Friday, 30 April 2010

Muslim women candidates and the election

BBC News, Birmingham could see Britain's first female Muslim MP, 30 Apr 2010 "Not only are we witnessing the largest number of MPs to retire in 60 years but, with a record number of Asian women also standing, Britain could have its first female Muslim MP."

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Going green...

Juan Cole's Informed Comment pointed to Amr Khaled Interview: Muslim Green Guide See the Muslim Green Guide (pdf) more more information.

Also see Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, who produce a regular newsletter.

Tower Hamlets

Jerome Taylor, Independent, Respect, Religion, Race and the battle for Tower Hamlets, 28 Apr 2010 "... Respect's best chance of holding on to a parliamentary seat rests in Bethnal Green and Bow, where Abjol Miah, a youth worker and local councillor with strong ties to east London's mosque network, is taking on Labour's Rushanara Ali in a contest that will finally provide British Bengalis with a representative in Parliament (Bangladeshis remain one of the only significant ethnic communities without an MP). "

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Anthony Glees' opinion piece

Opinion piece (and reader comment): Anthony Glees, Times Higher, My eureka moment: The enemies within, 22 Apr 2010 "The events of 11 September 2001 represented an obvious and serious intelligence failure. But it suddenly occurred to me that we needed to examine the background of the 9/11 bombers and not just regard them as appalling criminals, understandable as that view might be.

"After all, several of the 9/11 operatives had been students (notably at Hamburg University) and al-Qaeda used graduates more generally, as well as "useful idiots". If Islamic terrorists were not just criminals but also students or graduates, campuses and colleges could be places to look for them. Of course, many universities contain both the bright and the idiotic, dons as well as students."

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Mona Siddiqui on 'tolerance'

Edd McCracken, Herald Scotland, Leading Islamic scholar urges Muslims to adopt tolerance to other faiths and views, 25 Apr 2010 "Scotland’s top female Islamic scholar will use a ­­­­­high-­profile international platform in Rome next month to call on Muslims to be more tolerant towards other faiths and world views.

"As part of her speech to the ­Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Professor Mona Siddiqui will say that the future of the religion depends on Muslims moving away from viewing Judaism and Christianity as “corrupted” revelations."

Fred Halliday

Tributes to Fred Halliday:

Sami Zubaida, Guardian, Fred Halliday obituary, 26 April 2010

OpenDemocracy, Fred Halliday, 1946-2010: a tribute, 26 April 2010 "The death of political analyst and international-relations scholar Fred Halliday extinguishes a voice and a light that have illuminated world politics for more than forty years. David Hayes pays tribute and presents a selection of his work for openDemocracy."

OpenDemocracy, Fred Halliday 1946 – 2010

I would recommend many of his books, notably (in the context of this blog) Arabs in Exile, The Yemeni Community in Britain, I.B. Tauris, 1992. It's a pioneering study of Muslims in Britain, still relevant today.

Monday, 26 April 2010


Digital Spy, Nina Wadia: 'Enders plot gets very dark' "Speaking on This Morning today, Wadia explained that the Masoods are to face more misery as the BBC soap's producers want to carry on providing a realistic portrayal of the issues affecting gay Muslims.

"Fans of the Walford serial have already seen Syed's father Masood, played by Nitin Ganatra, being told to disown his son after seeking guidance from his local imam."

Cue drum roll...

Thursday, 22 April 2010

'Muslim Voices in School' book review, Book sheds light on the challenges Muslim youth face in Western schools, 21 Apr 2010 "Muslim Voices in School. Narratives of Identity and Pluralism is a follow up that was published in 2009. Written by Özlem Sensoy and Christopher Stonebanks, it brings together a number of studies conducted by university professors, teachers, students and scholars who have dealt with Muslim youth experiences in regards to Western schooling. Furthermore, the book highlights the role educators play in the lives of their students and sheds light on the importance of understanding how youth identity is shaped and influenced by what takes place outside of formal schooling."

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


Andrew Gilligan, Telegraph (blog), 'Forgery' mosque: new developments, 20 Apr 2010 "As we reported last month, a London mosque has been reported to the Charity Commission by one of its own trustees, a Muslim Labour MP, after he said it forged his signature on key legal documents.

"In a letter obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, Khalid Mahmood said he had become “seriously concerned” about actions taken by his fellow trustees at the North London Central Mosque and called for a “full investigation” into what he called “a serious criminal offence.”"

KFC discussions, KFC fights back in growing halal chicken row, 21 Apr 2010, "The fast-food restaurant had come under criticism from some sections of the Muslim community, who contest whether the chicken served in its stores is properly halal. KFC has stated that its chicken has been approved by two major halal bodies."

I must admit that is not a regular read of mine, but this is a significant issue.

