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Quran ads taken down New Dubai owners eye The Final by London railway ‘bright future’ for Leeds Messenger

Britons Oppose UK Syria Interference

Issue: 58

January 2013

A new survey has found overwhelming opposition among the UK public to the government’s support for terrorists fighting the popular government of president Bashar al-Assad in Syria. This comes as UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been seeking to overthrow the Syrian government by any means whether it’s arming terrorist

groups or interfering in the country militarily. The survey by Com-Res for The Independent newspaper found that Britons do not believe the coalition should provide military support to foreignbacked terror groups in the Middle Eastern Muslim country, let alone military intervention.

According to the results, 48 percent of Britons oppose the government’s adventurism as far as the situation in Syria is concerned. The huge margin of 48 percent against, to 35 percent in favor of further support shows how much the British are scared by the talk of their country entering another conflict.

Reaching 215,000 readers across the UK*

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*Survey conducted October 2012


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I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

thePassion

Passion Islam

I January 2013

By Shaykh Sulayman Gani

SAVE SHAKER AAMER SIGN THE PETITION Shaker Aamer is a Saudi national and long-term British resident, with the right to return, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for over ten years. Shaker Aamer has twice been approved for transfer from Guantanamo Bay, However, new US legislation governing transfers from Guantanamo Bay, and the British government’s failure to make effective representations seeking his release, means that Shaker remains imprisoned without charge in Guantanamo. During his time in US detention, in Afghanistan as well as in Guantanamo Bay, Shaker has been a victim of horrific torture. Abuses suffered by Shaker Aamer in US detention include but are not limited

Imam at Tooting Islamic Centre South London

to: beatings, lengthy interrogations, exposure to extreme cold, sensory deprivation, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation, long-term solitary confinement and forced feeding. Meanwhile, Shaker’s British wife waits patiently for his return alongside his four children who attend our Madrasah in Tooting in South London. The youngest, Faris has never seen his father. and his four British children – the youngest of whom he has never even met – are growing up without him. It was his dedication to the welfare of others that led to his detention in Guantánamo Bay. In June 2001, Shaker went to Afghanistan with his family to do voluntary work for an

Islamic charity. He stayed in Kabul, which was at peace at the time. But after September 11th, the bombing of Kabul began. He was abducted and sold to the US authorities. He remains imprisoned even though he is cleared for release . He is the last Londoner held in Guantanamo for over 10 years without charge or trial. Pressure from the British government is vital in securing Shaker’s release. Help us bring injustice to an end. 100,000 signatures are urgently needed. Petition deadline is 20 April 2013. For more info please visit www.saveshaker.org or email sulimangani@yahoo.com

Write to: Editor, Passion Islam, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: info@passionislam.com - www.passionislam.com

This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -

Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not necessarily of Passion Islam.


I January 2013

NEWS

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Court of Appeal quashes the wrongly conviction of Mr Faraz

Passion Islam

One year on from his imprisonment, the quashing of Ahmed Faraz’s conviction for the dissemination of terrorism publications, is a great victory for freedom of expression in the UK. In a damning judgement, the UK Court of Appeal rules that no causal link could be presented that publications produced by the Maktabah bookshop, Birmigham

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would inspire acts of political violence or terrorism. They said that it was incorrect of the trial judge to permit evidence that those who had carried out acts of terrorism had owned copies of the books or DVDs and that it was a short cut to a conviction. The judges further explained that when the extent of acts of political violence are considered, the

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percentage of those who might have read Maktabah publications was very small and so such a causal link was entirely onerous. The reliance on pseudo experts by the prosecution proves that creating an atmosphere of fear for a jury, does not mean that a criminal act has taken place, but rather that the prosecution relied heavily on the ignorance of the jury on particularly complicated matters. Research Director for CagePrisoners, Asim Qureshi, said “The conviction of Ahmed Faraz by a jury last year was completely incorrect. The jurors based their decision on a fundamental misunderstanding of Muslim ideas and behaviour. The judgement of the Court of Appeal is warmly welcomed as it highlights that incidental links to acts of political violence or terrorism should never be criminalised, particularly where causality is tenuous at best.”


Islam the fastest growing religion in Britain

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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

Passion Islam

I January 2013

In Case You Missed It

A new census found that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in Britain and Wales. Among British people, there were 33.2million claiming to be Christian, down from 37.3million in 2001. The figure made up just 59 per cent of the population. The census put the total population of England and Wales at 56.1million, a seven percent increase from 2001; and 55 percent of the increase is due to migration. It found that the proportion of Muslims also rose from 3.0 percent to 4.8 per cent, becoming the fastest growing religion in Britain. The 2001 census put the number of British Muslims at nearly 2.5 million. The third most popular religion in Britain was Hinduism, making up 1.5 percent of the population, while 0.8

percent were Sikhs and 0.5 percent Jewish. Nearly 180,000 claimed to be followers of the Jedi religion featured in Star Wars - down from 2001, when around 400,000 jokingly put the faith down on their census form. The new census also found that the number of Christians was on decline in Britain. “In spite of a biased question that positively encourages religious responses, to see such an increase in the non-religious and such a decrease in those reporting themselves as Christian is astounding,” Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said. He said the decline in the number of Christians was ‘really significant’. “Of course these figures still exaggerate the number of Christians

overall,” he noted. “The number of believing, practicing Christians is much lower than this and the number of those leading their lives with no reference to religion much higher.” There are more than 47,000 churches in Britain, and 42 million Britons, more than 70 percent of the population, consider themselves to be Christian. In a study released in 2005, the British-based association Christian Research expected the number of Christians attending Sunday service to fall by two thirds over the next three decades. The study, The Future of The Church, predicted that the total membership of all the Christian denominations to fall from 9.4 percent of the population to only five percent by 2040. The study also expected that the poor attendance will force some 18,000 churches to close.

