Thursday, 20 December 2012

'£1 Fish Man'

 "While 31-year-old Mohamed Shahid Nazir has built a reputation in an East London market for his ultra-cheap fish, it is his catchy sales jingle that has brought him a moment of global fame.

"Fans cannot stop carping on about his "One-Pound Fish" tune, recorded on a mobile phone and uploaded to YouTube. With more than five million views, some might say you do not have to be a brain "sturgeon" to see he has a hit on his hands."

I saw him 'in action' a few months ago at Queen's Market, Green Street, Newham.  Should have recorded him myself!  The journalists are enjoying this ...

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

'Tomorrow's World'

Tomorrow's World | Editorial | December 2012 | emel - the muslim lifestyle magazine "Technology has changed our world, but it has not changed the essence of the human condition. We still cry out when in need; we still hurt when we are unloved. With or without our computers, our telephones, our mobile devices, we still feel the emotions of being human."

Qur'an on billboards

Muslim Community Board UK on Facebook report that "Following numerous requests for the English translation of The Quran from non muslims who have seen the Billboards at the Major London Railway Stations and 5 Shahadas at Victoria Station on Saturday, Network Rail and Chiltern Railways have ordered our billboards to be removed on the grounds of no religious advertising on their premises despite allowing other faith groups to carry out similar campaigns. Its a move which can only be seen as discriminatory.

"It appears that the English Translation of The Quran is a book too controversial for them to allow to be advertised on their premises.
However, we know that "...And God is the best of planners." [Quran 8:30]

"By removing the billboards this has actually created a massive movement on social media in support of the billboard campaign and bought more attention on The Quran itself, which can only be a good thing God willing!"

Muslims demand gay marriage exemption

Muslims demand gay marriage exemption | Society | "The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), with more than 500 affiliated mosques, charities and schools, said it was "appalled" by "utterly discriminatory" legislation on same-sex marriage set out by the government."

Call for Papers: Collaborative Partnerships Project

"This is a call for papers for two conferences that are being organised as part of an ESRC funded follow-on project exploring Collaborative Partnerships between universities and Muslim institutions. This project builds on previous research around Muslim faith leadership, Islamic Studies in pluralist British contexts, women’s education and learning Arabic. Our research findings indicate that it is possible to address these issues at higher education level, focusing particularly on ways to forge a more cohesive society for Muslims and other Britons. This work will bring together Islamic Studies academics, scholars and practitioners (including professionals who may have aspects of Islamic studies in their work) to facilitate increased collaborative partnerships and linkages between UK universities and Muslim institutions, and is aimed both at academia and Muslim communities. We hope to publish a selection of these papers."

Full details:

Friday, 14 December 2012

Podcast: Religion in the 2011 UK Census - The Religious Studies Project

Podcast: Religion in the 2011 UK Census - The Religious Studies Project: "An ‘emergency broadcast’ from the Religious Studies Project… featuring George Chryssides, Bettina Schmidt, Teemu Taira, Beth Singler, Christopher Cotter, and David Robertson.

"The results of the 2011 census were published this Tuesday (11/12/2012), and immediately the media -old and new – were occupied with statistics about “religion” in England and Wales in 2011 as compared to 2001. We couldn’t avoid the opportunity to comment, and to apply the sort of analysis RS scholars are singularly qualified to apply. What did the census actually say, and how did the press report it? Why does it matter, and how can we use the data more constructively?"

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Monday, 10 December 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012

Black And Minority Ethnic Women 'Discriminated Against At Every Stage' Of Recruitment Process, Black And Minority Ethnic Women 'Discriminated Against At Every Stage' Of Recruitment Process "People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are twice as likely to be unemployed than white women - and are reporting having to 'Westernise' their names or removing hijabs to improve their chances of getting a job."

Rise in proportion of young Muslims in jail

BBC News - Rise in proportion of young Muslims in jail: "One in five males in young offender institutions (YOIs) identified themselves as Muslim in 2011/12, compared with 16% in 2010/11." [GRB: will post the report when I find it]

Cardiff: Mother killed son over Qur'an studies

BBC News, Yaseen Ali Ege murder: Mother killed son over Koran studies, 5 Dec 2012: "A mother who beat her seven-year-old son "like a dog" when he failed to memorise passages of the Koran has been found guilty of his murder."

Friday, 30 November 2012

Bruv, is Dis Topia?

Bruv, is Dis Topia? | alumrockstar  "It becomes more and more difficult to find any goodness in this increasingly god-forsaken place. It is ironic, indeed, that I should describe it as ‘god-forsaken’ because mosques abound, the men sport magnificent beards and the women cloak themselves in veils. Outwardly, God is here; but inwardly he does not occupy our thoughts."

Well-worth reading. I know that this description will be familiar to many (in different locations)

[tip: Yahya Birt]

Sunday, 25 November 2012

UK fights Muslim-bashing

UK fights Muslim-bashing - Hindustan Times:  "Muslims aren’t giving up either. “There’s desperate need to help explain Islam,” says Faissal Hameed, the dean of Muslim College in Ealing. “We want to demonstrate that there’s no contradiction between being Muslim and being British.”"

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Hijab first in parliament

Hijab first in parliament - Yahoo! News UK:

"A 16-year-old girl is thought to have become the first person to speak from the House of Commons despatch box while wearing a hijab, The Times reported."

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Rt Rev Kenneth Cragg

Telegraph, The Rt Rev Kenneth Cragg, 14 November 2012 "The Rt Rev Kenneth Cragg, who has died aged 99 , was a distinguished scholar who, more than anyone else in the 20th century, helped Christians to a deeper understanding of, and a wider sympathy for, the religious faiths of Muslims and Jews." He was an influential writer (some of the earliest books I read on Islam were by him, such as 'Call of the Minaret'). I once shared a platform with him at a conference.

