31 May 2018

Conservatives under fire for failing to tackle party's Islamophobia

The Conservatives have been accused of failing to take the issue of Islamophobia seriously by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which is calling for an independent inquiry into a problem it said had “poisoned” sections of the party.

Conservative party officials insisted they were treating the issue seriously, but the MCB cited nine cases of anti-Islam sentiment from Tory politicians and candidates since April, calling it “the tip of the iceberg”.

Sayeeda Warsi, the party’s former chair, said she had spent more than two years trying and failing to get her successors and Theresa May to engage with the problem, and warned that the Tories faced a wider institutional problem of Islamophobia.

.... Khan questioned why no action had been taken against Bob Blackman, the Harrow East MP, after he re-tweeted an anti-Islam message from the hard-right activist Tommy Robinson, and hosted a hardline Hindu nationalist, Tapan Ghosh, in parliament.

Blackman said he accidentally re-tweeted the Robinson post and had not known in advance that Ghosh was being invited to last October’s event. [The Guardian] Read more

Denmark becomes latest European country to ban full Islamic face veil in public spaces

The Danish parliament on Thursday passed a law banning the Islamic full-face veil in public spaces, becoming the latest European country to do so.

"Anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine," says the law, which was passed by 75 votes to 30.

Presented by the centre-right government, the legislation, which is to take effect on August 1, was also backed by the Social Democrats and the far-right Danish People's Party.

Wearing a burqa, which covers a person's entire face, or the niqab, which only shows the eyes, in public will lead to a fine of 1,000 kroner (£118). [The Telegraph] Read more

30 May 2018

Senate rejects ban on foreign funding for Swiss mosques

The Swiss senate on Tuesday on Tuesday voted against a motion calling for foreign funding of mosques in the country to be banned.

Politicians in the upper house voted 29 to 7 against the proposal which had narrowly passed through the lower house Council of States.

The motion had been put forward by Lorenzo Quadri, a senator for the right-wing Ticino League party in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking canton of Ticino.

The proposal, modelled on rules already in place in Austria, would also have seen imams required to preach in a Swiss national language while compelling Islamic centres to disclose the origin of any funding.

With the motion, Quadri had targeted some 35 mosques and Islamic centres in Switzerland reportedly funded by the Turkish government with the money being used to spread radical Islam, Swiss news portal 20 Minuten reported. [The Local] Read more

French schools told to discipline pupils who wear Muslim dress

French schools must send home Muslim girls who refuse to take part in mixed sports classes or wear clothes that imply religious observance, according to government guidelines issued to state teachers.

The education ministry drew up the 83-page handbook to encourage a firmer response by staff as France’s ban on religion in schools is challenged by Muslim pupils and parents.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, the education minister, said that the existing “school charter on secularism”, issued by François Hollande’s Socialist administration in 2014, was too soft and avoided enforcement. Teachers needed encouragement to combat conduct that breaches France’s secularist principles, he said.

“You have to explain and punish if necessary,” he told l’Express. “There is sometimes a temptation to avoid making waves and brush these problems under the carpet. When you have a 14-year-old pupil who shouts Allahu akbar during an outing or questions scientific truths, you can play it down, but you have to pay attention.” [The Times (£)] Read more

The Islamic State Attacks Indonesia—and Its 'Middle Way'

Earlier this month, after experiencing a long hiatus from violent extremism, Indonesia succumbed anew to Islamist terrorism when a family of suicide bombers struck three different churches in the country’s second-largest city, Surabaya. The coordinated attacks during Sunday services on May 13 killed at least 12. The following day, another family of extremists attacked Surabaya’s police headquarters, wounding 10. The Islamic State immediately claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Beyond the horrifying particulars, which involved the use of children as young as eight, the attacks signal a broader intent: ISIS has chosen to declare war on Indonesia’s “middle way” of Islamic culture. Indonesian Islam has long contained important cultural and ideological barriers to intolerance.

Since its independence in 1945, the overwhelmingly Sunni country’s Basic Charter has insisted on giving equal respect to different faiths, despite an embrace of Sunni Islam by over 93 percent of Indonesia’s 240 million-person population. Despite variations within the 3,000-mile archipelago, Indonesia’s bedrock culture, especially in Java, reflects and reinforces coexistence among faiths, as well as tolerance for differing worldviews. [The Weekly Standard] Read more

29 May 2018

EU top court sides with Flanders on ritual slaughter

Only pre-approved abattoirs will be permitted to carry out ritual slaughter.

The European Court of Justice on Tuesday upheld a policy by the Flemish regional government to restrict ritual slaughter to pre-approved abattoirs.

Belgium in 1998 passed legislation allowing religious groups to slaughter animals wherever they chose — affecting mostly Muslim and Jewish communities that practice non-stun slaughter for ritual purposes.

The idea was to allow Muslims, for example, to slaughter animals at times of peak demand — such as during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha — without having to go through official channels.

However, Flanders in 2014 argued that temporary slaughter arrangements were contrary to EU law and decided to restrict ritual slaughter to licensed abattoirs only. Muslim groups challenged the ruling on the basis of religious freedom. [POLITICO] Read more

Being Christian in Western Europe

The majority of Europe’s Christians are non-practicing, but they differ from religiously unaffiliated people in their views on God, attitudes toward Muslims and immigrants, and opinions about religion’s role in society

.... Both church-attending and non-practicing Christians are more likely than religiously unaffiliated adults in Western Europe to voice anti-immigrant and anti-minority views.

For example, in the UK, 45% of church-attending Christians say Islam is fundamentally incompatible with British values and culture, as do roughly the same share of non-practicing Christians (47%).

