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The British Muslim Vote

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I COMMENT

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www.pi-media.co.uk I June 2017

By Craig Murray

Former Ambassador Human Rights Activist

Manchester should be very proud

Having now seen the numerous bits of video being shown across the various Breakfast news programmes, Manchester should be very proud of itself. The audience were quite remarkably orderly leaving the arena. Of course there was a certain amount of panic, but much less than you would normally expect in such a situation. The discipline and stoicism are much more remarkable than the areas of panic, especially given the age of the audience. It also bears repeating that the

social media picture is heart-warming amid the terrible sadness. So many messages last night from people offering rooms to stay, cooking food for strangers in the middle of the night, the almost universal offers of a “brew� and a landline, the reposting of countless images to help parents re-unite with their children, the people (including taxi drivers) getting their cars out to offer free transport. In the immediate aftermath of an apparent bombing, it is plain people were much more concerned to offer help than worried about putting themselves in possible danger by

opening their homes or moving into the crowds. Finally, I have been heartened by the contempt Manchester people are showing online for those seeking to use this dreadful apparent atrocity to promote racism, intolerance or a political agenda. If it was a home made bomb, it was a remarkably powerful one. It would be very unusual for a lone terrorist to be able to make a bomb this powerful. It is hard to think of any incident where an individual acting entirely alone has successfully done that.

Write to: Editor, PI Media, c/o PKWA, Off Manor Way, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 7BX or email: info@pi-media.co.uk - www.pi-media.co.uk


The British Muslim Vote www.pi-media.co.uk

I June 2017

Muslims in the UK make up 5% of the total population. The demographics make interesting reading as in many constituencies that have a large ethnic Asian/Muslim population, the Muslim vote will invariably decide the final outcome as far as parliamentary seats are concerned. However, what does GE2017 have in store for the Muslim vote bank? Will the Muslims in 2017 entrust the Labour Party to fight their cause once again or will more votes be going to the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens and the SNP if you are north of the border for that matter? Who the Muslims vote for at this election is a question that will be on the lips of many come polling day in town and cities up and down the UK. GE2017 promises to be one for the most fascinating and ground breaking elections in living memory. This article will provide analysis of all the political parties in terms of what they have to offer to Muslim voters in the run up to polling day.

Conservatives The Conservative Party in recent times have shifted their position and stance on many issues partly due to Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempt to banish the stereotype of the Tories being the ‘nasty party’ plagued with incessant bursts of racism coupled with a dose of xenophobia to boot. This time round the Tories have adopted a clever strategy and for the first time have gone beyond their traditional core support and directly appealed to the working classes for the first time. Hence it is not surprising to see measures such as increasing the personal tax allowance from £6,500 to nearly £12,000 has taken many low earners out of tax completely and reduced the tax burden for millions across the country. The Tory mantra of being the party that champions aspiration and hardwork is now paying dividends across the country as former impregnable Labour strongholds are at risk of falling to them due to working class people deciding to put their faith in the very first time. Despite the Tories pledging not to increase VAT, some voters may certainly be concerned about

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By Abdul B Shaikh

Guest Political Editor

the overall tax burden increasing the lifetime of the next parliament through income tax and National insurance rates being raised where no such guarantees have been given. Furthermore, pensioners will also be looking over their shoulder as the so called ‘triple lock guarantee’ may be abandoned after the election that has taken many pensioners out of real poverty. The Conservatives plan  to place a cap on gas and electricity bills for households that pay standard variable tariffs may encourage people to vote for them as living costs will be lowered overall but the risk with this policy is bills may go higher than they are at current levels. The policy seems to be quintessentially Marxist on reflection on the surface especially when the former PM David Cameron accused Ed Miliband of this charge when this idea was proposed in the Labour manifesto leading up to the last general election in 2015. Marriage allowances for couples and potential tax breaks for families looking after elderly parents certainly puts the Conservatives in touch with the traditional conservative groups across the socio-economic divide and measures like this will attract a lot of support and with it potential votes in the bag as to speak. Policies such as those discussed above will certainly appeal to Muslim voters who see identify with traditional values that have

been attacked in recent times by the metropolitan liberal elite as far as the political arena has been concerned. It seems that the Tories have run into a political minefield over adult social care by its intention to force the offspring of those parents who have considerable assets to sell them minus £100,000 pounds to meet the bill for looking after those who are forced to go into care homes. Yet, there have been no proposals on whether people will have to pay for care in their own homes and this matter will probably be looked at by the next incoming government. The Tories have argued that £100,000 is a fair share of inheritance for those who inherit wealth. Many have been alarmed by these proposals deemed them to be grossly unfair and been described as penalising those who took risks and worked hard to taste the fruits of success only to see the state take most of it away. Theresa May has certainly been brave on this issue for proposing this measure and has tried to mitigate the effects of the backlash by stating there will a ‘cap’ on what people should pay. However, will this policy dubbed ‘the ‘dementia tax’ by rival political parties cost the Conservative votes and deny them the huge mandate that they desperately seek to be in a powerful position come the Brexit negotiations. Affluent Muslims will certainly plump for the Conservatives due to


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their stance in keeping the overall tax burden down but will this be the case for the less well-off who have seen tax credits and in work benefits frozen? Can enough of the Muslim population be encouraged to vote for the Conservatives is the six-milliondollar question that will be on the lips of many come polling day? The spectre of rising inflation and the prospect of Brexit has the potential to considerably eat into disposable incomes in the lifetime of the next parliament. One has to say that trust and confidence in terms of who can ensure prosperity for individuals and families will go a long way to deciding whether the Tories win the election and how bigger the majority they have in the next parliament. ‘Brexit means Brexit’ has also swayed many voters towards Theresa May and the Conservatives and this certainly indicates that some of the British electorate see the current Prime Minister as a ‘safe pair of hands’ in being tough during Brexit negotiations and trusted to deliver the best deal for Britain. Those who supported Brexit will certainly feel that if a good deal is delivered then it will result in a better deal for the country with prosperity. This scenario seems astonishing and unbelievable at first sight but Brexit has been a gamechanger and given the Tories a dream ticket where they can attack Labour at will over practically over an issue whether it be the NHS, Trident or even Brexit for that matter. The remarkable thing about this election is the Tories are in with a shout of winning in areas previously considered to be unthinkable. Labour The Labour Party in recent times has been very much maligned and heavily criticised by a wide range of groups for its lack of identity, what the party actually stands for and more importantly who it actually represents. The ghost of Tony Blair continues to cast a shadow over Labour’s troubles nearly ten years after he left office. Many have accused the party of abandoning the working classes during that time and onwards. Polls in recent months have recently shown that Labour bastions are no longer impregnable partly due to it haemorrhaging support to UKIP and the Tories for that matter. However, Jeremy Corbyn has a good start to his campaign and has passionately argued

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that his party is for the many and not the few but as ever faces an uphill task in terms of getting his message to resonate across society. Labour’s woes have also been compounded by internal squabbles where several MP’s have been constantly at odds with the leader Jeremy Corbyn and his team. The level of disunity in the public eye has given a poor impression to the electorate in the run up to the election and does not bode well as far as its political fortunes are concerned in the medium to long term. Past elections have shown that where a party is united then voters feel they can trust them as they are a safe pair of hands to lead the nation. However, one can argue that Labour is and has been too preoccupied in fighting itself rather than focusing on the job at hand which is to present itself as a formidable and credible opposition to the government. It may well be that the current Labour party may split into two with the Blairites leaving to form a new progressive centrist movement leaving the left marginalised under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn or his potential successor for years to come. There is a real risk that if Labour loses heavily in the election then the nation will be deprived of an effective opposition leaving the government to do whatever it wishes to do with little scrutiny to boot in terms of legislative matters. If this scenario rings true than parliamentary democracy will suffer and be poorer for it in the long run. As far as the party’s policies are

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concerned in respect of its attempts to woo the electorate there are some eyecatching policies that will encourage people to potentially vote for them come polling day. Policies such as the re-nationalisation of the railways has got the support of many who have been confined to year on year rail fare increases at a time when punctuality and seat availability has got worse on trains and carriages over the last few years. The successful running of the East Coast rail line by the government led to greater profitability and punctuality beating private train operators across all key performance targets. Labour have very been bold in its commitment to scrapping tuition fee for students and this will encourage many to possibly register to vote and plump for the party this time around. It should be said that many 18-25 year olds do not vote let alone register and policies such as the above may well see students abandoning the Liberal Democrats for Labour this time around. This policy will also appeal to Muslim students who are mindful of accruing debts and paying interest on student loans and fees after graduation. The party will be under severe pressure to provide evidence that these plans have been costed and failure to do so will result in its opponents arguing that the they are the tax and spend party and not fit to lead and govern the country. In line with the defence of workers’ rights, many will welcome Labour’s commitment to banning zero hour contracts and its pledge to


