30 April 2018

MPs call for answers on mosque funding following Kuwait charity claim

MPs from the ruling parties ChristenUnie and D66, plus the Socialist Party, want the foreign affairs and social affairs ministers to brief parliament on foreign funding for mosques in the Netherlands.

The call follows claims made by the NRC that the As Soennah mosque in The Hague has received money from a Kuwait group which is on a US terror list. ‘There must come an end to the foreign financing of radical versions of Islam here in the Netherlands,’ ChristenUnie leader Gert Jan Segers said.

In particular, he wants to know if the former ministers Lodewijk Asscher and Bert Koenders kept information secret from both local councils and researchers. Earlier in April, the NRC and current affairs show Nieuwsuur published what they said were three secret lists detailing foreign funding for mosques in the Netherlands.

In total 30 Islamic organisation have either requested funding or actually received money from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over the past few years, the NRC and Nieuwsuur said. [DutchNews] Read more

Sydney Muslim woman challenges $250,000 legal bill over niqab ruling

A Sydney Muslim woman who lost her terrorism raid lawsuit suffered a miscarriage of justice as she was not allowed to give evidence with her face covered, an appeal court has been told.

The "deeply-held religious beliefs" of Moutia Elzahed meant she did not give "crucial" evidence about her version of what police did during the September 2014 raid, her lawyer, Jeremy Kirk SC, argued on Monday in the NSW Court of Appeal.

Ms Elzahed, who lost her civil action and was ordered to pay $250,000 in police legal costs, is challenging the trial judge's ruling that she could not give evidence while wearing a niqab.

Her then-lawyer told the female judge it was against her religion to reveal her face to men.

As well as claiming the judge erred in not letting her give evidence in a niqab, Mr Kirk says she should have been allowed to testify via another method, such as a screen, that revealed her face to women but not to men. [The Sydney Morning Herald] Read more

In EU-Wide Poll, Majority Think Migrant Integration ‘Unsuccessful’, Figure Rises to 73 Per Cent in Sweden

A European Commission poll has found that a strong majority of people in France, Germany, and Sweden believe the integration of migrants has failed in their country.

People in all 28 member states were asked: “Generally speaking, how successful or not is the integration of most immigrants living in [your country].”

Overall, across the open borders bloc, 55 per cent of people said integration it is going badly and 39 per cent said it had been a success, according to the survey commissioned by the European Union’s (EU) unelected executive branch.

In Sweden, the picture was bleak, with just 24 per cent of respondents saying they thought integration was going well, and a shocking 73 per cent saying it has gone badly. [Breitbart London] Read more

29 April 2018

The battle for British Muslims' integration

.... After many years of hand-wringing by those fearful of causing offence lest they be labelled “Islamophobe”, a “neocon”, a “Zionist”, “house Muslim”, “native informant”, or any other epithet signifying “bad” people, the government seems to have concluded that enough really is enough.

Step by step, the counter-extremism strategy is constructing a tangible, values-driven infrastructure: counter-extremism co-ordinators, including Muslims who understand the dangers to the stability and cohesion of this country, are being appointed to local authorities; the Home Office programme called “Building a Stronger Britain Together” now has a network of 124 organisations across the country — again, many run by Muslims — delivering small-scale community projects to build resilience into communities vulnerable to radicalisation from Islamist extremists and the far Right.

.... Other Muslim women have also been speaking out. Indeed, the challenge to religious fundamentalism is being led mainly by Muslim women. More are less concerned now with being trolled as “bad Muslims”, “house servants”, “coconuts” and all the other racist barbs hurled at them by organisations that claim piety and nobility and to be representative of British Islam but are not. [Standpoint] Read more

28 April 2018

Pakistan's Ahmadi community releases damning persecution report

Pakistan’s disenfranchised Ahmadi community released an annual report on Saturday that detailed growing hostilities against the minority sect, including indiscriminate arrests and impediments blocking them from voting in general elections.

Ahmadis are forbidden from calling themselves Muslims or using Islamic symbols in their religious practices. They face discrimination and violence over accusations their faith insults Islam and community leaders say that open vitriol and calls for violence against the community intensified in 2017.

“Under pressure from religious extremists, the Ahmadis were denied registration in joint electoral lists,” community leaders said in a news release accompanying the “persecution report”.

“The preparation of separate electoral lists being prepared specifically for the Ahmadis in Pakistan is the worst kind of discrimination,” they said. [Reuters] Read more

27 April 2018

Luxembourg adopts face-concealment ban

Ban to apply to schools, public transport, hospitals, homes for underage people, retirement homes, courthouses and public administration buildings.

Luxembourg's Chamber of Deputies voted on Thursday evening in favour of the Face Concealment Bill – dubbed the 'Burqa Law'.

The 32 Members of Parliament (MP) of the three-party governing coalition voted in favour of the bill, while the 28 members of the opposition voted against it.

The ban will apply only in public places where interaction requires meeting face to face and where, according to the government's dossier, "communication happens not only through words but also through facial expression".

Those places will include schools, public transport, hospitals, homes for underage people, retirement homes, courthouses and public administration buildings.

In other public places such as parks or the street, there will be no such ban, but communes also reserve the right to bar anyone from covering their faces during recurring demonstrations. Sports and cultural events are also exempt.

The ban will not apply if all or part of the face is hidden due to medical reasons or work-related activities.

The Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP), the Democratic Party (DP) and the Greens together form Luxembourg's ruling coalition, which supported the ban. [Luxembourg Times] Read more

Islamophobia not an issue in the British press? You’ve got to be kidding

This week the home affairs select committee’s inquiry into hate crime turned to Islamophobia and the press. Many greeted with surprise the idea expressed by one witness: that anti-Muslim sentiment wasn’t much of an issue in the mainstream media.

.... In the past year and a half, more than 40 stories on issues related to Islam and Muslims have been corrected in mainstream national newspapers following complaints I made. If inaccuracies of a similar type on the same subject every one or two weeks do not demonstrate that there is a serious issue here, it is unclear what would.

