Thursday, 17 December 2009

Tulay Goren case

The Guardian, Father jailed for life for 'honour killing' of Tulay Goren, 17 Dec 09 "Mehmet Goren must serve minimum of 22 years for murder of 15-year-old who ran away to live with man from different Islamic sect"

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

'Chasing Mirrors'

National Portrait Gallery, London, Studio Gallery, Chasing Mirrors, 9 October 2009-10 January 2010

"Chasing Mirrors is an exhibition of new work exploring alternative forms of self-representation and portraiture by contemporary artist Faisal Abdu’Allah and the Chasing Mirrors Collective, a group of young people from Arabic speaking communities in Brent, Barnet and Ealing."

I saw this recently, and found it a very interesting use of multimedia. It's worth catching if you are in London.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Muslims in UK

Daily Mail, Britain's tolerance to Islam results in more than 1m Muslims setting up home here, 14 Dec 09

Based on various reports

'Conversions' to Islam in UK

Richard Reddie, Guardian, Face to faith: We should understand, not fear, the rise in black conversions to Islam, 12 Dec 09 "As a young man growing up in Bradford, I occasionally had the misfortune to sit through church sermons where the visiting preacher warned the virtually all-white congregation of the spiritual and social threat posed by the city's Muslim population. As one of the few black faces in the congregation, I could never relate to this message, which fused the religious with the "racial" to engender fear."

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Harrow mosque, Rabbis attack Harrow anti-Muslim campaign, 8 Dec 09 "Leading community members in Harrow have condemned anti-Muslim campaigners planning a protest in the borough this weekend."

Muslim schools: parliamentary question, Faith Schools: Islam, Children, Schools and Families, Written answers and statements, 3 December 2009

"(1) what all-Muslim girls' boarding schools there are in England; and how many pupils attend each one;

(2) how many (a) boys' and (b) mixed-sex Muslim boarding schools there are; and how many pupils attend each.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Amir Khan

Guardian, Amir Khan can 'take the world' and leave the booing minority behind, 7 Dec 09 "Well, how about that? They train for months and it is all over in 76 seconds, not time enough to put the kettle on."

Islam Online, Racism Haunts UK Muslim Boxer, 7 Dec 09 ""If you go on the message boards and chat forums there are always people who have to get the religious thing in.

"But the racist slurs never discouraged the Muslim boxer.

""It made me stronger, it made me come back stronger and made be a better fighter.""

Nottingham: protests

BBC News, Nottingham police face £500,000 bill over protests, 6 Dec 09 "Policing two demonstrations in Nottingham involved 700 officers and will cost more than £500,000, it has been estimated."

Telegraph, English Defence League protest leads to clashes with police in Nottingham, 5 Dec 09, "About 500 protesters from the English Defence League (EDL), many with their faces covered with scarves and hooded tops, marched through Nottingham yesterday decrying Allah and shouting: "We want our country back"."

Friday, 4 December 2009

Harrow mosque, Yet Another Harrow Mosque Protest: Stewards Wanted, 3 Dec 09 "it is refreshing to see that, in the face of yet another threat of SIOE protest, the mosque’s trustees are taking proactive steps to prevent such chaotic scenes from playing out again on the streets of Harrow. The following is a message requesting responsible Muslim men (yes, they do exist, masha’Allah), to step forward and volunteer as stewards at the next event ..."

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

World Aids Day

Robert Pigott, BBC News, Imam aims to break Aids taboo, 1 Dec 09 " ... the African HIV Policy Network has asked imams to break the taboo by talking openly about HIV.

"One of them, Mohamed Bashir of the North Brixton mosque in London, says imams need to acknowledge "that not everyone practices their religion to the letter"."

Details: African HIV Policy Network

Warsi pelted with eggs

Islam in Europe, UK Muslim peer pelted with eggs, 30 Nov 09 "Conservative peer Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury, named Britain's most powerful Muslim woman, has been pelted with eggs during a visit to Luton.

"Baroness Warsi was taking part in a walkabout in the predominantly Muslim Bury Park area of Luton when she was confronted by a group of protesters."

Monday, 30 November 2009

Call for a 'greener' Hajj

BBC News, Expert calls for a 'greener' Hajj, 29 Nov 09 "An Islamic expert is calling on Muslims to reduce the environmental impact of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

"Dr Mawil Izzidien of the University of Wales, Lampeter, says the event is beset by wasted and misused resources."

See the related book Mawil Izzidien, The Environmental Dimensions of Islam

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Daily Mail, Four Britons linked to 'violent jihad' plot are charged with terror offences, 23 Nov 09 "Four Britons have been charged with terror offences following raids last week."

Abu Usamah

Tim Marshall, Blog, Sky News, Islam, UCL And Killing Gays - 'In Context', 24 Nov 09 " ... the Islamic Society of University College London (UCL) has, in its beatific and infinite wisdom, invited the socially divisive Usamah to speak on Monday evening." Op-ed blog piece.

European issues

Gavin Hewitt, BBC News, Europe's identity crisis, 25 Nov 09 "In Europe the views of the ethnic minorities differ hugely. A poll in France found that only 4% of Muslims there want to live exclusively among other Muslims. In Britain some migrants from Pakistan and Kashmir are more cautious about living alongside other communities in the giant melting pot that is Britain today."

Monday, 23 November 2009

Prisons and 'fatwas'

David Leppard, Times Online, Terrorists smuggle fatwas out of secure prisons, 15 Nov 09 "Some of Britain’s most dangerous Al-Qaeda leaders are promoting jihad from inside high-security prisons by smuggling out propaganda for the internet and finding recruits."

The report is published by the Quilliam Foundation

‘Framing Muslims: Perspectives from Britain and North America’

I've just been sent this, which sounds interesting (alas, I cannot attend):

‘Framing Muslims: Perspectives from Britain and North America’

Date: Saturday 5 December 2009

Time: 09:00 - 5:00pm

Venue: MAL 416, 4th Floor,

Birkbeck, University of London,

Malet Street, Bloomsbury,

London WC1E 7HX

Speakers & Talk Title:

• Hishaam Aidi, ‘Moors, Aztecs and Ideologies of Al-Andalus’

• Nabil Matar, ‘Muslims in Early Modern Period’

• Haideh Moghissi, ‘Muslims in Canada: Promises and pitfalls of multiculturalism’

• Kamran Pasha, ‘Islam and Hollywood -- A Muslim Filmmaker's Journey’

• Sherene H. Razack, ‘ “A Culturally Different Enemy” and Other Everyday Expressions of White Supremacy: Reflections on Torture and Muslims’

• Steven Salaita, ‘Barack Obama, Islam, and the Discourses of American Racial Belonging”

• Mona Siddiqui, ‘Islamic law in Britain- past, present and future’

• Tim Jon Semmerling ‘Extraordinary “Renditions”: When Law and Pop Culture Co-Narrate the Bush Administration’s Use of Extraordinary Rendition

• Pnina Werbner, ‘Multiple and Intersecting Identities among British Pakistanis: Negative and Positive Scholarly Frames’

Themes include:

• Historical perspectives

• Production and Reception of images

• Representation and Power

• Race, ethnicity and gender

Organised by :

Centres & Programmes, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Framing Muslims

Framing Muslims: Representation in Culture and Society Post 9/11

Contact the organisers via the above link for registration info, etc.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

New study on prejudices and enmity

euro-islam, Study reveals prejudices against Islam all over Europe, 18 Nov 09 "The Bielefeld Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence has conducted a Europe-wide study on prejudices and enmity against various social groups. The representative study saw 8000 participants (1000 people respectively in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Poland and Hungary)."

Check out the Press Release here from Bielefeld Institute ppdf]

Monday, 9 November 2009


Daily Record, Exclusive: Fears grow over possible clash at Scotland's biggest mosque, 8 Nov 09 "Religious leaders fear militant Muslims will travel to Scotland to confront far-right racists planning an illegal march on the country's biggest mosque.

"They have warned that Islamic hardliners will be out in force to take on the neo-Nazi thugs planning to march in Glasgow under the banner of the Scottish Defence League."

