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13 December 2011

A Place for Pride (or Not)

The Daily Mail ran “Muslims 'are more patriotic than most British people'” The Sunday Times said “Muslim's prove to be Britain's greatest flag wavers”. And the Daily Star shouted “MUSLIMS TOP PRIDE CHARTS”.

All this sprung from survey results published in November by Demos, a think-tank “focused on power and politics” according to its website.

If you visit the Demos website press release that was issued with the publication of the report, A Place for Pride, containing the referenced research you, will find the following has been added:

“One of the press releases …. made reference to the fact that 83 per cent of Muslims covered by the poll responded that they were 'proud to be a British citizen', comparing that figure to a baseline - drawn from the whole sample [of 2086 British people] - of 79 per cent. This aspect of the Demos report was widely reported in the press.

…. It should be noted, however, that the sample size for British Muslims was relatively small, just 48 people, and it is questionable whether confident statements can be made on that basis about one group being more proud of their British identity than another.”

48 Muslims! Anyone with any knowledge of statistics or market research will cringe at this. Even people with a modicum of common sense might do the same.

Comparing 83% of 48 with 79% of 2086 is statistical nonsense. And statistics apart, there is the enormous difficulty of recruiting representative samples which Demos doesn’t mention. Exactly how representative of the British Muslim population might these 48 be!

Based on my personal experience of Muslims I am willing to believe that most of my Muslim fellow British citizens are as patriotic and as proud of their country as the next man.

There will be differences - different understandings of patriotism, and pride in one’s country, and people will come to it in different ways.

Various factors play a part. History is important for some; your country’s achievements, what earlier generations endured and came through, what individuals did. The character of its people and their social mores may be important. You can also be proud of your country because it is a decent place to live here and now.

And there is no reason why two citizens of equal patriotism, pride in their country, cannot still hold starkly different views on good and bad behaviour and what is best for their country.

The Demos report is all about patriotism and the role of personal and national pride and the “misreporting” concerning Muslims is a minor feature.

A more interesting result is 88 per cent of Anglicans (and Jews) agreed that they were “proud to be a British citizen” alongside 84 per cent of non-conformists (and the 83 per cent of Muslims already mentioned) compared with 79 per cent for the population as a whole (p39). One assumes there were more than 48 Anglicans. It is a fact that religious people are more likely that non-believers to be proud of their country.

It is a tedious read (a 90 page pamphlet!) but you can also hear one of the authors, Max Wind-Cowie, and Telegraph columnist Charles Moore discuss some of the issues here.

Amongst a range of findings which the report itself admits “your granny could have told you” and opinions, it criticises what it believes is the right wing attitude to patriotism.

…. the right’s pantheon of patriotism is largely determined by a narrow, historical and sometimes mythological set of beliefs about Britain, which are unbendable, unchanging and increasingly inaccessible. The royal family, spitfires, the Houses of Parliament and the Union Jack …. (p76)

Those on the right have insisted that people attach their pride to a set of institutions and persons that are less and less relevant to people’s experience of Britain or to the sources of their everyday pride. (p79)

This isn’t the result of dodgy sample analysis, it is the prejudice of the authors.

They should have specifically surveyed right wingers. They might have found that where symbols are concerned they symbolise something, more often than not what people have done, those spitfire pilots for example.

Indeed, the research for the report shows what people do is of paramount importance. Behaviours and actions make people feel proud of their community or country; volunteering, for example.

I didn’t know until I read this report that the British are among the most likely people in the world to give up our time to volunteer. We have significantly higher levels of social action – and a greater independent charitable sector – than most European countries.

They quote one respondent saying “When you ask about what’s best about being British I think of all the people that give up their time to help other people, or to do good things in the community. That’s what makes me proud of this country.”

Also on the positive side the report makes some useful recommendations highlighting the importance of oral history, what older people have to tell children about their experiences of events. Though one’s enthusiasm for what Demos have in mind is somewhat blunted by the examples they give.

My grandson, he doesn’t know anything really about my life. The Miner’s Strike, the Winter of Discontent, even the referendum on Europe – he’s never been taught about any of it. Ask him about the Victorians and he could tell you though. (p56)

The research work for the pamphlet, the poll of 2080 citizens and an (unspecified) number of focus groups, produced several findings which Demos have not publicised, though in the body of the text they say “This is a worrying set of results”.

They concern integration and the poll result that “Only two in five people believe ‘immigration contributes to Britain’s culture’.

…. they too [the focus groups] highlighted genuinely held concern that local and national pride are being damaged by mass immigration and, particularly, by a perceived failure of arrivals to fully integrate into British life and the communities to which they move. (p30)

British people associate their pride heavily with actions and behaviours rather than with esoteric concepts …. social action, common manners and customs are vital to British people understanding and celebrating their communities and national sense of self: the perceived lack of integration among migrant communities therefore is a real threat to collective pride: (p32)

In a report summary Demos say “…. patriotism does not, and should not, come from either top-down narratives about Queen and country nor from so-called ‘progressive’ notions based on values.” Demos seem to have mixed feelings about values.

But, values do come in to it. The report reveals “82 per cent of respondents agreed that the naturalisation process should include a ‘values test’. Our qualitative research reinforced this. …. Far more important, they argued, was that the [citizen] test should ensure a person shared British values and was involved in British society. (p53/54)

Regarding integration and values we can return to those headlines at the beginning. The Gallup Coexist 2009 survey is quoted by some sources as confirming them. The Gallup survey is based on a sample of 500 British Muslims, not an enormous number but a big improvement on Demos. Gallup also interviewed 1000 non-Muslims. It did similar Muslim non-Muslim surveys in France and Germany

The Gallup survey claims 80% of British Muslims are loyal. It doesn’t define or explain what is meant by loyalty. Patriotism, pride in one’s country, may or may not have been a factor. It comes up with other, quite specific, results too, that show there are serious differences between many British Muslims and their fellow citizens.

Even though hiding your face in public is considered rude unless you are ill, in mourning or it’s very cold, British Muslims don’t care. See here. Only 12% think not wearing the veil is a necessary condition of integration. For French and German Muslims, 32% and 29% see it as necessary.

British Muslims show less respect for other religions than Muslims in France and Germany. See here. Almost 80% of German Muslims strongly agree that they respect other religions but only 50% of British Muslims feel the same.

There is a striking difference between British Muslims and the British public over freedom of speech. See here. Only 9% of British Muslims agree that integration means accepting public comments they perceive as offensive about their faith.

British Muslims are the least integrated in Europe. See here. Using a battery of related questions Gallup determined that only 10% of British Muslims are “integrated”. Gallup give a definition of integration. In France and Germany Gallup found 46% and 35% of Muslims respectively are integrated.

Who's proud of this?

08 November 2011

Populist parties are sweeping the continent -- and Facebook. It's time we took them seriously

In Europe, populist parties are defined by their opposition to immigration and concern for protecting national and European culture, especially against a perceived threat of Islam.

