Creeping Sharia law Through the Law Society? No, Just Bad Journalism
By Steven Rose (TellMAMA)
The Telegraph’s alarmist reporting once again puts Sharia law in the spotlight. An utterance of this phrase guarantees a level of indignation in some corners. But in this context, is such indignation justified?
In short, it is not. A careful reading of the story demolishes the headline, “Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs.” Yes, the Law Society drafted guidance for solicitors on this issue, but it remains just that, guidance (nor legal advice.)
As it states:
“Practice notes are issued by the Law Society for the use and benefit of its members. They represent the Law Society’s view of good practice in a particular area. They are not intended to be the only standard of good practice that solicitors can follow. You are not required to follow them, but doing so will make it easier to account to oversight bodies for your actions.
Practice notes are not legal advice, nor do they necessarily provide a defence to complaints of misconduct or of inadequate professional service. While care has been taken to ensure that they are accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them.”
So for the Telegraph to claim that Islamic law is “effectively enshrined” in the British legal system is a dangerous falsehood. An accompanying editorial lambasted the practice as ‘anti-women’ and incompatible with British values of fairness and decency.
Rather interestingly, it goes on to assert that the British legal system “has its roots in Judaeo-Christian morality.” This othering of Islam positions it as incompatible with Britain, which is deeply Islamophobic and exclusionary to the millions of British Muslims who peacefully observe their faith.
Other newspapers repeat this falsehood, the Daily Mail claimed, “Sharia Law to be enshrined in British legal system,” as the Express labelled the development ‘deeply disturbing.’
Both Baroness Cox (who invited Geert Wilders to the UK) and the National Secular Society are quoted heavily and oppose the measure. Nicholas Fluck, president of the Law Society, is directly quoted near the bottom of the Mail article but such quotes are notably absent in the Metro, Express, Telegraph, and ITV.
When context is substituted for sensationalism, the story takes on a life of its own across various social media platforms. The original Telegraph piece has over 10,000 shares on Facebook alone. In comparison, both the Mail and Metro articles received thousands of shares.
Poor journalism helps reinvigorate the far-right and other Islamophobic groups as it provides evidence to support their anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.
For Fiyaz Mughal, of TELL MAMA, more care is needed when reporting such stories: “the accuracy of reporting rather than spin is fundamental to ensuring that the facts are provided to members of the public. We all value a free and fair press who have a right to probe into areas of public interest. What we don’t want is reporting that is inaccurate, driven by journalists trying to find facts to fit their pre-conceived notions on faith communities, stories that are not only inaccurate, but sometimes just untrue and which play on the fears of people. All that does it to further re-enforce Far Right extremist positions and isolate Muslim communities as a whole who are caricatured as some malign block of people intent on Islamicising Britain. That is far from the truth.”
Muslim Americans likely make up the bulk of US domestic spy targets. This is what it's like for innocent citizens to live in fear
Better oversight of the sprawling American national security apparatus may finally be coming: President Obama and the House Intelligence Committee unveiled plans this week to reduce bulk collection of telephone records. The debate opened up by Edward Snowden's whistle-blowing is about to get even more legalistic than all the parsing of hops and stores and metadata.
These reforms may be reassuring, if sketchy. But for those living in so-called "suspect communities" Muslim Americans, left-wing campaigners, "radical" journalists the days of living on the receiving end of excessive spying wont end there.
As you may or may not hear, movie theatres across America this weekend are premiering the movie, “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe. Several of my Muslim friends and colleagues have expressed interest and excitement about the movie and their desire to attend a showing of the film. Therefore, I felt it necessary to implore us to show restraint and not waste our time watching it. As Muslims, we should abhor that Hollywood or any entity would produce a movie depicting a Prophet.1. Why are only the Prophet Muḥammad Images Offensive?
