31 August 2017

Britain is 'home to 35,000 Islamist fanatics', more than any other country in Europe, top official warns

.... In the wake of the Manchester suicide bombing it emerged that the authorities were grappling with 500 investigations into 3,000 individuals.

Figures published in May suggested that a further 20,000 individuals had been considered "subjects of interest" in the past, although the period the figures cover is unclear.

Anti-terror efforts came under fresh scrutiny following revelations that suicide bomber Salman Abedi had been a "former subject of interest" to MI5 who was "subject to review".

Security minister Ben Wallace said at the time: "All those people are in the mix and they have to be looked at."

A senior Whitehall source said 18 plots had been foiled since 2013 in Britain, including five since the Westminster atrocity in March this year. [The Telegraph] Read more

England is now more pro-immigrant – but it’s more Islamophobic too

Reading through Hope Not Hate’s latest report on their surveys of English attitudes towards race and immigration, one comes away with a mix of optimism and pessimism.

Those of us who are what the organisation describes as “confident multiculturals” – or what the tabloids would describe as out-of-touch liberal elitists – can be heartened by what seem to be an increase in our ranks. We now make up 22% of the sample, up from 8% in the first survey in 2011. The two most pro-immigrant groups now make up 39% of the overall total.

At the other end of the spectrum, those who are “hostile” to immigration have remained consistent, but with a shift from those who are most fiercely opposed – down from 13% to 5% since 2011 – to the group described as “latently hostile,” up to 17% from 10% in the same period.

This indicates that even those people harbouring anti-immigrant views are more likely to engage with the political process than to resort to direct violence themselves or support it in others. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Who will safeguard the victims of our culture wars?

A little white Christian girl is taken from her London home and fostered by a niqab-wearing Muslim mother who doesn’t speak English. The cross around this five-year-old’s neck is supposedly snatched away and she is denied her favourite food, spaghetti carbonara, because it contains bacon. The clear and inflammatory inference of the Times’s exclusive story this week was that a child’s identity was being heinously erased while a council unwilling to confront religious intolerance – at least, when perpetrated by Muslims – stood back and let it happen.

True, the paper glossed suspiciously quickly over why the child was taken from the birth family in the first place. But the story was apparently based on leaked official reports, and written by the same fine reporter who meticulously exposed the scandal of child-grooming gangs across Britain. MPs demanded something be done. Commentators piled in. The far right had a field day. Finally, the Times reported that a judge had intervened and sent the little girl to live with her grandmother, for all the world as if its reporting had saved the day. And it is only thanks to that judge’s published ruling that we now know how much of this was either grossly misleading or plain untrue.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 531 votes] Indeed Andrew Norfolk of the Times exposed the grooming gangs whilst the gruaniard jurnos and the labour council refused to believe these girls were being systematically raped due to political correctness.

[2ND 486] However the judge in the case praised the reporting by The Times, and the Guardian's standards have been called into question this week.

[3RD 449] The families will be OK because the law will protect their identity.

To suggest the story has been cooked up by Islamaphobes is typical Guardian nonsense. As a guy from the fostering agency pointed out on TV, Foster families have to speak English. But do all choose to speak English at home? The child claimed not, in the case of her foster family.

It is an area of legitimate concern.

[4TH 399] There's a bit of sleight of hand going on here. There were two foster families weren't there.

Whatever, if the writer can't see the issue with placing this child with heavily practising Muslim households (IE veil wearing) then there's little point discussing it.

[5TH 387] "True, the paper glossed suspiciously quickly over why the child was taken from the birth family in the first place."

That's a terrible bit of 'whataboutery":

1) They might have glossed over it because the details would lead to the child being identified.

2) The reason for fostering has absolutely nothing to do with the standard of care the fosters provide.

[6TH 368] Considering [the Guardian] provides no sources at all, why exactly should I believe this article instead of the one from Times? Andrew Norfolk at least is an actual journalist who goes out and finds stories instead of columnist who just recycles others' work into lightweight 'outrage for masses' pieces.

[7TH 327] "the last thing she needs is to become a pawn in a bigger political game." But everything is political. Like Grenfell. All political activists exploit whatever they can to push their agenda, even as they hypocritically accuse their enemies of it.

[8TH 298] The indigenous, largely white population had multiculturalism imposed by the Labour Party in a cynical attempt to increase their constituency. It is a matter a record.

Since then they have watched the liberal elite and its followers bend over backwards to avoid confronting any difficulties, to the extent that victims of systematic child abuse are not believed and even threatened with prosecution. A Labour politician was forced to resign for her clumsy phrasing of the problem.

There are aspects of militant, and in fact orthodox Islam, which are inconsistent with the values of this county in the current age.

Is it any wonder that people seize upon the latest development as being indicative of a growing Muslim/Islamic hegemony? Large segments of the population feel under threat and powerless. [Guardian Cif] Read more

30 August 2017

Half of Britons think Islam is a threat to the West, according to 'worrying' new study

More than 40 per cent of Britons say that recent terror attacks have made them more suspicious of Muslims, according to a wide-ranging study into attitudes surrounding race and religion in Britain.

Hope not Hate, the advocacy group that campaigns to “counter racism and fascism”, revealed that 52 per cent of people think that Islam is a threat to the West in its annual Fear and Hope report.

It said that, since 2011, it has tracked a shift in public anxiety from race and racism to Islamophobia and religious discrimination.

It noted that, while attitudes towards Muslims improved between 2011 and February 2016, recent attacks — such as the Manchester Arena bombing — have seen anxieties about Islam return to levels of six years ago.

Most people (76 per cent) agree that Muslim communities need to do more in response to the threat of Islamic extremism, while 50 per cent feel that most Muslims have integrated well into British society. [Yahoo News] Read more

Almost half of English people more suspicious of Muslims as a result of recent terror attacks, study finds

More than four in 10 people in England are more suspicious of Muslims as a result of recent terrorist attacks, despite the country becoming more tolerant and open overall, according to a major new study.

Figures reveal that following recent incidents in Westminster, Manchester and Borough Market, 42 per cent of people have less trust for Muslims in Britain, while more than half (52 per cent) believe Islam is a threat to the West.

A quarter of English people also believe that Islam is a dangerous religion that incites violence, with older people more prone to expressing Islamophobic views, according to the Populus poll, published in a report by campaign group HOPE not Hate.

The increase in negative attitudes towards Muslims comes despite an overall improvement in attitudes among Britons towards different groups in society, with the report also finding that two-fifths of the population (39 per cent) have a liberal outlook – compared with 22 per cent six years ago.

