29 September 2018

NSS protests UK judge’s claim that Islam is a peaceful religion

Following remarks about the peaceful nature of Islam by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, above, the National Secular Society has asked the Justice Secretary David Gauke to ensure judges keep theology out of their courtrooms.

According to this report, the NSS wrote to Gauke after both a watchdog and an ombudsman dismissed complaints about the judge’s claims during trials that Islam “is a religion of peace”.

In March, during the trial of the Parsons Green bomber, Haddon-Cave told the defendant Ahmed Hassan that “the Qur’an is a book of peace” and Islam “is a religion of peace”. The judge added that Hassan had:

"Violated the Qur’an and Islam by your actions".

And he said the terrorist would have:

"Plenty of time to study the Qur’an in prison".

The NSS said such remarks:

"Ran the risk of undermining the judicial principle of neutrality and impartiality".

It asked Gauke to:

"Protect and advance the principles of justice by ensuring that judicial office holders restrict themselves to interpreting the law of the land, rather than religious doctrine". [The Freethinker] Read more

OIC adopts statement calling for showing respect to Islam, its personalities and symbols

OIC foreign ministers adopted a strongly worded statement — sponsored by Pakistan and Turkey — denouncing the increasing attacks on Islam, its revered personalities and symbols, and calling for an end to such campaigns.

The ministers met on Friday on the margins of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly being held in New York.

Speaking at the meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed deep concern over the misrepresentation of Islam as well as at the activities that have hurt the feelings of Muslims all over the world, especially the disrespect shown to the most revered personality of Islam.

In the statement, which was approved by the ministerial meeting, serious concern was expressed on intensification of hate campaigns which were deliberately targeting Muslims and the Islamic religious symbols.

The joint statement rejected provocative acts like the holding of the competition contest to ridicule Islam aimed at inciting violence.

Ever since caricatures competition was announced, Pakistan raised the issue at the diplomatic level with the United Nations, OIC, and European Union and sensitized world leaders, according to an official statement. [Associated Press of Pakistan] Read more

Egyptian woman Amal Fathy jailed for sexual harassment video

An Egyptian woman who made a video alleging sexual harassment has been given two years in prison and a fine on charges of “spreading false news”.

Amal Fathy, an actor and a former activist, uploaded a video to her Facebook account in May detailing how she was sexually harassed during a visit to her bank and criticising the government’s failure to protect women.

Two days after the post, Egyptian security forces entered her home in a pre-dawn raid and arrested her along with her husband and young son, both of whom were later released.

Fathy was subsequently put on trial accused of spreading false news with intent to harm the Egyptian state and possessing “indecent material”. She was sentenced to one year in prison for each charge, and given a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (£430) for making “public insults”. [The Guardian] Read more

Former 'Miss Baghdad' shot dead

Killed as she drove through Iraqi capital in latest of series of attacks on women. Iraqi social media star and model Tara Fares has been shot dead in Baghdad, security officials confirmed to CNN.

The death of Fares and other recent killings prompted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to order an investigation on Friday.

The former Miss Baghdad, and first runner-up for Miss Iraq, was killed on Thursday after gunmen opened fire on her in the capital’s Camp Sarah neighborhood, according to a statement by Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which is investigating the incident. [WND.com] Read more

The Satanic Verses sowed the seeds of rifts that have grown ever wider

.... Some defenders of Rushdie began wrapping their arguments in the language of identity, too, questioning the very presence of Muslims as being incompatible with “western values”.

In the 1990s, the US political scientist Samuel Huntington popularised the term “the clash of civilisations”, a notion that increasingly gained a hearing in liberal circles, particularly in the wake of 9/11. Many came to defend free speech and secularism and Enlightenment ideals not as universal values but as uniquely “western” products; more as tribal weapons in the clash of civilisations than as means of advancing political rights and social justice. It’s a world view that, ironically, mirrors that of the Islamists.

The controversy over The Satanic Verses brought into focus issues that have since become defining problems of the age – the nature of Islam, the meaning of multiculturalism, the boundaries of tolerance in a liberal society and the limits of free speech in a plural world. That, 30 years on, we still blindly wrestle with these issues reveals how little we have learned from the Rushdie affair. And how the lessons we have learned have often been the wrong ones. [The Guardian] Read more

Jihad Roadshow: Banned Islamist group is using children as young as 13 to peddle books supporting suicide bombing and jihad in Britain

An extreme Islamist group banned in more than a dozen countries is using British children as young as 13 to peddle books supporting suicide bombing and jihad.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which wants to establish an Islamic state with Sharia law, has been holding a series of ‘roadshows’ across the country.

An undercover reporter who attended a number of the meetings was sold books suggesting suicide strikes are acceptable, and others saying jihad was ‘compulsory’ to spread the message of Islam.

The group allowed a 13-year-old to sell pamphlets comparing Westerners to animals over their ‘filthy promiscuity’ and urging followers to shun British culture. [487 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 4313 votes] And everyone who has complained about this, in the public arena, has been viIified and taken to court by the government. Why do they keep doing that? What are successive governments hiding...?

[2ND 3734] Time this government stood up and did something about this. Just turn a blind eye all the time.

[3RD 3432] Those in power who allow this are just as culpable!!

[4TH 3352] Why do we accept this?

[5TH 3241] Any other country would arrest these scumbags who are distributing threatening material, but in Britain we don't protect the innocent just the scum. [Daily Mail] Read more

28 September 2018

Belgian MP: Grand Mosque of Brussels Continues to Preach Hate

Belgian MP Georges Dallemagne has expressed concern that the Grand Mosque of Brussels may have resumed more hardline sermons and may be continuing to preach hate.

Mr Dallemagne said earlier this week that he believed the leaders of the Grand Mosque were deceiving the authorities and “stringing them along” when it came to preaching more radical forms of Islam, Sudinfo reports.

The Islamic and Cultural Center of Belgium (CICB) which operates out of the Grand Mosque, has been accused of spreading Wahabbist ideology in the past by a report from the Belgian Unit for Coordination and Threat Analysis (OCAM), the contents of which was leaked earlier this year.

“The teaching of the Muslim religion of the Arab section of the Islamic and Cultural Center of Belgium is in no way adapted to the Belgian or European reference framework. Salafist ideas and doctrines that encourage the rejection of any different ideas and fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms,” the report said. [Breitbart London] Read more

Pakistan’s Ahmadis fearful as leaders bow to extremists

Pakistan’s embattled Ahmadiyya minority enjoyed a brief moment of hope earlier this month when one of its own, a U.S.-based Princeton economist, was appointed to an economic advisory council.

But the backlash from Islamic hard-liners, which led newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan to quickly rescind the appointment under political pressure, has only underscored the Ahmadis’ fraught position in the conservative, Muslim-majority country.

Ahmadis believe another Islamic prophet, Ahmad, appeared in the 19th century, a view at odds with the fundamental Islamic principle that Muhammad was the final messenger sent by God. Islamic hard-liners view them as heretics, and have successfully pressured past governments to pass draconian laws against the community. Ahmadis have also long been targeted by Islamic extremists, and are shunned by many mainstream Muslims.

Religious parties have never done well in Pakistan’s elections, and last July’s balloting was no exception. But the ability of hard-line clerics to organize mass rallies and incite violence against political opponents has often forced even liberal governments to bow to their demands. [AP] Read more

26 September 2018

Proud to be a racist: 'Final solution' senator claims immigrants come from 'broken s***holes' and Islam 'is on a mission to take over Australia'

A rogue senator who called for a 'final solution' to Muslim immigration has now declared he doesn't care if he is called a racist.

Katter's Australian Party lawmaker Fraser Anning released a video declaring all non-European migrants moving to Australia were from 'broken down s***holes'.

'We're finding that more and more people are apologising for being white but it was the whites who built these nations,' he said.

The Queensland senator said people from poor countries wanted to move to Australia 'because we have what they don't have'.

We don't need to turn our countries into those same broken down s***holes that they come from. Otherwise we'll just become one of them,' he said.

On Tuesday, Senator Anning tweeted a meme equating Muslims with failed states in the Middle East and Africa to argue why they should be banned from Australia.

'If being a racist means I don't want my country turned into a pile of rocks and goat s*** ruled by a barbaric cult, then I'm a racist,' he said on Facebook and Twitter. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

Charity trustees replaced with interim manager after terrorism convictions

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to Fazal Ellahi Charitable Trust, a mosque charity which is under investigation after an imam was convicted of six counts of encouraging terrorism in sermons and classes to children.

A statutory inquiry was opened in April 2018 and the charity's bank accounts were frozen. Jonathan Burchfield of Stone King will now take over the management and administration of the charity, to the exclusion of the trustees.

The charity, which exists to advance Islam and teach Urdu, was removed from the Commission register in 2009 after it failed to engage with the regulator or submit accounts, but it continued to run a mosque in Birmingham.

The Commission stepped in last year after being made aware of offences committed by the imam at the mosque operated by the charity. The offences resulted in a conviction of six counts of encouragement of terrorism and two counts of encouraging support for a proscribed organisation, all in relation to a series of sermons and classes for children he gave at the mosque. [Civil Society] Read more

Anti-islamophobia kit launched in European Parliament

In the wake of growing racism across Europe, a project to counter islamophobia was launched in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

Experts and academics from across Europe gathered at the parliament for the launch of the two-year Counter-Islamophobia Kit (CIK) project funded by the European Commission's Directorate of Justice.

