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By Hannah Couchman

Advocacy & Policy Officer @Liberty UK

Moving forward the fight against mass surveillance

2018 has seen a series of milestones in the fight against mass surveillance, including our victory at the European Court of Human Rights in September, which saw several significant wins in the fight against intrusive state surveillance. But we are seeking to appeal that decision – to prove that bulk surveillance can never be justified in a rights-respecting democracy. Liberty has long fought against mass surveillance powers. The UK Government has adopted a number of deeply intrusive surveillance regimes, and Liberty has always risen to the challenge of resisting these invasive state powers – in Parliament, in the Courts and alongside campaigners and members of the public who demand their fundamental rights be respected. One of the most disturbing aspects of the UK’s surveillance regime is the use of “bulk powers”. These powers allow the State to hoover up and keep enormous quantities of data about a wide range of people.

You do not have to be suspected of any crime or wrongdoing to have your privacy breached in this way. It could happen to any one of us – or, more likely, a huge number of us. A bulk warrant could apply to an entire population. And far from supporting the Government in tackling serious crime, there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that mass surveillance practices actually hinder law enforcement efforts. Bulk powers can be used by the Government to access our most sensitive personal information – our messages to friends and family, the websites we visit and what we post online, where we go and who we go with. And this information can be used to build up disturbingly detailed profiles about us. This indiscriminate surveillance represents an unjustifiable invasion of our privacy. It also erodes our freedom of expression and our right to peaceful assembly and association. Being monitored in this way causes us to self-censor and change our behaviour.

Liberty believes that the intrusive powers used for state surveillance in the UK should be lawful, targeted and proportionate – and we are fighting for this in the courts. In September this year, we secured a crucial victory when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK’s historical bulk surveillance violated the right to privacy and to free expression. We brought this case together with Amnesty International, Privacy International and 11 other human rights and journalism groups from around the world. This ruling represents a significant win in our fight against invasive surveillance powers – but we want to go further. Liberty, alongside the groups joined together in the initial challenge*, have applied to the Court to appeal this judgment and push for the Court to hold that bulk powers can never be justified. And our work doesn’t stop there. We are also challenging the UK Government’s use of the same powers under the current surveillance regime. We won the first part of this case in April, and the rest of the case will be heard next year. In both challenges, we will argue that the routine, daily surveillance of billions of communications is not acceptable in our democratic society. The fight goes on. *The groups appealing the decision are the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International, Bytes for All, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Legal Resources Centre, Liberty and Privacy International.

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53 journalists were killed in 2018 and quite chillingly 34 of them were singled out for murder

Continued from front page

Our front page is dedicated to all the Journalists who have suffered persecution, been injured and died in the line of duty. The free world has come to rely upon and taken for granted the cherished notion of freedom of speech for decades. Journalism is often described as a ‘hazardous occupation’ where many journalists put themselves at acute risk to obtain an exclusive that will provide the basis for tomorrow’s news. However, 2018 proved to be one of the deadliest years for journalists reporting from some of the most dangerous parts of the world that includeMyanmar, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. It should be said that being a journalist today equates to being a hunted animal attempting to fend off predators in an ever-increasing volatile world. 2018 it should be said was the year when 53 journalists were killed and quite chillingly 34 of them were singled out for murder. 2018 was the year when the unthinkable became a reality that shook the world to the core with the indiscriminate, brutal and savage murder of the Saudi blogger and New York Times journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. The murder of Khashoggi proved that no one is safe anymore in any part of the world at any time.

What does the murder ofJamal Khashoggi tell us? What does the murder of Jan Kuciak, an investigative reporter looking into corruption in Slovakia was shot dead alongside his fiancee in February tell us? What does the death of Viktoria Marinova, who raped, beaten and strangled to death in Bulgaria in October tell us? What does the imprisonment of prominent Reuters journalists Kyaw SoeOo and Wa Lone in Myanmar tell us? What does the imprisonment of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmud Hussein in Egypt tell us? The unspeakable murders and unforgiveable crimes tell us that vested interests fear the truth. Vested interests fear of being outed and being exposed emanates from the desire to maintain power, oppression and tyranny over their respective subjects. Killing innocent esteemed journalists such as Khashoggi, Kuciak and Marinova goes to show the desperate lengths certain powers will go to silence the opposition. Murder is the weapon of choice in ever turbulent world for agents hell bent on maintaining the status quo. Many journalists today are languishing in prisons across the world and two prominent Reuters journalists Kyaw SoeOo and Wa Lone have been imprisoned in

Myanmar for daring to speak out against the excesses of the military junta against the millions of repressed and stateless Rohingya Muslims. Silencing journalists using the weapons of murder and imprisonment risks destroying the world of journalism forever. Acting in an indiscriminate manner against journalists’ risks driving away the next generation of aspiring individuals from this valuable profession. We should ask ourselves the question is that what we actually want going forward? Governments around the world and politicians have a solemn duty to protect freedom of speech and the free press. Governments around the world have a duty to ensure the safety of journalists from any type of threat. A free press with unfettered access for journalists is the cornerstone of a vibrant and free democracy.Therefore, the time has come for the free and civilised world to say, ‘not in my name’ and demand that journalists all over the world be respected for their work and more importantly be protected from abuse, harassment and threats of any description. ‘’And declare,The truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Indeed, falsehood is bound to vanish.” (Qur’an 17:81)


