30 June 2015

As atrocities are committed in the name of Islam, our ‘leaders’ are failing us

The atrocity in Tunisia, at a hotel I once stayed in, is terrifying and deeply depressing. Muslim communities in the UK feel the pain of those who have lost loved ones. This is Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, and the fact that people have committed murder supposedly in Islam’s name has shocked us to the core.

For it is Muslims who are the biggest victims of Isis. They fight the jihadists in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and it is they who hourly die brutal deaths at the hands of Isis. The soul-searching of Muslims in the UK and beyond is now at fever pitch – the question they ask constantly is: what more can they do?

.... Larger representative groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain have little credibility either with the state or the communities. In London Muslims make up 10% of the population, and represent more than 50 nationalities – compared with just a few in the north of England.

There are also many different strands of the faith: the biggest mosque where I used to live was Ahmadi, a branch of Islam whose adherents aren’t even allowed to go to Mecca. The faith splinters: it has developed tribes who have different homelands and cannot even agree on the dates of religious festivals. [Nazir Afzal, 693 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 154 votes] One of the best things I've read on the issue for ages. Thanks. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Muslim woman sues Dearborn Police over headscarf removal

A Muslim woman filed a lawsuit today against the city of Dearborn, alleging that police forced her to remove her Islamic headscarf after she was arrested on a parking violation.

Maha Aldhalimi of Wayne County said that a police officer arrested her on Sept. 15, 2004, after spotting her in a no-parking zone outside a Wal-Mart store in Dearborn. After checking her license and registration, the officer said she "had a warrant for her arrest for an unpaid parking violation."

The officer then took her to the police station and ordered her to remove her headscarf, known as hijab, for her booking photo, the lawsuit said. [Detroit Free Press] Read more

Isis militants behead two Syrian women for witchcraft

Islamic State militants have beheaded two women in a province in eastern Syria after accusing them of witchcraft, the first time such an execution has been carried out under the rule of the self-proclaimed caliphate, activists said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group with wide contacts inside Syria, said Isis executed the two women and their husbands this week in the province of Deir Ezzor, where the militants are vying for control against forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Isis has executed more than 3,000 people since it proclaimed a caliphate in vast swaths of Iraq and Syria a year and a day ago, including civilians and forces loyal to and opposed to Assad, according to the observatory. [The Guardian] Read more

29 June 2015

France says 40 imams deported for hate speech

The minister vowed to clamp down on mosques and preachers inciting hatred after a suspected Islamist beheaded his boss during an attack on a gas factory last week.

The attack, which had the hallmarks of a jihadist act but is also believed to have personal motivations, was the second in six months in France which is battling to curb radicalisation that has seen hundreds of citizens leave to wage jihad in Iraq and Syria.

Any "foreign preacher of hate will be deported," said Cazeneuve, adding that several mosques were being investigated for inciting terrorism and if found to be doing so, "will be shut down". [The Local] Read more

The anti-extremism speech that Cameron should make

.... ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood disagree about a very great deal, but the beliefs of both flow from the same source: politicised and violent religion, expressed in the writings of Qutb (and, on the sub-continent, Maududi) – a reaction to the failure of the wider Middle East, as Baathism and secular dictatorship were in previous decades.

This is why the Prime Minister refers to “poisonous ideology” in a Daily Telegraph article today: indeed, he likes the phrase so much that he uses it twice. In opposition, he was pulled one way by Michael Gove, Pauline Neville-Jones and (insofar as it made any difference) myself, and the other by Sayeeda Warsi and Dominic Grieve.

The first camp stressed the centrality of combating ideology, the second the importance of gaining support – “winning Muslim hearts and minds”. If politicians can be divided into warriors and healers, Cameron is a healer: by inclination and experience, he is a pragmatic One Nation Tory with an instinct for compromise and a necessary focus on winning votes. His flintiness on Islamist extremism, which I have seen at first-hand, is thus rather surprising. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Time to face the extremism taking hold in Britain says Leo McKinstry

Supporters of mass immigration like to prattle about the joys of cultural enrichment but what is actually happening is the Islamification of large swathes of urban Britain.

Typical is the experience of Savile Town in Dewsbury, where an area that was once used for allotments and the local bowling club’s green is now the site for the giant Markazi mosque, built with Saudi Arabian cash.

None of us were asked if we wanted so many of our neighbourhoods to resemble Islamabad.

It was a transformation imposed by our supine political class without any mandate.

Wailing about Islamophobia, Muslim community leaders love to pose as victims.

But the real victims are the British people, who see their national identity destroyed and their society threatened by division, sectarianism and violence. [Daily Express] Read more

It’s pure myth that Islam is ‘a religion of peace’

.... After the Tunisia atrocity, however, Mr Cameron regrettably regressed to claiming once again that this was “not in the name of Islam” which was “a religion of peace”. This is utterly ludicrous. Islam has a history of violent conquest.

.... The West’s problem is that it just doesn’t get religious fanaticism. It doesn’t recognise its appeal to young Muslims stranded between cultures, and whose idealism is channelled into hatred and violence by a cocktail of religious myth and political paranoia (fed, incidentally, by a western intelligentsia that tells them at every turn the West is an evil oppressor).

It also doesn’t understand that, in Arab and Muslim eyes, western weakness is an incentive to further violence. In Syria, the West has stumbled from vacillation to paralysis. [The Times (£)] Read more

28 June 2015

New Poll on American Muslims Is Grounded in Bias, Riddled with Flaws

.... CSP’s survey was an non-probability based, opt-in online survey, administered by the conservative group, the Polling Company/Woman Trend, a small Washington-based agency that has collaborated with CSP on other occasions to produce surveys about Islam and Muslims. (We learned this after reaching out to the Polling Company to get more details about their methodology, which wasn’t released to the public when Gaffney began promoting the survey’s findings.)

According to the body that sets ethical standards for polling, the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), opt-in surveys cannot be considered representative of the intended population, in this case Muslims. The AAPOR says that in these cases, “the pollster has no idea who is responding to the question” and that these kind of “polls do not have such a ‘grounded statistical tie’ to the population.” [loonwatch.com] Read more

Tunisia: How UK's "not Islam" narrative helps terrorists

We're going to keep this simple and short, because the message just doesn't seem to get through. And (see below for full update), Britain it now appears has fallen in line with the terrorist narrative. Here's why:

In the wake of the horrific massacre by an Islamic terrorist of (mainly British) holiday-makers on a beach in Tunisia, UK Prime Minister David Cameron came out with a line we have heard from him, Barack Obama, France's Francois Hollande, Australia's Tony Abbott, and so many others in the wake of Islamist mass murder.

This is what Cameron said just after news of the massacre broke: "This is not in the name of Islam; it’s a perverted ideology and we must fight it,".

We have made the point many times about Mr. Cameron's qualifications to speak about Islamic theology -- he doesn't have any. In any case, it's idiotic to say it's not in "the name" of Islam, because the people who do such things are quite explicit that they are doing it precisely in "the name" of Islam. [The Commentator] Read more

Why Wahhabi/Salafist Mosques Should be Banned From Receiving Foreign Funding

.... Our nation’s capital is not known as ‘Londonistan’ for nothing. For far too long we have been too sensitive about dealing with Islamist extremism. I hope that Theresa May and Greg Clark, the new Communities Secretary will resist the siren voices who say he must just continue with the ‘hearts and minds’ Prevent programme. It hasn’t achieved what it set out to. It’s time to adopt a more hardline approach to fight extremists and it needs to start now.

And to those who say that all this is no doubt promoted by someone who hates Islam and hates muslims, all I can say is that all they need to do is listen to my LBC show and they will see that they are very far from the truth. I am regularly criticised for my defence of muslims and my belief that they are unfairly traduced by the media in all sorts of ways.

I believe what I have said here is what most muslims would agree with, whether they feel they can say it openly or not. Islamic extremism is as far away from the lives of ordinary British muslims as christianity is from the actions of Anders Brevik.

I hope someone in government may read this and do something about the foreign funding of British mosques. If they don’t, we may all reap the unfortunate consequences. [Iain Dale] Read more

27 June 2015

It’s not the religion that creates terrorists, it’s the politics

.... this is about as convincing as arguing that the murderous bits of the Bible were responsible for the brutality of the IRA. For many of the young people who have been persuaded to go off and fight in Syria and Iraq have hardly got past the first chapter of Islam for Dummies.

They often know next to nothing about the Qur’an and are about as motivated by reading the few passages they have as the average republican terrorist was motivated by Saul’s genocidal destruction of the Amalekites in the first book of Samuel. Yes, the language of violent jihad may borrow its vocabulary from Islamic theology – it’s a useful marker of shared identity – but root motivation is as it always is: politics. The IRA weren’t Bible-believing Catholics, they were mostly staunch atheists. Catholicism was simply a marker of who counted as “one of us”. And the same is true of Islamic terrorism. [Giles Fraser, 2378 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 562 votes] And here it comes again: "nothing to see here folks. These Islamic terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic fundamentalists have nothing to do with Islam."

Like clockwork.

[2ND 297] So why is it that the Tunisian government's first reaction after yesterday's murders is to close down "certain Mosques"?

