30 September 2015

Ten reasons to ban the niqab — in the public service

Libertarians are committed to the principle that every individual has the right to live his life as he pleases, as long as he does no harm to others. But the meaning of “harm” isn’t always as identifiable as a physical assault or “fire” shouted in a crowded theatre. Nor is the phrase “to others.” Add up enough “others” and you have a community; add more, a culture.

The National Post editorial board takes a libertarian line on the niqab (‘The niqab? Really?’ Sept. 26). Saturday’s editorial expresses astonishment that the niqab has morphed from “an otherwise straightforward issue of religious accommodation” into “moral panic.” The editorial concludes that the niqab is not doing “actual harm to anyone” and that the leaders should all feel ashamed for exploiting it politically.

Yet there is nothing “straightforward” about face covering in a supposedly open society. It is corrosive to the social reciprocity on which neighbourhoods depend for spontaneous camaraderie.

And culturally speaking, Canadians’ opposition to the niqab is commendable, since it means most of us feel we still have an actual culture to be harmed, which is no small triumph in an era dominated by the pernicious laissez-faireism of cultural relativism. [National Post] Read more

Refugee crisis boosts support for anti-Islam PVV, poll shows

The new poll of polls for broadcaster Nos shows a sharp rise in support for the anti-immigration PVV, indicating the party would increase its share of the vote in an election from 17.3% to up to 20.6%.

The poll, an amalgam of five different opinion polls, says the PVV would win 27 to 31 seats in the 150 seat parliament, a rise of five on last month. It won 15 in the 2012 general election. Compiler Tom Louwerse says the increase is due to the impact of the refugee crisis which generated more political attention since the end of the summer recess.

Most new support for the PVV has come from the VVD, which can count on support of up to 17%, and the Socialist Party, which is now backed by between 11.3% and 14% of voters, the poll of polls showed. [DutchNews] Read more

Muslim father criticises social services for not placing his son with Islamic foster carers after boy was taken into care

A family court judge heard how the boy was taken into care by a council in rural Wales and placed with a non-Muslim family

A Muslim man whose son was taken into care by a Welsh local authority has gone to court in a bid to see his son placed with Islamic foster carers.

The boy's religious and cultural heritage could only “properly be safeguarded” if the child lived with Muslims, the man told a judge in the family court.

He asked Judge Gareth Jones to order the council to make “other arrangements” for the boy’s upbringing.

But Judge Jones backed decisions made by social services bosses and said: “This particular local authority area in rural Wales, bearing in mind demographic break-down of the population, is unlikely to provide a supply of Islamic foster carers.” [Press Association] Read more

Sharia law in Britain: New site backs Bill to tackle issue

Powerful stories from women who have suffered under Sharia law principles in Britain feature on a new website launched as the House of Lords prepares to debate the issue.

Equalandfree.org is supported by a range of organisations that work with those affected.

Baroness Cox is behind the forthcoming Bill in the House of Lords and says that while her proposals cannot solve all of the problems, the Bill provides “an important opportunity for constructive and serious discussion”.

The website includes a number of case studies of Muslim women speaking out about their experiences. [The Christian Institute] Read more

29 September 2015

Niqab ban prevented 2 women from proceeding with citizenship oath

Since the Conservative government implemented a policy in 2011 stating that candidates for citizenship must remove any kind of face covering when taking the public citizenship oath, only two women have decided to not go through with the ceremony.

"Citizenship applications have not been refused based on the 2011 policy," said Sonia Lesage, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. "We are only aware of two individuals who have chosen not to proceed to the citizenship ceremony based on the requirement to remove their face coverings.

The controversy centres around the case of Zunera Ishaq, a Pakistani woman and devout Sunni Muslim who is seeking Canadian citizenship. Based on her religious beliefs, Ishaq wears a niqab, or veil, to cover most of her face when out in public.

It's not known how many women are dissuaded from seeking citizenship because of the niqab ban. [CBC News] Read more

Saudi Arabia insists UN keeps LGBT rights out of its development goals

Saudi Arabia is insisting the UN removes gay rights from the organisation’s Global Goals, saying it is “counter to Islamic law”.

The protest comes from the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, who told the UN General Assembly that “mentioning sex in the text, to us, means exactly male and female. Mentioning family means consisting of a married man and woman,” AP reported.

He stated Saudi Arabia has the right not to follow any agenda that runs “counter to Islamic law”.

The Sustainable Development Goals program sets a series of “ambitious targets” for the UN’s 193 member states, related to poverty, equality and ending climate change.

However, overt references to LGBT equality were removed from the final agreement, Pink News reports.

The goals pledge to ensure that “human rights and fundamental freedoms are enjoyed by all, without discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity, colour, sex, age, language, religion, culture, migration status, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic situation, birth, disability or other status.” [The Independent] Read more

28 September 2015

After toppling minarets, Swiss politician takes aim at face veils

A right-wing politician who brought about the demise of minaret construction in Switzerland is now trying to get voters to ban face veils, echoing an earlier move in neighbouring France.

Walter Wobmann and his allies will on Tuesday launch their "yes to the veil ban" initiative, a measure they say is to preserve Swiss culture and quell a rising tide of radical Islam.

If they get 100,000 signatures, the measure will come up for a popular referendum under the Swiss system of direct democracy.

"In our culture, you don't cover your face, you show it. That's our culture, that's our society," he said. "Veiling is a symbol of radical Islam, which we don't want here," the Swiss People's Party member of parliament from Solothurn said.

Michael Sorg, spokesman for the Social Democrats, said the initiative was unnecessary and harmful to Switzerland's image.

He said hardly anyone living in the wealthy Alpine republic of 8.2 million people wears the face-covering niqab or burka, so the law would practically affect only about 5,000 tourists. About five percent of Swiss residents are Muslim. [Reuters] Read more

'Refugees don't leave their conflicts behind'

Following reports of aggressive incidents in German refugee shelters, authorities are looking for ways to calm the situation. Suggestions include separate housing for Muslim and Christian asylum-seekers.

There are no official statistics, but aid organizations, social workers and volunteers note that ethnic, social, cultural and religious tensions are on the rise in Germany's overcrowded refugee shelters.

Separating refugees according to religion is now being mentioned as an interim solution to help alleviate the problems.

Up to one million migrants are expected to arrive in the country before the end of the year. The sudden surge in asylum demands this year has authorities scrambling for housing for refugees from war zones such as Syria, but also migrants from Albania and Kosovo. Often converted hotels, gyms, schools and tents are used as makeshift shelters.

Tempers flare easily at close quarters. In Leipzig last week, about 200 refugees wielding table legs and bed frames started a fight after they couldn't agree who got to use one of the few toilets first. It took a large police contingent to calm the situation. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

MPs want answers on refugee child brides as 20 head for Ter Apel Society

MPs said on Monday they are concerned about reports that a group of young teenage girls who have gone through arranged marriages are reporting to the Ter Apel refugee registration centre to be reunited with their partners.

Local broadcaster RTV-Noord said on Monday some 20 teenage Syrian girls had made the journey to the Netherlands. The broadcaster bases its claims on IND documents. Two of the girls are 13 and two others 14. One is 15 and married to a man of 38, the documents show. Labour MPs have now called on junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff to clarify the situation.

MP Antje Kuiken is quoted as saying by broadcaster Nos that the situation is unacceptable. ‘I don’t believe this is voluntary,’ she said. ‘I think these are forced marriages.’ Kuiken said the girls now arriving in the Netherlands should be placed with foster families. [DutchNews] Read more

Christian and Muslim refugees should be housed separately, says German police chief

Christian and Muslim refugees should be housed separately in Germany to minimise tensions following growing levels of violence at asylum seeker shelters, a police chief has urged.

Jörg Radek, deputy head of Germany’s police union, said migrants should be divided, following increasing numbers of attacks on Christians in refugee centres.

“I think housing separated according to religion makes perfect sense,” Jörg Radek, deputy head of Germany’s police union, told German newspaper Die Welt, particularly for Muslims and Christians.

Two separate clashes erupted between refugees on Sunday at a temporary migrant shelter in Kassel-Calden in northern Germany left 14 people injured, police said. [The Telegraph] Read more

The ex-Muslim Britons who are persecuted for being atheists

.... among some of Britain's urban Muslims - nearly half of whom were born in the UK and are under 24 - there's a belief that leaving Islam is a sin and can even be punished by death.

An investigation for the BBC has found evidence of young people suffering threats, intimidation, being ostracised by their communities and, in some cases, encountering serious physical abuse when they told their families they were no longer Muslims.

There are also local councils that seem to have little awareness of the issue or any policy on how to protect these vulnerable young people.

There are no official statistics on apostasy in British Islam, and only a few academic studies based on a tiny handful of individual cases.

.... Ayisha (not her real name) from Lancashire was just 14 when she began to question Islam after reading the Koran. She started rebelling over wearing the hijab, but eventually decided she wasn't a Muslim and the situation at home rapidly got worse.

"My dad threatened to kill me by getting a knife and holding it against my neck and saying: 'We might as well do it if you're going to bring this much shame to the family.'" [BBC] Read more

How the hijab – and H&M – are reshaping mainstream British culture

Muslim women in hijabs are becoming increasingly visible in the public domain, whether appearing in EastEnders, Android ads, or The Great British Bake Off. Twenty years ago, when I began wearing my headscarf, “hijabis” were a rare sight, but now this contentious yet innocuous piece of cloth is shaping the face of mainstream pop culture.

The latest move comes from within the world of fashion, with global clothing giant H&M featuring its first ever Muslim model in a hijab. Mariah Idrissi, a 23-year-old who lives in London, stars in the 30-second video, alongside a boxer with a prosthetic leg, a man in drag, and a guy wearing socks with sandals – all united under the avowal: “There are no rules in fashion.”

