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To pro-Mend clerics like Abu Eesa Niamatullah, a close friend of Sufyan Ismail from their days at Manchester University, liberal-minded Muslims like Khan are “the biggest danger within our community . . . closer to kufr (unbelievers) than Iman” (belief) because they want to “hijack Islam” to “dilute Islamic religious practice” in order to create a “new Western Islam” that will be in line with those “who want Islam to be washed away”.

While mainstream Britain sees Muslims like Sara Khan as “progressive”, Niamatullah sees them as “regressive . . . if this is progression then we need the Stone Age, definitely. The Stone Age is definitely better for our deen [creed] and our dunya [world] . . . we are more opposed to these people than ever.” Niamatullah calls them “brown sahibs . . . the equivalent of what Malcolm X called ‘house negroes’” who served in their master’s  house during slavery.

Mend’s south-west regional organiser, Sahar Al Faifi, a geneticist, tweets: “I decided to be politically correct and instead of calling Sara Khan a coconut I will call her an Oreo (i.e. a dark biscuit with a white filling).” So much for an organisation that so proudly proclaims its anti-hate credentials. Indeed, it is Muslims like Al Faifi and Niamatullah who are the real Islamophobes.

We have reached a crossroads over religious fundamentalism, hardliners, extremism, whichever word you prefer. Mend and some of their supporters in Parliament and on the Left seem to delight in pointing out that because the government has failed to come up with a legal definition for “extremism” it doesn’t really exist and therefore doesn’t need to be countered by promoting something equally vague as “British values”. Those invoking David Cameron’s call for “muscular liberalism” as an antidote to extremism are greeted with eye-rolling despair at the rampant “structural Islamophobia” which they have convinced themselves grips this country.

Typical is Mend’s recent Manchester group co-ordinator, Dr Siema Iqbal. When she is not treating patients or being a “mum” (her phrase) to her two boys, she blogs, tweets and expostulates almost daily. “Currently,” she writes “we have a commission to counter something we haven’t defined and don’t even know needs countering yet. Yes, it really is that bizarre.”

Actually it isn’t. Most people recognise intolerance and fundamentalism when they see it and it’s been on display in the reaction to Amanda Spielman and Neena Lall. Was it acceptable for them to be so viscerally trolled after Mend, the mosques around Manchester, the imam in Newham, Newham councillors, and others raised the temperature? The answer is clearly no. Is it acceptable that the state should always adapt to the demands of a vocal politicised religious lobby, rather than the other way around, with no consideration of the offence that might be caused to others if they’re browbeaten into complying with their demands? Again no.
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amcdonald
June 17th, 2018
10:06 PM
Would the abolition of the death penalty for apostasy in Islam lead to it`s total collapse, empty mosques and no signs or symbols of Islam anywhere in the world ?

amcdonald
June 12th, 2018
4:06 PM
Zeeshan Ali is free to speak. Unlike Tommy Robinson who`s in jail for speaking his truth. Only Morrissey and Mary Anne Waters dare to speak the truth to and about Islam (see her YouTube vid Dangerous Words,Stockholm etc). The book Beyond Terror by Mary Anne Waters is now available. She`s as good as Camille Paglia and Douglas Murray. It`s also true that the marvellous muslim,feminist artisr Sarah Maple is exhibiting in the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. It`s essentially an exhibition of `Remainia` retro-aesthetica.

Zeeshan Ali, MEND
June 11th, 2018
10:06 AM
Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development) is dismayed by yet another attack by John Ware (“The battle for British Muslims’ integration”, May) and concerned that his misrepresentation of Mend’s actions and intentions is based on cherry-picked facts and is a biased and inaccurate representation of the totality of our work, in line with a preconceived critical narrative. In particular, there is a singular absence of any of the positive work we have undertaken over the past four years. Mend works tirelessly not to make, in Ware’s words, “alarmist claims” but rather to shine a light on an issue routinely dismissed by politicians, newspaper editors and self-proclaimed experts. Ware fails to mention the numerous documents produced by us (all available on our website for anyone, without needing an investigation) that detail presentations, briefing documents, fact-sheets and easy-read guides on numerous topics affecting the British Muslim community. These have been produced for the sole benefit of educating Muslims and non-Muslims on contentious issues, and not to “position conservative Islam in the mainstream”. The only conclusion we can come to as to why he fails to mention them is that considering them would be dissonant with his negative narrative and thus fail his subjective test for “suitable evidence”. Ware also failed to mention the work our volunteers have done and regularly do in fighting Islamophobia. In February, Paul Moore was convicted of attempted murder after he ran over a Muslim woman in Leicester. As reported by both BBC and ITV, it was Mend volunteers who supported her family, pushed for the police to pursue the case and raised media awareness of it. This was a case that attracted national media attention, and we have to ask why Ware did not report this as an example of Mend’s commendable work. Another notable absence was the “Love a Muslim day” originated by Mend’s regional manager that brought together faith and non-faith communities in numerous events across the country. This was in response to a letter calling for violence against the Muslim community. Mend’s “Love a Muslim day” was reported by all mainstream newspapers and a number of independent journalists but seemingly missed by Ware. Aside from Mend’s work, Ware also ignores the many accolades that we have received recognising our work. The World Economic Forum ranked our work as “best practice” in human rights “protection and promotion”; the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights rated our work as “best example for civil society organisations”; and the EU Parliament magazine stated: “The EU could learn a lot from Mend’s work on counter-radicalisation through engagement.” The WEF, ODIHR and the EU are highly-respected international institutions and it is remarkable that Ware has not cited their considered views on the quality of our work. Tackling all forms of Islamophobia is and will remain Mend’s main objective, and we will keep striving to ensure that racial and religious discrimination is eradicated from society undeterred by sensationalistic accusations. If Ware wishes to criticise Mend’s operation then we do not discourage him. This is to be expected in a healthy democracy, and every organisation is continually evolving and learning from its mistakes. However, biased criticism is rarely informative or useful, and we would expect higher journalistic standards from someone as experienced as Mr Ware. Zeeshan Ali, Media and Policy Analyst, Mend, London E3

