‘Political Islam’, and the Muslim Brotherhood UK Review

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report:

We found that:

• Some political Islamists have embraced elections. Electoral processes that prevent these groups from taking part cannot be called ‘free’. But democracy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—where we focused our inquiry— must not be reduced to ‘winners’ and ‘losers’, and the FCO must encourage both political Islamists and their opponents to accept broader cultures of democracy.

• The Muslim Brotherhood is a secretive group, with an ambiguous international structure. But this is understandable given the repression it now experiences. • Some communications, particularly from the Brotherhood, have given contradictory messages in Arabic and English. And some of the responses that the group offered to our questions gave the impression of reluctance to offer a straight answer. The FCO is right to judge political Islamists by both their words and their actions.

• Some political Islamists have been very pragmatic in power. Others have been more dogmatic. But fears over the introduction of a restrictive interpretation of ‘Islamic law’ by the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in Egypt were partly based on speculation rather than experience.

• The UK has not designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation. We agree with this stance. Some political-Islamist groups have broadly been a firewall against extremism and violence.

Student known for far-right sympathies charged in Quebec City mosque attack

Canadian authorities on Monday charged, Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old university student known for his far-right sympathies with six counts of first-degree murder in a mass shooting the day before at a local mosque.

Described by neighbors and acquaintances as a socially awkward introvert who had recently adopted virulent political views, was also charged late Monday afternoon with five counts of attempted murder with a restricted firearm. The attack, which took place just as about 50 worshipers at the small mosque in the suburb of Sainte-Foy near Laval University had completed evening prayer, sent shock waves through Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was clear that his government considered the shooting a terrorist act. “This was a group of innocents targeted for practicing their faith,” Trudeau told the House of Commons. “Make no mistake. This was a terrorist attack.”

Woolwich murder aftermath: Theresa May praises British-based Islamic group

Home Secretary Theresa May has condemned “all forms of extremism” as she praised a British-based Islamic group for its commitment to peaceful co-existence and charitable works. Mrs May said there had been an increase in attacks directed against Muslim communities since the “horrendous” murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last month. Mrs May was speaking at an event in the House of Commons marking the centenary of the establishment of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the UK. The branch of Islam was founded in the late 19th century in India, but its leader has been based in Britain since 1984 as a result of persecution in Pakistan, where they are officially declared non-Muslims. Mrs May said the Ahmadiyya were subjected to persecution in Pakistan and threats in the UK.

Woolwich and the dark underbelly of British Islam

Just about everyone, from every political party and from none, is lining up to have a go at our dim, tattooed thugs, so they must have done something. And, of course, they have. Their aggressive and moronic behaviour has caused offence and fear and may even have directly contributed to acts of violence against UK citizens and residents. And yet the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby overshadowed – or should have overshadowed – everything. The attack by adherents of a hateful and violent iteration of Islam was an awful reminder that Islamism remains, even 12 years after 9/11, the greatest threat to our way of life.

 

Uncomfortable though it is for some, a need exists to examine the dark underbelly of what goes on in some of our mosques. True, the vast majority of British Muslims would never associate themselves with Islamism. Yet preachers of hate as well as their followers and fellow travellers, worship in the same buildings, speak to, work with, and are related to that sensible majority. And those law-abiding citizens have a duty to challenge them, expel them and, if necessary, report them to the authorities.

 

Tom Harris is the Labour MP for Glasgow South and Shadow Minister for the Environment in the House of Commons. He is quoted as saying “Britain, including British Muslims, must now examine the dark underbelly of what goes on in some of our mosques and do more to confront extremists”. “Some Muslims in Britain hold essentially intolerant and violent beliefs”, he said.

House of Commons Debates Sharia Councils

23 April 2013

 

On Tuesday, 23 April, the House of Commons held a debate on the role of sharia courts in the United Kingdom. With frequent reference to the BBC “Panorama” program on sharia councils which aired the previous evening, Kris Hopkins (Conservative MP for Keighley) sought clarification of the Government’s position on sharia councils and a guarantee that these council would not be allowed to constitute an alternative judicial system. Citing evidence presented in the BBC documentary, Mr. Hopkins raised particular concerns over the unequal treatment of women in matters of arbitration and divorce and called for the prosecution of those suspected of wrongdoing in these affairs.

 

Helen Grant, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, stated plainly that “Sharia law has no jurisdiction under the law of England and Wales and the courts do not recognize it” and that “there is no parallel court system in this country, and we [the Government] have no intention of changing the position in any part of England and Wales.” Both Mr. Hopkins and the Government were careful to emphasize Britain’s proud tradition of religious tolerance and voiced a strong determination to protect the rights of all British citizens.

 

Mr. Hopkins was motivated to broach the issue in Parliament at least in part by a statement from the Bradford Council of Mosques calling for the formalization of sharia councils. The MP expressed particular concern over calls for government recognition of sharia councils. However, local Muslim groups were quick to distance themselves from such a position. Mujeeb Rahman, a member of the Keighley Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, asserted that U.K. Muslims do not want a separate judicial system and that sharia councils in the U.K. would benefit from operating in a more rigorous legal framework.

2030: The year Britain will cease to be a Christian nation with the march of secularism

The march of secularism means Britain may no longer be a Christian country in just 20 years, a report said yesterday.

If trends continue, the number of non-believers is set to overtake the number of Christians by 2030. Research by the House of Commons Library found that while Christianity  has declined, other religions have seen sharp increases.
In the last six years, the number of Muslims has surged by 37 per cent to 2.6million; Hindus by 43 per cent and Buddhists by 74 per cent. But the number of Sikhs and Jewish believers fell slightly.

