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The Islamic Bond Dawn of a New Era

Issue: 68 - www.pi-media.co.uk - Nov 2013

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In a blaze of publicity PM David Cameron announced the launch of the Islamic bond (sukuk) at the World Islamic Economic forum in London this week. The British government has envisaged the creation of a global Islamic finance hub for a considerable period of time since former PM Gordon

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Brown boldly declared that he wanted London’ to become the undisputed ‘Islamic finance capital of the world’ with the aim of competing with Dubai and Kuala Lumpur for this prestigious accolade. It has been said that the Islamic investment sector has become a

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lucrative one in recent times. Statistics show that since 2006 that there has phenomenal growth in this area so much so that the estimated value of these products is worth a staggering £1.3 trillion pounds and the success story is set to continue. It is not surprising to see that PM David Cameron has stressed Continued on page 3

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thePassion

www.pi-media.co.uk I November 2013

By Dr Abdul B Shaikh

Lecturer in Islamic Studies @ Leeds University and Deputy Editor of PI Magazine

The End of the Road for the EDL? The events of the 9th of October 2013 took the media world and Muslim communities in the UK by storm when Tommy Robinson the founding member of the English Defence League sensationally resigned from the organisation and joined forces with the Quilliam Foundation. Tommy Robinson and his deputy Kevin Carroll alongside Dr Usama Hasan and Majid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation in the glare of the world’s media was remarkable in that no commentator had envisaged the formation of an alliance of rather strange bedfellows. The former leaders of the EDL had argued that they had lost control of the far-right elements within the party and this contributed towards their decision to leave the movement altogether. All this now brings us on the discussion as to whether the EDL will actually survive as an entity and more importantly what the future will hold for Muslim communities up and down the country. The English Defence League for the last four years have cost taxpayers millions of pounds in policing costs not to mention the detrimental effect on the local economy especially at a time of austerity. Muslim communities have been forced to counter the full force of the EDL’s anti-Muslim rhetoric in towns and cities up and down the country with the central message being Muslims must integrate into the fabric of British society and embrace the values, traditions and customs of the nation. This message has struck a chord with a number of Muslims who have pro-actively challenged this rather misleading narrative of the EDL by arguing that they have made and more importantly continue to make a huge contribution to British society in a number of ways.

There is no doubt that the Muslim community needs to actively address a number of pressing issues such as community cohesion, integration and radicalisation urgently but we must remember that other communities in the UK are not immune to the pressing challenges of today. It has been well documented that the white working class have been largely abandoned and at most disenfranchised thus creating a surge of support for parties such as the EDL in that they serve as an outlet to express frustration and discontentment towards the mainstream political parties. Undoubtedly, the EDL have been rocked by the defections of its two leading luminaries but we should remember that it still remains a force to be reckoned and will remain so until their narrative is successfully countered as well as genuine grievances being dealt with in an appropriate fashion. The first litmus test for the EDL will come in the next few weeks in the form of the continuation of weekly demonstrations and more importantly whether they are deemed to be a success or a failure. It should be noted that despite the resignation of the two former leading stalwarts they have steadfastly refused to renounce a number of statements made against Islam and Muslims in general. It appears that these former luminaries of the EDL intend to continue attacking what they perceive to be a form of ‘radical Islam’ but channelling their energies away from the discredited ‘street demonstrations’ to new strategies that are focussed upon challenging the evils of radicalisation, extremism and the menace of terrorism in the UK and beyond. We should not forget

that Robinson and Carroll are being disingenuous at best when asserting the view that the principle targets are no longer mainstream Islam and Muslims but a closer analysis of their ideology presents an entirely different picture altogether. This now brings us onto the subject of the ‘mother of unholy alliances’ created this week with the unification of former radicals turned warriors against the evils of jihadist ideology and the menace of radicalisation and extremism. However, there is one slight problem in that the Quilliam Foundation has for many years had no real support from the Muslim community as a result lacks appeal and more crucially has little credibility. This new ‘unholy alliance’ whilst attempting to counter extremist ideologies in the UK and beyond has made its mission more difficult by embracing the former EDL ideologues. One will argue that the EDL will survive in its current form with new charismatic leaders coming to the fore promoting the anti-Islam agenda. There may well be an unexpected resurgence for the BNP who incidentally have been in the doldrums in recent times on the other hand will be aiming to capitalise upon the chaos that has engulfed the EDL by poaching their most loyal and fervent supporters. We now come on the delicate question which is that where this does leave the Muslims in the grand scheme of things. The answer for that comes in the form of whether Muslims will maintain the status quo in the UK or will they embrace the challenges thrust upon them by post-modernity and go on from strength to strength. The coming months and years shall tell us which direction Muslims in the UK will be heading.

Write to: Editor, PI Media, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: info@pi-media.co.uk - www.pi-media.co.uk - mob: 07506 466 385 This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -

Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not necessarily of Passion Islam.


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The Islamic Bond Dawn of a New Era

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Continued from front page

that the UK needs to tap into this rather lucrative market and that it is an opportunity not to be missed. The British government is keen to stress that it wants the UK to attract more investors to purchase these bonds and its open door policy is undoubtedly part of a drive to make the country Islamic investment friendly. HM Treasury under the auspices of the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has declared that it will launch £200 million pounds worth of bonds in order to entice investors from all over the world. These Islamic bonds are commonly known as Sukuk and were initially issued by the Malaysian government in 2000. The Islamic bonds or Sukuk will be offered with the promise that they will be structured in accordance

with Islamic law (Sharia) giving assurances to investors that they will be free from Interest (riba). There is an increased likelihood that the UK Islamic bond will be made available on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) through rental or government property portfolios. In a time of such economic uncertainty, the UK government is keen not to get left behind the emerging powers of the east such as India and China and is embracing change as a direct result of the headwinds of globalisation. Writing in the Financial Times (FT), George Osborne said: While others in the western world resist change, this government is embracing it: banging the drum for British businesses, seeking out new markets, welcoming overseas investment with open arms’.

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Jack Straw MP blames ‘Jewish Money’ for Conflict Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has blamed Jewish groups with “unlimited” funds for the Israeli-Arab conflict. Straw also blamed “Germany’s ‘obsession’ with defending Israel,” she said, adding, “I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media...” Straw has a history of offending Israeli leaders with his remarks on the Israeli-Arab conflict. In 2003, he angered the Foreign Ministry by comparing Israel to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. In 2006, he said the world should be as concerned with disabling Israel’s nuclear capabilities, as it is with Iran’s nuclear program. Under Straw, Britain’s foreign ministry considered maintaining diplomatic ties with members of Hamas.


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Newspapers lose bid to show executing an Afghan prisoner www.pi-media.co.uk

A judge has ruled against newspapers seeking to publish footage of a British soldier allegedly executing an Afghan prisoner. The video has been already shown during the trial of three Royal Marines accused of executing a wounded opponent. The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail had applied for the release of the video. The footage from a helmet mounted camera shows one of the soldiers shooting the victim in the chest. The video was shown during a military tribunal in Bulford, Wiltshire.

The incident happened in Helmand Province on in September 2011. On the video, one of the soldiers is heard to say: “There you are, shuffle off this mortal coil you c***, it’s nothing you wouldn’t have done to us.” He added: “Obviously this don’t go anywhere fellas, I’ve just broken the Geneva Convention.” The Ministry of Defence had opposed the release of the video as it could be used by terrorists as a recruiting aid. In a written ruling, Judge Advocate General Judge Jeff

The British Government announced that the Chevening Scholarship Programme will include ten new scholarships in Islamic Finance for the academic year 2014/15 Chevening is the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the FCO and partner organisations. The programme makes awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at leading universities in the UK. This programme was established in 1983 and has developed into a prestigious

international scheme. Chevening Scholars come from 118 countries worldwide (excluding the USA and the EU), and this year the scholarships will support more than 600 individuals. There are over 42,000 Chevening alumni around the world who together comprise an influential and highly regarded global network. The programme provides full or part funding for full-time courses at postgraduate level, normally a oneyear Master’s degree, in any subject and at any UK university. www.pi-media.co.uk

Government announces Islamic Finance scholarship

Blackett rejected the media’s application. He said: “In short, therefore, my view is the principle of open justice can be satisfied and has been satisfied by the DVD being played in open court where it has been observed by journalists and reported upon quite properly. “Releasing it for unrestricted public consumption would expose British service personnel to increased risk of harm unnecessarily.” Blackett said there was a “very high risk” that the video could be used by terrorists as a tool to radicalise people and incite others to carry out terrorist attacks. He said: “Once published it would be impossible to stop further distribution in defiance of any order I might make. Once the genie escaped from the bottle it would be possible to control or put it back in,” the judge said. “I suspect that this would be in the form of increased insurgent activity in theatre or the deliberate targeting of off-duty service personnel overseas and in this country. “In balancing the need for open justice against this risk I am fortified by the fact that the principle of open justice will not be compromised in this case if the DVD is not released.”