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UK police are failing to take action against hate crime suspects: Report

A new report has shown that majority of hate crimes committed on UK railways go unnoticed with authorities failing to take actions against a majority of the suspects. The report published on the website of the Guardian Newspaper on said that the British Transport Police (BTP) ignored abandoned investigation into almost three-

quarter of hate crimes reported in the trains and other rail facilities across the UK over the past three years. The report said a total of 9,407 hate crimes were reported across the rail network between 2015 and the end of May 2018 and police only took action against a tiny portion of the suspects, around 25 percent. It said almost 40 percent if the

hate crimes reported to the BTP in the three-year period did not result in prosecution only because there were no traces of the suspects. The findings come amid a clear surge in the number of hate crimes committed across the UK. Rights groups have been concerned that hate crimes committed against ethnic groups, especially against the Muslims who form a large community in Britain, have been on rise in the recent time. Many blame the surge on far-right and nationalist groups who have gained a foothold in the UK over the past years thanks to a campaign for Britain to leave the European Union as well as the general rise in anti-immigration sentiments in the country. Politicians have also been blamed as many of them seek closer bond to the far-right groups to win more votes. The BTP said the overall number of hate crimes committed on the rail network in Britain over the past five years had increased by more than 80 percent to reach more than 61,000 cases.

UK anti-terror scheme records major surge in far-right activity The British government has received a significantly high number of complaints regarding the surge in far-right activity in the country as it seeks as part of a program called Prevent to stop people being attracted and recruited by terrorist groups. Government officials said that a total of 7,318 people had been referred to the Prevent program over concerns related to extreme rightwing activity over the past twelve months. They said the figure of direct farright referrals, a total of 1,312 cases, showed a major increase of 36 percent compared to the previous period in which some 968 cases had been recorded.

The BBC said in a report that there were questions regarding the British government’s determination to tackle far-right extremism as many of those referred to Prevent, more than 40 percent, left the antiterrorism process without requiring further action. The findings come amid a surge in far-right sentiments among the UK public. There have been numerous reports of attacks by racist and nationalist groups on members of ethnic minorities, especially the Muslims. In a most recent case in November, which sparked huge outrage, a Syrian refugee boy was racially abused in his school in Huddersfield, in northern England.

The assault on Jamal was defended and justified by Tommy Robinson, the top Islamopphobe figure in Britain, with the far-right activist saying the Muslim boy was the victim of his own conduct in the school against the white and nonMuslims. Britain has also been a major hotbed for terrorism recruitment over the past several years. British nationals have joined terrorist groups like Daesh, once dominant in countries like Iraq and Syria, on a considerable scale and since a militancy got out of control in the Middle East. Many fear those nationals could pose serious security threats to Britain once they return home.


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Migrants abandoned in UK detention centres: Report

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A new report has shown that the United Kingdom is becoming increasingly careless of the situation of migrants in its detention centers as more people commit suicide or need emergency medical care for drug overdose. The Guardian said in a report that the number of ambulance callouts to migrant detention centers in England had increased by almost 50 percent in a three-year period ending last year. Almost 10 ambulances visited

detention centers each week in 2017, a sharp rise of 43 percent compared to 2014, the newspaper said. Most of those calls came because of problems such as drug overdose and suicide attempts as migrants continued to face difficult conditions in the facilities, said the report. The rise in emergency care services to migrant facilities comes as England has hosted fewer migrants in those centers compared to three years ago.

A Muslim faith school where pupils are allowed to ‘feel safe and to dream’ has been praised for its good teaching and outstanding care. North Road Academy, in Cobridge, has doubled in size in the last three years and now caters for five to 16-year-olds. There is also a partner nursery based on the same site. Ofsted inspectors say the school leaders have ‘a strong commitment, drive and determination to provide a high standard of education’. And their report also commends the independent school’s efforts to instil British values alongside an Islamic ethos. It says pupils are ‘very well prepared for life in modern

Britain’. North Road – which was the first Muslim faith school to open in North Staffordshire – currently has 121 pupils, who come from across the city and beyond. Headteacher Naeem Bashir said: “We are drawing people into the community. We’ve got families who work for the NHS and have moved here. “We are very proud of what the school has achieved.” North Road has been rated as ‘good’ overall in the latest report. It comes after the nursery, which has the same owner, was also awarded a good grade. Pupils study the national

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Experts put the rise down to the deteriorating state of detention centers, with little attention being paid to people’s wellbeing. They said an end to indefinite detention was long overdue. “Levels of suicide and self-harm are unacceptably high and we see people on a daily basis who are in need of care and should never be locked up. That they are with such little attention paid to their wellbeing,” said Celia Clarke, the director of the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees. The rights campaigner said the findings by the Guardian were quite “shocking” and proved the fact that the UK government had deliberately abandoned the migrants in line with its general policy of reducing immigration numbers. David Lammy, a senior lawmaker at the opposition Labour Party, said the report showed that the UK government had no intention of reforming its migrant policy to make it more “humane”. “What this shows is our treatment of those detained is cruel, inhumane and detrimental to their health,” said Lammy, adding, that the situation in detention camps was a clear sign of the Conservative-led government’s “abhorrent scale of negligence”.

