interests me most. A summary of the points I made follows below:

The Satanic Verses Affair led to the launch of the Muslim Institute’s Muslim Manifesto in 1990 which called for the creation of a Muslim Parliament and described it as a “non-territorial Islamic State” in Britain. The demands to ban/pulp the book etc are all rather embarrassing now! Still, we were a very young community at the time and were bound to make lots of mistakes. [inayatscorner] Read more

26 March 2015

Sharia law goes against all values that we hold dear

.... Supporters of cultural diversity prattle about tolerance and equality, but in reality, their demands for acceptance of the Islamic legal code in Britain, they are promoting the most brutish forms of intolerance and inequality.

It is grotesque that self-styled liberals, so smug in their progressive opinions, should back a judicial system that effectively institutionalises persecution, misogyny, oppression, homophobia and barbarity.

Wherever sharia operates across the world, it means the triumph of savage superstition over humane justice, the reign of the mullahs in place of democracy and freedom.

Every theocratic country governed by sharia has an appalling human right records, complete with vicious punishments for so-called crimes like apostasy and blasphemy. [Daily Express] Read more

Father who blamed police for not stopping his daughter joining ISIS, attended 2012 rally led by hate preacher Anjem Choudary and attended by Lee Rigby killer

Sensational footage has emerged showing the father of one of the three schoolgirl 'jihadi brides' at the head of an Islamist rally led by hate preacher Anjem Choudary and attended by Michael Adebowale, the killer of soldier Lee Rigby.

The video shows Abase Hussen marching at the front of the demonstrators, behind a banner reading: 'The followers of Mohammed will conquer America'.

He was filmed chanting 'Allahu Akbar' amid dozens of protesters and standing just yards away as the American flag is burned. Earlier this month, Mr Hussen blamed police for placing a 'heavy burden' on his daughter by handing her the letter about their inquiry - and the police apologised.

Yesterday, a Government report on foreign fighters was released containing testimony from Mr Hussen.

But at no time has he mentioned his own passion for militant Islam or attendance at one of the most notorious rallies of the last few years. [Daily Mail] Read more

25 March 2015

Harper should have gone further in niqab criticism

.... The niqab comes with heavy baggage. No country in the world where the niqab is common treats any woman or any non-Muslim as equals of Muslim men. Many women are forced to wear it, and they will not come forward to say so. So in supporting the feisty, free women who choose the niqab, we are abetting domestic abuse of hidden, silenced women.

Finally, the fact that only a small number of Muslim women in Canada choose to wear the niqab is a terrible argument for ignoring it, as Macfarlane advises. Rather, it is exactly the moment to nip the practice in the bud, at least in official transactional situations. A few women’s disappointment can be managed. But not the hostility of 10,000 women – and the men who are happy they wear it. [National Post] Read more

Jordan proposes ban on “insults to religions” at next Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting

Jordan has introduced an emergency item to the next meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, calling for a ban on insulting religion or religious symbols.

The draft resolution says insults to religion represent a "danger to all humanity."

The Speaker of Jordan's House of Representatives has written to the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to introduce an emergency item titled "respect for religions and religious symbols, respect for freedom of opinion and expression."

Although the title feigns acknowledgment freedom of opinion and expression, the resolution does nothing of the kind. [National Secular Society] Read more

Challenging Islam’s Warrant to Kill

.... the West needs to engage with and repudiate the Islamic dogmas that killing or being killed in murderous attacks against non-Mulims is some kind of golden key which unlocks the gates of paradise. Until these beliefs and the canonical teachings they rely on are acknowledged and repudiated, the lives of non-Muslims will continue to be discarded as the ‘ticket to paradise’ of Muslim belligerents.

Hadiths such as 4661 from Sahih Muslim, and the Qur’anic verses cited here are a genuine part of the Islamic canon. Such verses remain unrenounced and unrepudiated by a great many Muslims and Islamic institutions today.

As long as such texts are not repudiated, the theological winds of Islam will all too easily continue to sweep pious Muslim hearts and minds towards radicalization, a process which exalts the idea that the lives of infidels are disposable.

Islam’s warrant to kill infidels is an idea which deserves to be exposed, challenged, thoroughly debated, and rejected. [markdurie.com blog] Read more

24 March 2015

ISIS Is the Mirror That Reflects Our Dark Side

.... ISIS is a savage group who should be eliminated. But it is also just another embodiment of how ugly the world has always been. It is a modern representation of the many genocides and atrocities mankind has committed throughout history. It's just that previously, there was no YouTube or Facebook to document it.

ISIS is the mirror that reflects our dark side.

So yes, let's purge these savages. And then let's go about our lives thinking that we did enough. Only thing is -- down the line, another group of lunatics will emerge and dominate our 24-hour news cycle.

Because we never got down to the source of evil. We just broke the mirror.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] More denial about the connection of the Islamic State to Islam. More facile comparisons of ISIS with others who are tiny in numbers and not supported by a worldwide network.

The inconvenient truth for Muslims today is that the Islamic State is creating more discussion and discovery by billions of non-Mulsims of the full extent of Islamic doctrine and its history. These involuntary students are reaching their own conclusions - and it is not generally favourable.

It is reasonable and natural for innocent secular and non-Muslim religious people around the world to seek clarification of the intentions of people reading from the same book that is fomenting such a wide range of violent behaviour.

The emnity for 1,400 years and killing between the two principal sects within Islam even amongst themselves, let alone others, reveals that there is no "over-reaction" in the rest of the world - it is a delayed reaction. Two very different things. This new urgent discussion and concern is overdue. [The Huffington Post] Read more

Watch What Happens When 3 Muslim Spokesmen Are Asked About Islam’s Death Penalty for Apostasy - A case study in Islamic supremacist deception

A recent episode of the BBC program The Big Questions was anomalous: instead of pumping out more of the usual fog of obfuscation and denial regarding the aspects of Islamic law incompatible with Western standards of human rights and human dignity — as do most BBC shows — it actually featured an honest discussion of Islam’s death penalty for apostasy.

Or it would have, that is, if the Muslim spokesmen on the show had been remotely honest about that penalty. Instead, they offered an instructive case study in how Islamic supremacists deal with uncomfortable aspects of Islam when speaking with infidels.

Despite denials from Muslims in the West, Islam’s death penalty for those who leave the faith is abundantly established. [PJ Media] Read more

ISIS Militants Stone an Iraqi Couple Accused of Adultery

Islamic State militants in Iraq on Tuesday publicly stoned a man and woman to death on charges of adultery, parading the victims in a public square in the northern city of Mosul, according to witnesses and an Iraqi military official.

Later in the day, the militants publicly beheaded three young men on a street in central Mosul, accusing them of being the nephews of a political opponent of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

They were the latest in a series of public executions of people accused of social offenses in the city, which the militants wrested from Iraqi control last June.

The stoning victims, who were not identified, were in their 20s, witnesses said. The woman was described as being married. It was not known whether they had been given a trial, but none was held in public. [NYTimes.com] Read more

Thousands protest woman's mob killing in Afghanistan capital

Thousands marched through the Afghan capital on Tuesday, demanding justice for a woman who was beaten to death by a mob after being falsely accused of burning a Koran.

Men and women of all ages carried banners bearing the bloodied face of Farkhunda, a 27-year-old religious scholar killed last week by the mob.

Farkhunda, who went by one name like many Afghans, was beaten, run over with a car and burned before her body was thrown into the Kabul River.

Organisers of Tuesday's march estimated 3,000 people took part, calling it one of the biggest demonstrations in Kabul's history.

Marchers chanted "Justice for Farkhunda!" and "Death to the killers!" [The Telegraph] Read more

Baroness Cox: How discriminatory Sharia law principles affect Muslim women in Britain today

.... More specifically, there are growing concerns about the application of established Sharia law principles, which threaten to destabilise even the most basic freedoms of women in our country today.

