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Scholarship Launched 160 UK clubs open The Islamic for Muslim Students their doors to refugees Caliphate

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China’s Forgotten Muslims Issue: 133

May 2019

Special Report

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Little is known of the Uighur Muslims across the world,primarily due to news reporting inside China being heavily censored and monitored which ensures it never reaches the attention of the world’s media.Before we discuss the plight of the Uighur Muslims, we need to understand who they are and the reasons why they are being heavily persecuted. The Uighurs are Sunni Muslims of

Turkic extraction and originally hail from the Central Asian Republics that were formerly part of the ex-USSR (Soviet Union). They as a people are known to have been around for 4000 years and played a significant role in developing a distinct culture along the Silk Road. From the 8th to the 19th Century, the Uighur empire enjoyed power, pomp and prestige across central Asia. After the 1800’s the emergence of the Manchu

dynasty and the rise of communism in Russia and China led to the decline of this great empire. The Uighurs attempted to declare independence in the Xinjiang province in North-West China in the early 20th century. However, by 1949, the Communist Party of the Republic of China brought the province under their control but did allow autonomy in this part of the country. Continued on page 13

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By Abu Ahmed

Education not Sexualisation

Last month, the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds in a letter to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) on the 9th of April 2019 stated ‘we expect secondary schools to include LGBT content. Primary schools are enabled and encouraged to cover LGBT content if they consider it age appropriate to do so’. One can infer from the words of Damian Hinds that primary schools are not being forced to delver LGBT content to children of primary school age. It seems on the surface at least that the government is reluctant

to abandon the finer details of the Relationships and Sex Education Regulations 2019 but have conceded in part that children as young as four or five should not be subject to LGBT indoctrination in schools. Despite Damian Hinds making a minor concession, many Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and people of no religious persuasion will be still be concerned that the regulations have taken power away from parents and handed it to the state in terms of what is best for their child. Several studies in recent years have provided clear evidence that the

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parent not the school or state is the primary educator of a child. It is the parent not the state that provides the foundations of a stable environment for their child. It is the parent who spend endless hours nurturing the child from childhood to the adolescent years. It is the parent who provides the education to the child for the child to develop into a well-informed citizen who can make a meaningful contribution to society. Meanwhile, the Muslim community across the UK is slowly beginning to wake up from its slumber over RSE.

Email the Editor at PI Media : info@pi-media.co.uk - www.pi-media.co.uk


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Many workshops are now being held across the country by masjids and community organisations highlighting the dangers of children young as four being subjected to sexualisation and LGBT indoctrination in school. However, many of the organisations leading these workshops have spelt out the dangers faced by our children but have not provided concrete practical proposals to help preserve the innocence of children generally. Some organisations have chosen to work with the local education authority (LEA) to develop a ‘curriculum’ that is ‘age appropriate’ to be potentially delivered in schools post September 2020. However, there are several flaws with this approach namely in that schools are not obliged to implement a community led/LEA grassroots curriculum. In fact, schools under the regulations can buy in services

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from LGBT affiliated organisations to meet their legal obligations post September 2020. Academies are not under the remit of the LEA up and down the country will not be obliged in any way shape or form to implement any curriculum developed between several stakeholders. It seems those advocating dialogue with schools and the local education authority face an uphill struggle to get their voice heard. Other organisations such as the National Parents Forum on RSE (NPFRSE) have adopted the ‘withdrawal’ approach from all sex education classes (SRE) until September 2020. NPFRSE have adopted the withdrawal approach on the basis that some schools have started to deliver materials in classrooms that have promoted LGBT lifestyle and ignore

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heteronormativity at all costs and children are at risk of being subjected to indoctrination and sexualisation from a very young age prior to September 2020. The NFPRSE aim to protect everyone now from this agenda advocated by the state. NPFRSE have confirmed that they have a prospective parent pack and a template withdrawal letter available to any parent who wishes to withdraw their child from school now under s.405 of the Education Act 1996. NPFRSE can be contacted via email NPFRSE@gmail.com and or via telephone 07396 584438 or 07396 582966 (mums only). NPFRSE contacted PI and stated that their aim is to empower parents from them to reclaim their child and are willing to assist any parent who requires support and assistance in this matter.


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Migrants caught in Britain’s unlawful, open-ended incarceration: Report

A refugee woman from West Africa has disclosed details of years of abuse at the hands of UK government authorities in the country’s immigration detention centers. The anonymous woman told German news channel Deutsche Welle that she went through years of institutional abuse in the UK, where she arrived in 2004 with the help of traffickers. “I was blind, I was naïve. I did not know how to seek asylum. I did not know how to start my journey in this country. I fell into the hands of the wrong people and I had no choice. I had no one to empower me,” the woman said, referring to lack of legal mechanisms in the UK to help those with no information about the immigration system. The woman, who had suffered from years of abuse before she

was taken to the UK by a female trafficker, said that the interior ministry (Home Office) officials imprisoned her in an Immigration Removal Center in Yarl’s Wood, in Bedfordshire, for the first time in 2010, the year she was spotted by the police working in shop as an illegal immigrant. Authorities then transferred her to a remote place in Wales where no lawyer was ready to go and assume responsibility for the refugee and her asylum application. “My asylum was refused but the Home Office gave me the right to appeal that decision. But my solicitor abandoned me. Wales was too far for him to come,” said the woman, adding that ministry officials then made her homeless by evicting her from the house she was straying in. A Congolese woman found her on the street and helped her to lodge

