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Counter-terror laws ‘heavy- Striker donates 60K Islam in handed’ at British schools Euros to mosque Timbuktu

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May 2015

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE

MORE THAN 5,000 DEAD

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Frustration has been growing in parts of rural Nepal over the pace of relief efforts, with some badly-affected villages yet to receive any assistance. Survivors in some areas told reporters that they were angry that neither food nor medicine had reached them. y rtified b

The UN has appealed for $415m (£270m) to help provide emergency relief over the next three months. Officials say the quake injured at least 11,000 people. The UN says more than eight million people have been affected by the 7.8magnitude quake and some 70,000

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houses have been destroyed. Dozens of countries are supporting the aid operation, contributing search-and-rescue teams, aircraft, medical supplies and communications equipment. To donate please visit Ummah Welfare Trust at www.uwt.org follow us on You Tube

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By Majed Iqbal

www.majedsblog.wordpress.com

Rochdale Muslim community responds

The ‘Rochdale 9′, a family of nine including 5 adults and 4 children (minors not guilty of anything) caught on the Syrian Border and an individual under investigation in Rochdale were all released without charge. Police said there was no evidence has uncovered to suggest any imminent threat ‘to the communities of Rochdale or the UK’. The Story hit national headlines and put Rochdale once again in the firing line for further bad press. It was a field day for the Media, unearthing another extremist who had gone to Syria to join ISIS. This was a story worth hanging around for. Guilty before trial. Guilty before being proven innocent. Trial By Media. That’s how many muslims living in Rochdale would describe the episode. Who needed the courts to be the judge, jury and executioner when we had Journalists foaming from their mouths trying fervently to get a ‘radical response’ from the Muslim community in Rochdale to incriminate the individuals. It just didn’t happen. But it was journalists who were going to sentence these Rochdale individuals to a lifetime of misery. Their names had been dragged through the mud! Those from the Muslim Community who issued statements condemning anyone and everyone, even when the facts had not been established surrounding the case? Running to national press and News Stations, providing their own spin on the story. Pursuing personal agendas and career aspirations to get on national stage off the back of this story, all backfired for this ilk. National and discredited organisations like the Quilliam

Foundation have also found themselves with egg inter face. They tried their utmost best to highlight that Muslim Groups in Rochdale radicalised these individuals who were bored and wanted something more exciting to satisfy their radical hunger and went for Syria of rates endeavours; building the false narrative surrounding the entire case on their baseless lies! Where are they today for their public apology? Will the papers who printed and publicised these stories, now issue their apology on the front pages of their papers? The following is a statement submitted to me from members of the Rochdale Muslim community including Teachers, Businessmen, Solicitors, Healthcare professionals and Community activists that has been circulated widely locally to Community Leaders and on social Media in light of the recent releasing without charge of 6 Rochdale residents accused of trying to sneak into Syria with eight of his relatives . The statement said “The media revealed that the family who were arrested for purportedly travelling to Syria via the Turkish border have been released without charge. It must be noted that upon their arrest, there were some people in our community who irresponsibly helped brew a narrative that “ISIS are spreading their tentacles”. Others attempted to use the story to create a schism within our community along sectarian lines. Simon Danczuk further exploited the story and arrogantly said “The family are not welcome back to the UK”. There are four important lessons that we can learn as a Muslim community from this event; 1) Muslims like all others should

be afforded the right to a fair trial and not be assumed to be guilty before even having a chance to speak. Muslims must reject this trial by media while the facts of the case are unknown. The media have a clear obligation to report facts, not make up stories based on their own prejudices. 2) Politicians like Simon Danczuk crave political opportunism. He implied that the family were guilty of a crime without any evidence. Such politicians should be rejected and are indicative of a political system that doesn’t look after the interests of Muslims. 3) Community leaders who claim to represent Islam and the Muslims have a duty to speak the truth and not simply bow down to the dominant media narrative. Statements like “ISIS are spreading their tentacles”, “The Saudi ideology has the backing of petrodollars” are divisive for our community. We cannot accept those who claim to be Muslim community leaders helping perpetuate an Islamophobic narrative. Muslims have a duty to scrutinise and account those who claim to represent the Muslim Community. 4) There exists an ideological agenda to intervene in the Muslim Community and reform Islam. This can be seen from the immediate juxtaposition of this story to a “nonviolent extremist” narrative. A claim that normative Islamic ideas such as the desire of Muslims to live under a Khilafah in the Muslim World would lead to joining violent militias like ISIS even though Muslims have rejected ISIS over and over again. We must reaffirm normative Islamic ideas and prevent Islam from being associated with violence and criminality thereby criminalising the whole community.

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‘UK blocking release of CIA black site torture records’ www.pi-media.co.uk

The British government is reportedly delaying the release of flight records that may give evidence of its overseas territory of Diego Garcia being once used by the US spy agency, CIA, for “torture flights.” Reprieve, which advocates for prisoners’ human rights in Guantanamo and elsewhere, said the UK government admitted in 2008

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that Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean, was used by two CIA rendition jets carrying prisoners in 2002. With the release of the US Senate torture report last December, it was revealed that the CIA flew captives to secret prisons, known as black sites, across the globe as part of its rendition program.

Although it has been known for years the CIA has used the island for rendition, the British government has failed to publish flight records which could provide clues into how the site was used and who was taken there, Reprieve argues. “It is now over seven years since the UK government was forced to admit that CIA torture flights were allowed to use the British territory of Diego Garcia, yet we still seem no closer to the publication of flight records which could provide crucial evidence of what went on,” RT quoted Donald Campbell from Reprieve as saying. In July 2014, the government claimed the CIA flight records had suffered “water damage.” A former senior official in the administration of George W. Bush recently admitted that interrogations took place at a CIA black site on the island.


