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.
September 6. Krissoni Henderson, a 31-year-old Muslim bodyguard, appeared in front of Birmingham Magistrates' Court over charges that he called a woman a "prostitute" and threatened to "blow her up" because she was wearing tight jeans. Henderson ordered Noor Alneaimi, 38, to take off her jeans while she was listening to a Christian street preacher in Birmingham city center. The victim, who was also a Muslim, said she was reduced to tears following the ten-minute tirade which attracted a crowd of 60 people. Prosecutor Simon Brownsey told the court:
"He told her she was Satan, she was the devil, she was a slut, she was a prostitute. He said: 'Take off your tight jeans or you're going to burn in hell, kafir [unbeliever]. I'm going to follow you home and blow up your house.'"
Henderson was charged with "causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress and using racially aggravated insulting words or behavior."
September 6. Anjem Choudary, one of the most outspoken Islamists in Britain, was sentenced to five years and six months in prison for activities supporting Islamic State. Choudary, 49, was sentenced at the Old Bailey in London after his conviction in August of urging Muslims to support IS in sermons posted on YouTube. He was convicted alongside his associate, Mohammed Rahman, 33, who was also sentenced to five years and six months in prison.
Choudary has said he is not afraid of going to prison, which he describes as a fertile ground for gaining more converts to Islam. "If they arrest me and put me in prison, I will carry on in prison," he warned. "I will radicalize everyone in prison."
September 7. The government should impose tight financial restrictions on terror suspects in order to control how they spend their money, according to Tom Keating, an expert in financial crime and security studies at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Terror suspects claiming benefits should be monitored so that they can only use taxpayers' money for the purpose for which it was intended, such as rent and food.
The recommendation came after a judge condemned Anjem Choudary for obtaining £500,000 (€550,000; $610,000) in welfare benefits. Mr. Justice Holroyd asked how it was possible for Choudary to claim benefits from a country he so "adamantly despises."
September 7. A man who murdered a Glasgow shopkeeper for "disrespecting Islam" released messages from Barlinnie Prison calling on supporters to behead other "insulters." Tanveer Ahmed, 32, admitted to stabbing Asad Shah to death in his shop because he felt his victim was "disrespecting the prophet Mohammed" with his beliefs as an Ahmadi Muslim. The Ahmadi branch of Islam believes Mohammed was not the final prophet, a view considered blasphemous to other Muslims. In a YouTube video believed to have been recorded on a mobile telephone, Ahmed celebrated sending Shah "to hell with the help of Allah, the prophet, angels and saints." He continued: "Whoever is listening to my voice must make a resolve to protect the finality of the prophethood. There is only one punishment for insulters: cut off their heads, cut off their heads, cut off their heads."
September 7. The BBC reported a sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Britain. The number of asylum seeking children in the care of English councils rose 62% in a year. The largest group are boys aged 16 and 17, coming from countries such as Afghanistan or Eritrea. Figures released to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that at least 104 councils were caring for more unaccompanied minors than they were in 2015. There were at least 4,156 children seeking asylum without parents or guardians and cared for by 147 councils on March 31, 2016, compared to 2,569 the year before. The figure is likely to be higher: some councils did not have up-to-date figures.
September 8. Haroon Ali-Syed, 19, of Hounslow, West London, was arrested on suspicion of planning to carry out a mass-casualty terror attack on key London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace. "What started out as professed intent to become a suicide bomber crystallized into a plan to kill as many 'Kuffar' (unbelievers) as possible with a nail bomb," the prosecutor said.
September 9. Four members of an alleged Muslim terror gang appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on charges of intending to commit a terrorist act in Britain. Police searching a car linked to the group found a meat cleaver with the word "kaffir" (unbeliever) carved on the handle. They also recovered guns and bullets in a bag found in the car. Prosecutor Louise Gray said that in addition to the weapons,
"There are 114 WhatsApp messages. The conversation covers a range of topics including Islam, Jihad and violent extremism. There are other exchanges of posts where videos and links were posted relating to Daesh [Islamic State], the events in Syria and articles about MI5 blackmailing British Muslims."
