31 August 2016

British public overwhelmingly support banning the Islamic burqa by two to one

The British public want to ban Muslim women from wearing the Islamic veil or burqa by an overwhelming margin of more than two-to-one, a poll has found.

Research by YouGov found a huge proportion of the public had no qualms about telling women what to wear, with 57 per cent in favour of a ban and just 25 per cent against.

18-24 year olds were the only age group to oppose a ban; all others were in favour, with the oldest 65+ group backing the prohibition by a startling 78 per cent to 12. All major political parties also had a plurality of voters in favour of a ban.

Ukip leadership candidate Lisa Duffy has called for a ban on the Islamic veil; Nigel Farage issued a similar call on 2010 but the party has spoken little on the issue in recent years.

The polling comes amid controversy over the banning of “burkini” modest swimwear on beaches in a number of French municipalities. A video emerged last week of armed French police forcing a woman to undress after she was spotted wearing the clothing. [The Independent] Read more

Outrage as leading Muslim school in Sweden segregates boys and girls

The private school has received fierce calls from officials to stop such practice in an “open and tolerant country”.

The controversial gym lessons are being held in the Al-Azhar school in Swedish capital of Stockholm.

Girls have also been banned from taking off their veils or wearing t-shirts when they are around boys.

According to the gym teacher Nina Da Mata, “the girls feel more secure when they are in a group of their own.”

She said: “Some of our girls want to be able to take off their veils and wear shorts and t-shirts in their classes. It would be difficult if there were boys of the same age or a male teacher.”

The 660-student school was founded in 1995. [Daily Express] Read more

Mohammed Amin: Integrating Muslims. The UK does better than the US (just). And both do better than France

.... Obviously immigrants need to adapt the most. Immigrants to the UK must master English, must absorb our country’s civic and political culture, and need to value our religious and ethnic tolerance. (Sadly many immigrants bring prejudices with them, but most manage to lose them here.)

However, some adaptation is also required of the host country. The UK has displayed this. Some simple examples are permitting Sikh motorcyclists to not wear a crash helmet and accepting hijab as part of official police uniform. Showing immigrants that they are valued, for example with the Prime Minister’s religious festival messages, is absolutely critical.

The UK and the USA have displayed the small amount of adaptability required of host countries. Neither an established church nor having an entirely secular constitution has been any impediment. Unfortunately, France refuses to accept that any adaptation whatsoever is necessary, and uses Laïcité as a shibboleth to justify its stubbornness. Sadly, the predictable integration failure has ensued. [ConservativeHome] Read more

30 August 2016

Founder of Denmark’s first mosque for women: ‘I will not listen to naysayers’

A little mosque in the Danish capital of Copenhagen joined a quiet revolution last week by hosting its first Friday prayer led by a woman.

Traditionally, Friday prayers are limited to and led by men, and women are encouraged to pray at home. Some mosques have women’s sections, but those areas tend to be cramped and accessible only from a side or back entrance.

The Mariam mosque in Copenhagen, one of the few worldwide run by women, is striving to change that by limiting Friday prayers to women and generally maintaining the mosque as a space for women. The mosque opened in February informally for ceremonies, but more imams had to be recruited before it officially opened last Friday.

The prayer was presided over by Sherin Khankan, the founder of the mosque, who sang the call to prayer, or the adhan. Saliha Marie Fetteh delivered the sermon, or khutbah, which was about “women and Islam in the modern world.”

About 70 women of various religious backgrounds attended the service in solidarity. [The Washington Post] Read more

More than 200 people attend anti-Islam protest against 'Muslim' housing estate

.... The group claims a housing development which will provide 75 homes has been designated a “Muslim” housing estate despite the city council categorically denying it is a faith-based development.

A post on the True Blue Crew’s Facebook page, posted ahead of the rally, said: “Join as one to say NO to the Islamic Ideology!

“NO to this ridiculous politically correct (cultural marxist) climate we are living in!

“NO to Melton's muslim only housing estate! [Daily Express] Read more

Why should France accept the burkini? Its time to debate integration head-on

.... And what’s next? Should we also allow FGM to be respectful of different cultural practices? What about polygamy? In short, Western societies need to define what’s acceptable for them, and what’s not.

There is a need to draw a line, and maybe the French have drawn it at the burkini. Is it futile? Maybe. But at least a social debate is starting. It’s a debate that societies simply can’t avoid forever. Whether we like it or not, society must have a clear set of "inclusiveness principles", and it’s probably better to face the issue rather than ignore it.

Don’t get me wrong, if covering up was simply a matter of personal style I would be all for it. But let’s be honest: it’s fairly easy to see whether women cover up for religious reasons or not (for starters women would get a hat, not a veil).

What makes me angry is when I am out in blistering heat, and I see a family at the beach with kids in bathing suits, the dad in swimming trunks, and the mum covered in black from head to toe. It’s modest and it’s for religious reasons, but those reasons clearly seem oppressive and unfair.

I can’t understand why a husband would want his wife to wear this. And don’t even try to swim in such an attire. [The Telegraph] Read more

Burkinis? Here's why we should fight them on the beaches

On a bathing platform in Turkey, I found myself sunbathing next to a Muslim family. The father strutted about in a pair of teeny red trunks, just visible beneath the landslide of his vast belly.

The mother wore a black and orange burkini, which left only her face, hands and feet exposed. She looked like a broiling penguin, clearly suffering in the intense heat. Their lovely children – two girls and a boy – jumped into the water again and again, as lithe and playful as porpoises.

I found myself gazing at the little girls and wondering how long. How long before they had to put away their pretty bikinis and their Caramac tummies, how long before they would never know the bliss of sun and sea on their skin again? I gave them about two years, poor mites. No such loss of freedom or pleasure would trouble their brother. [The Telegraph] Read more

How one Tunisian party is separating Islam from politics

.... Mr. Bannani and the Ennahda party are part of a unique Middle Eastern political experiment: They have renounced their Islamist origins in favor of becoming a party that fully embraces Tunisia’s secular order and seeks to work within it.

In other words, they have made the transformation that many Western observers think is necessary to bring stable and vibrant democracies to the Middle East.

Ennahda has critics, both among supporters who feel betrayed and political experts who say the party cannot undo the damage it did to Tunisian democracy in the past.

But Ennahda’s journey from a band of Islamist revolutionaries to a party dedicated to the strengthening of Tunisian democracy offers a rare glimpse at political possibility in the Middle East, others say.

While the lessons from Tunisia are unique and not easily replicated in other parts of the region, Ennahda aims to establish a new tradition of “Muslim Democrats” – voters and politicians guided by their faith but committed to the political system of a pluralistic society. [The Christian Science Monitor] Read more

Me and my burkini in Brexit-on-Sea

“The person who invented the burkini did it to free women!” says someone I know, every five minutes on Facebook or Twitter. But I do not feel free when I wear it myself. I am hot, I can’t hear, and I’ve been rubbed sore by a cross-shaped seam on the crotch.

I am sitting on the river bank at the genteel Hampstead Ponds in London, the first of two destinations where I’ll see what reaction I get from the public when I appear in a burkini. The second is Clacton-on-Sea, home of UKIP’s only MP.

.... I am happiest hidden in the water. It brings my temperature below boiling point and I’m no longer in danger of hallucinating. However, when I get out, my water logged head-encasement means I’m isolated from the sound around me.

.... When I come out, I am freezing as the fabric doesn’t dry in the sun. If the breeze could get to my skin I’d be OK, but the soaking wet fabric is stuck to me. We go for a walk along the pier and this is when I get relentless crotch-rub. With every step, the wet seams between my legs make me wince. [The Spectator] Read more

29 August 2016

Stockholm school segregates boys and girls in gym class

Sweden’s education minister has called for tougher laws preventing gender segregation after a Muslim school was given the all-clear to run separate gym classes for boys and girls.

All four centre-right parties in the opposition Alliance criticized the national school inspectorate's decision, and the education minister, Gustav Fridolin, said he shared their concern.

Separating boys and girls in primary school and lower secondary school “can not be a way of working with gender equality,” he told TV4 Nyheterna.

The minister said he would instruct officials on Monday to examine how to make changes to the existing legislation.

Nina Da Mata, a sports teacher at the Al-Azhar school, defended the policy and said she would teach in the same way in a non-Muslim school.

“The girls feel more secure when they are in a group of the their own,” she told Mivida, the Swedish Teachers Union newspaper. [The Local] Read more

French government convenes Muslim leaders for talks on 'French-style Islam'

France's interior minister convened Muslim leaders Monday to discuss a French-style Islam that honors the nation's secular values, a task given new urgency after deep divisions surfaced over burkini bans in 30 French beach towns and after terror attacks that also stigmatized Muslims.

A high court struck down the burkini bans Friday, but the high-pitched debate that quickly seeped into France's political sphere revealed raw tensions between the secular establishment and sectors of France's estimated 5 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.

The July 14 attack on revelers in Nice, the killing of a priest in Normandy on July 26 and the June killing of a police couple in their home – all claimed by the Islamic State group – have focused tensions on Muslims. [Associated Press] Read more

EU nations must not refuse Muslim migrants, says Merkel

The refusal of some EU countries to accept Muslim refugees is “unacceptable”, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday as Germany called for quotas to divide the influx throughout the bloc.

“That’s not right at all that some countries say: ‘generally speaking, we don’t want to have Muslims in our countries’,” Merkel told German public television channel ARD.