Faith school’s outstanding care is attracting families to city

curriculum and take GCSEs. But they also follow courses in Islamic studies, Qur’anic studies and Arabic. Ofsted found the teachers have a good subject knowledge, give youngsters ‘timely support’ and build a good rapport with the children. Efforts to improve reading have been particularly effective. Every primary age pupil has daily guided reading sessions and many of the colourful classroom displays are inspired by books. The report states children’s personal development is ‘outstanding’ and staff treat pupils’ welfare as ‘paramount’. www.pi-media.co.uk


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‘UK can play crucial role in ending Rohingya genocide’

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The UK can play an instrumental role in bringing an end to the Rohingya genocide by Burmese authorities, a parliamentary session heard. The message was conveyed at an event organized by the Justice for Rohingya Minority group, which hosted a cross-party panel of MPs including Catherine West of the Conservative Party, Rushanara Ali and Helen Goodman of the Labour Party and Baroness Sheehan, the Liberal Democrat Party’s spokesperson for international development. The session also featured Ben Emmerson QC, an international lawyer who sat as a judge at the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and Sirazul Islam, an 18-year-old genocide survivor who was born in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, where he spent eight years of his life before moving to the

UK. “I would like to thank you all for inviting me to this event and allowing me to share with you my experience of being a Rohingya youth,” Islam said. “I was born in a refugee camp, in a land I couldn’t call my own and devoid of the basic comforts that many of you grew up with. Children normally want to have fun, play with their friends and enjoy school. But for me, survival was the most important thing, as we didn’t have those enjoyments in the camp. “And as the camp was not officially registered with the Bengali government, it lacked many basic necessities such as clean water, comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms. Life in the camp was difficult, but it was even more difficult knowing that I couldn’t return to the land that my family was born in and had lived for many years and called home”.

Islam’s testimony of Rohingya life in a refugee camp cast a somber mood over the room and made clear the realities faced by thousands, if not millions, of Rohingya refugees living in limbo in Bangladesh. “Islam’s harrowing account should be a wakeup call to all of us and remind us that this genocide is still going on and that we as a nation of morals and humanity should stand up and fight for the justice of our fellow Rohingyas,” said West, who was also moderating the event. She also cited the fact that the UK, as a global power, was a leading advocate of human rights and as such held a unique position at the UN Security Council (UNSC) in bringing to light the plight of minority peoples such as the Rohingya in Myanmar. “The UK has been a leading advocate of human rights since the end of the Second World War and has used its position as one of the permanent members of the Security Council to influence and change how we view human rights and what laws and policies we legislate on the issue. “And as such, the UK has been at the vanguard in distributing aid to Rohingya refugees and attempting to find a solution to end the Rohingya genocide,” West added. The role of the international community in ending the genocide was also discussed and in particular what the International Criminal Court (ICC) could do to bring justice to the Rohingya and hold to account the perpetrators of the genocide.

A “completely innocent” businessman has won £40,000 damages from a former Ukip official over a tweet which falsely accused him of child grooming. Zahir Monir, 39, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, brought libel proceedings at London’s High Court against Steve Wood, the ex-chairman of the party’s Bristol branch and candidate for Bristol South at the May 2015 general election. In a ruling , Mr Justice Nicklin found

that the allegation was “life-changing” and had transformed the lives of Mr Monir and his family “for the worse”. He said: “It needs to be stated clearly: Mr Monir is completely innocent. “He has been seriously libelled. He has been forced to fight a libel claim all the way through to trial with every single conceivable point being taken against him.” The judge added: “The strain that it has put on him was obvious to me

when he gave his evidence. “I am doubtful even the success in this claim, the award of damages and his public vindication through this judgment will restore him to the life he enjoyed before this libel.” The tweet, published on Bristol Ukip’s official Twitter account on May 4 2015 three days before the election, was written and posted by John Langley - the branch’s vice-chairman at the time.