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6I ELECTION SPECIAL

strengthen workers’ positions in the workplace to prevent exploitation by unscrupulous employers. The right to union representation in the workplace which has been an anathema to the Tories in recent times will certainly be championed by the party if it wins the election in June. In terms of the Muslim vote, the party has been quite innovative in declaring that they will abolish the minimum income threshold for bringing spouses into the UK. Some Muslims in certain quarters will welcome this proposal as many couples have fallen foul of the high-income threshold that has prevented couples from being reunited by being denied entry into the UK and led to many marriages breaking down leading to divorce in some cases. The party’s position on Brexit is less clear despite Labour’s shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer ruling out a second referendum, but has said that there would have to be transitional arrangements at the end of the two-year Article 50 process. It seems on the surface that the party wants to maintain the same links with the EU and still support Brexit. This position is rather contradictory and in sharp contrast to the vision put forward by the Tories. It is this dithering that could tempt several people who backed the Leave campaign to vote Conservative. Despite this Labour has said that it would prioritise trade with the EU, potentially stay in the customs union and give EU citizens a unilateral guarantee that they could stay on in Britain. The party has indicated that it would replace the government’s proposed Great Repeal Bill, which would scrap the 1972 European Communities Act and incorporate many existing EU laws applying to the UK into domestic law - with an EU Rights and Protections Bill. However, the party it should be said has disappointed many in the Muslim community for imposing AWS (All women shortlists) in predominantly Muslim areas even though Labour allegedly claim to champion the very notion of equality. This policy dictated by the National Executive Committee (NEC) has sent a message to aspiring, ambitious and potential male Muslim politicians that Labour does not want you and go elsewhere to make your political career. It could be said that a male Muslim has a better chance of

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being a Conservative candidate and potential MP rather than a Labour one which is quite astonishing to say the least. Labour it should be remembered devised and created the much maligned PREVENT strategy in 2005 under the Blair administration that has greatly eroded the confidence of the vast majority of Muslims and has been described in certain quarters as being toxic. The Prevent policy has destroyed a lot of lives in the UK and has a created a climate of suspicion and mistrust and developed into a framework where all Muslims are today regarded as threats and being constantly subjected to increasing surveillance during their daily lives. Many Labour Muslim MP’s and councillors have claimed to have been championing Muslim causes but the opposite has been the case due to some having rather odious links to the PREVENT lobby and right-wing trans-Atlantic groups in the UK and abroad who seek to dismantle and reform Islam under the guise that it is not compatible with the values of the so-called civilised world. The party historically has kept the Asian Muslim vote bank in its grasp for decades and at the last election got the largest percentage of votes. However, Labour needs to realise the days where uncle and aunty at home, outside the mosque or community centre say vote Labour and that it is your obligation to do so are well and truly over. Labour must present a vision that appeals to all generations who are now significantly

more affluent and successful than their peers. The white working classes have surely opened their eyes and put their faith in other parties due to being abandoned by the party that stood by them and their families for decades. This may be the election where many Muslims may see a change and start looking elsewhere especially if they decide Labour has nothing to offer to them and their families in an increasingly turbulent world. Liberal Democrats It is hard to assess how the electoral fortunes of the Liberal Democrats this time around. The party enjoyed the hiatus of being in the ConDem coalition in 2010 which no one had foreseen especially after the nation had voted for a hung parliament. However, being a junior partner on the former coalition government did not do the party any favours and the British public voted with its feet and sent many heavyweight MPs such as Charles Kennedy, David Laws and Vince Cable packing in the process in 2015. The Liberal Democrats will certainly appeal to some Muslim voters who appear disillusioned for abandoning the centre ground for the perceived left and those who voted Remain in the EU referendum last June. However, it is quite difficult to see how the Liberal Democrats can take a sizeable chunk of the Muslim vote especially as many Muslims have historically voted Labour for decades. Will this election see a shift towards the party which may become a reality if the party can capture the


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attention of the electorate with eyecatching policies going forward? Let us see what the Liberal Democrats have in store for the country. The party has certainly been bold and set its stall out and declared they will offer the British public a second nationwide referendum on the final Brexit deal negotiated by the British government and the European Union. Defending the rights of EU citizens working in the UK it seems is very much at the forefront of the party’s election policy along with staying in the EU thus maintaining and retaining the country’s position and influence in Europe. The future of the National Health Service seems to be on the top priorities as far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned and been emphatically underlined by arguing for 1p increase on income tax and the revenue generated from this measure would be earmarked for care in the home and the community in order to mitigate rising costs felt by individuals and councils up and down the country. In line with its Liberal values, the party has also stated that it would abolish married couples tax allowance in line with its wish to restore equality and parity with other types of civil unions recognised by the law. However, this measure will not go down well with people who are married and this may put many off especially those who take advantage of this tax break. Looking at the Liberals vision for the economy, we see that the party are willing to raise corporation tax from 19% to 20% far lower than Labour’s proposed rate increase (26%). This measure may sound well in theory but in practice may be very difficult to enforce as many companies may present profits as losses thus reducing the net effect of the taxation rate overall to near zero in effect. Other companies may decide to relocate to other countries and as a result pay less corporation tax in other jurisdictions. The Liberal Democrats like Labour have made audacious pitch for the future generation particularly those under the age of 25. Tory cuts to housing benefits for under 25’s will be scrapped along with lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 will undoubtedly attract votes from young people who have been the victims of stagnating living standards and a

ELECTION SPECIAL

lack of employment prospects not to mention some being saddled with a mountain of debt. In relation to real terms spending on pupils in schools, the party has given a firm commitment to spend £7 billion pounds on pupils to allow them to have access to the best equipment and facilities to receive a world class education. Remaining in the EU and resulting inward investment and growth from the continent would pay for this spending commitment. This commitment will be welcomed by parents, heads of schools and teaching unions who have said £9.4 billion pounds of cuts in schools will create immense difficulties as pupils will struggle to receive a well-rounded education and reduced support will mean some will fall behind and fail to achieve the required standard. Maintaining free school meals for early years’ children will be seen as a vote winner in light of Tory proposals to scrap it entirely and instead favouring the funding of free breakfasts. The debate will still rage over whether and why children especially those who are not in receipt of free school meals whose parents work are going hungry at school especially when the country is the fifth richest in the world. Surely, the nation has enough money to see that every child receives a breakfast and lunch for that matter. Research has shown time and time again that children will never fulfil their potential whilst they are on a hungry stomach. Furthermore, there are many children unfortunately that go hungry outside

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term time a reality that is highly unforgiveable at best. The party has certainly made a pitch for the BAME vote by making an undertaking to force the top FTSE 250 companies to publish the results of their audits in relation to the makeup of their workforces. This is a bold step as there are many organisations in the public and private sector whose workforces do not resemble the diverse communities that live across the United Kingdom. Social mobility and reflecting diversity and equality will present themselves as major challenges for the new government in a post-Brexit Britain. Greens The Green Party like the Liberal Democrats set its stall out on the EU by stating that the British people will be offered a second referendum for their verdict over the terms of the nature of Brexit once a deal is agreed between the UK and the 27 member nations of the European Union. Leaders of the Green Party have passionately argued that Britain has better economic prospects for remaining in the European Union in terms of trade and investment. However, the dilemma the Greens face that in many areas people voted for Brexit and the parties stance on Europe may see it attract more votes in areas that opted to remain rather than leave as to speak. In respect of the Prevent agenda, the Greens have been very bold and radical and called for it to be scrapped arguing for an alternative


