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Stripping Begum of her citizenship has raised many to question about the motives of the Home Secretary and more importantly his interpretation to section 40 (2) of the British Nationality Act 1981

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The recent decision of the Home Secretary Sajid Javid to strip Shameema Begum of her British citizenship caused consternation in the UK last month. Stripping Begum of her citizenship has raised many to question about the motives of the Home Secretary and more importantly his interpretation to section 40 (2) of the British Nationality Act 1981. Section 40 (2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 states ‘The Secretary of State may by order deprive a person of citizenship status if the Secretary of State is satisfied that deprivation is conducive to the public good’. Once the Home Office made this official statement it was warmly received by the populace and was seen by many as a populist gesture. Javid has certainly flexed his political muscles and adopted a ‘tough guy’ approach by depriving Begum of her citizenship. The Home Office argued that Begum was of Bangladeshi extraction that would enable her to acquire Bangladeshi citizenship and therefore would not be stateless. Incidentally, International law makes it illegal to

make any citizen stateless. Just last month, the Bangladeshi government stated that Begum is not welcome in the country, as she was not born there and neither had she lived in the country for a reasonable period of time. Begum’s husband ISIS fighter Yago Riedjik, a Dutch fighter presented an opportunity of potentially gaining Dutch citizenship, a point made by the former in a series of media interviews. However, the Dutch government poured scorn on the idea and stated that Begum would not be given Dutch citizenship under any circumstances. The situation became more interesting when the British government stated that Begum’s new born son was a British citizen, as he had been born a few days before she was stripped of her citizenship. We can now ask the question as to what happens next to Shameema Begum? Begum’s lawyers will certainly argue that she is effectively now stateless, as Bangladesh and Holland will not allow her into the country and therefore, she should be allowed to come back to the UK

from Syria and have her citizenship restored. Lawyers will also make a case that a vulnerable young baby cannot grow up in the UK without her mother and therefore depriving the former of their basic human rights. Furthermore, the lawyers could also argue that non-Asian heritage persons holding dual-nationality in Western countries who have committed crimes abroad have not been stripped of their British citizenship. It will be certainly be argued in due course that on the surface the government is applying the law in a discriminatory fashion. Human rights lawyers will certainly challenge the Secretary of State interpretation of the following ‘may by order deprive a person of citizenship status if the Secretary of State is satisfied that deprivation is conducive to the public good’ by arguing that to date there is no overwhelming evidence that Begum had engaged in criminal activity under ISIS rule and that she is only being punished for travelling to Syria from Bethnal Green in 2015. Begum in some of her interviews stated that she was a housewife who lost two children and did not partake in any propaganda for the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). However, she has also not done herself any favours by making highly controversial statements last month about her time in Syria and failed to show much sympathy when quizzed about the atrocities committed in Manchester by ISIS bomber Salman Abedi. However, we must remember that Begum was groomed and radicalised in the UK by unknown individuals and the authorities failed to deal with this prior to her departure from the UK in

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2015. One must also take on board that the camp Begum is residing in has captured ISIS fanatics and that making anti-ISIS comments to the world’s media may put her safety in peril and that of her new born son. Also, several UK citizens who have returned from Syria and Iraq in recent years have been allowed to return to the UK and put on de-radicalisation programmes, so the question arises what makes Shameema Begum’s case any different to the others? Furthermore. Javid has chosen to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors Amber Rudd and the current PM Theresa May in being tough on home security and using punitive measures that have deprived several people of citizenship since 2010. The Home Secretary has been accused of populism in order to further his personal credentials for the top prize namely the position of Prime Minister by taking this drastic decision. The move to deprive Begum of her citizenship has taken the wind out of the sails of the white far-right, as a politician of Pakistani heritage has kept a brown British Muslim of Bangladeshi extraction languishing in a squalid camp in North-eastern Syria with a new born baby. This populist measure has certainly been a no-brainer for Javid, and one would not be surprised if he became Prime Minister once the turmoil of Brexit has dissipated. However, on the flip side, Javid has come under significant criticism from a wide cross-section of society especially the Asian Muslim

population for making this decision which has been construed as illadvised and ill-informed at best. Javid’s decision to strip Begum of her citizenship also has wider ramifications for UK citizens who have Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage living in Britain. Potentially, these UK citizens face being made stateless and stripped of citizenship if they are out of the UK for any length of time. It is possible that those involved in civil activism and whose views are seen as unpalatable to the government could be barred from the country and have their citizenship taken away from them. The government of the day could quite easily argue that they can stay in Pakistan or Bangladesh because they have dual citizenship. Since 2015, several individuals of Asian heritage have been found guilty of grooming young children in the UK and been stripped of their British citizenship which means once their sentences have been served, they will be deported back to their country of origin. One commentator of Muslim Pakistani heritage said on social media in light of the decision to strip Begum’s British nationality that UK citizenship is now merely a ‘visa’ and that he is not really a ‘British citizen’ in the eyes of the government. Javid and the rank and file of the Tories are aware that many Muslims do not vote for the Conservatives and therefore it is acceptable to target this much maligned group and convert them into convenient scapegoats in the so-called war

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against terror. It seems at present that certain UK citizens who have foreign heritage cannot be deprived of UK citizenship because many countries forbid the acquisition of dual-citizenship. Therefore, we have a two-tier system for UK citizens who have foreign heritage in terms of whether they can be deprived of their British citizenship. Shameema Begum’s case is quite intriguing in that the question that will be asked in the courts is that is the Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s interpretation of section 40 (2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 correct or not and it seems that this matter will rumble on in the courts for the foreseeable future. Based on the information in the public domain, the government has a duty to apply the law in a fair and consistent manner and equally as far as its citizens are concerned. The UK for decades has been the world leader in preserving human rights and it would be a shame that hard won freedoms are cast aside in favour of populism and future political ambition.

