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New digital guide Salah receives UAE Award The Islamic Muslims online from Dubai Crown Prince Caliphate

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Community in Uproar Over RSE Issue: 130

February 2019

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In recent months there has been a great deal of unease within many parts of the UK about the impending rollout of RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) in all schools from September 2020. In July 2017, the current government had announced that relationships and sex education was to be made compulsory in all schools in England. At the time, the then Education Secretary Justine Greening had declared that all children from the age of four would be given instruction on how to lead

healthy lives and to develop meaningful relationships. Before we analyse the furore over the implementation of RSE in schools and the relative unease it has caused in many communities across the UK, it is important that we understand the very nature of the RSE programme itself. In all primary schools, Relationships education will become statutory in all primary schools and parents will not have the right to withdraw them from these classes. The Department

of Education recommends that ageappropriate sex education be delivered to primary school education. However, parents wishing to withdraw their children from sex education classes will be able to do so.In secondary schools, parents will not be able to withdraw their children from relationships education, but they will be able to withdraw their offspring from certain aspects of sex education but does not include topics taught as part of the science curriculum. Headteachers across the country will be obliged to discuss the value and importance of RSE with parents prior to granting a withdrawal request. If we reflect on the guidance given by the government on RSE, the unease felt by constituents becomes highly evident especially when we identify a contradiction between relationships and sex education in the context of the parental right to withdraw their children from class. Why has the government denied parents the right to withdraw their children from not sex education and not relationships education? It seems that the answer very much lies in the fact that the authorities in question wish to undermine and destroy the very fabric of the family nucleus that has stood the test of time. Continued on page 3

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By Hannah Couchman

Advocacy & Policy Officer @Liberty UK

Surveillance secret back doors and government ghosts

undermines proper encryption which is predicated on the content of our communications only being seen by the intended recipients. Messaging apps like WhatsApp even have a special feature to allow you to verify your conversation is secure and encrypted. For the Government’s “ghost” to work, we would have to be shown a fake code – our app would have to lie to us and cover up the truth.

The Government wants to break the encryption that protects our private messages - threatening our fundamental rights to privacy and free expression, in a way that could alter how safe we feel communicating privately with one another.

Encryption underpins everything we do online – including internet banking, online shopping and storing medical records. Scaremongering around encryption does nothing to keep us safer and risks making all of us vulnerable to an attack on our privacy.

WHAT IS ENCRYPTION? Encryption is a process which scrambles our communications so they can be sent without anyone else being able to read them. Companies such as WhatsApp and Signal provide messaging services with “end-to-end encryption”. This means that even the messaging companies themselves cannot see the content, and they have no way of decrypting it. Only the sender and the recipients can read the message. For a long time, the Government has used a dangerous narrative to put your ability to encrypt your private emails, messages and calls at risk. The Government talks about encryption as creating a safe space for criminals and terrorists – but this is a deeply misleading picture.

UNDERMINING ENCRYPTION – “BACK DOORS” AND “GHOSTS” In the past, the Government has called for a “back door” into encryption. This would require an intentional flaw to be introduced into the encryption, and we wouldn’t be able choose who does and does not have access to it. And now the Government has blogged about another way they are seeking to undermine our end-to-end encryption – through the use of a “ghost”. The “ghost” is a third party, added into your chat or call, to monitor what is being said – so the government becomes a secret member of your conversation. While GCHQ shamelessly try to argue that “everything [is] still being end-to-end encrypted”, this clearly

WHY DOES IT MATTER? Liberty has long fought against State powers to weaken encryption and undertake suspicionless surveillance. Allowing the Government to snoop on our conversations changes what we might feel we can talk about. We will not be able to trust our messaging apps when we’re told our messages are secure. It also threatens our security, creating “back doors” by another name which nonstage actors could discover and take advantage of. The United Nations has said that the use of encryption should be encouraged to protect freedom of expression. It enables us to share ideas, promote causes that are important to us and take part in activism. We also have the right to access a free press, which relies on journalists being able to keep their sources protected. Countries that place controls on encryption are often authoritarian regimes with very poor human rights records. The UK should not join them.

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Community in uproar over RSE

Continued from front page

It should be said that religious scriptures namely the Old Testament and the Qur’an established the foundation of the family through God creating Adam and then Eve (Hawa) to complement the former and be a companion for him in Paradise and then on Earth (Genesis 2:4-3:24, Q7:189). It is also well known that Adam and Eve were later blessed with children namely Cain and Abel (Habil and Kabil). The word of God through the scriptures has stood the test of time and many civilisations and societies in history have emphasized and promoted the concept of the family. The roll out of RSE at present has already caused alarm and consternation in Birmingham, United Kingdom where several Muslim parents withdrew their children from RSE classes and organised protests outside the school gate. In recent weeks, Parkfield Community School and the Headteacher Mr Andrew Moffat have come under the media spotlight and been heavily criticised for promoting a programme called ‘No Outsiders’ and introducing books in class with provocative titles such as ‘King & King and Mommy’ and ‘Mama and Me’. Many parents felt they were forced into taking drastic action was as a result of the promotion of homosexuality and same sex relationships to very young children in class. Inevitably, many critics have raised their heads over the parapet in recent days and months and have accused Muslims of having a complex or issues with just about

