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

Turkey police hold rights activists including Amnesty chief

Turkish police have arrested nine leading human rights activists, including the local director of Amnesty International, in a raid near Istanbul.

Two trainers, from Germany and Sweden, were also arrested as they worked in a digital security workshop at a hotel.

No reason has been given for the arrests. The operation was a "grotesque abuse of power", Amnesty said.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are marching from Ankara to Istanbul as part of an opposition protest.

The march, now on its 22nd day, was in reaction to the arrest of an opposition lawmaker. But it has become a wider demonstration of what many say is an erosion of democracy under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed after rogue army officers tried to oust Mr Erdogan in a coup on 15 July 2016. Police have jailed more than 50,000 people since then. [BBC] Read more

Islamophobic Attacks Should Be Classed As Terror-Related, Says Finsbury Park Mosque Chairman

Mohammed Kozbar complained to the BBC when mosque attack was not even a topic on Question Time. Islamophobic attacks should be classed as terror-related and not simply hate crimes, the chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque has said.

UK authorities must “be consistent” when it comes to how terror-style attacks, Mohammed Kozbar said, as he revealed he supported a change in the law that saw Islamophobic violence included.

Speaking at a local government conference in Birmingham, he said police and the media “always find excuses” for a terror-style crime to be recorded differently when an attacker is non-Muslim.

The mosque was the target of a terror attack last month when 47-year-old Darren Osborne drove a van into a crowd of Muslims as they left midnight prayer, killing one and injuring several others.

Kozbar revealed he had to “work hard” for the incident to be deemed a terror attack and ministers initially refused to call a national minute’s silence in respect to the event, as they had done in the wake of the Manchester and London Bridge attacks. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

I applaud British Islam’s refusal to bow to the establishment

A report out this week, chaired by the MP and QC Dominic Grieve and titled The Missing Muslims, encourages adherents of Islam to greater participation in civil society and public life. It calls for more British-born imams and greater integration of Muslims into British cultural life.

It’s not a bad report, and its intentions are worthy. It recognises that there are problems with the Prevent agenda – which is an understatement – and it wonders out loud if an official definition of Islamophobia, along the lines of that used for antisemitism, should be explored. But, as with so many of the numerous reports about British Muslims, the focus is always on Islam as a problem to be solved and the need to distinguish between good Muslims and bad Muslims.

This good Muslim/bad Muslim distinction has history, of course. It was precisely this distinction that the British colonial authorities used to separate the secular, wine-drinking, western-integrated, moderate Muslims who were prepared to collaborate with British rule and the suspiciously religious, uppity, bearded Muslims who refused to bend the knee to colonial power.

As the Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan has rightly pointed out, the good Muslim/bad Muslim distinction is entirely unhelpful, not least because it associates being good and moderate with some diminution of a Muslim’s religiosity. The distinction effectively says: if you are brown and pray more times a day than the local vicar then you should probably expect to have your phone tapped. [Guardian Cif] Read more

05 July 2017

Armed Islamist gang terrorizing 'immoral' Chechen women in Berlin: report

A group of armed Chechen men have beaten or threatened several women in Berlin in recent weeks for not abiding by their retrograde understanding of the Quran, Tagesspiegel reports.

Two young Chechen women have been beaten up by the group, sustaining serious injuries, while two more have been threatened and chased. A man has also been attacked and beaten, the Berlin daily reported on Wednesday after interviewing several victims.

The newspaper has also seen a video made by the group and distributed within the capital’s Chechen community.

In the video, a masked man points a gun at the camera. He claims that some Chechen women in Europe are doing “unspeakable” things, adding that “we will punish them” if the occasion presents itself.

Claiming that the group has 80 members who have sworn their allegiance on the Quran, the man threatens: “We are coming onto the streets. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Don’t say you didn’t know.” [The Local] Read more

Theresa May 'delaying report on funding of extremism'

Publication of report, which reportedly focuses on Saudi Arabia, has been delayed by the PM, British media says.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is withholding a report on "foreign funding of extremism" which reportedly criticises Saudi Arabia, according to UK reports quoting statements by the Home Office and Downing Street.

Both offices said that the prime minister is personally responsible for deciding whether to release the report, which had been commissioned by ex-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 and approved by May, who was home secretary at the time, The Guardian reported.

