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By Sara Ogilvie

Policy Officer @ Liberty

The dangers of counter-productive counter-terror strategy It seems far longer than two weeks ago that Sir John Chilcot published his Iraq Inquiry report – but with a new Government settling in, ministers have a duty to implement its lessons. One of the report’s starkest warnings is of the dangers of counterproductive counter-terror strategy. The Iraq Inquiry report found that, over the course of 2002 and 2003, Tony Blair was repeatedly advised that an invasion of Iraq would increase the threat to the UK from Al Qaeda and its affiliates. In February 2003 the Joint Intelligence Committee warned that Al Qaeda activity would increase with any military action against Iraq, and that Iraqi regime collapse could see chemical and biological weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. It added that war could lead to increased antiWestern sentiment, including among communities in the West. Baroness Manningham-Buller, former Director General of MI5, told the Inquiry that action in Iraq had “radicalised” a number of individuals, and that hard evidence could be produced to show that the invasion of Iraq increased the terrorist threat to the UK. The finding that the Iraq invasion increased the risk to British life is a damning indictment of the ‘War on Terror’. It warns all policy-makers of the vital importance of listening to the cold, hard evidence – rather than bowing to populism, rhetoric or ideology. Unfortunately, counter-terror strategy is too often an evidence-free zone that makes us less safe and less free. From secret courts to statelessness, via mass surveillance, 42-day pre-charge detention and

control orders, the years since 9/11 have produced a string of aggressive, divisive and deeply counterproductive attempts to reduce the threat of terrorism. Sadly this wrong-headed approach did not end with the Blair Government. The Coalition extended the Prevent programme that forces teachers to monitor their students, trampling young people’s right to freedom of speech and reducing the opportunity for controversial ideas to be debated and challenged peacefully. And the Snoopers’ Charter continues through Parliament, despite increasing evidence that mass surveillance makes us less rather than more safe. In the wake of Chilcot’s damning report, the new Government must urgently take stock if they wish to avoid the mistakes of the past. A good place to start would be to abandon the long-awaited CounterExtremism Bill and to conduct an impartial review of the effectiveness of post 9/11 policy in protecting the UK from terrorism. The stakes for our society are too high to build counter-extremism efforts on guesswork. But the Iraq Inquiry report’s lessons for the new Government don’t stop there: The report shows that the decision to go to war was not premised on a robust and honest assessment of the available evidence, but on inaccurate political beliefs and limited and flawed intelligence reports. The intelligence agencies must take steps to ensure they are frank with the public about the inherent limitations of their work, and politicians must hold the agencies

to account. As the Snoopers’ Charter enters its final stages of scrutiny, Parliament’s responsibility in determining the powers of the intelligence and security agencies is as crucial as ever. The report made clear that circumstances in which it was decided there was a legal basis for going to war were “far from satisfactory” and uncovers a deeply disturbing and unconstitutional disregard for the Rule of Law across Government. Ministers must now reflect on the sustainability of a system that lets the Government cherry pick its legal advice, and make sure the UK leads by example by respecting its domestic and international legal obligations. Cabinet members must ensure they fulfil their democratic function, are fully involved in vital decisions and are equipped to challenge legal and intelligence information robustly. The report revealed deadly Ministry of Defence failures to properly equip troops. As we speak, the families of some of those killed when their inadequate Snatch Land Rovers exploded are seeking to hold the the Government to account under the Human Rights Act. The new Government must now abandon its predecessor’s efforts to strip our armed forces of their human rights protections and to falsely claim that the UK’s human rights obligations do not apply to its actions abroad. Our new Prime Minister has the power to finish what Chilcot started by finally fulfilling David Cameron’s 2010 promise of a judicial inquiry into the UK’s involvement in torture and rendition – an investigation vital to restoring Britain’s international reputation which fell outside of the Iraq Inquiry’s remit.

Write to: Editor, PI Media, c/o PKWA, Off Manor Way, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 7BX or email: info@pi-media.co.uk - www.pi-media.co.uk - mob: 07506 466 385

Muslim parents silence over Syria bound youngsters


I August 2016

Continued from front page

Muslim parents view the police with caution, a lack of trust and wouldn’t speak out if their children travelled to Syria, according to new research published by Birmingham City University and the University of Birmingham. Researchers Dr Imran Awan and Dr Surinder Guru conducted focus groups with Muslim parents in Birmingham, exploring how they view the current counter-terrorism policing strategy employed by West Midlands Police in relation to the crisis in Syria. “The data from the research study has found that Muslim community members are increasingly finding the partnership with the police service problematic”, said Dr Awan, Associate Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University.


“The parents we spoke to were worried about the lack of support for Muslim families and they feared that anyone who had gone to Syria would be arrested and have their citizenship removed if they spoke out.” The study established that many parents also found it difficult handling personal moral dilemmas which could see them alienating their own children by giving the police information about them. Participant comments included: “I don’t trust the police so I would not tell them”; “I would not call them because the police might just come knocking on my door and arrest my other children”; and “I would not report them to the police, because that’s not what parents do. We need to educate them not to travel there


in the first place. If I told the police they would then arrest me and my children.” Participant responses also indicated influence by levels of historical mistrust between Muslim communities and the police. “The central contradiction appears to be that parents are implicitly held to be responsible for the actions of their children by the police, yet the parents are adamant that the responsibility is not theirs and that they are relatively powerless”, said Dr Guru, Lecturer in Social Work at University of Birmingham. “In circumstances where the community lacks trust and confidence in the police, community policing is likely to be ineffective because it is viewed with suspicion.”



I August 2016

Fahma: Youngest to receive a Doctorate in the UK www.pi-media.co.uk

In Case You Missed It

Being the voice for a social cause especially if it’s related to girls is not easy in today’s world. But Fahma Mohamed, a teenager with motivation, focus, and willpower has done it and she is getting all the honor she deserves. The 19-year-old Fahma Mohamed from Somalia will be awarded a Doctorate of Law by the University of Leicester, making her the youngest person to have a PhD in the UK. She will receive an honorary degree acknowledging her campaigning work to end FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), the removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Fahma, from the age 14, begun volunteering at a local charity, Integrate Bristol in 2011, that campaigns to end FGM & work towards equality for girls. Two years

ago, she fronted a national campaign to stop the abuse, with United Nations’ secretary general Ban Ki-Moon meeting her and directly praising her work. She also launched a petition and wrote a letter to the former Education Secretary Michael Gove, asking to write to all teachers in England, warning them about the dangers of FGM and offering advice on its prevention. The petition attracted more than 230,000 signatures. Fahma was

unaware of the FGM and no one would ever discuss this, as it was considered taboo. It was through the campaign that she came to know about this sensitive subject. She was shocked to know that it was practiced in Britain. She admitted that she was “quite shy and reserved” to begin with, but quickly went with the flow. “I kept thinking about how helpless the girls were feeling and that was what motivated me to keep going,” she told the Bristol Post. The recognition ceremony will be held at the Wills Memorial Building. Congratulations Fahma! It’s about time this abuse is stamped out, and not just in UK but worldwide. May you continue to be the voice for these girls and may you always shine. By Dr Jenifer Sayyed


