13 October 2017

Swiss to hold referendum on banning face-covering garments

The Swiss government says voters will decide whether to ban face-covering garments like masks or Muslim burqas and niqabs.

The government said Friday a vote on the ban, championed by far-right groups, will take place. That comes after advocates gathered over 100,000 signatures to put the initiative on the ballot under Switzerland's system of direct democracy, which lets voters decide major policy issues.

The executive Federal Council will set a date for the referendum, not expected before next year.

Passage would put Switzerland alongside France, Austria and other European countries in prohibiting face-covering garments. The Italian-speaking Swiss region of Ticino enacted such a ban last year.

The measure was proposed by a group including lawmakers from the nationalist Swiss People's Party that was also behind a ban on building minarets in Switzerland. [Associated Press] Read more

Christian Concern intervenes to protect Europe from Sharia law

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights is set to rule on a case concerning the application of sharia law to a dispute between Greek citizens who are Muslims.

The case is Molla Sali v. Greece (application no. 2042/14).

Christian Concern has submitted an intervention because of the importance of the case and its legal implications for countries across Europe, including the UK.

The case involves an inheritance dispute. Ms Molla Sali inherited the entire estate of her husband when he died under the terms of a will that he had drawn up in accordance with Greek law.

Two sisters of her husband are claiming that since her husband was a Muslim, the inheritance should be allocated according to sharia law, adjudicated by the mufti. There are provisions for sharia law to be applied to Greek nationals who are Muslims.

Does sharia law have supremacy over domestic law?

The case has gone all the way to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. This is the highest chamber of the court, with 17 judges sitting. Its rulings cannot be appealed. [Christian Concern] Read more

Islamic school's gender segregation is unlawful, court of appeal rules

Schools in Britain will no longer be able to substantially segregate boys and girls, after the court of appeal ruled that a co-educational faith school in Birmingham had caused unlawful discrimination by separating the two sexes.

The court overturned a ruling by the high court last year involving Al-Hijrah school, a voluntary-aided mixed-sex state school that had been strongly criticised by Ofsted school inspectors for failing to uphold British values.

On appeal, Ofsted argued that the school had breached the 2010 Equalities Act by strictly segregating pupils from the age of nine, teaching them in different classrooms and making them use separate corridors and play areas. The segregation policy was also applied to clubs and school trips.

About 25 other mixed schools in England have similar rules and they now face having to overhaul their policies in the wake of the ruling by Sir Terence Etherton, the master of rolls, Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice Beatson.

Ofsted said it would now look closely at the other schools with similar policies, which includes several Orthodox Jewish and Christian faith schools. [The Guardian] Read more

Islamic faith school's segregation of boys and girls ruled unlawful sex discrimination by Court of Appeal

An Islamic faith school's policy of segregating boys from girls is unlawful sex discrimination, Court of Appeal judges have said in a landmark ruling.

Ofsted placed the mixed-sex Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham into special measures last June after it claimed dividing classes was discriminatory.

But a High Court ruling last year found inspectors were wrong to penalise on the basis of an "erroneous" view that segregation amounted to unlawful discrimination.

Three Court of Appeal judges have now unanimously overturned the previous ruling, finding the complete segregation of classes to be contrary to the 2010 Equality Act.

The judges ruled the segregation caused detriment and less favourable treatment for both male and female pupils by reason of their sex.

"It is common ground that the school is not the only Islamic school which operates such a policy and that a number of Jewish schools with a particular Orthodox ethos and some Christian faith schools have similar practices," they said.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Faith schools are a bad idea. They reflect and reinforce divisions in society.

[NEXT] A far greater concern is that the pupils are taught that unbelievers are inferior, 'the worst of creatures' and destined for eternity in hell fire (Q 98:6) .

Not really a good basis for community cohesion.

[NEXT] .... And will the government, and Ofsted, please stop pussy-footing around schools which are operating illegally? If they won't reform, close them. And distribute the students around other, normal community schools. And give the closed school's assets to one of those other, normal schools to use in the provision of normal education.

The longer we turn a blind eye and just let things slide, the more trouble we store up for the future.

[NEXT] Religion is a lifestyle choice. Brainwashing of children into any faith should be illegal until they are old enough to make an informed choice.

[NEXT] Well this is a good ruling. Now let's move on to the prohibition of teaching of violent or antisocial texts from a book that purports to be factual statements from a real supernatural being.

[NEXT] If anyone wants to indoctrinate their children with religious claptrap it should not be done in conjunction with education. [The Independent] Read more

Market trader, 56, is BANNED from town centre after selling Knights Templar coffee mugs that are 'offensive' to Muslims

A market stall holder has been banned from having a stand in a town centre because she was selling 'offensive' Knights Templar coffee mugs.

Tina Gayle has been prohibited from having a stall in Loughborough Market after someone complained about the mugs.

She said the complainant had told the council the £6 Knights Templar mugs were offensive to Muslims and so she was asked to remove them from her stall.

When she refused to do so she was sent a letter and informed she had been given an outright ban.

Speaking to MailOnline Miss Gayle, 56, said: 'It's very unfair. The council told me about the complaint about the mugs and them being offensive to Muslims. They asked me to remove them. I said that was ridiculous and told them "no".

'They then printed off a letter on Friday at 4pm and said I'm banned. You're meant to have three written warnings before expulsion and they didn't do that. It was apparently something so bad they were banning me completely.' [1367 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 10305 votes] Pathetic country we live in. Are they going to ban all shops and butchers from selling pork now?

[2ND 6968] .... am going to buy one in protest.

[3RD 6489] Citizens of Loughborough. Vote differently at the next council election.

[4TH 6331] WTF. Nights Templar is part of British history. Does British history have to be scrubbed clean so it doesn't offend anyone. This is sick - the country is almost unrecogniseable.

[5TH 4904] Sue the Council for every penny they have. It is time these PC brigade idiots were stopped.

[6TH 4253] Ffs .... I am SICK of this pathetic nonsense!!

[7TH 3793] What a complete and utter bunch of idiots they are at Charnwood Borough Council.

[8TH 3373 ] I find ignorance and stupidity offensive so would the council kindly step down to be replaced by people who pick up a book occasionally and can display less prejudice to historical facts. [Daily Mail] Read more

12 October 2017

Appeal against Dublin mosque over call to prayer ‘noise pollution’

Plans for a large-scale mosque in west Dublin, including an 29 metre (95ft) tall minaret, have been appealed to An Bord Pleanála over fears the call to prayer would cause “noise pollution” in the area.

The Shuhada Foundation of Ireland was last month granted planning permission by Fingal County Council for the mosque, community centre, and primary school on the site of Warrenstown House, a former HSE facility in Blanchardstown.

Dr Taufiq al-Sattar, a Dublin-based neurosurgeon, pledged to build the mosque in memory of his late wife Shehnila Taufiq who died along with their daughter Zainab (19), and sons Bilal (17) and Jamal (15) in an arson attack in Leicester, England, in September 2013.

Plans for the development, which would be one of the largest mosques in Ireland, were first lodged with the council just over a year ago. They were substantially revised earlier this year after the council raised concerns about the scale of the development. [The Irish Times] Read more

Three Ahmadi men sentenced to death on blasphemy charge

A district and sessions court sentenced three men to death on Wednesday on charges of committing blasphemy.

The court also fined them Rs200,000 each, but if they are unable to pay the fine, they would have to undergo six months of rigorous punishment.

In his verdict, Additional District and Sessions Judge Mian Javed Akram ruled that the three members of the Ahmadi community of Bhoaywal village had committed blasphemy by displaying a poster and banners at their place of worship in a manner that was offending.

Riaz Hussain, a shopkeeper, had filed a complaint against the three men at the Sharqpur police station. [Dawn] Read more

Algerian Christian on hunger strike after being jailed for blasphemy

An Algerian Christian has gone on hunger strike in prison after being accused of blasphemy.

Slimane Bouhafs was sentenced to five years in prison last August for a post on Facebook that was considered insulting to Islam and the Prophet Mohammad. Due to rapidly declining health his family applied for parole but a court rejected the appeal last Monday, prompting Bouhafs to go on hunger strike, according to Middle East Concern.

He is demanding transfer to a prison in Bejia, his home region, after contracting gout and suffering abuse from fellow prisoners because of his faith. Despite support from medical documents proving the seriousness of his condition plus a record of good conduct, the court denied his plea for parole as it was 'without justification', according to the watchdog.

Bouhafs says he is in danger in prison because of his Christian faith, according to another persecution monitoring site, World Watch Monitor, after he converted from Islam in 1997. [Christian Today] Read more

09 October 2017

Italian Interior Minister Says Ban on Islamic Law ‘Non-Negotiable’

“It is not possible to subject our country to a jurisdiction marked by religious radicalism,” said Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Sunday, stressing that there can be no question of allowing sharia law a foothold in Italy.

“Whoever looks to sharia law must understand that it won’t happen in Italy,” Minniti told an assembly at the School of Democracy in the northern Italian city of Aosta, adding that “on this question there can be no middle ground since these values are non-negotiable.”

The Minister tied the question of Islamic law to that of “women’s equality with men,” noting that “we are a country that has made enormous strides forward in this matter.”

