10 July 2017

Muslim FM radio station broadcast 25 hours of Al Qaeda speeches calling for a holy war 'by mistake'

A Muslim radio station broadcast lectures by an Al Qaeda terror leader calling for holy war.

Iman FM transmitted 25 hours of sermons from Anwar Al-Awlaki, a hate preacher killed by a US drone strike in 2011.

A complaint was made to Ofcom, which has suspended the Sheffield-based station's licence.

The watchdog said the material 'amounted to a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people'.

Bosses at Iman FM have 21 days to explain themselves or be closed down. They found the extremist lectures on YouTube and broadcast them during Ramadan. [Daily Mail] Read more

09 July 2017

Anti-terrorist 'march' of Muslim imams comes to Berlin

.... Muslim communities in Germany and elsewhere have been criticized for not turning out in huge numbers to condemn terrorism. And critics of events like the one in Berlin on Sunday might say that humanistic words at a symbolic location don't do anything concrete to fight murderous Islamism.

But speaking to reporters before the service itself, the Vice President of Muslim Imams in France, Hocine Drouiche, detailed what was at stake for some of clerics who take part. Fighting back tears, Drouiche said that he and his family had been threatened from within the Muslim community because of his liberal outlook.

Some of the imams taking part in the march, he added, will lose their jobs for expressing their views.

"The majority of Muslims don't accept our speech," Drouiche told Deutsche Welle. "We're afraid for our wives and children. It's a very difficult problem. These people need to be enemies of the Occident."

It was a pointed and poignant reminder that while the imams taking part in the march insist that Islam, correctly practiced, is a peaceful, humanist faith, there is a significant sub-culture that chooses confrontation and violence against anyone who doesn't share their beliefs. [The Local] Read more

08 July 2017

Saudi activist jailed for driving says women ‘still being treated as slaves in 2017'

Manal Al-Sharif, who has moved to Australia, is now able to drive there after getting her licence.

Manal Al-Sharif, who spent nine days in prison for flouting the ban in Saudi Arabia on women drivers, has spoken out about her ordeal.

She said that women were being “treated as slaves” to this day. Although women can hold a driver’s licence, they are not allowed to drive as they are considered “legally minors” in the country.

In her 20s, Ms Al-Sharif was a computer security engineer. She became the first Saudi female IT security consultant and worked for the oil business Saudi Aramco for a decade.

“I come from a very private society where we live in closed windows, high walls and women are covered up. It's very difficult for girls and women in Saudi Arabia to do anything without the permission from a male guardian,” she told Daily Mail Australia. [The Independent] Read more

07 July 2017

An atheist Muslim on what the left and right get wrong about Islam

.... I think the left has a blind spot when it comes to Islam and the right has a blind spot when it comes to Muslims. When Christian fundamentalists like Pat Robertson say something that's homophobic or misogynistic, people on the left descend on them like a ton of bricks. They’re very comfortable with criticizing and satirizing fundamentalist Christianity. But when it comes to Islam, which has many of the same homophobic and misogynistic teachings, they throw their hands up, back off, and say, whoa, hold on, we must respect their religion and culture.

.... I get that it comes from a good place. I’m a liberal myself, and I vote liberal. It’s part of our liberal conscience to protect the rights of minorities, as they should be protected. But that doesn’t mean we must protect and defend all of their beliefs as well, many of which are just as illiberal as the beliefs of Christian fundamentalists.

This is very frustrating to our liberal counterparts in Muslim-majority countries, who are fighting fundamentalist Islam the same way that liberals here fight fundamentalist Christianity, and they’re even risking their lives for it. Many have died for it. Yet they hear their liberal counterparts in the West calling their ideas “Islamophobic.” This is a devastating double standard for them. [Vox] Read more

06 July 2017

Another Muslim leader calls for a Starbucks boycott over its pro-LGBT stance

A Muslim group has called on people in Malaysia to boycott Starbucks over their pro-LGBT stance, days after a similar boycott was announced in Indonesia.

Perkasa, a Muslim group with around 700,000 members, called for the boycott until the company shifted its views in line with that of the rest of the country. They also called for the company to have its license revoked until the shift had taken place.

