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Anti-extremist plan to push 'British values' and link benefits to learning English

The Guardian World news: Islam - 8 March, 2015 - 14:11

Home Office’s leaked counter-extremism strategy would require visa applicants to commit to ‘British values’ and ban extremists from working with children without supervision


The Home Office is planning a “more assertive” stance against extremism, with a series of measures including penalties for benefit claimants who do not learn English and making visa applicants commit themselves to “British values”.

According to a copy of a new counter-extremism strategy leaked to the Sunday Telegraph, people with radical views would also be banned from working unsupervised with children under the proposals, which are intended to address not so much terrorism, but the spread of extremist thinking that eventually leads to some people turning to violence.

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Who am I?

Single Muslim Mums - 8 March, 2015 - 10:49

As I gaze at myself in the mirror I don’t recognize the thirty-odd-something year old staring back at me. I seem a shadow of my former bubbly beautiful self and I can’t help but feel bitter at how time has been unkind to me. My ears prick up at the sound of irregular breathing coming from my baby and I freeze and glance at her; but she reverts back to her natural pattern with the soft baby breaths I have come to know and love so much. I peer into the depths of my own eyes and what I find there I find frightening; where did she go? Where did that spark of life go from within her eyes? Why is she so sad, this girl, no this woman and why is she so afraid of the unknown and her future albeit one of uncertainty?
After my divorce I had sworn my life would be different: I was going to live it to the full and enjoy every moment. I was going to be someone now that I had a second chance to reinvent myself and I was going to make my kids see I was a good role model and become someone great too. I was going to implement Islam firmly into my life and become learned and throw away the old me complete with my bad habits and fears because I was now fearless and empowered. Well that didn’t last long. You can’t shop for a new personality and throw away the old one every time you see something you don’t like because it keeps coming back like a boomerang no matter how far you throw it. Change is slow and based upon self-reflection and in my chaos the bi-product of chaos and calamity. It’s not until tragedy strikes or several near misses that my stubborn brain realizes I need to change and I actually do manage to change even if it’s 1%.
The woman looking back at me is one who has lost: she has achieved nothing with her life and at 34 she is unemployed with three children and a life she doesn’t value and problems she cannot overcome with no-one to turn to and seemingly no-one who really cares. I have lost myself as I have been struck down with calamities; I have lost my essence and I cannot get it back. If the world says I’m nothing then I must not be. Except, a little nagging voice in my head says; that’s not true. You are something you are a mother and a sister and a daughter and a Muslim. You are the same woman who has forgiven countless betrayals against yourself and still made dua for those who hurt you and forgiven them; you are the same woman who cries when she sees someone overcome by pain because you know how it feels to ache so badly and hurt so completely. You are the same person who gets up no matter how many times you have been kicked down; the very same woman who can in a second wipe away the hurt from her face and make a joke to make others laugh. You are the same woman whose soft heart makes her cry when she thinks of the punishment of Allah swt and how much you have let Him down when you should have been so grateful and the same woman who yearns to be close to her Lord and to feel that He is her best friend as you don’t have many others.
You are the same woman who is determined to change the world by getting single mums to love themselves and stand up to injustice and the same woman who wants every woman to know she has a choice in her bad marriage and that either way she is supported and loved. You are the same woman who wants to help her sisters and often seeks counsel when someone comes to you with a problem and then worries about that sister even when she forgets about you. You are the same woman who tries to bite her tongue and be a good mother no matter how bad you think you are and how look to others and feel ashamed of yourself. You are the same woman who struggles with her deen and life and self and yet keeps getting back on that musallah and praying and begging and crying. You are the woman who is the center of her children’s world and who they think is the most beautiful woman in the world. You are the woman raising 3 children on her own – the youngest just a baby and you still manage to have a clean and tidy house! You are the same woman determined to fix your past mistakes with your kids and do everything with your baby that you could not do with the other two.
You are the same woman who supported your husband despite the abuse and insults and who wiped the tears away and made dua for him and told him he was valued and cherished and love even if you didn’t always get it right and even if your hurt him. You are the same woman who did not know the meaning of the word sorry and yet now asks everyone she falls out with to forgive her because you can’t stand them being mad at her now.
You were an arrogant, spoiled woman who was selfish and manipulative and whose heart was hardened but you were the woman Allah swt had Mercy upon and chose to guide. You endured hardship and loss and with it your heart became softer until even you didn’t recognize yourself. You are not a failure, you are a Muslim and a survivor and a fighter. You may have lost your physical beauty and your figure and your husband but you gained something even better: a beautiful heart and a softened heart that is open to accepting the command of Allah swt in sha Allah and a tongue that knows how to work properly now and repent and ask for forgiveness. You have knowledge and wisdom now to pass on to your children and to others to plead that they don’t make the same mistakes you did.
Yes the old me has gone and good riddance to her! She has been blessed with the opportunity to be born again into a better person for the most part and her beauty and youth was a small price to pay!