Insistence on sharia law, Minniti suggested, is caused by a lack of immigrant integration into Italian society, which is devastating for a nation’s future. The only way to truly integrate migrants, Minniti said, is for Italy to uphold a clear, unequivocal national identity. [Breitbart London] Read more

Marrying a non-Muslim man as a Muslim woman poses daily challenges

.... Two weeks ago, Tunisia became the only country in the Arab world to officially allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, a decision that has sparked outrage in my native country, Egypt, and triggered fresh memories of my own ordeals as an “outsider”, who dared cross the cultural divide and marry a westerner.

In the early days of my relationship, I assumed that the only challenge would be from my mother, my only close relative. I was wrong; the challenges extended far beyond the immediate family. Indeed, although my mother strongly opposed the marriage, she later mellowed and respected my wish after my husband went to Egypt, converted to Islam, and formally proposed to me. Although my ex-husband formally converted in Al-Azhar, he did not take a Muslim name. That was enough to render his faith as “questionable”.

Shortly before midnight, after touring Damascus, we were interrupted in our hostel room by a rude wake up call – literally. An aggressive voice at the door said, “We are the night staff, we need to check your marriage certificate.”

Although we had shown the precious certificate to the afternoon staff earlier, the night staffs were not convinced. They wanted to check it one more time – at around midnight. “This is a Muslim country, and you claim to be Muslim,” one of them said. The two hostel staff looked bemused and offended when I responded angrily, “Yes, I am Muslim, and I have the right to choose my husband.” [inews.co.uk] Read more

Hate crime targeting UK mosques more than doubled in past year, figures show

Hate crimes targeting mosques across the UK more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, new figures have revealed.

Police forces recorded 110 hate crimes directed at Muslim places of worship between March and July this year, up from 47 over the same six month period in 2016.

The Press Association reports that racist abuse, acts of vandalism at mosques and bomb threats feature heavily among the reported hate crimes.

Smashed windows at mosques, damage to cars parked outside and graffiti were all recorded along with physical assaults on Muslims on their way in or out of the buildings, two cases of arson and two complaints of bacon being left on mosque doors.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott called the figures “deeply troubling”.

“Attacks on any religious group or minority are abominable,” she said, adding: “These anti-Muslim attacks will be condemned by all decent people.”

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Of course the Muslims are the victim group here.

I mean occasionally someone puts a bacon rasher in a Mosque car park whilst they rape thosands of little girls and conduct numerous mass murder attacks.

[NEXT] When you consider getting Jailed for 12 months for throwing a Bacon Sandwich and a Muslim who got a caution for threatening to behead a 10 yr old innocent Army Cadet - the Racism in favour of Islam is staggering!

The Indy chooses to ignore those facts as always!

[NEXT] Our government, and other EU governments, refuse to recognise the concern of a majority of the population at the establishment of muslim communities in our countries. The government survey referenced below by Honest outlines many of the problems but we are repeatedly told it is all 'our' fault for failing to provide help and support, for failing to employ, for failing to make concessions.

It is not our fault, many muslims want a life apart. They want all the advantages of living in Europe but while continuing to live according to their culture and mores. Indeed they want more separatism, more influence.

While the percentage of muslims in the UK is still relatively low (6%) the numbers in the lower age ranges are higher, the growth rate is higher. And the 'noise' made by muslims about their rights, what has to be done for them is out of proportion. It is perfectly possible, if nothing is done, that the UK will become majority muslim. As a woman, in particular, that thought fills me with dread.

We are not allowed to debate this, we are labelled racist, Islamophobic. Read the Tom North comment below, report people for 'extremism', no debate.

It is not acceptable that discussing this subject is taboo. It should be debated in parliament. It is a major question on the future direction of our country.

[NEXT] It seems very strange that a religion whose god, Allah, describes me and 6 billion other non-Muslims on Earth as trash and dirt, should make allegations about hatred shown towards them.

"Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve." (Al Qur'an 8.55)

And, of course, we mustn't forget that many accusations made by Muslims have turned out to have been false. [The Independent] Read more

08 October 2017

Merkel agrees 'refugee cap' in concession to allies

Two weeks after winning elections with a reduced majority, Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Sunday to limit Germany's refugee intake in a bid to unite her conservative camp ahead of tough coalition talks to form a new government.

Merkel's team huddled with her Bavarian CSU allies led by Horst Seehofer, who has angrily blamed her decision to allow in over one million asylum seekers since 2015 for the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

After 10 hours of closed-door talks, Merkel's CDU and the CSU agreed they would aim to cap refugees coming to Europe's top economy at 200,000 a year, according to a draft paper -- a formulation close to a long-time Seehofer demand that Merkel had repeatedly rejected.

The goal of the meeting was to settle bitter squabbles so the estranged conservative sister parties can again present a united front in upcoming coalition talks with two smaller parties -- the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the left-leaning and ecologist Greens. [AFP] Read more

Cabinet Office finds integration of Pakistani women ‘shockingly bad’

Pakistani women are living in an “entirely different society” and are “shockingly badly integrated”, the UK’s first audit into the disparity between races will reveal.

The findings by the Cabinet Office, due to be published on Tuesday, will give an unprecedented insight into how people from different backgrounds are treated in society, including their access to healthcare, education, employment and the criminal justice system.

The findings appear on the same day as the publication of an independent report which will show that the poorest Asian families are the biggest losers from the tax and benefit changes and the cuts in public services spending imposed since 2010 and those changes still to be implemented up to 2020.

.... “It’s very shocking,” a source close to the Cabinet Office said of the disparity audit. “Other communities have integrated very well but the audit shows that Pakistani women who don’t speak English or go out to work are living in an entirely different society and are shockingly badly integrated.”

A recent study of community cohesion in Britain, led by Dame Louise Casey, branded ministerial attempts to boost the integration of ethnic minorities as little more than “saris, samosas and steel drums for the already well-intentioned”. [The Times (£)] Read more

07 October 2017

The Normalisation of the Hijab in UK Primary Schools Remains Unabated

There is a dire need to take a firm stand against this mindset that aims to brand women as objects rather than human beings. The idea of veiling infants is nothing more than a bid by some parents to satiate their false sense of cultural superiority.

With the news of oppressed Saudi women gaining permission to drive, we seem to have drifted along on a wave of happiness, to the extent that we have lost sight of the fact that human rights abuses very similar to the ones for which we excoriate Saudi Arabia are presently taking place in modern Britain.

Despite the excitement, the news hardly baffled me. It did not come out of the blue but was an outcome of cumulative, persistent resistance by Saudi women who are still fighting against many appalling restrictions, including mandatory veiling and male guardianship imposed by the totalitarian Saudi regime.

However, British authorities and many on the British left seem to turn a blind eye to the plight of Muslim women and minors at home, which is causing irremediable damage to British Muslim youth.

The policy that started with Islamic schools of making the hijab a compulsory part of the school uniform has now taken root in British primary schools across the country. [Conatus News] Read more

06 October 2017

It Is Essential For Muslim Countries To Espouse Secularism

In Pakistan and, in fact, most of the Islamic world, the very concept of secularism is completely misunderstood. Somehow the concept has been thoroughly confused and amalgamated with atheism.

An overwhelming majority of politicians, and even intellectuals, often try to defend themselves when "accused" of being secular, particularly on mainstream online media and Urdu print media. To declare oneself as a secular is considered equivalent to being considered an atheist in the public imagination.

The atmosphere is riddled with severe misconceptions about secularism. Due to fear of being branded an atheist and anti-Islamic, the word 'secular', in both letter and spirit, is virtually absent from the discourse. Even those who understand that secularism is fundamentally different from atheism often raise the question: "what good is secularism?" and "all we need is the right interpretation of religion."

.... Muslim followers are not monolithic (as they are divided into sects), therefore, a secular State, by being neutral (at least theoretically), ensures neutrality on religious grounds. It will also protect non-Muslims living within Muslim countries and thus promote internal cohesion and also improve the image of Muslim societies in the international arena. Secularism may not be the panacea for all the ills confronting many Muslim societies but it is still an essential step. [HuffPost India] Read more

A Turkish writer’s detention sends a sombre message about Islam

.... Last month Mr Akyol was invited to Kuala Lumpur by a reform-minded Muslim group and asked to give three lectures. In his second talk, he warmed to the non-coercion theme. As he insisted, people who fall away from Islam or “apostasise” should not be threatened with death, as happens under the harshest Islamist regimes, or even sent for re-education, as can happen in Malaysia. (For its all terrible human-rights abuses, nothing of that kind happens in Turkey.)

Afterwards, Mr Akyol was approached by members of Malaysia’s religious-affairs authority and told that he had done wrong by lecturing on Islam without their approval. Mr Akyol’s hosts reluctantly decided to cancel his third and final lecture. This would have highlighted Mr Akyol’s latest book, which is about Jesus of Nazareth and the common features of the Abrahamic faiths. The religious enforcers made it clear that the subject matter was not to their taste.

Matters did not end there. As he was about fly back to the United States where he currently lives, Mr Akyol was detained at the behest of the religious-affairs authority and interrogated. [The Economist] Read more

04 October 2017

Isn’t it time we called out newspapers who trade on Muslim-baiting?