During the interview, Merkel rejected Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel’s criticism that the conservatives had “underestimated” the challenge of integrating record numbers of migrants.

Gabriel leads the Social Democrats (SPD) -- the junior coalition partner in Merkel’s government -- and his comments come as campaigning kicks off for a federal election next year and regional elections in Berlin and the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

He had also criticised Merkel’s catchphrase “Wir schaffen das” (“We can do this”), which she adopted during last year’s migrant crisis. [AFP and Reuters] Read more

We need to stop conflating ‘Muslims’ with Islamists

It’s insidious how the Islamist narrative has become mainstream everywhere – in the media, in social policies, in discussions around minority communities and human rights, in ‘progressive’ politics … it’s also very much part and parcel of how some freethinkers view ‘Muslims’ – homogenised masses whose default is always the Islamist no matter how many refuse and resist – often at great risk to their lives.

Identity politics ignores this dissent and plurality (even vilifies it – to the extent that ex-Muslims, for example, are considered “native informants”).

But Islamic rules and Islamism are so antithetical to 21st century living that you don’t need to draw a cartoon of Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, or be an atheist and blaspheme to be at loggerheads with the theocrats.

Take Valentine’s Day. In 2014 in Saudi Arabia, 5 Saudi men arrested sentenced to 32 years in prison and 4,500 lashes for holding a Valentine’s Day party with “unrelated women, drinking and dancing.” In Islamic schools here in Europe, Valentine’s Day is frowned upon as un-Islamic. [The Freethinker] Read more

28 August 2016

Now Bunnings is pandering to Muslims

.... However shoppers have been left confused after it was revealed the sausage sizzles, which are a fixture at the hardware giant, also come with a strict set of guidelines.

The most baffling rule to one social media user was that bacon is not allowed to be sold at the BBQ's.

'I went to Bunnings yesterday and as you do I stopped at the Rotary sausage sizzle on the way out,' Dave wrote on Facebook.

'There was three or four blokes about my age working on the BBQ and I couldn't help myself, I just had to find out if it was true or an urban myth. 'So I asked; Is it true that they can't cook bacon on those stalls?

'I'm sad to say it is true, if you want a bacon sanga don't go to the Bunnings sausage sizzle, anywhere in Australia!,' his post finished. [Australian Politics] Read more

Swiss strongly favour burka ban: newspapers

An overwhelming 71% of the Swiss population would support a nationwide ban on the wearing of veils or any kind of clothing that hides the face in public, according to a survey published on Sunday.

The result is based on responses to a survey that the Sunday newspapers SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche conducted online among 15,824 Swiss voters during last Monday and Tuesday. The idea of a national ban gained 72% support in German-speaking Switzerland and 70% in French-speaking Switzerland. Women approved nearly as much as men.

There was 85% support for the idea in Italian-speaking Ticino, which on July 1 became the first and only of Switzerland’s 26 cantons to introduce a “burka ban” on any face-covering headgear. [swissinfo.ch] Read more

Germany's vice chancellor says Merkel underestimated migrant challenge

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview on Saturday that Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives had "underestimated" the challenge of integrating record numbers of migrants.

Gabriel leads the Social Democrats (SPD) -- the junior coalition partner in Merkel's government -- and his comments come as campaigning kicks off for a federal election next year and regional elections in Berlin and the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Germany from the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere last year. There is widespread concern about how to integrate them into German society and the labor market, and support for the anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has grown.

"I, we always said that it's inconceivable for Germany to take in a million people every year," Gabriel said in an interview with broadcaster ZDF.

"There is an upper limit to a country's integration ability," he added at a news conference on Sunday. [Reuters] Read more

27 August 2016

Being A Muslim Woman And Wearing A Headscarf Post-Brexit - “It’s noticeably more tense.”

Following the EU referendum, reports of racism in the UK rose dramatically. We spoke to three British Muslim women at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Festival - a gathering which aims to combat terrorism and extremism - about what it’s like to wear a headscarf post-Brexit.

Last month, the head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council said the debate had directly led to an increase in reporting of hate crimes.

“It is very clear in the last couple of weeks that more people have been aware of experiencing such incidents than we have had before,” explained Mark Hamilton.

Reports to police increased by 42% in the two weeks surrounding the vote - equating to more than 3,000 hate crime allegations across Britain.

“Some people took that as a licence to behave in a racist or other discriminatory way,” Hamilton added at the time. “We can not divorce the country’s reaction to the referendum and the increase in hate crime reporting.”

Anti-Muslim hate group Tell MAMA warned of heightened racism following Brexit.

The group’s annual survey had found a 326% rise in Islamophobic incidents during 2015. Chairman Shahid Malik said the UK stood in “unchartered territory”.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] If there is tension expressed, it is because the tension was unaddressed. It is that simple. When liberals and left stop playing Islam's political game of victimhood and listen to the grass roots, the tensions will be addressed in an atmosphere of honesty.

Brexit resulted not because of racism but clearly-Islamic agendas, not of the peaceable Ahmaddiya type, but the kind that led to the murder of a decent, Glasgow shopkeeper, which sees every political victory as the March of Islam to defeat those who live in "the House of War." It is hardly surprising that many identified European, post-War, PC pseudo-liberalism as a kind of Trojan Horse.

There is also the natural fear of people who see their culture and homeland gradually being handed over by moral surrender to alien cultures that make them feel like a marginalised group in their own country. This is deliberate cultural imperialism by a religion that produces few examples of functioning and fair democracy.

Burkini bans and racist attacks are unintelligent, but they are symptoms of the national debate we need to have. As long as we continue to use the narrative of nasty-white-racists-against-innocent-Muslims, it will not happen. Huffpost editors and writers have a serious responsibility here they are currently neglecting. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

26 August 2016

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

The “Deutschland Trend” poll for broadcaster ARD surveyed more than 1,000 people between Tuesday and Wednesday and asked what they thought about the proposal for Germany to ban full-body veils worn by Muslim women.

A little more than half (51 percent) of respondents said that they approved of having a general ban on burqas or niqabs in public, while about one-third were for a partial ban in public places like schools or public offices.

That means that in total, 81 percent were in favour of some form of ban on the burqa.

Meanwhile, 15 percent said they objected to a burqa ban as a matter of principle. [The Local] Read more

Survey: Germans want a burqa ban

A large majority of Germans reject the burqa. Some 81 percent of respondents in a representative survey conducted by polling institute Infratest dimap are in favor of banning the Islamic veil, which covers women completely from head to toe, in some public places.

More than half of Germans have an even more extreme view - 51 percent were in favor of banning the burqa entirely. Infratest dimap polled 1,008 German adults for public broadcaster ARD on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Roughly one-third of them (30 percent) support a partial ban of the veil for state employees and in school. Just 15 percent opposed any sort of burqa ban altogether.

The new poll also revealed what Germans see as priorities their politicians should tackle. Twenty-five percent of respondents said the most pressing topic was domestic security and the fight against terrorism, just 12 percent view migrant integration as a priority. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Birmingham council 'endorsed Muslim sectarianism' against persecuted Ahmadi sect

Birmingham education authorities buckled to pressure from sectarian hardliners and blocked a Muslim sect from being represented on an interfaith council, it is claimed.

Members of Birmingham's Ahmadiyya Muslim Community were told that in order to be represented on the city's Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) they would have to agree not to identify themselves as Muslims, after a threatened walkout from other Muslim members of the committee.

he Ahmadiyya are accused of apostasy by some other Muslims, who say they do not regard Mohammed as the final prophet. They have faced decades of violent persecution in Pakistan, and in Glasgow an Ahmadi shopkeeper was recently stabbed to death by an Islamic extremist who claimed his victim had "disrespected the Prophet [Mohammad]." [International Business Times] Read more

Bunnings bacon ban: Hardware giant outrages customers by prohibiting rashers from their much-loved sausage sizzles - so who are they worried about offending?

For many Australians, a Bunnings sausage sizzle is an institution, a reminder of being dragged to the hardware store on a Saturday morning by your partner or parents.

Others see the tradition as a way to raise funds for local sports clubs or community groups.

However shoppers have been left confused after it was revealed the sausage sizzles, which are a fixture at the hardware giant, also come with a strict set of guidelines.

The most baffling rule to one social media user was that bacon is not allowed to be sold at the BBQ's.

'I went to Bunnings yesterday and as you do I stopped at the Rotary sausage sizzle on the way out,' Dave wrote on Facebook. [Daily Mail] Read more

PVV calls for ban on the Koran and refugee centre closures in election plans

The anti-immigration PVV, led by Geert Wilders, has published a one page list of the party’s main campaign points for the March general election. The draft election programme, with the name ‘The Netherlands is ours again’, contains 11 points, most of which focus on what Wilders’ calls ‘de-islamising’ the Netherlands.

The PVV wants to close all refugee centres, close all mosques and Islamic schools and introduce a ban on the Koran. The party also wants to leave the EU, reduce the retirement age back to 65 and stop spending any money on aid, the arts, wind turbines and innovation. Spending would be increased on the police, armed forces and nursing homes. [DutchNews] Read more

Burkini ban overturned

France’s highest court has overturned the controversial burkini ban put in place at Villeneuve-Loubet, and it is expected that other seaside towns will acknowledge this legal precedent and reverse their own bans.

Feelings against the ban have been running high. Many have been outraged by pictures of women forced to disrobe or leave the beach. As Yasmin Weaver notes in her excellent recent post, even if this incident was staged, that doesn’t justify an illiberal and unnecessary ban.

