Friday, 12 November 2010
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
The television watchdog Ofcom has rejected complaints against an investigation into an Islamic group broadcast by Channel Four’s Dispatches earlier this year.
The programme, presented by journalist Andrew Gilligan, looked at the Islamic Forum for Europe which it described as a “fundamentalist” group that had “secretly infiltrated” the Labour party and was “exerting influence” over Tower Hamlets Council in East London.
In its latest bulletin, Ofcom said it had received 205 complaints variously alleging that the programme had been biased and misleading about the IFE or contributed to Islamophobia.
But the broadcast standards body concluded: “We considered that the programme included views to both support and reject the allegations made about the IFE in the programme, and any response or opposing views to the evidence gathered was appropriately presented during the course of the programme. Given this, Ofcom considered that the programme was a legitimate investigation into the activities of the IFE.”
While the programme had made some “controversial allegations,” these were supported by “recorded clips, or actual quotes” and there was “no evidence that viewers were materially misled,” Ofcom said.
Saturday, 23 October 2010
This is a press release from Peter Tatchell
The Quilliam Foundation’s latest briefing paper, Radicalisation on British University Campuses:
A case study, cites incidents at City University in London during the last academic year (September 09 – June 10) to show how a mainstream academic institution in the UK can become an incubator for extremist, intolerant and potentially violent forms of the political ideology of Islamism.
Links to an executive summary and the full report are listed below.
Responding to the Quilliam report, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, of the LGBT rights group OutRage! said:
“This report is a wake-up call to complacent university authorities and student unions. They too often look the other way while Islamists foment hatred and intolerance among the student population.
“It is a strong defence of the vast majority of Muslim students who do not share an extremist mindset and who frequently face ostracism and denunciation by fundamentalists.
“Quilliam have produced a thorough expose of the way Islamist extremists are bullying and threatening other students. It highlights sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic intimidation, and the victimisation of Muslims and non-believers who do not adhere to hard-line fundamentalist Islam.
“Radicalisation often begins with the promotion of misogynistic, queer-baiting and anti-Jewish prejudice; together with the stirring up of hostility against Muslims who believe in other strands of Islam or have abandoned their faith. Such intolerance can be a gateway to Islamist extremism. That’s why it should never be ignored or tolerated. City University would never host white supremacists who incite racism and racial violence. Why the double standards?” queried Mr Tatchell.
Here are some examples of two Islamist extremists who have been hosted at City University:
Kings College has also hosted extremist clerics. See here:
A spokesperson the Quilliam Foundation said:
“University campuses have been recognised by policy-makers as key places where Islamist ideologies can spread, but the processes of radicalisation involved have often remained unclear. This paper seeks to address this knowledge gap by identifying the factors on a university campus that may contribute to radicalising an individual towards Islamist-inspired terrorism. Whilst the paper does not suggest that everyone exposed to these factors will become a terrorist, it shows how and why exposure to them can increase the risk of radicalisation towards terrorism as well as illustrating the considerable disruption that such radicalisation can have on campus life.
“The paper concludes with specific recommendations for universities, students’ unions and government to prevent similar situations from arising on other university campuses.
“Radicalisation on British University Campuses’ is the latest of Quilliam’s publications to deal with areas where the risk of radicalisation is either high or is poorly understood. Previous reports released in the last year include studies of radicalisation in prisons and on Arabic-language jihadist websites.”
An executive summary is available here.
A pdf of the full briefing paper can be downloaded here.
Quilliam Foundation: http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
"The promise of moderate Islam is beginning to look decidedly unconvincing," says Janet Albrechtsen, and marshals a good deal of evidence for why that is the case. "The extremes of moderate Islam," by Janet Albrechtsen for The Australian, October 20:
EVEN for supposedly reasonable Muslims, accommodation is a one-way street.
PERCHED high in the verdant mountains of central Java recently, the rural silence was broken five times a day by the Muslim call to prayer. The chanting wafted up from loudspeakers in the local villages as Indonesian Muslims observed longer than usual prayers during Ramadan. I asked a cab driver if he was fasting until sunset during this Islamic month of reflection. Rules are made to be broken, he said with a smile. But not according to the government and police in Indonesia, a country hailed as the world's largest, most moderate Muslim nation.
Local newspapers report an American man being held on suspicion of blasphemy for pulling the plug on a loudspeaker at a local mosque. According to police, Luke Gregory Lloyd pulled out the loudspeaker's cable in Kuta village in central Lombok when he was woken by the Koranic reading.
So how is moderate Islam doing in Indonesia? Not so well if you're that American man facing five years in prison. Perhaps it's all relative. In Saudi Arabia, he may have faced more violent punishment for his cultural insensitivity. That said, the promise of moderate Islam is beginning to look decidedly unconvincing.
Certainly, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made plenty of promises. In an address at Harvard last year, he described his country as a model for how Islam, modernity and democracy can go hand in hand. He said tolerance and respect for religious freedom forms part of Indonesia's "trans-generational DNA".
