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First Islamic studies Mayor praises Salah for The Islamic access course in UK tackling Islamophobia Caliphate
British spies complicit in torture
British spies were complicit in the mistreatment of hundreds of suspected militants by the United States and involved in dozens of cases of their illegal transfer, according to the findings
of a committee of lawmakers. The Intelligence and Security Committee spent several years looking at the actions of British security and intelligence agencies in relation to the
handling of detainees overseas following the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The committee found British intelligence officers were involved in
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By Scarlet Kim
Legal Officer @ Privacy International
The NPCC is no longer open to public scrutiny - the Govt must fix this loophole immediately
When carrying out some freedom of information requests, Privacy International received a worrying response from the National Police Chief’s Council – it’s no longer open to scrutiny. Here Privacy International Legal Officer Scarlet Kim explains why this needs to be urgently corrected. In order to uphold the law and keep us safe, the police can seriously interfere with a range of fundamental human rights. And so transparency and public scrutiny of their actions are essential to protect against misconduct and abuse. So why is the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) now permitted to operate in secret? We all have the right to seek information from most public bodies – including the police – under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. When the law was first proposed, it was recognised that “[u]nnecessary secrecy in government leads to arrogance in governance and defective decision-making” and that “[t]he perception of excessive secrecy has become a corrosive influence in the decline of public confidence in government.” And when it comes to police surveillance, FOIA is particularly crucial because surveillance is conducted in secret, heightening the
risk of misconduct and abuse. People who have been placed under surveillance have no right to know they have been watched, even if the surveillance has breached their human rights. Evidence obtained from certain surveillance activities, like phone-tapping, can’t be used in court. And strict gagging provisions prevent companies ordered to facilitate surveillance from revealing their assistance to the public. So FOIA is often the only remaining avenue for seeking transparency and redress – but not anymore if you want answers from the NPCC. In 2015, the NPCC replaced the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) – which was very much subject to freedom of information (FOI) requests. And since its inception, the NPCC has also acted as if subject to FOIA. That is until it performed a dangerous U-turn when Privacy International recently asked it for information on ‘IMSI catchers’. IMSI catchers are surveillance tools, which mimic mobile phone towers, tricking phones into connecting with them and revealing personal data. Some IMSI catchers can also intercept data, including the content of calls, text messages and internet traffic. In November 2016, we sent FOI requests to a number of police
forces and law enforcement policymaking bodies – including the NPCC – regarding their use and regulation. The NPCC – like all the other bodies – responded to say it could neither confirm nor deny it held the requested information. It assigned us an ‘FOI request reference number’ and said we could seek a review of its decision from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), as required by FOIA. In other words, the NPCC clearly believed itself to be governed by FOIA. Yet when Privacy International notified the NPCC that it would indeed be seeking a review from the ICO, the NPCC responded that ACPO’s designation under FOIA did not actually pass to the NPCC – so it can now operate in secret. The NPCC did go on to say it should “clearly be open to the same level of scrutiny and transparency as its predecessor and it is anticipated that an Order to bring the NPCC under the auspices of FOIA will be forthcoming”. It also said it was working with the Cabinet Office to make this a reality. But there is unfortunately reason to doubt the NPCC’s support for bringing forward such an Order. On 1 May 2018 – six months after it pledged its support – 15 new public authorities were designated as subject to FOIA as a result of a Cabinet Office order. Strikingly, the NPCC was absent from that list. On 18 May 2018, Liberty – which is representing Privacy International with respect to its IMSI catcher FOI requests – wrote to the Home Office and Cabinet Office to request an immediate order designating the NPCC as a public authority subject to FOIA. The Freedom of Information Act serves as an essential mechanism to facilitate public scrutiny of law enforcement activities but remains inadequate in its coverage. The immediate designation of the NPCC as subject to FOIA is a small but easy step for the government to undertake.
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British spies complicit in torture report finds www.pi-media.co.uk
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incidents of mistreatment ranging from officers witnessing torture first-hand to passing on intelligence knowing it could be used in illegal interrogations. “In our view the UK tolerated actions, and took others, that we regard as inexcusable,” the committee said. It said it was “beyond doubt” that British intelligence knew at an early stage that the United States, its closest security ally, was mistreating detainees. The findings will raise fresh questions about whether the government should have taken a more independent approach from that of the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks. The committee did not find any evidence that British intelligence officers directly mistreated or tortured militant suspects. But the report said it had found 232 cases where British personnel continued to supply questions or
intelligence to allies after they knew about suspected mistreatment. In 198 cases, they received intelligence obtained from detainees who they knew or should have suspected had been mistreated, the committee said. It also found 28 cases in which intelligence agencies suggested, planned or agreed to rendition operations and three in which they offered to make a financial contribution to conduct a rendition operation. After 2001, British intelligence officers and members of the armed forces interviewed up to 3,000 detainees who were primarily held by the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The committee took 50 hours of oral evidence and reviewed 40,000 documents. It rejected the intelligence agencies’ claims that abuse amounted to “isolated incidents” and criticized the chiefs of
the intelligence agencies for failing to recognize a “pattern of mistreatment”. Responding to the reports, a British security official said Britain’s spy agencies had learned tough lessons since the Sept. 11 attacks. “Today, we do things differently,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding that spies had been under intense pressure from their political masters. “Our staff were under pressure to deliver intelligence on the threat,” the official said. “The immediate demand, to deliver intelligence to defend against the terrorist threat, became the overriding priority.” The committee found no “smoking gun” indicating a policy of deliberately overlooking mistreatment, but said intelligence officers may have turned “a blind eye”. “The agencies were the junior partner with limited influence, and concerned not to upset their U.S. counterparts in case they lost access to intelligence from detainees that might be vital in preventing an attack on the UK,” the committee said. Prime Minister Theresa May said in a written response to the report that intelligence officers had been working in a challenging environment they were not prepared for. “It took too long to recognize that guidance and training for staff was inadequate, and too long to understand fully and take appropriate action on the risks arising from our engagement with international partners on detainee issues,” she said. Reuters
