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Muslims Outraged Over Syria Arrests Issue: 71

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arrests in 2013 is of great concern to the Muslim community who are of the view that this is just another tactic in a long line of measures aimed at targeting Muslims and Islam in the UK. Muhammad Salam an Imam at a London Mosque raised his concerns “I have spoken with many Muslims and they feel very upset over the high number of arrest with regards to Syria, As a community we feel that these arrest are no more than dirty tactics being played and it just stopping people genuinely trying to go out and help the Syrian people but in return they are getting harassed”. Scotland Yard said its biggest concern was that some British Muslims could return from Syria as terrorists and potentially carry out atrocities on UK soil.

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The Muslim Community within the UK is in outrage over the number of men and women who have been arrested in relation to Syria. A security crackdown has seen at least 16 people being held already this year, accused of planning or attempting to travel to the war-torn state. Yusuf Sawar and Mohammed Ahmed, both 21, from Birmingham, were arrested at Heathrow Airport after a flight from Istanbul. In addition to this, two women from London Nawal Msaad, 26, and Amal Elwahabi, were also arrested over travel plans to Syria. In other unrelated

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incidents another two women one from London and one from West Yorkshire were detained for the same offence. Furthermore, a 19 year old man was arrested in South West London but was consequently released on bail whilst a 45 year old man from Northamptonshire was arrested under the Terrorism Act 2006. An unidentified women aged 36 from Stratford had her house raided and a couple in Birmingham have also had their home searched by West Midlands Counter Terrorism officers. The soaring arrest figures - which compare with just 24 Syria-related terror

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thePassion

By Dr Abdul B Shaikh

Lecturer at Leeds University & Deputy Editor of PI Magazine

Social Mobility and its Impact on Muslims in the United Kingdom In previous editions of this publication we have focussed our energies on highlighting the impact of the monumental achievements of Muslims in the United Kingdom during a relatively short period of time. However, the concept of social mobility has rarely been discussed within Muslim circles in recent times. Alan Milburn was appointed as the social mobility czar in 2010 by the current coalition government entrusted with the task of identifying why social mobility levels in the UK were lower than in other countries in the developed world. Before we discuss the themes prevalent within this fundamental concept it is important that we contextualise this particular phrase. Social mobility is commonly defined as the movement of individuals or groups within social position. This phenomenon can also by in large refer to health, literacy and numeracy indicators designed to gauge the wellbeing of the country. However, we need to ask ourselves to what extent have Muslims fared in relation to social mobility indicators over the last 70 years. The last census conducted in 2011 stated that Muslims made up five per cent of the total UK population and that Islam had emerged to become the second largest denomination on these shores. It is fair to say that a significant minority of British Muslims have broken the ceiling of social mobility and managed to become highfliers in their respective fields evidenced by the plethora of lawyers, accountants, GP’s and dentists that reside in every conceivable corner of this nation. It is at this point that we should ask ourselves is this a true and accurate reflection of the position of Muslims in the United Kingdom. One is of the view that the UK Muslim community has a long way to go in respect of elevating young Muslims to the very top of the

social mobility tree. Unfortunately, even today despite Muslims being third, fourth and even fifth generation Muslims they are still lagging behind when it comes to educational attainment levels and as a consequence failing to enter the professional ranks in substantial numbers. This fact was underlined a number of years ago by Farhan Nizami CBE of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies claimed that many Muslims were simply opting for self-employment rather than aspiring to obtain a position within the professional ranks. Some may claim these sentiments are too simplistic, especially in view of the fact that many Asians and Muslims have faced racism and discrimination in the job market over the short period of time they have been present in this country. However, in recent times the situation has improved to the extent that we are beginning to see policies such as ‘positive discrimination’ being implemented to ensure that the workforce reflects the socio-demographic nature of the country. Alyas Karmani recently highlighted cause for concern at a high profile event by stating that in the city of Oxford that houses arguably one of the leading universities in the world only one pupil from the Muslim community residing there had gone to read a degree from that institution in nearly 70 years. Even more of a worrying trend is the number of Muslims failing to enter the professional ranks altogether after leaving further education (FE) or higher education (HE). These are just some stark reminders of the fact that much work is required in order to address the underlying issues with the Muslim diaspora. As a community we need to ask ourselves are we devoting enough time and consequently engaging with the youth in order to ensure that they have excellent credentials and prospects in order

to allow them to compete with other people in the job market. It is crucial that every single Muslim is able to speak the language of the nation to a professional standard and be cultured in the values and traditions of the country in order to compete with their counterparts. Failure to do so will result in future generations being ill equipped to make a positive contribution to this country In the last few years, Muslims have spent too much time and attention and continue to do so in establishing religious educational and communal institutions costing millions of pounds but at the same time paying no attention whatsoever to the pressing socioeconomic and religious needs of the Muslim community. It should be said that in order to make a community successful there needs to be a partnership between individuals and institutions or we risk a situation developing whereby the latter end up becoming a glorified ‘white elephant’ devoid of any real sense of purpose. It is imperative that Muslim leaders in the UK fully engage with the younger members of our community and ensure that we give our full attention to their socio-educational wellbeing so that every child fulfils their potential. There is the familiar saying ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ It is rather tragic to see so many people including Muslims seeing their very potential being wasted rather than being fulfilled partly fuelled by neglect from various sectors of the community. Now is the time for action not inaction and the moment of truth has arrived for Muslim leaders in this country who have stark choices that involve changing their current approach and to have strategies in place that cater for the socio-economic and educational wellbeing of their constituents or end up being deemed out of touch and becoming irrelevant in the main by maintaining the status quo.

Write to: Editor, PI Media, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: info@pi-media.co.uk - www.pi-media.co.uk - mob: 07506 466 385 This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -

Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not necessarily of Passion Islam.


Muslim families in London Encouraged to Adopt www.pi-media.co.uk

I February 2014

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Muslims living in the UK capital London are being encouraged by the local authorities to adopt children. The local council in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, which hosts a large Bangladeshi Muslim community, is urging Muslims, particularly from the Bangladeshi community, to step forward. The Muslim population in London is growing, and as it grows, so does the need of Muslim children with troubled backgrounds for new families. As the adoption scheme prefers to give children to adoptive parents with a similar background, Muslim families are needed. So far, the number of Muslim families willing to adopt has not consistent with the increase of the demand for them. Local imams and community

leaders, like Hafiz Mowlana Shamsul Hoque, the chair of Council of Mosques for Tower Hamlets, said: “Mosque Committee members and Imams will inform all worshippers

about the issue of Muslim lookedafter children and ask the Muslim community to come forward to work together with Tower Hamlets Council to find a solution.�


UK / France, Witchhunt of Anelka must stop

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The IHRC has called for an immediate cessation of the political and media witchhunt against Nicholas Anelka triggered by the “quenelle” gesture he made after scoring in an English Premier League match last month. Anelka’s celebration earned him an instant rebuke from the French sports minister who called it a shocking and disgusting provocation inspired by anti-Semitism. Since then the celebrated former French international has also been charged by the FA for making the “abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/

or improper’ gesture”. His club West Bromwich Albion’s sponsor, Zoopla, has stated it will not be renewing its sponsorship when it expires at the end of the season. Anelka has been attacked for the gesture on the claim that it is an inverted Nazi salute. However the claim is at best tenuous and not backed by historical evidence. Anelka, who embraced Islam in 2004, has explained that his use of the gesture was made as a show of support for the targeting of French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala for using the quenelle and

that there was no suggestion of anti-semitism. In fact the quenelle has become an extremely popular anti-establishment gesture in France, being used extensively by the young as an expression of defiance of the authorities. It has also been used by other footballers. Defender Mathieu Deplagne who plays for Montpelier in the French league made the quenelle in January 2013. However, despite the fact that his goal celebration was splashed over the papers, it did not earn him any rebukes, let alone the opprobrium that has been directed at Anelka. Deplagne has come out in support of Anelka claiming that a political storm is being whipped up by mischievous people in politics and the media. IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “The witchhunt against Anelka proves the point once again of two tiered citizenship for Muslims. Acts seen as anti-establishment when performed by non-Muslims, are assigned different and sinister meanings when undertaken by Muslims. This does nothing in the fight against racism - including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia - it simply reproduces racism against Muslims.”