We often get desensitized, especially those of us living in the West, when it comes to making images of the prophets since we see so many portraits of Jesus everywhere we go. Nevertheless, we should firmly be against the imaging of any of our Islamic Prophets. Many of us get up in arms when others portray our Prophet Muḥammad in a cartoon, but don't blink an eye if any of our other beloved prophets are depicted. Before you say that cartoons depicting the Prophet Muḥammad are meant to be offensive while other images are not, just think about the outrage caused by Maajid Nawaz with his cartoon in England back in January. As Muslims, we rightfully should be offended when anyone depicts our Prophet Muḥammad whether done to be offensive or not. What I'm also trying to advocate is that, as Muslims, we should similar be offended when others depict other prophets as well, including but not limited to Prophets Eesa and Nuh .2. Russell Crowe has nothing on Prophet Nuh
Another problematic aspect of the movie includes the role played by Russell Crowe. As Muslims, we honestly don't know too much about what Prophet Nuh looked like. However, if we watch this movie, we will start to intertwine the character played by Russell Crowe, looks included, into our imagination of Prophet Nuh . Russell Crowe has nothing on Prophet Nuh , so let's not give him the opportunity to represent him in our minds.
The producer of the movie “Noah,” a self-professed atheist, according to the Washington Times, says he is proud of the fact that he's taken a story inspired by God's word and turned it into something so secular.3. Don't want to mess up my Reading of Surah Nuh
By sitting through a two hour movie specifically about one of the greatest human beings in history, our subconscious may start to associate the props in the movie (the clothes, the bad guys, the language) as all being part of the story of our beloved prophet.
Even if we fight the urge, our subconscious may start thinking of Russell Crowe's version of Prophet Nuh when we are reciting the verses regarding the flood in the Qurʾān.
As Muslims, we should firmly restrain ourselves from showing support for the “Noah” movie. Many conservative Christian groups have already expressed concerns regarding the movie. Paramount Pictures has admitted it took some “artistic license” in producing the movie. Several Muslim countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have already banned the movie (source).
O Muslim, won't you also abstain from watching “Noah”?
Art by Zohayma Montaner
Victoria Jackson says she is fighting for the ‘soul of America’
When a Muslim, Daoud Abudiab, moved in near Victoria Jackson’s suburban neighborhood, she responded with a post on her website titled, “Civilization Jihad, Hits Home (my back yard, literally).”
It’s one of several anti-Islamic entries on the former “Saturday Night Live” star’s site. Abudiab said, “She has friends who support her in making Williamson County a scary place to live for some of us.”
Jackson, for her part, feels right at home here – maybe more than she did in the New York limelight. She has applied her familiar high-pitched voice to a combative brand of politics, which she hopes will take her to a seat on the County Commission this summer. “He’s afraid of me?!” she wrote in her Web article, which included statistics claiming large numbers of terror attacks committed in the name of Islam and none by other religions. “According to these statistics, I should be afraid of him!”
Jackson, 54, says she’s fighting what she sees as “a spiritual battle over the soul of America,” and in doing so has joined protests against building a mosque in Murfreesboro and against a public discussion hosted by the American Muslim Advisory Council.
Abudiab is director of the Islamic Center of Columbia, which in February 2008 was tagged with swastikas and “white power” and burned to the ground by white supremacists, two of whom were associated with the Christian Identity Movement. Abudiab moved to Williamson County for the schools and “a safe environment” for his son, who had been bullied by his Maury County classmates because of his religion. “I would love to issue her an invitation to come to our home and have dinner and then she could judge for herself if we are scary people or not,” Abudiab said.
Fascist group entering mosques and handing out inflammatory literature
A group purporting to be on a ‘Muslim anti-grooming campaign’ are entering mosques and handing out inflammatory literature.
In the latest video posted on the Britain First website members of the group can be seen standing inside a mosque in Bolton. They then hand over inflammatory and anti-Muslim leaflets to a mosque member.
On the website it states the team visited mosques in Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale and Burnley. They end the video by visiting the home address of Gordon Birtwistle MP, Burnley MP who was quoted in an article earlier this month criticising the group.
As well as the Golden Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre in Rochdale, members of the group visit the Jamiyat Tabligh-ul-Islam mosque in Oldham and the Madina Mosque in Bolton.
It comes on the back of a video, revealed on the Asian Image website, which sees them visiting Councillor Salim Mulla, the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen’s home last month. Coun Mulla had said: “Luckily, no-one opened the door. I have seen the literature in question and I am appalled by it. I am going to hand it to the police. This is a fascist group and no-one should entertain them.”
