05 December 2014

Dilly Hussain and the Islamophobic media conspiracy

Dillly Hussain asserts in his latest post that there is a ’systematic and coordinated effort by the mainstream media to criminalise Islam’. This claim is based on research demonstrating that most stories which mention Muslims do so in a negative context. He then complains about the use of the term ‘moderate Muslim’:

"The use of “moderate Muslim” is used in every positive article, and it appears that “moderate Muslims” are conveyed as good for not being “fully Muslim”. [Harry’s Place] Read more

04 December 2014

Gunmen target Pakistan lawyer defending blasphemy accused

Gunmen opened fire at the residence of a Pakistani lawyer defending a university lecturer accused of blasphemy and dropped a letter warning him to withdraw from the case, police said Thursday.

Shahbaz Gormani escaped unhurt after gunmen riding motorbikes attacked his residence in the central city of Multan late Wednesday.

Gormani had been appointed defence lawyer in the case after gunmen shot dead Rashid Rehman, a defence counsel for Junaid Hafeez in May. [MailOnline] Read more

03 December 2014

Iran moves forward with death penalty over Facebook posts

A 30-year-old blogger and photographer has been sentenced to death in Iran for "insulting the prophet of Islam" on Facebook, drawing renewed attention to the country's notorious human rights record.

The man, Soheil Arabi, was convicted in a Tehran criminal court in August after admitting to posting the defamatory content. His lawyers argued that he had done so while "in poor psychological condition," according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, and that he was merely sharing views held by others.

But Iran's Supreme Court upheld the conviction late last month and went a step further by adding a charge of "sowing corruption of Earth." This charge is also punishable by death and cannot be pardoned, according to Arabi's lawyer. [The Verge] Read more

#BBCtrending: Saudi woman driving blog 'arrest'

The name of a woman who live-tweeted her attempt to drive across the Saudi Arabian border has become an international trend, as rumours of her arrest circulate online.

On 30 November Saudi activist, Lujain Al-Hathlool, filmed herself driving in the United Arab Emirates with the intention of crossing the border back to her home country as a part of the ongoing '26 October' campaign, which challenges the Saudi ban on female drivers. The video has had over 800,000 views and over 3,000 comments on YouTube. [BBC] Read more

A very harsh religion

....Islam is a very harsh religion, and what ISIS is now doing is, perhaps, a physical manifestation of this religion.

The Quranic texts are crystal clear. When the Quran says "strike their necks," it is very clear. When it says "Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day, and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful, and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – until they give the jizya willingly while they are humbled" it is very clear, and ISIS understands and implements it in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. [Mick Hartley] Read more

02 December 2014

Vicar of Baghdad: Four Iraqi Christian Kids Beheaded After Refusing to Convert to Islam, Telling ISIS Militants 'No, We Love Jesus'

Four Iraqi Christian children, who were all beheaded by the Islamic State, refused to betray Jesus and graciously died in his name when the ISIS militants gave them one last chance to say the Islamic words of conversion, the Rev. Canon Andrew White revealed in a recent interview.

In an interview last week with the Christian Broadcast Network published on the Orthodox Christian Network, White, who is the only Anglican vicar in Iraq and is know as "The Vicar of Baghdad," detailed the plight of Christians in Iraq and recounted two instances when Islamic State's forceful conversions directly pulled the strings of his heart.

Speaking on ISIS' brutal mistreatment of religious minorities, White recounted the recent incident when ISIS militants beheaded four kids, all of whom were under the age of 15, when the kids refused to say that they would follow the Prophet Muhammad and told the ISIS fighters that they will always "love" and "follow" Jesus. [The Christian Post] Read more

No sign of pardon for Iran blogger sentenced to death

On Dec. 1, the deputy head of Iran’s judiciary, Gholam Ali Mohseni Ejei, responded to a reporter’s question about Soheil Arabi, who was sentenced to death for Facebook posts deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad. Ejei said, “Currently, there is no pardon, and he’s been convicted of ‘corruption on Earth,’ but there has been a request for his case to be reviewed again.”

According to the transcript provided by Islamic Republic News Agency, Mohseni Ejei did not elaborate further.

Many Iranian Facebook users became aware of Arabi’s case on Nov. 24, when Iran's Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Arabi, who was convicted in a Tehran criminal court with insulting the prophet. A Facebook page against Arabi's execution was set up to spread awareness about the case. [Al-Monitor] Read more

Trojan Horse: six more suspensions at Park View Educational Trust

.... The entire governing board of the Trust, which runs Park View School, Golden Hillock and Nansen Primary, resigned earlier this year following damning reports into Trojan Horse by Ofsted, the city council and former terror chief Peter Clarke.

