29 February 2016

Muslim preschools 'linked to Islamist groups'

Austria’s Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) wants to introduce tighter controls on Islamic kindergartens to prevent radicalization and said he believed the study was necessary because there is a danger of “parallel societies emerging”.

The author of the study, Ednan Aslan, is a professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies at Vienna University. He found that the religious education preached by several of the capital's 150 Muslim establishments led to "theologically-motivated isolation" and robbed children of their autonomy through "intimidation".

"Intellectual Salafists and political Islamists are the dominant groups in the Islamic kindergarten scene in Vienna," the study concluded.

“In many of their publications the Muslim Brotherhood and Milli Gorus reject the Western way of life as an inferior worldview,” Aslan writes in the 178 page study. [The Local] Read more

Young British girls forced into marriage over Skype

Girls in Britain as young as 11 are being forced into marriage via the internet while others are being secretly wed over the phone, two charities said on Monday.

Imams in Britain and abroad have been conducting ceremonies using Skype to marry British girls remotely to men abroad, said the charity Freedom, which campaigns against forced marriage.

The new husband is often promised that he will get a visa to come to Britain.

In one case, an 11-year-old girl from London was married on Skype to a 25-year-old man in Bangladesh, Freedom's founder Aneeta Prem said.

The girl, who hadn't understood the significance of the Skype call at the time, contacted Freedom after reading a book about forced marriage by Prem that her brother was given at school.

"As soon as she was old enough the family were planning to take her out to consummate the marriage," Prem said. [Thomson Reuters Foundation] Read more

Imam at Danish mosque: Stone women to death

A hidden camera showed Abu Bilal Ismail, an imam at the mosque, teaching a class about what he says is the appropriate punishment for adultery.

“If a married or divorced women engages in fornication, and she is not a virgin, she should be stoned to death,” Ismail says in the video clip.

“If someone violates their marriage, either man or woman, they commit adultery and their blood is thus halal [acceptable under Muslim law, ed.] and they should be killed by stoning. If the woman is a virgin, the punishment is whipping,” he says.

The clip also shows the imam advocating an “eye for an eye” policy.

“If someone kills a Muslim, then they should be killed,” he says, before adding that anyone who abandons their religion should also be killed. [The Local] Read more

Sharia courts in the UK are run by extremists who back cutting off criminals' hands, says Muslim scholar

Sharia courts administering Islamic justice in Britain are run by clerics who believe some offenders should have their hands chopped off, an investigation has found.

Muslim scholar Elham Manea said that some clerics also believe girls can be married at the age of 12 and described their prevailing attitude as ‘totalitarian’ and more backward than some parts of Pakistan.

The findings from the human rights specialist come amid continuing controversy over the role of sharia courts, which rule in family and inheritance disputes between Muslims who agree to be bound by the decisions. There are thought to be around 85 operating in Britain.

Last December, Home Secretary Theresa May set up an independent review into their role, amid fears that they discriminate against women.

Professor Manea, who is based at Zurich University, spent four years speaking to clerics at sharia courts in London and the Midlands. Her book on the project concludes that the courts represent ‘closed communities’.

Her findings, published by The Sunday Times, said that they increase ‘segregation, inequality and discrimination’ and can encourage ‘political instability and home-grown terrorism’. [Daily Mail] Read more

Young British girls forced into marriage over Skype

Girls in Britain as young as 11 are being forced into marriage via the internet while others are being secretly wed over the phone, two charities said on Monday.

Imams in Britain and abroad have been conducting ceremonies using Skype to marry British girls remotely to men abroad, said the charity Freedom, which campaigns against forced marriage.

The new husband is often promised that he will get a visa to come to Britain.

In one case, an 11-year-old girl from London was married on Skype to a 25-year-old man in Bangladesh, Freedom's founder Aneeta Prem said.

The girl, who hadn't understood the significance of the Skype call at the time, contacted Freedom after reading a book about forced marriage by Prem that her brother was given at school.

"As soon as she was old enough the family were planning to take her out to consummate the marriage," Prem said.

"She had been pulled out of school and was being taught to be a housewife." [Thomson Reuters Foundation] Read more

28 February 2016

France: Criticize Islam and Live under Police Protection

"You are sentenced to death. It's just a matter of time." This message, in Arabic, was sent by Islamists to Laurence Marchand-Taillade, National Secretary of the Parti Radical de Gauche (Radical Party of the Left). She now lives under the protection of the French police.

Marchand-Taillade forced the Muslim Brotherhood to withdraw, under pressure from France's Interior Ministry, its invitation of three Islamic fundamentalists to a conference in Lille.

The Islamists in question were the Syrian Mohamed Rateb al Nabulsi, the Moroccan Abouzaid al Mokrie and the Saudi Abdullah Salah Sana'an, who deem that the penalty for homosexuality is death, that the international coalition against the Islamic State is "infidel," that Jews "destroy the nations" and that only religious music is permitted.

Laurence Marchand-Taillade published an article in Le Figaro in which she called for the ban of these Islamists with their "anti-Semitic and pro-jihadist message." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

UK’s sharia courts ‘ignore marital rape’ - A new book on the clerics who decide disputes in Islamic communities finds some condone domestic abuse and child marriage

THE Islamic law propagated by some sharia courts in the UK is more antiquated and extreme than in parts of Pakistan, according to a new book that claims they are prepared to condone wife-beating, ignore marital rape and allow a father to annul his daughter’s marriage if he dislikes her choice of groom.

The book is the result of a four-year investigation into the network of about 80 Islamic “councils” that decide disputes within Muslim communities by Elham Manea, an expert in Islamic law and human rights who is herself a Muslim.

Manea, a political scientist and professor at Zurich University in Switzerland, visited sharia courts in London and the Midlands where she interviewed clerics who have passed judgment on thousands of British Muslims, as well as listening to online recordings of their speeches.

She discovered that a number of them believe girls as young as 12 can be married and agreed with the notion that some offenders should have their hands chopped off as “corporal punishment”. [The Sunday Times (£)] Read more

27 February 2016

Saudi man gets 10 years, 2,000 lashes over atheist tweets

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism in hundreds of Twitter posts.

Al-Watan online daily said Saturday that religious police in charge of monitoring social networks found more than 600 tweets denying the existence of God, ridiculing Quranic verses, accusing all prophets of lies and saying their teachings fueled hostilities.

It says the 28-year-old man admitted to being an atheist and refused to repent, saying that what he wrote reflected his own beliefs and that he had the right to express them. The report did not name the man.

The court also fined him 20,000 riyals, about $5,300. [AP] Read more

26 February 2016

Sexism row as mosque turns away women worshippers

The Islamic Centre in Soho is a mosque where women cannot pray. A sign clearly states no facilities for "sisters", and tells them to go elsewhere.

Anita Nayyar used to go to the Soho mosque. But she claims that on a number of occasions she was asked to leave, and that friends were told the same.

"I had two friends go there with their elderly mother. She has been told to go to this other mosque half a mile away.

She can't walk that far and she would have missed her prayer. I had another friend who went to pray there she knew that they had a ban she just went straight in because she needed to pray and the man in the mosque tried to take her out of the mosque."

We went to the mosque to ask if they have, on occasions, asked women to leave and to explain why they've put up the sign. At the door a man told us no one was available to comment today. [ITN News] Read more

Saudi religious police trained to fight black magic

Religious police in Saudi Arabia have begun training on how to fight black magic and arrest those involved in black art reports Emirates 247.

The ‘Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,’ also known as the religious police are responsible for upholding the country’s strict laws on sex segregation and other moral issues.

According to reports, 30 members of the ‘Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice’ have completed a five-day course on combating magic at the Commission’s headquarters in the capital Riyadh.

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The course covered theoretical and practical measures on how to deal with magic and destroy black art work as well as how to identify magicians and sorcerers.

Magic is strictly banned in Saudi Arabia, and in 2012, the country is reported to have charged 215 magicians. [Asian Image] Read more

Muslim woman who eloped with Christian man and embraced Jesus killed by her own family in Egypt honour killing

A Muslim woman divorcee whose romance to a Christian man prompted her to convert to Christianity was killed by members of her family in Tamia, Egypt in yet another case of honour killing.

Marwa Mohamed, 26, was killed by her cousins and uncle in front of her parents and siblings after she was forcibly brought back to her hometown in Tamia, 87 km southwest of Cairo. Her body was reportedly dumped near a cemetery.