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Three London Mosques awarded ‘plaque of excellence’ www.pi-media.co.uk

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Three institutions were the first in the UK to receive the ‘a plaque of excellence’ as part of the Beacon Mosques initiative. The initiative by Faith Associates has been developed to recognise the role that mosques and Islamic centres play. Mosques are evaluated across ten categories which range from contribution to the local community to management and governance and are subsequently awarded with three, four or five star accreditation. The Beacon Mosque annual

awards will take place later this year in London. Muslim institutions who strive to provide an excellent service across the ten standards are encouraged to apply. Three institutions across London were personally presented with a plaque of excellence. Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in Kensington won the title of ‘Best Run Mosque’ and was awarded with five star accreditation. Al Madina in Barking was

also awarded with a five star accreditation. Mevlana Rumi Mosque in Edmonton has been awarded with four star accreditation. It has complied with the standards to a good standard, which has effectively assisted them in receiving two other awards (Best Madrassah and Best Charity service in the UK) and was shortlisted for another at the British Beacon Mosque Awards ceremony in 2018. Shaukat Warraich, Founder and Chief Editor of Faith Associates and the Beacon Mosque Standards, said, “The Beacon Mosque Standard recognises and rewards the hard work that goes into running these integral pillars of society. By implementing excellent service together with best practice it will inspire us to be proud of our institutions and help foster strong community relations. “We hope the initiative creates a future where mosques are encouraged to be the standard bearers for their worshippers, neighbours, cities and the rest of the world.” courtesy AI

Brexit ’should not affect’ halal standards, certification or accreditation: UK authority As the date for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union nears, national authority United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) has clarified that the process is likely to have no impact on halal standards and certification. “Brexit shouldn’t affect halal standards and halal certification,” Matt Gantley, UKAS Chief Executive told Salaam Gateway on the sidelines of the International Halal Industry Forum held in Dubai on February 18 Negotiations are still ongoing as to the terms of UK’s exit from the

EU. “Deal or no-deal I don’t think it necessarily affects halal because it’s primarily a voluntary certification process,” said Gantley. “It’s driven primarily by retailers or consumers who, when they buy a food product or a cosmetic product, look for that halal brand. The brand then seeks independent certification and then the certification body seeks accreditation to ensure that its processes are strong and consistent,” he added. “It’s voluntary or market-driven, rather than as a regulator or a

government saying these products must be halal. The European Union is not asking industry to apply halal. And so, with a no-deal, or deal situation there is no impact,” Gantley said. Brexit is also not expected to impact the exception for halal and kosher slaughter that is permitted in the EU because UK has its own laws to deal with this, which specify: “You must stun all animals before you slaughter them unless an animal is being religiously slaughtered for halal or kosher meat.”

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Uk Supermarket becomes first to tell shoppers where ingredients are sourced

A Cotswolds supermarket is set to become the UK’s first major retailer to make it mandatory for suppliers to tell shoppers where their ingredients are sourced from. To underline its commitment, the Midcounties Co-operative in Bourtonon-the-Water, Gloucestershire, will make it mandatory for suppliers to prove and publish where they source their ingredients from in a bid to deliver consumer transparency through the food chain. Last month the food retailer actively delist every food and drink

brand across its entire ‘Best of our Counties’ range that refuses to have its ingredient supply chain audited and published for public scrutiny. The event will mark a major milestone in the journey of Happerley, the organisation working on behalf of the whole UK food industry and all consumers to develop and implement a means to secure provenance honesty and transparency, and empower the consumer to know the journey of their food. Happerley QR codes will be

available at point of sale across the store’s entire Best of our Counties range, ahead of a wider roll-out across hundreds of stores. Phil Ponsonby said: “Transparency is a core value of ours and we are delighted to have supported Happerley from the start and believe this project will grow and grow. We are 100 per cent committed to it.” Matthew Rymer added: “Food and drink have become one of the most opaque industries where disingenuous branding, marketing and selective truths disconnect consumers from the truth they deserve. Consumers increasingly want to know the impact of their food and drink purchases and the whole industry can benefit by delivering a means to empower the consumer to know the journey of their food. “It is the hope of our board that Happerley will now become the credible and trusted currency of truth across the entire industry. Moves to take the marque into an independent, not for profit entity are now underway.”

