17 September 2017

Lancashire schools ‘Halal’ row is back on the menu

THE prospect of thousands of Muslim children in East Lancashire boycotting meat in school meals is back on the agenda after a new row over halal.

The Lancashire County Council Cabinet on Thursday decided to re-open the question of whether it should use meat from animals which had not been stunned before slaughter.

It revives a row from 2012 when the authority banned all animal flesh from its 600 schools where pre-stunning has not been used.

Then the Lancashire Council of Mosques told Muslim families to boycott all such ‘halal’ meat as it did not meet their interpretation of Islamic law.

Thousands of Muslim children at 45 county council schools in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale, as well as five in Blackburn with Darwen borough supplied through the authority’s central catering unit, refused to eat meals containing the meat. [This is Lancashire] Read more

16 September 2017

Christian man sentenced to death in Pakistan over 'blasphemous' WhatsApp message sent to friend

A Christian man has been sentenced to death in Pakistan for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, his lawyer has said.

Nadeem James, 35, was said to have committed blasphemy in a poem he sent to a Muslim friend on the WhatsApp messaging service.

He was arrested in July last year after going on the run following the accusation of blasphemy, which human rights groups say is sometimes used in the country to settle personal scores and target minorities.

Defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel told the AFP news agency that in this case there had been a dispute between his client and the friend over a woman.

“Mr James was handed a death sentence by the court on Thursday on blasphemy charges,” he said.

“My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend, who was annoyed over Mr James’ affair with a Muslim girl.”

The verdict was passed by a court in the town of Gujrat in eastern Pakistan. [The Independent] Read more

How Women are Treated by Islam

.... Perhaps that influence is best summed up in the following remarks made by Badrul Hussain, a member of the Newcastle grooming gang, when speaking to a female inspector on the local Metro service who asked to see his ticket:

"All white women are only good for one thing, for men like me to f*** and use as trash, that is all women like you are worth."

It is, however, not just white (that is, non-Muslim) women whom Muslim men hold in such contempt. This abuse starts at home in Islamic countries in the treatment of Muslim women. Its roots lie in aspects of Islamic law and doctrine that are retained in the 21st century despite having been formulated in the 7th century and later.

These include polygamy for men, the permission for men to buy and sell women as sex slaves/concubines, divorce laws that discriminate against women, the insistence that women must cover their bodies and even faces, the discriminatory rules for a woman's inheritance ("The male takes a share equal to that of two females"), the high and escalating practice of honour killings in Muslim societies, including communities in the West (with 58% carried out because young women were "too Western"), the extreme incidence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Muslim countries and Western Muslim communities, the astonishing level of child marriage (as permitted by shari'a law), and legislation that blames and punishes women for the "crime" of being raped.

Beyond all this, actual attitudes revealed in regular events show a more immediate impact on women's lives. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Geert Wilders: Islam is not a Religion - De Telegraaf interview

.... "We live in a free country. But in my opinion Islam is not a religion. It is a totalitarian, dangerous and violent ideology, dressed up as a religion. People are allowed to think whatever they like, but I also have the right to say that Islam should not be included in the constitutional freedoms.

Can a Muslim not just be moderate?

"According to the Quran that is not possible. I personally believe there are extremist people and moderate people. But I do not believe in two kinds of Islam. There is only one. One that is impossible to reform. And even if it would be the case, we can not afford to wait for another 150 or 300 years. I think it will never happen. You get your head chopped off should you wish to interpret Islam."

What do you think should happen?

"Recognize the problem. Dare to say that Islam does not integrate. Define Islam as a violent totalitarian undemocratic thing. And stop immigration from Islamic countries. During cabinet Rutte II, a 100,000 Muslims.were added. These are not all terrorists or bad people, but it is 100,000 times more Islam entering the Netherlands." [The Iconoclast] Read more

‘Fear is the greatest factor’: Survey finds Canadians worry about rise of racism

In a new survey, 72 per cent of respondents believed there has been an increasing climate of hatred and fear towards Muslims in Canada.