Businessman awarded £40k damages for false child grooming tweet


UK to establish military base in Kuwait 10

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Kuwait and the U.K. have reached an agreement to establish a British military base in the Gulf state, local Kuwaiti media reported. The private Alrai newspaper said the two countries concluded a deal to establish the British military base in Kuwait. The daily, citing diplomatic

sources, said officials from both countries met to discuss aspects of cooperation between the two sides. The newspaper also quoted Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah while denying any link between the British base and a border dispute between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

“Our dispute with our brothers in Saudi Arabia is brotherly,” he said. “I can term it as a misunderstanding.” The private al-Qabas newspaper also said meeting between Kuwaiti and British officials discussed the establishment of a British military base to train the Kuwaiti army. The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said the U.K. base will be limited and will be opened soon. There was no comment from Kuwaiti or British authorities on the report. British ambassador to Kuwait Michael Davenport earlier said in an interview with Forces Network that London was considering a permanent military presence in Kuwait. “We’re looking at all the possibilities. We’re not talking about a major deployment I don’t think, but we’re looking at what might work for both the United Kingdom and for Kuwait. As I say, it’s at a very early stage,” he said.

Muslim group blasts Boris Johnson whitewash British Muslims’ top umbrella group blasted the ruling Conservatives’ whitewash of Islamophobic remarks by Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary. After examining an August column for the Daily Telegraph in which Johnson compared Muslim women who wear the niqab and burka to “letterboxes and bank robbers,” a Tory panel ruled his slurs “respectful and tolerant” and defended his right to use “satire.” Calling the comments “dehumanising,” the Muslim Council of Britain -- an umbrella group

for some 500 mosques, schools, and associations -- said that far from being “satire,” Johnson’s “denigrating” column had inspired Islamophobic attacks. “Reports at the time suggested that his Telegraph column had real-world consequences, directly leading to ‘copycat’ verbal assaults against Muslim women and the unleashing of hate and Islamophobia from Conservative supporters,” said a statement by the council. “Mr Johnson is not a satirist – he is a Member of Parliament, and as

such has a responsibility to set the tone for the rest of the UK to follow,” added the statement. “In this case, it is far-right Islamophobes who have been empowered to follow his rhetoric.” In August senior Conservative MPs and the prime minister herself demanded an apology from Johnson, but none was given. This June the council called on the Conservatives to launch an internal probe of multiple allegations of Islamophobia within its ranks.

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Sweden’s first MP in a hijab challenges swing to the right

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Swedes were treated to a new sight: a Swedish MP giving a speech in a hijab. Leila Ali Elmi, who arrived in the country aged two after her family fled civil war in Somalia, will make her parliamentary debut after winning a surprise victory in this autumn’s polls, promising a voice for people targeted by the groundswell of hostility to immigration. “Me getting elected has caused a lot of reactions from the racists,” she says in the Green party offices in Stockholm. “They weren’t really ready for it, but here I am.” Ali Elmi, 30, represents the

other side of an election that was dominated by the issue of immigration and had an increase in the far-right vote. She fought on the issues closest to residents of Angered, the disadvantaged, immigrant suburb that has been her home for the past 28 years – unemployment, overcrowding, exclusion and segregation. Ethnic segregation in Sweden’s suburbs drew international attention in early 2013 when young people rioted in northern Stockholm, torching cars and schools and fighting with police. They said they were angry at police racism and felt

The US military has issued a report, admitting killing additional civilians since it started its military campaign in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The report released shows that over 1,100 civilians were inadvertently killed in airstrikes over the last four years, marking an increase of 15 people since November. War monitoring groups, however, estimate that the raids have killed thousands of civilians.

“The Coalition conducted a total of 31,406 strikes between August 2014 and end of November 2018. During this period, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 1,139 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve,” said the report. The report comes as the US has reportedly evacuated a military base in Syria, the first step towards

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like second-class citizens despite having been born in the country. There have been flare-ups since, most recently when masked youths armed with molotov cocktails set 80 cars ablaze in a Gothenburg suburb. Problems with gangs, shootings and even grenade attacks have led some politicians to claim the suburbs are ungovernable no-go zones. The far-right Sweden Democrats have been effective in linking these problems with immigration. The party won 17% of the vote in September’s poll, up from 12% in 2014, but not enough to push the Conservatives down to third place as had widely been expected. The party has also shifted the political mainstream to the right. Sweden has moved a long way from the years leading up to 2016 when it welcomed 370,000 asylum seekers – by far the largest number relative to population of any European country. For Ali Elmi, the issue is not immigration but rather the conditions in which most people with immigrant backgrounds live. “The Sweden Democrats say everything that is going wrong here is because of the immigrants, because Sweden is bringing too many people into the country, but this is a fiction. It is not true,” she says.

US military admits killing more civilians in Syria, Iraq delivering on President Donald Trump’s recent pledge to pull American forces out of the war-torn Arab country. Some 50 American soldiers had already left the base and traveled to a base in Iraq, along with their armored vehicles and other equipment, according to local residents of al-Malikiya, in the northeastern province of Hasakeh.

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Germany consider introducing ‘Mosque Tax’

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Lawmakers from Germany’s grand coalition government said that they were considering introducing a “mosque tax” for German Muslims, similar to the church taxes that German Christians pay. Thorsten Frei, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) told Die Welt daily that a mosque tax was “an important step” that would allow “Islam in Germany to emancipate itself from foreign states.” In Germany, church taxes are collected from practicing Catholics and Protestants in order to fund

church activities. They are collected by the state and then transferred to religious authorities. In the absence of a similar tax, mosques in Germany are reliant upon donations, raising concerns about possible financing by foreign organizations and governments, which has sometimes prompted questions about the promotion of fundamentalist ideologies. For example, there has been growing concern about the influence of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), an arm of the Turkish government based in Germany.

