18 April 2016

Thank you Trevor Phillips, you’ve made me much more radical than before

.... I have repeatedly said that I as a Muslim am not interested in “assimilation” but I’m fully integrated in my country as a Muslim.

How else could I – as a headscarved Muslim woman – walk into somebody else’s sacred space (Blackburn Cathedral) and survive for ten years?

However, that doesn’t mean that I will not challenge certain unjust policies of my government whether that be Prevent, or international policies impacting local communities, such as what’s happening in Palestine or Kashmir. Or for that matter a lack of religious and political leadership in my own faith community, or local politicians who rule their communities through divisive policies.

What really came through the documentary for me was that the only way to be fully “integrated” into our society was to accept “certain chosen” liberal, democratic values. Well, as I have often said I have no issues with “certain values” as long as those values do not contradict God’s laws. When I was asked about homosexuality for the documentary I stated clearly that the act of homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and I am driven by my faith values. But that doesn’t mean that we can become judge and jury and harm those on the streets who are homosexuals. [5Pillars] Read more

17 April 2016

Trevor Phillips: some more responses and reflections

Since I last posted on this topic the full poll results have been published, Trevor Phillips’ documentary has been broadcast and a great deal of ink and airtime have been devoted to dissecting the results.

I had quibbles with the programme – but still more quibbles with many of its detractors. So here are a few reflections, with links to just some of the many comment pieces – good and bad – generated by both poll and programme. [Harry’s Place] Read more

16 April 2016

Trevor Phillips's documentary on Muslims was shocking - but not surprising

‘Our findings will shock many people,’ promised Trevor Phillips at the beginning of What British Muslims Really Think (Channel 4, Wednesday).

But the depressing thing is that I doubt they will, actually. I think the general British public have known for some time what Phillips’s documentary professed to find surprising: that large numbers of Muslims don’t want to integrate, that their views aren’t remotely enlightened, and that more than a few of them sympathise with terrorism. It’s only the establishment elite that has ever pretended otherwise.

As former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Phillips was very much part of that elite. He commissioned the 1997 Runnymede report that popularised the word ‘Islamophobia’. The fact that so impeccably liberal a figure is now issuing a mea culpa like this speaks volumes about how dire the situation has grown. ‘Everyone who has pinned their hopes on the rise of reforming and liberal British Muslim voices are in for a disappointment,’ said Phillips. [883 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 65 votes] Nothing will change In 10-15 years another TV programme will be made about the same subject. The only difference will be a larger proportion of Muslims supporting terrorism/covering women/banning gay men and women. And every year more will come and more will be born in Britain. No one has any backbone to stop it and the law/government all support it due to white guilt and fear of looking racist. When the English are a minority in England don't expect the non-English to have any guilt or fear, of treating us the way ISIS treats its nonmuslims in Iraq or Syria

[2ND 44] ANOTHER COMMENT SAID: "Well if the white majority choose not to have babies, they cannot be surprised when they become a minority, the answer to your problem is for white women to have more babies."

A stunningly ignorant comment.

Particularly in light of the future population problems of the world, the destruction of marriage and the family unit, abortions on request and the fact that most modern western family units cannot afford to have one spouse stay at home all the time. Filling the country with cheap labour will only drive down wages thus requiring both spouses to work.

In a nutshell, liberal ideology has enabled the very things I have just mentioned above.

And now you b tch and whine because western women are 'not having enough babies'... the planet has a population problem for god sake!

"the answer to your problem is for white women to have more babies."

And overpopulate us? No Mary the answer is clearly to stop importing 3rd worlders on mass and maintain our population at a level where we can self provide if required. All you want to do is load this country with people, turning it into a socialist overcrowded broken hellhole and then later you'll be whining about the fact cat rich. You work for them, you support their policies and you don't even realise because you are so utterly blinded by race guilt liberal BS.

[3RD 35] What I have always found amazing is how the Left and the BBC worked tirelessly to destroy Apartheid in South Africa whilst enthusiastically promoting the same ideology in the UK.