A survey suggests Canadians have a generally positive impression of Muslims but that view doesn’t apply to some of the religion’s leadership and beliefs.

The poll, commissioned by Think for Actions and Insights Matter, found 78 per cent of Canadians agreed Muslims should adopt Canadian customs and values but maintain their religious and cultural practices. Some 88 per cent of those surveyed said Muslims should be treated no differently than any other Canadian.

But 72 per cent of respondents also believed there has been an increasing climate of hatred and fear towards Muslims in Canada and that it will get worse.

Results of the poll — an online survey of 1,048 Canadians done from March 13 to Aug. 12 — were released Saturday at The Unity Conference in Calgary on Islamophobia, discrimination and systemic racism. [Toronto Star] Read more

15 September 2017

Christian man in Lahore sentenced to death over blasphemous WhatsApp text

A Christian man in Lahore has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after he sent a Muslim friend a poem on WhatsApp that insulted Islam, a lawyer said Friday.

The accused was charged in July last year after his friend, Yasir Bashir, complained to police that he received a poem on the messaging app that was derogatory toward the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and other holy figures.

The accused “was handed a death sentence by the court on Thursday on blasphemy charges,” defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel told AFP, alleging that his client was been framed by Bashir.

“My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend who was annoyed over his [the accused's] affair with a Muslim girl,” Wakeel said. [Dawn.Com] Read more

Tunisia lifts decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men

In a respite to the Muslim women living in Tunisia, the government on Thursday (14 September) announced the lifting of a decades-old ban prohibiting them from marrying non-Muslim men without mandatory conversion to Islam.

The move was, however, met with strong objection from Muslim clerics.

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President Beji Caid Essebsi had reportedly called for the government to bring in the change to ensure equal rights to women in choosing their life partners. He argued that the change will be in accordance to the country's new constitution that came into force in 2014.

Under the existing rules, Muslim men in Tunisia were allowed to marry women from outside the religion without the woman having to undergo any conversion, but the same right did not apply to Muslim Tunisian women when they married non-Muslim men. [International Business Times] Read more

14 September 2017

Juncker backs Muslim animal slaughter despite personal reservations

.... In both the Muslim and Jewish faiths, religious texts set out traditional methods of slaughter in which a knife is used to kill the animal. Opponents of the practice believe that animals should be stunned beforehand.

Juncker said that following a debate last year in Belgium, he understood that structures would be put in place to allow people to exercise their faith.

While stressing that animal welfare was “extremely important” to him, he said European provisions allowing for ritual slaughter had to be accepted.

“I’m not a fan of this but I think we have to respect the traditions of religious communities,” he explained.

When asked whether he would launch infringement proceedings against countries not allowing ritual slaughter, Juncker said he had never thought about it but would look into the issue. [Euronews] Read more

Hanson calls for plebiscite to ban burqa

Pauline Hanson has called for a plebiscite on whether to ban the burqa, labelling Australia "pathetic" for giving up its values to allow the Muslim garment.

The Senate is debating a private bill from crossbencher Jacqui Lambie on Thursday to ban full-face coverings in commonwealth jurisdictions such as airports, as well as the ACT and Northern Territory.

"Are we that pathetic as a nation that we're giving up our values and who we truly are because we're worried about hurting someone's feelings?" Senator Hanson told parliament.

The One Nation leader, who caused controversy in August by wearing a burqa into the Senate chamber, described the burqa as offensive.

She insisted it had been banned in many countries, including Muslim countries, and Australia needed to change its ways before it became a "basket case".

"If you're quite happy to have a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, then I suggest having a plebiscite and let the people have a say at the next election on whether they want full-face coverings in this country, if you haven't got the guts to do it here," she said. [news.com.au] Read more

Liberals are wrongly supporting a Muslim victimhood narrative

.... The inflated victimhood narrative is common. Some Muslims are convinced they face systemic hatred even here in Canada, that they are barred from practicing their faith, that they face social discrimination and censure in the media. To the radicals, revenge is a justified response.