In August, the Times’s front-page story was “Christian girl forced into Muslim foster care”. It was followed by a series of high-profile stories, with the paper proudly vindicating itself by declaring: “Judge rules child must leave Muslim foster parents.” The headlines created an almighty media stink.

Yet we now know from the court that far from being a child wrongly placed with unfit parents, as was reported, the five-year-old girl actually had a “warm relationship” with her Muslim carers and misses them.

In its attempt to create a storm, the Times not only attacked thousands of foster parents whose sacrifices are essential yet rarely acknowledged, it did so in a way that was framed as a clash of religions: one that appeared to give supremacy to a white Christian girl over a backward Muslim family, and one that seems to have forgotten that more than 1,500 young Muslim children have spent time in care at non-Muslim homes.

Contrary to claims, the foster family did speak English, the child was not denied certain foods for religious reasons and, while a long necklace was removed from her, this was because her carer was worried it posed a safety risk, not because of imagined religious strictures. [Guardian Cif] Read more

03 October 2017

Belgium moves to expel mosque imam over security fears

Belgium has moved to expel an Egyptian preacher at the country's biggest mosque because he posed a "national security" threat, officials said on Tuesday.

Immigration Minister Theo Francken revoked the residency permit of the imam of the Saudi-financed Grand Mosque, near the EU headquarters in Brussels.

Belgium has been hit by several attacks since 2016, including suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 32 people at Brussels airport and a metro station.

"Everybody knows there is a problem with the Grand Mosque in Brussels. I decided to withdraw the residency permit of the imam of this mosque," Francken told Bel-RTL.

"We have had very clear signals he is a man who is very radicalised, salafist, very conservative and dangerous for our society and national security," Francken added. [AFP] Read more

02 October 2017

New teacher disciplinary procedures to deal with 'Trojan Horse' attempts to infiltrate schools

The Department for Education is to reform disciplinary procedures for teachers to deal with any repeat of Birmingham’s Trojan Horse scandal.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said the Trojan Horse affair, when teachers and others attempted to introduce an “intolerant” religious ethos into Birmingham schools, was “a shocking wake-up call”.

But speaking to the Birmingham Mail, she warned that existing disciplinary procedures for teachers accused of misconduct may not be suitable for dealing with complex cases such as those seen in Trojan Horse.

A plot by hard-line Islamists to take over some Birmingham schools was revealed by the Birmingham Mail in March 2014.

An inquiry commissioned by the Government found in 2014 that Birmingham was targeted by a “co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained” campaign to introduce “an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools”.

And Government adviser Dame Louise Casey, who published a major review on community integration across Britain, warned earlier this year that similar incidents were happening elsewhere. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Lift on hijab ban in basketball welcomed by first all-Muslim women's team in Leicester

A ban on headgear, including hijabs and turbans, has been lifted in professional basketball.

The milestone has been celebrated among Muslim players, including the first all-Muslim women's team, which is based here in Leicester.

In May, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) approved the rule change to allow players to wear headgear during matches.

The governing body had previously said that it was a safety issue but the changes took effect from Sunday.

Fiba began to revise its headgear rules in 2014 after Fifa authorised the wearing of head covers for religious reasons during games.

Female Muslim players have welcomed the change and believe it will make an important statement.

Raabya Pasha, a member of the first all-Muslim women's team, the Falcons based in Leicester, told Aljazeera: "It's important because more people will see that Muslim women can play, do play and are willing to play. [The Leicester Mercury] Read more

01 October 2017

Women forced to remove the veil on day one of Austrian burqa ban

Muslim women in Austria were forced by police to remove their facial coverings on Sunday, as an anti-burqa law came into effect.

The so-called 'burqa ban' prohibits facial coverings including niqabs and burqas, and also places restrictions on surgical masks, ski masks and clown make-up worn in public.

Yesterday, a woman wearing a niqab facial veil, which only leaves the eyes uncovered, was seen being told to remove her veil by two police officers in Zell am See, a city south of Saltzburg.

.... Full veils remain rare in Austria despite the surge of migrants and refugees into Europe in 2015, but they have become a target for right-wing groups and political parties.

The measures, similar to those in other European Union countries such as France, also apply to visitors even though large numbers of Arab tourists holiday in the Alpine country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously indicated her support for a similar law in Germany, saying: “Our law takes precedence over codes of honor, tribal or family rules, and over sharia law.” [The Telegraph] Read more

30 September 2017

Brave Muslim lawyer who dared to speak out about misogyny in his own community is banned from making a keynote speech

A British Asian lawyer has been banned by fellow lawyers for speaking out in The Mail on Sunday about grooming scandals involving predominantly Asian men and white girls.

Nazir Afzal, who was widely praised for his role in tackling the Rochdale grooming scandal, has been barred from making the keynote speech at the Society of Asian Lawyers annual awards and ball in London on October 28.

He was shocked to be told he was no longer welcome at the glittering event because of his ‘offensive’ comments in this newspaper.

The embarrassed SAL lawyer tasked with notifying Mr Afzal of the ban told him he personally opposed the decision – but had been over-ruled. [The Mail On Sunday] Read more

'White girls are filthy': Wives of Asian men jailed for raping vulnerable British girls reveal why they blame the victims

I am meeting the wives of three men convicted of a terrible crime – of grooming and raping dozens of white girls. Nila, the 18-year-old daughter of one of them, will be there as well.

It was Nila who had approached me in Leeds when I gave a talk earlier this year. Small for her age, softly spoken, she had beautiful, green-brown eyes, Kashmiri, like her mother’s.

She was upset. ‘My dad is in prison because he was with others raping small white girls,’ she told me. ‘I hate him. He made my mum pregnant eight times even when she didn’t want to do it. I heard her crying. Six babies died. He did that to her for so long. But never went to prison.’

.... The other two women, Homa and Mariam, came as young, virgin brides from villages in Pakistan. Arriving here, they spoke no English and their mothers-in-law treated them like slaves. The women would not discuss the intimate parts of their lives at first, resorting instead to vague words and platitudes: ‘Muslim women must give husband,’ said one of them. ‘He want, she don’t like but must give.’

But bit by bit, they opened up, describing a world of loveless sex on demand, of domestic violence, routine debasement. ‘He did it hard, it hurt,’ said Nusrat. ‘It was always painful. He say I am his toy. I say no, he pushed me down, made me cry. He was like a dog. [The Mail On Sunday] Read more

The decline of Turkish schools - Out goes evolution, in comes Islamic piety and loyalty to the regime

DAYS before the start of the new school year, Merve, an eighth-grade science teacher, is flipping through the pages of her old biology textbook. A picture of a giraffe appears, alongside a few lines about Charles Darwin.

Teaching evolution in a predominantly Muslim country where six out of ten people refer to themselves as creationists, according to a 2010 study, has never been easy. As of today it is no longer possible. A new curriculum has scrapped all references to Darwin and evolution. Such subjects, the head of Turkey’s board of education said earlier this summer, were “beyond the comprehension” of young students. Merve says her hands are now tied. “There’s no way we can talk about evolution.”

.... A module on the life of the Prophet Muhammad will teach the same pupils that Muslims should avoid marrying atheists, and that wives should obey their husbands. Schools are also becoming a target of Mr Erdogan’s mosque-building spree.

A new rule requires that all new schools be equipped with prayer rooms, segregated by sex. “The interference of religion into education has never been as visible and as deep,” says Batuhan Aydagul of the Education Reform Initiative, a think-tank in Istanbul. [The Economist] Read more

Tony Blair institute finds that non-violent Islamist groups serve as recruitment pool for jihadists

More than three quarters of British jihadists have been involved with non-violent Islamist groups before turning to foreign fighting and carrying out terrorist attacks, a report has indicated.

Islamist groups have acted as a recruitment pool for dozens of jihadists who have gone on to join al-Qaeda, Islamic State and other terrorist groups, according to research by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

Researchers examined the biographies of 113 people from across the UK who had joined the jihadist movement, from the 1980s to the Syrian civil war. The institute’s report says that at least 77 per cent of the sample had links to Islamism, either through association with Islamist organisations or by connections to those who spread the extremist ideology.

Such groups invoke their right to free speech but the report argues that the authorities need to take a tighter grip on such preaching. They include al-Muhajiroun, run by the hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who has been linked to multiple plots and attacks and is in prison for supporting Isis. [The Times (£)] Read more

29 September 2017

Malaysians in a lather over laundrette for Muslims

Laundrettes offering their services to only Muslim customers have stirred up quite a debate in Malaysia, where about two-thirds of the population practise Islam.

A photograph of a signboard advertising the "Muslim-friendly" laundrette in the state of Johor first started circulating on social media earlier this week.

"This laundrette only accepts Muslim customers for reasons of purity," it said. "Any inconvenience is very much regretted."

The owner, who did not want to be identified, told The Star newspaper: "For Muslims, it is not just about clean clothes but cleanliness as a whole. I am just providing an avenue for Muslims to do that."

