30 September 2016

In Jordan, Laws That Provoke Violence

Jordan has stood out for its relative stability and religious tolerance in a region roiled by conflict. But the murder on Sunday of Nahed Hattar, a prominent secular writer, is an alarming sign that Jordan’s laws on defamation of religion encourage violent extremism.

Mr. Hattar was shot three times as he prepared to enter a court in Amman to face criminal charges related to a cartoon he had posted on Facebook. Riad Abdullah, a former imam known for his extremist views, was arrested and charged with premeditated murder. Mr. Hattar’s family is outraged, saying the government failed to protect the writer, despite being alerted of multiple death threats.

The cartoon, which depicted a bearded man, presumably in heaven, in bed with two women asking God to bring him wine and cashews, provoked an uproar in Jordan, where many saw the image as blasphemous. Though Mr. Hattar quickly removed the cartoon, deactivated his Facebook account and apologized, Jordanian authorities charged him with the crimes of “inciting sectarian strife” and insulting “other people’s religious feelings.” [NYTimes.com] Read more

Andalusia Academy Muslim school: Ofsted says 'pupils not safe'

An independent Muslim faith school where "pupils are not safe and exposed to unnecessary risks" has been rated "inadequate" by Ofsted.

The watchdog said admissions registers at Bristol's Andalusia Academy were inaccurate and the school failed to check up on absent pupils.

But Ofsted said the school created a "positive British Muslim identity among pupils" and "promoted British values".

The school said it was "disappointed" and now had a new leadership team.

The education watchdog said the independent school had "not been vigilant over time in ensuring that it rigorously follows up absences or requests for prolonged holidays".

It said Andalusia Academy "failed to carry out its statutory duty" to inform the appropriate authorities when pupils had failed to attend. [BBC] Read more

Swiss Muslims claim burka is NOT required under Islamic law as they WELCOME proposed ban

The Swiss parliament recently voted to ban the burka, passing the legislation by a minuscule majority of 88 to 87.

But a leading religious leader, Imam Mustafa Memeti, from the country’s capital, Bern, claimed that the full body covering was not demanded under Islamic law.

He said that the religious garment cannot be theologically justified, from any perspective.

And he claimed his viewpoint was one true Muslims would welcome.

The Conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which proposed the ban, has annoyed moderate Muslims in the past, according to the Imam, but the current proposal was "no signal against Muslims, and if anything it was only a move against the ultraconservatives.”

Defending his position the cleric, who is the Imam of the Muslim Association of Bern and as President of the Albanian Islamic Association, said his belief was the burka had no basis in religion. [Daily Express] Read more

Bulgaria bans full-face veils in public places

Bulgaria's parliament on Friday banned the wearing of face veils in public in a move supporters said would boost security after Islamist militant attacks in Europe, but which drew criticism from Amnesty International.

The "burqa ban" law, pushed by the nationalist Patriotic Front coalition, echoes similar measures in western European countries such as France, the Netherlands and Belgium which have various laws banning the wearing of niqab full-face veils or head-to-toe burqas.

People who do not comply with the ban in Bulgaria face fines of up to 1,500 levs ($860), as well as suspension of social benefits.

The ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms refused to take part in the vote, which followed full-face veil bans in public in several Bulgarian towns. It said the ban would incite ethic and religious intolerance.

The ruling center-right GERB party said the ban has nothing to do with religious outfits but is only aimed at boosting national security and allowing better video surveillance. [Reuters] Read more

29 September 2016

Female chess players forced to wear hijab as governing body awards world championship to Iran

The world's top female chess players have reacted with horror after being told they must compete at next year's world championship wearing a hijab.

Within hours of Iran being revealed as its host country, the prestigious event was plunged into crisis as it emerged players taking part face arrest if they don't cover up.

In response, Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game's scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.

Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, meanwhile, called on participants to respect “cultural differences” and accept the regulations.

Hijabs have been mandatory for women in Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the strict law is enforced by the country's "morality police".

Any woman found not wearing one in public faces arrest, a fine or public admonishment. However, players claim by awarding the event to Iran Fide is turning a blind eye to sexual discrimination. [The Telegraph] Read more

Stockwell Green mosque under investigation after 'promoting killing of Muslim Ahmadis sect'

A London mosque is being investigated by the charities watchdog following allegations it promoted the killing of Muslims from a minority sect.

The Charity Commission announced the inquiry into Stockwell Green mosque today after reports that leaflets were found suggesting Ahmadis who did not convert to mainstream Islam within three days should face “capital punishment” — the death penalty.

Mosque leaders previously denied the leaflets were found at the premises.

Ahmadis are banned from referring to themselves as Muslims in Pakistan because they believe their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a prophet — something perceived as blasphemous by many Muslims.

The commission first visited the mosque — also known as Aalami Majlise Tahaffuze Khatme Nubuwwat, a registered charity — in May and launched the statutory inquiry this month.

It will probe suspicions of poor governance, financial management and trustees “carrying out activities outside the charity’s stated objects”. [Evening Standard] Read more

'We won't wear hijabs': Chess queens threaten to boycott world championships in Iran after being told they MUST wear Islamic headscarfs

Top women chess players are threatening to boycott the world championship in Iran because they will be forced to wear hijabs.

Female Grandmasters will risk arrest if they do not cover up to compete in the strict Middle Eastern country due to host the knock-out tournament next year.

The World Chess Federation, known by its French acronym Fide, has now been accused of failing to stand up for women’s rights after telling players to accept the laws and respect ‘cultural differences’, The Telegraph reported.

US women's champion Nazi Paikidze said: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable to host one of the most important women's tournaments in a venue where, to this day, women are forced to cover up with a hijab.

‘I understand and respect cultural differences. But, failing to comply can lead to imprisonment and women's rights are being severely restricted in general. It does not feel safe for women from around the world to play here.’ [Daily Mail] Read more

Islamic group blasts leader for speaking publicly about his desire for a second wife - but at the same time claim that polygamy 'is a NON ISSUE'

An Australian Muslim leader is under fire from one of the most senior members of his own organisation - after he confessed to wooing women with 'love poetry' in an attempt to marry a second wife.

Keysar Trad, the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), this week spoke about his longing for another bride. He is searching for a second bride with the blessing of his wife of 30 years and mother of his nine children.

But AFIC's Treasurer has gone public with his 'disappointment' in Mr Trad, saying the longtime Islamic community spokesman is doing a 'disservice' to the Muslim community by speaking about the issue.

'We're facing some grave issues... and to go out and speak about polygamy and love poetry is just a disservice to the role of leadership,' said Ali Kadri. [Daily Mail] Read more

Fury at Muslim school's bid to censor highly-critical Ofsted report: Backlash over judge's decision to allow institution to not be named

A judge has provoked a backlash after refusing to name a strict Islamic school which is trying to quash a highly critical Ofsted report.

The school is mounting a challenge in the High Court after inspectors rated it 'inadequate' and said its gender segregation policy made girls feel inferior.

The case is of huge importance to parents and the wider community, but Mr Justice Stuart-Smith banned media from naming the school, which is known only as School X.

He said identification would be likely 'to generate a media storm and tensions and fears for parents and the local community'. [Daily Mail] Read more

28 September 2016

Islamic extremist says Allah will reward him for ‘threatening’ texts to Muslim politician

Mohyeldeen Mohammad, who has known ties to the fundamentalist group Profetens Ummah, published the shocking video after sending Abid Raja several hate texts.

In the clip, which was uploaded to Youtube on Tuesday, Mohammad declared his actions were in line with Sharia law.

He claimed Allah would reward him for correcting his enemies.

The extremist said: “When it comes to the text messages mentioned in media the last couple of days, you can make of what you will. But I have only uttered my opinion in regards to Sharia.

“They have mocked my religion, Islam. Therefore I have calm and peace in my heart because I know my intention for what I did.

“I hope Allah will reward me for correcting these enemies of Allah.”

The Profetens Ummah member, who has previously pledged their support to Islamic State and praised Islamic terrorism, added his hatred was fuelled by Mr Raja's comments regarding the niqab and hijab.

Mohammad continued: “First I sent that dog Abid Raja the messages because the blasphemous traitor has mocked Islam and Muslims over a longer period of time. And lately he has mocked the niqab and hijab.” [Daily Express] Read more

Responding to Andy Burnham: why the Prevent strategy does not legitimise islamophobia

This week, UK Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham used his platform to wrongly attack the Government’s Prevent strategy, and even prescribed that Muslims should be allowed to bypass the police in the reporting of hate crimes.

In today’s climate of ‘post-truth politics’ it is important that we understand Prevent a little bit better to avoid proposing counter beneficial policies. In fact the Prevent strategy is grounded on the evidences of leading specialists, teachers and practitioners around the country and such facts are much more inclined in Prevents favour than Andy’s short time meetings and analysis.

Andy has badly misunderstood Prevent and ends up conflating it with hate crimes, yet reporting hate crimes, and preventing violent extremism are two separate things. While the first is a crime, where one has actually broken the law, Prevent only works within the pre-criminal space and safeguarding vulnerable individuals against violent extremism. The two are not even connected within the same strategy. [Quilliam Foundation] Read more

Northern Italian region approves 'anti-mosque' laws

Councillors in the northern Italian region of Liguria on Tuesday evening approved a set of measures drastically restricting the freedom to build new places of worship.

