31 October 2015

Publisher of Secular Books Killed, 3 Wounded in Bangladesh

A publisher of secular books was hacked to death and three other people wounded in fresh attacks in Bangladesh's capital that were claimed by Muslim radicals, and a human rights group called on the government to urgently protect freedom of expression.

The latest violence on Saturday followed the killings of four atheist bloggers this year, while the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for three other attacks.

Two of the new victims had published works of Bangladeshi-American blogger and writer Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death on the Dhaka University campus while walking with his wife in February.

The local Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team had claimed responsibility for the blogger killings and recently threatened to kill more bloggers. [THE ASSOCIATED PRESS] Read more

30 October 2015

Norway: Muslim Cleric Sentenced

A Norwegian court sentenced an Iraqi-born cleric on Friday to 18 months in jail for praising the killing of cartoonists at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had lampooned Islam and other religions.

The Oslo City Court also found the cleric, Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad, known as Mullah Krekar, guilty of urging others to kill a Kurdish immigrant in Norway in an interview with NRK, a Norwegian broadcaster.

“Whoever offends our religion and our honor must understand that this is a conflict about life and death,” Mr. Ahmad told NRK. On Jan. 7, two Islamic extremists attacked the paper in Paris, leaving 12 people dead. Mr. Ahmad was also ordered to pay $8,750 in compensation to Halmat Goran, the Kurdish immigrant. [THE ASSOCIATED PRESS] Read more

Isis shuts down women's clinics in Raqqa to prevent male gynaecologists treating female patients

Isis is believed to have ordered the closure of all women’s clinics supervised by male doctors in its Syrian heartlands in its latest assault on the rights of women.

A culture of rape, forced marriages for child brides, the persecution of doctors and the exclusive use of medicines for militants have resulted in a crisis for women’s health under Isis’s brutal regime.

According to activists, Isis has drastically restricted the work of male gynaecologists in accordance with its leaders’ belief that men and women should be kept apart at all costs.

Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, the rights group which this year won the CPJ International Press Freedom Award, has reported threats and harassment towards doctors in the city on Wednesday night.

“A lot of doctors have [already] left, especially gynaecologists who were barred from practising their work and [threatened] with death,” said Abu Mohammed, the group’s founder. [The Independent] Read more

Swedish Foreign Minister claims the country is 'facing collapse' because of the mass influx of refugees

The Swedish Foreign Minister has claimed her country is facing collapse due to the mass influx of refugees as the migrant crisis deepens.

Margot Wallstrom has said that Sweden cannot cope with taking in refugees at its current level, without it affecting services.

She says that Stockholm will now have to pressure the European Union in a bid to force other member states to share the burden of those coming from the Middle East, mainly Syria.

It is expected that Sweden will take in around 190,000 migrants by the end of 2015. In the first nine months of the year, more than 73,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden.

And Mrs Wallstrom said in an interview: 'I think most people feel that we cannot maintain a system where perhaps 190,000 people will arrive every year - in the long run, our system will collapse. [676 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 5399] The answer is 'No'. Traditional Europeans have repeatedly warned liberal leftists of the damage they have caused. Now Sweden must deal with a problem it has willingly invited. One day the liberal left in Britain will face the anger of British people who feel their traditions and way of life has been betrayed.

[2ND 4442] The Swedish Foreign Minister calls on other EU countries to share the burden, presumably so as they can collapse as well!

[3RD 4009] Europe needs to get together to return these people as it is being deliberately destroyed by 3rd world people who act just as they do in the 3rd world in our 1st world countries. [Daily Mail] Read more

Defend Free Speech Campaign launched in Parliament

A new campaign to oppose the Government's controversial plans for Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs) has been officially launched in Parliament.

Described as Britain's 'most unlikely campaign group', the Defend Free Speech Campaign group is supported by the National Secular Society, the Christian Institute, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, English PEN and other organisations who are concerned that legitimate freedom of expression could be criminalised under the Government's counter-extremism proposals.

.... Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns manager, said: "It's incredible that here we all are again trying to prevent the Government from restricting people's right to freely express themselves.

Extremism poses a very real threat to British citizens but existing laws prohibiting threats and incitement of violence are sufficient. Bad ideas need to be countered by better ideas, not by legislation that could be used to criminalise ordinary people and silence inconvenient, unfashionable and unpopular opinions.

"This campaign aims to ensure these ill-considered and dangerous proposals do not become law." [National Secular Society] Read more

Iranian Actress Banned From Acting For Posting Online Pics Without Hijab

An Iranian actress has been banned from acting and branded ‘immoral’ after she posted pictures of herself online without her hijab.

Sadaf Taherian put the pictures of herself on her Facebook and Instagram pages in protest against strict laws in Iran that decree women cover their heads.

But the pictures soon drew the attention of the Iranian ministry of culture.

She’s since had to flee to nearby Dubai after facing public abuse over the pictures, with officials even reportedly doctoring them, Photoshopping her hijab back on.

It’s been law since 1979 that Iranian women cover their hair in public.

Speaking on Tablet, a TV show on the Voice of America’s Persian language channel, she said: “I was nervous and worried about how people would react to my photos. [Yahoo News] Read more

Islamic State critic found beheaded in Turkey

A Syrian activist working to expose the atrocities of Islamic State was found beheaded in southern Turkey on Friday, in what is believed to be the terror group’s first assassination outside of its territory.

Ibrahim Abdul Qader, 20, along with his friend, Fares Hamadi, was shot and killed in the Turkish town of Urfa, 35 miles from the Syrian border. Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the killings in a video that said the pair had been targeted "after they conspired with the Crusaders against the Islamic State".

Mr Qader was a member of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), a group of activists who risk their lives smuggling news from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) de facto Syrian capital of Raqqa to the outside world.

A founding member of the group, Abu Ibrahim, said the bodies were discovered early on Friday morning. [The Telegraph] Read more

29 October 2015

Plans for 9,000-capacity mosque in east London rejected

Long-running plans to build a controversial mosque in east London to hold services for as many as 9,000 worshippers at a time have been rejected by the communities secretary, Greg Clark.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) dismissed appeals against the refusal of planning permission for the mosque in Newham, which goes by various names, including the Riverine Centre, the Abbey Mills Mosque, London Markaz and Masjid-e-Ilyas.

The Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat has sought permission to build the mosque on the 17-acre Abbey Mills site near the Olympic Park in Stratford, for about 18 years. The proposals included a huge dining hall and a library.

The DCLG said: “The decision was based on concerns that include local housing provision and conflict with the council’s local plan for the borough. It took account of the evidence from all parties and is in line with the council’s original determination and advice from the independent planning inspector on the main appeal.” [The Guardian] Read more

Jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi wins EU human rights prize

A Saudi blogger sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam has won the European Union's Sakharov Prize for human rights.

Raif Badawi, who was arrested in 2012, was today described by the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz as "an extremely good man...who has had imposed on him one of the most gruesome penalties that exist".

President Schulz then called on the king of Saudi Arabia to free the laureate, "so he can accept his prize."

Today's announcement was met with a standing ovation at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. [ITV News] Read more

Controversial ads for atheist author who was in famous TV row with Ben Affleck over Islam are BANNED for 'discrimination' - because they said it should be OK to flush the Koran down the toilet

A series of billboards mocking communion biscuits and arguing it should be fine to flush to Koran down the toilet without fear of violence have been banned because they 'discriminate or vilify'.

Prominent atheist thinker Sam Harris, who famously argued with Ben Affleck about Islam on American television earlier this year, will visit Australia on a speaking tour next year.

But organisers are furious APN Outdoor won't them run the advertisements which feature quotes from Mr Harris. They argue: 'To reject these posters is to censor free speech - pure and simple'.

One advertisement said people should be able to flush all books including the Islamic holy text down the toilet without fear of violent reprisals.

Another jokes Jesus Christ who was 'born of a virgin, cheated death, and rose bodily into the heavens - can now be eaten in the form of a cracker'. [Daily Mail] Read more

28 October 2015

Park View teacher told pupils he 'wanted an Islamic state', teacher disciplinary hearings told

Senior leaders at a chain of Birmingham schools at the heart of the so-called Trojan Horse scandal failed to take action against a teacher who told pupils he wanted an “Islamic state”, a hearing was told.

Abid Ali, Head of Year 11 at Park View Academy, also allegedly backed a refusal by pupils to be taught by a gay teacher, saying, “Well as Muslims that’s what we believe”.

The claims were made by the Alum Rock school’s former associate vice principal Stephen Packer at a National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) hearing in Coventry.

Five senior teachers from the former Park View Educational Trust (PVET) face allegations of professional misconduct, including imposing an undue amount of religious influence on pupils’ education. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Support for anti-Islam PVV reaches an all-time high

Support for the anti-immigration PVV has reached an all-time high, according to the latest poll of polls carried out for broadcaster Nos. The poll, based on an aggregate of five other opinion surveys, says the PVV would win between 33 and 37 seats in the 150-seat parliament if there were a general election tomorrow.