The Charity Commission has launched its annual safer giving campaign to help British Muslims continue giving generously to registered charities this Ramadan. As Muslims in the UK enter Ramadan, the Charity Commission says there are simple steps people can take to check before they give, to ensure their zakat goes where it is intended this Ramadan. The Muslim Charities Forum has estimated that Muslims across Britain donate over £100 million during Ramadan and research

suggests that disaster relief, children and education are the top 3 causes to benefit from the practice of zakat (charitable giving). The Charity Commission have produced a video encouraging people to check before they give. It shows how they can make sure their generosity helps those in need by giving to genuine, registered charities. Charity Commission advices that before giving, check for a charity registration number - you can verify this at gov.uk/find-charity-

another appeal with the help of a London-based charity. However, the charity found that the interior ministry had lost the documents filled in by the destitute woman. The Home Office then accepted to review the appeal but only to arrest the woman again. The woman said some 15 huge men from the ministry came to detain her at the house of a friend. They even forced her to take a shower in front of them because she had started bleeding when seeing them. They shamed her indefinitely, she said, before she was transferred for a second time to the detention center in Bedfordshire where she experienced the harshest possible treatment for three months. After some 15 years of staying in the UK, the woman has now been told to return to her country, something she describes as impossible. The case is one of many being reported from the UK where the government has been accused of harsh treatment against refugees and deliberately trying to reduce immigration numbers. Rights campaigners have repeatedly slammed London for putting refugees in detention centers without saying when they would be released. They believe the detention policy is meant to discourage people from coming to the UK and force others to leave the country as soon as they can.

Check before you give this Ramadan information Be more cautious about people collecting for general charitable causes, such as ‘for sick children’ - make sure you’re giving to a genuine registered charity, when approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and undamaged if in doubt, ask the collector for more information - a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.


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UK starts implementing controversial legislation on terror In Case Y o Missed It u

A controversial legislation enabling the UK government to jail people travelling to war-torn countries like Iraq and Syria have become effective as campaigners express deep concerns that the new laws could lead to the imprisonment of journalists and press freedom activists. The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 came into effect against the backdrop of calls on the government to limit its “vague” definition of terror offense so that it would not affect the work of journalists present in war-ton countries or working on materials

related to those areas. Under the new law, people travelling to areas designated by interior ministry (Home Office) as terror zones could face up to 10 years in prison. Border guards will also have the power to stop and search individuals without suspicion and simply because they want to tackle “hostile state” activity. Viewing of terrorist-linked material online could also be criminalized under the new legislation. Rights campaigners and press freedom watchdogs have earlier warned about the implications of the

new law for people who may wrongly be caught without any wrongdoing. They have warned that journalists, for example, could simply be stopped during their domestic flights and be prosecuted if they avoid answering questions or refuse to hand over materials. The UK government has defended the legislation as necessary to prevent terrorist attacks by nationals who return to the country from areas of militancy in the Middle East. Official estimates suggest that nearly one thousand individuals “of national security concern” have travelled to Syria over the past several years to join terrorist groups fighting against the government. Some 40 percent of those people have returned to the UK while about 20 percent have been killed overseas, according to the data. The Interior ministry has also decided to revoke the citizenship of several nationals over their presence in Syria and parts of Iraq, a move which has sparked massive criticism from the opposition and activist who believe the government simply seeks to abandon nationals in conflict zones to dodge any future responsibility. www.pi-media.co.uk

Lancashire mosque attacked three times in three days Police in Lancashire have opened an investigation into repeated Islamophobic attacks on a major mosque over few days period. Police said on it has received three reports of hate attacks on the Masjid-e-Salaam mosque in Preston, Lancashire, adding that vandals had sprayed graffiti on the gatepost of the mosque to disrespect Muslim worshippers. “There have now been three reports in a matter of days and this is understandably causing a lot of upset and concern in the local

community,” said Chief Inspector Gary Crowe, adding, “I would like to reassure people, especially worshipers in the area, that we are taking this extremely seriously.” Images published on the social media by the mosque authorities showed the attackers had spray painted offensive slurs on the gatepost to insult Muslims. Police officers were deployed to the area to prevent further attacks while authorities urged everyone with information to come forward. Authorities said a 47-year-

old man, from Preston, had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack. The attacks come amid a surge in hate crimes against Muslims in Britain. They took place nearly a month after an Australian white supremacist, who had claimed to be inspired by Islamophobes in Britain, massacred 50 Muslims in two mosques in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Scottish political parties adopt definition of Islamophobia

The five political parties in the Scottish Parliament have all agreed to adopt a formal definition of Islamophobia in a bid to tackle prejudice. The move follows meetings with members of Holyrood’s Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia and Westminster’s All Party

Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has signalled that the Scottish governmentis prepared to adopt the definition, while the SNP, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Green co-convenor Patrick

Harvie have all agreed to adopt the definition. The definition of Islamophobia, produced by the Westminster APPG after months of consultation, reads: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” Anas Sarwar MSP (pictured), chair of the Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia, said: “This is a landmark moment that will help tackle prejudice in Scotland. “I’m delighted that every single political party represented in Holyrood has agreed to adopt the definition and put Scotland at the forefront of the fight against hatred. “This is about more than just a form of words – this sends a powerful signal to those who peddle racism that Scotland will not stand for Islamophobia. “I now urge the UK Government to adopt the definition so that we can challenge hatred and prejudice wherever it exists across the country.”

