15 July 2019

Mohammed Amin: I don’t like the term “Islamophobia”. But since we’re stuck with it, here’s my own definition

As explained previously, I consider that 22 years of poor-quality definitions of Islamophobia have made the word incapable of being rescued.

However, in Parliament during May, James Brokenshire committed the Government to coming up with its own definition. To save it work, I am supplying one.

In my view, the key goal of any new definition must be to make it clear that, like antisemitism and homophobia, Islamophobia is about how you treat other people, and not about your views regarding an abstract noun (Islam).

I have intentionally used the structure of the IHRA definition of anti-semitism, since it has become an industry standard. I have also added some emphasis, as there are certain words in the IHRA (Interntional Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition which many people regularly ignore or forget about. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Boris Johnson claimed Islam put Muslim world 'centuries behind'

.... Writing about the rise of the religion in an appendix added to a later edition of The Dream of Rome, his 2006 book about the Roman empire, Johnson said there was something about Islam that hindered development in parts of the globe and, as a result, “Muslim grievance” was a factor in virtually every conflict.

Johnson’s argument was described as disconcerting and problematic by Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim hate and said he had demonstrated a lack of understanding of the religion. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said many people would like to know if the favourite to become the next prime minister still believed “Islam inherently inhibits the path to progress and freedom”.

.... “It is extraordinary to think that under the Roman/Byzantine empire, the city of Constantinople kept the candle of learning alight for a thousand years, and that under Ottoman rule, the first printing press was not seen in Istanbul until the middle of the nineteenth century. Something caused them to be literally centuries behind.” [The Guardian] Read more

Islamophobia 'going mainstream' as poll finds 31% think religion poses a threat

Islamophobia has gone mainstream, with liberal, middle class voters also expressing anti-Muslim views an anti-racist group has argued.

People continue to see Muslims overwhelmingly more negatively than any other religious group according to research with 31% of the population believing that Islam poses a threat to the British way of life.

Some 18% of people have an extremely negative view of Muslims according to a poll by anti-racist group Hope Not Hate.

There’s a general decrease in the share of people who see Islam as a serious threat to Western civilisation.

44% agree, down from 52% in our 2017 Fear and HOPE poll, alongside a decrease in concern about islamist extremism.

But there’s also a huge age gap in perceptions of Muslims.

Only 8% of 18-24 year olds see Muslims extremely negatively compared to 22% of all people aged over 50. A total of 6,118 adults were polled by YouGov between 26th April - 1st May 2019. [Daily Mirror] Read more

13 July 2019

What does the Muslim Council of Britain have against Muslims like me?

Have you ever wondered why there are so few moderate Muslim voices in the press? It’s not because they don’t exist. There are over a billion of us in the world. In many cases, it’s because of the way we are treated by hardliners. Once again, they have trained their crosshairs on me, this time charging me with ‘misrepresenting Muslim behaviour and belief’ and ‘negating the belief of some Muslims’. If a Muslim speaks up against political Islam – questioning the legitimacy of these self-appointed spokesmen – this is what we can expect.

Just look at this week’s report by a group called the Centre for Media Monitoring, which claims that ‘Islamophobia’ is on the march in Britain. In making its case, the group cites one of my Spectator articles in which I defended Boris Johnson’s right to criticise the burqa (a garment which, unlike Boris, I do not think has any place in a tolerant society, nor a basis in Islam).

The Centre for Media Monitoring claims that my column – and The Spectator itself – is guilty of ‘misrepresenting Muslim behaviour’. But what exactly is this body? The group’s own report admits it is part of the Muslim Council of Britain, a highly-politicised organisation. But actually the link is closer than that: its founder and executive director is also the official mouthpiece of the Muslim Council of Britain. [The Spectator] Read more

11 July 2019

Saudi Arabia 'planning to relax male guardianship laws'

Saudi Arabia could be planning to relax the country’s strict male guardianship laws to allow women to leave the country without needing permission from a male relative, according to reports.

Travel restrictions for women over the age of 18 are due to be lifted this year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, quoting Saudi officials familiar with the matter.

The planned changes would also lift restrictions on international travel for men under the age of 21 without the consent of designated male family members.

Potential reforms to travel rules for women were also mentioned in Saudi Arabia’s Okaz newspaper on Tuesday.

'What they did to me was so horrific': brutal silencing of a Saudi feminist

Such a move would have a radical impact on life in the conservative kingdom, where human rights organisations say the male guardianship system makes women second-class citizens.

Saudi women still need the permission of a male relative to make major life decisions, including marriage, divorce and obtaining a passport. The system also makes it difficult for women to seek help for domestic and sexual violence issues or win child custody cases. [The Guardian] Read more

10 July 2019

'It will legalise child brides and polygamy': Pauline Hanson says proposed religious discrimination laws will be exploited by Muslim extremists

Pauline Hanson has predicted new laws banning religious discrimination could be exploited by Muslim extremists to justify child brides, female genital mutilation and polygamy.

The One Nation leader has voiced her fears as Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government plans to introduce legislation making it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their religious beliefs.

'I am concerned that such a bill could be used by radical Islamic extremists as a shield to protect the worst aspects of their political ideology,' the Queensland senator told her 278,000 Facebook followers on Tuesday night.

'By forcing this through without scrutiny the government may be creating a pathway for extremists to practice polygamy, genital mutilation, or even under-aged marriage and this cannot be allowed to happen.

'We must always be on guard for the unintended consequences of good intentions.' [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

Saudis vexed at low ranking on press freedom index after Khashoggi murder

Officials in Saudi Arabia privately complained about the kingdom’s low ranking on an influential press freedom index, less than one year after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi murder squad.

Campaigners at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Saudis aired their dismay at a series of unprecedented meetings with government officials in Riyadh. RSF has revealed to the Guardian that it held the confidential meetings in April to advocate for the release of 30 jailed journalists, an act that the press freedom group said was the “only way” for Saudi Arabia to assume the G20 presidency next year.

The urgent call comes less than a year after Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, was brutally murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A recent UN report into the murder found “credible evidence” that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and other senior officials, were liable for the killing. [The Guardian] Read more

09 July 2019

Centre for Media Monitoring Calls for Transparency and Accountability in Light of New Report Findings

A detailed study of print and broadcast reports reveals a serious problem in the way that British media reports about Islam and Muslims.

Examining over 10,000 articles and clips referring to Muslims and Islam in the period of Q4 2018, the study was conducted by the Muslim Council of Britain’s newly formed Centre for Media Monitoring, which presents its findings in parliament today.

The study’s methodology was verified by Professor Paul Baker, one of the leading corpus linguist experts in the country.

The study reveals:

59% of all articles associated Muslims with negative behaviour

37% of articles in right-leaning and religious publications were categorised with the most negative rating of “very biased”

Over a third of all articles misrepresented or generalised about Muslims

Terrorism was the most common theme

Case study examples highlighted include the Spectator’s publication of the statement: “there are Muslims who want to come and get me for my Jewish blood”, Christian Today’s headline “The European Church is sleeping

while Islam is creeping in, says African bishop” and the usage of the image of terrorist Khalid Masood at the pilgrimage of Hajj. [Centre for Media Monitoring] Read more

Most UK news coverage of Muslims is negative, major study finds

Most coverage of Muslims in British news outlets has a negative slant, according to a major analysis by the Muslim Council of Britain, which concludes that news stories in the mainstream media are contributing to Islamophobia.

The study found the Mail on Sunday had the most negative coverage of Islam, with 78% of its stories featuring Muslims having negative themes – above an already-high industry average of 59%.

The New Statesman, Observer and Guardian were the least likely to portray Muslims in a negative light, according to the analysis of 11,000 articles and news broadcasts during the final three months of last year.

The findings come amid growing scrutiny of Islamophobia in the Conservative party and whether its roots lie in rightwing media coverage. A YouGov poll of Tory members by the campaign group Hope Not Hate found that 60% believe “Islam is generally a threat to western civilisation” and more than half believe “Islam is generally a threat to the British way of life”. [The Guardian] Read more

'Serious Problem' With Media Portrayal Of Muslims And Islam, Study Claims

Sections of the British media have a “serious problem” in the way they portray Islam and Muslims, a study has claimed.

Some 59% of reports published towards the end of last year associated Muslims with “negative behaviour”, research by the Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) suggested.

The project, run by the Muslim Council of Britain, said it analysed 10,931 published articles and broadcast reports between October to December 2018 by most major national titles and news television programmes.

More than a third of the articles that were checked “misrepresented or generalised” about Muslims, according to the report.

CfMM director Rizwana Hamid said the findings - to be presented to parliament on Tuesday - showed there was “no doubt about the seriousness of Islamophobia within sections of British media”.

The report claimed 37% of religious and “right-leaning” publications and 14% of Sky News broadcasts analysed were “very biased”.

Analyst Faisal Hanif, a former BBC researcher and Times reporter who co-wrote the report, said the overall picture was “mixed” despite “many examples” of misrepresentation. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Blackburn charity reprimanded over using cash to build mosque

A CHARITY has been given an official warning by regulators over its financial management including diverting cash to help pay for the building of a new £1.3million mosque.

The Islamic Educational Society of Blackburn (IES) was reprimanded by the Charity Commission after a statutory inquiry into its affairs.

