Opposing Zionism not Pogba opens racism: Scottish court rules up about Islam
Qatar: The Gulf Crisis Deepens
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UK has stripped more than 150 people of their citizenship to stop them returning, it has been reported.
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By Islamic Human Rights Commission
European anti face-veil ruling legalises discrimination against Muslims
The decision by the European Court of Human Rights to uphold Belgium’s ban on burqas and other full-face Islamic veils is an affront to democratic values, personal and religious freedom and women’s rights. Judges ruled that the nationwide prohibition, which came into effect in 2011, did not violate the rights to private and family life and freedom of religion, or discrimination laws. They said Belgium had the right to impose restrictions aiming to ensure the principles of “living together” and the “protection of the rights and freedoms of others”. The ECtHR said Belgium was entitled to legislate against “a practice that it considered to be incompatible, in Belgian society, with social communication and
more generally the establishment of human relations, which were indispensable for life in society… essential to ensure the functioning of a democratic society”. The ruling is the latest in a series by the ECtHR to effectively legalise Islamophobia in ratifying member states that have legislated against Islamic attire. Islamic clothing, invariably that worn by women, has become a stick with which an increasingly intolerant Europe discriminates and otherises its Muslim minority communities. The court’s decision mirrors that of a 2014 case brought by a citizen of France where public wearing of the niqab is also banned. Then as now the court justified its decision on the basis that concealing one’s face was incompatible with the
democratic aim of ‘living together’. The idea of ‘living together’ is not a right that is protected within the European Human Rights Convention. It is a vague concept used exclusively against Muslim communities to demand that they assimilate rather than cling to their beliefs and customs. Secondly, the claim that living together requires ‘maintaining eye and facial contact’ between the sexes as this is indispensable to the effective functioning of society is hard to accept in an age where most communication does not take place face to face. Moreover, even if that was the case, the fact that only a tiny minority of Muslim women in Europe observe the niqab suggests that they pose no threat whatsoever to the aim of mutual co-existence between communities. It is clear that Islamic female attire, particularly the face veil, has become a marker of the increasing intolerance and illiberalism of European countries towards their Muslim citizens. Those Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab do so precisely because it allows them the freedom to interact in wider social circles. Today’s decision is likely to have the effect of excluding many of these women from public life altogether. This ruling will serve to entrench Islamophobic and racist attitudes and fuel the perception in Muslim communities that personal freedoms and human rights protections do not apply to them. It will also be music to the ears of extremists who preach that western countries are engaged in an all-out assault against Islam.
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I August 2017
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‘Statelessness in international law places an individual at a very substantial disadvantage,’ Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism. Muslims in the UK who have gone to Syria have been rendered stateless and find themselves in no man’s land as a direct result of the British government moves in recent days. This comes after the UK government confirmed that more than 150 suspected individuals have been banned from returning to the UK and subsequently stripped of their citizenship. The United Kingdom along with its Western and European counterparts face a rather precarious situation in light of balancing individual human rights obligations and the need to protect the security and safety of its citizens. The decision to render certain citizens ‘stateless’ throws up a number of interesting issues for us to consider. The first dilemma centres upon how many people in Syria have actually been proven to being
complicit in aiding and abetting Islamist and Jihadist franchises and more importantly is there credible evidence to prove wrongdoing on their part. Secondly, we need to ask ourselves how have the authorities collated the information proving one’s guilt and how has the decision been made prior to rendering an individual stateless in the process? More importantly, there will be many who argue that if these people are guilty of supporting ‘terrorism’ then they should not be allowed back into the country based on the fact that they are themselves a major and viable threat to national security. Undoubtedly, there will be some who have gone out in good faith with the aim of assisting innocent Syrians may find themselves caught in a legal quagmire after being stripped of their citizenship based on flimsy evidence gathered over time or being found to be ‘guilty by association’ with terrorism. It should be said that in all cases of suspected involvement with terrorism need to be dealt with on a fair, equal and impartial basis
by an independent adjudicator with evidence being subjected to fair scrutiny prior to stripping citizenship from an individual to avoid miscarriages of justice. Only through these means can the UK government show that each and every case is being dealt with in accordance with the law of the land. The last thing the authorities need is to find themselves being subjected to legal challenges for potentially declaring citizens stateless based on a whim, unreliable testimony or poor intelligence being supplied by a thirdparty agent. It seems that civil liberties finds itself once again of being subjected to the securitisation agenda that has been on the horizon since 7/7. Human rights organisations need to fight their corner and be in a position to robustly defend those who are innocent that have falsely accused of wrongdoing whilst abroad The most concerning aspect of the government’s moves in this area come home to roost as any UK citizen whilst travelling abroad could be stripped of their citizenship for no apparent reason with little prospect of legal redress. This scenario is truly frightening and potentially has the power to send a chill down anyone’s spine. We make this case on the basis that more and more people will find themselves going abroad only to face being stripped of their citizenship and thus end up being rendered stateless in the process in the days months and years to come. Due and fair application of the law along with legal redress mechanisms must be implemented in order to avoid the prospect of real lives being destroyed in the process.
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I August 2017
Muslim woman takes legal action against UK school over veil ban
A Muslim mother has taken legal action against her daughter’s school after being told she cannot not wear a veil within the premises. Rachida Serroukh, 37, a mother of three daughters has started a discrimination case against Holland Park school of London after she was told that she cannot wear a veil. When she attended an evening for parents of new pupils at the school on June 13, she was shocked to be challenged over her decision to wear a face veil, The Guardian reported. Serroukh – a qualified childcare assistant who plans to return to work when her daughter is settled in school – was approached by a member of staff who asked to speak to her. She was taken into a room and told it was the school’s policy not to allow face veils on school premises. “I was already feeling uncomfortable because I had to leave my daughter standing on her
own,” said Serroukh. “As the teacher was female, I lifted my veil when we were talking together in the room.” She had already been surprised, she added, that at the welcome event for about 200 parents, including five or six who were identifiably Muslim, the head teacher said in his speech that the school was secular and did not offer prayer rooms although it showed video footage of the school choir singing in a church. Later, she was challenged over her decision to wear the veil. At first Serroukh thought that the teacher who raised the veil issue had misunderstood and thought her daughter would be attending school in a face veil. “I explained clearly that my daughter wears a headscarf and would not be coming to school in a face veil. Then I realised she was talking about me not my daughter.” Serroukh asked several times to see the school policy banning visitors from wearing a face veil, as she was
aware that a friend who also wore a similar veil had been attending school events for five years without encountering any problems. “I had had no problem from security at the school gate when I entered the school and nobody there had mentioned a policy. I always lift my veil and show my photo ID when required to do so for security purposes,” she said. “I didn’t want to challenge the teacher until I had seen the policy.” Serroukh said the teacher then asked her to leave the school through the back exit, but she refused, explaining she needed to collect her daughter and would be leaving through the same door she had arrived which was the front entrance. “I was very shaken and was in a state of shock about what had happened,” she said. “I had never experienced anything like this before. I have experienced name calling in the street from strangers about my veil but nothing like this had ever happened before. When I got home, I just broke down.” She wrote to the school for clarification on this whole issue. Replying on July 12, Serroukh wrote, “How are you able to justify banning the face veil for all which come onto school grounds? I had shown my face prior to coming onto school grounds therefore security cannot have been a cause for concern.” The incident left Serroukh feeling upset and excluded from her own community, she said, “I feel like I don’t belong here even though I live across the road and used to attend the school.”