Qatar based bank completes Islamic Bank of Britain acquisition The long-running takeover of Birmingham-based Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has completed. Al Rayan (UK), the UK subsidiary of Qatar-based Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan (MAR), has become its new parent company. The acquisition of IBB by Al Rayan follows a cash offer made on 28 November 2013 for which MAR has now received valid shareholder acceptances exceeding 95 per cent. It also has the approval of the

Prudential Regulation Authority to take control of IBB. Sharia compliant retail bank IBB, formed in 2004, has been providing retail, SME, corporate, private banking and investment banking services since 2006. MAR chief executive Adel Mustafawi said: “The bank [IBB] is considered the pioneer of Islamic banking in Britain and has very strong awareness amongst consumers there.

This provides the opportunity for Masraf Al Rayan to expand its footprint and introduce its range of products to a fertile market which has great potential for continued growth.” IBB interim managing director Sultan Choudhury added: “This represents a key milestone in IBB’s history and is a result of its impressive achievements so far, which include year-on-year growth in customer base, deposits and assets since its inception in 2004.”


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British Al Jazeera journalists to face ‘terror’ trial in Egypt

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Egypt will put an Australian, two Britons and a Dutchwoman on trial for aiding 16 Egyptian members of a “terrorist organisation”, the public prosecutor said on Wednesday, describing the four as Al Jazeera correspondents. According to the website of the Qatar-based television channel, three of its journalists, Peter Greste, an Australian, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, were detained in Cairo on Dec. 29. They have not been released. The identities of the two Britons and the Dutchwoman mentioned by the prosecutor were not immediately clear. The Dutch embassy declined to comment. The British embassy said it was aware of the report and was seeking more information. In a statement, the prosecutor said the four had published “lies” that

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harmed the national interest and had supplied money, equipment and information to the 16 Egyptians. The foreigners were also accused of using unlicenced broadcasting equipment. The 16 Egyptians are to face

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trial for belonging to a “terrorist organisation”, an apparent reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been protesting against the government since the army toppled IslamistPresident Mohamed Mursi in July.

Terrorists who posed as charity workers ordered to repay £26,400 to Muslim Aid Three men Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali who posed as Muslim Aid charity collectors to finance terrorist activities have been ordered to repay £26,400 to the charity within three months. Judge Mr Justice Henriques, sitting at Woolwich Crown Court, ordered the trio to repay a total of £33,032.87 under

the Proceeds of Crime Act – 80 per cent of which will be awarded to Muslim Aid. The remainder will be given to a Birminghambased Muslim school, not connected to Muslim Aid. A spokeswoman for Muslim Aid welcomed the order. “The funds received will be used to provide help to the homeless and the hungry in Britain,” she said.


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UK recruitment fair for teachers in UAE www.pi-media.co.uk

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With an increased number of schools opening in the UAE and a growing demand for professionals in the education sector, many institutions in the country are now going aggressive with their hiring plans in the UK. Many private schools and even government institutions are looking to recruit teachers in the UK. Recruitment fairs are being held in London to attract the right candidates. SeekTeachers, a recruitment agency placing teachers around the world, hosted a recruitment fair in London on January 22 to place teachers in the UAE. The pay

package being offered includes salary of about Dh12,000 per month with free accommodation, medical cover, flights, residency cover and visa, no-absence bonus, one-time relocation allowance of Dh3,000, and gratuity as per UAE labour law. Another recruitment agency, EduStaff, is also looking for teachers in the UK to be placed in the UAE at various levels and across different disciplines. Government-run institutions are also looking to hire teachers and their pay scale is better than those offered in the private sector. Positions available to be filled

include mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, PE, ICT teachers, lab instructors and librarian among many others. The package includes a salary of up to Dh13,000, accommodation allowance of Dh11,200 per calendar month with free visa, flights for employee and one spouse, medical cover and UAE gratuity bonus pay. Dubai alone will have at least 100 new private schools over the next few years as the private education sector in the city grows at a healthy pace, with 7 per cent increase in student enrolment over the last five years. Dubai currently has 225,000 pupils studying at 153 private schools spread across different curriculums catering to various nationalities. At least 140,000 more seats will be needed by 2020. “Education was the only sector that continued to grow even during recession and considering the consistent growth over the last decade our study projects a 60-per cent rise in the number of students and schools by 2020,” Dr Abdullah Al Karam, Chairman of the Board and Director General of Knowledge and Human Development Authority Dubai (KHDA), said in the last quarter of 2013. By Shuchita Kapur

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has dismissed a bid by four Britons to sue Saudi Arabia over torture. The four Britons said they were subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation, rape and forced to take mind-altering drugs in Saudi Arabia during 2001. The bid was rejected by the Strasbourg-based court by six judges to one. “The court is satisfied that the grant of immunity to the state officials in the present case reflected

generally recognised rules of public international law,” the judges said in their ruling. “However, in light of the developments currently under way in this area of public international law, this is a matter which needs to be kept under review,” the ruling added. The men were detained following a 2001 explosion in the Saudi capital Riyadh that Saudi officials blamed on the Britons. Following their release from Saudi Arabia, they had initially lodged a complaint at the UK courts and

demanded compensation in 2002. In 2003, the case was halted on the grounds that Saudi Arabia and its officials were entitled to state immunity. In a single dissenting judgment at the ECHR, Judge Kalaydjeiva said: “I fear that the views expressed by the majority on a question examined by this court for the first time not only extend state immunity to named officials without proper distinction or justification, but give the impression of also being capable of extending impunity for acts of torture globally.”

EU court dismisses Britons’ torture case against Riyadh


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Muslims vulnerable in Central African Republic

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At least 13 people were killed in Central African Republic as the top UN human rights official warned of escalating reprisals against Muslims and urged foreign governments to do more to stop the country being torn apart. Almost one million people, or a quarter of the population, have been displaced by fighting since the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel group

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seized power in March in the majority Christian country. At least 2 000 people have been killed. Recently Seleka fighters have steadily abandoned the riverside capital Bangui, leaving Muslim civilians at the mercy of Christian militia, known as ‘anti-balaka’ or ‘anti-machete’ in the local Sango language. Looting and mob violence mainly

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targeting predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods of Bangui have intensified despite the presence of a 1 600-strong French intervention force and thousands of African peacekeepers. A spokesperson for the local Aid agency said it had recovered 13 dead bodies from the streets of Bangui in both Christian and Muslim neighbourhoods, and treated eight wounded. “The security and human rights situation has further deteriorated over the past few days,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement. “Muslim civilians are now extremely vulnerable. Many are being pushed out of the country, alongside ex-Seleka, and are now fleeing, mostly towards the Chadian border,” she said. “We simply cannot let the social fabric of this country be torn apart,” Pillay said. “I call as a matter of utmost urgency upon the international community to strengthen peacekeeping efforts... Many lives are at stake.” RT

Dubai set to launch world hub for Halal food standards Dubai will soon launch an international accreditation centre for Halal food. Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, has announced that an action team has been appointed to set up the centre and will be led Salem Bin Mesmar, assistant director general, Health, Safety & Environment Monitoring Sector. Lootah said in a statement: “The proposed centre will undertake required tests for Halal food and other products to ensure that all such

products are free from any chemical or artificial additions which are not complying with the Islamic Law, with the aim to be the first international reference in the food industry worldwide.” Mesmar added: “The move is expected to boost the business activities of Dubai as it comes in the most wanted context in both local and global levels.” “Due to the increased activities of food trade and other products, Dubai can serve the entire world as an authorized centre to issue Halal Food

compliance certificates and accredit other products such as medicine, leather, cosmetics,” he said. The Islamic economy is estimated to be worth $2trn and increasing about 20-25 percent annually, according to Thomson Reuters. The Islamic population of 1.6bn is growing at about twice the global rate and is the youngest in the world. Muslims also mostly live in emerging economies and are becoming one of the most significant consumer groups globally, with total disposable income of $4.8tr in 2012.

