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Muslim Boy Wins Eton Scholarship Issue: 72

March 2014

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The schoolboy son of an Ethiopian from one of London’s poorest boroughs is to follow in the footsteps of 18 British PM’s after winning a prestigious place at Eton. Ishak Ayiris, 15, will swap an impoverished East End council estate in Newham for the hallowed halls of the

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world-famous public school after winning a two-year scholarship. He will rub shoulders with the elite when he takes his place at the Windsor establishment to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics next September.

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Ishak, from Forest Gate Community School, used money from the Pupil Premium, a Government scheme that gives schools extra money to encourage hard-up children-to help him win the twoyear scholarship after impressing during a series of rigorous interviews at Eton.

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I Editorial

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By Dr Abdul B Shaikh

Lecturer at Leeds University & Deputy Editor of PI Magazine

The Disenfranchisement of the Muslim Youth

This month’s article has been prompted by a number of debates that have taken place recently concerning the detachment of the Muslim youth across the UK from mainstream Muslim communities. Thus, one intends to critically examine the issues and challenges facing the Muslim diaspora with specific reference to the Muslim youth. In subsequent months, we have been fortunate enough to discuss the many pressing issues that currently face the Muslim community but seldom do upcoming young Muslims receive any attention from our community leaders. To all intents and purposes the average Muslim youth is considered to be an afterthought rather than being seen as a pressing issue that deserves our undivided attention. This has been compounded by a number of factors that we shall examine in the remainder of this article. In Muslim communities across the UK, North America and Europe, a person is designated youth status if he or she is between the ages of 18-30. If we directly compare this to the Asian Muslim community, we find that a youth is defined and characterized as being aged between 18-50. Many of our readers may raise an eyebrow at reading the above, but nevertheless we have to be brave enough to admit that some of us who are professionals have been rebuked in a stern manner in meetings held by Asian Muslim community organisations not due to interesting remarks or solutions being put forward for the benefit of the community but for not being old enough!. It is as if somehow age transcends intelligence which goes as far as saying that our Asian Muslim communities have not evolved sufficiently despite being in Western Europe for just over 70 years. If we look at European organisations, one discovers that there is more transparency, accountability and most of all a true sense of professionalism that seeps into the very heart of the organisations apparatus. Young

individuals are treated as equals and afforded respect and more importantly given a platform to air their views. Asian Muslim organisations need to change their philosophy when dealing with the younger members of the community and not solely make cosmetic changes that provide the appearance that we are somehow accommodating the needs and requirements of the youth going forward. Failure to address these attitudes will result in an ever widening and burgeoning divide that in time will be near impossible to bridge. It is on this note, one will go far as to say that the young Asian Muslim professional sector is expanding rapidly and finds itself in a unique position where it possesses the vision and philosophy to take the community to heights where the community leaders are not in a position to do so. Many young Asian Muslims individuals whom I have regular conversations with constantly air feelings of deep discontent and sheer frustration going as far as saying that community leaders have marginalised them to the extent that they do not exist. Thus, it is high time that the community apparatchiks reached out to the young rather than expecting the latter to come to them. It is quite distressing to find that a significant minority of the youth feel disconnected from wider society seeking solace from the winds of change brought on by none other than globalisation. Many a young person will argue that they are struggling to come to terms with being British, Asian and Muslim as they are expected to meet the requirements expected of the multi-identikit that very much forms the fabric of our society today. Furthermore, some of our very own young people have sought refuge in drink and drugs and underage sex but rather than deal with these pressing challenges and issues of the 21st century, we refuse to tackle and engage with the situation at hand and wave the vaunted taboo card in order to avoid being stigmatised or being

labelled a mischief-maker at best. Having discussed the current malaise that exists within the current young Asian Muslim community, we should take stock and evaluate as to what steps need to be taken in order to remedy this situation. The Asian Muslim community needs to develop an strategic framework whereby young Muslims who are at best disaffected for one reason or a multitude of issues are identified and support structures need to be put in place to provide encouragement and support. Outreach services need to be incorporated into existing community organisations tasked with the sole aim of providing assistance on an ‘as and when’ basis. This type of provision is becoming all the more necessary as more and more of our young people are highly reluctant to come and open up to community elders and Asian Muslim organisations when they are facing pressing issues. The credit crunch and the ensuing economic slowdown has left a generation of young people who have lost all hope and are highly pessimistic about their life chances. A significant minority of those young people are an integral fabric of our society but there is little anecdotal evidence is available in the UK to show that the community is creating pathways to facilitate the Muslim youth to escape the cycle of unemployment which often brings with it a sense of despair and not to mention a raft of health problems that have the potential to affect whole families if not properly addressed. Our communities are always looking for funding to deal with these problems but in reality you do not need cash in every instance to put things right. What is required is putting your arm round a young aspiring Muslim and making him feel loved and welcomed and giving them the respect that they very much deserve. After all these young Muslims will be inevitably be tomorrow’s leaders and it is in our interests that we prepare them for tomorrow now rather than leaving it someone else.

Write to: Editor, PI Media, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: info@pi-media.co.uk - www.pi-media.co.uk - mob: 07506 466 385 This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -

Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not necessarily of Passion Islam.


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Muslim man stopped by police was wrongly refused access to solicitor A Muslim man detained by police at an airport on his way home from Mecca, has won a significant legal battle over the UK’s anti-terror laws. The high court declared that Abdelrazag Elosta was unlawfully refused access to a solicitor before he was detained and questioned under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. A judge ruled that Elosta had undergone “45 minutes of unlawful questioning”. Allowing Elosta’s application for judicial review, Mr Justice Bean said: “The examining officers had no power to question the claimant after he had requested the presence of a solicitor and prior to the solicitor’s arrival.” Government lawyers had been due to appeal against the ruling but it was announced that the appeal had been withdrawn. Anne McMurdie, of Birmingham-based firm Public Law Solicitors, who represented Elosta, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the case. This is a

very important judgment confirming the existence of vital procedural safeguards for travellers in ports and airports detained and compelled to answer questions in circumstances where refusal to answer may result in criminal conviction. “We are pleased that the government has had second thoughts and has taken action to amend the statute to make sure these rights are clearly spelled out, instead of continuing its fight through the courts to deny people at port and airports access to legal advice.” Elosta arrived at Heathrow airport on 10 November 2012 in an organised group and was stopped by police officers for examination under Schedule 7. Mr Justice Bean said that the examining officers began to question Elosta and he provided his name, address, phone number and passport details. He asked, however, to speak to his solicitor in Birmingham before answering further questions.

An examining officer phoned the solicitor at 4.30pm and told her the questioning was likely to last 30-40 minutes. The examining officer said Elosta had “a right to consult a solicitor in private” but the examination would not be delayed pending her arrival. The judge said Elosta was permitted to speak to his solicitor on the phone but not in private as officers remained in the room and could hear what he said, though probably not what the solicitor said. The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard HoganHowe, has now accepted that it was “inappropriate” for the examining officers to have heard what was said and apologised. Elosta’s solicitor told the examining officers she would arrange for a London solicitor to go to the airport but another officer came to the phone and repeated that the police would not wait for that solicitor’s arrival before starting questioning.


