Mali: The Day the Music Died

What’s missing from this New York Times piece about Mali, the country that gave us music stars like Salif Keita [photo] and Ali Farka Touré?


The paper notes that about nine months ago,

Armed militants sent death threats to local musicians; many were forced into exile. Live music venues were shut down, and militants set fire to guitars and drum kits.

There are many theories for the reasons behind the music ban. Some point to religious fanaticism that sees music as a distraction from single-minded devotion. Others suggest that the ban was an attempt to sabotage the economy by gutting one of Mali’s primary export industries. Perhaps the militants, who cut off the hands of thieves and whip those who drink alcohol, just wanted to terrorize people.

Anything jump out at you when you read the whole thing?

To me, it was this: While there’s no doubt about the pro-music sympathies of Sujatha Fernandes, who authored the article, it seems odd that the word “Muslim,” as either a noun or an adjective, appears nowhere in her article. I thought it might be worth pointing the finger squarely at the fundies who, when it gets down to it, do more than just kill the buzz.

[image via]

Oz Rape Victim Does Jail Time Under Sharia

An Australian female hotel clerk in the United Arab Emirates whose drink was spiked found herself sexually assaulted by three male colleagues.

But Alicia Gali’s ordeal was about to get much worse. When she told the authorities what had happened, she was the one who disappeared behind bars. You see, Allah wills it.


What she did not know is that under the UAE’s strict sharia laws, if the perpetrator does not confess, a rape cannot be proved without the testimony of four adult Muslim male witnesses. She was charged with having illicit sex outside marriage, and thrown in a filthy jail cell for eight months.

[image via freethinker]

U.K. Tongue-Biting: Media Won’t Talk About Muslim Sex Gangs; Calling Them ‘Asians’ Will Do.

The linguistic bobbing and weaving is becoming epic.

On Tuesday, at the Old Bailey in London,

Seven men of Asian or North African origin were found guilty of grooming six vulnerable white girls before putting them through a “living hell” during which they were forced to commit acts of “extreme depravity”.

Three guesses as to what “Asian or North African” means. But first, a little background on the activities of the seven perps:

In a case that bears harrowing similarities to the Rochdale grooming scandal, carefully chosen victims were showered with gifts and plied with alcohol and drugs before being subjected to years of terrifying abuse. The gang recruited its victims from the Oxford area between May 2004 and January last year, deliberately targeting vulnerable girls.

Some were spotted drinking or playing truant along the city’s Cowley Road, while others were chosen as they were living in care homes.


Once under their control the abusers forced the girls to have sex using threats of extreme violence. Some were gang-raped, while others were prostituted to men who would travel from all parts of the country to have sex with them.

If the girls did not comply, they were beaten and burned with cigarettes. One girl was even branded with her abusers’ initials.

When another victim became pregnant aged 12, she was forced to undergo a dangerous backstreet abortion. Another was abused with sex toys to “prepare” her for one of the gang rapes.

Time and again we are told that these crimes, of which there have been many, all strikingly similar in perpetrator and victim profiles, are the work of “Asians.” Like so, courtesy of the Telegraph newspaper:

The case is the latest high-profile trial involving Asian gangs convicted of targeting and abusing vulnerable white girls. Last May eight men of Pakistani origin and one Afghan were convicted of trafficking and raping girls in the Rochdale area.

Last week a gang of Asian men who groomed vulnerable white girls in Shropshire between 2006 and 2009 were jailed for more than 50 years.

The dodge is as disingenuous as it is pervasive.

Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said: “The majority of Asians from all backgrounds abhor these crimes these criminals have brought shame on themselves and their families and the wider Asian communities.”

Do you think that when there is happy news to share from within Britain’s Muslim population (let’s say, a Muslim author being awarded the Booker Prize, or a Muslim sports team scoring gold at an international event), Mr. Shafiq — or Britain’s mainstream press — will refer to the winners as Asians?

