15 February 2020

Judges reject bid to make Islamic marriages legally binding

A bid to make religious marriages legally binding in the UK has been rejected by judges, dashing the hopes of campaigners who say women are left penniless with no support after the break-up of sharia unions.

Campaigners claimed the landmark judgment, handed down at the Court of Appeal on Friday, could have “profoundly discriminatory consequences” for women and upholds an antiquated system of marriage.

The Court of Appeal overturned a family court judge’s decision that a woman was entitled to apply for maintenance payments from her estranged husband despite the fact they were not legally married. The attorney general had appealed the ruling.

Nasreen Akhter had a nikah, an Islamic marriage ceremony, that led to a Muslim marriage contract between herself and Mohammed Khan. The couple were married for 18 years and have four children together.

Ms Akhter, a 47-year-old solicitor, said she was keen to have a civil marriage and presumed it was on the cards, but her husband refused. She alleges their relationship ended after he said he wanted to take another wife; they separated in 2016. [The Independent] Read more

14 February 2020

Appeal Court rules Islamic marriages invalid in UK

A court has reversed a judgment from two years ago which found that a couple who had an Islamic wedding ceremony could legally divorce.

The High Court ruled in 2018 that the couple's Islamic "nikah" ceremony fell within English marriage law.

But the Court of Appeal has now said it was an "invalid" non-legal ceremony.

Judges said the fact they intended to have a further civil ceremony meant they must have known their Islamic marriage had no legal effect in the UK.

The Attorney General appealed against the original court decision.

The case involved the divorce of Nasreen Akhter and Mohammed Shabaz Khan, who have four children.

The couple had an Islamic wedding ceremony in a west London restaurant in 1998 in the presence of an imam and about 150 guests, but no civil ceremony subsequently took place, despite Mrs Akhter repeatedly raising the issue.

They separated in 2016 and Mr Khan tried to block his wife's divorce petition two years ago on the basis they had not been legally married in the first place. [BBC] Read more

Islamic faith marriages not valid in English law, appeal court rules

Islamic faith marriages are not valid under English law, the court of appeal has ruled, in a blow to thousands of Muslim women who have no rights when it comes to divorce.

The judgment, delivered on Friday, overturned an earlier high court ruling that an Islamic marriage, known as a nikah, fell within the scope of English matrimonial law.

The appeal court has confirmed that nikah marriages are legally “non-marriages”, meaning spouses have no redress to the courts for a division of matrimonial assets such as the family home and spouse’s pension if a marriage breaks down.

Many couples who undergo nikah ceremonies believe they are lawfully married. But their marriages are only legal if they additionally go through a civil ceremony.

A survey in 2017 found nearly all married Muslim women in the UK had had a nikah and almost two-thirds had not had a separate civil ceremony. [The Guardian] Read more

13 February 2020

'Toxic' Islamist terror website editors jailed

Two web managers who ran a website glorifying Islamist terror groups and encouraging attacks have been jailed.

Muhammad Abdur Kamali and Mohammed Abdul Ahad promoted "toxic ideologies" including speeches by hate preacher Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal.

Their website also featured material from Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, the Old Bailey heard.

Kamali, 31, of Rochdale, and Ahad, 38, of north London, each received sentences of four-and-a-half years.

The pair were found guilty of four counts of dissemination of terrorist publications, while Ahad was also found guilty of the possession of a document or record likely to be useful in preparing an act of terrorism. [BBC] Read more

'Million woman' march hits streets of Iraq demanding end to violence

Thousands of women assembled on streets across Iraq on Thursday for large-scale marches against the staggering levels of violence waged against anti-government protesters by security forces and armed militia groups.

The unique all-women marches, which have been organised in key Iraqi cities including central Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriyah, Najaf and Karbala, also aim to highlight women's participation in the demonstrations - which have already brought down a government - and show solidarity with male protesters, organisers said on social media.

The Iraqi Women's League on Tuesday condemned the "excessive violence committed by the Iraqi security services".

Over 600 protesters have been killed and at least 18,000 others the four month period since the predominantly peaceful protests began. [The New Arab] Read more

Hundreds of Iraqi women defy cleric to protest authorities

Hundreds of Iraqi women of all ages flooded central Baghdad Thursday alongside male anti-government protesters, defying an order by powerful cleric Moqtada Sadr to separate the genders in the rallies.

Some were veiled, others not, still more wrapped their faces in black-and-white checkered scarves. Most carried roses, Iraqi flags or signs defending their role in the regime change demonstrations.

They marched through a tunnel and spilled out into Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the youth-dominated movement in a country where vast regions remain socially conservative.

"We want to protect women's role in the protests as we're just like the men. There are efforts to kick us out of Tahrir but we'll only come back stronger," said Zainab Ahmad, a pharmacy student.

.... On Saturday, the militiaman-turned-politician had alleged drug and alcohol use among the protesters and said it was immoral for men and women to mix there.

And a few moments before Thursday's women's march began, Sadr once again took to Twitter to slam the protests as being rife with "nudity, promiscuity, drunkenness, immorality, debauchery ... and non-believers". [AFP] Read more

MP Khalid Mahmood calls for tougher controls on Muslim schools and security checks on imams

The number of extremists known to the security forces is only "the tip of the iceberg", Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood has warned.

He called for tougher controls on Islamic schools known as madrassahs, to ensure they are not promoting extremist beliefs, and said teachers of Islam, known as imams, should be subject to security checks.

Mr Mahmood, the Labour MP for Perry Barr, was speaking as MPs debated changing the law to prevent people convicted of terrorism offences being released from jail half-way through their sentence.

It follows a terrorist incident near London Bridge last year in which two people were killed, an an attack in Streatham on February 2. In both cases, the perpetrators had been automatically released from jail part way through serving a sentence.

Mr Mahmood said some violent extremists might consider themselves Muslims but they practiced a "misguided version of Islam". He said: "They do not practise Islam; they practise what they believe is Islam. Islam in itself is a peaceful religion." [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Afghan sports coach says she will flee after dog shot dead

Sahba Barakzai, her family and seven-month-old husky Aseman, tried to get out into the mountains near their home in western Afghanistan every Friday.

But last Friday, the hike turned to tragedy after an unidentified group of men approached the family and shot Sahba's beloved puppy dead.

The attackers told her a woman could not own a dog.

But Sabha fears this may have been something more - that it may have been to do with her teaching girls sport.

"We still don't know about their goal but we think it is because of her career," her sister Setayesh told the BBC. "She was the first woman who has her own club and these things are taboo."

Sahba was used to threats - she had been teaching karate to children in Herat, Afghanistan's third largest city, for 10 years.