I August 2016


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I August 2016



UK MPs to debate Blair contempt of House of Commons motion

British MPs have been given a date in September to debate a motion in the House of Commons to find former prime minister Tony Blair in contempt of parliament for involving the UK in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The date was agreed by the speaker and MPs from across seven parties led by Scottish National Party’s Alex Salmond. The motion will say that former Labour prime minister had given “seriously misleading” statements in the House of Commons in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and should be therefore held in contempt. The motion was launched after the Chilcot inquiry into the role of the UK in the Iraq war released a report on July 6. Even if the motion was passed,

it would be mainly symbolic as the House of Commons has not used its power to punish non-MPs for several years. The Chilcot report offered a scathing critique of the UK government’s involvement, under Blair, in and after the invasion of Iraq. The report said Blair had overstated the threat posed by Saddam’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), deployed ill-prepared forces to the Arab country and had “wholly” inadequate plans for after Saddam’s ouster. The report concluded that Blair’s decision to join the US-led war in Iraq was made “before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted.” A spokesperson for the group of

MPs who launched the motion said families of British soldiers killed in Iraq were also planning legal action against Blair that would proceed separately. The inquiry revealed that “Blair was promising US President George W Bush in private memos while he was telling Parliament and people something entirely different in public statements,” the spokesperson also said. “If we are to prevent such a catastrophe happening again it is essential that parliamentarians learn to hold the executive to critical examination in a way that Parliament failed to do in 2003,” the spokesperson added. Meanwhile, families of dead soldiers have launched an appeal to raise £150,000 to pay for a legal assessment of the Chilcot report to determine whether they could pursue private prosecution of Blair. The appeal, known as the Crowd Justice, said in a statement on its website that the report has confirmed that there were“serious failings” before and after Iraq war. “Our armed forces must never again be so callously sacrificed by political ambition and the irresponsibility and failings of Government and Whitehall,” the statement also said. “Those responsible should be held to account. Now it is down to us, the families, to ensure that justice is done,” it added.

Dewsbury Muslim teenagers spread cheer in hospital ward

Teenage Muslims from Dewsbury spent the Eid festival visiting sick children in hospital. Members of the Kumon Y’All girls’ youth group organised a gift giving project aimed at youngsters who would have to spend the Ramadan period and festivities in children’s wards. “It would be unfair for us to

celebrate Eid knowing that there are other children without the privilege of spending it with their friends and family and so it would only be right for us to do something about it,” said Khadija Kara, 15. The girls, aged 13-17, collected presents and toys, wrapped them and took them to children being treated at Pinderfields Hospital in

Wakefield. The teenagers were humbled by the resilience and cheerfulness shown by the young patients and their efforts were appreciated by the staff. “They’ve had a really tough day today and it will really cheer up the children,” said children’s nurse Leanne.




I August 2016

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I August 2016



New study reveals common ways Islamophobic Facebook trolls Muslims

Islamophobic abuse posted on Facebook most commonly depicts Muslim women as threats to national security and suggests all Muslims should be deported, according to a new study published. Research carried out at Birmingham City University (UK) examined 100 different Facebook pages, posts and comments and uncovered nearly 500 instances of anti-Muslim hate speech. The social media site was trawled for references to Muslims and Woolwich, Muslims and Islam, Muslims and Extremism, and Muslims and Terrorism, with the results covering dozens of pages including Britain First, the English Brotherhood and the English Defence League.

Dr Imran Awan, Associate Professor at Birmingham City University, who conducted the research found that there were five recurring ways in which Muslims were portrayed during abuse – which he defines as ‘the five walls of Islamophobic hate’. ‘The five walls of Islamophobic hate’ are: Muslims are terrorists, Muslims are rapists, Muslim women are a security threat, A war exists between Muslims and ‘us’ and Muslims should be deported. Among these categories the most frequent abuse depicted Muslim women as security threats due to their clothing (76 instances), followed by the belief that Muslims should be deported (62 instances). The view of Muslims as terrorists

was the third most common (58 instances), with a war with Muslims (53 instances) and Muslims as rapists (45 instances) the next most often repeated comments. The study also found that offensive phrases ‘Muzrats’, ‘Paki’, ‘Peado’, ‘Rapists’, ‘Dirty’, ‘Scum’ and ‘Filthy’ were among the 20 most commonly used to describe Muslims during online tirades. The report titled Islamophobia Online: Inside Facebook’s Walls of Hate, has been published in the peer-reviewed ‘International Journal of Cyber Criminology’. Dr Imran Awan, Associate Professor at Birmingham City University, said, “The types of abuse and hate speech against Muslim communities on Facebook uncovered real problematic associations with Muslims being deemed as terrorists and rapists. Furthermore, with the new EU code of conduct for hate speech, this report has reaffirmed the need for such a policy.” Men were found to be much more likely to post abuse with 80 per cent of all comments coming from male users of the site. The report follows Facebook signing up to a new European Union code of conduct which commits it to review and remove online hate speech from its European sites within 24 hours.

Government urged to reconsider counter-extremism strategy Ministers risk “driving a wedge” between communities by targeting new anti-extremism measures at religious conservatives, a parliamentary report has warned. The Joint Committee on Human Rights urged the Government to reconsider the counter-extremism strategy currently under development, warning that it risked making the situation worse. And it said the controversial Prevent strategy, intended to steer young Muslims away from extremism, should be reviewed. Progress on a new CounterExtremism Bill appeared to have “stalled or even gone backwards” since plans were first announced in May 2015, with ministers apparently backing away from proposals for Banning Orders and Extremism

Disruption Orders to target radical groups and individuals, the report said. The committee found that ministers’ proposals were based on an assumption that there was an “escalator” of radicalisation which began with religious conservatism and ended with support for violent jihadism, and that extremism could therefore be tackled by imposing restrictions on religious conservatives. But the report warned that this link was “by no means proven or agreed”, and warned that ministers’ aims should be “to tackle extremism that leads to violence, not suppress views with which the Government disagrees”. The committee said it was concerned that any new legislation

targeting conservative religious views - including beliefs regarded as homophobic or misogynistic by many Britons - was likely to end up either discriminating against Muslims or being used indiscriminately against evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews and other groups which have no record of encouraging violence. There was “a degree of confusion” in the Government’s definition of the term “extremism”, which was likely to prove “unworkable” in legislation, the report warned. And it raised concerns about proposals to require universities to prevent the expression of extremist views, stating: “We believe that free speech is precious, particularly in universities, and should not be undermined.”