Her younger sister was also made to slit her older sister's throat "as a way to deter her from following in her footsteps,'Egyptian media quoted sources as saying.

The romance between Marwa, a Muslim mother of two (Sahar, 8 and Omar, 6) and her Coptic neighbor Karim Eid, 27, started in 2013.

George Fahmi, a relative of Eid and a resident of the same place, told authorities after the tragedy that Marwa used to frequent a nearby Christian jeweller's shop where Eid was working. The frequent meetings ended in the couple eloping and heading to Alexandria (280 km away from Tamia) during the summer of 2013. [Christian Today] Read more

25 February 2016

This racist backlash against refugees is the real crisis in Europe

A coalition of the inhumane is rising in Europe. A group of political leaders have been meeting this week in Vienna to coordinate how to seal the western Balkan refugee passage. The countries involved, including Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia, don’t want to risk hosting thousands of stranded people in their poor societies. They expect that by intentionally causing a humanitarian disaster in Greece they are going to stop the misery of the world getting in their backyard. Only this week Greece pleaded with Macedonia to reopen its border as 4,000 refugees became stranded.

Meanwhile the four Visegrád countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) who have not been not invited to join these discussions, are also at the forefront of this ideological campaign to seal the Balkan route. Their motivation is based on an Islamophobic narrative, as advocated by Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, a self-declared enemy of liberal democracy and consolidator of a Christian front against the Islamisation of Europe. [1636 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 492 votes] I think the backlash is mainly against economic imigrants rather than real refugees.

I don't think it is racist either. Most people don't care what race they are, they just don't want them here

[2ND 392] Relocate them all to Saudi,Qatar, The Emirates, Kuwait, Dubai.... Plenty of room, plenty of money and a shared culture. Europe isn't the place for swarms of Islamic, economic migrants.

[3RD 350] It's also a matter of scale, the sheer number of people, potentially millions and millions (and the culture they bring with them)

[4TH 346] How about all the people who don't want them but are not racist?

[5TH 304] Take in one million and there will be another two million behind them. Europe must take the hard decision now and close off it's borders.

[6TH 284] We have seen the first signs of disaster associated with this wave of migration

Increased crime
Pressure on public services
Pressure on housing
Pressure on the NHS

We need to close the borders now if we want to be able to take the truly deserving

It's NOT RACIST to be concerned about migration

[7TH 254] The author appears to have a limited knowledge of geography. Why else does he concentrate on the flow of migrants towards Europe. There is plenty of space (and there are plenty of jobs) in the Middle East. [Guardian Cif] Read more

French court upholds radical mosque's closure outside Paris

A French high court has upheld the closure of a mosque outside of Paris because of evidence the Muslim place of worship had been infiltrated by radical Islamists.

In its first ruling regarding such a shutdown order, the Council of State says Thursday that the mosque in Lagny-sur-Marne, east of Paris, still represents a potentially "serious threat to public order and security."

The Interior Ministry says preachers with Salafist ideology have used the mosque to recruit fighters for the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, call for jihad and incite attacks in France and abroad.

The mosque's closure was carried out under France's state of emergency law that went into effect after the Nov. 13 attacks by mostly French and Belgian Islamic extremists that left 130 dead in Paris. [AP] Read more

Egypt Sentences Coptic Teenagers to Prison for Insulting Islam

An Egyptian court sentenced four Coptic Christian teenagers to up to five years in prison on Thursday after finding them guilty of insulting Islam, the latest of a series of high-profile blasphemy convictions that have drawn sharp criticism of Egypt’s judicial system.

The teenagers were convicted in Minya, an arid province south of Cairo, where they had been accused of filming a 32-second video in which they mocked the Muslim mode of prayer, said their lawyer, Maher Naguib.

A prominent TV presenter, a poet and a novelist have received jail sentences in recent months for blasphemy or offending public morals, in cases that seem to be at odds with the image of Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who styles himself as a bulwark against extremism.

The police initiated the prosecution of the Coptic teenagers after a Muslim classmate discovered the video. Three of the teenagers were sentenced to five years in prison, while the fourth, who is still under 18, is to be detained at a juvenile detention center. [NYTimes.com] Read more

Petting zoo owner not prosecuted for ejecting Muslim family

Huub van Leijsen, owner of petting zoo Pukkemuk in Dongen, will not be prosecuted for discrimination for asking a Muslim family to leave his establishment in December. The Public Prosecutor in Breda dismissed the case, Omroep Brabant reports

On December 28th Van Leijsen asked a group of about twenty Muslims to leave the petting zoo after he found their praying on the playground was making the other kids anxious. During the conversation, tempers ran high and eventually the police had to be called in. The group left the petting zoo and their entrance fee as refunded.

The Public Prosecutor decided that nothing discriminatory happened here. The group was not refused from the petting zoo. The praying, argument and police arrival led to behavior that is not desirable on a playground, according to the prosecutor. “There is no question of exclusion on the grounds of their religion, discrimination. [NL Times] Read more

Salman Rushdie fatwa causes outrage

We are outraged to learn that 40 state-run media outlets in Iran have raised $600,000 (£420,000) to add as bounty to Ayatollah Khomeini’s death fatwa on the writer Salman Rushdie because of his novel The Satanic Verses (Report, 22 February). We condemn the Iranian regime, its fatwa and the added bounty. We stand with Rushdie and the many Iranian freethinkers and writers languishing in prison, or facing the death penalty, for exercising their right to free expression and thought.

The Iranian regime must face global condemnation for its incitement to murder. Democratic and secular governments should unequivocally condemn the regime’s fatwa and bounty, demand their immediate cancellation, prioritise human rights and free expression, and side with freethinkers rather than appeasing a theocratic regime. [The Guardian] Read more

Egypt sentences 4 Coptic teenagers for contempt of Islam

An Egyptian court convicted four Coptic Christian teenagers for contempt of Islam on Thursday, after they appeared in a video mocking Muslim prayers, sentencing three to five years in prison and referring a fourth to a juvenile detention facility, one

The harsh ruling — which has followed a surge of blasphemy cases in Egyptian courts — underscores what rights groups describe as a culture of intolerance within the country’s judicial system at a time when the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is seeking to position himself as an advocate for religious reform.

The 30-second video showed the students pretending to pray, with one kneeling on the floor while reciting Qur’anic verses and two others standing behind him and laughing. One waved his hand under a second’s neck in a sign of beheading. The video was filmed during a students’ picnic to mock Islamic State group it beheaded Coptic Christians in Libya last year. [The Washington Post] Read more

24 February 2016

Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the JW3

.... Today, Maajid does not offer platitudes about Islam being a peaceful faith and he tends to be critical of those who do (it is perhaps only fair to observe that in 2010 he was constrained by a clumsy debating motion, but I wonder if he would feel comfortable defending such a blunt proposition today, even for the sake of argument).

For her part, Hirsi Ali no longer describes Islam as a religion with which we are at war. Nor does neuroscientist and new atheist moral philosopher Sam Harris, who recently co-authored a fascinating dialogue with Nawaz entitled Islam and the Future of Tolerance. “I admit” Harris tells Maajid during their exchange, “that I have often contributed to this narrative myself, and rather explicitly”.

On the larger question of religious reform, Hirsi Ali and Nawaz describe the religious and political landscape in similar terms. In his collaboration with Harris, Nawaz talks about Islam as a series of concentric circles of fanaticism and belief. At the center are global jihadists like ISIS and al Qaeda and local jihadists like Hamas, followed by a circle of revolutionary and political Islamists (Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Muslim Brotherhood, respectively), all of whom are working in their own ways to establish a theocracy, and marshal transnational Muslim support for their project. In her recent book Heretic, Hirsi Ali refers to the above as ‘Medina Muslims’ who draw inspiration from the warlike, triumphalist chapters of Muhammad’s life. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Italy's top court rejects Lombardy's 'anti-mosque' bid

A bid by the Lombardy region to limit the construction of new mosques has been rejected by Italy’s top court.

The region’s right-wing leadership approved regulations, which became known as “anti-mosque” laws, in January 2015, but Prime Minister Matteo Renzi later referred the new rules to the Constitutional Court for review.

Roberto Maroni, the Northern League president of the Lombardy region, took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce the court’s decision, adding that left-wing politicians were hailing it “Allah”.

“The court has rejected our law regulating the construction of new mosques," Maroni wrote. "The left celebrates: Allah Akbar.”