everything in this country. Some have gone as far as saying that this is a Muslim issue or Muslim problem and that Muslims should shut up and accept the agenda as to speak. It is at this juncture that we should take time out to consider what the Abrahamic faiths have to say on the promotion of these values. Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and the story of Lot (Lut) in the Qur’an (Q.7:81) underlines his attempts to dissuade his people from engaging in unlawful acts. Furthermore, the Books of Leviticus and Genesis (Lev 20:13, Gen 19:111) echo the same narrative that homosexuality is an abomination and that one should refrain from such acts. Parents at Parkfield Community School felt puzzled as to why the school leadership team is promoting values such as being gay is acceptable to children young as four especially when 98 per cent of the children are Muslim. Several Muslim parents have vehemently stated that they will keep their children away from school until these lessons are completely scrapped. Councillor Muhammad Idris for Alum Rock, Birmingham went on record and stated that children at the school are too young to learn about relationships and that it was not a good idea to promote the philosophy behind RSE. Just in the last few days, 800 people in Leeds have launched a campaign against the teaching of relationships education in school which shows that there are many parents across the country who

are very unhappy with the current situation. The unfolding events at Parkfield Community School are just an illustration and a flavour of what is come over the next 12 months across many schools in the country. Many Jews, Christians and Muslims will feel very uneasy at the prospect of their children being taught that same-sex relationships are normal, and that homosexuality is acceptable. Many parents have reported that children have come home from school and asked them that two men and 2 women in a relationship are Mummy and Daddy. Parents have been put in difficult positions especially when trying to clear up confusion that is prevalent in the minds of young people in the home environment. Some parents will be of the view that that the state is using RSE as a tool to indoctrinating and persuading innocent and naïve children into blindly accepting different types of relationships and thus undermine the foundation of the family. Many parents will argue that it is the school’s duty to deliver an education and thus not be pre-occupied in promoting lifestyles and relationships education that are odds with religious beliefs. There needs to be rethink in terms of how RSE is being delivered in schools before we have a situation where many parents will have no choice but to take their children out of school which is something no one wants as it is the latter who will be deprived of a well-rounded and grounded education.


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I February 2019

A new digital guide aims to advise how Muslims should behave online The Muslim Digital Citizens Guide by Faith Associates has been developed with the support of Google.org’s innovation fund administered by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD) to counter hate and extremism in the UK. The fund ‘supports innovative projects, online and offline, that seek to disrupt, undermine, counter, or provide positive alternatives to hate and extremism.’ The guide focuses on five core values that cover the main principles of responsibilities and behaviour from an Islamic perspective ‘Respect, Patience, Honesty, Kindness and Excellence’. The guide features generic advice alongside Islamic Hadith and Quranic Ayats. Faith Associates say through ImamsOnline.com network, the project has brought together a group of representatives from the main branches of the Islamic faith

to create a toolkit focused on digital safety and citizenship. The aim is to support Imams, scholars and teachers in Mosques, Madrassah and Islamic centres, colleges and schools and those engaging with congregations and learners online. Shaukat Warraich, Founder and Chief Editor of Faith Associates, said: “We are proud to officially launch the Muslim Digital Citizens Guide supported by Google and ISD, a unique guide that helps to develops an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims in the online world” “Contextualizing the Islamic faith within the fast moving online world is a debate many people are grappling with and we wanted to help to frame the narrative to support young Muslims in their digital journey.” “This guide has started a discourse on the subject of digital citizenship and its increased importance.

“The hope is that the guide helps to close the gap, which can sometimes exist between faith and online culture

reinforcing a stronger sense of identity and helps to develop a new age of model digital citizens.” - AI

Newcastle Islamic centre vandalised with hate In Case Y Missed ou It

Qurans thrown on floor and ‘Moslem terrorists’ daubed on wall inside Islamic centre

Vandals have targeted an Islamic school painting a swastika on the wall and throwing Qurans and religious books across the floor. The Newcastle-based Bahr Academy was formerly the setting of the famous children’s TV youth club - Byker Grove. The grade II-listed building was bought in 2012 by Muslims in a bid to set up an Islamic faith school and prayer hall. In a shocking act of vandalism at the centre a wall had ‘Moslem Terorist’ daubed across it and Islamic books were thrown on the

floor, including copies of the Quran. The word Muslim and terrorist was misspelt by the illiterate vandals. Newcastle City Council Leader Nick Forbes said, “I’m outraged to hear about the racist vandalism and graffiti at the Bahr academy. “Police are investigating and I hope the scum who did this are found and prosecuted. We must come together as a city to condemn such appalling racist hate crimes. #NewcastleUnites.” Sergeant Adrian Oakes said, “This type of mindless vandalism

and blatant racism has no place in society and will be dealt with robustly by police. “We would encourage any victims of hate crime to get in touch with police on 101 or through one of the many third-party reporting systems available online. “Being you is not a crime and anyone found to be targeting a person because of who they should expect to be contacted by police.” This is not the first time the centre has been targeted and in 2016 vandals smashed the windows of the centre. - AI


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New report intensifies squeeze on Muslim CSO space In Case Y o Missed It u

said: “It’s somewhat ironic that we are being accused of promoting extremism by an organisation which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia to the tune of £9million, a regime that commits war crimes in Yemen, jails and executes critics and chops up journalists.”

