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Sun pays out damages ‘Mosques’ planned The Islamic for false Trojan story for 2020 Olympics Caliphate

Carnage in Ghouta News and Sport

Issue: 119


March 2018

As a Companion of the Prophet, Abu Darda, narrates: “The Prophet said: The rallying place of the Muslims on the day of Armageddon is in al-Ghouta, next to a city called Damascus which is among the best cities in al-Sham”. Sunan Abi Dawud 4298. Approved by

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By Emma Norton

Head of Legal Casework @ Liberty

Why it’s not okay for police to quietly roll out on the spot fingerprint scanning

What about children and young people? What about people being targeted for illegitimate reasons, like the colour of their skin? This Government’s policy of creating a “hostile environment” for migrants suggests that this is very likely to happen. Cutting out Parliament and the people

The Home Office has announced that West Yorkshire Police will roll out an expanded scheme of on-the-spot fingerprint scanning – without any public or parliamentary debate. The police have a very difficult job. Protecting the public, fighting crime. It’s a job that hasn’t got any easier in recent years. Police stop people So you can understand why there is always a keen interest in how new technologies can be developed and enhanced to support and promote the police’s ability to do their work. But very bad things can happen when the police get it wrong – which is why vital rights have been enshrined in law to ensure a certain minimum level of protection for suspects. Over the years, a number of important protections that have been set in place to protect suspects have

been eroded. Stop and scan Last month with little fanfare, the Home Office announced that West Yorkshire Police will roll out a scheme letting officers armed with portable scanners check – on the street – anyone’s fingerprints against both criminal and immigration databases. There’s no recognition of how breathtakingly invasive this proposal is. There is no discussion of consent. Or of the importance of legal advice before people should be asked to hand over this kind of information about themselves. Or what may happen if someone declines a request. Or of what will be done with it – including the fact that it will be shared with the Home Office to target undocumented migrants. What about vulnerable people?

This scheme is part of a pattern of the police using radical privacyinvading technology without proper public consultation or meaningful parliamentary oversight. Much like the facial recognition technology that is increasingly being deployed by police forces, it is being presented to us after the event and with little fanfare and is being made available to more and more officers across the country. In this case, we learned about it via a sneaky If you have been affected by these new measures, please tell Liberty about it and get legal advice quickly.

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Sun apologises and pays damages over false ‘Trojan Horse’ plot

I March 2018

The Sun has apologised and agreed to pay substantial damages to Nasim Ashraf and Hafizan Zaman over an article that falsely alleged that they were involved in a “Trojan Horse” plot Rahman Lowe Solicitors successfully represented Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman with their defamation claim against The Sun. The Sun published a number of articles which falsely alleged that the couple were involved in a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot to take over Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham. The former Editor of The Sun, Kelvin McKenzie alleged that


the plot involved a separatist agenda, violence and that the couple told staff to wear the veil. The Sun has now acknowledged that the allegations were, and are completely unfounded, and has published a full apology, both in its print edition and online, confirming that Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman “were not involved in any alleged Trojan Horse plot”. The allegations were said to be supported by a leaked report from Oldham Council. In fact, Mr Ashraf was described by a headteacher at another school as a model parent


and that the Council’s experience of Mr Ashraf was of an individual who is very active within the faith communities of Oldham. Contrary to the allegations made by The Sun, the report confirmed that he is not an “extremist”. Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman are both active members of their local community and they promote inter-faith understanding. Speaking, Mr Ashraf said: “Hafizan and I are pleased that the Sun has agreed to set the record straight by apologising and making clear that the allegations reported in the articles are untrue and wholly without foundation. The agreement to pay substantial damages and legal costs reflects the gravity of the allegations that were made against us. We are living in times where anti-Muslim hate and discrimination are increasing day by day and the Muslim community is constantly on the receiving end of false allegations. Unfortunately, the media has played a role in this which in turn only serves the interests of the far right, neo conservatives and those that wish to create division, rather than mutual respect and unity within our diverse communities in the UK”.

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I March 2018

Anti-Muslim hate crimes in London soared by 40% in a year

The number of Islamophobic hate crimes in London has soared by almost 40 per cent in the past year, figures have revealed. There were 1,678 anti-Muslim hate crimes reported in the capital in the year up to January 2018 - up from 1,205 the year before. And Scotland Yard warned that the figures, from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, do not show the full scale of “hugely underreported” hate crimes in the capital. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned perpetrators they face arrest

and prosecution under a “zerotolerance” approach. “London is a place where we celebrate, cherish and embrace diversity,” he said. “I’m calling on all Londoners to pull together, and send a clear message around the world that our city will never be divided by individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life.” Muslim leaders and police said the rise is linked to the terror attacks London Bridge and Manchester Arena last year.

Iman Atta, director of campaign group Tell Mama which aims to combat Islamophobia, said the increase in attacks had “created a heightened sense of tension in Muslim communities”. Blaming terrorist atrocities in the past year for the rise, he added: “These attacks had ripple effects, triggering Islamophobic attacks and the large increment rise you have seen.” In the days after eight people were killed in the London Bridge terror attack last June, Mr Khan highlighted figures showing a 40 per cent increase on the daily average number of reported Islamophobic attacks in the capital. Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer, Scotland Yard’s head of community engagement said: “The Met has seen a steady increase in the reporting of all hate crime, particularly racist and religious hate crime. “Despite this rise, hate crime is hugely underreported and no one should suffer in silence.” He added: “London is such a diverse and tolerant city, but too many still feel marginalised, or worse intimidated to go about their daily lives due to their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender or disability.”