Motion M103, introduced by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, is a product of the victimhood narrative. It has been supported by most orthodox Muslim organizations as well as the left. In fairness, the more progressive Canadian Muslim groups have opposed it vehemently.

The Rohingya in Myanmar clearly suffer violent persecution, and it could be claimed that Muslims in countries like France live on the edges of society. But Canada?

Our laws protect all citizens from racial, ethnic and religious discrimination. These ideals are enshrined in our Charter Rights. Whenever minority groups face discrimination — and they do — they can seek redress in court. [Toronto Sun] Read more

13 September 2017

Switzerland moves a step closer to voting on nationwide burqa ban

.... And in March the Swiss senate quashed a draft bill on the subject – also lodged by Wobmann – after it was narrowly approved by the lower house.

In rejecting it, senators said there were so few people wearing burqas in Switzerland that there was no need to legislate for a problem that does not exist.

Speaking to the Tribune on Wednesday, Wobmann, who led the successful campaign against the building of minarets in Switzerland and in 2015 called for certain Muslim refugees to be banned from entering the country, said:-“Even if there are only a few cases today, there will be more in the future, that’s certain. It’s better to act too early than too late. We must send a strong signal against this symbol of oppression and radicalism.”

If the ban does make it to a public vote, it may be successful. A 2016 survey found that 70 percent of people were in favour of a nationwide ban. [The Local] Read more

Christian Convert Attacked in Migrant Populated Area for Wearing Cross

A 23-year-old man from Afghanistan was attacked near a train station in the German suburb of Neukölln allegedly because his attackers saw his Christian cross and were angry he had converted from Islam.

The local police said that the incident happened on Monday evening in the vicinity of the S-Bahn station, a light rail system used in many German cities. Valeska Jakubowski of the Berlin police said the man called them at around 10 pm reporting that two men had assaulted him because of the cross he was wearing, Die Welt reports.

“They asked him why he had changed his religion,” Jakubowski said. The man told authorities that one of the attackers tore the chain off him and threw it to the ground. The unidentified man then punched the Afghan in the face several times.

The second attacker then held the Christian by the arms as the first man took out a blade and cut him twice on the upper body with it. [Breitbart London] Read more

12 September 2017

Hostility towards Muslims on the rise in Switzerland

Hostility and discrimination towards Muslim people in Switzerland is on the rise, the Federal Commission against Racism (FCR) said on Monday during a conference at the University of Fribourg.

The conference, organized by Fribourg University, religion researchers at the University of Lucerne and the Swiss Centre for Islam and Society (SZIG), discussed the conclusions of the latest studies into the perception of Muslims in Switzerland.

According to organizers, hostility towards Muslims in Switzerland is as a direct result of the political discourse and media reporting around Islam which exaggerate certain aspects of the religion, reported news agencies.

This hostility “is fed by facts that have nothing to do with Muslims themselves but with international events,” said FCR president Martine Brunschwig Graf in interviews after the conference.

Federal interior minister Alain Berset, attending the conference, warned against lumping in Islam with terrorism and “holding Islam responsible for all the extremist acts committed in its name”, broadcaster RTS reported. [The Local] Read more

Disturbing reality of child marriage in Australia revealed

More than 50 girls as young as nine are being forced to marry older men in Australia, in exclusive documents obtained by 7 News.

Australian Federal Police documents can reveal the disturbing reality of child brides in Australia.

In just two years 57 children were reported at risk of being forced into marriage – all within the Sydney area.

Two children on the mid-north coast, two in the Murrumbidgee area, one in the Hunter and another in Illawarra were at risk, according to the documents.

Another document references an email with a girl saying she is being held against her will while a situation report details allegations of a forced marriage at the end of the school year and a human trafficking referral mentions a girl travelled out of Australia and was exploited.