The latest disciplinary action follows the suspension of Monzoor Hussain, then Park View School acting principal, and Nansen deputy head Razwan Faraz in July.

The teachers were both reportedly part of a WhatsApp group which suggested the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby and the bombing of the Boston Marathon were faked.

Mr Hussain and Mr Faraz – a former teacher at Park View School – were said to have been two of the “most prolific” contributors to the group called the Park View Brotherhood, according to the Clarke report. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

01 December 2014

CDU state politican calls for banning burkas in Germany

On Monday, Julia Klöckner, deputy chief of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Rhineland-Palatinate, spoke in favor of banning the burka, a head-to-toe veil worn by women in some Islamic cultures that covers the whole body other than the eyes.

She told the German newspaper Rheinische Post that, for her, burkas "did not stand for religious diversity, but for a degrading image of women." She said that the German constitution emphasized that women and men were of equal value and that "looking at people's faces" also belonged to the culture of an open society.

According to Klöckner, burkas suggest that women needed to be under the veil because they would otherwise cause offense. Klöckner asserted that the "male observer" was the problem in this case and not the woman. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Birmingham trust 'set up Pakistan school with public cash'

Claims £1m in taxpayers' cash was used to set up a faith school in Pakistan are being investigated by a local authority.

The Al-Hijrah Trust, which runs the Al-Hijrah Islamic school in Birmingham, allegedly used the cash to fund a "sister school".

Birmingham City Council said it was working with relevant statutory agencies to investigate the claims

The trust has not yet responded to BBC requests for comment.

A Birmingham City Council statement said: "We have gathered enough information to warrant further investigation into the use of public funds and we continue to work with the relevant statutory agencies.

"If we find anything criminal it will be referred to the police." [BBC] Read more

Veena Malik denies blasphemy charges

A leading actress has been caught up in a blasphemy row in Pakistan - after being sentenced to 26 years in prison, following an appearance on a TV show.

As well as convicting Veena Malik, the court in the Gilgit-Baltistan region also gave sentences to her husband, and the owner of Geo News, the network which broadcast the programme. Correspondents say there are questions over the court's jurisdiction and arrests are unlikely.

The show caused outrage amongst some Pakistanis because it showed people dancing to a religious song about the wedding of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad's daughter. [BBC] Read more

Inspectors 'failing to spot signs of extremism' at private Muslim schools

A watchdog set up to vet standards at private Muslim schools is failing to identify the “warning signs of extremism and radicalisation”, according to Ofsted.

The Bridge Schools Inspectorate was found to be relying “too heavily” on assurances from head teachers without making an informed judgment about schools.

In a report, Ofsted said some inspectors working for the watchdog failed to demonstrate ways to “root out extremist behaviour, views and practices”. [The Telegraph] Read more

Al-Hijrah Trust facing probe over claim £1m of public cash was spent on school in Pakistan

Council bosses are investigating claims that a Trust running a failing Birmingham school used £1 million of taxpayer cash to fund a new school in Pakistan.

Al-Hijrah opened in Burbidge Road, Bordesley Green, in 1999 and was at that time the city’s only Islamic school.

It is run by the Al-Hijrah Trust but was placed in special measures in May after a damning Ofsted report branded it “inadequate”.

A month later the entire governing body was sacked after financial troubles, including a £900,000 budget deficit, were revealed and a new interim board was parachuted in to take over.

Now it is understood the council is investigating claims that the Trust used public money to help fund a £1 million state-of-the-art school in the city of Ziarat in Pakistan. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Islam and the Context Argument

As such the “fix” for the beheading passages in the Koran cannot rely on the distinction between prescription and description or testimony. The fix, as such, is a context argument. Here is a prototypical passage and the fix:

Quran 8:12. When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

The explanation from Muslim apologists is that the background for this command is within an actual battle situation. The Battle of Badr in the year 624 is the time and place where Muslim warriors were called to defend their people.

So, indeed, context is everything. And context follows the historical development of Islamic power: [New English Review] Read more

30 November 2014

Pope and patriarch condemn expulsion of Christians from Middle East

Pope Francis has condemned the persecution of Christian communities in the Middle East, blaming the fanaticism of terrorist groups such as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

The Pope warned that Christians were in danger of being wiped out in the region on the final day of his visit to Turkey, which has been accused of failing to stop Islamist extremists from crossing its borders into Syria and Iraq.