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UN urges UK to take action against tabloids’ racist discourse In Case You Missed It

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the British government to take necessary measures against the tabloid newspapers that incite racial hatred. “This vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers in the UK tabloid press has continued unchallenged under the law for far too long,” said Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, stressing that under Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, “Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” Hussein made the remarks in reaction to a recent controversial article published in The Sun which called migrants “cockroaches”. The UN rights chief compared the racist content of the article to the discourse employed by Nazis during World War II and the Rwandan criminals at the time of the 1994 genocide. “The Nazi media described people their masters wanted to eliminate as rats and cockroaches. This type

of language is clearly inflammatory and unacceptable, especially in a national newspaper. The Sun’s editors took an editorial decision to publish this article, and – if it is found in breach of the law – should be held responsible along with the author,” he went on to say that the British media try to “demonize” migrants and thus intentionally spread “grossly distorted” images of asylum seekers. “Many of these stories have been grossly distorted and some have been outright fabrications. Elsewhere in Europe, as well as in other countries, there has been a similar process of demonization taking place,” the UN official stated, adding, “To give just one glimpse of the scale of the problem, back in 2003 the Daily Express ran 22 negative front page stories about asylum seekers and refugees in a single 31-day period,” he pointed out. The UN rights chief also slammed the European Union’s migration policies, saying that the racist article was a reflection of the dominant attitude of the EU member states towards the refugee crisis. “The nasty underbelly of racism

that is characterizing the migration debate in an increasing number of EU countries, has skewed the EU response to the crisis,” he added. On April 17, The Sun columnist Katie Hopkins wrote in an article that she feels no sympathy for the illegal migrants who lost their lives in recent days following their abortive attempts to reach Europe through the Mediterranean. The Society of Black Lawyers, a British NGO, reported the case of Hopkins and the newspaper’s editor, David Dinsmore, to the UK’s Metropolitan Police.

Cameron supports Israel’s Gaza attacks

PM David Cameron said that Israel had the right to defend itself when it launched Operation Protective Edge against Gaza in the summer of 2014. “What I’ve seen is the attacks that take place on Israel and the indiscriminate nature of them… that reinforces to me the importance of standing by Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself,” Cameron said in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle. He felt “very strongly” that equating the attacks between Israel and Gaza was “completely wrong and unfair” because “Israel is trying to defend against indiscriminate attacks.” Operation Protective Edge killed 2,220 people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 1,492 of whom were civilians.


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Counter-terror laws ‘heavyhanded’ at British schools www.pi-media.co.uk

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The head of Britain’s largest teachers’ union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has slammed the UK’s new “counter-terrorism” laws, describing them as “too heavy handed,” which “stifle much-needed debate in schools.” The controversial new CounterTerrorism and Security Act became law in February. It has laid the burden of stopping children from becoming radicalised and being drawn into terrorism on schools. Schools must also challenge extremist ideas and actively promote “British values” and are now judged on this as part of the school

inspection process. If teachers fail to tell police about any concerns they have about pupils, they could face prosecution themselves. NUT general secretary, Christine Blower said teachers now fear discussing extremism in the class room because they are scared they will have to report their pupils to police. Blower said: “Young people should absolutely have the opportunity in class to discuss these issues,” yet this is often not the case and “there are issues with the way the strategy is being used.” “When the appalling attacks took

place at Charlie Hebdo, quite a few teachers said pupils were bringing it into class saying it is a big news story - what is happening here?,” Blower explained: “After the attack, some students, particularly some Muslim students, said they felt if they expressed that they were offended by the cartoons, they would be labelled as extremist.” “The idea that young people themselves are shutting this down means that they are locked out of the discussion,” she added The head of the NUT believes that any concerns about extremism should be dealt with under existing school procedure and not the police. Critics have slammed the new law because they believe it is counterproductive, and could even fuel the radicalization of marginalized or vulnerable students who may already be at risk of extremism. But the government has responded by saying “the battle against extremism begins at school where young people learn to be active, resilient and tolerant citizens, ready to seize the rich opportunities of modern Britain.”

The long-awaited report for the official inquiry into the Iraq war was expected to be published following the UK’s general elections in May; however a source close to the inquiry has reportedly said “nobody thinks it will come out this year”. There has been no official comment from the inquiry spokesman as of yet. The Chilcot inquiry was commissioned by the former government to investigate the country’s involvement in the Iraq war. If delayed, this will be the second time the inquiry’s release is pushed

back after a pre-election deadline was missed. An inquiry source said “[the inquiry] gave up trying to speed things up”. British MPs, including party leaders reacted angrily to this news in January with the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron describing it as “extremely frustrating”. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the head of inquiry, Sir John wrote there is “no accurate estimate” for a completion date but it would take “some further months”. He also added he underestimated the amount of time it would take to study

the 150,000 documents involved in the inquiry. Some claim the delay is intentionally placed after the general elections as to not affect the outcome of Labour voters. Former Labour leader, Tony Blair rejected the claims and said it “would be far better” for him if it were published. Mr Blair continued saying such claims were “incorrect and politically motivated”. A anti-war activist believed the British people, especially the families of the soldiers killed in Iraq war, have the right to see the publication of the long-awaited report.

Chilcot Inquiry unlikely to be released in 2015


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British museum plans to open two galleries for Its Islamic artifacts

Art from the Islamic world will be shown in the heart of the British Museum in London, in two new galleries funded by a Malaysian foundation which hopes to offset the image created by extremist militants, Media sources reported. The museum, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of art and artefacts, said it plans to open two new galleries in its south wing devoted to its extensive collection of art from the Islamic world. The two new galleries, which will

complement the existing gallery, are being funded for an undisclosed amount by the Albukhary Foundation of Malaysia. Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, the foundation’s chairman, said there was an urgent need to make people more aware of the value of art and artefacts from the Islamic world, and the threats to this cultural heritage, especially at a time when historic sites in Iraq are under attack by extremist. “What is happening in the world,

demolishing all the Islamic heritage, non-Islamic antiquities, is a bad image,” he told Reuters. The new project of Islamic artifacts is not the first to shed light on the Islamic heritage by the British Museum. In April 2012, the museum hosted the world’s largest exhibition on the Muslim Hajj, with an eye to enhancing understanding of the Islamic spiritual experience. The exhibition displayed archaeological material, manuscripts, textiles historic photographs and contemporary art that document journeys to the holy lands through history. The decision followed what the museum said was the extraordinary success of its 2012 exhibition “Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam” which director Neil MacGregor said had attracted almost 150,000 visitors. The museum also said it would bolster its support for curators from Iraq to develop techniques of what it called “Emergency Heritage Management” to protect artefacts from being looted or damaged, and to restore those that have been vandalized.

