18 February 2018

Ukip's Gerard Batten reiterates his belief that Islam is a 'death cult'

.... Batten, formerly Ukip’s Brexit spokesman, has previously attracted controversy for calling Islam a “death cult”, saying non-Muslims were rational in being afraid of the faith and calling for a ban on the construction of new mosques in the UK.

In his first interview since becoming interim leader, Batten told Sky News’s Paterson on Sunday he would consider whether to seek the job permanently and defended his opinions.

Asked about calling Islam a death cult on his personal blog, he said: “What I wrote there about Islam is factually and historically true, and anybody that cares to look at the history of Islam over the last 1,400 years will see that that is true.

“It was propagated by invasion, by violence and intimidation. And if you look at every continent in the world where you have this belief, then you have violence. It glorifies death. They believe in propagating their religion by killing other people and martyring themselves and going and getting their 72 virgins.” [The Guardian] Read more

Macron and Muslims in France: “Vaste Programme, Monsieur”

Many years ago, Charles De Gaulle was addressing a political rally when an enthusiast in the crowd shouted out “Mort aux cons!,” a term first used by the French military in addressing the enemy, and which means “Death to the idiots” or “Death to the dopes.” De Gaulle turned slowly to where the shout had come from and famously replied “Vaste programme, monsieur,” which means “that, sir, is a very tall order.”

Emanuel Macron, who is now proposing to promote “national cohesion” and crush Islamic “fundamentalism” by restructuring Islam in France, deserves the same response: “Vaste programme, monsieur.”

First, given the plethora of Islamic institutions in France, with 2,500 mosques, thousands of imams representing different sects, different levels of cooperation by Muslims, both clerics and believers, with the French state, and different degrees of integration into French society, who shall speak for Muslims in France? Macron has suggested the creation of the position of Grand Imam, based on the model of the Grand Rabbi, who speaks for French Jews.

But the problem remains: who will decide who should be chosen as “Grand Imam”? Will it be the French government? Will it be the current heads of existing Muslim organizations, that vary considerably in their ideology as in their size and significance, in solemn conclave assembled? Vaste programme, monsieur. [New English Review] Read more

Gerard Batten Defends Describing Islam As A 'Death Cult'

Ukip’s acting leader has defended labelling Islam a “death cult”.

Gerard Batten, who took the reins of the chaos-stricken party after Henry Bolton was ousted as leader on Saturday, claimed that a “significant minority” of Muslims are extremists who want to be martyred and insisted Islam “glorifies death”.

The London MEP said Muslims migrating to the UK should reject the “dark age ideologies which many of them bring with them” through a literalist interpretation of the Koran.

In the wake of the Westminster terror attack in 2017, Batten posted a blog in which he called Islam a “death cult”.

“The terrorist attack in Westminster was just the latest in a long line of atrocities committed internationally in the name of Islam,” he wrote.

Speaking on Sky News’s Sunday With Niall Paterson, Batten defended his comments, saying: “What I wrote there about Islam is factually and historically true.

“Anybody that cares to look at the history of Islam over the past 1,400 years will see that that is true.” [The Huffington Post UK] Read more

17 February 2018

'Utterly wrong' for headteacher to have suffered abuse after hijab ban, says Education Secretary

The Education Secretary has said it was “utterly wrong” for the headteacher of a leading primary school to have suffered abuse after banning the hijab for girls under eight.

Damian Hinds backed the right of school leaders to set their own uniform policies, saying they are in charge and should not be harassed as a result.

His intervention came after Neena Lall, head of St Stephen’s primary in Newham, came under fierce personal criticism — which saw her likened to Hitler — after banning young pupils from wearing the Islamic headscarf in school. The decision was later reversed following the backlash from parents.

Mr Hinds told the Evening Standard: “I am very clear that schools set uniform policy.

"Schools are in charge of what is okay to wear to school and nobody should be subject to abuse and harassment — no school leader or school governor — as a result of that. [Evening Standard] Read more

16 February 2018

Britons are unknowingly eating Halal meat that is being sold without a label, says top vet

Britons are inadvertently eating meat from animals slaughtered while they are still conscious, a top vet has warned.

Lord Trees, who is a former president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, said the meat would mainly be found in pies and ready meals.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of sheep and poultry being killed without being stunned first. This has been attributed to religious practices.

But Lord Trees, a crossbench peer, said it was highly probable that some unstunned meat was entering the ‘standard’ food chain as well.

Writing in the journal Vet Record, he pointed out that many experts were calling for a law change so that all animals had to be stunned before being killed.