"One Fat Lady in race row over Muslim ghetto' jibe: The Islamic area of Leicester frightened me, says TV chef "

One Fat Lady in race row over Muslim ghetto' jibe: The Islamic area of Leicester frightened me, says TV chef | Mail Online: "Her comments were criticised by the Muslim Council of Britain and the city's mayor, who claims her account 'may help sell books but it is cheap'"

Malala Yousafzai, Fatwa To Be Issued On Pakistani Schoolgirl Shot By Taliban, Claims Cleric Anjem Choudary, Malala Yousafzai, Fatwa To Be Issued On Pakistani Schoolgirl Shot By Taliban, Claims Cleric Anjem Choudary

Monday, 12 November 2012

Abu Qatada Wins Appeal Against Extradition

Sky News, Abu Qatada Wins Appeal Against Extradition "The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) upheld the radical cleric's appeal after his lawyers claimed he would not get a fair trial."

Monday, 5 November 2012

British Muslims split along sectarian lines over Arab uprisings

HA Hellyer, The National, British Muslims split along sectarian lines over Arab uprisings "... most Muslim Britons do not have Arab ethnic backgrounds, and most have evolved to become essentially "post-Islamist". Post-Islamism, in this sense, means their initial impetus for engaging in political life was from an emotional attachment to Islamism, but they have a secular rationale in the public arena that is not dissimilar from British social conservatives. But many of them have roots in Islamist community organisations and links, if only symbolic ones, to the Muslim Brotherhood." Opinion and analysis

Organ donation: Jewish, Muslim presumed consent worries

BBC News - Organ donation: Jewish, Muslim presumed consent worries, 5 nov 2012 "Dr Abdalla Yassin Mohamed, director of Cardiff's Islamic Social Services Association and a member of the Muslim Council of Wales, said he had no objection to presumed consent.

"Opposition was based on concern about the definition of brain death in Islam and the issue of consent, he said.

He called for a debate about the bill between medical and Islamic clerical experts."

Friday, 2 November 2012

BBC Radio 4 - Fathers' Daughters

BBC Radio 4 - Fathers' Daughters "The programme speaks to a number of Asian women from different religious and cultural backgrounds about their experiences with their fathers. Some of them have disturbing stories - women who have suffered from violent and abusive fathers, women who were forced into disastrous marriages, women who were cut out of their father's will and not treated equally to sons, women who attempted suicide. Some have cut all ties with their fathers and, as a consequence, the rest of their families. We hear from a girl whose father was liberal until the surrounding community convinced him to change his behaviour towards his daughter - but also talk to a father and his daughter who show the other side of the story with a loving, close and mutually respectful relationship."

Well-worth listening to.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Ongoing trial, Donors ‘duped’ by alleged terror plotters - 23 Oct 2012

BBC News, Terror trial: 'Public duped into funding bomb plotters', 23 Oct 2012

AP/ABC, Prosecutor: UK Bomb Plotters Discussed Attacks, 23 Oct 2012"The prosecutor said Tuesday that suspect Irfan Khalid was heard describing the device, featured in the al-Qaida magazine Inspire, saying the idea was to "just drive it into people in (a) crowded area.""

Trial Begins in for Alleged U.K. Bomb Plot Conspirators

AP/, Trial Begins in for Alleged U.K. Bomb Plot Conspirators, 22 Oct 2012 "Three British Muslim men went on trial in London on Monday, accused of plotting a bombing campaign that prosecutors say could have been deadlier than the 2005 London transit attacks."

Monday, 15 October 2012

Essex fire: Father fought hard to save his family

Telegraph, Essex fire: Father fought hard to save his family, 15 Oct 2012 "A man who lost his wife and four children in a suspected arson attack on their home "fought hard to save his family in appalling conditions", police said today."

Video: Muslims protest outside Google London HQ

Telegraph, Video: Muslims protest outside Google London HQ, 14 Oct 2012


Peter Beaumont, Observer, Homeland is brilliant drama. But does it present a crude image of Muslims? "The Emmy-winning Homeland on Channel 4 is a case in point. Its plotting is as ridiculous as it is exciting. But what makes it difficult to watch is its treatment of Muslims."

I've not seen this one, having missed the first series too. Not sure I am encouraged by this review to get the box set...

Friday, 12 October 2012

Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan

For information: An Evening for Babar and Talha – Iqra TV Sky 826 Tonight! « We are Babar Ahmad "An Evening for Babar and Talha will be taking place tonight from 7pm to raise awareness and support for the cause of Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan who were extradited to the USA last week."

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Morten Storm

The Independent, Born in Denmark, lived in Yorkshire, led the CIA to al-Qa'ida's leader in Yemen, 10 Oct 2012 "In a series of interviews with the Danish media, the 36-year-old said he had exploited his friendship with the US-born al-Qa'ida chief to help in the assassination of the radical cleric last year. Storm claims he located Awlaki using an encrypted USB device passed to one of the militant cleric's messengers during a visit to Yemen in 2011. Awlaki is alleged to have orchestrated attacks on Western targets including one involving underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab."

Abu Qatada

BBC News - Abu Qatada appeal: UK called for pardon by Jordan

Evening Standard, Abu Qatada: Deportation saga, 10 Oct 2012

Terror suspects probed over kidnap of UK photographer

BBC News - Terror suspects probed over kidnap of UK photographer

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Monday, 8 October 2012

"Ahmadi Muslims in UK call for urgent action against hate"

The Guardian, Ahmadi Muslims in UK call for urgent action against hate, 7 Oct 2012 "President of London's Ahmadiyya community urges government to intervene amid growing fear of persecution and attack." Update: Also see the related letter from Qurbat Hussain

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Citizen Khan’s Alia: How the hijab got sexy

Citizen Khan’s Alia: How the hijab got sexy - Comment - Voices - The Independent  opinion piece: "BBC1’s Citizen Khan has received complaints not least for suggesting that Pakistani households are headed by swindling, male chauvinists who keep women under their yoke. But the production team hit the nail on the head with personalities like Alia, played by Bhavna Limbachia."