The study, which asked more than 4,000 people in England 140 questions relating to current events, shows that despite the nation becoming more open and tolerant as a whole, responses to Brexit have left Britain more divided, with attitudes towards race and faith becoming increasingly polarised since the last poll in 2011. [The Independent] Read more

29 August 2017

Quebec's niqab ban is progressive. The NDP apparently isn't

In their Sunday night French-language debate in Montreal, four NDP leadership aspirants gingerly navigated the minefield of Quebec’s Bill 62, nearing enactment, which will ban face coverings in the delivery and reception of publicly-funded services.

As good leftists one and all, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron, Jagmeet Singh and Niki Ashton oppose any such ban in their multicultural hearts, but desperately want to avoid offending Quebec nationalists (and others, such as this columnist) who find such a ban perfectly reasonable.

My colleague Chris Selley came down particularly hard on Niki Ashton in his recent commentary in these pages, for her ascription of Quebec’s antipathy to the niqab to the “widely different … place” religion has held in Quebec “since the Quiet Revolution.” Selley was having none of this “standard defence”—i.e. that it is more about Quebec’s political history than Islam per se — a position he labels “hopelessly transparent rubbish.”

He then sarcastically elaborated on how “very odd” it seemed to him that only Islam was targeted in the ban, since “Bill 62 places no restrictions on providing or receiving public services while wearing any religious garment or symbol other than the niqab.” [National Post] Read more

Just Yorkshire on Prevent – Just Rubbish

Are the government’s “Prevent” anti-extremist policies well-crafted and working for the country? One way to find out is to look at the arguments of Prevent critics. If they are laughably poor, we are on the right track. Just look for dubious methodology, exaggerations, distortions, and outright lies.

Well, today the charity “Just Yorkshire” will publish a report which should have Prevent supporters cheering, for it is transparently shambolic.

“Prevent is built upon a foundation of Islamophobia and racism” is one of the report’s headline conclusions.

This is completely out of order and outrageous. Senior politicians, including the former and current Prime Ministers, have repeatedly noted that terrorists make up a tiny minority of the Muslim population while hardcore Islamist extremists are on the fringes. Any fair reading of government statements will show that Muslims in general are not the government’s target in anti-extremist policy work. [Harry’s Place] Read more

Prevent scheme 'fosters fear and censorship at universities'

The government’s anti-radicalisation scheme, Prevent, is instilling “fear, suspicion and censorship” on university campuses, an advocacy group has warned.

In a report based on interviews with 36 Muslim students, academics and professionals, Just Yorkshire said the scheme had fostered a “policing culture” in higher education and argued that it should be closed down immediately.

It concludes: “A wide spectrum of our respondents articulated concerns in relation to surveillance, censorship and the resultant isolation felt by many.”

Prevent, a voluntary programme, aims to divert people from terrorism before they offend. Public bodies such as schools and universities have a duty to report those they suspect are at risk of being radicalised.

Just Yorkshire described the scheme, which police and ministers are considering making compulsory, as being “built upon a foundation of Islamophobia and racism” and said it was ineffective and counterproductive.

The report said there was “an abundant body of evidence” that Prevent officers had disrupted or closed down events about Islamophobia or terrorism that had been organised by academics and campaigners. [The Guardian] Read more

28 August 2017

Burkas are political symbols not Islamic ones, Muslim scholar says

Associate Professor Elham Manea, a Swiss-Yemeni citizen and the author of Women and Sharia Law, argues it is naïve — even racist — to regard the wearing of a burka as a sincere act of faith.

"The burka is not Islamic," she told the Religion and Ethics Report.

"It's a tradition that comes from the heart of Saudi Arabia, a region called Nejd."

Dr Manea says the veiled garment was not worn by women outside of Nejd until Saudi Arabia's Wahabi regime came to power in the late 1970s.

"The re-Islamisation of Saudi Arabia according to the Wahabi Salafi fundamentalist principles led to the mainstreaming of the burka," she said.

"With Gulf money you had a promotion of this ideology and a reading of Islam that turned the burka into an 'Islamic' tradition." [ABC] Read more

Worried teachers flag terror fears three times a DAY: Staff report radicalisation in the playground and weak school policy towards extremist behaviour 1,180 times in two and half years

Teachers concerned about extremism in schools have logged up to three warnings a day with a Government terrorism hot-line.

Staff have raised 1,180 alerts with the Department of Education in two and a half years, making 741 phone-calls and sending 439 emails.

The concerns included pupils being vulnerable to radicalisation and staff members influencing their classes.

The issues were logged with the Prevent line, a watchdog set up to protect vulnerable people from being radicalised to supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves.

The highest amount of warnings raised this year was 76 in June, the month of the London Bridge terror attack. [Daily Mail] Read more

Non-pork meals must be available for school lunch, rules French court

A French court has ruled that schools should provide an alternative to pork school lunches in the interest of Muslim and Jewish children who do not eat the meat.

The decision came after a rightwing local authority stopped providing a choice for children.

On Monday a Muslim organisation won its legal case against the authority at Chalon-sur-Saône in Burgundy. The court, sitting in Dijon, annulled the town hall’s 2015 decision not to provide an alternative to pork in its school canteens.

Chalon-sur-Saône officials said they would appeal against the decision.

The judge said he was not concerned with religious considerations but ruled that the town’s failure to provide an alternative meal, which meant many local Muslim children went without lunch, was “not in keeping with the spirit of the international convention on the rights of children” and was not “in the interests of the children”. [The Guardian] Read more

U.S. Muslims are religiously observant, but open to multiple interpretations of Islam

For American Muslims, being highly religious does not necessarily translate into acceptance of traditional notions of Islam. While many U.S. Muslims say they attend mosque and pray regularly, sizable shares also say that there is more than one way to interpret their religion and that traditional understandings of Islam need to be reinterpreted to address the issues of today.

By some conventional measures, U.S. Muslims are as religious as – or more religious than – many Americans who belong to other faith groups. Four-in-ten (43%) Muslim Americans say they attend mosque at least once a week, including 18% who say they attend more than once a week, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. An additional 32% say they attend once or twice a month, or a few times a year.

These attendance levels are comparable to those of U.S. Christians, 47% of whom say they attend services weekly or more, and greater than the 14% of American Jews who say the same. [Pew Research Center] Read more

27 August 2017

One in five mosques checked for extremism in 2016

Last year, State security investigated 58 places of worship as part of the fight against radical Islamism.

That means that one in five Belgian mosques was checked, according to Justice Minister Koen Geens. De Tijd reported on it on Saturday.

56 places of worship and 57 Islamic associations (compared to 61 in 2016) attracted the attention of Intelligence services in 2015, the Minister said when asked by MR MP Philippe Pivin.