Teacher sacked for opposing homosexual lessons in school

A female teacher has been sacked because for campaigning online against homosexual lessons given to children, including her son, in primary schools. The Guardian newspaper said that Kristie Higgs, 43, had been removed as a Christian secondary school assistant after she started a petition on her Facebook page trying to mobilize parents against plans to introduce compulsory sex education in all primary schools in the UK. Higgs, who used to work for Farmor’s School in Gloucestershire, in southern England, as a pastoral assistant, was sacked after authorities received a complaint from an anonymous person saying that

had been “posting homophobic and prejudiced views”. A disciplinary panel found Higgs guilty of gross misconduct and then ruled after two months that her online actions could have harmed the school’s reputation. The panel, however, admitted that “there was no actual evidence” proving that was the case. Higgs and many other parents, including people from Britain’s Muslims community, have decided to withdraw their children from schools after they learnt that pupils were being taught lessons on respecting gay, lesbian and transgender people. The education professional

initiated her campaign on Facebook after she knew of plans in the primary school attended by her son to introduce the controversial No Outsiders program to the curriculum. Several schools in Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city, have decided to drop No Outsiders until a solution is reached with the parents. However, some LGBT rights supporters have been campaigning for the sex lessons to become compulsory in primary schools as of next year. The UK government has made it mandatory for secondary schools to teach such lessons and primaries are free to decide on the issue. www.pi-media.co.uk


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UK charity launch scholarship to break down barriers for Muslim students

Up to £10,000 of tuition fees annually will be paid for 24 students facing financial difficulties thanks to the Sheikh Family Scholarship. Children of Sheikh Abdul Rashid and Fahmida (COSARAF) Charitable Foundation announced the £300,000 support and mentor programme for underprivileged Muslim students covering both tuition fees and living expenses. The support programme was

launched at St Anne’s College on as one of the institutions where graduate and undergraduate students will be eligible. The scholarship is open to UK Muslim students who face financial hardship and, ideally, are the first in their family to attend university. One award will be made each year over the next three years for eligible students enrolled at St Anne’s College in Oxford, any

US social media giant Facebook has banned several high-profile far-right groups in Britain from its platforms for “engaging in hate and violence” against others. The California-based company said on that Britain First, the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party, all known for their hate campaign against Muslims in the UK, will now be banned from posting on Facebook or Instagram. “Individuals and organizations who spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are, have no place on Facebook,” said the internet company in a statement. It added that the groups

along several other entities in the UK, including Knights Templar International, National Front and National Action, will be banned because they “proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence”. Leaders and spokespeople of the far-right groups will also be banned from Facebook platforms while posts expressing support for these figures and groups will also be banned. “Our work against organized hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, organizations, pages, groups and content against our community standards,” said the statement. The bans come nearly two months

Cambridge college, The University of Warwick, and Cambridge Muslim College. COSARAF Charitable Foundation chairman Haroon Sheikh said: “One of our core objectives is to enable young people to realise their potential and this ground-breaking programme seeks to remove barriers to Muslim applicants to leading universities, increasing their participation and helping them to make a difference within their communities. “However, the scholarship goes a lot further than merely boosting personal outcomes. “The awards will provide longterm support to develop leadership within UK Muslim communities, fostering long-term integration and cohesion.” The scholarships were launched by MP and St Anne’s advisory fellow Rosena Allin-Khan, and Tom Ilube who topped UK’s 100 most powerful people with African or AfroCaribbean heritage. For more details go to www. cosaraf.org www.pi-media.co.uk

Facebook bans major UK farright groups for spreading hate

after Facebook imposed a strict ban on EDL founder Tommy Robinson. The top UK Islamophobic figure, who has repeatedly been convicted in the country for various crimes, had been outlawed by other major social media organizations including Twitter and PayPal while YouTube has also imposed tight restrictions on his activity. The bans come as far-right groups have surged in the UK over the past few years mainly due to their campaign against Muslims and migrants. They have also gained support from nationalists amid Britain’s push to withdraw from the European Union. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Muslims have highest life satisfaction: study

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It is believed that no barometer or measuring tool can be used to quantify the bliss a person feels in any given moment in their life. However, a new study conducted by German psychologist, Dr EdingerSchons, found that measuring life satisfaction is as close as you can get to quantifying happiness. He found that the overarching sense of ‘oneness’ is used to envisage the overall contentment in the life of a person. Over 67,000 were gathered to complete a survey and after dividing the respondents by religion, Muslims were found to feel the greatest sense of oneness, leading to a greater sense of well-being. Furthermore, a professor at the University of Illinois created a scale for happiness, or the ‘satisfaction with life scale’ (SWLS). It consisted of five questions in order to determine how satisfied a person is with their life. Each question had

a ranking from one to seven, and according to this, the higher the score, the more satisfied you are with your life. Another survey in 2016 concluded that “highly religious” people are more likely to be ‘very happy’ in life.1 90% of these ‘very happy’ people were Christians; though, now the German psychologist has concluded that the idea of ‘oneness’ is the common denominator that runs through people with a higher level of spirituality in their respective faiths. Over 67,000 non-students were surveyed by researchers at the University of Mannheim in Germany to determine how ‘oneness’ affected life satisfaction across different religions. Due to the belief that they were connected to something larger than themselves, it was found that Muslims were most likely to be the ones with a higher life satisfaction over other faiths. ‘Oneness’ as a personality marker can be used to

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distinguish between people who seek and make more meaningful connections with others, the world around them, and the almighty entity of God. As one of the core beliefs of Christianity is also the worship of One God, they, therefore, ranked second to Muslims, and were followed by Buddhists and Hindus Unsurprisingly, the study found atheists to be the sect with the lowest level of satisfaction, due to a disconnection to others or a higher power. In response to the results, Edinger-Schons said: “I did not find it surprising that atheists have the lowest levels of oneness beliefs in the sample, but what surprised me was that oneness beliefs were actually very different across various religious affiliations, with Muslims having the highest levels.” Thus, as the core theme of Islam is Tawhīd (monotheism), Muslims feel the greater sense of ‘oneness’, which leads to better mental and physical health outcomes. Though it is unknown to what extent the internal system affects a person’s life satisfaction, it leads to better social connections, a stronger immune system, greater empathy and a decrease in depression. The researchers said: “This study broadens the knowledge on the psychology of religion, revealing not only the average level of oneness beliefs in the different religious groups but also exploring the effect of these beliefs on life satisfaction while controlling for the effect of religious affiliation.”