This is a rise of six seats on a month ago. The result means Geert Wilders’ party now has the support of up to 25% of the population. The PVV has 15 seats in the current parliament

Compiler Tom Louwerse told Nos that such sharp rises are very unusual in the poll of polls because it uses the results of several different surveys. The rise in PVV support has flattened off in the previous two weeks, he said, which could indicate the party has now peaked. The increase in PVV support would appear to be at the expense of the Socialists and right-wing Liberal VVD, both of which have lost support. [DutchNews]

Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the French polling institute Ifop indicates that 92% of the Dutch think refugees should be sent home as soon as possible. Read more

Greer ban at university 'is to seem fair to Muslims': Vince Cable warns feminists and right-wingers will be censored to prove institutions are not 'anti-Islamic'

Universities will ban feminists, Right-wing politicians and other controversial speakers to appear fair on Muslims, Vince Cable has warned.

The ex-business secretary said the Prevent strategy would make institutions feel compelled to censor all ‘extreme’ views to prove that they are not ‘anti-Islamic’.

Under the Government’s counter-terror drive, universities have a duty to monitor students for signs of ‘non-violent extremism’ and block hate preachers.

But yesterday Sir Vince said institutions would feel obliged to ‘demonstrate impartiality’ and ban ‘non-Muslim speakers whose reputation is also controversial for different reasons’.

He said some speakers were already being given hostile receptions on campuses, including Ukip leader Nigel Farage who cancelled an appearance at Cambridge after protests. [224 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 713 votes] Yet more appeasing for the people who make next to no effort to integrate into OUR society!

[2ND 533] I think Cable has missed the wider threat of censorship at universities. It's true that they are overly sensitive to anything that might be critical of Islam (although not so sensitive in the other direction) but the banning of Greer and other speakers reflects a general intolerance of anyone who does not follow an extreme 'politically correct' line. This is not only outrageous but also sad in that students are being denied the chance to hear more than one point of view on any issue.

[3RD 415] It is wholly unacceptable, in this secular country, that a person should be banned from speaking at one of our Universities because of their gender, or to appease a sectarian group. If any group of people seeks to suppress or marginalise the rights and freedoms of either gender, then they are committing an illegal act, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent that law allows.

There is quite obviously an insideous movement in this country to undermine women's freedoms in order to cowtow to followers of a certain religion. The fact this movement goes unchallenged and has such a toe-hold in British Universities is an absolute disgrace. [Daily Mail] Read more

In Indonesia, minorities under threat from Muslim hardliners

When a mob of Muslims swooped on a little church deep in rural Aceh in Indonesia this month, the local police were nowhere to be seen, although they had received warnings of a possible attack.

When they did arrive, the police were mostly unarmed and outnumbered by hundreds of activists from the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) group and others who burned the rickety church down.

The FPI made no apology for the incident, saying authorities had ignored repeated complaints about churches and makeshift altars that have popped up without permits in Aceh Singkil, a district in the most conservative province of this Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nation.

In the wake of the attack, authorities gave in to the FPI's demands, and used sledgehammers and axes to demolish 10 other churches in the area that lacked proper permits. The national police chief later said intelligence reports that such an attack was being planned had been received. [Reuters] Read more

27 October 2015

New Ofsted boss Mike Sheridan cannot rule out 'Trojan' schools in London

A senior Ofsted director says he cannot rule out a Trojan Horse-style plot happening in London schools.

Mike Sheridan, Ofsted’s new regional director for London, said one of his biggest challenges was keeping children safe from extremism and sexual exploitation.

However, he said he “doesn’t know” if there was a co-ordinated plot by extremists to seize control of state school governing bodies, as is alleged to have happened in Birmingham.

Mr Sheridan, a former headteacher and Ofsted inspector, took over as London head of Ofsted last month and is responsible for Ofsted’s performance in the capital.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, he said it was vital that schools did not “bury their heads in the sand” about extremism, radicalisation and child sexual exploitation and they must try to identify children at risk. [Evening Standard] Read more

Hate preacher Abu Qatada denounces 'filthy' Shia Muslims and vows that Islam will 'dominate every land' in vile propaganda article for Al Qaeda's magazine

A radical hate preacher who fought a ten-year battle to avoid deportation from Britain claims Islam will rise up to 'dominate every land' and destroy the 'state of the Jews'.

Writing in the latest edition of Al Qaeda's online magazine, Abu Qatada also condemned 'filthy' Shia Muslims – aligning some of his ideology with arch enemies the Islamic State.

The glossy publication, entitled Al Risalah, is produced by Al Qaeda's Syrian branch known as Jabhat Al Nusra and is a clear attempt to mirror the stylised propaganda employed by ISIS.

Qatada's introduction as a columnist will be seen as a concerted effort to attract more recruits, particularly from Britain where he was held in prison for many years.

Abu Qatada was finally thrown out of UK in 2013 after a legal battle costing up to £1million. [Daily Mail] Read more

Poets latest to be snared in Iranian hard-liners' crackdown

Two Iranian poets jailed for their work and sentenced to 99 lashes apiece for shaking hands with members of the opposite sex are the latest targets in a crackdown that analysts say pits hard-liners against those offering new glimpses of life in the Islamic Republic.

The sentences follow a pattern of arrests and convictions targeting activists, journalists and artists that has served as a grim backdrop to President Hassan Rouhani's efforts to soften the country's image and improve relations with the West, including through the landmark nuclear agreement reached last summer.

Hard-liners in the police, judiciary and military view any rapprochement with the West as a threat to the Islamic Republic and a sign of moral decay. Rights groups and analysts say those targeted in the ongoing crackdown on expression in Iran also serve as pawns in the hard-liners' struggle with moderates ahead of February's parliamentary elections. [AP] Read more

Department backs school over national anthem furore

The Education Department has thrown its support behind a school that invited students to leave assembly during the singing of the national anthem.

Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School recently told Shiite Muslim students that they could excuse themselves from singing Advance Australia Fair because it was a religious month of mourning.

The move infuriated Lorraine McCurdy, who has grandchildren at the school and told 3AW radio that up to 40 students left the room.

.... Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie was also upset by the situation, which she described as "disgusting".

Principal Cheryl Irving said the school's Shiite students were observing Muharram, a month of mourning that marks the death of Imam Hussein. This year, the month of mourning runs from October 13 to November 12.

"During this time Shiite do not participate in joyful events, including listening to music or singing, as it is a period of mourning," she said.

The school prides itself on being multicultural, and has adopted the slogan "many children, one culture" [The Age] Read more

Denmark denies citizenship to Islamist

Belal El-Khatib, 25, thinks that democracy’s time has passed and Denmark should be ruled by Islamic law.

Nevertheless, the Islamist went through the democratic process of formally applying for Danish citizenship. Democracy, however, worked against his favour on Monday as a majority of parliament’s Naturalization Committee (Indfødsretsudvalg) voted to reject his application.

“Belal El-Khatib should not receive citizenship because he is an Islamist. And someone who wants to turn the Danish democracy into a caliphate shouldn’t have citizenship in Denmark,” the committee’s chairman, Christian Langballe of the Danish People’s Party, told news agency Ritzau. [The Local] Read more

Police seek talks following Rotherham Muslim boycott

Police are seeking urgent talks with leaders of Rotherham's Muslim community over a boycott of the force.

Rotherham Muslim Community Forum Alliance (RMCFA) announced it would "cut all lines of engagement" with South Yorkshire Police from Monday.

Force Ch Supt Jason Harwin said he was "surprised" that the issues had not been raised before.

Rotherham Muslims are said to have felt "demonised" since the publication of the 2014 Jay report.

The report said 1,400 children suffered sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, predominantly by men of Pakistani-heritage.

British Muslim Youth announced the boycott on behalf of RMCFA, saying Islamaphobia was at "unprecedented levels in Rotherham" and Muslims felt "unprotected" by police. [BBC] Read more

Rotherham Muslim group refuses to co-operate with South Yorkshire Police

I’m not sure who is advising British Muslim Youth in Rotherham, but last night they inflicted significant damage upon their own reputation, and now risk bringing Rotherham’s entire Muslim community into disrepute.

A statement made yesterday made it clear that the group, whose slogan is: ‘those of peace, harmony unity and tolerance’ has pulled down the shutters on the law, refusing to co-operate with South Yorkshire Police.

The community group declared the communication black-out yesterday, closing ranks on the police force until further notice.

But in an astonishing threat to other Muslims in the beleaguered town, the group said: “Any Muslim groups or institutions in Rotherham that do not adhere to this policy of disengagement will also be boycotted by the Muslim community.”

So let’s get this straight; the Muslim community is fed up being demonised, ostricised, and isolated. But, if anyone of Muslim faith should need to turn to South Yorkshire Police for help, they will be cut off from their network of friends, family and associates? The naivety and hypocrisy of this is dumbfounding. [The Star] Read more

Raif Badawi: Flogging of jailed Saudi blogger 'to resume soon'

The wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi said she has been told the flogging of her husband is due to be resumed soon.

Ensaf Haidar said in a statement she was told by a source that the “Saudi authorities have given the green light to the resumption of Raif Badawi’s flogging”.

“The informed source also said that the flogging will resume soon but will be administered inside the prison,” she said.

Ms Haidar has led an international campaign to draw attention to the car of her husband, who was arrested in 2012 and who in January received the first 50 of the 1,000 lashes to which he was sentenced as part of his punishment for apostasy.