Monday, 1 October 2012

Prison recruitment issues

Britain's terror cells: A chilling insight into how gangs of convicted terrorists recruit prisoners for Al Qaeda | Mail Online "The central Extremism Unit based at the Ministry of Justice is now implementing a three-pronged campaign across its ‘high-security estate’.

"Its first element is perhaps the least surprising: an enhanced security and prison intelligence ‘toolkit’, involving much closer liaison between the jails, police and MI5.

"The other two elements break entirely new ground, however. One is an effort to enlist Muslim prison chaplains (imams) in a carefully structured theological struggle against extremism. In their meetings on the wings with prisoners, through courses of religious study and in their sermons at Friday prayers, the imams are trying to counter the jihadist interpretation of Islam."

British computer expert bids to halt US extradition, British computer expert bids to halt US extradition "Babar Ahmad, a British computer expert accused by the United States of raising funds for terrorism, has launched a High Court bid to halt his extradition, the Judicial Office said Monday."

Abu Hamza

Reuters, Abu Hamza wins delay in extradition to United States, "Radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has won a delay in his extradition from Britain to the United States, days after he lost an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights."

Doctor's Diary: Abu Hamza's hook is simple and surprisingly practical - Telegraph"Abu Hamza's poor public image is not helped by his piratical hook, but for all its appearances, it is surprisingly practical."

Monday, 17 September 2012

Contextualising Muslims

Reports - HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies  "Report of a series of four symposia organised by the Centre of Islamic Studies, supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government, in association with the Universities of Exeter and Westminster."

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

“Citizen Khan” Divides UK Muslims

“Citizen Khan” Divides UK Muslims - Europe - News -

New and noted: Islam in the West book

New and noted: Islam in the West: Key Issues in Multiculturalism, Edited by Max Farrar, Simon Robinson, Yasmin Valli and Paul Wetherly : Palgrave Macmillan "In recent years the debate on multiculturalism in the UK and other western societies has focused principally on Islam, and the specific 'problems' said to be posed by Muslims have been invoked to justify the claim that multiculturalism has failed. That claim is opened to scrutiny and challenged in this unique collection through a series of explorations of specific issues and controversies – including the question of the veil, crime, political Islam, the role of Muslim women, sexuality, and the Danish cartoons affair – and through more general reflections on the nature of multiculturalism. By exploring the nature of cultural differences and sensitivities and examining the way conflicts have played out, this challenging book makes a wide-ranging contribution to debate and a more constructive inter-cultural engagement. The contributors draw upon the disciplines of social science, ethics, theology, philosophy and education to examine the nature of the issues and flashpoints and to draw out implications for theory, policy and practice."

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Citizen Khan review

Arifa Akbar, Independent, Last night's viewing - Citizen Khan, BBC1 "In fact, the whole show seemed like it was stuck in a 1970s time warp. If the BBC's billing of it as the channel's first British Muslim comedy series had intended to give it some edge, this first episode quickly dispelled the spin."

Gatwick migration officer case

Why won't they tell me what I did wrong, asks Gatwick migration officer branded a terror risk in a secret court | Mail Online "An Arab immigration officer whose colleagues claimed he looked at the Al Jazeera website too much at work was sacked over alleged links to Islamic terrorism, a tribunal heard."

Friday, 24 August 2012

Citizen Khan

The Guardian, Citizen Khan: an Asian sitcom star is born "Citizen Khan's comedy mostly takes place in the twin hubs of Mr Khan's life: the mosque and the family home in Sparkhill, Birmingham. The set is fantastically well-observed, from the clear plastic covering on the chintzy sofa – a familiar sight to many of us who grew up the children of immigrants – to the violently orange 70s-style kitchen counter tops."

New Report

Equality, human rights and religion or belief: time to get out of the courtroom? – Alice Donald « UK Human Rights Blog "A new report for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) by researchers at London Metropolitan University, including myself, explores these controversies. It is based largely on interviews and roundtable discussions with around 100 religion or belief groups, human rights and/or equality organisations, employers, public service staff, academics and lawyers. It is concerned as much with differing perceptions and understandings of the law as with the law itself. It also examines the practical application of the law in the workplace and public services."

Friday, 3 August 2012

Shafilea Ahmed case concludes

Guardian, Shafilea Ahmed's parents jailed for her murder, 3 Aug 2012 "The parents of Shafilea Ahmed have both been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years after being found guilty of murdering their 17-year-old daughter."

Friday, 20 July 2012

Couple guilty of bomb plot

Yorkshire Post, Muslim couple guilty of anti-Jewish bomb plot, 19 Jul 2012 "Shasta Khan, 38, and her husband, Mohammed Sajid Khan, 33, bought substances and equipment from supermarkets to assemble an improvised explosive device.

"Police found a cache of terror-related material after being called to a domestic dispute at the couple’s home in Oldham, last July.

"Beheading videos, propaganda glorifying Osama bin Laden and bomb-making guides were seized along with peroxide and bleach, used by Shasta Khan in her hairdressing work, which together with electrical equipment were being readied to make a bomb."