H&M has been largely applauded on social media, with one non-Muslim woman tweeting that she was “so happy that the gorgeous hijab-wearing fashionistas are being represented by a global brand”. [2075 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 609 votes] I'm a liberal but I just can't force myself to celebrate that a particular brand of organised religion is becoming increasingly relevant in our day to day lives. I just can't. I'm sorry.

[2ND 592] "striving to be part of – brace yourselves – a diverse, multi-faceted, thriving society."

There's nothing diverse or multi-faceted about the hijab.

[3RD 519] .... Any society that sees the hijab as normalized and part of its culture is not a society I want to raise my children in. Medievalism in the form of mass delusion is not a cause for celebration.

[4TH 516] Odd that you're so excited by the sight of women in shrouds, as many feel the exact opposite when they see them.

Personally, I cannot stand the sight of them, and think the increase of women wearing these should be met with despair. Like other religious symbolism, as soon as I see a hijab I think 'this person actually believes there's a man in the sky, who demands that this African Great Ape wrap it's head in a shroud, for fear of turning on male apes, and is proud to wear this delusion in public'.

Medievalism is not a cause for celebration

[5TH 506] Vive la France!

[6TH 490] Each to their own and all that but only 15 years or so the hijab was hardly worn by Muslim women and girls yet now it seems uniform. [Guardian Cif] Read more

27 September 2015

Warwick University Student Union incites hatred by banning criticism of Islam

.... And so, once again, we see academic freedom censored essentially on ‘Health & Safety’ grounds: no-one who is critical of Islamism / Islamo-fascism may speak at a British university for fear of their criticising Islam and causing offence (‘hatred’) to Muslims. All must be ‘tolerant’, for that is now the inviolable orthodoxy of ‘British values’. Maryam Namazie explains the theo-political strategy:

The Student Union position is of course nothing new. It is the predominant post-modernist “Left” point of view that conflates Islam, Muslims and Islamists, homogenises the “Muslim community”, thinks believers are one and the same as the religious-Right and sides with the Islamist narrative against its many dissenters.

..This type of politics denies universalism, sees rights as ‘western,’ justifies the suppression of women’s rights, freedoms and equality under the guise of respect for other ‘cultures’ imputing on innumerable people the most reactionary elements of culture and religion, which is that of the religious-Right. In this type of politics, the oppressor is victim, the oppressed are perpetrators of “hatred”, and any criticism is racist. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

The cost of diversity and community cohesion

Labour’s Jon Cruddas wants to re-engage with voters who feel disenfranchised by multiculturalism – but how?

.... Writing in the Times last week, the Tory peer Daniel Finklestein also touched on this area. “I think most of us agree that people shouldn’t have to believe the same things, worship the same god or dress like each other,” he said. “Isn’t the great British principle that if someone wants to keep themselves to themselves, they are welcome to do so?” But there are limits, he said. “I think we do want everyone to be willing to accept the same basic laws, a common attachment to western democracy and a shared responsibility for the nation’s security.”

I won’t take issue with any of that. But the devil is in the detail. Yes, it is about laws, democracy and mutual security. But just as crucial is what happens day to day: do we have common experiences? Do we work in the same places? Do we learn in the same places? Do we watch the same television, giving us shared things to talk about? Do we speak the same language in the public sphere? [Hugh Muir, 311 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 126 votes] Lets face it when we talk about multiculturalism we are not taking about curry we are talking about religion. Fundamentalist religious practice across the spectrum is incompatible with Liberal society, multiculturalism is a failed experiment we need to focus on all taking liberal secular values as the norm. That will solve all the issues we have with different communities failing to integrate, no amount of money will solve that, because they don't want to.

[2ND 109] A lot of people don't like change. A few immigrants In the 1950s and 60s were curiosities. More caused consternation and conflict. A trickle turned into a stream - of refugees from different cultures, migrants from ex-colonies, Eastern Europeans, people massing in particular cities, erecting mosques, dressing differently, having larger families.

Plus illegal immigrants and people cheating their way in, and now virtually forcing their way in. The cultural Marxists slyly shamed those who expressed reservations. To object was to be called racist, fascist, not too far from a sympathiser with Hitler.

This is changing. Older immigrants are wary of newcomers. Some liberals acknowledge that things have gone too far. Open borders don't work. Cohesion has indeed crumbled. Something has to change. How do pro-multiculturalist back down without losing face? How can Corbyn get anywhere without addressing the problem?

[3RD 92 ] It's typical that you missed out the important bit that Finkelstein mentioned in his Times article, delicately, tactfully, but you seem to have lacked the balls to do so. Islam...

[4TH 82] Wonderful to see a thoughtful article respectful of people's concerns. The only thing I take issue with is the idea that it's socially conservative people are concerned about multicultural practises and the impact continued acceptance of large numers.of refugees /migrants. Many who support socially liberal policies are extremely concerned about the acceptace of extremely regressive practises in certain communites all in the name of multiculturalism.

[5TH 81] Wow. Could this be the start of a sensible conversation on this topic without the usual suspects crying 'racism'?

The fact that Hugh Muir, of all people, has written this without hyperbole and hasn't taken the stance I expected him to is potentially promising.

[6TH 79] “I think most of us agree that people shouldn’t have to believe the same things, worship the same god or dress like each other,”

20% of one group in this country disagree with that.

[7TH 72] Have I really read this in the guardian. It is a pity that the guardian did not realise that people who were worried about multi culturalism 10 years ago, did not do so because they were ravening hate filled racists...

No they were people who cared about society. But alas the guardian was so arrogant that it believed that anyone who did not follow the multicultural agenda was somehow a moral basket case who should be ridiculed and humiliated at every turn. It's not too late to apologise now though

[8TH 72] The balkanisation of the education system doesn't help with social cohesion.

[9TH 66] Cohesion is a fantassy in my hometown. Its a mess and getting worse.

My kids school and wider community is segragated on religious lines as the guardian well knows as you reported on such issues over ten years ago, so stop the claptrap.

[10TH 63] You just moved the goalposts. Multiculturalism was supposed to be about us all mixing together, but when for too many that obviously didn't work then it became about some sort of voluntary apartheid.

Then it became about glossing over the obvious that many didn't really want to be British in any real sense, but just wanted to live as they did in an enclave with their culture and traditions from the old country, no matter how much they clashed with British culture.

Pick your start point, and I will choose Ray Honeyford from the mid 1980's when the rot set in. Nobody has had the balls to tells a certain section of out society where to get off, and they have been taking the piss ever since.

Multiculturalism in many respects has been a failure both in economic and societal spheres. All that is left is for the likes of Muir to keep trying to push the failure as a success in some sort of damage limitation exercise. [The Guardian] Read more

The readers’ editor on… Islam and the media

.... Some of that mocking, misreporting and unhelpful shorthand is starkly evident in our media every day, and confirmed by Professor Tony McEnery and Professor Paul Baker of Lancaster University. They have analysed some 220m words of coverage on Muslim matters published in the British press from 1998. Their latest research, commissioned by Muslim Engagement and Development and due to be published next month, spans the period 2010 to 2014, and while it reports some improvement in press discourse it indicates that many obvious faults remain.

.... “We were a nascent community, only just getting our voice heard,” he said, identifying the burning of the Satanic Verses in the streets of Bradford as a pivotal media moment. “That act alone provided the iconic photograph that would join a gallery of negative imagery of Muslims, providing the optics to demonise the community that carry on until this day.”

[TOP RATED COMMENT] A COMMENT SAID: "Most of the folks who discuss Islam negatively (by most I mean 98%) learn all they know from anti-Islamic web sites."

How do you know this? Anything which says something negative is hate speech? That sounds like sharia's concept of slander.

Besides. Who cares about their theology? I only care how they behave.

[2ND] Is there a similar project on the coverage of Sikhs and Hindus in this country? If not, why not?

The answers are, of course, NO and NOT NECESSARY, as the personal piety and religious life of the many Hindus and Sikhs in this country does cause any alarm or worries to the population as a whole (nor interfere with them being highly effective compatriots).

Is it logically impossible that some things that SOME Muslims do explicitly citing Muslim sacred texts as authority could be a matter of deep concern to fellow citizens?

If you are of the Guardianista persuasion, the answer is YES. It clashes with Guardianista ideology and thus any further discussion of the issue is pathological and those who wish to persist in discussing it vicious bigots.

[3RD] That act alone provided the iconic photograph that would join a gallery of negative imagery of Muslims, providing the optics to demonise the community that carry on until this day.

Yes, it is astonishing that when a community acts in a negative manner factually reporting it casts a negative light on them.

[4TH] Trust me, I would dearly love not to be reading about Muslims every time I open a newspaper. [The Guardian] Read more

Ex-Muslim speaker's Warwick University ban overturned following public pressure

A decision to ban a speaker from Warwick University, citing fears she may offend Muslim students, has been reversed.

The Telegraph revealed on Friday that ex-Muslim and human rights activist Maryam Namazie had been blocked from speaking at an event organised by Warwick Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society (WASH).

he Iranian-born secularist is well known for her talks which highlight aspects of Islam she does not agree with.

The students' union indicating the decision had been made was made “in deference to the right of Muslim students not to feel intimidated or discriminated against on their University campus.”

But, after 48 hours of intense public pressure, the union has backed down.

A petition had been set up calling for the decision to be overturned and high-profile academics such as Prof Brian Cox, Richard Dawkins, Ben Goldacre and Salman Rushdie had hit out at the initial ruling. [Coventry Telegraph] Read more

26 September 2015

Primary school outrages parents by making non-pork eaters wear red discs around their necks in canteen

A school in central France has provoked outrage for making Muslim and Jewish pupils wear a red disc around their necks at lunchtime so canteen staff would not serve them pork.

The Piedalloues primary school in Auxerre, in Burgundy, gave red discs to non-pork eating pupils and yellow discs to those who do not eat meat.