The group is led by chairman and former British National Party member Paul Golding.
Anna Bernard expands on Edward Said’s assertion that Israeli and Palestinian literature “cannot be separated.”
Women, Equality, Islam
Fair play to Woman's Hour this week, for making an effort to understand "the experience of British Muslim women" with a special edition that included Salma Yaqoob, former leader of the Respect party, and Julie Bindel, "representing the silenced majority of Muslim women" (her words, since deleted on Twitter, not mine).
The only downside? The parameters were set for the debate pretty much the moment the show started. "If you look at the facts," said Jane Garvey, "you can't deny this: British Muslim women are at the bottom of the heap. They have the lowest employment rates, a large number of them have never worked and they also have the worst health."
Lecture by Shaykh HamzaYusuf | Transcribed by Anonymous[The following is the video and transcript of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's lecture entitled 'Fair Trade Commerce for a Better World.' The transcript includes slight modifications for the sake of readability and clarity].
All praise be to Allāh . I'd like to thank Allāh for the blessing of all the angels that come with all of you. You brought angels into this arena and inshā'Allāh Allāh will let us taste some of the pleasure of angelic presence.
Alhamdullilah, what I wanted to talk about was fair trade, and extending that meaning beyond the confines that have defined it in the dominant western discourse. The Qur'an tells us not to consume “wa la ta'qul nasi bi batili”. Don't consume the wealth of people falsely, unjustly, vainly. Batil is everything that is empty, it's what's not good. So it's the opposite of haqq, which is truthfulness, sincerity, reality, what is real. So it says don't consume the wealth of people unjustly. “takuna tijaratan aow Ila tijaratun an taraadin minkum,” let your trade only be trade that is mutually content. In other words, each side is content with the actual event of trade and commerce. This is an incredibly important point, all of the Qur'an is important but this verse is so central to what's happening right now globally, and why we're seeing so much turmoil in what are called the markets.
These global markets, where wealth is consumed unjustly. People's wealth is stolen, misappropriated, given to people without the right accountability. And this is happening in many many places. And so Allāh tells us that “tejarat”, commerce should be fair. In other words, each side should be pleased with the event that's happened, that's transpired. Allāh also says in Surah Rahman, “wa wada'al meezan, al-laa tatghow fil meezan”. He placed a balance, scales, that you not transgress the balance. Historically, our scholars identified these verses that are between the heavens and the earth. They're between, if you look at Surah Rahman, it opens with heavenly, celestial discourse, and then it talks about this balance and then it goes, “wal ardha wada'a ha lil anaam” and we placed the earth for all living things but between those is the balance. This refers to all types of balance. Allāh has given an economic balance, and this is historically how they understood it, the prohibition of cheating people in the marketplace, which is related to this balance between the celestial and the terrestrial. And Allāh reminds us that the earth was placed for all creatures, al-anaam are all living creatures. It's not just the human beings. Some of the commentators say “an'aam” comes from “nowm” which is all things that sleep, because sleep is the gentle tyrant. It's what Allāh has given us to remind us that He is “Qaahirun fawqa ibadihi,” that Allāh is overpowering, overwhelming His servants. The fact that we have to sleep at the end of the day, and our lives are rounded by this little sleep.
So the idea of just commerce and balance is very important in the Qurʾān. Historically in the marketplace -and this is unfortunately no longer the case because of digital scales- but historically you had scales in the marketplace, so people could actually see the justice. If you bought a pound of fruit, the merchant would put a pound weight on the scale, and then he would place the fruit on the other. And in Islamic tradition they used to always tip the scales to be on the side of the buyer, not on the side of the merchant, because the Prophet (saw) said may God have mercy on a man or a woman, who is forbearing, who is forgiving, who is generous, when they sell or when they buy. And I've seen this many times when I was in Fez or places in Morocco, they would do this. They would tip the scale, they'd put an extra date to tip the scale, just to show that you're getting the extra, because they wanted that ziyada, that extra, of ihsaan.