Why does this happen though? Let us not kid ourselves. Stories that play on the public’s fears and feed their prejudices are popular, especially at a time when more than half of British people see Islam as a threat to western liberal democracy. These sentiments might well be shared by journalists at the newspapers concerned. [The Guardian] Read more

26 April 2018

The puzzle of Baroness Warsi's links with Islamist group

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is a puzzle. The Muslim former Minister for Faith and Conservative Party Chairman says she is strongly opposed to sectarianism within Islam, homophobia, antisemitism and extremism of all kinds.

She wants to “continue on our journey towards liberal values.”

Yet her opposition to the Muslim woman who has campaigned for a decade to take us on that journey is positively visceral.

“Deeply concerned” was how Warsi greeted the recent appointment of the Commissioner for Counter Extremism, Sara Khan. When pressed, Warsi lets rip in a way that sounds almost personal.Khan is dismissed as a “Home Office construct” — and this from a former Conservative Cabinet minister.

.... the Home Office is wary of “engaging” with Mend and a web trawl shows why: multiple examples from its supporters of rampant antisemitism including nasty and idiotic conspiracy theories about Jews; vicious sectarianism against fellow Muslims like Khan who dare to challenge Mend’s opposition to the government’s anti-radicalisation programme Prevent, and partnerships with clerics and organisations who have expressed views that are antisemitic, homophobic, anti-western, sectarian and occasionally in support of terrorism. [JC] Read more

Imams in the U.S and Canada: Which Should be Backed?

.... If there is an expectation that Muslims and Islam is superior to other religions, then people, governments and NGOs might do well to disabuse Islamic clerics of this self-aggrandizement and narcissism as quickly as possible.

Yes, these calls for genocide (which is what they are) might be commonplace where the imams came from. But the preachers are no longer in monolithic societies, so it might benefit the new world to begin exposing the newcomers to a new way of looking at things.

Imams based in the U.S. and Canada who explicitly glorify jihad against Jews deserve attention from political, media and government circles. The U.S. and Canada need to change their immigration and refugee policies to stop letting in people -- and especially preachers -- who have been raised in an enforced orthodoxy of hate and values so antithetical to the humanitarian values that so many in the West cherish, and have fought and died for.

Instead, progressive Muslims and their imams should be promoted, consulted, and celebrated. They are the ones who should be invited to the official iftar dinners. They are the ones who should be courted, promoted and helped. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

25 April 2018

Norway to consider banning 'annoying and inappropriate' Muslim call to prayer

A Norwegian politician says he 'doesn't give a toss' about human rights, mosques should be banned from broadcasting the call to prayer.

Jon Helgheim, immigration spokesman for Progress Party, part of Oslo's ruling two-party coalition, said the country's residents needed 'peace and quiet'.

He rejected arguments that banning the religious announcement being played over loudspeakers would violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

'I don't give a toss what human rights provisions say in this case,' he told Vårt Land.

'What I care about is that people get peace and quiet in their neighbourhoods, and that means not being disturbed by the call to prayer. [Daily Mail] Read more

24 April 2018

Women take to the streets of Iran without the veil as they show support for woman who was viciously beaten by 'morality police'

Dozens of women have taken to the streets of Iran without the mandatory hijab, after a video emerged showing 'morality police officers' brutally beating a young woman whose veil they deemed 'insufficient'.

Videos show them bravely defying the country's Islamic law, which requires women to cover their hair in public, as they walk through cities like the capital Tehran and Shiraz.

Several of them face verbal and physical abuse in the street, with witnesses urging them to cover their hair.

Their protest has been named #WalkingUnveiled, and is quickly spreading on social media.

Their campaign is a response to the vicious assault last week, which has sparked a new public debate on the decades-long requirement for Iranian women.

The video appeared online last week, with activists suggesting it was taken in Tehran, though nothing in it offers hints at its location.

The outrageous scene, in what appears to be a public park in broad daylight, was secretly filmed by an onlooker and has been spread online by dissident groups. [Daily Mail] Read more

Daily Express editor calls its front pages 'downright offensive'

The Daily Express editor has said some of his newspaper’s past front pages have been “downright offensive”, made him feel “very uncomfortable” and contributed to an “Islamophobic sentiment” in the media.

Gary Jones, who took over at the newspaper last month, said he was unhappy with some of its previous coverage and would be looking to change the tone of the Express.

“Each and every editor has a responsibility for every single word that’s published in a newspaper,” he told the home affairs select committee, which is investigating the treatment of minority groups in print media.

“Cumulatively, some of the headlines that have appeared in the past have created an Islamophobic sentiment which I find uncomfortable,” said Jones, who is also the editor of the Sunday Express.

“It is my responsibility to ensure content is accurate and newspapers don’t look at stereotypical views that may or may not be around in the general public. I should be held to account and be answerable.” [The Guardian] Read more

23 April 2018

French Jews ‘face ethnic cleansing by Islamists’

More than 300 political leaders, intellectuals and celebrities have signed a manifesto claiming that French Jews have fallen victim to a form of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by radical Islamists, amid the indifference of the country’s elite.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president, Manuel Valls, the former prime minister, Charles Aznavour, the singer, and Gérard Depardieu, the actor, are among those who have thrown their weight behind the document.

It says that France has become “the theatre of murderous antisemitism” with 11 Jews having been “assassinated” because of their religion since 2006.

“French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their Muslim counterparts,” it adds. “Ten per cent of the Jewish citizens of the Paris region . . . have recently been forced to move because they were no longer secure in certain council estates. This is a quiet ethnic cleansing.” [The Times (£)] Read more

22 April 2018

Why should France tolerate Islamic intolerance?

Why has the refusal of France to grant a passport to an Algerian woman who declined to shake the hand of a state official at her citizenship ceremony because of her “religious beliefs” made the BBC website? Picked up by other news’ outlets, including the New York Times, it’s not unreasonable to infer that the subtext is: there go the French again, discriminating against Muslims. If it’s not the burka or the burkini, it’s a handshake.

But why would any western country welcome a woman who shuns one of its oldest and most courteous customs? If she finds shaking hands with a man beyond the pale, one is entitled to suspect she may not look too favourably on gays and Jews.