Muslim radio station fined for broadcasting ‘hate speech’

A radio station broadcasting to Nottingham’s Muslim community has been fined £2,000 after a talk played on the radio was found to constitute ‘hate speech’. Watchdog Ofcom last month ruled a nasheed - a chant or speech often set to music which are popular in the Islamic world - broadcast by Radio Dawn breached its code on hate speech. A decision published on

Ofcom’s website said the 17-minute nasheed, which was broadcast on December 26, 2016, began by “glorifying the victories on the battlefield of figures from Islamic history” It said the broadcast also went on to “suggest that similar violent acts committed against non-Muslim people would bring honour to Islam”. The notice said: “Further, the Nasheed included a number of

pejorative references to non-Muslim people. “In particular, non-Muslim people were repeatedly referred to as “Kufaar” (disbeliever) and on one occasion, “Kaafir I Murdaar.” Ofcom ruled the breach was serious and imposed a sanction of a £2,000 on the station, which is run by the Karimia Institute, which is based in Berridge Road, in Forest Fields.

I March 2018



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I March 2018


Saudi Arabia lifts UK lamb ban in deal worth £25m

Saudi Arabian authorities have lifted the ban on sheepmeat from the UK and exports could start as early as next month once export certification is finalised and released. AHDB International Market Development Director Phil Hadley said: “This is great news for the sheep industry and for lamb processors and producers in the UK who are keen to look at new, non-EU


markets. “The announcement is the result of ongoing and detailed work between all parties and is a testament to the high regard and quality of UK lamb.” It follows negotiations and inspections carried out jointly by Defra, AHDB, FSA, UKECP, DAERA and APHA. Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) said it

was a major boost to the industry as Saudi Arabia was a priority future market for Welsh Lamb. Saudi Arabia imports around 40 per cent of its meat with lamb the most popular. HCC market development executive Rhys Llywelyn said it was a huge opportuntity. “It will take work to establish the PGI Welsh Lamb brand in the market, but it is already well-known in the UAE “From our recent work with the processors in terms of certification and with the Welsh Government trade mission, we feel as though we are as ready as we can be to take advantage.” “With Brexit on the horizon, exploring markets beyond the EU is more important than ever. “We look forward to working with Welsh farmers and processors to make the most of this opportunity.” The news arrives in the middle of Dubai’s Gulfood trade fair, the largest food fair in the Middle East where both AHDB and HCC were present alongside food industry executives from Saudi Arabia. By Alex Black – Farmers Guardian

Cardiff University students elect first female Muslim SU President Fadhila Al-Dhahouri makes history after being elected as the first female Muslim president of Cardiff University’s Students’ Union The race for Cardiff Uni SU’s student elections conclude with a historic win as 2018/19 Presidentelect Fadhila Al-Dhahouri wins by 166 votes. After earning the title as Cardiff Uni SU’s first female Muslim Vice President Education last year, AlDhahouri breaks barriers for many students that feel underrepresented in their Students Union. “As the first female Muslim and

first international student President, I feel immensely proud and grateful for this achievement. We have opened new doors for students who are international and from minorities.” Al-Dhahouri says. Al-Dhahouri hopes her win will inspire more students from minority backgrounds to step up and feel confident in becoming leaders. “I feel this is a massive step towards a new era and future for Cardiff University students…no matter where you come from, anyone can make an impact. I stand for a bold, transformative

and inclusive union for all. I heard you! Let’s make this happen!” Al-Dhahouri says before leaving to celebrate her victory with fellow elected vice presidents. “I believed in myself, because everyone believed in me – I had so many panic attacks, so many moments where I felt down, but the commitment and passion from my team and all those who supported me have brought me here today.” Al-Dhahouri said in her winning speech. All the elected candidates will take up their positions in July 2018.




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Muslim man to take Council to court over grave In Case You Missed It

A Muslim man is preparing for a High Court fight after complaining that a council breached his human rights by preventing him from building an edge around his father’s grave. Atta Ul-Haq wants to stop people walking across the burial site at Streetly Cemetery in Walsall. Bosses at Walsall Council have refused his request on the basis that the building of an edge would breach a cemetery policy.

He says the rules of Islam forbid people from stepping on graves and claims that the council’s policy breaches his human right to exercise religion – a right enshrined in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. A council spokeswoman indicated that bosses would fight the claim and said: “The council is confident its policy is lawful.” Mr Ul-Haq’s lawyers say the

case could have implications for the Islamic community. Solicitor Natalia Garcia, who is representing Mr Ul-Haq and works for Fountain Solicitors, says a judge at the High Court in London is expected to oversee a trial in the near future. “It is arguable that Walsall Council’s cemetery policy breaches Article 9,” she said. “This is because the policy prohibits edgings around graves in the lawn area which is reserved for Muslim burials. “There is therefore nothing to prevent my client’s father’s grave from being traversed by foot or maintenance machinery, which is against my client’s beliefs.” She said the case was of “significant wider public interest to the Muslim community”.

Real News

Advertising Standards Authority assesses dozens of complaints over ‘Messiah has come’ billboards Dozens of complaints have been launched over an advertising campaign claiming the ‘Messiah has come’. Launched by the Ahmadiyya Community, who are described by majority of muslims as a cult had a series of billboards in London, Manchester and Glasgow aim to promote the idea that the Messiah has already come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Called ‘The True Islam campaign’ said the billboard aims to educate the public on the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Community. But the campaign has prompted

outrage from Christians, Muslims and Jews who all have notions of a ‘messiah’ in their beliefs and find the billboards offensive. The Advertising Standards Authority confirmed to Christian Today it has received 33 complaints so far about the adverts. A spokesman said people have claimed the post is ‘misleading because they believe it is not consistent with the teachings of the Quran’. He said: ‘Due to the perceived misrepresentation of Muslim beliefs, complainants also consider the ad offensive on this basis.’

The ASA is assessing the complaints and will make a ruling as to whether there are grounds for further investigation. Ahmadis believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a 19th century Indian cleric, is the second coming of Jesus and subservient to the prophet Muhammed within Islam. Ahmadiyya Muslims are shunned by other Islamic groups and in Pakistan a law was passed in 1978 that meant Ahmadis could not describe themselves as Muslims. This has allowed clerics to preach against Ahmadis who they consider a dangerous cult.