September 9. Chief Constable David Thompson, head of West Midlands Police, one of the largest police forces in Britain, said he would consider allowing Muslim officers to wear the burka while on duty in a bid to boost diversity. Some officers mocked the announcement:
"How could you possibly have an officer pursuing a suspect down the street while wearing a burka over their face? It is frankly a mad idea. I think the Chief Constable was probably trying to be politically correct because if he'd said outright no to burkas then he would have come in for some stick as well."
September 11. A former counterterrorism sergeant accused London's Metropolitan Police of failing to tackle extremist views among some of its Muslim officers, for fear of being labelled "Islamophobic." Javaria Saeed, a practicing Muslim who worked in Scotland Yard's counterterrorism division, complained to her bosses after she witnessed a fellow Muslim officer saying female genital mutilation (FGM) — illegal in the UK since 1985 — was a "clean and honorable practice" and "shouldn't be criminalized." She said the same officer also said female Muslim victims of domestic violence should go to local Sharia courts rather than the police for help, except in the "serious violent cases." But when she raised her concerns with managers, they refused to take action because they were afraid of appearing racist. Saeed told The Sunday Times she had been demonized by some of her fellow Muslim officers for not wearing the veil and was told she was "better off at home looking after her husband." She accused the Metropolitan Police of applying a different standard when investigating allegations of racism by Muslim and non-Muslim officers.
September 12. Ofcom, the media regulator, said it would not investigate complaints over an episode of the children's program Fireman Sam, which Muslims said showed one of Sam's mates trampling on a page of the Koran. Ofcom received 170 complaints but it could not confirm the page was from the Islamic holy book. "We studied a recording of the program in the highest possible resolution," an Ofcom spokesperson said. "We found that the page did appear to contain Arabic text, but its contents could not have been deciphered, nor recognized as being from a given text." After the complaints were made, Mattel said it would "no longer be working with the animation studio responsible," and would take "immediate action to remove this episode from circulation."
September 13. Azad Chaiwala, 33, of Sunderland, North East England, launched a Google Play app for SecondWife.com, a website designed for Muslims seeking to enter into polygamous marriages. The Polygamy App states:
"We are the first and only Muslim Polygamy Matchmaking Service. We set up this service as we believed this is a Sunnah (prophetic tradition) we needed to revive. This service is for practicing Muslims who are seeking marriage and accept polygamy as lifestyle.
"Polygamy in Islam is an acceptable practice and SecondWife.com is where Muslim brothers and sisters who are seeking a polygamous relationship can meet. With over 100,000 members in over 136 countries, start your search for free. All sisters receive a free for life premium profile."
Although polygamy is illegal in Britain, polygamous marriages legally performed in another country where the law allows it are legally recognized in the UK for the purposes of welfare benefits, according to a report prepared for the House of Commons.
September 13. Some 75 new cases of female genital mutilation were recorded in Bristol between the months of April and June 2016, the Health and Social Care Information Center revealed. Bristol made up the vast majority of the 80 new cases in South West England over that time period.
September 14. Police in Redbridge released an image of a man they wish to speak to after two young men were assaulted in High Road, Ilford. The attack occurred after four students decided to visit Ilford to carry out filming in a Muslim area for a college media project. Six men allegedly made racist comments, at which point one of the victims was grabbed and punched in the face. The other men then took off their belts, approached the second victim and pushed him to the ground before assaulting him, police say. Both victims managed to escape and call the police. All six suspects were described as "Asian" in appearance, between 16 and 21 years old.