The investigation found the society had inadequate financial controls and had repeatedly failed to submit its accounts as required by law.

The probe highlighted the charity’s decision to divert funds towards the building of the Noorul Islam mosque in Audley Range where it is now based.

The Commission says the society, founded in 1969, failed to change its original constitution to allow it to pay towards the construction of the place of worship which opened in July 2010. [Lancashire Telegraph] Read more

Muslim Council of Great Britain campaigns for 'fairer' media coverage

The Muslim Council of Great Britain is to launch a campaign in Parliament for fairer media coverage later.

The council said there was "a serious problem" with the way the UK media reported on Islam and Muslims.

It looked at more than 10,000 articles and TV clips from the last three months of 2018, and said 59% of print articles linked Muslims with negative behaviour.

The study was not open to academic scrutiny but its methodology was analysed by a linguistics analyst.

It covered most major national titles and news television programmes, plus TV drama.

Press regulator Ipso is hoping to publish new guidelines on reporting Islam in the UK in the autumn.

The Muslim Council of Britain's newly-formed Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) will present its findings in Parliament on Tuesday. The council represents the interests of Muslims in Britain. [BBC] Read more

The website helping ex-Muslims flee the Gulf

A website set up by a Saudi exile is helping other former Muslims to flee persecution in their Gulf homelands.

In some Arab countries ex-Muslims can be prosecuted for renouncing their faith, and in Saudi Arabia those convicted of apostasy may be sentenced to death.

Taleb Al-Abdulmohsen set up wearesaudis.net after he became an atheist and claimed asylum in Germany.

The site also helps ex-Muslims like "Dina" who want to escape abroad because they fear relatives will force them to marry. [BBC] Read more

08 July 2019

Banned ‘Trojan horse’ school governor holding sex education seminars

A banned school governor who was found to have undermined British values has relaunched a controversial Muslim parents’ group and is holding seminars on sex education, The Times has learnt.

Tahir Alam, who was banned from any involvement in schools after the so-called Trojan horse scandal, has revived the Muslim Parents Association, which had been wound up following the alleged plot to impose Islamist values on schools in Birmingham.

In a move that critics said was an attempt to hijack the row over LGBT teaching in schools, Mr Alam last week hosted the first monthly seminar on relationship and sex education in Birmingham.

A leaflet for the event said that parents would be provided with advice, support and training and it would discuss their rights and the Islamic perspective on the issue, which has been the source of protests outside primary schools in recent months. [The Times (£)] Read more

Most Tory members believe Islam is 'a threat to British way of life', poll finds

The survey, by anti-racism campaigners Hope Not Hate, also found that nearly two-thirds of Tory activists believe the religion is "a threat to western civilisation".

Labour said the findings showed that "Islamophobia and racism are ingrained" among some Conservative members.

Some 60% think that "Islam is generally a threat to Western civilisation", with fewer than one-in-five (17%) taking the opposite view.

The YouGov study follows polling results released last month, which found that almost half of Conservative members would not accept a Muslim as the country's Prime Minister.

They were released as Tory activists vote on whether Boris Johnson or Jeremy Huny should be their next leader and Prime Minister.

Shadow equalities minister, Dawn Butler said: "This poll shows that Islamophobia and racism are ingrained among some Conservative Party members. It is worrying that the people choosing our next Prime Minister hold these views.

"Boris Johnson has a lot to answer for - both because of his own record of racism and Islamophobia, including just last year comparing Muslim women to 'bank robbers' and 'letterboxes', and because of the likelihood that these Tory Party members will vote for him as leader.

"He should be held to account for it and have the decency to apologise. [PoliticsHome] Read more

06 July 2019

UK urged to take action on 'shocking' persecution against Pakistan's religious minorities

Lord Alton has challenged the UK Government to put more pressure on Pakistan to stop the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities.

Lords heard how religious minorities in the Muslim-majority country are being "ghettoised into squalid colonies" and subjected to "shocking" levels of persecution.

Lord Alton contrasted this with the vision of Pakistan's founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, of a nation where minorities would be welcome - a vision that the Pakistani government remarkably endorsed even while coming under intense pressure over the treatment of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman freed from death row for blasphemy last year.

"My Lords, Pakistan's illustrious and enlightened founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, crafted a constitution which promised to uphold plurality," he said. [Christian Today] Read more

05 July 2019

Jihadists massacre entire Christian village in Mali killing at least 100, many burnt to death

At least 100 men, women and children were slaughtered in Sobame Da, a mainly-Christian village in the Mopti region of central Mali, by heavily-armed Islamist extremists on 10 June.

A Barnabas Fund contact described it as the “worst massacre in Mali since 1946”. He said the jihadists encircled the isolated village of ethnic Dogon people at night and set fire to “everything that moved” in a “well-targeted attack”.

Many of the victims’ bodies were burnt – some charred beyond recognition. There are difficulties identifying the remains and the death toll is currently estimated to be between 100 and 135 people. [Barnabas Fund] Read more

Tunisia bans niqab in government offices

Tunisia's prime minister has banned the full-face veil in all government buildings due to security concerns. It comes after a deadly double suicide bombing in Tunis in late June.

.... As far back as February 2014, police had been instructed to step up supervision of the wearing of the niqab — which covers the whole head apart from the eyes — as part of anti-terrorism measures, to prevent its use as a disguise or to escape justice.

Niqabs and other forms of Islamic dress had been banned in Tunisia under secular presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Habib Bourguiba until a 2011 coup overthrew Ben Ali. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Tunisian PM bans face veils in public institutions after bombing

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has banned the wearing of the niqab, the full face veil, in public institutions for security reasons, an official source said on Friday.

The decision follows a suicide bombing in Tunis by a wanted militant. Witnesses said the suicide bomber, who blew himself up on Tuesday, was disguised in a niqab. The Interior Ministry denied this.

It was the third such incident within a week and came as Tunisia prepares for autumn elections and at the peak of a tourist season in which the country hopes to draw record numbers of visitors. Islamic State has claimed all three attacks.

“Chahed signed a government decree that bars any person with an undisclosed face from access to public headquarters, administrations, institutions, for security reasons,” the official source told Reuters. [Reuters] Read more

03 July 2019

How secular feminists are caught in the middle

The focus of this book is Pakistan but I was struck by the similarity of the ideological battles being fought between secular and Islamic feminists in Pakistan and in Britain. Of course, the contexts are very different. Secular spaces are much narrower and more dangerous places to inhabit in Pakistan – as anyone following the blasphemy case of Asia Bibi will recognise.

This is therefore a brave book. However, Afiya Zia, the author, says that to some extent she is protected by academia and by the fact that these debates are conducted in English rather than Urdu. Equating liberalism and secularism with an English-speaking elite may sound reductive, but this is a reality that is mirrored in India too.

Zia charts the post-9/11 intellectual climate which was shaped in response to the War on Terror. It encouraged many academics and activists to develop a narrative which damns secular feminism as a Western imperialist project which does not engage with the reality of Muslim women. [New Humanist] Read more

Birmingham primary school to resume modified LGBT lessons

A primary school in Birmingham that suspended lessons about LGBT equality following protests by parents is to resume a modified version of the programme in September.

Parents of pupils at Parkfield community school in Saltley staged weekly protests over the relationship lessons, which they claimed promoted gay and transgender lifestyles. In March, hundreds of mainly Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day.

Just before Easter, the school announced the “No outsiders” lessons, which teach tolerance of diverse groups, including those of different races, genders and sexual orientations, would not take place until a resolution had been reached.

The school announced on Wednesday that a modified version of the scheme, “No outsiders for a faith community”, would be introduced in September. However, some parents have said they are not happy with the outcome of the consultation and may resume their protests. [The Guardian] Read more

02 July 2019

Pakistani pastor's blasphemy appeal postponed for seventh time

A Pakistani pastor imprisoned and since July 2012 over sending blasphemous text messages has had his hearing adjourned for the seventh time.

Pastor Zafar Bhatti, 56, was sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy, a charge he denies.

His most recent appeal hearing was reportedly postponed because the presiding judge was due to go on holiday.

A statement from the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) said in a statement sent to Premier: “The case was moving favourably in the direction of Zafar but Justice Raja Shahid Mahmood Abbasi sought a postponement as he would not have time to complete paperwork before existing travel plans.

“Despite the fervent remonstrations by Advocate Tahir Bashir for a decision to be made to release Pastor Zafar the judge said such a decision could not be made as he was off on holiday and had booked flights."

The court has set 12th September 2019 for the new appeal date for Pastor Zafar.

The pastor founded and led a small NGO called Jesus World Mission to assist the poor.

A local Islamic leader filed a complaint at a police station in Rawalpindi and claimed the pastor had been sent messages from an unregistered number insulting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed and his mother. [Premier] Read more

George Eustice MP: UK is being left behind by other developed nations when it comes to legislation on religious slaughter

.... We are being left behind by other developed nations when it comes to our legislation on religious slaughter. In Australia and New Zealand, non-stun slaughter is not permitted. In many European countries there is either a requirement that there should be an immediate post cut stun where a derogation is used or in some cases a prohibition on non-stun slaughter.