[3RD 193] "Islam is for the most part, a religion of peace"

Of course, founded by an imperialist feudal warlord who waged holy war and commanded his followers to do the same, how could it possibly not be a religion of peace.

[4TH 186] "The reason this is important has nothing to do with exonerating religion. I don’t care about apologetics here. So let me acknowledge that both the Qur’an and the Bible have passages that are deeply immoral."

Give me a comparison of numbers of people following the word of the bible literally, then the qur'an. I'm not sure you'd like the outcome. This false equivalencency has to stop, because it's at best disingenuous and at worst dangerous. You cannot separate the politics from the religion in the case of *slam.

[5TH 184] And here it comes again: "these Islamic terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic fundamentalists have nothing to do with Islam".

[6TH 156] You clearly have not read the koran. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Bowing to ulema, Constitutional Court approves "forced" marriages with minors

According to human rights activist Nursjahbani Katjasungkana, the supreme courts have created a dangerous precedent that could give the green light to the practice of "forced marriage" even for minors. It would appear that the Supreme Court decision gave into pressure from the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI), a so-called "observer" of morals and morality on the Muslim archipelago. The Islamist movement has long campaigned for marriage of girls under 18 years.

Katjasungkana explains the judges have effectively legalized marriages of girls as young as 16, considered "adult" and "ready" for marriage even if the reality is quite different. In this context, he adds, cases of forced marriages involving girls and young women, 16 years or younger will be legal. [AsiaNews] Read more

‘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. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London ....

All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake.

First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion.

And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent. [The Spectator] Read more

'An attack upon the nests of fornication, vice and disbelief in God': ISIS's chilling words after Tunisian massacre which killed 38 as they warn 'worse is to follow'

ISIS extremists have claimed the massacre which left 38 dead was an 'attack upon the nests of fornication, vice and disbelief in God' - as they warned 'worse is to follow'.

The threat accompanied a picture of the man ISIS claim was behind the assault on innocent holidaymakers, who they name as Abu Yahya Qayrawani.

It is thought this is jihadi name of the killer fatally shot by authorities after Friday's attack, a 23-year-old aviation student called Seifeddine Rezgui, who was armed with an assault rifle and grenades. [Daily Mail] Read more

26 June 2015

Ramadan ding-dong - Foreign conflicts stoke sectarian squabbles among British Muslims

BY THE bloody standards of Middle Eastern sectarianism, it is a slight affair. On the fourth day of Ramadan, dawn worshippers in Bradford found the wall of their husseiniya, or Shia mosque, daubed with the word “KAFIR” (infidel). But flare-ups, once rare, between Britain’s 400,000-odd Shias and 2.3m Sunnis are on the rise.

Safdar Shah, one of the husseiniya’s founders, says that 30 years ago, when most of the city’s Sunnis and Shias arrived from the Pakistani side of Kashmir, they often prayed together.

But over the past year leaflets denouncing Shias have circulated on city buses, and Sunnis have launched a boycott of two Shia-owned takeaways in Little Horton, a neighbourhood where over half the population is Asian. [The Economist] Read more

After Tunisia, Kuwait and France we should not be afraid to call evil by its name

.... Holidaymakers will abandon Sousse, at least for a while. But while these crimes sow fear, they also prompt revulsion. And that revulsion is shared. I spoke yesterday with Usama Hasan, an Islamic scholar and one-time jihadist. He spoke of his “disgust” at the evils committed this week, noting how alien they were to Islamic scripture which forbids, for example, the desecration of a corpse.

He said that a battle was under way for civilisation, one that should unite the great societies and religions of the world – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and more – against the vicious death cult that is violent jihadism. It would be a nonsense to speak of such a struggle as a war against evil. A war like that could never be won. Evil is within us and it is, apparently, perennial. But we must not be afraid to name it for what it truly is. [Jonathan Freedland, 978 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 663 votes] "But we must not be afraid to name it for what it truly is."

Er, Islam?

[2ND 480] Normal Guardian service has been resumed I see [266 votes] Indeed so. Try and claim that it is a problem for all the world's religions "Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and more". Revolting.

[3RD 457] This is another sign that the Bush/Blair Crusade is not going well. Mission clearly not accomplished! [104 votes] Yeah nothing at all to do with an inherently violent religious ideology. Bush and Blair were so evil for attacking Tunisia and Kuwait.

[4TH 430] "After Tunisia, Kuwait and France we should not be afraid to call evil by its name"

So we are allowed to call the quran evil now in the guardian?, because that is where the teachings and ideology of Islamic state come from. Or is that not what you liberals meant?.

[5TH 383] Did you miss the words Islam in Islamic state?. Just look at how many polls show adherents to Islam with disgustingly vile views about their fellow humans, there is clearly a large minority that hate and a majority that doesn't want to fit in with the rest of societies norms. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Death threats for Saudi satire star who fights Islamic State with laughs

A Saudi TV star has earned death threats for deploying a new weapon against Islamic State: laughter.

“Selfie”, a sketch comedy show which debuted last week on Saudi-owned pan-Arab satellite channel MBC, has won praise from influential voices in the Middle East for daring to mock the hardline militant group.

In one scene, a group of buffoonish holy warriors at a “girl market” picks concubines from a line of chained women abducted from the battlefield.

“Come on guys!” interjects a naive character played by the show’s Saudi star, Nasser Al Qasabi. “This is forbidden by Islam, these are just children!”

“God forgives!” the ringleader snapped back.

As one fighter picks a slave “wife” of a moustachioed man in a woman’s black robe, a friend points out the apparent mistake.

“No problem!” the first fighter says. “If he’s an infidel, he deserves this!” [Reuters] Read more

25 June 2015

The author of the ‘counter terrorism curriculum’ advocates murder for blasphemy

The ‘Islamic Curriculum on Peace and Counter Terrorism’ can basically be summarised as the now ubiquitous apologia that ISIS ‘has nothing to do with Islam’, which is the laziest counter-terrorism argument that one can come up with.

To call it a reformist effort would be to reduce the long impending Islamic reformation to a couple of hours’ worth of Google search, during which one can find countless articles using ‘context’ and ‘misinterpretation’ to excommunicate Islamist terrorists.

Ironically this replicates radical Islamists’ favourite vocation: apostatising anyone with a different take on Islamic scriptures.

The reforms that we Muslims need is to accept that ISIS’ Islam is just as authentic a version of Islam as any other.

For literalism is another of the ‘multiple interpretations’ of Islam that we like to expound. Islamic reformation, thence, would mean revisiting our approach to the infallibility of Islamic scriptures, without conjuring apologia for ‘true Islam’, and accepting the idea that a Muslim can unapologetically condemn Islamic doctrines. [Left Foot Forward] Read more

Padraig Reidy: A disgraceful use of the Communications Act

.... Let there be no doubt: the prosecution of James McConnell under the Communications Act is a disgrace and a travesty. It is the action of a prosecution service more interested in appearing to be liberal than upholding justice and rights.

If McConnell is suspected of being guilty of incitement, then prosecute him under that law. But the deployment of the catch-all Communications Act, in a situation it was very obviously not designed for, suggests prosecutors were not confident of that case and have instead reached for the vaguest charge possible. [Index on Censorship] Read more

Dutch far-right politician Wilders airs Mohammad cartoons on TV

Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on Wednesday aired cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on Dutch television that were drawn at a cartoon competition in Texas that was attacked by two gunmen in May.

Aissa Zanzen, spokesman for the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands, called Wilders’ action, using public broadcast time allocated to political parties, a publicity stunt. “Wilders is out to provoke Muslims and he has done everything he can to do that,” he said.

Wilders, in a broadcast coinciding with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, introduced the three-minute broadcast, in the second half of which the cartoons scrolled across the screen accompanied by piano music.

Wilders and Pamela Geller, one of his American sponsors who organized the Mohammad cartoon drawing competition, were at the event where the shooting took place. Neither of them were hurt. [Reuters Blogs - FaithWorld] Read more

Why the United States Should Back Islam’s Reformation

We have a problem—not a problem from hell, but one that claims to come from heaven. That problem is sometimes called radical, or fundamentalist, Islam, and the self-styled Islamic State is just its latest iteration.

But no one really understands it. In the summer of 2014, Major General Michael Nagata, the commander of U.S. special operations forces in the Middle East, admitted as much when talking about the Islamic State, or ISIS. “We do not understand the movement,” he said. “And until we do, we are not going to defeat it.”

Although Nagata’s words are striking for their candor, there is nothing new about the state of affairs they describe. For years, U.S. policymakers have failed to grasp the nature of the threat posed by militant Islam and have almost entirely failed to mount an effective counteroffensive against it on the battlefield that matters most: the battlefield of ideas.

.... The decision not to call violence committed in the name of Islam by its true name—jihad—is a strange one. It would be as if Western leaders during the Cold War had gone around calling communism an ideology of peace or condemning the Baader Meinhof Gang, a West German militant group, for not being true Marxists.

It is time to drop the euphemisms and verbal contortions. A battle for the future of Islam is taking place between reformers and reactionaries, and its outcome matters. The United States needs to start helping the right side win. [Foreign Affairs] Read more

Since when was the hijab a feminist statement?