We're living in a time of incredible economic injustice and that injustice is because we have an unjust economic system. Economics now has become a necessary science to understand. You have to understand the basics of economics to be living on the planet that we're living in, because it's affecting all of us. It's affecting our lives. We have to understand the false dialectic that's been created between the so called Keynesian and monetarist. This left/right dialectic, as if there's no other alternative to these two approaches to economics because the Muslims have an alternative, but unfortunately we've been absent from the discourse. Even though much of what is beneficial in western commerce came out of transacting with the Muslims. In fact, “average” is from an Arabic word, because merchants they used to say, and you can look this up in chambers etymological dictionary or google it. Average is an Arabic word because merchants used to have a type of takaful, when they would send a ship with goods, and if goods were destroyed, a portion of the goods were destroyed, they would take an average and all the merchants would share in it. It was a type of insurance. So this came, ta'reef, tariff, is from the Muslims because we forget that our religion is a religion of commerce. I reflected deeply at one point when I was studying the sīrah, why the Prophet would be a merchant before he was a prophet. Why was he a merchant? Because Allāh could have made him many things, but he made him two things: he made him a shepherd in his youth, and he made him a merchant in his adult manhood. He made him a shepherd because all prophets are shepherds because the essence of being a prophet is caring for a flock, it's caring for people in a way that the shepherd does not want any harm to come to the flock. And who does the shepherd guard the flock from? The wolf. The wolf.
The reason, I believe, the reason that the Prophet was chosen to be a merchant was because the merchant is the most beneficial human being in human society. There's no one more beneficial to human society than a merchant. Everything, the chairs that you're sitting on are from commerce, the clothes that you're wearing are from commerce. The glasses that you're looking through if you're looking through glasses, are from commerce. The fillings in your teeth are from commerce. The medication that is keeping your blood pressure low right now is from commerce. Everything that is beneficial to the material wellbeing of the human being is from commerce. But there's another secret in commerce. Commerce teaches you good character, because the most successful merchants are the ones with the best character. You go back to people who treat you well, and that's why historically they used to say 'customer is king.' The customer is always right. A merchant shouldn't get angry because even if the person buying from him is making him angry, he'll lose the sale if he starts getting angry because the person will just walk, walk out. And so it actually creates good character. Tahleebul nafs. Akhlaq. “Wa innaka ala khuluqal adheem” – you're on a vast ethos, .
But the other thing about commerce is, if you want your commerce to be successful, you have to be trustworthy. That is the essential characteristic of commerce, trustworthiness. If you give your word, you stand by it. If you write a note, you fulfill it. If you promise goods on a certain day, you fulfill that. And if you don't, people stop doing business with you. The Prophet before Islam was known as al-āmīn, the Trustworthy. He was known as al-āmīn because he was the most trustworthy of merchants. People knew that if you gave him your money, not only did you get it back, but you got it back with great benefit. Khadijah never had anybody that transacted with her money like the messenger of Allāh and should we be surprised? And when she sent Maysara out with him, and all the people around him have beautiful names, like Maysara, and Umm Baraka, Baraka, Ummu Ayman, Haleema as'Sa'diya, they all have beautiful names, all the people that raised him and nurtured him. So he's with Maysara, the place of ease, the one who makes things easy, and Maysara noted all these things about the Prophet and informed Khadijah [but Khadijah had insight into who he was before anyone else, which is why she's Khadijatil Kubra . Her name Khadijah is from khidaaj, which is like naaaqis. It's used in the Arabs would, if a child was born early, they would be thin and skinny, they would call them Khadijah. But she's also naaqis until the Prophet completes her. Khadeja al-Kubra was a merchant and she used her wealth for the sake of Allāh . Abu Bakr was a merchant. He used his wealth for the sake of Allāh . Umar. All of these people, look at them. The people around the Prophet , the Qureish were the great merchants of the Arabian Peninsula. But he went to the people of agriculture, because these are the two forces in the world, agriculture and commerce, these are the things that make the world go round, they're what enable us to survive and they're in our original story, is all of the human condition. Everything is there in that original extraordinary story of the messenger of Allāh .