Carnage in Ghouta



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Continued from front page

The narration of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 1400 years ago refers to the end of times when the Muslim army will gather in Ghouta and fight the enemies in an apocalyptic battle known as the alMalhama (Armageddon). Many of us look upon in great angst and sheer desperation at the plight of the Muslims in Ghouta. The heartless Syrian regime led by the ‘butcher of Damascus’ Bashar al-Assad continues to bombard

a defenceless population in an indiscriminate manner day in day out as the international community talks and talks but takes no action. In the 20th century, the international community coined a phrase ‘’never again’’ after the indiscriminate slaughter and genocide of six million Jews in Europe during World War II. ‘Never again’ was supposed to be a vow taken by the international community never to allow the massacre of

innocent people ever again. The same international community during the Balkans wars of the 1990’s said ‘’never again’’ after the genocide in Srebrenica in 1995. The same international community has failed the Rohingya of Myanmar repeatedly and the words ‘never again’ fall on deaf ears as we speak. Between 2011- and today, hundreds of thousands have been killed, millions displaced across the Middle East and beyond and the

I March 2018

international community wearily says ‘’never again’’. Assad’s barbaric regime’s use of barrel bombs on a defenceless population is a ‘war crime’ to all intents and purposes. The indiscriminate use of barrel bombs has killed thousands and injured many some with life changing injuries. These weapons have literally shredded innocent Syrian Muslims in an instant leaving many wondering that what will it take to stop Assad from presiding over this carnage. The phrase ‘’never again has become a dead phrase with no meaning thus implying the viewpoint that the international community do not give a damn or care if innocent Muslims are slaughtered in the suburbs of Damascus. Maybe, the international community sees the Muslims of Syria as the problem not the solution and see Assad as the solution not the problem. How times have changed when the international community was willing to take decisive military action against the same Bashar alAssad for using chemical weapons against the same people in Ghouta in 2013. The United Nations (UN) passes resolutions but no one cares to listen or even abide by them. Indeed, the Syrian crisis has shown how inept the UN has become and one can say that it is a ‘toothless tiger’ that does not have the power or influence to


bring hope and peace to the Middle East. It can also be argued that the United Nations is very much on the brink of extinction because it has failed to make an impact since the Rwandan crisis in the 1990’s. Russia it seems has learnt very little from its disastrous foreign military adventures in recent times. The former Soviet Union (USSR0 failed to subdue the Afghan Mujahideen fighters spectacularly in Afghanistan in the 1980’s and also made a mess of the situation in Chechnya and Dagestan. It is evident that the Russians use of air power in Syria has been its saving grace and has avoided casualties by not putting actual boots on the ground. Putin has demonstrated once again his brutality and thuggish behaviour by giving Assad the green light to massacre innocent civilians in Ghouta under the cover of ‘terrorism’. How can besieged innocent civilians in an overcrowded suburb in Damascus be ‘terrorists’? It is Assad and Putin who are engaging in systematic state-sponsored genocide through their repugnant actions on a daily basis with scant regard for human life. It is the failure of the West that has allowed the Russians to take the initiative in Syria and allowed Assad to make gains in Syria. President Trump of the USA and the so-called leader of the ‘free world’ looks on with silence and one assumes

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that this maybe the start of a new US policy of ‘splendid isolation’ as part of a wider framework to make America great once again. Some have even suggested that the Trump administration has given the green light to the Russians to purge the threat of the plethora of Jihadist groups based on Syrian soil. However, despite Assad appearing to have the upper hand from a military perspective, one can say that he is living on borrowed time as he can no longer command the support and confidence of the entire population. Russia and Assad in the long term will fail to create a united Syria with all the main players coming under one political umbrella. Therefore, the Balkanisation of Syria becomes a more realistic proposition as we move forward. Syria will undoubtedly be carved up into various countries with the Alwaites homeland being based in Latakia, whilst the majority Sunni population will have their own state or states in a post-war Syria. Assad and Putin will struggle to defeat the resolve and determination of the Syrian rebels who will fight onto the bitter end. It can be said that the Syrian Sunni population and diaspora will never accept Assad as the leader of united Syria ever again. The end is in sight for Assad who may think he is winning the war but has simultaneously lost the hearts and minds of the people he used to represent.


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Arab religious leaders create firstever platform for social cohesion

An ‘Interreligious Dialogue for Peace, Promoting Peaceful Coexistence and Common Citizenship’ opened in Vienna last month and is creating a first-ever joint action plan for Arab religious leaders to lead the way in repairing the divisions created by extremists, and rebuilding social cohesion and common citizenship in the Arab region. The platform will be the first of its

kind for the leaders of Christian and Muslim communities in the region, a space where they can cooperate to jointly promote the best interests of all the people in the region. Religious leaders and policymakers consider this institution essential; the lack of such a platform is as an obstacle to sustained interreligious dialogue. More than 200 religious leaders, policymakers, academics, and

The younger brother of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been elected acting head of the country’s ruling party, following his latest disqualification by the Supreme Court. The Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) chose Shahbaz as its president. “A meeting of the party’s General Council will be held on March 6, which would elect Shahbaz as the permanent president,” party official Mushahidullah Khan said. “Nawaz Sharif will work as a life leader of the party.” The move to elevate Shahbaz in rank was seen as an attempt to continue the dynastic political system, which has been opposed by critics. Shahbaz, 66, is currently serving as the chief minister in Punjab

province. He has built a reputation as a competent administrator who gets things done, especially mega projects that are the cornerstone of the party’s electoral appeal. Shahbaz’s election is likely to prompt speculations that he will replace Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister if the party sweeps back to power after general elections due in the summer. Nawaz resigned in July after the country’s top court ousted him from office for concealing financial assets. In the court order, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on February 21 directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to remove Sharif as head of the PML-N from all relevant records. Nawaz could end up in jail if he is convicted in a separate corruption

representatives of international and civil society organisations are attending the conference, including leaders from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Muslim World League and Evangelical Church of Egypt. The conference was organised by the Vienna-based International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), and it represents represents a milestone in KAICIID’s programme to promote social cohesion and peaceful coexistence in the Arab region. The event also saw opening remarks from Faisal Bin Abdulrahman Bin Muammar, KAICIID Secretary General, Dr Michael Linhart, Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Austria, Nizar Madami, state minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Belén Alfaro, ambassador at large for the Alliance of Civilisations and for Interreligious Dialogue, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

