12 August 2017

Muslim woman awarded $85,000 settlement after being forced to remove hijab

A California Muslim woman has been awarded $85,000 (£65,000) settlement after she was forced to remove her hijab.

In her lawsuit filed in 2016 against the city of Long Beach, Kirsty Powell said that a male police officer forcibly removed her headscarf in front of other male officers and inmates, telling her she was "not allowed to wear a hijab".

The African American was told that policemen were "allowed to touch women", and as a result she "suffered and continues to suffer extreme shame, humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress", the suit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on behalf of Powell stated.

It added that during her ordeal "she forced to sit in a cell feeling distraught, vulnerable and naked without her headscarf to everyone that passed".

"There really is no justification for taking off a person's religious headgear," Powell's attorney, Marwa Rifahie, said. [International Business Times] Read more

Majority of Muslim Asylum Seekers In Austria Want Jokes About Islam Banned

A new survey of Muslim migrants in Austria by the Danube University of Krems shows a distinct difference between typical Austrian values and those of incomers from places like Somalia and Chechnya, who hold far more religious views on society.

The study, released earlier this week, shows a vast difference in the attitudes of Muslim asylum seekers from mainstream opinion in the more secular Austrian society. The researchers interviewed 1,129 Muslims originally from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Chechnya, with 60 per cent believing jokes about Islam should be banned and a quarter saying Islam should influence Austrian law, Kronen Zeitung reports.

The interviewees’ attitudes also differed depending on their country of origin. 70 per cent of Somalians approved of banning jokes about Islam, followed by Afghanis and Chechens. Iranians tended to be less puritanical, with only 14 per cent agreeing that jokes should be banned. [Breitbart London] Read more

11 August 2017

Swiss charge Ethiopian imam with inciting violence

Swiss prosecutors have charged an Ethiopian imam with inciting violence and other offences, they said on Friday, alleging he called in a mosque sermon for followers to kill Muslims who did not pray in the community.

The step by prosecutors in the northern town of Winterthur comes amid heightened sensitivity to the risk of Islamist violence in Switzerland, whose spy agency warned about the threat in May.

Prosecutors did not name the imam, one of four people they said were linked to the local An'Nur mosque and who have been under investigation since November on suspicion of inciting criminal or violent acts.

"In his homily of Oct. 21, 2016, in the An'Nur Mosque, he is accused among other things of calling for expelling Muslims who do not pray in the community, and even burning them and killing them in their homes if they still refuse," the prosecutors said in a statement. [Reuters] Read more

10 August 2017

In Indonesia, Chinese Deity Is Covered in Sheet After Muslims Protest

A 100-foot statue depicting a Chinese deity was covered with an enormous sheet this past weekend in East Java Province, Indonesia, after Muslims threatened to tear the colossus down amid mounting ethnic and religious tensions across the country.

The Islamist campaign against the statue, a depiction of the third-century general Guan Yu, who is worshiped as a god in several Chinese religions, began online and soon spread to the gates of a Chinese Confucian temple in Tuban, near the Java Sea coast, where the figure was erected last month.

On social media, Muslims assailed the statue as an “uncivilized” affront to Islam and the island’s “home people,” and a mob gathered this week outside the East Java legislature in the city of Surabaya to demand its destruction.

Statues deemed un-Islamic have been destroyed or vandalized around Indonesia in recent years, and several Chinese temples have been set on fire. Covering the statue with a large white tarp was a stopgap measure proposed by the temple’s officials after a governmental religious body pushed them to find a solution. [The New York Times] Read more

A row has broken out in Malaysia over a primary school’s policy of providing separate drinking cups for Muslim and non-Muslim students.

Mujahid Yusof Rawa, above, vice-president of Amanah, an Islamic political party, described the practice as “unfortunate”, saying the drinking water dispenser presented a chance for Muslims and non-Muslims to share something – and there wasn’t anything wrong with that. Photos of the cups at the school – Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Puteri in Hulu Langat – have gone viral.

.... National schools are for all, regardless of race and religion. Chong, who is also MCA Youth chief, said he was awaiting the findings of a report by the Selangor Education Department.

Weighing in on the issue, G25 member Johan Arriffin said incidences like this made him fear where Islam was heading in the country. G25 is a group comprising former civil servants.

Things like this will only create divisions among Malaysians in the name of so-called religious practices. In fact, it shows how much we’ve lost our sense of what religious values actually mean — religious values like tolerance. [The Freethinker] Read more

Muslim leader Keysar Trad wants Australian men to be allowed multiple wives – but says gay marriage is wrong because people of the same gender 'should only be friends'

A Muslim leader wants Australian men to be allowed multiple wives and hopes the public will one day support his dream of Islamic marriage equality.

Keysar Trad says polygamy is actually a privilege reserved for women, even though only men are allowed multiple spouses under Islamic law.

'If public opinion was pushing for a change, that was consistent with my religion, I would not object to it,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Thursday.

'In my humble opinion, the advantage is not so much to the man.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 266 votes] I wish he'd go to a country more suited to his beliefs

[2ND 254] He thinks gay marriage is wrong, we think polygamy is wrong. Please find another country that shares the same views as you and leave.

[3RD 244] Book a one way ticket out of Australia.

[4TH 239] There [are] countries that accommodate those beliefs, no problem. Jump on a plane and go there mate.

[5TH 221] Get lost, Trad, hopefully in another country. This is Australia and every migrant will know it's laws. Don't like them then don't come. Tired of all this stuff. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

09 August 2017

Haras Ahmed and Prevent Watch: the facts

I wrote in the Sunday Telegraph in January last year about something called Prevent Watch, an organisation of Islamist activists linked to the terror-sympathising group Cage (famously supportive of “Jihadi John”) who promote inflammatory stories about the Government’s anti-terrorism policy, Prevent. I discovered that not only were many of the stories false or exaggerated, but that several of the people presented as ordinary victims in them were in fact activists in Prevent Watch.

Among these activists was a lady called Ifhat Smith, also known as Ifhat Shaheen or Ifhat Shaheen-Smith, who won copious newsprint and airtime with a claim that her schoolboy son had been “interrogated” and “treated as a criminal” because he had used the phrase “eco-terrorism” in class. It was, she told the BBC, the act of a “police state.” [Andrew Gilligan] Read more

Prevent scheme could be made compulsory, police lead says

.... Cole hit out at those criticising Prevent, such as former Met police superintendent Dal Babu, and those who said it was a cover for a spying programme on innocent people. He said: “This notion of Prevent as a toxic brand is simply incorrect, and is borne from misunderstanding. What I would like to hear more of is constructive dialogue about how we can all work together to stop innocent people being killed.

“On occasions it feels like people are sniping for the sake of it and that what they’re talking about doesn’t reflect the reality of local delivery of the voluntary safeguarding that I see going on all across the country.”

Police figures show that the numbers of referrals to Prevent concerning rightwing extremism doubled in the last year to about 15% of the total, while the bulk of referrals still concerned Islamist extremism. Other referrals were for domestic extremism, with motivations such as protecting animal rights.

Ch Supt David Smart, national coordinator for Prevent, said: “It is not necessarily about changing people’s beliefs. If you are angry about something, find a different way to express that without turning to violence. We are not saying you have to believe what I believe.” [The Guardian] Read more

Iranian children arrested for teaching Zumba and 'western' dance

Four boys and two girls have been arrested in Iran for teaching “western” dance moves including Zumba, a Colombian fitness routine, a Revolutionary Guards commander has said.

“The members of a network teaching and filming western dances have been identified and arrested,” Hamid Damghani, a commander in Shahroud, north-east Iran, was quoted by the news website Jamejam Online as saying.

“The team attracted boys and girls, taught them western dances and published their video clips on social media apps like Telegram and Instagram.

“They were arrested by the guards’ intelligence forces while teaching and creating video clips … as they sought to change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab.”

They were charged with dancing and failing to wear proper hijab – Islamic regulations that require women to wear headscarves and ban revealing clothing in public. [The Guardian] Read more

The Prevent strategy can help stop terrorism – if we use some common sense

Finally, a public servant who has the courage to defend a national strategy that has worked pretty well in keeping us all safe from indiscriminate terrorist attacks, and which is the envy of nations worldwide, many of whom are following the UK’s lead but remain years behind in practical experience.

I have been critical of the police recently, when they failed to stop the London Bridge terrorist ringleader, even after I and others had reported our serious concerns, almost a year before the atrocity.

But Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command, is quite right to point out that much criticism of the government’s anti-radicalisation Prevent scheme is based on ignorance or comes from extremist Islamist groups, for whom it is obviously in their interest to try to discredit and remove Prevent, since it targets ideologies, like theirs, which directly and indirectly incite and justify terrorist violence. [The Guardian] Read more

08 August 2017

Saudia Airlines warn passengers of strict dress code

Some may not be surprised to see a strict dress code on Saudi Arabian planes, since the country follows a conservative version of Sunni Islam, but others on social media think it has gone too far.

Known as one of the wealthiest nations in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia also has a reputation of restricting women's rights, in line with its interpretation of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism.