The kind of discrimination I am referring to can take many forms, such as inequality in access to divorce (for men often so easy it is effectively free and unconditional); polygamy (practiced by men who have multiple ‘wives’ and numerous children); discriminatory child custody policies and inheritance laws; and the sanctioning of domestic violence.

I have had the opportunity to sit with oppressed and abused women from communities which foster this kind of discrimination, here in Britain, and wept with them as they told their stories. [ConservativeHome] Read more

An icon of the struggle against the injustice suffered by women

.... She was savagely beaten by a mob alright - beaten, run over with a car and burned before her body was thrown into the Kabul River - but everything else about that turns out to be wrong. Far from being mentally ill, she was an Islamic scholar and a recent graduate.

She got into an argument with some men selling cheap religious trinkets, we now learn, telling the women customers not to waste their money on such trash. The men, in return, made up the stuff about burning a Koran, and the mob did the rest - while the police stood by and did nothing. [Mick Hartley] Read more

Muslim students sue medical univ. over male/female physical exams

Two Muslim students have filed a case against Erasmus MC at the Board of Appeal for Higher Education in the Hague. Erasmus MC would not give these female students exemption for a practical part of the course practical clinical skills in which they would have to participate in a physical examination conducted by other students, AD reports.

For this subject all medical students have to perform an examination on a fellow student and therefore also be examined themselves. This raised concerns in the Muslim students who did not want a male student examining them.

The one student initially applied for an exemption for this part of the subject, but was rejected. The other student already completed the subject, but decided to support her fellow Muslim student at the Board of Appeals. [NL Times] Read more

23 March 2015

South African writer hit in the face with a brick after praising Salman Rushdie

A South African author was hit in the face with a brick after praising the writing of Salman Rushdie, a controversial author whose work has angered some Muslims around the world.

Zainub Priya Dala said last week she praised Rushdie’s writing at a school in Durban, a city on the country’s east coast.

A day later, three men hit her in the face with a brick, calling her “Rushdie’s b----”. The men had forced her vehicle off a road and held a knife to her throat.

“My window was open because it was hot,” said Ms Dala to the Sunday Times, a daily newspaper in South Africa. “One man got out from the passenger side, came to my window, held a knife to my throat and called me ‘Rushdie’s b----’ and hit me with a brick,” said Ms Dala, who said she was in shock. [The Telegraph] Read more

Theresa May to ban radical preachers and organisations from schools

The Home Secretary has been accused of a McCarthy-style witch-hunt after proposals were announced that would see radical preachers and campaign groups expressing extreme but legal opinions being outlawed from involvement with public sector bodies including schools.

Theresa May said Whitehall was drawing up a “banned list” of individuals and organisations in an effort to avoid a repeat of the “Trojan horse” affair in which Birmingham schools were infiltrated by hardline Islamists. The move brought charges of McCarthyism where people with views unpalatable to mainstream thought would be targeted. [The Independent] Read more

Reform is the best weapon against radical Islam

.... The clamor for reform is growing. Yet, in the eyes of the Medina Muslims, we are all heretics, because we have had the temerity to challenge the applicability of seventh-century teachings to the 21st-century world.

For the world at large, the only viable strategy for containing the threat posed by the Medina Muslims is to side with the dissidents and reformers and to help them to do two things: First, identify and repudiate those parts of Mohammed’s legacy that summon Muslims to intolerance and war, and second, persuade the great majority of believers — the Mecca Muslims — to accept fundamental changes to Islamic doctrine.

We in the West cannot remain on the sidelines, as though the outcome has nothing to do with us. For if the Medina Muslims win, and the hope for a Muslim Reformation dies, the rest of the world too will pay an enormous price — not only in blood spilled but also in freedom lost. But if that Reformation comes, then Farkhunda will not have defied the mullahs in vain. [Boston Globe] Read more

Activist pulls out of Trinity College talk due to 'restrictions' aimed at not 'antagonising' Muslims

.... Ms Namazie, who is from a Muslim background but stopped practising the religion several years ago, said she would not do the talk "since such conditions are not usually placed on other speakers.”

“I was told that two conditions were required for the event to go ahead; one, that it only be open to students of the college, and two, that there would be a moderator to chair the talk”.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Namazie said she decided against speaking because “such conditions had not been placed on other speakers.” [Independent.ie] Read more

Islam, The Murder Of Fakhunda, And What Helena Malikyar Cannot Say

Al Jazeera is the propaganda organ of nasty little Qatar, and a stout Defender of the Faith, with all sorts of distractions and deflections as the arrows in its quiver. Its English-language version cleverly tones down, in both form and content, what it offers full-blast in the Arabic-language version -- which American soldiers may remember helped to whip up Iraqis against them.

But this article on the grisly murder, by a maddened Muslim mob, of an Afghan women, in the middle of Kabul, while the police stood all around and watched too, is worth reading, because it acccurately describes the mob as consisting not of rude rustics but of seemingly advanced urban Afghanis, who as soon as the charge of Qur'an-desecration was made, immediately went into action. [The Iconoclast] Read more

Farkhunda's murder reveals a nation that has changed

.... what killed Farkhunda was the failure in adequately addressing several fundamental issues, including the culture of violence, a variety of frustrations and post-traumatic problems, a qualitatively inadequate education system, an unchecked religious establishment and an extremely weak rule of law.

Her callous murder will not be the last such incident if Afghan leaders and their international supporters do not reconsider overhauling the education system and seriously applying the rule of law. Farkhunda's murderers must be punished, but the work should not stop there.

Constructing roads, buildings and institutions will not bring Afghanistan back to modernity, peace and stability. Investing in healing its people's deeply rooted psychological wounds would be the right place to start. [Al Jazeera English] Read more

Activist claims Trinity speech on apostasy and Islam cancelled

A political activist due to give a speech in Trinity college on apostasy and the rise of Islam has claimed the event has been cancelled after the college tried to attach conditions to it.

Maryam Namazie was due to give a speech at the Society for International Affairs on Monday, March 23rd.

In a blog posted on Friday, Ms Namazie claimed the society feared the event could be one-sided and that it had taken advice from college security on imposing certain conditions.

“I’ve just been informed...that college security (why security?) has claimed that the event would show the college is ‘one-sided’ and would be ‘antagonising’ to ‘Muslim students’; they threatened to cancel my talk,” the blog post read. [THE IRISH TIMES] Read more

Theresa May tells Islamist extremists: 'The game is up'

Theresa May will today tell radical Islamists that the "game is up" and that they were no longer tolerated in Britain as she sets out Tory plans for a crackdown on extremism.

The Home Secretary is expected to say that a future Conservative government target Sharia law, change the rules on granting citizenship to ensure people embrace British values and introduce "banning orders" for extremist groups.

Radicals will also be barred from working unsupervised with children amid fears that young people are being brainwashed, while staff at job centres will be required to identify vulnerable claimants who may become targets for radicalisation.

In a speech in London she will invite all moderate Muslims to join her in exposing the "hatred, bigotry and ignorance" of extremists who seek to undermine the values of democracy, equality and free speech. [The Telegraph] Read more

'The law here is stupid': Father who gave away his daughter, 12, to a 26-year-old man says girls should be able to get married and have sex

A father of a 12-year-old girl who he married off in an Islamic ceremony told his daughter that Australian laws forbidding her from marrying were 'stupid'.

The father, who cannot be named legally, is on trial at Sydney's Downing Centre District Court charged with procuring a child for unlawful sexual activity and with being an accessory before the fact of sexual intercourse with a child.

The girl told a Sydney court her father said Australian law was 'stupid' and girls her age should be allowed to get married and have sexual intercourse. [Daily Mail] Read more

22 March 2015

A grotesque love of propaganda. Unspeakable barbarity. The loathing of Jews - and a hunger for world domination. In this stunning intervention, literary colossus V.S. NAIPAUL says ISIS is now the Fourth Reich

The Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul has warned that Islamic State are the most potent threat to the world since the Nazis.