The researchers said the number of Christians had only held up to the extent it has because of high levels of immigration over the last decade.

Secularists argue that Christians should no longer have privileged access in Parliament when the number who believe in God is declining so sharply.

Researchers came to their conclusion after studying the Labour Force Survey, which is carried out every year by the Office for National Statistics. It is the most authoritative survey because of its regularity and its large sample size of 50,000.

It found that in 2010 there were around 41.1million Christians in Britain – down 7.6 per cent over the past six years. There were around 13.4million non-believers, up 49 per cent over the same period.

The study, Religion in Great Britain, concludes: ‘Between the fourth quarter of 2004 and the fourth quarter of 2010, the Christian  population fell from 78.0 per cent of the population to 69.4 per cent, while the group of people with no religion grew from 15.7 per cent to 22.4 per cent.

‘If these populations continue to shrink and grow by the same number of people each year, the number of people with no religion will overtake the number of Christians in Great Britain in 20 years, on this measure of religious affiliation.’

UK Parliamentary Committee Releases Report on “Roots of Violent Radicalisation

The Home Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons released its
long awaited report on “The Roots of Violent Radicalisation” earlier
today. Based on nine months of hearings, site visits and numerous
written submissions, the report provides a comprehensive overview of
recent developments and trends.

It highlights, in particular, the increasing role of the internet, the
emergence of “lone wolf” terrorists, and the potential threat from
far-right extremists. It also assesses the UK government’s revised
Prevent strategy.

Launch of all party parliamentary group on Islamophobia in the UK

25 November 2010

An All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia has been launched in the House of Commons. At its inaugural Annual General Meeting, members elected Keighley and Ilkley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins to serve as its Chair with Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes and Labour peer Lord Janner of Braunstone as Vice-Chairs. The Group has so far attracted the interest of more than 20 MPs and peers from across both Houses of Parliament.
Mr Hopkins thanked attendees for being part of what he described as a “momentous occasion.” He said: “Whilst challenges will undoubtedly arise in the weeks and months ahead, my colleagues and I are hugely committed to the task in hand. I believe there is already a very strong resolve amongst members to better understand the complex issues involved, and to propose considered, evidence-based policies to tackle Islamophobia wherever it exists.”

Veteran Vendor Lance Orton Is Times Square Hero

(CANVAS STAFF REPORTS) – “I’m not a celebrity, I’m just an average Joe,” Lance Orton told the New York Daily News Sunday night from his apartment in the Bronx. But this average Joe is being hailed as the savior of Times Square.

Orton is one of the street vendors who alerted police to the suspicious dark-colored SUV that contained a home-made bomb, reported The New York Times . Orton sells T-shirts near the area in which the car was parked.

He and Duane Jackson, a handbag vendor, were the first to notice that something was strange about the car. Jackson told MyFox NY’s ‘Good Day NY’ co-host Greg Kelly : “When the smoke started, I realized there might be more to this than meets the eye.”

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had dinner on Sunday night in Times Square with Jackson and NYPD Officer Wayne Rhatigan, who was alerted by the vendors and was the first to begin to clear the are around the SUV. Orton, though passed on dinner with the mayor, according to MSNBC.com .

According to Reuters , New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised Orton: “Lance Orton saw something and did something about it.”

Orton said in a TV interview after the incident that he’s been a street vendor for 22 years. Walking with a limp and wearing a Monster energy drink T-shirt, he said of his vending position: “I don’t have too much choice. Nobody’s giving me a job.”

Surrounded by reporters as he walked to a taxi on Sunday morning, Orton was a bit surly, claiming: “Part of my reason for having this attitude is I’ve given some of you interviews before and you wrote the opposite of what I said in the paper, so that’s my problem with you.”

When asked if he was proud of his actions, he said: “Of course, man. I’m a veteran. What do you think?” As he got into the cab, the Vietnam vet said his advice to the city of New York was: “See something, say something.”

Now Orton is being mentioned in news articles around the world. His family members are also being sought out.

Miriam Citron, the mother of Orton’s son, told the New York Times that Orton would regularly alert police if something didn’t look right: “When he was in Vietnam, he said they had to make decisions and judgments from their gut, from their own feelings … His instinct was telling him something’s not right.”

Orton’s mother, Jean Jarrett, told the Daily News : “I’m sure he saved a lot of lives.”

Muslim MPs to more than double

At least 80 Muslim candidates of various political persuasions are involved in a spectrum of intriguing contests for parliamentary seats around the country. The chances are that up to 15 could be elected, although more realistically it is likely to double up from four in 2005.

The outcome in the elections, which are going to be the closest for decades and includes so many uncertain factors, is likely to see both the first Muslim women MPs that could help more than double Labour numbers and the first Muslim Tory members in the House of Commons. In the frame with outside chances are also a couple of Liberal Democrats and different Respect candidates among many others who are in un-winnable seats.

Labour has no less than seven Muslims, including three women, defending seats, the Conservatives one and another selected to capture the Party’s number one target seat in Gillingham and Rainham. Respect also has chosen a Muslim candidate in Bethnal Green and Bow to stand instead of George Galloway, who is seeking re-election in the newly created Poplar and Limehouse next door. But Abjol Miah faces the unique challenge of Muslim rivals selected by all three main parties in the most populous Muslim constituency.