New atheists are not scared, but they are angry | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 March, 2015 - 19:01

The problem with sealed-room philosophy such as John Gray’s (What scares the new atheists, 3 March) is that it provides no evidence for its claims about the world. I spend my professional life studying the popularity of religion and see no evidence for his assertion that “religion is … in fact flourishing”. Church membership and attendance data, third-party censuses of church attendance, time-use diaries and surveys all show that religion in western liberal democracies (and that includes the US) continues to decline in popularity.

The only areas of religious “growth” in the UK are the result of immigration from traditionally religious countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, and far from attracting religiously indifferent white British natives this make such conversion less likely by reinforcing the notion that religion is what foreigners do. Recent surveys show the deeply religious to be markedly less popular than the non-religious. The evidence is on the British Religion in Numbers website. Perhaps Gray means that religion has become more controversial but he ought to appreciate that notoriety and popularity are rather different.
Steve Bruce
School of social science, University of Aberdeen

Perhaps Gray hasn’t noticed that atheists face discrimination and abuse across the globe, including in Britain

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Dawn.com: Hindus And Muslims Unite In Celebration

Loon Watch - 6 March, 2015 - 18:12

Hindus_Muslims_Holi_Pakistan

Hindus have faced quite a lot of discrimination and hate crimes in Pakistan over the past few years. The National Student’s Federation (NSF) organized a symbolic show of support for the beleagured Hindu community to be able to celebrate the festival of Holi.

Hopefully these acts of solidarity will lead to greater openness and tolerance and also end discrimination and hate crimes.

Dawn.com

KARACHI: The National Student’s Federation (NSF) organised the formation of a human shield at the Holi celebrations at Swami Narayan Temple today to show solidarity with and protect Hindus in attendance.

The demonstration is an attempt to promote interfaith coexistence and cooperation among different religious and ethnic groups in Pakistan. The NSF leveraged social media to spread information about the event, extending e-vitations to others who share their outlook on religious tolerance and wish to participate in the demonstration.

Also read: Mithi: Where a Hindu fasts and a Muslim does not slaughter cows

A member of the NSF describes it as a “progressive leftist organisation” dating back to the NSF of the Ayub Khan era. The organisation experienced a revival in 2006 – 2008.

Also read: Student politics in Pakistan: A celebration, lament & history

The NSF recently organised a Progressive Day School in Karachi ─ a series of one-day workshops to educate guests about issues like religious extremism and terrorist ideologies.

Earlier this year, the NSF also organised a show of solidarity with Shias at the Shah-i-Najaf Imambargah in conjunction with the Pakistan Youth Alliance (PYA). The event was attended by notable individuals including Dr. Jaipaal Chhabria, President of the Pak Hindu Forum, and Mohammad Jibran Nasir, lawyer and political activist.

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Friday Links

Muslimah Media Watch - 6 March, 2015 - 16:18
A group of Afghan men have marched through the capital Kabul in burkas to draw attention to women’s rights. A group of Afghan men have marched through the capital Kabul in burkas to draw attention to women’s rights. Pakistani group “No Guts, No Heart, No Glory” hopes to change the way some media outlets depict Muslim women as [Read More...]

PEGIDA Expands Into Quebec

Loon Watch - 5 March, 2015 - 22:56

BRITAIN-GERMANY-POLITICS-ISLAM-IMMIGRATION-DEMONSTRATION

National Post

In January, with little fanfare and even less media coverage, PEGIDA landed in Quebec.