Over the last decade their growth has been remarkable. Once on the political fringes, these parties now command significant support in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and even (or especially) the socialist bastions of Scandinavia.

In some countries, they are the second- or third-largest party and are seen as necessary members of many conservative coalition governments.

.... Our results suggest there is a new generation of populists that are not the racist, xenophobic reactionaries they are sometimes portrayed as. They are young, angry, and disillusioned with the current crop of automaton political elites, who they do not think are responding to the concerns and worries they face in their lives. [FOREIGN POLICY] Read more

Strong support for Shariah in Canada

.... “The most radical political views tended to be expressed by relatively secular people, often equipped with higher education in the social sciences, while devout Muslims were sometimes the most articulate advocates for Canada and democracy.”

According to the Ottawa based think tank, only a small minority of Muslim newcomers to Canada reject Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Iranian regime.

The survey, which was released Tuesday, found 62% wanted some form of Shariah law in Canada, 15% of them saying it should be mandatory for all Muslims. [Toronto Sun] Read more

Much good news and some worrying results in new study of Muslim public opinion in Canada

.... Canadians will find much to reassure them, but also much to ponder, in a new study of Muslim public opinion in Canada published today by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) .... What Do Muslim Canadians Want?

.... The positive views of Canadian society and political system among Canadian Muslims surveyed are good news. So too is the large majority opposition to Al Qaeda among respondents. Almost two-thirds (65%) “repudiate absolutely” this Islamist terrorist organisation.

On the other hand, a significant minority of respondents do not. As Winn and Leuprecht note, “From a security perspective, it is difficult to know if a 65% rate of repudiation [of Al Qaeda] is re-assuring or a 35% failure to repudiate troubling.” [Macdonald Laurier Institute] Read more Full copy of study here

Muslim Canadians must abide by Canada's laws: OUR OPINION

.... The National Association of Women and the Law, the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada have all argued that under Shariah law, men and women are not treated equally.

These groups argue that women fare much worse in divorce, child custody and inheritance matters under Shariah law.

This flies in the face of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, our Constitution, which guarantees that women and men are treated equally under Canadian law.

.... Two of Canada's largest provinces have already rejected Shariah law. The Quebec National Assembly unanimously supported a motion to block the use of Shariah law in Quebec courts in May of 2005.

In September of the same year, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said there would be no Shariah law here. McGuinty even said he wouldn't allow Ontario to become the first Western government to permit using Islamic dictates to settle family disputes, and that the boundaries between church and state would become clearer by banning religious arbitration completely.

.... Canada cannot have one set of laws which apply to one group of people and other laws which apply to everyone else. There has always been one law for all Canadians and there should always be just the one. There cannot be separate laws for Muslims in Canada. Muslim Canadians must abide by Canada's laws. [The Barrie Examiner] Read more

This is Why - Part 6

A continuous survey of causes of “Islamophobia”. Conflicts in Muslim countries and terrorism are excluded. See here for explanation of survey.

Up to 22 October 2011

Egyptian sentenced to 3 years for insulting Islam in his Facebook postings

Islamists seek to introduce ‘Sharia zones’
A fundamentalist Islamic group wants to set up zones in Copenhagen where Islamic Sharia Law should be upheld.

Islamist prefer male candidates in first vote of Arab spring

UCL student society announces event with hate preacher

Muslim mayor shows his true colours
.... large sums of council money are diverted to IFE front organisations, a man with close links to the IFE is made the council’s assistant chief executive despite being unqualified for the job.

Saudi "Propaganda Center" Sets Up Shop in Vienna
The Green Party, which governs Vienna in a coalition, said the center glorified a country "where freedom of religion and opinion are foreign words."

Imam's on-air death threat 'not hate speech'

Hertz fires 25 Muslim drivers who refuse to clock out
Hertz has sent termination letters to 25 drivers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after they refused to agree to clock out for daily breaks, during which they normally pray.

"The Western understanding of human rights is against that which is sacred to us"
The Shaykh of al-Azhar, the Grand Imam Dr. Ahmad al-Tayib, by many considered to be the foremost authority in Sunni Islam, issued a statement yesterday condemning attempts to bring Western notions of human rights and freedom to the Middle East.

Muslims Rage Against Offending Filmmakers
Bollywood filmmakers were ordered to either change the name of a film that “hurt Muslim feelings” or face thousands of angry demonstrators across Mumbai

Child abuse claims at UK madrassas 'tip of iceberg'

Headscarf rule keeps girl from parade, spurs bias claim
When you voluntarily enroll in a course, you are .... accepting the ground rules .... for that class. .... haircut, wear of uniform, and other particulars were well defined .... The rules for wear of the uniform mirror those for the actual military department.

Why Islam is Not a Religion
Islam is a total system of life and contains within itself a particular social system, judicial system, and political system which includes geo-political aspirations.

The Lingerie Shop Problem - Or, getting your knickers in a twist
.... women are not allowed to work as cashiers in supermarkets and the like, because they will then be interacting with unrelated men.

Muslims face negative perception in Canada, study suggests

Extremists firebomb home of 'blasphemous' TV station head

Bashir says Sudan will adopt entirely Islamic constitution

Salman Rushdie is not afraid
.... Why is it always Muslims? Why didn't Martin Scorsese have to run for his life after making "The Last Temptation of Christ"?

Saudi Arabia and Austria defend plan for interfaith dialogue centre in Vienna
You cannot bring a Bible into Saudi. You cannot practice any religion other than Islam in Saudi Arabia. They are happy to spread their religion in other countries, yet they have no religious tolerance in their own country.

Pakistani Islamic extremists march in support of assassin Mumtaz Qadri
Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard and self-confessed murderer of the Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who was killed for asking for changes to the blasphemy laws.

Modern Muslim marriage fails to take off

Muslim Hijab Sparks New Islam-Related Controversy in Spain
The school has a policy that prohibits the wearing of head coverings, particularly those that cover the ears, due to the increase in cases of students who use electronic devices to cheat on tests.

12 year old Christian girl beaten and raped until she converted to Islam

The Trouble with Muslim Democracy
Women can vote in Iran, they just can't vote to change their status. Christians can vote in Egypt, they just can't vote themselves equal rights.

Saudi Women Receive Husbands' Explicit Permission To Celebrate Right To Vote

Pakistan court suspends death sentence of governor's killer
A Pakistani court has suspended the death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri, a security guard who killed a liberal politician over the latter's remarks on the nation's controversial blasphemy law.

Hopes dim to change Iraq laws to protect women

Muslim Life of Brian? - That would be frightening
Terry Jones has admitted that he and his Monty Python colleagues would be “frightened” and “think twice” before poking fun at Muslims in today’s politically correct climate.

