Monday, 19 December 2011

Lost in Translation (Diaries of an Imam)

Abdullah Hasan,, Lost in Translation (Diaries of an Imam) Week 2 "Imams are supposed to be individuals whom the entire community follows, not just one section of the community. It is worrying that this is still a problem in the UK and in the 21st century. I do not think this is much of a problem among the younger generation. Yes, they do have other issues and concerns to tackle. I am not denying there will not be problems among the younger generation, there will be, but I am confident that they will be very easily resolved." opinion piece

"Bringing London’s “Christmas Bombers” to Trial"

Raffaello Pantucci, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 9 Issue: 46, Bringing London’s “Christmas Bombers” to Trial, December 16, 2011 "Five of the men are also accused of possessing material useful in the preparation of terrorism, and four are charged with owning two editions of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Inspire magazine and a copy of Saudi ideologue Muhammad bin Ahmad as-Salim’s famous tract “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad”"

Writer is the author of a forthcoming book We Love Death as You Love Life: Britain’s Suburban Mujahedeen (Hurst/Columbia University Press)

Friday, 16 December 2011


Telegraph, Terrorists' favourite bookseller guilty, 15 Dec 2011 "The Maktabah website received nearly 20m hits from 460,000 obsessive users, more than a third of whom lived in the US.

"Faraz made profits of at least £62,000 and employed a number of salesmen, sending unsolicited copies of his books to Islamic shops around the country."

"How much can we learn from the history of Islam in Britain?"

I haven't viewed this yet, but thought I'd drop this item - hosted by Tariq Ramadan on - into the blog anyway. I'll watch it when I have a bit more time ...

Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam

British Museum, Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam, 26 January – 15 April 2012 "One of the five pillars of Islam central to Muslim belief, Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime if they are able. This major exhibition charts the history of this deeply personal journey."

I hope I can get a ticket for this!

Check out Seán McLoughlin's survey in relation to this exhibit:

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

'Inside Iqra: Slough's Muslim primary school'

Masood Khan, Guardian, Inside Iqra: Slough's Muslim primary school - video, 12 Dec 2011 "In 2008, after years of campaigning and opposition, Iqra opened as one of the first Muslim primary schools in the United Kingdom. Film-maker Masood Khan talks to its head, chair of governors and a teaching assistant whose children attend the school, who make the case for faith-based education. Taking the opposite position, Jonathan Romain of the Accord Coalition tells Khan of his fear that such schools ghettoise children and fail to prepare them for a multicultural society."

Friday, 9 December 2011

Mosque arson case

UKPA, Pair jailed for mosque arson attack, 8 Dec 2011 "The court heard that the pair set fire to the mosque, in Regent Road in the Hanley area of the city, in a revenge attack after Muslim extremists burned poppies on Armistice Day."

'Reading the riots'

Guardian, Comment is Free, Reading the riots: ask the reason why, 8 Dec 2011 " ... as we report, nor were the riots entirely about race. Stop and search powers are used, in some forces, disproportionately against black people. There is a generation of young Muslims whose lives have been shaped by the war on terror. But what unites our interviewees is a sense of alienation. Barely half "felt part of British society". Race contributed to it, but more often it was poverty and a lack of hope." The associated reports on Reading the riots raise many significant issues, especially relating to this blog, including Shiv Malik's piece in the Guardian, Muslim rioters say police discrimination motivated them, 8 Dec 2011

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bradford litter campaign binned

OnIslam, UK Council Axes Anti-litter Muslim Campaign, 23 Nov 2011 "A British local council has axed plans to distribute thousands of leaflets that invoke the name of Allah to encourage Muslims not to drop litter for worries of offending the minority, the Yorkshire Post reported."

Muslims proud to be British - report

Guardian, Muslims Proud to be British? There's something to learn from the surprise, 23 Nov 2011. "The finding in Demos's report A Place for Pride that 83% of Muslims said they were proud to be a British citizen, compared with the national average of 79%, has been met with surprise in some parts of the press. Clearly many British citizens have both a strong religious identity and a strong national identity. Yet it also seems clear that many people see these identities as mutually exclusive. Why is this the case?"

Thursday, 17 November 2011


There's been a delay in posting, as I've been travelling. So I'm providing a re-cap of some recent events here:

Haj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, Journey to the heart of Islam under spotlight at Britain’s Haj exhibition, 13 Nov 2011 "The British Museum in London is to mount the first major exhibition dedicated to the Haj.

"“Haj: Journey to the Heart of Islam” will open Jan. 26 and run until April 15, 2012. Venetia Porter, curator of the museum’s Islamic and Contemporary Middle East Department, said the exhibition would examine the significance of Haj as one of the five pillars of Islam, exploring its importance for Muslims and looking at how this spiritual journey has evolved throughout history."


Scotsman, Khushi’s legacy curries favour, 16 Nov 2011

'British Muslims: active players in UK counterterrorism efforts' op-ed

Azeem Ibrahim,, British Muslims: active players in UK counterterrorism efforts 16 Nov 2011 "Community-based counterterrorism, however, has a proven track record in preventing terrorist incidents, with the communities themselves being the first to condemn criminal activity in their desire for peace." op-ed

"Concern grows in U.K., U.S. over Somali-based militants"

Reuters, Concern grows in U.K., U.S. over Somali-based militants, 16 Nov 2011 "In late October, two 18-year-old men from the Welsh city of Cardiff were arrested on Kenya's border with war-torn Somalia. The father of one of them told the BBC he believed his son had been "brainwashed" and was on his way to join an Islamic holy war."


Guardian, Lady Warsi: extremists forfeit their right to call themselves Muslim, 14 Nov 2011

'Muslims Against Crusades'

BBC News, Muslims Against Crusades banned by Theresa May, 10 Nov 2011 "The home secretary is banning Muslims Against Crusades (MAC), a group that planned an anti-Armistice Day protest."

Monday, 31 October 2011

Butetown, Cardiff in WW2

I found these links recently regarding Islam, Muslims and Wales. The link features some good historical photos of Cardiff's Muslim community:, The Germans bombed our Mosque-Butetown, Cardiff

Green Booked, Islam and Wales, 12 Oct 2010

Andrew Papworth's Blog, The importance of religion in Butetown, 17 Mar 2010 (contains a 1950s photo of Butetown Mosque)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

"Why Muslim women in the Middle East are doing Better than their Peers in UK?" op-ed

Iqbal Tamimi, Director for Arab Women Media Watch Centre in UK, Middle East Online, Why Muslim women in the Middle East are doing Better than their Peers in UK?, 17 Oct 2011

"Alriyadh, the national Saudi newspaper published an interesting story on December, 18, 2008, about an unusual marriage condition requested by a Saudi woman at the court of the city of Qatif, where she demanded that her future husband should provide her with 3 personal computers as part of her Dowry, and that he should guarantee her a lifetime access to internet. The groom refused her request, claiming that “internet has bad influence on women and facilitates 'virtual' mixing between men and women”. This incident indicates how important the internet has become in the life of Muslim women especially those who are isolated for social or health reasons. But this incident also shows that internet flirting is a major concern for Saudi men who are living in a segregated society, even though they make the highest percentage of subscribers on dating websites in the Arab region."

