London Mayor says UK should not be “rolling out the red carpet” for Trump because of the Muslim Ban

Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London, suggested that U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban disqualifies him for a state visit. Khan does not oppose Trump’s ability to visit the UK but does not feel that the state should be “rolling out the red carpet.”

Khan argued that the targeting of people from seven Muslim-majority countries was “cruel and shameful.” He also believes that Prime Minister Theresa May was to eager and quick to extend an invitation to Trump, given his controversial presidency.

Khan’s comments follow a petition, signed by 1.85 million residents of the UK, which called for the state to rescind its invitation. The petition stated that the visit would be an embarrassment to the Queen.

 

Trump ignores UK critics and claims country has ‘a massive Muslim problem’

Donald Trump has continued to hit back against UK critics of his stand against Islam, saying Britain had “a massive Muslim problem”.

After prompting outrage with his claims about race relations in the UK, Trump tweeted on Thursday night that more Muslims joined Islamic State than signed up for the British army.

“In Britain, more Muslims join ISIS than join the British army,” he said in the tweet, drawing on an article about Isis in the National Review which in turn quoted from a Times news report from August 2014.

On Wednesday, Trump attracted a political backlash in Britain when he claimed there were parts of London so radicalised that police officers feared for their lives. The comments were rejected by Downing Street, which said they were “totally inaccurate”, and the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who said they were “utter nonsense”.

The Scottish government has dropped Trump from his role as a business ambassador, and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen has stripped him of his honorary degree.

The petition become the most popular ever campaign on the UK government’s website on Thursday, beating the previous record of 446,482.

Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, a eurosceptic, anti-immigration party, has described Trump’s call to ban Muslims from the US as a “political mistake too far”. But Hopkins said of UKIP in her Fox interview: “60% of their membership are right behind Donald Trump as well.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the dangerous anti-Islamic logic of the war on terror

April 20, 2014

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali lost an honorary degree from Brandeis for articulating the same twisted thinking as Dick Cheney

It’s been over a week since students at Brandeis compelled their university to refuse Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree, and the blogosphere is still roiling with grievance. Kirsten Powers laments Islam’s preferential treatment in USA Today. Mark Steyn notes the incident, as part of a eulogy to free speech in this weekend’s Spectator. Bill KristolJohn PodhoretzAndrew Sullivan and Ross Douthat have all registered their disgust at this assault on a free and open discourse. Zev Chaffets at Fox News.com describes the incident as an “honor killing.”

The Change.org petition that cost Ali her honorary degree acknowledges the legitimacy of her grievances with Islam, but condemns the “hate speech” through which she expresses them. The petition quotes her as saying:

Violence is inherent in Islam – it’s a destructive, nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder … the battle against terrorism will ultimately be lost unless we realize that it’s not just with extremist elements within Islam, but the ideology of Islam itself …

Ali told Reason magazine in 2007, “There are Muslims who are passive, who don’t all follow the rules of Islam, but there’s really only one Islam, defined as submission to the will of God. There’s nothing moderate about it.”

Curiously, not one of the pieces protesting Brandeis’ decision actually quotes Ali’s past rhetoric. Instead, they refer obliquely to her “stinging attacks on non-Western religions,” “provocative ideas” or, most opaquely, her “life and thought.” The simplest explanation for this chronic omission is that to actually engage with Ali’s rhetoric would be to expose the absurdity of the Judeo-Christian persecution complex that informs so much of the genre.

The backlash the students of Brandeis have incurred for asserting that Islamaphobia is in fact bigotry, reflects precisely what makes Ali’s rhetoric so dangerous. Far from being a fringe position in our discourse, the idea that Islam is a uniquely malevolent ideology is the necessary fiction behind the war on terror.

To be clear: Fundamentalist religion is a scourge. And without question, fundamentalist Islam enjoys more political salience in many countries across the Middle East, than fundamentalist Christianity does in American politics (though the influence of the latter is considerable). What is fictitious in Ali’s rhetoric, and in the logic of our public policy, is the notion that Islam is uniquely susceptible to violent interpretation, and therefore all Muslims are inherently suspect.

Salon.com: http://www.salon.com/2014/04/20/ayaan_hirsi_ali_and_the_dangerous_anti_islamic_logic_of_the_war_on_terror/

Katy Perry accused of ‘portraying blasphemy’ with Dark Horse video

February 28, 2014

 

An online petition demanding Katy Perry’s Dark Horse video be taken off YouTube has attracted about 65,000 signatures. According to the petitioners at Change.org, the video is guilty of “portraying blasphemy”, because of the video’s use of a pendant reportedly inscribed with the word Allah.

Katy Perry’s Dark Horse clip, which premiered on 20 February, has already attracted more than 30 million views. A phantasmagorical riff on Egyptian mythology, it features Perry as a magical queen who transforms suitors into sand. One of these suitors, a man wearing an “Allah” pendant is struck by lightning and disintegrates into sand.