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UK ‘complicit’ in Israeli crimes against Palestinians 4
In Case You Missed It
A London-based charity has said the British government is “complicit in the violence” perpetrated against Palestinians as it continues to provide arms to Israel. British charity War on Want made the comment in an interview with The Independent, denouncing a recent move by the UK government to abstain from a United Nations vote on Israeli violence in the besieged Gaza Strip. The vote condemned Israel’s “use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against peaceful Palestinian protesters. “In abstaining from this vote, the UK government has yet again refused to commit to the protection of Palestinians’ human rights as they are targeted with the brutal and
unlawful use of force by the Israeli military,” Ryvka Barnard, senior campaigns officer for War on Want, told the British newspaper. “But make no mistake, the UK is not sitting aside and remaining neutral. While the world calls for violent attacks on Palestinians to end, the UK government continues to approve arms exports to Israel, making it complicit in the violence,” she added. The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution with 120 votes in favor, eight against and 45 abstentions, including Britain, Switzerland and Germany. The resolution condemned the “use of live ammunition against civilian protesters, including children, as well as medical personnel
and journalists” and underscored its “grave concern at the loss of innocent lives.” The UN convened a special meeting after more than 100 Gazans were killed by Israeli snipers in six weeks of protests dubbed the “Great March of Return,” which began on March 30 and climaxed on May 15, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), when Israel was created. The UK said it “could not support a resolution that was partial and imbalanced. Such investigations heightened the risk on both sides,” calling on Israel to conduct its own independent inquiry into the atrocities instead. Tens of thousands of people have been protesting along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied territories, calling for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed to return to their homes now inside Israel. Israeli forces killed at least 62 Gazans in a single day of protests that coincided with the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds on May 14. Stressing that the use of lethal force may constitute war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded in the Gaza protests were unarmed. www.pi-media.co.uk
Rohingya refugee exhibition to tour Scotland A photographic exhibition of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh is to tour Scotland to raise awareness of their plight. Simon Murphy’s project is being supported by SCIAF and Justice and Peace Scotland and opened at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow
on Wednesday, which is World Refugee Day. Almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Burma since last year amid reports of extreme violence and now live in poverty in giant refugee camps. Mr Murphy travelled to the
Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh in December to see SCIAF’s work with Caritas Bangladesh. The free exhibition will later visit Ayr, Dumfries and Edinburgh.
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MCB accuses Tories of turning blind eye to Islamophobia
Amid fresh new revelations of Islamophobia, the Conservative Party is accused of turning a blind eye on the issue as it ignores widespread calls for an independent inquiry. The Muslim Council of Britain has once again formally written to the Conservative Party demanding a wide-ranging inquiry into Islamophobia in the Party. Given the lack of response or
even acknowledgement of the first letter, sent almost a month ago, the Council suggests that the Conservatives are turning a blind eye to the mounting evidence and ignoring calls for an independent inquiry. The initial letter outlined a significant body of evidence demonstrating “weekly occurrences of Islamophobia” within the Party, as
well as apparent negligence of the Party to act after the London Mayoral campaign and the actions of Bob Blackman MP. In the intervening period, fresh new revelations include ongoing “weekly occurrences of Islamophobia” from candidates and representatives of the Conservative Party; the discovery of how viceChair Ben Bradley dismissed Islamophobia and appeared to have attempted to cover this up; lived experiences of Muslim members, candidates and representatives; and evidence suggesting a senior government minister had “extreme” views on Muslims. The letter cites support for an inquiry from mosques, students, senior Muslim peers, Muslim organisations, the Conservative Muslim Forum, Jewish groups, Conservative Home and editorials from The Times and The Observer. Harun Khan, Secretary General of the MCB said: “We earnestly hope that the Conservative Party addresses concerns of Islamophobia with the seriousness it deserves. The true extent of the problem can only be achieved via an independent inquiry.”
Islamic banks call for UK tax reforms Islamic finance firms are putting pressure on the UK government to reform the tax system in order to provide for their growth, according to Reuters. Islamic rules on finance prohibit interest payments and transactions often involve multiple title transfers of underlying assets, leading to double or triple tax charges. The UK has been seeking to become a global hub for Islamic finance. Banks are asking for tax parity to enable them to compete
with non-Islamic peers, for example in mortgage refinancing. More than 20 banks offer Islamic finance in the UK, including Gatehouse Bank, Bank of London, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank. Tax treatment of Islamic bonds and residential mortgages has previously been reformed, leading to the sum of Islamic banking assets in the UK reaching over £5bn in 2016. Samir Alamad, head of sharia compliance and product
development at Al Rayan Bank said “[concerns about refinancing mortgages triggering capital gains tax] is the more pressing issue as it is affecting Islamic banks and their customers.” Alamad said in the short term, amendment of the Finance Act could help but in the long term a broader framework is needed to address all types of Islamic transactions. www.pi-media.co.uk
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I July 2018
BBC raps presenter for comment on Israeli child killings In Case Y o Missed It u
BBC has found its presenter Andrew Marr guilty of breaching editorial guidelines for commenting during his flagship Sunday morning program that Israel has killed “lots of Palestinian kids.” The broadcaster issued the unprecedented ruling against one of its most senior personalities after a complaint was filed against Marr over his comment during a discussion about a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria during the April 8 edition of The Andrew Marr Show.