His position put him at odds with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had earlier blamed the emergence of Isil on “rising Islamophobia” in the West. [The Telegraph] Read more

British Muslims face worst job discrimination of any minority group, according to research

Muslims experience the worst discrimination of any other minority group in the UK when it comes to job prospects, new research has found.

The research, revealed by The Independent, found that Muslims are seen by employers as "disloyal and threatening" which results in followers of Islam being far less likely to be employed than Christians.

Muslim men are up to 76% less likely to have a job than white British Christian men of the same age, with the same qualifications.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] There is far more discrimination in Muslim countries than here. There is also much more equality too. I know of no Muslim country where women are treated as equals as they are here. I love my country and I object to people running it down. If it is such a bad place to live, why are so many Muslims living here?

[ANOTHER] Perhaps because the law discriminates too positively toward that group,requiring employers to make allowances for prayers, Ramadan, other festivals, even not handling packaged pork products etc. It's perhaps seen as less hassle to not have to battle with their needs?

[ANOTHER] It's Islam and all it's rules that's the problem, wanting to stop work five times a day to prey, not allowed to touch certain things, wanting to eat at different times for things such has Ramadan. No it is Islam that makes too hard to employ Muslims. That is why they are a drain on the economy. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

Real Madrid and the offence of the cross

It was a really tiny cross. Honestly, it was barely noticeable in all that pearly pizzazz and gaudy gold. The Crown of Alfonso XII has been a sacred symbol of the Spanish Monarchy for more than 300 years, and that symbolism is reified by the Christian cross which sits at the crest of majesty. God has appointed; Christ is the source of wisdom; the Church proclaims its earthly sovereign. Europe still resonates with the echoes of Christendom: our history is undeniable; the fons et origo of our law, morality, freedom and fraternity are irrefutable.

But not for Spain’s supreme football team Real Madrid, who, despite proudly bearing the ‘Royal’ epithet, have excised the cross of Christ’s regency from their iconic crest after securing a sponsorship deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Apparently it’s only the sponsored credit card which carries the theologically-emasculated emblem. But that credit card doubles as the Real Madrid club membership card, so escaping sharia sensitivities censorship would appear to be impossible. [Archbishop Cranmer] Read more

29 November 2014

'Terror link’ charities get British millions in Gift Aid

Charities accused of supporting jihad in Syria and other forms of terrorism have been paid millions of pounds by British taxpayers.

Groups under investigation for allegedly aiding Syrian militants have used the Gift Aid system to claim large sums from the public purse.

Among them is Al-Fatiha Global, a Midlands-based charity which is being investigated by the Charity Commission after the chief executive’s son was apparently pictured in Syria with his arms round two masked men holding AK47s. He denies the photograph is of him. [The Telegraph] Read more

More from MEND: Islamophobia Awareness Month

.... A MEND Islamophobia Awareness event on demonising Muslim youth depicts a Muslim girl with horns. Alongside the picture is a tendentious Daily Star headline, a report of disgraceful vandalism at a Muslim cemetery – and this assertion:

"Muslim faith schools and Muslim run state schools are characterised as educating Muslim children to hate Western values and culture."

This is not some kind of completely unfounded slur. It’s rather starkly put, but some of the evidence arising from the ‘Trojan Horse’ investigation would support this allegation.

By smearing secularists and liberals (including many Muslims) as ‘Islamophobes’, and seeming to delegitimise even measured criticisms of anything associated with Islam, organisations such as MEND only feed the fears of genuine bigots. [Harry’s Place] Read more

28 November 2014

Faith schools told: judiciary comes before religious law

Faith schools face being penalised for placing religious laws ahead of the British judicial system under plans to promote respect for other cultures.

New guidance from the Department for Education says all pupils must be made aware of the difference between the “law of the land” and moral codes such as Christian canon law and Islamic sharia.

Schools should not "teach anything that undermines" the civil and criminal law, it says. [The Telegraph] Read more

Muslim duo’s refusal to stand is ‘a slur on court’

TWO Muslims have refused to stand for a District Court judge, with one claiming they are not “at the behest of any authority other than Islam”.