I August 2016


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I 11

UK workers on counter-terror training

More than half a million public sector workers in the UK have received counter-terror training in order to spot and report potential extremists in their workplaces. The Home Office has confirmed that nurses, teachers, child minders and other frontline public sector workers have been put through the controversial Prevent program. Of the 550,000 now trained, at least 150,000 are public-facing NHS staff, such as doctors and nurses, the office added. They have all taken various online or classroom courses and completed relevant exercises as part of the program forced on a wide range of public authorities by Theresa May as home secretary last year. It is one of the biggest counterterror awareness programs ever

undertaken by the UK government, aiming at tackling extremists and farright white supremacists. However, the courses, particularly those online, are being criticized as “inadequate.” Under the Prevent strand of the government’s counter-terror strategy, Contest, extremism is characterized as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.” Those who call for “the death of members of our armed forces” are also extremists, according to the policy. The Prevent duty requires that college lecturers, social workers, probation officers and childcare

providers be trained as well. The trainees learn signs which could show somebody is becoming radicalized. These signs include, “unusual behavior, friendships or actions,” according to NHS documents. Other signs could be “patients or staff accessing extremist material online,” or “artwork or literature promoting violent extremist messages or images.” About 300,000 public sector workers received a form of training between 2011 and 2015. However, the Independent learnt that figure has now almost doubled as a result of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, which May ran through last year. The Muslim Council of Britain has long opposed Prevent, asserting it might indiscriminately target Muslims. “We need to be vigilant given the real threat of terrorism, and we therefore support effective measures to identify and report terrorist activity,” a spokesman said. “However, we are not convinced about the effectiveness of a program requiring hundreds of thousands of people to look for signs of what they perceive to be behavior that potentially leads to terrorism. We are instead likely to see many false flags in an inconsistent approach that is applied in a discriminatory way.”

Redbridge Muslim cemetery owners hope planning will guarantee burial spaces Owners of a Muslim cemetery are hoping to win a planning appeal to ensure they do not run out of burial spaces in the near future. Gardens of Peace which owns two sites – one in Elmbridge Road, Hainault, and another at Five Oaks Lane, Chigwell – warned in 2013 that the cemeteries would soon be full up. The charity is hoping to convert land at Oak Farm, Maylands Fields, Harold Wood, for use as a Muslim burial ground with 10,000 plots, but planning permission was refused by Havering Council in 2015. At the public inquiry at Havering Town Hall, Gardens of Peace

spokesman, Mo Dedat said: “The growth of Muslims in Redbridge and the growth of the Muslim population in general are both factors which contribute to the demand for an increase in Muslim burials.” He explained that it is the only charity in London which gives Islamic burials without compromise – as soon as possible after death, in virgin ground and facing Mecca. Peter Mitchell, a grave digger for 30 years, said: “People are still looking for a place to go when they die. This is their home.”But Havering Council’s barrister Isabella Tafur said the development would harm the

“openness” of the borough’s green belt. She added that land in north east London, particularly in Haringey or Enfield, would be more suitable in terms of proximity to meet the needs of Redbridge residents and those in other boroughs. Craig Howell Williams QC, who represented Gardens of Peace, said Havering Council had initially taken a positive approach to the plans but then refused the application “without debate”. Farouk Ismail, one of the charity’s trustees, argued the Harold Wood area was only 30 minutes’ drive from Redbridge and other boroughs like Tower Hamlets.




I August 2016

Charity Commision praises Muslim community on charity giving In Case You Missed It

British Muslims have been praised by the Charity Commission for donating vast amounts of money to good causes. During the holy month of Ramadan, British Muslims as a whole have donated money at a rate of £38 per second during Ramadan, or £371 per individual over the year, the Commission said. Nick Donaldson, outreach manager at the Commission, blogged in praise of projects in the UK, Syria, Somaliland and elsewhere that had been supported during Ramadan. “The sheer scale of the work is immediately apparent. One Muslimled charity – not one of the largest – estimates that its work last Ramadan had helped over one million people,”

he said. “Charity may begin at home, but it certainly doesn’t end there. Dozens of countries were named as areas of benefit, from Europe to North America, and right around the world.” Other donations this year went to flood-affected areas in Carlisle and honey-bee farms in Palestine and Pakistan, while also funding hygiene kits and food in Haiti and “microdams” in Mali, which catch water from flash floods. Previously the Charity Commission has been criticised for labelling “Islamist abuse” one of three key threats to the charity sector. Critics said last year that William Shawcross, chairman of the Commission, had focussed

“disproportionately” on the “threats” posed by Islamic charities in a speech Shawcross gave on the sector. Muslim leaders welcomed the recognition of their communities’ efforts. Muhammad Abdulbari, former secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, told The Independent: “On this month, because we are hungry, we can empathise with people who are hungry around the world. “Muslims are not supposed to be just helping themselves. The idea of neighbourhood and reaching out to other communities is important in Islam.” Central to the Islamic concept of charity is zakah, a compulsory duty within the religion to contribute 2.5 per cent of their yearly income to those in need. Ramadan, which is regarded as a month of selflessness and spirituality, sees this duty paid particular attention. The Qu’ran also says the Prophet Muhammad answered the question “who is my neighbour?” with “forty houses to your right and forty houses to your left.” The implied lesson was that neighbourliness has no limit, said Dr Abdulbari. Many British Muslims donated single gifts of up to £30,000 each, according to research carried out by ICM in 2013, the Charity Commission added.

UK parliament votes to renew nuclear weapons Lawmakers in the House of Commons decided to upgrade Britain’s nuclear program. After six hours of debate, in a 472-117 vote, parliament also decided on replacing the country’s four Trident submarines, one of which is always armed and on patrol

in the north Atlantic. The current generation of submarines will reach the end of their working lives toward the end of the next decade. Not renewing the Trident would be a “reckless gamble”, according to new British Prime Minister Theresa

May. “We can not compromise on our national security. We cannot outsource the grave responsibility we shoulder for keeping our people safe,” she said, adding: “The nuclear threat has not gone away; if anything, it has increased.”

I August 2016


I 13

EU referendum ‘unleashed’ hate crimes in UK www.pi-media.co.uk

In Case You Missed It

British police say that the result of the country’s vote to leave the European Union has “unleashed” more hate crimes perpetrated in the United Kingdom. According to a London police senior official speaking on Tuesday, over 400 people suspected of committing hate crimes have been arrested since the result of the EU referendum, announced on June 24, a figure which is double the number of offenses before the Leave vote. “It does appear that the Brexit

vote unleashed something in people where they felt able to do things that, let’s be really clear, are illegal”, in terms of verbal and physical hate crimes against people seen as foreigners, said Craig Mackey, the London police chief. He said the Metropolitan Police normally dealt with 25 to 50 hateprovoked offenses every day before the Brexit vote as compared to 57 to 78 afterwards. “We’ve seen an increase in both reporting of incidents and hate

crime,” Mackey said, adding that, “Overall hate crime rises, some rise in both anti-Semitic and Islamic hate crime - all of these are intolerable acts.” Mackey further noted that the offenses mainly included verbal abuse, harassment and criminal damage, with some “higher level” assaults, such as grievous bodily harm. In the second half of June, over 3,000 hate crimes and related incidents were reported to security forces across the UK, in what is seen as a 42-percent rise compared to the same period last year. Hate crime is defined as an offense, perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic. In the June 23 referendum, about 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU, while roughly 48 percent of the people voted to stay in the union. More than 17.4 million Britons said the country should leave the bloc just over 16.14 million others favored remaining in the EU.