Speaking to Reuters, Amini Amir Abdullah, who heads Perkasa's Islamic affairs bureau, said: "Our objection is because they are promoting something that is against the human instinct, against human behaviour and against religion. That's why we are against it." [International Business Times] Read more

Turkey police hold rights activists including Amnesty chief

Turkish police have arrested nine leading human rights activists, including the local director of Amnesty International, in a raid near Istanbul.

Two trainers, from Germany and Sweden, were also arrested as they worked in a digital security workshop at a hotel.

No reason has been given for the arrests. The operation was a "grotesque abuse of power", Amnesty said.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are marching from Ankara to Istanbul as part of an opposition protest.

The march, now on its 22nd day, was in reaction to the arrest of an opposition lawmaker. But it has become a wider demonstration of what many say is an erosion of democracy under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed after rogue army officers tried to oust Mr Erdogan in a coup on 15 July 2016. Police have jailed more than 50,000 people since then. [BBC] Read more

Islamophobic Attacks Should Be Classed As Terror-Related, Says Finsbury Park Mosque Chairman

Mohammed Kozbar complained to the BBC when mosque attack was not even a topic on Question Time. Islamophobic attacks should be classed as terror-related and not simply hate crimes, the chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque has said.

UK authorities must “be consistent” when it comes to how terror-style attacks, Mohammed Kozbar said, as he revealed he supported a change in the law that saw Islamophobic violence included.

Speaking at a local government conference in Birmingham, he said police and the media “always find excuses” for a terror-style crime to be recorded differently when an attacker is non-Muslim.

The mosque was the target of a terror attack last month when 47-year-old Darren Osborne drove a van into a crowd of Muslims as they left midnight prayer, killing one and injuring several others.

Kozbar revealed he had to “work hard” for the incident to be deemed a terror attack and ministers initially refused to call a national minute’s silence in respect to the event, as they had done in the wake of the Manchester and London Bridge attacks. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

I applaud British Islam’s refusal to bow to the establishment

A report out this week, chaired by the MP and QC Dominic Grieve and titled The Missing Muslims, encourages adherents of Islam to greater participation in civil society and public life. It calls for more British-born imams and greater integration of Muslims into British cultural life.

It’s not a bad report, and its intentions are worthy. It recognises that there are problems with the Prevent agenda – which is an understatement – and it wonders out loud if an official definition of Islamophobia, along the lines of that used for antisemitism, should be explored. But, as with so many of the numerous reports about British Muslims, the focus is always on Islam as a problem to be solved and the need to distinguish between good Muslims and bad Muslims.

This good Muslim/bad Muslim distinction has history, of course. It was precisely this distinction that the British colonial authorities used to separate the secular, wine-drinking, western-integrated, moderate Muslims who were prepared to collaborate with British rule and the suspiciously religious, uppity, bearded Muslims who refused to bend the knee to colonial power.

As the Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan has rightly pointed out, the good Muslim/bad Muslim distinction is entirely unhelpful, not least because it associates being good and moderate with some diminution of a Muslim’s religiosity. The distinction effectively says: if you are brown and pray more times a day than the local vicar then you should probably expect to have your phone tapped. [Guardian Cif] Read more

05 July 2017

Armed Islamist gang terrorizing 'immoral' Chechen women in Berlin: report

A group of armed Chechen men have beaten or threatened several women in Berlin in recent weeks for not abiding by their retrograde understanding of the Quran, Tagesspiegel reports.

Two young Chechen women have been beaten up by the group, sustaining serious injuries, while two more have been threatened and chased. A man has also been attacked and beaten, the Berlin daily reported on Wednesday after interviewing several victims.

The newspaper has also seen a video made by the group and distributed within the capital’s Chechen community.

In the video, a masked man points a gun at the camera. He claims that some Chechen women in Europe are doing “unspeakable” things, adding that “we will punish them” if the occasion presents itself.

