Thursday, 23 December 2010

Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly

Andrew Brown, Foreign Policy, Sweden's Problem Isn't Immigrants, It's the Internet, 22 Dec 2010 "From the initial evidence, it seems most likely that he was really radicalized neither in Sweden nor in Britain, but in the place where we all nowadays live -- online. Most of what we know about Abdulwahab comes from his online life: a dating site where the suicide bomber advertised for a second wife, with the permission of his first, and his Facebook profile, where he liked both "the Islamic Caliphate" and his "Apple iPad." He posted videos of Iraqi prisoners being harassed by U.S. soldiers and sermons from radical clerics."

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Arrests 'foiled significant terror plot'

The Press Association: Arrests 'foiled significant terror plot', 21 Dec 2010: "The 12 suspects, aged between 17 and 28 and at least five of Bangladeshi origin, were held during early morning raids by unarmed officers in London, Cardiff, Stoke and Birmingham on Monday. It is understood the men, a mixture of foreign nationals and some who were born in Britain, were under surveillance for months. Lord Carlile said: 'The briefing I have had shows there to be allegations of a significant plot in the cities mentioned.'"

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The search for Muslim identity

Qanta Ahmed, Comment is free, The Guardian, Face to faith: The search for Muslim identity, 11 Dec 2010 "[But] as a diaspora Muslim I feel I must belong to the real societies around me, even if I find that by doing so I am aligned with Israelis, Americans and Jews, groups increasingly repugnant to the mainstream Muslim Ummah. I am aligned with them as a physician, and as a Muslim, because we treasure the sanctity of life. The fabric of society is more important to me than any fabric of my clothing. As Muslims, that is our only authentic identity: one where we are human beings first, people of the book second."

Terry Jones

Channel4 News, Koran-burning pastor: why I want to come to Britain, 12 Dec 2010

Monday, 6 December 2010

'How to get better Muslim preachers'

Tehmina Kazi, Comment is free, Guardian., How to get better Muslim preachers, 6 Dec 2010 discusses Facebook, Young Imam, Malaysia, and much more. "The scarcity of universal qualifications for Muslim religious leaders is part of the problem."

Telegraph, Islamic website tied to MP's stabbing resurfaces under new name, 5 Dec 2010: "Younus Abdullah Muhammad, a founder of both sites, told The Daily Telegraph that was the direct successor to which was closed amid the furore over its role in the attack on Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham."

Friday, 3 December 2010

book: 'Young British Muslims'

Just received Young British Muslims, Identity, Culture, Politics and the Media
by Nahid A Kabir (EUP)
, which I plan to review for these pages in due course.

'Report on Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime'

Robert Lambert's and Jonathan Githens-Mazer's previously announced Report on Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime is now available. Here's the press release from the European Muslim Research Centre (the full release also has a related al-Jazeera clip):

"The report 'Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: UK Case Studies' is published by the European Muslim Research Centre at the University of Exeter and The Cordoba Foundation, and is sponsored by the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies."

"Download a copy of the the report 'Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime' (PDF: 4MB)"

There's substantial comment on this report online, from a range of perspectives, including in today's Telegraph blog by Andrew Gilligan. Being wrapped up in WikiLeaks at the moment, I've yet to read the report - it's on my ever-expanding reading list.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

'The civil war among Muslims in Britain'

opinion piece: Michael Mumisa | Independent Editor's choice Blogs, Independent blogs, The civil war among Muslims in Britain, 1 Dec 2010: "Not wanting to be accused of promoting extremist ideas, soon after the 7/7 bombings most Sunni Mosque committees across the UK imposed a total ban on political discussions in the Mosques. This means that young Muslims are now without an open and safe platform where they can express their political views and have such views examined or challenged by others. They have instead retreated into their bedrooms to search for answers on extremist internet forums."

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Anjem Choudary

Telegraph, Radical Muslims given Channel 4 slot, 29 Nov 2010: "A radical Muslim who led the banned group al-Muhajiroun is to be handed his own programme on Channel 4 amid claims that Islamists have been allowed to monopolise the broadcaster's coverage."

Poppy protest

Merissa Richards, Voice Online :: Is this masked muslim man a well known London boxer?, 29 Nov 2010 "BOXER Anthony Small has refused to deny claims that he was among a group of Muslims who caused public outrage by setting fire to a wreath of poppies on Remembrance Day."

Monday, 29 November 2010

Perspectives: teaching Islamic Studies in higher education - issue 1

Perspectives: teaching Islamic Studies in higher education - issue 1 "This is the first issue of the Islamic Studies Network’s biannual magazine, 'Perspectives'. It is a forum for those involved in teaching Islamic Studies and related subjects in higher education to share practice and resources."

Friday, 26 November 2010

Omar Bakri Muhammad

Daily Star (Lebanon), Omar Bakri released on LL5 million bail, 25 Nov 2010 "During the retrial attended by Sahly, Bakri categorically denied charges of belonging to Al-Qaeda, Fatah al-Islam group or any other fundamentalist or Salafi organization, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Bakri denied reports claiming that he was a spiritual guide of a fundamentalist group."

Opinion piece on education

Ed West, Telegraph blogs, Don't blame Muslim schools for Britain's social problems, 23 Nov 2010 (+ usual informed range of comments) "Compare these schools to some of Britain’s highly brilliant Muslim schools, such as Blackburn’s Tauheedul Islam Girls High School, an astonishing success story that takes girls from some of the poorest wards in the country and gets them to outperform the most privileged.

"The reason for their success is probably that, unlike many local secular comprehensives, they are not highly expensive and inefficient child-minding services for instructing delinquent adolescents about equality and diversity, but traditional educational establishments with an old-fashioned monotheistic ethos that value the three Rs. In other words, what used to be called “British values”."

"Girl arrested for allegedly burning Qur'an"

Guardian, Girl arrested for allegedly burning Qur'an, 25 Nov 2010 "A 15-year-old girl has been arrested in the West Midlands on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after allegedly burning an English-language version of the Qur'an – and then posting video footage of the act on Facebook."

'The Taliban troop with an east London cab driver in its ranks'

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian, The Taliban troop with an east London cab driver in its ranks, 24 Nov 2010 "Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Afghanistan meets a growing community of part-time expat jihadists." Part 1 of Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's excellent series.

Also see Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian, Five days inside a Taliban jail, 25 Nov 2010

"Special report: Guardian reporter Ghaith Abdul-Ahad was with a group of Taliban last month when US and Afghan forces attacked. In the second of a three-part series, he tells how, after the assault, he ended up being imprisoned by the fighters he had come to interview."

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Announcement: 'Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes: UK Case Studies"

A new report is being launched by the European Muslim Research Centre and Exeter University:

Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes: UK Case Studies.

"This is part of a 10 year Europe-wide research programme, headed by Dr Robert Lambert and Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer.

"The main launch is this Saturday, 27 Nov, at the London Muslim Centre from 11am-1pm. Professor John Esposito, Dr Chris Allen, Peter Oborne, amongst others will be speaking too. Further details:
EMRC Report Launch: Islamophobia and Anti- Muslim Hate Crimes

"There will be launches in other cities also, including Birmingham on 28 November at 1:30pm and Glasgow on 10 December at 6:30pm. Details below:



CordobaSeminar on Contextualising Islamophobia Today by Dr Chris Allen his new book launch: Islamophobia, 29 November 2010, 6:15pm, North London Central Mosque, Finsbury Park. Details:

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Control order plea

Telegraph, Control order plea to stop son joining al-Qaeda - 24 Nov 2010 "Awais Arshad, whose brother Umar, absconded from a control order, said police should have acted more quickly to stop him leaving the country."

