Madrassas to face tough Muslim female football Ibn Al-Haytham regulation under UK Gov coach wins award The First Scientist
‘Don’t Bomb Syria’
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Thousands of campaigners have protested against Syria airstrike across the UK
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By Islamic Human Rights Commission
Modi visit exposes UK double standards
The visit to the UK of Indian PM Narendra Modi exposes the government’s hypocrisy in claiming to tackle extremism. At a time when a key plank of government policy is concerned with repressing Muslims in Britain and subjecting them to discriminatory treatment under the pretext of fighting extremism, we find it odd that David Cameron should be entertaining a world leader who embodies the word. Hailing from the ranks of the Hindu supremacist RSS movement, Modi presided over one of the biggest communal massacres of Muslims to occur in recent history in India while chief minister of Gujarat in 2002. Modi’s state government never investigated the bloodbath. It was only through intervention by India’s National Human Rights
Commission, the Supreme Court, and local activists and victim groups that charges were filed; and prosecutors were able eventually to secure convictions for over 100 people, including a member of Modi’s cabinet. Trials are ongoing in several other cases. Although a Supreme Courtordered investigation decided in 2012 that there was not enough evidence to prove Modi’s direct complicity some of the victims still have appeal cases pending, seeking to reopen the inquiry. Modi’s tenure as PM has been characterised by an escalation of violence against Dalits, Muslims, Christians and women, including the brutal lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri on suspicion of consuming beef. His administration has also
clamped down on civil society groups and the press, especially those seeking to improve environmental and human rights. We find it strange that the government is today rolling out the red carpet for a man whose extremist views while chief minister previously led to him being banned from setting foot in Britain to peddle his hate. IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “Modi’s presence here just goes to underline how extremism is just a convenient tool for the government to silence its critics. Maybe we shouldn’t be all that surprised to see one extremist leader shaking the hand of another. After all, both Cameron’s and Modi’s respective records show that they have a common aim in repressing Muslims.”
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‘Don’t Bomb Syria’
I December 2015
Thousands gathered across the UK in rallies organized by the Stop The War coalition to stand against Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal for airstirkes in Syria. The main protest took place at Downing Street in Central London. Protestors carried signs that read “Don’t bomb Syria”, “We say no bombs listen this time,” referring to the previous British involvement in the 2003 Iraq war. Labour Party MP Diane Abbot was at the protest to support the party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s stance towards the conflict. “David Cameron has not made the case at this point for bombing Syria. At this point, I do not believe bombing Syria will make it safe anymore than bombing Iraq made Iraq safe, “Abbott said in a short speech at the demonstration. The opposition Labour Party, which has not announced its position on Cameron’s plans, is publicly divided on the issue after party leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he
would not personally back them. “I do not believe the Prime Minister’s current proposal for airstrikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it,” Corbyn told party colleagues in a letter. Lindsey German, who organized the Downing Street protest for Stop the War had a message for MPs s in parliament, “You have made a disastrous mistake in 2003 when you voted for war. Do not make the same mistake again.” Syria Solidarity UK published a statement on its webside saying that they did not support the demonstrations. “Syria Solidarity UK and Stop the War have very different concerns regarding Syria: Syria Solidarity is concerned with ending the suffering of Syrians under the Assad dictatorship; Stop the War with opposing any UK military involvement regardless of consequences for Syrians,” said the statement.
Britain has been striking ISIL targets in Iraq from the air since September 2014, although Cameron has long wanted to broaden the mission to include the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. Such a move would require parliamentary approval. Britain cannot wait for a representative government to emerge in Syria and must launch immediate airstrikes to eradicate ISIL, Prime Minister David Cameron has said in a statement at House of Commons. Parliament is expected to vote on Thursday 3rd November
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I December 2015
Madrassas to face tough regulation under Government plans In Case You Missed It
Madrassas are set to face tougher regulation and inspection in England under new Government plans as reported by the Guardian newspaper. Under the shake up, any afterschool setting providing intensive education would have to register and be subject to official scrutiny. The new regulations will likely
apply to all institutions that offer more than eight hours of weekly tuition, which is expected to cover nearly all madrassas. The new plans could also see madrassas banned from appointing unsuitable staff who failure to ensure the safety of children. Other activities that would be
banned include teaching that “promotes extreme views” or those deemed incompatible with fundamental British values. The Government would also have new authority to impose sanctions on such institutions including banning offending individuals from working with children and in the most extreme cases, permanent closure. Inspections could be carried out if parents or children expressed concerns. A Department for Education spokesman said: “We recognise that many out-of-school education settings, including supplementary schools and tuition centres, do a great job in supporting children’s education and development, but without proper oversight, there is a risk that some children attending them may be exposed to harm, including from extremism.”
IHRC launches new report on Islamophobia in the UK The Islamic Human Rights Commission successfully hosted the launch of its latest publication ‘Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK’. The launch featured a panel including one of the report authors Arzu Merali, academics Nisha Kapoor and David Miller, journalist Peter Oborne as well as IHRC Head of Advocacy Abed Choudhury. Arzu Merali provided an overview of the report and compared the new findings to the first study undertaken in the UK in 2010. The results have been alarming. Between 2010 and 2014 the number of people who reported seeing Islamophobia directed at someone else spiked from 50% to 82%. In the same period the number of people stating they had witnessed negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims jumped from 69% to 93.3% suggesting these experiences have become almost universal for Muslims.
The report focuses the study in the context of the environment that perpetuates hatred amongst individuals. Institutional and structural change needs to be the focus and not oppressed minority communities. Abed Choudhury – Head of Advocacy at IHRC – discussed some of the most violent and aggressive cases he has dealt with in recent years. With two academics on the panel, there was much focus on the UK government’s Prevent strategy and the way it socialises hatred particularly within the education system and its institutions. Nisha Kapoor talked about the significance
of criminalisation and the way disenfranchisement is now being enacted through imprisonment. This is one of the ways a racial hierarchy is maintained. She stated that all marginalised communities need to form alliances in order to better combat systems of oppression. David Miller referred to the government’s counter-terrorism policies as the backbone of
I December 2015
www.pi-media.co.uk I December 2015
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The Sun under fire over ‘Muslim poll’ www.pi-media.co.uk
I December 2015
British The Sun newspaper faced criticism after publishing a misleading report of an opinion poll on its front page purporting to show that one in
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five British Muslims had “sympathy for jihadis”. Readers and Muslim organizations accused The Sun
of misinterpreting the results of the poll which showed that 5% of respondents agreed with the statement “I have a lot of sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria” and that 14.5% said they had “some sympathy”. Critics argued that the use of the term “sympathy” was ambiguous and that it was not clear who was meant by “fighters in Syria”. The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) said it had more than 2000 complaints received about the front page more than for any story since the regulatory body was set up last year. Meanwhile, the hashtag #1in5Muslims began trending on Twitter, with many users making light of the poll’s results.