I August 2017
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I August 2017
Opposing Zionism not racism: Scottish court rules
A pro-Palestinian organization in Scotland has clinched a landmark victory in a UK court that ruled in favour of its members, who were accused of racism for having participated in a protest against Israel three years ago. Glasgow Sherriff’s Court announced its verdict in favour of two members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), which supports Palestinian issues in Britain. The members of SPSC Mick Napier and Jim Watson had been
facing charges of racism and aggravated trespass for a protest against an Israeli firm in September 2014. The two were arrested in a shopping center back then when they refused to leave the demonstration, which was held against Israeli company Jericho cosmetics that operates in the occupied West Bank and had been involved in Israel’s 2014 military offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Napier said they “were accused of
being motivated by hatred of Israelis rather than opposition to Israel’s repeated massacres, apartheid across the whole of Palestine and genocidal violence in Gaza.” The prosecutor in Scotland claimed that the two were recycling an ancient anti-Semitic “Jewish blood libel” by speaking about Israel’s murdering of Palestinians. Napier said these claims were being made in support of the Israeli regime, while the people of Gaza “were still looking for ice-cream freezers and vegetable refrigerators in which to store the bodies of children killed by Israel’s military.” “When the Scottish government joined in by denouncing the ‘deep inhumanity’ of the Israeli massacre,” Napier said, the Scottish procurators were “working hand in glove with pro-Israel lobby groups to silence voices of Palestine solidarity.” The SPSC has been under pressure from pro-Israel lobbyists and Scottish prosecutors who were trying to criminalize their actions in support of Palestinians. www.pi-media.co.uk
Exhibition celebrate heritage of Glasgow’s Muslim Communities
A new exhibition that traces the influence and heritage of South Asian and Muslim communities across Scotland and throughout Glasgow opened last month The exhibition marks the start of a relationship between Glasgow Museums and Colourful Heritage, a community group based in the city that has developed the largest online video archive recording the migration stories of people from South Asia to Scotland. The exhibition, GlaswegAsians, will run for an extended period at Scotland Street School Museum, exploring how people came to the Glasgow and how the city grew and changed as a result. Glasgow Museums also aims
to shape future collecting by further reflecting the city’s many diverse communities. Among the exhibits are the copy of the 250-year-old Quran Mohammed Sarwar used as he was sworn in as the UK’s first Muslim MP and the kilt and sherwani worn by Humza Yousaf MSP as he was sworn in at the Scottish Parliament in 2011. The exhibition also explores entrepreneurship and working life, politics, contribution of the Indian soldiers to the world wars, family and social life and schools. Omar Shaikh, the Project Founder of Colourful Heritage, said: “This exhibition has been seven years in the
making but tells the story of people’s experiences of arriving and settling in Scotland for more than 150 years. “It is a unique exhibition that highlights the contribution of and challenges faced by Muslim and South Asian migrants arriving in a new country for the first time. “GlaswegAsians details how Glasgow became home for generations of people and along the way elected the UK’s first Muslim councillor, MP and MSP. “It is a timely reminder of how much modern Glasgow gained and gave by welcoming new citizens who have come to proudly adopt the Scottish identity.”
I August 2017
Attacks on Muslims are acts of Terrorism: London Mosque chairman
Islamophobic attacks should be classed as terror-related and not simply hate crimes, the chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque has said. Attacks on Muslims are acts of terrorism and shouldn’t be given excuses, London mosque chairman says Mohammed Kozbar, who is also the vice-President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), said UK authorities must “be consistent” when dealing with terror-style attacks, and voiced support for a change in the law that would see Islamophobic violence included.
Speaking at a local government conference in Birmingham, he accused police and the media of “always finding excuses” for a terrorstyle crime to be recorded differently when an attacker is non-Muslim, according to HuffPost UK. It comes after a van crashed into a group near the Finsbury Park mosque in the early hours of 19 June. Darren Osborne, 47, has been charged with murder and attempted murder. Mr Kozbar said ministers initially refused to call a national minute’s
silence to pay respects for the attack, as they had done in the wake of the Manchester and London Bridge attacks. Asked by an audience member whether the failure to categorize Islamophobic attacks as terror could fuel radicalization and if it was time for the British government to introduce legislation to categorize Islamophobia as more than just a hate crime, Mr Kozbar said he agreed. He said: “I think there is a feeling in the Muslim community when the attacker is non-Muslim attacking the Muslim community we always find excuse, we say ‘lone attacker’ or ‘mental health problems’ or whatever, ‘he’s bankrupt’, ‘he’s got issues with his family’. We start putting excuses to him.” He added: “With the other attacks, it is terrorism and nobody argues with that. It is terrorism. We don’t give any excuse to these people who do what they did in Manchester or at Southwark or elsewhere but, on the other hand, we have to be consistent on that and deal with all these issues on the same level.” His comments come as police record a spike in Islamophobic attacks in the capital, with Scotland Yard reporting a 40 per cent rise in the weeks following the London Bridge attack.
London couple headed for honeymoon sent back home as ‘groom is Muslim’
A newly-wed couple from Enfield, London was allegedly denied entry into the US and was forced to spend nearly 26 hours at a detention centre at Los Angeles airport because “the groom is a Muslim”. The couple - Natasha Politakis, 29, and Ali Gul, 32 - had planned a dream honeymoon in Hawaii and Las Vegas, but they said that they were “treated like criminals” and then deported back to London. They suspect the action was taken in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s travel ban. “I am in utter shock that this has
happened,” Natasha was quoted by The Sun as saying about the harrowing experience. “We had just got married, we were on our way to our honeymoon as excited as anything and never expected that we would be deported. “We were treated like criminals and we had all the relevant documentation and answered all their questions. It’s not okay to treat people like that.” During detention, the couple said they were denied a shower and coffee, and all their possessions were confiscated by the American officials.
They received their phones back only after they touched down on UK soil. The couple also alleged that on inquiring about the reason for their detention they were handcuffed and escorted onto a flight back to London. The couple said that they had spent nearly £7,000 for this dream two-week honeymoon trip to the US, but it all went waste. They were now struggling to get an appointment with the US Embassy to sort the matter. They added that they suspect the reason for the denied entry could be Ali’s Turkish origin.
