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Apology Not Good Enough

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November 2015

UK families want Blair tried as a war criminal

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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair last month apologised for taking Britain to the 2003 war in Iraq. “I can say that I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong because, even though he had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the program in the form that we thought y rtified b

it was did not exist in the way that we thought,” Blair said in an exclusive interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. Blair was referring to the claim that Saddam’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction, which was used by the US and British governments to justify launching the invasion. But according to intelligence reports, the

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claim turned out to be false. But many families of soldiers who died in the Illegal Iraq war want him tried for war crimes as well as majority of the people in UK, one father whose son was killed in the war in Iraq says that former Tony Blair, should be tried as a war criminal for his role in the conflict. Peter Brierley, from Batley, West Yorkshire, whose son, Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley, died in 2003, believes Blair is trying to head off criticism of his handling of the conflict. It is something we’ve been waiting to hear. But unfortunately I don’t believe he’s actually sorry. They weren’t misled. He knew exactly what was going on. He’s more sorry about the fact things are going to start coming out now from the Chilcot inquiry. – Peter Brierley said. Brierley has previously confronted Tony Blair, accusing him of having blood on his hands from his role in the conflict. The media interpreted Blair’s apology as a tactic to prepare the ground for the publication of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. follow us on You Tube

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thePassion

www.pi-media.co.uk I November 2015

By Majed Iqbal

Editor of MAJED’S BLOG

Government Fanaticism to cure ‘Extremism’ in Madrassas?

inspected and closed down if they fail to comply with the governments definition of what is acceptable educational delivery.

Last month British PM, David Cameron announced that he would enforce tough measures on any educational institute that promotes intolerance and extremism. Weeks after these announcements, many are now beginning to see the irrelevance of his words uttered at the Tory Party Conference and are realising the repercussions this will have specifically on the target community, in this case it is Muslims and Muslims alone. “There was no problem with children learning about their faith in supplementary schools, but minds must be broadened, not “filled with poison”” said a defiant Cameron in reference making open religious schools open to inspection. once again, without any shadow of doubt he was referring to Islamic Schools, Mosques and Madrassas. The Sermon Speaking at the Manchester Conference David Cameron continued on his tirade, sermonising like a preacher on what will be classed as acceptable and unacceptable teaching and learning at Muslim establishments. “Did you know, in our country, there are some children who spend several hours each day at

a madrassa? In some madrassas, we’ve got children being taught that they shouldn’t mix with people of other religions; being beaten; swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people”. “These children should be having their minds opened, their horizons broadened, not having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate. Nurseries, Universities, NHS & now Madrassas! In earlier plans, Cameron spelled out that it was the civic duty of everyone to report suspicious behavior of anyone exhibiting signs of extremism. Once gain targeting Muslims, the guidelines mentioned the growing of a beard for men, women suddenly wearing Hijab and taking interest in international Muslim issues as ‘signs’ of adopting the slippery to a path of extremism. Those staff who failed to report any suspicious behaviour would be subject to prosecution themselves! Not satisfied with the witch hunt in government sponsored institutions, now, independent institutions, built from money directly from the hard work of the Muslim community are now being threatened to be

Waking up Weeks after the PM’s speech, a grass roots counter response is being formulated by many in the Muslim community who feel that their community is clearly being targeted. No community has been made subject to such scrutiny, suspicion and intervention by the Government as has the Muslim community. The threat from the far-right is drowned by the state sponsored apparatus which demonises Islam as a causal factor for extremism and a threat to the country’s security. This allows politicians and Media to sensationalise stories and events when speaking about Muslims and walk away un-challenged, further fueling hate and suspicion in the minds of ordinary folk. For may, the line has been crossed and enough is enough. Keep Mosques independent Campaign In light of these Political developments, a campaign has been launched to demonstrate the growing opposition to government plans. The ‘Keep Mosques independent Campaign’ has been growing in momentum in the last days and gained many signatories on http:// keepmosquesindependent.org/ Days ahead The government will end up meeting a growing opposition in the next days and weeks from Muslims from all backgrounds and persuasions as their plans continue to be scrutinised, challenged and opposed. One thing is for sure; Government Fanaticism cannot be the cure to the ill defined and misleading definitions on ‘Extremism’ whether in Madrassas or elsewhere.

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


Conference to define Islamophobia as racism www.pi-media.co.uk

I November 2015

Islamophobia as a variant of racism is to be the theme of a major conference to be held in London on Saturday 12 December 2015, The conference is a response to commentators who increasingly justify antipathy to Islam on the grounds that it is based on opposition to religious views and not someone’s ethnicity or colour. However much recent scholarship has viewed Islamohobia’s inferiorising of Muslims as similar to the inferiorisation of nonwhite communities with shared roots in European colonialism. The conference will also

discuss how Islamophobia has evolved from and replaced biological racism from the colonial period. It will seek to place Islamophobia within the wider xenophobia narrative engulfing Europe. Simultaneously a twin conference in Edinburgh will explore the alarming increase in Islamophobia in the UK. It will focus on analysing institutional and structural forms of prejudice and hatred against Muslims and suggest ways of tackling it. In recent years Islamophobia has become a mainstay of government dealings with Britain’s Muslims, not

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just the hobyyhorse of a right wing fringe. This has stemmed from an increasingly Islamophobic discourse - created by media and politicians - that perpetuates bigotry towards Muslims and leads to an intensified climate

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of fear that prevents them from expressing their ideas and beliefs. The conferences are being jointly organised by Islamic Human Rights Commission and Scotland Against Criminalising Communities.


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I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

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I November 2015

Local authorities urged to tackle underrepresentation of Muslims

A new report by Demos urges local authorities to take a more active role in offering good information, advice and guidance to students from the Muslim community in order to improve their representation in top professions. Rising to the Top reveals that British Muslims are less proportionately represented in the managerial and professional occupations than any other religious group (16%, compared to an average of 30%) and it lays out a number of ways for local authorities to address this. The report, which is based on an analysis of residential, educational, and labour force data, and the