Claiming that the group has 80 members who have sworn their allegiance on the Quran, the man threatens: “We are coming onto the streets. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Don’t say you didn’t know.” [The Local] Read more

Theresa May 'delaying report on funding of extremism'

Publication of report, which reportedly focuses on Saudi Arabia, has been delayed by the PM, British media says.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is withholding a report on "foreign funding of extremism" which reportedly criticises Saudi Arabia, according to UK reports quoting statements by the Home Office and Downing Street.

Both offices said that the prime minister is personally responsible for deciding whether to release the report, which had been commissioned by ex-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 and approved by May, who was home secretary at the time, The Guardian reported.

In a written reply to a June 27 question by the Green Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, May said on Monday: "Ministers are considering advice on what is able to be published and will report to Parliament with an update in due course." [Al Jazeera English] Read more

Sheikh who angered hardline Muslims by denouncing Sharia law asks followers for $30,000 for security guards and steel-barred windows at his home because he fears for his life

The controversial sheikh who angered hardline Muslims by denouncing Sharia law has asked his supporters for $30,000 to pay for security guards and steel-barred windows at his home because he fears for his life.

Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi, who has previously called for Islamic schools in Australia to be shut down and criticised extreme Islamic group Hizb-ut Tahrir, said abuse he received from radical Muslims grew so bad he was forced to abandon his home and seek refuge.

'I've been assaulted by Muslim leaders, ambushed and spat on in the streets,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

.... Imam Tawhidi sparked controversy earlier this year when he said he only came to Australia 'because it was a non-Muslim country'.

'If we knew after 30 years we are going to have burqas running around and mosques being erected on every corner and people proposing sharia law against democracy in this country… we wouldn't have come,' he said.

His outspoken opinion led to escalating threats from radical Muslims. [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

Saudi Arabia has 'clear link' to UK extremism, report says

Saudi Arabia is the chief foreign promoter of Islamist extremism in the UK, a new report has claimed.

The Henry Jackson Society said there was a "clear and growing link" between Islamist organisations in receipt of overseas funds, hate preachers and Jihadist groups promoting violence.

The foreign affairs think tank called for a public inquiry into the role of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.

The Saudi embassy in London says the claims are "categorically false".

Meanwhile, ministers are under pressure to publish their own report on UK-based Islamist groups.

The Home Office report into the existence and influence of Jihadist organisations, commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, has reportedly yet to be completed amid questions as to whether it will ever be published. [BBC] Read more

Poll: Majority of voters back Trump travel ban

A clear majority of voters support President Donald Trump’s travel ban on visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Polling on the travel restrictions has varied wildly since the Trump administrationunveiled the first executive order on travel in late January. But after months of litigation and controversy, 6-in-10 voters back the ban — and the survey suggests the actual policy may be more popular when separated from the president.

Asked whether they support or oppose the State Department’s “new guidelines which say visa applicants from six predominately Muslim countries must prove a close family relationship with a U.S. resident in order to enter the country,” 60 percent of respondents said they support the guidelines, and only 28 percent oppose them. [POLITICO] Read more

Poles Value Denying Muslim Refugees Over Being in EU, Poll Shows

A majority of Poles would be ready to give up their generous financial aid from the European Union or leave the bloc altogether to ensure the country can shut its borders to Muslim refugees, a poll showed.

Coinciding with a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, the poll of 1,000 people showed more than half of respondents, or 57 percent, said they would be willing to do without EU development funds to maintain the stance of rejecting refugees from Muslim countries.

Fifty-one percent said they’d be ready to surrender membership in the 28-member trading bloc. The June survey, conducted by the pollster IBRiS and published in the Polityka weekly, had a margin of error of 3 percent. [Bloomberg] Read more

04 July 2017

Rochdale abuse: 'Muslim communities must tackle sexism'

Muslim communities need to tackle sexism and victim-blaming, the man who prosecuted a grooming gang has said.

Prosecutor Nazir Afzal made the call following the airing of drama "The Betrayed Girls" about Asian men jailed for grooming teenagers in Rochdale.

There were "sizeable chunks" of communities who were derogatory to women and girls, he said.

But a mosque committee member in the town said the race and religion of abusers was "totally irrelevant".

Girls were abused at two takeaway restaurants in the Heywood area of Rochdale by a group of men aged between 24 and 59.

