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UN slams French burqa Athlete disqualified The Islamic ban for ‘violating’ rights over wearing hijab Caliphate

Hate Tapped Out News and Sport

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The ugly face of Islamophobia is becoming normalised in an everincreasing polarised world

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Hate Tapped Out The normalisation of Islamophobia continues to manifest itself in new virulent forms in an ever-increasing polarised world. Only last month, we saw the leadup to the biggest fight in mixed martial arts (MMA) history under the banner of the UFC (ultimate fighting championship) taking place in Las Vegas. The fight that pitched two-weight champion Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor with Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov was eventful out of the ring before and after the proceedings in the Octagon. It should be said that the UFC has always hyped up the build up to fights to sell PPV’s (Pay-perviews) through promoting trash talk between rival fighters. The Khabib v McGregor fight would have sold itself a million times over without the trash talk from self-proclaimed ‘The Notorious’ that enraged and shocked Muslims around the world. McGregor in one of the press conferences referred to Khabib as a ‘mad backwards **** after he refused to drink a cup of his own brand Proper Twelve whisky. Khabib was also subjected to racist taunts such as ‘smelly rat’ an apparent diatribe against his Dagestani heritage. All the way through to the build up to the fight Khabib and his entourage were subjected to shocking racism and

anti-Muslim hatred. McGregor’s antics and comments were nothing to do with business and were symptomatic of the vicious racism and Islamophobia faced by Muslims around the world day in day out. In contrast, Khabib’s calm demeanour was for all to see showing humility and respect for his opponent despite facing such shocking levels of abuse. The champion showed his class and displayed an aura of a true warrior inside and outside the ring. It seems McGregor and Dana White’s gamble backfired spectacularly as the whole Muslim world united to support their hero on the 6th of October 2018. The huge level of support for an elite fighter like Khabib has not been witnessed since ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali graced the boxing ring with his exceptional talent. The intense hatred for Khabib from the McGregor fans was evident during the weigh-in when he said to the audience ‘praise be to God you don’t like this, and praise be to God I’m going to smash your boy on Saturday night’. Khabib duly delivered on his promise and indeed pummelled and smashed up McGregor in one of the most one-sided fights in UFC history. McGregor sprawling on the floor

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showed it was he and not Khabib who had a glass jaw an apparent reference to the former who boasted that he would knock his opponent out in the Octagon. Khabib’s only indiscretion in the whole week was his reaction to antiMuslim taunts made by McGregor’s coach Dillon Danis by jumping over the cage and attempting to attack him in the aftermath of the victory. There is no doubt that a lesser man than Khabib would not have been able to suppress the anger built up over the week due to the level of sickening abuse experienced in the build up to the fight. Some might say trash talk is synonymous with selling PPV’s and hype must be generated to sell interest in the fight. However, trash talk that is directed towards one’s religion, one’s family and one’s heritage is a step too far. McGregor’s antics were shameful and disrespectful prior to the fight and have been given legitimacy by those who have an intense dislike for Islam. After Khabib had vaulted the Octagon, the worldwide press vehemently went into overdrive attacking him and his entourage for initiating the ensuing melee. The same shameless media it should be said stayed silent whist Khabib and his entourage had been subjected to sickening abuse all week and being assaulted by McGregor himself a point that was overlooked on the night as to speak. This whole episode leaves a bad taste for Muslims worldwide and the problem is compounded even more when the media employs double standards and engages in rank hypocrisy at the best of times. Just in the last few days, the Irish singer Sinead O’Connor (Shuhada Davitt) announced her reversion to Islam from Catholicism. She had announced on social media that her journey to the faith as ‘This is to announce that I am proud

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to have become a Muslim. This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant.”O’Connor is the just the latest in several high-profile individuals in recent times to accept Islam. It seems that the same media that castigated Khabib and turned a blind eye to McGregor’s antics have maligned Sinead O’Connor by claiming that the star has suffered from mental health problems somehow trying to link it with reverting to Islam. It is quite shocking to see that the media in the 21st century link mental health issues acting as a catalyst for one’s decision to become a Muslim. Many people including Catholics

came out on Twitter to attack O’Connor for making this move claiming that Islam is no home for any sane person to go in effect. One unnamed commentator claimed on Twitter that this is just the beginning as more and more people will leave Catholicism for Islam in the coming years. The operative word is ‘fear’ and it is this very fear that makes people insecure about themselves which translates into hating others. For it this phenomenon that is the root cause of anti-Muslim hatred and sentiment. However, we should not be surprised by this as the greatest of mankind the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) during his life and up until today been tarnished with many derogatory names and heinous

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accusations attempting to cast a doubt upon the authenticity of his message centring upon monotheism. The media it seems cannot devise an effective narrative against Islam today and has to all intents and purposes debased itself by engaging in anti-Muslim hatred that fuels Islamophobia across the globe. In a climate of ever-increasing hatred against Muslims, the media should note that people over time lose interest in negative headlines and start to think why do they fear Islam and why is it seen as a threat when the opposite is true. Once people start analysing Islam objectively they will find that the faith, the religion, the way of life is very different to what is purported in the media today.


