Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Girl in the River

I watched the documentary film 'A Girl in the River' on TV some time ago, but came across this version of the film on YouTube.

Now it's not an easy programme to watch because it tells the story of a young Pakistani woman, Saba Quaiser, whose father left her for dead after shooting Saba in the head and throwing her into a river. 

Saba survived thanks to her own determination and skill of the surgeons who saved her life, and her father was charged over his thwarted attempt to carry out an 'honour killing'.

Saba disobeyed her father over the choice of a husband and for dishonouring his family the father believed he was entitled to take murder his daughter in an act of rage and revenge (aided and abetted by his brother by the way).

Saba's father spend a short time in prison, bur she is forced to bring about his release by 'forgiving him' - a travesty of justice which is encouraged under Sharia (Islamic) law and an enduring culture where women are regarded as the property of men.

The film is directed by Shirmeen Obaid and is well worth forty minutes of anyone's time.

Glasgow has a large Pakistani community and hit the headlines recently when the leading 'imam' at the Glasgow Mosque (Habib ur Rehman) was exposed for celebrating the murder of the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who had championed the rights of Christians being persecuted under blasphemy laws.

A few weeks later a Glasgow shopkeeper, Asda Shah, was murdered by a fellow Muslim who travelled all the way from Bradford (England) to Glasgow to kill Mr Shah in cold blood because he regarded Mr Shah as a blasphemer and heretic.


Glasgow Imam (04/04/16)

The BBC reports that the Glasgow Muslim preacher, Habib ur Rehman, who has been pilloried for expressing his support for a fanatical religious murderer is adding insult to injury by continuing to insist that his ill-judged comments were somehow 'misconstrued'.

Now the imam, a 'holy' man, has had time to reflect on what he said and to offer up sincere apologies for being so stupid, yet he continues to pretend that his comments were taken out of context, and that his support for a cowardly assassin could be compared to the French resistance fighting the Nazis in World War Two. 

If you ask me, I can't see the good people of Glasgow, including sensible Muslims, putting up with this nonsense and the weasel words of someone who is supposed to be a mainstream religious leader and respected member of the wider community.

The point is not to charge him with a criminal offence, but to require the imam to explain himself publicly - and either defend or withdraw his insulting remarks 

Extremism claim imam will not be charged

BBC Glasgow & West Scotland

Image caption - Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman said he condemned "extrajudicial killing and anarchy"

The religious head of Scotland's largest mosque who praised an extremist executed for committing murder in Pakistan, will not face charges.

Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman of Glasgow Central Mosque used WhatsApp to show his support for Mumtaz Qadri.

Qadri was hanged in February after murdering a local politician who opposed strict blasphemy laws.

Police Scotland said it had reviewed the messages but said "no criminality has been established".

The imam said the series of messages about Qadri, in which he reportedly called the killer a "true Muslim", had been "taken out of context" and were about his opposition to Qadri's hanging and the Pakistani justice system.

Image caption - Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman is the most senior imam at Glasgow Central Mosque

Speaking at a conference in Glasgow on Thursday representing differing strands of Muslim faith, imam Habib Ur Rehman repeated that his comments were "misconstrued" and said the situation had added to his "sense of tragedy" following recent terror attacks.

He said: "I condemn extrajudicial killing and anarchy. The spirit of Islam is a spirit of peace."

Police Scotland Superintendent Jim Baird said: "Officers have reviewed all comments as reported to Police Scotland and, whilst it is appreciated that individuals raise issues that concern them, on this occasion no criminality has been established.

"Police Scotland thank the members of the public who raised this issue with us.

"Each person who reported their concerns to the police, and who were not anonymous, was responded to individually. This assisted us in directly answering the specific points they raised."

Religion of Peace? (25/03/16)

"How can Islam be described as a 'religion of peace' when its mainstream spiritual leaders praise the actions of fanatical Muslim murderers?"

Now that's the question that jumped into my head when I read the following report from The Herald newspaper regarding the words of the imam of Glasgow Central Mosque, Habib ur Rehman, who compared the cowardly behaviour of an assassin with the heroic fight of the French resistance in World War Two.

Now as any reasonable person would observe the French resistance were fighting for freedom and against tyranny, whereas Mumtaz Qadri murdered the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, whose only 'crime' was to defend the rights of Christians being persecuted under Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws.