Muslim Council of Britain elects new leadership

Last month the Muslim Council of Britain elected its sixth Secretary General, Mr Harun Rashid Khan. It also elected as Deputy Secretary General, Dr Omer El Hamdoon. Harun Khan takes over from Dr Shuja Shafi who has completed a two year term as Secretary General of the MCB. Harun was previously Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council and has been involved with the MCB since its inception, where he has led, amongst other things, the MCB’s London committee where he launched Eid celebrations at London’s Trafalgar Square. He is a passionate individual striving to work


for the community. In his inaugural speech at the nineteenth MCB Annual General Meeting he said never did I contemplate for one moment that fast forward 19 years and I would be here today, speaking to you as the head of the same organisation. It is deeply humbling to be the MCB’s sixth Secretary-General”. Addressing the issue of extremism and terrorism, he said, “The MCB must still occupy the space of sanity with a voice of reason. This means clearly stating our opposition to terrorism, finding meaningful ways to ensure our young people are not lured into extremism,

and express our independent voice when we think government policies designed to counter-terror are only making matters worse”. Harun Khan talked about the growing number of Muslim youth in this country and spoke about the need to reach out and “engage our younger generations so that they can be a force for good as citizens for our country”. He continued, “As a community too I hope we can work with our affiliates, our mosques, charities and associations to demonstrate our collective aspiration to be of service to fellow Britons, of all faiths and none”.

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I August 2016

First Muslim woman elected to Australia’s federal parliament

Canberra will welcome its first female Muslim MP after Australian academic Dr Anne Aly claimed the West Australian seat of Cowan following a mistake by the Australian Electoral Commission. While counting has not yet finished, with around 10,000 mostly absentee votes expected to favor Labor to come, Aly’s lead increased by 25% Monday when 200 Greens votes were found that had been wrongly allocated to the sitting Liberal MP, Luke Simpkins. Of those, 160 preferences went to Labor. Simpkins, who wanted to ban wearing burkas, once claimed that

eating halal food was “one step down the path of conversion”. Last year, to the bemusement of fans of Perth nightclub Villa, the MP claimed on Facebook that stickers on a bridge were the symbols popular with Daesh (ISIL), and he contacted a state minister to have them removed. It subsequently emerged that the stickers were for the logo for the nightclub’s regular “Speakeasy” evenings and had been up there for two or three years. Aly is now ahead by 786 votes, a lead Simpkins, who first won the suburban Perth seat in 2007, is unlikely to overhaul.

UNESCO denounces fake statement We wish to refer to the recent allegations posted on the website juntakareporter, citing an alleged statement and certificate from UNESCO declaring “Islam as the most peaceful religion of the world”. Such statement was never made by the Organization and that the certificate reproduced on this website is a fake one. The website that published this information is a satirical media. UNESCO has never had any official relationship with the entity referred to as “International Peace

Foundation”, nor has it ever supported such a statement or granted any diploma of this kind. In line with its mandate, the Organization has the responsibility to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue on a global scale, with the unerring support of its Member States, partners and networks. In doing so, UNESCO promotes respect on equal grounds for all traditions and faiths, always striving to build bridges and strengthen ties whenever possible.

The AEC said the mistake with the ballot papers, which happened on election night in a single polling booth, was discovered this morning as part of “normal checks and balances”. Egyptian-born Aly moved to Australia when she was two and is a professor at Edith Cowan University. The extremism expert is a Muslim and founder of People Against Violent Extremism. She is regular critic of Daesh and offers the government advice on counterterrorism measures to combat radicalization. She will join fellow Labor MP Ed Husic as just the second Muslim MP in the federal parliament. Meanwhile, the ABC is predicting the Coalition will former government with a 76-seat majority as two key Queensland seats likely to go to sitting LNP members. In Flynn, sitting LNP MP Ken O’Dowd is around 900 votes ahead of Labor, while another LNP incumbent, Michelle Landry, leads the count in Capricornia by 670 votes. The third seat in doubt, Herbert, has Labor challenger Cathy O’Toole 200 votes in front of sitting MP Ewen Jones. @p



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I August 2016


I 15

US deeply concerned over Israeli settlements: State Department

The United States says it is deeply worried about Israel’s reported plans to build hundreds of new settlement units in East Jerusalem al-Quds on top of previously announced 770 units in the illegal Gilo settlement. Israel’s plan to build an additional 323 units is “corrosive to the cause of peace” and “continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “These steps by Israeli authorities

are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” Kirby said. Peace Now, an advocacy and activist group in Israel, which opposes the settlements, says Israel has issued tenders for the construction of 323 housing units in East al-Quds. The al-Quds municipality filed construction plans for 770 residential

units in the settlement of Gilo, drawing condemnation both from UN and Palestinian officials. Kirby said Washington is also concerned about increased demolitions of Palestinian houses and buildings in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds, which have left dozens of Palestinians homeless, including children. Israel says it conducts demolitions because Palestinians build homes without permits. Palestinians and foreign governments monitoring demolitions and settlement activities say permits are nearly impossible to obtain. The presence and continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine have created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East. Palestinians want the West Bank as part of their future independent state, with East al-Quds as its capital. More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

Nigerian court says Muslim girls can wear hijab to school

Nigeria’s court of appeals ruled that Muslim female students can wear their head covering to schools, dismissing a government ban as “discriminatory and an infringement on the constitutional rights” of the affected students. The appeals court, chaired by Justice Ali Gumel, also set aside a ruling on Oct. 17, 2014, by a Lagos high court which upheld the ban on the Muslim female head covering. “The hijab is an act of worship.

Refusal to allow female Muslim students is an infraction on their constitutional guaranteed right,” according to the five-man special panel set up to hear the controversial case brought by the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria. “The judgment of the lower court is hereby set aside,” the panel added in a unanimous ruling read by Gumel. Abdulganiyyi Adetola-Kazeem, counsel to the Muslim students, hailed the ruling.

