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By Dr Abdul B Shaikh Political Analyst

Reflections: The Death of the Arab-Israeli peace process

Last month there was much fanfare and excitement centring upon President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US embassy would be relocated to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The Israelis rejoiced upon hearing Trump’s declaration whilst the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims around the world met the news with overwhelming despair. Contrasting reactions sum up the animosity and deep suspicions Israelis and Arabs and Muslims and Jews have between them today across the globe. We should ask ourselves the question is the peace process dead and buried because of Trump’s historic announcement. The answer is a resounding yes simply because the Trump administration has told the Palestinians that they are irrelevant in his eyes. Palestinians in the eyes of the Trump administration are just a mere inconvenience and a small footnote in the annals of history that no one cares to read. Hard hitting words and damning indictment you may say but in all essence Trump’s momentous decision to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv confirms this view. It is true to say that most powerful country on earth relinquished its right to be ‘an honest broker’ on the day Trump announced to the world that he would be constructing a new embassy in the eternal city. Binyamin Netanyahu Prime Minister of Israel could not believe his luck and expressed his utmost joy that the most powerful country in the world agreed to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem. It is interesting to note that Netanyahu in light of the news coming out of Washington and made a promise to give unfettered access to the holy sites in Jerusalem to the followers of the three great Abrahamic monotheistic faiths. Only time will tell whether Netanyahu’s promise will be realised, or will the eternal city be only open to the Jews with Christians and Muslims being denied total access in

the coming decades. Where does Trump’s move leave the Palestinians and President Mahmud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in all of this. The answer is that the Palestinians have been left staring the abyss and Abbas day by day is looking weaker and weaker with little room to manoeuvre. Such is the despair amongst the Palestinians that the apparent heir to the Saudi throne Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman has abandoned them along with the rest of the Arab nation states and Gulf monarchies. Such is the despair of the Palestinians that Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman has handed East Jerusalem to the Israelis on a plate and asked Abbas to accept Abu Dis as the future capital of the Palestinian state in return for $10 million dollars. It should be said that the decision to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem signals the death of the peace process as we know it. The peace process to all intents and purposes has been on a life support machine for two decades and one may ask where does this leave plans for a two-state solution and the answer is that it was all but killed off last month. The inconvenient and damming truth is that the Israelis and the Americans fear that Israel will face an existential threat in the form of fully functioning and independent Palestinian state. Any progress made in this area constitutes a major risk going forward as far as Israel is concerned. Israel seeks to advance its plans for a one state solution and seeks to absorb the Palestinians into it to mitigate the evolving security threat and countering the demographic timebomb ticking away namely that high Arab birth rates are far higher in comparison to their Jewish counterparts. We should ask ourselves the question where are the Arab and Muslim leaders today fighting for justice in respect of the affairs that concern the entire global community?

The answer is that the Arab and Muslim world do not have any leaders of this ilk and calibre barring one man. The man I refer to is Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayep Erdogan. Erdogan is the only Muslim leader who has not abandoned the Palestinians. Erdogan is the only man who has not abandoned the Rohingya in Myanmar. Erdogan is the only man who has not abandoned the Muslims in Syria. Erdogan has done more for the Arab and Muslim world in the last 10 years than most leaders have done in 100 years. In 1924, the Ottoman caliphate fell in humiliating circumstances but in less than 100 years Turkey has risen from its despair and anguish to become the true leader of the Arab and Muslim world. Erdogan has risen from despair, heartbreak, anguish and turmoil to become the Salahuddin of the Muslim world in the 21st century. For it is towards Turkey and Erdogan that we need to turn to for leadership and direction in an age where Islamophobia, conflict, war, starvation, genocide, mass murder, pillage and rape has afflicted and destroyed the lives of Muslims around the world. Erdogan is the only Muslim leader who has recognised East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Erdogan is the only Muslim leader who has declared that he will open an embassy in East Jerusalem. In 2018, we hope that the Arab and Muslim world unites and agrees to support the creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. We hope that in 2018 and beyond that Jerusalem remains forever open to Christians, Muslims and Jews as it is in every sense of the word ‘the sacred city of the children of Abraham. We pray to God that he brings peace and tranquillity to the entire world and that the peoples of the world resolve to put their differences aside and work for the common good. Humanity is the guiding principle by which we live and die upon.

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London Mayor: Trump “not welcomed” to UK www.pi-media.co.uk

I January 2018

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people including himself, love both America and Americans but Trump’s recent comments contradict with Britain’s stance on racism and hatred. “London is a beacon of tolerance, acceptance and diversity, and Mr. Trump has demonstrated time and time again that his views are completely incompatible with the values Londoners hold dear,” Khan noted.

Defense secretary vows to kill Brits who left home for IS London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that US President Donald Trump is ‘not welcomed’ in London. Khan’s written statement came after the London Assembly asked him how the city’s government would prepare for an official state visit of Trump. “As Mayor, I will always speak up to protect the interests and security of Londoners. I have previously called on Theresa May to cancel her ill-judged offer of a state visit to President Trump,” Khan said. “After the latest incident, where President Trump used Twitter to promote a vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred in our country, it is clear that any official visit here would not be

welcomed,” he added. Despite an online row with Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump is expected to pay an official visit to Britain and to hold talks with the British prime minister in February. Trump’s retweeting last month of three anti-Muslim videos taken from the Twitter feed of a member of the far-right Britain First group caused outrage in the UK and led to senior politicians speaking out against any visit. She refused to cancel the trip despite widespread condemnation, including Khan, who said Trump had promoted a “vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred in our country.” Khan stated that the British

British members of IS terror group should be hunted down and killed to ensure they never return back home, says UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson. The newly-appointed senior official made the comments in an interview with the Daily Mail, adding that there was deliberate targeting of UK-born terrorists by the armed forces fighting the group in Syria and Iraq. “Quite simply, my view is a dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain,” Williamson said. “I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country. We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat.”


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Bradford Islamic school has ‘worked tirelessly’ to improve says Ofsted

An independent Muslim boys’ boarding school has turned its fortunes around just two years after it was branded inadequate by Ofsted. Darul Uloom Dawatul Imaan, Harry Street, off Tong Street, Bradford, was rated good in every category following a visit from the education watchdog in November. Since the previous inspection in October 2015, there has been a restructuring of senior leadership, with the six members of the senior leadership team now having clearly defined roles, Ofsted said. Inspectors outlined: “Following the previous standard inspection in

October 2015, leaders have worked tirelessly to improve the school and now ensure that the school consistently meets the independent school standards. “Leaders are passionate, enthusiastic and committed to continually improving the school. “Leaders and directors are successfully improving the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in the school because they embrace opportunities to work with, and learn from, other school leaders. Through this, pupils are making more progress in most subjects, but there is further work to do to ensure

that progress in science improves quickly.” The report also says pupils feel safe at school and make good progress from their starting points in most subjects. “Leaders ensure that pupils’ personal development and welfare is a priority at the school,” the report outlines. It adds: “Through Islamic studies, citizenship and religious studies, pupils learn how to stay safe and lead healthy lives. The school is rightly proud of the work it does to produce well-balanced citizens of the future.” The report praises pupils’ behaviour and they are described as being respectful, polite and courteous. And it is said development of post-16 provision is “ensuring that a broader curriculum offer is now in place, which enables students to study vocational and academic qualifications which match their career aspirations”. Ofsted says the school must now “further improve the quality of leadership and management by developing the school’s selfevaluation, so that leaders are astutely aware of what the school does well and what it can continue to develop”. It has also told the school to continue to develop the quality of teaching and learning.

