United Kingdom

[Statement from City Circle] In recent months, it has been very distressing for us to watch Dr Usama Hasan, a core member of City Circle's management team who has also served with distinction as our Director, endure a nasty, intolerant campaign to remove him as an imam from his boyhood mosque and to cast him outside of the fold of Islam on account of views he has expressed as a scholar and a scientist in good faith and conviction.

An imam of an east London mosque has been subject to death threats and intimidation for expressing his views on evolution and women's right to refuse the veil. Dr Usama Hasan, vice-chairman at Leyton mosque and a senior lecturer in engineering at Middlesex University, ceased delivering Friday prayers after 25 years of service when 50 Muslim protesters disrupted his lecture by handing out leaflets against him and shouting in the mosque for his execution. A statement from the secretary of the mosque, Mohammad Sethi, that was leaked to extremist websites, said Hasan had been suspended after his lecture resulted in "considerable antagonism" from the community and for his "belief that Muslim women are allowed to uncover their hair in public".

The model Muslim marriage contract is designed for use by British Muslims who wish to enter into an ‘Islamic marriage’ or nikah in addition to any civil marriage they may or may not enter: http://muslimmarriagecontract.org/documents/MuslimMarriageContract.pdf

It's not known exactly how many Ahmadis have settled in Britain - because many are too fearful to even admit they belong to the religion. They are a small, peaceful community who came here after fleeing persecution in Pakistan. But many Ahmadis are now living in fear for their lives - because they claim a campaign of hatred against them by other, extremist Muslims, is being exported from Pakistan onto the streets of the UK. 

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network expresses concerns and reservations regarding the decision of the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to represent the Yemen-based radical Anwar al-Awlaki's interests pro bono, in response to the US decision to authorise the targeted assassination of Awlaki.

Karima Bennoune's public criticism of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU's case in defence of Anwar al-Awlaki is a welcome stand for a universal vision of human rights that has largely gone missing from western human rights organisations.

The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation welcomes the news that the remaining two suspects in the Banaz Mahmod murder trial, Mohammed Ali and Omar Hussain, have been found guilty at the Old Bailey today.  Ali was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years and Hussain to 21 years. 

Ofcom has ruled that Islam Channel, a London-based broadcaster, broke the broadcasting code for advocating marital rape, violence against women and describing women who wore perfume outside of the home as "prostitutes". Five programmes broadcast on the satellite TV channel were ruled to be in breach of broadcasting guidelines, the media regulator said today. Ofcom launched its investigation into the programmes, which aired in 2008 and 2009, following a report by the Quilliam thinktank that was published in March.

Muslim women fighting for women’s rights have been largely abandoned by the left, by human rights organisations, and by anti-racist campaigners. That sums up the basic argument put forward by Gita Sahgal at a meeting held in Glasgow on 28 October as part of Black History Month 2010. Sahgal left her post of Head of Gender Unit at Amnesty International earlier this year after Amnesty had ignored her complaints about the organisation’s collaboration with Islamists (specifically, Moazamm Begg and his “Cageprisoners” organisation).

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has reported an increase in the number of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) teenagers coming forward to ask for help from them: This year, the FMU has dealt with 29 confirmed cases of forced marriage involving gay men and women. Last year, the unit offered support and advice to nearly 1,700 cases in total. Just how many of those involved lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) victims is unknown, because not everyone is willing to divulge their sexuality. However, it is thought this emerging trend is just the tip of the iceberg, as more gay men and women seek assistance.

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