.... ‘My hijab has nothing to do with oppression. It’s a feminist statement’. Against a backdrop of lingerie models, bikini babes, and sad western women weighing themselves (still in lingerie), hijab-wearer Hanna Yusuf adopts her primary school teacher voice and asks us, very, very slowly ‘in a world when a woman’s value is often reduced to her sexual allure, what could be more empowering than rejecting that notion?’ Western women, we discover, are dopes to consumerism, brainwashed into buying more diets, thongs and trashy magazines.

The hijabi wearer, in covering her lust-inducing hair, is truly free. There are even background ‘gasps’ to represent the shocked non-Muslim viewer discovering this concept for the first time! HUH?!

[TOP RATED COMMENT] My Hindu ancestors used to have a custom called sati in which widows were sometimes burned alive on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands. It was stamped out in India during the British Raj. There is a story, probably apocryphal, that when Hindus protested this ban saying that it was our custom, the British replied that in that case, they should go ahead with sati in keeping with Hindu custom, after which the British would hang all the perpetrators in keeping with British custom.

The credit for stamping out this horrid custom goes both to Indian reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy as well as to the British, but it is a sign of how times have changed for the worse that Brits no longer feel morally capable of prohibiting primitive third-world practices, like putting women in black bags, even in Great Britain, let alone in other countries.

Mark Steyn calls this the loss of "civilizational self-confidence" in the West, and he is exactly right - 50 years of venom vomited out by the Chomskys, Zinns and Susan Sontags on the West have taken an enormous toll.

[ANOTHER] I think everyone is missing the real reason for this religious headgear. It is pure and simply to wind everyone up. The more radical the area, the more is covered up and the more non Muslims get made to feel uneasy. In the free West, it's a statement of sticking the middle Islamic finger up at the rest of us. If someone wants to go around like the grim reaper, minus the scythe, then let them. Enjoy the summer ladies. No one in their right mind would want to wear a bag. Sky god or not.

[ANOTHER] The truth is that wearing a hijab is essentially a statement of separation and refusal to integrate with wider British society. And too often these 'beloved people' are so quick to accuse everyone of racism. Talk about psychological transference. Freud would have a field day studying this type of people. [The Spectator] Read more

24 June 2015

Tim Uppal defends bill to ban niqab at citizenship ceremonies

Edmonton MP and Canada's Minister of Multiculturalism, Tim Uppal, is defending his decision to introduce a last-minute bill banning the niqab - a veil worn over the face by some Muslim women - at citizenship ceremonies.

Uppal tabled the bill on June 19, just hours before parliament broke for the summer, the second attempt by the Harper government to ban the niqab.

"We believe that most Canadians including new Canadians would find it offensive that someone would cover their face at the very moment they're joining the Canadian family," said Uppal on Edmonton AM Wednesday morning.

Uppal's stance is being criticized by some as hypocritical as he himself wears a turban. [CBC/Radio-Canada] Read more

Radicalisation on campus: why new counter-terror duties for universities will not work

.... approaches to “spot” radicalisation have to date been entirely futile. In spite of the fact that the “tell-tale signs” continue to appear obvious to politicians, they remain elusive to the rest of us.

However, it is the impact of the even greater scrutiny of Muslim students that is most worrying. Given the current situation, the mere perception that Muslim students will now be subjected to even more monitoring and scrutiny – irrespective of the reality – will present even more barriers to Muslims being just “ordinary” students.

And if so, this will have the potential to reinforce the very basis of those extremist narratives that the new duties have been introduced to tackle: that “Islam” and “the West” can never coexist.

If, as I predict, Muslims students feel increasingly pressurised, marginalised and excluded as a result of these new duties, then the law is likely to reinforce rather than counter the very same arguments that are used to justify the transition towards being radical and extreme. [The Conversation] Read more

Muslim’s gender apartheid sparks row

French Muslim convert Jean-Baptiste Michalon, above, found himself at the centre of a row after he put up a sign at his grocery store in Bordeaux imposing male and female-only days on customers.

The shop displayed a sign in the window asking “sisters” to come on Saturdays and Sundays, and “brothers” to visit on weekdays.

Michalon insisted he had acted in good faith and was not telling customers when they could or couldn’t visit his shop.

"We did this in response to requests from ‘sisters’ who preferred to come when my wife is working. We do also sell clothes here.

It was a sign meant entirely for clients who understand that mixing of sexes is not permitted in our [Muslim] religion. It was not meant to be compulsory. I had no idea that it was against the law."

Under the French penal code, discrimination on the grounds of gender is punishable by fines of up to 45,000 euros and a maximum of three years in jail.

Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé, who was Prime Minister under former conservative president Jacques Chirac, said the sign was:

In complete contradiction to republican rules on equality and gender mixing.

And he called for an inquiry. [The Freethinker] Read more

Imam joins secularists and Christians in defending Pastor James McConnell’s free speech

An Islamic scholar has said he is willing to go to prison to defend the free speech of Northern Ireland Pastor James McConnell, who is being prosecuted for comments he made on Islam.

Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini has penned an article for the Belfast Telegraph in which he strongly criticises the decision to prosecute Pastor James McConnell, after the Pastor described Islam as "Satanic" and "heathen".

Dr Al-Hussaini called the decision to press ahead with prosecution "extraordinary" and said it was "quite contrary to our country's tradition of freedom of expression."

He said, "It is of utmost concern that, in this country, we uphold the freedom to discuss, debate and critique religious ideas and beliefs - restricting only speech which incites physical violence."

The imam, a Senior Fellow at the Westminster Institute, said the case threatened freedom of religion and belief, and added, "I strongly uphold the moral right of Pastor McConnell and myself, as Christian and Muslim, to disagree about matters of doctrine and belief".

He said it was a matter of "deep dismay" that a "fellow citizen is being subjected to criminal proceedings, when at no time have any of the statements he has made incited to physical harm against anyone." [National Secular Society] Read more

By scapegoating Muslims, Cameron fuels radicalisation

The anti-Muslim drumbeat has become deafening across the western world. As images of atrocities by the jihadi terror group Isis multiply online, and a steady trickle of young Europeans and North Americans head to Syria and Iraq to join them, Muslim communities are under siege. Last week David Cameron accused British Muslims of “quietly condoning” the ideology that drives Isis sectarian brutality, normalising hatred of “British values”, and blaming the authorities for the “radicalisation” of those who go to fight for it.

.... That could of course change, not least as the government criminalises dissent, brands conservative religiosity “extremist” and, in the formulation of ministers, “quietly condones” Islamophobia. The British government has long fed terrorism with its warmaking abroad. Now it’s also fuelling it with its scapegoating of Muslims at home. [Seumas Milne, 1,585 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 381 votes] ".... and those behind every violent attack or terror plot have cited western intervention in the Muslim world as their motivation."

There have been at least a couple of plots on night clubs where the desire was to kill "sluts" and "slags".

I am against this Government's illiberal attacks on free speech and agree with Milne that the tactics of Cameron are likely to do more harm than good, but Seamus cannot bring himself to even acknowledge that there is a problem with radical Islam in this country that is not attributable to British foreign policy alone.

[2ND 380] This is utter nonsense. The ousting of the Muslim elected mayor in Tower Hamlets was because of gross corruption but you don't mention that do you?

Somehow that falls into the category of Islamophobia?

[3RD 364] "By scapegoating Muslims, Cameron fuels radicalisation"

Is this not battered wives' syndrome? Don't upset them or they'll hurt us.

[4TH 320] Islam, the heroin of the left.

[5TH 244] Surely, as the Guardian is so keen to promote equality within this country, this article should be a discussion about how Islam in the UK needs to undergo a radical reformation which allows for equality for all members of its faith within society which makes it compatible with Western Liberal values. That includes gender, sexual orientation and non-Muslims.

Why is it that everyone feels compelled to tell Christians how they should be willing to adapt and tolerate others in society, but addressing anything to do with Islam is looked upon as scapegoating and Islamaphobic? The only people who can end this is the British Muslim community themselves, and that requires them to look at what their beliefs actually represent.

At the moment there is a genuine Fascist revolution going on in the Middle East in the name of Islam. British Muslims may hate ISIS as well, but until they address the issues within Islam as mentioned previously, there is always going to be questions asked.

[6TH 230] Were his comments inflammatory and unnecessary and did little help to the situation? - Yes.

Do his comments have more than an element of truth in them? - the answer appears to be affirmative as well.

[7TH 224] What utter rubbish..." Cameron scapegoting Muslims"....it is the other way around....it is Muslims who are scapegoating the British authorities....it is the police not doing their job, the airlines not checking properly...etc....do these Muslim families ever talk to each other..?

How can fathers not have an inkling as to what their wives who are going to take their children away for austensibly, what ever reason, on a trip abroad.....then say ...It had nothing to do with me guv....it is everybody else's fault?

[8TH 221] Check some polls. Check some of the less salubrious neighbourhoods in town. Go and visit some open air markets.

Ride the bus or the tram or the train in any big city in NL. Or go for a stroll on foot. As a woman on a summer day in a summer dress.

