25 June 2017

Muslim girls aged NINE take part in Sydney hijab ceremony to symbolise maturity - with Islamic sheikh slamming it as step toward Sharia law

Australia's most senior Shia cleric Sheikh Kamal Mousselmani presided over the ceremony where 24 girls walked on stage to show their maturity.

'The hijab is compulsory for the girls when they become nine according to our religion,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

.... Adelaide Shia leader Imam Shaikh Mohammad Tawhidi said Islam classified eight as the adult age for girls and was worried by the ceremony's symbolism.

'I confirm that according to Islamic jurisprudence, a Muslim girl reaches the stage of maturity at eight to nine years of age,' he said.

'Hence the celebration took place, which means that they're no longer girls but adult females who would lead an adult life, including marriage.

'This goes against the Australian values and social ethics and is basically promoting and imposing Sharia law in Australia.' [Daily Mail] Read more

Liberal Berlin mosque to stay open despite fatwa from Egypt

The founder of a new liberal mosque in Berlin that allows men and women to pray side by side has vowed to press on with her project even though the institution has been issued with a fatwa from Egypt and attacked by religious authorities in Turkey within a week of its opening.

“The pushback I am getting makes me feel that I am doing the right thing,” said Seyran Ates, a Turkish-born lawyer and women’s rights campaigner, who does not wear a hijab. “God is loving and merciful – otherwise he wouldn’t have turned me into the person I am.”

Zakat requires Muslims to donate 2.5% of their wealth: could this end poverty?

The Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque, named after a Muslim philosopher who defended Greek philosophy and a German writer fascinated by the poetry of the Middle East, opened its doors in Berlin’s Moabit district a week ago on Friday.

.... A week later, the white-walled prayer room was noticeably emptier, with the seven-strong congregation almost matched by the number of security staff who guarded the exits and entrances with blue plastic covers over their boots.

Ates, 54, said many of the previous week’s worshippers had decided to stay away because they feared incrimination against themselves or their families. Her own relatives in Turkey had asked her to drop the project because they worried about arrests.

The lawyer, who is currently training to become an imam, said she had received “300 emails per day encouraging me to carry on”, including from as far away as Australia and Algeria, but also “3,000 emails a day full of hate”, some of them including death threats. [The Guardian] Read more

24 June 2017

Charity Commission Slams Islamic School for Segregation, Radical Speakers

A Luton Islamic School which segregated staff by gender and hosted radical speakers has been slammed by the Charity Commission and accused of misconduct.

The Rabia Educational Trust caters for 128 pupils, charges up to £2,300 a year, and has the stated ‘charitable aim’ of advancing “the single sex Islamic faith based education of girls and boys.”

It was found to have poor management, mismanaged accounts, and failed to protect pupils from potentially harmful views in the past, the regulator claimed in an inquiry report.

Concerns were first raised in 2012, and Ofsted has inspected Rabia Girl’s and Boy’s School four times since 2014. Although progress has been made there were still failings, the report said, and the institution remains under regulatory action by the school’s inspectorate.

In a report from April 2016, Ofsted noted that “Leaders and governors, through their actions, undermine the school’s work to promote fundamental British values”, and, “school leaders acknowledge that some guest speakers to the school have not been vetted with sufficient rigour”. [Breitbart London] Read more

Passions flare as Turkey excludes evolution from textbooks

"This is bigotry, this is all about being a fanatic. How are they going to teach biology now? How are they going to talk about science?"

On an online forum about the government's decision to exclude the theory of evolution from the national curriculum, a passionate discussion is under way.

"Evolutionary theory is one of the most powerful and fundamental theories in modern science. To describe it as 'controversial' is unbelievable," says one commenter.

Another argues that the theory was not well taught anyhow: "Once the teacher asked us who believed in evolutionary theory. I raised my hand. The teacher said: 'Are you a monkey then?'"

