Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Islam

Campaign by Religious Bullies Against Sexual Equality Education Reaches a Crisis Point.

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Parents, children and protestors demonstrate against the lessons about gay relationships, which teaches children about LGBT rights at the Anderton Park Primary School, Birmingham

Religious Bullies Try to Stop Equality.

This was on Sky News this morning:

Teachers ‘in tears’ at school gates as row over LGBT classes worsens

The former chief prosecutor for North West England tells Sky News that “outside agents” are responsible for inflamed tension

Sally Lockwood, North of England correspondent.

Mediation between parents and staff over the issue of relationships education at a Birmingham primary school has stalled.

Nazir Afzal who is in charge of steering talks between the council, parents and teachers, told Sky News that six weeks of discussions have been unsuccessful.

He claimed staff at Anderton Park Primary School are at risk and frequently break down in tears because of hostility at the school gates – with protests taking place against teaching children about same-sex relationships.

Mr Afzal, a former chief prosecutor for North West England, said: “I can’t think of any other way to get people round a table again than to speak to you and Sky.

“I’ve looked at the curriculum, there is nothing in the curriculum that is LGBT specific. There is nothing about gay sex.

I’ve seen people walking around outside of that school with stuff that they have downloaded from the internet suggesting this is on the curriculum.

“This is what’s being taught to their children. It’s a lie. And this is what I’m dealing with.”

It is important to note that the movement, called Stop RSE (relationships and sex education)  is not confined to Islamist bigots.

It an equal opportunity bigots’ campaign.

The Stop RSE campaign explains,

There are widespread concerns that the mandatory introduction of RE/RSE into all schools across England, from September 2020, and Wales from 2022, will be used by sex education organisations and LGBTQ+ activists to promote their controversial beliefs to the youngest of children.

There is an international move, backed by international bodies such as the United Nations and by organisations such as the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, to get compulsory sexuality education into all schools worldwide. Their agenda is not to educate children in the biological aspects of reproduction but to teach children that they are sexual beings and have the right on act on their sexual urges with who, what and when they like. There is a concerted effort to undermine parental and religious authority by making school teachers the primary educator of children in all matters of sexuality education, as it has been redefined.

The philosophy behind this new compulsory sex education agenda can be traced back to the sexual revolution, which had its heyday in the 1960s, and is influenced by various social and political movements. Ideologies from Marxism, radical feminism and gender theory have all contributed to this new sexual ideology. They have intertwined with the thought of various protagonists, the most notable being Alfred Kinsey, who is seen as the master architect of sexuality education as it is now being taught.

Their Facebook page promotes this (28th of May), which links paedophilia to RSE education.

Comprehensive Sex Education and the Sexualisation of our Children

“Our children are being assaulted and groomed in the classroom …. according to an FBI definition of grooming*

This lecture at Liberty University Law School makes a connection between traits pedophiles have and early childhood sexuality education is designed to teach in classrooms.

The National Secular Society gave  some background in February,

The National Secular Society has said the government should “not give ground” on relationships and sex education (RSE) in England’s schools after highlighting the bigoted messages of religious anti-RSE campaigners.

An NSS investigation has exclusively revealed that an academic who secured a debate on RSE in parliament has encouraged Muslims to adopt a “psychological” or “mental health” response to same-sex attraction.

In a speech promoting her anti-RSE campaign Dr Kate Godfrey-Faussett also said homosexuality results from a lack of “guidance”.

Godfrey-Faussett is playing a key role in the primarily Islam-based Stop RSE campaign, which opposes plans to make RSE teaching compulsory. She also created a petition on the parliament.uk website which demands a parental opt-out from RSE classes.

In her speech about the campaign broadcast online Godfrey-Faussett said many young Muslims were “turning to same sex relationships because they haven’t had the guidance”. She bemoaned the “queering” of the “Muslim community” and said Muslims should “work psychologically or in a mental health capacity” with those experiencing same-sex attraction.

She claimed the government’s move was part of a “totalitarian endeavour to indoctrinate our children in secular ideologies” and criticised “the promotion of the homosexual agenda”.

She also called for “unity” among Muslims, approvingly quoting an imam who said: “While we’re arguing about whether we pray with our hands crossed or our hands by our side, our enemy is actually plotting to cut our hands off.”

Her petition says: “We believe it is the parent’s fundamental right to teach their child RSE topics or to at least decide who teaches them and when and how they are taught. We want the right to opt our children out of RSE when it becomes mandatory.”

Islam though does feature heavily in this campaign,

Downloadable resources which were available on its website until earlier this week included the book Marriage and Morals in Islam. This says: “In the Islamic legal system, homosexuality is a punishable crime against the laws of God. In the case of homosexuality between two males, the active partner is to be lashed a hundred times if he is unmarried and killed if he is married; whereas the passive partner is to be killed regardless of his marital status.

“In the case of two females (i.e. lesbianism), the sinners are to be lashed a hundred times if they are unmarried and stoned to death if they are married.”

he book goes on to say Islam “is not prepared to tolerate any perverted behaviour” and high rates of AIDS show “nature has not accepted” homosexuality “as a normal sexual behaviour”.

It also decries “the moral bankruptcy of the West”, based on some Christian churches’ acceptance of gay relationships.