British muslim women 71% more likely to be unemployed due to workplace discrimination

Discrimination against Muslim women in the workplace means they are much more likely to be unemployed than white Christian women - even when they have the same qualifications and language skills - research shows. British Muslim women are around 70 per cent more likely to be looking unsuccessfully for work, according to the University of Bristol’s Dr Nabil Khattab, who spoke at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Glasgow. The recent national Labour Force survey showed the unemployment rate among Muslim women was 18 per cent, compared with 9 per cent for Hindu women and 4 per cent for white Christian women. This has previously been

attributed to Muslim women being less well educated and less fluent in English, but Dr Khattab says his data shows the discrepancy is also likely to be explained by employer discrimination. Dr Khattab analysed a sample of 2,643 from the national Labour Force survey to compare the rates of those looking for work without success. He adjusted the sample in order to compare women with similar educational level and language abilities and controlled for marital status, children and strength of religious belief. He found that Muslim women were 71 per cent more likely than white Christian women to be unemployed, even when they had the same educational level and

language skills. Hindu women were 57 per cent more likely to be unemployed than white Christian women. “Economic activity among Muslim women in the UK remains considerably lower and their unemployment rate remains significantly higher than the majority group even after controlling for qualifications and other individual characteristics,” Dr Khattab said. He added that the conspicuousness of Muslim women’s religious background was likely to be a key factor in explaining their exclusion. “They wear the hijab or other religious symbols which makes them more visible and as such exposed to greater discrimination.”


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Field Lane School in Batley one of the best in England

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Three Kirklees and Calderdale primary schools have turned in fivestar performances despite half of their pupils speaking English as a second language. Field Lane Junior Infant and Nursery School in Batley is the most extreme example with 97.7 per cent of its pupils not having English as their first language. This is the one of the highest proportions for any primary school in England, according to the Department for Education. Yet, despite this potential impediment to performing well as a school, Field Lane was recently

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awarded five out of five stars in the Examiner Real Schools Guide, making it one of the best in England. The Real Schools Guide combines a range of different statistics to rate schools based on factors such as attainment, teaching, progress and attendance. The aim of the guide is to move beyond exam result rankings and examine the true impact of a school on the learning of its pupils. Another school with an extremely high percentage of children not having English as their first language is Beech Hill Junior and Infant School in Halifax which also achieved five

stars in the Real Schools Guide despite 94.5 per cent of pupils speaking English in addition to their mother tongue. The third school, Spring Grove Junior Infant and Nursery School in Huddersfield, has 81.1 per cent of pupils speak English as an additional language. It too received five stars in the Real Schools Guide. Across the whole of England 1,343 schools have a cohort where at least half of pupils speak English as a second language. In the average primary school 6.3 per cent of pupils speak English as a second language. However, schools where the majority of pupils didn’t have English as their first language actually performed better on average in the Real Schools Guide than those that did. They achieved an average of 3.2 stars compared to 3 for those where more than half spoke English as their mother tongue. However, in Calderdale and Kirklees this relationship was the other way around with schools where more than half of pupils spoke English as their first language performing slightly better on average with 2.9 stars compared to 2.5. Examiner

Muslim women in prison report to go before Government

The Bradford co-author of a report looking at the experiences of Muslim women in prison hopes it can be used as a benchmark for further research. Muslim Women in Prison Second Chance, Fresh Horizons, is a pilot project looking at the issues and challenges facing Muslim women during their time in prison and after their release. Its findings have been discussed with Islamic charities in the UK and will now go before Government. Ishtiaq Ahmed, who is the strategic development officer at Khidmat Centre in Bradford, interviewed some of the women involved in the study.

“I think this project is essential. This area needs looking into. The value of the project and its findings are being recognised and acknowledged,” he said. “Muslim women in prison is such a sensitive area, but we have produced a report which is sensitive, robust and honest.” He said the project would continue for another year. The initial study of 17 women, including three from Bradford, who were at New Hall prison in Wakefield and Askham Grange in York, took place between December 2013 and December 2014. The women were aged between 20 and 63 and their crimes included

murder and fraud. The charity, Muslim Hands, commissioned the Huddersfield Pakistani Community Alliance to carry out the study. The report found due to shame, embarrassment, pride and dignity, women are often disowned by their families and they had little contact with their families while in prison. It found once Muslim women were released, there were are not able to return to their families or their communities for fear of rejection and criticism. Issues raised included cultural taboos, isolation and rejection, English language barriers and immigration issues.


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I WORLD NEWS

I May 2015

Department of Justice to issue sanctions over hacking: Report

The US Department of Justice plans to impose sanctions on foreign hackers in order to hamper their efforts in committing cyber crimes in the United States, a report says. The decision by the department to issue the first round of economic sanctions against foreign entities came over the hacking complaints filed so far at the department, ABC News reported. Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security Luke Dembosky told ABC News that he “wouldn’t expect it to take too long” before the presidential authorization for cyberrelated sanctions, announced at the

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start of the month, comes into effect. Last month, the Obama administration announced it would put pressure on foreign hackers and their customers through sanctions. “The increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” President Barack Obama wrote in an Executive Order. Dembosky would not elaborate on

Bosnia genocide case of Dutch commander dropped

A Dutch court has dropped all charges against former Dutch military commander and his two aides accused of failing to prevent the genocide of Muslims in 1995 in Bosnia, where they served in a peacekeeping mission. According to the court’s ruling, Thom Karremans, the former commander, and his two aides, Rob Franken and Berend Oosterveen, could not be prosecuted for their involvement during the July 1995 fall of the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. Karremans had been tasked with

defending the besieged town which was declared by the UN as a “safe area” during the Bosnian war, but the Dutchbat III under his command failed to prevent the capture of the town by the Serbian army, and the subsequent massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys. In 2010, relatives of three victims filed a criminal complaint of genocide and war crimes against Karremans, Franken and Oosterveen for allegedly turning over Muslim families to Serbs. www.pi-media.co.uk

which hackers the US government plans to target, though certain potential entities were identified even before the new sanctions were authorized. He said that government is very serious and has a rigid plan about who it chooses to impose sanctions against and when, adding this will be carried out in cooperation with the State Department, Treasury and others, which will also provide input. “This is about leveling the playing field,” Dembosky said at the RSA cyber security conference in San Francisco. Some cyber security experts had for long pushed for sanctions to be used in addition to other tools to counter cyber attacks as well as public condemnation and the filing of criminal charges.