The census put the total population of England and Wales at 56.1million, a seven percent increase from 2001; and 55 percent of the increase is due to migration. It found that the proportion of Muslims also rose from 3.0 percent to 4.8 per cent, becoming the fastest growing religion in Britain.

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I January 2013

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I January 2013


Official figures show terror arrests up 60%

Passion Islam

I January 2013

The number of suspects terrorists arrested by police has risen by more than 60%, official figures show. A total of 228 people were held on suspicion of terrorism-related offences over a 12-month period ending in June, compared with 140 during the previous period, the Home Office said. Some 2,231 suspects have been arrested since September 11 2001. Just under a quarter (23%) of terrorism-related arrests in the last 12-month period were made under

LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which allows detention for up to 14 days. Three of the 52 people held in this way were kept in pre-charge detention for more than seven days, while 17 were dealt with within two days. A total of 16 suspects - all of whom were subsequently charged - remained in custody for six days or more. The numbers are down on the 46% of suspects who were held

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under section 41 during the previous period and on the 72% held since September 11 2001. The figures, provided by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), detail the number of people arrested by police in Great Britain where there is suspicion of involvement with terrorism. Of the 228 people arrested, 82 (36%) were charged. This is down on the 37% of the previous period but is in line with the average charging rate seen since September 11 2001. Meanwhile, 60% of those who faced court proceedings in the last 12 month period - a total of 49 people - were accused of terrorismrelated offences. This compares with 50% in the previous period and 62% since 2001. The Home Office said large fluctuations in arrests each year can result from particular police operations. Between October and December last year, a large number of arrests were directly related to the policing of a demonstration, it said.

Diversified Sharia approach for pension schemes

Companies employing Muslim workers seeking a pension arrangement that meet the requirements of sharia law will have access to a more diversified option thanks to Dean Wetton Advisory working in collaboration with Emirates NBD. A diversified sharia compliant fund has been developed which can be used as an alternative to the main default fund. We are pleased to announce that the BlueSky Pension Scheme and Pensions Umbrella Trust, both advised by Dean Wetton Advisory, will be implementing this approach, more in line with guidance from the Department of Work and Pensions. Commenting, Dean Wetton said: “Most defined contribution schemes

that offer sharia compliant funds for Muslim members only offer equity funds. We believe this is not good enough as equity funds arehigher risk than diversified funds due to the narrower and more volatile nature of these investments. We were therefore pleased to be able to work with Emirates NBD to develop this new innovative approach to pension provision.” Commenting on their adoption in the scheme, Paul Bannister, CEO of BlueSky Pension Scheme, said: “BlueSky works with over four hundred employers and we understand thatmany of their membershave not had access to the scheme because they felt the options available to them were not compliant with their religious views.

The compulsion aspect of autoenrolment means we feel the need to offer the best options to members to provide investment solution.” The Investment Committee of Pensions Umbrella Trust have also announced that they too will be including the scheme in the investment options available to its members. Dean Wetton Advisory stated that the initial costs will be higher than hoped, a result of the uncertainty around numbers that might take-up the scheme. This will, assuming a reasonable take-up over the coming years, be reviewed with the intention to improve the offering in terms of cost and risk reduction as members approach retirement.


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I January 2013


Local council accused over banned halal food Passion Islam

I January 2013

LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

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07506 466 385 Muslim mosques officials have accused the local government of providing food to Muslim children that does not meet halal food standards. The Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) says local government officials have been distributing food banned in Islam as halal food among Muslim pupils and has called for a ban on all such food. “Suppliers of ‘halal’ products are not accredited by any halal certifying organization that is in line with the halal criteria adopted by the LCM,” the group wrote in a letter to Muslim

parents. LCM has also urged the parents not to allow their children to eat meat or chicken at Lancashire County Council (LCC) schools as they do not have halal food labels. The Muslim body has also criticized local authorities for their unjust behavior toward the Muslim community and Muslim students. This comes as Lancashire council leader Geoff Driver has rejected the LCM concerns saying the supplied food meets standards applied to all halal food in schools across Britain.

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Dewsbury faith school unveils plans to become state free school

A private Islamic faith school hopes to be able to almost double in size by becoming state funded. The Paradise Primary, in Dewsbury, is planning to submit a bid next month to become part of Government’s flagship free schools movement. Free schools are being set up from scratch by teachers, parents, charities, businesses and faith groups who can prove they have demand from parents in their area. Private schools are also converting to become state-funded. If Paradise Primary’s bid is

accepted by the Department for Education it would become a free school in 2014. It currently has around 240 pupils but aims to increase this to 400. School governor Najam Sheikh said: “The school would be a twoform entry and would retain our Islamic faith school ethos so there is a lot of focus on the pupil’s character. “We would continue to follow the national curriculum but we would also teach from an Islamic perspective. “For example, we would teach pupils about festivals such as Diwali

or Christmas but would explain that these were festivals from other faiths and not something that Muslims take part in.” Mr Sheikh said becoming statefunded would allow the school to build on the success it has enjoyed. The school say they outperform the national average despite “being run on a shoestring”. The proposal is for a two-form entry primary school to be based initially at Paradise Primary’s existing premises in Bretton Street, Dewsbury, with a view to moving to a new base in future.


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I January 2013

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Quran Projects ads taken down by London railway

Passion Islam

I January 2013

A charity called the Quran Project had placed posters in five major London railway stations – Waterloo, Victoria, Liverpool Street, Marylebone and St Pancras International – over the two weeks of 10-24 December, with the aim of countering misrepresentation of Islam by offering free copies of the

LOCAL & NATIONALI 11

Qur’an. The campaign had been six months in the planning and the sites were reserved by the advertising company JCDecaux at a cost of £30,000, two thirds of which was raised online through the crowd funding site JustGiving. However, by Monday 17

MP slams Niqab restrictions

Renowned British lawmaker George Galloway has attacked new restrictions imposed on the wearing of the Muslim face-veil (Niqab) at the meeting place of the two houses of parliament, describing the move as an infringement of Muslim rights. “Everyone understands the need to have proper security,” Galloway, Respect MP for Bradford West said. “But these rules seem a little heavy handed and confusing to me.” British authorities have imposed new restrictions on the wearing of

the Muslim veil at the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Under the new rules, niqabwearing Muslims will be required to remove their face-veil. Galloway, a firebrand British MP, is a main organizer for aid convoys to Gaza, he is also one of the world’s most prominent and outspoken activists, seeking to bring public attention to the other side of British and American foreign policy. Galloway rejected the government justifications for the move, saying the restrictions could discriminate against Muslim women. “We live in a multi-faith society and need to be sensitive about that.”