Halal school meals ban could be challenged in court In Case You Missed It

A move to ban unstunned halal meat from Lancashire schools could be delayed or overturned after the threat of a judicial review was made to Lancashire County Council. Councillors in Lancashire voted in October that in future any halal meat served in schools must be butchered from pre-stunned animals, with the exception of poultry. The ruling on beef and lamb was due to take effect when the council’s meat supply contract was renewed

last month. However, there is a three month period from the time that Full Council made their decision in late October for any party which disagrees with the decision to apply for a judicial review. The county council has now revealed that it has been served with legal papers from the Lancashire Council of Mosques which effectively puts it on notice that a judicial review could go ahead unless the matter is resolved.

County Coun. Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We are due to put on hold the new contract for supply of halal meat to schools. “We will continue to supply halal meat under the terms of the current contract while the legal matters are resolved.” The Council of Mosques said the decision would “only serve to increase Islamophobia and anti-Semitism”. Unstunned halal meat is currently supplied to 12,000 pupils at 27 schools including Burnley, Nelson and Clitheroe.


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People who fail to report terrorists face longer jail term In Case Y o Missed It u

Criminals who tip off terrorists could have their sentences increased, while suspects who flout anti-terror orders could also see their penalties made more severe under changes to the regime for challenging overly lenient sentences. The changes, which come into effect this month, are part of a widening of the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme, under which anyone can ask the Attorney General to examine sentences they believe to be too light. The government announced that

nine terror-related offences will be added to the programme. The latest extension follows the addition of 19 terror-related offences to the scheme in July. Under the new plans, which will take effect on January 29, sentences handed out for tipping off the subject of a terrorist investigation could be challenged. Punishments given in cases where someone learns of terrorist activity but fails to report the information could also be reexamined.

The scheme will also be widened to include breaches of anti-terror orders imposed to restrict the activities and movements of suspects. The nine newly added offences include failure to comply with a terrorism prevention and investigation measure (TPIM) and contravening a temporary exclusion order (TEO). TPIMs are used in cases where someone who is deemed to pose a threat to security cannot be prosecuted or, in the case of foreign nationals, deported. Subjects can be relocated, made to wear an electronic monitoring tag and have limits placed on their use of computers and phones. TEOs were created to disrupt and control the return of UK citizens suspected of engaging in terroristrelated activity abroad - the orders make it unlawful for the individual to come back without engaging with UK authorities. Last year, a record 141 criminals had their sentences increased under the ULS initiative. The Ministry of Justice noted that this is a small proportion of the 80,000 cases heard by Crown Courts each year.

DIY circumcision ‘training kit’ pulled from Amazon

Online shopping empire Amazon has cut a controversial doll from its UK digital store. A model of a baby boy’s lifelike crotch, complete with the tools to practice circumcision operations at home, has been discontinued. The “infant circumcision training kit” has been pulled after the National Secular Society (NSS) wrote to Amazon, concerned that the lifelike kit would encourage some parents to attempt the

procedure on their child at home. The kit, which comes in a range of skin colors, has multiple baby penises complete with realistic foreskin made from soft, lifelike material to be pliable, delicate, and realistic to the touch. The £365 ($487) kit is designed for doctors and medical students, and comes with scalpels and scissors. Sold by a third party firm called Educational and Scientific Products

(ESP), the kit is designed for “medical students, physicians and other practitioners” to learn and practice circumcisions “without the worry of learning on a live patient.” “Anything we sell is for educational purposes and our main customers are universities, colleges, hospitals and GPs,” a spokesman for ESP said. “It is all for professional use and they are all training aids.” www.pi-media.co.uk


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Work of British Muslim charities is underestimated, say MPs

In Case You Missed It

The work of Muslim charities in supporting vulnerable people at winter is badly undervalued, according to a new study. The all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims found Islamic organisations provide a wide range of services aimed at helping the least well-off – from food parcels for homeless people to thermal clothing for older residents. The group’s report “A Very Merry Muslim Christmas” found it was difficult to quantify just how many

people are receiving assistance because much of the work is going on under the radar. The group, chaired by Tory MP Anna Soubry and Labour MP Wes Streeting, stated: “British Muslim charities haven’t received the kind of attention they deserve. “At this time of year, when Muslim charities are working alongside many other faith-based charities to spread good cheer, peace on earth and goodwill to all, we hope our preliminary findings highlights and

celebrates their work.” In the past year, Sufra NW London provided emergency food aid parcels for almost 4,000 people. The foodbank also runs a kitchen project and holds advice surgeries. The Al Mizan Charitable Trust has handed out 1,300 “winter warmer” packs to people sleeping on the streets of London, Manchester and Birmingham. And the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit, set up after the terrible fire at the tower bloc, was at the forefront of relief and support efforts for families affected by the tragedy. The MPs said some media coverage had mischaracterized the work of organisations rooted in British communities. “And as with most coverage on Islam and Muslims in our media, the bad behaviour of a few individuals sees the many tarnished with the same brush,” the parliamentary group report stated. “But such perceptions of British Muslims, and of British Muslim charities in particular, are wide of the mark.”

UK includes Lewaa al-Thawra, Hasm to terrorist organizations list UK has included the organizations of Hasm movement and Islamist militant group Revolution Brigade (Lewaa Al-Thawra) into the list of terrorist organizations. The British government stated that after reviewing the evidence of the attacks carried out by both Hasm and Lewaa Al-Thawra against the Egyptian security personnel, they concluded that these groups met the prohibitions to qualify them as terrorist organizations. The inclusion of these terrorist organizations would enhance the ability of the UK government to disrupt the activities of these terrorist organizations. ”We have said that we will not

leave Egypt alone in its fight against terrorism. We are using today’s full legal force against two terrorist organizations that have killed many Egyptians. This will strengthen our common efforts to eradicate terrorism and the ideologies that feed it. I am confident that our steadfast societies will defeat these toxic groups,” the British Ambassador to Cairo John Casson. Lately, Hasm has been associated with most of the terrorist attacks that have occurred in Egypt during the last year. Hasm is supposedly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group which

is deemed illegal in Egypt. However, the Brotherhood’s media spokesman, Talaat Fahmi, denied links to Hasm, according to the Turkish-led Anadul agency in December 2016. He said the Brotherhood could never be linked to those who commit violence and bloodshed. Lewaa al-Thawra group announced its formation on August 21, 2016, when it uploaded pictures and a dramatized video of an attack on a security checkpoint in Monufia governorate that left two policemen dead. Lewaa Al-Thawra’s formation has been welcomed by Hasm. www.pi-media.co.uk