“It is worth mentioning that the same source had warned me of Raif’s pending flogging at the beginning of January 2015 and his warning was confirmed, as Raif was flogged on 9th January,” she said. [The Independent] Read more

Germany's secret service warns the country 'is importing Islamic extremism, anti-Semitism, other people's ethnic conflicts and a different understanding of society'

A security document has warned of the damaging consequences of Berlin's open-door policy which is expected to see around one million refugees enter the country this year alone.

It read: 'We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples as well as a different societal and legal understanding.'

Security sources also fear the integration of migrants 'is no longer possible' because so many already live in isolated communities.

The document, seen by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, added: 'German security agencies... will not be in the position to solve these imported security problems and thereby the arising reactions from Germany's population.' [535 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 2940 votes] My 2 year old son could have figured that out. Fools

[2ND 2636] That idiot Merkel certainly has a lot to be proud of. She is single handedly destroying European culture by having this open invitation to all and sundry.

[3RD 2100] The majority don't want migration? Telling the truth like that, he'll get his wrist slappedt!

[4TH 2013] "Mainstream civil society is radicalising because the majority don't want migration and they are being forced by the political elite". Welcome to the club, now you know what we have had to put up with in the UK for decades!!

[5TH 1868] Boy they catch on quick over there!!!! [Daily Mail] Read more

26 October 2015

Park View banned girls from mixed sports because it made 'male staff uncomfortable', hearing told

Female pupils were banned from mixed sports at a Birmingham school because male teachers “did not want girls to be seen with their bits jumping up and down,” a hearing was told.

Monzoor Hussain, former principal at Park View Academy, allegedly made the remark to school press officer Susan Packer after she complained girls had been pulled out of a tennis coaching session because it was run by a male instructor.

Mrs Packer first complained to executive head teacher Lindsey Clark who had written the Academy’s policy on sports, but according to her statement she was told that “the governors did not want mixed sports lessons.”

Unhappy with Ms Clark’s alleged response, Mrs Packer then took her concerns to Mr Hussain. She said in her statement: “Monzoor Hussain told me that girls were not allowed to play, as the male staff felt uncomfortable.

“He said that ‘the men did not want the girls to be seen with their bits jumping up and down.’ This shocked me and made me feel very uncomfortable as I did not think it was appropriate for a principal to say that.” [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Muslim leaders in UK warn of 'worrying' levels of Islamophobia

The Muslim Council of Britain has warned of increasing levels of Islamophobia in the UK after recent videos showing anti-Muslim abuse on public transport were posted online and police forces in England and Wales were ordered to treat such attacks in the same vein as antisemitism.

Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “As a whole, we have to understand that the UK is a very tolerant society, with London one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, and thankfully these kinds of attacks are relatively rare. But they are on the rise.

“The growth in Islamophobia has reached levels which are very worrying. Most Muslims know someone who’s suffered some form of abuse, whether online, physical or verbal. We’re now in a very serious situation and have been for the past year.” [The Guardian] Read more

Melbourne school invites Muslim students to step out during national anthem

A Victorian school that invited Muslim children to walk out of assembly before the national anthem was played has been criticised by parents and maverick Senator Jacqui Lambie.

Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School said Shia Muslim students were allowed to skip the anthem because during the month of Muharram taking part in joyous events such as singing and listening to music is frowned upon as it is a time of mourning, the Herald Sun reports.

Lorraine McCurdy, who has two grandchildren at Cranbourne, told radio station 3AW she "saw red" when children were invited to leave before singing 'Advance Australia Fair'.

"Two children got up and said 'welcome to our assembly' with that a teacher came forward and said all those who feel it's against their culture may leave the room," Ms McCurdy said.

"With that about 30 or 40 children got up and left the room.

"We sang the national anthem and they all came back in. [ninemsn] Read more

25 October 2015

Saudi court upholds death sentence for Shi'ite cleric

Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against the death sentence passed this year on Shi'ite Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who had called for pro-democracy demonstrations and whose arrest in 2012 spurred protests in which three died.

Nimr's brother, Mohammed al-Nimr, told Reuters that the sentence had been upheld after hearings that took place without his lawyers or family members being given prior notice. His life now hangs on the possibility of a pardon from King Salman.

Nimr and six other Saudi Shi'ites, including his nephew, Mohammed al-Nimr's son, Ali, have been sentenced to die and then have their bodies publicly displayed in the most severe penalty available to judges in the strict Sunni majority kingdom. [Reuters] Read more

Anti-Islam party takes first steps

They want to ban burqas, freeze Muslim immigration and end Australia's “failed experiment” with multiculturalism.

The proudly anti-Islam Australian Liberty Alliance — the nation’s newest political party — also claims that a growing number of Australians want exactly those same things.

“I do believe that people are waking up to the dangers and the problems that will come from increased (Muslim) immigration,” ALA co-founder and political candidate Debbie Robinson said.

“Islam is a problem and if we don't take steps to put laws in place to protect our culture and our society, then we are going to lose our freedom.” [THE WEST AUSTRALIAN] Read more

Islamic group blocked from building 'Britain's biggest mosque' in London

The government has blocked an Islamic group with alleged links to fundamentalism from building Britain’s biggest mosque, putting a final end to a 16-year battle.

The highly controversial plans by the Tablighi Jamaat sect – accused by some of being a gateway to terror - would have created a so-called “megamosque” with 190-foot minarets and three times the floorspace of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The 290,000 square foot mosque, near the Olympic Park in east London, would have accommodated up to 9,300 worshippers in two main gender-segregated prayer halls and a further 2,000 in a separate hall.

The bitterly-fought struggle has seen street blockades, accusations of racism, High Court action and even a video “obituary,” linked to from the mosque website, making implicit death threats to the main protestor against the plans and his family. [The Telegraph] Read more

Kuwaiti actor held for ‘indecency’

A popular Kuwaiti actor has been arrested by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) for allegedly mixing with women in a mall and taking pictures with them.

News of his arrival in the capital was announced on a social media website, a local daily reported on Saturday, adding that the actor had not been identified.

The actor was escorted out of the commercial center by Haia officers and taken to the commission’s center in the King Fahd neighborhood, a source was quoted as saying. [Arab News] Read more

24 October 2015

Sharia in Britain (2) Government refuses to back gender-equality measure

Last Monday, amid much fanfare from the prime minister, the British government issued a 40-page document setting out what it likes to describe as its "counter-extremism" strategy. Among many other things, the document cited evidence that unofficial "sharia councils" in Britain are operating in ways that are incompatible with the law – for example by denying equal rights to women who use their services.

"The fight against Islamist extremism is, I believe, one of the great struggles of our generation," prime minister David Cameron wrote in his introduction to the report. "In responding to this poisonous ideology, we face a choice. Do we close our eyes, put our kid gloves on and just hope that our values will somehow endure in the end?"

Five days later we have an answer to Cameron's question, and it appears to be YES – the kid gloves are on, at least where sharia in Britain is concerned. [al-bab.com] Read more

23 October 2015

Muslim men having '20 children each' because of polygamy, peer claims

Muslim men in some communities are having up to 20 children each because of polygomy and the rise of "religiously sanctioned gender discrimination" under Sharia Law, peers have warned.

Baroness Cox, a cross-bench peer, highlighted a series of "shocking" examples of the impact of Sharia law on Muslim women in Britain as she called for them to be given greater protection under equality legislation.

She disclosed one case in which a 63-year-old man tried to divorce his 23-year-old wife and arrange her marriage to a Pakistani man who needed a visa.

He asked a gynaecologist to "repair the hymen" of his wife so she could remarry, and stood to make £10,000 "for effecting the arrangement". [The Telegraph] Read more

22 October 2015

Gay Muslim LBC Phone In Leaves Presenter Iain Dale 'Disgusted' At Homophobic Caller

.... Zainab from Upney, east London, suggested gay people are influenced by the fashion industry and the media, and that execution is acceptable.

“My religion is very clear about what happens to gay people. You know what happens to gay people,” Zainab said.

“Yes we know what happens to gay people in Iran," presenter Dale responded, "They are thrown off buildings and killed.”

“Yes,” the 22-year-old said, “I don’t know what the exact punishment is in the Koran for gay people, whether it is death penalty, but I don’t know exactly what it is.”

“So you think the Koran is right?” Dale asked, “All gay people should be put to death?”

To which Zainab responded: “I believe the Koran is the word of God and it hasn’t been changed like the bible.” [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

EEOC wins discrimination case for Muslims fired for not delivering beer

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission won $240,000 in damages for two Muslim truck drivers after it sued their former employer for religious discrimination for firing the drivers for refusing to make beer deliveries.

The EEOC said that Star Transport Inc., a trucking company based in Morton, Ill., violated their religious rights by refusing to accommodate their objections to delivering alcoholic beverages.

"EEOC is proud to support the rights of workers to equal treatment in the workplace without having to sacrifice their religious beliefs or practices," EEOC General Counsel David Lopez announced Thursday. "This is fundamental to the American principles of religious freedom and tolerance."

The case involved Star Transport's firing of drivers Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale, both of Somali heritage, in 2009 after they refused to make beer deliveries for the company, citing their adherence to Islamic law. [Washington Examiner] Read more

Do we need to ban burkas in Luxembourg?

Luxembourg Christian Social Party the CSV is drawing up a text to propose the banning of the wearing of burkas in Luxembourg.