But among religiously unaffiliated adults, fewer (30%) say Islam is fundamentally incompatible with their country’s values. There is a similar pattern across the region on whether there should be restrictions on Muslim women’s dress, with Christians more likely than “nones” to say Muslim women should not be allowed to wear any religious clothing. [Pew Research Center] Read more

28 May 2018

US fantasies of Islamised Britain do matter

Thanks to the internet, loony American views of a UK lost to radicalism, Sharia and crime are gaining ground here too.

There is a western country that terrifies the American right. Its capital city is already lost to Islam, and has a mayor transparently in league with Islamic State. Its second city is a lawless hell, long abandoned by white people.

Sharia courts are taking over, but the secular courts are not much better, dominated as they are by Muslim-loving Bolsheviks, which might seem an odd sort of Bolshevik to you, but don’t blame me. When not jailing dissidents for thought crimes, the tyrannical government tells hospitals, which are already knee-deep in blood, which children they have to kill. Where is this dystopia? Surprise! You live in it.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 313 votes] I don't care what pretend friend in the clouds people believe in but I have yet to find a single website in the world that can explain to me the benefits of an influx of people with a medieval view on life and the rights of women.

[2ND 260] As a black man who is on the centre right, I feel that I have to look to the right wing press in the USA such as Candace Owen, Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, in order to get away from the all-pervading view that black people are all victims and cannot achieve anything substantial because of white racism. Sadly their are many left wing commentators ‘of colour’ who are more concerned with pulling statues down then dealing with real black issues such as the lack of fathers figures in the home and education.

[3RD 219] Bravo Hugo!

For your next column can you please include your cartoon of Mohamed to demonstrate that the British tradition of exposing hypocrisy and inequality and idiocy through satirical cartoons is alive and well and not under the thumb of Mohamedic prohibition.

[4TH 158] .... Given the huge demographic shifts currently sweeping across Europe which is it so inconceivable that we might undergo a similar cultural and demographic shift over the next century or so? The birth-rates in Europe are very low, the birth-rates in large chunks of the Islamic world are very high.

Many of these countries have low-standards of living and cannot support their current populations. There are now extremely well-established migration routes from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia into Europe and the continent is currently subject to enormous migration flows. Why is it so inconceivable to so many that the world is not static, and that the present may not last forever. Just because a problem is exaggerated or overstated does not mean it is not real.

[5TH= 142] Excellent post.

That cultures change over time is a truism.

If the Muslim share of the UK was 2.7% according to 2001 census and 4.4% according to 2011 census, & latter census notes that average age of White Irish and White British is 56 & 49 respectively, compared with 32 & 34 for Bangladeshi & Pakistani respectively - you do not have to have an “agenda” to see that the Muslim % is going to increase sharply.

The question is - is it realistic to expect people not to have an opinion?

Are people who are anxious about this trend racist?

[5TH= 142] .... We are not Islamic in this country but a process appears to have begun in this country and critics are silenced.

You are right in so far as hysteria from some elements doesn’t help the case, but ignoring the influence of any religion over out way of life is dangerous. [The Times (£)] Read more

26 May 2018

Ed Husain: from Islamist radical … to champion of liberal Muslims

The British writer explains why his new book calls for a battle for the moderate and inclusive soul of Islam.

The house of Islam is on fire and its Muslim arsonists must be expelled. So comes the provocation from Ed Husain, self-proclaimed former Islamist radical, who puts much of the blame for Isis, Syria, Hamas and beyond on Saudi-sponsored Salafism and the export of Wahhabism across the world. “We can’t blame the rest of the global neighbourhood for the fire we’ve lit in our own home,” he says, in an empty Brick Lane cafe on the first morning of Ramadan.

Through writing his new book, an attempt at condensing a global history of Islam, Husain arrives at the logical, albeit frequently observed, conclusion that the spread of this rigid, literalist interpretation of Islam “rejected by the vast majority of Muslims and imposed on them” is the biggest threat to the religion. The solution? To defeat the ideology.

.... To those who argue that Islam needs a kind of Reformation, he offers a corrective: “Wahhabism is the reformation – Islam is in need of a renaissance and a reminder of its own values of what it means to live and coexist in a free world.” [The Guardian] Read more

Women's arrests cast doubt on Saudi Crown Prince's reforms

A recent crackdown on women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia has cast doubt over a much-touted reform agenda led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

At least 11 women's rights activists have been arrested in recent weeks, according to rights groups, and are believed to be faced with counterterror charges punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

.... those familiar with the detained activists, many of whom were part of global campaigns against the male guardianship laws, say that they wanted more reforms. They say that the activists feared that changes would stop if they did not continue to work for greater rights.

"Women are given the right to drive (by Mohammed bin Salman), thinking this would be the end of the journey," said Madawi al-Rasheed, a Saudi visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

"But I think those women believe that the journey has just begun because the ceiling is very high and they're not going to stop at the prospect of driving a Jeep in Saudi Arabia. They have demands that need to be honored," she added. [CNN] Read more

22 May 2018

Muslims should stop pushing this victimhood culture

It has become commonplace for some politicians, Islamic organisations and civil liberties groups to accuse the police and others of targeting Britain’s Muslim communities in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. Lord Ahmed has accused the authorities of acting unfairly. Liberty, the human rights group, has made similar criticisms.

However, the claims aren’t backed up by the facts. Muslims are no more likely than the rest of the population to be stopped on suspicion of committing a crime, according to a study published today by Cambridge’s Woolf Institute, an organisation founded to “encourage tolerance and foster understanding between people of all beliefs”.