French TV network hacked by ‘Islamic State’ A French television network has been hacked by people claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group. The hackers briefly cut transmission of 11 channels belonging to TV5 Monde and took over its websites and social media accounts. The channel’s director, Yves Bigot, said this morning that the attack was continuing. The TV5 Monde website is not currently accessible. He told RTL radio that the network has restored its signal but can only broadcast recorded programmes. The message on the TV5 Monde website read in part “Je suIS IS” with a banner by a group that called itself Cybercaliphate. The Islamic extremist group has claimed complex hackings before but the seizure of the French network appeared to be a new step in its information warfare tactics.


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Dozens killed as heavy rains batter north west Pakistan www.pi-media.co.uk

At least 35 people have died after a windstorm and heavy rains lashed North West Pakistan, provincial officials said. Mushtaq Ghani, the information minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, declared a state of emergency at all hospitals in the province and said 200 people had

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been injured because of the bad weather. Another official, Munir Azam, said the rain had caused heavy damage to infrastructure, adding flights at Peshawar’s airport had been suspended because more rain is expected overnight. The downpour caused the ceilings

of a number of houses to cave in and collapse in Nowshera, Charsada, and the areas in the outskirts of the regional capital, Peshawar. Rescuers rushed victims to hospitals as roads submerged in water hindered their operations. Ambulances and rescue vehicles found it difficult to enter into some areas due to fallen trees and electric poles, the Associated Press news agency reported. Residents carried some of the injured on their backs to cars heading to hospitals. “Nobody is coming to our help,’’ said Ansar Khan, who said his family was buried under the rubble of one building. Lutfur Rehman, a local disaster management official, said winds had reached up to 120 kmph. The Pakistani army said it had sent troops to the area to launch rescue and relief operations.

UK’s Merlin inks deal to open Legoland Water Park in Dubai Dubai Parks and Resorts has teamed up with UK-based Merlin Entertainments, the world’s secondlargest visitor attraction operator and a FTSE 100 company, to launch plans for a Legoland Water Park in the emirate. The water park will be part of the wider Legoland Dubai theme park, which is already in development, the company said. Aimed at children ages two to 12, the new water park will feature some of Legoland’s most popular water attractions including a half-million gallon wave pool; the Build-A-Raft River, and the interactive Imagination Station. Raed Al Nuaimi, CEO of Dubai Parks and Resorts said: “We are very pleased to partner with Merlin Entertainments to bring this unique water park concept to the UAE as an

exciting new element to the Legoland Dubai theme park.” Legoland Dubai, the first in the Middle East, will cover a total of three million square feet made from more than 60 million Lego bricks. This includes over 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions set in six themed lands - Lego City, Adventure, Lego Kingdom, Lego Create, Lego Factory, and Miniland which showcases some of the most iconic buildings and landmarks from Dubai and the Middle East - replicated to scale in Lego bricks. Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, added: “We already have a strong working partnership with Dubai Parks and Resorts and this Legoland Water Park is an exciting and natural extension to our existing Park development here in Dubai.”

Dubai Parks and Resorts is set to be the region’s largest multi-themed leisure and entertainment destination when it opens in October 2016. In addition to Legoland Dubai, Dubai Parks and Resorts will also comprise motiongate Dubai, and Bollywood Parks Dubai - all connected by Riverland Dubai, a retail, dining and entertainment walkway. The development will also feature the Lapita Hotel, a Polynesian-themed resort for families. The project has a projected target of over 6.7 million ticketed visits in 2017, its first full year of operation. Set to open in October 2016, the large-scale AED10.5 billion project is spread across 25 million square feet of land located on Sheikh Zayed Road close to the Palm Jebel Ali between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


Qatari banks seal Islamic finance venture in China 14

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Two Qatari banks and Chinese brokerage Southwest Securities signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a company handling Islamic finance deals in China. The new company will help the two banks, Qatar National Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB), to access China’s markets for financing and investment, directly or

indirectly, Qatari executives said. The new bank, will also aim to develop Islamic finance in China and support Southwest Securities in accessing markets in Qatar and the Middle East, they said. Details of the size of the company and when it would start operating were not disclosed. “We want to help China set up a framework for Islamic finance or

direct investment,” Abdulbasit Ahmad al-Shaibei, QIIB’s chief executive, told reporters. “We also want to encourage Qatari banks to have a presence in China.” He added, “What we saw from the Chinese side is that there is demand for Islamic finance, and the Chinese are looking for ways to export Islamic finance beyond their borders, as well to countries in their region with large populations of Muslims.” China’s AVIC Capital Co said in late December that its unit AVIC Securities had signed an agreement to advise the government of the country’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which has a large population of Muslims, on the global issue of up to $1.5 billion worth of instruments such as Islamic bonds and US dollar bonds, with maturities of up to five years. Since then, no concrete progress towards an issue has been announced.

The international community must urgently change its approach to Gaza and deliver on promises of reconstruction, 46 agencies said in a new report on the lack of progress since last year’s conflict. Six months since donors pledged $3.5 billion towards Gaza’s recovery, many people are worse off and not a single one of the 19,000 destroyed homes has been rebuilt. 100,000 people are still homeless and many are living in makeshift camps or schools. The report, Charting a New Course: Overcoming the stalemate in Gaza, warns that further conflict is inevitable – and with it the cycle of destruction and donor-funded reconstruction – unless world leaders implement a new approach that addresses the underlying causes of

the conflict. Donors must insist on a permanent ceasefire, accountability of all parties for ongoing violations of international law, and an end to the Israeli blockade that seals in 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and keeps them separated from the West Bank. Rather than challenging the blockade, the report found that most donors are accepting ways to work around it. Only 26.8 per cent of money pledged by donors six months ago has been released so far. Even when funded, many reconstruction projects have not yet begun due to restrictions on essential material under the blockade. Most of the 81 health clinics and hospitals that were damaged still lack funds for reconstruction, but the few that have funds do not have the material

needed to proceed. Since the temporary ceasefire, violence against civilians has continued, with more than 400 incidents of Israeli fire into Gaza and four rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. The report calls on all parties to immediately resume long-term ceasefire negotiations. It calls on Israel to end its blockade and policy of separating Gaza from the West Bank, and for Palestinian political actors to reconcile and prioritize reconstruction. It also calls on Egypt to open its border to allow humanitarian relief. Recently, donors have managed to achieve some small increase in the flow of construction material, but not enough to meet needs and its impact is extremely limited while the blockade remains in place.