In a hard-hitting article in today’s Mail on Sunday, the revered novelist brands the extremist Muslim organisation as the Fourth Reich, saying it is comparable to Adolf Hitler’s regime in its fanaticism and barbarity.

Calling for its ‘military annihilation,’ the Trinidadian-born British writer says IS is ‘dedicated to a contemporary holocaust’, has a belief in its own ‘racial superiority,’ and produces propaganda that Goebbels would be proud of.

A long-term critic of Islam as a global threat, he also challenges those who say the extremists have nothing to do with the real religion of Islam, suggesting that the simplicity of some interpretations of the faith have a strong appeal to a minority. [The Mail On Sunday] Read more

'We don't believe Muslims are creating ISIS': Principal of Melbourne Islamic school tells his students terror group is a conspiracy created by Israel and Western countries

A principal has claimed radicalisation is not a problem at his Islamic school because he tells pupils that the Islamic State death cult is manufactured by Western countries.

Al-Taqwa College Principal Omar Hallak reportedly shows his almost 2,000 students ‘evidence’ that Islamic State terrorists are ‘not linked to Islam’.

‘We don’t believe Muslims are creating IS,’ Mr Hallak told The Age. He believes that the murder and brutality carried out by Islamic State terrorists is actually a plot by Western countries to control oil in the Middle East.

The school, which is based in Melbourne’s outer-west, Victoria, is focussed on educating Australian Muslims that ‘follow Australian Law’, he said.

‘In the mosque, we talk to them many times. We show them evidence it's not linked to Islam,’ Mr Hallak explained. The principle’s belief that IS is simply a plot caused by Israel and America stems from his theory that the terrorists use ‘shiny new equipment’. [Daily Mail] Read more

‘In Islam, they are all rotten apples’: Ex-Muslim’s call for religion’s reboot

There was a time when author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali believed it all: that, according to Islam, the infidel should die, that the Quran is infallible, that those who violated sharia law — thieves, gays, adulterers — deserved to be stoned to death or beheaded, as they were each Friday in a public gathering place she and her brother called “Chop-Chop Square.”

Modal TriggerToday, she is that rare thing: a public intellectual who, despite death threats and charges of bigotry, calls for an end to Islam — not just as the faithful know it, but as we in the West think we know it.

“The assumption is that, in Islam, there are a few rotten apples, not the entire basket,” Ali tells The Post. “I’m saying it’s the entire basket.” [NEW YORK POST] Read more

Turkey's top religious body says that IVF should be banned because it is like adultery

Turkey’s top religious affairs body has said that surrogate motherhood is religiously unacceptable as it contains elements of adultery.

According to Hurriyet Daily News, The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) announced in a statement that in vitro fertilisation between unmarried individuals offended “humane feelings.”

The council, established in 1924 to answer questions regarding Islam and the Islamic lifestyle, said that IVF was permissible so long as the sperm and ovum fertilised belong to a married couple and that the ovum remains with the wife rather than “inside a stranger’s womb.” [The Independent] Read more

The baroness, Islamic extremists and a question of free speech

At first glance, it looks admirable: two closely connected campaigns, called YouElect and Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development), to get British Muslims involved and voting in this year’s general election.

Mend says it is “creating and supporting an environment in which British Muslims can confidently and critically engage in politics”. One of YouElect’s leaders, Jamil Rashid, told the Islam Channel: “We’re all part of this society, so I think it’s extremely important that Muslims stand up and be counted.”

.... When not giving reassuring interviews, Mr Rashid is a director of the London-based Muslim Research and Development Foundation, the think tank of one of Britain’s most notorious hate preachers, Haitham al-Haddad, an extremist cleric and Sharia judge from east London. [The Telegraph] Read more

21 March 2015

Anti-Muslim prejudice is real, and it’s scary

Something dangerous is brewing beneath the surface in our country, and it worries me that warning lights are not flashing in the minds of many of those I respect most. After the discrediting of anti-Semitism, after the discrediting of discrimination against black people, after the discrediting of prejudice towards the Irish, I hadn’t expected to live to see a powerful generalised antipathy against any race or religion gather popular force here without stirring at least the more liberal of my fellow citizens into resistance. I expected a sense of alarm. There is none.

Last Saturday my Times colleague Janice Turner used her weekly column to sound a note of anxiety about what she called a new shrillness in attitudes towards British Muslims, and a ‘lumping together’ of all Muslims as though all were extremists. Indeed, she said, we are starting to do the extremists’ work for them. She concluded: ‘In our poisonous, polarising age, it is time to stop seeking difference and ask how we are the same.’

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Mr Parris, I don't think you have the slightest clue about this subject. Perhaps you should look at what is happening to secularists/not-very-conformist Muslims in Muslim countries and in the UK.

You also don't seem to grasp that since the 7th century Jihadis have used fictional or exaggerated grievances, resentment, and insults as excuses for attacking and eradicating their opponents--and that includes those in their own societies who want to liberate themselves of 'Holy Law.'

You don't seem to understand the meaning of the words you are using. Presumably when you say you are not 'anti-Islamist' you really mean you are not against anything Islamic as such. 'Islamist' means people who are trying to impose Islam as a total and exclusive political, social, cultural, and even economic system based on Sharia and the Hadiths. Is that what you're not against, Matthew?

I agree that the ignorant phobic outbursts of many posts after articles like this are unhelpful and deplorable, not least since they could drive some Muslim readers towards extremism and because they ignore the existence of secularised Muslims whom we should be welcoming and encouraging. But you really should uphold some sort of standard of secular freedom and tolerance and regard it as universal.

Presumably you have seen the pictures of gays being thrown off rooftops in Syria and Iraq and then shot (or hanged from cranes in Iran)--or Douglas Murray's pictures of churches being desecrated in Mosul. Or the bulldozing of Nineveh and Nimrod. You should be trying to explain to young Muslims in the UK why these things represent a catastrophic route, why humanity and humane values are the right ones.

As it is, by writing this opinionated, rambling, muddled, and poorly informed stuff, you are simply giving the fanatics useful ammunition to use agains the world you live in and depend on. [The Spectator] Read more

20 March 2015

Malaysian move toward stricter Islamic law divides opposition party

Calls by Malaysia’s Islamist opposition party for strict Islamic law that includes amputations and stonings is symptomatic of a drift to more conservative Islam in politics and could further strain relations in the multi-ethnic country.

The push by the Islamist Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) for the laws, known as hudud, also threatens to split a fragile opposition coalition that has been challenging the long-ruling Muslim party and its allies.

The disparate three-party opposition alliance that includes PAS won the popular vote for the first time in Malaysia’s history in a 2013 election. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Women-only gym hours nixed by McGill University - request for women-only gym hours caused uproar on campus

McGill Deputy Provost for Student Life and Learning, Ollivier Dyens, met with Allalou to discuss her proposal.

"We don't believe in the segregation of our services, we don't believe in separating some groups from others on campus," Dyens said .

"It's always been clear, McGill is secular and co-ed, and this is what we promote."

The university does have women-only hours at one of its swimming pools, but the university says that's different.

"It's true, the pool has women-only hours, but we believe there is a modesty issue that is more predominant in the pool, mostly because people wear bathing suits," Dyens said. [CBC News] Read more

As a Muslim woman, I see the veil as a rejection of progressive values

It could be a millenarian crisis or a delayed reaction to decades of bad history, but millions of Muslims seem to have turned inwards, hankering for an imagined golden age. They are contemptuous of modernity’s bendable, ductile values. Some are drawn to reactionary dogma, and preachers while a good number have thrown themselves into political Islam to resist and combat western hegemonies – or so the story goes.