Black british Muslims celebrate heritage and challenges

A conference exploring Black Muslim heritage, identity formation, the role of women and issues such as anti-Black racism was held by the Muslim Council of Britain and partner organisations in London on 9th February entitled “Proudly Muslim and Black.” Talks, performances and poetry from British Muslims of Nigerian, Ghanaian, Somali, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaican, Tanzanian and Ivorian descent were heard by an audience of 130 delegates at SOAS University of London, as well as an African and Afro-Caribbean exhibition and food stalls. The conference highlighted the important contributions made to Islamic civilisation and British society by prominent Black Muslims, as well as exploring issues facing Britain’s Black

Muslim communities, who constitute about 10% of UK Muslim communities according to the 2011 census. The day included a roundtable session in the morning with academics, scholars and community leaders, followed by a public event featuring keynote speakers, performances, poetry and exhibitions in the afternoon. “The final speech of Prophet Muhamad (peace be upon him) started on the topic of racial equality, yet many of us often forget this,” said Professor Kamil Omoteso, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean at the University of Derby. Sharing her experiences of growing up in Britain, Sakinah Lenoir of Pearls of Islam, said “I owe so much to my parents who were able to create new traditions, but who still instilled within us a culture and heritage that taught

us that Islam can be practiced whether you are Black, Asian, Arab and any other ethnic background.” Speaking of the challenges of engaging young Muslims from Black as well as other communities, historian and writer Habeeb Akande, said “Young people are more likely to be on social media today than come to mosques and events – the challenge of engaging with youth lies there.” Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said, “It is particularly important to have these discussions around the challenges facing Black Muslim communities in order to tackle the problems of Racism, Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination that still seem to permeate the social membrane of our society.”


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British Muslims regret Brexit choice poll says

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Hope not hate polling shows Muslims who voted Leave were the most likely to have changed their minds in the face of rising Islamophobia and broken promises. The stereotype of a white, uneducated, racist North being responsible for the 2016 decision to leave the EU hides much of the complexity behind the vote. There has been little discussion of how Britain’s ethnic minorities voted, despite an estimated 30% of British Muslim voters backing Leave in the referendum. Over the last year, we have polled over 30,000 people and carried out focus groups across the country to better understand the Brexit vote, and to understand what people want now. We have frequently heard views conflating controls over immigration with anti-Muslim prejudice. But immigration was also a

motivator for some British Muslims to vote Leave, with many concerned about the rate of EEA (European Economic Area: EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) migration. Others felt that restricting free movement by leaving the EU might ‘even out’ the immigration system for those from the Indian subcontinent. However, anti-Muslim prejudice throughout the campaign has had the strongest impact on Muslims in Britain. The rise in hate crimes since the referendum, which have disproportionately impacted Muslims, has been well documented, but we know that there is much more everyday prejudice that goes unreported. The results were clear from the door-to-door canvassing of 739 Muslims we carried out in Bradford East during August and September last year. Over 85% now considered

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themselves Remainers, 87% viewed Theresa May’s deal as bad and 84% felt that “the decision to leave the EU had been accompanied by an increase in division and racism in society.” Our polling suggests that BAME (minority community) Leave voters are among the most likely to have changed their minds on Brexit,especially Muslims. In our July 2018 poll of 10,383 people, only 27% of those of Pakistani heritage who voted to leave the EU said they would vote the same way if there was a referendum today. We also held a focus group in Manningham, Bradford comprised of a mixed aged group of men of Kashmiri origin. While 65% of the district’s residents identified as white British, Bradford has the largest population of people of Pakistani ethnicity (20% of the population) of any local authority in the UK. Bradford voted 54% to Leave the EU in the 2016 referendum – this included a high proportion of British Asians. The Bradford group showed how Asian Leave voters have moved far more than those we spoke to anywhere else, because they felt the reasons they voted for Brexit were betrayed almost immediately, and that the referendum had unleashed prejudice. With the police predicting a rise in hate crime as Brexit approaches, Muslims are once again likely to take the brunt.

UK surveillance proceeds to Europe’s highest court The case against the UK Government’s bulk surveillance powers will be heard by the highest chamber of Europe’s human rights court, it was announced. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hear a case previously decided by a lower Chamber and brought by Liberty, Privacy International, Amnesty International

and several other international human rights organisations. The human rights organisations are seeking a definitive judgment that would put an end to bulk interception of communications Last September, Liberty, Privacy International and Amnesty International were among the 14 rights groups and two individuals that won a landmark victory at the

ECtHR. After a five year legal battle, judges found the UK surveillance regime revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden was illegal. The Court found that the UK’s historical bulk interception regime violated the right to privacy protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and to free expression, protected by Article 10.