Separate Development is a euphemism for Apartheid. Multiculturalism is a euphemism for Separate Development

It is all about segregation - we are well on our way to being Balkanised with all the problems that is going to bring.

[4TH 28] I live in the heart of the Muslim stronghold of West Yorkshire and have mixed with a lot of Muslim people socially and politically. It's getting worse for liberals as they come under increasing pressure to conform to third world practises. I've worked with young people who have been just like everyone else until Grandma decides they are too western; then they're off on Hadj and never come out after work any more. As for a couple of guys we all knew were gay being forced into arranged marriages! There is now a purity race on; who is most religious? Who behaves in the most Muslim way? Etc etc.

I worked with a guy who was high up in the accounts department in my company who went to prayers every Friday, where he was routinely mocked for wearing a suit. He left the company after a couple of years of it. But before he went he cajoled a young Muslim colleague into accompanying him to Friday prayers when he had previously joined in with the Friday pizza run and played Half Life at lunch time instead of praying.

Unless this pressure can be reversed every Muslim will at least pay lip service to the wilder strictures of the ROP. We have pandered for so long they think they are untouchable and the refuseniks have no one to turn to. For decades the contraception advisors at Dewsbury maternity hospital have been banned from advising Muslim women 'because their GPs don't like it'. I don't know about Muslim men having a paternal and infantilising attitude to women, the left leaning establishment are no better. [The Spectator] Read more

Liberals are blind to the threat posed by Islamist terror

The result on stage is shocking, but not for the reasons I expected. Instead of showing the multiple facets of the issue, the overwhelming explanation offered is that we are to blame for losing our children to Islamic State.

This is the message from the mothers of Molenbeek whose sons left to fight in Syria; from Charlie Winter, a senior research associate from Georgia State University; from Moazzam Begg, who was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay; and from sixth-form students in Tower Hamlets.

To most of the characters, Isis is the creation of the West. Our racism, our Islamophobia, our wars against the Muslim world have, apparently, given birth to it. If we get murdered on our streets by our compatriots it is only because our children who became terrorists felt they had no other option in life. Poor devils.

All those voices are legitimate in a democracy, where they can be heard on the airwaves and read in print. But they need to be challenged, especially when the ambition is to portray the attraction of jihadism for European teenagers, otherwise those voices become the only views deemed acceptable. [The Times (£)] Read more

What do British Muslims really think?

This was the week when British Muslims became experts in research methodology.

Trevor Phillips, who led the Equality and Human Rights Commission, presented the Channel 4 show What British Muslims Really Think on Wednesday night, which was based on an ICM survey — and it has created quite a debate.

The ICM surveyed 1,000 Muslims face-to-face and found that:

One in 25 Muslims (four per cent) said they felt at least some sympathy with people who took part in suicide bombings, while a similar proportion said they had some sympathy with “people who commit terrorist actions as a form of political protest”.

A quarter – 25 per cent – said they could understand why British school girls could be attracted to become “jihadi brides” overseas.

Less than half (47 per cent) agreed that Muslims should do more to tackle the causes of extremism in the Muslim community.

52 per cent believed homosexuality should not be legal in Britain, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and 31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.

78% said the media had no right publish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

Rather than addressing the important issues raised from this poll, the usual suspects — including left-wing commentators — are either downplaying the worrying responses or dismissing this entirely as ‘Islamophobic’. We don’t like it when our dirty laundry is aired in public. There are either absolutely no problems, or if there are, it’s everyone else’s fault but ours.

This poll didn’t really tell us anything new. It is a fact that British Muslims, on the whole, do tend to be more conservative. As writer and lecturer Kenan Malik points out: [Sedaa.org] Read more

15 April 2016

Not all British Muslims think the same – whatever Channel 4 might claim

.... After the programme aired I was called “an apologist for extremists” – which I found hugely amusing. I don’t think I talked about extremism at all. I was criticised for even agreeing to participate. But I had felt being a part of the conversation was more productive than ignoring it altogether. Let the liberal Muslim voice be heard (for a change).