'Forgotten Heroes'

Emel Magazine, Forgotten Heroes, Issue 62 November 2009 "With Remembrance Day around the corner, Somaiya Khan-Piachaud and Ayman Khwaja remember the sacrifice of Muslim Soldiers, who gave their lives and their limbs in the name of duty in both the First and Second World Wars."

The page includes an interesting movie clip on this subject.

Also see the Muslim Council of Britain's press release for their new publication: MCB Report Demonstrates long-standing British Muslim Support for Armed Forces, 6 Nov 09 and a statement on particpation in Armistice Day commemoration: MCB Joins With Other Faith Groups at the Cenotaph

Here's a direct link: Remembering the Brave: The Muslim contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces [pdf] This includes an article by Prof. Humayun Ansari.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Police, PC cleared of race attack was involved in assault on Muslim, 4 Nov 09 "A police officer cleared yesterday of racially assaulting two teenagers had previously been involved in a “serious, gratuitous and prolonged” attack on a Muslim that led to a £60,000 compensation payout by his force."


Islam in Europe, Wales: Muslim men plan to sue airport, 4 Nov 09 "A PARTY of Muslim men who claim they were singled out and treated like terrorists by airport police vowed last night to push for an independent investigation."

Monday, 2 November 2009

'Prevent Violent Extremism'

Catrin Nye, BBC Asian Network, Young Muslims step in police's shoes, 2 Nov 09 "On the fifth floor of Scotland Yard in central London, live video feeds are coming in with news of a terror threat.

"The 30 people in the room are forced to make decisions that could change lives - which homes do they raid? Who do they stop and search?

"But they are not counter-terror officers, in fact many of them are not even sure they trust the police.

"They are 17 to 25-year-olds from around London, nearly all of them Muslim, and they are acting as if they are officers responding to a terror attack as part of Act Now, an exercise run as part of the government's £140m Prevent programme."

More on Prevent from the Home Office site

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Opinion piece/commentary

Sholto Byrnes, New Statesman, Which Islam are you afraid of?, 21 Oct 09

Mosque open day

Huddersfield Examiner, Huddersfield mosque opens its doors "Members of the town’s Ahmadiyya community, based at Lower Fitzwilliam Street, invited members of the public to visit and find out more their work."

"Contextualising Islam in Britain" [comments]

Asim Siddiqui, Asian News, An Islam at home in Britain, October 21, 2009 "This month saw the launch of a report authored by a theologically diverse group of leading British Muslims entitled "Contextualising Islam in Britain".

"The scholars and practitioners who contributed to the report, published by Cambridge University, sought to answer a deceptively simple question: What does it mean to live faithfully as a Muslim in Britain today?"

This report was previously blogged here.

Monday, 19 October 2009


Daily Mail, Anti-Islamic march sparks violent clashes as Nazi-saluting 'Welsh Defence League' takes to the streets, 18 Oct 09 "It was the first time the newly-formed group have been out on the streets in Wales. At a similar event in Birmingham a few weeks ago trouble flared when the English Defence League and anti-fascism groups fought on the street."

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Binyam Mohamed case

Telegraph, Guananano Bay 'torture' ruling threatens intelligence sharing with US, 17 Oct 09
"The future of intelligence sharing between Britain and the United States is under threat after judges ruled secret evidence relating to the the torture allegedly suffered by Binyam Mohamed, a former Guantanamo Bay inmate, should be released."

Friday, 16 October 2009

Cambridge Muslim College

BBC News, Muslim integration college opens, 15 Oct 09 "A new college in Cambridge has begun offering courses on how to integrate Islam into British society.

"The Cambridge Muslim College has just a handful of students, each of whom have ambitions to become a religious leader at a mosque or within the community."

More info: Cambridge Muslim College

Lincoln mosque Facebook campaign, Council rejects Lincoln mosque plans, 15 Oct 09,

"The application had prompted a barrage of opposition from residents and a group on social networking site Facebook containing 850 members was also set up."

Wilders visit and protest

Reuters, Dutch MP sparks Muslim protests at Westminster, 16 Oct 09, "Around 20 Muslim protesters hurled abuse at far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders as arrived for a meeting in parliament on Friday, forcing him to take refuge in a nearby building."

MCB Statement on Wilders "Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, MCB Secretary General said: "At a time of heightened tension, with the unprecedented rise of the far right, we must all pull together and focus on points of unity and cohesion. Our unhealthy obsession with divisive figures only bolsters their objective to sow discord on the streets of Britain"."

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Sayeeda Warsi

Daily Express, Lady Warsi to tackle the BNP on TV, 15 Oct 09, "David Cameron has picked senior Tory Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a Muslim, to take on the British National Party in next week’s BBC Question Time showdown."


Telegraph, Ed West, An Ed Husain v Geert Wilders debate would be great for democracy discussion points and opinion: "If Geert Wilders does visit Britain in the next few days, as is being reported, I hope he takes up Ed Husain’s offer of a public debate."


Telegraph, 'Muslims want sharia law in Britain' claim "Radical Muslim group Islam4UK has launched a campaign to impose sharia law on Britain, starting with a rally in London, according to a report.

"Members of the organisation have Muslims from all over Britain to meet in the capital on October 31 for a procession to demand the full implementation of sharia law.

"The demonstration will start at the House of Commons and will then converge on Trafalgar Square."

Also in The Daily Express, Now Muslims demand full sharia law, 15 Oct 09

Islam4UK's website is currently experiencing 'difficulties' (maybe overloaded by Express readers)

Madrasas under microscope

BBC News, Madrasas 'should face regulation', 14 Oct 09 "Unofficial Islamic schools, many of which use teachers who have not had criminal record bureau checks should be better regulated, an MP has demanded.

"Madrasas are usually attached to a mosque, providing religious instruction in the evenings and at weekends."

This is a long-running issue. I wrote about it in the past, as it was prominent when I was undertaking fieldwork some years ago...

"British Ministers laud contributions of Muslim Diaspora"

APP, British Ministers laud contributions of Muslim Diaspora, 13 Oct 09

"The British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has lauded the contributions of the Muslim community in the development and progress of the United Kingdom and said his country is proud of their achievements.

"Speaking at the Eid Milan reception hosted at the historic Durbar Court of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office here last evening, he said the Muslim community has been making positive changes in the British society through various means."

'Saving Britain’s Past' - Brick Lane

OU, Saving Britain’s Past, 12 October, BBC TWO, 7:30pm, "In a city of immigrants and their diverse communities, no street embraces and wrestles with the debates generated by multiculturalism and heritage as vibrantly as Brick Lane in East London. It has probably absorbed more communities than any other into its fabric, from the Huguenots to the Jews to the current predominant community of Bangladeshis. As each community has moved on, the buildings have remained the same, even as their usage changes."

I saw some of this programme, and thought it was very interesting, introducing some issues relating to architecture, sacred space, community, and identity.

Here's the iPlayer link Saving Britain's Past - 7. The Street [limited time only]

TV: 'The Enemy Within'

Channel 4, 'The Enemy Within' "A cast of non-professional actors, young British Muslims, speak the words of the 19th-century Anarchists involved with the terror campaign. Their performances are intercut with interviews in which they explain how they feel about being a Muslim in Britain today." I haven't seen this yet - the C4 player gives a month or so to watch it...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Burnley mosque, 2,000 Muslims gather for opening of £1.5m. new mosque in Burnley, 14 Oct 09 "The Jamia Masjid Ghausia Mosque in Abel Street was completed after 10 years of fund-raising by residents living mainly in Daneshouse.

"Building work on the massive project started four years ago and was only recently finished."

Geert Wilders

BBC News, Dutch MP overturns UK entry ban, 13 Oct 09 "Far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders has won an appeal against a Home Office decision barring his entry to the UK."