UK funding wrong projects with aid budget: Charities 10

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Several major charity organizations have warned the UK government that its aid budget is diverted toward a series of wrong projects in countries that mostly do not need the money.Save the Children, Oxfam, Action Aid and Christian Aid, among a group of 23 charities, wrote a letter to the UK finance minister Philip Hammond saying that British taxpayers were paying into an aid budget which was wrongly allocated by some ministers to projects with

no justifiable reasons. “We are concerned that not all UK aid is being spent effectively and efficiently and that this means that UK taxpayers are not getting maximum value for money from every pound of aid,” said the letter which was leaked to the Observer. Britain is supposed to spend some 0.7 percent of its GDP on foreign aid. However, many believe ministries like Department for International Development and the

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Foreign Office allocate the budget to projects that mostly serve the government’s political and economic objective. It was revealed last summer in a parliamentary investigation that the Foreign Office (foreign ministry) had allocated from the aid budget to projects on film industry and improving museum infrastructure in China. Another government fund with links to various ministries had used the aid money to build a £700,000 jail wing in Nigeria to allow inmates be freed from British jails and deported to the African country. The charities said in their letter to Hammond that almost a third of UK’s huge aid budget had been spent in countries that had no need to it, saying that was a violation of the promises to the taxpayers that their money should reach poor countries. “In the context of increasing public and media scrutiny of the aid budget, it is important that we can clearly demonstrate to UK taxpayers that aid is being spent in line with their own priorities and to help the most vulnerable,” said the charities.

UK’s blacklisting of Hezbollah lacks legal basis: IHRC Chief

Head of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Massoud Shajareh said the move by Britain to blacklist Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has no legal basis. Speaking to IQNA, Shajareh said Hezbollah’s growing popularity in Lebanon and at the international level has been the reason behind the decision. He added that some Zionist organizations in Britain see the rising popularity of the resistance movement not only among Muslims but also with non-Muslims as a threat. Shajareh said Hezbollah can

mount a legal challenge against the decision in court. He went on to say that the IHRC is also going to pursue the issue from a legal point of view. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that the government will designate the entire Hezbollah organization as a “terrorist” entity subject to the approval of the parliament. Javid, an extreme right-wing politician of Pakistani origin, said the UK government was no longer able to maintain a distinction between Hezbollah’s political and military activities and thus will include the group’s political unit in its blacklist.

“Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilize the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party,” said Javid, adding, “Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety,” he added in a statement. Britain has become increasingly angered by Hezbollah’s role in an antimilitancy campaign in Syria, where London has for the past eight years supported terrorist groups opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.


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Israeli settlers seize Palestinian land in Jordan Valley In Case You Missed It

A number of Israeli settlers escorted by troops have confiscated a large area of Palestinian land in northern Jordan Valley in the West Bank despite the international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation policies in the occupied territories. Local Palestinian media reports said that the group placed barbed wire and electric fence around more than 600 dunams (0.6 square kilometers) of Palestinian-owned land in Khillet al-Oqda and alSweideh areas of the valley, which comprises a third of the occupied West Bank. Israeli troops have also installed

surveillance cameras on the seized land. The illegal Israeli land grab in the occupied Jordan Valley is a regular occurrence by the extremist settlers and the Israeli military. The Palestinian territories are seized by the Tel Aviv regime under the contested Absentee Property Law, which paves the way for Israel to take over the property of Palestinians who have been forced from their homeland following the 1948 war. The law stipulates that houses could be confiscated if their owners are currently residing in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

First passed in 1950 after the creation of Israel inside the occupied territories, the law says house owners who fled to the “enemy territory” are declared “absent” or “missing” and their property can be put at the disposal of the regime. Israel occupied the entire West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, during full-frontal military operations in 1967. Following the 1967 war, the law was applied to East al-Quds to enable Tel Aviv to confiscate homes of Palestinians that are not “absent” or “missing” but live in so-called adversarial territories. Thousands of acres of privatelyowned Palestinian lands were given to Israeli settlers in the Jordan Valley in the 1960s and 1970s, and the confiscation continues. The Israeli regime also has been involved in propping up settlements deemed as illegal by the international community due to their construction on occupied territory. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions. About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Saudi princess becomes country’s first female ambassador A Saudi princess has been named the country’s first ever female ambassador, and its next envoy to the United States. Princess Reema bint Bandar al-Saud’s appointment comes as the conservative kingdom is under international scrutiny over the alleged torture of imprisoned female activists and the murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi. Princess Reema, whose father Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud held the

post from 1983 until 2005, grew up in the US and Saudi Arabia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in museum studies from George Washington University. A high-profile businesswoman, she has worked in the public and private sector, notably as the CEO of a retail company with Harvey Nichols in its portfolio. She is also known for her advocacy work around women’s rights, increased women’s participation in

sport, and breast cancer awareness. Princess Reema will take over the role from Prince Khalid bin Salman, the younger brother of crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, who has been named Saudi deputy defence minister. The US envoy oversees one of Saudi’s most valuable relationships, which has been strained over the murder of Mr Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, and Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.


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Aid orgs raise alarm at increased risks to Palestinian civilians

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Oxfam, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children have warned that hundreds of civilians, including children, will see their safety put at risk by the withdrawal of international observers deployed in the city of Hebron. In late January 2019, the Israeli government declined to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), an international observer force that has played an important role in reducing conflict in this highly volatile city. Their removal, and the reduction of other civilian observer groups, threatens the already fragile security situation and risks contributing to a rapid decline in the city’s stability. Save the Children Regional Director, Jeremy Stoner, said: “Palestinian children attending schools near Israeli settler

communities in Hebron have experienced threats and violence from settlers for years. The role of the TIPH and other international observers has been very important in reducing confrontations and ensuring children’s safety and access to education. “We visited one of the schools in Hebron, and the headmistress told Save the Children that staff and students felt exposed and vulnerable without international observers accompanying the children,” he added. In one of the most vulnerable schools in Hebron, Qurtoba school, the military checkpoint to the school has recently been reinforced with a guard tower and an electronic gate. This has completely severed the school area from the neighbourhood of Beit Hadassa. Parents are not allowed to enter the school premises.