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ICC hints at possible probe of UK war crimes in Iraq

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The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced that there is “reasonable basis” to believe British troops committed war crimes in Iraq during the US-led military invasion of the West Asian country. “The [prosecutor’s] office has reached the conclusion that there is a reasonable basis to believe that members of the UK armed forces committed war crimes within the jurisdiction of the court against persons in their custody,” Fatou Bensouda said in her conclusion on the long-running inquiry into the role of British soldiers in Iraq between 2003 and 2008. The announcement was made in a 74-page report delivered in New York to the annual assembly of state parties to the jurisdiction of the court. It would mean that The Haguebased ICC will press ahead with

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a probe into reports that British military forces abused and murdered their Iraqi prisoners after the USled invasion, UK-based daily The Guardian reported. According to the report, Bensouda’s conclusion reaffirms “interim conclusions made by the court when it ended a previous, preliminary investigation into similar allegations in 2006,” when the ICC pointed to seeing evidence suggesting that British forces did commit war crimes in Iraq, “namely willful killing and inhuman treatment” of individuals. However, the ICC concluded at the time that it should not take further action since there were fewer than 20 allegations. Its probe was subsequently reopened by Bensouda in 2014 after receiving new information from the Birmingham law firm, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL),

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among others. The PIL, the daily added, “represented the family of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi hotel receptionist tortured to death by British troops in 2003.” Bensouda’s report further examined the controversy over the claims and referred to the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT). It also said that “amid concerns of political interference, the defense secretary (Michael Fallon) announced the closing of IHAT ahead of the originally scheduled time frame by 30 June 2017, citing IHAT’s own forecasts that the unit’s caseload was expected to reduce to around 20 investigations by the summer 2017.” British military authorities had previously expressed confidence that the ICC would not move to the next stage and declare a formal probe, mainly because the UK is capable of investigating the allegations on its own. According to a UK government spokesperson quoted in the report, “We have a legal responsibility to investigate credible allegations of wrongdoing by UK forces, and that is what we are already doing as part of service police legacy investigations, which is reviewing the relatively small number of remaining cases after the closure of IHAT.” “We are confident that our existing efforts to investigate allegations preclude the need for any investigation by the ICC,” the official added. www.pi-media.co.uk

Qatar, UK sign fighter jet deal Qatar signed an agreement with the United Kingdom to purchase 24 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, according to Qatar’s Defense Ministry. They explained in a statement that the Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah and his British counterpart Gavin Williamson met in the capital Doha. The statement said the two countries also signed an agreement to discuss the establishment of a

“joint operation fleet”. The joint operational fleet would be ‘a first in the region’, adding that this will be the core of the cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces in the future. The new fleet would cover all air operations to ensure readiness for combat at any time including pilots and technicians from both countries, the statement added. The statement also noted that

the fleet will play an important role in ensuring air safety in the 2022 World Cup organization. The value of the deal and the date of delivery of the warplanes, was not included in the statement, however, a report from Britain said the deal was worth $8 billion. Qatar signed an agreement with France worth $6.6 billion to buy 12 Rafale model warplanes and 50 Airbus-type planes. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Catalonia elects its first female Muslim MP

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Catalonia elected its first female Muslim MP in the region’s elections, bringing the number of Muslim parliamentarian representative to three. The December 21st election marked the 12th Parliament of the Autonomous Community

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of Catalonia, during which proindependence parties took a majority in regional elections. The thirty-six-year-old Moroccan was placed 10th on the list of the Barcelona’s Republican Left Party of Catalonia, becoming the first woman of the Catalon community to join the

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legislative body of Catalonia. “I am taking this step at such a complicated time for Catalonia because I believe it’s necessary to civilize part of society – that minority which believes that another minority is second-class,” said Driouech, Morocco World News reported. Driouech, who migrated along with her parents from Morocco to Catalonia at the age of 9, works as an integration counselor at her town’s Town Hall. “When you are little and you speak Catalan and Spanish well, people say ‘how sweet’. Then you get older, you start to speak up and debate things, and that doesn’t go down well. Now you’re a rival,” she said. The Muslim MP was number 10 on the list for the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), which won 32 seats, with a percentage of 21.4% of votes There are 515,000 Muslims in Catalonia, comprising almost 15% of the population.

Jordan Parliament seeking to stop deals with Tel Aviv

A Jordanian lawmaker said the country’s parliament is seriously pursuing plans to abandon treaties signed with the Zionist regime. Speaking to IQNA, Yahya Saud, president of the Palestine Committee in Jordan’s parliament, said the legislators also to see the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to the Arab country. He said these have been put on agenda by the lawmakers following US President Donald Trump’s decision to announce the holy city of Quds (Jerusalem) the capital of the Israeli regime. He stressed that the official stance of the Jordanian government, parliament and people is

condemnation of Trump’s move as a violation of international laws. Saud also called on other Muslim and Arab countries to utilize their every capacity to stand up against the move and the Zionist regime’s measures aimed at Judaizing the holy city. He further underscored the important role Muslim countries’ parliaments can play in defending the legitimate rights of the oppressed Palestinian people They should show to the world and convey the message to the White House that Palestine is not alone, he went on to say. Trump officially declared the disputed city Israel’s capital, despite

warnings from around the world that the measure risks triggering a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East. In a speech at the White House on December 6, Trump said his administration would also begin a years-long process of moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city. Palestinian leaders had previously warned the move would threaten a two-state solution. Israel has occupied East Quds since the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area in 1980 and sees it as its exclusive domain. Under international law, the area is considered to be occupied territory. www.pi-media.co.uk


Over 600 Palestinians detained - Trump move 14

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Over 600 Palestinians have been detained by the Tel Aviv regime forces since Washington’s move to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli capital, Palestinian sources said. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, 610 Palestinians, including 170 minors, 12 women and three injured people have been arrested during the three weeks

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since US President Donald Trump made his announcement. The group noted that alone at least 24 Palestinians were arrested during pre-dawn raids across the West Bank, Press TV reported. It added that according to official UN figures, between December 5 and the 18, Israeli forces engaged in 162 search and arrest operations throughout the occupied Palestinian

German conference on Islamic sciences A conference titled “Innovative Approaches in Islamic Sciences and Education” will be organized by the Institute of Islamic Theology, University of Osnabruck, Germany, on September 20-22, 2018. According to clisel.com, the main objectives of the program is to allow an inter-disciplinary discussion about new ways and approaches to re-think and reinterpret the rich legacy and history of traditional Islamic scholarship in the contemporary world. It also aims to contribute to the ongoing academic reflection about the improvement of the quality of Islamic education and the development of better curricula

for religious research and teaching institutions. The main focus is how to improve both the theoretical and practical parts of the teaching of Islamic subjects in a way that allows to meet the needs of changing societies. The papers sent for the conference can focus on the themes including Islamic legal thought, Islamic theology, Islamic philosophy, Islamic history, Quran exegesis, Hadith studies, religious education, psychology, didactics, and pedagogy. The abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and submitted along with a short CV by December 31, 2017.