Despite all the negative output and divisiveness it stirred up, despite all the critique and quarrelling, despite all the Twitter trolling, the Facebook abusing, the pointing and laughing (occupational hazard), I stand by my very first contribution on the documentary: “It’s a privilege that we get to live in a country, the UK, which lets us practise our belief. And I firmly take this as a privilege. Muslim people, we can go to the mosque, we can pray, we can dress the way we want to … we’ve got halal food pretty much everywhere. What a time to be alive!”

I made my points. Antisemitism is wrong. Homophobia is wrong. Misogyny is wrong. Surely in 2016 people can just take that as given? British Muslims are good people, so don’t buy into the scaremongering. Britain is better than that. [995 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 347 votes] Part 94 in the Guardian's "Islam is so amazing" series

I really don't get it. Why is this religion held up on a pedestal so much? What is so great about it?

[2ND 327] "How can it be possible that the views of 1,000 odd people can prove something about an entire community?"

That’s the whole concept of doing surveys and polls. They don’t claim to be foolproof, but they do generally give a broad-strokes indication of something that would otherwise be impossible to quantify.

As you say, you’re on the liberal end of the scale – so why get so defensive when someone talks about the less-liberal end of the scale? Why does that not merit discussion?

[3RD 302] Personally I believe the polls were properly conducted and accurate. They were defended pretty convincingly in this letter to the paper: See here

All facts are friendly. A poll, properly carried out, cannot be "phobic" or "scaremongering". It is simply a snapshot of the reality. Yes, the results might be worrying and these results were, although they were not surprising IMO. Are you suggesting the results should have been concealed because they were disturbing? Or that these questions should never have been posed in the first place?

We’re being “othered”.

No, some British Muslims are "othering" themselves by choosing not to integrate as previous waves of migrants have done. It's great that you do not do this and that you are not antisemitic or misogynist. Unfortunately - as the polls have shown - many of your co-religionists are. There is no point in blaming Channel 4 for reporting what is there. [Guardian Cif] Read more

14 April 2016

What British Muslims really think about Channel 4's show

We asked British Muslims to review Channel 4’s show: What British Muslims Really Think. Here’s what they said:

If there was a show titled “what do British – insert characteristic here – really think” it would sound judgemental and discriminatory. Muslims aren’t one block of consciousness; Pakistani Muslims often have differing views to Arab Muslims, African Muslims often have differing views to Malaysian Muslims and so on. What kind of Muslims did the sample consist of? Sunni, Shia? Hanafi, Hanbali? Deobandi or Barelwi? To use only 1081 Muslims as a sample to represent 3 million Muslims is inflammatory, misleading and dangerous.

.... It was claimed that Muslims are homophobic, misogynistic and that they wish to impose ‘sharia law’. I’m not denying that these elements exist but more emphasis should have been made on the possible cultural background to these views; many rural communities in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh do have a culture of accepting polygamy and not accepting non-heterosexual relationships.

Perhaps a comparison with the views of other non-Muslim first generation migrants and, or rural communities would have been helpful in order to show that the programme wasn’t just targeting one religion. [The Guardian] Read more

Trevor Phillips’s flawed poll will do nothing to help integration

.... Is integration a one-way process? No, integration is a two-way process where there are cross-influences from both cultures and compromises from all sides to integrate the minority culture into the majority culture. If communities maintain their identities and live peacefully alongside each other by accommodating each others’ viewpoints surely that’s integration? Moreover, perhaps addressing issues affecting integration like education and job discrimination and socio-economic deprivation is what needs to be done.

I could go on but I won’t because there is much a bigger point that is being overlooked. Why was there a need for the poll in the first place?

This is the question that sincerely needs to be asked. Why are Muslims repeatedly being questioned about their thoughts and religious beliefs? And this is where as a British Muslim I worry we are sleepwalking towards assimilation which is one-directional and relies on minority communities giving up on their beliefs and cultures in order to be accepted. In this case to fit in with so-called “British Values.”

