30 April 2016

Zayn Malik - saviour of Muslim teenagers

Muslim teenagers in Britain, so we are told, are caught between extremism and integration. Thousands of pounds have been spent on projects such as Prevent – arguably a total waste of money. Teenagers don’t care what some crusty MPs and self appointed “community leaders” think. Things are grim.

But the more I think about it, the more I realise there’s only one man who can save us.

Zayn Malik.

Yes, really.

Zayn is one of us, but far cooler. He’s a product of Britain. He’s the successful boy next door, and he can be seen to celebrate and enjoy liberal values – he works hard and plays hard. This month his new album shot to the top of the Billboard chart in the US.

Born in Bradford into a Muslim family, Zayn, like many of us, had to go the local mosque (apparently he’s read the Qur’an three times). [392 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 341 votes] "As Ramadan approaches in a few weeks, Muslim teenagers will again get sick and tired of explaining the concept to their kafir pals. Zayn makes it all all right. He gets it."

Is that a joke? You actually use the word kafir to describe non Muslims. Forget the literal translation, the word has thoroughly negative connotations and is usually applied pejoratively. So where do you get off using this word? Any Muslim teenagers who have non Muslims friends and refer to them as this aren't really getting it. And as for explaining Ramadan to someone, is that such a hardship? It's very straightforward and takes a couple of minutes.

[2ND 320] The day may eventually come where nobody heeds the primitive and divisive tribal nonsense of scripture of any variety. Only then will mankind be saved.

[3RD 271] "kafir pals" in the article is an interesting turn of phrase. Isn't "kafir" a derogatory term?

[4TH 243] Why is the author using the word "Kafir" to describe non-muslims which is a very hateful & derogatory word towards us?

[5TH 237] This is great to read.

You say that young Muslims don't have role models.I think the Guardian should do something more to promote a different kind of young Muslim female role model. There's a place for articles about "why I wear hijab" etc, but what would be truly inspiring is if you gave column space to a young woman who whilst holds on to her faith and values her heritage has decided to say "fuck off!" to some of the more backward components of her religion.

Women who wear T-shirts and short skirts if they want, women who party, go on marches and protests, women trying to reform their religion by choosing to live in a way that isn't traditionally approved of within these communities. That would perhaps allow younger Muslims to feel a little less alone in their confusion at the clash between their faith and western society.

[6TH 202] '...kafir pals', really? And this is supposed to be a position piece? Talk about about 'othering'. Have a word with yourself editor. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Bangladesh: Hindu tailor hacked to death in Tangail

A Hindu tailor has been hacked to death in a district of central Bangladesh, police say, the latest of a number of Islamist killings in the country.

Nikhil Joarder, who was in his early 50s, was attacked as he sat outside his shop in Tangail on Saturday afternoon.

Police said he had been arrested in 2012 for allegedly making derogatory comments about Islam, then released.

Islamic State claimed the attack although the authorities deny the group is active in the country.

A number of similar recent killings in Bangladesh have been claimed by various Islamist militant groups. [BBC] Read more

29 April 2016

Law, not culture, is Europe’s answer to Islam, a pundit says

.... In his latest book, In Europe's Shadow, he goes back to Romania, and finds pleasant surprises, including a happy mixture of devoutly practised eastern Christianity and pro-Western strategic orientation. A country that was literally a dark place in the 1980s, because of economic misery, power shortages and an exceptionally harsh form of communism, has lightened up in many ways, he discovers.

Corruption may flourish but so too does healthy political opposition to that vice. If his optimism is well-founded, then we have to conclude that eastern Christianity and Western political alignment may, after all, be compatible, despite the claims to the contrary by the late Professor Sam Huntington, who popularised the idea of a “clash of civilisations” as a driver of global conflict.

.... So is Mr Kaplan merely repeating the idea, widespread among American conservatives, that Europe, because of its soft-mindedness in the face of Islam, is rapidly turning into Eurabia, a Muslim or half-Muslim space? No, his point is more interesting and nuanced than that. In his view, the historically Christian countries of Europe would be making a mistake if they responded to the Muslim influx by erecting new barriers or raising high the banner of cultural nativism.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 19 votes] I admire the writings of Robert Kaplan but in this case, his recommendation is off the mark.

Why you ask?

Because secular progressive Europeans have proven to be utterly spineless when it comes to confronting the barbaric attitudes and beliefs of their Muslim populations, be that bloodthirstiness for anyone who even so much as criticizes their religion (including against their own fellow Muslims), a worse than medieval attitude towards women and gays and a contempt for secularism and favoring instead of fundamentalism of the one faith on earth that is MOST conducive at this point to violence and barbarism (as opposed to say Hinduism, Judaism, Jainism, Christianity or Buddhism).

Yes, the best possible thing would have been for secular progressives - and not Christian fundamentalists - to stand up for these values. But these spineless pathetic impotent eunuchs fear the label of racism FAR FAR MORE than they love Western values and will turn and run with their tails between their legs. They want to oh so be loved and accepted so so much, they will lay supine as inferior but prouder cultures that will readily employ violence rape and pillage their civilization.

Unfortunately the only Westerners who seem to have the balls to stand up to the Islamic threat are religions Christians. Not the best choice but infinitely more preferable to the Islamic barbarians.

[2ND 18] "Law, not culture, is Europe’s answer to Islam, a pundit says"

And who makes the laws? The majority. So, what will happen when we have a Muslim majority in Europe in the (near) future?

[3RD 16] .... "In previous writings, what marked Mr Kaplan out from other international-affairs pundits was the way he liked to explore as well as theorise. His musings on state failure were rooted in wanderings round the roughest parts of West Africa, and his ideas about the Balkans were forged in smoky, sweaty writers’ clubs in Sofia and Belgrade. Perhaps now is the moment for him, or some cub reporter under his tutelage, to get on the road again."

Yes! Get on the road again. There is no shortcut to this road.

Credit to secular law for the mere thoughts contained in this refreshing article!

[4TH 15] It is always amusing to see old academics theorising on how the West might absorb the Islamic culture and ideology.

Of course the question might be better answered by observing empirically how minority Muslim society is absorbed in Asia or Africa. The answer of course it isn't. There are Christian/Buddhist/ Hindu societies and there are the Muslims. They do not mix socially and even have different laws. This in itself is not terrible; the problem is that their Sharia law insists that they are superior and that they must convert the others by all means possible - normally by intimidation and violence. Their greatest allegiance will always be to the Uma (the Muslim world) and the Koran.

How anyone can equate the Greek Orthodox of Eastern Europe and their rejection of corruption with the Muslims only confirms that this old academic should leave his ivory tower and start travelling in the real world. [The Economist] Read more

Merkel party calls for state to spy on mosques

Authorities should be keeping an eye on the content of sermons in Germany's mosques, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has said.

“We need to talk about that fact that in some mosques sermons are given that don’t chime with our understanding of the role of the state,” said Volker Kauder, leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the Bundestag (German parliament), in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung.

“It is the duty of the state to keep checks on that.”

Germany is a secular country “in which religion doesn’t take precedence over the state, but vice versa.”

“Everyone has to abide by this, and all representatives and adherents to a religion need to accept this," Kauder concluded. [The Local] Read more

Unease with Islam on the rise in France and Germany, new poll finds

A new poll published on Friday revealed that a growing number of people in France and Germany hold an unfavourable view of Islam and believe the religion has become too visible in their respective countries.

The study, which was conducted by the polling centre Ifop for French daily Le Figaro, found that 47 percent of French people and 43 percent of Germans felt that the Muslim community poses a “threat” to national identity.

Almost two-thirds of the poll’s respondents in France also said that Islam had become too “influential and visible”, whereas just under half of participants said the same in Germany.

The same study in 2010 found that 43 percent of French people viewed Islam as a threat, while 55 percent said that it was too visible.

A sample of around 1,000 people were surveyed in each country as part of the latest study.

The findings in France, which suggest growing unease with the Muslim religion, come after a year of tragedy during which a total of 147 people were killed in a series of attacks in the Paris area by Islamist gunmen in January and November 2015. [France24] Read more

France gets tough on Muslim footballers praying on pitch

The mayor of Nice has threatened to cut the subsidies of football clubs which fail to respect its new “secularism charter”, that includes keeping religion, in particular Islam, off the football pitch.

France's latest battle to ensure the principles of secularism are being upheld is taking place on the football pitches of the Riviera city of Nice.

In a city where the right wing mayor Christian Estrosi is fighting to prevent a new mosque from opening, authorities are also trying to ensure that Muslims do not bring their religious beliefs anywhere near the municipal football pitches.

They have taken teams to task for beaching a new "secularism charter" that players and clubs are required to adhere to.

Ten breaches of the charter have been reported since last October, according to a report in BFM TV. Most of the incidents consisted of Muslim players praying either on or close to the field, before or during a match. [The Local] Read more

Khola Hasan from Theydon Garnon says she has experienced increased Islamophobia in Epping Forest

A Muslim woman who has been abused and spat at in the street says anti-Muslim hatred in the media is to blame.

Khola Hasan, an Islamic scholar, says the portrayal of Muslims is causing a rise in Islamophobia and making people feel like second-class citizens.