.... the fact that Muslims are not more likely to be stopped by police is a kick in the teeth for those who push a culture of victimhood and accuse forces of having an anti-Muslim agenda. Such claims are commonly made as a way of scoring cheap political points and getting easy headlines. But such tactics do real harm at a time when Muslim communities and the authorities need to work together to tackle the growing threat of extremism and radicalisation. [The Times (£)] Read more

Forced marriage: Mum guilty of making daughter wed older man

A mother who forced her daughter to marry a relative almost twice her age has been convicted in the first successful prosecution in England.

The woman duped the then 17-year-old into travelling to Pakistan to wed the man, who was 16 years her senior.

Years before the ceremony, the girl was entered into a "marriage contract" with the man and became pregnant aged 13.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court found the mother guilty of two counts of forced marriage. [BBC] Read more

21 May 2018

In France, veiled union leader sparks another secularism debate

A controversy sparked by a student union representative's headscarf during a TV interview has reignited ongoing tensions over this Muslim headgear and its place in France’s secular state.

When Maryam Pougetoux, spokesperson for the left-wing student union UNEF, was interviewed on TV earlier this month about government university reforms, she had no idea her brief appearance would spark such a fierce online debate on French secularism.

It wasn’t what she said, but what she was wearing. On May 12, speaking to a journalist on behalf of her union which opposes the reforms, the articulate 19-year-old appears on screen wearing a hijab – a Muslim headscarf that left her face uncovered but concealed her forehead, neck and ears.

Shortly after, Laurent Bouvet, a political science expert at Versailles Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines university and staunch secularist, posted a damning comment on Twitter which reignited an ongoing polemic about the role of religion in French public life. Intellectuals, philosophers and politicians waded in. Even Interior Minister Gérard Collomb got involved, saying he thought the woman’s headgear was "shocking". [France24] Read more

Danish politician says Muslims stay off work during Ramadan

A Danish government minister has asserted that Muslims should not work during Ramadan because the month-long daylight fasting period poses safety hazards in some professions and makes the practice “dangerous for us all.”

The integration minister, Inger Støjberg, an immigration hardliner in Denmark’s centre-right government, questioned in a blog post on Monday how “commanding observance to a 1,400-year-old pillar of Islam” was compatible with modern labour markets.

In her post published by Danish tabloid BT, Støjberg cited bus drivers as an example of workers whose performance could be affected by foregoing food and drink during daylight hours of the holy month. She urged all Muslims to take leave from work during Ramadan “to avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society.” [The Guardian] Read more

19 May 2018

Britain’s Ahmadis under fire in battle for the soul of Islam

Eight hundred people recently assembled in Britain’s largest mosque for a day-long peace conference. Yet the group that organised it is finding that its message of tolerance and respect is provoking increasing opposition — not from the far right, but from their fellow British Muslims.

The National Peace Symposium at the Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden was the 15th such event organised by the Ahmadi Muslim community, a sect of about ten million people worldwide that is based in south London.

Ahmadi Muslims spend much of their time promoting peace. “The word Islam itself means ‘peace’ and the whole of Islamic teaching is to have peace in the community and cohesion,” says Rafiq Hayat, president of the UK Ahmadi community.

The roots of Islam as established by the Prophet Muhammad lie in peaceful coexistence with others, he says. “He spoke about unity among people as opposed to differentiating people on the basis of faith.” [The Times (£)] Read more

Saudis detain women's advocates ahead of driving ban lift

Saudi authorities have arrested seven prominent women's rights advocates, just weeks before the kingdom's longstanding driving ban on women is set to be lifted, Human Rights Watch said Saturday.

While the reasons behind the arrests are not clear, activists told HRW that in September 2017, "the royal court had called the country's prominent activists ... and warned them not to speak to the media."

"The calls were made the same day the authorities announced that they would lift the driving ban on women," HRW said.

The detainees rounded up since May 15 include Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef and Eman al-Nafjan, women who have long opposed the driving ban -- to be lifted June 24 -- as well as the kingdom's enduring guardianship laws.

Saudi Arabia's guardianship system require women to obtain permission from their fathers, brothers, husbands or even sons for a host of life decisions. [AFP] Read more

18 May 2018

PakSoc criticised for neglecting to screen documentary

The leaders of Oxford’s Pakistan Society have been accused of “intolerance and bigotry” against the Ahmadi religious minority after they allegedly neglected to screen a documentary about Dr Abdus Salam.

The documentary, which was screened on 12th May by the Oxford University Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association (OUAMSA), described the life and achievements of Salam, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.

Salam, who identified as an Ahmadi (or Ahmadiyya) Muslim, was the first Pakistani to win a Nobel Prize.

Ahmadis face constant discrimination and ostracisation in Pakistan, where they were declared “non-Muslims” under Pakistani law in 1974 – a stance which has been repeatedly criticised by the international community. [Cherwell Newspaper] Read more

Report reveals Leicester Islamic school's library contained books condoning violence to women

An Islamic faith school in Leicester has been slammed by Ofsted after it found “inappropriate” reading material in the boys’ library.

Leicester Community Academy, in Overton Road, has been rated “inadequate” by the education watchdog who said its curriculum was “unlawfully discriminatory”.

One book said a husband had no recourse but to “divorce his wife” if they refused to bear a child even after they had completed their studies on the pretext of work and career.

More worryingly, the report said the book condoned violence towards women by their husbands if the wife was deemed not to be fulfilling her duties.

Girls, it said, did not have any access to a library.