He also told The Malaysian Insight website that his customers had requested such a service. The website said the sign had been put up about a month ago. [BBC] Read more

Majority of Danes want to ban burqa: survey

A majority of the population support banning the two types of Islamic veil in public, according to an opinion poll carried out by Epinion on behalf of broadcaster DR.

According to the poll, 62 percent said they support a full ban on wearing the burqa and niqab in public, while 23 percent said the veils should continue to be allowed.

12 percent responded ‘do not know’ while three percent declined to answer the question.

Last week, a Danish model agency announced it had hired the country’s first hijab-wearing model.

But discussion of a potential ban against the face-covering burqa resurfaces regularly in Danish political debate, and the autumn 2017 parliamentary session looks set to be no exception.

The populist Danish People’s Party (DF) is set to propose a potential ban on the burqa and niqab when parliament opens – the fourth time the party has taken such a step, reports DR.

DF immigration spokesperson Martin Henriksen told broadcaster DR that he saw the result of the poll as sign of support for his party’s position. [The Local] Read more

28 September 2017

One Step Into Modernity - Saudi Arabia gives women license to drive

.... Does this mean that the past denial of licenses to women has been, in principle, wrong all along? Is the about-face the result of Crown Prince Salman’s philosophical enlightenment, or a product of economic necessity? (Perhaps economic necessity can be the mother of philosophical enlightenment.)

In any case, Saudi Arabia’s golden age is over. The price of oil is relatively low and not likely to rise very much. The kingdom’s foreign currency reserves are falling, in a country where nearly everything must be imported; meantime, the Saudi population is growing fast. Sixty percent of Saudis are under 30. Middle-class families can no longer support themselves with one salary: as in the West, they now need two.

In the circumstances, it is madness to import labor to perform services that Saudis can easily perform for themselves. [City Journal] Read more

Vagueness of 'Islamophobia' is what makes it troublingly all-inclusive

.... Canadians can be a patriotic bunch who do not like their values attacked in the way that M103 does.

Yet it is part of the Islamist agenda in Canada to include in their definition criticism of Islam and Islamic practice in the West rather than simply attributing the causes of anti-Muslim sentiment in the West to “anti-Muslim bigotry”.

Use of the term Islamophobia sets a dangerous trend given the connotations the word has in Islamic countries and in Muslim circles in the West.

We often hear from M103’s supporters that the motion is not binding and does not affect anyone’s entitlement to repudiate anything they object to, including certain orthodox Islamic and fundamentalist practices. Yet the vagueness of the word Islamophobia tends to make it all-inclusive, and it seems to have been deliberately kept that way.

It compromises a person’s freedom to criticize and challenge because without a clear definition as applied to M103, who would dare to test its limits by pretending to know what will constitute censure and, even worse, what may invite a violent response from reactionary Islamist forces within Canada if one dared to criticize Islam? [Toronto Sun] Read more

Top university accepts Islamic Society’s gender-segregated event was ‘unlawful’

A top UK university has accepted that gender segregation that took place at a gala dinner, which saw women and men separated by a curtain, was unlawful, The Independent can reveal.

The London School of Economics (LSE) came under fire in March last year after the Islamic Society held a gala dinner for which students had to buy separate tickets depending on whether they were a “brother” or a “sister”.

When they arrived at the event, held at a banqueting hall in central London, there was a large screen separating the men’s tables from the women’s ones, stopping the attendees from even looking at each other.

The university has now conceded that the annual event is “likely to fall foul of the Equality Act 2010 and be unlawful on the grounds of discrimination by gender due to the segregation”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission states that gender segregation is not permitted in any academic meetings or at events, lectures or meetings provided for students, or at events attended by members of the public or employees of the university or the students’ union. [The Independent] Read more

Saudi Arabian women demand laws to drive out all inequality

Saudi Arabian women have urged the government to abandon its guardianship law that gives men sweeping powers over female relatives, after it took the historic step of dropping a ban on women drivers.

Under the “mahram” system, women must seek permission from a male relative to perform basic tasks such as travelling or opening a bank account.

Until minor reforms were announced in May, male guardians even had to approve women’s requests to visit the doctor.

Saudi Arabia was the last country to ban women from driving until King Salman ordered the government on Tuesday to issue women with licences. [The Times (£)] Read more

For Caliph and Country: Exploring How British Jihadis Join a Global Movement

For more than 30 years, British jihadis have been fighting under the banner of an extreme Islamist ideology in conflicts from Algeria to the Philippines.

For half of that time, the streets of the UK have been seen as a legitimate target, as witnessed most recently in both London and Manchester. Ideologues made their home in Britain, having been rejected from Muslim-majority countries because the ideas they expounded were considered dangerous. From the UK, they influenced many. In the last five years, the conflict in Syria alone has attracted over 800 British fighters.

Their ideology justifies the use of violent jihad to achieve its aims. Its proponents believe in imposing their interpretation of Islam on others as state law, with no tolerance for alternatives. They believe in brutally punishing apostates and subjugating women. It is Muslims who make up the majority of their victims. [Tony Blair Institute] Read more

27 September 2017

Saudi Arabia driving ban on women to be lifted

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has issued a decree allowing women to drive for the first time, to the joy of activists.

The Gulf kingdom is the only country in the world that bans women from driving.

Until now, only men were allowed licences and women who drove in public risked being arrested and fined.

Praise for the move has been pouring in from inside Saudi Arabia, as well as around the world. US President Donald Trump said it was a "positive step" towards promoting women's rights.

Campaigner Sahar Nassif told the BBC from Jeddah that she was "very, very excited - jumping up and down and laughing".

"I'm going to buy my dream car, a convertible Mustang, and it's going to be black and yellow!" [BBC] Read more

Westerners: Guilty of Reading the News

In August, the polling company YouGov conducted an opinion survey among 2,000 members of the British public. The poll, carried out in partnership with Arab News, the Saudi paper owned by a member of the Saudi royal family, was published September 25.

As might be expected from such a publication, the questions asked of the British public, and the answers received, suited a particular line of argument: the survey evidently sought to find evidence of "Islamophobic" attitudes.

It duly found that 41% of the British public polled said that Arab immigrants and refugees had not added anything to society and 55% agreed in principle with the profiling of Arabs for security reasons. The Arab News/YouGov poll also found that 72% of the British public think that "Islamophobia" is getting worse in the UK.

Alongside this report came the surprising finding that a similar number of British people (7 in 10) believe that "the rise in Islamophobic comments by politicians and others are fuelling hate crime." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

26 September 2017

Parents outraged after New Addington primary school proposes only serving halal meat

A school in New Addington has left parents outraged after it proposed only serving halal meat in the canteen.

Wolsey Infant and Junior Academy, on King Henry's Drive, asked parents yesterday (Monday, September 25) via a newsletter whether they approved of the change.

A petition opposing the proposal has since been created online and has so far been signed by more than 70 people.

Debbie Crozier, 38, who lives on Parkway, has a nine-year-old daughter who goes to the school and told the Advertiser eating halal meat should be optional.

She said: “The newsletter said they are looking at serving halal in the canteen and that it will only be halal meat served. It wouldn’t be an option and it would be halal meat only. I don’t agree with that.

“If they want to accommodate for other religions then that’s fine but it should be at least optional. Our children shouldn’t be forced to eat halal meat.

“I have no issues with it being an option on the menu but I don’t see why my children, along with many other children, should be forced to eat halal meat.

“It’s a choice and unfortunately they have taken that choice away from us and that is unfair.” [Croydon Advertiser] Read more

Swiss parliament will not enforce handshakes in school

The Swiss parliament has rejected a motion demanding that students in Swiss schools be required to shake their teacher’s hand, regardless of religious reservations.

The proposal, put forward by Sandra Sollberger from the conservative Swiss People’s Party, was a direct reaction to the 2016 debate surrounding two Muslim students in canton Basel Country, who refused to shake their female teacher’s hand due to their faith.

On Tuesday, echoing the debate that spread across and outside Switzerland at the time, Sollberger described the students’ refusal as a lack of respect towards women, and as proof that they had no wish whatsoever to integrate Swiss cultural habits.

The motion was defeated by 123 votes to 57 – a refusal that should bring the affair to an end at national level. [swissinfo.ch] Read more

'Compulsory hijab' uniform policy at two Bradford schools criticised

CHILDREN should not be “forced” to wear the hijab as part of their school uniform, Bradford Council for Mosques has said after a report stated that the policy was being adopted in more than two in five Islamic schools.

The National Secular Society (NSS) found that girls in dozens of schools in England were being made to wear the garment, including two in Bradford, Feversham College in Undercliffe and Olive Secondary in Barkerend.

Both schools state on their websites that girls should wear the hijab or a headscarf as part of their official uniform policy.

NSS research found that out of 142 Islamic schools that accepted girls, 59, or 42 per cent, had uniform policies that suggested a headscarf or another form of hijab was compulsory. This included eight state-funded schools and 27 primary schools, three of which are state-funded.

Eighteen schools, 13 of which are state-funded, state in their online uniform policy that the hijab is optional. [Telegraph & Argus] Read more

Saudi Arabian authorities ‘still tolerate religious hate speech’, report finds

The Saudi Arabian government is too tolerant of hate speech and even incitement directed at minority groups in the Kingdom, a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) has found.