The region had sought to subject anyone wanting to build a mosque, or other place of worship for a faith not officially recognized by the state, to an exhaustive list of restrictions, effectively preventing any new construction. [The Local] Read more

News From the Magic Kingdom

From Saudi Arabia comes the news that the mutaween, the feared religious police under the control of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, who patrol the streets and regulate the daily life of the populace, are now being given five-day courses in how to recognize, and then how to neutralize, a small army of wizards, witches, ghosts, demons, fortunetellers in the Magic Kingdom.

Apparently it’s a big problem. Why, there have even been reports of leprechaun-like creatures – possibly they’ve wandered down from the Old Sod to end up in the Empty Quarter – who find it great fun to persuade innocent Saudis to break the rules of Sharia. All these dealers in the magical and supernatural will be hunted down, and dealt with sternly, by the Saudi religious police — “sternly” can mean anything from long prison sentences to decapitation. Such worries are not new to the Saudis, however — the official anti-witchcraft unit within the Ministry of the Interior was first formed in May 2009. [New English Review] Read more

Iranian media outlets add £430,000 to bounty on Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie's head

Iranian media outlets have added £430,000 to a multi-million pound bounty for the killing of Sir Salman Rushdie 27 years after a death fatwa was issued over his 'blasphemous' The Satanic Verses.

On February 14, 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the county's Islamic revolution, called on all Muslims to murder the author and anyone involved in the publication of his work.

Iranian hardliners say Khomeini's decree is irrevocable and eternal after his death. And this month 40 state-run news organisations announced they are adding money to the reward.

A wealthy Iranian religious organisation initially offered £1.9million ($2.7 million) reward to anyone carrying out the fatwa and in 2012 it increased the amount to £2.4million ($3.3 million).

Now the semi-official Fars news agency has published a list of news outlets adding to the pot. Fars itself earmarked £21,400 ($30,000). [Daily Mail] Read more

23 February 2016

Facebook restores Arab atheist groups ....but cyber-jihadists resume their attacks

Yesterday I wrote about Facebook's mass closure of groups used by Arab atheists and secularists following attacks by Muslim activists. Facebook now seems to have had second thoughts about its decision and over the last 24 hours almost all the affected groups have been restored.

This morning, however, the restored groups were reporting fresh attacks by cyber-jihadists.

The attacks mostly take two forms. One is to bombard Facebook with vexatious complaints, accusing the atheist groups of hate speech and other breaches of Facebook's "community standards". (The affected groups insist that they do not allow hate speech and take steps to prevent it.)

A second tactic is to infiltrate the groups and deliberately post offensive material in order to complain about it to Facebook. Sometimes the offensive material is disguised so that group administrators will not immediately spot it. According to Usama al-Binni of the Arab Atheist Network, one of the groups that was blocked and then restored: [al-bab.com] Read more

Iranian heavy metal band face execution after being charged with blasphemy for 'writing satanic music and speaking to foreign radio stations'

Two members of an Iranian heavy metal band could be executed for blasphemy after they were arrested by the state's religious guard and accused of writing 'satanic' music.

Nikan Siyanor Khosravi, 23, and Khosravi Arash Ilkhani, 21, the core members of the band Confess, are believed to have been arrested and jailed on November 10.

Held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison by the Revolutionary Guards until February 5, the pair wrote and released their own heavy metal albums and ran a record label.

Their latest album, released in October, included tracks named 'Teh-Hell-Ran' and 'I'm Your God Now', both of which would likely rankle with the state's hardline Islamic leadership.

Tara Sepehri Far, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, told MailOnline the pair likely faced up to five years in prison. [Daily Mail] Read more

22 February 2016

Thousands demand headscarf ban in Valais

With an eye on Muslim hijab, Swiss People’s Party members in canton Valais have collected more than 4,000 signatures calling for a ban on headgear in public schools – despite a recent federal court decision rejecting a similar ban in another part of the country.

The initiative committee, led by the Valais branch of the conservative right People’s Party, submitted 4,385 certified signatures supporting the popular initiative on Monday – about 10% more than required.

Now it’s up to canton Valais to either amend the current law or to draw up a new one; if that doesn’t happen within three years, then voters will decide on the matter via a referendum.

Parliamentarian Jean-Luc Addor, co-head of the initiative committee, says that while headscarves don’t currently pose a problem in canton Valais, the situation could change. He considers headscarves a sign of the subjugation of women. [swissinfo] Read more

State-funded Danish Muslim school tells girls not to date

The private Muslim school Iqra Privatskole, located in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district, received 18.5 million kroner in state-funded support in 2015. But the school’s outlook on dating may put future funding in jeopardy.

The school’s psychologist told Radio24syv in an interview that the school tells its female pupils not to have boyfriends.

“It is a command from God that one must not enter sexual relationships or dating relationships,” Amina Djondjorova told Radio24syv.

“It is hard to maintain the religious Islamic regulations in a society where they [the school’s students, ed.] see that others around them live in a different way. But nevertheless we try to tell them that it is best to refrain from acting on a crush,” she added.

The psychologist’s remarks led Copenhagen City Council member Lars Aslan Rasmussen to call for the school’s funding to be yanked. [The Local] Read more

21 February 2016

'Liberty' alliance calls for halt on Muslims

Kirralie Smith, the NSW Senate candidate for the newly formed Australian Liberty Alliance has called for a 10-year pause on Muslim immigration.

In an interview with Sky News Ms Smith said that Muslim culture is 'not compatible to our democratic values of freedom'.

'Islam is more than a religion, it's a totalitarian ideology with political ideology,' the Senate hopeful said.

Ms Smith outlined that her party 'does not have a problem with people who want to integrate,' but citied examples in Europe of Muslim people forming enclaves, which she fears could happen in Australia.

'There are many people in this country who have read the Koran, who have genuine concerns.

'We need to have an honest debate,' she said. [Sky News] Read more

Salman Rushdie: Iranian state media renew fatwa on Satanic Verses author with $600,000 bounty

Forty state-run Iranian media outlets have jointly offered a new $600,000 bounty for the death of British Indian author Salman Rushdie, according to the state-run Fars News Agency.

Fars News Agency, which is closely affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), was among the largest contributors, donating one billion Rials - nearly $30,000.

The announcement coincides with the anniversary of the fatwa issued the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, the agency said.

Ayatollah Khomeini, the First Supreme Leader of Iran, issued the fatwa against Rushdie on charges of blasphemy for his novel The Satanic Verses on 15 February, 1989.

The Ayatollah called for the death of the book's author along with anyone "involved in its publication".

Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses, was stabbed to death outside his office at Tsukuba University, the Italian translator Ettore Capriolo survived being stabbed at his apartment in Milan, and the novel's Norwegian publisher was shot three times in the back and left for dead outside his home in Oslo. [The Independent] Read more

20 February 2016

SC exit poll: 75 percent agree with Trump’s Muslim ban

Three-fourths of Republicans participating in Saturday’s South Carolina GOP primary say they support presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., according to an exit poll.

A CBS News exit poll of Palmetto State primary voters found that 75 percent said they support Trump’s proposal, while 23 percent said they oppose it.

Just days after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. – the worst on U.S. soil since 9/11 – Trump sparked a media backlash for saying that all Muslims should be temporarily banned from entering the country.

The proposal has been ridiculed as impossible to implement and called racist by some, but it has resonated with many people concerned about the potential for terrorists to infiltrate the U.S. [The Hill] Read more

After Paris Terror Attacks, France Struggles With Faith on the Job

A week after the terrorist attacks in France last November, Bachir B., a passenger screener at Orly airport south of Paris, was called into his manager’s office. Bachir, a devout Muslim who wears a thick beard in keeping with his faith, was ordered to trim his facial hair. His boss even offered to buy him a beard clipper as a birthday gift.

While supervisors had sometimes reminded him of a company dress code requiring whiskers to be kept “tidy” and “short,” Bachir said that the rule had been enforced only sporadically over his six years working for Securitas, a private security company. This time, the manager made clear that the new crackdown was “because of what was happening in the news,” said Bachir, who asked that his last name not be used to protect his family’s privacy.

Continue reading the main story

Bachir trimmed his beard that weekend. But he said his boss sent him home about 10 days later, again citing his failure to comply with the dress code. Soon after, Bachir received a registered letter from Securitas, saying that he was fired. [NYTimes.com] Read more

Egyptian writer Ahmed Naji sentenced to two years for 'sexually explicit text'

Writer and journalist Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in prison on Saturday for publishing a “sexually flagrant article” in the state-owned cultural newspaper Akhbar Al-Adab last year.

