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Far-Right seek attacks on Muslims
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By Islamic Human Rights Commission
Government ignores advise in response to Prevent policy
The government has come under fire for a circular issued to schools suggesting that they ignore advice on how to implement the controversial Prevent anti-terrorism policy. IHRC wrote to 18,000 schools in England and Wales warning them about the misuse of Prevent and suggesting ways to ensure it was applied in a way that didn’t target Muslims and safeguarded the interests of schoolchildren. The correspondence highlighted that since the implementation of PREVENT became compulsory on schools in July 2015, many disturbing cases have emerged of children being reported to PREVENT officers for expressing views that teachers consider ‘extremist’. Typically students are targeted for expressing their opinions on current affairs (which in most cases seems to be the result of misinterpretation by teachers of normal behavior by young children), they are interviewed by PREVENT (or police) officers without a parent or guardian present, and parents/guardians are not informed about the referral nor are
they present during the interview. IHRC recommended that staff consulted with parents in developing and implementing an appropriate Prevent policy that did not focus on Muslims and ensured that no pupil referrals were made without discussion with the child’s parents. The policy must also ensure that parents or a suitable adult be present when a pupil is being interviewed. The government has since written to schools saying the IHRC’s email was inaccurate and misleading without detailing how. That response has prompted IHRC to write to the the Minister for Education Nicky Morgan criticising her department for failing to deal with the advice in a constructive manner and trying to dismiss it out of hand. In its letter IHRC reminds the government that a disproportionate number of young Muslim students have been subjected to referrals under Prevent, leading to great emotional distress, and also that it is all too common for schools not to inform parents/guardians of such referrals.
“Such underhand approaches have ensured Prevent’s negative perception within Muslim communities,” it says. “This is not an accident; policy guidelines reveal a clear bias in the framing of ‘extremism’ as a Muslim problem.” IHRC has consistently called for Prevent to be repealed on the grounds that it is counter-productive. We have been heavily critical of its expansion to schools as a statutory duty. It is ethically reprehensible to force teachers and other staff in the education sector to act as informants at the risk of losing their jobs, fracturing the relationship between educator and student. However, recognising that Muslim parents and children have to deal with the impact of PREVENT in their everyday lives, IHRC has sought to make Prevent a less hostile process by encouraging schools to hear the concerns of those they are serving. For the government to attempt to undermine that process is extremely disappointing. IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “I am astonished that despite the consensus of the devestating impact of PREVENT on Muslim families and children, the government not only continues its denial but prevents any attempt to soften the impact of it.”
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I March 2016
Uni warns Gov anti-terror strategy could criminalise Muslim students Manchester Evening News have been told by lecturers at the Univeristy of Manchester claim their role is being ‘fundamentally compromised’ by the Government’s Prevent programme. University lecturers in Manchester warn the government’s anti-terror strategy could lead to the ‘religious and racial’ profiling of Muslim students in Manchester. Academics at the University of Manchester have criticised the Home Office’s £60million ‘Prevent’ programme for the expectation it puts on lecturers to ‘police’ the political and religious views of its students. More than 25 academics and staff have put their names to a letter outlining their concerns on the Student Union website. Lecturers say the Prevent guidance is ‘dangerously vague’ and ‘fundamentally compromises’ them in their role as teachers.
They say university staff are being expected to identify students who may have been radicalised and flag up potential terrorist activity. They fear it could set a precedent for the racial and religious profiling of Muslim students. They write: “There is a high risk that all students perceived to be Muslim become criminalised as a result of the Prevent programme. “If the current guidelines are implemented, it is the case that the lecturing community will begin to profile all Muslim students in their charge.” The letter argues Muslim students could be put off applying to the university altogether. “We strongly believe that the increased risk of ethnic and religious profiling engendered by the Prevent guidance significantly threatens the university’s broader ambition to recruit Muslim students as well as compromising its ability to provide a
safe, inclusive and accommodating space for the Muslim students currently at the University of Manchester,” it adds The Prevent strategy was met with caution when first introduced at the university in 2013. Its aim is identify and challenge student’s with extreme views, but lecturers are reluctant to assume a surveillance role at the university. The statement explains: “Whilst university staff, as all public service professionals, have always been expected to report imminent threats of criminal activity, the Prevent agenda sets a unique precedence insofar as it asks staff to identify indicators which might merely suggest a propensity to criminal (‘terrorist’) activity.” The Home Office did not send a response when contacted by the Manchester Evening News.
First Muslim lifestyle show in London! 4
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
2016 sees the launch o f the first Muslim Lifestyle Show to take place in the multi-cultural capital of the world, London! The show will be the perfect platform to bring together and show-case the very best of Muslim culture, products and services from around the globe, the event will be held over two days (30th April – 1st May 2016) at the iconic Olympia London. The MLS will be the ideal place for businesses to reach the city’s 1million+ Muslims and for consumers to discover and learn
about everything they require from the fastest growing cultural sector in the UK. This event aims to become a showpiece in British culture by showcasing to the world that Muslim culture has a very important place in the world’s economy. It will rapidly become a wonderful opportunity to experience the best in Muslim culture and heritage from across the globe The International Muslim Market is split into a number of sectors worth the following values: Food $129bn, Fashion $266bn, Finance $1.65bn, Travel $140bn, Media + Recreation
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$185bn,Pharma + Cosmetics $72bn The values above are the estimated growths up to 2019 as published in “State of the Global Islamic Economy 2013.” MLS will consist of several areas for all members of the family to discover and enjoy. There is the Entertainment Stage with acts from around the world, seminar workshop arena featuring key speakers, fashion stage, which will feature the latest trends including the latest modest fashion looks, theatre with live entertainment and comedy shows, Muslim Introductions area, food court with international cuisines plus over 120 exhibitors. MLS aims to become an international event held in London for the world to participate in and for the Muslim Community of Great Britain to showcase its diverse cultural riches. MLS aims for this event to not only attract British Muslims but also become a tourist attraction for the rest of the world to visit, enjoy and discover more about the culture.
Four Gaza Universities rebuilt by Manchester charity
Human Appeal, a Manchesterbased humanitarian aid charity, has completed a project where they rebuilt four Gaza universities. The three-month project saw Human Appeal plough £227,000 worth of donation into rebuilding the higher education facilities that will benefit 52,608 university students in the Palestinian territory. Al Azhar University, the Islamic University of Gaza (the IUG), the University College of Applied Science (the UCAS) and Al Aqsa University were all either directly or indirectly by the 2014 conflict with Israel and Human Appeal set out to help start the recovery of Gaza’s crippled higher education system. Al Azhar University suffered significant bomb damage during what was known as ‘Operation Protective Edge’, by Israeli forces. To help repair the destruction, Human Appeal undertook complete repairs,
renovation and reconstruction of the university’s main campus building and provided educational essentials for Al Azhar’s students. At the IUG, Human Appeal provided financial support for students who became unable to pay their fees due to the economic destruction caused by the 2014 war. As well as this Human Appeal, provided the Islamic University of Gaza labs with laptops and upgrading the existing IT facilities for engineering students. UCAS University – which is the biggest applied science higher education facility in Palestine - also received
structural repairs to its damaged buildings from Human Appeal, as well as donations in the form of lab equipment, computers, LCDs and smart board. At Al Aqsa University the charity, based in the Withington area of Greater Manchester, provided three ICT labs with desktop computers, printers and LCD projectors.
