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Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism Two sides of the same coin

Issue: 97

May 2016

NEWS REPORT

The spectre of anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head above the parapet in recent days which has inevitably stunned the British political world. From a historical perspective, antiSemitism is a phenomenon that has affected the Jewish community for many centuries albeit with devastating consequences which many are aware of. The Jewish community worldwide have been targeted with reprisals and attacks for being ‘Jewish’ which is totally unacceptable especially in today’s world. Islamophobia in the last fifteen years has become a pressing concern for many Muslims on a global level where it is now entrenched at all levels. Muslims across the world face vitriolic abuse on a daily basis facing the risk of being attacked or have been attacked and in some cases people have been Approved by

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I COMMENT

thePassion

www.pi-media.co.uk I May 2016

By Craig Murray

Former Ambassador Human Rights Activist

The surveillance state should be targeted on cows

British citizens are now watched by Big Brother more closely than any other people in the world. All activity by British people on the web or on the phone is now monitored and stored. The British government employs more secret police – GCHQ, MI5, MI6 and SO15 – per head of population than Russia. Let me repeat that. The British have more secret police per head of population than Russia. British people are watched on closed circuit television more often than any other people in the world. Under the Prevent programme, “radicals” like me can only speak in universities under monitoring so intense and conditions so onerous that organisers give up, as I can personally witness. The Prevent strategy provides for

informants in every governmental institution who report any expressions of dissent. The UK has effective levels of surveillance – and a far higher volume of intelligence reports on their own citizens – than were ever achieved by the Stasi in Eastern Germany. But of course, it is all “essential” to protect the citizens from the “threat” of Islamic terrorism, which is a fundamental threat to our existence, right? So how big a threat is Islamic terrorism? Since 2000, 57 people have been killed in the UK by Islamic terrorism. Since 2000, 74 people have been killed in the UK by cattle. So cows are actually a more potent threat to our personal

society that terrorism. Or more seriously – since 2000, 15,612 people have been murdered in the UK. Of whom only 57 were murdered by terrorists. You have in fact almost a 300 times greater chance of being murdered by someone else than by a terrorist. Indeed you have over 200 times a greater chance of being murdered by your partner, a family member or a close friend, than a terrorist. The surveillance state has fundamentally changed society in response to a “threat” which is statistically miniscule. It has greatly increased the power of the state, at a time when the state is both facilitating and protecting the greatest growth in wealth inequality in human history. That is not a coincidence.

Write to: Editor, PI Media, c/o PKWA, Off Manor Way, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 7BX or email: info@pi-media.co.uk - www.pi-media.co.uk - mob: 07506 466 385


Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism: Two sides of the same coin

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NEWS

Continued from front page

murdered for simply being a ‘Muslim’. Jews and Muslims have historically lived side by side for many centuries and enjoyed peaceful

co-existence during the medieval ages in Spain, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Dr Abdul B Shaikh is a Lecturer

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at the University of Leeds and specialises in Middle East conflicts and Interfaith relations, he told PI “However, we should be clear that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia should be utterly condemned and that there is no excuse for anyone in society to express such abhorrent views or promote antagonism and hatred.” “There is no room for antiSemitism and Islamophobia in today’s world. Society must collectively work hard to remove this scourge by educating the next generation about the devastating impact anti-Semitism and Islamophobia has on people across the world’’. www.pi-media.co.uk


UK to consider placing ground troops in Libya

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The UK has raised the possibility of using military force in Libya to help legitimate Libyan authorities bring the security situation in the country under control. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that he could not rule out sending troops to Libya if requested by Libya’s government. “It wouldn’t make sense to rule anything out because you never know how things are going to evolve,” Hammond told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper. Hammond added that the UK would consider military airstrikes and

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naval support for a Libyan-led attack on Daesh in Sirte, and that the future use of ground troops cannot be ruled out. Daesh took control of Libya’s northern port city of Sirte in June 2015, making it the first city to be governed by the Takfiri militant group outside of Iraq and Syria. News outlets have reported that the special forces unit of the British Army, the SAS, is already operating in Libya, while it has also been suggested that up to 1,000 British troops could be sent to help train a new army.

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The refusal by the British government to rule out military action in Libya is reportedly meant to promote the unity government formed for the country and led by Fayez Seraj, its prime minister. Libya plunged into a political and security vacuum after militias backed by NATO forces toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Daesh terrorist group has taken advantage of the chaos, boosting its presence in the violencewracked country and recruiting militant fighters from among members of local tribes, as well as enlisting former military personnel belonging to the ousted Gaddafi regime. Since August 2014, when militias seized the capital city, Tripoli, Libya has been divided between two governments; one is run by the rebels in the capital and the other, which is internationally-recognized, is stationed in the far eastern Libyan city of Tobruk. The unity government led by Seraj was formed out of an agreement by the two rival governments last December. It has been endorsed by the United Nations (UN). It has, however, had difficulty taking over www.pi-media.co.uk

Al Rayan bank celebrates record year Birmingham-based Al Rayan Bank, the UK’s first wholly Sharia compliant retail bank, is celebrating after a record year in 2015 saw profits rise by over 700%. Al Rayan Bank announced that 2015 was the most profitable year in its history as post-tax profits increased from £1.2m last year to £10.3m. The bank’s results have been enabled by a combination of a growing customer base and the implementation of a strategic growth plan set by its board of directors. The ambitious growth plan has already seen the company commit its future to the West Midlands after relocating to a new head office in Edgbaston and increasing its headcount.

Chairman Robert Sharpe said: “These are an excellent set of results. Al Rayan Bank is growing at a rapid, but manageable and well controlled pace. “This impressive growth is being delivered from within a framework of a robust risk management culture and is carefully fostered in an environment where everyone within the bank is responsible for risk.” The bank was also named by

Global Finance magazine as one of the best Islamic banks in the world last year.

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Bid to deport six terror suspects blocked by UK judges In Case You Missed It

Six men accused of having links to al Qaeda cannot be deported to Algeria because there is a “real risk” they would be tortured, UK judges ruled last month in what marks a major defeat for the Home Office. Judges at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruled against Home Secretary Theresa

May and found in favour of the six men who have been fighting deportation orders for 10 years. The Home Office argued they were a national security risk to Britain, but the Siac judges agreed with the men that their human rights would be at risk if returned to Algeria. “It is not inconceivable that these

Appellants, if returned to Algeria, would be subject to ill-treatment infringing Article 3 [prohibition of torture under the European Convention on Human Rights]. There is a real risk of such a breach,” they ruled. The six men are living under strict bail and curfew conditions at various locations in England. The men cannot be identified for legal reasons and the Home Secretary has 10 days to appeal to the decision. It is highly unusual for the Home Office to lose such appeals in Siac, which often hears evidence in secret. The ruling was announced by the UK’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on Twitter. The six allegedly include leaders of terror groups in European countries, an associate of Abu Hamza and two men linked to a UK terror plot. None of the men have ever been convicted of terror offences in the UK. The Home Secretary argues they are a threat to national security and must be returned to Algeria.