Officials estimates report that there are between 4.4 and 4.7 million Muslims living in Germany, but those figures include people whose families are Muslim by tradition and the number of practicing Muslims could be lower. A lawmaker from Germany’s other ruling party, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), agreed that a mosque tax could help Islam in Germany become more independent. The SPD’s domestic policy chief Burkhard Lischka agreed that it was a topic “worthy of discussion.” The founder of a progressive Berlin mosque, Seyran Ates, supported the idea when asked by Die Welt, saying “in the future everything that the community needs to could be paid for by its members themselves.” Several European countries, including Austria, Sweden, and Italy, also use church taxes to fund Catholic and Protestant institutions. It has also been criticized for being compulsory for practicing Christians and, as it is collected by the government, for blurring the lines between church and state. www.pi-media.co.uk

Germany aims to control foreign donations to mosques Germany wants to regulate foreign donations to the country’s mosques to prevent the spread of fundamentalist ideologies, a local daily said. The federal government has asked Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to notify the Foreign Office prior to making any donations or

government grants, Suddeutsche Zeitung reported. The newspaper said German intelligence agencies will scrutinize the senders and recipients of the funds. It said Germany is also concerned about the radicalization of refugees who receive financial aid from Saudi

Arabia in particular. Germany cited a confidential report by a working group at the Terrorism Defense Center in Berlin for the move. In 2015, the group decided to more closely monitor the “missionary activities” of the Gulf states in response to the refugee crisis.

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Quran has best guidelines on divorce says Indian MP

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An Indian member of parliament not only opposed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, in strongest words but also said that due to this bill, she read the Quran and its teachings about divorce and found its divorce rules are strongest and best in the world. Speaking in the House, Ranjeeta Ranjan, the Lok Sabha Member of Congress from Supaul in Bihar, said: “I would like to thank you because it made me read the relevant provisions in the Quran then detail. I respect the Quran because it has very well developed rules for divorce. You are under the illusion that Muslim women will vote for you because you pass this vote. You tell me one provision in this bill that will safeguard the interests of women.” “I am proud of the Quran. Women

have equal rights for divorce as men have. It talks about how the relations of two persons and two families are to be maintained. Quran tries to stop divorce through five steps…there cannot be stronger law for divorce than the Quran’s,” said Ranjeeta while participating in the debate over the bill. Countering the government’s points that even after Supreme Court declared Triple Talaq invalid, there have been 477 cases of Triple Talaq, the MP said: “Govt says that even after SC order, there are 477 cases of Triple Talaq. I want to tell that there are so many dowry deaths despite strong law, Hindu men get other wives even without divorcing the first and thus violate the law. Why don’t you discuss this all here? Why targeting only Muslims? If one gives

divorce wrongly, why target only Muslims, why not Hindus? After SC order, so many were killed in mob lynching, why don’t you discuss it? In Muzaffarpur (Bihar), 37 girls were raped under your government, your minister supported the accused, why don’t you discuss it? Is it because the victims are Hindu girls? Through this Triple Talq Bill, you want Muslim votes, but you should not be in any illusion that Muslim women will vote you for this rule?” “Tell me how are you protecting women in this law? How can a man give support to the woman when he goes to jail and loses the job? What protection are you giving to the women? You are taking them out of Muslim Personal Law, their religion and home. This will create a rift. You have the wrong intention,” said the MP. She said that if the government is insisting on the law to regulate Muslim divorce, then it should adopt Quranic rules because they are best and the whole Muslim community will accept it. “If you anyway want to bring law over the issue of Triple Talaq, then I would suggest you read the Quran carefully and enact its divorce rules, the whole Muslim community would accept it. You are just playing with the issue of Muslim women. There should not be Hindu-Muslim divide over atrocities against women and domestic issues,” she added

The Al-Azhar Islamic Center in Egypt plans to organize an international conference on peaceful coexistence among followers of different faiths. According to al-Ahram news website, senior religious scholars and figures from different parts of the Muslim world are expected at the

event. Innovation in Islamic Sciences and Peaceful Coexistence among Religions is the title of the conference. Slated for May 2019, it will be presided over by the chief of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayyeb. Innovation in different Islamic

sciences, ways for uprooting Takfiri ideology, role of religious institutions in organizing Dawah (religious propagation) and Islamic perspective of peaceful coexistence among followers of different faiths are among eth topics to be discussed by the participants.