She had also set up a cycling club for teenage and young girls - a very public sport in a country where, less than two decades ago, women were banned from going to school, working or even leaving the house without a male chaperone. [BBC] Read more

12 February 2020

Court in Pakistan Validates Forced Conversion, Marriage of Christian Girl to Muslim

A high court ruling in Pakistan validating the marriage and forced conversion to Islam of a 14-year-old Christian girl has heightened fears that it will encourage others to commit such crimes, sources said.

The High Court in Sindh Province on Feb. 3 dismissed a petition to have the marriage and forced conversion of a Catholic girl overturned, ruling that both were valid since a girl under sharia (Islamic law) can marry after her first menstrual cycle.

Huma Younus was taken from her home in Karachi’s Zia Colony on Oct. 10 while her parents were away and was forced to marry the man who abducted her, identified as Abdul Jabbar of Dera Ghazi Khan, Punjab Province, her attorney said.

“The hearing on Feb. 3 lasted only five minutes,” the family’s attorney, Tabassum Yousaf, told Morning Star News. “The court, in just a few words citing the sharia, has justified the violation of the girl’s body since she has already had her first period.” [Morningstar News] Read more

Landmark Islamic funeral held for sex worker in Bangladesh

Activists in Bangladesh have welcomed the first ever Islamic funeral for a sex worker, breaking a long-standing taboo in the Muslim majority nation.

Hamida Begum, who worked at one of the world's largest brothels in the village of Daulatdia, died of illness last week at the age of 65.

A number of people gathered at her grave to witness the historic moment.

Sex work is legal in Bangladesh, but Islamic leaders have previously refused to perform funeral prayers for workers.

Instead, sex workers who die are usually buried in unmarked graves, without formal prayers, or dumped in rivers. [BBC] Read more

Blasphemy 'is no crime', says Macron amid French girl's anti-Islam row

Emmanuel Macron has waded into a row over a schoolgirl whose attack on Islam has divided France, insisting that blasphemy is “no crime”.

The French president defended the teenager, named only as Mila, who received death threats and was forced out of her school after filming an anti-religious diatribe on social media.

Macron’s intervention comes after his justice minister, Nicole Belloubet, was criticised for claiming Mila’s attack on religion was “an attack on freedom of conscience” while saying the death threats were “unacceptable”.

The case has sparked a furious public debate in France, a strictly secular republic with a large Muslim population. The education authorities have since found another school for the teenager.


“In this debate we have lost sight of the fact that Mila is an adolescent. We owe her protection at school, in her daily life, in her movements,” Macron said in an interview with Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper. [The Guardian] Read more

11 February 2020

Honour Crime: Swedish Muslim Migrant Sentenced for Beating Daughter with Kebab Spit

A Swedish court has sentenced an Iraqi asylum seeker to eight years in prison for honour crimes after he beat his daughter with a kebab spit, locked up his wife, and forced his daughters to wear Islamic veils.

The father, who fled to Sweden from Iraq with his family in 2006 and was highly active at the local mosque in Hässleholm, was found guilty of abuse, serious abuse, illegal threats, and unlawful coercion from a period between January of 2015 and September 17th of 2019.

Investigators were made aware of the father’s behaviour in 2019 when two of the family’s seven children reported his actions to social services in Hässleholm, telling of serious abuse and death threats, including being labelled “whores” by the father if they refused to wear the Islamic veil.

The investigation was considered an honour crime with prosecutor Malin Paulsson stating that the father repeatedly told them not to bring shame to the family, SVT reports. [Breitbart Europe] Read more

Controversial Muslim school at centre of probe is shut down - by order of Government

The Department for Education has removed the controversial Birmingham Muslim School from its register of independent schools, triggering its closure.

An investigation into its owners, Albayan Education Foundation Ltd, is still under way by the Charity Commission, connected to an unreported "serious incident" relating to the lSmall Heath school.

The school's head, Janet Laws, also known as Aisha Abdrabba, had previously been subject to an interim prohibition order banning her from teaching because she was deemed "a potential risk to pupils" - though we understand the ban, imposed in February last year, was lifted in the autumn.

The school, which had 80 pupils aged 4-11 on roll, shut down for good on December 16, says the report.

Two inspectors from Ofsted, the schools' watchdog, stood by to ensure head teacher Aisha Abdrabba, also known as Janet Laws, was closing it down, it adds.

The school, in Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath, has been under regular review by Ofsted since 2014.

It opened in 2001 and throughout its 19 year history the school has never been graded 'Good' or better by Ofsted. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

10 February 2020

Mila: Teen who criticised Islam on Instagram moves school

A French teenager who criticised Islam on Instagram has moved to a new school after receiving death threats.

Education minister Gabriel Attal told broadcaster LCI on Monday that they had found a new school for Mila "to allow her to continue her life".

Mila, 16, sparked a national row over free speech when she called Islam a "religion of hate".

The teen's criticisms prompted fury but also drew support in France, where there are no laws against blasphemy.

Her comments about Islam came after she received homophobic abuse from a Muslim commenter. Supporters started the hashtag #JeSuisMila (I am Mila), while critics responded with #JeNeSuisPasMila.

.... The controversy began on 18 January, after Mila did a live broadcast on her Instagram account. After speaking about her sexuality she was called a "dirty lesbian" by a Muslim commenter.

In response, Mila posted an attack on Islam. "I hate religion. The Koran is a religion of hate," she said, before using stronger words to attack Islam. [BBC] Read more

09 February 2020

France Quietly Reintroducing the Crime of Blasphemy

Today, in France, using freedom of expression to criticize Islam is clearly an extremely dangerous act, even if you, like Mila, are a child.

France is rapidly going from laïcité (secularism) to lâcheté (cowardice); from freedom of expression to unconditional surrender. France keeps trying to procrastinate while Islamism thrives on the elites' rapidly abandoning their Judeo-Christian values.

Feminist organizations, so quick to denounce "toxic masculinity" and "patriarchal structures of domination", were also silent.

Today, in France, the country of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which always sanctified freedom of expression and the right to criticize religion and ideologies, some within the justice system.... are quietly and de facto reintroducing the crime of blasphemy. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Preacher who inspired Streatham terror attack peddling jihad from behind bars

Hundreds of sermons preached by the Islamist cleric who inspired the men who carried out the terrorist attacks in Streatham and on London Bridge in November are available on a website that allows his followers to communicate in private chatrooms, the Observer has established.

Abdullah al-Faisal, who was born into an evangelical Christian family in Jamaica and spent many years in Britain, has become one of the most successful propagandists for al-Qaida and Islamic State.

Sudesh Amman, 20, who was shot dead by police last week after coming out of prison for terrorism offences, had copies of Faisal’s speeches, the Times reported.

The newspaper also said that Usman Khan, 28, who fatally stabbed two Cambridge graduates near London Bridge last November, had the cleric’s number in his mobile phone when he was arrested over his links to a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange in December 2010. [The Guardian] Read more

Tory inquiry imam in free-speech row

A leading imam appointed by Theresa May to conduct a government inquiry into Islamophobia faced calls to stand down last night after he was accused of questioning free speech.