British Muslims warned about Hajj fraudsters

Muslims in Britain are being warned about fraudsters trying to con them with bogus travel packages to Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of people from the Muslim community have fallen victim to Hajj scams, with some losing up to £33,000, police say. A ‘significant’ number of people who have paid for tour packages for themselves and their family have arrived in Saudi Arabia only to discover their accommodation is either very low quality or does not even exist. Others have found their whole trip is a scam set up by illegal travel operators who then disappear with their money. Up to 25,000 British Muslims travel for Hajj - the Islamic pilgrimage - each year. Many save for months to make

the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mecca. In a bid to raise awareness of Hajj frauds, police have launched a campaign aimed at protecting the Muslim community. Greater Manchester Police and Derbyshire Constabulary are both supporting a national campaign, led by the City of London police. Detective Inspector Rob King, head of the Derbyshire Police’s economic crime unit, said many scams go unreported and encouraged Muslims to tell police about fraud so officers are better equipped to catch offenders. He said: “Hajj related fraud is a distressing situation for victims to find themselves in. People often save up for months, even years, in order to travel to Mecca for the once-in-alifetime trip.

“Only a very small percentage of victims are reporting Hajj related fraud, making it almost impossible for the police to catch those responsible. It is a serious crime that continues to cause significant harm within the Muslim community. “Please don’t suffer in silence or feel embarrassed about coming forward. It is vital that Hajj related fraud is reported as soon as possible and our aim here is to raise awareness and offer support to prevent further victims.” Police advise that travelers always carry out checks with travel agencies and tour operators, make sure the travel company is ATOL protected, make sure flight details, accommodation and Hajj visa are valid and do not pay by cash or by direct bank transfer.

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Zac Goldsmith may face legal action over Muslim ‘extremist’ claims

A London-based Muslim academic said he is taking legal action against Zac Goldsmith’s London mayoral campaign after it claimed he had threatened “fire throughout the world” over insults to the Prophet Muhammad and said that Jews could leave Israel or drown. The Goldsmith campaign last month was cited in the Guardian as saying Labour mayoral rival Sadiq Khan was an associate of Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian and well-known supporter of Hamas, in an apparent ongoing attempt to link Khan with “radical” elements of the Muslim community. However, in a statement, Tamimi said the claims were “utterly false” and added that he was instructing lawyers to take legal action against the Goldsmith campaign. In comments about Khan’s links to “extremists”, Goldsmith’s campaign accused his rival of attending a 2006 Trafalgar Square rally against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, where Tamimi was alleged to have threatened “fire throughout the world” if cartoonists did not stop. Khan said later: “Speakers can get carried away, but they are just flowery words.” Goldsmith’s team also cited Tamimi as saying that after Israel is

destroyed, Jews should “sail on the sea in ships back to where they came from or drown in it”. “That is obviously an extremist statement,” Khan’s spokesman said. “Sadiq wouldn’t have been aware of who Tamimi was at the time.” And Tamimi said in a statement: “The Goldsmith campaign team has been cited in the Guardian as claiming that I threatened ‘fire throughout the world’ if cartoonists did not stop. “They are also cited as claiming that I said that after Israel is destroyed and replaced with an Islamic state, Jews should ‘sail on the sea in ships back to where they came or drown in it’. “This is utterly false and I never said what they claim. I instructed my lawyers to proceed for legal action against the Goldsmith campaign.” Tamimi is a public supporter of the Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, and an associate of its leader Khaled Meshal. He has advised the group on its charter. He has also acted as a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain. The alleged comments on the cartoons were reportedly given to Sky News during the event in Trafalgar Square on 12 February, 2006. At the time of publication, Sky News has not responded to inquiries from Middle East Eye about the

existence of the footage. His alleged statement on Jews appears to have been first reported in a British parliamentary debate in 2003 by the Labour MP, Louise Ellman, who said that Tamimi had made them during a conference in Vienna. Ellman was speaking on 18 December 2003, during the last Commons session before the Christmas break. Tamimi threatened to sue Ellman, despite comments made in the Commons enjoying parliamentary privilege under UK law At the time, he said: “It is against my Islamic and human principles to say things like ‘We should drown the Jews’. My vision for a future Palestine is a larger entity where Jews, Muslims and Christians can live together like they have done for 13 centuries. “What I did say is that if there are Jews who choose not to live in such a place, then we will help them to go back. “I haven’t even been to Vienna for two or three years and all the speeches I made there were in Arabic.” The campaign team for Goldsmith did not respond before time of publication to several Middle East Eye inquiries on whether it had primary evidence of the alleged statements. This article was first published by the Middle East Eye.

British library digitizes one of world’s oldest Quran manuscripts The British Library has put on display an old Quranic manuscript dating back to the 8th century A.D. The 121-page manuscript, one of the oldest copies of the Quran, contains one-third of the Holy Book’s text, according to al-Arabi al-Jadid. British Library Exhibits Digital Version of 8th Century Quran Manuscript The library purchased it in 1879 from Greville John Chester (1830-1892), a Christian clergyman who had great interest in many scholarly areas from natural

history to archaeology, including Egyptology. He made many trips to Egypt where he bought numerous manuscripts and took them to England. The British Library had previously put on display the digital version of another Quran manuscript dating back to the 14th century during the reign of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The British Library is the national library of Britain and the second largest library in the world by number of items catalogued.


UK turns ‘blind eye’ to refugee suffering 10

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Britain is failing to protect vulnerable people around the world displaced by conflict, persecution and poverty, aid agencies have said. A joint declaration by 13 agencies, including Oxfam, the British Refugee Council and Islamic Relief, said the U.K. was obliged to provide a safe haven to a fair share of refugees in addition to funding camps in countries like Lebanon and Jordan.

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Oxfam’s Head of Humanitarian Policy Maya Mailer said Britain was turning a “blind eye” to suffering on its doorstep. According to a statement released by Oxfam, Mailer said: “The U.K. is trying to pretend that this is someone else’s problem, and that refugees and migrants could and should be dealt with elsewhere. “But people who are desperate

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will take huge risks to reach safety. The U.K. needs to accept its moral responsibility to offer a safe haven to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable - men, women and children who have been made homeless by war, violence and disasters.” The British government claims it is the world’s second-largest provider of aid to countries bordering Syria after the United States. It has also pledged to accept 20,000 refugees directly from camps in the region until 2020, but the aid agencies argue it should resettle more. According to the joint report, Britain so far dealt with just three percent of asylum applications made in the European Union in 2015, whereas Germany and Hungary processed over 50 percent in comparison. It called on British authorities to develop a humanitarian visa scheme that would allow people to safely travel to the U.K. to claim asylum.