Without international observers, the children and teachers will be directly exposed to any potential violence from settlers who live in the area. Israel should take steps to ensure that children can go to school and learn safely in line with its international obligations. The three organisations have called on the Israeli government and the international community to take additional steps to support international protective presence in Hebron. They have also called on all sides to tackle the longer-term causes of the conflict and take steps to protect all children and families who deserve to live in safety and dignity. Oxfam supports Palestinian farmers, women’s cooperatives and small businesses in Hebron, helping women and men to improve agricultural production and create jobs. The Norwegian Refugee Council provides humanitarian assistance and protection to vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, including in Hebron. NORCAP, NRC’s global provider of expertise, has been responsible for the recruitment, deployment and followup of the majority of Norwegian observers to the TIPH. Save the Children supports programmes to protect children from violence at school and in their communities in Hebron and throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

Pakistan central bank launches new Islamic liquidity facilities for SMEs The State Bank of Pakistan has launched three new Shariahcompliant refinance schemes to support banks to lend to small businesses, renewable energy, and agricultural projects, it said in a statement. The facilities will be based on the risk-sharing mudarabah contract. The financing will be available

for companies that want to set up renewable energy power projects with capacity ranging between 1 and 50 megawatts and for consumers to install renewable energy sources for the generation of electricity ranging from 4 kilowatts to 1 MW either for their own use or to supply to a distribution company. The scheme for the storage of agricultural produce will be available

for setting up of silos, warehouses and cold storages. SMEs can access the scheme for the purchase of new plants and machinery. SBP said the introduction of the three new schemes will level the playing field for Islamic financial institutions as the central bank already offers similar facilities for the conventional banks.


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Turkey urges China to respect Uighur Muslims’ rights

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There are very concerning developments ongoing in China against Uighur Turks and other Muslim groups, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, urging the country to respect the rights of minorities. Attending the first session of the 40th United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland, Çavuşoğlu addressed the conference on the matter of disarmament. Giving a separate speech at the same session, Çavuşoğlu called on the Chinese government to separate terrorists from innocent people and

underscored that there is a violation of human rights going on against Uighur Muslims. Çavusoğlu said Turkey recognized “China’s right to combat terrorism,” but urged the country to respect freedom of religion and to safeguard Uighurs’ and other Muslims’ cultural identities. Çavuşoğlu then inserted a line into his remarks, adding: “And I have to underline that we support the One China policy.” He was referring to China’s stance that the country encompasses Taiwan and autonomous regions including Xinjiang and Tibet.

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China’s western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination. Up to 1 million people, or about 7 percent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political reeducation” camps, according to the United Nations. In a report released in last September, Human Rights Watch blamed the Chinese government for a “systematic campaign of human rights violations” against Uighur Muslims in northwestern Xinjiang, an autonomous region in the country. Turkey, which shares cultural and religious ties with the Uighurs, has been the only majority Muslim country to criticize Beijing over a wide-ranging crackdown of religion and minority languages. The Foreign Ministry called China’s treatment of Uighurs “a great cause of shame for humanity.” Çavuşoğlu in his speech also criticized Israel, saying human rights violations against Palestinians have “reached an alarming level.”

Dutch former anti-Muslim MP converts to Islam

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A Dutch former far-right MP and right-hand man of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has set tongues wagging in the Netherlands after revealing he has converted and become a Muslim, news reports said. For seven years Joram van Klaveren fought a relentless campaign in the Lower House against Islam in the Netherlands as a lawmaker for Wilders´ Freedom Party (PVV). At the time, the “hardliner pleaded for banning the burkha and minarets, saying ´we don´t want any Islam, or at least as little as possible in the Netherlands´,” the daily tabloid Algemeen Dagblad (AD) said. But the 40-year-old Van Klaveren

said he had changed his mind halfway through writing an anti-Islam book, which he told the respected NRC daily “became a refutation of objections non-Muslims have” against the religion. “If everything I wrote up to that point is true, and I believe that, then I am a de facto Muslim,” he told the NRC. Van Klaveren converted to Islam on October 26 last year, the NRC added in the interview piece . “His conversion has surprised both friend and enemy,” the AD newspaper added. Van Klaveren split with Wilders in 2014 after the PVV leader´s controversial comments that year when asking supporters whether

they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans in your city and the Netherlands”. Wilders in 2016 was found guilty on discrimination charges. Van Klaveren then went on to form his own far-right party called “For Netherlands” (VNL) but left politics after failing to win a single seat in the 2017 elections. “If this really isn´t a PR stunt to promote his book, then it really is an extraordinary choice for somebody who had a lot to say about the Islam,” his former VNL co-founder Jan Roos told the AD. “It is great when somebody who has been so critical of Islam... realises that it is not so bad or perverse,” he told the AD.