Qari Asim, the imam at the Makkah mosque in Leeds, was appointed to the government’s Islamophobia panel last July to help create a definition of anti-Muslim hatred.

However, a tape has emerged in which Asim told an interfaith workshop in September 2018 that, while Muslims “cherish free speech”, some want exceptions in instances where something is “distasteful to Muslims or they find it offensive”, particularly where it concerns the prophet Muhammad.

In his presentation, Asim suggested that some Muslims argue “we can have exceptions to the freedom of speech, on the basis of their being some words or some actions being offensive or distasteful”. [The Times (£)] Read more

Iran chess champion ponders next move after slip of the hijab

When she was nine years old, Shohreh Bayat’s father took out a chess set and taught her how to play. He picked it because it was one of the few sports where he could watch his daughter compete: swimming, even football, would have been out of the question under the laws of the Islamic Republic.

She excelled. Within a few years Bayat was ranked No 1 in Iran for her age. Soon afterwards she joined the national team — representing her country across the world. She loved the mental gymnastics of chess, the depth, the endless combinations of moves.

Today, at 32, she is the highest-ranked female chess arbiter (referee) in Asia. With her well-cut suits, loosely slung headscarf and red lipstick, she seemed the ideal of the modern Iranian woman. But two weeks ago her life collapsed when a photographer at the women’s world chess championships in Shanghai published a picture that appeared to show Bayat without her headscarf. [The Times (£)] Read more

06 February 2020

Orbán: Not a single Muslim immigrant in Hungary, declares liberalism over

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, during a panel discussion at the National Conservatism conference in Rome on Tuesday, declared liberalism to be over and said that not a single Muslim immigrant lives in Hungary.

During conference, which was organized by the Edmund Burke Foundation, Orbán declared liberalism to be over while adding that a fresh kind government in the form of Christian democracy is needed to replace it, About Hungary reports.

.... While mentioning Europe’s growing Muslim population which has coincided with its rapidly declining Christian population, Orbán said: “According to the liberals, this is fine, because they don’t like Christian society,” before noting that the suicidal choice was theirs to make, but that forcing Central Europeans to follow in their footsteps is completely unacceptable. [Voice of Europe] Read more

05 February 2020

Can Muslim Terrorists be Deradicalized? - Part I

"What we found [in prisons] was so shockingly bad that I had to agree to the language in the original report being toned down. With hindsight, I'm not sure that was the right decision." — Ian Acheson, British expert on prisons.

"There were serious deficiencies in almost every aspect of the management of terrorist offenders... Frontline prison staff were vulnerable to attack and were ill-equipped to counter hateful extremism on prison landings for fear of being accused of racism. Prison imams did not possess the tools, and sometimes the will, to combat Islamist ideology.

The prison service's intelligence-gathering system was hopelessly fractured and ineffectual." — Ian Acheson, "London Bridge attack: I told ministers we were treating terrorist prisoners with jaw-dropping naivety. Did they listen?", London Times, December 1, 2019. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Streatham terror attacker devoted to ‘sheikh’ who inspired London Bridge killer

The jihadist who stabbed two shoppers had boasted of trying to join Islamic State and was devoted to a notorious preacher who inspired another convicted terrorist behind a similar knife attack.

Sudesh Amman was shot dead by police on Sunday after going on the rampage in Streatham, south London, ten days after being released from prison.

The attack had remarkable similarities to that carried out by Usman Khan, 28, another former prisoner who fatally stabbed two Cambridge graduates at London Bridge last November before he was shot by police.

Both men are linked to Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, who has been accused of inspiring hundreds of jihadists, including the 7/7 bombers who killed 52 people in London in 2005. [The Times (£)] Read more

Muslim girls school kicks out Ofsted inspectors for wearing shoes in prayer room

A Birmingham school which charges pupils £4,000 a year in tuition has accused Ofsted of 'serious failings' after being rated as 'inadequate' - after it blocked inspectors during a visit.

Leaders at Cannon Hill Girls School say they felt 'belittled and degraded' by one of the inspector’s conduct during the inspection - the first since it opened in 2018 - adding that they are 'increasingly doubtful' about being able to place any faith in inspection judgements.

According to the Ofsted report leaders at the school, an independent Muslim day school for girls, were "unwilling to cooperate with inspectors," adding that they "prevented inspectors from collecting the full range of evidence that was needed to inform the inspection". [Birmingham Mail] Read more

04 February 2020

Britain is losing the fight against extremism

.... Last November Usman Khan, an Islamist released from prison 11 months earlier, murdered two people at a conference that he was attending on London Bridge organised by a prisoners’ rehabilitation project.

This provoked much head-shaking about the risks of letting terrorists out of jail too early and accepting too easily that they’d been deradicalised. Now, some are saying we can’t go on like this.

.... For all the evidence suggests that deradicalisation programmes both inside and outside prison are singularly ineffectual. That’s not just because of the chaos in the under-resourced prison and probation system. It’s because of a conceptual error: the belief that the power of reason can be used against fanatics who believe in killing infidels and “martyring” themselves in the name of God, and wear mocked-up bomb-belts to encourage the police to kill them.

.... To begin to confront that threat properly, the government should admit what is staring it in the face: for the terrorists, we are the infidels in a holy war that will be fought to the bitter end. It is time that those states which still fund the most poisonous anti-western preachers took responsibility for the hatred they are spreading and time we shamed them into stopping it.

Liberalism’s flaw is that it believes reason is the antidote to all problems, including a religious death-cult. “We can’t go on like this” means our own society taking steps which won’t seem very liberal — be they tougher sentences or new restrictions on hate preachers.

But if a society is so liberal it refuses to defend itself properly, it will vanish. [The Times (£)] Read more

French teenager who received death threats for saying Islam was a 's**t' religion says she 'does not regret' her online rant and defends her 'right to blaspheme'

The French teenager who received death threats after footage of her saying that Islam was a 's**t' religion went viral online has come out of hiding to defend her strong atheist convictions.

The teenager, identified only as Mila, appeared on the French TV programme Quotidien last night to say she 'does not regret' her comments.

It comes after France's left-wing elite was criticised for failing to support a 16-year-old girl who has faced death threats for insulting Islam.

She was removed from her sixth-form college in Lyon, south-east France, by police 'for her own safety' and has faced a torrent of insults and threats to rape and kill her.

During the interview Mila defended her right to her strong atheist convictions. She said: 'I would like to clarify that... I would like to come back to the subject about the fact that I absolutely do not regret what I said, that it was really what I thought.' [Daily Mail] Read more

03 February 2020

Would most Iranians vote no to an Islamic republic?