Despite recent efforts at reform and the condemnation of attacks made on Shia citizens, state-affiliated clerics and government agencies are using language which is derogatory towards the country’s Shia and Sufi minorities and non-Muslims, the watchdog said on Tuesday. Sometimes the language reaches the level of hate speech and even incitement to violence, the New York-based organisation said.

The report - titled “They Are Not Our Brothers: Hate Speech by Saudi Officials” - also found that public school textbooks contain language that “that discriminates against other forms of worship”, and Shia citizens face discrimination in the legal system. [The Independent] Read more

Danish integration minister praises infamous Mohammed cartoon

Denmark’s integration minister, Inger Støjberg, took to Facebook on Tuesday to praise the Mohammed cartoons that a dozen years ago plunged her country into its most severe international crisis ever.

Støjberg shared a screenshot of her iPad background displaying cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s drawing of the prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb in his turban. She did so in response to the decision by Skovgaard Museum in Viborg to not display the 12 caricatures of Mohammed published by Jyllands-Posten newspaper as part of an exhibition on blasphemy.

The integration minister said that the drawings, particularly the one by Westergaard that has led to attempts on his life, “helped to define Denmark as the free society that we are”.

“They show that we are a free country where opinions are challenged and where you can say whatever you’d like and criticize whomever you’d like,” Støjberg wrote in her Facebook post. [The Local] Read more

Danish minister republishes controversial Prophet cartoon on Facebook

Denmark’s immigration minister on Tuesday posted a screenshot of her iPad showing a drawing of the Prophet Mohammad on Facebook, one of the satirical cartoons that caused outrage among Muslims around the world more than a decade ago.

The Facebook post comes as a reaction to a decision by the Skovgaard Museum in Viborg, Denmark, not to include the drawing in a new exhibition about blasphemy since the Reformation.

“It is the museum’s own choice and they have their full right to do it, but I think it’s a shame,” said Inger Stojberg, minister for immigration and integration, in her Facebook post.

The Facebook post is accompanied by a screen shot of the minister’s iPad background screen, which shows a cartoon of a bearded man with a bomb in his turban.

Stojberg said in the post she uses the cartoon as her background screen because it reminds her that Denmark is a country with freedom of speech, which includes the right to criticise religions. [Reuters] Read more

American-born Muslims more likely than Muslim immigrants to see negatives in U.S. society

While Muslims born in the United States and their immigrant counterparts share a pride in being American, U.S.-born Muslims are less likely than immigrants to feel comfortable with their place in broader American society.

Muslim immigrants and those born in the U.S. both overwhelmingly express pride in their national identity. About nine-in-ten U.S.-born (90%) and foreign-born (93%) Muslims say they are proud to be American, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey.

Like the larger American public, majorities of both U.S.-born Muslims and Muslim American immigrants say they believe people who want to get ahead can do so with hard work (65% and 73% respectively). Roughly six-in-ten of all Americans (62%) share this belief.

However, U.S.-born Muslim Americans are less likely than immigrants to perceive positive feelings from their fellow Americans. Indeed, just three-in-ten U.S.-born Muslims say the American people are friendly toward Muslim Americans, compared to 73% of immigrants who feel this way. [Pew Research Center] Read more

25 September 2017

It is time to stop cruel animal slaughter in the name of religion

.... The men of the family dragged a bleating sheep into the courtyard of the house and ritually slit its throat. When it had bled to death _ a process that can take up to six minutes – it was butchered and the meat cooked for a celebratory meal. You can probably guess she did not enjoy the feast.

Scenes like this were played out across the Muslim world at the beginning of this month – and possibly they were played out closer to home too. Last year police discovered that 80 sheep were ritually slaughtered for Eid al-Adha in a field in the Austrian Alps.

What would happen to me – or you for that matter – if we dragged a lamb into the garden and, with a sharp knife, hacked through the skin, sinews, arteries of its throat and then left it to bleed to death?

The chances are that we would go to prison for animal cruelty. British law is quite strict about this.

The animals we eat must be stunned before they are killed, in an attempt to minimise their pain, and the law even stipulates the methods used for stunning. [DevonLive] Read more

The morality of the faith and faithless

Women and equality rights campaigners nervously await the High Court judgement in the gender segregation case: Ofsted v the Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham. Firmly opening up Parveen’s (Pandora’s) faith and education box again, I predict these types of cases will increase. Educational environments, primary right through to university campuses, are a key battleground for Islamist propaganda.

Conversations revert back and forth, in the hope of the faith and faithless finding common ground. The most obvious manifestation of dysfunctionality — complete gender segregation — masked multiple levels of educational and social failings, resulting in the school being taken over by Ofsted, vis-à-vis an academy chain; the equivalent of product recall in the education sector.

I wrote and coordinated a letter, co-signed by brilliant women of Muslim heritage, marking our objections to an increasing malignant influence of religious doctrine in education.

Young minds are fertile soil and architects of terror want to turn cerebral green belt into polluted brown fields. We received the inevitable backlash. The usual platitudes of, “It is an attack on Muslims” to, “You are making things up” and even, “You are vilifying us (Muslims) all”. [Sedaa.org] Read more

24 September 2017

State-funded schools ‘force’ girls to wear hijab

Girls as young as four are being “forced to wear the hijab” as part of approved school uniform in state-funded Islamic schools, campaigners have told ministers.

According to research by the National Secular Society, the hijab appears to be compulsory in eight state-funded Islamic schools in England, including three primary schools.

A further 51 private Islamic schools of the 176 surveyed by the society also require the headscarf to be worn by female pupils. Eighteen schools said wearing the head covering was optional. [The Times (£)] Read more

55% of Brits support racial profiling of Muslims: Arab News/YouGov poll

The majority of Britons agree with racial profiling of Arabs and Muslims, and 69 percent think the UK should take in fewer refugees from Syria and Iraq, an Arab News/YouGov poll has found.

The wide-ranging poll of 2,142 adults found that UK residents have strong feelings about key Middle East issues — including the fight against Daesh and war in Iraq — but 81 percent admitted to knowing little or nothing about the Arab world.

The results of the “UK attitudes toward the Arab world” survey are published today in Arab News and are being unveiled at a media event held in London.

One of the main findings of the poll, which was conducted in conjunction with the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), was that 55 percent of Brits agree with racial profiling against Arabs and Muslims for security reasons.

The “UK attitudes toward the Arab world” poll, which was conducted in mid-August, illustrates a disparity in UK public opinion on the Arab world.

Seven in 10 believe the UK should take in fewer refugees from Syria and Iraq, rising to 91 percent among those who voted for the UK to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. More than six in 10 of the respondents feel that Arabs who migrated to the UK and Europe have failed to integrate in Western societies. [Arab News] Read more

23 September 2017

Putting young girls in hijabs is not Islamic teaching

The difficult question of the relationship between faith and state has reared its uncovered head — Muslim women are leading a campaign to ban the rise of young children wearing hijabs in state-funded primary schools.

As the author of an open letter calling on Ofsted and the government to take action, I fear for our children’s futures. Education is key: to challenge and critique, to expose minds to thoughts, actions and ideas they might otherwise not be exposed to. This journey into the taboo-laden subject of gender rights has upset some white liberals and ultra-Islamic conservatives. [The Times (£)] Read more

22 September 2017

Danish Prime Minister Warns of the Emergence of Muslim Parallel Societies, No-Go Zones

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has warned that his country may be seeing a rise of Muslim “parallel societies” and no-go zones and has promised to take steps against them.

The Danish prime minister said that the problem has become so prevalent in Denmark that he is considering state intervention in some areas. The move is unusual for Denmark which rarely ever sees the government interfere in the operation of schools or set specific rules for housing estates, Jyllands-Posten reports.

The move is doubly unusual for Europe, where the normal approach of establishment politicians is to deny the existence of no-go zones altogether. The comments by Løkke Rasmussen seem to suggest a radical break from his fellow Western European leaders in that regard.

“It’s a matter of being realistic about the situation,” Rasmussen said, “and there are areas where there is already a different set of rules. Where the gangs are in control and the police can not work. I can not sit and passively let it happen.”

“We have tried everything possible, but we just could not solve the problem,” Rasmussen said and called on the Danish parliament to “engage us in a different and more robust way”. [Breitbart London] Read more

Lancashire schools serving non-stunned halal meat

Christian schools are serving pupils halal meat from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter.

The schools could be serving the meat to any pupil, not just to Muslims, and may be failing to inform parents of what they are doing, according to Geoff Driver, the Conservative leader of Lancashire county council.

He said that the council should ban meat from non-stunned animals and described cutting an animal’s throat without first making it insensible to pain as abhorrent. His proposal will be put to the council on October 26. [The Times (£)] Read more

Austria burqa ban: Government warns Muslim women to show faces in public or be fined

The Austrian government has issued posters and leaflets threatening Muslim women with fines for wearing face veils ahead of the introduction of a controversial ban.

The authorities launched the publicity drive to raise awareness of the legislation outlawing niqabs and burqas, which will come into force on 1 October.