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Cardiff teenagers arrested

Wales Online, Cardiff teenagers held by Kenyan anti-terror unit due to be deported, 19 Oct 2011 "The father of one of two Cardiff teenagers arrested by anti-terror police in Kenya has said his son was “brainwashed” into believing he was “fighting in a holy war”." Also see BBC News, Two arrested Cardiff men, 18, 'deported by Kenya', 19 Oct 2011 "A joint statement from the Muslim community in Cardiff said the Somali and Pakistani community in particular, and the Muslim community in general, are anxiously waiting for the arrival of the pair." Internet recruitment link with this story.

Muslims and Political Participation: Conference 2012

University of Edinburgh, Muslims and Political Participation: Conference 2012, 20th and 21st April 2012 call for papers "This conference focuses on the involvement of Muslims in all aspects of political life in Britain with a particular emphasis on contemporary developments.

"Muslims have played prominent roles at all levels of British politics and have been represented in various elected positions since Bashir Maan became a member for Glasgow City Council in 1970. Subsequent milestones have included Muslims first holding posts such as that of Lord Mayor in 1985, MP in 1997, life peer in 1998, Minister in 2007 and the first female Muslim MPs were elected in 2010. For many years the Labour party dominated politics in British Muslim communities and this relationship is still strong. Yet all the major parties now actively seek to court a Muslim electorate as evidenced by the establishment of groups such as the Conservative Muslim Forum.

"Despite the impact that Muslims have had on election campaigns and their roles in various political institutions, research on this topic remains scant. Indeed, much of the existing work was couched within the broader areas of the participation of ethnic minorities or the impact of race on electoral politics. The conference hopes to address this lacuna and thereby highlight current research that deals with Muslims and political participation in Britain, whether at local, regional or national levels. It seeks to pay particular attention to how this participation has changed over recent years and identify new trends for the future, although historical reflections are also welcome.

"In addition to electoral politics and representation, the conference also seeks the submission of papers on other aspects of civil society such as social movements, trade unions and NGOs as well as papers which give insights into developments in other European countries. Cross-country comparisons which include Britain would be especially welcome."

Full details via the above link.

File on Four, 'Madrassas'

This programme is available on iPlayer and as a podcast.

BBC Radio 4, File on Four, Madrassas, 18 Oct 2011 "Earlier this year, an imam working in Stoke-on-Trent was jailed for raping a 12 year old boy at his mosque. In the wake of the case, File on 4 investigates whether the thousands of children who visit mosques and madrassas each week to study the Quran are being properly protected." 

Also see:

Fran Abrams, BBC News, Child abuse claims at UK madrassas 'tip of iceberg', 18 Oct 2011 "Britain's madrassas have faced more than 400 allegations of physical abuse in the past three years, a BBC investigation has discovered. "But only a tiny number have led to successful prosecutions."

Monday, 10 October 2011

Hip Hop, Hip Hop Link between Culture and Faith for Filmmaker "San Francisco filmmaker Mustafa Davis wanted to see how music became a link between Muslim identity and Western culture."

Hope this one gets shown in the UK - it sources UK and US artists.

'Creationism Attack Under UK Muslim Fire'

OnIslam, Creationism Attack Under UK Muslim Fire , 9 Oct 2011

"Muslim groups in Britain have sharply criticized an atheist professor who attacked Muslim faith schools for teaching creationsim for their students."

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

“Winds of Change: Cinema from Muslim Societies”, Winds of Change: Cinema from Muslim societies, 28 Sep 2011 "London’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), in collaboration with the academic publication “Third Text,” is presenting “Winds of Change: Cinema from Muslim Societies,” a series of talks and Islamic films." Details: ICA, “Winds of Change: Cinema from Muslim Societies”

'British Muslims reviving polygamy'

IINA, Great Britain/Islam: British Muslims reviving polygamy, 27 Sep 2011 "A growing number of young British Muslims are taking second or third wives in an unexpected revival of polygamy, according to religious leaders."

Friday, 23 September 2011

'The British “Islamic” Lifestyle Experience: Religiosity or Commercialization?'

Alia Raffia Ullah, Islam Online, The British “Islamic” Lifestyle Experience (1): Religiosity or Commercialization?, 20 Sep 2011 "This article explores the ideology of buying into Islam on the British high street, online and over the British Muslim media. It examines whether these recent developments are benefitting Muslims in Britain, or commercializing Islam; turning it into a profitable business."

Research on Muslim chaplains

BBC News, Muslim chaplains connect communities to public bodies, 27 Sep 2011 "Amongst the findings were the "strong Islamic" justification for chaplaincy work in a health care context, with chaplains citing the example of the Prophet Muhammad visiting the sick."

This relates to research led by Sophie Gilliat-Rae at Cardiff University.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

'Britain rounds up suspected terrorists'

UPI, Britain rounds up suspected terrorists, 20 Sep 2011 "Police in the Britain's West Midlands this week conducted intelligence-driven raids in Birmingham, arresting seven people and reportedly disrupting an Islamic terrorist plot."

Peace For Humanity Conference 2011

OnIslam, Muslim Scholar to Issue Peace Declaration, 18 Sep 2011 
 "A prominent Britain-based Muslim scholar [Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri] announced his plans to issue a historic global peace declaration next week in London, protesting against terrorism and educating the whole world against anti-Muslim racism and xenophobia."

Details: Peace For Humanity Conference 2011 – ‘Muhammad the Merciful’

Official website:  and promo clip:

Friday, 16 September 2011

Modernist Islamic Architecture, Modernist Islamic Architecture: Toward preserving a migrant past, 14 Sep 2011

"Understanding the evolution of the mosque, people’s relation to it and communal reaction have all played a big role in the new aesthetic MakeSpace is developing. “I think it is important that architecture talks about the present, about where it is and what it is, about the society that it is in,” he says. “Muslim British society is complex and layered. With each generation you get vast cultural changes; it is the new generations that dominate the Muslim landscape.”"

Opinion: Baroness Flather: 'Polygamy, welfare benefits and an insidious silence'

Opinion piece

 Daily Mail, Baroness Flather: Polygamy, welfare benefits and an insidious silence, 16 Sep 2011 "In this disturbing and brave exposé, a Pakistan-born baroness reveals how some of her countrymen have as many children as possible by several wives so as to milk our welfare system..."


Soeren Kern, Hudson Institute, Islamic Sharia Law Court Opens in Belgium, 15 Sep 2011

"Sharia4Belgium is linked to Anjem Choudary, a Sharia court judge based in London. Choudary, who was the leader of a group called Islam4UK before it was banned by British anti-terrorism authorities, believes in the primacy of Islam over all other faiths and has long campaigned for Islamic law to be implemented in all of Britain.

"Choudary is also a leader of the British Islamic Emirates Project, a campaign to turn twelve British cities – including what he calls "Londonistan" – into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence."