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Court to consider whether MI5 covert agents can commit serious crimes

Agents for Britain’s Security Service are authorised to commit serious crimes, on British soil, without informing prosecutors, under a secretive MI5 policy, a court heard last month. Reprieve, Privacy International, the Pat Finucane Centre, the Committee on the Administration of Justice are challenging the legality of the scheme before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in London. The groups’ leading counsel, Ben Jaffey QC, said “It appears that the Security Service believes it could, if it thinks it would be in the public interest, authorise participation in murder, torture, sexual assault or other grave criminality in the UK.” As the human rights groups are arguing, the policy has “no legal basis”, with no “meaningful limits” as to what serious crimes agents can

and cannot commit. It has long been known that MI6 and GCHQ can be authorised to break the law on operations overseas, under a power enshrined in Section 7 of the 1994 Intelligence Services Act. It is now known that the UK government authorised MI6’s role in the rendition of Libyan dissident Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife Fatima Boudchar to Colonel Gaddafi’s torture chambers. The Prime Minister issued an unprecedented apology to Mr Belhaj and Ms Boudchar earlier this year, following a legal challenge assisted by Reprieve, and Reprieve has since brought a separate legal action to establish the limits of overseas lawbreaking by UK intelligence agencies. Last month case is about actions

committed at home rather than abroad. This case seeks to confirm whether the law places any limit on the crimes MI5 agents may be allowed to commit on UK soil. It was revealed at the Tribunal that the secret policy governing MI5 involvement in criminality has been in place since the early 1990s. The policy operated without any oversight until 2012, when Prime Minister David Cameron asked the Intelligence Services Commissioner to monitor the policy. However, David Cameron made clear in his instructions to the Commissioner that “such oversight would not provide endorsement of the legality of the policy”, strongly implying the lawful basis for the policy remained open to potential challenge. Cameron wrote the letter in 2012, barely a fortnight before publishing a long-awaited review into the murder of Pat Finucane. The human rights lawyer was murdered in 1989 by a British army agent, while eating dinner with his family at his Belfast home. On publishing the review of Finucane’s death, Cameron told Parliament that the level of state collusion into the lawyer’s murder was “shocking”. Reprieve Director Maya Foa said: “We want to know if it’s Government policy to let MI5 agents get away with serious crimes such as torture and murder. ”

MPs back campaign to put Muslim heroine on bank note

British politicians have thrown their weight behind a campaign to make a Muslim spy who resisted the Nazis the new face of the £50 note. Aged just 29, Noor Inayat Khan was parachuted into occupied France to serve as a radio operator behind enemy lines during the Second World War. She helped run the Prosper network of resistance communications in Paris, an Special Operations Executive established by Winston

Churchill in order to “set Europe ablaze”. As mass arrests by the Gestapo stifled the allies’ communications networks across France, Khan refused to leave her French colleagues and single-handedly ran a cell of agents in Paris for 3 months. However, she was eventually betrayed and captured by the Nazis, eventually perishing in Dachau concentration camp. Born to a wealthy American

mother, and an Indian Muslim father in Moscow, the Sufi operative began her career as a children’s writer in Paris before joining the war effort. A bust of her was unveiled in London in 2012 by Princess Anne. The campaign has gathered support from senior MPs including Nusrat Ghani, Transport and Maritime Minister, as well as Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.


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Travel company trio sentenced for fraud after fake Hajj pilgrimages

Three men involved in a Leicester travel firm have been prosecuted for fraudulently claiming to be licensed to sell package trips to Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage. Family-run holiday company Al Shafqat Hajj, of Mere Road, Spinney Hills, was fraudulently using stationary containing the symbols of both the Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) and the International Air Travel Association in its business which specialised in selling pilgrimages to the holy Muslim site. The three men behind the company had originally pleaded guilty to a series of offences under the Fraud Act 2006, and for breaching the Package Travel Regulations when they appeared before Leicester Crown Court back in February. They were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court, on Friday, October 26.

Raja Shafqat Hussain, aged 62, of Mervyn Road, Evington, pleaded guilty to five offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and one offence under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. He was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and disqualified from being a company director for 10 years. His son Raja Akeel Hussain, aged 31, also of Mervyn Road, Evington, admitted four offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and one offence under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. He was also given a two-year suspended jail sentence, banned from being a company director for eight years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. Khuram Shahzad, aged 30, of Mere Road, Spinney Hills, pleaded

guilty to four offences under the Fraud Act 2006. He was given a twoyear community order, disqualified from being a company director for five years and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work. The court had heard how the offences had taken place between October 2013 and June 2016, including fraudulent use of ATOL and IATA-branded stationary and making false representations to customers regarding being licensed by ATOL and accredited by IATA. In addition, both Raja Shafqat Hussain and Raja Akeel Hussain pleaded guilty to being in possession of false ATOL licence on June 16, 2016, as well as operating the business between January 1, 2014, and the August 31, 2016, selling travel packages without the required protection for customers’ money. Customers had complained about poor quality, dirty and dangerous accommodation and transport, inadequate food, and confusion over which of two similarly-named companies customers were contracted with. The men pleaded guilty to the offences back in February 2018, but sentencing was delayed after both the Hussains applied to vacate their original guilty pleas, after claiming they had received poor legal instructions. Raja Shafqat Hussain also claimed that he didn’t have a clear understanding of English. www.pi-media.co.uk

More money for places of worship amid rise in hate crime In Case You Missed It

Britain will spend almost £1 million to protect dozens of places of worship to tackle a continued rise in hate crime. Sites including nine churches, 22 mosques and 12 Sikh gurdwaras will receive £800,000, while a

programme to take on hate crime will provide £1.5m to groups that challenge prejudice. A review launched by the law commission will also consider widening the offence to include ageism, misogyny and misandry, or

hatred towards men. The government said Muslims were disproportionately the focus of hate crimes, with about 52 per cent of incidents aimed at the community. www.pi-media.co.uk

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UK’s MI5 to combat extreme rightwing terrorism: Report

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The MI5 domestic intelligence service of Britain has taken over the responsibility in combating extreme right-wing terrorism in the country as fears grow that white supremacists are increasing their efforts to foment violent racial conflict in the UK. The Guardian newspaper said in a report that MI5 will lead the mission to monitor far-right extremism, a responsibility that had previously been

assigned to the British police. MI5 was previously tasked with countering terrorism linked to IS and al-Qaeda, and those related to a separatist movement in Northern Ireland. The Guardian said the new move to assign MI5 with countering the far-right rise came after months of negotiations between the intelligence service, the police, and senior government officials.