Egypt's move to democracy threatened by attack on Coptic community

Marriage-led immigration creates ghettos

Exposed to other faiths, Malaysian Muslims are ordered to receive counselling

Decades of Multiculturalism have created many problems

The attacks on Egypt’s Copts reflects situation for Christians throughout the Middle East

Tunisia Salafists 'attack private TV station'

Dress modestly: Masked men enter girls’ school, thrash students

Iranian actress sentenced to a year in jail and 90 lashes

Richard Dawkins attacks Muslim schools for teaching 'alien rubbish'

PAS willing to discuss hudud (e.g., stoning, amputation)

Hertz: Muslim workers failed to follow break rules Hertz said the Somali Muslim employees were suspended not for praying but for failing to clock in and out for 10-minute breaks as required under a collective bargaining agreement.

Salafi leaders reiterate demands for Islamic Sharia

Czech University Bans Islamism Debate

Muslims in Spain Declare Jihad on Dogs

Social rules clash with reality for Iran's youth
Iran is governed by a version of sharia law which in theory prohibits any mingling between members of the opposite sex outside marriage or close family.

Georgia City Agrees to Adapt Courthouse Security Screenings to Accommodate Religious Head Coverings

French Islamic suburbs becoming 'separate communities in a divided nation'

A council is spending ratepayers' money to make Muslims feel more at home

Algerian Islamists call for bars to close, saying drinking perverts youth

Ohio's response to Muslim lawsuit over prison meal preparation riles state pork industry
A decision by Ohio officials to remove all pork products from prison menus in response to a lawsuit by Muslim inmates is not sitting well with the state's pork producers and processors.

Political correctness stifles debate on multiculturalism

In Aceh, Enforced Sharia Law Has Outsized Impact
.... Sharia police break up a game of dominos. Despite the players' protests that they are not gambling, the police confiscate the game and leave them this time with a warning.

Saudi women should not drive "If you start now to let women drive, let them go wherever they want, let them do whatever they want, we will be in the same position some day. Then Saudi Arabia will be like New York.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws – even judges live in fear

Iran Threatens To Kill Evangelical Christians Unless They “Repent”

Unhappy clerics: Saudi sheikhs backlash at king's women's rights move

Canadian Muslim author speaks out – Islam needs modernizing

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani now accused of rape, extortion, and being a Zionist
The Iranian authorities are manifestly attempting to force him to renounce that faith, which violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency and breaches Iran's own international obligations.

Muslim Mob Torches Coptic Church in Egypt

Thousands say no to mosque

September 2011

Austrians see high multiethnic conflict potential

Why Are British Muslim Leaders Silent About Yusuf Nadarkhani's Death Sentence?

Bombing bikini-clad women to enforce Islamic dress codes

A Rational Fear of Islamism - Not all fears are irrational, nor criticism unwarranted

Pastor Nadarkhani: NO ANNULMENT of the death sentence

Muslim Polygamists Exploiting British Welfare System

Christian pastor facing execution in Iran after refusing to recant his faith

The contradictions faced by Saudi women
The restrictiveness of the guardianship system, gender segregation and a persistently sexist culture add up to create an exotic and mysterious lifestyle that is difficult to not only explain but also to comprehend.

Islam’s History of Forced Conversions

Egyptian Christian Girl Banned From School For Not Wearing a Veil

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani to be hanged in Iran - for converting to Christianity

Saudi woman driver's lashing sentence 'revoked' by King Abdullah

Turkish cartoonist to be put on trial for renouncing God

Attackers destroy nightclub near mosque

Saudi woman who defied drive ban to be flogged

Ofcom fines Islamic TV channel in cash for prayers ruling

100,000 Christians Have Left Egypt Since March

More religious pamphlets for government workers
.... A “Ramadan: the Muslim Month of Fasting” guide was issued to 67,000 Ontario government workers last July telling them to be “sensitive” to Muslim co-workers because they are fasting and praying from dusk to dawn.

Sharia at work - Al-Qaeda cut off Yemeni boy's hand

Festival is hit by anti-Islam claim ORGANISERS of a cultural event have blamed a poor turnout on posters telling people not to attend as the festival was "against Islam."

Excuses for Polygamy?

Women in Saudi Arabia suffer numerous problems
.... huge numbers of rapes go unreported because of women's fears of punishment (the woman could be found to have flouted sex segregation rules) and bringing "shame" on their family.

Pakistan school expels girl for blasphemy

Attitudes of polygamous British Muslim men
The number of polygamous relationships among British Muslims is increasing, according to British Muslim groups.

Blinding in one eye for Iranian waiter for hurling acid in man’s face five years ago

Indonesia suicide church bomber kills at least one

Girl accused of blasphemy for a spelling error

The Islamization of British Police
.... this is a pressure group working to introduce Islamic rules into the police force, promoting the strange concept of “religious needs”, changing the working environment to be in line with Islamic demands.

Exploitation of the benefits system by polygamous Muslim men is a big problem

The Persecution of Music and Musicians in the Islamic World

Danish Mega-Mosque Funded by Iran

When Muslims Are More ‘Radical’ than ‘Islamists’

Malaysia is not ready for the implementation of hudud law .... He said explanation and understanding of theses laws needed to be extended to cover all the people in the country so that they truly understood them.

Extremism and the East London Mosque

Somali Islamic radio gives an AK-47 kids first prize!

Islamism's war on women
.... In the name of "tolerance," we permit the sort of degradation of Muslim girls women that would be completely unacceptable if perpetrated against whites.

Facebook to be blocked
The court issued this order while hearing a petition seeking a permanent ban on the access to American social networking website “Facebook” for hosting competition featuring blasphemous caricatures.

Stop Amputation Now
.... in 2000, Zamfara’s first amputation of Buba Jangede attracted widespread international condemnation. Amputation is an inhuman and degrading form of punishment.

Brussels: Muslim youth 're-Islamizing'

Saudi Arabia beheads Sudanese “sorcerer”

Muslim Supremacism Leads, Even Within Muslim Countries, To An Inability To Compromise

UK's First Free Muslim School Criticised for Fostering Segregation

Acid attacks: 7 women burned in two days
.... both men had said she ‘deserved for her face to be ruined because she had not covered her head’

Men banned from Oz council to prevent mixing with Muslim women

How Islamic polygamy is used to exploit welfare benefits

New law needed as French firms facing religious demands from employees
.... Most cases concern Muslims seeking time off for prayers or halal food in company cafeterias.

Islamic Sharia Law Court Opens in Belgium

Converts must die: imam to Swedish radio
Swedish public service broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) has been reported for hate speech after featuring a programme in which a Somali imam called for all converts from Islam to be killed.

Accused of proselytising, American family attacked by Indonesian extremists
Muslim fundamentalists were incensed by charges that the head of the family was engaged in proselytising in the predominantly Muslim area.

French ban praying in streets

Imam calls to kill converts on Radio Sweden

Christian-Muslim tensions simmer in Malaysia, minorities worried about rights

"Denmark, as we know it, can be destroyed in 10-15 years" In Nørrebro there are some places where you have a parallel society, where religious dogmas run things next to the Danish.

Iran bans half-naked men, love triangles on TV

School prayer protests heat up
Local imams lead a 40-minute service — non-Muslims are banned from the cafeteria during that time — to prevent about 400 students from leaving the school in the middle of the day to go to prayers, during which boys sit in front of the girls.