Dr Kate Godfrey-Faussett  is now being investigated.

The Islamist site, 5 Pillars, has come to her support.

Commenting on the letter sent to the council by the NSS, Dr Godfrey-Faussett told the Observer: “I have simply tried to warn people of the underlying liberal secular agenda of RSE and the harm that it may cause children – and is, in fact, already causing based on reports I am receiving from parents.

“It is well known that if you speak out against the secular narrative they will silence you through smear campaigns and getting you struck off professionally.”

More on this individual:

 

It does not take much effort to find worse, like this American cheerleader, Muslim Skeptic (sic).

Keep It Up! UK Muslims Shut Down LGBT Propaganda at Four Schools

There is no equivalence between sodomite fetishism and healthy sexuality between husband and wife after nikah. The former is a depraved act that debases a human being in every way, spreads moral decay, transforms society into a cesspool of degeneracy and base lust (as the Quran describes with Qawm Lut). The latter is the basis of love and mercy between two halves, man and woman, committed to each other, being fruitful with each other in nourishing a family that becomes the building block of a flourishing society as God Almighty intended.

Teaching Muslims LGBT and promoting “LGBT-friendly Islam” is a well known counter-radicalization tactic. These anti-Islam government agencies know that when a Muslim accepts LGBT, he is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from abandoning Islam entirely. This is one of the main reasons they are so insistent that Muslim children get anal sex lessons in elementary school.

By contrast:

Credit where credit is due, even Socialist Worker has this week taken a principled stand on the issue:

Resist the campaign to stop LGBT+ education

The Parkfield protest organisers, such as Ahmed, flaunt their homophobic bigotry whenever they are interviewed. “We do not accept homosexuality as a valid sexual relationship to have,” he said.

“This is about proselytising homosexuality to young children.”

The protests have been joined by conservative Christian and Jewish figures who oppose sex education.

Ahmed always claims that he isn’t homophobic and organisers say they don’t oppose teaching under the Equality Act.

But the Equality Act is weak. It calls only for the curriculum to be “designed to encourage respect for other people” and it does not apply to independent schools, including faith schools.

The Parkfield protesters stress that they call for “dialogue” and “consultation”, but for them that means getting rid of the No Outsiders programme for good.

At best it means watering down the lessons—to teach tolerance of LGBT+ people, but not that it’s possible to be both LGBT+ and Muslim.

Ezra from LGBT+ Muslim organisation Hidayah said, “The protesters at Parkfield talk about consultation. But I don’t think any consultation would make the parents have the lessons.

“There is no way that they would be happy with it because they view any teaching about different relationships or homosexuality as promoting it.”

The lessons should be reinstated.

Latest news:

In France in 2014 a similar movement of bigots united Islamists, ‘Conservative’ Muslims, and hard-line ‘traditionalist’ Catholics and the French far-right:

“Théorie” du genre : quand extrême droite et musulmans conservateurs font alliance.

Théorie du genre : est-on conscient de la mainmise de l’extrême droite ?

Vendredi 24 janvier et lundi 26 janvier 2014… quelques centaines de familles, parmi lesquelles de nombreuses familles musulmanes, n’envoient pas leurs enfants à l’école. Ils protestent contre des cours d’éducation sexuelle donnés à leurs enfants en bas âge.

Une autre lecture des événements devrait être celles-ci : les 24 et 26 janvier 2014, de nombreux musulmans, en retirant leurs enfants de l’école, en apportant du crédit aux rumeurs propagées par les initiateurs des Journées de retrait de l’école (JRE) apportent leurs soutiens aux mouvements d’extrême droite.

 

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Parkfield Muslim Parents Campaign to End “Promotion of Homosexuality”.

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Stop Promoting Homosexuality, Say Parkfield Parents (Economist). 

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has spoken out over the Parkfield Community School protests, insisting that ‘intolerance must not win out’.

Taking on Twitter, the mayor called the language used by protesters outside the school over the past week ‘unacceptable’, and stressed the importance of tolerance in the community.

….

Parkfield has insisted that the programme will continue to be taught after the Easter break , despite 350 parents signing a petition against it and several removing their children from classes last week.

The protests have been widely condemned by MPs and councillors from across the city, with Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips saying she was ‘heartbroken’ by a video showing the protests.

Birmingham Live

Image result for birmingham parents lgbt

Police investigate ‘homophobic graffiti’ at Birmingham school amid row over LGBT+ sex education

Police are investigating reports of homophobic graffiti at a school where parents have been protesting against same-sex relationships being taught.

The vandalism at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham was reported to West Midlands Police by a school governor during the February half term holiday.

The force said it was also reviewing video footage circulating on social media to “establish whether any additional offences have taken place”.

Parents have been demonstrating against the school’s No Outsiders programme, which includes teaching about LGBT+ relationships.

In footage posted online, young children appear to be joining in chants of “shame” while adults use the megaphone to voice their opposition.

Responding to the protests, the local Labour Party has got itself into a mess trying to square an impossible circle. Birmingham Labour MP Shabana Mahmood urged schools to take “proper consideration for pupils’ religion and background”.

From James Bloodworth (above).