Ms Hasan works for the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton and lives in Theydon Garnon, Epping Forest.

Prejudice and fear towards Muslims has increased in Epping Forest in recent years, she says, in line with increasing Islamophobia nationwide.

“I have seen it everywhere I have been,” she said.

In England and Wales, religiously motivated hate crime rose by 43 per cent from 2013-14 to 2014-15, a government report showed in October last year.

In Epping Forest, Ms Hasan says she has been targeted many times in recent years, and she now avoids going to areas such as Epping High Street. [The Guardian] Read more

28 April 2016

Muslim woman says judge asked her to leave courtroom when she declined to remove her head covering

A Muslim woman in Jefferson Parish says she was discriminated against in court because of her religion. The judge says the incident was simply court procedure.

The woman, who did not want to be identified on camera, says she went to Jefferson Parish Traffic Court on Tuesday to pay off a ticket she received from an accident.

After she cleared security at the entrance, the woman says she walked into the courtroom for her hearing.

"I saw the bailiff and he was motioning for me to remove it from my head, and I clenched on to my covering and shook my head, and mouthed to him 'No, I can't.'"

The woman says she declined to remove the head covering for religious reasons. She says she was then escorted outside the courtroom, and asked to wait. She says she waited almost an hour until her name was called. [WDSU New Orleans] Read more

Germany: "We Need an Islam Law" - Proposal seeks to ban foreign funding of mosques in Germany

A senior German politician has called for an "Islam law" that would limit the influence of foreign imams and prohibit the foreign financing of mosques in Germany.

The proposal — modelled on the Islam Law promulgated in Austria in February 2015 — is aimed at staving off extremism and promoting Muslim integration by developing a moderate "European Islam."

The move comes amid revelations that the Turkish government is paying the salaries of nearly 1,000 conservative imams in Germany who are leading mosques across the country. In addition, Saudi Arabia recently pledged to finance the construction of 200 mosques in Germany to serve migrants there.

In an interview with the newspaper Die Welt, Andreas Scheuer, the General Secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), said that Berlin should restrict Turkish financing of mosques in Germany and begin training and certifying its own imams. Otherwise, he argued, Muslim integration will be difficult or impossible to achieve. He said: [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Turkey columnists get two years in jail over Charlie Hebdo cartoon

An Istanbul court on Thursday sentenced two prominent Turkish journalists to two years behind bars for illustrating their columns with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed originally published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The sentence handed to columnists Hikmet Cetinkaya and Ceyda Karan, both columnists with the opposition Cumhuriyet daily, intensified alarm over press freedoms in Turkey under strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has made Islam the cornerstone of his politics.

"The two journalists were sentenced to two years each in jail," said their lawyer Bulent Utku. "We will appeal the ruling at the appeals court," Utku told AFP following a hearing at Istanbul's criminal court.

The pair, who went on trial in January last year, were acquitted of "insulting religious values" but convicted on charges of "inciting public hatred".

They were sentenced to three years in jail, which was reduced to two by the court on technical grounds. [France24] Read more

Ofsted warns of Muslim school staff gender segregation

Inspectors found male and female staff and governors were being divided in Luton's Rabia Boys and Girls School, said the education watchdog.

Last year, Sir Michael wrote to the education secretary with "serious concerns" about staff segregation.

But the Rabia school has strongly rejected the claims and said it was being "unfairly targeted".

Sir Michael has written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan advising her that for the initial meeting with inspectors "the school insisted on segregating men and women through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room".

"This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting but in a classroom."

Sir Michael said inspectors, visiting the independent school earlier this month, "gathered evidence that male and female staff are segregated during whole-school staff training sessions". [BBC] Read more

27 April 2016

Flooded With Migrants, Germany Struggles to Integrate Them

.... Most of the migrants come from countries where schooling lasts years less than in Germany, said Karl Brenke, a labor and migration expert at the German Institute for Economic Research. Qualifications are difficult to compare. Already, there are 14 people competing for a basic unskilled job, Mr. Brenke said.

He provided figures showing that the number of employable people who are jobless and living on welfare had swelled to 280,000 in December from 116,000 in early 2011. Half are Syrians.

Mr. Brenke said he saw a danger that migrants could remain unemployed for years. Even Mr. Weise admits that employment could prove tough. Seventy percent of asylum applicants in 2015, he said, were under 30. Ten percent could find work within a year, and 50 percent within five years.

Even without accommodating the North Africans, he said, it is already clear that “the refugees are not the work force that the German economy needs.” [NYTimes.com] Read more

Bulgaria’s Pazardzhik municipality bans burqas in public places

The municipal council in the southern Bulgarian town of Pazardzhik voted on April 27 2016 overwhelmingly in favour of a ban on the wearing of the burqa in public places.

The ban, proposed by municipal councillors from the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB), was approved by 39 votes in favour, with two against – from the EuroRoma party, and no abstentions.

Pazardzhik municipality, which has a population of about 130 000 in the town of that name and 31 surrounding villages, is the only municipality in Bulgaria to have voted such a ban. However, the nationalist Patriotic Front, of which the NFSB is part, is putting similar proposals to other municipalities and has tabled legislation to the same effect in the National Assembly.

The ban, expected to come into force next week, prohibits the wearing of burqas in public and government buildings and other public places including streets, parks, gardens, restaurants, shops and public transport. [The Sofia Globe] Read more

Norway moves to bar entry to 'hate preachers'

Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug told Aftenposten that ministry officials would review the regulations for residence permits issued to imams, religious leaders and preachers.

The move comes after Aftenposten reported on Monday that the Salafist organization Islam Net invited several highly controversial preachers to its annual conference last month.

“It is unacceptable that religious organizations in Norway invite people to Norway who undermine Norwegian values,” Listhaug said.

The minister said that while she believes in the right to express one’s opinions, she wants to thwart the emergence of radical religious groups in Norway that advocate what she called antisocial viewpoints.

Sindre Bangstad from the Institute for Church, Religion, and Worldview Research (KIFO) told Aftensposten that there is no doubt that some of the people connected to Islam Net have left Norway to become foreign fighters in Syria.

Norway’s plans to take on ‘hate preachers’ are being mirrored in Denmark, where Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen said last month that his government is preparing legislation aimed at imams who “undermine society”. [The Local] Read more

Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters

Hundreds of young Muslim girls have flocked to swimming lessons in Copenhagen's immigrant-heavy Tingbjerg district after Hovedstadens Svømmeklub (Capital City Swimming Club) introduced segregated swimming sessions.

While the swimming club has hailed the move as a "recipe for integration", politicians and commentators have criticised the concept as being against Danish values.

The girl-only sessions, which also take place with windows and doors to the swimming hall blacked out, were set up in response to religious and cultural requirements put forward by parents, reports Berlingske.

The newspaper reports that 246 girls of non-Danish ethnic origin between the ages of five and 12 have begun attending swimming lessons at the hall since the sessions were introduced.

“We have gone from zero to several hundred girls in three years, and have successfully established a swimming option for a specific group, which would otherwise find swimming difficult to access because of religion,” Lars Sørensen, the director of Hovedstadens Svømmeklub (HSK), told Berlingske. [The Local] Read more

Staff segregated by gender at some faith schools, says chief inspector

Teachers and other staff at some independent faith schools are being segregated by gender, the chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has said in a letter to the education secretary.

In one case, staff at Rabia girls and boys school in Luton were segregated during whole-school training, with men in one room while the session was broadcast to women in a separate part of the school.

In a separate incident, the school insisted on segregating male and female staff using a dividing screen across the middle of the room during an initial meeting with inspectors from the schools watchdog, Ofsted.

“This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting, but in a classroom,” said Wilshaw, who warned that such segregation flouts the requirement to promote fundamental British values in schools.

Rabia is a Muslim day school with 160 pupils. It has received a series of adverse Ofsted judgments. Last year, the school was criticised for treating boys and girls differently, limiting girls to sewing and knitting in design and technology classes. [The Guardian] Read more

In state after state, strong GOP support for Trump's Muslim proposal

What was once furious Republican opposition to Donald Trump's proposal to temporarily ban foreign Muslims from entering the U.S. has turned to virtual silence in the face of widespread GOP voter approval.

Exit polls from the nation's biggest Republican primaries show impressive majority support for Trump's proposal. In the latest example, in Pennsylvania Tuesday, 69 percent of GOP voters said they support "temporarily banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the U.S." In New York last week, the number was 68 percent.

In Wisconsin, 69 percent supported Trump's idea. In Florida, 64 percent. Georgia, 68 percent. Ohio, 65 percent. Michigan, 63 percent. New Hampshire, 65 percent. Texas, 67 percent.

Huge majorities across the country in states won by Trump and states won by Ted Cruz — and even the one state won by John Kasich. If those exit polls, measuring the opinions of tens of thousands of people, are correct, the temporary foreign Muslim ban has become a Republican staple. [The Washington Examiner] Read more

Secularism is the key for democracy in a Muslim society

Reactions poured in on April 26 after a statement by Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman late on April 25, in which he said he believed secularism should not be included in the new constitution, which is still being drafted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti).

“As a Muslim country, why should we be in a situation where we are retreating from religion? We are a Muslim country. So we must have a religious constitution,” Kahraman said during a speech in Istanbul at a conference titled “New Turkey and New Constitution.”