In Germany, there is a strict quota system in place to ensure that abattoirs are only allowed to use the religious derogation where they are able to prove the actual need for the final market of the animals being slaughtered.

.... Both the Muslim and Jewish faiths have a clear religious conviction against the consumption of pork, which should obviously be respected. However, when it comes to the issue of stunning, the religious need is less clear.

Shechita UK who represent the kosher industry, explicitly make clear that their system of slaughter is not a “religious ritual” in the way that Halal is. There is no blessing nor prayer said for animals.

It is simply their view that a method of slaughter used since ancient times could not have been superseded by more humane modern methods. [PoliticsHome] Read more

30 June 2019

Christians in Africa: "You have three days to go or you will be killed!"

Persecution of Christians in the Middle East is now close to "genocide", a UK-commissioned report just revealed. The same threat has also become critical for Christian communities in Africa.

Some say it began in Algeria in the 1990s, when 19 monks, bishops, nuns and other Catholics were killed during the civil war. Since then, in Nigeria, Christian faithful have been massacred in their churches; in Kenya, Christians have been killed in universities; in Libya, Christians have been beheaded on beaches; in Yemen, nuns have been assassinated and in Egypt, massive anti-Christian violence is prompting an exodus. It is the new African archipelago of persecution.

Distressingly, these Christians have been finding themselves in the blind spot of the West: they are "too Christian" to get the Left's attention, but too far away for the Right. Africa's Christians are orphans. They have no "allies", John O'Sullivan writes. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

28 June 2019

Quebec premier shrugs off charge new religious symbols law makes Muslim women more vulnerable to racism

Quebec Premier François Legault says he doesn't "really" believe Muslim women in the province who say they've been the target of Islamophobic incidents since the government passed a law making it illegal for some civil servants to wear religious symbols.

Several Muslim women who wear either the hijab or niqab have told CBC News that since the legislation was tabled in March, they've been harassed, made the target of hateful comments, even spat on.

A women's advocacy group, Justice Femme, recorded more than 40 Islamophobic incidents around Montreal between late March and early May.

Muslim community leaders have shared stories on social media that suggest the incidents of harassment have not died down in the two weeks since the law came into effect.

Legault was asked Thursday on CBC Radio whether he believes the new law — which bars public teachers and other authority figures from wearing religious symbols — makes some Quebecers more vulnerable to racism. [CBC/Radio-Canada] Read more

Humanists UK calls for Leicester Assistant City Mayor to be investigated after revealing links to extremist and anti-apostate Islamic Centre

Humanists UK has exposed Cllr Mustafa Malik, Assistant City Mayor at Leicester City Council, as a trustee and member of the Management Council of the Islamic Centre Leicester, which shares dangerous anti-apostate and homophobic rhetoric, following a tip off from a whistle-blower. It is calling on Leicester City Council to investigate Mustafa Malik.

The Islamic Centre Leicester’s website alarmingly includes content stating that ‘an apostate does not have the right to life’. This is stated in a section on its website on the Sociology of Education and is originally taken from the Risale-i Nur Collection. It disregards international human rights to freedom of religion or belief. It states:

‘An apostate does not have the right to life. For his conscience is corrupted and he becomes like poison in the life of society’.

Humanists UK runs Faith to Faithless, a programme to support and raise awareness of the problems facing so-called ‘apostates’ and those who leave high-control religions, who are some of the most vulnerable in society.

The Islamic Centre Leicester’s website further offers guidance which falsely advises that people can ‘overcome’ homosexuality, which is likened to the evils of racism or prejudice, by changing their environment and lifestyle. [Humanists UK] Read more

27 June 2019

Parents should be stopped from withdrawing children from religious education over Islam lessons, headteachers say

Parents should not be allowed to selectively remove their children from religious education (RE) lessons, headteachers say, as study reveals many withdrawal requests are over the teaching of Islam.

More than two in five school leaders and RE teachers have received requests for students to be withdrawn from teaching about one religion, research from Liverpool Hope University has revealed.

Islam is the dominant focus of these parental withdrawal requests, according to the study of 450 school leaders and heads of RE.

One participant, who received requests for children to be withdrawn from mosque visits said: “The students that have been removed are the ones that need to understand different cultures the most.”

The majority (71 per cent) of teachers believe a law allowing parents to withdraw their children from RE is no longer required, according to the study in the British Journal of Religious Education. [The Independent] Read more

French city shuts down public pools after two women wear burkinis

Despite the unprecedented heatwave sweeping across western Europe, lifeguards in Grenoble have shut down the city’s two municipal swimming pools after Muslim women went swimming in burkinis.

The women went to the pools twice at the initiative of the Alliance Citoyenne rights group to challenge a city ban on the full-body swimwear.

According to a statement from the town hall, the lifeguards at the pools asked for the shutdown because “they are there to maintain safety and they can’t do that when they have to worry about the crowds”. It added: “We are working towards a positive solution.”

The incident marks the latest in row over face- and body-covering garments worn by Muslim women in a country with strict laws on secularism.

France – which has Europe’s largest Muslim population – was the first European country to ban the full veil in public spaces in 2011.

The European court of human rights upheld the ban in 2014, rejecting arguments that outlawing full-face veils breached religious freedom. [The Guardian] Read more

UK: A Clash of Educations, Part II

.... With many decent schools, there appears to be transparency. But the Darul-Ulooms and other extremist-linked institutions often have direct and indirect links to fundamentalists.

It is hard to single out any one school, but the following passage, taken at random, may suffice to sum up why so many of these schools are run on lines contrary to the values and expectations of British society. The Jameah Girls School in Leicester is a Darul-Uloom for female students between the ages of 6 and 16:

"The Jameah Girls Academy in Leicester has a direct link to a fatwa site run by the school's own patron, Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari.

Among his many distasteful rulings are these: He places severe restrictions on male doctors treating female patients; he rules that women may not swim (even for medical reasons) where a male lifeguard is present, or where there are non-Muslim women; using tampons is 'disliked' (makruh — a classification in shari'a law); a woman may not travel beyond 48 miles without her husband or a close relative accompanying her; a female is encouraged to remain within the confines of her house as much as possible; polygamy is permissible.

If anyone were to ridicule polygamy, he would become an unbeliever; it is a grave sin for a woman to refuse sex to her husband; it is forbidden to have close, intimate relations with or have love for non-Muslims Muslims are not to sit, eat, live or mingle with them; the legal punishment for adultery is stoning." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

26 June 2019

Greedy Pigs cafe stands firm after hate letter brands its name 'disgusting, shameful and offensive'

A CAFE owner has refused to change the name of her business after being told it was “wrong, disgusting, shameful and offensive” in an anonymous letter.

Shelly Harper, who runs the Greedy Pigs sandwich bar and diner on Paley Road, East Bowling, spoke out after receiving the worrying letter last week.

It has since been shared on social media, leading people to hit out at its message.

The letter says: “I am writing to you to inform you we as a whole community are extremely concerned about the name of your shop’s trade or the sign board. The name Greedy PIGS is extremely wrong, disgusting, shameful and offensive to the passer-bys and community.

.... It adds: “So the first thing you need to do is change that stupid name from the shop’s sign board and get rid of the pictures of the pigs. Not everyone finds the name Greedy Pigs or the pictures of pigs to be pleasant and not everyone consumes pork and pig products.” [Telegraph & Argus] Read more

Muslims in France Complain of Widespread “Islamophobia”

A recent incident at a lingerie-shop in Montpellier, where a hijabbed woman was at first denied employment as long as she insisted on wearing the hijab, highlights a frequent debate in French politics and society: Can French Muslims ever be just French?

French Muslims can be “just French” if they are willing to adopt to, rather than resist, the laws, customs, and understandings of French society, beginning with the principle of “laicite” (the laic state), enshrined in French law since 1905.

Every effort has been made by the French state to support Muslim migrants, who have had many benefits lavished upon them: free or highly subsidized housing, free education, free medical care, family allowances. Yet we see that French Muslims have segregated themselves, creating neighborhoods that in some cases have become distinctly unwelcome to the French.

These are the “No Go” areas where non-Muslims fear to tread. Then there are the hundreds of French Muslims who have enthusiastically gone off to join ISIS; the tens of thousands of Muslims who without official permission aggressively take over French city streets for mass prayers; there are Muslim students who refuse to study the history of the Crusades, or the history of the French kings, seeing these subjects as irrelevant or offensive to them; some have objected to studying the Holocaust, also on the national history syllabus, because it creates “too much sympathy” for Jews. [New English Review] Read more

25 June 2019

Iranian regime's repression of Christians ‘shocks the conscience’

A horribly familiar description of the Iranian regime’s persecution of Christians and other minorities emerged from a U.S. State Department report on religious freedom published Friday.

“In Iran, the regime’s crackdown on Baha’is, Christians and others continues to shock the conscience,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

The U.S. has classified the Islamic Republic as a “Country of Concern” since 1999, because its regime violates religious freedom as defined by the U.S. International Religious Freedom Act (1998).

Richard Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, told FoxNews.com, “Freedom to believe and worship the way you want is a fundamental right. It is never acceptable for governments to punish or intimidate citizens for their religious beliefs.” Grenell, a devout Christian, is a former Fox News contributor.

The 30-page section on Iran appeared in the State Department’s 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom and was reviewed by FoxNews.com.