They called on member states and policymakers to play a more active role in the fight against Islamophobia and strengthen legal procedures on the issue.

The project reviews dominant anti-Muslim narratives and compares counter-narratives in eight EU members states of France, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Greece, and the U.K.

It outlines 10 counter-narratives that must be prioritized in Europe: [ANADOLU AGENCY] Read more

The Latest Attack on Islam: It’s Not a Religion

Too many Americans would deny Muslims the religious liberty they insist upon for Christians.

.... But when it comes to religious liberty for Americans, there’s a disturbing trend that has drawn much less attention. In recent years, state lawmakers, lawyers and influential social commentators have been making the case that Muslims are not protected by the First Amendment.

Why? Because, they argue, Islam is not a religion.

This once seemed like an absurd fringe argument. But it has gained momentum. John Bennett, a Republican state legislator in Oklahoma, said in 2014, “Islam is not even a religion; it is a political system that uses a deity to advance its agenda of global conquest.” In 2015, a former assistant United States attorney, Andrew C. McCarthy, wrote in National Review that Islam “should be understood as conveying a belief system that is not merely, or even primarily, religious.”

In 2016, Michael Flynn, who the next year was briefly President Trump’s national security adviser, told an ACT for America conference in Dallas that “Islam is a political ideology” that “hides behind the notion of it being a religion.” In a January 2018 news release, Neal Tapio of South Dakota, a Republican state senator who was planning to run for the United States House of Representatives, questioned whether the First Amendment applies to Muslims. [The New York Times] Read more

25 September 2018

Oceanic sculpture of Bolton teenager destroyed by armed police

The artistic representation of Charles Cooper was erected in the coastal waters off the beautiful Maldives one month ago as part of a $1million project led by the Museo Atlántico — a collection of 300 underwater statues.

But in the past few days, the 'Coralarium' has been destroyed under the orders of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, who said the artistic installation was a plot by the 'Western-backed opposition' to undermine Islam.

.... “Demolition of the installation seems to be part of the national elections and aimed at 'courting religious vote'". [This Is Lancashire] Read more

24 September 2018

A Month of Multiculturalism in Britain: August 2018

August 1. In a landmark ruling, a high court judge declared that a Muslim wife could divorce her husband and claim his assets, despite the fact that they married in an Islamic ceremony called a nikah, which is not legally recognized in Britain.

In a written ruling, Mr. Justice Williams, who heard the case in the family division of the high court in London, concluded that the marriage fell within the scope of the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act because the couple had expectations similar to those of a British marriage contract. The decision came after Nasreen Akhter divorced her husband, Mohammed Shabaz Khan, who attempted to block her separation on the basis that they were not legally married according to English law and only under Sharia law.

.... August 31. Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, a 21-year-old jihadi from Finchley, north London, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for plotting to kill Prime Minister Theresa May. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

23 September 2018

Swiss Canton Backs Ban on Public Face-Covering in Referendum

St. Gallen became the second Swiss canton forbidding covering one’s face in public, a rule that includes a ban of face veils worn for religious reasons, ahead of a national vote on the issue set to take place next year.

Sixty-seven percent of the electorate in the German-speaking canton supported a law allowing police to fine anyone covering their face in public. The rule will apply to Muslim women covering their face on religious grounds and anyone “threatening public safety or the religious and societal peace,” including demonstrators. Voter turnout was 36 percent, according to the cantonal government.

Proponents of a nationwide ban on face-hiding clothing submitted the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a national vote a year ago. The government opposes the initiative, saying individual cantons maintain authority on the matter. While the exact date for the national plebiscite hasn’t been set yet, the vote will probably take place next year. [Bloomberg] Read more

Swiss region overwhelmingly votes for 'burqa ban'

A second Swiss canton will introduce a regional "burqa ban", after voters in St. Gallen on Sunday emphatically backed prohibiting all face-covering garments in public spaces.

At the same time, voters across Switzerland resoundingly rejected initiatives aimed at boosting local farming and promoting more ethical and environmental standards in food production, amid fears of cost hikes and reduced consumer choice.

In the northeastern canton of St. Gallen, nearly 67 percent of voters came out in favour of introducing the implicit "burqa ban", according to official results, which showed turnout was 36 percent.

That paves the way for the canton to follow the example of the southern region of Ticino, where a law was introduced two years ago that appeared to be aimed at burqas and other Muslim veils.

Three other cantons -- Zurich, Solothurn and Glarus -- have rejected introducing such bans in recent years.

A text stipulating that "any person who renders themselves unrecognisable by covering their face in a public space, and thus endangers public security or social and religious peace will be fined" was adopted by lawmakers in St. Gallen late last year. [AFP] Read more

22 September 2018

Explain wife-beating question in Islamic Studies exam, Siti Kasim tells Maszlee

Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim has called on Education Minister Maszlee Malik to explain an Islamic Studies examination question for Form Five students on permissible ways to “hit a disobedient wife.”

“Is this what our Malay children (are) learning in school?? What is this Maszlee? Is this acceptable?

“What kind of trash are we teaching the kids in school?” she asked in a Facebook post alongside an image of the examination question.

The question, which Malaysiakini has sighted, presents a flowchart with the title “Ways to hit a nusyuz (disobedient) wife”.

The chart states two such ways – “Not too overboard that it would cause injury” and “Not on sensitive areas,” and requires students to fill in the third permissible way.

The question originates from a Sept/Oct 2018 model examination paper for the Form Five Islamic Studies subject, issued by the Selangor Education Department. [Malaysiakini] Read more

Extremists Hizb ut-Tahrir targeting inner-city youth in Birmingham

An extremist group banned in more than a dozen countries has launched a recruitment drive in an inner-city neighbourhood that is linked to more homegrown terrorists than anywhere else in the UK, The Times has learnt.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose purpose is to re-establish the caliphate in the Middle East with Sharia law, has relocated to the Sparkhill area of Birmingham, which has been home to several convicted terrorists, including the UK’s first al-Qaeda inspired terrorist.

Campaign materials for its youth roadshow, launched in July, make no mention of the group’s name and do not feature its usual logo of the Islamic state flag. They instead aim to present the group, which two prime ministers considered banning, as an innocuous community organisation.

However, the same centre that hosted the youth campaign’s promotional barbecue has been holding official meetings of the group including one in May at which a speaker complained of a “Zionist stench” in the Middle East, a phrase that a former reviewer of terrorist legislation said could constitute criminal hate speech. [The Times (£)] Read more

Focusing on the most superficial and nonsensical things

"Islam as a civilization in its current state will never, never ever, be better than the West or even the East, like Japan and South Korea. Never. You have to understand that we are animals. The reason why we are so successful as a species is not because we're very strong. We can't run that fast, we haven't got claws or massive teeth, we're not great at all those things like a tiger, or a whale, or an eagle would be great at. The only reason why we have been able to survive and thrive is because of what we have in here. Our brain. The ability to think, the ability to critique.

Now, if you are going to put laws in place in your country, in your civilization, in your religion, that stop you from thinking to your maximum capacity… You can't make fun of this, you can't question that, you can't talk about this person, you can't talk about that person. If you do, you'll be punished, sending out a very clear message to everyone else that this will not be tolerated.

Free thought, satire, speech, expression, free open inquiry will not be tolerated. If that's the kind of society that you're going to build, if that's the kind of country, or atmosphere that you're going to build in your country, then guess what, you will never ever be able to compete with people who can think freely. You will never be able to compete with them. [...][Mick Hartley] Read more

Muslims push for two public holidays for Eid and want the day to be taken more seriously by people who don't follow Islam

Muslims in Australia are asking for two public holidays for their two annual Eid celebrations.

A petition has been submitted to the Parliament of Australia asking for Eid Ul-Fitr and Eid Al Adha to be publicly recognized.

The petition says the Muslim community would like more time to celebrate. Thus far it has 2,468 signatures and is expected to be presented on October 15.

'The community feels they need more time to celebrate and want it recognized within the wider community,' the petition says.

The public holiday would fall on the Mondays following Eid Ul-Fitr and Eid Al Adha.

They also want the celebrations be recognized by the wider Australian community - not just people who follow Islam.

The Eid-al-Fitr is one of only two major festivals in the Islamic faith and sees Muslims give money to the poor and needy as an obligatory act of charity.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 588 votes] There 24 million people that have NOT signed so NO.

[2ND 506] How about getting a petition going to make Easter a public holiday in Saudi Arabia?

[3RD 458] Eid is irrelevant to me....I won't be celebrating it.

[4TH 455] So they work over Christmas? Just asking

[5TH 417] Never [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

The bright new smiling faces that preach radical Islam

With its smiling activists and bright orange T-shirts, the organisation could be mistaken for a local campaign to keep errant youths in line. The name of the youth movement, “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything”, reads like the chorus in a pop song.

But this is not a small community initiative. Instead it is the latest organisation launched by the pro-caliphate Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Unwelcome in many Muslim communities for sowing division, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s new campaign has ditched its traditional logo bearing an Islamic State flag. Its leaflets and T-shirts make no reference to the group, despite being run by its members and listed as a “Youth Roadshow” on its website.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 51 votes] Ban it.These folk wish to destroy the way of life of the indigenous population. Tolerate the intolerant and you will perish.