US forces to leave Syria by end of April: WSJ www.pi-media.co.uk

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Large portion of forces to leave by mid-March, rest to withdraw by end of April, Wall Street Journal reports The U.S. military is planning to withdraw all American troops from Syria by the end of April, The Wall Street Journal reported. Former and current U.S. officials told the newspaper that with U.S.-backed fighters poised to seize the final Syrian sanctuaries held by Daesh in the coming days, Washington will look to the

withdrawal of troops in the coming weeks. The military has planned for a large portion of its forces to be pulled out from the region by mid-March and then the rest by the end of April, the Journal added. President Donald Trump made the unexpected decision in December to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, drawing criticism from many allies and security aides, including his own Cabinet.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since said Turkey is ready to assume a counterterrorism role in the war-ravaged country after the withdrawal. The U.S. and Turkey have been working on a plan, the Manbij deal, which focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region, which is located in the northern part of Syria’s Aleppo province. Turkey has also vowed to carry out a counterterrorism operation in Syria, east of the Euphrates, following two similar successful operations since 2016. However, Washington and Ankara have so far made little progress, current and former U.S. officials told the Journal, and therefore the U.S. military withdrawal is proceeding faster than the political track. “The bottom line is: Decisions have to be made,” one U.S. official told the Journal. “At some point, we make political progress, or they’re going to have to tell the military to slow down, or we’re going to proceed without a political process.”

Netherlands cuts Muslim man’s benefits for refusing to shave beard A Dutch court has backed the suspension of a Muslim man’s benefits over his refusal on religious grounds to shave his beard while on training for a job. The unnamed man had been offered a job as an asbestos removal officer but was subsequently told he would need to be clean shaven in order to undergo the training course. When he refused on the basis of his religious convictions, Amersfoort city council suspended for a month payments to both him and his wife under the Participatiewet, which provides for a minimum income for every legal resident in the Netherlands. The man appealed the decision

at the court of central Netherlands, where he claimed that the removal of his benefits was an infringement of article nine of the European convention on human rights which protects the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The council argued that there was a danger of asbestos particles ending up in the man’s beard, which is harmful to his health. They added that his facial hair would also impact on the effectiveness of the respiratory mask he would need to wear. Lawyers for the council went on to conclude that the man, who had been unemployed for two years, would have received an automatic job on completing his training and

that they had to act in the interests of the taxpayer. The man responded that he would have been willing to wear an alternative respiratory mask on the market suitable for those with beards but the court concluded that the training required the use of a specific mask. The court’s appeal board ruled that the decision was “unmistakably an infringement of [the man’s] right to religious freedom” but that this was tolerable if there was a legal basis and society required it. The judges ruled that the suspension of payments was “deemed necessary in the interest of the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.


Indonesia sees $1.6 billion windfall from halal labeling

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Indonesia is set to make halal labeling mandatory for consumer products and services this year with the government assuming greater control of the certifying process from the Muslim-majority nation’s Islamic cleric council. Issuing halal certificates to consumer goods from shampoos to toothpaste and cosmetics may net the government about 22.5 trillion rupiah ($1.6 billion) in annual revenue, said Sukoso, head of the Halal Product Guarantee Agency, known as BPJPH. The draft regulation on mandatory halal labeling is awaiting President Joko Widodo’s approval, he said, according to Bloomberg. Indonesia is overhauling the halal certification rules as the country’s

Shariah economy is set to swell to $427 billion by 2022, with halal food alone accounting for more than 50 percent, according to Bank Indonesia estimates. Under a law passed in 2014, the country will need to implement compulsory halal labeling latest by Oct. 17. Halal products and services cater to Muslims by complying with the religion’s tenets. The new rules also aim to usher in greater transparency in the certification process and guarantee a steady stream of revenue for the government, Sukoso said. The rules require certification for all goods and services related to food, beverage, drugs, cosmetics, chemical, biological and genetically engineered products as well as all consumer goods, he said.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will become the first Japanese bank to market Islamic bonds domestically, starting as soon as March in partnership with Morgan Stanley. MUFG Bank’s Malaysia subsidiary received authorization from that country’s central bank to advise on new issuances of the bonds, known as sukuk. The unit consulted with legal experts, accountants and local authorities to determine how payouts would be treated in Japan for tax purposes,

crafting a framework that makes the bonds accessible to investors. The global Islamic bond float has climbed 60% in five years. Yet no Japanese banks had offered the bonds due to the tax implications of sukuk, which are governed by Islamic law that prohibits the charging of interest. Payouts are derived from tangible assets, including leases, and can take the form of dividends or capital gains, complicating the tax treatment.