Anti-Semitism is now so profound in France that on Sunday 250 well-known figures, including Nicolas Sarkozy and Manuel Valls, signed a letter warning that the country’s Jews are victims of “ethnic purging” at the hands of “radical Islamists”. [The Spectator] Read more

21 April 2018

Christians claim they are being forced out of Pakistani city by Isil violence

Christians say they are being driven from one of Pakistan’s major cities after a string of deadly terrorist attacks claimed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

The jihadist militant group has said it carried out two gun attacks that have killed six Christians in Quetta this month so far, and also bombed a church in the city shortly before Christmas.

The recent attacks in the south western city come on top of increasing persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, where Christians and others have faced mob violence and accusations of blasphemy.

Christians told the Sunday Telegraph that many in the community were fleeing Quetta fearing for their lives and being chased from homes where they had lived for generations. [The Telegraph] Read more

Muslim Woman Denied French Citizenship For Refusing to Shake Hands with Official

A French court has confirmed and upheld a previous court ruling which denied French citizenship to a Muslim Algerian woman after the woman refused to engage in a handshake with a senior official.

The origins of the case date back to 2010 when the Algerian woman married a French citizen in her home country of Algeria, and after four years made a request to authorities for French citizenship, La Croix reports.

The prefecture of Isere, where the woman lives, initially accepted her request to become a French citizen and in 2016 she was to attend a citizenship ceremony but during the ceremony, she refused to shake the hands of officials for “religious reasons.”

“After solemnly handing her the naturalization decree, the secretary-general of the prefecture and a local elected representative extended a hand to her as a sign of welcome. But the woman refused these handshakes by invoking her religious beliefs,” an official said. [Breitbart London] Read more

‘I raised my voice because secularism was under threat’

.... Q. Your arguments on Islam mainly seem to stem from the injustices you’ve faced as a woman, your experiences as a doctor, and the patriarchal society. Any comments?

A. Not only my life, I have seen other women’s lives too. How they are oppressed because of anti-women tradition, culture, customs and religion. I have also read holy books, I have problem accepting them as holy, though. Islam has been largely exempted from the critical scrutiny that was applied to other religions. I believe Islam has to go through the enlightenment process other religions have gone through by questioning inhuman, irrational, unscientific aspects of religion.

Q. Is freedom of speech absolute freedom for you?

A. Yes, freedom of speech should be allowed until one turns violent. Violence must not be allowed. Fatwas, death threats are open calls for violence. It cannot be considered as freedom of speech. [SUNDAY GUARDIAN LIVE] Read more

20 April 2018

Algerian woman denied French citizenship over handshake

A French appeals court has upheld a ruling denying an Algerian woman citizenship after she refused to shake the hand of a senior official.

The woman, who has not been named, said her "religious beliefs" prevented her from shaking the hand of the male official in the citizenship ceremony.

A government ruling said it showed she was "not assimilated into the French community" and denied her citizenship.

She appealed, but France's highest administrative court upheld the ruling.

The Algerian woman has been married to a French man since 2010.

At her 2016 citizenship ceremony in the south-eastern Isère region, around Grenoble, she refused to shake hands with the presiding senior official or a local politician.

In Islamic teaching, handshakes between unrelated men and women are usually prohibited. [BBC] Read more

Exeter Mosque denies links to extremism after receiving donations from radical cleric

Exeter Mosque is being asked to reveal details of donations from a radical cleric, with fears it has benefited from terrorism-related activity.

Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani - who has been expelled from the UK over his hard-line views - is known to have donated an undisclosed sum of money to Exeter Mosque.

But videos later emerged of the controversial Sheikh allegedly expressing support for al-Qaeda aligned militia groups in Libya.

Now, a group representing the Muslim community in Exeter, has launched a plea to find out exactly how much money was donated by Al-Ghariani amid fears the mosque on York Road could have benefited from terrorist-related activities. [DevonLive] Read more

19 April 2018

UK: "Teacher Handbook" Supporting Extremism?

.... Behind Mogra's softly spoken rhetoric of inter-faith dialogue, there seems to lie a faint but clearly discernible threat of violence -- a potential menace made all the more real by the company he keeps.

The Teacher Handbook itself has many examples of the Muslim-as-victim narrative. The section on "Islam in the media," for example, includes the following passages:

"...[M]any Muslims feel they are the targets of a sinister agenda, and that there is a commitment on the part of big news corporations to demonise them at any opportunity. Everyone knows there are bad Muslims, but there are also bad Jews, Buddhists and atheists, whose fanaticism and violence do not seem to be as newsworthy.

A lot of Muslims argue how this proves conclusively that there is institutional prejudice against Islam, and explains why there is distrust in Western journalism especially. Sometimes it is difficult to establish which 'news' items are even true...[He continues later in the section:]

"As the role of the RE [Religious Education] teacher requires both an appreciation and appraisal of religions, it is important to redress the imbalance of constant negativity about Islam and Muslims in the media." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Video of Iran 'morality police' wrestling with woman sparks outrage

Shocking video footage of a young woman being wrestled to the floor by Iranian “morality police” because her hijab was loose has sparked outrage after it was posted online.

The footage shows members of the special taskforce tackling the woman, believed to be in her mid-20s, in Tehran. Under Iranian law, it is compulsory for women to cover themselves from head to toe in public, but many defy the boundaries by wearing loose hijab that shows their hair.

The video shows two young friends, one wearing a maghnaeh (similar to a nun’s cowl) and the other wearing a loose headscarf that reveals part of her hair. The latter is verbally cautioned, before a female police officer slaps her in the face and wrestles her to the floor. The young woman is heard screaming repeatedly: “Let me go, let me go.” [The Guardian] Read more

Police will not forcibly remove veils from women: Danish justice minister

A widely-discussed proposal to ban public wearing of face-covering garments including the burqa and niqab is set to be voted on in Denmark’s parliament.

Minister of Justice Søren Pape Poulsen, who was scheduled to present the proposal in parliament for a first round of voting on Thursday, said that a passing of the proposal into law would not result in police forcibly removing women’s burqas.

Women wearing the burqa in public would be fined or asked to go home, the minister told newspaper Politiken.

“If they live nearby, they will be asked to go home,” Poulsen said.

A further option would be for women to be accompanied to a police station, where they would be collected by a family member, he added.

“I do not want police officers pulling items of clothing off people – burqas or otherwise. That is not going to happen,” he said, adding that police would “not be given such instructions”. [The Local] Read more

Islamophobia: the conversation killer

Rizvi believes the left and right conflate Islamic ideology and Muslim identity.