Birmingham school LGBT lessons protest investigated

Protesters branding school lessons about LGBT rights as “toxic” and “disgusting” have been accused of using “appalling” and “incendiary” language.

It follows footage of continuing rallies at a Birmingham primary school where the lessons have been taught.

A man can be heard telling a crowd outside Parkfield Community School that teaching about social difference is “aggressive indoctrination”.

Police are reviewing the video to see whether any offences are committed.

The footage – in which a vocal and supportive audience is told homosexuality is incompatible with Islam – was taken outside the school.

On Thursday, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for social inclusion John Cotton said: “In recent days, we have been appalled to see attempts to divide the people of our city by using insulting and incendiary language targeting the LGBT community.”

While Parkfield is an academy, not a local authority school, Mr Cotton said the council was monitoring the situation.

Neither the school nor the protesting group, which includes parents of pupils, wished to comment.

Brendan O’Neill (Spiked)  backs the parents:

Those Birmingham parents are right

Teaching primary-age schoolkids about sexual matters is weird.

When it comes to moral and religious matters, parents should exercise the greater authority over their children. It is crucial for the sovereignty of the family and the rights of parents that their moral purview is not casually traduced by officials who presume to know better.

Reports indicate that other ‘conservative’ (that is, reactionary) religious groups are following these protests. It is suggested that they may follow suite.

This is strongly reminiscent of similar protests in France against the teaching of equality in schools, claimed to be the “Théorie” du genre ” which includes  LGBT (Lesbiennes, Gays, Bi et Trans ).

During 2014 the Catholic Far-right and Muslim ‘conservatives’ (that is, the Muslim far-right) joined forces (as they had done against Gay marriage) and organised,by parents, boycotts of schools: “Théorie” du genre : quand extrême droite et musulmans conservateurs font alliance)

Here is an article about one of the founder of this movement.

Gender theory and school boycott (Parents. 2018) Bientôt ou déjà parents, on vous accompagne !

.. …Farida Belghoul, writer and filmmaker, was a leading figure of the anti-racist March of the Beurs of 1984. The present movement is part of the vast constellation of very conservative family associations, fundamentalists and / or extreme right. In a press release, Farida Belghoul urged her supporters to contact representatives of the anti-gay marriage Manif our tous, the association Equality and Reconciliation (whose president is the Holocaust denier Alain Soral), the French Spring (far right), Action française. … In the texts available on the official website of the JRE, Farida Belghoul gives the appearance of reason and moderation. But Farida Belghoul develops an approach which draws both on theories of conspiracy (Masonic), millenarianism and “declinism”, and focuses on a grand alliance between Muslims and Catholics against the spirit of the Enlightenment.

The campaign continues (2018, see first image here, which focuses on LGBT).

Written by Andrew Coates

March 9, 2019 at 2:37 pm

Top Oxford Don and Islamic Scholar Tariq Ramadan had Sexual Relations with Minors in Switzerland.

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jacket, Islamic Ethics

A Very Short Book Indeed.

Oxford Don Tariq Ramadan is in the news again today.

Affaire Ramadan : en Suisse et au Qatar, de gros revers pour le théologien

Libération reports,

In Geneva, an official report confirms his inappropriate behaviour with former students, while in Doha, a former relative asks Muslims to stop supporting him because of his proven double life…

Tariq Ramadan made sexual suggestion to at least three of his underage students in the years 1986, 87, 89, reads in this report that Libération was able to consult. A very charismatic French teacher from 1984 to 2004 in various schools in Geneva, he used to invite students to the restaurant, and accompanied by them by car. At their September hearing five of them reported similar facts.

In Qatar (the country which is the source of funds for his Oxford post) Mohamed el-Moctar al-Shinqiti, a political analyst and well-known commentator on Al Jazeera, published a text on his blog calling on Muslims to stop supporting Tariq Ramadan, a “sex addict who despised those he abused and uses lies to mislead Muslims.” 

 

Investigations uncover Banna’s grandson’s sexual relations with minors

According to a secret investigation issued by the Swiss State Council on October 31, Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan faced new charges of having sexual relationships with minors in Switzerland, French L’OBS website reported Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan el-Banna, the founder of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The investigation revealed that Ramadan tried to seduce a 14-year-old girl but did not succeed. He also had consensual sex with three female students aged between 15 and 18. These incidents took place from 1980 to 1990, when Ramadan taught French and philosophy in two schools (the secondary school of Susie and the middle school of Kudri).

It is noteworthy that the Islamic scholar confessed on Nov. 18 to having a consensual sexual relationship with one of the women who sued him for rape, according to French news source Europe 1.

Ramadan’s lawyer Emmanuel Marsigny stated that the scholar will talk in front of the judiciary about the relationship that he had with one of the women suing him.
Up until now, four women in France and Switzerland have filed lawsuits against Ramadan accusing him of sexual assault.

Ramadan denied having any relations with the first two women who accused him of rape. But when confronted with the third woman, he admitted having a consensual sexual relation with her.

Marie, Ramadan’s third plaintiff, also provided investigators with a dress allegedly having Ramadan’s semen on it. The tests are still underway to specify if there is correlation between DNA samples. The French police detained Ramadan in January, a legal source said.