Book: Pointing the Finger: Islam and Muslims in the British Media

Peter Stauber (Reviewer), Counterfire, Pointing the Finger: Islam and Muslims in the British Media  

Book review of Pointing the Finger: Islam and Muslims in the British Media, eds. Julian Petley and Robin Richardson (Oneworld Publications 2011), 352pp

There's also a review by Tom Mills at New Left Project, Book Review: Pointing the Finger

As with so many other titles I refer to in my blogs, I haven't read this book yet (it cropped up in one of my student's papers!), but look forward to seeing it sometime.  

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Opinion piece: 'Time to break free?'

Ahmad Ali Khalid,, Blog, Time to break free?, 11 Sep 2011 "“No, Jihad does not mean holy war, it means struggle in Arabic,” this was a phrase that my Muslim friends and I repeated all too often in the aftermath of 9/11 in Britain. My generation who grew up in the shadow of 9/11 have had our religious experiences shaped not by moving Sufi poetry, reading philosophy, speaking about theology or researching about our religious traditions. Our religious experience has been shaped by an act of symbolic political violence; it has been shaped by questions of war, accusations of terror and interrogations about our loyalty which brought up the question of identy."

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Manchester trial

Guardian, Jihad recruiters jailed after anti-terror trial, 9 Sep 2011 "Munir Farooqi, 54, Israr Malik, 23, and Matthew Newton, 29, were exposed after undercover police officers infiltrated faith stalls in Manchester and found they were trying to groom vulnerable men to travel to training camps and battlefields abroad, where they would "fight, kill and die" in a jihad against coalition forces."

Thursday, 8 September 2011

'Britain's Muslim Soldiers - Voiceless yet Victorious'

Britain's Muslim Soldiers - Voiceless yet Victorious "The Shared War Project is a cross-community programme that retells the accounts of Muslim soldiers and also draws attention to African, African-Caribbean, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh and British efforts. For almost 4 years, we have witnessed the impact of telling these shared stories first-hand at schools, youth centres and community events. The Project encourages young people to view Britain as their home, to appreciate the contributions of their ancestors and to see themselves as stakeholders in Britain and not as voiceless subjects within a foreign land." [thanks to Yahya Birt for the link]

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Event Announcement - 'Islam in a Secular Europe - Panel'

Event Announcement (please direct any questions to the organisers, not myself):


Date: 16 September 2011
Time: 6:30pm for 7:00pm start - 9:30pm
Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tickets: £10 general (£5 concession for BHA and Central London Humanist members, students and members of Conway Hall) from

Islam in a Secular Europe is the theme of the 2011 annual Secular Europe Campaign debate, hosted by the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Central London Humanists, in association with Conway Hall. Using a ‘Question Time’ format, this timely debate comes one year on from the Pope’s state visit to the UK, which prompted the largest ever protests against the policies of the Holy See, and demonstrated the strength of secularist beliefs held in the UK. This year’s event will bring together some of the country’s leading thinkers and activists to debate and discuss topics including: whether religious freedom of Muslims in Europe depends on secularism; if veil and burkha bans are secularist or counter-secularist; what the relationship should be between sharia rules and secular law; and if secularism can admit any limitations on freedom of expression in religious matters.

Panellists include:
Yahya Birt, the Commissioning Editor at Kube Publishing and co-editor of British Secularism and Religion: Islam, Society and the State;
Sir David Blatherwick, diplomat, writer, distinguished supporter of Humanism, and current Trustee for the British University in Egypt;
Humeira Iqtida, lecturer at King's College London and author of Secularising Islamists? Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Pakistan;
Maleiha Malik, Professor in Law at King's College London teacher of courses in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, Discrimination Law and European Law;
Maryam Namazie, well-known critic of political Islam and commentator on women's rights, violence against women, cultural relativism, secularism, Humanism, religion, and Islam.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Reading List: The Dragon and the Crescent

Grahame Davies, The Dragon and the Crescent (Seren, £12.99) "In the early twenty-first century, the relationship between the West and Islam has, due to recent political events, become the subject of intense study, curiosity and tension.

"But to understand contemporary anxieties, we need to trace their historical roots. The Dragon and the Crescent does this for one small European nation, revealing for the first time, the full and surprising story of the Welsh relationship with Islam."

More info from Seren books

I've yet to read this, but it sounds interesting.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Islamic Psychology Conference


27 Jul 2011 - London
28 Jul 2011 - Manchester

"This conference aims to explore and debate the critical perspectives, themes and concepts that underpin 'Muslim Psychology' in theory and therapeutic practice; and how these might relate to 'mainstream' psychological and mental health services in the UK."

Monday, 27 June 2011

Report: Britain urged to intervene to end forced marriages

Guardian/gulfnews : Britain urged to intervene to end forced marriages, 27 Jun 2011: "Plan UK will publish a report this week entitled Breaking Vows, which states that ten million under-18s become child brides every year. In developing countries in South America, North Africa and parts of Asia, one in three under-18 year olds, and one in seven of all girls under 15, are married."

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Platform launched

MCB, The Platform is Raised: Celebrating the launch of a revolutionary new site, 7 Jun 2011 "The event celebrated the launch of a blog designed to facilitate a space for expression, promote proactive engagement and encourage a renewed and dynamic thinking for progress. The Platform is a site that unites talented Britons of diverse ages and backgrounds in the common cause of bettering Britain."

And here's the site itself (logo shown):

The Platform

'Newport Muslims launch anti-terror campaign'

South Wales Argus, Newport Muslims launch anti-terror campaign, 15 Jun 2011 "A coalition of Newport Muslim groups yesterday launched a grassroots campaign that spells out why terrorism and extremism are against the teaching of Islam."

Shari`ah-compliant Pensions

OnIslam, Shari`ah-compliant Pensions for UK Muslims

"Eyeing to get a share of the booming Islamic finance industry, a British firm has launched a Shari`ah-compliant fund to enable Muslims to save for retirement, the Zawya website reported."

Sheffield's Muslim Environmentalists

OnIslam, Sheffield's Muslim Environmentalists, 11 Jun 2011 "Drawn together by appreciation of mother nature and teachings of faith, a group of Muslim environmentalists in the central British city of Sheffield rolled up their sleeves in the service of their wider community and their religion as well.

"“For Muslims the Qur'an is very clear: Islam teaches us about our duty," Nabeel Nasser, the vice-chair of the Sheffield Islamic Network for the Environment (ShINE), told the Sheffield Telegraph on Saturday, June 11."

Tony Blair

Mail Online, I read the Koran every day, says former prime minister Tony Blair who claims it keeps him 'faith-literate', 13 Jun 2011

"Reading the Islamic religion’s holy book - considered by Muslims to be the exact words of God - ensured he remained ‘faith-literate’, the former Labour leader said."

Opinions on 'Islamophobia'

Andrew McCorkell, Independent, Muslims call for action against hate crimes, 12 June 2011 "The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) will challenge the "ethnic profiling" of members of its community, claiming that minorities are 42 times more likely to be targeted under the Terrorism Act."

International Islamic News Agency, UK/Islamophobia: UK Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes on Rise "Amid growing attacks on their worship places and religious leaders, British Muslims are calling for more robust efforts to fight rising hate crimes against their minority."

Also see Andrew Gilligan, Telegraph, Islamophobic crime fell in London last year – MCB spins the opposite, "There is, of course, plenty of anti-Muslim hatred in Britain, and it’s disgraceful. But these police figures are the only the latest in a great deal of evidence to suggest that it is, thankfully, diminishing."