Egypt to host Int’l conference on religious coexistence

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Palestinians urge ICC to speed up probe into Zionist regime war crimes

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) slammed Israel’s new land grab plans, urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to speed up its investigation into the regime’s war crimes, crimes against humanity, and apartheid against the Palestinian nation. In a statement released, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat warned against foot-dragging, expressing hopes that ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda would take the case “seriously.” “It is of utmost urgency for the International Criminal Court to accelerate the process of investigating Israeli crimes, including its settlement enterprise. Further

delays will cost more Palestinians lives, land, resources, and more suffering and despair,” he said. Back in May, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki urged The Hague-based ICC to “open without delay an investigation into all crimes” committed by the Tel Aviv regime in the West Bank, East Jerusalem alQuds and the Gaza Strip since June 2014. He submitted a referral to international prosecutors on the back of an initial preliminary investigation which was launched in 2015. Erekat’s statement came after Israeli authorities advanced plans for almost 2,200 settler units in the occupied West Bank.

The settlement watchdog Peace Now said that 1,159 units were given final approvals by a committee at the Israeli ministry of military affairs before building permits can be issued, while 1,032 others were at an earlier stage. Erekat said “As part of his early election campaign, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has as well stolen more Palestinian land and resources for the benefit of Israel’s illegal colonial settlement expansion,” Erekat added, Press TV reported. He also urged the international community to “act before it is too late” and “fulfill its responsibilities towards the people of Palestine.” “Such illegal actions are a deliberate campaign to destroy the two-state solution and to prevent the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. Emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has in recent months stepped up its settlement construction activities in the occupied lands in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands. www.pi-media.co.uk

The police in India’s state of Uttar Pradesh stirred a row by ordering offices and firms in Noida to direct their Muslim employees to stop offering Friday prayers in open areas. The issue was noticed by police stations last month. It said that companies will be held liable if their employees are found breaching the order. The BJP has defended the UP Police’s order, while Muslim clerics have termed the move as

unconstitutional. The employees have been asked to offer namaz (prayers) in mosques, idgahs (holy sites) or inside the premises of the company. According to the Times Now daily, the order directs the administration to ask its employees not to assemble and offer prayers in open areas. The copy orders to curb any kind of religious activities as the permission from the magistrate

office for the same has not been granted. As per reports, companies in Noida’s Sector 58, which is an IT and services hub, seek to meet senior Noida cops in order to get clarity on the matter. Defending the directive, the Noida Police said it was issued amid concerns that communal harmony could be disturbed, especially ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. www.pi-media.co.uk

UP police order on Muslim Friday prayers in open areas


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I WORLD NEWS

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

Citizenship of over 800 Bahrainis revoked since 2012: report In Case You Missed It

The Al Khalifa regime in Bahrain has stripped more than 800 nationals of their citizenship over the past six years, a human rights group said. According to a new report by the UK-based NGO, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, cited by the Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website, Manama has revoked the citizenship of 804 nationals from the beginning of 2012, a year after widespread anti-regime rallies began to rock the small Persian Gulf island country. SALAM, which tries to preserve universal principles of dignity and

respect by shielding democracy and human rights, detailed by the year the number of revocations per year: “2018 (298) - 2017 (156) - 2016 (90) - 2015 (208) - 2014 (21) - 2013 (0) - 2012 (31).” It also said that the highly controversial move of revoking citizenship with an increasing rate is taken with the growing use of the judiciary for punishment despite international convictions, Press TV reported. The Supreme Court of Appeals stripped 25 Bahraini activists of their citizenship, accusing them of

involvement in a purported terror attack. Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011. They are demanding that the Al Khalifa regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established. Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifa regime’s crackdown. On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide. Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 2017. www.pi-media.co.uk

Jordan PM cancels circular on loudspeakers use in Mosques

The Jordanian government said Prime Minister Omar Razzaz has given his instructions to cancel a circular issued by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs concerning the use of loudspeakers on minarets of mosques. The Awqaf ministry had issued a circular to ban the use of loudspeakers on minarets of mosques. The government added that

immediately after prime minister learned about the circular he called for canceling its as he was unaware of its content, the Ammonnews website reported. In a statement released, the Awqaf ministry said that mosques should only use a loudspeaker when calling the Adhan. The call to prayer should be made according to the times allotted by the ministry, to ensure a unified Adhan, it said.

In addition, once the Adhan has been called, prayers should be performed after a certain waiting time (as allotted by the ministry), and only the mosque’s internal loudspeakers should be used during prayers while the lmam leads the worshippers, according to the statement. Mosques should also refrain from using the loudspeakers during Friday sermon or when an Islamic studies class is on, it said.

Contact: Editorial Team on 07506 466385, email: info@pi-media.co.uk


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Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh remain in limbo www.pi-media.co.uk

I January 2019

WORLD NEWS

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In Case You Missed It

Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims will be spending their second New Year in Bangladeshi refugee camps as prospects of them returning to Myanmar remain dim. An estimated 730,000 Rohingya

refugees fled to Bangladesh in August, 2017, after Myanmar’s security forces began an operation targeting militants in the country’s Rakhine state. The governments of Myanmar

and Bangladesh have agreed to promptly send the Muslim minority members back to Myanmar. But the repatriation plan has been repeatedly postponed. The camps in Bangladesh lack food and medical support. Outbreaks of infectious diseases are adding to the misery of the people inside the camps. There have been reports of human trafficking involving the Rohingya because of poverty. Rohingya Muslims say the biggest factor prohibiting repatriation is fear of persecution. They say they will be persecuted again if they return. Myanmar’s security forces are suspected of killing and injuring unarmed citizens and raping women during their removal operation. Observers say the repatriation process has to be carried out in a safe and transparent manner through such means as monitoring by a UN agency..