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I March 2014

Offensive and threatening comments directed at Legoland 4

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An avalanche of offensive and threatening comments directed at a theme park and its staff are being investigated by police. Police are investigating abusive phone calls, emails and social media posts targeted at Legoland and its staff in relation to the park hosting an Family Fun Day on Sunday, March 9, organised by the Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF). Legoland’s Facebook page was taken down for about a week after

the page was inundated with abusive and offensive comments before being restored. A statement on the page read: “The removal of the page was requested by Thames Valley Police as an investigation is currently underway to identify those responsible for some of our wall posts, private messages, phone calls and emails. Anyone posting or thinking of posting offence and threatening messages on this page or other social media sites should be

aware that the Thames Valley Police are monitoring the situation closely and we will not hesitate to take robust and swift action against anyone engaging in this type of activity.” A statement from the MRDF read: “The Family Fun Day 2014 at Legoland is an opportunity for the UK public to gather with British Muslims in a relaxed family environment. It is open to people from all faiths and cultures in an open and welcoming environment without the promotion of any particular ideology. “The real concern here is the threat to the cohesion of our community by far right groups linked to the EDL and Christian Patrols. We should not be intimidated by violent threats to our way of life. MRDF, a charity governed by English law, has consistently promoted non-violence and political participation in the UK.” A statement on the park’s website read: “The Legoland Windsor Resort prides itself on welcoming everyone to our wonderful attraction; however due to unfortunate circumstances the private event scheduled for Sunday 9th March will no longer take place.

ITV scoops two awards for its Woolwich coverage

ITV News won two awards for its coverage of the Woolwich terrorist attacks and the brutal murder of Lee Rigby at the Royal Television Society Journalism awards. The awards recognise the best of news and current affairs coverage in Britain and across the globe. The ceremony took place at the London Hilton on Park Lane in London last month. The judges panel was chaired by Richard Sambrook, director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University. The judges awarded ITV the overall award for News Coverage – Home during 2012/13 for the coverage of the Woolwich attack.

According to the judges: “This coverage began with a world exclusive and continued to deliver top quality TV journalism from many innovative angles. At the heart of this story were images the audience will remember forever. Comprehensive, sensitive and challenging.” The coverage was also awarded Scoop of the Year. The judges said: “This year’s winner was not just a single scoop, but an outstanding series of scoops. From the first day, when ITN broadcast the shocking pictures of the murderer of Lee Rigby filmed by a bystander on a mobile phone, the team were ahead of the pack. The jury commended what was clearly the product of intelligent

editorial leadership as well as strong reporting.” Shakir Ahmed who was involved in working on the Woolwich news piece said “Woolwich coverage was one of the most delicate piece of news i have worked on but overall i believe ITV news did justice to of delivering a fair and balance coverage from start to finish.” (PG)


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UK government urged to come clean on drone policy

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A human rights campaign group has called on the British government to come clean on its policy regarding deadly drone strikes overseas. In a letter to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, legal charity Reprieve urged the government to publish its assessment of the number of civilians killed in the drone attacks across the globe. The UK ambassador to Washington, Peter Westmacott, has said the US should buy British-made “Brimstone” missiles for use on its Reaper drones. In an article for the Defense One website, the senior diplomat also noted that the US military had just finished testing the missiles. Reprieve executive director Clare Algar, however, warned of “an alarming prospect” of supplying the missiles for use in strikes by the United States. “The Reaper… is best known for

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its use by the CIA and other secretive US agencies in carrying out covert strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. Such strikes are in violation of international law, and known to have killed large numbers of civilians outside of declared war zones,” Algar wrote. A report by the Sunday People newspaper revealed in January that Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD)

has spent £4 billion ($6.5 billion) to amass a force of 657 military drones. The fleet includes ten MQ-9 Reaper drones, some 324 Black Hornet Nano micro-helicopters, 222 Desert Hawk UAVs, 63 Watchkeeper drones, 30 Tarantula Hawks, and eight ScanEagles. www.pi-media.co.uk

Halal British favourite foods launched

Shazia Saleem, founder of ‘ieat foods’, has launched a new range aimed at opening up choices for Muslims living in the UK by making much-loved British favourites suitable for those who follow a halal diet. “I’m British and I’m Muslim and love being both,” said Saleem. “The two aren’t mutually

exclusive, yet when I was growing up supermarket shelves told me otherwise. I’ve always wanted to have a good shepherd’s pie or a lasagne. Funnily enough, we don’t all eat curry three times a day!” ieat launched into 24 Sainsbury’s stores initially (southeast and Midlands), with 12 product lines in the chilled ready meal aisle.


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Muslim School one of the best in UK

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In Case You Missed It

After quarter a century of hard work, a British Islamic high school has been recognized as one of the top 100 schools in UK after achieving excellent GCSE results in summer. “We were very pleased with our GCSE results in the summer which had gone up by 19 per cent from the previous year, but we didn’t expect this,” Mufti Javid, head teacher of Preston Muslim Girls’ High School, told Lancashire Evening Post. “We had no idea that we were in the top 100 schools in the country.” The school received the good news when David Laws MP, the Minister of State for Schools congratulated them on achieving excellent GCSE results last summer. “When I received the letter marked House of Commons I had no idea what it was. I was thrilled to read the letter and pleased to be able to pass on what it said to all of our parents, staff and pupils,” Javid said. A letter to the headteacher from David Laws MP said the school was one of the top 100 performing non-

selective state funded schools in England. “Your school is clearly equipping its pupils for success in both further study and future employment,” the letter said. “The results are a shining testament to the hard work and success of your staff, governors and pupils. “I would like to offer my thanks to you and all at your school for your pursuit of the highest standards of educational achievement,” it added.

This achievement is not the first for Islamic schools in UK. In February 2013, Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School was rated as the highest-achieving learning institutes in Britain. In London, the Tayyibah Girls’ School topped 22 schools in Hackney with a whopping 100 percent of all students achieving 5 + GCSEs at grades A*-C (including English and Maths) a 17 percent improvement on its 2011 results. www.pi-media.co.uk

Sharia finance popular Want to among non-Muslims in UK Advertise

The managing director of Islamic Bank of Britain said many of those using Islamic finance products were not Muslim but liked the ethical aspect of Islamic banking. He pointed to findings from a poll of more than 300 investors by IBB, which showed one-third of respondents were non-Muslim. Some 66 per cent of those surveyed believed sharia finance was appropriate in a modern western society. A similar number (60 per cent) said sharia finance was relevant to all faiths, while more than half (58 per cent) said they considered Islamic finance to be an ethical system.