“And the Middle East is aflame again. I mean there’s lots of Palestinian kids being killed further south as well by Israeli forces,” the veteran presenter said, referring to clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Irked by Marr’s remark, antiSemitism campaigner Jonathan Sacerdoti complained that Marr’s remarks were “incorrect” and “unrelated” to the topic of Syria. “He stated there’s a lot of Palestinian kids being killed further
south by Israeli forces,” Sacerdoti’s complaint said. “This is completely incorrect and is made up. This was irrelevant to the conversation on Syria… and also actually completely false.” BBC producers had referred to the fact that five “younger people” had been killed between the beginning of the year and the date of the program and that several Palestinian children and younger people had been killed in the week following the broadcast, but the campaigner argued that later events could not be used to justify Marr’s remarks. The BBC’s head of executive complaints, Fraser Steel, took the side of Sacerdoti in a letter. “In the absence of any evidence to support the reference to ‘lots’ of children being killed at the time of transmission, it seems to us to have risked misleading audiences on a material point,” he said. “We therefore propose to uphold this part of your complaint.” At least 130 Palestinians, including 14 children, have been killed by Israeli forces since the “March of Return” rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. About 13,300 Palestinians have sustained injuries, of them 300 are currently in critical condition.
British Museum to open new Islamic culture gallery Some of the most eye-dazzling treasures from the Ottoman era will open for visitors at the world-famous British Museum in October. In a major re-display, The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World will exhibit “world-class Islamic collection”, which will include very fine Turkish arts from the Ottoman era as well as from a vast Islamic geography. “The new gallery will be a comprehensive presentation of the Islamic world through art and material
culture,” the British Museum said in a press release to promote the new display. It “will underscore global connections across a vast region of the world from West Africa to Southeast Asia and reflect links between the ancient and medieval as well as the modern worlds.” The new gallery will have two rooms, which “tells the story of the cultures of the Islamic World from a region that stretches from West Africa
to Southeast Asia from the 7th century to the present day,” Venetia Porter, British Museum curator told Anadolu Agency. The creation of the Albukhary Foundation Gallery will provide an extraordinary opportunity to display daily life stuff such as modern games and musical instruments. The collection includes archaeology, decorative arts, shadow puppets, book arts, textiles and contemporary art.
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I July 2018
Warwick to offer 1st Islamic studies access course in Britain
Starting next academic year, the University of Warwick will offer a one term course, the “Postgraduate Award in Islamic Education”, which is designed to bridge the gap between Islamic seminaries and modern tertiary education. This will be the first course of its kind to be offered at any UK university. Islamic seminaries and madrasas are institutions that specialize in teaching the study of theology and law in Islam, but many offer courses in other areas of study alongside this specialism. However, it can be troublesome transferring those accreditations into Western academia.
The access course offered by Warwick is targeted at educators and potential academics. Students from seminaries will have the chance to learn Western pedagogy and academic skills, and upon successful completion may choose to continue on to the Islamic Education pathway MA (Master’s degree) in Religions, Society, and Education. The course is not just on offer for graduates of seminaries: those interested in progressing onto the MA degree but who lack the necessary Bachelor’s degree may also choose to take the course. According to the university website, there will be a focus on studying the rich history of education
in Islam as well as engaging with modern theory. Dr Abdullah Sahin, Reader in Islamic Education in the Centre for Education Studies, and one of the main people involved in the development of the course, said: “This pioneering short course – the first of its kind to be offered in any UK University – was developed after a decade of research into exploring the needs of a large group of communitybased education practitioners who feel they have been left out of the education system altogether. “The course is designed to bridge the gap between the educational cultures of traditional Islamic seminaries and modern higher education. We hope it will help to widen participation in higher education and make a significant contribution towards mainstreaming traditional Islamic higher education. “The course will also make an important contribution towards improving the quality of teaching and learning within formal and informal Islamic educational settings such as madrassa, mosques and Islamic schools. As such the course is the first real step in setting the educational and pedagogic standards for the training of Muslim faith leaders and teachers in the UK and preparing them to better respond to the impact of religious extremism and radicalization.” - Independent
Racist incidents at UK universities rise Universities across the UK have seen a steep rise in the number of racist incidents, new figures show. The data, obtained from freedom of information requests by The Independent, has shown more than 60 percent in the last two years, the newspaper reported. The National Union of Students (NUS) said racist incidents are happening every day on campuses across the country, but often students do not tell their university faring they will not be taken
seriously, according to the report. Racist chants often take place in student halls and at times objects are thrown at black students, according to reports. According to an analysis by The Independent, 129 alleged incidents of racism were reported to British universities in 2017, compared to 80 incidents in 2015, which is a rise of 61 percent. The analysis further reveals that in just one year, the number of complaints about racism from
university students and staff rose by nearly a quarter, with 105 incidents reported in 2016. Nearly two in five (37 percent) universities have seen the number of incidents of racism increase over the past two years, according to the data analysis of 94 universities. The data also shows that the number of religiously motivated hate crime incidents at universities doubled from 2015 to 2017. Muslim students were particularly targeted in such attacks.
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US Supreme court upholds Trump’s travel ban
I WORLD NEWS
I July 2018
In Case You Missed It
The US Supreme Court has upheld President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries, handing one of the biggest victories of his presidency. The 5-4 ruling, with the court’s five conservatives in the majority, was penned by Chief Justice John Roberts. The top court rejected claims that the travel ban represented unconstitutional religious discrimination, and said that Trump’s immigration restriction fell “squarely” within the president’s authority. “The [order] is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” Roberts wrote. “The text says nothing
about religion.” Roberts said that the government “has set forth a sufficient national security justification” to prevail. “We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” Roberts added. Trump meanwhile in a post on Twitter hailed the verdict. The Supreme Court ruling ends a fierce fight in the courts over the controversial case regarding Trump’s order to restrict travel to the US for citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The US Supreme Court in December allowed the ban, put in place by Trump with a presidential proclamation in September, to go into effect while litigation challenging it continues. The case has been central to the
Trump administration’s immigration policy, presenting a key test of the president’s campaign promise to restrict immigration and secure America’s borders. Roberts said the actions taken by the president were “well within executive authority and could have been taken by any other president - the only question is evaluating the actions of this particular president in promulgating an otherwise valid proclamation.” The challengers have argued Trump’s travel ban was motivated by his hostility toward Muslims and requested courts to take into account his inflammatory remarks made during the presidential campaign. During the 2016 presidential race, Trump campaigned for “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States on the pretext of preventing terrorist attacks. “Though I am disappointed by the outcome, I am heartened that our system of government worked as the founders intended,” Neil Katyal, attorney for the challengers in the case, said in a statement. “Now that the Court has upheld it, it is up to Congress to do its job and reverse President Trump’s unilateral and unwise travel ban.” Trump has said the restrictions are needed to tighten security and prevent terrorist attacks. Opponents say the ban violates the US Constitution because it discriminates against Muslims and certain nationalities.