A judicial investigation was launched in certain specific cases. State security inspects a mosque for several reasons: the mosque management, the imams that preach there or the visitors.

The service highlighted the fact that nearly all the mosques investigated were not recognised. “Our investigations focus on threats like extremism, the radicalisation process and terrorism. In this context, the religious communities are rarely recognised. Terrorist groups are not known for their theological training, on the contrary”. [The Brussels Times] Read more

26 August 2017

Swedish Municipality Buys Children Burkinis For Swimming Lessons

The Swedish municipality of Hässleholm has purchased several ‘burkinis’ for young Muslim girls, saying that it allows them to participate in school swimming lessons.

The municipality justified the purchase of the controversial Islamic swimwear by saying it wanted to include as many children as possible in the school’s swimming lessons programme. Municipal Deputy Managing Director Rolf Bengtsson likened the purchase to providing a computer or ice skates for children who couldn’t afford them, Swedish newspaper Norra Skane reports.

“We had problems with water quality, so we asked the school that if students are to be able to swim in our baths, they must wear swimsuit, shorts or burkinis,” said the local swimming pool manager Henrik Samevik. [Breitbart London] Read more

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: July 2017

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that the government would not publish a much-delayed report into the funding of Islamist extremism in Britain.... Opposition parties condemned the government for not publishing the report. They said that the decision appeared to be intended to bury any criticism of Saudi Arabia.

The British government lacks reliable immigration statistics and has no way of accurately tracking who is entering or leaving the country, according to a new report released by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

A father-of-five, Anjem Choudary, an Islamist who is serving a five-and-a-half year sentence for urging support of the Islamic State, has claimed up to £500,000 ($640,000) in benefits, which he has referred to as "Jihad seeker's allowance." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

25 August 2017

Iraq drops chapter on evolution from school textbooks

Iraq's education ministry has quietly dropped a chapter about evolution from its biology textbooks. The ministry has so far given no explanation but the change has brought complaints and ridicule from Iraqis on social media.

Among the complainers, Dr Mohammed Fawzi, who studied genetic engineering, bioinformatics and biotechnology at Bahgdad University, posted this sarcastic comment in Arabic on Facebook:

"We congratulate our people on deleting the chapter on evolution from the sixth grade textbook, because we have no need to evolve. Backwardness is beautiful!"

"Congratulations to us on our stance against the greatest scientific truths. Then come those who say: "Why are our people backward?"

Photographs of the revised textbook's index page have been circulating on the internet. They show it contains chapters on cells, tissue, reproduction, embryology and genetics. [al-bab.com] Read more

24 August 2017

Libyan preacher on benefits investigated for suspected hate speech at Swiss mosque

The city of Biel/Bienne is investigating a Libyan man who came to Switzerland as an asylum seeker nearly 20 years ago for giving sermons at a mosque in which he called for non-Muslims to be destroyed.

His alleged hate speech was reported by Swiss media including broadcaster SRF and the Tages-Anzeiger on Wednesday, and has caused particular consternation given they also revealed the unemployed man has been living on Swiss social welfare for years, receiving nearly 600,000 francs over the last 13 years.

The 64-year-old is an occasional volunteer preacher at the Ar’Rahman mosque in Biel/Bienne, said the paper. In a sermon recorded by SRF and attributed to the Libyan, he asked Allah to “destroy the enemies of our religion, destroy the Jews, the Christians, the Hindus, the Russians and the Shiites”.

The preacher came to Switzerland as a refugee in 1998 and was in 2001 granted asylum, claiming he was persecuted by the regime of Colonel Gadaffi. He now has a C permit granting permanent residence.

According to the Tages Anzeiger he has hardly worked during his time in Switzerland and has received nearly 600,000 francs in benefits over the past 13 years. [The Local] Read more

Western leftists need to stop supporting Islam’s regressive elements

.... Some mentioned that Western ultra-liberal groups have blocked challenges to various Islamic practices. One imperative is to insist no one thwarts legitimate debate on orthodox Islamic practice for the flimsy excuse that such debate treads on the toes of politically oversensitive cry-bullies, who might call such debate culturally regressive. Issues such as polygamy and wife battery are too important to pander to such sentiments.

It was noted that the naivete of the ultra-left has helped enable a political and punitive brand of Islam to establish its symbols in North America — and especially Canada.

The niqab and burka are two of the most powerful symbols of political Islam, and these are being promoted by both leaders and followers among those who follow this strain of Islam. [Toronto Sun] Read more

Moderate Muslims need help from all of us

.... I see a tightrope along which we have to walk and keep walking. On the one side is an attempt to pretend that there is no problem. This suggests terrorism is less significant than road accidents, grooming gangs are made up of all sorts, jihadism is a product of poverty, discrimination or western foreign policy. Misogyny is less toxic if it speaks in a language you don’t understand.

On the other side is the creation of a way of thinking that casts an entire global religion and its billions of adherents as, a priori, adversaries; that says it is in the nature of the faith that Islam must be hostile to the rest of us, and we to it.

That would be grim because on current trends we can project a UK Muslim population of 5.5 million, or 8.2 per cent of the population, by 2030. And what kind of Islam will those millions espouse?

A common idea I’d call “Koran fatalism” holds fast among critics of Islam and echoes the arguments of the fundamentalists. It’s an insistence on the centrality of conservative orthodoxy, in much the same way as someone proclaiming papal infallibility and the Latin Mass to be essential features of Catholicism. The essence of the true Muslim faith is held to be scriptural literalism coupled with unarguable teachings on how to live, prescribed by various religious authorities in the aftermath of the death of the Prophet.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 254 votes] First, one cannot be "born Muslim". Islam is a collection of man-made ideas. It is not a race or a nationality.

Second, there is no moderate version of the Koran. People interpret it the way they see fit. Currently, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al Bahgdadi, interprets it literally. And he has a doctorate in Islamic Studies. You don't.

Thirdly, I'd be more concerned by the fact that in 2017, people are tearing down statues of bad people who died 200 years ago, but merely lighting candles and urging understanding when bad people blow up teenage girls at a pop concert.

[2ND 235] Your optimism and aspirations are to be lauded. However, to coin a phrase, I believe that moderate Muslims are 'p-ing in the wind'.

As part of the (failed) multi-culturalism experiment one section of society alone has been left to self-police and failed miserably. One religion alone is constantly shown to be intolerant of both its own adherents and former followers (never mind about non-believers). How many death threats has the apostate Aliyah Saleem received?