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to a framework that no longer has the overwhelming support and more importantly the trust and confidence of the Muslim community. Many Green activists have long argued that they along with a number of Muslims have been targeted by this agenda in order to curtail political activism and in the process attempting to permanently silence them from airing their objections and concerns in the public realm. The very prospect of civil liberties being watered down is a terrifying prospect and risks the state turning into the world described by none other than George Orwell in his famous work 1984. Prevent has become toxic as its approach is less to do with fighting radicalisation, extremism and terrorism per say, but rather it seeks to monitor individuals and gather intelligence on those the state perceives as a threat to national security and labels them as potential terrorists in the making. As part of its progressive agenda, the Greens seek to unveil proposals to raise income tax for the wealthy, a policy not to dissimilar to the Labour Party in that the well off in society should pay their fair share of tax if the whole country is to prosper. Critics will argue that it is all and well that the most affluent and wealthy in society should pay more but the question remains that how successful will the Greens be in collecting increased taxes especially as tax evasion and relocating overseas for taxation purposes may become the norm rather than the exception. One of the most interesting policies the Greens have floated is the idea of the Universal Income in that regardless of whether one is employed or not every citizen of the state will receive a monthly fixed income. This policy has been formulated with the future in mind as more and more jobs will be lost to automation in the coming decades. This will in turn bring new challenges of creating sustainable and dynamic industries in order to ensure that here is sufficient employment for all UK citizens. The idea of a short four-day week has also been muted by the Greens and this policy makes a lot of sense especially as productivity levels in the workplace lag behind many other countries as we work more hours but produce less. Secondly, more people would be able to find work and incentives such as working less

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hours and job-share would create a happier, healthier and more productive workforce that would substantially reduce the sickness and benefits bill. In terms of the health service, the party has argued that the sector should be free at the point of service and that the private sector should be kept at arm’s length. The Greens have certainly gone for the ‘prevention is better than a cure’ approach by arguing more money needs to be spent on educating people to eat healthily and exercise thus reducing debilitating illnesses in the long term and reducing the overall environmental footprint on the globe. With regards to mental health and in particular dementia, the party has pledged that more money will be devoted to addressing this ticking time bomb that threatens the lives of many in the coming decades. As far as education is concerned, the Greens have advanced their progressive stance and appealed to younger voters by declaring that they would scrap tuition fees immediately if it won power and in the process, reinstate EMA’s (educational maintenance allowance) for 16-18-year-olds. Policies such as these may well certainly encourage young students to actually register to vote and indeed participate in the electoral process for the very first time and plump for the much-vaunted progressive coalition that includes the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Labour. It could be said that if Labour loses the election and the party disintegrates into two factions then the Greens may

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well be the biggest beneficiaries in the future. Scottish National Party The SNP having released its manifesto in the last few days aims to end of austerity by advocating £120bn of public spending in order to get the economy growing again. Nicola Sturgeon has certainly laid down the gauntlet to her political rivals by arguing for prudent financial planning through cutting waste and bureaucracy and only borrowing money in the future for capital infrastructure projects that will bring back money into the government coffers. In terms of fighting austerity, the SNP have not shied away from this agenda and proposed that people on low wages shall receive the Living Wage that will be raised to just above £10. By making this bold move, party has clearly attempted to steal Labour’s clothes and present itself as the party of the working man and woman struggling to make ends meet. Labour may well find it very difficult to take back votes from the SNP as the latter is now very much targeting key voters through its progressive agenda once again. The plan to restrict tax credits to two children by the Tories has been rejected by the party who have argued that is grotesquely unfair to penalise families in this way and even women who may have conceived a child through being raped. Health and spending on the NHS receives special attention as far as the


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I June 2017

SNP manifesto is concerned through increased spending on health for all UK citizens on a par with what is spent per person in Scotland. The party has argued that Scottish people receive 7 per cent more money per person than a person in England does at present. Positive moves in these areas would also reap further dividends north of the border through an extra £1bn pounds coming into the health service. As part of the SNP’s fairness agenda for all, the party envisages that the richest in society should pay their fair share of tax. The fruition of this policy is seen through increasing the tax rate from 45 to 50 pence in the pound for those earning £150,000 pounds or over. Furthermore, the party has stamped its credentials as far as the squeezed middle is concerned along with low income families. Those families who identify with the latter will be pleased to hear that the SNP aim to freeze NI and refuse to increase tax except for the richest. The poorest in society the party has argued will receive support from the SNP in form of the welfare cuts imposed by the Tory government being scrapped altogether. Pensioners have also received a major boost in the firm of the party pledging to keep the triple lock guarantee to which the Tories have given no explicit guarantee that it will remain intact in the lifetime of the next parliament. The SNP like Labour have attempted to devise a programme that is essentially progressive and one that attempts to get away from the austerity years which has seen the standard of living decline rapidly. However, the question remains for the SNP that fairness across the social divide maybe at the forefront of its quest for a better nation but will the party be able to raise the money to meet its planned expenditure going forward into the next parliament is the question that will be asked in 2022. UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) It is hard to assess the party’s chances of success at the forthcoming general election especially after its success in campaigning for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Recent polls have shown that a lot of the support has melted away from the party and switched to the Tories in the last six months as people appear to

ELECTION SPECIAL

be ready to put their trust in Theresa May in delivering the best deal for Britain at the Brexit negotiations assuming she emerges victorious at the general election. Moving aside from Brexit, we see that the party manifesto seems very hostile to the Muslim community. UKIP are attempting to disguise their contempt for the Muslim community under the veneer of respectability. Evidence supporting this position stems from the fact that they are now advocating for the ban on the burka using the premise that Muslim women being covered up outside do not get sunlight which can potentially lead to vitamin D deficiency and diseases such as Rickets. One can ask the question that are UKIP attempting to make Islamophobia acceptable in mainstream society with their policy agenda targeting one section of society in a blatant manner. Furthermore, the integration agenda seems to be on the top of the list of the party’s priorities in the form of a number of policies. As part of its policy of a more cohesive and integrate society, the party want to ban the construction of new mosques and outlaw Sharia courts. The party has failed to argue how these proposals will encourage integration in the UK and it seems they are acting in desperation and attempting to claw back support they enjoyed prior to the EU referendum in 2016. The manifesto it seems also makes a pitch for people concerned about increasing immigration into the UK. UKIP seek to complete the Brexit process by 2019 and ban immigration into the UK and stopping unskilled and low-skilled from coming to the country. If we analyse this policy, we see that the party seeks to provide British jobs for British jobs but will people be prepared to work for low wage is a prospect that remains to be seen. As far as its economic policy is concerned, the party wants to raise the income tax threshold to £13,500 so that more people keep their hardearned money and 40% tax rate to apply to those earning £55,000 and over. Proposals have been made to

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increase inheritance tax threshold and scrap VAT on energy bills to ensure people no longer suffer from fuel poverty. These policies seem to have been devised to attract support from working class constituencies who have been left behind in recent decades and underlines the commitment of the party that UKIP is on the side of the disenfranchised and dispossessed. The party has tried to address the affordability crisis in the housing market that has persisted for decades leading to six million people not being able to find suitable and affordable homes to live in or rent. UKIP have suggested that they will invest in building 100,000 affordable homes and provide locally built modular homes that can be installed onto land without the need to build on it. UKIP have made an interesting pitch as far as foreign policy is concerned and argued that the nations interests should be aligned to those of the Republican Trump administration in Washington. This policy seems quite contradictory in the face of the party view that the UK should cease to intervene in conflicts overseas. Furthermore, in the last fifty years, the USA has been involved in military operations around the globe. There is a greater likelihood of the USA being involved in more operations due to it opposing a number of nations such as Iran and North Korea not forgetting the likes of Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

June 8th


I UK NEWS

I June 2017

Britain planning to deploy more troops to Afghanistan 10

The United Kingdom is planning to send more troops to Afghanistan where insecurity is increasing despite the fact that the US and its allies have deployed thousands of forces there since 2001. “The UK is prepared to increase its contribution to troops in a non-combat

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role to demonstrate our continued support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan,” a government source said. The United States currently has around 8,400 soldiers in Afghanistan with about another 5,000 troops from

NATO allies. Britain currently has about 500 troops in Afghanistan. NATO countries are asked by the US to send 3,000 to 5,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan, as Washington is also planning to send up to 5,000 additional troops, including hundreds of Special Operations forces, to the wartorn country. The United States -- under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than one and-a-half-decade, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country. US President Donald Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as “Obama’s war”, but now his administration is sending thousands of more troops to the war-torn country, signaling a policy shift.

Muslim leaders report rise in hate crimes

Local Muslim leaders in Manchester have expressed concern about rising Islamophobic incidents and hate crimes against Muslims following the terror attack. Senior members of the Muslim community in Britain’s third largest city say that they have received reports of criminal acts and abusive behavior since the attack on Manchester Arena. A spokesman for the Manchester Islamic Centre, also known as the Didsbury Mosque, said that the terrorist attack in the city has no place in any

religion. “The horrific atrocity that occurred in Manchester has shocked us all,” said Fawzi Haffar. “We encourage anyone, and I repeat we encourage anyone, who may have information about the individual involved to contact the police without any delay.” Haffar.also criticized some media reports for manufacturing unfounded anti-Muslim stories. An arsonist targeted a mosque in the town of Oldham in Greater

Manchester, sparking fears of a rise in hate crimes. CCTV footage shows a man walking to the front door and setting the Jamia Qasmia Zahidia Islamic Center on fire. This is while Muslim communities in Britain have condemned the Manchester terror attack and raised funds to distribute among the victims. At least 22 people lost their lives when 22-year-old Salman Abedi allegedly detonated his explosives at a concert hall in Manchester.