The section read in part: “Christians, particularly evangelicals and converts from Islam, continued to experience disproportionate levels of arrests and detention, and high levels of harassment and surveillance, according to Christian NGO reports.

Numerous Christians remained imprisoned at year’s end on charges related to their religious beliefs. Prison authorities reportedly continued to withhold medical care from prisoners, including some Christians, according to human rights groups.” [FOX News Network] Read more

School children must be taught about 'different', Education Secretary says amid LGBT lessons row

School children must be taught about “different, strong and loving” families in the new relationship education lessons, Damian Hinds has said, in his strongest response yet to the Birmingham LGBT row.

The Education Secretary said he would “strongly” encourage primary school teachers to discuss with children about how there are all sorts of types of families, including those with same-sex parents.

His intervention comes amid a row over teaching children about LGBT relationships with several primary schools in Birmingham suspending the lessons following protests and petitions from Muslim parents.

Parkfield Community School, along with five primaries run by the Leigh Trust, postponed the "No Outsiders" programme where children are taught about same sex couples and gender identity. [The Telegraph] Read more

Hinds' guidance won't stop LGBT protests, warns head

Birmingham headteacher at centre of storm says new guidance still leaves it down to schools to decide when to teach LGBT

A headteacher whose school is facing protests about LGBT teaching has said the government’s new relationship education guidance does not go far enough and will not stop demonstrations taking place.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, the headteacher of Anderton Park Primary, in Birmingham, told Tes that the education secretary Damian Hinds is still leaving it up to schools to decide when they should teach children about LGBT families.

The Department for Education has published final guidance for relationship education today and Mr Hinds has said he "strongly encourages" primary schools to discuss with children that there are families with same-sex parents. [Tes] Read more

Apple offers Muslim Brotherhood ‘radicalisation app’

Apple’s App Store is hosting an app linked to the Muslim Brotherhood despite experts’ concerns that it is a tool for radicalisation.

The Euro Fatwa app was created by the European Council for Fatwa and Research, an organisation founded by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is regarded as the unofficial chief ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qaradawi, 92, has been banned from Britain, France and the US due to his extremist views, which have included expressing support for suicide bombers in Israel and regarding the Holocaust as “divine punishment” on the Jews.

The deliberations of his Dublin-based European council have included a reference to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious antisemitic forgery.

According to The Media Line, a news agency, the introduction to the app included comments from Qaradawi saying: “Muslims became a disgrace to Islam and have acted similarly to the Jews who decreed it was correct to steal.” [The Times (£)] Read more

Holyrood to probe anti-Muslim hatred in Scotland

THE first inquiry into Islamophobia in Scotland is to be set up by Holyrood.

The parliament’s cross-party group on tackling the problem has teamed up with Newcastle University to assess its nature, extent and impact on children, young people and families.

It will also look at the role of traditional and social media, the public sector and politicians, and at what steps can be taken to challenge and overcome anti-Mulsim bigotry.

The CPG on Tackling Islamophobia, founded by Glasgow Labour MSP Anas Sarwar, is now seeking views from individuals, employers and organisations about their experience of the issue.

Mr Sarwar said: “I am delighted that the CPG is launching the first ever public inquiry into Islamophobia in Scotland. We have established that Scotland is not immune from Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred. [Herald Scotland] Read more

24 June 2019

Arab world turns its back on religion – and its ire on the US

The Arab world is turning its back on religion and on US relations, according to the largest public opinion survey ever carried out in the region.

A survey of more than 25,000 people across 10 countries and the Palestinian territories found that trust in religious leaders has plummeted in recent years.

The study, compiled by BBC News Arabic and Arab Barometer, a Princeton University-based research network, also identified a marked rise in the proportion of people describing themselves as “not religious” – from 11% in 2012-2014 to 18% this year. [The Guardian] Read more

Muslim women defy ban to swim in burkinis at French pool

Muslim women in France are disobeying the rules at a local swimming pool by wearing burkinis.

In a protest inspired by US civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, they bathed in suits covering their entire bodies - apart from the face, hands and feet - in the city of Grenoble on Sunday.

The Jean Bron swimming pool is among many in France that ban burkinis.

Many people in the country regard the swimsuit as a symbol of political Islam and incompatible with secularism.

"Operation burkini" was launched last month by members of the group Citizen Alliance of Grenoble to defend what they say is the right of Muslim women. [BBC] Read more

Almost half of Conservative members would reject Muslim Prime Minister, poll finds

A YouGov study carried out by anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate found that just 8% of the party's members "would be proud of Britain if we were to elect a Muslim as our Prime Minister".

But 43% agreed that they "would prefer to not have the country led by a Muslim".

The findings come after Home Secretary Sajid Javid forced the Conservative leadership contenders to agree to an independent probe into allegations of anti-Muslim prejudice in the party.

The survey also revealed that 67% of Tory members believe that “there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law", with just 18% disagreeing with that statement.

Meanwhile 45% said there were "areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter" - with just over a third (34%) saying they did not believe that to be the case.

Forty percent of those surveyed said Britain should lower the number of Muslims entering the country, compared to just five percent who said the same for Christians or Jewish people. [PoliticsHome] Read more

Two-thirds of Tory members believe UK areas ‘under sharia law’, as poll reveals scale of Islamophobia in party

Two-thirds of Conservative Party members believe parts of Britain operate under sharia law, a new poll has shown amid a mounting Islamophobia scandal.

A YouGov poll found almost half of Tories believed in the myth of no-go zones where “non-Muslims are not able to enter” and 39 per cent thought Islamist terror attacks “reflected widespread hostility to Britain among the Muslim community”.

Counter-extremism group Hope Not Hate called on leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to address the “Islamophobia crisis” in their party.

“From the grassroots to the great offices of state, Conservative members buy into racist myths, with almost half unwilling to have a Muslim prime minister – and only 8 per cent being proud to have one – and most denying that there’s even an issue to confront,” said campaigns director Matthew McGregor.

“No mainstream political party should accept racism and racists within its ranks. The Conservatives have paid lip service by saying they have zero tolerance to Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice, but this new poll confirms they face a real crisis.” [The Independent] Read more

22 June 2019

Boris Johnson backs Anderton Park School teachers in LGBT row

Tory leadership favourite Boris Johnson has today voiced his opinion on the Anderton Park School LGBT row.

He was speaking to BirminghamLive at the Conservative Party Leadership election hustings at the ICC in Birmingham.

We got to ask him specifically about families in Birmingham - and his thoughts on the campaigners against the controversial No Outsiders programme being taught in selected schools in the city.

"People should be allowed to choose who they love," he said.

He added: "I was one of three rebel politicians fighting for equal marriages and I have always believed that we should be in favour of inclusion.

"Schools should be asked to reflect the world as it is and, to be reasonable, that's the way things are now.

"I don't approve of children being taken out of school."

Earlier this month, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street blasted the protests as 'homophobic' and demanded that 'they stop now. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Jeremy Hunt backs schools at centre of LGBT equality teaching protests

Jeremy Hunt today stood up for Birmingham schools facing protests over equality teaching, pledging to ‘defend their right’ to talk about LGBT families to young children.

Being gay, he said, is like being left handed - “it is something you are born with, it is not something you can choose, it is not something you can change, so we have to recognise that every child needs to understand that.”

Mr Hunt’s comments received a standing ovation during today’s hustings event at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, the first of a series ahead of a Conservative members’ vote to decide the next Tory leader and the country’s next Prime Minister.

He added: “We have to leave no stone unturned in making sure that every school, including faith schools, are getting the right message across to our children.” [Birmingham Mail] Read more

UK: A Clash of Educations

What started as a small protest in the UK has taken on wider dimensions that are already spreading to other cities. For more than two months now, a primary school in Birmingham in the UK has been at the centre of a standoff between modern Western values and the concerns of a large group of Muslim parents. As early as April, reports said, leafleters were targeting schools in Birmingham, Manchester, Oldham, London, Blackburn and Bradford.

The almost daily protests outside the schools, although on a more muted scale, are the biggest since those against Salman Rushdie and his book, The Satanic Verses back in 1988 -- events that for some radicalized a generation. According to the author Kenan Malik, those early protests sowed the seeds of rifts that have since become wider. Some form of clash between these two sets of values is taking place again.

Anderton Park Primary School is an outstanding place of education for children between the ages of five and eleven. Most of the children are Muslims, but that does not restrict the efforts to introduce them to being fully educated citizens in the country where most were born. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

21 June 2019

Former Equality Chief: Islamophobia Definition a ‘Bullies’ Charter’ for Censorious Muslims

Britain’s former equality tsar Trevor Phillips OBE has warned the sweeping new definition of “Islamophobia” is a “bullies’ charter” for Muslims inclined to censor criticism of Islam and Islamic practices.

Phillips, a former Labour politician and son of African-heritage migrants from British Guiana — now Guyana — who served as head of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) quango and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which succeeded it from 2003 to 2012, warned that the definition would “make it illegitimate to criticise anyone who uses the fact that they are a Muslim or defending Muslims to make it impossible to contest their point of view”.