I January 2018

territories. The Israeli regime has long been conducting daily incursions into Gaza and in the vicinity of the so-called buffer zone, which is located on both land and sea sides of the Gaza Strip. On December 6, Trump announced his decision to recognize Quds as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Quds. On December 21, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Quds as the Israeli “capital.” In an attempt to avert the resolution, Trump had warned that “we’re watching,” threatening reprisals against countries that back the measure, which earlier faced a US veto at the UN Security Council.

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Nigerian Muslim body slams law school for barring hijab

Nigeria’s apex Muslim body on threatened the country’s law school with nationwide protests for barring a Muslim woman from a call to the bar ceremony because she wore a hijab. “We stand behind Abdulsalam Firdaus Amosa who acted within her constitutional rights and we insist that she must be called to the bar and adequately compensated for the humiliation she was subjected to,” Prof. Salisu Shehu, deputy head of

the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), said in a statement. “The NSCIA demands that the federal government, through the Ministry of Justice, call the Council for Legal Education and the Nigerian Law School to order so that they will not stoke religious crisis in the country. “Our Council patiently waits for what the Ministry will do as it puts

other options on the table including litigation and nation-wide protests,” the statement said. Abdulsalam Firdaus Amosa, a law graduate, was barred from entering the hall in the Nigerian capital, Abuja after she refused to remove her head covering on religious grounds. The law school said her dress contravened the dress code for the call to the bar ceremony. Citing four court rulings, the Muslim apex body said the action of the law school amounted to “Islamophobia” and perpetuation of a policy of denying Muslims their rights in the guise of secularism. “It is the height of Islamophobia displayed by the authorities of the Nigerian Law School, the Body of Benchers and the Council for Legal Education who now willfully break the law,” the statement added. The Body of Benchers is responsible for the formal call to the bar of persons seeking to become legal practitioners in Nigeria. The law school is meeting on the development later this week as citizens remain divided over the issue. Several Muslim groups, including Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria, told a media briefing that the lady was unfairly treated and asked the law school to reconsider its decision or face public anger.

Turkish politician calls for a Islamic UN Temel Karamollaoglu, the leader of Turkey’s Felicity (Saadet) Party, called for creation of an Islamic UN to represent Muslim countries and promote peace and justice. Speaking to IQNA about the recent developments in Palestine, including the US president’s decision to announce Quds (Jerusalem) the Zionist regime’s capital, Karamollaoglu said such moves are made and Israeli occupation of Islamic countries continues because of instability in the Muslim world and lack of unity among Islamic countries. He said while some 6 million Palestinians live as refugees under very difficult conditions, Muslims around the world should make efforts

to ensure the return of Palestinians to their homeland whose capital is the holy city of Quds. Asked about statements by Muslim governments about the US move, he said mere condemnation is not enough. To succeed against imperialism, the Muslim world needs actions rather than words, the Turkish political figure said. “Because imperialism only and only recognizes the language of power not words.” He underlined the need for Muslim unity against imperialism, saying, “We can achieve success by strengthening our unity.” Karamollaoglu further called for formation of an Islamic UN to

represent Muslim countries, strive to establish peace and justice, and fight injustice and colonialism. Economic collaborations among Muslim states should also develop through foundation of an “organization of economic cooperation among Islamic countries” and creation of a common currency, head of Turkey’s Felicity Party added. He also suggested that establishing a union for defending Islamic countries and an organization for scientific and cultural cooperation among Muslim states could help boost the ties among the countries and strengthen the Muslim Ummah in the world. The Felicity Party is a Turkish political party founded 2001.


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Syria Muslim Brotherhood rejects Russia-sponsored peace talks

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has categorically rejected the Sochi conference sponsored by Russia scheduled for the end of January. In a statement, the group said that the conference is an attempt to consolidate the Russian occupation

and ignore the political solution stipulated in the Geneva resolutions, which starts with the formation of a fully-fledged transitional authority which does not include Bashar AlAssad and his regime. The group reiterated its

adherence to the principles of the Syrian revolution of overthrowing AlAssad and his regime and rebuilding the country as a state of justice, freedom, equality and human dignity. It also called on all revolutionary forces and Syrian national figures to boycott the Sochi conference. The Syrian opposition negotiating body said there was widespread rejection of the conference among opposition groups. Russia, Turkey and Iran, the guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria agreed at the conclusion of the Astana 8 meeting last month to hold the Syrian national dialogue conference in the Russian resort of Sochi on 29-30 January.

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Turkey criticizes Arab countries’ muted response to Trump Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu lashed out at some Arab countries over their “weak” reaction to US recognition of al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the Zionist regime of Israel’s capital. “Some Arab countries have shown very weak responses (on Jerusalem),” Cavusoglu said, “It seems some countries are very timid of the United States.” “We will make a call for countries that have so far not recognized Palestine to do so now,” he said. “... We want the United States to turn back from its mistake.” US President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Quds as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy in the occupied lands from Tel Aviv to Quds. The dramatic shift in Washington’s Quds policy

drew fierce criticism from the international community, including the US Western allies, and triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other countries across the world. Turkey has called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul to discuss Washington’s move. Ankara had warned before Trump made his declaration that any change in the status quo of Quds would lead to a new catastrophe in the Middle East. Cavusoglu stressed that the OIC meeting must stand up to what he described as Washington’s “I am a super power, I can do anything” mentality, Press TV reported. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Washington is a

“partner to bloodshed” and violence that may spark in the Middle East region, stressing that the “struggle” of Muslims would not end until there was an independent Palestinian state. In his earlier remarks in reaction to Trump’s decision, Erdogan described Israel as a “terrorist entity,” “killer of children” and an “oppressive and occupation” regime. Erdogan said the OIC summit in Turkey would convey the message that Washington should swiftly reverse its decision. Sources in the Turkish presidency said that Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron had spoken on the phone over the case. They said the two leaders agreed to work together to persuade the US to reconsider its decision.