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I June 2017

British university removes Muslim prayer spaces ahead of Ramadan

One of Britain’s top ranking universities has come under fire for removing Muslim prayer spaces. Muslim students at the University of East Anglia were told on the eve of Ramadan that their Friday prayer space was to be taken away due to a “lack of space” during exam season. The only daily prayer space available on campus is to be permanently removed and replaced with a corridor to the university Library, it was reported. Students took part in a public prayer session in the main university square in peaceful protest against the

move. A spokesperson from the UEA Islamic Society said: “We are shocked and appalled that the University, who re-located us… on the condition that they would investigate a permanent solution which they have failed to produce, would take away our only prayer spaces during exam period and before Ramadan. “They have done this without consulting or telling any Muslim Students or the Student Union. “All we want is to pray in peace and in cohesion at UEA but after years of being bumped around

campus, being the only faith forced to use our campus cards to access our prayer space and now finding out by accident that our prayer space is being permanently taken away, UEA does not feel like a space for Muslims. Over the past few years, Muslim students at the university have used a lecture theatre for prayer and worship. The larger Friday worship sessions take place at a separate location by the Blackdale student residences. Both arrangements were set up as a temporary solution while the university discussed plans for a permanent prayer space. However, the Muslim student community are to be left with no designated prayer space, a move students say they had not been invited to discuss. UEA’s Student Union has accused the university of discrimination, failing its duties under the Equality Act. Union spokesperson for welfare, community and diversity, Jo Swo, said the situation had caused “a tremendous amount of anxiety and inconvenience for Muslim students as it has made them feel observed and treated like an inconvenience to the University”.

The director of a British human rights group who was arrested after refusing to surrender his laptop and cellphone passwords to the U.K. authorities was formally charged. Muhammad Rabbani, international director of an NGO called CAGE, was charged with wilfully obstructing and seeking to frustrate a search at London’s Heathrow Airport when he was entering the U.K. Rabbani was detained after disembarking a flight to the U.K. last year and was questioned by the British security services under Schedule 7 of the country’s Terrorism Act.

Under the law, any individual entering the U.K. can be detained and questioned and their DNA and fingerprints can be collected. Their passwords can be demanded to access personal devices by the security services without needing any suspicion regarding the individual. Human rights watchdog Liberty has described Schedule 7 as a “breathtakingly broad and intrusive power”. Rabbani refused to hand over his passwords, claiming he had sensitive and confidential information about a torture case on his devices. These were later

confiscated before his release on bail. He described the confiscation of the material by the authorities as “interference”. “It is tantamount to the state interfering with the work of an independent NGO that should be left alone to do its work,” he said. In a statement, CAGE said: “This is a Rosa Parks moment for Muslims in Britain. Our director has been charged with an offence for refusing to break client confidentiality, a privilege enjoyed by journalists, lawyers and human rights activists but not extended to Rabbani.” He will appear in court on June 20.

Cage director charged for refusing to give passwords


US and Saudi Arabia ink $350 billion arms deal

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A military deal worth $110 billion was signed between the US and Saudi Arabia, as President Donald Trump visited Riyadh in a high-profile trip to a key US ally. Washington agreed to sell weapons and services to Riyadh in one of the “biggest single arms deals” in US’ history, as the two countries mark a new chapter in their relationship. Sources confirmed to The New Arab that the deal will stretch past the $350 billion mark over the coming

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It will include military contracts worth $350 billion over the next decade, The New Arab’s Saudi correspondent confirmed. Washington and Riyadh will also work on joint investments in the mining and energy sectors, including Saudi oil-giant Aramco, which will be partially privatised next year in what is expected to be the world’s biggest IPO. The agreements are a huge boost for Saudi Arabia as the kingdom looks to take a more active role in the region - to curb Iran’s growing influence - and diversify its economy. The US is keen to sell weapons to the oil-rich Gulf state to strengthen its ally, as well as having Riyadh cooperate on fighting terrorism. Saudi ten years, while other agreements Arabia wants Washington’s backing in were signed on increased economic its ongoing confrontation with archcooperation. rival Iran. In a high-profile ceremony It comes as Trump made his first watched on by leading officials overseas tour as president with the between the two groups, Trump and first stop in Riyadh. King Salman marked a new chapter in There he, First Lady Melania and relations between the two powers on leading US officials met Saudi King regional security issues and military Salman, ministers, and leading royals. cooperation. This visit is said to be, in part, Saudi sources told The New an open statement to Iran about Arab that the agreement will provide Washington’s commitment to Saudi hundreds of thousands of jobs in both Arabia as a regional powerhouse. countries.

Pakistan rejects Musharraf conditions for trial In Case You Missed It

Pakistan has rejected former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s demands of military security and safe passage to Dubai to face his high treason trial, saying an “absconder” cannot give conditions and “dictate his prerequisites” to the court. The federal government on told a three-member special court that being an absconder from charges of high treason, 73-year-old Musharraf cannot seek any relief until he surrenders before the court which is trying him in the high treason case.

“An absconder cannot dictate his prerequisites to the court and give conditions, that too to his own subjective satisfaction, as to when he will appear and for how long,” the government said in its response. Musharraf filed an application before the special court on May 5 in which he expressed willingness to face the trial under military protection. He also sought assurance from the court that he would be given safe passage back to Dubai.

The government, through its chief prosecutor Mohammad Akram Shaikh, said, “The application has been filed only to prolong the conclusion of the trial,” the Dawn reported. “That similar applications requesting ‘foolproof’ security and citing medical and security reasons have previously been made in the other cases pending against the absconding accused but no other court allowed these requests.” it said.


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The Australian government has been sued over the detention of immigrants in a case to be heard in the largest ever trial of its kind. The entire trial will reportedly be live-streamed online and would be available to those asylum seekers and refugees held in notorious Australian-run detention centers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. The class action is led by an Iranian immigrant, Majid Karami Kamasaee, who spent 10 months at the Manus Island facility and who now lives in community detention in Melbourne. The legal case, which has been

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building for almost three years, will include 1,905 male plaintiffs, who were held at the center between November 2012 and December 2014, along with over 200,000 documents, 104 witness outlines, and 28 expert reports. Law firm Slater and Gordon expects the case to run for up to seven months. “This case will be the largest and most forensic public examination of the events and conditions at the Manus Island center and reflects the unquestionable importance of access to justice in the Australian legal system,” the firm said in a statement.

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It said that the lead plaintiff had alleged that Australia “was in effective control of the Manus Island Detention Center at all relevant times, and thereby owed a duty of care to the detainees being held there.” “The extraordinary secrecy surrounding the Manus Island detention center has meant that, for too long, the detainees’ experiences have been a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind,’” the firm further said in its statement. Australia stops asylum-seeker boats from reaching its shores. The government passed a law under which anyone who is intercepted while attempting to reach the mainland by boat is sent to detention camps on Manus Island off Papua New Guinea or the Pacific island of Nauru to have their requests processed. Even if those individuals are found to be genuine refugees, the Australian government denies them resettlement on mainland Australia. There have been numerous reports of abuse and misconduct against the detainees held in the camps, which rights groups have described as just limbos. www.pi-media.co.uk

West Mosul’s displaced exceed 526,000

The number of civilians forced to flee ISIL-held western Mosul since February -- when an army offensive began to liberate the city -- now stands at more than 526,000, an Iraqi official said. “Most of the displaced have sought refuge in government-run camps in the city’s [army-held] southern, western and eastern quarters,” Jassem Mohamed al-Jaf, Iraq’s minister of displacement and migration, said in a statement. “The number of those who have managed to return to [recently-recaptured] eastern Mosul, meanwhile, now stands at 176,000,” he added.

