8 November 2010
Britain’s Islam Channel broke broadcasting regulations by condoning marital rape, encouraging violence against women, and promoting an anti-Israel, pro-Hamas line, the country’s broadcast regulator Ofcom ruled Monday.
One violation came during an advice program in which a female caller asked if a woman could hit her husband back if he was beating her. The host, as part of his answer, said the most a husband could do was hit her with a stick the size of a pen “just to make her feel that you are not happy with her.”
The same host said in another program that for a woman to wear perfume when praying in a mosque made her a prostitute in the eyes of the Prophet Mohammed. Another violation took place in a discussion about an Afghan law that, critics say, allows men to rape their wives. “To refuse relations would harm a marriage,” a guest on the program said.
The Islam Channel “does not condone or encourage violence toward women under any circumstances,” the broadcaster told Ofcom during the investigation.
October 14, 2010
Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lene Espersen says that claims in Egypt that she should have apologised for the media printing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, are a misunderstanding.
The English-language Egyptian Gazette has reported under the headline ‘Denmark apologises to Musims for cartoons’ that Espersen apologised for the cartoons during a visit to Cairo recently.
In response Lene Espersen says: “I fully refute having apologised… I am always very careful in explaining exactly what Denmark’s position is on this issue. So I can fully deny having apologised”.
8 September 2010
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has awarded the Media Prize M100 to the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. In 2005, Westergaard had drawn a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, showing him with a bomb in his turban, which had subsequently caused major upheavals in Europe and the Islamic world. He has received death threats and has been under police protection ever since.
In her speech, Merkel recognised Westergaard’s courage and demanded the consequences of the cartoon publication to be taken as a reminder. Europe should be a place where freedom of speech is possible; “the secret of freedom is courage”, the Chancellor said.
Meanwhile, the Central Council of Muslims condemned the award. Chairman Aiman Mazyek said that such an honour is highly problematic at a time that is already charged and heated. Also the Green Party criticised the move.
The University of Münster, being the first to offer teacher training for Islamic religious education, does not come to rest. While the university has selected a most suitable candidate for the chair, the Lebanese Austrian Mouhanad Khorchide, the decision has to be approved by the Islamic associations. Some therefore claim that the associations have too much influence over this position at a state university, after they have already urged professor Sven Muhammad Kalisch at the same department to step down, after he had doubted the existence of Prophet Mohammed.
Meanwhile, Khorchide has taken up teaching on a temporary position. One of his main goals is to bring Islamic theology in harmony with a modern life and to show that there are no contradictions. School children should not have to make a decision whether to be Muslim or European, but should feel that they are both.
Ayaan Hirsri Ali, the former Dutch politician born in Somalia, has received a free speech award from Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper which published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. The paper named Hirsi Ali, well known for writing Theo Van Gogh’s film “Submission”, as winner of its Prize for Freedom of Expression. She is now lives in the United States
The Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was banned from entering the UK last year, has now shown his anti-Islam film at the House of Lords. The screening and subsequent press-conference was accompanied by a supporting demonstration of the right-wing British National Party and many counter-protesters outside Parliament.
In an article for The Independent, entitled “Islamophobia on tour: Wilders comes to Britain”, the author claims Britain should have renewed the ban to prevent Wilders from promoting his racist views. Indeed he repeated his view that Islam was a fascist ideology, called the Prophet Mohammed “a mass murderer, a barbarian and a paedophile” and suggested that immigration from Islamic countries to Europe should be stopped.
Only few members of the Houses of Commons and House of Lords attended the press conference — six in total –, among them Lord Pearson, who invited Wilders, and Baroness Cox. The remaining audience of around 60 was made up of parliamentary staff. The whole event has stirred much criticism and counter-protests.
Tahawar Hussain Rana, a former Pakistani cadet and medical student who received Canadian citizenship and since settled in Chicago, is accused of helping mastermind a terrorist plot that he and alleged conspirators dubbed the Mickey Mouse project, with branches stretching from a Toronto office tower to radical groups in Pakistan. Rana’s co-accused, a Pakistani-American who changed his name to David Headley, told the FBI he wanted to kill two Danish journalists in retaliation for their paper’s publication in 2005 of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
The alleged conspiracy ended in a dramatic raid October 18, when more than 100 federal agents, some with assault rifles and body armor, descended on Rana’s slaughterhouse in rural Illinois while helicopters and surveillance planes buzzed overhead. Rana admitted he was aware Mr. Headley was affiliated with Pakistani terrorist groups, the FBI said.
In this opinion piece in the Globe and Mail daily newspaper, Canadian Muslim Sheema Khan calls on Canadian Muslims to take the threat of “home grown” terrorism seriously and warns the faithful of its danger. The Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Mohammed, she adds, are unequivocal in condemning harm to non-combatants and property. Khan concludes that Canadian Muslims can no longer sit on the sidelines on this issue and must get involved politically.
The capitulation of Yale University Press to threats that hadn’t even been made yet is the latest and perhaps the worst episode in the steady surrender to religious extremism‹particularly Muslim religious extremism that is
spreading across our culture. A book called The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Danish-born Jytte Klausen, who is a professor of politics at Brandeis University, tells the story of the lurid and preplanned campaign of
“protest” and boycott that was orchestrated in late 2005 after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten ran a competition for cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. (The competition was itself a response to the sudden refusal of a Danish publisher to release a book for children about the life of Mohammed, lest it, too, give offense.) By the time the hysteria had been called off by those who incited it, perhaps as many as 200 people around the world had
been pointlessly killed.
Abbas Taj, 30, a mini-cab driver, was found guilty of conspiracy to firebomb the home of Martin Rynja, the publisher of The Jewel Of Medina. He was to be the getaway driver, but was stopped in his car and arrested by armed police near Angel Tube station in the early hours in September last year, just after he and two other men had set fire to the premises. The other two have been convicted last month.
The novel is about the Prophet Mohammed and the life of his child bride, Aisha, and has stirred quite some controversy. Its publication was cancelled by one major publisher in the United States over fears that it could offend Muslims. In Serbia the book was withdrawn after protests from local Islamic leaders but was subsequently returned to bookshelves. Speaking last October, Mr Rynja said that the novel was not offensive and added that he felt its publication was part of a liberal democracy.
The case is one of many examples where liberalism and pluralism clash with the extremist opinion of a few who employ vigilante justice to enforce objectives.