by Soeren Kern
September 1. A team of University of Oxford sociologists published a paper about why young, highly educated Muslim women who live in modern urban environments are choosing to wear Islamic veils. The report says that in social situations in which Muslim women mix with non-Muslim friends, work outside the home or interact with strangers, they may wear the veil as “a signal to others in their community to show that mixing with others does not compromise their religious piety.” Veils may also be used “to strengthen their own sense of commitment to their faith and its values in a secular world.” The report says that efforts by Western governments to ban the veil in public might be counterproductive because it would “deprive Muslim women from integrating.” It suggests that if they cannot signal their piety through wearing the veil, they might be forced to stay at home.
September 2. An official list of the most popular baby names in England and Wales in 2015 showed the top name as Oliver. The list shows Muhammad at number 12, followed by Mohammed at 29, Mohammad at 68 and Muhammed coming in at 121. When the different spellings are combined, however, the name Mohammed was used 7,570 times, outstripping the 6,941 babies named Oliver on their birth certificates.
September 2. Ayasofia Primary School, a Muslim school in Whitechapel, East London, was shut down by Ofsted, the agency that regulates schools in Britain, after four inspections uncovered a raft of educational failings. Cityside Primary Trust, which owns the school, said the decision to close the institute, which has 80 pupils between the ages of 4 and 11, was “disproportionate.” The Trust argued that children attending the school were now in danger of “radicalization” during “home schooling” by ultra-religious family members. Judge Laurence Bennett rejected the appeal: “We are not persuaded that there is a binary consequence, that is attendance at Ayasofia, a school judged to have significant failings, or home schooling with attendant risks.”
September 4. British courts should be able to issue Islamic divorces to protect the rights of Muslim women, according to a leading expert in sharia law. Elham Manea, who spent four years researching the UK’s sharia councils, said the measure would render “inherently discriminatory” sharia councils redundant because they are mainly used by women seeking an Islamic divorce. Manea said the vast majority of women attending sharia councils have not formalized their religious marriage under British law and are often forced into conceding their civil rights in order to secure an Islamic divorce. Moulana Raza, director of the Muslim Law Council UK, added: “Sharia councils are thriving because there is no other authentic and credible mechanism for Muslim women to obtain an Islamic divorce. If the government offered an alternative, 90% of the work of sharia councils would end.”
September 4. Peter Sutcliffe, a serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper, was “preparing to convert to Islam in a bid to protect himself as part of Muslim prison gang,” according to media reports. Sutcliffe, 70, was recently moved from the Broadmoor psychiatric hospital to Frankland prison after a tribunal found he no longer required medical treatment. Sutcliffe, who was convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven more, has faced daily death threats since arriving at the prison. Muslim gang members have offered to protect him, but only if he converts to Islam. They told Sutcliffe that changing faith will also allow him access to a special diet, more time out of his cell and the right to refuse certain types of prison work.
September 6. Kamran Ahmed, 27, was sentenced to ten years in prison for raping a 12-year-old girl. Ahmed, a Pakistani man who moved to the UK to wed a British-born woman in an arranged marriage, had been in the country less than six months when he raped the girl after trying to groom her for sex. Ahmed, who claimed “the devil” made him commit the crime, will be deported once he serves his sentence. Continue reading
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