It said the decision came after British authorities felt the rise of Islamophobic and anti-immigrant voices in the country had become a case of national security. MI5 will, under the new arrangement, be responsible for identifying suspects and assessing what danger they pose, conducting network analysis and ranking threats, said the report, adding that the Counter Terrorism Command in the British police will still maintain its executive lead in busting plots and making arrests. Britain has seen a sensible surge in far-right activity over the past years, especially since a debate began in the country on whether it should remain in the European Union or leave the bloc after more than 40 years. There has also been a direct link between senior far-right figures in Britain and certain white supremacist elements in the United States, which many fear could help foment racial conflicts in the UK in the near future. www.pi-media.co.uk

Religious hate crimes up by 40% in UK: Home Office The government in Britain has officially admitted a significant rise in hate crimes against religious minorities, especially Muslims, saying such attacks increased in number by almost 40 percent over the past two years. Britain’s Home Office (interior ministry) said that 8,336 incidents of hate crimes against religious people had been recorded in England and Wales in the two years to March this year. It said the figure represented some nine percent of all hate crimes recorded in the British mainland excluding Scotland in the period. The overall rate of hate crimes more than doubled since the 2012-13, the ministry figures

showed, with people with disability and special sexual orientations being the main targets. The ministry attributed the spike in hate crimes against religious people to terrorist attacks in London and Manchester last year. Terrorists linked to groups like Daesh, which used to wreak havoc in the Middle East with an alleged Islamic mission, claimed responsibility for attacks in Westminster and Manchester arena, which took place in March and May 2017 and killed dozens of people. It also said a referendum in June 2016 in which British voters decided for their country to leave the EU had a role to play while better police record

keeping was also a factor. However, the ministry did not mention other factors for the rise in attacks on Muslims, including political discourses on the need to ban Muslims from arriving in Britain or media debates about the way Muslim women chose their dresses. Various studies have established a direct link between a newspaper article written by former British foreign minister Boris Johnson in August, in which he likened Muslim women wearing Burqa to letterboxes and bank robbers, and a surge in attacks on Muslim women in Britain. www.pi-media.co.uk


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New Islamic gallery launched at British Museum 10

A new Islamic culture gallery at the world famous British Museum opened its doors to visitors. The gallery, spread over two rooms, tells the story of cultures

of the Islamic world from a region that stretches from West Africa to Southeast Asia from the seventh century to the present day. The Albukhary Foundation Gallery

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provides an extraordinary opportunity for visitors to view artifacts presented in displays with themes such as science, calligraphy, fashion and storytelling. The collection includes archaeology, decorative arts, shadow puppets, textiles and contemporary art, Anadolu Agency reported. The gallery notably features many examples of Ottoman culture, including an Ottoman mosque lamp made in Iznik, northwestern Turkey and a beautiful Ottoman banner from the period of Selim III (1789-1807). The gallery’s launch was celebrated with musical concerts, whirling dervishes and short plays that promoted Islamic culture. The Albukhary Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Malaysia with an international presence. For the past 40 years, it has been promoting goodwill through education and cultural heritage. www.pi-media.co.uk

UK Islamophobe slammed after dining in Parliament The UK Parliament speaker has condemned a move by a member of the House of Lords for inviting a far right Islamophobe figure in Britain for a sumptuous meal in the chamber. The House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, said that although inviting people to the House of Lords was outside of his remit, but insisted that Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, was a “a loathsome, obnoxious, repellent individual” who should have never been invited to the upper chamber. Robinson, has been known for his fierce campaign against Muslims and immigrants in the UK.

The founder of the far-right group English Defence League is currently being tried for two contempt of the court charges which could see him in prison for around two years. Robinson was invited by Lord Pearson, a peer of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), to a lunch in the upper house of the British Parliament, hours after a court referred the legal case against extremist figure to the attorney general. During Parliament session, Bercow endorsed the view by Stewart Malcolm McDonald, a Scottish National Party lawmaker, who called Robinson a “violent racist thug and fraudster”.

“I share his assessment of the individual concerned – a loathsome, obnoxious, repellent individual, and I make no bones about my view being the same as his on that front,” said Bercow, urging McDonald to write to the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, for advice. Many believe Robinson’s activity has helped encourage indiscriminate attacks on Muslims and caused a surge in hate crimes in the UK over the past years. Political parties like UKIP, which are known for their anti-establishment policies, have also pandered with people like Robinson in a bid to expand their public support base to include voters from the far-right.


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UN slams French burqa ban for ‘violating’ rights

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The UN Human Rights Committee criticised France’s so-called burqa ban, saying the law “violated” the rights of two women who were fined for wearing full-face veils in public. The committee called for the women to be compensated and for a review of the 2010 law that forbids people from publicly wearing clothing that conceals their face. “The French law disproportionately harmed the petitioners’ right to manifest their

religious beliefs,” the committee said. It added that it was not convinced by France’s claim that the ban was necessary for security and social reasons. The two French women were convicted in 2012 for wearing the niqab, a veil with an opening for the eyes. “The ban, rather than protecting fully veiled women, could have the opposite effect of confining them to their homes, impeding their access

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to public services and marginalising them,” the committee said. The UN Human Rights Committee, made up of independent experts, ensures countries stick to their human rights commitments but it does not have enforcement powers. It said the French ban was “too sweeping” but that governments could still make people show their faces in specific circumstances. “The vast majority of cases where people have been stopped for checks and have been condemned to fines ... have been women wearing the niqab,” committee member Ilze Brands-Kehris said. “In the context of fewer than 2,000 women wearing the full-face veil in France ... [the law has] a vast disproportionate effect on those women.” “France violated the human rights of two women by fining them for wearing the niqab,” the committee said, adding that measures should be taken to prevent similar violations in future, including a review of the law. France, which has ratified UN rights treaties, is “under obligation” to comply with the committee’s recommendations and act in good faith, Ms Brands-Kehris said.