Ten Years On: Saudi Textbooks Yet to be Cleaned of Violence!

Western, Muslim societies ‘irreconcilable’: poll

Muslims Blockade Christian Village in Egypt, Demand Demolition of Church

Sharia court sentences two to amputation for theft

New Libya should be governed by sharia: imam

Germany: 'The problem is with the Muslims'

Extremists exploit taboos
''Whereas anyone interested in free speech would say people should be protected but ideas should not be protected; that religions should be open to scrutiny and sometimes should be mocked … but now a new 'right not to be offended' comes into play.''

Three Men Hanged For Having Gay Sex In Iran

The recipe for successful multiculturalism – inequality, subservience & duplicity!

The trouble with multiculturalism
.... “Some of the practices allowed in the name of multiculturalism are fundamentally in contravention of western values,” says Muslim activist and scholar Farzana Hassan.

How Sharia Undermines Western Justice

Indonesia's SCTV blasted for pulling religion film
The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission criticised a major television station for giving into Islamists' demands that a film on religious tolerance be pulled.

Islamic fury erupts over an Indonesian movie, and a colouring book in the US

Which "Defamation of Religion" Does the UN Human Rights Commission Dislike?
.... In the West, unlike in Muslim countries, religious criticism is part of our dialogue; critics are not murdered. But the Muslim prohibition against defamation of religion applies only to defaming Islam, not defaming Judaism or Christianity, which are fair game.

Banning halal slaughter the right thing to do

Norway: "You can't oppose capital punishment and be Muslim"
.... In a discussion forum on, Qureshi writes: "a person who says that he's principally opposed to capital punishment, is opposing principles prescribed by Allah.

Islamic Justice in Europe - 'It's Often a Dictate of Power'

August 2011

Muslims, police scuffle at Rye Playland over amusement park’s head scarf ban; 15 arrests made
"Part of our rules and regulations, which we painstakingly told them over and over again, is that certain rides you cannot wear any sort of headgear," Tartaglia said. "It's a safety issu”.

Publisher Calls FBI Over Muslim Backlash From 9/11 Coloring Book

One in five US Muslims knows of extremist support in community

Domestic Islamic threat to German justice system
The author examines several recent cases in which crimes within Muslim communities have been settled by Islamic arbitrators at the request of the families involved.

Ground Zero imam gives Scotland his recipe for successful multiculturalism
.... greater integration between Islam and the West depends on the incorporation of Sharia law into the legal systems of the UK and the United States ....

‘Anti-Muslim’ author beaten

Norway: Christian convert attacked in asylum center
'If you don't return to Islam, we'll kill you' "Ali" was told by fellow residents at the center. He doesn't want his name or picture published for fear of the other residents.

Pakistani slain governor Salman Taseer's son abducted
The son of assassinated Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who was killed in January for opposing the blasphemy law, has been abducted, Pakistan police say.

Morocco Blocking Integration of Muslim Immigrants in Spain

Egypt’s Brotherhood declares war on the bikini

Finns now more critical of Islam
Only six percent of the survey respondents thought of Islam in positive terms, with the vast majority clearly holding negative impressions.

More arrests and Bibles seized in Iran

British campaigner battles media's cone of silence on sharia law
.... Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, called for Australia to "compromise with Islam" and introduce "legal pluralism".

European 'No-Go' Zones for Non-Muslims Proliferating

Muslims demand Sharia student loans because paying interest goes against Islamic law

Egypt police arrest man for Facebook 'Islam insults'

Meatpacking plant strives, struggles to accommodate Muslim workforce
"We know that some of our employees would like a guaranteed prayer time every day," said Cargill spokesman Michael Martin. "That is not the legal requirement, and it would be impractical to accommodate this without shutting down the production line."

Islamic Republic Of Iran Steps Up Persecution Of Christians

Viacom withholds South Park ‘Muhammad’ episodes in all foreign territories

Don't watch Diary of a Badman, or you'll go to Hell .... who persist in telling the Ummah that the 'kuffar' (non-believers) are 'less than animals'.

Churches Can’t Be Built in Streets with Islamic Names

Jail for refusal to remove burqa in Australia

Female Genital Mutilation "An Obligation" According to Iraqi Muslim Cleric

Policing Ramadan undermines its principles
Pakistan's Ehtram-e-Ramzan (respecting Ramadan) law makes eating, drinking and smoking in public places during the fasting hours of the holy month illegal.

Iran Seizes 6,500 Bibles to Stop 'Deceiving' Christian Missionaries

Liberal intellectuals are frightened of confronting Islam's honour-shame culture
.... they seem more worried about “us” provoking Muslim violence than about exploring the sources of Muslim violence. And often they attack those defending democratic principles with a shrill and contemptuous tone that they would never dream of using with Muslims.

Victim of Indonesian mob attack sent to jail
An Indonesian man wounded when Islamic hard-liners launched a deadly attack on his minority sect was sentenced Monday to six months in prison.

Iran arrests youths for playing with water
But the fun ended when photos of water-fighting youths, laughing and dishevelled, came to the attention of Iranian authorities. Ten young men and women were arrested a few days after the first fight took place, and accused of breaking Islamic law.

European Concerns Over Muslim Immigration Go Mainstream
Europeans are waking up to the consequences of decades of mass immigration from Muslim countries.

Radio Host Michael Smith's Comments on Muhammad's Marriage to Aisha
The circumstances of Muhammad's marriages provide a fundamental point of reference for sharia law. They determine, for example, the marriage age for girls in societies which seek to comply with the Islamic sharia.

Remarks on prophet investigated

Debate on whether Islam guarantees equality of rights for women
.... here is the hadith in which Muhammad speaks both of hell being filled with mostly women and women being deficient in intellect and religion:

Family loses appeal over swimming lesson fine
A court says that fines imposed on Muslim parents in canton Basel-City for keeping their children out of mandatory school swimming lessons were correct.

Australia must fight calls for sharia law

FOSIS Angry at Qaradawi Ireland Exclusion
He thinks that Hitler was sent by Allah to punish Jews and looks forward to a time in which ‘the believers’ will finish what Hitler started.

Seven out of 10 Austrians back burka ban

Sharia law in the West goes against fight for reforms
ATTEMPTS to introduce sharia family law into Western societies run against the tide of reforms spearheaded by female activists in the Muslim world.

Do critics actually read the Koran?

There is no compulsion in religion, but...
.... no one is forced to enter Islam (or so he says). However, after they choose to enter Islam, they cannot be allowed to leave it.

Sharia: a law unto itself?
After being beaten repeatedly by her husband – who had also threatened to kill her – Jameela turned to her local Sharia council in a desperate bid for a way out of her marriage.

Dad forbids daughter to play with non-Muslim children

Islam and democracy - Uneasy companions

Assaulted for wearing a sleeveless shirt

Muslim woman attacked for having relationship with non-Muslim

25 jailed for eating in public during Ramadan

Letter on Sharia Law to Justice Ministry
.... marital rape is deemed “impossible” and violence against women is permissible provided it does not leave any marks.