The Abul-Ela Misdemeanor Appeal Court in Cairo also fined Tareq El-Taher, the editor-in-chief, EGP 10,000.

The verdict comes after the prosecution appealed the same court’s order on 2 January to clear the two defendants of all charges.

The two journalists were originally referred to misdemeanor court last year and stood in trial for the first time on 14 November 2015.

The prosecutor accused Naji of publishing a "flagrant erotic article in which the charged writer published a text that spewed sexual lust and transient pleasures, using his mind and pen to violate public decency and good morals, inciting promiscuity." [Ahram Online] Read more

19 February 2016

Poll: Narrow support for ban on Muslims entering U.S.

A majority of likely Michigan Republican presidential primary voters said they support a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, according to a Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll released Friday.

About 51 percent of 600 likely GOP voters said they backed the idea while 40 percent responded that they opposed it, according to the survey by the Glengariff Group. Around 9 percent of those polled didn’t know or refused to answer.

New York City billionaire and GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump proposed the ban on Dec. 7, five days after Islamic State supporter Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people at a San Bernardino, California, social services center. They were subsequently shot dead by police. [The Detroit News] Read more

First foreign-funded imam thrown out of Austria

Imam Yakup Aynagoz, whose salary is paid by Turkey and who was until now an imam at the Ahi Evran mosque in St Veit an der Gölsen in Lower Austria, was ordered to leave the country within seven days after his visa was not extended.

The controversial new law on Islam was introduced in February last year following allegations that Austria had allowed extremism to gain root in the country.

The claim was backed up by a number of high-profile defections of its citizens to join Islamic State militants, including two schoolgirls who became poster girls for the jihad. Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 16, disappeared in April 2014 and are believed to have died in Syria after being married to fighters in the Isis stronghold of Raqqa.

In Austria, hundreds of mosques and Muslim organisations across the country are funded by foreign governments including Saudi Arabia, which in turn were demanding the right to be allowed to select the imam. They often imported people directly from the Middle East with little understanding of European culture and no knowledge of the German language. [The Local] Read more

Human rights activist: ‘Sharia Bill is vital legislation’

.... Speaking about her Bill, Baroness Cox said it “seeks to tackle gender discrimination in arbitration proceedings, informal mediations or pseudo-courts.

“It ensures that Muslim women have genuine access to knowledge concerning their rights.”

Rogers compared the proposals to William Wilberforce’s historic campaign for the abolition of the slave trade saying it “seeks to end the slavery of thousands of women in Britain today”.

He also noted that the Bill has already received “widespread support from a diverse range of people and organisations”.

This includes the Muslim Women’s Advisory Council, the National Secular Society and Passion for Freedom, as well as cross-party support from Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Peers and MPs. [The Christian Institute] Read more

Islam Can’t Be Modernised’ Says World’s ‘Greatest Arabic Poet’

The writer regarded as the greatest Arabic language poet alive today has said Islam cannot be modernised.

Adunis Asbar, known by his pen name Adonis, is a Syrian-born writer often considered one of the greatest living poets of the Arabic language. He has come under criticism for comments he made recently about Islam before receiving the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize, named after the famous pacifist and author of the classic World War One novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’.

In an interview with Die Welt he talked about one of the most pressing issues in Germany since the migrant crisis began, the idea of being able to integrate migrants from predominately Muslim countries into European societies.

Being raised a Muslim himself and having one of the greatest understandings of the language of the Quran, Adonis said: “You can not reform a religion. If they are reformed, [the original meaning] is separated from it. Therefore, modern Muslims and a modern Islam is already impossible. If there is no separation between religion and state, there will be no democracy especially without equality for women. Then we will keep a theocratic system. So it will end. [Breitbart London] Read more

Teachers at Trojan Horse-linked schools who Islamised pupils' education could have classroom ban lifted

A teacher who tried to Islamise the education of pupils at a Trojan Horse -linked school in Birmingham could return to the classroom in just three years.

The National College for Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) ruled in November that Akeel Ahmed undermined British values and failed to teach students at the former Park View Academy respect and tolerance to different faiths.

Now the Department for Education has ruled that the 41-year-old, of Wolverhampton, should be banned from teaching - but he could apply to have the ban lifted in 2019.

And fellow Park View teacher Inamulhaq Anwar - who also allowed “an undue amount of religious influence” on the education of pupils - has also been banned from the classroom, but could return in six years should he successfully apply to remove the prohibition order.

The 35-year-old, of Bordesley Green, was also previously found guilty of Islamising the curriculum through his former role on the governing body of Nansen Primary. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Trojan Horse scandal: Teachers banned indefinitely

Two teachers who worked at the school at the centre of the "Trojan Horse" scandal have been banned from the classroom for life.

Inamulhaq Anwar, 34, and Akeel Ahmed, 41, had denied stepping up religious influence in education at Park View Academy in Alum Rock, Birmingham.

A professional standards panel handed the men interim teaching bans in 2015.

Mr Anwar and Mr Ahmed can apply to have their new bans set aside but only after minimum terms have elapsed.

The men had denied a central allegation they had agreed with others to the inclusion of "an undue amount of religious influence in pupils' education".

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) said Mr Anwar would serve an indefinite ban for a minimum period of six years. [BBC] Read more

18 February 2016

In and around Brussels, the practice of Islam is outstripping Christianity

.... Then turn to Brussels, some parts of which host large communities of Moroccan and Turkish immigrants, mostly from religiously conservative regions of those countries. Among respondents in the city, practising Catholics amounted to 12% and non-practising ones to 28%. Some 19% were active Muslims and another 4% were of Muslim identity without practising the faith. The atheist/agnostic camp came to 30%.

Among all respondents, levels of active adherence to Catholicism seemed to diminish dramatically with age, while the practice of Islam increased correspondingly. Thus among respondents aged 55 and over, practising Catholics amounted to 30% and practising Muslims to less than 1%; but among those aged between 18 and 34, active adherence to Islam (14%) exceeded the practice of Catholicism (12%). Admittedly the sample (600 people in all) is small.

But if this trend continues, practitioners of Islam may soon comfortably exceed devout Catholics not just in cosmopolitan Brussels, as is the case already, but across the whole of Belgium’s southern half. [The Economist] Read more

Women can’t ask for divorce without husband’s consent, rules CII

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has declared ‘Khula’ (right of a woman to seek divorce) without the consent of a husband to dissolve a marriage, is un-Islamic.

According to The Express Tribune, the powerful religious body observed on Thursday that courts were dissolving nikkahs in the name of ‘Khula’, which was not correct since only the husband had the right to grant ‘Khula’ after which courts could dissolve marriage contracts.

Urging civil courts to differentiate between ‘Khula’ and a unilateral dissolution of marriage through a court order, the CII said several women who had dissolved their marriages using ‘Khula’ were still not certain if their marriage had actually been dissolved.

A civil court decreeing dissolution of marriage on a wife’s plea without her husband’s consent, under the name of Khula, would be in violation of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, the council observed. [Daily Pakistan Global] Read more

17 February 2016

Dutch implement new restrictions on halal and kosher meat

The Netherlands is set to sharpen up laws around ritually-slaughtered meat. Martijn van Dam, junior minister for economic affairs, wants stricter rules on meat from animals killed with ‘ritual’ methods instead of being stunned, to reduce suffering.

In a letter to MPs on Wednesday, Van Dam wrote: ‘I find the current implementation unacceptable. Negative effects on animal welfare must be minimised.’ Meat from ritually-killed animals must be clearly labelled, available in religious communities only rather than the ‘regular’ meat chain, and cannot be exported, he wrote. The rules will apply from January next year. [DutchNews] Read more

The report you’ve all been waiting for: defining ‘normative’ Islam

Where does one start with this? Here’s how 5Pillars introduces its report:

"An independent survey commissioned by 5Pillars has revealed that an overwhelming consensus exists amongst influential British Muslims about their faith.

The survey which was carried out by market research company PCP asked participants to state their level of agreement to 95 statements categorised under twelve subject areas about Islamic beliefs and practices.

The findings were compiled and entitled the ‘Normative Islam Report’, which was published earlier today at the London Muslim Centre

Out of a list of 352 British Muslim leaders which was submitted to PCP by 5Pillars, 150 completed the survey."

