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Last week the world saw shocking video footage of a Syrian boy called Jamal being viciously attacked in a school playground by a fellow student in Almondbury, Huddersfield, United Kingdom. Jamal and his family had

escaped the harsh and brutal life of conflict that has ravaged Syria since the onset of the civil war in 2011 for a life in the UK that they genuinely believed that would offer them security and peace. Never did Jamal and his family think

that after leaving their homeland that they would once again find themselves being persecuted once again in a country they perceived as a safe haven. It should be said that the assailant in question carried out a horrific attack Continued on page 3 & 4

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By Gracie Bradley

Policy Officer @ Liberty UK

Counter-terror bill still a threat to our civil liberties

After months of campaigning, the Government has finally listened and made amendments to some of the worst excesses of its CounterTerrorism and Border Security Bill. These concessions are a step in the right direction, but the Bill still represents a serious threat to our civil liberties. Introduced to Parliament without consultation, it unnecessarily extends existing terrorism offences, including banning careless talk about banned groups and travel to certain areas overseas. It further entrenches the deeply divisive Prevent programme in our communities, and introduces draconian new powers of stop, search, interrogation and detention at the border on the grounds of conveniently ill-defined “hostile state activity”. It is symptomatic of a poorly conceived strategy that mistakes knee-jerk expansion of Government power for evidence-driven responses to national security concerns. In its initial draft, the Government wanted to punish three clicks on online content deemed “likely to be useful” to terrorists with a prison sentence of up to 15 years. It then reduced that threshold – astonishingly – to a single click. The latest amendments add welcome protections for journalists and academics, but as Lord Davies put it, “freedom of speech belongs to every citizen in a free society,” not only to journalists and academics. Ministers have also reinstated the

right of confidential consultation with a lawyer in the context of intrusive border stop and search powers – a right that was first egregiously compromised by the Terrorism Act 2000. But the real problem is that suspicionless border stop, search and detention powers should not exist at all. The new powers in the Bill, and the controversial power under the Terrorism Act – known widely as Schedule 7 – provide for travellers to be effectively profiled, interrogated, and forced to give the State access to sensitive information on their devices, and even DNA under threat of criminal penalty. Such a serious intrusion of our right to private life should be restrained by a minimum threshold of reasonable suspicion. Otherwise these powers are open to discriminatory and ill-founded overuse. While the Bill has the potential to undermine the civil liberties of every one of us, the reality is that the effects of counter-terrorism legislation do not fall on all groups equally. British Muslims and British Asians have been increasingly stigmatised and alienated by counter-terror laws. As academic Dr Tarek Younis has argued, “If the new Bill is introduced, British Muslims will live with increasing uncertainty, needing to not only monitor their own intentions but manage the gaze of others too.” Protections for academics,

journalists and humanitarian workers as the Government has introduced are welcome. But it is a brave person who risks trying to advance a ‘reasonable excuse’ against the offences in the Bill. A white British person may feel they have the privilege to do so. British Asians and British Muslims are likely to feel differently, and after years of being conflated with terrorists in State and media narratives, are likely to be treated differently by juries and decision makers too. The latest Government climbdowns are welcome and long overdue. But the fundamental point is that browsing the internet, travelling overseas, or debating banned groups are not inherently harmful activities, and should not be criminalised absent malicious intent. There is a panoply of criminal offences on our statute books which cover a broad range of terroristrelated activity, as well as a raft of more generic offences such as murder, or causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property, which suffice to criminalise terrorist violence. In the context of a furore about ‘free speech’ that seems to fixate on trigger warnings, no-platforming in university spaces, and the perceived sensitivities of ‘liberal snowflakes’, what is conveniently glossed over is that the State itself is one of the biggest threats to free speech today. It is minority groups who pay a heavy price. The Bill reaches the final stages of parliamentary scrutiny. There is still time for Government to amend it further. But if it fails to do so, Peers of all parties and none should be prepared to make a stand in defence of civil liberties, and push through wide-ranging and radical changes to the Bill. Claims that our society is built on fundamental values of free speech, non-discrimination and dissent are meaningless if they do not.

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Continued from front page which was more disturbing due to the attempt to ‘waterboard’ the victim. Jamal to his credit showed exceptional bravery and a cool temperament in walking away from the assailant which many young men would not have contemplated in the heat of the battle. For a moment, it seemed that the assailant was using waterboarding techniques that were employed by the Bush administration and justified by Donald Rumsfeld and George W Bush at Camp X Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba shortly after 9/11. When the world learned of rendition and waterboarding techniques used on Al-Qaeda detainees, the entire world was aghast at a country that prided itself as a bastion of freedom and democracy was using barbaric techniques that harked back to medieval times. We must ask ourselves that where did the assailant learn how to use waterboarding Guantanamo Bay style and what possessed him to execute this method of attack on a school playground in Almondbury, Huddersfield? In a case of this magnitude, there are more questions than answers in relation to why the assailant carried out such a barbaric and vicious attack. It seems on the surface that the assailant on his Facebook account

shared posts relating to Britain First and Tommy Robinson also known as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon ex- leader of the EDL on numerous occasions this year. The local authority that covers Almondbury, Huddersfield has not covered itself in any glory by any stretch of the imagination on several points that we shall explore in detail below. Readers of this article should ponder upon the fact that why did the authorities miss the warning signs regarding the type of material the assailant was accessing and why his activities were not flagged up earlier or even been referred to Channel? If a young Muslim boy or girl had been sharing posts of jihadist groups or ideologues, they would have been referred to Prevent and put on the Channel programme before their feet would have hit the ground. Sadly, the local authority is only interested in racial and religious profiling and referring Muslim children to Prevent time and time again. The school in question firstly failed to stamp out the problems Jamal and his sister were experiencing for a substantial period at the school. One should not forget that Jamal’s sister is also a victim in this sorry saga as she also contemplated committing suicide