The issue is controversial because halal and kosher meat – some, but not all of it, from stunned animals – is an essential part of Muslim and Jewish practices. [1121 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 7645 votes] The sooner Kosher and Halal are banned altogether the better a civilised society cannot call itself so if these wicked practices are allowed to continue.

[2ND 5902] Its a joke and its disgusting. This IS animal torture. Thi needs to be regulated. its not right.

[3RD 5680] This should not be forced on the public at large.

[4TH 4556] I want to eat only non-religious meat.

[5TH 3225] This is chilling. [Daily Mail] Read more

15 February 2018

Morocco OKs law against violence on women, wives excluded

Morocco's parliament has approved legislation against violence on women. It took 1,200 days for MPs to approve law 103-13, also known as 'Hakkauoi law', after Family and Solidarity Minister Bassima Hakkaoui who promoted it.

The legislation obtained its second and final approval on Valentine's Day with 168 yes votes and 55 nays and is considered a step forward to promote gender equality.

The law's first vote dates back to June 2006, when 83 lawmakers voted in favor and 22 against.

The legislation now extends the term violence to acts of aggression and abuse via text messages, vocal messages or photos, sexual exploitation, aggression and abuse in the workplace and harshens punishment in situations like pregnancy or in the event that violence is perpetrated by people who are known to the victim, like colleagues. However, the legislation does not contemplate spousal abuse, a controversial issue in civil society. [ANSAmed] Read more

Pensacola NAS sailor wants permission to wear hijab head covering during training

A Pensacola Naval Air Station sailor who was told to remove her hijab has requested official permission to wear the head covering while attending the base's Naval Air Technical Training Center.

Lt. Cmdr. Katherine Meadows, spokeswoman for the training center, said the student made the official request after she was told by an instructor to take off her hijab.

Meadows said the student was previously denied a request to wear the hijab during her eight-week basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois.

"Upon her arrival at Naval Air Technical Training Center, she did not have commanding officer approval to wear the hijab, therefore she was appropriately directed to remove it to ensure compliance with Navy standards," Meadows said in an emailed statement.

Meadows said the Navy's uniform regulations do not authorize the wearing of a hijab or any other non-uniform items unless the sailor is granted a waiver based on an exception to the policy. Religious exceptions are allowed, but must be requested and approved. [Pensacola News Journal] Read more

Western Feminists: Hijab Hypocrisy

No one in the Women's March called out the Iranian government for imprisoning, torturing and killing women trying to break free of their shackles. Instead, they chanted "Me Too" and "Time's Up," as they paraded with activists such as Palestinian-American Linda Sarsour, who calls for jihad and apparently also denigrated one of her employees who was a victim of sexual assault in the workplace.

The same day as activists, fighting tyrannical regimes, were burning hijabs in solidarity with Iranian and other suppressed women across the world, the spineless British Foreign Office was handing out hijabs, trying to sell them as a symbol of "Liberation", "Respect" and "Security".

These women -- who are trapped in despotic Middle Eastern dictatorships, who face possible prosecution and having their lives ruined -- were given no attention by the same women marchers in the U.S.

Evidently, feminists in the West were too busy wearing hijabs in solidarity with Sarsour and other promoters of Islamic law (sharia), which advises husbands to beat their wives; that in court, a woman's testimony is worth only half a man's testimony; that daughters can receive only half the inheritance of a son, and that if a woman is raped, she will need four male Muslim witnesses, supposedly at the scene, to prove that she was not committing adultery. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Walsall council ban on cemetery borders and flowerbeds challenged

A Muslim man is mounting a legal challenge over a prohibition on edging, or borders, around individual graves in his local cemetery, saying that the ban breaches his right to freedom of religion.

Atta Ul-Haq has been granted permission for a judicial review of Walsall council’s policy on the basis that it is a matter of public interest.

Ul-Haq’s father was buried in the Muslim section of Streetly cemetery in Walsall in 2015. Newer sections of the cemetery are “lawn only”, the graves marked only with headstones and not surrounded by borders. Edgings and flowerbeds have been prohibited apart from in a section that has children’s graves.

The policy has triggered protests by members of the Muslim community because the Islamic faith forbids people from stepping on a person’s grave. [The Guardian] Read more

'Celebrating Valentine's Day is immoral': Islamic teacher slams the day of romance and says Muslim women should NEVER be referred to as a 'girlfriend'

An Islamic teacher who covers her face with a niqab has written a poem describing Valentine's Day as immoral.