December the adverts had all been taken down. An email from JCDecaux to the Quran Project stated with regard to the running of the ads that “rail companies have pointed out that this is not acceptable and we should not have done so. As a consequence, we began the process of removing your posters from the rail stations over the weekend”. Both JCDecaux and Network Rail have allowed similar campaigns for other religious groups. These include the Trinitarian Bible Society, whose adverts have reportedly appeared at Marylebone station without any objection being raised, while the Quran Project ad was removed from that station after just one day. Mohammed Ansar a Muslim Political & Social Commentator said “As it currently stands, the rail companies, Network Rail and JCDecaux cannot sustain any claim in relation to a policy of no religious advertisement on their assets.”

Gold dinar sells for $1m in UK auction

The earliest known gold dinar from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been sold as part of a UK auction. The coin, which was described by auction house Baldwin’s as “arguably the most important coin ever struck in the Arabian Peninsula”, sold for £640,000 ($1m) to lead the sale. It is considered to have been struck from gold mined at the Ma’Dan Amir al-Mu’mini bi’l Hijaz - the Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Hijaz. It is believed that the Umayyad Caliph Umar bin Abd al-Aziz bought the land on which the mine was situated from Bilal bi al-Harith, who had himself received it from the Prophet Muhammad. It is “virtually certain” that this land is now Mahd alDhahab, the site worked by the Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate. The coin remains in stunning condition given its age.


UK army doctor hid Iraqi inmate agony

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A former British army doctor has been found guilty for acting dishonestly following the death of Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa, who was beaten and killed under the British

Passion Islam

soldiers’ custody. A medical watchdog ruled on that Dr Derek Keilloh failed to protect the detainee and acted dishonestly. The charges against the British

Hezbollah to launch Hebrew Satellite Network

Hezbollah’s Media Relation Department has announced that the resistance movement plans to launch a satellite network in Hebrew language. According to Sama Syria News, a series of media companies

affiliated to Hezbollah resistance movement are contributing to setting up the satellite network. An official with the department said in a statement that the move will be taken in a bid to show the true image of Hezbollah to Israeli people. The anonymous source added that during the 8 day Gaza war, Israeli medium covered the news in a biased way stressing that it is time to let Israeli people learn about the Hezbollah’s viewpoints through a non-Zionist media outlet.

I January 2013

doctor date back to 2003, when Mousa was bashed to death while in British custody in Basra, southern Iraq. Mousa suffered 93 separate injuries, including fractured ribs, a broken nose and internal trauma, while in detention. Keilloh, however, denied any knowledge of his injuries and claimed he had only spotted dried blood around Mousa’s nose after he was arrested and beaten. In 2003, Baha Mousa was rounded up with nine other Iraqis at the Haitham Hotel in Basra, where he worked as a receptionist. Two days later he was dead. Britain’s Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service will now decide what penalty the British doctor will face.

Islamic countries follow Turkey for investments

26 experts from 19 countries which are members of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) received training in Turkey on the reforms that Turkey made for the investment climate and the economic developments in both Turkey and the world. Experts from Albania, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Morocco, Palestine, Gambia, Iraq, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Maldives, Malaysia, Egypt, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Oman and Yemen attended the event.

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UK bank extends deadline for Qatar deal

Passion Islam

I January 2013

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), the country’s only sharia-compliant retail lender, said a deadline for a Qatari bank to decide on a proposed takeover offer had been extended to January. IBB is majority-owned by Qatar International Islamic Bank, which has been in discussions since June with Qatari lender Masraf Al Rayan to sell a controlling stake in the British bank.

LOCAL & NATIONAL

A deadline for Masraf, the biggest Islamic bank in Qatar, to announce a firm intention to make an offer for IBB lapsed on December 10; it has now been extended to January 7. In a separate statement released last week, IBB also said its lending growth for the first nine months of this year had been driven by two new home financing plans, and that it would look at ways to offer more products.

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IBB is trying to revitalise its business after struggling to turn a profit since its inception in 2004; it reported a loss of 8.9 million pounds ($14.3m) in 2011. Management will focus on secured financing and targeting young savers, Iain Crawford, financial controller at IBB, told Reuters. “We are pretty optimistic for the UK market. The board is determined to grow the business.” IBB posted a 63 percent increase in home financing and a 43 percent increase in long-term savings deposits for the first nine months of 2012, the company said without giving monetary totals. According to its 2011 annual report, income from home purchase plans rose 17.9 percent to 2.3 million pounds that year, while customer deposits of over one year’s maturity jumped to 25.9 million pounds from 3.3 million pounds in 2010.