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after suffering bullying at the hands of fellow students. The local authority has woefully neglected its duty in ensuring safeguarding procedures were robustly implemented at all levels in respect of the day to day running of the school. A diet of bullying, violence and intimidation has been served to students who have attended the school and who continue to do so leading to many moving to other schools in the area or being told to do so by the school leadership team as a way of sweeping pressing problems conveniently under the proverbial carpet. One also needs to ask the question why the local authority chose to house Jamal’s family in an area that is to all intents and purposes has very few Syrians living there. Surely, the powers that be would have done their due diligence and located the family in an area where they were familiar with people from their own nation or in a community that they have a shared religious affiliation. We can argue that the local authority has engaged in a dereliction of duty by taking their eye of the radar as far the emergence and spread of far-right extremism in the area is concerned. In recent


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months, evidence has come to light that law enforcement and local authorities in the UK have turned a blind eye to cases where young white children have been suspected of being radicalised by far-right ideology. Instead the bodies mentioned above have deliberately chosen to focus on Muslim children and put them on programmes such as Channel as they make the statistics look impressionable when applying for money from the PREVENT gold mountain that yields lots and lots of cash one might add. The local authority should be asked whether the Prevent and cohesion teams are providing value for money (VFM) in an age of austerity. Whilst individuals and business have been cutting back since the financial crash in 2008, the local authority in question continues to spend money on big salaries that in turn provide extremely poor returns. If one was a business man

investing money in such an enterprise, then bankruptcy would most definitely be on the horizon. If the community cohesion strategy that the local authority likes to trumpet on a regular basis that is claimed to be working effectively supported by glossy pictures of officials eating biscuits and cakes and sharing drawings on social media from away days or team bonding sessions, the question that needs to be posed to them is the following that why was Jamal and his sister repeatedly failed over and over again in a supposedly safe environment? One is of the view, that the leader of the local authority and Head of Safer Communities need to grovel and apologise to the family and explain to them why their strategy has miserably failed and backfired across the area. Instead, the leader of the council has been rather aggressive in recent days on social media and issued a blunt warning to his critics with the cry of

‘shut up’. This type of behaviour is what you would expect of a dictator running a tin pot totalitarian state rather than an elected councillor! Far right extremism is very much now a juggernaut that is out of control and the authorities will struggle to tame it in the coming days, months and years. The beast of the far-right has been allowed to grow and grow in the incubator for so long that it now threatens the security of every individual in this country. We need to ask local authorities and the government that why have they failed to mitigate the threat of the far right and why have solely focused on so called Islamist extremist ideology since 7/7 and 9/11 in the United Kingdom? One can only live in hope that the authorities take the threat of the far-right more seriously now or otherwise we will have more children and adults being victims of anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia hitting the headlines.

UK students raise £1m in a week for Islamic Relief

Muslim students across the UK have raised over £1 million for Islamic Relief during Charity Week, the charity’s annual campaign with student Islamic societies. The record total was announced at the Charity Week International Annual Dinner that took place at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on 25 November. Charity Week ran this year from 22 to 28 October. Muslim students took part by donating their time and goodwill to raise funds, including through events such as banana

auctions and sumo wrestling. Dr Wajid Akhter, formerly a volunteer for Islamic Relief, founded Charity Week. He said at the ceremony: “To raise over a million pounds in one week, whilst juggling studies, is an incredible achievement. The campaign epitomises unity and what can be achieved when we are united with the vision of helping those less fortunate than us to build a better, more hopeful world.” All the money raised during Charity Week, goes towards

supporting children’s projects run by Islamic Relief in the UK and around the world. The total amount raised this year was £1,012,000. Even more was raised by students in Canada, Qatar, Germany, USA, Australia and South Africa. Their £360,000 took the international total to £1.3 million. Charity Week began as an annual volunteer-led campaign launched by a group of students in London back in 2003. Since then it has raised over £7 million.

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Two men wrongly stripped of British citizenship, UK court rules

A UK court has ruled that two men from Bangladeshi backgrounds, who were stripped of their citizenship by the British government, must have their nationality rights restored. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) said that the British government had wrongly determined that the two men, who are identified only as E3 and N3 to protect their identities, were British-Bangladeshi dual nationals and could therefore be served with citizenship revocation orders. One of the two men was born in Bangladesh and the other was born in the UK, but the court ruled that both had lost their Bangladeshi citizenship when they were 21, and had never taken any positive action to keep it.