Perhaps if Philips had asked what ideas, concerns and expectations Muslims have (ie what Muslims “really” think) instead of telling us what we should think, then that may have been the start of a constructive dialogue to promote integration. [5Pillars] Read more

What a Bristol Muslim actually thinks about Channel 4's What British Muslims Really Think

The Bristol Muslim Cultural Society's project manager Rizwan Ahmed has shared his views on the Channel 4 show What British Muslims Really Think, and revealed how there are a few more pressing matters at hand...

As a British Muslim What Do I Think….

I don't normally like to get political but seeing this furor around this whole "What British Muslims Really Think" programme and survey which I realised (after some very deep thought and pondering and philosophical thinking for all of two seconds…) was about as representative of what I think as a British Asian Muslim as Nigel Farage is to Race Equality.

After thinking about it for a few more moments I realised that at the moment as a nation we sort of have a few other more pressing social matters to worry about...

Some of these are - in no particular order and also not exhaustive list:

1) A housing crisis with severe shortages of affordable homes up and down the country.

2) Problems with a struggling NHS and striking Doctors.

3) The elderly who were once the backbone of our country and spent decades supporting the UK through their hard sweat, blood and tears now being abused and neglected in some so called "care homes". [Western Daily Press] Read more

Muslim support for theocracy, not terrorism, is the real threat to confront

.... Trevor Phillips offered some partial suggestions about breaking up ethnic segregation in schools, but why would any non-Muslim want to send their child to an Islamic faith school? Diversity cannot exist in schools designed around one religious ethos to the exclusion of all others. We cannot continue with a faith-segregated education system.

Politicians must stop paying lip-service to integration and actually start doing the things necessary to promote it.

We can't afford to be naive or unduly optimistic about the strength or influence of reforming voices within Islam: The torrent of abuse, death threats and murders faced by 'heretics' within British Islam keeps many would-be allies of this project silenced. They need the support of wider society, however it can be offered. And ex-Muslims must finally be listened to by those on the left who have ignored and silenced them.

If there is to be an 'us' versus 'them', it must not be between Muslims and non-Muslims, but the secularists of all religions and none against those who would impose Islam by violence or political means on others.

Society needs to set a much higher standard than simply 'feeling British' and being 'peaceful'. Almost all British Muslims meet this standard; yet many more live in fear of expressing more liberal views than this. This, not the battle against terrorism, is the real generational struggle. [National Secular Society] Read more

The Citadel considers first-ever uniform exception: allowing a Muslim hijab

The Citadel is considering a request from an admitted student that she be allowed to wear a hijab in keeping with her Muslim faith, a move that would be an unprecedented exception to the school’s longstanding uniform requirements.

If the request for the traditional Muslim hair covering is granted, it apparently would be the first exception made to the Citadel’s uniform, which all cadets at the storied public military college in South Carolina are required to wear at nearly all times. (At beaches, for example, college rules stipulate that, “Cadets will change into appropriate swimwear upon arrival and change back into uniform when departing.”)

A spokeswoman said that to her knowledge, in its nearly 175-year history, the school has never granted a religious, or other, accommodation that resulted in a change to the uniform.

As word spread on social media, students, alumni and others responded strongly to the idea of an exception being made at an institution where uniformity, discipline and adherence to rules are defining values, where loyalty to the corps is paramount and individual preferences are trivial.

That the first exception might be for a Muslim student was an additional provocation for some — and welcome symbolism for others — in the midst of a national discussion about Islam in U.S. culture. [The Washington Post] Read more

Germany agrees 'historic' refugee integration package

.... The deal, hammered out in seven hours of late-night talks between Merkel's conservative Christian Union bloc and the Social Democrats (SPD), also included plans for new anti-terror legislation.

The integration bill would take a carrot-and-stick approach, providing subsidised courses to help newcomers find their way in German life but, in some cases, denying residence permits to those who fail to take up the offer.

Germany took in more than a million asylum seekers in 2015 and Merkel has faced virulent criticism from sceptics, particularly from within her conservative camp, who argue that Europe's top economy is ill-equipped to cope with the influx.

She told reporters the measures would foster the settlement of those who stay in the country in the long run.