While the text doesn't refer to any particular religion, politicians opposed to the law argue that it unfairly targets Muslims, and the proposals have been dubbed 'anti-mosque laws' by local media.

The laws introduce restrictive criteria regarding the creation of new places of worship, and give regional authorities much greater power in deciding the location and appearance of religious sites.

For example, any new plans must meet the criteria of "architectural and dimensional congruity with the general and specific characteristics of the Ligurian landscape", a vague description which could see minarets rejected for being un-Ligurian.

And the new laws would see referendums held in municipalities where new places of worship were planned, in order to decide if they could get the go-ahead. [The Local] Read more

Swiss-based imam approves of niqab ban

According to 20 Minutes, Bern-based imam Mustafa Memeti approves of the Swiss parliament approving a plan to ban full veils across the nation. Others are still unsure.

Yesterday, Switzerland’s National Council accepted, with 88 votes for and 87 votes against, to ban the wearing of burkas and niqabs nationwide. The imam’s comments and those from moderate muslim associations were reported by the Aargauer Zeitung via the website watson.ch.

“In an open society, a woman should show her face, her identity. For this reason muslims should not react negatively to a ban…” said Mustafa Memeti from the Union of Muslims in Bern, who is also president of the Albanian islamic association of north western Switzerland.

“I have reservations about the burka, it’s absurd, theologically unjustified, and not an islamic requirement” he said, noting that it is rarely seen in Switzerland. On the other hand he thinks a ban on veils that don’t cover the face would be problematic. [Le News] Read more

Arab TV host cheers secular writer’s assassination on television

On Sunday, a prominent Jordanian writer was assassinated on the steps of an Amman courthouse, where he was to face charges for having shared a supposedly blasphemous cartoon on social media.

Nahed Hattar's accused killer, it later emerged, was a 49-year-old former imam from an impoverished neighborhood in the Jordanian capital. The offending image, which had prompted his arrest and myriad death threats, depicted God checking in on an extremist militant in heaven.

The killing of Hattar unleashed a wave of understandable angst in Jordan, a country that is buffeted by the tumult of a wider region in conflict. It led to the now-familiar hand-wringing over the limits of free speech in Arab societies. And it shined a spotlight once more on the perils of extremism in a nation that has seen the resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood, a party that embraces political Islam, in elections last week. [The Washington Post] Read more

Thousands of women storm Saudi King’s office demanding basic freedoms

Around 2,500 protesters bombarded the King’s office over the weekend demanding an end to the highly restrictive male guardianship system, while at least 14,000 others signed a petition.

Activist Aziza Al-Yousef, who was arrested in 2013 for deliberately breaking the country’s ban on women driving, started the petition.

She and another activist tried to deliver it by hand to the Royal Court on Monday, but were told to send it by post instead.

The law currently requires women to seek permission from their father, brother or other male relative before travelling abroad, getting married or leaving prison.Many employers and universities also require a guardian’s consent for female students and employees, and women may even need permission to access healthcare. [Howdy Earth] Read more

27 September 2016

‘You’re DESTROYING Europe’ Hungary PM predicts ‘parallel Muslim society’ due to migration

Outspoken Viktor Orban accused Angela Merkel and eurocrats of “destroying” the continent with their open door migration policies as he blasted the current influx of asylum seekers.

The firebrand Hungarian leader made the remarks as his country gears up for a crunch referendum over whether or not to accept the imposition of mandatory migrant quotas.

In a controversial speech Mr Orban questioned the ability of Muslims to ever integrate into Western society and also implied that Brussels was being cruel by encouraging migrants to leave their homelands and head to Europe.

He said: “The uncontrolled influx destroys Europe and it doesn’t even help the migrants. It’s better for everyone to stay in their own territory.

“We are not here to solve the migration problem, but a historical one. We, Europeans, Hungarians, Christians, have to describe our attitude towards immigration.” [Daily Express] Read more

Playboy and the False Normalization of the Hijab

Playboy magazine has just featured an article about a hijab-wearing Muslim-American, Noor Taguri, “making a forceful case for modesty.”

Yes. You read that correctly.

In its October “Renegades” issue, Playboy is showcasing a religious-conservative practice as emblematic of an independent woman.

White religious-conservatism is not often celebrated or glamorized by American liberals and progressives, it is derided. But switch up white Amish or Catholic notions of modesty with brown Muslim ones, take a fashion shoot complete with a graffiti-ridden backdrop, and presto: brown religious-conservative attitudes about hiding the female form in the name of modesty become… progressive. [The Daily Beast] Read more

Call to ban Muslim women wearing hijab on passport photos

Walter Wobmann, an MP in Switzerland, said allowing photographs of women wearing headscarves on travel documents was “unequal treatment” and “unacceptable.”

Mr Wobmann, who is well-known for his anti-immigration stance, said the policy was unjust because caps, headbands and other headwear are not allowed on passport photos.

The right-wing MP for the populist Swiss People’s Party told Blick newspaper: “It is unacceptable that you can wear a hijab in a photo but not a cap.

"This is not a question of religious freedom but of equal treatment.”

Swiss federal police guidelines say covering the head is not allowed unless it is for religious or medical reasons and then only if the face is visible and identifiable.

Mr Wobmann, who has previously spoken out against burkas and the construction of minarets in Switzerland, said he will proceed with a new proposal to ban hijabs in passport photos. [Daily Express] Read more

Muslim pupils at Islamic faith school told inspectors they DIDN’T want single-sex lessons ‘because it wouldn’t prepare them for life in modern Britain’

Pupils at an Islamic faith school told inspectors they did not want single-sex lessons because it 'wouldn't prepare them for modern life in Britain', the High Court has heard.

The Muslim pupils told a school inspector that segregation at school was having a 'negative effect', because it was not a reflection of life outside the classroom.

The comments were revealed during a High Court legal battle over a controversial Ofsted report relating to a school which cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Pupils at an Islamic faith school told inspectors they did not want single-sex lessons because it 'wouldn't prepare them for modern life in Britain', the High Court has heard.

The Muslim pupils told a school inspector that segregation at school was having a 'negative effect', because it was not a reflection of life outside the classroom.

The comments were revealed during a High Court legal battle over a controversial Ofsted report relating to a school which cannot be identified for legal reasons. [Daily Mail] Read more

Merkel: EU cannot close doors to Muslim refugees

Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed Tuesday that EU member states should provide shelter for refugees fleeing terror and civil war, irrespective of their religion or faith.

Speaking at a joint news conference with visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Berlin, Merkel underlined Europe’s humanitarian responsibility and common values that protect freedom of religion.

“In Europe, we have certain humanitarian obligations towards refugees who fled from civil war in Syria and those who fled from IS [Daesh] in Iraq,” Merkel said, in response to a question by a Malaysian journalist.

“We are not making any difference here between people of Christian faith and people of Muslim faith, and we are not saying that one group will be protected by us and others not. I think that this must be reflected in the policy of each and every EU member state. This is my opinion, has always been my opinion, and continues to be my opinion,” she stressed. [Anadolu Agency] Read more

Prevent: Andy Burnham’s hysterical claims continue

Andy Burnham has come out with some pretty hysterical claims about Prevent, the Government’s counter-terror strategy. At a time when it has emerged that MI6 will be recruiting around 1000 new spies in light of the grave “lifetime threat” ISIS poses to our national security, this threat is obvious to most of us, but not to our shadow Home Secretary of all people.

In June this year, he called for Prevent to be scrapped and even compared the strategy – a strategy operating in the non-criminal space and which offers support to those most vulnerable to radicalisation – to “today’s equivalent of internment in Northern Ireland.”

The ridiculous and frenzied claims don’t end there. Burnham, giving Islamist anti-Prevent activists the best gift one could give, has even claimed that it is Prevent which “risks creating the very conditions for it (extremism) to flourish.” Let’s take a moment to think about that. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Swiss parliament votes to ban Muslim women from wearing the Burka in public

THE Swiss parliament has voted in favour of banning Muslim women from wearing the Burka in public.

The National Council passed the vote 88 votes to 87 with 10 abstentions.

Earlier this year a government committee had voted strongly against the ban, Swiss news service 20 minuten reported.

The ruling will have to undergo further scrutiny and votes before it could be made law.

Members voted in favour of a ruling that “no person shall cover his face in public places and in places or hide in the public domain or the provision of public services (excluding sacred sites).”

The Burka has already been banned in the Tessin region of Switzerland with people facing fines in excess of £7,000 for breaching the rule.

Following the introduction of this ban earlier this year a national committee was set up and began collecting signatures to expand the ban across the rest of the country. [The Sun] Read more

‘Islamic law demanded it’ Istanbul uproar after nurse kicked in HEAD 'for wearing shorts'

Aysegul Terzi was assaulted on a bus after the man claimed Islamic law demanded he attack the young woman.