'Great British Islam'

BBC iPlayer - Great British Islam  I am hoping to view this one  soon, as I missed it the other day: "As Ramadan approaches, this documentary tells the little-known story of three English gentlemen who embraced Islam at a time when to be a Muslim was to be seen to be a traitor to your country. Through personal journeys of still surviving relatives, the programme looks at their achievements and how their legacy lives on today."

Ramadan links (UK)

Ramadan Timetable. There's also a version on Facebook

This is South Wales, Carwyn's Ramadan message

Belfast Telegraph, PM Ramadan messsage remembers Syria

Radio Ramadan Slough

BBC News, Will Muslim athletes fast during Ramadan and the Olympics?, 17 Jul 2012

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Census 2011

ONS Home contains data from the 2011 census.  Also see The Guardian, A record population increase? It's OK, Britain can cope. No doubt the data will be crunched further in relation to key issues for this blog.

'Muslims and Political Participation in Britain'

Muslims and Political Participation in Britain: Conference 2012 | Muslims in Britain | Alwaleed Centre "Muslims play a prominent role in British political life and this conference showcased current research into Muslim participation both in terms of electoral politics and civil society initiatives.

"The conference was organised by the Alwaleed Centre at the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge and the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN)."

Conference papers, video and associated materials are available through the above link.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Muslim Women in Britain: De-Mystifying the Muslimah

Sariya Contractor, Muslim Women in Britain: De-Mystifying the Muslimah (Hardback) - Routledge

New book: "Perceptions of Muslim women in Western society have been shaped by historical and sociological conditions such as colonialism, patriarchy and Orientalism. In Muslim Women in Britain, Sariya Contractor seeks to reinstate the Muslimah as a storyteller who tells her own story."

The book is expensive (£80) - hopefully a cheaper edition will emerge in due course, as it looks very interesting.

Opinion piece: Muslims are well-integrated in Britain – but no one seems to believe it

Muslims are well-integrated in Britain – but no one seems to believe it | Leon Moosavi | Comment is free | "In Britain today there is a mismatch between how non-Muslims often perceive Muslims and how Muslims typically perceive themselves. This disconnect is down to a tendency by non-Muslims to assume that Muslims struggle with their British identity and divided loyalties. These concerns were challenged a few days ago,in a report by the University of Essex that found Muslims actually identify with Britishness more than any other Britons."

Also see iSER, Ethnic minorities living in the UK feel more British than white Britons The Understanding Society: Findings 2012 report is here: Understanding Society: Findings 2012 [haven't read it yet!]

Convert's extremist views were aired in stepbrother's BBC documentary

Telegraph, Convert's extremist views were aired in stepbrother's BBC documentary "Three years ago film maker Robb Leech was reading a newspaper article about the radical Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary, when he spotted his stepbrother, Richard Dart’s name."

Also see Telegraph, White Muslim one of six arrested over ‘terror plot'

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Maajid Nawaz interview

BBC - BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Start the Week, National Identity with Maajid Nawaz and Sir Christopher Meyer.  For information (and UK residents who can access Radio 4's Listen Again): Maajid Nawaz discusses his opinions and publicises a new book entitled 'Radical: My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening'. I haven't read this book yet, not seen any reviews.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Muslim Children’s Stories

Muslim Children’s Stories - Eventbrite "On 10th July 2012 StoryWorks at the University of Glamorgan and the Muslim Council for Wales will launch a set of digital stories made by Muslim children from Cardiff, aged between six and thirteen. The stories are based on themes that arose in a recent Cardiff University research project and they focus on children’s experiences of learning to be a Muslim." Click on the above link for more details. Project report pdf is here

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

"MI5 warns al-Qaida regaining UK toehold after Arab spring"

MI5 warns al-Qaida regaining UK toehold after Arab spring | UK news | The Guardian: "In the months after the Olympics, MI5 is likely to reorganise itself to give more resources to counter the threats from cyber space.

"Vulnerabilities in the internet are being exploited aggressively, not just by criminals but also by states," Evans [Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5] said. "And the extent of what is going on is astonishing, with industrial scale processes involving many thousands of people lying behind both state sponsored cyber espionage and organised cyber crime." Terrorist groups had not posed a significant threat in this area, he said."

Monday, 25 June 2012

Rowan Williams on Muslims in the UK

The Observer, Rowan Williams pours scorn on David Cameron's 'big society', 24 Jun 2012 "The archbishop says that the Labour party was wrong in 2006 to make incitement to religious hatred a criminal offence, arguing that anti-Muslim statements could show courage." I think one needs to take a look at the full quote on this; it would be interesting to read the book in context.

Update: Also see Faith & Theology, Rowan Williams in the Observer: Muslim loyalty and the nation state

Friday, 22 June 2012

Babur in London

Guardian, Babur in London - a challenging subject at Opera North, so close to Beeston "The potentially inflammatory theme of Muslim suicide bombers makes Babur in London a most unlikely opera. Staged last week at Opera North in Leeds and currently touring nationally, The Opera Group's latest production comes complete with hijab-clad characters, and demonstrates the degree of intense interest in modern-day terrorism."

More information here: Operagroup, Babur in London

One Direction Fans Hit Back At Zayn Malik 'Pimping Islam' Claims

Bradford Telegraph & Argus, One Direction Fans Hit Back At Zayn Malik 'Pimping Islam' Claims, 21 Jun 2012 "Bradford pop star Zayn Malik has flown back alone to the UK midway through his band One Direction’s tour of America after an attack by a right-wing talk show host and blogger who accused him of “pimping Islam” at his young female fans."

'United Irishmen'

BBC Radio 4, United Irishmen includes reference to dress-code issues in Northern Ireland, in this interesting documentary.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Radicalised by the net

Guardian, Muslim pair accused of planning jihad bomb attack on Jews in Britain, 20 Jun 2012 "A Muslim couple were assembling components of a home-made bomb to attack Jewish neighbourhoods after becoming radicalised by al-Qaida propaganda on the internet, a court heard on Wednesday."