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UK bans boycotts of Israeli settlement goods www.pi-media.co.uk
I March 2016
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
In Case You Missed It
Continued from front page
Local councils, public bodies and even some university student unions are to be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies, as part of a controversial crackdown being announced by the Government. Under the plan all publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face “severe penalties”, ministers said. Senior government sources said they were cracking down on town-hall boycotts because they
“undermined good community relations, poisoned and polarised debate and fuelled anti-Semitism”. But critics said the move amounted to a “gross attack on democratic freedoms”. A spokesman for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Government’s decision to ban councils and other public bodies from divesting from trade or investments they regard as unethical is an attack on local democracy. “People have the right to elect local representatives able to make decisions free of central government political control. That includes withdrawal of investments or procurement on ethical and human rights grounds.
“This Government’s ban would have outlawed council action against apartheid South Africa. Ministers talk about devolution, but in practice they’re imposing Conservative Party policies on elected local councils across the board.” Hugh Lanning, chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, condemned this move as “a gross attack on our democratic freedoms and the independence of public bodies from Government interference”. “As if it is not enough that the UK Government has failed to act when the Israeli government has bombed and killed thousands of Palestinian civilians and stolen their homes and land, the Government is now trying to impose its inaction on all other public bodies,” he said. “This makes it clear where this Government stands on international law and human rights. Despite the Government admitting that Israel’s occupation and denial of Palestinian rights is plain wrong and illegal, when it comes to it they will insulate Israel from the consequences of its own actions. It seems that for this UK Government, whatever crimes against international law Israel commits, having a military ally trumps the rights of their own citizens and institutions in this country to support human rights.”
UK Govt fights disclosure of involvement in Pakistan death penalty
A tribunal heard arguments on whether the UK Government should be allowed to withhold information which could show it has provided support for the death penalty in Pakistan. Ministers have so far refused to publish documents assessing the risk that financial support provided to Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) could lead to the handing down of death sentences to alleged drug offenders. The ANF, which is known to have received millions of pounds’ worth of UK taxpayers’ money, has
openly boasted about securing death sentences for non-violent alleged drug offenders. Despite the UK’s official policy of opposition to the death penalty, it has funded the ANF from the 1990s to the present day, but refuses to say what steps it has taken to prevent that funding from contributing to increased numbers of death sentences. In December 2014, Pakistan lifted an unofficial moratorium on executions, and the country has made clear that it intends to execute its entire death row population – estimated at up to 8000
people, over a hundred of whom are thought to be alleged drug offenders. International human rights organisation Reprieve is challenging the British Government in the Information Rights Tribunal (IRT) over its refusal to disclose a range of information relating to the Pakistan deal, including: assessments of the human rights and death penalty risks involved; steps taken to mitigate these risks; and whether ministerial approval was either sought or received for the programme. www.pi-media.co.uk
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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Number of British Muslims exceeds 3 million for first time
Britain is home to more than three million Muslims for the first time ever with more than half born outside the UK, according to new figures. The number has doubled in just over a decade as a result of soaring immigration and high birth rates. In some parts of London, almost half the population are now Muslims, according to analysis from the Office
for National Statistics. And if current trends continue, the areas could become majority Islamic within ten years. Half of those following Islam in England and Wales were born abroad while one in four are under ten years old – indicating a high birth rate within the community. According to these figures,
Muslims now make up one in every 20 people in the country. The highest percentage of Muslims is East London’s Tower Hamlets, with 45.6 per cent while neighboring Newham has 40.8 per cent. Outside the capital, Blackburn, in Lancashire, was highest with 29.1 per cent of the city made up of followers of Islam. And in both Slough and Luton over a quarter of the population is now Muslim with Birmingham and Leicester coming in at over a fifth. A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “This statistic highlights the diversity in modern Britain, and the need that this is reflected in all spheres of life, from top management opportunities to political representation.” Across the country there are now 3,114,992 Muslims with 1,554022 born overseas and they now make up 5.4% of the population of England and Wales.
Tribunal rules ‘hacking of computers and smartphones does not breach law’s’
The regime under which listening post GCHQ carries out hacking of suspects’ computers and smartphones does not breach human rights laws, a tribunal has ruled. Campaign group Privacy International and seven internet service providers mounted a legal challenge over activity known as equipment interference. However, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal found in favour of the agency and the Foreign Office on all points of law in a judgment issued. The use of equipment Interference, which is also referred to as computer network exploitation, by intelligence services was first disclosed last year. It allows authorities to interfere with electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs in order to obtain data. Operations can range from
using a target’s login credentials to gain access to information held on a computer to more sophisticated tactics such as remotely installing a piece of software in order to obtain the desired intelligence and covertly downloading the contents of a mobile phone. The methods are seen as an increasingly crucial tool as advanced encryption makes it more difficult for security services to keep track of terrorists. In its judgment the tribunal, which considers complaints about the way public authorities use covert techniques, examined 10 issues relating to GCHQ’s work. It concluded that the legal regime under which warrants are issued for the agency to carry out equipment interference in the UK is compatible with European Convention on Human Rights articles.
The framework was also found to be compliant prior to the publication of a code of practice on the tactics in February last year. In relation to authorisation of actions outside Britain, it said there might be circumstances in which an individual claimant might be able to claim a breach under articles 8 or 10 of the convention, which relate to the right to private and family life and freedom of expression. However, it said that “does not lead to a conclusion” that the regime is non-compliant with the articles. The tribunal also said it was “satisfied that the requirements for records are sufficient and satisfactory, and that adequate safeguards have been in place at all times for the protection of the product of CNE, and that there exists a satisfactory system of oversight”. www.pi-media.co.uk
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Far-Right groups seek more attacks on Muslims in UK
A new study has revealed that the far-right movement is seeking to organize attacks against Muslims in the UK. According to the report by the anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, the movement has already been emboldened by foreign-born fascists, the Guardian reported. The anti-racist group has also warned that “the increasingly radicalized ideology adopted by the UK’s far-right movement will lead to greater confrontation.” The normalization of Islamophobic rhetoric by the mainstream media is also believed to have fueled the escalating tension. This comes ahead of a planned demonstration by Polish neo-nazis in Manchester later in February in support of a “British white country.” The report also suggests that “the numbers of those involved in
more militant and violent groups are growing.” 61 far-right demos were staged in the UK last year, compared with 41 in 2014, although just eight attracted more than 150 people. Meanwhile, members of the far-right group Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West) are to hold a mass rally in Birmingham on Saturday. Pegida UK’s followers are expected to meet at Birmingham International railway station before marching to Birmingham International Business Park. Opponents of Pegida will also demonstrate at Victoria Square in Birmingham. “Birmingham is a diverse and multicultural city and we are proud of this. We stand against Pegida and their racist, Islamophobic and fascist views. Only twenty
years ago, we had a genocide of Muslims in Europe, which began with a campaign of dehumanizing the Islamic community through propaganda and hate. Today, Pegida and other far-right groups are attempting to bring division to our city but we shall stand united. In contrast to the hate propaganda of Pegida, we shall be celebrating the richness and strength in our unity through music, food, and speeches,” antiIslamphobia activist Salma Yaqoob was quoted by the British media. At the same time, Paul Weston, a former Ukip candidate who now heads anti-immigration group Pegida UK, has said Muslims should “not hold political power” in Britain. Weston has also claimed that there is no Syrian refugee, describing all asylum seekers as “migrant invaders.” www.pi-media.co.uk
Are you over 55 or suffer from a disability or do you care for someone who does? Do you want to undertake activities, have fun & learn new things? Do you want to socialise with others & make friends? If so, PKWA social & welfare care activities are for you! Our services are open to ALL Mondays & Tuesday: 10:30 am - 01:30 pm
Shama Older Women’s group (for ladies over 55 years) Hamara Women’s Carers group (for ladies who care for family members with disabilities) Respect Older men’s group (for gentlemen over 55 years) Apna Men’s Carers group (for gentlemen who care for family members with disabilities) Luncheon club service takes place at 12:45 pm
Wednesday’s: 10:30 am onward Drop in Cafe Thursdays: 10:30 am onward Drop in Cafe Fridays: 10:30 am onward Drop in Cafe
For further information, please contact PKWA on: 01924 422786
I March 2016
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Islamophobia, hate crime helpline set up by British charity In Case You Missed It
A helpline for victims of racial and religious abuse has been created in Britain by a charity representing mosques because some Muslims “don’t trust police”. Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) Chairman Abdul Hamid Qureshi said many “have no confidence in the system”. Between July 2014 and January 2016, 124 incidents were reported but Qureshi thinks the true figure is much higher. Clive Grunshaw, the county’s police and crime commissioner, said the issue of hate crime was one he took seriously. “Muslims are generally mistrustful of the police, for all sorts of reasons,” said Qureshi. He said this was because
“sometimes they report an incident and they are questioned about other things, so they don’t think there’s any point in reporting”. Speaking about Islamophobia, Grunshaw said: “We want people to come forward. We’ve also launched Victims Voice to provide enhanced support.” The new helpline, which cost £4,000 to set up and is part funded by Grunshaw’s office, was launched at the end of February. It is believed to be the first hotline run by an organization representing a group of mosques in the United Kingdom. Lancashire Police said “thirdparty reporting centers” were, at their best, “like-minded people sharing confidences”.