As a practising (though flawed) Shia Muslim, I watch the new puritans with apprehension. So too other Muslims worldwide, the silent many, watch and tremble.

From the eighth to the early 20th century, Muslims strove for a broad education (as commanded in the Qur’an), questioned doctrines, and were passionate about scientific advancements, political and social ideals and art. Not even humiliating colonial rule deterred them from the march forward. Now the marchers are walking backwards. The hijab, jilbab, burqa and niqab are visible signs of this retreat from progressive values.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 257 votes] "Liberalism is being tested by the new Islamic ardency. A French-style ban would be unwise and unjust. But institutions can apply dress codes. A bank worker cannot dress like a stripper; a child cannot wear a boob tube to school."

Couldn't agree more. I dislike 'covering up' because I live in a world where the face is a vital part of interaction. that parents could deny their daughters a vast array of careers in this country by virtue of some imposed dogma seems to me idiotic & illiberal

As a british taxpayer I am thrilled to contribute to the education of girls, I am less thrilled to see that education wasted because of their parents.

[2ND 180] It is sad that something so obvious needs to be stated. But thanks to decades of simpering cultural relatism by confused progressives, the misogyny inherent in forcing women and girls to cover up needs to be confronted and openly criticised.

[3RD 131] She gets a lot of grief from both "sides" but I've always quietly admired Yasmin and her courageous, candid writing. This is no exception.

[4TH 108] "From the eighth to the early 20th century, Muslims strove for a broad education (as commanded in the Qur’an), questioned doctrines, and were passionate about scientific advancements, political and social ideals and art."

Well thats just wishful thinking. The truth is simple; religious domination holds back any society, and Islam is the most effective religion at doing so. If you want progress in Muslim countries, it requires the populace to reject religion and its bullshit mumbo-jumbo, as the rest of us have done.

[ANOTHER] "A French-style ban would be unwise and unjust"

Why ? I lived in France during the time the ban was brought in. There was more protest in the U.K. than in France, where there is the idea that 'this is France, if you want to live here, these are the basic rules'.

They don't believe in multiculturalism. Full Stop.

I find the large number of (youngish) women who walk around my local Cardiff Asda supermarket in full black burkha , with little or no English spoken , somewhat depressing. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Afghan cleric and others defend lynching of woman in Kabul

An Afghan cleric and a police official on Friday defended the lynching of a woman in central Kabul after a mob was filmed stamping on the woman and smashing a brick on her head after she was accused of burning a Koran, Islam's holy book.

The woman's body was set on fire and thrown onto the banks of Kabul's main river on Thursday.

It was unclear whether she had actually burned a Koran, but during Friday prayers at a mosque in a smart area of Kabul, a cleric's sermon broadcast by loudspeaker told devotees that the crowd had a right to defend their Muslim beliefs at all costs. [Reuters] Read more

Why Islam Needs a Reformation

“Islam’s borders are bloody,” wrote the late political scientist Samuel Huntington in 1996, “and so are its innards.” Nearly 20 years later, Huntington looks more right than ever before. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims.

In 2013, there were nearly 12,000 terrorist attacks world-wide. The lion’s share were in Muslim-majority countries, and many of the others were carried out by Muslims. By far the most numerous victims of Muslim violence—including executions and lynchings not captured in these statistics—are Muslims themselves.

Not all of this violence is explicitly motivated by religion, but a great deal of it is. I believe that it is foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace. [The Wall Street Journal] Read more

‘Sorry, I don’t talk to women’

I added the word “sorry” to the title of this article even though government officials do not normally bother to use this word. I have previously written regarding how women are not allowed to enter government buildings and are forced to stand outside on the street. I now intend to discuss how government officials treat women once they manage to enter government offices.

I know of a woman who went to a hospital with her husband. The hospital’s management subsequently asked her to leave because women are not allowed to stay the night with their husbands. Only male family members can do so.

This woman asked the consultant to keep her posted on her husband’s health. He, however, refused to speak to her in person or over the phone, and said he would only talk with male family members. He insisted on dealing with her like this even though what he was doing was against the rights of patients.

Another example is that of a mother who called her son’s school to ask how well he was doing. The teacher refused to talk to her and said he would only to talk to the child’s father. What if this woman were widowed or divorced? [Saudi Gazette] Read more

Most Canadians say faces shouldn’t be covered at citizenship ceremonies: poll

A new Global News/Ipsos Reid poll indicates most Canadians agree with the prime minister when it comes to face coverings while taking their oath at citizenship ceremonies.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently said that wearing the niqab is “rooted in a culture that is anti-women” and that it is “offensive” for someone to keep their face shrouded during the citizenship ceremony.

The poll indicated that 88 per cent of Canadians strongly or somewhat support the “requirement that people show their faces during Canadian citizenship ceremonies.” [Globalnews.ca] Read more

Malaysian move toward stricter Islamic law divides opposition party

Calls by Malaysia’s Islamist opposition party for strict Islamic law that includes amputations and stonings is symptomatic of a drift to more conservative Islam in politics and could further strain relations in the multi-ethnic country.

The push by the Islamist Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) for the laws, known as hudud, also threatens to split a fragile opposition coalition that has been challenging the long-ruling Muslim party and its allies.

The disparate three-party opposition alliance that includes PAS won the popular vote for the first time in Malaysia’s history in a 2013 election.

While the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and its partners still won the most seats, they are more determined than ever to hold on to power which they have enjoyed since independence in 1957. [Reuters] Read more

19 March 2015

UK: Some Faiths are More Equal than Others

.... Then, in 2014, the Home Secretary Theresa May reiterated that the government would not fund or collaborate with extremist groups:

"We have made important changes to the 'Prevent' programme we inherited from the last government. ... There are now strict rules and checks to make sure we do not fund and do not work with people and organisations that do not share British values. And our policy doesn't just focus on violent extremism, it deals with non-violent extremism too."

The activities and partners of the Department for Communities and Local Government openly contradict ministers' claims that the government does not work with extremist groups. British media, politicians, think-tanks and community groups spend inordinate amounts of time discussing the problem of radicalization.

Few tangible solutions have been thought up. Instead of threatening interfaith groups about errant rabbis, one easy step, as has been pointed out many times before, would be to stop funding groups that represent the very extremists the British government claims to oppose. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

18 March 2015

Quest for "French Islam" goes to the classroom

.... A French focus is key, given that only 25-30 percent of practicing imams in France are French nationals, with hundreds of others dispatched on assignments by Turkey, Algeria and Morocco, according to a government study published in July.

Many do not speak French and have no knowledge of French law or customs, obstacles that the training is geared to address.

About 200 people from all faiths, not just Muslims, have already participated in the government-sponsored programme that dates from 2008. Some 1,800 imams are practising in France in the approximately 2,500 mosques or prayer rooms.

.... Previous attempts to encourage a moderate Islam in France have been unsuccessful. In 2003, ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, then interior minister, created the French Muslim Council to help address issues such as imam training, mosque building and regulating halal slaughter. But the council has proved ineffective due to divisions between rival mosque networks. [Reuters] Read more

Video: UK Muslim spokesmen explain Islam’s death penalty for apostasy, hilarity ensues

This BBC program features ex-Muslim Amal Farah of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) and several Muslim spokesmen discussing Islamic law’s death penalty for apostasy. Farah, despite her affiliation with CEMB, which is often more concerned with smearing and demonizing genuine critics of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism than with actually defending apostates from Islam, the one sane and rational voice in the discussion.

The Muslim spokesmen, by contrast, practice various forms of evasion and deflection, claiming victim status repeatedly. Abdullah al-Andalusi of the ironically named Muslim Debate Initiative is the worst, ascribing Islam’s death penalty for apostasy to “Victorian translations” and claiming that it is only a law in “post-colonial secular states,” and pouting that the BBC is conducting an “Inquisition court.”