Unfortunately, it’s at the airport where the trail runs cold for investigators when Australian girls are taken overseas and forced to marry. [Yahoo7 News] Read more

'Ban the burqa' campaigner claims there have been threats to kill his family

A man who was questioned by armed police after wearing Islamic dress in an Exeter department store has claimed that someone has threatened to kill his family since the incident.

Thomas Dunn was stopped under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act in Debenhams in July before being later released without charge when police discovered he was an anti-burqa campaigner.

However Dunn, who said he was campaigning against the wearing of the burqa, was seemingly oblivious to the fact he was actually wearing a niqab.

He now claims that he received a phone call at his home saying that someone would blow up his house and kill his family. Police are currently investigating the incident.

"When I first received the phone call I thought it was a wind up," said Mr Dunn.

"But then the caller said he knew where I lived and read out my home address.

"He said he would blow my flat up and kill my family - my wife is absolutely terrified and I have children too.

"What I do is totally legal and although I expect some response to my campaign, I don't expect this. [DevonLive]-Read more

British Muslims twice as likely to espouse anti-Semitic views, survey suggests

In a survey of 5,466 British adults, the prevalence of anti-Semitic views among Muslim respondents was two to four times higher than in any other segment of the population.

The results are part of a report titled “Anti-Semitism in contemporary Great Britain” that the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research published Monday based on face-to-face interviews and online questioners conducted earlier this year and in 2016 with help from the Community Security Trust, or CST.

“The prevalence of negativity towards Jews and Israel is, on average, twice as high among Muslims than the general population,” states the 85-page report, which includes data from interviews with 995 self-identified Muslims of varying degrees of observance, as well as 529 respondents from the far left and 355 from the far right.

Whereas nearly 80 percent of Christian respondents agreed with the statement that “a British Jew is just as British as any other British person,” only 61 percent of Muslims and 59 percent of the Muslims who described themselves as religious concurred. [JTA] Read more

10 September 2017

Ofsted steps into battle over hijab

Muslim campaigners against the wearing of headscarves by primary pupils are to meet the chief inspector of schools.

The chief inspector of schools has agreed to meet Muslim campaigners who are calling for a ban on the Islamic headscarf in state primaries after The Sunday Times revealed that pupils as young as five were wearing the hijab.

Amanda Spielman, the head of England’s school regulator, Ofsted, will meet women who have labelled the rise of the hijab among young children an “affront to the historical fight for gender equality in our secular democracy”. Traditionally the hijab is not worn until puberty.

In a letter in The Sunday Times today, the campaigners, led by a former Labour parliamentary candidate, Amina Lone, urge others to defend Britain’s “hard-won freedoms”.

“As women, we would legally have to cover up in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Aceh province in Indonesia, but countries such as India and Tunisia are fighting back,” the letter says. “Our country has an abysmal record of protecting young Muslim girls, who suffer under the pretext of protecting religious freedoms.

“By turning a blind eye when our schools are being politicised, government contradicts itself when advocating more inclusion and cohesion.” [The Sunday Times (£)] Read more

09 September 2017

Teachers 'scared' to teach lessons on 9/11 terror attack

Some teachers are too scared to discuss 9/11 with their pupils as they fear a backlash from Muslim parents, a leading expert in counter-extremism education has warned.

Kamal Hanif OBE, who was appointed by the Government to turn around three schools at the heart of the “Trojan Horse” scandal, said that some teachers have a “misplaced” concern that they will cause offence if they raise 9/11 in the classroom.

He said that some teachers - particularly those who work in schools with a high proportion of Muslim students --see it as a contentious topic and shy away from teaching it.

“Teachers sometimes have a fear that this might be controversial,” he said.

“[They think] if we teach about this we might get Muslim parents objecting.” [The Telegraph] Read more

Concern over rise in animals killed without stunning

The number of animals killed without being stunned has risen sharply under a government exemption for Muslims and Jews from humane slaughter rules.