UNHCR: 250,000 Syrian refugees could return home in 2019 Up to a 250,000 Syrian refugees could return to their devastated homeland in 2019, while many others face problems with documentation and property that the Damascus government must help resolve, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said. Some 5.6 million Syrian refugees remain in neighboring countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq - Amin Awad, UNHCR director for the Middle East and North Africa, said. They include 1 million Syrian children born abroad whose foreign birth certificates the Assad government has agreed to recognize, he said. Some 37,000 refugees have returned to Syria this year, UNHCR

figures show. They went mainly to the governorates of Deraa, Damascus and Homs, Awad said, according to Reuters. “Now, by and large, the war has ended. We have a few pockets (of hostilities), including Idlib, as you know that there is a negotiated ceasefire and a de-escalation zone,” Awad told a news briefing. “As the situation in Syria improves some of these refugees are making the journey home,” he said. “We are forecasting, in what we call phase one, up to 250,000 Syrians go back in 2019. That figure can go up and down according to the pace with which we are working and removing these obstacles to return.” The most important obstacles

to return are documentation for the refugees and their property and homes, Awad said. “Then there are issues related to conscription, there are issues related to amnesty for those who deserted the army. These are drivers that would basically keep people away, they are obstacles.” Other hindrances include mines and unexploded ordnance, and it will require a huge demining operation to clear agricultural and civilian areas, Awad said. The UNHCR appealed to donors for $5.5 billion to support neighboring countries in providing health, water, sanitation, food, education, and psycho-social support to Syrian refugees.


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

Egypt, South Africa bid to be replacement African Cup host

Egypt and South Africa are the countries bidding to replace Cameroon as host of next year’s African Cup of Nations and the winner will have just five months to put preparations in place for the continent’s top soccer tournament. CAF announced the bids late and said that its executive committee will decide the new host at a meeting in Dakar, Senegal on Jan. 9. That date, which was pushed back from Dec. 31, gives the host precious little time to get ready for

a tournament which is scheduled to kick off June 15 and is the first to be increased from 16 to 24 teams. Cameroon was stripped of hosting rights last month because of delays with its preparations and a violent separatist movement close to two tournament host cities in the western part of the country. Although Egypt and South Africa have the best soccer infrastructure in Africa, organizing at such short-notice still promises to be a challenge.

The African soccer body also needs to decide if South Africa, should its bid win, would automatically qualify as the new host. The South African team still hasn’t qualified and plays its last qualifier in March. Egypt has qualified. CAF also hasn’t said if Cameroon, the defending African champion, will retain its place at the tournament as the original host. African Cup hosting has been a major headache for CAF, with four successive tournaments now switched from their initial host countries. South Africa hosted in 2013 when it replaced war-torn Libya, Equatorial Guinea stood in for Morocco in 2015, and Gabon replaced Libya again last year. The Cup of Nations is played every two years, not every four like other major tournaments. The bids by Egypt and South Africa came after Morocco, long considered the front-runner to replace Cameroon, surprisingly said it wouldn’t put itself forward. Morocco had been widely touted as a replacement after it was a candidate to host the 2026 World Cup.

Ba cites Quran to support Napoli Koulibaly in face of racism A Senegalese football player cited a verse from the Holy Quran to support his fellow countryman and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly who has been the target of racist abuse. “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Almighty is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Almighty is Knowing and Acquainted. 49:13,” Demba Ba wrote in a Twitter post, citing verse 13 of Surah al-Hujurat.

Demba Ba is a Senegalese professional footballer who plays as a striker for Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua and the Senegal national team. Racist abuse aimed at Koulibaly during 1-0 Serie A defeat at Inter Milan has been called “unacceptable” by UEFA. Inter supporters allegedly made animal noises and racist chants at Koulibaly during the match - which also saw one fan killed when he was hit by a car during a violent clash near the stadium before kick-off. FIFPro, the world players’ union,

and European football’s governing body said they applauded the prompt action taken by the Italian league judge, who decided Inter’s next two home matches should be played behind closed doors, and included a partial closure for the club’s third home game. In a joint statement they said the abuse had “no place in football”. “FIFPro and UEFA are very concerned by this unacceptable racist incident and by what appears on the surface to be a failure to respect the ... anti-racism protocol,” the statement read.