The party plans to table a debate on a potential prohibition of the full-length veil, covering the face, which is worn in public by some Muslim women.

CSV MEP Viviane Reding said the goal of such a ban would be to promote and protect equal rights of women in Luxembourg society.

The issue is being raised as Luxembourg prepares to house and integrate hundreds of refugees, of all religious faiths. It was also a topic raised during an information meeting with the inhabitants of Chiem, on the Kirchberg plateau, whose homes are close to a new emergency asylum centre in Hall 6 of Luxexpo. [Luxemburger Wort] Read more

Tommy Robinson Speaking Events Cancelled At Edinburgh And Durham Universities After Pegida Speech

Tommy Robinson is claiming the "death of free speech" after two universities withdrew invitations for him to speak.

Just days after the former leader of the English Defence League spoke to his biggest audience yet at a Pegida anniversary event in Germany, both Edinburgh and Durham universities rescinded invitations for him to address students.

According to Robinson, who implored a 40,000-strong crowd in Dresden on Monday to rise-up against migrants and not let "Germany be dragged back to chaos and destruction", his speech just over a week earlier at a Pegida launch in Holland was the reason his Durham invitation was cancelled. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Christmas cancelled' at Trojan Horse school, tribunal told

The former assistant headteacher of a Birmingham school at the heart of the so-called Trojan Horse scandal described how Christmas was “cancelled” as the school became more “Islamised”.

Hilary Thompson, previously assistant head at Nansen Primary in Alum Rock, said celebrations from non-Islamic faiths were “squeezed out” – just two months after the failing school was taken over by Park View Educational Trust in October 2012.

.... Mrs Thompson said a move to regular Friday Islamic prayers also impacted on pupil achievement – with teachers and children alike missing half an hour of class to attend prayers.

She added: “In a non-denomination school you need to be teaching broad faiths and opening opportunities for children, but they weren’t.

“The focus of all the assemblies were very much on the Islamic faith, the focus of the RE syllabus was predominantly the Islamic faith. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Sharia in Britain

.... Some might ask why sharia is being debated at all: we already have a long-established national legal system in Britain – why bring sharia into it? But it's not quite so simple, as the government's document explains:

"Many people in this country of different faiths follow religious codes and practices, and benefit from the guidance they offer. Religious communities also operate arbitration councils and boards to resolve disputes."

.... Most of these bodies recognise that they have a limited sphere of operation and don't seek to go beyond it by claiming powers of legal jurdisdiction. Professional bodies, for example, may discipline members for professional misconduct but if a member commits a crime it becomes a matter for the police and the courts. This is not necessarily the case with some of the sharia bodies established in Britain.

According to the Lawyers Secular Society, there is evidence (page 10) of Muslim arbitration tribunals "purporting to conduct binding arbitrations on family law issues" and making decisions in areas like inheritance that are "inconsistent with UK law or public policy". In addition, sharia councils have often been found describing themselves as courts and referring to the presiding imams as judges. [al-bab.com] Read more

20 October 2015

Saudi Arabia: Activist Professor Gets 10-Year Sentence

A Saudi activist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and barred from travel abroad for another decade, a human rights lawyer said Tuesday. The activist, Abdel-Karim al-Khadar, a professor of Islamic studies from conservative Qassim Province, has been under arrest since April 2013.

He was considered among the most vocal critics of religious extremism and militancy. He had posted videos online giving religious lectures in support of women’s rights and coexistence. [THE ASSOCIATED PRESS] Read more

UK Muslims condemn Britain’s plans to combat extremism

.... The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the country’s largest umbrella Islamic organisation, said that while terrorism was a real threat, the government’s strategy was based on poor analysis and risked alienating those whose support it needed.

“Whether it is in mosques, education or charities, the strategy will reinforce perceptions that all aspects of Muslim life must undergo a ‘compliance’ test to prove our loyalty to this country,” said Shuja Shafi, the MCB’s Secretary General.

Muslim groups are not alone in their scepticism. Some lawmakers in Cameron’s own party are uneasy at the measures, while counter-extremism experts say the message of militants should be challenged not banned.

David Anderson, the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, has warned that any wrong decisions risked provoking a backlash in Muslim communities and driving people towards extremism and terrorism. [Reuters] Read more

Women not required to cover faces under Sharia: Pakistan clerics

Pakistan's top religious body has said women are not required to cover their faces, hands or feet under Islamic Sharia law, a rare judgement from the conservative council of clerics seen as "encouraging" by rights activists Tuesday.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), which was formed in 1962 to advise parliament on the compatibility of laws with Sharia, made the ruling during its meeting on Monday.

However the chairman of the council Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani also "advised women to follow ethics and have a careful attitude in society", a spokesman told AFP.

He said the cleric had recommended women "cover up their body parts to avoid threats or mischief".

Farzana Bari, a prominent women's rights activist, termed the ruling "very interesting".

"It is a good sign, the clergy seems to have realised that their legitimacy is being challenged and this ruling is aimed at improving their image," Bari told AFP. [Daily Mail] Read more

Public has no right ‘not to be offended’ over religious matters

Freedom of expression cannot be secured if society supports a right not to be offended

People have no right 'not to be offended' over matters of religion, and those who kill others or themselves 'are not martyrs', according to the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Addressing the annual Theos lecture on religion and contemporary society, Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve spoke out over controversies such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks and universities who banned 'transphobic' speakers, saying freedom of expression cannot be secured if society supported a right not to be offended.

Baroness O'Neill said speech believed to be offensive to a belief or religion should only be prohibited if it transgressed other laws, such as defamation or incitement to hatred. [Solicitors Journal] Read more

The Secret Awfulness of Saudi Arabia

Is international opinion on Saudi Arabia finally shifting? For years, one of the great embarrassments and contradictions of Western diplomacy has been the intimacy of the West's relationship with the House of Saud.

Of course, both Britain and America have some responsibility for installing and then maintaining the Saudi royal family in their position. Were it not for this circumstance, in addition to the world's largest oil reserves, the people we now call the Saudi royal family would be neither richer nor any more famous than any other group of goat-herders in the region.

For decades now, the Saudi royal family has been a continuing embarrassment for the civilized world. Their brand of extreme Wahhabi Islam is not only -- against some very stiff competition -- one of the worst interpretations of the Islamic faith.

It is the basis of a religious and judicial system that they have not been content to keep within their borders, but rather regard as such a success that they have sponsored it around the world, while promoting violence abroad to keep it from exploding at home. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Tommy Robinson tells German anti-Islam protesters refugees are 'invading Europe' as Pegida marks anniversary

Tens of thousands of anti-immigration protesters have gathered at a rally in Germany to mark the one-year anniversary of a group dubbed “Nazis in pinstripes”.

Tommy Robinson, the founder of far-right group the English Defence League (EDL), addressed the crowds in Dresden.

He was there to support the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) - a movement that he called the “salvation of Europe”.

Claiming Europe was at a “crossroads” and likening the refugee crisis to the Crusades, Mr Robinson continued: “Angela Merkel seems to be handing out the birth right of German citizens like she is handing out candy to children…this current immigration is an invasion.

“Our borders are being overrun. There is little or no control. A country that cannot control its borders will soon not be a country.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Please explain why anti-immigration supporters are labelled 'far-right' while those who support mass, uncontrolled immigration are not labelled 'far-left'?

The vast majority are neither 'far left' nor 'far right' - they are ordinary citizens who may feel sorry for genuine refugees but, given the vast numbers involved, fear the disappearance of their own culture. Polls show they do not support more immigration. I repeat, they do NOT support more immigration.

Do you not know that, increasingly, they are refusing to be demonised and the usual tired old names no longer hurt them?

The terms Nazi, racist and xenophobic are losing their value.

These words are no longer working as a means of closing down debate and making folk feel ashamed. People are speaking out - just see the comments here - or do you not bother to listen to what your readers think? Obviously not.

As is usual, the MSM are way behind public opinion and report the news to suit their own agenda.

That's OK - but do not make the mistake of thinking that we do not know what you are doing.

We know full well... and it only makes us more determined.

[2ND] And this is happening despite the most outrageous propaganda campaign in favour of the invasion, typified by Indie, Guardian, BBC and its European-wide equivalents. This invasion is being facilitated by arch-Islamist Erdogan, but instead of throwing Turkey out of NATO and designating it a rogue state, mad Mutti Merkel is trying to do a deal, which would make matters even worse.

[3RD] PEGIDA is the acronym for 'Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung Abendlandes'; which translated means, 'Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West'.

So, this is not just a marginal pressure group, it's an organisation that represents a view currently spreading throughout Europe. And patriots cannot be simply dismissed as right wing.

Therefore, anyone who supports keeping Europe free of Islam is a member of PEGIDA.

[4TH] How long before they remove the comments section from this article because the majority do not agree with The Indy's political stance?. When is there a rally in G.B?. I will be attending Apathy does nobody any favors

[5TH] I really don't understand why western governments are welcoming immigrants of vastly alien cultures in large numbers, surely they know that if change is sudden, integration is slower, and the result will be civil unrest.

[6TH] As a country that seems to like referenda to make the decision our progressive politicians are unable to make, how about one on immigrants.

Why not let the country decide?