Back in Indonesia, the President is quiet about the fact that moderate Islam is not so respectful of religious freedom if you belong to the Ahmadiyah sect. As yet another daily call to prayer began, I read about the ban on this religious sect for propagating its beliefs, including the tenet that Mohammed was not the final prophet. Indonesia's Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali announced the Ahmadiyah congregation "must be disbanded immediately" for violating a 2008 decree prohibiting the group from spreading its teachings. If this "is considered as religious freedom, then I call it an excessive freedom", Ali said.
Moderate Islam is not so moderate if you are a Christian either. In August, 300 hardline Islamic protesters confronted Christians worshipping in an open field owned by the Christians. The Christians want to build a church. A leader of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front told reporters that the culture of the people will not allow a church. Earlier this year, thousands of Muslim extremists set fire to a Christian community centre in West Java when they suspected the local Christians planned to build a small chapel. According to the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, there have been more than 28 attacks on churches since January, a substantial increase since last year.
And how is moderate Islam doing when it comes to freedom of speech? While President Yudhoyono boasts about his country's "increasingly incisive" free press, one the markers of moderate Islam's commitment to democracy, it's too bad if you're the editor of Playboy Indonesia, a magazine consciously remodelled for the local market with no nudity. After being tried and acquitted for public indecency in 2007, Erwin Arnada was found guilty of public indecency last month by a new Supreme Court ruling. Arnada was arrested last week and has commenced a two-year prison sentence. The Indonesian constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press, is no match for hardline Islamic groups baying for Arnada's blood. Is that moderation?
Move to New York and the fraught debate over the proposed Ground Zero mosque. Muslims demand the mosque be built. And their left-liberal supporters decry opponents of the mosque as bigots. They demonise and scold mainstream Americans who think otherwise. Even New Yorkers believe Muslims should show some sensitivity to the atrocities committed in the name of Islam on 9/11. A poll in The New York Times found that while 67 per cent agree the right to freedom of religion allows the building of the mosque, they believe the developers should find a different site. An editorial by the moralising New York Times would have none of that. Building the mosque would be "a gesture to Muslim-Americans", it lectured. What about a gesture from moderate Muslims?
In recent years the West has fallen over itself to accommodate Muslim sensitivities. In Britain, the BBC boss says Islam should be treated differently from other religions. American publishers pull books that might offend Muslim sensibilities. Television stations censor images of Mohammed. Why does the accommodation always run one way?...
Fear, of course, and the idiotic multiculturalist guilt complex.
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
This is yet another reason why Western civilisation is superior, because we would consider any type of violence against women and children to be illegal and morally indefensible.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (CBS/AP) Apparently, it is perfectly OK for a man to beat his wife and young children, according to the UAE's highest judicial body, as long as the thrashing doesn't leave any physical marks.
The decision by the Federal Supreme Court shows the strong influence of Islamic law in the Emirates despite its international appeal in which foreign residents greatly outnumber the local population.
The court made the ruling earlier this month in the case of a man who beat his wife and adult daughter. The court stated that the man crossed the line suggested by Sharia Law because the daughter was not a minor and the wife sustained visible injuries.
The beating left the wife with injuries to her lip and teeth and the 23-year-old daughter suffered bruises on her knees and and hand. In ruling against the defendant in that case, Chief Justice Falah as Hajeri stated that there were conditions when domestic violence was acceptable, according to the New York Daily News.
But Justice al Hajeri said the man "abused this right of discipline" and therefore was not "exempted from punishment."
Islamic law allow for "discipline" if no marks are left. It also says children who have reached "adulthood" - approximately puberty - cannot be struck.
The ruling was reported Monday in the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
The number was revealed to The Independent by Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Britain's most senior officer in charge of terror prevention.
He said the "Channel project" had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago. The number has leapt from 10 children identified by June 2008.
The programme, run by the Association of Chief Police Officers, asks teachers, parents and other community figures to be vigilant for signs that may indicate an attraction to extreme views or susceptibility to being "groomed" by radicalisers. Sir Norman, whose force covers the area in which all four 7 July 2005 bombers grew up, said: "What will often manifest itself is what might be regarded as racism and the adoption of bad attitudes towards 'the West'.
"One of the four bombers of 7 July was, on the face of it, a model student. He had never been in trouble with the police, was the son of a well-established family and was employed and integrated into society.
"But when we went back to his teachers they remarked on the things he used to write. In his exercise books he had written comments praising al-Qa'ida. That was not seen at the time as being substantive. Now we would hope that teachers might intervene, speak to the child's family or perhaps the local imam who could then speak to the young man."
The Channel project was originally piloted in Lancashire and the Metropolitan Police borough of Lambeth in 2007, but in February last year it was extended to West Yorkshire, the Midlands, Bedfordshire and South Wales. Due to its success there are now plans to roll it out to the rest of London, Thames Valley, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and West Sussex.
