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  1. #1
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    Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam (OP)


    Salaam

    Event: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Recent events from the Middle East have placed the Muslim community in Britain in the public eye once more with their every word and action coming under microscopic scrutiny by the media and politicians. This is only the latest chapter in an ideological attack that has been ongoing for significantly longer.

    Whereas the attacks on Islamic concepts of war, political governance and the unity of Muslim lands are nothing new, they have now increased on an unprecedented scale in the wake of the rise of ISIS and its declaration of a Caliphate. The matter is not about supporting or opposing the version of a Caliphate as demonstrated by ISIS but rather the criminalisation of Islamic political thought and ideology. The concepts of jihad, shariah and khilafah are not the exclusive possession of ISIS but core Islamic doctrines subscribed to by almost one third's of the world's population. It is telling that the government's treatment of ISIS is similar to its treatment of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb-ut Tahrir, and the Taliban, despite the enormous differences of belief and methodology between the groups.

    The Islamophobic nature of the criminalisation of those who believe in fighting in Syria against Assad is underlined by the lack of concern for British Jews who fight in the Israeli Occupation Forces, particularly at times where they are engaged in war crimes and other atrocities, such as the recent attack on Gaza.

    On the flips side, Muslims who wish to aid their brothers and sisters through the provision of humanitarian aid via aid convoys are having their homes raided, being harassed by the security services and are effectively being accused of engaging in terrorism. Charities are having their bank accounts closed without explanation and are coming under investigation by the Charity Commission simply for being involved in crisis zones like Gaza and Syria. Witch-hunts such as the Trojan Horse hoax and the mass hysteria over issues of the niqab, halal food and conservative Muslim values demonstrate that the criminalisation is spreading beyond Middle Eastern politics. Individuals and organisations within the Muslim community who have been speaking out against these policies are now under attack. They have had their organisation, business and bank accounts arbitrarily closed. Even their children's bank accounts have been closed. They are maligned in the media as terrorist sympathisers, extremists and jihadists. Some have even been imprisoned.

    The common element across all these cases is that those targeted cared for the oppressed and for those who are suffering. They have been criminalised because they cared.

    Join CAGE at this series of events around the country to unite the Muslim communities against this criminalisation of our faith, our beliefs, our mosques and organisations, and our leaders. The following regional events will take place with the large conference taking place on 20 September at the Waterlily in London.

    Sunday 14 September - 6pm

    Pakistani Community Centre, Park Hall, London Road, Reading RG1 2PA

    Jamal Harwood
    Dr Adnan Siddiqui
    Dr Uthman Lateef
    Anas al-Tikriti
    Taji Mustafa
    Wednesday 17 September - 7pm
    East Pearl Banqueting Centre, Longsight, Manchester
    Ibrahim Hewitt
    Abdullah Andalusi
    Jahangir Mohammed

    Friday 19 September - 6.30pm

    Muslim Student House (the Daar), Moseley, Birmingham

    Dr Uthman Lateef
    Ismail Adam Patel
    Abdullah Andalusi
    Dr Abdul Wahid
    Fahad Ansari

    http://www.cageuk.org/event/it-crime-care

  2. #401
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Report bad ads?

    Last edited by Junon; 4 Weeks Ago at 12:11 PM.

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    More analysis on the latest report sponsored by the pathetic Blair.











    Last edited by Junon; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:57 PM.

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update, some good news.









    Dont get your hopes up too much.





    The kind of people who are fronting 'counter extremism' organisations.



    More reaction to the Blairs report.



    Last edited by Junon; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:28 PM.

  6. #404
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update.



    Prevent should be scrapped not reviewed

    Wasting money and effort on a review of a policy that should not be resuscitated is pointless


    Amid the craziness of the Brexit debate and the ongoing snowfall, the UK's security minister Ben Wallace decided the time had come for an independent review of the controversial government Prevent counter extremism strategy.

    The decision was warmly welcomed by Labour MP Naz Shah, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and The Muslim Council of Britain. With questions over the disclosure, "independence" and terms of the review hanging in the air, organisations like Human Rights Watch and Open Society Justice were hesitantly pulling at their party poppers.

    Other organisations, like CAGE, were more critical and thought that calling for a review meant the government had conceded the policy lacks any trust or credibility.