I haven't seen the statistics (which don't necessarily tell the whole story). Clearly, there are many perspectives on this issue.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Prevent strategy

Home Office, Prevent strategy 2011

"The Prevent strategy has been re-focused following a review. The strategy now contains three objectives: to respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat from those who promote it; to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support; and to work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address."

There's a set of pdfs on the page, including versions in Arabic and Urdu.

I have yet to read any of these documents in detail.

Home Office sets out plan to block websites

ZDNet, Home Office sets out plan to block websites, 8 Jun 2011 "The government is considering a national blocklist to prevent people in state-funded networks from accessing websites that promote Islamic fundamentalism and other extremist views."

Prevent strategy

eGov, Counter-Terrorism: Home Secretary Theresa May Launches "Radically Different Prevent" Strategy, 8 Jun 2011

OnIslam, New Extremism Policy Alarms UK Muslims, 8 Jun 2011 "Muslim groups were united Wednesday, June 8, in criticizing a new revamped government policy to fight extremism, warning that the strategy fuels anti-Muslim sentiments and stigmatizes the sizable minority."

Also see Yorkshire Post, Leeds and Bradford to lead renewed drive against Islamist terror, 8 Jun 2011 "Ministers have identified Leeds and Bradford as being among 25 areas where funding will be targeted. They hope to stop British Muslims being radicalised with a new focus on tackling pro-terrorist ideologies and on challenging extremism in schools, universities and on the internet."

Expect further updates on this ...

UK Muslim Women Declare Jihad on Violence

OnIslam, UK Muslim Women Declare Jihad on Violence, 6 Jun 2011

"In an effort to clear misconceptions about the term of jihad, a group of British Muslim women have initiated a new campaign to fight against all types of violence, terrorism and domestic abuse."

Further details:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Reflections on 2001 Census and the 'Religion Question'

New and noted: Jamil Sherif, ‘A Census Chronicle: Reflections on the Campaign for a Religion Question in the 2001 Census for England and Wales’, Journal of Beliefs & Values, Vol. 32, 2011, pp. 1-18.

I haven't read this one yet.

'Islamic groups that do not embrace 'British values' to be targeted in UK'

David Sapsted, The National, Islamic groups that do not embrace 'British values' to be targeted in UK, 7 Jun 2011 "Several ministers, including the deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, chairman of the Conservative Party and the first Muslim woman to hold a British cabinet post, worry that radicals will be driven underground without open debates in which their views can be challenged."

Tackling 'radicalisation'

Daily Record, National blocking list of violent and unlawful websites at centre of new Government plans to tackle radicalisation, 7 Jun 2011 "Plans will be unveiled to prevent computers in schools, libraries and colleges from accessing unlawful material on the internet.
Mrs May has criticised universities for their "complacency" in tackling Islamic extremism on campus, saying that for too long they have not been sufficiently willing to recognise what was happening.

""We want to explore the potential for violent and unlawful URL lists to be voluntarily incorporated into independent national blocking lists," the new strategy will say."

Monday, 6 June 2011

Universities and 'radicalisation'

Mail Online, 40 UK universities are now breeding grounds for terror as hardline groups peddle hate on campus

"Officials have identified 40 English universities where ‘there may be particular risk of radicalisation or recruitment on campus’.

"A soon to be published Whitehall report – seen by the Daily Mail – will point to a string of examples of students going on to commit terrorist acts against this country or overseas."

Telegraph, Universities 'complacent' over Islamic radicals, 5 June 2011, Theresa May warns, "Theresa May told The Daily Telegraph that universities were not taking the issue of radicalisation seriously enough and that it was too easy for Muslim extremists to form groups on campuses “without anyone knowing” ...

" ... There will also be a move to limit access to extremist websites from public buildings, particularly schools and public libraries.

"Details of partnerships with YouTube and AOL to try to tackle extremism online, using lessons learned from anti-paedophile policing will be made public."

Samira Shackle , New Statesman, We will continue to spy on Muslims, says Theresa May, 6 Jun 2011 "The whole scheme is predicated on the idea that every Muslim is engaged in a battle for their souls between extremist and moderate forces. This is hugely overstated: the vast majority of ordinary Muslims go about their lives in the same moral universe as the rest of the population. A better idea would be to return to the pre-9/11 era of community cohesion work - integrating communities to foster a sense of belonging in the UK, rather than entrenching divisions along religious lines."

"Report warns of 'new generation' Islamic militants radicalised in back streets"

Patrick Sawer and Patrick Hennessy, Telegraph, Report warns of 'new generation' Islamic militants radicalised in back streets, 4 June 2011 "The report prepared for the Association of Chief Police Officers by the Universities' Police Science Institute at Cardiff University, found that 11 out of the 12 mosques it examined in London, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester have been targeted by extremist Islamist groups."

First cousin marriages in Muslim communities

Sue Reid, Mail Online, It's time to confront this taboo: First cousin marriages in Muslim communities are putting hundreds of children at risk, 3 Jun 2011

A sensitive subject, explored in depth in this report.

Also see: Saira Khan, Mail Online, Deformed babies and a shameful conspiracy of silence, 3 Jun 2011 "Professor Jones’s research showed that children of first cousins were ten times more likely to have recessive genetic disorders and face deafness, blindness and infant mortality.

"This is a shocking statistic, which is why I’m grateful that someone has finally been prepared to stand up and say what many of us in Islamic communities have known for decades."

Other opinions will no doubt present themselves online.

Friday, 3 June 2011

'Wish You Waziristan'

AP/, UK delays release of anti-terror cartoon movie, 1 June 2011

"The six-minute movie follows two England-raised Muslim brothers as they travel to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and back to Britain -- where they're taken into custody.

""It's a cautionary tale," said Martin Orton, whose company Bold Creative made the animated short with funding from the British government."

The clip has been taken down from YouTube, but you get a sense of the perspective from this SkyNews report ...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Teacher's attackers jailed

Nadia Sam-Daliri, East London Advertiser, Gang jailed after attacking teacher for giving lessons to Muslim girls, 27 May 2011

"Akmol Hussain had pre-planned the attack with the others because the teacher was “mocking Islam” and “putting doubt in people’s minds”, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard in evidence."

BBC, RE teacher Gary Smith's Muslim attackers jailed, 26 May 2011

"Four Muslim men who assaulted a religious education teacher because they did not approve of him teaching Muslim girls have been jailed."

Duncan Gardham, Telegraph, Men who beat up RE teacher were terrorist suspects, 27 May 2011 "Jailing the gang at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Judge Hand said they had “literally smashed Mr Smith’s face in.”

"He said the motivation for the attack was solely down to the victim’s religious beliefs. He told them: “You believed there was a higher authority to which you were responsible and that authority dictated you must attack Mr Smith.""

East London Mosque, East London Mosque Condemns Attack on Religious Education Teacher, 11 Feb 2011 ""This horrendous attack on teacher Gary Smith by young thugs was all the more shocking because they made religion an excuse," said Dilowar Khan, Executive Director of the East London Mosque. "Their abhorrent actions are entirely contrary to the teachings of Islam.""