Monday, 22 November 2010

Counter-terrorism regionial head on 'militancy'

Stefano Ambrogi, Reuters, Far right marches "drive muslims to militancy", 19 Oct 2010

"Demonstrations by far right groups like the English Defence League (EDL) act like recruiting sergeants for Islamic militants across Britain, the head of a regional counter terrorism unit said on Friday."

BBC Panorama: 'British Schools, Islamic Rules'

BBC News, Saudi school lessons in UK concern government, 22 Nov 2010

"The government says it will not tolerate anti-Semitic and homophobic lessons being taught to Muslim children in the UK.

"BBC Panorama found that more than 40 Saudi Students' Schools and Clubs are teaching the official Saudi national curriculum to about 5,000 pupils."

Panorama: British Schools, Islamic Rules, BBC One, Monday, 22 November at 2030GMT also to be on iPlayer after broadcast

Friday, 19 November 2010


Martin Bright, Jewish Chronicle, Searchlight takes on the Islamic extremists, 18 Nov 2010: "The anti-fascist publication Searchlight, which was behind the "Hope Not Hate" campaign to stop the British National Party in east London, is to expand its operations to oppose the Islamophobic English Defence League and Islamic extremism itself."

Politics and Religion Journal

Politics and Religion Journal has a new issue, which contains a couple of articles of interest to readers of this blog:

Chris Allen, 'Fear And Loathing: The Political Discourse In Relation To Muslims And Islam In The British Contemporary Setting'

Laura Toms, 'Blasphemy And The Negotiation Of Religious Pluralism In Britain'

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

East End meeting cancelled

East London Advertiser, Controversial East End meeting called off, 16 Nov 2010: "The International Islamic Revival Conference was due to be held at Collingwood Hall in Collingwood Street, Bethnal Green.

"Advertised speakers included Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad who has just been arrested in Lebanon after being found guilty in his absence by a court there of incitement to murder, possession of arms and explosives and theft."

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

'Fees hike will restrict access' - op. ed.

Nabil Ahmed, Times Higher Education, Fees hike will restrict access, 14 Nov 2010 "A toxic part of the problem is the proposal to charge a market rate of interest on student debts – up to 3 per cent plus inflation. Debts will inflate year on year, and again those who will suffer most are the students from poorer backgrounds. It will particularly affect Muslim students as they have a religious aversion to interest – Islam teaches that market rates of interest are a fundamentally unethical way of dealing with debt."

Monday, 15 November 2010

Omar Bakri Muhammad

Jerusalem Post, Analysis: Al-Qaida ideologue’s arrest blow to ME jihadis, 15 Nov 2010: "The arrest on Sunday of al-Qaida ideologue Omar Bakri Muhammad by Lebanese security forces in Tripoli is a blow to the al-Qaida network in the Middle East."

New and Noted: Tariq Modood, 'Still Not Easy Being British'

Still Not Easy Being British: struggles for a multicultural citizenship

Recently published, by Trentham Books: Tariq Modood, Still Not Easy Being British: struggles for a multicultural citizenship "The late 1980s and early 1990s saw dramatic shifts in race relations in Britain. It was the time of the fracturing of a political ‘black’ identity; of ethnic minority assertions to be British and about remaking what it is to be British; of the manifestation of the social mobility of Indians and, above all, the emergence of Muslim identity politics in the Rushdie Affair. These issues were the subject of Tariq Modood’s Not Easy Being British. One of the first books to note these developments and analyse their implications, Not Easy became an underground classic.

"In this new collection, Modood returns to some of these topics, considering especially the growth of Muslim political assertiveness and the reactions to it in the context of rethinking multiculturalism and Britishness. Modood’s reflections and bold interventions in controversies - which characterise his work and have made him a renowned intellectual commentator on Muslim politics and multiculturalism - could not be more relevant to our fraught and fearful times."

I haven't seen this one yet, which came out in September, but I'm familiar with Modood's 'Not Easy Being British'.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

"We Are A Muslim, Please" - new book

Reuters, Book Talk: UK Muslim author seeks roots of militancy, 11 Nov 2010"The prominence of Britain's Muslim minority in the nation's debate about security and social cohesion provides the backdrop to journalist Zaiba Malik's memoir of growing up a British Muslim of Pakistani descent."

I haven't seen this one yet, so will have to add it to my list. It's published by Random House, and details are here


Richard Garner, The Independent, Muslim school helps out secular neighbour, 11 Nov 2010 "It is the first time that a Muslim school has been asked to perform a rescue act on a non-faith state school, but the experiment is already paying dividends."

Armistice Day

Tariq Tahir, Metro, Armistice Day: Muslims contribution 'must not be forgotten', 10 Nov 2010: "We need to remind not only the Muslim community but also the general public that the Muslim contribution to the defence of this nation runs deep,’ said secretary general Farooq Murad of the Muslim Council of Britain."

Also see MCB, Remembering the Brave [links to PDF report]

Poppy-burning demo

Daily Mail, Remembrance Day: Poppy-burning Muslim protesters mar Armistice Day, 11 Nov 2010: "The protest, in Exhibition Road, near Hyde Park, involved about 50 people while about another 50 counter-demonstrators had to be kept apart from the group by a line of police."

Extensive coverage/photos.

Islam Channel Censored, Britain's Islam Channel Censored After Condoning Marital Rape, Violence Toward Women, 9 Nov 2010 "The U.K.'s T.V. watchdog, Ofcom, ruled the Islam Channel breached the broadcasting code in five different programs between May 2008 and October 2009."

Also see Daily Mail, Britain's Islam Channel rapped for advocating marital rape and calling women prostitutes, 9 Nov 2010 "A discussion programme in April 2009 on sexual relations within marriage was found to have breached guidelines, as was a programme in October 2009 in which it was said women who wore perfume outside the home could be declared 'a prostitute'."

Tower Hamlets

Dave Hill, Guardian, Britain's first Muslim executive mayor vows to 'reach out to every community', 11 Nov 2010 "Lutfur Rahman, the former Labour leader of Tower Hamlets council who won the borough's mayoral election as an independent, remains out of favour with many former party colleagues."

Universities in the UK op-ed

Nabil Ahmed – President of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS),, Universities in the UK: Muslims Need Not Apply, 11 Nov 2010 "With over 100,000 Muslim students in the UK now in higher education one would imagine that the future of Muslims in the UK, academically at least, would be extremely positive. Over the years the numbers of Muslim students attending university has rapidly progressed from a time when it was simply international students to a point now where the majority of Muslim students are British born and emerging as leaders of our communities. The importance of British Muslims who are able and willing to go to University cannot be understated."

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Internet matchmaking

Jawd Mohamed,, UK Muslims prefer internet matchmaking, 10 Nov 2010 "A considerable portion of Muslim men and women in Britain resort to a popular matchmaking website to look for spouses amid debates over the validity of internet marriages"


The Register, Counter-terror review to consider net jihadis, 9 Nov 2010 "The government has today launched a review of its controversial "Prevent" counter-terrorism strategy, which includes measures to tackle extremist material online."

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Abu Hamza al-Masri

VOA, Radical British Imam Wins Citizenship Appeal, 5 Nov 2010 "A controversial Islamic cleric in Britain has won an appeal against the government's attempt to strip him of his British passport. The decision creates further obstacles for U.S. authorities who want to extradite the cleric on terrorist charges. "

Thursday, 4 November 2010

“Multiculturalism in a Globalised Society: European Muslims, Identity and Citizenship” : Euro-Islam: News and Analysis on Islam in Europe and North America

Euro-Islam, Call for Papers: “Multiculturalism in a Globalised Society: European Muslims, Identity and Citizenship” : deadlines for papers have passed, but the conference looks interesting.

Roshonara Choudhry

The Guardian, Roshonara Choudhry: I wanted to die … I wanted to be a martyr, 4 Nov 2010 transcript, with an indication of the role of al-Awlaki's sermons on Choudhry's stabbing of Stephen Timms. The transcript also refers to RevolutionMuslim.

