Created on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 22:40
Under code to be announced next month by Michael Gove, Islamic schools would ensure teachers were vetted by police
A voluntary code of conduct to regulate teaching in madrasas in Britain is due to be announced next month by the education secretary, Michael Gove.
Over the past decade, ministers from all parties have expressed unease at the inability to regulate teaching in the schools, which offer supplementary education outside of mainstream schooling. But they have held back partly due to the amount of regulation that would be required.
The plans have emerged as an Ofsted inquiry continues into claims of an attempt by Islamist extremists to take over as many as 21 schools in Birmingham, a charge that is strongly rejected by many in Birmingham. Gove has appointed Peter Clarke, the former head of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, to lead a Department for Education inquiry, one of four investigations being carried out.
Created on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 22:36
Sara Lawan’s dream of becoming a lawyer was cut short a month ago when Nigerian Boko Haram insurgents raided her all-girls school in Chibok village, snatching 276 students.
Lawan, 19, and her schoolmates were put into trucks and driven to the edge of the remote Sambisa forest. When the gunmen ordered them to get down and follow them, she and a classmate made a dash for freedom, even though the militants had warned they would be shot if they tried to escape. After spending the night in the bush, they found their way back to the village.
“I thought I would’ve been killed that night,” she said by phone from Maiduguri, capital of Borno state and the birthplace of Boko Haram. “Now I fear to go back to school. I fear that I might be kidnapped again or killed this time.”
Created on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 22:00
Six young men and women, who were arrested and detained in Tehran for making a video in which they danced to Pharrell William’s hit song “Happy” should be immediately released, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
The youth were paraded on state TV on May 20, 2014, where they were forced to express remorse for their “guilty” act.
“If it is now a criminal act for youth to show their happiness in Iran, then law enforcement, and the hardline centers of power they represent, must really be running scared. This is exactly the kind of moment when Rouhani must take a stand,” said Campaign Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.
The video, set to the smash 2013 hit, went viral on YouTube, where it was viewed well over a hundred thousand times before being removed. The video is no longer publicly available. A copy of it was posted on YouTube today and can be viewed here.
A Twitter campaign, #freehappyiranians, calling for the release of the youth, was launched on May 20.
It is not clear what charges the youths face; authorities referred to their “criminal act” which included making a video that “hurt the public’s chastity.”
Created on Sunday, 18 May 2014 10:24
The president of The Gambia on Thursday threatened the lives of citizens considering fleeing in the face of intolerance towards gays and lesbians, the latest in a string of hate speech towards the LGBT community that rivals any other on the African continent.
Gambian president Yahya Jammeh was speaking in the town of Basse in the west African country when he made his comments, related to the idea that gays and lesbians are seeking more tolerant pastures. “Some people go to the west and claim they are gays and that their lives are at risk in The Gambia, in order for them to be granted a stay in Europe,” Jammeh said, according to the APA. “If I catch them I will kill them.”
In that same speech, Jammeh also said that the British at least are skeptical of these claims and have begun conducting tests on travelers from the Gambia to confirm their sexual orientation. This likely refers to reports from last year that British authorities were asking for “proof” from those entering the country seeking asylum on the grounds of LGBT persecution. “In extreme cases claimants had handed over photographic and video evidence of ‘highly personal sexual activity’ in an effort to persuade officials, the Home Affairs Committee found,” according to the BBC at the time. The British government isstill facing the backlash from that revelation, but the targeting is not specific towards Gambians.
Jammeh’s latest comments aren’t the first h
Created on Thursday, 15 May 2014 23:17
A Sudanese judge on Thursday sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, in a ruling which activists described as "abhorrent".
Born to a Muslim father, the woman was convicted under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 27, is married to a Christian and eight months pregnant, human rights activists say.
"We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged," Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by her father's Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.
Created on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:27
By: Syed Raza Hassan
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani police have registered a case of blasphemy against 68 lawyers who made a public protest after a police officer detained one of their colleagues, officials said on Tuesday, the latest in a tidal wave of such accusations flooding the country.