Perspectives on Sharia law in Britain
Their rulings are not in line with the Children Act 1989, which is supposed to protect all children in the country.

Muslim Countries Financing Jihad in Spain

Teacher suspended for 'insulting' Muhammad in Bangladesh

Family of albino Muslims terrorised after one of them marries a Christian man

Iranian youths arrested for public water pistol fight in Tehran

Italy approves draft law to ban burqa

Two legal systems, and two choices. Which do we want?
God (or Allah, or whoever) only knows how we've got ourselves into this position, where a big chunk of our population waits for the edicts of men schooled in a medieval interpretation of a 1,500-year-old religion, with medieval views on freedom of expression, homosexuality and women's rights.

"Sharia Controlled Zones" for UK cities

Spray-painted burkas and religious freedom
The most serious incident of religious intolerance in Tower Hamlets came back in April. I brought you the story of a 31-year-old Asian shop assistant in fear of her life because she refused to hear a headscarf’.

Can Islam Be Reformed?
Few believing Muslims think that Islam needs to be reformed; the suggestion would strike most religious Muslims as absurd, if not insulting and ultimately blasphemous.

July 2011

Iranian sentenced to blinding for acid attack pardoned

Be warned: Real courage is being ready to step on a few 'cultural' toes
The local Imam .... had steely eyes which bored through me. ‘In the not too distant future,’ he intoned, ‘all British girls will be circumcised when Islam rules this country.’

War for the furtherance of Islam and against non-believers is considered ethically acceptable

Over half of Dutch say Wilders anti-Islamic rhetoric fine - poll

Probe into secretive Sharia law courts scrapped as Muslim leaders close ranks

Light sentence for Muslim extremists sends 'chilling message'

There is no place for Sharia law in British Society

'No porn or prostitution': Islamic extremists set up Sharia law controlled zones in British cities

Slander and lies from the East London Mosque

Protesters oppose Muslim prayer in public schools

How sexual apartheid works with children - in photos
The third photo finally satisfied the censors - it was perfect. Girls nicely covered up and in the back where they belong...

BBC Promotes "Radical" Preacher in Documentary
He has argued that men are responsible for the guidance of women and supports a husband’s ‘use of physical force’ for a ‘light beating’.

Egypt women work to protect rights from Islamist groups

European Muslims: ‘Refusal to integrate the root of most problems’

New Saudi Fatwa Defends Pedophilia as ‘Marriage’

Oklahoman gets $20,000 in lawsuit against retailer
If I try to wear shorts at my work I would be sent home and fired if I refused to change to long pants. When did a business loose the ability to have a dress code?

Muslim woman forced to flee for marrying a Christian

Iran's supreme leader attacks 'harmful' books

Polygamous Sharia marriages don't belong in Britain

Female illiteracy: 41% of Pakistani girls fail to complete primary school

Sharia Law is a code of despair; a code obsessed with women
Just because the Sharia courts in Britain and Europe are dealing primarily (but not exclusively) with implementing Sharia’s civil or family code rather than its penal code, it doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

Sharia whipping case: Sydney man's $60,000 bail order
One of four men who allegedly held a man against his bed and whipped him with a cord as a religious punishment for drinking has been granted strict bail.

Turning school into a mosque victimizes minorities
For those who might otherwise support secularism they need to realize that by once again opening public schools to religion they are ultimately doing religious minorities a major disservice.

Sharia in Toronto: the Muslim Girls on Their Period Have to Sit in the Back
In the front were the praying boys. Behind them were the praying girls. Way in the back were the girls who were menstruating, and thus forbidden from participating in prayer.

The BBC: falsifying art and history in the name of respect
The BBC's decision to make a series about Mohammed without showing his face - a concession to what are said to be Muslim sensibilities - struck many observers as reasonable.

A Craze for Pooches in Iran Dogs the Morality Police
Iranians have turned to the Internet to organize antigovernment protests. Now they're flocking online to defy another Islamic Republic edict: buying and selling dogs

Morality police hit Tehran streets
Iran's morality police unit commenced its annual campaign last month to uphold the Islamic dress code and raise "moral security" in the streets of Tehran, leading to many arrests and fines

Breast-feeding mother 'told to leave council headquarters because she would offend Muslim visitors'

Egyptian Shaykh: "We still kill him, even if he repents!"
Shaykh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni on the Egyptian satellite television station al-Hikma .... here explains that whoever insults Muhammad, even if he later repents, must be killed.

Iranian Pastor Sentenced to Death Could Be Executed if He Doesn’t Recant, Says Verdict

Lingerie shops in Riyadh fear fresh Haia raids
The Haia is opposed to women sales clerks interacting with male customers, as it is considered illegal mingling of women with unrelated men.

End gender apartheid in U.S. mosques

Girls should not be segregated on public school property
I’m referring to the female students who participate in Friday prayers at Valley Park Middle School, relegated to the back on the cafeteria and not permitted to participate when menstruating.

15 October 2011

Muslims face negative perception in Canada, study suggests

A new national survey that tapped the level of "positiveness" that Canadians feel toward selected groups suggests that Muslims — significantly more than 10 other subsets of society — remain a magnet for negativity a decade after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

Just 43 per cent of the 2,345 people polled by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies expressed "very positive" or "somewhat positive" perceptions of Muslims, while atheists (60 per cent) and aboriginals (61 per cent) also drew relatively lukewarm responses. [Postmedia News] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

08 October 2011

This brutality is not Islam

The death sentence given to Youcef Nadarkhani in Iran is an affront to universal moral values and a disservice to Muslims

Analysis of readers comments on the above Guardian Cif post by Mehdi Hasan 30 September 2011 - See full post here

Mr Hasan argues that execution for aposatasy is unIslamic saying, amongst other things: ".... the silence from the world's Muslims – especially the UK's usually voluble Muslim organisations and self-appointed "community leaders" – has been shameful. The irony is that I have yet to come across an ordinary Muslim who agrees that a fellow believer who loses, changes or abandons his or her faith should be hanged. Yet frustratingly few Muslims are willing to speak out against such medieval barbarism. We mumble excuses, avert our eyes.

.... There is a misguided assumption among many Muslims that such an abhorrent punishment is divinely mandated. It isn't. Classical Muslim jurists wrongly conflated apostasy with treason. The historical fact is that the prophet Muhammad never had anyone executed for apostasy alone.

.... Muslims have to ask ourselves: Is the God we worship so weak and needy that he requires us to force our fellow humans to worship him? Is our religion so frail and insecure that it cannot tolerate any rejection whatsoever? And why are we silent as an innocent Christian is sentenced to death in the name of Islam? To hang a man for refusing to believe in Islam is theologically and morally unjustifiable; it is not just unIslamic but anti-Islamic.

His article received 495 comments. The response to Mr Hasan as measured by these comments and the votes readers give to them is overwhelmingly critical. He can convince hardly anyone that his benign version of Islam is real. The brutality of Islam is there for all to see in Islam’s holy texts and practice past and present.