[2ND 40] An ominous development.

[3RD 38] Why don't MPs look at the history of hostility between the west and Islam. Our forefathers could see that the two cultures were not compatible and actually fought to keep Islam out of the West. But all our leaders do is punish anyone who stands up for western values. It can only end in trouble. Look at what happened in Bosnia. Two opposite cultures cannot live peacefully side by side in the long run. [The Times (£)] Read more

21 September 2018

Killing Free Speech

.... Andrew C. McCarthy, a critic of Resolution 16/18, maintains that:

"Sharia forbids any speech — whether true or not — that casts Islam in an unfavorable light, dissents from settled Muslim doctrine, has the potential to sow discord within the ummah, or entices Muslims to renounce Islam or convert to other faiths. The idea is not merely to ban gratuitous ridicule — which, by the way, sensible people realize government should not do (and, under our Constitution, may not do) even if they themselves are repulsed by gratuitous ridicule. The objective is to ban all critical examination of Islam, period..."

The OICs highly ambitious plans to do away with freedom of speech go severely underreported in the West. Mainstream Western journalists do not appear to find it dangerous that their freedom of speech should be supervised by the OIC, while Western governments, far from offering any resistance, appear, perhaps for votes, to be cozily going along with everything. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

French Muslim rapper calls off shows at Bataclan after protests

A French rapper known for his provocative pro-Muslim lyrics said Friday that he would cancel two upcoming concerts at the Bataclan, where 90 people were shot dead when jihadist gunmen stormed the venue during the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

Medine, a French-born singer of Algerian descent, had drawn fire from rightwing politicians as well as some of the victims' families after announcing the shows at the historic concert hall.

Tickets quickly sold out when they went on sale a few weeks after Medine released an album featuring the song "Bataclan", where he recounts years of dreaming he would one day play there.

Although he has denounced Islamic fundamentalism since the attacks, in which 130 people were killed and over 350 wounded, critics have latched onto songs such as "Don't Laik", where he assails France's secular policies as discriminatory towards Muslims. [AFP] Read more

German intelligence mulls putting largest Turkish-Islamic group under surveillance

Germany's domestic intelligence agency is deciding whether to put the country's largest Islamic umbrella group under official surveillance, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and public broadcasters NDR and WDR reported on Thursday.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has sent a confidential dossier to each of Germany's 16 states on the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), which has been at the center of a series of controversies.

The states were reportedly asked to provide material and comments to establish whether DITIB's activities meet strict requirements to put it under observation. The issue is to be discussed at a meeting between the BfV and its state security agencies in November.

DITIB runs more than 900 mosques tied to the Turkish government's Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, which provides financing and imams to the mosques. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

The Berlin Muslims reforming Islam, one co-ed prayer meeting at a time

German security services were recently in touch with one of Berlin’s best-known Muslim clerics. He should take their warnings seriously, they again told Abdul Adhim Kamouss. Death threats were being made against him by members of the Islamic State extremist group and they were real, the officers said.

Mr. Kamouss knows why he is being threatened but he will continue with his plans. The 41-year-old Berlin local wants to start his own mosque, where he will preach mainly in German; he also wants to establish an advisory service for Muslims, a center to combat radicalization and a Muslim scout group.

To do all this, Mr. Kamouss started a foundation called Islam in Germany. He sees himself as somebody who will bring his religion into the 21st century, encouraging his congregation to play a larger role in mainstream German culture and fighting what he calls “the rat catchers” – radicals who preach a hateful version of his religion to entice younger Muslims to do their bidding. [Handelsblatt] Read more

Gerard Batten drags Ukip further right with harsh anti-Islam agenda

Ukip has proposed Muslim-only prisons, special security screening for Muslim would-be immigrants and a repeal of equalities laws before its annual conference, further indicating the party’s shift to the populist hard right under its leader, Gerard Batten.

The conference will be held from Friday. Other policies put forward in a so-called interim manifesto, which Batten said was aimed at making Ukip “a populist party in the real sense of the world”, include the abolition of the category of hate crime, as well as scrapping the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and the government’s equalities office.

The document also calls for a national inquiry into the abuse of children and women by sexual grooming gangs, something it calls “one of the greatest social scandals in English history”.

Batten is vehement in his views on Islam, having described the religion as “a death cult”. His influence is clear in a policy programme that is likely to increase fears among more moderate Ukip members that he is seeking to create a nationalist, anti-Islam party.

Two key themes are measures connected to what it describes as “Islamic literalist and fundamentalist extremism”, and an emphasis on what the party calls a threat to free speech “driven by the political doctrine of cultural Marxism”. [The Guardian] Read more

20 September 2018

Indonesian woman is CANED in front of cheering onlookers for having sex outside of marriage in the country's Sharia law governed province

An Indonesian woman was caned in public as a punishment for having sex outside marriage.

The harsh penalty was carried out in a public square as onlookers took photos in Banda Aceh in Indonesia's Aceh province on Thursday.

The woman – who was not identified – is seen kneeling under a canopy dressed with her hair covered with a white hijab as a person holds a cane that appears to be made out of bamboo against her back.

It was not clear how many lashes the woman received.

Aceh - the only region in the world's most populous Muslim majority country that imposes Sharia law - has drawn fire in the past for putting moral restrictions on women.

It considers lesbian, gay, bisexual relationships and sex outside of marriage as Sharia law violations.

It also attracted global condemnation for publicly whipping people found guilty of a range of offences including homosexuality, gambling and drinking alcohol. [Daily Mail] Read more

Twitter backlash as tweet promoting FGM is seen 30,000 times

A Muslim group calling itself Dawoodi Bohra Women for Religious Freedom posted a tweet last week justifying ‘khafz’ – or female circumcision – on young girls. The tweet featured a video of group member Arwa Sohangpurwala saying: ‘My daughters have also undergone khafz, and they’re growing up as perfectly as other children of their age.

As a mother, I can never do anything to harm them.’ Despite FGM being illegal in the UK, with a penalty of up to 14 years, the group paid Twitter to ‘promote’ the tweet, so it showed up on the timelines of users who didn’t even follow their account. Twitter users immediately slammed the controversial ad. Esmael Omar wrote: ‘Speak for yourself woman. Don’t speak on behalf of innocent girls. ‘FGM is FGM no matter how you want [to] sugar coat it. Leave alone cutting – even touching the female genitalia of a girl is still child abuse. [Metro.co.uk] Read more

Danish mayors vow to ignore citizenship handshake plan

Opposition is growing in Denmark to plans by the ruling rightwing coalition to deny citizenship to any immigrant who declines to shake hands with their local mayor during a revamped naturalisation ceremony – a measure widely seen as targeting Muslims.

An opinion poll published on Thursday showed 52% of respondents opposed the proposal, part of tough new rules for obtaining Danish citizenship introduced by the minority conservative government in June. Several mayors have said they will ignore the requirement if the law is passed.

.... Some Muslims do not shake hands for religious reasons, preferring instead to place a hand on their chest in a gesture of polite greeting. The practice has caused problems in several countries including Denmark, where in 2015 a taxi driver won DKK10,000 (now about £1,200) in compensation after being sacked for refusing to shake his female employer’s hand.

In Switzerland last month, a Muslim couple were denied citizenship because they refused to shake hands with members of the opposite sex at interviews. In Sweden a woman was awarded SEK40,000 (£3,400) after her job interview was cut short when she refused to shake hands with a male interviewer. France’s top court ruled this year that an Algerian woman’s refusal to shake hands with male officials at a naturalisation ceremony was reason enough to deny her citizenship. [The Guardian] Read more

UK: Two Muslims in Niqab banned from tea room in Ritz Hotel London

On September 17, two women in Niqab, one from the north of London, arrived at the Ritz Hotel “the finest 5 star Luxury hotel in Piccadilly”, London, to celebrate their friend’s birthday.

They had made reservation a the tea room. They had also ordered a birthday cake.

When they reached the Ritz and were going towards the tea room, they were told by hotel management that they would not be allowed into the tea room.

The women were shocked, offended and disappointed to hear that they wouldn’t be able to celebrate the birthday in hotel they had booked in advance.

In a recorded video of the encounter, the hotel management person says they the reservation was cancelled and that they will be refunded the costs.

The Muslim women said they would provide him with their IDs.

The hotel person replied: “I’m really sorry”.

The women were clearly upset demanded to speak to the Manager but were refused.

The Ritz website clearly states that “due to the Ritz’s elegant hotel architecture, guests need to arrive within a dress code allowed by the Ritz. Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and tie (jeans and sportswear are not permitted for either ladies or gentlemen) for afternoon tea in The Palm Court.” There is no mention of prohibition of face veil. [The Muslim News] Read more

Indian engineer sentenced to 5 years for blasphemy in Saudi Arabia

An engineer from Kerala working with a petroleum company in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to five years of imprisonment and a fine of around Rs 30 lakhs for his tweets.

With this, Vishnudev, a native of Alleppey in Kerala, has become the first Indian to be punished under Saudi Arabia’s stricter anti-blasphemy laws that came into force two weeks ago.

The new rules promise up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to 3 mln riyals (Rs 5.8 cr) for anyone who mocks or insults the religious and moral values of the country.