The shooting of a passenger airplane in Iran on January 8th and the initial denial of firing rockets, shattered the Iranian regime’s credibility. When the evidence quickly piled up, exacerbating international pressure, the call for the truth swelled up across all of Iran.

Two television news presenters working for the state broadcaster IRIB resigned. A third apologized: “forgive me for the 13 years I told you lies.” Never in the past forty years was the regime forced and humiliated to acknowledge its crimes so publicly in this way.

The people’s aversion to lying and deceit in politics remind of the Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo.

In 2006, he spent four months in solitary confinement in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. A state-run television program aired his forced confession to having operated to the benefit of Iran’s enemies. He has ever since defended the “Right to Truth,” inspired by Gandhi, in exile, as the proper response to political persecution and the entrenched culture of lies in the Iranian political system.

.... The survey, published by GAMAAN, reveals that around 80% of the Iranian people would vote NO in a free referendum on the Islamic Republic as such. This unprecedented poll confirms years of qualitative research in the social sciences and the humanities regarding Iranians’ demand for democracy. [openDemocracy] Read more

Why Muslim-majority countries need secular citizenship and law-making

Recently, people have taken to the streets again in several Middle Eastern countries. From Algeria and Sudan, to Iraq, Lebanon and Iran, among others, they have protested authoritarian and sectarian governments, who have failed to solve their problems.

In and beyond the Middle East, not only Islamists but also conservative Muslims have argued that Islam would solve their countries’ problems. During the last four decades, several countries have experienced the increasing role of Islam in the public life.

In some cases, such as Iran and Sudan, Islamists captured the power. In such cases as Pakistan and Egypt, Sharia was constitutionally declared as the source of law and Islamic courts became influential. In other cases such as Turkey and Malaysia, Islamic discourses dominated the public sphere and Islamic teachings became influential in public education.

Yet, almost none of these various levels of political, legal, and ideological Islamization helped these countries reach better conditions regarding justice, freedom, and development. [openDemocracy] Read more

Hamburg court rules against school niqab and burqa ban

The ruling stopped a school's attempt to ban a 16-year-old girl from wearing a full-face veil during classes. The state's education senator is now calling for a change to state law.

The Hamburg Administrative Court in Germany ruled Monday against an attempt to forbid a 16-year-old student from wearing a niqab during classtime.

Hamburg education officials had earlier ordered the girl's mother to ensure that her daughter did not wear the veil at school.

State law does not currently permit authorities to impose such a ban, the court said in a statement. The girl, who is studying retail sales, has a "right to unconditional protection of her freedom of religion," said the statement.

The ruling, which cannot be appealed, is being met with some controversy. Hamburg's social-democratic education senator Ties Rabe said that to implement the ban, he would seek to change state law. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Pakistan Delays Decision on Movie That Offended Islamists

Pakistan's government on Monday postponed its decision on whether to lift a ban on a movie that had offended hard-line Islamists in this Muslim-majority country, after asking a high council of clerics to weigh in on the film.

The Islamists had raised allegations of blasphemy over the film, "Zindagi Tamasha,” or “Circus of Life," by Pakistani director Sarmad Khosat, which was to be released in late January. Its debut was scrapped by the Punjab provincial government's information office, following objections from the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party and its followers.

Their claims drew attention again to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law, which carries an automatic death sentence for a conviction of insulting Islam. There have been widespread complaints that the law is used to settle scores and intimidate religious minorities. [The Associated Press] Read more

02 February 2020

People afraid to call out segregation in schools, Ofsted chief warns

People are afraid to call out segregation in schools because of religious, cultural and ethnic sensitivities, Ofsted's chief inspector says.

Amanda Spielman warned there are now so many parents from different backgrounds that what would have been acceptable in schools 50 years ago is now no-longer acceptable to the vast majority.

She revealed two cases of schools that discriminated against girls in an exclusive interview with Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

"In a school in Birmingham we found some very, very rigid segregation that meant that boys were always put ahead of girls for everything," Ms Spielman said.

"Children literally didn't see each other. We found books in the library saying men can beat their wives - provided they don't leave a mark - and that women aren't entitled to refuse sex to their husbands." [Sky News] Read more

01 February 2020

Many Muslims are still in denial about sexual abuse

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in religious organisations and settings has sensibly widened its scope to include most forms of religious practice in the UK. Islam is the country’s second-largest religion, with more than three million adherents, nearly 40 per cent of them under 25 years old.

The problem is that discussion of sexual acts is taboo within a majority of Islamic culture and practice. Sex education is frowned upon in schools; open discussions about male and female body parts, sex outside marriage and birth control are discouraged.

.... the Cardiff-based cleric convicted of 14 sexual offences in 2017, based on the testimonies of four courageous victims, was given a full Islamic funeral service in the mosque where the crimes took place. The survivors were vilified and shunned by their communities. This case exemplifies the denial surrounding sexual abuse within Muslim communities. With no central religious authority, power is localised. Is it any wonder that survivors rarely come forward? [The Times (£)] Read more

Indonesia recruits female ‘flog squad’ for women offenders

A female squad of floggers will mete out punishment to women convicted of crimes under Islamic law in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

The authorities admit they have struggled to recruit the eight women, whose job is to use a rattan cane to beat offenders convicted of crimes including homosexuality, drinking alcohol, and “close proximity” to a member of the opposite sex.

Until recently, the punishments were dispensed by men. Now the province is training female floggers, one of whom demonstrated her skills at the caning of a young woman found guilty of close proximity.

“I think she did a good job,” Zakwan, a male police officer in the city of Banda Aceh, said. “Her technique was nice.”

He added: “We train them to make sure they’re physically fit and teach them how to do a proper whipping. It’s kind of an indoctrination that we give to them so they have a better understanding of their role — have no mercy for those who violate God’s law.” [The Times (£)] Read more

30 January 2020

Teenager in hiding over anti-Islam comments amid fierce row over right to criticise religion in France

A French teenager forced to go into hiding for criticising Islam was on Thursday at the heart of a ferocious secularism row after the justice minister claimed her comments breached "freedom of conscience”.

The row initially erupted after a 16-year old schoolgirl called Mila got into a heated exchange on social media that ended in her receiving a torrent of death threats and being taken out of school for her own safety.

An avid singer from Lyon, southeastern France, Mila had engaged in a live “chat” with followers of her Instagram account.

During the exchange, she rebuffed repeated advances by one online suitor, saying she was lesbian, prompting insults about her sexuality.

Then the attacks took a religious bent, with zealots online reportedly accusing Mila of insulting "our God Allah, the one and only" and hoping that she would "burn in hell." [The Telegraph] Read more

29 January 2020

'Finally free': Asia Bibi breaks silence after Pakistani death row hell

Recounting the hellish conditions of eight years spent on death row on blasphemy charges but also the pain of exile, Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has broken her silence to give her first personal insight into an ordeal that caused international outrage.