The SIAC ruling could have legal implications for many more cases involving British citizens who have been subjected to the highly controversial and legally contentious citizenship deprivation orders in recent years, because of government concerns about the threat of suspected fighters returning from Syria. One of the men, N3, said that he had been stranded in Turkey for more than a year by the case, and had been involved in aid work in the country helping Syrian refugees. E3’s case is not understood to be Syria-related. Speaking after the ruling was published, N3 said he was innocent of any wrongdoing. “I feel that my country stabbed me

in the back by removing my citizenship right after I left the UK last year to return to running my business and carrying out important aid work in Turkey,” he said. “Hopefully now the courts will force the Home Office to stop taking people’s citizenship away without any right - it’s a practice that belongs to medieval times”. The Home Office had cited “terrorism-related and national security grounds” for stripping both men of their citizenship. But the orders can be issued on the basis of suspicion alone, with no requirement for the recipient to have been charged or convicted with any offence, providing that the Home Secretary deems that their presence in the UK is “not conducive to the public good” and doing so does not render them stateless. The UK is widely considered to have the most extensive citizenship-stripping powers of any Western state, with lawyers and human rights campaigners comparing the process to “medieval exile”. Some British nationals stripped of citizenship have subsequently been killed in drone strikes, and kidnapped and rendered to the US. www.pi-media.co.uk

Hundreds join anti-racism protest outside BBC London HQ

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the BBC headquarters in London last month to protest against the racism and fascism that they claim is on the rise in the UK. The protest was part of a larger demonstration, dubbed the ‘National Unity Demonstration against Racism

and Fascism,’ which included a march across London that organizers claimed was attended by tens of thousands of people. Some demonstrators came dressed as Saudi officials, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, inside a fake prison cell, with another demonstrator standing

beyond the bars in costume as International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, in reference to the ongoing investigations into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Security Services failed to prevent Manchester bombing

British Parliament have shown in a report that UK security services missed potential opportunities to prevent a deadly bombing in May 2017 in Manchester. The parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) said in a report that the MI5, Britain’s main domestic intelligence service, failed to spot and prevent the attack on a concert in Manchester Arena which killed 22 people.

The report said the flaws over monitoring and travel restrictions showed that authorities had failed to learn from previous attacks. “While it is impossible to say whether these would have prevented the devastating attack on May 22, we have concluded that, as a result of the failings, potential opportunities to prevent it were missed” said ISC chairman Dominic Grieve. The report said that MI5 committed

a number of failures about detecting Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old Briton who carried out the attack at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. It said Abedi had been known to the security agency since 2014, adding that the MI5 and the police had failed to follow the man after he visited a terrorism suspect in prison. The ISC said that authorities had flagged Abedi’s case for review shortly before he carried out the bombing. However, the MI5 admits that “the plot then moved faster than the process”. The report also said that the intelligence authorities also admitted that they had failed to restrict Abedi’s travel by allowing him to return to Britain before the bombing. “MI5 have admitted that, given the information they had on Abedi, they should have done so,” said Grieve, adding that there were other serious flaws that would cause “serious damage” to national security if publicly commented. A total of 36 people were killed in terror attacks across Britain last year. Authorities have raised the level of threat for such attacks to its secondhighest.

Net EU migration into UK falling significantly: Official data In Case You Missed It

Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced that the number of migrants arriving from European Union countries into the United Kingdom has dropped to record low levels amid fears that the country might face acute shortage of workforce once it leaves the EU. The ONS said Thursday that net migration of EU citizens to the UK, meaning the number of people moving to Britain minus those leaving, dropped to 74,000 during the year to June, the lowest recorded since late 2012. It said the figure showed a 28percent decrease compared with the same period last year and the lowest

since Britons voted in a referendum in June 2016 to leave the EU. Britain is hugely concerned about the lack of skilled workers in the country after Brexit. Many foreigners working in key organizations like the National Health Service have quit or are planning to leave permanently as fears grow that they might face problems after Britain leave the EU on March 29, 2019. Foreign workers are also worried that Britain might finally fail to reach a comprehensive deal for its departure from the EU and leave the bloc in the so-called no-deal Brexit. That could scenario could seriously reduce the

number of EU workers in Britain. Business leaders said the ONS data showed how Brexit had undermined Britain’s ability to draw skilled workers from EU countries. “These latest statistics highlight the continuing trend of falling net EU migration amid growing shortages across all skills levels in the UK,” said Matthew Fell, who serves as chief UK policy director at the Confederation of British Industry. The government published a report warning that losses to Britain’s economy over Brexit would worsen significantly if net migration from EU citizens was to fall to zero.


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Jewish and Muslim leaders in Scotland agree to expand cooperation In Case You Missed It

Jewish and Muslim community leaders in Scotland have agreed a set of concrete steps that will greatly expand cooperation between the two faith communities, including the set-up of “a faith-specific social care service”. The Muslim Council of Scotland (MCC) and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) said they were “standing together” against antisemitism and Islamophobia, as they also paved the way for a Muslim-Jewish Women’s Network The first-of-its-kind intervention comes as the Scottish government reviews hate crime legislation north of the border, with Jewish leaders warning the issue is not confined to

just one race or religion. “History has taught us that racism and religious hatred might start by targeting a single community, but it never ends there,” said SCoJeC director Ephraim Borowski. “That is why it is in the interests of us all to stand shoulder to shoulder to demonstrate that ‘othering,’ discrimination, and hatred are never acceptable.” Figures published in May show there were more than 5,700 hate crimes registered in Scotland last year, and leaders of the two communities warned that it was hate that led to attacks on a Pittsburgh synagogue and on Finsbury Park Mosque.