But on Facebook another commenter says: "I want to thank the government for preventing our youth to be poisoned by this rotten and absurd theory. There is nothing more natural than excluding it from the national curriculum." [BBC] Read more

Muslim women reject sexism in fight to be heard

.... Ms Saleem knows how dangerous the tolerance of intolerance can be. As a schoolgirl, she lost five years of her life at an Islamic boarding school in Nottingham. Its narrow curriculum and strict Sharia-inspired rules promised to make alimas (Islamic scholars) of its young charges. Instead, Ms Saleem believes it stunted her education and left young girls like her at serious risk of radicalisation.

.... She is astounded at how politicians can talk about tackling extremism but support the segregation of Muslim children along the lines of gender and ethnicity. “Enough is enough?” she scoffs. “Not if you’re alienating and segregating Muslim children — often poor, vulnerable Muslim children, in faith schools.”

.... Ms Khan learnt to her cost the danger of not registering her Islamic marriage at a British register office. A few years later her husband was pressurised by his family to take a teenage cousin from Kashmir as a second wife. “My husband was crying in my arms the night before his wedding,” she said.

After the relationship became violent, she said it took her two years to be granted an Islamic divorce. “I put the blame on the doorsteps of the mosques. All these men, sitting on chairs, acting in judgment. I went around all the Sharia courts — I remember sitting crying in front of the imams after all the beatings and black eyes — but all they wanted was money. We [Muslim women] end up sitting in front of extremists to get a divorce. It makes me very angry.” [The Times (£)] Read more

23 June 2017

Ofsted will crackdown on extremism and promote 'British values', Amanda Spielman vows

.... On illegal and unregistered schools, Ms Spielman said that Ofsted would “do everything we can” to search out and close them down with the same “zeal and passion,” as her predecessor, Sir Michael Wilshaw.

It comes two years after Ofsted warned that it had uncovered unregistered Islamic madrassas across the UK, raising fears large numbers of children were at risk of being “abused and radicalised” in them.

“Those children are very highly segregated from the British mainstream, so of course it must be a concern about what is happening in those segregated worlds,” Ms Spielman added. [The Telegraph] Read more

Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution, official says

Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.

Alpaslan Durmus, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

“We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension,” said Durmus in a video published on the education ministry’s website.

Durmus said a chapter on evolution was being removed from ninth grade biology course books, and the subject postponed to the undergraduate period. Another change to the curriculum may reduce the amount of time that students spend studying the legacy of secularism.

Critics of the government believe public life is being increasingly stripped of the secular traditions instilled by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The secular opposition has long argued that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pursuing a covert Islamist agenda contrary to the republic’s founding values. Education is a particularly contentious avenue, because of its potential in shaping future generations. Small-scale protests by parents in local schools have opposed the way religion is taught. [The Guardian] Read more

22 June 2017

You can't disconnect terrorism from Islam, Couillard says in wake of Flint attack

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is facing criticism from Muslim community leaders after saying there is a link between Islam and terrorism.

Couillard made the comments Thursday in Quebec City. He was asked by a reporter whether he was concerned Quebec Muslims could face a backlash following the arrest of a Montrealer in connection with an attack earlier this week at a Michigan airport.

On Wednesday, U.S. authorities identified Amor Ftouhi, 49, as the suspect in the stabbing of a police officer at Flint's Bishop International Airport

The FBI is treating the attack as an act of terrorism and said the suspect shouted "Allahu akbar" as he drew his knife, which is Arabic for "God is great."

"Unfortunately, you cannot disconnect this type of event — terrorism — from Islam in general," Couillard said. [CBC News] Read more

Andy Burnham pledges to replace Prevent strategy in Manchester

The much-criticised Prevent programme is to be replaced in Greater Manchester as part of a broad review of the region’s counter-terror strategy in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said the deradicalisation scheme had achieved some success but was “too top-down”. He said: “Prevent, as it’s currently configured, will only take you so far. There has been a feeling of disengagement because of the way it goes about its work. We’re saying that can’t be allowed to carry on. It will only succeed if there’s true community buy-in at grassroots level, and the information comes that way.”

