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Pride of Britain

Issue: 116

December 2017

How a life journey inspired Maryam to become the pride of our community

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Maryam Ali, 21 from Leeds last month received the highly coveted Pride of Sports ‘Coach of The Year Award’, which was presented by Dame Kelly Holmes and Sally Gunnell. Her journey has been tough, as a bright young lady who was completely transformed her life in the last few years, coming from a broken family she found it difficult to find stability and peace. She missed a year of high school and subsequently had to do an extra year to complete her formal education. She was often found running away from home because she found it difficult to cope with the emotional pressure she faced with the separation of her parents. But then with support from youth workers and mentors, she finally found her passion; helping others. She was finally channeling her energies in helping other children facing similar situations and general difficulties in life. In her quest to help other girls gain confidence and improve their self-esteem, Maryam undertook a ‘cricket activators’ course and subsequently successfully completed her level 2 d by Certifie

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By North Kirklees Burial Council

Update on Death Tax All you need to know

On the 12th September, Kirklees Metropolitan Council Bereavement Services issued an email circular to all burial/funeral providers informing them that they had conducted a review, carried out a consultation alongside an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) and arrived at the conclusion that burial fees would be increased over the next five years. We can confirm that no such consultation had or has taken place to date with any of the affected stakeholders that includes affected burial committees and the wider community at large. Prior to 2017, the council enacted small rises on an incremental basis in line with other local authorities across the UK. However, the proposed increases that are part of a 5-year business model are best described as inflation busting in nature. Therefore, prices will rise by more than 100 per cent for burials between 2017-2022. Furthermore, the business model and associated pricing structure goes further and paves the way for the introduction of additional charges for evening and weekend burials (no charges are levied for this at present) and an additional premium for Friday burials after 12.30pm. These additional price increases effectively amount to a surcharge (ÂŁ500+) for any individual wanting to conduct a burial after 3.30pm during the week or the weekend. Why now, and why so much? Kirklees Council case for proposing these changes is based on the fact that the current fees regime in their eyes simply does not cover the cost of burials and that burials are being subsidised. We have written to the council in an official capacity and asked them to provide a comprehensive breakdown of costs and show how burials are being subsidised. To date, once again the

council have issued a statement but have failed to provide evidence to back up their claims. NKMBC (North Kirklees Muslim Burial Council) and the public are simply not prepared to accept this argument blindly and urge the council to disclose information in writing as soon as possible to the relevant parties in question. It seems to us that the council is actively looking to raise money or stop providing certain services from every department going forward. Kirklees Council Bereavement Services alone seeks to raise in excess of £250,000 by raising burial fees. Kirklees Council was actively seeking to implement these changes at the Kirklees Cabinet meeting (Labour Party administration) on the 19th of September 2017 in effectively one week after the notice was issued. The council was seeking to implement these proposals once passed by cabinet on the 1st of November 2017. NKMBC challenged KMC upon receipt of the original email on the 13th of September 2017 seeking a formal response concerning the implications of their proposals. The council stated they would issue a formal statement and to this date the latter has not been forthcoming. We were astounded at the speed by which Kirklees Council in effect were attempting to railroad these proposals through without any detailed scrutiny. The NKMBC responded immediately and set in motion a process by which an alert was issued to all members and the wider public informing them of the impending changes proposed by the council. A petition was launched to seek the support of the public against these extortionate rises, and representations and deputations have been duly made to MP’s, elected ward councillors, cabinet members across the Kirklees district.

We are of the view that the price increases are unfair, unjustified and completely disproportionate. The plans in their current form will undoubtedly have the great impact on the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society at a time where the cost of living is increasing all the time whilst wages and benefits have fallen in real terms since 2007 and continue to fall. The additional charges on those requiring to bury their loved ones on evening and weekends is the final nail in the coffin of this sorry saga unfolding before our very own eyes. NKMBC in association with HMBC (Huddersfield Muslim Burial Council) and IMWS (Indian Muslim Welfare Society) with support from the public exerted tremendous pressure on the council to rethink their proposals. However, Labour Leader of Kirklees Council at the cabinet meeting on the 19th of September 2017 announced the report has been accepted in principle but the implementation would be delayed until an engagement exercise was undertaken with affected groups and individuals in the community especially who had registered an interest with the council. On conclusion of the engagement process, KMC have stated that a further report is to be submitted to the cabinet for a final decision. NKMBC, IMWS and HMBC have confirmed to the community that they will be submitting a report as part of the engagement process as well. The engagement process was launched on 30th of October 2017 at this moment in time. People are being asked if charges need to be increased in order for the service to operate on a non-subsidised basis. The public consultation ends on Friday the 8th of December 2017 and you can make your representations via email: bereavement.engagement@kirklees. gov.uk

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Continued from front page

Maryam Ali pictured with Sally Gunnell and Dame Kelly Holmes cricket coaching course. She now gives up her time to engage ‘hard to reach’ young Muslim girls and has weekly sessions. She is attracting many girls to the sport of cricket who would not otherwise access the sport. However, it’s not just a bright future for Maryam, it’s what aspirations she has for others to achieve that is most commendable. Maryam told PI “The teenage years

are difficult for most of us and have unique challenges, having someone to support you, to lend a listening ear and give you the advice that you need is crucial and can change, in some cases, your destiny.” She has invested much time and effort to build her skills to be able to engage with hard to reach girls from BME communities and hopes that she is able to continue to engage

EU citizens who become British get court reprieve

A European citizen who becomes a British citizen does not lose the right to have a spouse from a non-EU country live with them in the UK, the European court of justice (ECJ) has ruled in a landmark case. After a five-month deliberation it has decided the Home Office was wrong to refuse a dual BritishSpanish citizen the right to have her Algerian husband live with her in the UK. Immigration barristers say the ruling will have widespread implications for EU citizens applying for British passports and those married or considering marriage to a third-country national. “This is great news for EU

citizens who have moved to another European country because it enables them to benefit from sensible EU rules on being joined by family members,” said the immigration barrister Colin Yeo, an expert on freedom of movement. “The court has held that the UK has been wrong to refuse to recognise free movement rights for all those EU citizens who have been naturalising as British following the Brexit referendum. After Brexit, though, all those rights will be lost unless an agreement is reached to retain them.” The case of Garcia Ormazabal and her husband, Toufik Lounes, was referred to the European court

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with young girls to help them with their personal challenges and give them to support and mentioning that they need to achieve every success in life. Maryam is now planning to set up her own organisation that will support young girls access sports and leisure activities to boost their self-esteem and confidence and is looking for sponsors to support that work. “Maryam’s work is a brilliant example of the power of sport to have a positive impact on the wider community, she is inspiring young people and breaking down boundaries. An amazing role model” - Pride of Sport judges Her work has also seen her win numerous other awards including, Winner ‘Young Coach Of The Year’ ECB Coach Awards 2017, Winner ‘Inspirational Award’ National Asian Cricket Awards 2016, Winner ‘Young Coach Of The Year’ Yorkshire Cricket Board 2016, Winner ‘Young Person’s Award’ Hamara Community Awards 2015. Anyone interested in sponsoring Maryam should get in touch with her by email: info@successclubs.co.uk by the high court in London last year after the Home Office rejected an application by the Algerian for permanent residency in the UK. He had come to the UK in 2010 on a six-month visa and then overstayed illegally. Ormazabal moved to the UK as a student in 1996 and has been working in the country full time since 2004. She became a naturalised British citizen in 2009 but also retained her Spanish nationality. The Home Office had argued that Ormazabal’s rights under the freedom of movement directive no longer applied when she became a British citizen in 2010 and that she should be treated like any other British national living in the country who would have to go through strict immigration procedures to assess whether her husband qualified to be in the UK.