Ahmed al-Jarba, an MP for Iraq’s northern Nineveh province, told Anadolu Agency that the ability of displaced people to return to their homes “suggests that the security situation in eastern Mosul has improved”. He went on to assert that the city’s eventual reconstruction would require “years of joint governmental and international efforts”. He added: “The most pressing issue right now, however, is to ensure that those who have opted to return are being provided with basic necessities.” In March, U.K.-based charity Oxfam said that humanitarian

conditions in western Mosul had deteriorated sharply since the city’s supply routes were cut last November when the Iraqi army retook the city’s eastern half. In February, Iraqi forces -- with air cover provided by a U.S.-led coalition -- began fresh operations aimed at purging ISIL from western Mosul, the terrorist group’s last stronghold in northern Iraq. The offensive came as part of a wider campaign launched last October to retake the entire city, which ISIL overran -- along with other parts of the country -- in mid2014. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Germany to make reforms to army after far right plot

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more efficient reporting scheme for incidents and potential threats and would need to increase the political education of troops, the minister said “I am completely clear ... that we need a broad process in the military itself, that we must travel together - from recruits to generals, from instructors to the minister,” she said.

Want to Advertise German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said she would respond to the discovery of far right sympathisers in the German army with reforms, including revising one of the force’s post-Nazi era founding principles. German police detained a second soldier suspected of involvement in what prosecutors believe was a plan by a military officer and a student, both in custody, to carry out an “extremist” attack and blame it on migrants. Von der Leyen, under fire for her handling of the growing scandal, told reporters she would inform a

special session of the parliamentary defence committee about the investigation into the case and far right sympathies within the military. She said the ministry would clarify its “Traditionserlass,” a policy last updated in 1982 that gives a differentiated view of how troops are to treat and view the legacy of the German military. Von der Leyen, whose post includes the role of commander in chief of Germany’s armed forces, is a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel who is gearing up for a national election in five months’ time. The military needed a faster and

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Israeli settlers storm Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa complex In Case You Missed It

Hundreds of Israeli settlers forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to a Palestinian official. Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanrun organization responsible for overseeing the city’s Islamic sites, said some 708 settlers had stormed the complex through Al-Mugharbah gate. “A number of mosque guards were wounded after they were

assaulted by Israeli forces in the mosque’s courtyards” he told Anadolu Agency. According to the spokesman, three other guards were arrested by Israeli forces. Al-Dibs said the situation escalated in the complex after a group of settlers tried to perform a Talmudic rituals near the Al-Qibali mosque. Jewish extremist groups called on supporters to converge on AlAqsa complex to mark the 50th

anniversary of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem. For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times. Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.


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Saudi to become first GCC country to impose ‘sin tax’ 16

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Saudi Arabia will become the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country to impose excise tax at 100 percent on tobacco products and energy drinks, and 50 percent on soft drinks, from June 10. The news comes days after the UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) said it will start imposing excise tax on tobacco products, energy drinks and

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soft drinks, from the fourth quarter. The Saudi General Authority of Zakat and Tax, the entity responsible for collecting value added tax (VAT) and excise tax, announced the decision following ratification of the tax treaties by the General Secretariat of GCC on May 23, according to local media reports. Al Eqtesadiyah, an Arabic

business daily, quoted Zakat Authority officials as saying that the excise tax revenues will reach $1.87 billion (SR7bn) in mere six months. In the six-nation bloc, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have publicly announced their plans to start implementing VAT from January next year. UAE Minister of Finance Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, reiterated that the country will start imposing VAT from January 1, 2018. “VAT is being introduced to achieve economic diversification in preparation for the post-oil era,” he said, stating, the tax procedures law will be published soon. Businesses in the UAE that meet the minimum annual income of $102,180 (AED375,000), validated by their financial records, have to compulsory register under the VAT system from the third quarter 2017, before it becomes mandatory from the last quarter. However, registration is optional for businesses that an annual income of $51,090 (AED187,500) and above.

Hijab-wearing Muslim women ‘discriminated’ in Germany

Muslim women who wear headscarves experience various forms of discrimination in Germany, but often do not file complaints, head of Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS) has said. In a recent interview with Anadolu Agency, Christine Lueders said Hijab-wearing women often faced discrimination in the labor market, at fitness clubs or while renting an apartment. “Many people do not know that in Germany it is prohibited to impose a blanket ban on headscarves,” she said, adding that fitness studios or employers could not impose such bans for individuals who wear

religious symbols. According to Lueders, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency received more than 21,000 discrimination complaints since 2016, but only 300 of them were lodged by women wearing headscarves. “But these statistics do not say much about the actual numbers,” she said. “In general, when we talk about discrimination, there is always a high number of unreported cases. Because many people put up with discrimination or do not know where they can get support,” she added. In Germany, where nearly 4.7 million Muslims live, religious

freedoms are protected by the German Constitution. However, Muslim women who wear headscarves have been faced with an increasing level of discrimination in recent years amid a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments, triggered by propaganda from farright and populist parties which have exploited the refugee crisis. While Germany, unlike France, does not have strict rules which prohibit wearing religious symbols in public space, a recent ruling of the EU Court of Justice allows employers to ban their workers from wearing any religious symbol, including headscarves.


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Norway’s largest trade Union boycotts Israeli regime In Case You Missed It

Norway’s biggest and most influential trade union approved a boycott of Israel, as global outrage intensifies at the Tel Aviv regime’s oppression of Palestinians. The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) voted 197 to 117 in favour of an international economic, cultural, and academic boycott of Israel. The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which campaigns for Palestinian rights, hailed the LO’s move as a necessary means to secure fundamental Palestinian rights, Press TV reported.

“By courageously heeding the Palestinian BDS call…, LO joins some of the world’s most important trade union federations… in calling for meaningful BDS pressure on the corporations and institutions that have enabled decades of Israeli occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid,” said the BDS national committee. It also expressed hope for close cooperation with LO to translate the new policyadopted by the trade union”into effective measures of accountability at the academic, cultural and economic levels to

uphold human rights and international law.” It further urged LO to exert pressure on the Norwegian government to cut its military ties with Israel and to divest funds from all companies complicit in the regime’s occupation and settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. However, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende criticized the boycott, writing on Twitter that the “government strongly opposes Norw Labour Union’s decision: #boycott of #Israel. We need more cooperation and dialogue, not boycott.” Additionally, Israel’s Ambassador to Oslo Raphael Schutz denounced the boycott as “immoral,” saying he “condemns [the measure] in the strongest terms.” The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.” Thousands of volunteers, trade unions, NGOs, academic and business societies, as well as cultural figures worldwide have joined the boycott campaign to help promote the Palestinian cause.

Anti-Muslim incidents in US saw 57% rise in 2016: CAIR The number of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States saw a dramatic rise last year, according to a prominent Muslim advocacy group. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a report released on Tuesday that the number of such incidents increased 57 percent in 2016. A total of 2,213anti-Muslim incidents were recorded across

the country, up from 1,409 in 2015. There was also a 44 percent rise in hate crimes in the same period. Incidents had increased 5 percent in 2015 from the year before, Press TV reported. These included a wide range of bias incidents from repeated cases of arson attacks on mosques to street assaults and employment discrimination. The council also reported an

uptick in unwarranted contacts against Muslims by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While CAIR had reported a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump’s stunning rise in last year’s presidential election, it said the acceleration was due in part to Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Amman named, Islamic Culture Capital for 2017

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The city of Amman, Jordan’s capital, was officially named as “the Islamic Culture Capital for 2017” in a ceremony held last month. According to aljazeera.net, The Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) has selected four cities as the culture

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capitals of the Muslim world in 2017 including, Amman in Jordan, Sennar in Sudan, the holy city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran, and Kampala in Uganda. The ceremony in Amman was attended by a number of cultural, religious and academic figures such

as Abdulaziz Twejery, DirectorGeneral of ISESCO, and Nabih Shiqim, the Culture Minister of Jordan. According to ISESCO, the selection of Amman comes in appreciation of Jordan’s stature as a model of moderate Islam in the face of extremism, as well as the Kingdom’s deep-rooted history and civilization over the centuries. Addressing the ceremony, the Jordanian minister said that the selection of Amman came in recognition of its contributions to enlightenment, namely, the current situation facing the nation. Also speaking in the program, Twejery said that Islamic culture capitals’ program mirrors the enlightened cultural vision of the joint Islamic cultural work. The ceremony also saw the screening of a short film on the reasons for selecting Amman as the Islamic cultural capital by the ISESCO.