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Once the regulation comes into force, the BPJPH will start managing halal certification requests in partnerships with the Indonesian Ulema Council -- the issuer of religious edicts -- and auditors under a so-called halal inspection agency, Sukoso said. The labeling requirement will be gradually implemented and it may take three to five years before covering most food and beverage products and five to seven years for health products, Sukoso said. “We will first focus on food and beverage. If some products are still unable to meet the halal requirements, there is a period of as long as five years for the producers to fix the issues,” Sukoso said. The agency also sees potential revenue from certifying unpackaged products as well as slaughterhouses, training services and sponsorship. The number of halal certificates issued last year more than doubled to 17,398 last year from a year ago as firms rushed to label their products ahead of the implementation of the law, according to Muti Arintawati, a deputy director at the cleric council’s Food and Drug Analysis Agency. The government agency wants to issue at least 100,000 certificates next year and plans to boost the number of auditors to 5,000 by 2020, Sukoso said.

Mitsubishi UFJ financial group to market islamic bonds

Islamic economies such as Indonesia and Malaysia continue to grow. With returns on Islamic bonds reaching 4% to 5%, MUFG will market the instruments to banks, life insurers and other Japanese institutional investors that have struggled to manage their asset portfolios amid low interest rates. Many Islamic bonds are issued by government-affiliated companies, so the risk of default is considered to be low.. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Afghanistan bleeds with 1,700 casualties in January

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Afghanistan saw a bloody start to the new year with over 1,700 war-related casualties in January alone. Figures compiled by Anadolu Agency suggest more than 900 people were killed and at least 800 others were injured across Afghanistan in terrorist attacks and security operations. The casualties include militants, Afghan and foreign troops, and civilians. On New Year’s eve, the Taliban stormed Sayaad district in the northern province of Sar-i-Pul, killing at least 20 security forces and wounding 20 others, said Noor Mohammad Rehmani, chairman of the provincial council. This came in the backdrop of a recent push by the US for talks

with the Taliban to end the war entering its 18th year. Top US envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met Taliban representatives for the first time in the United Arab Emirates a month before this attack. The single deadliest incident of civilian casualties was recorded in the Taliban-controlled Sangin district of Helmand. At least 16 members of a single family were killed in an airstrike by the US forces on Jan. 25 in the restive province. In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland two weeks ago, President Ashraf Ghani said 45,000 security forces had been killed since 2014. The figures coming from him

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paints a grim picture of the nascent Afghan force fighting mainly in the countryside of the landlocked country. A group of former Afghan officials are set to meet the Taliban leaders in the Russian capital Moscow this week. Ishaq Atmar, a political and security affairs analyst, said Moscow is viewing an opening in Afghanistan. “If Russia adopts an active and aggressive confrontation role to the US in Afghanistan, we might see things get more volatile sooner than later,” he said. The US envoy and the Taliban are said to have reached an agreement on two matters; eventual withdrawal of foreign troops and ceasing terror attacks from Afghan soil. However, recent remarks by Taliban’s chief negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai unveiled looming uncertainty if a peace deal was reached. In a videotaped interview, Stanekzai said the Taliban did not recognize the government and expected the Afghan army to be disbanded after a peace deal. “This force, this army -- this was made by the Americans. When the Americans leave, they will naturally die out,” he said.

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Austria court annuls government In Case You plan to close six Mosques Missed It A court in Austria annulled a government plan to shut down six mosques belonging to the Arab community, a Muslim body said. In a statement, Umit Vural, head of the Islamic Religious Community of Austria (IGGO), said that the Vienna court annulled the

government’s decision to close six mosques. He added that courts have an important role to play in a period when populism is dominant. Last year, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s far-right government in Austria decided to shut seven

mosques and expel tens of imams. During a news conference, Kurz said the move came as part of a crackdown on “political Islam”. Kurz said that the investigation by the Ministry of Culture and Interior had found the activities of seven mosques unlawful.


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UK uni unveils country’s first sports hijab to encourage Muslim women to participate

A university in London has become the first to roll out its own sports hijab for female Muslim students. Brunel University, which is only one of four in the UK to offer a free sports programme, spotted a gap in the number of women taking part – and in particular those wearing hijabs. A 2017 study by Sport England found that just 18 per cent of Muslim women participate in regular sport, against 30 per cent of the UK’s female population as a whole. Traditionally the hijab, which covers the wearer’s hair and neck, is made from cotton which can quickly become hot, sodden with sweat and uncomfortable when used for sport. But Brunel’s has been made from materials specifically designed to keep the wearer cool while also respecting their religious beliefs. Faith Al Saad, a business management student at the

university, said she was “100 per cent confident” the hijab would encourage more of her peers to get into sport. “It’s great; really lightweight, really easy to wear, really comfortable – it feels like you’re wearing nothing on your head which is amazing, especially when doing sports,” said the keen gym-goer. “The traditional hijab is basically a cloth you wrap around your head and then pin down. You can’t really run in it, it’ll literally fly off. The pins come out and it falls off – it’s not comfortable. “Wearing the sports hijab makes it ten times easier, and I genuinely think it’s a lifesaver.” Some sports giants already have their own hijabs on the market, however at £15 Brunel’s is about 40 per cent cheaper than the one Nike launched in 2017.

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The hijab will initially only be available in “Brunel blue” and in two sizes but it is hoped there will be a wider range of colours if it takes off. Ranjeet Rathore, president of the Union of Brunel Students, has been a driving force behind the hijab. “When we narrowed it down, we found the main gap to be in BAME female sports participation – specifically, we found there to be a barrier to Muslim women taking part in team sport,” he said. “Of course, they were participating in sports on their own and in private, but they weren’t really going out to competitions, or using sport as a social tool to get involved in activities. “There are now other unis that want to partner with us, who want to take samples off us, who want to do their own hijab – which is great news.”