Gift Aid on small donations passes through House of Lords

Bill to introduce Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme passes through House of Lords. The Small Charitable Donations Bill has passed through the House of Lords. The bill will introduce the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which will enable charities to claim Gift-Aid like payments from April on small donations totalling up to £5,000 a year without individual paperwork. The bill has passed to the

consideration of amendments stage, where the two houses must agree on amendments the other has made before it can receive royal assent and become law. But this bill cannot be amended by the Lords because it is considered a ‘money bill’. During a debate in the Lords peers questioned Lord Newby, a Liberal Democrat minister and deputy chief whip, about the GASDS being over-bureaucratic and more complicated than necessary. Lord Hodgson, the Conservative peer responsible for the review of the Charities Act 2006, said he hoped the tax authorities would be “proportionate and open to understanding how the smaller charity sector works”. “In welcoming this bill, I am asking the minister to make sure that all the good it is planned to do, and that we

hope it will do, will not be undone by heavy-handed bureaucracy by the tax authorities,” he said. The government amended the bill in the House of Commons last month so that, to be eligible to claim under the scheme, charities must have made successful Gift Aid declarations in two out of the previous four tax years, rather than three out of the previous seven. Hodgson asked if the two qualifying years had to be consecutive or not. In response, Newby said charities would need to make a Gift Aid claim at least every other year. A publicity campaign will be launched over the next few months to alert charities about the scheme and HMRC will write to every charity that has claimed Gift Aid within the past three years in the New Year.


Hamas popularity soars after Gaza campaign

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Passion Islam

I January 2013

The Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza has seen a sharp rise in popularity since its eight-day war with Israel and would win as many seats as Fatah if a Palestinian vote were held now, a poll found. The survey, carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), comes after conflict, a top-level visit to Gaza by Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and after the Palestinians successfully won upgraded UN membership. The results also showed “a dramatic increase” in the level of optimism regarding the possibility of reconciliation between Hamas and its mainstream Fatah rival which is headed by president Mahmud Abbas and dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. Some 39 percent of respondents said they believed political unity would be restored between the West Bank and Gaza in the near future, compared with just 14 percent in the previous survey in September. Another 18 percent said they did not believe unity would ever be restored, down from 42 percent in September.

“The current percentage of optimism regarding reconciliation and the restoration of unity is the highest since separation,” PSR said, referring to the bitter division which erupted in June 2007 after Hamas forced Fatah loyalists out of Gaza. Were a presidential election to be held today, pitting Abbas against Hamas’s Ismail Haniya, the Islamist prime minister would win, taking 48 percent of the vote, up from 40 percent three months ago, while the

Palestinian president would take 45 percent, down from 51 percent in the previous poll. “The percentage of vote for Haniya is the highest since Hamas’s electoral victory in 2006,” PSR said of the Islamists’ landslide victory in the last legislative elections. The survey questioned 1,270 adults between December 13-15 across the West Bank and Gaza, and has a margin of error of three percent.

Chairman of the Muslim Council of (MCSL) Sri Lanka N.M. Ameen says the Muslims in the country are threatened by the extremist Sinhala Buddhist organizations and hardcore activist monks. The Muslim Council together with the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, the apex religious body of is Islamic Theologians, met Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa recently to explain the situation. Ameen said that around 19 websites identified by them are spreading anti-Muslim ideas in the country. In addition, there are

Facebook and SMS campaigns also against Muslims. He said the Muslims informed the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa about the situation and explained the reality of spreading anti-Muslim sentiment in the country which is recovering from a threedecade long ethnic war. According to the Muslim leader, the Defence Secretary had assured that the rising incidents of extremism were not the stands of the government, Sinhala society or the Buddhist monk community and the government would not allow

disrupting the hard built peace in the country. The Muslim organization said that two small businessmen in Embilipitiya have been assaulted and propaganda against Muslims is wide spread based on the unfounded fear that Muslims would dominate Sri Lanka by 2050. The organization reminded how the Muslim population of the country stood by with the Sinhala people during the war to safeguard the unity of state.

Sri Lanka Muslims threatened by rising Buddhist extremism

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I January 2013

WORLD NEWS

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US troopers to be sent to Africa

Passion Islam

The Pentagon has set up an army brigade to be deployed to as many as 35 African nations to train local forces. The “Dagger Brigade” consisting of 3,500 combat troops will be assigned to the Pentagon’s Africa Command, training indigenous

state security forces to participate in military exercises from early next year. This is a first-of-its-kind brigade assignment and groups will be assigned to countries such as Libya, Sudan, Algeria, Kenya, Uganda and Niger.

All of this is done without the consent of Congress or the American people. The groups are to travel from Fort Riley in the state of Kansas to a number of African nations in various stages to avoid any appearance of a large US military engagement. The brigade is to have drone capability. United States Army Lieutenant General David Rodriguez said, “If they want them for [military] operations, the brigade is our first sourcing solution because they’re prepared.” The US military has already set plans for nearly 100 different activities within the program such as military exercises and training for the whole continent. The command is stationed in Stuttgart, Germany since concerns grow across the African continent that there will be an unjustified US military interference.

Palestine says will sue Israel at ICC over settlement plan

Palestinians have threatened to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over its latest decision to build more settler units in their occupied territories. “The intensification of settlement activity and all the Israeli actions, from killings to arrests, are pushing us to accelerate our recourse to the International Criminal Court,” Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiator Mohammed Shetayyeh told AFP. The comments follow Israel’s announcement that it plans to build over 2,600 settler units near al-Quds (Jerusalem). An Israeli NGO said that Tel Aviv authorities have given the green light for the construction of the new settler units which are planned to be built in Givat HaMatos, a village located in south of al-Quds (Jerusalem). Israel increased its settlement activities after an upgrade in the Palestinian status at the United Nations General Assembly on November 29. The 193-member UN

General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state. On December 3, Israel announced that it plans to construct 1,600 new illegal settlements in East al-Quds (Jerusalem). On November 30, Israel approved a plan to build 3,000 more units in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the

occupied West Bank. The UN upgrade allows the Palestinians to participate in debates at the UN General Assembly and improve their chances of joining UN agencies and the ICC where they could file complaints against Israel. The settlements are considered illegal by the UN and much of the international community.