Analysis of first 100 comments
Type of commentVotes%
Highly critical of Mr Hasan777083
Supportive of Mr Hasan8429

BigNowitzki - 492 votes
Simple fact is, the Hadiths (which the majority of Muslims follow) do prescribe death for apostasy.

…. Muslims have a much more literal reading of the Koran and the Hadiths than say most Christians. Much of Christianity moved away from a literal reading of these texts in the last few centuries.

…. I fear that the conditions in Islamic countries won't change that much until a fundamental switch away from literalism takes place. It might be a while yet, but the internet will speed up the process.

Arapas - 602
[Medhi Hasan said][Freedom of religion is guaranteed by Islam’s holy book in the famous verse: ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion']

I am sorry to say that the statement is totally untrue and misleading. There is no such luxury in Islam.

MrGreyhame - 501
That's the problem with any holy book though isn't it? It can be interpreted a hundred different ways because it's based on nonsense.

You say the death penalty for apostasy is unjustifiable in Islam, and quote some of the Qur'an and Islamic leaders, whilst others justify it through other sections and other Islamic leaders.

Phud - 206
[MH said][Muslims have to ask ourselves: Is the God we worship so weak and needy that he requires us to force our fellow humans to worship him? Is our religion so frail and insecure that it cannot tolerate any rejection whatsoever?]

The answer is yes to this question is undoubtedly yes, or the extremists wouldn't have to resort to bullets and bombs.

discharge - 271
"Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him"

you would have gotten away with it it if werent for those meddling hadith

shazlee - 40
…. Majority of the hadiths are forgeries concocted much later after Muhammed and changed by various muslims rulers to cement their positions in power struggles and civil wars.

Bukhari examined 500,000 hadiths and reduced these to a few thousand which later were changed by muslim rulers to suit their ends.

Generian - 304
…. The reason why executing apostates has always been well-ensconced in Islamic law is that there is an indisputable record of Muhammad and his companions doing exactly that according to the reliable Hadith. According to verse 4:80 of the Quran: "Whoso obeyeth the Messenger obeyeth Allah."

Bukhari (52:260) - "...The Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' " Note that there is no distinction as to how that Muslim came to be a Muslim.

Bukhari (83:37) - "Allah's Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,YY (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate."

Bukhari (84:57) - "[In the words of] Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"

Bukhari (89:271) - A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to "the verdict of Allah and his apostle."

Bukhari (84:58) - "There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, 'Who is this (manYY?' Abu Muisa said, 'He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism.' Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, 'I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice.' Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed.

blueburmese - 486
Islam is a backwards, fascist ideology that has no place in modern, civilised society. Death sentence for refusing to believe? Seriously?

PetraMB - 427
And what does it tell us about Islam as practiced in the 21st century that Mehdi Hasan feels he should write a longish article with all sorts of rather desperate arguments supporting the view that Muslims should not be threatened with death for converting to another faith?

[MH said][14 Muslim-majority nations make conversion away from Islam illegal; several – including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Sudan – impose the death penalty on those who disbelieve. [...] There is a misguided assumption among many Muslims that such an abhorrent punishment is divinely mandated.]

So Mehdi Hasan thinks they are all wrong -- and this is something I would like to believe, too. But the problem is that many millions of Muslims, and many Muslim religious leaders and scholars obviously think that Mehdi Hasan is wrong...

Persianwar - 288
…. Islam deals in pluralism when it is a minority faith, but when it becomes the majority all the pluralism and tolerance goes out of the window.

warmachineuk - 143
…. the majority of Muslims tolerate it by mumbling excuses and averting their eyes, not even a quick, resigned condemnation. Not even a majority saying "Everyone knows the Iranian judiciary have lost the plot. Ignore them."

…. Of course, Islam is a broad, ill-defined term covering many ideas, some of which contradict each other, but when stating something is Islamic, that means the majority of people who regard themselves as Muslim would regard it as Islamic. By his own admission, the author's opinion is in the minority. Therefore, it does not represent the general, Islamic view.

JamesDavid - 325
[MH said][The decision to execute Nadarkhani beggars belief.]

Erm, no. It's actually quite typical behaviour for a tyrannical Muslim theocracy, and it's what we've come to expect from most avowedly Islamic countries. It's not surprising at all. The only thing which is surprising is that you think it's surprising.

TheUsualSuspects - 102
…. Islam, until it is scorned and recognised for the pathetic belief system that it is, should be attacked and ridiculed at every opportunity. There is no 'real Islam'. Just differing degrees of delusion.

StephenGash - 65
…. no Muslim country has signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights instead signing their own Cairo Declaration that enshrines sharia law that in turn enshrines the dominance of Muslims over non-Muslims

Kimpatsu - 52
Mehdi, you are committing a "No true Scotsman" logical fallacy. But then, of course, if you understood logic, you wouldn't be superstitious.

johnmrson - 104
[MH said][This brutality is not Islam]

Yes it is. You can pretend that it isn't from your comfortable home in a Christian country but the reality is very different in Muslim countries.

Yddgrasil - 78
When will the OIC (Organization fo Islamic Countries) do the following:

1. Condemn Iran's actions in this case

2. Allow Non muslims of all religions to build their own houses of worship in Saudi Arabia ?

3. Allow non muslims to enter the cities of Mecca and Medina?

Any chance of the above three happening in our lifetime?

Keo2008 - 48
The Hadiths may not be the Quran, but they are deemed to be the words and thoughts of Mohammed, as collected and confirmed in the centuries following.

As such they carry the same authority as the Quran.

…. So those sympathetic to Islam can squirm as much as they like. The fact is that the Hadiths do represent the absolute truth to true believers of Islam. And they do indeed call for the execution of those who desert Islam (along with many other gruesome and barbaric practices).

ZackSame - 24
The intent of the article is good but it's just a shame that in a rational world Mehdi Hasan to scrabble about the scriptures and the words of 'religious' leaders to find a reason not to string a person up for being of a different faith, which is a bit depressing.

DavidPavett - 9
…. The biggest question for me is located in this passage.

[MH said][Meanwhile the silence from the world's Muslims - especially the UK's usually voluble Muslim organisations and self-appointed "community leaders" - has been shameful. The irony is that I have yet to come across an ordinary Muslim who agrees that a fellow believer who loses, changes or abandons his or her faith should be hanged. Yet frustratingly few Muslims are willing to speak out against such medieval barbarism. We mumble excuses, avert our eyes.]

We need another article which discusses the nature of Muslim organisations to explain how and why there is such a misfit between what ordinary Muslims think and what is said, or not said, on their behalf regarding apostasy.

TomGamble - 29
…. 36 per cent of the young people questioned said they believed that a Muslim who converts to another religion should be "punished by death." Among the over 55s, the figure is only 19 per cent.

This is possibly more reliable than the straw poll Hasan claims to have taken

ExileCuChulainn - 26
…. The problem is that while the Koran merely describes the punishments that await the apostate in the next world (Koran 3:86-91(, the hadith is emphatic about justice that must be meted out in this one: "Whoever changes his religion, kill him"

No metaphor hides this directive and it would seem that no process of liberal interpretation can brush it under the carpet.