Muslim convert Umm Jamaal ud-Din, who is based in western Sydney, told her 18,357 Facebook followers to avoid the annual day of romance.

Using the hashtag '#SayNoToValentinesDay', she mocked Roses are Red-style love poems.

'Roses are red, violets are blue, celebrating Valentine's Day is from what the immoral people do,' she said.

The religious instructor, also known as Mouna Parkin, made her denunciation of Valentine's Day next to an image of a moral values sign in a Muslim fashion store.

'In Islam, a woman is know to be your mother, sister, wife and your daughter,' she said. 'She is never known to be your girlfriend.' [Daily Mail Australia] Read more

14 February 2018

Muslim leader urges Macron not to meddle too much in French Islam

A leading representative of French Muslims urged Emmanuel Macron not to meddle in the organization of France’s second-largest religion, days after the president said he would try to redefine relations between Islam and the state.

The rebuke came from the leader of an organization set up 15 years ago in a bid to defuse concern about radical preachers and foster a more homegrown form of Islam that would fit better with France’s traditional separation of church and state affairs.

“Everyone must stick to their role,” Ahmet Ogras, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), told Reuters in an interview.

“The Muslim faith is a religion and, as such, takes care of its own household affairs. The last thing you want is the state to act as guardian,” said Ogras, a Frenchman of Turkish descent who has led the CFCM since mid-2017.

.... Macron’s declarations in the Feb. 11 newspaper interview suggest he is considering a profound reorganization of the way in which the Islam faith is funded and its preachers schooled. [Reuters] Read more

Ministers too 'politically correct' to enforce hijab policy in schools, former Ofsted boss warns

The Government is too politically correct to enforce rules on hijabs in schools, leaving teachers "alone, isolated and vulnerable", the former head of Ofsted has warned.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said a lack of formal policy from the Department for Education on whether children should be allowed to cover their heads in lessons has led to angry clashes.

He also highlighted concerns that there are 150 schools around the country which make it compulsory for children to wear hijabs, adding that "the country has enormously changed" and some communities hold very conservative views which cannot easily be challenged.

It follows a public outcry after a primary school in east London announced it was banning children from wearing hijabs but was forced to reverse the decision after complaints from parents.

.... The Government is expected to come under further pressure to publish formal guidance on hijabs later this month, after the education select committee said it would hear evidence from the current chief inspector of schools about the issue.

Amanda Spielman will be questioned by MPs after she backed the Newham school's decision.

Earlier this month she said some religious fundamentalists want to "actively pervert the purpose of education ... and in the worst cases indoctrinate impressionable minds with extremist ideology". [The Telegraph] Read more

13 February 2018

Macron Vows to Reform Islam in France. "It is time to bring in a new generation"

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a declared effort to "fight fundamentalism" and "preserve national cohesion," has promised to "lay the groundwork for the entire reorganization of Islam in France."

According to Macron, the plan, similar in ambition to Austria's Islam Law, is aimed at seeking to "better integrate" Islam in France in order to "place it in a more peaceful relationship with the state."

A key priority is to reduce outside interference by restricting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in France. The plan's overall objective is to ensure that French law takes precedence over Islamic law for Muslims living in the country. [Gatestone Institute] Read more

The enemy of all that is modern

Sayyid Al-Qemany is an Egyptian writer and intellectual whose work emphasises the importance of secular critical thinking. He believes, for instance, that the Koran should be subject to scholarly study as a historical document.

In 2009 he received Egypt’s highest cultural award, the State Award of Merit Prize for achievement in the field of the social sciences - a decision which didn't go down too well with the Muslim establishment:

"Just imagine a religion that a thousand years ago stopped adding anything, stopped changing, stopped renewing itself. Therefore the way Muslims think is at complete odds with our times, because they think according to the logic of a thousand years ago. Mankind has evolved and the sciences have progressed in a way that no one could have anticipated. The Muslims find it impossible to grasp and understand this great progress. [...]

"Al-Azhar refused to accuse ISIS of heresy for a very simple reason. If it had done so, ISIS would have said: "Everything we know we learned from you"....

"It is the source of terrorism. Al-Azhar is the enemy of all that is modern." [Mick Hartley] Read more

12 February 2018

Giving up control of Brussels mosque, Saudi Arabia sends a signal

Saudi Arabia has agreed to give up control of Belgium’s largest mosque in a sign that it is trying to shed its reputation as a global exporter of an ultra-conservative brand of Islam.