There is something quite bizarre in the language used to justify banning the burkini. Apparently it is impossible to demonstrate ‘good morals and secularism’ on the beach unless a certain quota of bare skin is on display.

The garment has also been described as ‘liable to offend the religious convictions or (religious) non-convictions of other users of the beach,” and – by Sarkozy – as ‘provocative’.

Very similar terms could be used to press for blasphemy legislation. Just as some Muslims defend the right to publish cartoons of Mohammed but still find them personally offensive, those of us who perhaps don’t care for what the burkini represents should still stand up for people’s right to wear it. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Dutch party wants to outlaw mosques, Islamic schools, Koran

The Dutch far-right Freedom Party will run in the country’s parliamentary elections next year on a platform seeking to ban some of the key tenets of Islam, according to a manifesto published by its leader Geert Wilders Thursday.

In its five-year plan for 2017-2021, the Freedom Party pledges to reverse the “Islamization” of the Netherlands by implementing measures such as closing mosques and Islamic schools, securing borders, banning the Koran, closing asylum seeker centers, banning Muslim migrants and forbidding women from wearing headscarves.

Wilders’ party also supports holding a Brexit-style referendum for the Netherlands to leave the European Union. [POLITICO] Read more

Haji Ali: India court says women can enter Mumbai shrine

A court in India has overturned a ban on women entering the inner sanctum of Mumbai's Haji Ali mosque.

The high court in Mumbai said the ban "violated the constitution" and was discriminatory to women, lawyers said.

The ban was imposed in 2012 when the trust that runs the Sufi shrine said it was a "sin" to allow women to touch the tombs of male saints.

In recent months, India has seen a number of campaigns to allow women into religious shrines that bar their entry.

Although women were allowed into the compound and other parts of the Haji Ali mosque, the 2012 ban barred them from entering the inner sanctum which housed the tomb of a Sufi saint.

Many Islamic mosques belonging to the Shia and Sunni sects, also allow women, though many keep them in clearly demarcated areas. [BBC] Read more

You don't get the choice to leave Islam

In a Deutsche Welle TV interview, Rana Ahmad, an atheist who renounced her Sunni Muslim upbringing and fled Saudi Arabia for fear of execution, talks about her previous existence, living "in a stupor", until she became aware of the world of knowledge through the internet and began to read and do research.

"How come the education systems in Islamic countries do not provide this information?... What are they afraid of?"

Well, exactly this...a woman learning to think for herself and renouncing her faith:

What's bizarre here is the woman in the niqab sitting next to Rana Ahmad. This MEMRI clip will of course have been edited, so we must presume that the veiled woman made some sort of contribution to the debate.

As it is, she provides a sinister figure of censure, her presence a silent rebuke - a veiled threat, literally - to this renegade atheist who's brave enough to come out and voice her opinions: opinions which, in her home country, would have likely resulted in her death, if not from her parents then from the state. [Mick Hartley] Read more

France burkini: Highest court suspends ban

France's highest administrative court has suspended a ban on full-body "burkini" swimsuits that was imposed in a town on the Mediterranean coast.

The ban in Villeneuve-Loubet "seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms", it found.

The ruling could set a precedent for up to 30 other towns that imposed bans on their beaches, chiefly on the Riviera.

At least three mayors have already said they will keep the bans in their towns.

The court will make a final decision later on the bans' legality.

Correspondents in France say the court's decision means that all the bans on burkinis are likely now to be overturned,

But town hall authorities in Nice and Frejus, as well as in the Corsican village of Sisco, have vowed to keep the bans in place. [BBC] Read more

25 August 2016

Majority in France against burqinis on beaches

The results come from a survey conducted by Ifop for French national Le Figaro, and show that "the beach isn't seen as a 'separate' public space, but is considered equivalent to the street," according to Jérôme Fourquet from the polling firm.

There were marked differences in attitudes to the burqini across different age groups, political parties and religious denominations.

Men were slightly more likely than women to oppose the swimsuit, with 68 percent of men against it compared to 60 percent of women, whilst younger people were the most likely to be actively in favour of the garment; 24 percent of 18-24-year-olds came out in support of the burqini, four times the average.

Meanwhile, 73 percent of Catholics were against burqinis being worn on beaches, compared to 57 percent of those who did not identify with any religion.

Right-wing voters were strongly against the burqini, with 86 percent of Front National supporters saying they opposed it, and 76 percent of Republican voters. Among Socialist supporters, there was only a slight tendency to oppose the swimsuit; 52 percent. [The Local] Read more

I was escorted off a flight due to racist profiling. Britain must banish this bigotry

Do you speak English?” has got to be the one of the most patronising questions you can be asked. I’m only ever asked that because I wear hijab, as if being a part of western culture and being Muslim are mutually exclusive.

Never mind the fact that I was born and raised in London or that I’m going to a Russell Group university to study English – it seems that I will always be stereotyped and judged first by the scarf on my head.

It was also the first question I was asked as I was escorted off an easyJet plane with my sister and brother at 6am last Wednesday morning at Stansted airport. We’d passed security and boarded the flight to Naples, but just as I was about to nod off we were told there was a seating issue and that all three of us would have to follow the air stewardess, who offered no explanation of where we were going.

At the top of the stairs leading down to the tarmac there was a sight I’m not likely to forget in a hurry – a mob of armed police and men in suits waiting for us to meet them. [1675 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 883 votes] "The only way for society to progress is for the public to be aware that Muslims are exactly the same as everyone else."

The only way for society to progress is for the public to be aware that most Muslims are exactly the same as everyone else. And it is the ones who aren't that are the cause of your problem.

What would you have the security services do by the way? Just ignore concerns? Yes, whilst Islamic terrorism is a huge threat all over the world, you will suffer some inconvenience.

[2ND 811] The premium many Muslims place on women appearing ‘modest’ is ostentatiously unlike everyone else.

[3RD 756] Nobody is denying that Islamic extremism is a global issue that needs to be tackled, but pointing an accusing finger at any woman in a headscarf is a no way of going about it.

Definitely agree that random pointing and accusing is not the way to go. And what hapenned to you on the plane anecdote sounds totally uncalled for.

But the unfortunate truth is, the veneer of grudging tolerance that Europeans had towards ‘visible’ Islam has been largely lost, through recent events. People just don’t like the social conservatism of headscarves, the implication that ‘ being modest’ is something to aspire to, and the implication that uncovered women are ‘immodest’ and asking for attention.

I think Muslims need to make the case for headscarves. Do they help Muslim women integrate and fulfil their potential in Western societies?

[4TH 669] Islam is not a race it is a religion so how can the action of the other passengers be racist?

[5TH 502] "It’s become apparent that Muslims taking extra care to avoid their behaviour being misconstrued."

The slight snag is that almost all the major terror incidents in Europe over the past few years have been made in the name of Islam. This is made people paranoid, and although what happened to you is extremely unfortunate, one can see why it has happened.

The point of profiling is to identify those who might possibly be offenders. There have not been many white female old-age pensioners who have become suicide bombers, and so it would be fairly pointless to single them out on security checks.

[6TH 461] If a disproportionate amount of people who wear a hijab don't speak English compared to those who dont, how is it out of order to ask if they are English speakers? [Guardian Cif] Read more

Membership For Muslim Polygamy Website Skyrockets

Membership for SecondWife.com and its sister website Polygamy.com has surpassed 100,000 active users.

“In the last two months, the number of people visiting the Muslim polygamy website SecondWife.com has soared,” founder Azad Chaiwala wrote in a press release. “Meanwhile, its companion site, Polygamy.com, has enjoyed a similar increase in web traffic all thanks to the increasing demand for polygamous relationships.”

Despite receiving heavy backlash since launching his websites, “Chaiwala claims on both of his websites that he does not condone illegal activities.”

“He explains that men choosing to take a second wife can do so through purely religious ceremonies in mosques, churches, synagogues, temples or through any other spiritual institutions,” he wrote Thursday. “In this way, there is no conflict with current UK marriage laws as bigamy has not been committed.” [The Daily Caller] Read more

German Leaders Are Split Over Proposed Burqa Ban

“The way to integration beyond the burqa lies through education and emancipation, and sweeping bans inhibit that process,” one politician says.

A heated debate over the public dress of Muslim women has engulfed much of Europe’s consciousness after Cannes, the famous French Riviera beach town, first announced its ban on the “burkini” on July 28.

Twenty-five towns in France have followed the resort city’s lead, and public officials from Prime Minister Manuel Valls to National Front leader Marine Le Pen have further stoked the flames by lending their support to the controversial ban. A majority of the French public agrees, according to a recent survey conducted by Ifop that found 64 percent of respondents opposed the use of the swimwear.

While France may be the center of this debate, it is far from the only country in Europe that has taken a hostile position toward traditional Islamic covering, such as the hijab, which politicians often cite as an obstacle to assimilation and social cohesion.

In Germany, where there has been rising public disquiet over the integration of the more than 1 million migrants that arrived in the country last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing conservative bloc is now eyeing a ban on full veils. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Mayor fires refugee project intern for wearing headscarf

Mayor Elisabeth Herzog-von der Heide of the town Luckenwalde, in Brandeburg, fired an intern after one day because she would not take off her headscarf.

“The Islamic headscarf is a means of expressing a religious worldview,” Herzog-von der Heide said on Wednesday.