Over 100,000 visit Dubai’s Quranic Park More than 100,000 people have visited the Quranic Park in Dubai, the UAE during the first week after its opening, Dubai Municipality announced. The Municipality on March 29 opened the Quranic Park, developed at a cost of Dh200 million and on an area of 64 hectares in Al Khawaneej.

Dawoud Al Hajri, director general of Dubai Municipality, said the opening of the park comes in the Year of Tolerance, Gnews reported. “Dubai Municipality has developed this park to promote the Islamic cultural and civilizational roles, as the park contains cultural elements that bring closer the

interaction between different cultures. It also comes within the policy of increasing the green area in the emirate and the diversity of different landmarks.” The entry to the park is free of charge though visitors have to pay Dh5 each to enter the Cave of Miracles and the Glass House. Nol card has to be used to pay fees.


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China’s Forgotten Muslims www.pi-media.co.uk

Continued from front page In the latter part of the 20th century, the Chinese authorities made cynical attempts to systematically erode the very fabric of Uighurs ethnic, religious and cultural identity by launching brutal clampdowns on the Muslim populace after civil disobedience in Xinjiang province in the 1990s and in the runup to the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Furthermore, the Chinese authorities have also for decades made great attempts to rebalance the population in Xinjiang province by facilitating the movement of the ethnic Han populace which has antagonised the Uighurs. This deliberate provocation has led to the Uighurs orchestrating multiple coordinated knife attacks on the Han Chinese population in recent years. However, after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York by Al-Qaeda on 9/11 (September 2001), the Chinese authorities used this event as a pretext to label the Uighur Muslim population as ‘terrorists’ and used this argument to launch brutal crackdowns on the defenceless population. The Uighurs have been accused of receiving military support from militant organisations based in Afghanistan in recent years an accusation that has been vehemently disputed. In the last three years, the Uighurs have faced unprecedented repression on mass scale that includes many cases of human rights abuses being orchestrated by the Chinese authorities. It is said that there are approximately one million Muslims who are currently being held in what the Chinese authorities describe as re-education camps. These re-education camps that have been located using satellite imagery prove the existence of these facilities. The Chinese it seems are seeking to de-programme the Uighurs with the aim of removing their cultural and religious identity. Several mosques that were built hundreds of years ago have been systematically destroyed which reinforces the Communist Party’s opposition to Islam. Many Uighurs have been arrested for simply attending the mosque for prayers and sending texts that

include verses from the Qur’an. Fasting has been banned in the Xinjiang province in the last few years as well. Reports coming from China also show that Uighurs who have contacted of visited family members in Turkey and Afghanistan have been duly arrested and been charged with terrorism offences. Exiled residents in Turkey have been threatened by Chinese secret state officials and told to return to China or face the consequences. Many of the Uighurs have become victims of organ harvesting where organs from living persons have been removed and been sold to the highest bidder. In response to the accusations of human rights abuses, the regime has argued that they are not attempting to destroy the cultural and religious identity of the Uighurs. The Communist Party governor of Xinjiang province, Shohrat Zakir, has stated that those present in the camps are receiving much needed Mandarin language instruction as well as receiving skills training in order to allow them to seek meaningful education and employment within the province. The Chinese authorities have refused to allow international access to these re-education camps in recent years and this seems at odds with the official position that these camps are relatively harmless. If the Chinese authorities assume that these camps are protecting the Uighurs from extremism and are in their best interests, then why are they reluctant to allow international monitors unfettered access to them? Where does the West stand in respect of the re-education camps that have been constructed in Xinjiang province? The United States of America and President Trump have vehemently condemned the human rights abuses in Xinjiang province. Even Congress has heavily criticised the violations taking place daily. If we look towards the Muslim world, we have witnessed deafening silence until very recently. Some may ask why the Muslim world is deaf, dumb and blind,as it looks on whilst their brethren are being persecuted

daily. The answer is that China is a very powerful economic entity and many Islamic countries in the Middle East and Africa rely upon inward Chinese investment for sustainable economic growth. Only until recently, the Turkish government called for China to end its systematic repression of the Uighurs. Turkey was heavily criticised for being silent and many had accused it of putting investment ahead of upholding the rights of the Turkic brethren. It seems money and the lure and appeal of huge investment contracts has prevented many Muslim countries from speaking out against human rights violations and the systematic repression of the Uighur people. It seems on the surface that China does not really seem to care about world opinion and how it is received in the Muslim world, as it knows it has the money and the resources to buy off any of its critics with impunity.

Garda (Police) allowed to wear hijabs

Gardaí (Irish police) are to be allowed to wear turbans and hijabs for the first time in a bid to recruit more officers from diverse backgrounds. In a statement, the force said its current uniform rules were a “major barrier” to some potential recruits from the Sikh and Muslim communities. The uniform update was announced as the force launched a recruitment drive to appoint hundreds of new officers. It aims to grow from its current total of 14,161 members to 15,000 by 2021. The uniform changes will bring the Garda into line with other police forces that already permit turbans and hijabs, including, The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Police Scotland, Law enforcement organisations in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.