The definition, adopted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, defines Islamophobia as “rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”, and has been endorsed by MP including London mayor Sadiq Khan, anti-Brexit Change UK (CUK) leader Anna Soubry, Labour’s David Lammy, and his controversial colleague Naz Shah, who once ‘liked’ and retweeted a social media post suggesting Muslim rape gang victims should “shut their mouths for the good of diversity”. [Breitbart London] Read more

British Muslims like me have had enough of 'Abdullah from Bristols' speaking for us

I am tired of men like "Abdullah from Bristol" – the sexist so-called imam who appeared on the BBC televised leadership debate on Tuesday evening to raise the topic of Islamophobia, and asked the candidates whether they recognised that “words have consequences”. It was a thinly-veiled swipe at Boris Johnson, who has been widely condemned for a column in this newspaper in which he likened the appearance of women who wear the burqa to letterboxes.

Yet it has since transpired that Abdullah Patel's now-deleted Twitter account includes such unenlightened comments as: “Generally, men are the predators, but women need to realise this and be smarter. It takes 2 to tango and if you put yourself in that position, don’t expect every man to pass up the opportunity to take advantage of you”.

.... As a British Muslim, I cannot help but feel that rising hate crime is partly down to the fact that many Muslims – and particularly women – have been left isolated and unable to communicate in pockets of the country, as a direct result of the attitudes and influence of people like 'Abdullah from Bristol'.

The men who seek to uphold the burqa as something Islamic are not doing it for my faith but for power: power over women and girls, and power with which they can divide and rule their communities. We need to keep questioning and challenging men like Abdullah and we must be wary of those who use " Islamophobia" as a means to shut down much-needed conversations. [The Telegraph] Read more

Everyone loses from the desperate attempt to paint Britain as an Islamophobic country

This week, the Tory leadership candidates all committed to launching an independent inquiry into “Islamophobia” within their party. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt must be careful not to walk into a trap.

Islam is now the second largest religion in Britain and the fastest growing faith in many of our cities. With nearly four million Muslims living across the country, what happens inside Islam and to its adherents has an impact on every one of us, religious or not. To ensure an easy integration of Muslims into British society and secular co-existence, we must be free to talk about Islam, indeed even be critical of certain Muslim practices. Such free discussion must not in any way be prevented because it has been labelled “Islamophobia”.

.... In Britain, we are citizens with both rights and responsibilities. Maimonides and Spinoza reformed Judaism, while Erasmus and Luther liberated Christianity from the clutches of the papacy. It is time for Muslims to follow in the footsteps of the great philosophers Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd, and free Muslims from religious bigotry and embrace reason and modernity.

Muslims are welcome in Britain, but as citizens and integrated patriots. Almost a thousand Muslims serve in Britain’s armed forces. This not China; Muslims are free to worship here. The desperate search for victimhood is not only wrong on its own terms, but prevents all of us from rejoicing in the liberties that surround us. [The Telegraph] Read more

The Conservative Crisis Over Islamophobia

Exclusive polling carried out by YouGov for HOPE not hate has revealed worrying levels of Islamophobia among Conservative Party members, as well as a shocking level of denial about the problems the party faces.

The poll was conducted by YouGov, with a total sample size of 864 adults. The fieldwork was undertaken between 14th – 18th June 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

While Conservative members believe that discrimination against Muslims is a big, rather than small, issue by 48% to 39%, members also buy into Islamophobic myths:

67% believe the lie that “there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law”, as opposed to just 18% who do not believe this to be the case

45% believe the lie that “there are areas in Britain in which non-Muslims are not able to enter”, as opposed to just 34% who do not believe this to be the case. [HOPE not hate] Read more

Revealed: Islamist Infiltration of French Public Services

French media have leaked details from a report on Islamic extremism within the French public service, claiming that many in the public sector are concerned about Islamist infiltration.

The new report, which has been compiled by MPs Éric Diard of the conservative Republicans and Éric Poulliat of President Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche! (LREM/Republic on the Move), questioned senior officials, researchers, and workers such as police and firefighters about Islamic radicalisation.

According to leaked information from the report given to French news magazine Le Point, many of those interviewed by the MPs expressed concern over the issue, with one of the most poignant stories coming from a trade unionist from the RATP, the company in charge of the public transportation system in Paris. The trade unionist claimed that “premises are forbidden to women in terminals” and added that “practising Muslims are targeting non-practising female believers”. [Breitbart London] Read more

20 June 2019

Six speakers boycott Bradford Literature Festival in anti-extremism funding row

Speakers scheduled to appear at a literary festival have pulled out after learning the event is part-funded by a Government counter-extremism strategy.

Six figures - including writers, journalists and activists - have backtracked after learning the annual event was receiving funding from Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT), a Home Office programme which funds various community groups.

The programme has been criticised for unfairly targeting members of the Muslim community, leading to the decision to withdraw from six writers and speakers at the Festival.

Bradford-born writer Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan was first to announce she was pulling out, saying in a statement: "The government's counter-extremism strategy relies on the premise that Muslims are pre-disposed to violence and therefore require monitoring and surveillance, rather than that the material and systematic conditions of economic, racial and Islamophobic violence need addressing as causes of individual perpetration of violence." [Yorkshire Post] Read more

19 June 2019

Everything you need to know about row over Gloucestershire Imam who quizzed Boris Johnson and other Tory candidates on live TV

A Gloucestershire Iman sparked a major row after attacking Boris Johnson on TV on Tuesday night.

Reporters descended on Gloucester after it emerged that one of those chosen to question the five candidates competing to be the next Prime Minister had a history of controversial tweets.

This all you need to know about the row.

.... Mr Abdullah Patel appeared from the Bristol studios to ask the sixth question which was about Islamophobia.

He said anti-Islamic political rhetoric caused problems for his community and asked the candidates directly if he believed words had consequences.

.... Radio 5 Live host Nicky Campbell tweeted: “I would like to apologise. We had the imam from the BBC Tory leadership debate on our programme this morning. His social media comments have been extremely disturbing. We should have checked. We didn’t. I’m sorry.”

A BBC statement said: "We carried out background research into the online and social media profiles of all our questioners for last night's debate.

"Following the debate one individual reactivated a public Twitter account he had previously deactivated, whose tweets were not visible during our research period. [Gloucestershire Live] Read more

BBC defends vetting process after imam's tweets emerge

.... The broadcaster said: "Had we been aware of the views he expressed he would not have been selected."

Mr Patel has been suspended as deputy head of a girls' school and also by the Masjid e Umar mosque in Gloucester.

The BBC said the tweets had come to light after Mr Patel re-activated a previously inactive Twitter profile in the aftermath of Tuesday's debate, and had not been visible to its researchers before then.

.... Another screenshot showed a tweet from Mr Patel, apparently giving advice to women on how to avoid being assaulted by men, saying: "Generally men are the predators, but women need to realise this and be smarter. It takes two to tango, and if you put yourself in that position, don't expect every man to pass up the opportunity to take advantage of you. Don't be alone with a man!"

.... A statement from the Masjid e Umar mosque said: "We are fully aware of the allegations made against our Imam Maulana Abdullah Patel regarding the contents of historic tweets. We have decided to act immediately and have chosen to give him some time away to allow us the opportunity to conduct a detailed investigation into this matter." [BBC] Read more

The Qur’an’s Turn to Violence

It is widely recognized that, on the topic of violence, the Qur’an speaks with more than one voice. Some verses speak for peace, and others for war. The conventional explanation is that the difference hinges on the migration of the early Muslim community from Mecca to Medina: in Mecca Muslims were persecuted while Muhammad and the Qur’an preached non-violence and tolerance, but in Medina an Islamic state was established, and Muhammad gathered an army, leading it to triumph in battle against non-believers.

A conventional Islamic theological interpretation is that in Mecca Muhammad and his community were weak, vulnerable and persecuted, so Allah wisely commended patience and forbearance. However when their power was established in Medina the Muslims were commanded to fight for the cause of Allah, ushering in the triumphant advance of the religion.

It is indisputable that there is a progression from peace to violence in the Qur’an. But is the conventional explanation for that shift supported by the text of the Qur’an itself? Does this explanation make the best sense of the Qur’an?

.... Although there is persecution and triumph in the Qur’an, a more careful reading of the Qur’an’s text reveals a movement which was faltering under the weight of the non-arrival of a prophesied doomsday scenario. This movement was then saved – and transformed – by a shocking and epoch-making announcement that the swords of believers were to be considered an act of God. The rest, as they say, is history. [Mark Durie] Read more

'Practise what you preach!' Sajid Javid lashes out at Imam who berated Tory leader hopefuls over Islamophobia after vile anti-Jewish tweets surface

Sajid Javid today laid into an Imam who berated Tory leader hopefuls over Islamophobia - after vile anti-Jewish tweets surfaced.

The Home Secretary demanded Abdullah Patel 'practise what he preach' in the wake of exchanges on the BBC's TV debate last night.

The corporation has been engulfed in controversy after it emerged they allowed an Mr Patel and a former Labour party worker to question Tory hopefuls.

Mr Patel was today suspended from his job as deputy head at a Muslim girls' school over tweets he sent blaming women for rape, praising Jeremy Corbyn and attacking Jews. [Daily Mail] Read more

Defining “Islamophobia”

.... The Parliamentary Group’s promotion of identity politics and ‘Muslimness,’ has, therefore, everything to do with appeasing the religious-Right by pushing the false narrative of an ‘authentic’ Muslim: a homogenised caricature imposed upon a diverse people by fundamentalists-playing-victims.