The mayor said that therefore, wearing a headscarf would violate the neutrality of the town hall, where crucifixes are also not allowed.

The Palestinian woman, 48, had been hired for a project called “Perspectives for Refugees” and was set to work for six weeks.

The woman said that she did not want to remove the headscarf in the presence of men, and therefore Herzog-von der Heide said they would not be able to offer her a suitable working environment.

She added that it would have been better to clarify this policy with the intern before hiring her, and the town hall would proceed this way in the future. [The Local] Read more

24 August 2016

France's Sarkozy brands burkinis a 'provocation'

France's former conservative president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has branded the full-body burkini swimsuits worn by some Muslim women a "provocation" that he says supports radicalized Islam.

A series of local town bans on burkinis in France has set off a heated debate in the strictly secular country. Sarkozy says in a TV interview Wednesday night that "we don't imprison women behind fabric."

As a leading opposition figure, Sarkozy announced this week that he is running for the presidency again in next spring's election. He must first win the primaries organized by the French right in November, where he's expected to face tough competition.

Sarkozy says if he wins, he will ban every visible religious sign in French universities.

Sarkozy, 61, is expected to campaign on a hard-line platform on immigration and security issues in a country marked by recent attacks carried out by Islamist extremists. [Associated Press] Read more

EEOC settles case over Muslim server fired for wearing headscarf

A settlement has been awarded in a case against a Philadelphia restaurant with an apparent "no hoodies" policy regarding an employee’s right to wear a headscarf as part of her religious freedom.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit against Rotten Ralph’s Restaurant in the case EEOC v. Half Shell Inn. In the case, the EEOC charged that a general manager refused Tia Rollins, an employee, the right to wear a khimar as part of her religious beliefs.

Khimars are worn by Muslim women, especially during religious holidays such as Ramadan.

When Rollins wore the scarf to work at Rotten Ralph’s, the general manager allegedly became outraged, saying that “hoodies” were not allowed. Rollins informed the manager that she wore the scarf as part of her religious beliefs and needed to keep the scarf on while she worked. The manager refused to accommodate Rollins, instead terminating her employment at Rotten Ralph’s. [Penn Record] Read more

Dear France, banning burkinis is just not what liberal democracies do

"Madam, take off your swimwear this instant by order of the police". As the latest woman to be found near the sea in a headscarf and leggings has been told to change or pay, it appears that France really has gone to a place that even the cruellest of satirists might struggle to come up with.

But, citing fears about anti-Muslim "provocation" after the horrendous wave of Islamist violence in France this summer, authorities in 15 French towns have gone ahead and banned the burkini.

At a time of grave national danger, in which the true extent of French Islamism looks worse daily, it is almost impossible to believe that this is the symbolic battle ground on which France has chosen to battle extremism. Controlling Islamic extremism will not done by trifling about with garb, but with a clear political message, a radical rethink of social policy, and a tough, intelligent policing operation.

Moreover, the logic that something should avoided in case it provokes other crimes smacks of the same foul thinking that leads some to assert that condemning Islamism breeds more fanatics, and therefore we should not do it. The burkini ban, then, is just crude moral relativism turned upside down. [The Telegraph] Read more

Sarkozy takes swipe at multicultural Britain

Nicolas Sarkozy has revealed his plan for harmonious race relations in France: to take the opposite approach to the UK.

Mr Sarkozy, who launched his campaign for re-election to the presidency on Monday, laid out his vision for harmony in a book, Tout Pour la France (Everything for France).

He writes that his country is swamped with immigrants and that its national identity has been damaged by the tyranny of minorities. But he adds: “We are not Anglo-Saxons who allow communities to live side by side while ignoring one another. It is time to engage in a determined combat against multiculturalism.”

Newcomers must embrace French ways, he declares. They must assimilate “not just with nationality but also with values, culture and way of life”. [The Times (£)] Read more

23 August 2016

Police Scotland says Muslim hijab will become an optional part of its uniform

THE hijab will become an optional part of Police Scotland’s uniform, it has been announced.

Officers and staff have always had the option to wear religious headwear but the force’s announcement today formally ratifies the Police Scotland hijab.

It will also encourage women from Muslim communities, who may previously not have seen policing as a career option, to reconsider.

A hijab is a veil that covers the head and chest, and is worn by Muslim women in the presence of adult males outside their immediate family.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 25 votes] Why not go the whole way and allow them to wear the niqab that way the accused would not be able to identify which officer had beaten a confession out of them.

[2ND 23] Isn't integration meant to be a process where immigrants merge with the time honoured customs and usages of the land they have moved to? Seems to me that the U.K. is travelling in the opposite direction.

[3RD 18] Can we now expect the Police to allow other items of clothing from other religious organisation to be worn?

Perhaps we could see bowler hats, Orange sashes or even Masonic aprons?

[4TH 17] Not bothered about the hijab provided wearers are smartly dressed and can perform the full range of police duties, for example teaming up and travelling in a car with a male police officer or tackling a violent male drunk who may rip off their hijab in an affray. [Herald Scotland] Read more

Our weakness makes the Islamists stronger

As the Islamist demagogue Anjem Choudary awaits sentencing for inviting support for Islamic State, the government is facing a crisis of its own making over the radicalisation of Muslim prisoners.

Choudary, who is said to have radicalised thousands of British Muslims over the years, is reportedly to be segregated from other prisoners when he is sent to jail next month.

The review by Ian Acheson of Islamist extremism in prisons, whose summary was published yesterday while the rest remains classified, suggests that a small number of the most dangerous Islamist prisoners be segregated to prevent them from accelerating still further the growing problem of inmate radicalisation.

.... Unlike Christianity, it is not merely a set of spiritual beliefs but creates a strong sense of peoplehood. Since Islam represents divine perfection, it also follows that any thwarting of its religious expansionism means that many Muslims believe their whole community to be under attack.

Which is why young Muslims don’t need to know anything about Islam to become radicalised. All that’s needed is to incite them to a false but utterly incendiary belief that their people have to be defended against a cruel and evil enemy. Britain and the West refuse to acknowledge this reality. Instead they attack those who identify it as Islamophobic in order to silence them. Those who thus refuse even to name the enemy they face will surely be defeated by it. [Melanie Phillips, 173 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 173 votes] Well said Melanie. It's tragic that Government ministers still refuse to see the danger of Islam not just in prison but in mainstream society.

[2ND 161] I wish if only our successive governments had recognised the potentials of Islamic terrorism and its dangers! It had been there staring at us for years. Instead the taxpayers have funding it in the guise of multiculturalism and cohesion.

Instead we have been promoting and funding segregation, disaffection and planting the seeds of Islamic terrorism.

For years Melanie Phillips and some others had warning us.

[3RD 153] Our inability to face the facts head on, to the point of denial, could be our downfall. A brave article in a world of political correctness.

[4TH 152] Well said Melanie, as is often the case, you state the truth that so many of us see, but which the establishment foolishly continue to deny; The threat is uniquely centred upon Islamic religious fanaticism.

Choudary and his ilk haven't made this stuff up, it's there in Islamic scripture, in the Koran, the Sira and the Hadith. You can't tackle the Choudarys of this world without tackling Islam itself. [The Times (£)] Read more

Canada's Mounties allow women officers to wear hijab

Hoping to boost recruiting of Muslim women, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is allowing its officers to wear hijabs as part of their uniforms, the government said Tuesday.

"The commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently approved this addition to the uniform," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's spokesman Scott Bardsley told AFP.

"This is intended to better reflect the diversity in our communities and encourage more Muslim women to consider the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a career option," he said.

The RCMP officer's uniform -- a red serge tunic, leather riding boots and wide-brimmed felt campaign hat -- is an iconic Canadian symbol. [AFP] Read more

Rochdale Muslim leader 'was bludgeoned in Isis-inspired murder'

A former imam was bludgeoned to death in a children’s playground by two Islamic State supporters who believed he practised “black magic”, a court has heard.

Jalal Uddin, 71, was murdered by two alleged Islamist extremists who harboured a “hatred and intolerance” of his form of Islam, jurors were told.

The respected community leader was targeted as he made his way home from a mosque in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, after months of being surveilled by his alleged killers, the jury heard.

The accused – Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, and Mohammed Abdul Kadir, 24 – were Isis supporters who developed a hatred of Uddin after discovering he practised a form of Islamic healing called ruqya, jurors were told.

Opening the trial at Manchester crown court, the prosecutor, Paul Greaney QC, told jurors that Syeedy and Kadir “stalked Jalal Uddin around the streets of Rochdale” before Kadir launched a savage attack on the older man in a playground. [The Guardian] Read more

Muslim on Muslim hatred is far more of a problem than hatred against non-Muslims

The idea that one deserves to die for blasphemy is something that has been common in Muslim culture for many years.

Recently, Tanveer Ahmed was sentenced for the brutal murder of Asad Shah. The case heard that Ahmed was incensed over the beliefs held by Mr Shah. He then travelled to Glasgow to brutally murder the family man and shopkeeper.

What was shocking was he held no remorse for the killing.

This belief that one will be rewarded in the afterlife for upholding the name of Islam in this way is clearly a major issue within the Muslim community not only here but worldwide.

Individuals are being taught that blasphemy should be punishable by death. Speaking up against such incidents is the job of all the imams and religious leaders in this country. But you are unlikely to hear clear condemnations.

To condemn this is to some way suggest that you agree with the opposing view.