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US Muslim congresswoman finds support against smear by Trump

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Messages of support continue to pour in for US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar after being targeted in a smear campaign led by the country’s president, Donald Trump. Trump most recently targeted the Muslim lawmaker after comments surfaced of her talking in Los Angeles about the Islamophobia Muslims faced in the post-Sept 11 era. Trump and Israeli lobbies such as The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have been waging a political war against Omar ever since she criticized AIPAC’s role in U.S. policy making. They accuse Omar of antiSemitism, an allegation strongly

denied by the lawmaker. Several leaders, activists, and faith groups, including the Jewish and Christian movements, also disagree with Trump and AIPAC. They interpret the lynching process a systematic method of silencing any criticism of Israel and the controversial policies of the Trump administration. Jewish Voice for Peace, an activist movement in the U.S., urged anyone who “support truth, justice and dignity for all” to stand with Omar. Earlier, the same group tweeted that “Today, more than ever, Jewish Voice for Peace stands with @Ilhan under nearly constant attack by far

right politicians and not defended nearly enough by fellow Democrats. Show her support NOW.” “Shabbat shalom to @IlhanMN and our Black & Muslim family. The attacks on you from the President are violent and unconscionable,” said Bend the Arc-Jewish Action, a progressive Jewish movement in the US. “Our Jewish community has your back. We will not be silent. We will keep fighting for a world where your faith & your leadership are respected,” Bend the Arc added. One of the California representatives in the Congress, Mark Tokano, also raised his voice against Trump. “Shame on @POTUS [President of the U.S.) for inciting hatred against @IlhanMN [Ilhan Omar] and the Muslim community. His desperate attempt to distract from his failures is dangerous and contrary to our values. I condemn his life-threatening attack on my colleague and stand with her & our Muslim brothers and sisters,” Tokano tweeted. San Antonio mayor and a presidential hopeful in 2020 U.S. elections, Julian Castro also slammed Trump. “I am grateful for @IlhanMN’s courage and leadership and I stand with her - and with others targeted by the President’s anti-Muslim rhetoric,” Castro tweeted.

Growing demand to support Islamic insurance premium growth Islamic Insurance (Takaful) industry is expected to experience improved premium growth this year supported by growing demand from key regions such as the persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Southeast Asia and Africa, according to ratings agency Moody’s. “We expect global takaful premiums to keep growing moderately in the next two to three years. In the GCC region, the largest market for Islamic insurance, the spread of compulsory motor and medical cover will support

demand, as will economic activity linked to planned sporting and cultural events, such as 2020 Expo in the UAE and the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar,” said Mohammed Ali Londe, AVP-Analyst at Moody’s. Experts speaking at the 14th World Takaful & Insurtech Conference in Dubai said despite the slow pace of growth in premiums, the industry has huge potential for expansion. “According to the Islamic Finance Development Report 2018 by Thomson Reuters, the global takaful industry reached $46 billion

in 2017. However, at just two per cent, it still remains the smallest contributor to the Islamic finance industry in terms of assets. This, despite that fact that currently close to 324 operators around the world offer Takaful. It is quite evident then that the takaful sector has tremendous potential to expand its role in the Islamic finance industry,” said Abdullah Mohammad Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC). www.pi-media.co.uk


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Kosovo brings back ISIS fighters

Kosovo has repatriated 110 of its citizens from Syria, including women and their children as well as militants who had gone to the war-torn Arab country to join the ranks of foreignsponsored terrorist groups there. “An important and sensitive operation was organized in which the government of Kosovo, with the help of the United States of America, has returned 110 of its citizens who were in war zones in Syria,” Kosovan Justice Minister Abelard Tahiri said at

a press conference. Tahiri did not elaborate on Washington’s role in the repatriation, but a plane with a US flag on its tail was seen in the cargo area of Pristina Adem Jashari International Airport as the operation was in process. “We will not stop before bringing every citizen of the Republic of Kosovo back to their country and anyone that has committed any crime or was part of these terrorist

Dozens of Palestinian demonstrators called on the United Nations to put an end to the Tel Aviv regime’s tight blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has been in place against the impoverished coastal enclave for more than a decade. The protesters converged in front of the UN office in Gaza City, waving national Palestinian flags and carrying banners in condemnation of the Israeli siege. They called for an international intervention to end the blockade. The Highest Commission of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege, which had organized the demonstration, said in a statement that the siege must be lifted as soon

as possible. “The weekly marches of return will go on until the siege is immediately lifted,” the statement said, according to Press TV. Sami Ammassi, chairman of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, who joined the protest, told reporters that the rate of unemployment in the Gaza Strip exceeded 54 percent and poverty rates hit 80 percent. “We call on the United Nations and the international organizations to press Israel to lift the blockade that had critically affected all aspects of life,” he said, adding, “We also call on the Arab League to help end Gaza people’s sufferings.”

organizations will face justice. I will say one more thing: as the government of the Republic of Kosovo, we cannot allow for our citizens to be a threat to the West and to our allies,” the justice minister noted. After several hours at the airport, the group was transported under police escort to an army barracks just outside the capital. Health services director Naser Ramadani said “women and children have suffered serious trauma.” Authorities said among the returnees were four men suspected of having fought for Daesh, 32 women as well as 74 children. Nine of the children were not accompanied by a parent. Police chief Rashit Qalaj said authorities believed that 30 Kosovar militants, 49 women and 8 children still remained in conflict zones in Syria. Kosovo, whose population of 1.8 million is 90 percent Muslim, is reportedly one of the European countries with a high number of militants in Iraq and Syria. www.pi-media.co.uk

Palestinians call for end to Gaza blockade

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel. More than 270 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. Over 16,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.