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Afghanistan’s ‘little Messi’ leaves behind signed shirt as family flees www.pi-media.co.uk

An Afghan boy who shot to international fame for his devotion to the footballer Lionel Messi has been forced to flee his home for a second time amid the threat of militant attack - leaving behind his prized signed jersey and football. Murtaza Ahmadi, seven, and his family are now living in Kabul after they and hundreds more sought the safety of the capital amid intense fighting in southeastern Ghazni province last month. They say they are struggling to make ends meet and must contend with the constant fear that the Taliban

is looking for them. There is little prospect of returning any time soon leaving Murtaza without his beloved football and jersey. The media attention turned a dream into reality when Messi sent the boy a signed jersey and a ball. They later met in Qatar where the superstar was playing a friendly. “Local strongmen were calling and saying, ‘You have become rich, pay the money you have received from Messi or we will take your son’,” said his mother Shafiqa. The family feared the worst when

a Taliban offensive brought fighting towards their home. They left when they heard gunshots. “We couldn’t take any of our belongings, we left only with our lives,” added Shafiqa. The UN said up to 4,000 families fled, with witnesses describing scenes of “absolute terror” to AFP. Shafiqa said she hid her famous son’s face with a scarf to prevent him from being recognised as they fled. They took refuge first in a mosque in Bamiyan, before arriving in Kabul six days later. Among their belongings left behind are the football and the jersey signed by Messi. Although Afghan security forces have beaten back the Taliban in Jaghori, the family says it no longer feels safe. “The danger of the Taliban coming back is high, going back is not an option,” Shafiqa said. The family have already fled once before, to Pakistan in 2016, where they sought asylum in “any safe country”. They returned reluctantly to Jaghori after their money ran out, she said. Murtaza’s father Arif remains in Jaghori working as a farmer while his family lives in Kabul.

Hijabi Ballers hosts event in support of Muslim female athletes The Hijabi Ballers hosted a community conference in support of Muslim female athletes in Toronto, Canada last month The theme title of the conference was ‘Acknowledge. Unite. Act.’ and the event served as an inclusive space for community members and participants to learn about and support Muslim female athletes in Toronto, while working to broaden their opportunities. Over 120 people attended the conference, at which athletes, parents, coaches, mentors, friends, allies,

community leaders and change makers invited to discuss and acknowledge their role in the sports scene for Muslim females in Toronto. The conference aimed to shine a spotlight on these advocates for Muslim women in sport and unite them with fellow industry influencers to collectively act on the common goal of increasing opportunities for Muslim females in sports. During the conference six main sessions toke place on the day. Two presentations as part of the event: ‘How to be an Ally’ as a non-

Muslim female in sport and a second presenting research on Inclusion in Sport in the Flemingdon area (an area with a dense Muslim population and where the conference was being held). Workshops on mental health and its connection to physical health was also held, while two athletes presented on their experiences as Muslim female athletes, what barriers they faced and what solutions they found. For more information on Hijabi Ballers and what they do please visit the site www.hijabiballers.com


I FEATURED

I January 2019

The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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www.pi-media.co.uk

Part 33

The case for arbitration was held in earnest at Dawmat al-Jandal involving the two parties in question. However, neither Ali Ibn Abi Talib or Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan were prepared to deal with the ramifications of the deal concluded. Amr Ibn al-Aas convinced Musa Ibn Al-Ashari that both Ali Ibn Abi Talib or Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan should step down with immediate effect and no longer head their respective contingents. In the grand scheme of things, the arbitrators had a desire to facilitate the election of a new caliph. Amr Ibn al-Aas opted to further the claim of Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan and Musa Ibn Al-Ashari sought to advocate for his son in law Abdullah Ibn Umar to be the new caliph. Ali Ibn Abi Talib on hearing of this news refused to accept the verdict of

the arbitration even though he was in breach of the terms of the process itself. The caliph opined that the arbitration had not been conducted considering the Qur’an and Sunnah and therefore the decision was not binding. To complicate things further, the caliph could only muster support from the Qurra and the Ansar during this process. However, some of the factions within the Qurra had other designs and far from impressed with the caliph for agreeing to arbitration especially when he had already been unanimously been elected as the leader of the faithful (ameer-ulmumineen). Indeed, some factions of the Qurra that later became known as the Khawarij (Kharijites) castigated and derided the caliph for being weak

in putting his position on the line. The Khawarij (Kharijites) rallied their supporters with the cry ‘La haakamilllalallah’ (There is no judgment except that of Allah). The Khawarij (Kharijites) contention was based on that fact the arbitration was a process that put human judgement over the decision made by Almighty. The group believed that Allah had decreed that Ali Ibn Abi Talib became the caliph unanimously elected by Shura (Consultation). In terms of their position on Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan, the Khawarij (Kharijites) said that he was a seditious rebel for refusing to acknowledge Ali Ibn Abi Talib as the Caliph and thus was to be deprived of being part of the engagement. www.pi-media.co.uk


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I January 2019

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PI Magazine January 2019 Issue  

Latest news from the #muslimword, January 2019 issue #islam #muslims #2019 #January #racism #hatecrimes #football #journalism #news #muslimt...

PI Magazine January 2019 Issue  

Latest news from the #muslimword, January 2019 issue #islam #muslims #2019 #January #racism #hatecrimes #football #journalism #news #muslimt...

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