Eighteen of the school’s 1,500 pupils were made to wear the discs. They were withdrawn after protests by angry parents and community leaders, who said they were reminiscent of the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear under the Nazi occupation. [The Telegraph] Read more

'Free speech is dead!': Reaction after Warwick University Students’ Union bans speaker over Islam offence fears

Telegraph readers have hit out after an ex-Muslim campaigner was banned from speaking at Warwick University when the students’ union said it was concerned she could incite hatred or offend Islam.

Coventry residents took to social media to give their views after Maryam Namazie, a human rights campaigner and member of the Council of Ex-Muslims, was invited to Warwick University’s Students’ Union by Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society to give a talk on October 28.

Namazie's invitation was later blocked by the university’s students’ union, and said: “This is because after researching both her and her organisation, a number of flags have been raised. We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus.

“There a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy.” [Coventry Telegraph] Read more

25 September 2015

Speaker banned from Warwick University over fears of offending Islam

An ex-Muslim campaigner has hit out after she was banned from speaking at Warwick University when the students’ union said it was concerned she could incite hatred or offend Islam.

Human rights campaigner Maryam Namazie, a member of the Council of Ex-Muslims, is well known for giving talks which challenge aspects of the religion she does not agree with.

The Iranian-born secularist was invited to Warwick University’s Students’ Union by Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society to give a talk on October 28.

But the university’s students’ union later blocked the invitation and, in a response shared by Ms Namazie, said: “This is because after researching both her and her organisation, a number of flags have been raised. We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus.

“There a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy.”

The response goes on to detail other aspects of the policy including the guidance that speakers “must seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups”. [Coventry Telegraph] Read more

24 September 2015

The Guardian view on Muslims in the west: marginalised by mistrust

David Cameron has talked about ditching “the passive tolerance of recent years”, and moving towards a “much more active, muscular liberalism”, which makes for good headlines, but could also trigger the systematic suspicion that’s so unhelpful.

The mooted definition of extremism is opposition to “fundamental British values”, which only patriotically fundamentalist historians would pretend this country has always measured up to. “Mutual respect and tolerance”, for example, is listed as one such value, and reactionary attitudes towards homosexuality are increasingly held to be a warning sign in schools.

.... The need is for a different language that talks to diverse society – a language that can condemn the vicious nihilism of Isis without lapsing into the sort of nationalism that could sound like chauvinism in disaffected Muslim communities; a language that allows the state to balance the objective of a happily integrated society with its duty to defend itself. That language exists: it is the language of international human rights. It is high time the government began speaking it, instead of seeking to undermine it. [770 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 355 votes] So nationalism is bad, but Muslims all showing pride and togetherness in their religious grouping is fine and dandy?

[2ND 350] I wonder how this mistrust came about?

[3RD 309] And gangs of men in Oxford, Bradford and other UK cities setting up sex rings for the purpose of abusing young, white girls only we're not supposed to notice their race or religion.

[4TH 299] Simplistic analysis that completely fails to concede how fundamentally many Muslim communities have sought to distance themselves from British values. I'm talking about tolerance of other faiths, female equality, homophobia etc things I hold sacred as secular lines in the sand in a free liberal democracy.

The guardian has fallen into the same lame liberal narrative that frees Muslims of any responsibility for their own position in society. The police are blamed by the families of silly little teenage Isis bride wannabes for failing to stop them. Schools are blamed for being too intrusive or too unobservant. It's time to stop blaming anybody else but......

[5TH 290] So how does the language of International Human Rights relate to Islam, somehow you forgot to explain.

Jihadi threat has been around for 1500 years so hardly reasonable to expect it to suddenly go away.

Multicultural society and Islam is a very odd concept, care to mention just one Muslim country that practices it? Just one.

[6TH 286] "That language exists: it is the language of international human rights."

Human rights? Oh bloody nora. Only in Islam, in the Koran and the hadith, do you see detailed, written rules cementing women's position of inferiority. Acts of misogynistic violence are codified and ritualized by these texts; from the number of wives a man may have (four), to the number of male witnesses required for a woman to bear witness against a man (four), to the specification of the exact number of public lashes to be given to a prostitute (100), to the punishment for adultery (death), to the explicit permission given to men for domestic violence. Honour killings, for instance, are simply a vigilante expression of violence that would, in an orthodox Islamic context, be carried out by legitimized state and social means.

Islam is the prescription for the complete ordering of civil society according to the social mores of an ancient desert culture, but presented as the eternal and unchanging Word of God. So do tell us, because we're all very interested, precisely what it is about Islam that merits such special protection by The Guardian?

[7TH 275] It really is simple. Apply the law equally to all.

That means no cruelty during animal slaughter; no special courts; no special rights to have one's face concealed in airports, banks etc.

Everyone equal under one set of laws. Surely even the Guardian has enough principles left to agree with that?

[8TH 266] Lets not pretend that the failure of certain communities to integrate with the wider society is anything to do with government anti terrorism laws . The failure of some communities to integrate predates all this by decades.

[9TH 261] Sorry, I don't trust them. Show me one place in the world they make good neighbours. No? Thought not.

[10TH 245] Muslims do not wish for a multicultural society and they don't believe in many values that the Western cultures take as fundamental (sorry about the pun).

That statement may or may not be true: but it is widely believed.

More articles about Muslim lives and attitudes would be more welcome than endless opinion pieces with lots of advice and very little data. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Poll ordered by Harper found strong support for niqab ban at citizenship ceremonies

A public-opinion poll ordered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier this year found overwhelming support among Canadians for the requirement that women remove their niqabs or burkas at citizenship ceremonies.

The March telephone survey by Léger Marketing found 82 per cent of Canadians favoured the policy somewhat or strongly, with just 15 per cent opposed. Support was widespread, but especially strong in Quebec, where 93 per cent were in favour of the requirement.

The government has tried to impose a ban on face coverings at citizenship ceremonies, but the Federal Court ruled earlier this month that such a ban is unlawful. The Conservatives have said they will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Léger survey results, delivered March 31 to the Privy Council Office, were posted Thursday, the day of the first French-language leaders' debate, on a government website under a policy that requires publication of taxpayer-paid polls within six months. [CBC News] Read more

School refuses to give Muslim pupils day off on religious holiday of Eid al-Adha

A school has refused to let its Muslim pupils take today off to celebrate Eid al-Adha, saying they should mark the religious holiday tomorrow instead.

Acklam’s Outwood Academy, in Middlesbrough, has said its Muslim pupils will not be granted an authorised absence, but can celebrate tomorrow when the school will be closed to all pupils as part of a professional development day for its teachers, the Teeside Gazette reports.

One outraged mother said she immediately contacted the school after receiving a letter explaining its stance on Monday, but said staff did not change their minds.

The mother of the schoolgirl, neither of whom wished to be named, told the newspaper: “Friday doesn’t mean anything. Eid is on Thursday. [The Independent] Read more

23 September 2015

It’s time the media treated Muslims fairly

.... The real-world consequences of the spread of one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry affects the very cohesiveness of our society. According to the largest survey of its kind in the UK, over a quarter of children aged between 10 and 16 believe Islam encourages terrorism, and almost a third believe Muslims are taking over the country. In addition, 37% of British people who were surveyed admitted they would support policies to reduce the number of Muslims in the country. Is it any wonder that more and more Muslims feel alienated?

.... The final piece in the jigsaw is regulation. Clause 12 of the Editors’ Code of Practice says: “Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion … must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.” The problem is that this protection only extends to individuals and not to groups, which is why Katie Hopkins was able to get away with her infamous comments comparing refugees to “cockroaches”.

The arguments about censorship and free speech are complex – but Jonathan Heawood of the Impress Project, an independent monitor of the press, believes the Editors’ Code should incorporate Lord Leveson’s suggestion that this clause is broadened to include groups. This would allow representative groups to hold the media to account for using “Islam” or “Muslims” where it was not “genuinely relevant” to the story.

We are equal members of society and demand fairness, not favours. Avoiding daily smears, group libel and the violent consequences is not too much to ask of the nation’s editors. [2294 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 426 votes] Maybe a little integration might help the Muslim population, just a thought.

[2ND 420] The day Muslims recognise women as having the same rights as men - equal before the law is the day I will treat them as anything other than very observant participants of mass delusion and fantasy

[3RD 371] The followers of Islam are writing their own headlines! Forty years ago Muslims use to rub along with the people of other faiths. They lived side by side as neighbors, now they cant seem to live in harmony with anyone out of their own tribe or family. Stop blaming the messenger for writing the headlines you created!

[4TH 338] Muslims and Islam do not demand fairness; they insist on submission. The aim of promoters of Islamic values is the subjugation of Christian and other mores. The establishment of a caliphate and of Sharia law here in the UK and in other European countries is a clearly stated long term aim of its activists.

Religiosity has long been looked on with a fishy eye in the West; its track record of causing division and misery based on trivialism is well documented and the democracies have long largely compelled those that would advance the cause of religion to do so on their own time and to their own adherents.

French and US school system secularism are good examples of this. Here in the UK you can have faith schools just so long as they don't exclude or select on the basis of faith and teach the national curriculum.

It is important that the press and other opinion conduits be allowed to "tell it like it is"; Islam represents a clear danger to our Western way of life, to the values that we have fought so very hard to share.

We should not listen to the weasel words of the apologists; there is nothing in Islamic teaching of even the remotest value or relevance to life today in the 21st century and we should oppose its spread with as much energy and determination as we can muster.

We must not permit the promotion of Islam because it is just another set of crackpot beliefs. It isn't. It's an all or nothing social and political system that cannot co-exist with any other.

If we allow our awful politicians to add opposition to Islam to the increasingly long list of thoughts that are "crimes" we will live to regret it.

[5TH 304] According to the largest survey of its kind in the UK, over a quarter of children aged between 10 and 16 believe Islam encourages terrorism,

Which means that about 75% don't believe it.