This feeds into stereotypes, and collaborates in the erasure of class politics, dissent and political and social struggles; it diminishes solidarity both within and without the so-called group. Also, ironically, it actually exacerbates racism by insisting that brown and black citizens are ‘different’ and in need of paternalistic protection and treated with hyper-sensitivity in case (god forbid) they start burning books…or worse.

The politics of difference (and superiority) have always been a pillar of fascist and racist politics whether that difference is based on race or – as we now increasingly see – ‘culture.’ (Whose culture this is does not get discussed. Is it the culture of the Islamists who want to stone people to death or the women and men who refuse and resist?) For me, it is clear as daylight: the adoption of any definition of ‘Islamophobia’ is a triumph for fundamentalists. It has nothing to do with combatting racism. [sister-hood] Read more

Islamic fatwa approves organ donation after Bristol man's efforts

A man who had to wait for 23 years for a kidney transplant has won changes to Islamic guidance to allow organ donation in the UK.

Amjid Ali, from Bristol, began a campaign for the changes in 2013 and has been working for the NHS.

Muslims are allowed to accept transplants, but previously some had not felt able to donate themselves.

Mr Ali said: "It was something I wanted to give back, having been on dialysis and the waiting list for a long time."

NHS figures show that 17% of people on the transplant waiting list are of Asian origin.

However, less than 2% of Asian people are on the organ donor register.

In September 2013, Mr Ali led a conference with 56 scholars, organisations, imams and chaplains about the issue, two years after his own life-saving operation. [BBC] Read more

17 June 2019

Quebec Bill 21: Is it OK for public servants to wear religious symbols?

.... As a child, Amrit Kaur would watch her parents patiently helping other children with their school work, which sparked her interest in becoming a teacher.

But now, the Quebec vice-president at the World Sikh Organisation is wondering whether there's a place for her in Quebec as a school teacher as she finishes her education degree.

For her, wearing a turban is "just such an integral part of my ethos and my being that I can't [disassociate] from it".

She adds: "My faith is not something I can leave at the door. That's virtually impossible."

.... David Rand, a staunch secularist and atheist, calls Bill 21 "a perfectly reasonable restriction" similar to those already in place for public servants when it comes to showing partisan political preference while at work.

And he has little sympathy for those who argue they have been given a difficult decision between their faith and their career.

There is a certain kind of reserve that is necessary when working for the state, a certain kind of discretion, he says.

"I would not wear a T-shirt that says 'God does not exist' if I went to work in the public service and I expect the same savoir vivre of a woman who wears a hijab or a man who wears a kippah, that they would remove it if they go to work in the public service." [BBC] Read more

Quebec passes religious symbols secularism bill

A Canadian province has passed legislation that would bar civil servants in positions of "authority" from wearing religious symbols at work.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec's (CAQ) bill covers judges, police officers, teachers and other public figures.

It prevents the wearing of symbols such as the kippah, turban or hijab at work.

Also passed was an immigration bill that scraps some 18,000 pending applications from skilled immigrants, affecting some 50,000 people.

That controversial move is part of an immigration programme overhaul the government says will help the province meet labour market needs and improve the integration of newcomers.

The secularism bill in particular has sparked protests and debate in the province since its introduction.

It was passed late on Sunday night following a rare weekend sitting at the Quebec provincial legislature.

Existing employees will be exempt from the bill. [BBC] Read more

Blogger killed in Islamabad's G-9/4 area

.... According to the police official, Khan — who has over 16,000 followers on Twitter, over 48,000 on his YouTube channel and over 22,000 followers on Facebook — received a phone call from an unidentified person to come to G-9, "where a man took him into the forest".

The suspect then used a dagger to murder Khan, said police, adding that the sound of firing was also heard from the area.

.... The father of the deceased, seen in a video addressing a group of men, said that his son had no personal enmity. He said his son spent his life talking about Islam.

My son's "only fault was that he spoke about the the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions", he added, saying he was proud of his son. [Dawn.Com] Read more

16 June 2019

Quebec to adopt religious symbols ban

Simon Jolin-Barrette insisted Sunday that Bill 21 does not withdraw civil rights. The government House leader is also the minister responsible for Quebec’s controversial secularism bill, which includes a religious symbols ban for public employees in positions of authority, which the government has defined as judges, prison guards, police officers and teachers, among some others.

“No, it will give rights to people. It will give rights to all Quebecers to have the right to have secular services from the state,” he said.

Members of the National Assembly were obligated to sit all weekend after the government invoked a closure motion in order to force the adoption of two contentious bills.

After sitting all day Saturday until after 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning in order to adopt the government’s immigration reform legislation, Bill 9, the National Assembly reconvened five hours later in order to adopt the government’s secularism legislation. [Global News] Read more

14 June 2019

Muslim dad and brother ‘abused entire family after two daughters refused arranged marriages’

A father is on trial for controlling his entire family because two of his eight daughters would not marry the men he had chosen for them. Salamat Khan, 63, is alleged to have cast out the daughters when they married men he did not approve of. He said they were ‘dead to the family’ and vowed to inflict what he considered a ‘traditional’ Islamic upbringing on two others who wanted to lead western lives, a crout was told. Madina and Maryha Khan were not allowed to go out and he made them cook and clean for him.

They described their lives as ‘living in a prison’. It was also alleged that he demanded the properties of female relatives be transferred to him and his only son Abbas, 34, who said the sisters were not welcome in the family home because ‘they made their choices’. [Metro.co.uk] Read more

Boris was right about the niqab – it’s oppressive and ridiculous

The real extremists are those who want to protect Islam and its beliefs from public debate and ridicule.

Amin, chairman of the Muslim Conservative Forum, has caused a stink by saying on this morning’s Today programme that he would leave the Tory party if Johnson becomes PM. He thinks Johnson lacks the ‘basic level of morality and integrity’ to hold such a position, partly because he once ‘chose to mock Muslim women who wear [the] niqab and burqa’. Amin doesn’t understand morality. What would be truly immoral in a free country would be to deny people high office on the basis that they have ‘blasphemed’ against Islamic practices.

Amin was referring to the now infamous Daily Telegraph column in which Johnson said the niqab and burqa make women look like letterboxes and bank robbers. This is frequently held up by Corbynistas and commentators as proof of Johnson’s ‘Islamophobia’, which only confirms that the term ‘Islamophobia’ is now explicitly used to police not only abuse or discrimination against Muslims, which everyone agrees are terrible things, but also mere criticism of Islamic practices. [Spiked] Read more

13 June 2019

Austria to shut down Saudi-backed interfaith centre

MPs voted on Wednesday to demand the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) be closed down following repeated criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

The latest vote was prompted by a recent case in which an 18-year-old was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for alleged crimes committed when he was a child.

Austria's foreign ministry said that it would comply with parliament's decision and was "checking the necessary legal steps" in order to do so.

The centre would be closed in a way that "will not cause damage to Austria's foreign policy interests and which is in line with international practice," the ministry said in a statement.

The centre has been a periodic source of controversy since opening in 2012, with critics saying it offered the government in Riyadh a way to gloss over accusations of severe human rights violations. [The Local] Read more

Man — charged with insulting Islam, Prophet Muhammad, Hadi Awang — changes plea to guilty

A man who previously claimed trial to two counts of insulting Prophet Muhammad, Islam and PAS president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, on Facebook, changed his plea to guilty, in the Sessions Court here today.

Danny Antoni, 28, entered the plea after the charge against him was read again before Judge MM Edwin Paramjothy during mention of the case today.

The court then fixed July 17 for sentence hearing.

On the first count Danny was charged with using the Facebook account of Danny A’antonio Jr, to post an insulting statement against Prophet Muhammad and Islam which could threaten harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims at 1.21am on January 9.

The charge, under Section 298A (1) (a) of the Penal Code, provides for a maximum jail term of five years, upon conviction. [Malay Mail] Read more

12 June 2019

Islamic charities push death for ‘apostates’ and female subjugation

Four Islamic charities are promoting material suggesting 'apostates' should be killed, women should be subordinate to men including by accepting marital rape and homosexuality is not innate.

The National Secular Society has reported the charities to the charities regulator, the Charity Commission, after NSS research found they link to or explicitly carry extremist material on their websites.

The commission has said it will open "assessment cases" into the charities in response to the NSS's concerns.

The website of Islamic Centre Leicester, a charity which exists to "promote the spiritual teachings of the Islamic religion", says the punishment for 'apostasy' is death.

In response to a question about whether there is a punishment for "Muslims who leave the fold of Islam", the charity says: "All the schools of thought agree that a person's apostasy must be proven by the testimony of two male witnesses. Furthermore, all agree that the apostate's punishment is death." [National Secular Society] Read more

Snapp Driver Who Booted Passenger Over Hijab Hailed As ‘Hero’

An Iranian version of Uber has triggered a heated debate over the country's strict Islamic dress code for women known as the hijab.

A female passenger in Tehran complained on Twitter on June 6 about a Snapp taxi driver who had forced her out of his car in the middle of a highway for not respecting the dress code.