Belgium leased the Grand Mosque to Riyadh in 1969, giving Saudi-backed imams access to a growing Muslim immigrant community in return for cheaper oil for its industry.

But it now wants to cut Riyadh’s links with the mosque, near the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels, over concerns that what it preaches breeds radicalism.

The mosque’s leaders deny it espouses violence, but European governments have grown more wary since Islamist attacks that were planned in Brussels killed 130 people in Paris in 2015 and 32 in the Belgian capital in 2016.

Belgium’s willingness to put its demands to oil-producing Saudi Arabia, a major investor and arms client, breaks with what EU diplomats describe as the reluctance of governments across Europe to risk disrupting commercial and security ties. [Reuters] Read more

Bristol scout leader expelled after comparing Muslim colleague to Star Wars villain Darth Vader

A senior scout leader who was expelled for criticising a Muslim colleague for wearing a niqab has launched a law suit against the Scout Association.

Brian Walker, an assistant Explorer Scout leader from Bristol, wrote to Scouting magazine to complain after it featured a Muslim leader who was also a scout leader.

The woman, named as Zainab, told the Spring 2017 edition of the magazine: “A couple of times we’ve been out on hikes in our hijabs and neckers, and people have come up to us and given us a lot of positive comments.

“It is not a barrier; it doesn’t stop me from doing anything. I’m bossy. Nobody can say I’m repressed.”

But Mr Walker, a canoeing instructor, wrote to the magazine to say they would “most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent”.

In his letter, which was unpublished, he said her “outward appearance is enough to frighten children and animals”. [The Bristol Post] Read more

More and more French believe Islam is compatible with society

While the role of Islam in French society has long been a divisive and inflammatory topic a new study suggests people in France are now more accepting of the religion.

The new survey showed that 56 percent of French people believe Islam to be compatible with the values of French society compared to two years ago when the same percentage believed the opposite to be true.

Carried out by pollsters Ifop on behalf of Le Journal de Dimanche, the survey however also showed that 43 percent of the country does not think the religion is compatible with life in France (see graph below).

The survey comes at a time when France is waiting for President Macron to deliver his vision for the role of Islam in French society.

In an interview with Le Journal de Dimanche in November the president said he wanted "to reorganize Islam in France to better integrate worship, fight fundamentalism and preserve 'national cohesion'.” [The Local] Read more

11 February 2018

Emmanuel Macron to propose reorganization of Islam in France

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to reorganize Islam in France to better integrate worship, fight fundamentalism and preserve “national cohesion.”

“We are working on the structuring [he used the word structuration] of Islam in France and also on how to explain it, which is extremely important,” Macron told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview Sunday.

“My goal is to rediscover what lies at the heart of laïcité [the French concept of secularism], the possibility of being able to believe as not to believe, in order to preserve national cohesion and the possibility of having free consciousness,”the French leader said declining to reveal further details about the reform plan. “I will not reveal the proposal until the work is completed,” he said. [POLITICO] Read more

Scout master fired for ‘Darth Vader’ veil jibe

A Scout master has been expelled for comparing a Muslim leader who wore a niqab, which covers the face, to the Star Wars villain Darth Vader.

Brian Walker, 63, an assistant Explorer Scout leader, complained to Scouting magazine after it featured the woman who it said “cut a striking figure” “in her full Islamic veil” “when she takes the girls out canoeing”.

He emailed saying: “Canoeists don’t dress like this; they need all-round unobstructed vision so they protect the group. They will most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent!”

The woman, from Yorkshire, named as Zainab, told the spring 2017 edition: “It’s not about being Muslim, it’s about being human. A couple of times we’ve been out on hikes in our hijabs and neckers, and people have come up to us and given us lots of positive comments. It’s not a ­barrier; it doesn’t stop me from doing anything. I’m bossy. Nobody can say I’m repressed.” [78 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 115 votes] Madness, sharia law cripping into our society. You can't even criticise or joke about the burka. Doesn't matter that someone can drown or be suffocated by veil when doing sport. Let alone about psychological aspect of not seeing facial expression nor body language when 70% of our communication is non verbal. It doesn't create a trustful relationship.

[2ND 101] He is quite correct about needing all around vision when canoeing, more so than driving where women wearing this attire are a danger to other road users, but more importantly, pedestrians.

The time has come where practicality, and common sense override political correctness.

[3RD 85] Just yesterday a top Cleric in Saudi Arabia issued a ruling that Women need no longer wear an Abaya.

It seems just as Saudi Arabia is turning away from an intolerant and unbending form of Islam that promotes Women to dress in the full veil - we in the Politically correct UK are marching - lemming like over the cliff - towards it .