Confusing times as Morocco cancels clock change In Case You Missed It

Moroccan citizens and businesses are scrambling to adjust to the government’s decision to remain on Daylight Saving Time, or summer time, permanently. The move was announced just two days before clocks were to be moved back one hour in the annual scheduled time change. As Draft Decree 2.18.855 came into effect, many Moroccans awoke to phones that had automatically switched back to GMT, and even Google had yet to update to the correct time in Morocco. Mohamed Ben Abdelkader,

Minister Delegate for Administration Reform and Civil Service, announced that the decision was due to a study that showed that “the adoption of a double-time system has created a sort of confusion for citizens”. The study took into account the effects of repeated switching between GMT and GMT+1 on health, economy, energy and commerce. The last-minute announcement left National airline Royal Air Maroc to announce that all flights departing after 3am would be delayed by one hour Others speculated that the

single time policy would not apply in Ramadan, when clocks in the kingdom are turned back to bring sunset, and iftar, forward by an hour. Some Moroccans have come out in support of the move, hoping that the extra hour of evening daylight might reduce the use of electricity. But these are benefits that do not apply to the masses. The agricultural sector generates about 40 per cent of employment in Morocco, but the new winter hours have raised concerns that farmers will be forced to work in darkness in the early morning.


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Online Quran teaching becomes booming business in Pakistan

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Pakistan has turned into a center for online Islamic instructional classes and courses as an ever-increasing number of individuals in western nations end up keen on studying the Holy Quran, reported Washington Post. The matter of instructing from a large number of miles away, utilizing new technologies, for example, Skype, is flourishing in light of the fact that there are insufficient mosques as well as Muslim theological schools in the West to take care of demand, as indicated by Pakistani business people. “Individuals in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States are continually letting us know: We do have mosques, we do have appropriate setups, yet we could never discover one-to-one lessons and exercises,” Usman Zahoor Ahmed, 32, proprietor of myqurantutor.us stated. “What’s more, in this present climate, they need to recognize what

sort of educating is being given to their youngsters — they need the lessons and exercises in their house, where mother or father is continually watching,” he included. Ahmed began his call center eight years back alongside just two representatives and only a couple of students. Presently, nevertheless, he hires 22 instructors who work throughout the night teaching 320 learners, around 40 % of whom living in the US. As indicated by Ahmed’s sibling Saqib, who assists run the center from the underground room of Ahmed’s home, more than 50 similar centers work in Pakistan, and somewhere around one has more than 1,000 learners. The center proposes learners a half hour lesson and exercises five days per week for about 25 dollars per month. At first, the lessons and exercises center around the best possible pronunciation and elocution of verses of the Holy Quran. There

are likewise pictorial exercises and lessons on every day Muslim practice – offering prayers for five times a day, for instance. The lessons and exercises at that point move to interpreting as well as translating the Holy Quran, which needs eight years of daily exercises and lessons. The Ahmed’s states that they pull in 6,000 dollars to 7,000 dollars per month from their 320 learners. They pay the instructors 100 dollars to 220 dollars per month or 1,200 dollars to 2,640 dollars yearly. Online centers of the Online Quran Tutor are on the ascent yet Ahmed wouldn’t fret the increased rivalry. “There will be three billion Muslims all over the globe [by 2100], as well as they are generally our market,” he states. “All you require is a PC, Skype, headset, and microphone.” Shaukat Ullah Khattak, a religious researcher who runs a theological school in northwestern Pakistan, stated such kind of courses satisfy the profound needs of online Quran teacher, online Quran tutor, and students. Notwithstanding, Edgar Hopida, a representative for the Islamic Culture of North America, stated Muslims in the US are centered around building their very own instructive organizations and online Quran teacher and online Quran tutor. “We do not see individuals turning back to Pakistan or different nations to learn and take in the Holy Quran,” Hopida stated. “It is easy and simple to learn here in the United States.”

Islamic banking on the rise - 2018 Index The popularity of Islamic banking products continues to grow in the UAE among both Muslim and nonMuslim customers, according to the findings of the 2018 Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic™ The index is a benchmark survey revealing the progress, penetration and perception of the Shari’acompliant banking sector in the UAE, as well as the future intentions of the

nation’s banking customers. Findings demonstrate that Islamic banks are outperforming their conventional peers in customer acquisition - 55% of the UAE consumers now have at least one Islamic banking product, compared to 47% when the Index was launched in 2015. In contrast, the penetration score for conventional bank products has

shrunk from 69% in 2017 to 63% in 2018. Commenting on the results of the 2018 Index, Wasim Saifi, Deputy CEO-Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates Islamic said: “We are delighted to see that Islamic banking continues to expand its appeal and reach, outpacing the growth of conventional banks. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Turkey sets eyes on becoming Islamic finance centre www.pi-media.co.uk