Spies have been monitoring public for years MI5 and GCHQ have been secretly scooping up the telephone and email records of the British public for almost 15 years, the Home Secretary has admitted for the first time. The disclosure was made as Theresa May unveiled a series of new measures in the Investigatory Power Bill, which includes a law to force communication companies to help spy agencies snoop on suspects. Other proposals will see the collection of the public’s web browsing history for up to a year and judges signing off warrants for intrusive surveillance. The overhaul of spying laws still faces tough opposition but could now make it through parliament and in to law after Labour appeared to back the measures. In a surprise development, May confirmed to MPs that she and her predecessors have quietly approved warrants for bulk collection of
communication data in the UK since 2001. The records are kept for no more than a year and more detailed examination of the content of calls or messages would only be allowed via a warrant. The secret authorisations have been happening since the 9/11 attacks and senior Whitehall sources insist they are vital in the fight against terrorism. May said the Bill would establish “an investigatory powers regime which is more open and transparent than anywhere else in the world”. Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, welcomed the proposals, saying “Parliament cannot sit on its hands and leave blind spots where the authorities can’t see.” The Bill will include a requirement for communication providers to assist MI5, GCHQ and the police to break in to suspects’ phones and computers. Meanwhile, police warned one
in 10 paedophiles were escaping capture because their web browsing histories were not being retained. A sample of more than 6,000 child abuse alerts found that in 14 per cent of the cases officers could not identify a suspect because officers could not access their internet records. The new Bill will require such data to be held for up to a year. A new safeguard where both the Home Secretary and a specially appointed judge will be required to sign off warrants to intercept data was criticised by all sides. Owen Paterson, the former Cabinet minister, was among a number of MPs who warned it could delay and complicate important spying operations. But David Davis, the Tory backbencher, who had called for judicial oversight, said the proposal would simply result in judges rubberstamping a politician’s decision.
I December 2015
UK woman found guilty of PKK terror offenses www.pi-media.co.uk
I December 2015
An 18-year-old woman with Kurdish roots has become the first person in Britain to be convicted of joining the PKK. Silhan Ozcelik was found guilty of preparing terrorist acts after she ran away from her family in an attempt to join the organisation, which Britain has listed as a terrorist group since 2001. She told the court during her trial at the Old Bailey Criminal Court in central London that she had left to
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pursue a boyfriend in Brussels, but on Friday a judge told her she had been “stupid, feckless and deeply dishonest” and jailed her for 21 months. The court was told Ozcelik had left her London home in October 2014 when she was aged 17, leaving behind letters and a 25-minute video message telling her family she was going to join the terrorist group. Ozcelik, a British citizen whose family have Kurdish roots, left
London on a train to Brussels on Oct. 27, 2014. She told the court she had arranged to elope because her family would have disapproved of the match, and that she decided to return to Britain on Jan. 16, 2015 because she ended up doing domestic chores. The jury took less than a day to find her guilty of preparing terrorist acts between Oct. 1 and 27, 2014. She is believed to be the first British resident to convicted of ties to the PKK. She was jailed for 21 months, including the eight months she has already served waiting for her trial. The Metropolitan Police said they had no evidence Silhan Ozcelik had travelled as far as Turkey during her time outside of the U.K.
UK announces 10,000-strong ‘rapid response’ force In Case You Missed It
Britain is to create a new rapidresponse strike force and buy more fighter jets and warships over the next decade. Prime Minister David Cameron said his government’s plans, which will see it put £178 billion [$269 billion] into defense spending, were necessary because the events of recent months showed the U.K. had to “expect the unexpected”. The two 5,000-strong “strike brigades”, which will have the ability to deploy British forces over long distances at speed, are the result of a government defense and security review. It was also revealed the cost of renewing Britain’s nuclear missile system was spiraling and could reach £40 billion. In a statement to parliament, Cameron said: “We will create two new strike brigades, forces of up to 5,000 personnel, fully equipped
to deploy rapidly and sustain themselves in the field. “We will establish two additional Typhoon [fighter jet] squadrons, and an additional squadron of F35 Lightning combat aircraft to operate from our new aircraft carriers. “We will maintain our ultimate insurance policy as a nation, our continuous at sea nuclear deterrent and replace our four ballistic missile submarines. “We will buy nine new maritime patrol aircraft to be based in Scotland in RAF Lossiemouth. They will protect our nuclear deterrent. They will hunt down hostile submarines and they will enhance our maritime search and rescue.” He also said Britain’s Royal Navy would see an increase in its frigates and destroyers by the 2030s. But opposition lawmakers criticized the mounting costs of the Trident nuclear deterrent, which
Scottish National Party London leader Angus Robertson described as “a weapons system of mass destruction which can never be used”. “As we learn its replacement is ballooning and will be squeezing out defense alternatives, how expensive does Trident need to be for this Government to realize that it is a super-expensive vanity project that does not deter?”. Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said the government had “completely lost control of the budget”. “In its determination to replace this cold war relic, the government is prepared to keep on spending, even if it’s to the detriment of conventional forces and tackling the real security threats we face, such as terrorism, cyber warfare and climate change,” she said in a statement.