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UN demands on UK and US to come clean on torture

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Britain and the US have been urged to release the confidential details of their complicity in abduction and torture of terrorism suspects during the George W. Bush term in office as the US president reports. The call was made by the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Ben Emmerson, who also accused Washington and London of years of official denials of the truth. Emmerson told the American TV channel Democracy Now that there were acts of secret detention, torture and rendition by the British and American operatives under the Bush administration that “constitute gross and systematic human rights violations”.

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He said it is now time that the truth about such illegal activities is exposed and those involved are brought to justice. “We know that the Feinstein Senate committee report into the activities of the CIA is said to be a very thorough and comprehensive analysis … the time has come, unequivocally, for the release of the Feinstein report,” Emmerson said. “The key findings of the Feinstein report and of a parallel report commissioned and prepared and provided to the British prime minister in relation to the United Kingdom’s involvement in these activities must now be made public,” he added. The UN human rights rapporteur further pledged that he will not stop

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calling for the publication of the material “until at least a sufficient amount of it” has been made public.

Church in Kent delivers study to Islam course A village vicar will delivered a distinctly non-Christian message in his church on Islam, the Quran and Sharia law. The Rev Dr Stephen Laird has organised a four-week course at Blean Church to address anxieties about the country’s fast-growing religion. He is honorary lecturer in religious studies at the University of Kent, where he is also Anglican chaplain, and says he has long been interested in Islam. He said: “I increasingly realised that people in church were asking about other faiths but particularly Islam, for obvious reasons in that it often makes the headlines.

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“Our society clearly has anxieties about Islam but it is important to think about the anxieties which exist within the Muslim community itself too and see society from its perspective. “There are actually similarities in the Anglican and Islamic faiths with both suggesting that people should live lives that fit God’s plan for humanity and both have a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. “Both Christians and Muslims share concerns about the excesses of British society, including the misuse of drugs and alcohol, for example. “The fact is that there are millions of honest Muslim people living their lives and making a contribution to

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society which you don’t hear about. “At Blean church we will usually do an autumn course and normally it is something to do with the Bible or church history. “But this time together we decided it would be quite a good idea to have a more detailed look at Islam. The Blean congregation is broadminded and curious and many of them want to learn about other faiths. “We have a mosque not far from the church and I and its leader Raschid Sohawon have together on several occasions spoken to groups. “And just a stone’s throw from the church is a university with a very international community and hundreds of practising Muslims.”


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UN: Drone programme undermines the rule of law www.pi-media.co.uk

I November 2013

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A new report by a United Nations expert has warned that the US’ secretive drone programme threatens International security due to a “lack of appropriate transparency and accountability.” The report on ‘Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,’ by Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns, also warns that so-called ‘signature strikes,’ based upon insufficient information are “clearly unlawful,” and condemns the practice of followup attacks on rescuers as a “war crime.” Mr Heyns demands greater

openness from the US Government, stating that there should be “at least a preliminary investigation” into any drone strike where there is reason to believe violations of international law may have taken place, and says that “Civilian casualties must be determined and should be disclosed.” In a clear criticism of the shadowy drone programme carried out by the CIA and Special Forces, which has never been officially acknowledged by the US Government, he warns that “A lack of appropriate transparency and accountability concerning the deployment of drones

undermines the rule of law and may threaten international security.” Mr Heyns also emphasises the heavy toll that drones take on those civilians living in the areas where the strikes are carried out – and cautions against taking at face value the claims that those they kill are necessarily ‘terrorists,’ stating that: Commenting, Kat Craig, Legal Director at human rights charity Reprieve, which represents a number of civilian victims of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, said: “This report rightly states that the US’ secretive drone war is a danger not only to innocent civilians on the ground but also to international security as a whole. The CIA’s campaign must be brought out of the shadows: we need to see real accountability for the hundreds of civilians who have been killed – and justice for their relatives. Among Reprieve’s clients are young Pakistani children who saw their grandmother killed in front of them – the CIA must not be allowed to continue to smear these people as ‘terrorists.’”

The former Dean of RAF College Cranwell has won ‘substantial’ libel damages from the Mail on Sunday over as story which branded him the “Ayatollah of the RAF”. He filed a libel claim last year about the August 2011 story which said he was a “Muslim convert who has criticised NATO air strikes in Libya, claimed Nazi gas chambers were British propaganda and compared Churchill to Mohammed”. He also sued over an online version of the piece and over a follow-up article in the Daily Mail. The Daily Mail has agreed to pay legal costs and published an apology which said: “On 7 and 8

August 2011 we suggested that the beliefs of Dr Joel Hayward, then the Dean of the RAF College Cranwell, prevented him from fulfilling his duty of impartiality and fairness as a teacher in the RAF by causing him to show undue favouritism to Islamic students and spend too much time on Islamic activities. We now accept that these allegations are untrue. We apologise to Dr Hayward and have paid a substantial sum to him in damages.” The Daily Star last year published an apology over similar allegations. Professor Hayward said: “It was completely devastating for me to read the false allegations

that were published by Associated Newspapers and by the Daily Star, and to be attacked for my deeplyheld religious beliefs. It was even more devastating to know that my family, friends and colleagues had read them. “Although the matter was dragged out for over a year by Associated Newspapers, which I often felt was using its financial muscle to intimidate me. “More generally, I can only hope that my case and others like it may result in a more balanced and fair portrayal of Muslims and the Islamic faith in certain sections of the British press in future.”

Former Dean of RAF College wins libel case


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Conservative Peer deeply uneasy on GCHQ activities

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Conservative peer Lord Blencathra says MPs should be given a vote on Britain’s eavesdropping agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) activities. Blencathra said he is “deeply, deeply uneasy” about the spying programmes by intelligent agencies that allow examining global internet activities, including those of British citizens. The former Conservative Home Office minister condemned the GCHQ’s recent activities, saying that monitoring internet traffics without the parliament consent is unacceptable. He also noted that the public should be informed if their communications are “lifted” and shared with the US National Security Agency (NSA). Blencathra’s comments come after another peer Lord MacDonald has criticized MI5 for resisting the calls for more transparency and

scrutiny on the GCHQ’s surveillance capabilities. MI5’s new chief Andrew Parker said earlier that exposing how the GCHQ intercept voice and internet communications is a “gift” to terrorists, which could cause “enormous damage” to Britain’s socalled war against terrorism. Lord MacDonald, however, attacked Parker for using “foolish self-serving rhetoric” and demanded

an urgent review of the laws governing the agencies including GCHQ, MI5 and MI6. Earlier in June, classified documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the GCHQ was secretly accessing the network of cables, which carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic and has been sharing the data with its American counterpart the NSA.

More than half of schools in England are failing to teach religious education to an adequate standard, a new report shows. According to a study by the schools watchdog Ofsted, six in ten schools are failing to teach the subject properly as they are not “realizing” its full potential. The report, which was based on inspections of 185 schools,

also referred to areas of serious concern in the way religious education is taught, including weak teaching, low standards and confusion about the purpose of the subject. The report titled “Religious Education: realising the potential” also warned that religious education is being “squeezed out” in schools by other subjects. The Church of England called on British Education Secretary Michael Gove to address the problems. “The report places the blame for poor standards squarely on government policy. In particular, the removal of support and squeeze on places for training religious education teachers is a scandal and will take

years to reverse,” said the Rev Jan Ainsworth, the Church’s chief education officer. Surrey Head Teacher Gail Larkin, vice-president of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said consecutive governments were responsible for “devaluing” religious education as a subject in schools. In February last year, a YouGov poll found that religion seems to play a minor role in British people’s lives as majority of Britons say they do not belong to any particular religion and are not religious. In the survey of 1828 adults across the UK, 37 percent of respondents said they are “not very religious” and 39 percent said they are “not very religious at all’, making the total of 76 percent who are not religious, compared with just 5 percent who regarded themselves as “very religious”.