They committed to address barriers to reporting hate crime, tackle prejudiced reporting of Muslims and Jews, challenge hatred online, and “help shape” Scottish laws in this area. SCoJeC said that several Muslim participants expressed their admiration at Jewish communal achievements in the field of welfare “as a model they could emulate”. Community leaders also discussed the proposed new ‘working definition’ of Islamophobia published by Westminster’s All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, which is modelled on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. However the two groups went further, by proposing a new Muslim/ Jewish Women’s Network, which would be a Scottish branch of the Nisa-Nashim women’s group set up to build relations and combat prejudice. They also promised to “build appropriate social services” including “culturally sensitive and faith specific social care services for an ageing population, the accurate reporting of the types of bullying in our schools and how these cases are dealt with, and the greater use of scanning in place of invasive post-mortems wherever possible”. www.pi-media.co.uk

Islamophobia growing problem - APPG

Islamophobia is now so prevalent in British society that it deserves to be recognised as the UK’s ‘bigotry blind spot’, a group of MPs has said. A report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims calls on the government to adopt a definition of Islamophobia, which it says will help tackle what it describes as a growing problem. Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.

The report comes at the end of a six-month inquiry by the APPG, where victims across the country shared their experiences of Islamophobia. The inquiry also heard from politicians, lawyers and campaign groups. Wes Streeting MP, co-chair of the APPG for British Muslims, said: “From attacks on hijab-wearing Muslim women on the streets through to the subtle institutional forms that deprives British Muslims an equal opportunity to flourish within our society, Islamophobia is a form of racism and it is growing in our society.

“To tackle it, Islamophobia must be accurately and fully defined and that’s why this inquiry centred around the discussion on a working definition.” The APPG says adopting a definition is not intended to curb free speech or criticism of Islam as a religion. Home Office data shows that Muslims account for 52% of all recorded religious hate crime victims. A poll by ComRes last month found 58% of people agreed with the statement ‘Islamophobia is a real problem in today’s society’. ITV News


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Muslims part of Germany: Interior Minister

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German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in Berlin that “Muslims belong to Germany,” speaking as he presided over the fourth German Islam Conference (DIK). The comments drew particular attention given Seehofer’s past statement that Islam was not part of Germany. Seehofer said Muslims “have the same rights and duties as all citizens of this country.” There can be “no reasonable doubt” about that, he said, according to DW.

Seehofer, a conservative who’s set to step down as leader of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU), caused controversy in March when he said that “Islam doesn’t belong to Germany,” and that “Germany has been shaped by Christianity.” However, even in that March interview with mass-circulation daily Bild, Seehofer had said: “Muslims who live here are naturally part of Germany. That does not of course mean that we therefore give up on

our country-specific traditions and customs out of false consideration.” Those comments prompted stark criticism of Seehofer, who many say has since sought to soften his stance on the issue. The German Islam Conference, which was first launched in 2006 by former Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, brings together German Muslims and officials of the federal and local governments. The aim of the conference is to improve the religious and social participation of Muslims in Germany and to further develop the dialogue between government representatives and Islamic organizations. This year, Seehofer made some changes to the event, inviting more liberal theologians and scientists in addition to Islamic organizations. Some of his invitees had been critical of these organizations for their conservative approach to Islam. In recent years, the conference has dealt with topics such as religious education. The focus of this year’s meeting is on the issue of foreign influence on Germany’s mosques and Muslim communities, but also on the role of Islamic theology in German universities.

Israel to demolish residential buildings in Quds In Case You Missed It

Staff members from the Zionist regime’s Civil Administration delivered demolition notices in the Issawiya neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem (Quds). Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, member of a local follow-up committee, said that staff members from the Israeli Civil Administration along with Israeli forces stormed Issawiya and delivered demolition notices to several Palestinian-owned residential buildings. Abu al-Hummus added that the

notices mentioned that the demolition would be carried out under the pretext that it was built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit. Israel uses the pretext of building without a permit to carry out demolitions of Palestinian-owned homes on a regular basis. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in East Jerusalem, though the Jerusalem municipality has claimed that compared to the Jewish population, they receive a disproportionately low number of

permit applications from Palestinian communities. For Jews living in occupied East Jerusalem’s illegal settlements, the planning, marketing, development, and infrastructure are funded and executed by the Israeli government. By contrast, in Palestinian neighborhoods, all the burden falls on individual families to contend with a lengthy permit application that can last several years and cost tens of thousands of dollars. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Malaysia, Japan sign halal cooperation deal

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Malaysia and Japan signed a memorandum on halal cooperation to pave the way for more business opportunities in the halal industry between the two countries. The agreement was signed by Malaysia’s Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof and Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko. Mohd Redzuan, is on a threeday working visit to Japan, said the