    Is the review an attempt to breathe new life into something that should have had a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation Order placed on it years ago, or an attempt to appease the Muslim community with no intention to change anything?

    Another review


    There is a sense of deja vu here. When Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, commissioned a report into Prevent in the wake of the suicide bombing in Manchester in May 2017, the move was initially welcomed, especially as Burnham had previously criticised the policy.

    Fast forward to August 2018 and the report, entitled A Shared Future, was released. It found that there is a "genuine fear" that Prevent was targeting Muslims in Greater Manchester. This is uncontroversial.

    And here we are again, with another review being called, asking Prevent critics to provide evidence while in the same breath, dismissing any evidence used by them as "distortions and spin". It almost sounds like it will be a review of the criticisms of Prevent rather than of the policy itself.

    The tone and outcome appear to have already been set. There is also a sense of irony when the security minister, who works with RICU, the home office's shadowy propaganda unit inspired by a book about covert cold war funding, accuses others of “distortion and spin”.

    What will change now?


    Reports by CAGE, the Open Society Justice Initiative (Eroding Trust), Rights Watch UK, and United Nations agencies including the Human Rights Council, clearly document the discrimination and human rights violations caused by Prevent. Such reports, however, remain disregarded.

    However, the report's elaboration on this point, suggesting that the fear stems from a lack of information, was wrong and offensive.

    Muslims from across the UK - the people who are actually affected by Prevent - base their feelings on long-standing evidence and have repeatedly talked about the harm the policy is doing. However, they have been wilfully ignored. So what will change now?

    Wallace also states: "The work that has been done over the past two years clearly shows that Prevent is not about a particular group or ideology but is similar to other forms of safeguarding." The language of safeguarding is continually used to shield criticism of Prevent and silence dissent, regardless of whether the attempt at engagement is from an academic or community perspective.

    However, many in the public sector - including in health and education - have argued that adequate safeguarding practices were already in place prior to Prevent. There has been no mention of scrapping the policy - in fact, Wallace spoke of Prevent “having significant success", so does this mean it will be just be a review of the delivery of the strategy rather than the policy itself?

    A flawed policy

    Last year, the latest Prevent statistics showed that 95 percent of referrals were unnecessary. Muslims remained 50 times more likely to be referred. What needs to be acknowledged here is that the delivery is just exposing the discriminatory nature of the policy itself.

    It is also important to notice that in its attempt to counter this clear discrimination, the government is quick to highlight that the number referred for far-right extremism has increased. What the government needs to recognise is that applying a flawed policy to another community does not make the policy acceptable.

    The Shared Future report following the review of the Prevent policy in Manchester achieved nothing, except to attack those who were already disproportionately targeted by the damaged policy. History has taught us that independent reviews, including the Chilcot report and Leveson inquiry, have accomplished very little and do not work.

    Despite being judge-led, the Leveson inquiry resulted in the press accountable body changing its name from the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to IPSO - an aesthetic adjustment - while remaining led by the press and not independent, as can be seen by the headlines we read today.

    Why now?

    The timing of the review is also questionable. Why now?

    It has been ordered as part of the passing of the deeply controversial Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which is an all-round assault on civil liberties. Who could have imagined 10 years ago that a group like the Stansted 15 would be convicted of terrorism because they protested against people being deported?

    Wasting money and effort on a review of a policy that should not be resuscitated is pointless. What needs to happen, as has been said time and time again, is for the policy to be scrapped, to have a political will for an open and honest conversation looking at causes of violence.

    This includes looking at foreign policy and the political grievances of those that commit acts of political violence. Until this occurs, nothing will change. Those who have worked hard exposing the damage this policy has caused need to ensure it is scrapped and that people are safeguarded from toxic governance.

    This needs to stop.

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/column...wed-1505661373
    Last edited by Junon; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:43 PM.

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update. The hijab debate again.











    Last edited by Junon; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:00 PM.

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Like to share

    Blurb

    Deputy editor of 5Pillars, Dilly Hussain, delivered a lecture on the origins of Islamophobia at the University of Middlesex on Tuesday 29 January 2019.



  10. #407
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    erdogan approval rating drops to 33.6 percent! khilafa dies, but not due to western imperialism, but due to erdogan's poor management of the economy! http://www.shaber3.com/universite-ar...aberi/1318761/ also, turkish youth are leaving islam and many turkish people are becoming irreligious after believing erdogan is the true face of islam......google it for yourselves.