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I December 2015
Hate crimes against British Muslims soar after Paris attack
Anti-Muslim hate crimes rose 300 percent in Britain in the week following the coordinated attacks in Paris, according to figures published. A “vast and overwhelming majority” of the 115 attacks were against Muslim women and girls aged between 14 and 45 who were wearing traditional Islamic dress, according to the findings reported in The Independent newspaper. The perpetrators were mainly white males aged between 15 and 35, according to the report, which noted that the true numbers of attacks were likely much larger than those reported. The figures come from a report to
a government working group on antiMuslim hate compiled by Tell Mama, a helpline that records incidents of physical and verbal attacks on mosques and Muslims. A large number of the attacks occurred in public places such as buses and trains. “Many of the victims have suggested that no one came to their assistance or even consoled them, meaning that they felt victimised, embarrassed, alone and angry about what had taken place against them. “Sixteen of the victims even mentioned that they would be fearful of going out in the future and that the experiences had affected their
confidence.” The rise in attacks is in line with a similar increase that happened after the murder in south London of British soldier Lee Rigby by Muslim extremists in 2013, according to the report. Islamophobic and anti-Semitic incidents had already risen sharply before the attacks in Paris, by 70.7 percent and 93.4 percent respectively in the year to July 2015 compared to the previous 12-month period, according to police figures. In all, 816 Islamophobic incidents were recorded in Greater London between July 2014 and July 2015, compared to 478 in the previous period. The same period saw 499 antiSemitic incidents, a rise from 258 the previous year. The police did not give a breakdown on whether the recorded attacks were physical or verbal assaults, but said there were a number of factors leading to the rise including a greater willingness of victims to report such incidents and better police recording. Britain has 2.7 million Muslim residents and a Jewish population of 263,000, according to the 2011 census.
London Luton Airport (LLA) has opened a new multi-faith airside Prayer Room which is available for staff and departing passengers to use around the clock. The room is located near departure gate 20, just beyond the retail area of the Departures Lounge. Prayer mats and faith literature are provided and the carpeting features direction of prayer for those faiths that require it. Religious washing facilities and toilets are also available nearby. The Airport Chaplaincy Team led
by The Revd. Canon Liz Hughes advised LLA and the contractors on the design and finishing of the Prayer Room and will care for the facility on a day to day basis. The improved new facility has been opened as the airport begins its £110m redevelopment programme. The investment will increase LLA’s annual capacity from 12 million to 18 million by 2026 and transform the experience for passengers by delivering major upgrades to the airport’s facilities, including: A complete redesign of the
terminal to create a quick, efficient, friendly and convenient passenger experience. · Improved rail services, with overnight trains from Luton Airport Parkway and the addition of Oyster Card services through to the terminal building by the end of the year. · Doubling of the existing retail space, introducing exciting shopping and dining options and creating a new world-class executive lounge. Visit www.transforminglla.com for details of the improvements. www.pi-media.co.uk
London Luton Airport opens new multi-faith Prayer Room
UK Muslims warn about terrorism legislation
I December 2015
A large UK Muslim organization has called for a greater role of Muslims in creating new counter terrorism legislation. “British Muslims must be at the heart of the creation of new counterterrorism legislation if it is to be effective,” Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said. MCB Assistant Secretary General Miqdaad Versi said the authorities were making a grave mistake by conflating socially conservative views with violent extremism. “The current policy has a real risk of being counterproductive with
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alienation being fermented as a result. “Unless the government talks to Muslims from a diverse region of communities from across the UK we will not see this change,” he said. The statements come as a recent survey said most British Muslims believe that misguided government policies and biased media coverage have created an “environment of hate” that affects their daily lives. The survey conducted by the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission also showed that everyday life for Muslims in Britain is characterized by rising levels of
abuse, discrimination and violence. According to the report, more than 80 percent of respondents said they had seen “Islamophobia directed at someone else,” up from 50 percent in 2010, while the proportion who had witnessed “negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims” rose from 69 percent to 93 percent. Meanwhile, some 56 percent of the Muslims reported experiencing verbal abuse, and 18 percent said they had been victims of physical assault. Prime Minister David Cameron promised last month more support for Muslims after police recorded a 43 percent rise in religious hate crime in the year to March. Cameron asked police forces to record anti-Muslim hate crimes in a separate category, giving such crimes the same status as antiSemitic attacks, the government said.
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I December 2015
I December 2015
Memos on targeted killings to remain secret: US court www.pi-media.co.uk
A US federal court has withheld the release of memorandums that would shed light on the legal basis of the American targeted killings overseas. In a 22-page ruling released by the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel of three judges denied a joint effort by the New York Times and The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to obtain the memos under the US Freedom of Information Act, according to Reuters. The ruling was issued on October 22, but was kept under temporary seal to provide time for appeal. The decision largely upheld the initial ruling by US District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan who rejected the plea on October 31, 2014.
The Times and the ACLU were prompted to legally seek the documents after a 2011 US military drone strike in Yemen killed a US citizen named Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki, a cleric who had reportedly joined the ranks of an al-Qaeda affiliate in the Arab country, was accused of directing several terrorist attacks. The ACLU and the New York Times had initially sought the release of certain memos from the US Department of Justice’s office of legal counsel on targeted killings but a district court order rejected their bid. ACLU attorneys and lawyers for the Times argued in their appeal request that the memos constituted
UN panel calls for end to Israeli occupation The UN General Assembly committee responsible for human rights has adopted a resolution urging Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories. In the Third Committee, 170 countries voted in favor of the non-binding resolution, “The right of the Palestinian people to selfdetermination”. Six nations that voted against the measure include Israel, United States, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Four other countries abstained. The resolution stressed “the
urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.” It reaffirmed the right of Palestinians to statehood, and urged all countries and international organizations “to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.” Palestinians have long sought to establish an independent state. www.pi-media.co.uk
“working law” that must be publicly released. Jameel Jaffer, ACLU’s deputy legal director, strongly opposed the ruling, saying that it allows three “crucial legal memos” to remain secret. “In a democracy, there should be no room for ‘secret law,’ and the courts should not play a role in perpetuating it,” Jaffer said. “The government should not be using lethal force based on standards that are explained only vaguely and on facts that are never published or independently reviewed,” he added. In 2010, another similar request succeeded in forcing the Obama administration to disclose a redacted version of 41-page legal opinion on the legality of the drone attacks. Back then, the appeals court argued that the previous public disclosures by senior government officials, including President Barack Obama necessitated the release of the document. Last month, an American whistle-blower released a series of documents that contained highly sensitive intelligence on US drones, revealing a mass assassination program the US has been running globally.
SMBC to help clients with halal certification Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. will work with an Indonesian university to guide Japanese corporations through the process of certifying their products as halal, or in accordance with Islamic law. The Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group unit sees the collaboration as a way to stir lending opportunities among Japanese companies looking to cater to Muslims. Indonesia will make halal labeling mandatory by 2019. The bank will survey 200 to 250 corporate clients in industries such as food and cosmetics, referring those interested in halal certification to partner Bogor Agricultural University.