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cooperation sent a strong signal on the seriousness of both countries in realizing a win-win collaboration. He said this also showed both countries’ commitment to further open their markets to each other in spite of the rising protectionism sentiment in the global market, Bernama reported. “The platform will be the most effective way of promoting Malaysian halal products and services using the proper structure of government-to-

government partnership. “This is also in line with the National Entrepreneurship Framework which was recently unveiled to help scale up entrepreneurs to ‘internationalize’ through the platforms established with other countries,” he said in a statement today. Mohd Redzuan said the global halal industry was growing at a remarkable rate from approximately US$2.3 trillion (RM9.6 trillion) in 2012 and was expected to almost triple to US$6.4 trillion this year. “Furthermore, the huge and growing number of Muslims, which currently constitute around 24.4 per cent of the world’s population ensures steady demand for halal products and services,” he added. As one of the key initiatives under the memorandum, Malaysia would organise a Halal Expo from Jan 2426, 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. The showcase is expected to be officiated by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. www.pi-media.co.uk

reported. Gaza has been under the Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty. It has also witnessed a fresh wave of tensions since March 30, which marked the start of “The Great March of Return” protests. Nearly 240 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. Over 22,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries. The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the

70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds. On June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip. The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.

20 Palestinians Injured by Israeli Fire in Gaza At least 20 Palestinians were injured as Israeli forces once again opened fire on anti-occupation protests near the fence between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied territories. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said the 20 people were shot and injured in the east of Gaza. Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the Hamas resistance movement, said on that the people’s insistence to take part in the protests stresses their determination to achieve the goals of the rallies, especially to break the siege of Gaza, Press TV


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China defiant in face of criticism over crackdown on Muslim minorities

The world should ignore “gossip” about China’s Xinjiang region and trust authorities there, the government’s top diplomat said, when asked if Beijing would allow international observers to inspect camps holding Muslims there. Western countries including Canada, France, and Germany have urged China to shut down camps in Xinjiang, where activists say as many as 1 million members of the Uighur minority and other Muslims are being detained. Far western Xinjiang faces a threat from militants and separatists, China has said in the past. It rejects

all accusations of mistreatment and denies mass internment. After initial blanket denials, however, Chinese officials have said some people guilty of minor offences were being sent to “vocational” training centers, where they are taught work skills and legal knowledge aimed at curbing militancy. After meeting Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, State Councillor Wang Yi said he hoped people would understand and support the Xinjiang regional government’s efforts to “fight terrorism, end the spread of

extremism and ensure social stability.” “(People) should not listen to gossip or rumor, because the Xinjiang regional government, of course, understands the situation in Xinjiang best, and not some other people or organizations,” said Wang, who is also foreign minister. “The efforts are completely in line with the direction the international community has taken to combat terrorism, and are an important part of the global fight against terrorism,” he told reporters, Reuters reported. “If we can take care of prevention, then it will be impossible for terrorism to spread and take root.” Wang’s remarks followed comments by Maas that there was a need for more information on the Xinjiang situation and that China needed to be transparent. “In any case, we cannot accept re-education camps. We need transparency in order to properly judge what is happening there,” Maas said in Beijing. Researchers have said spending on security-related construction in Xinjiang tripled in 2017, and that despite the “vocational training” campaign, Xinjiang government data shows employment has not markedly improved.

Russian firm suspended from halal council over swine-contaminated food A private Russian company that certifies foods for Muslims has been suspended by the World Halal Council (WHC) for allegedly greenlighting pork-tainted products, claiming that a little bit of swine DNA was no big deal. A general assembly meeting of the WHC lwas marred by scandal, as a Russian company, the Halal Certification Center (HCC), was suspended by the organization for three years. The HCC is the first member to get kicked out by the council, which was founded back in 1999.

The concept of halal and haram is very important for Muslims, as they describe respectively allowed and forbidden products and practices. Consuming pork is explicitly banned in Islam. This apparently did not stop the HCC, which has certified beef products as halal, despite these repeatedly testing positive for the presence of pig DNA, RT reported. In September, one of the suppliers that were approved by the HCC, the Tsaritsyno meat concern, was fined 100,000 rubles ($1,500) for deceiving

customers after pork was found in halal-labeled sausages. However, the owner of the HCC, Russian businessman Dinar Sadykov, has dismissed the findings as an attempt at “slander” by unfair competitors. He also shared quite surprising insights on the Quran, claiming that since there’s no fatwa – a decision of well-respected Muslim scholars – regarding the discovery of the swine DNA, it does not actually make a product haram. Sadykov has also lost his post with the WHC.

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US, Taliban talks end with no agreement www.pi-media.co.uk

I December 2018

A three-day meeting between the Taliban and the US special envoy for Afghanistan to pave the way for peace talks ended with no agreement, the militant group said a day after the diplomat declared a deadline of April 2019 to end a 17year-long war. Afghanistan’s security situation has worsened since NATO formally ended combat operations in 2014. Leaders of the Taliban met US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad at their political headquarters in Qatar for the second time in the past month, said spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. “These were preliminary talks and no agreement was reached on any issue,” he said in a statement. Taliban leaders had not accepted any deadline set by the US to wrap up talks, three Taliban officials added, Reuters reported. The US embassy in Kabul declined to comment. Khalilzad, an Afghan-born US diplomat authorized by US President Donald Trump’s government to lead peace negotiations with the Taliban, on Sunday said he hoped to cut a peace deal with the group by April 20. That deadline coincides with the date set for presidential elections in Afghanistan. Two senior US officials confirmed that the second round of peace talks ended and the Taliban expected Khalilzad to visit Qatar for a