In June this year, Ken Loach, Yvonne Ridley and Peter Oborne, the Canadian one-time New Leftist Charles Taylor, and a host of Oxford Academics, and others across the world, signed a Petition in support of Ramadan (here)

It is not known if he still retains his Oxford link.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 29, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Pakistan: Islamists Win Right to Appeal Asia Bibi ‘Blasphemy’ Case – a “death Warrant”.

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Islamists Have Won Right to Appeal Asia Bibi’s Acquittal. 

Asia Bibi’s lawyer leaves Pakistan citing threats to his life

The lawyer who saved Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, from the gallows left the country on Saturday, saying his life was under threat.

Saiful Mulook’s latest victory saw the freeing of Asia Bibi, who spent nearly a decade on death row, after the Supreme Court overturned her sentence on Wednesday.

The decision sparked protests across the country, with major roads blocked in Lahore and Islamabad as religious hardliners called for the death of the judges and those who helped acquit Bibi.

“In the current scenario, it’s not possible for me to live in Pakistan,” the 62-year-old told AFP before boarding a plane to Europe early Saturday morning.

“I need to stay alive as I still have to fight the legal battle for Asia Bibi,” he said.

This is the crucial point:

On Friday night, the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party (TLP), which has largely led the demonstrations, announced an end to mass protestsafter reaching a deal with the government.

A five-point agreement seen by AFP, signed by both parties, said the government would not object to an appeal of the verdict, filed earlier in the Supreme Court.

CNN have published the details of this capitulation to the racist far-right,

The terms of the TLP agreement, reached Friday night, include a pledge by the government not to oppose an application by movement members to add Bibi to a list preventing her from leaving the country.

Bibi was still in jail Saturday at an undisclosed location in Pakistan, her lawyer, Saiful Malook, told CNN. Earlier in the week, he said she would need to move to a Western country for her own safety. At least two Western countries have offered Bibi asylum after her release, CNN understands.

Pakistan’s government also agreed not to oppose a review petition filed against the Supreme Court’s judgment in Bibi’s case, to release everyone detained in connection with the protests and to take legal action regarding deaths that may have occurred during the protests.”

The Dawn article continues,

When asked about the outcry, Mulook said it was “unfortunate but not unexpected”.

“What’s painful is the response of the government. They cannot even implement an order of the country’s highest court,” he said, adding that “the struggle for justice must continue”.

According to the agreement, which came after a failed first round of talks, legal proceedings will follow to impose a travel ban on Bibi and stop her leaving the country.

“Her life would be more or less the same, either inside a prison or in solitary confinement for security fears” until a decision on the appeal, said Mulook.

The TLP, founded in 2015, blockaded the capital Islamabad for several weeks last year calling for stricter enforcement of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.

That protest forced the resignation of the federal law minister and paved the way for the group to poll more than 2.23 million votes in the July 25 general election, in what analysts called a “surprisingly” rapid rise.

Asia Bibi: Lawyer flees Pakistan in fear of his life

BBC.

The lawyer representing a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row has fled Pakistan in fear for his life.

Saif Mulook told news agency AFP he had to leave so he could continue to represent Asia Bibi, whose conviction was overturned by judges on Wednesday.

Officials have since agreed to bar Ms Bibi from leaving Pakistan in order to end violent protests over the ruling.

Campaigners blasted the deal as akin to signing her “death warrant”.

Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a row with neighbours, and many are calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty following her acquittal.

Mr Mulook told the BBC earlier this week she would need to move to a Western country for her own safety. A number of attempts have previously been made on her life.

Several countries have offered her asylum.

Many people on the left have, for many years,  ignored the growth in the Islamist far-right.

Al Jazeera however offers some background on the latest addition to these totalitarian movements which place religion, in the form of a racism against all non-Muslims and hatred against all but their own idea of ‘true’ Muslims,  at the heart of their ideology.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik: New far right campaigns against ‘blasphemy’

Hardline party, which formed last year, rallies support by focusing its political messaging on religious ideology.

The narrow streets of Lahore’s Mazang neighbourhood echo with the sounds of dozens of young men, as someone showers them with rose petals.

They wind their way through this congested, working-class quarter in Pakistan’s second city, some on foot, others mounted on motorcycles.

“Labbaik, labbaik, labbaik ya Rasool Allah!” they chant, raising their arms. “We stand, we stand, we stand with you, O Allah’s prophet!”

Waving brightly coloured green flags, they continue, in tune with an election song: “Hang them, hang them!”.

Meet the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Pakistan’s newest hardline religious party, which calls for blasphemers to be put to death and celebrates those who have murdered the alleged perpetrators.

A year ago, this kind of a political rally, in the heart of the political base of Pakistan’s ruling party, would have been unthinkable.

Formed last year, the TLP has performed credibly in by-elections, first springing to prominence when it challenged the PML-N in this Lahore neighbourhood, securing more than 7,000 votes and finishing third in a poll where its candidate was a virtual unknown.

That vote was for the parliamentary seat vacated by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who was dismissed as prime minister by the Supreme Court over corruption allegations. A final verdict in the corruption cases against him is expected on Friday.

Now, the TLP is set to put up more than 550 candidates for national and provincial assembly seats across the country, and is confident it can mobilise a religiously-motivated vote on the basis of its anti-blasphemy and anti-corruption agenda.