The prophet told of principles of commerce. One of the principles that he taught, , was that the truthful merchant is with martyrs on the Day of Judgment. The ulema say that it's because of the rarity of a real merchant. Imām al-Awzai once was in Beirut, and he passed by an onion seller and the onion seller was saying, onions sweeter than honey, and imām al-Awzai said to him, do you think it's permissible to lie about something like that? That's called advertising. Don't think advertising is some new thing. Arabs were marketing a long time ago, they used to market with poetry. Now we have jingles plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is. The Arabs had jingles as well, right. I wish I could get that part of my brain back, that that got lodged into. But they're very good, these jingle makers. Jingle bells. They used to advertise, but truthfulness is important. The Muhtasib, which is like the ombudsman, it's the person that goes into the marketplace for quality assurance. It's a person that is an interface between those who regulate the weights and those who are weighing in the scales in the marketplace. Umar appointed Shafa or Shifa as the muhtasiba during his time. She used to go in the marketplace with a stick and she would turn over fruit to make sure the good fruit was not on the top and the bad fruit on the bottom. If you go into a store now you will get your strawberries. They have all the big ones on the top and then the tiny ones on the bottom. That's not by mistake. But it's a type of “ghish”, because you buy the big ones and then when you open the package you get all the little ones one the bottom. Although little ones can be better than big ones. So this is what the muhtasib did. The hisba is part of our tradition, having quality assurance in the marketplace. This is part of the Islamic tradition and we forget this.
Now one of the things that is very striking about our age is the incredible disparities between the north and the south. The north and the south, and this is something that was pointed out in the seventies by Brant in Germany, he wrote a book about this. So this is, this has been going on for a long time but people in the west, the best of the people, Ulul Baqiyya, those people that are still on virtuous tradition from their ancestors, these people are very concerned about these disparities. Canada is one of the countries that has a real concern. Many of the best countries in the world, if you look at them today, that have the highest social indices in the world have a great concern about social justice. Not just in their own countries but in other places.
And so what happened, you had a movement that began from a Mennonite Christian woman and the Mennonite community is a strong community in Canada. She went to Puerto Rico and she witnessed the types of social disparity, and it troubled her and she wanted to help. And so she thought of bringing goods paying good prices, just prices to people in Puerto Rico and importing those goods into these countries like United States and Canada. And this was the beginning of the fair trade movement.
CNN recently reported from a website that was supported by, was actually a state department funded project that the average American has, and this would obviously be very difficult to work out. But it's interesting to think about. The average American has 59 slaves working for them around the world. 59. In other words, your lifestyle is based, our lifestyle, not yours, I'm putting myself in there too. Our lifestyle is based on the suffering of other people because, for instance, and I've stopped eating chocolate for this reason, when I found out, and you can see the film on this. There's a documentary that was done on it, on the child labor in harvesting cocoa, that 70% of cocoa on this planet is harvested by child labor. And so when you're eating that chocolate, your pleasure is somebody else's pain. And if you don't think that's having an impact on your being, then you have to wonder why everybody's on Prozac in these countries. Why are people so depressed? They're depressed because, because much of what we're enjoying, the fruits of our cheap lifestyles, of our cheap gasoline, of our cheap clothes, of our cheap shoes, all of these things, the Walmart world of cheap goods is based on exploited labor from other places. Not only is that exploited labor the pain and suffering of other people but its direct result is the unemployment that's happening all over these western countries. They're losing their jobs because they're going to Walmart and buying something that's made in Indonesia with labor laws that don't exist, often in incredibly difficult conditions, people working in factories that are really subhuman, and they will buy that instead of buying something that was made by somebody in their own town. There used to be people that made shoes, Americans and Canadians and these other places, they actually used to produce things. That's no longer the case. But it's not fair because it's based on the exploitation of other peoples. And we have to deal with the fact that this is the life that we're living.
Authorities describe killing of man outside Home Depot on Florin Road as racially motivated
By Kim Minugh (Sac Bee)
Hassan Alawsi’s assailant stalked him in the Home Depot parking lot for about eight minutes – cutting up and down aisles as he followed his victim to his car – before felling him with two gunshots in a racially motivated killing, according to Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives.
Eleven days after the shooting, detectives are awaiting transfer of their suspect, Jeffrey Caylor, from Butte County, where he is being held on charges related to the crimes leading up to and following Alawsi’s March 16 death on Florin Road, according to Sacramento County sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Bowman. When Caylor, 44, returns to Sacramento County, he will be booked on suspicion of murder, as well as other charges, she said.