Which isn't bad considering during a very recent high profile act of terrorism - Charlie Hebdo attack - the attackers/terrorists loudly proclaimed it was because of Islam supposedly being insulted. Plus, many other terrorists attacks like 9/11 and 7/7 are due to terrorists who loudly proclaim themselves to be Muslim.

Perhaps instead of lecturing news editors you should be lecturing terrorists to not assign their acts to Islam?

[6TH 303] It would also help their cause if they came out strongly against the terrorists. With the horror in the Middle east we barely hear a wimper from Australian Muslims.

[7TH 268] 1. Why did The Guardian, the BBC, and other mainstream publications for years fail to report on the amazingly widespread phenomenon of predominantly Asian men grooming white girls? Because of an anti-Muslim bias?

2. When the most horrific regime in modern history-the Islamic State-is not only butchering people with mind-boggling depravity, but has recruited more British Muslims than are enrolled in the British army, how is it possible that even our Islamo-fearing media could fail to use the word 'Islamic' in a negative context.

3. I notice that your study doesn't say anything about whether the stories are true.

4. Why on earth would the media go out of their way to write stories that use 'Islam' in a positive sense? Should they be writing 'Islamic distance runner Mo Farah wins again,' or 'Muslim man rescues cat from a tree.'

I haven't seen many articles that say, comparably, 'Christian men rescue stranger from drowning.' We have already seen this year an amazing rash of BBC stories and programs that beat us about the face with Islamic themes and try to get us excited about Islamic holidays, while doing nothing comparable for, say, Lent or any Hindu holidays.

5. The Guardian's own Steve Bell is on record saying that Islam is about the only subject he doesn't feel comfortable lampooning. That is the exceptional treatment you should be worried about.

6. I don't know anybody who doesn't know that 'jihad' is used to mean 'personal struggle' as well as 'war on the infidel.' Muslims tell us this ad nauseam, while simultaneously trying to eliminate 'crusade' (meaning good cause) from the vocabulary because of its associations.

I could go on..

[8TH 252] ".... the regular association of Islam and Muslims with crime and terror in the media and on the internet is vital to the spread of Islamophobic rhetoric."

Is the association truly without basis?

[9TH 233] I agree with your comment, Islam is not just a religion, its a social, religious political belief that most in do not understand, and the West ignore it at our own peril, because this incompatible faith is hell bent on colonizing Europe!

[10TH 228] This is essentially the same article that has been appearing on this site for years. It pushes the narrative of victimhood. It does not address the suffering caused worldwide by zealots in the name of Islam - including the suffering of their fellow-Muslims.

Some Muslims are wreaking havoc worldwide. Should the press ignore this? Look the other way? [Guardian Cif] Read more

Militant group publishes global hitlist of bloggers, activists and writers

An Islamic militant group in Bangladesh has issued a hitlist of secular bloggers, writers and activists around the world, saying they will be killed if its demands are not met.

The list will raise fears that Islamic militant violence within the unstable south Asian country could take on an international dimension.

The targets in the list include nine bloggers based in the UK, seven in Germany, two in the US, one in Canada and one in Sweden. Some are Bangladeshi citizens living overseas. Others are dual nationals or citizens of the western nations. [1605 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 376votes] Another great article about the benefits of religion and the way it enriches peoples lives.

[2ND 219] A COMMENT SAID "Don't tar all Muslims with the same brush. For every Islamic extremist there are thousands of decent Muslims. Should we blame all of Christiandom for the crimes of the IRA and UDF?"

It's NOT the people it's the ideology that worries people. Even the moderates' views on matters such as homosexuality, apostasy, criticism of "prophets", women's rights etc are not compatible with western democracy.

[3RD 218] What is really baffling is that despite ample evidence that religion is causing unimaginable heartache and misery to millions of people, supposedly enlightened papers like this one continue to offer them its unconditional support. Utterly mystifying! [The Guardian] Read more

'We're going to be the majority soon!' Furious Muslim parents taunt New Jersey school board over religious holiday closure

Tempers flared at a school board meeting in New Jersey when a room crowded with Muslim parents learned that schools will remain open during Thursday's religious holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Several of the Muslim parents and children screamed in rage and openly wept when the board announced its decision.

At one point, a young woman in a purple head scarf took the microphone and told them: 'We're no longer the minority, that's clear from tonight. We’re going to be the majority soon.

A Jewish parent who attended the meeting said some people in his community felt they were being discriminated against because the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were not on Jersey City's official school closure list.

Meanwhile just across the Hudson River in New York City, schools will be closed for Eid Al-Adha for the first time as a result of a change put in place by Mayor Bill de Blasio in March.

The Jersey City Board of Education had originally proposed to close local schools on September 24 to allow Muslim children to observe the holiday.

The City Council unanimously voted in favor of the closure two weeks ago.

However, during the contentious four-hour meeting held last Thursday, the board voted to keep Jersey City schools open so as not to cause disruptions for non-Muslim families, reported NBC New York. [Daily Mail] Read more

Meet three people targeted for being 'atheists', and a Muslim leader condemning their beliefs

Bonya Ahmed is herself a writer and was also married to perhaps the most famous atheist killed this year, Avijit Roy - the moderator of a popular online blog called "Free Thinking," which defended secular and humanist ideas.

She and her husband were attacked together in February. Bonya lost fingers and was scarred, but lived. Her husband was hacked to death with machetes in a manner that followed the same gruesome pattern of later killings. They had returned home from the US, where they lived, to the Dhaka Book Fair.

The back story to Bangladesh's blogger murders is complex, but here are the facts in brief: in recent years, a group of people who deny the existence of God, some using rational arguments and others using dark and satirical humour, has grown up on the Bangladeshi internet. Other internet bloggers are not atheists, but instead better described as secular campaigners: they use the internet to strongly argue that religion should be kept out of politics. [BBC] Read more

22 September 2015

There was nothing illiberal about Ben Carson’s ‘Muslim president’ comment

.... His answer was clumsy, but not essentially wrong. The US Constitution does indeed prescribe freedom of religion, and the lack of religious tests for office. But its motivation for doing so must be understood. It was concerned to establish a post-theocratic form of politics. The republic is defined in opposition to the idea that religious unity is necessary for national cohesion. That idea is the enemy.

The legitimate question is this: could a Muslim really uphold that anti-theocratic ideal? For that religion has, so far in its history, failed to reject the theocratic impulse. This is the ‘problem’ with Islam: not that it is violent (the vast majority of Muslims are no more violent than anyone else), but that it seemingly remains wedded to an essentially theocratic ideal. It is not illiberal to point this out. In real life, liberalism entails an honest appraisal of those forces that might kill it. [The Spectator] Read more

France FN leader Le Pen to stand trial over Muslim prayer row

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front, has been ordered to stand trial in October on charges of inciting racial hatred.

The charges relate to her comments made in 2010 comparing Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two.

The European Parliament paved the way for her prosecution in 2013 by removing her immunity as an MEP.

Ms Le Pen has defended her remarks and called the charges "intimidation".

She will appear in court in Lyon on 20 October, according to French media reports.

Lyon is where, in December 2010, Ms Le Pen told FN supporters that the sight of Muslims praying in the street was similar to the Nazi occupation in World War Two.

In her speech, broadcast by French media, she said that France had initially seen "more and more veils", then "more and more burkas" and "after that came prayers in the streets". [BBC] Read more

Carson: I can support a Muslim who denounces Sharia law

Ben Carson said Monday he could indeed support a Muslim for president -- despite words to the contrary on Sunday -- should they pledge fealty to the Constitution.

Carson, under fire for seeming to suggest that he couldn't support anyone who subscribes to Islam to lead the White House, issued a caveat to that position on Monday evening. In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, the Republican presidential candidate said there are some Muslims who could be president if they effectively renounced their faith.

"If someone has a Muslim background and they're willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion ... I would then be quite willing to support them," he said.

In a post on Facebook also on Monday night, Carson reiterated that position.

"I could never support a candidate for President of the United States that was Muslim and had not renounced the central tenant of Islam: Sharia Law," he wrote. "I know that there are many peaceful Muslims who do not adhere to these beliefs. But until these tenants are fully renounced...I cannot advocate any Muslim candidate for President. [CNN] Read more

21 September 2015

We took Huguenots, Jews, Vietnamese. So why not Syrians?

.... Are we no longer capable of such responses? Not one of those situations was fun or easy, and Britain’s response was by no means perfect; not every landing was happy; and there was always plenty of rancour. But Britain did, in its muddling-through way, help despairing people improve their lot. It could again.

The second lesson is simpler. Why spend taxpayers’ money on keeping a few thousand people out, when (apart from any moral consideration) they would only add dynamism to British life? And it would be a mistake to see them cynically as a new army of cheap labour. It is plain that this stream of refugees is full of digital-savvy, resourceful people. And if we asked some of them to visit our schools in order to point out, from bitter first-hand experience, that Isis has rather less glamour in real life than it does on the videos – well, how bad would that be? [1537 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 317 votes] We shouldn't accept economic migrants for a number of reasons:

1. There are too many. Potentially millions could come and that's no exaggeration as I think most people realise by now.

2. Sorry, but they are mostly Muslim. From experience in the UK and elsewhere, we know the majority do not integrate or appreciate British (European) values. 2-3rd generation British-Muslims still wearing headscarves and Islamic garb? Come on!

3. We have our own poor, homeless, unemployed and sick who need caring for and are infrastructure is already creaking.

4. Genuine refugees should be placed in neighbouring countries so they can return as soon as the conflict is over. EU can definitely fund these camps and help more.

5. It's just not fair on the native population no matter how sad some of the 'refugee' stories might be. These are our (European) homelands and the only ones we have.

[2ND 284] Hugenots integrated and assimilated.