As a veteran of Islamist politics in Turkey, Kahraman was enlisted in the AK Parti for the 2015 elections and was suggested by President Tayyip Erdogan to the AK Parti as a candidate for parliament speaker.

.... Until a few years ago, the Turkish example had been presented as a success story, until the narrative was spoiled by the winds of the Arab Spring. President Erdogan’s desire for a shift to a presidential system, which could enable the concentration of executive power in one hand, as well as Parliament Speaker Kahraman’s recent suggestion, should not overshadow this.

Secularism is the key for democracy and state of law in a Muslim society, and it is also the best cure for radicalization. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

'The hijab has no place in hospitals': Muslim writer says medicine should be free from religion and 'health hazard' clothing should be banned

Recently, I went to a large NHS teaching hospital in London for a blood test. A young couple was behind me in the queue.

He was wearing a suit. She was completely covered. When I was finished and it was their turn, he started getting agitated and spoke loudly at the young man who was due to take blood from his wife.

The husband of the woman in hijab would not let a male doctor take blood. 'I need a woman to do this' he demanded angrily.

When the male nurse explained that there was no one else to take blood, the husband marched his wife away. There would be no blood test for her that day.

It turned out that the morality council in Saudi Arabia had recently announced that no Muslim woman could go to a hospital without a male relative and woman had to be seen by female doctors.

These doctrines are increasingly be followed to the letter by so-called devout Muslims here too.

We are seeing the rise of Wahhabism, a 19th century Saudi Arabian invention, throughout UK society and now in our state hospitals. [Daily Mail] Read more

Religious independent schools ‘actively undermining’ British values, Ofsted chief says

In a letter to education secretary Nicky Morgan, published today, chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said inspectors “continue to find that staff are being segregated because of their gender in Muslim independent schools”.

It follows concerns raised in November by Wilshaw after four in five religious independent schools formerly inspected by the discredited Bridge Schools Inspectorate were rated as inadequate or requires improvement by Ofsted.

The Department for Education (DfE) requested emergency follow-up inspections at three inadeqaute independent faith schools this month.

One school, Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School in Luton, had made improvements but the leaders’ behaviour were “so concerning” that the school remained inadequate.

Wilshaw said: “At the initial meeting with inspectors, the school insisted on segregating men and women through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room.

This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting but in a classroom. HMI also gathered evidence that male and female staff are segregated during whole-school staff training sessions. Male staff sit in one room and the session is simultaneously broadcast to female staff in another part of the school.” [Schools Week] Read more

Independent Muslim school in Luton blasted by Ofsted chief for segregating male and female staff

A Luton school has retained its 'inadequate' rating after segregating male and female staff – with the chief inspector of Ofsted directly criticising leaders of the school for 'undermining' British values of equality.

In a stinging letter to education secretary Nick Morgan, Ofsted's chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw expresses concerns about gender segregation in three independent faith schools in the town.

But he singled out Rabia Girls' and Boys' School, on Dunstable Road in Bury Park, after inspectors were 'so concerned about the behaviours modelled by the leaders of this school'.

The school was inspected between April 12 and April 21 and inspectors found men and women were being segregated through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room, despite the meeting not being of a religious nature.

The inspector also saw staff segregated during training sessions, with males sitting in one room while the training session was simultaneously broadcast to female staff in another part of the school. [Luton On Sunday] Read more

Bangladesh jails 2 Hindu teachers for insulting Islam

A court has jailed two teachers in southern Bangladesh for making derogatory comments about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, invoking a rare law from the British colonial era that makes insulting any religion a crime.

The case began when students at Hijla High School in Bagerhat district complained that the assistant teacher of a science class Sunday dismissed the Quran as the word of Allah and said there was no heaven, Magistrate Anwar Parvez told the Associated Press late Tuesday.

The students, aged 17 to 18, along with others from a nearby, Islamic school became incensed when the high school’s head teacher backed up his colleague. A mob including students, parents and villagers attacked the teachers with sticks, forcing them to lock themselves in a room until police intervened, Parvez said. [The Washington Post] Read more

26 April 2016

Europe 'to have more Muslims than Christians': Belgian minister warns Brussels attacks hearing that the continent should not 'make an enemy of Islam'

Muslims will ‘very soon’ outnumber practising Christians in Europe, a Belgian minister claimed yesterday.

Koen Geens, the justice minister, told the European Parliament the continent ‘does not realise this, but this is the reality’.

At a hearing by MEPs into the Brussels attacks, the Belgian deputy prime minister Jan Jambon added that ‘the worst thing we can do is to make an enemy of Islam’.

The remarks follow claims by Mr Jambon in the wake of the suicide bombings that ‘a significant section of the Muslim community danced when attacks took place’.

Speaking before the Parliament’s justice and home affairs committee yesterday, Mr Koens said the EU needed to realise a shift in population was taking place.

‘In Europe, very shortly we’re soon going to have more practising Muslims than practising Christians,’ he said.

‘That is not because there are too many Muslims, it is because Christian are generally less practising.

‘Europe does not realise this, but this is the reality. [965 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 3649 votes] Then why do they erode Christian beliefs while protecting the immigrants? Time to start repatriation. They passed laws to stop Christians wearing their symbols of belief but allowed Burqas, and for them to pray 5 times a day and build prayer rooms for them. Time to start to put our values and culture first.

[2ND 3124] I don't want to be a Muslim country! I did not choose to move to a Muslim country!! Previous generations fought for standards above Islam! Wonder if Muslims will be as accommodating to other faiths if they are a majority in Europe ?

[3RD 2069] Don't worry, there will be more atheists than Christians and Muslims combined and we're not going to put up with religious tolerance for much longer. [Daily Mail] Read more

Europe 'to have more Muslims than Christians': Belgian minister warns Brussels attacks hearing that the continent should not 'make an enemy of Islam'

Muslims will ‘very soon’ outnumber practising Christians in Europe, a Belgian minister claimed yesterday.

Koen Geens, the justice minister, told the European Parliament the continent ‘does not realise this, but this is the reality’.

At a hearing by MEPs into the Brussels attacks, the Belgian deputy prime minister Jan Jambon added that ‘the worst thing we can do is to make an enemy of Islam’.

The remarks follow claims by Mr Jambon in the wake of the suicide bombings that ‘a significant section of the Muslim community danced when attacks took place’.

Speaking before the Parliament’s justice and home affairs committee yesterday, Mr Koens said the EU needed to realise a shift in population was taking place.

‘In Europe, very shortly we’re soon going to have more practising Muslims than practising Christians,’ he said.

‘That is not because there are too many Muslims, it is because Christian are generally less practising.

‘Europe does not realise this, but this is the reality.’ [Daily Mail] Read more

In Bangladesh, Serial Killing in the Name of God

There really is no other way to put this. Free thinkers in Bangladesh are being serially hacked to death in their homes. An infamous hit list appeared in 2013 naming 84 “atheist bloggers.” By the end of 2015 there had been seven such murders across the country, and, tragically, this past week alone claimed three more victims.

Rezaul Karim Siddique, a professor of English at Rajshahi University in the country’s northwest, was set upon outside his house as he left for work. Siddique founded a literary magazine called Kamolgandhar and wanted to start a music school in his village as a way to involve his students in extra-curricular activities. But instead he died where he fell, succumbing to severe wounds after he was hacked in the back of the neck by cowards on a passing motorbike.

Only two days later, U.S. embassy employee Xulhaz Mannan, who was one of Bangladesh’s top gay-rights activists and editor of the country’s only LGBT magazine, Roopbaan, was murdered by machete in his home. His friend, another gay rights activist Tanay Mojumdar was also killed. Xulhaz and Tanay were behind the annual “Rainbow Rally,” held April 14 on the Bengali New Year. [The Daily Beast] Read more

Prince Says Saudi Arabia Not Yet Ready to Allow Women to Drive

Saudi Arabia isn’t ready to end the world’s only ban on women driving, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, arguing it’s not just a matter of ending strictures imposed by the kingdom’s austere form of Islam.

Allowing women to drive is “not a religious issue as much as it is an issue that relates to the community itself that either accepts it or refuses it,” said the 30-year-old prince, who has amassed unprecedented powers since his father, King Salman, ascended to the throne. “The community is not convinced about women driving” and sees negative consequences if it’s allowed, the prince said on Monday after outlining a plan to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil.

The prince had signaled his support for more freedom for women during an interview this month, saying “we believe women have rights in Islam that they’ve yet to obtain.” But when asked about the driving ban by a reporter on Monday, he said reform couldn’t be rushed. “Changes could happen in the future and we always hope they will be positive changes,” he said. [Bloomberg] Read more

‘We are a Muslim country’: Turkey’s parliament speaker advocates religious constitution

Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim country, should have a constitution based on Islam rather than a secular constitution, the speaker of the Turkish parliament has said in a speech. Secularism has been the cornerstone of modern Turkey for decades.

The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, reshaped the collapsing Islamic Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. He founded the state on Turkish nationalism and Western-style secularism, or separation of the state and religion.

However, the currently ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) apparently wants to get rid of one of the pillars of Kemalism ideology.