Bibi was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges by a Pakistani court in 2010 but then dramatically acquitted in 2018. She now lives in Canada at an undisclosed location.

French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet, who has co-written a book about her, was once based in the country where she led a support campaign for her.

She is the only reporter to have met Bibi during her stay in Canada. [France24] Read more

Councillor will not face police action over 'Islamophobic' Twitter posts

Stourbridge councillor Colin Elcock has been given an indefinite suspension by the Dudley Conservative Group after he was reported over the posts. He will now sit as an independent.

West Midlands Police launched an investigation but said the posts, which said Islam was “domination not integration” and asked whether people in Iran were “all on the dole”, did not "meet the threshold for criminal prosecution".

A force spokesman said: "Police launched an investigation into a complaint regarding social media comments.

"A thorough investigation was carried out, with all of the evidence obtained and reviewed. It was concluded that the comments did not meet the threshold for criminal prosecution." [Express & Star] Read more

28 January 2020

Hijab Limits Women, Says Iranian Chess Master Sacked From National Team

The Iranian female chess grandmaster Mitra Hejazipour who was sacked from the national team for boldly removing her headscarf (hijab) during the World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow, has said that hijab is "limitation" not "protection" as official regime propaganda claims.

In an Instagram post on January 28, the 27-year old grandmaster said the hijab is a clear symbol of an ideology in which women are "the second sex". "It creates many limitations for women and deprives them of their basic rights. Is this protection? I say definitely not, it is solely and merely a limitation," she wrote.

Hejazipour who says she was bullied by a relative at the age of six to wear a headscarf, even at home, now insists after years of wearing the hijab at all times and being "an example to others", she has decided "not to have a share in this horrendous lie and not to play the game of 'We love the hijab and have no problem with it' anymore". [Radio Farda] Read more

26 January 2020

Islamic faith school to sue Ofsted after being failed over 'inflammatory' library leaflet

A faith school that was rated "inadequate" by Ofsted after a 25 year old leaflet was found in its library has mounted a legal challenge.

Birchfield independent girls’ school in Aston is suing the schools regulator saying it fell victim to “draconian and inconsistent inspection practices”.

The "inflammatory" leaflet stated: "Today we find that the sons and daughters of Islam are under continuous attack by the forces of non-Islam." It also promotes the Khaleefah which is defined as "the total rulership of Muslims over the world".

The school would have been rated "good" had it not been for the discovery of the literature. [inews.co.uk] Read more

24 January 2020

Iran Jails Christian Convert For Insulting Islam

Iranian Christians want prayers for a former Muslim who has been jailed for embracing Christianity; his supporters told BosNewsLife. Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, 64, received a three-year prison term on charges of “insulting Islamic sacred beliefs,” said advocacy group Middle East Concern (MEC).

The Christian convert was sentenced a year after being detained in the southwestern city of Shiraz. He was charged initially with “propaganda against the state and insulting the sacred Iranian establishment,” MEC confirmed to BosNewsLife.

However, “at a hearing on October 22, the judge further accused Ismaeil of ‘apostasy'”, or abandoning Islam, MEC explained. And the court increased bail demands from 10 million to 100 million tomans (US$9000), according to trial observers. Friends reportedly provided pledges to cover the bail demands. [BosNewsLife] Read more

Runaway Iranian athlete wants to compete for Germany in Tokyo

Iran’s only female Olympic medallist, Kimia Alizadeh, wants to compete for Germany as soon as the next Games in Tokyo, but regardless of whether she achieves that ambition, she never expects to return to her home country.

Alizadeh, who won taekwondo bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, announced earlier this month that she had defected to Europe because she felt she had been used as a propaganda tool by Iran.

“The Olympics is a great challenge for every athlete,” the 21-year-old told reporters in Luenen, northwest Germany, speaking through a translator.

“But it is still not clear at all whether I’ll be able to start in this one (Tokyo Olympics this summer). If it isn’t possible, then I’ll start in 2024.”

Alizadeh is one of several prominent Iranians to clash with the authorities in recent months. [Reuters] Read more

French teenager in hiding after insulting Islam online

Police have told a French teenager to go into hiding after she received death threats for insulting Islam.

The 16-year-old has been advised to stay away from her lycée (sixth-form college) in southeast France after calls on the internet for her to be killed, raped or attacked.

The girl, named only as Mila, is understood to have been told by officials that she should avoid being seen in public until the controversy fades. She is being given psychological support by the local prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutors said two separate criminal inquiries were under way, the first to track the authors of threats to kill and rape the teenager, the second to determine whether her comments amounted to the offence of hate speech.

The case risks widening the gulf between mainstream French society and the country’s five to six million Muslims who often claim they suffer discrimination on a greater scale than their counterparts in the UK. [The Times (£)] Read more

23 January 2020

Christian refugee charged with blasphemy beaten by radical Muslims in grocery store

A Pakistani Christian asylum seeker in hiding in Thailand says he was attacked by a group of radical Muslims at a grocery store two days before Christmas as his family has faced years of hurdles in their quest for resettlement.

Faraz Pervaiz, a ministry leader who often posted criticisms of Islam online, fled from Pakistan in 2014 after radical Muslims grew enraged by videos he and his father posted. Following pressure from Muslims groups, the Pakistani government filed a criminal blasphemy case against Pervaiz in 2017.

Although Pakistan is known for imprisoning more people for blasphemy than any other country, Pervaiz told The Christian Post that his case is the first instance in the history of Pakistan’s blasphemy law that the state itself registered a blasphemy case against someone.

Additionally, Pervaiz is the subject of two bounties that have radical Muslims in Bangkok eager to cash in on the reward. [The Christian Post] Read more

Hackney councillors vote unanimously to adopt Islamophobia definition

Hackney councillors last night voted unanimously to adopt a new definition of Islamophobia that commits the Town Hall to speak out against the rise in racism against Muslims.

A speech by Cllr Humaira Garasia (Lab, Haggerston) on her fears of being targeted by Islamophobic racists received a standing ovation.

Cllr Garasia was speaking as part of her motion asking the Town Hall to formally accept the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia.

In a rare show of unity for the Hackney Council chamber, councillors from both Labour and Conservative party groups voted to endorse the definition.

Cllr Garasia said: “Do you know how it feels to think twice about waiting for a train at the platform, particularly when there’s a rush and you’re not so far from the yellow line?

“The thoughts that race through my mind – ‘Humaira, be careful. You’re wearing the hijab. Someone might push you onto the tracks. Keep your legs firm, have a look around.’ [Hackney Citizen] Read more

21 January 2020

Nigerian pastor who praised God in ransom video beheaded after refusing to deny Christ

A pastor who made headlines earlier this month for praising God in a ransom video has been executed by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria.