Police arrest racist man who harassed Muslim girls

Beleaguered Muslim organisations, already squeezed by a shrinking civil society space, are the target of a new report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change which brands them divisive and extremist. Singling out five organisations including IHRC the report, ‘Narratives of Division’, accuses them of promoting an extremist narrative that threatens social cohesion in Britain. The report is premised on the discredited concept of non-violent extremism which underpins the UK’s Prevent anti-terrorism strategy. It charges the selected organisations with perpetuating narratives that promote a divisive view of how Muslims should see their place in Britain. We believe the report underlines the concerns raised in an IHRC briefing released last week that legitimate criticism and rigorous research that makes uncomfortable reading for the political class is now routinely being stigmatised and marginalised. “For the best part of two decades, successive governments and those opposed to Muslim participation have forced to the margins authentic CSOs from the Muslim community that do not conform to preconceived official strategies or desired policy outcomes,” said the briefing.

‘Narratives of Division’ falls squarely into the same bracket. It appears to have selected the five Muslim organisations on account of their resistance to political cooption and their strident criticism of state policies. The report dismisses their output as the product of a conspiratorial and antagonistic Islam vs West mindset, using the banned Al-Muhajiroun network as a benchmark. Astonishingly, it concludes that much of the five groups’ public messaging approaches or is similar to that of AlMuhajiroun. IHRC finds the report tendentious and Islamophobic. It aims to establish a benchmark for extremism which is well below the threshold required to be able to legitimately express one’s views and which sets the bar differentially for Muslims. One only has to cast one’s mind back to the Macpherson report to see how the finding of institutional racism against the police did not lead to charges that racially minoritised groups were promoting a conspiratorial or divisive worldview. Yet today calling the state or part of it institutionally Islamophobic is presented as evidence that Muslim organisations are promoting a narrative of division. IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh

A man believed to be in his 60s has been arrested in the British capital after he hurled harsh racist abuses at a group of Muslim girls. Police said they were investigating the hateful behavior of the man who was spotted in a video on the internet harassing Muslim girls outside Central Foundation Girls School, in Bow, east London. The video shows the man hurling some unprecedented abuses at the girls, saying they should be made infertile and prevented from breeding. He follows the school children and calls them rats who should be sterilized like prisoners of the Nazi Germany. The Metropolitan Police said it was aware of the footage and called on witnesses to come forward. “The footage is believed to have been captured in Tower Hamlets and shows schoolgirls, some of whom are wearing hijab head coverings,” A Met spokesperson said, adding, “A male voice can be heard on the clip providing abusive and offensive commentary.” Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs and Councilor Asma Begum issued a joint statement condemning the abusive conduct against Muslims girls. “We condemn the use of this inflammatory rhetoric. Tower Hamlets is home to people from all over the world and we are proud of our history which has been enriched by migration,” said the pair in their statement, adding that they will continue to monitor the situation.”


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UK will pull fighter jets from Syria

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The British Royal Air Force (RAF) is set to call back more than half of its fighter jets from Syria after US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from the Arab country. British commanders confirmed that at least eight RAF Tornado jets would return to their bases in the UK, reducing to six the total number of British aircraft committed to the USled aerial campaign in the country. The decision comes after Trump’s

announcement in December that US military forces were going to evacuate Syria as their mission to “defeat Daesh” had come to an end. The US and Britain, alongside their other allies, have been pounding alleged Daesh positions in Syria since 2014. Besides fighter jets, London has also deployed a number of its special forces to parts of Syria to carry out secret missions in coordination with over 2,000 American troops

stationed in various bases across the war-torn country. The ageing Tornados were scheduled to be retired in March but British officials shelved plans to replace them following Trump’s decision, the report said. The planned withdrawal leaves the UK with six advanced Eurofighter Typhoon jets and around 10 Reaper drones to carry out future operations. The report said London would also reduce the number of its special forces in Syria. It was revealed that at least a third of the UK Royal Air Force’s large fleet of fighter jets, including some Typhoons, were unable to fly. Data made available under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws showed that 142 of RAF’s 434-aircraft fleet were either under repaired or mothballed – cannibalized for parts or stored for future use. The jets unable to fly included 55 out of RAF’s entire fleet of 156 Typhoons, which the UK has used in its Syria operations. The RAF has shrunk to half its size in the last 25 years.

Leading Muslim organisation in UK, the Muslim Council of Britain welcomed the acceptance by government to launch an inquiry into the controversial Prevent strategy, which is part of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy. Following Security Minister Ben Wallace’s statement in the House of Commons, accepting the Lords’ Amendment calling for an Independent Review of Prevent, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “For far too long, the Prevent

strategy has affected the lives of innocent families, been criticised for mainstreaming discrimination and lost the trust of communities around the UK. This latest step is crucial for all those who have campaigned for an Independent Review of Prevent. Everyone committed to developing a truly effective strategy for tackling terrorism understands that it must be transparent, accountable and hold the trust of communities. We welcome the Government’s support for a review; however those tasked with its implementation must

have the independence, credibility and trust required to deliver it.” The Muslim Council of Britain was one of a number of civil society organisations, human rights groups and liberty advocates who have long highlighted a number of serious failings and lack of transparency, including the former independent reviewer of counter-terror legislation David Anderson, the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of assembly and association.