Blasphemy is a central issue for the party, whose leaders follow the Barelvi sect, a South Asian branch of Sunni Islam that places emphasis on the personage of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“When it involves the honour of the Prophet Muhammad, the finality of his prophethood or the dishonouring of his person, then every Muslim will become an extremist,” says Ejaz Ashrafi, a senior TLP leader, in an interview with Al Jazeera.

….

Led by firebrand far-right scholar Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the TLP mobilised thousands to block a major highway into the capital, Islamabad, for three weeks in November over a minor change to an electoral oath that Rizvi claimed amounted to “blasphemy”.

….

“If they give me the atom bomb, I’ll immediately bomb Holland, before they are able to hold any caricature competitions on the prophet,” he told reporters.

What have been the reactions of official British Muslim organisations, many of which have strong ties to Pakistan, to this horrific case?

What about campaigns that have opposed the racism of Tommy Robinson and his supporters?

Have any defended Asia Bibi, a victim of religious racism?

Have they condemned the Islamist far-right in Pakistan?

We are still waiting to hear any statements. 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 3, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Christian Asia Bibi Death Sentence in Pakistan for ‘Blasphemy’ Overturned; Islamists Protest Against the Verdict.

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A poster bearing an image of Asia Bibi.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman condemned to death on blasphemy charges, after accepting her appeal against her sentence.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had reserved its ruling on Asia Bibi’s final legal appeal against execution (Asia Bibi v. The State, etc) on October 8.

Follow Dawn.com’s live updates on the protests against the verdict here.

The appeal, accepted by SC in 2015, challenged the Lahore High Court’s October 2014 verdict upholding a trial court’s November 2010 decision sentencing Bibi to death for committing blasphemy in 2009.

“The appeal is allowed. She has been acquitted. The judgement of high court as well as trial court is reversed. Her conviction is set aside,” said Justice Nisar in the ruling.

“Her conviction is set aside and she is to be relieved forthwith if not required in other charges,” he added.

The 56-page detailed judgement has been authored by CJP Nisar, with a separate concurrent opinion note from Justice Khosa.

“Tolerance is the basic principle of Islam,” the top judge read out, noting that the religion condemns injustice and oppression.

“It is a well settled principle of law that one who makes an assertion has to prove it. Thus, the onus rests on the prosecution to prove guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt throughout the trial,” noted the top judge in the order. “Presumption of innocence remains throughout the case until such time the prosecution on the evidence satisfies the court beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the offence alleged against him.

“[…] The expression ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ is of fundamental importance to the criminal justice: it is one of the principles which seeks to ensure that no innocent person is convicted.

“Keeping in mind the evidence produced by the prosecution against the alleged blasphemy committed by the appellant, the prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt,” concluded the chief justice.

The court also noted that “it is not for the individuals, or a gathering (mob), to decide as to whether any act falling within the purview of Section 295-C has been committed or not, because as stated earlier, it is the mandate of the court to make such decision after conducting a fully qualified trial and on the basis of credible evidence brought before it”.

The CJP ended the judgement with a hadith of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) on the rights of minorities.

Justice Khosa, in his note, said: “Blasphemy is a serious offence but the insult of the appellant’s religion and religious sensibilities by the complainant party and then mixing truth with falsehood in the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was also not short of being blasphemous.”

Chaudhry Ghulam Mustafa, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, rejected the verdict, saying Bibi had confessed to making derogatory remarks against the prophet to seek pardon.

Bibi’s lawyer Saiful Mulook told AFP: “The verdict has shown that the poor, the minorities and the lowest segments of society can get justice in this country despite its shortcomings. This is the biggest and happiest day of my life.

Bibi appeared to be in state of disbelief after hearing the decision from her lawyer.

“I can’t believe what I am hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really?” Bibi told AFP by phone from prison after the ruling. “I just don’t know what to say, I am very happy, I can’t believe it.”

Bibi’s husband also hailed the verdict. “I am very happy. My children are very happy. We are grateful to God. We are grateful to the judges for giving us justice. We knew that she is innocent,” said Ashiq Masih.

My wife spent so many years in jail and we hope that we will soon be together in a peaceful place,” he added.

Shortly after the ruling, hundreds blocked a key road linking Rawalpindi with Islamabad. People are also gathering for protests in Karachi and Peshawar. Similar rallies are being held elsewhere as police urge demonstrators to disperse peacefully.

Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich described the SC decision as a “landmark verdict”.

“For the past eight years, Asia Bibi’s life languished in limbo. The message must go out that the blasphemy laws will no longer be used to persecute the country’s most vulnerable minorities.”

The decision to take stringent security measures in the capital was made after a number of meetings held to thrash out a strategy to deal with any unforeseen situation after the verdict.

On Oct 13 this year, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, a religio-political party headed by Khadim Hussain Rizvi, threatened to “paralyse the country within hours if the Supreme Court sets Asia Bibi free”.

Islamabad was put on high alert on Tuesday night. Extra contingents of police and law enforcement agencies have been deployed in the capital.

Paramilitary troops have been deployed in the capital to prevent protesters from reaching the Supreme Court, where security for the judges was beefed up.