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Guantanamo detainees speak out about ordeals

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Detainees at the US prison Guantanamo have spoken about their ordeals at the prison, five years after US President Barack Obama pledged to close the notorious jail within a year. Shaker Aamer, a British prisoner at the Gitmo, who has been cleared for release under both the governments of Obama and George W. Bush, is still being held without charge or trial. He has a British wife who lives in London with their four children.

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Aamer is among those detainees who have started a hunger strike again, telling his lawyer that he “lost 25 lbs in a week over December.” British Prime Minister David Cameron has been seeking to bring Shaker back home to the UK

but to no avail. Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a cleared Syrian detainee, said, “I am dying every day many, many times. Sometimes because of my illness, and sometimes because of the oppression by the guards here, and sometimes because of the doctors, and sometimes because of the pressure they put on us and because of the length of our unfair imprisonment.” “I had wanted to live in peace with

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my wife and our children and we had planned our future and the future of our children together, but they destroyed our dreams and our plans, they did not let us live...” “Twelve years, I have been unable to see my children, not out of choice, but because I was denied the ability to see them, and without reason,” said Abu Wa’el. Lawyers working with the Londonbased human rights charity Reprieve unveiled in a recent report that 33 detainees are back on hunger strike in Gitmo and are being force-fed twice daily. The US government is still holding 155 men at Guantanamo, despite President Obama signing the Executive Order of January 22nd, 2009 to close the prison within a year. Furthermore, over half of the detainees have been cleared for release, a process involving unanimous agreement by six US federal agencies, verifying that they pose no threat to the United States.

Pakistanis continue to block NATO Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party, which controls the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, continue to block a supply route for the US-led NATO forces stationed in neighboring Afghanistan, PTV reports. The PTI activists, who are against the deadly US drone strikes in Pakistan, have blocked one of the main NATO routes on the outskirts of the province’s capital, Peshawar, since November 2013. Protesters spend days and nights stopping all travelling trucks and checking them to ensure they are not carrying supplies for US-led forces in Afghanistan, before clearing them to pass through the province. The continuation of the blockage comes as the protesters and their leaders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been under intense pressure

from the European Union, Washington as well as the Pakistani government to open the supply line. The blockade is also disrupting the withdrawal of heavy equipment of USled forces from Afghanistan. Analysts say if the trend continues, Washington might have to leave behind much of heavy military equipment in Afghanistan. The PTI members say US drones have killed thousands of innocent civilians and left their families in an endless mental trauma. Washington says the CIA-run drone strikes primarily kill Taliban militants who threaten the US-led forces in Afghanistan; however, casualty figures show that Pakistani civilians are often the victims of the

non-UN-sanctioned attacks. The slaughter of Pakistani civilians, including women and children, in US drone strikes has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington, and Pakistani officials have complained to the US administration on numerous occasions.


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Saudi is to give Egypt $4bn in extra aid

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Saudi Arabia is expected to give Egypt up to $4 billion in additional aid in the form of central bank deposits and petroleum products, staterun Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reported. Citing an unnamed ministerial source, the newspaper said the package would be worked out during a visit to the kingdom by Egypt’s interim prime minister Hazem elBeblawi. Gulf Arab states have showered Egypt with billions of dollars since the army toppled President Mohamed

Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July. The funds have kept the economy afloat during political turmoil which has hit investment and tourism hard. Egypt will announce within days details of a second stimulus package since Mursi was ousted, its finance minister said, aiming to boost tepid growth rates and reassure investors. The economy grew by just 1.04 percent in the three months through last September from a year earlier, according to central bank data. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Iraq executes 26 people for ‘terrorism’ offences Iraq has hanged 26 people convicted of “terrorism” offences, the Justice Ministry announced pursuing a practice of mass executions despite international criticism. All those executed were Iraqi nationals. Among them was Adel al-Mashhadani, a “Sahwa” militia leader in Baghdad who was “famous for sectarian crimes”, Justice Minister Hassan alShimari said in a statement on the ministry’s website. Sahwa (Awakening) militias are formed mostly of Sunni Muslim tribesmen who helped U.S. troops roll back an al Qaedaled insurgency in Iraq from 2006 onwards. Iraq hanged at least 151 people in 2013, up from 129 in 2012 and 68 in 2011, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in its annual world report. The United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, has frequently condemned Iraq’s mass executions as “obscene and inhuman”, saying its justice system is deeply flawed.

Hijab protects women in Malawi For Malawi Muslim women, hijab came as a perfect answer to their woes from increasing sexual harassment targeting women in the southern African nation. “While women of other faith groups are going through the pain of sexual violence due to improper dressing, it’s been observed that there are low cases of sexual violence among Muslim women,” Fatima Ndaila, National Chairperson of Muslim Women Organization (MWO), told OnIslam.net. “It is rare for women who put on hijab to be sexually molested.” Over the past few years, sexual harassment targeting women has increased remarkably in Malawi. The worrying phenomenon was less reported among Muslim women who chose to don the Islamic headscarf, or hijab. “We have discovered that improper dressing among women has significantly contributed to

the rising levels of sexual violence, because it attracts men. It’s not easy to change people’s mindset,” she said. Ndaila said her organization was sensitizing the women and girls through mosques and other social gatherings on the need to put on hijab and follow teachings of the Noble Quran which advocate for among others, women to lower their gaze and at the same time dress modestly. The National Chairperson of the country’s Muslim body, Sheikh Idrissa Mohummad said there was need for faith groups in the country to adopt a religious approach in the fight against sexual violence other than confrontational ways. “We have to admit that we have a serious crisis. We need to find ways that would help to minimize the surging numbers of sexual violence,”

Sheikh Muhammad said. “In the Muslim community, we believe that only a religious approach could help to address matters. We therefore appeal to all faith groups to adopt this approach.” Since the adoption of pluralistic politics in Malawi 20 years ago, the country has seen a rise in various forms of violence against women and children.


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First Muslim deputy spokeswoman for German Foreign Ministry A German woman of Palestinian origin has been appointed as one of the spokespersons of the German Foreign Ministry. The first German Muslim woman with Palestinian roots, Sawsan Chebli started her role as deputy spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry. During the government press conference in Berlin, Chebli introduced herself and explained that her work as a deputy spokeswoman had officially begun. Chebli said that she worked for 6 years at the parliament of Germany (Bundestag) but she had little experience as a press spokeswoman. She said that she was happy with her new post and underlined, “I hope that someday,

that religion or ethnicity will be not in the foreground and will be perceived as normal.”

It is expected that Chebli will be deputy spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry for four years.