Islamic calligraphy exhibition planned in India An exhibition of Islamic calligraphy is planned to be held in different cities of India starting from late August. According to the Iranian Cultural Center in Mumbai, it will be mounted on August 27 in Hyderabad, India’s southern state of Telangana.
Mumbai, Aligarh, Delhi and Jaipur will be the other cities which will respectively host the exhibition. Hussein Gouri, an Indian artist, said that calligraphers from 20 countries including Russia, Egypt, Britain, Tunisia, Morocco, Malaysia and Indonesia will participate at the
exhibition. Each of the calligraphers will present 10 artworks at the expo, he added. The exhibition in Mumbai will begin on September 7 at Nehru Center along with a number of sideline programs.
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‘Libyan oil can only be exported by UN-backed govt.’ In Case You Missed It
The UN-backed government in Libya has warned that any attempt by a rival administration in the east to export oil independently will be thwarted. General Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s military strongman, recently handed control of key oil facilities in the east to allies. Mustafa Sanallah, the head of Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC), said any company that tried to buy oil from the eastern authorities would be sued. “Exports by parallel institutions are illegal and will fail as they have failed in the past.” “There is only one legitimate NOC, recognised by the international
community and OPEC,” Sanallah said, in reference to a rival NOC set up in the main eastern city of Benghazi. The self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) of Haftar announced that all future revenues from oil ports which it controls will be handed to the unrecognized administration in the east. Haftar took the surprise decision to hand control of the eastern export terminals to the Benghazi-based NOC instead of the internationally recognized state oil firm after his forces recaptured two of them. Haftar’s decision dealt a major blow to international efforts to preserve
Libya’s unity through the Tripolibased Government of National Accord (GNA). The NOC chief also urged Haftar to reverse his decision for the sake of national unity, saying, “The LNA leadership has missed an excellent opportunity to act in the national interest.” The Benghazi-based authorities made a similar attempt to bypass the Tripoli government in April 2016 but their planned sale of 300,000 barrels per day of crude was stopped by the UN Security Council. “UN Security Council resolutions are very clear, oil facilities, production and exports must remain under the exclusive control of (Tripoli-based) NOC and the sole oversight of the (internationallyrecognised) Government of National Accord,” Sanalla said, adding, “We are confident that the GNA and our international partners will take the necessary steps to stop all exports in breach of international law.” In recent weeks, a series of fierce clashes between rival armed groups in eastern Libya’s key oil export ports has caused output to drop by nearly half. Global oil prices have already surged in the wake of a decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon a multinational nuclear deal with Iran in May. www.pi-media.co.uk
Hundreds of Bosnians commemorated 3,000 victims in a ceremony on an Ottoman bridge over the River Drina in the city of Visegrad. Relatives of the victims held an emotional commemoration on the historic Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge by throwing one rose for each of the thousands of victims.
The event called “3,000 roses for 3,000 lives” was organized by the Association of the Families of Missing Persons Visegrad-92 to commemorate the killings by Bosnian Serbs during the war of 1992-1995. Hedija Kasapovic, the group’s head, said that they have yet to find the bodies of the most of the victims
who were either killed or went missing during the war. They buried the remains of two victims just this year, he added. Suljo Fejzic, one of the survivors, told how in 1992 many Bosniaks were taken to the bridge and thrown into the Drina River after being killed. www.pi-media.co.uk
Bosnia commemorates 3,000 Visegrad victims
Denmark ordered to pay Iraqi torture victims
I July 2018
a difficult situation”. The US, backed by the UK, invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that former dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). No such weapons, however, were ever found in Iraq. The invasion led to the rise of terrorism in Iraq and wider region. More than one million Iraqis were killed as a result of the war, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored. The UK’s Iraq War inquiry, known as the Chilcot Inquiry, also concluded that the policy on the Iraq invasion was based on “flawed” intelligence about the country’s supposed WMD.
A Danish court has ordered the government to compensate the civilians tortured in an operation during the US-led war on Iraq. The court in the Danish capital Copenhagen issued the ruling for 18 Iraqi civilians. In total, 23 Iraqis had sued the Danish government. They had suffered the “torture and inhumane treatment” in operation “Green Desert” carried out by Iraqi security forces along with a Danish battalion near Iraq’s main port city of Basra in 2004. The verdict, however, cleared the Danish troops of conducting the torture, and only found them culpable of knowing about a “real risk” of
abuse and failing to stop it. “The soldiers of the Danish battalion who were sent to Iraq in 2004 and partook in the operation were not found guilty of violence against the Iraqis,” the court said. The plaintiffs were awarded 30,000 Danish kroner ($4,600). “This means that we can no longer contribute to improving security - and therefore guaranteeing human rights - in countries engaged in armed conflict,” Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said in a statement. The minister said he was satisfied by the ruling exonerating Danish soldiers, but he would appeal the verdict because it placed Denmark “in
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Muslim woman sues Virginia nursing home over hijab A Muslim woman in Mechanicsville, US state of Virginia, has filed suit against a nursing home she used to work for, claiming her bosses had ordered her to remove her hijab. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the suit was filed in federal court in Virginia. It claims that Keseanda Brooks was forced to
choose between her job and her faith. Brooks had worked at Hanover Health & Rehabilitation Center in Mechanicsville. The incident involving her religious head covering allegedly occurred in January 2017. Brooks says her bosses were concerned the garment could be
grabbed or pulled and said she would have to remove it or be fired. The owner of the center, Medical Facilities of America, disputed Brooks’ allegations in a statement, according to AP. It said she was later told she could wear the garment. wwww.pi-media.co.uk
Holland bans niqab in public places www.pi-media.co.uk
I July 2018
The Dutch Upper House of parliament on Tuesday passed a law banning the wearing of face-covering veils in public buildings, such as schools, government offices and hospitals.