Their executive summary is here. My own executive summary: this project seeks to disown the most violent ISIS supporting extremists, privilege orthodox or conservative Islam while apparently fudging its true nature, and completely sideline more secular and liberal Muslim voices.

They only asked Muslim leaders to respond – and made their own decisions, of course, about who those leaders are. I would guess that no Muslims associated with liberal organisations such as Quilliam or BMSD, were invited, and I noticed that the option ‘Ahmadi’ was not offered alongside Sunni and Shia. (One of the statements people were invited to agree with was “The Prophet Muhammad is the last and final prophet and messenger of God”). [Harry’s Place] Read more

Thousands of pupils at unregistered schools 'are at risk of radicalisation because of misogynistic, homophobic and Islamic-focused curriculums,' experts fear

At least 21 schools that haven't been officially registered in Britain are being investigated over fears some of them are radicalising pupils with 'narrow Islamic-focused curriculums', it has been claimed.

Education chiefs are said to be probing a host of 'illegal' schools across the country, a number of which are allegedly teaching hate-filled, misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic material to children.

Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said ministers needed to take immediate action to deal with the issue, claiming children at unregistered schools 'could be in harm's way'.

The Labour MP told The Sun: 'Despite warning after warning, they [ministers] have dragged their feet, leaving children in unregistered schools where they could be in harm's way.

'It is extremely worrying that Ofsted remains concerned that the number of children being educated in unregistered provision far exceeds the number currently known by the Government.' [Daily Mail] Read more

16 February 2016

Bangladesh arrests publisher for books said to hurt Muslims

A Bangladeshi court placed a publishing house owner and two other people on remand Tuesday for publishing books alleged to hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.

Metropolitan Magistrate Amirul Islam Chowdhury made the order after police produced publisher Shamsuzzoha Manik, his office executive Shamsul Alam and printing press owner Taslim Uddin. Police will be questioning Manik for five days, Alam for one day and Uddin for two days.

The arrests followed the shutdown Monday of a stall of the "Badwip Prokshan," the publishing house owned by Manik, at a major monthlong book fair in Dhaka.

Six books were seized from the stall, police official Abdul Baten told a news conference.

The arrests were made after some readers complained that the books discussed sex and perversion of Muslims.

They would face up to 14 years in jail if convicted of violating the country's information technology law. [Associated Press] Read more

15 February 2016

The Islamic extremists taking over UK prisons: Muslims make up just one in 20 Britons - but one in SEVEN inmates. As Levi Bellfield embraces Islam, we reveal how fanatics recruit behind bars in 'jihadi jails'

Friday morning in Wakefield Prison and Yusuf Rahim joins 60 other Muslim prisoners as they head to the jail’s gym to say their prayers. If nothing else, it is a chance to get out of his cell and take a break from the normal routine.

The same goes for the halal food the 47-year-old is served every mealtime — Rahim is particularly partial to the spicy vegetable curry — an improvement on the normal prison fare.

And there is one other advantage to his new-found religion. Because, as one of Britain’s most reviled murderers, he is banking on his Muslim ‘brothers’ providing him with some level of protection during his time inside. Friday morning in Wakefield Prison and Yusuf Rahim joins 60 other Muslim prisoners as they head to the jail’s gym to say their prayers. If nothing else, it is a chance to get out of his cell and take a break from the normal routine.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 3306 votes] This is what happens when you give religion unnecessary reverence - in places where the worst of society loom, the extremists will exploit every opportunity. This country is in trouble - the British people may have to find their backbone...

[2ND 2601] Why is it that all the converts never look too bright?

[3RD 2336] We would free up our prisons if we brought back hanging for those who terrorise this country! [Daily Mail] Read more

Hitting that does not make her ugly

Mufti of Gaza Hassan al-Lahan explains how to hit your wife:

"Warn them [the wives] and separate from them." The separation means separation in the bedroom, in the home. Not outside. In other words, he will not show other people that there is a problem.

But inside the home, at bedtime, if he separates from her and does not speak to her in the bedroom, she will ask why, and he will explain: "You made a mistake and I am angry about it." Perhaps this will lead to reconciliation... After the warning and separation, comes the hitting - hitting that does not make her ugly.

The Prophet [Muhammad] said: "Do not hit the face and do not make her ugly." (Hadith) In other words, not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly. No. As it is said [in a Hadith] "If not for this (i.e., the fear of retaliation), I would give you painful blows with a small brush." ... The hitting is not meant to disfigure, harm, or degrade. [Mick Hartley] Read more

Soaring crimes by Muslim men forcing Christians, women, gays to leave asylum centres in Germany

Skyrocketing complaints about religious and ethnic-based crimes have forced many Christians, women and homosexuals to leave Germany's asylum facilities by the droves.

The latest in the issue of Germany's migration crisis was revealed by local newspapers as the country continues to cope with migrant influx mostly from the Middle East and Africa. Germany accepted 1.1 million migrants in 2015.

According to German newspaper Die Welt, Christians, gays and women are leaving these facilities due to soaring instances of violence, intimidation and crimes allegedly perpetrated by Muslim men.

.... Reacting to the systematic persecution of Christians, Martin Lessenthin, CEO of the International Society for Human Rights, said: "It's common to see both Christians and Yazidis subject to torment and beatings and while it is not desirable to accommodate migrants separately, it be may be inevitable for the safety of the minorities.'' [Christian Today] Read more

14 February 2016

Valentine's Day condemned by Pakistan President because it has nothing to do with Muslims

Valentine's Day is a Western construct that clashes with Muslim culture, Pakistan's President has said as the country's religious groups try to ban celebrations.

Mamnoon Hussain, of the Pakistan Muslim League party, told students the day for red roses and love cards has no links to Pakistani culture and should not be celebrated. “Valentine’s Day has no connection with our culture,” he said at an event on Friday in which he urged young people to “always maintain their religious and national identity,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Although Valentines's Day remains popular among many Pakistani, with street vendors selling flowers and ballons and restaurants offering special deals for two, religious groups have long denounced the day for romance as decadent. [The Independent] Read more

13 February 2016

New app helps young Iranians avoid Islamic Republic’s ‘morality police’

A new smartphone application that helps Iranians dodge the Islamic Republic’s “morality police” is proving popular with the young, tech-savvy population but has quickly fallen foul of the authorities.

The Gershad app allows users who spot checkpoints set up by the morality police, who enforce Islamic dress and behavior codes, to tag their location on a Google map with an icon of a bearded man, enabling others to steer clear of them.

The app was blocked by the authorities soon after it was released for Android devices on Monday but many Iranians bypass Internet restrictions by using a Virtual Private Network.

It is already trending on social media and has received almost 800 reviews on the Google Play app store, nearly all of them positive, although Google Play does not show how many times Gershad had been downloaded.

Gershad is seen by some as setting a precedent for “digital protest” in Iran as elections loom and the country emerges from years if isolation following the lifting of international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program. [Reuters] Read more

Pakistan president condemns St Valentine's Day

Pakistan's president has denounced St Valentine's Day, saying the festival has no connection with Pakistani culture and should be avoided.

President Mamnoon Hussain told students that it was a Western tradition and conflicted with Muslim culture.

His remarks came after a district in north-western Pakistan banned Valentine's Day celebrations.

Valentine's Day is popular in many cities in Pakistan, but religious groups have denounced it as decadent.

Earlier this week, the local government in Kohat, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told police officers to stop shops from selling Valentine's Day cards and items.

Kohat district is run by a religious political party and borders Pakistan's conservative tribal areas.

Meanwhile, the Peshawar local council also passed a resolution to ban celebrations of what it called a "useless" day. [BBC] Read more

12 February 2016

Around 30 Salafist mosques now in Belgium

“Around 30 Belgian mosques are subject to a Salafist influence,” or double the estimation made in 2001 in a report of the so-called Comité R (which monitors the information services), La Libre Belgique indicates on Friday.

It also states that it has obtained this estimate from a legitimate source.

The Belgian information service considers henceforth that Salafism has definitely become entrenched in the country, and indeed in various ways (whether with pietists, in politics or jihadists).

This situation is particularly noticeable with the presence of imams or mosque leaders, groups of believers or indeed preachers of the Koran who are inspired by this highly stringent and conservative Islamic trend.