The law also covers incendiary and subversive posts and messages, and is applicable to both the creation of such messages as well as their distribution or forwarding.

Vishnudev was found guilty of making remarks against the legal system in Saudi Arabia and against the Prophet of Islam in a conversation on Twitter. [Ultra News] Read more

19 September 2018

Turkish Education: Same Old Religious Obsession, Only Worse

In 2017, Turkey stopped teaching evolution at secondary school: for extremists, Darwinism remains a taboo subject. Instead, school textbooks started teaching Turkish pupils "jihad."

.... Secular Turks were shocked when Binali Yildirim, then Minister of Transport, explained to an interviewer why, in his youth, he changed his choice of university:

"I visited Bogazici University and saw that girl and boy students were sitting together... I feared I could go astray. And I decided to attend the technical university."

Yildirim who later became President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's choice for prime minister now serves as parliament speaker.

It is not surprising that for Turkey's extremists, governance broadly means the Islamization of everything, including education at every level. In a 2017 speech, Erdogan boasted that, after his Justice and Development Party came to power, the number of students at the religious imam hatip schools rose from 60,000 to 1.3 million.

Unsurprisingly, Erdogan has often declared his political ambition not as raising honest, well-educated, free minds, but as "raising pious generations." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Populist proposal to ban Islamic expressions in Netherlands immediately shot down

PVV leader Geert Wilders put forward a proposal to ban all forms of Islamic expressions in the Netherlands during the first day of the General Considerations, the parliamentary debate on the government's plans and budget for the next year, on Wednesday. The proposal was immediately shot down by the other parties, NU.nl reports.

Mosques, Islamic schools, the Koran and burkas must be removed from the Netherlands, the populist party leader said. "Let us strengthen our rule of law by putting our ideology above Sharia", Wilders said. "Out of love for the Netherlands. Out of love for our freedom."

PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher pointed out that Wilders has been proposing this for years. "But nothing ever comes of it", Asscher said. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers called Wilders' plans scary. "Defending freedom by getting rid of freedom", Segers said. Wilders responded: "Giving freedom to Islam is suicide." D66 leader Alexander Pechtold said that Wilders never "makes a serious attempt to get majority support" for this proposal. Wilders responded that he never makes a proposal that he isn't 100 percent behind. [NL Times] Read more

'There are only two choices, Islam or death': Ex-Muslim walks through Lakemba asking locals if it's OK to criticise their religion – and gets some VERY strong responses

A former Muslim has taken to the multicultural streets of Lakemba in Sydney's west to ask local believers whether it is okay for people to criticise their religion.

Iranian-born author Armin Navabi visited Lakemba - considered Australia's unofficial Muslim capital - to act out the controversial social experiment.

Mr Navabi, an ex-Muslim now living in Canada, was told by one man that non-believers faced 'Islam or death' - while another Muslim said police should 'attack' those who mock their faith.

Others interviewed said they encouraged discussions about their Muslim faith, but stressed the importance of approaching the topic with the 'utmost respect'.

The author said he was prompted to visit Lakemba after far-right Canadian activist Lauren Southern clashed with police while trying to visit a mosque in the suburb.

Southern was told not to visit the mosque with her film crew for fears it would incite violence and be a 'breach of peace'.

In his viral video, Mr Navabi said some people felt they could not criticise Muslims because 'they are too sensitive and will react negatively'. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

Union Cabinet approves ordinance on triple talaq

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance making triple talaq a punishable offence, said Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for law and justice, IT.

He said that inspite of the Supreme Court annulling it last year, the practice continued "unabated".

Addressing a press conference, the Union minister accused the Congress of not cooperating in the passage of the 'Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill.

Describing the practice as "barbaric and inhuman", he said nearly 22 countries have regulated triple talaq. However, gender justice was given a complete go-by in a secular country like India because of blatant vote bank politics. [Times of India] Read more

Islamic science

There is a notable tendency in Muslim circles to claim precedence for Islam in matters of science and discovery. I'm not talking here of the wilder claims of Islamic science - the healing powers of Koranic holy water, for instance, or camel urine as a cure for cancer - but of more mainstream, more credible beliefs. That, for instance, an Ottoman admiral was the first to discover America.

Nir Shafir, a historian of the Ottoman Empire, was alerted to a problem when he was preparing to teach a course on "Science and Islam". A book he was about to assign to his students had on its cover what purported to be a miniature from the ancient Muslim world, showing men in turbans examining the night sky through telescopes. A closer examination revealed that this was - of course - a fake:

.... Shafir sees the production of these fake miniatures - which have found their way into a number of august collections - as fundamentally well-intentioned, as a "desire to integrate Muslims into a global political community through the universal narrative of science". That seems extraordinarily generous of him.

Might it not be, rather, an entirely duplicitous effort to falsify the historical record, by attempting to show that the world of Islam, far from being backward and hampered by an inflexible belief in the correctness of everything in the Koran and the hadiths, has in fact been in the forefront of scientific discovery through the ages, and has only been denied its deserved recognition by the perfidy and dishonesty of the West? [Mick Hartley] Read more

18 September 2018

Belfast councillor Jolene Bunting suspended from duties ‘for criticising Islam’

Independent councillor Jolene Bunting, who formerly represented the TUV, revealed on social media that she had been suspended from her duties “for criticising Islam”.

“This is a dark day for democracy and freedom of speech,” the Greater Shankill representative, who has been linked with the far-right Britain First group, posted on her Facebook page. A statement issued by the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards said the Acting Commissioner had decided to suspend Councillor Bunting for four months while an investigation into complaints against her are ongoing.

.... In a video statement posted on her Facebook page, Cllr Bunting described the suspension as “an absolute joke” and said her legal team are “looking into taking it to the High Court to appeal it.” [Belfast Newsletter] Read more

European rights court slams Belgium on headscarf issue

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday convicted Belgian authorities for violating the EU Convention on Human Rights by excluding a Muslim woman from a courtroom for refusing to remove her headscarf.

In 2007, the applicant, referred to by the EU court as "Mrs Lachiri", was attending a court hearing in a case concerning the death of her brother.

The presiding judge of the court told Lachiri "that she could not enter the hearing room unless she removed her headscarf". She refused to comply and did not attend the hearing.

Lachiri challenged the decision in local courts before lodging a complain at the top EU court in December 2008.

The ECHR ruled by a majority of six votes to one "that there had been: a violation of Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights".

According to the court's ruling, excluding Lachiri "from the courtroom on the grounds that she had refused to remove her headscarf had amounted to a 'restriction' on the exercise of her right to manifest her religion." [ANADOLU AGENCY] Read more

Sweden: Anti-Immigration Party Becomes Kingmaker

.... Others noted that by making the election primarily about immigration, and by forcing the established parties to harden their policies on asylum, the Sweden Democrats emerged as the actual winners.

The leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, addressing the Danish People's Party's annual meeting in Herning, Denmark on September 15, said it would be impossible for the other parties in Sweden to shut his party out of influence in the negotiations to form the next government:

"They make every effort to form a new government without giving us influence. But it will be impossible to keep us out. The sooner they realize it, the faster we will avoid chaos."

The scale of the challenge facing Sweden is daunting. A recent study by the Pew Research Center estimated that even if all immigration were immediately to stop, the proportion of Muslims in Sweden would still rise to more than 11% of the overall population by 2050. A medium migration scenario places Sweden's Muslim population at 20.5% in 30 years; a high migration scenario places the Muslim population at 30.6%. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Parents 'Wanted Virginity Check For Daughter, 18, After Finding Secret Boyfriend'

A doctor refused to carry out a “virginity check” on a couple’s 18-year-old daughter when they frogmarched her to a clinic after discovering her secret boyfriend, a court heard.

Mitra Eidiani, 42, and Ali Safaraei, 56, also threatened to kill their daughter Sophia’s boyfriend, warning him they were “dangerous” because they were Muslim, a jury was told.

The teenager was bitten by her mum, threatened with a kitchen knife by her dad after returning from the doctor, had her passport taken from her and was told she would be sent “back to Iran to marry a cousin,” Kingston Crown Court heard.

The parents found out Sophia, a college student whose last name was not given in court, was in a relationship with her workmate Bailey Marshall-Telfer, 18, when the pair were caught meeting secretly at her home. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Macron is quick to take on nationalism. What about Islamism?

.... Two years ago the same liberal think-tank published “A French Islam is Possible”, in which El Karoui said that despite the Islamification of many young French Muslims (half of under 25s surveyed said they would prefer Sharia Law to Republican Law), there was still time to win the ideological war.

The latest report (a copy of which is on Emmanuel Macron’s desk) suggests that the war is being lost. In 15 years, the number of Salafists has increased by 900 per cent and the estimated 50,000 is a conservative guess.

It may still represent a tiny fraction of France’s six million Muslims, but El Karoui warns that their influence grows steadily and he likens their appeal to that of communism – the dream of a utopia that will right all the wrongs of the world. “[Communism] was about activists, sympathisers and a local action group spreading an idea,” explains El Karoui. “We have these activists, we see them on social media, and we have these people who are trying to create an alternative society.”