A spokesman said such schemes make it easier to support victims and prevent further abuse. The LCM plans to publicize its helpline in more than 100 mosques and Islamic schools, which it has represented since 1989. It will operate for four hours on weekdays and people can report any type of abuse from verbal to physical to staff, who have been trained by police. Grunshaw said: “It is really important for incidents to be reported, so that we have a better understanding of what’s happening in our communities. “We know there is under-reporting but gradually, the message is getting out there.” Calls will be logged anonymously or by name, along with details of the crime the most serious, with the permission of the caller, will be passed to police.
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Hafiz Saheb Patel janazah prayers ‘one of UK’s largest Muslim funerals’ They travelled in their thousands to pay their final respects to spiritual and religious leader Hadhrat Hafiz Saheb Patel. The funeral was one of, if not the largest Muslim funeral prayers said on UK soil with mourners travelling from across Europe. Originally from India, Hafiz Saheb
Patel was the head of the Dewsbury Jamaat and Tableegh and came to the UK in the early 1960s. The funeral was marshalled by hundreds of volunteers and despite the crowds there was total silence and dignity befitting a man who was resepected throughout the world. Hafiz Saheb Patel died last month
and the funeral took place at Savile Town playing fields, the only venue large enough to accomodate the huge numbers this afternoon. The burial took place at Dewsbury Cemetery. Many mosques in the UK organanised travel for those wishing to attend the janazah prayers.
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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
MI5 targets Muslim converts for recruitment, study finds British security services often target recent Muslim converts for recruitment as informants, according to a new study released by Cambridge University. Researchers from the Center of Islamic Studies spoke with 50 British men of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds who had converted to Islam. Some of the study’s participants said MI5 agents had personally approached them and asked them to work for the agency. One participant described the attempted recruitment as moving from “flattery” at the initial point of contact to “veiled intimidation” if converts rejected their first overtures. Another convert interviewed by academics branded MI5’s tactics “seedy.” He said agents operate “from ‘a bird’s-eye view of society’ rather than from ‘a ground-level view’ that took into account ‘how people
live.’” The 180-page report found that converts face distrust from both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It notes that they are often cut off from their families and are “tenuously integrated within heritage Muslim communities.” Converts complained of feeling demonized by the prevalent stereotypes about extremism and radicalization and said they were subject to shame and ridicule. One participant in the study, Abdul Maalik Taylor, who converted from Hinduism two decades ago, said that media coverage of Muslims contributes to a negative perception of converts. “You find a number of stories that concentrate on radicalization,” he said. “If there are successful Muslim converts who have contributed to
society and to Britain, they won’t get highlighted by the media. “Why do the media have a set agenda to try and demonize us?” Center of Islamic Studies director Professor Yasir Suleiman said: “In the West, conversion to Islam has been tarnished by claims of extremism – both violent and nonviolent – radicalization, and, sadly, terrorism.”
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Palestinians welcome French peace plan 14
Palestinians are ready to take part in a French-sponsored international peace conference this summer, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization source told Anadolu Agency. The conference is slated for July and will see the participation of representatives from the international quartet and several Arab states. “We welcome the idea that the French government wants to hold direct peace talks under the
auspices of the UN between us [the Palestinians] and the Israelis,” the source said. But, according to the source, the Palestinians have some preconditions, including a time limit for the talks and the need for Israel to halt settlement construction during the negotiations. “We cannot sit down at the negotiating table while Israel continues to build settlements in the occupied West Bank and East
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Jerusalem,” the source said. In January, former French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced France’s support for an international conference aimed at resuming stalled peace talks. Fabius said that, if the conference ended in failure, France would unilaterally recognize the state of Palestine. The Palestinian source said that PLO officials, along with representatives from the Arab League, held several meeting with the French over the past seven months. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the French plan as “baffling” and bound to fail. “Netanyahu’s statement was not a surprise for us,” the PLO source said. “He is a prime minister of a rightwing government that believes in settlement building, not a two-state solution.”
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Muslims in Brussels sue minister over halal slaughter ban In Case You Missed It
Several Muslim organizations in Brussels are bringing legal proceedings against the Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts. They hope to revoke regulations introduced by him banning the ritual slaughter of animals in temporary abattoirs for halal meat. The ban on the slaughter of conscious animals at improvised abattoirs is intended to prevent the annual slaughter of roughly 20,000 sheep in temporary slaughter houses
run by Belgian-based Muslims for their coreligionists. The halal meat produced is supplied for the Eid alAdha holiday feast. Weyts previously stated that the use of temporary abattoirs breaches European Union legislation “which permits the slaughter of conscious animals only for religious reasons and in authorized slaughterhouses”, reports the Times of Israel, and could therefore jeopardize all slaughtering of conscious animals.