World not delivering on Gaza says new report


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German court to hear evidence from Yemeni drone victim In Case You Missed It

A court in Germany to take evidence from a Yemeni victim of the US secret drone programme in the wake of revelations that military bases on German soil play a key role in the strikes. Faisal bin Ali Jaber, an environmental engineer from Sana’a who lost two relatives to a 2012 drone strike, has won the right to give evidence this month, as part of a constitutional claim filed in Germany. The claim, filed in October last year by international human rights organisation Reprieve and its German partner, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), seeks measures by the German administration to stop the use of German territory for illegal actions by the US in Yemen. They argue that the German government is acting in breach of the German constitution by allowing the US to use its air base at Ramstein for illegal drone attacks abroad. Mr Jaber lost his brother-in-law

Salim – a preacher – andhis nephew Waleed – a local police officer – to a US drone strike on the village of Khashamir on 29 August 2012. Salim often spoke out against extremism, and had used a sermon just days before he was killed to urge his congregation to reject Al Qaeda. The case represents the first time that a court in a country which provides support to the US drone programme will hear from one of its civilian victims. The US’ campaign of drone strikes – carried out in secret by the CIA and U.S. Special Forces – has come in for widespread criticism due to a lack of transparency and accountability. Many legal experts have argued that it violates both domestic and international law, while humanitarians have warned of the large number of civilians killed in the strikes. Kat Craig, Legal Director at Reprieve and Mr bin Ali Jaber’s lawyer, said: “This is a crucial step in efforts to gain accountability for

Obama accepts US killing of hostages U.S. President Barack Obama apologized for a counter terrorism operation in January that killed two aid workers held hostage by al Qaeda, American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto. “As a husband and as a father, I cannot begin to imagine the anguish that the Weinstein and Lo Porto

families are enduring today,” Obama told reporters, with a deep sigh, saying he took responsibility for the deaths and has ordered a full review. “I profoundly regret what happened,” Obama said, explaining he declassified some of the details of the operation so that the families could know what happened

the civilian victims of secret US drone strikes. It also highlights that the US is not alone in this campaign – support is quietly provided by allies including Germany and the UK. Faisal’s story demonstrates how the misguided drone programme is not simply unacceptable, but deeply counterproductive. Not only is it killing civilians; it has even killed the very people who should be our allies in fighting extremism. Let’s hope this marks the start of some long overdue scrutiny of a programme characterised by secrecy.” Andreas Schüller, Mr bin Ali Jaber’s attorney at ECCHR, said: “Germany must now take effective measures to stop the US from using Ramstein airbase for combat drone missions.”

First Quran recitation in Hagia Sophia in 85 years The historic Istanbul Mosque and museum, Hagia Sophia, witnessed its first Quran recitation under its roof after 85 years. The Religious Affairs Directorate launched the exhibition “Love of Prophet Hagia Sophia,” as part of commemorations of the birth of Islamic Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Religious Affairs Chairman Mehmet Gormez, Undersecretary for Ministry of Culture and Tourism Ahmet Haluk and Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin attended the opening ceremony, which saw Ali Tel, imam at modern Ahmet Hamdi Akseki Mosque in the capital Ankara, recite a passage from the Islamic holy scripture, Quran. First-Quran-Recitation-inHagia-Sophia-in-85-Years The historic basilica served as a cathedral for almost thousand years since 1453, when it was turned into a mosque with the conquest of Istanbul. It later was secularized and converted into a museum in 1935.


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New report criticises US gov silence over CIA torture revelations In Case You Missed It

Amnesty International has strongly criticised the Obama administration’s silence in the wake of last year’s Senate torture report and has called on the US Department of Justice to reopen and expand its investigation into CIA interrogations. In a 140-page report – Crimes and Impunity: full Senate Committee report on CIA secret detentions must be released – the organisation calls for the full version of the Senate Committee’s report to be published. The full version – some 13 times longer than the 500 page summary version published (with redactions) in December – remains unpublished and is instead still marked “Top Secret”. Amnesty’s report also highlights the lack of accountability for enforced disappearance and the failure to recompense victims of the CIA’s programmes. Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W Hawkins said: “It is not enough to admit that ‘We tortured some folks’ as President Obama did last August,

and then move on. “Unless the US government makes a concerted effort to end the impunity associated with this secret detention programme, the United States’ human rights record will remain tarnished.” Four months after the declassification of the report summary, the US administration has yet to take any meaningful steps toward ending the impunity associated with the secret detention programme, says Amnesty. Instead, they have effectively buried the Senate report, leaving the door open for similar programmes in the future. Additionally, representatives of the US Department of Justice have gone on record saying that no-one has read the still-classified full report, instead leaving its CD copies of the report unread in a secure facility. Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Programme Director Naureen Shah said: “The Obama administration can’t just sweep the Senate torture

Amnesty wants Mursi to be retried or set free

Amnesty International has called for Mohamed Mursi to be retried in a civilian court or to be released after the ousted Egyptian president was sentenced to 20 years in jail on charges related to the killing of protesters in 2012.

The rights group in a statement described the ruling as “a travesty of justice” that “shatters any remaining illusion of independence and impartiality in Egypt’s criminal justice system”. www.pi-media.co.uk

report under the rug. “This was a programme for which impunity was envisaged early on and continues to this day. If the Obama administration fails to act now, the whole point of the 6,700-page Senate report is lost.” Amnesty is calling on the US Department of Justice to reopen and expand the limited review of CIA interrogations it closed down in 2012 without anyone being charged. This time, says the organisation, it must ensure a thorough investigation into the CIA secret detention, rendition and interrogation programmes with a view to bringing to justice all those suspected of being involved in torture and enforced disappearance.

Mosque set on fire in Witten, Germany

A mosque was set on fire in Germany in the university city of Witten, located in the district of North Rhine-Westphalia. German daily DerWesten reported that an identified man was filmed from inside the mosque entering the mosque and pouring the contents of a gasoline can in the prayer room. After he reportedly set the gasoline on fire, he fled the scene using the entrance gate of the mosque. The man was reported to have entered the building from the back, via its window. There were four families with children living in the building, but fortunately, the fire extinguished by itself. One of those living in the mosque, Veysel Arslan discovered that the smoke had filled the praying room as he woke up to morning prayer. The police seized the crime scene and experts are examining the burn marks. Xenophobic attack has not been excluded from the investigation. In recent months acts of Islamophobia have been on the rise in Germany.