Bradford's new mayor

OnIslam, Britain Gets First Muslim Woman Lord Mayor, 24 May 2011 "Councilor Ikram was installed on Tuesday as the new lord mayor of Bradford. Chosen as the first Muslim woman for the post, Ikram is a Labour councilor for Little Horton since 2004."

'Oldham: A town still divided?'

Ben Chu, Independent, Oldham: A town still divided?, 26 May 2011

"The Oldham riots raised ugly questions about segregation. Ten years on, Ben Chu argues that the problems were always more nuanced – but that the town, along with Bradford and Burnley, is learning the lessons of its past."

Also see Ben Chu, Independent, Muslims in Britain continued, 26 May 2011 unpacks his findings further

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Shah Jahan Mosque, Woking

BBC News, In pictures: UK's oldest purpose-built mosque in Woking, 10 May 2011 good set of pix (tip: Yahya Birt)

Zamzam health scare

AFP/, Saudis reject claims that holy water in Mecca is hazardous, 8 May 2011: "Saudi authorities have rejected claims that holy water from a spring in the Grand Mosque of Mecca is polluted and hazardous to health, reported Agence-France Presse on Sunday.

"On May 5, the BBC reported that it had found holy water, known as Zamzam, to be contaminated with arsenic and being sold in shops in London.""

Remembering 1981

BBC - BBC Radio 2 Programmes - Jeremy Vine, 11 May 2011: "After one o'clock, a special programme looks back thirty years at the riots in Brixton, Toxteth and Moss Side."

Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 yesterday had a good section on the Brixton, Toxteth and Moss Side Riots of 1981. You can hear it via the BBC iPlayer (it came on after 1 o'clock, so scroll through an hour). Of course, the events are not specifically relating to Muslim communities, but the issues are relevant, and it will probably be of interest to many readers of this blog.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Events in London

This looks really good. Unfortunately, I will not be in London for this, but some readers of this blog might enjoy these events. Please contact the organisers if you have any questions about this, not myself! I have cut-and-pasted it from the organisers' email - I recommend you confirm details with them ...

In association with: Institute of Musical Research, University of London, Iran Heritage Foundation, Centre for Iranian Studies, SOAS and The Royal Anthropological Institute

Saturday 14th May to Friday 20th May 2011

A mini-festival of feature and documentary films, and a two-day conference, focusing on the rich musical heritage and the burgeoning new music scenes in the Middle East.

TWO-DAY CONFERENCE: Tuesday May 17th and Wednesday May 18th 2011
Venue: Institute of Musical Research, University of London

Speakers: Martin Stokes (Oxford), Nacim Pak (Edinburgh), Kay Dickinson (Goldsmiths), Kamran Rastegar (Tufts), Peyman Yazdanian (Iran), John Baily (Goldsmiths), Tony Langlois (Limerick), Havana Marking and Federico Spinetti (Alberta). Plus film screenings.  Further details:


FILM SCREENINGS (all films are in the original language with English subtitles)

FEATURE FILMS: Saturday May 14th 2011 and Sunday May 15th 2011
Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn:
Tickets: £8.50/£7.50
Box office: 020 7328 1000

Saturday May 14th 2011, 4pmThe Band’s Visit (Dir: Eran Kolirin, 2007/Israel/France/USA/89 mins)

Sunday May 15th 2011, 3pmSanturi (Dir: Dariush Mehrjui, 2008/Iran/106mins)

DOCUMENTARY FILMS: Thursday May 19th and Friday May 20th 2011
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Admission free to all screenings below

Thursday May 19th 20111pm - Back Vocal (Dir: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, 2003/Iran)
2pm - I love Hip Hop in Morocco (Dir: Joshua Asen & Jennifer Needleman, 2007/USA/Morocco)
3.30pm - Umm Kulthum, A Voice Like Egypt (Dir: Michael Goldman,1996/ USA/ Egypt)
4.40pm - Two Bows (Dir: Bahman Kiarostami, 2004/Iran)
5.40pm - Arabic Fusion: The Sound Between the Notes (Dir: Cyril Eberle, 2010/ Dubai)
6:30pm - Breaking the Silence (Dir: Simon Broughton, 2002/UK/Afghanistan)
7:30pm - Crossing the Bridge (Dir: Faith Akin, 2005/Germany/Turkey)

Friday, May 20th 20112pm - Sounds of Silence (Dir: Amir Hamz & Mark Lazarz, 2006/Germany/ Iran)
3pm -  A Kabul Music Diary (Dir: John Baily, 2003/UK/Afghanistan)
4pm - Muezzin (Dir: Sebastian Brameshuber, 2008/Austria/Turkey)
5:30pm - The Singing Barber of Mosul (Dir: Katia Saleh, 2007/Lebanon)
6pm -  Slingshot Hip-Hop (Dir: Jackie Reem Salloum, 2008/Palestine/USA)
7:30pm  - Heavy Metal in Baghdad (Dir: Eddy Moretti & Soroosh Alvi, 2008/USA/ Iraq)

Times may be subject to change. Full details on:

Monday, 9 May 2011

Conference; "The Umayyads: History, Art and Culture in the First Century of Islam"

"The Umayyads: History, Art and Culture in the First Century of Islam", University of Edinburgh, 24-25 June 2011 "The aim of the present conference is to revisit the Umayyad era – history, art and culture – in the light of recent research, and to stimulate reflection on the representation of this past in the modern world."

Sounds interesting. Please address any enquiries to the organisers (not myself!).


AP, Internet chatter up on bin Laden revenge attacks, 7 May 2011 "Pipe bombs, a targeted car crash, a lone gunman: Western intelligence officials said Friday they are seeing increased Internet and phone chatter about cheap, small-scale terror attacks to avenge the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

"More than 100 protesters, meanwhile, gathered Friday outside the U.S. Embassy in London shouting, "USA, you will pay!" and warning of such revenge attacks.

Friday, 6 May 2011

"Ex-Taliban fighter in 'jihad recruitment bid'"

BBC News, Ex-Taliban fighter in 'jihad recruitment bid', 5 May 2011 "A former Taliban fighter tried to recruit undercover police officers in Manchester to fight in a holy war in Pakistan or Afghanistan, a court heard."