Analysts say the surge in accusations is a worrying sign the nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people is becoming less tolerant as militant ideas enter mainstream politics.
The colonial-era law does not define blasphemy, but the charge carries the death penalty. Presenting evidence can be considered a new infringement, so judges are reluctant to hear cases.
Judges who free those accused of blasphemy have been attacked and two politicians who suggested reforming the law were shot dead. Those acquitted have often been lynched.
Created on Monday, 12 May 2014 23:44
A vehicle from the Chinese police special tactical unit guards the sidewalk near the site of an attack near Beijing's Forbidden City last year. Pic: AP.
Tensions remain high in China following a spate of attacks linked to Muslim Uighur extremists, prompting Chinese authorities to increase security on the streets of capital Beijing.
The most recent suicide attack by suspected Uighur separatists occurred at a train station in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, and killed three people and injured 79 more. The two bombers were also killed in the explosion.
Created on Sunday, 18 May 2014 07:54
Six months after starting a humanist charity in 2010, Dale McGowan unveiled a philanthropist’s version of a beta test. He already offered donors to his organization, the Foundation Beyond Belief, the opportunity to designate their gifts for groups that worked in fields like refugee aid and environmentalism. Then, in an contrarian brainstorm, he decided to try adding a category for progressive religious bodies.
He thought he had found the perfect test case with Quaker Peace and Social Witness, part of the British branch of the Society of Friends. Here was a nondogmatic denomination with a longstanding commitment to pacifism, racial equality and economic fairness. What, even for atheists, agnostics and freethinkers, was there not to like?
Well, Mr. McGowan soon enough found out. “No way am I going to give my money to groups that will use it to hit my kids over the head with a Bible,” wrote one member in an email as he cut off his financial support. A blogger on the site No Forbidden Q uestions put the objections somewhat more elegantly: “While I’m happy to hear when people move away from fundamentalism toward a more liberal understanding of religion, I think it would be best if people became (or stayed) atheist, and that’s the goal I want to support.”
Created on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 01:20
MOSCOW — A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church strongly denounced the Eurovision Song Contest’s transgender winner, saying it was a sign of the world’s moral decline and part of an effort to “reinforce new cultural norms.”
Conchita Wurst, the stage name of a former band singer from Austria named Tom Neuwirth, won the 59th installment of the competition, held this year in Copenhagen, with a song titled “Rise Like a Phoenix,” which she performed early Sunday (May 11) as a bearded woman in a form-fitting gold dress.
The Eurovision contest draws well over 100 million viewers annually, and the contest has become a point of national pride in Russia, which began competing in the 1990s.
“The process of the legalization of that to which the Bible refers to as nothing less than an abomination is already long not news in the contemporary world,” Vladimir Legoyda, chairman of the church’s information department, told the Interfax news agency. “Unfortunately, the legal and cultural spheres are moving in a parallel direction, to which the results of this competition bear witness.”
Created on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:20
Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has denied being involved in the 1998 abduction of 16 Western tourists in Yemen, telling a jury he acted as "a mouthpiece" for the kidnap group.
Giving evidence for a third day in New York, Abu Hamza said he had provided the kidnappers with a satellite phone but said he had not known of the plot.
Abu Hamza, 56, likened himself to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.
He denies 11 kidnapping and terror counts, including the 1998 abductions.
The Egyptian-born preacher was asked about his alleged involvement in the December 1998 abduction of 12 Britons, two Americans and two Australians in southern Yemen.
Four of the tourists were killed by the captors.
Created on Monday, 12 May 2014 23:33
By Raphael Rowe
Mikaeel Ibrahim (centre) was met at Manchester Prison by Mizanur Rahman (left) and Abdul Muhid (right)
The head of the prison and probation service says there is a small but "significant risk" of Muslim prisoners becoming radicalised. Panorama spoke to one convict who was met by Islamic extremists when he was released from prison.
Michael Coe went into prison as a gangster and left as Mikaeel Ibrahim, a convert to Islam.
In 2006 he had been jailed for eight years after threatening police officers with a shotgun while on parole for a knifepoint carjacking.