Muslim organisation welcomes independent review of Prevent


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I February 2019

High court rejects association of anti-zionism with anti-semitism

Zionists failed in a legal attempt to overturn a decision not to prosecute a prominent pro-Palestine campaigner for remarks he made during the 2017 Al-Quds Day march in London. Britain’s High Court dismissed the judicial review brought by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism against a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to take action against Nazim Ali on the grounds that that comments he made during the rally in June 2017 were not abusive and had not caused alarm or distress to Zionists who were taking part in a counterdemonstration. The CAA, whose primary purpose

is to defend Israel by stigmatizing as anti-Semitic anyone who supports Palestine and opposes Zionism, had claimed that Mr Ali had insulted Zionists, Zionist rabbis and those associated with the Jewish Board of Deputies who felt alarmed by his anti-Zionist comments at the annual rally. Having failed to persuade the DPP to prosecute Mr Ali, it brought a private prosecution against him. However, the DPP took over the private prosecution and dismissed that as well as Mr Ali argued this was an abuse of process. The High Court decision marks an important victory for pro-Palestine campaigners by guaranteeing

freedom of expression and implicitly rejecting the association of antiSemitism with Zionism. The CAA had argued that Mr Ali’s comments against Zionism and Israel had made them vulnerable in that they felt more at risk of being set upon or shunned in society, at work and elsewhere because of the complainants’ Jewish heritage. The court held that while what Mr Ali said may have been intemperate, deeply offensive and distressing, it could not be said to be abusive nor constitute any threat to public order. The High Court agreed with the DPP that while the remarks “were possibly at the limits of strident political discourse they were nevertheless an expression of views that he was free to hold in a free and democratic society”. Commenting on the decision, Chairman of London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Massoud Shadjareh said: “We are pleased that the High Court has seen through the aim of the CAA in this case which was to silence criticism of Israel via the Public Order Act. The action brought by the CAA is typical of the Zionist tactic to cow or silence all opposition to the Zionist state. Just as Israel murders or jails all opposition figures in Palestine to silence them, Zionists like the CAA want to similarly silence and destroy all opponents of Israel in the UK.”

Programme to improve people’s knowledge of Muslim religion coming to Dundee Outreach project Taught By Muhammed, which aims to build understanding between the Muslim religion and the wider community, is holding free workshops around the city. The project was initially launched in summer 2013 with a bus and poster campaign promoting universal messages of tolerance. A post on the project’s Facebook page said: “Our aim isn’t to educate

people about the fundamentals of the religion but rather open a conversation about misconceptions and encouraging joint working. “The workshops/presentations are to provide individuals with an open space to express their thoughts and have an open dialogue.” The project can be contacted at presentations@ taughtbymuhammad.com

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India’s lower house passed a legislation that will grant citizenship to members of certain religious minorities but not Muslims, sparking protests in the country’s northeast. The bill covers select groups — including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs — who moved from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and who have lived in India for at least six years. Muslims are excluded, in what

critics say is a transparent pitch by Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi to voters as India gears up for elections due by May. The legislation, which still needs approval in the upper house, sparked a second day of protests in the northeastern state of Assam, where millions have settled in recent decades after fleeing neighboring countries. Demonstrators in the state are

angry about the bill not because it excludes Muslims but because it grants citizenship to settlers from elsewhere, accusing the migrants of taking away jobs from indigenous groups. The hilly state of 33 million people known for its tea plantations has been plagued for decades by tensions between tribal and ethnic indigenous groups and settlers from outside the region. Last year the Assam government published a draft citizens’ register that left off four million people unable to prove they were living there before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh’s war of independence. A deadline to provide documents to be included in the registry passed on December 31, and the final list is due to be published on June 30. The protests in Assam, the militant North East Students’ Organization (NESO) vandalized offices of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and set banners and posters on fire. Samujjal Bhattacharyya from NESO told AFP that people in the region would not “accept the political injustice perpetrated by the BJP”.

Muslim firefighter settles with NYC over firehouse treatment A Muslim firefighter who said he was subjected to firehouse harassment over his faith and race, including being fed pork in violation of his religious beliefs, has settled his lawsuit against New York City. The New York Post reported the city settled with Raheem Hassan for $224,000 but did not admit to wrongdoing. Hassan had filed a federal lawsuit in March last year, saying he had been subjected to a hostile work environment at Engine 309/Ladder

159 in Brooklyn starting in 2015. He said that included anti-black racial slurs and co-workers cooking food for communal meals that included pork but falsely telling him otherwise. He said he was retaliated against when he complained. In December 2017, Hassan was arrested while off duty after a supervisor called police saying he had made threats against the firehouse, which Hassan in his suit said was a false accusation. At the time, the firehouse was

shut down for a short time after the alleged threat phone call. He was charged with misdemeanor aggravated harassment but was given a deal by prosecutors that the charge would be dropped and the case sealed after six months if he remained out of trouble. Hassan’s attorney told the newspaper his client is working in a new firehouse. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Afghan Taliban reject talks with US in Pakistan