I August 2017
UK No1 Halal food festival is back
The London Halal Food Festival returns this year and is set to become the biggest showcase in Europe for Halal Food – giving those attending a tantalising Halal journey of delicious food and drink from over 100 international exhibitors. Taking place on 19th and 20th August, at London’s historic Tobacco Dock, the festival is the only one of its kind and attracts visitors from across the UK who want to discover new and exciting international Halal cuisines. An estimated 18,000 people will attend over the weekend and around three tonnes of meat and poultry will be consumed as people spend close to half a million pounds trying out Halal burgers, freshly prepared dishes, culinary delights and alcohol-free cocktails – before finishing off with tasty sweet treats in a dedicated dessert section. There will also be live performances from celebrity chefs in a special
cookery theatre, including a live demonstration from MasterChef Champion, Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed. Other highlights include a dedicated Italian Halal Zone and a Man Vs Food competition open to visitors. Other companies present will be taking advantage of the huge crowds by promoting their new and latest line of halal products – including baby food, convenience meals and homedelivered Halal meat. Waleed Jahangir, London Halal Food Festival Show Director, said “The Muslim Halal market is booming and during the Holy month of Ramadan, supermarkets estimated to make around £70 million from Halal food offerings alone. “British Muslims are the most diverse in the world; they have bigger households, they spend more, eat out more often and cook in more volume – which is estimated annually to be worth a whopping £10 billion.
Electronics ban lifted on Turkish Air UK flights Britain lifted a ban on passengers carrying electronic devices in the cabin on some flights to the UK from Turkey after new security measures were introduced, saying other restrictions would be looked at on a case by case basis. Britain joined the United States in imposing restrictions on carryon electronic devices on planes coming from certain countries in the Middle East and Africa in March,
in response to unspecified security threats. While the United States ended its ban earlier in July, Britain has kept the restrictions in place until now. Passengers will now be allowed to carry laptops and tablets on Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul’s Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airports, and Pegasus Airline flights from Sabiha Gokcen and Izmir, Britain’s Department for
That’s why we’re seeing more and more brands reaching out to Muslim consumers and the London Halal Food festival is a fantastic opportunity for both businesses and consumers to come together and learn more about each other.” The word Halal translates to ‘permissible’ and is frequently applied to food, especially regarding the slaughtering of animals according to Islamic requirements. However, its meaning in terms of dietary requirements can also represent core values such as free-range, organic and sustainable (fair trade), which are standards that are becoming more important for the millennial Muslim. Waleed adds: “Traditionally, the past few generations of Muslims could only eat what was cooked at home, but now they can finally try the food they couldn’t have when growing up. The festival looks to breakdown this barrier by bringing in all types of food, from all over the world, with just one condition, that everything in the show remains Halal.” The festival was recently placed in the top five of London Food Festivals to look forward to in 2017 by lastminute. com and with over 100 exhibitors, it’s set to be a great weekend of food and fun for all the family. Tickets are still available from £10 with exclusive packages still available online. To find out more information about the festival, or to book your tickets, visit www. londonhalalfoodfestival.com Transport said in a statement. Britain said that Sabiha Gokcen was the first airport to have restrictions completely lifted. Yet existing bans on electronic devices on other flights from the Ataturk and Izmir airports and elsewhere in Turkey, as well as Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, would be kept. Britain said the other restrictions would be lifted once the government establishes that adequate security measures have been put in place. “The remaining restrictions will be lifted only when we are satisfied it is safe and proportionate to do so,” Grayling said.
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I August 2017
Hezbollah and Nusra swap corpses in border ceasefire 10
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Hezbollah and the Nusra Front will exchange the corpses of fighters in the first stage of a ceasefire agreement in the Lebanon-Syria border area, the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar television station reported. The ceasefire took effect and will also involve the release of five Hezbollah prisoners and the departure of Nusra fighters to northern Syria along with any civilians who wish to go with them. Nusra and the Islamic State group have been present in the mountains
near Arsal in northern Lebanon for years, the most serious spill-over of Syria’s civil war into its neighbor. Shi’ite Hezbollah retook most of the area held by Nusra during a brief offensive last week that killed nearly 150 of the Sunni militants and about two dozen Hezbollah fighters. Hezbollah, which has had an important role in the Syrian civil war supporting President Bashar al-Assad, is expected to launch an offensive against the smaller Islamic State enclave near Arsal.
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Germany, Qatar to share intel to help end Gulf crisis German intelligence will work with Qatar to resolve accusations by Gulf states, that country’s foreign minister said, Al Jazeera. Sigmar Gabriel said Qatar agreed to share information about “certain people and institutions” with German intelligence. There were no further details provided. Gabriel visited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Kuwait as part of a three-day Gulf tour.
Gabriel said that Berlin was in favor of solution-oriented approaches to the Gulf crisis and praised the U.S. and Kuwait for their efforts as mediators, in a joint news conference with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. “Germany has not taken the side of any party during the Gulf crisis. However, we support a solutionbased approach and we are trying to figure out what the core of this problem is,” he said.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain all abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of interfering in their domestic affairs and supporting terrorist groups. The four states later presented Qatar with a list of 13 demands, including the closure of pan-Arab news broadcaster Al Jazeera, that they said must be met before the embargo is lifted. www.pi-media.co.uk
I August 2017
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I August 2017
Revealed: plan for ‘giant extension’ to Saudi’s Makkah
Details have been revealed about plans for a “giant extension” to the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Details of the Al-Faisaliah project were announced by Prince Khalid AlFaisal bin Abdulaziz, governor of the Makkah Region, Construction Week Online reported. A governmental complex, including the Governorate of Makkah Region, an Islamic centre for all Islamic organisations and
foundations, an Islamic research centre, facilities for meetings, symposiums, and conferences, will be developed as part of the project. Residential areas, malls, and entertainment, educational, health, agricultural, and industrial facilities, will also be designed into the development. Development plans for the project also include an airport and a seaport, according to Saudi news
agency. Addressing reporters, Prince Abdulaziz said the recently launched project is a “giant extension of the Holy City of Makkah [rather] than a new city”. Local daily Saudi Gazette reported that Makkah Region Development Authority will supervise the 2,450 sq km project, located along the western coast of Makkah. www.pi-media.co.uk
Billboard educates americans about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) GainPeace, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization, has launched a new campaign titled “Truthful Man” to educate Americans on the true manners of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and countering a hate campaign that went up last month. Billboard Educates Americans on Prophet Muhammad “There had been some recent attacks targeting Muslims in Chicago and across the nation. Islamophobia at times stems from the lack of education about
Islam and Prophet Muhammad or education from unreliable sources,” Sabeel Ahmed, executive director of GainPeace, said in a statement. “Thus, we want to offer our fellow Americans an opportunity to learn the true teachings of Islam from its main source, the Quran. “Previous educational campaigns of GainPeace have generated numerous calls of support and building of alliances with interfaith groups, minority groups, and neighbors.” The billboard followed a
controversial billboard which popped up last June in Indianapolis on I-465 near the Washington Street exit. Featuring the words “The Perfect Man”, apparently in reference to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the billboard followed by a list of attributes including “rapist” and “slave owner.” The billboard gives no indication who paid for it, save for the word “Truthophobes” – an Australian group dedicated to publishing antiIslamic materials.