Austria passes legislation banning distribution of Quran

Austria’s government passed legislation outlawing the use of garments that fully cover the face of women, such as the burqa, as well as the distribution of the Holy Quran in public. The provision is part of a larger integration law, work on which was not blocked despite recent instability in the ruling coalition that means parliamentary elections have been pulled ahead a year, to October. Starting in October, people wearing garments in public that cover a woman’s face will be subject to fines of 150 euros (166 dollars). It is not clear how many people

would be affected by the measure. It has received criticism from both political extremes, in some cases for not being tough enough. Other parts of the legislative package prohibit distributing the Quran and require all migrants in Austria to participate in an integration year during which they would learn German and ethics, the Daily Sabah reported. That measure is targeted at refugees and asylum seekers viewed as having a good chance at remaining in Austria. Asylum seekers would also be expected to perform unpaid public work. Anyone refusing to do so would lose out on benefits. The

proposal is allegedly designed to make migrants better suited for the Austrian labor market. In Austria, Islam is the second most widely professed religion, practiced by 7 percent of the population or around 600,000 people, according to the Islamic Religious Community. The country has been spared the kind of extremist attacks suffered by Germany, France and Belgium. But fears and tensions have been growing over the past months, fueled by anti-migrant campaigns of the popular right-wing Freedom Party (FPO).

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Chinese authorities confiscate Qurans from Uyghur Muslims

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Authorities in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region are confiscating all Qurans published more than five years ago due to “extremist content,” according to local officials, amid an ongoing campaign against “illegal” religious items owned by mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghur residents. Village chiefs from Barin township, in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture’s Peyziwat (Jiashi) county, recently said that hundreds of the Islamic holy books printed before 2012 had been seized since authorities issued an order recalling them on Jan. 15. The Qurans were appropriated as part of the “Three Illegals and One

people from the true belief of Islam,” said Turghunjan Alawudin, Religious Commission chairman of the Munichbased World Uyghur Congress (WUC) exile group. “China is attempting to justify its wholesale repression of the Uyghur people by distorting the teachings of the Holy Quran, Hadith [the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)] and Islamic theology passed down to us by our forefathers.” Alawudin said that Beijing is working to ensure that the “accepted” version of the Quran legitimizes its “repressive policies” in Xinjiang and teaches the Uyghur people to “submit.” “In Islam, we must follow Allah and the teachings of Muhammed Item” campaign underway in Xinjiang (PBUH), but the Chinese government that bans “illegal” publicity materials, is distorting the Quran by adding religious activities, and religious passages about submission to teaching, as well as items deemed by authorities so that Uyghurs will authorities to be tools of terrorism— acquiesce to its illegitimate and including knives, flammable objects, dictatorial rule over our homeland,” remote-controlled toys, and objects he said. sporting symbols related to Islam, “China’s goal is to use the new they said. translated Quran to confuse the Overseas Uyghurs slammed the minds of believers and to serve its Quran ban as merely another bid by own political purposes.” Chinese authorities to exert more China regularly conducts “strike control over the Xinjiang region by hard” campaigns in Xinjiang, linking their ethnic group’s cultural including police raids on Uyghur traditions to terrorism and promoting households, restrictions on Islamic more government-friendly versions. practices, and curbs on the culture “The real objective of the Chinese and language of the Uyghur people, government is to alienate Uyghur including videos and other material.

Bosnian Muslims celebrate opening of their remodeled Salt Lake City mosque

Last month Utah’s Islamic Society of Bosniaks (as they call themselves) held a grand opening for its Maryam Mosque, named after the Virgin Mary, whom Muslims revere almost as much as Christians. The free event featured tours, music and authentic Bosnian foods while providing an opportunity for neighbors and other community members to see the worship space. “As a part of greater American

society, we try to present our religion of Islam and our national Bosnian heritage the best way we can,” Amir Salihovic, the mosque’s imam, said in a news release. The Muslim followers bought the former Baptist church, located at 425 N. 700 West, and remodeled into their own mosque — complete with a minaret tower, domes, an iron fence, a large covered patio and prayer rugs. www.pi-media.co.uk

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India’s Muslim meat traders plan legal action over new rules

Indian meat traders plan to take the government to court over new rules banning the trading of cattle including buffalo for slaughter, calling it a move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration to hurt the business run mainly by Muslims. The environment ministry said that animal markets will only be able to trade in cattle meant for agricultural purposes, the biggest blow yet for meat suppliers facing several reverses under Modi’s three-year old Hindu nationalist government.

The slaughter of cows, considered holy in Hinduism, is banned in most Indian states and laws on the issue have become more stringent over the past few years. Muslims, who make up 14 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people, dominate the Indian meat industry. India is the biggest seller of buffalo meat in the world, with exports of more than $4 billion a year to countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Egypt. But that could change following

the government’s May 23 notification regarding changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, made public. It requires owners to declare that cattle have not “been brought to market for sale for slaughter” and for market committees to verify that the buyer is an “agriculturist by seeing the relevant revenue document”. The new rules define cattle as bulls, cows, buffalo, steers, heifers, calves and camels. Abdul Faheem Qureshi, a lawyer in the southern city of Hyderabad and head of the All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee, said direct buying was “not always practical” and that he was drafting a court appeal after meeting with many of his “shocked” trader clients. Al Faheem Meatex, an exporter in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said buying buffalo directly from farmers was likely to raise costs, given stringent norms on cattle transportation. Qureshi said the new law would only embolden cow vigilantism groups. Muslims have been assaulted by Hindu hardliners over the past few years on suspicion of eating beef or illegally transporting cattle.

140,000 Palestinians to be pushed out of Jerusalem The Palestinian Shuafat Refugee Camp, in Occupied East Jerusalem, and the town of Kofr Aqab, in the north of the city, will no longer be considered as falling within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, Israeli security sources told Jewish Channel 10. The announcement confirms long-held Palestinian suspicions of a systematic Israeli plan to ensure a Jewish majority in the holy city. The move has been finalised by the Israeli National Security Council and will be implemented to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Jewish occupation of the holy city. According to Fakhri Abu Diyab, who heads the local committee in

defense of occupied Jerusalem, taking Shuafat camp and Kofr Aqab out of the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem will mean the Palestinians’ blue Jerusalem identity cards will be replaced with green West Bank cards. He said Israel planned to set up a local council outside Jerusalem boundaries to run the two areas while reserving sole security control there. A total of 140,000 Palestinians live in the two areas — 75,000 at Shuafat and 65,000 in Kofr Aqab. Muneer Zughair, leader of the Jerusalem neighborhoods’ committee, said residents of Shufat Refugee Camp and Kofr Aqab town

were already suffering from a poor of municipal services and facilities, and from frequent water shortages. Residents Kofr Aqab had sued the occupation municipality several times for failing to provide municipal services despite paying taxes to the Israeli government. Israel captured and annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast Six-Day War. Israel wants a united Jerusalem as its eternal capital, and has been forcibly displacing Palestinians to take over the holy city entirely. Palestinians see occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future Palestinian state. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Ramadan life and traditions culture in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia

Muslims around the world are observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. There are almost 1.8 billion Muslims in the across the world. Muslims believe that Ramadan is the holiest month in the year and a very important month from a spiritual perspective. Furthermore, the holy Qur’an, was revealed to the prophet Muhammad in this month. Therefore, fasting in Ramadan is obligatory for Muslims, and in the Qur’an, it states: O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain Taqwa [Godconsciousness]. – The Qur’an, AlBaqarah:183 Men and women are required to fast during the month according to Islamic teachings and this is one of the five pillars of Islam, Muslims should not eat or drink during daylight hours. Fasting in itself presents a challenge of patience and endurance. Muslims believe fasting is not merely a physical ritual, and are obliged to recite special Tarawih prayers in congregation. It is also a time when Muslims try to reconnect with the Qur’an, which they believe is the word of God. Actually, God has displayed his infinite mercy and exempted many Muslims from fasting like “children, people who are sick or who have mental illness, elderly people, travellers and women who are menstruating, postnatal , pregnant or breast-feeding do not have to fast. Ramadan life and traditions culture across the Muslim countries have developed over many centuries. Egypt Egypt is one of the oldest countries that have distinct traditions in Ramadan. The country has a fantastically rich Ramadan heritage, ranging from lights to cannons to night callers. The ‘Fanous’ of Ramadan is one of the most captivating of the Ramadan traditions. It is said that Egyptians welcomed the arrival of Caliph Moezz Eddin Allah to Cairo in 969 by lighting

hundreds of lanterns. Since that time, the fanous has been a staple of the many traditions that characterize the Holy month of Ramadan, from this day, men and woman and children who are usually associated with going out into the streets with their beautiful and brightly coloured lanterns. E ُ gypt is an ancient state and created the concept known as the lantern . Firing the cannon In terms of the notion of the firing the cannon in the holy month to mark the beginning and end of the fasting period, we know that ‘Haja Fatemah’, has its origins from the time when the Mamluk Sultan Al-Zaher Seif Al-Din Zenki Khashqodom received a cannon from a German acquaintance. Moreover, the soldiers tested it in Ramadan by firing it at sunset, from this time people knew that the Sultan was alerting them to the time for Iftar. Realizing that such a custom could increase the popularity of the Sultan, it is said that the Sultan’s wife Haja Fatemah received them when they came to deliver their suggestion as the Sultan was not home, and therefore the cannon is now named after her. From this story, one man suggested to him that he should continue the practice.