“Their Lordships have just confirmed what we know before, that hijab is [...] a right for the female Muslim recognized by the constitution and that no authority, whether government or any other, has the power to infringe upon it,” he said shortly after the ruling. The Lagos government has yet to comment on the ruling which is subject to final appeal to the Supreme Court. www.pi-media.co.uk

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I August 2016

Islamophobic content planned for California school books

A group of 15 top American Muslim organizations has alleged that a California board responsible for developing school textbooks is injecting “Islamophobic content” in the new curriculum. “The injection of Islamophobic content into the teacher’s manuals would inflame how student discussions are framed. Students, teachers, and communities all suffer when the content is rigged to cause disruption,” the top Muslim American group said in a letter to California State Board of Education which is in

final stages of revising and updating the K-12 History-Social Science Framework for public schools. “The bombardment of prejudicial ideas, from media outlets to candidates in the Presidential election primaries has left no one immune. Even the educators our children look up to are impacted by the hateful discourse,” the letter told the California Board which is considered to be very influential as its textbooks are followed and adopted in several US states. In the letter, the organisations

alleged that contrary to the treatment given to other religions, Islam has been introduced in the curriculum primarily under a narrative of war and conquest. Prominent among them include the Islamic Society of North America (National), Islamic Circle of North America, Northern California Islamic Council (NCIC), Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and Indian American Muslim Council. “The curriculum text in its current form is prejudiced in its references to alleged forced conversions of non-Muslims to Islam, often when no such forced conversions are even reported in historical sources,” the letter said. “Likewise, the curriculum text completely obliterates the role played by United States’ foreign policy in funding extremist religious Muslim groups to achieve short term political objectives and advances the idea that religious extremism is to be found only among Muslims, placing the blame squarely on ‘Radical Islam’,” it said. “It is disconcerting to see hundreds of edits submitted by groups and individuals that insert more Islamophobia into the already problematic California school curriculum,” the letter said.

UN approves resolution to rid Libya of chemical arms

The UN Security Council has unanimously endorsed a resolution calling on the international community to assist the destruction of chemical arms in Libya, where the Daesh terror group has gained a foothold over the past months. The 15-member council authorized UN “member states to acquire, control, transport, transfer and destroy chemical weapons ... to ensure the elimination of Libya’s chemical weapons stockpile in the soonest and safest manner.” The operation of disposing chemicals should be carried out with “appropriate consultations” with the UN-backed Government of National

Accord (GNA), according to the British-drafted motion. Libyan authorities asked the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to draw up a plan for the destruction of Libya’s precursor chemicals that are estimated to be roughly 700 tonnes. The toxic agents were stored at the Ruwagha depot in southeastern Libya, but they were recently transferred to a temporary storage site in the north of the African country. Libya, which joined the UN convention on eliminating chemical weapons back in 2004, has been

dominated by violence since a NATO military intervention followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and killing of longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The oil-rich African state has had two rival administrations since mid-2014, when militants overran the capital and forced the parliament to flee to the country’s remote east. The two governments achieved a consensus on forming a unity government, the GNA, last December after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco to restore order to the country. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Canada charter launched to fight Islamophobia www.pi-media.co.uk

Concerned with the recent sharp rise in anti-Muslim incidents in Ontario, according to a new survey funded by the province and the City of Toronto, a leading Canadian Muslim organization launched a charter last month to fight Islamophobia on the national level. “There is an epidemic of Islamophobia in Ontario,” said the 51-page survey by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and advocacy group Mass Minority. “Only a third of Ontarians have a positive impression of the religion and more than half feel its mainstream doctrines promote violence.” “These sentiments are echoed with Syrian refugees in Ontario where acceptance often coincides


with acceptance of Islam.” The Government of Canada resettled 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February 2016. The survey was funded by the province and the City of Toronto for its recently launched public awareness campaign on Islamophobia. “The recent rise in anti-Muslim incidents in Canada is disturbing and risks eroding the strength of our country’s rich social fabric,” said the Charter. “When Muslim women are attacked in the streets, when mosques are vandalized or when people face prejudice in their workplace or school, it is not only Canadian Muslims that suffer; Canadian society as a whole is

weakened because our values of equality, respect, justice and dignity for all are threatened.” The province of Ontario has seen a number of recent incidents that have targeted Muslims. “Islamophobia is real and it is wrong, despite what some may say to downplay it or dismiss it,” added the Charter. “This type of hate and discrimination tells Canadian Muslims that they do not belong by isolating them and their communities through stigmatization and casting them as outsiders and the ‘other’”. According to the survey conducted for Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and advocacy group Mass Minority, Islam is the most likely to be viewed by the respondents as a promoter of violence, followed by Sikhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism. Three-quarters of Ontarians said they feel Muslim immigrants have fundamentally different values, largely due to perceived gender inequality, the survey found. Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada. Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011. Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population.

US sues Pennsylvania for ban on building mosque The US Justice Department said it is suing a Pennsylvania community for religious discrimination over the town’s refusal to grant a permit to build a mosque. The lawsuit alleges that Bensalem Township violated a religious land use act when it refused to grant zoning approval “to allow the Bensalem Masjid to build a mosque on three adjoining parcels of land in the township,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

The denial “imposed a substantial burden on the Bensalem Masjid’s religious exercise,” treating them “less favorably than the township treats nonreligious assemblies,” and “discriminated against (them) on the basis of religion,” the DoJ said. Bensalem Township, population 60,000, is located some 30 kilometers northeast of Philadelphia. “Our Constitution protects the rights of religious communities to build places of worship free

from unlawful interference and unnecessary barriers,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Department “will continue to challenge unjustified local zoning actions around the country when they encroach upon this important civil right,” Gupta said. There is no mosque in Bensalem Township. Muslim residents currently meet for Friday prayers at a rented fire station hall.


www.pi-media.co.uk I August 2016

Poll: Europe’s relationship with Muslim all time low 18

Over the past year, it seems to have become worse. A wave of migrants and refugees from Muslim-majority nations have inflamed the debate about immigration on the continent, fueling the rise of far-right parties and probably contributing to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. At the same time, extremist groups have carried out devastating attacks in France and Belgium. Now a poll released by the Pew Research Center shows that in several European nations, unfavorable views of Muslims seem to have surged in 2016. In Britain, the figure jumped nine percentage points to 28 percent. In

Spain and Italy, unfavorable views jumped eight percentage points each, to 50 percent and 69 percent, respectively. In Greece, unfavorable views were found in 65 percent of the country — a jump of 12 percentage points from 2014, the last time the question was asked. Across the 10 European countries surveyed, a median of 59 percent felt that an increase in refugees would increase the likelihood of terrorism in a country — a figure higher than it is for concerns about the economic effect or crime in most countries. In Hungary, 76 percent of respondents linked refugees with terrorism, while 71 percent of Poles reached the same conclusion. Even on the lower end of the scale, large

minorities felt this way: 40 percent of Spaniards were found to believe that refugees were linked to terrorism, the lowest of any countries surveyed. An unfavorable view of Muslims was also highly linked to the belief that refugees would increase the risk of terrorist attacks. In Britain, 80 percent of those with an unfavorable view of Muslims felt that refugees presented a terror threat. Only 40 percent of those with a favorable view of Muslims made the same link. A similar gap of 24 to 40 percentage points could be seen in all other countries surveyed. Pew’s research also found notable splits in views on Muslims and refugees. Generally, those on the right had more negative views of both, with supporters of far-right or populist parties such as the UK Independence Party and France’s National Front having the most negative views. Old people and those with lower levels of education also tended to have more negative views across most countries, while young people and the highly educated were more positive about Muslims. Those with high levels of education were also more likely to believe that diversity of races, ethnic groups and nationalities in their country was a positive, as contrasted with less-educated peers, who were more likely to see it as a negative.