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Sri Lanka Muslims fear backlash

Mohamed Hasan has barely left his home in Colombo since a string of deadly blasts hit Sri Lanka, afraid he could be attacked because he is Muslim. He has a job at a printing press, but the 41-year-old’s family have begged him to stay home. “They are worried that if I go out, will I be able to come back alive?” he told AFP outside the Jumma mosque in Dematagoda, where he had ventured briefly to pray. More than 350 people were killed in the carnage unleashed by the Easter attacks against churches and hotels, which have been claimed by the Daesh terror group. The deaths have horrified Sri Lankans and been condemned by Muslim groups, but many in the community have been left feeling vulnerable. Zareena Begum, 60, said she had barely slept since the weekend. “I know people are angry at Muslims,” she said in tears outside the mosque. “Infants being carried in the arms of their mothers were killed. “I never imagined such hatred

being there in the hearts of these people (who attacked). Hatred must not sow more hatred.” Wearing a black dress and white headscarf, Begum added: “We have been huddled at our homes. We are scared about going out.” Sri Lanka’s population of 21 million is a patchwork of ethnicities and religions, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority. Muslims account for 10 percent of the population and are the secondlargest minority after Hindus. Around seven percent of Sri Lankans are Christians. Ethnic and religious tensions abound in the country, which suffered through a decades-long Tamil insurgency and more recently has seen outbreaks of sectarian violence. Muslims have been on the receiving end of sporadic violence and hate attacks since the civil war ended in 2009. Hardline Buddhist monks have led campaigns against the community, and in 2013 and 2018, Muslim businesses came under

attack. Rumors were even spread that Sinhalese could become sterile if they wore underwear bought from Muslim shops, and that food sold by Muslims would cause infertility. In the wake of the attacks, Sri Lankan leaders including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have urged calm and solidarity. “The vast majority of Muslims condemn this and they are as angry as the Tamils and the Sinhalese about what happened,” he said. But at the Jumma mosque there was an atmosphere of anxiety, and several worshippers said they hoped police would “take care of every citizen in such critical times”. Hilmy Ahamed, vice-president of the influential Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said the community was braced for a backlash, with emotions running high. “Hundreds of people are being buried (so) there is going to be an emotional outburst and some of it could be justifiable,” said Ahamed. “We have asked the government... to ensure security is maintained. This (attack) has not been carried out by the Muslim community but by some fringe elements.” Back at the mosque, R.F. Ameer said the community just wanted safety. “We are living in constant fear because if someone sees us wearing the skull cap they will perceive us to be their enemies,” he said, his forehead creased with worry. “But we want to tell everyone we are not your enemies. This is our homeland, it is known as the pearl of Asia. We want it to remain like that.” www.pi-media.co.uk

Sweden ‘proud’ to recognize Palestine Sweden’s foreign minister on expressed pride over her country recognizing Palestine as an independent state. “I am proud of the decision of Sweden’s government, which recognized Palestine as an independent state in 2014,” Margot Wallstrom told state broadcaster SVT. Wallstrom said many countries

followed Sweden’s lead in recognizing Palestine. “This shows that we recognized Palestine at the right time. We will continue to support Palestine,” she added. On Israel’s criticism of Sweden’s Palestine policy, Wallstrom said dialogue between Sweden and Israel to solve the problems between the two countries continues.

Ties with Israel reached a low in October 2014 when Sweden became the first EU member in Western Europe to officially recognize the state of Palestine. In 2015, Wallstrom canceled an official visit to Israel, as no Israeli official was prepared to receive her. Palestine has long sought international recognition as part of its pursuit of a two-state solution.


US, Taliban resume talks in Qatar without Kabul govt

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The Afghan Taliban militant group and the United States have resumed a new round of negotiations excluding the Kabul government in Qatar while Afghan officials continue to host a rare assembly at home to ensure their interests are met in any peace deal with Taliban. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told Reuters that

representatives of the government — which the militant groups views as illegitimate — were not allowed to take part in the sixth round of the US-Taliban talks in the Qatari capital, Doha. The American Embassy in Kabul is yet to comment on the news. US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is expected to

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attend the Doha discussions. In an interview with Afghanistan’s TOLO news channel, Khalilzad said that any peace agreement with the Taliban would depend on the declaration of a permanent ceasefire and a commitment to end the war. The Afghan-born US diplomat ‘also stressed that the Taliban’s demands were focused on the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. He added that Washington was “a bit impatient” to end the war, given its $45 billion annual cost to the US taxpayer and the toll it takes on US forces. The US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump said last December that he wanted to pull about half of American troops out of the country. During the fifth round of the USTaliban talks in Doha, which ended in mid-March, the two sides “agreed in draft” on the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in return for preventing the country’s soil from being used as a hub for terrorism.

New Zealand Mosque shootings: media agree on trial coverage protocols

Major New Zealand news organizations, including RNZ, have agreed to protocols for covering the trial of the person charged over the Christchurch mosque attacks. Brenton Harrison Tarrant faces 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder in relation to the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in March. RNZ, Stuff, Mediaworks, TVNZ and NZME said they have agreed to guidelines for the trial so their coverage “does not promote white supremacist ideology”. The group said they were committed to covering the trial “comprehensively and responsibly”, and were mindful of public interest in the trial in New Zealand and internationally. They said they were also aware

of the media’s role as the “eyes and ears of the public”, particularly as many of the victims’ friends and families live outside New Zealand and would not be able to access the trial process in any other way. The accused may try to use the trial as a platform to amplify “white supremacist and/or terrorist views or ideology”, they said, so the group has agreed to follow the following protocols: (a) We shall, to the extent that is compatible with the principles of open justice, limit any coverage of statements, that actively champion white supremacist or terrorist ideology. For the avoidance of doubt the commitment set out at (a) shall include the accused’s manifesto document.