Under the new "integration" policy, anyone wearing clothes that obscure their face in public can be fined €150 (£132) and must remove the offending garment "on the spot" if ordered by police. Those who refuse can be taken to a police station.

Austria's parliament approved the ban in May despite protests from Muslim groups and opposition from lawyers and the country's own president. The Anti-Face-Veiling Act will prohibit face coverings in all public places and buildings, including courts, schools, and transport. [The Independent] Read more

21 September 2017

Jail for man who wed Victorian 14-year-old

A man who married a 14-year-old girl in an Islamic ceremony in Melbourne stole her childhood, says the judge who has sent the groom to prison.

But Mohammad Shakir, who shook and sobbed during his sentencing on Thursday, will spend less than a fortnight more behind bars due to time already served.

County Court Judge Lisa Hannan was satisfied Shakir, 35, knew the girl was 15 or even younger when they wed at the Noble Park mosque in September, 2016.

"What you did was legally wrong and morally indefensible," the judge told him.

Shakir pleaded guilty to marrying an underage person, a charge attracting up to five years' jail.

The girl's mother, who has not been charged, played a supporting role, breaching her moral obligation to her daughter and flagrantly flouting the law, Judge Hannan said. [AAP] Read more

London Hospital Canteen Only Serves Halal Meat

Visitors to the canteen of a major London hospital have been left with no choice but to eat halal food, a decision apparently taken despite the Muslim population of the local area being a small minority.

Recent menu options at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, South East London, have included “halal shepherd’s pie” and “halal jerk chicken legs”.

A spokesman for the National Health Service (NHS) hospital told Breitbart London that a private contractor was responsible for the restaurant, and “as the food in the restaurant is freshly prepared on site it is halal so that it caters for all visitors, staff, and patients who visit the restaurant”.

The only other options for visitors and customers who might disagree with halal for animal welfare or other reasons are vegetarian meals.

According to the 2011 census, just 6.8 per cent of people in the Royal Borough of Greenwich where the hospital is located are Muslim. Some 52.9 per cent self-reported as Christian. [Breitbart London] Read more

Dutch Muslims don’t feel as ‘at home’ as other EU Muslims

Dutch Muslims are among the European Muslims with the lowest level of attachment to the country they are living in, a major survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows.

The vast majority of Muslims in the EU are integrated in the countries they live in and have a high level of trust in democratic institutions despite experiencing widespread discrimination and harassment, the FRA writes.

But compared to the FRA’s first survey among EU Muslims from 2008 the percentage of Muslims who said they experienced discrimination on religious grounds in the last five years has gone up from 10% to 17%. In the Netherlands 30% of Muslims say they experienced discrimination because of their religion.

‘The figures are alarming although not every Muslim who experiences discrimination will be more open to extremism. But there is a danger they no longer feel part of society,’ FRA spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing told the Volkskrant. According to Roscam Abbing, the fact that the survey took place between October 2015 and July 2016, at a time when IS staged a number of attacks and populist parties gained in popularity, may have intensified the experience of being discriminated against. [DutchNews] Read more

Two in five European Muslims have felt discriminated against – survey

Discrimination against Europe’s Muslims is increasing, with two in five (40%) saying they have faced unfair treatment when job- or house-hunting or accessing public services such as education or healthcare, according to the first report of its kind in a decade.

Nearly 30% of respondents in a survey said they had been insulted or called names and 2% had been physically assaulted in the previous 12 months.

The survey was carried out in late 2015 and early 2016 by the EU’s fundamental rights agency and involved 10,500 Muslims in 15 countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Most of those who had been treated unfairly in the five years before the survey said they felt it was because of their name, skin colour or appearance. About 17% said they felt discriminated against directly because of their religious belief – a seven-point increase on the previous survey, in 2008. [The Guardian] Read more

EU survey finds Muslims willing to embrace non-Muslims

A survey of Muslims in 15 European Union countries finds most are willing to embrace non-Muslims, but they often feel rebuffed by the majority populations of the places they live.

The findings released Thursday by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reflect the views of 10,527 Muslim immigrants and children of immigrants who were interviewed between October 2015 and July 2016.

Nine out of 10 of those surveyed reported having non-Muslim friends and 92 percent said they tended to feel comfortable with neighbors of a different religious background.

But more than half — 53 percent — said they had felt discriminated against when they looked for housing because of their names. On the employment front, 35 percent of the women who had looked for work felt discriminated against because of their clothing, compared to 4 percent for men.

The people surveyed were over age 16 and had been living for at least a year in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

Other findings from the survey included:

— Nearly half of the respondents did not find interfaith marriage objectionable, with 48 percent reporting they would feel "totally comfortable" with a family member marrying a non-Muslim. [Associated Press] Read more

School abandons uniform headscarf plan

PLANS to introduce a uniform headscarf at a Burnley school have been abandoned.

Last term bosses at Sir John Thursby Community College announced a uniform covering after concerns were raised that headscarves were not being worn correctly.

But hundreds of people signed a petition protesting against the move saying the new headscarves were uncomfortable, not sufficiently modest and breached health and safety.

.... “We are pleased to support those young people who have made the choice to wear a headscarf for religious reasons, and who do so in a manner which ensures their safety, whilst meeting the college uniform requirements.”

Rules require headscarves to be black without tassels or adornments, worn without pins and so that ties are clearly displayed.

Dr Davies added: “As with any other breach of college uniform, parents will be informed of their child’s failure to comply with uniform rules on a regular basis.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] It was always going to be the outcome, god forbid and rules that go against the muslims, just as the halal slaughter issue, the sad fact is that the followers of the draconian ideology will always get their way, this country of ours is going down the proverbial toilet, and I would just like to say a massive thank you to our old queenie, who is supposed to be the protector of the faith, great job maj, great job!

[NEXT] More climbdowns and cowardice from those with power. The Muslims don't do compromise. Why do we keep giving in to them?

[NEXT] Then my children want and shall .... wear STONE ISLAND jumpers and caps (with the school badge displayed of course) .. It's my right for me to make my children look cool.

[NEXT] We are pleased to support those young people who have made the choice to wear a headscarf for religious reasons,

no its not when will these morons stop saying it is ????? its a symbol of female humiliation in puberty; not surprised the invisible local councillor khan spouts her usual drivel.

[NEXT] yet again we bend over backwards for these people if you dont like the rules in this country then leave.

[NEXT] So that opens the door to the pupils wearing trainers and tracksuits. Or will they be discriminated against. They can just say its in the book of fairy-tales according to chav. [Lancashire Telegraph] Read more

20 September 2017

Vic child-bride case leaves groom sobbing

A man who married a 14-year-old girl in Melbourne was told by authorities just a day before the ceremony that it was illegal for her to wed.

Mohammad Shakir, 35, repeatedly sobbed in the County Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to marrying an underage person.

It is the first such prosecution in Australia and carries a maximum five years' jail.

Prosecutor Krista Breckweg said Shakir married the schoolgirl in an Islamic ceremony at a suburban Noble Park mosque in September 2016, giving her gold valued at $1480 as a dowry.

He knew the girl's age and was warned by child protection authorities against the wedding the day before the ceremony, Ms Breckweg said.

Child protection authorities even attended the girl's home and school to warn Shakir, the girl and the girl's mother.

Former Imam Ibrahim Omerdic, who officiated the ceremony, was sentenced in June to two months' prison for his role but was immediately released on a two-year bond. He is seeking a judicial review in the Supreme Court. [Australian Associated Press] Read more

Muslim Party ‘Taken over by Islamists’ Rejected by Swedish Election Agency

.... “Our goal is to make the situation of people in Sweden better, not to introduce Shariah law,” he said.

After the rejection, Hosseini claimed the party would change to be more inclusive of Swedes from any background, rather than just Muslims and immigrants. “In the past, we wrote that we would be a party for ‘everyone from the eastern world’, now we want to be a party for everyone in Sweden,” he said noting that the name would not change.

“The founders of the party are Muslims, I can not deny that, but we shall be a secular party. If the Swedes want a different name on the party then we can vote on it,” he added.

The party is the latest attempt by Muslims to form their own political parties in Europe. In the Netherlands, the Turkish-Muslim party “Denk” won three seats in the national elections earlier this year gaining 2.1 per cent of the vote. [Breitbart London] Read more

19 September 2017

St Gallen backs 'burqa ban' proposal

The cantonal parliament of St Gallen on Monday voted to adopt a bill that would ban people from covering their face in public, including women wearing the burqa.

The bill was developed by a commission from a motion proposed by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and backed by 59 to 54 votes, news agency ATS reported.

The proposal bans anyone from covering their face in public if they threaten public security or religious and social peace.

That could include women wearing the burqa and people covering their faces during demonstrations or protests or for criminal intent.

Despite parliament’s support, the ban is not backed by the cantonal government executive, which wants a softer law requiring anyone who does cover their face to reveal it to the authorities if requested. [The Local] Read more

Girl loses appeal after school bars her from wearing hijab

A Somali girl who was barred from wearing a hijab at a Prague secondary school has lost an appeal in which she was seeking an apology and CZK 60,000 in compensation from the institution. Prague’s Municipal Court on Tuesday confirmed a previous ruling under which the girl’s allegation of discrimination was dismissed.