"She began listening to his sermons in November 2009, and finished the last in the first week of May, days before she carried out the attack. "I downloaded the full set of Anwar al-Awlaki's lectures," Choudhry told police, saying that she listened to more than 100 hours of them."

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Net 'radicalization'

Telegraph, Stephen Timms stabbing: how internet sermons turned quiet student into fanatic, 2 Nov 2010 "But what makes Choudhry’s crime all the more disturbing is her transformation over a period of just six months from a moderate Muslim enjoying her English degree studies into a fully-fledged al-Qaeda operative, as a result of simply sitting in front of her computer and listening to the sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, readily available on YouTube."

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Emir of Qatar's state visit

BBC News - Emir of Qatar begins state visit in Windsor, 26 Oct 2010 "Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani will be met by the British monarch and Duke of Edinburgh ahead of a horse-drawn carriage procession to Windsor Castle."

Tony Blair's sister-in-law converts to Islam

The Independent, Tony Blair's sister-in-law converts to Islam, 25 Oct 2010: "Tony Blair's sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, has become the latest in a long line of Western Islamic converts. From Chris Eubank to Jermaine Jackson to Alexander Litvinenko, she joins an eclectic list, yet she is markedly different from most of its names, for one key reason – she is female." Booth is a presenter on PressTV.

CCTV Birmingham 'to be dismantled'

The Guardian, CCTV aimed at Muslim areas in Birmingham to be dismantled, 26 Oct 2010 "More than 200 cameras targeted at Muslim suburbs of Birmingham as part of a secret counter-terrorism initiative are to be dismantled, it emerged today."

Friday, 22 October 2010

Taliban: 'Britain is our greatest source of funding'

Telegraph, Taliban: 'Britain is our greatest source of funding' 21 Oct 2010 "“We are not like a government, we depend on individuals,” a Taliban commander told Sky News. “We get donations from our Muslim brothers in Britain for jihad and they help us. It is the duty of all Muslims to pay towards fighting a jihad. And this is how we get our money and buy our weapons and carry on fighting.”"

Opinion on 'How Fair is Britain?'

Nadine el-Hadi, UK Human Rights Commission: British Muslims underpaid, underqualified and underemployed, 22 Oct 2010, "The report does not offer explanation or analysis of the thousands of statistics it presents, and instead leaves the reader to wonder why some groups are excelling where others aren’t. A lot of Muslim communities live in more deprived urban areas which means that socio-economic factors are at play. However, they have also been the victims of negative stereotyping and prejudice since the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States. The situation begs the question as to whether there is a link between this type of social disadvantage and Islamophobia."

Discusses the report 'How Fair is Britain?' and 'Islamophobia' [blogged here last week]

Tower Hamlets

Andrew Gilligan, Telegraph, Labour: London borough becomes 'Islamic republic', 22 Oct 2010 opinion piece

"For the last eight months – without complaint or challenge from Mr [Lutfur] Rahman – this blog and newspaper have laid out his close links with a group of powerful local businessmen and with a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) - which believes, in its own words, in transforming the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.” Mr Rahman has refused to deny these claims."

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Report: Women, Islam and Western Liberalism

Telegraph, Islamic face-veil part of 'British way of life' 16 Oct 2010 "In a new report, Women, Islam and Western Liberalism, Mrs [Alveena] Malik said: “We in Britain need to take a different direction from others in Europe and to accept the veil as part of a modern British way of life.”"

See Civitas, British tolerance means recognising freedom of religious expression, say Muslim women for more information, and links to purchase the report [cover, left].

I haven't read this report. I'll add it to my reading list!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Headley trial: UK links

Jason Burke, The Guardian, Two Britons linked to al-Qaida plans to attack Danish newspaper, 19 Oct 2010 "According to the documents, Kashmiri told Headley the two men in Derby – who were originally from Kotli, in north-east Pakistan – would help him. It transpired that one of the men had fallen out with Kashmiri, accusing the militant leader of allowing his son to steal funds for jihad, but he did agree to provide money for the mission; the other man "was available" for the attacks in Denmark, the documents reveal. These are based on 34 hours of interviews with Headley conducted by Indian investigators this summer."

Trial outcome, Man put on trial after collecting terrorist instruction manuals cleared, 19 Oct 2010 "Mr Yusuf, a Somalian Muslim, was arrested at his home in Higgs Close, Evington, Leicester, on May 28, 2008, during an investigation into his links with a militant group in Somalia.

"But, during his trial at the Old Bailey, he claimed that the material was to be used in legitimate self-defence by resistance forces back in his homeland against invading Ethiopian troops."

Monday, 18 October 2010

"Radicalisation on British University Campuses"

Quilliam Foundation, Radicalisation on British University Campuses: a case study, 18 Oct 2010 "Quilliam’s latest briefing paper, Radicalisation on British University Campuses: a case study, was published this morning and is now available for download here. The report uses the events at City University in London during the last academic year (Sept 09 – June 10) to show how a mainstream academic institution in the UK can become an incubator for extremist, intolerant and potentially violent forms of the political ideology of Islamism."

I haven't read this report yet, so cannot really comment on its contents. If you haven't come across the work of the foundation before, here's the wikipedia entry (usual wiki health warnings apply).

Nahid Afrose Kabir, "Young British Muslims: Identity, Culture, Politics and the Media"

Nahid Afrose Kabir, Young British Muslims: Identity, Culture, Politics and the Media, Edinburgh University Press, 2010

"In Britain's highly politicised social climate in the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings, Young British Muslims: Identity, Culture, Politics and the Media provides an in-depth understanding of British Muslim identity through the following social constructs: migration history, family settlement, socio-economic status, religion and culture, and the wider societal environment." 

I haven't seen this book yet, but plan to get hold of a copy.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Social services issues

Deutsche Welle, Social services still struggling to break through to UK Muslim youth, 13 Oct 2010: "Young British Muslims are still reluctant to get the help they need from mainstream counseling services for fear of being misunderstood, says the Muslim Youth Helpline, which helps young Muslims cope with their issues."

New Muslim Newspaper planned

Guardian, Middle East company to launch Muslim newspaper in UK, 11 Oct 2010: "The paper, which is backed by the Pakistani pay-TV operator ARY Digital and will be able to tap its network of reporters covering south Asia, is earmarked to launch early in the new year"

Shari'ah issues

The Economist, Sharia in the West: Whose law counts most?, 14 Oct 2010 "ANY Western politician, judge or religious leader desiring instant fame or a dose of controversy has an easy option. All you need do is say “sharia” in public."


Cambridge - al-Azhar course

Varsity Online, Cambridge University hosts training session for British Muslims, 14 Oct 2010 "Cambridge University collaborate with Egyptian students to offer training session to teach them about pastoral care, interfaith working and community leadership"

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Football: Zesh Rehman

Chris Arnot, Guardian, Footballer gives Asian youths a helping hand, 13 Oct 2010 "Rehman concedes that it may be some time before a player of Asian heritage pulls on an England shirt at Wembley stadium."  Useful article/profile.

Rehman also has a blog: Zesh Rehman's Blog which gives details of the activities of the Zesh Rehman Foundation

Interesting, even for non-football fans.

Rehman plays for Bradford City. Other teams are available.

UK Islamic Studies Network

Islamic Studies Newsletter - Issue 2, October 2010 "The second edition of the UK Islamic Studies Network online newsletter is available online. This newsletter, published every three months, highlights the work of the Islamic Studies Network and informs you of upcoming events and other activities."

Monday, 11 October 2010

'How fair is Britain?' report published

Randeep Ramesh, Guardian, 'How Fair is Britain' report shows that for UK, race is still the issue, 11 Oct 2010 "The commission's first three-year review, How Fair is Britain, shows that while some inequalities remain entrenched, new challenges are emerging as the country's population becomes older and more ethnically and religiously diverse.