NUS appoints first president of Muslim background

Malia Bouattia has become the first president of the National Union of Students (NUS) of Muslim background, winning 50.9 per cent of the vote. Bouattia, who is of Algerian origin, won despite an orchestrated Jewish campaign against her. Fifty Jewish student leaders wrote an open letter saying that they were “extremely concerned” by her views amid rising extremism and “anti-Semitism” on campuses. Bouattia has criticised “Zionistled media outlets”. Jewish student leaders complained that in her prior role as a member of the NUS’s

executive committee, Ms Bouattia blocked a motion condemning the “Islamic State” group, calling it “Islamophobic”. If anything, this makes Bouattia a philo-Semite rather than an anti-Semite. British Jews have already declared war against young Muslim Bouattia. Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a body that claims to represent British Jews, said: “We are deeply concerned by the failure of new NUS President Malia Bouattia to satisfactorily clarify past remarks and associations.” The Zionist Federation’s

chairman, Paul Charney, said her election is “a deeply challenging day for Jewish students”. Israel advocacy group StandWithUs said Bouattia’s previous comments were “dangerous and inflammatory” and “echo traditional and pernicious anti-Semitism”. But there is good news. In spite of an intensive campaign against Bouattia by Jewish institutions, the young Muslim won the trust of the voters. It turns out that British society is much more tolerant than the Zionist bodies want it to be. By Gilad Atzmon


UK report shows concern for Crimean Tatars’ rights www.pi-media.co.uk

I May 2016

The British government has deplored the human rights situation of Crimean Tatars following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s human rights and democracy report released last month noted the ill treatment meted out to the minority group in Crimea, which it said was targeted with the knowledge or participation of lawenforcement groups. “Following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea... Arrests, torture and other ill treatment, and intimidation against political opponents and minorities persisted, particularly the Crimean Tatar community, with the knowledge or participation of ‘law enforcement’ or other affiliated groups,” the report said. Crimean Tatar institutions

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and organizations were being increasingly branded as “extremists” and members arrested as “terrorists”, while access to international monitoring agencies continued to be denied, it said. The U.K. urged Russia and Russian-backed separatists to respect international law and allow unimpeded access to international human rights monitoring agencies. “Without improved access for international monitoring agencies and proper accountability for human rights violations and abuses, there is little prospect of the human rights situation improving in Donbas and Crimea during 2016,” the report said. It also highlighted human rights concerns in several other countries, including Israel and Egypt. The U.K. expressed concern over Israeli government’s violations

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of international human rights and humanitarian law in the context of occupation of Palestinian territories. “Israeli demolitions of Palestinian structures resulted in the displacement of at least 400 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The U.K. was deeply concerned by advancement of existing settlement plans and ‘legalization’ of existing settlement units. “We continued to condemn publicly and privately settlement expansion as illegal under international law. We also continued to express our concern over settler violence,” it said. On Egypt, the report said the country continued to detain activists, journalists and protesters in 2015. “In February, 230 activists were sentenced to life imprisonment in a mass trial in relation to protests in 2011. In May, former President Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to death in a mass trial with more than 100 others. Pre-trial detention periods were long; photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid [Shawkan] has been in pretrial detention since August 2013. “Our focus will be on detentions of political activists, police abuses, and restrictions on civil society. Improving the current trajectory is fundamental to Egypt’s long-term stability,” the report added. www.pi-media.co.uk

Protesters slam UK firm over profiting from Israeli war crimes

Scores of pro-Palestinian activists in the UK have demonstrated outside the headquarters of an arms manufacturing company, accusing it of benefiting from Israel’s deadly crackdown against Palestinians. The protesters gathered in front of the UK headquarters of aerospace manufacturer Thales, in Crawley

and expressed their anger against the company’s partnership with Israel’s Elbit Systems to develop a surveillance drone, nicknamed Watchkeeper, used by the regime against Palestinians. The rally was held by the Sussex Stop Arming Israel campaign and was supported by other human rights

groups, including the Inminds. The main messages of the protest were “Stop Arming Israel” and “Thales profits from Israeli war crimes.” Thales UK is a subsidiary of the French company Thales, and is currently considered as the UK’s second largest military company. www.pi-media.co.uk


British employers refrain from hiring Muslim women

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Educated Muslim women are much less likely to be employed than nonMuslim women, even when they have the same qualifications, new research has suggested. The study found that the unemployment rate for Muslim women is between 5.9 per cent and 27 percent depending on the woman’s ethnic background. By contrast, the rate for white nonMuslim women is 3.5 percent. A similar gap was noted among professional occupations whereby 8.5 percent to 23 percent of Muslim women are employed depending on

ethnicity, compared to 32 percent of white non-Muslim women. The study dismissed the idea that this was because Muslim women may be less likely to have educational qualifications than other social groups, as the same trends were observed even when both Muslim and non-Muslim women had the exact same credentials. The research is a joint undertaking between Dr Nabil Khattab of the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies in Qatar and Dr Shereen Hussein of King’s College London and involved data analysis

of more than a quarter of a million women’s lives. It was presented at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference. Dr Khattab said: “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.” He added that Muslim women’s dress might reveal their religion to potential employers in more obvious ways than Muslim men or non-Muslim women, which enabled Islamophobic employers to discriminate. He said: “They wear a hijab or other religious symbols which makes them more visible and as such exposed to greater discrimination.” Last year hate crimes against Muslims in London were found to have risen by 70 per cent upon the previous year. In particular, the Met Police noted a number of Islamophobic incidents in which women wearing headscarves were attacked and strangers attempted to remove their veils.

A major exhibition celebrating the achievements of Islamic civilization is being mounted in Aylesbury. Organizers claim it will be the largest display of Islamic art ever seen in public in the county or anywhere in outside the great museums. Treasures on display include carpets, paintings, furniture, metalwork, jewellery and calligraphy from across Asia – as well as one of the largest collections of Qur’ans in the country. The Art of Islam Festival, which will continue until 24 September, is being organized by Buckinghamshire

County Museum Trust. It is centered at the Bucks County Museum in Aylesbury, but more than 100 associated events are planned across the county in collaboration with mosques, libraries and arts venues. Events are proposed in Aylesbury, Chesham, High Wycombe and Milton Keynes, and include opportunities for visitors to experience Islamic literature, poetry, ceramics, painting, music, calligraphy and textiles. The exhibition has been boosted by a grant of £49,950 from the Arts Council which will help fund events

around the county. The exhibits is borrowed from the British Museum, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, the Horniman Museum in London and from a major private collection owned by renowned UK collector and philanthropist Razwan Baig. Details of other festival events have not yet been announced but include schools activities in drama and graphic art, arts award workshops for geometric design, talks, garden events and entertainments with an Islamic theme.

Islamic art festival to be largest ever in Britain


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British brands eye growing Muslim consumer market

From young start-ups to business giants, British entrepreneurs are eyeing a rapidly expanding global market for Muslim consumers with a range of brands from clothes to greetings cards to online gym courses. In contrast to France, where there has been an angry debate about Muslim-specific consumer products, the approach in Britain seems more business-minded. “Halal doesn’t only apply to food but also to business ethics, dress etcetera,” said Rauf Mirza, director of The Muslim Lifestyle Expo (MLE), which organises trade fairs on Muslim consumer trends. The MLE last month organised a

networking event bringing together 150 business leaders, experts and young entrepreneurs in central London to trade tips on the best way to profit from an expanding sector. Famous names like the Marks & Spencer department store chain now offer Islamic fashion products -- in line with other world brands including Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana or Japan’s Uniqlo. At the MLE event, Faaezah Qureshi from Yorkshire in northern England said she set up her Muslim greetings cards company Elaara after finding too many contained unsuitable images such as champagne glasses and churches. “There was a big gap in the