While both Jewish and Muslim religious laws dictate animals are conscious when their necks are cut a practice opposed by animal rights activists kosher slaughter, or shahadah, only occurs in permanent licensed slaughterhouses. As such the current ban has no direct effect on the Jewish community. Weyts warns, however, that if exceptions are made for halal slaughter it could jeopardize all slaughter of conscious animals irrespective of venue. He explained: “Because of motions by animal welfare organizations that hang over our heads, there is uncertainty. If they go to court, they will win right away and that will be a total situation of chaos because then only stunned animals may be slaughtered.” Now, in a case which will come before the Court of First Instance, 10 Muslim organizations are calling for ban to be revoked and for €1,000 compensation to be paid for the damage they claim their reputations have suffered, reports RTL. www.pi-media.co.uk
Belgium to hire 1,000 more police to combat radicalism
The Belgian government approved a sweeping plan to combat Islamic radicalism and the threat of extremist violence by hiring 1,000 new police officers over the next four years. The plan, presented by Interior Minister Jan Jambon, calls for adding 300 officers this year, and more than 500 by 2017. “The impact that we are looking for is to maximize security in this country and in Brussels and in all of the other cities of the country,” Jambon told The Associated Press. The government’s decision, he said, will mean “a lot more police officers in the battle against terrorism.” The November attacks that killed
130 people in Paris were staged from Belgium, and subsequent official investigations have revealed how ineffective the surveillance of suspected radicals in the country has often been. Belgium has also been one of the prime European recruiting grounds for foreign fighters enlisted by ISIS. Jambon said 300 new officers will be added in Molenbeek and other neighborhoods of greater Brussels with a history of radical Islamist activity. Ninety-six police investigators will be hired, and 260 TV cameras positioned to monitor movements on the highways. The plan also includes funds
for more judges, police snipers, computer equipment, DNA scanners, prison guards and training of Muslim religious leaders. Law enforcement personnel will also be reinforced at Belgian airports and on the country’s North Sea coast. Prime Minister Charles Michel told a joint news conference with Jambon and other members of the federal government that 103 new hires will be made in the Belgian state security services. In a tweet, the prime minister put the overall price tag of Belgium’s security upgrade at 300 million euros ($334 million).
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Dozens of Dutch Mosques sent threatening letters 16
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Kenya to build new jail for terrorists
About ten mosques in the Netherlands received threatening letters over the past days. The letters contain swastikas and insulting texts. Mosque leaders are very concerned about the tone of these “disgusting threatening letters”, the council for mosques in the Netherlands RMMN said to broadcaster NOS. The RMMN advised mosques to be alert and to press charges of file police reports. “We hope that the police track down and prosecute the perpetrators. We also call on politicians to
pay more attention to security at mosques. It would be good if mosque leaders are supported by the government and feel protected in their rights”, a spokesperson for the RMMN said to the broadcaster. “That this is happening precisely on the day that the Netherlands commemorates the February Strike of 1941, makes us sad and anxious at the same time.” A spokesperson for the police confirmed to the broadcaster that they know about the letters and are taking it very seriously. The investigation is ongoing.
Iowa University gives Muslim students room to pray The University of Iowa (UI) has dedicated two rooms of the Iowa Memorial Union as a prayer space for its growing Muslim student population, which is required to pray five times per day. “We’ve had students who have tried to find empty rooms, I’ve even heard of a student using a stairwell so we did think this was a very important and necessary thing to respond to,” Dean of Students Lyn Redington said, according to CBS2Iowa. “Normally when I’m on campus, I try to look for an empty room, which may be hard in the day with all these
students or if I can’t find a room I’ll go to the top of a staircase and just pray there,” said Mohammed Ismail, a member of the Muslim Student Association (MSA). The UI MSA posted an announcement to Facebook about the opening of the prayer space which read, “For the first time, Muslim students at the University of Iowa have a safe place to pray on campus.” “The University of Iowa is a global, international institution, but we want all of our students to feel welcomed,” Redington said. The rooms are open to everyone
Kenya’s leader said the country will build a new high-security jail to hold terrorists and other violent criminals. “We will establish a new prison to hold violent, extremist offenders,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said, adding that the new facility will stop extremists from “poisoning” vulnerable Kenyans with their ideologies. Kenyatta was speaking at the Prisons Service passing-out parade for over 2,300 new prison warders at a training college in Ruiru just outside the capital, Nairobi. Although the Kenyan leader promised to fashion a budget to support the prison service, he did not give details of the size, cost or location of the planned highsecurity facility. A number of suspected alShabaab terrorists are being held on Kenyan soil in different prisons. The Somali militants have promised to carry out more attacks in Kenya unless Nairobi pulls troops out of Somalia. The group’s bloodiest attack to date was last year’s Garissa University attack on April 2; more than 140 people died. and since Islam is all-inclusive, students said they wanted the rooms to be the same. “Islam is represented, not in its true form by many,” Pasha said. “We would want to kind of show the majority perspective and the only way that perspective comes is when questions are asked and answered without any boundaries.” “It’s not just for Muslims, it’s for the students at the University of Iowa and people who are interested in Islam,” Ismail said.
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Germany mulling military training mission in Tunisia www.pi-media.co.uk
Germany is considering sending troops to Tunisia to help train soldiers in the fight against the ISIL group, a newspaper report said. Bild am Sonntag said that representatives of the defence and foreign ministries held talks in Tunis about how the German military could lend support in a training mission. It said the engagement envisaged training Tunisian soldiers first and could eventually be extended to setting up a training camp in Tunisia for Libyan soldiers, run with other international partners. “The ISIL terror is threatening all
of North Africa,” German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told the newspaper. She said it was thus crucial “to make every effort to support countries struggling with democracy such as Tunisia”. Von der Leyen told the newspaper that a training camp in Tunisia would be a contribution toward regional stability. “And if its direct neighbour Libya manages to put in place a unity government one day, its security forces could also benefit from established training facilities in
Tunisia,” she said. A defence ministry spokesman told AFP he had no further details beyond the minister’s remarks. The foreign ministry had no immediate comment. German forces are currently engaged in the international alliance against the ISIL group, including by arming and training Kurdish forces in northern Iraq and flying reconnaissance missions over Syria with Tornado jets. However the country’s defence commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels warned in a report last month that the German military was overstretched and underfunded and had reached “the limit of its capacity for interventions”. Tunisia suffered two devastating attacks targeting its vital tourist sector last year, in the beach resort of Sousse and on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, that together claimed 60 lives. Both were claimed by ISIL. ISIL has also been gaining ground in Libya amid the unrest that has gripped the country since longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi was ousted in 2011. www.pi-media.co.uk
Halal industry worth $3.7 trillion Worldwide spending on global Halal food and lifestyle products could rise 10.8 percent a year until 2019 to create an international industry worth US $3.7 trillion, according to the latest Global Islamic Economy Report. Commissioned by the Government of Dubai and produced by ThomsonReuters in collaboration with strategy and research advisory firm DinarStandard, the report says that the past year has seen major advancements in the global Halal food and lifestyle sectors. These include investments by a Brazilian Halal food provider in a UAE production plant, and new Halal
testing technologies from France, Malaysia and the UAE. At the same time, the Halal tourism sector, a huge driver of food, beverage and hospitality sales, has also advanced following product investments in the UAE, the Maldives, Spain, Japan, the Philippines and Russia, amongst others. The lucrative Halal tourism market now represents 11.6 percent of global tourism expenditure, excluding the busy Hajj and Umrah seasons, and is expected to be worth US$238 billion by 2019. According to the report, the Halal food sector alone will grow