I August 2017
UNESCO puts Hebron on endangered heritage list
UNESCO declared the Old City of Hebron a Palestinian world heritage site in danger, sparking outrage from Israel which said the decision denied a Jewish claim to an ancient burial cave that is also sacred to Muslims. The UN’s cultural arm voted 12 to three -- with six abstentions -- to grant heritage status to the core of the ancient city in the occupied West Bank, which is home to more than 200,000 Palestinians and a few hundred Jewish settlers who
live under heavy Israeli military protection. “Just inscribed on @UNESCO #WorldHeritage List & World Heritage in Danger List: Hebron/AlKhalil Old Town,” the organisation said on its official Twitter feed. The vote drew a sharp denunciation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who described it as “another delusional decision by UNESCO,” while the United States announced it would
review its ties with the agency. “This time they ruled the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is a Palestinian site, meaning not a Jewish site, and that it is in danger,” Netanyahu said incredulously, speaking in Hebrew in a video posted online. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley meanwhile termed the decision an “affront to history.” The US stopped funding UNESCO in 2011 after it admitted the Palestinians as a member-state, but it remains a member of the body’s 58-member executive board. Brought by the Palestinians, the resolution declared Hebron’s Old City to be an area of outstanding universal value. The resolution was fast-tracked on the basis that the site was under threat, with the Palestinians accusing Israel of an “alarming” number of violations, including vandalism and damage to property. The Palestinian foreign ministry hailed the decision a “success” for its diplomatic efforts that came “despite a frantic Israeli campaign spreading lies and distorting the facts about the Palestinian rights.”
Pentagon blocks Pakistan military payments In Case You Missed It
The US Defense Department has withheld $50 million in Pakistan military payments after Pentagon chief Jim Mattis determined Islamabad is not doing enough to counter the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, an official said. The United States had allotted $900 million in military aid to Pakistan through the special fund. The country has already received $550 million of that, but Mattis’s decision means $50 million will be
withheld. The remaining $300 million was rescinded by Congress as part of a broader appropriations act. “This decision does not reduce the significance of the sacrifices that the Pakistani military has undertaken over previous years,” Stump said. “Pakistan still has time to take action against the Haqqani network in order to influence the secretary’s certification decision in FY17,” he added. The Taliban-affiliated Haqqani
network, based in the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan, has long been thought to have ties to Pakistan’s shadowy military establishment. Led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is also the Taliban’s deputy leader, they have carried out numerous operations deep in the heart of Kabul, and have been blamed by Afghanistan for a devastating truck bombing that killed more than 150 people in the capital in May.
US lifts ‘laptop ban’ for Saudi Arabia 14
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The Trump administration have lifted restrictions on airline passengers coming to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia that prohibited them from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone on to the aircraft. Saudi Arabia Airlines, also known as Saudia, was the last airliner still
facing the restrictions the Trump administration imposed in March. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that Saudia and its home airport, Jeddah International, “have implemented the required initial enhanced security measures” to have the restrictions
I August 2017
lifted. “Travelers from Jeddah are now allowed to bring devices in the cabin of US bound flights,” the agency wrote on Twitter. Saudia was the last of nine airliners that had the restrictions lifted after the Department of Homeland Security announced new security requirements late last month it said were aimed at preventing terrorists from smuggling explosives concealed in electronic devices on board. Approximately 280 airports in 105 countries were affected by the tougher security measures, along with 180 foreign and U.S. airlines. Saudia said in a statement it expected the electronics ban to be fully lifted. Royal Air Maroc and Casablanca International Airport had the restrictions lifted. Kuwait Airlines and Royal Jordanian each had the “laptop ban” removed July 9. www.pi-media.co.uk
Boston launches poster campaign to combat Islamophobia
Boston has launched a new public service campaign to fight Islamophobia by offering the public ways to address aggression toward others because of their appearance or beliefs. The campaign involves 50 posters that provide a step-by-step guide to handling when someone is being harassed. They will be posted on bus stop benches and other public places around the city. Titled “What to do if you are witnessing Islamophobic harassment,” the posters encourage people to engage with the person
who is being targeted and to draw attention away from the harasser. The technique is called “noncomplementary behavior,” and is intended to disempower an aggressive person by countering their expectations. “These posters are one tool we have to send the message that all are welcome in Boston,” Mayor Marty Walsh said. “Education is key to fighting intolerance, and these posters share a simple strategy for engaging with those around you.” The city’s Islamic community lauded the campaign. “We encourage all of our fellow
Bostonians to apply the approach in these posters to anyone targeted — whether Muslim, Latino or otherwise,” said Suzan El-Rayess, civic engagement director at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. San Francisco has a similar campaign. Thea Colman, whose sister had worked with San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit to have posters installed throughout that system, approached Walsh’s office. The posters, designed by French artist Maeril, will stay up for six months.
I August 2017
5 file CAN $35M lawsuit against Canadian spy agency
The service director of Canada’s spy agency said he is taking “very seriously” claims by five employees who filed a CAN$35 million ($27 million) lawsuit over alleged antiMuslim and racist remarks from colleagues. The names of the claimants, managers and employees were not disclosed in the court filing because as spies, they are prohibited from identifying themselves. But one of the claimants is, according to court documents, a Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) employee known as “Cembal,” a Muslim of Turkish descent. He alleged he was the victim
of derogatory remarks and was frequently referred to by other CSIS employees as “imam,” “sheikh” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political party of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and has been associated with Hamas. Cembal has worked for the = agency for 21 years. Another employee, who is referred to as “Emran” in the lawsuit, is a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen who said he was discriminated against because of his race and religion. One intelligence office manager asked Emran if his loyalty was to “our Queen or the King of Morocco,”
Leader of Iraq’s largest Sunni bloc sacked The largest Sunni bloc in the Iraqi parliament has sacked its leader after divisions. Twenty-seven MPs voted for sacking Ahmed al-Massari, leader of the Iraqi Forces Alliance, in a vote held, a parliamentary source said. Four MPs voted against the move, while one abstained, the source said.
According to the source, the alliance leaders will meet soon to set a mechanism for electing a new leader of the Sunni bloc. Al-Massari was elected a leader of the Sunni alliance in 2014, but differences recently hit the bloc over priorities in the post-ISIL era in Iraq. www.pi-media.co.uk
while another said all Muslims are bloodthirsty murders and terrorists. A Muslim woman known as “Bahira” and who has been with CSIS for 15 years said anti-Muslim comments accelerated after she wore a hijab to work in 2004. The wearing of the hijab “caused an uproar”, the lawsuit claimed. A woman known as “Dina” -- the first black woman at the agency -- was referred to as a “token black woman”. CSIS director David Vieneault responded to the charges, none of which have been proven in a court of law, in a statement on the CSIS website. “I believe strongly in leading an organization where every employee promotes a work environment which is free from harassment and conducive to equitable treatment of all individuals. “Employees are always encouraged to report any real, potential or perceived incidents of harassment, without fear of reprisal, to their supervisor or senior management.” But in the lawsuit, the claimants said their complaints to superiors were ignored. The claimants are on leave from the agency because they are unable to perform their duties due to alleged discrimination and harassment, the lawsuit stated.
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I August 2017
Belgian ban on veil is legal, Court of Human Rights rules
The European Court of Human Rights has upheld a Belgian ban on wearing the full-face niqab veil in public. The court ruled that the restriction sought to guarantee social cohesion, the “protection of the rights and freedoms of others” and that it was
“necessary in a democratic society”, a statement said. Belgian banned the wearing of the full-face veil under a June 2011 law. It prohibits appearing in public “with a face masked or hidden, in whole or in part, in such a way as to be unidentifiable”.