Under NSW law an accused is required to stand to hear the charge against them and respond with a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Wassim Fayad and co-accused Milad Bin Ahmad-Shah Al-Ahmadzai both defied the law yesterday and remained seated during their arraignments on an aggravated break and enter charge in Parramatta District Court. [The Daily Telegraph] Read more

27 November 2014

Islamic women’s groups welcome call for imams to denounce domestic violence

Islamic women’s groups have welcomed a call by the peak body for Australia’s Muslim clerics that imams around the country should use their sermons this Friday to denounce domestic violence.

The president of the Australian National Imams Council, Imam Abdel Aziem, has appealed to Islamic religious leaders to speak out against family violence in their khutbah, a sermon usually delivered before prayers on Friday, Islam’s holiest day of the week.

.... “Islamically, it’s very clear that violence against women is very much forbidden.”

Imams play an important role in contextualising passages within the 1,400-year-old religion’s holy book that appeared to subordinate women or condone their physical abuse, she said.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] If they're serious then they should start by denouncing the old Surah 4:34. You know the one, when God says it's ok to beat disobedient women. Can't see it happening though.

[SECOND] You beat me to it ... Sura 4:34 (Pickthall translation): Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women).

So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

Good luck getting a cafeteria ... sorry, "moderate" interpretation of the sura from the imams. [The Guardian] Read more

British Muslims face worst job discrimination of any minority group, according to research

Muslims are facing the worst job discrimination of any minority group in Britain, according to new research which found that they had the lowest chance of being in work or in a managerial role.

Muslim men were up to 76 per cent less likely to have a job of any kind compared to white, male British Christians of the same age and with the same qualifications. And Muslim women were up to 65 per cent less likely to be employed than white Christian counterparts.

Muslims were the most disadvantaged in terms of employment prospects out of 14 ethno-religious groupings in the UK, researchers Dr Nabil Khattab and Professor Ron Johnston found using data from the Office for National Statistics' Labour Force Survey of more than half a million people. Skin colour made little difference to the figures.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] You have a section of society that does not want to integrate, wants to use its own language, dress, social practises, even when they are illegal in this country, even when they are 2nd or 3rd generation born here, and they are surprised they are not treated equally.

Time off to pray multi times a day that we will all die so they can take over the world, time off to take there kiddies 'home' to marry them off once they are nearly 10.

The ones who get on have integrated. The ones who want to live as if it was 1200 years ago will not be welcome until they do integrate. Or they could go 'home' rather than living in their enclaves here.

[SECOND] Try getting a job with a Muslim employer if you are not a Muslim. It ain't gonna happen. These essentially anti-white headlines sicken me.

[THIRD] Under no circumstances whatsoever would I employ a Muslim of whatever nationality, whatever age or qualification. They are enemies of democracy and enemies of Christianity and we have made a serious mistake in allowing them into the country. Whatever they might tell you publicly they all support the Muslim extremist organisations.

[FOURTH] Should we perhaps learn tolerance from how Muslims treat Christians in Islamic countries?

[FIFTH] "They are perceived as disloyal and as a threat rather than just as a disadvantaged minority" Here we go; the muslim as victim. Again. Nothing to do with their attitude, e.g. taking jobs in British supermarkets but refusing to sell alcohol or pork to the customers, or turning up for work with their faces covered? Who would have guessed that an attitude like that might have deterred companies from employing them? Amazing! [The Independent] Read more

Dutch MP calls for removal of all mosques in Netherlands

A Dutch right-wing political party has demanded Netherlands be cleared of mosques, amid an ongoing row over the integration of Muslim and Turkish minorities in the country.

Machiel de Graaf, a member of Dutch anti-immigration and anti-Islam Party for Freedom (PVV), asked all mosques in the country to be shut down while speaking during a debate on integration in the House of Representatives.

Emphasizing that a Netherlands without mosques would be better, the parliamentarian said “We want to clean Netherlands of Islam.”

In addition to not being integrated into Dutch society and refuse to be assimilated, Muslims living in the country threaten Dutch identity and culture by giving more birth, according to de Graaf.

De Graaf’s remarks drew harsh criticism from members of social democratic parties attending the debate. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

'British values' or universal rights?

.... Veerman, if I've understood the article correctly, is not saying that all Muslims are equally bad but that we should stop trying so hard to categorise them. A better way forward, Veerman suggests, would be to focus on "certain key concepts that are commonplace throughout most of the Islamic continuum" – including sharia and jihad which, in the way they are most commonly interpreted, are clearly at odds with universal rights.

This kind of concept-based approach could be a lot more fruitful in identifying precisely where the problems lie. [al-bab.com] Read more