Blasphemy – the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things
A man in Denmark has been charged for blasphemy after burning a Qur’an on Facebook and posting the comment: “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns” to a group called “YES TO FREEDOM – NO TO ISLAM” in December 2015.
The public prosecutor who has brought this case says:
“It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can in some cases be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion.
“It is our opinion that the circumstances of this case mean it should be prosecuted so the courts now have an opportunity to take a position on the matter.”
In the UK this sort of crime often comes under hate crime as an offence against religion.
- Religious offence – this is where you break religious rules. An example would be breaking the Ten Commandments. For example, ‘taking the Lord’s name in vain’, which is blasphemy. Someone might say ‘Oh my God’ without really talking about God. Some religious offences are against the law, such as ‘Thou shall not murder’, but some are not, such as ‘thou shall not commit adultery’.
In the example in Denmark it also seems to appear to be an example of Islamophobia.
On 16th February Juhel Miah a teacher from a Welsh school was flying with students and other teachers to the USA via Iceland. Already one week earlier a court had upheld the decision to suspend President Trump from the US’s executive order temporarily banning the travel from seven mostly Muslim countries. So why was Mr Miah, a British citizen with only a British passport removed from the flight in Iceland and not permitted to fly to the US? Was it simply because he is Muslim?
A spokesperson from the Maths teacher’s employer Port Talbot council said: “Juhel Miah was with a party from Llangatwg comprehensive who travelled initially to Iceland en route to New York last week. Mr Miah boarded the onward flight in Reykjavik on 16 February but was escorted from the aircraft by security personnel. Whilst the school trip proceeded as planned, Mr Miah’s removal from the flight left pupils and colleagues shocked and distressed.”
The spokesman continued: “We are appalled by the treatment of Mr Miah and are demanding an explanation. The matter has also been raised with our local MP.”
The Daily Mail has been forced to pay £150,000 to a British Muslim family for falsely reporting they were terrorist sympathisers. The British family had been stopped by US authorities from travelling to LA on a family holiday and the Mail had reported via their journalist Katie Hopkins that the family were certain extremists.
The family’s lawyer made the statement after the victory in court: “… matters are not helped when sensationalist and, frankly, Islamophobic articles such as this are published, and which caused us all a great deal of distress and anxiety. We are very pleased that the record has been set straight.” Carter Ruck the lawyer said that while most of the coverage of the Mahmood family’s ordeal had been fair and balanced, “there was absolutely no basis for suggesting that any of the Mahmoods were or are extremist, and the family were simply going on holiday”.
This all shows the importance of being aware of bias and false reporting in your news stories. History and English lessons should really help you in this; making you aware of political bias.
Two friends, a Muslim and Christian, have written a new translation of the Qur’an to show the common ground between Islam and Christianity. The book has a split page format and shows some 3,000 similarities between the two faiths. Jesus, know as Esa in the Qur’an, is mentioned 400 times.
The book is available on Amazon at £17 for a Kindle copy and £32 for a paperback. The Amazon page reads: Drs. Kaskas’ and Hungerford’s underlying motivation for the translation and inclusion of the extensive footnotes are not intended to promote a particular school of Islam or Christian apologetics. These exist in abundance. Their goal is to build bridges of better understanding, undermine radicalism and enlighten ignorance. This powerful instrument offers Muslims and Christians a fresh insight on the “straight path” to reconciling with God and man; sorely needed and missing from other translations.
The two authors are part of an organisation called Bridges To Common Ground which promote faith comparisons and work towards a world of better understanding.
April 2016 and Khairuldeen Makhzoomi a 26 year old university researcher is about to fly on a Southwest flight and rings his uncle. “I just called him and talked to him about it and everything, and he told me (to) call him when I get to Oakland, and I said, ‘insha’Allah insha’Allah
I will call you when I arrive.’ And during the conversation a lady was staring at me,” Makhzoomi said. The political science student thought the woman might have been concerned with how loudly he spoke on the phone. He saw her abruptly leave the plane. And suddenly, the situation turned.”One guy came with police officers within two minutes -I can’t believe how fast they were -and told me to get off the plane,” he said. This unfair turn of events was reported widely in the media with CNN
interviewing Makhzoomi and the Guardian
linking the event to rising Islamophobia in the US.
In our RS GCSE lessons we learn that Inshallah means God willing, and is something that Muslims might say after they promise to do something. It shows their belief that they are not in control of what happens: only God is in control. This idea leads some Muslims to believe that God controls everything human beings do and that humans do have free will. Shi’a Muslims think slightly differently, that God doesn’t force people to act in certain ways, but that God has allowed people freedom to choose how to behave.
Nadiya Hussain won the Great British Bake Off TV show in 2015 and won acclaim for her amazing bakes and her will-power. Her winners speech had most people in tears: .
For the last year though she has been telling us about what it’s like being a Muslim woman living in Britain and sadly for us, quite a lot of it has been pretty awful. She said she’s been “shoved, pushed and verbally abused” and that it had become “part of her life” as a Muslim in Britain. Lots of news websites have reported the story over the last twelve months: The International Business Times, The Metro, The Daily Mail, and The BBC. It is also interesting hearing her being interviewed on Loose Women too, both talking about the abuse she’s received social media and about her arranged marriage.
When looking at prejudice like racism, sexism, homophobia and islamophobia in a society people often want to know if things are getting worse and statistics are used, with varying success, to give a picture of whether there are more or less cases of prejudicial activity in the UK.
The anti-Muslim hate monitoring group Tell MAMA reported that there was a 326 per cent increase in Islamophobic incidents in 2015 – and then warned that Brexit in June 2016 could make it worse. The Independent reported that there has been an explosion of racial hatred, often after terrorist attacks around the world, but also exasperated by the sentiments some people associated with the UK voting to leave the European Union. Tell MAMA is an independent, non-governmental organisation that is pushing for people to report Islamophobia against them so that the crimes can be tracked and analysed. All the knowledge gained from this will then assist Muslim groups when they meet and work with the government and police to stop such racism.
The Muslim Council of Britain are also urging people not to suffer prejudice in silence and asking them to report their unjust treatment, whether it be to the police, Tell MAMA or the Council itself.