The justice of killing apostates is a matter of mainstream acceptance , if not practice. This explains why there did not appear to be a single reasonable muslim living on earth willing to speak out when the Ayatollah Khomeini put a bounty on the head of Salman Rushdie

Azadmiah - 37
Apostasy is a crime in orthodox Islam, the fact the 14 Muslim states make it so, demonstrates that, as most Islamic scholars agree on that.

…. As a secular Muslim, don’t get me wrong, I think Islam needs reformation, just as Christianity did centuries ago. ‘there is no compulsion in religion’ verse which most scholars have concluded is abrogated, replaced by more intolerant verses.

And don’t forget Quran is not the only guide, scholars also use Hadith, for Sharia Law. In Muslim countries, even if the state does not prosecute for someone for apostatsy, then the public would take actions against the apostates. It’s well very well for handful of liberal Muslims to come here and say ‘this is not Islam’, please debate that with the Mullahs and with the general Muslim populations, if you’re not forced into hiding.

Lehihamra - 39
[MH said][1) Is the God we worship so weak and needy that he requires us to force our fellow humans to worship him? 2) Is our religion so frail and insecure that it cannot tolerate any rejection whatsoever?]

1) Having regularly seen the muttawa on the streets of Riyadh rounding up stray men around prayer time and forcing them into mosques it appears that yes, he is seen as that weak and needy, at least by the religious police. And then there are the millions of children who every week attend religious school. I am sure there is more that a little compulsion involved there.

2) Well, from the Rushdie affair to the Danish cartoons it would seem that there is a huge lack of tolerance for rejection or, especially, derision.

TheDeuce - 19
Islam is not the Koran (a collection of saying that people remembered Mohammad saying that he claimed came from Allah that were most likely first written down in Syriac) but the the Koran, Hadith and the example of Mohammad's life.

When that is considered the majority of muslims in the world do conclude that apostasy is punishable by death. So this is what Islam is.

apartment7 - 57
[MH said][Is our religion so frail and insecure that it cannot tolerate any rejection whatsoever?]

Trivial Danish cartoons leading to spontaneous mass protests baying for blood and death in many countries? That's a resounding yes from a huge number of Muslims then.

…. [MH said][There is a misguided assumption among many Muslims that such an abhorrent punishment is divinely mandated. It isn't. Classical Muslim jurists wrongly conflated apostasy with treason. The historical fact is that the prophet Muhammad never had anyone executed for apostasy alone. In one well-documented case, when a Bedouin man disowned his decision to convert to Islam and left the city of Medina, the prophet took no action against him, remarking only that, "Medina is like a pair of bellows: it expels its impurities and brightens and clears its good".]

So we should just hope that Nadarkhani is "expelled as an impurity" - that's what Muhammad would've wanted. Utterly odd thing to write on this subject. Responding to religious nonsense with more religious nonsense, albeit slightly less hateful.

But hell, this is The Guardian after all so nobody should be surprised.

Tridhos - 38
Keep on repeating. "there is no coercion in Islam", and there is no L in London.

Infidel - 55
[MH said][This brutality is not Islam]

Oh yes it is.

I have been to exhibitions and open weeks intended to explain Islam and have been told by the otherwise polite Muslims promoting their faith as one of tolerance, justice and peace that the punishment for apostasy is death.

If you haven't spoken to any of your fellow Muslims who agree with this, Mehdi, then you're not speaking to enough people.

MatthewPB - 64
[MH said][This brutality is not Islam]

Well can you tell me what is? Is it flogging girls for allowing themselves to be raped? Is it not permitting Israel to be shown on maps? Is it stoning adulterers and homosexuals? Is it rioting and threatening violence everytime someone causes Muslims 'offence'?

I could go on, but the point is that we're constantly told what is 'not Islam' in spite of overwhelming evidence that it is a violent, racist, misogynistic, anti-semitic, homophobic belief system.

[MH said][when a Bedouin man disowned his decision to convert to Islam and left the city of Medina, the prophet took no action against him, remarking only that, "Medina is like a pair of bellows: it expels its impurities and brightens and clears its good".]

Oh, that's alright then - Muhammad didn't execute the unbeliever, he just regarded him as "an impurity". Much like the Nazis regarded Jews as "impurities". What a nice fellow he was after all.

herbgill - 34
[A commenter said][I'm a Muslim. And I've spoken to Muslims who would no doubt applaud stringing up someone for apostacy. They're called the lunatic fringe.]

But this lunatic fringe extends all the way to the center.

DocMolotov - 37
How did the Lunatic fringe get to run a whole country?

Sameer101 - 42
Mehdi, you disingenuous snake you.

If you're going to write an article about apostasy in Islam, then you could at LEAST include the infamous words of "prophet" Muhammad in which he said... "Whoever changes his religion, kill him". - Bukhari V4 B52 N260

Or when he said... "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims." - Bukhari V9 B83 N17

You could have also mentioned that all major schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that the punishment for apostasy in Islam is death.

Unionised - 36
You can tell just how fucked up Islam is by the fact that this discussion - whether people who leave Islam should be killed or not - is taking place.

Are there many other religions in the world where this discussion is going on? I have never heard a Christian support the killing of people who leave Christianity.

shazlee - 3
…. the hadiths do not carry the same authority as the Quran. Only some of the hadiths carry weight but they are secondary to the Quran.

There are many hadiths that contradict the teachings of Quran and even defame Muhammed. Various collections of hadiths were gathered after 150 - 200 years after Muhammed. Bukhari is to said have examined over 500,000 and reduced these to a coupe of thousand. This shows the level of forgery in so called hadiths . Other collectors did the same in weeding out the forgeries.

But then corrupt muslim rulers started to changed these collections to to fulfil their power ambitions and purge their opponents.

[A commemter said][So those sympathetic to Islam can squirm as much as they like. The fact is that the Hadiths do represent the absolute truth to true believers of Islam. And they do indeed call for the execution of those who desert Islam (along with many other gruesome and barbaric practices).]

No they dont. A two-minute research on hadiths will show that only those hadiths that concerned with the practice of the religion were examined authenticated and not all hadiths in the collections. Futher these scholars have classed the hadiths into 4 categories from authoritative to weak where they cannot be corroborated.

SoundMoney - 46
[MH said][This brutality is not Islam]

Please name every imam who has unreservedly condemned it.

Unionised - 49
According to a study carried out last year by the highly regarded Pew Research Center, the majority of Egyptian Muslims, Nigerian Muslims, Jordanian Muslims and Pakistani Muslims, not to mention a third of Indonesian Muslims, think those who leave Islam should be executed.

Mike500 - 34
…. Sorry, but if the Islamic texts state that death is acceptable for Apostacy, then it is part of Islam (the last guy to call out a verse as a fraud was Salman Rushdie).