Details of the dress code featured on Saudia Airlines website show that the airline requires guests to dress in a way that does not 'cause offense or discomfort to other passengers'.

When the Saudi Makkah newspaper asked the former head of tourism and health, Ali Al Ghamdi, about the rules forbidding women from exposing limbs or wearing tight or transparent clothes he said they did not just apply to the one airline, but that many airlines around the world had a dress code at varying degrees. [BBC] Read more

Atheists in Malaysia should be hunted down, minister says

Atheists in Malaysia should be “hunted down” by authorities as there is no place for groups like this under the Federal Constitution, a minister said today.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the public should aid authorities in locating groups like the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic so that action could be taken.

“The (Federal Constitution) does not mention atheists. It goes against the Constitution and human rights.

“I suggest that we hunt them down vehemently and we ask for help to identify these groups,” he said in a press conference at Parliament today.

The Arau MP added that most of these Malaysians especially Muslims turn into atheists as they lack religious education.

“They actually don’t want to be atheists but it happens because of the lack of religious education. They are misled with a new school of thought,” Shahidan said. [The Malay Mail Online] Read more

07 August 2017

Luxembourg law foresees partial ban of face veils in public spaces

Luxembourg Justice Minister Félix Braz has presented a bill that would prohibit the use of face veils in public spaces.

Based on the Dutch model, which features a partial burqa ban, in Luxembourg, the use of a face veil would be banned in schools and educational establishments, hospitals, nursing homes and public institutions, as well as on public transportation.

The ban would apply to both visitors and employees.

According to the draft law, which would amend Article 563 of Luxembourg's criminal code, directors and managers of these institutions may temporarily suspend the ban.

The bill stipulates that a face veil would be allowed when used for a professional, sports, artistic or cultural reason.

In contrast to other European countries, Luxembourg has already enforced a set of rules that ban face-covering at a local level. [Luxemburger Wort] Read more

A modern day dystopia

A new report from Amnesty International gives the lie to the fond notion that Iran, under the "moderate" Rouhani and teased out of its frosty intransigence by the warmth of Obama's smile - and the nuclear deal - was slowly reforming. Far from it:

"The unlawful arrest and torture of peaceful activists and ethnic and religious minorities remain common and widespread, and are practiced with total impunity. Cruel punishments such as flogging and amputations are carried out in public to create a climate of fear and obedience to the regime.

Women and girls face systemic violence and discrimination with little or no protection under the law. And the death penalty—which is also meted out to juveniles in violation of international norms—is applied to a degree that it parachutes the Iranian regime into the top five global executioners every year, with 2015 marking the highest rate of executions since 1989. If that sounds a lot like George Orwell’s 1984, it is because Iran is a modern day dystopia." [Mick Hartley] Read more

'It is disappointing that such language was used so casually': Muslim group complains to the Federal Police for using 'Islamic-inspired terrorism' to describe Sydney plane bomb plot

A Muslim group has complained to the Australian Federal Police for using the term 'Islamic-inspired terrorism' to describe an alleged plot to bomb a passenger plane.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin used the phrase late last month when asked by a journalist if the four men arrested across Sydney were connected with ISIS.

'We do believe it's Islamic inspired terrorism,' he told reporters as he stood next to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Three of the four men arrested during the raids have since been charged.

.... Four Lebanese men, from two father and son duos, were arrested on July 29 during Saturday raids at Surry Hills, near the city, and at Lakemba, Punchbowl and Wiley Park in western Sydney.

It is alleged they were part of an ISIS-inspired terror plot to smuggle an improvised explosive device, disguised as a meat grinder, on to an Etihad Airways flight out of Sydney that could have killed more than 400 people. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

The Berlin mosque breaking Islamic taboos

.... The Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque is part of a growing movement known as inclusive Islam.

There are now liberal Muslim communities and inclusive mosques all over the world - some in private homes, others in changing locations - but Ms Ates says the Berlin mosque is a major step forward for inclusive Islam, because it is the first permanent liberal mosque, with a sign on the door, open to anyone.

"What we did new, is that this is a fixed place. And it's not a place where only people come who know each other. It's not a closed club. We are open. We tell everybody, here is a place you can come to."

One of the first inclusive mosques was set up in Paris in 2012 by Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed, a gay imam from Algeria who now lives in France with his male civil partner. He is working with Ms Ates to help set up inclusive mosques elsewhere, including in Britain.

"Europe is the place where we can work on, what we consider to be, the reform of Islam," he tells me during a visit to the new mosque in Berlin.

"Because we have freedom of speech and democracy and education and welfare." [BBC] Read more

Prevent criticism 'stems from ignorance'

One of Scotland Yard's most senior police officers says criticism of the government's Prevent programme is based on "ignorance".

It was set up to stop people being drawn into terrorist activities, but has been labelled "toxic" by critics.

"They don't understand properly how Prevent works," Cdr Dean Haydon told the BBC's Asian Network.

He added that some criticism came from parts of the community that "don't want Prevent to work in the first place".

The programme was set up by Labour in 2003 and its remit was widened by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition in 2011.

Designed to support people at risk of joining extremist groups and carrying out terrorist activities, it is focused on schools, faith organisations, prisons and other communities where people can be at risk of radicalisation. [BBC] Read more

In many ways, Muslim men and women see life in America differently

.... According to a new Pew Research Center survey, more Muslim women than men say it has become more difficult to be Muslim in the U.S. in recent years (57% vs. 43%).

And Muslim women are more divided on their acceptance by society at large than are men. Half (52%) of Muslim women say they have a lot in common with most Americans and 44% view the American people as friendly toward Muslim Americans, compared with two-thirds of Muslim men who say each of these things.

Muslim women also express more apprehension than men about anti-Muslim discrimination. Eight-in-ten Muslim women (83%) say there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims, compared with a smaller share of men who say this (68%). In fact, about half (55%) of women say they have experienced at least one of several specific types of anti-Muslim discrimination in the past year. [Pew Research Center] Read more

How the ‘homophobic Muslim’ became a populist bogeyman

Here’s something you may not have thought likely. A majority of American Muslims now believes that it’s fine to be gay. The latest Pew Research Centre survey, published on 26 July, tells us that most think homosexuality “should be accepted by society”.

The poll further shows how dramatically acceptance has risen, nearly doubling from 27% to 52% since 2007 (among millennial Muslims, it’s 60%). Muslims may lag behind the general public, for whom the corresponding figure on this issue is 63%, but they poll at exactly the same percentage as Protestants and far above white evangelical Christians, a mere 34% of whom believe that homosexuality should be tolerated.

If you have actually spent some time with American Muslims you won’t be surprised by these numbers. I’m not. This is a multifaceted group of people, representing many different and sometimes conflicting tendencies and traditions. But the Pew data shows us that the overall tilt of the community, even while it is itself contending with high levels of discrimination, is progressive and optimistic. [The Guardian] Read more

06 August 2017

Deputy minister: Probe underway on Muslims joining Atheist Club

The government will investigate if there are Muslims who have joined the Kuala Lumpur Atheist Club, as made viral on the social media recently, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

He stressed on the importance for a detailed investigation to be conducted and urged for the involvement of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) as it involved the faith of Muslims in the country.

According to Asyraf Wajdi, jurisdiction on Islamic faith is under the Syariah Criminal Enactment of each state, while at the Federal Territories level, it is under the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi).

“If it is proven that there are Muslims involved in atheist activities that could affect their faith, the state Islamic religious departments or Jawi could take action. I have asked for Jawi to look into this grave allegation,” he told reporters after officiating the Indera Mahkota Division Umno Youth Delegates’ Conference here today. [Malay Mail Online]

Read more

A Picture of Malaysian Atheists Has Led to a Government Crackdown on Ex-Muslims

.... Last week, the Consulate of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia got together for dinner and drinks and they took a picture of the group to celebrate the occasion.

Taking that picture may have been a mistake.

Malaysia ostensibly has freedom of religion… but the rules don’t apply to Muslims who want to leave the faith. There are rules to prohibit — or at least make it very difficult to go through — such a (de)conversation.

So back to that picture. The Malaysian government caught wind of the photo and began wondering if there were any secret Muslims in there… because they had to be punished.

All this because a handful of atheists wanted to hang out together.

It doesn’t stop there either. The news coverage led to a lot of Malaysians calling for the imprisonment or death of apostates over social media. [Friendly Atheist] Read more

04 August 2017

Lower Saxony set to ban Islamic face veils in schools

The case of a Muslim pupil refusing to remove her niqab triggered debate in Lower Saxony. Now a new law may mean that full-face Islamic veils will no longer be allowed in state schools.

The state of Lower Saxony is expected to announce a ban on face veils such as burqas and niqabs in schools in August, following a unanimous decision by the state parliament on Thursday to amend current education policies, reports the Branschweiger Zeitung.

A niqab covers the whole body except for a slit for the eyes, whereas a burqa fully covers the body including the eyes.

The state's school board also plans on publishing regulations for the practical handling of the ban.