"We know, after hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in our country, that we are facing a two-pronged challenge: on the one hand controlling the flow of refugees... and of course on the other hand not just registering them but integrating them," Merkel said. [AFP] Read more

What do British Muslims Really Think? Now we know. And it's terrifying

I sat down to watch 'What British Muslims Really think' with my best multicultural head on.

I cleared my mind of all preconceptions; grubby Rochdale cabbies passing white girls round for sex like a fried chicken bargain bucket, Imams beating kids into devotion, and the truly indoctrinated, blowing up Brussels to get 72 virgins in paradise.

Putting my feet up on the recycling bin, channelling my inner Polly Toynbee, I waited to sit corrected - prepared to accept the most dangerous Muslim in Britain is Bake Off's Nadiya Hussain armed with a Victoria Sponge.

But, much as it pains me to say it, I have been right all along. British Muslims are not part of some rich tapestry of urban life. It's a myth, dreamed up by the BBC, and perpetuated by the Islington elite.

It is them and us. And THEY have no wish to be anything like US.

The reason Muslims enjoy our country is because it is tolerant. Not the bits where we are tolerant of each other, you understand. Not the fact we respect your right to be Jewish or utterly ungodly. Or our warm embrace of those who identify as straight, gay, lesbian or as gender-fluid as a snail. [Daily Mail] Read more

BBC sitcom Citizen Khan 'Islamophobic', says MP

Labour's Rupa Huq criticised Citizen Khan's depiction of a "quite backward" family of Muslims.

The show was accused of stereotyping Muslims when it started in 2012 and its creator, Adil Ray, has told the Radio Times he had received death threats.

The BBC said the award-winning show had received much positive feedback.

But Ms Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, whose sister Konnie is a former Blue Peter presenter, said: "I feel as if I didn't know what the year is ... you would think it's an everyday tale of a Birmingham family of Muslims but they're really quite backward.

"Again, the Islamophobic point [Labour MP Chuka Umunna] made, it's a beardy weirdy chap and they're not quite cutting off people's hands but I can imagine that being in a future episode."

Citizen Khan prompted complaints when it launched in 2012 and Mr Ray has previously said he had received abuse from people who believed it was making fun of Islam or stereotyping Muslims. [BBC] Read more

Kuwait academic charged with blasphemy over TV interview

A prominent female academic and human rights activist in Kuwait has been charged with blasphemy.

Sheikha al-Jassem was summoned to the public prosecutor's office after legal complaints were filed against her over a recent interview she gave on TV.

She asserted that the constitution of Kuwait should be above the Quran and Islamic law in governing the country.

The public prosecutor still has the discretion to decide whether or not Ms Jassem will be put on trial.

The interview was broadcast on Kuwaiti Al-Shahed TV on 8 March. Its theme was the rise of Islamic extremism.

During the interview, Ms Jassem was asked about radical Islamists who said that religion was more important than the Kuwaiti constitution.

She responded by saying that this was dangerous and that, in her opinion, politics and religion should be kept apart. [BBC] Read more

Multiculturalism remains a force in our society whether we like it or not

.... A final major complaint about multiculturalism is the change that has been imposed on the white working class by a liberal elite without asking for their consent about changing the nature of their local communities. Immigration has been a boon to the middle class who benefit from cheap builders, cleaners and nannies but it has been harder for the white working class who have had their wages undermined and are at the sharp end of the competition for scarce state resources in housing, healthcare, education and transport.

Migration Watch pointed out that the New Labour government admitted 3.6 million immigrants to the UK but at no stage did it highlight this policy to the electorate or ask consent for it. Critics of the policy were routinely denounced as racist – ‘Oh, some bigoted woman,’ as Gordon Brown memorably described the lifelong Labour supporter Gillian Duffy.

So multiculturalism has been a contentious ideology but it will continue to shape the future of modern British society and of the world in this globalised age – no matter how many documentaries Channel 4 makes about it. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Saudi Arabia strips religious police of arresting power

New cabinet decision orders religious officers to report violators to police or drug squad unit.