Demos Integration Hub, also found Muslims in England and Wales are disproportionately more likely to be unemployed and economically inactive. This underrepresentation is, argues the report, the result of five key factors: poor English language skills; lower levels of education; cultural attitudes which restrict the role of women in the labour market and discourage young people from moving away from the local community; discrimination; and workplace culture where alcohol consumption is important for networking. As well as statistical data the report also draws heavily on focus

groups, and interviews conducted with schools, universities, local authorities and community organisations in the two East London boroughs with the highest percentage of Muslim residents in the UK: Newham and Tower Hamlets. In order to improve Muslim representation in the top professions, the report’s authors recommend schools and local authorities ensure that they are offering good information, advice and guidance to make sure that students who aspire to top professions are making the right educational choices. This could include, according to Demos, conducting parent-focused public information campaigns on the employment and education landscape of the UK, and recruiting high-flying Muslim professionals to run career education evenings with parents. High performing students with poor formal English skills should also receive targeted tutoring, to ensure that a lack of formal English capability is not a barrier to talent. The report also outlines in some detail what the central government, the Muslim community, universities and employers can do to improve representation. You can read the full report at http://www.demos.co.uk/project/ rising-to-the-top/

Collection of Poems ‘Zindagi’ launched in Batley, Yorkshire

Batley in West Yorkshire was the venue for the launch of the much awaited poetry book by Masum Karolia. Masum Karolia who was born in Gujarat in India is one of the best poetry writers and ghazal reciter within West Yorkshire. Masum Karolia launched his collection of poems, Zindagi, in front of more than 200 people which included some of the best Gujarati Indian poets and renowned writers within the UK.

Masum anthology which is also available in audio CD format included traditional ghazal rhymes consisting of couplets recited in harmonious tones. After the ceremonies, poets/writers took to the stage and treated the audience to poetry, which was warmly welcomed. Zindagi can be purchased by contacting Masum Karolia by emailing him on masumkarolia@hotmail.com www.pi-media.co.uk


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Cage wins judicial review of Charity Commission www.pi-media.co.uk

I November 2015

The advocacy group CAGE won a landmark legal battle against the Charity Commission. This case has been welcomed by the charity sector to ensure their freedom from interference from the commission based on unlawful, ideological reasons. The Guardian reported that the Charity Commission denied that it acted outside of the law saying it had sought “voluntary assurances which were plainly within its powers”. “Such assurances were needed in order to maintain public trust and confidence in charities.” In its defence document the regulator denies that it directed charities to give an unprecedented pledge to rule out future funding for Cage “regardless of any circumstance” A Statement from Cage read: The Charity Commission has today been forced to climb down from its attempt to prohibit charities from funding CAGE. CAGE is grateful for the wide ranging support it has received. This is an important vindication of our position. We know this will come as a relief to the whole charity sector

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and the attempt to interfere with the lawful activities of civil society has been blocked. This case was never about winning or losing. It was always about testing the extent to which the narrative that underpins the “War on Terror” has seeped into public life. Above all we wanted to empower others in civil society to make a stand against unfair treatment of individuals and organisations dressed up as regulatory activity. The Charity Commission took a “high-handed” approach as confirmed by the most senior judge in the country, Lord Chief Justice Thomas. CAGE’s position is that the Commission as an important regulator has been hijacked by apologists for the War on Terror who view all who dissent from their narrative with suspicion. Despite the climate of fear the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust came forward and stood with us. Many in civil society applauded us for taking a stand. The charities sector supported us for fighting their corner and vocalising their experiences. CAGE has achieved its objective.

The Charity Commission was forced to accept that it was wrong to require charities to give indefinite assurances to never fund CAGE. We now hope that the Charity Commission will take a considered approach in exercising its powers and only intervene where there is clear evidence of wrongdoing. As a regulator it should remain impartial and not be driven by the prevailing political aims of a few ideologues in government or sections of the media. We thank the Joseph Rowntree for standing with us in this struggle against injustice and for equality. With the Government’s announcements of new proposals for counter extremism we believe that we are in danger of moving toward an era of 21st century McCarthyism, in which politically motivated witch hunts could be used to persecute innocent people in the guise of counter terrorism. CAGE will continue to expose and challenge such policies. We ask all those in civil society who are committed to fairness and equality to support the work of CAGE and safeguard the Rule of Law for all.

education or charities, the strategy will reinforce perceptions that all aspects of Muslim life must undergo a ‘compliance’ test to prove our loyalty to this country,” he added. Arzu Merali, the co-founder of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, in London, has described the antiextremism strategy as yet another evidence of demonization of Muslim communities in the UK. “The new so-called counterterrorism strategy sadly is further evidence of demonization of the Muslim communities,” she told Press TV. “It has been going on endlessly for decades and has accelerated over the last 15 years or so, with

policies that simply direct all of society’s attention and fear towards a mythical threat,” the London-based rights activist said. The British government insists that Counter-Extremism Strategy has been designed to counter the ideology promoted by ISIL and other terrorist groups including al Qaeda. However, some British MPs have criticized the plans with some experts warning that any wrong decision may provoke a backlash and drive more people towards extremism. Some critics believe that the new measures could deteriorate the sense of alienation and resentment among young British Muslims.

Govt counter-extremism strategy condemned by British Muslims British Muslims have condemned the Tory government’s new strategy to counter extremism in the country. Muslim groups say the new plans demonize their communities and are doomed to failure. The secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) announced that the new strategy has been based on “fuzzy conceptions of British values.” “Today’s ‘one nation’ counterextremism strategy continues down a flawed path, focusing on Muslims in particular, and are based on fuzzy conceptions of British values,” Shuja Shafi, the MCB’s Secretary General said in a statement. “Whether it is in mosques,


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Germany increases arms sales to Israel and UK

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I November 2015

Germany’s arms exports have significantly increased in the first half of 2015 and reached €3.5 billion, the German government said in a report. The U.K., Israel, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, India and Kuwait have become top importers of German arms, according to the government’s semi-annual arms sales report. Despite a promise by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partner Social Democrats for a more restrictive arms exports policy, the German government approved

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€3.5 billion worth of arms exports between January and June this year, an increase of 59 percent compared with the same period last year. The share of EU countries in Germany’s military sales has been €1.5 billion; to NATO countries it has been €269 million. Military exports to other countries reached a volume of €1.67 billion in the first half of 2015. German government announced that the significant increase in numbers was the result of a number of mega deals, and do not represent

UK refuses to share ISIL information with Moscow The UK has refused to assist Russia with data on ISIL targets in Syria, Russia’s ambassador to Britain has said. London follows Washington in its decision not to share intelligence data with Russia, despite the US’s signing of an agreement on airstrikes according to a report in RT. Britain has declined to cooperate with Russia’s military campaign against ISIL and has insisted on keeping its intelligence data regarding terrorist installations there as classified information. Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko told Rossija 24

TV channel in an interview that “We are conducting active work with the British on the Syrian issue. My contacts in the Foreign Office prove that so far this work isn’t very successful,” he said. In a recent meeting with Yakovenko, the British Foreign Office head also refused to share British military information or contact details for the Syrian Free Army with Russia, claiming that the deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov already had the necessary data and was acquainted with representatives of the moderate opposition, the ambassador said.