You have mentioned grooming gangs and so I will skip over that subject as it has been amply covered here on these comments pages. Simply answer why, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and as reported by the BBC, did the majority of Muslims surveyed sympathise with Al-Qaeda? Why have recent surveys shown that a majority would not report a suspected extremist to the police? Why do so many want to live here given the peaceful, tolerant and successful lives they have in their countries origin (and have no intention of integrating our infidel society)?

As a well relatively travelled person I can say that even now, nearly forty years on, Saudi Arabia remains the darkest place that I have ever been to.

I wish you good luck.

[3RD 200] I have two modern, liberal Muslim neighbours, or maybe I should call them "lapsed Muslims", becaude they rarely if ever attend prayers at the local mosque, never fast during Ramadan and are not careful about checking if food is halal. Even so, they identify as Muslim because, they say, the religion is the basis of their identity. Loyalty to the religion and to other Muslims comes before loyalty to the nation.

The religion has a strong hold on them even if they are not practising Muslims. The world is divided for them into those who believe in Allah and those who don't. They tolerate unbelievers rather than regarding them as equal. If this is the most moderate and modern version of Islam, it doesn't give me much hope regarding integration.

[4TH 174] It seems that the author of this article has not read the Koran, nor the hadiths, and is ignorant of the life and character of Muhammed and also of-Sharia Law (eg that the penalty for apostasy from Islam is death, according to all four schools of Islamic law).

[5TH 165] I noticed that a march took place in Barcelona following the atrocity there. The march was organised to give "moderate" muslims a chance to show their revulsion at the terrorism perpetrated in the-name of Islam. Over two million muslims live in Spain. Fewer than one thousand took to the streets to represent "moderate" Islam. Is further comment needed?

[6TH 147] You are not so much short on theological specifics as entirely bereft of them!

I am certainly a core Koran fatalist and am terrified and horrified by the Suras of the Medina phase of the Koran - by example Sura Mohammed which advocates beheading and enslavement.

However I would be very interested to hear how "moderate" Islamic clerics can leave things out that are specified in the Koran when it specifically requires that it be taken as a whole - and that leaving things out and moving things around is how Christians betrayed God. The completeness and consistency is supposed to be evidence that it came from God. If you start saying that bits do not apply then you have just demolished the Koran.

There are a stack of quotes that directly combat your argument - for example "Allah will cause the infidel to turn his back" which can be taken as advocating misleading people, like yourself, .

Or perhaps you seek to advocate leaving the Koran and Mohammed out of Islam?!

Please make your case - or delegate to your moderate Cleric - at the moment it just looks like more PC fantasy as all too often it is the quietist jihadi Father who brings up the terrorist son.

[7TH 136] We are dealing with not just with-a religion but also a religion that, unlike any other, brings with it a political and social philosophy that-clearly contradict Western norms, legal tradition and values.

You don't seem to register the enormity of the sex-discriminatory dress code which deprives women of the freedom available to men to dress in a way that they want.

As many people have observed, Islam has not had its Reformation and the Muslim world its Enlightenment - and there is no prospect of either.

Platitudes are not enough. We have to live together and find a humane practical way of doing so but that cannot mean passive acceptance of the unacceptable. [The Times (£)] Read more

Muslims integrate in Europe despite discrimination: study

Muslim migrants in Europe have been largely successful in learning the language of their adoptive countries and finding jobs despite a fifth of the local population being opposed to their presence, according to a study published Thursday.

The Bertelsmann Foundation study looked at the Muslim populations of five countries — the U.K., Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France — and found that 76 percent of second-generation Muslims learned the local European language as their mother tongue.

Educational figures varied. While 90 percent of French Muslims stay in school until the age of 17, only 36 and 39 percent do the same in Germany and Austria.

Germany leads the way in labor integration, where the proportion of Muslims in the labor force is at parity with the general population. The study cited France’s “tight labor market” as why the unemployment rate for Muslims is at 14 percent, far higher than the 8 percent average for non-Muslims.

The study also found that devout Muslims are likely to be less well-educated, less likely to be employed and earn less than other Muslims. The inequality may be down to discrimination — the study also found that 20 percent of non-Muslims do not want to live next to a Muslim — but it may also be due to devout Muslims’ jobs conflicting with their religious duties, such as fasting or praying five times a day. [POLITICO] Read more

Integration of Muslims better in Germany than in rest of Europe: study

Muslims who have already lived in Germany for a while are better integrated than Muslims in other European countries, according to a study released by the Bertelsmann Foundation on Thursday. But the study revealed some weaknesses in integration, too.

The study called “Integrated, but not accepted?” compared the situations of Muslims who came to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Great Britain before 2010. Categories for assessment included language skills, education, work and social contact.

Germany came out on top in a few categories, including the integration of Muslim immigrants into the labour market and low unemployment.

About 60 percent of Germany’s 4.7 million Muslims are in full time employment, in line with the national average. The unemployment rate among German Muslims (including part-time jobs) is actually better than for the rest of the population. While the Bertelsmann Foundation found that 5 percent of Muslims were unemployed, it recorded that 7 percent of the rest of the population had no job.

Regarding language skills, only 46 percent of Muslims surveyed learned to speak German as a first language as children. In France, the percent of Muslims who learned the local language as children is 74 percent, and in Britain 59 percent. [The Local] Read more

Survey finds Muslims well integrated into Swiss society

Muslims are generally well integrated into Swiss society, an international research project reports. Most feel a strong connection to Switzerland, despite facing Islamophobia, with nearly one in five Swiss saying they would not want Muslim neighbours.

A new “Religion Monitor” surveyexternal link by the Germany-based Bertelsmann Foundation, published on Thursday, examined the language skills, level of education, employment and social engagement of Muslims in Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria and Britain. It found that 98% of Swiss Muslims - both of first and following generations - felt connected to Switzerland. The study did not cover refugees who arrived in Europe after 2010.

Around 350,000 and 400,000 Muslims live in Switzerland (population 8.3 million), around 12% of whom are Swiss citizens. They represent an extremely diverse community divided along ethnic and linguistic lines with around 80% originating from the Balkans region and Turkey. [swissinfo.ch] Read more

23 August 2017

Charlie Hebdo criticised for 'dangerous' Islam cartoon following Barcelona attack

Satirical magazine was targeted by jihadi gunmen in 2015, killing the majority of its editorial staff.

Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine attacked by jihadi gunmen in 2015, has published a provocative cartoon criticising Islam in the wake of the Catalonia terror attacks that left 14 dead.

The latest edition of the satirical weekly, released on Wednesday 23 August, depicts dead bodies lying in the wake of a speeding truck, with the caption: "Islam, eternal religion of peace".

.... Editor Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau defended the cover in his editorial, arguing that French society is refusing to confront the realities of Islamist terrorism out of fear of upsetting law-abiding Muslim moderates.