The integration of muslim immigrants has failed. The pandering to a religion and culture whose adherents have no interest in absorbing western values by the political left, like equality between men and women and secular government and education is self defeating and self destructive. Values that inspired and galvanized the political left until pandering to islam became the new priority.

.... A tough approach is all that is left. Make it as unpleasant as it can be for hardline religious fools, including papists and hardcore black stocking protestants. Close all faith schools of all denominations. Draw all the cartoons about mohammed and the pope and priests fondling children and stealing from poor natives in far away lands. Crack all the George Carlin jokes and make up some new ones. Stop tax deductions for all religious organisations. Get some balls like the French who will not allow their secular culture and country to be stolen from them.

Hard won secular values and principles cannot and must not be abandoned at the alter of PC correctness.

[9TH 192] "In reality, it shouldn’t be so hard to understand why a small section of young alienated Muslims are attracted to fight in Syria and Iraq with Isis and other such groups"

It's pretty hard to understand when most of their activity involves killing other Muslims and raping girls. How is that striking back at Western foreign policy, exactly? [The Guardian] Read more

23 June 2015

Isis destroys Palmyra shrines in Syria

Islamic State militants have blown up two ancient shrines they consider sacrilegious in Palmyra, the jihadi group said on Tuesday.

The report was the first of any damage being done by the militants to buildings in Palmyra, a 2,000 Unesco world heritage site in central Syria, since they seized control of the city in May. Syrian forces have bombed the city, and the militants camped within it, since then.

Before and after pictures showed several militants carrying explosives and the shrines, which are not among the city’s monumental Roman-era buildings, reduced to rubble.

News of the destruction in Palmyra emerged as the chief spokesman of Isis issued a call for increased violence during the holy month of Ramadan, and called upon Sunnis in Iraq to rise up against what he described as Shia oppression intended to end the Sunni presence in the country. [The Guardian] Read more

Isis 'crucifies children for not fasting during Ramadan' in Syria

Two children have reportedly been “crucified” by Isis for not fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

The boys, believed to be under the age of 18, were killed in Syria and their bodies displayed with placards hung around their necks announcing their “crime”.

Their deaths in the town of Mayadin, Deir Ezzor province, were reported by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Monday.

Founder Rami Abdel Rahman said residents reported the boys’ bodies were “suspended from a crossbar” near the so-called Islamic State’s religious police headquarters.

“Apparently, they were caught eating,” he told the AFP news agency, adding that the signs hung around their necks claimed they broke the Ramadan fast “with no religious justification”. [The Independent] Read more

Poll of U.S. Muslims Reveals Ominous Levels Of Support For Islamic Supremacists’ Doctrine of Shariah, Jihad

According to a new nationwide online survey (Below) of 600 Muslims living in the United States, significant minorities embrace supremacist notions that could pose a threat to America’s security and its constitutional form of government.

The numbers of potential jihadists among the majority of Muslims who appear not to be sympathetic to such notions raise a number of public policy choices that warrant careful consideration and urgent debate, including: the necessity for enhanced surveillance of Muslim communities; refugee resettlement, asylum and other immigration programs that are swelling their numbers and density; and the viability of so-called “countering violent extremism” initiatives that are supposed to stymie radicalization within those communities. [Center for Security Policy] Read more

22 June 2015

Living without God in the Middle East

A few atheists have also taken part in studio discussions on mainstream TV channels in Egypt where they have been abused by interviewers and other participants. Appearing on Honest TV, Mostafa Zakareya, an atheist from Alexandria told viewers he had no desire to “insult religions” but simply wanted Egyptians to accept him as an atheist.

A well-known cleric then called for his arrest and execution, while the chief of security in Alexandria announced he was forming a special task force to round up atheists in the city.

In Egypt and Saudi Arabia especially, media have been expressing alarm at what they see as a growth in the numbers of atheists. Two Egyptian government ministries have been ordered to produce a national plan to "confront and eliminate" atheism.

Such schemes may have worked in the past when states were better placed to control the spread of “undesirable” ideas but in the internet age they are ultimately doomed. Even so, for governments and large sections of the Arab public, freedom of belief remains an alien concept and the battle to achieve it is likely to be long and hard-fought. [al-bab.com] Read more

Mohammed Amin: Cameron’s take on radicalisation is right

.... I believe the reason for the extreme defensiveness displayed arises from a lack of confidence regarding the status of Islam in Britain and other liberal societies.

In my view, many Muslims fear that if they concede that Muslims who commit terrorism are in any way motivated by their understanding of Islam they will somehow have conceded that Islam is a religion which promotes terrorism. That is logical nonsense, but logic rarely rules with something as important as one’s relationship with one’s religion.

While the defensive concerns are not valid, they are amplified by the activities of anti-Muslim bigots who have made an industry out of promoting the view that the terrorists’ understanding of Islam is the correct one. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Uproar as Muslim store brings in 'men only' days

If you're a woman and it's a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday, you're not welcome at the De L'Orient à L'Occidental grocery store in Bordeaux.

Similarly, if you're a man and it's a weekend, you're going to have to go somewhere else if you want to do your shopping there.

At least, this had been the case until Tuesday morning when the store's owners, who are newly converted to Islam, had put up a sign with these outlines in a bid to ensure the two sexes didn't meet.

The move left authorities unimpressed, reported French newspaper Sud Ouest.

Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé called out on Twitter for "an end to such a discriminatory practice".

Naima Charai, the head of French equality group ACSE, tweeted her disdain too, saying that gendered opening hours are "unimaginable and unacceptable". [The Local] Read more

Probe into “undue spiritual influence” in Birmingham election

An election petition has been launched into the May 2015 local elections in Birmingham. I want to be clear about a few things at the outset.

These proceedings are all about principles of public importance and the protection of democratic elections. It is about preventing future recurrence of kinship voting swaying bloc votes in favour of a political party. It is about the corrupt practice of providing fertile battleground for Pakistani political parties to flex their muscle during local British elections.

It is about undue spiritual influence installing fear in the minds of the voter that if they don’t vote the party endorsed by the spiritual leader, punishment awaits them in the afterlife. It is about the illegal practice of segregation of men and women at political rally in contravention of the Equality Act 2010.

These practices have no place in modern politics and for any political party to turn a blind eye to such practices amounts to selling values for votes. [Liberal Democrat Voice] Read more

21 June 2015

British Muslims and the IS Blame Game

.... A couple of days ago, Myriam Francois Cerrah, in an otherwise typically thoughtful piece, blamed “government failings” in allowing the Bradford mothers to leave the UK despite what was known about their brother.

For once, it is difficult not to sympathise with the authorities. They get criticised for being too intrusive and heavy-handed in their dealings with UK Muslims, and now for not being intrusive enough and granting the mothers too much freedom.

Ultimately, only the three mothers themselves can tell us about their motivations for leaving the UK for Syria with all the danger that entails for them, their children and their future. I do hope that we will hear from them, not only to better understand this tragic story but perhaps to be able to help others. [inayatscorner] Read more

Austere brand of Islam on rise in Europe, stirring concerns

Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.

The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving [Associated Press] Read more

We must prise British Muslims out of their 'digital ghettos': Former extremist calls for end to separation between different faiths

During my teenage years as an Islamist recruiter, I moved to live in self-contained communities in the London boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets. During those years, I met Muslims who were born and raised in this country but for whom English was their second, and barely literate, language.

Street signs were in Bangladeshi and employment opportunities were limited to Indian restaurants, community centres and grocery stores. As I went between the Islamic Society in my college and university, the mosque, the halal takeaway and visited the homes of my male Muslim friends, it was entirely possible for me to get through my day without interacting in any meaningful way with a single non-Muslim.

Why should this matter? For many reasons, but an important one is this: because isolated communities just like this, whether in deprived Dewsbury in West Yorkshire or more affluent Buckinghamshire, are sending British citizens to join Islamic State, the most terrifying terrorist group of modern times. [Daily Mail] Read more

Bloody Hell: Does Religion Punish Women for Menstruating?

Fasting isn't the only one of Islam's main tenets that's off limits to women during that time of the month; the five daily prayers are similarly banned, as well as reading from a copy of the Quran and stepping into a mosque, depending on who you ask.

Any sort of bleeding defiles the state of "purity" required for these acts of worship, even if its from a cut. The same is true for urinating, defecating, vomiting, or passing gas. But while a quick ablution restores purity after taking a leak, Muslim women are essentially barred from these acts of prayer for days each month by a fact of their anatomy.

While some see their time off as a sort of lucky break, others struggle with the idea that they can't reach out to God through formal worship at all times—especially when faced with personal difficulty or loss. [VICE] Read more

Muslim students at Jihadi John's former university 'harass and intimidate women'

The University of Westminster, where the notorious Islamic State terrorist studied, could become a "place of indocrination" if the society remains "ultra-conservative", a report warned.

But complaints about alleged harrasment by society members were repeatedly ignored "for fear of appearing Islamaphobic", the report added.

One student wept as she gave evidence to an independent panel about the intimidation she allegedly suffered at the hands of the group.