In a written reply to a June 27 question by the Green Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, May said on Monday: "Ministers are considering advice on what is able to be published and will report to Parliament with an update in due course." [Al Jazeera English] Read more

Sheikh who angered hardline Muslims by denouncing Sharia law asks followers for $30,000 for security guards and steel-barred windows at his home because he fears for his life

The controversial sheikh who angered hardline Muslims by denouncing Sharia law has asked his supporters for $30,000 to pay for security guards and steel-barred windows at his home because he fears for his life.

Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi, who has previously called for Islamic schools in Australia to be shut down and criticised extreme Islamic group Hizb-ut Tahrir, said abuse he received from radical Muslims grew so bad he was forced to abandon his home and seek refuge.

'I've been assaulted by Muslim leaders, ambushed and spat on in the streets,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

.... Imam Tawhidi sparked controversy earlier this year when he said he only came to Australia 'because it was a non-Muslim country'.

'If we knew after 30 years we are going to have burqas running around and mosques being erected on every corner and people proposing sharia law against democracy in this country… we wouldn't have come,' he said.

His outspoken opinion led to escalating threats from radical Muslims. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

Saudi Arabia has 'clear link' to UK extremism, report says

Saudi Arabia is the chief foreign promoter of Islamist extremism in the UK, a new report has claimed.

The Henry Jackson Society said there was a "clear and growing link" between Islamist organisations in receipt of overseas funds, hate preachers and Jihadist groups promoting violence.

The foreign affairs think tank called for a public inquiry into the role of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.

The Saudi embassy in London says the claims are "categorically false".

Meanwhile, ministers are under pressure to publish their own report on UK-based Islamist groups.

The Home Office report into the existence and influence of Jihadist organisations, commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, has reportedly yet to be completed amid questions as to whether it will ever be published. [BBC] Read more

Poll: Majority of voters back Trump travel ban

A clear majority of voters support President Donald Trump’s travel ban on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Polling on the travel restrictions has varied wildly since the Trump administrationunveiled the first executive order on travel in late January. But after months of litigation and controversy, 6-in-10 voters back the ban — and the survey suggests the actual policy may be more popular when separated from the president.

Asked whether they support or oppose the State Department’s “new guidelines which say visa applicants from six predominately Muslim countries must prove a close family relationship with a U.S. resident in order to enter the country,” 60 percent of respondents said they support the guidelines, and only 28 percent oppose them. [POLITICO] Read more

Poles Value Denying Muslim Refugees Over Being in EU, Poll Shows

A majority of Poles would be ready to give up their generous financial aid from the European Union or leave the bloc altogether to ensure the country can shut its borders to Muslim refugees, a poll showed.

Coinciding with a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the poll of 1,000 people showed more than half of respondents, or 57 percent, said they would be willing to do without EU development funds to maintain the stance of rejecting refugees from Muslim countries.

Fifty-one percent said they’d be ready to surrender membership in the 28-member trading bloc. The June survey, conducted by the pollster IBRiS and published in the Polityka weekly, had a margin of error of 3 percent. [Bloomberg] Read more

04 July 2017

Rochdale abuse: 'Muslim communities must tackle sexism'

Muslim communities need to tackle sexism and victim-blaming, the man who prosecuted a grooming gang has said.

Prosecutor Nazir Afzal made the call following the airing of drama "The Betrayed Girls" about Asian men jailed for grooming teenagers in Rochdale.

There were "sizeable chunks" of communities who were derogatory to women and girls, he said.

But a mosque committee member in the town said the race and religion of abusers was "totally irrelevant".

Girls were abused at two takeaway restaurants in the Heywood area of Rochdale by a group of men aged between 24 and 59.

Mr Afzal, who brought the case against the Rochdale gang in 2012, said: "Even now, people will say [the girls] asked for it. 'If I bought them a kebab what did they expect.' [BBC] Read more

Founder of 'liberal' Berlin mosque given 24-hour police guards after deluge of death threats

A women's rights activist who established a "liberal" mosque where burkas are banned has been placed under 24-hour police protection after receiving a deluge of death threats.

Seyran Ates, 54, set up Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque along with six colleagues in Berlin last month to take a stand against fundamentalism and cater for a "modern" interpretation of Islam.

Worshippers of different branches of the religion, as well as homosexuals and atheists, are welcome at the mosque, which counters convention by allowing men and women to pray together.

The mosque has both male and female imams and does not allow full face veils for "security reasons". Founders also believe the garments are "nothing to do with religion, but rather are a political statement".

Ms Ates said she had received thousands of abusive messages each day after the mosque opened in mid-June, with some branding her "the devil incarnate" and telling her she should burn in Hell. Turkish and Egyptian authorities have condemned the mosque. [Evening Standard] Read more

Woman who opened liberal Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in Berlin gets 24-hour protection

A women’s rights activist who set up a liberal mosque in Berlin last month has received so many death threats that she has been placed under 24-hour police protection.