The plaintiff had argued that wearing the veil was an expression of her religious conviction. However, a Municipal Court judge said that the school, which prepares students for a career in medicine, had to remain a “neutral environment”. [Radio Prague] Read more

Tunisia Leads The Muslim World On Women’s Rights

‘They said that we’re not Muslim,’ said Malek Kadri, a young engineer living in Tunis.

She’s talking about the government’s proposition to allow women to receive equal inheritance under the law as men. According to Islamic Juriprudence, women should only be able to receive half the inheritance of their brothers.

In a speech on National Women’s Day, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi directly challenged Islamic law and norms when he called to change inheritance laws so that women can inherit equally to men.

The move to give women equal rights to inherit as men has drawn criticism from neighboring Muslim countries who claimed that giving women the same right to inheritance as men, would be against Islam.

Tunisia has long been hailed as one of the more free and open minded societies in the Muslim world. I first travelled to Tunisia several years ago to learn more about the impact of the Arab Spring on women. I met with women in cafes, shops and universities and found many strong and wonderful women seeking degrees in engineering and medicine. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

18 September 2017

Committee begins racism study prompted by anti-Islamophobia motion: 'I have never seen such fomented anger'

Members of Parliament of different political stripes have been getting an earful about a controversial anti-Islamophobia motion passed last spring.

On Monday, the House of Commons heritage committee began a study of racism and religious discrimination required by M-103, a motion whose sponsor, Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, received death threats and hate mail after she tabled it in December 2016.

She’s not the only MP who’s been hearing about it. A number of those present remarked that they’ve been contacted repeatedly about the issue.

Winnipeg Liberal MP Dan Vandal said people have complained to his office over fears about Sharia law. Arif Virani, a Liberal MP in Toronto, said constituents have been asking whether the government is chilling their ability to raise legitimate questions about faith. [National Post] Read more

Suffragettes say M-103 supports Sharia law

.... The Suffragettes have said M-103 supports Sharia (Islamic) law and hurts freedom of speech.

M-103 is not a bill or a law, but a private member's, non-binding motion from Mississauga-Erin Mills Liberal MP Iqra Khalid. In itself it cannot become a law, although it can lead to the development of a bill which could eventually become a law.

M-103 passed by a 201-91 vote in the House of Commons on March 23, 2017; it was a free vote, meaning MPs did not have to follow the party line. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was absent from Parliament that day.

This vote followed a series of protests and counter-protests across Canada about whether Khalid's motion would limit free speech or single out Islam for special treatment in Canadian law. [Barrie Examiner] Read more

After poll boost, German populists AfD attack Islam

Germany's right-wing populist AfD party ramped up attacks Monday against immigration and Islam as its poll ratings jumped in the final stretch of election campaigning, while Chancellor Angela Merkel's party dipped.

The Muslim religion "does not belong in Germany", said a top candidate of Alternative for Germany, Alexander Gauland, who argued that its "political doctrine is not compatible with a free country".

"Islamist rhetoric and violence and terror have roots in the Koran and in the teachings of Islam," he told reporters.

Gauland and the other top AfD candidate, Alice Weidel, have stirred controversy before Sunday's general election. [AFP] Read more

Turkey's new school year: Jihad in, evolution out

Turkey's schools have begun the new academic year with a controversial curriculum that leaves out the theory of evolution and brings in the concept of jihad.

For Turkey's Islamist-rooted government, the idea is for a new "education of values".

Critics have denounced new textbooks as "sexist" and "anti-scientific", and complain of a major blow to secular education.

"By embedding a jihadist education of values, they try to plague the brains of our little children, with the same understanding that transforms the Middle East into a bloodbath," said Bulent Tezcan of the secular, opposition CHP party.

But the government has accused the opposition of creating black propaganda and trying to polarise Turkey ahead of elections in 2019.

"When we say values, they understand something else. We are proud of our conservative-democrat stand, but we don't want everyone to be like us," says Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz.wan [BBC] Read more

17 September 2017

Lancashire schools ‘Halal’ row is back on the menu

THE prospect of thousands of Muslim children in East Lancashire boycotting meat in school meals is back on the agenda after a new row over halal.

The Lancashire County Council Cabinet on Thursday decided to re-open the question of whether it should use meat from animals which had not been stunned before slaughter.

It revives a row from 2012 when the authority banned all animal flesh from its 600 schools where pre-stunning has not been used.

Then the Lancashire Council of Mosques told Muslim families to boycott all such ‘halal’ meat as it did not meet their interpretation of Islamic law.

Thousands of Muslim children at 45 county council schools in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale, as well as five in Blackburn with Darwen borough supplied through the authority’s central catering unit, refused to eat meals containing the meat. [This is Lancashire] Read more

Islamist extremist tells university students ex-Muslims should be KILLED under Sharia law during debate with atheist who feared for his safety

An Islamist extremist group leader told a university crowd ex-Muslims should be killed under Sharia law during a debate with an atheist who feared for his safety.

Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar clarified his position on apostates who leave Islam at the University of Sydney.

His atheist opponent Dr John Perkins, who is also Secular Party of Australia president, diverted from the debate topic about the existence of God to ask Mr Badar about his position on killing ex-Muslims.

'I would like to again ask Uthman about the killing of apostates and whether he does support it or whether he does renounce it?,' Dr Perkins said.

He had told Daily Mail Australia before the debate he feared for his safety and had needed security during a previous debate with Mr Badar.

Rather than renounce his support for killing ex-Muslims, Mr Badar used weasel words at the University of Sydney debate to confirm his view they should be given the death penalty where Sharia law applied. [Daily Mail] Read more

16 September 2017

Christian man sentenced to death in Pakistan over 'blasphemous' WhatsApp message sent to friend

A Christian man has been sentenced to death in Pakistan for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, his lawyer has said.

Nadeem James, 35, was said to have committed blasphemy in a poem he sent to a Muslim friend on the WhatsApp messaging service.

He was arrested in July last year after going on the run following the accusation of blasphemy, which human rights groups say is sometimes used in the country to settle personal scores and target minorities.

Defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel told the AFP news agency that in this case there had been a dispute between his client and the friend over a woman.

“Mr James was handed a death sentence by the court on Thursday on blasphemy charges,” he said.

“My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend, who was annoyed over Mr James’ affair with a Muslim girl.”

The verdict was passed by a court in the town of Gujrat in eastern Pakistan. [The Independent] Read more

How Women are Treated by Islam

.... Perhaps that influence is best summed up in the following remarks made by Badrul Hussain, a member of the Newcastle grooming gang, when speaking to a female inspector on the local Metro service who asked to see his ticket:

"All white women are only good for one thing, for men like me to f*** and use as trash, that is all women like you are worth."

It is, however, not just white (that is, non-Muslim) women whom Muslim men hold in such contempt. This abuse starts at home in Islamic countries in the treatment of Muslim women. Its roots lie in aspects of Islamic law and doctrine that are retained in the 21st century despite having been formulated in the 7th century and later.

These include polygamy for men, the permission for men to buy and sell women as sex slaves/concubines, divorce laws that discriminate against women, the insistence that women must cover their bodies and even faces, the discriminatory rules for a woman's inheritance ("The male takes a share equal to that of two females"), the high and escalating practice of honour killings in Muslim societies, including communities in the West (with 58% carried out because young women were "too Western"), the extreme incidence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Muslim countries and Western Muslim communities, the astonishing level of child marriage (as permitted by shari'a law), and legislation that blames and punishes women for the "crime" of being raped.

Beyond all this, actual attitudes revealed in regular events show a more immediate impact on women's lives. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Geert Wilders: Islam is not a Religion - De Telegraaf interview

.... "We live in a free country. But in my opinion Islam is not a religion. It is a totalitarian, dangerous and violent ideology, dressed up as a religion. People are allowed to think whatever they like, but I also have the right to say that Islam should not be included in the constitutional freedoms.

Can a Muslim not just be moderate?

"According to the Quran that is not possible. I personally believe there are extremist people and moderate people. But I do not believe in two kinds of Islam. There is only one. One that is impossible to reform. And even if it would be the case, we can not afford to wait for another 150 or 300 years. I think it will never happen. You get your head chopped off should you wish to interpret Islam."

What do you think should happen?

"Recognize the problem. Dare to say that Islam does not integrate. Define Islam as a violent totalitarian undemocratic thing. And stop immigration from Islamic countries. During cabinet Rutte II, a 100,000 Muslims.were added. These are not all terrorists or bad people, but it is 100,000 times more Islam entering the Netherlands." [The Iconoclast] Read more

‘Fear is the greatest factor’: Survey finds Canadians worry about rise of racism

In a new survey, 72 per cent of respondents believed there has been an increasing climate of hatred and fear towards Muslims in Canada.

A survey suggests Canadians have a generally positive impression of Muslims but that view doesn’t apply to some of the religion’s leadership and beliefs.

The poll, commissioned by Think for Actions and Insights Matter, found 78 per cent of Canadians agreed Muslims should adopt Canadian customs and values but maintain their religious and cultural practices. Some 88 per cent of those surveyed said Muslims should be treated no differently than any other Canadian.