Note also how he dodges the question of whether or not he condemns the words of UK imam Haitham al-Haddad, who has defended the death penalty for apostasy. [Jihad Watch] Read more

17 March 2015

This Is What Going to School with Jihadi John Taught Me About Radicalisation

.... Before "Jihadi John" was revealed as Emwazi, an alumni of the school, I'd jokingly said to a friend, "I bet he went to QK". If any school could produce a "Jihadi John", it'd be ours, and we all knew it. My reaction to reading Emwazi had indeed gone to Quintin Kynaston was a specific type of shock – not of disbelief, but that an intuition had been right.

.... I remember student calling a teacher a "Jew", and the teacher replying that it was the student who was the "Jew".

Staff often found themselves with students they had zero authority over. I've read articles where it is "revealed" that Emwazi used "Jew" as a slur and went on anti-Semitic rants. This would be no revelation to anyone who went to the school. "Jew" was a standard cuss. There was normally no conviction to this – it was teenage rebellion no different really to the "edgy" comments made in any other school. At Quintin Kynaston, however, these comments often went unchecked. [VICE] Read more

Danish People's Party: Help Muslims leave Islam

Danish People's Party (DF) spokesman Martin Henriksen wants to see the Danish state step in and offer help to Muslims who want to leave the religion but feel bullied into staying.

“We unfortunately have seen many examples of someone wanting to leave Islam but having a hard time doing it or not daring to do it because they fear reprisals from certain groups within the Muslim communities of Denmark. This is a way in which we can begin doing something about it,” Henriksen told Politiken.

Henriksen stressed that the programme would not be proactive but would rather only help those who reached out for assistance. [The Local] Read more

Canadians oppose niqab during citizenship ceremony, poll suggests

Two-thirds of Canadians oppose allowing women to wear the face-covering niqab during citizenship ceremonies, a new poll by Forum Research suggests.

The public opinion survey, conducted Friday and Saturday, found that 67 per cent of respondents oppose the idea, while fewer than a quarter (22 per cent) are in support. Ten per cent are undecided.

A total of 1,370 Canadian adults took part in the survey.

Regionally, opposition was highest in Quebec, where 87 per cent of respondents oppose the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, and lowest in the Atlantic provinces, where 54 per cent of respondents oppose the idea.

Sixty-three per cent oppose it in Ontario.

The issue has come to public prominence after Zunera Ishaq refused to take off her niqab during the oath swearing portion of her citizenship ceremony. [Toronto Star] Read more

Tom Holland: We must not deny the religious roots of Islamic State

.... The truth is that in Islam today, as in Christianity during the Reformation, the spectrum of those who practise the faith is widening to convulsive effect. Hasan’s dismissal of two Isis recruits from Birmingham as “religious novices” echoes the horror of Catholic scholars such as Thomas More at the pretensions of Protestant tailors and tinkers.

Just as in the early 16th century the printing press and the efforts of translators such as Luther and Tyndale served to democratise knowledge of the Bible, so in the 21st century has the ready availability on the internet of the Quran and the hadiths in the vernacular enabled rappers, security guards and schoolgirls all to bandy scripture.

To complain that quranic verses which mandate crucifixion or beheading are being cited without reference to the traditions of Islamic jurisprudence is to miss the point. It is precisely because Isis militants imagine themselves the equivalent of Muhammad’s companions, blessed with an unadorned understanding of God’s commands, that they feel qualified to establish a caliphate. [New Statesman] Read more

16 March 2015

Three-quarters of Muslim Australians feel they are unfairly targeted by terror laws, study reveals

Muslim Australians believe overwhelmingly that they are unfairly targeted by counter-terrorism laws but say terrorist groups distort the true meaning of Islam, a survey of community attitudes has revealed.

Around one in five of the 800 Muslims polled believed that terrorist groups sometimes have legitimate grievances, the survey found, hinting at the delicate task Australian community leaders face in countering the propaganda war waged by groups such as Islamic State.

The researchers, including University of Queensland criminologist Adrian Cherney, said the findings showed that police, especially those in Sydney, needed to do more to build trust and a willingness to cooperate among Muslim communities. [421 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT] .... WELL, of all the immigrants in Australia, it isn't maoris, Tongans, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Dutch, Swedes, French, Germans, Jews, English, Americans Spanish, Irish etc etc etc who are behind the terrorist acts that have brought about the changes to our laws.

To deny there is a link between terrorism in and against the West and muslims beggars belief. Who would think that the terrorist laws drawn up in almost every Western country are not reasonably targeted at muslims? Nobody else did the 9/11 Twin Towers...nobody else did the Paris shootings and nobody else did the Lindt Cafe killings......and most importantly, only muslims to any degree express sympathy for the perpetrators.

Are muslims completely stupid to the extent that they can't work out why they're the target of anti terrorism laws? I know they're reputed to have lower than average IQs but this is ridiculous.

I think muslims don't like infidels because we're not religious enough, yet, they choose to live amongst us infidels, and then complain about us carrying on our lives in the way that we always have.

[ANOTHER] "One of the most damaging and enduringly damaging things this regime has done is to continually highlight and isolate Australian Muslims through its actions and words and the use of conflict as a tactic when its poll rating flag."

Wrong - Muslims have isolated themselves.

[ANOTHER] It is such a difficult situation. I know a number of Muslims personally and also professionally. There is not one unpleasant statement I can make about any of them. they are all polite, intelligent, hard working and caring, yet at the same time I cannot dispute the fact that more than 90% of terrorist acts that I read about are undertaken by muslims, on behalf of muslim organisations, in the name of Allah and are simply barbaric

wiser minds than mine need to work out a way to maintain the safety of the public and not offend what are no doubt the majority of peace loving muslims

[ANOTHER] Holding rallies calling for the deaths of those who insult the prophet might have something to do with it.

Ceasing the anti-Israel rhetoric might also help.

Clamping down on the halal certification scam (named as such by muslims themselves) would be a good idea, too.

I'd start with attitudes like that.

[ANOTHER] one in five believe terrorist groups have legitimate grievences? seriously and this backwards culture wonders why it is targeted. 400 000 Muslims in Australia , statistically thats 80 000 muslims that admit to holding these views in this country.

[ANOTHER] A few years ago I worked in an M.P.s office for a while in Western Sydney and one day received a call from a journalist from a Muslim newspaper.

The caller complained that "the level of hostility is rising" and wanted his M.P. "to do something about".

I passed on the message but what I should have said to him was that if he wanted more acceptance then the best thing to do would be to denounce individuals like Taj El-Din Hilaly, the former Imam at Lakemba mosque who made statements comparing women to uncovered meat as a justification for rape.

Other Muslims that I have spoken to believe that the September 11 attacks and the Taj Mahal hotel attacks in Mumbai were the work of the CIA as a means to "discredit Muslims".

Until these sorts of ideas - which are evidently prevalent in the Muslim community - are themselves discredited, little progress will be made in improving the acceptance of Muslims in the wider population.

The Dutch politician Geert Wilders described the attitude of many Muslims as that of "settlers" in a new land that they intend to occupy and one that they will eventually dominate with the introduction of Sharia Law and Islamic culture.

No other group believes that they have the right to force their beliefs on to the rest of the population so why should the Muslim community be surprised if hostility and rejection are the consequence of that insistence?

[ANOTHER] Islam belongs in the dark ages from where it came, and that is why in EVERY western civilised country they find themselves at odds with the citizens they have begged to live with and aspire to be like....the thing is, you can't have the Western goodies without playing the Western game and behaving like you're living in Moses' time is not a great start...

[ANOTHER] Tough luck. Islamic extremism is pretty real and people are scared of it. The govt may be overplaying it for politics, but there is legitimate fear too.

I'm pretty well over muslims telling us that ISIS and those like them are not true muslims. I don't buy that.