Violations can result in fines and up to seven days in jail. France was the first European country to ban the niqab in April 2011. The European Court of Human Rights had already ruled on a challenge to the French law in 2014 when it also rejected arguments that the restriction breached religious freedom and individual human rights. The Belgian case was brought by two Muslim women, Samia Belcacemi, a Belgian national, and Yamina Oussar, a Moroccan. Both women said they chose of their own free will to wear the niqab and claimed their rights had been infringed and the law was discriminatory. After Belgium introduced the ban, Belcacemi continued wearing the veil for a while but stopped because of social pressure and fears she would be fined. Oussar told the court that she had decided to stay at home, the statement from the court said.
Germany ‘halts all arms shipment to Turkey’
Germany has frozen all arms shipment to Turkey after Ankara arrested several human rights activists, including a German national. The Bild newspaper reported that Germany was “freezing all planned and ongoing arms deliveries to Turkey.” In the months after the July 2016 abortive coup in Turkey against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Germany had already blocked 11 separate arms shipments to Turkey, including handguns, ammunition, and weapons components. The latest move came after a Turkish court issued arrest warrants for six human rights activists for
allegedly aiding a “terror” group, among them German citizen Peter Steudtner. The arrests further strained the already tarnished relations between the two NATO allies. Relations between Turkey and Germany, which is home to three million ethnic Turks, have been badly strained over what Europeans describe as Turkey’s human rights violations. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble criticized Turkey for acting like the former Communist East Germany. He advised Germans traveling to Turkey to be careful not to get
arrested as the crackdown against opposition and dissent continues. “If Turkey does not stop playing this little game, we need to tell people: ‘You travel to Turkey at your own risk — we can’t guarantee you anything anymore,’” Schaeuble separately told Bild. “Turkey is arresting people arbitrarily and not respecting even minimal consular standards,” said Schaeuble, comparing Erdogan’s Turkey with the former communist German Democratic Republic (GDR). “It reminds me of the way it was in the GDR. When you traveled there, you knew, if something happens to you, nobody can help you,” he said.
I August 2017
US Muslim groups welcome changes to Google results www.pi-media.co.uk
Queries about Islam and Muslims on the world’s largest search engine have been updated amid public pressure to tamp down alleged disinformation from hate groups. However, activists who have worked to bring about the changes say more work remains. In the past, users on Google seeking information about the religion or its adherents would be presented prominently with what many criticized as propaganda from hate groups.
That has recently changed. Google’s first page results for searches of terms such as “jihad”, “shariah” and “taqiyya” now return mostly reputable explanations of the Islamic concepts. Taqiyya, which describes the circumstances under which a Muslim can conceal their belief in the face of persecution, is the sole term to feature a questionable website on the first page of results. Google did not confirm to Anadolu Agency the changes but said it is
constantly updating its algorithms. The search giant referred the agency to a recent blog post in which it said it was working to push back on what it called “offensive or clearly misleading content”. “To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content,” it said. One leading activist in favor of Google modifying its results told Anadolu Agency he noticed the updated search results and thanked the company for its efforts but said “much still needs to be done”. Imam Omar Suleiman, who has been at the forefront of efforts to combat misleading information about his faith on the web, argued that Google and companies like it have a responsibility to combat “hate-filled Islamophobia” similar to how they work to suppress extremist propaganda from groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda. Suleiman said Google should differentiate between “criticism of Islam and hate-filled Islamophobia”, emphasizing the religion should not be infringed upon. www.pi-media.co.uk
Palestinian resistance group Hamas has denied reports over asking Algeria to host some of the group leaders amid a Gulf crisis between Qatar and Arab neighbors. The London-based Al-Sharq alAwsat newspaper, citing Palestinian sources, said Hamas was seeking to have a presence in Algeria. The daily claimed that the move came after Hamas leaders were forced out of Qatar, which is being boycotted by four Arab states, who
accuse Doha of supporting terrorism. The newspaper said that Hamas has made an official request to Algeria to have a presence in the country. Algeria has yet to respond to the request. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, however, dismissed the report as untrue. “For Algeria, we don’t need a presence since the question of Palestine and Hamas is engraved in the heart of every Algerian
citizen,” he said during a conference marking the unity between Algeria’s Movement for the Society of Peace and Taghyir Front. “We are proud of this country and its leadership, and we do not need leaders to represent us here,” Abu Zuhri stressed. Algeria is one of Arab states that refused to classify Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations. www.pi-media.co.uk
Hamas denies seeking presence in Algeria
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Muslim workers forced to choose between keeping religion or job
Sixteen Muslim workers are planning to sue an automotive supply company in Michigan for religious discrimination. They say their former employer forced them to choose between keeping their jobs and keeping important tenets of their faith. The men walked out of their jobs at Brose Jefferson in Warren over a dispute about meal break times during the holy month of Ramadan, according to Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, the law firm representing the employees. The former employees worked a shift from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the manufacturing site, where they
produced car door latches. At the beginning of Ramadan in May, the men reportedly sent an email asking managers to change their unpaid meal break from the standard 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., so that they could break their fast at the appropriate time. Some of the Muslims involved in the dispute have been working for Brose Jefferson, a German company, for the past five years. According to the law firm, previous requests to adjust meal times during Ramadan were upheld.But this year was different. During an all-hands, preshift meeting in May, the plant’s production manager announced that
the company would not be able to accommodate the Muslim workers’ request ― reportedly claiming that if they did so for one religion, they would have to accommodate other religions, the law firm said. “The production manager informed us that we would need to choose our religion or our employment,” former machine operator Dulal Ali wrote in a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The 16 men decided to quit that same day. Their lawyers said the workers “involuntarily resigned.” “For these devout Muslims, the only alternative was to leave the workplace en masse before the start of their shift that day,” Beth Rivers, co-counsel for the workers, said in a press statement. McGehee said that the workers offered to take only a 20-minute break at 9 p.m. instead of the standard 30 break ― an offer that was reportedly rejected by the company. The employees have filed a complaint against Brose Jefferson with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging they were discharged because of their religion and their national origin. www.pi-media.co.uk
Dutch court orders govt to fund Islamic school The Netherlands’ highest court told the government it must fund an Islamic school in Amsterdam that authorities had tried to ban, tapping into a divisive debate about the role of Muslim culture in Dutch society. Deputy Education Minister Sander Dekker withheld funding for the school in 2014, shortly after a member of its board expressed support for militant group Islamic
State in a Facebook post. But the Council of State reversed that decision, concluding there were “no valid grounds” to refuse funding as the person in question had since left the board, which had publicly condemned the posting. Dekker said the government had no choice but to comply, even though the school “does not equate to what I believe is socially
desirable.” The public secondary school will offer Dutch-language education with a focus on Islam to approximately 180 students. It will be the second school of its kind in the Netherlands, it said on its website. The court ordered Amsterdam’s city council to provide a building for the new school, which is now expected to open in September.
I August 2017
Australia dismayed by US delay in taking in refugees
Australia has expressed disappointment over the United States’ refusal to resettle hundreds of its rejected refugees under a deal that was sealed before the US President Donald Trump administration took office. Australia’s Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said that Canberra wanted the refugees to start moving in July, but the US had already filled its 50,000 refugee quota for the current fiscal year.