“We are a Muslim country and so we should have a religious constitution,” said Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman on Monday, lamenting that the name Allah is not mentioned even once in the country’s founding charter.

“Secularism would not have a place in a new constitution,” he said. [RT News] Read more

Yemeni accused of atheism is murdered

Renouncing Islam is a crime punishable by death in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

In practice, though, the law isn't implemented nowadays. On the rare occasions that an apostasy case comes to court, the accused person is usually allowed to flee the country or imprisoned for some other offence – thus avoiding international embarrassment.

In the eyes of Islamist militants, however, these governments are neglecting their religious duty, and the result is vigilante killings. Such killings may be inspired by the actions of groups like IS but they are also legitimised by national laws against apostasy and by governments which reject the right to freedom of belief.

Around 10pm last Sunday, a young Yemeni called Omar Mohammed Batawil was abducted in front of his home in the Crater district of Aden. [al-bab.com] Read more

French Muslim shopowner fined for sexist opening hours

A Muslim shopkeeper has been fined €500 ($560) for ordering different opening hours for men and women at his store in the French city of Bordeaux, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Jean-Baptiste Michalon, the owner of a general store and who converted to Islam in 2012, created an uproar when he pasted a notice outside the shop in June 2015 indicating different shopping hours for men and women.

"Sisters" were invited to shop on Saturdays and Sundays only, while "brothers" were told they could shop on week days.

Michalon quickly abandoned the plan faced with a swell of negative reaction, and his shop has since closed its doors.

"We put this in place at the request of the sisters who preferred when my wife was behind the counter. It is a shop where we sell clothes," Michalon told AFP at the time. [The Local] Read more

25 April 2016

How the 'Arab Youth Survey' was skewed - Emirati poll has problems with methodology

The annual Arab Youth Survey has been getting a lot of media attention since its findings were published earlier this month. Worldwide, it has generated a couple of hundred news items and three Emirati newspapers – Gulf News, The National and Khaleej Times – have produced no fewer than 17 items between them. In the US, the Washington Post alone has had three articles about it (here, here and here).

Much of this coverage has focused on the survey's not-very-surprising "discovery" that the vast majority of young Arabs interviewed disapprove of IS and have no intention of joining it. Some of the other findings are more interesting – for example, that a majority of youth in the GCC states (57%) support the nuclear deal with Iran. The introduction to the survey adds:

.... At first sight, the Arab Youth Survey is a serious piece of research but its credibility and independence are somewhat undermined by its links to the United Arab Emirates and by another of the survey's reported findings – that young Arabs view the UAE as "a model country that is economically secure, and is the most favoured nation to live in and set up a business". It is the fifth year running that the survey has come up with this result. [al-bab.com] Read more

Hungary's PM Orban: 'Islamization' banned by constitution

Hungary's constitution bans "Islamization" because the document aims to protect Hungarian language and culture, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Monday.

Orban also said the constitution forces the government to oppose any kind of mass migration that would endanger those principles.

"To be clear and unequivocal, I can say that Islamization is constitutionally banned in Hungary," Orban said in parliament at an event celebrating the fifth anniversary of Hungary's new constitution, now known as the Basic Law.

Orban was quoting from the National Avowal, the Basic Law's preamble, which details the country's commitment "to promoting and safeguarding our heritage, our unique language, Hungarian culture" and the protection of "the living conditions of future generations."

Hungary maintains that the migrant issue is a matter of national sovereignty.

"We have the right to choose whom we want and don't want to live with," Orban said. [Associated Press] Read more

French mayor seeks to block Saudi-funded mosque

The mayor of Nice secured a green light Monday to sue the French state in a bid to block the opening of a Saudi-funded mosque in the southern city.

He has accused the building's owner, Saudi Arabia's Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz, of "advocating sharia" and wanting to "destroy all of the churches on the Arabian peninsula".

"Our intelligence services are worried about this place of worship," said the mayor, who represents France's centre-right The Republicans party, warning against "unregulated foreign funding".

Estrosi received approval Monday from the council in the south coast city to take the central government's regional representative -- Prefect Adolphe Colrat -- to court over the issue.

Estrosi, mayor since 2008, said that the project which was initiated under his predecessor in 2002 was unauthorised. [AFP] Read more

The Muslim Council of Britain is failing Ahmadis like Asad Shah

In 2013, I organised an event at University College London for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Student Association UK titled Innocence of Muhammad. The aim of the event was to portray the true and peaceful character of the prophet of Islam, in light of the wild and violent responses of some Muslims to the slanderous video, The Innocence of Muslims.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the event, a prominent member of the university’s Islamic society entered and distributed leaflets calling for the social boycott and “capital punishment” of Ahmadi Muslims.

.... It is easy to point the finger and blame Khatam-e-Nabuwwat for anti-Ahmadi hate speech, but the reality is that the MCB is also culpable. After Shah’s murder, the MCB released a statement, expressing its condolence and grief at his murder, but re-affirming that Ahmadis aren’t Muslim, despite Ahmadis self-identifying as such.

Thus, the MCB has taken a position that is fundamentally at odds with the British values the MCB claims to hold dear: namely that a person must be accepted in accordance with their own self-identification. The right to self-identify, and to be acknowledged by others in accordance with that identity, is the cornerstone of religious tolerance. [Guardian Cif] Read more

23 April 2016

Bangladeshi university professor hacked to death in Rajshahi

A university professor has been hacked to death in Bangladesh, in an attack police say is similar to killings of secular bloggers and atheists by suspected Islamist extremists.

AFM Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, was a professor of English at Rajshahi University in the country's north-west.

He was attacked with machetes as he left home to go to work.

So-called Islamic State militants say they killed him for "calling to atheism" in Bangladesh.

The claim was made by IS-linked Amaq Agency, cited by US-based SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist groups.

However, Siddique's colleagues earlier said that he had not written anything controversial and was not an atheist, unlike previous victims.

Police believe that he may have been targeted by suspected Islamist extremists because he was involved in cultural activities. [BBC] Read more

Isis claims its fighters murdered university professor in Bangladesh over ‘calls to atheism’

Isis has claimed responsibility for the murder of a professor in Bangladesh for supposedly “calling to atheism”.

Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, was on his way to the Rajshahi University where he worked as an English teacher when he was viciously attacked.

Police have said the incident, which took place on Saturday, is similar to others in recent months by suspected Islamic militants.

In a propaganda statement, Isis, also known as Islamic State and Daesh, said its fighters had carried out the murder.

Deputy police commissioner Nahidal Islam, said the attackers used sharp weapons to kill Professor Siddique and then fled the scene.

His brother, Sajidul Karim Siddique, described the victim as a “very quiet and simple man” who was focused on studying and teaching. He also led a cultural group and used to edit a literary magazine. [The Independent] Read more

22 April 2016

Mauritanian Court Upholds Death Sentence for 'Blasphemous' Blogger

An appeal court in the west African state of Mauritania has upheld the death sentence of a blogger accused of blasphemy, a judicial source told Agence France Presse on Thursday.

Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir, who has also been named as Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, was initially handed the death sentence in 2014 on charges of "apostasy".

The appeal court on Thursday upheld the sentence but downgraded the charge from apostasy to the lesser charge of being an "infidel" after the blogger repented, the source said.

The source added that Mkheitir could still be pardoned by the Supreme Court "if they find that his repentance is sincere".

The accused, aged in his thirties, was arrested in 2014 after uploading an article onto the internet that authorities considered blasphemous.

The original announcement of the death penalty was met with public celebrations in two Mauritanian cities. [Naharnet] Read more

Grand mufti sues News Corp's Daily Telegraph for defamation

The grand mufti of Australia is suing Sydney’s Daily Telegraph for defamation over two stories and a front page it ran in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks depicting him as the three “unwise” monkeys.

A statement of claim was filed in the New South Wales supreme court on Friday alleging the News Corp tabloid had suggested Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed was “an apologist for the terrorist attacks in Paris”, a supporter of “violent Islamic holy war” and had deliberately refused to attend a vigil after the attacks, among other claims.

The newspaper’s front page on 18 November depicted Mohammed, the most senior Sunni Muslim scholar in Australia, in three poses covering his eyes, ears and mouth, with the caption: “Sees no problems, hears no concerns, speaks no English.” [The Guardian] Read more

It’s not just a hijab: The Citadel might be considering other exceptions for Muslim student, cadet says

When news spread that The Citadel was considering the first-ever exception to its strict uniform requirements to allow an admitted student to wear a hijab in keeping with her Muslim faith, reaction was intense.

Some welcomed the possibility as an important symbol of religious freedom, but for many in the tight-knit community of cadets and alumni, the very idea of an exception was anathema because the ideals of loyalty, uniformity, and corps-before-self are so central to the storied public military college’s mission and traditions.

And at a time when the role of Islam in U.S. culture is so divisive — with national leaders and political candidates arguing whether the religion is one of violence or whether the fight against extremist terrorists is in no way a fight against the Muslim faith — the idea of making an exception for a Muslim student was particularly powerful for many on campus and far beyond. [The Washington Post] Read more

Who are Islamic 'morality police'?

News that Iran has deployed thousands of undercover agents to enforce rules on dress has cast the spotlight on an institution that is a major feature of daily life in several Muslim-majority countries.