meeting before the end of 2018. “The second round of talks went on for three days. This clearly proves that both sides are exercising patience and caution during their diplomatic engagement,” a US official said on condition of anonymity. But Khalilzad’s public statement that the Taliban believe they will “not win militarily” angered senior members of the group, who warned US officials against mixed messages that could muddle the peace process. “We were astonished to see Khalilzad’s statement in Kabul. He wrongly quoted us, saying that the Taliban admitted that militarily we would not succeed,” said a senior Taliban member in Afghanistan. Another senior member said Khalilzad’s strategy to declare a deadline showed how desperate the US was to withdraw foreign forces. “Taliban leaders have not agreed to any deadline because we are winning on all fronts,” he added. The Taliban “are not losing” in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top US military officer, said. “We used the term stalemate a year ago and, relatively speaking, it has not changed much,” he told a security forum. The NATO-led Resolute Support mission involves 41 nations contributing more than 12,000 soldiers, equipment and training for Afghan forces.

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The Taliban have strengthened their grip over the past three years, with the government in Kabul controlling just 56 per cent of the country, down from 72 per cent in 2015, a US government report showed this month. Diplomats and political analysts in Kabul have labelled Khalilzad a man “in hurry” who must include Afghan politicians and officials from neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran before the third round of talks. “Khalilzad’s hasty approach could lead to an epic disaster,” said a senior Western diplomat in Kabul. “The Taliban would trust him only if he did not speak on their behalf.” www.pi-media.co.uk

Amir Khan raises funds for dams in Pakistan A spectacular event, attended by boxer Amir Khan, raised £2.3 million in donations and pledges towards funding two crucial dam projects in Pakistan after being inspired by a speech by Imam Qasim, Founder and Chairman of Al-Khair - the UK’s fastest growing Muslim charity. The evening, held and hosted at the Sheridan Suite in Manchester, generated a wave of generosity for the huge schemes aimed at addressing water scarcity and power supply. Boxer Amir Khan and BBC Asian Network’s presenter Noreen Khan were among the celebrity guests supporting the fundraising event hosted by Naeem Raza and attended by Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar and AlKhair Foundation’s Chairman and Founder Imran Qasim. 1300 attendees heard how Al-Khair Foundation and the UK Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UKPCCI) are instrumental to the dams’ fundraising efforts in the UK.


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www.pi-media.co.uk I December 2018

Myanmar’s neighbors to call for ‘accountability’ in Rohingya crisis

Southeast Asian nations will call for those responsible for atrocities in Myanmar’s Rakhine state to be held “fully accountable”, according to a statement prepared for a regional summit, reflecting a stronger line being taken within the group. The draft of the chairman’s statement, which was reviewed by Reuters but may change before it is delivered by host Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the close of meetings of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the situation

in Rakhine State was a “matter of concern”. The Singapore government did not immediately comment on the draft statement. Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay did not answer calls seeking comment on the summit message. A UN report in August detailed mass killings and gang rapes with genocidal intent in a Myanmar military crackdown that began in 2017 and drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims

from Rakhine into neighboring Bangladesh. It called for its commander-in-chief and five generals to be prosecuted under international law. Myanmar has denied most of the allegations in the report. Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who will be joining the summit in Singapore, has been widely criticized for her handling of the crisis. Amnesty International said it had withdrawn its most prestigious human rights prize from Suu Kyi, accusing her of perpetuating human rights abuses by not speaking out about violence against the Rohingya. The draft statement repeated ASEAN’s previous calls on the importance of the repatriation of displaced persons to Myanmar, humanitarian relief and reconciliation among communities, but went further in calling for accountability for the alleged atrocities. The strengthening of rhetoric in the draft was flagged earlier this year by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan who said his ASEAN peers had urged Myanmar to give the inquiry commission a full mandate to hold those responsible accountable.

Thai court says Muslim girls can wear hijab in school

The Songkhla Provincial Administrative Court ordered that female Muslim students be allowed to wear a Hijab (headscarf) at Anuban Pattani School in predominantly Muslim Pattani province in southern Thailand. Upholding the students’ right to dress in accordance with their religious beliefs, the court on October 29 issued an injunction against the school’s ban on Hijabs,

in response to a complaint filed by 20 parents. The parents said their daughters had been punished with the loss of behavioral-conduct points because they wore Hijabs. Located inside a Buddhist monastery in Pattani’s Muang district, Anuban Pattani School has regarded the Muslim head scarf as a violation of its dress code. Its administrators cited a recent

regulation from the Education Ministry requiring schools to enforce their dress codes. The issue had been the subject of heated debate for months. In May, Thailand’s Deputy Education Minister Lt-General Surachet Chaiwong intervened to prevent the dress-code row from escalating. The administrative court’s injunction could still be challenged. www.pi-media.co.uk

Contact: Editorial Team on 07506 466385, email: info@pi-media.co.uk


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I December 2018

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Trinidad and Tobago woman police officers win right to wear hijab on duty

A High Court ruling in Trinidad and Tobago paved the way for women police officers who practice Islam to wear hijab (headscarf) while on duty. The judgement by Justice Margaret Mohammed followed a constitutional motion against the State filed by Woman SRP Sharon Roop to allow her to wear her hijab while on duty. In delivering the ruling, Justice Mohammed noted that the officer’s right to practice her religious belief was infringed upon. “It is declared that the Claimant’s

right to freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance has been infringed by the denial of the request to wear a hijab and/or the prohibition against wearing a hijab together with her uniform whilst on duty as an officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service,” the order read. The judge found that the Police Service Regulations of 2007 was “unconstitutional, invalid, null and void to the extent that it makes no provision for the wearing of the hijab”.