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I November 2013

The 9th World Islamic Economic Forum

More that unites nations than divides them EXCLUSIVE TO PI MAGAZINE

We are living in at a critical moment for the world, as the powerful current of economics, finance, religion, science and culture threaten to pull us apart. One of the many reasons could be lack of engagement and understanding of the other. But at the same time they offer opportunities to forge new bonds between nations. The 9th World Islamic Economic Forum, took place at London’s ExCel from 29th – 31stOctober, and offered a great opportunity for us to strengthen relations between the Muslim and non-Muslim world. When people get together for business, they can put aside their political, religious and ideological differences because there is one compelling commonality that matters most before them – and that is

the impetus to be peaceful and prosperous. For nearly a decade, the World Islamic Economic Forum has been contributing to this debate. Although many Western business people and leaders have attended, we’ve always met in nations from the Islamic world. This year, I was delighted that the time had come for the WIEF to meet in the West. The Forum brought to London its message that there is more that unites nations than divides them. More than 1,500 government leaders, captains of industries, academics, regional experts, professionals and corporate managers from 120 countries came together to boost trade and cultural partnerships between markets. We

wanted to reach out in the most tangible sense to the West at this crucial time. And we believe actions speak louder than words - last year’s 8th WIEF struck deals worth an estimated £5.8billion. One quarter of the world’s population, 1.8 billion people, are Muslims. Islamic economies account for nearly half of the world’s fastest growing economies. London is a global hub of trade, enterprise, education and finance and a gateway to Western economies. It’s this combination of opportunities, which explains not only why the Forum convened in London, but also why so many prominent figures from both sides of the world continue to support our initiative. We received the support of


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some of the most influential political figures in the world, including The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, The Hon. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, H.E. Abdelillah Benkirane, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, H.M. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam, President of Bosnia Bakir Izetbegovic, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, Crown Prince of Dubai and many others around the world. In attendance were Central Bank Governors from Dubai, Oman, UAE, Malaysia and Nigeria. Business leaders such as Jeff Lynn, CEO Seedrs, Mr Hasan Al Jabri, CEO, Saudi Economic and Development Company, Bob Schukai, Global Head of Mobile Technology, Thomson Reuters, Prof. Sultan T. Abu-Orabi, Secretary General, Association of Arab Universities, Ms Raja Teh Maimunah CEO Hong Leong Islamic Bank, and Datuk Jamil Bidin, CEO Halal Industry Development Corporation will be speaking, and delegates can network with organisations including BDA China, Jaguar Landrover, Islamic Development Bank, Xenel Group, JS Comsa Corporation, PricewaterhouseCooper and the Aga Khan Development Network. We chose to meet in London because it is a truly global city, which embraces international partnerships and used London to showcase to the world the very best that the Muslim world has to offer as a lucrative trade and investment destination. But we also chose London because of its status as a leading financial and cultural centre of the world, and a business gateway between the Muslim and non-Muslim world. Last year, David Cameron promised to double the value of bilateral trade between the Islamic and Western worlds to £8 billion a year by 2016, however, this direct investment is only the beginning of the potential economic involvement between these two nations. Partnerships between the UK and Muslim world are growing. The UAE and UK Joint Economic Committee agreed to increase bilateral trade by 60% by 2015, and last year UK

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bilateral trade with Turkey reached £9.1 billion, with UK goods exports of £3.7 billion. Saudi Arabia is the second largest foreign investor in the UK and is the UK’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. The 200 joint ventures between the two countries have an estimated value of $US17.5bn. The Islamic Finance sector also offer great prospects to work together. It is estimated to be worth £1.2 trillion, and is expected to grow to £1.6 trillion by 2015. London will seek to extend its role as a western hub for Islamic finance, building on the £22.3 billion that has been raised to date, by promoting its status as the leading exporter of financial services across the world. However this year’s WIEF also discussed a number of other issues beyond just trade and finance. We also discussed harnessing the potential of women as critical growth drivers, exploring the export potential for high quality education in developing economies and developing technological collaboration between Islamic and European economies. We also looked at Halal, one of the fastest growing global businesses in the world. The total value of the global Halal market is estimated at $2.3 trillion a year. We explored how we develop the provision of halal tourism in hotel, food and entertainment, and we were joined by experts such as Datuk Jamil Bidin, Chief Executive Officer, Halal Industry Development Corporation and Fazal Bahardeen, Founder & CEO Crescentrating. The Marketplace of Creative Arts (MOCAfest) – a global culture festival hosted alongside the Forum –brought together artists and audiences from the Muslim and non-Muslim world, for two days of performances and master-classes. Free and open to the public, and featuring 30 artists from a diverse range of genres, MOCAfest explored the role that art and culture plays in driving economic growth and business collaboration between East and West. The festival showcased some of the most exciting new talent

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from across the globe, and panel discussions and workshops helped emerging artists develop skills to help them to launch their careers. MOCAfest’s installation exhibition showcased works from artists such as: Mohammed Ali, a street artist from the UK, famous for using his graffiti styles to convey messages of positive social change; Sukina Douglas, a poet and hip-hop artist based in London who has been described as a forerunner in the growing hip-hop scene; and Eckhart Ahmed Krausen, a photographer based in Copenhagen who specialises in the study and documentation of Islamic architecture across Europe. The WIEF is dedicated to the proposition that in these troubled and fast moving times, the best and most reliable way of building bridges between nations is through business cooperation. The continuing aftermath of the credit crunch across much of the world, challenges of income inequality, and finite resources, make it ever more important to cooperate if the 21st Century is to be as transformative for the human race as the 20th Century was. The London Forum was a huge step forward in bringing about better understanding of different communities, cultures, traditions and religions through the medium of trade and finance. The World Islamic Economic Forum took place at London’s Excel Centre, October 29th – 31st 2013. To find out more please go to www.9thwief.org Sir Iqbal Sacranie is the Former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and a founding member of the International Advisory Board of the WIEF Foundation.


Saudi Arabia declines seat on UN Security Council

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Saudi Arabia said it would not take up its rotating seat on theUnited Nations Security Council, citing “double standards” which it said hampered the world body’s ability to end conflicts. It is the second time this month that Saudi Arabia has publicly expressed discontent over what it sees as the Security Council’s failure to take action to stop a civil war in Syria that has killed more than 100,000 people. “The kingdom sees that the

method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA. Saudi Arabia, along with Chad and Nigeria, were elected by the UN General Assembly on Thursday to serve a two-year term on the UN Security Council as human rights groups called for all three countries to improve their records.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said it was unable to take its seat until reforms were introduced, but did not specify what reforms it wanted. US-allied Saudi Arabia has been angry over what it says is the failure of the international community to help either Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad or Palestinians seeking an end to more than four decades of Israeli occupation. The Security Council has been split on how to handle the civil war in Syria, with Western powers pushing for stronger sanctions against Assad and Russia vetoing resolutions to that end. Saudi Arabiahas backed the rebels in that conflict. The Saudis, along with other Arab states, have also often criticised the United States for blocking international action to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands seized in the 1967 Middle Eastwar. Last month the Saudi foreign minister cancelled a speech at the UN General Assembly in frustration over the international inaction on Syria and the Palestinian issue, a diplomatic source said.