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Daughters of Eve: Muslim Women Critically Thinking the Past, Present and Future

I've received this event announcement, which I reproduce here. Please send enquiries to the organiser, not myself:

Daughters of Eve: Muslim Women Critically Thinking the Past, Present and Future

Date: Friday 6 to Sunday 8 May 2011

The two day national residential conference, which has been organised in partnership with the BMWC (Bradford Muslim Women’s Council and ISB (Islamic Society of Britain) is the first of its kind in Bradford. 
The event which is taking place at the Ramada Jarvis Hotel in Bradford aims to bring together women from across the UK. In order to facilitate this, we will be providing an opportunity for women to share their own experiences, meet different women; participate and learn through a series of interactive workshops, panel discussions and key note speeches by leading academics, journalists and scholars, as well as women working within grassroots organizations. 
You can also pamper yourself, view exhibitions and stalls and be entertained by Poetic Pilgrimage and a thought provoking play by Arakaan Creative on Extremism.
In a fast paced world where there is little time to take stock, we have provided opportunities for reflection and the sharing of spiritual stories and experiences. Prayer times have also been factored into the program creating opportunities for women to take part in congregational prayers if they wish to. 
For further information and queries please email or call Nuzhat on: 07432704858

Monday, 18 April 2011

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

I lifted this from the email announcement, as it looks interesting. Please address any questions to the organisers, rather than myself:

AbdoolKarim Vakil (King’s College, London)co-editor of Thinking Through Islamophobia: Global Perspectives Hurst 2011


Julian Petley (Brunel University) co-editor of Pointing the Finger: Islam and Muslims in the British Media,
Oneworld, 2011

AbdoolKarim Vakil and Julian Petley will discuss their new books and the contexts and ideas behind them, before taking questions from the floor. Copies of both books will be available for purchase.

Thursday 19 May 2011, 5.30-7.00pm
Room G3, SOAS Main Building, SOAS, University of London, Russell Square

All are welcome. Booking not required.

Further information:

Monday, 28 March 2011

'The Samosa'

The Independent, Ian Burrell: We should listen to moderate Muslims rather than ‘Mad Mullahs’, 28 Mar 2011 "So-called Mad Mullahs are never short of coverage in the British media but when the head of the London based Islamic Sharia Council was recently exposed for supporting the decriminalisation of rape within marriage it wasn’t Fleet Street which broke the story.

"The Samosa, a brave website produced by British Pakistanis, had the scoop."

Good article - which I read first in 'The I'.

More info: Facebook, The Samosa

The Samosa [web site]


Funeral of imam Sheik Said Hassan Ismail

WalesOnline, Funeral of imam Sheik Said Hassan Ismail more photos

Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail

Wales Online, Audio: Tributes to influential Cardiff imam

Wales Online, Tributes paid to Muslim leader, 24 Mar 2011 "Born to a second-generation Yemeni father and Welsh mother, from the age of eight he [Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail] was brought up in Butetown by Sheikh Hassan Ismail, one of the leaders of the UK Yemeni community at the time."

BBC News, Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail, Cardiff Muslim leader, dies, 24 Mar 2011

Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail participated in this excellent programme, which was broadcast a couple of months ago:

BBC Radio 2, Great British Faith: across Cardiff's communities

Friday, 25 March 2011

Muslim employee wins religious discrimination against Muslim employer

The Muslim News, Legal Corner: Muslim employee wins religious discrimination against Muslim employer, 25 Mar 2011 "n Khan v Ghafoor t/a Go Go Real Estate ET Case 1809595/09 an employment tribunal held that a female Muslim employee, dismissed for refusing to wear a headscarf to work, suffered direct discrimination on grounds of both sex and religious belief."

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Book review: Islamophobia: an international perspective

Muhammad Khan, The Muslim News, Book review: Islamophobia: an international perspective, 25 Mar 2011 review of Thinking through Islamophobia: Global Perspectives, Edited by S Sayyid and AbdoolKarim Vakil, London: Hurst & Company, pp319, 2010, PB, £15.99 [which I haven't read yet]

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Shanna Bukhari

The Observer, British Muslim who entered Miss Universe contest receives death threat, 20 Mar 2011 "When Shanna Bukhari decided she wanted to be the first Muslim to represent Britain in a global beauty pageant, she suspected the road ahead might not be smooth, but nothing could have prepared her for the abuse she received."

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Shadow minister under pressure

Joe Dyke and Ellie Buchdahl, Independent, Tories 'want Muslims out of London', says shadow minister, 17 Mar 2011

"A Labour shadow minister was last night facing calls for her dismissal after she was recorded saying that the Government "don't want Muslims living in central London". In an extraordinary attack, Karen Buck – Shadow Work and Pensions Minister – also said that ministers were "deeply hostile" to poor people having children. Last night the Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Warsi said the remarks were "deeply offensive" and called on Ed Miliband to remove her from Labour's frontbench."

Maldives: Seminar on Islam in Britain, Exchanging views on Islam in Britain, 16 Mar 2011 "The atmosphere that pervaded the large auditorium of the Male College Polytechnic last night was strongly tinged with youthful exuberance. Seated at a table facing an eager and attentive audience were four young and highly educated British born Muslims, each employed in a wide array of fields, and in possession of a wealth of information pertaining to the facts and misconceptions surrounding Islamic life in England."

Seminar in the Maldives

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

"Paraded on Libyan TV, the rebel 'Al Qaeda fighter' from Britain"

Daily Mail, Paraded on Libyan TV, the rebel 'Al Qaeda fighter' from Britain, 16 Mar 2011
"A British citizen captured in Libya has been branded an Islamic terrorist by Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

"Salah Mohammed Ali Aboaoba was paraded in front of the world press yesterday by officials who claim he has been helping Al Qaeda fuel unrest in the country."

Friday, 11 March 2011

Seminar series - Islamic Life and Culture

University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Seminar Series - Islamic Life and Culture

"The Oppression of Women in Islam: Myth or Reality?
"The seminar series seeks to highlight the variety and diversity of Islamic life and culture. Its focus is not on the study or interpretation of religious texts as such, but rather on the experience of Islam, as it is lived out on a daily basis in multicultural societies and as it engages with a wide range of other cultural traditions, some shaped by religious belief but others that are entirely secular. The series aims to address some of the urgent questions relating to the promotion of cultural harmony and mutual understanding in contemporary society, as it becomes increasingly fragmented and polarized."

Speakers are Dr Chris Allen and Dr Laura Zahra McDonald. The event takes place on 18 May 2011. Click on the above for details.

MINAB statement on Usama Hasan

MINAB condemns - in the strongest possible terms - the reported death threats issued against British Muslim "The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) condemns - in the strongest possible terms - the reported death threats issued against British Muslim Imam, Dr. Usama Hasan.

"Maulana Ahmed Nisar Beg Acting Chairman of the MINAB said:

"“We all need to respect the principle of freedom of speech. All Muslims in the UK should stand united against the issuing of death threats, which is unacceptable. Usama is a scholar and a scientist and he has the right to debate and express opinions without fear of persecution.”"

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Monday, 7 March 2011

London imam subjected to death threats for supporting evolution

The Guardian, London imam subjected to death threats for supporting evolution, 6 Mar 2011 "An imam of an east London mosque has been subject to death threats and intimidation for expressing his views on evolution and women's right to refuse the veil.

"Dr Usama Hasan, vice-chairman at Leyton mosque and a senior lecturer in engineering at Middlesex University, ceased delivering Friday prayers after 25 years of service when 50 Muslim protesters disrupted his lecture by handing out leaflets against him and shouting in the mosque for his execution."

Friday, 4 March 2011

Daily Star reporter quits in protest at tabloid's 'anti-Muslim' coverage

The Guardian, Daily Star reporter quits in protest at tabloid's 'anti-Muslim' coverage | Media, 4 Mar 2011 "The Daily Star has been accused of printing fictional stories by a disgruntled reporter who has resigned over its "hatemongering" anti-Muslim propaganda."