Greg Aniol
May 23rd, 2018
4:05 PM
Iftikhar Ahmad - i got your point - to the certain extend .... Why not boys? Boys' problems should be also approached. If they grow up with unhealthy perception of women then definitely should be also educated. I am NOT trying to say that young girls should dress up whatever way. They (as well as boys) should be educated by family and school to respect themselves. However my (and not only my) perception of girls dressed in the cloth bags is not necessary built up on their self respect rather than religion based oppression - tell me if I am wrong. If you are calling few year old girl in the school skirt sexually marked but the other one wrapped with the cloth bag not you must have very disfigured perception of reality and sexuality. Again - religion plays here massive part. Education - to be honest - is a huge problem in the UK. Not schools but parents and overall society is guilty of actions dragging it down. Kids arent encouraged to learn; teachers are scared of pushing them, parents (many of them, not all) do not give a damn, expecting the state to look after their own children. Underachievement ethos guides far too many families. Those families transfer down generation sickening attitude. To summarise - Muslims, Christians or any other imaginary friend followers - as long as not trying to enforce religious rules making others to obey them - let them pray at home to whichever of gods they want. Human decency hasn't been built on sacred books but on common experience built over the thousands of years. Remove religion from the arguments and then not much would be left to argue about. Work hard and don't rely on others to think on your behalf, respect people and have own ambitions. This should cover the most

amcdonald
May 17th, 2018
7:05 PM
Iftikhar Ahmad`s comment is a perfect example of unreasoning.

Anon
May 13th, 2018
7:05 PM
Why does the government not support the more liberal British Muslims in this noble cause?

Iftikhar Ahmad
May 5th, 2018
7:05 PM
Hijab Why is it that we always have these conversations about girls? I never read articles about what boys should or should not wear. I have never read articles about what boys should be allowed to do, only girls. Maybe that is more the issue. Why? It would only be a good idea if you planned to make the families feel so unwelcome that they end up removing their children to be educated at home. But don't then be surprised at the number of home educated Muslim children rising. Maybe that's the overall agenda to make Muslims as outcasts? Muslim girls who wear the hijab to primary school will be asked why they wear it by inspectors. The reasons given will then be recorded in school reports, amid concerns girls are being forced to wear the headscarf by their parents. Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, announced the move on Sunday. This is none of Ofsted's business. In fact it is discrimination. Ofsted should be instructed to back off. Can you please focus on the primary children/girls who are dressed like grown women with short skirts and such which would be deemed as sexualisation of girls. And is this about sexualisition Ms Spielamn or Fundamentalism? I think your a little confused and need to make up your mind because I would say its about Islamophobia. Imagine being questioned about why you dress the way your parents tell you at 8 years of age!? What do you say? “Sorry, I’ll tell them they are wrong”? Looks like Ofsted are now so busy with combating Islam that they will have no time to deal with education? The problem is, before they start the quizzing, they're making public exactly what the girls should get prepared to reply (by their family) to be allowed to keep the hijab. With all the time to rehearse. Any child asked by an inspector why she’s covering her hair should reply.. 'its a free country I can wear what I effing want''!! We do not need inspectors chasing Muslims just because we hate them. Looks like Ofsted are now so busy with combating Islam that they will have no time to deal with education? What is the role of the Government can any of the hijab haters answer This? Or do we need another PREVENT policy to target certain group of people? I bet all the readers who have kids have forced their kids to go to sleep, brush their teeth, wake them out of bed, eat dinner etc, wear a helmet whilst riding bike and so on...So what is wrong with telling your kid to cover the head to if one wants to. There is nothing wrong with this as long as its achieved peacefully and through education. Of course they are forced or at least required to wear hijabs by parents because it is the parents who bring up children according to their tradition, religion or both. Freedom of religion is imperial . One can choose what to believe in an practise it , it' not the government' job to dictate what you should eat, how you should dress ,when you should pray ..it only has the power to coerce it' civilians but it should just focusing on providing services and infrastructure and education and so on. So they need to send inspectors instead of assuming that it's the parents brainwashing the kids. Interesting. Maybe they expect to find some 7 years old girls who will give them a detailed report of all the faiths they thoroughly researched before choosing Islam because it's the one they believe provides the answers to all their existential and philosophical questions. Parents are free to teach their children what they want as long as it' not harming them physically or mentally. Its called education not force. I guess every parent has the right to educate their child into doing something which they believe is good (as long as its not a crime etc). It's the parents that they should be questioning, not the children. No good asking the girls. If they are made to wear it, they will be made to say they aren’t, since that’s what the Inspectors want to hear. Everybody knows who the Inspectors spoke to. How nice of them. Huge swathes of children in Birmingham leave school without 5 GCSE but that doesn't seem to concern Ofsted too much. In fact they label schools Outstanding when they cannot even get half their pupils to this benchmark! We, as parents want to raise our girls. It is our responsibility, no one else's , even Ofsted. Ofsted should be looking at the reasons why children &young people are suffering an epidemic of mental illness, clue: it’s not because they lack resilience. Instead they are joining in with the rights obsession over what women and girl wear and bashing Muslims

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