Abdullah Cakiroglu confessed to the attack following his arrest, but the thug was incredibly freed by prosecutors when he said he was following Islamic law by assaulting the woman.

However as shocking footage the 23-year-old girl being brutally kicked in the face emerged he was again detained by police last week.

Following his first release, the thug said: "She was dressed against my traditions.

"Friends, everything is under control. Everything happened according to Islamic law."

And during his prosecutor’s testimony, Cakirogu reportedly said: "I beat people whose outfits I do not like. The state should punish those who dress like this." [Daily Express] Read more

New poll suggests 60 per cent of Australians would be concerned if a relative married a Muslim

Co-author of the Deakin University paper, Dr Matteo Vergani, said the randomly selected Australians - who were not asked for their religious background - would be less worried if a relative married someone with a Jewish (33 per cent), Buddhist (29.4 per cent) or Christian (8.1 per cent) background.

Of the 304 people interviewed, more than a third also agreed with statements such as 'practicising Muslims pose a threat to Australian society' (40.4 per cent) and 'practising Muslims should be searched more thoroughly than others in airports and stations' (36.5 per cent).

The preliminary findings were based on the first of three pieces of data from the 2016 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA).

Dr Vergani said the findings showed that education was needed to fight Islamophobia in this country.

“We found that across the board – among conservative or progressive individuals, people of different age, education and country of birth – there was an association between someone’s level of knowledge about Islam and their prejudice against Muslims," he said. [Special Broadcasting Service Corporation] Read more

26 September 2016

Female police officers in burkahs? Leicestershire Police has issued a further statement

Leicestershire Police has says it has no plans to allow Muslim female officers to wear a burka whilst on duty.

In a statement on its website, a spokeswoman said the force was "disappointed" with the national press for publishing "inaccurate and misleading" information about plans to allow individuals to wear Islamic dress as part of their uniform.

Last week, the Mercury ran a story reporting the Chief Constable Simon Cole's reaction to a story which said West Midlands Police was considering the move.

He said: "We have been made aware of discussions in other police forces regarding incorporating burkas into police uniform.

"It is not something that Leicestershire Police has been asked to consider by an officer or a potential recruit.

"If such a request was made, it would be considered in line with the requirements of policing and the need to ensure officers have uniforms that are fit for purpose". [The Leicester Mercury] Read more

What Would It Mean for France to Accommodate Muslims?

A philosopher grapples with Islam, secularism, and their place in society.

.... We have ... borrowed from Islamic propaganda the notion of Islamophobia that now plays a major and troubling role in our social and political life. It has no meaning, but it has a function. The notion of Islamophobia makes it possible tendentiously to disqualify all speech on Islam or on the Muslims.

Anyone who begins a sentence by the term “Muslims” knows that he must be careful about the words that follow, for an offense is in the making. It is possible to speak calmly of Muslims only in order to give voice to legitimate complaints that they address or could address to the rest of the social body. …

We can speak of Muslims to say that they have too few mosques and of Christians to say that they have too many churches. Once the notion of Islamophobia is established and validated, it is impossible to speak of Muslims except to state their grievances, and they cannot speak except to complain. [217 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Why is it that in every country that has a muslim population they create problems? Take a look at Albania, France, Germany, Sweden, and here in the US with the muslim terrorist.

[ANOTHER] France has made great strides in evolving beyond religion. Why should they take steps backwards by pandering to backward stone age beliefs?

[ANOTHER] In France, the concept of secularism, or laïcité, is a little bit different than it is in America. The French conceive of secularism as freedom from religion, rather than freedom of religion. It entails that religion be a private affair, removed from public life. It was formally adopted in 1905 in order to dismantle the power of the Catholic Church. The idea that laïcité somehow targets Muslims is laughable given that it was originally intended to exclusively target Catholicism.

On another note, I have quite a few good friends in France, most of whom are refugees or the children of refugees who fled South East Asia during the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge.

Since arriving in France, these people have become doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. - all productive members of French society. Absolutely no one from this community has ever committed any terrorist attacks in France, nor do they complain about being "marginalized" by French society. They chose to integrate, despite coming from circumstances at least as difficult and a culture at least as foreign as more recent migrants from the Islamic world.

[ANOTHER] France - as does the US and the rest of the EU - has absolutely no obligation to accept immigrants from any particular place. The logical position would be to end immigration from places whose people have the most difficult time reconciling the way they want to live their lives with the norms of their prospective host country.

France is not just a place on a map, it's a culture. It's sad to see it willingly let that heritage be subsumed by a vague globalist credo that anyone should be able to move anywhere they want and impose their values.

[ANOTHER] Remigration works better than accommodation. [The Atlantic] Read more

British Muslims 'should be allowed to bypass police' when reporting hate crime, Andy Burnham says

British Muslims should be given a new way of reporting hate crimes that bypasses the police, because the Government’s controversial Prevent anti-extremism strategy has ruined trust between the two parties, Andy Burnham has suggested.

The shadow Home Secretary called for a “root and branch review” of Prevent and said the true scale of Islamophobic hate crimes was being hidden because Muslims were reticent to report such crimes to an institution involved in monitoring them.

Mr Burnham, who is Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester, compared Prevent to the French ban on the burkini swimming costume and said it “singles out one community for different treatment”. He said such an approach risked legitimising or inspiring Islamophobic hate crime.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Report straight to the Sharia Court. Good one.

Muslims do not believe in the Primacy of the UK Courts, why continue to dance around the problem.

How low can you go to get a Vote.....almost there Andy

[ANOTHER] Can the rest of us bypass the police when it comes to reporting Islamic inspired hatred directed at non-Muslims or even other Muslims who aren't 'Muslim enough'?

[ANOTHER] For the most part "hate crimes" especial when Islam is involved are a symptom. The people who commit these crimes are individuals that have seen friendly areas becomes super intolerant because of Islam or understand that when you have an Islamic population of over about 3% there are problems that start coming with it.

So instead of trying to close debate on the issue by having strict laws if you decide to speak up against Islam the politicians should go after the problem - Islamists, a rising Islamic population and the problems that come with it.

[ANOTHER] Burnham is a total nut case. No one should be allowed to bypass the police - they are our law enforcing agency. Why should a (currently) minority religion be given such a right

[ANOTHER] So, Mr Burnham, should Slovakian Roma in Page Hall be given a special way to report attacks on them when they are being plotted by British Muslims?

Why make one group so special that they are untouchable? Won't this just fuel the anti-muslim sentiment arising from the refusal of many of them to integrate fully?

Why should just muslims get special treatment? Why not Hindus, West Indians, Blacks, the Jewish community being targeted by Labour supporters and muslims, and what about the sects within Islam being targeted by muslims such as the shopkeeper and imam recently murdered?

Why oh why, Mr Burnham, would you want to divide Britain further? Is there a large muslim community in Manchester you need the support of to become Mayor and to use it as a base to oppose Corbyn.

No, Andy, your approach is totally wrong and divisive. One rule of law for all. [The Independent] Read more

I Watch The Growing Puritanical Attitudes Of Young Muslims With Apprehension

.... Various factors have allowed extremism to brew under the radar in South Wales.

The few mosques across Wales that welcome fundamentalist speakers to preach, radicalisation in the home and online, the liberal left sense of political correctness thrust upon us by many Government officials with no real understanding of different communities and the denial of the wider Muslim community that this is even going on is a volatile combination.

Only by acknowledging problems within the already fractured Muslim community will we stand a chance of rooting them out and going back to living peacefully with each other as we once did.

Many migrants came to the UK in the 1960s. They maintained their faith and culture and gained the respect and trust of their communities by integrating.

Now is the time we have to look to our history to find solutions for the future. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Preacher guilty of calling Muslim woman 'prostitute' who will 'burn in hell' for wearing tight jeans

A preacher who called a Muslim woman a prostitute who would "burn in hell" for wearing tight jeans has been found guilty in court .

Krissoni Henderson, 31, subjected "absolutely terrified" Noor Alneaimi to a barrage of abuse - telling her he would 'blow up her house'.

Henderson was convicted of religiously aggravated threatening behaviour at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.

He called Ms Alneaimi a non-believer before branding police "disgusting" atheists, the court heard.

Henderson was arrested in July after his victim - a former social worker who had recently undergone eye surgery - made a complaint to West Midlands Police about his behaviour. [Daily Mirror] Read more

Saudi women file petition to end male guardianship system

A petition signed by more than 14,000 Saudi women calling for an end to the country's male guardianship system is being handed to the government.

Women must have the consent of a male guardian to travel abroad, and often need permission to work or study.

Support for the first large-scale campaign on the issue grew online in response to a trending Twitter hashtag.

Activist Aziza Al-Yousef told the BBC she felt "very proud" of the campaign, but now needed a response.

In the deeply conservative Islamic kingdom, a woman must have permission from her father, brother or other male relative - in the case of a widow, sometimes her son - to obtain a passport, marry or leave the country. [BBC] Read more

Swiss politician says hijab should be banned from passports

Mr Wobmann claims it is 'unequal treatment' that headscarves are allowed in passport photos while headbands and caps are not.