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Friday, 25 February 2011

Law student convicted

The case of Mohammed Gul:

The Independent, Law student convicted over terror videos, 24 Feb 2011 "One charge related to an internet forum and four charges to 29 videos posted on YouTube in 2008."

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

'From Mosque to YouTube'

I gave a paper tonight at the University of Cardiff, 'From Mosque to YouTube' on UK Muslim online activities. The paper was part of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK public lecture series. Further lectures in the series are listed here

Monday, 21 February 2011

"British gay Muslims seek Islamic weddings"

BBC News - British gay Muslims seek Islamic weddings, 20 Feb 2011 "British gay Muslims are joining the global fight for equality and seeking gay Islamic marriage. The BBC's 5 live Investigates speaks to one couple about their 'nikah' - a Muslim matrimonial contract - and asks how they balance their sexuality with the Islamic faith."

Links to a 5 Live radio programme, which will be available to download.

UK's Muslim soldiers ‘fighting extremists not Muslims'

BBC News - UK's Muslim soldiers ‘fighting extremists not Muslims', 21 Feb 2011

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Universities failing to fight extremism, says watchdog | Education | The Guardian

The Guardian, Universities failing to fight extremism, says watchdog, 18 Feb 2011 "The government's counterterrorism watchdog believes Britain's universities are reluctant to deal with radicalisation on campus and says a report by vice-chancellors that rejects demands to ban controversial speakers is "weak""

I've not seen the report yet (preoccupied with Libya). Here's the link

Universities UK, Freedom of speech on campus: rights and responsibilities in UK universities

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Chris Allen's blog

Bigmouth Strikes in Vain is "'Islamophobia'" author Chris Allen's blog, and is a useful resource for commentaries and perspectives on related issues.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Channel 4 documentary 'Lessons in Hate and Violence'

Channel 4, Dispatches, Lessons in Hate and Violence "Dispatches goes undercover to investigate allegations that teachers regularly assault young children in some of the 2,000 Muslim schools in Britain run by Islamic organisations.

"The programme also follows up allegations that, behind closed doors, some Muslim secondary schools teach a message of hatred and intolerance.

"The programme is presented by reporter Tazeen Ahmad.

"Dispatches: Lessons in Hate and Violence will not be available on 4oD at this time, due to an ongoing police investigation concerning subjects featured in the programme."

That's unfortunate, for those of us who missed watching it last night (assuming it would be available on-demand via 4oD). There's a brief official clip here, and various parties have put clips onto YouTube as well.

Some reaction can be found here:

Darul Uloom Islamic High School & College, Official Press Release of Darul Uloom Islamic High School regarding the Channel 4 Dispatches Programme, 15 Feb 2011 "No school can claim to be immune from incidents that require remedial action. What we have demonstrated repeatedly, is that our procedures have dealt with contraventions in the past, and will continue to do so. These actions have included expulsions of students, and dismissals of staff, as long as six months ago. Nevertheless, we will be carrying a full and comprehensive investigation into all the matters arising out of this programme, and where necessary we will take proper action."

Muslim Council of Britain, MCB Responds to Channel 4 Dispatches Documentary: One Incident of Child-Abuse is One Incident Too Many, 14 Feb 2011 "The Muslim Council of Britain does not believe that the abuse of children in madrasah and mosque-based education is a widespread phenomenon in Britain and we believe that the vast majority of British mosques hold the health and safety of children to be of utmost importance, following true Islamic teaching and British law."

"However, as far as we are concerned, one incident of child-abuse is one incident too many. Our community must work together to root out any such behaviour in our precious institutions."

Daily Mail, 'Muslim preacher', 59, arrested over alleged assault on children at mosque featured in Channel 4 documentary, 15 Feb 2011 "Head teacher Mujahid Aziz said the school had been misrepresented."

Josh Halliday, Guardian, Channel 4 denies it 'unfairly targeted' Islamic school | Media | 14 Feb 2011 "Lessons in Hate and Violence, made by independent producer Hardcash, investigates allegations that some teachers in Islamic schools regularly assault young children and teach a message of hatred and intolerance. West Yorkshire police earlier on Monday arrested one man in Keighley in connection with footage due to be aired tonight."

BBC News Birmingham, Dispatches Islamic school to complain to Ofcom, 15 Feb 2011

'A muddled debate' (op-ed)

Irfan Husain,, A muddled debate, 9 Feb 2011: "The grim reality in our globalised world is that ideas, prejudices and ideologies now jostle for attention on our computer screens. Gullible youngsters are easily influenced by stirring messages and promises of martyrdom and glory. Cynical preachers use the Internet to groom people thousands of miles away to commit vicious acts of terrorism, ruining the lives of victims and perpetrators, while they remain a safe distant away from the scenes of the crimes." opinion piece

Monday, 14 February 2011

Mohammed Junaid Babar

Guardian, Jihadi who helped train 7/7 bomber freed by US after just five years, 13 Feb 2011 on the front page of the Guardian print-edition today

"An American jihadist who set up the terrorist training camp where the leader of the 2005 London suicide bombers learned how to manufacture explosives, has been quietly released after serving only four and a half years of a possible 70-year sentence, a Guardian investigation has learned."

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Curfews renamed

Nigel Morris, The Independent, Curfews are renamed 'overnight stays' in new anti-terror laws, 27 Jan 2011: "Terror suspects will still be ordered to observe a curfew of up to 10 hours following a review of the controversial control orders regime that was dismissed by civil liberties groups last night as a mere rebranding exercise."

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Coexistence Trust

Harriet Swain, Guardian, Muslim and Jewish students forge friendship network, 24 Jan 2011 "At universities around the UK, Muslim and Jewish students are finding common ground, with the help of the Coexistence Trust charity."

More information on the charity's activities can be found here: Coexistence Trust.

I don't know much about it, so have been reading the coverage and its site with interest.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Sayeeda Warsi

Andrew Anthony, The Observer, Sayeeda Warsi: A matter of pride and prejudice, 23 Jan 2011 "In her much-publicised speech at Leicester University last week, she claimed that "Islamophobia has now passed the dinner-table test", meaning that it's now acceptable among the chattering classes."

Friday, 21 January 2011

Video: "Muslim resistance: The struggle within"

Guardian, Muslim resistance: The struggle within, 17 Jan 2011 "videoDocumentary maker Masood Khan explores the Muslim community's struggle against extremism. In the first of three videos, he goes to Luton to see how Salafi Muslims are rejecting the extreme rhetoric of al-Muhajiroun."

I've yet to see this, or others in the series:

“Internalizing Islam in Britain”, The Project of “Internalizing Islam in Britain, 18 Jan 2011: "The University of Westminster and Exeter are about to compile different ideas and view points of Islamic figures around the Britain and publish it."

Qur'an of Kansuh al-Ghuri digitised

The University of Manchester, Technology reunites one of world’s largest Korans, 19 Jan 2011 "Experts at the John Rylands Library are using digital technology and the internet to reunite the 470 page Rylands Koran of Kansuh al-Ghuri with two missing leaves, discovered in the 1970s at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.

"Up to now, scholars have been unable to study the precious items - thought to be at least 500 years old – because they are too fragile.