.... The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

[ANOTHER] Muslims are in a hard place, Australian Law contradicts Islamic Law and hence why they feel targeted

Death for being Raped, Apostasy, Homosexuality, the fact that women are equal, children are not allow to marry, polygamy etc contradicts Islamic Law and why they see Australian society as unfare. [The Guardian] Read more

Can we drop the term ‘moderate Muslim’? It’s meaningless

.... if by being moderate we mean believing in freedom of expression and an acceptance of equality in gender and sexuality, it is by no means certain that the majority of Muslims are moderate, as the word is commonly used. One young student in Leicester told me that unlike many of his fellow Muslims he would shake a woman’s hand. He still believed in gender segregation at public events but his stance on handshaking meant he defined himself as a moderate.

While everyone I talked to would begin by firmly stating how all Muslims they knew were tolerant and how Islam was about moderation, when I asked how others in their communities in Luton, Bradford and Leicester would react if a loved one told them, for example, that they were gay, or where they stood on the idea of free mixing between the sexes, it quickly became apparent that they held views that many would not consider moderate at all.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 244 votes] Jihadi John being a Muslim isn't just an inconvenient "label" which you can airily dismiss. He works for IS, FFS, in which the "I" stands for Islamic. How can you hope to understand what's going on in the world when you intentionally turn a blind eye to that?

[2ND 207] They believe themselves to be Muslims. Why don't you enter into a theological debate with them about how your interpretation of Islam is superior to theirs?

[3RD 186] "They disputed the suggestion that their Islam had anything in common with the ideology of the jihadis"

It is the same religion, interpreted differently. The claims that IS are not following the Islamic faith are ridiculous.

[4TH 155] They are fighting for - wait for it - an ISLAMIC CALIPHATE.

"There's nothing Islamic about them"

I'm surprised you can still type with your head buried so deep in the sand.

[5TH 147] The fact that they proclaim themselves to be Muslims is front and centre, and that's where it should remain.

Like it or not, these murderous craven cowards are killing and torturing in the name of your religion. [The Independent] Read more

University of Kent bans extremist Islamic preacher Haitham al-Haddad from giving talk on sharia law

An Islamic preacher accused of promoting homophobic and antisemitic views has been banned from speaking at the University of Kent.

Haitham al-Haddad, who presides over a sharia court, was invited to give a talk on sharia law by the university's Islamic Society as part of its “Discover Islam Week" until the university intervened.

In the past al-Haddad has claimed a man should not be questioned for hitting his wife, and has defended female genital mutilation. [KentOnline] Read more

Pakistan church bombing protests escalate, 10 more Christians killed

A further 10 Christians have been killed in protests against Sunday's attacks on two churches in Lahore, Christian Today has learned, bringing the total death toll across the two days to more than 25.

Shamim Masih, chief reporter for the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), told Christian Today from Lahore that four Christians had been fatally shot by police and six more killed by Muslims who attacked those protesting in Yohanabad, south Lahore, today.

The Muslims were carrying sticks and beat the Christians with metal bars, he said. One woman also reportedly killed a man by running him over with her car, though it is not known whether the incident was deliberate. [Christian Today] Read more

15 March 2015

Baby-making machines

.... Iran has proposed a raft of draconian new laws that critics fear would force women to stay at home and turn them into “baby-making machines”.

The laws, part of a broader drive to curb women’s rights, would restrict birth control and access to jobs for those without children after a call by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, to boost the population from 77m to 150m within 50 years.

The measures would outlaw vasectomies and female sterilisation, ban the recruitment of single teachers and make it impossible for childless lawyers to practise family law. Employers would be required to give precedence to men and women with children.

Amnesty International has attacked the plans as an attempt to turn women into “baby-making machines”. [Mick Hartley] Read more

The war on the Christians of the Middle East

.... Those of us who have been sounding the alarm about the death of cosmopolitanism, pluralism, inclusiveness and the imperative of maintaining what is left of the once rich human mosaic that was at the heart of what made some of the great cities of the region beacons of culture, are stunned at the general silence, and yes the betrayal of Western societies - particularly the United States - of these communities....

The horrors of the sound and the fury of the war on the Christians of the Middle East have been fully documented and yet the reaction of western political classes, public opinions and even Christian churches has been mostly and scandalously muted. [Mick Hartley] Read more

Deadly blasts hit Pakistan churches in Lahore

Two bomb blasts have killed at least 14 people near two churches in a Christian neighbourhood of the Pakistani city of Lahore, local officials say.

More than 70 people were hurt in the explosions, which targeted worshippers attending Sunday mass at the churches in the Youhanabad area.

Violent protests erupted after the blasts, with a mob killing two men accused of involvement in the attacks.

Pakistan's Christian community has often been targeted by militants. [BBC] Read more

14 March 2015

German court rules teachers can wear headscarves

GERMANY’S highest court yesterday struck down a state law banning teachers from wearing headscarves as unconstitutional, saying it violates the right to religious freedom.

The Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling came in the case of two female Muslim teachers from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, but will also apply to the several other German states that have headscarf bans.

It came after more than 12 years of legal battles, and the issue already made it to the high court in Karlsruhe in 2003, when judges ruled that headscarves were allowed unless banned by specific laws. [The Scotsman] Read more

13 March 2015

Raif Badawi flogging delayed for 9th week in a row

Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger jailed for criticizing Islam, has had his weekly lashes delayed for a ninth consecutive week.

Human rights group Amnesty International confirmed the news on Twitter, saying the reasons were unclear for yet another postponement.

.... Haidar told CBC earlier this month she's heard from official sources in Saudia Arabia that her husband may face a new trial, this time for renouncing faith. The apostasy charge is punishable under Saudi law with the death penalty by beheading. [CBC News] Read more

Not in my Name: the ‘Joint UK Muslim Statement’ offers no progressive solutions

.... it is worth having a look at the particular views of some of the signatories, such as Abdurraheem Green’s anti-Semitism, Haitham Haddad’s support for female genital mutilation and suicide bombing in Israel or Iraq, or the views of Hizb ut-Tahrir, represented over 20 times in this 170-strong list, which include the stoning of adulteresses among the aims for their aspired-to caliphate.

I certainly don’t assume that everyone on the list shares those views, but I do question their judgement in aligning with such figures.

Here is the problem for the signatories – Quilliam has repeatedly insisted that the UK should not ban Islamist groups that stop short of committing, promoting, or preparing violent actions. Exposing and criticising bad ideas, logical fallacies, or an ideology that often creates an atmosphere conducive to terrorism, is a much better pursuit than legislating against them and does, in fact, uphold our ‘values and liberal freedoms’. [Left Foot Forward] Read more

12 March 2015

Islam 'invites people to violence' Queen's chaplain Reverend Gavin Ashenden claims

The Koran has “over 100 verses inviting people to violence” which Christianity “doesn’t have,” one of the Queen’s chaplains has claimed.

Reverend Canon Gavin Ashenden, one of the Queen’s 35 chaplains, made his comments on Iain Dale’s LBC radio show.

He claimed that the passages in the Koran “tell you to kill your enemies” and to “strike of the heads” of “those who disbelieve,” the Daily Mail reports.

Reverend Ashenden was speaking in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s comments made on Wednesday concerning religious extremism.

The Archbishop claimed that young people are turning to Jihad because mainstream religions and the alternative to extremism is not “exciting” enough, and that religious communities must do more to provide “purpose” in life for them.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] The man is speaking the truth. That doesn't cut the mustard in the UK, but it is the truth. If everyone would dump the mask of PC idiocy and face it, the West might just get a reprieve from the destruction of its culture.

[ANOTHER] Thank you, Canon Ashenden.

Would it be too much to expect senior Muslim religious leaders to confirm or deny this?

[ANOTHER] At last, the truth is being aired.