to a valuation of US$2.537 trillion by 2019, up from US$795 billion in 2014, equating to 21.2 percent of global food expenditure. The top countries with Muslim consumer food consumption are Indonesia, with a market worth US$190 billion, Turkey, where the market is valued at US$168 billion, Pakistan at US$108 billion and Iran, where the market equates to US$97 billion based on 2013 data. Meanwhile, Malaysia, the UAE and Australia lead the report’s Halal Food Indicator, a gauge that focuses on the health of the country’s Halal Food ecosystem in relation to its size. www.pi-media.co.uk
I WORLD NEWS
www.pi-media.co.uk I March 2016
Halal food for Muslim travelers in Japan
The Okazaki service area on the Shin Tomei Expressway in Japan, will start selling halal bento (boxed meals) when it opens in February to accommodate the needs of a growing number of Muslim tourists. Using produce grown by local farmers, the meals will be prepared in accordance with Islamic dietary laws to ensure Muslims don’t have to worry about their food while on vacation in Japan. There are currently few restaurants in Japan that cater to the dietary restrictions of Muslims, which includes a ban on eating pork and drinking alcohol. “Many tour buses use the expressway, but we’ve never heard of a service area providing (halal food),” said an official at the Japan
Tourism Agency. The bento will be produced and sold by Toyotan Honpo Corp., a company in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, that develops regional specialties. The company will open its store at the Okazaki service area. The rest stop is a prime location as it is situated halfway between the Kansai and Kanto regions, with Toyotan Honpo keen to take into account the dietary needs of group tour passengers traveling long distances. There are four main dish options, including chicken teriyaki and gyukakuni (beef cube stew), with all meals created using ingredients that have been certified halal. The bento is served with Aichi no Kaori rice, a local brand produced by
the chairman of Toyotan Honpo, 40year-old Etsushi Ohashi, and comes with side dishes of boiled carrots, shiitake and taro from Mikawa, Aichi Prefecture. The move to halal foods is not an entirely new one. There are many Indonesians working in Toyota-affiliated companies in the city of Toyota. The deli section of a supermarket run by Masahide Itakura, 48, offers halal food as well. The supermarket has won the trust of local Muslims by separating and strictly managing ingredients and seasonings, as well as all cooking utensils used. Toyotan Honpo will prepare the bento in Itakura’s store so it can benefit from their experience. With tourists from Muslim countries often limited to eating light food, such as onigiri (rice balls), when visiting Japan, Toyotan Honpo has already received orders from travel agencies for the product. Located between the junctions of Toyota-Higashi in Toyota and Hamamatsu Inasa in the city of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, the Okazaki Service Area will be the biggest one in the Tokai region. The halal bento is priced at ¥2,000 and must be reserved beforehand.
Bosnians protest against hijab ban
Thousands of people, mostly women, protested in downtown Sarajevo against a recent ban on wearing a hijab headscarf in the majority Muslim country’s judicial institutions. “We gathered to protest against prejudices, discrimination and marginalization,” Samira Zunic Velagic, one of the protest organizers, told the crowd. “The ban of wearing hijab in judicial insititious is a serious attack against Muslim honor, personality and identity, a violation ... aimed at depriving them of their right to work,” she added. The protest was sparked by a recent decision ofBosnia’s high judicial council, a body tasked with
supervising the functioning of the judiciary, to ban “religious signs” in judicial institutions. The decision which concerns judges and other employees in the sector, but does explicitly mention hijab -- a scarf which covers hair, ears and neck -- was strongly condemned byBosnia’s Mulism political and religious leaders as well as numerous local Muslim associations. The protestors marched for around an hour through the capital’s center carrying banners that read “Hijab is my Daily Choice,” “Hijab is my Right” or “Hijab is my Life.” “We came here to say that we are not the victims of this scarf. We
came to defend our rights. It is our crown, our liberty, our honour,” Elisa Hamovac, a 33-year-old stay-athome mother, wearing a light blue hijab, said. Muslims make up around 40 percent ofBosnia’s population of 3.8 million and are mostly followers of a moderate form of Islam. The others are mostly Orthodox and Catholic Christians. Hijab was banned by the communist authorities whileBosniawas still part of the former Yugoslavia until 1992 when it proclaimed independence. Today many Muslim women wear hijab, with some being completely veiled. However, most are not veiled.
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I March 2016
WORLD NEWS I 19
Palestinian factions warn of ‘human catastrophe’ in Gaza www.pi-media.co.uk
According to the NGO, 40 percent of Gaza’s population fall below the poverty line and 60 percent are food insecure. Fifty-five percent of the Palestinians in Gaza suffer from clinical depression and 40 percent receive water just 5-8 hours every three days due to insufficient power supply, it added.
Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the Palestinian territory, which has been reeling under a 10-year Israeli blockade. In a statement, the factions said that the economic and humanitarian situation in the seaside enclave has reached an unprecedented level of gravity. “The deteriorating humanitarian situation has led to the rise of the
levels of poverty, unemployment and has caused many to commit suicide,” the statement said. Israel has imposed a crippling siege on the Gaza Strip after Hamas swept the Palestinian parliamentary elections 10 years ago. Last month, the Geneva-based Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights said the Israeli blockade has caused 43 percent of Gaza’s 1.9 million population to become unemployed.
Coordinating body of Muslim councils in US formed
US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local American Muslim groups, joined with leaders from Muslim organizations in the West to issue the “Washington Declaration” announcing the formation of a coordinating body to deal with issues of common concern. The declaration announcing the formation of the”Coordinating Body of Muslim Councils in the West”was issued at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and was the result of consultations at the recently-concluded”1st International Conference of Muslim Councils in the West”held this week in Arlington, Va. That international conference, organized by USCMO, brought together some 200 delegates from Muslim communities in the West including representatives
from Muslim councils and member organizations fromNorth America, South America, the Caribbean, Australia, and Europeto discuss issues such as rising Islamophobia, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and formulating strategic priorities. Participants in the conference heard from U.S. officials, diplomats, community activists and leaders, academics and elected representatives. Founding members of USCMO are AmericanMuslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA) and The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed)
Former U.N. war court convict arrested in Bosnia A former Bosnian Serb policeman who has already served time in prison for taking part in a massacre during the 1992-1995 war was arrested on fresh war crimes charges. Bosnian police detained Darko Mrdja along with two other ex-members of his police unit, Radenko Marinovic and Milan Gavrilovic. Prosecutors accuse the trio – as well as a fourth suspect who is already behind bars for a separate war crime – of murdering non-Serb detainees in the early months of the Bosnian conflict. They are suspected of having killed at least 10 people being transferred to detention camps in the northwestern town of Prijedor and a nearby village in July and August 1992, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. Mrdja was in 2004 sentenced to 17 years in jail by the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague after pleading guilty to taking part in the mass execution of some 200 Muslim and Croat civilians whose bodies were thrown off a cliff. Mrdja, now 48, was released in 2013 after serving more than two-thirds of his sentence. He then returned to Bosnia.
www.pi-media.co.uk I March 2016
DAMAGE TO PROPERTY
West Yorkshire Police now recognise that some victims of hate crime are targeted because of their religion ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY FORM OF HATE DIRECTED AT YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR RELIGION, REPORT IT TO THE POLICE, IMMEDIATELY. TELL THEM IT’S AN ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIME WHEN YOU CALL.
DON’T ALLOW HATE TO WIN
REPORT IT TO THE POLICE
If you experience any form of Islamophobia, report it to the police. It is crucial that you report any kind of hate, whether it is physical, damage to property, graffiti or verbal abuse.
of British Muslims surveyed by the British Crime Survey had experienced Islamophobia.