Nonprofit health clinic launches in Washington A nonprofit health clinic based at a Redmond mosque in Washington State of the US opened its doors. The Muslim Association of Puget Sound and the Muslim Community Resource Centre launched the clinic to provide free or subsidized medical care for those who need it.

They’re collaborating with the Rainier Valley Community Clinic in south Seattle. Organizers say the clinic will provide health care to people, regardless of race, gender, religion, social class or their ability to pay. The groups say it’s the first such

nonprofit clinic in Washington state to be based in a mosque. The clinic will offer wellness exams, education and prevention and refer patients to hospitals throughout King County.


Morocco wants to rejoin African union


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Morocco wants to rejoin the African Union, 32 years after quitting the bloc in protest at its decision to accept Western Sahara as a member, King Mohammed VI said. Morocco maintains that Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, is an integral part of the kingdom even though local Sahrawi people led by the Polisario Front have long campaigned for the right to selfdetermination.


“For a long time our friends have been asking us to return to them, so that Morocco can take up its natural place within its institutional family. The moment has now come,” the monarch said in a message sent to an AU summit taking place in Kigali, the MAP Moroccan news agency reported. Morocco has occupied the sparsely populated Western Sahara area since 1975 in a move that was

not recognised by the international community. Morocco quit the AU in protest in 1984 when the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was admitted as a member. But although Morocco left the club, “it never quit Africa”, King Mohammed said in his message to AU leaders as they began a two-day meeting in the Rwandan capital. “Through this historic act and return, Morocco wants to work within the AU to transcend divisions,” he added. Earlier this year Morocco expelled several UN staff members who were part of the MINURSO mission in Western Sahara in angry retaliation over UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon’s use of the term “occupation” to describe the status of the territory. In his address to the African Union, King Mohammed urged the bloc to rethink its position on the “phantom state” of Western Sahara, saying that a political solution was being worked on under the auspices of the UN. Morocco’s return to the AU would need to be validated by a vote.

Qatar to donate $10 billion for global humanitarian causes Qatar will donate $10 billion to humanitarian and development programs worldwide in the next ten years, the foreign minister announced at the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said almost half the funds would go towards education initiatives to help restraint the spread of extremism, violence and ‘loss of hope’, QNA reported. “Neglecting education means that a whole generations would become more vulnerable to human trafficking

or falling prey to terrorism,” he said. Countries should come together through aid relief and common political action, said Al Thani, while international governments should intervene to establish ‘independent and sustainable solutions’. Qatar spent $3.6 billion on foreign aid in 100 countries between 2011 and 2015, according to a document published by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The money was spent on providing emergency aid to disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal and

to diplomatic mediation in Sudan’s Darfur region, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya, the foreign ministry said. During the summit, the UAE’s minister of state Dr. Maytha Al Shamsi said the country would attribute 15 percent of its budget to humanitarian work over the next four years. “By 2020, we will double our contributions to humanitarian actions. We are committed to making this summit a turning point in humanitarian action,” Al Shamsi said.

Failed coup in Turkey 20I FEATURED - WORLD NEWS

We have been witnessing extraordinary events in Turkey nowadays. There have been five military coups in the past 60 years. However, the last failed coup was different from the previous ones, because this time it was carried out by Gulenist officers and followers in the military. Who is Gulen and what is his real aim? He was a cleric for a long time in Turkey and became a cult figure for his followers who believe he is the Mahdi. Over the years, this cult has infiltrated government institutions, in particular the education ministry, security services and judiciary. Gulenists disguised themselves in a discreet manner, making them almost

www.pi-media.co.uk I August 2016

impossible to be identified. So, most of Turkish people even National Intelligence Organization (MIT) couldn’t detect them. How did they become so powerful and ravenous? Gulen has identified himself as a moderate Islamic symbol to the world and he has gotten a very warm welcome from the West. He chartered schools in more than 100 countries and used these schools as his recruitment ground. Over time in Turkey, they strengthened their hold on the army and promoted their officers above others. They had the self-confidence with a belief that they could take over the state. They attempted to instigate a “civilian coup” on December 17

and 25, 2013, during the so-called corruption probe, but they failed. On the night of the coup attempt, they had planned to launch the coup on Saturday, July 16, at 04.00 local time, but as on July 15, at 16.00, the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) learned about the coup and they informed the Turkish Armed Forces chief of staff. Both chiefs met to stop the coup and prepared an action plan involving sending military units to stop the attempt. However, the Gulenist militants within the military was so well organized that even the private secretary of the chief of staff was one of them. The “minority group” within the armed forces used the state’s heavy


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military weapons and vehicles by targeting civilians and caused serious attacks, seized public institutions, blocked bridges and roads, bombed the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and broadcasted a statement declaring martial law on Turkish National broadcaster, TRT. The turning point of that brutal attempt was Erdogan’s television appearance through Facetime. He sent his message to the millions of Turkish people. He said this military’s activity was an illegal action against the democratically elected government and urged people to take to the critical points such as Ataturk Airport, Bosphorus bridge, strategic public places and streets and protest against the coup attempt. After that call, in fifteen minutes millions of people rushed into the streets and even though they were under fire, they did not turn back and kept resisting. The opposition party leaders also joined the condemnation of the coup. There was a serious threat to independence of Turkish citizens so they stood against and defeated the coup of that small crazy group with a societal and political consensus and they took control of the streets and public places. They turned a dark night into a bright morning for Turkish democracy. DEMOCRACY won and the ones with the sinister agenda was not successful once more. Our Honorable President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that


the country will be placed under a “state of emergency” for three months, in response to the failed coup. This is necessary in order to remove swiftly all the elements of terrorist organization involved in the coup attempt. This state of emergency does not mean an increased military presence in the streets or the increasing influence of the army on government and it will not have a direct impact on people’s daily lives as there will be no soldiers patrolling in streets or blocking roads. Our president Erdogan also tried to reassure the public that military powers will not be expanded, adding that Turkey would emerge as a “stronger nation” following the coup attempt. The Turkish government has already cleared out about 60,000 people from different fields such as the education ministry, security services and judiciary. There have been very selective investigations about the suspected ones and if there are strong proofs they will be fired. The Turkish president also said that he believed foreign countries might have been involved in the failed coup attempt, though he declined to name any. Now in Turkey almost all Turkish people from different parties unite against this coup attempt. For the first time for a long time, there is a unity and collaboration. This military coup enabled Turkish democracy to grow stronger and more prosperous. All Turkish people are taking a