“On the left, they say, if you criticise Islam, if you criticise anything in the Koran that you don’t like then you are being a bigot against Muslims. They conflate it that way, any criticism of Islam is bigotry against all Muslims.

“On the right they often say, there are many problems in Islam – the ideology - and that means we must surviel all Muslims, we must ban Muslims from coming into the country or get rid of Muslim immigration.”

Separating the ideology from the followers allows meaningful conversation without bigotry to take place he says.

“If you criticise ideas, you challenge ideas, that’s when you move a society forward. When you demonise people that’s how you rip societies apart.

“The word Islamophobia doesn’t make that distinction either. The reason the Muslim Brotherhood like the term so much and use it so much is because it actually takes the pain that genuine victims of Muslim hate go through. They take that pain and exploit it for the political purpose of stifling criticism of Islam.” [Newsroom NZ] Read more

18 April 2018

'Change your Western mentality or I'll get another wife': Australian Muslim women are being trapped in abusive relationships as Sharia imams refuse to divorce them from their husbands

Muslim women with violent husbands are struggling to get permission for a divorce from mosque imams, an investigation has revealed.

A parallel system of Islamic Sharia law operating in Australia is trapping wives in abusive relationships, for years, as male religious leaders refuse to recognise a women's right to end a marriage.

The ABC has spoken to women about their struggles to dissolve an Islamic union.

They have blamed Muslim imams for dismissing their concerns about domestic violence.

While a Muslim man can divorce his wife by saying 'I divorce you' in Arabic three times, women have a much harder time in Australia getting permission to be allowed a separation. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

Police Forced to Act Against Mass Muslim Street Prayers After Residents Complain

Police in the French city of Orléans will be making sure that Muslim worshippers cease using the public street to pray after residents wrote to the city’s government to complain.

The main complaint against the street prayers came from an angry resident living on the Rue de Limare on which the Ibn-Badis Mosque is located, Magcentre reports.

The resident sent a picture of Muslim worshippers praying outside the mosque on the street asking, “Is this allowed by law? If not, what will be your action to ensure that Republican law is respected?”

Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Olivier Geffroy is said to have immediately been in contact with the heads of the mosque to deal with the street prayers which are unlawful due to French public secularity laws, known as Laïcité. [Breitbart London] Read more

Only Free Speech Can Stop Radical Islam

A study done by the Pew Research Center on Muslims and Islam found that 49 percent of Americans find U.S. Muslims anti-American. About a quarter say there is a fair amount of support (24 percent) for extremism among U.S. Muslims; 11 percent say there is a great deal of support.

Islam desperately needs a revaluation and American Muslims must lead the way in openly calling for reform. We must candidly and honestly admit and acknowledge that some challenging verses in our scripture have given doctrinal legitimacy to violent extremism and our failure to recognize this fact and educate the community on the contextual realities has legitimized the violence.

Our continued refusal and unwillingness to acknowledge this phenomenon has frozen much of our faith to a 7th century dogma. Our rush to blame, shame and obstruct the very few who call for reform and change undermines the freedom of expression which is a hard and long fought battle and a strongly enshrined American value. [The Daily Caller] Read more

17 April 2018

Morrissey denounces halal meat as 'evil', and attacks May, Khan, Abbott and more

Morrissey has made an extraordinary – even by his standards – series of pronouncements in a new interview published on his website, attacking halal meat producers, Theresa May, Diane Abbott and Sadiq Khan, among others.

The former Smiths frontman – already infamous for his statements on race, animal welfare and more – criticised halal meat production, the Islamic method of animal slaughter. He claimed that “halal slaughter requires certification that can only be given by supporters of Isis”, and described it as “evil”. He also described Jewish kosher food production as “very cruel”, and called for it to be banned. [The Guardian] Read more

16 April 2018

Row after Greek statue covered for Islam

A row erupted Monday after a statue of an ancient Greek statesman was covered up for a conference on Islam near Savona.

"There as no censorship" in draping the stature of Theban leader Epaminondas, Liguria Islamic Federation chief Chams Eddine Lahcen told reporters.

"I myself covered the statue but only for ceremonial reasons and for a few hours. It clashed with the Moroccan setting. Our Islam is moderate and this row wounds it".

Anti-migrant League leader Matteo Salvini latched onto the case, saying "am I the only one this seems like madness to?".

Nationalist Brothers of Italy (FdI) MP Ylenja Lucaselli said the covering up of Epaminondas and the bare back of a woman in a painting was a "side effect of failed multiculturalism". [ANSA] Read more

14 April 2018

Multiculturalism has failed, believe substantial minority of Britons

A YouGov poll of 5,200 people to be released tomorrow and commissioned by anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate, found that 43% predicted relationships between different UK communities will deteriorate over the next few years compared to 14% who feel things will improve. More than two-thirds of Conservative Leave voters said they believed multiculturalism wasn’t working.

Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, said: “There is clearly much work to do. Powell’s speech led anti-racism campaigners to mobilise – the anniversary of the speech must do the same.”

.... “Broadly, the reality is that multiculturalism has been an uneven success – leaving some areas of Britain more integrated than others,” said Lowles.

A Gallup poll conducted weeks after the 1968 speech found 74% of the British population agreed with the “Rivers of Blood” speech, in which Powell strongly criticised levels of immigration to Britain, particularly from the Commonwealth. Powell said he was “filled with foreboding – like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood”.

The YouGov survey found that 40% felt his warning has proved well-founded – compared to 41% of respondents who believe Powell’s gloomy view of race relations was wrong.

A narrow majority of 51% worried that immigration was increasing the pressure on hospitals and schools. More than one-third of all respondents see Islam as a threat to the British way of life, fractionally more than the proportion who view the Muslim faith and the British way of life as compatible. [The Guardian] Read more

13 April 2018

Vic imam's child wedding conviction stands

A former Muslim cleric who wed a teenage girl to a 34-year-old man in Melbourne has failed in a bid to clear his name.

Ibrahim Omerdic, 62, oversaw the marriage at a Noble Park mosque in 2016 in a ceremony that was captured on camera.