Now this is taking place right in my own back yard and I feel the need to do  and say something about these outrageous comments, so I think I will be contacting my local MP and MSP as well as writing directly to the Glasgow Central Mosque. 

But well done to David Leask The Herald newspaper because no one reading about this kind of behaviour should just shrug their shoulders and walk on by.

Imam at Scotland's biggest mosque praises Islamist assassin

Spirital eader of Scotland's biggest mosque praises Islamist assassin as concerns of radicalism rise

By David Leask - The Herald

The spiritual leader of Scotland's biggest mosque has praised an Islamist assassin amid fresh concerns about the threat of radicalism at the Muslim centre of worship.

Habib ur Rehman, the imam of Glasgow Central Mosque, said extremist Mumtaz Qadri was a "true Muslim" and equated his actions with the French resistance against the Nazis during World War Two.

He made his remarks last month as he protested the execution of Qadri for the 2011 murder of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab who had championed the rights of Christians being persecuted under blasphemy laws.

Religion of Peace? (27/03/16)

We all have a problem on our hands, including sensible Muslims, when religious leaders use 'weasel words' in a desperate effort to cover up their intolerance.

The 'imam' of Glasgow Central Mosque, Habib ur Rehman, says he is being 'misunderstood' and that he merely wished to convey his opposition to a murderer's hanging by the Pakistan Government.

I'm with the imam on that score, as an opponent of capital punishment myself, but these were the words that were actually used by Mr Rehman:

"A true Muslim was punished for doing (that) which the collective will of the nation failed to carry out.

"According to some he was a murderer but according to many others he did what was the collective will of the umma (Muslim community).

"Just when France was occupied by the Nazis, French did all they had to do to protect their nation. They were national heroes."  

Now these are vile and incendiary things to say - and they are a million miles away from simply opposing the death penalty, so well done to the Glasgow lawyer, Aamer Anwar, for calling a spade a spade with the following comments:

"Many within the community are horrified and scared that such views will filter down the Muslim community and radicalise our children. To describer a convicted terrorist as a 'true Muslim'  or draw parallels with the 'French resistance fighting the Nazis' is grotesque.

"There can be no moral or religious justification for remarks which glorify murder."

But rather than simply driving the imam out of his current lofty position, surely this is an opportunity to debate the issues involved and emphasise the values that underpin democracy including freedom of expression, non-discriminatory laws, tolerance and respect for minorities.      

Glasgow Shopkeeper (12/05/16)

One of the people I follow on Twitter, Sunny Hundal (a journalist) posted this video of a leading politician in Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashram, attacking Ahmadi Muslims who share the same religious faith as the Glasgow shopkeeper.

In his Twitter post, Sunny Hundal asks the rhetorical question:

"Imagine if an Israeli politician said this about Palestinians....wouldn't it be outrageous? Instead, there's silence."

Raja Ashraf, just to make things even more depressing, is a former Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Can you imagine what this ignorant oaf says 'off camera' if this is how he speaks and behaves when his views are likely to be reported?

Religion of Peace? (11/04/16)

The BBC reported on the murder of a Glasgow shopkeeper, Asad Shah, by a fellow Muslim, Tanveer Ahmed, who regards Mr Shah as a heretic.

We know this because Tanveer Ahmed released an extraordinary statement in which he admits killing Mr Shah because Mr Shah 'disrespected' Islam, or to be more accurate Mr Tanveer's interpretation of Islam.

Now if you ask me, this is eerily similar to the words of the Glasgow imam, Habid Ur Rehman, a holy man, allegedly, who expressed his support recently for the murder of the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who was slain by one of his own bodyguards for seeking to protect Christians from Pakistan's infamous blasphemy laws.

So the Glasgow imam glorifies the murder of a fellow Muslim in Pakistan and then a chap from Bradford travels all the way too Glasgow to attack and kill another Muslim, again in the name of his religion.

As regular readers know, I'm not a religious person and I don't believe that the Prophet Muhammad spoke to God, or that he flew around what is now the Middle East on a winged horse or that he split the moon on two.

Perhaps that makes me a heretic or a blasphemer in the eyes of the Glasgow imam or the chap from Bradford, and therefore a perfectly legitimate target for those seeking to enforce their religious views through the use of violence, intimidation and murder.