International human rights activists have condemned the killing of Rev. Lawan Andimi, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria’s chapter in the Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

Andimi was declared missing on Jan. 3 following a raid by the Islamic extremist group in Michika. Video posted online appears to show Andimi being forced into a vehicle by his captors.

Days later, Andimi was seen in a video released by his captors calling on fellow Christian leaders and state government officials to secure his release. [The Christian Post] Read more

20 January 2020

Iran's only female Olympic medalist moving to Germany

Iran’s only female Olympic medalist Kimia Alizadeh, who has said she had left her homeland because she had had enough of being used as a propaganda tool, is moving to Germany, her Dutch coach said.

Alizadeh, who won taekwondo bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics, had been training in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven, after leaving Iran several weeks earlier.

“Kimia has decided to continue in Germany,” Dutch national taekwondo coach Mimoun el Boujjoufi told Reuters on Monday.

German newspaper Bild this weekend reported that Alizadeh wished to continue her career in Germany and had moved to Hamburg, after having also received offers to compete for the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium and Bulgaria.

“After the explosion (of interest) many fought for her attention,” El Boujjoufi said.

She had written on Instagram this month she was prepared to accept the “hardship of homesickness” because she “didn’t want to be part of hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery”. [Reuters] Read more

18 January 2020

Nearly One-in-Five French Newborn Boys Have Muslim or Arabic First Names

According to French political scientist Jérôme Fourquet, the number of newborn males with Arabic or Muslim first names has increased from just one per cent in 1960, to 19 per cent today.

Fourquet noted that the decline in the French birthrate — there were 70,000 fewer children born in 2019 than in 2014 — has led to the growth of Arabic-Muslim names among newborns. He added that “sustained migratory flows, particularly since the beginning of the 2000s”, has also contributed to the trend, Le Figaro reports.

“The study of the prevalence of types of first names among newborns makes it possible in particular to aggregate the strength of legal and illegal migratory flows, because, with some exceptions, all children born on French soil are registered with INSEE AAAFrance’s national statistics bureauBBB, even if their parents are illegal,” he added. [Breitbart Europe] Read more

17 January 2020

HALAL HOLIDAY Holidaymakers at all-inclusive hotel shocked to find resort was taken over by Islamic company who banned booze

HOLIDAYMAKERS booked a hotel only to find it had been taken over by Islamic owners who banned booze.

They were scrambling for refunds after the Ova Resort on the Turkish Riviera was bought by Zehra Hotels.

The new owner enforces segregated male and female pools and hot tubs, offers halal food and does not serve alcohol.

It boasts of offering an alternative holiday that is “good for your Islamic lifestyle” and asks women to cover up when swimming.

But the dry policies have forced regulars at the resort to look elsewhere.

Brit Sam Taylor, 51, of Slough, Berks, told The Sun: “I am absolutely gutted. This place was like a second home for a lot of us.

“But now they’ve banned booze we can’t go back. You can’t expect a Brit to take their holiday without a few pints by the pool.”

Travel giant Tui offered all- inclusive packages at Ova Resort when it was owned by Turkish company Ovacik Turism Isl. [The Sun] Read more

LIVING IN FEAR Iranian chess referee will not return home after she was pictured without hijab over fears for her safety

A CHESS referee has admitted she won't return home to Iran after images of her not wearing a hijab were circulated online.

Shohreh Bayat was attending the first leg of the Women's World Chess Championship in Shanghai when she was seen without her headscarf on - which has now made her fear for her safety.

Headscarves are compulsory in Iran, with punishments including public admonishment, fines or even arrest.

The 32-year-old claims she wasn't attempting to protest when she didn't wear her hijab during her time as a chess official at the World Championships.

She told the BBC that she doesn't feel safe returning to her home country of Iran, despite saying she had covered her head at international tournaments, following Iranian rules.

She said: "I turned on my mobile and saw that my picture was everywhere. [The Sun] Read more

15 January 2020

Afghan religious clerk warns to punish women who disregard Islamic Hijab

An Afghan religious clerk in western Herat province has started a widespread campaign, urging women to wear Islamic Hijab – a large headscarf – and has ordered his followers to punish those who disregard it.

Mujeeb Rahman Ansari, a popular Islamic extremist and a religious clerk in the western Herat province installed dozens of billboards and signboards around the city, targeting Afghan women, urging them to wear Islamic Hijab.

During several public speeches, Ansari called on his followers to apply Sharia rules on anyone who disregards the rules determined by him and his followers and ‘not to wait for the government’ in such instances.

Abdul Qayoum Rahimi, the governor of Herat was earlier questioned by a local media outlet about Ansari’s movement in Herat province, wherein Rahimi said he is not going to confront Mawlavi Mujeeb Rahman Ansari as they are being good friends. [Khaama Press News Agency] Read more

Muslim Council of Britain welcomes Town Hall motion to adopt Islamophobia definition

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has welcomed a motion put forward by Cllr Humaira Garasia (Lab, Haggerston) calling for the Town Hall to adopt a parliamentary group’s definition of Islamophobia.

The definition was announced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims in December 2018, and became the centre of debate in May last year after the government rejected it, saying that its wording needed “further careful consideration”.

If voted through, the motion would commit the Town Hall to endorsing and adopting the definition, as well as speaking out against the rise in recent years of racism targeting “Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”.

MCB Secretary General Harun Khan said: “Islamophobia is rife across Britain, often perpetuated by elected politicians and the media, which then has real life implications for Muslims in terms of hate crime and abuse. [Hackney Citizen] Read more

Iran chess referee says she won't return home after pictures without headscarf go viral in Iran

An Iranian international chess referee has said she is afraid to return to home after state media published photographs of her apparently not wearing a hijab as is mandatory for women under Iranian law.

Shohreh Bayat, 32, became one of the most prominent Iranian women in international chess after she refereed the Women’s World Chess Championship in Shanghai this week.

But her achievement was overshadowed by a storm of controversy after she a photograph was published in which her hijab was not visible. Ms Bayat says she was in fact wearing the headscarf but the picture had already been widely circulated in Iran.

The chess master has since been bombarded with threats by Iranian conservatives and she fears she could be arrested if she returns home to Iran. [The Telegraph] Read more

13 January 2020

Blasphemy will not be tolerated: Islamic Minister

Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Ahmed Zahir, has stated that there will be no room for blasphemers in the Maldives and that such incidents will be closely monitored and investigated.

This comes at a time of public outrage following a video of a Maldivian advocating for the right to leave Islam and defending apostates began circulating on social media during the past week.

Speaking to RaajjeMV, the minister stated that such incidents will be closely monitored by the relevant section of the ministry and that blasphemers who attempt to create hatred and disrupt society's peace will be swiftly identified.