The video footage shows the imam telling the 14-year-old girl she must "obey" her husband.

Omerdic was found guilty by a magistrate in June of unlawfully solemnising a marriage but he launched an appeal against the conviction in the Supreme Court.

He claimed he never finished the religious ceremony and had not provided the couple with an Islamic marriage certificate.

Omerdic also argued the ceremony performed that day wasn't sufficient to establish a marriage under Australian law. [AAP] Read more

Austria: Chancellor meets Muslim body over headscarf ban

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in a meeting with representatives of the country's Muslim body on Friday reiterated his stance on a headscarf ban in kindergarten and primary schools.

.... "I told the Islamic Religious Authority of Austria that as the Austrian government, we are determined to put the headscarf ban into effect in kindergartens and primary schools," he said after the meeting.

Olgun, speaking to Anadolu Agency, said that Austrian Muslims will challenge the ban legally, adding that the headscarf is not a political symbol.

"We told Mr. Chancellor that the headscarf is a religious subject. Muslims do it out of their free will. There is no force or pressure, and a majority of Muslim families don't make their children cover their heads in kindergartens or primary schools. [Anadolu Agency] Read more

Experts urge dialogue in Germany's school headscarf ban debate

.... Okutansoy believes wearing the headscarf is part of the girls' process of developing their identities, and it has also come into fashion: "Girls that wear headscarf also put on makeup, use the headscarf as a fashionable item, and pin up their hair underneath."

.... Böhm and Okutansoy are in total agreement on one thing: talking to parents is key. Often, this is how something can be worked out, Böhm says, noting that "only a small minority adopt a fiercely defensive stance."

Okutansoy says there are more important issues and questions than a possible headscarf ban, such as violence against children. She has also seen girls take off their headscarves for good after growing tired of them. But Okutansoy does favor strict rules when it comes to full-face veils: "The full-face veil, where you can't see someone's face and don't know who you're talking to, should be prohibited."

Indeed, her school has taken action in this regard. "We decided not to admit any girls who wear a full-face veil," she says, "and not to let mothers with such a veils enter our school." [Deutsche Welle] Read more

12 April 2018

Turkey says plans to place quarter of top students in Islamic schools

Nearly a quarter of top-performing students entering Turkish upper schools are expected to be placed in religious Imam Hatip schools, the education minister said on Thursday, a level which secular critics say unfairly prioritises Islamic education.

The top 10 percent of students currently in their final year of middle school are set to win places in selected schools under a new entrance exam system in June, part of education reforms drafted on President Tayyip Erdogan’s orders.

Erdogan has said one of his goals is to forge a “pious generation” in largely Muslim Turkey and the number of pupils at Imam Hatip schools, founded to train future imams and preachers, rose five-fold to 1.3 million students in the last six years.

According to the exam system guide posted on the education ministry website, nearly 300 of the 1,367 schools selected to receive students who pass the exam are Imam Hatip schools. [Reuters] Read more

Muslim Accused of Strangling Daughter’s Boyfriend Arrested Over Religion Motivated Attack

French police arrested a man after he attempted to strangle his daughter’s boyfriend, apparently enraged at having found out that the young man was not a Muslim.

The attack occurred in the commune of Givors on the outskirts of Lyon on Tuesday morning and saw the Muslim man, described to be in his 50s, enter the house of the boyfriend of his daughter. The father later said to police that he had gone on the pretext that the boyfriend had been physically violent to his daughter Le Progrès, a regional newspaper in Lyon, reports.

Once he got to the home of the young man, the father barged through the door and struck his daughter’s boyfriend several times before getting an electric cable and attempting to strangle him with it.

The young man was eventually able to escape his attacker and called the police. [Breitbart London] Read more

11 April 2018

'Islam shouldn't culturally shape Germany' - Alexander Dobrindt claims

.... Speaking with Funke media group, Dobrindt said:

"Muslims who want to integrate into our society are part of our country, but Islam is not part of Germany."

Islam "has no cultural roots in Germany and with Sharia as a legal system, it has nothing in common with our Judeo-Christian heritage."

Islam "doesn't culturally shape our country" and "it should not" be culturally influential in Germany.

"No Islamic country on earth has developed a comparable democratic culture like the ones we know in Christian countries."

Dobrindt also defended a plan to dramatically limit refugee family reunifications, saying: "Refugees should return to their home countries whenever this is possible. Family reunifications can also take place in pacified home regions and not only in Germany." [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Teachers: 'Racist' parents pull children from RE classes because they don’t want them learning about Islam

“Prejudiced” parents are pulling their children from Religious Education classes because they don’t want them learning about Islam, teachers have warned.

Mothers and fathers are abusing their right to withdraw children from the classes, and this is hampering schools' attempts to "prepare a child for life in modern Britain", the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ annual conference heard.

Delegates have agreed a resolution urging the Government to take steps to prevent parents from selectively withdrawing their children, specifically from the teaching of individual religions.

Proposing the motion, Richard Griffiths from the union's Inner London branch, said that RE today has developed into a subject "that allows for critical thinking, big questions, allows children to explore their own and other religious beliefs and non-beliefs". [The Telegraph] Read more

Will Saudi Crown Prince reform Wahhabism in Europe?

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has pushed to curb the power of hardline clerics and prominent sheikhs who promote the kingdom's uncompromising version of Islam but analysts warn that moderating the exportation of Wahhabism could be more difficult.

Currently in Europe as part of a drive to woo the West, Mohammed bin Salman has recognised his country's association with Wahhabism is a problem and moved to impose a more open form of Islam.

The draconian religious ideology has been accused of fuelling intolerance and global terrorism. Dozens of conservative Saudi religious figures have been detained under a crackdown initiated by the prince.

But when asked last month about his decision to break away from the Wahhabists, MBS, as he is often called, denied they even existed.

"What's Wahhabist?", the 32-year-old said in an interview with Time magazine. "There is nothing called Wahhabist." [Daily Mail] Read more

10 April 2018

Girls' headscarf ban debate ties Merkel's conservatives in knots

A debate over whether to ban Muslim girls under 14 from wearing headscarves in public, prompted by a similar proposal in Austria, has divided Germany’s governing conservatives.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, already struggling to paper over cracks in her month-old coalition cabinet, is unlikely to welcome a call for action from members of her own camp that exposes the country’s uneasy attempts to integrate its 4 million Muslims.