The programme is to be reviewed and replaced by a “distinctive” Greater Manchester approach that commands the confidence of the region’s Muslim communities, the former Labour MP said. [The Guardian] Read more

Muslim women need to challenge the patriarchy in their own faith

.. I stated plainly that certain narratives, especially within the orthodox segments of Muslim society, must be challenged by Muslim women themselves, because awareness of their own place in society is central to achieving any kind of progress.

Embedded narratives on polygamy, wife battery and the segregation and seclusion of women prevent a robust challenge emerging in these communities.

For example, the argument that men are natural leaders of the household, and that they have a stronger sexual urge than women, is used to excuse polygamy.

Many traditional Muslim homes embrace such explanations, along with a related religious sanction for beating wives. The religious justification thwarts any challenge to such outrages.

I urged members of the audience to ponder these issues with open and inclusive minds, to eschew any narrow religious basis for antagonism and especially for misogyny.

Muslim women in particular must see these traditional narratives for what they are. They are mere rationalizations, and the time has come to see beyond them. [Toronto Sun] Read more

Austria opposes Islamic kindergartens

Austria’s Foreign Minister expressed his opposition to Islamic kindergartens in the country, claiming these schools limit the integration of the immigrants.

Speaking at a panel discussion organized by Vienna-based German language newspaper Kurier, Sebastian Kurz argued that these schools raise individuals isolated from the society.

When asked if these schools should be closed down, Kurz said that the schools were getting aid from the state. If the criteria are made difficult to get the support, the schools will close down, he added.

“Apart from this, I think there is no necessity for [these schools]. There should not be Islamic kindergartens,” he said.

Kurz said that around 10,000 children were attending these schools in the capital Vienna. He said these pre-school education institutions were financed by taxes and provide ‘low-level education’. [Anadolu Agency] Read more

And you still expect them to love us?

The reaction in the Arab world to the Finsbury Park attack may not have been always quite what you'd expect. Here's Egyptian TV host Youssef Al-Husseini getting it all off his chest:

"In all the previous vehicular attacks, at least in 2016 and 2017, the "heroes" were, unfortunately, Muslims. And then people wonder why they hate us. Why do they hate us?! If they didn't, there would be something mentally wrong with them.

[We] use weapons all the time, slaughter people all the time, flay people all the time, burn people alive all the time, run people over all the time, and plant explosive devices and car bombs all the time. Why do you still expect them to love you? [...]

"Tell me what the Muslims have contributed to the world throughout the 20th century? Nothing. What have the Turkish Muslims of the Ottoman state contributed to the West? Slaughter, massacres, the impaling of Europeans on spears... It's true. That's what the Turks did in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. What did the Muslim Turks do to their Arab neighbors, most of whom are Muslims?

They enslaved them, tortured them, imposed inflated taxes upon them. They made their lives unbearable. What did the Muslims contribute to the West in the 19th and 20th centuries, except for the theories of Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Abu Bakr Naji, and Osama Bin Laden? What did the Muslims contribute to the West? [...] [Mick Hartley] Read more

Battle for Mosul: IS 'blows up' al-Nuri mosque

So-called Islamic State (IS) has blown up the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraqi forces say.

The ancient landmark with its famous leaning minaret was where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a "caliphate" in 2014.

However, IS claims that US aircraft destroyed the complex, in a statement issued by its news outlet Amaq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said blowing up the mosque was "an official declaration of defeat" by IS.

Aerial photos show that the mosque and minaret has been largely destroyed.

The Iraqi commander in charge of the offensive to retake Mosul said troops were within 50 metres of the mosque when IS "committed another historical crime". [BBC] Read more

Book Review of Ibn Warraq: The Islam in Islamic Terrorism

Europe and the Western world are also increasingly being targeted by such deadly terror. Western politicians and media are quick to claim that the murderous attacks carried out by militant Muslims have nothing to do with Islam. The esteemed author Ibn Warraq disproves this false claim in his new book The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology.