“Separatism” is the word the French use for this strategy, the establishment of a “halal” society where everything must be cleansed of the corruptive influence of the West. “French society is perceived, by this minority of French Muslims, as illicit and impure, so they want to create in parallel a different society with its own rules, norms and behaviour,” says El Karoui. [The Spectator] Read more

17 September 2018

Amsterdam’s mayor says closing mosques where imams sow hate is ‘a last resort’

Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema has told local broadcaster AT5 that she will close down mosques if imams are spreading messages of hate but ‘only as a last resort’. Halsema, who outlined her strategy to deal with radicalisation in a briefing to councillors shortly after taking office, said that closing mosques is ‘a very rigorous [action] and that is something you only do as a last resort.’

You must be able to act if ‘an imam gives disgusting sermons, such as saying women should be subservient or that homosexuality is a crime,’ the mayor said. And she reiterated that unlike her predecessor Jozias van Aartsen, she did not plan to develop links with fundamentalist and salafist organisations. ‘I will not invite people who are not democratic and who do not take equality between men and women seriously to the office,’ she said. [DutchNews.nl] Read more

Dozens of Muslim charities probed in UK - Cases include mosques under investigation for promoting extremism

Regulators have opened dozens of investigations into UK Muslim charities over the last five years following weapons discoveries, the unmasking of extremists in religious schools and allegations of terrorist financing, analysis of official data shows.

The Charity Commission publicly announced some 125 new inquiries of charities in England and Wales since the start of 2014, with more than 35 related to Muslim groups and causes. Documents show some of the investigations are related to allegations of extremist preaching at charity-run schools and suspicions that money raised for Syrian relief efforts was being funnelled to terrorists.

The new investigations were among those launched after two damning reports in 2013 and 2014 that criticised failures by the commission to regulate the sector and crack down on abuse of the system. A report by UK lawmakers in 2014 found that the commission was “too willing to accept what charities tell it, without verifying or challenging the claims made”. The government’s auditor said last year that it had “improved significantly” since 2013. [The National] Read more

Police force reveals uniforms for Muslim women in UK first

A new police uniform has been developed specifically for Muslim women in an attempt to recruit more black and minority ethnic officers. West Yorkshire Police is the first force in the country to launch the new loose fitting uniform ‘designed not to show the female form’, bosses said. It is hoped the uniforms will improve race equality among applicants after police chiefs were told to do more to appeal to BAME recruits.

The force – like many across the country – already allowed female officers to wear the hijab. Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: ‘For the last month we have been trialling a new uniform for women which is designed not to show the female form. ‘This was suggested by a Muslim female officer and was designed by our Clothing Manager in conjunction with the officer.‘The tunic is a looser and longer fit, and has full sleeves.

‘This has been well-received from officers in the force and we have now made further supplies of this uniform for other officers to trial it if they wish.’ Bradford-based PC Firzana Ahmed became the first to wear the new uniform which, she said, had attracted ‘positive feedback from the local community’. [Metro.co.uk] Read more

Poll reveals opposition to citizenship for devout Muslims

.... As well as not wanting devout Muslims to obtain citizenship, 45 percent would also like to see it revoked in cases when a person has transgressed the criminal code. The same trend can be seen with regards to expulsion, regarding which 44 percent think that people should be expelled from Denmark if they are convicted of a crime – even though they have Danish citizenship.

Pernille Vermund, the head of Nye Borgelige, is pleased with the results of the poll. She rejects the idea it is impossible to reconcile the constitutional right to religious freedom with the idea it ought to be impossible for devout Muslims to become citizens.

“If you look at those countries where a large proportion of the population are devout Muslims – not secular or moderate – you can see it’s a society we ought not to emulate,” said Vermund.

“Four out of ten Muslims living here think that the constitution ought to be built up around the Koran’s teachings. If you think that, then you are not being true to the Danish welfare system, which you have to swear allegiance to when you become a Danish citizen,” added Vermund.

However, there is still hope for those with a more liberal outlook. The poll also reveals that 38 percent reject the notion totally, and another 13 percent ‘partly’ disagree with it. [The Copenhagen Post] Read more

Most Western Europeans favor at least some restrictions on Muslim women’s religious clothing

A Danish law that took effect in August makes it illegal for Muslim women to wear face-covering veils – such as burqas or niqabs – in public. Austria, Belgium and France, as well as parts of Italy and Spain, have enacted similar laws in recent years, contributing to government restrictions on religion in the region.

These laws are largely in line with Western European attitudes on the issue. Most non-Muslim adults in Western Europe favor at least some restrictions on the religious clothing of Muslim women who live in their country, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of 15 countries in the region.

The prevailing view (a regional median of 50%) is that Muslim women should be allowed to wear religious clothing as long as it does not cover their face. Fewer (regional median of 23%) say Muslim women should not be allowed to wear any religious clothing. And a regional median of 25% take the more permissive view that Muslim women should be allowed to wear any religious clothing they choose. [Pew Research Center] Read more

Four in 10 think British culture is undermined by multiculturalism

A large minority of people in the UK believe multiculturalism has undermined British culture and that migrants do not properly integrate, according to some of the broadest research into the population’s attitudes to immigration.

The study, conducted over the last two years, also reflects widespread frustration at the government’s handling of immigration, with only 15% of respondents feeling ministers have managed it competently and fairly.

Labour’s new immigration proposals show up Tory policy for the mess it is

On balance, the UK population appears to be slightly more positive than negative about the impact of immigration; however, 40% of respondents agreed that having a wide variety of backgrounds has undermined British culture.

More than a quarter of people believe MPs never tell the truth about immigration and half the population wants to see a reduction in the numbers of low-skilled workers coming into Britain from the EU.

The study was based on a survey of 3,667 adults carried out in June by ICM, as well as 60 citizens’ panels carried out on behalf of the thinktank British Future and the anti-racism group Hope Not Hate. [The Guardian] Read more

Use mosque visits to tackle Islamophobia, schools told

Schools should take pupils on trips to mosques in an attempt to tackle Islamophobia among their parents, the faith minister has said.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth also said that all churches, mosques, synagogues and temples should be twinned with places of worship from other faiths and should work together to serve as community hubs for all residents rather than only as prayer spaces for their own congregations.

Many non-Muslims were afraid to enter a mosque, he said. “Occasionally you find that parents are saying, ‘We’re not sure we want our kids to go to the local mosque.’ They are then persuaded by the school that it’s a good idea and the kids come back and tell them about it and the parents then say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, perhaps we’ll visit ourselves.’ ”

[TOP RATED COMMENT 41 votes] As this country has a Christian heritage and culture, the correct move would be to ensure every Muslim child visits a Christian Church. Muslims like other migrants have to integrate into the host country’s culture not the other way round.

[2ND 38] Now I have seen the light! Islamaphobia in the general population is all about our ignorance of Islam! It has nothing whatsoever to do with the insular ghettoisation of many of our towns and cities ( and associated problems such as Rotherham, Rochdale and countless others), it has nothing to do with the preponderance of wars and terrorism in certain countries across the world of that persuasion, it has nothing to do with the extremist clerics and their followers etc etc.....it is all down to our own dumbness!

Thank you Lord Bourne, I am grateful for your insightful input. Are you intent upon arranging for our kids to visit Synagogues, Hindu and Sikh temples etc? ... No! I wonder why? [The Times (£)] Read more

16 September 2018

Why Can't I Criticize My Religion?

.... On the surface, for those who wanted to reform Islam, the only place to do so appeared to be the West. We all assumed that here in the West, it would be safe to question and criticize. Instead, so many institutions utilize a far more subtle method of silencing criticism.

.... The more you conceal or disregard constructive criticism of Islam, the harder you are making it for reforms to occur in the religion and the easier you are making it for Muslim radicals to prevail.

.... The reason I criticize the radical elements of my religion is not because I have hatred in my heart, but because I desire to protect those who have been abused and abandoned by their leaders.

.... The more you conceal or disregard constructive criticism of Islam, the harder you are making it for reforms to occur and the easier you are making it for Muslim radicals to prevail. There are currently, around the world, atrocities being committed every moment of every day in the name of Islam; your goal should not be to be politically correct or fiercely protect this religion, but to heal its wounded and offer support to those that want to eliminate the abuses. Glossing over the often unspeakable acts to which sharia can lead will only empower those individuals who have malevolent intentions, while subjugating the most vulnerable to their cruelty. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

15 September 2018

Hard line groups are 'weaponising' Islamophobia, Government’s counter-extremism tsar warns

Hard line groups are “weaponising” Islamophobia and “cynically” using human rights to promote their ideology, the Government’s new counter-extremism tsar has warned.

Sara Khan said that Islamist groups accuse their critics of being anti-Muslim, in an attempt to undermine “legitimate debate” about extremism.

She said that the “use and abuse” of the language of human rights is “perhaps the most concerning” tactic employed by fundamentalist groups.

“Groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, for example - who traditionally rally against what they perceive to be western human rights - increasingly and cynically use human rights to promote Islamist ideology,” Ms Khan said.

“They and their sympathisers weaponise Islamophobia in an attempt to shut down legitimate debate about Islamic extremism while undermining the general struggle against anti-Muslim hatred.” [The Telegraph] Read more

Peer demands Halal and Kosher meat should be labelled

Meat taken from animals that are slaughtered in the Halal or Kosher way without pre-stunning “should be labelled in shops”, a Lib Dem peer has said. The party’s former environment spokesman Baroness Parminter told the Lib Dem party conference that meat obtained in this way should not be exported.