Do we want hundreds of thousands more Muslim nutters in our midst or not? Simple question. Now let the country decide. You can`t be more democratic than that can you?

[7TH] Tommy Robinson is, and has always been, anti Islamofascist. He has never been "extreme right wing". He left the EDL after it was labelled by the media as being a far right party, which resulted in it becoming one, as it was then overrun by the BNP.

The EU media's position attacking protests against the present tsunami of largely Islamic immigration into Europe is strongly reminiscent of the current Western/Saudi support for "moderate islamist" groups fighting Assad.

If it were not for genuine resistance in Syria from Russia, Iran and the Kurds, this support for militant Islam from the West would very soon result the Islamofascist takeover of the entire middle east, most likely including Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Hardly a recipe for peace.

Also, as you well know "concentration camps" were introduced by the British as a means of temporarily containing suspected enemy sympathisers during wartime. Your use of the term in this article is clearly intended to equate "concentration camp" with "death camp", which is disingenuous and suggests that you are attempting to deceive people into accepting what is effectively a pro fascist agenda.

[8TH] The German politicians condemnation of Pegida will come back to haunt them, keeping public opinion down by calling them nazis and racist, will backfire when those people start voting for right wing parties, when they say, might as well be hung for a wolf as a sheep.

[9TH] Everyone seems to be using the 'R' word these days. Are we really all 'Racists'..? I don't see why we should be labelled that simply because we disagree with the loony left's policy of uncontrolled immigration from the Third World. We are constantly told to 'keep our mouths shut' by the political establishment, that any word of protest is in fact 'hate speech' and that we have no right to even express an opinion.

Hang on, I thought we used to live in a Democracy?! But when did Angela Merkel consult her own people, when she rammed through this ridiculous policy. If there is a backlash, what on earth does she expect? The public have been treated appallingly, and no doubt will be asked to pay for all this with their hard earned taxes.

So called 'liberals' who want the refugees to come...well why don't you put your hand in your own pocket, and stop expecting everyone else to pay for something they don't want! Germany will have an idle, bored generation of angry young men on its hands and Merkel has messed up monumentally. One day I imagine she will be put on trial, for what she has achieved. [The Independent] Read more

'Do not let Germany be dragged back to chaos and destruction': EDL founder Tommy Robinson speaks to 40,000 strong crowd at the Pegida anti-immigrant rally in Germany

The founder of the EDL has addressed a 40,000-strong crowd in Dresden tonight, as Germany's far-right celebrates the first anniversary of the anti-refugee group Pegida.

Tommy Robinson, who set up and led the English Defence League, looked out over the crowd of tens of thousands of Germans as police braced themselves for violence.

Despite quitting the far-right group two years ago, after a realisation that his group was 'part of the problem', this is Robinson's second appearance at a Pegida rally this week after appearing at a Pegida anti-Islam rally in Holland last weekend.

The 32-year-old told the assembled crowd: 'Do not let Germany be dragged back to chaos and destruction. All of your progress is now threatened.

'Your current chancellor, Angela Merkel, seems to be handing out the birth right of German citizens like she is handing out candy to children.' [468 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 4124 votes] If only our media would tell us the TRUE numbers of marches, riots and unrest in Germany and other EU countries, but are forbidden to by the EU and UK lefties. Russia Today News program gives us better coverage of things.

[2ND 3671] Other European leaders should take note, this is what happens when you ignore your people. They turn to more extreme organisations.

[3RD 3142] What did Merkel expect? An Iron cross first class? Her idiocy will inevitably lead to a massive upsurge of support for the right wing.

[4TH 3058] I am not at all surprised by this, Merkel has had this coming for some time with her ultra Liberal declarations. Welcoming the whole world into Germany and then on to the rest of Europe once they are made EU citizens - I think not! This affects all of us, including the UK as long as we are part of this EU mess, so someone has to stop this mad woman.

[5TH 2563] Why isn't this story taking a greater profile? [Daily Mail] Read more

19 October 2015

The government’s new counter-extremism strategy is careful and rigorous — albeit with one major flaw

.... The central problem around which the government is grappling is what you do with people who are not violent themselves, and not necessarily advocating violence, but who are obviously trying to fundamentally change your society by preaching hatred and division. Now my own answer to this is two-fold.

A robust civil society would treat such people with the discourtesy that it reserves for any other group of people who are exceptionally hateful. At the very least you don’t give them a helping hand. So if I have a community hall and the BNP want to borrow it for a meeting then I say ‘no’. And if some Islamist group asks to use it for a meeting I also say ‘no’. There is no right for them to borrow my hall, I don’t like them and they will have to hold their meetings elsewhere.

That is how civil society would normally work to help address the problem government is grappling with. But of course civil societal pushback against the Islamists in Britain in recent years has been massively hampered by left-wingers who are confused and think that opposing Islamic extremism is ‘racist’ but also by an ignorance across the political spectrum about what Islamic extremism’s goals and methods actually are.

So bolstering civil society is a very important part of solving this problem – as the government acknowledges in this strategy – and success cannot really occur without it. [The Spectator] Read more

‘One Nation Counter-Extremism Strategy’ Risks Further Undermining Fight Against Terrorism

Britain’s Secretary General, Dr Shuja Shafi, issued the following statement:

“British Muslims have stood up and been counted in their opposition to terrorism. That is why we welcome effective and evidence-based initiatives to counter terrorism. The threat of terrorism is real and serious. Facing this challenge requires engagement with all sections of society particularly the diversity of British Muslim communities in an open and frank dialogue.

Yet, today’s ‘one nation’ counter-extremism strategy continues down a flawed path, focusing on Muslims in particular, and are based on fuzzy conceptions of British values. It risks being counter-productive by alienating the very people needed to confront Al-Qaeda or Daesh-related terrorism: British Muslim communities.

For over 10 years we have had to contend with a misguided “conveyor-belt theory” analysis that conflates terrorism with subjective notions of extremism and Islamic practices.

Whether it is in mosques, education or charities, the strategy will reinforce perceptions that all aspects of Muslim life must undergo a ‘compliance’ test to prove our loyalty to this country. These measures could be seen more as a means to address the anxieties a minority of people may have against Muslims and their religious life, rather than the scourge of terrorism itself. [Muslim Council of Britain] Read more

Counter-extremism: May targets 'all those who spread hate'

The home secretary has vowed to "systematically confront and challenge extremist ideology" as she detailed new curbs on those who "spread hate".

Radical preachers will be banned from posting material online and anyone with convictions for extremist activity will be barred from working with children.

Deradicalisation classes will be made mandatory for others deemed a threat.

But Muslim leaders warned the strategy "continues down a flawed path" and risks "alienating" Muslims in the UK.

Also among the measures within the counter-extremism strategy are:

# A full review of public institutions such as schools, further and higher education colleges, local authorities, the NHS and the civil service to ensure they are protected from "entryism" - or infiltration - by extremists

# An official investigation into the application of Sharia law in the UK

# Extremism disruption orders to stop individuals engaging in extremist behaviour

# Closure orders for law enforcement and local authorities to close down premises used to support extremism

# Tougher powers for broadcasting regulator Ofcom so action can be taken against radio and television channels showing extremist content

# Demands that internet service providers do more to remove extremist material and identify those responsible for it

# Anyone with a conviction or civil order for extremist activity will also be automatically barred from working with children and vulnerable people. [BBC] Read more

Every fourth Danish Muslim wants the law to be based on the Koran

Some 40 percent of Denmark’s 250,000 Muslims believe that Danish law, at least to some extent, should be based on the words of the Koran, according to a new Wilke survey carried out for Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

The survey also found that about 10 percent believe the constitution shouldn’t play any role at all and that Danish law should only reflect the Koran. Conversely, about 54 percent of Danish Muslims believe that Denmark’s laws should only be based on the constitution.

“It’s a majority, yes, but one could question why almost everyone doesn’t agree with it,” Jens Peter Frølund Thomsen, an associate professor in political science at Aarhus University, told Jyllands-Posten.

“It is fundamental to our democracy that the constitution is the foundation for everything.”

Right-wing party Dansk Folkeparti contended that the results offer further evidence that the migration of Muslims to Denmark should be halted.

The survey was based on the answers of 702 Muslims in Denmark. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Revealed: First UK jail where half the inmates are Muslim and others are pressured to convert to Islamic 'protection racket'

Muslims dominate a high-security jail for the first time, sparking fear among other prisoners and staff, a report reveals.

Half of inmates at Whitemoor are now Muslims. It is believed to be the highest proportion in any British jail and double the number recorded less than a decade ago.

They form the ‘biggest power bloc’ in the Category A prison, taking over from the previous ‘gangs’, according to watchdogs.

‘About half the prisoners on Whitemoor’s main wings are Muslim, profoundly affecting the social nature of the jail and disrupting established hierarchies,’ the Independent Monitoring Board said.

Its report went on: ‘Against this background we note that some prisoners and staff found the Muslim presence overwhelming. The social and religious fragmentation within Whitemoor potentially posed risks for discipline and hence safety.’ [Daily Mail] Read more

'Trojan Horse' pupils had to 'stare at bushes as punishment'

Pupils at a school involved in the "Trojan Horse" affair were put in "stress positions" as punishments, a misconduct panel heard.