The scheme, funded by the Home Office, involves officers working alongside Muslim communities to identify impressionable children who are at risk of radicalisation or who have shown an interest in extremist material – on the internet or in books.
Once identified the children are subject to a "programme of intervention tailored to the needs of the individual". Sir Norman said this could involve discussions with family, outreach workers or the local imam, but he added that "a handful have had intervention directly by the police".
He stressed that the system was not being used to target the Muslim community. "The whole ethos is to build a relationship, on the basis of trust and confidence, with those communities," said Sir Norman.
"With the help of these communities we can identify the kids who are vulnerable to the message and influenced by the message. The challenge is to intervene and offer guidance, not necessarily to prosecute them, but to address their grievance, their growing sense of hate and potential to do something violent in the name of some misinterpretation of a faith.
"We are targeting criminals and would-be terrorists who happen to be cloaking themselves in Islamic rhetoric. That is not the same as targeting the Muslim community."
Nor was it criminalising children, he added. "The analogy I use is that it is similar to our well-established drugs intervention programmes. Teachers in schools are trained to identify pupils who might be experimenting with drugs, take them to one side and talk to them. That does not automatically mean that these kids are going to become crack cocaine or heroin addicts. The same is true around this issue."
But Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain said the police ran the risk of infringing on children's privacy. He warned: "There is a difference between the police being concerned or believing a person may be at risk of recruitment and a person actually engaging in unlawful, terrorist activity.
"That said, clearly in recent years some people have been lured by terrorist propaganda emanating from al-Qa'ida-inspired groups. It would seem that a number of Muslim youngsters have been seduced by that narrative and all of us, including the Government, have a role to play in making sure that narrative is seen for what it is: a nihilistic one which offers no hope, only death and destruction."
A Home Office spokesman said: "We are committed to stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists or violent extremists. The aim of the Channel project is to directly support vulnerable people by providing supportive interventions when families, communities and networks raise concerns about their behaviour."
Yet again the Pope is proving to be one of the foci of evil in the modern world.
The Pope caused dismay among Aids campaigners yesterday by declaring on his first trip to Africa that condoms were not the solution to the epidemic ravaging the continent.
In his first public comments on condom use, an issue that has divided even Roman Catholic clergy working with Aids sufferers, he told reporters en route to Cameroon that Aids “cannot be overcome by distributing condoms – it only increases the problem”.
Aids activists had hoped that Pope Benedict, who has emphasised previously that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against Aids, would take a more nuanced approach than his predecessor, John Paul II.
Catholic and human rights activists immediately condemned the statement, saying that it showed that the Pope was out of touch with reality and advocating inhumane policies that would increase the suffering of innocent people.
Kevin Osborne, HIV adviser at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: “All the evidence is that preaching sexual abstinence and fidelity will not solve the problems. We need to work with the reality of where people are, especially in countries he is visiting such as Angola, which is hard-hit by the epidemic.
“The Pope’s message will alienate everybody. It is scary. It spreads stigma and creates a fertile breeding ground for the spread of HIV.”
Rebecca Hodes, head of policy, communication and research at Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa, said that if the Pope were serious about preventing HIV infections he would focus on promoting wider access to condoms and information. “Instead, his opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans,” she said.
After his election, the Pope described Aids as “a cruel epidemic which not only kills but seriously threatens the economic and social stability of the continent”, but reiterated the Vatican ban on the use of condoms. It was hoped, however, that he would modify its position to take account of particular circumstances.
Echoing words spoken frequently by Pope John Paul II, Benedict declared that the “traditional teaching of the Church” on chastity outside marriage and fidelity within it had proved to be “the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and Aids”.
A few hours later, when his plane landed at Yaoundé the capital of Cameroon, he said that he was bringing the “Christian message of hope” to the world’s poorest continent – an assertion disputed strongly, even among his clergy. About 5 per cent of Cameroon’s 18 million people are believed to be living with HIV/Aids. Across the continent more than 22 million people are now infected.
The Vatican’s stand flies in the face of current world opinion. President Obama appears ready to reverse the Bush Administration’s controversial policy of giving financial aid only to organisations promoting abstinence and fidelity, a position adopted largely under pressure from the Christian Right.
The Pope’s comments look likely to create further division in a church racked by disagreements on numerous issues from gay rights to Holocaust denials.
A senior lay Catholic, who asked not to be named, said: “It is very hard to be a Catholic nowadays. We are meant to be following the Lord.”
He said that he felt as ashamed now as he had when the mother of a nine-year-old girl who had become pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather was excommunicated when she allowed doctors to abort the babies. The doctors were also excommunicated, but the stepfather suffered no penalty from the Church.
The Pope will fly from Cameroon to Angola, which is staunchly Catholic as well as badly hit by HIV/Aids after years of civil war.
Two years ago there was speculation that the Vatican might amend its ban on condoms after Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan, said that in couples where one partner had HIV/ Aids, the use of condoms was “a lesser evil”.
The World Health Organisation says that “consistent and correct” condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90 per cent.