Monday, 12 October 2009

Tulay Goren case

BBC News, Honour killing girl 'wanted love', 12 Oct 09 "A teenager allegedly murdered by her father in a so-called "honour killing" hated her family and wanted to run away, a court has heard." Refers to 1999 disappearance of Tulay Goren.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Announcement: Studying contemporary Islam in the UK

"Studying contemporary Islam in the UK"

A study day organised in collaboration with the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group and the Muslims in Britain research network
Saturday 28th November 2009, 10.30am-4.30pm

Birkbeck College, University of London

Over the past decade there has been a significant growth of social science research on Islam, conducted against a backdrop of public and policy interest which can represent both an opportunity and considerable challenge to researchers in this field. This study day will be an important opportunity to bring together researchers with expertise in the study of contemporary Islam in the UK with other scholars of lived religion to share current research and reflect on developing trends and issues within this field.

A keynote address will be given by Prof Ron Geaves (Liverpool Hope University and chair of the MBRN) reviewing recent developments and future prospects for research in this field. There will also be an opportunity for short paper presentations for any form of social research exploring the intersections of Islam with identity, culture, institutions, performance, community and public policy.

Further details: Centre for Religion and Contemporary Society at Birkbeck

Thursday, 8 October 2009

'Pink Hijab Day'

Hijab Style, Pink Hijab Day

"This year, Pink Hijab Day will be taking place on Wednesday October 28th.

"According to the website, "Pink Hijab Day is intended to shatter stereotypes of Muslim women, as well as raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. All over the world, Muslims participated by wearing pink hijabs, pink ribbons, and donating to breast cancer foundations.""

Details: Facebook, Pink Hijab Day

Welsh language, From Bangladesh to learn ‘the language of heaven’, 8 Oct 09, "Sirajul Islam’s journey from Bangladesh to Wales, where he has since spent almost 50 years of his working life, has led him on a path to self-discovery, fulfilment and great personal success.

"From a small country town to Cogan, near Penarth, the 69-year-old’s determination to “learn, breathe and live” the Welsh language can be seen worldwide via the internet as part of a project created by the Cardiff Welsh-language movement, Menter Iaith Caerdydd."

Shahid Malik comment, Minister hails Bristol's Muslim community for stopping bomb plot, 8 Oct 09

"On a visit to the city, Shahid Malik, minister for communities and local government, said that Muslims across the world should take great comfort from what happened in Bristol."

'The archaeology of Islam in Britain'

Currently reading an interesting article by my colleague Andrew Petersen on 'The archaeology of Islam in Britain: recognition and potential'. It appears in Antiquity 82 (2008): 1080–1092. Details and links:

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

"Secular UK benefits Islam", Secular UK benefits Islam, says Cambridge report, 7 Oct 09

"A new report on what it means to be a Muslim in Britain says that a secular British state allows Islam to be practised freely in an atmosphere of respect, security and dignity.

"The report exploring the philosophical and theological perspectives of the issue is titled 'Contextualising Islam in Britain: Exploratory Perspectives', and is the outcome of a nine-month project hosted by the University of Cambridge. A total of 26 Muslim scholars, academics and activists representing a diverse spectrum of views from Muslim communities in the UK took part in discussions about what it means to live as a Muslim in modern Britain."

Also see:

University of Cambridge, Contextualising Islam In Britain report released, 6 Oct 09

"The report's contents are the ideas of a small group and they need to be refined by a wider number of participants," Project Leader, Professor Yasir Suleiman, Director of the Centre of Islamic Studies at Cambridge, said.

"The process has already succeeded in bringing together Muslims from a wide range of backgrounds who, in spite of those different backgrounds, have been prepared to work together. What we want to do now is stimulate further dialogue with a wider group of Muslim leaders and communities."

The report is here (haven't read this yet!)

University of Cambridge, 'Contextualising Islam in Britain: Exploratory Perspectives', [PDF]

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Nottingham, Muslim website launch "The Nottingham Muslim Directory will enable visitors to access information about local mosques, voluntary and community organisations. It will also contain advice, links to radio stations and key events taking place around the city."


Inayat Bunglawala: "Gay Muslims need support"

Inayat Bunglawala, Guardian, 'Comment is Free', Gay Muslims need support, 5 Oct 09 "In Muslim communities the issue of homosexuality is very rarely discussed in a candid manner and is all too often wished away as if it is an affliction that involves other groups, not them. Not far from the surface, however, are reports of gay Muslim men being pressurised into rushed marriages by parents desperate to avoid any social stigma. The woman's family is never told the truth about her husband's sexuality, of course, with the result that another soul has to endure unhappiness due to the initial failure to face up to the issue. It is a highly dishonest and unethical approach.

"Islamic scholars and imams should ideally be performing a much-needed pastoral role by helping in these situations and providing guidance. At the very least they should insist that any intimidation or discrimination against gay Muslims is unacceptable.""

This is a significant article, which will clearly receive a great deal of comment from all sides. There are many comments on the Guardian's own pages, including responses from Bunglawala.

There's some lively discussion on this at Harry's Place: "Here at the Spittoon we have tended to give Inayat Bunglawala a bit of a hard time. But we also give credit where credit is due. In that spirit, he certainly deserves credit that, on the back of a panel discussion about religious freedom and sexuality in Dublin (in which he participated with Peter Tatchell), he has just written a spirited defence of gay rights."

It will be interesting to track responses elsewhere to Bunglawala's line of thought.

Monday, 5 October 2009

'Black Muslims in Britain' - new book

Richard Reddie, Guardian, Why are black people turning to Islam? 5 Oct 09 "Black conversion or "reversion" to Islam is not new; it has been taking place in the African diaspora since time immemorial. However, I looked deeper into the phenomenon to find out why a growing number of Black Britons, especially younger ones, are embracing Islam. Although I am not a Muslim, I have always been interested in Islam – three of my all-time heroes, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and Jamaican singer Prince Buster were Muslim converts, and I was intrigued by the way Islam inspired all three to transcend their respective vocations to become icons."

Book details of Reddie's book are here - I look forward to reading this

Prevent Violent Extremism

Haroon Siddique, Observer, Muslim groups hit out over 'funding with security strings attached', 4 Oct 09 "The government is facing a rebellion over its anti-terrorism strategy from Muslim groups that claim public funding to tackle social deprivation has been made contingent on security co-operation."

Monday, 28 September 2009

Facebook: Lincoln mosque campaigns, Facebook campaign to change mosque site, 28 Sep 09 "Opposing Facebook pages have been set up supporting and denouncing the building of a new mosque in Lincoln.

"People living in Church Drive and Boultham Park Road have set up a group called 'Stop the Lincoln mosque being built on Church Drive'."

Book: “Muslims of Europe: The ‘Other’ Europeans”

"“Muslims of Europe: The ‘Other’ Europeans” by H.A. Hellyer will be released in October 2009, published by Edinburgh University Press (EUP). In it, Dr Hellyer examines a plethora of topics relating to the Muslim presence in Europe, looking at the effects on European multiculturalism, European Muslim history, and the internal discussions within Muslim communities on their roles as minorities from medieval times until the 21st century."

Details: EUP. Haven't seen this one yet.

"British Muslims and the Media"

From the Islamic Human Rights Commission

Sweden – British Muslims and the Media, lecture by Massoud Shadjareh; Talk with Massoud Shadjareh, Moazzam Beg and Asim Siddiqui

IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh will be speaking at the MMRK and ASR conference, ‘Media’s War on Terror’ on 3 October, 2009 at Bio Rio, Hornstulls strand 3, Stockholm, Sweden from 14.10 – 14.40.

He will also be participating in a talk with former Guantanmo detainee Moazzam Beg, and Asim Siddiqui from CaegPrisoners at the conference, from 14.40 – 15.30.

Details: and

Friday, 25 September 2009

New book: Crime and Muslim Britain

IB Tauris, Marta Bolognani, Crime and Muslim Britain - Race, Culture and the Politics of Criminology Among British Pakistanis (London IB Tauris 2009)

This book looks interesting, although this points to an expensive (£52) hardback edition. I couldn't locate a paperback edition.


BBC News, The steady rise of Islamic finance, 23 Sep 09 "London has become one of the biggest centres for Islamic finance in the world, with five Islamic banks, and many others in the high street offering Islamic financial products, or "windows" as they are known."