The Lower House approved the bill in 2016, after attempts to impose a more general ban on burqas and other face-covering veils failed. The new law bans all facecovering garb, including for instance
motor helmets and ski-masks, in public buildings, but not on the street. The law is billed as a way to make schools, hospitals and public transport safer, but critics say its only aim is to get rid of Islamic veils, such as the burqa and niqab. The Dutch government’s main advising body in 2015 said the choice to wear an Islamic veil is protected by the constitutional right to freedom of religion, and that it saw no ground to limit that right. It is also said the law was unnecessary, as only 200 to 400 women in The Netherlands wear a burqa or niqab, making it improbable that they would pose a big enough problem for schools, hospitals and public transport to merit a law. Measures against the wearing of Islamic veils have already been taken in Belgium, France, Denmark and Spain, among others. wwww.pi-media.co.uk
Islamic fashion school cuts a faithful figure in Indonesia Indonesia’s first Islamic fashion school is teaching students in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country the usual skills of design, styling and marketing - but with a religion-specific twist. As demand grows for Islamic apparel, featuring variations on traditional headscarves and long, flowing dresses for women, while men are targeted with robes or shirts embroidered with religious motifs, about 140 students have signed up. “We want our students to make unique designs and become leaders in modest fashion,” said Deden Siswanto, who founded the Islamic Fashion Institute nearly three years
ago in Indonesia’s third largest city of Bandung, Reuters reported. “We also teach them about wearing clothes according to Islamic rules.” Nearby sat a group of young women working at sketchboards and sewing stations in the school, which offers nine-month courses in fashion styling, marketing, and basic styling. Both men and women, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, may join. But teachers must be Muslim, to ensure familiarity with Islamic business practices. The trend towards garments that meet religious requirements is becoming more visible among
the burgeoning middle class in Indonesia. The Indonesian websites of leading online retailers such as Lazada.com and Zalora.com now have pages dedicated to Islamic fashion. The country industry ministry aims to make Indonesia a “Muslim fashion hub” by 2020. One of the students at the school, Runi Soemadipradja, said she started wearing a headscarf in 2007 but found few options suitable for Muslims. “I started designing my own clothes,” she said. “We are overwhelmed by this (demand). So far I have released 10 collections.”
Erdogan’s success ‘meant for all Muslims’
I WORLD NEWS
The head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, congratulated the Turkish nation for the successful election, saying that a high voter turnout marked the polls. Oussama Jamal, the secretarygeneral of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, said the Turkish elections were held in democratic maturity and sent a message to the world.
The executive director of the Chicago-based charity Zakat Foundation, Halil Demir also said President Erdogan proved that he was not the president of his ruling AK Party, but the entire country. Vladimir Potapenko, the deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization -- one of the observer organizations for Turkey’s Sunday elections -- said in a news conference: “The elections
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is conducted in accordance with the legislation in force in Turkey, we confirm that all conditions necessary were provided for it.” He added that their mission termed the elections as “transparent, impartial and democratic”. Moulana Shabbier Ahmed Saloojee, the rector of Darul Uloom Zakariyya -- South Africa’s largest Islamic university -- congratulated President Erdogan in a message. “All Muslims in the world will continue to take benefit from President Erdogan’s leadership, together with the Turkish nation,” he said. Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won absolute majority in the presidential election after 97.7 percent of ballot boxes were opened. YSK head Sadi Guven also said Justice and Development (AK) Party, Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Good (IYI) Party surpassed the 10 percent threshold in the parliamentary election. www.pi-media.co.uk
Demonstrators express solidarity with Palestinian detainees
Hundreds of Palestinians staged a rally in the central part of the occupied West Bank to express solidarity with detainees, who are languishing in Israeli prisons and detention centers. The protesters took to the streets in the city of al-Bireh, located 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds, holding up pictures of their imprisoned loved ones and carrying banners calling for an end to Israeli violations against Palestinian inmates. “Our message is to show support
for the detainees’ struggle against Israeli crimes,” Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, said, according to Press TV. He warned that conditions of Palestinian prisoners were going “from bad to worse” in Israeli prisons. More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or
charge. Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eleven years. Palestinian inmates regularly stage hunger strikes in protest at the administrative detention policy and their harsh prison conditions in Israeli jails. According to reports, at least 13 Palestinian lawmakers are currently imprisoned in Israeli detention facilities. Nine of them are being held without trial under administrative detention.
I July 2018
Rohingya refugees upset UN agreement didn’t address citizenship In Case You Missed It
Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled attacks in Myanmar said they were disappointed that a UN agreement signed last month did not address one of their key demands: citizenship. Most refugees say they are desperate to go home, but fear going back unless they are given protection and citizenship. Myanmar and UN agencies signed an agreement that could —eventually — lead to the return of some of the 700,000 Rohingya who fled persecution in their homeland and are now crowded into makeshift camps in Bangladesh. While the refugees welcomed the
talks, they have also heard years of empty promises from the government in Yangon. Many said they would not be truly happy with an agreement unless it announces that the Rohingya will get citizenship and the return of the property they lost in the pogroms. UN officials have called the agreement an important first step in complex discussions. The agreement signed will create a “framework of cooperation” designed to create conditions for “voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable” repatriation of the Rohingya. It does not address Myanmar’s denial of citizenship to
the Rohingya. Myanmar officials say they hope the agreement will speed up repatriation, but rights groups doubt Yangon will let many Rohingya go back, or if officials can guarantee the safety of those who do. Myanmar’s statement didn’t use the word “Rohingya,” reflecting the insistence by the government and the country’s Buddhist majority that the ethnic group doesn’t even exist. Most people in Myanmar view the Rohingya as illegal migrants from Bangladesh, though some have lived in the country for centuries, before modern borders existed. The agreement described the refugees as “displaced persons.” Myanmar security forces have been accused of laying waste to Rohingya villages last year in Rakhine state, near the Bangladesh border, where most Rohingya lived. The military’s self-proclaimed “clearance operations” were set off by a Rohingya militant group’s assault on police posts. The UN and the US have described the military campaign as “ethnic cleansing.” UN officials note that the Wednesday agreement gives its agencies access to Rakhine state, allowing it to better assess the situation and inform refugees about conditions back in their villages.