1,250 refugees among hundreds of asylum seekers — mostly from Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka — who have remained captive for up to four years in immigration camps on the impoverished Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Trump scolded Aussie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during their first phone conversation as national leaders in January over the accord, describing it as “dumb” in a tweet message. The American president further said the refugees would undergo “extreme vetting” before they were accepted. However, little detail has emerged about what that would entail. “We’re disappointed that they Australia will not settle any haven’t been able to move this refugees who try to arrive by boat month, which was my hope, but as part of an official policy aimed at their new program year starts on discouraging asylum seekers from October 1, and we’re working with attempting the potentially deadly both the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to ocean crossing from Indonesia. Canberra instead pays Papua ensure that we can get people off as quickly as possible,” Dutton said in a New Guinea and Nauru to house the refugees in camps, which have been press briefing. This is while the US administration plagued by reports of abuse and draconian conditions. of former US president Barack www.pi-media.co.uk Obama had agreed to accept up to
Hijab becoming mainstream with leading advertisers
As hijab-wearing models hit Western catwalks and the covers of top fashion magazines, the Islamic headwear is becoming mainstream with advertisers, media giants and fashion firms who are targeting the niche market of Islamic fashion. “In terms of the bottom line – absolutely they’re (young Muslims) good for business … it’s a huge market and they are incredibly brand savvy, so they want to spend their money,” Shelina Janmohamed, vice-president of Ogilvy Noor, a consultancy offering advice on how to build brands that appeal to Muslim
audiences, told Reuters. The pattern adopted by advertisers with regard to hijab has changed significantly over the past few years. Apple previewed 12 new emoji characters to be launched later this year, one of which is for a woman wearing hijab. Major fashion brands, from American Eagle to Nike,are creating hijabs, while hijab-wearing models have started gracing Western catwalks and the covers of top fashion magazines. Nike announced it is using its prowess in the sports and leisure
market to launch a breathable mesh hijab in spring 2018, becoming the first major sports apparel maker to offer a traditional Islamic hijab designed for competition. In June, Vogue Arabia featured on its cover the first hijabi model to walk the international runway, SomaliAmerican Halima Aden. “Every little girl deserves to see a role model that’s dressed like her, resembles her, or even has the same characteristics as her,” Aden said in a video on her Instagram account. www.pi-media.co.uk
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Over 80,000 Rohingya kids ‘wasting’ from hunger in Myanmar: UN In Case You Missed It
The United Nations has warned that tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslim children under the age of five are in dire need of treatment for “acute malnutrition” in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine. The World Food Program (WFP) reported that 80,500 children living in the areas are “wasting” and will need treatment for acute malnutrition within the next 12 months. According to WFP spokesperson in Myanmar, the “wasting” condition, which is a rapid weight lose that can become fatal, impairs the functioning
of the immune system. “Based on the household hunger scale, about 38,000 households corresponding to 225,800 people are suffering from hunger and are in need of humanitarian assistance,” said the report. The agency warned that “households with children under the age of five,” and those that composed of only one female adult, had the highest frequency of episodes of severe hunger. A WFP spokesperson in Myanmar said this “wasting”
— condition of rapid weight loss that can become fatal — impairs the functioning of the immune system. The report was based an assessment in April of villages in the Rakhine state, which has been under a military lockdown since October 2016, when the military launched a campaign to hunt down those who allegedly staged deadly attacks on police posts.. A quarter of all Rohingya households composed of only one female adult because the men had left due to the military campaign, it added. Since the beginning of thearmy’s operation, some 75,000 Rohingyahave fled Rakhine to Bangladesh, according to UN estimates. Those who remain are now reeling from a food crisis. There have also been numerous accounts by eyewitnesses of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks against Muslims since the crackdown began. The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed in March to send an international fact-finding mission to Myanmar, but the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has so far denied entry to members of the mission.
A school in The Hague, the Netherlands, was ordered to pay €500 compensation to two Muslim children who missed the annual school photograph because it clashed with the end of Ramadan. The Maria Montessori school hired the photographer without realizing the date coincided with Eid al-Fitr, and was unable to rearrange the booking by the time the mistake came to light. The district court in The Hague decided that the school had indirectly discriminated against the
two children, breaching their legal right to equal treatment. The court decided there was no direct discrimination on grounds of religion because the school later arranged for the photographer to return and take the children’s pictures separately. However, the school had failed to offer alternatives when it became aware of the error. Lawyer Laura Zuydgeest told Omroep West the parents were satisfied with the outcome of the case.
‘They are disappointed that it had to go so far, but the school did not want to apologize or accept that it had acted wrongly and only wanted to discuss the matter if my clients observed the strictest secrecy,’ she said. ‘That was unacceptable for them.’ Zuydgeest said the families planned to donate the money to charity. ‘It is now set down in black and white that a school must take the faiths of all children in the school into account when offering services.’
Dutch Muslim children who missed school photo for Eid awarded €500
Some call it biased news
we call it real news
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Afghan forces retake district from Taliban
I August 2017
Afghan ground forces backed by the air force have driven out Taliban militants from a district in Afghanistan’s western Ghor Province after fierce fighting. Abdul Hai Khateby, the provincial governor spokesman, said fighting raged for two days before Afghan soldiers drove the militants from the Taywara District centre. Khateby said 13 Taliban militants had been killed in the clashes. There had been no casualties on the side of
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the Afghan forces. The residents who had fled their homes also began returning to the district capital, Khateby added. Taliban took control of the centre of Taywara, the main town of the rural area part of a broad push that saw heavy fighting across much of the country. Since then, government forces had been fighting to push the militants back. Provincial Police Chief
Mohammad Mustafa Moseni said the Taliban militants left behind mines, which demining teams had already begun to clear. Ghor Province is located in a remote mountainous region, where the Taliban have long had a strong presence, and more recently, Afghan security officials say, militants loyal to Daesh Takfiri group, have established themselves in the province. Taliban militants have stepped up their attacks over the past week. Around 30 Afghan soldiers were killed when the militants attacked an outpost in the southern province of Kandahar. There has also been heavy fighting in the province of Helmand as well as the northern areas of Faryab, Baghlan, and Badakhshan, among other places. Fighting and insecurity prevail in Afghanistan despite the presence of thousands of foreign forces in the country, who have been there since a US-led invasion in 2001. An additional 4,000 US troops are expected to be sent to Afghanistan to reinforce the US-led foreign troops in the country. www.pi-media.co.uk
Indonesia to urge international protection for Al-Aqsa Indonesia proposed international protection for Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa compound to help avoid any further clashes between Israeli authorities and Palestinian worshippers, said an official. Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir told reporters that Indonesia urged the international community and the UN to provide oversight and protection for Al-Aqsa. He said Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi delivered the proposal in Istanbul of the foreign ministers of the member countries of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). “We must get assurance that the situation of Al-Aqsa is gradually getting better,” said Nasir as quoted by the Metro TV News website. Nasir said Indonesia, the world’s most populous majorityMuslim country, continues to call for unity among OIC states to maintain the status quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque and encourage Palestinian independence. He cited the efforts of OIC countries to seek Palestinian
independence after a half-century of Israeli occupation. “We cannot wait another 50 years, we must increase the unity of OIC countries to be able to encourage the international community to resolve the situation in Palestine,” he said. Indonesia has strongly condemned the killing of three Palestinians in a clash in Jerusalem last week. The incident was triggered by the closing of the Al-Aqsa compound by Israel after two of their policemen were killed in a shootout.