Seyran Ates, 54, a lawyer of Turkish descent, founded the Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in mid-June with six colleagues. It counters conventions by allowing men and women to pray together and having female as well as male imams.

“Since setting up the mosque I have received so many death threats through social media that the police decided they have to protect me around the clock,” Ms Ates said. “The hostile reactions proved how necessary the project was.”

The mosque is open to the different branches of Islam, welcoming Shias, Sunnis, Alawites and Sufis alike, as well as homosexuals and atheists. Full face veils are seen as a political statement and not allowed for security reasons.

The founders say that they want to take a stand against fundamentalism and cater for what they see as the silent majority of Muslims seeking a modern interpretation of Islam. [The Times (£)] Read more

Government urged to agree formal definition of anti-Muslim prejudice to tackle discrimination

Independent report on ‘Unlocking British Muslim Potential’ stresses need to define hate crimes against followers of Islam in the same way anti-Semitism was demarcated last year.

The Government should adopt a definition of anti-Muslim prejudice and commission an independent review of its Prevent programme to help Muslims integrate into British society, a new report has found.

More formal partnerships and events across communities are also called for by a major new commission chaired by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

The commission found a strong sense that Muslims and Islam are “unfairly targeted”, with the fear of discrimination putting off young British Muslims from engaging in politics and other aspects of public life.

The anti-extremism Prevent programme was also raised as an issue in every one of the 11 cities the commission visited to gather evidence.

The commissioners believe that tackling extremism and radicalisation would be “better achieved with a programme that has greater trust, particularly from the UK’s Muslim communities”.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Wrong, Islam needs to be criticised, other religions are regularly criticised and held up to ridicule.

This is simply an attempt by the "liberal" establishment to shut down discussion on the dangers of Islam .There are already sufficient laws in place to protect Muslims from hate crimes both verbal and physical, no more protection is needed.

[ANOTHER] The object of this, like earlier attempts, is to make it illegal to criticise Islam in any way.

This a key step on the road to the islamification of the UK, to prevent any type of complaint or protest as being "racist"

The fact that Islam is an ideology not a race seems always to be lost.

[ANOTHER] There is a major problem with reaching such a definition. I have worked on opposition to genuine anti-Muslim hate speech, which is usually more racist than defined by religious antipathy.

At the same time, as an academically trained former lecturer in Islamic Studies who has been workiung on a major study of issues concerning Islam internationally and particularly in the UK, I am aware that many Musims and Muslim bodies are hyper-sensitive to the point where they condemn even rational and informed criticism of Islam as Islamophobic.

Many non-Muslim writers and scholars have been attacked and even put on trial for perfectly accurate statements about the Qur'an, Muhammad, or Islamic history. I fear that those appointed to define Islamophobia will rely heavily on Muslim bodies to reach a definition. I am not an Islamophobe, but I do have criticisms of Islam and some Islamic practice. If the definition is as broadly as many Muslim leaders would like, Islam will become – as it very nearly is – the only religion, ideology, or political philosophy to be ring-fenced against reasonable criticism.

As an atheist and secularist, it is inevitable that I and others like me will say thing Muslims in general may disapprove of. But if their definition is set in legislation, I and others could be accused of a criminal offence, tried, and fined or imprisoned. That has already happened to several people.

The comparison with anti-Semitism (on which see Kenneth Marcus's scholarly study, 'The Definition of Anti-Semitism' and the IHRA definition recognized by the UK, is not entirely safe. There are similarities, of course, but I know no Jews who would call out fair, academic criticisms of Judaism. In the IHRA definition, false, exaggerated, criticism of Israel or setting double standards for it falls foul of being anti-Semitic.

But fair, accurate, and balanced criticism does not, and plenty of Jews do criticisize the state in that way. More worryingly, there are many reformist Muslims and former Muslims who are critical of what they see as outdated aspects of the faith: they too come in for attacks from most imams and Muslim bodies. A bad definition could see Muslim reformers in the dock. We need to proceed with real caution. [The Independent] Read more

The latest inspiring Tory report on Muslims says we deserve attention because it can stop us becoming terrorists

.... Admittedly, the report includes some well-warranted policies, including an independent review into the Government’s anti-terrorism Prevent programme, advice for media reporting on issues relating to Islam, adopting a legal definition of anti-Muslim prejudice, and encouraging universities to offer courses for imams to receive religious and educational qualifications.