market,” Pedersen, who was not wearing a hijab, told AFP. Shelina Janmohamed, vice president at advertising company Ogilvy Noor, started off the London networking event with a talk on how British companies could “tap into the global Muslim lifestyle sector”. She estimated Muslim consumer lifestyle spending at $2.6 trillion (2.3 trillion euros) a year and pointed to the potential in the youth market in particular, with official data showing 14 percent of the world’s population was Muslim and under 30 in 2010. Janmohamed pointed to European countries with large Muslim minorities such as Russia (12 percent), France (7.5 percent), Netherlands (5.5 percent), Britain (5.0 percent) and Germany (5.0 percent). It is not just Muslim entrepeneurs who are being drawn to the business opportunities. Canadian David Horne cofounded Alchemiya, a “Netflix for Muslims” with subscribers in 39 countries and offers programmes including documentaries on skateboarding in Kabul or Turkish muezzins. “If you’re a global brand, how can you ignore 1.6 billion people?” Mirza said. www.pi-media.co.uk

that only 151 child asylum seekers had been deported from the United Kingdom. Charities and politicians have criticized the British Home Office over its decisions to send back the young people. “These children grow up here; often achieve well in school and then find themselves confused, frightened and abandoned by the country they thought would protect them, when they turn 18,” Anna Musgrave, the

advocacy manager at a charity, said. “The government knows all too well that the asylum system is letting young people down and needs urgent reform to make sure that everyone gets a fair hearing,” she said. Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats political party, termed the deportation of the teenagers to war-torn countries “callous,” stating that they should be given a chance to continue.

Britain deported more teens to conflict zones than previosuly declared: Report

The British government has deported three times more teenagers to their crisis-hit home countries than previously announced. According to a report published by The Independent, latest statistics show that a total of 445 asylum seekers and refugees were sent back to their crisis-stricken homelands as soon as they turned 18. The revelation comes as the British government previously said


Muslim Americans are model citizens: Poll 14

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Muslim citizens are model citizens and patriots, a new poll says. The survey, from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, shows that though Muslims living in America are facing more violence than ever, they are actually among America’s most model citizens. It means that in a land founded on religious freedom, Muslims are among the most religious and patriotic citizens: 42% of Muslims attend services regularly compared to 45% of Protestants. And 87% of Muslims say religion is important to their lives, compared to 94% of Protestants.

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That Muslims would continue to show religious pride and attend service is a testament to their faith, especially when 2015 was the worst year for mosque attacks on record. When it comes to identifying as a patriot, 85% of Muslims “have a strong American identity,” just like 84% of Protestants. They are also just as likely as other Americans to identify strongly with their faith — 89% of Muslims, 84% of Jews, and 95% of Catholics and Protestants shared the sentiment. While Republican presidential candidates continue to discuss “radical Islamic terrorism” in debates,

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most American Muslims actually reject violence by a much higher margin than other groups. Sixtyfive per cent of Muslims oppose the targeting and killing of civilians by military groups, much higher than other religious groups. Additionally, the survey found zero correlation between Muslim religious identity, mosque attendance and attitudes toward violence. Muslims make pretty great neighbours, too. Thirty-eight per cent of Muslims work with neighbours to solve problems, almost equal to the percentage of Jews (40%) and Catholics (42%) who do so. And while a much lower number of Muslims are registered to vote, among those who are eligible and registered, 85% plan to vote (which is still lower than most groups.) However, given the Islamophobia in the current political climate, it’s understandable. A combined 27% of non-voting Muslims said that they don’t like the proposed candidates or the candidates don’t represent them. Finally, even though more than half of Muslims report experiencing discrimination on the basis of their religion in the last year — compared to 5% of Jews, 4% of Catholics and 2% of Protestants — they are the most optimistic about the future of America.

US changes rules of engagement for ISIL airstrikes

The Pentagon has delegated authority to lower ranked commanders to approve airstrikes against ISIL targets that could potentially put civilians at risk, a defense official said. The change that took effect months ago but revealed for the first time, allows commanders on the ground to authorize some of “the most high-risk-but-high-reward strikes” against the militant group, according to anti-ISIL coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren, who spoke to reporters from Baghdad via videoconference. Before the change to the rules of engagement, nearly all U.S. airstrikes that risk civilian life required formal approval from

leadership at U.S. Central Command headquartered in Tampa, Florida. According to Warren, the change is an “effort to speed up the bureaucratic process for approving strikes”. Warren also said the authority is vested back to Tampa in case of a high number of civilian casualties is at risk but he did not give a number at which Central Command would be required to step in. A rapid response is essential for many “dynamic targets” that may be available for a short time, according to Warren. But it also removes a layer of scrutiny to the military executing an air campaign that increases the risk of civilian casualties.

“This does not translate to more civilian casualties,” Warren said. “This translates to a more rapid execution of strikes because we don’t have to send requests all the way to Tampa anymore.” In some cases, the final decision rests with Army Lt. Gen. Sean Macfarland, commander of the U.S.led coalition against ISIL. In other cases it may be a lower-ranking officer. The Pentagon has acknowledged killing just 26 civilians in the air campaign that began almost two years ago and that has dropped more than 40,000 bombs. Human rights organizations contend that the number of causalities is far greater.


French Muslim party to contest by-election

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A senior member of France’s Turkish-Muslim Equality and Justice Party (PEJ) said that an upcoming May 22 by-election will be used as preparation for the country’s general election in 2017. PEJ chair Sakir Colak said a party was needed to defend the rights of Muslims exposed to discrimination in France. The PEJ – founded by a Turkish

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and Muslim initiative – will contest the by-election called after the resignation of Socialist Party deputy, Armand Jung. Colak said that the party came to its current level with efforts from Turkish and foreign associations since 1998. He added that the association members were candidates for the Socialist Party in 2001 municipal elections but

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later left the party, running again on independent lists. Colak said such candidates needed to “gather under the same roof of a party”. The PEJ says the party does not only represent Turkish people but defends the rights of other foreigners as well. “The party’s main goal is to fight against injustice and inequality. No one is representing the Muslim community in Strasbourg,” Colak said. Meanwhile, the party’s Strasbourg deputy candidate, Murat Yozgat, said: “Our party appeared on the scene firstly in the [2015] regional elections. This will be our second appearance. We aim to make an impact in this election and make our party’s name … before the French legislative election in 2017.” The PEJ was eliminated in the first round of the provincial council election held in March 2015. However, the party managed to receive thousands of votes in four cities and 10 cantons just two months after its foundation.

Powerful social campaign aims a blow at Islamaphobia Spurred by a growing migrant crisis and the recent terror attacks in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, intolerance directed at the Muslim community is higher than ever. In response to this, Native VML and People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) have teamed up for a social media campaign that aims to address this situation by confronting people’s prejudices. It does so by posting photos of Muslim women wearing a traditional Islamic hijab, fashioned after the flag

of their home country. “Juxtaposing these two symbols creates such a strong impact and challenges the assumptions people have about Muslim identity,” says Tendai Bhiza at PASSOP. The portraits were made of various Muslim women, and will be used in an outdoor, print and social media campaign. “We are fully aware that certain quarters may find these images controversial, but the point of this movement is to challenge the prejudices people may have, and

change the way we think about a culture that has been unjustly defined by the actions of a select few,” said Ryan McManus, Executive Creative Director at NATIVE VML. According to the digital agency, the hope is that this campaign will inspire people in other countries to create similar images that will spread the message and help shift the conversation. “In this era of divisive rhetoric and rampant hate speech online, we need unifying images like these now more than ever,” McManus added.