[4TH 76] PC irrationality and willingness to suppress reasonable comment knows no bounds.

There has to be a reaction against these narcissistic posturing morons.

[5TH 72] ".....It’s not a ­barrier; it doesn’t stop me from doing anything" she says.

It does exactly what it is designed to do, it's a mysoginistic construct to prevent her interacting with the world. For a 'teacher' and 'guide' of children I'd have thought personal and social interaction would be rather important.

.... She has every right to wear what she wants but she should not be able to teach or lead children wearing that type of outfit. It's simply inappropriate for the role and shouldn't that be the criteria to on which to base a decision of suitability rather than 'cultural rights' and PCness. [The Times (£)] Read more

10 February 2018

A culture of fear and intimidation cannot pass through the school gates

.... St Stephen’s Primary School in east London has been at the centre of media attention after its ban on young pupils wearing the hijab and fasting during Ramadan. I have seen the vitriolic abuse on social media after this decision and read of the intimidation of staff, resulting in the resignation of the chairman of governors.

.... We want to do all we can to help schools on sensitive issues, such as those thrown up by this case, and we will be working closely with school leaders and sector organisations on how we can support them.

Schools must continue to make decisions in the best interests of their pupils, in line with the law and in discussion with parents — and we will always protect their right to make these decisions.

As members of society, we all have a role to play in exemplifying the very values we are promoting to our young people to help protect them from extremist views. If we fail to do so, the price is not only the loss of great head teachers and governors, but the undermining of all our efforts to create a cohesive society, one of the most vital strands of our British way of life. [The Times (£)] Read more

We’ll stand up for schools that ban hijabs and fasting, pledges minister

Schools that try to ban hijabs or fasting will receive government support if they face a backlash, a minister has pledged.

Lord Agnew of Oulton, the schools minister, says that he will help head teachers to make difficult and “sensitive” decisions if they come up against opposition.

Writing for The Times, he criticised parents, local residents and religious leaders who “intimidate and bully” schools when they disagree with the head teacher. He said that “a culture of fear and intimidation must not be allowed to pass through the school gates”.

He gave his personal backing to Neena Lall, head of St Stephen’s primary in east London which tried to ban girls under eight from wearing the hijab. The school capitulated to opposition and removed the ban last month.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] "The Muslim Council of Britain said last week that Ofsted had issued a “disproportionate” number of statements about Muslims. It warned: “A lack of appropriate engagement will undoubtedly strengthen the negative perception among many Muslim parents about Ofsted’s interventions.”

This is where I lose any sympathy for Muslims. This is (one of the areas) where I get negative perceptions about Muslims. They live in the UK, they are a minority and yet they expect their own cultural and religious ways to dominate those of their host country. They have totally the wrong attitude. They should be doing what they can to integrate into their host country. If they aren't they need to be challenged as to why not.

School uniform is there to provide a school with identity but also inclusivity, same with school rules. Demanding your child wears your own cultural clothing instead of complying with a school's uniform ( the Koran does not require any specific clothing, it's the later interpretation by clerics in the hot and dusty 7th c ME countries ) and the need for children to integrate via accepting school wear, is demonstrating just how little you are prepared to adapt and integrate into this country, but rather more how you want to dominate.

Same with school curricula and the approach to Ramadam and schools. Same with demanding halal meat in schools and wanting segregation in PE and swimming lessons.

This is why I think if they don't like our values then they should resettle in a Muslim country which meets their requirements. However, ironically even some Muslim countries don't enforce the wearing of hijabs or niqabs even for adult women, so they'd have to go to regressive places.

[2ND] Fasting and the hijab should be banned in all primary school by the government. Both practices were always for teens / adults in Islam and have been introduced recently by fundamentalists.

[3RD] The Hijab is about preventing men getting aroused at the sight of a woman. If men are getting aroused at the sight of the hair of children, regardless of age, then they need to seek help.

There are plenty of other ways to protect children from Paedophilic behaviour. Making them wear a Hijab is not one of them.

This garment should be banned for under 18’s.

[4TH] I wonder why Ofsted has issued a disproportionate number of statements about Muslims. Could it possibly be because Muslim schools are, in general, all about teaching isolationism rather than inclusiveness, and the Koran rather than the core curriculum?

[5TH] Why leave this battle for the schools to fight; why not introduce a law?

[6TH] The government needs to stop buck passing and put in place nationally applicable legislation. Expecting individual schools to risk running battles with potentially extremist groups is ridiculous.