US federal judge rules in Muslim townhouse case in Maryland A US federal judge ruled officials in a Maryland county must issue permits allowing the sale of private townhouses to a group of Muslim buyers, after finding the denial of them was “motivated at least in part by discriminatory intent. US District Judge George Russell
made the ruling in the Harford County case, AP reported. The judge found that “but for the religion of the prospective Muslim purchasers, the county would have granted the sewer, water hookup permits and use and occupancy permits for the 14 homes
constructed.” The judge’s ruling will clear the way for 14 homes to be delivered to the Muslim homebuyers in the Old Trails subdivision in Joppatowne. Old Trails is a community for residents 55 and over. www.pi-media.co.uk
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UNGA slams Israeli massacre of Palestinians 20I WORLD NEWS
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the besieged Gaza Strip. The resolution, forward by Algeria and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions. The resolution calls on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including
“recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.” According to Press TV, it also calls for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.” At least 131 Palestinians have been killed and 13,900 others wounded by Israeli forces since March 30, when the regime ordered a crackdown on weekly Gaza rallies promoting Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland. Countries in favor of the measure turned to the General Assembly after the US used its veto in the Security
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Council to obstruct the resolution in June. An amendment presented by Washington slamming Palestinian resistance movement Hamas for “inciting violence” in Gaza failed to gain the two-thirds majority it required. The amendment received 62 votes in favor, with 58 against and 42 abstentions. Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour dismissed the US amendments as “games and gimmicks” and called for other ambassadors not to be “fooled” by Washington’s proposal. “We are asking for a simple thing...We want our civilian population to be protected,” he said. Turkey’s Ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioglu defended the resolution, saying it was “about taking sides with international law” and showing the Palestinians that the world “does care about their suffering.” The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds. The bloodshed in Gaza sparked sharp criticism from the international community and prominent human rights groups.
Swiss govt rejects proposed burqa ban The Swiss government opposed a grassroots campaign for a nationwide ban on facial coverings in public that will prompt a binding referendum, the latest twist in a Europe-wide crackdown on burqas championed by anti-Muslim activists. The Swiss cabinet said individual cantons should decide on the matter, which nevertheless will
go to a nationwide vote under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy after activists last year gathered enough public support. Measures against the wearing of Islamic veils have already been taken in Belgium, France, Denmark and Spain, among others, with the Netherlands passing its own ban this week. The Swiss government
suggested instead adopting laws that would prevent people from covering their faces when dealing with officials and punish anyone who forced women to conceal their faces with up to three years in jail. The face veil ban will come to a binding referendum after activists last year collected the more than 100,000 signatures required to put the proposal to a national vote.
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Vending machines offering Halalcertified foods planned in Taiwan
This year’s Muslim Carnival at Daan Forest Park, Taipei, the municipal government have introduced vending machines that sell Halal certified foods—the first of its kind to be introduced in non-Muslim countries. The vending machine has received strong support from both JAKIM (the Malay agency responsible for the Islamic affairs) and the International Institute for Halal Research & Training (INHART), the TPEDOIT said, adding that the facility has also attracted the interest of foreign vendors. The initial installation of these vending machines targets universities
and colleges with higher numbers of Muslim students, such as National Chengchi University and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei City’s Department of Information and Tourism (TPEDOIT) said The city government will also seek to cooperate with Muslim-friendly enterprises to increase the number of the vending machines and help create a Muslim-friendly environment, according to the agency. The foods sold in the machines, some of which were created by Taiwanese manufacturers’ ingenuity, will include
sandwiches, hamburgers, and instant rice meals, with more options on the way, it said. While achieving Halal friendliness standards requires implementation of special practices which may differ from local customs, an increased number of restaurants are showing interest to become Halal-certified in light of the growing Muslim tourist market, which accounts for about 10% of the overall global tourism market, according to the agency. TPEDOIT Commissioner Chen Su-yu has encouraged restaurants and hotels to achieve standards for Muslim/ Halal friendliness and promoted “porkfree” and “non-alcohol” labeling among night market vendors to provide Muslim visitors and residents with a friendly and convenient environment. According to the 2018 Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) report, Taiwan now ranks fifth on the list of Muslim-friendly non-OIC tourist destinations—the first time for the island to break into top five. Seeing the improvement as encouragement, as the destination of choice for international visitors to Taiwan, Taipei City will keep up its effort in making the city even more Muslim-friendly, the TPEDOIT said.
Two old Kosovo mosques to be restored The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) will restore two Ottoman mosques — Pristina Carshia Mosque and Gazi Mehmet Pasha’s Mosque — in Kosovo. A signing ceremony was held in the capital Pristina at Kosovo Monumet Protection Institute with the participation of Turkey’s Ambassador to Kosovo Kıvılcım Kılıç, head of the Islamic Union of Kosovo Naim Ternava and other officials. The protocol was signed by TIKA, Kosovo Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and Kosovo Islamic Union. Kılıç said the restoration projects of these important heritages will
contribute to further develop TurkeyKosovo relations. Ternava, for his part, recalled that the Pristina Carshia Mosque is the oldest mosque in Kosovo. “It is the unique mosque among all the Balkan mosques because it was built entirely of stone, carrying a treasure of our culture and religion,” Ternava said. Carshia Mosque, the oldest building in Pristina, was constructed during the reign of Ottoman ruler Sultan Murad II in the 15th century. The mosque was built to celebrate the Ottoman victory of 1389 in the Battle of Kosovo. Gazi Mehmet Pasha’s Mosque is one of the oldest monuments of
Islamic art in Prizren. The inscription above the entrance states it was built in 1561. Burak Ceran, TIKA’s Pristina coordinator, said they have also started working on some other projects in Pristina and there have some more protocol agreements to be sign to begin work on more projects in Prizren and Gjakova cities. TIKA was established in 1992, Turkey’s governmentrun TIKA agency is responsible for implementing the country’s developmental cooperation policies overseas. The agency offers aid to more than 40 countries around the world.