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Turkey is aiming to become a centre for Islamic finance as it seeks to increase its influence in the Middle East and the Muslim world. Participation banks, which pay revenue rather than interest for savings, are expected to grow rapidly in Turkey and elsewhere, according to Ikram Goktas, head of the staterun Vakif Katilim, which deals in Islamic finance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long sought to make Istanbul a regional and global hub for the banking industry as a whole, but economic and political stability

both in Turkey and the wider region have hurt those aims. Since he came to power in 2003, he has sought to position himself and Turkey as the main representative of Muslims both regionally and globally. As a result, Turkish staterun banks, once the preserve of traditional interest-based banking, have expanded into Islamic finance under Erdogan. The Turkish president, once jailed for his Islamic beliefs, has a personal aversion to interest rates – he opposes higher rates as a tool of controlling inflation and has frequently taken aim at a

so-called “interest rate lobby” for seeking to undermine Turkey’s economic success. As a Muslim country, Turkey should first become a centre for Islamic finance before achieving its goal of becoming a wider financial hub, Goktas told the state-run Anadolu news agency. Vakif Katilim is owned by statecontrolled Vakibank. Ziraat Bank, the largest state-owned lender, has also opened an Islamic banking division. Ziraat is now under the control of Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund, which Erdogan began chairing after winning increased powers at elections in June. Growth in the industry took a knock in May 2015, when Bank Asya, Turkey’s largest Islamic bank, was first seized by a government watchdog and then liquidated for links to the Fethullah Gulen movement, a group that Turkey blames for a corruption scandal in 2013 and for orchestrating a failed military coup in July 2016. Many people who held accounts at the bank were arrested for links to Gulen. Other Islamic banks in Turkey include Albaraka, Kuveyt Turk and Turkiye Finans.

A judge cannot refuse to take testimony from a woman because she is wearing an Islamic veil, a Canadian court ruled. A citizen may wear any religious attire in a courtroom so long as their “religious beliefs are sincere” and they do not “conflict with another person’s constitutional rights,” the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled unanimously. The ruling comes after a woman was scolded by a judge in a courtroom because she wore the headscarf. “No party challenges that the courtrooms of the Court of Quebec

- and for that matter all courtrooms in Quebec as throughout Canada - are spaces of religious neutrality,” the three-judge appeal panel found, Canadian Press reported. “This does not mean, however, that judges may rely on the neutrality of the courts alone as a justification for preventing litigants from accessing a courtroom simply because they are expressing sincerely held religious beliefs.” Montrealer Rania El-Alloul, a Muslim, was expelled from a courtroom in 2015 for wearing a hijab. Judge Eliana Marengo of the Court of

Quebec had cited a court ruling that every person must be “appropriately dressed” and compared El-Alloul’s headscarf “to a hat or sunglasses.” But Marengo did not consider the right of El-Alloul “to religious expression,” the three appeals judges ruled. The ruling comes as a newly elected Coalition Avenir Quebec administration works on a ruling that prohibits civil servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols. The planned legislation will affect judges, teachers and police officers.

Canada: Islamic veil allowed in legal hearing


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Rohingya Muslims’ return to Myanmar could start in early 2019

After previous setbacks, Asean is coordinating efforts to send home one million Rohingya Muslims who are currently seeking shelter in Bangladesh by early next year. Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said a team of Asean foreign ministers, led by Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, will be in Myanmar to hold talks on measures that will be implemented to bring the refugees back to Myanmar safely. He said although one million Rohingya refugees is a huge number, once Asean puts its plans into motion, it will mark the first step towards ensuring that all of them return to Rakhine, Myanmar. “Vivian will lead the team as the Asean chairman in 2018 along with Thailand’s foreign minister (who will assume the Asean chairmanship next year) together with other

professionals will be in Mynmar to look into the repatriation process... , they will discuss with the Myanmar and Bangladeshi governments. “Our target is early next year as soon as the monsoon season ends. The process has to begin in early 2019....I am not sure how fast we can complete it but that is secondary as the priority is to ensure the process takes-off or else the problem will never be solved. “This is nothing new as efforts had been done in the past (to bring home the Rohingya Muslims) but it never materialized,” he told reporters. Saifuddin said the safety of the Rohingya refugees has always been a major concern as there were some who tried to return from Bangladesh but were caught, tortured and imprisoned. “Upon completing the repatriation

efforts, maybe a special team can be stationed in Myanmar to monitor the situation on the ground so that the refugees who have returned can live in peace and know that they are safe,” he said, adding that the matter (special team) will be decided later. Saifuddin was earlier asked to comment on Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu’s statement on Sunday that Myanmar could not regard the Rohingya ethnic issue as merely a domestic problem because Malaysia is also subjected to a spillover effect, with more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. Meanwhile Saifuddin stressed that the money used for Rohingya children’s education in Malaysia was not from the government’s coffers but from non-governmental organizations which operate the education centers. “To date, five NGOs have started offering education for Rohingya children. The funds were mostly contributions from international bodies. For example, we have Qatar Foundation which promised assistance and we are also looking at ways to secure more funds for education purposes. “Previously there was an attempt to offer jobs to 300 Rohingya refugees in the country but the program was unsuccessful so the Human Resources Ministry is now in the midst of looking into other measures to assist them to find jobs,” he said. www.pi-media.co.uk

One of world’s smallest Qurans on display in Turkey A micro-miniature exhibition kicked off in the Kusadasi, a district in the western Aydın province of Turkey, showcasing a variety of unique artwork invisible to the naked eye. They included one of the world’s smallest hand-written Quran created by Necati Korkmaz, who is Turkey’s only Gubari calligraphy artist, Yeni Safak reported.

Korkmaz, known as one of three micro-sculptors in the world, creates artifacts that sit within the eye of a needle or on a pin-head and completed the world’s smallest manuscript of the Quran, measuring less than 1 centimeter, within 3 years. He stressed that for this outstanding work he mostly worked

at nights, in a very hygienic setting and used a brush made from fox whiskers. Korkmaz previously inscribed the 99 names of Allah (God) on a lentil and the Basmala (an Arabic phrase meaning “In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful”) on a hair. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Over 3,200 Syrian civilians killed by US-led coalition in 4 Years

A monitoring group said more than 3,200 civilians have lost their lives ever since the US-led coalition purportedly fighting ISIS terrorist group launched its aerial bombardment campaign in the conflict-plagued Arab country more than four years ago. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that as many as 3,222 civilians have been killed in the air raids. There were 768 people under the age of 18 among the fatalities in addition to 562 female victims, it said. The US-led air raids also resulted in the injury of hundreds of civilians, some of whom suffered permanent disabilities and had to have their limbs amputated.