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ramadan Iftars, British mosques to host Ramadan Iftars during Olympics, 12 Jun 2012: "As London gets busy to host the Olympics in August, mosques across the country are gearing up for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan -- which this year coincides with the Games. "

'Islam’s place in Europe' Blogs, Islam’s place in Europe – Global Public Square - :

opinion piece by Jonathan Laurence.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Paving a political path to Bradford's Muslim women

Guardian, Paving a political path to Bradford's Muslim women, 11 Jun 2012 "Much has been made of Pakistani Muslim male politics in Bradford since Labour's historic defeat in the Bradford West by-election earlier this year. And since Muslim women were credited with being a key component of George Galloway's stunning victory, Labour has been keen to court this unlikely female electorate."

Diary of a Badman

Guardian, Diary of a Badman: 'I'm not a model Muslim, but I make people think', 10 Jun 2012 I have posted a more detailed piece about this, with videos, on my Virtually Islamic blog here

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Warsi under investigation

Telegraph, Baroness Warsi and the 'extremist', 9 Jun 2012 The Telegraph continues its focus on Warsi. "The peer is under investigation over her undeclared links to Abid Hussain, a relative by marriage with whom she is involved in a catering business.

"However, there were calls last week for the inquiry, ordered by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, to be widened after Mr Hussain admitted that he had been involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamist party that the Conservatives had pledged to ban."

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Don't Panik! Islam and Europe's 'Hip Hop Wars'

Hishaam Aidi, aljazeera, Don't Panik! Islam and Europe's 'Hip Hop Wars' "Surveying European hip hop today, one notices two things: first, as in America, some of the biggest stars are Muslim, the children of immigrants and/or converts; and second, a number of these artists are (or have been) embroiled in controversies about freedom of expression, national identity and extremism. European government officials are increasingly worried about the influence that Muslim rap artists wield over youth, and are scrutinising hip hop practices in the immigrant neighbourhoods, trying to decide which Muslim hip hop artists to promote and which to push aside." There's also a link in the article to a more detailed piece by Hishaam Aidi entitled The Grand Hip Hop Chessboard

Prayers Center Closure Shocks UK Muslims

OnIslam, Prayers Center Closure Shocks UK Muslims "A sudden decision by a British university to shut down an Islamic center used for performing daily prayers is shocking Muslim students." refers to University of East Anglia

Baroness Warsi - opinion pieces

Dan Hodges, Telegraph Blogs, Comrade Warsi, fallen hero of the People's Revolution 

Independent, Steve Richards: Baroness Warsi's problem is that her job just doesn't matter enough 

other op-eds are available

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

"Challenging Extremists" report

An update on my post earlier this week about Student Rights/Henry Jackson Society's' "Challenging Extremists" report. The link to the report is below. I haven't read the report yet: Rupert Sutton & Hannah Stuart, Student Rights - Challenging Extremists: Practical frameworks for our universities (pdf)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Muslim extremists using Facebook, Twitter to radicalise UK students: Report

Times of India, Muslim extremists using Facebook, Twitter to radicalise UK students: Report, 28 May 2012 " Islamic extremists are using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to radicalise British students and spread propaganda, according to a report.

 "Campaign groups The Henry Jackson Society and Student Rights, in their report 'Challenging Extremists' have uncovered the online use of propaganda."

I haven't found this report online yet.  I will update when it becomes available. There is a related report here:, Online Radicalisation: A Case Study [pdf]

Update: the report is now linked here [pdf]

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Research: 'Veil Ban Increases Anti-Muslim Hostility'

OnIslam, Veil Ban Increases Anti-Muslim Hostility, 22 May 2012 "A new British study has warned of rising hostility against Muslim women in the United Kingdom, referring to a direct link between the banning of the veil in France and increased levels of anti-Muslim discrimination." More information from the University of Leicester here, but I haven't located the report yet.

Shafilea Ahmed case

Daily Mail, Westernised girl defied parents with white stiletto-heeled boots and red hair dye... then they choked her to death with carrier bag, court told Refers to the ongoing case surrounding the murder of Shafilea Ahmed.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Islam in Britain: visual representation

Here's a representation made on Wordle of the Islam in Britain blog: 

Bradford politics

Guardian, The Northerner Blog, Bradford Muslims must practice serious, mainstream politics to win effective change, 16 May 2012 "The city's former Lord Mayor Mohammed Ajeeb condemns both Labour's lacklustre politics and Respect's firebranding; and reveals how he warned his party's national executive in 1999 about the dangers of 'clan' politics ..."

Leicester Gets First Muslim Mayor

onislam, Leicester Gets First Muslim Mayor, 18 May 2012 "An Indian-origin Muslim councilor Abdul Razak Osman has been sworn in as the first ever Muslim mayor in the multi-cultural town of Leicester, the post seen as a challenge as Britain prepares for the Olympic Games."

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

New and noted - Muslims in Britain: Making Social and Political Space

Muslims in Britain: Making Social and Political Space. Edited by Waqar Ahmad, Ziauddin Sardar (Routledge) "The management of social, religious and ethnic diversity is a key social policy concern in Britain, and Muslims in particular have become a focus of attention in recent years. This timely and topical volume examines the position of Muslims in Britain and how they are changing and making social, political and religious space." I am looking forward to reading this in due course (haven't seen it yet).