IBB also reported 81 per cent of its customers said they were likely to use sharia-compliant finance again. Mr Choudhury added: “The bank has broken new ground by conducting our first piece of research, which will shape how the retail market for Islamic finance evolves.” Keith Churchouse of Chapters Financial in Guildford said: “A diverse society is one of the benefits of living in the UK. Islamic finance products offer diversity in financial planning, which is a good thing. “It is a very interesting survey and it will be interesting to see how the results develop over the years.” By Simoney Kyriakou

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Cage release new report on government counter terror policy In Case Y o Missed It u

The report’s findings argue that the British government’s counterextremism strategy, Prevent, has now intruded so far into the affairs of the Muslim community, that members of that community are virtually living under a police-state. From one’s early years GP, to the school one

attends, to the mosque where one lies before burial, Prevent is now with a Muslim from beginning to end. The report’s publication comes at a time when the government seems set to enshrine Prevent policy into law, as laid out in its Tackling Extremism in the UK report. This move has been given extra impetus by the purported threat of Britons returning from Syria. The report has found that: • ‘Prevent is no longer about terrorism and violence’, but is instead ‘about ideology, beliefs and values.’ The language of Prevent is also said to be highly problematic, as words and phrases such as ‘extremism’, ‘radical’ and ‘opposition to fundamental British values’, ‘can potentially encapsulate all Muslims.’ • Prevent rests on a questionable empirical basis: ‘There is no social scientific rigour or evidence base to this theory and approach.’ • ‘Instead of talking about foreign policy radicalising Muslims in the future, we may well be talking about

Conference provides advice on safe ways in raising funds for Syria A conference to provide information and advice on safe and secure fund raising activities to support Syrian refugees was held in Kirklees last month. For those more actively involved in humanitarian convoys, the half-day session provided an opportunity for informed re-evaluation or reflection of current practices. This event brought together primarily people from Kirklees with an interest in the current and ongoing humanitarian situation in Syria. The aim was to enable those attending to make informed choices about their involvement, having heard the best advice from people who have the expertise and experience. The free, half-day event was

organised in partnership with Kirklees Council working with relevant partners. Key speakers included Oliver McTernan, Co-founder and Director of Forward Thinking, an organisation whose aim is to develop a greater understanding in the UK between the diverse grassroots Muslim communities and the wider society and promote a more inclusive peace process in the Middle East, Nick Donaldson from the Charities Commission and Dr Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar, a Medical Doctor and Humanitarian Aid Campaigner. The conference was open to individuals, charities, faith and community groups or businesses from Kirklees involved in fund raising or humanitarian convoys to Syria.

domestic policy radicalising Muslims.’ There will be opportunities to interview and question the report’s authors as well as those with firsthand experience of Prevent and related policy, including. • A youth worker who has felt overly pressured to work for Prevent because of his knowledge of young Muslims. • A university Islamic society leader who has had to deal with a Prevent presence at Islamic society events. • An individual who has been twice Prevented from carrying out their pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Jahangir Mohammed, the report’s co-author, said: “This report aims to show the disturbing hoard of measures the government is proposing to ‘confront extremism and radicalisation’. While the government says it is trying to preserve British values, it is violating those same values by attempting to criminalise an entire community.”

Israeli bank blacklisted in Germany

Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank (DB), has included the Israeli Hapoalim bank in a blacklist of “unethical companies” reportedly because of its involvement in funding settlement activities in the West Bank. Deutsche Bank said Hapoalim does not abide by ethical standards, and that the bank’s work in settlements is no different from selling explosives or other acts that violate human rights, Maariv newspaper reported. Based on the same classification, Deutsche Bank blacklisted 16 international companies which it pledged not to deal with or invest in.


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I WORLD NEWS

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Rise of Islamic schools in India

HRW says Syria using powerful new cluster munitions In Case You Missed It

Ashraf Ali Khan is the Director of one of the growing number of Islamic schools seeing a developing trend in the city of Bangalore, India. Muslim children, he says, go to schools mostly run by non-Muslims, and are detached from the religion as a result. “What they learn there, are concepts which are totally alien to Islam, and to top that, there is a dangerous tendency towards atheism witnessed among many in the younger generation,” he declares. And according to Khan, it is to combat these ‘alien concepts,’ and to inculcate Islamic studies secular education among them that he started his experimental school.

The idea of an Islamic school, says Khan, lies in what is being taught there. While most schools who call themselves Islamic, restrict the religious part of instructions to general information on the belief system or to rote learn few chapters from the Quran, he says that AlBurooj, is a class apart. “We want to include everything that a madrasa teaches as part of its curriculum, along with general subjects taught in regular schools,” the intention, he clarifies, is to make an Aalim (one who furnishes knowledge of every area of the Islamic field) out of every child who steps out of Al-Burooj.

Germany and France plan secure new data network

Germany and France are discussing plans to build a European communications network to improve data protection and avoid emails and other information passing through the United States. German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened talks with French President Francois Hollande following revelations of mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) that have prompted huge concern in Europe. Mrs Merkel has been pushing for greater data protection in Europe following reports last year about US surveillance in Germany and elsewhere. Even Mrs Merkel’s cell phone was

reportedly monitored by American spies. She said in her podcast that she disapproved of companies such as Google and Facebook basing their operations in countries with low levels of data protection while being active in countries such as Germany with high data protection. There is no doubt that Europe has to do more in the realm of data protection, she said. Mr Hollande’s office confirmed the governments had been discussing the matter and said Paris agreed with Berlin’s proposals. “Now that the German government is formed, it is important that we take up the initiative together,” an official said.

The borderline has long been a dangerous zone to cross due to thousands of cluster bombs. Syria’s government forces have begun using a powerful type of cluster munition rocket not previously seen in the country’s conflict, Human Rights Watch said. The group said photos taken after a recent attack in the central city of Hama suggested the government had deployed 300 mm 9M55K surface-to-surface rockets, a Russian weapon that carries dozens of submunitions. It identified the rockets as having being used on February 12 and 13 in attacks that killed at least two civilians and wounded at least 10 others. The group warned that the rocket is three times as large as other cluster munitions currently in use by Syrian government forces, and said the weapon would add to the country’s civilian death toll. “It is appalling that Syrian government forces are still using banned cluster munitions on their people,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch. “Cluster bombs are killing Syrian civilians now and threatening Syrians for generations to come.”Cluster bombs have been banned by 113 countries around the world. They are particularly controversial because they are indiscriminate and the bomblets they carry are often widely dispersed and continue to maim and kill civilians long after the initial attack. More than 140,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict in the country began in March 2011.


US seeks prisoner swap with Taliban

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The United States is seeking a prisoner swap with the Taliban militant group in Afghanistan, a report says. The Obama administration has decided to resume talks with the Taliban and offer them to trade their prisoners held at Guantanamo, a CIA-run prison in Cuba, for Bowe Bergdahl, a captive US Army sergeant, The Washington Post reported. US officials hope they will swap

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the five members of the Taliban with Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2009. The American soldier is believed to be held in Pakistan by the Haqqani network, the Post said citing an allied militant group. Pentagon officials said last month that they had obtained a new video of Bergdahl, the first evidence they have seen in nearly three years that the soldier remains alive. Citing unnamed officials, the

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newspaper said, “Negotiations would not attempt wider engagement with the Taliban on a host of issues related to the future of Afghanistan.” In 2012, the US and Afghan officials tried to hold first round of direct talks with the Taliban in Duha, Qatar, where Taliban representatives have an office. However, the militants broke off the negotiations before they ever really began. According to the Post, the US offer to negotiate with the militants has not formally been made yet. But, it said, the negotiations will probably be held in Duha. The US is struggling to free the captive soldier before the end of 2014, when they are set to leave Afghanistan. Tensions have been high in recent months between Washington and Kabul as Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to sign a controversial security deal with the United States. The deal allows longer presence of US troops beyond 2014.