Al Mesarahaty Finally, another tradition culture is Called “Al-Mesarahaty”, Al-Mesarahaty is a man he walking around the village or city waking people in time for suhoor at night and he singings one of his traditional songs is “ Suhur, suhur / Es ha ya nayem/ Wahed el dayem/ Ramadan Kareem/ Es ha ya nayem, wahed el Razzaq” which translates loosely as “Wake up you who are sleeping, at the end of Ramadan people give money or a gift for his strenuous efforts. Morocco “Zowaka”: This is a traditional practice identifying the time of Ftoor in Morocco. An Air Raid Siren (Zowaka {Z O W A K A}) is heard, announcing the end of day’s fasting. This startling, loud sound is followed immediately

by the ritual “Adan or Athan,” or “the call to prayer.” This tradition has been replaced by a recorded sound, aired on national TV or Radio. During Ramadhan, people wear traditional Moroccan clothes (Kaftan, Jlaba, Charbil, Balgha) or money. During the early part of the night, it is also important to perform Tarawih, which are prayers that come after the Isha prayer, that are performed in pairs. Women usually prefer to pray their Tarawih at home, whereas the men choose the Mosque. Lilt Sab3a W3achrin: referred to in the Quran “Laylat Al-Qadar or Al Qadr,” it is the 27th night of Ramadan. The first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed on this very night, so it is quite special. The first Sura revealed to him was “Surat AlAlaq:” “Read in the name of your Lord who created you’ During this day the family gather at night and children offer gifts to parents and grandparents. Nafar, is a man who volunteers his services and performs the role of a town “Crier”: A Nafar is a kind of town “Crier,” whose task is to walk down the streets playing a special instrument, like a trumpet, or calling people by their family names, to wake them up for the Shoor meal. Tunisia The second week of the month, The people of Tunis participate in and observe the traditions of the month with great spirits. Food and celebrations take place in cafes and restaurants across the city, hence it is a special time to be in Tunis. Families gather every evening to break their day of fasting for eating dishes, that include dates, soup, couscous, and a special Tunisian tagine, my favorite is the brik, which is a deep-fried dough pocket that is filled with a mix of eggs, potatoes, and tuna. At the end we say “Ramadan Kareem” for all Muslim people in the world. By Miral AlAshry ,PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism School of Communication Canadian international college (CIC)


Hijab allowed for Muslim Basketballers

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In Case You Missed It

In a breakthrough for Muslim women rights, basketball’s international governing body authorized its new rules last month, allowing headgear, including hijab and turbans, as part of the sportswear. “It came up in our board meeting and everyone supported making the change,” USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley told AP news agency.

The decision, allowing headgear, including the hijab and yarmulkes, followed meeting for International Basketball Federation (FIBA). “The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries – which called for the head and/or entire body being covered – were incompatible with FIBA’s previous

headgear rule,” FIBA said in a statement cited by Aljazeera. Under the new rule, headgear must meet certain criteria to be allowed in competition, including that it “does not cover any part of the face entirely or partially”, it is “not dangerous to the player wearing it or other players” and it does not have “parts extruding from its surface”. Previous rules had banned the practice, over what world governing body Fiba said was a safety issue. The Qatar women’s team withdrew from the 2014 Asian Games after being denied permission to wear the hijab – a head covering worn by many Muslim women. FIBA began a revision process of its headgear rule in September 2014, with exceptions being granted at national level as part of a two-year testing period. The new rule is set to come into effect in October. www.pi-media.co.uk

Italian FA may be disciplined by FIFA

Italian football authorities may face disciplinary action over the treatment of Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari. Muntari, 32, was sent off after leaving the field claiming he was racially abused during a Serie A game. He was initially banned for one game but had this overturned by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). “We have a committee in charge of monitoring this and the committee will take action,” Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura told BBC Sport. “What matters is that the committee has to act and the sooner the better. “I have my personal feelings on anybody that is treated like he has been treated, on the pitch and off the pitch but I’m not here for my personal

matters. I’m here to make sure that Fifa takes, through the committee, the appropriate action for any single discriminatory action.” Fifa president Gianni Infantino said he would speak to exPortsmouth player Muntari, who believes world football’s governing body, and European equivalent Uefa are “not taking racism seriously”. “We will work together,” said Infantino, who also said he intends to talk to the head of FIGC, Carlo Tavecchio. “Unfortunately idiots, there are always idiots everywhere but we have to fight them. We have to work on the people.” Fifa was criticised for disbanding its anti-racism task force last September. The organisation defended this

decision at the time, with Samoura then saying that it had fulfilled the “mandate” for which it was set up in 2013 – which was to provide recommendations for a “strong programme” to tackle racism. A number of these have been put into action, including the introduction of an Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System to assess 850 high-risk matches for potential discriminatory incidents during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and friendlies. Juventus’ Morocco defender Medhi Benatia cut short a post-match television interview after claiming to hear a racist insult in his earpiece. Boca Junior player Frank Fabra reportedly left the pitch in tears after receiving racist abuse during his side’s match with Estudiantes. www.pi-media.co.uk


New guide provides guidance on football coaching for refugees www.pi-media.co.uk

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A new guide providing practical guidance, training methodology and expertise has been launched to help football coaches deliver football sessions for refugees, increasing their regular participation in sport and social inclusion through physical activity. Divided into eight main sections, the guide includes information on

training tips and training set-up, insight on challenges when training refugees, language integration, and exercises on dealing with conflicts within the training group, communication, game methodology, and best practice from CHAMPIONS ohne GRENZEN. It has been developed as part of the “Willkommen im Fußball” (ENG

Welcome to Football) programme of the Deutsche Kinder- und Jugendsti uni (Foundation for Children and Young People), backed by the Bundesliga Foundation and the State Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration, which promotes cooperation between top tier clubs with local education and social institutions, and city councils, to allow refugees and asylum seekers to access sport. Over 20 clubs from the German Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga – such as Borussia Dortmund, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and SV Werder Bremen – are involved in the refugee-welcoming alliances providing regular training sessions and football tournaments. The guide follows a conference organised in November 2016 around the programme, which presented conclusions, challenges and solutions of “Willkommen im Fußball” and experiences regarding what professional football in Europe and Germany can do to help refugees.

Yaya Toure, agent donate £100k to bomb attack’s victims “Such terrible news in Manchester. Thoughts and prayers with all those affected,” Toure tweeted. The news of the donation was revealed by Sky Sports News HQ which was told that Toure felt the need to help when details of the first victims were made public. Twenty-two people, including children, were killed and at least 59 injured after the explosion shortly after 10.30pm. “The news an eight-year-old girl went to see her favourite singer and didn’t return home is too much to bear,” Toure’s representative Seluk told Sky Sports News HQ.

“Yaya and I want to help. We talked this morning about what happened and he asked me what he thought we could do. “We have agreed to donate £50,000 each to help the victims of this terrible crime. It doesn’t matter whether the victims are from Manchester or not. “Those of us lucky enough to work every day in football can do so because of the generosity of fans across the world. “Yaya is from Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), I am Russian. It doesn’t matter. Today is a chance for those of us in football to help out.

