by Soeren Kern
April 1. The British Home office stripped Sufiyan Mustafa, 22, of his UK passport after he traveled to Syria to fight with jihadists. Mustafa is the youngest son of the cleric Abu Hamza, who was sentenced to life in prison in the United States after being convicted of terrorism charges. Mustafa complained that he is now stateless and stranded in Syria:
“Britain is the place where I was born and lived. I have never been a threat to national security in Britain and will not commit aggression on its population because our religion does not allow attacks on unarmed innocents.”
April 1. Frankland Prison in County Durham became the first of its kind to open “a prison within a prison” to isolate Islamic extremists. Convicted terrorists are to be moved to a “jihadist prison block” to reduce the risk of other inmates being radicalized. A government report recommended that the “most subversive extremist prisoners” should be jailed separately to tackle the problem of jihadists radicalizing their fellow inmates.
April 5. A BBC investigation found that online services in Britain are charging divorced Muslim women thousands of pounds to take part in “halala” Islamic marriages. Halala involves the woman marrying a stranger, consummating the marriage and then getting a divorce, after which she is able to remarry her first husband. Some Muslims believe that halala is the only way a couple who have been divorced, and wish to reconcile, can remarry. The BBC reported that women who seek halala services are at risk of being financially exploited, blackmailed and even sexually abused. One man, advertising halala services on Facebook, told an undercover BBC reporter posing as a divorced Muslim woman that she would need to pay £2,500 ($3,250) and have sex with him in order for the marriage to be “complete” — at which point he would divorce her. The man also said he had several other men working with him, one who he claims refused to issue a woman a divorce after a halala service was complete.
April 5. The Salafi Independent School, an Islamic private school in Small Heath, was found to have placed an advertisement for a male-only science teacher. Although the advertisement, which breached the Equalities Act, was retracted, the headmaster claimed that the role must be occupied by a male teacher because of “religious observance reasons.” The decision prompted calls for the school to be investigated, amid fears it promotes “gender-based discrimination” and threatens to undermine “British values.”
April 6. Ummariyat Mirza, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, was charged with planning to carry out a jihadist attack with a knife. He was also charged with possessing a bomb-making guide, the Anarchist Cookbook, and an extremist document called the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook. Police also charged Zainub Mirza, a 23-year-old from Bordesley Green, Birmingham, with sending Islamic State propaganda videos and executions to others to encourage jihadist attacks.
April 7. The Food Standards Agency launched an investigation into the Malik Food Group, one of Britain’s largest halal slaughterhouses, over allegations of animal cruelty after an undercover video showed a slaughterman repeatedly sawing at the necks of sheep with a knife as they passed down a conveyor belt. The animals appeared not to have been killed instantly and some were seen heaving and jumping as they went down the line. More than 100 million animals are killed in the UK every year using the halal method, which forbids stunning animals prior to having their throats cut. The filming was carried out by the pressure group Animal Aid. Its spokesman Luke Steele said:
“Our investigation has uncovered barbaric and deliberate cruelty being inflicted on animals, in horrific scenes unlike any we have ever seen before. There is no doubt that law breaking continues to be an inherent problem in abattoirs.”
April 9. The Brexit pressure group Leave Means Leave called on the British government to adopt a five-year freeze on unskilled migrants and impose a 50,000-a-year cap on all new arrivals. The group, backed by former Cabinet ministers as well as 15 Tory MPs, says that Brexit provides a “golden opportunity” to stem immigration. The group is especially concerned about unskilled migrants, who are believed to make up some 80% of newcomers to the EU. Former Conservative cabinet minister, Owen Paterson MP, said:
“Mass migration at its current level has fostered resentment, depressed wages and placed an excessive burden on our public services. Once we have left the EU, the government must enact a new bespoke immigration policy — like a British Working Visa System — to bring immigration levels down to the tens of thousands.”