About 300 police personnel, along with paramilitary units, are guarding the SC building, adjacent to Parliament House on Constitution Avenue.

Sources in the administration told Dawn that Rangers and Frontier Constabulary had been called as part of measures to step up security in Islamabad. Security of the Judges Enclave and the Diplomatic Enclave has been handed over to Rangers.

The sources said security personnel had been asked to guard the Red Zone as it houses sensitive installations, including the Supreme Court.

According to the sources, when some senior police officers met officials of the apex court, the law enforcers were asked to adopt security measures for the Supreme Court and other key points.

Dawn provides a full account of the background including this:

Case history

The prosecution had claimed that Bibi “admitted” making the blasphemous statements at a “public gathering” on June 19, 2009 “while asking for forgiveness”.

A trial court convicted Bibi for blasphemy in November 2010 and sentenced her to death. The Lahore High Court (LHC) had upheld her conviction and confirmed her death sentence in October 2014.

She had then challenged the LHC verdict in the Supreme Court, which stayed her execution in July 2015 and admitted her appeal for hearing.

The top court had first taken up the appeal in October 2016, but had to adjourn the matter without hearing after one of the judges recused himself from the SC bench. Two years later, the appeal was heard earlier this month and the CJP Nisar-led bench reserved its verdict.

Bibi’s supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a personal dispute, and the Vatican has called for her release.

In 2011, former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad. His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.

CNN: Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has death penalty conviction overturned

Pakistani Christian on death row acquitted. 

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN)Pakistan’s Supreme Court has acquitted a Christian woman who has been on death row for almost eight years on blasphemy charges.

Asia Bibi, a mother of five from Punjab province, was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 and sentenced to hang after she was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet Muhammed during an argument the year before with Muslim colleagues.

The workers had refused to drink from a bucket of water Asia Bibi had touched because she was not Muslim. At the time, Asia Bibi said the case was a matter of women who didn’t like her “taking revenge.”

She won her appeal against the conviction and subsequent death sentence on Wednesday.

The court quoted Shakespeare’s “King Lear” in its ruling, saying Asia Bibi appeared to have been “more sinned against than sinning.”

“Even if there was some grain of truth in the allegations leveled in this case against the appellant still the glaring contradictions in the evidence of the prosecution highlighted above clearly show that the truth in this case had been mixed with a lot which was untrue,” the ruling said.

David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA, an organization that lobbies on behalf of Christian minorities, said in a statement that “we are breathing a sigh of relief today.”

“These charges stemmed from her Christian identity as well as false accusations against her,” he said. “We are hopeful that Pakistan will now take additional steps to offer religious freedom and basic human rights throughout the country.”

Islamist movement Tehreek-e Labbaik had previously vowed to take to the streets if Bibi was released, and protests broke out in Islamabad and Lahore soon after the ruling was announced.

Within hours, the protests were large enough that government officials in the cities were urging people to stay inside and avoid adding to the chaos.

The Bigots were out in Force:

Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a hardline religious political party chant slogans during a protest against the court decision to overturn the conviction of Christian woman Asia Bibi in Lahore on October 31, 2018.

Christians have had to be protected from racist Islamist attacks.

29 minutes ago

Rangers deployed in Lahore’s Youhanabad

Rangers officials have been deployed in the Youhanabad area of Lahore to deter any potential unrest.

Youhanabad is the largest Christian neighbourhood in Pakistan.

16 minutes ago

TLP protesters shut railway lines in Upper Jhelum Canal

The railway line along the three bridges in the Upper Jhelum Canal has been shut completely by TLP protesters.

“The traffic will remain blocked until Asia Bibi is hanged,” the protesters demand.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 31, 2018 at 11:57 am

Criticising the burqa means lining up with racists – says SWP.

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Defiant woman rips off her black burqa after ISIS were driven away. (Raqqa October. 2017)

The fall out from Boris Johnson’s comments on the Burka continues.

Nobody doubts that they have given the wink to the far-right and legitimised prejudiced diatribes against ‘Muslims’.

But there is also a pro-body veil reaction from some quarters.

Liberal people who (as a Facebook friend in the US remarks) are up in arms about the world imagined in The Handmaid’s Tale. But often the same individuals give weight to the idea that the religious obligations inflicted on women by this interpretation of Islam, are a choice to be celebrated.

There is talk – I thought it remained safely relegated to distant memories of courses on ‘theory’ – about the way it may free the female shape from the ‘male gaze’.

As if Islamic Law is about anything other than the behaviour of the believers in the sight of god enforced through violence if need be.

Not surprisingly the British SWP, with its long history of complicity with Islamism, has bent to this wind.

They are not trying to shout down criticisms of the burqa by linking them to the far-right.

Why criticising the burqa means lining up with racists

Boris Johnson’s attack on the burqa has left some liberals with a problem.

The article begins with this bold assertion:

“when supposed progressives criticise the burqa, it gives more credibility to the more overt Islamophobes.”

It then jumps to this statement,

Some liberals see the burqa as a reflection of sexist ideas.

They assume that women are pushed to cover themselves because female flesh has been deemed dirty or too exciting to men.