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a shift from the policy of the coalition government. The U.K. purchased four tanker aircrafts and other military equipment worth € 1.16 billion. Export licenses approved for Israel in the first half of 2015 reached €391 million, including a highly sophisticated Dolphin-class submarine. The hi-tech submarine is capable of carrying cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, according to weekly Der Spiegel. German opposition parties sharply criticized government for not honoring its promises for a more restrictive arms exports policy.

Police complaints reach record high in England, Wales New figures show that there were a record number of complaints against police in England and Wales. According to the figures from the Independence Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) a total of 37,105 complaint cases were recorded in 2014-15. The figures, a record high for the second year running, show a 6% rise made in 2013-14. Most complaints are made for “neglect or failure in duty”. Meanwhile, the IPCC said a survey made last year revealed public satisfaction following contact with the police was falling, and there was a greater willingness to complain. More people were dissatisfied with the way their complaint was handled. The total number of appeals made by dissatisfied complainants increased by 7%. Meanwhile, the time taken to resolve complaints increased to 147 days - 12 days longer than the year before The Metropolitan Police, the UK’s largest force had the highest number of complaints with 6,828.

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Growing number of Scots converting to Islam 10

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A growing number of Scots are converting to Islam - with the majority young women. Glasgow Central Mosque alone is now seeing more than 200 Scots a year ‘revert’. Due to the rising number of Scots finding Islam, mosques across the country are also setting up support groups for new ‘reverts’. Many are fearful of abuse and intimidation. Reversion is the preferred term within Islam for those who ‘convert’ as Muslims believe everyone is born believing in Allah. The Sunday Herald spoke to Hannah, a 25-year-old administrator from Glasgow who recently “reverted”. Hannah asked for her surname to be kept confidential. Though brought up without any particular faith, Hannah is one of a

growing number of Scots who are turning to Islam despite what many see as a “demonisation” of the religion. “I’d done a degree in comparative religion and had to analyse all the religious texts,” said Hannah. “I went away from that thinking that maybe I should be a Christian. “But a few months later, while meditating, I found myself pulled in the direction of Islam. After that I started reading again, but this time in a more emotional way. I found I preferred the simplicity of Islam.” After mulling it over for six months, she decided to revert. In July this year, she visited Glasgow Central Mosque to take the Shahada – a declaration of faith in front of two witnesses, in which Allah is recognised as the only God.

Her conversion was shared online by the Glasgow Central Mosque along with others including 20-yearold Jade from the Shetland Isles, and Katie, also 20 and an administration worker from Glasgow, who made her Shahada last month. Glasgow Central Mosque says numbers of “reverts” have been gradually rising and they are now dealing with up to four conversions a week. Along with the Edinburgh Central Mosque, it has now started support groups for new Muslims. The total number of converts is not known, but according to a report by Faith Matters, 5,200 people now join the UK-wide Muslim population of three million every year. Scotland’s community is significantly smaller at 90,000 people, over one-third of whom live in Glasgow. Rizy Mohammad, a co-ordinator at the Glasgow Central Mosque, said: “We are seeing an influx, particularly in the number of women expressing an interest in Islam. I don’t think there is one reason for it but it’s interesting that after 9/11, where Muslims were blamed for the bombing of the twin towers, a lot of people started doing their own research. Many found out more about Islam that led them to different conclusions. “There is also the spiritual dimension. They’ve been part of the material world, done the shopping thing and now they are looking for a deeper connection.”

UK Muslim student cleared of terror charges A student of Aberdeen University was cleared of charges of being involved in conduct “with the intention of committing acts of terrorism”. “I’m very happy and hope to continue my medical career. I’ve been in limbo for the last two years,” Yousif Badri said commenting the decision of the High Court in Glasgow.

“The verdict returned by the jury means that you are free to leave the dock. The court would like to wish you well in your continued medical career,” Judge Lord Turnbull told Badri. Badri gave evidence during the long-running trial and accused ISIL of “hijacking” Muslim history. He told the court, “It tries to

appear as a religious organisation, but it’s more like a Mafia organisation or criminal gang.” He said he had al-Qaeda material on his computer for research purposes only. When asked if he was a terrorist or intended to become a terrorist, he replied: “No, of course not.” www.pi-media.co.uk


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CAGE review concludes that mistakes were made in Emwazi case In Case You Missed It

An external review of CAGE’s handling of the Mohammed Emwazi case has concluded that “mistakes were made” by the organisation, and has made several recommendations. In July this year CAGE Directors commissioned an external review of its handling of the Mohammed Emwazi case and the subsequent media coverage. Communica were appointed to undertake this review. They were provided with all the material including confidential internal paperwork, interviews with key people, including an independent focus group and analysis of media reporting. The report concludes: “The

Emwazi affair has been a steep learning curve for this young civil society organisation. Mistakes were made but these were due to inexperience and poor planning and communication. This allowed a hostile media to easily label and misrepresent CAGE in the way they did.” The report however also acknowledged the key role CAGE played: “By and large CAGE did an extraordinary job with limited resources. They managed an exceptional situation which posed high risks. Without CAGE’s input and released information, the public would have been denied a key part of Emwazi’s story.”

Dr Adnan Siddiqui, Director of CAGE, said: “This review was difficult to undertake, however it was important to help us learn and develop.” “We are a relatively young organisation with a small team and a huge challenge but we strive for the highest professional standards. On this occasion we made mistakes and we recognise this. We will be studying the report carefully and looking to implement the recommendations.” “Despite the mistakes made, we feel our intervention still made an important contribution to the debates around security services’ accountability, and abuses of the rule of law in the War on Terror.” “CAGE will continue to make a contribution to the wider interests of the UK and beyond, despite being hindered by a small section of ideologues operating around Whitehall who still fail to accept that independent Muslim opinion is now part and parcel of our civil society.” “I would like to thank Communica, staff, volunteers and others involved in this review. I would especially like to thank the many people who gave their time to part take in the focus group.”