A Swiss politician has signalled that women should not be allowed to wear the hijab in passport photographs.

Walter Wobmann, a member of the right-wing populist Swiss People's Party, said it was unfair that headscarves were allowed in passport photos while other headwear, such as hair bands and caps are not.

Mr Wobmann, who has campaigned against minarets and the burka in Switzerland in the past, claimed the policy was an act of "unequal treatment", according to Swiss daily newspaper Blick.

He said: “It is unacceptable that you can wear a hijab in a photo but not a cap. This is not a question of religious freedom but of equal treatment."

The official guidelines for passport and identity card photos in Switzerland, outlined by the Swiss federal police (FedPol), rule that headscarves are permitted in passport and driving licence photographs for reasons of faith - so long as the face is identifiable. [The Independent] Read more

‘We cannot live among people who support Islamic law’ – Nicolas Sarkozy

FORMER head of state, Nicolas Sarkozy has said France will never accept Sharia and that any radical muslims should be “kicked out”.

An opinion poll carried out by the Montaigne Institute, a liberal think tank, revealed that 29 per cent of Muslims living in France were hardline – known as “ultras” in France - who believe the country should respect Islamic law.

Sharia is widely considered as unsecular and flying in the face of the country’s liberal values.

Responding to this “troubling” poll during a radio interview with Europe 1 today Mr Sarkozy, said that the “zealous” Muslim community – the 29 per cent – should be deported from France, or be forced to assimilate – not just integrate – into French society.

He said: “The Montaigne Institute’s poll is extremely troubling. It proves that a quarter of young Muslims are being seduced by radical ideology.”

According to the right-wing presidential candidate, it would be “irresponsible” for the government to allow these pro-Sharia youngsters to follow their Islamic law dream and said: “I’m not being over dramatic.

"The truth is this, simply integrating radical youngsters into France’s Republican society has not worked, it will never work. They must assimilate into French society and culture.” [Daily Express] Read more

25 September 2016

Nahed Hattar shot dead: Prominent Jordanian writer charged with offensive Facebook post killed

A Jordanian writer who was arrested for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam has been shot dead.

Nahed Hattar was assassinated in front the Supreme Court in Amman with local media reporting he was shot three times in the head.

The shooter has reportedly been arrested by security forces.

Mr Hatter had turned himself in to authorities after the Jordanian Prime Minister, Hani Mulki, ordered an investigation into a cartoon he had shared on Facebook.

The cartoon depicts God in paradise, being treated as a servant by an Arab man, who is in bed with two women and asking for wine.

Saed Hattar, a relative of Mr Hatter, said the cartoon was posted to illustrate the twisted religious views of Isis extremists and was deleted after the post received angry responses. [141 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT] To some of us Jordanians Mr Hattar is and will always will be a martyr in the name of our plight for free speech. He lived a writer, an activist for secular government, and worked against the political islamist tide.

They shot him because they could not tackle his ideas, they shot an unarmed defenseless. During his trial he received many death threats and his family asked him to flee, he refused citing he did not fear death, simply that he was saddened that his country had come to this. That is the Nahed Hattar we will remember, a man who in the face of death thought of his country first.

[ANOTHER] This is islam folks. Stop fooling yourselves with the "it is just a lone wolf" or "not all muslims" or "religion of peace" fallacies. History has proven this for over 1000yrs. [The Independent] Read more

Jordanian writer shot dead as he arrives at trial for insulting Islam

A prominent Jordanian writer, who was on trial for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, has been shot dead outside a court in Amman where he was due to appear.

Nahed Hattar, 56, was charged with inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam after posting the cartoon on Facebook this year.

The cartoon, entitled The God of Daesh (Isis), depicted an Isis militant sitting next to two women and asking God to bring him a drink.

Hattar was arrested in August and released on bail early this month. On Sunday, he was shot in the head three times as he arrived for a hearing. [The Guardian] Read more

Jordan writer in blasphemy case Nahid Hattar killed

A Jordanian writer charged with offending Islam after allegedly sharing a satirical cartoon on his Facebook page has been killed.

Nahid Hattar was hit by three bullets outside the court in the capital Amman where he was standing trial.

Police have arrested the suspected shooter, Riad Abdullah. Jordanian media said he was local imam who had been upset by the cartoon.

But security sources told the Jordan Times he was a known extremist.

A witness told the Associate Press news agency that Mr Abdullah had a long beard and was wearing a long robe, common among conservative Muslims.

Nahid Hattar was detained in August for 15 days on charges of insulting God after he published a cartoon depicting a bearded man lying in bed with two women and smoking, asking God to bring him a drink. [BBC] Read more

24 September 2016

Swedish Police Admit Losing Control Of 55 No-Go Zones

Police in Sweden continue to lose control of more suburbs in major Swedish cities as they have now admitted that there are more than 55 no-go areas where they have major problems enforcing the law.

According to a new report, crime rates are rising sharply in the no-go areas with police unable to react to crimes. Cases of thefts, sexual assaults, and gang violence are rising and Sweden’s top police authority notes the significant increase of migration in the past year and the number of crimes committed have seen a parallel rise, reports Kronen Zeitung

The report even mentions the number of attacks on emergency services workers has gone up as well. Police spokesman Peter Larsson reiterated the news from earlier in the week that suggested some 80 per cent of the police in Sweden were seriously considering a new career due to the escalation of violence and fear for their own safety. [Breitbart London] Read more

23 September 2016

Muslim woman leaves job after being told to shake hands with male colleagues

A Muslim woman has left her job in Sweden after being told she must shake hands with her male colleagues.

Fardous El-Sakka had been working as a supply teacher for Kunskapsskolan, a group of independent schools in Helsingborg, since August.

The 20-year-old had chosen not to shake hands with her male colleagues and instead preferred to put her hand on her heart and bow as a greeting.

But when one of her male colleagues took offence, Ms Sakka was ordered to go to a meeting with the principal and told she must conform to the institution’s "core values" if she wanted to remain working there. [The Independent] Read more

Muslim teacher quits her job after she was told she had to shake hands with male members of staff at Swedish school

A Muslim teacher has quit her job at a school in Sweden after being told she would have to shake hands with male members of staff.

Fardous El-Sakka had been working as a substitute teacher at the Kunskapsskolan school in Helsingborg, when she was asked to shake hands with a male teacher.

But the 20-year-old refused as her religion forbids her from touching any member of the opposite sex who is not related to her.

The man then reported Miss El Sakka to the school's principal, who told her that if she wanted to work there, she would have to abide by the institution's values of shaking hands.

However, she decided to quit rather than go against her religious beliefs and has now referred her case to the Swedish trade union Unionen. [166 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1071 votes] Perhaps it would be better for all concerned that those holding ideological views which are at odds with the dominant culture leave to find a country more tuned to their preferences.

[2ND 875] If you don't like the societal rules of a country you have moved to, simply move to a country with rules you can abide by.

[3RD 791] There's no rule in Islam about not shaking hands. This is a modern doctrine which is quite frankly ridiculous for people living in Western countries to adhere to.

[4TH 633] Backward self-centred idiot. We're in the 21st century. [Daily Mail] Read more

Muslim woman offered job on condition that she remove her hijab

.... The text message from the municipality, sent on behalf of the employer, reportedly read: "Hi, I have spoken with [name redacted] and he said that if you are comfortable with working without the hijab then you can have the job with him.

"Is that something that could be relevant for you?"

In response, the woman is said to have written: "I must unfortunately decline. [The hija]B is a big part of my identity and I can not give it up."

Speaking to NRK about the incident, the woman said: "I was sorry and disappointed. I was unmotivated to seek other jobs and I see now in retrospect that it has gone beyond my mental well-being.

"I've always thought that Norway is so wonderful and that I have the same opportunities as any Norwegian, but I now realise that it is not as idyllic as I thought." [The Independent] Read more

The price of free speech in Bangladesh

In February this year the authorities in Bangladesh took Shamsuzzoha Manik, a 73-year-old publisher, into custody for publishing a book titled “Islam Bitorko” (“Debate on Islam”).

His arrest and the shutting down of his stall marked a sour moment in the nation’s largest book fair, Ekushey Boi Mela, held annually at Bangla Academy in honor of the International Mother Language Day. While the book, deemed to be offensive to Islam, has been taken out of circulation, seven months later the publisher remains behind bars.

Manik’s imprisonment adds to a series of recent attacks on freedom of expression in the country, which have included a number of killings perpetrated by extremist groups. There are laws that allow the government to ban or confiscate any publication that may be considered blasphemous.

The law extends to any form of publication — in print or online — and led to the arrest of four bloggers in 2013 for “hurting religious sentiments” with their blog posts. Self and state-censorship coupled with lack of protection for writers at risk have meant free speech and freedom to publish are in dire straits.

Bangladesh is not unique in facing the threat of terrorism, which is now a global issue, but it is sadly the only country where writers and publishers are specifically on the hit lists of the killers. [Los Angeles Times] Read more

Swiss politician argues against hijab in ID photos

Should the Islamic headscarf be banned in photographs for official Swiss documents? One politician is suggesting so.