Projecting British Muslims

Riazat Butt, Guardian, UK's 'flying diplomats' aim to tackle terror threat at home, 23 Sep 09 "The Foreign Office is flying in senior UK diplomats to talk to British Muslims who live in "terror hotspots" as part of its efforts to prevent domestic and international extremism." Beware of low-flying diplomats

Details of Projecting British Muslims [blog]

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Journal issue: 'Anti-Muslim Prejudice in the West, Past and Present'

Patterns of Prejudice, Volume 43 Issue 3 & 4 2009: Anti-Muslim Prejudice in the West, Past and Present

Several useful looking articles in this journal, which relate directly to this blog.

i.e. Maleiha Malik, Anti-Muslim prejudice in the West, past and present: an introduction

Nabil Matar, Britons and Muslims in the early modern period: from prejudice to (a theory of) toleration

Nasar Meer; Tariq Modood, Refutations of racism in the ‘Muslim question’

John E. Richardson, ‘Get shot of the lot of them’: election reporting of Muslims in British newspapers

Erik Bleich, Where do Muslims stand on ethno-racial hierarchies in Britain and France? Evidence from public opinion surveys, 1988–2008

Worth investigating further - haven't got a copy yet ...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Pub bought by mosque, Nottingham pub is bought by mosque, 22 Sep 09 "The Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust is set to transform a city pub into a thriving community centre. The Jester pub, which closed earlier this year, sold for £400,000 at auction."

See Hazrat Sultan Bahu: background on the Trust, Hazrat Sultan Bahu, founder Sahibzada Sheikh Sultan Fiaz ul Hassan Sarwari Qadri, educational projects and activities. There are detailed resources on the website.

Hotel allegations

Times Online, Christian hoteliers charged after arguing with Muslim guest, 21 Sep 09 "A pair of Christian hoteliers in Lancashire who argued with a Muslim guest at the breakfast table have been charged with a religiously-aggravated offence.

"Dutch-born Ben Vogelenzang said that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a warlord, while his wife Sharon, 54, described the hijab as a form of bondage, it is claimed."

Newport mosque plans

Wales Online, Violent protest fears over new mosque plan, 20 Sep 09 "Islamic Society of Gwent secretary Mubarak Ali said he was very concerned about the protest being arranged.

"He said: “I’ve seen how these protests have ended in other cities and I do not want that sort of violence in Newport. People living in Newport have been very supportive of the new mosque and it is people from outside of Wales trying to stir up the trouble.

"“Newport is a very multi-cultural place and has been for some years. These trouble-makers are not welcome here.”""

Monday, 21 September 2009

Eid, Thousands from Muslim community gather for Eid festival (with pictures), 21 Sep 09

"Eid mubarak"

Film report on PressTV [scroll down for 'Muslims in Britain celebrate Eid al-Fitr']

'The future of British Muslims' article

alArabiya, The future of British Muslims, 20 Sep 09 "Interviewed on BBC television following last week’s conviction of three Muslim airline bomb plotters, the former British government minister Tony McNulty, was asked if Britain’s foreign policy was responsible for radicalizing young Muslims."

Friday, 18 September 2009

Harrow mosque

Hugh Muir, Guardian, Hideously diverse Britain: the mosque that became a symbol, 18 Sep 09 "It became a symbol, which was a shame. The Muslims of Harrow just wanted it to be their mosque."

The Google Street View of the mosque is here (probably a bit out of date:

View Larger Map

There's more film and info on the mosque at Harrow Central Mosque

Yusuf Islam

AFP, Cat Stevens announces comeback tour, 18 Sep 09 "Yusuf Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, is to return to the stage for his first tour since 1976, he said on Thursday." Also previewing a new musical, 'Moonshadow'. [note to Yusuf: how about a Cardiff concert?]

Also see Yusuf, Tour Dates, Venues & Tickets!

"This will definitely not be a tour in the usual sense and is set to incorporate Yusuf’s timeless hits such as Wild World, Father & Son and The First Cut Is The Deepest, alongside music from his highly acclaimed new albums, An Other Cup and Roadsinger.

"To make it even more of a spectacle for fans, Yusuf will also weave his latest creative voyage, his first musical, Moonshadow, into the shows.

"Speaking about his work on Moonshadow, Yusuf said: “My songs always told a story, so it’s natural for me to extend that into a stage musical form."

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Sentences on bomb plotters

AP, 4 UK Muslims get hefty sentences for airline plot, 14 Sep 09 "The judge described the foiled suicide bombings — meant to rival the Sept. 11 attacks — as "a grave and wicked" conspiracy, likely the most serious terrorist case ever dealt with by a British court. The plot's disclosure prompted an immediate ban on taking some liquids onboard passenger jets, a measure that remains in place, inconveniencing passengers throughout the world."

NYT, Life Terms for Plot to Bomb Trans-Atlantic Flights From London, 14 Sep 09 "A High Court judge on Monday imposed minimum prison terms of 32 to 40 years on three men convicted last week, after two trials, of plotting to smuggle liquid explosives onto at least seven trans-Atlantic airliners heading to the United States and Canada from London, with the aim of blowing the aircraft apart in midair."

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

'Mohammed' most popular boys' name

Telegraph, Mohammed is most popular name for baby boys in London, 15 Sep 09 "The Islamic name overtook traditional choices like Jack, Thomas and Daniel to become the number one name in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North West, as well as in the capital, in 2008.

"The figures emerged in a detailed regional breakdown of figures published last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)."

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Work in progress...

I'm currently blogging from the CASAW conference 'Reconsidering Jihad' in Edinburgh, where I shall be giving a very brief paper on e-jihad tomorrow. Just heard Tariq Ramadan give an interesting paper. I'll be writing about the conference in one of my blogs next week, when I have more time.

Airline plot verdicts welcomed

BBC News, Muslims welcome jet plot verdicts, 8 Sep 09 "Prominent UK Muslims have welcomed the conviction of three men for plotting to blow up planes flying to north America - but have warned that government anti-terrorist powers should be used wisely."

Friday, 4 September 2009


The new BRISMES (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies) website is now 'live' (I was involved in some of the site's development).


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

'British Muslims and Ramadan'

Ruqaya Izzidien, Bikya Masr, British Muslims and Ramadan "Ramadan for British Muslims can also lack the atmosphere that you find in the Arab world. If you want baklawa you have to go on a Lord of the Rings-esque mission to find those precious things. Not that Ramadan is just about the food, but the Egyptian ambiance is definitely missing over here. And if you live in a village, as opposed to a city, you’re probably the only Muslims around."

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Radio Ramadan

earthtimes, Radio Ramadan is 'on message' for British Muslims - Feature, "For Britain's 1.7 million Muslims, tuning into Radio Ramadan has become an important part of the holy month of fasting and prayer. This year, some 30 stations across Britain have been granted a temporary licence to broadcast around the clock for 32 days on issues of belief, daily life, entertainment and politics. "

Sebastian Faulks

Telegraph, Sebastian Faulks: The book I really can't put down, Sebastian Faulks apologises if his comments about the Koran have offended Muslims, 24 Aug 09, "There seems to be an almost inevitable irritation when novelists in Britain and America, with their long history of free speech, touch on matters Islamic. I am not the first and probably won't be the last to have ruffled some feathers, though I feel sad about this, because my new novel, A Week in December, is carefully researched, and, among its main characters, presents a hugely sympathetic and loving Muslim family; it is furthermore made clear that the parents' kindness and good citizenship spring not just from being naturally good eggs but from their devotion to the Koran."


Guardian, Muslim man claims he was kidnapped and threatened at knifepoint over prayer sessions, 27 Aug 09, "Noor Ramjanally, 35, told the Guardian he had been the victim of a terror campaign which has also involved threats against his family after he began the Islamic prayer sessions in March. He said he fears for his life after the abduction at knifepoint, which happened at his home in Loughton, Essex, on Monday."