  11. #408
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    And people say there was no gay agenda.

    Stop “proselytising” LGBT ideology to pupils, demand parents

    A large number of parents in Birmingham have demanded Parkfield School stop “proselytising” LGBT ideology in their children’s school under the pretext of “inclusion”. Hundreds of parents protested outside the inner-city school—with a ~98% Muslim student body—this morning, and the “Parkfield Parents’ Community Group” issued the statement below, along with a petition signed by over 400 parents.

    The parents emphasise that, contrary to its being invoked in order to promote LGBT beliefs and lifestyles, equality legislation is in fact supposed to protect the “beliefs and philosophical convictions” of those that disagree with such beliefs and practices as well, including Muslims. This is a positive step towards empowerment of more Muslim parents to know and demand their rights in the face of bullying and pressure from campaign groups using every lever of state power—now including the structurally racist discourse of “counter-terrorism”—to impose one people’s set of social and ideological constructs over all others, rather than agreeing to disagree amicably on such issues.

    The statement provides an example of how a growing British Muslim community can be confident enough in its own identity and worldview as well as its belonging to a 21st century British landscape, sticking respectfully yet assertively to its principles in the face of pressure.

    Position Statement
    Parkfield Parents’ Community Group
    No to Proselytising and discrimination – Abolish ‘No outsiders’ program in Parkfield school

    • Parkfield School is situated in Alum Rock, Birmingham and 98%+ of its pupil population is of the Islamic faith background.

    • The ‘No Outsiders in our school’ program falsely claims to rely on legislation (Equality Act 2010) in justifying the promotion of homosexuality. Children are expected to affirm, verbally and in writing, that “being gay is OK”. We would say: ‘some people choose to be gay and in our multicultural society, we will accept them as they are because it is for them to make that choice’. The former is clearly an imposition of belief, which undermines the faith, beliefs and values espoused by the parents and community that the school serves.

    • The school is promoting Mr Moffat’s personal beliefs and convictions about the universal acceptability of homosexuality as being normal and morally correct. The sense of mission is clear from Mr Moffat: ‘I specifically wanted to work in a school where there was a strong probability that I would face challenges to my LGBT equality work, so that I could learn from mistakes made in the past and find a way to get it right.’[1] This is where the parents draw a line, between accepting that some people will have a different lifestyle and belief system to them, to being asked to affirm that this lifestyle/belief system is something which they should positively agree with and that it should be promoted as an option for their children. We don’t ask non-Muslims to affirm that Islam is the truth, similarly, we do not want people who practice homosexuality to tell our children to affirm that their beliefs and lifestyle choices are correct. This is proselytising.

    • We have no objection to the promotion of respectful treatment of all people and the protected characteristics (Equality Act 2010) – this is not what the ‘no outsiders’ program is focussed on. In any case, this does not necessitate positive promotion of homosexuality and its affirmation as being acceptable by pupils. Just as sexual orientation is a protected characteristic, RELIGION IS ALSO A PROTECTED CHARACTERISTIC. People whose religious convictions are that practising homosexuality is morally wrong and sinful should not be forced to affirm that it is not. They should simply be asked to be accepting of that “person” not his/her “actions.”

    • According to the ‘No outsiders’ program, how should a child who expresses surprise or disagreement with the moral correctness of homosexuality be dealt with? We get some insight into this from the writings of Mr Moffat, who narrates an incidence from Parkfield school stating, “There was one audible gasp from a child in year 6 but otherwise there was no reaction at all, which was quite nice because it demonstrated, to the shocked child that he was alone in his reaction; his homophobia made him an outsider.” (No outsiders in our school – page 44). The irony is pretty obvious since 98% of children are from a Muslim background, who will not consider such practices as being acceptable, they are the outsiders! The intimidatory and scornful tone towards the child who expressed disapproval speaks for itself. This approach is based on the false premise that if you don’t believe homosexuality to be morally right, then you must be homophobic. That is as false as saying if you don’t believe in Islam you must be Islamophobic.