UK police to record anti-Muslim hate crimes as separate category The British government said antiMuslim hate crimes will be recorded as a separate category by all police forces across England and Wales. It will bring Islamophobia in line with anti-Semitic attacks targeting Jewish people, which have been recorded separately for some time. According to the government, creating a separate category across the board would enable police, prosecutors, councils and the communities they serve to have a better understanding of the prevalence of anti-Muslim hate crime and allocate resources accordingly. David Cameron attend the

first meeting of a new community engagement forum to announce new funding for the security of all faith establishments, including mosques. The forum discussed the objectives of the government’s upcoming counter-extremism strategy. Cameron said: “We all have a role to play in confronting extremism. That’s why I have invited important Muslim and non-Muslim figures to join the new community engagement forum so I can hear directly about their work in our communities, the challenges they face and so that they can be part of

our one nation strategy to defeat it.” Hate crimes in England and Wales have risen by 18%, UK the Home Office said. Statistics show that police recorded 52,528 hate crimes in 2014/15, up from 44,471 in 2013/14. According to the statefunded BBC, more than 80% were classed as race hate crimes, with others involving religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender victims. Hate crime is defined as an offence which is perceived to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.


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US cutting Palestinian aid

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The United States is cutting economic aid for the Palestinian Authority, partly because of “unhelpful actions” by the Palestinians, a US diplomat said. A specialised news site, alMonitor, earlier said the US State Department intends to reduce aid for the West Bank and Gaza in fiscal

2016 from $370 million (335 million euros) to $290 million. A US State Department official, travelling with Secretary of State John Kerry on a trip to Amman, confirmed there would be a cut. “The decision to reduce assistance to the Palestinian Authority was made this past spring,”

he told reporters. “There were several factors contributing to this decision, including unhelpful actions taken by the Palestinians and constraints on our global assistance budget.” The cut was not directly linked to the wave of violence that is currently gripping Israel and the Palestinian territories, the official said. The source added, however, “we have made clear our concern about inflammatory rhetoric over these past few weeks”. Al-Monitor, which was quoted by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said the cut followed mounting criticism in the US Congress about Palestinian “incitement”. Kerry was in Amman last month where he held talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on how to brake the latest bloodletting. The visit was part of a diplomatic scramble to defuse tensions many fear could herald a new intifada, or Palestinian uprising.

FBI agents set traps in hunt for US terror recruits In April, John Booker was arrested for allegedly planning to carry out a suicide bombing at a military base in Kansas on behalf of the ISIL group. It turns out that undercover FBI operatives had been manipulating the 20-year-old for six months -- helping him make a “martyrdom” video, providing him with a list of bomb-making materials and even building an explosive device for him, albeit an inert one. Critics say the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s growing army of undercover agents tasked with hunting down terror recruits on US soil sometimes unduly pressures young, impressionable people to plan and move forward with acts they may otherwise not have conceived on their own. The FBI “may have created terrorists out of law-abiding citizens,”

Human Rights Watch has alleged. In total, the FBI employs at least 15,000 undercover informants who are spread out over a wide span of probes, ranging from pedophilia to drugs to terror. Often well paid and operating with immunity, an informant can sometimes go so far as to suggest targets or provide weapons to convince a suspected recruit he or she is for real. “They need to be convinced that you are just like them,” said Mubin Shaikh, a former Canadian counterterrorism operative who has worked undercover, including in an operation that saw the so-called Toronto 18 prosecuted. “You have to play along, you have to do what they tell you to do. Otherwise your whole operation is compromised.”

Shaikh, who recounted his experiences in the memoir “Underground Jihadi:Inside the Toronto 18,” said there are a number of tactics to find out whether someone is an extremist or potential extremist. In one approach, Shaikh would ask the suspect whether he would be interested in attending a “(terror) training camp,” with the phrasing kept vague. “If I say the exact same thing to somebody else and he says ‘yeah, I do wanna go and train them,’ that’s you getting caught, that’s not entrapment,” Shaikh said. “If that suggestion is well within the operational doctrine of that group, that’s not entrapment, it’s like a dangle. You’re hooking somebody -- it’s like fishing.” www.pi-media.co.uk


US to supply Pakistan with F-16 jets 14

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The Obama administration is preparing to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in an attempt to bolster the two countries’ relationship despite Washington’s reservations about Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal, The New York Times reported. The aircraft sales, which the U.S. Congress could block, would

be a symbolic step given Pakistan’s current large fleet of fighter jets. According to the report, the Congress was notified just days before the proposed sale of the additional fighters although it is not clear if the White House plans to announce the sale of the aircraft. The new fighter jets would add to Pakistan’s sizable force of fighter jets

which includes more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft, the report said. The report says that many in the U.S. Congress are concerned that the F-16 jets are more useful to Pakistan in its long confrontation with India than for counterterrorism operations. It is not certain whether the Congress will approve the deal. According to the report, the Congress and the U.S. State Department are already in a standoff over an effort to sell used Navy cutter vessels to Pakistan earlier this year. The decision of the sale of fighter jets comes ahead of Thursday’s meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Obama is expected to press Nawaz on the Taliban, nuclear safety and a range of other issues when the two leaders meet at the White House. www.pi-media.co.uk

Ex-Israeli PM sued over deadly raid on Gaza flotilla The family of a U.S. citizen who was killed during a raid by Israeli troops in 2010 on a Gaza-bound flotilla are suing former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, claiming unlawful death and torture. Attorneys representing the Turkish family of Furkan Dogan told AFP that Barak was served papers in the civil case after giving a speech at an event near Los Angeles. Dogan, a U.S. citizen born in New York, was among nine people killed in the raid on six Turkish boats that had been attempting to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Israel at the time said that it had sent repeated warnings to the flotilla before launching the raid. The incident soured once-close relations between Israel and Turkey. “On board the Mavi Marmara, Israeli forces extinguished the life of a 19-year-old boy holding a video camera,” said Hakan Camuz, a representative of Dogan’s family. “He was shot five times. The last shot was to his head at point blank range. He deserves justice.” A U.N. panel that reviewed the case determined that the raid was “excessive and unreasonable” but

also laid blame on Turkey. The human rights lawyers that filed the suit against Barak have also been pushing the Hague-based International Criminal Court to investigate the incident. “From Nuremberg and Tokyo to the Balkans, Rwanda and Sierra Leone, there is a tradition around the world of holding military leaders accountable for their crimes against civilians,” said attorney Rodney Dixon. Barak or members of his entourage could not be immediately reached for comment.