I December 2015
Pakistan suspends deal to accept deportations from Europe
Pakistan will refuse to accept any citizens deported from mainland Europe, halting repatriations at a time when European leaders facing an influx of migration are desperate to streamline procedures, the interior ministry said. Globally, around 90,000 people were deported back to Pakistan last year for a variety of offences, but in some cases they had been sent back without proper determination they were Pakistan nationals, an interior ministry spokesman said. It was not immediately clear exactly how many came from Europe, although the figure is in the thousands, he said. European Union nations signed a
deal with Pakistan in 2009 allowing them to repatriate illegal immigrants and other nationalities who transited through Pakistan on their way to Europe. “There were some irregularities in the implementation of this agreement,” the spokesman, who asked not to be named, said. “The signing country had to first verify the nationality of that person who was being deported but there were instances where the nationality was not being verified. The minister took notice and the agreement is temporarily suspended.” EU officials in Pakistan were not immediately available for comment
Ottoman coins found in Gaza An Ottoman period coin was found in Gaza Strip during sewerage infrastructure excavations. Gaza Municipality General Director of Architecture and Planning Nihad Al-Muganni told reporters that a large number of cruses with coins was found during sewerage infrastructure excavations at Baghdad Street in Shuja’iyya district.
Muganni reported that the coins appear to belong to the Ottoman period after an investigation was carried out on some samples. He also said that the interrupted excavations will restart soon, and will be accompanied by experts from the Ministry of Tourism and Historical Monuments in the area. www.pi-media.co.uk
on the Pakistani decision. Europe is facing its biggest influx of migrants in decades, with many families fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Pakistan’s refusal to accept deportees could slow down the removal of illegal economic migrants, making it harder to accept those genuinely fleeing persecution. Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said that airlines returning deportees without Pakistani permission would be penalised. “Any airline that brings deportees to Pakistan without Interior Ministry permission and without Pakistan travel documents will be fined heavily,” he said. Britain has a separate deal on deportations with Pakistan and is not affected by the decision.
Charity institute builds ten Mosques in Mali The Raaf Charity Institute has built 10 new mosques in the African country of Mali. According to al-Arab news website, they were constructed at a cost of 420 million Qatari rials. They have been equipped with libraries containing Islamic books and other services for worshippers. The mosques have been set up in deprived villages across Mali as part of a project launched by the institute to establish religious centers in different countries. The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa with an area of around 1,240,000 square kilometers and a population of about 14.5 million. Muslims make up approximately 90 percent of the population in the country. www.pi-media.co.uk
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Zionist settlers burn young Palestinian to death www.pi-media.co.uk
I December 2015
In Case You Missed It
A young Palestinian man was burned to death after a group of illegal Israeli settlers mercilessly beat him and then set fire to his car in the northern part of the occupied Palestinian territories. The charred body of the 22-yearold Palestinian man, identified as Fadi Hoosh, was found inside a car in the garbage dump of Kafr Kanna town. Palestinian witnesses said they saw a number of Israeli settlers attacking the Palestinian youth and
forcing him into a car before setting it ablaze. On July 31, an 18-month-old Palestinian baby boy, Ali Dawabsheh, lost his life in a large fire that broke out after extremist Israeli settlers threw firebombs and Molotov cocktails into two Palestinian houses in the town of Duma, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. The toddler’s mother, Riham Dawabsheh, also succumbed to the severe burn injuries she sustained in
A female judge wearing an Islamic headscarf has conducted a trial in Turkey for the first time in the history of the Muslim but secular state, media reports. A picture of a young, black-robed judge wearing a dark-coloured headscarf in an Istanbul courtroom has been widely shared on social media, with some Twitter users denouncing it as “the declaration of Islamic sharia law”. The judge was not identified and the details of the case she was hearing were not known.
Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) had lifted the ban on female judges and prosecutors wearing the Islamic headscarf just ahead of the June parliamentary election. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) has long been accused of seeking to force Islamist values on society. Over the past two years, the government has lifted bans on women and girls wearing headscarves in schools and state
the incident on September 5. Riham, who had also lost her 32year-old husband, Sa’ad Dawabsheh, in the assault, was pronounced dead after spending five weeks on life support at Soroka Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. Her husband also died at the same hospital a week after the assault on August 8. He had been left with second-degree burns over more than 80 percent of his body. The incident sparked angry reactions from Palestinians, including political and resistance groups. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also censured the arson attack as a “terrorist act,” calling for the perpetrators to be promptly brought to justice. Israeli settlers have in recent years carried out various attacks including arson and graffiti on Palestinian property in the West Bank and al-Quds (Jerusalem) under the “price tag” slogan. Price tag attacks are acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and their properties as well as Islamic holy sites. More than 90 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of Israelis since the start of October.
Female judge is first to wear headscarf in Turkey
institutions, moves denounced by opponents as undermining the basis of Turkey’s secular state. The ban still remains in place for military and security personnel. In a snap election on Sunday, the AKP recovered the parliamentary majority which it lost for the first time in 13 years in June.