That process has taken on added complexity following the influx of over one million mostly Middle Eastern and North African migrants in 2015 and 2016, and sharp election gains for the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Germany’s parliament already passed a law last year preventing civil servants, judges and soldiers from wearing full-face veils at work. [Reuters] Read more

Global Muslim body urges Europe to assimilate migrants better

Europe must do more to assimilate Muslim immigrant populations and criminalise religious hate speech, said the head of a global Muslim missionary society trying to help Saudi Arabia mend its reputation as a promoter of intolerant ideology.

The Muslim World League (MWL) and the kingdom itself have been accused for decades of spreading the strict Wahhabi strain of Islam, often criticised as the philosophical basis for radical Islamist militancy worldwide.

.... Critics say the mosques and Islamic centres around the world controlled by the MWL promote intolerance and hatred of some religions and Muslim sects — a charge the group denies.

Secretary-General Mohammed al-Issa said the organisation, headquartered in Mecca, could assist in assimilation and the eradication of extremist ideology abroad.

“We believe that European countries, where there is much debate now, and other countries around the world ... need to enhance national assimilation programmes and criminalise hatred and contempt for adherents of religions because this threatens the safety of the community,” he told Reuters in an interview.

“The League has programmes and curricula that enhance national assimilation and which can courageously and forcefully confront all forms of extremism, as well as special programmes to thwart efforts to infiltrate the Muslim community.” [Reuters] Read more

German state looks to ban headscarves for girls

A regional government in Germany has provoked national debate after it announced it was considering a ban on girls under the age of 14 wearing Islamic headscarves.

The initiative comes as neighbouring Austria is set to prohibit headscarves in primary schools and kindergartens. But the proposals in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, go much further, and call for a complete ban.

“More and more primary school teachers are reporting than girls as young as seven are coming to class with headscarves,” Serap Güler, integration minister in the regional government said. “Putting a headscarf on a child is perverse. It’s sexualising the child.”

Ms Güler, who is of Turkish heritage, said her own mother wears a headscarf. “But she made that choice as an adult woman.”

Angela Merkel’s government weighed in on the debate on Tuesday as Annette Widmann-Mauz, the national integration minister, warned a ban could be counter-productive. I completely understand where this is coming from,” Ms Widmann-Mauz said. [The Telegraph] Read more

09 April 2018

German headscarf ban for children met with mixed response

One of Germany's states is considering plans to ban girls under the age of 14 from wearing headscarves. The Islamic Council has criticized the proposal, but some teachers say it's a good idea.

Germany's Teachers' Association on Monday welcomed a proposal from the government of the country's most-populous state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to prohibit girls under the age of 14 from wearing headscarves to school.

"A headscarf ban would help, at least generally speaking, to undermine discrimination on religious grounds and anti-religious bullying," the association's president, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, told the mass-circulation daily Bild newspaper.

He acknowledged that the reality may be different for older girls, but called for an end to the "deliberate display of religious symbols among children with religious backgrounds."

NRW Integration Minister Joachim Stamp announced the initiative over the weekend, saying young children should not be made to cover their hair for religious reasons.

Susanne Lin-Klitzing, the head of the German Philological Association, told Bild that in a democracy no sex should be subordinate to another. "A headscarf can be seen as a symbol of that, and so there's no place for it in the classroom." [Deutsche Welle] Read more

08 April 2018

Outrage at Irish visit by hate preacher who praised Bin Laden

A hate preacher who called Osama Bin Laden a ‘brother and ally’ who should be ‘raised in rank’ following his death, visited two mosques in Ireland in the past two weeks, Extra.ie has learned.

Sudanese sheikh Dr Abdul Hai Yousuf, who works at Khartoum University in Sudan and is the vicepresident of the Sudan Scholar Corporation, addressed children in the South Circular Road mosque, Dublin over the weekend of March 24 and 25. He later spoke at a questions and answers session in Dundalk Islamic Centre on Sunday afternoon, March 25, which was filmed and posted to YouTube.

Dr Hai Yousuf sparked controversy following Osama Bin Laden’s death in 2011 when he spoke at a gathering and called for Bin Laden’s face to be ‘ennobled’ and for him to be given a place with ‘the righteous and the lofty ones’. [EXTRA.ie] Read more

Islam, Not Social Factors, Driving Radicalisation in France

Sociologist Olivier Galland has slammed many of his fellow academics for having a myopic view of radicalisation in France, saying that the effect of Islam is more important than social factors like poverty.

After the Bataclan attacks in 2015, Galland launched a survey of high school pupils on the subject of radicalism and found that Muslim students, in particular, were the most tolerant of violence committed in the name of religion Libération reports.

The results of the study, which were published earlier this week, showed that Muslim pupils were often much more illiberal than their non-Muslim counterparts and Galland has claimed that it is the effect of the religion of Islam, rather than simply social factors that drive radicalisation among them.

“We find a divergence and the existence of a cultural divide between young Muslims and their comrades. For them, religion dominates the secular world: this is what we have called ‘religious absolutism’,” Galland said.

“This conception of religion is linked to cultural anti-liberalism, which we measured with several questions, including one on homosexuality: more young Muslims than others do not see it as a normal way of living one’s sexuality,” he added, but stressed: “This does not mean, of course, that all are ultra-radical or that they are potential terrorists.” [Breitbart London] Read more

07 April 2018

Belgian Islamic Party Announces ‘100 Per Cent Islamic State’ as End Goal

The Belgian Islamic party Partij Islam is set to run candidates in 28 municipalities in the upcoming Belgian municipal elections, and have declared their intention to create an Islamic State in which women and men have to ride in separate buses.

The Partij Islam is likely hoping to do well in highly Muslim-populated areas like Molenbeek and Anderlecht where the party already has some representation, HLN reports.

Anderlecht municipal councillor Redouane Ahrouch, the treasurer of the party, told Belgian media: “Our goal is a one hundred percent Islamic state.”

Ahrouch, who works also as a bus driver in Anderlecht, said that many women have complained to him that men were trying to sexually harass and grab them. His solution to the problem, he said, is to separate public transport by sex so that women have their own buses. [Breitbart London] Read more

06 April 2018

Humour and Hot Water: Should Islam be a Target of Satire?