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Cardiff Muslims

Wales Online, Butetown faith march boosts image of Islam, 14 May 2012 "Between 40 and 50 took part in the event, a revival of a tradition instigated in Cardiff by the late Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail, who served the Muslim community of Butetown for over 60 years." Includes photos.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Book review

Book review (the book features a chapter by myself):
"Postcolonial Media Culture in Britain is a refreshing and interesting text that introduces readers to postcolonial theory using the context of British media culture in ethnic minority communities to explain key ideas and debates. "

Friday, 11 May 2012

'Asian grooming' op-ed
"When it comes to sex, Alyas Karmani is a plain-speaking man. For a Muslim imam he is breathtakingly so. "Oral sex and anal sex are taboo in the British Pakistani community," he announces matter-of-fact way over gosht palak in his favourite curry-house just up the hill from Bradford University. "

Agent in underwear bomb plot 'was British'
"Claims that British passport holder played central role in mission that led to death of top al-Qaida operative in Yemen."

Monday, 30 April 2012

'Female British Muslims are at last finding their voice'

Sara Khan, Guardian, Comment Is Free, Female British Muslims are at last finding their voice, 28 Apr 2012 "Increasingly, Muslim women know they are able to exert their rights through the British equalities and legal framework. Despite differences in education, profession and income, what many of these Muslim women have in common is the belief that they cannot allow these barriers, which existed in the previous generation, to continue into the next generation."

Manchester's Darul Aman mosque opens

BBC News, Manchester's Darul Aman mosque opens "The £1m Darul Aman mosque, on Greenheys Lane, is thought to be the second largest in Britain." There's a photograph on Ahmadiyya Mosques

Khalil Dale

Telegraph, British aid worker Khalil Dale beheaded by Taliban in Pakistan, 30 Apr 2012 "The decapitated body of a "gentle and caring" British aid worker has been found almost four months after he was kidnapped in Pakistan with all the hallmarks of a Taliban execution, police said."

Friday, 27 April 2012

'Divine Women from Islamic History'

Katerina Nordin, The Platform, Divine Women from Islamic History "The latest instalment of Divine Women on BBC Two opened a small but important window in to an all too neglected chapter in Islamic history."

Galloway: claims and counterclaims

Mail Online, George Galloway calls in lawyer over Jemima Khan’s claim that he converted to Islam in a secret ceremony more than a decade ago, 27 Apr 2012 "George Galloway has called in his lawyers over Jemima Khan's claim that he converted to Islam in a 'phantom' ceremony more than a decade ago."

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

'Milad rally'

Geo World, Thousands attend historic Milad rally in UK, 24 Apr 2012 "Of the thousands who attended the rally here, home to over 250,000 Pakistanis, nearly half were women and the rest included Sunni Muslim religious leaders, young and old of every age."


Guardian, Respect's Salma Yaqoob: 'Labour has gone a bit mad since Bradford West'

Scotland's imams

opinion piece: The Scotsman, Azeem Ibrahim: At the heart of what matters, 24 Apr 2012 "Scotland’s imams should not be opposing gay marriage but focusing their energies on the real threats facing young Muslims: drugs, poverty and crime, writes Azeem Ibrahim"

Queen Victoria's Last Love

On TV tonight (for UK viewers)

Channel 4, Queen Victoria's Last Love  "The story of Queen Victoria's relationship with her Indian servant Abdul Karim, which violated Victorian taboos and stoked royal jealousy, threatening her diamond jubilee celebrations."

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Monday, 23 April 2012

Reading list: New books on Muslims in Europe - reviewed

Joshua Sinai, Washington Times, BOOK REVIEW: ‘Europe’s Angry Muslims’

Haven't read either of the books reviewed (yet). They are:


By Robert S. Leiken
Oxford University Press, $27.95, 368 pages

By Jonathan Laurence
Princeton University Press, $29.95, 392 pages

'Supporters of Tawheed' in Cardiff

Wales Online, Islamic teacher under fire for calling on Welsh muslims to support fight for sharia law abroad, 22 Apr 2012 "An Islamic teacher whose group was at the centre of an anti-terror raid on a Cardiff community hall has come under fire for calling on Welsh muslims to “physically” support the fight for sharia law abroad."

Monday, 16 April 2012

'Hajj show at British Museum' review

Guardian, Hajj show at British Museum surprise hit

I attended the Hajj exhibit (discussed above) at the British Museum last week. Fortunately, I pre-booked a ticket, as it was sold-out. It was quite expensive to get in, especially if you bought into the commentary and the catalogue. The hajj exhibit 'souvenirs' were over-priced.

 Inevitably, despite ticket number control, the exhibit was very crowded - also we were rushed through, as the museum was closing, so I didn't get to hear the audio section of personal experiences relating to hajj. 

There were some interesting sections, but I'd have liked more analysis and depth (especially in the audio commentary). There were no real references to digital technology and the hajj, either (maybe that's just my thing!) ... It was nice, however, to see the number of families attending the museum.

 Maybe the British Museum could put an exhibit on other forms of religious journeys relating to Islam and Muslims?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Muslim girl Scouts uniform
"The Scouts have developed the first uniform for Muslim girls as the organisation seeks to attract children from different cultures."

Good initiative!

Labour 'failed to connect with Asians in Bradford'

"George Galloway's victory in Bradford West was partly due to Labour's failure to connect with the Asian community, the shadow home secretary says."

Thursday, 29 March 2012

aQ 'recruit'

"A British man arrested as he landed at Mogadishu airport said yesterday he was in Somalia to join al-Qaeda but wanted none "of the violent stuff" and was looking for "somewhere sunny" to "relax" with fellow Muslims."

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Galloway in Bradford by-election

Guardian, Bradford West byelection: George Galloway shakes up Labour relations "The Respect candidate is doing well in the bookies' odds, capitalising on discontent with Labour rule in the constituency and tension in the Asian community."