The UAE has been ranked in the top 15 globally for its record on human rights, well ahead of its neighbours in the Gulf region. The first International Human Rights Rank Indicator (IHRRI) issued by the Switzerland-based Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) placed the UAE in 14th place, based on a total of 21 human rights indicators. The next best-ranked Gulf nation was Bahrain, which was positioned 94th out 216 countries covered. The indicators included the right to liberty and security, the right to acceptable conditions of work, rights of foreigners, freedom of religion, health, education, and the right to

adequate standard of living. Saudi Arabia (206th) was one of the worst performers in the world while Oman (95th), Kuwait (96th), Qatar (120th) were also ranked lowly. Norway, Sweden, Australia, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein were the top five ranked countries for human rights while Chad, Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Rwanda filled the bottom five. In a statement, GNRD described its IHRRI as the most trustful and complete international human rights rank indicator, reflecting live data on the respect for human rights in 216 countries. A report by the Walk Free Foundation charity said nearly

100,000 people are living in slavery across the Gulf. A total of 95,411 people living in the region are “enslaved”, a majority of which are in Saudi Arabia (57,504), noted the index which ranked 162 countries on the number living in slavery, the risk of enslavement, and the strength of government responses to combating the illegal activity. By Andy Sambidge

UAE named top Arab nation for human rights


Turkey to Issue Halal Food Certificates in Europe

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The Turkish Standards Institution (TSE) announced plans to begin issuing halal food certificates in Europe to address growing demands by Muslim-Turkish consumers in Europe. TSE executives said during the 2nd European Halal Conference in Cologne they will soon begin accepting applications in Germany,

TSE will be cooperating with the Cologne-based TurkishIslamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB), one of the largest Islamic organizations in Germany, which is in close cooperation with the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs. TSE started giving seminars to DİTİB members who will evaluate halal food and beverage applications in Germany. TSE’s partner in receiving applications in Germany will be TSplus. The growing halal food and beverage market in Germany is estimated to have an annual value of five billion euros. Around 400 firms in Germany are producing halal foods and beverages, and the number home to nearly five million Muslims of halal products in the market has mostly of Turkish origin. reached four thousand throughout TSE has completed more than 200 applications in Turkey so far and Europe. Halal food certificates created issued 205 halal food and beverage confusion among Muslim and Turkish certificates. These certificates take consumers in the past due to the lack the general standards developed by the Standards and Metrology Institute of unified standards and the different halal food certificates issued by for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) as a various unrecognized organizations. reference.

Russian Muftis website hacked The official website of the Russian Muftis Council (muslim. ru) has been hacked and defaced by anti-Muslim hackers. Currently, the website has been taken offline. However, a Google cache of the website reveals that the attackers posted a picture of a pig holding the Quran in its mouth. The defacement page also displayed a message in Russian which reads something like this: “Welcome Muslims. Appeal to you, residents of Moscow. You are already in a jam. We are well aware that the pig is a dirty animal for you, so here’s a pig with the Quran in its mouth.

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Now, your domain name is profaned, and you cannot keep your website here anymore. Soon we will bury pigs in all your mosques. Happy holidays, [expletive]” At the time of writing, the website of the Russian Muftis Council is unavailable. According to Radio Free Europe, the website of Moscow’s Grand Mosque, and the one of the personal site of the council’s leader, Ravil Gainutdin, have also been targeted by hackers.

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Muslims protest over closure of Mosque

Muslims in the French city of Nice held a protest rally against the decision to close a mosque in the city. Hundreds of Muslims took part in the rally nicematin website reported. The demonstrators called for the decision by the city’s mayor to be reconsidered. The mayor of Nice has ordered the masque to be closed and its building seized. The mosque is the only place of worship for Muslims in the south France. The demonstrators held up banners reading “Saying prayers in streets; never, saying prayers in mosque: yes”, and “we are true to our commitments; (and expect you to) respect our rights”. In his election campaign, the mayor of Nice had promised Muslims to provide them with a big building to use as a mosque but failed to deliver his promise. France has the largest Muslim minority in Western Europe. Its Muslim population is estimated to be around 6 million.


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Head scarf ban lifted in Turkey

Turkey lifted a ban on women wearing the Islamic head scarf in state institutions, ending a decadesold restriction as part of a package of reforms meant to bolster democracy. The ban, whose roots date back almost 90 years to the early days of the Turkish Republic, has kept many women from joining the public work force, but secularists see its abolition as evidence of the government pushing an Islamic agenda. The new rules, which will not apply to the judiciary or the military,

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were published in the Official Gazette and take immediate effect in the majority Muslim but constitutionally secular nation. “A regulation that formally intervened in freedom of clothing and lifestyle - a source of inequality, discrimination and injustice among our people - has become history,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on his Twitter account. The debate around the head scarf goes to the heart of tensions between religious and secular elites,

Launching Mega Islam Bank

Mega Islam Bank, which aims to assist the development of banks in financing big projects, will be established with $1 billion in capital, a sector representative said. Islamic bank Türkiye Finans’ general manager, Derya Gürerk, said Mega Islam Bank was slated to resemble the model of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Mega Islam Bank, which will give credit to development banks to finance big projects, is the result of an acute need, said Gürerk, noting that they were supportive of the new formation.

Gürerk said the bank would focus on three subjects: liquidity, infrastructure investments and capital investments. He said the bank was expected to be founded with $1 billion in capital. “The bank should create $10 billion sukuk and funds from this $1 billion capital and allocate it to long-term infrastructure projects, big projects, and capital investments,” he said. Gürerk also said the countries’ partnership structure and creditusing terms at Mega Islam Bank were subjects that should be worked on rigorously. www.pi-media.co.uk

a major fault line in Turkish public life. Critics of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan see his Islamist-rooted AK Party as seeking to erode the secular foundations of the republic founded on the ruins of an Ottoman theocracy by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923. Erdogan’s supporters, particularly in the country’s conservative Anatolian heartlands, say he is simply redressing the balance and restoring freedom of religious expression to a Muslim majority. The lifting of the ban, based on a cabinet decree from 1925 when Ataturk introduced a series of clothing reforms meant to banish overt symbols of religious affiliation for civil servants, is part of a “democratization package” unveiled by Erdogan. The reform program - in large part aimed at bolstering the rights of Turkey’s Kurdish community - included changes to the electoral system, the broadening of language rights and permission for villages to use their original Kurdish names.

Strasbourg Uni becomes global teaching Islamic finance hub The University of Strasbourg in France has become an international reference in the field of instruction of Islamic finance. The university’s faculty of law has been training Islamic finance experts since 2008 and with five years of experience has become a major hub of Islamic finance instruction, dna website reported. Every year many individuals come to the university from countries like Morocco, Algeria, Senegal and Chad to take special courses on Islamic economics. The faculty also publishes the Islamic Economics Magazine in French, sends Islamic finance experts to different countries and issues certificates in Islamic economics.


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I November 2013

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Hamas sends out strong message to Israel over Aqsa Mosque In Case You Missed It

The Hamas Movement warned the Israeli occupation regime and its extremist Jewish groups of building a synagogue on the land of the Aqsa Mosque and affirmed that there would be dire consequences for such violation. “We, in Hamas, warn the occupation and its extremists of executing such grave plan or touching any part of the Aqsa Mosque,” Hamas said in a press release. “Attacking the Aqsa Mosque and

attempting to divide it temporally and spatially are a major crime and a red line that our people cannot allow to be crossed,” it emphasized. Hamas also expressed its belief that all the occupation’s plans to Judaize the Aqsa Mosque are only desperate attempts and will never succeed in imposing a fait accompli. It urged the Arab and Muslim nations, their leaders, the organization of Islamic cooperation and the Arab League to urgently move to curb Israel’s violations

against the Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic holy sites in Palestine. For their part, the supreme Islamic council, the council of waqf and Islamic affairs and Dar Al-Ifta (the fatwa house) in occupied Jerusalem strongly denounced Israel’s intention to build a synagogue on part of the Aqsa Mosque’s area. In a joint press release, the Palestinian Islamic institutions noted that the Israeli occupation authority also plans to make changes to Al-Buraq wall square (the Aqsa Mosque’s western wall area) and establish an aerial tramway between Attour Mount and Al-Asbat Gate over the northern side of the Aqsa Mosque. They emphasized that Israel’s persistent violations at the Aqsa Mosque is an act of corruption and an attempt to revoke the jurisdiction of the Islamic waqf authority and the Aqsa renovation committee over the Mosque. They highlighted that the Aqsa Mosque belongs to Muslims alone by God’s will and the Jews have no religious, political or historical sovereignty over it. It appealed to the Arab and Islamic countries to move politically and diplomatically to protect the Aqsa Mosque.