Mr Afzal, who brought the case against the Rochdale gang in 2012, said: "Even now, people will say [the girls] asked for it. 'If I bought them a kebab what did they expect.' [BBC] Read more

Founder of 'liberal' Berlin mosque given 24-hour police guards after deluge of death threats

A women's rights activist who established a "liberal" mosque where burkas are banned has been placed under 24-hour police protection after receiving a deluge of death threats.

Seyran Ates, 54, set up Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque along with six colleagues in Berlin last month to take a stand against fundamentalism and cater for a "modern" interpretation of Islam.

Worshippers of different branches of the religion, as well as homosexuals and atheists, are welcome at the mosque, which counters convention by allowing men and women to pray together.

The mosque has both male and female imams and does not allow full face veils for "security reasons". Founders also believe the garments are "nothing to do with religion, but rather are a political statement".

Ms Ates said she had received thousands of abusive messages each day after the mosque opened in mid-June, with some branding her "the devil incarnate" and telling her she should burn in Hell. Turkish and Egyptian authorities have condemned the mosque. [Evening Standard] Read more

Woman who opened liberal Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in Berlin gets 24-hour protection

A women’s rights activist who set up a liberal mosque in Berlin last month has received so many death threats that she has been placed under 24-hour police protection.

Seyran Ates, 54, a lawyer of Turkish descent, founded the Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque in mid-June with six colleagues. It counters conventions by allowing men and women to pray together and having female as well as male imams.

“Since setting up the mosque I have received so many death threats through social media that the police decided they have to protect me around the clock,” Ms Ates said. “The hostile reactions proved how necessary the project was.”

The mosque is open to the different branches of Islam, welcoming Shias, Sunnis, Alawites and Sufis alike, as well as homosexuals and atheists. Full face veils are seen as a political statement and not allowed for security reasons.

The founders say that they want to take a stand against fundamentalism and cater for what they see as the silent majority of Muslims seeking a modern interpretation of Islam. [The Times (£)] Read more

Government urged to agree formal definition of anti-Muslim prejudice to tackle discrimination

Independent report on ‘Unlocking British Muslim Potential’ stresses need to define hate crimes against followers of Islam in the same way anti-Semitism was demarcated last year.

The Government should adopt a definition of anti-Muslim prejudice and commission an independent review of its Prevent programme to help Muslims integrate into British society, a new report has found.

More formal partnerships and events across communities are also called for by a major new commission chaired by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

The commission found a strong sense that Muslims and Islam are “unfairly targeted”, with the fear of discrimination putting off young British Muslims from engaging in politics and other aspects of public life.

The anti-extremism Prevent programme was also raised as an issue in every one of the 11 cities the commission visited to gather evidence.

The commissioners believe that tackling extremism and radicalisation would be “better achieved with a programme that has greater trust, particularly from the UK’s Muslim communities”.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Wrong, Islam needs to be criticised, other religions are regularly criticised and held up to ridicule.

This is simply an attempt by the "liberal" establishment to shut down discussion on the dangers of Islam .There are already sufficient laws in place to protect Muslims from hate crimes both verbal and physical, no more protection is needed.

[ANOTHER] The object of this, like earlier attempts, is to make it illegal to criticise Islam in any way.

This a key step on the road to the islamification of the UK, to prevent any type of complaint or protest as being "racist"

The fact that Islam is an ideology not a race seems always to be lost.

[ANOTHER] There is a major problem with reaching such a definition. I have worked on opposition to genuine anti-Muslim hate speech, which is usually more racist than defined by religious antipathy.

At the same time, as an academically trained former lecturer in Islamic Studies who has been workiung on a major study of issues concerning Islam internationally and particularly in the UK, I am aware that many Musims and Muslim bodies are hyper-sensitive to the point where they condemn even rational and informed criticism of Islam as Islamophobic.

Many non-Muslim writers and scholars have been attacked and even put on trial for perfectly accurate statements about the Qur'an, Muhammad, or Islamic history. I fear that those appointed to define Islamophobia will rely heavily on Muslim bodies to reach a definition. I am not an Islamophobe, but I do have criticisms of Islam and some Islamic practice. If the definition is as broadly as many Muslim leaders would like, Islam will become – as it very nearly is – the only religion, ideology, or political philosophy to be ring-fenced against reasonable criticism.