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Aid groups to boycott new Myanmar camps for returnees

Global aid groups warned Myanmar they would boycott any new camps for Rohingya Muslim returnees to Rakhine state, saying refugees must be allowed to settle in their original homes. The joint statement, signed by more than a dozen humanitarian organizations, including Save the Children and Oxfam, said the groups were “concerned” by recent announcements that Myanmar would begin repatriating Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh in two months, AFP reported. More than 626,000 of the ethnic minority have fled into Cox’s

Bazar since late August, when the Myanmar army launched a sweeping crackdown on Rohingya rebels in northern Rakhine state. After inking a repatriation deal with Myanmar in November, Bangladesh said returnees would initially live in temporary shelters in Rakhine state. That announcement raised fears that the refugees would face a repeat of the situation endured by more than 100,000 Rohingya in central Rakhine, who have been trapped in squalid camps ever since they were displaced by a 2012 outbreak of violence.

The court of Nanterre ruled a halal supermarket in the Colombes suburb of Paris to be closed down and its rental lease to be canceled after it failed to heed warnings that it must “sell pork and alcohol products.” The supermarket had come under fire last year in August by Nicole Goueta, the mayor of Colombes, and local authorities for “not catering to the general public.” The matter was taken to court after the owner of the market objected accusations that it was “discriminatory” and not following

the conditions on its lease which stipulated that the market must act as a “general food store.” The court said that the market had not added alcohol and non-halal meats to its range of products and therefore went against its lease, and ruled its lease to be canceled, while ordering the owner of the shop to pay 4,000 euros worth of court fees, and empty the premises. The warnings to the market came after locals complained that they could no longer get a broad range of products at the now-halal

“There should be no form of closed camps or camp-like settlements. INGOs will not operate in such camps if they are created,” aid groups said, adding that all returns must be voluntary. The UN has said the army campaign, which saw hundreds of Rohingya villages razed to the ground, likely amounts to ethnic cleansing and has possible “elements of genocide,” charges Myanmar vehemently denies. While the worst bouts of violence appear to have subsided in recent months, refugees are still crossing the border, UNHCR said on Friday, insisting that peace must be secured before any repatriation process begins. The Rohingya Muslims face intense discrimination in mainly Buddhist Myanmar. Myanmar does not recognize the minority as a genuine ethnicity and has systematically stripped the group of citizenship, while curtailing their movement and access to jobs and basic services. Authorities have also severely curbed aid access to northern Rakhine since the violence erupted in late August, a blockade that has helped drive more refugees across the border. www.pi-media.co.uk

French court rules halal shop to be closed for refusing to sell pork, alcohol

market, which had replaced a regular supermarket, and had to travel further to get the products they desired. The market owner had told Le Parisien that he did not sell pork or alcohol because he took the supplydemand balance into account in the neighborhood. Many on social media had come to the owner’s rescue, saying there were many ‘specialty’ shops across France which only sold certain products, and that authorities’ insistence was a “discriminatory” practice.


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Activists protest against antiMuslim hate crimes in India

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Scores of students, activists and members of Muslim community took out a silent protest ‘Muslim lives matter’ in New Delhi, India, following the hacking of a Muslim man in Rajasthan by a Hindu man. Holding placards such as ‘Muslim Lives Matter’ and ‘Speak up against bigotry’, the protesters swarmed Delhi’s Connaught Place area and formed a human chain to register their protest against hate crimes like these. All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary and CPI(M) leader Hannan Mollah, who participated in the protest, said there has been a deliberate attempt to create a vicious atmosphere against Muslims in

the country and the attack was an outcome of that. “The crime is a result of hateful atmosphere. All over the country, there have been efforts to create a vicious atmosphere against Muslims,” Mollah told ANI. He further said 10 to 12 such incidents have occurred in Rajasthan in the last two years, and attributed it to the communalized atmosphere in the state. “A communalized atmosphere has been created in Rajasthan. This has instigated even the common people to kill Muslims. RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are creating this atmosphere which has to be stopped,” he added.

The protest was staged against the brutal killing in Rajsamand, where Mohammed Afrazul Khan, a Bengali migrant worker in Rajasthan was burnt alive, allegedly for trying to marry a Hindu girl. The crime that has shocked the Indian nation came to light after the perpetrator filmed the incident on Dev heritage road in Rajnagar area and uploaded it on the social media. The accused has been identified as Shambhu Lal Raigar, a former marble trader. The videos that were uploaded on social media by 14year-old nephew of Raigar, record him saying he killed Afrazul to save a woman from “love jihad”. The police has arrested Raigar and his nephew and declared that a death penalty would be sought for the former. Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Director General of Police (DGP) said the prima facie reports cited the man seen in the video was not a ‘normal human being’, and a further investigation has been initiated in the matter. Earlier in the day, the Rajasthan government also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victim, while the West Bengal government provided widow pension to the deceased’s wife and assured employment to the kin. www.pi-media.co.uk

Three Qurans discovered in historical Palestinian Mosque Three Qurans published during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II (1876-1908) have been found in a mosque in Palestine’s historical town of Tayibe. Aziz, the mosque’s muezzin, told Anadolu Agency that the Qurans had been stumbled upon during renovations now underway on the Omar bin al-Khattab Mosque, which was built during Abdülhamid II’s reign.

“We had no idea they were there. They were just sitting among a group of other books… We found it during the renovations,” Aziz said. According to the books’ Arabiclanguage introduction, they were handwritten by a scribe named Seyyid Mustafa Nazif Efendi in 1887 before being published by a print house in Istanbul and sent to buyers in Palestine.

“I was shocked when I first saw these treasures,” Aziz said. “These Qurans will certainly contribute to our mosque’s -- and our town’s -historical importance.” The books would soon be displayed in an exhibition, he explained, going on to speculate about the possibility of other such antique texts being found in other Ottoman-era mosques in Palestine.


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1,000 may be freed in Turkey over false Gulen links

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In Case You Missed It

A Turkish prosecutor says some 1,000 people could be released from prison after being falsely accused of having ties with Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric whom Ankara blames for the failed coup of July 15, 2016. Ankara Chief Prosecutor Yuksel Kocaman told journalists that Gulen’s movement was believed to have developed a program that makes innocent people appear to be using ByLock, an encrypted messaging

application that was allegedly used by his supporters for secret communication. The use of ByLock is considered by Turkish prosecutors as evidence of membership in Gulen’s movement. Kocaman added that Gulen’s movement developed the program to make it harder for authorities to identify real ByLock users. Turkey witnessed the coup attempt when a faction of the Turkish military declared that the

Recent remarks by Austria’s newly appointed Education Minister Heinz Fassmann against the headscarf have raised concerns for Muslims living in the country. Fassmann’s interview published in local Kurier newspaper quoted him saying “teachers should not wear a headscarf.” When asked about his opinion on the headscarf ban, Fassmann said: “Yes, I have a sympathy for the secular state and find that teachers should not wear a headscarf, except religious and private school teachers.” The coalition government formed by Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) , has an anti-Islam and antiimmigrant stance. Reacting to the interview,