The majority of these mosques are not recognized and escape the State Security screening process, which is called upon to give its opinion each time a formal recognition case is submitted to the Muslim Executive. At the current time, only 13 mosques are recognized in the Brussels area, whilst there are at least around 70 in the Brussels-Capitale region and 320 across the country, states La Libre. [The Brussels Times] Read more

Some 250 minors in the Netherlands may get ‘married’ every year

A new report on child and illegal religious marriages in the Netherlands suggests some 250 under-18s may get married every year. The report by researchers at the Verwey-Jonker Institute and Maastricht University was carried out on behalf of the social affairs ministry.

The researchers say the figure is an ‘educated guess’, based on the evidence of social workers, immigration officials and other professionals, and covers the period 2013 and 2014.

Exact figures are hard to establish because in most cases the marriages take place abroad, and in some cases the children are left behind in that country, the report states. Other ceremonies take place within closed communities, out of sight of the Dutch authorities. [DutchNews] Read more

The Sexual Misery of the Arab World

AFTER Tahrir came Cologne. After the square came sex. The Arab revolutions of 2011 aroused enthusiasm at first, but passions have since waned. Those movements have come to look imperfect, even ugly: For one thing, they have failed to touch ideas, culture, religion or social norms, especially the norms relating to sex. Revolution doesn’t mean modernity.

The attacks on Western women by Arab migrants in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve evoked the harassment of women in Tahrir Square itself during the heady days of the Egyptian revolution.

The reminder has led people in the West to realize that one of the great miseries plaguing much of the so-called Arab world, and the Muslim world more generally, is its sick relationship with women.

In some places, women are veiled, stoned and killed; at a minimum, they are blamed for sowing disorder in the ideal society. In response, some European countries have taken to producing guides of good conduct to refugees and migrants.

.... In some of Allah’s lands, the war on women and on couples has the air of an inquisition. During the summer in Algeria, brigades of Salafists and local youths worked up by the speeches of radical imams and Islamist TV preachers go out to monitor female bodies, especially those of women bathers at the beach.

The police hound couples, even married ones, in public spaces. Gardens are off-limits to strolling lovers. Benches are sawed in half to prevent people from sitting close together. [NYTimes.com] Read more

Moderate London imam 'forced to resign from his mosque after physical and online threats were made against him for joining anti-extremism group Quillam'

A moderate imam has been forced to resign from his mosque after he was threatened with violence for joining anti-extremism group Quillam.

Sheikh Dr Salah Ansari al-Azhari has announced he is leaving Palmers Green Mosque in London because he was threatened shortly after he revealed he was joining the counter-extremist London-based think tank.

A Quilliam member told Breitbart London that the threats were part of a 'coordinated campaign' against the moderate Muslim.

The unnamed source said the organisation has 'screen shots' of online messages that were circulated which suggest the threats were organised.

Qulliam announced he was joining their team three days ago as a senior researcher in the Theology and Outreach Team. [Daily Mail] Read more

Denmark is opening its first female-led mosque

Mosques are “male-dominated and patriarchal places, where a man is at the speaking platform, a man leads prayer, a man is in focus and dominant”, says Sherin Khankan, an academic and one of four female imams in Denmark.

It is for this reason that she has set up Copenhagen’s first female-led mosque, a “feminist project” designed to facilitate worship “on women’s terms.”

Having come up with the idea more than a year ago, Khankan – who has a Muslim Syrian father and a Christian Finnish mother – is determined to broaden Islam’s appeal to her fellow countrywomen.

“I have never felt at home in the existing mosques. The new grand mosques are unbelievably beautiful, but I have the feeling of being a stranger when I am there,” she told Danish newspaper Politiken. [The Telegraph] Read more

The court in Elsinore has sentenced a man fined for comparing Islam with Nazism

“…The ideology of Islam is every bit as loathsome, nauseating, oppressive and dehumanizing as Nazism. The massive immigration of Islamists into Denmark is the most devastating event Danish society has suffered in recent historical times.”

Thursday morning these words cost Flemming Nielsen 1,600 kroner. He was sentenced to four day-fines of 400 kroner for violating the Penal Code §266b paragraph 1, also called the racism paragraph. This is from a judgment rendered by a Court in Elsinore.

The accused, Flemming Nielsen, had written the words on Facebook in late November 2013.

“I did not violate the article I have been accused of. I did not mention the religion of Islam or Muslims with one word. I referred to Islamists and the ideology of Islam,” said Flemming Nielsen to TV2.dk immediately after the verdict. [Gates of Vienna] Read more

09 February 2016

Anti-Islam movement PEGIDA stages protests across Europe

Germany’s anti-Islam PEGIDA movement staged rallies in several cities across Europe on Saturday to protest against the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

The movement, whose name stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, originated in the eastern German city of Dresden in 2014, with supporters seizing on a surge in asylum seekers to warn that Germany risks being overrun by Muslims.

After almost fizzling out early last year, the movement has regained momentum amid deepening public unease over whether Germany can cope with the 1.1 million migrants who arrived in the country during 2015.

.... Police in Dresden declined to estimate the number of protesters. German media put the number at up to 8,000, well below the 15,000 originally expected by police.

Hundreds of counter-demonstrators also marched through Dresden under the motto “Solidarity instead of exclusion”, holding up placards saying “No place for Nazis”.

Far-right groups see Europe’s refugee crisis as an opportunity to broadcast their anti-immigrant message. There were 208 rallies in Germany in the last quarter of 2015, up from 95 a year earlier, Interior Ministry data showed. [Reuters] Read more

German univ. closes interfaith room after Muslim students turn it into mosque, segregate women

TU Dortmund University in Germany recently closed its “Room of Silence” — an interfaith room on campus — after Muslim students converted it into a makeshift mosque and even set up partitions to separate female and male students who sought to use the space.

That according to a five-page memo published last week by the university’s rector, which was written in German and transcribed into English by The College Fix using Google translate.

The letter, dated Feb. 3, spells out how the interfaith room at the public university — which enrolls 33,550 students, 3,200 of whom are foreign students from more than 100 countries — had to be closed after Muslim students repeatedly took it over.

The room opened in 2012 to accommodate the wide variety of faiths on campus and because some Muslim students were praying in staircases, causing a fire hazard, according to the memo, which noted the space was intended as a place where students could enjoy “undisturbed individual religious practice.” [The College Fix] Read more

Geert Wilders: Stopping Islamic Immigration Is a Matter of Survival

In April last year, the renowned nonpartisan Pew Research Center released a report on the future growth of world religions. The content was shocking.

The report states that, if current trends continue, Islam will almost equal Christianity by 2050. While the world’s population is expected to rise by 35 per cent until the middle of this century, Islam will grow with a staggering 73 per cent.

The consequences of future Islamic growth are frightening. Islam is not a religion like Christianity, but rather a totalitarian political ideology. Its goal is primarily political. Islam wants to make the whole world submit.

It aims to establish a worldwide Islamic state and bring everyone, including “infidels,” such as Christians, Jews, atheists, and others, under Sharia law.

This is the barbaric Islamic law which deprives non-Muslims of all rights, treats women as inferior beings, condemns apostates and critics of Islam to death, and condones terror. More Islam equals more violence, more intolerance, more terrorism. [Breitbart] Read more

07 February 2016

Why the Commons should support this Bill to liberate Muslim women

.... What does Baroness Cox’s bill seek to do, and what is the connection with Wilberforce? In essence, the bill seeks to end the slavery of thousands of women in Britain today.

As Baroness Cox said in the Lords last October, there are two interrelated issues to address: “the suffering of women oppressed by religiously sanctioned gender discrimination in this country; and a rapidly developing alternative quasi-legal system which undermines the fundamental principle of one law for all.”

The Arbitration Act 1996 permits a variety of ways of settling certain civil disputes, including arbitration according to sharia principles. The bill will not directly prevent this, but it will introduce better protections for women involved in such disputes, to tackle discrimination and intimidation by religious courts, as well as requiring public authorities to inform women of their legal rights and how to access them, and criminalising anyone attempting to establish a parallel legal system. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Majority of prison imams are 'teaching anti-western' values that promote gender segregation, study claims

Around 70% of Muslim prison chaplains teach a hardline fundamentalist interpretation of Islam which challenges British values and encourages radical thinking.

The findings are expected to be revealed in a new study by former Home Office official Ian Acheson, which is scheduled to be published next month.