As an atheist and secularist, it is inevitable that I and others like me will say thing Muslims in general may disapprove of. But if their definition is set in legislation, I and others could be accused of a criminal offence, tried, and fined or imprisoned. That has already happened to several people.

The comparison with anti-Semitism (on which see Kenneth Marcus's scholarly study, 'The Definition of Anti-Semitism' and the IHRA definition recognized by the UK, is not entirely safe. There are similarities, of course, but I know no Jews who would call out fair, academic criticisms of Judaism. In the IHRA definition, false, exaggerated, criticism of Israel or setting double standards for it falls foul of being anti-Semitic.

But fair, accurate, and balanced criticism does not, and plenty of Jews do criticisize the state in that way. More worryingly, there are many reformist Muslims and former Muslims who are critical of what they see as outdated aspects of the faith: they too come in for attacks from most imams and Muslim bodies. A bad definition could see Muslim reformers in the dock. We need to proceed with real caution. [The Independent] Read more

The latest inspiring Tory report on Muslims says we deserve attention because it can stop us becoming terrorists

.... Admittedly, the report includes some well-warranted policies, including an independent review into the Government’s anti-terrorism Prevent programme, advice for media reporting on issues relating to Islam, adopting a legal definition of anti-Muslim prejudice, and encouraging universities to offer courses for imams to receive religious and educational qualifications.

In these respects, the report signals a step forward in battling the rise in Islamophobia seen since the EU referendum result, and the anti-Muslim rhetoric that has become increasingly common in politics. And I appreciate that Dominic Grieve wants to unlock my potential “for the benefit of all”. However, the whole thing is inconsistent at best, providing only a half-hearted understanding of the political dynamics surrounding “integration”, and continuing to treat Muslims primarily as suspect.

.... Nevertheless, the question remains as to why the burden of integration must lie with British Muslims, especially when counter-reports show how Muslim identity has no bearing on whether or not someone feels British. This report claims that many British people believe Muslims have not integrated – but does this not tell us more about those British people than it does about British Muslims?

[TOP RATED COMMENT] I see no evidence that Islamaphobia is on the rise in politics, on the contrary, I hear politicians saying "Islam is the religion of peace" after every terrorist attack. Why shouldn't British people demand that immigrants integrate into British society, the article suggests that the burden rests upon "us" rather than "them" to integrate?

The whole article is propaganda, attempting to portray muslims as victims. If muslims don't like British society they should go back to the country's they came from.

[2ND] Another 'British are to blame' article. If one day I have to go and live in Saudi Arabia I'll find out about the culture and while I most likely wouldn't integrate I wouldn't disrespect it either. .... I also wouldn't demand that my local restaurant served non halal meat. Yes, the UK like every nation on Earth has some intolerant people, it has some xenophobes and racists but to be honest it's articles like this that quite frankly enrage me rather than engage me. They make me think that I am somehow to blame because the occassionally offended or attacked Muslim is my and other law abiding Brits fault for not integrating with the Muslim community ...

[3RD] It is indeed a depressing report. The idea of a new legal definition of anti-Muslim prejudice amounts to a quite outrageous attempt to limit debate on a minority that is becoming deeply problematic. If we are not careful it is going to limit what we can say in threads like this if we have worries about matters like terrorism, a separate system of law for one religious group, gender inequality, prejudice against LGBT people, inhumane animal slaughtering practices, and the political correctness that made Rochdale possible.

[4TH] When Britain is being attacked by homegrown Islamist terrorists whiny articles like this about how people worrying about Muslim integration is somehow racist islamophobia and that the Muslims are somehow the real victims is insulting.

[5TH] You wrote, disingenuously: Integration is a two way street. If you want people to integrate into your society, you should reach out to them too.

Allah disagrees with you. He says:

'O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you - then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.' (Al-Ma'idah 5:51)

Integration can only begin when you and your co-religionists ignore Allah's eternal commands.