 More information on the Respect party [other political parties are available]

Also see, George Galloway attacked over soldier comments at Bradford West debate

Monday, 26 March 2012

Daily Mail on 'Islamic marriage guide'


Daily Mail, 'Pull her by the ear, beat her by hand or stick': How the Islamic guide to a happy marriage advises husbands to treat their wives, 26 Mar 2012 "An Islamic 'marriage guide' book has sparked outrage - by advising men on the best ways to beat their wives.

 "A Gift For Muslim Couple tells husbands that they should beat their wives with 'hand or stick or pull her by the ears'.

 "But the book has faced a backlash from moderate Muslims who claim that it encourages domestic violence."

There's some reaction to this in the Washington Times, Marriage manual, "A Gift for a Muslim Couple" causes outrage in Canada, 26 Mar 2012

The book was written by Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvni (1863 – 1943) some years ago, but remains for sale. It seems that the 'controversy' started in Canada (background in al-Arabiya).

Abu Qatada's new home

Daily Mail, Qatada, the happiest man in England: Brother boasts of hate-preacher's delight as he is given a more expensive home, 26 Mar 2012 "The terror suspect has told relatives in his native Jordan that he is the ‘happiest man in England’ after he was rehoused to the more expensive property."

Halal food issues, ‘Cruel’ halal slaughter methods under attack in the UK, 21 Mar 2012 "British ministers are seeking to change a law to ensure that meat slaughtered using Islamic, or halal, methods cannot be sold without proper labelling."

Friday, 23 March 2012

Panorama: "Britain's Crimes of Honour"

Panorama: Britain's Crimes of Honour, BBC One. This was broadcast on 19 March 2012 and is still available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.

 Details: Panorama, My daughter was killed for 'honour'

 Also see Telegraph & Argus, ‘Honour’ beatings are ‘inexcusable’

"Mohammed Rafiq Sehgal, President of the Council For Mosques, spoke out after findings from a new poll of young British Asians were released."

I haven't seen the full programme yet; there is a summary on the Panorama website.

Peterborough’s Ghousia Mosque, Peterborough’s Ghousia Mosque in English Heritage book, 20 Mar 2012 "The Ghousia Mosque, in Gladstone Street, is going from holy books to the history books after it was selected for a publication being compiled by English Heritage, the Government’s adviser about the UK’s historic environment.

 "The book, which has as its working title The British Mosque: An Architectural and Social History, will examine the social, cultural, and architectural significance of mosques across the country."

Ghousia Mosque

Also see more on this interesting English Heritage project: ‘The British Mosque: a social and architectural history‘ by Shahed Saleem

"UK Muslims, Sikhs Oppose Gay Marriage"

OnIslam, UK Muslims, Sikhs Oppose Gay Marriage, 20 Mar 2012 "Britain's Muslims and Sikhs have joined forces to oppose government plans to legalize same-sex marriages, describing the move as an assault on religion."

Ken Livingstone: "I will make London a beacon of Islam"

Andrew Gilligan, Telegraph, Ken Livingstone: I will make London a beacon of Islam, 23 Mar 2012 "Ken Livingstone has promised to turn London into a “beacon” for the words of the Prophet Mohammed in a sermon at one of the capital’s most controversial mosques."

Ken Livingstone's "sermon" is here:

Monday, 5 March 2012

Snookered - theatre review

Charles Spencer, Telegraph, Snookered, Bush Theatre, review "Snookered memorably captures the confusion of young men who find themselves caught between two cultures. Their Asian background and tradition clearly matters to them, but they are also English, and deeply resent being viewed as outsiders."

Details: Bush Theatre, Snookered

Looks like an interesting production.

Archery revival in Shah Jahan Mosque

OnIslam, Surrey Mosques Revive Centuries-Old Archery "Teaching Muslim youth an attractive sport, Shah Jahan Mosque was praised for its role in encouraging young Muslims to play a sport while observing the daily prayers at the mosque."

Friday, 2 March 2012

Review of 'Make Bradford British'

Anita Singh, Telegraph, Make Bradford British: thanks for nothing, Channel 4
"There is an interesting, thought-provoking television programme to be made about Bradford and the challenges it faces. This wasn’t it."

I started watching this on 4oD, but I am not really a fan of 'reality shows' such as this.  I think it has potential to address some important issues, so will watch it again sometime.

New book: 'Towards Building a British Islam'

Haifaa A. Jawad, Towards Building a British Islam: New Muslims' Perspectives, Continuum Books "Despite the current negative image of Islam in Europe there has been a steady growth of converts to Islam over the past few decades. British converts are a highly diverse group, with different social, economic and educational backgrounds. Recently this group has grown in confidence and become increasingly active in influencing positive Islamic discourse in Britain. The book sheds light on the intellectual and spiritual contributions of some of the prominent figures of this group of ‘new Muslims’, and assesses their efforts in shaping Islam in British society; including: Martin Lings, Gai Eaton, Tim Winter and Hamza Yusuf."

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Rap and the Arab Spring - London event, FINAL REMINDER: Rap and the Arab Spring - London, Wednesday "This event will explore the questions: What ways did rap inspire the revolutionaries and how are the revolutions inspiring Arab rappers? With no real Arabic hip hop industry to speak of, how do we account for the genre's popularity and influence? Has Arab rap transcended its regional boundaries and made its impact global?"

Conference Announcement: Muslims and Political Participation in Britain

If you are interested in this event, please respond to address below, not myself:

Muslims and Political Participation in Britain

20th and 21st April 2012 

John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh

Registration is now open for this conference which focuses on the
involvement of Muslims in all aspects of political life in Britain. Places
are limited so register now to avoid disappointment. Deadline for
registration is 19th March 2012. The two day delegate rate is just £60 which
includes lunch and refreshments on both days. Accommodation options are also
available next to the conference venue.