'The Wire'

Independent, Britain as dangerous as Baltimore? You’ve got your wires crossed, 25 Aug 09

Monday, 24 August 2009

'Love at First Site'

BBC Radio 4, Love at First Site, "Sarfraz Manzoor explores the world of matrimonial websites aimed at the Asian diaspora around the world and the alternative they present to the traditional arranged marriage." Sounds fascinating. Only problem is that Radio 4 are not making it available on their Listen Again feature at present.

Also see Sarfraz Manzoor, The Guardian, Forget internet dating, this is online matchmaking, 24 Aug 09

'Living with the Infidels' Internet show

Telegraph, Log On Watch This, "The internet is a place for experiments, for pushing boundaries that mainstream television hasn’t yet got the stomach for. Living with the Infidels falls into this category. It’s a comedy – made, it should be emphasised, with the full blessing of the Muslim Council of Great Britain – about an inept Islamic terror cell based in Bradford."

See Living with the Infidels, which has the five episodes available to view. I have only seen the first one, but plan to see the others soon.

Facebook, Living with the Infidels

Also see Sarfraz Manzoor, The Guardian, Living with the Infidels: Can a sitcom about terrorists ever be funny?, 20 Aug 09 "The five-part series has been condemned even before it has been broadcast with relatives of those killed in the 7/7 attacks leading the criticism. Its writer and creator is 40-year-old Aasaf Ainapore, a former commercials director who was born into a Muslim family but says he is not himself a believer. Ainapore was inspired to make the series with his partner Kira-Anne Pelican after noticing how often the word "bumbling" was used to describe British would-be terrorists."

Shisha and health

BBC News, Shisha 'as harmful as cigarettes' , 23 Aug 09 "Shisha bars, which are typically decked out with low stools and soft cushions to create an inviting atmosphere, have become popular in cities across the UK, particularly London, Manchester and Birmingham."

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Tariq Ramadan

Independent, Islamic scholar hits out over sacking, 20 Aug 09 "The controversial Islamic theologian Tariq Ramadan has been fired from two jobs in the Netherlands for allegedly endorsing the Iranian regime by hosting a chat show on a Tehran-backed TV channel."

Tariq Ramadan was recently appointed a new Islamic Studies Chair at Oxford. See for info

Monday, 17 August 2009

UK policy

Inayat Bunglawala, Islam Online, UK Gov. Rethinks Its Approach to Extremism, 17 Aug 09 "For some time now it has been clear that the UK government’s Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) strategy has been facing major difficulties. So the news this week that the government is seriously rethinking this area of counter-terrorism should be welcomed."



New issue of the lifestyle magazine, focusing on Ramadan.

Mosaic International Summer School, Future Muslim leaders take part in UK summer school, 21 Aug 09 "Muslim delegates from across the world have been taking part in a two-week project designed to inspire future leaders. Eighty-six people have come together at the Mosaic International Summer School to take part in the project which has been supported by The Prince of Wales who spoke of his delight over the interest the school has created."

Wedding walkout - commentaries

BBC World Service, UK MP in Muslim wedding walkout, 14 Aug 09 "A British government minister walked out of a Muslim wedding a few days ago and has now condemned the segregation of male and female guests."

Kia Abdullah, Guardian, Segregated weddings? No thanks, 14 Aug 09 "I understand and respect the significance of chastity within religion and culture, but does sitting near a man at a wedding really constitute an act of brazen immodesty? I may be preaching to the choir here, but isn't it time us so-called moderate Muslims got over this hang-up?"

Alasdair Palmer, Telegraph, Why must we bow to the intolerant ways of Islam?, 15 Aug 09 "When Jim Fitzpatrick MP and his wife decided to leave a Muslim wedding party after they discovered it was segregated by sex, he did not anticipate the controversy his decision would generate. "It reflects badly on him," said Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the former head of the Muslim Council of Britain. "It shows a lack of interest… to engage with people of different backgrounds." Tim Archer, the Tory who is standing against the minister of state at the next election, commented that "Fitzpatrick is playing a certain race card to save his skin at the next election"."

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Islamophobia discussion

Pankaj Mishra, The Guardian, A culture of fear, 15 Aug 09

"Liberal spaces within Europe have brought many more Muslim women out of their old confinements Europe is at risk of being 'colonised' by its Muslim populations, argue a number of bestselling new books, acclaimed across the political spectrum. How has such hysteria gone unchallenged? Pankaj Mishra on the 'Eurabia-mongers'"

Review of, and commentary on, Bruce Bawer's book While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Guardian, Muslim fashion: 'Anyone can wear these clothes'

"Riazat Butt meets the designer behind Elenany, a new fashion label for Muslim women that blends modesty and street cred."

Refers to social networking sites and blogs too, including Hijab Style.

Also see elanany

Thursday, 23 July 2009

'The Black Album'

BBC, Press reviews: The Black Album

"A stage version of The Black Album, Hanif Kureishi's critically acclaimed second novel, has opened at the National Theatre on London's South Bank."

Also see National Theatre, The Black Album

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Muslim Arbitration Tribunal

Fiona Hamilton, The Times, Non-Muslims turning to Sharia courts to resolve civil disputes, 21 Jul 09 "Increasing numbers of non-Muslims are turning to Sharia courts to resolve commercial disputes and other civil matters, The Times has learnt.

"The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) said that 5 per cent of its cases involved non-Muslims who were using the courts because they were less cumbersome and more informal than the English legal system."

I have been writing about this elsewhere.

"Interfaith action" (?)

Jonathan Freedland, Guardian, Heard the one about a rabbi, an imam and a priest, who walk into a bank?, 22 Jul 09 "Even before they've started, there's something to applaud here. It's refreshing for Jews and Muslims, in particular, to be working together – "exciting", says Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari of the Muslim Council of Britain – and for these communities to be engaged in interfaith action rather than another round of earnest tea-sipping in the name of "dialogue"."


Ruth Gledhill, The Times, Swine flu may force Muslims to abandon Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, 21 Jul 09 "Britain has joined a number of countries in advising the sick, the elderly and pregnant women not to travel in the annual Haj pilgrimage because of the risk of swine flu."

"Scholar denies that Islamic divorce procedure is biased against women"

Fiona Hamilton, The Times, Scholar denies that Islamic divorce procedure is biased against women, 21 Jul 09 "Opponents of Sharia have long complained that it involves an inherent bias against women and treats them as second-rate citizens.

"For visitors to the Islamic Sharia court in Leyton, East London, all it takes is a glance at the wall of the reception to shatter any remaining illusions of equality. A flow chart outlines the process of obtaining an Islamic divorce. The left side of the chart, depicting the procedure for a man, is relatively simple: all he must do is tell his wife that he is seeking a dissolution, or talaq. The right side with its series of converging lines depicts the much more complex process for women, known as khul’a."

Monday, 20 July 2009

Interfaith visit, Rabbis, imams visit U.S. for dialogue, 20 Jul 09 "A group of 28 imams and rabbis from 10 European countries arrived in New York and Washington this week for whirlwind visits to interfaith centers to break new ground on Muslim-Jewish relations and combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in each other's communities."

Isa Ibrahim

AP, UK man convicted over suicide bomb plot, 18 Jul 09 "Ibrahim had claimed in court that he planned to detonate the vest safely, without wearing it, and post a video of his experiment on the YouTube Web site ...

" ... Police said Ibrahim was not known to authorities and appears to have become radicalized by researching extremist Islamic material posted on the Internet.", Steve Scott: What is your child up to on the internet? "That he didn't cause carnage and destroy innocent lives is purely down to a few astute worshippers from Bristol's Muslim community who tipped off police about Ibrahim's extreme views, erratic behaviour and suspicious injuries to his hands." Op-ed

Telegraph, Terrorist Andrew Ibrahim was turned in by the Muslim community , 18 Jul 0 "Ibrahim is thought to be one of the few examples of a "self-radicalising" terrorist who downloaded videos by the extremist preachers Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri Mohammed."

Friday, 10 July 2009


Rachel Smalley, VOA, London Terror Bombings, Four Years Later, 6 Jul 09 "It has been four years since four suicide bombers detonated bombs on London's transport system killing 52 people. The July 7 attacks left Britain reeling and in the months that followed, the government began working with the country's Islamic leaders to try to stop young Muslims from turning to extremism. Yet, while a recent report found that almost 80 percent of British Muslims identify with their country, only ten percent feel they are an integrated member of society."