Kuwait boycotts UAE event Interfaith over Israeli presence Centre Kuwaiti officials have opted to boycott a regional conference on renewable energy in the UAE over the presence of an Israeli delegation. Israel’s energy minister Silvan Shalom is part of an official delegation from the country currently visiting Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit. It is the first such visit by an Israeli official to the Gulf state since the UAE suspected Israeli involvement in the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai in 2010. That announcement came just days after Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that the UAE would be willing to trade with Israel if it agreed to a peace deal with the Palestinians. However, the Israeli presence has irked Kuwait, with that country’s Ministry of Electricity and Water announcing that it would no longer be attending. “The decision comes in line with Kuwait’s commitment to boycott all forms of interaction with the Zionist regime (Israel),” the ministry said in a statement, according to Kuwait Times. The only Arab countries Israel currently enjoys diplomatic relations

with are Jordan and Egypt. None of the Gulf countries have recognised Israel since the Jewish state was founded in 1948, prompting the first Israeli-Arab War. Both Israel and the Gulf states however share a mutual distrust of regional Shi’ite Muslim power Iran, which the former strongly believes is weaponising its nuclear energy programme. High-level officials in the UAE have defended Shalom’s visit. “The UAE has been able, through a delicate balance, to differentiate between Israel’s membership in IRENA and the normalisation of bilateral ties which Israel has been seeking,” the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Mohammad Gargash reportedly wrote on Twitter.

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planned for Berlin

Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders in Berlin, Germany, say they plan to establish an interfaith center in the city. The centre will be funded through donations from Muslim, Christian and Jewish citizens. It will include a mosque, a church and a Knesset so that followers of all the three faiths can worship God in the center. The interfaith complex is estimated to cost some 3 million Euros to construct. Ana Pushel, a spokesman for the Anglican Church that is involved in the plan for construction of the center said a convention is set to be held in the city in May with the participation of followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism to raise funds for the project. She said the planned building will not include a minaret or church tower.


Hong Kong government to issue Islamic Bonds

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The Hong Kong government hopes to raise funds with the territory’s first Islamic bond following the introduction of new laws, its Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury said in a statement. Hong Kong’s central bank is presently reviewing “practical issues” to allow the issuance of an Islamic bond that would follow the

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enactment of a new bill, which seeks to accommodate sukuk under the government’s bond programme, the statement said. The Legislative Council had its first reading to review the bill on Jan 22. Hong Kong’s debut sukuk will be “further impetus” for potential issuers to follow suit, as the territory hopes

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to raise its profile as an international financial and asset management centre by diversifying market products, it added. In July last year, regulators amended laws to provide a tax framework for sukuk issuance. “We envisage that the issuance of sukuk under the government will signal to the markets; that our legal, regulatory and taxation frameworks are wellestablished to accommodate sukuk,”. “This is good news for the Hong Kong financial centre as it means the government has moved much closer to their goal of issuing a sukuk and (this) should result in an issuance within a matter of months,” Davide Barzilai, the Asia Pacific head of Islamic Finance for Norton Rose Fullbright, a global legal practice, said in an emailed statement. The idea of a Hong Kong sukuk was raised as far back as 2008, when the territory’s airport authority considered selling a sukuk of up to US$1 billion (S$1.27 billion), but no sale has taken place so far.

New review of threats to Sweden’s mosques UN fund pays $1.03 billion to Kuwait In the wake of several high-profile incidents, Muslim groups in Sweden plan to carry out a comprehensive survey of threats facing the country’s mosques. The Muslim Council of Sweden (Sveriges muslimska råd, SMR) is concerned that several mosques and prayer centres have been vandalized and damaged in the last year, Svergies Radio (SR) reports. There have also been several instances of threats and harassment. “It’s only a matter of time until someone is seriously injured or dies,” SMR chair Helena Hummasten told the broadcaster. A study carried out five years ago by Mid Sweden University revealed that four out of ten Muslim congregations had been subjected to crimes, and Hummasten believes things have gotten worse since then. In early January, the doors to the

mosque in central Stockholm were covered in Nazi graffiti. In November, a window was smashed at another mosque in the Stockholm suburbs and pigs’ trotters thrown inside and pigs’ heads were placed outside two different mosques in western Sweden last year. To help get a more complete picture of the threats facing Sweden’s mosques, Muslim faith groups plan to carry out a national survey of the situation that will also look at the safety of mosques and prayer centres. The survey is to be funded by the Swedish state through the Swedish Commission for Government Support to Faith Communities (Nämnden för statligt stöd till trossamfund - SST), a state agency authority that provides financial support to recognized faithbased organizations in Sweden. www.pi-media.co.uk

A UN panel that settles claims for damages resulting from Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait has paid out another $1.03 billion – bringing the total so far to $44.5 billion. The UN Compensation Commission said that the money went toward settling the last award that has still to be paid in full. It results from a claim by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation for production and sales losses from damage to the country’s oil fields. The commission says another $7.8 billion remains to be paid from that award, which at $14.7 billion was the largest the panel made.


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National Council opens in Turkey to topple Syrian regime 16

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“Muslim World and Its Languages” Course planned in Spain

Syrian opposition groups open a council in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul to topple the Syrian regime. Former Syrian opposition groups launched the National Council of the Damascus Declaration Abroad in Istanbul in an attempt ‘’to overthrow the Syrian regime and to build a new democratic Syria.’’ The Council’s Secretary General Mahmoud al-Hamza spoke at a press conference and underlined that the first and most important aim is to topple Bashar al-Assad’s regime. ‘’We must join forces to move towards a democratic system,’’ al-Hamza said. ‘’An order must be established to obtain justice and freedom among the people.’’ Hamza underlined that the National Council of the Damascus

Declaration Abroad is not against the Geneva II conference, but said none of the promises made before the Geneva conference were kept. Emphasizing that the first priority to a solution in Syria is to stop bloodshed, Hamza said, ‘’the destruction must stop immediately, aid roads must be opened and political prisoners must be released.’’ The Damascus Declaration is an organization created in 2005 under the name of joined religious and opinion leaders along with opposition parties in an attempt to ‘replace the Assad regime with a democratic country.’ More than 100,000 people have died and two million people have been displaced since the Syrian civil war began in 2011.

Dubai’s Quran theme park opening delayed to 2015 Plans to open a Quran theme park in Dubai have been delayed by a year with officials saying it will now open in September 2015. Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, said on he had called on all parties involved in the $7m project in Al Khawaneej to “speed up the works”. He said the General Projects Department of Dubai Municipality has started work on the third stage of the Holy Quran Park which is expected to be completed by

September 2015. Last year it was announced that the park was due to open in September this year. In a new statement, Lootah said: “Holy Quran Park is one of the prestigious projects of the civic body and not only the UAE, but also the entire tourist world is waiting to visit the park without patience.” “The park located in Al Khawaneej area has been specially designed in the Islamic perspective to introduce the miracles of Quran through a variety of surprises for the visitors,”

An educational course on “Islamic World and Its Languages” will be held by the Institute of the Muslim World Studies in the Contemporary Era from March 16 to 20 in Madrid, Spain. According to halqa.hypotheses website, the course will be organized in cooperation with the Dutch College of Islamic Studies and the Institute of the Contemporary Researches in Spain. PhD researchers whose expertise focus on law, Islamic studies, literature, linguistics, philosophy, political sciences, sociology and geography can participate in the course. The students should send a summary of their research activities along with a character certificate and abstract of their thesis to the institute. The course will be instructed in English language by scholars and intellectuals such as Gabriel Martinez, lecturer of Paris University, Leon Buskens, director of the Islamic Studies Center of Leiden University and Stephen Mishono, expert of Islamic sciences in Madrid. During specialized sessions of the course, the scholars will introduce the languages in the world of Islam and discuss how Muslims interact with each other in the contemporary era. he added. Mohamed Noor Mashroom, director of General Projects Department said the 64-hectare park will include all available plants mentioned in the Quran along with facilities such as an Islamic garden, children’s play areas, Umrah corner, a theatre, fountains, desert garden, palm oasis, lake, walking, running and cycling tracks. By Andy Sambidge