Inspectors also said the curriculum’s “insular ethos” meant pupils were “ill prepared for life in British Society.” [The Leicester Mercury] Read more

17 May 2018

All hail Ms Marvel, a young, female Muslim superhero for our times

At long last, Hollywood is planning a blockbuster film in which a Muslim will not be a threat but a kickass heroine.

When news circulated on Tuesday that Marvel was going to bring a Pakistani-American 16-year-old girl, Kamala Khan (aka Ms Marvel), into its much-loved cinema universe, I was pleased on a number of counts.

I was pleased for myself, to now have a reference for when people ask me how to spell my name, other than “like Genghis”. I was pleased for all my Pakistani actor friends who finally have parts to audition for that aren’t “wife of terrorist No 3” (a speaking part, no less, with three-dimensional lines saying something more than “I love Allah” or “shall I make dinner?”).

[TOP RATED COMMENT 560 votes] When considering a new superhero movie, my primary concern is always the question of what religion they are.

[2ND 472] Surely every one of them is atheist! How do their superpowers fit in with ANY religious narrative? The irony of a Muslim superhero is superb, bearing in mind in a lot of Muslim countries she'd be tried and executed for heresy. [Guardian Cif] Read more

15 May 2018

16 Guards Are Needed to Protect a German Imam Who Fights for Gender Equality

Berlin-based Imam Seyran Ates, 55, has had to get used to the hate mail and the death threats.

She hardly cut a popular figure among Germany’s Muslim population before 2017; as a lawyer, she used to represent victims of domestic abuse and other violence perpetrated by her clients’ conservative-Muslim husbands and brothers. Ates has a scar on her neck from where a would-be murderer’s bullet hit her years ago.

Then, last year, the Istanbul-born feminist really painted a bull’s-eye on herself when she started the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque in the German capital. It’s a place of worship where men and women pray in the same space. Burqas and niqabs are strongly discouraged, headscarves are optional, and women often lead in prayer. [Patheos] Read more

Call to shut down Islamic school that warned girls not to use tampons

Birmingham's shadow education chief has called for an Islamic faith school to be shut down following a catalogue of failure and negative headlines.

Conservative education spokesman Matt Bennett described the Al Hijrah School in Bordesley Green as a "damaged brand" after it was reported girls were warned not to use tampons .

It has been run by a Birmingham City Council interim executive board (IEB) for four years since the school first ran into trouble amid claims of financial mismanagement.

But no permanent trust or organisation has offered to take on the school.

Cllr Bennett (Edgbaston) said: “No one wants to do it. There’s been a catalogue of problems here over many years and the school has a reputation for trouble. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Islamophobia is real. Stop the obsession with semantics

.... most people of good faith understand that Islamophobia as a concept or social phenomenon also goes beyond a literalist dictionary definition.

The term was first popularised by the Runnymede Trust in a report published in 1997. The term had emerged following the need for a specific word to focus minds and lead to substantive action against growing anti-Muslim prejudice. It was initially defined as “unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims” with the “phobia” element based on the common “xenophobia” framework in a similar way to homophobia.

From the outset and in that Runnymede report, it has always been made clear that Islamophobia does not encompass disagreement, criticism or even condemnation of Islam. It is complete hogwash to pretend otherwise. [Miqdaad Versi, 480 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 718 votes] Islamophobia is used to silence any and all criticism of an ideology. Which, like any other ideology, should be open to perfectly legitimate criticism.

[2ND 637] In my opinion there are some things about Islam (as well as other prosletising religions) that we in the modern, liberal world SHOULD fear.

Therfore there can be no such thing as "Islamophobia"; there is reason to fear it.

[5TH 384] The distinction between legitimate criticism and 'phobia' is purely in the mind of the beholder. Britain is certainly a more tolerant society than many of those based on Islamic beliefs.[Guardian Cif] Read more

14 May 2018

Let’s not confuse anti-Muslim hate with Islamophobia

.... The term “Islamophobia”, which is so readily accepted by some to describe anti-Muslim hatred, was coined in the Runnymede Report of 1997. It used the word to encompass hatred of both Islam, the religion, and Muslims, the people.

Much has changed in the 20 years since then and today anyone can criticise or even hate any religion, including Islam. It is not illegal to do so and some Muslims also criticise elements of the faith. Are they Islamophobic?

We are therefore no longer in the “Islamophobia” space where hatred of Islam can be rolled in with real-world attacks on Muslims. All of our criminal and civil laws are based on the protection of people, and rightly so. Which means that anti-Muslim hatred is measurable and recordable, unlike the nebulous term “Islamophobia”. [The Times (£)] Read more

13 May 2018

Men-only event at US mosque sparks backlash

A small Muslim community in upstate New York has been thrust into a debate on the place of women after one of their members made a call for change on social media.

For the Hudson Islamic Center, 29 April was a momentous day.

After more than 20 years praying in another building's basement, they were ready to begin work on a space of their own.

While they had acquired land in 2007, the community had spent years collecting funds for construction. Now with contributions from the working-class families that made up their community and a commitment from a New York City Muslim builder to take payment in phases, the time had come to build a mosque.

On the bright Sunday morning, the community gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony. Local dignitaries were invited, speeches were made and the $1.5m project - a three-floor structure with two minarets and a dome - was unveiled.

Missing from the picture, however, were the women from the community, many of whom had been actively involved in fundraising. [BBC] Read more

1 dead, 41 hurt as suicide bombers hit Indonesian churches

Suicide bombers on motorcycles and including a woman with children targeted Sunday Mass congregations in three churches in Indonesia’s second largest city, killing at least 11 people and wounding dozens in one of the worst attacks on the Christian minority, police said.