Some parent and and school group representatives at a state parliament meeting rejected the ban, including Birhat Kaçar, chair of Lower Saxony's pupils' council, who said the policy would not solve the problems that come with dealing with fully-veiled pupils. Kaçar argued that issues involving religious attire should be dealt with by the schools themselves. [The Local] Read more

Protests at Birmingham mosque over controversial cleric

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin is the head priest of the Dawoodi Bohra community, a branch of Islam with thousands of followers in the UK.

He is accused of promoting the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

For two days those opposed to his beliefs on FGM have held a peaceful protest outside the new Bohra Masjid mosque in Hockley.

No one from the mosque was available for comment. [BBC] Read more

Algerian women defy Islamists by wearing bikinis on the beach

Thousands of Algerian women have defied Islamist hardliners by going to the beach in their bikinis.

The campaign began in the coastal town of Annaba after an Islamic internet campaign during Ramadan in which men published photographs on social media of women in bikinis, saying that they were acting against the values of Algerian society.

There is no law against bikinis in the country but women are increasingly stigmatised for wearing them and face growing pressure to switch to burkinis, the Islamic swimwear that covers the entire body.

The internet campaign exacerbated tensions in Algeria amid the spread of fundamentalist Islam.

A group of women in Annaba responded by launching a Facebook group that urged members to stand firm by wearing bikinis. [The Times (£)] Read more

Study: Radical Islamists Actually Have Extensive Knowledge of Islam

An Islamic theologian at the University of Vienna has conducted a study of radical Islamists proving that many have an extensive knowledge of Islam despite mainstream claims that radical Islamists have little understanding of their own religion.

In his new 310-page study of 29 radical Islamists, Islamic theologian Ednan Aslan claims religion plays a far larger role in the actions of jihadists than economic factors and frustration with society, Die Welt reports.

“Regardless of their religious knowledge, a radicalised person sees in theology an offer that gives meaning and structure to their lives,” Aslan claims.

The study, which was financed by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also warns of the effect of radical Islamist Salafist groups which it says provide support and logistics for jihadists. “Persons with a higher theological knowledge function as authorities and play a central role in the spread of ideology,” according to the study. [Breitbart London] Read more

03 August 2017

BBC accused of ‘normalizing’ Islamic burqa in ‘propaganda’ video

Social media users have accused the BBC of “blatant propaganda” after the state broadcaster published a YouTube video featuring burqa-clad women addressing common questions about the full-face veil.

After the video, entitled ‘Things Not To Say To Someone Who Wears a Burqa’, was published on the BBC Three YouTube channel, the broadcaster received a volley of accusations, with users branding it a leftist propaganda machine perpetuating a “regressive” ideology.

Political commentator Julie Lenarz was among those who took to Twitter to brand the BBC’s attempt to normalize burqas and niqabs “abhorrent.”

Some accused it of taking political correctness too far, while others said it reinforced female oppression. [RT News] Read more

02 August 2017

‘We will not be stopped!’ Women protest against Erdogan regime after spike in attacks

HUNDREDS of women protested in Istanbul against the violence and animosity they face over demands to dress more conservatively, following increasingly draconian measures from president Erdogan’s regime.

Turkish women participating in the march on Saturday, dubbed "Don't Mess With My Outfit", chanted slogans and carried denim shorts on hangers as examples of the type of clothing that some men in the country find unacceptable.

They chanted: “We will not obey, be silenced, be afraid. We will win through resistance.”

It follows harrowing footage of a woman named Asena Melisa Saglam, who was targeted and attacked on an Istanbul bus for wearing shorts during Ramadan.

The city has seen a spike in attacks against women for their choice of clothing. [Daily Express] Read more

01 August 2017

Baghdad churches close as Iraq's Christians continue to leave

Eight churches in Baghdad have closed their doors permanently due to the mass exodus of believers from Iraq.

The decision, made by the Vatican earlier this year, comes after seven years of falling or no attendance and is symbolic of the wholesale emigration of Christians from the Middle East.

Amounting to nearly 10 per cent of Iraq's population at the start of the 21st century, Christians made up 40 per cent of those fleeing from the start of the Iraq War in 2003 to 2007, leaving just a handful behind.

International Christian Concern, a persecution charity, has documented this decline and points to three stages of Christians fleeing Iraq, the first from 2005-2007, the second in 2010 when extremists attacked a church during Sunday mass and the third stage in 2014 when ISIS attacked the Nineveh Plain.

As Iraq descended into sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia groups after the removal of Saddam Hussein, Christians became an easy target for both sides, ICC says. [Christian Today] Read more

27 July 2017

New book warns of Islamist dangers

In his well-researched, thoughtful and candid book on the dangers of fundamentalist Islam, The Ideological Path to Submission -- and what we can do about it, Howard Rotberg rhetorically asks this very pertinent question:

“How can Western liberal feminist women, often with advanced university degrees, make common cause with Islamists who persecute women, gays and minorities?"

Rotberg’s book centres on his assertion that the Western world practices excessive tolerance for imported cultures that often do not agree with Canadian values.

He labels as “tolerism” this new, heightened form of political correctness subscribed to by political leaders like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as on university campuses, in liberal intellectual circles and among the left in general.[Toronto Sun] Read more

Where is the line between Islam and Islamism?

A recent conference on freedom of expression threw up issues around relationships between ex-Muslims and reformist Muslims – and the ideological confusion of their allies.

.... Bangash landed on a central faultline in the conference between those who were practising, progressive Muslims and those who felt that the door marked ‘exit’ was the only option as Islam was essentially unreformable. Could these two groups of people work together in a secular alliance or do atheists and ex-Muslims feel silenced because their critique of religion is seen as offensive by some believers?

These simmering tensions surfaced during a panel entitled ‘Secularism as a Human Right’. Chris Moos, council member of the National Secular Society, lit the fuse when he said it was not helpful to describe religious people as ‘stupid’ (in reference to comments made earlier at the conference) if you are trying to build an inclusive secular movement. He argued for more religious people to be part of campaigns for secularism, but said he feared they stayed away feeling their beliefs “were on trial”. [openDemocracy] Read more

Malaysia MP: 'Denying husbands sex is abuse'

A Malaysian lawmaker has come under fire for saying that women denying sex to their husbands was a form of "psychological and emotional abuse".

Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was addressing a domestic violence debate during a parliamentary session.

Malaysia is in talks to amend existing laws against domestic violence.

The 58-year-old politician from Terengganu state said men "suffered emotional rather than physical abuse".

"Even though men are said to be physically stronger than women, there are cases where wives hurt or abuse their husbands in an extreme manner," he said.

"Usually, it involves wives cursing their husbands: this is emotional abuse. They insult their husbands and refuse his sexual needs. All these are types of psychological and emotional abuse." [BBC] Read more

26 July 2017

British judge rejects legal challenge to counter-terrorism strategy

A British judge rejected on Wednesday a case brought against the government's counter-terrorism strategy, according to lawyers for the claimant, a Muslim activist.

Salman Butt, 31, had claimed the government’s "Prevent" program breached his right to free speech as it imposed a duty on universities to stop radicals by restricting some speakers from addressing students.

Rejecting Butt's case, Judge Duncan Ouseley ruled that universities could disregard the advice in certain cases and that the right to free speech was not restricted, the lawyers said.

The "Prevent" program is aimed at halting the spread of radical ideology, attempting to address such issues as the dissemination of material online and through public speakers. [Reuters] Read more

Education minister loses fight against Amsterdam Islamic high school

The Netherlands’ highest administrative court on Wednesday ordered the education ministry to fund a second Islamic high school in the Netherlands. The Council of State ruled that junior education minister Sander Dekker must provide funding for the school, which the Amsterdam Islamic education foundation SIO wants to set up.

State-funded faith schools are sanctioned in the Netherlands under freedom of education rules, if they have sufficient pupils and meet the proper standards.

Dekker refused to allocate funding for the school last year, because a board member who has since left, is alleged to have shown support for IS on Facebook. ‘We cannot use taxpayers’ money to support a school where children learn to reject the Netherlands rather than become part of it,’ the minister said at the time. [DutchNews.nl] Read more

Muslim feminist plans to open liberal mosque in Britain

.... Seyran Ates, a Turkish-born lawyer and human rights campaigner, visited London this week to investigate potential sites for a liberal mosque open to men, women and LGBT Muslims on an equal basis, and people from all strands of Islam.

She hopes to establish such a mosque within a year, and says her aim is to create similar places of worship in every European capital.

“I’m not alone with this idea. It is a movement, it’s a revolution,” she told the Guardian. “I may be the face of the liberal mosque, but I alone am not the mosque. We have millions of supporters all over the world.”

However, the opening of the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque, in a space rented from a Lutheran church in Berlin last month prompted a hostile reaction from conservative Muslims in Europe, Egypt and Turkey.

Ates received death threats via social media and was told “you will die” during a street confrontation. Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta al-Masriyyah, a state-run Islamic body, declared the mosque’s principles incompatible with Islam. The legal department of Cairo’s al-Azhar University issued a fatwa against liberal mosques. [The Guardian] Read more

Discrimination against Muslims is increasing in U.S., Pew study finds

Anti-Muslim discrimination is common and on the rise — and so, too, are expressions of support for Muslims, according to a new study on one of the United States’ fastest-growing religious minorities.