85% in Muslim countries support the Headscarf

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The findings of a study surveying the opinions on women’s dress in seven predominantly Muslim countries has found that an astonishing 84.6% agree that women should wear the headscarf. Having collected the opinions of respondents in Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, the survey conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that only 15.4% of those who responded to a question regarding how women should dress believed that they should not wear the head covering. However, the findings noted differences in opinions regarding how the headscarf should be worn, as well as its style. Overall, 21,143 people living in these countries responded to the questionnaire, which was carried out between January 2011 and June 2013. The sample of men and

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women was split 50-50, while 7% of overall respondents were nonMuslims. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan and Egypt all had similar results regarding whether they believed women should wear the headscarf or not. Turkey was the only country from which respondents were entirely Muslim but demonstrated a disproportionately high stance

Islamic World has 150 Million Academics The percentage of academics in the Islamic world is reaching 10 percent or about 150 million, Indonesia’s Antara news agency reported a research professor of spatial information systems at Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) Fahmi Amhar as saying. Currently there are some 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. “Meanwhile in Indonesia, academics are estimated to reach to 13.28 percent of the total population or about 32 million people,” Fahmi Amhar said. He stated that the potential of intellectual resources in the Islamic world increasingly ascend along with the emergence of several ideas that are associated with the development of Islamic civilisation. “They have proposed several solutions on topics such as global politics and its impact on the Islamic world that include geopolitics, international relations, interdependency among countries

as well as military and security issues,” Fahmi explained. Besides, the Islamic scientists in the world are also discussing economy, health and food security, energy and natural resources, women`s and family issues as well as education and science and technology, he added. However, according to him the ideas from scientists are still partial and therefore the topics discussed are mainly theories and concepts that are not able to solve the real problem. He said that the problems in the Islamic world such as slumped economy, moral degradation of society, education as well as science and technology that are left behind, have been discussed and pursued through trade settlement, Islamic schools and scholarships to international universities. “But then, we have not seen the tip of the tangled threads of these issues yet,” Fahmi added.

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against the headscarf, with 32% saying they believed women should not wear it. However, after 90 years of living in a state of staunch constitutional secularism, in which the ban on the headscarf was only officially removed two months ago, the fact that 68% of Turkish respondents supported the headscarf was a remarkable result. www.pi-media.co.uk

Muslims gift Quran to Dutch King A group of Muslims in the Netherlands have gifted two copies of the Holy Quran to the country’s king. King Willem-Alexander and his wife received the copies as part of the plan by the Know Islam Society to distribute Quran copies among non-Muslims. The plan has been received very well by people in the European country, Al-Hayat daily reported. In the past two weeks some 2000 copies of the Holy Book have been distributed and a total of 100,000 copies are planned to be gifted to non-Muslims in the country. Jacob van der Blom, head of the society, said a copy has also been sent for the far-right Islamophobe politician Geert Wilders He said distribution of the copies will continue in hotels, libraries, schools, and nursing homes across the country.


UK summons Israeli envoy over new settler units

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Britain has summoned the Israeli ambassador to London over Tel Aviv’s recent decision to expand illegal settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories. Daniel Taub was summoned to talks with Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt. Foreign Office Permanent UnderSecretary Simon Fraser said that

London made clear that the new settlement plans have negative impact on the so-called peace talks between Israelis and the Palestinian Authority. Fraser added that Britain urged Israel to refrain from such moves and use the “unique opportunity to end the conflict once and for all.” On January 10, Tel Aviv unveiled

plans to build more than 1,800 settler units in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the West Bank. Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the occupied West Bank, East al-Quds, and the besieged Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories. The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East. 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. The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.

Scotland police stop, search rate at record high Research indicates that people living in Scotland are four times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than those in England. According to a study carried out by Edinburgh University’s Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research, children under the age of 14 were searched without statutory authority 26,000 times, in 2010. The figure includes 500 searches of children 10 years of age or younger and 72 searches of kids seven or under. The study also suggested that Scottish police officers made 145,600 stop and searches on 15 to 20-year-olds without any legal cause. In 2010, the searches carried out on 16-year-olds in Strathclyde exceeded the number of actual 16year-olds living there. The report shows that stop and

searches are four times more likely in Scotland than they are in England and twice as likely to take place than in London. Meanwhile, Scotland’s commissioners for children and human rights Tam Baillie and Professor Alan Miller have voiced concern over the issue, saying there are insufficient safeguards against police abuse of power. They also said that the practice could be illegal and in violation of the rights of children under UK and European law. The research raises questions regarding national police force, Police Scotland, and its use of powers under Scottish common law, allowing police officers to seek

oral consent to search an individual without any evidence of wrongdoing. The Scottish Police Authority says it has already launched an investigation into the stop and searches and will release its findings in March. Police Scotland announced that there had been 537,434 stopsearches in Scotland since last April.


Yemen sets up drone counseling centre for kids

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A Yemeni delegation to the United Nations says the country has set up a counseling centre for children traumatized by the US assassination drone attacks. Speaking during a periodic review of Yemen by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, a member of the Yemeni delegation said following a US drone strike on a residential area, they found it necessary to set up the counseling centre. The delegation also stressed that mistakes have been made in the

Munich library has biggest Quranic manuscripts in Europe

The state library of Munich in Germany is considered as one of the biggest treasuries of precious and rare Quranic manuscripts as well as Islamic and oriental sources in Europe. According to Al-Jazeera website, the library has collected a number of Quran copies written with gold and dating back to the 9th century (3rd century A.H.) with the aim of making the valuable treasury more rich. It was announced that the library purchased the copies for 51000 Euros to complete its collection of Quranic and Islamic manuscripts. The copies are of a great

historical importance since they feature the period when the Holy Quran was written in single pages. The Bavarian State Library in Munich is the state library of the Free State of Bavaria and one of Europe’s most important universal libraries. With its collections currently comprising around 9.81 million books, it ranks among the best research libraries worldwide. In the past 50 recent years the library has purchased ancient Quran copies including a copy of the holy Book in gold (dating back to the 11th century), as well as copies of the Holy Quran of the 9th to the 19th centuries.

country’s cooperation with the US on what Washington claims is fight against terrorism. The delegation added that the country’s parliament has voted to stop the US deadly drone strikes, which have killed scores of Yemeni children. “The Yemeni parliament one month ago adopted a [bill for the] prohibition of American drones carrying out attacks in Yemen and we will continue to review and discuss this issue,” the Yemeni delegation said. A British psychological expert told the UK’s parliament last year following his trip to Yemen that the US drones were causing a psychological emergency in the country. The United States often uses its assassination drones to hit targets in Yemen and some other countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan. Washington claims that the drones target “militants,” but the facts on the ground show that civilians are frequently killed in the airstrikes.

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MidEast city to be part of new global tennis league Arsenal star Mesut Ozil crowned ‘Best Player’ in Germany

Bangkok, Singapore, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur and a city in the Middle East will be home to the first five teams of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) later this year, its organisers said. The players’ draft for the Nov 28-Dec 20 league will take place on March 2 in Dubai, IPTL co-founder and Indian double specialist Mahesh Bhupathi told reporters. “We’ve got a pretty exciting player field. We are going to announce that,” Bhupathi said on the sidelines of the Australian Open. Former number one Lleyton Hewitt confirmed being part of the city-based league which was announced in May last year with a star-studded lineup that also included Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Among the women, 17-times

major winner Serena Williams and twice Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka were named as the headline acts. “For me when I first heard about it the start of the year, I thought it was a fantastic concept,” said Hewitt. “I’ve obviously witnessed the Twenty20 cricket really explode as well. “This has been that format where we get the opportunity to play in a close-knit team which is close to my heart, growing up with Australian football and team sports. “That’s one thing lacking in tennis. We don’t get the opportunity to participate in a team,” added the 32-year-old Australian. Every team will have six to 10 players and there will be a $10 million team salary cap, Bhupathi said.