April 10. Walsall Council backed out of a pilot project to introduce voter identification measures at elections amid concerns over how staff would handle Muslim women wearing veils. Conservative leader Mike Bird said the idea was “more trouble than its worth” and may lead to “confrontation” at polling stations. The government is planning to run the pilot schemes at local elections in 2018. It would see participating councils request identification from voters at polling stations to crack down on electoral fraud.
April 10. Two Birmingham teachers at center of Trojan Horse affair — an alleged plot to introduce conservative Islamic ideology into several Birmingham state schools — applied to have disciplinary proceedings against them thrown out. A lawyer representing Hardeep Saini, the former deputy head of Golden Hillock School and Monzoor Hussain, the former principal of Park View School, said the case against his clients is prejudiced. The teachers appeared with three others before a disciplinary panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership in Coventry.
April 10. Azad Ali, an Islamist who has said that he supports killing British soldiers, was named a director of Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), a controversial Muslim pressure group which advises the British government. Ali recently said that the jihadist attack at Westminster on March 22, 2017 was not an act of terrorism.
April 11. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, a teachers’ union, called for more information and training for school staff on how to spot the signs of “honor-based abuse.” Some forms of abuse, such as “breast ironing,” often go undetected because teachers are unaware that it exists. Helen Porter, who proposed the motion, said:
“Breast ironing or breast flattening, is the pummeling or pounding of a pubescent girl’s breasts with hard or heated objects in an attempt to stop them developing. It often lasts for 20 minutes at a time and may be repeated daily for up to 10 months. To state the obvious it is extremely painful and can contribute to breast infections, cysts, cancer, depression and complications in breast feeding.
“Breast ironing has been carried out for many generations and is usually performed by mothers who wish to prevent their daughters from being sexually attractive to men in a bid to protect them from child marriage and pregnancy, sexual harassment, rape and the spread of HIV. It is practiced in Cameroon, countries of western central Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. In the UK, girls in London, Leicester and Birmingham are most at risk.”
April 11. The Charity Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales, asked Islamic Relief to explain why it invited a hardline Muslim preacher to star in a fundraising tour of Britain. Yasir Qadhi, a Saudi-educated American academic, has been recorded telling students that killing homosexuals and stoning adulterers was part of Islam. Qadhi, who featured in an eight-city tour, described Islamic punishments such as cutting off the hands of thieves as “very beneficial to society.” The commission also questioned two other charities, Muslim Aid and Read Foundation, about their sponsorship of a speaking tour by Qadhi in 2015.
April 13. Twenty nine people, facing more than 170 charges relating to the sexual exploitation of 18 children, appeared at Huddersfield Magistrates Court. The 27 men and two women were charged with offenses including rape, trafficking, sexual activity with a child, child neglect, child abduction, supplying drugs and making of indecent images of children.
April 14. Sainsbury’s and Asda, two of Britain’s largest supermarket chains, refused to sell Easter eggs that tell the story of Christianity. Both chains, however, sold eggs that are not specifically Christian, including a halal version made by the Belgian firm Guylian. The Real Easter Egg range, which claims to be the only one that names Jesus on the box, includes a 24-page story-activity book explaining the death and resurrection of Christ. It says that “eggs are a symbol of hope and new life.” Meaningful Chocolate boss David Marshall said Sainsbury’s and Asda appeared to be “not very comfortable, for some reason, with stocking Easter eggs for the Christian community.” Stephen Green, of the lobby group Christian Voice, said: “You are whitewashing the Christian message out of Christian holidays. It’s difficult to find any explicitly Christian products, like Christmas cards, in supermarkets.”
April 15. Pupils at the Kilmorie Primary School in Lewisham, London were taken on a school trip to the Lewisham Islamic Centre where they met Shakeel Begg, an imam whom the High Court recently described as an “extremist” who “promotes and encourages religious violence.” The trip by state school students, aged eight and nine, to meet Begg, the imam at the mosque attended by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, provoked widespread outrage. Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave warned that Begg’s role as imam put him in a position to “plant the seed of Islamic extremism in a young mind.” Begg praised the children for their desire to learn about Islam.
That’s just the first two weeks of April, the remainder of the month’s highlights at the link above.