Refers to the work of Muslim Youth Net.

David Miliband visit

APP, FM Qureshi, Miliband visit modern Islamic school in Multan, 8 Jul 09 "Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi and UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband visited a modern Islamic school in Multan on Wednesday.The visiting UK Foreign Secretary reached Multan on a day long visit on the invitation of FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi during which he visited mausoleums of Hazrat Bahauddin Zakariya Multani, Hazrat Shah Rukn-e-Alam, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Al-Khair Public School (AKPS), and Chamber of Commerce and Industry."

Griffin on Islam

Channel 4 News, BNP's Griffin: Islam is a cancer, 9 Jul 09

Arsonists jailed

Times Online, Islamic fundamentalists jailed for arson attack at publisher’s home, 8 Jul 09 "Three Islamic fundamentalists were jailed yesterday for an arson attack on a London publisher who planned to print an “offensive” book about the Prophet Muhammad."

Refers to arson protest against Sherry Jones’s novel The Jewel of Medina

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

BRISMES at Manchester

I attended the BRISMES 2009 conference last weekend. It was a well-organised conference, with several interesting papers. It was interesting to hear Dale F. Eickelman in conversation with Muhammad Shahrur. I gave an iMuslims themed paper, timed against the men's singles final at Wimbledon(!). Mainly discussed Web 2.0 and Islam, and Iran. Co-speakers on the panel were Edmund Herzig on ISNA, and Mohamad Zayani on transnational Arab media: plenty of good questions, mainly asking me about all the stuff I cut from the paper due to lack of time. Also chaired 'Islamic Movements in Focus' - 8.30 on a Sunday morning (some good papers, and people actually turned up at that time!). I helped promote the HEA Islamic Studies network. The day concluded with a visit to Old Trafford - very cool place for academic visit. There were several good Arab restaurants near to the conference, which I took advantage of - stocked up with enough Turkish coffee for a month or two as well, so should stay awake while blogging late at night.

Saturday, 4 July 2009


The BRISMES annual conference 2009 is in progress. Details: ‘Frontiers: Space, Separation and Contact in the Middle East', University of Manchester.

Conspiracy theories: 7/7

Daily Mail,Conspiracy fever: As rumours swell that the government staged 7/7, victims' relatives call for a proper inquiry, 3 Jul 09 "Mr Naseem, a well-educated man, had made 2,000 copies of Ripple Effect for members of his mosque. Research has revealed that even before the contentious video came out, one in four British Muslims thought the Government or the Secret Services were responsible for the 7/7 atrocities. Now the number of doubters is growing."

The video is available on DVD and online (such as here at Google Video)

Monday, 29 June 2009

Birmingham 'convert'

Sunday Mercury, Row after Islam cleric converts schoolboy on Birmingham street, 26 Jun 09 "The incident was filmed during a demonstration by Choudary’s Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah group in Birmingham city centre earlier this month." Plenty of coverage on this elsewhere.

Civitas report

PA/Guardian, 85 sharia courts in UK, says report, 29 Jun 09 "There are as many as 85 sharia courts operating in Britain, according to a new report.

"Academic Denis MacEoin, the report's author, said the existence of the courts practising Islamic law could lead to different legal standards being applied to Muslim and non-Muslim citizens."

Report details: Denis MacEoin, Sharia Law or One Law For All (Civitas, 2009). There is a charge for this think-tank report (haven't read it yet).

Friday, 26 June 2009



"Radical Middle Way is launching ikhutbah this Friday, 26th @ 12:00 GMT:

"The term khutbah is given to the Friday sermon delivered within mosques before Friday Juma’a prayers. The Khutbah plays a central role in the weekly congregational prayer, providing Muslims with a time for reflection and focus, guidance and spiritual sustenance; as instated by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

"We have captured many of our world-renowned scholars and luminaries to impart their advice, inspiration and guidance in each ikhutbah video. With this unique facility, you can now immerse yourself in these inspirational bite-size talks each week, at the touch of a button.It'll be in a language that you understand and deal with issues that don't really get addressed in many khutbahs these days. Plus, they'll be short (under 10 mins), to the point, inspirational, though provoking and direct.

"Visit Friday, 26 June at 12:00GMT to watch."

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

German census

Monsters & Critics, Germany discovers it has more Muslims than suspected, 23 Jun 09

"The survey report, released in Berlin by the Interior Ministry, calculated that about 4 million people in the country were Muslim, well up from the past estimates of 3.1 to 3.4 million based on immigration data. Germany's overall population is around 80 million."


Inayat Bunglawala, Guardian, Protect our mosques from the far right, 22 Jun 09 "The arson attack on Greenwich Islamic Centre just after midnight last Tuesday which caused about £10,000 of damage could have been much worse had it not been for the bravery of the mosque's caretaker, Mohammed Koheeli."

Burkha discussion

Saira Khan, Daily Mail, Why I, as a British Muslim woman, want the burkha banned from our streets, 24 Jun 09 opinion piece

Monday, 22 June 2009

Muslims Making Britain Conference

Muslims Making Britain

"A one-day workshop jointly run by the AHRC-funded research projects Making Britain and Framing Muslims

14 July 2009
SOAS, University of London

Speakers include:
Humayun Ansari, Katherine Butler Brown, Aamer Hussein, Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Salman Sayyid, Sara Wajid, Amina Yaqin"

Friday, 12 June 2009

Shahid Malik

Telegraph, MPs' expenses: inside the Shahid Malik report, 12 Jun 09, "Throughout much of the past month, the investigation into Shahid Malik has grappled with the minister's unorthodox housing arrangements." Discusses the Mawer Report and ongoing considerations relating to Malik.

British Muslim Forum

Dewsbury Reporter, Leading Muslim leads calls for extremists to leave the UK, "The founder of the British Muslim Forum has said hate-filled Islamic extremists should leave the country.

"Senior Muslim scholar Sheiykh Allama Shahid Raza Naeemi OBE was speaking at an event to bring Kirklees communities together."

Also see British Muslim Forum

Girls' school controversy

Daily Mail, Classroom assistant at Muslim girls' school hounded out of her job by parents who did not believe she was a woman, 12 Jun 09 "The hate campaign is believed to have begun when photographs of Ms Patel with short hair and wearing a shirt and trousers were copied from internet site Facebook. These were then circulated by email."

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

MCB on 'Secret Evidence'

Muslim Council of Britain, MCB Welcomes Law Lords' Ruling Over the Use of Secret Evidence, 10 Jun 09

“The use of secret evidence in obtaining sanction for restriction on one’s liberty offends fundamental norms of civilized justice. However this offensive and immoral practice has been allowed to take root in our much-respected legal system on the basis that the security of the country demanded it. The highest court of our land has now ruled that this practice is unlawful and it must stop. We urge the government to accept without any reservation this powerful and well reasoned judgment of the House of Lords and ensure that the fundamental human right to fair trial is never compromised under any circumstances”, said Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain. "

Monday, 8 June 2009

'British Muslims — thriving against all odds'

Shabana Syed, Arab News, British Muslims — thriving against all odds, 8 Jun 09 "As the debate continues within the British government on how to win the hearts and minds of Muslims and why, according to them, Muslims have problems integrating, the facts on the ground point to a very different reality.

"According to recent estimates Muslim contribution to the British economy is over £31 billion and there are over 10,000 Muslim millionaires in the country.

"As the British media continue to misunderstand and misrepresent Islam, an interesting paradox appears to have emerged: Islam is the fastest growing faith in the United Kingdom and Muslims may now number as many as 2 million."

European Elections

AFP, BNP wins two seats in Europe, 8 Jun 09

"[BNP chair Nick] Griffin told Sky News television: "This is a Christian country and Islam is not welcome, because Islam and Christianity, Islam and democracy, Islam and women's rights do not mix.""

'Imam bridges a wedding divide'

Oxford Times, Imam bridges a wedding divide, 6 Jun 09 "Dr Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said he had performed about 36 marriages in the past two years between Muslim women and non-Muslim men."