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The Afghan Taliban rejected reports in the Pakistani media that they were prepared to resume meetings with US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad and repeated their refusal to deal directly with the Afghan government. Pakistani newspapers and television stations reported that a meeting in Islamabad was in prospect following discussions between Khalilzad and Pakistani officials including Prime Minister

Imran Khan. Senior Taliban leaders said that regional powers including Pakistan had approached them and wanted them to meet the US delegation in Islamabad and also include the Afghan government in the peace process but that the approaches had been rejected. “We wanted to make it clear that we will not hold any meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah

Greece gave a new date for the inauguration of the mosque in Athens. Kostas Gavroglu, Greek Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, said the inauguration of the mosque, for which five different dates were previously given with no result, is happening this time in March. Informing the Greek members of parliament at a session about the mosque, Gavroglu said that the inauguration of the mosque in Athens, where there is currently no Muslim place of worship built by

Greece, will happen within March. He also said that there is a bipartisan agreement on the funding of the expenses of the mosque According to Greek sources, the building was completed and ready to go in 2017 but the landscaping needed bureaucratic permissions which delayed the process. The mosque which will lack a minaret but contain a children’s park and ablution area will be on an 850 sq mt land with a capacity to accommodate 350 persons. The decision to build a mosque in Athens was first taken in 2006

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Mujahid said in a statement, Reuters reported. Talks between the two sides have stalled after the Taliban accused Khalilzad of straying from the agreed agenda and there is no clarity on when they may resume. “We have made it clear again and again that we would never hold any meeting with the Afghan government as we know that they are not capable of addressing our demands,” said one senior Taliban leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The United States says any settlement in Afghanistan must be between the internationally recognized Afghan government and the Taliban, who have so far refused to talk to an administration they describe as an illegitimate puppet regime. The Taliban leader said peace talks with the US delegation could resume if they were assured that only three issues would be discussed - a US withdrawal from Afghanistan, an exchange of prisoners and lifting a ban on the movement of Taliban leaders.

Athens first Mosque to be inaugurated in March with a 887,000 Euro allocated budget, however, the bureaucratic impediments, protests of far-right groups and legal challenges stalled the process. Once open, it will be managed by a board of seven, including two state officials from education and finance ministries, two municipal officials, one high court judge and two representatives from Muslim groups. Approximately 200,000 Muslims live in the Greek capital and they facilitate their religious services by their own means.


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WFP cuts aid for Palestinians

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The World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended or reduced aid for some of its Palestinian beneficiaries in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip due to funding shortages, an official has said. Some 27,000 Palestinians are no longer receiving aid through the United Nations programme since January 1 in the occupied West Bank, said Stephen Kearney, the organization’s director for the

Palestinian territories. Another 165,000, including 110,000 in Gaza, are receiving 80 percent of the usual amount, he said. The cuts were decided upon after a gradual reduction in donations over the past nearly four years, with US cuts having the biggest effect. In 2018, the WFP assisted 250,000 people in Gaza and 110,000 in the West Bank. The West Bank has an

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unemployment rate of 18 percent and some Palestinians seek to work in Israel with the hope of earning a higher salary. But permits are needed to do so and Israel is selective in who is given one. The WFP launched a funding appeal on December 19 and received additional contributions from the European Union and Switzerland, but the amount remains short, Kearney said. It said at the time that it was in need of $57m. It will now seek contributions from new donors in an effort to fill the gap, he said. Kearney said there were also concerns that the cuts would affect the local economy since residents used the cards to buy goods in local stores. In the Gaza Strip, around 80 percent of the two million residents rely on international aid. The strip has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade for more than a decade. Israel has launched three military offensives on the territory since 2008. US President Donald Trump has cut some $500m in Palestinian aid.

Zionist regime prevents Muslims from entering Dome of Rock Israeli police forces prevented hundreds of Muslim worshipers from saying their prayers in the Dome of the Rock mosque, which is located inside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds. The Palestinian Ma’an news agency further reported that Israeli troops were heavily deployed in all over the compound as Muslim worshipers, after being barred from entering the holy site, gathered in one place to perform prayers together outside of the Dome of the Rock. The report, citing Firas al-Dibs, spokesperson of the Islamic Waqf

(Endowment) organization, as saying that Israeli police forces also prevented a group of imams and sheikhs from entering the site. He added that the Israeli forces also assaulted Sheikh Omar alKiswani, director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, without giving more details, Press TV reported. Israeli police also held ID cards of all worshipers, al-Dibs further noted. The al-Aqsa Mosque compound sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque. Tensions continue in the occupied Palestinian territories as part of the

aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and relocation of the US embassy to the occupied city. On December 21, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favour of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial policy shift. Despite the vote, the US went ahead with the embassy transfer on May 14, triggering demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.

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Belgium: Muslims, Jews blast new animal slaughter rules www.pi-media.co.uk

A new Belgian ban on the slaughter of un-stunned animals in the country’s Walloon and Flemish regions is getting a frosty reception from Muslims and Jews alike, who call it a disrespectful curb on religious freedom. Belgium “disappointed everybody

when they approved the ban,” Mehmet Ustun, head of the Belgian Muslim Executive Body (EMB), told Anadolu Agency. “The ban will have certain effects. For example, we [Muslims] will have difficulty during sacrificial rituals [of livestock].”