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I January 2013

French think tank holds peace talks with the Taliban

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WORLD NEWS

Efforts to draw the Taliban into a peace process to prevent Afghanistan from collapsing into civil war after NATO troops pull out in 2014 took a small, but potentially significant, step forward in France. Under the auspices of a French think-tank, two senior Taliban officials sat down for informal talks on the war-ravaged country’s future with the government and other opposition forces, including the Northern Alliance. The Taliban ran Afghanistan as an Islamic emirate from 1996 to 2001. It will be the first time they have taken part in a round-table of this kind since being overthrown by U.S.-backed opponents in the aftermath of the

Passion Islam

9/11 attacks on New York. They have emphasized that it should not be seen as any kind of negotiation with the government of President Hamid Karzai, whom they regard as a corrupt puppet of the United States. “We want the world community to listen to our goals,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP. “But we must clarify that no negotiations with anyone are involved.” But the insurgents sent two senior figures Shahabuddin Dilawar and Naeem Wardak to France. And that appears to support the view of many Afghan experts that they are looking for a way into negotiations on the

country’s post-2014 make-up, which could eventually facilitate a ceasefire in the 11-year-old war. Karzai’s government were represented by members of its High Peace Council. One of them, former Kabul governor Din Mohammad. Ahmad Zia Massoud, the head of the National United Front, the main party in the Northern Alliance that was the main opposition to the Taliban when they were in power, also underlined the significance of the Taliban’s involvement. “We are witnessing a new generation, every one of us has new thinking,” he said. “This new generation does not believe in war. “We seek an understanding between us and the Taliban, to know their views and thinking and pave the way to reach peace in Afghanistan.” The talk took place at an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Paris. They are the third in a series organized by France’s Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) with the support of the foreign ministry - but the first at which the Taliban has been properly represented. The U.S. has already signaled its willingness to talk to the Taliban, having started secret talks last year. They broke down in March over the organization of a proposed prisoner exchange.

Qatar’s Alnoor plans $1bn Prophet movie Qatar-based Alnoor Holding has announed plans to raise the budget for a planned movie series on the life of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) to $1bn. The biopics will be produced as a series of seven films instead of three films as per an earlier announcement in 2009, Alnoor chairman Ahmed Al Hashemi was quoted as saying by AFP. Alnoor announced in 2009 that it was seeking financing for the film series, to be produced by Barrie Osborne, a Hollywood veteran whose credits include Lord of the

Rings and The Matrix. Qatar-based Sunni cleric Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, head of the Association of Muslim Scholars, will lead research on the film and serve as technical consultant on the project, AFP reported. The company said the film will be in English and will be translated into several different languages “to correct the wrong image Western societies have of Islam” In October 2009, Alnoor launched a $200m international movie fund which plan to invest in at least 10 projects over the next five years.

Alnoor Holdings, owned by the Al-Hashemi group, said it was committed to “becoming the most dominant international media and entertainment player” A lack of quality content in Arabic cinema, drama and theatre that prompted the company to establish an entity like Alnoor Holdings, official said at the time.


World Bank pledges $900 million for Iraq Passion Islam

I January 2013

The World Bank pledged $900 million to Iraq over the next four years to help it create jobs, build stronger institutions and improve social inclusion, the global development lender said in a statement. Iraq’s government developed the strategy with the World Bank, the private sector, and other stakeholders to focus especially on better management of Iraq’s vast oil wealth

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and improve its investment climate. The programs will also focus on inclusion of women. Iraq has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves, and depends on oil wealth to fund 95 percent of its budget. But nine years since the US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq remains a state-centric economy and, beyond oil, private

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businesses have yet to play a significant role in rebuilding the once thriving Middle East nation. Infrastructure remains dilapidated after years of war and economic sanctions, and investment is needed to reform banking, build houses and roads and fix a chronic electricity shortage. Even the oil sector is underperforming due to the country’s logistical bottlenecks and weak infrastructure, eroding investor interest. “Iraq is opening a new chapter in its long and deep history,” Ferid Belhaj, the World Bank’s director for Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon and Jordan, said about the country’s strategy with the World Bank. “This is a chapter (for Iraq) where the people come first and where the immense human potential of the country, its vast natural resources and its strategic location will be central to its socioeconomic recovery.”

US fails to ratify UN Child Rights treaty The United States remains one of only three United Nation member states who have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. “The major issue here is children falling through the cracks here in the United States,” said Public Interest and Human Rights Attorney Roy Morris, blaming the current situation on the idea that “the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child has not been ratified here in the United States.” “Sign the UN Commission on the Rights of the Child. At least you can go to a UN body and say, ‘by the way, this child’s rights are being violated’,” Morris said. The attorney criticized the US government for failing to do enough

to protect its children, adding that “there’s no place to go - you can’t even go to a federal court - the federal courts in the United States don’t want to deal with this issue.” “We still treat - as a matter of law - children as property,” Morris said. This comes as many children’s rights advocates have condemned US President Barack Obama for failing to keep his 2009 pledge to ratify the treaty and to join international calls to protect children. “If the US doesn’t want to answer to the international community, how can it expect all the other countries of the world to do the same? It can’t hold the moral high ground if it doesn’t want to ratify treaties like the UN Convention on the Right of the Child,” Morris concluded.

On December 14, twenty children and six adult victims were fatally shot by a 20-year-old gunman -- who later killed himself -- at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town of Newtown in the US state of Connecticut. Earlier in the day, the assailant killed his mother in another location. Under the UN treaty, children have universal privileges including the right to health, life, identity and protection from abuse, as well as restricting the involvement of children in military conflicts, prohibiting the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Nearly every country in the UN except the United States, Somalia and South Sudan, is bound to the convention.