Muslim prisoners represent just 10.8% of the total prison population in the UK, with 12,622 people in jail identifying as a Muslim, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The Acheson study was commissioned by justice secretary Michael Gove. It examined 200 Muslim chaplains and found that 140 of the imams working in prisons, had previously studied Deobandi Islam, according to the Sunday Times.

Deobandi Islam first came to prominence in India in reaction to the measures imposed by its colonial British rulers. It takes its name from a madrassa in the Indian town of Deoband, located around 100 mile from the city of Delhi.

Its core elements claim to focus on purifying Islam through the banning of music and promotes gender segregation in an attempt to follow closely a literal interpretation of the Koran. [Mail on Sunday] Read more

Glasgow’s fight over Islam concerns us all

.... Who controls Scotland’s biggest mosque and sanctions what is taught there takes on a particular importance in an age of political, economic and religious extremes. According to Anwar, who has been advising the resigning members, the mosque has been “gripped by vicious civil war between the old guard and young reformers”.

In the past 18 months the reformers have transformed the ethos and culture of the mosque out of all recognition.

In the past, either by accident or design, the mosque was seen as predominantly the preserve of older, conservative men of Pakistani descent, some of whom hold ultra-orthodox views. According to Anwar, those not of Pakistani descent say they often feel excluded from the life of the mosque.

The reformers have challenged the lack of transparency and accountability, calling in the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) over what they allege are financial irregularities.

One of the complaints is about an allegedly unauthorised loan from Glasgow Central Mosque to the influential but controversial organisation Tablighi Jamaat’s Dewsbury mosque in Yorkshire. [The Sunday Times (£)] Read more

Most jail imams teach anti-western values

ABOUT 70% of Muslim prison chaplains espouse a hardline interpretation of Islam that runs contrary to British values and human rights, an independent review has discovered.

The study by Ian Acheson, a former Home Office official, which is expected to be published next month, found about 140 of the 200 Muslim chaplains working in the country’s prisons were imams who had studied Deobandi Islam, which developed in India in the 19th century as a reaction against British colonialism, forbids music and promotes gender segregation.

A senior Whitehall official said: “It is of great concern that the majority of Muslim chaplains in prisons propagate a fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic scripture which is contrary to British values and human rights. Such imams are unlikely to aid the deradicalisation of Islamists in in prisons and could potentially even make them more firm in their beliefs. [The Sunday Times (£)] Read more

06 February 2016

Muslim Labour councillors 'sabotaged and blocked Muslim women from standing for election'

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to act after a Birmingham women’s group claimed male Muslim councillors were blocking female Muslims from standing for election because of ‘systematic misogyny’.

Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) has made an official complaint to the party claiming female candidates had been ‘undermined, sabotaged and blocked’ from standing for public office.

In a letter to the Labour leader Shaista Gohir, chair of the group, wrote: “As this is an open secret and has been going on for decades, we can only assume that the Labour party has been complicit at the highest levels.

“How do men who do not want Muslim women to be empowered or have a voice remain in power unless the Labour party allows it?

"It appears that over decades senior Labour politicians have deliberately turned a blind eye to the treatment of Muslim women because votes have been more important to them than women’s rights.” [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Thousands march in anti-Islam Pegida rallies across Europe

A march by Germany's anti-Islamic organisation Pegida drew thousands to the eastern city of Dresden on Saturday with rallies in support of the movement also held in a string of other European cities.

In Prague, about 5,000 people turned out for a Pegida-inspired march organised by two far-Right groups, while in Amsterdam mounted police charged pro- and anti-Pegida groups and arrested at least a dozen people.

Another rally in the northern French port of Calais, home to the infamous "Jungle" refugee camp for migrants seeking passage across the Channel to Britain, brought about 20 arrests, local authorities said.

Police there responded with tear gas after scuffles broke out.

The Pegida group had called for the Saturday rallies, urging supporters to march under the anti-migrant banner of "Fortress Europe".

The group began as a movement in Germany in mid-2014 and has spread to other countries as Europe grapples with its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. [The Telegraph] Read more

Labour would not let us stand, say Muslim women

Muslim women say that they were blocked from standing for the Labour party and accused officials of turning a blind eye to discrimination.

They claim that male Muslim Labour members in Peterborough and Birmingham prevented local women from representing the party at council elections. Women who had hoped to become candidates in 2007 have come forward complaining of a “smear campaign” and family intimidation.

Fozia Parveen, an optician, told Newsnight that “members of the local Labour party” stopped her from running as a Labour councillor in Birmingham.

“At the time, I was aware of a smear campaign against me, they said that I was having an affair with one of the existing councillors . . . I was quite taken aback,” she said. “People were turning up at my family home trying to intimidate my mum.”

Shazia Bashir, who was the first choice for Labour in a Peterborough ward in 2007, also suggested that Muslim men in the party “pressured” her into stepping down. They deny this claim. [The Times (£)] Read more

05 February 2016

Muslim women 'stopped from becoming Labour councillors'

A Muslim women's group has written to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claiming women have been stopped from becoming councillors by Muslim men in the party.

Muslim Women's Network UK demanded an inquiry into "systematic misogyny displayed by significant numbers of Muslim male local councillors".

"They don't like women to be heard, to be empowered," it told BBC Newsnight.

Labour said it had the best record of any of the parties in selecting female and ethnic minority candidates.

As Mr Corbyn prepared to speak to the Association of Labour Councillors on Saturday, BBC Newsnight spoke to about a dozen Muslim women up and down the country.

They appeared to point to a pattern of obstruction from within Labour Muslim ranks and back up Muslim Women's Network UK's complaints of sabotage. [BBC] Read more

Muslim women 'blocked from seeking office by male Labour councillors'

A women’s rights organisation has written to Jeremy Corbyn calling for an inquiry into allegations female Muslims were discriminated against and blocked from seeking office by male Labour councillors.

Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) urged the Labour leader to investigate “systematic misogyny displayed by significant numbers of Muslim male local councillors”.

The organisation claimed that the problem had been an “open secret” within Labour and accused the party of being “complicit at the highest levels”.

The letter suggested that Muslim men within Labour had been allowed to operate under the “patriarchal ‘biradari’ system”.

MWNUK’s chair, Shaista Gohir, accepted that the issue was not confined to Labour and she has also written to David Cameron urging him to launch an independent inquiry into the barriers to political participation faced by black and ethnic minority women. [The Guardian] Read more

Why Are Some Muslims in Britain Choosing Sharia?

.... From evidence garnered on Sharia councils in London and Birmingham, Machteld argued that these were leading to 'marital captivity' - an important new addition to the legal lexicon - and called on the UK government to enact Dutch-style laws that allow women whose husbands refuse to grant religious divorce, to undertake civil or criminal proceedings.

The crossbencher Baroness Cox has proposed a bill which makes it illegal to treat the evidence of a man as worth more than that of a woman - which is the norm in Sharia councils and Muslim arbitration tribunals.

Also speaking was Dutch legal scholar David Suurland who pointed out that in 2003 and 2004, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that 'Sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy'.

He further argued that a laissez faire attitude to Muslim communities had allowed for Salafist and Islamist dialogues to operate beneath the criminal court in the Netherlands. The Dutch solution to this has been the monitoring of all Salafi organisations, in particular of rigorous checks on the sources of funding of new mosques from outside of Netherlands.

.... Therefore, in the interests of the better integration of Muslims and of a more socially cohesive society, the government must stop acceding to Muslim pleas for special treatment. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

04 February 2016

Sweden: Death by Immigration

Mass immigration is continuing to claim victims in Sweden. Murder, assaults and rape have become everyday occurrences in this small country, with a population just short of ten million, which last year opened its doors to almost 163,000 immigrants.

The latest victim is 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher. She was stabbed to death last week by a so-called unaccompanied refugee child at the asylum house where she worked.

Although the massive influx of asylum seekers has decreased drastically since January 4, when Sweden implemented border controls on the Swedish/Danish border, the people who are already here pose a giant problem to municipalities, police and citizens. The police are fighting a losing battle against street crime, as well as daily incidents at asylum houses – general disturbances that include fights, rapes and threats.

The asylum houses are in a state of anarchy. On January 27, police were dispatched to a home for teenagers in Lindås, where a riot had erupted. Policeman Johan Nilsson told the local paper, Barometern: [Gatestone Institute] Read more

03 February 2016

France now home to over 8,000 Islamic radicals: report

There were 8,250 people who were reported on suspicions of being an Islamist radical in France last year - twice as many as the year before, according to fresh statistics.