Pakistan’s ruling party picks Sharif’s brother as president

trial expected to take place soon. Sharif and his supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the threetime premier is the victim of a conspiracy driven by Pakistan’s powerful military establishment. In recent weeks, Sharif and his party have waged a war of words against the judiciary and military. Despite Nawaz’s legal woes, the 68-year-old has maintained a tight grip on the party. Sharif was the 15th prime minister in Pakistan’s 70-year history to be ousted before completing a full term. Sharif has served as prime minister twice before and each time was removed from office, in 1999 by a military coup and 1993 by presidential order.



I March 2018

China’s Hui Muslims fear education ban signals wider religious crackdown

Muslims worry curbs in Gansu province will lead to more sweeping restrictions on religion already enforced in China’s restive Xinjiang region. For some in China’s ethnic Hui Muslim minority, a ban on young people engaging in religious education in mosques is an unwelcome interference in how they lead their lives. Their big fear is the Chinese government may be bringing in measures in this northwestern province of Gansu that are similar to some of those used in the crackdown on Uygur Muslims in the giant Xinjiang region further to the west.

Well-integrated into society and accustomed to decades of smooth relations with the government, many Hui have watched with detachment as the authorities have subjected Xinjiang to near-martial law, with armed police checkpoints, reeducation centres and mass DNA collection. But in January, education officials from the local government in Guanghe county, which is a heavilyMuslim area, banned children from attending religious education during the Lunar New Year break. That lasts for several weeks around the week-long public holiday period that started.

It is unclear if the ban, similar to those used by the authorities in the Uygur communities, will continue after the holiday, but it appears to conform to new national regulations that took effect on February 1 aiming to increase oversight over religion. Residents in the city of Linxia, the capital of Gansu’s so-called “autonomous” prefecture for the Hui people, about 50km (30 miles) to the west of Guanghe, said similar restrictions were in place there. “We feel it is ridiculous and were astonished,” said Li Haiyang, a Hui imam from the eastern province of Henan who in a widely circulated online article denounced the policy as violating China’s constitution. Such bans had been conveyed verbally in recent years, Li said, but implementation was uneven and often ignored. The more forceful rollout this year shows authorities are serious about enforcement, he said. The Linxia prefecture government, which oversees Linxia city and Guanghe, did not provide details of the policy, but said China’s constitution required separation of religion and education. China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs did not respond to a request for comment, but the State Council Information Office said China amply guarantees citizens’ right to religious freedom under law, including children.

Kuwait pledges $2 billion for rebuilding Iraq Kuwait will earmark $1 billion in loans and another $1 billion in direct investments to neighboring Iraq, the country’s emir announced. The announcement came at an international donor conference held in Kuwait for the reconstruction of Iraq following the war against the ISIL terrorist group. “Iraq’s security and stability is part and parcel of the security and stability of Kuwait and the region,”

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah told participants in the conference. “The current crises and challenges facing the world require the international community to collectively work together at all levels,” he said. Some 2,300 companies from 70 countries are taking part in the conference, which kicked off. Iraq aims to secure investments

worth $100 billion to rebuild its infrastructure after a three-year war against ISIL. Iraq invaded oil-rich Kuwait in 1990 under former dictator Saddam Hussein, before it was forced to withdraw by a U.S.-led military coalition. Saddam was later toppled by the 2003 U.S. invasion.

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I March 2018

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US Supreme Court rules against hearings for immigrants

The United States Supreme Court ruled that immigrants waiting for a ruling regarding their citizenship status do not have to have repeated bond hearings. The ruling opens up the possibility that this class of immigrants could, in essence, be detained indefinitely by immigration authorities. The 5-3 ruling found that immigrants awaiting status decisions do not have a legal right to bond hearings every six months, repealing an earlier decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the Court did not decide as to whether the U.S. Constitution requires the bond hearings. Instead, the justices opted to allow lower courts to decide the issue. In writing the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said the earlier ruling was grounded on “implausible


constructions” of federal immigration rules. Alito was joined in his decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch – a group considered the conservative side of the Supreme Court. “Immigration officials are authorized to detain certain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings while they determine whether those aliens may be lawfully present in the country,” Alito wrote. The case, Jennings vs. Rodriguez, revolved around a lawful permanent resident, lead plaintiff Alejandro Rodriguez, who was detained for three years without bond hearings during deportation proceedings after he was arrested on minor charges. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion. He was joined by

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. “No one can claim, nor since the time of slavery has anyone to my knowledge successfully claimed, that persons held within the United States are totally without constitutional protection,” Breyer wrote. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the hearing because she was the solicitor general for former President Barack Obama. The American Civil Liberties Union represented Rodriguez and sharply criticized the decision. “The Trump administration is trying to expand immigration detention to record-breaking levels as part of its crackdown on immigrant communities,” said Ahilan Arulanantham, the ACLU lawyer who argued the case, in a statement. “We have shown through this case that when immigrants get a fair hearing, judges often release them based on their individual circumstances. We look forward to going back to the lower courts to show that these statutes, now interpreted by the Supreme Court to require detention without any hearing, violate the Due Process Clause.”