At the moment a person may wear a headscarf in an official photograph – for example for a passport or driving licence – for reasons of faith, as long as the face is identifiable.

However headbands and baseball caps are forbidden.

The official guidelines for passport and identity card photos set out by Swiss federal police (FedPol) say “headcoverings are in principle unacceptable... exceptions are only made for medical or religious reasons.

"In those cases the face must be visible... and there should not be shadows on the face”.

Walter Wobmann of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) thinks that’s unfair, reported Blick on Thursday. [The Local] Read more

22 September 2016

Nicolas Sarkozy’s bigotry cannot define our worth as children of immigrants

“If you want to become French, you speak French, you live like the French. We will no longer settle for integration that does not work, we will require assimilation.” These were the words of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy this week. He went on: “Once you become French, your ancestors are the Gauls. ‘I love France, I learned the history of France, I see myself as French,’ is what you must say.”

This week, personalities from both sides of the political spectrum expressed their concern over this statement, made by Sarkozy on Monday night during a meeting in Franconville, a north Paris suburb.

Curiously, the part that stirred up most controversy was the idea that, once you become French, the Gauls are your ancestors. This declaration is historically incorrect: Gaul is actually a geographical construct conceptualised by the Romans to refer to a territory bringing people of varied origins together. This notion was later used by the Third Republic, after defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, to rally the French around symbols such as courage and strength. [627 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 397 votes] "If you want to become French, you speak French, you live like the French. We will no longer settle for integration that does not work, we will require assimilation.”

What exactly is wrong with this sentiment?

[2ND 272] ".... to become French, you speak French, you live like the French. We will no longer settle for integration that does not work, we will require assimilation."

Well done, Mr Sarkozy. Honest and frank statement from him without caring one jot about how psuedo liberals that infest the Western society would react. Their crowing and whining won't protect us from those who wish to destroy our society. It is high time that the shackles of political correctness that are so entrenched in our everyday conversational paradigm are broken and the society faces up to some harsh and bitter truths.

I could start with a couple:

1. Sod moral relativism. Not all cultures are equal.

2. People emigrating to a new society must follow the rules and regulations of their host nation at all times even if those very laws go against the culture of the migrants' forefathers.

Nation states can't be expected to make accommodations in their constitutions as per whims and demands of the immigrants.

[3RD 181] “If you want to become French, you speak French, you live like the French. We will no longer settle for integration that does not work, we will require assimilation.”

Sounds about right.

[4TH 177 ] Denying one's ancestry as an immigrant is a iridiculous thing to ask.

However, expectation that one speaks French and conforms (within reason) to French norms is not unreasonable...

[5TH 166] I was at a National Trust property last summer.

Someone from an ethnic background came past with a big family in tow.

The head of the family took an interest in a motorcycle I had.

We talked at length.

I shook his hand in the standard British greeting, then wishing to be friendly, extended the same greeting to his wife (what else could I do?).

She put her hands behind her back and said that her culture forbid her to make such a greeting.

I stood there, hand extended, more than miffed as you can imagine, indeed shocked.

If this is your "multiculturalism", such that I have to impolite to a woman to avoid offending your culture, then you can keep your multiculturalism. I want nothing to do with it. [Guardian Cif] Read more

New hijab discrimination case hits Norway

A 21-year-old woman was offered a job as a nursing assistant in the Ullern district of ??Oslo, but only if she would work without her hijab.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, applied for the in-home care position in January, but the person who would receive her help did not want an assistant who wore a hijab.

Oslo Municipality agreed to honour the person’s wishes and a municipal employee sent the 21-year-old woman a text message offering her the job on the condition that she would remove her headscarf, NRK reported.

Although the incident occurred in January, the woman only shared her story with the broadcaster this week and provided a screenshot of the conversation. [The Local] Read more

Man who murdered Glasgow shopkeeper for 'disrespecting Islam' calls for beheadings in prison YouTube video

A man who murdered a Glasgow shopkeeper for “disrespecting Islam” has released messages from prison calling on supporters to behead other “insulters”.

Tanveer Ahmed, 32, admitted stabbing Asad Shah to death in his shop because he felt his victim was “disrespecting the prophet Mohamed” with his beliefs as an Ahmadi Muslim.

Now, he is encouraging others to do the same in extremist audio messages that appear to have been recorded and released after he was jailed for life.

In Ahmed’s most recent speech, uploaded to YouTube earlier this month, he celebrates sending Mr Shah “to hell with the help of Allah, the prophet, angels and saints”. [The Independent] Read more

Leicestershire Police bosses would consider including the burka in the uniform

Leicestershire's chief constable and its police and crime commissioner have said they would both consider Muslim officers' wishes to wear full Islamic dress while on duty.

The controversial topic was brought to public attention last week when West Midlands Police said it would allow female officers to wear a full-face veil, after it launched a recruitment drive to increase diversity.

The news drew criticism from a number of public figures and organisations, including MP David Davies, who worked as a police officer in London for nine years.

He was reportedly "horrified" by the suggestion.

However, the county's top cop Simon Cole and PCC boss Lord Willy Bach have been more open.

They said if a member of the force asked to incorporate the burka into their uniform their request would be considered. [The Leicester Mercury] Read more

The Islamophobic attacks you don’t hear about

Incidents of ‘Islamophobia’ are really getting out of hand in Britain. In fact there has been such a wave of attacks that it’s amazing that politicians and commentators across the political spectrum, (not to mention all those supposed ‘anti-fascist’ groups) aren’t grand-standing like crazy. Perhaps their problem is that this wave of attacks does not consist of people writing nasty and mean things on Twitter, but of Muslims killing other Muslims and still other Muslims extolling such killings.

.... And who is surprised that the Imams who toured the UK are supporters of the murderer rather than the victim? On the positive side, non-Muslims in the UK can take comfort from the facts that (in the words of the Imam of one of the mosques this pair spoke at) they have ‘hundreds of thousands of followers in the UK.’

In the meantime I cannot be alone in finding the general silence over this recent wave of ‘Islamophobia’ truly perplexing. [The Spectator] Read more

Women defy fatwa on riding bicycles

Iranian women have reacted with defiance to an edict by the Supreme Leader that they must give up cycling because it “contravenes chastity”.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that women cyclists were likely to stir impure thoughts in men. “Riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned,” he told state media.

His fatwa enraged liberals in the country, dozens of whom posted videos or pictures on social media of women on two wheels. A mother and daughter, both disguised with masks and dark glasses, filmed themselves cycling on Kish island, an Iranian holiday resort in the Gulf.

“Bicycle riding is part of our lives,” said the younger woman. “We were here when we heard about Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa banning women from bicycling. We immediately hired two bicycles to say we’re not giving up cycling. It is our right.” [The Times (£)] Read more

German anti-immigrant AfD party gets 16 percent, highest ever, in new poll

The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party would capture 16 percent of the vote if a federal election were held now, according to an opinion poll on Friday which showed it drawing more support than ever before.

The poll released by public broadcaster ARD said Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives would get 32 percent of the vote, while the Social Democrats, junior partner in the ruling coalition, would get 22 percent. Together they would have 54 percent, enough for the ruling "grand coalition" to continue.

The AfD made huge gains in two regional elections this month and will now have seats in 10 of 16 state assemblies, benefiting from a backlash against Merkel's open-door refugee policy and the arrival of nearly a million migrants last year.

The next federal election is a year from now. The party's latest score of 16 percent is more than three times the 5 percent it would need to win seats in the Bundestag or parliament for the first time. [Reuters] Read more

MERKEL'S MIGRANT FALLOUT: More than HALF of Germans fear 'Islamisation' of their country

The results hint at a dramatic changing attitude of the nation’s population towards the religion over the past year, which has seen the arrival of more than one million migrants.

A new poll published by a leading Christian organisation reveals 57 per cent of Germans fear the Islamisation of their country - with more women (61 per cent), fearing it than men (51 per cent).

Churchgoers and non-religious people were equally afraid.

While the young were the least fearful, with just a third of 18 to 24-year-old’s scared of Germany becoming more Islamic.

But nearly two-thirds of those aged over 45 were concerned about the rise of the religion.

The shocking results also revealed nearly six out of ten Germans feared migrants could bring crime and terrorism Germany. Jewish voters were particularly worried about this, with more than nine out of ten of saying they scared.

The results come amid an increasingly fractious debate over radical Islamism in Germany, sparked by Angela Merkel’s ill-fated open door refugee policy. [Daily Express] Read more

21 September 2016

Women in Iran defy fatwa by riding bikes in public

Women in Iran have been posting photos on social media of themselves riding bicycles, defying a fatwa forbidding them from cycling in public.

It had been understood women that could cycle as long as religious concerns were respected.

But when asked recently, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, said women were not allowed to cycle in public or in the presence of strangers.

The issue came into focus earlier this year, when campaigners in Iran began marking "car-free Tuesdays" to encourage people to leave their cars at home in the hope of cutting down on pollution.