The figures come from an official report that was leaked to Le Figaro newspaper and was published on Tuesday.

The report found that the number of people suspected to have become radicalized had doubled from 4,015 in 2014 to 8,250 last year.

Hundreds of radicalized individuals, including women and teenagers, have left France in recent years to fight jihad in the Middle East.

Around 70 percent of the suspected Islamist radicals were male and 80 percent of the cases were deemed to be "serious". The paper added that there was also a hike in the number of women and youths being radicalized.

The figures are based on people identified by police, as well as reports made to a specialist anti-radicalization hotline, which members of the public have been encouraged to use to let authorities know about vulnerable or potentially dangerous individuals. [The Local] Read more

Ariens Co. fires seven Muslim employees over unscheduled prayer breaks

Ariens Co. says it has fired seven Muslim employees for taking unscheduled prayer breaks, and 14 others have resigned over the issue.

More than 50 Somali immigrant Muslims at the Brillion manufacturer recently protested the company's enforcement of a policy of two 10-minute breaks per work shift — without accommodations for unscheduled prayer time.

The Muslim employees wanted the manufacturer of snowblowers and lawn mowers to continue a previous, more lenient practice of allowing them to leave their work stations at different times — such as at dawn and sunset — to pray as their faith requires of them.

Ariens said it was sticking with a policy that does not accommodate special prayer breaks, despite having bent the rules earlier.

Wednesday, Ariens said 32 of the Muslim employees have chosen to stay with the company and work within the break policy, 14 had resigned and seven were fired for taking unscheduled prayer time. [Journal Sentinel] Read more

Police probe 'threats' claims at Glasgow Central Mosque

Police are investigating allegations that prominent Muslims at Scotland's largest mosque have been threatened amid an ongoing internal dispute.

Seven members of Glasgow Central Mosque executive committee resigned, saying their efforts to make reforms had been opposed by traditionalists.

They also said they and their families were subjected to threats and abuse.

No-one from the mosque was available for comment. Police said they were looking into the allegations.

The resignations from the executive committee were announced on the mosque's website.

The statement said: "A number of people have been undermining day-to-day operations, meetings and even sabotaging mosque property, alongside threatening physical harm to executive members including their wives and children. [BBC] Read more

Saudi Arabian court overturns Ashraf Fayadh's death sentence but upholds conviction

A Saudi Arabian court has overturned the death penalty for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, but upheld his guilty verdict on a charge of apostasy.

The court, instead, sentenced Fayadh to eight years in prison and 800 lashes, a statement from his lawyer said.

Fayadh was initially sentenced to death by a court in the southwestern Saudi city of Abha in November on a series of blasphemy charges related to his poetry, causing an international outcry.

Fayadh will be lashed 800 times over 16 sessions, serve eight years in prison and must publicly declare his repentance in the media, said his lawyer Abdulrahman al-Lahim.

Al-Lahim said the defense planned to appeal the court's decision, saying Fayadh is innocent and should be freed. [CNN] Read more

American Muslim Women Explain Why They Do — Or Don't — Cover

For Muslim women, a headscarf — or hijab — is a visible sign of their faith and identity, and whether to wear one is a big decision. The recent decision by a Christian college professor to don a headscarf out of solidarity with her Muslim sisters highlighted the hijab question, at least for non-Muslims. For Muslim women themselves, especially in the United States, it was an old story.

"Before I wore hijab, making friends with people who weren't Muslim was a lot easier," says Maryam Adamu, who was born in North Carolina to immigrants from Nigeria. Before she began wearing a headscarf three years ago, people didn't know she was Muslim — until she told them.

"I, like, Trojan-horsed my Islam," she says, laughing. "Like, 'You're already my friend. I know you like me. Now you know I'm Muslim, and you're going to learn about this faith.' " Once she started wearing a headscarf, she encountered a social obstacle she hadn't seen before. "Now, I have to work a lot harder to get into people's lives who aren't Muslim," she says. [NPR (National Public Radio)] Read more

02 February 2016

Muslim group urges chair of Birmingham central mosque to resign

One of Britain’s leading Muslim women’s groups has called on the leaders of Birmingham central mosque to resign after she said they dismissed the group’s concerns about domestic violence and forced marriages.

The mosque’s chairman, Labour councillor Muhammad Afzal, who had been lined up to become Birmingham’s lord mayor, withdrew from the running on Monday evening after the head of the Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWN), Shaista Gohir, complained to the mosque about comments she said Afzal and vice-chair Muhammad Sarwar had made to her.

Birmingham central mosque – one of the biggest mosques in Europe – issued a statement denying all of Gohir’s claims and said it respected the MWN “as they work in addressing complex and often hidden issues within the Muslim communities and beyond”. Afzal said he “completely and totally” refuted the claim he made the comments. [The Guardian] Read more

01 February 2016

Edmonton shoe store's 'no-veil' policy unlikely to withstand human rights challenge, lawyer says

The owner of an Edmonton shoe repair store who refused to serve a Muslim teen wearing a burka says his policy of not serving people who wear facial coverings has nothing to do with race or religion.

But a Calgary labour and employment lawyer says the store owner could have a difficult time establishing a strong defence if sued for discrimination under Alberta's Human Rights Act.

As CBC reported Monday, 19-year-old Sarii Ghalab recounted being turned away twice from Edmonton Shoe Repair in Northgate Centre. She was first turned away on Jan. 27, when she said she went in to have her broken shoe fixed and was denied service, and a second time when she returned days later to deliver flowers and a note to the shop owner, explaining why she wears a burka.

On Monday, CBC again reached out to store owner Ryan Vale, who said his store has a "no veil" policy. [CBC/Radio-Canada] Read more

Lord Mayor elect Muhammad Afzal stands down after storm over controversial comments

Lord Mayor elect Muhammad Afzal has withdrawn from the running for the role after a series of controversies.

The under-fire councillor had been expected to become the city’s next First Citizen but lost support after comments linking the Prime Minister to Islamophobia.

Days later, he stood accused of being dismissive about concerns over domestic violence and forced marriage by the Muslim Women’s Network.

After days of pressure, the veteran Labour councillor has withdrawn from the running just hours before a key meeting on the issue.

Coun Afzal said he had withdrawn his name from nomination because he was anxious that no controversy should attach to the post of Lord Mayor.

He said: “I consider it a huge honour to be chosen by the Labour Group to be the party’s nominee as the next lord mayor. If the council had agreed to this nomination to be the first citizen of such a great city, it would have been the highlight of my career and a great privilege.

“However, recent publicity in the local media has given rise to unfair and indeed untrue comments being ascribed to me. I have tried to put the record straight but sadly it has not been possible to do so as rumour and innuendo has replaced facts.” [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Egyptian Christian students stand trial for insulting Islam

Three Coptic Christian students face charges of insulting Islam and will stand trial this week after appearing in a video mocking Muslim prayers, one of a series of court cases that reflect lingering religious intolerance and Muslim-Christian tensions in Egypt.

The students, all in high school, will stand trial on Thursday after their teacher was sentenced to three years in prison after a separate trial over the same charges of insulting Islam, according to lawyer Maher Naguib.

The 30-second video, filmed by the teacher, showed the students pretending to pray with one kneeling on the floor while reciting Quranic verses and two others standing behind him and laughing. One waved his hand under a second's neck in a sign of beheading.

Naguib said the video came to light in April 2015, shortly after Islamic State militants in Libya beheaded dozens of Egyptian Christians. The video prompted calls by angry Muslims to evict the students and the teacher from their village.

They were detained and the teacher and his family were ordered to leave the village after a meeting of the village elders. [Associated Press] Read more

Muhammad Afzal told Muslim women's group that 'men more likely to be domestic violence victims'

Lord Mayor elect Muhammad Afzal faces a new political storm after allegedly telling a leading Muslim women’s group that men were more often domestic violence victims - and that forced marriages were no longer a problem.

The under-fire Central Mosque Chairman is said to have made the controversial comments at a meeting with Shaista Gohir, MBE, and her organisation, the Muslim Women’s Network UK.

The nationally-respected group had arranged a meeting at the mosque in December with trustees to discuss the possibility of holding a joint event to raise awareness about the often hidden problem of forced marriages.

But in a letter of complaint to the mosque, Ms Gohir claims they were left angered at the ‘dismissive’ attitude of Mr Afzal - who has been under huge political pressure after being caught on tape calling David Cameron an Islamophobe. [Birmingham Mail] Read more