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I December 2017

First Muslim woman becomes detective superintendent in Scotland Yard

Scotland Yard has appointed its first Muslim and Asian woman Shabnam Chaudhri as a detective superintendent of police, a private media outlet reported. British-Pakistani Chaudhry, hailing from Karachi, moved to London with her family when she was two years old. In recognition of her “outstanding contribution” to fighting hate crime and criminal gangs, Chaudhri has been appointed as the first Muslim woman to become a detective superintendent of the Metropolitan Police Service. Speaking about her experience,

Chaudhri said, “Becoming detective superintendent is a big achievement for me because I worked for six years for this position. I have fought crime gangs, I have been kicked, attacked, punched, assaulted, chased and gangs have targeted me.” The challenges faced by Chaudhri during her career as a policewoman, however, are not all of the challenges she had to overcome to reach this position. In addition to fighting crime, Chaudhri had to fight a much more personal fight at home against familial pressure to get married at an early age. Recalling the time when she

joined the police in London in 1989, she said, “My parents wanted me to get married early and settle down. I opposed and joined the police to make a difference.” She further said, “When my parents saw that I was fighting crime and helping people in need, they became happy and proud of me. Those were times when there were not many Asian and Muslim women in the police. Women from our background are still reluctant to come to the police but I think they should apply for police jobs.” During her 28 years of service with the Met police across London, Chaudhri has won dozens of awards. Moreover, she works with other women to raise awareness on hate crimes and domestic abuse among women from such areas as have relatively less access to police. Speaking about her career, Chaudhri said that the nature of a policewoman’s job has changed over the years, with the introduction of more sophistication and better planning in the department’s work. “Everyday brings a new challenge in this job,” she said. “I have dealt with every kind of job. We have vests to protect ourselves against attacks. We have the equipment to keep ourselves safe. I have managed teams and I have been on front line duty. I am not scared of anything and that’s what I have learned while being in the police,” she said.


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US misled UK over Iraq invasion: Gordon Brown

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The United States misled Britain into thinking that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before invading the country in 2003, former UK prime minister Gordon Brown has revealed. Brown made the explosive allegation in his new book “My Life, Our Times,” where he states that Washington deliberately withheld a secret US intelligence report into Iraq’s military capabilities from London knowing that its findings could have changed the course of events. “It is astonishing that none of us in the British government ever saw this American report,” Brown writes. The former premier claims that as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he had greater access to secrets than the rest of the cabinet ministers, but he was reassured by the UK intelligence

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agency MI6 that evidence about former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s WMDs was well-founded. However, having reviewed the evidence since leaving office, he writes that he now believes “we were all misled on the existence of WMDs”. “It is astonishing that none of us in the British government ever saw this American report,” Brown writes. “It is now clear how forcibly this report challenged the official view: ‘We’ve struggled to estimate the unknown … We range from 0 percent to about 75 percent knowledge on various aspects of their [Iraq’s WMD] program.” He says Washington had clearly based all of its claims about Iraq’s nuclear weapons on “assessments” that relied on “analytic assumptions

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and judgment rather than hard evidence.” It was the same story with chemical agents and Iraqi missiles that could allegedly reach Britain but were never found. “This highly confidential US evidence was a refutation not only of the claim that Iraq was producing WMDs but also of their current capability to do so,” the former PM continued. Admitting that Saddam’s failure to comply with United Nations resolutions was reason enough for international action against him, Brown still wonders if the invasion and occupation of Iraq was justified. “Given that Iraq had no usable chemical, biological or nuclear weapons that it could deploy and was not about to attack the coalition, then two tests of a just war were not met: war could not be justified as a last resort and invasion cannot now be seen as a proportionate response,” he writes. Brown adds that the US report was never taken into account by the so-called Chilcot inquiry into Britain’s role in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Conducted by Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry took seven years to conclude that then British prime minister Tony Blair chose to join the invasion before “peaceful options for disarmament” had been exhausted.

Exhibition on ‘Birmingham Quran’ Opens in Abu Dhabi A digital exhibition of the manuscript of the ‘Birmingham Quran’, one of the oldest surviving parts of the Quran in the world, was inaugurated at the Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi, the UAE. Birmingham Quran is more than 1,350 years old, having been carbon-dated to 468-645AD. The origin of the four-page manuscript, which has been in the possession of the University of Birmingham since

the 1930s, had not been properly determined until recently when a professor noticed that the binding appeared uniquely different from known vellum bindings of existing old manuscripts. Noora Mohammad Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, who attended the opening of the exhibition last month, said: “Our two countries share a belief in the

importance of preserving, sharing and celebrating culture. I believe that bringing the Birmingham Quran exhibition to the UAE will play an important role in fostering mutual respect and understanding between our nations, cultures and faiths. From Abu Dhabi, the exhibition will move to Atrium 6 in Dubai’s Design District from April 19 to May 3, 2018, according to WAM.


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Cambridge Uni under fire for stance on anti-Israel meeting

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The University of Cambridge has been criticized for threatening to cancel and replacing the chair of a meeting about an anti-Israel movement. The institution is now facing accusations of censorship following a meeting which was related to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Ruba Salih from the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) was supposed to oversee the event featuring Palestinian BDS activist, Omar Barghouti, but organizers

said they had been forced to cancel Salih’s participation hours before it was about to start. They said the university officials had intervened by claiming they were worried about her neutrality. Palestinian activists say the incident highlights the increasingly restrictive atmosphere for detractors of Israel on campuses across the UK. “Removing a respected Palestinian academic as chair of a panel event based on an unsubstantiated assumption about her lack of ‘neutrality’, and in doing

so bowing to external pressure from a pro-Israel lobby group, cannot be construed as anything other than a naked attack on free speech and, more particularly academic freedom,” Ed McNally, the Cambridge student who organized the event, told Al Jazeera. Following the incident, hundreds of students and academics signed an open letter slamming Salih’s removal as chair of the event. Meanwhile, a university spokesperson told Al Jazeera that the institution is “fully committed to freedom of speech and expression”. Salih said she had not received any explanation from the university about their decision. “I don’t know the exact terms under which my role as chair was defined as inappropriate for the debate, and which narratives the university has used for the forced replacement of the chair,” she said. A number of other universities in the UK have already banned their students from holding events in solidarity with the people of Palestine. www.pi-media.co.uk

UK must recognize Palestine as a state: Corbyn In Case You Missed It

The UK must recognize Palestine as a state, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says, criticizing the British government for celebrating the 100year anniversary of a document that paved the way for Israel’s creation. Corbyn attended a proPalestinian rally in London, two days after refusing to take part in a series of events held by PM Theresa May to commemorate the centenary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, a short 67-word letter named after then British Foreign Minister Arthur James Balfour. Speaking before a crowd of thousands, Corbyn said the right way to mark the centenary was for the British government to unilaterally

recognize Palestine as a state. “Let us mark the Balfour anniversary by recognizing Palestine as a step toward a genuine two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict,” the main opposition leader said. “We must increase international pressure for an end to the 50year occupation of the Palestinian territories, illegal settlement expansion and, of course, the blockade of Gaza,” he added. Arguing that lasting peace in the Middle East was only possible through a “negotiated settlement” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Corbyn said the world had a “special responsibility to the Palestinian

people who are still denied their basic rights.” The protesters gathered outside the US embassy in London before marching towards Trafalgar Square, calling on the British government to apologize for Balfour Declaration, which they blasted as a “historic crime.” They held signs reading “Free Palestine” and Justice for Palestine,” while chanting, “Free, Free Palestine” and “Occupation no more.” They also condemned as an open insult the government’s invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the event.


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Muslim Schools body cannot appeal Al-Hijrah judgment

The Association of Muslim Schools is not allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court against a ruling that one of its members broke the law by segregating boys and girls. The Court of Appeal decided that the AMS cannot be named as an “interested party” in the case of AlHijrah school in Birmingham, which judges ruled last month had broken equalities law. The ruling is widely expected to become a test case for other mixedsex schools that segregate, and Ofsted will use it to inform future inspections. Neither Al-Hijrah school nor Birmingham City Council sought permission to appeal the ruling in October, but the AMS did, warning that it could cause a conflict between its legal and religious responsibilities.