President of Islamic Religious Authority in Austria (IGGO) Ibrahim Olgun told Anadolu Agency: “Headscarf is our red line.” “For this reason, we will never allow such an attempt. We will do all we can to prevent the headscarf ban to commence, and we will take the issue to the constitutional court if necessary,” he added. Olgun said that the community will meet the minister to speak on the issue and clearly express its reservations. We think that behind the desire to ban the headscarf lies anti-Islamism,” Olgun added. Islamic Federation of Vienna (IFW) General Secretary Harun Erciyas said: “Claiming that teachers with headscarves are contrary to the principle of impartiality actually

government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was no more in charge of the country. However, over the course of two days, the putsch was suppressed. The Turkish government accuses Gulen of having orchestrated the attempted coup. Gulen, a former Erdogan ally-turned-arch-foe, has denied the allegation. Turkey has called on Washington to extradite Gulen, but the demand has not been taken heed of. Turkey, which remains in a state of emergency since the coup, has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups suspected to have played a role in the failed coup. In a post-coup crackdown, Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, policemen, teachers, and civil servants and has arrested over 55,000 others. Many rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have denounced Ankara’s heavy clampdown. www.pi-media.co.uk

Austrian Muslims express concern over minister’s anti-headscarf remarks means insulting their [the teachers’] education and labor. We certainly do not approve of this. “The Islamic Community, an official institution of the country, describes the headscarf as part of Islam. For this reason, if you remove the people with headscarves from the government, you also remove all the members of this religion from the public and, naturally, it will be discriminating.” Fatih Karakoca, Austria president of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), said the minister’s remarks were “unfortunate.” He went on to say that while there are many problems to be resolved in Austria, the extreme right coalition is bent on creating division and tension in the society.


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Afghanistan, India launch second air route to boost trade

Afghan and Indian authorities have attended a ceremony to inaugurate an air route between the two cities of Kabul and Mumbai amid efforts widen to boost trade between the two neighboring countries. The Kabul-Mumbai corridor was officially launched at the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul. The project follows the successful implementation of a similar route between Kabul and the Indian capital

New Delhi. The routes are mainly aimed at facilitating the trade of fresh agricultural products from Afghanistan to India. Afghan officials said some $20 million worth of such products and other handicrafts had been exported to India since the launch of the Kabul-New Delhi corridor by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in June. For its part, India has exempted

exported products from taxes while also facilitating the presence of Afghan traders in Indian markets. “India also promised to hold (an) exhibition for Afghan traders in Mumbai city and they also want to create business chambers,” said Sarwar Danish, a senior official from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries. The establishment of the corridors comes against the backdrop of a rivalry between India and Pakistan for having more leverage on Afghanistan. Kabul has become more vocal in its criticism of Islamabad over the past years, saying elements in Pakistan’s army intelligence service have been reluctant to help eradicate militancy in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s efforts to rebuild the country following decades of war and militancy have largely failed as it struggles to contain an insurgency by the Taliban and other militant groups some 16 years after the United States and allies launched an invasion to root out terrorism. www.pi-media.co.uk

Halal accreditation certificate awarded to the agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Agency for Halal Quality Certification from Bosnia and Herzegovina was awarded by international halal accreditation certificate. Assessment audit was carried out in August last year, when representatives of the EIAC (Emirates International Accreditation Center) visited the Agency for seven days and halal certified companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. On this occasion, EIAC evaluators made an insight into the system documentation of halal certification, and immediately became convinced of the manner of auditing and supervision that auditors and

associates of the Agency perform in production facilities. By obtaining this certification, the Agency for Halal Quality Certification of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina has maintained the continuity of an internationally recognized halal certification body and has confirmed that it meets all the required competencies defined by the new international standards for halal certification. The accreditation certificate confirms the ability of the Agency for halal certification products and processes from categories: poultry slaughterhouses, small and large

cattle; meat and meat products; permanent, semi-permanent and long shelf life products; and chemical and biochemical products. With this certification, the Agency has become the authorized halal certification body for Montenegro, which will enable companies from this country to place their products on the market of the Gulf countries with the Halal Certificate of the Agency. Halal certified companies from other countries will also be able to apply to the Agency for exporting their products to the Gulf markets, for which they will receive special certificates.

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Tunisia halts all UAE flights over security measures

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‘EU to accept 10,000 refugees from Libya’

Tunisia has halted all United Arab Emirates (UAE) airlines’ flights from landing in the country over security measures. The Tunisian transport ministry announced that it had “decided to suspend” Emirates flights to Tunis “until the airline is able to find the appropriate solution to operate its flights in accordance with international law and agreements.” An Emirates spokesman has confirmed the move. “Emirates have stoped services between Tunis and Dubai, as instructed by the Tunisian authorities.” he said. The announcement came two days after the UAE temporarily issued a travel ban on Tunisian women without further explanation at

the time, a move which resulted in an uproar in the North African country. Shortly after the ban was issued, the UAE ambassador to Tunis was summoned to the Tunisian Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates said that “security information” had caused the delays concerning Tunisian women whom were the subject of extra visa examination. “We contacted our Tunisian brothers about security information that necessitated taking specific procedures,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash. “We should avoid misleading attempts... We highly value Tunisian women and respect them,” he added. www.pi-media.co.uk

Iraq announces end of UN sanctions Iraq announced the end of UN sanctions imposed on the country following its invasion of neighboring Kuwait in 1990. In a statement, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry attributed the abolishment of the UN sanctions after 27 years in place to “diplomatic successes”. This decision “is an important step

in the restoration of Iraq’s natural status and international standing,” ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoub said. The UN Security Council imposed the sanctions on Iraq under Chapter VII and created the oil-for-food program, which allowed the former regime of Saddam Hussein to sell

Italian authorities have indicated that some 10,000 refugees now stranded in Libya would be admitted to Europe in 2018 as part of efforts by the European Union to save asylum seekers living in inhuman conditions in the North African country. Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said in an interview published that humanitarian corridors would be established next year to allow refugees to come to Europe without being exposed to dangers of smuggling and natural threats at sea. “In 2018, up to 10,000 refugees will be able to come to Europe without risk, through humanitarian corridors,” said Minniti. Italy has seen less and less of an influx of refugees from the south across the Mediterranean this year mainly due to agreement between the EU and Libyan authorities to contain the flow on the Libyan shores. However, the deal has proved to be a failure in terms of humanitarian issues as videos and reports emerged from Libya have shown refugees held captive or being sold as slaves in the markets. To address the deteriorating conditions, EU countries have accepted to grant funds and help Libya relocate or repatriate refugees. oil in the world market for buying humanitarian needs of its citizens. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Iraqi legal expert Tarek Harb said Iraq was effectively removed from under Chapter VII sanctions four years ago. At the time, he said, Iraq owed $4.6 billion to Kuwait in the form of investments and gas shipments.