Jews, Hungarians, Vietnamse have [mostly] integrated and assumed the British way of life.

Some traditions/cultures do not want to adapt to the host society, but believe that their culture/tradition is superior and that the host society should adapt to their way of life – or at least accommodate it - even when it is in utterly contrary to our established values and way of life.

[3RD 231] We took Huguenots, Jews, Vietnamese. So why not Syrians?

What religion were the Huguenots? What religion are Jews and the Vietnamese? Have there been any Jewish, Huguenot or Vietnamese terrorist attacks? Are there any cities in Europe that are circa 20-30% Huguenot, Jewish or Vietnamese (a la Marseilles and Birmingham)? Was there widespread concern that Europe might one day become majority Huguenot, Jewish or Vietnamese at the time?

[4TH 224] Our island is over populated.

[5TH 223] Were the Vietnamese, Jewish & Huguenots throwing rocks & poles chanting "God Is Great" with their fists in the air? No didn't think so.

[6TH 214] A COMMENT SAID: "Speaking as a Hugenot, I can only agree"

Your ancestors came as 50,000 people over the course of two centuries Vs a current rate of 500,000+ over the course of two years. It's hardly the same situation.

[7TH 187] "We took Huguenots, Jews, Vietnamese. So why not Syrians?"

Because they're likely to import their sectarian violence. As has been seen previously with immigrant Muslim communities, they frequently fail to integrate into the host country and its culture, and tensions between them and other ethnic groups seems to inevitably follow.

Of course, the disastrous Iraq war was a major reason for the current conflicts in Syria and Iraq, so the UK (and other countries involved) are morally obliged to take in a certain number of carefully screened, genuine refugees.

But to open the gates to all and sundry - many of whom seem to be economic migrants rather then refugees - could have long-lasting detrimental effects to the UK and other European countries.

[8TH 186] Numbers, my dear man, numbers. And why do editors insist upon showing us pictures accompanying such articles of women and children when the vast, vast majority of these illegal immigrants are young males? [Guardian Cif] Read more

American Muslims fear a new wave of Islamophobia

uslim Americans responded with a mix of frustration, exasperation and anger to what many see as a growing wave of Islamophobia fueled by two of the Republican Party’s most popular presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

At the Islamic Institute of Orange County, which houses a mosque and a school in Anaheim, in southern California, tensions were already mounting since a group of white men screamed at mothers and children arriving at the center on this year’s anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, calling them cowards who did not belong in America.

Many of the country’s 2.8 million Muslims say such tensions could become uglier during a presidential race that they fear is already tapping a vein of anger and bigotry.

“It’s pretty troubling that someone running for president would make those claims,” Zuhair Shaath, Palestinian-American, said of Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who on Sunday said Muslims were unfit for the presidency of the United States. [Reuters] Read more

Stephen Harper 'playing a very divisive game' with niqabs, Tom Mulcair says

Stephen Harper is "playing a very divisive game" with his government's effort to impose a ban on niqabs during the citizenship oath, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Monday, just days before a French-language debate in Quebec — a province in which identity politics continues to drive a wedge between voters.

"I'm not about the politics of fear and division. Mr. Harper is going to always go after that. If he senses that there's something there that can divide Canadians one against the other, he'll do it," said Mulcair during a morning campaign stop in Nova Scotia.

The comments came after a reporter asked how Mulcair felt about Muslim women who want to wear a niqab or another type of face covering while taking the oath of citizenship. [CBC News] Read more

Ben Carson’s Comments Stir Anger Among Muslims

Emotions in the Muslim community remained roiled on Monday by Ben Carson’s assertion that followers of Islam are not fit to serve as president of the United States.

Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, has been under fire for comments he made Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when he said that Islam was not consistent with the Constitution.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Mr. Carson said when asked about the relevance of a president’s faith. “I absolutely would not agree with that.”

At a news conference organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Monday, Muslim advocates called for Mr. Carson, who is black, to leave the race and expressed outrage that someone who had benefited from the civil rights movement would make such an incendiary statement. [NYTimes.com] Read more

20 September 2015

The refugee crisis is waking old fears in central Europe

.... Undoubtedly, the expansion of the European Union has increased its internal heterogeneity, but when the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, mentioned that Muslims are already part of the culture of many EU countries, these were words that were not given the same welcome in all countries.

Expansion of the EU eastwards meant an incorporation of countries whose values might not be entirely in line with the European “norm”. What we are seeing now is in part an expression of that tension, a need to balance the EU’s security interests on the one hand and the interests of the development of democracy and protection of human rights on the other. [611 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 211 votes] "According to the Gatestone institute, most who manage to come to the EU are young men aged 16-20 years. They make up 80% of all arrivals to Germany."

This, in two sentences, is the crux of the problem. This group is where, invariably, all future problems with the "refugees" will have their origin.

Just say "no" to the lot.

[2ND 171] Seems that some countries read and learn from history, most of the people I know who vigorously defend Islam, do not even know what Halal means and seemingly get their knowledge of the Crusades from watchin Robin Hood prince of Thieves. This enforced and misguided opinion that all cultures are equal or that we can all live happily together is damn right ridiculous. I challenge anyone who thinks it isn't, to sell up and move to Bradford.

[3RD 159] Muslims have been here for generations and still have not integrated successfully. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Sacrifice festival – Around 600 Muslims demonstrate in favour of ritual slaughter

European legislation may force slaughterers to stun animals before they are slaughtered, except for religious rites and on condition the animal is slaughtered at a registered abattoir. Permanent abattoirs in Flanders and Wallonia are the only ones performing the ritual slaughter of sheep without stunning them first this year. Temporary abattoirs in the Brussels region will be tolerated this year.

Mustapha Chairi, president of the Collective against Islamophobia in Belgium (CCIB), has criticised the fact that the European legislation has been applied without any discussion beforehand. He mentioned another part of the Muslim problem: “Aïd is an important moment of conviviality for Muslims, who only have this festival and Ramadan. It took several years to solve the problem of temporary abattoirs. [The Brussels Times] Read more

Westminster university Islamic students' society dominated by ultra-conservative Muslims

The Islamic students’ society at the London university attended by the militant known as Jihadi John is dominated by hardline, ultra-conservative believers who refuse to speak with female Muslim staff members, according to an independent report into inclusion among students at the institution.

Complaints about the conduct of the University of Westminster Islamic society, some from other Muslims, tended to be ignored or underplayed because staff and student unions officials were worried about appearing Islamophobic, found the inquiry.

Members of the society itself acted as “apostles of a self-contained faith, concerned very largely with matters of religious orthodoxy and perceived heresy”, according to the four-strong inquiry panel, who included the historian Lord Kenneth Morgan and Fiyaz Mughal, a former adviser to Nick Clegg on interfaith matters.

Their report found university officials tacitly tolerated a “sometimes hostile or intimidatory” attitude to women on the campus, calling this “totally unacceptable”. Islamic society committee members would refuse to engage with female Muslim staff, the panel were told, obliging these to seek help from male colleagues to communicate with the group. [The Guardian] Read more

Anger after Saudi Arabia 'chosen to head key UN human rights panel' - Wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi says move amounts to "a green light to flog him"

The United Nations is coming under fire for handing Saudi Arabia a key human rights role even though the Kingdom has “arguably the worst record in the world” on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.

Critics, including the wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1000 lashes for blogging about free speech – say that the appointment is “scandalous” and means that “oil trumps human rights”.

Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who is leading an international campaign to free her husband, said on Facebook that handing the role to Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was effectively “a green light to start flogging [him] again”. [The Independent] Read more

19 September 2015

Extremists to be purged from charity boards under new law

The Government is to purge “extremist” trustees from every charity in England and Wales in a crackdown that could affect thousands of people.

A leaked draft of the Home Office’s new counter-extremism strategy, seen by the Telegraph, says new legal powers for the Charity Commission to sack trustees will be used far more widely than expected.

In a paper in May on how it would use the powers, now being created in a bill before Parliament, the commission made no mention of extremism being grounds for disqualification.

However, the leaked counter-extremism strategy, due to be published this autumn, states that “once the legislation is enacted, the Charity Commission will take action against all trustees who meet the definition of extremism set out in this document.” [The Telegraph] Read more

Abuse going unreported in Britain’s south Asian communities – study

.... “There was certainly no awareness that there could be rape within a marriage,” said Dr Karen Harrison of Hull University who, with co-author Dr Aisha Gill of the University of Roehampton, has carried out a two-year project talking to women, charities, police officers and religious leaders and holding focus groups.

“Rape for women was if their father-in-law or brother-in-law or someone in the extended family was the perpetrator. Nor had the Imams we spoke too ever heard of marital rape; they weren’t aware it was against British law,” said Harrison.

“There was far greater awareness of the laws on female genital mutilation or forced marriage. It was shocking to hear so many women who did not have the support of their families after abuse had taken place. [The Guardian] Read more

17 September 2015

Harper right to fight the niqab

.... She refused to remove her niqab at her swearing-in ceremony.

What the judges seem to have missed is that this was never primarily a fight about religious rights.

This was a political fight, mostly about empowering the doctrines that political Islam aggressively proclaims.

It was not really about personal religious beliefs that the Charter purportedly guarantees, which is an argument often leveled against the argument Islam doesn’t require face veiling.

I say purportedly because none of these rights is ever absolute.

The judges displayed a certain myopia in considering only the “religious” rights of Ishaq.

Whatever her own political views are, and I don’t know them, she has now become the masked poster girl for political Islam, whose essence is to establish a worldwide puritanical brand of Islam, with the burka and niqab as two of its most potent symbols. [The Toronto Sun] Read more

Counter-extremism bill could play into terrorists' hands, says watchdog

David Cameron’s counter-extremism bill, which will ban non-violent extremists, risks provoking a backlash in Britain’s Muslim communities and playing into the hands of terrorist recruiters, a government watchdog has warned.