Want to French Journalist in court for Insulting Islam Advertise A French journalist is facing a criminal trial for remarks he made in a radio interview against the influence of Islam in the country. Ivan Rioufol of Le Figaro newspaper was summoned to court following a complaint from the group Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), the Daily Mail reported. Rioufol’s comments from a Nov. 15, 2012, RTL radio program particularly objected to a CCIF poster, which showed pictures of Muslims under the slogan “We are the Nation,” the Daily Mail said. He said the idea of the poster went

against France’s inclusive, secular republic. “In seeking to undermine liberty of expression, a sacred principle of our civilization, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) takes the risk of appearing like a menace to democracy,” said Rioufol at the time of his summons. A spokesman for CCIF said it had a duty to challenge Islamophobia. “Mr. Rioufol will in court seek to prove that his words were true — one of the defenses against defamation,” the spokesman said.

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Framing: Is the Media Glamorising Malala?

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Where ever you go in the world Malala seems to be the talk of the town. Use the Google search engine and typing the name Malala gives you instantaneous accounts of articles, images, speeches, even list of solidarity walks, candle light vigil events, remembrance songs and petitions making her a symbol of female emancipation. The leading politicians of the world, celebrities, dignitaries, presidents and leaders are all being lined-up to put on record their admiration for her. She is the first ever Pakistani Muslim female that has risen over and above the Pakistani political elite to have advised the American President on policy issues such as ‘America’s Drone War’ considered to have been the most controversial of its kind that has attracted the indignant wrath of the intellectual establishment in the United States of America. Celebrities from all walks of life have been trying to catch a glimpse of Malala at numerous events and none more so than former British PM Gordon Brown, actress Angelina Jolie and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who has labelled her as “Our Hero, Our Champion” in essence confirming the emergence of a new political icon. Right across the world Malala’s birthday July 12th has now been officially designated by the United Nations as ‘Malala’s Day’ whilst her long list of awards and prizes have put her ahead of several western intellectual luminaries , campaigners, and activists such as William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson and Olaudah Eqiano whose combined media coverage and written work has received far less recognition compared to the attention Malala has received in recent times. The American Foreign Policy Magazine has ranked her ‘sixth in the world top 100 thinkers’ last year whilst the most prominent global media outlets have published thousands of articles, images and sounds bites making her more influential than the British Royal

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Family. According to Simon Usborne’s article published in The Independent on 6th October 2013, celebrated artist Jonathan Yeo, expressed his concerns over the making of Malala and said, “I guess I was worried that she was probably a pawn in a bigger game and was being unduly influenced by the people around her”. To Yoe, such personalities and companies include; “Edelman, the global PR firm that manages Malala alongside its work for clients that include Microsoft and Starbucks. Jamie Lundie, an impeccably connected senior executive for the firm and former speechwriter for Lord Paddy Ashdown former Liberal Democrats leader, leads a team of five who work with Malala on a probono basis.” Up to this stage, one may not accurately predict as to what comes next? Perhaps she is being feted as the new saint of the Muslim world? It wouldn’t be a surprise! The Malala brand suggests she may indeed become a leading future consultant on Islam and Muslims. Yasmine Hafiz in her article published on 10/10/2013 in Huffington Post called her, ‘The voice of Islam’s next generation of moderate Muslims.” Steve D. Holmes writes in Huffington Post comments section, ‘She is not the future voice of moderate Islam. She is an articulate and very brave young girl but she is not a religious scholar or leader. In fact any effort from “the west” to inflate her importance will backfire and in some circles they are already calling Malala a western stooge. Marketing the Malala brand in this manner leads us to the conclusion where the vast majority of people have lost all sight of reality compounded by the fact that we are living in an age where a five year old knows much more about computer technology compared to their peers. Now the fundamental question that strikes a chord in the heart of every educated person’s mind is whether the Muslim world embraces this campaign?

Given the circumstances that sales of her autobiography will go through the roof, maybe it will attract the attention of people who have purchased the number of copies of the Harry Porter book series or the Irish football legend George Best’s Blessed: The Autobiography. The icing on the cake will undoubtedly be when Hollywood, Bollywood or the BBC and CNN come calling and in the process make irresistible offers to produce films and documentaries on her life. Malala is indeed an emerging face of Pakistan, the youngest ever nominee of the Nobel Peace Prize in its history and since then nearly a million people have signed a petition at the BBC website endorsing her brave stand. It is yet another illusion that those behind this campaign are also involved in drone attacks, displacing civilians, kidnapping, torturing and engaged in the promotion of state terrorism across the world. Yet no one today bemoans the fate of millions of Iraqi children who died as result of harsh American and Western sanctions in what can best be described as nothing but a phoney war. The wisdom behind the French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre refusal to accept a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964 was that the French committed vicious atrocities in Algeria; his standpoint conveys that in the struggle against the unjust, awards hold no value and it is ultimately the truth that is invariably worth everything in the long term. But what these news organisations, politicians, writers, activists and members of the public are failing to take heed of is the ruthless abduction, harassment and the subsequent killing of five Pakistani journalists from the same region as Malala for their principle stand against injustice by the same Taliban, who according to Joe Biden are ‘Taliban per se not our enemy’. To many critics, journalists and scholars like the American independent radio host Alex JonesTaliban’s are nothing more than bogiemen.


I November 2013 Those at the UN observing Malala’s day with such pomp and grandeur are doing a disservice to the millions of other similar victims across the Atlantic in the theatres of conflict ranging from Somalia, Iraq Afghanistan, to the ghettos of emerging economic superpower India and crisis ravaged Pakistan, where children have to walk miles to get to school, undertake odd jobs in houses, hotels, collect and sell scrap to fill their stomach. Not only has the media seemed reluctant to report the plight of two other innocent girls accompanying Malala who were injured in the Taliban onslaught but also never talk with same strength of mind for teachers who were either killed, brutally beaten, harassed and disrespected publicly in Pakistan not once, not twice but on numerous occasions, where schools in villages are turned into stables and education has inevitably become a commodity of the elite. Those in the West chanting slogans for Malala were once behind the systematic demolition of the education system in the Indian SubContinent that was partitioned into two new states India and Pakistan respectively. Imran Khan aired his concerns on the actual merits of the dual system of education in Pakistan via his book Imran Khan Pakistan: A personal history he writes, ‘the elite wanted to maintain the privileged position in society that this unfair system gave them’. Tariq Ali, a prominent journalist and author, discusses this issue in more detail which to him dates back to the British presence in South Asia, in his interview with Harry Kreisler, host of Conversation with history, at the University of Berkeley. Further to this, the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) massacre received scant coverage in the western media that amounted to more than a few pieces that appeared in liberal publications such as The Guardian and The Independent. It is at this point that we can rewind the tape and argue that personalities such as Ghulam Murtaza Malik, Hakim Saeed, Allama Syed Irfan Haider Abidi and many other scholars and academics were brutally killed in troublesome Baluchistan and elsewhere by extremists, yet no one signed a single petition to protest at such heinous crimes being committed in the motherland. Notably the same media www.pi-media.co.uk