Highlighting that the Maldives is a 100% Muslim country, the minister stated that such incidents will be taken very seriously and that there will be zero-tolerance against Maldivians spreading blasphemy. [Raajje Mv] Read more

12 January 2020

Iran's sole female Olympic medalist says she's defected

Iran's sole female Olympic medalist Kimia Alizadeh announced that she has permanently left her country for Europe.

"Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences," the 21-year--old wrote in an Instagram post explaining why she was defecting. "I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years."

Alizadeh became the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal after claiming taekwondo bronze in the -57kg category during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Affectionately known in Iran as "The Tsunami," Alizadeh announced she was leaving her birth country with searing criticism the regime in Tehran.

"They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me," she wrote, adding that credit always went to those in charge. [CNN] Read more

Turkey's No Longer Best-Kept Secret: Islamized Christians

.... Mayor Hayrettin Güngör of Kahramanmaraş was caught on camera telling a woman from Trabzon, "We made you Muslim."

He seems to have been referring to the fact that Trabzon, as other provinces in the Black Sea region, used to be a Greek Orthodox Christian city, which is now Muslim -- in spite of the thousands of people in the area who still speak the Pontic Greek dialect.

After an angry public response to the statement, Güngör phoned the mayor of Trabzon to apologize. As offensive as his claim may have been, however, he was actually revealing a tragic truth: that many Turkish citizens are descendants of forcibly Islamized Christians.

Prior to the Turkish invasion of Asia Minor in the 11th century -- and the fall of Constantinople (Istanbul) to Ottoman Turks in the 15th century -- the lands that comprise contemporary Turkey were part of the Greek-speaking Christian Byzantine Empire. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

11 January 2020

This is why they killed them

Archaeologists have yet to uncover the mosques used by Native Americans. Perhaps the Zionists destroyed them before they could be found. One day though, Allah willing, the truth will emerge...

Sheikh Salem Salameh, member of Hamas Legislative Council and Deputy Head of the Palestine Islamic Scholars Association [!] on Lebanese TV:

"We warn the Muslims of what U.S. President Washington himself warned. [Washington] killed the Indians and the Muslims, because the Indians and the owners of that land were Muslims. It has been proven that they were Muslims, and that they had mosques. This is why they killed them... The [U.S.] is a murderous state that assists murderers. It helps those who have killed the prophets, the holy men, the women and the innocent children. The [Americans] give them rulings permitting them to kill the [Palestinians]." [Mick Hartley] Read more

08 January 2020

Western Feminists AWOL in Supporting Abused and Dissident Muslim Women

Muslim and ex-Muslim feminists and dissidents have been risking torture and death in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and the Far East by refusing to wear the hijab and by adopting other Western ways.

Bizarrely, Western feminists and accomplished and powerful women, including diplomats and politicians, are donning the hijab as a gesture of culture "sensitivity" and as a symbol of resistance to alleged racism.

For example, the American female lawyers defending the jihadists in Guantanamo Bay, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are wearing hijabs and abayas so they will not "offend" their clients, and as a way of gaining their trust.

"Women on Mr. Mohammed's team mostly wear long skirts and other loose-fitting clothes topped by a variety of colorful scarves, shawls, head coverings and, in at least one instance, a one-piece, pull-on hijab," the New York Times reported Dec. 27. [New English Review] Read more

Islamic £1,500-a-year private school is 'unlawfully' segregating pupils boys and girls in separate buildings, reveals Ofsted after unannounced inspection

An Islamic faith private school 'unlawfully' segregates its pupils according to their sex, an emergency Ofsted inspection has revealed.

Markazul Uloom in Blackburn, Lancashire, charges parents £1,500 a year and is registered as 'mixed'.

But an unannounced inspection by the education watchdog found male and female pupils are separated 'for the whole of their education and at social times'.

Students at the school, which caters for 11 to 19-year-olds, are 'not well prepared for life in British society', the report said.

Lead Ofsted inspector John Nixon found boys and girls being taught in separate buildings and following different timetables.

Male pupils were banned from studying textiles, while girls were banned from taking history at GCSE level. [Daily Mail] Read more

Blackburn's Markazul Uloom school 'unlawfully segregating pupils by sex'

Markazul Uloom, an independent Islamic faith school in Blackburn, was subject to an Ofsted inspection called for by the Department for Education.

Ofsted found that the school ­— registered as a mixed school ­— is organised so the 176 pupils are segregated by sex “for the whole of their education and at social times”.

John Nixon, lead inspector, reported: “This is unlawful discrimination because of sex, contrary to the Equality Act 2010.”

Pupils are taught in separate buildings and follow different timetables at the £1,500 per year school and the segregation is said to have a detrimental impact on children’s education. Ofsted found boys can study history in Key Stage Four but girls cannot. Similarly, girls can study textiles or geography, but boys cannot.

The report added: “The school has one science laboratory. This is in the building designated as the girls’ section. As a result, boys do not have access to this high-quality learning resource to undertake practical experiments. As a result of the policy and practice of segregation by sex operating in the school, pupils from both sexes suffer detriment to their education.” [Lancashire Telegraph] Read more

07 January 2020

Muslim school told girls that university was 'not for them', Ofsted report finds

A Muslim school told girls that university was “not for them”, while boys were given first choice on work experience placements, an Ofsted report has found.

Redstone Academy, a private secondary school in Birmingham, "unlawfully segregated" boys and girls and female pupils were treated less favourably, inspectors found.

The independent school in Balsall Heath, which caters for 152 pupils aged 11-16 and charges fees of up to £3,085-a-year, did not provide girls with the same range of extra-curricular activities as boys.

The 13-page report, which rated the school as inadequate, added: "For example, boys can take part in ju-jitsu and football, whereas girls cannot.

"School trips are organised separately for boys and girls. Boys are treated in a preferential way. For example, boys are not required to wear their school uniform, but girls are. One group of pupils told us that a member of staff had told them that 'university is not for females'." [The Telegraph] Read more

Inquiry into charity Islamic Centre of England that called Iran’s Soleimani a martyr

A British charity run by a representative of Iran’s supreme leader is being investigated by the charity regulator and Whitehall officials after praising General Qasem Soleimani as a martyr.

The Islamic Centre of England organised a vigil in London on Saturday to mark the death of Iran’s leading general that was attended by more than 2,000 people, including Iran’s ambassador to London, Hamid Baeidinejad.

Seyed Moosavi, 51, director of the Islamic Centre and the UK representative of Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, issued a statement in which he praised Soleimani as a “dedicated soldier of Islam” who had died at the hands of “the most wicked members of the human race”.

The centre, based in a former cinema in northwest London, is a registered charity which boasts assets of more than £4 million. It funds other Islamic centres in Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. [The Times (£)] Read more

06 January 2020

Brit Imam says Muslims should 'aspire to be like' Qassem Soleimani at London memorial

A British Imam told Muslims to 'aspire to be like Qassem Soleimani' at a memorial in London for the top Iranian general.

Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force and architect of Iran's spreading military influence in the Middle East, in an air strike on Friday at Baghdad airport.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered in Tehran's streets for the funeral and footage has shown a large crowd in London also mourning the death over the weekend.

The footage, which according to the Daily Star was taken outside the Islamic Centre of England in Maida Vale on January 3, shows an Imam labelling Soleimani a 'martyr' as supporters gather around with pictures of him. [Daily Mirror] Read more

Islamists have opened a terrifying new front in their war with France

France has endured an appalling series of Islamist terror attacks in recent years. One might feel a sense of relief that the country escaped relatively lightly last Friday. That will, of course, be no consolation to the family of the man who was killed by 22-year-old Nathan C, a recent convert to Islam, who stabbed his victim to death as he defended his wife in the Parisian suburb of Villejuif.

She is recovering in hospital, as is another woman, while a passer-by apparently has his religion to thank for his survival. Confronted by the killer who was dressed in a djellaba and shouting ‘Allah Akbar’, the man pleaded for mercy, pointing out that he was a Muslim. The terrorist ordered him to recite a prayer in Arabic, which he did, and so off he went in search of other victims.

Some media outlets have cautioned that the perpetrator, who was shot dead by police and whose surname hasn’t been disclosed, had a history of mental illness. But arguably of greater relevance is his apparent adherence to the ultra-conservative Salafism, the ideology that links many of France’s Islamist terrorists. [The Spectator] Read more

Boys and girls 'unlawfully segregated' at Islamic school - head says it's what parents of faith want

A Birmingham school is unlawfully segregating boys and girls - with boys given privileges and treated more favourably than girls, according to a critical Ofsted report.

Inspectors who visited the fee-paying Redstone Educational Academy last month found the Islamic-faith school teaches boys and girls in separate classes, despite being told over a year ago that doing so defied equality legislation.

The school, in Balsall Heath, was also openly favouring boys by giving them first choice of work experience options and by barring girls from some sports, claims the report.

Boys and girls take separate school trips, with the girls having to wear school uniform on those trips while the boys did not. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Pakistan forgiveness laws: The price of getting away with murder

.... Under Pakistani law, victims or their families have the right to forgive suspects in a number of serious crimes, including most instances of murder. All they have to do is state in court that they forgive a suspect "in the name of God". In reality, legal observers agree that the primary motive for that "forgiveness" is normally financial, and the informal payment of money to victims is not illegal.

The provisions allowing crimes of bodily harm to be "settled" or "forgiven" were introduced in the 1990s as part of a set of Islamic-inspired legal reforms.

Supporters of the system say it helps reduce pressure on Pakistan's already overburdened and delay-ridden court system, and reduces the likelihood of feuds developing. But according to one study, the murder conviction rate in the country dropped from 29% in 1990, before the laws were introduced, to just 12% in 2000. [BBC] Read more

03 January 2020

Fury as Muslim McDonald's customer mistakenly bites into sausage and egg McMuffin

A practising Muslim has hit out at McDonald's after he bit into a sausage McMuffin in error.

Fida Hussain from Small Heath claims tasting the pork roll has left him 'devastated' after avoiding the meat his whole life in line with his faith.

The 49-year-old is now demanding an apology and compensation from the fast-food giant.

Fida, who lives in Cooksey Road , goes to the drive-thru at McDonald's in Small Heath for a breakfast deal every morning, comprising of an egg and cheese mcMuffin, hash brown and a coffee.

He says on December 17, he made his usual journey to the Coventry Road restaurant and took the food home.

"I trusted them, he explains. "I was watching Judge Judy and bit into the McMuffin and knew instantly when I tasted it that it was meat. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

02 January 2020

Austria Considers Headscarf Ban to Counter ‘Political Islam’

Austria’s coalition government on Thursday announced it is considering several measures to curb the influence of what Conservative People’s Party (OVP) leader — and once and future chancellor — Sebastian Kurz described as “political Islam.”

The measures include a ban on Islamic headscarves for girls until they reach the age of 14 and a provision for putting potentially dangerous individuals in “protective custody” to prevent them from committing violent actions.

Kurz said during his first term as chancellor that “radicalization and political Islam have no place in our country.” He invoked the 2015 “Islam Act” to close mosques that were accused of supporting extremism and engaging in subversive political activity. Among other features of the Islam Act was a ban on foreign funding of religious activities in Austria.

Headscarves were banned in May 2019 for girls younger than 10, a rule denounced as “shameless” and a “direct assault on religious freedom” by Austrian Muslims, and an act of “rightwing extremism” by Kurz’s political opponents. Kurz plans to raise the age to 14 during his return to office. [Breitbart London] Read more

Press watchdog: Newspapers treating Muslims “differently”

“I have a suspicion that [Muslims] are from time to time written about in a way that [newspapers] would simply not write about Jews or Roman Catholics,” says the outgoing chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation

The press watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has stated the obvious: Muslims get unfair treatment in the UK printed press. The departing chief of the organisation told the Financial Times that the portrayal of Muslims in British newspapers had been the most difficult issue faced since the inception of IPSO in 2014.

IPSO is due to publish guidelines for journalists early in 2020, following criticism from a Home Affairs Select Committee hearing on Islamophobia, where it was concluded that IPSO was not doing enough to tackle the issue, citing inflammatory and inaccurate writing about Muslims. Sir Alan Moses, who is stepping down as chairman of IPSO, acknowledged the problem, commenting:

“I speak for myself, but I have a suspicion that [Muslims] are from time to time written about in a way that [newspapers] would simply not write about Jews or Roman Catholics.”

However, any such guidelines will only be voluntary and are therefore not likely to be followed by those with an Islamophobic agenda. Reacting to the mere talk of proposed guidelines, newspapers such as The Telegraph branded them a threat to free speech, a charge dismissed by IPSO as “groundless”. [Islam21c.com] Read more

Teacher in Trojan horse scandal is back in classroom

An extremist teacher who lost his job after making homophobic comments is back in the classroom giving advice to teachers, The Times can disclose.

Razwan Faraz, 39, lost his job as deputy head teacher of the multifaith Nansen Primary School after the Trojan horse scandal in Birmingham.

He was one of the key figures linked to the alleged 2014 plot by a group of conservative Muslims to take over several schools, which was laid out in an anonymous letter. The letter described a five-step “tried and tested” process to take over governing bodies and oust head teachers and led to Nansen primary and other local schools being placed in special measures by Ofsted.

Mr Faraz was part of a group of teachers in a Whatsapp group named the Park View Brotherhood in which he referred to gay people as “animals”. [The Times (£)] Read more