Jihadi John, whose real name is Mohammed Emwazi, studied Information Systems at the London university between 2006 and 2009. [Daily Express] Read more

20 June 2015

With help from the city, Minneapolis businesses to stay open later for Ramadan

It was a welcome change as customers indulged in mango juice and imported dates at Java Coffee Thursday night after a long summertime day of Ramadan fasting.

Java Coffee and a growing number of Minneapolis businesses are taking advantage of the city’s new flexibility that allows them to stay open later during the holy month.

Java Coffee on Minnehaha Avenue is welcoming customers until 4 a.m. Before, the business had to close its doors at 11 p.m. With the sun setting at 9 p.m. in June, famished customers had little time to break their sunrise-to-sundown fast.

After being approached by Minneapolis business owners about the challenges they face during Ramadan, City Council Member Andrew Johnson proposed amending an ordinance to give businesses temporary extended hours.

The amendment brings relief to many businesses that were suffering financially during the month of Ramadan, said Ilhan Omar, Johnson’s senior policy aide. [StarTribune]

Read more

Cory Bernardi's anti-halal crusade unleashes torrent of hate

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi's inquiry into halal food has attracted a flood of hateful and sometimes downright bizarre submissions.

A month after Senator Bernardi successfully set up a Senate committee inquiry into the "third party certification of food", the probe has already attracted 220 written submissions from the Australian public.

While the inquiry is supposed to look at all kinds of food certification – including kosher, organic and genetically modified – the overwhelming majority focus squarely on halal.

And many contain vicious attacks on Muslims and the Islamic faith.

One contributor calls Islam a "vile medieval cult", while another labels the Prophet Muhammad a "false god" and "paedophile". [The Age] Read more

For or against, no one wants to see 'Satanic Islam' sermon pastor James McConnell end up in jail

The majority of people who spoke to the Belfast Telegraph in north Belfast said the pastor should be free to say what he wants and should not be disciplined just because he spoke his own mind.

William Letson resides very close to the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle. He backed the pastor and encouraged him not to back down.

Mr Letson said: "Everyone should have the right to say what they want. We have freedom of speech and we should be allowed to practise it without fear.

"I think Pastor McConnell was all the braver for standing up for his beliefs and saying what he thought.

"It's similar to the Ashers bakery case, where they were prosecuted for going against their personal beliefs.

"When will this all stop? The world is going crazy with regard to all this sort of thing." [Belfast Telegraph] Read more

Female Iran VP scolds hardliners over volleyball ban

One of Iran's female vice presidents launched a furious attack Saturday on "sanctimonious" groups whose threats of violent confrontation at a volleyball match ultimately triggered a clampdown on women spectators.

The remarks from Shahindokht Molaverdi, who had to backtrack on plans to ease restrictions on women at male sporting events, could inflame the government's row with religious hardliners who oppose such reform.

Volleyball has become hugely popular in Iran as the national team has risen up the sport's rankings and women were allowed to watch it until a ban was imposed in recent years. [AFP] Read more

19 June 2015

David Cameron 'wrong and counter-productive', says Muslim Council of Britain

The Muslim Council of Britain has attacked David Cameron as “erroneous, wrong and counter-productive” for suggesting that Muslim communities have given credence to extremist ideology.

The group, which represents Muslim opinion from more than 500 organisations, demanded that the Prime Minister present “clear evidence” to back up his assertions that Muslims were not doing enough to tackle extremism.

Former Conservative Cabinet minister Lady Warsi and Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi also criticised Mr Cameron over his speech.

In a speech in at a security conference in Bratislava, Mr Cameron warned that parts of Muslim communities “quietly condoning” anti-Western ideology was making it easier for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) to recruit in British cities. [The Telegraph] Read more

Are British Muslims “quietly condoning” extremists?

.... The “revised” version merely reads like a blip in the U-turn back to the draconian efforts once pursued by Hazel Blears to marginalise mainstream Muslim organisations in favour of a neo-con driven, ideology based, evidence-base lacking, conveyor belt theory affirming shambles that is the Government’s current approach.

It is also deeply unsettling that as the Conservatives look to introduce measures that disproportionately discriminate against and alienate British Muslims, scaremongering about how they are “quietly condoning” extremist narratives is intended to overcome criticism of the Government’s cavalier disregard for the very “British values” it claims to defend.

By pointing the finger at Muslims as part of the problem, it is clear that the Government is hoping its assault on Muslim civil liberties will itself be “quietly condoned”. [MEND] Read more

'Satanic Islam' sermon Belfast pastor James McConnell says he faces six months in jail

In an exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Pastor McConnell last night defiantly said he'd go to prison rather than withdraw the remarks.

"I am 78 years of age and in ill health but jail knows no fear for me," he said.

"They can lock me up with sex offenders, hoodlums and paramilitaries and I will do my time.

"I have no regrets about what I said. I do not hate Muslims but I denounce Islam as a doctrine and I make no apologies for that. I will be pleading 'not guilty' when I stand in the dock in August."

Pastor McConnell's solicitor Joe Rice vowed to fight the case "tooth and nail". [Belfast Telegraph] Read more

PM to urge Muslims and ISPs: stop giving credence to extremist ideology

David Cameron is to warn that the growing threat posed by Islamic State can only be defeated if Muslim communities and internet service providers stop giving any credence to an Islamic extremist ideology that claims the west is evil, democracy wrong and women inferior.

Insisting everyone has a personal responsibility to stand out against such values, and not to blame state institutions for failing to do enough, Cameron will on Friday make a call for communities to do more to prevent young Muslims right across Europe starting on a path that ends with them being lured to fight in Syria.

Speaking at the Globsec conference in Slovakia, he will say: “Too often we hear the argument that radicalisation is the fault of someone else. That blame game is wrong – and it is dangerous. By accepting the finger-pointing – whether it’s at agencies or authorities – we are ignoring the fact that the radicalisation starts with the individual.” [The Guardian] Read more

Muslims must do more to repel Isil, says Cameron

David Cameron has warned parts of the Muslim community that “quietly condoning” anti-Western ideology is making it easier for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) to recruit in British cities.

The Prime Minister issued a stark message to Muslim families and leaders that they must do more to combat the lure of Isil among young people.

He also told those who have lost loved ones to extremist groups to stop “finger pointing” and blaming the police and security services when their relatives run off to Syria or Iraq.

Mr Cameron said: “The cause is ideological. It is an Islamist extremist ideology: one that says the West is bad and democracy is wrong, that women are inferior and homosexuality is evil. [The Telegraph] Read more

David Cameron, inadvertent PR man for Islamic extremists

.... we need to challenge and confront perverse ideologies. That means working in partnership with Muslim organisations and communities, not employing a rhetoric of collective blame that does nothing but play into the hands of extremism. And yes, there are a number of factors driving radicalisation, but we should examine all of them, including factors within our control, such as (but not exclusively) western foreign policy and support for dictatorships complicit in the rise of jihadi terrorism. I fear, though, that currently, we are doing exactly what our opponents will us to do. [Owen Jones, 941 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 254 votes] Rubbish. Utter Rubbish.

People are responsible for their our actions, and if you choose to follow a murderous religious path then that is your choice, not becuase a nasty white politican made you do it.

[2ND 202] ".... there are a number of factors driving radicalisation, but we should examine all of them"

Says Owen Jones, having just accused the Prime Minister of helping ISIS by making the perfectly sensible observation that “Too often we hear the argument that radicalisation is the fault of someone else". Presumably then we are allowed to examine all causes except the role of British Muslims.

Cameron is right, ignoring the role of the individuals who make the choice to join ISIS and the role of others who may have influenced them right here is burying your head in the sand.

[3RD 166] Owen Jones, blaming David Cameron for the Daily Mail. Beyond parody.

[4TH 146] Owen, this has deeper roots. These young people who have gone to join Isis – what are the chances their parents were burning copies of The Satanic Verses in West Yorkshire towns 25 years ago?

[5TH 142] The one that made my jaw drop in utter disbelief was a brief snippet on the news last night where the estranged husband in Pakistan denounced his ex-wife for her actions. Not for taking his poor innocent children into a war zone but for not asking his permission first!?

[6TH 138] So we are supposed to sit there Owen and watch as communities give tacit support to Isis extremists? I have lived in Yorkshire and Bradford and let me tell you they are scary places to live in. Islamic extremism is alive and kicking in parts of this country

[7TH 125] "On which other community is it possible to inflict such dangerous, sweeping generalisations? The assertion being made here – explicitly, not even implicitly as is the norm – is that British Muslims as a whole are helping mass-murdering zealots inflicting carnage across Iraq, Syria and Libya."

So tiresome. Look at the bits I've bolded.

A 'generalization', by definition, does not refer to anything 'as a whole'. Aside from that, clearly the DM did not intend to say that Muslims, as a whole, are helping jihadists, and anyone who interprets it that way may have literacy issues. Or, perhaps more likely, they're looking for an excuse to take umbrage. If I said "the Japanese are making some excellent whiskeys these days", clearly I would not be referring to the Japanese "as a whole", yet this is a perfectly valid, unambiguous sentence.

[8TH 112] "I fear, though, that currently, we are doing exactly what our opponents will us to do."