Which isn’t the case at all but you will find most Muslims will not publicly speak up about blasphemy in case they themselves get drawn into the argument. It is an argument you are unlikely to win. [Asian Image] Read more

Student banned from wearing niqab in German school

A German court has banned a student from wearing her full niqab in classes after her school said it hindered her educational development.

The 18-year-old student of the Sophie Scholl Evening Gymnasium in Osnabrück had tried to sue the school after she was told she could not wear the religious garment which leaves the body and face concealed except for the eyes.

But she lost the case after it was transferred to an administrative court and she failed to turn up to make her case because of huge media attention.

The ruling comes after German ministers discussed the possible prohibition of the burqa, similar to the niqab but with a mesh over the eyes, over concerns the full face veil was "contrary to integration".

But some are concerned a ban would violate Germany's religious freedom laws.

In the latest ruling, the school argued that it could not ensure the educational development of the student, who was enrolled at the school in April, and the niqab was also problematic for identifying the student. [ITV] Read more

22 August 2016

The Guardian view on Islamist extremism in prisons: above all, don’t make things worse

Islamist extremism is a growing issue for Britain’s – and for that matter the world’s – prisons. To recognise that reality is a vital first step towards dealing with it. It is also, in spite of some continuing pockets of denial and some lack of confidence in confronting it, the (relatively) easy bit. It soon leads on to a much harder challenge.

How do the prison authorities devise a strategy for countering Islamist extremism that is appropriate, proportionate and effective without being counter-productive? Britain has a long and often ignoble history of trying to answer such problems in colonial contexts, above all in Ireland. Not all of its answers have proved to be successful, to put it mildly. [94 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 116 votes] "It is essential to stem the growth of Islamist extremism both by hard and soft policy."

We have had 20+ years of the "soft" policy, isn't it about time we tried the hard policy?

[2ND 113] "For one thing, Islamist radicals have very different aims from Irish republicans"

Seeing as even The Graun acknowledges this, it would be great if people stopped indulging in IRA whataboutery in instances involving Islamist terrorism.

[3RD 100] I listened to some woman on Radio 4 this afternoon waffling on on why Sharia Courts / Councils and British law should understand each other.

Excuse Me!

Our law. Our Courts. Our Legal System, created over hundreds of years.

That system does not belong here.

[4TH 92] .... For 20 years we listen to the left-leaning liberals and UK experienced mass immigration and Islamic terrorism.

The solution to both problems is very obvious: do opposite to what we did. We need hard line against fundamental islam right now.

[5TH 91] Are you all feeling enriched? What a truly awful future we are creating for our future generations. They will wonder what the hell we were doing. This is simply just the beginning of the many issues that are coming our way. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Extremist literature common in many mosques and Islamic school libraries in Canada, study says

Many mosques and Islamic schools in Canada are placing young people at risk by espousing — or at least not condemning — extremist teachings, a new study says.

Co-authors Thomas Quiggin, a former intelligence analyst with the Privy Council Office and the RCMP, and Saied Shoaaib, a journalist originally from Egypt, base their findings on research conducted quietly in mosque libraries and Islamic schools.

The study says what worried them was not the presence of extremist literature, but that they found nothing but such writings in several libraries.

“Further research is required to determine the depth and breadth of this problem,” the study says. [National Post] Read more

Court verdict: no niqabs in German school

The student, who insisted on wearing her niqab to school, has been denied by a local administrative court. The Sophie Scholl night school in Osnabrück in the northern German state of Lower Saxony had originally accepted the student but reversed its decision when it became clear how she wanted to dress in class.

On Friday, the student had appealed to the Osnabrück Administrative Court. The case was heard just three days later on Monday. Things moved fast because, as a court spokesperson said, "every school day counts."

The court had ordered the woman to appear in person at the hearing on Monday to defend her reasons. When she didn't do that because of the media attention the case attracted, the court said its only possible action was to deny her claim.

There are no details available on the student except for the fact that she's a German national and that she's not a minor anymore, which in Germany means she's at least 18. Night schools like Sophie Scholl are usually a way for adults to obtain a diploma they didn't manage to get when they went to school as teenagers. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Muslim 'bully choked schoolboy until he passed out because he was hugging a girl in the street'

A Muslim "bully" attacked a schoolboy by choking him and making him pass out because he saw him hugging a girl in the street, a court was told.

Michael Coe, 35, was driving through east London when he spotted the two 16-year-olds cuddling on the pavement.

Southwark Crown Court heard he allegedly confronted the pair, demanding to know if they were Muslims, before calling the girl a "whore".

Coe was said to have grabbed the boy by the throat, causing him to black out, before he woke up bleeding on the floor.

When passing schoolteacher Boutho Siwela tried to come to the couple's aid, Coe then allegedly attacked him.

Coe is on trial accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and battery. [Daily Mirror] Read more

German court rules Muslim woman can't wear face veil in class

A German court ruled on Monday that a Muslim woman could not wear a niqab to evening school, fuelling a debate about the face veil after conservatives pressed the government to ban women from wearing it in schools, at courts and while driving.

The woman had complained on Friday to the administrative court in the northeastern city of Osnabrueck after a school overturned its decision to give her a place because she felt obliged to wear the niqab - which covers the hair and face except for the eyes - for religious reasons.

The Sophie Scholl evening school in Osnabrueck had informed the woman back in April that she had been accepted to a course.

She had said she would be prepared to show a female employee her face before classes started so that she could be identified but then wanted to wear the garment during lessons. The school did not think it was in a position to teach the woman given these circumstances, according to a statement from the court. [Reuters] Read more

France began isolating Islamic extremists in jails after Paris attacks

Britain is not the first country to consider holding the highest-risk Islamic extremist prisoners in specialist isolation units.

In January 2015, when 17 people were killed in attacks in Paris, the Socialist government in France vowed to act on what it called the “major issue” of radicalisation in prisons.

Chérif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, two of the men who carried out the attacks, including the storming of the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, shared the same hardline mentor when they were at Fleury-Mérogis prison near the French capital in 2005.

In the aftermath of the attacks, France’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, announced that Islamic extremists would be isolated from the rest of the prisoner population to prevent jails from being used as a breeding ground for radicalism. [The Guardian] Read more

Malaysian singer Namewee held for 'insulting Islam'

Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, was detained on Sunday. He is known for his profanity-laced music

The offending video, for his song Oh My God, was first released in July and features him rapping in front of places of worship around Malaysia.

Namewee insists that Oh My God was intended to promote religious harmony.

But on Monday Malaysian police remanded the 33-year-old singer in custody for four days to investigate him for "defiling a place of worship with intention to insult religion". The charge carries a jail term of up to two years.

About two thirds of Malaysians are Muslim, though the country also has significant Buddhist, Christian and Hindu populations. But there have been a number of instances in recent years of blogs and certain representations of Islam stoking controversy in the country. [BBC] Read more

21 August 2016

Party head calls for ‘Swiss Islam’ debate

The president of the leftwing Social Democrat Party has added his voice to the religious debate in Switzerland, calling for a discussion about the status of Islam in the country.

The party is the second one to moot the possibility of a new religion article in the Swiss constitution.

“We should think about whether we want to recognise Islam as an official religion so that we don’t leave the training and financing of Imams to foreign and perhaps fundamental circles,” Christian Levrat told the SonntagsZeitung.

“We must ask the question about whether there can be a Swiss Islam.”

It is now up to the cantons to reflect on this, because the relation between state and religion comes under their remit, according to Switzerland’s federal system. “Perhaps in the end we will have this religion article,” said Levrat. [swissinfo.ch] Read more

France’s liberal traditions won’t be helped by the burkini ban

.... What went wrong with multiculturalism, as Kenan Malik argues in a fine article in Foreign Affairs, is not its respect for diversity. Rather, as implemented, it created a network of competing monocultures fostering antagonistic separateness.

Equally, what has gone wrong in France, with its belief in assimilation, is not the commitment to universal values. Rather, it is that such statements are cast as those of the majority “tribe” confronting a hostile other in a sort of war, the language too readily deployed in France. Muslims are not part of the tribe. Both mistakes should be avoided and the good components built on.

What is required is not burqa and burkini bans or, indeed, measures in Britain such as Prevent, which, for all its apparent rational intent to close down opportunities for hate speech, only stigmatises Muslims as “other”. Instead, we need continual clarion calls to uphold universal values and a characterisation of jihadism as conducted by the deranged who need medical treatment, rather than legitimisation as warlords.

We also need an insistence on mutual tolerance as the only long-term solution and a huge effort to create economic and social institutions that offer more meaning for the mass of our citizenry. If that is pie in the sky, the alternative is a war of civilisations and, with it, the collapse of liberal society. Nobody, I hope, wants that. [Guardian Cif] Read more

19 August 2016

Britain is full of inspirational Muslim women. They’re more crucial than ever

Type “Muslim women” into Google Images and the most common photographs show a woman wearing a niqab staring out into the distance or straight into the camera. Some may see such images as a reaffirmation of their view that Muslim women are an orientalised “other”; that they are passive, homogeneous, and silent. However, I see a complete erasure of the identity of Muslim women, their work and their roles.

.... These women have achieved great things in the public eye in the teeth of stereotyping and disadvantage; stereotyping that led the former prime minister David Cameron to claim that Muslim women needed to learn English, despite the fact that so many are such active members of the societies in which they live, whether their English is a first or third language, broken or fluent. Many Muslim women are the backbones of their communities. [493 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 508 votes] It should go without saying that many Muslim women are inspirational, hardworking, compassionate etc. It’s such a broad, generalised statement that it’s impossible to really disagree with it.