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Ustun added: “We’re hopeful that this legislation will be rejected and Muslims will [be able to] slaughter their livestock according to their rituals.” Shimon Lasker, a Brussels rabbi, said that the ban is being seen as a restriction on religious freedom, adding: “Jewish people believe it’s becoming harder for them to live in Europe.” Under both Islamic halal rules and Jewish kosher rules, livestock should be healthy and conscious before slaughter. The ban was approved by the Walloon parliament in May and is set to come into force on Sept. 1. Similar laws have been passed in Switzerland and Denmark but lifted in Poland and Greece. Together Muslims and Jews make up some 6 percent of Belgium’s population. www.pi-media.co.uk

China passes law to Sinicize Islam China passed a new law that seeks to “Sinicize” Islam within the next five years, the latest move by Beijing to rewrite how the religion is practiced. China’s main English newspaper, Global Times, reported that after a meeting with representatives from eight Islamic associations, government officials “agreed to guide Islam to be compatible with socialism and implement measures to Sinicize the religion.” The newspaper did not provide further details or the names of the associations that agreed to the decree. China has embarked on an aggressive “Sinification” campaign in recent years with faith groups that were largely tolerated in the

past seeing their freedoms shrink under Chinese President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. Practicing Islam has been made forbidden in parts of China, with individuals caught praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women, facing the threat of arrest. According to the UN, more than one million Uighur Muslims are estimated to be held in internment camps where they are forced to denounce the religion and pledge allegiance to the officially atheist ruling Communist Party. Rights groups have accused China of engaging in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. In August, a Washington Post

editorial said the world “can’t ignore” the campaign against Muslims. Islamic crescents and domes have been stripped from mosques, and according to the Associated Press news agency, religious schools and Arabic classes have been banned and children barred from participating in Muslim activities. China has rejected the criticism, saying it protects the religion and culture of its minorities. However authorities in China’s Yunnan province, which borders Mynamar, have closed three mosques established by the marginalized Hui Muslim ethnic minority. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Kenya court’s hijab ban ruling sparks fears over Muslim girls’ schooling

A ruling by Kenyan’s top court that schools can ban the hijab could lead to Muslim girls dropping out of school, campaigners warned. The Supreme Court ruled that every school had the right to determine its own dress code, overturning a 2016 judgment allowing Muslim students to wear the hijab in non-Muslim schools, and directed the government to frame guidelines. Human rights groups fear some schools will opt to impose the ban, which pertains to both the hijab and the white trousers often worn by

Muslim schoolgirls under their skirts. “I believe there is a large sense of tolerance in most schools, both public and private, in Kenya. But there is a possibility that some schools will enforce a ban,” said Demas Kiprono, campaigns manager at Amnesty International in Kenya, Reuters reported. “If this happens, it may affect schooling for Muslim girls. Religious dress is an important issue for some Muslim communities, so the ban may lead to families taking their daughters out of school, or girls may

themselves not feel comfortable.” Muslims make up about 10 percent of Kenya’s 44 million people, while Christians account for almost 85 percent of the population, according to the latest census data available. Campaigners say Kenyan girls, including those from Muslim communities, already face multiple barriers to completing their education. Traditional practices such as FGM and child marriage often force adolescent girls to drop out of school, they said, and schools banning hijabs could lead to higher drop-out rates. “This is a missed opportunity by the Supreme Court to have set a landmark judgment on women’s right to privacy and to choose what she wants to wear,” said Agnes Odhiambo, senior women’s rights researcher for Human Rights Watch in Kenya. “If schools decide to take up the ban, the government must monitor this to ensure it does not discriminate against Muslim girls. This ruling does not promote integration, peace and tolerance in our schools and communities.” www.pi-media.co.uk

UN urges India, Saudi not to deport Rohingya A top UN official urged Saudi Arabia and India not to deport members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community to Bangladesh but instead to grant them refugee status. “I am dismayed by Saudi Arabia’s recent deportation of 13 Rohingya to Bangladesh,” said Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, at a news briefing in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. Lee briefed reporters on her weeklong visit to Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar district and Bhasan Char island in southern Bangladesh.

She expressed concern over reported arrests of Rohingya by Saudi authorities. “These people have fled persecution in Myanmar and should be treated properly.” Referring to India’s attempt to push Rohingya across the border, she said: “I am disturbed to see the Rohingya arrival in Bangladesh from India”. At least 1,300 Rohingya Muslims have reportedly crossed into Bangladesh from India since the start of the year fearing forced deportation to Myanmar. She also urged formal education for Rohingya children in

Bangladesh. Criticizing Myanmar’s unresponsive attitude to concerns of the international community, Lee said: “It is clear the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh cannot return to Myanmar in the near future. The [general] election of Bangladesh has concluded. I urge the government to engage in a longterm planning [in addressing the Rohingya crisis].” The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012. www.pi-media.co.uk


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WORLD NEWS

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Taliban says foreign troops to leave Afghanistan in 18 Months