He wrote: "The debates and questions about the role of religion, and in particular the role of Islam, in these attacks have completely disappeared." [International Business Times] Read more

Hey Macarena: Saudi police detain 14-year-old boy for dancing in the street

Saudi police said on Tuesday they had detained a 14-year-old boy who was filmed dancing to the 1990s hit song Macarena at a street crossing in the coastal city of Jeddah, in a clip that was widely shared on social media.

The teenager, whose name and nationality were not given, was being questioned because he had shown “improper public behaviour” and disrupted traffic, a statement from Mecca police said. It was not clear whether he would be formally charged. [The Guardian] Read more

Are old photos of ‘westernised’ Afghan women driving Trump’s foreign policy?

.... It’s not new for the US and other countries to believe it’s up to them to “liberate” women in countries embroiled in conflict and war. But the concern for women’s rights is usually short-lived, often only used as a tactic to initiate military action, and not an end goal. And much like the far right’s fake concern for women in the Middle East to be “free” like women in their country, Trump is also conveniently overlooking his past record regarding women’s rights.

This is a man who has openly bragged about sexually assaulting women, signed in a global gag rule that’s been described as a “death warrant for women around the world”, and repeatedly attacked Planned Parenthood in the hope of rolling back American women’s access to reproductive healthcare. So it’s hard to believe that he’s stumbled on to a new-found concern for women’s rights in Afghanistan.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 316 votes] There is no point talking about this subject till The Guardian actually states and condemns the treatment of women in Islam.

Wrong, though his causes may be, if Trump succeeds in establishing a Westernized Afghanistan away from the Taliban, radical islam will decline and women will get more liberty.

However, that does not align well with the narrative "oooooh evil Trump" does it?

I am far from a right voter but jesus, pieces like this tip me over the edge to vote Tory.

[2ND 256] "Accompanying the photos, they write comments that compare Afghan women with western women, claiming Islam has “oppressed” women to the point where they can no longer dress how they want."

Well that's more or less true.

It's disappointing that the Guardian continues to swerve any real discussion of the treatment of women in Islam and instead focuses on a tiny minority of far-right posts on social media.

[3RD 237] I don't think it's anti-islamic, or pro - Trump, to point out that many women did have more freedom in much of the middle east in the 70s. I was there then, and they did.

[4TH 192] "And it’s also the same far-right social media users in the US or Europe who feign concern for women in the Middle East for the purpose of undermining, derailing or silencing women, preventing them from speaking up about feminist issues at home. A photo that the far right has long wielded as a sexist trope against women, and as an anti-Islam meme in their social media feeds, is now being presented to Trump by national security advisers."

Anyone who has any issues with the way women are treated under Islam is far-right in your book. And when something closer to home happens to women and girls, you just try to brush it under the carpet.

Yet conservative Islam is far, far to the right of the most hard-right Tory MP on social issues.

[5TH 169] "claiming Islam has “oppressed” women to the point where they can no longer dress how they want,"

If we accept the two leading strands of Islam are Sunni and Shia, and that the two leading examplars of Sunnism and Shiaism are Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively then the far right are, in that claim at least, entirely correct.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have laws determining how women can dress, and both enforce them vigourosuly.

Lets file this under arkward truth, shall we? [Guardian Cif] Read more

22 August 2017

Triple talaq: India court bans Islamic instant divorce

India's top court has ruled the practice of instant divorce in Islam unconstitutional, marking a major victory for women's rights activists.

In a 3-2 majority verdict, the court called the practice "un-Islamic".

India is one of a handful of countries where a Muslim man can divorce his wife in minutes by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times.

The landmark court decision came in response to petitions challenging the so-called "triple talaq" custom.

The cases were filed by five Muslim women who had been divorced in this way and two rights groups.

Women's rights campaigners have hailed the court's decision as a historic win.

There have been cases in which Muslim men in India have divorced their wives by issuing the so-called triple talaq by letter, telephone and, increasingly, by text message, WhatsApp and Skype. A number of these cases made their way to the courts as women contested the custom. [BBC] Read more

21 August 2017

Christian boy in Pakistan faces death penalty for allegedly burning Quran

A teenage boy from the minority Christian community in Pakistan has been arrested over blasphemy charges for allegedly burning pages of the Quran. Asif Massih, 18, could be awarded a death penalty if convicted of blasphemy.

Massih was arrested on the night of 12 August after a complaint was registered against him. The complaint stated that he burnt a few pages of the Muslim holy book outside a shrine in Jam Kayk Chattha village in central Punjab province.

"He is in jail now," Muhammad Asgharat, a police official at the Alipur Chattha police station, told Al Jazeera.

Another police official said that hundreds of people had gathered at the time of his arrest. People were demanding the accused to be handed over to them. [International Business Times] Read more

20 August 2017

Burqa ‘confronting’, says Abbott

Tony Abbott has joined One Nation’s Pauline Hanson in criticising the burqa.

While labelling the Queensland senator’s decision to wear the burqa into the Parliament last week a “stunt”, he said he understood her point.

“I think she was trying to make the point that it is a confronting form of attire, and it is a confronting form of attire,” Mr Abbott told The West Australian.

“Now, I am not saying it should be banned, but it is a confronting form of attire and I certainly would be disappointed if any Australian chose to wear it.

“It was obviously a stunt, (but) I understand the point she was trying to make.”

When asked if Senate president Stephen Parry should have prevented Senator Hanson from entering the chamber dressed in the burqa, Mr Abbott said it was a “matter for the Senate”. [The West Australian] Read more

Why I know that ISIS is a problem of MY religion: Leading activist SARA KHAN on why it is the job of fellow Muslims to defeat terror

.... Anti-Muslim bigotry has the same effect, as former CIA director David Petraeus acknowledged when he said such hatred ‘directly undermines our ability to defeat Islamist extremists by alienating [those] whose help we most need: namely, Muslims.’

Instead we need to challenge head-on the worldview and ideology of the extremists.

Muslim theologians need to provide an alternative to the toxic narrative propagated by Islamists and clarify theological issues such as jihad, sharia, the caliphate and the global Muslim community (ummah).

ISIS and its allies have been hugely successful in using the internet to spread their propaganda of hate.

Now those same techniques should be urgently used to powerfully articulate an Islam which embraces equality, human rights, freedom and democracy while exposing the incompatibility of Salafi-Islamism with Islamic teachings.

Similarly, counter-terrorism initiatives need to recognise this existential battle for the soul of Islam and support those Muslims who are on the frontline. It is a battle we must win.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 649 votes] Lost cause when muslims detest western values and don't want to integrate.

