Greetings and salutations for Eid ul Adha 2013.
Join us in celebrating the day when, approximately 6,000 years ago, some desert patriarch misheard the voices in his head commanding him to slaughter his eldest son. He ended up inadvertently killing his favourite goat and, unluckily for four-legged cloven-hoofed animals, the anniversary of which is repeated to this day.
May your year be filled with love, resilience and tolerance and spare a thought for the brutal killing of animals by ritual slaughter.
From the Huffington Post:
A Muslim free school accused of enforcing hardline Islamic practice has closed on the first day of an Ofsted inspection.
Following the sudden announcement, Michael Gove’s free school revolution was branded a “minefield” by secular campaigners, who said the system was being “exploited” by religious groups.
The primary and secondary Al-Madinah school in Derby said it had closed because of “a health and safety issue”.
The Department for Education said it too was investigating the school, which opened in September 2012 under the government’s flagship free schools policy.
According to the BBC, Ofsted’s findings were “so damning” the school was closed immediately.
The BBC report does not elaborate on those ‘damning findings’:
The BBC understands Ofsted’s findings were so damning that the acting head of Al-Madinah, in Derby, had little choice but to shut it down immediately.
Derby Muslim free school (photo: mirror.co.uk)
A friend tells me that about a year ago his sister was considering sending her daughter (his niece) to a state-funded Islamic Free school in Derby. So he decided to visit the school in order to get an idea of what it was like. His visit lasted 20 minutes and when he got back he told his sister not to send her daughter there nor to consider it as a viable option ever again. That school is now in the national headlines for forcing non-Muslim female teachers to wear hijab and treating female pupils as second-rate, making them sit at the back of the class, at the back of buses and made to queue behind boys on day trips.
He says: “essentially they are preparing Muslim women to accept their second class status and become door mats for their future husbands. These are the same women that will grow up to claim the niqab is their choice of clothing that ‘liberates’ them”.
This is a cross-post of an article by Sumaya Ahmed Rafique, originally written for Hermanas magazine. (Hat tip: Isa in the comments)
Muslim communities around the world face many challenges, from both within as well as outside sources. Certain issues, such as poverty and substance abuse, are widespread amongst all races and religions. The Muslim community, however, also has problems unique to itself.
One particular phenomenon has come to be known as that of “marriage fraud” – a problem found in both the West and the Muslim world, although its occurrence has been more widely documented in the West. Most cases of “marriage fraud” are recorded to take place in certain areas of America, Canada, and the UK, although there is evidence that it also occurs in other Western and Arab countries.
Hugo Schmidt, occassional contributor to this blog, has his first piece published in Standpoint. And very good it is too.
The death of socialism has been like the fall of some rainforest giant, leaving a space for lesser growths. For most of the 20th century socialism — the government control of the economy — was the aim of most left-wing movements, no matter their disagreements about its form or the means to achieve it. With socialism discredited by its real practice and the success of capitalism, other movements, some of which would have once been anathema to left-wingers, have filled the ideological space. Where Marxism once promised industrial abundance, environmentalism condemns abundance as evil. Whereas once it was hoped that all divisions of race, nation and creed could be superseded by universal cosmopolitanism, identity politics proclaims that men are the inescapable product of their background and it is wrong to expect them to abandon it.
Two more installments from that age-old irrational obsession: ‘Blame the Jews’ for all that goes wrong in the Muslim world. The only mandatory rule is that no evidence will be required.
Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed, who else, the Jews for ousting the Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkey’s prime minister on Tuesday accused Israel of being behind the ouster of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, offering as the only evidence for his claim a statement by a Jewish French intellectual during a meeting with an Israeli official.
The Egyptian Cabinet rejected Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement as baseless and “bewildering,” saying its patience was running low with Turkey, one of the biggest critics of the July 3 military coup.
Israel said the claim wasn’t worth comment.
It seems every day there is news of confirmed supporters fleeing the sinking ship that is Muslim Brotherhood. Here’s yet another defection, from Al-Arabiya:
A firebrand Egyptian cleric and television preacher has denounced the Muslim Brotherhood after his arrest on Wednesday near the Libyan border.
Safwat el-Hegazy told investigators that he was not part of the Muslim Brotherhood and that if he could go back in time he would have never supported them, a security source said.
“It’s not because they are terrorists and encourage blood shedding, but it is because they don’t work well and cannot do anything right,” Hegazy was quoted as saying.
Hegazy who is wanted over charges of instigating violence was captured early Wednesday at a checkpoint near the Siwa Oasis, near Libya. He reportedly tried to flee the country across the Libyan border.
Growing numbers of rebels are switching to Assad’s negotiated amnesty because they are starting to realise that there is one thing worse than the Assad regime: Islamism.
At the same time, the families of retreating fighters have begun quietly moving back to government-controlled territory, seen as a safer place to live as the regime continues its intense military push against rebel-held areas.
The move is a sign of the growing confidence of the regime, which has established a so-called “ministry of reconciliation” with the task of easing the way for former opponents to return to the government side.
Ali Haider, the minister in charge, said: “Our message is, ‘if you really want to defend the Syrian people, put down your weapons and come and defend Syria in the right way, through dialogue’.”
The British Left, or rather a specific group of soft-principled liberals who are subset of the group, seem to have trouble distinguishing between textual criticism of Islam with anti-Muslim bigotry. The worst offenders tend to conflate the two. James Bloodworth has a go at analysing why this is the case:
Being ‘tolerant’ is also very often seen on the left as more important than being correct. It is certainly considered safer. Criticise Islam too strongly and you may fall out with your multicultural peers, face accusations of colour prejudice or, worse still, provoke a fanatic with a penchant for something stronger than polemics. Have a go at Dawkins on Twitter and someone may start a forum thread about you at Atheism UK.
In sum, should you wish to apply your critical faculties objectively to all religions, be prepared for the shrill accusations of prejudice that will inevitably follow you around – not so much from believers, but from your fellow liberal atheists.
Dr Kemal Helbawy was a prominent Muslim Brotherhood operative, who for decades served as the their representative to the UK. Following the revolution he returned to live in Egypt in 2011. Helbawy is not known to be a moderate nor a lover of Jews. But recently he has had some serious misgivings about the Morsi government which he was keen to air publicly in an interview with Roshan Muhammed Salih. Here are some very surprising comments by Helbawy on the recent Egyptian coup/regime change/popular uprising, call it what you will, and the reasons behind them.
RMS: What is your reaction to the recent miltary coup?
KH: It wasn’t a military coup, it was the greatest democratic event in our history. There were millions of people on the streets and the military simply responded to their desire to do away with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) government which had failed the country.