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Berlin to host Muslim youths conference

The German capital city of Berlin will play host to the annual conference of Muslim youth in April. Slated for April 20-24, it is intended as an opportunity for raising awareness among young Muslims and non-Muslims, both German citizens and migrants, about the role of Islam in the Western European country. Youths aged 17 to 25 will take

part in the conference to share their views and experiences about challenges and opportunities in Germany. There will be a number of workshops on political and social issues in which the participants will discuss the role of Islam and Muslim migrants in the German society. The Mercator Foundation of Humboldt University is among the

sponsors of the conference. According to some reports, between 2010 and 2016, the number of Muslims living in Germany rose from 3.3 million (4.1% of the population) to nearly 5 million (6.1%). Immigration has been a major factor in the growth of Germany’s Muslim population.




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Legal challenge brought on behalf of 11 men detained indefinitely in Gitmo

The Trump administration filed a response on 16 February 2018 to a major legal challenge brought on behalf of 11 men detained indefinitely in Guantánamo Bay without charge or trial. The human rights organisation Reprieve assists four of the men involved in the legal action. The administration’s response asserts that detention at Guantánamo is not arbitrary because

the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process gives detainees the chance to be cleared for release. This is despite the fact no detainees have been cleared since President Trump took office in January 2017. At the same time, the response argues that the Government can continue to detain those men previously cleared by six federal agencies through an administrative

process. The administration’s lawyers go on to claim that detention at Guantánamo is not ‘indefinite’ but ‘indeterminate’. Responding, Katie Taylor, Deputy Director of Reprieve, said: “The Trump administration’s position is typical of the logical and legal vacuum of Guantánamo. On one hand Trump’s lawyers argue the Periodic Review Board is an adequate protection from arbitrary detention, though not a single person has been cleared by the PRB since he took office. On the other hand, they argue the five men, including Abdul Latif Nasser and Towfiq Bihani, previously cleared for release by six federal agencies can continue to be detained forever. And in the latest example of Guantánamo nonsense, we are now told that detention at Guantánamo is not indefinite, but rather ‘indeterminate’, as if that somehow makes all the difference to the 31 men who remain locked up without charge or trial.”

Norwegian university to develop study programs with emphasis on Islamic theology The Faculty of Theology at the University of Oslo will develop new study programs for religious leaders with specific emphasis on Islamic theology. This is a direct result of the Norwegian parliament’s decision to allocate NOK 5 million ($640,000) annually to establish a “flexible education of religious leaders” at the University of Oslo (UiO), which was taken in late 2017, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK reported. According to Oddbjørn Leirvik of the UiO, the Faculty of Theology has long sought to establish a master’s degree level education in Islamic theology. Therefore, the possibility of further expanding its multi-religious studies is more than welcome, he said. The course “Being a religious

leader in Norwegian society” has been offered since 2007, with representatives of various religious communities taking part in the education process. According to Leirvik, the vision of the Faculty of Theology is to become a place where different religious traditions can congregate and be taught side by side in dialogue and cooperation. Leirvik stressed the university’s “special responsibility” for developing a wide range of studies of Abrahamic religions. Therefore, the faculty has also begun developing Judaism studies, and has employed a parttime professor. The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest university, and is traditionally ranked among Scandinavia’s best. Until recently it was also the country’s

largest, but it has been surpassed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). According to Statistics Norway, the nation’s immigrant population constituted about 17 percent of the population as of 2017, up from only 4.3 percent in 1992. The most common countries of origin of immigrants residing in Norway include Poland, Lithuania and Sweden. Norway’s Muslim community, mostly represented by Somalis, Iraqis, Syrians and Pakistanis, has been rising steadily since the 1960s. At present, Muslims are estimated to constitute about 4 percent of Norway’s population of 5.2 million, however their density reaches as much as 10 percent in urban areas in and around Oslo.

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Myanmar erases 55 Rohingya Muslim villages to cover up crimes

Authorities in Myanmar have bulldozed at least 55 Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine, in an attempt to eradicate evidence that the army committed crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. The human rights group said that satellite images revealed the extent of the destruction, showing that at least 55 villages formerly inhabited by Rohingya Muslims have been flattened to the ground since November. Authorities used heavy machinery to clear out all structures and vegetation in the villages, the images

showed. Rakhine state has been almost completely emptied of its Rohingya population since the military crackdown started in August, with an estimated 700,000 people having fled across the border to Bangladesh. The UN has described Myanmar’s persecution of Rohingya Muslims as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Last month, five mass graves with dozens of corpses were unearthed in the village of Gu Dar Pyin, where authorities have been accused of ordering soldiers to gang-rape the

Rohingya before burning them to death. Myanmar’s army has strongly denied allegations of mass rapes and extrajudicial killings against the Rohingya. HRW has condemned the demolition, accusing Myanmar’s security forces of erasing crucial evidence that could hold them accountable for their treatment of the Rohingya. “Many of these villages were scenes of atrocities against Rohingya and should be preserved so that the experts appointed by the UN to document these abuses can properly evaluate the evidence to identify those responsible,” said HRW’s Asia director Brad Adams. “Bulldozing these areas threatens to erase both the memory and the legal claims of the Rohingya who lived there,” he said. Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director, told IBTimes that the bulldozing is “the final stage of the Myanmar authorities’ cover-up of their crimes, pure and simple.” “These bulldozers are being deployed to eradicate the last traces of the Rohingya villages, and with that evidence of crimes against humanity committed there by the Burmese armed forces,” he said.

UN releases $9.1 million to fill ‘critical healthcare gaps’ in Yemen

With only 50 per cent of medical facilities fully functional in Yemen, the United Nations health agency is striving to fill a “critical” healthcare shortage and will use a $9.1 million emergency response grant to assist 630,000 vulnerable people in districts around Sana’a and al-Hudayda. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with partners “to fill critical gaps in the provision of basic healthcare, to respond to disease outbreaks, to strengthen disease surveillance, to distribute

medical supplies and to deliver life-saving services to mothers and their children”, said WHO Yemen Representative, Nevio Zagaria. The grant from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will be used to deliver urgent health assistance to 189,000 internally displaced persons and 441,000 people from host communities, including chronically ill people, pregnant and lactating mothers, severely malnourished children, and injured people.