    • No effective consultation with parents has been conducted in this regard by the school. We believe our children are too young to be taught about relationships in this manner (age 4 – 10), which over-sexualises and confuses children in taking away their innocence. This sexualisation of children is also a safeguarding issue as it prematurely exposes children to ideas they cannot fully comprehend and risks making them vulnerable to manipulative influences. One 4-year-old Parkfield child came home and said that her teacher had said “We can be a boy or a girl” and “wear boy’s clothes or girl’s clothes”. Another one told her mother that she learnt “boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls.”

    • A mother’s testimony:

    “My 10 year old daughter came home one day and asked “Mum is it true if I want to be a boy it’s OK? Mr Moffat said that it is fine because you may be a boy trapped in a girl’s body.” Mr. Moffat said to the whole class “it is OK to be gay in all religions,” and explained that “he was gay and a Christian, and that they could be gay or lesbian and be Muslim.” We find it astonishing that Mr Moffat in his zealous quest to convert children to his personal beliefs and practices, has resorted to interpreting and distorting Islamic teachings to mislead Muslim children. This is completely unacceptable to us as parents and a betrayal of trust that we placed in the school.”

    • We do not endorse any kind of homophobia or transphobia or discrimination. This is against our values and the law. We respect people’s personal choice and believe they have a right to do what they choose, without fear of discrimination. This must not be imposed surreptitiously on others via persuasive or coercive means.

    • The policy of the school is disproportionate, morally unacceptable and violates the democratic rights of parents to have children educated in consistency with their own beliefs and philosophical convictions.

    • We want the school to be open and honest and to resolve this issue as quick as possible in a positive manner. We want the ‘No Outsiders’ programme abolished from our school and replaced with a programme that teaches the Equality Act in an age-appropriate and culturally sensitive manner; a programme that teaches children that they need to behave respectfully towards all people and to not discriminate against anyone. However, this must be done in a way that does not infringe on their beliefs as being “wrong or unacceptable” or an expectation that the elimination of homophobia necessitates changing the fundamental beliefs of the child. The Equality Act is not about stipulating what beliefs one should have but about behaviour which is respectful of all people as human beings, regardless of who they are, and to ensure that no one is discriminated against.

    • We do not endorse any kind of homophobia or transphobia or discrimination. This is against our values and the law. We respect people’s personal choice and believe they have a right to do what they choose, without fear of discrimination.

    • We are alarmed at Mr Moffat’s (and the school’s) references to “a worrying rise in the radicalisation of young people,” in the context of this programme, which begins with 4-yearolds! It would appear that Mr Moffat believes that his programme is some kind of deradicalisation tool; where children who believe or express the view that such behaviour is wrong according to their faith, are deemed ‘radicalised’ because they are ‘homophobic’, thus the justification and necessity to alter their beliefs in order to deradicalise them.

    • Contrary to claims by the school that it has the support of ‘most’ of the parents in implementing the ‘No outsiders’ programme, a 400-parent petition opposing the programme has been submitted to the School Trustees. The school is considering this at the moment.

    The petition wording is as follows:

    As parents, we are deeply concerned that our children in Parkfield Primary School, from the age of 4 upwards, are being taught Relationship and Sex Education in a manner that is inappropriate and potentially harmful for the children’s wellbeing. The content is not age appropriate for children and is oversexualised, destroying their innocence. Views and behaviours (LGBT in particular) are being promoted aggressively (beyond legal requirements) in an inappropriate manner that undermines our rights as parents to educate and raise our children in such matters. We do not send our children to school to be indoctrinated, nor for our family values to be deliberately subverted and undermined. What the school is doing goes beyond the demands of promotion of respectful treatment of all people and the elimination of discrimination.

    We the undersigned parents demand that this teaching is stopped immediately and a full, transparent consultation is carried out, involving parents, in respect of the teaching programme being implemented across the whole school. All material should be made available for parents to examine. The parental aspirations for the education of their children must be respected and appropriately reflected in the school.

    https://www.islam21c.com/politics/st...emand-parents/

  12. #409
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    How servile these clowns are.



    An appropriate response.

    1 | Likes IslamLife00 liked this post

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  14. #410
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update


  15. #411
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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update.



    More terror laws passed normalising a state of emergency, online censorship and extending PREVENT

    Four years to the day since the passing of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the Government has passed yet another counter-terrorism law, The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act. The Act will significantly increase the reach of the security apparatus in public and private life. We have warned previously, including in our in our submissions to parliament that War on Terror values are increasingly being pushed in to the domestic sphere.