European Council approves data sharing of passengers

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WORLD NEWS

The European Council has approved on a regulation that aims to allow the collecting and sharing of passenger data. The approval comes after the European parliament voted the measure.

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A statement from the EU Council said: “The Council adopted a directive on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.”

I May 2016

According to the motion, EU countries will have two years to implement a system that allows security agencies to gain access to passengers flying in and out of the EU. Will be made available, passenger names, e-mails, phone numbers and passport details. Data will be retained for five years. However, names are expected to be concealed after six months to prevent further identification. The PNR system was debated by EU officials in 2011, but an agreement could not be reached because of concerns regarding privacy issues. Following the Brussels and last year’s Paris attacks, in March and November respectively, the European Parliament adopted last week the measure with 416 votes for and 179 against.

Anti-Islam hate crimes jumped over 11-fold in Spain in 2015: Federation Attacks against Muslims and Islamic institutions surged more than 11fold in Spain last year, a prominent Islamic organization says,warning that Islamophobia is on the rise in the country. President of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities, Mounir Benjelloun, said that a total of 534 attacks targeting Muslim community, including online abuse, were registered in the country last year. Benjelloun noted that the figure marked a sharp increase compared to the 48 anti-Islam incidents recorded in 2014. “Thistypeof aggression increases whenever there is an act of violence in a European country,” he added. The remarks come as Spain’s Interior Ministry recorded 70attacks against Muslimsin 2015, which was up from 63 in the preceding year. Benjelloun said that discrepancies

betweenthe ministry’s figure and actual number result from the fact that victims are mostly reluctant to approach the police and file a complaint, and assaults against Muslim property are simply labeled as vandalism instead of being treated as hate crime. Spanish authorities say Moroccan immigrants are the most common victims of xenophobia-related crimes and Islamophobia in the country. According to the Spanish newspaperEl País, most of the Islamophobia-related crimes took place in Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona and Albacete last year. Collective Against Islamophobia in Francealso reported that attacks against mosques and property owned by Muslims have increased sharply. They have surgedsince November 13, 2015, when militants killed 130 people in the French

capital city of Paris, said theParisbased organization that monitors Islamophobic acts. Tell MAMA, a Britain-based NGO that tracks hate crimes against Muslims, also stated that such attacks have increased threefold in the United Kingdom since then. Up to 115 incidents were registered in the week following the attacks alone. Aiman A. Mazyek, the head of the Central Council of Muslims (ZDM), said anti-Islam attacks are on the rise in Germany as well. @

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Germany Right-Wing party under fire

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I May 2016

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Muslim leaders in Germany criticized Alternative for Germany‘s claim that Islam was contrary to the constitution and compared the anti-immigration party‘s stance to Adolf Hitler‘s rule of the country. Buoyed by successes in three key state elections last month, the AfD called at the weekend for banning minarets and burqas in the country, warning of the threat of “the Islamization of Germany”. But in an interview with state broadcaster NDR, the chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, said that for “the first time since Hitler‘s Germany there is

a party that again seeks to discredit an entire religious community and threatens its existence.” Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU) allies led the attack on the AfD from Germany‘s mainstream political parties. “The AfD is becoming more and more radical,” Franz Josef Jung, the CDU-CSU parliamentary group spokesman for churches and religious communities, told the daily Die Welt. The anti-Islamic statements from

the AfD were “highly dangerous” and aimed at dividing the nation, Carsten Sieling, the Social Democratic mayor of the northern German city of Bremen, told dpa. Sieling currently heads the council representing the premiers of Germany‘s 16 states. In interviews, AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch and the party‘s leader in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, Alexander Gauland, warned about what they saw as the dangers of Islam. “Islam is in itself a political ideology which is not compatible with the constitution,” von Storch told the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “We are in favour of banning minarets, on muezzins as well as full veils,” said von Storch who is also a member of the European Parliament. “Islam is not a religion like Catholic or Protestant Christianity, but instead is always intellectually associated with a takeover of the state,” Gauland told the newspaper. “That is why the Islamization of Germany is a danger,” said Gauland, who described Islam a “a foreign body” in Germany. However, Mazyek insisted: “This is not an anti-Islam course, (but) an anti-democratic course.”

Blind Palestinian student wins UN human rights comp A blind student in occuped Palestine has won first place in a human rights competition organised in UNRWA schools in the territory, QudsNet reported. Yasmin Al-Najjar, 13, is a student at a special UNRWA facility for blind children. The competition included 40 questions from the human rights textbooks taught in UNRWA schools; 65 students took part. “My family and friends felt proud when we knew that I had won first prize,” said Al-Najjar, who is a

member of the Student Parliament for Human Rights in Gaza. “Many people encouraged me and I spent one full week studying and revising with the help of one of my teachers to be ready for the competition.” The teenager’s teacher is Khadija Al-Masharawi. “Yasmin is a shy student,” she revealed. “At the beginning, she hesitated. I encouraged her and trained her. Then, when she won, she felt proud and became more vivid and active.” Al-Najjar was not the only winner who is blind, QudsNet pointed out.

Yasser Al-Arja, 13, and Mariam AbuShawish, 12, also won prizes in the same competition. UNRWA teaches human rights to students at its schools in Gaza in order to reinforce their understanding of their own rights and those of other people - however this has been criticised by many Palestinian families because it recognises Israel’s right to exist in occupied Palestine. UNRWA students today are the grandchildren of Palestinians who were forced out of their homes by Zionist terrorist groups in 1948.


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I WORLD NEWS

www.pi-media.co.uk I May 2016

Muslims proud to be Canadian - Survey

Canadian Muslims have a deeprooted love for Canada, even though many have been the victims of discrimination, according to the results of a survey released. The Environics Institute survey of 600 Muslims from across Canada showed an overwhelming majority, 83 percent, are “very proud” of their country. At the same time, 35 percent said they had been the targets of discrimination in the past five years. Muslims make up 3 percent, about 1 million, of the Canadian population of 35 million. Kathy Bullock of the Tessellate Institute, one of the participants in the survey, said the results prove

Canadian Muslims have a love of country just as strong as Canadian nonMuslims. “We saw this thread, this theme of a community that felt proud to be Canadian, of feeling that they belong to Canada,” she said, as reported by the Global News media outlet. In fact, Muslims showed more pride in Canada than others. A separate survey of nearly 1,000 non-Muslims found only 73 percent were “very proud” to be Canadian. “Quite importantly, it shows that Muslims take their citizenship seriously and are very proud to be Canadian more so than others in the country, Muneeb Nasir of Olive Tree

Dubai holy Quran park nearly completed

The municipality of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has released a video showing the progress of the project for building the city’s Holy Quran Park. According to uae zoom website, the project is being implemented in Al Khawaneej district of the city. It had previously been planned to be launched in September 2015. The park will include fifty-one of the 54 varieties of plants and trees mentioned in the Quran. The park has been specially designed in the Islamic perspective to introduce the miracles of the Quran through a variety of surprises for the visitors, according to municipality

officials. Covering 64 hectares, it will include the available plants mentioned in the Quran, an Islamic garden, children’s play areas, an Umrah corner, outdoor theatre, fountains, bathrooms, a desert garden, a palm oasis, a lake, and running, cycling and walking tracks. The Quran mentions 54 plants which include fig, pomegranate, olive, corn, leek, garlic, onion, lentil, barley, wheat, ginger, pumpkin, watermelon, tamarind, cedar, vineyards, bananas, cucumbers, and basil. A large glass greenhouse will accommodate 15 types of plants that require controlled climates.