Assistance will be provided in the form of health services close to where they live, including for general services and trauma; child and nutrition care; reproductive, maternal and new-born care; mental health; and treatment for communicable diseases and life-threatening noncommunicable diseases. With only half of health facilities fully functional, 16.4 million people in Yemen require assistance to ensure adequate access to healthcare, with 9.3 million in acute need.


I WORLD NEWS I March 2018

Donors losing interest in providing food for Rohingya Muslim refugees: WFP

Executive Director of World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley said donor agencies are gradually losing their interest in providing food assistance for the displaced Rohingya Muslims who have taken shelter in Bangladesh. The WFP executive director came up with the information during a meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque briefed reporters after the meeting. He said the WFP is playing a leading role in feeding one million displaced Myanmar Rohingya Muslims living in Bangladesh and mentioned that they have distributed food data-x-items worth USD 80 million among the Rohingya in last six months. As per the WFP assessment,

German court bans adhan in small town

A German court has ruled to silence loudspeaker calls to prayer from a local mosque claimed to be disturbing non-Muslim residents. Authorities in the town of OerErkenschwick in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia had initially granted the local mosque the right to use the loudspeakers for Friday prayers in 2014.

However, Hans-Joachim Lehmann and his wife, who live just over half a mile away, won an injunction by arguing that the call to prayer violated their own religious rights, the Algemeiner reported. This is the first such ruling in Germany, which is home to millions of Muslims.

he said, some USD 20-25 million is needed to feed the Rohingya a month. “He (Beasley) informed the prime minister that the interest of the donor agencies to feed the Rohingya is decreasing and the WFP is trying to keep alive this interest among the donor agencies under the UN system. But it’s very difficult for them to keep it up,” Shahidul Haque said. The WFP executive director also expressed concern over the possibility of mudslide in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar during monsoon. “He noticed the matter (mudslide) to the prime minister. Our prime minister said that some Rohingyas will be shifted temporarily to Bhasan Char (an island under Noakhali district) if needed,” the foreign secretary said. During the meeting, Sheikh Hasina requested the international community to continue their pressure on Myanmar for the successful implementation of the agreement,” Shahidul said.

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Lebanon censures zionist regime’s border wall plan

I March 2018

The Lebanese army censured an Israeli plan to build a wall along Lebanon’s southern border, saying the structure will be a violation of the country’s sovereignty. Senior Lebanese officials and Israeli army officers held a meeting under the supervision of the UN peacekeepers (UNIFIL) at the Lebanese border town of Naqoura to discuss the contentious wall. In a statement issued after the tripartite meeting, the army said “the Lebanese side reviewed the matter of the wall which the Israeli enemy intends to build ... confirming the


position of the Lebanese government rejecting the construction of this wall as it violates Lebanese sovereignty.” The Lebanese government says the wall passes through territory, which belongs to Lebanon but is located on the UN-designated Blue Line demarcating the regime’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000. In the meeting, the Lebanese side also rejected recent Israeli comments about Lebanon’s offshore energy exploration, the army statement said, according to Press TV. Israel’s minister of military affairs,



Avigdor Liberman described as “very provocative” a Lebanese tender for projects in two of its 10 offshore blocks in the Mediterranean Sea. Tel Aviv, which claims sovereignty over Block 9, also urged international firms not to take part. Liberman’s remarks came a few days before February 9 when Beirut is set to officially sign contracts with three international firms, allowing exploration to start. “The block lies entirely within Lebanon’s territorial and economic waters,” the Lebanese army said in its statement. President Michel Aoun held a meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri before at the presidential palace of Baabda to discuss the situation amid rising Israeli threats against the Arab country. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has vowed to defend the rights of the country in oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean region against any new Israeli aggression. Hezbollah said Lieberman’s recent comments were “a new aggression,” warning that it would “decisively confront any assault on our oil and gas rights.”

Billboard Campaign about hijab in Chicago GainPeace, an Islamic group based in Chicago, US state of Illinois, has launched a six-week billboard campaign designed to portray the Hijab as a symbol of empowerment and to clear negative stereotypes about women in Islam. The campaign’s purpose is to provide an opportunity for Americans to look at hijab, the modest clothing of Muslim women, not as a sign of subjugation or oppression but as a symbol of empowerment, strength and freedom. The billboards connect the modest clothing and Hijab with Mary (SA), the mother of Jesus (AS),

who also wore similar clothing and is taken as a symbol of chastity, modesty and strength by the world’s 2.2 billion Christians and 1.7 billion Muslims. The billboards also include a phone number to the GainPeace organization: 800-662-ISLAM. A caller to GainPeace’s outreach phone line can ask any question about Hijab, Muslim women, and request a free copy of the Quran and brochures on Hijab and women. The group also desires people of other faiths to learn the peaceful teachings of Islam, contrary to what’s portrayed by some media outlets.

The group has also hosted in many Mosques exhibits portraying women in Islam, women in sports, women in politics and women in America. “The Hijab campaign desires to educate that the Hijab stands as a symbol of strength and not as an attire of subjugation. Previous educational campaigns of GainPeace have generated numerous calls of support and building of alliances with interfaith groups, minority groups, and neighbors.” said Dr Sabeel Ahmed, executive director of the GainPeace Project.

20I WORLD NEWS I March 2018

French Muslims urge Macron not to interfere in Islam In Case You Missed It

A leading representative of French Muslims urged Emmanuel Macron not to interfere in the organization of the country’s second-largest religion, days after the president said he would try to redefine relations between Islam and the state. The statement came from the leader of an organization set up 15 years ago in a bid to defuse concern about conservative religious leaders and foster a form of Islam that would fit better with France’s hard line secularism that insists on separation of church and state affairs. “Everyone must stick to their role,” Ahmet Ogras, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), told Reuters in an interview.