[6TH] Until Islam reforms itself then it's never going to be able to coexist with the British system of parliamentary democracy and an independent judiciary as Islam seeks to occupy the same space......which is already taken!!

From a philosophical point of view, the vast majority of Brits are entirely indifferent to organised religion and the "worshipping" of supernatural fantasies. So, once again, Islam jars very intractably with British society.

So, both structurally and philosophically Islam is totally at odds with how British society has evolved and developed over the last few hundred years. This point is so obvious yet it is continually lost in the shouting of the "liberal elite", who can't bear the idea of calling a spade a spade for fear of "offending" someone.

[7TH] Yet another whine by a Mohommadan.

Ali Meghi needs to tell us why, of his own free will, he purposefully chooses to follow a religion started by a man who married a 6 year old girl.

[ANOTHER] "How many of these Brits criticising their Muslim compatriots actually know that sharia law dictates a person should obey the law of the country they live in, thus advocating strong national pride?"

LOL LOL LOL.. sure obey the law of ..the ISLAMIC country.... this guy is taking us for a bunch of idiots. It is fact that Muslims must pledge allegiance to Allah and MOhammed ONLY. The Quoran and Sharia are their consitution. They should not live in a western country UNLESS their goal is to impose ISLAM...

The constant lying of these muzzrats trying to serve us the Kool aid is really getting tiring.

[ANOTHER] "How many of these Brits criticising their Muslim compatriots actually know that sharia law dictates a person should obey the law of the country they live in, thus advocating strong national pride?"

Who cares what the Sharia law says? Are you saying that if this wasn't written in Sharia law, it would have been okay for Muslims to break the law of the country they live in? What is written in a medieval holy book is entirely irrelevant to anything at all. Don't expect people to be thankful to Muslims merely for following the law. Other are able to follow the law even without being told to do so by their religious book.

Muslims need to do more than merely follow the law - they need to integrate into the culture of the host country, and adopt the social norms of the host country. Or are you saying that arranged marriages, long beards, skull caps, niqabs etc. should be banned by law, in which case Muslims would be obliged to not practice these things, since sharia tells them to follow the law?

[ANOTHER] Dame Louise Casey said that there is a "first generation in every generation" phenomenon in Muslim communities which is acting as a "bar" to integration.

The review also accuses Labour and local authorities of having "ignored or even condoned" harmful cultural traditions for fear of being branded "racist or Islamaphobic".

Her report finds that thousands of people from all-Muslim enclaves in northern cities such as Bradford, Dewsbury and Blackburn seldom, if ever, leave their areas and have almost no idea of life outside…the report will send ‘shock waves’ through the system by attacking the Government, and particularly the Home Office, for failing to manage the consequences of mass migration and promote integration. [The Independent] Read more

The Tories would rather cosy up to despots than keep us safe

They export extremist ideology which menaces Britain’s national security. The hatred that is manufactured and disseminated within their kingdoms threatens the safety and indeed lives of everyone reading this article.

From Saudi Arabia to Kuwait, they are key allies and partners of the British government, and the Tories are endeavouring to forge ever closer links with these despotic exporters of fanaticism.

And now these same Tories are sitting on a report given to them last year which examines the foreign funding of extremists in the UK. After three murderous Islamist extremists attacks in the space of a few months, this is nothing short of a national scandal.

The Green MP Caroline Lucas is right to question whether the failure to publish the report is because of criticisms made of the government’s Saudi allies. The British people – traumatised by repeated atrocities which deliberately targeted innocent civilians – have the right to know whether their government’s friends are putting their lives at risk. The failure to publish the report will fuel a suspicion that the Tories prioritise diplomatic ties and economic interests over the national security of this country.

[A POPULAR COMMENT 121 votes] If the government does release this report and it reveals that large numbers of UK mosques are being funded by Saudi Arabia and are teaching hardline Wahhabi Islam, what then? Will Owen Jones call for these mosques to be shut down?