The book is packed with examples showing the continuity of Islamic thought and practices for more than one thousand years. This includes revealing quotes from the Kharijites, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Syed Abul A’la Maududi, the strongly pro-Nazi Palestinian Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husaini, Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and others from the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad abd-al-Salam Faraj, Abdullah Azzam, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Many leading figures from the international Jihadist movements have been members of the Muslim Brotherhood. They range from Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam to Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the terrorist network al-Qaida after the death of Osama bin Laden, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State (ISIS). [New English Review] Read more

21 June 2017

Turkey says liberal German mosque 'incompatible' with Islam

Turkey's religious affairs agency has expressed distaste over a new mosque in Berlin where men and women mingle freely, saying it was incompatible with the principes of Islam.

Diyanet, which oversees religious activity in Turkey, said that such ideas were in line with projects led by the group of Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey blames for the July 15 failed coup.

Men and women pray side by side at the mosque that opened earlier this month in Berlin, which has female imams and where Muslims of all sects of the faith are welcome to worship together.

Supporters of the Berlin mosque said it would allow liberal Muslims to worship freely but in a tough statement Diyanet took a different stance.

It said that the mosque "neglects" the basic principles of Islam and was "incompatible with the worship, knowledge and methodology" accumulated since the faith was founded by the Prophet Mohammed 14 centuries ago.

"It is clear that this has been a project carried out for many years by FETO and other ill-gotten structures for the engineering of religion," it added. [AFP] Read more

Liberal mosque in Berlin draws criticism

Men and women pray side-by-side, and there's a female imam who doesn't even wear a headscarf. For many in the Islamic world, these things are inconceivable. A new liberal mosque in Berlin has been causing a stir.

Sunnis, Shiites, Alevis, members of the LGTBQ community - all are welcome at the Friday prayer service at the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin. The organization, which holds its services inside the St. Johannis Church in the area of Moabit, has sparked criticism since a DW report on its founder, women's rights activist Seyran Ates, who established the institution despite fierce resistance.

Reports about the liberal mosque found their way into several newspapers in the Muslim world. The pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah called it "absurd" that services took place inside a church. Another newspaper, Yeniakit, labeled Ates a Kurdish supporter of the controversial cleric Fethullah Gulen. And Daily Pakistan criticized the fact that women took part in prayer services unveiled.

Men and uncovered women praying together, and presided over by a female imam on top of it? For some in the Muslim world, that's simply going too far. "They're creating a new religion, that's not Islamic," commented one DW user. "These people are not following the religion of our prophet. They have no conception of the religion. What idiocy," commented another. [Deutsche Welle] Read more

Islam in Europe: German Preacher Backs Controversial Language Lessons for Imams as Debate Over Integration Rages

A Muslim leader in Germany has called for state-backed training of imams to include language lessons in a bid to tackle concerns about integration and Islamophobia.

In an article for the country's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Benjamin Idriz, an imam from the southern state of Bavaria, wrote that preachers could serve as the “driving force behind integration and dialogue” between communities, but that they often lack “basic requirements” such as the ability to speak German.

Idriz pointed out that no state-backed option for the training of imams currently exists in the country and proposed an institute for the teaching of German imams. He suggested the Ludwig-Maximillians University in Munich as one option for its base as the university already includes a center for Islamic studies.

He also warned that many imams who came to Germany from abroad were “directly connected with foreign religious authorities” and therefore “under foreign influence.” Commentators in Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, often raise the subject of influence of imams from abroad on Muslim communities as part of the fierce debate about integration and the place of Islam in German life. [Newsweek] Read more

There is an antidote to hate crime. Here's what we all must do

.... Media outlets must stop providing a soapbox from which extremists can project their hatred. Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League, columnist Katie Hopkins and hate preacher Anjem Choudary may have boosted audience figures but their vitriol has done the same for hate-crime figures too.

That would go some way towards taking the momentum out of this cycle of terror and “revenge”. Dreading what you’ll wake up to each morning is no way to live. It erodes our collective wellbeing, just as extremists want to erode our quality of life, and to damage our society and its freedoms.