Omani investors plan to bid for Reading FC Investors from Oman are reportedly in talks to take over English Championship football club Reading. The group behind the bid, which has not been named, are said to have the backing of Oman’s royal family, local daily The Reading Post reported. It said the Omani FA, which has strong links with Reading, are

helping progress the talks but are not thought to be involved in the consortium itself. The Oman bid has a rival from an American consortium, with the paper saying both are keen to take a 100 percent stake in the football club, not just the 51 percent interest of current owner Anton Zingarevich. Reading FC has built up links

Arsenal’s Turkish-German playmaker Mesut Ozil has been selected “the German Player of the Year” in polls conducted by the German Football Federation (GFF). This is the third consecutive time the 25-year-old won the prestigious award since 2011 Playing for Arsenal in the English Premier League, Ozil came top by winning the 30.39 percent of all votes. Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm ranked second with 17.54 percent, and Thomas Muller -another Bayern player -- was third winning 13.68 percent of the votes. Mesut Ozil said he was honored to have received the award in an interview posted on the GFF’s official website. Ozil appeared in 52 national matches with Germany, scoring 17 goals since 2009. Nearly 8,100 football fans voted in “the Best National Player of the Year” poll in Germany.

with Oman in recent years and are partners of the Kickworldwide Outreach Programme in Sohar.


Chilean football team puts Palestine on shirt www.pi-media.co.uk

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The popularity of a Chilean football team has jumped up after it decided to replace number “1’’ on club’s recently unveiled 2014 kit to take the shape of Palestine complete map before 1948 nakba. Last month, Palestine Football Club, Deportivo Palestine, based in Santiago, Chile redesigned their jerseys replacing the number 1 with an image of Palestine map. The team was originally founded in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants to the country, and Chile now has one of the largest Palestinian communities in the world. The club’s colors are those of the Palestinian flag: black, white, green and red. They have won national championships twice, in 1955 and 1978.

Uproar surrounding this decision started when local and global Jewish leaders protested the political nature of the uniforms to FIFA, soccer’s international governing body. “This act of smugness by the irresponsible mangers of Palestino is offensive to the whole Chilean Jewish community. It’s unprecedented,” tweeted Gabriel Zaliasnik, the former president of Chilean Jewish community (CJC), International Business Times reported. His successor at the head of CJC, Gerardo Gorodischer, has urged Chile’s football association to ban the shirt. “We reject the import of the Middle East conflict in Chile,” Gorodischer tweeted.

The Palestinian Federation of Chile responded to the Jewish protests. “We reject the hypocrisy of those who blame this map but they talk about the occupied territory as disputed territory,” the Palestinian Federation said in a statement. The Information Department of the Palestinian Federation also criticized “the Chilenean Zionists, who send young Chileneans to Israel to receive military training.” Each year on May 15, Palestinians mourn the loss of Palestine and creation of Israel on its rubble in 1948. Later in 1967, Israel occupied the remaining Palestinian lands along with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights. In November 2012, the UN gave Palestine the status of “non-member observer state”. Chile is home to one of the largest Palestinian communities in the world, with about 350,000 immigrants and their descendants. The Chilean government has officially recognized an independent state of Palestine in 2011. Volunteer Sport Journalist required for further info email info@pi-media.co.uk

A lawyer has become Britain’s first female Muslim football agent. Shehneela Ahmed, 42, who also works as a duty solicitor criminal advocate, is now a registered football agent with the Football Association and is hoping that her

appointment will encourage more women from ethnic backgrounds to follow in her footsteps. Ms Ahmed said: “This will have a big impact on my career as I intend to promote more people from the Asian background to encourage their children to take part in the sports industry. “To me personally this is a big thing. It’s a golden opportunity for me to promote females from other ethnic backgrounds to do the same.

Miss Ahmed, who supports Manchester United and graduated from Staffordshire University, admitted that she didn’t know she would become the first female Muslim football agent until her application was successful. She said: “At the time when I applied to become a Football Agent I wasn’t aware there weren’t any Asian female football agents. It’s only after that I became aware. Miss Ahmed, who received her license in September added: “I’ve had clients approach me, from players, managers and clubs and I’ve had some really good feedback so far.”

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Travelblog:

Dublin By Irfan Raja

If I could point out one key benefit of being a foreign student in Britain it would be easy in that we have the access to Europe. Yeah! Everyone seems to crave exploring Europe, especially in the days when lowpriced airlines offered return flights for no more than £30 to several destinations. Dublin had been on my hit list of destinations to visit for a long time and was pleasantly surprised to hear that IAMCR is coming to Dublin this year, I subsequently rushed to register for the conference; Crisis, ‘Creative Destruction’ and the Global Power and Communication Order’ 2013. My day was complete when Dr. Ian Pitchford at the University of Huddersfield endorsed my travel grant that amounted to £500 making my stay in Dublin much more comfortable. I read the story of Ireland and heard Spike Milligan’s saying, “Many people die of thirst, but the Irish are born with one”. Like any European who hasn’t had the chance to step on Muslim land lives in complete ignorance. In the same vein, I had to rely on second-hand sources of information about Irish people so this was a remarkable opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the land whose name is derived from

agriculture society. I boarded an early morning Ryanair flight from Leeds assuming that I would reach the opening ceremony by around 5pm. Although I am not a morning person at all, I chose an early flight because of the cut-rate option. In an hour long flight I sat next to Ali, a former University of Leeds student who was forced to quit his doctoral research and now heads an organisation in Ireland that provides Halal meat to Muslims across Europe. Ali began refreshing his memories of hard-times in the research office, supervisory issues and finally he began to talk about Ireland, which to him, is dying in an economic sense. Later on during my stay in Dublin, I discovered that most young people are eager to emigrate to Britain, Germany and the States for a better life. According to recent report it is said that, ‘397,500 people have emigrated since Ireland’s financial crisis began in 2008’. At the airport, Ali got a self-drive Vauxhall and generously offered me a free ride to the hostel but my luck didn’t last that long. Then, the funniest thing happened to me, after reaching the conference venue, UDC

(University College Dublin) I found no one at the conference site that was hoping to get 1000 scholars, researchers and journalists around the globe. Yeah! It’s not me alone, a few other participants ended up in UDC instead of going to DCU (Dublin City University). It didn’t stop here, I had paper money with me and soon I learnt that on buses one needs coins to buy a ticket there is also no change if you fail to put the exact amount into a ticket box, although it gives you a receipt saying ‘please collect your money from the bus office or post office’. But this whole exercise made me realise the importance of being an organised. However, on two occasion’s bus drivers gave me a free ride as I didn’t have the exact change On arrival at the conference Ireland’s President Professor Michael D. Higgins, who also enjoys a traceable origin in academia and politics, addressed the opening ceremony in Irish recognising the value and importance of mothertongue. He warns of the growing media giants taking ownership of several social networking sites or the ‘new media’ which provides ordinary people a platform to raise their voice. His scholarly speech can be listening