I 19 as in the real world powerful nations and organisations have their own standards: where the unthinkable becomes the thinkable. The American Occupation of Iraq displays what Edward Herman famously said, ‘Worthy Victims and Unworthy Victims’ or in words of Igor Primoratz “Throwing a bomb is bad, Dropping a bomb is good, Terror, no need to add, Depends on who’s wearing the hood.” Also another scholar put it this way, ‘Good Terrorists and Bad Terrorists’ All these episodes once again echo media ‘framings’ and reminds us of the number of events around the globe what William Blum describes in his analytical volume Rouge Sate: A guide to the World Only Super Power (2000) ‘False Flag Operations’. So is this what journalism is going to be! Who can forget Nada Aga Soltan? She was an Iranian girl, who was killed during the bloody post election violence protests in 2009 in Tehran. Her video was on Youtube as well as other Western media outlets, within minutes around the world, and went on to receive the George Polk award. In stark contrast, the same media moguls blatantly chose not to publish a video of Ian Tomlinson slowly dying as a result of the British police brutality during the G-20 protest in London the same year. This sends a strong message to all of us that the media wields the power to frame issues in any way that it thinks best suits its interests. The recent coverage of the Malala Yousafzai incident raises awareness of those sections of the media and polity which use the same old stratagem as to which issue goes to the front page and which one ends up in a burial camp. Reviewing all this diversion of media framing of Malala account brings to mind, George Orwell concept of ‘Double Speak’ and today’s frequent phrase ‘duplicity’ which seem to be in full swing. It also resembles what American Professor Edward Herman coined, ‘Worthy and Unworthy Victims’ indeed millions of children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond are away from Western radars... Surely if Bob Morley would have alive today he may sing his everlasting song’s again, the lyrics… “You can fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” WORLD NEWS

organisations have dedicated their front pages to the cult of Malala, making provisions for her petitions are actively discrediting those five journalists who have gone through similar yet harsher situations that led to their very lives being taken by the Taliban, including the BBC’s own journalist Hayatullah Khan, now a forgotten soul. What do we say to the soul of Muzaffar Ali Khan, member of Swat Qumi Aman Jirga, (Sawat National Peace Committee) and others who gave their lives, never received any recognition or headlines in the process and have not even been blessed by people lighting a candle for them? Our intention is not to discredit Malala who of course has emerged from the shadows as an icon of courage and grace but to point out an important media related issues namely: Framing! Malala is yet not alone in voicing women’s freedom, their right to education and liberty. In this new world of information, she is one of the thousands of online diarists or bloggers, who discuss, lobby and debate matters relating to education in the world. One recalls a discussion led by Prof. Michael Rowels on the MA Journalism course, appreciating the description of an Iraqi anonymous girl who started writing a blog ‘Baghdad Burning’ under the pen name ‘Reverbend’ from an undisclosed location in Iraq disclosing to the world the invasion of her country which later became one of the best selling books in the literacy circles in America and Britain. Her blog recalled incredibly harrowing accounts of every day suffering in post-invasion Iraq. Later this very blog was compiled in the form of a must read book Baghdad burning: Girl blog from Iraq won the Lettre Ulysses Award for literary reporting. Her writings shocked the world. In the words of Author Cynthia Enloe, written at the back cover of this book “Buy this book, Read it, share it, Assign it, Quote it, act on it” Despite all the glamorous, inspiring words and eulogies she [anonymous blogger] fails to acquire a place amongst the western political and social elites. Here we ask what has stopped this girl and her tragic story of anguish when attempting to win over the hearts and minds of the people. Petitions, awards, memoir and rallies were nowhere to be seen

By Irfan Raja


Social Media Phenomena

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We have witnessed over the last fifty years an immense and gigantic leap in human civilisation that has changed the social, cultural and economical dynamics of the modern world. The advent of new technology has certainly contributed towards a more progressive and sophisticated living standards especially in the developed world. The rapid and ever evolving innovative technologies have been awe inspiring and mesmerising, to the extent that people cannot grasp or comprehend a world without it. New sciences and technologies have revolutionised the lives of millions of people throughout the world. None more so than the initiation of the world wide web – internet. A world without the internet is incomprehensible, unbearable and unlivable – so we may think. In

fact, we cannot bear the thought of a world without it. Since 2002 the number of internet users has quadrupled to 2.3 billion people worldwide. Our lives depend on it all the time for communicating, travelling, shopping, banking, selling, educating, entertaining, browsing, etc. We are so reliant of it that the digital revolution dominates our lives. Startling statistic show that in one month of Facebook there are 30 billion pieces of content shared. In addition, in one minute of Twitter there are one hundred thousand tweets. However, the changing mode of behaviour is a reflection of the virtual and unrealistic world we are living in that is devoid of courtesy, politeness and respect – the emblem of Islam. The manner and etiquettes of communication and

interaction has also changed. The lit machines have become ‘anti social communicational gadgets’ or ‘conversational avoidance devices’, removing the physical element of contact and dialogue. The physical contact between human beings has been replaced by a simulated and artificial connection that is devoid of feeling and emotion – video links, web cam et al have changed the way we communicate with other human beings. In essence, human beings are becoming superfluous, unessential in the new technological world. Talking and conversing is becoming an ancient methodology, especially, with the advent of texting, emailing, messaging and tweeting. No longer can two individuals converse with one another without the ‘lit machines’ intruding their conversations. In fact, some have


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mastered the art of sustaining eye contact with a person whilst at the same time texting, browsing or scrolling. That said, it is undeniable that the internet has alleviated many great difficulties, struggles and worries that human beings have experienced through out their existence. It has enabled man to enjoy the experiences of life and the strenuous day to day chores and errands with such ease and comfort like never before. Certainly, by the grace of Allah, we are living in such an unparalleled and unprecedented period that previously humans have never experienced such comfort and solace. However, post digital phenomenon has also come at a huge cost to the morality, decency and integrity of human beings as alluded above. Moreover, with the advent of the internet, the accessibility of immorality, indecency and depravity has become widespread and rampant. Despite the advancement in human civilisation and intellectualness, human beings during this development have regressed spiritually and morally. The satanic influence and persuasion has ensured corruption, wickedness and immorality is still prevalent in all societies as vowed by Iblees ‘Then I will come upon them from their front side and from their behind, and from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them grateful.’ (Surah A’raaf, verse 17) The popularity of the internet and in particular websites can be quantified by the volume of its users and the nature of its application. In the last five years, the fascination of such websites as Facebook and Twitter has caused a sea change in the way we communicate and interact with one another. In fact, social networking sites have become the new vehicle of information sharing and disseminating and broadcasting of news. In the recent past, key events have been brought to the attention of the world by ordinary people reporting the news first hand. The Arab spring had caught the attention of the masses and stirred and inspired a coherent and sustained revolt and uprising against the brutal and wretched regimes in the Arab world courtesy

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of some sort to social networking mediums. In fact, it took just one week for ninety thousand Egyptians to organise a revolution and only eighteen days of protest to overthrow thirty years of dictatorship. Thus, the nature of modern technology is that it has multiple advantages if used appropriately and suitably. Publicising and promoting the religion of Islam which encourages righteousness, justice, tolerance, honesty and morality is a virtuous and commendable act that every Muslim should be aspiring to, and engaged in. It is an opportunity to illustrate the beautiful teachings of Islam using mediums that are accessed by millions around the globe. However, it is indicative of current trends that any innovation has to be tampered with wickedness and evilness. It is a slur on modern styles and tendencies that that new innovations transpire to become forces of evil as oppose to forces for good by our undoing. Thus, social networking websites have become a place for slurring, slandering, gossiping and backbiting. Revelatory and provocative information only serves to fan the flame of indecency, immorality and offensiveness. Uncensored and unregulated information is viewed by all including children ensuring breakage of innocence and purity. Inflammatory and blasphemous comments are being read and consumed by us on a daily basis that we become desensitised, unresponsive and unaffected. These so called friendly and popular sites have enticed us to create new cyber friends from unimaginable places, sharing on the most trivial of matters to the secretive, personal, insensitive and hateful of information, transcending all boundaries of decency, civility and good manners. The most vile and despicable writings have been read by millions around the globe to ensure the gravy train of entertainment continues to crush the innocent bystanders. Therefore, as parents, guardians and responsible Muslims, we must put safeguards in place to protect ourselves from corrupting our faith. If we insist in using or accessing these sites, then ensure it is used to promote righteousness, virtues and