    Notably, the media spotlight has been shifted away from the main passage of the bill, and towards the much touted PREVENT ‘independent review’ now included as part of it, in order to shield and distract the public from the serious implications of the new law.

    They key issues of concern in the Act include:

    • New and broader terror-related offences and longer prison sentences;
    • Widening the scope of surveillance and intelligence-gathering outside the sphere of crime, with new powers to stop, search and detain individuals without suspicion;
    • Securitising the public sector, by further co-opting local authorities into PREVENT;
    • Building consent from the public for the wholesale regulation of the online space.
    • Enabling the state to prosecute where there is an absence of evidence of actual ‘terror’ related activity as with the new designated areas offence.



    Asim Qureshi, CAGE Research Director said:

    “These terror laws are about control and silencing dissent. As we have consistently highlighted, counter-terror legislations are a danger to all of society, when in place, they are used to curb the activities of all who challenge Government policies, from environmental protestors to citizen groups protesting against state overreach. The challenge for all right thinking people is to unite in dismantling the countless laws passed under the guise of fighting terrorism and return to an evidence based approach to addressing the challenges we face.”

    https://www.cage.ngo/more-terror-law...ending-prevent

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update. UK is well on its way to becoming a secular theocracy.

    Amanda Spielman’s War on Religion in Great Britain

    In the name of ‘British values,’ French-style secularism is being imposed on religious schools in England.

    Karen Pence has come under fire for her job at a Christian school, because the school in question follows orthodox Christian views on sexual relations outside of wedlock. This has spurned a whole wave of online discussion lambasting such schools; while of course abuses and mismanagement in Christian schools ought to be brought to light and addressed, this is quite a different matter. Should private, religious institutions be allowed to dissent from secular worldviews? The question has become a heated one across the pond.

    Amanda Spielman was an odd choice for England chief regulator of schools. Spielman, who comes from the private-equity world, was staunchly opposed by the Education Select Committee in Parliament. Its chairman, Conservative Neil Carmichael, described her responses as “particularly troubling,” leading the committee to “call on the secretary of state not to proceed with Ms. Spielman’s appointment.” Carmichael noted that such opposition is unusual but maintained that the “seriousness of [their] concerns” warranted a report. Nicky Morgan, education secretary in the Cameron government, confirmed her over their objections, and Spielman has served in the role at Ofsted (the Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) since January 2017. Her performance since has confirmed the fears of committee members. She has waged a war against religious schools of all denominations for the past two years— and has justified that in the name of “British values.” The claim, and her behavior, require unpacking.

    In 2014, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government in Britain published guidance directing all schools to “actively promote” the “British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” This seems innocuous enough and perhaps par for the course, but the word “promote” is key. Until that point, schools had been required to “respect” these values. What’s the difference?

    Perhaps a good place to look for the root of this initiative would be the Lib Dems’ platform for the 2010 election. Nick Clegg held that faith schools must promote homosexual relationships. These, one assumes, fall under the umbrella of “different beliefs” enshrined in the British-value guidance. But there’s an immediate tension there, because toleration, properly understood, does not mean supporting every behavior or belief. To the contrary, it entails coming to terms with difference, respectfully. And, furthermore, the ability of religious groups to tailor the non-academic elements of their schooling to the ethical codes they follow is part of English liberty itself. The language of the guidance is quite broadly defined. By its very nature, this means that the regulator has considerable leeway for interpretation.

    Spielman’s predecessor at Ofsted was Sir Michael Wilshaw, a lifelong educator. Wilshaw founded and led a high school in one of the most deprived parts of London, with a largely poor student body, and led the students to some of the highest academic performance in the nation. For this, he was widely hailed, and presumably it is why he was named the chief inspector at Ofsted in 2012. Under his tenure, even after the new guidance was issued, inspections proceeded in a normal manner. After all, he was an experienced hand at these things. But once Spielman took the reigns, the dangers of the government’s ill-defined education directive became obvious.