After noticing a dearth of Islam-related comedy, Waleed Wain decided to make low-budget satire skits mocking popular Salafi televangelists like Zakir Naik and Dawah Man, both of whom promote ideas that are anti-science and anti-democracy. He’s so far garnered effusive praise from Maajid Nawaz, the UK-based Muslim reformer, and has had his work noticed by the Clarion Project and the National Secular Society.

Islam is a subject few comedians in the West want to broach. While Western Christianity is seen as an easy target for ridicule, the other great monotheism rarely gets the same treatment. Many fear coming across as bigoted for poking fun at a faith associated primarily with non-whites, while others are perhaps wary of a credible threat of violence after the Danish cartoon affair and Charlie Hebdo.

With the global spread of austere, fundamentalist Wahhabism, however, the need for humour as a counterbalance to the sort of humourless fanaticism we’re seeing now has never been greater. At least one man in the UK is attempting to change all that. [Conatus News] Read more

05 April 2018

Austrian Muslims condemn hijab ban proposal

Austrian Muslims and a number of other civil society associations on Thursday strongly condemned a legal proposal to impose a ‘hijab’ ban after it was announced by the Austrian prime minister.

Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz on Wednesday said that legal preparations were under way to ban the hijab (headscarf worn by Muslim women) in elementary schools.

He said the legal proposal was called “the child protection law” and was aimed at preventing the formation of “a parallel political ideology” in the country.

Ibrahim Olgun, the head of the Islamic Religious Authority of Austria (IGGO), described the proposal as “unacceptable” in his interview to Anadolu Agency. He said the proposed ban was merely aimed at creating an agenda in which children would be used as political tools and the headscarf would be portrayed as an Islamic political symbol. [Anadolu Agency] Read more

04 April 2018

Austria plans headscarf ban for primary school pupils

Austria's government announced on Wednesday its intention to bring in a ban on the headscarf for girls in kindergartens and primary schools.

Education Minister Heinz Fassmann said that the draft law would be ready by the summer. He added that it would be a "symbolic" act, regardless of how many children were actually affected.

Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) had floated the idea of a ban over the weekend, saying that girls "under the age of 10 must be protected" and be able to "integrate and develop freely".

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the centre-right People's Party (ÖVP) also backed the idea, telling the Oe1 radio station: "We want all girls in Austria to have the same opportunities", and that he wanted to avoid the development of "parallel societies".

The Kurier newspaper reported that neither the education ministry nor various experts asked by the paper were able to provide figures for how many girls currently wear the headscarf in kindergartens and primary schools. [The Local] Read more

Proposed police uniform changes set off alarm bells in Quebec

Suggestions the Montreal Police should change its uniform to accommodate Sikh and Muslim officers have stoked the embers of a fiery debate in Quebec.

Montreal politician Marvin Rotrand is urging the city to allow Sikh cops to wear turbans and Muslim officers to wear hijabs while on duty in order to attract more diverse recruits and build a force that better reflects the population it serves. He received an unexpected boost this week.

“It’s something we have to think about,” said Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, who was elected last fall. “We know that other Canadian cities have done it so I’m very open to the proposition.”

Plante’s comments were only a passive endorsement. Though most big-city police forces, the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces have already adopted inclusive uniform policies, she has not set any actual change in motion in Montreal. A spokesperson for the mayor said the decision is up to the police force to make. [Toronto Star] Read more

Number of Salafists in Germany has doubled in past five years

The number of individuals in Germany recognized as adherents of Salafism has reached a new all-time high, the interior ministry said. The growth is particularly fast in Germany's smallest states.

The number of Salafists in Germany has increased twofold since 2013, the interior ministry said Wednesday, surpassing December's "all-time high."

The number of individuals classified as Salafists by regional authorities in state offices for the Protection of the Constitution reached 11,000, the ministry said, confirming an earlier report from German newspaper Tagesspiegel.

Five years ago the German intelligence agency BfV placed this number at 5,500 — half of the current total.

Salafism is a fundamentalist Islamic ideology. Security authorities see Salafism as a potential entry point to Islamist terrorism. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Swedish court sentences parents for trying to force girl, 13, into marriage

Two Syrian parents in central Sweden have been found guilty of trying to marry their 13-year-old daughter to a man in his twenties against her will.

Shortly after arriving in Sweden in the autumn of 2015, the parents wrote what was referred to as a "marriage contract" on behalf of their teenage daughter, linking her to the then 24-year-old man, said the court.

But the girl contacted the police, who helped her leave her family.

The three adults denied the criminal charges, claiming that the contract, despite its title "Marriage contract under Islamic law" and references to wedding gifts, was similar to an engagement and not legally binding.

The prosecutor however argued that the contact was similar enough to a "marriage-like relationship" to be considered a forced marriage under Swedish law, which generally does not permit under-18s to marry. [The Local] Read more

Austria's government aims to ban headscarves in kindergarten

Austria’s right-wing government announced plans on Wednesday to ban girls from wearing headscarves in kindergarten and primary schools to combat what it sees as a threat to Austrian mainstream culture from some Muslims.

Austria took in more than one percent of its population in asylum seekers during Europe’s migration crisis, an issue that helped Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives win an election last year by taking a hard line on immigration.

“Our goal is to confront any development of parallel societies in Austria,” Kurz told ORF radio, using a term he and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), the coalition partner, favour to describe what they see as a threat posed by some Muslims to mainstream culture.

“Girls wearing a headscarf in kindergarten or primary school is of course part of that.” [Reuters] Read more

How Pakistani school textbooks mould its students’ skewed worldview

Prior to 1977, no textbook contained any mention of the “Pakistan ideology.” But after that, the construct became the starting point and the central premise of high school Pakistan Studies texts. The description of Pakistan Studies textbooks that follows is based on my reading and analysis of textbooks from the mid-1990s to today, from all four provinces.