The monitoring group noted that the civilians were killed by USled warplanes in Syria’s northern province of Raqqah, northeastern province of Hasakah, northwestern Aleppo and Idlib provinces as well as Dayr al-Zawr province in the country’s east. Local sources, requesting not to be named, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that the death toll from separate aerial assaults conducted by the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr had reached 62. The sources said an airstrike targeted the village of al-Susah on the outskirts of Abu Kamal city, leaving at least 15 civilians, including

women and children, dead and many more wounded. Thirty-seven civilians were also killed and tens of others injured when a US-led aerial attack pounded Osman ibn Affan Mosque. Separately, at least 10 civilians were killed and many more wounded as US-led military aircraft struck Ammar bin Yasser Mosque in alBubadran village. The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh. Addressing world leaders at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 29, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said the US-led coalition had been doing everything it could since the onset of its airstrikes but combat terrorism and militant outfits wreaking havoc in the Arab country. Muallem described the military alliance as “illegitimate” and censured the “hegemonic policies” pursued by certain countries against the Damascus government.

‘Africa’s first Mosque’ in Ethiopia renovated Located in the town of Wuqro, 790 kilometers (over 490 miles) north of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, AlNejashi is said to be the first mosque in Africa. It is named after Nejashi, the then Ethiopian king who hosted companions of the Prophet

Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) who escaped persecution in Mecca. The companions fled persecution in Saudi Arabia and came to Ethiopia on the orders of the prophet who said there was a just Abyssinian king. The mosque has recently been renovated by the Turkish

Coordination and Cooperation Agency (TIKA), Anadolu Agency reported. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Cape Town to enhance Halal tourism sector www.pi-media.co.uk

I November 2018

Muslim tourists are likely to wield some of the biggest spending power within the next 15 years, said South Africa’s Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. And as a result, Cape Town and the Western Cape plan to reposition as specialist tourist destinations for Islamic followers. De Lille was speaking at the inaugural Africa Halal Week at the Cape Town International Convention

Centre, where she highlighted the role halal tourism could play in terms of Cape Town and the Western Cape. The event was hosted by the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (Wesgro). The summit seeks to explore tourism opportunities to offer a holistic tourism experience for Muslim tourists as, based on tourist figures, opportunities for loyal tourism

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markets from the Middle East abound for the Western Cape. According to Wesgro, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have between three and 14 flights to Cape Town per week. Tourism is one of the few sectors that has had meaningful growth in South Africa’s limping economy. In 2017, a total of 81,834 tourists travelled from the UAE to Cape Town. Turkey had 9,620 tourists and Qatar 8,542. While halal is commonly understood to refer to meat and food products prescribed by Islamic law, delegates at the summit said this has been and could be applied to other aspects of the tourism experience when attracting Muslim tourists. Ultimately, the province and the city expect to become a tourism destination of note for Muslims, not only in the food services sector, but in pharmaceuticals, clothing retail, entertainment and investment. www.pi-media.co.uk

Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian during Gaza protests InMCisasseedYItou A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire during protests in the Gaza Strip, the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave said. Mohammed abu Abada, 27, was shot in the chest in protests along the border near Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, a health ministry spokesman told AFP. Around 3,000 Palestinians gathered along the coast and border fence in the northern Gaza Strip, Israel’s army said. “Troops are responding with riot dispersal means and firing in accordance with standard operating

procedures,” an army spokesman said. Dozens of Palestinian boats had also left from Gaza toward Israel by sea “instigating a naval riot”, according to the spokesman. Three boys aged 12 to 14 were killed by an Israeli airstrike after approaching the border fence. Hundreds attended their funeral in the besieged enclave. A Palestinian rights group condemned Israel for its “excessive use of force”, while a senior PLO official called the deliberate targeting of minors a “war crime”.

At least 218 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since months of protests began in late March. The majority were shot during protests along the border, though others were killed by aircraft or tank fire. The protesters are calling to be allowed to return to lands their families fled or were expelled from in the 1948 war that accompanied Israel’s creation. They are also protesting over Israel’s crippling blockade. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Muslim organizations raise money for Synagogue shooting

As Pittsburgh, US state of Pennsylvania, continues to reel from a tragic last month, a Muslim-led effort has begun a crowdfunded campaign to raise money for the victims of synagogue shooting. Posted on LaunchGood, a Muslim-focused crowdfunding site, the effort aims to help support the short-term needs of victims and their families by raising money for medical bills, funeral costs and other expenses after a gunman stormed services at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11 and wounding 6 before being captured by police. The charity drive has already been a success, with organizers

claiming to have raised an average of $2,000 per hour since launching the effort. Within six hours, the campaign had already reached its initial goal of $25,000. In less than 24 hours, it had broken $50,000. Two Muslim-led nonprofits, CelebrateMercy and MPower Change, organized the fundraising drive in partnership with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and the Tree of Life Synagogue, which will work together to distribute the funds to victims and their families. Tarek El-Messidi, the founding director of CelebrateMercy, says the effort is part of his group’s larger belief in responding to hatred with

acts of goodness. “We recognize that the money can’t bring back loved ones that [families] have lost so tragically, nor can it physically heal any of the wounds,” El-Messidi told TIME. “But we do hope the money can in some way lift their spirits, lift the burdens of funeral expenses and medical costs.” For those Pittsburgh Muslims closer to the tragedy, the effort is also simply about helping neighbors and rebuilding their community. “Those who were stolen from us by this hateful person were like family,” says Wasi Mohamed, the Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and Emgage Pennsylvania, a nonprofit Muslim advocacy organization. “We feel obligated to follow this Prophetic tradition on standing up for the Jewish community.” “The Pittsburgh Muslim Community extends our deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims, their families, and all of our Jewish brothers and sisters,” the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh said in a statement. “We condemn this hate crime unequivocally, and denounce all forms of hatred and bigotry. The Pittsburgh community is our family; what happens to one of us, is felt by us all.”