Islamophobia rising in grassroots football

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Muslim footballers playing the game at grassroots level are increasingly being targeted with Islamophobic abuse following Brexit, according to the organisation that monitors racism in football. Kick It Out said the numbers of cases it has been asked to investigate has increased sharply since the vote to leave Europe. Troy Townsend, Kick It Out’s education officer, told Sky News: “I was always worried about Brexit and the outcome of that and I think what we’ve found now is people want to take ownership a lot more. “The language coming out now - ‘This is our country, community, you weren’t born here’ - that is flat out discrimination and racism. It’s happening in society, we’ve seen a spike in hatred towards Muslims because of situations that have happened. “That hatred goes into the game because we have people from different backgrounds playing together. We find groups are being discriminated against and it’s nothing to do with football.” Mr Townsend said in some instances young children were being singled out because of their faith. He described some of the abuse that players of Muslim background have endured, including “mimicking the crashing of aeroplanes” - a reference to 9/11. He said: “Why should people who are going to handshake before

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the game have to witness things like that? What tone is that game being played under now? Because it’s obviously being played under a tone where the perpetrators have identified their opposition in a certain way. No game should be played under those circumstances at all.” Newcastle winger Yasin Ben ElMhanni said he and his friends were regularly subjected to Islamophobic abuse when he started out. He said: “When I was playing grassroots level, a lot of my friends and me got comments along the lines of suicide bomber and terrorist, stuff like that. It was quite overwhelming and disturbing. It does affect you mentally on and off the pitch. Sometimes when you get the abuse on the pitch, it affects you in the coming days, even weeks. It was very difficult to experience.” Players and coaching staff at nonleague club FC Peterborough are all too aware of the rise in Islamophobia. Verbal and physical abuse has now become a regular feature of their weekend fixtures. “We do get racist comments against our Asian players, we get Islamophobic comments because that seems to be a bit of a trend now,” the club’s operations manager Imtiaz Ali told Sky news. “We have had players, 11-yearolds, mimic aeroplanes crashing into buildings after our games. We’ve had players mimicking the call to prayer to some of our players.

These are some of the things that our 11-12 year old Asian players have been witnessing on an average weekend of football. So it really is disgusting.” The problem is so bad that the club is losing players. Mr Ali said: “There are a number of players who have stopped coming because of these kinds of things. There are certainly a number of players who have chosen to not sign up with the club because of these kinds of issues. “We have had players who have gone on to play for other clubs because they think, if I’m disguised in a group of white players, I won’t necessarily be targeted, so it really is a shame.” One of the club’s players, Zeeshan Ali, said the abuse went way above banter. “You think to yourself, do we wake up on a Saturday morning for this. They say ‘shave your beards off, get deported, what you doing here playing?’ Stuff like that. ‘Terrorist. They can’t get enough of terrorist to be honest. You think to yourself, just smile at them. But there is only a certain amount you can take before you can’t take anymore.” FC Peterborough posted some of the Islamophobic abuse its players receive on its Facebook page. Soon they were contacted by clubs around the country sharing similar stories of abuse. They all agreed that the FA’s complaints procedure was too complicated, took too long and relied on the single testimony of a referee. In other words the system, says Mr Ali, is heavily weighted against the victim. “So the FA pay a lot of lip service to kick racism out, show racism the red card, side lined to side lines and all these initiatives that they run. The FA have been found to be a bunch of middle aged white men who are just that demographic, who are not aware of what is going on, on the ground, so in grassroots there is not a lot that they do.


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I January 2018

Salah donates 30,000 Euros to veteran Egyptian players

The Egyptian has taken the Premier League by storm following his return to England this season, and his class seems to extend off the pitch too Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has impressed everyone on the pitch this season, and he’s doing good things off it too. Salah’s status as a national hero

back home in Egypt is only partly to do with his football ability - and the fact that he scored the goal that sent his nation to their first World Cup in 28 years back in October . The forward is also revered for what he does for his country, with the Daily Mail reporting last month about the various good deeds he

Former Indian cricketer to start Dubai academy

Former Indian cricketer, Robin Singh, has announced he will start a Dubai-based cricket academy to identify, encourage and promote young, cricketers from UAE schools. Singh’s RS Sports Academy will also organise the Aster Elite Schools League, which will feature teams from schools across the region competing in a knockout tournament in February 2018. UAE schools have been invited to participate in the tournament where experts will select players

to train further before lining them up for international league rosters, RS Sports Academy said in a statement. Teams will be ranked “using advanced video analysis and technical performance parameters” and selected students will be mentored and coached by top International coaches and have opportunities to play with international players in leagues and tournaments across the globe, the statement went on to add.

does for his hometown of Nagrig - including buying gym equipment, paying for couples to get married and presenting youth football trophies. He even insisted that a burglar who stole from his family recently should not be charged, and instead helped him find work . And according to a report in Egypt, he’s now donated money to help veteran Egyptian footballers who may have fallen on hard times after retiring from the game. The report from Egyptian football site King Fut cites radio host and former Zamalek player Khaled ElGhandour’s claim that Salah has given €30,000 (£26,612) to the Association of Veteran Egyptian Players. The report claims that some of the families of the ex-players receive a monthly wage of just 400 Egyptian pounds, or £16.65. Formerly of Chelsea, Salah has scored 21 goals in 28 Reds appearances since joining from Roma in the summer, and is behind only Harry Kane in the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot with 15 league strikes.

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‘Hands Off Jerusalem’

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On the 6th of December 2017, President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and stated that the American embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This marked a shift away from nearly seven decades of American neutrality on the matter. President Trump explicitly stated his support for maintaining the status quo at the holy sites within the Old City. Trump’s “deal of the century” to resolve the historic Arab-Israeli conflict it is said may include “Arab normalization of Israel in exchange for direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis under American auspices, or the exchange of Arab-Israeli land in the framework of the establishment of a

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Palestinian state.” What is the Status of Jerusalem? After World War I, the city of Jerusalem came under the administration of the United Kingdom through a League of Nations’ mandate on Palestine. At the end of World War II, given the British intention to give up the mandate and withdraw from Palestine, the United Nations undertook to provide a future solution for the region and for Jerusalem itself. Meanwhile, the United States of America had declared its unequivocal support for Israel which was a gamechanger to all intents and purposes as far as the future map of the region was concerned.