When women were seen taking part in campaign bike rides, it was frowned upon by some Iranian clerics. [BBC] Read more

Danish right wing party calling for headscarf ban in public schools

Dansk Folkeparti (DF) is proposing a ban on religious headgear as part of its negotiations on the 2025 economic plan currently being debated.

“The ban will apply to both teachers and students, and applies to all religious headgear,” DF immigration spokesperson Martin Henriksen told TV2 News. “A discreet Christian cross, a small Star of David or a crescent moon as a necklace are all fine. It is visible headscarves we are going after.”

The ban on religious headgear, according to DF, is an attempt to put brakes on changes occurring among the Danish population.

“More and more, Denmark is becoming a Muslim country, and we do not see that as a positive thing,” Henriksen said. “Headscarves divide people into ‘us and them’ and distance the wearer from Danish society and the values ??that Denmark is based on.”

The headscarf ban is part of a group of proposals coming out of DF’s summer meetings that include permanent border controls and the withdrawal of several international conventions. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Bavaria submits proposal for Germany-wide ban on face veils in the courtroom

Bavaria has submitted a new proposal for a law primarily aimed at banning burqas and niqabs from the courtroom. The Bundesrat is due to vote on the initiative in the coming days.

Anyone taking part in a trial in Germany should be required to show his or her face, according to a new proposal for a law Bavaria has submitted to the Bundesrat.

The proposal, which also has the support of Baden-Württemberg, calls for the banning of face veils such as the ones worn by some Muslim women.

"The burqa and the niqab are not only diametrically opposed to our understanding of the equality of man and woman and open communication," said Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback, a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), on Wednesday. "In court, they complicate understanding of the truth and the enforcement of material justice." [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Nearly half of all Australians want Muslim immigration ban: poll

The poll was conducted by Essential Media Communications and comes a week after Pauline Hanson's maiden speech to the Senate that warned Australian was being swamped by Muslims.

When asked "Would you support or oppose a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia?" 49 per cent chose support, 40 per cent opposed and 11 per cent didn't know.

40 per cent of Labor voters supported the ban, as did 60 per cent of Liberal/National Party voters and 34 per cent of Green voters.

When asked 'What is the main reason you support a ban on Muslim immigration?" 27 per cent said because of the threat of terrorism, 41 per cent said Muslims did not integrate into Australian society, 22 per cent said Muslims do not share our values and four per cent said Australia was a Christian country.

Essential Media executive director Peter Lewis said he was so surprised by the results he ran the poll twice to make sure it was not a rogue outcome. [The West Australian] Read more

20 September 2016

After the New York bomb, Muslim Americans are braced for a backlash

Terrorism has strained traditional American notions of individual responsibility. While such attacks fortunately remain rare in our country (data shows that out of 14,000 murders in the United States, a few dozen per year are motivated by religious or political ideologies of any persuasion), violence by a Muslim is often attributed to the entire American Muslim community.

Sometimes, it is accompanied by calls for sending them home or clamping down on them in various ways. Even before police identified Ahmad Khan Rahami as the person suspected of setting off the bomb that exploded in New York on Saturday night, social media was awash with anti-Muslim slurs and threats. A Twitter campaign launched to support Muslims was hijacked to spread fear and hatred instead. [276 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 196 votes] According to the survey mentioned above, there were 196 anti-Islam hate crimes in the 20 states which were studied, and 67 anti-Arab crimes.

Over the same period, there were 502 crimes classed as anti-Semitic, and 416 classified as anti-white.

One hate-crime is one too many, but if muslims really are "bracing for the backlash" they are over-reacting.

[2ND 191] "... remember our common humanity"

Kind of hard to do that when followers of a certain religion are taught by their holy book that non-believers are less than human and are to be converted or killed.

[3RD 177] What a surprise. No concern for the injured victims, only for the supposed backlash against the ideology responsible- which hasn't even happened as far as today's news shows.

[4TH 163] The so-called anti-Muslim backlash is a myth. The problem we've got is radicalised idiots pandering to extremist wahhabist propaganda trying to murder people and blinkered idiots trying to tell us it's not happening and look the other way.

[5TH 160] I sometimes wonder how Muslims would react if, say, a small minority of Mormons launched a terrorist campaign directed at them.

One thing I'm sure of is that "we mustn't blame all Mormons" would not be part of it.

[6TH 151] But we've been told (or rather beseeched) that this man has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.....

Nothing at all.

It's all a coincidence.

[7TH 146] Trump has said some very daft things in the presidential race.

However, his policy proposal on immigration from Islamic countries is not one of them. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’

A school in the canton of Basel-Country has rejected the appeal of a Muslim schoolboy who refused to shake hands with his female teachers for religious reasons.

The boy was one of two teenage brothers at a high school in Therwil who caused a nationwide furore earlier this year when they said shaking hands with female teachers went against their religion, which forbids physical contact with a member of the opposite sex who isn’t family.

In an attempt to find a compromise but avoid discrimination against women, the school initially agreed to exempt the boys from shaking hands with all teachers, regardless of gender.

However the situation subsequently triggered outrage across Switzerland because it was seen as an affront to an intrinsic part of Swiss culture – shaking hands with teachers is a common custom in Swiss schools. [The Local] Read more

'Become French, speak French, live like the French': Nicolas Sarkozy promises to lead a 'merciless war' on Islamist terrorism as he declares migrants must assimilate and ditch the 'medieval' burkini

Nicolas Sarkozy has demanded that all immigrants residing in France must 'live like the French' and speak the language.

The former French president, who wants to return to the top job in 2017, declared war on Islamist terrorism and said women should ditch the 'medieval' burkini.

Speaking at a public meeting in the northern Paris suburb of Franconville on Tuesday, he said immigrants granted citizenship in France must integrate with the community.

'If you want to become French, you speak French, you live like the French. We will no longer settle for integration that does not work, we will require assimilation,' he said. [Daily Mail] Read more

Switzerland: Muslim schoolboy told he must shake hands with female teacher or face possible fine

A 15-year-old Muslim schoolboy in Switzerland who refused to shake the hand of a female teacher as he claimed it went against his religious beliefs, has been told he must now do so or face disciplinary measures.

Amer Salhani, had said a local Swiss tradition where teachers and pupils shook hands went against the teachings of his faith. Initially the high school, in the town of Therwil, Basel-country, agreed to exempt Salhani and his older brother, who left the school at the end of June (2016). However the exemption sparked outrage in Switzerland, where the tradition is widely observed.

Now Salhani has been told by the local education authority that unless he shakes his teacher's hand, he will face disciplinary action and could be fined as much as 5,000CHF (£4,000). [International Business Times] Read more

Christian teen charged with blasphemy

A Christian teenager has been charged with blasphemy over a derogatory picture of the holiest place, police said on Tuesday.

Nabeel Chohan was arrested for liking and sharing on the social media a disparaging photograph of the Khana-e-Kaaba.

Chohan, who is 18 and from the Punjab, also kept the picture on his phone, police said.

A Muslim friend of Chohan’s informed police after seeing the Facebook post on September 16 and the teen was arrested after his friend filed the blasphemy case, police official Shahbaz Ahmed said. “A case of hurting religious sentiments of Muslims and desecrating the religious place has been lodged.” [The Express Tribune] Read more

Dutch worried about growing divergence in society

The Dutch are worried about the growing divergence between rich and poor and Muslim and non-Muslim, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday. A survey by research group Ipsos found that 73% of people think the gulf between Muslims and non-Muslims has increased in the past few years.

In addition, around seven people in 10 consider the gap between the rich and poor and between native Dutch and immigrant has widened. Almost everyone – over 90% – who believes there is a widening gap between different parts of society sees it as a problem, Ipsos said. [DutchNews] Read more

Muslim women face German job barriers - discrimination study

An experiment in Germany has found evidence of job discrimination against women with Turkish names - and even more if they wear an Islamic headscarf.

A university researcher sent 1,500 identical CVs to German firms - except that some bore the name Meryem Ozturk and others the name Sandra Bauer.

In 18.8% of cases Sandra Bauer was invited for interview, whereas the figure for Meryem was just 13.5%.

When the photo of Meryem showed her in a headscarf only 4.2% invited her.

The study was published by the Institute for the Study of Labour, in Bonn. The researcher was Doris Weichselbaumer from the University of Linz, in Austria.

The findings are especially significant in light of Germany's current efforts to integrate record numbers of Muslim migrants, many of them refugees from the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. [BBC] Read more

Race discrimination commissioner criticises Pauline Hanson for stoking division

The race discrimination commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, says Pauline Hanson is stoking division and appealing to xenophobia as new polling suggests 49% of Australians support One Nation’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration.

Following Hanson’s first speech in the Senate last week, in which she declared that Australia was in danger of being “swamped” by Muslims and reiterated her call for a ban on Muslim immigration, Soutphommasane was expected to use the opportunity of a forum at the Australian National University on Wednesday to urge Australians to resist politicians’ attempts to divide the community according to race or religion.

.... Asked whether they would support or oppose one of Pauline Hanson’s most provocative propositions – a ban on Muslim immigration – 49% of those polled in the Essential survey agreed with the ban, while 40% opposed the idea.