around the major port city of Hudaydah, and the economic situation deteriorates, the WFP said it feared millions struggling to make ends meet in the poorest Arab country would succumb to severe hunger and disease. “If this situation persists, we could see an additional 3.5 million severely insecure Yemenis... who urgently require regular food assistance to prevent them from slipping into famine-like conditions,” WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said. He also said that the WFP is

scaling up its emergency food and nutrition aid to reach 8 million Yemenis every month. Verhoosel regretted that the Saudi-led coalition’s siege on Yemen, particularly its Hudaydah port, is preventing WFP workers from reaching its 51,000 tons of wheat stocks at the Red Sea Mills facility. The WFP official says the stocks are enough to feed 3.7 million people in northern and central Yemen for one month. Yemen traditionally imports 90 percent of its food.

Yemen on brink of worst famine The UN’s food agency urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to stop their devastating war on Yemen, saying the conflict has put millions of Yemeni people on the brink of the worst famine in 100 years. Two in five of the Yemeni population, around 12 million people, are expected to face the worst famine in 100 years in coming months due to the escalating war and a deepening economic crisis, the World Food Program (WFP) said. As the war rages, especially

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Authorities in India’s most populous state have changed the Muslim name of an historic city to one with Hindu overtones, local media reported. Allahabad, a city of more than one million people in northern Uttar Pradesh (UP) state, will now be known as Prayagraj, a senior official from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) told reporters. Siddarth Nath Singh, UP health minister, said the decision to rename the city was made at a cabinet meeting following a proposal by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who heads the state. “All the cabinet members were happy and from today onwards,

Allahabad’s name would change as Prayagraj,” he was quoted as saying by the Indian Express newspaper. The city, home of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and located 650km southeast of the Indian capital New Delhi, was named Allahabad by Muslim Mughal rulers in the 16th century. Its new name, Prayagraj, refers to the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, the site of the Hindu mega-festival Kumbh Mela, which is to take place in January. More than 100 million people attended the gathering when it was last held in 2013. Onkar Singh, a spokesperson for

the opposition Congress party, has previously said the name change diminishes the city’s role during India’s struggle for independence from the British. He called the city a “center of inspiration”, according to the Indian Express, and noted it was the site of several important meetings between Indian leaders in late 19th century, which he said “gave shape to the freedom movement”. The city’s name change comes amid concern over what critics say is a bid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party to erase the country’s diverse history and identity. Since Adityanath - a priest who has been accused of inciting violence against India’s Muslim minority - was appointed to lead UP last year, he has proposed changing several Mughal-era names of buildings in the state. Muslims make up 19 percent of the state’s 220 million population India’s 1.3 billion people are about 80 percent Hindu and 14 percent Muslim, with the rest made up of Christians, Sikhs and other minorities.

Italy’s far-right League party has intervened to block efforts by a Muslim association to turn a former hospital chapel into a mosque. The Muslim group made the highest offer for the chapel in the northern city of Bergamo at an auction organized by a local hospital, outbidding the Romanian Orthodox Church which had been using the building for its religious services. But the project proved shortlived, with League leaders in the wealthy Lombardy region, which includes Bergamo, announcing they would halt the sale by using a 2004 law that enables them to intervene and safeguard cultural sites.

I would never put a Church on sale and I am amazed that the hospital management did not realize what a sensitive issue this is,” Lombardy President Attilio Fontana, a League politician, wrote on Twitter, Reuters reported. However, we will exercise our right of first refusal (for the sale) and there will be no space for any appeal,” he added. His decision means the region must now buy the property. League leader Matteo Salvini warned earlier this year that Italian culture and society risked being eradicated by Islam. “Centuries of history risk disappearing if Islamization, which up until now has

been underestimated, gains the upper hand,” he said in a statement. Muslims only represent a small minority in Roman Catholic Italy, with the Pew Research Centre saying they will make up 4.9 percent of the population by 2020 against 3.7 percent in 2010. Islamic associations complain that local building restrictions makes it almost impossible for them to get licenses to build mosques, meaning that they often have to use structures such as garages to hold their prayer meetings. There was no immediate reaction from the Bergamo Muslim group. www.pi-media.co.uk

Italy’s far right blocks Muslims from converting chapel to Mosque


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Asian Para Games: Indonesian athlete disqualified after refusing to remove hijab

Indonesian women’s judo athlete Miftahul Jannah was disqualified from the Asian Para Games 2018 blindness judo match, which took place at the Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran, Jakarta, due to reluctance to follow the rules of the match, which included removing the hijab. “She got a disqualification notice from the referee because there are referee rules and international-level match rules at the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA)

that players must not use the hijab and must remove the headscarf while competing,” said the person in charge of the 2018 Asian Para Games judo match, Ahmad Bahar, when contacted in Jakarta. Bahar said that Miftahul did not remove the headscarf while competing because she did not want her hair to be seen by the members of the opposite sex. “We directed the athlete to remove it, but she did not want to.” In fact, from the National

Paralympic Committee (NPC), the team of the Indonesian Contingent Commander tried and brought parents from Aceh to speak in defense of the country,” he said in support of the blind athletes. The 21-year-old athlete, according to Bahar, had stepped on the match mat and was reluctant to remove the hijab in the 52-kilogram class match. “The thing that needs to be emphasized is that the jury does not allow Muslims (wearing the hijab) to join the competition. International rules start in 2012, every athlete competing in a judo branch must not wear the veil because in judo, there is a technique below and the veil can interfere,” he said. Bahar explained that the presence of the hijab has the potential to be used by opponents to strangle athletes’ necks and can have fatal consequences for the athletes who wear the hijab. “We accept the rule that it is not permissible for athletes to wear the hijab, not like that. It is not permissible to use the hijab because there are harmful consequences,” Bahar said. www.pi-media.co.uk

‘Afghanistan could be World Cup dark horses’ New Zealand batsman Colin Munro believes Afghanistan could well prove to be dark horses in the World Cup next year. “They have match-winners with both bat and ball, and they have shown what they could do at the recent Asia Cup,” Munro, who is playing for Balkh Legends in inaugural Afghanistan Premiere League, toldThe Hindu. The APL tournament which involves also big hitters like Brendon McCullum and Shahid Afridi. Munro said that the tournament was an opportunity for Afghan players to learn off the best ahead of the bigger event.