A Facebook page set up by the group, featuring photos from PEGIDA demonstrations around the world, had attracted just under 600 “likes” as of Wednesday, and their first official rally is set to take place on March 28 in St-Léonard. The Montreal Gazette reached out to the organizers behind the page on Wednesday, but they did not respond to a request for comment.

While small, the group is not alone. PEGIDA Quebec’s appearance came only two months after members of another group, dubbed Québec Identitaire, appeared to take credit for vandalizing four mosques in the Quebec City region. A Facebook group bearing the Québec Identitaire name had 502 members as of Wednesday, with the group’s description making it clear “we are not a radical extremist group,” but that “we firmly believe a native Quebecer has the right to refuse to have cultures and religious rituals imposed by ‘adopted Quebecers’ without being demonized.”

In February, the Jewish Defence League — a group that the FBI has branded “a violent extremist organization” — resurfaced in Montreal and attempted to form an organized chapter, claiming that someone needed to properly monitor the city’s Muslim extremism “problem.” They were quickly rebuffed by Jewish community leaders and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who tweeted that the JDL was “not welcome” in his city.

That frosty reception did not surprise Frank Chalk, director of Concordia University’s Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights. While right-wing, anti-Islamic groups have recently found a strong foothold in countries where multiculturalism is not the norm, he said, they are unlikely to gain widespread support in Quebec.

Even if they are not drawing thousands into the streets, the Canadian government is apparently watching right-wing groups like PEGIDA, Québec Identitaire and the JDL closely. The Canadian Press reported on Tuesday that Canada’s spy agency (CSIS) recently advised the office of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney of its concerns during a secret September briefing, noting that Canada’s burgeoning anti-Islam movement poses an “ongoing risk, particularly as its proponents advocate violence.”

CSIS did not respond to a request for additional comment about the briefing.

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What Drives a Muslim to Leave His/Her Faith?

altmuslim - 5 March, 2015 - 21:33
Editorial Note: In recent months, we’ve seen more coverage of Islam by the Patheos Atheist channel as well as a growing spotlight on the relationship and interactions between Atheists and Muslims in wake of the Chapel Hill shootings. One of Patheos’ Atheist bloggers, Kaveh Mousavi, considers himself an ex-Muslim and writes about his conversion-to-deconversion process here. [Read More...]

France women's minister appears to support headscarves ban in universities

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 March, 2015 - 18:28

Socialist Pascale Boistard says: ‘I’m not sure the headscarf is part of higher education’ and reignites debate – but college leaders are against any prohibition

France is embroiled in a fresh row over the state’s attitude to the Muslim headscarf after the socialist minister for women’s rights appeared to support banning students from wearing veils at French universities.

In a video for Le Figaro, Pascale Boistard was asked if she was against the wearing of the headscarf at university, and replied: “Yes.” Asked if the government should take formal measures on it, she said it was up to university presidents to talk to students about the issue, but added: “I’m not sure the headscarf is part of higher education.”

I didn’t expect, in the post-Charlie [Hebdo] context, to have to deliver lectures faced with veiled students

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The lawyer who doesn’t know a man from a dog

Indigo Jo Blogs - 5 March, 2015 - 18:11

Picture of Jyoti Singh-Pandey, a young South Asian woman with long black hair, wearing a blue dress with columns of white dots down the front, and a necklace.I don’t know what sort of dignity these people have, because a lot of them are just thugs who got where they are by killing people and kicking people’s heads in. It’s more apt to call a dog a dignitary than some of these people, and even a dog is just acting out its dogginess. You can’t blame a dog for being a dog, but you can blame a human being for acting like something less than an animal.

The above words come from Shaikh Hamza Yusuf, talking about some of the rulers of the Muslim countries in a lecture called Hajj: Journey to the House of God which is actually the first lecture tape I bought from an Islamic bookshop back in the late 90s. They were brought to mind watching last night’s Storyville on BBC Four about the brutal gang-rape and murder of a young female medical student in Delhi in 2012; two of the men’s lawyers were interviewed and they came out with the most outrageous drivel, one of them comparing women to a rose and to a jewel who, if you leave them out in the street, a dog will have them. One of the lawyers announced that if his own daughter was involved in “pre-marital activity”, he would burn her to death in front of their family, and emphasised the fact that the victim, named Jyoti Singh-Pandey, was out with her “boyfriend” after dark. Thankfully, this blockhead failed to persuade a court that Jyoti was some kind of harlot who deserved to be gang-raped and then disembowelled while alive; his client is on Death Row. (You can see the programme on BBC’s iPlayer here until next Monday, if you’re in the UK. It may be available through other channels overseas.)

