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Archive for July, 2008

dsc00258Complaints regarding Muslims being ‘harassed’ while flying in and out of Scottish airports by police officers have been running for quite some time.

SIF held a ‘Police Question Time’ in Glasgow’s Al-Furqan Mosque with those involved to get to the bottom of the issue. The fact that over 80 people were in attendance despite there being an enforced change of venue only 24 hours beforehand, showed the strength of feeling on the issue.

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Scotland and Shariah

For those that missed yesterday’s event regarding Scotland and the Shariah law debate with family lawyer John Fotheringham, see this article he recently had published in the Law Society’s Journal.

His basic contention is that Muslims can achieve the “Shariah effect” within the current provisions of Scots law.

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Much ado about nothing

It has been less than a month on from our official launch and the knives are already out. This weekend a couple of newspapers, fed by members of our own community, have been pushing a story that the only reason we received funding from the Scottish Government is because some of our members are also members of the SNP.

SIF took months of hard work and planning, formulating the idea of IslamFest, entailing countless meetings with officials, civil servants, Ministers and Muslim organisations. SIF exists due to the lack of what already exists to effectively tackle growing Islamophobia, misconceptions and disillusioned Muslim youth. The funding was awarded on the basis of SIF’s application and ability to inject hope and initiative in our community. Instead the Government is being accused of biased and favouritism towards SIF.
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“And their dog stretched out its forelegs at the threshold.” [Qur’an 18:18]

There was a feature by Peter Oborne in the online edition of today’s Daily Mail (of all papers) arguing that post-war Britain is Islamophobic, basing a good part of its argument on the zeal of newspaper editors to print ridiculous stories to make Muslims look bad. At the moment it has been taken offline. (It was so good that the Mail had to preface it with: “Doubtless, many will disagree with him…”!)
Update: Here it is at a new link: Is post-war Britain anti-Muslim?

One case he didn’t mention is the recent scandal surrounding Rebel, the Tayside police puppy whose image was used on a promotional leaflet for a new emergency number. The police received a complaint from a Dundee councillor who sits on their board, and then apologised profusely for their lack of sensitivity. The story? The councillor is a Muslim and based his complaint on alleged offence caused to Muslims due to dogs being “unclean”.

The result? Letters like that in yesterday’s Metro, saying that “If Muslims don’t understand our culture, then I think they belong elsewhere.”

The papers have to answer as to why many of them ran this story without any basic fact-checking. First of all, why should a councillor be taken as representing a religious community? Perhaps the complaints have more to do with culture – why was it made into an “Islamic” issue? Did they consult the local mosques or other Muslim organisations to establish whether the complaint had any substance to it? Did they even solicit the opinions of shopkeepers to see whether Councillor Asif’s claim that they were particularly offended was accurate?

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