However, the Court of Appeal has refused to let it be named as a respondent, interested party or intervenor in the case, which would have allowed it to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. Ashfaque Alichowdhury, the chair of the AMS, claims last month’s ruling “may have created a conflict” between its duties to both ensure its schools comply with their legal obligations and “act in a way which is consistent with Islamic teachings and practices”. This conflict “compromises the association’s ability to fulfil what it understands are its purposes”, and puts those schools that segregate pupils at “immediate risk of challenge” from statutory bodies and other interested parties. The Court of Appeal refused the

AMS’ application on several grounds. The AMS was aware of the proceedings and the appeal but never applied to be an interested party or intervenor until after the conclusion of the appeal. The proceedings “concern the legality of a specific report by Ofsted about the particular arrangements for pupils in the school” and the school itself accepts the decision. This is not a case in which the losing party does not have the resources to appeal or is for some other reason prevented from appealing. Judgments are limited to the precise arrangements for segregation in the school at the time of the relevant Ofsted report. They do not address other situations mentioned by Alichowdhury. It was never part of the claim or the appeal that the court should direct Ofsted what to do. The court also claimed it would have refused permission to appeal even if its application to become an interested party or intervenor had been successful. This is because an appeal “would have no real prospect of success”, and any subsequent application to the Supreme Court “would itself foster uncertainty for an unpredictable period and with an uncertain outcome with implications for the council and the claimant school which accept and wish to implement our decision”. www.pi-media.co.uk

MCB welcomes Ratko Mladic Sentencing

Last month Ratko Mladlic, ‘The Butcher of Bosnia,’ has been sentenced to life imprisonment, more than 20 years after the Srebrenica genocide in 1995 where more than 7,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys were roundly gathered and executed. Srebrenica has been dubbed the greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB said, ”This is without doubt a great day for justice for tens

of thousands of victims and their families who have waited so long for this day. Twenty two years after their loved ones were deceived, trapped and killed by Bosnian Serb militia – led by General Ratko Mladic – they can now find some form of closure”. “Mladic, who led the systematic massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys and buried them in mass graves, has evaded justice for far too long, and regrettably still shows no remorse in his

actions. It is high time he faces the consequences of his actions. This sentencing sends a strong message to those who espouse hate and corruption, that evil has no place in our society, and justice, however long it takes, will eventually prevail”. “Seven thousand civilians are still missing to this day. No doubt the scars of the Srebrenica genocide will forever remain etched in our memories, and we will continue to remember them every year on July 11th”.


Muslims concerned over schools’ hijab inspection

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I December 2017

A leading British Muslim group has voiced concerns over school inspecting authority, Ofsted, plans to question young Muslim girls on hijab, saying the proposal challenges the British values of religious freedom. “It is deeply worrying that Ofsted has announced it will be specifically targeting and quizzing young Muslim girls who choose to wear the headscarf,” the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) secretary general Harun Khan said in a statement shared by the group on Twitter.

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“It sends a clear message to all British women who adopt this that they are second-class citizens, that while they are free to wear the headscarf, the establishment would prefer that they do not. The many British Muslims who choose to wear the headscarf have done extremely well in education and are breaking glass ceilings,” he added. The MCB statement followed the announcement by Ofsted chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, that the body will be

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asking Muslim girls in primary school why they wear hijab The controversial move is the first official stance with the regard to the rise of classroom hijab in state schools in England. Spielman said she wants to make sure schools are not breaching equality laws by requiring only girls to wear religious garments. “In seeking to address these concerns, inspectors will talk to girls who wear such garments to ascertain why they do so in the school,” said Spielman. The move was criticized by the MCB as disappointing. “It is disappointing that this is becoming policy without even engaging with a diverse set of mainstream Muslim voices on the topic,” Khan said. “Such an approach risks being both counter-productive and undermining the very British values it claims to promote. One can only hope that this wrong-headed approach will be swiftly reversed, and the reasonable and sincere choices of young children and their parentseven if they are Muslim- will not be dismissed so easily.”

Govt stats highlight hidden purpose of Prevent In Case You Missed It

Figures published by the Home Office showing an exponential increase in the number of Muslims being reported to the controversial Prevent anti-terror programme reinforce the widely held view that it is being used as a cudgel to batter the minority community. Of all referrals made in 20152016, 65% were for matters relating to so-called Islamic extremism meaning that Muslims, who represent 4% of Britain’s population, were over 40 times more likely to be tagged by Prevent than nonMuslims. More worryingly, of the 4,997

people referred to Prevent for “Islamic extremism” 1,504 were children under the age of 15, vindicating concerns that the duty imposed on public sector professionals such as teachers and health workers to report individuals at risk of extremism has led to increased targeting of the Muslim community. This is put into sharp relief by the fact that out of these nearly 5000 referrals only 264 or just over 5% were passed on to the Channel deradicalisation programme. The low percentage of actual extremists caught in what is

essentially a dragnet only reinforces the criticism that Prevent is counterproductive as it is alienating the Muslim community in the same way that stop and search laws alienated Britain’s Afro-Caribbean community in the 1970’s and 80’s. From the very beginning IHRC has seen Prevent as a social engineering and spying exercise to transform attitudes in the Muslim community and gather intelligence on its members. As an integral part of discriminatory anti-terrorism legislation Prevent has become an aggressive tool for the state to control the community.


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Unique project aims to fight against Islamophobia in Australia In Case You Missed It

April Robinson is still shocked when she hears stories from Muslim women about being spat on, pushed over, having their head scarf torn from their heads, or simply being ignored. But instead of sitting idly by she decided to do something about it, and started The Resilient Women project in conjunction with the Uniting Church in Australia. For the past three years the Interfaith Research and Network Developer has heard perpetual stories of Muslim women being victimized in public. “Public violence is not exclusively experienced by Muslim women,” Ms Robinson says. “But, I learned that for this group [of women], this abuse is much more serious.” She says the aim of this project is to raise awareness and devise strategies to address the ongoing

attacks and insults against these women across Australia. “This problem is largely unnoticed by the public, which means the vulnerability of Muslim women to public violence goes without a response [and] I wanted to provide that response,” Ms Robinson says. Through the project’s forums, women from different backgrounds, including Islam, share their stories and experiences. Ms Robinson says these forums are an attempt to develop positive initiatives for individuals, community leaders, and government agencies as a way to respond to violence against women. “It is our hope … that this project has helped to amplify women’s voices, bringing more awareness of not only the attacks women face, but also their resolve,” she says. “Resilient Women is about ensuring that these stories of

violence do not define them and it aims to pay homage to their inspirational determination to move beyond fear and continue building their lives and community.” Ms Robinson is planning to go to Indonesia later this year to discuss the project with the wider community. “This violence is based not on their characters nor their actions, but on a misplaced belief tying Islam to terrorism,” she says. Last month, the Islamophobia in Australia report, billed as the first of its kind in the country, said almost 80 per cent of women abused were wearing head coverings. The report analyzed 243 verified incidents related to Islamophobia gathered by the Islamophobia Register Australia between 20142015. The report is a collaboration between several universities, the Islamic Science and Research Academy, and the Diversity Council Australia. It states “Islamophobia is not necessarily associated with the public’s reaction to terrorism per se, but perhaps the very existence and visibility of Muslims and Islam”. The report also suggests that there is a lack of knowledge about Islam, and Muslim community members share an equal responsibility in countering Islamophobia in the country. “This responsibility extends beyond raising awareness of anti-Muslim actions to actively engaging with members of the wider community to help shape their views about the faith practiced by Muslims in Australia,” the report states.

Turkey passes halal accreditation agency law Turkey’s parliament approved a law on last month for establishing the country’s first halal accreditation agency. Under the law, the Halal Accreditation Institution (HAK) will have the sole authority for certifying and accrediting halal products— goods made according to Muslim standards—in Turkey. It will also be able to establish offices abroad. The agency will also accredit

Turkish and foreign institutions that grant certificates of halal compliance. The agency, with a staff of 50, will be under the economy ministry, and represent Turkey in the international arena and obtain membership in both regional and international accreditation unions. Halal accreditation agencies enforce halal standards according to Islam in their countries and territories.

They also aim to protect the growing number of halal consumers and facilitate international trade. Global trade in halal products and services is valued at around $3.9 trillion. The halal food market in Turkey is now worth $6 billion annually, and this could rise to $15-20 billion within a decade, according to Hasan Ali Cesur, head of the Anatolian Businessmen’s Association.