World’s most expensive player opens heart on Islam
As a devout Muslim player, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has spoken movingly about being a Muslim living in Manchester after the Arena attack, talking about his disbelief at the tragedy and ruling out any connection between these attacks and Islam. World’s Most Expensive Player
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Opens Heart on Islam “It’s a very difficult moment but you cannot give up,” Pogba told Esquire magazine in the interview to be published in July-August edition, the Manchester Evening News reported. “We can’t let them get in our heads, we have to fight for it. Sad
Abu Dhabi retains final F1 race for 2018 UAE capital will host the concluding round of the Formula One season for 2018 on November 25 Abu Dhabi has retained its prestigious position as the final race of the Formula One season for 2018, organisers have announced. The UAE capital will host the race on November 25, 2018 at Yas Marina, the world governing body, the FIA, said. Bahrain has also retained its spot in the F1 calendar and its Sakhir circuit will host the third race of the
season on April 15, 2018. The 2018 season will open at the Melbourne race track in Australia on March 25. The full list of 2018 races approved by the FIA: March 25: Australia (Melbourne) April 8: China (Shanghai) April 15: Bahrain (Sakhir) April 29: Azerbaijan (Baku) May 13: Spain (Barcelona) May 27: Monaco June 10: Canada (Montreal) June 24: France (Le Castellet)
things happen in life but you cannot stop living”. Twenty-two people were killed in an explosion following a concert in Manchester last month. Pogba condemned the Arena attack and opened up on his disbelief at the tragedy, which occurred two days before United’s Europa League final with Ajax. “You cannot kill a human being. To kill a human being… it’s something crazy, so I don’t want to put religion on it. This is not Islam and everybody knows that. I won’t be the only one saying that,” he said. Pogba is a French professional footballer who plays for Manchester United and the France national team. He operates primarily as a central midfielder and is comfortable at playing both in attack and defense. Born in 1993, the gifted player joined the French national squad in 2013 to play later in 2014 World Cup and will play in European Championship 2016. July 1: Austria (Spielberg) July 8: Britain (Silverstone) July 22: Germany (Hockenheim) July 29: Hungary (Budapest) August 26: Belgium (SpaFrancorchamps) September 2: Italy (Monza) September 16: Singapore September 30: Russia (Sochi) October 7: Japan (Suzuka) October 21: United States (Austin) October 28: Mexico (Mexico City) November 11: Brazil (Sao Paulo) November 25: Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
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I August 2017
Albanian Muslim player leaves Skopje because of cross symbol
The biggest reinforcement left Skopje as he couldn’t stand the cross on the club’s emblem, since he is a devoted Muslim. It should have been a goal machine for Skopje’s come back in the top flight, but instead, weeks before the start of the new season the club from Avtokomanda is forced to look for a new striker. “The amblem of Skopje has a
cross on it which I have always covered it so that it could not be seen. I was doing that for religious reasons. Beacuse of that everyboddy looked at me differently and eventually started ignoring me despite the fact that I came as a great reinforcement.” - Osmani said. Because of his and others behaviour he was summoned on a
meeting with the club’s board. It was decided his contract to be terminated on mutual agreement. So now after 17 days Osmani is a free agent again. “The board invited me to a meeting and told me that what I do is not ok and if I wanted to be part of this club I could not cover the emblem anymore. I am a practitioner of Islam and my religion does not allow me to do so. I have always covered only the cross and not the whole emblem. But since they forbid me to continue doing that, I decided to leave the club because religion for me is the most sacred thing.” It is not the first time Muslim players to be part of this club, but it is the first case like this one. Osmani came to Skopje after he left Kosovan side Liria, while he previously played for Shkupi, Gostivar, 12 Bingölspor (Turkey), Butrinti (Albania) and Skopje. Interestingly, Osmani was already part of this team two seasons in a row. Back than the cross wasn’t a problem for him, but probably he experienced a religious enlightenment recently.
Egyptian athlete sets new goals after cycling record Not content with having been part of the fastest ever team to cycle across Europe, Egyptian endurance athlete Helmy Elsaeed is turning his attention to a challenge closer to home - and then potentially the Winter Olympics. In June, Elsaeed and four Swedish cyclists took 12 hours off the previous record time to complete the 6000km journey from northern Russia to western Portugal, raising money for autism charities along the way. “We took the bicycles and rode them every day for 29 days until
we reached the most western point in Europe which is Cabo de Roca in Portugal,” said Elsaeed, talking about a journey through Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain, which lasted 29 days, five hours and 25 minutes. And the former finance worker turned athlete already has his next challenge in mind. “Me and my friends, who are involved in running and adventure, are planning to cross the whole of Egypt on foot from the most northern point to the most southern point,” he said.
One of Elsaeed’s most memorable achievements so far was when he cross-country skied across the Arctic in 2012. He now hopes to persuade the Egyptian authorities to let him represent the country in the sport at the Winter Olympics. If he is successful, it would be only the second time Egypt has appeared at the Winter Games, having previously sent an alpine skier to the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo.