Well you certainly are, Owen. If someone buggers off to Syria having seen what IS does to women, minorities, aid workers, gays, Shias, Christians etc - that person is a scumbag. And the sooner that's acknowledged the better.

I agreed with a bit of one of your posts earlier this week. Not this one.

[9TH 99] A straw man argument, an over-reaction to a Daily Mail headline of a Cameron speech. Nobody has said all Muslims are helping Jihadis, just that there are some Muslims with sympathies to ISIS. We all need to confront this, not dance around it.

[10TH 98] Lady Warsi believes that the reason young Muslims go and join ISIS is because they are ignored and not "properly engaged" with by the wider community. I know I laughed to, no irony of course. [The Guardian] Read more

Remember, prime minister: British Muslims hate Isis too

.... what concerns me about the prime minister’s speech in Slovakia is his emphasis on one aspect of the challenge, while overlooking all the other aspects of the problem. He has apparently decided to focus on the idea that “some” in our Muslim communities condone the activities of Isis and “perhaps” encourage young people to take the ruinous path of joining the terrorists. Although he rightly said there are “many reasons” why young people become radicalised and then take the next step towards acting on those warped beliefs, his speech focused only on the notion of Muslim community complicity. Friday’s newspapers were also heavily briefed to that effect ahead of the speech.

.... Cameron is right that there are “some” – a minority within a minority within a minority – who condone the Isis view of the world, but there are so many more of this minority who are fighting a very real and sustained battle, the same battle he is fighting. They know they have to do more, they are willing to do more, but they will do it a lot better knowing we are on the same side.

Government needs to champion them, support them. Only then will it have the credibility to demand that communities themselves do more. [Sayeeda Warsi, 782 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 353 votes] Why is it that people like Warsi are always quick to point fingers at someone else?

David Cameron only said what many people have been saying i.e


For once David Cameron said something truthfully without worrying about the PC Brigade

[2ND 319] Poll finds 27% of British Muslims have sympathy for Charlie Hebdo attacks, and 11% have sympathy for those who travel to join ISIS.

Al Jazeera Arabic poll finds 81% of Muslims in the middle east support ISIS. Obviously only a minority of Muslims become extremists, but the data suggests we seriously underestimate the sympathies and ideological support of extremism both home and abroad, sadly.

[3RD 264] Those UK numbers only show the amount willing to openly admit they have such taboo views. Shy tories swung the election and I don't doubt there are a fair few shy ISIS supporters around too.

[4TH 243] .... Now the line peddled by Warsi and others is that the government is to blame for extremism, by not allying with groups who promote and apologise for extremism, whilst at the same time claiming that these groups, like the Muslim Council of Britain, cannot be expected to oppose extremism. The whole thing is disingenuous and grubby. And really, its just the tip of the iceberg of this ethical calamity.

[5TH 237] Oh gawd, Cameron finally stating what everyone has been thinking for years, has demoralised some within the Muslim community.

What on earth can be done about this problem? Why don't you give us a definitive list of what you would like us to say and do to stop Muslims feeling demoralised, disengaged, radicalised, victimised, demonised, marginalised, misunderstood and sad?

[6TH 235] Radicalism starts at home. Expanded in places of worship,manipulated by agents, executed in Syria.

[7TH 217] "My concern is that this call to Muslims to do more, without an understanding of what they already do now, will demoralise the very people who will continue to lead this fight. As one prominent female Muslim activist told me: “This speech has undermined what I’ve been doing.”"

Whatever she's doing....hasn't worked!

The cheek of Warsi, made a baroness, parachuted into government (never elected) because of quota's and proved to be a political liability for all not just her chosen community. Collect £300 a day in expenses & do not pass go.

[8TH 210] Is the Muslim community fighting radicalism?? I thought they just sit on the sidelines & claim to have nothing to do with the whole thing usually, I'd love to hear more about all this activism, it really is news to me! [The Guardian] Read more

UK Muslims helping jihadis, says Cameron: Communities must stop 'quietly condoning' barbaric ISIS, PM warns in blunt speech

Too many British Muslims ‘quietly condone’ extremism, David Cameron will say today.

In a blunt speech, he will urge families to speak out against the ‘poisonous ideology’ driving hundreds of young people to wage jihad for Islamic State.

The Prime Minister will also call for parents to stop blaming police and the security services for failing to prevent British teenagers heading to Syria.

Parts of the Muslim community are guilty of normalising hatred of democracy and western values, he warns – making it easier for violent extremism to take hold.

At the weekend, 17-year-old Talha Asmal became Britain’s youngest suicide bomber when he detonated a car loaded with explosives in the northern Iraqi town of Baiji. [263 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 6077 votes] Do I think he is right? Yes. Do I think he will do anything about it? No. Very much no.

[2ND 5253] If people condone ISIS then kick them over there. And freeze their bank accounts and benefits. I don't want traitors in our midst thank you!

[4TH 4774] Ordinary people in the street could have told you this a while ago.

[5TH 4380] Well it's taken him long enough to realise what we've all known for years. He talks the talk but, unfortunately, Wimpy Dave won't actually do anything about it.

[6TH 4005] How bad does it have to get before Cameron actually acts and does something? [Daily Mail] Read more

18 June 2015

Farming Minister reconsiders stance on religious slaughter

Biased media coverage was raised by MP Mike Freer who noted the widespread coverage of animal abuse uncovered in secret footage from a halal abattoir in North Yorkshire but the minimal reporting on later footage taken from a secular abattoir which used stunning and in which animal abuse was evident.

Freer quoted emails from the public such as ““I don’t want my meat touched by a dirty man in a beard” and “I don’t want Muslim meat”— whatever Muslim meat is.””

The issue of religious slaughter has, in the media particularly, been largely discussed in reference to halal meat despite Jewish methods completely prohibiting stunning and the majority of halal meat slaughtered in the UK is pre-stunned.

The bias is indicative of the degree of anti-Muslim bias in the British media noted by Professor Stuart Weir who, in the foreword to Peter Oborne’s pamphlet Muslims Under Siege, wrote “writers in the broadsheet press and elsewhere [willingly] indulge themselves in blatantly anti-Islamic rhetoric and argument that would, as they argue, not be tolerated if it were directed against Jews, say, or gay people.” [MEND] Read more

Afghan clerics protest nomination of first woman to Supreme Court

Members of an influential Islamic panel in Afghanistan have protested against President Ashraf Ghani's nomination of a woman to the Supreme Court, a milestone appointment in a country where the Taliban once banned women from most areas of public life.

Ghani's decision last week delivered on an election promise to appoint the first woman to the Supreme Court, but conservative lawmakers could fight the parliamentary confirmation of Anisa Rassouli, who now heads a juvenile court.

The step represents good news for civil rights activists worried that gains made by women might be eroded after the withdrawal of most foreign troops last year, 13 years after the U.S.-led military intervention that toppled the Taliban in 2001. [Reuters] Read more

Belfast preacher to face court over Islam slurs

A born-again Christian preacher in Belfast is to be prosecuted for describing Islam as “satanic” and “the spawn of the devil”.

Pastor James McConnell was accused of Islamophobia after he denounced the Muslim religion as a “heathen” faith in May 2014. He issued a public apology, but not before Northern Ireland’s first minister, Peter Robinson, came under fire for initially defending him.

Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service said on Thursday that McConnell was offered an “informed warning” that would have avoided a prosecution but he declined to accept it.

PPS spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that following consideration of a complaint in relation to an internet broadcast of a sermon in May 2014, a decision was taken to offer an individual an informed warning for an offence contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

“That offence was one of sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive.” [The Guardian] Read more

Muslim gymnast criticised for 'revealing' leotard as she wins double-gold

A Muslim gymnast has been criticised by religious leaders for wearing a ‘revealing’ leotard during a double-gold victory at the Southeast Asia Games.

Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, 21, represented Malaysia at the competition, where she won six medals, including two golds.

But she was rebuked by leaders and social media trolls for showing her “aurat” – an Islamic word referring to the genitalia and thighs.

Cleric Harussani Zakaria told one local paper: “Gymnastics is not for Muslim women. It is clear that exposing one's aurat and the shape of one's body is haram (forbidden in Islam). [The Telegraph] Read more

Want to understand the appeal of Isis? Think like a young Muslim outsider

Defections by British citizens to Islamic State typically inspire an entire cycle of reactions. Security-minded commentators demand tougher measures to restrict travel and suppress online propaganda. Others argue that clampdowns are counterproductive, and urge mosques and families to take the lead. The families themselves, while expressing bafflement and grief, turn the spotlight back on to the authorities, attributing their loved ones’ estrangement to either state surveillance or (confusingly) to inadequate attention by the state.

.... it promises a godly cause – the defence of victimised co-religionists – that draws similarly passionate people from all over the world. Troubled young men thereby imagine a land where they can start anew, commanding respect as upholders of God’s law. Unhappy women dream of attaining happiness for the first time – or the second or third, if husbands they take are lucky enough to achieve martyrdom. The fantasies ignore a very vicious reality, of course – but as long as thwarted personalities imagine that Isis can make them true, people will kill and die in their pursuit. [887 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 332] There's a difference between being a lonely disaffected teenager and wanting to join a murderous death cult that brutally beheads people, commits genocide and regularly commits atrocities.