Malaysia tops ‘halal holiday’ destinations Malaysia is the world’s friendliest destination for Muslim travelers, according to a survey released. Malaysia was followed by the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia in this year’s rankings for “halal” friendly holiday destinations released by Singapore-based Muslim travel specialist Crescentrating. The survey evaluates countries in terms of their attentiveness to the needs of Muslim travelers, including the presence and accessibility of halal restaurants with meat slaughtered to Islamic standards, and the provision of prayer rooms at airports, shopping malls and hotels. “An increasing number of destinations are now keen on tapping into this segment and adapting their services to take into account the unique faith-based

needs of Muslim travelers,” said Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen. For largely Muslim Malaysia, Bahardeen said the country’s Islamic Tourism Centre has “continued to educate the industry on how to cater to the Muslim travelers”. “There are now more and more hotel kitchens with halal certification, an increasing number of hotels are also now catering to the specific needs of Muslim travelers,” he added. One hotel even has separate timings for the use of gym and swimming pools for males and females requiring privacy, he said. Bahardeen said the Muslim travel market was estimated to be worth $140 billion last year, accounting for almost 13 percent of the global total. It is expected to rise to $200 billion

by 2020, he added. Japan was in 40th place among the 60 ranked, but its score is 10 notches up from 50th place last year -- the biggest improvement overall. “Japan has definitely been the most active destination during the last year to focus on this segment of travellers,” Bahardeen told AFP. Singapore placed sixth in the global rankings, and was the only non-Muslim country in the top 10. Italy, Belgium, Ireland and Mexico were the bottom four countries in the rankings, as they had “not really focused” on the possibilities of the Muslim market, he added. The top ten in order were: Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar and Tunisia. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Turkey avoids money-laundering and terror financing blacklist

Financial body against terrorism financing notes Turkey’s progress but warns of deficiencies in its legal system. Turkey avoided being blacklisted by The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the organization announced. The FATF blacklist highlights

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countries the organization percieves as not combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. FATF said in a public statement that Turkey continues to take steps toward combating the financing

of terrorism but needs to address “strategic deficiencies” in its legal framework to be removed from the ‘dark grey’ list. “The FATF welcomes Turkey’s progress in largely complying with the FATF standard on criminalisation of terrorist financing. However, certain concerns remain regarding Turkey’s framework for identifying and freezing terrorist assets,” the statement said. Experts told Anadolu Agency, the first day of the FATF’s two-day plenary meeting, that neither a negative outlook towards Turkey nor a discussion over ‘corruption’ was mentioned. They said Turkey’s responsibility to the FATF’s legal framework was fulfilled with legal amendments made in February 2013. The FATF’s up-to-date blacklist only includes Iran and North Korea.

Palestinians seek UNESCO heritage status for Battir village

Palestinians have applied for a world heritage status at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for a village in the occupied West Bank, which has an ancient irrigation system

under threat from Israel’s separation wall. Palestinian official Mahmud Abu Arab said that the request to add the agricultural community of Battir to the UNESCO’s list of protected sites was filed this earlier in February. Abu Arab, who is a member of Battir’s village council, said that UNESCO has agreed to “send a delegation to check the area,” AFP reported. In 2012, the village was added to the UN cultural agency’s tentative list. The body would vote on the village’s bid to upgrade its status in June. The village is famous for a Roman-era terraced irrigation system that is still used by residents. Battir, however, has come under threat from Israel’s plans to build a separation wall there. Villagers said the wall would threaten the livelihoods of a 5,000strong Palestinian community that depends on the ancient irrigation system.

The wall would also separate the residents of the nearby Beit Jala from their olive gardens and a local Christian community. Tel Aviv claims the barrier is imperative for “security reasons,” but Palestinians say it is part of the regime’s expansionist measures.

UAE, India to hold Investment meeting High-level panels from the United Arab Emirates and India will hold a meeting in Mumbai next month for investment talks. The panels will discuss spurring investments in key sectors of the two countries, the Press Trust of India (PTI) said. India’s Ambassador to the UAE T P Seetharam said “shared interests include an agreement in principle set a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) and conclude it quickly”.


Canada’s CSEC defends spying through Wi-Fi

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The Canadian intelligence agency has defended spying through the wireless internet service at a major airport, claiming it would not be able to locate its targets without the technology. The chief of the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) John Forster claimed the agency’s collection of metadata is fundamental to pick out “foreign

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terrorists” “in a sea of billion[s] and billions of communications traversing the globe.” Appearing before the Senate national defence committee, he denied breaching the privacy of Canadians, saying only foreigners have been targeted. Forster’s remarks come after a top-secret document, retrieved by US whistleblower Edward Snowden,

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revealed that the agency tracked the wireless devices of thousands of passengers by using information gleaned from the free internet service at an unnamed major Canadian airport. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that the data was collected from the passengers’ smart-phones and laptops over a two-week period and that the devices were tracked for a week or longer afterwards. The CBS said the technology was to be shared with the so-called “Five Eyes” spy partnership, namely the US, Canada, Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian, however, said she was “blown away” by the revelations. She also likened the country’s spy agency to that of a “totalitarian state, not a free and open society.” Ronald Deibert, the director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, also said the CSEC’s secret operation was almost certainly illegal.

Palestinians warn against Israeli plans on Al-Aqsa Mosque In Case You Missed It

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and the resistance movement of Hamas have warned against Israeli plans to impose “sovereignty” on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in al-Quds (Jerusalem). PA official Mahmoud alHabbash said that there would be no sovereignty over Islamic and Christian holy sites other than Palestinian sovereignty. “This is the full right of the Arabs, including Muslims and Christians,” he said. He warned that Tel Aviv is planning to “divide” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying that such “efforts will not succeed.”

Meanwhile, Hamas representative Yunis al-Astal also warned that Israel is seeking to “destroy” the mosque in order to build a temple. The Israeli Knesset is set to discuss a proposal to place the socalled Temple Mount, where Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, under Israeli sovereignty. Tel Aviv had previously confirmed its plans to replace the Al-Aqsa Mosque with a temple. Palestinians have denounced the plan as desecration. They say it is part of the Israeli regime’s ongoing attempts to distort Arab and Islamic history.

Palestinians, however, argue that al-Quds is the capital of a future Palestinian independent state, and that its heritage should remain intact. Over the past decades, Israel has tried to change the demographic makeup of al-Quds by constructing illegal settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Over half a million Israelis live in more than 120 settlements built since the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East al-Quds, during the Six War of 1967. The international community considers the settlements as illegal.