The consequences of the inaugural Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948 culminated I the division of the city into two: Israel occupied what is no known as Western part and Jordan maintained its influence on the eastern sector. In 1949, the Knesset then adopted a resolution declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. The Israelis by this point had moved most government institutions and the parliament (the Knesset) from Tel Aviv to Western Jerusalem. Then in June 1967, Israel had captured East Jerusalem and the consequences of this enabled her to extend her rule over the entire city including the administration and judiciary. The UN Security Council (UNSC)


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I January 2018

with support from the international community passed Resolution 252 in May 1968 and made the following declaration. The resolution stated that the acquisition of territory by military conquest is “inadmissible,” declared that all actions taken by Israel to change the status of Jerusalem are invalid, and called upon Israel to rescind measures already taken. In July 1980, the Knesset passed a constitutional act according to which Jerusalem, complete and united” according to the text, was to be the capital of Israel and the seat of its president, government, parliament and Supreme Court. In response, the UNSC in August 1980 adopted Resolution 478, In 1993, with the assistance of the United States, representatives of Israel and of the Palestinian people agreed that the status of Jerusalem is a core issue that is to be addressed bilaterally in permanent status negotiations. Subsequently, both President George W. Bush and President Obama sought to assist the parties in establishing negotiations on all outstanding issues, including Jerusalem’s status. In 1995, The United States provided overwhelming tacit support for Israel with the twin aim of planning for the fragmentation of the Middle East and using the Congressional cog which then passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, that declared “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”. The bill also stated that the American embassy should move to Jerusalem within five years. From 1998 to June 2017, the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv was suspended by the sitting President semi-annually, based on national security concerns as provided for in section 7 of the Act. Trump’s declaration last month should be analyzed in light of the same act passed by Congress with overwhelming support and enacted into law in the same year. However, Donald Trump said that the United States would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. and would pursue plans to build a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem during his election campaign. It should be said that Trump has certainly fulfilled his election promise early into his presidency. Section 7 makes for interesting reading in that it afforded the president to suspend the limitation set forth in section 3(b) for a period of six months if he determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States. Furthermore, section 7 in turn indicates that, where the restrictions

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imposed by section 3(b) are waived, they should be applied to the following fiscal year, unless there is a subsequent waiver for that year. this will allow the president to “waive the legislation if it would have dire consequences on the peace process and if there are an important problem they can suspend the limitation on State Department construction if he believes it is necessary to protect [U.S.] national security interests in the event of an emergency or unforeseen change in circumstances” and not as permitting “the President to negate the legislation simply on the grounds that he disagrees with the policy.” but that situation maybe change for at least another six months. The implications of this waiver authority paved the way for the Trump administration from voluntarily seeking to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, without the outside threat of any legal sanctions if it chose not to do so. What to watch for After Trump’s statement, Benjamin Netanyahu called the announcement a “historic landmark” and praised the decision as “courageous and just”. During his remarks Netanyahu said there is “no peace that doesn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel”, adding that the ‘eternal city’ has “been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years”. On 9 December Turkey announced that that President Erdogan would be working with French president Emmanuel Macron in a joint effort to persuade the United States to reconsider its decision as the change in policy was like “throwing the region into a ring of fire”. On December 10th, The Arab League held an emergency meeting in Cairo. After the meeting, the League’s Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit issued a statement saying the change in US policy was “against international law and “amounts to the legalization” of Israeli occupation. Gheit also questioned US commitment to the peace process and cast doubt on its role as a honest broker. Just this month, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini emphasized that Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem was considered a violation of international law under the1980 United Nations Security Council resolution and all governments of EU member states were united on the issue of Jerusalem, and reaffirmed their commitment to a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. King Salman of Saudi Arabia said

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that moving the American embassy to Jerusalem would be a “flagrant provocation” to Muslims. Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi both expressed similar concerns about the viability of the peace process. The Jordanian government said Trump had violated international law and the UN charter as a whole. Predicting the Trump administration’s next move regarding the U.S. Embassy in Israel is going to be difficult. The worst-case scenario would be if Trump makes a decision on short notice and announces the establishment of an embassy in Jerusalem without any diplomatic groundwork being laid. The ensuing scenario, could result in a loud reaction throughout the Arab world. Popular reactions to such a decision could result in widespread protests and even violence, raising the prospect of World War III in the offing. Furthermore, the Trump administration maybe using the embassy move as part of a larger strategy, most likely related to the advancement of the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that some of President Trump’s closest advisors are reportedly working on. If this is in the offing then they should make an official announcement preceded by intense diplomatic engagement involving all sides to prepare the ground and build support for the proposal being put forward. Moreover, success even at this juncture is not guaranteed due to several reasons. Relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is likely to be accompanied by assurances and concessions intended to assuage Palestinian and Arab concerns, most likely relating to Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem, and the most critical issue the realization of Palestinian statehood, access to and control of the holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and certain other recurring issues. Finally, the other scenario is that Trump may once again exercise his waiver authority and decline to announce any change in the U.S. Embassy’s location. If this occurs, it is likely a sign that someone has persuaded the president that progress on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a real possibility and sudden changes could harm its prospects or have other unintended regional ramifications. The world waits in hope that another global conflict of epic proportions is not on the horizon and the Muslim community is in unison in shouting ‘Hands off Jerusalem’ By Miral Alashry

Assistant Professor Canadian International College (CIC) Department of Journalism


The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 20

As the anti-Uthman sentiment grew louder and louder across the Islamic empire the latter now faced another threat in the form of Abdullah Ibn Saba and his followers. Historians attest to the fact that Saba and his followers sought to add another dimension on what already is best described as an explosive situation that threatened to destroy the very existence of the Islamic empire. There has been much conjecture and debate as to the very existence of Abdullah Ibn Saba. Sunni sources including Tabari promoted the view that Saba was a Yemenite Jew who embraced Islam. Most historians supported the view that Ibn Saba did actually exist and that he was one person. Some authors have argued that Ibn Saba was indeed two persons namely Ibn Saba and Ibn al-Sawda but even today this opinion has failed to gain sufficient traction in order for it to be considered as a

mainstream view. This complicated picture centring upon the very existence of Ibn Saba was further compounded by the fact many even cast doubt as to whether he was a follower of the Jewish faith or indeed a Jew for that matter. Sayf Ibn Umar al-Tamimi states that Abdullah Ibn Saba was indeed the main catalyst in inciting the Egyptians against Uthman that then led to the siege which eventually led to the assassination of the latter. We may ask why Ibn Saba was keen to create strife and rebellion and agitate the masses against Uthman? The answer lies in the fact that Ibn Saba like the Shiites were of the view that Ali Ibn Ali Talib should have been the caliph. Furthermore, Ibn Saba was also accused of preventing a settlement between the forces of Ali Ibn Talib and Aisha Bint Abu Bakr at the Battle of the Camel. Ibn Saba also introduced a

number of obscure theological concepts that were very much in keeping with this reverence of Ali Ibn Abi Talib. The most prominent of these concepts was the idea that Ali Ibn Abi Talib was God and furthermore Ibn Saba believed in his divinity and promoted this view amongst his supporters. Other ideas formulated by Ibn Saba was the concept of ghayba (occultation) and ra’ja (return) . The occultation presents the idea of the messianic figure known as the Mahdi (descendant of the prophet Muhammad pbuh) was born and disappeared and who will return to the world near the end of times and fill the earth with justice and peace. This particular notion it should be said is supported by Shiite eschatology but dismissed by Sunnis who present a different argument centering upon the role of the Mahdi during the end of time.


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