There's no excuse for anyone wanting to join a medieval organisation like ISIS.

[2ND 278] Want to understand the appeal of ISIS? Read the Koran. Followed by the Life of Mohammad. Then, before dropping off for the night, read up on the wars of conquest fought to spread Islam from 632 AD. That should sort it.

[3RD 209] .... There is a narrative being put forward that the those joining ISIS have attitudes totally different from that of the previous generation and there is bewilderment as to how such intolerance could have arisen.

Actually the warnings about the problems with a SIGNIFICANT minority of UK Muslims over Enlightenment, liberal values were there in neon signs a mile high at the time of Rushdie.

Thousands in the streets inciting his murder and I seem to remember about 30% in a poll of UK Muslims agreeing that the Fatwa should be enacted.

And for what - a few lines of alternative take on 1,500 year old superstitions in a novel!!!

Oh and I recall placards saying Rushdie should be beheaded. Does that ring a bell?

The fact that a minority have moved to the even more grotesque intolerance and barbarism of ISIS is not totally surprising as it represents just a move further to the extremes of this mind-set.

[4TH 126] Blimey. A Guardian article which doesn't blame the West. Wonders never cease.

[5TH 196] It did a bit: the reference to the "low-level racism" they supposedly experience in the UK; this apparently providing justification for high-level racism against people in another part of the world, such as the Yazhidis.

[6TH 145] Hmm, when reading this I got to here:

"All lived in deeply traditional Muslim communities, and though such places nurture some insular forms of behaviour"

And I thought, wow someone might actually spot the elephant in the room. But alas the rest of the piece turned into apologists nonsense.

let me ask you, if it is indeed down to abusive fathers, isolated communities, the thrill of adventure and finding a cause (the reasons you have stated), why are all the recruits (sunni) muslim? Are theses solely things that affect muslim youth?

Ok fine, if let's say ISIS/Boko Haram/Al Shabob this is the muslim version of gang culture, why aren't the youth of other religious groups committing racist acts of genocide (bar Kony)? And why aren't our youth flocking to them?

We can't say the real reason can we Sadakat??

I will for you, It's called Islam.

[7TH 137] ISIS is performing a service for us by encouraging undesirable elements to remove themselves from the UK. It's not a loss to us if they die while they're over there. [The Guardian] Read more

17 June 2015

Sayeeda Warsi is part of the jihadist emigration problem

Honestly. No sooner have I filed a piece than along comes Sayeeda Warsi to help prove my point. Yesterday morning she popped up because another three sisters and their nine children appear to have traveled from West Yorkshire to join the thriving Islamic State. Apparently Sayeeda knows one of the families. And of course she is blaming this latest example of jihadist emigration on the British authorities in general and this government in particular. She claims that the current government has ‘disengaged’ from Muslim communities.

....Very few people with any aspiration to be ‘Muslim leaders’ really do. Because the conversation will include, among other things, a lot of focus being put on the theological underpinnings of ISIS’s claims. You cannot defeat those claims if you pretend they come from nowhere or are made up by ‘Islamophobes.’ You can only counter them if you can explain why ISIS are wrong.

That requires a level of Islamic introspection for which there appears very little appetite. [The Spectator] Read more

You will fast ... or else

.... Gulf states tend to be the most strict in enforcing Ramadan. The typical penalty is a one-month jail sentence and/or a fine, and the law applies to everyone regardless of religion - on the grounds that seeing someone break their fast is offensive to Muslims even if the fast-breaker is not actually Muslim.

.... Ms Elghzaoui spoke about the case of a citizen who was attacked and denounced in the city of Fez and handed to the police by civilian vigilantes last year for drinking in the street. He was free hours later, after his family showed he was a diabetic.

A more successful protest took place in Algeria in 2013 after security forces questioned three young people for breaking the fast. Angry residents of Tizi-Ouzou, a largely Berber area with a relatively secular outlook and a history of tense relations with the central government, organised a public fast-breaking lunch which was attended by some 300 people.

Bouaziz Ait Chebib, head of the local Kabylie Autonomy Movement, explained: "We called this gathering to denounce the inquisition and persecution of citizens who, because of their beliefs, refuse to observe the fast." [al-bab.com] Read more

We Muslims MUST stop blaming others for the way our young are radicalised, writes chairman of the Muslim Forum MANZOOR MOGHAL

.... for misguided mothers like the Dawood sisters, the ISIS drive for a caliphate seems to hold out the prospect of raising their children in a pure Muslim society, untainted by any western influences.

This is the kind of nonsense that other Muslims have to confront. It is no use always blaming the police or the Government or foreign policies.

Of course, we ultimately need a political solution to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, one that involves dialogue and compromise rather than continual bloodshed.

But the existence of these warzones cannot explain the growing incidence of extremism within British Islam, prompting at least 700 Muslims from here to go out and fight in Syria and Iraq.

This week, the organisation Islamic Relief complained, in the typical mode of victimhood, that British Muslims were ‘being demonised again’ by the connection with jihadism.

‘Just 0.02 per cent of the British Muslim population go to join Middle Eastern conflicts,’ proclaimed Islamic Relief.

But that is just sophistry. This is a Muslim problem — and British Muslims have to address it rather than abdicating their responsibilities.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 2027 votes] Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this article! Everything you wrote just clicked with me! It's true they play the victim card all the time and people are SICK AND TIERD of it!

[2ND 1669] At last, a Muslim who is forthright, who has Integrity, who speaks the truth and who isn't swayed by the apologists who blame all and sundry for what is essentially their own weakness when it comes to spelling out the facts in relation to radicalisation to their offspring. Manzoor Moghal should be given a public platform to give his peers a dose of reality.

[3RD 1575] Absolutely 100% correct, very well balanced and very well written article. [Daily Mail] Read more

The roots of radicalisation? It’s identity, stupid

.... The experience of those who join the Islamist insurgencies rampaging across Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria demonstrates that there are no easy answers to the issue of radicalisation.

Yet, strip away all the grievances and myriad individual triggers that might drive an individual to join an extremist group and you find underlying issues of identity and belonging. None of this is new. When Mohammad Sidique Khan led the 7/7 London terrorist attacks almost a decade ago, he said his actions were in retaliation for “the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people”.

Isn’t it the case that Khan was killing his own people, the ordinary citizen-stranger commuting to work, when he detonated his bomb on the London underground? Instead he identified with the citizens of Iraq – a country he had not even travelled to and whose language he could not speak? [844 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 195 votes] "What links a white Englishman from Buckinghamshire with a second generation British-Pakistani man born in Dewsbury and a missing family of 12 from Bradford?"

I know..I know....Islam.

[2ND 147] Islam teaches Muslims to always put another Muslim first. An errant, even evildoing, Muslim is still superior to any other person. Until this is addressed, the issue of identity will remain. This is why a Home Counties man from a humdrum town thinks he has more in common with Muslims in Kenya than people in his home town, despite never having been south of Portsmouth...

[3RD 142] I know many tolerent and lovely Muslims, many are my neighbours and the extremists are a minority, but one that cannot be ignored.

The inescapable problem for Muslims growing up in the UK is that British culture and society is not compatable with Islamic culture.

We need to find a way for Islam to exist comfortably in the mainstream but it has to be said the leg work needs to be done by Muslims themselves to adapt and not for British society to adapt to it.

The current situation where two societies exist uneasily alongside each other within one country is neither acceptable or desirable.

[4TH 140] Britain's not a paradise, but its ok as it is. Most muslims see happy enough to live here.

And for those who aren't - well, off you fuck. We really don't need to be persuading such people to stay.

[5TH 138 ] Islam explicitly states that a Muslim's brothers and sisters are fellow Muslims, not their countrymen. That the Ummah is the only thing that matters. This is why Islamists and British Muslims who become radicalised are willing to kill their countrymen. This is why if you convert to Islam you will be accepted by the same people.

Of course the idiocy of such prescriptive ideas of who one should care about is that soon you start divided the same brotherhood further - this one is a Shia, this one is not observant enough, this one dared to listen to music etc....

But then the concept off brotherhood beyond shared humanity is frickin stupid in itself.

[6TH 126] The west already has a shared value system based on tolerance, the rights of minorities and fairness. It's far from perfect, but it's better than pretty much anything we've had before.

That's why it can't be a two-way thing. Most people already embrace someone's right to follow whatever religion they see fit and that's as far as it should go. I'm really not trying to be nasty ,and hopefully I've worded this right, but if you have intolerant views, you are entitled to have them but they should be condemned.

As for those going out to Syria, I'm tired of looking for excuses: they were isolated, brainwashed etc. They have left to commit atrocities for a regime which can be compared to the most brutal fascist dictatorships in history. They are scum.

[7TH 106] We already have a shared value system. If you come here, you join it. If you don't like it, don't come here but go where you find a shared value system that is compatible with your values. So simple.