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US approves $11.25 billion military sale to Saudi Arabia

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Despite calls by international human rights groups on the U.S. to stop providing Saudi Arabia with weapons, Washington has approved for a US$11.25-billion sale to the

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Saudi military of up to four Lockheed Martin Corp multi-mission warships, plus associated equipment, training and logistics. The Pentagon’s Defense Security

Cooperation Agency notified Congress about the possible sale, and released a statement on its website, according to Reuters. “We stand ready to support that sale,” Lockheed Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson told analysts on an earnings call. She said the deal could be completed in 2016. The Pentagon’s office in charge of the sale of weapons and other military equipment (DSCA) said the major defense equipment involved in the deal was worth US$4.3 billion, with the rest going to fund extensive engineering, logistics and training required for the program. U.S. members of Congress now have 30 days to block the sale, an action that is rare since potential deals are carefully vetted before formal notification is given. www.pi-media.co.uk

Israel under fire by UNESCO The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has approved a resolution, criticizing Israel for restricting Muslim worshipers’ access to the al-Asqa Mosque and failing to protect Muslim heritage sites in the occupied Palestinian territories. The resolution, which was drafted by Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was passed with 26 out of the 58 member states on UNESCO’s executive board voting in favour of the proposal. While six countries, including the US, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia, opposed the resolution, 25 members countries abstained. The document condemned the Israeli “aggression” against Palestinian worshipers, its restrictive measures on the entry of Muslims into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound as well as Tel Aviv’s “attempts to break the status quo since 1967.” The UNESCO resolution

also “deeply deplores the recent repression in East Jerusalem (alQuds), and the failure of Israel, the Occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City.” The resolution was passed amid a rising wave of tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories, which was triggered by Israel’s imposition in August of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque in East alQuds. Palestinians are also angry at increasing violence by illegal Israeli settlers, who frequently storm the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Palestinians say the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the compound. According to the latest figures, more than 50 Palestinians have lost their lives in clashes with Israeli forces and settlers since the beginning of October. Elsewhere, the newly-adopted

UNESCO resolution further urged the “prompt reconstruction of schools, universities, cultural heritage sites, cultural institutions, media centers and places of worship that have been destroyed or damaged by the consecutive Israeli wars on Gaza.” The Tel Aviv regime has launched three wars on Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip since 2008. Almost 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the Israel’s onslaught last year, while some 11,000 were injured.


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U.S. drone program documents leaked online

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In Case You Missed It

An anonymous source within the U.S. government leaked a trove of documents regarding the nation’s unmanned drone program in foreign nations that was publishedlast month by whistle-blowing website The Intercept. Specifically, the documents and slides cover the U.S. military’s drone program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia between 2011 and 2013, which the publication deems a crucial time in the development of the “drone wars”. The papers reveal damaging information about the program,

including evidence that as many as 90 percent of drone killings in a fivemonth period did not dispatch the correct target. A former British citizen was killed via drone even though the military had multiple opportunities to capture him alive. Authored by journalist Jeremy Scahill, the report claims the military has an “assassination complex” that leads directly to the White House and uses drones as a crucial tool. The Intercept claimed that documents were leaked by an anonymous “source within the

intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides”. The Intercept was founded in early 2014 and became a platform for documents leaked by the exiled Edward Snowden, who revealed in 2013 that the National Security Agency had a massive electronic surveillance that snooped on millions of Americans and foreigners. The leak is firmly in the tradition of Snowden’s revelation as well as Chelsea Manning’s release of military data to WikiLeaks several years earlier. Unlike those cases, though, the source included his or her motivations alongside the release, which centered around surveilling and profiling targets before a strike. “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source claims in the report.

Amnesty says countless Rohingya died fleeing Myanmar, urges fight against trafficking

Amnesty International is urging Southeast Asian nations to avoid a repeat of the refugee-boat crisis that left thousands stranded at sea earlier this year, saying in a new report that human traffickers kept asylumseekers in “hellish” conditions, beat them severely and even killed them if families failed to pay ransoms. The report released is based on interviews with more than 100 Rohingya Muslim refugees who reached Indonesia through perilous boat journeys. “The daily physical abuse faced by Rohingya who were trapped on boats in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea is almost too horrific

to put into words ... Even children were not spared these abuses,” said Anna Shea, a refugee researcher at Amnesty. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar by boat to escape persecution by the country’s Buddhist majority. Their plight became an international crisis in May when thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshis were found packed in rickety boats with little food or water, abandoned by their smugglers. Some were turned away by the governments of Thailand and Malaysia, while some managed to make it to shore in Indonesia.

“The shocking truth is that those we spoke to are the ‘lucky’ ones who made it to shore — countless others perished at sea or were trafficked into forced labor situations,” said Shea. The mostly Bengali-speaking ethnic Rohingya are Muslims who have lived in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine as a minority for generations but are not recognized by the government as citizens. Instead, they are branded as foreigners with no rights, and face constant discrimination from the government as well as Buddhist nationalists. www.pi-media.co.uk


I WORLD NEWS

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US Muslims sue anti-Muslim Burmese president 18

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Rejecting his anti-Muslim policies, American Muslim rights activists have filed a lawsuit against the Burmese President Thein Sein, accusing him of committing human rights abuses against the Rohingya Muslim community. According to the plaintiffs, Muslim Rohingya are “subjected to genocide, torture, arbitrary detention, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” by officials controlled by Thein Sein and his ministers, Reuters reported. The complaint was filed on Thursday in Manhattan federal court,

just a few weeks ahead of November 8 historic Burmese general election It accuses Thein Sein and top officials of planning and instigating “hate crimes and discrimination amounting to genocide.” The civil lawsuit was filed by Burma Task Force, a group of 19 Muslim organizations, and the Rohingya man Hitay Lwin Oo. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages for alleged violations of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), a US law often invoked in lawsuits alleging human rights

abuses. The government will have a chance to respond to the lawsuit once it is served. It typically takes at least a few months for a judge to decide whether a case may proceed. Described by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, Rohingya Muslims are facing a catalogue of discrimination in their homeland. They have been denied citizenship rights since an amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 and are treated as illegal immigrants in their own home. The Burmese government as well as the Buddhist majority refuse to recognize the term “Rohingya”, referring to them as “Bengalis”. Rights groups have accused the Burmese security forces of killing, raping and arresting Rohingyas following the sectarian violence last year. Between 2012 and 2013, Buddhists mob attacks have left hundreds of Rohingya Muslims killed and evacuated more than 140,000 from their homes. The violence has displaced nearly 29,000 people, more than 97 % of whom are Rohingya Muslims, according to the United Nations.