Almost a quarter of lambs had their throats cut without first being made insensible to pain, according to Food Standards Agency figures for April to June this year.

This was an increase from 2013 when 15 per cent of lambs were killed without being stunned and 10 per cent in 2011. The change has been attributed to an increase in halal slaughter rather than the Jewish shechita method.

The figures also revealed that almost a fifth of chickens are slaughtered without being stunned or after a stun that is too weak to guarantee that they do not feel pain.

The numbers indicate that, on an annual basis, more than three million lambs are being killed without being stunned and almost 200 million chickens are either not stunned or are ineffectively stunned.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 110 votes] Out Government should ban non-stun slaughter. Simple as that. No religious exemptions. Also ban import of meat from non-stun slaughter. Religious people don't have to eat meat if they don't want to.

[2ND 106] It is quite ridiculous that religion is allowed to interfere in the law on humane slaughter - as the BVA says, the exemption from pre-slaughter stunning should be abolished.

However, it is utterly outrageous that meat from animals slaughtered in this barbaric fashion is not labelled. The exemption from pre-slaughter stunning is supposed to be there to allow people whose particular cult requires them to eat such meat. The volume of meat produced in this way in the UK is far greater than that required to feed these relatively few people, and there is no religious reason that prevents it from being labelled.

So why are religious authorities so keen to prevent labelling?

[3RD 84] Religious slaughter is a rather absurd concept. It has no place in a modern society.

[4TH 82] There should, of course, be no religious exemption from what we believe to be humane animal slaughter in this country.

[5TH 78] The animal liberationists seem to be strangely silent and inactive in response to this slaughter. Where are they? Scared perhaps? Shows them up for what they often are - violent people looking for a cause where their targets aren't able to retaliate in kind. But faced with an opponent which will respond in kind and more, they melt away. Or perhaps they join the PC throng supporting multiculturalism?

[6TH 77] Slaughter without stunning is barbarity. That people should unknowingly buy halal meat is an outrage. Let's follow Denmark and ban this horrible, primitive, sadistic practice. [The Times (£)] Read more

08 September 2017

The Muslim Prison Population Has Surged, Here’s Why The ‘Stereotypes And Myths’ Are Wrong

.... Dr Haque said she had noticed an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in prisons in recent years and said: “It wouldn’t be surprising to me if that was happening across the criminal justice system.”

“It’s not happening within a social vacuum,” she told HuffPost UK. “I think that a lot of it is happening for the same reason that black people are being funelled into the criminal justice system.

“That’s because of racial profiling, because of cultural stereotypes. Muslim men are being treated the same discriminatory way as black men by the authorities..”

She added: “What else would explain the rise? The alternative theory is that they’re more criminal and there’s no evidence to support that.”

The lack of data makes it hard to demonstrate definitely any disparity in defendants because of religion.

But Lammy’s review found large racial disparities in sentencing. For every 100 white women given prison sentences at crown courts for drug offences, 227 black women were given the same. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

In Interview, Top Indonesian Muslim Scholar Says Stop Pretending That Orthodox Islam and Violence Aren't Linked

.... Many Western politicians and intellectuals say that Islamist terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. What is your view?

Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam.

Radical Islamic movements are nothing new. They’ve appeared again and again throughout our own history in Indonesia. The West must stop ascribing any and all discussion of these issues to “Islamophobia.” Or do people want to accuse me — an Islamic scholar — of being an Islamophobe too?

What basic assumptions within traditional Islam are problematic?

The relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, the relationship of Muslims with the state, and Muslims’ relationship to the prevailing legal system wherever they live … Within the classical tradition, the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims is assumed to be one of segregation and enmity. [TIME] Read more

Of course British Muslims are being held back. This is an Islamophobic country

The government’s study into the social mobility challenges faced by young British Muslims once again shines a troubling spotlight on how race, class, Islamophobia and patriarchy within Muslim communities – and wider British society – is impacting the life chances and quality of life for a significant section of the British population.