Of course there will be some Muslims who think this. But the idea is hardly Islamic—it’s deeply rooted in Western capitalist societies.

So that’s all right then.

Or not.

Think of rape trials where women are told they were “asking for it” because of what they wore. Or the Canadian cop who said that women should “avoid dressing like sluts” to escape sexual assault.

The SWP claims that

Many liberals, and right wingers, claim they want to “liberate” oppressed Muslim women who they assume have been forced to cover up.

Are they alone.

Apparently not:

We should oppose women being forced to wear coverings. And we should stand with the women in Iran who have defied the state and removed their hijabs in public, imprisoned as a result.

This is what the SWP said about these protests (4th of June):

Women are resisting the compulsory wearing of the headscarf—which is another very good thing happening at the same time.

Even women who want to wear it are saying it should be the right of women to choose.

As the left we have to support the women fighting back, and not leave the issue to the pro-imperialist right.

The problem is that the issue grabs attention in the West because it resonates with the Islamophobic representations of Iran.

The issue is being hijacked by Islamophobia by some in the media in the West.

End of story for the SWP until this week.

But its not Islam that’s at fault

But it isn’t true that Islam forces women to cover themselves. Like other religions, Islam suggests that men and women dress “modestly”. What this means is open to interpretation, which is why different Muslim women choose to wear different coverings, or none at all.

Women often say they choose to wear coverings to feel closer to Allah. It’s patronising to assume that every women who wears a hijab, niqab or burka has been told to do so by a man.

So they do it for Allah.

If religion is not a problem what is?

This also treats the main source of oppression facing Muslim women as Muslim men. In fact, the main oppressor of Muslim women is the state.

The state is of course the principal form of oppression for ‘women’: no doubt the ‘state’ has a special function in oppressing women……

Apart from wishing away decades of feminist debate about patriarchy, the family, and the old saying that the “personal is political’,

The confusion reaches its apex in confusing state legislation about the full body veil, ‘forcing’ women to give up the ” veils, headscarves or burqas  with the idea that criticising the burka is to “line up with racists”.

Socialists should defend a woman’s right to choose what she wears. That includes the right to wear a burqa—and the right not to wear one.

Forcing Muslim women to give up wearing veils, headscarves or burqas isn’t liberating, just as encouraging women to wear skimpy clothes isn’t. Instead it’s just another form of judging women on their appearance and dress, and taking control and choice away from them.

Is siding with the legislation, in say France, when it was backed by all the political parties at the time, the same as being on the same side as the ‘far right’?

Is ‘forcing’ people to not wear the oppressive full-body veil the same as “criticism”?

This argument gets nowhere.

Rather than point out that the SEP feels no compunction about lining up with the far-right over Brexit the issue at hand should be taken seriously.

This is a ‘liberal’ view  of a Muslim woman the SWP and others are trying to  shut up.

Boris Has Made it Almost Impossible for Muslims to Critique Veiling.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

In my view, scarves, cloaks and masks symbolise the negation of the female form, female inferiority and menace, and most troublingly, a wilful distancing from other humans in the public space.

One of Britain’s foremost scholars Ziauddin Sardar, has this to say on the controversial subject: “In a total perversion of Qur’anic advice, dressing modestly has been interpreted as dressing like a nun, covered from head to foot, showing only a woman’s face (in some circles only the eyes), wrists and feet.”

Females thus accept the burden of modesty while men do not, though both have this obligation. Millions of Muslim women do not submit to these pressures. One of them, a senior TV producer unloaded her frustrations in an email: “We came here to get away from these oppressive expectations. Britain offered hope, a place where you were protected by the law, could be educated, go out, be free. “You could make your own decisions, strive to be equal to men.

Now this freedom is crumbling away because of a few shouty, veiled women. Our voice remains unheard.”

She is right. Vast numbers of white Britons give us their support when most we need it. They did this week. We Muslims need to give a little too – abandon regressive customs and integrate for the greater good and our survival. With the hard right marching again across Europe, Muslims face an existential threat. This is no time for cultural and religious obstinacy.

These are her views (2015) in more depth:  As a Muslim woman, I see the veil as a rejection of progressive values.

They are much more materialist and historically rooted than airy abstractions about the ‘state’.

Muslim feminists of the past critiqued and repudiated the veil. One of them was a man, Qasim Amin, an Egyptian judge and philosopher, who in 1899 wrote The Liberation of Women.He was the John Stuart Mill of the Arab world. Huda Shaarawi set up the Egyptian women’s union in the early 1920s. One day in 1923, as she disembarked from a train in Cairo, she threw off her veil and claimed her right to be visible. Educated Iranian women started feminist magazines and campaigned against the veil around the same time. These pioneers have been written out of history or are dismissed as western stooges by some contemporary Muslim intellectuals.

After the transformative 60s, Muslim feminists resumed the fight for equality. European rule was over. It was time. The Moroccan academic Fatema Mernissi, Egypt’s Nawal El Saadawi and the Pakistani scholar Riffat Hassan all argued for female emancipation. They rightly saw the veil as a a tool and symbol of oppression and subservience. Mernissi’s Beyond the Veil ( 1975) is a classic text. So too El Saadawi’s The Hidden Face of Eve (1975). But more conservative Islamic tenets have taken over lands, communities, families, heads and hearts.