Canadians negative feelings toward Islam 14

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A new poll shows almost half of Canadians have a negative opinion about Islam. It’s not hard to see this sentiment having a real world impact, whether it be the rise of a far-right looking to “counter terrorism,” the many anti-Islam rallies across Canada, or recent laws specifically targeting Muslims being passed. The poll, conducted by Angus Reid in October and published this week, shows that while Canadians feel like Canada benefits from the Judeo-Christian religions (the biggest

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benefit being from Catholicism,) the country also feels negative impacts are arising from Sikhism, Atheism and Islam. However, the percentage of Canadians thinking Sikhism or Atheism is hurting the country is under 25% while Islam sits at 46%. “Twice as many Canadians say the presence of Islam in their country’s public life is damaging as say the same about any other religion, a finding that follows a well-documented pattern in Angus Reid Institute polling in recent years.

Namely: if Islam is involved, a significant segment of Canadians will react negatively,” reads the write up accompanying the poll. Another major question that showed the prevalence of Islam in Canadians mind, was when they were asked what religions were gaining influence within Canada. Again, for this questions, Canadians overwhelmingly singled out Islam among the other religions—65% of Canadians think it’s influence is growing, vice.com reported. Overall, it seems like Canadians are of the belief that the influence of Judeo-Christian religions is waning and being outpaced by the other religions in the country, mainly Islam. Further findings of the poll indicate that a quarter of Canadians think that religious diversity is a net negative for Canadian society (44% thought it was a mix of good and bad.) It also found that Canadians seem to be souring on the idea of freedom of religion as only 55% of those responding said they believe it makes the country better—14% said it made it worse and the rest said no impact.

Huawei deny phone alarm function ‘favours Muslims’ Chinese tech giant Huawei has denied favouring Muslims with its phones equipped with alarms for prayers after it was “viciously attacked” by Chinese netizens, state media reported. Huawei issued a statement saying that the alarm function is specifically designed for customers in overseas regions, and is not available in China. Huawei’s statement comes after netizens posted videos and screenshots of one of Huawei’s product commercials showing it designed the alarm function for

users to do morning prayers at nearby mosques. But the commercial has been removed from Huawei’s website and e-commercial websites such as JD.com and Taobao, the state-run Global Times reported. Many netizens criticized Huawei for giving preferential treatment to Muslims with some even calling for a boycott of the company. However, Huawei’s defenders said they believe the company is considerate enough to design such a function for Muslims. The company said someone

I December 2017

In Case You Missed It

“deliberately distorted” the facts and fanned the flames to attack Huawei, and that it has vowed to take legal action. Huawei is a global company which provides customized designs for people from different countries, culture and ethnic groups, the company said. As early as in 2008, Huawei was attracting many Muslims in countries such as Indonesia by designing special functions for them to practice their faith, such as including the Quran in the cell phone, the Global Times report said.


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Indonesia to roll out 1,000 Eco-Mosques by 2020

Worshippers in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, are set to go green with a new initiative that aims to establish 1,000 ecomosques by 2020. Launched last month Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, the initiative will help the mosques to source renewable energy, manage their water and food needs sustainably, reduce and recycle waste and provide environmental education. The project will see the top Muslim clerical body work with the private sector, the government’s health and planning ministries, universities, and other religious groups in a bid to boost environmental awareness in communities across the country. “Most Muslims in Indonesia listen

more to religious leaders than the government,” Hayu Prabowo, head of environment and natural resources at the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said. “If an Islamic leader says something they will follow but if the government says something, they may not.” Indonesia, with 250 million people, has a mixed environmental record. The archipelago is the world’s top thermal coal exporter and palm oil producer, which has led to the clearing and development of swathes of forest land and intense international pressure to limit deforestation. Many of Indonesia’s rural and poorest provinces suffer regular

droughts due to climate change, while children’s education is often hampered by the lack of regular power supply. Hening Parlan, coordinator for environment and disaster management at Aisyiyah, the women’s wing of Indonesia’s second-largest Islamic organization Muhammadiyah, said the idea of eco-mosques stemmed from asking how to make mosques the center for environment and education within a community. “For many Indonesians, their understanding of the environment only happens when they see the impact of climate change (rather than through education) ... if they suffer from floods or landslides for example,” Parlan said. She said the initiative would help mosques establish better water supplies and storage facilities, offer fundraising advice and provide funding to mosques to help them become environmentally friendly. Solar power and biogas will also be promoted over fossil fuels and imams will teach better environmental awareness. The eco-mosque initiative is not the first time MUI has taken the lead on the environment - it has also issued edicts, or fatwas, on forest fires and sustainable mining. There are more than 800,000 mosques in Indonesia but officials hope to create more eco-mosques after the initial 1,000 are established and also include other places of worship.

US to move embassy to Quds US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said President Donald Trump will keep his promise to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, indicating that Washington recognizes the city as the capital of Israel. The American envoy made the comments at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual gathering in New York City.

“The president has also made clear that he intends to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when. And I take the president at his word, and I’m personally committed to do all that I can to advocate for this move,” he said. During his 2016 campaign, Trump came up with the controversial

proposal that caused a lot of discussions. “The United States government treats Israel as it deserves to be treated - as a critical, strategic, and trusted ally in one of the world’s toughest neighborhoods,” Friedman said. Palestinians oppose the move and have repeatedly warned Trump against such an action.


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I December 2017

Muslim woman in India denied job for wearing hijab In Case You Missed It

An Indian social worker was denied a job at an orphanage based in the Indian capital of New Delhi because her recruiter felt that her hijab made her look “like a Muslim lady”. “Everything was going smooth, we exchanged many emails,” Nedal Zoya, a graduate from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, told Al Jazeera. “But a few days ago, I got an email stating that ‘I am sorry to inform you that even [from] a distance of one kilometer you look like a Muslim lady due to your external Muslim gears’.” This comment was referring to her hijab, a headscarf worn by many Muslim women. After being short-listed by the Delhi Orphanage for Girls in October for the post of social worker, Zoya was asked, by Harish Varma, the president and CEO of the orphanage, to give an online test and send a

picture of herself to. Varma suggested Zoya remove her hijab as one of the pre-conditions to proceed with the recruitment process. After Zoya refused to do as she was asked, Varma sent her an email expressing that he was “shocked” to know that “conservative Islam was her priority, not humanity”, and that all her “higher education has gone down drain”. In the email exchange between Varma and Zoya, obtained by Al Jazeera, Varma expressed that he would not allow any kind of religious activities inside the orphanage. Zoya was later informed that another Muslim girl with “modern thoughts” and a “religion free mindset” was hired for the same post. “I don’t take it as a rejection. I don’t consider myself a victim,” the 27-year-old said.

Hungarians take tour to know more about Budapest’s Muslims A walking tour to learn about Budapest’s Muslim community and its mosques has become popular with Hungarians as a way of overcoming fears and reservations amid a strident anti-immigrant campaign by the government. Budapest-based tour operator Setamuhely (Budapest Walkshop) runs 30 different walks taking visitors around the city’s

architectural and cultural sites and the Jewish and Muslim communities. “I can say that this walk, “Muslims who live among us”, is the most popular tour,” said Anna Lenard who runs the business. When the Muslim tour was set up three years ago very few people were interested. “Most people have never met a Muslim in their life and this ...

“My motive was to create [an] awareness as I am not the only one who has faced such discrimination. People at least need to discuss this matter so that such discrimination on the basis of religion and appearance can be questioned,” she said. Local media reported that Saurabh Bharadwaj, Member of the Delhi Legislative Assembly from the ruling Aam Aadmi Party said that his government will take action against Varma if Zoya will officially lodge a complaint, adding that the Indian constitution did not allow anyone to discriminate on the basis of someone’s faith. Varma told Al Jazeera that the decision was taken based on her eligibility for the job and that the candidate he was looking for should be “secular”. “We are a secular country, we are not giving preference to people based on their religion, which is why I want my orphanage to be religionfree,” Varma told Al Jazeera. “My religion is humanity and yes I don’t want any influence of any religion in my organization.” India’s constitution guarantees right to freely profess, practice, and propagate one’s religion. Zoya believes it was an example of how Islamophobia in India is growing and how it can affect the future of India’s Muslim population, some 14 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion people. “[My] scarf adds to my boldness and confidence. And it’s completely my choice to cover my head,” she said.

together with what they hear every day in the media causes a lot of tension and stress in daily life. I think this is the main reason why people are coming now.” Most of the people on the fourhour walk have a college degree, and two-thirds are women, she said, Reuters reported. Hungary’s Muslim community, estimated to number about 40,000, grew with the migration crisis of 2015, though most of them arrived earlier to study at Hungarian universities.


