Far-right lawmaker and filmmaker Geert Wilders has lost a legal bid to stop his pending trial for inciting hatred ad discrimination against Muslims. “The Attorney-General is of the opinion that there are no grounds” for a further appeal, the Dutch Supreme Court said in a statement. Lawyers for Wilders sought to overturn a ruling but the Amsterdam appeals court that he should be prosecuted for a series of public anti-Muslim sentiments – and in particular, for comparing Islam to Nazism. The appeals court judgment followed numerous complaints form citizens over the prosecution service’s initial refusal to press charges against Wilders. Wilder, 45, is the maker of a 17-minute film, Fitna, which has been called “offensively anti-Islamic” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
On Friday, Muslim nations condemned the film ‘Fitna’ which accuses the Quran of inciting violence, and Dutch Muslim leaders urged restraint. Iran called the film heinous, blasphemous, and anti-Islamic. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and former Dutch colony, said that the film was an insult to Islam, hidden under the cover of freedom of expression. The Saudi Arabian embassy in the Hague said that the film was full of errors, incorrect allegations, and could lead towards hatred of Muslims. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the film.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon led a condemnation of the Internet broadcast of a video made by a Dutch parliament member, describing the film as offensively anti-Islamic and called on those upset by the film to remain calm. In a statement issued after the film’s airing, Mr. Ban said there is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence. The right of free expression is not at stake here. The Secretary General stressed that the UN stands to advance mutual respect and understanding, and to foster dialogue between different religions and cultures.
Scottish faith leaders have met with Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, to discuss how they and the government can work in partnership to help meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Mr Alexander recognised the prominent role that Faith Leaders and Faith Groups are playing in international development, and listened to their ideas about how they could best work together to help reduce world poverty. He said: “We are keen to build strong partnerships with the faith community. They are in a unique position to play an important role in tackling world poverty. The Prime Minister and the UN Secretary General have declared 2008 as a critical year to accelerate efforts to tackle world poverty. I am pleased to have the opportunity to meet with faith leaders to discuss the role the faith community here in Scotland might play.” The attendees included amongst others: Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Head of the Catholic Church in Scotland; Shobha Nagpal, President of Hindu Temple in Glasgow; David Cameron, Church of Scotland Glasgow Presbytery; Archbishop Mario Conti, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow; Paul Chitnis, Chief Executive of Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF); Dharmacari Shantiketu, Western Buddhist Order; Jack Purba, General secretary to the Glasgow Gurdwara Council and Secretary of the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Temple) in Glasgow; Ghulam Rabbani, Islam; Muhammad Shaheen, President of the Islamic Council of Scotland; Imam Habib-ur-Rahman, Islam; Rabbi Moshe Rubin, leader of Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue; Tom Harrigan, Glasgow Inter-Faith Liaison Officer.
The Muslim Council of Britain deplores the government’s decision to refuse a visa to the renowned Islamic scholar Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The MCB recognises the Prime Minister has been under immense pressure from the pro-Zionist and neo-conservative lobby in recent weeks to take this decision. It is regrettable that the government has finally given way to these unreasonable demands spearheaded by the Tory leader whose government had in fact allowed Dr Qaradawi to visit the UK five times between 1995-97. _Yusuf Al Qaradawi enjoys unparalleled respect and influence throughout the Muslim world. I am afraid this decision will send the wrong message to Muslims everywhere about the state of British society and culture. Britain has had a long and established tradition of free speech, debate and intellectual pursuit. These principles are worth defending, especially if we would like to see them spread throughout the world,” said Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=C2B1E0159E063D56ED36EF62&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
A high-profile London meeting that brought together senior Muslim community leaders, imams and police representatives has recommended a national dialogue on radicalism in Britain. “We called on both Muslims and non-Muslims from all sections of society to come together and engage in a national dialogue on radicalism,” Dr Daud Abdullah, Deputy Secretary General of the umbrella Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), told IslamOnline.net in a phone interview from London on Sunday, July 8. “We have decided to work together and intensify our efforts,” to tackle radicalism and extremism in Britain, he added.
LONDON – The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is embarking on a nationwide tour of England next week to listen to the views of local communities among the country’s 1.8 million Muslim population. The five-week tour, starting on July 25, is being led by the recently elected Secretary General of the MCB Muhammad Abdul Bari, Deputy Secretary General Dr Daud Abdullah, and Bari’s predecessor, Sir Iqbal Sacranie. It comes as Britain’s mainstream Muslim umbrella organization, comprising over 400 affiliated groups, is being challenged by the media and ministers on whether it is truly reflective of Britain’s diverse Muslim communities. Bari said that he was looking forward to speaking with a diverse range of British Muslims right across the country and to hear their views on the issues that are of most concern to them during the tour, entitled ‘Connecting with the Communities’. “This tour represents an ideal opportunity to introduce the work of the MCB to others and to listen to suggestions about how we can facilitate greater cooperation among Muslims and non-Muslims to promote the common good,” he said. The British government on Wednesday promoted the launch of a new organization, calling itself the Sufi Muslim Council, with the aim of speaking for the ‘silent majority’. Last year, the creation of a new secular group calling itself Progressive British Muslims (PBM), was sponsored by Britain’s ruling Labor Party as an ‘articulate’ voice for progressively minded Muslims. The initiatives come as the UK government have been seeking Muslim organizations to join its campaign to tackle ‘radical extremism’ in what is being blamed as a root cause of terrorism.