Foundation – another survey partner – said in a news release. The Environics survey of Muslims, conducted between November 2015 and January 2016, was a follow-up to one conducted in 2006. In the latest survey, 84 percent said they felt Canada treats Muslims better than other Western countries – an increase of 7 percent compared to the 2006 figures. In addition to the 35 percent of Muslims who have been discriminated against, 62 percent of respondents were worried about increased discrimination against Muslims and 35 percent believed the next generation of Muslims will face more discrimination, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The one thing Muslims said they liked least about Canada: the cold weather.

Tatar Museum receives first Quran copy printed in Japan The first copy of the Arabic Quran printed in Japan was handed over on Monday to the Museum of Islamic Civilizations in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan. Marat Gibattinov, a professor from the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences who negotiated to get the Quran, told Anadolu Agency, “Five hundred copies of the holy book were published in 1934 by Tatar Turks, which gives it great importance for Tatars in Japan.” Kurban Galiev (1892–1972), an ethnic Tatar exiled to Japan from Manchuria, owned Tokyo’s Islamic Printing House, which published the copy of Quran in question. Gibattinov said the oldest copies of the Quran printed in Tokyo were sent to 33 countries, including Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq, adding, “This edition was also presented to Japan’s emperor at that time to convey the message of Islam across the country.” The vintage leather-bound Quran copy with its gilded edges will be on display at the Museum of Islamic Civilization after restoration.


Mega-Mosque planned in Italy’s Florence

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WORLD NEWS I 19

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In Tuscany, Italy, the Florence city council has confirmed that it is reviewing plans to build a “megamosque” to serve as a large Islamic cultural center and new home for Muslim worshippers, seeing as how the city’s central mosque can no longer cope with its 1,000-memberstrong congregation. According to The Local, Florence has pledged to locate premises for a “mega-mosque” in its historic center to accommodate more Muslims, who currently worship in a 400-squaremetre former garage. The same source added that the city council “… is still evaluating the long-term possibility of constructing

a large Islamic cultural center and place of worship – measuring up to 7,000 square meters – in the city.” The Members of Florence’s Muslim community, who welcomed the initiative, had reportedly met with city council leaders to discuss the possibility of moving to a new 800square-metre site in the city center. “Feasibility studies are currently being carried out, and the council has promised that the community will have new premises within a month,” reported the source. Izzedin Elzir, a Muslim leader, told The Local that the current mosque, one of three Muslim places of worship in the city, can no

Muslim women main target of anti-islamic violence in the Netherlands

A hotline set up to record incidents of anti-Islamic physical and verbal violence in the Netherlands received 158 reports last year, according to the organization’s annual report. Most – 54 – took place in January in the wake of the attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. There was a second surge in November after the Paris attacks, the Meld Islamoobie hotline said In two-thirds of the cases, women with headscarves were the victims and in three in 10 cases the women had been physically attacked. In six out of 10 cases, the attackers were

white men, the Dutch News reported. In one in 10 cases, a mosque was the target and in 4% a private family home. These threats ranged from warnings to leave the area to attempted arson. In almost six in 10 cases, the victim or organization involved had not reported the incident to the police. There has been a surge in Islamophobic incidents in Western European countries in recent months, especially after terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.

longer house the large number of worshippers; especially during Friday Prayers. He said that people were forced to pray on the streets because the size of the building is too small to host all the worshipers, even though they do “two prayer sessions per Friday.” “It’s a pretty terrible situation – it’s bad for our image as a mosque and bad for the image of the city too,” he added. Elzir also mentioned that “Florence is home to some 30,000 Muslims, and it would be a great place to build the centre.” The plan for building a “megamosque” comes amid a hot debate in Italy over what are known as “anti-mosque” laws, presented in 2015 by the Lombardy’s right-wing leadership, who attempted to limit the construction of new mosques and monitor the already functioning ones.

Bosnia marks anniversary of Ahmici massacre

Bosnia marked the 23rd anniversary of a massacre in the village of Ahmici during the Bosnian War. Readings from the Quran and prayers took place during the ceremony before visiting the graves of the victims. Members of the Croatian Defense Council on 16 April 1993 killed 11 minors, 32 women and 73 men in Ahmici. The youngest victim was a three-month-old baby. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has ruled that the murders in Ahmici were crimes against humanity. The massacre in Ahmici, where Bosnian Croats turned against Bosnian Muslims, has been defined as the single most savage example of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans Around 8,400 people still remain missing after the war, according to the Institute for Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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Building Bridges

Building Bridges is a project developed by the Hamara Centre (www.hamara.org.uk), funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (www.jrct.org.uk) to address Islamophobia across Leeds.


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WORLD NEWS I 21

UNESCO: Al Aqsa is a Muslim site with no Jewish history www.pi-media.co.uk

A UNESCO resolution stated that Al Aqsa and other holy sites in Hebron and Bethlehem are an “integral part of Palestine.” infuriating Israeli authorities.UNESCO also condemnedIsrael, “the occupying power,” for planting fake graves in Muslim cemeteries. Two tourist destinations, the Ibrahimi Mosque (Caveof the Patriarchs) in the heart of the old city of Hebron and the Bilal bin Rabah mosque(Rachel’s Tomb)

in Bethlehem, are named in the paper as”Palestinian sites.”The draft decision by the UNESCO executive board on occupied Palestine was released. UNESCO “reaffirms that the two concerned sites located in… Hebron and in Bethlehem are an integral part of Palestine” and “disapproves the ongoing Israeli illegal excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and a separation wall inside the Old City of… Hebron, that

harmfully affect the integrity of the site,” the statement says. UNESCO also slammed theIsraeli attacks on Muslims on the Al Haram Al-Sharif, and its holy site, Al-Aqsa Mosque. The organization”strongly condemns the Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, and requests Israel, the Occupying Power, to respect the historic Status Quo and to immediately stop these measures,”the statement says. UNESCO called on Israel to stop”banning Muslims from burying their dead in some spaces and by planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries.” The group also criticized”the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip,”which causes an”intolerable number of casualties among Palestinian children,”as well as”the attacks on schools and other educational and cultural facilities and the denial of access to education.”

Learning Quran to be compulsory in Pakistani schools, minister says Pakistan’s Minister of State for Federal Education Muhammad Balighur Rehman attended the 4th Annual Day organized by Al Huda International School at PakChina Friendship Centre, where he announced that the government was making efforts to implement the plan. “This process would be initiated after consulting all the provinces through the platform of InterProvincial Education Minister’s Conference (IPEMC),” the minister said. Rehman explained that the initiative is aimed at encouraging children to “research and explore different subjects, fields, and ideas.” “These children are our national asset so we should invest the best

of our resources to make them better educated human beings.” Students of grades 1 to 5 will be taught a verbal reading of the text, known as Nazra Quran. Starting at grade 6 they will get ‘proper Quranic education’ memorizing scriptures, along with translation. In January, Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yusuf announced that the government would soon make the Quran mandatory learning in both public and private schools. The law is expected to come into force after being approved by the

national assembly. The Quran is the holy book of Islam, Pakistan’s state religion. The majority of the country’s population is Muslim.