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Teacher in US put on leave for removing students hijabs

A Virginia school district has placed a teacher on leave for removing a student’s hijab from her head. The student took to Twitter after the incident saying that her hijab was “ripped off her head” by a teacher she appreciated and valued, according to WJLA. An account that appears to belong to the student said she was talking with her friend when the teacher pulled off her hijab from behind. To her shock, he then said: “Oh, your hair is so pretty,” she said on Twitter. The Fairfax County Public School district released a statement calling

the incident “inappropriate and unacceptable”. “FCPS takes this incident seriously and, while a thorough investigation of the incident is conducted, the teacher has been placed on leave,” the district said. The Council on American-Islamic Relations confirmed the Twitter statements from the student. “We welcome the decision to place the teacher on leave and to apologize to the student and her family, but further disciplinary action needs to be taken based on the results of the investigation into this disturbing incident,” Nihad Awad, CAIR national

executive director, said. “No student should be bullied or attacked because of his or her faith. Teachers must protect students, not subject them to harassment or intimidation,” School districts have reported hijab pulling at schools across the US from teachers and students in recent months. CAIR also called for the removal of a teacher from a Nashville, Tennessee, charter school last month. A teacher from the school uploaded a video to social media showing a student at the New Vision Academy Charter School having her hijab removed to show students. In the video, the girl is seen trying to cover up her hair as someone tries to pull off her hijab and play with her hair. A Snapchat video of the incident showed students touching the student’s hair with the caption “pretty hair.” The teacher was later suspended without pay last. “New Vision will use this video as an opportunity to press forward with increasing cultural sensitivity and awareness among all members of the New Vision community,” Tim Malone, executive director of the school, said in a statement to WSMV. In May, a Bronx substitute teacher in New York City ripped off a secondgrade student’s hijab because the student was allegedly misbehaving. The teacher was later charged with a hate crime.

Paris to prevent Muslim street prayers The French Interior minister announced that the authorities will stop Muslims from praying on the streets in a Paris suburb, promising to find them an alternative. “They will not have prayers on the street, we will prevent street praying,” Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told Questions Politics, AFP reported. Prayers in the street have been the norm, taking place every Friday in the multiethnic suburb of Clichy-la-Garenne, since March to protest the closure of a popular local mosque that had operated in a

government building but since been turned into a library. Muslims have accused the authorities of not offering a suitable area to build a new mosque. Acknowledging the problem, Collomb promised to find Muslims an alternative. “Muslims must have a place of worship to pray,” he said. “We will make sure we resolve this conflict in the next few weeks,” he added. The comments followed a recent row in which a group of100 local French lawmakersinterrupted

Muslim Friday prayer last month. Worshippers have taken to the streets to pray in recent years often in protest over the shortage of mosques. In 2015 there were calls by some in the Muslim community to turn some of the country’s many empty churches into mosques, which drew much opposition on the right. Also in 2010, prayers in the street became a national issue when Marine Le Pen provoked outrage by comparing street prayers to the Second World War, likening them to an “occupation.”


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Violence against American Muslims highest in over 15 years In Case You Missed It

The condition of minorities in the United States is getting worse. As per data extracted by Pew Research, many more Muslims were subjected to attack in 2016 compared to 2001. In 2001 there were 93 assaults against Muslims. In 2015, the number of reported attacks against them was 91. In 2016 the number went up dramatically to 217. The data source is the hate crime statistics collected by the FBI. The Bureau collects data concerning hate crimes from approximately 15,000 police or law enforcement agencies.

It is apparent that Muslims suffered a significant rise in assaults in the US in the period starting 2015 and ending 2016. Assaults are not the sole type of hate crime done against Muslims and other minority religious groups. Intimidation is extremely common, with the victim afraid of being inflicted body harm. The year 2016 saw intimidation against Muslims on the rise. About 144 victims have reported the harassment. In 2015, the number of reports on the same charge was 120. The numbers, however, are still

few compared to 2001. That year saw 296 victims being subjected to intimidation. Muslims also suffered crimes which included the destruction or damage to property, like vandalism. These also went up from 70 cases in 2015 to 92 in 2016. Hate crimes against Muslims in 2016 clocked up to 307 incidents. This increase in hate crimes is a topping on the already high hate crime statistics in 2016, as total anti-Muslim incidents went up by a massive 67 percent from fewer than half 154 in 2014. The next year saw 257 in 2015. The increase in hate crime incidents has led a number of Muslims living in the United States to say that the community suffers discrimination. The Pew Research Survey done in the earlier months of 2017 discovered that 75 percent of Muslim Americans complain about substantial discrimination against Muslims in America. This view is shared by 69 percent of the general public. Besides these, about 50 percent of the Muslim adults reported that it is tough to be Muslim in America. About 10 percent of this specific group attributed such a condition to prejudice, racism, and discrimination.

Chinese authorities search Muslims’ homes in Xinjiang, confiscate Qurans Authorities in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region have reportedly searched the homes of 30,000 members of the Muslim Kazakh ethnic group, confiscating Qurans, prayer mats and other religious items. A Kazakh resident of Tekes county, in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, said he recently returned to China after a trip across the border in Kazakhstan to find his hometown full of police. He said his name and ID card number were added to a police “wanted” list along with another 60 Kazakhs, for “returning to China after a long absence.” “Between Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, the

homes and residences of 30,000 Kazakhs were forcibly searched,” the source said. “They were looking for Qurans, prayer mats and beads, and anything bearing the name of Allah or the Prophet Mohammed [PBUH].” He said Han Chinese in the area, who had also spent time in Kazakhstan, were left alone in the crackdown. “They confiscated all kinds of religious items,” he said. A second source, a Kazakhlanguage interpreter, gave a similar account. “In Tekes county, 30,000 homes were searched by police for Qurans, prayer mats and also clothing bought in Kazakhstan, and anything

sent by parcel from Kazakhstan,” the source said. “The police confiscated all of it.” Sources said officials had warned people not to try to hide any items, otherwise they would face severe consequences if anything was found later. Minorities are also being pressured into attending early morning flag-raising ceremonies, where people stand to attention as the national anthem is played, they said. The Tekes raids come after Chinese authorities ordered ethnic minority Muslim families in Xinjiang to hand in religious items in September.


I December 2017

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Myanmar, Bangladesh ink Rohingya Muslim return deal

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Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an accord over terms for the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh, both governments said, amid concern that Myanmar’s powerful army could prove obstructive. Rights groups have accused the military in mostly Buddhist Myanmar of carrying out mass rape and other atrocities during a counterinsurgency operation launched in late August in retaliation for attacks by militants in Rakhine State. The United States said the military operation that drove 620,000 Rohingya to seek sanctuary in neighboring, largely Muslim Bangladesh, amounted to “ethnic cleansing”, echoing an accusation first leveled by top U.N. officials in the early days of the humanitarian crisis. Myanmar is seeking to ease international pressure by striking an initial agreement on returns, while Dhaka wants to ensure overstretched

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refugee camps that have mushroomed in the Cox’s Bazar region don’t become permanent. The return of the refugees should start in two months, the pact says, according to Reuters. A joint working group will be set up in three weeks and a specific bilateral arrangement for repatriation “will be concluded in a speedy manner,” the Bangladesh foreign affairs ministry said in a statement. “We are ready to take them back as soon as possible after Bangladesh sends the forms back to us,” Myint Kyaing, a permanent secretary at Myanmar’s ministry of labor, immigration and population, told Reuters, referring to forms the Rohingya must complete with personal details before repatriation. The signing took place after a meeting between Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali in Naypyitaw. In its statement, Myanmar said the deal was based on the 1992-

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1993 repatriation pact between the two countries that followed a previous spasm of violence in Myanmar. Although Western countries and the world Muslim body, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, portrayed the matter as an international issue, Myanmar said it was resolved via two-way talks based on “friendly and good neighborly relations”. “Issues that emerge between neighboring countries must be resolved amicably through bilateral negotiations,” Suu Kyi’s office said. On the basis of the 1992-1993 agreement, Myanmar would accept those who could present identity documents issued to the Rohingya by governments in the past, Myint Kyaing said. Acceptable identity documents include the currently distributed national verification cards, the nowwithdrawn “white cards”, and receipts the Rohingya received for the return of “white cards”, he said. The refugees have to provide names of family members, previous addresses in Myanmar, birthdates and a statement of voluntary return in the forms they fill out, he added. Diplomats have said key deal elements will be the criteria of return and the participation of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. Other important points include safeguards for the Rohingya against further violence, a path to resolving their legal status and whether they would be allowed to return to their own homes and farms. Myint Kyaing declined to elaborate on those points.