[2ND 538] All these deaths because people believing in fairy tales, I don't need religion to enable me to be a decent human being.

[3RD 458] Watch yerself Corbyn voters will hunt you down, you cant be seen offending their main voter base

[4TH 420] How about some organised and vocal prorests by the muslim community against ISIS then?

[5TH 399] You don't need religion. Use your brain and think. It was invented thousands of years ago to control people before they even thought the world was flat.

[6TH 390] "Why I know that ISIS is a problem of MY religion" ...... no chance as the majority are sympathisers with them. [Daily Mail] Read more

19 August 2017

Man vows never to return to Aldi after spotting sign saying cashier is unable to sell alcohol

Bosses at the store, which has more than 700 branches nationwide, put up a sign at the end of the conveyor belt which read: ‘No alcohol is able to be served on this till.

Posting the offending sign on Twitter he wrote: ‘Well I won’t be shopping in Aldi anymore. Everyone retweet this.

Responding @AldiUK said: ‘Hi Ethan, thanks for your comment. If a colleague raises concerns about a job they have been asked to do, our approach is to try and find a solution.

Transgender teen took his own life after school said he couldn't change his name

‘In this case we put out a sign on the till, letting customers know that our colleague would not be serving alcohol.

‘We’re sorry for any inconvenience this might have caused and will try to ensure all colleagues are placed in the most suitable positions moving forwards. [Metro.co.uk] Read more

18 August 2017

Accepting the notion of ‘Islamophobia’ means the end of legitimate criticism of Islam. We cannot allow de facto blasphemy to destroy our liberal values.

The notion of ‘Islamophobia’ is constructed out of a desire to perpetuate a siege mentality and sense of victimhood amongst Muslims, or to put an end to legitimate criticism, or to engage in lazy abuse.

The important liberal principles of free speech and open enquiry are being threatened by a wily – and let’s face it, ingenious – new form of censorship. I say ‘censorship’ but many would be inclined to call it by another name: ‘blasphemy’. There are people in Muslim majority countries who face threats from Islamists for daring to leave the religion or thumping for reform.

This doesn’t just happen there, of course, because we know only too well what happened to Theo van Gogh and Charlie Hebdo here in Europe. There are many apologists of Islam who, such as the post-Modernist Left, will excuse such atrocities for the most perverse of reasons – social equality. “Muslims and Islam are under attack” they will lament. The time is now for the Left to restitute its defining, quondam principles, lest blasphemy make a bloodcurdling return. [Conatus News] Read more

Catalonia's Islamic extremism problem

"The threat in Catalonia is clear." With these unflinching words in 2010, made public by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, the US State Department was already voicing concern over the potential for radicalization among young Muslim men in Barcelona.

The city was a "crossroads of worrisome activities," according to the leaked document, with a large Muslim community of which a small portion was vulnerable to being recruited by jihadi groups. Migrants from North Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh had turned the region into a "magnet for terrorist recruiters," it said.

The day after this week's attacks, Spanish newspapers published numbers illustrating that danger in the form of statistics. Barcelona, along with Madrid and the autonomous Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, has an exceptional number of jihadis. Around a third of Spain's Muslim population lives in these cities. Between 2012 and 2016, 178 jihadis were apprehended in the entire country; almost four-fifths of them came from one of these four cities. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Imams join forces in pursuit of a more progressive British Islam

Britain’s most senior Muslim clerics are planning to set up their first national council to issue religious rulings that promote a progressive interpretation of Islam, The Times has learnt.

It will be the first central religious authority for British Muslims, delivering edicts on Islamic doctrine and providing a national voice on social issues. It would state clearly that “regressive cultural practices” such as forced marriages and “honour” killings have no place in Islam or in British society.

Unlike the Church of England, there is no hierarchical structure to Islam in this country, with most mosques operating independently. Many Sunni Muslim countries, by contrast, have a grand mufti and national religious bodies.

Many are crying out for leadership, Qari Asim, chief imam of the Makkah Mosque in Leeds, said. “There’s a lack of an authoritative public voice to speak out on issues such as terrorism and Islamophobia.” [The Times (£)] Read more

16 August 2017

Controversial imam banned from parts of The Hague by justice minister

.... The Syrian preacher Fawaz Jneid, who has lived in the Netherlands since 1992 and has Dutch nationality, has been banned from the Schilderswijk and Transvaal parts of the city, following close consultation with mayor Pauline Krikke, news agency ANP said. A spokesman for the justice ministry told ANP the imam’s message is one of intolerance and that he contributed to radicalisation.

He was earlier sacked by a salafist mosque organisation in The Hague after carrying out illegal marriage ceremonies and following a long conflict with the mosque management. Krikke told ANP that the imam’s presence and extremist beliefs ran counter to her aim of making The Hague ‘as free and as safe as possible’.

‘That is why we, the police, the public prosecutor and the counter-terrorism agency NCTV are doing all we can to prevent him from establishing a foothold in our city,’ she said. The minister has been able to issue banning orders to people said to contribute to radicalisation since March when new counter-terrorism laws were introduced. [DutchNews.nl] Read more

No niqabs on public buses? Confusion reigns after surprise amendments to Quebec bill

Province short on answers as Muslims, Montreal mayor unclear over sweeping changes to Bill 62.

A new proposal by the Quebec government to dictate what people wear when they give or receive public services is causing anger and confusion.

On Tuesday, Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée proposed amendments to Bill 62 that would see the legislation apply to municipalities, metropolitan communities, the National Assembly and public transit organizations.

Initially the bill, which would force people offering or receiving a public service to do so with their face uncovered, was only to apply to provincial public sector services. It included some exemptions for people who wear face coverings for religious reasons.

But since Bill 62 was first tabled in 2015, there has been a lot of confusion over whether Muslim women would be able to access public services, such as riding a bus, while wearing a niqab, said Warda Naili, a Quebec Muslim woman who wears a niqab. [CBC] Read more

15 August 2017

Halal meat: What does it involve and is it cruel to animals?

.... In both Muslim and Jewish religious slaughter, the act of slitting the throat "stuns the animal", they add, and "there is no delay between stun and subsequent death".

Animal health experts and campaigners disagree. The RSPCA argues that killing animals without stunning them causes "unnecessary suffering", while activist group Peta calls halal slaughter "prolonged torment", saying the animals "fight and gasp for their last breath, struggling to stand while the blood drains from their necks".

The British Veterinary Association calls for all animals to be effectively stunned before slaughter, while the Farm Animal Welfare Council says cutting an animal's throat is "such a massive injury [that it] would result in very significant pain and distress in the period before insensibility supervenes".