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SPORT

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Riyad Mahrez wins PFA player’s player of the year award

Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez has been named the PFA Men’s Players’ Player of the Year 2016. Riyad Mahrez’s first coach called him “a gem in the rough” for his undoubted talent. Nowadays, the Algerian is a 100-carat diamond in the richest league in the world. For those who watched Leicester soar out of the Championship and then put together that remarkable run to stay in the Premier League, Mahrez’s performances have not

been such a surprise. However, the way in which the 25year old wing wizard has been a key element in Leicester’s magical march to the top of the Premier League has made Mahrez one of the most sought-after talents in Europe. Born in a poor suburb of Paris, losing his father while a young teenager and being thought of as too frail to make a top footballer, Mahrez has overcome a few obstacles along the way.

Even signing for Leicester from Le Havre in the French second division was something of a chance happening, as the Midlands club had gone to scout another player that day, but Mahrez stole the show. He also helped Leicester to the Championship title and then his goals and assists were instrumental in the club’s superhuman survival effort last term. This campaign he has tormented defences from London to Liverpool. Two-footed and fast, his ball control and dribbling skills have seen him light the fuse for Leicester’s goal machine, Jamie Vardy. Mahrez himself has also been prolific, though – scoring with left and right boot, close in and from far out, and even grabbing the odd headed goal. Now the Algerian international stands on the brink of an extraordinary end to an extraordinary season, with a place in the Champions League assured and even the ultimate, the Premier League title itself. As former teammate Mathias Pogba, brother of France and Juventus midfielder Paul, says: “With the ball at his feet he’s unstoppable.” So, it seems, is Mahrez’s rise. www.pi-media.co.uk

Mount CC receives Duke of York’s community initiative award Last month representatives from Mount CC in Batley together with senior colleagues from Yorkshire Cricket: Andrew Watson, Executive Director of Yorkshire Cricket Board and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB); Matt Dwyer, Director of Growth & Participation and John Wright, Business Support Manager attended an awards ceremony at Huddersfield University where the Club received a prestigious accolade from HRH The Duke of York. Presenting the award the Initiative’s assessors commented that: Mount CC has been running community cricket for over 38 years. The increasing range of opportunities offered by the Club is immense; from junior cricket for boys and girls to

having teams at U13 (Heavy Woollen – Martin Stubbs West Division), U15 (Bradford Junior Cricket League) and three senior teams (two in Huddersfield Central Cricket League) and (1 in Mid Yorkshire Central Cricket League) to being the first Asian team to establish genuine cricket opportunities for South Asian girls as well as for children with disabilities, particularly Down Syndrome. Unlike other clubs Mount has also demonstrated that it is involving itself with wider community activities and creating added value in Healthy living, Charity work and Interfaith building. Abdul A Ravat from Mount CC who received the award from HRH

Duke of York commented that: “To receive the Duke of York’s Community Initiative award is a great honour, and we are all so very proud of this recognition and very appreciative that our friends from Yorkshire Cricket and ECB were with us to share in this good news. The benefits of this award are considerable to a small club like ours in that it is: Royal recognition of excellence; it allows the use of a prestigious logo to enhance our fund raising credibility; it helps with the promotion of organisational pride and last but by no means least, if we were to need it the scheme offers award holders business management support through workshops, mentoring and networking”


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I May 2016

AFL and Collingwood FC condemn display anti-Islam banner during

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The Australian Football League (AFL) and Collingwood Football Club condemned the display of an antiIslam banner at a match between the Magpies and Richmond in Melbourne. Richmond Football Club has revealed that one of its players was racially abused at the same game. The club said the AFL was investigating “another incident of abuse” involving Bachar Houli, who is Muslim. The banner, adorned with “UPF” logos and which read “Stop the mosques”, was displayed near the scoreboard at the city end of the MCG at half-time. A video of it being put in place was later uploaded to the United Patriots Front Facebook page. The AFL chief, Gillon McLachlan, condemned the banner as “divisive, ignorant and deeply offensive”.

McLachlan said the league’s security manager was investigating and if the people responsible were AFL members they would “be banned from games”. “Our game has a history of egalitarianism and inclusion, and we must make sure that it continues to be a place where all Australians feel welcome,” McLachlan said. The Richmond Football Club said in a statement: “Bachar Houli, and the broader Muslim community, deserve better than having to endure the small-minded people that seek to promote division and hatred.” Collingwood also called for a ban on those responsible for the banner. “The club awaits the outcome of further investigations into the matter by the AFL, the Victoria Police and MCG security,” a club statement read. The banner, which also said “Go

The workshop is aimed at the non traditional tennis delivery market like community leaders and multi-sports coaches. Whilst this is an informal training session and not a qualification, Tennis Foundation (TF) still want to attract people with an interest in sport and an element of experience when organising large groups. ‘Everyone Active’ are a national leisure provider who have requested a pilot of the course in the East Region and want to train up all of their leisure centre activity staff – a

workshop was set up in Cambourne Leisure Centre specifically for this large group. They already have a large membership using the leisure facility, therefore numbers to support a tennis offer. Participants will learn how to deliver Tots Tennis / Mini Tennis / Touch Tennis / Cardio Tennis in leisure centre / sports halls including Tennis as part of Multi Sports Camps / Holiday Camps / Active Life sessions / schools delivery. TF are looking to incorporate Mini Tennis Programmes within

Pies”, drew swift condemnation from the Collingwood president, Eddie McGuire, who promised bans if the culprits were found to have any official connection with the club. “These people do not speak for Collingwood and are condemned by Collingwood. If it is established that they have a formal connection to the club, this connection will be severed,” the club statement said. “There is no place at Collingwood, or in our game, for such behaviour.” Veteran sport broadcaster Francis Leach also condemned the banner. “The UPF saw an opportunity to exploit a nasty stream of fear and loathing that has crept into the game and the wider community,” Leach wrote in a blog post. “How the game responds to this latest act of intolerance will say a lot about where it sees itself as a community leader. One thing that it must do is stand up for the values of tolerance and inclusion that underpin everything we cherish about sport and particularly AFL football.” The Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has also denounced the display. It is “deeply unfortunate” people chose a football game to make a political statement, she said.

TF launches free tennis activators

our Leisure Centres across West Yorkshire The Tennis Activators Course is an Introduction to deliver informal tennis and assist in programme delivery. We will be looking to identify potential Level 1 and Level 2 coaches to increase the tennis offer going forwards. Booking onn a first come first server basis, please mail your details and organisation (4 per organisations) you are affiliated with to: t20_foundation@yahoo.com, venue: Hamara Centre in Leeds 07598 621573, time: 10am -1pm.