“At 01:15 into the video … a man is shown being burned whilst wearing a pendant (also burned) forming the word ‘Allah’, which is the Arabic word for God,” wrote the man who launched the petition, Shazad Iqbal, from Bradford. “Blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an [opponent] of [Allah]) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames. People from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world [will agree], using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.”

“The fact that Islam didn’t even exist in ancient Egypt is what really confuses me, Why [did] they [feel] the need to have anything to do with Islam in this video?” added a signatory from High Wycombe.

While the music video has not been pulled in its entirety, the pendant has been cut so that only a plain gold chain can now be seen. It remains unclear whether YouTube edited the video or was told to by the singer’s record company as both parties have yet to comment.

Dark Horse is currently at number six on the UK singles chart and more than 37 million people have viewed the video on YouTube since it was uploaded on 20 February.

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/katy-perry-causes-offence-by-burning-allah-pendant-in-dark-horse-music-video-9153998.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/katy-perry-takes-break-from-offending-muslims-to-deliver-friends-baby-its-been-a-miracle-day-9157332.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/katy-perry-dark-horse-music-video-edited-after-causing-muslims-offence-9159660.html

 

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/feb/26/katy-perry-petition-islam-blasphemy-allah-dark-horse-video

Mohammad Asghar case: 28,000 people sign a petition calling for the release of the mentally ill Scot on death row in Pakistan

February 20, 2014

 

More than 28,000 people have backed a petition calling for the release of a mentally ill Scottish man sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy. Demands for Mohammad Asghar to be freed on humanitarian grounds have intensified since The Independent published an open letter today from politicians, academics, human rights campaigners and Islamic scholars appealing for clemency.

Mr Asghar, who has a history of mental illness and is thought to be a paranoid schizophrenic, had been detained under the Mental Health Act in 2010 shortly before he flew to Pakistan. Once there he became caught up in a dispute with a tenant who went to the police with letters written by Mr Asghar in which he claimed to be the Prophet Mohamed.

The online petition to David Cameron and Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, urges them to “intervene in the strongest possible terms to help save the life of a vulnerable British man”. The letter’s signatories raised concerns about the failing health of the 70-year-old grandfather and urged the Pakistani President, Mamnoon Hussain, to intervene stating: “We respectfully urge you to consider using your discretionary powers as President to pardon Mr Asghar and to allow him to be released from jail so he can receive his treatment and be reunited with his loving family.”

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mohammad-asghar-case-28000-people-sign-a-petition-calling-for-the-release-of-the-mentally-ill-scot-on-death-row-in-pakistan-9142349.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/mohammad-asghar-case-an-open-letter-to-pakistan-president-mamnoon-hussain-9139630.html

Supreme Court Agrees to Weigh Arkansas Inmate’s Right to Grow a Beard

February 28, 2014

 

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether prison officials in Arkansas may prohibit inmates from growing beards in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The policy was challenged by Gregory H. Holt, who is serving a life sentence for burglary and domestic battery. Mr. Holt said his Muslim faith required him to grow a beard.

The state’s policy allows trimmed mustaches, along with quarter-inch beards for those with dermatological problems. Prison officials said the ban on other facial hair was needed to promote “health and hygiene,” to minimize “opportunities for disguise” and to help prevent the concealment of contraband.

Mr. Holt sued under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law that requires prison officials to show that policies that burden religious practices advance a compelling penological interest and use the least restrictive means to do so. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in St. Louis, ruled in June that the justifications offered by the officials satisfied that standard.

Mr. Holt filed a handwritten petition in September asking the justices to hear his case, Holt v. Hobbs, No. 13-6827, pointing out that other courts had struck down policies banning beards in prisons. In an interim order in November, the Supreme Court ordered that Mr. Holt be allowed to grow a half-inch beard.

 

NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/us/supreme-court-agrees-to-weigh-arkansas-inmates-right-to-grow-a-beard.html?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults%230&version=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry714%23%2Fmuslim%2F30days%2Fallresults%2F1%2Fallauthors%2Fnewest%2F&_r=0

Nick Clegg will not drop Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz who tweeted a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus

January 30, 2014

 

Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the liberal Democrats) has said he will not drop a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate who sparked widespread protests among some Muslims by tweeting a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed. Maajid Nawaz says he has received death threats since posting the image earlier this month, while a petition calling for him to be ditched as Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn in next year’s general election has gathered more than 20,000 signatures, and a rival petition in his defence has more than 7,000.

Mr Clegg told LBC 97.3 radio that he would not personally have tweeted the controversial cartoon of a stick figure of Jesus saying “Hi” to a stick figure called Mo, who replies “How you doin’?”But it is important to show respect to people of all faiths, beliefs and religious persuasions when discussing religious matters. But the Lib Dem leader said: “He is not going to be dropped as a Liberal Democrat candidate. He has the right – as any Muslim, non-Muslim or anyone of any faith or none in this country has – to say things even if that causes offence to other people.