The Pew Research Center on Wednesday released the results of a far-reaching new survey of Muslims nationwide that highlighted a broad sense of anxiety and unease about their place in the United States and with a president who most consider unfriendly toward Muslims.

“Overall, Muslims in the United States perceive a lot of discrimination against their religious group, are leery of President Donald Trump and think their fellow Americans do not see Islam as part of mainstream U.S. society,” the study’s authors wrote.

Pew surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,001 Muslim adults by telephone between January and May this year, and overall results carry a six-point margin of sampling error. [The Washington Post] Read more

U.S. Muslims Concerned About Their Place in Society, but Continue to Believe in the American Dream

The early days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been an anxious time for many Muslim Americans, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Overall, Muslims in the United States perceive a lot of discrimination against their religious group, are leery of Trump and think their fellow Americans do not see Islam as part of mainstream U.S. society.

At the same time, however, Muslim Americans express a persistent streak of optimism and positive feelings. Overwhelmingly, they say they are proud to be Americans, believe that hard work generally brings success in this country and are satisfied with the way things are going in their own lives – even if they are not satisfied with the direction of the country as a whole.

.... In addition, half of Muslim Americans say it has become harder to be Muslim in the U.S. in recent years. And 48% say they have experienced at least one incident of discrimination in the past 12 months.

But alongside these reports of discrimination, a similar – and growing – share (49%) of Muslim Americans say someone has expressed support for them because of their religion in the past year. And 55% think Americans in general are friendly toward U.S. Muslims, compared with just 14% who say they are unfriendly. [Pew Research Center] Read more

25 July 2017

Azadeh Namdari: Backlash over conservative Iranian television host

Iranian state television presenter Azadeh Namdari has faced accusations of hypocrisy on social media after a video emerged showing her drinking beer and not wearing her hijab while on holiday in Switzerland.

Alcoholic drinks are banned in Islam and in Iran, where it is the law for women to wear the headscarf.

It is not clear whether the TV presenter was drinking alcoholic or alcohol-free beer.

Namdari is known in Iran as a proponent of the Islamic dress code.

A photo of her in full hijab was once published in the conservative Iranian newspaper Vatan-e Emruz under the headline: "Thank God, I wear the veil". [BBC] Read more

24 July 2017

Hero Imams

More than 60 Islamic leaders and imams -- from France, Belgium, Britain, Tunisia, and of different Islamic faiths -- in a move that may be unprecedented, are touring Europe to denounce Islamic terrorism and to pay homage to the victims of terror in Europe by visiting many of the sites of terror attacks.

It is ironic that while the "liberal" world has been busy in Canada lavishing millions on the "Foreign Terrorist Fighter" Omar Khadr, and in the US pampering extremists such as Linda Sarsour -- an apologist for ISIS and Islamist terrorism who calls for a "jihad" on the president, and whose tweets include racist comments such as "How many times to we have to tell White women that we do not need to be saved by them?

Is there a code language I need to use to get thru?" -- that the press has largely ignored these courageous Islamic leaders. They have travelled from six major European countries and launched a peace march in Europe to show the masses that some Muslims, at least, do condemn terrorism and want nothing to do with terrorists who murder in the name of Islam. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

California imam calls on Muslims to ‘annihilate’ the Jews "Liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews"

A California imam delivered a ferociously anti-Semitic sermon Friday from his podium at the Islamic Center of Davis, calling for Allah to “annihilate” the Jews “down to the very last one.”

The imam, Egyptian-born American hate preacher Ammar Shahin, cited the Koran in his vicious anti-Jewish screed.

“Allah does not change the situation of people 'until they change their own situation.' The Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees,’” Shahin said in his sermon, which ranted about the situation in Jerusalem.

The clips are uploaded to the mosque’s Facebook and YouTube pages. [Conservative Review] Read more

Keighley campaigner calls for more to be done to promote civic participation by British Muslim women

A KEIGHLEY-based campaigner said some Muslim communities in Britain still feature very few women in positions of authority.

Aisha Ali Khan was responding to a new report called "Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All", the result of a commission sponsored by Citizens UK.

This study says more must be done to help Muslims fulfil their potential to benefit society.

Miss Khan said: "The report makes references to the barriers Muslim women face in terms of their participation in public life. In particular, clan politics have been singled out as a key factor that ‘stifles progress’.

"This isn't something new or unusual. Many people involved in local politics where there's a large population of Muslims have always cited this as an issue for both women and young people. [The Keighley News] Read more

23 July 2017

'Sharia law opponents are bigots': Muslim psychologist calls for Australia to introduce special laws for followers of Islam

A prominent Muslim psychologist with a practice in Sydney's west says opponents of Sharia law are bigots.

Hanan Dover has told her 10,898 Facebook followers Australia needed to allow special laws for Muslims.

'Religious groups can engage the laws and negotiate change in Australia whatever your religious schtick,' she said.

'But, only one of those religious laws creates political and media hysteria because it suits political fear-mongering and that's pretty obvious - Islam.'

Ms Dover compared the idea of allowing Islamic law for Muslims with Aboriginal customary laws in the criminal justice system.

'The fact that there is only one single law for Australians is BS,' she said.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 1555 votes] A country can only have one system of law. If you object to the Australian legal system and wish to live under Sharia law, go somewhere you can do that.

[2ND 1156] No no no and no! There should never be a special case for a separate law for one minority group because they will use it to never fully accept the real law of the land! If they don't like it they can go and live in aceh Indonesia!

[3RD 996] Australia is not a Muslim country and never will be.

[4TH 844] Australia, like all countries has its laws, legislation and regulations that are there for EVERYONES good. In every country there is only room for one rule of law that is followed by all citizens - born or adopted, and all those resident through visa etc. There is no room for a divisive legal system in any country that separates people by religion, that is what the Nazi's did and we all know how that ended.

If someone does not want to abide by the laws of the country then they can either go to prison or leave the country and live in a country that better suits their needs. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

Saudi Shura tightens rules on early marriages

Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council has recommended four conditions to allow the marriage of girls aged between 15 and 18.

The Shura said in its recommendations to the justice ministry said that no girl below the age of 15 should be permitted to get married, regardless of the circumstances.

The 150-member advisory body added that for the marriage of girls above 15 and below 18, the approval of the girl and her mother and a medical report testifying the girl is physically, psychologically and socially fit for marriage are required.

The other two conditions are that the age of the groom should not be more than the double of the bride and that the marriage contract should be drafted by expert judges.

The Shura Council which includes 30 women said that the recommendations were necessary to ensure no party is harmed in the marriage and that they were based on past experiences of underage marriages. [Gulf News] Read more

Single-faith schools pledge faces axe

Ministers are expected to drop plans to allow Christian, Jewish and Muslim state schools to admit all their pupils from one faith after warnings that the move could heighten community divisions in Britain.

A U-turn would jeopardise dozens of new free schools planned by faith groups, some to cope with the influx of Catholic families from Poland and other east European countries.

Catholics said this weekend they would not open new state schools if they had to reserve half their places for children of other faiths, raising new school funding problems for the government.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, told The Sunday Times that she was “uncomfortable” about allowing more single-faith schools and hinted that manifesto proposals — due to be confirmed this summer — would be dropped.

“Admission 100% on faith leads to increased levels of segregation within communities,” she said. “I am uncomfortable with anything that leads to increased segregation.”

[TOP RATED COMMENT 63 votes] "“Admission 100% on faith leads to increased levels of segregation within communities,” she said."

This is surely glaringly obvious. The danger of putting children into schools where they will never meet people of different faith backgrounds, never ponder on whether it's really fair that a generous girl like Parvati is going to hell for not believing in Christ, or that a kind boy like Oliver is damned by Allah for not being a Muslim, could not be more clear.

As a teacher I passionately believe that we are there to teach children how to think, not what to think - with the exception of the values needed for society to function, such as tolerance, honesty, empathy and fairness - and I think the whole concept of faith schools is bizarre, dangerous and opposed to the very essence of proper education.

[2ND 59] As a Sikh I find faith schools abhorrent-including Sikh faith school they are totally against the inclusive nature of Sikhism enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib .

I have nothing else to add.

[3RD 44] Faith schools should be banned, period. Teaching and brainwashing young children to believe in faith is irresponsible. Investment should be made in science, tech, art, sport schools that would better serve social integration and solid grounding for young minds to question and grow factual knowledge for the challenges future generations will face.

[4TH 40] Ministers are expected to drop plans to allow Christian, Jewish and Muslim state schools to admit all their pupils from one faith The fact that they even considered this is a disgrace for not only is it morally wrong but in it flies in the face of public opinion. Religion (except as a historical study) and politics should be kept out of the classroom.We may then have a chance of eradicating the prejudiced views of the parents through their children.

[4TH 40] Why not just ban religious teaching in schools - anyone who wants their children to follow a faith can do so outside the school environment.