The first attack struck the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church in Surabaya, killing four people, including one or more bombers, police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told reporters at the scene. He said two police officers were among a total of 41 wounded.

The blast was followed by a second explosion minutes later at the Christian Church of Diponegoro and a third at the city’s Pantekosta Church, Mangera said. [AP / FOX 17 News] Read more

12 May 2018

German brewery scraps World Cup bottle caps after Saudi Arabia flag row

A Mannheim brewery has apologized after printing 32 World Cup team flags on its beer bottles. Social media users took issue with the Islamic statement of faith — part of Saudi Arabia's flag — being linked to alcohol.

A local German brewery announced on Friday it was halting a marketing campaign tied to the World Cup after sparking outrage on social media.

The Eichbaum brewery, located in the southwestern German city of Mannheim, printed the flags of each of the 32 World Cup national teams on its bottle caps to celebrate the upcoming soccer tournament.

The inclusion of Saudi Arabia's flag on the beer bottle caps, however, prompted numerous complaints on Facebook and Twitter. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Europe's Muslim population to hit 8 pct by 2030: Report

The Muslim population of Europe will rise to 8 percent and of the United States to 2.1 percent by 2030, according to Global Muslim Diaspora Report released on Saturday.

The report was released at a workshop in Istanbul called “Muslim Diaspora: Global Peace and Difficulties for Welfare.”

The two-day workshop was co-organized by the Turkish Prime Ministry’s Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and the Statistical Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) under the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The report also underlines that Austria has highest Muslim population in Europe. It adds that currently 44 million Muslims live in Europe and over 5 million in the U.S.

The report’s results are being discussed during two-day workshop, which concludes tomorrow, with the attendance of scholars from all around the world. [Anadolu Agency] Read more

11 May 2018

Islamic school accused of warning girls not to use tampons

The Al-Hijrah School reportedly sent out the guidance in a memo to teachers which called for ‘physical, sexual, moral and emotional development’ of pupils.

The school library also allegedly contained a book which said husbands can hit their wives and demand sex at any time.

A document leaked to the Sun called Sex and Relationships Education Policy 2017 discusses personal hygiene and states: ‘Among the various types of pads, tampons may not be appropriate due to insertion.’

Muna Adil, from religious think tank Quilliam, branded the advice ‘misogynistic and misinformed’. [Metro.co.uk] Read more

Saudi-financed Belgian mosques teach hatred of Jews, gays: report

Teaching manuals in Gulf Arab-financed mosques in Belgium promote anti-semitic stereotypes of Jews and call for the persecution of homosexuals, according to a leaked Belgian intelligence report.

The texts used in mosques including the Brussels Grand Mosque call for gays to be stoned to death or thrown off buildings and describe Jews as "evil", the report by the OCAM national terrorism monitoring centre said.

The writings, which are used to train preachers and theology professors, were "inspired mainly by classical Islamic law from the Middle Ages," OCAM said in a copy of the report obtained by AFP on Friday. [France24] Read more

Poll Finds Immigration and Terror Top Issues for People Across Europe

The top two issues facing the European Union (EU), according to voters in Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Lithuania, are immigration and terrorism.

The only nation where another issue occupied one of the top two spots, according to a new YouGov poll, was Italy, where they were immigration and unemployment.

Immigration was the top concern for the bloc as chosen by 53 per cent of people in Finland, 51 per cent in Greece, 49 per cent in Sweden, 47 per cent in Italy, and 39 per cent in Britain.

Terrorism was rated as number one by 43 per cent of people in Poland, 38 per cent in France, 35 per cent in the UK, and 34 per cent in Lithuania.

.... Professor Mathew Goodwin, a Senior Fellow at Chatham House, gave a brief analysis of the data on Twitter.

“There is a new issue agenda. Europe is moving rightwards,” he said.

“Unless the centre-left finds something meaningful to say it will be cast aside, not least because these issues will only likely become more important to voters,” he added, mentioning “migration, ethnic change, unresolved refugee crisis.” [Breitbart London] Read more

09 May 2018

Anti-Semitic material used to train imams in Belgium

A number of Muslim institutions in Belgium are using ultra-conservative manuals containing anti-Semitic passages to train imams, according to a confidential report by the country’s coordination body for threat assessment (OCAM).

The body found that training manuals used in Brussels’ Grand Mosque, as well as other institutions, contained “outdated and extremely conservative language” and teachings that stand in “stark contrast with Belgian or European social contexts,” according to RTL.

The study, which analyzed manuals used in 2016 and 2017, was originally intended for the parliamentary committee following up on the March 2016 terror attacks in Brussels.

According to La Libre, which saw a copy of the report, the manuals contained anti-Semitic and homophobic passages, as well as violent calls to jihad. In one text, Jews are reportedly called “a corrupt, avaricious and perfidious people,” while another said homosexuals should be thrown off buildings and stoned. [POLITICO] Read more

Berlin court bars Muslim teacher from wearing headscarf

A Muslim primary school teacher has lost her bid to overturn a law banning the wearing of religious clothing by public servants in Berlin.

The Berlin labour court judge ruled that the city-state's neutrality law for teachers, police and court officials was constitutional.

Germany's 16 states have differing laws on headscarves in schools.

Three years ago Germany's constitutional court overturned a blanket ban on teachers wearing them.

The federal court cited religious freedom, although civil servants across Germany are barred from covering their faces. The full face-veil is not allowed on a national level but the hijab is.

.... Wednesday's ruling has been welcomed by the founder of Berlin's liberal mosque, Seyran Ates, who has campaigned to keep religious symbols out of schools.