[ANOTHER] I see he is one of those few people who has actually READ the Quran. Good man. [The Independent] Read more

Farage’s Muslim ‘fifth column’ remarks must not go unchallenged

.... While Farage’s comments on race are rightly being challenged by our political leaders, there seems to be less of an outcry over remarks that Muslims represent a “fifth column” in this country. He has said there is “an increasing level of concern because people do see a fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us”.

Yet most Muslims in this country are second and third generation, like me, and proudly identify themselves as British. Contrary to the Islamophobia picture painted by Ukip and its members, British Muslims have come out in droves condemning the violence misguidedly carried out in our name, and are working hard to build bridges with fellow Britons.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 245 votes] 27% of British Muslims sympathise with the motives of the Charlie Hebdo killers, and 40% of British Muslims support the barbaric and thoroughly inhumane Sharia law.

Nigel Farage is absolutely correct to call out a "fifth column" of people living within the UK who desire the destruction of democracy, the subjugation of infidels and the forceful imposition of Sharia law. This is only a statement of fact.

[2ND 186] "Ukip do not represent British values".

Neither does Islam - or any organised religion.

This is simply part of a wider push by self-interest groups (like the Muslim Council) to elevate a belief system - a set of ideas that you choose to follow - to the same level as race/gender/disability/sexuality - which are set.

Islam (or any other religion) as a political/social force has nothing to offer this country - religious people should be free to practice how/where they want in the private sphere - in the public sphere their bleating for special privileges should be ignored as any other.

And the Race and Religious Hatred Act should never have included religion - but messiah Blair and his cronies needed the bloc vote offered by the sheeple.

[3RD 164] Like him or not he has a point. As one of the other posters has mentioned there have been surveys of Muslims in this country and a sizeable percentage have espoused some form of support for the islamist nutters. It's this that should really be discussed and challenged.

[4TH 155] Sorry Guardian, but outside Guardian HQ, lots of people do see a 'fifth column' of a very small minority of muslims who do want to kill us.

Last year in Cardiff, I witnessed people openly waving the black and white IS flag, in full view of protestors (protesting about Palestine perfectly legitimately) and policemen.

It is a tiny minority, but it is an issue nonetheless, and the'liberal' (and I use the term loosely, as many are not liberal at all) wish to bury ones head in the sand isn't working. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Brutal Murder in Bangladesh Highlights Growing Religious Intolerance

The brutal, cowardly murder of freethinker Avijit Roy on the streets of Dhaka is a reflection of embedded intolerance in many Muslim societies. Bangladesh, despite its secular credentials, is no exception.

On February 26, Roy was hacked to death by extremists with machetes, while his hapless wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, was also injured. What’s even more shocking was the fact that a good number of people witnessed the crime but did not intervene. Many were taping the violence on cellphones. Worse, according to media reports, the attack took place near a police check-post, erected for traffic control.

This incident left me deeply disturbed. As someone who was also subjected to (missed) bullets in 2014, Roy’s murder brought back memories of my close brush with death, subsequent exile and the fear of returning to my own country, Pakistan.

Like Roy and many others, Islamist extremists found my views unacceptable to the extent that physical elimination was the only answer. I miraculously escaped the assassination attempt, but my driver was killed and another companion was injured. [Fair Observer] Read more

Our Islamic heritage is a minefield of these deviant ideas

ISIS did not come out of nowhere. It's not an aberration. By no means. ISIS adopts the Salafi-Wahhabi ideology of Al-Qaeda. If you look at Durur Al-Saniyah by Muhammad Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, you will see that ISIS is implementing the ideas of that book to the letter. They are doing it step by step, word by word. […]

The problem of us Arabs is that we are not being honest with ourselves. We do not acknowledge our mistakes. We refuse to break away from that heritage.

Our Islamic heritage is a minefield of these deviant ideas. Unfortunately, even some contemporary muftis, sheiks, and Islamic scholars subscribe to this reactionary ideology and to this backwardness. To this day, some of them consider photography to be prohibited polytheism, and view statuses as idols that are worshipped instead of Allah. [Mick Hartley] Read more

Sharia in Britain: ignoring common sense

The Government is planning tough new measures to combat the growing threat from Islamist extremists in Britain. So reported the Sunday Telegraph, having seen a leaked draft of the Home Office’s new counter-extremism strategy.

The tough new strategy ranges from targeting sharia courts to changes to the benefits system and measures to deal with radicalisation.

If Mr Cameron thinks the British people will be impressed by all this he is mistaken. It’s an almost certain bet that the vast majority of British people will be totally cynical of these new proposals to fight extremism.

The British people now understand that the Westminster political classes have for years been contemptuous of public opinion on many issues concerning Islam in Britain. [The Commentator] Read more

Islam can be a violent faith, says Queen's chaplain: Canon expresses concerns about 100 passages in the Koran that 'invite people to violence'

Reverend Canon Gavin Ashenden, the former chaplain of Sussex University and one of 35 who serve Her Majesty, expressed concern about more than 100 passages in the Muslim holy book.

But the Church of England priest declined to say whether parts of the Koran are ‘evil’, instead advising people to make up their own minds.

He was responding to comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who warned this week about being too quick to brand people with strong religious views ‘extremists’.

Yesterday, more than 60 imams and leaders of Muslim groups signed an open letter to the Government accusing it of criminalising Islam.

They claimed the ‘terror threat’ was being exploited for political capital ahead of the election, as ‘the big parties inevitably try to outdo each other in their nastiness’. [Daily Mail] Read more

The Theocrats crying discrimination

.... So to neatly summarise yesterday’s tantrum, several of those signatures are from an illiberal group whose constitution and the author of that constitution calls for death to apostates, oppression for women, dehumanising non-believers (a joyful existence we’re expected to pay for), controlling the minds of our children for the sake of the perpetuation of the faith, the suppression of free expression, oppressing homosexuality, anti-Semitism, and all out war on Israel, followed by another signature from a man who offers his support to a hideous convict unhappy that not enough people had been brutally murdered in the July 7th attacks.

The irony of the entire statement is that several of those accusing the government of “crude and divisive” tactics, themselves are some of the most crude and divisive, illiberal, and anti-secular people in the country. They just want us to be a little bit nicer to them. [Futile Democracy] Read more

The UK Government Criminalisation of Islam Joint Statement - a response

The joint statement that has been signed calls for an end to undefined words like “radicalisation” and “extremism” being used for normative beliefs. Beliefs which themselves have been left undefined in the statement. It is a muddle of incoherent ideas, being two faced while using double speak.

.... In short, this statement is more about trying to take some of the heat off organisations in the public eye, and trying to give cover to extremist views under a bland undefined claim of normative religious beliefs. This is the politics of division which is done while using double speak when saying social cohesion.

The division being muslims from society while the cohesion is that muslims are one to be guided as one community, within their own identity box of islam under the watchful eye of pious community spokespeople. Using perceived grievance and victimhood as a means to try and herd people into line on religion.

Big brother is a reason to resist government legislation which takes away our civil liberties. We should also be concerned about people using our identity to empower their own political agenda which is not accountable to anyone. [Homo economicus' Weblog] Read more

11 March 2015

Charlie Hebdo given 'Islamophobe of the Year' award

Charlie Hebdo has been given an international award for 'Islamophobia', two months after 12 members of staff were shot dead in a terror attack.

The awards, which were devised by The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), took place at a ceremony on Saturday and saw the gong go to the French satirical magazine for 'the world's most Islamophobic person or publication' in 2015.

It beat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US president Barack Obama and American television host Bill Maher to the title.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] The oxymoronic Islamic Human Rights Commission enjoys various privileges as a UK registered charity, including (if only via Gift Aid) taxpayer subsidies.

Islam is a stranger to human rights, and most Islamic states have repudiated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in favour of the Iran-sponsored Cairo Declaration of 1990, which basically says shariah law trumps everything.

Now that they are giving "awards" to victims of mass murderers the Charity Commission should urgently review their status.