"The study identifies "five great gateways" to opportunity – revolving around well-being, education, work, security and voice in society – where millions could benefit if barriers are lifted. These should become the basis to assess "fairness" in public policy, the commission says."

Further information: Equality and Human Rights Commission, How fair is Britain? includes download [in various sections, as PDF], summaries, video, etc.

I haven't read this yet (700 pages!).

Op-ed on 'extremist virus,

Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English), The Trans-Continental Extremist Virus 10 Oct 2010: "European countries, like Islamic governments, think that their temporary successes indicate that the crisis is being controlled, and that they have been victorious in battle. They believe that each time they seize a terrorist cell, be it active or sleeping, they have struck a blow to this potential danger. However, in fact this has been proven to the contrary. It has been proven that extremism is still active, and terrorism is alive and breathing."

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Telegraph Comment on Mohammed Abdul Aziz

Douglas Murray, Comment, Telegraph, Mohammed Abdul Aziz's advice on Islam has cost Britain quite enough, 8 Oct 2010 opinion piece "The Government may never summon the courage to tell the Islamists where to go, although the department said yesterday that Mr Aziz's role was being reviewed. But it could at least ensure that money is spent more wisely than this."

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Friday, 1 October 2010

Sayeeda Warsi

Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman, Blogs, Sayeeda Warsi says media is "anti-Islamic"...., 1 Oct 2010

"...and the Daily Express and Rod Liddle prove her point."

Lively piece, linking to this blog:

Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman, Exclusive: Baroness Warsi says electoral fraud cost Tories the election, 30 Sep 2010

Mehdi Hasan's article isn't online yet - it will be in the print version of the NS. His blog points to other coverage/opinions on the alleged fraud issue. Let's hope it doesn't overshadow the comments about media coverage.


Guardian, Sarfraz Manzoor: My family said they would boycott my wedding, 29 Sep 2010

"My mother and siblings were angry that I had fallen in love with a non-Muslim white woman. Then came a phone call ..."

Nice article + Springsteen reference...

Islamic finance discussion

Isla MacFarlane,, More than meats the eye, 23 Sep 2010 "On an internet forum, one British Muslim twittered, “As a Muslim who was very enthusiastic about Islamic finance (and still is), I want to pinpoint some reasons why I and many others didn't go for these ‘Islamic’ products. There was a lot of hype among British Muslims when these Islamic products were introduced, which then turned into a big disappointment when we realised that these products were the same as conventional products just sold with Halal stamp and extra premium. This turned into anger once it was realised that our beliefs were being exploited by the same old capitalists."

Interesting piece on halal finance/Islamic banking.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

'Terrorists of London'

Tariq Alhomayed, Asharq Alawsat, Terrorists of London, 29 Sep 2010 "Of course I do not mean that everybody who grows a beard should be monitored, but what is important is to monitor and track anybody who issues a fatwa inciting hatred or murder. This is because incitement is more dangerous than murder; the actions of somebody who fires a bullet ends when he pulls the trigger, however somebody inciting hatred and terrorism is capable of recruiting new terrorists everyday which would see the situation further destabilize and innocents being targeted, including British citizens. If the British are not too concerned with regards to the threat that this represents to the Arab or Islamic world, is it reasonable that they are unconcerned about the safety of their own citizens?"

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Quilliam Foundation report

Quilliam Foundation, New Quilliam report published, 27 Sep 2010 press release. " ... Quilliam publicly launched its latest report, Cheering for Osama, a major new study of Arabic-language jihadist websites. The report is based on an 18-month study of around twenty Arabic-language pro-jihadist web forums. Among these are prominent sites such as ‘al-Faluja’, ‘al-Hisba’ and ‘Medad al-Suyuf’, all of which are regularly used by al-Qaeda, its affiliate groups and their supporters to distribute pro-jihadist statements, propaganda videos and ideological tracts."

Links to:

Mohammed Ali Musawi, Cheering for Osama: How jihadists use internet discussion forums, Quilliam Foundation, 2010 [pdf]

I haven't read this report yet.

Zakir Naik

Telegraph, Anti-terror chief tried to secure UK entry for Muslim preacher, 27 Sep 2010

"Britain's counter terrorism chief said he would “put himself on the line” to secure entry to Britain for a radical Muslim preacher, days before he was over-ruled by Theresa May, The Daily Telegraph can disclose."

Monday, 27 September 2010

RC Primary school 'to convert'

The Independent, Catholic primary school set to convert to Islamic faith, 25 Sep 2010 "A Roman Catholic primary school in the heart of an Asian community in Lancashire looks set to become the first in the country to convert to an Islamic faith school."

Friday, 24 September 2010

Quilliam Foundation

Manchester Evening News, Ed Husain to join US Council for Foreign Relations, 24 Sep 2010 "British based counter-terrorism think Tank, Quilliam’s co-founder and co-director, Ed Hussain is to join the US Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) as a senior fellow."

Qur'an burning incident

Press Association/Guardian, Six held over suspected Qur'an burning, 23 Sep 2010

""The arrests followed the burning of what are believed to have been two Qur'ans in Gateshead on 11 September," the spokesman said. "The incident was recorded and a video placed on the internet."

"In a video posted on YouTube, six young men in hooded tops and scarves can be seen pouring petrol on a book and setting it alight, before burning another."

Thursday, 23 September 2010

English language centre at al-Azhar

Heba Saleh,, Islamic scholars cross cultural divide, 21 Sep 2010

"An English language centre at the Egyptian university, established with British support, offers tuition to students in all five departments of the Faculty of Islamic Studies. This forms the centrepiece of a partnership between Britain and Al-Azhar, aimed at bolstering the university’s international reach and reinforcing its moderate interpretation of Islam."

Leeds: Muslim graves vandalised

Jonathan Brown, Belfast Telegraph, Racists smash Muslim graves in Leeds, 22 Sep 2010 "It is the second time this year that vandals have desecrated Muslim graves at the multi-faith Harehills Cemetery in the city. The attack left families deeply distressed after motorcycle tyre marks were scored deep into freshly dug grave-tops and beer cans were strewn around the newly created site, which contains 100 Islamic burial plots.@

'Halal Britain'

Mail Online, Halal Britain: Schools and institutions serving up ritually slaughtered meat, 20 Sep 2010 "Halal meat is being routinely served at some of Britain’s most popular sporting venues, pubs, schools and hospitals without the public’s knowledge, it has emerged."

Book: "Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam", Mark Curtis: Britain and the Muslim Brotherhood, 22 Sep 2010 "British journalist Mark Curtis's recently released book "Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam" tells the story of the West’s so-called “war on terror,” which Curtis says is nothing but a product of the foreign policies of dominant Western powers. Curtis also explains the long history of the West’s, particularly Britain’s, collaboration with Islamist groups and its involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosovo and Egypt."

I haven't seen this book yet.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Event - Ways forward for UK Counter-Terrorism: Community & Academic Perspectives

I've just received this notification for an event which takes place tonight (17 Sep) in London. Enquiries should be directed to the organisers, and not to myself:

WAYS FORWARD FOR UK COUNTER-TERRORISM: Community & Academic Perspectives

Anas Altikrti
CEO, The Cordoba Foundation

Dr Marie Breen Smyth
Director, Centre for The Study of Radicalisation and Contemporary Political Violence (CSRV), Aberystwyth University

Dr Robert Lambert
Co-Director, European Muslim Research Centre

Dr Nafeez Ahmed
Director, Institute for Policy Research & Development

Azad Ali
Chair, Muslim Safety Forum

Jamie Barlett
Head, Violence & Extremism Programme, Demos

Junaid Ahmed
Executive Member, Islamic Forum of Europe

Nearest tube: Aldgate East / Whitechapel

Organised by The Cordoba Foundation with European Muslim Research Centre - Exeter University.
Supported by Islamic Forum of Europe



Kim Sengupta, Independent, UK extremists are travelling to Somalia to train, says MI5 chief, 16 Sep 2010 "British Muslim extremists are increasingly switching from Pakistan to Somalia to receive training in militant camps with the aim of carrying out attacks in this country, according to the head of MI5."