Saudi Arabia has stripped its religious forces of their powers to arrest, urging them to act "kindly and gently" in enforcing Islamic rules.

Under changes approved by the Saudi cabinet on Wednesday, religious officers will no longer be allowed to detain people and instead must report violators to police or drug squad officers, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Officers of the Haia force, also known as the Mutawaa, must "carry out the duties of encouraging virtue and forbidding vice by advising kindly and gently" under the new rules, it reported.

"Neither the heads nor members of the Haia are to stop or arrest or chase people or ask for their IDs or follow them - that is considered the jurisdiction of the police or the drug unit," the regulations say. [Al Jazeera English] Read more

Sadiq Khan says there is 'question to be asked' about use of hijabs in London

Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate for London mayor, has said there is “a question to be asked” about why some Muslim women in the capital wear hijabs and niqabs.

Khan, who became the first Muslim cabinet minister in Gordon Brown’s government in 2009, warned of an “insidious” development if people thought it was right to treat women differently to men.

In an interview with the London Evening Standard, the frontrunner in next month’s mayoral contest contrasted the way Muslim women dressed when he was growing up in London in the 1970s and 80s with the way many women dressed today.

Khan, 45, said: “When I was younger you didn’t see people in hijabs and niqabs, not even in Pakistan when I visited my family. In London we got on. People dressed the same. What you see now are people born and raised here who are choosing to wear the jilbab [a loose gown] or niqab. [The Guardian] Read more

13 April 2016

This Arab youth survey highlights the dangers of desperation

.... Even Tunisia, considered the most successful example, and awarded the 2015 Nobel peace prize for its civil society’s efforts to avoid civil war through implementing dialogue between rival political parties, is challenged by terror and the exapansionism of Isis. It is claimed that the country is the biggest exporter of jihadis to Syria and Iraq. The rapid spread of the terrorist group suggests that the vast majority of young Arabs are poised and ready to join Isis.

But the Arab Youth Survey refutes that claim. Conducted to explore attitudes among Arab youth in 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, the survey found that an overwhelming majority of young Arabs reject Isis and believe that the group will fail in its aim of establishing an Islamic state.

Rather, the group surveyed believes that the biggest obstacles facing the region are unemployment, lack of democracy, rising living costs and civil unrest. Only 13% of the 3,500 interviewed agreed with the statement: “If Isis did not use so much violence, I could see myself supporting it”; 78% rejected it while 9% were unsure about their position. And the majority of those interviewed perceive the lack of jobs and unemployment as the top reason for joining Isis. [707 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 208 votes] A "world dominated by exploitation"? Really Guardian? Is that really the cause of Islamic terrorism, and the economic and social malaise affecting the Muslim world? What about stifling religion, bad leadership, lack of democracy, lack of transparency, lack of protection for fundamental rights, lack of respect for religious minorities, lack of respect for women, and a tendency to blame problems on others? Those are the real problems, not some unnamed rapacious capitalists.

[2ND 162] A part of this seemingly perpetual state of economic decline and stagnation in Arab countries might have something to do with the fact that companies and people don't want to do business there. Who in their right mind would want to take their family to a region where wives and daughters are seen as second class citizens and people are executed for saying they don't believe in God? Arabs should look at themselves first and foremost and put their own house in order.

[3RD 148] I'm all for fighting poverty, but it's not the main reason for islamism.

[4TH 137] So, one in every 10 young Muslims DOES support Isis.

And who do the other 9 support ? el-nusra?

India is very poor and has plenty of corruption, yet they don't blow up air ports.

Vietnam is poor as dirt, and when it comes to foreign intervention, they had more then their fair share, yet they too don't seem to be running around the globe shooting up places.

Desperation is not causing their situation, it is the result of it. [Guardian Cif] Read more

French PM backs Muslim headscarf ban at universities

In a lengthy interview with France’s Libération newspaper published Tuesday, the Socialist prime minister was asked directly if a ban on headscarves already in place at French state schools and public-sector workplaces should be extended to universities.

“It should be done,” said Valls, though he admitted that "there are rules in the constitution that would make such a ban difficult”.