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US Jewish group slams Israel 16
I December 2015
In Case You Missed It
The leader of the largest Jewish group in North America has criticized Israel’s policies toward Palestinians as “misguided.” “Asking Jews around the world only to wave the flag of Israel and to support even the most misguided policies of its leaders drives a wedge between the Jewish soul and the Jewish state. It is beyond counterproductive,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the , said in a speech Thursday night at the union’s biennial conference in the US city of Orlando, Florida. The Rabbi said the Jewish community must not remain silent when hate-crime attacks kill innocent
Palestinians in the occupied territories, P TV reported. Jacobs also said that the reform movement “has long opposed Israeli settlement policy in the West Bank.” “It causes pain and hardship for the Palestinians and alienates Israel from friends and allies around the world,” he added. “Only two states for two people, both states viable and secure, living side by side in peace, will bring the conflict to an end.” The reform leader also condemned Israel’s treatment of its minorities. “Jews who see brokenness in the treatment of Israel’s minorities, or in the way ultra-Orthodox views
of Judaism are being enshrined in secular law, are being told that, when it comes to Israel, you should check your commitment to tikkun olam at the door; we will not,” Jacobs said. Tikkun olam is a Jewish concept characterized by acts of kindness performed to repair the world. The Reform leader said it also applies to repairing Israel. “Many Jews, especially younger ones, feel that Israel has become too intolerant not just of Arab citizens of Israel, but also of non-Orthodox Jews, Ethiopian Jews…,” he noted. Tensions have been running especially high since August when the Israeli regime imposed restrictions on the entry of some Palestinians into the al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds (Jerusalem)--the third holiest site in Islam. According to the latest figures by the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 76 Palestinians, including 17 children, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October. More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
US sends Guantanamo prisoners to UAE
The U.S. says it has transferred five Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United Arab Emirates. In a statement, the Pentagon identified the transferred prisoners as: Ali Ahmad Muhammad al-Razihi; Khalid Abd-al-Jabbar Muhammad Uthman al-Qadasi; Adil Said al-Hajj Ubayd al-Busays; Sulayman Awad Bin Uqayl al-Nahdi; and Fahmi Salem Said al-Asani. “Al-Qadasi, al-Busays, al-Nahdi, and al-Asani were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force
[Guantanamo Review Task Force],” spokesman Peter Cook confirmed. The removal of prisoners by the U.S. forms parts of a 2009 directive by President Barack Obama who has said he wants to close the controversial facility. With respect to transfer of Razihi, Cook noted that the Periodic Review Board determined that a continued review of his incarceration was not necessary as he no longer poses “a threat to the security of the United States”. The review board administers the procedure for recommending
whether certain people held at Guantanamo are safe to be released or transferred. The prison was established in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. With these transfers, 107 detainees now remain at Guantanamo Bay after a high of almost 800 prisoners, according to the Pentagon. The U.S. transferred 17 detainees to Oman in June, three others to Qatar in April, one to Morocco and one to Saudi Arabia in September and one to Mauritania last month.
EU to label Israeli settlement products www.pi-media.co.uk
I December 2015
The European Union has backed the labelling of products from Israeli settlements, in a move that Israel condemned as discriminatory and warned could harm the peace process with the Palestinians. Israel summoned the EU’s ambassador to the foreign ministry in protest at the decision by the European Commission to approve guidelines on labels from Jewish settlements in the occupied
territories. At a meeting in Brussels, the Commission, the EU’s powerful executive, “adopted this morning the interpretative notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967,” an official said. The notice is effectively a set of guidelines for labelling products from Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and annexed east
Senegalese govt ban niqab In Case You Missed It
With the recent surge of Boko Haram attacks, including suicide bombings increasingly carried out by young women, Senegalese authorities have initiated a ban on wearing the niqab, the full-face veil. Interior Minister Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo said that this was a preventive measure as Senegal was not exempted from potential terrorist attacks, namely from the extremist group Boko Haram. “The fight against terrorism starts with prevention. The full veil is not a religious
matter and does not fit our culture. It is more a question of national security. We are all Muslims,” Diallo said. In recent months several African governments including Congo, Chad, Cameroon and Guinea have banned the niqab using the fight against terrorism as the main argument for doing so. Young girls wearing a niqab have carried out numerous suicide attacks in Chad and Cameroon. Muslims make up around 92 percent of Senegal’s population.
Jerusalemand the Golan Heights, all occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. The settlements are deemed illegal under international law and are considered a major stumbling block to peace efforts since they are built on land Palestinians see as part of their future state. The first instructions are set to be for food and other industries. Israel -- which has mounted a long and vocal campaign against the labelling plan first proposed by the EU 2012 -- reacted furiously. “We regret that the EU has chosen, for political reasons, to take such an exceptional and discriminatory step, inspired by the boycott movement, particularly at this time, when Israel is confronting a wave of terrorism targeting any and all of its citizens,” the Israeli foreign ministry said. The ministry argued that such labelling “does not advance any political process between Israel and the Palestinians”.
Call to prayer banned in Northern Cyprus A court in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) has temporarily banned reciting the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer. The local court has banned the recitation of the dawn adhan through minaret speakers on the grounds that it disturbs locals in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In the Lefke town of the Güzelyurt district, lawyer Feza Güzeloğlu requested a court to ban the recitation of the dawn adhan, which is recited in the early hours of the day, through minaret speakers. As the trial still continues, the court issued an interim decision to issue the ban until the trial is concluded.
I WORLD NEWS
www.pi-media.co.uk I December 2015
Irish primary schools to have to teach religion under new curriculum
Primary schools will be required to set aside teaching time for new classes on religion and ethics as part of planned changes to the national curriculum. But the plans may prove controversial among some parents and teachers who are worried that an expanding curriculum already contains too many subjects. The new “religion, beliefs and ethics” classes will be separate to existing faith-based classes in denominational schools, which typically take up about half an hour of the school day. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment says the curriculum is aimed at ensuring all children have the opportunity to learn about the lives, values and traditions
of members of the wider community. It has invited schools and parents to give their views as part of aconsultation process launched. The new curriculum will not be aimed at nurturing the belief or practice of any one religion, according to the council. Instead, it will focus on learning about the major forms of religions, traditions and worldviews of people around the world. The council says this learning will help children develop empathy with people of diverse religions and beliefs. In addition, the curriculum will include education in ethics, focused on making choices and decisions in a way that considers the effect on others.
This will include learning about the dignity and freedom of humans, as well as the importance of human rights and responsibilities in society. Patrick Sullivan, said he was aware of concerns about curriculum overload among teachers and parents. He said the question of time dedicated to the proposed religion and ethics curriculum will form part of the consultation process. “Next year we’ll be advising the Minister for Education on time allocation right across the curriculum in light of developments such as the new language curriculum, the continued development of the curriculum in maths as well as religion, belief and ethics.” The Education Act ( requires the Minister for Education to ensure that a “reasonable amount” of time is set aside in each school day for subjects relating to the school’s ethos The council says the overall vision for the new curriculum is for a “pluralist and values-based education” which can enable teachers to support children to contribute positively to a diverse world. The curriculum aim at contribute to the development of children in areas such as personal understanding, mutual understanding, character education, connection to the wider world and spiritual awareness.
Halal trade rising in Russia A study of the global halal food market shows the halal trade will significantly rise in Europe and Russia in the coming years. The study by Britain’s TechNavio company forecasts Europe’s halal market to grow by more than 2 percent annually until 2018. Among halal products, halal meat is the most popular as the
value of global halal meat trade is around 2.3 trillion dollars. It has become even popular with non-Muslims in many countries. Halal is an Arabic term meaning permissible or lawful in Islam. Halal is a universal word that applies to all facets of life, including halal banking, halal clothes, and halal food.