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UAE reveals first ‘Smart Mosque’

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Referred to as the world’s first ‘smart mosque’ worshippers attending the Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum mosque in Jumeirah 3 are able to get information about the

mosque by scanning the QR code with their smart phones. The code will give them access to information on the history, capacity, nature, area, prayer timings, lectures

NYC schools to get Islamic holiday New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to implement a policy that would close schools for Muslim holidays and the Chinese New Year. The two Muslim holidays include Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The New York chapter of the Council on AmericanIslamic Relations (CAIR-NY) applauded NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for plans to move forward in closing schools for the Muslim holidays, reported the Arab American News. During his election

campaign in October, the mayor announced his promise to recognize Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which take place at the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan and following the annual pilgrimage to Mecca respectively. “The origins of this nation (are) people of many different faiths coming together, that’s why we have to respect Muslim faiths by providing the Eid school holidays for children in our school system,” said de Blasio. www.pi-media.co.uk

I March 2014

or courses offered by the mosque, along with information about Friday sermon. Dr Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities (DIACA), told the Khaleej Times “We are using the QR code technology to identify all mosques of the emirate to help develop and add more value to them.” The launching of Al-Maktoum smart mosque is part of the first phase of Dubai’s smart mosques project which includes plans for nine more smart mosques with similar technologies. The smart mosques project is expected to develop better communication between mosques and Muslim worshippers, allowing them to share their comments, remarks, feedback, and complaints freely.

120 far right extremists arrested in Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s security forces have arrested 120 individuals who were trying to set fire to a mosque. The group of Islamophobes held a rally in the city of Plovdiv, south of the country before attempting to burn the city’s mosque. Over 2,000 people had gathered outside a Plovdiv court as it heard an appeal case dealing with the return of an ancient mosque in the central city of Karlovo, taken over by the state more than 100

years ago, to Bulgaria’s Chief Mufti, the Muslim religious authority. The rally then marched through the city and some protesters, chanting racist slogans, approached a Plovdiv mosque cordoned off by police. The anti-Islamic rally grew violent as police tried to prevent the radical group from entering the mosque. A number of security forces and several bystanders were attacked and injured by the far right extremists attending the rally.


Denmark bans halal slaughter methods www.pi-media.co.uk

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PA to remove religion from ID cards

Denmark’s Agriculture and Food Ministry has announced that the Jewish and Muslim traditional method of animal slaughter is now banned in the country, following similar measures already in place in Poland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. A new law requires that all animals are stunned before being slaughtered, which is contrary to Islamic and Jewish teachings. This means that observant Muslims and Jews living in Denmark will no longer be able to purchase their meat from local butchers, and will have to buy imported halal and kosher meat

instead. The ministry argues that halal and kosher slaughter methods are unethical and that religious rights do not come before animal rights. However, Muslims and Jews insist that their slaughter methods cause minimal suffering to the animals. European Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, condemned the ban, saying that it “contradicts European law.” Agriculture and Food Minister Karen Hækkerup, acknowledged that Muslims and Jews were upset by the new measures, but vowed that the ministry would not change its policy.

The Palestinian Authority has decided to remove the section detailing religious affiliation on Palestinian identity cards, according to officials. The undersecretary of the ministry of interior Hassan Alawi told Ma’an that President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree to remove religious affiliation from identity cards. Alawi said the decision was made entirely by Palestinian authorities and ensures the equality of all Palestinians, regardless of their religion. Although the majority of Palestinians are Muslims, just under 10 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank are Christian, in addition to thousands more in the Gaza Strip. A few hundred Palestinians in the West Bank are Samaritans, a religion closely associated to Judaism.

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Kuwait MP proposes Saudi style anti terror law A Kuwaiti MP has proposed a draft law that would impose jail terms of up to 30 years on Kuwaitis fighting abroad, after Saudi Arabia introduced similar penalties. The bill, submitted by progovernment legislator Nabeel al-Fadhl, stipulates jail terms of between five and 20 years for Kuwaitis who travel abroad to fight, as well as those who encourage or support such activities in any way. The same penalty would apply to

members of religious and extremist groups that have been classified as “terrorist” locally, regionally or by Arab countries, the draft legislation says. Fadhl, a strong critic of Islamist groups, said in his proposal the penalty will become between 10 and 30 years in jail if the convicts are members of the army, national guard or police. The proposal must be passed by parliament, which is dominated

by pro-government MPs but also includes several Islamists, and then accepted by the government to become law. Local media reported a number of Kuwaitis have travelled to Syria to fight in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Saudi King Abdullah issued a decree stipulating up to 20 years in jail for Saudis who are members of “terrorist groups” and join fighting abroad.


Yemen to become six region federation

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A presidential panel has agreed to transform Yemen into a six-region federation as part of its political transition, state news agency Saba announced. “The final approval” on creating a “federal state of six regions” came at a meeting of the committee, headed by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and including representatives of Yemen’s main parties, Saba said. Hadi formed the committee in late January at the end of a “national dialogue” to decide on the number of

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regions, and to insert it into the text of a new constitution, to be drafted and voted on within a year. Sana’a feared that a straight north-south divide could set the stage for the disgruntled south to secede. Southern parts of Yemen formed an independent state from the end of British colonial rule in 1967 until union with the north in 1990. A secession attempt four years later sparked a brief but bloody civil war that ended with northern forces taking over the south.

Mosque to be built in Grozny

A mosque for a thousand people will be built in Grozny, Chechnya, Yuga. ru reports. The mosque will be built on two hectares of land and named after Duka Chimayev, a theologian and a religious figure. Sultan Mirzayev, Head of the Chechen Muslim Administration,

opened the ceremony of the mosque’s foundation. The construction was ordered by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Grozny is also the house of the Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque, the largest mosque of Russia which is officially known as the “The Heart of Chechnya”.

The six agreed regions include four in the north, comprising Azal, Saba, Janad and Tahama, and two in the south, Aden and Hadramawt. Azal would include the capital Sanaa, in addition to the provinces of Dhamar, Amran and Saada, a stronghold of Shiite rebels, while Aden would comprise the capital of the former south, as well as Abyan, Lahej and Daleh, the news agency reported. The southeastern Hadramawt province would include Al-Mahra, Shebwa and the island of Socotra, while Saba comprises Bayda, Marib, Al-Jawf and Dhamar. Janad would include Taez and Ibb, and Tahama also takes in Hudaydah, Rima, Mahwit and Hajja. The decentralization of power aims to meet the southerners’ demands for autonomy. Yemen’s national dialogue was stipulated by a UN-backed roadmap that ended a year of protests against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down in 2012 after 33 years in power.

Islamic complex to be built in Milan

Constructing a large mosque for Muslim residents of Milan is under discussion. The city will not be able to take the World Exhibition Expo 2015 not having a mosque. Muslims offer to build a place of worship on the site of the “Palasharp” ice arena. The mosque project has already been submitted to the mayor’s office of the city although not proclaimed. Negotiations are ongoing with Italian and foreign investors, as well as Muslim communities having a desire to finance construction. About 120 000 people in Milan are Muslims.