    In summer 2017, the Vishnitz Girls School, a private Jewish institution in Hackney, failed a third Ofsted inspection in a row for its deficiency in teaching a “full understanding of fundamental British values.” If a school receives a grade from Ofsted that is less than “good,” it is subject to future inspections that will fail it if it does not “improve” in whichever criteria were cited. Vishnitz’s failing mark was despite the fact that in Ofsted’s own report, the school was described as having knowledgeable teachers, high-quality resources, and a school culture “focused on teaching pupils to respect everybody, regardless of beliefs and lifestyle.” To me, that sounds exactly like what a parent would want out of a school.

    Which key element of British heritage did the school deny its students? Was it the Magna Carta? Ofsted states it outright in its report: The school did not teach pupils about gender reassignment and sexualities, thereby restricting “pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development” and rendering them unfit for “present-day society.” That is quite a claim, considering that the school is for girls under the age of eight. Apparently, such information is such a fundamental part of what it means to be British that prepubescent children have to be taught it. (It really makes me wonder how we got by all of these years, lacking component so crucial to Britishness.) Six other faith schools were hit with similar sanctions at about the same time. The move found an immediate and eager reception in Britain’s secular-humanist crowd, who called for “proper sanctions” on such schools.

    At several Jewish, Christian, and Muslim schools, the building is effectively both a boys’ school and a girls’ school with shared facilities (though some schools are co-ed for primary-school students.) These also came under attack from Ofsted for, yet offending “British values”. Boys’ schools still exist in Britain, as do girls’ schools — yet when religious schools adopted a version of that system, they were engaging in subversion. The High Court had ruled that to be fine, but Spielman’s Ofsted appealed, citing the “Equalities Act” of 2010 (despite the fact that they had passed inspection after the Act, but before Spielman), and the ruling was overturned. Now these schools are faced with the choice of shutting down or finding the funding to split into two fully separate schools. This too met with glee by secular humanists, who called the schools’ arrangement “gender apartheid.”

    Spielman’s language in her first annual report sounds more Soviet than British: “It is right that we use compulsory education to make sure children acquire a deep understanding of and respect for the British values” even if they are “in tension with parental wishes or with community norms.” The state, in Spielman’s view, emphatically knows more than the family when it comes to what’s best for children. Noting that “Ofsted has found schools that deliberately [resist] British values,” she gives examples of some of these horrors, such as school leaders’ “naïvely” asking conservative clergy for advice on accommodating their religious students. It is truly a wonder that education in England has survived all these centuries without Spielman’s arrival to save it.

    Chaya Spitz described Spielman’s first year in power in the Jewish Chronicle:

    During this difficult year, school after school has been called out for not teaching children about different sexual identities and for failing to give children the opportunity to explore different faiths. Schools may no longer run separate divisions for boys and girls. Schools are questioned about boys who are “made to” wear kippahs. Ofsted has been prepared to fight in the courts to override the deeply held beliefs of entire parent bodies.

    At the parliamentary level, there are some promising signs. Spitz wrote last year of a visit by Sajid Javid, who was then the communities secretary and is now home secretary, to Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School, a high-performing Jewish school that had been a frequent target of Ofsted,. Students and staff alike described their harassment by Ofsted inspectors, with an eleventh-grader describing the questions as being similar to the bullying she experienced in childhood. Javid said to the students, “You embody British values. You are British values. This government will protect you.”

    Javid’s statement is quite right, but Ofsted’s project of coercive secularism is still very much in effect. Its new proposals do very little to change its conflict with religious schools, which will continue to perform poorly in its inspections, even when they produce well-rounded and academically talented students. Ultimately, the only lasting solution to the problem is to remove the 2014 “guidance” entirely, which would have to be done at the government level. Its vaguely defined scope and forceful mandate have together allowed the school-inspection system to be whatever Ofsted’s chief inspector wants it to be, and when that inspector is someone like Amanda Spielman, it means a sustained attack on religious freedom in Britain. But for both the long and the short term, sacking Spielman and replacing her with someone like Sir Michael, whose career has been devoted to education from the ground level, would be a good start.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/...nd-secularism/

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    Re: Syria, Gaza and the Criminalisation of Islam

    Salaam

    Another update.

    The politics behind the hijab in the Arab world

    Veteran Arab journalist Abdel Bari Atwan analyses the phenomenon of several high-profile Arab women abandoning their hijabs and explains the possible political reasons behind it.

    In Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and other parts of the Arab world, newspapers and social media have devoted much attention to the way some well-known female performers have been giving up the hijab.