common attitude to support peaceful democratic atmosphere that respects the national will, the rule of law and human rights. There are lessons to be learned from Turkey’s failed coup. That is to say that the country does not belong to a certain segment of society, but belongs to every citizen. The opposition parties have also important lessons to learn from this attempted coup. They think that most of Erdogan supporters vote for the ruling party because of the food, coal and other types of social welfare handouts they receive. But these people showed that they are united by a common cause and that they are willing to give their lives for their country and president if necessary. Unfortunately, western media have been broadcasting negative, non- objective and biased news from the beginning of that event. However, this is a kind of victory for more democracy in Turkey and we hope our government will benefit from this success and taking their new steps to unite people from different parties and to bring more democracy. By Kevser Çınar in Turkey Kevser is an instructor and PhD candidate in Tourism Management at the Faculty of Tourism of Necmettin Erbakan University in Konya. The views expressed in this article is of the author and not of PI



www.pi-media.co.uk I August 2016

Muslim Basketball players petition FIBA to allow hijab

A year ago, Indira Kaljo, a female Muslim basketball player, chose to wear the hijab, the Islamic headdress for women. She took the decision following an “awakening” during a charity trip to earthquake-hit Haiti, World Bulletin reported. But the Bosnian-American playerquickly realized she would not be able to play professionally in Europe as basketball’s governing body hadforbiddenthe use of any

type of headgear, including hijabs, turbans or yarmulkes, during official games. “It doesn’t make sense,” says Kaljo, who believes the ban to be discriminatory towards athletes who want to follow their faith, including Sikhs and Jews. In 2014, she launched an online petition, which collected some 70,000 signatures,attracting worldwide attention to the ban and, she says,influencedthe International Basketball Federation, or FIBA,to softenits position on head scarves. Indeed, in September 2014, FIBA announced that women would be permitted to wear religious head coverings in domestic basketball games fora two-year provisional period. However, FIBA has yet to grant players the same latitude in international competition, saying it wouldconsider the matter in aboard meeting later this year. FIBA says its decision has nothing to do with religion, but is only related

to sportsconcerns. According to the article, allheadgear, hair accessories and jewelry are prohibited. “It sucks,” says Kaljo, who is currently in Istanbul. “This is our passion, our dream. This is what we worked for since we were little kids.” Kaljo says she does not buy the safety concerns reason given byFIBA for the rule. She says she has been comfortable while playing covered. “I play the same. For me, I am more comfortable now than before (when) I was playing uncovered,” Kaljo says, addingthe long-sleeve dress made in a sports material helps better containsweat, which can be sometimes uncomfortable, especially in close contactwith other players. “The first time playing with the hijab,I had a good game,” she said. “It makes me really sad when I hear of women who stopped playing after deciding to wear hijab,” complains Kaljo. The passionate athlete believes there will be more Muslim women playing basketball to represent their country, if FIBAexpands the September 2014 ruling atthe international level. www.pi-media.co.uk

Wasim Akram honoured with University fellowship A cricketing legend was bowled over to receive an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Wasim Akram, former Lancashire County Cricket Club captain and Pakistan record-holder, accepted the prestigious award in front of a packed audience at Preston’s Guild Hall. He said: “It’s a massive honour and a privilege for me to receive this Honorary Fellowship. I never thought I would be wearing academic robes so to get this award from such a fantastic University is absolutely overwhelming. “I love Lancashire, I enjoyed

playing for Lancashire, I still have a house here, I come back to visit my friends and everyone is so friendly. The people are so hard-working and that is what I learned from my time playing here, you have to work hard to achieve success.” During his county career he won the EBC trophy and Axa League with the Old Trafford based team. He made his Test debut for Pakistan in 1985 and holds the record for taking the most wickets in a World Cup, being one of only three bowlers to have taken four hat-tricks in International Cricket and the highest score by a number eight batsman in Test cricket.

He also holds a Pakistani record of taking 414 wickets in 104 matches in Test Cricket, 502 One Day Internationals (ODI) wickets, and he remains the first bowler in International Cricket who has taken 400 wickets in both forms of cricket. He collected his award in front of new School of Film, Media and Performance graduates, their family and friends. He added: “Nothing is easy in life, there are no short cuts but these graduates are in a privileged position to accept good opportunities and my message is clear, hard work prevails.” www.pi-media.co.uk



I August 2016

Qatar’s QNB becomes main sponsor of Turkish football giant

Qatar National Bank, the Gulf’s largest lender has announced a deal to become the main sponsor of Turkish football team Trabzonspor. The agreement, which was signed by Trabzonspor club president Muharrem Usta and QNB Group Communications general manager Yousef Darwish, grants the bank shirt sponsorship for three years, as well as access to advertising rights, public relations cooperation, social media and digital rights. Usta said: “Trabzonspor is endeavouring to reach in new heights

with its freshly selected boardmembers, professional managers, a renovated technical team and a talented pool of players. We are honoured and happy to be going forward with an esteemed partner such as QNB.” He added: “We are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, and our first and foremost target is to become the champions of The Turkish League. I would like to thank QNB for sharing this vision and excitement with us.” Darwish added: “The Group

considers the sports field as one of the main pillars of its corporate social responsibility and one of the preferred channels for its brand strategy, and has thus chosen this as an optimal time for this sponsorship following its entrance into the Turkish market through Finansbank’s acquisition. “Trabzonspor is considered one of the deepest rooted Turkish clubs with a rich legacy, great future ambitions, and a wide support base, and that is why we chose to support this distinguished club.” QNB Group is also one of the main sponsors of French football club Paris Saint-Germain. Last month, Qatar National Bank completed the acquisition of Turkey’s Finansbank. The transaction is the latest for the Qatari lender, which is now the largest bank in the Middle East and Africa by assets, having brought Societe Generale’s Egyptian business for $2 billion in 2013, and a 23.5 percent stake in pan-African lender Ecobank International in 2014. www.pi-media.co.uk

Tough Mudder Dubai set to launch in December

Hailed as the ultimate obstacle course for amateur athletes, the grueling adventure race will take over the Hamdan Sports Complex on the weekend of December 9 and 10. Founded in 2010 as a 10-12 mile military-style obstacle course race, it has developed into the standard bearer for an ‘fun’ endurance races, while diversifiying to include five0mile courses and even a World’s Toughest Mudder which lasts 24-hours. With a slogan of ‘Probably the toughest event on the Planet’, it puts teamwork at the heart of everything. And you’ll need it, with obstacles such as ‘Arctic Enema 2.0’,

‘Electroshock Therapy’ and ‘BlockNess Monster’. More than 2.5million people have taken part in events all over the world, with 120 different races scheduled to take part in 2016. Speaking at the launch of the UK race in 2012, James Corcoran, a veteran of the London Marathon, said: “Let’s face it, running is boring. Tough Mudder, though, allows you and your fellow Mudders to test yourself while, weirdly, enjoying the various obstacles thrown at you.” Sam Baker, who has completed the Virgin Active London Triathlon and the Paris Marathon, added:

“The atmosphere and novelty aspects make the event the sort of ‘fun younger brother’ of traditional marathons. I can’t really imagine running a ‘normal’ marathon or race.” The Dubai installment of the race, which is untimed, will feature two distances, an 8km and 16km course, which they say will appeal to the super fit as well as the casual athletes. There will also be a dubai Mini Mudder for 7-13 year olds raced over 1.5km. Registration now open at www. toughmudder.ae