[6TH 37] “Admission 100% on faith leads to increased levels of segregation within communities,” she said. “I am uncomfortable with anything that leads to increased segregation.”

Talk about stating the bl@@ding obvious,the stupidity of some politicians almost beggars belief. [The Sunday Times (£)] Read more

22 July 2017

Police arrest culprits after 5-year-old girl married to 22-year-old man near Shikarpur

A five-year-old girl was on Saturday married off to a 22-year-old man at village Raman Shar in the outskirts of Dakhan Town, some 40 kilometres from Shikarpur, before police intervened to arrest key individuals involved, local police said.

According to an official, a special police party headed by SHO Khuda Bakhsh Panhwar raided the ceremony and succeeded in arresting the nikkah khwan, Molvi Kifayatullah Bhutto, 40, the 'groom', Habibullah Shar, and the father of the groom, Gul Meer. The police also took the five-year-old bride, the daughter of Zameer Shar, into custody along with her mother.

According to police sources, the marriage had been solemnised before police reached the place.

Police shifted the accused and the bride to the Dakhan Police Station and later handed them over to Gaheja Police for prosecution under the Early Child Marriages Restraint Act of 2013. [Dawn.com] Read more

AKP deputy: Useless to teach math to a child who knows nothing about jihad

As part of a debate following the introduction of the concept of jihad, or holy war, in the new national school curriculum, a deputy of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy said it is useless to teach math to a child who does not know the concept of jihad.

AKP deputy Ahmet Hamdi Çamli, who used to be President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s driver, claimed that the concept of jihad is one of the main pillars of Islam. “Our Ministry of Education made a good decision,” said Çamli, who also serves on the parliamentary National Education Commission.

Meanwhile, the dean of the Islamic seminary at Ankara University, Professor Ismail Hakki Ünal, objected to the idea of including the concept of jihad among the five pillars of Islam. However, Çamli claimed that jihad precedes even prescribed prayers in Islam.

“When you look at the Ottoman sultans, almost none of them performed the Hajj because they didn’t want to stop engaging in jihad,” Çamli stated. “There is no use in teaching math to a child who does not know the concept of jihad,” Çamli said on Friday.

Last week, speaking during a press conference to introduce the new school curriculum in Ankara Minister of Education Ismet Yilmaz said: “Jihad is an element in our religion; it is in our religion… The duty of the Education Ministry is to teach every deserving concept correctly. It is also our job to correct things that are wrongly perceived, seen or taught.” [Turkish Minute] Read more

Facebook was where Pakistan could debate religion. Now it's a tool to punish 'blasphemers'

Taimoor Raza, a 30-year-old Shia Muslim from a “poor but literate” family, was sentenced to death in June by an anti-terrorist court in Pakistan. His crime? Allegedly insulting the prophet Muhammad on Facebook.

It occurred during an online debate with a man who turned out to be an undercover counter-terrorism agent. His death sentence, the first to result from a social media posting, is an extreme example of the Pakistani government’s escalating battle to enforce its blasphemy laws, which criminalize insulting Islam.

Established under British colonial rule, the laws have been criticized by both religious and secular reformers, who argue that they are used to persecute minorities, settle personal scores and stifle debate.

In recent months, Pakistan’s interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has increased pressure on Facebook and Twitter to identify individuals suspected of blasphemy. On 7 July, Facebook’s vice-president of public policy, Joel Kaplan, met with Khan to discuss the government’s demand that Facebook either remove blasphemous content or be blocked in the country. [The Guardian] Read more

21 July 2017

Richard Dawkins deplatformed at a book talk in Berkeley for “abusive speech” about Islam on Twitter

Richard Dawkins was supposed to speak at this event in Berkeley on August 9: a talk about his new book, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Atheist. As you see, the talk has been canceled.

But why? You can guess. The talk was to be sponsored by a Berkeley radio station, KPFA, and they made this announcement—but didn’t even inform Richard before deep-sixing the event. Through the ticketing agency, Brown Paper Tickets, KPFA sent out this email with the “reasons”:

Dear Richard Dawkins event ticket buyers,

We regret to inform you that KPFA has canceled our event with Richard Dawkins. We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t

know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.

KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier. We also apologize to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation. Your ticket purchases will automatically be refunded by Brown Paper Tickets. [whyevolutionistrue] Read more

Muslim mother takes legal action against school over face veil ban

A Muslim mother has launched legal action against her daughter’s school, after being told she could not wear a face veil on its premises.

Rachida Serroukh, 37, a single mother of three daughters, has begun a discrimination test case against the prestigious Holland Park school, dubbed the “socialist Eton”, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea after she was told she would not be allowed to wear a face veil at the school.

Serroukh, a devout Muslim who has worn a face veil for the past 14 years, was delighted when her 11-year-old daughter was offered a place at the school. Not only was it across the road from where they lived, Serroukh – who was born in Ladbroke Grove – had studied there, achieving good grades.

.... But when she attended an evening for parents of new pupils at the school on 13 June, she was shocked to be challenged over her decision to wear a face veil. [The Guardian] Read more

20 July 2017

Left needs to start critiquing Islamism, not defending it

.... In a nutshell, Islamism represents global domination, subordination of women and minorities, a dictatorial system of governance where only a particular type of interpretation of Islam is upheld, hatred for LGBTQ communities and a return to patriarchy and obscurantism. Is this what the left wants to defend?

All sane Canadians advocate social justice. But social justice cannot be achieved through an outlook predicated on moral relativism. Naïve apologists for Islamism assume that anyone criticized is by definition a victim, even wife beaters and polygamists. The supporters unwittingly become a party to medieval practices.

Of course, we must be careful to spare ordinary Muslims who have nothing to do with political Islam any form of bigotry. However, there is nothing bigoted about opposing the pernicious agenda of Islamists. [Toronto Sun] Read more

Saudi woman arrested for wearing a skirt is released without charge

A Saudi woman who appeared in an online video wearing an “indecent” skirt and crop top has been freed.

The woman, identified as Model Khulood, was released after she told investigators that the video was posted on social media without her knowledge.

“She was released without charge and the case has been closed by the prosecutor,” a statement from the Saudi centre for international communications said.

A video of her on Snapchat strolling through an empty mudbrick village alleyway wearing a short skirt and a top that exposed her midriff provoked outraged commentary culminating in her arrest.

Women in the ultra-conservative kingdom are bound by law to wear robes and a headscarf, are banned from driving and require consent of a male guardian for most legal actions. [The Guardian] Read more

19 July 2017

Europe's female imams challenge Muslim patriarchy – and fight Islamophobia

.... the efforts here, the first of their kind in Denmark, could have a much wider impact. Ms. Khankan says by challenging patriarchal structures, she and other women imams – they use the term "imamas" – can help counter growing Islamophobia across Europe. The imamas are undertaking the challenge amid a spate of terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists and raging political and cultural debates over everything from burkinis to Islam’s place in Europe.

“It’s very difficult to hold onto the narrative that Muslim women are suppressed, that Islam is a suppressive religion in its essence, when they can see that women are taking the lead and building up their own female-led mosque," says Khankan. "This is in itself proof that this anti-Islamic rhetoric is incorrect. It’s not the total picture.”

The Mariam mosque is rare but is not the first of its kind. Women have served as imams since the early 19th century in China, and now preach from the United States to South Africa. In June a well-known Muslim feminist, Seyran Ates, whose parents came to Germany as Turkish guest-workers, opened a liberal mosque in Berlin to welcome all sects of Islam, Muslims of all sexual orientation, and men and women to worship together.

“There's so much Islamist terror and so much evilness happening in the name of my religion,” she told the Associated Press, “it's important that we, the modern and liberal Muslims, also show our faces in public.” [The Christian Science Monitor] Read more

Muslim woman banned from wearing headscarf in court

A German judge has banned a Syrian woman from appearing in court without removing her headscarf, claiming “religiously-motivated” attire is prohibited.

Najat Abokal, a lawyer representing the woman, said the order was made for divorce proceedings in the district court in Luckenwalde, Brandenberg.

She said the letter warned of legal action against the woman if she does not comply, but also ordered her to appear in person to present her case against her husband.

Ms Abokal has accused the judge of acting “unconstitutionally”, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported, saying she would contest the order amid fierce debate over Islamic dress in Germany. [The Independent] Read more

Turkey's new school curriculum drops evolution and will teach concept of jihad

Turkey's new school curriculum drops Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and adds the concept of jihad as patriotic in spirit.

The move has fuelled fears President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is subverting the republic's secular foundations.

The chairman of a teachers' union has described the changes as a huge step in the wrong direction for Turkey's schools and an attempt to avoid raising "generations who ask questions".

Ismet Yilmaz, the country's education minister, said the controversial decision to exclude the theory of evolution was "because it is above the students' level and not directly relevant."

A member of the opposition Republican People's Party, Mustafa Balbay, said any suggestion the theory was beyond their understanding was an insult to high school students.