In these respects, the report signals a step forward in battling the rise in Islamophobia seen since the EU referendum result, and the anti-Muslim rhetoric that has become increasingly common in politics. And I appreciate that Dominic Grieve wants to unlock my potential “for the benefit of all”. However, the whole thing is inconsistent at best, providing only a half-hearted understanding of the political dynamics surrounding “integration”, and continuing to treat Muslims primarily as suspect.

.... Nevertheless, the question remains as to why the burden of integration must lie with British Muslims, especially when counter-reports show how Muslim identity has no bearing on whether or not someone feels British. This report claims that many British people believe Muslims have not integrated – but does this not tell us more about those British people than it does about British Muslims?

[TOP RATED COMMENT] I see no evidence that Islamaphobia is on the rise in politics, on the contrary, I hear politicians saying "Islam is the religion of peace" after every terrorist attack. Why shouldn't British people demand that immigrants integrate into British society, the article suggests that the burden rests upon "us" rather than "them" to integrate?

The whole article is propaganda, attempting to portray muslims as victims. If muslims don't like British society they should go back to the country's they came from.

[2ND] Another 'British are to blame' article. If one day I have to go and live in Saudi Arabia I'll find out about the culture and while I most likely wouldn't integrate I wouldn't disrespect it either. .... I also wouldn't demand that my local restaurant served non halal meat. Yes, the UK like every nation on Earth has some intolerant people, it has some xenophobes and racists but to be honest it's articles like this that quite frankly enrage me rather than engage me. They make me think that I am somehow to blame because the occassionally offended or attacked Muslim is my and other law abiding Brits fault for not integrating with the Muslim community ...

[3RD] It is indeed a depressing report. The idea of a new legal definition of anti-Muslim prejudice amounts to a quite outrageous attempt to limit debate on a minority that is becoming deeply problematic. If we are not careful it is going to limit what we can say in threads like this if we have worries about matters like terrorism, a separate system of law for one religious group, gender inequality, prejudice against LGBT people, inhumane animal slaughtering practices, and the political correctness that made Rochdale possible.

[4TH] When Britain is being attacked by homegrown Islamist terrorists whiny articles like this about how people worrying about Muslim integration is somehow racist islamophobia and that the Muslims are somehow the real victims is insulting.

[5TH] You wrote, disingenuously: Integration is a two way street. If you want people to integrate into your society, you should reach out to them too.

Allah disagrees with you. He says:

'O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.' (Al-Ma'idah 5:51)

Integration can only begin when you and your co-religionists ignore Allah's eternal commands.

[6TH] Until Islam reforms itself then it's never going to be able to coexist with the British system of parliamentary democracy and an independent judiciary as Islam seeks to occupy the same space......which is already taken!!

From a philosophical point of view, the vast majority of Brits are entirely indifferent to organised religion and the "worshipping" of supernatural fantasies. So, once again, Islam jars very intractably with British society.

So, both structurally and philosophically Islam is totally at odds with how British society has evolved and developed over the last few hundred years. This point is so obvious yet it is continually lost in the shouting of the "liberal elite", who can't bear the idea of calling a spade a spade for fear of "offending" someone.

[7TH] Yet another whine by a Mohommadan.

Ali Meghi needs to tell us why, of his own free will, he purposefully chooses to follow a religion started by a man who married a 6 year old girl.

[ANOTHER] "How many of these Brits criticising their Muslim compatriots actually know that sharia law dictates a person should obey the law of the country they live in, thus advocating strong national pride?"

LOL LOL LOL.. sure obey the law of ..the ISLAMIC country.... this guy is taking us for a bunch of idiots. It is fact that Muslims must pledge allegiance to Allah and MOhammed ONLY. The Quoran and Sharia are their consitution. They should not live in a western country UNLESS their goal is to impose ISLAM...

The constant lying of these muzzrats trying to serve us the Kool aid is really getting tiring.

[ANOTHER] "How many of these Brits criticising their Muslim compatriots actually know that sharia law dictates a person should obey the law of the country they live in, thus advocating strong national pride?"

Who cares what the Sharia law says? Are you saying that if this wasn't written in Sharia law, it would have been okay for Muslims to break the law of the country they live in? What is written in a medieval holy book is entirely irrelevant to anything at all. Don't expect people to be thankful to Muslims merely for following the law. Other are able to follow the law even without being told to do so by their religious book.