IN AN EMERGENCY CALL: 999
HATE CRIME HELPLINE: �
Where can I find out more? Email: email@example.com or Call (0113) 2773330
MCSF MUSLIM COMMUNITY
SAFETY FORUM (Serving West Yorkshire)
Building Bridges is a project developed by the Hamara Centre (www.hamara.org.uk), funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (www.jrct.org.uk) to address Islamophobia across Leeds.
Italian Mosques obliged to deliver sermons in Italian www.pi-media.co.uk
I March 2016
An agreement that will ensure Italian is spoken in Florence mosques was signed last month. The ruling, signed by the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, and the Izzedine Elzir, president of the Italian-Islamic Community, Uccoi, will push all Florence imams to deliver sermons in Italian during the most important weekly meeting in the Muslim church - the Friday prayer of Jummah.
WORLD NEWS I 21
It will also ensure that passages from the Quran are read out in Italian, not Arabic. The initiative is expected to be followed across other Italian cities soon. “It’s about underscoring our citizenship. We are all Italian citizens and what unites us is our language and our culture,” Elzir, also imam of Florence, told The Local. “You have to remember that around 40 percent of Italian Muslims
don’t even speak Arabic, so there can be confusion during sermons if they are in Arabic.” For this reason, some of the city’s mosques already use the Italian language but the new pact will see those that don’t forced to change in a bid to help Italian Muslims integrate into the social fabric. “Obviously we will still have imams on hand to translate into Arabic to help out those who are still learning Italian,” Elzir added. The so-called “citizens’ pact” will also encourage integration by opening mosques up to members of the non-Muslim community. Each Florence mosque will be fitted with a noticeboard which will be managed by young Muslims charged with organizing social and cultural events in the city. For the Tuscan city’s mayor, the move represents an important step towards reducing the threat of homegrown extremism.
Books & Nasheed Reviews can be sent to PI Review Manor Way, Batley West Yorkshire WF17 7BX
Malaysia’s Johor aims to be major world player with new halal park
Johor, a state in southern Malaysia, is aiming high and wants to emerge as one of the main players in the global halal industry with the setting up of the Johor Halal Park (JHP) in Cahaya Baru. Mohamed Khaled Nordin, an official in the state, said Johor had the advantage compared with other states which also have their own halal parks as the JHP was totally different in its set up. “You have to be different in order to attract investments and this is just what we are doing with our halal
park,’’ he told reporters after opening the SK Taman Rinting 2 ParentsTeachers Association annual general meeting. Mohamed Khaled said that the park would have its regional marketing and clearing house, integrated packaging, warehousing and logistic, one-stop centre, scientific and halal laboratory and incubator with international standard. According to him, the regional marketing and clearing house could be a collection centre for products including perishable items such as
fruits, vegetables and cut flowers produced by farms located outside the halal park. The freehold halal park is a joint-venture project between United Malayan Land Bhd and the Johor State Government-linked company Johor Biotechnology & Biodiversity Corp. The 141.63ha project is located on a 141.63ha site in Cahaya Baru near here with a gross development value of RM1.5bil. It will be developed over the next five to seven years.
www.pi-media.co.uk I March 2016
‘Little Messi’ dream come true was pictured wearing a homemade Argentina shirt with No 10 on the back, said they want to thank Barcelona star Messi, a Unicef goodwill ambassador, in person. Afghan football federation spokesman Ali Kazimi said it has prepared passports for the boy, his father and uncle to travel to Spain. He said it is waiting for a response about a meeting. Murtaza was photographed wearing Messi’s signed Argentina shirt at Unicef’s office in Kabul.
The Afghan boy who became an online hit after wearing a homemade shirt bearing Lionel Messi’s famous number 10 has finally received the real thing - from the Argentine footballer himself. The child known as “Messi’s biggest fan”, five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi, who comes from the Jaghori District, in the eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan. “I love Messi and my shirt says Messi loves me,” Murtaza said - already perfecting his own goal
celebration. The online search for the boy was sparked by a single photo that went viral, showing him wearing the homemade shirt made from a striped blue plastic bag, imitating the famous Argentina strip. The father of a five-yearold Afghan boy who received autographed shirts from Lionel Messi has said they are eager to travel to Spain to meet the football star. Mohammad Arif Ahmadi, the father of Murtaza Ahmadi, who
UAE told to keep ‘pushing’ women’s football In Case You Missed It
The UAE has been urged to keep “pushing” women’s football and capitalise on a surge of global interest in the game to grow the sport here. England internationals Steph Haughton, who also captains her country, and striker Toni Duggan helped coach UAE national team and youth players along with their Manchester City Women’s Football Club teammates last month. The pair undertook a venture similar to the one held at New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus on Saadiyat Island last year and reckoned that more women were present this time around. What will it take for the UAE
women’s side, who are currently the highest-ranked Arabian Gulf country at 73rd in the Fifa rankings, to improve? “I think it’s just pushing it,” Duggan, a 24-year-old striker, told Gulf News. “It took time, especially in England. I’d say it’s been at its highest point that it’s ever been in England. But look over there now and the amount of girls involved. “I think when I was younger there weren’t that many, so they’re already a step ahead of the game. Who knows the future? They could have their own successful league here and I could come and play here. [laughs]” “I think when we set up the team we wanted to raise the profile of the women’s game and these
opportunities help that.” “Hopefully young girls from other communities can have opportunities just like us,” added Haughton, 27, a defender who captained England to third place at last summer’s World Cup. “Numbers have probably doubled [from last year’s Abu Dhabi training session], which is a great sign. You see a lot of girls coming over asking about how we did at the World Cup and how we do things at Manchester. We want to make a difference and if that means coming over here and inspiring girls to play football, that’s what we want to do.”
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I March 2016
American Muslim to Compete at the Olympics with Hijab
Ibtihaj Muhammad is the first American athlete to partake in the Olympics with hijab. The 30-year-old Muslim is a fencer who wears hijab in contests and will go to the 2016 Summer
Olympics wearing one, Huffington Post reported. She won the bronze medal in the Women’s Sabre World Cup last month to be qualified to represent the US fencing team in Rio, Brazil.
“When most people picture an Olympic fencer, they probably do not imagine a person like me. Fortunately, I am not most people,” she explains in her USA Fencing bio. “I have always believed that with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, I could one day walk with my U.S. teammates into Olympic history.” “I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals -- not race, religion or gender. I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.” The New Jersey native has been fencing since the age of 13. The 2016 games, or Jogos Olímpicos de Verão de 2016 in Portuguese, will be held from August 5 to August 21.
First ever LV America’s Algerians cheer Cup World Series hosted in Middle East against own football team for Palestine
The Sultanate of Oman created a rare slice of sporting history when it became the first country in the Middle East to host America’s Cup racing by staging the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Oman on 27-28 February 2016. Sir Ben Ainslie of Great Britain won the America’s Cup World Series in Oman. Ainslie and his Team BAR crew - which includes Olympic-
bound Finn world champion Giles Scott - topped the standings. They rebounded from a disappointing start to finish second in the fourth race but two penalties, for being the wrong side of the start line, meant they posted a fourth and third in races five and six. However, the results of others went their way and they topped the overall leaderboard with 76 points.
In a scene not too often the norm in sporting events, the Algerian fans were seen cheering for the Palestinian football team during a friendly game against their own country. The friendly game was played between the Algerian Olympic football team and its Palestinian counterpart last monthin Algiers. Algerian fans erupted in joy when Palestinian player Ahmad Abu Nahia scored for his team in the 62nd minute. At least 80,000 fans were reportedly in attendance for the game.