David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism laws, said the legislation to counter extremist ideology also risks legitimising state scrutiny of – and citizens informing on – the political activities of large numbers of law-abiding people.

His warning on Thursday comes as the prime minister’s counter-extremism taskforce meets in Downing Street and the House of Lords prepares to vote on rules banning extremist speakers from university campuses.

The counter-extremism bill, which is due to be published later this year, is aimed at “suppressing extremist activity”. It will include proposals for banning orders to outlaw extremist organisations, extremist disruption orders to restrict the activities of individuals, and closure orders to shut down premises used by extremists. [The Guardian] Read more

British universities that give the floor to extremist speakers are named and shamed

David Cameron will today expose some of Britain’s leading universities as havens for Islamist fanatics as he announces a new legal duty for colleges to stop extremists targeting students.

The Prime Minister will name and shame the universities that regularly give platforms to hate preachers who are determined to undermine British values. They include King’s College London as well as Queen Mary University and SOAS.

In total, some 70 events involving Islamist preachers were held on campuses last year.

Mr Cameron will tell colleges they must stop giving fanatics “the oxygen they need to flourish”.

Jo Johnson, the universities minister, has also written to the National Union of Students, urging it to stop attacking counter-radicalisation programmes or associating with controversial organisations such as Cage, the Islamic civil rights group. A new legal requirement comes into force this week that will make universities and other education establishments fully assess and counter extremist preachers. [The Telegraph] Read more

16 September 2015

Iranian Soccer Star's Husband Denies Her Permission To Play Abroad

.... s of now, Niloufar Ardalan, captain of the Iranian national women’s soccer team, will not be allowed to travel to or compete in the Asian Football Federation Women’s Futsal Championship held in Malaysia later this month.

The reason is her husband, who has denied her his consent to leave the country. According to Islamic law, wives must have their husbands’ approval before renewing or acquiring passports, and Ardalan’s husband has reportedly refused to give her that permission, insisting that she remain at home for their son’s first day of school on Sept. 23.

“Lady Goal,” as Ardalan is nicknamed in the Iranian athletic community, decided to speak out about this issue last week, explaining her predicament and explicating the prejudices of Iranian’s gender-specific laws.

“I wish authorities would create [measures] that would allow female athletes to defend their rights in such situations,” Ardalan told Iranian news site Nasimonline. “These games were very important to me. As a Muslim woman, I wanted to work for my country’s flag to be raised [at the games], rather than traveling for leisure and fun.” [The Huffington Post] Read more

Islamists declare brotherhood with Islamic State in Stratford

About eight males protested throughout the afternoon outside Stratford Station, gathered around a single sign, which read: “Islam is superior #No2DemocracyYes2Islam.”

Abdul Hakim, who refused to disclose which mosque he was from, said the group protests against democracy every two weeks in different boroughs of London.

He said that although the apparently unnamed group does not follow a specific extremist group, its members refuse to condemn Islamic State, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban because they are “Muslim brothers”.

“I wouldn’t condemn them at all,” he said. “As Muslims we believe all non-believers who reject Islam will be in hell fire.

“People who hear the message have no excuse –they will be judged.”

The demonstration, which took place the day after the 14th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York, outraged passers-by.

Emma Hathaway, 28, was returning from a rally in Parliament Square calling for more struggling refugees to be welcomed in Britain.

She said she was angered by the demonstrators calling for sharia (Islamic law). [Newham Recorder] Read more

The Arab States and the Refugees

While the European Union and its member states totter under an overwhelming influx of refugees from Syria and other collapsing countries in the Middle East, the vastly wealthy Arab nations of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are sitting back and watching as Europe takes the toll.

In a December 2014 report from Amnesty International, various facts and figures are set out to show that what is happening with respect to (mainly) Syrian refugees is thoroughly unbalanced internationally, and notably within the Arab world itself. 95% of the (then) 3.8 million refugees fleeing Syria are located in five countries (although since then many have crossed the Mediterranean or gone to Greece from Turkey). With the exception of Turkey, those five countries are among the poorest in the region: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

.... The report ends on a depressing note: the six Arab Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain) have offered zero -- repeat: zero -- places for desperate refugees.

Put another way, six countries that speak the same language (admittedly with strong regional variations); that belong to the same ethnic group; that share the same religion and much of the same culture; that are among the wealthiest countries in the world -- not just in the Arab world -- have no room at all for their fellow Arabs. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Welcome to 1984, where religion must have a government-approved stamp

In the surreal world in which we live, where a republican Marxist could be Prime Minister and Donald Trump could be president of the US, I guess that nothing should surprise me. But this one comes straight out of the Monty Python book of ironic surrealist history. The government wants to send me back to school, to learn their version of theology and ensure that I am not an extremist!

I spent seven years training to become a Free Church minister. And that was only the beginning. I have been on numerous 'refresher' courses, taken sabbaticals and of course I read and train continuously. So in one sense being told that I could be required to receive 'special training', is not particularly alarming. Except for who it is that is doing the training.

The government are concerned about Muslim extremists and so, in order to combat this, they want to promote and protect 'British values'. To achieve this aim they are proposing to establish a national register of 'faith leaders'.

These faith leaders will receive special training and special security checks. Any faith leaders who want to be involved in the public sphere (basically all of us) will have to be on this register. This is the British government's great strategy for countering extremism. What's wrong with it? [Christian Today] Read more

Iranian women fined £170 for not wearing Muslim headscarves 'properly'

A Tehran court has fined two women £170 for violating the Islamic dress code by not wearing their mandatory hijabs (headscarves) properly in the street, a judicial official said on Wednesday.

"In recent days several cases have been filed in the court for bad hijabs and, in two of them, the accused were sentenced to pay 9 million rials (£170) in cash," reformist daily Arman quoted the official as saying.

When in public, all women in Iran, even foreigners, are required to wear the loose scarf, which covers the hair and neck.

But since the mid-1990s, there has been a gradual relaxation of the dress code despite continued campaigns by police to enforce it.

In some rich neighbourhoods of northern Tehran, a city of 12 million, it is not uncommon to see women's scarves around their shoulders.

No details were given on what the women had done wrong to warrant the fine, which is equivalent to the monthly minimum wage.

Since his election in 2013, moderate president Hassan Rouhani has overseen some political and social reforms, but much Iran's political establishment remains deeply conservative. [The Telegraph] Read more

Muslim woman sues NYPD for allegedly forcing her to take hijab off for mug shot

A Muslim woman is accusing the NYPD of discrimination by forcing her to remove a religious head scarf before taking her mug shot.

Mervat Soliman, who is Egyptian, was arrested by cops last January after getting into a dispute with a neighbor over a parking space outside her home in Glendale.

Soliman, 53, wears a hijab, or veil, which covers a woman's hair as a symbol of her modesty.

The suit, filed Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court, asserts that the NYPD “discretionally decides” whether a Muslim woman must take off the scarf for an official arrest photo, and that is a violation of Soliman’s Constitutional right to freedom of religion.

Soliman told the Daily News the experience was harrowing. “I feel like somebody took all my clothes off,” she said. [NEW YORK DAILY NEWS] Read more

15 September 2015

Ban niqab, burka in all public places

As a Muslim mother who never saw a niqab when I was growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, I am astonished to see Canada’s judiciary caving in to Islamists who have nothing but contempt for Canada’s values of gender equality.

I write this as a Muslim Canadian who does not have any specific political leanings.

But in the 25 years I have called Canada home, I have seen a steady rise of Muslim women being strangled in the pernicious black tent that is passed off to naïve and guilt-ridden white, mainstream Canadians as an essential Islamic practice.

The niqab and burka have nothing to do with Islam.

They’re the political flags of the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaida and Saudi Arabia. [The Toronto Sun] Read more

Canada: The Spanish Inquisition Makes a Comeback

.... But now the worst Canadian idea of modern times appears to be back. The Quebec National Assembly is currently considering a bill that would criminalize any criticism of Islam and redesignate it as "hate speech."

Bill 59 - as this latest totalitarian procedure is titled - is being proposed by the Minister of Justice, Stephanie Vallee; and the head of the Quebec Human Rights Commission, Jacques Fremont, has already been quoted saying that he looks forward to using the new powers to target "people who would write against... the Islamic religion... on a website or on a Facebook page."

It is possible that the whole thing is simply a money-making exercise – a more refined version of the old trick of putting up tiny speeding signs and then squeezing the cash out of every unwitting transgressor.

After all, the QHRC will be able to apply for a court order "requiring [the culprit] to cease" his speech and will also be able to impose a fine of up to $10,000 for having "disseminated such speech." The Human Rights Tribunal will be able to decide on each occasion how much money it wants. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

We Need to Talk About Islam’s Jihadism Problem

Harris: Maajid, it seems to me that you have a problem. You need to convince the world—especially the Muslim world—that Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked by extremists.

But the problem is that Islam isn’t a religion of peace, and the so-called extremists are seeking to implement what is arguably the most honest reading of the faith’s actual doctrine. So the path of reform appears to be one of pretense: You seem obliged to pretend that the doctrine is something other than it is—for instance, you must pretend that jihad is just an inner spiritual struggle, whereas it’s primarily a doctrine of holy war.

Here, in this room, can’t you just be honest with us? Is the path forward for Islam a matter of pretending certain things are true long enough and hard enough so as to make them true? [The Daily Beast] Read more

Court rejects ban on Muslim veil at Canadian citizenship ceremonies

An appeals court rejected the Canadian government's ban on face coverings worn by some Muslims during citizenship ceremonies, the Canadian Press reported on Tuesday.