Islamophobia at an all time high in France 18

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More anti-Muslim acts have been reported in first quarter of 2015 than in all of 2014, says head of French National Observatory against Islamophobia. Anti-Muslims acts have hit a record high in the first trimester of 2015, according to the head of the French National Observatory against Islamophobia. Abdallah Zekri, head of the Observatory said in a statement that anti-Muslim acts rose by 500 percent, compared to the same period in 2011. “ Never since the establishment of the Observatory in 2011 have Islamophobic acts known such an implosion of actions or threats,

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especially on social networks,” Zekri said. Zekri stated there were 222 antiMuslims acts during the 1st quarter of 2015, (56 attacks and 166 threats) against a total of 37 acts in 2014 - “ An increase of 500 percent,” said Zekri. Zekri added that the number of anti-Muslims acts in January 2015 reached 178. He explained that this “burst” was mainly due to the deadly attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, followed by a hostage situation in a kosher supermarket two days later, leaving a total 17 people dead.

“However, those horrific and terrifying crimes cannot justify under any circumstances the steep rise of hatred or revenge against Muslims in France,” stressed Zekri. “They (Muslims of France) are not responsible or guilty of committing these terrorist acts that devastated the country,” he added. Zekri said the assaults targeted men and women, generally in public places and transportation, and in some instances pregnant women. He also said that in certain cases, targeting mainly places of worship, grenades and firearms had been used. “This is simply racism and rejection of men and women who aspire to just be respected,” said Zekri. “Does the motto of the Republic ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ make any sense? Unfortunately, the question (must be asked),” added Zekri. Zekri went on to accuse political leaders of remaining silent in the face of such an increase of anti-Muslim acts. “All this happens without any reaction from politicians, who, instead of denouncing, try to find excuses,” he said.

Juma Mosque opens after 90 Years The Red Juma Mosque, located in the Tomsk region of Russia has opened for worship once again after 90 years. The mosque has been returned back to the delight of the Muslim population in an official ceremony, World Bulletin repored. Tomsk Governor Sergey Jvachkin, Mayor Ivan Kleyin, Chechen Republic Parliament Speaker Dukuvah Adurakhmanov, and Chechen Republic Mutfi Salah Haci Meciev officiated the ceremony which was also attended by numerous representatives of the Islamic

community as well as hundreds of Muslims that were part of the congregation. The guests were greeted at the entrance to the mosque by Russias Asia Representative Mufti Seyh Nfigullah Asirov and Tomsk Regional Mufti and Red Juma Mosque Imam Nizomutdin Jumaev. Tomsk Regioal Imam Ozotmutdin Umayev opened the ceremony with a recitation from the Quran and and Sheikh Nafigullah Ahsyrov gave a speech, thanking the attendees. Governor Jvachkin thanked the Tomsk community for assisting with

the renovations and also thanked the Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Kadirov. The Russian Governor pointed out how the restoration of the mosque beautified the entire city. After the ceremony, Sheikh Asirov lead the Friday congregational prayer with the attendees. The mosque was first opened in 1901 but was seized and closed in the 1920’s and then used first as a cinema and then as a restaurant that served alcohol. In 2002 restorations began to open the mosque for service.


Spanish Muslim lack of Islamic education

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Ninety percent of Muslim students enrolled in Spanish schools have no access to Islamic religion classes, according to a report published by the Union of Islamic communities (UCIDE) in Spain. According to the UCIDE demographics study of the Muslim population in Spain, only in Andalusia, Aragon, Basque Country, Canary Islands and the autonomous

cities of Ceuta and Melilla offer basic Islamic education in elementary schools. There are over 6,065 Muslim students in the Basque county, of which 5,032 are foreigners and the rest (1033) Spanish. However, there are two Islamic education teachers in total at the primary level, the report says. Meanwhile nine out of 10 Islamic

education teachers are unemployed. In total, there are 275,324 Muslims students in Spain (112, 214 Spaniards and 163,110 immigrants) and only the aforementioned communities and two autonomous cities have Islamic education teachers. The UCIDE report suggests that, depending on the density of Muslim students in primary and secondary schools, communities of Balearic Islands, Catalonia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Valencia and Castilla-La Mancha should also offer Islamic religion classes. According to UCIDE, Muslims make up 3.8 percent of the Spanish population, 40 percent are Spanish and the remaining 60 percent are immigrants. Most of the Muslims in Spain are mostly from Morocco although there is a significant presence of Pakistanis and Senegalese Muslims in cities like Barcelona, Valencia and Logrono.

A new bipartisan bill to fund the joint American-Israeli project known as David’s Sling was quietly introduced to the House of Representatives. David’s Sling supplements the Iron Dome anti-missile system, which protects Israel against short-range rocket attacks. It is a similar concept to Iron Dome, which targets shorterrange missiles. The bill would authorize the US government to spend $286 million US towards the project and will be spent for procurement, research and development for the midrange missile defense system, which is designed to take down missiles from more than 180 miles away. David’s Sling supplements the Iron Dome anti-missile system, which protects Israel against short-range

rocket attacks. It is a similar concept to Iron Dome, which targets shorterrange missiles. “It’s important for us to bring this system online so we can help our ally in Israel and grow our economic partnership, so we can better share innovative ideas and create 21st century jobs in both countries,” Derek Kilmer said in a statement. The other representative Jim Bridenstine said that “immediate and growing missile threat” facing Israel needed to taken care of. Rockets from Gaza have killed approximately 29 people total in the years they have been used by various resistance groups; during the same period Israeli forces have killed close to 6,000 men, women, and children in Gaza.

“Hamas and Hezbollah and their supporters in Iran and Syria are developing more sophisticated and longer range missiles aimed squarely against our best ally in the Middle East,” said Bridenstine, adding that the United States and Israel developing David’s Sling together “demonstrates the unshakable American commitment to Israel’s security.” It is worth noting that this was despite the fact that that Israel tried to sink a U.S. Navy ship, which then argued over compensation to Americans, and then labelled the survivors as “anti-Semitic when they demanded for an investigation. Representative Jim Bridenstine announces his “commitment to Israel.”