Muslims need to do more than merely follow the law - they need to integrate into the culture of the host country, and adopt the social norms of the host country. Or are you saying that arranged marriages, long beards, skull caps, niqabs etc. should be banned by law, in which case Muslims would be obliged to not practice these things, since sharia tells them to follow the law?

[ANOTHER] Dame Louise Casey said that there is a "first generation in every generation" phenomenon in Muslim communities which is acting as a "bar" to integration.

The review also accuses Labour and local authorities of having "ignored or even condoned" harmful cultural traditions for fear of being branded "racist or Islamaphobic".

Her report finds that thousands of people from all-Muslim enclaves in northern cities such as Bradford, Dewsbury and Blackburn seldom, if ever, leave their areas and have almost no idea of life outside…the report will send ‘shock waves’ through the system by attacking the Government, and particularly the Home Office, for failing to manage the consequences of mass migration and promote integration. [The Independent] Read more

The Tories would rather cosy up to despots than keep us safe

They export extremist ideology which menaces Britain’s national security. The hatred that is manufactured and disseminated within their kingdoms threatens the safety and indeed lives of everyone reading this article.

From Saudi Arabia to Kuwait, they are key allies and partners of the British government, and the Tories are endeavouring to forge ever closer links with these despotic exporters of fanaticism.

And now these same Tories are sitting on a report given to them last year which examines the foreign funding of extremists in the UK. After three murderous Islamist extremists attacks in the space of a few months, this is nothing short of a national scandal.

The Green MP Caroline Lucas is right to question whether the failure to publish the report is because of criticisms made of the government’s Saudi allies. The British people – traumatised by repeated atrocities which deliberately targeted innocent civilians – have the right to know whether their government’s friends are putting their lives at risk. The failure to publish the report will fuel a suspicion that the Tories prioritise diplomatic ties and economic interests over the national security of this country.

[A POPULAR COMMENT 121 votes] If the government does release this report and it reveals that large numbers of UK mosques are being funded by Saudi Arabia and are teaching hardline Wahhabi Islam, what then? Will Owen Jones call for these mosques to be shut down?

[ANOTHER 82] Regardless of whether the report is released or not. Nobody in the mainstream public sphere will have an honest discussion about Islamic extremism in the UK, fears of accusations of racism and childlike racism of low expectations get in the way of criticising a certain set of beliefs beginning with the letter "I". [Guardian Cif] Read more

03 July 2017

UK mosques should appoint British-born imams, says report

Mosques in the UK should hire British-born imams on a living wage who are better equipped than foreign religious leaders to understand the challenges faced by British Muslims, a report has recommended.

The Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All is the outcome of an 18-month inquiry established by campaigning group Citizens UK and chaired by the former attorney general Dominic Grieve. Its chief task was to examine how the participation of Muslims in public and community life might be improved.

It describes engagement between the government and Muslim communities as “a broken relationship that needs to be resolved, and both parties need to be proactive in addressing this”.

Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you

The 76-page report, published on Monday, says “British Muslim experiences are more diverse than is often assumed”. [The Guardian] Read more

Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life - Citizens UK

Citizens UK launched the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life in September 2015, as our current experience is that Muslim leaders are retreating from public life, fearful of being tarnished as extremist simply for having faith, with groups who work with prominent Islamic institutions being pilloried for partnering with alleged extremists.

This commission, chaired by Dominic Grieve QC MP, brought together 20 Commissioners drawn from a wide cross section of British society to consider how the Muslim community could better engage and participate in public life.

The Commission toured the UK, and held hearings, roundtables and individual meetings in a number of towns and cities, including those where Citizens UK works directly with civil society institutions, to hear their testimony as well as evidence from the Muslim communities, business, education and government bodies. [Citizens UK] Read more

Mosques must appoint British-born imams with good English, report concludes

Mosques must appoint British-born imams who speak fluent English because Islamic communities need “better leadership”, a major report has concluded.

An inquiry, chaired by the former Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP, found that Muslims need “fit for purpose” leaders who can understand “modern British life”.

The report, which was commissioned by the community organising charity Citizens UK, set out to examine the participation of the Islamic community in public life.

It noted that many imams are born and educated overseas, but said: “It is of great importance that British-born imams, who have a good understanding of British culture and who fluently speak English, are encouraged and appointed in preference to overseas alternatives.”

Imams were told they must take a “stronger stance” against persecution of others, including against anti-Semitism, Christian persecution and other branches of Islam.

The report, titled Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim potential for the benefit of all, also recommended that universities should provide courses so that imams can be accredited with religious and education qualifications. [The Telegraph] Read more