UAE opens new counter terrorism centre

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The New Centre of Excellence in Abu Dhabi (Hedaya) was officially launched to bring about the best practices and knowledge to fight extremism and terrorism. Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, said that the centre’s mandate will be three core areas: training, dialogue and research. “The centre is dedicated to addressing the drivers and root causes of violent extremism. Hedaya

will help the international community build potentials and share the best ever practices and researches to deal with violent extremism effectively. It is going to serve as the premier international venue for training, dialogue, collaboration and research to counter violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations,” Shaikh Abdullah said. He said that the initiative could not be more timely as there is a

global agreement on the need to prevent individuals from turning to the path toward radicalisation, as well as to divert those already on that path before they are fully committed and mobilised. Villy Sovndal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, said that the Hedaya centre is a significant achievement. “The latest achievement is the launch of the New Centre ... is a very successful story as the level of activities had been breathtaking and at times even difficult to keep up without officials,” said Sovndal. He added that such a centre provides answers to the new challenges of the day that can only be solved through multilateral cooperation, by focusing on preventive measures. Khalid Al Atiya, Qatari Foreign Minister, said that only through collective efforts the issue of terrorism can be solved.

New mosques sites for 1.5 million Moscow muslims

The Moscow authorities are ready to provide six sites for the construction of mosques in different administrative districts of Moscow. “Muslim Board of Russia’s European Part already know three sites, which will be approved after several years of debate. They are located in Southern Butovo, Lyublino, and near the metro station Shosse Entuziastov,” the paper reported. Other buildings needed by the Muslim community will also be built on the provided territories, Ravil Gainutdin, chairman of the Muslim Board of Russia’s European Part, told. A source in the Moscow government has confirmed to Interfax that the three sites (Lyublino, Butovo, and Shosse Entuziastov)

have already been approved, although no final decision has been made. “We have approved some requests, which will now be discussed with residents and the local prefectures,” the source said. A source in the Moscow mayor’s office said the other requests made

by Islamic organizations are now being considered. “There are at least 1.5 million Muslims in Moscow. If we divide this number by ten districts, we will see that there needs to be at least one mosque taking up to 1,500 people per 150,000 Muslims,” Gainutdin said.


Islamic group lashes Aussie think tank study

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I January 2013

Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir has hit back at claims it may pose a security threat. Perth-based think tank Future Directions International (FDI) says while Hizb ut-Tahrir does not advocate violence, its anti-Western rhetoric could pose a “socio-cultural” security threat by increasing the disharmony between Muslim and non-Muslim Australians. In the long term, the group may pose a significant national security threat by indirectly instigating terrorist attacks, FDI warned in a study. But Hizb ut-Tahrir says the study is riddled with errors and lacks proper analysis. “The paper simply regurgitates a tired and discredited narrative about Hizb ut-Tahrir,” the group said in a statement. “The four-page article based entirely on secondary sources,

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primarily newspaper articles, reads more like a high school essay completed in a rush rather than a think tank paper. “Bad research at best and cheap propaganda in the name of independent analysis at worst, the paper - whose author did not bother

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contacting Hizb ut-Tahrir for this work - is not worthy of a proper response.” The group said the idea it may embrace violence is baseless. Australia has not banned the group, with successive governments arguing that would only drive it underground.

Asian Bank aids Pakistan Quran Best-seller Islamic banking boost in Spain The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a $750,000 grant to promote Islamic banking in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The money will be shared between those countries’ governments to help their banking systems to meet regulatory standards set by the Islamic Financial Services Board, the ADB said. Islamic finance follows religious guidelines such as a ban on the payment of interest and on pure

monetary speculation. Its core markets are in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with about 57 percent of total global Islamic banking assets held by the 20 largest Islamic banks, concentrated in Malaysia, Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Turkey. The ADB, which promotes economic and social progress in the Asia-Pacific region, said that the expansion of Islamic finance in other countries in the region will provide large numbers of people with banking services for the first time. A report by Ernst & Young said that up to 150 new financial institutions could be established to cater for growing demand from the Muslim-majority populations of countries such as Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan.

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Quran has been a best-seller in Spain in the second half of this year, a research institute said. According to a survey conducted by the Spain Research Center (ANT), the Holy Quran and Islamic books have been popular with the Spanish book readers, in the second half of 2012, AlMosryun daily reported. After the Holy Quran, the book Seerah Nabawi (PBUH) by Ibn Hisham has been the second best-selling book in the Western European country in this period. The rise in selling Islamic books in the past few months comes after the release of the anti-Islamic movie that blasphemes the Holy prophet (PBUH).


UAE approves India, Pakistan prisoner swaps

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Hundreds of Indian and Pakistani prisoners will be able to serve their jail sentences in their home countries after the UAE cabinet approved a prisoner transfer agreement with the two countries. Under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement, prisoners with a minimum of six months left to serve will be able to apply for the transfer but must not have a pending case against them. Inmates imprisoned for

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drug offences, murder and financial crimes will not be eligible. Official estimates suggest that as many as 960 Indian and 800 Pakistani prisoners will be eligible for the transfer. The move follows pacts signed with India in November 2011 and with Pakistan in February 2012 and allows the transfer of Emirati citizens incarcerated in India. The Gulf is host to millions of

I January 2013

migrants, primarily from Asia, who account for the majority of blue-collar workers in the construction, domestic work, and service industries. Around 3m migrate each year, sending back an estimated US$175bn in remittances annually, according to Human Rights Watch data. The six GCC states employ around 15m guest workers, according to World Bank figures. The UAE alone is home to an estimated 1.75m Indian expatriates, the largest group of foreign workers in the Gulf country. The prisoner transfer agreement is a sign of increased cooperation between the two countries, Sanjay Verma, the Consul General of India in Dubai, told Arabian Business last year. “It is a federal matter,” he said. “People will have the option of finishing their term in India, especially the long-term prisoners, not that there are too many UAE prisoners in India, maybe a handful.”