First Islamic Museum to open in Australia www.pi-media.co.uk

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A young team of people largely working pro bono have helped to complete the first Islamic Museum of Australia in just four years. Director Moustafa Fahour, 32, is excited that the $10 million institution, mostly privately funded with less than 20 per cent government input, will open to the public on 3rd March. A prayer room overlooks a billabong at the former warehouse in Anderson Road, Thornbury. The museum will explain the tenets of the Islamic faith, and the meaning of misunderstood terms such as jihad and sharia. Patrons can stand in a minaret and listen to the call to prayer. It displays detail the story of the prophet Muhammad [PBUH] and list Muslims’ inventions in maths, science, literature and chess. Another exhibit tells the story of Australia’s Muslims, including Indonesians who traded with Aborigines in the 1700s. The project began in 2010 when he and Lebanese-born wife, Maysaa, despaired at TV reports linking Islam with terrorism and oppression. Education seemed the key. ”I thought, ‘what better way can

we showcase what Islam is, and the positive contributions Muslims have made to civilisation, and more importantly to Australia?”’ he says. Mr Fahour and his wife are among a core team of about 10 people who have moulded the museum, including its general manager Ashraf Naim; art director Nur Shkembi, and education director Sherene Hassan, a longtime Islamic Council of Victoria representative. From Arabic Numerals and the concept of Zero, to algebra, alkaline soap and the pinhole camera … scientific discoveries from the Muslim world are explored in the Islamic

Contribution to Civilization Gallery. Contemporary artworks by young Australian Muslim artists will feature in the Islamic Art gallery. The Islamic Faith gallery will visually explain the beliefs and practices of Islam to the wider community, including a dedicated Hajj theatrette and authentic piece of the Kaaba’s covering (kiswa). This brand new Museum provides an informative, entertaining and visually engaging atmosphere for visitors who wish to learn more about Islamic art, faith and culture. The gift shop will stock exclusive Islamic art and gift items.

Palestine Supporters Association has launched in Tunisia a campaign in support of al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalemites’ steadfastness under the title “Siraj al-Aqsa campaign”. The campaign aimed to shed light on Israeli Judaization schemes in occupied Jerusalem. Vice-Chairman of the association Mohamed Bashir Khodri told PIC reporter that the campaign has started on Thursday and will last till the 30th of March.

The association will organize events and activities in seven Tunisian cities. Flyers and reports on Israeli Judaization schemes in al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied Jerusalem will be distributed during the events, he explained. Tunisian children and artists will participate in the campaign to express their total support for al-Aqsa Mosque in face of Israeli schemes targeting the holy city.

A closing ceremony will take place on the 30th of March on the Land Day with the participation of Palestinian senior leaders including deputy head of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line Kamal al-Khatib in addition to a number of liberated detainees. Palestine Supporters Association is a Tunisian association established in support of the Palestinian issue; it was established after the Tunisian revolution

Tunisian campaign to support Al-Aqsa Mosque


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Pakistan Cricket Board appoints Moin Khan as head coach

Pakistan have appointed former captain Moin Khan as the head coach of the national team, replacing Australian Dav Whatmore whose two-year contract expired last month. Khan, 42, was shortlisted along with another former captain and excoach Waqar Younes by a four-man committee, which included former captain Javed Miandad, Intikhab Alam and Wasim Akram. The decision came after a lengthy management committee meeting under the chairmanship of Najam

Sethi who replaced Zaka Ashraf. The decision came as a blow to Younes who was regarded as favorite to regain the post he left in 2011 but Ashraf’s sacking led to him not being selected. Khan played 69 Tests and 219 one-day internationals for Pakistan in the 1990s and 2000s. He has also coached the Pakistani and Indian domestic teams but never an international team. Khan has been team manager since July this year.

Pakistan had former Australian batsman Whatmore as head coach from March 2012 to last month. Former opening batsman Shoaib Mohammad meanwhile has been appointed as fielding coach to replace Englishman Julian Fountain whose contract also expired last month. Another former captain Zaheer Abbas was appointed “chief cricket consultant” and will accompany the team on tours, said Ahmed. Abbas, known as Asia’s Don Bradman, will be in charge of batting. Former captain Aamir Sohail’s appointment as chief selector was declared null and void, with former Test batsman Azhar Khan taking his place. Bowling coach Mohammad Akram’s contract is also renewed for another two years, said Ahmed.

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Floating hotel idea for Qatar World Cup

Finnish Sigge Architects has designed a floating hotel aimed at accommodating football fans for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Admares Floating Real Estate is a partner in the project for a five-star facility including restaurants, spa,

nightclub and rooftop pool. It could be moved to another coastal location after the competition to cater for another big event and would not depend on location infrastructure because it would have an independent sewage treatment, power generation and recycling capabilities. In a statement Admares said: “The floating hotel provides all the same services and amenities that are available in hotels constructed on land while simultaneously offering

the additional experience of floating on water and all around access to exceptional views. “A floating hotel is a viable option for areas where land is scarce, fully developed or challenging to develop. “It will be tailored to meet the exact needs of the operator in terms of the number of rooms, types of restaurants, number and location of pools, placement of balconies and terraces, which can all be altered to suit the purpose. “The exterior architecture is fully customizable to suit the location’s surroundings. In addition, a parking garage can also be built into the hotel complex, which guarantees available parking to guests even in fully developed city areas.”


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Palestine calls for boycott of Israeli athletes after attacks

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Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Federation, called for a boycott against Israeli athletes on a international level, in protest against recent attacks by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian sportsmen. The boycott appeal followed the shooting of two Palestinian athletes who were reportedly shot in the legs by Israel soldiers at alZaayyem checkpoint near Abu Dis in Jerusalem as they walked home from their sports club. Police dogs were also reportedly unleashed on the Palestinian athletes. Doctors have since confirmed the pair is unlikely to be able to play sports again due to the severity of their injuries. “The occupation has now deprived us from our talent. I won’t be able to continue my career or fulfill my dreams and what I have strived for in order to be enrolled in the Palestinian national team and represent Abu Dis. I had many aspirations and ambitions,” Jawhar Jawhar told Al Arabiya News.

Players of the Palestinian League told Al Arabiya that playing football is now associated with fear, as fair treatment and even basic safety is not guaranteed. Palestinian club members have difficulty moving between the West Bank cities to train and compete in the football league because they are forced to stop for long periods

of time at Israeli checkpoints. The players and the technical crew are sometimes detained or exposed to unleashed police dogs and shootings. Sports league president Rajoub also stated that the FIFA President, Joseph Blatter, will visit the Palestinian territories and Israel in April to discuss this issue.

Liverpool ‘eye ambitious summer move for Karim Benzema’

Liverpool will consider an ambitious move for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema – if the club qualify for the Champions League at the end of the

season the Metro has reported. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has already confirmed his intention to sign ‘world class’ talent if the club

finish in the top four – and Benzema is believed to have emerged as a realistic option. According to Marca, Liverpool have been informed by a third party agent that he would consider departing Madrid at the end of the season – and Rodgers is intrigued by the prospect of being able to pair him with Luis Suarez. The Anfield club would face competition from a host of other European sides, including Arsenal and Manchester City, but the belief is that Liverpool could put together an attractive proposal. Any deal for the Frenchman would likely cost Liverpool in excess of £25million. www.pi-media.co.uk


The Beauty of Salzburg 22

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Part One

Nothing could add more pride to Salzburg then being Mozart’s birth place that ranks alongside Bach and Beethoven, as one of the greatest composers in the West. Salzburg receives its names from a German word Salz that means “Salt” and Burg is refer to a “Fortress” that stands high on the mountain. In an ancient Europe Salzburg was known as “White Goldmine”; the salt that was used in clearing road during the ice, drying food and for other purposes. Today, it is home of two million inhabitants, and worldwide famous tourist place that offer series of festivals, Europe’s biggest salt mine that unite Germany and Austria, heartwarming scenery and much more.