Police forces tasked with implementing strict state interpretations of Islamic morality exist in several other states, including Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Malaysia.

Many - especially those with an affinity with Western lifestyles - chafe against such restrictions on daily life, but others support the idea, and growing religious conservatism has led to pressure for similar forces to be created in countries that do not have them.

Here are some places where "morality police" forces patrol: [BBC] Read more

21 April 2016

Most Bulgarian political parties back burqa ban

Even before it has reached the stage of formal debate in committees and in the National Assembly, draft legislation tabled by Bulgaria’s nationalist Patriotic Front coalition that would ban the wearing of the burqa in public places appears poised for approval.

Support for the bill, tabled in Bulgaria’s Parliament on April 20, has been expressed by MPs from the largest party – centre-right GERB, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, and coalition government minority partner the centre-right Reformist Bloc coalition.

Minority socialist party ABC, a participant in the coalition government, has taken no formal decision but is leaning towards supporting the ban. It is expected that Volen Siderov’s Ataka is likely to support the ban.

The Patriotic Front tabled the bill which would ban the wearing in public of clothes and accessories that partially or wholly conceal the face. Women would be allowed to wear the burqa at home or in mosques. [Independent Balkan News Agency] Read more

Belgian minister defends claim many Muslims 'danced' after Brussels attacks

The Belgian interior minister on Wednesday denied stigmatising Muslims after he said many of them danced in celebration after the Brussels terror attacks.

“Everyone knows that these things happened. Do we have to wait for an official police report to confirm the existence of these facts,” Jan Jambon told parliament during tough questioning from the opposition.

Jambon, the senior member in government of the main Flemish nationalist party the New Flemish Alliance (NVA), denied he was stoking tensions with Belgium’s Muslim community, which numbers about 600,000 out of a population of 11 million.

“I don’t have the police report. There was [dancing], but not much ... several services have confirmed to me that these weren’t rumours and that they saw this on the ground,” he said. “What do you think, that I am going to stigmatise them by naming streets and districts?” [The Guardian] Read more

Scandinavian asylum centres are turning a blind eye to child marriages and allowing young girls to stay with their 'husbands' in a bid to avoid 'traumatising' them

Scandinavian asylum centres are turning a blind eye to child marriages and are allowing young girls to stay with their 'husbands' in a bid to avoid 'traumatising' them, it has emerged.

Authorities have in some cases let girls stay with their partners, believing it is less traumatic for them than forced separation after fleeing wars in nations such as Afghanistan or Syria.

Some girls have also passed themselves off as adults.

Both these issues have caused unease in Scandinavia, where critics say that the authorities risk complicity in child abuse.

Of 31,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Norway in the past year or so, 10 of those aged under 16, the minimum local age for sex or marriage, were married and four had children, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) said. [Mail on Sunday] Read more

Free Speech and Islam — In Defense of Sam Harris

“It’s gross! It’s racist!” exclaimed Ben Affleck on Bill Maher’s Real Time in October 2014, interrupting the neuroscientist “New Atheist” Sam Harris. Harris had been carefully explaining the linguistic bait-and-switch inherent in the word “Islamophobia” as “intellectually ridiculous,” in that “every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry toward Muslims as people.”

The result: progressives duped by the word shy away from criticizing the ideology of Islam, the tenets of which (including second-class status for women and intolerance toward sexual minorities) would, in any other context, surely elicit their condemnation.

Unwittingly, Affleck had confirmed Harris’ point, conflating religion with race. In doing so, the actor was espousing a position that can lead to a de facto racist conclusion. If you discount Islamic doctrine as the motivation for domestic violence and intolerance of sexual minorities in the Muslim world, you’re left with at least one implicitly bigoted assumption: the people of the region must then be congenitally inclined to behave as they do. [Quillette] Read more

20 April 2016

Sadiq Khan’s Record versus the Rhetoric – the FOSIS Case

In today’s rows Sadiq Khan offered us this line:

"I’ve fought extremism all my life."

Oh really?

It’s simply not true. Let’s look at another episode in the record which makes this clear.

By 2012 the Islamist student group FOSIS was widely known and seen as part of the extremist problems at British universities. No wonder:

- In 2012 it was seeking to link up Islamic student society leaders and Haitham al-Haddad for training. Haddad was already one of the most notorious of hate preachers.

- Other extremists at FOSIS events in the four years up to 2012 included Daud Abdullah, Abdur Raheem Green, Ibrahim Hewitt, Uthman Lateef, Zahir Mahmood, Stephen Sizer, Azzam Tamimi, and Riyadh ul-Haq.

- In 2011 FOSIS backed Raed Salah, the horrid antisemitic “blood libel” sheikh. For a character witness it invoked Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Swedish politician quits after refusing to shake women's hands

A Swedish Green Party politician, who ignited a storm of controversy after refusing to shake hands with a female reporter on grounds that it violated his Muslim faith, announced on Wednesday that he was quitting politics.

Yasri Khan is the second Muslim Green Party politician to resign in acrimony this week.

During an interview with a female reporter from TV4 on Tuesday, Khan placed his hand over his heart instead of shaking her hand in greeting.

"People can greet each other in different ways. The most important thing is to show respect by seeing each other, to meet each other ... to respect each other," Khan said during an interview with state broadcaster Swedish Radio.

Khan, also the general secretary of the organisation Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice, has faced strong criticism from within his party since the incident.

"It is unacceptable. You can't have a man in the party who can't greet women in the same way you greet a man. I'm upset," Stina Bergstrom, a Green Party parliamentarian, told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. [AFP] Read more

Advice for schools on helping fasting Muslim pupils through Ramadan

This year will be the first time Ramadan has fallen during the summer exam period for several decades, and the Association of School and College Leaders has issued guidance for schools on how best to accommodate pupils who are fasting, and could therefore be affected by tiredness or dehydration between June 6 and July 5.

The document, released by the union today, has been put together in consultation with a large number of representatives of the Muslim community in Britain, including Imams, academics and religious education leaders, along with exams officers and other prominent educationalists.

Although the exam timetable for this year has already been slightly amended to move some large-entry exams to morning sessions to move others to before half term – a matter of some controversy which sparked a widespread debate when reported by Schools Week in January – many schools will still be responsible for the well-being large numbers of pupils who are not permitted to eat during the day. [Schools Week] Read more

19 April 2016

Imams are allowed to preach hate in prisons

Muslim chaplains appointed by the Ministry of Justice routinely distribute Islamist hate literature in British prisons, a leaked report has found.

The review, ordered last year by Michael Gove, found extremist pamphlets and CDs in more than ten jails in November. It uncovered misogynistic and homophobic leaflets, hate tracts encouraging the murder of apostates and ultra-conservative Islamic literature preaching contempt for basic British values.

The material, some of it published in Saudi Arabia, was kept on bookshelves in prison chaplaincy rooms where it was available for anybody to come in and pick up, a Whitehall source said. [The Times (£)] Read more

UK prison imams are free to spread hatred: Preachers found to be distributing extremist literature including homophobic and misogynistic leaflets

Muslim preachers approved by the Government are routinely distributing extremist literature in British prisons leaving hundreds of inmates at risks of radicalisation, a leaked report has found.

The extremist review, ordered by Michael Gove last year, found extremist CDs and pamphlets in more than 10 jails in November, it was reported today.

Inspectors also found hate tracts encouraging the murder of apostates, misogynistic and homophobic leaflets and extreme Islamic literature preaching contempt for British society.

The report is said to have sparked panic among officials who are worried about being seen to have lost control of jails - but ministers have not yet approved its publication.

There was evidence that a large number of clerics were from the Deobandi sect, which traditionally promotes conservative anti-British ideology.

A website promoting the Deobandi movement says loyalty is owed only to the global brotherhood of Muslims while integration into British society is denounced. [189 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 741 votes] The jails are the least of the problem, try looking at the Universities

[2ND 610] What the h**l is going on on with the British Authorities, Ministers get paid millions for doing a job which they are obviously failing at. It can't be difficult to have all literature and sermons based in English and to tell the Deobandi Imans that their services are no longer required. Religious brainwashing which is rascist against our way of life should be banned immediately

[3RD 457] Stop them from visiting jails, we are too soft on these lunatics.

[4TH 432] I retired from the Prison Service over 13 years ago, and staff were warning of this long before then. That's the trouble with the government, they don't listen. [Daily Mail] Read more

Muslim woman's lawsuit over head-scarf removal at jail dismissed

Both sides have agreed to dismiss without payment a Muslim woman's federal lawsuit claiming Oceana County Sheriff's Office deputies violated her constitutional rights by making her remove her head scarf when she was booked into the county jail.

Fatme Dakroub's lawsuit against the county, the sheriff's office, Sheriff Robert J. Farber and three jail officers was dismissed without any money changing hands, according to a filing Monday, April 18, at U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

The dismissal is final and by mutual agreement.

.... According to a court summary of the sheriff's response to the lawsuit after a status conference Sept. 9, Dakroub was required to be bareheaded only long enough to have a booking photo taken of her face "in a manner consistent with the photograph on the identification card or driver's license issued to her by the United Arab Emirates, and in her possession at the time of her arrest."