New Mexico Mosque starts ‘know Islam’ booth Amid rising anti-Muslim sentiment, the small Muslim community in Las Cruces, US state of New Mexico, have set up a ‘Know Islam’ public booth, engaging the community, dispelling rumors, and enlightening the public about the true Islam. “We wanted to have a voice about what Islam is for us,” said Sureyya Hussain, 50, who organizes the monthly table, where anyone

can come to learn about Islam, the Washington Post reported. Originally from Wyoming, Hussain, a lawyer and a mother of three, started the monthly event at farmers market. She suggested opening the booth to counter rising Islamophobia fueled by the policies of US President Donald Trump’s administration, including attempts

to ban immigration from Muslimmajority countries. While many centers might choose to keep a low profile, the Islamic Center of Las Cruces, the only mosque in this desert town of 101,000 about an hour north of the Mexican border, decided to engage with the public and debunk myths about their faith. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Zionist regime cleansing alQuds of Palestinian population

Human rights activists warned that the Zionist regime is involved in an “ethnic cleansing” campaign against the generations-long Palestinian residents of Jerusalem al-Quds in order to get rid of their demographic dominance in the Israeli-occupied city. Citing rights groups and researchers, The Middle East eye news and analysis portal reported that Tel Aviv was gradually moving Palestinians out of Jerusalem al-Quds’ Israeli-majority areas by annexing the city’s settlements and turning Palestinian areas into “a no man’s land.”

The regime is advancing the socalled “Greater Jerusalem” aimed at “legalizing” the annexation of the settlements, which house around 150,000 Israelis, to appropriate the land on which it has built the structures. “The pace of physical and demographic changes in the city has accelerated dramatically since Israel began building a steel and concrete barrier through the city’s Palestinian neighborhoods more than decade ago,” the sources said, Press TV reported. Aviv Tartasky, a field researcher with Ir Amim, an Israeli group

advocating fair treatment for Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds, described the developments in the occupied city as “ethnic cleansing, without guns.” “Israel hopes to get rid of a third of Jerusalem’s Palestinian population through legislative moves alone,” he added. Another bill will deny more than 100,000 Palestinians on the “wrong” side of the barrier rights in the city. At the same time, it is employing harsh policies to force the Palestinians inside the wall to move out. Those include late-night arrests, home demolitions, and a denial of basic services. Palestinians want the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state, while Israel lays claim to its entirety as its “eternal capital.” Israel’s settlement construction has accelerated since the January inauguration of US President Donald Trump. He has also signaled that he would move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds as a means of endorsing the regime’s claim to the city.

Muslim countries urged to secure a lager share in global halal market Producers and exporters from 57 Muslim countries have been encouraged to secure halal certification to take advantage of the lucrative global market. “There are no Muslim countries among the 10 biggest halal exporters in the world,” Assad Sajjad Zaidi, CEO of International Halal Center, told the World Halal Summit in Istanbul (WHSI). He cited a lack of global branding in the Islamic world. India, Brazil, Austria, the US., Argentina, New Zealand, France, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore are 10 the biggest exporters in the halal market, Zaidi said. He said these 10 countries’ share of the halal market was 85 percent. India is the biggest halal meat

exporter and Thailand is the biggest halal product exporter, he stated. He also said Muslim countries have a 15 percent share in all halal markets; Malaysia and Indonesia are the two main countries among these. Halal is not limited to meat only; products with pig derivatives, such as bone or skin, are used in several areas including paint, toothpaste, medicine and beauty products. He stated: “Movement of halal products created a new halal value chain.” A halal-certified product means it is compliant with Islamic law which has a direct impact on how products are produced, processed, distributed, stored, sold and consumed. Turkey announced recently the

country’s first Halal Accreditation Agency (HAK) which will serve Muslims across the world when it opens before the New Year. Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci also said non-Muslim countries’ firms have 80 percent of $4 billion halal market. Turkey and other Muslim countries should have a bigger share in the world halal market, he added. With the HAK, Turkey wants more Muslim countries to win a better share of the halal market. High-level speakers from more than 80 countries discuss issues surrounding halal food, pharmacy and medicine as well as Islamic finance, tourism and textiles at the event, which will concluded last month.


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Anti-Muslim online surges driven by fake accounts

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A global network of anti-Muslim activists is using Twitter bots, fake news and the manipulation of images to influence political discourse, new analysis reveals. Many have recorded significant growth in their social media followings over the past year, coordinating to push the message that Islam is an “imminent threat” to western society. Researchers from the anti-racist organization Hope Not Hate found that the impact of tweets from one controversial US activist, Pamela Geller, who is banned from the UK, is magnified by 102 bots,automated or semi-automated accounts that automatically tweet or retweet their content. Researchers also monitored a sample of popular anti-Muslim

Twitter accounts in Britain and the US between March and November this year, and found that, on average, there was a 117% growth in followers. Geller, described by critics as a figurehead for Islamophobic organizations, produces the Geller Report, which doubled its viewers to more than two million people each month between July and October. The Gates of Vienna counter-jihadist blog, described by critics as a training manual for anti-Muslim paramilitaries, also doubled in visitors per month during the same period. Patrik Hermansson, researcher for Hope not Hate, said: “The growth among Twitter accounts and websites spreading anti-Muslim hate is alarming. In such a key area of

Taking photos banned at Islam’s holiest sites

The Saudi government has banned pilgrims from taking photos and videos using any devices for any purpose at Islam’s two holiest mosques. According to reports, the ban imposed in Mecca’s Masjid alHaram, known as the Great Mosque of Mecca, and Medina’s Masjid anNabawi, or ‘The Prophet’s Mosque,’ was taken by the Saudi foreign ministry on Nov 12. The change was communicated by the ministry through a

diplomatic note sent to accredited representatives of foreign countries on Saudi Arabian soil. Saudi authorities stated that the measure was imposed to protect and preserve the holy sites, prevent disturbances of worshippers and ensure tranquility while performing acts of worship. In recent years, many pilgrims to both holy sites have posted pictures on Instagram and Facebook, ranging from posing in front of the Kaaba, to taking selfies on the upper floor of

public interest, it is an indication of increased interest in these views and, as each account or site grows, more people are exposed to deeply prejudiced anti-Muslim views.” The study also accuses Breitbart, run by Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, of spreading fake news, stating that “its reporting on Islam and Muslims is largely indistinguishable from the anti-Muslim movement’s rhetoric or even that of the far right”. The study says a network of online forums and image boards serves as an echo chamber to amplify and spread fabricated antiMuslim social media campaigns. Researchers say in their report that bots were employed to amplify Geller’s messages on Twitter, identifying at least 102 accounts that exhibit characteristics of bots, including only exclusively posting content with links to Geller’s website and being highly synchronised, meaning they post the same content at almost the same time. The simplest bots follow and retweet other users. A user with a large number of followers is generally easier to trust and may seem more “legitimate”. The more advanced bots often mix human control with artificial intelligence, and are notoriously difficult to detect. the Grand Mosque to standing under the umbrella-like canopies at Nabawi Mosque. Some have even posed in groups, carrying banners or flags of their respective countries in the yards of the two mosques. Critics have said such “touristy acts” detracted from the essence of a pilgrimage as they raised questions about whether the pilgrimage was just a trip to take photos. “In the case of any violation of the ban, security guards have been instructed to confiscate the photos and the camera if needed,” the statement said, adding that the change should be disseminated to every Hajj and Umrah tour operator in their respective countries.


Volunteers experience ATP World Tour Finals

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On Saturday 18th November 2018, tennis activators and volunteers from community organisations in Kirklees, Leeds and Bradford came together for an amazing day of live tennis action at the O2. Free tickets to the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals were gifted to the organisations by the Tennis Foundation, and distributed via local coordinator S Zaman of the 20:20 Foundation. The community organisations all deliver regular informal tennis sessions in their local communities through the Tennis Foundation’s SERVES programme. The tickets were given to activators and volunteers who have shown the most commitment to the programme.