And someone should have a word with Rowan Williams about why on earth he was attending this event, lending it spurious and undeserved credibility. [The Independent] Read more

Teacher sparks backlash after telling students they ‘deserve rape’

A schoolteacher in the Central Anatolian province of Tokat has enraged parents after reportedly telling her teenage students that they deserve to be raped and treated cruelly because they do not wear the Islamic headscarf.

The teacher, identified as L.Y.I., was substituting for an optional Quran class at Halil Rifat Pasa Secondary School on Monday. According to the private Dogan news agency, the teacher was angered by students' failure to remain silent despite her pleas and said: “You don't cover your heads either. You deserve rape, you deserve cruelty.”

There were 17 seventh-grade students, both girls and boys, in the class, according to Dogan. L.Y.I., a teacher of religious culture and morality, also chided students who attended a march in memory of a young woman named Özgecan Aslan who was brutally killed in February after she allegedly resisted rape. [Today's Zaman] Read more

Jacobinism responds to Mehdi Hasan

.... Hasan closes with the observation that “To claim that Isis is Islamic…is dangerous and self-defeating, as it provides Baghdadi and his minions with the propaganda prize and recruiting tool that they most crave”. But this is a tactical approach – one currently favoured by the Obama admin – and irrelvant to the question of whether or not such a claim is objectively true. And it is with this question that analysts ought to be preoccupied.

A discussion about the *degree* to which piety informs IS beliefs and actions and membership is one worth having. But that is not the aim of Hasan’s article. As Hasan remarks in the 5th para: “The rise of Isis in Iraq and Syria has been a disaster for the public image of Islam – and a boon for the Islamophobia industry.”

Hasan wishes to exonerate Islam entirely and to lay the blame for the Islamic State’s ideas and even its very existence at the feet of the West.

This is not analysis, but apologetics. 5000 words with which to advance a No True Scotsman fallacy. And, if the comments below the line are any indication, people aren’t buying it. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Iran aims to ban vasectomies and cut access to contraceptives to boost births

Iran is seeking to reverse progressive laws on family planning by outlawing voluntary sterilisation and restricting access to contraceptives, in a move human rights groups say would set Iranian women back decades and reduce them to “baby-making machines”.

The Iranian parliament is considering two separate bills aimed at boosting the population. But Amnesty International warned in a report published on Wednesday that the proposals are misguided and, if approved, would “entrench discriminatory practices” and expose women to health risks.

Iran has pursued an effective birth control programme for over two decades. It included subsidised vasectomies, free condoms and affordable contraceptives, as well as countrywide education on sexual health and family planning. [The Guardian] Read more

British Muslims condemn terror laws for creating 'witch-hunt' against Islam

Jahangir Mohammed, director of the Centre for Muslim Affairs, said the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act had made the entire Muslim community feel targeted. “Counter-terrorism policies are flawed and alienating,” he said.

“This approach is not working and actually backfiring. The entire Muslim community is being blamed for the actions of a violent few and as a result Muslims in Britain feel marginalised.”

.... The combative statement declares a “concern about peace and security for all”, but adds: “We, however, refuse to be lectured on peace-building and harmony by a government that plays divisive politics and uses fear to elicit uncertainty in the general public, whilst maintaining support for dictators across the Muslim world, who continue to brutalise and legitimate political opposition to their tyranny.” [The Guardian] Read more

Muslim community rejects the State’s criminalisation of Islam and condemns moves to silence legitimate critique and dissent

This joint statement expresses a position with respect to the ongoing demonisation of Muslims in Britain, their values as well as prominent scholars, speakers and organisations.

We, the undersigned Imams, sheikhs, advocates, activists, community leaders, community organisations and student bodies of the Muslim community, make the following points in this regard:

1) We reject the exploitation of Muslim issues and the ‘terror threat’ for political capital, in particular in the run up to a general election. Exploiting public fears about security is as dishonourable as exploiting public fears about immigration. Both deflect attention from crises in the economy and health service, but are crude and divisive tactics, where the big parties inevitably try to outdo each other in their nastiness.

.... It is time that politicians stop diverting the attention of the British public away from its domestic crises and disastrous foreign policies by repeatedly playing the ‘Muslim’ or ‘national security’ card. [Joint UK Muslim Statement] Read more

10 March 2015

Mehdi Hasan: How Islamic is Islamic State?

The rise of Isis in Iraq and Syria has been a disaster for the public image of Islam – and a boon for the Islamophobia industry. Here, after all, is a group that calls itself Islamic State; that claims the support of Islamic texts to justify its medieval punishments, from the stoning of adulterers to the amputation of the hands of thieves; and that has a leader with a PhD in Islamic studies who declares himself to be a “caliph”, or ruler over all Muslims, and has even renamed himself in honour of the first Muslim caliph, Abu Bakr.

.... To claim that Isis is Islamic is egregiously inaccurate and empirically unsustainable, not to mention insulting to the 1.6 billion non-violent adherents of Islam across the planet. Above all else, it is dangerous and self-defeating, as it provides Baghdadi and his minions with the propaganda prize and recruiting tool that they most crave.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 66 votes] It is a very long article just to say ''In my opinion this has nothing to do with Islam''

Unfortunately it is factually very light in evidencing that contention.

You may not believe it has anything to do with your interpretation of Islam but you are not the one with the guns and bombs.

No doubt your interpretation is that of the vast majority, but that doesn't mean the interpretation by these murderous scum is any less valid to them.

Of course it is true that many western ''jihadis'' start off as no more than bored young men and women looking for bit of real life GTA adventure '' wiv real guns, innit.''.

But it seems the ISIS propaganda machine quickly gets its hooks into them and causes them to commit the most barbaric acts in the name of Muhammad and Allah.

So like it or not, whether Islam is being used as a propaganda tool or whether there is any genuine religious nature to ISIS, either way it has to do with Islam.

[2ND 57] Sorry mate, but what ur saying is complete rubbish, this current self-proclaimed islamic state is doing exactly what ur previous 4 caliphates were doing and that is terroizing, raping and enslaving minorities into islam and killing of those muslims who dis-agree on their version of islam..........

[3RD 54] If you are like many non-Muslims wondering if the like of Mehdi Hasan are honestly representing Islam or simply doing PR for their faith and community, consider this:

1. Is it really feasible that a religion founded by a 7th century warrior who according to Islamic scriptures committed numerous war crimes (perhaps justifiable in a historical context), in his late 50s consummated marriage to 9 year old, etc etc.. came up with a happy clappy belief system which can be practiced in the 21st century in it's original form? ....

[4TH 40] .... what I do have a problem is with the distortion of history......

The earlier Islamic caliphates terrorized the native people of the sub-continent, Bosnia, Albania, Maghreb, Iran and enslaved and raped them into islam and this is a fact. [New Statesman] Read more

Face-covering veils are ‘anti-women,’ Harper says

Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the wearing of a niqab or face-covering veil as “rooted in a culture that is anti-women” as he defended himself against Liberal charges the Conservatives practice divisive politics.

Harper was clearly stung by a speech Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau gave Monday in Toronto that condemned the Conservatives for rhetoric he said threatens to expose Muslims to the same bigoted fears that Jews faced in the 1930s and ’40s.

Trudeau jabbed again at Harper Tuesday in the Commons, citing recent comments by Conservatives about hijabs and temporary foreign workers. Instead of dividing the country, Harper should “get his priorities straight” and table an economic plan, Trudeau said. [Toronto Star] Read more

A new low: Charlie Hebdo's murdered staff receive an 'Islamophobe of the Year' award

I have always treated the ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ event with the scorn it deserves. Not least because each year this fantasy prize for a fantasy concept is run by a British Khomeinist organisation laughably named the ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission.’ The nominees include anybody opposed to the agenda of Islamic extremists, including Muslims. [The Spectator] Read more