Monsoor "Moz" Hussain, former head teacher at Park View School, is alleged to have allowed this to happen.

He and four other senior Park View staff all deny unacceptable professional conduct.

The Birmingham school was investigated amid claims of a Muslim hardliners' plot to take over several schools.

It is claimed Mr Hussain allowed pupils to be subjected to unusual, and disproportionate punishments, including "being made to stand in the rain" and "being made to stare at bushes", the National College for Teaching and Leadership panel in Coventry heard. [BBC] Read more

Extremist 'infiltration' in hospitals, schools and civil service to be investigated

David Cameron has launched a major review into whether Islamist extremists have infiltrated the NHS, the civil service, local authorities and the country’s education system.

The Prime Minister has ordered officials to carry out an investigation to make sure British institutions are protected from the threat of “entryism” by radicals.

It follows the Trojan Horse plot in Birmingham, where Islamist extremists attempted to take over a number of schools and radicalise children.

Launching the new extremism strategy today, the Government admitted that it has “inadequate understanding” of the way public bodies can be targeted by extremists.

“We will therefore carry out a full review to ensure all institutions are safeguarded from the risk posed by entryism,” the report states.

“This will report in 2016 and look across the public sector, including schools, further and higher education colleges, local authorities, the NHS and the civil service. [The Telegraph] Read more

The fight against Islamophobia is going backwards

Islamophobia does not only affect British Muslims; it plays directly into the hands of extremists who claim that western societies will never accept Islam and its followers. Challenging this type of prejudice thus goes hand-in-hand with any successful counter-extremism strategy, the latest of which the home secretary has outlined.

It is for this reason that, in the aftermath of the 2010 general election, Sayeeda Warsi worked hard to form a government working group on anti-Muslim hatred. Against the backdrop of her warning in 2011 that Islamophobia had “passed the dinner-table test”, the then Conservative minister brought together representatives from Muslim communities, anti-racism groups and academia.

.... When Lady Warsi resigned from the government in 2014, she argued that the government’s failure to engage with Muslim communities was undermining Britain’s fight against extremism. She was right. We are today no closer to understanding and tackling anti-Muslim hatred. If anything, it feels as though we have gone backwards.

The success of Britain’s counter-extremism strategy will ultimately hinge on its ability to engage across all communities and inspire their trust. Working in this way, in sharp contrast, is only likely to fuel their disappointment. [Matthew Goodwin, 1392 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 385 votes] "The seriousness of Islamophobia will no doubt manifest itself via a plethora of rightwing posts on this very thread."

Indeed - such as those based around an ideology that views homosexuals and women with utter disdain; and aims violent rhetoric at any who challenge it.

I'm struggling to think of any examples, care to enlighten me?

[2ND 380] Encouraging inclusive secularism and pushing out faith groups from the public realm might work better for genuine integration surely?

[3RD 347] Bollocks. 'Islamaphobia' (it's not a phobia, since it's entirely rational) is a natural reaction to the terrible things done in the name of Islam.

Islamism would chug along happily without Islamaphobia.

[4TH 323] "The seriousness of Islamophobia will no doubt manifest itself via a plethora of rightwing posts on this very thread."

What does right and left-wing have to do with it? You do understand that right-wing isn't short for 'doesn't agree with me'?

Also, if you must make it about politics, I think you'll find the left has traditionally been more anti-religion than the right. Islam itself is more than a little conservative, wouldn't you say?

[5TH 298] "...what causes Islamophobia..."

The list is long. I'll start with the belief by some radical Muslims that the key to anti-gravity involves gay people.

The 'rooftop research' continues.

[6TH 295] Why do we need a group to find out what causes hatred against muslims. I would have thought it fairly obvious. People are frightened of them. Why dont we tackle muslim hatred toward the rest of us.

Doesnt their religion explicitly state they should kill us all and our should die? Who is chopping good peoples heads off? Stoning women? Treating women as third class citizens?

I dont hate anybody but you have to admit there is a huge PR problem here.

I think people are fed up with it always being the rest of us who are wrong and need to try harder. Well guess what its a two way street.

Of course religeon is the root cause again, again and again !!!!!

[7TH 272] A COMMENT SAID: A good start would be to follow Russia's example, with production of an "Authorised Version" of the Koran, with the hate passages deleted. You or I would be prosecuted if we published this kind of thing, and rightly so. If they are not taken seriously then they do not need to be there.

"with the hate passages deleted"

One of the world's shortest books, then?

[8TH 242] Problem is that "Islamophobia" is often used as a catch-all term which describes a range of opinions. These range from the atheist's distrust of a rather silly set of beliefs to your actual swivel- eyed racist loonies.

[9TH 205] "more must be done"

Like perhaps, not terrorising people so that they don't experience 'phobia'?

[10th 197] "Instead, the taskforce consulted widely with the Quilliam Foundation, a thinktank that, some say, lacks credibility with many ordinary Muslims, pushes theories of radicalisation that are typically not supported within the academic community, and undertakes research that is seldom subject to rigorous peer review."

Another attack on the Quilliam Foundation. What on earth are you aiming for here?

Well, apart from giving column inches to another Islamist, as usual. [Guardian Cif] Read more

18 October 2015

The Government’s proposed counter-extremism measures

The Sunday Times reports today on the Government’s proposed new crackdown on extremism. This problem may be something of a Gordian knot in its tangled complexity, but it’s hard to see how to cut through to an easy solution. Inaction won’t do, but action risks being counterproductive or else in conflict with some of the values it seeks to protect.

Plans include the creation of ‘a blacklist of radicals and extremist groups subject to banning orders.’ But what is extremism and how is it best dealt with?

.... It’s difficult to know how best to deal with extremism. Hardliners may be most effective when it comes to dissuading youth from joining ISIS – yet they may also help sow the seeds of radicalism by promoting views which (while less horrifically extreme) overlap with those of ISIS.

And of course – even if they don’t drive people to ISIS – their views are utterly vile. Yet clamping down on (non-violent) extremist voices may fuel a grievance narrative – and extremism. Liberal Muslim groups do much good work – yet are often targets for abuse from other Muslims. So what is to be done? [Harry’s Place] Read more

17 October 2015

Britons SHOULD feel nervous about women wearing burkas, says Tory MP

.... He insisted these concerns should not be dismissed as racist and said migrants should learn the language of the country where they live while also fitting in with its culture and values.

Speaking during the second reading debate on the Government's controversial Immigration Bill, the backbencher said: "I think there is a wider public concern about illegal immigration. It's too often dismissed as narrow-minded racism when it's not, in my view.

"I think it is reasonable for people who live in established communities to get nervous when they suddenly find that English - or indeed in some parts of north Wales, Welsh - is no longer the language they're hearing day to day on the streets.

"In some of the larger cities people become nervous when they see cultural changes that they can't necessarily go along with - women wearing burkas or trailing six-feet behind their husbands, for example, or issues such as female genital mutilation or forced marriage. [Daily Express] Read more

16 October 2015

Christians ordered to CONVERT OR DIE by ISIS jihadis as they declare a European caliphate

The Assyrian community in Gothenburg, Sweden are being tormented by the threats and police have now launched a probe.

Markus Samuelsson was shocked after radicals covered his restaurant in the city with graffiti this week.

They daubed the terror group's logo alongside the disturbing phrases "convert and die" and "the caliphate is here" over the walls on Tuesday.

The Arabic letter for 'N' – which has been used to identify Christians and drive them out of their homes by ISIS fighters – was also painted on the restaurant.

Samuelsson, one of the city's 3,000 Assyrian Christians, said: "I felt a sudden chill down my spine. It's terribly painful, we feel threatened."

Gothenburg – in the south-west of the country – is thought to be a hotbed for jihadist recruiting, according to Breitbart London.

At least 150 people are thought to have left the city, dubbed the "Swedish centre for jihadists", to join ISIS. [Daily Express] Read more

'Trojan Horse' Park View pupils 'told wives must obey men'

Pupils at a school embroiled in the so-called "Trojan Horse" scandal were handed leaflets saying Muslim women must obey men, a misconduct panel has heard.

The claim was made by a former Park View staff member who resigned from the Birmingham school in October 2013.

Teachers Inamulhaq Anwar and Akeel Ahmed deny unacceptable conduct.

Park View was investigated amid claims of a plot by Muslim hard-liners to take control of several city schools.

Susan Packer told a National College for Teaching and Leadership panel she had become upset at reading the worksheet, and had heard of boys telling girls they had to obey them when they got married. [BBC] Read more

15 October 2015

Ministers order probe into 'unacceptable' Sharia law courts operating in BRITAIN

Tory peer Lord Bates said Islamic law is potentially being applied in an "unacceptable" way in England and Wales.

A number of Sharia councils operate in the UK to offer resolution to disputes – but they have no jurisdiction in criminal matters.

Home Secretary Theresa May first floated the idea of a review into Sharia courts in March, saying they are used to discriminate against women.

But it was not part of the Conservatives' General Election manifesto.

Lord Bates has now confirmed the review will go ahead, saying: "Sharia councils may be working in a discriminatory and unacceptable way.

"That is why, as part of the forthcoming counter-extremism strategy, Government will commission a full, independent investigation to assess to what extent Sharia is being applied in a manner that is unacceptable."