AlJazeera - Live coverage: Pope in the UK

AlJazeera - Live coverage: Pope in the UK

Event: 'Nations of the Sea, Maritime Connections in the Archaeology of Wales and Qatar'

Event announcement: "Nations of the Sea , Maritime Connections in the Archaeology of Wales and Qatar will be held in the National Museum of Wales, Cathays Park , Cardiff on the weekend of September 25th to 26th. This international cultural conference will be attended by speakers and participants from Qatar and the Arab world and from Wales and Europe . The conference look at the same issues in different countries and aims to gain new insights into understanding coastal and maritime archaeology. In addition to the academic section of the conference there will be a series of talks and films aimed at the interested general public. Interested parties should contact Andrew Petersen at the following email address;"



Thursday, 16 September 2010

'Love in a Headscarf', Love in a Headscarf: Muslim Bridget Jones"It took Shelina Zahra Janmohamed ten years of fixed blind-dates to find Mr. Right. An arranged marriage? Poor thing. A tradition that is “oh so old-fashioned,” and “uncool,” and receives instant sympathy. But guess what, Shelina’s story is anything but a misery memoir. Love in a Headscarf is an uplifting, honest, and, for a change, humorous account of a British Muslim woman in search of “the one.” It was recently launched in India and is currently number 2 on the bestseller list."

She also writes the blog Spirit21

Report: 'Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe'

Tom Heneghan, Reuters, Low support for radicalism among European Muslims, 15 Sep 2010
"Support for radical Islamist groups is low among European Muslims and some leading groups with overseas roots are now cooperating with local governments and encouraging Muslims to vote, according to a new report."

Here's the report's main page: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe, 15 Sep 2010

The full PDF report is here Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe [PDF]. The primary researcher was Peter Mandaville.

I haven't read the report yet.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Papal visit

Mona Siddiqui, Telegraph, Pope visit: This visit can help Muslims find a place in a hostile continent, 11 Sep 2010 "On one level, it is not significant at all; this is just another state visit by a leader who just happens to be both the head of a state and the head of a faith. But religious leaders always have the potential to do great harm as well as great good. As a Muslim who has been involved in Christian-Muslim interreligious work for some years, I know that what the Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict in particular, have said and done with respect to the Islamic faith will keep many in the inter-religious world watching keenly."

Saturday, 4 September 2010

"Reading Arabic 'hard for brain'"

BBC News - Reading Arabic 'hard for brain', 4 Sep 2010 "The University of Haifa team say people use both sides of their brain when they begin reading a language - but when learning Arabic this is wasting effort."

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Ramadan radio

Every year I check in on the UK radio stations offering Ramadan output. Here are a few selections:

Radio Ramadan Edinburgh offers a podcast and smartphone listening option.

TeesFast FM - Radio Ramadan has a Facebook page with schedules.

Listing of Ramadan stations

Radio Ramadhan Glasgow are letting kids on the air, and also have a youth programme.

Ramadan education advice

Hena Zuberi, Back to School: Ramadan in Public School, 31 Aug, 2010 written from a North American perspective, but some interesting links/advice nevertheless

Op-ed on Blair book

Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman, Fisking Blair's chapter on Iraq, 1 Sep 2010

I haven't read all this commentary on Tony Blair's new book (or the 66 - so far - comments yet). Other opinions are available...

Shafilea Ahmed

BBC News, Parents held over death of Shafilea Ahmed, 2 Sep 2010


Peter Mandaville, Daily Star Lebanon, Rap emerges as an added form of Muslim expression and mobilization, 30 Aug 2010 "Listening to South Asian Muslim teenagers in the post-industrial British city of Bradford, one can understand how Islamic faith and American hip-hop music have come to coexist. Searching for music that reflects their own experiences with alienation, racism and silenced political consciousness, many teens, even some quasi-religious groups, have turned to the urban music of black America."

Refers to Mecca2Medina, an early Muslim rap group in the UK. I still have their 12" vinyl releases (anyone remember vinyl records?).

This article was originally in YaleGlobal Online

Protest in Bradford

AP, Far-right protesters clash with police in UK, 30 Aug 2010 "A right-wing group that opposes what it calls the spread of Islam in Britain clashed with riot police in northern England on Saturday, throwing bottles, rocks and a smoke bomb at authorities. The demonstration by the English Defense League occurred in Bradford, a city with one of the country's largest Pakistani and Muslim communities."

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Niqab discussion

Newsnight, BBC Two, 10:30pm Monday 23rd August 2010 "Increasing numbers of British Muslim women are choosing to wear the face veil. Two women explain to Newsnight why they adopted the niqab when their mothers did not."

Friday, 20 August 2010

Timothy Winter profile

The Independent, Timothy Winter: Britain's most influential Muslim - and it was all down to a peach, 20 Aug 2010 "The hitherto unnoticed Mr Winter, who has an office in Cambridge University's Divinity Faculty, where he is the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer of Islamic Studies, has been listed ahead of the presidents of Iran and Egypt, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Mahmoud Abbas. "Strange bedfellows," he concedes."

The 2010 listing can be found here to download: Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre


Samira Shackle, New Statesman, The mosques aren’t working in Bradistan "Phil Lewis, a lecturer in peace studies at Bradford University, expands on this. "The mosques aren't working for them, home isn't working for them. These kids are in moral free fall - who are their role models?"

"The same frustration is expressed by some young, tracksuit-clad Mirpuri men on a run-down street in Bradford. "I'm a Yorkshireman," Saeed, aged 19, tells me. "I get angry with my parents when it's all about 'back home' and sending money there. I'm proud of my heritage, but this is my home. I've only been to Pakistan twice."

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

First UK Islamic bond launches / Capital Markets - First UK Islamic bond launches, 17 Aug 2010 "The first UK Islamic bond has been launched in a significant development that could prompt other British companies to raise money in the niche market."

Nick Clegg, UK's Clegg Praises Muslim Community, 17 Aug 2010 "Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has expressed his admiration of Muslim generosity and compassion during the fasting month of Ramadan as an "example to all", particularly in responding to Pakistans worst-ever floods."

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Campus radicalisation issues

Pakinam Amer,, Islamic radicalization on UK campuses: Islamic literature, 9 Aug 2010
"At City University, an annual event held in 2009 by its Islamic society (ISOC) featured Anwar al-Awlaki, a popular yet radical preacher who was profiled in previous installments. And the ISOC's website linked to others that advocate the same Islam that might have helped turn ex-Islamists like Shiraz Maher and Ed Husain into isolated individuals and then radicals. The website links also deepen the notion that the world is at war with Islam, not terrorism."

Babar Ahmed

Michael Peel,, Four police charged with assault on terror suspect, 12 Aug 2010 "Four Metropolitan police officers have been charged with assaulting Babar Ahmad, a terror suspect fighting extradition to the US, in a case likely to trigger fresh criticism of the way prosecutors deal with allegations against Scotland Yard."

Monday, 9 August 2010

Minhaj-ul-Quran camp

Dominic Casciani, BBC News, Muslim summer camp preaches 'anti-terror' message, 8 Aug 2010 "Mohammed and his colleagues have stacked it with copies of Dr Qadri's lectures and tapes and every Friday they go from location to location, encouraging young people to hop on board.

"He says it gives them a chance to influence what young minds are exposed to.