September 14. A woman who teaches English to migrants with refugee status said her students are not interested in learning the language or getting a job, but rather in the benefits they can extract from British taxpayers. Breitbart London reported that the teacher called into a morning show on London's LBC radio program to discuss her experiences. She said: "It's so frustrating. They're simply not interested in learning English. A lot of them have been here for many years now, and when I was teaching English for employment some of them refused to go because they said 'Well I don't want to work. I don't want to work so I don't want to learn English for employment.'" The radio host replied: "I'm assuming they're happy to live off the welfare state." The teacher responded: "That is what they're doing."
September 15. The British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, completed the Hajj after converting to Islam. He is believed to be the first British ambassador to perform the pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam.
September 16. Britain will receive around 43,381 asylum applications in 2016, costing over £620 million, according to projections by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The ODI estimates that 330,000 people will reach Europe in 2016 through "overt" channels via the Mediterranean Sea, but many more will reach Europe thorough "covert" channels, some over land concealed in vehicles; others by plane with false documents or by overstaying visas.
September 16. The Guardian reported that young Muslims living in the borough of Rochdale, on the outskirts of Greater Manchester, are increasingly turning to anti-Western sentiment and extreme interpretations of Islam. Muslim leaders interviewed by the paper described a "disturbing trend" of young Muslims adopting more fundamentalist beliefs on key social and political issues than their parents or grandparents. There is strong evidence of a "growing religiosity," with an increasing minority firmly rejecting Western life and anything that they consider varies from traditional, almost hardline Islamic scripture. One man said: "In Rochdale alone, there are many different mosques, catering for all these different ideologies and this can cause problems."
September 17. Islamic State supporter Mohammed Syeedy, 21, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Jalal Uddin, a 71-year-old imam at the Jalalia Jame mosque in Rochdale. Manchester Crown Court heard how Syeedy developed "a hatred" of Uddin for practicing Ruqya, a form of religious healing considered by supporters of IS to be punishable by death. Uddin suffered multiple injuries to his head and face in an attack, thought to have involved a hammer, in a park as he made his way home after evening prayers on February 18.
September 21. Alex Younger, the head of Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence agency, warned that globalization, the information revolution, a deepening sectarian divide in the Middle East and failed states would ensure that Islamist terrorism remained a threat to the West for years to come. "Regrettably this is an enduring issue which will certainly be with us for our professional lifetime" he said. "I would have to forecast that whilst it is wholly desirable to remove territory [from Islamic State] you will have a persistent threat representing some of the deep fault lines that still exist in our world."
September 28. Noor Walile, a 38-year-old imam at Rugby Mosque, Warwickshire, was sentenced to six years in prison for raping a boy in a toilet in between a lesson he was giving at the mosque. The elders of the mosque ordered Walile to flee back home to India and told him never to return or the police would be told. But after his young victim broke his silence and told detectives, the disgraced imam was traced to an address in Leicester, where he lived with his wife and family. When confronted about the attack he said: "The devil made me do it."
September 28. Home Office statistics released to the Daily Express under Freedom of Information laws revealed that 12,000 migrants seeking asylum in the UK are missing. The data showed that of 77,440 asylum cases in progress, one in six skipped their first interview with immigration officers and vanished. The 11,988, which may be the tip of the iceberg, include migrants seized and held while trying to sneak into the UK but who subsequently absconded.
September 28. A government report found that Muslims are the least likely of all faith groups in Wales to be employed. The report, "Creating a Faith-Friendly Workplace for Muslims," encourages employers to adopt Sharia standards — providing prayer rooms, having flextime to enable staff to leave early for Friday prayers, and serving halal or vegetarian food in canteens — to attract Muslim staff. The report advises: "In using the toilet Muslim staff may prefer to clean themselves with clean running water. A small jug, which can be kept in a cubicle, is sufficient for this." The report says that "cultural differences," such as whether to make eye contact or shake hands, are "not about being impolite."
September 28. The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, opened an inquiry into the Stockwell Green Mosque for distributing literature that calls on members of the Ahmadi community to be killed. The leaflets demanded that Ahmadis should convert to mainstream Islam or face "a capital sentence."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.