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SERVES is a national initiative designed and delivered by the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, and aims to bring tennis to areas where the sport isn’t being played. It’s a community based programme that takes tennis into the heart of local communities to engage young people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to play. There are more than 100 active SERVES programmes around the country currently. Mudasir, 15 who plays tennis as part of a SERVES project in Kirklees said “I can’t believe I saw my hero Roger Federer play; I’ve had the best day.” Afzal, 17 who takes part in regular

tennis sessions at a SERVES project in Bradford said “Amazing to have got such sought after tickets and loved the atmosphere at the arena.” Dannish, 11 who plays tennis at his local SERVES project based in Kirklees said “I feel inspired play more tennis having taken part in the SERVES sessions.” Claire Wheeler, National Programme Manager for SERVES the Tennis Foundation said: “The opportunity of being able to offer tickets to watch live tennis events like the ATP Finals and Wimbledon to SERVES partners and participants is a fantastic addition to we do with the programme in taking tennis to new places and new people. Many of those that attended would never otherwise have had the chance to experience such an event and see global stars of the sport play. We couldn’t deliver the impact we do without the involvement and support of national partners like the 20:20 Foundation, so we were delighted to be able to offer them tickets as a recognition of the hard work they have put in to help make SERVES such a success.” Please contact S Zaman on program@2020foundation.org.uk should you want to know more or call/text 07388594388.

UAE women cricketers create history in ICC tournament The UAE women wrote a new chapter in their cricketing history by qualifying for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup qualifiers to be held in Netherlands by winning four out of their five matches in the ICC Women’s T20 Asian qualifiers. Starting with a win over China in the opening match, they went on

to defeat Nepal, Hong Kong and Malaysia to clinch a place in the final. The finalists will join the other finalists of the ICC qualifiers from Europe/America, East Asia-Pacific and Africa. In the crucial match against Malaysia, UAE’s Nisha Ali and Udeni Dona ensured an impressive total of 83 for six wickets in 20 overs. Nisha

hit an unbeaten 36 runs off 51 balls with two boundaries while Dona scored a quick 22 runs off 26 balls with two boundaries. Together, they lifted UAE from 23 for three through a crucial 46-run partnership for the fourth wicket. By virtue of this performance, the UAE will now play against Asian Test playing countries.

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I December 2017

Newly-elected Kuwait chief hopes to end FIFA ban www.pi-media.co.uk

Kuwaiti clubs last month elected the head of a new football federation that hopes to win recognition from FIFA and end a ban from international tournaments over alleged government interference. Sheikh Ahmad al-Yusef al-Sabah said his first priority would be to persuade the sport’s world governing body to lift the ban. World sports bodies led by FIFA and the International Olympic Committee suspended Kuwait in

October 2015 for the second time since 2010 over alleged government meddling in sports. In 2016, authorities dissolved Kuwait’s sports bodies including its Olympic committee and football federation. It later set up temporary committees in their place, but FIFA and the IOC have refused to recognise those bodies. With Tuesday’s election, the new federation gained the recognition of

the majority of the country’s football clubs. Sabah said he had “many goals, first and foremost lifting the suspension”. The new federation “has given me a bigger responsibility than I was expecting,” he added. Analysts say Kuwait’s sports crisis, which has blocked the country from taking part in international competitions, is the result of a power struggle within the ruling elite. Kuwait has been barred from taking part in qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, the 2019 Asian Cup, and before that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Kuwait’s public sports authority in December wrote to the IOC and FIFA urging them to “lift the ban on Kuwaiti sports activities temporarily until relevant local laws are revised”, but they refused. The world bodies have set out three conditions for accepting Kuwait back: it must issue a new sports law in line with international treaties, drop lawsuits it brought against the world governing bodies and re-instate its original sports committees. Kuwaiti minister said a new law had been drafted that met FIFA’s requirements.

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Yemen in Crisis

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Six years on and Syria today is still The revolutions of the Arab Spring began with many political changes designed to break the regimes and the rise of other systems that were not known before the revolution started in late January 2011— after a popular uprising in Tunisia, known as the Jasmine Revolution. Then, similar protests in Egypt—but the situation changed in Yemen where thousands of protesters gathered in Sanaa and several other Yemeni cities to call on Ṣāliḥ to step down as president. The protesters chanted prodemocracy slogans and condemned poverty and official corruption. The same situation arose in the Egyptian and Tunisian protests, which seemed to have little centralized leadership. However, protests in Yemen appeared to have been organized and directed by a coalition of opposition groups which played a strong role in bringing forward the demise of the discredited regime. The recent conflict in Yemen flows from a sequence of events that started with political protests during 2011 until now. The internal situation escalated into an armed conflict between the Houthis and the government of thenPresident Saleh. There were fears that Yemen could slip into full-scale civil war. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with the support of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the European Union, stepped in to broker an agreement that included early presidential elections in 2012 and a transition plan following the elections. But the Houthis have strengthened after the destruction of the former regime and power very much lies in their hands. On the other hand, in February 2012, President Saleh’s government was forced under growing international pressure to hand over power to an interim government headed by President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Saleh’s former deputy. As part of the transition plan the UN worked with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to bring together the Yemen government, key political factions and civil society representatives to conduct a peaceful dialogue. The National Dialogue Conference, under the auspices of the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism attempted to restore order in Yemen. However, after the conference, a number of Gulf countries fearful of the

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Houthis and their paymasters in Tehran reignited conflict once again.

The history of Houthi rebels in Yemen? The Houthis officially known as Ansar Allah is a Zaidi predominantly Shialed religious-political movement that emerged from Sa’dah, northern Yemen in the 1990’s Houthis is the name of an ancient and powerful Yemeni dynasty, in turn named after a town known as Houthi or “Huthi” and The al Houthi family is a “sayyid” family —that is, descendants of the Prophet Mohammad and who played key theological and political roles in north Yemen. This family, and the political-rebel movement whose adherents collectively refer to themselves by “the Houthis,” adhere to what is known “Zaidism” or “Zaydism” Zaydis ruled parts of Yemen for almost 1,000 years until 1962 and were even supported by Saudi Arabia in the 1970’s. Tension between the Houthis and the central government steadily grew in the 1990, with war breaking out in 2004 with the group’s founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, leading a rebellion against then President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The group is now led by Abdul-Malik alHouthi, brother of the first leader, who was reportedly killed in 2004 by the Saudi-supported central Yemeni state led by then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. In June 2004, Houthis began a revolt in the northern province of Saa’da, which led to many protests between the government and the rebels. But, On August 5, 2004, Yemeni officials announced a major offensive to quash this rebellion the conflict that took sixweeks killing 500 people in the process. In 2007, the conflict recommenced when the Yemeni government seized bases belonging to the Houthis in northern Yemen, following fighting that claimed 4,000 lives and drove over 2,500 civilians. Then, on January 10, 2008 Houthis attacked military bases near Jabal Marran.and the conflict started when the U.S. Embassy was attacked on September 17, 2008, with weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. In 2009, the Houthis wanted to escalate conflict on the border with Houthi fighters infiltrating Saudi Arabia. In response, Saudi Arabia launched a large-scale military incursion into northern Yemen in November to address the infiltration of

Houthi militias and stop attacks targeting Saudi border areas. By January 2010, this cross-border fighting had claimed the lives of 133 Saudi soldiers. From that time the Houthi have a desire to destroy Saudi Arabia

The war started after revolution Yemen’s political transition was not yet complete as the rights of citizens and the new constitution was yet to be drafted, a referendum on its approval had to be held, and subsequent presidential and parliamentary elections were still on hold. Many international observers were concerned that Yemen was in limbo. In addition, Houthi allies sought to redraw Yemen’s internal boundaries in their favour. By July 2014 Houthis started to control the country and seized the province and city of Amran. In August, Houthi protestors surrounded the capital, demanding that the government resign and fuel subsidies be reinstated. (Yemen has the highest level of energy subsidies in the region). Government security forces clashed with Houthis encamped around the capital, killing several people in the process. By September, Houthis had taken control of Sana’a, gaining control of principal government buildings and forcing the resignation of the Yemeni prime minister, Mohammed Basindawa, but the United Nations brokered a ceasefire agreement known as the Peace and National Partnership Agreement. Under the terms of the deal, the Houthis and a separatist movement in the southern part of the country were to be granted greater representation in a new government. Yemen has experienced political turmoil and a climate of lawlessness. In addition to this, Iran’s covert support for a Yemeni faction exacerbated existing divisions and triggered a political and economic crisis that led to the violent ouster of President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi in 2015. The very prospect of crisis and conflict in Yemen with civil war on the horizon, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States intervened. Its objectives were to protect the civilian population from attacks by Iranian-supported Houthi militias, restore the legitimate government and prevent Yemen from becoming a safe haven for Al-Qaeda