It is only last month when I received an invitation from Eva Schmidhuber, who runs various projects at the Radiofabrik, and has emerged as a campaigner for “community media” in the recent years. My first visit to Salzburg took place in 2008, to participate in Cultures & Participation & Dialogue conference and then later on in 2009 when Radiofabrik team organized another successful Conference on Creativity and Innovation inviting more than hundred scholars and journalist from around the world. One can arrive in Salzburg either by air or by train; bus number 25 that runs every 10 minutes takes you to the City Centre in just 3 Euros while from the train station it is number 5

that goes to Old City Centre. During my second visit I preferred to walk alongside river Salzach that passes through the city dividing it into two parts, a newly built University of Salzburg, Salzburg Castle and Mozzart House (Mozarts Geburtshaus) on the right hand side if you are coming from the train station. On the other side, you can discover Salzburg’s incredible architecture as you carry on walking alongside the river Salzach. Most people who come to visit Salzburg are in fact Mozart’s fans who pay him tribute for his astonishing work. It is perhaps due to this that Salzburg’s souvenirs shops to its bridges, streets and parks are named after him. Even chocolates have not been


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spared and it became even more surprising to me when I visited London and saw his statue at 180 Ebury Street, Belgravia Square, near Central London Bus Stand. Other than being home of Mozart, Salzburg is well-known for its amazing salt mine; it association with the Hollywood famous film The Sound of the Music that was produced here in 1965; and indeed Celtic village that also reminds you of Saint Fagan’s in Cardiff UK. Every time I visit Salzburg I gather tremendous hospitality, wisdom and learnt something that later becomes an asset from a professional perspective. I remembered while discussing the role of “New Media” which is often called as “Alternative Media” because it empowers ordinary people. It is in Salzburg that Henry Loeser of Masaryk University told me about the possible introduction of the phrase “Pay-As-You –Go” system in the public service broadcasting that is now said to be favoured by the BBC. Whilst taking our dinner at the Gabler hotel, one of the oldest buildings in Salzburg that was first recorded in the documents in 1429; it is here when I first met Nico Carpentier, Nuria Reguero, Mattias

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Reichl, Karin Schill, Gabriella Velics, David Roethler and Salvatore Scifo who all are now close friends and in many ways an alliance of academics. Their opinions of the “New Media” can be heard at this websites as follows: http://vimeo.com/2669070 or at http://www.youtube.com/ results?search_query=irfan+raja+i nterview+with+civilmedia+&sm=3 Also, Radio Fro host Michael Schweigerwho helped me choose a vegetarian dish ‘spinach palatschink’ and last but not least the Radiofabrik team that kept the spirit of hospitality alive throughout the conference. Every day, at the conference, alongside learning and sharing academics thoughts we enjoyed dinners and a splendid evening all designed to provide participants comfort and touch of Salzburg’s culture and tradition. Eva Schmidhuber and her colleagues welcome us all at their studio situated in Agri Kulture, the largest city council building in Salzburg, and a place for entertainment. Radiofabrik’s studio may be small in resources but without doubt it has a team of highly motivated individuals who have proved that the community radio has successful future.

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I couldn’t escape from Radiofabrik’s impressive slogan ‘Diversity is Culture’ am 10 years old radio offers 110 different programmes to 2, 50,000 listeners around Salzburg and also provides a placement for young University students. On both occasions in 2008 and 2009, Somehow I managed to escape from the academic atmosphere into colorful night life of Salzburg, the first place that grabbed my attention was the Christmas market right opposite to the museum in the heart of old city Centre. Adjacent to the market I noticed the Lions Clubs International shop, knowing that I am currently Morley Lions President was pleased to receive a warm welcome by Lion Berger who offered me Salzburg trout for free. Salzburg Lions Club is the biggest among all the clubs in Austria having 62 active members and most of them were running a shop at the local festival during my time in Salzburg. Berger Wolfgang another Lion member for 40 years told me that the club contribute to various welfare schemes for the local public and is highly regarded for making such provisions. From there I climbed up to By: Irfan Raja


Addiction to Entertainment

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Addiction, for most people, is synonymous to drugs, tobacco, alcohol and gambling. Undeniably, there is a severe drug, alcohol and gambling problem in our society, and those who have struggled with an addiction know the agony that this addiction brings to sufferers and their families. Addiction is understood to be a result of biological factors and is similar to a disease process: the interaction of a powerful chemical with the human nervous system creating a situation in which the body becomes dependent upon the chemical, and withdrawal from that chemical leads to great suffering. In fact, we seem to surrender rather easily into being controlled by our desires; even those who consider themselves free from any addiction often struggle to control their spending or their food intake. However, ‘addiction to entertainment and media’ is becoming a growing problem that undoubtedly needs addressing. Media and entertainment addiction is essentially the compulsion, devotion and obsession with one or more types of entertainment. The addiction can be hard to recognise due to

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the fact that today’s culture heavily endorses entertainment. For some, the growing preoccupation centred around one or more forms of entertainment has led them to obsession and alienation from friends and family. The added accessibility of digital technology at our finger tips has guaranteed that we are constantly and relentlessly entertained. In fact, the demand for entertainment value has increased as has the thirst for more excitement, more indulgence and more portrayals of immoral and debased forms of enjoyments and gratification. Hence, we have become more tolerant of negative themes in the name of ‘entertainment’. For instance, ‘Reality TV’ is a form of entertainment that epitomises the moral values of today’s society - people stooping so low in order to acquire fame and wealth - all in the name of entertainment. People are drawn to these forms of entertainment knowing the content and images are immoral and prohibited in Islam. Far from it, X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, etc. are regarded as ‘family entertainment’ and are viewed by many unashamedly. The constant

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desire to be entertained has meant listening to music and watching immoral and debased images occurs without even conjuring any kind of disapproval. The Holy Qur’aan says: There is a man among people who buys discourses of amusement, so that he may mislead (people) from the Way of Almighty (Islam) without knowledge, and make a mockery of it (Islam). For such people there is a disgraceful punishment. (Luqmaan 31:6) Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas (RA) says regarding the above verse that ‘discourses of amusement’ means ‘singing and the like’. The benchmark for toleration of immoral images and content has been lowered due to the relentless demand of entertainment. We no longer consider most of the elements of modern entertainment wrong and impermissible. The consequences are profound and hugely detrimental for us and our children: the gradual process of erosion or withdrawal from the principles and values of Islam, which are essential and fundamental to our Deen. Many of us struggle to disconnect ourselves from these baseless amusements and find difficulty in fulfilling the obligations of Deen. The thirst for the next thrill