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I December 2015
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New Australian Muslim party aims to contest federal, state elections
Australia’s first Islamic faith political party intends to field Senate candidates in all states and territories at next year’s federal election and also contest upper house seats at state level. The party will be known as the Australian Muslim Party. Founder Diaa Mohamed defended the timing of the announcement days after the Paris terrorist atrocities, insisting there had never been a
more critical time for the Muslim community to have a political voice in Australia. As a devout Muslim, he said he would never condone the killing of innocents as seen on the streets of Paris and Beirut in the past week but said the Australian Muslim Party would also never support military action in a Muslim country in response to terrorism. Mr Mohamed, a 34 year-old
France threatens to shut down Mosques
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said he would begin the “dissolution of mosques where hate is preached,” as quoted by Le Figaro newspaper reports Sputnik. According to the minister, the state of emergency announced in the country would allow to “attack preachers of hate” more rapidly. Last month eight terrorists wearing explosive belts attacked
several venues across Paris, killing 129 people and injuring over 350 at restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and in the vicinity of the Stade de France stadium. Responsibility for the attacks was claimed by ISIL. In June, Cazeneuve had said that some 40 foreign imams had been deported from France for preaching hatred in the past three years. French Muslim organizations have strongly condemned the recent deadly terror attacks by the Daesh Takfiri group in Paris. They have censured the infamous attacks that sow chaos and fear and called for unity to defeat this barbaric terrorism. www.pi-media.co.uk
businessman from western Sydney, founded a group called “MyPeace” aimed at improving relations between Muslims and mainstream Australia. He was also behind controversial billboards erected in Sydney in 2011 that claimed “Jesus: a prophet of Islam”. An unmarried father of a nine year-old son, he formerly worshipped at Lakemba Mosque but now attends the Parramatta Mosque. He said the establishment of the AMP was in part a reaction to the six anti-Islamic parties intending to stand for election, including the Australian Liberty Alliance, launched recently by controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, Rise Up and Nick Folkes’ Party for Freedom. The party has already reached out to political experts for advice on a preference strategy, crucial to the election chances of minor parties. Mr Mohamed said he had consulted both Imams and Christian bishops and priests on his intentions to form the party, saying nonMuslims were welcome as members.
120000 Quran copies published in Qatar
120000 copies of the Holy Quran were printed and published as part of the first phase of “Tibyan” specialized Quranic plan in Qatar. According to Al-Sharq newspaper, the plan is being implemented by Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF). Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum Center for Printing Holy Quran in Dubai printed the copies of the Divine Book. The foundation plans to distribute the Qurans among Muslims in Mauritania, Kenya and Sri Lanka. In the second phase of the plan, 370000 Quran copies are due to be published, 70000 of which will be translations of Quran in English, French and Spanish. RAF’s plan to publish one million Quran copies was announced during the holy month of Ramadan.
www.pi-media.co.uk I December 2015
DAMAGE TO PROPERTY
West Yorkshire Police now recognise that some victims of hate crime are targeted because of their religion ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY FORM OF HATE DIRECTED AT YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR RELIGION, REPORT IT TO THE POLICE, IMMEDIATELY. TELL THEM IT’S AN ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIME WHEN YOU CALL.
DON’T ALLOW HATE TO WIN
REPORT IT TO THE POLICE
If you experience any form of Islamophobia, report it to the police. It is crucial that you report any kind of hate, whether it is physical, damage to property, graffiti or verbal abuse.
of British Muslims surveyed by the British Crime Survey had experienced Islamophobia.
IN AN EMERGENCY CALL: 999
HATE CRIME HELPLINE: �
Where can I find out more? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Call (0113) 2773330
MCSF MUSLIM COMMUNITY
SAFETY FORUM (Serving West Yorkshire)
Building Bridges is a project developed by the Hamara Centre (www.hamara.org.uk), funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (www.jrct.org.uk) to address Islamophobia across Leeds.
Amnesty urges EU to stop building fences
I December 2015
Europe must “resist the urge” to seal off its external borders in the wake of the Paris attacks, Amnesty International has said. The human rights body said that if European Union member states were to build fences and seal borders in an attempt to keep migrants out, it would fuel human rights abuses and do nothing to enhance its own security. “The expanding fences along Europe’s borders have only entrenched rights violations and [are] exacerbating the challenges of managing refugee flows in a
WORLD NEWS I 21
humane and orderly manner,” John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia, said in a report entitled “Fear and Fences”. “Giving in to fear in the wake of the atrocious attacks on Paris will not protect anyone. The numbers fleeing persecution and conflict have not gone away, nor has their entitlement to protection. “In the wake of this tragedy, the failure to extend solidarity to people seeking shelter in Europe, often after fleeing the very same kind
of violence, would be a cowardly abdication of responsibility and a tragic victory for terror over humanity,” Dalhuisen said. The report also says European moves to fence off its borders were denying refugee access to asylum and exposing them to ill-treatment. EU member states have built more than 235 kilometers of fences on its external borders costing €175 million ($186.3 million), including along more than 40 kilometers of Greece and Bulgaria’s frontiers with Turkey. European countries should instead open “safe and legal routes” that will allow resettlement, family reunification and humanitarian admissions, the report concluded.
PI TV News and Sport
Zara fires French manager for barring Muslim women
Zara fired two employees from a French store after social media outrage over a woman being denied entry for wearing a Muslim headscarf. “This type of mentality is unheard of at Zara and there have never been instructions given out to act this way,” said Jean-Jacques Salaun, head of Zara’s French stores. Salaun said a security guard at the store in Plaisir, west of Paris, asked the woman to remove her
headscarf, known as a hijab. When the woman refused, she was not allowed to enter. French law bars people from wearing full-face veils such as with the burqa or the niqab, but the hijab covers only a woman’s hair. The Spanish company confirmed it had dismissed the manager and security guard. The incident occurred during a tense weekend in France following attacks that left 129 dead.