24I FEATURED / ADVERT

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RISE - Disability Programme Rise Disability Program Presents new, wide-ranging evidence about disabled people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds. Key Evidence for the service : • There are at least one million disabled people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in the UK. Many face considerable difficulties in their daily lives, yet are unable to access the services they need. • Demographic change means there will be many more BME disabled people in the future. If the needs of this growing community are to be met, it is vital that the accessibility of services is improved. • Increased community involvement in the design, commissioning and delivery of services is essential for such improvements to happen. More accurate evidence, better communication, and greater recognition of this group in policymaking are vital steps for developing fully inclusive services People with learning disabilities and their families from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities continue to experience inequalities in health and social care despite various efforts to improve engagement. The aim of the RISE project is to find new ways of addressing this

issue along with a targeted service - with particular attention to the role of the South Asian communities in Kirklees and the use of action learning techniques in order to identify examples of good practice. At its heart is the aim of enabling people with learning disabilities and their families from BME communities to have a stronger voice, assisting them to access services more appropriate and meaningful to their individual requirements and circumstances. The project is commissioned by Community Partnership team with in Kirklees Council. The work would complement several other initiatives that were underway or about to commence within Kirklees. It was envisaged that the RISE disability Service would then be developed further and implemented across Kirklees. We will also be carrying out a questioner to map and find “what’s going on” and “what would you like” for people with learning disabilities and their families to use as a planning aid. What is the service? A complete and comprehensive service for adults with a learning disability and support for their careers targeting families that are least represented from Minority Ethnic

communities including South Asian, migrants etc. . This is not an exclusive service! Our activities approach and program consists of:- Keeping Fit Chair Based Exercise, Pilates • Yoga, Gym Sessions, Walking Group, Learning Healthy Activities, Arts and Crafts, Computers & I.T, Money Management, How to get ‘out and about’, Leisure Games, Healthy cultural cooking, Food from around the world, Gardening & exploring the outdoors, Nintendo Wii Game, Support for carers, Support Grou, Carers welcome to take part in all activities, Activities to suit the carer’s needs, Community cafe available at affordable prices. What we provide: Personal assistants at weekends and evenings, Help and assistance with allocation of personal budgets, multilingual staff, Transport to and from home, Safe and healthy environment, Female only rooms and staff. Opening times: Monday – Friday 9:30-4pm depending on individual needs and chosen activity (Trained personal assistants available during the week, weekends and evenings please enquire) For more info ring 01924 510030 or email health.matters@rccl.org


Islam starting to flourish in Cuba

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REPORT

“When I learned there was Islam and a Muslim community in Cuba, I really liked it because I never heard of it,” Photographer Joan Alvado said. “It was breaking all the preconceived ideas that we have about Cuban society.” Most of the images we see out of Cuba are similar classic cars here, vibrantly colored buildings there. But Alvado shows us something different. His photo series, “Cuban Muslims,” focuses on the lives of those who have converted to Islam. An estimated 85 percent of Cubans are Catholic and only 0.1 percent of the population are Muslims, according to a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center. He says the reasons for conversion vary. While some people view Islam as “a little bit more true or pure religion than others,” there are those who turn to Islam for more personal and specific reasons. He provided the example of how Islam might be positive for those who have problems with alcohol, as Islam is a way for them to avoid alcohol. The Quran forbids the consumption of intoxicants and alcoholic beverages.

There are challenges, though, that come with practicing Islam in a country where it’s such a drastic minority. One of the main ones is finding a place to worship. “The communities are being organized in very, very small groups, and someone in each group will offer their home on Fridays (to pray) or something like that,” he said. Alvado says Cuban Muslims are constantly learning about their new religion and evolving together. “Everyone is doing a little bit of their own interpretation on how to read (Islamic) rules and be with them, more or less, and that’s interesting,” he said. “I have learned more things about Islam and Islamic beliefs and their ideas in Havana than working in Turkey,” the Spanish photographer said. Cuba is a spiritual and passionate place, he said, especially when it comes to religion. In the beginning, he wasn’t sure how people would react to him wanting to photograph their lives. As of 2012, most of the nearly 10,000 Cuban Muslims were converts to the religion, according to

Wikipedia. At a certain point there were many Muslim students entering Cuba interested in studying at Cuba’s prestigious schools. The amount of students was approximately 1500-2000. Among that group were students of Pakistani origin, among others. It is known that the dominant population that went to study at Cuba was the Pakistani students who were about 936 in strength. In 2001, Sheikh Muhammad bin Nassir Al-Aboudy, the Assistant Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) traveled to Cuba to obtain permission from the Cuban authorities to establish an Islamic organization that would support Cuba’s Muslim community. Among the other aims of the proposed organization would be constructing mosques and the dissemination of Islamic culture among Muslims. As of July 2015 the Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation had opened the first prayer room for Cuban Muslims and the first mosque in Cuba was under construction with Turkish funding. Cuban Muslims learned Islam through embassies of Middle Eastern countries as well as through students coming to study in Cuba from Muslim countries. Islam started to spread among Cubans in the 1970s and ’80s. Even now printed and audio-visual Islamic resources are now almost nonexistent in Cuba. Spanish translation of the Quran and other major Islamic books are not available in the country. The Muslim community of Cuba even lacks educated religious cadres.


The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 2

If we return back to today’s debate in respect of whether a Muslim can be appointed as a ‘caliph’ or who determines as and when a caliphate is declared, it is necessary for us to determine whether there any requirements that must be fulfilled prior to an appointment being made in the grand scheme of things. The Caliph according to Islamic theological tradition has to fulfil mandatory requirements such as being Muslim, male, sane, mature, fair and be capable of making fair and rationale decisions. These conditions do not seem to be controversial on the surface but the situation changes when we come across the final piece of the jigsaw which entails the fact that anyone claiming to be a caliph has to be able to trace his roots back to the noble lineage of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) tribe namely the Quraysh. Since IS appointed Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as Caliph Ibrahim in 2014, Muslims and non-Muslims have either accepted and endorsed

the decision made by the above culminating in giving unreserved allegiance (bayah) or have rejected and disputed these claims by demanding theological proofs be provided in support of these claims. What is interesting to note is if Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi can prove his lineage from the Quraysh this inevitably will provide the worldwide Muslim community much food for thought. The prophetic traditions (Hadith) go even further by stating that Muslims worldwide have a duty to give allegiance to the caliph. If we look at classical Islamic theology in light of the very idea of the caliphate, one comes across interesting viewpoints focusing upon the election of the caliph within the Muslim diaspora. Al-Nawawi argues that the global Muslim community cannot have two caliphs laying claim to authority at any one given time. He goes further claiming that the Muslims are forbidden from giving an oath to more

than one leader. This view is backed up by Ibn Hazm and Al-Qalashandi who back the arguments made by Al-Nawawi. Al-Qaeda since its inception in 1998 never declared its intention to appoint a caliph and form a ‘caliphate’ in stark contrast to Islamic State who appointed the titular head of the Islamic world in June 2014. The Al-Qaeda network until the present day along with the Taliban movement which was in power for five years between 1996-2001 have always insisted on the formation of emirates across the Muslim world at the expense of executing the utopian plan in the guise of a global Islamic caliphate. The most obvious reasons as to why Al-Qaeda never declared the caliphate is purely based on theological reasons of whose foundations are rooted in the prophetic traditions that today’s conditions on the ground do not necessitate the formation of such an entity at this moment in time.


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