I March 2014 of entertainment increases whilst the desire to perform Salaah, recite the Holy Qur’aan or fulfil a righteous deed is lessened. In fact, the nature of modern entertainment is such that it produces a kind of craving that increases the level of interest and attention. Hence, the effect is that we search and crave for entertainment even within the elements of our Deen. The present craze is for ‘Anasheed Artists’ who melodiously, tunefully and musically entertain us. People attend, tune in or view such forms of activities in droves. The learned and qualified Ulama will opine on whether it is permissible or not, however, the nature of these activities induces some form of enjoyment and entertainment, hence, the great level of interest. Thus, one should ask oneself, “Why am I not showing the same level of devotion, dedication and sincerity in the essential obligations of Deen?” The nature of our Deen is based on striving and exerting the body and soul to those actions that may not necessarily be seen as pleasurable and entertaining, however, they draw the pleasure of the Creator. For instance, fasting does not serve the purpose of entertainment but actually suppresses the desires of the body in order to fulfil the sustenance of the soul. In essence, intrinsically, all forms of obedience to the Creator offer some form of physical, mental and spiritual exertion and are free from entertainment. Primarily, the temporal world is not a place for pleasure and entertainment, but one of an examination of one’s ability to suppress all forms of temptations. Modern forms of entertainment drive people to drastic levels of obsession and addiction. The advent of multi-sophisticated digital devices such as smartphones, iPads, iPods, etc. that surround our houses, offer opportunities like never before. We can be entertained in ways and by means that were unimaginable for many of us twenty years ago. We can carry them around anywhere and everywhere, fulfilling our daily needs as well as being entertained. Those always connected and always on the world of social media and technology have become saturated with this form of entertainment,

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which is unrelenting and completely obsessive. In fact, ‘addictive digital phenomena’ is now a growing concern as many are struggling to free themselves from the modern craving of technologies. At any given moment one can extract any kind of entertainment from the internet or multiple applications on smartphones and tablets that are available at one’s disposal. Thus, people have forgotten the art of boredom - how to create purposeful activities that do not involve technology and modern entertainment. The entertainment value has ensured that we are totally connected to the multiple digital devices. The Holy Qur’aan says: The Imminent (Hour of Judgement) has approached. There is no one, besides Almighty, to remove it. Do you then wonder at this discourse (the Qur’aan), and laugh (at it) and not weep, while you are engaged in vain play (singing, etc.)? Now, fall down in prostration to Almighty and worship (Him). (An-Najm 53:57-62) Moreover, there is no escape, even in the house of Almighty! How many times do we switch off our smartphones whilst in the Masjid and disconnect ourselves from worldly thoughts? How many of us are easily distracted during Salaah when we feel the vibration from our phones knowing someone has texted or whatsapped us? How many of us would flick through some items of worldly information whilst in the house of Almighty? How many of us would swipe or flick through multiple apps whilst depriving ourselves from connecting to Almighty through dhikr? Unfortunately, even whilst in the most sacred of all sanctuaries of Islam, the Haram, performing Tawaaf, one cannot escape from the digital entertainment. Our spiritual relationship with our Creator has been disconnected by the growing desire to be entertained by the multifaceted devices at our disposal. However, entertainment in its literal form is not forbidden in Islam, provided it benefits the body, mind and soul. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Entertain (yourselves) and play, for indeed I dislike to see harshness in your religion.” (Al-Baihaqi) If entertainment means partaking in activities that are beneficial to the mind and body and do not violate

the teachings of the Qur’aan and Sunnah, such as playing wholesome sport, spending quality time with family and friends or enjoying picnics and doing barbecues on the beach or mountains, there is absolutely no harm. Rather, this sort of entertainment is a natural demand of man and is encouraged in Islam. Sayyiduna Ali (RA) said, “The heart becomes bored just as the body becomes bored, so search for it paths of wisdom.” In addition the Prophet (SAW) said, “Do you have with you any amusement (lahw), for indeed the Ansaar love amusement?” (Al-Haakim) If ‘amusement’ means sensual string music, vulgar movies, mixing of the sexes and dancing, etc., then that would indeed be a lame excuse for practicing indecency and ‘faahishah’ in the name of ‘entertainment’! In conclusion, modern entertainment doesn’t put us in control but it only lets us escape from the realities of life. There are clinics that are tackling the addiction of modern media and entertainment. People are struggling to cope without some form of entertainment enveloping their lives. Hence, we need to start tackling this growing problem that is affecting us physically, spiritually and emotionally by unplugging and disconnecting from the multiple digital devices and creating opportunities that enable us to focus on other fruitful activities. We also need to focus on taking part in spiritual retreats such as I’tikaaf that focus on the connection with our Creator exclusively. In addition, we need to take control of the entertainments we partake in that are beneficial and free from vices. There is a major lack of awareness on this issue and many people deny that they have a problem. Yet, everyone needs to reflect on their daily lives and see how much time, energy and money they spend and exert behind many of these futile entertainments. Thus, the above discussion is to raise awareness about an issue that is taken for granted and misunderstood. May Almighty safeguard us from futile and in vain activities and enable us to partake in fruitful activities that benefit us in both worlds. Aameen.


26

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Employment Law

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Rights and Responsibilities of the Employees Part One

would have a simple contract to state his hours of work but a manager may have a confidentiality clause which restricts him from speaking publicly about the company’s sensitive data.

As of 31st December 2013, the rules surrounding working restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians will change. This means that nationals of those countries will not have to apply for a yellow or blue card in order to work in the UK. This will significantly increase their employment prospects and will allow them to apply for jobs which require higher qualification. These changes are likely to impact those recently entering the UK, existing graduates on low paid jobs, students and those under 18 years old. Existing graduates previously were unable to work in higher paid positions owing to this restriction but would now be able to apply. Similarly, students will no longer have to apply for a yellow card during their studies or a blue card after they graduate. Children who live in the UK and are under 18 years old will automatically become eligible for a National Insurance number when they turn 16. With regards to those entering the UK after 2014, they will be allowed to remain in the UK for three months after which they must be able to prove that they are students, employees, self-employed or self-sufficient. The topic about employees will be considered in three different parts. In this issue we will focus on the employment contract and the

legal requirements for establishing employment relationship. The second part will discuss the rights and obligations of employees during their term of employment and the third part will give more details on the termination of the employment relationship. UK Employment Contract Under UK law, employment contracts set out the relationship between an employer and an employee. This document is legally binding and governs the terms on which the employee is given employment. It sets out their duties, right and responsibilities. Nowadays all contracts must be written although the employer can offer immediate positions to employees. The employment contract provides a degree of clarity and protection for the employer and employee as each knows their duties to each other. Where there is a dispute it also can help determine which party is at fault and is an important document. Express Terms in Contract In most cases this will include place of work, hours of work, title, salary and so forth but may also include specific clauses depending on the nature of work and seniority. For example a normal factory worker

Implied Terms in Contract The implied terms are legal requirements or custom practices that form part of the contract even though they were not negotiated or agreed by the employer and the employee. Such terms are for instance the right to the minimal national wage, right to holidays and sick pay, the obligation not to steal from the employer and to be eligible for the position. Non-compliance with these terms can lead to disciplinary, breach and even termination of employment. In serious fraud matters this may also warrant further legal action. Unfair Terms in Contract Where an employer imposes an unfair term in the contract this would be subject to an exclusion test. The term must be fair and reasonable under the circumstances whether or not it is included in the employment contract. For example an employer can restrict a senior employee from working with his former clients and in a certain geographical area but provided this is reasonable. Someone based in central London cannot be excluded simply because the employer does not want to see him working in the same area. Tax Considerations Every employer and employee is liable to pay tax and the employer must pay the national insurance and income tax before paying the employee. These deductions are therefore made before the employee is paid. An employer cannot simply refuse to pay the tax or national insurance. By NR Legal Solicitors Tel: 020 8509 1681


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I March 2014

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Pi Magazine March 2014  

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