Qatar: The Gulf Crisis Deepens
Qatar and its immediate neighbours Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have an alignment that comprises of shared religious, cultural, tribal ethnic, social, political and economic values and principles overlapping territorial boundaries The Escalation of the political crisis in Qatar In June 2017, Qatar’s political crisis began when several countries abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar. These countries included Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. The severing of relations included withdrawing ambassadors, and imposing trade and travel bans. Firstly, a political game is being played out in the region that involves a number of countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE vying to be the most dominant power in the Middle East. In years gone by, the dominant power was none other than Egypt as it was the largest country in the Middle East, but with the increasing corruption and political instability its influence in the region has diminished in recent years. Secondly, to begin with there is a myriad of complicated relations in the Middle East. Historically speaking, Qatari relations with the Emirates have
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been mixed, while they have been outright fractious with Bahrain, that centered on competing territorial claims that were only settled in 2001 after the International Court of Justice’s longest and most complex adjudication case. Moreover, Saudi relations have been complicated by the power of the state partly due to the country until recently having a strong economy and an abundance of gas and oil reserves. Qatar a relative newcomer to the game has witnessed a remarkable rags to riches story. Despite Qatar’s newly found wealth and economic success, its relations with the other Gulf nations has been highly fractious to say the least. In the 1980’s, there were issues that caused political upheaval across the Gulf when the emerging elite in Qatar sought to completely recast bilateral relations. The withdrawal of the Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini ambassadors from Doha on 5 March 2014 is one of the latest and worst breaks in regional relations in recent times. But for a quarter of a century, Saudi Arabia has been trying to change Qatar’s politics. Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood Since the Arab Spring, Qatar has faced many accusations raging from providing clandestine support to the
Muslim Brotherhood to a desire to control the Middle East. Qatar has assiduously supported a range of typically Islamist groups during the Arab Spring in 2011 and in the aftermath of these tumultuous events. The country’s support has even extended to religious and political ideologues such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most important Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide who left Egypt for Qatar in the early 1960’s. Qardawi is a highly regarded personality who has written in the media in support of Islamist groups in the region and beyond. It should be said that many senior Egyptian Brotherhood leaders who fled Egypt after the Sisi coup have set up base in Qatar. The situation is more complicated by the fact that Al Jazeera has been accused of providing media coverage that is overtly hostile to Egypt and President Sisi. The channel continues to host Egyptian exiles the likes of “Tareq al-Zumr”, the leader of the political faction of the terrorist group “Gama’a al Islamiyya”, who is still resident in Doha and contributes sporadically to the al Jazeera media platform, “ Mahmoud Hussein”, the secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood; “Amr Darrag”, a
I August 2017
former Brotherhood cabinet minister in” Mohammed Morsi’s” government in Egypt and an important member of the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP); Wagdi Ghoneim, an (in) famous Islamist preacher; Essam Telima, a former office manager of Yusuf al Qaradawi; Hamza Zawbaa, a spokesman for the FJP; Gamal Abdel Sattar, a prominent al Azhar professor and a leader of the National Alliance party; and Ashraf Badr Eddin. Firstly, Arab countries accused Qatar of causing chaos through the media which later changed to intense efforts to replace Morsi with none other than General Abdul Fattah al- Sisi in 2014. As the Times of London’s diplomatic editor put it, ‘The Arab Spring, it seems, has been pronounced dead and we are giving it a military funeral on the banks of the Nile’. When Sisi become the president of Egypt he said, “Qatar was seen as fomenting and exacerbating problems at a time when the region” and being vehemently opposed to him evidenced by daily briefings published in the media. Al Jazeera was accused by Sisi of negativity characterized by so called sniping in the media directed towards the Egyptian administration. But on the other side Egypt being stable under the leadership of Sisi become inexorably more important to the Saudi and the UAE governments who have in turn poured more money into the Egyptian economy to plug the black hole in its finances. The Gulf region in turmoil Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a twoweek trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute in decades. The 13 demands in full 1. Curb diplomatic ties with Iran and close its diplomatic missions there. Expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and cut off any joint military cooperation with Iran. Only trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US and international sanctions will be permitted. 2. Sever all ties to “terrorist organizations”, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State, al-Qaida and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare those entities as terrorist groups. 3. Shut down al-Jazeera and its affiliate stations. 4. Shut down news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.
5. Immediately terminate the Turkish military presence in Qatar and end any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatar. 6. Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, the US and other countries. 7. Hand over “terrorist figures” and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances. 8. End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws. 9. Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups. 10. Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar. 11. Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance. 12. Align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014. 13. Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid. Qatar’s allies were also quick to dismiss the demands. Qatar dismissed as “baseless” accusations that it was financing terrorism, in its first public response to a statement from four Arab states which are leading a boycott against the tiny emirate. Qatar dismissed as “baseless” the renewed accusations that it was interfering in the affairs of other states and financing terrorism. The UK does not regard the demands as reasonable, foreign secretary Boris Johnson said: “Gulf unity can only be restored when all countries involved are willing to discuss terms that are measured and realistic. Gargash the UAE Foreign minister blamed Qatar for the “childish” leak of its 13 demands and called it either an “attempt to undermine
serious mediation or yet another sign of callous policy. Qatar’s foreign minister told The Times earlier this week during an interview in Doha that his government won’t even negotiate with the Arab nations until they lift their blockade, which they see as a violation of their sovereignty. “They haven’t provided any proof,” of the allegations against Qatar, said Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Thani. “No one has talked to us except the Kuwaitis. They just throw their allegations in the media.” Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Isik told broadcaster NTV his country had no plans to review the military base in Qatar, which “is both a Turkish base and one that will preserve the security of Qatar and the region.” What happens next if the demands are not met? They had been expected to consider further sanctions at the gathering, but announced no new measures. “The response the four states got was overall negative and lacked any content. We find it did not provide a basis for Qatar to retreat from its policies,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said, reading out a joint statement after the meeting. “The political and economic boycott will continue until Qatar changes its policies for the better,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference. The UAE’s foreign secretary, Anwar Gargash, insisted the anti-Qatar alliance is not seeking to impose regime change. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Qatar will see the demands as the basis for serious negotiations. At the end, we have to think what is next if Qatar didn’t agree about the 13 demands and we know that the country has the power to be the dominant force in the Middle East. Qatar has without doubt expanded its importance regionally and played the central role to seeking to augment its influence during the Arab Spring. Its support for the Muslim Brotherhood is not as much of a preference as it may seem. This relationship originated as the result of a structural necessity to staff positions without inculcating any systems that would automatically defer to Saudi Arabia. the Arab country afraid of that they always said “ Qatar wants to Control the Middle East “. By Miral Alashry Assistant Professor Canadian international college ( CIC) Department of Journalism
The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context
I August 2017
“Perhaps God will clothe you with a shirt, Uthman, and if the people want you to take it off, do not take it off for them’’. (The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on Uthman ibn Affan). The Prophet Muhammad foretold the events of the future to his nearest kinsman Uthman ibn Affan about the challenges and tribulations he would face during his reign as the Caliph. Uthman Ibn Affan was born in 579 AD in Taif and belonged to the Banu Ummaya one of the most powerful clans within the Qur’aysh tribe. Affan the father of Uthman passed away a few years after his birth and later became a merchant and in the process one of the wealthiest people in Makkah. He (Affan) left a great deal of wealth to his son Uthman which also assisted him in becoming very prosperous as far as business and commerce was concerned. In 611 AD, Uthman Ibn Affan after returning from a business
expedition to Syria had learnt that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received the call to prophethood and after much deliberation with Abu Bakr al-Siddiq decided to accept Islam. Abu Bakr, Zayd, Ali, and Uthman now were amongst the first people to accept Islam. A minority group known as the Muslims found itself facing a hostile enemy in the form of the pagan Makkans that also comprised of the backbone of the powerful leadership with the Qur’aysh tribe. It should be said that the Banu Ummaya were less than impressed that one of their rising prospects had indeed defected to the Muslims under the leadership of none other than the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The early Muslims faced a great deal of hardship and persecution and the Prophet Muhammad advised many of his companions to emigrate to Abyssinia (Ethopia) as it was seen as a safe haven where
they would not face hostility. The Abyssinian king Negus (Najashi) was viewed as a just leader and agreed to provide sanctuary to the Muslims. Historical sources attest to the fact that he Najashi (Negus) refused to acquiesce to the demands of the Makkans who had wanted him to send the Muslims back to Makkah. Uthman had indeed built up many business and trading contacts across the Arabian Peninsula and in Africa. This later proved to be highly advantageous in that Uthman built up his business and indeed began to enjoy the fruit of prosperity. Later, news had reached the Muslims in Abyssinia that the Qura’ysh had embraced Islam and this led to many amongst the contingent to return to Makkah. Upon the return to Makkah, the Muslims discovered that this information turned out to be false. However, Uthman did not return to Makkah with the others.
I August 2017
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