But Zeynep Cetin of the Network Against Discrimination and Islamophobia argued that the ruling was like a professional ban on the female teacher involved. [BBC] Read more

Birmingham woman duped daughter into forced marriage, court told

.... Jurors at Birmingham crown court heard how she was first betrothed to the man on a previous visit to Pakistan in 2012 when she was just 13. They were told that during the trip she was visited by an imam along with her future “husband”, who was then 29, and his parents.

“[She] was asked to sign a document which she thinks was some form of marriage agreement. That night when she wanted to sleep by her cousin the cousin told her she could not do this as she had to sleep by her husband,” the prosecuting barrister, Deborah Gould, told the court.

Gould added: “She was up until that point, as you can imagine at age 13, a virgin. That night [he] had sexual intercourse with [her].” [The Guardian] Read more

Berlin Court Upholds Ban on Teacher’s Islamic Headscarf in Classroom

A Berlin court has ruled that a law prohibiting a Muslim teacher from wearing a headscarf in a public school doesn’t violate her constitutional right to religious freedom.

The dpa news agency reported Wednesday that the Berlin labor court ruled that the city-state’s so-called neutrality law banning all religious clothing for public teachers, police officers and judicial employees wasn’t unconstitutional.

It noted that the teacher had agreed to follow the neutrality law when she was hired.

Such bans are decided on a state level in Germany and in 2015 the Federal Constitutional Court on appeal struck down a law in North Rhine-Westphalia that forbade headscarves, but exempted “Christian and Western educational and cultural values or traditions” from its ban. [AP] Read more

Just 18 Per Cent of Flemish Belgians Say Islam is Compatible with the West

Fewer than one in five Flemish Belgians consider Islamic values compatible with their own way of life, a survey has found, with many Muslim migrants saying Islam is more important than Belgian law.

Large-scale Muslim immigration into Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern region of Belgium, means Islam is now the largest minority religion after Catholicism, forming about 3.9 per cent of the general population and 25 per cent of the population in Brussels, a French-speaking enclave and the capital city of the European Union (EU).

A poll of close to 4,500 Flemish Belgians and Brussels residents with Belgian, Turkish, Moroccan, Polish, Romanian, and Congolese backgrounds found just 18 per cent thought Islamic values “go well” with Western society.

Even among Belgians with a Moroccan background, 40 per cent did not agree that Muslims adapt well to Western life, De Morgen reports. [Breitbart London] Read more

08 May 2018

Feminism Over Multiculturalism: Germany Backs ‘Values’ Classes for Refugees

Centre-right parties in Germany want to introduce “rule of law” classes for refugee children in which it would be stressed that state ‘values’ including gender equality take priority over cultural diversity.

A draft document prepared by Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party CSU ahead of the parliamentary group’s conference Monday would see young migrants taking lessons in ‘values’ at schools across Germany.

According to the Rheinische Post, the proposals would see the children of newcomers from the third world taught that press freedom, the protection of human dignity, and equality between men and women “stand as indispensable values above divergent cultural or religious views”.

The initiative, which was first floated last month by the CSU Bavarian premier Markus Söder, “would allow refugees to learn about our values and the rule of law, and, at the same time, teach them the limits and duties of our legal system,” states the Union document, which asserts that: “The integration of those who can stay in Germany is a priority issue, not least in order to preserve peace in our society”. [Breitbart London] Read more

40 per cent of Indonesian university students targeted by radical religious ideology, report says

.... Mr Gunawan said 15 Indonesian provinces were classified as high-risk areas and they were now closely monitoring three Indonesian universities.

The intelligence report also finds that 24 per cent of university students and 23.3 per cent of high school students in Indonesia are in favour of supporting jihad to establish an Islamic "caliphate".

The findings have been supported by previous research by other institutions in the country.

The Wahid Foundation, founded by former Indonesian president and Muslim scholar KH Abdurrahman Wahid, did a study on radicalisation in 2017.

It found nearly 60 per cent of high school students who were taking extracurricular activities in Islamic studies said they ready to be part of jihad even if violence was involved. [ABC] Read more

07 May 2018

Islamophobia is a fiction to shut down debate

Now consider Islamophobia. Anyone who calls out Islamist extremism as a fanatical or primitive interpretation of Islam currently dominant in the Muslim world is called an Islamophobe. Anyone who says the Muslim Brotherhood is a conspiracy to Islamise the world is called an Islamophobe. Yet evidence abounds to support such observations. Numerous Islamic religious authorities have upheld the uncompromising precepts behind Islamic fundamentalism and holy war.

Muslim Brotherhood documents relating to Britain, Europe and America talk about changing “the very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order, and its creed from ignorance to Islam” and “eliminating and destroying the western civilisation from within”.

Yet anyone sounding the alarm about this is called Islamophobic. These include the former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian victim of genital mutilation and prominent critic of Islam who lives under police guard because of Islamist threats to her life. [Melanie Phillips, 510 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 300 votes] Interesting points made, as a black man I have found that I have not received racism or prejudice from white people but I have from other ethnic communities. This is never mentioned in the media as they seem to like to make it seem only white peoples can be racist.

[2ND 253] I was brought up in an Islamist household, as a Salafi Muslim, and I can tell you with much assuredness that everything Melanie says here is utterly correct.

[3RD 218] The pervasive Islamaphobia narrative suggests that an inordinate and violent hatred of Muslims is manifested within our non-Muslim demographic. In the present century 88 people have been murdered in the UK by Muslims in hate and terror attacks targeting non-Muslims. If the propensity for murderous violence against Muslims had been manifested at the same rate from within the non-Muslim cohort, allowing for the fact that it is 20 times larger, then over 1,700 Muslim fatalities could have been anticipated. In fact the figure is 1: Finsbury Park.