(c) - We will not broadcast or report on any message, imagery, symbols or signals (including hand signals) made by the accused or his associates promoting or supporting white supremacist ideology. Where the inclusion of such signals in any images is unavoidable, the relevant parts of the image shall be pixelated. To the greatest extent possible, the journalists that are selected by each of the outlets to cover the trial will be experienced personnel. These guidelines may be varied at any time, subject to a variation signed by all parties. This protocol shall continue in force indefinitely. The accused gunman is due to appear in court on 14 June. www.pi-media.co.uk


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WORLD NEWS

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Oxfam warns of ‘massive resurgence of cholera’ in Yemen In Case You Missed It

Oxfam International, a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations, warned of a “massive resurgence of cholera” amid an escalation of violence in the war-torn state, and ahead of the rainy season, which is expected to accelerate the spread of the disease. “Fears that the world’s worst cholera outbreak could be set for a massive resurgence are growing,” the relief organization said. In a statement, Oxfam warned that fighting and restraints on access

– including checkpoints and permit requirements imposed by the warring parties – are making it extremely difficult to reach some affected areas. The upcoming rainy season is likely to accelerate the spread of the disease due to flooding and contamination of water sources, Oxfam said, Press TV reported. In the last two weeks of March, around 2,500 suspected cases were being reported every day, up from around 1,000 a day in February. That

is more than 10 times higher than the number of reported cases and associated deaths during the same period in 2018. The relief organization has recorded around 195,000 suspected cases of cholera so far this year. According to Oxfam, the waterborne bacterial infection has claimed more than 3,000 lives in Yemen since the outbreak began in 2016. At its height in June 2017, 7,000 suspected cases were being identified every day and the outbreak was described as the worst in human history by the World Health Organization. Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection that is spread through contaminated food or water. It can be effectively treated with the immediate replacement of lost fluids and salts, but without treatment it can be fatal. The ongoing conflict has led to a deterioration in water and sanitation systems across Yemen. Clean water and proper sanitation are essential in preventing cholera. The UN estimates there are 17.8 million people in Yemen in need of help to get clean water. facing America today.”

In Case You Missed It

Bosnia exhibit showcasing centuries-old Quran manuscripts

An exhibition showcasing centuriesold mushafs – handwritten copies of the Quran – along with several other printed versions, was opened to visitors in the city of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The exhibition, organized by Turkey’s Yunus Emre Institute (YEE) at a cultural center in Mostar, displays the mushafs which were gathered over 10 years by Bosnian collector Nusret Omerika. Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Omerika said six 300year-old mushafs are on display for the first time. The exhibit also

includes several Qurans with gilded covers. “I have a library consisting of 3,000 books in my house. There are 200 Qurans among them. My love of the holy book is a heritage passed on by my grandfather,” he said. Omerika, who noted that he has been collecting handwritten and printed versions of the Quran for about 10 years, said he is very happy to open the exhibition in Mostar. Suljo Cikotic, the vice chairman of the historical Karagoz Bey Madrasa where the exhibit is

located, said that the Quran has an important place in the hearts of each and every Muslim. “Protecting the Quran means protecting our roots,” said Cikotic, thanking Omerika for gathering and sharing such a collection. The Karagoz Bey Madrasa is also known as Keyvan Kethuda School and was reopened in November after being restored by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). It has been used by the YEE since its restoration. www.pi-media.co.uk


160 UK clubs open their doors to refugees 20I

SPORT

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In Case You Missed It

Amnesty’s “Football Welcome” weekend, celebrating the contribution refugees make to the sport saw a record number of football clubs participating, the human rights group said. 160 clubs from across the Premier League, English Football League, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s National League and SPFL Trust took part in activities on 27-28 April across England, Scotland and Wales. “It’s clear that football is a powerful force for good, bringing

people together and providing a sense of belonging, and we are delighted that more clubs than ever took part in Football Welcomes this year,” said Naomi Westland, Football Welcomes Manager at Amnesty International UK. “With so many people across the globe forced to abandon their homes due to conflict and persecution, the message from football is clear: refugees are welcome in the UK.” Free match tickets for refugees, player visits, stadium tours, and special matches were among the

Somerset County Cricket Club have announced that the ICC’s IT20 number one ranked batsman Babar Azam will be joining the Club for this year’s Vitality Blast, subject to the Club obtaining the appropriate visa/NOC clearance. The 24-year-old Pakistan batsman made his International T20 debut against England in 2016. Since then he has gone on to feature in 29 matches in the format, scoring over 1180 runs at an average of 53.72 with a best of 97 not out and a strike rate of 127.78. Babar Azam will be available for

all 14 Vitality Blast group matches plus the quarter-final. His availability for Finals Day would be dependent on his international commitments with Pakistan. Somerset CCC Director of Cricket, Andy Hurry said: “To be able to sign a player of the calibre of Babar Azam is tremendously exciting. He is a proven performer at the very highest level and that is highlighted by the fact that he is the top rated international T20 batsman in the world. “Obviously, everyone wants to sign a world class performer, but

activities which were lined up to highlight “the important role football clubs can play in welcoming refugees into their local communities”. “Football Welcome” also celebrates players with refugee backgrounds, among them Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke, Charlton Athletic’s Liz Ejupi and ex-Manchester City forward Nadia Nadim. Surveys reveal football fans have seen an increase in racism and xenophobia in football. Last month, three supporters of the Chelsea Football Club were banned from the Europa League tie after singing chants that attacked Egyptian player Mohammed Salah with Islamophobic slurs. The rights group released new data which shows almost a quarter of fans have personally witnessed an increase in racism and xenopobia. “It can take a lot of integrity and courage to stand up against divisive and hateful actions and rhetoric but as football players, teams and fans it’s important we all play our part,” said Anita Asante, Amnesty Ambassador and Chelsea defender

Somerset sign Pakistan International Babar Azam

we feel that continuity of selection is equally important. For us it is about securing the services of someone as talented as Babar Azam for more than just a handful of fixtures.” After agreeing to join Somerset, Babar Azam said: “I am looking forward to the new challenge that playing T20 cricket in England will bring. I have heard good things about Somerset from Azhar Ali and I want to play a part in the Club winning matches. I know that Somerset get good support and I hope that I can give them something to cheer about this year.”