“The Muslim faith is a religion and, as such, takes care of its own household affairs. The last thing you want is the state to act as guardian,” said Ogras, a Frenchman of Turkish descent who has led the CFCM since mid-2017. Macron, elected last May after a runoff victory over far-right leader Marine Le Pen, said in a February 11 newspaper interview he planned to revisit the way Islam was overseen. “What I’d like to get done in the first half of 2018 is set down markers on the entire way in which Islam is organized in France,” he told the Journal du Dimanche. The priority would be to “bring back what secularism is all about”.

Traditionally Catholic France is home to the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe, with the latter estimated at 6.5 million out of a population of 67 million. The official rule is strict separation between religion and state, with the former considered a strictly private matter. The rule has been used to justify ban on the wearing of the Hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women, by public service employees as well as any wearing of fully concealing head-to-toe veils in public places. Macron has been under pressure to limit Muslim preachers and mosques, as a wave of attacks has killed more than 230 people in France since 2015. France is militarily involved in Afghanistan and Mali, and in Syria it has reportedly provided material support to some armed groups. France’s response to attacks on its soil has been to enact emergency search-and-arrest powers, which are made permanent under tougher security legislation. Several mosques have been shut and imams expelled. Macron’s declarations in the February 11 newspaper interview suggest he is considering a profound reorganization of the way in which Islam is funded and its preachers schooled.

Israeli Forces beat Palestinian youth to death Israeli forces reportedly beat a Palestinian youth to death after arresting him during a new wave of raids on homes in the West Bank city of Jericho. Yasin Omar al-Saradih, 33, was arrested along with several other Palestinians during the raids, Palestinian news agency Watan reported. Israeli officials informed Saradih’s family that he has lost his life, the report said, according to Press TV. Rights groups have denounced Tel Aviv’s extrajudicial killings in

situations where they say alleged assailants could have been detained in a non-lethal manner. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in similar circumstances. According to the Palestinian human rights group, the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), Israel is currently holding the bodies of 19 Palestinians killed in the past two years, along with 260 bodies of those killed since 1967. Almost 6,280 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, 465 of them under the controversial

administrative detention, according to figures provided by the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer. Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes to voice their outrage at the administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. Palestinian prisoners complain that they have been subject to assault and torture at Israeli prisons.

US says to open Embassy in Quds in May

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In Case You Missed It

The United States is planning to open its embassy in Quds (Jerusalem) in May, the State Department announced. “We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. Earlier, an official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said most embassy staff will remain in Tel Aviv. “Come May, we’re moving the ambassador and a small team to Arnona,” the compound that currently houses the consular operations of the US Consulate General in Quds, the official said. “What will happen by May, is

a sign will be put up in Arnona identifying the facility as the US Embassy,” the official added, Press TV reported. Another US official, also requesting anonymity, added that a new embassy building will be later constructed in another location in Quds. The State Department spokeswoman said the search for a permanent site had already begun. US President Donald Trump on December 6 defied global warnings and said Washington formally recognized Quds as the capital of Israel and would begin the process of moving its embassy to the occupied city, breaking with decades of

American policy. His decision infuriated the Palestinians, who declared that Washington could no longer play a role as lead mediator in the Middle East peace process. It also sparked outrage across the Muslim world and even Washington’s Arab allies. The United Nations General Assembly on December 21 overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Quds as the Israeli capital. The 193-nation assembly adopted the resolution by a decisive vote of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions. The scheduled opening of the US embassy in May appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. During an address to the Israeli Knesset (parliament) on January 22, US Vice President Mike Pence said Washington was planning to relocate the country’s embassy in occupied Palestine from Tel Aviv to Quds “by the end” of 2019. According to one of the US officials, the new US embassy in Quds would open on May 14 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which marks the anniversary of the forcible eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland by Israelis in 1948.

Muslim groups raise thousands to help Florida shooting victims, Families A Muslim charity in Florida has raised thousands of dollars for the victims of the high school shooting in Parkland and their families. Three Islamic groups rallied together under The South Florida Muslim Federation, Inc. banner to launch an online crowd funding site. They said the money would be given to an education fund to help those caught up in the “tragic events”. “These efforts began immediately after the February 14shooting that resulted in the deaths of 17 people

with dozens wounded and hundreds of other young students and adults terrorized,” the appeal said. “Let us all help assist the victims of the deadliest school shooting in the history of Florida.” It added: “Our beloved Prophet Muhammed [PBUH] reminded us on our duties towards our neighbors.” The group aims to raise $10,000 (£7,100). Less than two days after the mass shooting, it had raised $4,000, the Independent reported. It will pass on the money raised

to the local Broward Education Fund, saying that platform was “the only fund to support and help victims and families”. The web page also issued a wider appeal to the community and called for blood donations and for mental health professionals to offer free counselling. Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of murder, in connection with the incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland.


SPORT I March 2018

‘Mobile Mosques’ planned for 2020 summer Olympics

Plans are under way to deploy “mobile mosques” to event venues, training camps and other sites at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics for use by Muslim athletes and other participants. The mosques would be set up in large trucks, enabling them to be moved anywhere at any time for use by Muslims as secure places of worship. The idea was devised by

Yasuharu Inoue, a 58-year-old Tokyo resident who is president of an event organizing company. Inoue brought a footbath to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and held an event at the 2012 London Games to express gratitude for the support provided by foreign countries after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Through these and other events, Inoue has used the Olympics as an opportunity to bring together

Asia football boss wants Iraq back in full international fold The Asian Football Confederation head called for Iraq to be allowed to host competitive international matches, as FIFA gears up to decide on whether to lift a ban on the strife-torn nation. “The time has come” to end the three-decade-long ban, AFC chief Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa told a news conference at the stadium in the southern city of Basra ahead of an international friendly in which Iraq beat Saudi Arabia 4-1. The Saudis have reached this year’s World Cup finals in Russia, while Iraq, who played many of their ‘home’ qualifying games in Tehran, narrowly missed out.