The promise of this version is a return to certainties and “purity” of belief, a mission backed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Deobandi revivalists, funded by Arab money, now run more mosques in Britain than any other Muslim subgroup. Women are told not to travel without male relatives, not to work, to be subservient, to veil. This movement began as a reaction against the Indian raj and mutated into a fundamentalist creed. Today their pushback against “cultural imperialism” appeals to many alienated young Muslims. And, in part, it explains the growing popularity of the hijab, jilbab and full veil .

But in the Qur’an, the veil is mostly used metaphorically to describe barriers between good and bad, believers and nonbelievers. In two verses, women are told to lower their gaze, and to cover their private parts and bosoms. Men are also instructed to lower their gaze, and to dress modestly. One verse commands the women in the prophet’s family to fully veil, partly to protect them from enemies and supplicants.

Sahar Amer, associate professor at the University of North Carolina, has studied these sacred injunctions: “[Nowhere] is the hijab used to describe, let alone prescribe, the necessity for Muslim women to wear a headscarf or any other pieces of clothing often seen covering women in Islamic countries today. Even after reading those passages dealing with the female dress code, one continues to wonder what exactly the hijab is: is it a simple scarf? A purdah? A chador? Or something else? Which parts of the body exactly is it supposed to cover? Just the hair? The hair and neck? The arms? Hands? Feet? Face? Eyes?”

 

All religions cast women as sinners and temptresses. Conservative Islam has revived the slander for our times

 

Veils, in truth, predate Islam. Zoroastrian and Byzantine upper-class ladies wore them to keep aloof from the hoi polloi. When Islam’s armies first reached Persia, they were shocked at this snobbery; then they adopted the custom they loathed; the control of women was hard-wired into their psyches.

All religions cast women as sinners and temptresses. Conservative Islam has revived the slander for our times. Women have to be sequestered or contained lest they raise male lust and cause public disorder. Some young Muslim women argue that veils liberate them from a modern culture that objectifies and sexualises females. That argument is appealing; but if credible, why would so many hijabis dress in tight jeans and clinging tops, and why would so many Muslim women flock to have liposuction or breast enhancements?

It is complicated: veils for me represent both religious arrogance and subjugation; they both desexualise and fervidly sexualise. Women are primarily seen as sexual creatures whose hair and bodies incite desire and disorder in the public space. The claim that veils protect women from lasciviousness and disrespect carries an element of self-deception. I have been at graduation ceremonies where shrouded female students have refused to shake the hand of the chancellor. Veiled women have provoked confrontations over their right to wear veils, in courts, at schools and in colleges and workplaces. But I regard their victories as a rejection of social compromise.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 21, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Moroccan feminist activist, Ibtissam Lachgar, arrested for Public Drinking and Disturbing Order.

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Solidarity with Ibtissam Lachgar!

ABAT, Morocco (AP) — A prominent Moroccan feminist activist has been arrested for alleged public drinking and disturbance of order, in what her association called an attempt to quash its campaigning for abortion access and LGBT rights.

An online campaign was launched soon after Ibtissam Lachgar’s arrest Friday in Rabat, demanding her release.

Lachgar’s group Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms, or MALI, said in a statement that “we strongly condemn these arbitrary arrests and intimidation of members of the movement.”

Hours earlier, MALI criticized the Health Ministry in a press release for banning sales of a drug used to induce abortion. The group also created an online platform to provide women with abortion pills.

Women who intentionally attempt or undergo abortion in Morocco face up to two years in prison and a $50 fine.

AP News.

Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertés Individuelles – Maroc

(from Face Book)

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Betty Ibtissame Lachgar was assaulted in town, and unjustly detained at the police station while she wanted to file a complaint against her attackers ” with knives ‘: change of police stations, interrogations, degrading situation in the jails…

According to Betty’s family and friends, she’s supposed to be out in the morning to get past the da.

If Betty was to be a victim of violence, human rights violations or humiliation during her detention, the Moroccan state will be held in full responsibility by Mali, such violence will be prosecuted.

My house was smiling to thank you for being assaulted in the ancient city of Rabat, and was unjustly detained at the police station while she wanted to file a complaint against her attackers “with knives”: changing police stations, interrogations and humiliating situation at the theoretical guard.

According to Betty’s family and friends, you’re supposed to come out tomorrow morning to go to the d.a.

If Betty is a victim of violence, human rights violations or humiliation during her detention, the Moroccan state will be fully responsible by ” Mali and this violence will be pursued legally.

She has now been released.

There is a ‘debate’ about the MALI  including allegations that they have been “provocative”.

That is, they have organised a campaign about the dramatic position of Moroccan women who wish to have an abortion and have to resort to clandestine methods. The movement is also charged with “muscular” activism having held a picnic in the month of Ramadan, a  ‘kiss in’ to support two adolescents charged with embracing in public, backing gay rights and supporting Femen.

Ibtissam Lachgar alleges that before her arrest she and a friend were threatened by a group of young men for their “libertarian” lifestyle and, in the process of complaining to the local police, she was again menaced and insulted before finding out, later, that charges against her had been made. (Here)

Huffington Post reports on this:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 19, 2018 at 12:12 pm