Jewish, Muslim graves defiled with swastikas in Austria A Jewish and a Muslim cemetery were defiled with Nazi symbols and anti-migrant slogans in western Austria, police said, just weeks after similar attacks on a refugee hostel and Jewish museum. Unknown perpetrators desecrated graves and buildings with a red pen in the Jewish cemetery of the town of Hohenems, close to the Swiss borderlast month, a police spokeswoman told the APA news

agency. The offenders also drew swastikas and wrote racist slogans at a Muslim burial ground in the nearby municipality of Altach. Police suspect the attacks were carried out by the same people who painted phrases like “Stop the refugee flood” on a refugee hostel and drew swastikas on buildings in the Jewish quarter, including the Jewish Museum, in Hohenems.

The town’s mayor, Richard Amann of the conservative OeVP, is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the right-wing FPOe party over his victory in municipal elections in March. The FPOe had come first with 43.3 percent, but Amann ended up winning the run-off vote by 125 votes.

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WORLD NEWS I 19

Geert Wilders party received donation from US man

Notorious anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been forced to disclose that he received funds from a key player in the US Islamophobia industry, according to a report in Electronic Intifada. Meanwhile the lawmaker is to face charges of inciting hatred and violence against Dutch citizens of Moroccan descent during an election campaign last year. It has long been suspected that

Wilders has received US funding but that had never been proven. Since 2013 a law change in Netherlands required all political parties to disclose donations of more than $5,000. The PVV was strongly opposed to the move at the time. A report that was released by the Dutch interior ministry on 23 September reveals that Wilders’ Party for Freedom – known by its Dutch initials PVV – received

Muslim sisters sue NY cops Two young Muslim sisters whose religious headpieces were torn off in a scuffle with NYPD cops have landed a $97,500 settlement from the city. The officers approached the girls, ages 12 and 14, in a Bronx playground at around 8 p.m. on an August day in 2013 and ordered them to leave because it was closed, according to a Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed by their mom. The “devout Muslim’’ girls, only identified in court papers as K.W. and L.C., immediately complied and began walking out of the Mott Haven park, the suit said. But moments later, the officers attacked the children, “violently

grabbing them around their necks and forcing them to the ground,” the lawsuit stated. “As the officers, L.C. and K.W. crashed to the ground, the children’s hijabs were pulled from their heads,” the suit said. “This was not only profoundly humiliating, but a violation of their deeply held religious beliefs.” Police have said the girls were disorderly and that they were not complying with their order. The police also arrested the girls’ 15-year-old brother, identified as S.W., when he asked what they were doing to his sisters, the suit said. “It was in the best interest of the city to resolve this case,” a city Law Department spokesman said.

€18,110 ($20,000) from the David Horowitz Freedom centre. The California-based nonprofit is run by David Horowitz. Along with Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz is one of the most influential purveryors of Islamophobia in the United States. According to the CAP report, antiMuslim and pro-Israel donors have donated tens of millions of dollars into hate groups in the US in recent years. Horowitz’s funding of Wilders is the first concrete indication that this Islamophobia network spans the globe. The PVV does not quality for official funding for political parties in the Netherlands because it has no membership structure. Wilders is the only official PVV member.

84-year-old mosque in Malaysia to be relocated Masjid Zakaria, which is one of the oldest mosques in Selangor, Malaysia, will be relocated nearby to Jalan Gombak. The mosque, which was built in 1931, could not accommodate the large number of Muslims attending Friday prayers, with some resorting to praying outside the mosque beside the main road. The new mosque will be located on a hill with a land area of 1ha about 200m away from the existing place of worship. The mosque, which will be completed in July 2017, can accommodate 1,500 to 2,000 people at a time. The mosque will have ample parking space and other facilities for the convenience of Muslims living in the surrounding area.


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VERBAL ABUSE

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DAMAGE TO PROPERTY

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Building Bridges

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


Fired Muslim truck drivers win discrimination lawsuit www.pi-media.co.uk

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WORLD NEWS I 21

In Case You Missed It

Two Muslim truck drivers who were fired for refusing to deliver shipments containing alcohol were awarded $40,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages by the jury in their discrimination claim, according to a report in the Washington Post.

The case involved Star Transport’s firing of drivers Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale, both of Somali heritage, in 2009 after they refused to deliver beer for the company, citing their adherence to Islamic law. For Muslims, consuming or even

being in contact with any alcoholic beverage is prohibited. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought suit on their behalf (EEOC v. Star Transport Co., Inc. (N.D. Ill.)), and argued that the employer had failed to provide “reasonable accommodations” to the employees, that is, it could have easily reassigned the drivers but did not and sued it for religious discrimination. Star Transport admitted liability in March. The jury awarded Mohamed and Bulshale $20,000 each in compensatory damages and $100,000 each in punitive damages. The judge awarded each approximately $1,500 in back pay. However, Andy Kravetz from PJ Star noted that,“Whether the men collect their money is another story. Star Transport went out of business earlier this year and it’s unknown who is now responsible for the judgment.”

Rise of Islamophobia in Greece Greece has seen rise in attacks on Muslims, Jews in recent years, coinciding with rise of far-right Golden Dawn party. A mosque in Greece’s Western Thrace region has been attacked by vandals. Western Thrace has a significant Muslim community. It was a part of Ottoman Empire before coming under Bulgarian and then Greek control around the time of World War I. The Yeni mosque in Komotini, a town of 50,000 people, including many Muslims, was attacked and the doors to the building were daubed

with the words “Turks out”. Local police were unavailable for comment. According to the group Islamophobia Watch, Greece has seen a rise in attacks on Muslims and Jews in recent years, coinciding with the rise of the far-right Golden Dawn party, which entered parliament in 2012. In April, a fire at Komotini’s largest mosque damaged the entrance and roof. Local media reported that arson was suspected. In October last year, attackers placed a severed pig’s head outside an Islamic studies center in Athens

and painted anti-Muslim slogans on the building.

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Doha completes successful IPC Athletics World Championships the Games in less than 12 months’ time. A record number of broadcasters – 22 in total - broadcasted the event round the world and all the action was live streamed on the IPC’s official YouTube channel, Paralympicsport.tv.