AFC chief Al-Khalifa says FIFA should come and see for themselves that Iraq is ready to host matches safely. “We ask FIFA to take this decision and we invite FIFA’s leaders to come and watch matches in Iraq,” he said. Gianni Infantino who is president of world football’s governing body FIFA was invited by Iraq’s football authorities but did not travel to Basra for the match. FIFA is due to decide on March 16 whether to lift the ban preventing Iraq from hosting competitive international matches. The country has not played full

foreign and Japanese athletes and participants. Inoue’s latest idea arose from a Japanese cultural project he helped organized in Qatar. “Prayer is an essential practice for Muslims. I want to welcome them [to the 2020 Games in Tokyo] with Japanese hospitality by providing a comfortable environment for worship,” he said, according to the Japan News. Inoue is working with domestic automakers and other entities to create the mobile mosques, and has asked an interior designer from Qatar to plan the interior. The first model is expected to be completed this year, with plans to produce five to 10 units by 2020. As Qatar will host the 2022 soccer World Cup, Inoue said he is also negotiating with its organizing committee over deploying mobile mosques for the event. “I want the Tokyo Games to be an opportunity to expand Japan’s contribution to Islamic society globally, and in the future use [the mosques] at refugee camps, conflict zones and other areas for peaceful causes.” internationals on home turf ever since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait that sparked an international embargo. The ban, covering all but domestic matches, stayed in place after the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It was briefly lifted in 2012, but a power outage during an IraqJordan match in the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil led FIFA to promptly reinstate it. Iraq in December declared victory over the ISIL group and FIFA finally relaxed the ban, allowing international friendlies in Basra, Karbala, south of Baghdad, and in Arbil.

World Cup trophy visits Palestinian territories


I March 2018

Thousands of Palestinian football fans took photographs with the World Cup trophy as it tours the globe ahead of this summer’s tournament in Russia. More than 10,000 people queued

to see the trophy during three days it was displayed near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, organisers said. It is the second time the World Cup has been displayed in the

Palestinian territories and comes as part of a wider tour of the trophy ahead of the World Cup. The cup left for Jordan before it goes to Dubai. Hamza Samara brought his sons for a photo with the cup shortly before it left. “I have seen the World Cup on television but to see it in real life and take a picture with it is something else,” he said. “It is something beautiful that changes the atmosphere and takes my sons away from the circumstances we live under.” As elsewhere in the Arab world, football is hugely popular among Palestinians. The Palestinian football association has fought a long battle at FIFA over football played in Israeli settlements, which is argues is illegal under international law.

Liverpool fans embrace Egyptian player with Muslim chant InMCisasseedYItou Liverpool Football Club fans embraced Mohamed Salah, an Egypt-born player, with a new chant that celebrates the 25-year-old forward’s faith. “Mo Sa-la-la-la-lah, Mo Sa-lala-la-lah, if he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too,” fans have been filmed chanting from the stadiums to the pubs as they watch Salah’s footwork at play. The rhyme continues: “He’s sitting in the mosque, that’s where I want to be.” Salah, who also plays for Egypt’s national team, is quickly becoming a darling of the English football community. In 2017, he was named the

BBC’s African Footballer of the Year. He also became the thirteenth player in Liverpool FC’s 125-year history to score his 30th goal in a season in a match against Porto, prompting some to compare Salah with Argentina’s footballing legend, Lionel Messi. Luis Suarez, who plays for FC Barcelona, was the last player to achieve 30 goals in a season, in April 2014. The recent chant for Salah, nicknamed the Egyptian king, is being seen by some as a feat against endemic racism in English football. In a report on February 7, Kick It Out - an organization working to end discrimination in football, said the number of incidents of

discrimination at the midway point of the 2017 - 2018 season had risen. The organization received more than 300 reports relating to 282 incidents of discriminatory abuse by the end of 2017, covering the professional game, grassroots football and social media. This marked an increase of 59 percent from the same period last season, when there were 177 incidents. Mo Salah is going to stop Islamophobia’ Several people on social media welcomed the Liverpool FC fans’ chorus. “Mo Salah doing more to end the clash of civilizations than anyone else in the world,” joked the satirist Karl Sharro.


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The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

Part 22

The delegation from Egypt appeared in Madinah demanding answers in connection to the instructions laid down in the letter that was supposedly written by Uthman Ibn Affan. In addition to this, other factions from Basra and Kufa came to Madinah seeking an end to the chaos that had engulfed the caliphate. The enraged Egyptian delegation demanded that Ali replace Uthman and the former refused to accept this. This was followed by Zubayr and Talha who turned down the demands made by the Kufan and Basran delegations. The implications of these moves were that it prevented the whole population of Madinah giving fresh allegiance to Uthman Ibn Affan and this left the Banu Ummaya giving

allegiance to the caliph. It was not long before the siege began which ultimately cost Uthman Ibn Affan’s life and the fires had been stoked by the circulation of the letter that ordered the murder of the Egyptian delegation. The siege of the residence of the third caliph occurred due to several reasons. Many in the Muslim community felt aggrieved that the Ummayad governors were abusing their powers in the provinces they administered. Nepotism was cited as the divisive element that led to much chaos and discord across the provinces. Uthman Ibn Affan though absolved of any misconduct was nevertheless accused of failing to deal with the grievances made over several years in a decisive manner.

The influence of Marwan Ibn Hakam over Uthman Ibn Affan’s was another reason cited by many for the ensuing chaos as he was also accused to authoring the letter ordering the murder of the Egyptian delegation. The Egyptian delegation was certainly in no mood to alleviate the plight of Uthman Ibn Affan who they blamed for giving the orders to kill them when in fact it was Marwan Ibn Hakam who had instigated this move. Ali Ibn Ali Talib only intervened when the siege was so intense as the caliph had no food or water in his residence. Ali Ibn Abi Talib went further and sent his sons to defend the caliph from the members of the Egyptian delegation who had surrounded his residence.

I March 2018

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