Video of the encounter was posted on social media, prompting calls for a boycott. Salaun said he offered the woman a full apology as soon as he heard about the incident. “Respect for diversity is the fundamental pillar on which Inditex (Zara’s parent company) was founded, with more than 140,000 employees worldwide representing a rich multitude of cultures and religions,” Zara said in a statement.
www.pi-media.co.uk I December 2015
Emirates signs record-breaking deal with ATP to be lead sponsor
Emirates has signed a five-year deal to become the premier partner of the ATP World Tour from 2016, the biggest sponsorship in the history of the men’s tennis tour organisation. The deal will see Emirates will replace Corona as the lead sponsor of the men’s tour at the end of this year, as well as retain its current partnership as official airline partner. While no official figures have been given by either party, the deal is reportedly worth somewhere in the region of $50 million, based on a report from earlier this year on Sports Business Daily. Emirates will benefit from global marketing rights via the tour’s net branding at approximately 60 tournaments worldwide to reach a cumulative broadcast audience in excess of 800 million. The Dubai-based airline will also
feature on the tour’s official website ATPWorldTour.com, which has over 325 million visits a year. “It says a lot about where we are as a sport that an industry leader in Emirates, such a highly regarded and well established player in the sports marketing world, has chosen to further increase its presence and association with the ATP World Tour,” said Chris Kermode, ATP executive chairman and president. “The partnership provides a long term commitment and a true vote of confidence for the future health of our sport. We look forward to continuing and developing the successful partnership we have built over the years.” Boutros Boutros, Emirates divisional senior vice president corporate communications, marketing and brand, said the airline
Former Liverpool manager linked with Qatar job
Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers is reportedly in talks with a Qatar club about a possible managerial job. The Northern Irishman was sacked from his job as Liverpool boss earlier this season, bringing a three-year tenure to an end. Having missed out on the Premier League title in the 2013/14 season, Rogers failed to adequately replace
star striker Luis Suarez, and finished up in sixth place last season, outside of the lucrative Champions League places. Now the former Watford, Reading and Swansea is being linked to a managerial return with an unnamed club in Qatar, where a lucrative package that includes a $15 million salary, is being offered, according to a report in The Express.
is pleased to enhance its partnership with the ATP World Tour. “For Emirates, the global reach offered by sponsoring the ATP World Tour affords us the opportunity to connect and engage with millions of tennis fans around the globe. Emirates offers direct flights to nearly 90 percent of the 32 countries visited by the ATP World Tour making this partnership particularly relevant for our customers. Tennis truly is an international sport and it is our own appreciation of this sport that has been the catalyst behind our growing tennis sponsorship portfolio,” he said. Emirates has been a platinum partner of the ATP World Tour since 2013, as well as title sponsor of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
NFL Detroit starr Abdullah records career high
Former Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah had a day to remember, setting career-highs for rushing yards in Detroit’s 45-14 blowout of the Philadelphia Eagles. Abdullah carried the ball 16 times for 63 yards, and added a catch for 12 yards as the Lions improved to 4-7 with the win. The former Husker also returned one kickoff for 25 yards in the win. The rushing performance bested Abdullah’s previous career high of 50 set in the season opener. The 16 carries were also a career high. Perhaps more importantly, Abdullah has gone five games without a fumble, after battling ball control issues earlier in the year.
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I December 2015
Muslim football coach wins Sportswomen of the year awards
Ground-breaking football coach Annie Zaidi has won a top accolade at the 2015 Sportswomen of the Year Awards. She was awarded the Hellen Rollason prize for inspiration at the London ceremony last month. David Beckham told the star studded event in a video message that Annie was “an inspiration to so many people”. Annie, is the only Muslim woman football coach in the region. ‘Football is my second religion.’ Meet Coach Annie, the first female Muslim football coach in the UK Football coach Annie Zaidi hopes her national award will inspire other women. She has overcome years of sexist
and racial abuse to pursue her goals. She currently coaches the under 11s at the Leicester City Girls’ of Excellence at Oadby. But as a life-long Arsenal supporter she has her eyes set on the top coaching job at the Emirates Stadium. Annie, 31, who wears a headscarf, won the award which is named after Hellen Rollason a pioneering television sports journalist. The citation for the award said: “Annie Zaidi is the first South Asian and Muslim woman in her region to acquire a Level 2 coaching certification badge from the Football Association. “When she was the only female
manager of a Sunday league team in her area, Zaidi endured overwhelming levels of discrimination from opposition team managers and parents. “However, despite the abuse and lack of inclusion, she did not abandon her dreams, maintaining her passion to coach football.” She has just competed her spell in West London coaching the Under 21 men’s team at Queen’s Park Rangers. She sees her time with QPR as a great step towards her goal of one day becoming a coach in the professional men’s game. With the support of QPR director Les Ferdinand and the former Rangers manager Chris Ramsey, she has undertaken her UEFA B licence. Zaidi said she coached at QPR every week and told the boys how it was really done. She added: “I’m hoping to get my UEFA B licence done at the end of this year. “My ultimate job in football? “Well that would be to coach the Arsenal men’s team maybe.” The winner of the Sportswoman of the Year title was Jessica EnnisHill for winning the world heptathlon title in the summer.
Palestine thrash Malaysia once again in World Cup qualifier Palestine handed Malaysia another 6-0 thrashing in their World Cup Group A qualifying match in Amman, Jordan. Striker Ahmed Abunahia starred with a hat-trick at the Amman International Stadium last month. Jonathan Zorrilla opened scoring in the 37th minute before Ahmed scored his with goals in the 38th, 44th and 58th minutes. Substitute Tamer Seyam and Jaka Hbaisha added two late goals in the 88th and 90th minutes. Malaysia, who went down 6-0 to
Palestine at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil in June, were hardly a match for their more superior opponents. The Palestinians attacked the Malaysian goal from the opening whistle and forced interim coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s men to backpedal for most part of the game. They were lucky to troop off trailing by only three goals at halftime. Goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat was a busy man making at least half-a-dozen saves.