Caylor’s girlfriend, Kari Hamilton, also is in custody in Butte County. Detectives allege the 42-year-old woman was in the car with Caylor at the time of the fatal shooting – along with her 12-year-old son – but prosecutors have not determined what charges she will face in connection with Alawsi’s death, according to Bowman and court records.
Detectives allege that Caylor did not know Alawsi, 46. But they believe he had a “severe hatred” of people of Middle Eastern descent, Bowman said, and began following the victim after seeing him with his sister, who was dressed in an “Arabic-style dress” and headscarf. A relative of Caylor later told detectives that hatred stemmed from an ongoing dispute with a former landlord.
Alawsi was pronounced dead at the scene, less than one hour after he and his sister arrived at the store to buy gardening supplies, according to a sheriff’s request for Caylor’s arrest warrant. Alawsi’s sister ducked back into the store to use the restroom as Alawsi headed out to the car. When she tried to go back outside, employees had locked the doors, telling customers there was an emergency outside, according to the warrant affidavit.
She eventually made it outside, only to find deputies and police tape surrounding the area where she and her brother had parked, according to the warrant request. Deputies soon told her that her brother was dead.
Efforts by The Sacramento Bee to reach Alawsi’s family were not successful. State records available online indicate he had been a licensed security guard since 2008, and his permit was to expire this summer. He was a refugee to the United States from Jordan, and a fine arts graduate of the University of Baghdad, according to Alawsi’s Facebook page, which is now being used to spread information about his death.Read more here…
The return of ‘puppy jihad’
You may remember from last year the laughable story about the Muslim Brotherhood using puppies as weapons by dousing them in petrol, setting them on fire and then throwing them at the Egyptian army. Both Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller reduced themselves to objects of ridicule by taking that nonsense seriously.
Well, apparently this form of urban warfare has caught on elsewhere. Under the headline “Puppy jihad: New levels of cruelty reached by Muslims in Jerusalem”, Geller reports that Palestinians in the West Bank town of Abu Dis have attacked an Israeli police patrol by throwing four puppies at them, resulting in the death of the animals so callously used as missiles.
Quite what military advantage the perpetrators hoped to gain from their action is unclear, as in this case the puppies weren’t even set alight. But according to the report reproduced by Geller, Palestinians now prefer to throw soft, furry animals rather than rocks at Israeli state forces.
Geller happily repeats this story, which originates on a Facebook page rather than the Israeli press, while quoting the same hadiths that Spencer used to explain the first case of “puppy jihad”. In the present case, Spencer has so far failed to endorse the report. Perhaps he reasons that, having made a laughing stock of himself once, there’s no point doing so a second time.
Helsinki clothing store bosses fined over headscarf sacking
Managers at a Helsinki clothing store have been fined over an incident in which they fired a Muslim worker on her first day at work because she was wearing a headscarf.
Helsinki District court has fined managers at a Helsinki clothing retailer for discriminating against an employee on the basis of religion. They received 20 day-fines for sacking a Muslim worker who was told she should not wear a headscarf.
The new worker, who had been hired on a one-month contract, was fired on her first day at work when managers realised she wore a headscarf. She had been hired over the phone, and told to turn up wearing a t-shirt and denim overalls. The store manager forbid her from wearing the headscarf in the store, and after discussing the matter with a senior manager fired the new employee.
The defendants denied that their decision was discriminatory, saying that a scarf that ensured only the worker’s face was visible did not fit the company’s brand. That view was not shared by the district court, which ruled in favour of the prosecutor and fined the defendants.
A court in Pakistan has sentenced a Christian man to death for blasphemy, his lawyer said, over an incident that triggered a riot in the country's second-largest city.
Sawan Masih was convicted of insulting the prophet Muhammad during the course of a conversation with a Muslim friend in the Joseph Colony neighbourhood of Lahore in March last year.
The Philippine government has signed a peace accord with the country's largest Muslim rebel group, the culmination of years of negotiations and a significant political achievement for President Benigno Aquino III.