British Muslims deserve full protection, and they will get it

It’s hard to remain unaffected. Only yesterday I felt a pang of fear as I walked around my local, largely white area in my headscarf. But extremists on all sides thrive on that fear – they throw it on to the fire, along with hate and intolerance, and dance around the flames in glee. We can’t let them do that. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Muslim Council of Britain warns the media is ‘spreading hate’

The Muslim Council of Britain warned on Monday that British newspapers were fuelling hatred against Muslims. The organisation’s words came in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on a mosque in London’s Finsbury Park, where a van was driven into worshippers on Sunday night as they exited the building. The attacker had reportedly shouted “I want to kill all Muslims.”

Although no particular publications were named, Miqdaad Versi, the MCB’s assistant secretary, claimed that “We have national newspapers spreading hate and talking about how less Islam is the answer to terrorism that we face right now.” However, he also praised the government for “taking the attack seriously.”

Journalists such as Peter Oborne supported this view, claiming in the Middle East Eye that despite claiming Islamophobia does not exist, the right-wing press needs to “urgently consider” whether there is a link between the language used by conservative journalists and the abuse faced by many British Muslims.

Oborne cited writers such as Charles Moore, Douglas Murray and Rod Liddle for encouraging this view and said they needed to retract such “dangerous bilge” and start taking seriously “the problem of anti-Muslim hatred.” [MEND] Read more

Muslim imam who married off a child bride, 14, to a man 20 years her senior is SPARED jail

A former Muslim imam who married off a 14-year-old girl to a 34-year-old man has escaped jail time and placed on a good behaviour order.

Ibrahim Omerdic, 62, was found guilty of solemnising the marriage of the teenage girl and a man, 34, during a ceremony in Noble Park, Melbourne, last September.

Magistrate Phillip Goldberg on Wednesday sentenced Omerdic to two months' prison for his 'serious breach of trust' but released him immediately on a two-year recognisance release order.

Omerdic was an imam of the Bosnian Islamic Society and Noble Park Mosque, but he was suspended after his November arrest over the wedding.

'If (he) is happy with something, do it. If (he) is not happy with something, don't do it,' he tells the girl in the shaky mobile footage.

Omerdic can also be heard telling the child's mother and her betrothed: 'She's very young.' [Daily Mail] Read more

Islamists have failed to divide France. Will they succeed in Britain?

Islamic State will be delighted by what happened outside Finsbury Park mosque in the early hours of Monday morning. In the space of three months they’ve achieved in Britain what they failed to pull off in France during five years, and provoked a retaliatory act.

This is what they want. When the Syrian intellectual, Abu Moussab al-Souri, published his 1600-page manifesto in 2005, ‘The Global Islamic Resistance Call’, his stated goal was to plunge Europe into a war of religion.

Describing the continent as the soft underbelly of the West, al-Souri’s first target was France, the country he considered the most susceptible to fracturing along religious lines because it has the largest Muslim population in Europe, many of whom could be manipulated by both the colonial history of France and its strict secularism that outlaws ostentatious displays of religion.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 36 votes] Blimey. Talk about wishful thinking. The seeds of future discontent are only just being sown, and this writer is already on a victory lap for multicultural France.

[2ND 26] The problem is not fiddling (while Europe burns) over whether 'laïcite' or 'multiculturalism' is the least useless approach. The largest part of the problem is that European politicians - including our own from both Parties - have been importing into Blighty - ditto the rest of the Continent - many hundreds and hundreds of thousands of folks from often hostile countries and cultures every single year, after year, after year, after year, after ... how many will the ferry service pick up in the Med for a taxi ride to Italy this week?

And next? And the next? How many 'cousins' and 'uncles' from the foothills arriving this year? And next? How many millions of young men of military age invited in off the back of the next picture of a kid on a beach, or sat in a seat someplace? One million? Three? Double that? Triple?

A deliberate policy to radically, rapidly and permanently change Britain and Europe's demographics, pursued with vigor by *mainstream* politicians throughout Western Europe, our own crowd at Westminster, the Civil Service, (publicly-funded) *charities*, and defended/enforced by the BBC, etc., - that's the real culprit behind the carnage on the streets of Britain and France, the many Rotherham's and Cologne's and Sweden's, the thousands of armed police with automatic sub-machine guns now roaming the streets. How vibrant! The whole thing an unwanted and unnecessary policy pursued against the wishes and interests of the existing British - and European - people. Yay, celebrate!