Justice Mohammed also ordered that damages be assessed, and that the defendant pay the officer’s legal costs certified fit for Senior Counsel to be assessed by the Registrar in default of agreement. Roop was represented by attorneys Anand Ramlogan SC, Gerald Ramdeen, and Chelsea Stewart instructed by Robert AbdoolMitchell. The State was represented by Tinuke Gibbons-Glenn, Stefan Jaikaran and Candice Alexander instructed by Svetlana Dass. the ruling means that amendments will now have to be made to the Police Service Regulations to allow women police officers to wear their hijab while on duty, as the dress order for female officers (second division) as outlined under Regulation 121 and Schedule D of the Police Service Act Chapter 15:01 does not currently allow for such. Trinidad and Tobago is a dualisland Caribbean nation near Venezuela. Muslims constitute 5 percent of the population of the country.

Australia PM Says Imams must report ‘Mosque infiltrators’

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said imams at mosques must report infiltrators who radicalize young men into deadly attacks like the one in Melbourne. Hassan Khalif Shire Ali fatally stabbed one man and injured two others after fire-bombing his car in Melbourne’s Bourke Street. Shire Ali’s family said he had mental health issues for years, had refused help and was deteriorating before he was shot dead in the attack. But the Australian prime minister

said the 30-year-old was a terrorist who cannot be given excuses, as he urged imams to watch out for “infiltrators”. “It’s that shady character who is at the periphery of the mosque, the one talking to young people,” he told Sky News. “These people prey on vulnerable Australians, vulnerable young men particularly. “I think in many cases they will (know who to watch for), and what I’m saying is you can’t look the other way.”

Shire Ali was known to federal police and had his passport cancelled in 2015 amid concerns he planned to travel to Syria to fight with Daesh (ISIL or ISIS). But his family said he didn’t have terrorist connections. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton again defended intelligence agencies for not being aware of the lone wolf attack. He said 14 attacks have already been thwarted, and 400 people are being watched as a high priority. www.pi-media.co.uk

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SPORT

Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad steps down from top Olympic body 20I

One of the most influential figures in international sport has officially stepped down from a powerful Olympic body as he fights forgery charges in Switzerland. Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah had already announced he was “temporarily” stepping aside from his IOC duties and asked not to be reelected president of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). “I am confident I am innocent. I trust the court of justice in Switzerland ... I know I am innocent. I am sure about that and I will follow through on my trust in the court in

Switzerland,” he told delegates. “I will decide to step aside -- of my own will -- for a while and to come back to you stronger,” added the Kuwaiti powerbroker. But there was last-minute drama at the gathering in Tokyo as several representatives pushed for the Sheikh -- the only candidate for ANOC president -- to be re-elected anyway. In chaotic scenes, delegate after delegate spoke to defend Sheikh Ahmad, arguing that he had become embroiled in a political affair that had nothing to do with sport and that was being played out in the courts.

www.pi-media.co.uk I December 2018

“The ship of ANOC has been sailing rather smoothly and now is not the time to change the captain,” said the representative from Guyana. After an unscheduled lastminute intervention from the Sheikh, delegates finally agreed to postpone the election for president while he sorts out his legal issues. Officials admitted this was a “unique” situation and there was nothing in the organisation’s constitution to deal with such a case. A long-time IOC member seen as a close ally of President Thomas Bach, Sheikh Ahmad is accused of orchestrating a complex forgery scheme linked to his efforts to prove his native country’s former prime minister is guilty of corruption and plotting a coup. The aim of the alleged forgery, according to a Swiss charge sheet seen by AFP, was to legitimise suspicious video recordings Sheikh Ahmad had presented in Kuwait as evidence of corrupt practices by expremier Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah and former parliament chief Jassem al-Khorafi. The case against Sheikh Ahmad, a nephew of Kuwait’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, is set to go before a court in Geneva next year.

Afridi believes T10 format can be cricket’s ticket to Olympics Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi believes the T10 format could be cricket’s route to the Olympic Games. The veteran is currently representing the Pakhtoons franchise in the second edition of the T10 League in the UAE and feels that the format has come on leaps and bounds since its introduction. “I think this is the best cricket (T10) you can introduce in the Olympic Games,” Afridi was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“I think you can take the game there and show the world what cricket is all about. I think this is the perfect format to introduce cricket and we are all enjoying it, which is the main thing.” The 38-year-old is playing in his second season in the T10 League and believes that the format has the capability to change the way cricket is played. “It’s quick fire, a big test of bowlers. Batsmen can show their skills and I saw myself some great innings, some great skills, some

great shots,” the former Pakistan international stated. “I think cricket will change with (T10). Even T20 and one-day cricket will change with this cricket. I think you can take it (around the world) definitely because of the time.” The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been attempting to push for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics for some time. Just recently, the governing body made a bid for women’s T20 cricket to be included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games to be held in England.