Election issues

HA Hellyer, CIF, Guardian,For some MPs the Muslim vote will be vital, 20 Apr 2010 "Perhaps most fascinating about this election, however, is the level of interest that is taking place within the Muslim community. There are a number of dedicated websites urging participation – Muslim Vote 2010 and You Elect, for example. All of them, it must be said, are non-sectarian and non-party political – but apathy towards politics is at an all time high in Britain as a whole, and it could mean that the Muslim British community does not turn out to vote in very large numbers."

Bradford's "most beautiful minaret"

Ahl ul-Bayt News Agency, Bradford mosque wins 'most beautiful minaret in Europe' prize, 21 Apr 2010, "Bradford's Madni mosque, in northern England, has beaten 50 others to win the title of "Europe's most beautiful minaret," the European parliament was told Tuesday."

Also see, Model Mosque of Britain
I obtained the photo from there.

Mosque intercom, Bedfordshire

Islam in Europe, UK: Mosque intercom is giving warnings to residents, 20 Apr 2010 "The mosque on Katherine Street in Ashton operates a public address system in 250 homes. The intercom-style system is mainly used for religious purposes, but neighbourhood police officers are now using it to send out key crime reduction advice and information."

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Belfast Telegraph, Court stops Muslim girls ‘being sent abroad for marriage’, 20 Apr 2010 "Two Muslim girls have been stopped from travelling abroad in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, after a judge feared they were being sent for forced marriages."

Hasan 'Abd al-Hakim obituary

Guardian, Charles Le Gai Eaton obituary, 19 Apr 2010 "Within days of his death at the age of 89, the Muslim intellectual, writer and broadcaster Charles Le Gai Eaton, also known as Hasan 'Abd al-Hakim, was being hailed as "a towering patriarch of British Islam" and his death proclaimed as "the end of an era". One can imagine Eaton responding to such tributes by saying, quite simply: "Typical oriental hyperbole!""

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

'The Infidel' film

Michael Theodoulou, The National, Omid Djalili, UK's Iranian comic, takes on the Muslim-Jewish divide, 12 Apr 2010 Piece on Djlalili and his new film 'The Infidel'. "Despite trying to communicate to audiences that he is a Baha’i, most Britons assume Djalili is a Muslim, which, he said, “I have no problem with … but I’m not trying to represent the Muslim faith.” He added in an interview in 2006 with the Independent on Sunday: “I defend Islam because I feel there’s a lot of Islamophobia in the world right now.”" There are plenty of reviews. This one by Philip French is particulalry useful: Guardian/Observer, The Infidel, 11 Apr 2010 "Ethnic identity and the troubling competition between religious groups have been perennial subjects for both tragedy and comedy, and for the melodramatic and sentimental spaces in between. Now with The Infidel, the author and Jewish stand-up David Baddiel, one of the sharpest and funniest men in Britain, has thrown himself into the fray at a time when the stakes are perhaps higher than ever before. Will he succeed where others have failed and how would his success be measured?"

The official website for the film is here: Here's a trailer:

I haven't seen it yet.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Election issues

BBC, Faith forum warning over Muslim call not to vote, 11 Apr 2010 "A member of the West Midlands Faith Forum has warned Muslims against flyers distributed outside mosques after Friday prayers urging them not to vote."

Friday, 2 April 2010

UCL controversy

Syma Mohammed and Rashid Razaq, London Evening Standard, Muslim students could sue UCL for releasing details, 1 Apr 2010 "University College London could face legal action after the personal details of nearly a thousand Muslim students were handed over to police.

"The Federation of Student Islamic Societies has condemned the decision to pass on the names and addresses of students who have not been linked to any criminal offence, and may take the university to court."

Opinion piece on Sharia Councils

Mark Pritchard, [Conservative MP for The Wrekin], Shropshire Star, Blog: Sharia Councils ‘undermine social cohesion’, 2 Apr 2010 "Since the 1996 Arbitration Act, Government ministers have allowed Islamic tribunals around Britain to rule on a range of financial disputes, provided both parties agree to accept the court’s decision. But in recent years, these tribunals have developed into fully fledged Sharia Councils – allowed to settle new disputes, such as divorce, family law, and faith issues. These powers go well beyond the letter and spirit of the original legislation and whilst they provide new ways of dispensing cheap justice they do not always dispense fair justice." As we stumble towards a general election, expect more opinions on Islam from various perspectives. Other opinions are available....


Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman, Islam can do without Simon Cowell, 2 Apr 2010 "So will Simon become Suleiman? "Don't convert to Islam, Simon. Don't do it," says the right-wing US pundit Debbie Schlussel on her blog. For once, I can't help but agree. What do Muslims gain from the conversion of Cowell? New tunes? It frustrates me how my co-religionists get so excited at the prospect of people converting to Islam, especially celebrities. Last year, I was inundated with emails claiming Michael Jackson had been on the verge of a deathbed conversion to Islam. Heaven forbid." Opinion piece