The other day someone on Twitter complained that she had seen people calling incidents like the Delhi rape “part of the culture”. I responded that anyone saying this sort thing was either an ignoramus or a racist. Rape as such is not part of any culture that I know of, although attitudes that certain behaviours constitute “asking for it” are fairly widespread, including in the West, while the outrage that this act caused in India is reflected in the demonstrations by both men and women shown in this programme. There are certainly aspects of the dominant culture that do contribute to rape and other violence against women, however: the ingrained preference for boys, particularly in north-west India (the worst-affected areas are immediately north and west of Delhi), results in a huge population imbalance with up to 150 boys born per 100 girls, and in many more areas, like Delhi itself, around 110 to 120 boys per 100 girls, resulting in there being a lot of young men running around who do not have partners or any real hope of finding one. The men responsible for Jyoti’s murder also had a history of petty criminality and violence, with one of them a steroid abuser. While they claimed to have acted as some sort of self-appointed morals police, part of me wonders if resentment of her education (even if they did not know she was a medical student, it might have been apparent from her way of speaking, for instance) played a part in motivating their behaviour.

While the men all came from deprived backgrounds and lived in what was described as a “semi-slum”, Jyoti’s family were also poor and had sold ancestral land to pay for her education. Jyoti herself worked in a call centre to help fund her studies, and wanted to set up a hospital in her ancestral village (this was done in her name after her death). Her family had distributed sweets after her birth, something that is normally only done for a boy, and neighbours criticised them saying “you’re celebrating as if you had a boy!”. The family were obviously very proud of their daughter, and told stories such as how she had intervened after a boy stole from her and a policeman beat him, saying “what will he learn from this?”. They did not regret spending their money on her. It showed that poor and uneducated people can have enlightened attitudes, while lawyers, who are highly-educated and often paid hansomely (although that may not be true there) can be shockingly ignorant. That alone makes this film worth seeing, if you can.

The film has been banned in India. The ostensible reason is that it concerns an ongoing legal case, although I suspect there is some element of embarrassment that Indian lawyers are seen spouting things that are so outrageous. I found the lawyers’ words more shocking than what the driver of the bus (convicted of the rape and murder, although he claims he only drove the bus) said; he, after all, is one appeal away from the rope and needs to justify or mitigate his behaviour. Even if one agrees that a ‘respectable’ woman should not be out after dark with a man who is not family, four men tricked her into boarding a bus and then gang-raped her and injured her so badly she later died. This was their choice; a dog will behave according to its dogginess (or its treatment and training by people) but a man can choose to be a human being or act worse than a dog. If a lawyer does not understand the difference between a man and a dog — and that man is responsible for his actions, which is why we even have a law — he shouldn’t be a lawyer.

Possibly Related Posts:


Help Wanted!

Imran Hosein - 5 March, 2015 - 17:06

Assalaamu 'alaikum!

Alhamdulillah it has now been 10 years since the establishment of ImranHosein.org, a collaborative effort to publish and archive the thought of the Islamic Scholar, Imran N Hosein. During this time the site has grown from a few books, articles and audio files to now include 70 books, 80 articles (inclusive of translations) and several video and audio files, many contributed by volunteers from all over the world! 

The task at hand is now to:

1. Rebuild the present website to improve navigation, multilanguage, collaboration and searchability.
2. Collect and

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South Africa 2015

Imran Hosein - 5 March, 2015 - 16:51

Malcom X, a role model for todays youth.

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Dialogue- Responding to Oppression in the Holy Land

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The Malhama and the World Thereafter.

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The Malhama and Dajjals day like a week

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The Caliphate and the Hijaaz

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The role of the Environment and Health in Ahiruz Zamaan.

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The Strategic role of dreams and visions in Islam.

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Muslim Alliance with Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Ahirus Zamaan.