After that, during "her very brief stay in the Oceana County Jail," Dakroub was allowed to wear her own clothing and to cover her head with a hood attached to her shirt, the lawsuit response stated. [MLive] Read more

Muslim pupils taking exams should be told they can be exempt from Ramadan fasting, head teachers' union says

Muslim schoolchildren taking exams this summer should be advised they can be exempted from Ramadan fasting and “made aware that Islam does not require them to put their futures in jeopardy”, the head teachers' union has urged.

The intervention by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) representing head teachers and college principals comes ahead of a Ramadan month of dawn-to-sunset fasting that will clash with summer GCSE and A-Level exams in a way that has not occurred in the UK since the 1980s.

For UK Muslims, Ramadan 2016, due to last from 6-8 June to 7 July, will coincide with the summer solstice – the longest day of the year - and have the longest average fasting hours in the 33-year, lunar-based cycle that determines when the holy month occurs. [The Independent] Read more

Islamic hate literature distributed in British prisons, leaked report finds

Extremist Islamic hate literature is available on the bookshelves of British jails and distributed to inmates by Muslim chaplains, according to a leaked report.

A review into extremism in prisons found misogynistic and homophobic pamphlets and hate tracts endorsing the killing of apostates were available in chaplaincy rooms, the Times reported.

Hate literature and CDs were reportedly discovered in more than ten prisons in November.

A summary of the review, led by former prison governor Ian Acheson, was supposed to have been released last month but was postponed. The review was ordered by Michael Gove.

The report is also said to have found that chaplains at some jails encouraged inmates to raise money for Islamic charities linked to international terrorism.

.... Muslim chaplains, appointed by the Ministry of Justice, can earn up to £40,000. There are around 100 employed full time in prisons. [The Telegraph] Read more

Imams are allowed to preach hate in prisons

Muslim chaplains appointed by the Ministry of Justice routinely distribute Islamist hate literature in British prisons, a leaked report has found.

The review, ordered last year by Michael Gove, found extremist pamphlets and CDs in more than ten jails in November. It uncovered misogynistic and homophobic leaflets, hate tracts encouraging the murder of apostates and ultra-conservative Islamic literature preaching contempt for basic British values.

The material, some of it published in Saudi Arabia, was kept on bookshelves in prison chaplaincy rooms where it was available for anybody to come in and pick up, a Whitehall source said.

The review, led by a former senior Home Office official, has not yet been cleared for publication. Its discovery of extremist literature is understood to have prompted an urgent internal alert in the Ministry of Justice that warned of a risk of “severe reputational damage” to the department. [The Times (£)] Read more

18 April 2016

Thank you Trevor Phillips, you’ve made me much more radical than before

.... I have repeatedly said that I as a Muslim am not interested in “assimilation” but I’m fully integrated in my country as a Muslim.

How else could I – as a headscarved Muslim woman – walk into somebody else’s sacred space (Blackburn Cathedral) and survive for ten years?

However, that doesn’t mean that I will not challenge certain unjust policies of my government whether that be Prevent, or international policies impacting local communities, such as what’s happening in Palestine or Kashmir. Or for that matter a lack of religious and political leadership in my own faith community, or local politicians who rule their communities through divisive policies.

What really came through the documentary for me was that the only way to be fully “integrated” into our society was to accept “certain chosen” liberal, democratic values. Well, as I have often said I have no issues with “certain values” as long as those values do not contradict God’s laws. When I was asked about homosexuality for the documentary I stated clearly that the act of homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and I am driven by my faith values. But that doesn’t mean that we can become judge and jury and harm those on the streets who are homosexuals. [5Pillars] Read more

Muslims label AfD 'Nazis' over plan to ban minarets

The Central Council of Muslims responded in unequivocal terms to a hard anti-Islam stance announced by the populist Alternative for Germany party over the weekend.

"For the first time since Hitler's Germany there is a party that once again is discrediting a whole religious community and threatening its existence," Central Council of Muslims chairman Aiman Mazyek told public broadcaster NDR on Monday morning.

He was responding to interviews with the AfD leadership published on Sunday that commit the party to a tough anti-Islam line.

“Islam is a political ideology that is incompatible with the [German] constitution,” AfD spokeswoman Beatrix von Storch told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) in an interview.

While she allowed that “many Muslims belong in Germany,” she insisted that “Islam does not belong in Germany.”

The party's deputy chairman Alexander Gauland went further in comments to the FAS, turning to medical terms and dubbing Islam a “foreign body” in German society. [The Local] Read more

Family in handshake row wants to be Swiss

The family of the two Muslim schoolboys who refused to shake hands with their female teachers has applied for Swiss citizenship, a local paper has discovered.

The teenagers’ father – an imam at a Basel mosque – placed an application in January, authorities in the canton of Basel-country confirmed to the Basler Zeitung newspaper.

The two schoolboys, aged 14 and 15, from Therwil in Basel-country, caused outrage in Switzerland last month when they said they did not want to shake their female teachers’ hands because to do so went against Islam, which prohibits physical contact with the opposite sex aside from immediate family.

Seeking a compromise with the students but wanting to avoid discriminating female teachers, their school took the decision to exempt the boys from shaking any teacher’s hand.

The decision was seen as an affront to Swiss customs and caused consternation across the country, with Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga insisting that “shaking hands is part of our culture”. [The Local] Read more

Scottish Muslim groups fail to attend Ahmadi anti-extremism event

Ahmadi Muslims in Scotland have launched an anti-extremism campaign following the death of the Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah, despite the failure of other prominent Muslims to attend the event.

Representatives of the Glasgow Central Mosque and the Muslim Council of Scotland were invited to attend the launch alongside other faith groups, but the Guardian understands that both sent their apologies at the last minute.

Shah, who lived in the multicultural Shawlands area of Glasgow, was fatally stabbed outside his newsagents on 24 March.

Shah was an Ahmadi, a member of a minority sect of Islam that faces persecution and violence in countries such as Pakistan and is treated with open hostility by many orthodox Muslims in the UK because it differs from their belief that Muhammad is the final prophet sent to guide humankind. [The Guardian] Read more

Muslim father loses circumcision court battle over sons

The man argued that circumcision would be in accordance with his religious beliefs.

But the boys' mother, who is separated from their father, disagreed.

At a Family Court hearing in Exeter, Mrs Justice Roberts said the boys, who are six and four, should first reach an age where they can make the decision for themselves.

'Individual choices'

The man had argued that it would be "in the children's best interests to allow them to be circumcised" in accordance with his "Muslim practice and religious beliefs".

His former partner "opposes that course until such time as the children have reached an age where they are competent to give consent to such a procedure," the judge added. [BBC] Read more

Why Islam has to thrash out thorny issues of sexuality, women and its idea of masculinity

I have arrived back to the city I grew up in, Glasgow, to attend and present at a conference being held at the University of Glasgow with support from the Royal Society of Edinburgh on ‘The Unthought in Islam: Gender Perspectives’. The presentation topics are quite varied.

The opening address today comes from Juliane Hammer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill USA on Muslim women and prayer and how American Muslims negotiate gender, practice and space. Subsequent papers will look at women’s Mosques and women Imams amongst the Hui Muslim communities in contemporary China, Eve as a paradigmatic feminine figure in Muslim tradition, Muslim women in Scotland and Shi’a women and self-flagellation. [Herald Scotland] Read more

Belgian PM backs minister's comment that some Muslims cheered attacks

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel backed his outspoken interior minister over comments that a significant number of Muslims had cheered the Brussels bombings, and said supporters of terrorism were a cancer that needed removing.

Jan Jambon told Belgian daily De Standaard in a Saturday interview that a significant part of the Muslim community had danced with joy after the attacks that killed 32 people on March 22.

Jambon, part of the Flemish separatist N-VA party, faced criticism from fellow ministers and opposition, some demanding he back up his views with evidence, others that he apologize immediately.

Michel provided backing for his minister late on Sunday, saying the national security council had been told about expressions of support for the Brussels attackers.

"I can confirm that there have been endorsements for the attacks," Michel said in a statement, although this was only from a small minority. [Reuters] Read more

17 April 2016

Trevor Phillips: some more responses and reflections

Since I last posted on this topic the full poll results have been published, Trevor Phillips’ documentary has been broadcast and a great deal of ink and airtime have been devoted to dissecting the results.

I had quibbles with the programme – but still more quibbles with many of its detractors. So here are a few reflections, with links to just some of the many comment pieces – good and bad – generated by both poll and programme. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Islam not compatible with German constitution, says AfD party

The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) said on Sunday Islam is not compatible with the German constitution and vowed to press for bans on minarets and burqas at its party congress in two weeks' time.

The AfD punished Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats in three regional elections last month, profiting from popular angst about how Germany can cope with an influx of migrants, over a million of whom arrived last year.

"Islam is in itself a political ideology that is not compatible with the constitution," AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

"We are in favour of a ban on minarets, on muezzins and a ban on full veils," added Storch, who is a member of the European Parliament.