Were these gangsters and serial rapists Japanese, perchance? Chinese? Russian? Did they hail from Vietnam? Nepal? The Philippines?

You don’t have to be an Islamophobe to resent the whitewash, and Taj Hargey isn’t. On the contrary: Hargey [photo, below] is a progressive Islamic scholar and imam who doesn’t mind pointing the finger at his co-religionists. And here, does he ever:

What depresses me about [the Oxford] case is the widespread refusal to face up to its hard realities.

The fact is that the vicious activities of the Oxford ring are bound up with religion and race: religion, because all the perpetrators, though they had different nationalities, were Muslim; and race, because they deliberately targeted vulnerable white girls, whom they appeared to regard as ‘easy meat’, to use one of their revealing, racist phrases.


Indeed, one of the victims who bravely gave evidence in court told a newspaper afterwards that ‘the men exclusively wanted white girls to abuse’. But as so often in fearful, politically correct modern Britain, there is a craven unwillingness to face up to this reality.

Commentators and politicians tip-toe around it, hiding behind weasel words. We are told that child sex abuse happens ‘in all communities’, that white men are really far more likely to be abusers, as has been shown by the fall-out from the Jimmy Savile case.

One particularly misguided commentary argued that the predators’ religion was an irrelevance, for what really mattered was that most of them worked in the night-time economy as taxi drivers, just as in the Rochdale child sex scandal many of the abusers worked in kebab houses, so they had far more opportunities to target vulnerable girls.

But all this is deluded nonsense. While it is, of course, true that abuse happens in all communities, no amount of obfuscation can hide the pattern that has been exposed in a series of recent chilling scandals, from Rochdale to Oxford, and Telford to Derby.

In all these incidents, the abusers were Muslim men, and their targets were under-age white girls.

Moreover, reputable studies show that around 26 per cent of those involved in grooming and exploitation rings are Muslims, which is around five times higher than the proportion of Muslims in the adult male population.

[Taj Hargey photo via Progressive Scottish Muslims]

Mut’ahfuckers: British Shiite Muslims Love Ultra-Short Marriages; ‘Cold Showers Don’t Work’

For the record, I’m fine with any agreement that two people enter into consensually. That means I have no problem with paid sex (as long as no one’s being coerced).

But I do have a problem with hypocrisy.

If you condemn prostitution as immoral, but then claim that the Qur’an allows you to consummate a series of temporary “marriages” that are set to expire after an hour, a day, or a week, don’t be surprised if people roll their eyes or even call you on your inconsistency. That’s especially so if money changes hands, and usually, that’s exactly what happens. At the start of a Muslim marriage, the groom gives the bride a a kind of dowry, called mahr, which is

a mandatory required amount of money or possessions (usually a combination of the two), paid by the groom to the bride at the time of marriage (nikah), for her exclusive use.


In the case of nikah mut’ah, money is paid, the deal is sealed, and after a pre-set time, neither party owes the other anything — and everyone still gets to excoriate actual whores and feel all virtuous about it.

And so:

A growing number of Shiite Muslims in Britain are turning to Mut’ah (temporary) marriage as a way to balance religious beliefs and modern Western lifestyle, a practice rejected by Sunni scholars as covered prostitution. …

Lasting for a few hours, days, months or years, temporary marriage is particularly popular among Shiite students in Britain.

“Definitely nikah mut’ah is on the rise now due to students becoming more aware about it,” said Omar Farooq Khan, president of the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Society at Bradford University. “Students are educated people so obviously they look around for a solution to their problems from an Islamic perspective. What else are they going to do? They can’t just have a cold shower because it doesn’t work and otherwise they just end up doing the haram thing and having a girlfriend or boyfriend. Many people won’t talk about it though, because it is still a taboo subject.”

Sunni scholars say the practice is haram (forbidden), but Omar Ali Grant, a London convert to Shiite Islam, isn’t bothered. He has had “around 13 temporary marriages” (I guess he lost count). Grant believes that “What Islam is saying is sex has to be between consenting adults who are also responsible.”