"You go and give an 18-year old student the right to elect and be elected, but don't give him the right to learn about the theory of evolution...This is being close minded and ignorant." [The Independent] Read more

Legislation is needed to stop one ethnicity taking over a school, says Bradford superhead

Sir Nick Weller, the executive principal at Dixons Academies which runs a chain of schools in the west Yorkshire city, said that introducing a new law is the “only answer” to prevent children being segregated along ethnic lines.

He said that it is “unhealthy” for a city like Bradford to have two communities living “separate lives” and for the children to be educated at different schools.

“I think it’s unhealthy in a city like Bradford for two communities to live separate lives, which by and large they do,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“You could say Bradford is almost two communities: the Muslim community and the white community.”

Mr Weller said that rather than sending children to the closest school, parents prefer to send them further away to a school where the majority of children are from the same ethnic background.

“Families will ignore the school that is nearest them because it is predominantly of one – the wrong ethnic group – and they will send them a little bit further down the road to a school where they feel more comfortable,” said Mr Weller, who was knighted in 2015 for his services to education.

Asked if there was a “tipping point” where the proportion of one community becomes for high in a school that others are deterred from sending their children there, he said: “I think once you get to sort of 70 to 80 per cent, once you get that, then yes.”

[TOP RATED COMMENT] I am amazed if anyone surprised by this?

Feeling like a stranger in your own land, loss of cultural identity and having multiculturalism forced fed and being made to feel guilty if you are not a believer.

[ANOTHER] A political agenda

Multiculturalism

Invented to make a politician feel better

The UK experiment failed

The two sides want nothing to do with each other

Just the facts

Little wonder if you can get out you would

I see the headmaster spoke out and needed police protection for being honest ...

[ANOTHER] Bradford. Is that in Pakistan?

[ANOTHER] I used to work at Drummond Middle school pre Ray Honeyford just as Islam was starting to have an impact on it. Just before I left the Head was berated for not allowing sheep to be slaughtered for halal meat in the coke cellar. It was racist (not health and safety).

All these decades on Ray Honeyford (and Enoch Powell) are owed an apology by those champions of political correctness who hounded them.

[ANOTHER] Entirely predictable ..... and it was.

This problem has been exacerbated by the Government's policy on encouraging state-funded faith schools.

As a white, indigenous, nominally Christian English national, I would not send my child to a Muslim school.

If that child was a female. I would not want her forced to wear demeaning clothing or be taught that she is a second-class human being ...... and I wouldn't want any son learning those messages either.

There should be no state-funded faith schools. [The Telegraph] Read more

18 July 2017

Muslim woman banned from divorcing husband while wearing headscarf

A court in eastern Germany has told a Syrian woman that she is not allowed to appear in court for divorce proceedings against her husband unless she takes off her headscarf, Tagesspiegel reports.

The woman’s lawyer received a letter from the presiding judge at the district court in Luckenwalde, informing her that “religiously motivated statements, such as the wearing of a headscarf, will not be allowed” during the court case, Tagesspiegel reported on Tuesday.

The letter warned that the woman could face legal sanctions if she does not comply with the instruction. At the same time, it instructed her to appear in person for the proceedings, leaving her in an apparently impossible situation.

The woman’s lawyer now plans to take legal measures against the court instruction, claiming it to be a breach of the constitution. [The Local] Read more

Manchester Mosque gutted by fire as anti-Muslim crimes soar

A mosque in Manchester has been badly damaged by a fire that worshippers said was the third there in three years.

Police have begun an investigation into the “suspicious” blaze at the Nasfat Islamic Centre, in the northeast of the city, at 11.40pm on Sunday.

Monsurat Adebanjo-Aremu, the mosque secretary, said that in the past year somebody had thrown two pigs’ heads inside the building and urinated outside. Shamusideen Oladimeji, a spokesman for the mosque, added that it was the third fire at the building since 2014 and that the reason for them was “just hatred”.

The fire, which police believe was started when someone forced open a window and placed an “unknown accelerant inside”, is being treated as a hate crime by Greater Manchester police. In the month after the Manchester Arena bomb in May there were 224 reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the city compared with 37 in the same period last year.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] So sad to hear this but it is about time this community stops demanding their 'rights' day in day out of others in this country. About time they start accepting that the rest of 64 miliion here have nothing whatsoever to do with their religion.

[ANOTHER] If Muslims just integrated, quietly got on with life and earning a living - like Sikhs and Hindus - no one would mind.

There's a reason for the widespread dislike and fear about terrorism. Deliberately creating a parallel legal, and cultural system that rejects being British - yet demands all the advantages of the welfare, education and healthcare budgets doesn't encourage others to embrace it.

Given what a tiny % of the population Muslims represent, they're in the news for negative reasons an awful lot. There are reasons for this.

[ANOTHER] At least they didn't have a suicide bomber walk in and blow the place up when full of people...could have been worse. [The Times (£)] Read more

17 July 2017

Halal logos fail to tell shoppers whether animals were stunned

Meat from lambs that have had their throats cut without first being stunned is to gain an official “quality standard mark”, without customers being told of their painful deaths.

Vets and animal welfare groups have criticised the plans by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), saying that shoppers should be aware of whether animals were rendered insensible before slaughter.

The board wants to help to promote halal lamb produced to what it says will be high standards of welfare, slaughter and processing. [The Times (£)] Read more

16 July 2017

Ministers order takeover of Muslim school after it is branded unsafe

The government has ordered the takeover of one of England’s first state-funded Muslim secondary schools, an institution where a child died and offensive books were found in the library.

The books stated that a husband can beat his wife and insist on having sex with her. They were found in the library of the Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham, which became state-funded in 2001.

Amanda Spielman, chief inspector at Ofsted, the schools regulator, said Al-Hijrah would be taken over by an independent academy trust on the orders of the Department for Education.

.... For more than a year the co-educational Islamic school has fought through the courts to try to suppress an earlier critical Ofsted report that said its segregation of girls and boys for all lessons from the age of 5 to 16 was a breach of the Equality Act.

Last week appeal court judges were asked to make a definitive ruling in the case. If Ofsted wins, up to 20 faith schools that teach boys and girls separately will be reinspected and may have to change their arrangements.

Spielman said she found it “deeply frustrating” when legal challenges were “used to delay things that in our view urgently need to happen. It is rare for schools to go to court to challenge a report but sometimes the stakes are high.” [The Times (£)] Read more

15 July 2017

‘Criticism of Islam or Islamism is not anti-Muslim bigotry’

East London mosque has filed a formal complaint regarding the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain’s presence in Pride in London and stated that our placards, including ‘East London mosque incites murder of LGBT’ were ‘inciting hatred against Muslims’ and that the mosque had a ‘track record for challenging homophobia in East London’.

In fact, though, the very reason CEMB was at Pride was to combat hate and to highlight the 13 states under Islamic rule that kill gay men (14 if we include Daesh-held territories). We included placards on the East London mosque to bring attention to the fact that there are mosques here in Britain that promote the death penalty for homosexuality and apostasy.

As ex-Muslims, we are at risk from hate preachers that speak at some mosques and universities; our gay members are at an increased risk.

The East London Mosque has a long history of hosting hate preachers who incite against blasphemers, apostates and homosexuals so we felt naming and shaming them was very apt. [The Freethinker] Read more

Hate-spewing ISIS supporter, who posted homophobic rants online has been working as a teaching assistant in British secondary schools

Imran Miah, 27, who has taught at a number of secondary schools in Britain, set out his vile agenda on Facebook and Instagram.

He warned that religious opponents face attack with a ‘blunt butter knife’ and issued a series of deeply disturbing homophobic statements. In one sickening post, he endorsed the barbaric execution of homosexuals.

As well as celebrating IS military victories on Facebook, Miah also uploaded a photograph of the terror group’s black flag and mocked the traditional minute’s silence for its victims.

A supply teaching assistant, Miah is believed to have worked at a number of state schools in London and beyond.

Last night, politicians reacted with disbelief that someone with such views could work in schools and called for an urgent police investigation. In common with all teachers, Miah would have been vetted by the criminal record checking service. But as he used a pseudonym online, his rants apparently went undetected.

In recent years the Government have grown increasingly concerned about the risk of radicalisation in schools, though their fears have normally been confined to faith schools and attempts to introduce a radical Islamist ethos. [Daily Mail] Read more

14 July 2017

UK event hears call for action on anti-Muslim coverage

U.K. politicians should consider regulation to tackle the tide of negative media coverage about British Muslims.

This was the message from a Liverpool conference this week which examined damaging and biased news stories about Britain’s Muslim community.

The event, organized by Dr. Salman Azami of Liverpool Hope University, saw academics and journalists discuss the effects of unfair and stereotyped portrayals of Muslims.

One of its key findings was the need to raise awareness on issues facing Britain’s Muslims by urging politicians to engage more with the community.

Azami told Anadolu Agency he wanted the event to look at “whether the media coverage on Muslims in Britain is effective or counterproductive, whether it is sensitive or insensitive, whether it is fair or unfair”.

“There are a lot of negativities; I think there should be some sort of regulation that politicians need to think about,” Azami added.