The books state, quite simply, that the Pakistan ideology is Islam, and begin by describing the five pillars of Islam—shahada (the declaration of faith), namaz (prayer), zakat (charity), hajj (pilgrimage), and fasting—that, together, form the basis of Islamic practice. But this material in the textbooks violates the constitutional provision that non-Muslims do not need to study Islam. In addition, defining the Pakistani identity solely in the form of Islam excludes non-Muslims from that identity. [Quartz] Read more

03 April 2018

Why are so many left-wing progressives silent about Islam’s totalitarian tendencies?

As a lifelong feminist, and firmly on the political Left, I am appalled at so-called progressives that capitulate to Islamist men, and make an exception for Islam as a religion – when being (rightly) critical of Judaism and Catholicism. What is behind this hypocrisy? From where I am standing it is simple: the fear of being labelled ‘Islamophobic’.

As Anna Pak, an Iranian exile to France, and staunch secularist feminist explains, the Islamophobic term originated from 1979 when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. “Women went to the streets and marched to be free of the veil,” she says. “Khomeini and the Islamists obliged them to wear the veil, and that’s when they started calling these women Islamophobic.”

I campaign against sexual and domestic violence alongside secularist feminists, many of whom have fled to the UK from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are furious with those white liberals who are more afraid of being labelled ‘Islamophobic’ than of giving more power to conservative Muslim men who seek to impose Islamic law on women and girls. [UnHerd.com] Read more

'They don't want you to criticize Islam': Controversial speaker Zuhdi Jasser talks about combating 'Islamism'

After days of controversy, a location change and a counter-protest event, Zuhdi Jasser visited Duke to give a talk about Islam. And despite fears of protest that necessitated five security guards at the event, the talk proceeded smoothly.

Jasser, a medical doctor and the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, is a Muslim American whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Syria. The speech, originally entitled, “The American Muslim Identity: Patriot or Insurgent,” emphasized the need to reform Islam, curb Islamism and promote liberty and Americanism.

"Ideas don't have rights, human beings do,” Jasser said. “They call it Islamophobia because they don't want you to criticize Islam.”

He discussed how Islam is over 1,400 years old, but that there have been over 500 years of stagnation of Islamic thought. This period has seen the rise of political Islam—the belief that Muslim-majority countries should be governed based on Sharia or Islamic law. Jasser spoke staunchly against Islamism and Islamic fundamentalism, as he believes it is the root of “radical Islamic terrorism.” [The Chronicle] Read more

Bulgarian Muslim leadership calls urgent meeting over prosecutor’s statement

Bulgaria’s Muslim Supreme Council has called an urgent meeting in response to a reported statement by a prosecutor that should the number of Muslims in the country reach 30 per cent of the population, “the state will be in jeopardy”.

Prosecutor Nedyalka Popova was reported to have made the statement in a recent interview. Popova is the prosecutor in the case of 14 Muslims from the town of Pazardzhik who were accused of preaching religious hatred. The principal accused, Ahmed Musa, has been jailed for a year.

Chief Mufti Mustafa Hadji, spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Muslim minority, told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio on April 3 that Popova’s words were “disturbing” and “discriminatory”. [The Sofia Globe] Read more

01 April 2018

Iraqi courts seeking out atheists for prosecution

Arrest warrants have been issued for four Iraqis on atheism charges, according to Dhi Qar province's Garraf district judiciary. The announcement garnered quite a reaction on media and social networks, as some say these hunts infringe on the rights of the Iraqi people, whose constitution guarantees them freedom of belief and expression. Other observers say the campaign has political aspects.

Dhidan al-Ekili, the chief Garraf judge, told local Iraqi newspapers March 11 that security forces had been able to arrest one of the four indicted, as the search for the remaining three continued. Ekili said they are being pursued for “holding seminars during social gatherings to promote the idea of the nonexistence of God and to spread and popularize atheism.”

According to Ekili, the local court administration has tasked intelligence agencies with cracking down on the “atheism phenomenon.” Ekili said the crackdown is in accordance with the Iraqi Penal Code. [Al-Monitor] Read more

Children report parents after being ‘forced to watch beheading video’

Four siblings have been taken into care after reporting their parents to the authorities for allegedly supporting Isis and forcing them to watch a beheading video.

The children include a 10-year-old boy with learning difficulties who has been so traumatised by the alleged “physical and emotional abuse” that he is unable to speak, court papers state.

Police intervened after the eldest sibling, a teenage girl, contacted Childline to say they “were kept at home, did not attend school and were kept socially isolated, only being allowed out once in every three weeks”.

Dame Esther Rantzen, the Childline founder and president, said the case was “horrific” and applauded the girl’s courage. The details emerged last week after a hearing in the family division of the High Court. Last Sunday this newspaper disclosed the extent of Isis-linked child radicalisation in the UK, including a two-year-old boy who has returned from Syria with an interest in “shooting people”. [The Times (£)] Read more

Ofsted defends itself as teachers say attempts to ban hijab ‘racism dressed as liberalism'

The watchdog slammed accusations of Islamaphobia by militant unions after their head Amanda Speilman instructed inspectors to quiz girls on the head covering.

In a statement, Ofsted stood by Ms Speilman’s remarks and batted off criticisms from NUT members of the National Education Union.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “The National Education Union’s comments are disappointing. There's nothing political about ensuring that schools and parents aren't being subject to undue pressure by national or community campaign groups.

"Head teachers need to be able to take uniform decisions on the basis of safeguarding or community cohesion concerns, and Ofsted will always support them in doing that."

Ms Spielman faced backlash after it was reported inspectors had been told to question Muslim pupils wearing a hijab about why they do so.

The Ofsted head said creating environments where the girls are expected to wear hijabs “could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls”. [Daily Express] Read more

Some Scots believe Islam shown 'too much respect' and Christianity not enough, says Easter poll

A third of Scots believe Islam receives too much respect, while a quarter think too little is shown to Christianity, according to an Easter Sunday poll for The Sunday Times.

The survey also suggests the number of Roman Catholics in the country receiving abuse may have been significantly underestimated.

A total of 33% of respondents said Islam gets too much respect and 15% said it is not respected enough, while 11% think Judaism is respected too much and 19% believe it is not.

Anas Sarwar, the Labour MSP who has received threats on social media and by email , told the newspaper: "Sadly at times it seems that our society is becoming less tolerant and more divided. We should respect people of all faiths and none. [Glasgow Live] Read more