Taliban officials said US negotiators agreed on a draft peace pact setting out the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan within 18 months, potentially ending the United States’ longest war. The details of the draft were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at ending the war, more than 17 years since American-led forces invaded Afghanistan. It stipulates that troops would leave within 18 months of the

agreement being signed. While no joint statement was issued, Khalilzad tweeted later that the talks had made “significant progress” and would resume shortly, adding that he planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials. “Meetings here (in Qatar) were more productive than they have been in the past. We have made significant progress on vital issues,” he wrote, adding that numerous issues still needed work. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and everything must

include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire,” he wrote in the tweets. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday wrote on Twitter that he had received “encouraging news” from Khalilzad about the talks. “The US is serious about pursuing peace, preventing #Afghanistan from continuing to be a space for international terrorism & bringing forces home,” Pompeo tweeted. He did not give a timetable for the potential withdrawal of US forces. A Taliban statement issued later also noted progress on troop withdrawal and other issues but said more negotiations and internal consultations were required. “The policy of the Islamic Emirate during talks was very clear — until the issue of withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is agreed upon, progress in other issues is impossible,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, using another name the group calls itself. It was not clear whether the draft described by the Taliban sources was acceptable to both sides or when it could be completed and signed.

Muslim customers angry at Nike’s ‘Blasphemous, offensive’ move Thousands of Muslim customers have demanded Nike recall their Air Max sneakers, saying the sports giant “insulted Islam” by spelling out the word ‘Allah’ in Arabic on the bottom of the shoe. A Muslim buyer, Saiqa Noreen, who had noticed the writing which she found offensive, launched an online petition asking the sports company to remove the popular trainer from the shelves. Noreen discovered that the Air Max logo design depicted on the sole has similarities to the word ‘Allah’ in Arabic.

The woman accused the company of having a disrespectful attitude to Islam, and said that it is “outrageous” to “allow the name of God on a shoe.” “Nike has produced the Nike Air Max 270 shoe with the script logo on the sole resembling the word Allah in Arabic, which will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth,” Noreen wrote. “This is disrespectful and extremely offensive to Muslims and insulting to Islam.” The company refuted all

allegations of intentionally insulting the Muslim community, claiming the logo is a “stylized representation of Nike’s Air Max trademark” without any religious significance. “Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously,” a Nike representative said, RT reported. “The Air Max logo was designed to be a stylized representation of Nike’s Air Max trademark. It is intended to reflect the Air Max brand only. Any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional.”


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www.pi-media.co.uk I February 2019

Wife of jailed Bahraini footballer warns against his extradition

The wife of jailed Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi pleaded with Thailand’s prime minister to ensure he is not extradited to his native country, saying he faces torture there and should be sent back to asylum in Australia. “He would go back to face imprisonment, torture and possible death. Please help my husband. I don’t want to lose him,” Araibi’s wife wrote in an open letter to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. “I am terrified that the final decision to deport him will take place within the next few days,” she said in the letter, which was obtained from Araibi’s lawyer. Lawyer Nadthasiri Bergman said the wife has asked for her name not to be published out of fear of her safety, Reuters reported. Araibi, who fled Bahrain in 2014

and was later granted asylum in Australia, was arrested in Bangkok in November on an Interpol notice issued at Bahrain’s request. He was convicted of vandalizing a police station in Bahrain and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia. He denies wrongdoing, saying he was playing in a televised football match at the time of the alleged vandalism. Human rights groups say Bahraini authorities tortured Araibi because of his brother’s political activities during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011. Bahraini authorities deny allegations of torture. Araibi’s wife said in her letter the newly-wed couple traveled from Australia to Thailand “because we thought it would be the perfect country to have our honeymoon” but instead found themselves in a

Female coach helping Syrian men’s football team

On the soccer pitch, Maha Jannoud barks out instructions to her AlMuhafaza players just like any other coach, but with one difference: she is a woman in what has often been a man’s world. Maha Jannoud, assistant coach at the Damascus club, and she is the first woman in the Middle East to coach a professional men’s side. Jannoud, who previously played for the Syrian national women’s

team, believes she is the first woman in the Middle East to coach a professional men’s side. She is currently assistant coach at the Damascus club, and has taken to the role with ease. “When the person carrying this message of coaching is confident of their information and has special charisma and leadership on the pitch, it makes no difference between a man and a woman,” she

nightmare of arrest and detention. She asked Prayuth to show the same concern for those fleeing torture as Thailand did in the case of 18-year-old Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who fled what she said was family abuse to Thailand and was quickly resettled to Canada earlier this month. Thai government officials were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday but Prayuth told reporters on Tuesday Araibi’s case was a matter for Thailand’s courts. He acknowledged the concerns of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who wrote to Prayuth this week urging that Araibi not be extradited, but also said Thailand had good relations with Bahrain. “We are a good friends with everyone. We have to figure out the solution. I know that everybody is concerned about this,” Prayuth said. Araibi has also been a vocal critic of the president of the Asian Football Confederation, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, who is a cousin of the Bahraini king. Sheikh Salman has recused himself from the Araibi case and the AFC joined soccer’s world governing body FIFA this week in urging Thailand to allow Araibi to return to Australia. Bergman has said the next step was to see whether Thai prosecutors would submit Bahrain’s extradition request, made this week to the Thai court, which was expected in early February. said during a break in training. Winning the players’ acceptance may have been helped by the fact that Jannoud used to play for the same club, albeit in the women’s team, where she began coaching after injury ended her playing career. In a country still dealing with civil war -- a conflict that prevented the Syrian women’s team playing for several years this decade -- the club hopes Jannoud’s appointment represents progress for soccer and for women.