In response, the ruling Conservative party said the government was considering all legal options following the court ruling in Ontario. CP reported that the court stated it wanted to ensure the woman who triggered the case would be able to obtain her citizenship and vote in the Oct. 19 election.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, facing a tight three-way battle to remain in power, has defended the ban arguing that he believed the niqab, a face covering veil worn by some Muslims, was rooted in an "anti-women" culture. [Reuters] Read more

13 September 2015

Al Qaeda chief urges lone wolf attacks, militant unity

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on young Muslim men in the United States and other Western countries to carry out attacks inside there and urged greater unity between militants.

"I call on all Muslims who can harm the countries of the crusader coalition not to hesitate. We must now focus on moving the war to the heart of the homes and cities of the crusader West and specifically America," he said in an audio recording posted online on Sunday, referring to nations making up the Western-led coalition in Iraq and Syria.

He suggested Muslim youth in the West take the Tsarnaev and Kouachi brothers, who carried out the Boston marathon bombings and Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris respectively, and others as examples to follow. [Reuters] Read more

Mecca crane collapse: Deadly accident at Grand Mosque 'a blessing in disguise for those killed'

The collapse of a crane at the Grand Mosque in Mecca was not a disaster but “a blessing in disguise” for the 107 people killed, according to a British Muslim leader.

A father-of-four from Bolton was among those killed when a crane operated by the Saudi government crashed into the mosque on Friday ahead of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

Dr Hojjat Ramzy, an imam and director of the Oxford Islamic Information Centre, said he was “very saddened” to hear about the deaths and offered condolences to the families of those killed.

“But in the same breath, I would like to congratulate those people who lost their lives for going straight to heaven without any question,” he said. [The Independent] Read more

Topless protesters disrupt Muslim conference on women

Two Femen protesters were arrested after baring their breasts at a controversial conference near Paris on the role of Muslim women.

According to Inna Shevchenko, a spokeswoman for the feminist protest group, two fundamentalist preachers were discussing the question of “whether wives should be beaten or not” when the activists, aged 25 and 31, ripped off their Arab-style cloaks and jumped on to the stage on Saturday evening.

One had the slogan “No one subjugates me” inked across her torso. The other bore the words “I am my own prophet.”

The protesters, aged 25 and 31, grabbed microphones and shouted feminist slogans in French and Arabic before being roughly bundled off the stage by about 15 men and handed over to police. Video footage of the incident shows a man apparently kicking one of the women. [The Telegraph] Read more

12 September 2015

Nothing has changed in 25 years to ease my concerns about Islam

Significant numbers of Muslims see a faith-run, faith-defined state as the ultimate goal in this life.

Viktor Orbán is the prime minister of Hungary. It is through his country that very large numbers of migrants from the Middle East and the Balkans now pass. At the beginning of this month, Mr Orbán said: “I think we have a right to decide that we don’t want to have a large number of Muslim people in our country.”

Mr Orbán was fiercely attacked for the motives behind his remark. I do not know enough about Hungarian politics to say whether such attacks are justified. But, regardless of the precise facts about Mr Orbán, I would guess most people in western – let alone eastern – Europe would quietly agree with his general proposition. One of the biggest anxieties about the current immigration is its high Muslim element. Is it wrong to have such an anxiety, let alone to express it publicly, let alone to want to have a system of immigration based on it? [2238 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 107 votes] "Finally, there was an unsettling attitude about politics, law and power. It seemed to me that most Muslim leaders saw their role not in integrating Muslims in Britain, but in asserting difference and increasing their muscle."

That's it in a nutshell, it's all about politics, law and power, and our attitude of tolerance has conceded ground, literally, socially and politically to Muslims.

That's why we see veiled women in the streets, why halal food has been covertly introduced into our schools / hospitals / food outlets and we have sharia courts. All this make me feel uneasy and that's before you introduce the crazy jihadi element into the equation.

I think the most important thing is to strip Islam of its protected status, we MUST be able to discuss it, its practices, verses in the Koran which motivate Muslims to commit barbaric atrocities in the name of their god, but of course we can't because there's the trump card played by extremists and apologists for extremists alike; when you link Islamic terrorism to Islam you're an "islamophobe" = end of conversation.

[2ND 96] I don't know how long this comments section will stay open but while it is, I want to pay tribute to Viktor Orbán. It is a rare thing these days to see a leader of a western country who has the interests of his own people at heart. For most, the rest of the world comes first, their own country last.

I heard the BBC Radio 5 correspondent in Hungary doing just about everything she could to avoid admitting that the vast majority of Hungarians support his approach, but in the end she was forced to blurt it out.

I'm not particularly religious, but please God, send us a Viktor Orbán of our own.

[3RD 60] The biggest single problem with immigration into the UK has been how easily the government has granted the right of residency, citizenship and the vote to people who do not have any historical connection to the UK, who do not like us or our way of life, and who owe no allegiance to the country or its people.

What is wrong with a secure border to let no one in who should not be here, and 100% deportation of all illegal immigrants?

[4TH 45] It was during the Rushdie affair many years ago that I was first shocked to find Muslims trying to dictate to me what I could and could not read in my own country. My suspicions about Islam have greatly increased since then, I think Charles Moore is quite right to be wary.

[5TH 33] The greatest existential threat to Britain is the growth of Islam and eu open borders, now manifested together through a German dominated eu with Merkel and Juncker an extreme danger to our country through their joint policy of inviting millions of Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East to flood the eu.

The Merkel / Juncker diktat will cause Islamic fundamentalism to soar in Europe and Britain.

Exit the eu to save Britain. [The Telegraph] Read more

School teacher 'brainwashing primary kids to write jihadis supportive letters'

The letters - which are written in childish handwriting - are addressed to fighters in the war-torn country and are believed to have been written in an afternoon class.

They refer to terrorists as "diamonds among stones" and even call them "heroes" - while they also vow support for savage acts and are signed off with decorative handprints.

One of the letters is written to "my brothers" in Jabhad Al-Nusra - a jihadist militant group.

Another letter refers to the mujihideen as "all our heroes and role models" and even states that when they are made "mothers of sons we will send them to you to become heroes like you". [Daily Express] Read more

11 September 2015

Fatwa issued against AR Rahman for film on Prophet Muhammad

A Mumbai-based Sunni Muslim group has accused Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman and Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi of blasphemy for their upcoming film Muhammad: Messenger of God.

The group of Raza Academy has issued a fatwa demanding Muslims to reject the first film of the trilogy on the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as no visual or picture of him can be created or kept, reports Indian Express.

The fatwa further added all the Muslims involved in the making of the film, especially Rahman and Majidi have committed blasphemy and are required to recite kalma and solemnise their marriage again. [The Express Tribune News Network] Read more

Atheist bloggers flee Bangladesh

At least 12 bloggers have packed their bags and fled abroad in recent weeks. Others are preparing to follow suit and leave the Muslim-majority country. They are all ardent advocates of atheist standpoints in their blogs.

Despite the fact that the country’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech, these writers fear that they too will be the next targets for Islamists. Four bloggers have been murdered so far this year.

The number of atheists living in Bangladesh is not known. There has never been an attempt to ascertain the number of people who reject religion. Bloggers claim that more than one hundred thousand people are atheists in Bangladesh, a country with a population of 160 million people. More than 90 percent are Muslims.

Ever since the independence of the country back in 1971, atheism has remained as a taboo in the country. Atheist journalist Daud Haider was forced to leave the country in 1974 for writing a poem criticizing religion. Another atheist writer, Taslima Nasreen, fled Bangladesh in 1994 following massive protests by Islamists demanding her death after she made some critical comments about Islam. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

10 September 2015

"Brutal" Islamic school teachers who beat boy with stick for not reading Koran properly jailed

Two Islamic school teachers who beat a 10-year-old pupil so badly he started losing his hair with worry, have each been jailed for 12 months.

he youngster was slapped and hit with a stick by two teachers at an Islamic centre in Birmingham if he made mistakes while reading the Holy Koran.

Mohammed Siddique, 60, and his son Mohammed Waqar, 24, both of Olton Boulevard West, Tyseley, had both previously admitted a charge of child cruelty.

Judge Mark Wall QC said: “The use of a weapon to hit a 10-year-old child, as you both well know, is wholly unacceptable in this day and age.

“There must be no mistake about the message that should be taken from this case.

“Acts of brutality of this sort, that you each indulged in with a stick, will not be tolerated.” [Birmingham Mail] Read more

British Muslims are losing the war against ISIL

.... It’s easy for some to blame western policy for the rise of ISIL, but less straightforward to explain why so British Muslims are going to join it. But perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised: it turned out that Abase Hussen, who blamed police for not stopping his daughter Amira from joining ISIL, had attended a rally by the extremist preacher Anjem Choudary himself in the past.

Another 16 year-old girl who had tried to join ISIL was found living in a house full of its propaganda.

ISIL is particularly potent because it offers Muslims a tangible sense of belonging, wrapped up in glorified Islamic history. This makes it a far more formidable foe for governments trying to stop its citizens being seduced by its call compared to groups such as al-Qaeda. [Quartz] Read more

09 September 2015

Female cartoonist could have 12 year prison term extended for shaking her lawyer's hand

An Iranian artist currently serving more than 12 years in prison for criticising the government now faces further charges of “indecency” for allegedly shaking her male lawyer’s hand.

Amnesty International reports that Atena Farghadani, 29, who was jailed after she depicted Iranian government officials as monkeys and goats in a satirical cartoon, may face a longer sentence amid claims over the handshake.

Charges of an “illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery” have been brought against Farghadani and her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi amid allegations he visited her in jail and shook her hand - which is illegal in Iran.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] There will never be a civilised society in the Middle East until religious nutters are removed from positions of power. Learn from European history. Religion and power should never go together. It's so frustrating that hundreds of years after the Enlightenment religious pricks are still in charge in so much of the world.

[2ND] Islam is like something from science fiction.

[3RD] That woman is a heroine, and doing precisely what the world should be doing to combat war and terrorism in the middle east. Western governments and media need to back her up by publishing and spreading the same type of satire and more amongst the middle east. Eventually, there'll be a sea change, but won't be easy. It's the only hope, though, I fear. Invasion is never the answer, if history has taught us anything.