On the evening of Friday 20th April there will also be a free public event
at the Scottish Parliament entitled 'Muslims and the political process in
Scotland'. The panel includes Muslim representatives from the four largest
political parties in Scotland:

Majid Hussain (Conservative Party)
Hanzala Malik MSP (Labour Party)
Shabnum Mustapha (Liberal Democrats)
Humza Yousaf MSP (Scottish National Party)

Further information about the conference and the public event may be found
at (click on the 'Conference: April 2012'

Monday, 27 February 2012

Shadid on politics

Anthony Shadid, NYT, Islamists’ Ideas on Democracy and Faith Face Test in Tunisia - this article from the late Anthony Shadid was reproduced in the Observer at the weekend. It's a comprehensive and interesting piece about Tunisian politics, and the impact of exile (in this case in London on Said Ferjani).

Friday, 24 February 2012

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Somali conference - related coverage

Much of this coverage contains an internet-related element

Guardian, Somali community in Britain begins to find its voice

"Britain's Somalis have talks with David Cameron about problems of jobs, poverty, stress and image ..."

"Intelligence agencies say young extremists are travelling to training camps in Somalia as they once did in Afghanistan"

"Al-Qaida linked rebels have surrendered Somalia's third largest city, Baidoa, without a fight, fleeing in the face of a joint offensive by pro-government forces and Ethiopian troops."

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

UK Line Helps Islamophobia Victims, UK Line Helps Islamophobia Victims “Monitoring a rising Islamophobia rate in British society, a new line was launched to offer help for victims of hate crimes”

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Monday, 13 February 2012

Abu Qatada

NY Times, Britain Releases Militant Preacher, 13 Feb 2012 "Abu Qatada, a militant Islamic preacher held without charge for more than six years as a threat to Britain’s national security, was released from prison on Monday night after an immigration judge signed off on strict bail conditions earlier in the day."

Friday, 10 February 2012

Radicalisation issues

Telegraph, Extremist preachers now radicalising young Muslims in private homes, says senior Government security adviser, 10 Feb 2012 "Extremist preachers are turning their backs on mosques and using private homes to radicalise young Muslims into becoming terrorists, according to one of Britain’s top security advisers."

Stock Exchange bomb plot: Wales Institute for Muslim Affairs reaction

BBC News, Stock Exchange bomb plot: Wales Institute for Muslim Affairs reaction, 10 Feb 2012 "A Welsh Muslim think-tank says more must be done to tackle extremism after two Cardiff brothers were jailed for plotting to bomb the Stock Exchange."

Trial outcome

AFP, Nine Islamists jailed for plotting terror attacks, 9 Feb 2012 “[Judge] Wilkie said they were “fundamentalist Islamists who have turned to violent terrorism in direct response to material, both propagandist and instructive, issued on the Internet by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”“

Monday, 6 February 2012

Report. Roots of violent radicalisation

Home Affairs Committee - Nineteenth Report. Roots of violent radicalisation, 31 Jan 2012

Commons Select Committee, MPs urge internet providers to tackle on-line extremism  "The Committee concludes that the internet is one of the most significant vehicles for promoting violent radicalism - more so than prisons, universities or places of worship, although direct, personal contact with radicals is in many cases also a significant factor. Witnesses told the Committee that the internet played a part in most, if not all, cases of violent radicalisation.", UK lawmakers: Most radicalism linked to Internet, 6 Feb 2012

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Four men admit London Stock Exchange bomb plot

BBC News, Four men admit London Stock Exchange bomb plot, 1 Feb 2012 "Four men inspired by al-Qaeda have admitted planning to detonate a bomb at the London Stock Exchange."

There are several references to internet materials in this case.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Call for Papers: Renaissance Old Worlds: English Encounters from the Levant to the Far East

Conference announcement    (please reply to organisers, not myself!)

Renaissance Old Worlds: English Encounters from the Levant to the Far East

The British Library

29 June - 1 July 2012

The early modern period saw England establishing its first colonies in the New World, but its ideas and expectations about foreign nations, travel and its identity as a political and economic power on the global stage were influenced largely by its experiences in other distant but familiar nations. This conference will investigate English interactions with the ‘old worlds’ of the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East. It will ask how such cross-encounters may have shaped not only the literature, art and cultures of England and the host nations, but also a broad range of intellectual, political, cultural, religious and economic determinants of England’s relationship with the wider world.

Overarching questions to be investigated by the conference include:

(1) How did English cultural memories of the Old World, from art, literature and political events such as conflicts in the Islamic Mediterranean, influence actual travel encounters?

(2) How did information and expertise about distant places circulate, and who were the agents of such circulation (from missionaries, merchants, administrators, and indigenous informants, to artisans and scholars)?

(3) What form did the information take (from maps and texts to material artefacts)?

(4) How did religion inflect political and social negotiations? (How is anxiety about piracy in the Islamic Mediterranean and North Africa, for instance, connected to anxieties about conversion between Christianity and Islam?)

(5) What role did trading companies, both those established by the English and their European trading competitors, play in determining structures of knowledge and cross-cultural encounters?

Proposals are invited for complete panels of three or four papers, as well as individual papers on one of the following themes:

·         Interplay between ‘old worlds’ and ‘new’

·         Circulation networks

·         Visual and material culture (art, cartography, crafts)

·         Trade, diplomacy, piracy

·         Gift-exchange

·         Religion and conversion

·         Translation and transformation

Please send abstracts (250 words for individual papers and 500 words for complete panels) and a brief biographical statement (if proposing a panel, one for each participant) to Nandini Das at by 1 March 2012. Papers should take between 15–20 minutes to present, and panels should last no longer than 1 hour and 20 minutes.