[8TH 105] People fall prey to radicalization because they lack the ability of critical thinking. Blind faith is an endemic problem in muslim society. Minds imprisoned in the cage of islam. All religion is simply a man made belief system and does not have solutions to the problems of a complex, modern world. It only offers escapism. [The Guardian] Read more

16 June 2015

British Link Muslims To Terrorism, Reject Syrian Refugees, Poll Finds

.... The survey, commissioned by the United Kingdom charity Islamic Relief, asked around 6,640 people what ideas they connected with Muslims. "Terrorism" was the most popular response, followed by "faith," "mosque," "Koran" and "religious." Equally as many respondents answered the question with "extremist" or "misogynist" as did with "Allah," Mohammed" or "prayer."

This could indicate that Britons' views on Islam are becoming more negative, Jehangir Malik, Islamic Relief's director, told the Telegraph.

"The results of this poll are extremely worrying because they show that public attitudes towards Muslims are hugely negative, and attitudes towards refugees have hardened significantly," Malik said. "It's time we celebrated the role British Muslims play as part of the solution rather than demonizing the Muslim community as part of the problem."

The YouGov poll also found 42 percent of Britons do not think the U.K. should accept refugees from the conflict in the Middle East. This was a jump from the 31 percent of people who said they disagreed with welcoming refugees in a similar 2014 poll. [International Business Times] Read more

'Trojan Horse': Council plans changes to rules on school governors

New rules on the appointment of some school governors in Birmingham are being proposed by the council in the wake of the "Trojan Horse" inquiries.

No local authority-appointed governor will be able to serve on more than two governing bodies or serve at the same school for more than eight years.

The "Trojan Horse" inquiries looked into a supposed plot by a conservative group of Muslims to take over schools.

Most of the claims made in an anonymous letter were found to be groundless.

But a report by Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw into the allegations found some governors attempted to "impose and promote a narrow faith-based ideology" in secular schools. [BBC] Read more

Muslim Council of Britain says government hampering anti-Isis efforts

The government has hampered the fight against extremism by shunning key Muslim groups, one of Britain’s largest Islamic organisations said today.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said his group could have helped combat the appeal of Islamic State to young Britons, if the government had ever talked to them.

His comments came after concerns mounted over Islamic State’s continued ability to lure Britons, amid fears a family of 12 from Bradford may be on their way to join the extremist group.

The last Conservative-led government decided it would not engage with alleged non-violent extremists, and viewed the MCB as one despite it being one of the largest Islamic organisations in Britain. The policy is being continued now that the Conservatives have a majority. Towards the end of its rule, the Labour government also kept the MCB at arm’s length, but restored ties early in 2010. [The Guardian] Read more

The breeding ground for jihadis where even the ice cream lady wears a burka: How Dewsbury, the once great textile town of the North, has undergone a terrifying transformation

.... ‘The change happened so quickly,’ says Jean today. ‘One day it seemed it was all whites, and then it was all Asians.’

Jean remembers when the first Asian family moved into Savile Town, on a road named South Street where she was brought up. Her father worked for the Yorkshire Electricity Board, her mother was a housewife and she was in her teens.

‘We peered at them and they peered back,’ she says now, as she serves a cup of tea in her sitting room. ‘We had never seen anything like them and they probably felt just the same about us. There was no prejudice, just curiosity.’

Yet feelings between the two communities have changed dramatically for the worse in the years since. Across the world Dewsbury was always famous for manufacturing wool products – it was said the town provided the coats for British soldiers’ backs and the blankets under which they slept too.

Today, it has gained another kind of terrifying notoriety. First, the leader of the gang of four bombers who attacked London on July 7, 2005, came from here. [2500 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 20385 votes] The problem is we have bent over backward to integrate their customs, to make allowances for them, instead of the other way around, this is the result. Left wing doo gooders.

[2ND 15873] This is meant to be the UK! A Christian based country with a high level of tolerance for other religions. Why are others allowed to practice female mutilation,arranged marriages and fully covered faces (motorbike riders cannot do this!). We should follow the lead of other countries, one can practice your religion or beliefs provided within the UK legal system.

[3RD 14001] The Burka and the ice-cream van looks like something straight out of a Monty Python sketch. R.I.P Britain.

[4TH 12391] You let this happen, Britain.

[5TH 10583] When did the british people become so gullible?

[6TH 9930] When you sit back and think of all those brave soldiers in WW 1 and WW 2 they would be rolling over in their graves if they could see what the country they died for has become.

[7TH 9047] Its time to get tough with these people, we must start turning the screw now for our childrens sakes or they will have no place to call home. [Daily Mail] Read more

Lady Warsi: ministers fuelling Muslim radicalisation

Lady Warsi, the first Muslim to serve in cabinet, has warned that radicalisation of British Muslims represents a “generational challenge” that the government is failing to tackle amid fears for three sisters and their nine children who are believed to have travelled from West Yorkshire to Syria.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the former Conservative minister for faith and communities said her ex-colleagues were fuelling the problem by “disengaging” with Muslim communities.

Warsi, who is from the West Yorkshire town of Dewsbury and knew the family of 17-year-old Talha Asmal, who killed himself in a suicide attack in northern Iraq, according to the extremist group Islamic State.

.... She added: “Let’s first of all be very clear about finding the evidence base of what are the drivers to radicalisation. It may make for uncomfortable reading but it is only when we start to have that honest conversation that we unpick what is now becoming a generational challenge.” [506 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 270 votes] No you deluded little troll, it is the imans and the leadership of mosques plus their families that are allowing it to occur.

[2ND 255] Here we go again with Lady Warsi. Always playing the victim.

It is always someone else fault that young Muslim travel to join ISIS never the fault of the family or the community who are sympathetic to some of their views.

If the Government dare to say anything to Imams and Mosques , they are accused of picking on them.

[3RD 190] Correct. In the case of those 3 girls who went to Syria, 'the authorities failed them'. With Jihadi John 'If the authorities had just left him alone he'd have been fine'.

A look in the mirror is what's required.

[4TH 154] ".... we should be very active in highlighting the benefits of our society for all of its members."

What - exactly – are the benefits to British society of having a minority group of people believing in religious tenets that negate our liberal-democratic values, minority and women's rights and everything else that makes this county good.

[5TH 152] "Let’s first of all be very clear about finding the evidence base of what are the drivers to radicalisation."

Oh, that's easy. Islam.

[6TH 138] Forgive me, Ms. Warsi, but I'd laboured under the apparently misguided delusion that the slick social media campaigns put forward on behalf of radical Islamic movements around the world, which encourage kids to become terrorists and fight in the name of 'Allah' against 'infidels' like me, with the promise of copious sex in heaven as laid out in the official Islamic holy book, were what was causing Muslims to become radicalised.

[7TH 115] As yesterday's BBC news highlighted,the UK government has been trying to engage with the Muslim community for 10 years but the problem is getting worse. Maybe the problem is down to the Muslim community to sort out,sharpish.

[8TH 113] Somehow I knew it would be our fault.

[9TH 101] I cant get my head around this, I am a migrant, fully engaged in UK society, dont need the government to engage with me, I chose to come here and am happy to live in this community, my views are not superior to this country, and if I dont like things, and cant accept the UK then I should leave, this is not news, stop blaming the average person on the street and blame the parents for this rubbish

[10TH 92] A large part of the problem is Islamic.

The divide between being a "good child" in a very socialy conservative home, and an extremist is wafer thin.

The Islamic sub-culture in this country needs to understand that they do live in the liberal West, not the tribal societies they came from.

The rules are different.

We spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to understand Muslims. Its about time, Baroness Varsi, that Muslims spent a bit of time understanding the country in which they live.

And if they really can't get tbeir heads round it, they should look for somewhere more to their liking. [The Guardian] Read more

15 June 2015

Britain must ban sharia 'kangaroo courts', say activists

Britain's new government must abolish Islamic sharia courts, campaigners said on Monday, describing them as "kangaroo courts" that deliver second-rate justice and trample over the rights of women and children.

They called for the government to stick to pre-election promises to hold an inquiry into sharia courts which first appeared in Britain in the mid-1980s.

"Over the years, we have witnessed with increasing alarm the influence of 'Sharia courts' over the lives of citizens of Muslim heritage," nearly 200 women's rights and secular campaigners said in a statement.

"Though the 'Sharia courts' have been touted as people's right to religion, they are in fact, effective tools of the far-right Islamist movement whose main aim is to restrict and deny rights, particularly those of women and children." [Thomson Reuters Foundation] Read more

'Jihad': My Journey Into the Roots of Islamic Radicalism in Britain

.... As a person with secular, liberal convictions it was difficult on a personal level, but I tried to put my prejudices aside in order to try to understand the allure of extremism. As well as speaking with ordinary young Muslims who hadn't embraced extremism, I spent the last two years talking with some of the most prominent figures in the British jihadi movement.

I was surprised by their willingness to discuss both the violence they participated in, and what drew them to exit the world of extremism. My investigations brought me to a man who can be described as one of the founders of jihadism in the UK in the 1980s and 90s, amongst other former extremists who have been in conflicts across the world.

.... No-one is born a terrorist, but the route to become one is surprisingly easy. We need to listen to those who have been there, and those who have made their way back, if we want to stop others from taking their first steps down this same path into darkness. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more