Laïcite, Multiculturalism, who gives a monkeys, there's no point praying and hoping that your particular abstraction works ever-so-slightly better, when no-one shows any signs of rowing away from the rocks.

[3RD 24] "Far from dividing French society with their campaign of terror, the Islamists have actually brought the country closer together. "

Oh it's all OK then! So all we need in the UK is to have a bunch of Mohammadian peasants cut off a few heads and we'll be united once more.

Thanks Gavin.

[4TH 22] I am afraid that Macron may buy a few years by his shrewd - and admirable - intervention. But the result of the game remains clear. The version of Islam that is compatible with liberal democratic modernity hasn't been invented yet. And won't ever be. Pray for our granddaughters. They will pay the price, as they always do.

[5TH 19] Gavin Mortimer is obsessed with the supposed wonders of laïcité. Last time he argued that it helped prevent Islamic terrorism, even though France has suffered worse than any other country. Now he's arguing that it has prevented retaliatory attacks, implying that the reason we have suffered one is because we haven't adopted it. But Darren Osborne was not motivated by any religious faith (as far as we know), so how on earth would secularism have stopped him? Or even if he was? People do write such drivel when it comes to Islam.

Face it, France is a divided country. You can't have that many people of a different race, religion and culture in your country, who hate you and are ready to riot and support acts of terror, and call yourself united under any sensible definition.

[6TH 14] "...the Islamists have actually brought the country closer together. Government figures reveal that in 2016 ‘racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim acts and threats’ dropped by 44.7pc compared to the previous year..."

From the report: "This very considerable decrease bears witness to the effectiveness of measures for protection of places of worship introduced in January 2015."

How does this indicate that the country has come "closer together"? The fact that the government has had to increase the presence of armed police hardly fits the idyllic picture of a country at peace. But these so called "hate crimes"

European governments are busily concerning themselves with are often totally bogus; frequently they are frauds, unsubstantiated claims or the definitions are so loose as to be meaningless. It isn't unusual for governments to shift definitions in order to modify statistics so that they can pronounce to the public how efficacious their policies are; the causality isn't clear at all.

Of course, the report doesn't record the number of 'anti-French' attacks launched from the Muslim enclaves, it doesn't mention the extreme danger of the no go zones, and the French government is too hamstrung by political correctness to record the crime rates among the immigrants. In addition, the remarkably low turnout for the elections does not support the narrative that the French public are enamoured with the seraphic saviour of the EU, Macron. Rather it suggests they are dissatisfied by their political system and don't want to engage with it.

The wider problems of multiculturalism are also missed in this article. The rapidly increasing number of Muslims is not going to encourage integration, it is going to heighten the chances of terrorist attacks, and enlarge the self segregated Muslim societies which will be the cause of further divisions.

Multicultural countries have never been successful; it is one of histories' most obvious lessons. As an example of unity, we could look to Poland or Japan, which are almost entirely homogeneous and have very few Muslim inhabitants; none of them have experienced Jihadi attacks. But *that* kind of unity is not permitted under the current political orthodoxy. [The Spectator] Read more

20 June 2017

The U.K., radical Islam and the Darren Osbornes among us

.... I am no Muslim theologian, but Islamic extremists can hardly be blamed for concluding from their religious belief that neither western societies nor western governments are legitimate.

Their position is not illogical, given its premises. God, not man, is sovereign; the Koran is the word of God; therefore all that is not derivable from the Koran, or is opposed to it, is evil in the sense of being against God’s sovereignty. Only God has the right to be obeyed; and if he says kill, then kill we must.