If there really is such an inordinate, violent hatred of Muslims as the proponents of Islamophobia allege how do they square that with the fact that in respect of the propensity for the most serious (ie murderous) attacks the depredations caused by Islamophobia are miniscule compared to those caused by Kuffarphobia (for want of a better word).

I have never heard a Muslim commentator address the yawning discrepancy; I have rarely heard anyone in the media question it. It is as if the Islamaphobia narrative is self-justifying by dint of constant repetition. [The Times (£)] Read more

06 May 2018

Saudi Arabia 'will not end gender segregation' in public spaces

Saudi authorities have backtracked on plans to end gender segregation in public places and mandatory prayer-time closures for businesses as a part of a sweeping modernisation drive.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday launched a project, dubbed "Quality of Life Program 2020," designed to turn the deeply conservative kingdom into an entertainment hub.

A document handed out to journalists that outlined the programme called for lobbying to legalise gender mixing and allow shops to open during prayers.

The items were removed from versions posted online later.

Pro-government Sabq news website on Saturday denied that authorities had ever called for the divisive reforms, citing "informed sources". [The New Arab] Read more

05 May 2018

Atheist blogger arrested in Egypt for anti-Islam criticism

An atheist blogger who was previously detained for promoting his anti-religion views, was arrested by Egyptian police, a rights lawyer said on Saturday.

Sherif Gaber was in police custody on Saturday and set to be questioned by the prosecution on Sunday, Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, told AFP.

"He has been arrested and should be questioned tomorrow," Eid said.

It was not immediately clear when Gaber was arrested.

In late March, Gaber tweeted that "some Muslim lawyers" filed a complaint against him with the attorney general for his critical views on Islam. [The New Arab] Read more

Young British Muslims are becoming much more liberal – but they aren’t less religious as a result

Muslims, especially second generation Muslims, seem to be finding ways to reconcile British culture with religion. It's only natural that, when Islamic thought has adapted to the context in Malaysia, in Pakistan and in Egypt, it can do so in Britain as well

.... So when Ipsos MORI released a review last month of all the major polling data on Muslim social attitudes to date, it’s surprising that no one picked up on the significance of its findings. Delve into the detail and what you find is something completely new.

What it showed is that Muslims are becoming more liberal. But what was surprising was that they’re not becoming less religious; if anything, the data suggests the opposite. The report noted rising religious observance over the 2005-2009 period, saying “this rise was particularly evident in the younger (16-29) age group (from 68 per cent to 80 per cent)” compared to 73-79 per cent for all Muslims.

And yet, these Muslims are more likely to want to fully integrate into all aspects of British life, have ethnically diverse friendship groups and think it correct that homosexuality is legal in Britain.

What is happening? Muslims, especially second generation Muslims, seem to be finding ways to reconcile British culture with religion. It’s only natural that, when Islamic thought has adapted to the context in Malaysia, in Pakistan and in Egypt, it can do so in Britain as well. Apparently, it can do so without becoming less Islamic.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Whilst this can only be good news, if true, it is a bit of a PR article that glosses over many of the issues the Muslim community and Islam, as too often practiced, has.

There is fair agreement as to the issues with Islam and these have been discussed at length by people who have fundamental opposition to Islam, like Murray, to reformers, like Nawaz.

The near universal and unyielding view that the Koran is the literal word of Allah, that Mohammed is a perfect human and beyond question and the less universal but still common belief that Islamic law, Sharia, is a perfect legal system leads to an ever present intolerance amongst a disturbingly large minority/majority.

Being decentralised doesn't help either, leaving latitude for extremism even if the majority become liberal.

All of this is self evident in the Islamic world today with 14 nations believing that leaving Islam or being an atheist should be punished by death, the prevalence of widespread sectarian violence and the continued existence of extremity groups like Isis.

Certainly, the increase of liberal imams in the UK will help but it's worth pointing out that almost half of all British mosques are run by conservative/extreme Islamic sects and MI5 say ~1% of the British Muslim populations are a threat to safety and security. Social attitude surveys suggests and 10-30% hold extreme views. So, there's a long way to go.

[ANOTHER] "It’s only natural that, when Islamic thought has adapted to the context in Malaysia, in Pakistan and in Egypt,"

The latter two being among the most misogynistic countries in the world; 90% of women have been genitally mutilated in Egypt.

So maybe there is a little more adapting to do, I reckon.

[ANOTHER] Having visited Malaysia let me assure you they take their Islam seriously there. The Chinese areas are laid back and liberal but Malay areas are every bit as strict as their Middle Eastern counterparts.

[ANOTHER] Far be it from me to denounce the slowest kid in the class when they demonstrate minor but positive incremental changes especially as the fact is that the overwhelming majority of UK Muslims lead peaceful lives.

What’s concerning is that this survey shows little or no improvement in the majority views regarding the more alarming findings shown in the extensive poll of Muslims in the UK in April 2016 conducted by ICM and reported in the Guardian and by Channel 4. Here are just three results with the approximate population numbers included, based on the known 3 Million Muslims in the UK.

52% Muslims agree that homosexuality should illegal in Britain.

38% believe it is not the responsibility of Muslims to condemn terrorist acts carried out in the name of Islam.

6% Muslims say they would not report activities supporting violent extremism to the police.

[ANOTHER] Turkey was relatively secular for 100 years under Ataturk but that hasn't stopped the rise of a virulent strain of Islam there. Nor does it changes the fundamentals of islam one iota.