Salah receives prestigious UAE Award from Dubai Prince www.pi-media.co.uk

I February 2019

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, presented the prestigious award to Salah during the colourful award ceremony held at the Shaikh Rashid Ballroom at the World Trade Centre, in front a packed crowd. Expressing his delight at receiving the award, Salah, who had an exceptional campaign with Liverpool last season where he scored 44 goals in all competitions, becoming the Premier League’s top scorer and

was also voted the league’s best player, said: “Having the honour of bearing the name of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] makes the Creative Sports Award one of the most prestigious and wonderful awards, given that its value and stature are derived from Shaikh Mohammad’s highly prestigious position as number one in all fields of creativity.”

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Salah was also named among the top three players in the world in 2018 and succeeded in leading Egypt to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. Despite carrying an injury he suffered in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, Salah managed to score twice for Egypt at the showpiece event in Russia. It was another great moment for budding star and seven-year old Lamia Malallah, who received the award for the Local Emerging Athlete with Outstanding Success in Sports award. Speaking to Gulf News, Malallah, who won the gold medal in the International Gymnastics Championships — Greece 2018, and the silver medal in Germany, 2017, said: “It has been a very good year for me last year. I had worked very hard and I am thankful to the results that I have got and thus got nominated for the award. “I think this is also the award for my dedication and I am looking forward for more good results for my country. I work every day for four hours, five days a week. As soon as I come from school I work from 4pm to 8pm. “My immediate goal is to take part in the Youth Olympics and win medals for my country.”

Match should be stopped if racism takes place, says Italian football chief Italian match officials will be told to follow international guidelines in dealing withr acist behaviour from fans following outcry over the treatment of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Gabriele Gravina, the head of the country’s football federation (FIGC), told Gazzetta dello Sport that his organisation would in future “simplify” the procedure for dealing with racist incidents. “The FIGC should follow the procedures of UEFA,” he said. “In

the next meeting of the executive committee we will simplify the process for stopping matches.” “Following a stadium announcement, the match will be temporarily suspended and the teams will go to the centre of the pitch. If the chanting continues, they will go to the dressing room. At that point, the public security officials will decide if the match is re-started or called off.” Italian match officials were heavily criticised for “failing to

respect anti-racism protocol” after monkey chants were directed at Koulibaly throughout his team’s 1-0 Serie A loss at Inter Milan on Boxing Day. The pre-match violence and subsequent racist chanting resulted in a ban on Inter fans attending two home games. FIFPro and UEFA criticised the racial abuse aimed at Senegalese defender Koulibaly was “unacceptable” and had “no place in football.”


I FEATURED

I February 2019

The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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www.pi-media.co.uk

Part 34

Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib refused to step down on the basis that the whole procedure had not been executed in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Kharijites (Khawarij) very quickly developed into a dangerous faction that declared everyone who did not agree with them as the enemy. The Kharijites indeed were very annoyed with the Caliph on the basis that he should never have had agreed to arbitration and that it was only Allah who was the genuine arbitrator in any case. Consequently, the group broke away from Ali’s force, rallying under the slogan “arbitration belongs to God alone.” This group came to be known as the (“those who leave’’). Nevertheless, the Caliph was aware that the Kharijites posed a severe threat to the Islamic state or caliphate and it was only a matter of time before conflict broke out. In 659, at the Battle of Nahrawan, both forces assembled on the battlefield where the Kharijites started killing the supporters of the Caliph. It is said that the theological positions held by the Kharijites became more extreme where anyone who did not agree with

or was associated with their ideology was declared a ‘disbeliever’ (kafir). The Battle of Nahrawan ensued and the Kharijites suffered tremendous losses at the hands of the forces of Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib. It is said that being at war constantly prevented the Caliph from creating an effective army and strong state institutions that were desperately needed as a result of the trust and confidence that had evaporated during the reign of the previous Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan. On the Egyptian front, Qais who was the governor of Egypt was summarily recalled by the Caliph due to his failure to quell the growing unrest. The brother of Aisha wife Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr replaced Qais. However, Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan allowed Amr Ibn Al-Aas to take full control of Egypt in the same manner eighteen years previously during the reign of the previous caliph. Amr Ibn Al-Aas was successful at the expense of Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr due to the former being able to build a formidable support base in the country that was loyal to him on his

return. Towards the end of the reign of Caliph Ali Ibn Talib, many of the cities under his jurisdiction slipped away from his grasp and his governors were powerless to stop the transfer of authority to Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan. However, the cities of Kufahand Basrah stayed loyal as they were less than impressed with the rule of Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan. On the 27th of January 661 AD (AH40) while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, Ali was attacked by the Kharijite Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljamand wounded by ibn Muljam’s poison-coated sword while prostrating in the Fajr prayer. Ali ordered his sons not to attack the Kharijites, instead stipulating that if he survived, ibn Muljam would be pardoned whereas if he died, ibn Muljam should be given only one equal hit (regardless of whetherhe died from the hit).Ali died two days later on 29 January 661 (21 Ramadan AH 40).[2][142] Al-Hasan fulfilled Qisas and gave equal punishment to ibn Muljam upon Ali’s death. www.pi-media.co.uk


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