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Eye for an eye: Iran blinds man who carried out acid attack

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 March, 2015 - 16:30

Other acid attackers have been sentenced to be blinded in Iran but this is the first time it has been carried out, amid condemnation from human rights groups

In a literal application of the sharia law of an eye for an eye, an Iranian man convicted of blinding another man in an acid attack has himself been blinded in one eye, marking the first time Iran has carried out such retributive punishment.

The convicted acid attacker, who has not been identified, was rendered unconscious in Rajaishahr prison in the city of Karaj on Tuesday as medics gouged out his left eye, according to the state-owned Hamshahri newspaper.

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GOP Bill Targets Nonexistent “No-Go Zones”

Loon Watch - 4 March, 2015 - 21:25

No_Go_Zones_Tennessee

The no-go zones garbage is spreading into legislative action.

via. OnIslam

CAIRO – A new proposed legislation, banning nonexistent Muslim “No-Go Zones”, has been furiously rejected by Tennessean Muslim community, saying it is motivated by Islamophobic allegations spread by Fox news.

“The whole fantastical notion of a no-go zone, which has been disproven by even Fox News, is almost gospel on the right wing of the political spectrum now,” Ibrahim Hooper, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told The Huffington Post after likening the zones to unicorns.

“It’s just utter nonsense but, [as] with so much in the Islamophobia industry in the United States … it passes for statesmanship in the current climate.”

The whole problem erupted last January when a pundit on Fox News claimed that there were neighborhoods in France and the United Kingdom that had been taken over by Muslims and were off-limits to others.

The claim, which turned out to be false, forced the network to apologize.

Yet, the line was taken last month by Tennessee state Rep. Susan Lynn (R) and state Sen. Bill Ketron (R) introduced legislation in the House and Senate aimed at ridding the state of no-go zones.

The claimed zones are described in the bills as, “contiguous geographical area[s] consisting of public space or privately owned public space where community organizing efforts systematically intimidate or exclude the general public or public workers from entering or being present within the area.”

Reacting to the bill, Robert McCaw, CAIR’s government affairs manager, recently wrote a letter to leading lawmakers in the Tennessee General Assembly, asking them to abandon the legislation.

Though the bill does not explicitly target or single out any particular group, Lynn claimed that some constituents have expressed feelings of discomfort when in areas they consider sketchy.

“And as you know, when there’s activity happening where people sort of feel intimidated, there’s not exactly a sign up on the wall,” Lynn told The Tennessean. “But it’s just an overall feeling of intimidation.”

Absurd

Muslim leaders rejected Republican representatives’ claims as absurd.

“It’s all just a smoke screen for anti-Muslim bigotry,” Hooper said.

“It’s all part of the Islamophobia machine’s campaign to demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims. And anything that contributes to that marginalization is okay with them — no matter how fantastical it is.”

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of Tennessee’s American Civil Liberties Union, shared a similar opinion.

He said the new bill was a mere attempt to subject the state’s Muslim population to unwarranted discrimination.

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New York Times: “Chapel Hill Killer’s Rage Went Beyond Parking Dispute”

Loon Watch - 4 March, 2015 - 20:57

04CAROLINA4web-articleLarge-v2

A memorial for Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry on Feb. 11. Credit Chris Keane/Reuters

We’ve been saying all along that this is not simply a parking dispute.:

By Jonathan Katz, The New York Times

Mr. Hicks’s wife, Karen Haggerty Hicks, suggested another motive. The killings, she said at a news conference the next day, had nothing to do with the victims’ faith, but were “related to a longstanding parking dispute that my husband had with the neighbors.”

But even Mrs. Hicks’s lawyer, Robert N. Maitland II, acknowledges the parking dispute theory was speculation on her part. “Here’s the thing: Nobody knows,” he said. “Why did he lose it that particular day?” He described her Feb. 11 news conference as an effort to prevent panic.

Mr. Hicks has confessed to murder, said Lt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

A motive for the shooting may never be known. But interviews with more than a dozen of the victims’ friends and family members, lawyers, police officers and others, make two central points: before the shootings, the students took concerted steps to appease a menacing neighbor, and none were parked that day in a way that would have set off an incident involving their cars.

If those accounts do not prove what kind of malice was in Mr. Hicks’s heart, the details that emerge indicate that whatever happened almost certainly was not a simple dispute over parking.

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