    This is as much a political as a personal phenomenon. It mirrors political and attitude changes in Arab societies that have been promoted by some ruling regimes, with direct support from external, and especially Western parties.

    Secularism v Islam

    In Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt in the 1950s and 60s, it was unusual to see any woman donning a hijab, whether on university campuses or on the streets.

    But when Anwar Sadat came to power and allied himself with the “Islamist” current to confront the Leftist and Arab nationalist tide that was prevalent at the time, the country began to change, as did most other Arab capitals.

    Hijab-wearing became increasingly common, even in countries ruled by supposedly secular or socialist regimes or governments.

    The burqa/niqab was prevalent in Egypt and most other Arab countries until the start of the 20th century. With the spread of what was termed at the time as “cultural openness,” and the powerful promotion of secularism and Leftist ideas by forces opposed to the Ottoman Empire and seeking to end Turkish rule, the situation changed.

    The niqab became less common, and magazines were published that urged Egyptian women to get rid of the attire. The nationalist politician Saad Zaghloul did the same as part of his political campaign for freedom from British domination and for Egyptian independence.

    Saudi Arabia

    The oil boom in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in the 1970s and 80s played a major role in effecting big social changes in Arab societies. “Wahhabi” Islamic associations proliferated in these societies, and vast sums of money were pumped into promoting them in countries whose governments were of a secular or Leftist persuasion, especially Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

    Millions of skilled and qualified people moved with their families to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to work. Many of them were influenced by Wahhabi thinking and attitudes and brought it back to their home countries, either during their annual holidays there or after returning once their employment contracts had ended.

    The phenomenon of well-known female performers, especially in Egypt, adopting the hijab took off during that oil boom period. Saudi and Gulf businessmen reportedly played a major role in promoting it, either via the religious charities and preachers they sponsored or by offering cash rewards and inducements as compensation for women who would renounce the professions of acting, singing or dancing.

    This was presented as part of a campaign to combat licentiousness and immorality and promote genuine Islamic values as they and their school of thought saw them.

    Wahhabi ideology began receding in its place of origin, Saudi Arabia after Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman came to power. He curbed a number of religious bodies, notably the Association for the Prescription of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue – the so-called “religious police.”

    Instead, an “Entertainment Commission” was set up, and mixed-sex attendance at concerts and sports events was encouraged. These were radical changes, and they did not only affect Saudi society but spread to neighbouring Arab countries, especially Egypt.

    By adopting a policy of openness and embracing Western cultures, Muhammad Bin Salman wanted to counter Western charges that his country sponsors hard-line Islamist groups and promotes Wahhabism – the kingdom and its government’s sole creed since it was founded 70 years ago.

    He said in an interview with Time magazine a couple of years ago that such charges were fabricated by extremists and by the Iranian regime with the aim of tarnishing his country’s image. He insisted there was no such thing as Wahhabism, only the four traditional schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence and the ideas promoted by extremists.

    Syria

    Hijab-wearing is on the decline in some parts of Syria too as part of a popular backlash against Islamist political groups and armed factions designated as terrorist. Groups such as Islamic State (Daesh) and the Nusra Front are thought to have imposed their hard-line views by force and fear in the areas that came under their control. The same can be said, albeit to a lesser extent, about Jordan.

    So far, the hijab has been abandoned by a total of 14 high-profile Egyptian performers who have worn it for years or abandoned acting, singing or dancing altogether – including veterans such as Suheir Ramzi and Shahira or younger artists like Hala Shiha.

    Many observers see this as evidence of the ebbing of the tide of political Islam, whether as a consequence of repression and persecution of its leaders – especially the Muslim Brotherhood in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia – or because of its abandonment by its original sponsors – Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states – and their professed adoption of Western liberal ideas.

    The big problem, of course, is that Western liberal ideas are linked to democracy, political freedoms and respect for human rights. These values and principles are considered a red line by most of the Arab governments that are combating political Islam. This calls for some reflection. This iron fist may later prove to be counterproductive, or so many people believe.

    Today it is Suheir Ramzi, Shahira, Hala Shiha and the dancer Dina. Who knows who will be next to abandon the hijab– or whether history will repeat itself?

    https://5pillarsuk.com/2019/02/09/th...he-arab-world/


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