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justice. Children should be refrained from accessing, reading and viewing these kinds of sites other than for Islamic or educational purposes because vile images or dreadful antiIslamic sentiments corrupt the mind and indoctrinate the most vulnerable. Constant exposure to anti-Islamic sentiments can create doubts in the mind of a Muslim if it is not argued or challenged appropriately, causing great danger to one’s Imaan - faith. In fact, the Government have just recently completed a consultation on Parental Internet Control and it aims to write its findings and publish it at a later date. Ofcom’s statistics show that 12% of 8-11 year olds and 24% of 12-15 year olds use social networking sites to communicate with people not known to them. Additionally, 19% of 11-16 year olds have seen potentially harmful user generated content, rising to 32% of 14-16 year old girls. 8% of children 11-16 have experienced bullying on the internet. A third of 12-15 year olds think all search engine information is truthful. [1] Therefore, content that is inappropriate should not be read or viewed. Viewing unsuitable and prohibited sites/links is a major sin. Furthermore, expressing a liking to the link and forwarding it to others is also considered a major sin because publishing or distributing prohibitive articles, texts, images or sites are Islamically unlawful acts. Furthermore, conversing, tweeting or chatting with non-Mahram through the social networking sites is forbidden. Men are conversing with strange women or vice versa causing the veil of modesty to be removed. The damage can be irreversible and immeasurable, affecting individuals, families, communities and even the wider society. Of course we are all aware of this, however, how many of us blatantly and unashamedly flout these laws for ones purpose and benefit. In essence, if one insists in accessing social networking sites then use it to benefit humanity as opposed to causing unquantifiable and immeasurable damage in this world and the hereafter. May Allah protect us from the vices and devices that corrupt our most cherished possession – Imaan. By Aslam Seedat [1] Sources: Ofcom’s Children’s Media Literacy Tracker 2010 and EU Kids Online II


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Rugby League World Cup 2013 Comes to Town

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The 14th Rugby League World Cup kicked off on the 26 October with high hopes of the home nations to do well, England, Scotland, Wales and

Ireland will aim to end 38 years of southern hemisphere dominance. The 14-team tournament sees 28 matches across England,

Wales, Ireland and France. Scotland, Wales and Ireland are considered rank outsiders to become the first northern hemisphere winners since a unified Great Britain team triumphed in 1972. “The World Cup is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to new audiences who want to be involved in the next major international sporting event after London 2012,” said tournament director Nigel Wood. Rugby League and Ex England player Ikram Butt believes that England can go all the way to the final and win the World Cup. “The Southern Hemisphere teams will no doubt take some beating, however, England have selected a very solid pack and playing on home soil should work towards our advantage’ I know we haven’t started off well but we will get better” Sonny Bill Williams The biggest name in rugby union and league is New Zealand second-rower and

devoted Muslim Sonny Bill Williams and with just his name being mentioned with RLWC 2013 would have tickets being sold out. Williams helped Sydney Roosters win the National Rugby League (NRL) title in his first season back in league after completing a five-year ban for walking out on Canterbury Bulldogs. In his time away, the 28-year-old played union in France, Japan and his native New Zealand, as well as helping the All Blacks win the World Cup in 2011. Now, the man who is also New Zealand’s heavyweight boxing champion (six wins from six fights) has the chance to fill the only gap on his CV, having missed out when the Kiwis triumphed in 2008. The tournament will run until 30th November 2013 and you can catch up with all the action and on our facebook page /pimedia and on twitter @pimedianews

FIFA U-17 World Cup underway in UAE

The 15th FIFA U-17 World Cup kicked off with host country UAE playing Honduras in the opener. The tournament which will run through Nov. 8 features 24 teams including four each from Africa, North America and South America, five each from Asia and Europe, one from Oceania. The FIFA U-17 World Cup is held every two years since 1985 when China hosted the first ever U-17 World Cup. Mexico won the last edition in 2011.

We are looking for volunteer sport journalist who can go to sporting venues across the UK, interested email us at info@pi-media.co.uk or call us on 07506 466 385


Haroon Khan returns to the ring

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Haroon Khan makes his third appearance as a professional this month. The brother of former world champion Amir, who only turned professional earlier this year, will fight at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens on

November 15. Super-flyweight Haroon will be looking to continue where he left off in his initial two pro outings when he beat Brett Fidoe and Vicente Medellin in impressive fashion, the latter with a stunning knockout in Atlantic City in May. He said: “I just can’t wait to get back in the ring. It’s seemed like a while since I was last out, so I’m raring to go. “Over the past few months I’ve been training hard with Oliver Harrison and I’ve done some great work and had excellent sparring. “This will only be my third fight as a professional but I feel myself growing and getting stronger. There are no shortcuts in this sport so I will be getting in tip top shape in order to put on a great performance. I would

like to thank Steve Woods for putting me on this great show.” Woods of VIP Boxing Promotions, said: “We’ve put together a great show for November 15 in Blackpool which I’m very proud of. There’s a real mix of fighters amongst the card and everyone who attends or watches will no doubt see some truly excellent match-ups. “It’s great to have Haroon fighting on the card and we expect there will be a large contingent from Bolton making their way across to Blackpool next month. This card will have it all from top to bottom and it will be a great night of boxing.” Tickets are priced at £30 and £60 ringside and are available by contacting Saj Mohamed on 01204535332. The scheduled start time of the show is 7pm.


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A Journey to Balkan’s Ancient Economic Hub

Novi Pazar (Serbia)

One of the most exciting things in Britain for the international students is affordable travel particularly in Europe. Low cost airlines can take you to many destinations for amazing prices. What is more appealing for us is easy access to European visas perhaps for many a dream, especially in times of global suspicion and economic trouble. During the time I have spent in the UK it has become apparent to me that for the British people going on holiday is as important as blood is to your body; this practice normally attracts international students too. Luckily, I managed to get a cheaper flight to Belgrade [Serbia] by Wizz Air and if you are a student extra discounted train connections to all airports in Britain are an added bonus. But sadly, the Wizz Air experience ended up being a disaster as the airline does not have any official presence at Belgrade International Airport. I learnt that by failing to produce a printout of an online check-in document even though its airline’s website stated that one would have to pay an extra £15 to catch a flight

out. On arriving at Belgrade airport, I quickly encountered an immigration officer who gave me a strange glance indicating to me that they do not embrace Pakistani tourists but after few searching questions proceeded to leave. What next is always a first priority for a tourist is to find a safe and secure hotel or city centre without hurting the wallet too much. Here too, I found a young Australian student who knew Belgrade and a bus service that can take you to city centre for just £2 which is a reasonable amount in comparison to a taxi ride. From Belgrade to Novi Pazar I met friendly Serbian students who barely spok English but nevertheless revered foreigners. I would suggest to anyone visiting Serbia that you obtain Serbian dinars, especially if you are taking morning flight since the exchange office opens at 9 O’clock. Since 9/11 Pakistani identity has been engulfed with crisis around the world and this is often visible in places like Europe and America. In these troublesome times if one

passes through the immigration with ease it is more likely in remote countries where people barely know anything about Pakistan other then what media feeds them. Terrorism, Extremism or a failing State! It is surely a case of courteous experience, my journey to Southern region of Serbia, Novi Pazar, once a leading city, famous as trading and industrial hub, begins with a pleasant surprise when the Serbian visa counsellor tells me that for Pakistanis the visa fee is just £2 instead of £50 as in case of most countries. Novi Pazar means ‘New Marketplace’ and holds ancient monuments dating back to 1461 of its founder, Isa Beg. The most trusted and respected General in Ottoman history and a first governor of present day Sanjak including Bosnia, who also established beautiful cities of Sarajevo and Skopje along with many mosques, schools and other important buildings. Novi Pazar historic heritage from Ottoman’s times is in grave danger with few old monuments, houses, cafes, hammam’s and mosques may not


I November 2013 see the next decade or so if the authorities fail to act now. One of the oldest Turkish mosques Altun Alam is a wonderful living piece of stone work and is in considerably good condition. A magnificent piece of art and perhaps the only hammam [Turkish bath] which has been converted into a café speaks volumes in relation to the remarkable past of the city. The present owner has put on display many old utensils, mud pots, wooden benches and perhaps once again could be easily converted to fully functioning items. As I enter the café the glamorous ancient Turkish style décor grabs my attention. The café walls demonstrate the traditional life style of Novi Pazar inhabitants through paintings and in one corner one quickly discovers coffee making pots that are indicative of the old ways of preparing the perfect cup of coffee. In Novi Pazar this traditional method is known as (Dzezva) and is very evident within the confines of the Hammam café. When walking around the city centre one can easily detect and observe the hospitable nature of the Novi Pazar locals. In Novi Pazar everywhere I went with my host, Hachim Rizvanovic a local religious and political figure, always introduced always me as ‘Musafir’ meaning ‘guest’ in their language. It surprises me to see small shops like ‘thalaay’ in our Raja bazaar are mostly visible here in Novi Pazar where you can buy amazing souvenirs. These shopkeepers mostly sell stuff from Turkey, India and China at nominal prices here. At one shop, I stumbled across an amazing piece of art, a model of Khana Kaba, and was rather gobsmacked to find this unique item so many thousands of miles away. The shopkeeper was very gracious in his hospitality after discovering I was from Pakistan and duly presented me a brass made model of historic mosque AltunAlem a living symbol of 14th century Ottomans which is still an icon of Novi Pazar. Like any newcomer to this city, I was surprised to hear words from Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages such as; Marhaba meaning [welcome] Allah Amanat refers to [May God be with you]. Life in the surrounding villages is