.... Earlier this year it was reported that 100,000 British Muslim women are being duped into sham Sharia marriages.

The arrangements – which are not recognised under British law – can leave women with no rights to a fair share of assets if the relationship ends.

But Amra Bone, Britain's first Islamic judge on a Sharia Council, denied its courts discriminated against women.

Mrs Bone said: "We apply Sharia principles within the law of the land. We are a voluntary body and can't make orders – we just advise.

"People don't want us to be judgmental." [Daily Express] Read more

Safety fears prompted hijab ban, says Gatineau go-kart track

Whatever the reason Zainab Mana was not permitted to drive a go-kart at a Gatineau track last week, the 16-year-old Muslim teen was left with a humiliating feeling that “I didn’t belong there.”

Top Karting on Edmonton Street says it turned away the Barrhaven teenager on Oct. 9 because she refused to comply with a safety policy that required her to remove her hijab, a veil worn by some Muslim women over the head and chest.

Zainab, who was at the indoor track with two brothers, acknowledges that safety reasons were cited by someone who said he was the manager as to why hijabs and other pieces of clothing such as scarves could not be worn on the track. Even so, she says she has little doubt the hijab ban is rooted in religious discrimination against Muslims.

In a telephone conversation that Zainab’s older sister, Fatima, taped when she contacted Top Karting afterward, a man who spoke to her eventually became agitated and profane. At one point, he told Fatima: “We don’t allow s— on your head” … and “go the f—” elsewhere. [Ottawa Citizen] Read more

Latvia An Islamic State In 50 Years, Boast Muslim Community Leaders, ‘Integration Will Not Take Place

Islam will replace Christianity in Europe just as Christianity replaced Paganism centuries ago, and it will conquer by womb rather than the sword to make Latvia an Islamic State, claim Muslim community leaders in the Baltic country.

Speaking in an interview with Latvia’s Morning Independent newspaper, the chairman and head spokesman of the Islamic Cultural Centre, better known as Riga Mosque, said while they both had three children with their wives each “we are working to have more” in an effort to colonise the country faster.

Asked “what are the chances that Latvia will become part of the Caliphate?” white convert and centre spokesman Ahmed Robert Klimovics said he hoped it would. On the future of the predominantly Christian nation of just two million people – less than the population of Britain’s second city – Mr. Klimovics said: “Latvians understand that in 50 years this will be an Islamic State. This is because Islamic children will be in the majority”. [Breitbart London] Read more

14 October 2015

Trojan horse teachers 'gave pupils handout saying wives cannot refuse sex'

Teachers at a school embroiled in the Trojan horse scandal distributed a document to male pupils claiming wives could not refuse sex from their husbands, a professional disciplinary hearing has heard.

A former teacher at Park View school in Birmingham told the hearing she was “absolutely horrified” when she was made aware of the document.

The teacher, who can be identified only as Witness A, said it was given to the pupils by three male staff members who were teaching sex education lessons at the school, including Akeel Ahmed and Inamulhaq Anwar, who are facing disciplinary hearings by the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). [The Guardian] Read more

13 October 2015

The Guardian: Through Islamist Eyes

I emailed The Guardian on 2 October to ask for the right to reply to David Shariatmadari’s apologetics for Islamism. My article, Why I Speak against Islamism, was finally published on 13 October at 5pm after much delay and back and forth over “edits.”

On 8 October, the Acting Editor for Comment is Free wrote to say a “very light edit” had been done on my article including “a few tweaks for flow, house style, and to make the piece as accessible as possible for non-expert readers.”

Shockingly, the “light edits” included substantial changes, including the removal of references to Ali Shariatmadari and CAGE prisoners as well as all the relevant links, which would have helped “non-expert readers.”

Moreover, where I mentioned Islamism as a killing machine with an example of Bangladesh, Islamism was changed to “violent jihadis”. After asking that it be kept as is (since even those not deemed violent jihadis by the Guardian are killing people via “Sharia” laws for example), it was changed to “violent Islamists”, which I again challenged. The sentence was then tweaked to what it is now.

Despite my insistence, however, references to Ali Shariatmadari and CAGE were not included (which meant I had to remove the Emwazi reference as it was linked to the CAGE example). I was told: “The line about CAGE and defensive jihad was removed on the advice of our lawyers” and that “the description of the Islamic cultural revolution as “Ali Shariatmadari’s ‘Islamic cultural revolution'” would be confusing to readers.”

Clearly, the problem is not just David Shariatmadari’s but the Guardian’s editorial line in favour of the Islamists.

Below I publish my original piece for all to see. [Maryam Namazie] Read more

The "Islamic Inquisition" and the Blasphemy Police

.... Last week, on the anniversary of the publication of the first Mohammed cartoons, Jyllands-Posten republished the original spread. The page and texts were laid out as they had been on that famous day ten year earlier.

But one thing was missing: the cartoons. Where the original images had been -- even the ones that did not depict Mohammed -- there were only blank spaces. What had been possible in 2005 was no longer possible in 2015.

One can hardly blame the publishers. After ten years of paying for security, and staff having to work in perhaps the most threatened newspaper office on earth, the editors of Jyllands-Posten signalled that they had had enough of the threats and enough of the danger. They censored themselves.

It took only ten years for most people across the West to learn about Islamic blasphemy -- and in the end to abide by it. Today there might be thousands of people willing to publish cartoons of Mohammed on their Twitter accounts, but most of them hide behind aliases and complain about the cowardice of others. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Danish Muslims more devout than in years past

According to a poll conducted by Wilke for Jyllands-Posten, Danish Muslims pray more now than they did in 2006, are more likely to believe in the literal word of the Quran and to support the idea that Muslim women should cover their heads in public.

The survey found that 77.2 percent of Danish Muslims agreed that “the Quran’s instructions should be followed completely”. That is a marked increase from 2006, when just 62.4 percent agreed. The number who think that Muslim girls should wear head scarves also increased significantly, from 28.6 percent in 2006 to 42.7 percent.

Likewise, Danish Muslims are more likely to devoutly practise their faith now then they were nine years ago. While 37 percent said they prayed at least five times a day in 2006, that number is now at 50.3 percent.

A majority of Danish Muslims also rejected the notion that Islam needs to undergo a reformation or modernization in order to fit in to Western society. Some 35 percent of respondents want a modernization while 52.4 percent said none was needed.

.... The poll conducted by Wilke for Jyllands-Posten was based on interviews with 702 Danish Muslims over the age of 17. Participants included immigrants and descendents of immigrants from Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan.

There are approximately 260,000 Muslims in Denmark. [The Local] Read more

The social right to see each other’s faces

.... My opponents (outside of Quebec) balk when I describe the obligation of my teacher or postmistress or nurse to show her face as my “social right.” They contend there is no such thing. But the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) agrees with me.

In 2014 the ECHR, considering a challenge to France’s 2010 ban by a niqb’d woman, ruled that the secular ideal of “vivre ensemble” (living together) trumps a woman’s right to “disappear,” endorsing both France’s and Belgium’s niqab bans, as well as France’s off-road ban on full-face bike helmets (demonstrating it really is about face cover, not about Muslim women). Quebec has sensibly followed the “vivre ensemble” rubric in its public-sector ban on the niqab.

Enjoy Hallowe’en — and then put the masks away, or wear them exclusively in your private life. Enshrining in law the social right to see each other as a norm is not intolerance. It is protection of the principle of social reciprocity on which a healthy culture depends. [National Post] Read more

Every third Danish Muslim wants to modernise Islam

While most Danish Muslims refuse to entertain any idea regarding the reformation of Islam, over a third want to modernise the religion to better reflect contemporary society.

A new Wilke survey on behalf of Jyllands-Posten newspaper revealed that 35.7 percent of Danish Muslims yearned for their religion to be reformed, while 52.4 percent wanted it to remain as it is.

“We’ve experienced there is a need for a re-interpretation of the Koran compared to the time and society we live in,” said Sherin Khankan, who recently established Denmark’s first mosque with female imams.

“If you use the word ‘re-interpretation’ instead, I think that many more can be convinced to jump on the reform bandwagon.”

.... Naser Khader, a current member of Parliament for the Konservative party, concurred with Khankan, arguing that Islam was in desperate need of a massive overhaul.

Meanwhile, the imam Fatih Alev from the Danish Islamic Centre has rejected any notion of reforming Islam – a sentiment echoed by Oussama El-Saadi, the spokesperson for the infamous Grimhøj Mosque in Aarhus.

“You can’t change what the Koran says and what the prophet has told us to do. Then you’re not Muslim anymore,” said El-Saadi. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Pork or nothing: how school dinners are dividing France

When Aïcha Tabbakhe, a French nurse, went to fill out the forms for her children’s school dinners in her small town outside Paris, she was puzzled. The box she would usually tick to say that her Muslim children didn’t eat pork wasn’t there. “Confused, I called the town hall and I was bluntly told: ‘From now on, that’s the way it is,’” she said. “Pork or nothing.”

After years of French controversies over headscarves, pork has become the new battleground in the nation’s uneasy debate over national identity and the place of Islam. Bacon and sausage school dinners are being used by rightwing politicians to hammer home what it means to be French.