The Halal and Kosher slaughter methods both involve cutting an animal’s throat, windpipe and the blood vessels around its neck with a sharp blade. Baroness Parminter said: “I accept the scientific evidence that the practice of killing by the throat, passing it without pre-stunning, does compromise animal welfare. [Blackpool Gazette] Read more

14 September 2018

Cargill settles dispute with fired Muslim workers in Colorado, with $1.5 million payment

Cargill will pay $1.5 million to 138 terminated employees to resolve charges that its managers violated the Civil Rights Act by refusing to allow Somali-American Muslim workers to pray during their breaks at a meatpacking plant in Colorado, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Friday.

The agency said it found reasonable cause to believe the employees were harassed, denied their requests for prayer breaks, and fired from their employment at Cargill's Fort Morgan, Colo., beef processing plant in 2015.

While Cargill said it does not accept the EEOC's findings, it decided to settle out of court to avoid a protracted legal proceeding.

Cargill has reaffirmed its commitment to continue to allow Muslim workers to take short breaks to perform their prayers. Cargill's religious accommodation policy takes into account key business requirements, such as employee and food safety and production-line needs. [StarTribune] Read more

Four Belgian Political Parties Call for Banning of Pro-Sharia Islamist Party

Four political parties are pushing forward laws that could prohibit the pro-sharia Partij Islam ahead of Belgium’s upcoming municipal elections.

The Independent Federal Democrat Party (DEFI), the right-wing Reform Movement (MR), the Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH), and the Socialist Party (PS) have announced a proposal to ban parties “whose aim is to threaten public liberties”, which may include the Islamist party, Le Point reports.

The party gained notoriety earlier this year after its founder, Anderlecht municipal councillor Redouane Ahrouch, declared: “Our goal is a one hundred percent Islamic state.”

He was later fired from his job as a bus driver for his comments which included suggesting that buses in Belgium should be segregated by gender to prevent women being sexually harassed. [Breitbart London] Read more

A sobering look at Islam and human-rights discourse - A group of Muslim scholars offer a view from the Islamic tradition

MOHAMMAD FADEL, an associate law professor at the University of Toronto, is one of North America’s most thoughtful commentators on the interface between Islam, liberal democracy and Western understandings of the rule of law. He has made an elaborate case for the possibility of Muslims, including theologically conservative ones, finding a comfortable place in a diverse, noisy liberal democracy where many value systems co-exist. He draws on the ideas of John Rawls, perhaps the greatest American political philosopher of the late 20th century, to show that “public reason” can serve as a kind of common denominator between citizens with utterly different world views.

So it is sobering to find that in a newly published set of essays on Islam and the Western understanding of human rights, Mr Fadel puts more emphasis on difference than compatibility. His contribution is the sharpest of the essays, published by the Atlantic Council, an influential think-tank based in Washington, DC, under the title “The Islamic Tradition and the Human Rights Discourse”.

Mr Fadel artfully uses a Western source to show that basic concepts like freedom and happiness have one meaning for a liberal humanist and another for a theist idealist who sees the purpose of human life as devotion to God. For somebody in the latter camp, an addicted gambler is anything but free; but to the secular liberal, that way of life could simply be one way of exercising formal freedom.

Islamic thought about the family, as Mr Fadel adds, is oriented not only to the short-term happiness of individuals, and also to other perceived desirables such as “a reasonably stable household that produces a new generation of Muslims.” So Muslim thinkers could not be expected to see religiously mixed marriages in the same light as a secular libertarian would. He concludes that: [The Economist] Read more

13 September 2018

Teacher's 9/11 lesson angers Vernon family

On a day of mourning for the 3,000 people killed on Sept, 11, 2001, by Islamic terrorists inspired by Osama bin Laden, a middle school social studies teacher allegedly decided to skip that part of the discussion Tuesday and instead teach a fictionalized account of a Muslim boy being picked on because his name is Osama.

School officials thus far have been mostly mum on the matter beyond acknowledging that it was brought to their attention and dealt with internally, but one couple told the New Jersey Herald Wednesday that they are outraged and have since had their daughter pulled out of that teacher's class.

Ed O'Rourke, a former Marine, said he and his wife, Jodi, found out about it almost by accident while having dinner with their daughter, who is in sixth grade, Tuesday evening. [New Jersey Herald] Read more

Pauline Hanson has slammed feminists in parliament who don’t support a burqa ban

PAULINE Hanson has slammed feminists as “pathetic” for not supporting a ban on the burqa.

Speaking on Today this morning, the One Nation leader suggested feminists in parliament who didn’t oppose the burqa were hypocrites.

“Here they are standing up for women’s rights, but there a lot of women who are forced to wear the burqa by their male counterparts,” Senator Hanson said.

“Now I’m sure that there’s the lot and they’ve actually said it in programs that I’ve watched … there’s a lot of women who have said that they want to move away from the ideology of Islam and it really is.

“Free these women. They fought to get their vote in this country — one of the first countries in the world to actually give the vote — and women are moving forward, they’re fighting for equality, they’re fighting for equal wages — and yet you’re quite prepared to see a woman get around fully clothed with this burqa, and even when they’re swimming. It’s ridiculous, it’s beyond me.” [news.com.au] Read more

Controversial ‘Anti-Islam’ Book Shoots to Top of German Best Seller List

A new book that is highly critical of Islam is now the number one bestselling non-fiction book in Germany, selling well over 100,000 copies less than two weeks after its initial release.

The book, entitled Hostile Takeover: How Islam Impedes Progress and Threatens Society, is the latest from former Social Democrat (SPD) politician and former member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Thilo Sarrazin. Hostile Takeover now leads Der Spiegel‘s bestseller list for non-fiction.

Mr Sarrazin is no stranger to controversy in Germany, having already published a harsh criticism of the country’s multicultural experiment entitled Germany Abolishes Itself in 2010. He has also become a leading thinker in Germany’s new right, which is largely centred around the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD). [Breitbart London] Read more

Tony Blair calls for battle of ideas against Islamists

Tony Blair has accused pressure groups such as Cage and Mend of trying to drive a wedge between Muslim communities and the government by portraying the British state as a “hostile” force.

The former prime minister said that Britain needed to engage in a “battle of ideas” against groups that he claimed were intent on undermining Prevent, the government’s anti-extremism strategy, and which had campaigned against the appointment of the anti-extremism commissioner, Sara Khan.

Mr Blair said that it was important to combat groups that promoted extremist ideas, even though they were not promoting violence. However, he warned that people in western societies, including Britain, were “bullied into accepting that if you’re attacking Islamism you’re attacking Islam and you’ve got to resist this”. [The Times (£)] Read more

French Muslims must resist Islamist extremists: Hakim El Karoui

French author calls for mobilisation against Islamists in bold call on President Macron to champion reform. The role of a revolutionary from within is never an easy one but for Hakim El Karoui that is exactly the challenge he has set himself as he seeks to change the place for Islam in French life.

The banker turned author can remember precisely when he realised that he could no longer remain on the sidelines as divisions rose within France. In the early days of 2015, the first of what would be a series of deadly attacks that rocked all France targeted the newspaper Charlie Hebdo and then a supermarket in Paris.

“I asked myself, can people like me do nothing?” he recalled to The National. “The answer to the question is obvious: no. I have been involved in the political debate for the past 15 years. I wrote several books on political and economic subjects and I decided that Islam was going to remain a private matter. But after the attacks I told myself that this was not going to be possible anymore.”

The author of a new report for the Institut Montaigne, Mr Karoui proposes a wholesale overhaul of the role of the French state in its relations with Islam. In the document he calls for an umbrella body that is more involved and seeks clearly defined outcomes. [The National] Read more

12 September 2018

Austrians react to government’s headscarf plan

Austrians have reacted to a plan by the education minister to expand the headscarf ban for students and teachers to secondary schools.

Education Minister Heinz Fassmann said on Monday that the issue should be discussed throughout the country, especially in the parliament.

Speaking on Austrian state television ORF about a draft law to ban Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in kindergartens and primary schools, Fassmann said it is not yet known how many girls are wearing headscarves in the institutions in question.

However the ban is not related to the number, it is related to its content, he said.

The ban should be put in force for free education and protection of girls, Fassmann added.

"It is not just me and the ministry," Fassmann said, adding political parties, especially the parliament, must express their view on the headscarf ban for secondary schools and build a social consensus.

.... Another activist Michael Probsting blamed the far-right government of having a racist and Islamophobic attitude towards Muslims, which is an important minority group in the country.

“A headscarf ban is a violation of human rights, religious rights, and free-thinking,” he said. [Anadolu Agency] Read more

LGBT-friendly Berlin mosque deradicalises Muslim youth

Tugay Sarac was just 15 when he first talked about traveling from Germany to Syria to fight for Islamic State.

But unlike his friends at the time, Sarac had turned to radical Islam as a way of avoiding coming to terms with his sexuality.

“I had friends who, like me, were really radical extremists and even considered going to Syria or to Palestine to fight,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a quiet corner of the prayer room of Berlin’s Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque.

Now 20, Sarac, who was born in Berlin to a Turkish family, learned from an early age that homosexuality was wrong - and un-Islamic.