According to The Independent, existing European law requires animals to be stunned before they are slaughtered, but grants exemptions on religious grounds.

The UK has such as exemption in place for both halal and kosher killing, meaning that "there are actually more regulations in place governing the handling of animals that will not be stunned when slaughtered", says the paper.

In 2014, the Danish government joined Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland in voting to remove this exemption and ban religious slaughter on the ground that "animal rights come before religion". [The Week] Read more

The hijab is not for children. It was right to drop these distasteful images

The portrayal of a pre-school female child wearing a hijab was most obviously offensive, because it is commonly accepted that Muslim women – if they choose to wear a hijab – do so in adolescence or after puberty because of the link to the growing sexuality of a woman’s body. But all the characters were lazy stereotypes. Political correctness gone awol, you might say.

The images were only dropped after a Muslim mother’s complaint, and an investigation by a Times journalist brought them to the attention of the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

There is a dangerous element to this that activists like Gina Khan and other women’s rights and equality campaigners are right to highlight. A minority of very vocal hardliners within Muslim communities are pushing a narrow version of what constitutes an “acceptable” Muslim woman. One who is veiled, compliant and modest in all her actions. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Two-thirds of Australians are 'uncomfortable with women wearing burqas' - as it's revealed even Muslims have a problem with face coverings

Two-thirds of Australians living in poorer suburbs are uncomfortable with women wearing burqas, a study shows.

Research by RMIT University found poorer and older Australians are more likely to be biased against Muslims.

The study of people in Broadmeadows and Fawkner, in Melbourne's north, found high levels of discomfort with burqas, with two-thirds of non-Muslims surveyed expressing concerns about Muslim women wearing face coverings.

Even Muslims were uneasy about burqas, with 28 per cent of them saying they were uncomfortable.

Burqas and niqabs were seen as forms of clothing that 'precluded inter-ethnic commmunication', the study of 300 residents in the two disadvantaged suburbs found.

Secular and non-practising Muslims, who reject Sharia law, were critical of 'militant' or 'proselytising' Muslims, interviews with people in areas with a high Muslim population found.

.... 'Low socio-economic indicators for an area seem to be a stronger predictor of prejudice against Muslims than their visible local presence,' she said.

'On the individual level, respondents with lower socio-economic status and older respondents tended to be more Islamophobic, which confirms findings of other Australian and overseas studies.'

The study was done with help from the Islamic Council of Victoria and Moreland City Council.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 361 votes] I don't feel that it is Islamophobic to find this kind of dress confronting. It is disconcerting for most not knowing what is behind the shroud. With current climates of terrorism, it is a form of dress that can instill fear and is unnecessary in Australia.

[2ND 313] For security reasons, I can't we're my motorcycle helmet in a bank, police building or nearly most businesses because you can't see my face. So should the same for anyone covering their face

[3RD 303] I am not a racist but I am uncomfortable with the burka because you have no idea who is hiding behind it, it could any male or female criminal wanted for crimes and you'd never know. You can't wear helmets into banks or petrol stations so why can they hide their face when go in there. Surely they moved here to enjoy our way of life so get with it . When in Rome do as the Romans do.

[4TH 270] I think that part of the problem stems from the fact that, in our culture, the only people who cover their faces tend to be hiding something (e.g. bank robbers, muggers etc). We tend to think that people who cover their faces have "something to hide". It is similar to the suspicion that people who don't want to shake hands may also be insincere or untrustworthy.

I'm not sure this is so much an "Islamophobic" problem but rather is an ingrained sense that people who hide their faces or refuse to shake hands are in some way being sneaky or dishonest and untrustworthy in some way. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

The problem with ‘The Muslim Problem’

.... You see, that’s the problem with The Muslim Problem: it discriminates against one specific faith community and incites ill-feeling towards all members of it. It inclines toward crass caricatures of Muslim identity and dehumanises the faithful, loyal and peaceful followers if Islam.

To paraphrase Trevor Phillips: it insults the followers of the second-largest religion in the UK, the vast majority of whom have not been even remotely associated with these crimes. Just as the definition of the Jewish Problem consigned millions of Jews to torture and murder, so the articulation of The Muslim Problem will cause a backlash against all British-born Muslims and those of other countries.

Now is not the time for knee-jerk journalism stoking anti-Muslim sentiment: the solutions to these societal tensions are to be found in the pursuit of theology; in robust comparative religion; in the fearless pursuit of Christology versus Prophetology. As the Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden wrote a few months ago, ‘We need to talk more about Jesus and Mohammed and less about Christianity and Islam‘. The divine mission is to witness to God’s truth, not to denigrate any of those who are made in His image.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] I do wish people would stop thinking of Islam as a religion and only a religion. It is not. Islam is a political ideology which seeks totalitarian control over the world and is prepared to use violence and terror to achieve this ambition. Islam deems all non-Muslims to be inferior members of the human race just as the Nazis viewed the untermensch.

Islam's attitude toward Jews, homosexuals and women is remarkably similar to Nazism as well. Islam was established by a warlord and Islamic "scriptures" when stripped of religious overtones are essentially the most efficient blueprint for war and supremacism the world has ever seen. Our epochal problem in the West is that Islam is now exercising political power in our secular countries and is fanatically protected by Western elites for reasons perhaps best known only to themselves.

Islam will demographically overwhelm us within decades and if we wish to survive as a people and a culture we must remove Islam from the West. If anyone has a better idea I would love to hear it - as long as it is not suicidally silly, such as talking more about Jesus, which is as much use today as it was in 1939 when we were confronted by much the same ideology. We are at a 21st century Chamberlain / Churchill moment and we really need a Churchill.

[2ND] What is the “Muslim problem?” That my young children will be living in an Islamic Britain in their 40s, on current demographic trends. For me that is a big problem, and a much bigger problem for the next generation. We must distinguish between a commitment to religious freedom and the religiophobic refusal to address the big questions of religion that determine the basis of our culture.

Allowing freedom of religion within our nation does not mean we must be blind to the religion of immigrants and refugees wanting to live in our country. Indeed, for a happy country, we should welcome those with affinity to our Christian history and culture. That is far more important than checking if immigrants have professional qualifications or a decent amount of money in the bank.

We have a duty to think about how immigration may change our country. If we can see that it has changed it, and is continuing to change it, for the worse then ditch the political correctness and lets think what sort of Britain we want our grandchildren to live in. ....

[3RD] The "Jewish Problem" was constructed upon a foundation of race. The "Muslim Problem" is constructed upon a foundation of ideology. They are not therefore analogous. It would be more correct to analogize Islam to "The Communist Problem". Islam is an ideology that is wholly antithetical to Western culture and Western civilization.