Court battles and vicious political spats have erupted as protesters warn that controversial menu changes are sending a message to Muslim or Jewish children that to be truly French, they must eat roast pork. Politicians, as they go to war over the ham on school dinner plates, are fighting about the true meaning of French secularism and whether it has been hijacked and twisted by the right in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks. [The Guardian] Read more

Why I speak out against Islamism

Historically, criticism of religion has been a crucial aspect of free expression and intrinsically linked with anti-clericalism and the dismantling of that which is deemed taboo and sacred by the gatekeepers of power.

Such criticism has been key for social progress. It is also a matter of life and death for many living under Islamist rule, such as in those areas where Isis has seized power, Saudi Arabia, or in Iran where criticism of religion and the state are analogous. There, anything from demanding women’s equality or trade union rights to condemning sexual jihad and the “Islamic cultural revolution” (which banned books and “purified” higher education) can be met with arrest, imprisonment and even the death penalty.

.... The labelling of much-needed criticism of Islamism as antisocial, even dangerous by left apologists sees dissent through the eyes of Islamists and not the many who refuse and resist. How else are we to show real solidarity with those who struggle against the theocracies we have fled from – if not through criticism? The fight against Islamism and the need for international solidarity apparently does not enter into their calculation.

Even their paternalistic “concern” for British Muslims is incoherent. After all, aren’t many critics of Islamism Muslims too? In fact, Muslims or those labelled as such are often the first victims of Islamism and are at the forefront of resistance. Also, not everyone in what’s referred to as the Muslim “community” is a Muslim, and even if they are, religion is not the only characteristic that defines them. [Maryam Namazie, 352 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 183 votes] Wow. Didn't expect to read such an article in the Guardian today.

Ironically, these postmodernist “leftists” have one set of progressive politics for themselves (they rightly want gay marriage, women’s equality and the right to criticise the pope and Christian right) and another for us.

Yes, this is pertinent. I broadly identify as a liberal, and am frequently bemused at the cultural relativism so many others who do the same indulge in when it comes to Islamism.

[2ND 163] "At its core, this is a global fight between theocrats and the religious right on the one hand, and secularists and those fighting for social justice on the other. ... Now is the time to reclaim the left and the values it represents for us all".

A thousand recommends. This is a much-needed call to action. Is the left capable of responding?

[3RD 133] Great article. A contrast to the drivel spouted by Shariatmadari last week

[4TH 127] This has been a monumental betrayal by much of the left, who have stood around while the rights of women have been decimated, freedoms have been curtailed and minorities have been persecuted.

More than that, these same people who claim to be of the left have chucked around accusations of racism at those who have tried to speak out, have 'no-platformed' critical intellectuals, and generally done their damnedest to shut down anybody who might point out their moral and intellectual bankruptcy.

[5TH 123] And I admit, I'm a socialist who is baffled by the Left's attitude to reactionary religion and don't know how to respond. Recently I've started arguing with other lefties, but that upsets my friends and lets the rest simply write me off as a 'racist'. What does anyone else suggest?

[6TH 120] There is so much to say about this issue, and no doubt, more will be written about this incident and the response to it.

In the meantime, thanks to the Guardian for publishing Maryam's response. Hopefully you will be able to find space for more Exmuslim secular voices in future.

[7TH 118] Great stuff, well done.

I too am puzzled about how the left can be pro LGBT and feminism and yet also embracing a homophobic and misogynist religion (note: not race)

[8TH 112] Excellent. A much needed article.

"After all, aren’t many critics of Islamism Muslims too?"

A point often overlooked by those who seek to silence criticism of islamism with cries of xenophobia etc.

[9TH 110] "if we're going to go after one we ought to go after all of them"

That's exactly what she's saying - that this one particular religion shouldn't be any more protected than any of the others. We are perfectly free to openly condemn Christianity, yet criticism of Islam is being actively censored.

And why shouldn't we be able to say that Islam is currently more harmful than the others? It is illogical to think that they are all precisely as good or bad as each other, we should be able to judge them like we would judge anything else.

[10TH 106] Excellent article. I stopped buying The Guardian recently after enjoying it and believing in its principles for the last 35 years. I stopped because it became clear to me that in order to be seen not to be opposing what was perceived as a persecuted racial minority it began to become an "excusenik" for a right-wing, religiously extreme group of fascist bigots.

This became a step too far for me. Sadly other left-wing pillars that I have supported since I became politically aware: Universities and the Labour Party for example, have also painted themselves into this particular corner.

There should be no doubt among the Left....if organisations seek to appease Fascist organisations, whatever their race whatever their religion, they will not be forgiven by our children or grandchildren, particularly if those children are women, are gay or who seek not to believe in a particular pre-medieval superstition.

[ANOTHER COMMENT 41] I have to say I am quite shocked with the Guardian's behaviour when it comes to Islam. They published Shariamadari's article fairly prominently on their front page, then censored a large portion of the comments (overall most of them were highly critical of that ridiculous piece).

And now it appears that despite having given Maryam the right of reply, she's had her article heavily edited in order to avoid upsetting "sensitivities" and as a final insult, buried deep in the recesses of website. Completely inaccessible to most people, who have to discover it from second hand sources.

Judging by the overwhelming majority of opinions, you are failing your readership. Big time. It's time you started siding with sanity. [Guardian Cif] Read more

12 October 2015

Would Muslims get better jobs if bosses didn’t know they were Muslim?

Roughly 4 percent of Britain's population is estimated to be Muslim. However, British Muslims are conspicuously absent from many of the country's top professional roles.

If the information related by the think tank Demos this week is correct, the situation is stark. While 30 percent of the overall British population is likely to be employed in what the British government designates as top professions, just 16 percent of British Muslims have similar positions – the lowest of any religious group. British Muslims are also more likely to be unemployed or economically inactive, Demos found.

.... A number of studies have suggested that Muslims are discriminated against when they apply for jobs in Britain. Last year, for example, Bristol University researchers found that religion mattered far more than skin color when it came to job prospects in Britain. Muslims were found to suffer the most, with men as much as 76 percent less likely to get a job offer than their Christian counterparts, while Muslim women were found to be 65 percent less likely to be employed than Christian women. [The Independent] Read more

Muslim pupil reported to counter-terrorism police after school concerns including complaint about lack of prayer room

A Muslim pupil was reported to counter- terrorism police after a series of school concerns including a complaint about not having a prayer room.

The same child, a pupil at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, also expressed 'concerning' views about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and allegedly told female Muslim pupils they needed to cover their faces with a head scarf.

The pupil was referred under the government's Prevent Duty initiative which provides guidance to teachers on spotting signs of extremism.

Over the last 12 months the school, which caters for 741 pupils aged 5-11, has had three pupils referred to the Counter Terrorism Unit. [Daily Mirror] Read more

11 October 2015

Burqas in Malta: Minister says people should not cover their face

Equality minister Helena Dalli has hinted that the government may ban the wearing of burqas in public after she argued that the law which prohibits individuals from covering their face in public should be clarified to avoid any misinterpretation.

Speaking on Facebook, Dalli said that in an open society, people should not be allowed to cover their face in public if this will make others feel unsafe or fearing their security. Without elaborating, the minister also said this should be banned “for other reasons.”

Worn by female Muslims, the burqa is an outer garment that is used to cover women’s bodies in public. Despite the wearing of the burqa not being as common in Malta as other European countries, a photo of a female driver while wearing a full-face veil fuelled a discussion that had been raging across Europe. The discussion subsequently saw Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi weigh in on the debate. [MaltaToday] Read more

10 October 2015

Zunera Ishaq, who challenged ban on niqab, takes citizenship oath wearing it

Teacher from Pakistan calls all the political heat on her 'sad' and 'disappointing'. The Ontario woman who won court battles affirming her right to wear a niqab while taking the citizenship oath finally took part in the ceremony on Friday afternoon.

Zunera Ishaq cried as she took the oath at a government building in Mississauga, Ont., west of Toronto.

"Thank you so much for honouring me here today," she said.

Afterward, in an interview with CBC News, Ishaq said it meant a lot for her to finally get Canadian citizenship.

"It actually confirmed my belief in the justice system of ... Canada," she said.

During the ceremony, Ishaq said, her affection for her new country caused her to well up.

"I was feeling pretty much that love which I already have in my, within myself for Canada. And you know, the same feelings as I was feeling in the oath, that definitely this is the country to whom I have to be loyal." [CBC/Radio-Canada] Read more

09 October 2015

Saudi Arabia protests over Czech 'Satanic Verses' 27 years after uproar

Saudi Arabia summoned the Czech ambassador to protest against a new translation of Salman Rushdie's book "Satanic Verses", Saudi state media said on Friday, 27 years after the novel triggered mass demonstrations and a death threat against the author.

The kingdom told the ambassador the book insulted both Islam and Muslims and asked him to try and halt its publication, the SPA agency added, citing a source in the Saudi foreign ministry.

Prague-based literary publisher Paseka told Reuters it had not heard of any complaint, and its 5,000-strong print run of the book, released in April, had already almost sold out.

Company director Filip Mikes said it had now published 11 of Rushdie's titles. "We have been and will continue to publish (Rushdie)," he added. The book's translator used a pseudonym.

The Czech foreign ministry said the book had come up in a meeting with Saudi authorities, and its ambassador had explained the publication was allowed under Czech law. [Reuters] Read more