"But now, the reunited digitised resource will be freely available for research, teaching and learning using Turning the Pages technology on a dedicated website."

I look forward to seeing this in due course.

Isa Ibrahim, British terrorist working with police to preventing young Muslims being radicalised, 18 Jan 2011: "A terrorist jailed for plotting to bomb a shopping centre has apologised for his actions – and is working with police to stop young Muslims being seduced by an ”ideology of hate”."

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Matthew Reisz, Times Higher, Contravene or intervene?, 6 Jan 2011 "Freedom of speech is passionately defended in UK education, but when Islamic extremism and even terrorism have emanated from some of our campuses, should institutions step in? Matthew Reisz weighs up the hands-on and hands-off approaches." Interesting article, which refers to research from a range of perspectives - a factor that needs to be taken into account within the analysis.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Modest Fashion Online Discussion‏

Hijab Style: Modest Fashion Online Discussion‏: "Next week there will be a great opportunity to take part in a 24-hour online discussion with the Modest Fashion research project team. (Professor Reina Lewis, Jane Cameron and Dr Emma Tarlo; author of Visibly Muslim).

"The site will go live at 7pm GMT on Wednesday 12th January 2011 and won't close until 7pm GMT on Thursday 13th January 2011. The project team will be staying up late to make sure that everyone has a convenient time to participate wherever they are in the world. To join the discussion simply follow this link and sign in on the day:"

The book Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith by Emma Tarlo [Berg] sounds interesting. Some of my MA students have an interest in this issue, so I'll be pointing them towards this.

Jack Straw's comments

The comments of Jack Straw [see BBC News, Jack Straw: Some white girls are 'easy meat' for abuse, 8 Jan 2011] on the 'grooming gang' issue have sparked a broad range of comment and opinion, some of which is represented here for the record - my usual disclaimer applies:, Muslim leader fears stigma after MP's sex case remarks, 10 Jan 2011: "Derby's Muslim community has expressed its shock after Jack Straw said the jailing of two Asian men for abusing schoolgirls highlighted a problem among Pakistani men."

Independent, Yasmin Alibhai Brown: Jack Straw is right to ask hard questions about Asian men, 10 Jan 2011 "Being avowedly a leftie liberal, anti-racist, feminist, Muslim, part-Pakistani, and yes, a very responsible person, I should be in the circle with these objectors – particularly as I can't stand the Rt Hon MP for Blackburn, his devious, shady politicking and moral expediency. However, just as when he criticised the full veil, I cannot condemn his views. How can I? ..."

Nazia Parveen, Lancashire Telegraph, Jack Straw sex grooming comments: the reaction, 10 Jan 2011 "Lancashire Muslims, a group representing professional and business people, issued a statement condemning the actions of gangs of abusers and said they should be brought before courts and victims should be supported.

"“Rather than asking Mr Straw to apologise we ask for all politicians to tackle the wider issues and the breakdown of moral responsibility across society,” they added."

Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, Grooming Of Teenagers Is Evil And Unacceptable To All

Andrew Gilligan, Telegraph, Are white girls really 'easy meat'?, 8 Jan 2011 "Sadly for the racists, the figures just do not support any attempt to paint British Muslims and Asians as sex predators on a national scale."

Yamin Zakaria, Media Monitors Network, It is not Pakistani culture, but the toxic culture of 'freedom', which promotes rape, 9 Jan 2011


Friday, 7 January 2011

Digital Disruption & Pathway to Medina

Tasmin Lucia Khan, Daily Mirror, We MUST challenge our Muslim youths who are exposed to hate and lies, 30 Dec 2010: "One of the schemes I have worked with is Pathway to Medina based in Bolton, where we look at extremist material together and analyse it. I ask the boys to point out the spin, the exaggeration and the complete untruths.

"Another brilliant scheme is Digital Disruption based in East London. Here the boys themselves produce educational videos for other youngsters, highlighting what propaganda looks like in extremist material online. Typically, the hate-videos are circulated on websites such as YouTube."

Just picked this up, it has some interesting points... I have referred to Digital Disruption before. Here's their URL: Digital Disruption [couldn't locate Pathway to Medina - pointers appreciated]

Digital Disruption; Workshop 05 from Bold Creative Work-in-Progress on Vimeo.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

'Converts' to Islam

Catrin Nye, BBC News, Converting to Islam - the white Britons becoming Muslims, 4 Jan 2011

"As 22-year-old Aisha Uddin recites Surah Al-Fatiha - the first chapter of the Koran - at home with close friend Sameeah Karim, she may stumble over one word but otherwise the text is perfectly recounted."

"But unlike Sameeah, 35, who has Pakistani heritage and grew up reading the holy book, Aisha is newer to it: she used to be called Laura and only converted to Islam two years ago."

Also see:

BBC News - 'Why I decided to convert to Islam', 4 Jan 2011: "Up to 100,000 converts to Islam are living in the UK, with white women leading the growing number of people embracing the Muslim faith, according to a report by Kevin Brice of Swansea University.

"The study, on behalf of the Faith Matters organisation, found 5,200 people converted to Islam in the UK last year."

The above link also has a recording of a radio interview from BBC Radio Wales (very interesting, but I couldn't embed it!).

Report on Converts to Islam in the UK: A Minority Within a MinorityThe Faith Matters' website has much more information, including a pdf of the report: M.A. Kevin Brice, A Minority within a Minority: A Report on Converts to Islam in the United Kingdom. I've just downloaded a copy, so have added it to my ever expanding reading list: I'm interested in the statistics and methodology issues, as well as the commentary.

Miscellaneous press reaction, headlines (and readers' comments) can be found at Jack Doyle, Mail Online, How 100,000 Britons have chosen to become Muslim... and average convert is 27-year-old white woman, 5 Jan 2011 and Jerome Taylor and Sarah Morrison, The Independent, The Islamification of Britain: record numbers embrace Muslim faith, 4 Jan 2011. Also see the commentary from In My Trends, Faith Matters Report On Conversion To Islam In UK Becomes A Media Scare Story

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Derby tomato

Chris Mallet,, Tomato that fell out of sandwich had message from God, says Muslim, 1 Jan 2011 Found by Salman Gul in Derby:

"The imam, Rafi Din Shah said the message had come as a surprise.

"He said: "It's no coincidence – it's a sign from God. Muhammad said 'I will leave this world but there will be signs that come to show I am the true messenger of God, that will confirm my prophet-hood. This is one of those signs."

"Mr Shah said he had been teaching Arabic for two years, having got a masters in the subject at university.

"He said: 'I have never seen anything like this before, although you do read about and see these things on the internet. I think you'll find this will be a major boost for the whole Muslim community in Derby. To hear and see that something like this has happened in Derby will really cheer people up.'"

New publication:' Postcolonial Media Culture in Britain'

Postcolonial Media Culture in Britain, Edited by Rinella Cere and Rosalind Brunt, Palgrave Macmillan includes a chapter 'From Mosque to YouTube: UK Muslims Go Online' by myself. There's also a chapter on 'The Politics of Hip-Hop and Cultural Resistance' by Amir Saeed, which I'm looking forward to reading, and several other chapters which will be of interest to readers of this blog.