Mr Nawaz, the co-founder of counter-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, posted the image after appearing in a BBC television debate about religious tolerance which featured two students wearing it on T-shirts. He said that he was sending out the “bland” cartoon to show that, as a Muslim, he did not feel it was a threat to his faith and to demonstrate that “Muslims are able to see things we don’t like, yet remain calm and pluralist. My intention was not to speak for any Muslim but myself – rather, it was to defend my religion from those who have hijacked it just because they shout the loudest”.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nick-clegg-will-not-drop-lib-dem-candidate-maajid-nawaz-who-tweeted-a-cartoon-of-the-prophet-mohammed-and-jesusclegg-will-not-drop-lib-dem-candidate-9095691.html

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/28/speaking-islam-loudmouths-hijacked

Protests against mosque construction in Leipzig

November 7, 2013

 
Members of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) have protested against the construction of a mosque in the Northern suburb of Leipzig. Among them is the CDU member Dorothee Dubrau who has initiated an online petition, which has been signed by approximately 3.000 citizens. Local political and religious representatives such as the Evangelical community raised their concerns about the construction of the mosque, whose construction is planned by the Ahmadiyya community. Even the right-wing extremist party NPD used this occasion to organize a demonstration against the mosque.

Meanwhile, CDU Federal parliamentarians criticized the initiative of Dorothee Dubrau, arguing in favor of the mosque construction. The project was approved and legalized months ago. Robert Clemen, parliamentary member of the CDU opposed the initiative, emphasizing that the “freedom of religion would guarantee the peaceful coexistence of religions”.

 

Die Tageszeitung: http://www.taz.de/Streit-um-Bau-einer-Moschee/!127041/

Anti-mosque group linked to Va. Beach councilman

October 17, 2013

 

A few weeks before last month’s vote on the city’s first mosque, Councilman Bill DeSteph received a 25-page PowerPoint presentation.

It came from the leader of the local chapter of ACT for America, a group concerned about radical Islamists in the United States, and alleged the proposed mosque had ties to Muslim extremists.

DeSteph, the only council member to vote against the mosque on Sept. 24, later said he had information that the facility was a threat to national security, but he declined to give details. He said he passed the information to the federal government.

That PowerPoint, other correspondence obtained by The Virginian-Pilot through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews show that DeSteph used information from the local ACT leader to help make his decision on the mosque, and that ACT hoped he would be a political voice in Richmond for its agenda. DeSteph, a former naval intelligence officer, is running as a Republican for the 82nd District seat in the House of Delegates.

Since then, DeSteph has mostly refused to comment on the mosque, citing what he calls an “ongoing investigation.”

Last month, the FBI wouldn’t comment on DeSteph’s allegations. The FBI has not responded to a request for additional comment because of the partial federal government shutdown.

This is not first time DeSteph has raised questions about mosques or Islam.

In 2010, he wrote to New York City officials objecting to plans for a Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site. The letter was nearly identical to an online petition from ACT.

At the time, DeSteph was dating the daughter of the founder of the national ACT group, Brigitte Gabriel, an author and activist. Gabriel and ACT Executive Director Guy Rodgers, a former field director for the Christian Coalition and a political consultant, live in Virginia Beach.

ACT’s local leader, Scott Saunders, wrote to the City Council to urge them to oppose the mosque. He suggested it would be tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that seeks to spread Islamic law, sometimes violently, throughout the world.

A few weeks before the vote, Saunders gave DeSteph a hard copy of a PowerPoint he’d put together, DeSteph said. The presentation, called “String Theory,” is subtitled “You’ll be amazed what you find when you start to pull the little strings.”

 

The Virginian Pilot: http://hamptonroads.com/2013/10/antimosque-group-linked-va-beach-councilman

Against an Islam Center of Peri, Fontana: “Worries are well-founded”

June 6, 2013

 

Solidarity in Verona by the Brussels Northern League and citizens who have advanced a petition: “There is little difference between a cultural space and a mosque”

There were demonstrations against the Islamic Center of Peri in the city of Dolcè. Following a petition organized by some of the citizens of Verona, to push for more restrictions, Lorenzo Fontana, Head of Delegation of the Northern League to the European Parliament, wanted to express his support for the demands of the people of Verona.

“This is a delicate situation” explains Fontana “too often we had to take note of how subtle, in some cases, the difference between Islamic cultural center and mosque. The number of citizens who have expressed their concerns by signing a petition testifies to legitimate concerns.” Given that the concerns are arising from the social impact that an Islamic center would produce in the community and the importance of compliance with the safety standards at its core. Fontana explains “I hope that the request of citizens to be involved in the decision, via a public meeting should not ignored by the mayor and the council, which will have to assume responsibility to carry out a careful check on the compliance with health and urban planning of the initiative. “