“My son is eight years old and I can’t image the pain and the suffering that the parents of Saffie will be going through today.” Muslim taxi drivers were praised for offering victims and other concert-goers free lifts home after the explosion, directing passengers to safe places to be picked up, as well as offering water and helping to charge their mobile phones. The attack has been widely condemned by British Muslim leaders, including the Muslim Council of Britain and Manchester’s Ramadhan Foundation. www.pi-media.co.uk


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The quest for a free press in post-Qaddhafi Libya out of 180 countries on the 2015 press freedom index. What is the legislative Legal Environment:

In the late December 2010, an unknown street vendor from Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in a desperate act protesting against authoritarian rule in Tunisia. This was the catalyst for the revolution in the Middle East and the regimes responded by adopting a hardline stance cracking down against citizens in the process. The subsequent wave of protests that took the Middle East by storm, toppled regimes in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and shook many others to the core, quickly became one of the most studied and debated phenomena of our days. In Libya, the revolution that started on the 17 February 2011 with protests that soon escalated into a rebellion spreading across the country. The revolution took a deadlier turn as it became characterized by armed conflict, involving forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The tumultuous events in Libya quickly transformed Libya’s media landscape and now Libyan journalists started to report with a large degree of autonomy and gone were the days of media reporting restrictions and the spectre of censorship hanging over them. The proliferation of newspapers

and magazines was the real success story in this climate of newly found freedom. This was evidenced through the emergence of a plethora of Libyan satellite TV stations broadcasting from inside and outside to more than 50. The number of print media publications vastly increased as well as the appearance of dozens of specialized publications. Suddenly, journalists started discussing political issues freely despite newly found freedoms being at constant risk of threat from heavily armed militias as well as the remnants of the state apparatuses such as the army and police that had collapsed in major cities such as Tripoli. Benghazi and Derna. Officials were powerless to maintain security and prosecute those who commit crimes, including murders and assassinations. In 2015 Libya’s political and security situation continued to deteriorate, further weakening the ability of journalists to pursue their work freely. Threats, abductions, and attacks against media outlets and journalists became common place. In November 2015, the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated that there were 31 individual attacks against journalists in Libya in 2015. The RSF further added that Libya ranked 154

Today, Libya to a large extent remains a state without a permanent constitution. The Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA), elected in February 2014 to draft a new constitution. In October 2015, the CDA appointed working groups representing he various regions in Libya to work on drafting a constitution aimed at representing the interests of all Libyans. However, the deteriorating security situation and threats against members of the CDA stalled the process of constitutional reform. Article 132 of the draft provides for the right to expression and publication, but also calls on the state to “protect private life and prohibit defamation, libel, incitement of hatred, racism, violence, declaring others as infidels and imposition of ideas by force.” The draft specifically guarantees the freedom, pluralism, and independence of the media under Article 133, and prohibits pretrial detention of journalists in pressrelated cases. The same article states that outlets can only be suspended or dissolved through court decisions. On the right to information, Article 150 of the draft declares that the state “shall provide the necessary measures for transparency” and guarantee the freedom of information while protecting military and public security secrets, the administration of justice, private life, and confidential agreements with other states. Beyond the constitution, a number of laws and decrees currently in force contain provisions that restrict media freedom. These include the Qadhafi-era Publications Law of 1972; Law 15 of 2012, which prohibits media discussion of religious opinions


I June 2017 issued by the National Council of Islamic Jurisprudence; Decree 5 of 2014, which authorizes the suspension of satellite television stations that criticize the 2011 revolution or destabilize the country; and Law 5 of 2014, which amended the Qadhafi-era penal code to prescribe up to 15 years in prison for any statements that may harm or prejudice the 2011 revolution or insult the executive, judiciary, or legislature or any of their members.

www.pi-media.co.uk

How to ensure Press freedom in Post-revolution Libya? In order to answer this pressing question, we conducted a survey involving 162 journalists working at newspaper and reporting in the channels . What kind of obstacles are encountered in Libya by media professionals The graph below illustrates, the views of journalists about what kind of obstacles are encountered by media personnel. Most journalists said 75% of the their community concurred with the view that they were inhibited in one way or another from doing their work. On the other hand, between 55% and 65% of political and governmental organizations said that they also faced insurmountable obstacles in the field . The journalist indicated that political divisions exacerbated by ongoing armed conflicts, which broke out in May 2014 in eastern Libya and spread to the west have had a negative impact on the media landscape in Libya. In the same year, in Tripoli, the establishment of a self-declared government supported by factions of the Libya Dawn alliance, also saw rising competition between Libya Dawn and its rival, the Libya Dignity alliance, led by Khalifa Haftar. It should be said that this intense rivalry also extends to fighting of the “control of the state-owned media corporation and its channels’’. Depending on their funding sources and political affiliations at the end they are contributing to the political

I 25 Dawn aligned militias wrested control of Tripoli and its airport from forces aligned with Zintan. FEATURED

polarization that has ‘’engulfed the country”. In addition to this, the percentage significantly decreased with obstacles centering upon legislation and vocation obstacles being in the range of between 38.9% &30.9 %. Journalists need guarantees to be placed at the heart of the constitution that should not be eliminated by provisions to be found in other places. The Constituent Assembly members must take great care not to include provisions that have the effect of suppressing freedom of expression. They also need to provisions about states of emergency and threats to internal security must conform to international standards according to article 14 of the Constituent Covenant for the Transitional Period of 19 March 2012 “The state shall ensure freedom of opinion, freedom of speech for individuals and groups, freedom of scientific research, freedom of communication, freedom of press, media, printing and distribution, freedom of movement and freedom of assembly, demonstration and peaceful sit-in so long as it is not contrary to public order.” The Constitution must guarantee freedom of expression, not just as a fundamental right but also as the pillar of other rights. Provisions guaranteeing freedom of expression and freedom of information must be enshrined. The views of journalist according to their satisfaction of media freedom The graph below shows journalists are somewhat dissatisfied and not quite satisfied with figures being in the region of between 26.5% & 22.2%. The percentile for the very satisfied indicator came in the region of a low percentage of 16.7%. The journalist said “there are many stations was attacked many times by a group of militias operating under the Libya Dawn alliance who earlier accused the station of bias towards their main rival, the Libya Dignity alliance. The attack occurred as Libya

The views of journalist according to the rights and freedoms which should guarantee by the new Libyan Constitution The graph shows the views of journalists and what they want from the new Libyan Constitution. To begin with, 46.3% of journalists said that freedom of expression in newspapers and editorial policy. Moreover, The right for freedom of information with wad demanded by 42% of journalists. The same number of respondents said freedom to seek news and ideas was fundamentally important in the work that they do. The right of everyone to issue a newspaper without any conditions or conditions and not imprisoning journalists. At the end, the numbers dramatically decreased in relation to the right to express opinion without fear with 25.9 % responding favorably. Journalists suggested that guaranteeing freedom of expression should be as follows’: This freedom must apply to all persons, regardless of status, age or nationality. It must be protected everywhere, regardless of frontiers, and be sacrosanct in every kind of media. Online content must also be protected and it should include the right to impart and receive news and information, as well as ideas that shock or offend. Furthermore, it should include the right of access to information. In conclusion, we can conclude that Libya should value and respect journalists and other news providers, and the work they do. The state should end the physical violence and verbal threats to which they are often subjected in the course of gathering and imparting information. The arbitrary detention, abduction and threats to which they are constantly exposed in Libya must also end. By Miral AlAshry ,PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism School of Communication Canadian international college (CIC)

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


The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 14

During the reign of Umar Ibn alKhattab, the Islamic state adopted the same measures initiated by the first caliph Abu Bakr al-Siddiq in the field of military ventures. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq had argued that the existential threat posed by the Sassanid, Byzantine empires coupled with tribal chieftains had to be contained in order to prevent the collapse of the state. Therefore, Umar Ibn al-Khattab continued in the same vein as his predecessor by continuing to expand the state from a territorial perspective by taking as much land as possible to keep the enemy at bay. The phrase ‘attack is the best form of defence’ served both caliphs rather well and this strategy was further aided by the fact that two of the greatest civilisations that had existed no longer had the

intense desire to fight any longer having been ravaged by war and ramshackled with debt accumulated over a lengthy period that could no longer be paid in the grand scheme of things. Furthermore, Umar Ibn alKhattab as part of his military reforms endeavoured to create the War department commonly known in modern terms as the ministry of defence. The Islamic army was divided into divisions in which soldiers were assigned to a particular regiment under which they would serve for an appointed period of time. More intriguingly, soldiers received a yearly salary for being active in service and generous provisions were also made to reservists placed on standby in the event of emergency or declaration of war on several

fronts. Efficiency coupled with reducing waste and bureaucracy was at the heart of Umar Ibn alKhattab agenda in reforming the army with the proviso of making at a highly effective fighting machine. Each army division was responsible for its own budget and had an obligation to provide yearly accounts showing income and expenditure figures. Highly skilled professionals were assigned to these divisions such as accountants, physicians, interpreters and surgeons. In terms of maintaining the interests of the welfare of the citizens residing in the state, Umar Ibn al-Khattab initiated several measures designed to alleviate poverty and to ensure the poorest in society were catered for.


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PI Magazine June 2017  

Muslim news, Islamic news, muslim tv, passion islam, june 2017, election 2017, muslim vote 2017, manchester bombing 2017, hate crime

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