He also urged British lawmakers to act against deliberately negative media coverage on Islam-related stories. [Anadolu Agency] Read more

Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali urges Australians to boycott ALL halal-certified food so they're not funding Muslim schools and mosques - and wants immigrants to be quizzed on child brides and female circumcision

An internationally prominent Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali is urging Australians to boycott halal-certified food so they're not funding Muslim schools, mosques and Islamist propaganda.

The producers of popular supermarket items like Vegemite and Cadbury chocolates pay halal fees to third-party certifiers to declare the products are fit for Muslims.

Ms Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born author now living with bodyguards in the United States, says halal-certification is an example of a campaign to Islamise the West, as part of a political strategy called 'dawa'.

'I would have a boycott - all halal food,' she told Daily Mail Australia from an undisclosed location in the U.S..

'It's not fair to Muslims and non-Muslims to be the victims of a marketing scheme that's mainly used to support an ideology ... that violates the rights of humans.'

The writer, who wants Islamic schools in Australia shut down, said halal-certifed food and meat slaughtered in accordance with Muslim tradition needed to be more clearly labelled. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

13 July 2017

Does the Burqa Have a Future in Europe?

.... The Strasbourg-based court’s unanimous ruling Tuesday determined that the 2011 Belgian law, which prohibits people from wearing clothing that partly or completely covers the face in public, is justifiable under the European Convention on Human Rights because it aims to “guarantee the conditions of ‘living together’ and the ‘protection of the rights and freedoms of others.’”

The two Muslim women—one a Belgian national, the other Moroccan—who had brought the case to court argued that the ban violates the rights of veiling-wearing women to religious freedom and privacy. The court ruled that it does not.

This isn’t the first time the ECHR has come to this conclusion. When the court considered France’s burqa ban in 2014, it accepted the French government’s argument that the ban was aimed not at targeting Muslim women’s freedom of religion, but rather at the “legitimate aim” of preserving the idea of living together.

Citing its previous ruling in the S.A.S. v France case, ECHR said in Tuesday’s decision that “the concern to ensure respect for the minimum guarantee of life in society could be regarded as an element of the ‘protection of the rights and freedoms of others’ and that the ban was justifiable in principle solely to the extent that it sought to guarantee the conditions of ‘living together.’” [The Atlantic] Read more

Prohibition on burkini in public swimming baths may be discriminatory

The Inter-federal Centre for Equal Opportunities, UNIA, this weekend expressed a negative opinion relating to the prohibition of the swimming costume covering the entire body (or the burkini) in public swimming baths.

The Centre had been approached by Flemish cities, towns and communes to provide advice upon the issue.

UNIA, which bases its advice upon the arguments put forward by the Flemish Agency for Care and Health, says that this prohibition is without legal basis. It poses no problem as regards hygiene and safety, and the costume would not jeopardize male-female equality.

Several cities, towns and communes in Flanders, including Ghent and Leuven, as well as individual swimmers, have contacted UNIA regarding this prohibition.

The Director of UNIA, Els Keytsman, indicated, “In recent years we have received several dozen indications on the part of supporters and opponents asking questions.” The Centre, which is not a specialist in the field, has turned to the Flemish Agency for Care and Health and the “Gender” section of the Flemish Mediation Service. UNIA adds that it appears that “none of the arguments put forward in favour of the prohibition has any basis in law.” [The Brussels Times] Read more

Saudi Arabia boosting extremism in Europe, says former ambassador

Saudi Arabia has been funding mosques throughout Europe that have become hotbeds of extremism, the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir William Patey has said.

His remarks come a day after the government published a brief summary of a Home Office-commissioned report into the funding of extremism in the UK. The full report is not being published for security reasons

Patey said he did not believe Saudi Arabia was directly funding terrorist groups, but rather an ideology that leads to extremism, and suggested that its leaders might not be aware of the consequences. “It is unhealthy and we need to do something about it,” he said.

“The Saudis [have] not quite appreciated the impact their funding of a certain brand of Islam is having in the countries in which they do it – it is not just Britain and Europe.

“That is a dialogue we need to have. They are not funding terrorism. They are funding something else, which may down the road lead to individuals being radicalised and becoming fodder for terrorism.” [The Guardian] Read more

Non-Muslims Forced to Do Sanitation Work in Pakistan

In new measures introduced by the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, requirements for sanitation work in Pakistan specifies that applicants must be non-Muslim. Moreover, applicants must take the religious oath on their religious holy book – Geeta or Bible – that they will never do anything else but work as a sanitation worker and will never refuse to carry out the work.

The controversial news comes after three Christian men died while cleaning a sewer in Pakistan by hand after being refused personal protective equipment or uniform.

Nasir Saeed, director of the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS-UK), which is a Christian charity dedicated to helping persecuted Christians in the country, has expressed his concern over the growing situation against religious minorities in the country. He said,

“Minorities are facing discrimination in all walks of life and even their worship places, properties and honour is not safe. They see no future for themselves and for their future generations and are now forced to flee the country.” [Conatus News] Read more

Tunstall imam to go on trial accused of glorifying Islamic State at mosque

An imam accused of glorifying and drumming up support for Islamic State in his sermons is to stand trial later this year.

Islamic leader Kamran Sabir Hussain faces eight terror-related offences in connection with his work at a mosque in Tunstall.

The 39-year-old is alleged to have encouraged support for the terror group, as well as influencing his congregation at a mosque to carry out terrorist acts.

According to two of the charges, Hussain, of Knightsbridge Way, Tunstall, addressed a meeting at the mosque to 'encourage support for a proscribed organisation, namely Islamic State'.

The other six counts accuse him of publishing a statement – a sermon to a congregation – in which he 'intended or was reckless as to whether members of the public would be, directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism'. [The Sentinel] Read more

12 July 2017

Rudd's refusal to publish full report into extremist funding 'unacceptable'

Opposition parties have condemned the government for opting not to publish a much-delayed report into the funding and support of extremist groups, saying the decision appeared intended to bury any criticism of Saudi Arabia.

But the home secretary, Amber Rudd, said the move was based on national security and claimed that the full report contained sensitive and detailed personal information.

Announcing the decision in a written parliamentary statement, Rudd instead published a 430-word summary of the report, including that some extreme Islamist groups receive hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in funding, mainly from UK-based individual donors.

The summary said the most common source of support for extremist organisations was from small, anonymous public donations, mainly from individuals in the UK.

It also said overseas backing helped some individuals study at institutions “that teach deeply conservative forms of Islam and provide highly socially conservative literature and preachers to the UK’s Islamic institutions”, adding: “Some of these individuals have since become of extremist concern.”

However, the summary did not name the countries of origin for such funding or mention Saudi Arabia or any other nations. [The Guardian] Read more

Pakistan’s secret atheists

Being an atheist in Pakistan can be life-threatening. But behind closed doors, non-believers are getting together to support one another. How do they survive in a nation where blasphemy carries a death sentence?

Omar, named after one of Islam's most revered caliphs, has rejected the faith of his forefathers. He is one of the founding members of an online group - a meeting point for the atheists of Pakistan.

But even there he must stay on his guard. Members use fake identities.

"You have to be careful who you are befriending," he says.

One man contacted Omar to say he had visited his Facebook profile and printed out pictures of him with his family. "You cannot be safe," Omar says.

In Pakistan, posting about atheism online can have serious consequences.

Under a recently passed cyber-crime law, it is now illegal to post content online - even in a private forum - that could be deemed blasphemous. [BBC] Read more

11 July 2017

Top Europe court upholds ban on full-face veil in Belgium

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday upheld a Belgian ban on wearing the full-face niqab veil in public, calling the restriction "necessary in a democratic society".

The veil is a controversial issue across Europe, with some countries banning the garment in public in the name of safety and rights groups arguing that this amounts to a violation of civil liberties.

The court ruled that the ban sought to guarantee social cohesion, the "protection of the rights and freedoms of others" and that it was "necessary in a democratic society", a statement said.

The EU's top rights court said a bye-law adopted in June 2008 in three Belgian municipalities "could be regarded as proportionate to the aim pursued, namely the preservation of the conditions of 'living together'."

It said a country should also be given a "wide margin of appreciation in deciding whether and to what extent a limitation of the right to manifest one's religion or beliefs was 'necessary'." [AFP] Read more

Religion, gender segregation and sex education in schools

We, the undersigned, are seriously concerned about the dilution of gender rights and equality regarding minority and in this case Muslim girls’ and women’s rights. We refer to the case of Al-Hijrah school, a co-ed faith school in Birmingham that has been segregating boys and girls during lessons and all breaks, activities and school trips (Gender-divided school is named, 11 July). The school was inspected by Ofsted, who judged it to be inadequate on a number of grounds including gender segregation.

We recognise the existence of single-sex schools but our concerns are with co-educational faith schools that apply gender segregation throughout the school day. It is as abhorrent as segregating people according to their race or sexuality. To engage in such conduct within a secular democracy raises fundamental questions about the type of society we are creating.