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and a base for Iranian adventurism and subversion in the region. Saudi Arabia and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) began an intense diplomatic effort aimed at avoiding civil war in Yemen when nationwide protests In January 2015, the Houthis acted unilaterally to oppose a provision in the new draft constitution that would divide Yemen into six-regions. On 19 January, the Houthis took control of the presidential palace, ministries and key government institutions and placed the President and some of his Cabinet members under house arrest. Following the closure of most diplomatic representations, and the decision by international airlines to cease operations in Yemen, Ansar Allah signed on 28 February, a memorandum of understanding on air transport cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran by which the two countries would undertake direct flights for the first time. The deal allowed two Yemeni and Iranian companies, Yemenia and Mahan Air, respectively, to operate 14 flights per week per country. Saudi Arabia and the war with Houthis On March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia deployed its armed forces at the request of President Hadi to help resist Houthi aggression. The Houthis were advancing toward the southern city of Aden, Saudi Arabia intervened with a 10-country coalition joined the military campaign to protect and defend the legitimate government of Yemen. Saudi Arabia pledged to protect the people of Yemen and its legitimate government from a takeover by the Houthis. Gulf officials recommended that the operation was intended to deter the strategic threat against Gulf states posed by the Houthi advance and Iran’s growing strategic designs in the region. Several Gulf states joined Saudi Arabia in military operations. and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar all provided air support. However, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan also showed their support for Operation Decisive Storm. On April 20, 2015, Saudi spokesman for the Coalition forces, Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri announced that Operation Decisive Storm had ended and would be replaced by a new campaign, Operation Renewal of Hope. The new operation was to mark the start of a more limited military campaign aimed at preventing the rebels from operating. Speaking at a news conference in Riyadh that day, Asiri said that Decisive Storm’s the conflict stared again with another coup

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attempt but Saudi Arabia deployed its armed the Houthis were advancing toward the southern city of Aden, but the Gulf officials recommended that the operation’s intentions were to deter the strategic threat against Gulf states posed by the Houthi advance and Iran’s growing strategic designs in the region. Operation Renewal of Hope, was aimed at preventing Houthi rebels from “targeting civilians”. The U.S. stepped up its efforts to prevent Iranian interference in Yemen and Tehran’s supplying of weapons to the Houthis. Iran was targeted by the US as the former was seeking to supply weapons to the Houthis in violation of U.N resolution. Iranian provocation was in violation of Security Council Resolution 2216, which authorized an arms embargo against the Houthis. On April 20, 2015 the U.S. Navy sent the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt to Yemen to intensify security to protect Yemeni citizens, and seize the opportunity to eliminate Iran and join other American ships prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthis. In March 2016, Yemeni President Hadi declared that his forces had liberated more than 85 percent of the Yemeni territories from Houthi militia control and from the Houthi-allied forces of the ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Hadi claimed that he had dismantled the dangerous terrorist organizations throughout Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have undertaken a campaign to combat and dismantle the dangerous terrorist organizations once and for all. The Present-Day Situation Since the beginning of the war in Yemen, the situation has become very difficult and statistics indicate that the state of Yemen has collapsed. Firstly, approximately $100 million a month from Yemen’s central bank has been diverted to support the group’s war effort and that the foreign reserves of the central bank had dropped to $1.3 billion in June 2016 from $4.6 billion in November 2014. Secondly, many children have been killed and schools and hospitals have not been spared the ignominy of war. It has been reported that fishing vessels have been used for alleged weapons’ transfers. More than 40 ballistic missiles were launched into Saudi territory by the Houthis and 80 civilians in Saudi Arabia have been killed by the Houthis. 630 Civilians in Saudi Arabia have suffered injuries at the hand of the Houthis. 2,724 civilian locations in Saudi Arabia, including homes, mosques and schools

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have been targeted, but still Saudi Arabia remains by far the largest donor of aid to Yemen providing $597 million in humanitarian assistance through King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has given residency to 600,000 Yemeni refugees fleeing the civil war and 12 million Yemeni children have been immunized against a plethora of diseases. Saudi Arabia has suffered a great deal and been plunged into debt and acted as it fears the Houthis influence in the immediate vicinity. But, on 10 October 2016, figures released showed that 4,125 civilians had been killed and 7,207 wounded since the start of the campaign, the majority by coalition airstrikes, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). More than 600 health facilities have closed due to damage caused by the conflict, shortage of critical supplies and lack of health workers. In excess of 80 percent of the country’s total population – 20 million people – have required humanitarian assistance. Parties to the conflict have continued to block or restrict critical relief supplies from reaching civilians. Among repeated violations against children led to the deaths of 192 children with ,168 children wounded, and nearly half of the 101 attacks have targeted schools and hospitals. In the last three months of 2016, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and restrictions on food and fuel imports have also pushed Yemen to the brink of famine. Some 17 million people are considered food insecure and 6.8 million severely food insecure. About 3.3 million children and pregnant or breast-feeding women are acutely malnourished, including 462,000 children under five who face severe acute malnutrition. In conclusion, Yemen is strategically important because it sits on the Bab al-Mandab strait, a narrow waterway linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, through which much of the world’s oil shipments pass. At the end we have to ask ourselves an important question why do the Houthis want Yemen? and what do they want from the Middle East? I think the new plan to divide the states into territories as it is also planned in Libya, and Syria. During the coming period, the situation will be difficult with the emergence of many dangerous extremist terrorist groups on the horizon. By Miral Alashry Assistant Professor Canadian international college ( CIC) Department of Journalism


The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 19

During the time of Uthman Ibn Affan, many of his kinsmen were appointed to key positions in the government. Notable members of the Banu Ummaya a tribal subsidiary of the Qur’aish became governors tasked with administering regional provinces across the vast Islamic empire. From the outset, many a detractor accused Uthman Ibn Affan of being receptive to notion of nepotism, a practice involving the promotion of family members to key positions of power and authority. Uthman Ibn Affan was also accused of failing to vet his own kinsmen to see if they possessed key leadership traits prior to their appointment to key influential positions in the government. On the other hand, many have defended Uthman for appointing key personnel from the Banu Ummaya as this meant he had the trust and the confidence of his own family members which in turn meant he could expect loyalty and obedience. Historical sources attest to the

fact that in certain provinces there was growing dissatisfaction towards certain governors such as Marwan who was accused of abusing his power for his own gains at the expense of the interests of the people. This dissatisfaction with the general running of the provinces by the Banu Ummaya fuelled antigovernment sentiment and it was no long before the situation became best described as highly volatile and toxic. Other factors also fuelled this discontentment and were manifest in the form of lack of political mechanisms being facilitated to express legitimate dissent coupled with the fact that resentment and jealously that existed during PreIslamic Arabia reared its ugly head once again which meant the Islamic empire was facing some of the gravest challenges since its inception. It has also been said that certain Muslim scholars have made the argument that foreign powers

such as Byzantine empire and the remnants of the Sassanid empire resented the success and prosperity the Muslims enjoyed under the reign of Uthman Ibn Affan and sought to cause chaos and discontent with the aim of substantially destabilising the Islamic empire to bring about its eventual downfall. The unrest that gripped the Islamic empire grew substantially complicated by the fact that a large number of letters were sent to influential people outlining alleged abuses of power and corruption within the Banu Ummaya. There is no evidence to suggest that Uthman was party to the alleged abuses levelled against his kinsmen. Eventually, Uthman was forced to act having adopted a large degree of restraint and assured calmness during turbulent times. The caliph ordered his officials to carry out an investigation in order to ascertain the authenticity of these persistent rumours swirling the empire.


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PI Magazine December 2017  
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