The debate around ‘visibly’ Muslim women is more specific and nuanced than your piece allows for. By wearing the headscarf, Muslim women legitimise and embody the fetishisation of female ‘modesty’ that’s responsible for untold repression and suffering in Muslim societies across the globe.

It’s the same impulse that results in ‘honour’ killings, most recently of Samia Shahid and Qandeel Baloch, plus thousands of other less high-profile cases. These women were deemed ‘immodest’. Women in the west who wear headscarves are perpetuating this ‘modest / immodest’ dichotomy, by being ostentatiously ‘modest’.

In a time when Western societies are moving rapidly in the direction of social liberalism (note Obama’s recent stand on bathrooms for trans people, or Cameron’s legalisation of gay marriage), how do we integrate the baked-in social conservatism of Islam? To what extent should we tolerate – or embrace - intolerance?

Headscarves are just a visible emblem, a shorthand, for this much deeper incompatibility.

[2ND 323] Inspirational muslim women - any mention of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mona Eltahawy, or indeed any female critic of Islam - thought not.

The problem with this article and so many like it is the steadfast refusal to portray negative perceptions of an inward looking ideology in a balanced way – the strategy of trying to invoke shame in the reader is an epic fail, I’m afraid.

[3RD 226] "However, I see a complete erasure of the identity of Muslim women, their work and their roles."

And whose fault is that? It's not British society that erases you from you - we'd be delighted to see you without the burqa or the hijab. Is it not the fault of the patriarchal religion that forces you to cover up?

"This climate of heightened prejudice and Islamophobia has at times made me fear for my safety, consider my ability to succeed, and even question if I am welcome in the country of my birth."

And again, no mention of WHY there are heightened tensions between muslims and westerners right now?

I live in Bradford. I see muslim women all day, every day. And I like it. I love that we live in such a diverse multicultural society. I think it enriches us all, to be exposed to different ideas, different fashions, different cuisines ( the curries in Bradford are the best I've ever found )

But there's a real elephant in the room - and that's Islam itself, particularly radical Islam. If you want to understand why there are barriers to integration, to you being made to feel more welcome, then that's where you should look.

[4TH 224] I'm not really sure what evidence there is that a multicultural society enriches us, food aside. I'm really struggling with what ideas within the Islamic culture really strengthen outlet society - there may be some but I'm struggling to find them.

[5TH 224] Why are you self-defined as a "Muslim" woman and not a "British" woman or an "English" woman or just "a woman"? Possible that you're defining yourself into a narrow space in thought and also in deed? As long as "Muslim" is your primary identifier, please consider that you're going to be seen primarily in that way -- and not as an integrated member of society.

[6TH 212] Phobias are based on irrational thought. If you rationally deduce that an ideology is harmful, its neither narrow minded or racist.

[7TH 207] Some interesting examples given here and yes they are powerful Muslim women. Although Malia Bouattia is not the best example given her fame/notoriety seems to come mainly from blocking a move to condemn a terrorist organisation.

But let's be honest they are not massively representative of Muslim women in general in Britain. Many are still second class citizens in there own families - look at the northern heartlands and you will see that this is the case.

[8TH 93] The most inspirational Muslin woman I know is no other than my own wife . Who against provocation and abuse from some members of her own faith , decided to marry the man that she loved, a white Christian man and not what her own society and upbringing dictated who she should marry - someone of her own faith and culture!

Even now she is called names that are totally unrepeatable by some followers of her own doctrine - nearly always male, just for having the good sense to follow her heart.

She has endured that with her head held high, still follows her faith in a secular way and still smiles and has never let that abuse bother her for one minute.

She will always be my inspiration.

[9TH 184] Warsi and Bouattia? You are kidding right?

[10TH 178] "David Cameron to claim that Muslim women needed to learn English,"

Except that's not what he said, and you know it. He pointed out that there was a small minority of Muslim women- he estimated 38,000 or less than 3% of the total population of Muslim women- who speak no English at all.

Does the author object to these women learning English- or would she prefer that they continue to live in Britain but are unable to communicate in any way with the vast majority of the population?

[11TH 168] "This climate of heightened prejudice and Islamophobia has at times made me fear for my safety."

I'm sorry, but this "Heightened Islamophobia" business is really starting to anger me.

As I mentioned yesterday, for 20 years Anjem Chaudary went about slagging off the UK, calling for shariah law here, implicitly supporting terrorist groups which want to destroy British society and inspiring people to murder British citizens - and at no time in that 20 years did anyone go and kick the shit out of him.

On the other hand, if I went to an Islamic state and made one - just one - public criticism of Mohammed, my life would be forfeit - even in this country my life may be forfeit. I think you need to exercise a little perspective when running down the UK, accusing those who live here of intolerance.

How many Muslims have been brutally murdered in the UK in recent times, on the grounds of their faith? I can think of one - an Ahmadi man named Asad Shah, murdered, of course, by another Muslim, who used Islam as justification for his actions. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Germany proposes burqa ban in public places

Germany's interior minister on Friday proposed partially banning the full-face burqa Islamic veil, as a debate on integration rages after two jihadist attacks and ahead of key state elections.

The call by Thomas de Maiziere comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel's government attempts to address public fears surrounding last year's record influx of nearly 1.1 million migrants and refugees, most from predominantly Muslim countries.

It also echoed a controversial decision by several French towns in recent weeks to outlaw burkinis, the full-body Islamic swimsuit, at a highly sensitive time for relations with the Muslim community following a series of Islamist attacks.

De Maiziere, one of Merkel's closest allies, said after a meeting with regional counterparts from his conservative bloc that the burqa ban would cover "places where it is necessary for our society's coexistence" including government offices, schools and universities, courtrooms, demonstrations and behind the wheel. [AFP] Read more

Think Tank Report Merges Racism With Criticism of Islam To Achieve ‘Islamophobia Crisis’ Numbers

The BBC has seized upon a report by a left-wing think tank, which openly conflates criticism of Islam with racism, to claim “islamophobia” on social media has “peaked” and imply more censorship is needed.

Demos, whose Chief Executive is Claudia Wood, who joined the think tank from Tony Blair’s strategy unit, developed a method of supposedly automatically identifying Tweets that are “hateful, derogatory, and anti-Islamic”.

They claimed that over 5,000 “Islamophobic” tweets are sent every day and that the number “peaked” after a number of Islamist terror attacks rocked Europe this July.

“Over July, we identified 215,247 Tweets, sent in English and from around the world… On average, this is 289 per hour, or 6,943 per day”, the report claims.

“Islamophobic tweets ‘peaked in July’”, claimed a BBC article and extended segment on the BBC News Channel, after they were given “exclusive access” the report which they published alongside a series of emotive and subjective interviews with “offended” and aggrieved British Muslims.

.... An example of this conflation came within the BBC’s own report, when a man interrupted one of the Muslim interviewees to say that “there is no sharia law here” and “we’re losing our freedom of speech”.

The man was immediately castigated by the Muslim interviewee, and the BBC ran a second article titled: “BBC Islamophobia discussion interrupted by Islamophobia”, implying that stating Sharia law isn’t part of UK law is itself Islamophobic. [Breitbart London] Read more

Islamic veils in Europe

As Germany on Friday proposed partially banning the full-face burqa, here is the status of the Islamic garment -- also known as a burqa or nijab -- in European countries.


Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere came out Friday in favour of a partial burqa ban. De Maiziere, one of Merkel's closest allies, said that the burqa ban would cover "places where it is necessary for our society's coexistence" including government offices, schools and universities, courtrooms, demonstrations and behind the wheel.

He told reporters that the full-face veil "does not belong in our cosmopolitan country", adding that it was "not a security issue but an integration issue". A ban would be "likely to win approval" in parliament, he said.


The first European country to ban the full-veil in public spaces with a law "banning the hiding of the face in public spaces", the law was adopted on October 11, 201O and applied on April 11, 2011. The European Court of Human Rights in 2014 upheld the burqa ban, rejecting arguments that outlawing full-face veils breached religious freedom. The law has resulted in around 1,500 arrests in the past five years. [Expatica] Read more

Germany could impose partial ban on face veils, officials say

Germany could become the next European country to ban face veils under a proposal announced on Friday by officials in the ruling coalition.

The officials intend to have the face veils banned in public places where identification is required -- such as registry offices, schools, kindergartens and government offices -- saying that they did not fit in with Germany's society.

"Full-face veils, as mentioned, we reject this. Not just the burka, any full-face veils that only shows eyes of a person," said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere at a press conference held by members of the Christian Democratic Union and their allied Christian Social Union, which govern in a coalition.

"It does not fit into our society for us, for our communication, for our cohesion in the society.... This is why we demand you show your face." [CNN] Read more

18 August 2016

Merkel says burqa likely hinders integration in Germany

In an interview with the German news organization RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland on Thursday, Merkel said she was opposed to a ban on the body-covering garment known as the burqa, which is worn by some female Muslims.

When asked about the possibility of a ban, similar to the one imposed in France several years ago, Merkel responded by saying she fully supports the position of her interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, who has come out against such a measure.

However, the chancellor also expressed a degree of concern about the burqa.

"In my view, a fully covered woman has little chance of integrating in Germany," Merkel said.

Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has repeatedly debated the possibility of a burqa ban in Germany. As recently as December, however, the party rejected the proposal. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Choudary conviction proves 'dangerous' counter-terror laws are not needed, say free speech campaigners

The conviction of Anjem Choudary is proof the government's counter-extremism plans are unnecessary, according to free speech campaigners who have labelled the proposals as "dangerous".

The Defend Free Speech coalition unites the normally polarised The Christian Institute and The National Secular Society to oppose home office policy targeting non-violent extremism. The campaign warn the proposals will target legitimate people who have not broken the law.

Simon Calvert, campaign director of Defend Free Speech and deputy director of The Christian Institute, said the successful conviction of hate preacher Choudary proves the government already has legislation to prosecute extremists.

Calvert said: "But what this case does not demonstrate is why the Government needs yet another law, which will be so widely drawn as to potentially criminalise many ordinary people who hold traditional or strong views. [Christian Today] Read more

Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

The BBC has made much of a report from Demos warning that thousands of 'Islamophobic' tweets are sent in English every day. But the researchers, like everybody else who uses the term, have totally failed to define what 'Islamophobia' actually means.

The research by Demos into 'Islamophobia' was reported by the BBC under the headline "Islamophobic tweets 'peaked in July'". From reading the BBC report you might imagine that 7,000 bigoted and anti-Muslim tweets were sent every day in July.

In fact, Demos have inadvertently set out what has been warned of for many years; that 'Islamophobia' is a nonsense word with sinister implications.

On reading the report it is clear that the Demos research isn't just focused on anti-Muslim tweets, or bigotry against Muslims, but, as they define it in their research paper, "anti-Islamic ideas".

In their report Demos selects some tweets it included in the study, which they presumably think are good examples of their methodology in action. A tweet stating "Morocco deletes a whole section of the Koran from school curriculum as it's full of jihad incitement and violence The Religion of peace" is treated the same way as a tweet saying "I fucking hate pakis" in their methodology. [National Secular Society] Read more

Austrian politicians call for a ban on full body veil

Austrian conservative politicians called for a ban on full body veils on Thursday, saying the veils would hinder women to integrate into the mainly Catholic Austrian society.

Public debate about a ban on full body veils was ignited in several European countries after three French Mediterranean cities banned body-covering Muslim burkini swimwear, saying the burkini defies French laws on secularism.

France, which has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, estimated at 5 million, in 2010 introduced a ban on full-face niqab and burqa veils in public.

Austria's Foreign and Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz from the centrist People's Party, who plans to introduce a new integration law next year, said religious symbols such as the burqa were an issue that needed to be discussed.

"A full body veil is hindering integration," Kurz told broadcaster ORF, adding that the burqa was "not a religious symbol but a symbol for a counter-society". [Reuters] Read more

17 August 2016

Italy rules out burkini ban, wants home-trained imams

Italy will not follow France by allowing burkini bans on public beaches but is planning tighter regulation of imams and mosques, the country's interior minister said in comments published Wednesday.

Angelino Alfano told the Corriere della Sera daily that he regarded France's restrictions on Islamic clothing as counter-productive because of the potential backlash it could provoke.

"The interior ministry's responsibility is to guarantee security and to decide the severity of responses which however must never become provocations that could potentially attract attacks," Alfano said.

Asked specifically about the burkini bans recently introduced by several French seaside towns, Alfano added: "It doesn't seem to me, alas, that the French model has worked for the best."

Alfano, who is planning to table a new security law in September, also said he wanted all imams preaching in the country's mosques to be trained in Italy, and for all mosques to be fully compliant with the law. [AFP] Read more

'There's not much that's German here anymore'

Bad Godesberg was once home to diplomats working in Bonn. Today, Muslim women in veils and Arab shops and restaurants are abounding. Many long-term residents no longer feel at home, reports Daniel Heinrich.

Sabine Galuschka knows everyone here. The 57-year-old owns a small flower shop in the middle of Bad Godesberg's main street. Her discussions with customers often go beyond the business of buying flowers. The current debate about banning burqas is a particularly hot topic. "I just don't like that there are so many veiled women walking around. That's not the way we dress when we go out," she said. "I would just like to know who's hiding beneath the veil."

Not all women in Bad Godesberg wear the veil. As I walk through the town center on a warm summer's day, the contrast is stark. On one side of the street there are young girls in hot pants and tops; on the other side, there are women in headscarves. There are also women swathed in black niqabs, a type of full-body veil with just a narrow opening for the eyes. But there's not a burqa in sight. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Burkini beach row puts French values to test

Burkini or bikini, French commentators have asked, ironically, about this summer's choice of beachwear.

It is no coincidence that the ban on Islamic burkinis - full-body swimsuits - should arise from French Riviera beaches, a few kilometres from Nice, a city struck by a militant Islamist attack that killed 85 people on Bastille Day, just a month ago.

The town of Cannes was the first to pass the summer ban, which was confirmed by the courts on 13 August. And Cannes was soon followed by the towns of Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice, and Sisco in Corsica.

Even the mayor of the northern seaside resort of Le Touquet is said to be about to pass a similar ban: no burkini will be tolerated on public beaches.

So far a small number of women have been fined (€38 in Cannes - £33; $43) for wearing a burkini on the beach at Cannes. And the mayor's decision has triggered a heated debate.

Cannes mayor David Lisnard has tried to explain his decision in these terms: "The burkini is like a uniform, a symbol of Islamist extremism. This is why I am banning it for the summer." [BBC] Read more

French PM backs burkini bans as three more towns consider outlawing garments

France’s Prime Minister has backed the banning of burkini swimsuits, saying they are not compatible with French values and are based on the “enslavement of women”.

His comments come after a series of towns in the Mediterranean coast announced a ban, citing security concerns following a summer marred by extremist attacks.

However, Manuel Valls told the La Provence newspaper he was not in favour of a national law along such lines, even as three more towns said they were considering similar moves. [The Independent] Read more

16 August 2016

Abuse of Muslims is now mainstream. I never thought my children would see this

Nadiya Hussain’s account on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs of the everyday anti-Muslim prejudice she encounters may have come as a surprise to some people. It won’t shock anyone in the Muslim community.

.... It is not only those engaged in politics like myself, London mayor Sadiq Khan or Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who receive abuse. The promotion of hatred and fear has been mainstreamed to the extent that there is now little outcry when a mosque is attacked, or when kids come home crying after being taunted for their faith, or when an elderly man like Mohammed Saleem is murdered. One recent survey suggested a 326% rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015.

Every Muslim I know has a story to tell. We are resigned to being blamed and vilified for the actions of any Muslim anywhere in the world. No matter how often we denounce the horrible atrocities carried out by some fanatics, we are still associated with them. No matter that this is as unfair and ridiculous as associating all white Christian men with Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik because he claimed to act as a Christian, or blaming Christianity itself for the genocidal actions of Radovan Karadzic because he described his war against Bosnian Muslims as “holy”. [Salma Yaqoob, 309 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1128 votes] Criticism of Islam, along with all religions, is perfectly justified. Shouting slurs at a person in the street is not.

[2ND 1016] Have you ever wondered why?

"No matter how often we denounce the horrible atrocities carried out by some fanatics, we are still associated with them."

In response to the savage killing of a well liked and locally cherished man, Asad Shah (R.I.P.), perhaps not quite a Moslem according to some Islamic scholars, the leader of Bradford's Mosques said what this country (sic) needs is a blasphemy law so that people won't need to take the law (sic) into their own hands. That is, embrace the justification for murder in order to stop the urge to murder for Allah's sake. Who needs this? You do, apparently. Still wondering?

[3RD 948] Questioning religious beliefs in a secular society is entirely acceptable. If you have the faith in your convictions then you should be able to accept this and come out the other side intact. The problem is actually the other way because religions have in built rules to prevent them being questioned, because ultimately the people at the top who use religion as a politicial tool know that religions are false and useful only for controlling the masses.

Abusing people is not acceptable, whatever their background. Questioning their belief system is acceptable.

[4TH 933] Given the large number of atrocities committed in the past few years in the name of Islam, it is not entirely surprising that people may be a little wary of those who adhere to that religion and its customs.

[5TH 885] I wonder if it ever occurs to religious people that following a set of beliefs which are not true and call for significant sacrifice in time and energy in order to please non-existent gods, might - MIGHT - put them at a disadvantage when compared with the general population.

I'm increasingly finding it hard to have any sympathy with the plight of religious people in Western society; they have made a conscious choice to live at a disadvantage and we have bent over backward to accommodate their choice - we allow them time off in order to pray, we let them run their own schools, we grant them charitable status for example - but for all this bending over backwards it cannot and should not be overlooked that being religious is a relic of a bygone age, almost completely unfit for a modern, liberal society and that because of this there will be times when religious people feel hard done by or disrespected.

It's not because we dislike religious people as people, it's because we're exasperated at having to cede ground for beliefs which we know, for a fact, are nonsense.

[6TH 713] "He also asked me if he would be safe if he stopped being a Muslim."

Probably not.. apostasy is frowned upon.

[7TH 697] I would far rather some nasty names shouted at me than blown up, beheaded or stabbed.

[8TH 653] Until Islamist atrocities became an almost daily event somewhere in the world, I don't think many people here really paid the religion much mind.

Now that more have, they simply don't like what they see.

[9TH 651] If you turn up for an interview in extreme religious dress be that monks cassock, nuns habit or hijab you can surely forgive an employer who comes to the conclusion your religion is likely to come before your job, and decides that others may be more suitable.