Rugby League Cares is Connecting communities 24I FEATURED SPORT

www.pi-media.co.uk I August 2016

Eorl Crabtree 6 feet 8 inches tall with students of Al Hashim School Rugby League, throughout its history, is known for its strong values. It was founded just over 120 years ago to address what they saw then as a social and economic injustice. Working people, particularly in the north of England, were being penalised for playing sport because they had to miss work and could not be compensated. The only solution was to form their own league, which they did the Northern Union which is now the Rugby Football League. Rugby League Cares is the charity which covers the whole game across the whole country. It has four really strong pillars of activity: Education & Welfare, Benevolence, Community Development and Heritage. Its mission is to look after and support the whole family of Rugby League by pulling together the collective strength of that massive community. Community Development is a large part of the work of the charity and it takes many forms. There are arts projects covering dance and music, health programmes covering both mental and physical health and, of course, sport programmes. “Connecting Communities” is one of those sports programmes which is working with the many diverse communities that now live and work around Rugby League clubs. The demographics of the traditional towns and cities have changed so much in the last 50 years that the sport must reach out to people who live in the community but to whom Rugby League is a completely new experience. Connecting Communities is a project with three separate but connected

programmes running in Kirklees, Bradford and Leeds. They all share one thing; the programmes were designed and are being delivered by people within the community rather than being promoted by the sport. The Kirklees programme is being guided by Starr Zaman and the 20:20 Foundation. They have been delivering a non-contact form of Rugby League to young people in Batley and Dewsbury and have built basic Rugby skills activity into the various parts of the summer programme offered by the 20:20 Foundation. The response has been really encouraging with many of the young people taking part in Rugby League for the very first time, which is remarkable when many live within walking distance of one of the oldest and most traditional Rugby League clubs in the world. Starr is keen to promote the really positive aspects of participation in sport and sees Rugby League as a really good opportunity for the local community to enjoy a sport that is embedded in the region with a long and proud heritage “We aim to break down the idea rugby League isn’t seen as a sport the South Asian communities. Rugby League is more than just a sport, it’s a family and as we are people from areas of where rugby league is embed we aim to make the South Asian communities claim back part of OUR family. Rugby is a sport with great health, social, career and learning opportunities and aspects of Rugby league family is something we the south Asian community is missing out on. Connecting communities aims

to introduce aspects of the sport to everyday activity. Our project will have sublime key messages of Rugby league which will hopefully designed and consulted by you the users. There is a online questioner that gather your thoughts on the sport and this will give RL Cares a real understanding of your views on Rugby league as a sport ” Almost the first activity that Starr arranged for the young people from the Al Hashim/Cambridge Street school in Batley was for them to attend a Super League match between Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves. This is the highest level of the sport in the UK and the students and teachers had a great time not only watching the game but meeting one of the star players. Chris Rostron is the General Manager of Rugby League Cares and responsible for the whole project. He sees at first hand the value of working directly with local communities. “Rugby League and Rugby League Cares are both products of our community. It is at the core of our being and drives all of our activity. We recognise the strength of our community and we also know that things change over time – things that do not change are our values and principles – we are of our community and serve our community using the strength of our community. We welcome everyone and reject no-one.” Connecting Communities is supported by Sport England and organised by Rugby League Cares. It will continue until March 2017 giving many hundreds of local people the chance to get involved with a sport that has its roots very firmly in the local community. To find out more information about Rugby League Cares please visit http://www.rugby-league.com/get_ involved/rugby_league_development_ projects/leeds_bradford__kirklees_ partnership or contact 20:20 foundation through twitter @T20_foundation


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West Yorkshire Police now recognise that some victims of hate crime are targeted because of their religion ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������





If you experience any form of Islamophobia, report it to the police. It is crucial that you report any kind of hate, whether it is physical, damage to property, graffiti or verbal abuse.

of British Muslims surveyed by the British Crime Survey had experienced Islamophobia.




Where can I find out more? Email: admin@mcsf.org.uk or Call (0113) 2773330


SAFETY FORUM (Serving West Yorkshire)

Building Bridges

Building Bridges is a project developed by the Hamara Centre (www.hamara.org.uk), funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (www.jrct.org.uk) to address Islamophobia across Leeds.

The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context




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Part 5

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Islamic community faced many pressing challenges that included the thorny question of succession. Earlier in the series, we looked that the claims to the caliphate and the controversies arising from it namely from those groups who supported Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Ali Ibn Ali Talib eventually leading to the emergence of the Sunni-Shia schism that has undoubtedly blighted the Muslim world for over 1400 years and counting. However, it is important to note that there were competing claims especially from the upper echelons of Madinan society vying for the top prize. History reliably informs us that the closest confidantes of the Prophet Muhammad eventually settled upon electing a successor who was none other than Abu Bakr al-Siddiq. Nevertheless, Abu Bakr alSiddiq’s credentials ensured he stood out for this role of leading the Muslim community based on the fact that he was the dearest friend and confidant of the Prophet Muhammad. Indeed, it was Abu Bakr who led

the communal prayers in the absence of the Prophet Muhammad towards the end of his life when struck down with illness. The Partisans of Ali (Shiites) argued that the Prophet Muhammad had informed Ali Ibn Abu Talib at Ghadr Khawm that he would be the successor referring to him as Mawla (successor) and declaring that he has left the Qur’an and the Ahl-al-Bayt (family of the Prophet Muhammad) to the Muslim community (ummah). The Muslim community since its inception had faced relentless pressures and threats ranging from amongst the Arabs who opposed and rejected Islam to the Byzantine and Sassanid empires that sought to crush it. The last thing the Byzantine and Sassanid empires wished for was the emergence of the Arabs as a formidable force in the region and whose threat had been largely checked for several centuries. Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq once elected as the first caliph via the method of Shura (consultation) that comprised of the closest confidantes of the Prophet Muhammad was concerned about the external and internal

threats faced by the fledgling Muslim community. It should be said that Abu Bakr did not set about creating a vast Islamic empire but was of the view that the safety and security of the Muslims could only be preserved via military engagement. The first caliph felt that sooner or later the Byzantines and Sassanids would launch a joint campaign to obliterate the Islamic state. Abu Bakr quickly adopted the premise ‘attack is the best form of defence’ in respect of the protecting the security of the state. The Arabs who had entered the fold of Islam possessed a tremendous zeal and love for their newly found faith primarily as it had to a great extent liberated them from the excess of the Jahilliyah (ignorance) period. The newly found enthusiasm was in abundance amongst the early Muslim community acting as a catalyst for the process of Islamisization and Arabization sweeping the entire Arabian Pennisula and beyond with breathtaking speed.


I August 2016


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I 27

Profile for Shakir Ahmed

PI Magzine August 2016  

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PI Magzine August 2016  

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