.... Of course, Darren Osborne was hardly reacting against an Islamic view of sovereignty and its practical consequences. He almost surely did not have thoughts of political philosophy in his mind when he ploughed his hire van into Muslims outside Finsbury Park mosque, but hatred and an incoherent notion of group revenge: an atrocity for an atrocity, as it were. But he probably could not tell his Koran from his Corona, his Hadith from his Hoegaarden.

By his cruel, stupid and criminal action, he has given succor to those who would like all criticism of Islam to be treated as a kind of phobic disorder, akin to fear of spiders or mice, that is to say a disease of the mind.

The day after Finsbury Park, there was another attempted attack on a policeman on the Champs Elysées in Paris — and not by, or because of, the likes of Darren Osborne. [NYDailyNews.com] Read more

After Finsbury: Time for the UK's right-wing press to address its Islamophobia

For years, many conservative columnists have denied that Islamophobia exists. We must urgently consider whether there is a connection between their language and the insults, abuse and attacks on Muslims in this country.

.... There are urgent questions to be asked about our double standards. One bad Muslim is taken as a proxy for all Muslims, but one crazed, vicious white Englishman is not taken as proxy for all Englishmen.

Why aren’t we asking who radicalised the Finsbury Park attacker, and why they weren't reported by their community?

Why do we worry desperately about Islamist hate preachers, but not seem to care about hate preachers on the far-right. Tommy Robinson of the English Defence League was on breakfast TV within hours of the Finsbury attack. We need to contemplate new rules of public discourse.

For the last few years, I have been travelling around Britain as a commissioner for the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life. Our report comes out in two weeks.

We have heard harrowing accounts of the kind of intimidation and abuse that ordinary Muslims (all too often women) are obliged to endure.

And yet much too often, serious and influential people refuse to accept that any such thing as anti-Muslim bigotry exists. This week’s Queen’s Speech is a chance for Theresa May to change course.

Meanwhile, the moment has come for some of my colleagues (and, in some cases, friends) in the Conservative press to ask some deep, searching questions about their own use of language about Muslims and Islam. [Middle East Eye] Read more

Norwegian Muslim plans liberal mosque in Oslo

A new, gay-friendly mosque planned in Oslo will allow female imams and men and women praying together.

The mosque, which will be located in the centre of the Norwegian capital, will be called Masjid al-Nisa’ (The Women’s Mosque), reports media Vårt Land.

“I wanted to start a feminist mosque where women have as much space as men. Both men and women should be able to lead prayers, and all genders should be able to pray in the same room,” Thee Yezen al-Obaide, who came up with the idea for the mosque, told the newspaper.

Via the organisation Skeiv Verden (Offbeat World), al-Obaide has also set up an informal network for gay Muslims in Norway, he said.

“The mosque will be a place that is open for anyone that feels that they do not fit in at ordinary mosques. Women, men, trans people, homosexuals, heterosexuals – everyone is welcome,” the man behind the new mosque said. [The Local] Read more

Why Theresa May Is Wrong To Suggest That Islamophobia Is A Form Of Extremism

.... What was interesting however was the way in which she referred to Islamophobia. According to her, Islamophobia was a form of extremism. Of course, any attempt to tackle Islamophobia is not only welcome but so too long overdue in the British political spaces especially as the Conservatives had gone silent on the issue once the impotence of its Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hate had been exposed. However, referring to Islamophobia as a form of extremism and indeed continuing to frame it in this way is extremely problematic

.... For me, the political linking of Islamophobia with extremism is rather more deliberate than today’s announcement might suggest in that it would appear to serve two functions. First, it sends out the misguided message that Islamophobia is solely consequential of terrorism and extremism. In other words, if Muslims ‘stop blowing themselves up’ then people will ‘stop hating them’.

Second, it appears to be something of a pacifier to Muslims in that the Government is saying that if it commits to doing something about Islamophobia then Muslims should not rock the boat about the introduction of ever more stringent and pernicious counter-terror and counter-extremism measures that are likely to be announced in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday.

Instead of exceptionalising Islamophobia by defining it as extremism, Islamophobia needs to be rather more normalised and brought in line with how we understand, define and subsequently respond to other discriminatory phenomena. [The Huffington Post UK] Read more