“I thought being gay is bad and that through Islam, by praying to God, I could cure myself and become normal. I started praying five times a day: I just felt bad, like I was dirty or inferior somehow ... I was really ashamed of my gay thoughts.” [Reuters] Read more

Morocco bans forced marriage and sexual violence

Morocco's law criminalising violence against women has come into force.

The law includes a ban on forced marriage, sexual harassment in public places, and tougher penalties for certain forms of violence.

It has been criticised by Human Rights Watch for not explicitly criminalising marital rape and lacking a precise definition of domestic violence.

A government survey found that 63% of women between the ages of 18-65 had been victims of violence.

Samira Raiss, one of the main Moroccan campaigners for a law criminalising violence against women, said: "We will not stop here. This law is an asset but it has shortcomings that we have to work on." [BBC] Read more

France Grapples With Proposals to Counter Radical Influences Among French Muslims

.... El Karoui pointed out that almost all responses to religious questions posted on Islamic websites are provided by preachers with Salafist outlooks or links.

The report’s proposal on increasing the learning of Arabic at schools – rather than at mosques – has sparked an uproar from conservative political parties.

Experts and some moderate imams argue that Arabic should be taught at schools like any other language, using grammar books rather than purely focusing on the Qur’an.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said he favors teaching Arabic at schools, but Republican lawmaker Annie Genevard said in a radio interview it was a mistake to think teaching it at school would keep Muslim children from learning at mosques, adding that the proposal “will not solve the problems of the rise of Salafism.” [CNSNews.com] Read more

Sweden Democrat leader's visit causes disquiet among Malmö's Muslims

When Jimmie Åkesson, the 39-year-old leader of the populist Sweden Democrats, starts railing against "giant mosque complexes, with huge minarets everywhere" Adam and Mohammed begin to protest.

"It's you who want to build that!" Mohammed, 25, shouts out when Åkesson accuses Muslims like him of trying to create a parallel society.

The leader of the Sweden Democrats is speaking in Sweden's third-largest city as part of an election tour which has seen protesters attempt to pelt him with eggs in Falkenberg, and a rapturous reception in the party stronghold of Landskrona.

In Malmö, the mood is somewhere in between, with a big crowd of supporters and a small but energetic group of protesters.

"Jimmie, you think we have so many problems in Malmö," reads one sign. "Well, go away and we'll have one less."

Opposition to an anti-immigration party should be no surprise in a city where more than half the people have at least one parent born abroad, and an estimated 20 percent are Muslim. [The Local] Read more

11 September 2018

'He's preaching something that's illegal': Outrage at Muslim preacher's 'repugnant' views that it's a 'major SIN' for a wife to refuse her husband's demands for sex

Feminists and the NSW Attorney General have expressed concern after a Sydney Muslim preacher declared it was a 'major sin' for a wife to refuse sex with her husband.

Nassim Abdi, a fundamentalist Sunni, told an Auburn mosque in the city's west a woman would be 'cursed' by angels for withholding marital intimacy.

'If the husband calls the wife to be intimate and there's no legitimate reason for the woman to say no, then she must answer the call of her husband,' he said on Friday night.

'She must answer the call of her husband and if not she has committed a major sin.

'If the man calls the wife to bed and she refuses, the angels curse this woman and he sleeps with her whilst he's angry, the angels curse her until she wakes up.'

Mr Abdi preaches a seventh-century fundamentalist version of Salafist Islam from Saudi Arabia with the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association, which also advocates aspects of Sharia law. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

Labour’s failure to tackle Muslim extremism has ‘pushed core supporters to join far right groups’, Unite boss warns

LABOUR has pushed thousands of its core supporters to the far right because of its failure to take on Muslim extremism, a union boss has warned.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner tore into the Labour leadership for remaining silent during last year’s Islamist terror attacks in London and Manchester.

And he blasted the Left for failing to criticise despotic regimes such as Iran but being the first to protest against Donald Trump and the Israeli government.

He warned that it had left many men lacking a voice to vent their anger - and had driven them to far-right groups such as the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).

Speaking at an anti-racism fringe meeting at the TUC conference, Mr Turner fumed: “We need to stop talking to ourselves and talk to the people who are drawn to some of these organisations – for a multitude of different reasons."

He said many who had been driven to far right groups had "genuine fears and concerns”.

.... “Where’s the left criticising the state of Iran for instance, who whipped trade unionists for taking strike action, who denies women human rights, who runs an obscene regime.

“Saudi Arabia, where we welcomed the head of Saudi Arabia to the UK. Did we protest? No we didn’t protest. [The Sun] Read more

Islamophobia row over Bodyguard

.... The opening episode included a scene in which a would-be suicide bomber appeared to act under the influence of her jihadist husband. Sergeant David Budd, a police protection officer played by Richard Madden, tells the woman that she has been brainwashed.

.... “Unfortunately the reality of our situation is that the principal terror threats in the UK do originate from Islamist sympathisers.

“I do understand that’s different from the religion of Islam, but it’s the reality of who the perpetrators are of the majority of the offences. If the show were set in the recent British past, the attackers might be Irish Republicans.”

Rohit Kachroo, ITV News security editor, claimed that the passive jihadist bride was “one of the great clichés in depictions of modern Islamist terrorism”. Lexi Alexander, a German-Palestinian filmmaker, accused British TV dramas of focusing on “bad Muslims”. [The Times (£)] Read more

10 September 2018

Man arrested after breakfast with woman in Saudi Arabia

An Egyptian man in Saudi Arabia has been arrested after a video of him having breakfast with a woman went viral on Twitter.

In the video, a man with an Egyptian dialect eats breakfast beside a woman wearing a full face veil, who many assumed to be Saudi.

This is in contravention of the law in Saudi Arabia, where in workplaces or eateries like McDonald's and Starbucks, families and single men have to sit in different areas.

Women must sit separately from single men in these places.

They are not allowed to carry out most activities without being accompanied by their male guardians, usually a father or husband, but possibly a brother or a son.

The man was arrested by the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development, who accused him of "committing several violations and taking up a post exclusively reserved for Saudis". [BBC] Read more

Macron to review report calling for reform of Islam in France

Islamists have an “intellectual monopoly” over public debate among Muslims in France and the state must intervene to limit foreign influence over worshippers, according to a new report submitted to President Emmanuel Macron.

The 617-page report, “The Fabric of Islam,” presents a comprehensive plan for reform of Islamic institutions in France following a call from Macron to bring them under the aegis of the state. During a July address to lawmakers at the Palace of Versailles, Macron committed to giving Islam “a framework and rules” by the fall. His goals: discouraging insular Muslim communities and combating extremist strands of the religion.

“Muslims, notably the young, inform themselves of the religion more and more on social media,” warned the report’s author Hakim El Karoui on BFM TV on Monday, adding that Salafist-aligned Saudis play a disproportionate role online.

His report, which was unveiled Sunday and published by liberal think tank Institut Montaigne, calls for the development of a “French Islam” — an autonomous, France-centric branch of the faith that would respond to French law. El Karoui, an essayist and ex-Rothschild banker, is also the nephew of former Tunisian Prime Minister Hamed Karoui. [POLITICO] Read more

Halal tax and Arabic in French schools: the new ways to stop Islamic fundamentalism in France?

A new report by a Paris think-tank underlines "the progress of Islamist ideology among Muslims in France", suggesting that Salafi Islam can be stamped out through a “halal tax” and Arabic being taught in French schools.

According to the report released on Sunday by France’s Montaigne Institute, Salafism - a radical branch of Islam that calls for worldwide sharia law – has a monopoly on Islamic religious thought in l’Héxagone.

Author Hakim El Karaoui, a consultant for the Paris think-thank who’s written on Arab and Muslim policy before, points to Turkey and Saudi Arabia as the main sources of funding for the dissemination of this radical school of thinking among France and Europe’s Muslim population.

The Montaigne Institute study highlights that this opaque financing pays for the promotion of Arabic learning among France’s Muslims at institutions that have a marked fundamentalist political-religious stance rather than just a linguistic one, the report suggests.

Through these obscure Islamic schools Salafi indoctrination "is gaining ground in France”, especially among "young people under 35", El Karaoui suggests. [The Local] Read more

09 September 2018

Muslim group calls for preacher linked to Trump to be denied UK visa

Britain’s leading Muslim organisation has called on the Home Office to refuse a UK visa to a prominent US evangelical preacher with links to Donald Trump and a track record of Islamophobic and homophobic statements.

Franklin Graham, the son of the evangelist Billy Graham, has been invited to preach at a Christian festival in Blackpool this month.

The preacher, who said Trump’s election victory was evidence that “God’s hand” was at work, has called Islam “evil” and “wicked”, claimed Barack Obama’s “problem is that he was born a Muslim” and said Satan was the architect of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

The Muslim Council of Britain has joined three MPs, including a government whip, in demanding the Home Office apply its criteria on hate speech to Graham’s visa request. [The Guardian] Read more

Payout for ex-scout leader after niqab Darth Vader row

A scout leader who was expelled from the movement for comparing a colleague canoeing in a niqab to Darth Vader has accepted an out-of-court settlement.

Brian Walker, 62, wrote to the Scout's magazine saying a leader taking girls canoeing in a niqab would "most likely drown" wearing "that Darth Vader tent".

Mr Walker, who took legal action against the scouts, has been awarded an undisclosed settlement.