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at: http://iamcr2013dublin.org/ content/president-higgins-youtube. During the five day conference, I took time-off to discover history, art, culture and local traditions in one of the most beautiful places in Europe which in many ways resembles Central London and places surrounding the river Thames. The old buildings, shopping malls, cafe’s, libraries, fortress and street names all remind you at some point that you are in London when in fact you are in Dublin. What is praiseworthy about Dublin is the way its inhabitants have kept their traditions, language and culture alive after centuries of embargos, foreign occupations, wars and hardships. Whilst Christianity is on decline in England, it is still flourishing in Ireland where I didn’t see PDA (Public Display of Affection) even in the capital which suggests that religious practices are probably taken more seriously. However upon my visit to St. Werburgh considered as being one of the oldest churches in Ireland, the carer Gavin Elliott told me that the attendance has gone down to 20 in total from times when it was reaching full capacity, although perhaps this is due to its location in the city centre. I noticed the worn-out Pulpit and shabby walls which were peeling away whilst the wooden furniture needed a varnish. One thing that evidently struck me were the adverts on electric polls on the very same street saying, ‘Abortion kills’ at that time the government was preparing to put-up a bill to allow abortion up to a certain stage. These pamphlets say, ‘Kill the bill not the child’ the campaign brought together thousands of men and women who strongly opposed the bill, a strong indicator that Ireland is still today staunchly holding onto its Christian values and traditions. Almost every day, I enjoyed the sweet bites of heart-touching scenery, pleasant evening walks around River Liffey where sometimes jobless immigrants and the homeless are intrigued by your very presence. The best way is to walk straight from one end of Liffey, Dublin Port’s Alexandra Quay to the oldest part of the town that takes you to Brazen Head Pub, built in 1198 and is the oldest pub in town. In the night, a

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number of bridges on the river Liffey add to its beauty with a wide-range of colouring lights shadowing in the water. The most amazing feature of my stay was an evening at the Fairview seaside,. When I got off there at the Fairview Park junction that heads towards the sea front, normally in the evening people walk to get fresh air, and I said ‘hello’ to a rambler, who happened to be a doctor and a great admirer of history. As we began to walk together, he told me the story of Ireland right from the beginning to the British rule that had left unpleasant stains on Irish people’s memories. I thought one

dozens of attractions date back to the eleven and twelfth Century e.g. The Dublin Castle, Trinity College, Trinity College Library. For those of you who adore theatre, late night cinema, Turkish kebabs and evening walk on riverside nothing can match that by staying at the Best Western hotel or its surrounding in the Dublin City Centre. It is from this point where every quarter of an hour coach service takes you to the airport for just 7 Euros. For people who are particularly eager to seek eternal peace through worship, a mosque is located next to Tesco Express Store in the historic

day perhaps I could turn this talk into a short-hand guide to Irish history. Here another thrilling event I recorded was a summer festival of open sea swimming and to my surprise boys and girls aged 14/15 swam 1500 metres in the presence of huge crowds, gathered to support the contestants. Imagine your sentiments when something suddenly connects you to motherland, this is what happened at the seafront when at the bank of sea I saw a beautiful restaurant named Kinara (Bank/edge) that offers Pakistani cuisine. As I collated my camera for a photo shoot a young chubby man appeared in front of the restaurant to invite me in. The restaurant holds a reasonable space for family and friends dine out for those who admire seaside and continental foods in the evenings. This city is amazingly rich in

Talbot Street in City Centre. As the Muslim population has increased from 4000 in early 1990s to 45000 at present, a plan to build one of the largest mosques of Europe in Ireland at Clongriffin in the North of Dublin City has received final approval. This particular mosque will be the part of Islamic Culture Centre and be open to people of all faiths. One presumes that upon my next visit to this beautiful and friendly city I will be attending my Friday prayers here. Waiting at the airport lounge at 3am I was thinking that while some of the Ireland’s European neighbours are busy banning mosque minarets, putting halt on building new mosques and sanctioning Muslim women dress codes Ireland’s position and attitude towards Muslims strongly dismisses all those Islamophobes who have turned a blind-eye towards an increasing number of white reverts in the continent.


Coping with Grief and Loss

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Even the most delusional person rejects the notion that worldly happiness and bliss is eternal and prosperity and opulence is an everlasting experience. In contrast, grief and loss is an inevitable experience that no human being can outwit or receive special immunity. The pang of loss is an overwhelming experience that numbs and weakens even the most powerful. No amount of power, wealth, beauty or luxury of this world can eliminate and provide respite for the retching experience of loss. The detachment with one’s loved one draws out the expression of grief in different ways for different people. Tears streaming down faces, weeping, faces contorted with emotions, numbness of the vocal cords, trembling, shaking, speaking out of turn are some of the manifestations of grief at the time of loss. Expressing grief at the loss of a loved one is an innate characteristic of a human being and does not contradict the principle of belief in Allah, providing no blasphemous words are uttered. Wailing, yelling, shrieking and tearing one’s garments are all impermissible actions that are associated with the Jaahiliyyah – ignorance. A believer is encouraged to exert patience and fortitude during the period of trials and tribulations. The rollercoaster of emotions that are experienced at the time of a beloved’s death can sometimes overwhelm and devastate people, hence, lead them to behave in those painful moments in a manner that are not befitting their character and manner. Self restraint, great fortitude and consciousness of the Almighty’s decree are the admirable attributes of true believers who naturally grieve and feel the deep wound of loss with courage and hope. Thus, Islam permits crying or weeping softly at the time of death and after death, because the expressions of grief and

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sorrow are innate experiences that goes beyond any human’s control. Ibn ‘Abbâs (RA) reported that when Ruqayyah (RA), the daughter of the Prophet (pbuh), died, the women started to cry, and ‘Umar (RA) tried to stop them. The Prophet (pbuh) told him: “O ‘Umar, leave them alone and let them cry.” Addressing the women he said: “Go ahead and cry, but avoid the crying of shaytân…Whatever comes from the eye and heart is from Allâh and is a sign of mercy, and whatever comes from your hand and your tongue is from shaytân.” (Ahmad) Moreover, the death of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) aptly, illustrated the nature of cope with grief and loss. Sayyiduna Umar (RA) was stunned and totally incredulous when he heard the news about the Prophet (pubh) passing away. He said: “Some of the hypocrites claim that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) died. The Messenger of Allah did not die, but went to his Lord in the same way as Sayyiduna Musa ibn ‘Imran (AS) did. He stayed away for forty nights, but finally came back though they said he had been dead. By Allah, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) will come back and he will cut off the hands and legs of those who claim his death.” (Ibn Hisham) In contrast, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (RA) came to the house of Sayyidatuna Aishah (RA) where the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) blessed body was and put his hands on his blessed temples, kissed him between the eyes and said: “O my Prophet, O my dearest friend, O my beloved.” (Ahmad) He then whispered: “I sacrifice my father and mother for your sake. Allah, verily, will not cause you to die twice. You have just experienced the death that Allah had ordained.” Then addressing the Sahabah (RA), he delivered the famous inspiring and moving speech declaring that: “And now, he

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who worships Muhammad (pbuh), Muhammad (pbuh) is dead now. But he who worships Allah, He is Ever Living and He never dies.” Allah says: ‘Muhammad (pbuh) is no more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels (as disbelievers)? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful.“(Surah 3:144) It was at this point that it dawned on Sayyiduna Umar (RA) that the Prophet (pbuh) had indeed passed away. He subsequently said’ “By Allah as soon as I heard Abu Bakr (RA) saying it, I fell down to the ground. I felt as if my legs had been unable to carry me so I collapsed when I heard him say it. Only then did I realize that Muhammad (pbuh) had really died.” (Bukhari) Such a stalwart and courageous man that Sayyiduna Umar (RA) was, the calamity and grief that had befallen him was so overwhelming that he was unable to function in a measured manner owing to the profound and deep pain he was experiencing. On the other hand, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (RA) remained composed despite being also overwhelmed with grief and sorrow, demonstrating the nature of grief and loss, that people react differently and express different emotions when hearing the loss of a beloved one. In addition, it needs to be understood that Sayyiduna Umar’s (RA) expression of grief was not to show displeasure or question the decree of Allah. However, his emotions were expressed at hearing the incredulous news that the Prophet (pbuh) had passed away. He did not want to believe the moment had arrived even though he knew it would definitely come as prophesised by the Prophet (pbuh).