The Kelantan custodian saved two point-blank shots while defensive midfielder Mohd Shahrul Saad cleared one shot off the line. The win put Palestine in second spot in the five-team standings with nine points – four behind leaders Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) dropped to third spot with six points but they have two games in hand. Malaysia remained in fourth place with four points while Timor Leste are at the bottom with two points. www.pi-media.co.uk
Ibn Al-Haytham – The First Scientist 24I FEATURED
When learning about the Muslim scholars of the past, it is easy to be amazed by their brilliance, accomplishments, and contributions to the modern world. Each provided a lasting legacy that changed the world in their time and today. One scientist in particular stands far above the rest. He is Ibn al-Haytham, the great polymath who lived from 965 to 1040. He was born in the Iraqi city of Basra during the Abbasid Caliphate. He came about 100 years after the establishment of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. Undoubtedly the culture of learning and advancement present in the Muslim world at that time had a great impact on him from an early age. He studied Islamic sciences and soon became
www.pi-media.co.uk I December 2015
a mayor of the city of Basra. During this time, he continued to study, focusing on sciences and other empirical subjects. His big break, however, would come in another part of the Muslim world. Ibn al-Haytham in Egypt During his time as mayor of Basra, the Fatimid rival caliph in Egypt al-Hakim (the Fatimids were Ismaili Shias who rejected the caliphate of the Sunni Abbasids in Iraq) heard of an idea that Ibn al-Haytham had to dam the Nile. Al-Hakim was a man of contradictions. Although he was the leader of the heretical Ismaili branch of Shiism that most scholars of the day completely rejected, he opened up his domain to anyone who could benefit it. Al-Hakim invited
Ibn al-Haytham to come to Egypt to attempt his radical idea to dam the Nile. After travelling down the Nile to see where a potential dam could be built, he realized his plan could not go into effect with the technology of the day. There happened to be one problem: al-Hakim was known to be act irrationally ruthless, and acted quite insane on occasion. In order to escape some kind of punishment, Ibn al-Haytham pretended to be even more insane than al-Hakim himself! This daring idea saved him from excecution, but placed him under house arrest in Cairo for the remainder of al-Hakim’s life – 10 years. Those 10 years didn’t even seem as punishment to the brilliant scientist. During this time, he got
I December 2015
the peace and quiet he wanted to pursue his research. During this time, he dived into the study of light. He wanted to understand what light is, how it works, and how humans see objects. Although what he studied and discovered was truly revolutionary, the way he researched was one of his biggest contributions. The Scientific Method Today, it is understood to students of science that everything must be proven. You cannot make claims about scientific theories based on assumption without experimentation. Before Ibn al-Haytham, that was not the case. The ancient Greek philosophies of science still held weight. The Greeks believed that scientific fact can be discovered through reason, or simply attributed to the actions of the gods. Ibn alHaytham knew better. He was the first scientist in history to insist that everything be proven through a given method for discovering new information – the scientific method. Western textbooks today usually give little information about the history of the scientific method. Usually the ancient Greek philosophies are mentioned, followed by the “revolutionary” work of Roger Bacon, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton. The truth that is forgotten is that those European scholars stood on the shoulders of Ibn al-Haytham (and other Muslim scientists). Without his ideas about proving scientific theories, we may still be living in a time when speculation, superstition, and unproven myths are the basis of science. The Book of Optics Using his revolutionary scientific method, Ibn al-Haytham takes leaps and bounds into the field of optics. In his book, The Book of Optics, he was the first to disprove the ancient Greek idea that light comes out of the eye, bounces off objects, and comes back to the eye. He delved further into the way the eye itself works. Using dissections and the knowledge of previous scholars, he was able to begin to explain how light enters the eye, is focused, and is projected to the back of the eye. In a similar way, he is the first to study the phenomenon of the pinhole
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camera. The concept of a pinhole camera is simple: a box with a tiny hole on one side is able to project an image of whatever is outside onto a side of the box on the inside. Those familiar with the way modern cameras work will notice that that is how cameras work in general, but today with the addition of lenses. Ibn al-Haytham was able to build these pinhole cameras hundreds of years before the modern development of photography as we know it. He also studied the way light is affected when moving through a medium such as water or gasses. From this, he was able to explain why the sky changes color at twilight (the sun’s rays hit the atmosphere at an angle, causing refraction). From this, he was able to calculate the depth of the earth’s atmosphere, 1000 years before it would be proven by spaceflight. The translation of The Book of Optics had a huge impact on Europe. From it, later European scholars were able to build the same devices as he did, and understand the way light works. From this, such important things as eyeglasses, magnifying glasses, telescopes, and cameras were developed. Beyond Light As if revolutionizing the way humanity understands light and leading to the development of things we can’t live without in the 2000s wasn’t enough, Ibn al-Haytham also pioneered in other fields. In 1020s and 1030s, he wrote numerous books on astronomy. He wrote about the mistakes of the Ptolemaic model of how the stars and planets move and provided a more realistic view of the way the universe works (although he knew the earth to be a sphere, he stuck to the ancient Greek idea that the earth was the center of the universe). He completely refuted astrology as a scientific subject. Continuing with his firm belief scientific ideas needing to be proven, he came to the conclusion that the ideas of astrology were not rooted in any type of science, but in the thoughts and feelings of astrologers. He also noted that astrology directly contradicts one of the main ideas of Islam – that God is the cause of all things, not
astronomical bodies. He had a great influence on Isaac Newton, who was aware of Ibn al-Haytham’s works. He studied the basis of calculus, which would later lead to the engineering formulas and methods used today. He also wrote about the laws governing the movement of bodies (later known as Newton’s 3 laws of motion) and the attraction between two bodies – gravity. It was not, in fact, the apple that fell from the tree that told Newton about gravity, but the books of Ibn al-Haytham. Since he was also trained in the traditional Islamic sciences, he also wrote on how to use empirical methods to disprove a false prophet, and how to use math to calculate the prayer direction towards Makkah. In a precursor to modern psychology, he researched the effect music therapy can have on humans and animals. Legacy The list of accomplishments and contributions of Ibn al-Haytham goes on and on. The truly amazing thing is that he wrote over 200 books, but only around 50 have survived till today. What he discovered that we do not even know about probably far outshines even the amazing works that have made it to the present day. Unfortunately, his contributions have been overlooked since his death. While he was never someone who cared for the fame and prestige that came with being a great scholar, the unawareness today’s world has about his contributions is unsettling. When his books were translated into Latin as the Spanish conquered Muslim lands in the Iberian Peninsula, he was not referred to by his name, but rather as “Alhazen”. The practice of changing the names of great Muslim scholars to more European sounding names was common in the European Renaissance, as a means to discredit Muslims and erase their contributions to Christian Europe. Regardless, his brilliant mind inspired countless others who stood on his shoulders. It is not a stretch to say that without his research, the modern world of science that we know today would not exist.
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