[7TH] At root, this is about stopping the rise of sectarianism in the UK.

There is a new, aggressive, hardline religiosity at work among the Muslim population that began in the 1980s and took even settled Muslims by surprise. It galvanised Muslim youth and led to the jubilant response to the death order against Rushdie.

Behind it are unreconstructed Salafist and Islamist groups with links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. These groups were also behind the aggressive and vicious campaign against the St Stephens headteacher and chair of the board of governors.

We are in practice a secular society in which a segment of the population is growing numerically and their self-appointed representatives are trying to cement an increasingly unassimilable religious identity, bolstered by law (sharia councils) and education. I think we should politely push back. [The Times (£)] Read more

09 February 2018

Maldives crisis: a bitter religious divide comes to the fore

.... Maldivian authorities claim that 100% of its population are Muslims, and you need to be Muslim to be a citizen. Conservative Islamic groups in the country have been vocal in their support of the current leadership.

In the 2013 election, when Yameen replaced Nasheed, the rhetoric used against Nasheed portrayed him as anti-Islamic. One pamphlet widely circulated on social media read: “President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians.” The current ruling party also organised a rally with the slogan “my religion, my nation” during this time of crisis.

.... These conservative trends are at work across South Asia. Sri Lanka, for example, is feeling the growing influence of so-called da’wa (missionary) movements such as Jamaat-e-Islami and Tablighi Jamaat. These movements started their missionary activities in the 1970s, but they have since become part of a violent and deadly conflict between so-called reformists (conservatives) and Sufis. [The Conversation] Read more

Ofsted head to be questioned over backing for hijab ban

MPs are to quiz Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools in England, about her controversial backing for a ban on girls wearing the hijab, following complaints from Muslim community leaders.

Parliament’s education select committee will question Spielman, the head of Ofsted, next month over her vocal support for a primary school in east London that barred girls under eight from wearing the headscarf – a move the school’s headteacher swiftly reversed after complaints from parents.

It has emerged that the head who introduced the ban, Neena Lall, of St Stephen’s primary school in Newham, has publicly apologised to parents at the school, calling the decision a “huge error in judgment”.

Lall blamed the media for inflammatory reporting of the hijab ban last month, which staff members said was to help the youngest girls move freely in PE lessons and outdoor learning.

.... “I want to put on the record my full support for Neena Lall, the headteacher of St Stephen’s school in Newham, and her leadership team,” Spielman told a conference of Church of England school leaders.

“Schools must have the right to set school uniform policies as they see fit in order to promote cohesion. It is a matter of deep regret that this outstanding school has been subject to a campaign of abuse by those who want to undermine the school’s position.”

[The Guardian] Read more

08 February 2018

Make no mistake, the M103 report still focuses on Islamophobia

The eagerly anticipated M103 report seems to signal victory for citizens who sought to protect free speech. The wording of the report certainly appears to accede to their demand that Islamophobia not be treated as a special case.

Twenty-nine out of the 30 recommendations in the report even avoid the nebulous and troublesome word.

It mentions Islamophobia among a plethora of other issues related to racism and bigotry in Canada — a comprehensive statement that many had sought. The committee report has reinforced these broad recommendations by addressing various areas of concern, such as rights for First Nations citizens, women, transgender people and minorities.

.... The efforts of concerned citizens did pay off to some extent in deflecting the focus from Islamophobia to all incidents of bigotry. But the committee has been rather sly in recommending that Islamophobia still be recognized in a Jan. 29 National Day as part of the very last of its thirty recommendations. The City Council of Toronto is pondering the same.

.... This is despite the committee’s own findings that anti-Semitism is perhaps more of a concern than Islamophobia. According to the report, “While the Muslim population was the religious group that saw the greatest increase in the number of hate crimes against them in 2015, the most targeted group in 2015 remained the Jewish population.” [Toronto Sun] Read more

Judge unreasonable for barring woman from Victorian court because of niqab, Islamic Council says

A judge who barred a woman from wearing traditional Muslim garb in the Victorian Supreme Court was being unreasonable, the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) has said.

Justice Christopher Beale told lawyers that the wife of a man charged over terrorism offences could not be in the courtroom while she was wearing a niqab.

"All are welcome," Justice Beale told the court.

"But anybody who comes into the court [I require] for their face to be uncovered."

The lawyers for the accused said his wife was "content" to sit outside the courtroom on this occasion but it may become an issue if she is required to give evidence at a later date. [ABC] Read more