But 72 per cent of respondents also believed there has been an increasing climate of hatred and fear towards Muslims in Canada and that it will get worse.

Results of the poll — an online survey of 1,048 Canadians done from March 13 to Aug. 12 — were released Saturday at The Unity Conference in Calgary on Islamophobia, discrimination and systemic racism. [Toronto Star] Read more

15 September 2017

Christian man in Lahore sentenced to death over blasphemous WhatsApp text

A Christian man in Lahore has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after he sent a Muslim friend a poem on WhatsApp that insulted Islam, a lawyer said Friday.

The accused was charged in July last year after his friend, Yasir Bashir, complained to police that he received a poem on the messaging app that was derogatory toward the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and other holy figures.

The accused “was handed a death sentence by the court on Thursday on blasphemy charges,” defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel told AFP, alleging that his client was been framed by Bashir.

“My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend who was annoyed over his [the accused's] affair with a Muslim girl,” Wakeel said. [Dawn.Com] Read more

Tunisia lifts decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men

In a respite to the Muslim women living in Tunisia, the government on Thursday (14 September) announced the lifting of a decades-old ban prohibiting them from marrying non-Muslim men without mandatory conversion to Islam.

The move was, however, met with strong objection from Muslim clerics.

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President Beji Caid Essebsi had reportedly called for the government to bring in the change to ensure equal rights to women in choosing their life partners. He argued that the change will be in accordance to the country's new constitution that came into force in 2014.

Under the existing rules, Muslim men in Tunisia were allowed to marry women from outside the religion without the woman having to undergo any conversion, but the same right did not apply to Muslim Tunisian women when they married non-Muslim men. [International Business Times] Read more

14 September 2017

Juncker backs Muslim animal slaughter despite personal reservations

.... In both the Muslim and Jewish faiths, religious texts set out traditional methods of slaughter in which a knife is used to kill the animal. Opponents of the practice believe that animals should be stunned beforehand.

Juncker said that following a debate last year in Belgium, he understood that structures would be put in place to allow people to exercise their faith.

While stressing that animal welfare was “extremely important” to him, he said European provisions allowing for ritual slaughter had to be accepted.

“I’m not a fan of this but I think we have to respect the traditions of religious communities,” he explained.

When asked whether he would launch infringement proceedings against countries not allowing ritual slaughter, Juncker said he had never thought about it but would look into the issue. [Euronews] Read more

Hanson calls for plebiscite to ban burqa

Pauline Hanson has called for a plebiscite on whether to ban the burqa, labelling Australia "pathetic" for giving up its values to allow the Muslim garment.

The Senate is debating a private bill from crossbencher Jacqui Lambie on Thursday to ban full-face coverings in commonwealth jurisdictions such as airports, as well as the ACT and Northern Territory.

"Are we that pathetic as a nation that we're giving up our values and who we truly are because we're worried about hurting someone's feelings?" Senator Hanson told parliament.

The One Nation leader, who caused controversy in August by wearing a burqa into the Senate chamber, described the burqa as offensive.

She insisted it had been banned in many countries, including Muslim countries, and Australia needed to change its ways before it became a "basket case".

"If you're quite happy to have a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, then I suggest having a plebiscite and let the people have a say at the next election on whether they want full-face coverings in this country, if you haven't got the guts to do it here," she said. [news.com.au] Read more

Liberals are wrongly supporting a Muslim victimhood narrative

.... The inflated victimhood narrative is common. Some Muslims are convinced they face systemic hatred even here in Canada, that they are barred from practicing their faith, that they face social discrimination and censure in the media. To the radicals, revenge is a justified response.

Motion M103, introduced by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, is a product of the victimhood narrative. It has been supported by most orthodox Muslim organizations as well as the left. In fairness, the more progressive Canadian Muslim groups have opposed it vehemently.

The Rohingya in Myanmar clearly suffer violent persecution, and it could be claimed that Muslims in countries like France live on the edges of society. But Canada?

Our laws protect all citizens from racial, ethnic and religious discrimination. These ideals are enshrined in our Charter Rights. Whenever minority groups face discrimination — and they do — they can seek redress in court. [Toronto Sun] Read more

13 September 2017

Switzerland moves a step closer to voting on nationwide burqa ban

.... And in March the Swiss senate quashed a draft bill on the subject – also lodged by Wobmann – after it was narrowly approved by the lower house.

In rejecting it, senators said there were so few people wearing burqas in Switzerland that there was no need to legislate for a problem that does not exist.

Speaking to the Tribune on Wednesday, Wobmann, who led the successful campaign against the building of minarets in Switzerland and in 2015 called for certain Muslim refugees to be banned from entering the country, said:-“Even if there are only a few cases today, there will be more in the future, that’s certain. It’s better to act too early than too late. We must send a strong signal against this symbol of oppression and radicalism.”

If the ban does make it to a public vote, it may be successful. A 2016 survey found that 70 percent of people were in favour of a nationwide ban. [The Local] Read more

Christian Convert Attacked in Migrant Populated Area for Wearing Cross

A 23-year-old man from Afghanistan was attacked near a train station in the German suburb of Neukölln allegedly because his attackers saw his Christian cross and were angry he had converted from Islam.

The local police said that the incident happened on Monday evening in the vicinity of the S-Bahn station, a light rail system used in many German cities. Valeska Jakubowski of the Berlin police said the man called them at around 10 pm reporting that two men had assaulted him because of the cross he was wearing, Die Welt reports.

“They asked him why he had changed his religion,” Jakubowski said. The man told authorities that one of the attackers tore the chain off him and threw it to the ground. The unidentified man then punched the Afghan in the face several times.

The second attacker then held the Christian by the arms as the first man took out a blade and cut him twice on the upper body with it. [Breitbart London] Read more

12 September 2017

Hostility towards Muslims on the rise in Switzerland

Hostility and discrimination towards Muslim people in Switzerland is on the rise, the Federal Commission against Racism (FCR) said on Monday during a conference at the University of Fribourg.

The conference, organized by Fribourg University, religion researchers at the University of Lucerne and the Swiss Centre for Islam and Society (SZIG), discussed the conclusions of the latest studies into the perception of Muslims in Switzerland.

According to organizers, hostility towards Muslims in Switzerland is as a direct result of the political discourse and media reporting around Islam which exaggerate certain aspects of the religion, reported news agencies.

This hostility “is fed by facts that have nothing to do with Muslims themselves but with international events,” said FCR president Martine Brunschwig Graf in interviews after the conference.

Federal interior minister Alain Berset, attending the conference, warned against lumping in Islam with terrorism and “holding Islam responsible for all the extremist acts committed in its name”, broadcaster RTS reported. [The Local] Read more

Disturbing reality of child marriage in Australia revealed

More than 50 girls as young as nine are being forced to marry older men in Australia, in exclusive documents obtained by 7 News.

Australian Federal Police documents can reveal the disturbing reality of child brides in Australia.

In just two years 57 children were reported at risk of being forced into marriage – all within the Sydney area.

Two children on the mid-north coast, two in the Murrumbidgee area, one in the Hunter and another in Illawarra were at risk, according to the documents.

Another document references an email with a girl saying she is being held against her will while a situation report details allegations of a forced marriage at the end of the school year and a human trafficking referral mentions a girl travelled out of Australia and was exploited.

Unfortunately, it’s at the airport where the trail runs cold for investigators when Australian girls are taken overseas and forced to marry. [Yahoo7 News] Read more

'Ban the burqa' campaigner claims there have been threats to kill his family

A man who was questioned by armed police after wearing Islamic dress in an Exeter department store has claimed that someone has threatened to kill his family since the incident.

Thomas Dunn was stopped under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act in Debenhams in July before being later released without charge when police discovered he was an anti-burqa campaigner.

However Dunn, who said he was campaigning against the wearing of the burqa, was seemingly oblivious to the fact he was actually wearing a niqab.

He now claims that he received a phone call at his home saying that someone would blow up his house and kill his family. Police are currently investigating the incident.

"When I first received the phone call I thought it was a wind up," said Mr Dunn.

"But then the caller said he knew where I lived and read out my home address.

"He said he would blow my flat up and kill my family - my wife is absolutely terrified and I have children too.

"What I do is totally legal and although I expect some response to my campaign, I don't expect this. [DevonLive]-Read more

British Muslims twice as likely to espouse anti-Semitic views, survey suggests

In a survey of 5,466 British adults, the prevalence of anti-Semitic views among Muslim respondents was two to four times higher than in any other segment of the population.

The results are part of a report titled “Anti-Semitism in contemporary Great Britain” that the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research published Monday based on face-to-face interviews and online questioners conducted earlier this year and in 2016 with help from the Community Security Trust, or CST.

“The prevalence of negativity towards Jews and Israel is, on average, twice as high among Muslims than the general population,” states the 85-page report, which includes data from interviews with 995 self-identified Muslims of varying degrees of observance, as well as 529 respondents from the far left and 355 from the far right.

Whereas nearly 80 percent of Christian respondents agreed with the statement that “a British Jew is just as British as any other British person,” only 61 percent of Muslims and 59 percent of the Muslims who described themselves as religious concurred. [JTA] Read more