The Four Poisons of the Heart 24I FEATURED
From the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim alJawziyya, and Imam Ghazali
“And keep yourself (O Muhammad!) patiently with those who call on their Lord (your companions who remember their Lord with glorification, praising in prayers, etc., and other righteous deeds, etc.) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.” The Holy Quran: 18:28. You should know that all acts of disobedience are poision to the heart and cause its sickness and ruin. They result in its will running off course, against that of Almighty, and so its sickness festers and increases. Ibn al-Mubarak said: I have seen wrong actions killing hearts, And their degradation may lead to their bcoming addicted to them. Turning away from wrong actions gives life to the hearts, And opposing your self is best for it. Whoever is concerned with the health and life of his heart, must rid it of the effects of such poisons, and then protect it by avoiding new ones. If he takes any by mistake, then he should hasten to wipe out their effect by turning in repentance and seeking forgiveness from Almighty, as well as by doing good deeds that will wipe out his wrong actions. By the four poisions we mean unnecessary talking, unrestrained glances, too much food, and keeping bad company. Of all the poisons, these are the most widespread and have the greatest effect on a heart’s well-being. Unnecessary Talking It is reported in al-Musnad, on the authority of Anas, that the Prophet (s) said: “The faith of a servant is not put right until his heart is put right,
www.pi-media.co.uk I March 2016
and his heart is not put right until his tongue is put right.”1 This shows that the Prophet (s) has made the purification of faith conditional on the purification of the heart, and the purification of the heart conditional on the purification of the tongue. At-Tirmidhi relates in a hadith on the authority of Ibn Umar: “Do not talk excessively without remembering Almighty, because such excessive talk without the mention of Almighty causes the heart to harden, and the person furthest from Almighty is a person with a hard heart.” Umar Ibn al-Khattab, may Almighty be pleased with him, said: “A person who talks too much is a person who often makes mistakes, and someone who often makes mistakes, often has wrong actions. The Fire has a priority over such a freqent sinner.” In a hadith related on the authority of Mu’adh, the Prophet (s) said, “Shall I not tell you how to control all that?” I said, “Yes do, O Messenger of Almighty.” So he held his tongue between his fingers, and then he said: “Restrain this.” I said, “Oh Prophet of Almighty, are we accountable for what we say?” He (s) said, “May your mother be bereft by your loss! Is there anything more than the harvest of the tongues that throws people on their faces (or he said ‘on their noses’) into the Fire?” What is meant here by ‘the harvest of the tongues’ is the punishment for saying forbidden things. A man, through his actions and words, sows the seeds of either good or evil. On the Day of Resurrection he harvests their fruits. Those who sow the seeds of good words and deeds harvest honour and blessings; those who sow the seeds of evil words and deeds reap only regret and remorse. A hadith related by Abu Huraira says, “What mostly causes people to be sent to the Fire are the two openings: the mouth and the private parts.”
Abu Huraira also related that the Messenger of Almighty (s) said, “The servant speaks words, the consequences of which he does not realise, and for which he is sent down into the depths of the Fire further than the distance between the east and the west.” The same hadith was transmitted by at-Tirmidhi with slight variations: “The servant says something that he thinks is harmless, and for which he will be plunged into the depths of the Fire as far as seventy autumns.”7 Uqba ibn Amir said: “I said: “O Messenger of Almighty, what is our best way of surviving?’ He, may Almighty bless him and grant him peace, replied: “Guard your tongue, make your house suffice for sheltering your privacy, and weep for your wrong actions.” It has been related on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’d that the Prophet (s) said, “Whoever can guarantee what is between his jaws and what is between his le guarantee him the Garden.” It has also been related by Abu Huraira, may Almighty be pleased with him, that the Prophet, may Almighty bless him and grant him peace, said, “Let whoever believes in Almighty and the Last Day either speak good or remain silent.” Thus talking can either be good, in which case it is commendable, or bad, in which case it is haram. The Prophet (s) said: “Everything the children of Adam say goes against them, except for their enjoining good and forbidding evil, and remembering Almighty, Glorius and Might is He.” This was reported by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Ma’jah on the authority of Umm Habiba, may Almighty be pleased with her. Umar ibn al-Khattab visited Abu Bakr, may Almighty be pleased with them, and found him pulling his tongue with his fingers. Umar said “Stop! may Almighty forgive you!” Abu Bakr replied; “This tongue has brought me to dangerous places.” Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said: “By
I March 2016
Almighty, besides Whom no god exists, nothing deserves a long prison sentence more than my tongue.” He also used to say: “O tongue, say good and you will profit;desist from saying evil things and you will be safe; otherwise you will find only regret.” Abu Huraira reported that Ibn al-Abbas said: “A person will not feel greater fury or anger for any part of his body on the Day of Judgement more than what he will feel for hi tongue, unless he only used it for saying or enjoining good.” Al-Hassan said: “Whoever does not hold his tongue cannot understand his deen.” The least harmful of a tongue’s faults is talking about whatever does not concern it. The following hadith of the Prohet (s) is enough to indicate the harm of this fault: “One of the merits of a person’s Islam is his abandoning what does not concer him.” Abu Ubaida related that alHassan said: “One of the signs of Almighty’s abandoning a servant is His making him preoccupied with what does not concern him.” Sahl said, “Whoever talks about what does not concern him is deprived of truthfulness.” As we have already mentioned above, this is the least harmful of the tongue’s faults. There are far worse things, like backbiting, gossipying, obscene and misleading talk, two-faced and hypocritical talk, showing off, quarrelling, bickering, singing, lying, mockery, derision and falsehood; and there are many more faults which can affect a servant’s tongue, ruining his heart and causing him to lose both his happiness and pleasure in this life, and his success and profit in the next life. Almighty is the One to Whom we turn for assistance. Unrestrained Glances The unrestrained glance results in the one who looks becoming attracted to what he sees, and in the imprinting of an image of what he sees in his heart. This can result in several kinds of corruption in the servant. The following are a number of them: It has been related that the Prophet (s) once said words to the effect: “The glance is a poisoned arrow of shaytan. Whoever lowers his gaze for Almighty, He will bestow upon him a refreshing sweetness which he will find in his heart on the
FEATURED I 25
day that he meets Him.” Shaytan enters with the glance, for he travels with it, faster than the wind blowing through an empty place. He makes what is seen appear more beautiful than it really is, and transforms it into an idol for the heart to worship. Then he promises it false rewards, lights the fire of desires within it, and fuels it with the wood of forbidden actions, which the servant would not have committed had it not been for this distorted image. This distracts the heart and makes it forget its more important concerns. It stands between it and them; and so the heart loses its straight path and falls into the pit of desire and ignorance. Almighty, Mighty and Glorious is He, says: “And do not obey anyone whose heart WE have made forgetful in remembering Us- who follows his own desires, and whose affair has exceeded all bounds. (18:28)” The unrestrained gaze causes all three afflications It has been said that between the eye and the heart is an immediate connection; if the eyes are corrupted, then the heart follows. It becomes like a rubbish heap where all the dirt and filth and rottennes collect, and so there is no room for love for Almighty, relating all matters to Him, awareness of being in His presence, and feeling joy at His proximity-only the opposite of these things can inhabit such a heart. Staring and gazing without restraint is disobedience to Almighty: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and quard their modesty; that is more purifying for them. Surely Almighty is aware of what they do. (24:30)” Only the one who obeys Almighty’s commands is content in this world, and only the servant who obeys Almighty will survive in the next world. Furthermore, letting the gaze roam free cloaks the heart with darkness, just as lowering the gaze for Almighty clothes it in light. After the above ayah, Almighty, the Glorious and Mighty, says in the same surah of the the Qur’an: “Almighty is the light of the heavens and the earth: the likeness of His light is as if there were a niche, and in the niche is a lamp, and in the lamp is a glass, and the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose