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Discrimination reports continue to rise in English football www.pi-media.co.uk

In Case You Missed It

Discriminatory abuse is on the rise again in English football, with racism the most common form of hate speech reported, figures show. Statistics from Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, reveal an increase in reports for the sixth consecutive year. Racism constituted 53 per cent of them during the 2017/18 season, a rise of 22 per cent from the previous year. The charity received a total of 520 reports for this period, up by 11 per cent from 469 in 2016/17. Disability discrimination reports rose higher than any other in 2017/18, increasing by 107 per cent from 14 to 29. Ten per cent of all reports concerned antisemitism. That figure comes as Kick It Out prepares to

release a series of educational resources, including a hard-hitting short film, made in partnership with Chelsea Football Club, encouraging football fans to flag antisemitic abuse. A stewards’ training guide has also been produced with the Community Security Trust (CST). The statistics are compiled from all levels of the game, including the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), FA Women’s Super League, non-league and grassroots fixtures. Reports from social media, which was the most popular reporting method, are also included. Cases reported at EFL matches have risen by 30 per cent, and across the entire professional game there was a 10 per cent increase overall from 194 in 2016/17 to 214 in

2017/18. Grassroots discrimination reports rose by 35 per cent across the same period, with racism (71 per cent) and disability (33 per cent) the most common forms of discrimination reported. Kick It Out chair, Lord Ouseley, said: “It is hugely disappointing to have to reveal, yet again, increasing levels of all forms of discriminatory abuse at football. “While the increased reports reflect a greater inclination among fans to complain about unacceptable abuse, these trends reflect, in part, what is happening in the rest of society. Hate crime reports have doubled over the last year to more than 94,000.” He added: “Football cannot be complacent about the risk to the game this represents. Much good work has, and is, being done to prevent and counter unacceptable behaviour. But, the professional leagues and their clubs must do more in a coherent and consistent way - exemplifying all the best practices applied by some clubs - to drive hateful and abusive spectators out of the game. “Equally, The FA and its county associations, as well as local leagues, must step up their actions to ensure compliance and enforcement at grassroots level.”.

Sonny Bill Williams gets in the ring for charity boxing event Charity was the winner when Sonny Bill Williams returned to the ring for an exhibition bout in Sydney. His opponent in the four-round ‘contest’ was Australian reality TV personality Stu Laundy. There was plenty of play-acting, but few real punches, which made for an odd watch, even if it was for a good cause - raising money for the Auckland City Mission and Exodus Foundation in Australia,

two organisations which support the homeless. The All Black was counted out to end the fight, but both fighters were then declared winners. The fight night was dubbed ‘The Banger Under The Hangar,’ a reference to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Williams, 33, has a 7-0 professional boxing record, having last fought in January 2015. He entered

the ring to Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger. Laundy is a 45-year-old millionaire pub heir and a former contestant on The Bachelorette. He was trained for the fight by three-time world champion Jeff Fenech. With a win in the bag and a good deed done, Williams can put his feet up for the year, before turning his attention to pre-season with the Blues, and the All Blacks’ quest for a thirdstraight World Cup.


I FEATURED

I December 2018

The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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www.pi-media.co.uk

Part 32

The Battle of Siffin on the banks of the River Euphrates near Raqqa was undoubtedly a tumultuous battle involving the Syrians under the auspices of Muawiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan and the Iraqis under the leadership of the Caliph Ali Ibn Ali Abi Talib. Syrian infantryman hoisting the sacred pages of the Qur’an infantryman was a game changer and turned the tide of the conflict in rather an unexpected manner. It is said that one of the caliph’s infantry man Al-Ashath Ibn Qays shocked by the carnage on the battlefield proclaimed that the Arabs and Muslims were in peril and at risk of wiping one another out if the fighting continued. To compound things further, Nasr bin Muzahim stated that the Muslims could be in such a perilous state if the fighting continued that would

potentially embolden the Byzantines and the Sassanids to launch attacks that could decimate them forever. Both sides agreed to preserve the Muslim and Arab unity by giving a commitment to participate in arbitration. The terms of the arbitration entailed both the Syrians and the Iraqis nominating an ‘arbitrator’. Amr Ibn al-Aas was chosen by the Syrians to lead the negotiations whereas Caliph Ali Ibn Ali Talib nominees Malik Ashtar and or Abdullah Ibn Abbas were rejected especially by the elements of the Qurra because they were blamed for being the very architects of the war. Therefore, the caliph was forced to reconsider a third time and decided after much deliberation to appoint Abu Musa al-Ashari. Failure to find the murders of the previous Caliph

Uthman Ibn Affan was undoubtedly the catalyst for the conflict that took the lives of so many people. We should remember that the dispute between two great personalities in Islamic history was not over theological issues but the lack of progress over firstly establishing the identities of the killers and more importantly appropriating justice in a timely fashion. The arbitration was held at Daumat al- Jandalwhich involved a series of meetings. A series of meetings were held in order to find a suitable solution that was acceptable to all parties. Daumat al-Jandal was chosen from a strategic perspective as it was at the midway point of Syria and Iraq and was accessible for most involved in this conflict.


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I December 2018

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