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Qatar crowned champion of AFC Asian Cup 2019 in the UAE www.pi-media.co.uk

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half of the game, scoring one goal in minute 69 by Takumi Minamino. Finally, in the 83rd minute, Qatar’s forward player Akram Afif scored the third goal through a penalty kick. Almoez Ali has won the title of the tournament’s top scorer, with double the amount of goals as that of the next highest scorer. The Qatari player has also won the prize of the Most Valuable player, worth $30,000. Qatar scored 19 goals and conceded only once in winning all seven games in the UAE.

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Qatar has been crowned champion of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 after winning the finale with a score of 3-1 against Japan. Qatar’s first goal was scored by

Almoez Ali in an impressive double kick in minute 12, and the second one was scored by Abdulaziz Hatem in minute 27. Japan followed up in the second

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Soccer team gives hope to young cancer patients in Gaza

Fourteen-year-old Moatasem alNabeeh suffers from a brain tumor. A new youth soccer team set up in Gaza for young Palestinian cancer patients has given him new hope. “I am happier now, I play and I made new friends,” said al-Nabeeh. “They told us we can play, defy the disease and defeat it,” he added as he hit the pitch for push-ups in his bright yellow and blue uniform. Champions Academy, one of Gaza’s biggest soccer schools, began setting up the team up five months ago and in February “Team Hope” kicked off. Its 18 players, aged between 12 and 17, have all been diagnosed with cancer, and compete against other, non-patient teams in the

academy’s league. “Like children anywhere in Gaza, or in the world, those boys have ambitions, they want to become footballers and we are trying to help them achieve that,” said Rajab Sarraj, CEO of Champions Academy. Team Hope’s players are exempt from school fees and train for one hour per week, with doctors’ advice, Sarraj said. Moatasem al-Nabeeh’s mother, Suheir al-Nabeeh, said the soccer team has transformed her son’s life. “He was depressed and lonely all the time. He likes football and now he feels his life has value,” she said. Gaza, a narrow coastal strip that borders Egypt and Israel, is home

to about two million Palestinians. Poverty and unemployment in the enclave run high. Struggling with shortages of medical equipment and medicine, Gaza’s hospitals are unable to provide proper care for cancer patients, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Khaled Thabet, chief oncologist at Gaza’s largest hospital, Shifa, said most cancer patients need to be transferred to Israel, the West Bank or abroad in order to receive adequate medical treatment. But Israel and Egypt keep tight control over their border crossings with Gaza, patients need to apply for special permits from Israel to leave Gaza for treatment.


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The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 35

The death of the Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib at the hand of the Kharijites (Khawarij) very much marked the end of the glorious reign of the Rashidun (rightly guided) caliphate. It should be said that the each of the caliphs never had an overwhelming desire to be caliph and certainly did not seek power, fame and fortune. Rather the office of caliph was thrusted upon them by the companions of he Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the process of consultation (shura). The process of consultation (shura) enabled the best of leaders to emerge and become the caliph and leader of the faithful (ameer-ulmumineen). We can also argue that each of the Rashidun caliphs took the helm when the Ummah (Muslim community) faced a multitude of internal and external issues that

threatened to destroy the very fabric of the caliphate. The death of Ali Ibn Abi Talib meant that his son Hasan Ibn Ali Ibn Ali Talib became caliph. However, the reign of Hasan Ibn Abi Talib was short-lived and lasted only six months. It is said that Hasan Ibn Ali did not have an appetite to be caliph and entered into a memorandum of understanding with Mua’wiyah ibn Abi Sufyan that the office of the caliph would be relinquished to the latter as long as Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah did not succeed him upon his death. Mua’waiyah who in effect was already de-facto caliph due to large swathes of the populace across the Islamic state had given their support to him. Mua’wiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan agreed to the conditions laid down by Hasan Ibn Ali and became the caliph of

the Islamic state that was to be known as the Ummayad empire. The Ummayads incidentally hailed from the Banu Ummaya that was one of the clans of the Quraysh which was incidentally the most powerful and richest tribe in the Arabian Peninsula. The major implication from this move was that the caliph for the first time had not been elected via the method of consultation (shura). It is said that that Ali Ibn Abi Talib was the last of the caliphs to be elected through this method, as subsequent caliphs would accede to the helm of the caliphate via hereditary succession. The decision of Mua’wiyah Ibn Abi Sufyaan to renege on his promise not to appoint his son after his death was to prove ominous and rather disastrous for the Ummayads in years to come.


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PI Magazine March 2019 Magazine  

Passion islam magazine March 2019 issue out now, #islam #muslims #british #citizenship #shamima #begam #hijabi #sport #salah #mosque #london...

PI Magazine March 2019 Magazine  

Passion islam magazine March 2019 issue out now, #islam #muslims #british #citizenship #shamima #begam #hijabi #sport #salah #mosque #london...

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