""The internet plays a big part in what is going on", he says.

""If you type "jihad" into Google you'll get hundreds of results. You don't know when you click whether they're right or wrong."

Orkney Muslims

Christopher Howse, Telegraph, Ramadan in an Orkney summer, 6 Aug 2010 "Muslims in Orkney will be setting their alarm clocks with some care from next Wednesday. For it is the beginning of Ramadan (if the new moon is sighted). For the 30 days of Ramadan, no food or drink may be consumed during the hours of daylight. In Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney, sunrise is at 5.19 and sunset at 9.11pm."


The Independent, Ramadan and me: A month in the life of British Muslims, 8 Aug 2010 "Muslims across the country are preparing for the start of Ramadan on Wednesday. That means stocking up on tasty food, such spices, sweetmeats and sugary drinks, with which to break their daily fasts. It also means planning prayers and family gatherings."

al-Hidayah 2010

The Guardian, Muslim group holds 'anti-terrorism' summer camp, 8 Aug 2010 "Devotees of Muslim scholar Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri have gathered at the University of Warwick's campus to be taught practical ways of countering extremist views in their schools, universities and communities. They have been learning how to engage with people expressing extremist views and are being directed to passages in the Qur'an and other Islamic texts to allow them to argue against them."

More info on al-Hidayah 2010

Friday, 6 August 2010

British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD)

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Daily Mail, The Talibanisation of British childhood by hardline parents, 5 Aug 2010: "In my role as chair of the British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD), which campaigns against fanaticism, many inner-city teachers have told me they feel paralysed by extreme demands."

Information on the British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD)

This in turn links into The Samosa blog

Andrew Gilligan's op-ed on the Guardian's perspective

Andrew Gilligan, Telegraph Blogs, The Guardian's latest Islamist press release, 5 Aug 2010 "I appear to have written about The Guardian three days in a row – sorry about that – but the paper’s latest wretched press release for the forces of Islamism can’t go unmentioned." Opinion piece. Expect some further responses online...

Mashal Radio

Manchester Evening News, Faithful are hitting the decks for radio Ramadan, 4 Aug 2010: "Community radio station Mashal Radio will once again be hitting the airwaves as the borough’s Muslim community begin preparations for the holy month of Ramadan.

"The station will be launched on Wednesday and broadcast for the next 30 days with a host of programmes catered for an Islamic audience."

For more info, see


Daily Telegraph, Mainstream Islamic organisations "share al-Qaeda ideology", 5 Aug 2010 "The report, sent to the government’s Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT), was not intended for publication but has now been leaked on the internet.

"Entitled "Preventing terrorism, where next for Britain?" it says the ideology of non-violent Islamists is “broadly the same as that of violent Islamists” adding “they disagree only on tactics.”

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Virtually Islamic re-configuration

The main hub of my site is being re-configured. This means that all listings can now be located via This includes Islamic Studies Pathways, running since 1996, which will no longer be available on its old URL from September. The bibliographies for my books can all now be found on my central hub:

iMuslims Bibliography

Islam in the Digital Age: Bibliography

Virtually Islamic Bibliography

Islamic Blogosphere

My blogs continue in their usual location.

"Anti-Mosque Sentiment in America: Lessons from Europe?"

Todd Green, Huffington Post, Anti-Mosque Sentiment in America: Lessons from Europe?, 31 Jul 2010 "Many Americans find it difficult to believe that the U.S. has anything to learn from Europe when it comes to religion. The recent controversies over mosques suggest otherwise. That's because this is a story that has been playing out in Europe for some time, with results ranging from restrictions on religious liberty to a worsening of tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims. America cannot afford to go down the same path."

IVF & related issues

Annie Snider, Religion News Service,, Infertile Muslim Parents Face Tough Choices, Pressure, 2 Aug 2010 as much an issue in Britain as elsewhere "As scientific advances create more choices for couples trying to build families, Muslims face religious teachings that rule out many options available to other couples."

op-ed on burka

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Daily Mail, "The burka empowering women? You must be mad, minister "These British apologists for the burka make me see red, whatever side of the political spectrum they come from."

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown seethes.

'Halal' make-up, Britain's first 'halal' cosmetics, 25 Jul 2010

"British entrepreneur Samina Akhter set up Samina Pure Makeup at her home in Birmingham after questioning the ingredients of many international brand makeup products, Sky News reported."

Also see Aftab Gulzar, BBC Asian Network, Halal certified make-up launched in UK, 22 Jul 2010

For further information, see Samina Pure Makeup "All Samina Pure Mineral Makeup products formulate healthy mineral foundations and powders that are are FREE from, Animal products, artificial dyes, FD&C colours, talc, bismuth Oxychloride, Mineral Oil (and its derivatives), paraben preservatives, petroleum derived ingredients, fillers, lanolin, beeswax or any other animal products."

Something for everyone in today's blog: I'd imagine there would be a wider market for these products

Islamic Education And Research Academy report, Survey finds 'most non-Muslim Britons equating Islam with terrorism, 4 Aug 2010 "Non-Muslims in Britain are by and large ignorant about Islam and equate the religion with terrorism, according to a Islamic Education And Research Academy (iERA) survey."

The report is here (PDF): IERA, Non-Muslims Perceptions on Islam and Muslims I haven't read this one yet.

Also see Haroon Siddique, Guardian, Three-quarters of non-Muslims believe Islam negative for Britain, 2 Aug 2010 "The study, carried out for iERA out by DJS Research, used face-to face questionnaires to ascertain the views of a "statistically robust" sample of 500 randomly selected non-Muslims."

Footnote: I see that the IERA's advisors include Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips and Dr. Zakir Naik.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

'British Muslim Women Pay Tribute to Soldiers', British Muslim Women Pay Tribute to Soldiers, 23 Jul 2010"A group of Muslim women honored soldiers who died fighting for the UK by placing a wreath at the National Memorial Arboretum in England, according to the BBC. The early July ceremony occurred on the anniversary of the death of Lance Cpl. Jabron Hashmi, the first British Muslim soldier to die in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan on July 2006."

Friday, 23 July 2010

Security issues

Economic Times (India), Watchdog says websites pose biggest terror threat to UK, 21 Jul 2010 "The official reviewer of the British Government's anti-terrorism laws, Lord Carlile, has warned Prime Minister David Cameron to his attention instead to websites that openly advocate violence."

Papal visit, Police monitor internet for threats against the Pope during his visit, 21 Jul 2010 "Questions about the Pope’s safety arose last week after a post on the Leicester-based website suggested that Muslims in Birmingham use the opportunity of the papal Mass to protest against the Pope."

Monday, 12 July 2010

Remembering Srebrenica Genocide Day

APP, Remembering Srebrenica Genocide Day, 10 Jul 2010 "As Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the massacre of many thousands of Bosniak Muslims in Srebrenica, Bosnia, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has urged the UK Government to put pressure upon the states of the former Yugoslavia to fully co-operate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in its investigations and pursuit of wanted war criminals in line with European Parliament's resolution of January 2009 marking the genocide."

Ramadan guidance

AhlulBayt News Agency, Stop Swimming In Ramadan For Muslim Pupils, 12 Jul 2010 "Stoke-on-Trent City Council has issued an 11-page Ramadan guide for schools to help pupils who may be fasting when the school year starts in September. It is said that swimming was acceptable to Muslims but however, it posed a high risk of swallowing water that may break a fast."

More info: Stoke-on-Trent Ethnic Minority Achievement Service, Ramadan [pdf]

NHS and male circumcision

Observer, NHS urged to offer circumcisions to avoid botched operations, 11 Jul 2010 "Senior doctors have called for male circumcision to be offered by the NHS amid fears that unregulated operations are leading to serious injuries among Muslim boys."