“Responsible.” Yeah. As you can guess, nikah mut’ah is frequently a religious cover for sex trafficking. For instance, scores of rich Muslim tourists visit Southern India for a few weeks of nookie by “marrying” local girls whose families are mired in poverty. After the sex vacation, they divorce the girls and fly home to their families, no questions asked.

Is that responsible, too? You never can tell with Holy Books.

‘Happy Mother’s Day, I Got You This Knife’

Theology is hard. In this case, should the praise go to the Christian god, or the Islamic one?

Egyptian security officials say a Coptic Christian who stabbed his wife for converting to Islam has killed himself by jumping out of a fourth-story courthouse window.


The officials say Romany Amir committed suicide on Sunday as he was waiting to be interrogated by police at the main court in the southern city of Assiut. …

Amir’s wife remained in hospital in critical condition following the stabbing on Saturday.

[image via Escape to Reality]

The Unkindest Cut

Hysen Sherifi was one of six devout Muslims convicted in 2011 of planning to attack the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, among other targets.

Almost as soon as he started his 45-year prison sentence, Sherifi, now 29, got busy trying to hire a hitman to carry out revenge killings on government informants and FBI agents. He wanted the intended victims to be beheaded.


Sherifi approached another inmate to help him hire a hit man to behead government informants and FBI agents. He recruited his younger brother Shkumbin Sherifi, 23, and former special education teacher Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 48, to help pay the hit man and organize the murders. But the inmate whose help Sherifi sought turned out to be yet another government informant. FBI agents then staged an elaborate sting that involved secretly videotaped meetings with a woman posing as the go-between for a fictional hit man named Treetop and doctored photos that appeared to show the corpse of a beheaded witness in a shallow grave.

Yesterday, in North Carolina District Court, Judge Earl Britt sentenced the younger Sherifi to three years in prison, while Elshiekh got three and a half years. They could have gotten ten years each but were spared a more draconian sentence because, the judge noted, the two had cooperated with the investigation.

Before Hysen Sherifi was sentenced, he lectured the judge about Islamic teachings. “The Qur’an is the truth that invalidates all other religions,” said Sherifi, who declined a court-appointed lawyer and represented himself at trial. “If you do not submit, he will severely judge you, and on the day of judgment you will enter hellfire.”

Judge Britt was unimpressed, and imposed four life sentences onto the end of Sherifi’s earlier 45-year prison term — plus, for good measure, another 50 years on top of that.

Muslims Explode Across Canada and US

No, no no. Sorry. Crappy headline. I’ll try again:

North-American Muslims Enjoy Boom

Fuck. I’ll just leave it to the professionals:

Survey shows Muslim population is fastest growing religion in Canada

Across the country, the Muslim population is growing at a rate exceeding other religions, according to Statistics Canada. It is even growing faster than the number of Canadians identifying as having no religion, though just barely, according to the National Household Survey released Wednesday. The Muslim population exceeded the one-million mark, according to the survey, almost doubling its population for the third consecutive decade.


In the United States, the same population trend plays out: the number of U.S. Muslims has more than doubled since 2001, from just over 1 million to more than 2.6 million today. USA Today, citing projections by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, says the number will be 6.2 million by 2030.

To the majority who just want to worship in peace, I say a heartfelt as-salam alaykum — and please don’t Mecca big deal of the occasional joke.

Stand Up To Muslim Bullies? That’s Jail Time.

From the Washington Post:

A Nepali teacher who taught chemistry at Qatar Academy has been jailed in Doha on felony charges for insulting Islam.

Dorje Gurung, who has taught chemistry to middle and high school students in the United States, Britain and Australia, appeared in a Doha court on Thursday. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison, according to Doha News.