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The reality of racism at grassroots level - Sporting FC’s story Inside Report

“It tells me there’s a reason why young lads are being racist - there’s something going on at home that makes it acceptable.” Those are the words of Birmingham-based Saleem Ahmed, a grassroots coach whose team, Sporting FC, has faced racial abuse on two separate occasions this season. Back in 2017 his son, Nono, delivered an uncompromising message to players and supporters of an opposition club who had abused him and his team mates after a match one month earlier. Saleem said: “With this team we played a home match and at the end

some [of the opposition] were making comments and one said we’re going to be like Donald Trump and build a wall. Another one [of my players] got called a p***”.” When the two teams met again the following month Sporting’s players had a surprise in store for their rivals. “Nono scored a cracker of a goal and ran towards the sidelines and lifted his shirt to show everyone a tshirt he had made which said Say No to Racism,” said Saleem. Saleem, then aged 13, with his t-shirt. “He said I had a feeling I was going to score. His team mates were really happy and they won the

game.” Saleem added: “He didn’t even tell me [what he was going to do]. I loved it.” But despite 15-year-old Nono’s admirable efforts, the team continue to face abuse. “From a young age he’s played in matches and at times there’s been racist comments,” said Saleem. “This season we’ve had 16 league games and probably had two games where there’s been incidents. It’s two matches too many.” He added: “When it does happen you have parents on the side shouting that it’s wrong for us to complain about it. Despite the abuse, Saleem has vowed to continue coaching. “We will talk with our football,” he said. “I only took over as coach last year, I love it. I’m going to stay on.” Stories such as Saleem’s, as well as the high-profile incidents that have marred football this season, prove the fight for equality in the game is more important than ever. www.pi-media.co.uk

FA launches a new drive to increase Asian in grassroot football In Case You Missed It

The FA has announced a new drive to increase Asian inclusion in grassroots football, launching in the 2019/20 season. Following the Bringing Opportunities to Communities initiative, which the FA launched in 2015, it will continue the ongoing work to tackle underrepresentation of Asians in football as part of In Pursuit of Progress, which is the organisation’s commitment to unite the game and break down barriers that get in the way of progress. The announcement was made during an event held at Villa Park on 30 April. With a lack of Asian role models across the professional game,

the event launched with a video including FA referee Lisa Rashid, Swansea City FC player Yan Dhanda, and England Women’s deaf Futsal player Lhathini Pushpalingham encouraging young Asian boys and girls to participate in football and to pursue it as a professional career option if they wish. The FA will deliver eight regional Asian inclusion training days within the first season, bringing together local Asian communities with professional clubs and County Football Associations. It will also launch the first digital Asian Inclusion Guide in May 2020, which will share learnings and provide

guidance on Asian inclusion within football as a whole. The FA will also work with The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) to introduce Asian fan forums at England international matches, starting with the Euro 2020 qualifier between England and Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Saturday 7 September. Other areas of the plan include forming an FA Asian female guidance group, which will sit under The FA Women’s Board and will dictate the actions needed to embed Asian women in football at all levels. This work will form part of the FA’s next Women’s Strategy in 2021.


I FEATURED

I May 2019

The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 37

The Umayyads invested a great deal of effort in speeding up the process of urbanisation by expanding existing cities and creating new ones. Historically, the Arabs were known as the’ inhabitants of the desert’ and their lives and fortunes revolved around the sandy terrain. However, the desert did not provide the opportunities that urban surroundings provided. By creating cities and towns, the Umayyads created social and economic opportunities for their Arab brethren. The development of cities and town created push and pull factors such as employment opportunities through job creation, enhanced education and housing. During the time of the Umayyads, for example,Uqba ibn Nafi’ built al-Qayrawan in North Africa in 50/670 during Mu’awiya’s caliphate. Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (97100/715-718), built al-Ramla in Palestine, and al-Hajjàj built Wasit in

Iraq. Furthermore, opportunities arose for the wider populace to try their hand at self-employment that led to the rise of a distinct merchant trader class that reached its zenith during the reign of the Abbasids. Overall, the Arabs concludedthat life in urban populated areas presented better opportunities for them and their offspring as opposed to the desert, thus were enticed to join the urban revolution in the search for economic prosperity. In respect of Arab and Islamic architecture, the Umayyads had a desire to leave an imprint on world history and civilisation and this was realised through the construction of several palaces across the Middle East and North Africa. The Ummayads financed and built some magnificent palaces that housed the caliph and his entourage consisting of family members and court officials. In Palestine, the

Ummayads constructed and built the Khirbat al-Mafjar in Jericho which is consideredby historians to be the largest and the most beautiful among the Umayyad palaces that was built by Yazid Ill in 127/744. In Syria, Hisham Ibn Abd-al-Malik builttwo palaces namely the Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi and Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbilocated near the the city of Palmyra (Tadmur) in Syria. Under the patronage of Caliph Abd-al-Mailk, the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat-al-Sakhrah was constructed in 691-692 AD. The site where the Dome of the Rock was built has great significance for Muslims and Jews. For Jews, the site is poignant as it is location where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Issacand the Dome of the Rock was built over the Foundation Rock. For Muslims, the site has great significance as it is where the Prophet Muhammad went on the ascension journey (Miraj) to heaven.


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