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Even when a person is immersed in misery and drowning in grief, the loss of a loved one is not a time for bitterness and resentment at the decree of Allah, but an opportunity for reflection and reconnection with our Creator. Aptly, at the time of loss, we proclaim the profound statement: “Verily, unto Allah do we belong and, verily, unto Him we shall return.” (Surah 2:15556) Regardless, of whatever has happened, we are consoling ourselves with the inevitable truth and beginning the process of healing the hearts. Hence, as part of the bereavement process, family and friends are encouraged to console and comfort the bereaved individuals with words of reassurance and hope. The Prophet (pbuh) used to counsel the bereaved families with such profound and insightful words: “Surely Allah takes what is His, what He gives is His, and to all things He has appointed a time, so have patience and be rewarded.” (Bukhari) Then he would invoke “May Allah magnify your reward, perfect your bereavement and forgive your departed.” (An Nawawi – Kitabul Adhkar) These powerful statements of condolences are an affirmation of our submission and compliance with the Almighty’s will and decree. The period of grieving is one of the most fragile moments in a person’s life. This vulnerability allows shaitan to infiltrate into the mind and soul of the grieving person by posing such deep and penetrating questions; How could this happen to me? Does Allah not love me? Thus, the Qur’aan and Sunnah illuminate and clarify our minds and soul with such irrefutable answers that leaves shaitan in despair and agony. The Qur’aan says: “All things (good and bad) are from Allah.” (Surah 4:78) In essence, an episode of happiness or grief occurs only with the will of Allah and no person can escape His decree and wish. The above supplications recited during the period of bereavement serve to reaffirm our connection with Allah and dispel any iota of uncertainty that may lurk in the depths of our hearts. Allah poses questions regarding the purpose of our existence. “Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, we believe, and that they will not be put to the test?” (Surah Al-An’akabut 29:2) In other words, do we think that our existence is in

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vain and purposeless? Death and Loss are occasions when we are reminded about our objectivity in this world. The trials are inevitable and inescapable. However, calamity and misfortune can become a source of blessing for those who recognize their existence. The aforementioned supplications invoked at the bereaved also demonstrate the opportunity that arises from misery and desolation. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “There is no Muslim who is stricken with a calamity and (then) says what Allah has enjoined (to say): Verily, To Allah we belong and unto Him is our return; O Allah, reward me for my affliction and compensate with something better’ but Allah will compensate him with something better.” (Muslim) The great Imam Hasan al- Basri (ra) said: “Do not resent the calamities that come and the disasters that occur; perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation, and perhaps in something that prefer will be your doom.” A true believer in the gloomiest and darkest hours of despair rises up and discovers the essence of patience. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it patience and that is good for him.” (Muslim) We may love someone and believe that we are the closest thing to that person but Allah reminds us through the pangs of bereavement that no closeness in this abode is eternal. In fact, Allah reminds every human being that: “We are closer to him than [his own] jugular vein.” (Surah 50:16) Death is a reminder of His power and clear evidence of our fragility and temporary existence. Each person’s purpose and existence in the earthly world is unique and specific. No one can determine a person’s life or death without Allah’s will. Hence, the experience of grief is an opportunity to increase our commitment with the Creator and make our relationship with Him meaningful and everlasting. Furthermore, the mourning period is three days except for a widow whose period is four months and ten days. However, the grieving affects people differently and takes longer to endure and heal. Some may struggle

to cope with normality in their lives with the constant recollection of their loved one at every turn. The constant reflection and sometimes regret leads people to depression and dejection. However, Islam teaches us that regret is a wasted and futile emotion. True believers at the time of grief and loss seek forgiveness, confess their shortcomings and commit themselves to Allah. During this period many people lose sight of the asset that Allah grants the grieving family. Those opportunities are not only to exercise patience and fortitude but to engage fully in forgiveness. During those lonely moments of recollecting your loved one, seek forgiveness for them and yourselves. Death may have brought an end to the physical attachment but opens an opportunity to connect spiritually with your loved one by showering an abundance of ‘Isaale Thawaab’. No materialistic gift you may have given to the deceased can equate to the spiritual gifts that Allah has left at your disposal. In conclusion, the death of a loved one can toss a person into despair, distress and turmoil. It can lead a person to search for answers. For Muslims, the answers lie in the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Ultimately, we rely in our Creator who has limitless and infinite knowledge. He determines what is good for us and what is not. He says: “But it may happen that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you, And Allah knows and you do not know. “ (Surah 2:216) In times of grief and loss we are reminded of our fragility and vulnerability and experience the greatness of Allah. Islam guides a believer during these traumatic experiences to seek comfort and solace in the reliance of the Creator. Exercising patience, seeking forgiveness and increasing in supplication are the hallmarks of a true believer who anticipates reward and acceptance. Instead of allowing our hearts to drown in misery, we are encouraged to reassert optimism and hope. For some, the pangs of grief and loss never totally disappear even with time, but connection with Allah allows us to grieve with the notion that reward and paradise is the price worth paying. Allah says: “And none shall be granted such goodness, except those who are steadfast.” (Surah 41:35)


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I LEGAL

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I February 2014

What Legal steps can be taken in cases of Domestic Violence?

and whether there are any alternative properties where one of the partners can reside together with the children. Occupation orders are valid for a specified duration as they are intended to be a short-term measure. Breach of an occupation order is not a criminal offence unless the court has attached a power of arrest to it. In such circumstances the defendant can be imprisoned for maximum of two years or can be obliged to pay a fine of up to ÂŁ5,000. If power of arrest has not been issued, the applicant must apply for a contempt of court which is a civil wrong.

In the UK almost every fourth woman is a victim of domestic violence. Such is the devastating impact that it has ruined lives, destroyed families and the self esteem of those affected. So what can be done to protect the vulnerable in these situations. There are help lines to deal with those who suffer in silence, victims or those in fear of their lives but in some cases this is not enough. The law does provide certain help via the following ways: Non-Molestation order A non-molestation order is a form of an injunction which protects one of the partners or the children from harassment, threats and from actual violence. The court issues this order where there is a threat to well being of the applicant or child. If the threat is imminent then the court make the order without a hearing. It is therefore a resourceful tool to have in dire circumstances. The order can be limited in scope or the court could keep it indefinite depending on the situation. Where the order is granted the party on whom it is binding must comply. If they do not, the court can issue criminal and civil proceedings. Breach of the non-molestation order can be tried by the CPS and upon conviction the defendant can be punished with up to 5 years imprisonment or a fine or both.

Alternatively, civil proceedings for contempt of court can be brought by the applicant. In this case the defendant can be imprisoned for up to 2 years or receive a fine. Occupation order An occupation order is an injunction which can allow or effectively bar someone from occupying the family home. It can also oblige the cohabiters to use specified parts of the property. Whether a party can obtain such order depends on both the marital status of the couple and the occupation rights that they have over the premises. The order must be granted by a court and when taking a decision factors that will be taken into account include the threat of actual violence

What if I have been domestically abused If you have been a victim of domestic violence you do not need to suffer in silence. There is much we can do to protect you. If the threat is imminent we can apply for an emergency injunction which can take place without a hearing and safeguard you and/or children against further harm. The court would usually list a hearing date and the parties would then be allowed to present their case. The court would then consider if the order is set to continue.

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PI magazine February 2014