oil is well nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it. Light upon light. ‘Almighty guides whomever He wants to His Light. Almighty strikes metaphors for man; and Almighty knows all things. (24:35)” When the heart is a light, countless good comes to it from all directions. If it is dark, then clouds of evil and afflictions come from all directions to cover it up. Letting the gaze run loose also makes the heart blind to distinguishing between truth and falsehood, between the sunnah and innovation; while lowering it for Almighty, the Might and Exalted, gives it a penetrating, true and distinguishing insight. A righteous man once said: “Whoever enriches his outward behaviour by follwing the sunnah, and makes his inward soul weathy thorugh contemplation, and averts his gaze away from looking at what is forbidden, and avoids anything of a doubtful nature, and feeds soley on what is halal-his inner sight will never falter.” Rewards for actions come in kind. Whoever lowers his gaze from what Almighty has forbidden, Almighty will give his inner sight abundant light. Too Much Food The consumption of small amounts of food guarantees tenderness of the heart, strenght of the intellect, humility of the self, weakness of desires, and gentleness of temperament. Immoderate eating brings about the opposite of these praiseworthy qualities. Al-Miqdam ibn Ma’d Yakrib said: “I heard the Messenger of Almighty (s) say: “The son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Almighty than his stomach. A few morsels should be enough for him to preserve his strength. If he must fill it, then he should allow a third for his food, a third for his drink and leave a third empty for easy breathing.”15 Excessive eating induces many kinds of harm. It makes the body incline towards disobedience to Almighty and makes worship and obedience seem laborious-such evils are bad enough in themselves. A full stomach and excessive eating have caused many a wrong action and inhibited much worship. Whoever safeguards against the evils of overfilling his stomach has prevented great evil. It is easier for shaytan to control a person who has filled his stomach with food and drink,
which is why it has often been said: “Restrict the pathways of shaytan by fasting.”16 It has been reported that when a group of young men from the Tribe of Israel were worshipping, and it was time for them to break their fast, a man stood up and said: “Do not eat too much, otherwise you will drink too much, and then you will end up sleeping too much, and then you will lose too much.” The Prophet (s) and his companions, may Almighty be pleased with them, used to go hungry quite frequently. Although this was often due to a shortage of food, Almighty decreed the best and most favourable conditions for His Messenger, may Almighty bless him and grant him peace. This is why Ibn Umar and his father before him-in spite of the abundance of food available to them-modelled their eating habits on those of the Prophet (s). It has been reported that Aisha, may Almighty be pleased with her, said: “From the time of their arrival in Madina up until his death (s), the family of Muhammed (s) never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row.”17 Ibrahim ibn Adham said: “Any one who controls his stomach is in control of his deen, and anyone who controls his hunger is in control of good behaviour. Disobedience towards Almighty is nearest to a person who is satiated with a full stomach, and furthest away from a person who is hungry.” Keeping Bad Company Unnecessary companionship is a chronic disease that causes much harm. How often have the wrong kind of companionship and intermixing deprived people of Almighty’s generosity, planting discord in their hearts which even the passage of time-even if it were long enough for mountains to be worn away-has been unable to dispel. In keeping such company one can find the roots of loss, both in this life and in the next life. A servant should benefit from companionship. In order to do so he should divide people into four categories, and be careful not to get them mixed up, for once one of them is mixed with another, then evil can find its way through to him: The first category are those people whose company is like food: it is indispensable, night or day. Once a servant has taken his need from
it, he leaves it be until he requires it again, and so on. These are the people with knowledge of Almightyof His commands, of the scheming of His enemies, and of the diseases of the heart and their remedies- who wish well for Almighty, His Prophet (s) and His servants. Associating with this type of person is an achievement in itself. The second category are those people whose company is like a medicine. They are only required when a disease sets in. When you are healthy, you have no need of them. However, mixing with them is sometimes necessary for your livelihood, businesses, consultation and the like. Once what you need from them has been fulfilled, mixing with them should be avoided. The third category are those people whose company is harmful. Mixing with this type of person is like a disease, in all its variety and degrees and strengths and weaknesses. Associating with one or some of them is like an incurable chronic disease. You will never profit either in this life or in the next life if you have them for company, and you will surely lose either one or both of your deen and your livelihood because of them. If their companionship has taken hold of you and is established, then it becomes a fatal, terrifying sickness. Amongst such people are those who neither speak any good that might benefit you, nor listen cloesly to you so that they might benefit from you. They do not know their souls and consequently put their selves in their rightful place. If they speak, their words fall on their listeners’ hearts like the lashes of a cane, while all the while they are full of admiration for and delight in their own words. They cause distress to those in their company, while believing that they are the sweet scent of the gathering. If they are silent, they are heavier than a massive millstone-too heavy to carry or even drag across the floor.18 All in all, mixing with anyone who is bad for the soul will not last, even if it is unavoidable. It can be one of the most distressing aspects of a servant’s life that he is plagued by such person, with whom it may be necessary to associate. In such a relationship, a servant should cling to good behaviour, only presenting him with his outward appearance, while disguising his inner soul, until
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Almighty offers him a way out of his affliction and the means of escape from this situation. The fourth category are those people whose company is doom itself. It is like taking poision: its victim either finds an antidote or perishes. Many people belong to this category. They are the people of religious innovation and misguidance, those who abandon the sunnah of the Messenger of Almighty (saws) and advocate other beliefs. They call what is the sunnah a bid’a and vice-versa. A man with any intellect should not sit in their assemblies nor mix with them. The result of doing so will either be the death of his heart or, at the very best, its falling seriously ill. What Gives the Heart Life and Sustenance You should know that acts of obedience are essential to the well being of the servant’s heart, just in the same way that food and drink are to that of the body. All wrong actions are the same as poisonous foods, and they inevitably harm the heart. The servant feels the need to worship his Lord, Mighty and Glorious is He, for he is naturally in constant need of His help and assistance. In order to maintain the well being of his body, the servant carefully follows a strict diet. He habitually and constantly eats good food at regular intervals, and is quick to free his stomach of harmful elements if he happens to eat bad food by mistake. The well being of the servant’s heart, however, is far more important than that of his body, for while the well being of his body enables him to lead a life that is free from illnesses in this world, that of the heart ensures him both a fortunate life in this world and eternal bliss in the next. In the same way, while the death of the body cuts the servant off from this world, the death of the heart results in everlasting anguish. A righteous man once said, “How odd, that some people mourn for the one whose body has died, but never mourn for the one whose heart has died-and yet the death of the heart is far more serious!” Thus acts of obedience are indispensable to the well being of the heart. It is worthwhile mentioning the following acts of obedience here, since they are very necessary and essential for the servant’s heart:
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