FC Barcelona hold out for more in Qatar Airways’ sponsorship deal The eagerly awaited seventh IPC Athletics World Championships took place last month in Doha, Qatar, with the biggest ever number of athletes going for global gold over 10 days of thrilling competition at the city’s Suhaim Bin Hamam stadium. More than 1,300 athletes from over 90 countries took part in the 2015 World Championships – the biggest para-sport event ever to be held in the Middle East. That number marks an increase

of over 20 per cent on the number of competitors who lined up at the last World Championships in Lyon, France, two years ago. This time around the number of female athletes also risen by an impressive 39 per cent. One of the last major competitions ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, this year’s competition featured 212 medal events as athletes from around the world bid to secure qualification for

UAE footballers jailed after posting video online ‎Two former footballers have each been jailed for three months over a video that went viral on the internet which included indecent gestures and insults to the UAE national team coach. One of the defendents, named only as AQ, 29, a former Al Dhafra player, was filmed by his colleague, RM, in the dressing room, The National reported. The paper said the player appeared shirtless in the video and made indecent gestures and insulted

the UAE national team coach, Mahdi Ali. The National said AQ was suspended from Al Dhafra club after the video came out. The pair were charged with using telecommunications services to offend and hurt the feelings of others, and displaying a recording that breached public ethics through the web. The Court of Misdemeanors also ordered the removal of the video from the website.

FC Barcelona have postponed a decision regarding it shirt sponsor as the club holds out for a better deal from Qatar Airways. The Spanish club are reportedly seeking a deal with Qatar Airways worth an estimated $290 million over four years, as they look to extend the current agreement with the airline beyond the 2016/17 season. Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, speaking at the club’s General Assembly, told supporters that FC Barcelona would like to extend its relationship with the Doha-based carrier. “We have agreed to continue our negotiations with Qatar Airways. We now have a bit more time. The dialogue with Qatar is ongoing, and there is a clear willingness from both sides,” Bartomeu said. FC Barcelona were expected to ask members to vote on passing a four-year deal with Qatar Airways worth just over $72 million (€65m) at the General Assembly, but talks broke down last week and officials will sit down once more in the coming weeks to try and agree new terms. FC Barcelona announced record revenue and a record wage bill at the AGM, with the club earning a record $660 million (€600m) in 2014-15 season, but had to pay out $63 million in player bonuses.


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I November 2015

Syrian football team on course to Qualify for next stage in World Cup 2018 in Russia A brutal civil war, bombed-out towns and hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing in terror. It’s against that backdrop that Syria has been bidding to reach the World Cup for the first time in its history. After wins over Afghanistan, Singapore and Cambodia, the wartorn nation was beaten 3-0 by Asian powerhouse Japan. Normally Syria would play its matches in Aleppo, a city which has had “the life bombed out of it.” Instead, this game was staged 3,000 kilometers away in the Omani city of Seeb. The defeat meant Syria lost top spot in Group E but reclaimed it back

once they had defeated Afghanistan in the Asian qualifying section. There are eight fiveteam groups in the section, with each team playing home and away fixtures against the other teams in its group. The eight group winners and four runners-up advance to a final stage, contested by two six-team groups. Ranked 123rd in the world, Syria has thrashed Afghanistan twice, ranked 27 places higher, and Cambodia 6-0 on the road. It also beat Singapore 1-0 in front of 100

fans at the Sultan Quaboos Stadium in the Omani city of Muscat in September. The next fixture for Syria will be in Singapore at the Sports Hub Stadium on the 17th November 2015

Batley Cricket Club win club of the year

Yorkshire cricket secured another prestigious award when Batley CC were named joint winners of the club of the year award at the National Asian Cricket Awards held at Lord’s. Batley CC received the award

in recognition of the Club’s innovation work in engaging the local community, showing high levels of commitment in creating opportunities for South Asian cricket in the locality. The awards were opened by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi with many current and past cricket greats in attendance. Hassan Kayat, Chair of Club commented ‘’the feedback we received from the panel was that they were really impressed with the high level of engagement and collaboration with various local groups and agencies to deliver quality projects both on and off the pitch.’’

‘’We have created strong partnerships with Yorkshire Cricket Board, Kirklees Council, Spark Skills Ltd and Batley Bulldogs and extend our thanks to the community and our partners for their continued support.’’ ‘’This award means a great deal to us all and reflects the effort by everyone within the wider community who have had involvement with various initiatives. ‘’ The club has dedicated the award to the late Farid Karolia, their former Chairman, in recognition of the immense amount of community work he carried out over the years. The award was shared with Attock Cricket club from Birmingham and Great Horton Church CC from Bradford was also on the shortlist in recognition of their achievements as a club.


Great Scientists

24I FEATURED

Ibn Sina

Also popularly known as ‘Avicenna’, Ibn Sina was indeed a true polymath with his contributions ranging from medicine, psychology and pharmacology to geology, physics, astronomy, chemistry and philosophy. He was also a poet and an Islamic scholar and theologian. His most important contribution to medical science was his famous book al-Qanun, known as the “Canon” in the West. This book is an immense encyclopedia of medicine including over a million words and like most Arabic books is richly divided and subdivided. It comprises of the entire medical knowledge available from ancient and Muslim sources. Early Life: This great scientist was born in around 980 A.D in the village of Afshana, near Bukhara which is also his mother’s hometown. His father, Abdullah an advocate of the Ismaili sect, was from Balkh which is now a part of Afghanistan. Ibn Sina received his early eduction in his home town and by the age of ten he became a Quran Hafiz. He had exceptional intellectual skills which enabled him to overtake his teachers at the age of fourteen. During the

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Contributions and Achievements: At the age of sixteen he dedicated all his efforts to learn medicine and by the time he was eighteen gained the status of a reputed physician. During this time he was also lucky in curing Nooh Ibn Mansoor, the King of Bukhhara, of an illness in which all the renowned physicians had given up hope. On this great effort, the King wished to reward him, but the young physician only acquired consent to use his exclusively stocked library of the Samanids. On his father’s death, when Ibn Sina was twenty-two years old, he left Bukhara and moved to Jurjan near Caspian Sea where he lectured on logic and astronomy. Here he also

met his famous contemporary Abu Raihan al-Biruni. Later he travelled to Rai and then to Hamadan, where he wrote his famous book Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb. Here he also cured Shams al-Daulah, the King of Hamadan, for severe colic. From Hamadan, he moved to Isfahn, where he finished many of his epic writings. Nevertheless, he continued to travel and the too much mental exertion as well as political chaos spoilt his health. The last ten or twelve years of his life, he spent in the service of Abu Ja’far ‘Ala Addaula, whom he accompanied as physician and general literary and scientific consultant. He died during June 1037 A.D and was buried in Hamedan, Iran. Besides his monumental writings, Ibn Sina also contributed to mathematics, physics, music and other fields. He explained the concept and application of the “casting out of nines”. He made several astronomical observations, and devised a means similar to the venire, to enhance the accuracy of instrumental readings. In physics, his contribution comprised the study of different forms of energy, heat, light and mechanical, and such concepts as force, vacuum and infinity.