Merkel's conservatives have also called for an effective ban on the burqa, saying the full body covering worn by some Muslim women should not be worn in public. But they have not said Islam is incompatible with Germany's constitution. [Reuters] Read more

16 April 2016

Trevor Phillips's documentary on Muslims was shocking - but not surprising

‘Our findings will shock many people,’ promised Trevor Phillips at the beginning of What British Muslims Really Think (Channel 4, Wednesday).

But the depressing thing is that I doubt they will, actually. I think the general British public have known for some time what Phillips’s documentary professed to find surprising: that large numbers of Muslims don’t want to integrate, that their views aren’t remotely enlightened, and that more than a few of them sympathise with terrorism. It’s only the establishment elite that has ever pretended otherwise.

As former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Phillips was very much part of that elite. He commissioned the 1997 Runnymede report that popularised the word ‘Islamophobia’. The fact that so impeccably liberal a figure is now issuing a mea culpa like this speaks volumes about how dire the situation has grown. ‘Everyone who has pinned their hopes on the rise of reforming and liberal British Muslim voices are in for a disappointment,’ said Phillips. [883 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 65 votes] Nothing will change In 10-15 years another TV programme will be made about the same subject. The only difference will be a larger proportion of Muslims supporting terrorism/covering women/banning gay men and women. And every year more will come and more will be born in Britain. No one has any backbone to stop it and the law/government all support it due to white guilt and fear of looking racist. When the English are a minority in England don't expect the non-English to have any guilt or fear, of treating us the way ISIS treats its nonmuslims in Iraq or Syria

[2ND 44] ANOTHER COMMENT SAID: "Well if the white majority choose not to have babies, they cannot be surprised when they become a minority, the answer to your problem is for white women to have more babies."

A stunningly ignorant comment.

Particularly in light of the future population problems of the world, the destruction of marriage and the family unit, abortions on request and the fact that most modern western family units cannot afford to have one spouse stay at home all the time. Filling the country with cheap labour will only drive down wages thus requiring both spouses to work.

In a nutshell, liberal ideology has enabled the very things I have just mentioned above.

And now you b tch and whine because western women are 'not having enough babies'... the planet has a population problem for god sake!

"the answer to your problem is for white women to have more babies."

And overpopulate us? No Mary the answer is clearly to stop importing 3rd worlders on mass and maintain our population at a level where we can self provide if required. All you want to do is load this country with people, turning it into a socialist overcrowded broken hellhole and then later you'll be whining about the fact cat rich. You work for them, you support their policies and you don't even realise because you are so utterly blinded by race guilt liberal BS.

[3RD 35] What I have always found amazing is how the Left and the BBC worked tirelessly to destroy Apartheid in South Africa whilst enthusiastically promoting the same ideology in the UK.

Separate Development is a euphemism for Apartheid. Multiculturalism is a euphemism for Separate Development

It is all about segregation - we are well on our way to being Balkanised with all the problems that is going to bring.

[4TH 28] I live in the heart of the Muslim stronghold of West Yorkshire and have mixed with a lot of Muslim people socially and politically. It's getting worse for liberals as they come under increasing pressure to conform to third world practises. I've worked with young people who have been just like everyone else until Grandma decides they are too western; then they're off on Hadj and never come out after work any more. As for a couple of guys we all knew were gay being forced into arranged marriages! There is now a purity race on; who is most religious? Who behaves in the most Muslim way? Etc etc.

I worked with a guy who was high up in the accounts department in my company who went to prayers every Friday, where he was routinely mocked for wearing a suit. He left the company after a couple of years of it. But before he went he cajoled a young Muslim colleague into accompanying him to Friday prayers when he had previously joined in with the Friday pizza run and played Half Life at lunch time instead of praying.

Unless this pressure can be reversed every Muslim will at least pay lip service to the wilder strictures of the ROP. We have pandered for so long they think they are untouchable and the refuseniks have no one to turn to. For decades the contraception advisors at Dewsbury maternity hospital have been banned from advising Muslim women 'because their GPs don't like it'. I don't know about Muslim men having a paternal and infantilising attitude to women, the left leaning establishment are no better. [The Spectator] Read more

Liberals are blind to the threat posed by Islamist terror

The result on stage is shocking, but not for the reasons I expected. Instead of showing the multiple facets of the issue, the overwhelming explanation offered is that we are to blame for losing our children to Islamic State.

This is the message from the mothers of Molenbeek whose sons left to fight in Syria; from Charlie Winter, a senior research associate from Georgia State University; from Moazzam Begg, who was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay; and from sixth-form students in Tower Hamlets.

To most of the characters, Isis is the creation of the West. Our racism, our Islamophobia, our wars against the Muslim world have, apparently, given birth to it. If we get murdered on our streets by our compatriots it is only because our children who became terrorists felt they had no other option in life. Poor devils.

All those voices are legitimate in a democracy, where they can be heard on the airwaves and read in print. But they need to be challenged, especially when the ambition is to portray the attraction of jihadism for European teenagers, otherwise those voices become the only views deemed acceptable. [The Times (£)] Read more

What do British Muslims really think?

This was the week when British Muslims became experts in research methodology.

Trevor Phillips, who led the Equality and Human Rights Commission, presented the Channel 4 show What British Muslims Really Think on Wednesday night, which was based on an ICM survey — and it has created quite a debate.

The ICM surveyed 1,000 Muslims face-to-face and found that:

One in 25 Muslims (four per cent) said they felt at least some sympathy with people who took part in suicide bombings, while a similar proportion said they had some sympathy with “people who commit terrorist actions as a form of political protest”.

A quarter – 25 per cent – said they could understand why British school girls could be attracted to become “jihadi brides” overseas.

Less than half (47 per cent) agreed that Muslims should do more to tackle the causes of extremism in the Muslim community.

52 per cent believed homosexuality should not be legal in Britain, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and 31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.

78% said the media had no right publish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

Rather than addressing the important issues raised from this poll, the usual suspects — including left-wing commentators — are either downplaying the worrying responses or dismissing this entirely as ‘Islamophobic’. We don’t like it when our dirty laundry is aired in public. There are either absolutely no problems, or if there are, it’s everyone else’s fault but ours.

This poll didn’t really tell us anything new. It is a fact that British Muslims, on the whole, do tend to be more conservative. As writer and lecturer Kenan Malik points out: [Sedaa.org] Read more

“Now the Writing Starts”: An Interview with Adonis

In your new book, Violence et Islam, you wrote that ISIS represents the end of Islam. Will there be a new beginning?

"You know, we have to remain believers. How so? If people, if humanity, comes to an end, then the world ends. As long as there are individuals—what I am saying now is that I am not alone. There are many individuals, in Egypt and other countries, who say what I am saying. This is why we have to remain confident that the human will reach a stage where he will find better solutions.

But when and how will be determined in time. But I can say that the Arabs will never advance as long as they think and operate in this old, jihadist, religious context. It is not possible. This is what is extinct, what has ended. ISIS is the last shout. Like a candle about to go out, it ends with strength."

"The renaissance needs time. Our society, during the fifteen centuries since the foundation of the first Islamic state, has not been able to establish a society of citizens. With a citizen’s duties come rights.

Until now, Arab societies are formed of individuals who carry out the same duties but have different rights: the Christian does not have the same rights as the Muslim, for instance. Fifteen centuries. How can we solve fifteen centuries in a week or two, a month or two? But I trust that the time will come, but outside this context." [The New York Review of Books] Read more

Migrants Riot After Being Denied Halal Food

.... The incident happened at a converted hotel in the small town of Unken, when a travelling halal meat salesman turned up at the centre in the middle of the night to sell his products to the residents.

Kronen Zeitung says the migrants quickly flocked to the salesman, however the centre’s management had other ideas. They told the merchant to go away, fearing the noise from the excited residents would disturb the neighbours.

Migrants reacted angrily to this, however, and started shouting and protesting. Some then marched to the town hall to continue their protest, with state broadcaster ORF reporting “tumultuous” scenes.

Six migrants were expelled from the centre following the incident and have been relocated elsewhere in Austria. [Breitbart London] Read more

Belgian minister says many Muslims 'danced' after attacks

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said Saturday that a "significant" part of the Muslim population celebrated attacks, blaming the country's policies for failing to integrate migrants into society.

He did not explicitly refer to last month's jihadist attacks on Brussels' airport and metro system that killed 32 people

"A significant section of the Muslim community danced when attacks took place," Jambon said in an interview with the Flemish-language De Standaard newspaper.

The Belgian minister also accused Muslim residents of Brussels' largely immigrant Molenbeek neighbourhood of attacking police during an operation last month to arrest a suspect in connection with the deadly attacks in Paris last November.

"They threw stones and bottles at police and press during the arrest of Salah Abdeslam. This is the real problem. Terrorists we can pick up, remove from society. But they are just a boil. Underneath is a cancer that is much more difficult to treat. We can do it, but it won't be overnight," he said. [France24] Read more

15 April 2016

Not all British Muslims think the same – whatever Channel 4 might claim

.... After the programme aired I was called “an apologist for extremists” – which I found hugely amusing. I don’t think I talked about extremism at all. I was criticised for even agreeing to participate. But I had felt being a part of the conversation was more productive than ignoring it altogether. Let the liberal Muslim voice be heard (for a change).

