Anti-Muslim prejudice – inflamed by Islamists

By Paul Goodman

Much of the fear of Islam is simply prejudice against immigrants.  Dislike of Muslims is in this respect no different from dislike of any other migrant group, be it Jews at the turn of the last century, Poles at the turn of this one, Romanians and Bulgarians now, and lots of other peoples in between.  Racial prejudice is always a despicable trait, especially when it hardens into hatred (though it is not to be confused with opposition to mass immigration, a view that is held by all ethnic groups).  It has inflamed some of the reporting and corrupted some of the coverage of the halal meat controversy.

But there is more to anxiety about Islam among many non-Muslims, in Britain and elsewhere, than aversion to Muslims or objections to immigration.  There is a belief that there is a problem inherent in the religion which Christianity and Judaism, its fellow Abrahamic faiths, don’t share, and which isn’t present in other religions either.  Is it right?  The best answer is that it depends which problem one has in mind.  All religions, Judaism and Christianity including, produce fanatical mutations and terror.  Consider Europe’s own wars of religion.

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From jail to jihad? The threat of prison radicalisation

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.

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Pope Francis's dance with the devil

For all his modernising, the Catholic church's leader has enlisted a very old enemy in his battle against secularism

 'The devil continues to be as useful for the modern church as he has been in the past, when he bolstered the case for the burning of heretics.' Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

As Mother Teresa lay in a Calcutta hospital the year before she died, her violently disturbed sleep became intolerable, her doctors seemingly unable to help. The problem, the visiting Archbishop of Calcutta suggested, was not a medical matter but something altogether more sinister: this living saint was being attacked by the devil. It was only after an exorcist was called that peace was restored.

That a woman regarded as so holy could have been subject to diabolical visitations was reported with surprise. Yet, if a course for Catholic clergy that took place in Rome last week is anything to go by, exorcism is far from rare. The programme trains about 200 priests a year in the ancient rite. For outsiders, exorcism appears anachronistic, a throwback to the superstitions of the middle ages. What the scale of last week's course shows, however, is that the devil is alive and kicking in Pope Francis's apparently modernising church.

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Halal meat controversy is about unnecessary cruelty to animals and NOT Islamaphobia

Sunday Mirror columnist Carole Malone says that barbarism must not be allowed to hide behind religion whatever the faith

Hidden halal: Pizza Express

There is absolutely no way I want to eat animals that have died slowly and in agony in the name of religion.

Because I don’t respect ANY religion enough to have people or animals suffer for it.

Nor do I want to live in a society that donates millions to save dehydrated donkeys in Africa yet thinks it’s OK to slit the throats of terrified creatures here.

And I didn’t think I did. Until this week when it was revealed that Pizza Express, along with scores of restaurants and most of our ­supermarkets, is selling halal meat, too much of which comes from animals that have their throats cut while fully conscious and are then left to die.

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Church divided over 'a secular Scotland'

A Yes vote for independence will lead to Scotland becoming a secular state, a leading Presybterian minister has warned.

However, the views of the former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland Rev Dr John Ross have been challenged by fellow clergy.

His is one of four papers released by the Free Church on Christianity in post-referendum Scotland, which are due to be considered in its General Assembly in Edinburgh later this month.

The Free Church has said it will not be telling its members how to vote.

But Mr Ross, the Glenurquhart and Fort Augustus minister says in his paper: "The Nationalist White Paper states that in an independent Scotland no change will be made 'to the legal status of any religion or of Scotland's churches'. This is dishonest. The Yes campaign is not just asking us to vote for an independent Scotland but for a secular Scotland. The aim of the SNP is a secular constitution rigorously pluralist that gives every religious tradition equal status. He says "in an independent Scotland, as a matter of public policy, and for the first time since the Reformation, Christianity will be deprived of its status as the national religion."

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