Early life and Career: Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta, was born in Tangier, Morocco, on the 24th of February 1304 C.E. (703 Hijra) during the time of the Marinid dynasty. He was commonly known as Shams ad-Din. His family was of Berber origin and had a tradition of service as judges. After receiving an education in Islamic law, he chose to travel. He left is house in June 1325, when he was twenty one years of age and set off from his hometown on a hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, a journey that took him 16 months. He did not come back to Morocco for at least

24 years after that. His journey was mostly by land. To reduce the risk of being attacked, he usually chose to join a caravan. In the town of Sfax, he got married. He survived wars, shipwrecks, and rebellions. He first began his voyage by exploring the lands of the Middle East. Thereafter he sailed down the Red Sea to Mecca. He crossed the huge Arabian Desert and traveled to Iraq and Iran. In 1330, he set of again, down the Red Sea to Aden and then to Tanzania. Then in 1332, Ibn Battuta decided to go to India. He was greeted open heartedly by the Sultan of Delhi. There he was given the job of a judge. He stayed in India

next few years he devoted himself to Muslim Jurisprudence, Philosophy and Natural Science and studied Logic, Euclid, and the Almeagest. Ibn Sina was an extremely religious man. When he was still young, Ibn Sina was highly baffled by the work of Aristotle on Metaphysics so much so that he used to leave all the work and pray to God to guide him. Finally after reading a manual by a famous philosopher al-Farabi, he found the solutions to his difficulties.

Ibn Battuta Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta, was a Moroccan Muslim scholar and traveler. He is known for his traveling and going on excursions called the Rihla. His journeys lasted for a period of almost thirty years. This covered nearly the whole of the known Islamic world and beyond, extending from North Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors. After his travel he returned to Morocco and gave his account of the experience to Ibn Juzay.


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I November 2015

for a period of 8 years and then left for China. Ibn Battuta left for another adventure in 1352. He then went south, crossed the Sahara desert, and visited the African kingdom of Mali. Finally, he returned home at Tangier in 1355. Those who were lodging Ibn Battuta’s grave Western Orient lists could not believe that Ibn Battuta visited all the places that he described. They argued that in order to provide a comprehensive

FEATURED I 25

description of places in the Muslim world in such a short time, Ibn Battuta had to rely on hearsay evidence and make use of accounts by earlier travelers. Ibn Battuta often experienced culture shock in regions he visited. The local customs of recently converted people did not fit his orthodox Muslim background. Among Turks and Mongols, he was astonished at the way women behaved. They were given freedom

of speech. He also felt that the dress customs in the Maldives and some sub-Saharan regions in Africa were too revealing.

and a philosophical form, and that it does not matter if they point in different directions. He also appears to be doubtful about the possibility of personal immortality or of God’s being able to know that particular events have taken place. There is much in his work also which suggests that religion is inferior to philosophy as a means of attaining knowledge, and that the understanding of religion which ordinary believers can have is very different and impoverished when compared with that available to the philosopher. In philosophy, his most important work Tuhafut al-Tuhafut was written in response to Al-Ghazali’s work. Ibn Rushd was criticized by many Muslim scholars for this book, which, nevertheless, had a deep influence on European thought, at least until the beginning of modern philosophy and experimental science. His views on fate were that man is neither in full control of his destiny nor is it fully predetermined for him. Al Rushd’s longest commentary was, in fact, an original contribution as it was largely based on his analysis including interpretation of Quranic concepts. Ibn Rushd’s summary the opinions (fatwa) of previous Islamic jurists on a variety of issues has continued to influence Islamic scholars to the present day, notably Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. At the age of 25, Ibn Rushd conducted astronomical observations in Morocco, during which he discovered a previously unobserved star. He was also of the view that the Moon is opaque and obscure, and has some parts which are thicker than others, with the thicker

parts receiving more light from the Sun than the thinner parts of the Moon. He also gave one of the first descriptions on sunspots. Ibn Rushd also made remarkable contributions in medicine. In medicine his well-known book Kitab al-Kulyat fi al-Tibb was written before 1162 A.D Its Latin translation was known as ‘Colliget’. In it Ibn Rushd has thrown light on various aspects of medicine, including the diagnoses, cure and prevention of diseases and several original observations of him. He wrote at least 67 original works, which included 28 works on philosophy, 20 on medicine, 8 on law, 5 on theology, and 4 on grammar, in addition to his commentaries on most of Aristotle’s works and his commentary on Plato’s The Republic. A careful examination of his works reveals that Ibn Rushd (Averroes) was a deeply Islamic man. As an example, we find in his writing, “Anyone who studies anatomy will increase his faith in the omnipotence and oneness of God the Almighty”. He believed that true happiness for man can surely be achieved through mental and psychological health, and people cannot enjoy psychological health unless they follow ways that lead to happiness in the hereafter, and unless they believe in God and His oneness.

Death: After the completion of the Rihla in 1355, little is known about Ibn Battuta’s life. He was appointed a judge in Morocco and died in 1368. Nevertheless, the Rihla provides an important account of many areas of the world in the 14th century.

Ibn Rushd Early Life: Abu Walid Mohammad Ibn Rushd born in 1128 C.E. in Cordova has been held as one of the greatest thinkers and scientists of the history. A product of twelfth-century Islamic Spain, he set out to integrate Aristotelian philosophy with Islamic thought. A common theme throughout his writings is that there is no inappropriateness between religion and philosophy when both are properly understood. His contributions to philosophy took many forms, ranging from his detailed commentaries on Aristotle, his defence of philosophy against the attacks of those who condemned it as different to Islam and his construction of a form of Aristotelianism which cleansed it, as far as was possible at the time, of, Neoplatonic influences. Contributions and Achievements: Ibn Rushd’s education followed a traditional path, beginning with studies in Hadith, linguistics, jurisprudence and scholastic theology. Throughout his life he wrote extensively on Philosophy and Religion, attributes of God, origin of the universe, Metaphysics and Psychology but he excelled in philosophy and jurisprudence and was nicknamed “the jurisprudent philosopher.” The role of the philosopher in the state was a topic of continual interest for Ibn Rushd. His thought is genuinely creative and highly controversial, producing powerful arguments that were to puzzle his philosophical successors in the Jewish and Christian worlds. He seems to argue that there are two forms of truth, a religious form

Death: Ibn Rushd died in Marakesh in 1198 where he was buried. Three months later, his body was moved to Qurtuba, the tribune of his thought. It leaves no room for any doubt about the important influence that the Muslim Philosopher had on the greatest of all Catholic theologians.


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