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Tories set to create boom in Islamic schools

Yorkshire Post, Tories set to create boom in Islamic schools, 1 Jun 09 "The Conservatives want to make it easier for parents, charities and trusts to set up their own new schools to meet the needs of local communities."

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Greater Manchester Muslim-Jewish Forum

Asian News, Muslims and Jews pay respect at Auschwitz, 28 May 09 "Six members of the Greater Manchester Muslim Jewish Forum took a trip out to Poland and Auschwitz to discover more about Jewish history."

Abu Hamza

The Sun, Hamza sons face jail for car scam, 28 May 09 Luxury car scam

Dudley Mosque, £1.5m mosque may be backed, 27 May 09 "Owners of the Ghausia Mosque, Lye, may get permission to demolish their High Street building and replace it with a modern equivalent. They also want to build a new community hall. The existing mosque, hosting prayer meetings for up to 200, faces away from the High Street.

"Owners want permission to turn it around so the entrance faces the High Street. Dudley Council planning officers recommend the plan is approved on June 1."


Guardian, EastEnders: Muslim character to have gay love affair, 28 May 09

"The BBC consulted Dr Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip, associate professor and reader in the school of sociology and social policy at the University of Nottingham, who has led research into the area, and Adnan Ali, head of Al-Fatiha, an international organisation for gay Muslims."

I haven't watched EastEnders' for years, so have no idea what is going on, but expect some controversy on this in the coming weeks ...

EU-MIDIS, Data in Focus Report 2: Muslims, Muslims In Europe Face Substantial Discrimination, Especially At Work "In a survey of Muslims in 14 EU member states, the Agency for Fundamental Rights said one in three Muslims had faced discrimination, and 11 percent of those questioned said they had experienced a racially motivated crime."

Report details: EU-MIDIS, Data in Focus Report 2: Muslims

PDF Report: EU-MIDIS, Data in Focus Report 2: Muslims

This is a timely and interesting report.


Daily Star, Success of Bangladeshis in UK encouraging, 28 May 09 "Members of British delegation yesterday said the success of Bangladeshi origin community in the UK is much encouraging, especially the new generation have been playing a laudable role in a big way in the British society."

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

‘Two Plays for Gaza’

Saudi Gazette, Legendary London theater hosts ‘Two Plays for Gaza’ Review/background


Times Online, Trouble flares as Luton residents protest over Muslim extremists, 25 May 09 "Yesterday there were about 500 protesters, some carrying banners with slogans such as “No Sharia Law in the UK” and “Respect our Troops”. Several cars were damaged after a small group split off from the march. An Asian-owned business had its windows smashed. In Stuart Street in the town centre, police drew batons. Mounted police and officers in riot gear were used to try to control the mob and stones were thrown."

Thursday, 21 May 2009

'Manchester College of Professional Studies'

Times Online, Former pub became the centre of a web of bogus colleges, 21 May 09 "The Times has evidence that in 15 months from October 2006 they enrolled 1,143 foreign students, most Pakistanis, and sold bogus college qualifications to enable another 654 to extend their stay in the UK." Fascinating, extensive article about bogus educational institutions, focusing on the Pakistan market.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Geograph Mosque Search

I was reading Victor Keegan's article 'A short stroll around my hyperlocal' in the Guardian yesterday, and it got me thinking about Geograph.

You might recall that I was using Street Map recently to chart various mosques in the UK - a project that is still ongoing. Of course, another way of looking at mosques is via Geograph. I've looked at this before, but never in this context. A quick search came up with 199 images. Obviously I haven't looked at them all, but there are some fine photos on the site. It would make for a useful teaching resource, if used appropriately (don't get me started about online resources).

Here's my search results. If your local mosque is not there, why not add it. I hope that Geograph gets properly archived!

I also posted this in Virtually Islamic

Lincoln, Mosque misunderstanding sparks Facebook protest, May 14 2009, "Abdul Salam, spokesman for the Muslim Community in the Lichfield District, said people had misunderstood his calls for somewhere to pray, and said he was disappointed at the racist comments the idea had provoked.

"He insisted this week, that Muslims did not want to build a mosque next door to Lichfield Cathedral, but merely want somewhere they can go to pray."

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Planned attacks

Telegraph, Al-Qaeda suspects 'plotted attack on Britain' from behind bars, 12 May 09 "During wiretapped conversations the men discussed an attack on Charles De Gaulle airport outside Paris and spoke of the need to "strike at the British", Italian police said ...

" ... Police said the pair had for years lived in Belgium, where Bassam was an imam at an extremist Islamic centre and one of al-Qaeda's "spiritual guides", while Gendron, a computer expert, was the "media propaganda point man, via the internet, for the French-speaking community.""

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

BBC Religion

Telegraph, Controversial Muslim programme-maker to be head of BBC religion, 11 May 09 "Aaqil Ahmed will move to the corporation from Channel Four, where he upset Roman Catholic priests by commissioning documentaries that appeared to contain a pro-Islam bias."

Interesting appointment. Ahmed was also responsible for the Qur'an documentary, and the Christianity, A History series.

New book

Jon Cole and Benjamin Cole, Martyrdom: Radicalisation and Terrorist Violence among British Muslims (Pennant Books, 2009) Just seen details of this, but haven't got hold of a copy. I'd be interested in seeing any review. Interesting choice of publisher.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Dentist dresscode case

Daily Mail, Muslim dentist 'refused to treat female patients unless they wore Islamic dress', 8 May 09 "A Muslim dentist refused to treat patients unless they wore traditional Islamic dress, it was alleged today."

Survey: The Gallup Coexist Index 2009

Ruth Gledhill, Faith Central, Times Online, British Muslims have more faith in UK than Britons, study finds, 8 May 09 "The results of the survey, which showed that 77 per cent of British Muslims were loyal to Britain compared with 36 per cent of the general public, challenge a perception that the community is less patriotic than the country at large. It also recorded that the community had more confidence in British courts, elections, financial bodies and the media than the general public. The survey showed that more than eight out of ten thought that their fellow British Muslims were loyal to the country, but only 36 per cent of the general public did."

Here's the link to the PDF [Gallup Coexist Index 2009], which, needless to say, I haven't read yet. I think it would be a useful document to look at in due course, especially as I'm putting my sections of my Islam & Britian book together.

Also see The Coexist Foundation

Inevitably, the information can be interpreted in different ways:

Daily Mail, Just one in 10 British Muslims feel integrated into society, study claims, 8 May 09 "Dalia Mogahed of the Gallup Centre for Muslim Studies said: 'This shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration couldn't be more wide of the mark. British Muslims want to be part of the wider community and to contribute to society.

"'However in many cases it is a harsh economic reality that holds them back and stops them from realising their full potential.'"

Stop and Search stopped?

Mail Online, Officers stripped of stop and search terror powers over fears of angering Muslims, 8 May 09 "Scotland Yard is scaling down its use of controversial powers which allow officers to stop and search people without reasonable grounds for suspicion.

"Stung by criticism that the practice has alienated ethnic minorities, the Metropolitan Police is changing its policy on when Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 can be employed."

Anjem Choudary

Daily Star, Rant Preacher Opens Jihad Summer School, 7 May 09 "RANTING preacher Anjem Choudary is planning to peddle his hate to teenagers at a “jihad” summer school.

"The vile extremist has appointed himself principal lecturer of a 20-week course in his twisted version of Islam." Their emphasis. MCB also comment.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

UK and South Asian Islam

Economist, A single space, 30 Apr 09 "Not just for security types and sociologists, but also for theologians, Britain and its ex-dominions in South Asia are virtually a single entity. Schools of Islam that emerged in India as a reaction to the British raj are now vying for influence in the north of England. The passions generated by the Bangladeshi variety of Islamism are as lively in London as they are in Dhaka. Anybody who hopes for stability and social peace in the Muslim parts of South Asia has to keep an eye on the Islamic scene in Britain. The reverse also applies. The flow of South Asian imams to Britain has recently slowed, but in an internet age there are other ways for ideas to travel."