US to give $286M for joint Israeli defence system


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Islamic university to open in Lecce, Italy www.pi-media.co.uk

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Lecce could be the location for Italy’s first Islamic University, with current plans aiming to begin teaching for a small number of theology students from October. Despite facing a number of obstacles, the goal is to open the university complex within three years, according to local press. At a press conference held in early March, Giampiero Khaled Paladini, the President of the recently founded Islamic University Foundation, revealed that theology

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classes would be taught at the Foundation’s headquarters in Lecce from October, however as interest was already high, the university would be looking for larger premises for classrooms in the near future. The Quotidiano di Puglia confirmed that plans for the university would see the opening of a Faculty for Agriculture and Medicine within three years, however Paladini has already seen one potential site rejected by planners in the city. According to the reports,

the President is now looking at two further sites for the university which could, when completed, accommodate as many as 5,000 students. In addition to planning permission issues the university is also facing opposition from the local community, some of whom say that the climate isn’t right for an Islamic University in their city following recent attacks by extremists in Paris and Sydney. “The task of the administration is also to interpret the anxieties and fears of the citizens and at this time to start a project of this kind is at least inappropriate” said Severo Martini, one of the town planners to the Corriere della Sera. However Paladini rejected this and said that in the wake of such attacks the opening of an Islamic University would be an excellent method to create better integration. “This will be a step in the right direction towards dialogue and understanding,” Paladini told Corriere della Sera.

Arab League begins formation of joint military force In Case You Missed It

Army chiefs from Arab League nations have begun work on creating a joint military force, according to AP. The force would be deployed to fight terrorism and militants only, Arab League secretary-general Nabil El Arabi said. “The creation of a joint Arab force in no way aims to form a new alliance or army hostile to any country, but a force to fight terrorism and maintain security, peace and stability in the region,” El Arabi said. Arab nations agreed to establish the regional military bloc in March and its creation is being led by the Egyptian Armed Forces’ chief of staff Mahmud Hegazy. Hegazy said there was a need to

“fight terrorism”, adding the force may intervene in internal conflicts, AP said. “We cannot ignore internal conflicts and the growth of terrorist organisations in an Arab country, and it is wrong to think that these conflicts have no direct or indirect repercussions in other Arab countries,” he said. The league has given itself four months to decide on the force’s composition, precise rules of engagement and required budget. An Arab military force has been mooted for years, but finally gained proper support in March after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi pushed for its creation following the slaughter of Egyptian Coptic

Christians in Libya in February. Saudi Arabia, which is leading the intervention in Yemen, also backed it. The two countries are the most populous and the richest, respectively, in the region. According to unconfirmed reports, an Arab defence force would be twice the size of NATO’s Response Force, with 40,000 men, AP said. That would include 500-1000 members of the air command, 30005000 in the naval command and 34,000-35,000 in the land forces. The land forces will have three subcommands made up of a special operations command, a rapid reaction force and a rescue operations command, AP said.


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SPORT

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Liverpool FC to take action over football fan’s Muslim prayer tweet

A football fan has sparked a row after tweeting a picture of two Muslims praying at a Premier League match and labelling it as a disgrace. Liverpool FC has vowed to take “appropriate action” against the fan, named as Stephen Dodd by the Daily Mail newspaper. Dodd, whose Twitter account is “protected” and therefore only available to his followers, reportedly tweeted a picture of Asif Bodi and Abubakar Bhula worshipping on their knees in a stairwell of Liverpool’s Anfield ground during the FA Cup match between Liverpool FC and

Blackburn Rovers last month. Dodd added the caption: “Muslims praying at half-time at the match yesterday #DISGRACE.” His tweet, which prompted public outrage on social media, was reported to the police but they are understood to have decided no criminal offence has taken place and referred the matter back to the club. The Daily Mail quoted Bodi, a solicitor from Preston, as saying it was not the first time he had prayed at a match. “It only takes a few minutes and this time it was during half-time that we needed to pray,” he

told the newspaper. “We have a small window in which to pray. That day, the time came for prayer and the window would have closed before the game finished so we did it at half-time. “Most people are absolutely fine with it and the stewards at Anfield are wonderful, but it only takes one or two people to react in the wrong way and you could have a nasty situation.” Bodi reportedly added: “But this guy wasn’t abusive to us and the support since has been very nice, I’m thankful.” Liverpool FC said it would not tolerate discrimation at the club and has pledged to take “appropriate” action against Dodd. If he is a season ticket holder he could have this revoked, or be banned from future matches. Meanwhile, the newspaper reported that campaigners have called for football clubs to install prayer rooms at stadiums so that Muslim fans can pray in peace and avoid any Islamophobic abuse.

UAE earned nearly $40m from IPL cricket in 2014

The twenty Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket games played in the UAE in 2014 contributed nearly $40 million to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the emirates, according to a report by the Indo-Asian News

service, citing information from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The figure of Rs.250 crore ($39.19 million) was derived from a study undertaken by audit, tax

and advisory services firm KPMG’s Sports Advisory Group on behalf of the BCCI, the report said. The matches in the UAE were played in the first half of 2014 and attracted a total attendance of over 250,000, the release added. “BCCI’s wish was to play as much as possible of the 2014 Pepsi IPL season at home. Once it was clear that we needed to shift the first 20 matches out of India, our team along with IMG, the Emirates Cricket Board and the three stadiums in the UAE worked tirelessly to relocate these matches to the UAE,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur was quoted as saying. www.pi-media.co.uk


Fiorentina striker donates 60K Euro for muslims www.pi-media.co.uk

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I May 2015

Fiorentina’s super striker Mohamed Salah has contributed 60 thousand Euros to Florence Muslim community in the team’s headquarters in Tuscany region, offering them a chance to repair the mosques in the Italian western province. Salah, an Egyptian player who moved to Fiorentina from Chelsea, has become a huge star in the Italian league after scoring 9 goals and making 2 others in 12 matches so far. The player’s move to prostrate after each goal has also been widely welcomed by the Muslim community, saying he presented a true image of Islam. By his arrival in the city last February, the Muslim player first asked about the location of the mosque, according to the head of the Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy. Italy has a Muslim population of some 1.7 million, including 20,000

reverts, according to the figures released by Istat, the national statistics agency. The decision followed several attacks against Muslim students in the college for donning hijab. Reacting to increasing attacks

Istanbul-based football club Besiktas’ assets seized

The sequestration office in Istanbul has confiscated Besiktas’ assets because of their $8.8 million debt to an advertising agency, Aktif Tanitim. The sequestration office in Istanbul confiscated the assets of Turkish football heavyweight club Besiktas because of their $8.8 million debt to an advertising agency, Aktif Tanitim. Lawyers representing the

advertising firm said that Besiktas’ debt came from previous terms when Yildirim Demiroren was in charge as the club president. Besiktas, on the other hand, claimed that the club had fulfilled its payment obligations and the advertising firm in question was in the wrong. The club is expected to contest the decision in the appeals court.