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simple and traditional, especially for me, as it reminds of my time in the Himalayas; where people burn woods, slaughter animals in large quantities during the summer season using traditional methods of smoking to dry meat that they later use in the winter season. You can find this meat in different shapes in shops known as Mesar which means butcher. If you want to have a real taste of refined meat then the best place to buy dried meat is from local farm houses such as the one in the nearby village Paralovo. In addition to this, you can find few types of smoked meat in the city centre shops like Ukus, Boyajic, Micirlic, Zamo and Pepic. There are two types of meat, one is called Sujuc and the other is Prshuta used to make a number of traditional dishes, soups, and sandwiches. Local culinary style borders upon traditional fayre. For example, the family gather around the dinner table; once a popular custom in England that seems to be under irrevocable decline. However, in Novi Pazar this tradition is alive and celebrated. The traditional itinerary would begin with serving juice and coffee to guests upon arrival, followed shortly by offerings of fresh fruits and nuts and last on the menu, providing it is not lunch or dinner time we were presented with a sweet dish like Baklava and Dudovi Humasice. Manners are valued highly here in Novi Pazar there are peculiar customs for instance inside homes people wear socks (Popce) made from sheep wool which have many colourful designs. I learnt very quickly that in some families to be bear footed was considered to be a disrespectful act. Similarly, having been hosted by a few traditional families, thanksgiving is considered to be a well-known Muslim and Christian practice and considered as a must. I could not help but notice the guest stands at the guest entrance and leaves the gathering place as a sign of respect. This peculiar tradition can be traced back to Ottoman rule and it is perhaps for this reason the Persian word ‘Musafir’ meaning guest in the Balkan is considered to be a blessing from God. At dinner tables, guests always enjoy the privilege of having first pick of the main dishes. The city is rich in cafes

FEATUREDI 25

and restaurants offering a great mix of traditional and modern places for eating and dining out. Some of the famous restaurants are Meydan, Gaziya, K2, Badem and Fontana. Novi Pazar museum is located at the centre of the city just opposite to Kultural Centre. The eye catching patterns on the ancient wooden door at the entrance and the magnificent pieces of turban carved stones that often symbolises high ranking Turks is on display in the museum lawn. The museum holds precious collection of the arts, manuscripts, weapons, pottery, coins, jewellery and costumes and other various momentous items that demonstrate the glorious past of this historic city from the times of Romans to Byzantines and Ottomans empires, it seems that everyone has left their indelible mark on history. The most notable component of the museum is the display of Turk Muslims and Serbs in their everyday life throughout different stages of the last few centuries which to me spells out how Islam and Christianity are two civilizations that lived together for centuries in the same lands. Among many superb collections are musical instruments, weaponry and industrial equipments and Darvish objects that exhibit the importance of Novi Pazar particularly during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The city has revelled in its status of being the leading trade hub in the Balkans. Its most famous son, the renowned artist Muharem Radetinac commissioned a series of water colour paintings depicting every aspect of the city throughout history. The museum offers a complimentary booklet of his fabulous work compiled by Prof. Sait Kacapor to every visitor. A noble gesture, for more details about museum one may read at reaching http://www.muzejras.org/ etnologija_e.html. Novi Pazar has good strong links with the main Balkan States such as Bosnia, Macedonia, and Kosovo which are only few hours by bus only costing a maximum of 15 to 20 Euros. If you have more time, the surrounding villages’ like Sopocani, is home to the ancient monastery founded by the Serbian king Uros during the 12th century. Delimedje, another local village holds the record for the highest minarets throughout


26 I FEATURED Europe, standing 80 meters tall piercing the sky, a mosque that demonstrates the tolerance of Serbian government especially at a time where in neighbouring countries the construction of new mosques with tall minarets has been severely curtailed. Novi Pazar holds many secret treasures of all time of the most famous civilizations throughout the history from Roman and Byzantine rule right though to the Ottoman period. The journey to village Starčeviće is truly breathtaking as it brings home to you the amazing scenery that contains high mountains alongside the river Ribarice. Incidentally, Ribarice is a combination of two words ‘Riba’ meaning fish and Arice; cows sound giving you an everlasting memory. I stop by a few bridges along river Ribarice that runs from Kosovo to Serbia and imagined that I was travelling the Himalayas along the river Indus. Here at least one dozen types of the best quality fish around are available and these include: Pastrmka, Klen, Skobalj, Som, Saran, Smudj, Mlaica, Babuska and Deverika. Unfortunately, life in these parts of the Balkan is not as luxurious as many other countries throughout Europe. Most people have to survive on a maximum salary of 300 Euros while the vast majority remains unemployed in Novi Pazar. As you walk in to the heart of city centre you find scores of young people roaming around with little or no hope for their future. I learnt and experienced in my two weeks long stay in Novi Pazar, once an industrial place that is now a home to socially and economically deprived people. Although this city presently has three Universities with a considerable number of youngsters intending to continue onto advanced studies however the opportunities to gain scholarships abroad are at a premium. Students from Gymnasium College told me that they may not pursue higher education despite having a desire to do so coupled with the fact that there huge uncertainties from the global economic downturn which makes their survival rather precarious to say the least. From what I have witnessed here it seems that the Serbian government has shown little signs of development. A country that is

striving hard to be in the European Union camp appears to be somewhat apathetic to portraying the core values that the West stands for, such as ‘equality’ which means a discrimination free or a tolerant society but like other European countries living conditions for Cigan (Roma/traveller) here are too often an uphill struggle. In the Balkans, the wheatish skin people sometimes refer to themselves as being Egyptians since the word Gypsy originates from Egypt. But it seems that scholars on this subject as many believe they actually originate from Indian during the times of Afghan king Mahmud Ghaznavi. As I visit a nearby place in Novi Pazar, I saw a Cigan for the first time having a sizeable good house and doing scrap business. Despite being in Europe for more than eight centuries they are yet seen as problematic despite the fact that the vast majority of them are hard working and dedicated people but unfortunately they escape the glare of mainstream media organisations. Unlike in Britain where Channel television programmes My Big Fat Gipsy Wedding help viewers to better understand Roma people’s life. Sadly the picture of poverty is worldwide and this city is undoubtedly a victim of this image. As I pass by, a child runs to me speaking in local dialect and I ponder upon the point as to whether this child is identifying with

www.pi-media.co.uk I November 2013 me based on the common skin colour we share. One is not surprised to have stumbled across evidence of a shrewd programme designed to transform the demographics of Muslims majority Sanjak and thus reduce it to a economically deprived zone. This will surely result in an escalation of conflict and perhaps bring another unpleasant episode of bloodshed in the near future. History tells us that Sanjak has been Turkic for at least last five or more centuries in all its aspects ranging from culture, faith and traditions. Failure to decide uponSanjak’s fate is akin to a regional time bomb waiting to go off. Prof. Jamal from Novi Pazar University unfolds interesting facts about everyday affairs relating to Muslims. For instance, the Hijab controversy that became the talk of the town in many European cities has little or no audience here in Novi Pazar where I see most young girls in Islamic dress complete with Hijab. The professor stated ‘hijab is not an issue here in Novi Pazar; perhaps someone may pass on strange looks to a hijab wearing woman in Belgrade’. Sitting at the steps of the University of Leeds I am thinking how a piece of cloth has become a matter of tension between two set of people while both Islam and Christianity ask their followers to adopt modernity. The Nuns! By: Irfan Raja


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