Trying to pass it off as "not proper Islam" because not all Muslims believe in it, makes no more sense than trying to pass off Calculus as "not proper Maths" by someone who ignores it and only studies Trigonometry.

Zurcher - 22
…. I spent many hours arguing with educated British muslim colleagues over two years in my last job, and found that rather than being in the minority, the offensive (to secular westerners) views of the "extreme" wing are actually much more common, and in my experience, form mainstream majority opinion.

fairmind - 45
Even today temples are being destroyed in Pakistan and Bangladesh and a few Hindus that are left in these countries are being converted forcibly. Even the Prophet converted nonbelievers forcibly and those who refused were raped, killed or made slaves. That is the history of Islam, they don't believe in human rights.

CraigSummers - 36
[MH said][".....In 1948, most of the world's Muslim-majority nations signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights......The then Pakistani foreign minister, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, wrote: "Belief is a matter of conscience, and conscience cannot be compelled."......" "......Fast-forward to 2011......"]

Uh, no Mr. Hasan. You (i suspect not out of ignorance) skipped an important step. In 1990, the Organization of Islamic Conference composed of (now) fifty seven members signed the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam which is a more "culturally sensitive" human rights document based on Sharia Law (".....which provides an overview on the Islamic perspective on human rights, and affirms Islamic Shari'ah as its sole source.....") .

No where in the document is there a guarantee of religious freedom.

According to Wikipedia:

".....The CDHRI does not discuss freedom of religion, assembly, association or the requirement of free consent to marriage, the right to a fair trial, prisoners' rights, minority rights, the right to a nationality, suffrage, social security, trade unions, strikes or participation in cultural life.[1] The Cairo Declaration also includes several crucial limitations, including all rights being bound by Islamic law; it allows the right to take a life, inflict bodily harm, that the education of children be in accordance with sharia, that there are rights that can be claimed from children or kin, restriction on freedom of movement and the ability to deny refugees protection whenever permitted by sharia.[1....."

It is wrong to suggest that Muslim majority countries are signatories to the UDHR. The CDHRI is one reason that minorities and women fair so poorly in Muslim majority countries.

Keo2008 - 10
@Shazlee: I am aware of the extra information you provide about the Hadiths

…. Rather than criticising my interpretation, you might be better off trying to persuade Muslim clerics and governments worldwide to abandon the Hadiths and stop claiming they are part of Islam.

So long as so many Muslims choose to believe that the Hadiths represent Islam, my criticisms stand.

moroboshi - 28
Medieval supernatural belief systems use medieval punishments. What a shocker.

thegoodcat - 29
"This brutality is not Islam" Yes it is - reject and throw away all this medieval mumbo jumbo. Try joining and enjoying the modern world and no it isn't easy to be captain's of your own fates; it takes courage.

RichieRich66 - 40
[A commenter said][Mehdi, you disingenuous snake you.]

Given that Medhi's article doesn't contain the word "hadith", I'd say that's fair enough.

Despite what Shazlee says about Bukhari, it is regarded a the most definitive set of hadiths.

Here's the introduction to Islam on Wikipedia. The first para (bold added) reads the monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God …., and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of Hadith) of Muhammad, considered by them to be the last prophet of God.

So here we have it.

1. The hadith are a core text in Islam

2. Bukhari is the most authentic hadith

3. Bukhari says the punishment for apostasy is death

stuv - 40
... if CiF intends to continue commissioning articles from Mehdi Hasan, I really REALLY think he should be asked to turn up BTL to answer critical comment ... because we all can read what the koran states as the word of allah, and because we all - via polls and daily news -know how many MANY muslims think and act ... so we cannot help pointing out the conflict between what he would have us understand is islam and the reality of what islam is ... until he faces up to this paradox, his articles miserably fail to convince ...

30 September 2011

Austrians see high multiethnic conflict potential

A new survey has revealed a significant potential for conflicts between Austrians and foreigners.

A poll by the Centre for Future Studies of Salzburg’s FH higher education college shows that 53 per cent of Austrians considered the change that existing difficulties in the coexistence of themselves and immigrants could worsen as "very high".

Around 45 per cent of interviewed Austrians said the same considering Christians and Muslims while 31 per cent were of the same opinion as far as the situation between rich and poor was regarded. [Austrian Times] Read more [via Islam in Europe]

28 September 2011

Egypt: What statistics say about the role of religion in politics and society

.... Interestingly, 76% said that for a person to be of good manners and noble character, he “must” be religious, a clear indication of the prevalence of the belief that good character mainly emanates from religious practice & faith, with implications on the selection of political candidates of course among other things.

Of particular interest, however, is the statistic that claimed that 83% of the sample believed that religion is a private matter and that every person should be free to choose his own religion.

Conversely, a whopping 76% said they are against removing the religion-specifying section in the national ID card, while 16% said they are for such removal, an issue of thorny debate in recent times. [Bikya Masr] Read more [via National Secular Society]

11 September 2011

Western, Muslim societies ‘irreconcilable’

A majority of Canadians believes conflict between Western nations and the Muslim world is “irreconcilable,” according to a new national survey that revealed a strong strain of pessimism in the country leading up to Sunday’s 10th anniversary commemorations of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

The survey of 1,500 Canadians, conducted over three days last week for the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies, showed 56% of respondents see Western and Muslim societies locked in an unending ideological struggle, while about 33% — just one-third of the population — held out hope that the conflict will eventually be overcome. [National Post] Read more

08 September 2011

47 percent of all Americans believe that the values of Islam are at odds with American values

.... Some 47 percent of all Americans, according to the poll, believe that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life. And the splits along ideological lines reveal a deeply divided public.

Large majorities of Republicans (63 percent) and people who identify with the Tea Party (66 percent) say that Islamic values are in contrast with American values. At the same time, however, a majority of Democrats (55 percent) and independents (53 percent) disagree with that view. [] Read more [via Islamophobia Watch]

31 August 2011

One in five US Muslims knows of extremist support in community

As the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaches, 21 per cent of respondents told a study they had detected "a great deal" or "a fair deal" of support for extremism in their areas.

While the vast majority said that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians to protect Islam were never justified, 19 per cent of respondents did not agree with this statement. [] Read more

28 August 2011

More than half Indonesian Muslims aged 15 to 25 years support the eye-for-an-eye Hudud punishments for crimes such as theft, adultery and apostasy

.... according to a recent survey by Germany's Goethe-Institut, the bulk of youths in the world's largest Muslim-majority country share remarkably traditional values about faith and family, despite a decade of social and political change since the fall of the Suharto dictatorship.

More than half of nearly 1,500 Indonesian Muslims aged 15 to 25 years polled from October to November last year supported the eye-for-an-eye Hudud punishments for crimes such as theft, adultery and apostasy.

Fully 66 percent agreed with capital punishment for murder and 68 percent favoured whipping for alcohol consumption.

Conservative beliefs were stronger in relation to family matters, with nine in 10 respondents disagreeing with interfaith marriage. Of those willing to marry non-Muslims, most expected their spouses to convert to Islam. [AFP] Read more [via National Secular Society]