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Liverpool Mayor says Salah helping to tackle to Islamophobia in city
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is helping to break down Islamophobia in his adopted home, according to the Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram. The Egypt international had a huge impact on the field in his debut season at Anfield, scoring 44 goals as the team finished fourth in the Premier League and were Champions League runners-up. But his influence was felt just as significantly off it as a high-profile Muslim, energising the local Arab community and helping improve inclusivity. “I think what Salah’s done is what John Barnes did for the black community in the ‘80s,” Rotheram
told a BBC Radio 5 Live documentary Mo Salah: Football is Life. “He’s starting to break down barriers. Some of them (Liverpool fans) probably don’t fully appreciate the songs they sing about Mo Salah but to have that breakdown of Islamophobia caused by one person is an absolutely phenomenal achievement. “His legacy will be much more about what’s happened off the field as well as what’s happened on the pitch.” Press Association Sport spoke to members of Liverpool’s Arabic community last month and discovered the extent to which the Salah effect has filtered out from
Anfield. Eleven-year-old Rawan Zadeh, the daughter of a British Iraqi, for example, was inspired to take up football, having never played before, because of the Egyptian. “My daughter wasn’t a football fan but now she is a fan of Mohamed Salah and his team,” Rawan’s mum Malath Ali told Press Association Sport. “She has changed completely and started playing football as well at school as a result. “I’ve always encouraged her to play any kind of sport, it doesn’t matter if you are wearing a (head) scarf, so now she likes to play football. “I feel as if he has an influence on the kids.” Zane Abdo, Muslim adviser and chaplain to the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, has seen how Salah has changed perceptions. “It is like what Muhammad Ali did in the boxing world, albeit very different people, in terms of getting people to accept who he is and accept the name,” he told Press Association Sport. “Muhammad Ali and Mohamed Salah - and Mo Farah - have all done that. It challenges a lot of the stereotypes.” www.pi-media.co.uk
Pakistan to continue playing ‘home’ cricket matches in UAE Pakistan will continue paying its “home” cricket matches in the UAE at a reduced price following “fruitful discussions” with its counterparts in the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), it was announced. Pakistan has played most of its home international matches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah since a 2009 grenade attack in Lahore left six Sri Lankan players wounded and killed eight local residents.
Recent reports, however, indicated that the Afghanistan Premier League would play in the UAE in October at the same time at Pakistan’s home series against Australia and New Zealand. A Pakistan cricket statement said that “the ECB will not host any league during the time when the PCB/PSL T20/ODI fixtures are being played in the UAE.” Additionally, the statement said that
the ECB “commits to a significant reduction of the costs to PCB of holding these tournaments with immediate effect. The ECB is scheduled to host a T20 and T10 League from December 10, 2018 to January 20, 2019, during the time period in which there are no PCB fixtures in the UAE.
Iftar event raises £900 for Portsmouth in the community www.pi-media.co.uk
I July 2018
The Professional Footballers’ Association and Pompey in the Community (PITC) hosted an Iftar (breaking of the ‘Fast’ during Ramadan) event at the PFA/ULF supported PITC study centre on 5th June. The event was attended by more than 120 guests from a cross section of the community, including Muslims, Christians, Jews and Sikhs,
and raised £900 for PITC through donations from attendees who paid to enter a raffle to win a Mo Salah shirt. Faz Ahmed, a Trustee of PITC and co-owner of The Akash restaurant, who catered for the event, said: “We are the first club to do something like this with the PFA which is a huge honour. Portsmouth is an incredibly diverse city and the
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more we can do to not only support that community, but bring people together, is really important. “Without the support of the PFA the Iftar event would not have been possible and I’m pleased we were able to hold such an event in Portsmouth.” Director of Pompey in the Community, Clare Martin, added: “The PFA’s Riz Rehman came to us a few months back and asked if we would be interested in doing such an event and it was an idea that we couldn’t say no to. It’s great to give a bit more understanding with things like this and you have got to respect those who take part in Ramadan because it is an amazing sacrifice for their religion.” The PFA’s Riz Rehman, who helped organise the event, said: “It was great to have over 120 people here to share in the Iftar, raise awareness around Ramadan, as well as give everyone the opportunity to learn more about the great work that the PITC deliver.”
UEFA to review Galatasaray case on financial situation
The UEFA Club Financial Control Body has decided to review the settlement agreement with Turkey’s Galatasaray over its financial situation. “In light of the recent decision of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) Chief Investigator to conclude a settlement agreement with Galatasaray SK, the Chairman of the CFCB, Jose Narciso da Cunha Rodrigues, has decided to send the decision for review by the Adjudicatory Chamber,” the UEFA said in a statement. “This announcement does not
pre-judge in any way the result of the review to be conducted by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB,” UEFA added. On June 13, UEFA and Galatasaray reached a four-year settlement agreement which covers the seasons 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 as the club was not in compliance with the break-even requirement. According to the agreement, Galatasaray would limit the number of players, pay a fine to UEFA and reduce the spending to reach full break-even compliance.