The passenger also published the driver's picture and details to back up her claim. In a following tweet, she maintained that Snapp had apologized to her for the inconvenience and reprimanded the driver.

Meanwhile, two hashtags in support of the abandoned passenger went viral on Twitter. The Persian hashtags, which translate as "Boycott Snapp" and "We delete Snapp" in English, have been used more than 100,000 times since June 9.

Under a barrage of criticism, Snapp issued a statement, saying, they have both worked with the driver who will continue to work for the company and also addressed the grievance of the passenger for her unfinished trip. [Radio Farda] Read more

Former mayor at centre of police probe into alleged anti-Islamic social posts

A former mayor is under investigation by police after allegedly posting an anti-Muslim message on Facebook. The inquiry into Seaham Town councillor Barbara Allen was put into the public eye after a resident of the town asked her about the message as she handed over the mayoral chains at the council’s annual meeting.

She confirmed police are looking into the post, which was put online early last month.

The Echo understands that since the inquiry came to light, the long-serving member said she has now left the Labour Party and is a member of Seaham Community Party (SCP). [Sunderland Echo] Read more

11 June 2019

Montreal woman says STM bus driver didn't stop for her because of her niqab

Zineb Benrochd was standing at a bus stop in broad daylight last week, wearing her niqab, when a bus whizzed right past her.

The 23-year-old Montrealer wondered why. She says she looked the driver up online and discovered a trail of Islamophobic social media posts.

In 2010, for instance, the bus driver posted: "I'm so happy and in a good mood today, that I love everybody, except the [expletive] who wear the hijab or the veil. Sorry, but I can't stand them."

But when Benrochd took to Facebook in an attempt to call out the bus driver's behaviour, she was soon bombarded with dozens of messages — some angry, some hateful — from other Montreal transit employees defending their colleague. [CBC/Radio-Canada] Read more

Iranian hardliners threaten taxi app boycott in hijab row

Iranian social media users are threatening to boycott their country's popular taxi app Snapp after the company apologised to a woman who had been ordered out of one of their driver's cars for failing to wear the compulsory Islamic headscarf, or hijab.

The passenger posted a picture on Twitter of the driver who ordered her out of his cab.

"This is the driver who dropped me off his car in the middle of a motorway [in the capital Tehran]," she wrote on 6 June.

Snapp later apologised and promised to reprimand the driver, according to the woman.

Conservatives responded angrily to Snapp's decision, criticising the company for submitting to people who disrespect "Islamic values". [BBC] Read more

Conservative Party accused of 'fundamental failure' over Islamophobia

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has accused the Tory Party of "fundamental failures" in tackling Islamophobia.

Its head of public affairs, Miqdaad Versi, said he had seen "hundreds of cases" within the party, "demonstrating the scale of the problem".

When action was taken, he claimed the offending members were "quietly let back into the party".

Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis has previously said "swift action" is taken when complaints are made.

The MCB is an umbrella organisation of various UK Muslim bodies, including mosques, schools, and charitable associations.

It has formally asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate accusations of Islamophobia in the Tory Party, claiming it "runs deep".

The watchdog said it was considering complaints in line with its "usual processes". [BBC] Read more

09 June 2019

Tehran closes 547 restaurants for breaking 'Islamic principles’

Iranian police have shut down 547 restaurants and cafes in Tehran for not observing “Islamic principles”, the capital’s police chief said Saturday.

“The owners of restaurants and cafes in which Islamic principles were not observed were confronted, and during this operation 547 businesses were closed and 11 offenders arrested,” Hossein Rahimi said in statement on the policeforce website.

Fars news agency said the operation was carried out over the past 10 days.

The infractions included “unconventional advertising in cyberspace, playing illegal music and debauchery”, Fars reported.

“Observing Islamic principles is ... one of the police’s main missions and responsibilities,” the police chief said.

The head of Tehran’s guidance court, which deals with “cultural crimes and social and moral corruption”, called on Tehran citizens to report cases of “immoral behaviour” by texting a designated phone number. [The Guardian] Read more

08 June 2019

Islamophobia definition raises more questions than answers

.... These abhorrent acts should not be watered down because a political group has decided to advance an inadequate term to describe anti-Muslim hate. The issue is compounded by the “what is art”-type analysis, leaving one to imagine what is “Muslimness” and who has it?

Can I buy it at the corner shop, or is it planted when the Shahada is whispered into a Muslim child’s ear at birth? Where do converts get their Muslimness from? Does it come in a convert welcome pack from the Saudi-funded mosque that allows women to enter only through the separate entrance at the back and down the stairs? Does it count towards your Tesco Clubcard points? The possibilities are endless. The reality is Muslims oscillate between multiple identities, like millions of ordinary British people.

Identity politics demean us all, but does most damage to those minorities who end up being viewed as caricatures. Instead of trying to return blasphemy culture to Britain, the ultra-Islamists could spend time practising Ijtihad, an Islamic legal and philosophical state encouraging independent reasoning. [The Times (£)] Read more

Britain's Back-Door Blasphemy Law

The long-running dispute revolves — most recently — around an effort by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, a cross-party formation of around two-dozen MPs in the British Parliament, to institutionalize the definition of Islamophobia in racial rather than religious terms.

The proposed definition has been opposed by many Britons, including British Muslims, who warn that it would effectively shield Islam from scrutiny and valid criticism.

"We have here a clash between two very different ways of viewing a society: broadly individualism and collectivism.... In a collectivist society the aim is for the rulers to determine how individuals should behave ... those in power lay down a detailed code and threaten punishment for non-compliance. And they do not welcome criticism as a device for mutual learning and holding power to account." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Hundreds of Tehran restaurants shut for breaking ‘Islamic principles’

Iranian police have shut down 547 restaurants and cafes in Tehran for not observing “Islamic principles”, the capital’s police chief said Saturday.

“The owners of restaurants and cafes in which Islamic principles were not observed were confronted, and during this operation 547 businesses were closed and 11 offenders arrested,” Hossein Rahimi said, quoted on the police’s website.

Fars news agency said the operation was carried out over the past 10 days.

The infractions included “unconventional advertising in cyberspace, playing illegal music and debauchery”, Fars reported.

“Observing Islamic principles is… one of the police’s main missions and responsibilities,” the police chief said. [Tribune] Read more

Iran deploys 2,000 new 'morality police' units to quell hijab rebellion

Iran has deployed 2,000 new morality police units in reaction to what officials call an “increasing defiance” of the compulsory wearing of hijabs.

The units – called “resistance groups for verbal and practical response to bad-hijabi women” – were launched recently in the northern province of Gilan as part of a pilot scheme. They each have six women with the power to arrest and detain those deemed to be flouting strict veiling laws.

The move comes amid a growing backlash by women in the Islamic Republic, hundreds of whom have been arrested for taking off their head coverings in public in protest at the law.

A campaign called “White Wednesday” that encouraged women to wear white and discard their hijabs has also gained support, much to the consternation of conservative clerics. [National Post] Read more

07 June 2019

It’s time to crack down on Muslim-on-Muslim hatred

This fragmentation of Muslim communities into ‘Sunni’, ‘Shia’ or ‘Ahmadi’ is increasingly a problem in Britain. Growing up in Uganda and Kenya, this was scarcely an issue for me. Muslims there were not seen by other Muslims through the lens of such fragmented terms. When we arrived in Britain, these fault lines were glaringly exposed. Some Muslims in Britain are convinced they are better because they are Sunni or Shia. In this supposed pecking order, the Ahmadis – kind, gracious and caring Muslims – are at the bottom of the heap.

Such navel gazing, as to who is the ‘right type of Muslim’, does Islam no good. It is having the effect of creating a wider group of ex-Muslims who become disillusioned with their fellow followers of Islam.

But there is a chance to crack down on this Muslim-on-Muslim hatred. In the definition of this abuse, it is vital not to have people making decisions as to who is a Muslim and who is not. [The Spectator] Read more

Muslim gangs ‘beat prisoners’ who will not convert to Islam

Muslim gang leaders are orchestrating violence in top-security jails, including administering beatings to force inmates to convert to Islam, a report has said.

The gangs operated under the guise of religion, with a hierarchy of leaders, recruiters, enforcers, followers and foot soldiers, the report by the Ministry of Justice said. One non-Muslim inmate said: “There is an underlying pressure for people to convert and join the gang.

“Their tactic is to befriend someone when they come in. If they don’t convert, they will then start spreading rumours about them, that the person is a snitch, so that they will be ostracised. Then the beatings follow.”

Gang members told researchers that their strength of numbers on the wings spread fear among other inmates. One Muslim prisoner said: “They know they’re only going to three other jails and they know there will be brothers waiting there to stab them.” [The Times (£)] Read more

06 June 2019

Angry Protests Prove LGBT Education Must Start At Primary School, Says Teacher Andrew Moffat

Anti-LGBT protests prove why relationship education has “got to start” at primary school, the teacher at the centre of a fierce debate about equality in relationship education has said.

In an exclusive interview with HuffPost UK, Andrew Moffat said he had considered quitting his job at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham but was now “not going anywhere”.

“Change isn’t always easy and this is about how we can move society forward so that everyone is welcome and everyone has a contribution to make. So the protests only go to show why this work is so important in schools,” he said.