3 jailed

BBC News, Would-be suicide bombers jailed for life, 12 Jul 2010

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Noorul Islam mosque, £1.3million Blackburn mosque opens, 7 Jul 2010 "One of Blackburn’s biggest mosques, with a capacity of 1,500, has been unveiled.

"The new £1.3million Noorul Islam mosque, in Audley Range, has been completed on time and on budget using entirely locally sourced contractors and materials."

The poster comes from, which also has more information on the mosque.


Jerome Taylor, Independent, Beautiful and Islamic: the new look on the catwalk, 2 Jul 2010 "Welcome to the world inhabited by the “Hijabistas”, a trendy set of up and coming Muslim fashion designers who are doing their bit to forge an indigenous British Islamic identity."

Abu Hamza

BBC News, Abu Hamza US extradition halted, 8 Jul 2010 "The European Court of Human Rights has ordered a halt to the extradition to the US on terror charges of radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri."

National Portrait Gallery appeal

Guardian, National Portrait Gallery launches appeal to keep freed slave's portrait, 8 Jul 2010 "A portrait of a freed African slave has gone on display for the first time at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) as a £100,000 appeal is launched to keep it in the collection.

"The bright eyes of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo who had been a slave-owner and trader, are mesmerising gallery visitors, just as they did when he met King George II and leading intellectuals of the 1730s. Diallo translated Arabic documents and inscriptions for Sir Hans Sloane, whose collections would form the basis of the British Museum."

Also see NPG, Ayuba Suleiman Diallo - Appeal "This exceptional portrait has never been exhibited in public before. If acquired it would become a highlight of the Collection, attracting public attention as a work of aesthetic quality and historical interest. Diallo's story of personal resilience, dignity and faith when faced with enslavement, displacement and redemption at the hands of the British is richly evoked by this sensitive portrait. The portrait will offer the opportunity to explore some of the otherwise missing black and Islamic histories in the Collection and create a more sustained sense of connected British history and identity in the displays."

Monday, 5 July 2010

Centre for Social Cohesion report, Britain is hub of Violent Islamism Worldwide, Says Centre for Social Cohesion's New Report, 5 Jul 2010 Press release. "Islamist Terrorism profiles 127 Islamism-inspired terrorist convictions and attacks in the UK, spanning the decade 1999 to 2009. It outlines the links the individuals had to terrorist groups; their nationality and ethnic origin; their age, hometown, occupation and education; which other terrorists they were connected to; the legislation used to convict them; and more. This data is analysed to show the trends among those involved in Islamism-inspired terrorism."

Also see Centre for Social Cohesion, Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections

"Al-Qaeda inspired terrorism is the greatest national security threat facing the UK. Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections presents the most comprehensive ever overview of the UK's connections to violent Islamism worldwide."

There is a link to a preview pdf. The report apparently runs to 500+ pages, although I've only had a chance to glance at this preview. I haven't got a copy of the full report, so cannot really comment on it. The Centre self-publishes a variety of reports, including several relating to the themes of this blog. Information on the Centre is profiled on this Wiki page.

From Hizb ut-Tahrir to the Three Faiths Forum

Guardian, Hadiya Masieh: How 7 July bombings made me question my beliefs, 4 Jul 2010

"Hadiya Masieh was recruited by Hizb ut-Tahrir radicals, but 7/7 bombings five years ago opened her eyes."

Hadiya Masieh is associated with the Three Faiths Forum

Friday, 2 July 2010

Music in school

Daily Mail, Muslim pupils taken out of music lessons 'because Islam forbids playing an instrument', 2 July 2010 "Muslim pupils are being withdrawn from music lessons because some families believe learning an instrument is anti-Islamic."

Also see Abdul Rahman Shaheen,, Scholars divided over imam's fatwa on music, 29 June 2010 which I linked to in VirtuallyIslamic recently: ""A fatwa (religious ruling) issued by Shaikh Adel Al Kalbani, a former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, in which he claimed that Islam does not forbid singing and music has split Saudi scholars, Islamic thinkers and secularists..."

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Cardiff mosque 'myth'

Sophie Gilliat-Ray, ‘The first registered mosque in the UK, Cardiff, 1860’: the evolution of a myth, Contemporary Islam, Volume 4, Number 2, July, 2010 [scroll down for article, subscription/payment required] "This paper describes how a simple transcription error ‘created’ what appeared to be the earliest recorded mosque in Britain. Research in 2008/9 for a project about the history of Muslim settlement in Cardiff included a check of mosque registration data that revealed the origin of the factual inaccuracy. However, the paper does not simply concern itself with debunking the myth that has evolved concerning a mosque, said to have been registered in the Cathays district of Cardiff in 1860 (which in fact was not registered until 1991). Rather, it seeks to explore its contemporary resonances."

Friday, 25 June 2010

Blackburn 'jihadis' update British Muslim jailed for "kill Blair" threat, 24 June 2010 "A British-born Muslim who pretended to lead "al Qaeda in Britain" and urged sympathisers to assassinate Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was jailed for five years on Thursday."

Council of Europe resolution

Press Association, European MPs vote against burka ban, 24 June 2010 "The Parliamentary Assembly of Europe's human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, passed a resolution warning that if governments imposed such a ban they would be denying women "who genuinely and freely desire to do so" their right to cover their faces."

IkhwanWeb, European council votes in favor of niqab, 25 June 2010. "The resolution came as part of a statement on Islam, Islamism and Islamophobia, which also urged European governments to promote the educating of Muslim women, their families and communities alerting them of their human rights and persuading them to take part in both public and professional life."

Muslim Council of Britain

APP, Muslim Council of Britain elects new leadership, 21 June 2010 "The UK’s largest Muslim organisation-The Muslim Council of Britain-has elected a new leadership comprising Secretary-General Farooq Murad, Deputy Secretary-General Dr.Shuja Shafi and Treasurer Haroon Rashid Khan. The new officials were elected at the 13th Annual General Meeting held here on Sunday evening and pledged to make the organisation more vibrant, promote the participation of women and the wider range of Britain’s Muslim communities."

Also see: Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Council of Britain Elects New Leadership and Pledges to Build Alliances, 21 June 2010

Madeleine Bunting, Comment is Free, Guardian, The MCB's Wonderland election, 18 June 2010 "Imagine an election with only one declared candidate running … and he is not going to win. It may sound like a form of democracy better devised in Alice's Wonderland, but unfortunately it's home grown: this is how the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is due to decide on its next leader this Sunday."

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Blackburn 'jihadis'

Kim Pilling, Press Association, Independent, Jihadi terror obsession led to pair's conviction, 23 June 2010

"In his online guise he was the freedom fighter who had just returned wounded from the battlegrounds of disputed Kashmir or the committed warrior who had been locked in combat with US forces in Iraq.

"The reality was that Kanmi sent most of his messages from the more tranquil setting of Blackburn Central Library."

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

No entry for Naik and Phillips, Muslim Preachers, Zakir Naik & Bilal Phillips, Denied Entry into UK, 23 June 2010, "The Internet Muslim Community has been buzzing with reports of Dr Zakir Naik being denied entry into the UK. Dr Zakir Naik was scheduled to host his Famous Peace Conference in the UK this year but was denied a visa on the accusation of him being a supporter of terrorism."

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Asharq Al-Awsat, Islamist Denounce UK Prison Insistence on Inmate's Wife Removing Niqab, 22 June 2010, "A number of London-based Islamists have expressed their anger at the insistence of British prison that the wife of leading fundamentalist Omar Mahmoud Abu-Omar, alias Abu-Qatada, who is known as Bin Laden's ambassador, and the spiritual guide of the Al-Qaeda Organization in Europe, remove her Niqab before being allowed to visit him, despite the existence of fatwas that say it is Islamically permissible to do so."