[ANOTHER 82] Regardless of whether the report is released or not. Nobody in the mainstream public sphere will have an honest discussion about Islamic extremism in the UK, fears of accusations of racism and childlike racism of low expectations get in the way of criticising a certain set of beliefs beginning with the letter "I". [Guardian Cif] Read more

03 July 2017

UK mosques should appoint British-born imams, says report

Mosques in the UK should hire British-born imams on a living wage who are better equipped than foreign religious leaders to understand the challenges faced by British Muslims, a report has recommended.

The Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All is the outcome of an 18-month inquiry established by campaigning group Citizens UK and chaired by the former attorney general Dominic Grieve. Its chief task was to examine how the participation of Muslims in public and community life might be improved.

It describes engagement between the government and Muslim communities as “a broken relationship that needs to be resolved, and both parties need to be proactive in addressing this”.

Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you

The 76-page report, published on Monday, says “British Muslim experiences are more diverse than is often assumed”. [The Guardian] Read more

Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life - Citizens UK

Citizens UK launched the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life in September 2015, as our current experience is that Muslim leaders are retreating from public life, fearful of being tarnished as extremist simply for having faith, with groups who work with prominent Islamic institutions being pilloried for partnering with alleged extremists.

This commission, chaired by Dominic Grieve QC MP, brought together 20 Commissioners drawn from a wide cross section of British society to consider how the Muslim community could better engage and participate in public life.

The Commission toured the UK, and held hearings, roundtables and individual meetings in a number of towns and cities, including those where Citizens UK works directly with civil society institutions, to hear their testimony as well as evidence from the Muslim communities, business, education and government bodies. [Citizens UK] Read more

Mosques must appoint British-born imams with good English, report concludes

Mosques must appoint British-born imams who speak fluent English because Islamic communities need “better leadership”, a major report has concluded.

An inquiry, chaired by the former Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP, found that Muslims need “fit for purpose” leaders who can understand “modern British life”.

The report, which was commissioned by the community organising charity Citizens UK, set out to examine the participation of the Islamic community in public life.

It noted that many imams are born and educated overseas, but said: “It is of great importance that British-born imams, who have a good understanding of British culture and who fluently speak English, are encouraged and appointed in preference to overseas alternatives.”

Imams were told they must take a “stronger stance” against persecution of others, including against anti-Semitism, Christian persecution and other branches of Islam.

The report, titled Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim potential for the benefit of all, also recommended that universities should provide courses so that imams can be accredited with religious and education qualifications. [The Telegraph] Read more

Government urged to fix its ‘broken relationship’ with British Muslims

A major new commission, chaired by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, has also called on the government to urgently review its Prevent programme.

During interviews with British Muslims for its report ‘Missing Muslims: Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All’, the commission also found a strong sense that Muslims and Islam are ‘unfairly targeted’.

The fear of discrimination is even putting young British Muslims off from engaging in politics and other aspects of public life.

But the Prevent programme, which was set up in an attempt to stop extremism early on, was particularly strongly criticised – being raised as an issue in all 11 cities that the commission visited to gather evidence.

As a result, the commission recommends that tackling extremism and radicalisation would be ‘better achieved with a programme that has greater trust, particularly from the UK’s Muslim communities’.

It also calls on ministers to come up with a definition of anti-Muslim prejudice across Government, in the same way Antisemitism was formally defined last year. [Metro.co.uk] Read more

UK government urged to end Muslim Council of Britain 'boycott'

The report by Citizens UK also recommended the government launch a review of the Prevent counter-terrorism policy.

The British government needs to fix its “broken relationship” with the Muslim community, according to a report by an influential charity.

“The Missing Muslims – Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All” is the result of an 18-month commission into the place of Islam in public life by the community support group Citizens UK.

The commissioners, who include high profile names from the world of business, academia, politics and faith, travelled the country and are said to have listened to 500 hours of testimony. They have proposed recommendations for the government, Muslim community, civil society and the business world to implement.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the UK’s leading Muslim representative body has welcomed the findings of the report, which also called for a review of the controversial Prevent policy and fairer reporting on Muslims by the media.

“Wider engagement,” the report said, “including the robust challenging of views with which it disagrees, rather than the apparent boycott of certain organisations, could best enable the Government to hear from the widest possible cross-section of the UK’s Muslim communities, including young people and women.” [Middle East Eye] Read more