targeting veiled Muslim students, the headmaster of an Italian college in north-eastern Italian town Cervignano del Friuli has banned headscarves in classes, seeing them as “provocative”. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Islam in Timbuktu

24I FEATURED

Timbuktu, the legendary city founded as a commercial center in West Africa 900 years ago, is synonymous today for being utterly remote. This, however, was not always the case. For more than 600 years, Timbuktu was a significant religious, cultural, and commercial center whose residents traveled north across the Sahara through Morocco and Algeria to other parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia. Located on the edge of the Sahara Desert, Timbuktu was famous among the merchants of the Mediterranean basin as a market for obtaining the goods and products of Africa south of the desert. Many individuals traveled to Timbuktu to acquire wealth and political power. Other individuals traveled to Timbuktu to acquire knowledge. It was a city famous for the education of important scholars whose reputations were pan-Islamic. Timbuktu’s most famous and long lasting contribution to Islamic–and world–civilization is its scholarship and the books that were written

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and copied there beginning from at least the 14th century. The brilliance of the University of Timbuktu was without equal in all of sub-Saharan Africa and was known throughout the Islamic world. Over the past 1,200 years, the Western Sahara area has given birth to powerful empires: Ghana (8th-11th centuries), Mali (13th-17th centuries), and Songhai (15th-16th centuries). The influence of these empires transcends Mali’s current boundaries in its contributions to civilization and culture, particularly through Muslim scholarship. Many peoples, ideas, and goods passed through these empires by land and via the Niger River. Among travelers to the region were many Muslim scholars who came pursuing knowledge and whose scholarship survives in their manuscripts. In 1960, when the former French Sudan–previously part of French West Africa–became independent from France, it took the name of a historic kingdom in the area that it covers, the empire of Mali. Today

Mali is an independent, democratic, culturally diverse, predominately Muslim nation that sits at an important nexus of West African culture. The fabled city of Timbuktu lies in the Sahel–the southern edge of the Sahara, eight miles north of the Niger River in Mali. The texts and documents included in Islamic Manuscripts from Mali are the products of a tradition of book production reaching back almost 1,000 years. Although this practice is anchored in the methods of Islamic book production, it possesses features particular to West Africa. The bindings of manuscripts from Timbuktu, and West Africa in general, are unique in the Islamic world. Their decoration with incised markings is in a style characteristic of the area. Further, pages are not attached in any way to the binding–a practice different from all other Islamic manuscripts. The form of Arabic script used in Timbuktu ultimately derives, as do all forms of the Arabic script, from the Kufic and Hijazi forms of Arabic


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writing developed in Iraq and the Hijaz during the eighth and ninth centuries. Western and Eastern style scripts developed from the Kufic script. The Western style, influenced by the Hijazi script as used in North Africa, evolved into the script known as Maghribi, or North African, beginning in the 11th century in North Africa, Spain, and Sicily. Western style script still is used in North Africa. From North Africa, this script crossed the Sahara Desert, came to Timbuktu, and spread throughout West Africa where scholars and scribes further developed the script.. The most commonly used form of script in these Timbuktu manuscripts is Saharan, named for the desert that borders the city. Another form of Arabic script used in Timbuktu is Sudani, which refers to the belt of open farmlands that extends from East Africa to the lands just south of Timbuktu in West Africa. The third West African form of Arabic writing is Suqi–literally the market script. Suqi letters are noticeably square compared to the more elongated forms of Maghribi, Sudani, and Saharan.

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While many books were authored and copied in Timbuktu, its resident scholars also imported books from other parts of the Islamic world. Therefore, manuscripts found in Timbuktu are often written in Naskh, the most common book hand found in Arabic manuscripts from Egypt, Syria, and neighboring lands. Naskh developed from the Eastern style of the original Kufic script. These works, whose subjects cover every topic of human endeavor, are indicative of the high level of civilization attained by West Africans during the Middle Ages and early modern period. They are also an important element of the culture of Mali, and West Africa in general, which survived the colonial experience. Libraries in Timbuktu continue the tradition of the families who established them by preserving and making available these valuable works, which until recently were unknown outside Mali. Scholars in the fields of Islamic studies and African studies are awed by the wealth of information that these manuscripts provide. Indeed, the use of these works by scholars will likely result in rewriting Islamic, West

African, and world history. The ancient manuscripts preserved at Timbuktu’s Ahmed Baba Center and in its private family libraries, such as the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha, a suburb of Timbuktu, serve as eloquent witnesses to the influence of Timbuktu beginning in the 15th and 16th centuries.

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I I FEATURED - EDUCATION FOCUS

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Has American education failed its younger generation?

The idea of going to college amongst the current generation is haunting the education system in the United States. An OECD report says, that the US is in decline in educating its population and is now the only major economy in the world, where the younger generation will not be as better educated as their parents a comparative educational study says. When a high degree of adult skills that drives the engine of an economy is not present, then the engine is about to fail if the US government does not address its problem as it does not recognise the importance of education to the health of its economy. Worse still - for children whose parents did not go to university then their children are even more unlikely to attend university. In other parts of the world, such as India and China the trend is quite the opposite. Having a graduate parent but who doesn’t reach university level themselves is becoming increasingly more common. Clearly, it was the dominance

of US higher education which was closely linked to its role as an economic and military superpower - after the Second World War. For example, an American born immediately after the war was nearly twice as likely to become a graduate. But the high cost of education in the United States is a barrier and the thought of student debts is putting many people going into Higher education. This is coupled with a loss in confidence in Higher education and the belief that it does not improve life chances. This view is supported by parents who do not see sending their children to college and it does not improves the life chances of their children. The US education system is highly unfair with those who have wealth able to buy Higher education and it is no longer based on ability or merit and the freedom of entry is restricted to those who are wealthy. If the US does not recruit on talent and address it’s problem, then the economic engine will fail and its status as a superpower will decline.

“It was America’s appreciation of Education that resulted in its exponential growth and dominance. Education led to innovation. Innovation gave America its edge. If America is to continue its role, it must invest in education and strive to be number at it,” says Faheem Hussain at Improve Tuition. Faheem Hussain is a Regional Director for Online Tutoring USA and Online Tutors America including New York and Washington. Faheem Hussain can be contacted on info@improvetuition.org

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