The Scout Association said the settlement does not imply he was right.

Mr Walker was immediately dismissed by the scout's district commissioner for Bristol South after writing to the association's official magazine in March 2017.

In his letter, which was unpublished, he wrote: "Canoeists don't dress like that.

"They need all round unobstructed vision so they protect the group, and of course they will most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent."

He also criticised the association for "promoting political correctness and interfaith issues" with a visit to a mosque but then advising using a non-religious venue for the St George's Day service. [BBC] Read more

08 September 2018

Pay-off for Scout leader expelled for making ‘Darth Vader’ veil remark

A Scout master dismissed for comparing a Muslim leader who wore a niqab face veil to the Star Wars villain Darth Vader has accepted damages and legal costs from the Scouts.

Brian Walker, 63, received a payment of £1,500 in an out-of-court settlement, and withdrew a discrimination claim due to go to court in Bristol in November.

.... This weekend Walker, an assistant Explorer Scout leader who was involved with Scouting for 52 years, said he would donate the sum to the Christian Legal Centre, to spend on cases challenging anti-Christian discrimination.

.... He singled out an article featuring a female Muslim scout leader said to be taking girls canoeing while wearing a full Islamic veil. He wrote: “Hello! Canoeists don’t dress like this . . . because they need all-round unobstructed vision . . . Of course they will most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent!” [The Times (£)] Read more

Sweden: Social Democrat Candidate Claims Islamic Law More Important than Swedish Law

The Swedish Social Democrats have had to remove a parliamentary candidate from their national election list only days before the vote after they claimed Islamic law was more important than Swedish law.

The candidate, who was running in the municipality of Karlshamn in the south of the country, was deselected by the party after he was reported as making several controversial statements on the topic of Islam, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.

“He has said things like Islamic rules are more important than Swedish rules,” commented Per-Ola Matsson, Social Democrat group leader for Karlshamn. His statements are said to have been linked to the debate on the wearing of veils by women, the full face version of which was recently banned by neighbouring Denmark. [Breitbart London] Read more

Shaken Dutch lawmaker Wilders says no more Prophet cartoons, for now

Dutch lawmaker and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders has said he has no plans, for now, to revive a competition of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed after it emerged as a motive for a stabbing in Amsterdam last week.

Wilders, speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Italy, expressed shock over the attack, in which a man stabbed and injured two American tourists at Amsterdam’s central station. Dutch media identified the assailant as a 19-year-old Afghan.

The attack came after Wilders canceled plans to hold the cartoon competition, which had also drawn a complaint by Pakistan’s new foreign minister, who said cartoon depictions of the Prophet could incite hate and intolerance. [Reuters] Read more

Germany: Anti-Immigration Party Surges in Popularity

.... "For long enough, many citizens from all walks of life have noticed that the problems of integrating even third- and fourth-generation immigrants have grown bigger, not smaller — especially among Turks. The mass immigration of the past three years, under the banner of 'the right to asylum,' has significantly increased the fear of parallel societies, of crime, and of cultural alienation.

"When I consider the often undifferentiated, blanket accusations against 'brown Chemnitz' [brown is the color of Nazism], then the established parties will not have to wonder why, almost without exception, they continue to lose to the colorful AfD.

"When concerned citizens increasingly are stigmatized as being Nazis — accusations which, incidentally, in their excessive use amount to a shameless trivialization of Nazi crimes — they often respond with the indifferent remark: 'Well, then I'm just a Nazi!' [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Sweden 'naive' about integration: ex-Peshmerga Swedish MP

Sweden's "naive" approach to integrating asylum seekers has opened the door to the far-right, an outspoken lawmaker told AFP ahead of elections expected to see the country's once-marginal anti-immigration party make gains.

Amineh Kakabaveh is an Iranian Kurdish ex-peshmerga fighter who sought asylum herself in Sweden in the 1990s and has been a member of parliament since 2008.

She has been a vocal critic of Sweden's handling of the 400,000 asylum seekers taken in since 2012, including 160,000 in 2015 alone, the highest number in Europe per capita.

Sweden is "increasingly divided", said the 40-year-old politician, whose views have earned her enemies among her own formerly-communist Left Party who accuse her of stigmatising immigrants.

Yet Kakabaveh is ruthless in her criticism of Sweden's shortcomings on integrating immigrants, giving it a failing grade.

"We have been naive. We have not been brave. We had no plan," she said, adding that this has enabled a rise in "fundamentalism" in Sweden's suburbs that has fuelled the far-right. [AFP] Read more

07 September 2018

Sweden Sees Rise in Forced and Child Marriage Reports

According to the National Suppression of Honor Prevention of Childhood and Forced Marriage, a hotline set up for victims, the number of calls from those wanting to get out of forced or child marriages has steadily increased in Sweden.

Set up just over four years ago, the organisation’s hotline has seen 101 children and young people come to them for help in getting out of forced marriages between 2014 and 2018, SVT reports.

This year, however, the number of calls has dramatically increased with the hotline operators claiming to have received 132 calls relating to child and forced marriages, which is set to pass last year’s total of 139.

Despite being able to identify 101 potential victims of forced or child marriage, both of which are illegal in Sweden, only six cases have actually seen court convictions. [Breitbart London] Read more

Muslim groups call for female circumcision to be medicalised

A number of Sri Lankan Muslim groups have called on the government to medicalise female circumcision.

In representations made to the Parliamentary Committee on Women and Gender, members of the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama, All Ceylon YMMA Conference, Centre for Islamic Studies and United Religions Initiative urged the Health Ministry to withdraw a recent circular prohibiting medical professionals from carrying out female circumcision.

In their submission, the joint Muslim groups stated that the Muslim community is very concerned about moves to ban this obligatory Islamic duty on the grounds that it is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

“We wish to categorically state that the practice of female circumcision is an obligatory Islamic duty, that it confers numerous benefits and is not Female Genital Mutilation." [Dailymirror Newsletter] Read more

Cantonal initiative to ban headgear in schools ruled invalid

The Federal Court says that an initiative by the conservative right Swiss People’s Party to ban head coverings in schools in the southern canton of Valais is invalid. It confirms the decision taken by the Valais parliament.

The People’s Party proposal had attracted more than 4,000 backers after its launch in 2016. This amount of backing automatically triggers a vote, according to Swiss law. After its rejection by the cantonal parliament in December 2017, the party took the issue to the Federal Courtexternal link in Lausanne, Switzerland’s highest instance.

In a rulingexternal link made public on Friday, the Federal Court said that an initiative should not go against cantonal, national or international law.

The court said that even if the initiative’s wording was vague – it calls for a ban on headgear such as hats, helmets and scarves – the implicit meaning was clear: it was meant to ban wearing veils or headscarves. This was clear from the poster campaign during signature collection for the initiative, which featured a picture of a woman wearing a veil and the slogan “no to headscarves in schools”. The press release at the beginning of the campaign also dealt with this issue. [swissinfo.ch] Read more

Pakistan removes economist from key role following Islamist backlash

Pakistan’s new government canceled the appointment of a renowned Princeton economist to its Economic Advisory Council, an official said on Friday, after a strong backlash against the choice of a member of the Ahmadi religious minority.

The failure of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to resist pressure to drop economist Atif Mian reflects the increasing clout of hardline Islamists, whose parties won around 10 percent of the vote at the last election in July.

Faced with a looming balance of payments crisis that may force the country to seek a fresh bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or other lenders, the government had picked Mian to join an 18-member council to advise prime minister Khan.

Aged 43, and a scholar in the field of finance and macroeconomics, Mian is regarded as one of the world’s top young economists.

The prime minister’s adviser on media, Iftikhar Durrani, confirmed that Mian’s appointment had been revoked, while the government’s main spokesman alluded to the pressure the government had come under from religious quarters. [Reuters] Read more

German far right fuels Muslim ‘takeover’ fears

That question is once again at the center of the country’s public discourse amid the violent protests that followed last week’s brutal killing of a German man, allegedly at the hands of two Muslim refugees, and the publication of a new book titled “Hostile Takeover, how Islam halts progress and threatens society.

On Saturday, about 11,000 people (8,000 right-wing and far-right protesters and about 3,000 anti-Nazis, according to police estimates) took to the streets of the eastern German city of Chemnitz, where the killing occurred. Eighteen people were injured, including a TV reporter who was thrown down a flight of stairs.

There’s nothing new about such clashes, or even the debate over Islam. What the past week reveals, however, is the degree to which the refugee influx since 2015 continues to dominate the country’s politics and fuel support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). The pictures of marauding neo-Nazis in Chemnitz suggest the German government has largely failed to keep the violent extreme right in check, despite decades of trying. [POLITICO] Read more

06 September 2018

Burqa ban: Danish police fine tourist after she tries to renew visa while wearing face veil

Police in Denmark have fined a Turkish tourist 1,000 kroner (£121) after she entered a police station to renew her visa while wearing a full-face covering.

Officers in Aarhus, in western Denmark, said the 48-year-old woman was unaware of the Scandinavian nation’s recent law making it unlawful to wear such garments in public.

The contentious “burqa ban” prohibits anyone from wearing garments which cover the face, including burqas and niqabs.

Police said the woman paid the fine, removed her full-face cover and walked away. They provided no further details. [The Independent] Read more