Support for banning Muslim immigration is highest among Coalition voters at 60% and non-major party voters at 58% – but the ban also has substantial support from progressive voters. [The Guardian] Read more

19 September 2016

Muslim woman denied classes over hijab may attend after all

A young Muslim woman told she could not attend classes in Valencia unless she removed her headscarf will now be able to take her courses after a decision by the local Education Ministry.

Last week the 22-year-old made headlines across Spain after she was told she could not attend her courses at the Institute of Secondary Education (IES) Benlliure in Valencia if she wore her hijab (headscarf worn by some Muslim women).

The school justified its decision by citing an internal rule which prohibits students from covering their heads while attending classes unless it is for hygiene reasons.

But on Monday the regional Education Ministry announced that it would “guarantee the student’s right to an education and she will be able to attend all of her classes at the centre, wearing the hijab”, according to Europa Press. [The Local] Read more

18 September 2016

Merkel's party suffers rout in Berlin in migrant policy backlash

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party suffered its second electoral blow in two weeks on Sunday, slumping to its lowest level since 1990 in a Berlin state vote that rejected her open-door refugee policy.

Voters turned to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), which with 12.9 percent of the vote will enter its 10th regional assembly among the country's 16 states.

A year before a national election, the result is set to raise pressure on Merkel and deepen rifts in her conservative camp, with more sniping expected from her CSU allies in Bavaria.

The CSU's Bavarian finance minister Markus Soeder was quick to call it the "second massive wake-up call" in two weeks.

"A long-term and massive loss in trust among traditional voters threatens the conservative bloc," he told the Bild daily, adding Merkel's right-left national coalition had to win back support by changing course on its immigration policy. [Reuters] Read more

One in four French Muslims in 'revolt' against secular laws

Around one in four French Muslims, mostly young people, support an ultra-conservative form of Islam, including the wearing of the full-face veil, but the vast majority accept France's strict secular laws, a study showed Sunday.

The Ifop survey carried out for a major study of French Muslims by Institut Montaigne, a liberal think-tank, showed that the vast majority of people who identify as Muslim accept curbs on religion in public.

But 60 percent considered girls should nonetheless be allowed to wear the headscarf in school, 12 years after it and other religious symbols were banished from the classroom, the survey published in Le Journal du Dimanche weekly showed.

And around one in four -- 24 percent -- supported the wearing of the burqa and niqab, the full-face veils that were banned in public places in 2010.

The survey of 1,029 people aims to inform the government's plans to overhaul French Muslim bodies in the wake of several jihadist attacks, most of them the work of French extremists. [AFP] Read more

Just under 30 percent of French Muslims reject secular laws: poll

Just under 30 percent of France's 3 to 4 million Muslims reject the country's secular laws, according to an Ifop poll published by the French weekly Journal du Dimanche.

When asked if they considered the Islamic legal and moral code of sharia to be more important than the French Republic's laws, 29 percent of respondents answered "yes."

The poll found that 20 percent of male Muslim respondents and 28 percent of female Muslim respondents were in favor of the face veil, the niqab, and of the burqa which covers both face and body.

Another 60 percent said they were in favor of letting girls and women wear a head scarf at schools and universities which is forbidden at France's secular public institutions.

Deadly attacks by Islamist militants, including bombings and shootings in Paris which killed 130 people last November and a truck attack in Nice killing more than 80 people in July, have raised tensions between communities in France. [Reuters] Read more

17 September 2016

Religious freedom is the bedrock of our society

As I wrote in “Our non-negotiable values need tighter definition” the list of British values (actually the universal values of liberal democracies) is commendably brief but some more details are needed if we are to apply them as litmus tests.

For example, one of the values “mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”, (a longer way of saying “religious freedom”) has fundamental implications, since it underpins our entire society.

.... Internationally, no foreign preacher who rejects religious freedom should be given permission to enter the UK. Sadly, many countries, ranging in size from China downwards, deny their citizens religious freedom, and we should take that into account in our foreign policy and aid policy. While blanket bans are not feasible, we should make the promotion of religious freedom worldwide a national goal, as does the USA via the Office of International Religious Freedom. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Muslims are now more unpopular than atheists in the US

Muslims have surpassed atheists to become the most disliked group in the US, according to a new study. Participants in a survey for the University of Minnesota were asked to say which group “does not at all agree with my vision of American society”.

Out of 2,500 respondents, 45.5 per cent said Muslims and 41.9 per cent said atheists. The responses, collated in 2014, differ widely from the last time the question was asked in 2003. A decade ago, atheists were the most unpopular group, with 39.6 per cent of people disapproving of them and 26.3 per cent disapproving of Muslims.

In the decade between the two studies, negative opinions about most groups rose. Homosexuals were disliked by 22.6 per cent in 2003, this figure jumped to 29.4 per cent in 2014. Hostility towards Hispanics rose from 7.6 per cent to 17.6 per cent, and African Americans also became more unpopular with a shift from 4.6 per cent to 16.9 per cent. [inews.co.uk] Read more

16 September 2016

Austrian farmer horrified by sheep slaughter in fields

An Alpine farmer in Styria who agreed to lend a Turkish friend his field for a month to graze sheep was horrified when he discovered they were being ritually sacrificed.

Under Austrian law the killing of sheep has to take place in official slaughterhouses but the sheep in the field in Styria simply had their throats cut and were left to die.

Horrified locals raised the alarm with police, who rushed to the area to stop the massacre and managed to save 52 of the 131 sheep that had been put in the field.

The other 79 had already been slaughtered as part of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, also known as the Sacrifice Feast, which is the second of two Muslim holidays celebrated worldwide each year and considered the holier of the two. [The Local] Read more

Five sentenced over Corsica 'burkini' clashes

A Corsica court sentenced five men to up to two years in prison Friday over a mass beach brawl on the French Mediterranean island that reportedly began after tourists took pictures of Muslim bathers.

The violence last month in Sisco, in the island's north, left five people injured, prompting the mayor of the village to ban the Islamic burkini swimsuit initially thought to have been at the centre of the row.

Around 100 police were deployed to quell the August 13 clashes between locals and families of North African origin from another part of the island.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the court in Bastia on Thursday to support two local men who faced charges over the incident alongside three brothers of Moroccan origin.

Mustapha Benhaddou was sentenced to two years in prison for armed violence, while his brothers Abdelillah and Jamal both received suspended sentences of six months. [Expatica] Read more

Cardinal Schönborn defends 'Islamic conquest' warning

Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has sought to clarify a recent controversial statement he made during a church festival, in which he suggested that Europe risks falling victim to an “Islamic conquest”.

He made headlines after giving a speech during the church festival "Holy Name of Mary", which was first introduced 333 years ago in gratitude for the victory over the Ottomans in the famous Battle of Vienna in 1683.

According to the Archdiocese of Vienna, the cardinal said: "Will there now be a third attempt at an Islamic conquest of Europe? Many Muslims long for it and say: Europe is at the end."

However, in an update posted on the Archdiocese’s website he said his words had been misinterpreted on social media as an attack against Muslims and refugees. [The Local] Read more

Norway says no to burqa ban in nation's schools

Norway’s integration minister, Sylvi Listhaug, said on Friday that the government will not pursue a national ban on niqabs and other face-covering garments.

Listhaug’s statement was in response to an inquiry from the Labour Party's Jan Bøhler on whether the government intends to follow the integration recommendations from a committee of leading politicians, who among other things proposed a national ban on the niqab and burqa in schools and other learning institutions.

Before joining the government coalition, Listhaug’s anti-immigration Progress Party (FRP) had called for a total ban on the face-covering garments worn by some Muslim women.

But now that her party is in government, Listhaug said that there will be no nation-wide burqa ban “at this point”.

"To the extent that such practices pose challenges, the local municipality or local public authority can find individual solutions, in some cases a ban. For example, Oslo Municipality has instituted a ban on clothing that completely or partially covers the faces of students,” Listhaug wrote in response to Bøhler's formal inquiry. [The Local] Read more

Spanish woman denied classes over her hijab

A school in Valencia has come under fire after one of its students was told she cannot attend her classes there without first removing her hijab.

The 22-year-old, who is supposed to be studying a course in tourism at the Instituto Benlliure vocational school in Spain’s third city, was sent home on the first day of term because she refused to remove her headscarf.

The school has justified its decision by citing an internal rule which prohibits students from covering their heads while attending classes unless it is for hygiene reasons.

The woman argues however that the hijab is part of her religious identity, and has reported the incident to Spanish anti-racism organization SOS Racismo. [The Local] Read more

On Trip to US, London Mayor Says Immigrants Shouldn't Have to Assimilate

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, while on a trip to the northern U.S. city of Chicago Thursday, argued that new immigrants in America should not have to assimilate into American culture, but the government should instead do more to help them build “cohesive communities.”

"One of the lessons from around the world is that a laissez faire or hands-off approach to social integration doesn't work. We need rules, institutions and support to enable people to integrate into cohesive communities and for the avoidance of doubt, I don't mean assimilation, I mean integration, and there's a difference,” Khan said. “People shouldn't have to drop their cultures and traditions when they arrive in our cities and countries."

Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, did not mention Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by name, but went on to criticize positions Trump has taken regarding Muslim immigrants. [Voice of America] Read more

Jalal Uddin murder: Why did a Muslim student help kill an imam?

An alleged supporter of so-called Islamic State (IS) has been found guilty of taking part in a "bizarre" plot to kill an imam in Greater Manchester. But why did 21-year-old student Mohammed Hussain Syeedy and his alleged accomplice target Koran teacher Jalal Uddin? And why did they consider him to have dabbled in magic?

On the night of 18 February, Mr Uddin had dinner at a friend's house following prayers at the Jalalia Jaame Mosque in Rochdale.

When the 71-year-old left for home, he was followed as he walked through a park. A short while later, he was bludgeoned in the face with what is believed to have been a hammer.

The ferocity of the attack meant his skull was driven down into the brain and his dentures were broken. He was found by two young girls in a children's play area and died in hospital. [BBC] Read more

15 September 2016

Australian far-right leader: 'we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims'

Anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson Wednesday warned Australia was in danger of being swamped by Muslims and told those unwilling to give the nation their undivided loyalty to "go back where you came from".

Twenty years after saying Australia was at risk of being overrun by Asians, Mrs Hanson used her first speech to parliament since being re-elected in July to declare: "I'm back".

"Now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own," she told the Senate in Canberra.

Pauline Hanson's One Nation party won four seats in the Senate on strong backing for her long list of anti-Muslim policies in the July polls, marking a stunning comeback for a woman whose populist views caused a stir in Asia during her first divisive political stint in the late 1990s.

She said Wednesday that while Australia had embraced migrants from all over the world, many of whom had integrated into society, Islam had had an impact on Australia like no other religion. [The Telegraph] Read more

Muslim fashion shops in Germany linked to extremist Salafists

Hijab stores in Germany have been making headlines recently after reports that they serve as stepping stones to extremism. Through clothing, they propagate a subculture that promotes patriarchy and Islamic extremism.

.... The store also offers a selection of veils and small decorative pins to secure them. Inside the veil, women often wear a tube-like stretchy collar, which keeps the hair from straying outside the headscarf.

The Hijabi has made the headlines for its alleged links with Salafists. Earlier this week, Germany's public broadcaster ARD ran a report on how stores like Hijabi and a similar one in Wuppertal, in the country's west, helped women integrate into an orthodox Islamic way of living, eventually assimilating them into Salafism and subsequently, extremist Islam.

.... "This shop in Frankfurt, Hijabi, is linked on the one hand to Salafist consumer culture. Salafism is not just a religious or political movement, it's also a lifestyle. People who follow this ideology want their whole life to be shaped according to the Salafist utopia," she added. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Should the Muslim veil be verboten? Germany debates

A proposal to ban face coverings in places such as schools or behind the wheel is broadly popular among Germans. But Muslims worry it would have little benefit, and would only widen divisions in German society.

In the debate that is roiling Europe over head coverings for Muslim women, Jens Spahn, a deputy finance minister in Germany’s ruling conservative party, is not afraid to stake a position. He calls himself a “burqa-phobe.”

“I don’t think the burqa belongs to liberal, open societies,” he says. “If I go to another country, I adapt to those behaviors and customs. So we can expect the same the other way around.”

After a heated summer – where mayors in France banned "burkinis" from their shores in the wake of the terrorist attack in Nice, and Germany was struck for the first time by the kind of Islamic-inspired terror its neighbors have been facing – the debate over whether to ban Muslim women's attire has reached a fever pitch. [The Christian Science Monitor] Read more

14 September 2016

Now Staffordshire Police may allow officers to wear a burka

The force declared that to date no staff have made a request to wear the Islamic clothing.

But Detective Chief Constable Nick Baker said if any member did ask to where a burka it would have to be considered in line with force policies.

It comes after West Midlands Police’s chief constable David Thompson opened the door to the move.

However, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has suggested it would be impractical for Muslim women police officers to wear a burka on the beat.

David Jamieson said the burka was ‘probably not the best form of uniform’ for bobbies and called for ‘an outbreak of common sense’ over the issue.

It comes after the force’s chief constable David Thompson prompted international debate after he told the Express & Star that West Midlands Police would consider allowing officers to wear full face veils if such a request was made. [The Express & Star] Read more

Merkel sees burqa as religious freedom but backs limited ban

Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out on Wednesday against the idea of a complete ban in Germany on the full-face veil worn by Muslim women, saying that wearing it was part of religious freedom.

Merkel told an international parliamentary conference in Berlin that the full-face veil, such as the burqa and niqab, were however "a major obstacle to integration."

"Against this background, we have begun making precise plans on the question of the full-face veil for action in areas where it is not necessary," the chancellor said, pointing to public administrative offices or in courts.

State and federal interior ministers belonging to Merkel‘s conservative Christian Democrats are preparing legislation on the full-face veil.

They have said that being able to see a person‘s face was essential in public service, driving vehicles, in kindergartens, schools, universities, in courtrooms as well as during controls for passports and at demonstrations. [europe online] Read more

Teach the truth about Islamophobia

Exactly 14 years ago today, the National Post published an op-ed by Neil Seeman, “Are we all Islamophobes? Not really.” In it Seeman debunked the idea, promoted by Riad Saloojee, then executive director of CAIR.CAN (the Canadian chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations, now known as the National Council of Canadian Muslims, or NCCM, without apparent change of mission or affiliations), that “a very well-documented, anti-Muslim hate wave” had swept through Canada.

.... If a teaching guide on tolerance is necessary, let it be about tolerance for all minority groups. Let it be evidence-based and a collaboration of racial, religious and other groups. And instead of NCCM/CAIR.CAN, let Muslim input come from the democratic, pluralistic and reform-minded Council for Muslims facing Tomorrow (MFT), one of whose founders, Sohail Raza, responded to my media query on this subject:

“The CHRC and the Red Cross should be more concerned about human rights abuse and actual racial discrimination than pandering to a victim ideology and a contrived phrase like ‘Islamophobia’ created to stifle conversation. MFT is distressed by the activities of certain organizations claiming to represent Muslims while closely linked to the supremacist Muslim Brotherhood. These organizations are part of the problem and not the solution.” [National Post] Read more

Pauline Hanson calls for immigration ban: 'Go back to where you came from'

.... If Muslim immigration continued then Australians would find themselves living under Sharia law, Hanson said.

The One Nation leader said no further mosques or Islamic schools should be built until the current “security challenges” passed – meaning incidences of terrorism. Hanson said Islamic facilities already established in the country should be subject to monitoring.

Addressing multiculturalism more broadly, Hanson said Australians had never been permitted to vote on whether we became a multi-racial society. Hanson claimed the Australian economy wasn’t stimulated by immigration – an orthodoxy considered central to economic thinking – it was stimulated by government infrastructure projects.

Hanson contended – again, without supporting evidence – that high immigration only benefited the banks and multinationals. She argued that immigration was placing intolerable strain on essential services, like hospitals and schools, which she said were “bursting at the seams”.

Hanson said foreign investment was a source of regret, particularly when it came from China and its communist government. She declared Australia was vulnerable to a foreign takeover, and Australians had fought in wars and given their lives to prevent foreign takeovers. [The Guardian] Read more

Finding an English Islam

.... Getting this right is important for integration, he suggested, and will require commitment from both minority and majority Britons:

“The challenge here is this: is there an Englishness that is wholly accepting of Islam and is there an Islam that is wholly comfortable to be English?”

Dr Timothy Winter, Shaykh Zayed Lecturer of Islamic Studies at Cambridge University, stated that there is no reason in classical Islamic thought to prevent such an accommodation between Islam and Englishness – quite the opposite, in fact:

“A local British Islam, or a range of British Islams, is religiously authentic and even mandatory,” he told the audience, adding that “The classical sharia manuals tell us that local custom and precedent may be incorporated into Muslim life, unless they evidently flaunt a scriptural truth. Only fundamentalism of the Wahhabi type discounts this Muslim normativity.”

An English Islam, one that feels open to people of all races and faiths in England, should be within our grasp. But it will not find itself. John Denham set this challenge to the audience, as we sipped our tea in the Surrey countryside:

“We have a choice, really, of trying to make a national identity that works, that includes everybody; or we could end up with a rather divided national identity which thrusts some people out.” [British Future] Read more

Crime Commissioner says police burka row 'like bald men arguing over a comb'

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has waded into the row about female police officers wearing burkas, describing it as like “bald men arguing over a comb.”

Chief Constable David Thompson sparked a national debate last week when asked if the force would oppose any requests to wear the Muslim dress.

He said: “Clearly we don’t have any barriers relating to the burka. As it stands we have not had any approaches from potential recruits asking to wear the burka, but if such an approach was made it is something we would have to consider.”

But the comments sparked a public backlash.

David Jamieson said: “This is not even on the radar for consideration.

“This argument is a bit like bald men arguing over a comb. This just has not arisen and is not arising with the Muslim women we are trying to get into the force. [Birmingham Mail] Read more