ECHR Judgement Summary: "sharia law is incompatible with democracy and human rights"

Source: “Annual Report 2003 of the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe”

Noting that the Welfare Party had pledged to set up a regime based on sharia law, the Court found that sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”.

According to the Court, it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts. [The Independent] Read more

03 May 2018

Muslim Man in Court for Threatening to Blow Up French Cathedral for Not Reading Quran

On Saturday, the 37-year-old barged into local landmark St Vincent’s Cathedral of Chalon-sur-Saône and while intoxicated and carrying a bottle of alcohol he yelled: “It is the Quran that must be read!” He then said that he had a grenade and would blow up the church, local news website Info Chalon reports.

The court, which was presided by a tribunal of judges, saw Ahmed ask for a delay in the proceedings to mount a defence, rather than be judged on the day of the hearing.

‘Ahmed’ has a long history of criminality with 27 prior criminal convictions including three cases of death threats and seven convictions for theft. [Breitbart London] Read more

First female Afghan pilot granted asylum in US

Afghanistan’s first-ever female airline pilot, who was lauded as a mark of progress in the battle for progress on women’s rights there, has been accepted for asylum in the United States.

Niloofar Rahmani travelled to the US in 2015 to receive training. She said she and her family were facing threats from the Taliban, the militant group that has waged a decades-long war against the Afghan government.

The US paid for her travel and her training. Now, Washington says it remains too dangerous for her to return to her home country.

She applied for asylum in 2016, but only received the news on Monday, the same day that a twin suicide bombing claimed by ISIS killed at least 26 people, including nine journalists.

“I’m really happy and thankful to all the people who made this happen,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “All I want now is to go back to my dream of flying”. [The National] Read more

02 May 2018

We Must Support Britain’s Secular Muslims

In tough times for Muslims in public life, a cohort of secular Britons hailing from Muslim communities are challenging assumptions and extremism on all sides. This week, as a result of the Home Office scandal on the treatment of ‘Windrush’ immigrants, Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP was forced to resign.

Replacing her is Sajid Javid, former secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Britain’s first Home Secretary of South Asian heritage. It has been noted that Javid shares a remarkably similar profile to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Both of them are children of working-class bus drivers hailing from the Pakistani migrant communities that arrived in Britain from the 1960s.

While much is to be made of these two triumphant examples of an immigrant story in Modern Britain, both Javid and Khan are also united by their Muslim background. Khan professes as a practising Muslim and Javid practices no religion but both have borne heightened scrutiny in the public eye as prominent British Muslims. [Conatus News] Read more

01 May 2018

Lewisham Tory candidate suspended over 'Islamophobic tweets'

Karen Sunderland, who is standing as a candidate for Lewisham Council, called Islam "the new Nazism" in a series of social media posts last year.

Ms Sunderland, who has been approached for comment, was suspended on Sunday pending an investigation.

She will remain on the ballot for Thursday's election, a Lewisham Council spokesman said.

Ms Sunderland was suspended three weeks after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination.

Her now-private Twitter account showed she was canvassing over the weekend, the Local Democracy Reporter Service said.

In December she tweeted: "Love your optimism. The thing is, religion undermines the hard fought for values and tolerances of progressed countries…suppresses free speech and is auto immune from criticism. This is toxic and where the hostility comes from. Religion is totalitarian. Islam has become the new Nazism." [BBC] Read more

Sectarian Killers Threaten UK Muslim Prison Chaplains with Murder

Muslim prison chaplains have warned their lives are in danger from sectarian radicals supporting a Sunni Muslim from Bradford who killed a member of the Ahmadiyya sect living in Scotland.

The religious leaders say killer Tanveer Ahmed has “put out a death warrant” on their heads and that there are radical Muslims living in English “ghettos” who are prepared to kill them, demanding more protection.

They have been passing authorities information on Mr. Ahmed’s activities behind bars, claiming he is preaching extremism and encouraging sectarian violence.

Mr. Ahmed is serving 27 years after driving 200 miles to Glasgow in March 2016 to kill shopkeeper Asad Shah, hours after he wished his “beloved Christian nation” happy Easter on social media. [Breitbart London] Read more

Public prosecutor says PVV Islam video does not incite hatred or discrimination

The public prosecution department will not take legal action about a video made by the anti-Islam PVV party ahead of the local elections because the contents are not against the law.

In total, 17 people have made a formal complaint about the video which was broadcast on the public television channels.

The video, which lasts 2.5 minutes, features the words ‘Islam is’ in red, followed by words and phrases such as violence, forced-marriage, terror, deadly, Jew-hater, gay-hater and ‘deadly’.

The words drip blood as they appear on the screen. The public prosecution department said in a statement that it did not consider the video incited hatred, discrimination or violence because it focused on Islam as a religion, not its followers. [DutchNews] Read more

Ukip peer suggests there is working-class anger against 'Islamification of communities'

Lord Pearson of Rannoch tabled a question asking for the Government to outline what assessment it has made of the future growth of the Muslim population in England and the impact on the relationship between Sharia law and domestic law.

Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said no assessment of current or future growth of any faith population has been made, adding Sharia law has no jurisdiction in England and Wales.

Lord Pearson criticised the answer before adding: "Good Muslims must follow Muhammad's example and impose Sharia law on their hosts when they are..."

Labour peers sat nearby interrupted Lord Pearson with shouts of "rubbish" and "nonsense", before he continued: "When they are strong enough to do so.

"Because several of our local authorities will soon be Muslim-majority and because anger is already rising among our kafir working-class at the Islamification of their communities.

"So first can I again ask the Government whether they will require all teaching in our mosques and madrasas to be in English? [Asian Image] Read more