My opinion piece has been published in the Times:
I grew up in a liberal household in the Middle East where religious practice was never forced on me. But when I was 17 I made the choice to wear the hijab (headscarf), in the belief that this was a religious obligation and symbol of modesty. At times, I even wore the niqab, a veil of thin chiffon cloth that covers the face.
I knew that the niqab wasn’t a religious obligation, unlike the hijab, but I wore it in markets and malls — any place where I wanted to be hidden from the prying eyes of men. Although it was restrictive — it’s difficult to manoeuvre in busy shops, to eat or cross the road — that didn’t bother me. When I wore it, I felt comfortable knowing that my face would not be known, that I would not be leered at by men. And I certainly did not feel out of place. Many women around me wore it, too, not because it was a legal requirement or because of family pressure, but out of choice.
Timothy Garton Ash has written a comment piece for the Guardian discussing the Swiss ban on mosque minarets. I agree with all that he says except for the Islamic Shakhsiya Foundation point.
I have looked at the curriculum that they were teaching at the time they received government funding. And yes, they do promote Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) ideology to the core. And as many of us know, HT ideology mandates Muslims to lead segregated lives from the rest of society and to only follow HT’s version of Islam. It is not exactly rocket science to know that HT run schools with HT teachers and a headmistress that was HT at the time of funding and writing the school’s curriculum would be teaching HT ideology to children. Anyway, the rest of the article is good. Have a read:
In today’s Jewish Chronicle, Martin Bright reveals Inayat Bunglawala’s sectarian attitude towards those who disagree with his interpretation of Islam.
Inayat Bunglawala of the MCB defended his attacks on British Muslims for Secular Democracy because leading members of the organisation opposed the wearing of the hijab and believed drinking was permitted in Islam. The chair of the organisation is Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.
The row broke out over a demonstration to oppose the Islam4UK march by al-Muhajiroun, which was due to call for the introduction of an Islamic state and sharia law in Britain. The march was cancelled at the last moment on October 31.
Mr Bunglawala, who regularly appears in the British media as the representative of the MCB, was vocal in his condemnation of Islam4UK march. He even established a new organisation, Muslims4UK, to oppose the extremists. His actions were praised at the time by Ed Husain of the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation.
On the 29th of this month, Switzerland will vote on banning minarets. Home to approximately 300,000 Muslims, the Swiss People’s Party and Federal Democratic Union are behind a referendum claiming that the construction of a minaret is not protected by the freedom of religion as it has “no religious significance”.
Actually, minarets not only have religious but historical significance as well. Furthermore, minarets are described as “symbols of a religious-political claim to power and dominance which threatens – in the name of alleged freedom of religion – the constitutional rights of others.” I am not sure how building a couple of minarets here and there would be an infringement on the constitutional rights of others…
I’ve just completed writing a report for the CSC, Hizb ut-Tahrir: Ideology and Strategy. The full report can be accessed here and an executive summary here. Our report covers Hizb ut-Tahrir’s (HT) violent ideology, its perspective of the West and its strategy in the UK.
Having gone through HT’s literature of its ideology, my colleague Hannah and I were actually worried about how sophisticated its tactics in the West have become.
Despite having a violent ideology, our report found that HT deliberately and successfully downplays many aspects of its intolerant beliefs to the wider public in order to present and mainstream its fascist Islamist ideology as ‘true’ Islam. Seeing it self as ‘representative’ of Islam, HT presents any attacks on the party as part of a wider conspiracy by the West against Muslims – the West is supposadely engaged with a ‘war on Islam’.
A new report has been released by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights which discusses issues of sexual harassment that women face in Egypt. The report concluded that most respondents who were victims of sexual harassment wore the hijab and regarded themselves as modestly dressed. Yet some even blamed themselves for being sexually harassed by men.
More findings include:
- Sexual harassment by men was experienced by 83% of Egyptian women.
- Sexual harassment by men experienced by 98% of foreign women visitors in Egypt.
- 62% of Egyptian men admitted to sexually harassing women.
- More than 60% of both male and female respondents suggested that a ‘scantily clad woman’ was most at risk.
- 53% of Egyptian men blame women for ‘bringing it on’ [typical disgusting male attitude].
The website of the Scotland wing of neo-Nazi group ‘Blood & Honour’, which was exposed by the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) to be disseminating extremist white supremacist materials, has now been suspended. Additionally the police are investigating the information that has been passed to them by the CSC.
For more information on ‘Blood & Honour’ see Edmund Standing’s post here.
From the Egyptian writer and academic researcher of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Sayed Mahmoud El Qemany, who is being exposed to incitements to assassinate him.
In the context of my academic research and practical work I have been able to provide an important set of motion in the stagnant Egyptian situation. I have attempted to make reforms from the inside and worked on the disarmament of those who exploit Islam politically and make it a source of livelihood at the expense of the simple, good people of Egypt. I have therefore created a secular movement that has imposed its presence, although still at a formative stage.
In a free ballot of Egyptian thinkers, I was granted the State Award for Social
Sciences, on June 25th 2009. The hard-line radical militant groups considered that the state has adopted this intellectual secular trend officially, infuriating the mentioned group which called on the State to withdraw the prize with the declaration of my defection from Islam and excommunication which means in our country, I could be slain; any citizen is allowed to kill me and be awarded by God in Paradise.
Three women, two police constables and one community support officer decided to wear full face veiled burkhas and other ‘Muslim women’s clothing’ in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, as part of an effort to understand ‘diversity’ in a police initiative titled ‘In your shoes’. The three went out shopping to feel how it was to be a Muslim woman.
In describing her experience, Sergeant Deb Leonard said:
I have gained an appreciation and understanding of what Muslim females experience when they walk out in public in clothing appropriate to their beliefs.
We are keen to gain a better understanding of issues which our communities face.
Why doesn’t she and her colleagues start walking out in jeans and a t-shirt to also experience what other Muslim women feel when they walk out in public in clothing appropriate to their beliefs!
A South Yorkshire Police in-house magazine said:
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Malaysian chapter [the revolutionary and expansionist Islamist group] advertised its 26 July 2009 conference with this image:
HT Malaysia Khilafah Conference
A beheaded Statue of Liberty. A burning and ruined Financial District in Manhattan. Conveniently using this clip image from the film Cloverfield, Hizb ut-Tahrir uses it to epitomise everything the party loathes and despises: democracy, freedom, capitalism, secularsim (values many of us cherish) – and generally the West. And they want to do what? Take over the world?
Viva la Islamist revolución!