[10TH 607] "To blame a whole race, ethnic or religious group for the actions of a few is racism."

Check out the quranic opinion on the vile 'unbeliever' if you're looking for 'racism' and 'othering'....

ALL of us are to be viewed as subhuman, simply for our inability to swallow the nonsense required to be one of the 'faithful'.

Your 'holy' scriptures are a textbook for division and hate.


[11TH 606] The author is right, Islamophobia is a huge, world-wide problem. Every day we hear of Shia Muslims being murdered by Sunni Islamophobes, and vice versa, and of Ahmadi and Sufi Muslims being murdered by Islamophobes of all denominations. Even here in Britain, an Islamophobe recently drove 200 miles in order to kill an Ahmadi Muslim - purely from Islamophobic hatred. It is a massive problem, and needs to be dealt with effectively.

[12TH 593] "No matter how often we denounce the horrible atrocities carried out by some fanatics, we are still associated ...."

I have a very close Muslim friend, we were at med school & we are both junior doctors. He tells me the level of condemnation/denunciation of extremism in certain mosques is, in his opinion " lamentable, either totally missing or half hearted .. "

This how to dissociate problem for the muslim community has gone on since post - 9/11 ... it's not new - so it's fair to ask why is it still there Salma?

People need more convincing that ordinary muslims really despise extremists.

And, you're right, no-one should assume the opposite. But people are tired of it all and ... they will. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Red Carpets, Red Lines

If you want to support religious murder, let an expert show you how to do it.

Prominent Pakistani preacher Muhammad Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman, for example. Here he delivers a wild tirade for Mumtaz Qadri, the man who assassinated Pakistani politician Salman Taseer in 2011 for “blasphemy”.

.... Who would want to hear from such men outside Pakistan? Plenty of people here in the UK, of course, ready and keen to extend the warmest of welcomes. The pair are currently on a seven week UK tour which began in July and will run to early September.

The itinerary includes mosques and Islamic groups in Banbury, Batley, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bradford, Brierfield, Chesham, Crawley, Derby, Dudley, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Halifax, London, Luton, Maidenhead, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, Slough, Stockton on Tees, Wakefield, and Watford.

Oh, and Lambeth Palace too. Archbishop Welby said it was “great” to welcome the preachers to Lambeth Palace in July. [Harry’s Place] Read more

France defends burkini ban on tense post-attack beaches

The French government has defended municipal bans on body-covering Muslim burkini swimwear but called on mayors to try and cool tensions between communities.

.... The burkini debate is particularly sensitive in France given deadly attacks by Islamist militants, including bombings and shootings in Paris which killed 130 people last November, which have raised tensions between communities and made people wary of public places.

The socialist government's minister for women's rights, Laurence Rossignol, said municipal bans on the burkini should not be seen in the context of terrorism but she supported the bans.

"The burkini is not some new line of swimwear, it is the beach version of the burqa and it has the same logic: hide women's bodies in order to better control them," Rossignol told French daily Le Parisien in an interview.

.... France, which has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, estimated at 5 million, in 2010 introduced a ban on full-face niqab and burqa veils in public.

Rossignol said the burkini had sparked tensions on French beaches because of its political dimension.

"It is not just the business of those women who wear it, because it is the symbol of a political project that is hostile to diversity and women's emancipation," she said. [Reuters] Read more

Pakistani clerics who praised brutal murderer Mumtaz Qadri welcomed into UK by mosques

Two Pakistani cleric who praised the murderer of a popular Pakistani politician have been welcomed into the UK with open arms and are touring mosques around the country, Political Scrapbook has learnt.

They both even had a friendly meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

How in the world did the Home Office let them into the country?

Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman are both popular preachers in Pakistan, on tour around the UK until 4th September.

They are also big supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, the man who brutally murdered the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer for speaking out in defense of religious minorities and against its brutal blasphemy laws.

Both spoke in front of huge crowds in Rawalpindi, Pakistan just a few months ago after Qadri was hanged for his crime. [Political Scrapbook] Read more

Halal abattoirs forced to reveal how many animals they kill without using a stun gun

Halal and kosher abattoirs are exempt from Food Standard Agency (FSA) compulsions to knock-out the animals before slitting their throats.

But the FSA does not record the number of animals killed under these exemptions, leading to fears over the quality of animal welfare.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which opposes the religious exemptions on animal welfare grounds, called for regular reporting of the numbers, which has now been granted.

FSA chair Heather Hancock said the new survey would show how many slaughterhouses were stunning or not stunning and “this routine data will be regularly supplemented with additional information on the numbers of animals that are slaughtered by these methods”. [Daily Express] Read more

Cancer of Islamic extremism was tolerated for 20 years

.... Mass calls for a caliphate followed by a jihadist murder on London’s streets in 1995 should have acted as a clear warning of the Isis brutality that was set to befall us all. If only there had been civil society resistance against Islamism back when I was 17. Perhaps we would not have lost an entire generation to those who laid the groundwork for Isis to reach our continent.

Just as one of my former British-Pakistani solicitors went on to become the mayor of London, perhaps the other could also have gone on to do great things, on the right side of English law. A sudden mass-migration of European Muslims on the scale that went to join the caliphate did not emerge from a vacuum.

Why would it surprise us then that more Muslims left the UK to join Isis than joined our armed forces? They were simply responding to 20 years of unchecked radicalisation within our communities. Two decades earlier, they had been promised at Wembley arena: Khilafah — coming soon to a country near you. [The Times (£)] Read more

15 August 2016

Five reasons to wear a burkini – and not just to annoy the French

Wahey – it’s that time again, people! The burkini is all the rage for the ump-flippin-teenth time, and our latest dip into controversial swimwear politics comes from – you’ll never guess – the French.

The mayor of Cannes is going trigger-ban happy by curtailing the right to swim while covered on the French Riviera. The ruling states: “Beachwear that ostentatiously displays religious affiliation, when France and places of worship are currently the target of terrorist attacks, is liable to create risks of disrupting public order.” I don’t think that thought crossed Nigella Lawson’s mind, to be honest.

Nothing says “losing the plot” to me more than demonising what is, let’s face it, a wetsuit. Is full-piece swimwear really more offensive than seeing a middle-aged bum crack? Is it really going to terrorise your Mr Whippy into a total meltdown?

Non, they say, we must ban the burqa. Ban the burkini! Ban the bikini! Oh no, wait, the last one is OK because it’s not related to religion or politics. [1404 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1592 votes] Make muslim men wear them. The hijab and niqab as well, to maintain the dignity of muslim men....see how long that lasts.

[2ND 1085] Been to Saudi recently? I hear Qatar is nice this time of year as well. The Burqa is part of the way women are subjugated within Islam, women are treated like cattle that can't look after themselves, that is what the Burqa symbolises.

[3RD 977] So if the writer of this article is supporting the wearing of the burka in Europe I assume she is supporting women wearing bikinis in Saudi Arabia? No? Really? Women's equality is only a problem in Europe I guess?

[4TH 965] Nah I agree with the mayor of Cannes. Religious attire has no place on the beach in a secular society. When your argument falls back to the 1950's ban on bikinis in then religiously conservative societies as a reason to defy the ban, it becomes clear where your attitude to dresswear on the beach belongs. Ie: back in the 50's wrapped up in religious dogma.

[5TH 783] No matter how hard you try and fool yourself: the burkini, and all Islamic "modest" attire (which, curiously enough, applies only to women: how is it so?) are awful and rather ridiculous-looking instruments of oppression, and also rather new ones, having entered mainstream Islam together with the peculiar fundamentalist wahhabi mentality which have become prevalent in the last two decades. Celebrating them is celebrating fundamentalism.

A better use of this admittedly modest attempt at wit would be in mocking a religion that imposes, in 2016, what women should wear, at the beach or everywhere else.

[6TH 754] "Five reasons to wear a burkini – and not just to annoy the French"

As if the French have nothing else to be annoyed about at the moment.

Still, what a laugh, eh?

[7TH 711] So you're surprised that the French take admittedly foolish measures? Could it be that France has been particularly targeted by terrorists? Burkini's are seen in France as a statement adhering to extremist (islamic) or sharia inspired views. In thàt context the French apply their traditional adherence to laïcitè. No surprise at all.

[ANOTHER 558] [To] all the pro-burikini non-muslim feminists: have you ever tried swimming with all your clothes on? do you know it feels?? it's an extremely unpleasant sensation, both in the water and even more so, out of it, afterwards.

it's not even islamic. it's been introduced recently by ultra-conservative elements, and like the wearing of the niqab and burkha is sponsored by extremist groups as a way of propegating supression of women

[ANOTHER 571] Think of all the other ways you can diversify women's lib and celebrate freedom along the same lines: refuse promotions at work (voluntary, part-time work, obviously); defer to your husband's every whim; forego your right to vote (as a statement).

[ANOTHER 570] I think first and second wave feminists are spinning in their graves. The new feminism is to cover up in a burka. What next? "Women don't go out and work, stay at home, that's freedom "

[ANOTHER 500] Hilarious. In Islamic countries, strict dress code is always enforced, and Westerners have to abide by these rules, which they do without complaint. And yet when you are asked to show the same respect to your host country, suddenly that's all oppressive and illiberal, is it? Your complaints about intolerance and lack of respect for diversity would be far better directed at your own culture, which is far more oppressive than anything you will find in the country you appear to despise so much. [Guardian Cif] Read more