France, where the strict separation between church and state is seen as a fundamental part of the country’s values, has some of the toughest secularism laws in the world.

The government banned the wearing of overtly religious symbols, including headscarves and crosses, in state primary and secondary schools in 2004, while decades old laws requiring public sector workers to be impartial mean they too cannot wear any clothing or accessories that express their religious beliefs. [France24] Read more

60-year-old Christian woman caned for selling alcohol in unprecedented Sharia law case

An elderly Christian woman has been caned in Indonesia, the first time a Sharia law punishment has been meted out to a non-Muslim.

The 60-year-old, who was convicted of selling alcohol, was whipped nearly 30 times with a rattan cane, before a crowd of hundreds, in Aceh province on Tuesday, according to reports.

A couple who had been found guilty of adultery received 100 lashes at the same time.

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that applies Sharia law, with public canings, often in front of huge crowds, commonplace.

Under Aceh's strict Islamic code, introduced after it was granted special autonomy from Jakarta in 2001, corporal punishment is imposed on adulterers, gays, drinkers and even those who speak to unmarried members of the opposite. [The Independent] Read more

British Muslims aren't foreign invaders. They are building a liberal, home-grown faith

In the debate about the isolation or otherwise British Muslims, as accusations fly that there is an Islamic “state within a state”, it is important to get right what our common citizenship demands. A liberal society should not police freedom of thought or freedom of expression, nor insist that citizens sign up to every aspect of a secular worldview.

What we do need agreement on is the equal status of our fellow citizens. People can hold religiously conservative views – like my mother – but they must accept the equal status of their fellow Britons. Indeed, what matters most in “British values”, is accepting the freedom of speech of those we disagree with.

The Channel 4 poll presents a mixed picture of integration. People will be worried that almost a quarter of those surveyed would like to see Sharia law implemented. Clearly, that isn’t going to happen – the rule of law depends fundamentally on one law for all. And put another way, more than three-quarters of British Mulsims don’t want sharia. [The Telegraph] Read more

'German should be language of mosques': conservatives

A leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's sister party is pushing for a so-called "Islam law" that would make German the official language of mosques and impose harsh consequences for Muslims who don't integrate.

Christian Social Union Secretary General Andreas Scheuer told newspaper Die Welt on Wednesday that he wanted to enact an "Islam law" that would stop the financing of mosques from abroad and better integrate Muslims.

"We must more vigorously and critically come to terms with political Islam, because it prevents people here from being integrated. Therefore we need an Islam law," the conservative Bavarian politician said.

He especially called for an end to the "financial support of mosques and kindergartens" from places like Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Scheuer went on to explain how imams should be educated in Germany and "share our fundamental values". [The Local] Read more

Germany Islam: CSU head Scheuer calls for German in mosques

Senior German conservative politician Andreas Scheuer has said German must become the language of the country's mosques and that foreign funding from Turkey and Saudi Arabia must stop.

The general secretary of the CSU, sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU, said political Islam was undermining integration.

His remarks came amid a German freedom-of-speech row involving Turkey.

The Turkish president has filed a legal complaint against a German satirist.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was angered by an obscene poem read out by Jan Boehmermann on public broadcaster ZDF.

The comedian explained that what he was saying broke German laws on free speech before going on to accuse the Turkish leader of having sex with goats and sheep. [BBC] Read more

French PM calls for ban on Islamic headscarves at universities

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has sparked controversy by suggesting the Muslim headscarf should be banned in universities and that a majority of French people think Islam is incompatible with the values of the Republic.

The Socialist, under pressure over contested labour reforms and growing street protest movements, reopened the divisive question of whether students could be banned from wearing headscarves at French universities.

In a long interview with the daily Libération, he was asked whether headscarves should be banned by law from universities and replied: “It should be done,” conceding that the constitution made it difficult.

But other Socialist ministers immediately contradicted him. “There is no need for a law on the headscarf at university,” said Thierry Mandon, the higher education minister. He said students were adults, and as such they “have every right to wear a headscarf. The headscarf is not banned in French society.” [The Guardian] Read more