If you wish to keep Western civilization you must maintain dominance over Islam. To the extent you lose that dominance you will also lose the things you value in the West. The question is "How do you maintain that dominance?" [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

14 August 2017

Maajid Nawaz On Why Making Young Muslim Girls Wear Headscarves Is Child Abuse

Maajid Nawaz has laid down the exact reason why he thinks it’s child abuse to make young Muslim girls wear headscarves.

The LBC presenter was speaking after transport bosses were forced to drop a children’s road safety campaign depicting a Muslim nursery schoolgirl wearing a hijab.

The £2m campaign was accused of sexualising a child because the religious headscarf is traditionally worn by women as a sign of female modesty in front of men.

Maria from Walthamstow told Maajid she has two young girls, both of whom wear headscarves.

During a heated row, the caller was adamant it was not to protect her childrens' modesty, but instead get them “used” to wearing the item of clothing.

Maajid wasn’t convinced though, as he retorted the exact reasons why he believes it’s “phycological abuse” to make kids wear headscarves.

He said: “The reason I think it’s child abuse to tell a child at four years old that they’ve got to avoid sin and get used to being modest, because the consequences of sin if God so choses to punish them is to burn in hell, imagine the imagination of a child being abused in that way.” [LBC] Read more

Nigel Farage’s Foreword for Raheem Kassam’s ‘No Go Zones’ Book, Out Today

.... There will of course be plenty of critics of this book. They’ll ask questions like, “If these places are really ‘No Go’, how come you were able to go there?”

The answer should of course be obvious if you read the text. Raheem timed his visits carefully, didn’t seek to antagonize locals with video cameras, and in some cases—already reported by news organizations across the board—managed to luckily avoid mass incidents of violence and rioting by a matter of hours.

In short: it was due to the studiousness of his approach that he managed to fairly document his experiences and put together a piece of work that will stand the test of time both academically and from a philosophical perspective.

It should be required reading for conservatives, Republicans, liberals, teachers, students, reporters, editors, and activists alike. And I’m delighted he has managed to resist tabloid-style presentation, and painstakingly sought out reliable sources, high-level interviews, and even hard-to-come-by data on topics like crime, imprisonment, and more. [Breitbart London] Read more

Hijab girl in children’s books ‘is sexualising four-year-olds’

Transport chiefs have been forced to drop a children’s road safety campaign depicting a Muslim nursery schoolgirl wearing a religious headscarf.

The £2 million campaign was accused of sexualising a child because the hijab is traditionally worn by women only from puberty as a sign of female modesty in front of men. The images are included in children’s books distributed through nurseries and in stories on a website.

The Children’s Traffic Club London, promoted by Transport for London (TfL), has recruited more than 66,000 children across the capital.

TfL, which is chaired by Sadiq Khan, the capital’s Labour mayor, apologised last night and said that it would stop using the images. [The Times (£)] Read more

13 August 2017

Ranking countries by their blasphemy laws

The five countries deemed to practise the grossest violations of international standards were all Muslim-majority lands. Top came Iran and Pakistan, both countries where “blasphemers” can face death.

At the other extreme came Ireland, which introduced a new blasphemy law in 2009 on the grounds that the constitution required such legislation. There have been no convictions under the law and initial moves to prosecute Stephen Fry, a British actor, for stridently anti-theistic remarks were dropped amid general embarrassment. [The Economist] Read more

First in Muslim world, Tunisian president seeks equal inheritance for women

In a speech on the occasion of the National Women’s Day, the Tunisian President announced the formation of a committee to study the issue of individual rights and to activate them further and to consider equality between men and women in all fields.

Despite the wide rights of women in Tunisia compared to other Muslim countries, however, arbitration in inheritance is still based on the Sharia or Islamic law, where the man’s share equals to that of two women.

President Beji Caed Essibsi stressed that equality between men and women, which was approved by the Tunisian constitution, should cover all areas, including equality in inheritance. “If we think about harmony, because the constitution dictates this, we must go in this direction.” [Al Arabiya] Read more

12 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let Us Now Praise Muslim Apostates

.... Flash-forward to twenty-first-century Islam. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the world’s leading Sunni clerics, unapologetically proposes that dawa should become the instrument by which Islam conquers the West and reestablishes “the Islamic caliphate system.”

To achieve this goal, al-Qaradawi encourages the true believers in the United States and Europe to “have their own religious, educational, and recreational establishments” and “to have your small society within the larger society” and “your own ‘Muslim ghetto.’ ”

Hirsi Ali believes that the dawa project is proceeding on schedule. Europeans and Americans expected that the Muslim immigrants they welcomed would assimilate and adjust to democratic values.

That hope has effectively been shattered in Europe. Hirsi Ali cites reliable opinion surveys showing that the vast majority of European Muslims believe that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam and that there is only one interpretation of the Koran. That does not allow for much secularism or democracy. [City Journal] Read more

11 August 2017

Swiss charge Ethiopian imam with inciting violence

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

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

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

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

10 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

‘Plain stupid’: separate cups for Muslim and non-Muslim kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blasphemy laws worldwide: A report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

See here — looks quite broad and detailed, though, as the report notes, much turns not just on the easily visible statutes but also on the harder-to-find prosecutions and the still harder to identify fear of prosecution. [The Washington Post] Read more

09 August 2017

Haras Ahmed and Prevent Watch: the facts

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

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

Prevent scheme could be made compulsory, police lead says

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

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

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

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

Iranian children arrested for teaching Zumba and 'western' dance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

08 August 2017

Saudia Airlines warn passengers of strict dress code

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

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

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

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

Atheists in Malaysia should be hunted down, minister says

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

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

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

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

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

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

07 August 2017

Luxembourg law foresees partial ban of face veils in public spaces

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

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

The ban would apply to both visitors and employees.

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

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

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

A modern day dystopia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Berlin mosque breaking Islamic taboos

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prevent criticism 'stems from ignorance'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the ‘homophobic Muslim’ became a populist bogeyman

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

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

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

06 August 2017

Deputy minister: Probe underway on Muslims joining Atheist Club

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

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

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

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

Read more

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

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

Taking that picture may have been a mistake.

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

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

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

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

04 August 2017

Lower Saxony set to ban Islamic face veils in schools

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

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

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

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

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

Protests at Birmingham mosque over controversial cleric

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

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

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

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

Algerian women defy Islamists by wearing bikinis on the beach

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

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

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

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

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

Study: Radical Islamists Actually Have Extensive Knowledge of Islam

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

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

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

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

03 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

02 August 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

01 August 2017

Baghdad churches close as Iraq's Christians continue to leave

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

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

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

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

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