Galatasaray had undertaken to reach full break-even compliance by the monitoring period 2021/22 and agreed to report a maximum break-even deficit as reported in its forecast for the financial year ending in 2018, €20 million ($24 million) in financial year ending in 2019 and €10 million ($12 million) for the financial year ending in 2020. Galatasaray had also accepted that it would be subject to a limitation on the number of players that it may include on the list for the purposes of participation in UEFA competitions.
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Angry anti austerity protests in Jordan
Jordan’s economy has struggled to grow in the past few years in the face of chronic deficits, as private foreign investment and aid has declined. Jordan’s economy has suffered a downturn in recent years, and unemployment has risen with 18.5 percent of Jordan’s population are unemployed, while 20 percent are on the brink of poverty., primarily as a result of conflicts in neighbouring Syria and Iraq. The country has taken in more than 660,000 Syrian refugees and has the second highest share of refugees compared to its population in the world. In 2016, Jordan secured a $723m, three-year credit line from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Since then, austerity measures agreed with the IMF have caused
the price of basic goods and services to rise steadily. Protests started as a general strike organized by more than 30 trade unions on 30 May 2018 after the government of Hani Mulki submitted a new tax law to Parliament. The day following the strike on 31 May, the government raised fuel and electricity prices responding to an increase in international oil prices. About 3,000 people faced down a heavy security presence to gather near the prime minister’s office in central Amman , waving Jordanian flags and signs reading “we will not kneel”. Jordanians have faced repeated price rises including on bread, as well as tax hikes on basic goods. Overnight, protesters outside the officer of the premier, Hani al-Mulki, shouted slogans including “the
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ones raising prices want to burn the country” and “this Jordan is our Jordan, Mulki should leave”. On 1 June King Abdullah intervened and ordered the freeze of the price hikes; the government acquiesced but said the decision would cost the treasury $20 million. The protests continued for four days until Mulki submitted his resignation to the King on 4 June, and Omar Razzaz, his Education Minister, was appointed Prime Minister. Protests only ceased after Razzaz announced his intention of withdrawing the new tax bill. What would the new tax law mean? Jordanian government introduced an income tax bill aimed at widening the tax base, increasing the tax
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brackets, and penalizing those who do not pay. The government proposed a law, yet to be approved by parliament, aimed at increasing taxes on employees by at least 5% and on companies by between 20% and 40%. The proposed income tax law would significantly lower the tax threshold and would apply to those whose yearly salaries are 8,000 Jordanian dinars, or roughly $11,000. The government says it needs the taxes to finance public services and that the tax reforms would reduce social disparities by placing a heavier burden on high earners and have left lower paid workers relatively unscathed. Butpeoplesaid “the measures will hurt the poor and accuse politicians of squandering public funds and corruption”. What happens know?
Mulki’s replacement, Omar Razzaz, will be under pressure to meet the concerns of protesters and stabilise the economy with a view to forming a new government, had previously been serving as Jordan’s education minister. Previously, he was an economist for the World Bank.Mulki said he hoped the reforms needed to get Jordan’s economy “back on track” would be complete by mid-2019. King Abdullah said that conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq has worsened Jordan’s financial situation. Finally, I expect protests will continue because Razzaz is a member of cabinet, so he is part of the crisis not part of the solution. But at the same time, he is a respected figure in Jordan, but the situation is very critical because there is a dearth of money in the state fund, to revive the kingdom’s sluggish economy and
business. However, solutions aimed at calming down the streets will not resolve the nation’s chronic problems. Jordan’s resources are scarce compared to its neighbors, Iraq, the Gulf and even the Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel. Jordan’s has limited natural resources and only has phosphates. King Abdullah has invested in tourism and made it the pillar of its economy, but it quickly collapsed because of terrorism and regional wars. It tried building a chain of industries but it was faced with the restraints of the region’s countries and the competition. By Miral Alashry Assistant Professor Canadian international college ( CIC) Department of Journalism
The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context
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The reign of Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib was beset with civil strife across the territories namely due to the actions of certain governors under the previous administration of Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan. It should be said that Ali did not vigorously pursue the mandate of caliph but was unanimously elected to this position by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) via the method of consultation (shura). According to the Shia, Ali should have been the first Caliph and thus the successor to the Prophet based on the events at GhadrKhawm. The Shia have argued the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) appointed Ali Ibn Abi Talib using the arguments centring upon the hadith of the two weighty things (Hadith al-Thaqalyn). The hadith of the two weighty things refers to the prophet leaving Ali Ibn Abi Talib namely the Qur’an and the Ahl-Al-Bayt (family of the Prophet). Furthermore, the
Shia have stated that the Prophet Muhammad appointed Ali Ibn Abi Talib as his successor by uttering the word ‘mawla‘in a statement as follows: ‘Man kunto Mawla, fa Ali yun Mawla’meaning ‘whoever accepts me as master, Ali is his master’. ‘Mawla’ in the context of the disputations between the Sunnis and Shias has proved to be very controversial especially considering whether the Prophet Muhammad did appoint Ali Ibn Abi Talib as his immediate successor.The Sunnis have argued that ‘mawla’ has a number of various connotations or meanings such as friend, confidante, successor and due to this it is very difficult to ascertain the view that Ali Ibn Abi Talib was anointed as the successor to the Prophet. Furthermore, the Shias contend that the Prophetic statement at GhadrKhawm ‘Man kunto Mawla, fa Ali yun Mawla’ meaning ‘whoever accepts me as master, Ali is his
master’. Sunni scholars have stated that the statement is not indicative of the fact Ali Ibn Ali Talib was indeed in any way superior to Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman for that matter. Furthermore, they contend that Abu Bakr was the best of the Ummah after the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the most deserving of them all. Matters become more complicated when the Shias argue that the first three caliphs sidelined Ali Ibn Abi Talib after the death of the Prophet Muhammad and hence was shunned and thus robbed of his right of being the immediate successor to his cousin and father in law. However, the Sunnis have vehemently disputed this version of events and stated that Ali Ibn Abi Talib was preoccupied with the preparations for the funeral of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and was therefore absent from the discussions as to who would take the mantle of being the head of state.
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