Dorje Gurung (

 …Gurung has been accused of comparing all Muslims to terrorists. But two of his friends shared Gurung’s version with Doha News:

On Monday, April 22, Gurung said he had a sit-down chat with three 12-year-old boys who were making fun of him. Among other things, the seventh graders poked fun at his appearance, calling him “Jackie Chan,” a famous Chinese actor.

On Tuesday, April 23, the mocking again began in earnest while Gurung was in line for lunch. At first, he said the teasing was light-hearted, but then one student put his hand on Gurung’s shoulder and a finger in his nose. At this point, Gurung grew agitated and said remarks to the effect of, how would you like to be stereotyped i.e. called a terrorist?

Gurung has no legal representation, but the Nepali embassy is seeking permission from the Kathmandu government to meet with Gurung, Doha News reports. Without a lawyer, Gurung’s friends fear he would not get a fair trial. The court would rely on the complaints from Qatar Academy’s students, they said.

How To Get On Al Qaeda’s Kill List

Does Scandinavian linguist Tina Magaard have a death wish?

A Danish linguist has spent over three years analyzing ten religions’ basic texts, and concludes that the texts of Islam stand out by encouraging terror and violence to a greater extent than in other religions.

“The texts of Islam are clearly distinct from the other religions’ texts,”

she claims, because the holy words of Islam contain

…more calls for violence and aggression towards other faiths. There are also [more] direct incitements to terror. “It has long been a taboo in Islam research, but it is a fact that you have to relate to,” says Magaard.

Jihad flag photo/António Martins uploaded by Peter593022 via wikimedia commons

“If it is true that many Muslims view the Qur’an as God’s own words that cannot be re-interpreted or rephrased, we have a problem. It is indisputable that the texts encourage violence and terror. Therefore, it must be legitimate to ask Muslims themselves how they relate to the text, if they take it at face value.”

Magaard, incidentally, hails from a country that keeps creeping into Islamists’ crosshairs. Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, newspaper editors Flemming Rose and Carsten Juste, and writer Lars Hedegaard are among the Danes who’ve received death threats for their perceived slights of Islam. With the exception of Juste, all have been targeted in actual assassination plots by radical Muslims. The four are on the official al Qaeda kill list, released two months ago.

May they and their families stay safe and sane.

‘They’re Taking Our Kids’

In Indonesia,

A six-month Good Weekend investigation has confirmed that children, possibly in their thousands, have been enticed away over the past decade or more with the promise of a free education. In a province where the schools are poor and the families poorer still, no-cost schooling can be an irresistible offer.


But for some of these children, who may be as young as five, it’s only when they arrive that they find out they have been recruited by “pesantren”, Islamic boarding schools, where time to study math, science, or language is dwarfed by the hours spent in the mosque. There, in the words of one pesantren leader, “They learn to honor God, which is the main thing.”

Whole terrifying story here.

[Photo by Michael Bachelard via the Brisbane Times]

On a Wing and an Angry Prayer

Here’s one of the milder incidents involving devout Muslims and airplanes:

A Saudi domestic flight was delayed for nearly two hours after a passenger caused havoc over the presence of stewardesses who weren’t chaperoned by a male relative, a newspaper in the conservative Gulf Kingdom reported on Tuesday.


The stewardess aboard the flight from the Western Red Sea port of Jeddah to the eastern port of Dammam had just started to serve the Saudi passenger when he asked her whether she was accompanied by a male relative.

“He then asked her angrily: Why are you here without a related male companion…the passenger started shouting and demanded that the plane must not take off before all women without a male companion are taken out,” Okaz Daily said.

And by “taken out,” he didn’t mean “murdered” or “taken out and shot.”

I think.

[image via Arabian Business]

Religious People Score Embarrassingly Low on Knowledge of Their Holy Texts; Atheists Excel

I remember reading about this study when it came out, in 2010, but I’d never seen this illuminating CNN interview with the chief authors. Tip of the hat to reddit.

Also, per the screenshot below, I somehow managed to be the 666th viewer of that YouTube video. Cross yourself!

CNN_ Do agnostics know more than believers? - YouTube