Why are we allowing such educational institutions to waver from the basic freedoms our ancestors have fought for? We are in danger of creating a two-tier system in which minority women, especially Muslim women and girls, are being systematically treated as second-class citizens. Our progressive parties, institutions and even some on the left and within feminist circles seem to be abandoning the fight for gender equality in favour of religious dogma. [The Guardian] Read more

Austrian City Bans Pork in Kindergartens to Accommodate Muslim Children

Salzburg has banned pork in city-run kindergartens in what local officials have defended saying it meets the needs of Muslim children.

The ban was not advertised or announced and has been in place for some time until parents of children attending kindergartens in the city noticed that pork was never present on school menus. An official from the Salzburg mayor’s office said the ban on pork was both for health reasons and “among other things, the needs of Muslim children”, Kronen Zeitung reports.

The office of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) deputy mayor Anja Hagenaue confirmed the accusations saying that while there was no official order given by the left wing government, the ban had been in place for around five years. Ms. Hagenaue added the children preferred chicken and carrots to pork. [Breitbart London] Read more

French Archbishop on ‘the Great Replacement’: ‘Muslims Calmly Tell You France Will Be Theirs One Day’

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Strasbourg Luc Ravel has called attention to the demographic shift in France saying Muslims are having far more children than native French and slammed the widespread “promotion” of abortion.

The Archbishop of Strasbourg went against the grain of Church leaders in France who have largely remained politically correct on the issue of demographic changes occurring in the country. He said the rising birth rate of Muslims in France was leading to what prolific French writer Renaud Camus has termed “the Great Replacement”, French conservative magazine Valeurs Actuelles reports.

“Muslim believers know very well that their birthrate is such that today, they call it … the Great Replacement, they tell you in a very calm, very positive way that, ‘one day all this, it will be ours’,” he said.

The concept of the Great Replacement was coined in 2010 in a speech given by Camus and then later in his 2011 political book, The Great Replacement. Camus defined the Great Replacement as the transition of a society, often through mass migration, in a few generations in which the names of places remain the same but the people and their values totally change. [Breitbart London] Read more

Segregating pupils is the first step in demonising women

The brilliant Handmaid’s Tale depicts a dystopian future in which women are controlled at all times. Veiled, meek and knowing their place, fertile women are breeding machines and rape is sanctioned by the state.

Meanwhile, here in Britain, the state is being taken through our courts by a co-educational Islamic school that segregates boys and girls from the age of nine: it is not enough that girls at the school have to wear the veil from the age of five. And the state is funding this, as the school is voluntary aided. [The Times (£)] Read more

Saudi Arabia introduces physical education for schoolgirls in break from tradition

Saudi public schools will begin offering physical education for girls in the coming academic year, the education ministry announced on Tuesday, in a long-awaited reform in the Islamic kingdom.

Physical education for women is controversial in Saudi Arabia, where conservatives consider it immodest, and it is not mandatory. It has not been offered in most public schools. “Sports is empowerment,” said Lina Almaeena, a member of the advisory Shura Council who founded the kingdom’s first female sports club, basketball team Jeddah United. “It’s a historic announcement.”

Saudi Arabia adheres to strict interpretations of Islamic law and tribal custom, requiring women to have male guardians and obey a modest dress code. They are barred from driving. However, the Saudi government has in recent years begun introducing gradual reforms to open new opportunities for women and expand their participation in the labour force. The Shura Council approved the introduction of physical education for girls in 2014, but the decision was never implemented as it faced opposition from clerics who decried it as ‘Westernisation’. [The Express Tribune] Read more

Iranian women spark debate by defying hijab rule in cars

A growing number of women in Iran are refusing to wear a hijab while driving, sparking a nationwide debate about whether a car is a private space where they can dress more freely.

Obligatory wearing of the hijab has been an integral policy of the Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution but it is one the establishment has had a great deal of difficulty enforcing. Many Iranian women are already pushing the boundaries, and observers in Tehran say women who drive with their headscarves resting on their shoulders are becoming a familiar sight.

Clashes between women and Iran’s morality police particularly increase in the summer when temperatures rise. But even though the police regularly stop these drivers, fining them or even temporarily seizing their vehicle, such acts of resistance have continued, infuriating hardliners over a long-standing policy they have had a great deal of difficulty enforcing. [The Guardian] Read more

10 July 2017

Muslim children who missed school photo for Eid awarded €500 compensation

A school in The Hague has been ordered to pay €500 compensation to two Muslim children who missed the annual school photograph because it clashed with the end of Ramadan.

The Maria Montessorischool hired the photographer without realising the date coincided with Eid al-Fitr, and was unable to rearrange the booking by the time the mistake came to light.

The district court in The Hague decided on Monday that the school had indirectly discriminated against the two children, breaching their legal right to equal treatment.

The court decided there was no direct discrimination on grounds of religion because the school later arranged for the photographer to return and take the children’s pictures separately. However, the school had failed to offer alternatives when it became aware of the error. [DutchNews] Read more

Muslim FM radio station broadcast 25 hours of Al Qaeda speeches calling for a holy war 'by mistake'

A Muslim radio station broadcast lectures by an Al Qaeda terror leader calling for holy war.

Iman FM transmitted 25 hours of sermons from Anwar Al-Awlaki, a hate preacher killed by a US drone strike in 2011.

A complaint was made to Ofcom, which has suspended the Sheffield-based station's licence.

The watchdog said the material 'amounted to a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people'.

Bosses at Iman FM have 21 days to explain themselves or be closed down. They found the extremist lectures on YouTube and broadcast them during Ramadan. [Daily Mail] Read more

09 July 2017

Anti-terrorist 'march' of Muslim imams comes to Berlin

.... Muslim communities in Germany and elsewhere have been criticized for not turning out in huge numbers to condemn terrorism. And critics of events like the one in Berlin on Sunday might say that humanistic words at a symbolic location don't do anything concrete to fight murderous Islamism.

But speaking to reporters before the service itself, the Vice President of Muslim Imams in France, Hocine Drouiche, detailed what was at stake for some of clerics who take part. Fighting back tears, Drouiche said that he and his family had been threatened from within the Muslim community because of his liberal outlook.

Some of the imams taking part in the march, he added, will lose their jobs for expressing their views.

"The majority of Muslims don't accept our speech," Drouiche told Deutsche Welle. "We're afraid for our wives and children. It's a very difficult problem. These people need to be enemies of the Occident."

It was a pointed and poignant reminder that while the imams taking part in the march insist that Islam, correctly practiced, is a peaceful, humanist faith, there is a significant sub-culture that chooses confrontation and violence against anyone who doesn't share their beliefs. [The Local] Read more

08 July 2017

Saudi activist jailed for driving says women ‘still being treated as slaves in 2017'

Manal Al-Sharif, who has moved to Australia, is now able to drive there after getting her licence.

Manal Al-Sharif, who spent nine days in prison for flouting the ban in Saudi Arabia on women drivers, has spoken out about her ordeal.

She said that women were being “treated as slaves” to this day. Although women can hold a driver’s licence, they are not allowed to drive as they are considered “legally minors” in the country.

In her 20s, Ms Al-Sharif was a computer security engineer. She became the first Saudi female IT security consultant and worked for the oil business Saudi Aramco for a decade.

“I come from a very private society where we live in closed windows, high walls and women are covered up. It's very difficult for girls and women in Saudi Arabia to do anything without the permission from a male guardian,” she told Daily Mail Australia. [The Independent] Read more

07 July 2017

An atheist Muslim on what the left and right get wrong about Islam

.... I think the left has a blind spot when it comes to Islam and the right has a blind spot when it comes to Muslims. When Christian fundamentalists like Pat Robertson say something that's homophobic or misogynistic, people on the left descend on them like a ton of bricks.

They’re very comfortable with criticizing and satirizing fundamentalist Christianity. But when it comes to Islam, which has many of the same homophobic and misogynistic teachings, they throw their hands up, back off, and say, whoa, hold on, we must respect their religion and culture.

.... I get that it comes from a good place. I’m a liberal myself, and I vote liberal. It’s part of our liberal conscience to protect the rights of minorities, as they should be protected. But that doesn’t mean we must protect and defend all of their beliefs as well, many of which are just as illiberal as the beliefs of Christian fundamentalists.

This is very frustrating to our liberal counterparts in Muslim-majority countries, who are fighting fundamentalist Islam the same way that liberals here fight fundamentalist Christianity, and they’re even risking their lives for it. Many have died for it. Yet they hear their liberal counterparts in the West calling their ideas “Islamophobic.” This is a devastating double standard for them. [Vox] Read more

06 July 2017

Another Muslim leader calls for a Starbucks boycott over its pro-LGBT stance

A Muslim group has called on people in Malaysia to boycott Starbucks over their pro-LGBT stance, days after a similar boycott was announced in Indonesia.

Perkasa, a Muslim group with around 700,000 members, called for the boycott until the company shifted its views in line with that of the rest of the country. They also called for the company to have its license revoked until the shift had taken place.

Speaking to Reuters, Amini Amir Abdullah, who heads Perkasa's Islamic affairs bureau, said: "Our objection is because they are promoting something that is against the human instinct, against human behaviour and against religion. That's why we are against it." [International Business Times] Read more