“I want children to be proud of who they are. And I think all parents want that for their children. It’s an anti-bullying resource. No parent wants their child to be bullied.”

Speaking about his own experience as a child, Moffat said: “I remember a boy in that class saying ‘I think all gays should be put up against a wall and shot’ and everyone cheered - and the teacher didn’t say anything. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

05 June 2019

The Schizophrenic Muslim Mind

Muslims are torn by two competing realities. The first is the illusion of supremacy upon which they have been suckled all their lives by the Mother of all books (the Qur’an). The second is the real world in which they have to live.

Talk with an average Muslim and sooner rather than later you will hear him/her boast — theirs is the best religion (“Today I have perfected for you your religion” — Quran 5.3); they have the best prophet (Muhammad is the seal of the prophets, i.e., the final prophet with Allah’s most complete revelation for mankind); they have the best book (the Qur’an is the literal, inimitable, unchangeable words of Allah); the best people (“You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” — 3.110); theirs is the best language (the language of Arabic is the language of heaven, and certainly the language of revelation); they have the best law (Shari’a is divine law, and all the world should be governed by it); they have the best “blood” (i.e., according to divine law the shedding of a Muslim’s blood is a capital crime, while the shedding of the blood of a kafir is halal (permitted), in some cases requiring a payment of restitution to the victim’s family, in other cases stirring promises of heavenly rewards for dispatching a disbeliever properly to hellfire. [Mateen Elass] Read more

Exclusive: Ofsted Chief Inspector Says Parents Cannot 'Pick And Choose' Over LGBT Lessons

The chief inspector of schools has warned parents cannot “pick and choose” whether their children go to lessons about LGBT relationships.

In comments aimed squarely at Tory leadership contender Esther McVey, Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman urged people to respect the Equality Act as she defended lessons that prepare children for “life in modern Britain”.

McVey attracted widespread anger this week when she said parents should be able to withdraw children from relationship education on religious grounds until they are as old as 16.

The former work and pensions secretary was doubling down on comments she made previously over protests at Anderton Park Primary School, in Birmingham.

Some parents want to remove their youngsters from the school’s ‘No Outsiders’ lessons, which teach children about LGBTQ+ relationships, race, religion, adoption and disability. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Professor Jordan Peterson declares “Islam is not compatible with democracy” amid Canada’s battle for free speech

Hungarian leader Viktor Orban and Canada’s Dr. Jordan Peterson met last week and “slammed Illegal Immigration as well as the ideological premise of ‘political correctness which in their view “make sensible public discussions virtually impossible”.

Peterson also said that Islam is not compatible with democracy and the issue is not “allowed to be discussed”, a message which has been repeatedly expressed by Jihad Watch.

Professor Jordan Peterson soared to popularity given his views in support of intellectual freedoms, free speech and human rights. His latest defense of free speech couldn’t have come at a better time. News emerged in Canada this week that opposition Conservative leader Andrew Scheer threw Tory MP Michael Cooper out of a House of Commons “Justice and Human Rights” committee hearing — examining online hate — after Cooper’s confrontation with a Muslim witness. Jihad Watch covered the story HERE.

The Justin Trudeau government continues its campaign–heavily advised by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (formerly CAIR-CAN)– to “crack down” on free speech in efforts to battle “Islamophobia“, which includes an expensive followup to anti-Islamophobia motion M-103. This Justice and Human Rights Commons committee hearing is an extension of M-103 by all indicators. [Jihad Watch] Read more

31 May 2019

High court bans Birmingham school protests against LGBT lessons

Demonstrators protesting against primary school children being taught that people of all genders and sexualities should be treated equally have been served with a high court injunction.

Birmingham city council made the application following several weeks of protests outside Anderton Park primary school in the city.

Citing “increasing fears for the safety and wellbeing of the staff, children and parents”, the council said it pursued legal action after the situation had become “too serious to tolerate”.

The interim injunction covers the streets immediately surrounding the school and prevents protesters printing or distributing leaflets, inviting others to protest and encouraging people to congregate at the entrance. The protesters will have a chance to make their case to a judge on 10 June.

According to the order published on the council’s website, it also prohibits social media being used to make offensive or abusive comments about staff members. [The Guardian] Read more

30 May 2019

Bereaved British schoolgirl will be stripped of £500,000 inheritance after Sharia court in Dubai is told that she is a Christian

A British schoolgirl has lost out on a £500,000 inheritance from her father after a Sharia court in Dubai was told she was a Christian, MailOnline can reveal.

It is the latest episode in a vicious spat that saw her mother being held for four weeks in the Arab kingdom last month for branding her love rival a 'horse' on Facebook.

Paris Shahravesh, 14, was in line to inherit money left by her banker father, Pedro Dos Santos, who died of a heart attack in March.

But his second wife, Samah Al Hammadi – who had alerted police when the teenager's mother insulted her on social media – filed papers in the UAE claiming the inheritance.

The court was told that Paris was a Christian. According to the form of Sharia applied in Dubai, non-Muslims are unable to inherit the estate of a Muslim. [Daily Mail] Read more

I still don't feel free in UK, says Christian who fled 'torture' in Pakistan

A Christian threatened with deportation to Pakistan has told of how he still doesn't feel free despite being given leave to remain in the UK.

Azeem Wazir, who now lives in Bristol, came to the UK four years ago after he was accused of dishonouring Islam in his native Pakistan.

The 45-year-old Pakistani Christian fled his home country after he protested against the country's blasphemy laws and a fatwa was issued against him.

His family say if he returns he will be jailed and possibly killed, while he fears he will be murdered for his faith.

His application for asylum in the UK was denied in March, but he has been granted discretionary leave to remain for 30 months, which will be renewable as long as he continues to show good character. [Sky News] Read more

'Cowardly Government' blamed for breakdown of Anderton Park protest peace talks

Lawyer Nazir Afzal has pointed the finger of blame at 'cowardly' Government ministers and outsiders with a 'malicious' agenda after his failed bid to broker peace over LGBTQ equality at Anderton Park School.

In his first press interview since the breakdown of talks, Mr Afzal was not holding back on what, or who, he thinks is responsible for a dispute that is dividing the community.

"The Government has been cowardly," he says.

"They have failed to lead and own this issue (around equality teaching), leaving the burden unfairly on the shoulders of head teachers. It is disgraceful."

And he warned that protests like this could spread to 'dozens' of schools if urgent action is not taken.

He also had a message for the protesters, stating: "Stop this immediately. It is disgraceful.

"You are grown men and a few women standing outside a primary school in a residential street shouting and chanting and screaming. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Islamic Human Rights Commission: Advocating for the Ayotollahs

A group that Jeremy Corbyn claimed “represents all that’s best in Islam” is permeated “at every level” by “extremism, support for overseas terror groups and extreme anti-Semitism” and should be probed by counter-terror police, according to a think tank report.

A report by the Henry Jackson Society into the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) which was released today, found 10 items of conduct “pertaining to terrorism” that “necessitate criminal investigation” into whether it or those connected to it have committed one of two terrorist offences. The IHRC is the organiser of the infamous annual Al-Quds Day March, due to take place this Sunday.

The conduct highlighted by the report includes allegations that the IHRC has glorified violent resistance, broadcast a video address from a terrorist, invited support for proscribed groups, and that its Chairman has supported terrorism in the Middle East. [The Henry Jackson Society] Read more

Teachers 'in tears' at school gates as row over LGBT classes worsens

Mediation between parents and staff over the issue of relationships education at a Birmingham primary school has stalled.

Nazir Afzal who is in charge of steering talks between the council, parents and teachers, told Sky News that six weeks of discussions have been unsuccessful.

He claimed staff at Anderton Park Primary School are at risk and frequently break down in tears because of hostility at the school gates - with protests taking place against teaching children about same-sex relationships.

Mr Afzal, a former chief prosecutor for North West England, said: "I can't think of any other way to get people round a table again than to speak to you and Sky.

"I've looked at the curriculum, there is nothing in the curriculum that is LGBT specific. There is nothing about gay sex.

"I've seen people walking around outside of that school with stuff that they have downloaded from the internet suggesting this is on the curriculum. [Sky News] Read more

28 May 2019

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: School protest is a show of some Muslims’ bigotry

Does anyone ever learn anything from their own struggles and experiences? Britons of colour know what it is to be denied equality, dignity, agency, the right to be, the right to define ­ourselves. We’ve been fighting for these human rights for centuries.

Today it is us Muslims who suffer the most atrocious discrimination and hatred in the UK and the EU. We feel the burn on our skins.

But some, apparently, can inflict the same pain on those they don’t know, yet detest.

Scores of self-righteous Muslim parents and their cheerleaders have gathered for eight weeks outside the school gates at Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham shouting at and intimidating teachers, children and other parents because the head teacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, has decided to include LGBT content in relevant classes.

Under our equality laws, race, disability, ethnicity and ­sexuality are protected categories.

Hewitt-Clarkson believes teachers have a duty to ­eliminate discrimination, tackle prejudice and foster good relations between different people: “You don’t just sit back and wait until a racist or homophobic thing happens to deal with it – you go out of your way to promote good ­relationships.” [Daily Mirror] Read more