Former US president condemns American assassination drone raids Former US President Jimmy Carter has slammed American assassination drone strikes in other countries, saying that killing civilians in such attacks would in fact nurture terrorism. “I personally think we do more harm than good by having our drones attack some potential terrorists who have not been tried or proven that they are guilty,” Carter said in an interview with Russia Today. “But in the meantime, the [assassination] drone attacks also kill women and children, sometimes in weddings… so this is the kind of thing we should correct,” he added. Carter, who served as US president from 1976 to 1980, also

criticized incumbent American policy makers for violating the country’s “long-standing policy” of “preserving the privacy of US citizens.” “We now pass laws that permit eavesdropping on private phone calls and private communication,” he noted, explaining that in the past, in order to do that, the government had to obtain a court ruling that proved the nation’s national security was at risk, “which was very rare, but now it’s done all over America.” “We need to back off [and] restore basic human rights as spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),” the former US president underlined. He concluded by saying that there are 30 paragraphs in the UDHR,

“and at present time, my country, the US, is violating 10 out of the 30.” There have been a growing number of American personalities, columnist and even mainstream media outlets that have recently criticized as “illegal” and overreaching a secret program by the US President Obama administration aimed at institutionalizing assassination drone strikes in Muslim countries against what American agents and officials suspect of being enemies.

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3,000 US troops secretly return to Iraq via Kuwait

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I January 2013

Over 3,000 US troops have secretly returned to Iraq via Kuwait for missions pertaining to the recent developments in Syria and northern Iraq. According to our correspondent, the US troops have secretly entered Iraq in multiple stages and are mostly stationed at Balad military garrison in Salahuddin province and al-Asad air base in al-Anbar province. Reports say the troops include US Army officers and almost 17,000 more are set to secretly return to Iraq via the same route. All US troops left Iraq by the end of 2011, after nine years of occupation, as required by a 2008 bilateral security agreement between the two countries. The troops left Iraq for the neighboring Kuwait. Washington decided to pull out all its troops from Iraq after Baghdad refused to grant legal immunity to the remaining US soldiers.

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Washington claims that the only US military presence left in Iraq now is 157 soldiers responsible for training at the US Embassy, as well as a small contingent of marines protecting the diplomatic mission. US-led forces attacked Iraq in 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein on the pretext of possessing weapons of mass destruction. But no WMD was ever discovered in Iraq.

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At the peak of the US-led military operation in Iraq, there were 170,000 US troops and more than 500 bases in Iraq. More than one million Iraqis were killed as the result of the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of the country, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.

Germany agrees to send missiles to Turkey-Syria border

Germany’s cabinet has approved sending surface-to-air Patriot missiles and soldiers to Turkey’s border with Syria. The German foreign and defense ministries said in a joint statement

that two Patriot missile batteries and a total of 400 soldiers would be sent to the region. “The deployment does not represent the establishment of or monitoring of a no-fly-zone over Syrian territory or any other offensive step,” the statement said. “The deployment of Patriot air defense systems in close cooperation with the Netherlands and the US underlines Germany’s reliability as an ally.”

The German government’s mandate, which is expected to be presented to the parliament next week, would run for one year. However, reports say the deployment period could be shortened. Last month, Ankara formally asked the NATO military alliance to deploy the US-made Patriot missiles on its border with Syria. NATO approved Turkey’s request. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that Berlin will meet the Turkish demand, saying NATO should as well approve Turkey’s request as a NATO member. However, Germany’s Green Party has warned against the deployment of German troops to the Turkey-Syria border.


New Dubai owners eye ‘bright future’ for Leeds

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Dubai-based GFH Capital Limited was formally unveiled as the new owner of Leeds United. GFH capital executive David Haigh joined the Leeds United board of directors last month and he has now been joined by GFH Capital executives Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes. The fine points of the deal were

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completed and the new owners are calling on the backing of the fans to mark a new chapter in the club’s history. “We are delighted, but also honoured and proud to be the new owners of Leeds United Football Club,” said David Haigh in comments published on the club’s official website.

I January 2013

“We have had over 4,000 e-mails of support from fans and we have been overwhelmed by the reaction.” Patel said: “We’re looking forward to a bright future. This is a fresh start for the football club, and we welcome fans both old and new to Elland Road, It will take investment but we wouldn’t have bought a club like this if we were not willing to make that investment. We are not going to be spending crazy money but make the investment sustainable and make the club successful.” Ken Bates will stay on as chairman until the end of the season. GFH Capital, a subsidiary of Bahrain-based investment bank Gulf Finance House, in November confirmed its takeover of Leeds United following months of negotiations. The football club, which last won the English championship in 1992, entered into a one-month transitional period after which GFH Capital became 100 percent owners.

World’s snooker champ says Israel offered him to abandon match

Pakistan’s Muahmmad Asif, winner of the IBSF World Snooker Championship, said Israel approached him with an offer to abandon a match, a local TV station reported. Asif, who became the second Pakistani to win the world’s snooker championship in Bulgaria, told ARY

News TV’s website that “Israel had approached him with an offer to abandon match.” The website, however, didn’t provide further information about the match and on whether it was when he played against Israel’s Shachar Ruberg late November. Asif, won after beating England’s

Gary Wilson, with the frame scores of 36-73, 72-11, 29-67, 3-72, 79-39, 70-43, 27-67, 41-88, 29-106, 78-47, 1-85, 111-1, 64-4. Meanwhile, the champion urged Pakistan sports authorities to hire a snooker coach to develop the plethora of “snooker talent” across the country and to take the game to new heights. The player, 28, won the world championship without having a coach, and advised with a tasked mentor, Pakistani players can reach their potential within couple of years. “With each win, my confidence grew and I performed better and better.” His new goal is to be featured in the professional circuit in England to further improve his game.


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I January 2013

Yaya Toure Named 2012 African Footballer of the Year

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Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure has been named the 2012 African Footballer of the Year, winning the accolade for a second consecutive year. Toure, who joined champions City from Spanish giants Barcelona in 2010, was the only Premier Leaguebased player in contention for CAF’s top award. However, there were two other high-profile candidates with legacies of their own in England’s top flight - Cameroon midfielder Alex Song, who joined Barcelona from Arsenal in the summer and

Prophet Muhammad Inspires Man Utd Striker

legendary Chelsea striker Didier Drogba were also nominated. “I have a lot of emotion. I think this night is so special for me. I thought this year was tough. I knew it was going to be a huge fight to be at the top. To be a winner twice is just wonderful and l am honoured to get this award again. This win is for the people of Cote d’ Ivoire and for the Ivoirian national team and l hope it will galvanise us to do well at AFCON 2013 next month,” the 29 year old Toure told CAF’s official Web site.