Opinion on Islamic banking, Banking by Sharia rules is a 'big flop', 22 June 2010 "Muslim leaders have backed comments by a leading Islamic finance expert who said Sharia-compliant banking had been a "huge flop" in the UK.

"Junaid Bhatti, part of the team which set up the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), which has one of its eight branches in Leicester, said Islamic products had been wrongly marketed by banks, which had over-emphasised the religious aspect."

Clearly, as this article notes, there are many other opinions on this subject.

Shaykh Amer Jamil, Imams urged to condemn domestic abuse, 22 June 2010 "Shaykh Amer Jamil, right, the country’s most prominent and respected Muslim thinker, is to meet every imam in Scotland over the coming months. Jamil will ask the imams to tell their congregation about Islam’s stance opposing domestic violence, and give the clerics advice on dealing with the police ...

" ... Jamil has also campaigned against the dangers of forced marriage, terrorism and ‘DIY Islam’ – incorrect versions of the religion learned over the internet often with a hardline twist."

Darul Uloom Chislehurst

Edna Fernandez, Daily Mail, Inside the Muslim Eton: 20 hour days starting at 3.45am with the aim of producing Muslim elite of leaders, 20 June 2010

"Deobandi Islam had spread and, in some cases, fused with a new violent political ideology. It is a long way from the wind-swept wilds of Peshawar to leafy Chislehurst

"But inside the Kent-based school, the religious ideology remains, even if the rhetoric is moderate by comparison.

"I had come to spend the day at the Eton of Islam. Why the comparison?

"Because Darul Uloom is about creating an Islamic elite who will rule the Muslim world. It is about offering a classical education and its very name inspires awe among the Muslim community."

Read more about the author of the piece here:

Friday, 18 June 2010

'Halal' 'bacon substitute'

BBC News, Coventry farmer defends bacon substitute for Muslims, 17 June 2010 "A Coventry farmer has insisted he is reacting to demand from traders in trying to give Muslims a taste of pork by producing bacon-style rashers from halal-slaughtered turkeys.

"Rod Adlington's attempts to imitate the meat, which Muslims cannot eat because of their religion, has seen a Muslim scholar voice concerns that it could lead to people eating real bacon from pork."

'One Law for All Campaign', Hundreds expected for Sharia law rally, this weekend, 17 June 2010 "Hundreds of activists will take to the streets of London this weekend in a major demonstration against Sharia law.

"The rally, organised by the One Law for All Campaign, will be held from 2pm to 4pm at Richmond Terrace, in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, SW1."

Details of the campaign One Law for All are here. Their report Sharia Law in Britain, written by Maryam Namazie, can be downloaded here. I haven't read this report yet.

So far, I haven't picked up reactions to this from the Muslim Council of Britain or the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal - to name but two organisations that would have an interest in this subject. I shall be monitoring coverage this weekend.

There's more information on the report's author here: Maryam Namazie (blog);; Maryam Namazie: Wikipedia

Amir Khan profile

CNN, Amir Khan: Fighting stereotypes, 16 June 2010 "Being a Muslim and being a Pakistani a lot of people are going to bring that issue up. I'm flying the flag for Britain and Pakistan, I'm proud to be British and British Pakistani, and I think there's a lot of people, Muslim people, just like me."

Anti-troop protests

Nile Gardiner, Telegraph, British Muslim leaders must condemn Islamist anti-troop protests, 15 June 2010 opinion piece, linked to Daily Mail, Into the jaws of hate: Soldiers' parade marred by Muslim extremists and far-Right, 16 June 2010

Naik banned

AFP, Govt bans Indian Muslim preacher: report, 17 June 2010 "The government has banned a radical Indian preacher, who claimed that "every Muslim should be a terrorist," from entering the country, a paper reported on Friday.

"Zakir Naik, a 44-year-old television preacher, had been due to give a series of lectures in London and northern England but new Home Secretary Theresa May decided to bar him, said the Daily Telegraph."

Surveillance 'bagged'

Guardian, Birmingham stops Muslim CCTV surveillance scheme, 17 June 2010 "A project to place two Muslim areas in Birmingham under surveillance has been dramatically halted after an investigation by the Guardian revealed it was a counterterrorism initiative.

"Bags are being placed over hundreds of cameras which were recently installed in the neighbourhoods of Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook, to reassure the community that their movements are not being monitored until a public consultation takes place."

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Young. British. Female. Muslim

Sarah Harris, Times Online, Young. British. Female. Muslim., 29 May 2010 "Thousands of young British women living in the UK decide to convert to Islam - here are some of their stories" Just found this interesting article, containing 'convert' stories.

Under surveillance

Paul Lewis, Guardian, UK monitors suspected radicals as part of European surveillance project, 8 June 2010 "Confidential documents reveal how an initiative to gather data on "radicalisation and recruitment" in Islamic terrorist groups has been expanded to incorporate other organisations."

Faith Matters: Developing Diversity Directory

Henry James Foy, Guardian, 'Women-friendly' mosques directory launched, 9 June 2010 "A directory of the 100 most "women-friendly" mosques in England is launched today, claiming to be "the start of the process to broaden and deepen the engagement of Muslim women in British mosques"."

For further information, see Faith Matters,in particular their Developing Diversity Directory (pdf).This is an extensively researched guide to mosques in the UK, which looks like being a valuable research resource. 

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Book announcement:: 'Muslims in Britain'

Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Muslims in Britain: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press "Archaeological evidence shows there was contact between Muslims and the British Isles from the 8th century. Beginning with these historical roots, Sophie Gilliat-Ray traces the major points of encounter between Muslims and the British in subsequent centuries, and explores Muslim migration to Britain in recent times. Drawing upon sociology, anthropology, politics, and geography, this comprehensive survey provides an informed understanding of the daily lives of British Muslims. It portrays the dynamic of institutions such as families, mosques and religious leadership, and analyses their social and political significance in today's Britain. Through the study of the historical origins of major Islamic reform movements, it draws attention to the religious diversity within different Muslim communities, and sheds fresh light on contemporary issues such as the nature of religious authority and representation. It also considers British Muslim civic engagement and cultural life, particularly the work of journalists, artists, sports personalities, and business entrepreneurs."

There are some extracts available through the above site, and also on Amazon.  I look forward to reading this book in due course. 


Alan Travis, Guardian, Muslim prisoners 'treated as potential terrorists', 8 June 2010 "The report, published today, is based on interviews with 164 Muslim prisoners in eight prisons and young offender institutions, combined with prisoner surveys and inspection reports over the past three years. The number of Muslims in prison in England and Wales has soared in recent years from 2,513, or 5% of the prison population, in 1994 to 6,571 or 8% in 2004 and to 10,300, more than 12%, on the latest figures."

Also see:

Observer, Belmarsh inmates plotted to behead guard on video, 6 June 2010

Modern Muslims? Identities, Tradition and Change

Symposium: Modern Muslims? Identities, Tradition and Change

Venue: Rathbone Lecture Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building, off Myrtle Street, Liverpool

9 June 2010 1-5 pm

Online info from the University of Liverpool (suggest you check with organisers for details).

Sessions to include

Ron Geaves: Negotiating Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis of Loyalties, Identities, and Citizenship Models Amongst British Muslims

Phillip Lewis: Hamlet Without the Prince - Whatever
Happened to the 'ulama in the Study of Muslims in Britain?

Seán Mcloughlin: Towards a Cosmopolitan Islamism? Generation, Culture, Class and UK Reformism in Transition

Also plenary discussions.

I received this info at short notice - it sounds like a good event.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Exploring Islam Foundation

Jane Dougall,, Campaign Launched To Improve Image Of Islam, 7 June 2010 "A campaign to improve the image of Islam has been launched after an opinion poll found that more than half of British people associate the religion with extremism and terrorism."

The YouGov poll results are here

Also see the