[4TH] And isn't interesting that apparetnly no member of our oh-so moderate Muslim community, who, we are assured, share our own democratic values, feels moved or angry enough to register his/her own disgust at this awful miscarriage of justice?

Why not I wonder?

[5TH] Disgusting country run by a bunch of Islamofascist misogynistic bigots.

Why have we resumed diplomatic relations with these bearded animals?

Their human rights record is appalling - they stone so-called adulterers, hang gays and suppress any form of legitimate dissent with torture, rape and murder. They are no better than those equally repulsive regimes of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain.

We should finally take a stand against such despotic Islamic theocracies - Sunni or Shia, and severe all ties. [The Independent] Read more

Anti-Islam rhetoric mars French refugee response

.... Further inflammatory statements about refugees by some mayors in France continued to mar the French response to the refugee crisis on Wednesday as well as infuriate the government and Muslim community leaders.

After two centre-right mayors declared this week they only wanted to accept Christian refugees to keep out potential Islamist terrorists, there was even worse to come on Wednesday from the eastern town of Charvieu-Chavagneux.

A memo, unanimously approved by the council, said the town only wanted to accept Christian refugees because they “wouldn’t proceed to cut off the heads of their bosses”.

The town of Charvieu-Chavagneux, is home to around 8,000 inhabitants and stands just 15km from where Islamic extremist Yassin Salhi decapitated his boss in June, before trying to blow up a factory. [The Local] Read more

Why does the left care more about Islamophobia than anti-Semitism?

Why do leftists care more about Muslims than they do about Jews? If that sounds confrontational, consider this: this week, the Met Police released the latest hate-crime figures for London.

They show that offences against Jews have risen by 93% over the past year, while offences against Muslims have risen by 70%. And guess which story the BBC, Guardian and Independent, those voices of the British liberal conscience, have chosen to flag up? Yep, the 70% hike in Islamophobic attacks, not the nearly 100% hike in anti-Semitic offences.

The BBC’s headline is ‘Islamophobic crime in London “up by 70%”‘. The Guardian‘s is ‘Hate crimes against Muslims soar in London’. The Indie opts for ‘Hate crimes against Muslims in London “up by 70%”‘. What about the crimes against Jews? Sorry, no room for those. They aren’t mentioned. [The Spectator] Read more

Finsbury Park Mosque leader calls to end “disease” of Islamophobia

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque, has urged members of the Muslim community and the police to work together to put an end to Islamophobic crimes.

Islington is the London borough with the second highest number of Islamophobic crimes reported in the past year. The number of these crimes has increased by almost a third from the previous year.

Mr Kozbar, who joined the St Thomas’s Road mosque in 2005, commented on the shocking number of women who are targeted in Islamophobic attacks. Women make up 60 per cent of victims according to Tell MAMA, an organisation that monitors hate crimes targeted at Muslims.

He said: “It is worrying because it is targeted at the most vulnerable people, women, and this is really very concerning, if this is the case. We don’t want to end up with someone who gets killed.

“We always said that there is an increase in Islamophobic crimes. There have been a lot of attacks on individuals and institutions like our mosque. It is a significant increase of 70 per cent.” [Islington Gazette] Read more

08 September 2015

Migrant crisis adds to Europe’s anxiety about Islam

.... Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis is striking not just for the reluctance of most EU governments to open doors on the scale of 1956. A motif of cultural self-defence, of Europe as a Christian fortress justifiably barred to Muslim hordes, runs through their rhetoric.

Syria’s savage civil war has generated 4m registered refugees in the Middle East and beyond. But a person following Europe’s debate might wonder if the clock has reverted to 1529 and the armies of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman sultan, are at the gates of Vienna.

These anxieties are found in southern, central and western Europe. Socratis Hasikos, Cyprus’s interior minister, said unashamedly on Monday that his government would accept 300 refugees but wanted them to be Orthodox Christians; that is, of the same faith as Greek Cypriots.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] I am a brown man (non-Muslim) living in the West. And yet I am staunchly against the influx of Muslim people who might prove to be too great a strain on social cohesion, and who might have ISIS fighters lurking amongst them.

I might well offend the sensibilities of the more fragile types out there, but unlike some, I base my opinions on empirical and historical evidence.

Immigration only works if the immigrants are willing to adopt to the culture of their host nations.

[2ND] I am trying very hard throughout all this to retain compassionate and generous thoughts towards the migrants currently making their way in this direction.

However I have this nagging suspicion (as it would seem many others do) that those of us being persuaded to be tolerant and open now, will one day find that our children have to face a future in their own country where a vocal and homogenous minority (or even majority) may make extreme demands and be intolerant of them and their way of life, despite once having been refugees welcomed in and helped to rebuild their lives.

I am not sure we have the right to foist this sort of future on our chidren through our own naivety, and so we may need now to take military action and provide more help in the region to allow people of a fundamentally different culture and polity to remain there for the sake of future peace and harmony across both regions.

[3RD] OK, so this is the first FT piece on the subject that is actually slightly nuanced. So we are at least slowly moving in a more balanced direction.

Now, I'd like an opinion piece that straightforwardly makes the case for rejecting asylum for millions of Muslims. I would like it to be cogent, rational, and not driven by bigotry.

There is definitely a non-racist case to be made for why, based on empirical evidence and history, millions of more Muslims entering the EU would be damaging for European society. Not least because of Islamic hostility to Democracy (see: "Arab Spring"), laicité (see: lack of secular Muslim-majority countries), and freedom of expression (see: Charlie Hebdo).

Come on FT, you can do it. All I ask is for *one* piece that takes this angle. And that is not asking for much, considering that you have written at least ten so far arguing the opposite case.

[4TH] As a 'cold war kid' - who lived through a period where the world was steady and where nations had borders - I found the ostentatious welcome by some Germans of illegal immigrants into Munich alarming. Why?

Because after many decades of naive propaganda about multiculturalism it represented a total failure by many people to recognize, first, that a (cultural) invasion of sorts is occurring, and secondly, that such is likely to prove devastating to both enlightenment values and the cohesion of European societies.

[5TH] Its not just theocracy we're affronted by, it's rather the sentiment of moral superiority that these people have.

What repels us - yes, despite the foregoing - their attitudes to the inferiority of women, to productive effort, to personal status, to collaboration, to taking themselves soooo seriously, to absolutely no sense of live and let live, to the most shocking degree of shameless hypocrisy verging too often on outright mendacity, their callousness with each other and especially those they deem inferior or "tainted", their sense of revenge, of blood money, of barbaric and cruel punishment, the ease with which they are gripped by uncontrollable rage, of their right to reserve authority to decide, and then neither act nor allow others to act, which we find offensive.

All of which you have to see with your own eyes in order to believe possible. So, if they change their mindset, maybe we can live together.

[6TH] Whereas objections to immigrants who are Hindu, Sikh or Chinese ( taken as a group in relation to their various traditional Chinese religious affiliations) could only be racist, objection to Muslims as a group of immigrants does have a rational non-racist basis.

The basic issue is if their religious practice (personal piety and observance apart) is compatible with fundamental assumptions of life in the modern West ( as are Hinduism, Sikhism, Chinese religions, etc).

There are major problems here - none of which justify treating Muslims as second class citizens in daily life or behaving unpleasantly towards them, but which should not be ignored out of some Guardianista Pollyanna view of the world. A non-exhaustive list:

a) The dress code imposed on/accepted by most Muslim women - even if residually present as just a headscarf - is a denial of a fundamental assumption that the sexes are equally free to express and present themselves in daily life. The Muslim code relates to differential obligations on women not to arouse sexual interest of the opposite sex, going far beyond a modesty code for both sexes, and seems to involve a proprietary interest in women by men.

b) Application of Sharia Law in civil matters, especially divorce etc, takes over from Western civil law.

c) Well-meaning attempts to facilitate Halal meat mean that in the UK, the UK law on slaughtering - reflecting our society's view on treatment of animals- has no meaning any more

d) Most importantly - though most Muslims are not violent, a constant trickle interpret their sacred texts as enjoining the most violent and barbaric conduct - at the risk of major violence, consequent civil unrest and constant huge expense in security measures.

To be honest, if there were no Muslims, we would not invent them. There may be unpleasant racism in the Eastern European approach but there is also common sense.

[7TH] Sweden has probably had the most experience of Muslim immigrants. The people's open attitude to immigration has largely evaporated in the past decade as a result of their evident unwillingness to integrate. There is now a great gap between the politicians and the public.

Amongst those most opposed to Muslim immigration are Christians from the Middle East, who now find themselves once again on the receiving end of what they have only recently fled from. The old-established Jewish communities in Sweden have also been hit hard by the influx.

The Jewish population of Malmö has mostly departed in the face of threats, violence and school bullying. The synagogues at Stockholm and Gothenburg have had to turn themselves in fortresses with tough security guards in attendance. With this influx, we have had to say goodbye to peaceful sleepy Sweden.

[8TH] I have no patience for racists or religious bigots either. But dismissing European concerns about the massive refugee move as motivated by racial or religious prejudice is a dishonest argument. In fact, it is no argument at all.

The post-WW2 history of Muslim and Arab migration to Europe is problematic. To be sure, European states and societies shoulder a big part of the blame. In France and Germany, Muslim migrants were never fuller accepted and alienation took root. Meanwhile, many migrants and their descendants have refused to acculturate into the larger society. Their refusal to accept democratic and liberal norms and acceptance of intolerant religious extremism is poisonous.

And now, some like Barber, argue that Europe ought to allow the transfer of literally millions of middle easterners from a sharply different political and religious culture. It's an invitation to disaster. The solution is not to transfer Syria to Europe, but to resolve the crisis in Syria (and Iraq.) [Financial Times] Read more