Beckham weighing up Al Wasl move David Beckham is weighing up a move to UAE club Al Wasl, according to reports. The 37-year old midfielder, who has just come to the end of a fiveyear stint at Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, is said to be considering ending his playing career at the UAE Pro League side, according to the Sunday People. Beckham, who has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and the English national side, is also reportedly

Javier Hernandez, nicknamed Chicharito, a Mexican footballer who plays as a forward for Manchester United and the Mexican national team revealed that he strongly admires Prophet Muhammad Bin Abdullah (pbuh), as he declared in a tweet on Tweeter during an interview with CNN: he said “I’m not a Muslim, but the best person from my view is Prophet

Muhammad.” It is worth mentioning that Chicharito (24) previously played for the Mexican club Guadalajara, before becoming the first Mexican player to join Manchester United in 2010. Chicharito becomes the first non muslim player in the modern day to recognise and admire Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

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SPECIAL FEATURE

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The Finality of Prophethood of the Last Messenger, Muhammad (PBUH) Scores of Qur’anic verses, and dozens of ahadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad can be cited in support of the belief on the “Finality of prophethood”. To reproduce all the Qur’anic verses and the ahadith supporting this belief would be beyond the scope of this short article. By way of example, a single verse, some ahadith and the explanations of the scholars follow, leaving no doubt concerning the issue of the finality of prophethood. QURANIC VERSE “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the apostle of Allah and the seal of the prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.” (Ahzab 33:40). In this verse, the Holy Prophet Muhammadhas been described as the “Seal of the prophets” or the “Last of the prophets”. This verse from the Holy Qur’an is the most clear-cut evidence for the belief of “KhatmunNubuwwat” (finality of prophethood). The well known scholar Hafiz IbnKatheer rahmatullahi alayhi writes in his book: “This verse is a clear evidence for this belief that there is no prophet after the Holy Prophet Muhammad .” (Tafseer Ibn-Katheer) It is thus incumbent upon Muslims to believe that Prophethood has ended with the advent of Hazrat Muhammad. This belief in the finality of Prophethood has been an established belief of the Muslims since the time of the Prophet. Every time a false prophet has arisen, the Muslims recognised him as false because belief in the finality of Prophethood has been established as part of the Muslim’s fundamental beliefs. Without a shadow of doubt, the finality of Prophethood is something that is an essential belief in the religion of Islam. Hence the rejection of this belief is Kufr and any person who rejects this belief is out of the fold of Islam, no matter what claims he makes to the contrary. In the history of Islam there have been a number of false claimants of prophethood who were outrightly rejected by the Muslim Ummah as

apostates and renegades. QADIANI IMPOSTER One such claimant was the comical Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani. He founded his deviated cult in India in the latter part of the 19th Century. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani claimed prophethood, with no evidence for such a claim apart from incoherent ranting and illogical arguments. Like all fraudsters of the past, he has been rejected vehemently by the Muslim Ummah and exposed as an imposter, and declared as a disbeliever (kafir) by the leading scholars (Ulama) and the Ummah as a whole. A great scholar, Imam al-Tahawi (d. 321 AH) in al-Aqidah alTahawiyya states: “Every claim to prophethood after him is falsehood and deceit.” Another great scholar, Hafiz Ibn-Katheer states: “Allah Most Blessed and Exalted has stated in His book, as has His Messenger in the traditions via numerous channels of transmission (mutawatir) that there will be no prophet after him, so that whoever claims this rank thereafter is a lying pretender, misled and misleading, even if he should stage miracles and exhibit all kinds of magic, talismans and spells.” AHADITH The Prophet said: “Apostleship and prophethood have ceased. There will be no messenger or prophet after me.” [MusnadAhmad] “My likeness among the prophets is as a man who, having built a house put the finishing touches on it and made it seemly, yet left one place without a brick. When anyone entered it and saw this, he would exclaim, ‘How excellent it is, but for the place of this brick.’ Now, I am the place of the brick: through me the line of prophets has been brought to completion.” [Sahih-al-Bukhari] “The Children of Israel used to be ruled and guided by prophets: Whenever a prophet died, another would take over his place. There will

be no prophet after me, but there will be Caliphs who will increase in number.” [Sahih-al-Bukhari; 4.661] The Messenger of Allah set out for Tabuk appointing ‘Ali as his deputy (in Medina). ‘Ali said, “Do you want to leave me with the children and women?” The Prophet said, “Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Haroon was to Moosa? But there will be no prophet after me.” [Sahih-al-Bukhari; 5.700] “The Hour will not come till Two big groups fight each other whereupon there will be a great number of casualties on both sides and they will be following one and the same religious doctrine. About thirty dajjals (liars) appear, and each one of them will claim that he is Allah’s Apostle. The religious knowledge is taken away (by the death of religious scholars). Earthquakes will increase in number. Time will pass quickly. Afflictions will appear. Al-Harj (i.e., killing) will increase Wealth will be in abundance . . .” [Sahih-al-Bukhari; 9.237] CONCLUSION The above is just a sampling of the large amount of evidence that proves conclusively that there shall be no prophets after the Prophet Muhammad. In the face of such overwhelming evidence in support of the finality of prophethood, the ludicrous claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani and his followers, who still regard themselves as Muslims, is absolutely untenable and rejected outright. For the Qadianis, the only recourse is to make sincere Taubah and return to the correct beliefs of Islam. Until they do not renounce the deviated ideology of the imposter Mirza and sincerely repent by submitting wholeheartedly to the belief of finality of prophethood as explained by the scholars of Islam throughout the centuries, they cannot and will not be regarded as Muslims. By Mufti Zubair Bayat


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