Banned from Entry to UK

Daily Mail, Named and shamed: Talk show host, Neo-Nazis and Muslim preachers of hate among list of 16 banned from Britain, 5 May 09 "Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she decided to make public the names of 16 people banned since October so others could better understand what sort of behaviour Britain was not prepared to tolerate."

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Iqra Bookshop allegations

Times Online, Iqra: the backstreet bookshop that taught frontline war, 29 Apr 09 "Every room breathed the Salafi jihadist creed. It was shouted by the radical websites, argued in the literature and proclaimed in the store’s collection of graphic videos and DVDs. That it was every Muslim’s duty to wage jihad was as unquestionable as the certainty that martyrdom was an honour to be sought. The group dynamic, the hiking and climbing trips, potholing and white-water rafting, tightened the bonds."

Derby: Muslim leaders say city is winning battle against extremism

This is Derbyshire, Muslim leaders say city is winning battle against extremism, 24 Apr 09

"Under the Derby City Council-run Channel Project, people like teachers, social workers or housing officers identify impressionable people they think may be at risk of radicalisation.

"This could mean, for example, that youngsters have shown an interest in extremist material on the internet or in books.

"After the person has been identified, a panel of different agencies, including members of the Muslim community and the police, create a tailored "programme of intervention"."

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Monday, 27 April 2009

Shah 'Abbas: The Remaking of Iran

Attended Shah 'Abbas: The Remaking of Iran at the British Museum during the weekend. Not really my academic area, but it was a comprehensive and well thought out exhibition, making good use of the old Reading Room (which I still miss!). I had expected a more critical reading of Shah 'Abbas in places. The audio commentary used Omid Djalili as narrator - I kept waiting for the punchline. I thought the exhibition was somewhat expensive - £12 (tickets for unemployed are £10); the obligatory shop at the end was also exorbitant (no surprises there!) - it was amazing what people would buy, way beyond the Shah 'Abbas t-shirt and mug. Softcover catalogues were £25 ... I ended up with a postcard. There are some related videos here. You can also explore some of the exhibits here. Exhibition runs to 14 June.


Mustafa Haji Abdinur, AFP/, Foreign jihadists heed call for holy war in lawless Somalia, 13 Apr 09

"Abu Muslim, who prefers not to reveal his real name, said he was inspired to quit his university course and job at a bakery in England after browsing the Internet to learn about the so-called U.S.-led "war on terror."

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


BBC News, Scam Healers prey on vulnerable, 20 Apr 09 "Police are warning about a scam involving bogus spiritual healers who are conning thousands of pounds out of vulnerable people.

"Posing as holy men, they prey on Britain's religious Asian community and those facing hardship or health trouble, and falsely promise to solve their problems in return for large sums of money."

This is a long term issue, so it's finally interesting that it is acquring some media attention

Monday, 20 April 2009

Conference: Britain & the Muslim World - edited highlights

Just back from the University of Exeter conference 'Britain & the Muslim World'. Something of a packed programme. I heard several useful papers, primarily from an historical perspective (check the link for details). Here are some edited highlights:

The conference included a screening of Sufi Soul, which is now on DVD (could do with a soundtrack CD).

There was a paper by Gerard Wiegers on Syed Mutawalli ad-Darsh's 'fatwas' from Q-News, some of which can be found online. It was somewhat nostalgic to think of those columns and their impact again.

Sophie Gilliat-Ray talked about her research on ulama in the UK, which links into her forthcoming book - there were also some good photos, I think some of them will turn up in the book.

Paul Auchterlonie updated on the DigiIslam project and related activities in HE. Read the report, if you haven't already.

Humayun Ansari gave a useful overview on 'Rethinking 'Orientalism'. I heard a number of papers on travellers and critical historical events, notably Nabil Matar's paper on Abu Mahilli and John Harrison.

There was a interesting paper and photos on 'Liberating Muslim Women', by Nadje Al-Ali (linked to her (and Nicola Pratt's) book What Kind of Liberation? : Women and the Occupation of Iraq).

There was a detailed paper focused on east London Muslims ('Faith, Class, Identity') by Rehana Ahmed - this is based on the OU/Oxford/Kings AHRC project Making Britain, which included important archive material.

Also a paper on 'Muslims in the media ghetto' by Amina Yaqin, which provided a welcome critical perspective on some of the BBC's output on Radio 4 (need to hear the programmes again now).

Inevitably at times there were several parallel sessions - which meant I missed a lot of potentially good material, even when running between sessions - but it was interesting to see the ways in which the emphasis was on diverse academic approaches to the study of Islam and Muslims in the UK and elsewhere.

RMW event

Radical Middle Way, Spittin' Light, Healing the Hood: Muslim Voices for Urban Renewal - UK Tour

Friday, 17 April 2009

Googling Islam

Just picked this up: The Register, Whitehall to train pro-West Islamic groups to game Google, 9 April 09 "The Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a 200-strong Home Office unit created 18 months ago, has said in meetings it wants to "flood the internet" with "positive" interpretations of Islam. It plans to train government-approved groups in search engine optimisation techniques, which it's hoped will boost their profile online and battle radicalisation."

Obtained from Christine Benlafquih,, UK to Offer SEO Training for Moderate Islamic Groups, 12 Apr 09 "'m curious to see which groups sign on to this SEO training. Moderate Islamic groups alrready speak out against terrorism and extremism, and those with a web presence find their real competiton comes from anti-Islam sites, not extremist points of view. The UK is likely already aware of this. Makes you wonder if by offering SEO training,. the government isn't hoping to be in a position to make editorial suggestions as well. High Google ranking, reputable Islamic group, and controlled content – what more could they hope for in their online fight against extremism?"

Student Arrests

Newsmax, Arrest of Pakistani Students in Britain Angers Families, 17 Apr 09 "The arrests have sparked outrage in Pakistan, where government officials have issued a formal complaint against British law enforcement for refusing to reveal the suspects’ identities or grant Pakistani diplomats consular access to the men. Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, accused British officials not of leaking details of the allegations against the men, but of failing to hand over the evidence against them, according to a report in the Daily Mail."

Plenty of coverage in the media of this.

Pakistan & Britain

The Economist, The immigration superhighway, 16 Apr 09 "One reason why shop signs on the streets of Bradford are still written in Urdu, half a century after the first Pakistanis came to Britain, is that population flows between the two countries remain large (see chart). Each year 250,000 Pakistanis come to Britain to visit, work or marry, and some 350,000 British citizens journey in the opposite direction, mainly to visit family. Links are reinforced by ingrained marriage customs: six of ten ethnic Pakistanis in Britain pick a spouse from Pakistan."

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Taj Hargey

Independent, The imam who took on the 'Muslim McCarthyists', 9 Apr 09 "Taj Hargey was in an ebullient mood as he drank a cup of steaming hot chocolate in a coffee shop opposite the High Court yesterday morning. "Today is a great day for British Islam," he declared triumphantly. "Liberal, progressive Muslims have finally won a battle against the extremists that dominate the Muslim establishment in Britain.""

Monday, 6 April 2009

Interview: Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

Zahed Amanullah, altmuslim, “Life is on hold until you get married” "British blogger Shelina Zahra Janmohamed wants to tell you a story. Preferably with a cup of coffee – cappuccino, no sugar – and an open mind. In the years since she got married, she spilled her thoughts on Muslim issues and life in Britain into her blog Spirit 21, eventually winning a Brass Crescent Award for Best Blog in 2007, as voted on by readers. Encouraged by the reception she received by this and in the Muslim press, she looked back on her often tumultuous path to marriage and consolidated her thoughts into her first book, Love in a Headscarf, published in March by Aurum Press. In it, she discusses her thoughts on the disparities between how Muslim men and women are treated during the marriage process, a process that has become infinitely complicated by the diasporadic modern Muslim world. Taking her up on her offer (outlined in the prologue to her book), I sat down with her in a West London coffee shop near her home to find out more about her thoughts on the state of Muslim marriage and gender relations in today's society."

Spirit21 is recommended. I plan to read the book in due course.