Despite all the negative output and divisiveness it stirred up, despite all the critique and quarrelling, despite all the Twitter trolling, the Facebook abusing, the pointing and laughing (occupational hazard), I stand by my very first contribution on the documentary: “It’s a privilege that we get to live in a country, the UK, which lets us practise our belief. And I firmly take this as a privilege. Muslim people, we can go to the mosque, we can pray, we can dress the way we want to … we’ve got halal food pretty much everywhere. What a time to be alive!”

I made my points. Antisemitism is wrong. Homophobia is wrong. Misogyny is wrong. Surely in 2016 people can just take that as given? British Muslims are good people, so don’t buy into the scaremongering. Britain is better than that. [995 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 347 votes] Part 94 in the Guardian's "Islam is so amazing" series

I really don't get it. Why is this religion held up on a pedestal so much? What is so great about it?

[2ND 327] "How can it be possible that the views of 1,000 odd people can prove something about an entire community?"

That’s the whole concept of doing surveys and polls. They don’t claim to be foolproof, but they do generally give a broad-strokes indication of something that would otherwise be impossible to quantify.

As you say, you’re on the liberal end of the scale – so why get so defensive when someone talks about the less-liberal end of the scale? Why does that not merit discussion?

[3RD 302] Personally I believe the polls were properly conducted and accurate. They were defended pretty convincingly in this letter to the paper: See here

All facts are friendly. A poll, properly carried out, cannot be "phobic" or "scaremongering". It is simply a snapshot of the reality. Yes, the results might be worrying and these results were, although they were not surprising IMO. Are you suggesting the results should have been concealed because they were disturbing? Or that these questions should never have been posed in the first place?

We’re being “othered”.

No, some British Muslims are "othering" themselves by choosing not to integrate as previous waves of migrants have done. It's great that you do not do this and that you are not antisemitic or misogynist. Unfortunately - as the polls have shown - many of your co-religionists are. There is no point in blaming Channel 4 for reporting what is there. [Guardian Cif] Read more

14 April 2016

What British Muslims really think about Channel 4's show

We asked British Muslims to review Channel 4’s show: What British Muslims Really Think. Here’s what they said:

If there was a show titled “what do British – insert characteristic here – really think” it would sound judgemental and discriminatory. Muslims aren’t one block of consciousness; Pakistani Muslims often have differing views to Arab Muslims, African Muslims often have differing views to Malaysian Muslims and so on. What kind of Muslims did the sample consist of? Sunni, Shia? Hanafi, Hanbali? Deobandi or Barelwi? To use only 1081 Muslims as a sample to represent 3 million Muslims is inflammatory, misleading and dangerous.

.... It was claimed that Muslims are homophobic, misogynistic and that they wish to impose ‘sharia law’. I’m not denying that these elements exist but more emphasis should have been made on the possible cultural background to these views; many rural communities in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh do have a culture of accepting polygamy and not accepting non-heterosexual relationships.

Perhaps a comparison with the views of other non-Muslim first generation migrants and, or rural communities would have been helpful in order to show that the programme wasn’t just targeting one religion. [The Guardian] Read more

Trevor Phillips’s flawed poll will do nothing to help integration

.... Is integration a one-way process? No, integration is a two-way process where there are cross-influences from both cultures and compromises from all sides to integrate the minority culture into the majority culture. If communities maintain their identities and live peacefully alongside each other by accommodating each others’ viewpoints surely that’s integration? Moreover, perhaps addressing issues affecting integration like education and job discrimination and socio-economic deprivation is what needs to be done.

I could go on but I won’t because there is much a bigger point that is being overlooked. Why was there a need for the poll in the first place?

This is the question that sincerely needs to be asked. Why are Muslims repeatedly being questioned about their thoughts and religious beliefs? And this is where as a British Muslim I worry we are sleepwalking towards assimilation which is one-directional and relies on minority communities giving up on their beliefs and cultures in order to be accepted. In this case to fit in with so-called “British Values.”

Perhaps if Philips had asked what ideas, concerns and expectations Muslims have (ie what Muslims “really” think) instead of telling us what we should think, then that may have been the start of a constructive dialogue to promote integration. [5Pillars] Read more

What a Bristol Muslim actually thinks about Channel 4's What British Muslims Really Think

The Bristol Muslim Cultural Society's project manager Rizwan Ahmed has shared his views on the Channel 4 show What British Muslims Really Think, and revealed how there are a few more pressing matters at hand...

As a British Muslim What Do I Think….

I don't normally like to get political but seeing this furor around this whole "What British Muslims Really Think" programme and survey which I realised (after some very deep thought and pondering and philosophical thinking for all of two seconds…) was about as representative of what I think as a British Asian Muslim as Nigel Farage is to Race Equality.

After thinking about it for a few more moments I realised that at the moment as a nation we sort of have a few other more pressing social matters to worry about...

Some of these are - in no particular order and also not exhaustive list:

1) A housing crisis with severe shortages of affordable homes up and down the country.

2) Problems with a struggling NHS and striking Doctors.

3) The elderly who were once the backbone of our country and spent decades supporting the UK through their hard sweat, blood and tears now being abused and neglected in some so called "care homes". [Western Daily Press] Read more

Muslim support for theocracy, not terrorism, is the real threat to confront

.... Trevor Phillips offered some partial suggestions about breaking up ethnic segregation in schools, but why would any non-Muslim want to send their child to an Islamic faith school? Diversity cannot exist in schools designed around one religious ethos to the exclusion of all others. We cannot continue with a faith-segregated education system.

Politicians must stop paying lip-service to integration and actually start doing the things necessary to promote it.

We can't afford to be naive or unduly optimistic about the strength or influence of reforming voices within Islam: The torrent of abuse, death threats and murders faced by 'heretics' within British Islam keeps many would-be allies of this project silenced. They need the support of wider society, however it can be offered. And ex-Muslims must finally be listened to by those on the left who have ignored and silenced them.

If there is to be an 'us' versus 'them', it must not be between Muslims and non-Muslims, but the secularists of all religions and none against those who would impose Islam by violence or political means on others.

Society needs to set a much higher standard than simply 'feeling British' and being 'peaceful'. Almost all British Muslims meet this standard; yet many more live in fear of expressing more liberal views than this. This, not the battle against terrorism, is the real generational struggle. [National Secular Society] Read more

The Citadel considers first-ever uniform exception: allowing a Muslim hijab

The Citadel is considering a request from an admitted student that she be allowed to wear a hijab in keeping with her Muslim faith, a move that would be an unprecedented exception to the school’s longstanding uniform requirements.

If the request for the traditional Muslim hair covering is granted, it apparently would be the first exception made to the Citadel’s uniform, which all cadets at the storied public military college in South Carolina are required to wear at nearly all times. (At beaches, for example, college rules stipulate that, “Cadets will change into appropriate swimwear upon arrival and change back into uniform when departing.”)

A spokeswoman said that to her knowledge, in its nearly 175-year history, the school has never granted a religious, or other, accommodation that resulted in a change to the uniform.

As word spread on social media, students, alumni and others responded strongly to the idea of an exception being made at an institution where uniformity, discipline and adherence to rules are defining values, where loyalty to the corps is paramount and individual preferences are trivial.

That the first exception might be for a Muslim student was an additional provocation for some — and welcome symbolism for others — in the midst of a national discussion about Islam in U.S. culture. [The Washington Post] Read more

Germany agrees 'historic' refugee integration package

.... The deal, hammered out in seven hours of late-night talks between Merkel's conservative Christian Union bloc and the Social Democrats (SPD), also included plans for new anti-terror legislation.

The integration bill would take a carrot-and-stick approach, providing subsidised courses to help newcomers find their way in German life but, in some cases, denying residence permits to those who fail to take up the offer.

Germany took in more than a million asylum seekers in 2015 and Merkel has faced virulent criticism from sceptics, particularly from within her conservative camp, who argue that Europe's top economy is ill-equipped to cope with the influx.

She told reporters the measures would foster the settlement of those who stay in the country in the long run.

"We know, after hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in our country, that we are facing a two-pronged challenge: on the one hand controlling the flow of refugees... and of course on the other hand not just registering them but integrating them," Merkel said. [AFP] Read more

What do British Muslims Really Think? Now we know. And it's terrifying

I sat down to watch 'What British Muslims Really think' with my best multicultural head on.

I cleared my mind of all preconceptions; grubby Rochdale cabbies passing white girls round for sex like a fried chicken bargain bucket, Imams beating kids into devotion, and the truly indoctrinated, blowing up Brussels to get 72 virgins in paradise.

Putting my feet up on the recycling bin, channelling my inner Polly Toynbee, I waited to sit corrected - prepared to accept the most dangerous Muslim in Britain is Bake Off's Nadiya Hussain armed with a Victoria Sponge.

But, much as it pains me to say it, I have been right all along. British Muslims are not part of some rich tapestry of urban life. It's a myth, dreamed up by the BBC, and perpetuated by the Islington elite.

It is them and us. And THEY have no wish to be anything like US.

The reason Muslims enjoy our country is because it is tolerant. Not the bits where we are tolerant of each other, you understand. Not the fact we respect your right to be Jewish or utterly ungodly. Or our warm embrace of those who identify as straight, gay, lesbian or as gender-fluid as a snail. [Daily Mail] Read more