It also further highlights the deepening fractures in our society. It is not inconsequential that the report from the government’s social mobility commission has been published days before the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the subsequent normalisation of anti-Muslim rhetoric in so much of our political, social and media discourse.

It is important for this connection to be made if we want to understand the wider context behind why British Muslims are lagging so behind with social mobility. The impact of 9/11 and the so-called “war on terror” on the lives of young British Muslims cannot be separated from the avalanche of racism and Islamophobia, micro-aggressions and hate crimes many young people face and the impact this is having on all aspects of their lives, from mental and physical wellbeing to career prospects. [Guardian Cif] Read more

07 September 2017

Muslim workers at Paris airport sue after sacked for refusing to shave beards

An industrial tribunal on Thursday hears the case of four Muslim former security guards at Orly airport who say they were discriminated against when sacked for refusing to shave off their beards in the wake of the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

Soon after those jihadist attacks that left 130 dead, management from the Securitas security firm summoned several male staff members working for it at Orly, all of them Muslim and all of them bearded.

They were told that with passengers on edge, it would be appreciated if they could all trim or shave off their beards to adhere to the firm’s strict grooming policy.

Most of the men, who worked at the security points where passengers and their hand luggage are screened, complied, but four did not, and launched discrimination complaints. [The Local] Read more

Veiled Woman Assaults Shopkeeper for Selling Lingerie Near Headscarves

A saleswoman in a fashion boutique in Berlin was viciously assaulted by a niqab-wearing woman who objected to lingerie being displayed in the same window as Islamic headscarves.

The incident occurred in the Berlin district of Neukölln, known for its high percentage of migrant residents. The niqab-wearing woman raised her objections, but after her demands to remove the lingerie were denied, she attacked the shopkeeper, Die Welt reports.

The victim, a 40-year-old woman from an Arabic immigrant background, said she saw a tattoo on the neck of her attacker and blonde hair under the niqab. Police say the woman had entered the shop once before and insulted the saleswoman in both German and Turkish before being told to leave.

Authorities say they are considering the attack to be religiously motivated but have so far been unable to identify the woman involved as she fled the scene before police were able to arrive. Police added that the assailant left her mobile phone and a glove at the scene. [Breitbart London] Read more

Europe's Muslims Are More Integrated Than You Think

Debates over immigration are fraught with misconceptions. One of the most common is that the integration of Muslims into societies in Western Europe has gone very badly, in large part because terror attacks loom so large in the news. Those attacks are a very real problem, yet they do not reflect the typical reality. A new study from the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany shows that Muslim integration in Europe is in fact proceeding at a reasonable pace.

The survey included more than 1,000 Muslims in Germany and about 500 in Austria, France, Switzerland and the U.K. (both immigrants and children of immigrants were included, though not recent refugees). Although this is hardly the first study of its kind, the results offer considerable hope for societies facing integration challenges: The stereotype of an uneducated, unemployed, easily radicalized Muslim migrant does not fit the facts.

The first sign of integration is language skill. About three-quarters of the Muslims born in Germany report German as their first language; 46 percent of foreign-born Muslims do. Overall, language skills improve with each generation, and migrants seem to be resourceful in finding ways to learn an adopted country's tongue. Muslims immigrants to France and the U.K. often arrive knowing the languages of their new countries.

Only about one in 10 French Muslims report leaving school before age 17; the American high school graduation rate for all attendees is lower, at 83 percent. In Germany, employment for Muslim immigrants is on a par with employment for non-Muslims, though Muslim wages are lower.

The rate of unemployment for French Muslims is a disappointing 14 percent, but that looks less troubling when you consider that migrants are relatively young and French youth unemployment as a whole is about 25 percent. Labor market reforms and better economies can help integrate foreign migrants, and Europe is currently showing decent economic growth, again reasons for hope. [Bloomberg] Read more