If so, there is something troubling about the fact that mainstream Muslims in the UK seem to hold views that are deeply at odds with our democratic, live and let live way of life. 


Asad Shah death: Man admits killing shopkeeper because he 'disrespected' Islam

BBC Glasgow & West Scotland

Image caption - Asad Shah died after being found badly injured near his shop in the Shawlands area of Glasgow on Thursday

The man accused of murdering Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah has issued a statement saying he carried out the killing because he believed Mr Shah had 'disrespected' Islam.

Tanveer Ahmed, 32, from Bradford, is accused of killing Mr Shah outside his shop in Glasgow almost a fortnight ago.

In the statement he denied the incident had anything to do with Christianity.

Mr Ahmed claimed Asad Shah had "disrespected" Islam by claiming to be a prophet.

The shopkeeper, an Ahmadi Muslim, who had moved from Pakistan to Glasgow almost 20 years ago, was found with serious injuries outside his shop on 24 March. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

During the police investigation officers claimed the incident was "religiously prejudiced" and confirmed both men were Muslims.

Hundreds attended a silent vigil in Mr Shah's memory and more than £110,000 has been raised for his family through public donations.

Tanveer Ahmed made no plea during a private court appearance, where he was charged with Mr Shah's murder

Image caption - Floral tributes have been placed at the scene of Mr Shah's death

He was remanded in custody and is expected to appear at the High Court at a later date.

This highly unusual statement was made through his lawyer, John Rafferty, after Ahmed's second appearance at court before sheriff Brian Adair.

Ahmed made no plea during private court appearance, charged with Mr Shah's murder.

He was remanded in custody and is expected to appear at the High Court at a later date.

Unusual statement

The highly unusual statement was made through Mr Ahmed's lawyer, John Rafferty after his second appearance at court before sheriff Brian Adair.

The statement given is: "My client Mr Tanveer Ahmed has specifically instructed me that today, 6 April 2016, to issue this statement to the press, the statement is in the words of my client.

"This all happened for one reason and no other issues and no other intentions.

"Asad Shah disrespected the messenger of Islam the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Mr Shah claimed to be a Prophet.

"When 1400 years ago the Prophet of Islam Muhammad peace be upon him has clearly said that 'I am the final messenger of Allah there is no more profits or messengers from God Allah after me.

'I am leaving you the final Quran. There is no changes. It is the final book of Allah and this is the final completion of Islam'.

'There is no more changes to it and no one has the right to claim to be a Prophet or to change the Quran or change Islam.'

"It is mentioned in the Quran that there is no doubt in this book no one has the right to disrespect the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and no one has the right to disrespect the Prophet of Islam Muhammad Peace be upon him.

"If I had not done this others would and there would have been more killing and violence in the world.

"I wish to make it clear that the incident was nothing at all to do with Christianity or any other religious beliefs even although I am a follower of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him I also love and respect Jesus Christ."

Mormon Targets

I don't have much truck with the Mormon religion, but crazy as many of its beliefs and traditions are, if yours me, they are no better or worse than those of other religious faiths.

Now if I remember correctly, Mormons believe that their leader, Joseph Smith, was a prophet who founded the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints in upstate New York, in the early 19th century, after discovering set of golden plates which he had been led to by an Angel of God.

Sounds barmy, I know, but no more barmy than Moses parting the Red Sea, or Jesus Christ coming back from the dead on Easter Sunday, or the Prophet Muhammad splitting the moon in two.

Yet for believing that Joseph Smith is another of God's prophets with the latest insight into how God believes we should all live our lives, Mormons must be blasphemers and heretics, at least in the eyes of those who follow a conservative version of Islam.

Like the Glasgow imam, Habid Ur Rehman, who celebrated the murder of a fellow Muslim in Pakistan or the chap from Bradford, Tanveer Ahmed, who travelled all the way to Glasgow to attack and kill the peaceful shopkeeper, Asad Shah.  

Now I agree that the majority of Muslims are peaceful and law-abiding although if you ask me, Islam has a real problem with the way it is taught in parts of the world - where jihad and martyrdom are glorified, while others are condemned to death for being blasphemers, heretics and apostates.

Even mild-mannered authors like Salman Rushdie.