The deal grants largely Muslim areas of the southern Mindanao region greater political autonomy in exchange for an end to armed rebellion, but it will not end all violence in a part of the country long-plagued by lawlessness, poverty and Islamist insurgency.
How Russell Crowe's Noah united two religions against it
Russell Crowe has hit out at critics of his controversial biblical epic Noah, many of whom he says have attacked the film before even seeing it.
The New Zealand-born actor praised Pope Francis for agreeing earlier this month to meet a delegation from the film, including Crowe and director Darren Aronofsky, despite the controversies that have raged around the film's loose interpretation of the story told in Genesis. Speaking on the US show Good Morning America, he said: "We've had probably over a year now of very harsh criticism from a bunch of people who have put their name and stamp on an opinion that's not even based on the movie or seeing the movie, just an assumption of what it could be or how bad it could be or how wrong it could be in their eyes, which I think quite frankly is bordering on absolute stupidity. Because now, I think, people are seeing the movie and they're realising how respectful it is and how potent it is."
A Pakistani government team held direct talks with the Taliban after travelling on Wednesday to a secret location in the country's northwest, part of a push by prime minister Nawaz Sharif to strike a peace deal to end an insurgency that has killed thousands of people in recent years.
Although previous Pakistani governments have spoken directly with Taliban representatives, these are the first such negotiations since Sharif took office last June. Over the past month or so, intermediaries representing the two sides have met and laid the groundwork for the talks.
Recent attempts to annex Palestinian Christians as fictional “Israeli Christians” draw on a long history.
Harry’s Place, a malicious website which is devoted to exposing Muslims as extremists wherever they appear to have influence, today exposed the fact that a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir works as … a psychiatrist. Someone going by the name “Sparkbrook Citizen” writes:
Imagine if you or your loved ones were suffering from depression, anxiety or another mental health related issue and, after seeking professional help, you were to be assessed and cared for by a healthcare professional. After being given advice and care by this individual imagine you learnt that they were a member of a far-right extremist group that hates your ethnic group, despises your values and actively works to destroy the foundations of the society you and your loved ones live in. This individual, outside of work hours, actively promotes hatred, sexism, homophobia and discrimination whilst supporting appalling human rights abuses against people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
The person in question is Dr Imran Waheed, “a leading member and national former spokesperson for the clerical fascist group Hizb ut Tahrir (HT), which is openly sexist, homophobic, and anti-semitic and supports the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments with view to supplanting them with theocratic dictatorships”, who is a consultant psychiatrist in NHS and private practice in Birmingham, who according to his professional site “has a special interest in the assessment and treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, sexual dysfunction and psychosis” and can deliver “expert care” in several south Asian languages, which is important if you are working in a city with a large Asian population.
The fact is that when I go the doctor I don’t ask questions about his views on subjects other than medicine. His views on that could be far more problematic than what he thinks of the New World Order, the political situation anywhere, the moral status of homosexuality or anything not directly related to me or my condition. Both the GPs I saw when living in Croydon until 2011 were Hindus, and I never thought to ask their opinions regarding the Ayodhya incident or the rise of Hindu nationalism and anti-Muslim violence in India, or whether they were members of the VHP or BJP, and Harry’s Place does not seem to bother itself exposing Hindu fanatics in the NHS or any other health service. Doctors have all range of political views and do all kinds of activities outside their work, and it is part of being a professional that you do not let these things On the other hand, if doctors have hard-set opinions about certain conditions (particularly not believing they do not exist despite a large body of medical opinion and physical evidence) or have pet theories that they are unwilling to go against, that could seriously affect how they treat a patient.
If only doctors with approved ‘moderate’ political or religious views were ever allowed to hold positions where they had responsibilities towards others and, possibly, the power to make decisions for them and about them, there would not be a very large pool from which to draw such professionals — doctors (especially psychiatrists), social workers, teachers. This anonymous individual has offered no proof that Imran Waheed has ever behaved improperly in his professional life. There would surely be a record of any complaints or disciplinary proceedings against him if he had. Without it, it’s nothing more than innuendo, and a cowardly attempt at a witch hunt to drive an ideologically unsound person from a position of responsibility.