“I feel the APL would help their cricketers greatly. Rubbing shoulders with some of the best cricketers in the world will be beneficial for them.” “They have already begun asking me questions. And I will be happy if a couple of young Afghan cricketers gain something by working with players like me at the APL,” Munro said. The next World Cup will be played in England and Wales from 30 May to 14 July 2019. It will be Afghanistan’s second World Cup appearance after their debut in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Afghan woman elected as member of International Olympic Committee

Samira Asghari, an Afghanistan women’s national basketball team player, has been elected as a member of International Olympic Committee. The 24-year-old woman was

among nine new members elected by IOC and she is first Afghan to become member of the committee. She had been nominated by the committee in July this year with its president saying that the nomination

sent a message. “She’s a young woman of Afghanistan who is very active in promoting the right to play sport for women in Afghanistan, you all know it’s not an easy task,” Thomas Bach, the OIC president, had said. “With this nomination we wanted to send a signal not only to men and women in Afghanistan but also in all these countries where women are facing serious obstacles to do sport,” he had said. Two more women were also among the new comers. They were Daina Guzineviciute of Lithuania, a shooting gold medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and former nurse Felicite Rwemarika of Rwanda. Six men elected by fellow IEC members are Camilo Perez from Pagaguay, Giovanni Malago (Italy), William Blick (Uganda), Prince Jigveyl Ugyen Wangchuck (Bhutan), Morinari Watanabe (Japan) and Andrew Parsons (Brazil). www.pi-media.co.uk

Khabib will fight Mayweather In Case You Missed It

UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov’s right-hand man Ali Abdelaziz suggests another mega-money fight is on the way with cryptic tweet Khabib Nurmagomedov could be in line to fight Floyd Mayweather. Ali Abdelaziz sent fan speculation into overdrive by tweeting: “We will blow your mind big news coming @TeamKhabib.” The UFC lightweight king has been lined up for bouts with both superstars as well as a showdown with MMA legend Georges StPierre.

And it must be remembered he is currently banned from the sport after his and McGregor’s suspensions were extended at a hearing. McGregor wants a rematch after he tapped out in the fourth round of their blockbuster bout, with his eyes on regaining the lightweight crown. But Nurmagomedov could branch out into boxing - and it appears he will have to if he wants to take on the retired Mayweather. Khabib called out the former pound for pound king last month saying he wants to put both their unbeaten records on the line.

He said: “Hey let’s go, Floyd, we have to fight now. 50-0 versus 27-0, two guys that never lose.” And Mayweather responded by saying: “Oh, we fighting! I’m my own boss so I can’t say what’s going on on Khabib’s end but on my end we can make it happen.” Nurmagomedov has been told he must fight Tony Ferguson Abdelaziz confirmed that his man is open to the idea of their showdown being under Queensberry rules rather than in the Octagon. www.pi-media.co.uk


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From Our Asia Editor Irfan Raja

Is The New Media Strengthening Palestinian Cause?

In recent years, Palestinians have gained enormous attention and sympathy mainly on the new media platforms around the world. For many writers and researchers social media is changing the landscape of the Palestine issue despite crackdowns in various forms and government monitoring. In contrast, most sections of the mainstream media are evidently less accommodating of the Palestinians cause which is also documented in several academic studies. Mariam Barghouti argued that the mainstream media has not only misunderstood Palestine but also the Portrayal of Palestinians in Western mainstream media hasn’t changed much since the colonial era. No doubt, social media has emerged as a blessing for the Palestinians. The best research articles show that the Palestine issue has gained more popularity after the invention of Facebook, Youtube and Twitter that many believe have become battle ground

among unarmed Palestinians and the Israelis. A YouGovsurvey shows that the British people are now more inclined to support the Palestinians in comparison to the French and Americans. The world has begun to see live podcasts, audios, visual images and videos from concentrated camps, streets, hospital and mosques showing civilians under attack, demolition of Palestinians homes, stopping children from going on to schools, and forcefully separating them from parents. Outside the Middle East, a number of campaigning groups and individuals actively are taking the fight on social media to boost the free Palestine cause. A list of new media platforms includes Jewish Voice for Peace; Gaza Hummingbird Project; US Campaign for Palestinian Rights; Palestine Solidarity Campaign; and Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East are a few illustrations for social media movements in favour of Palestinians.

Also, in the world of entertainment and sports, Palestinian celebrities have considerably enhanced their reputation on the global stage. Ra‘fat Al-Dajani’spiece “Hollywood, social media are transforming the Palestinian issue”is a stunning illustration of the Palestinian increasing support among people of repute. Al-Dajani writes that, The proliferation of social media, the support of many entertainers for the cause of Palestinian justice has found a new platform and a wider, receptive audience among young American adults, including among young American Jews. According to Press Freedom Index, Israel comes in number 87 in respect of press freedom and therefore, social media is the only viable and alternative platform for Palestinians to show the rest of the world how it is living under constant siege. Paul Mason investigated the reasons that “Why Israel is losing


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the social media war over Gaza” and this evidently shows that a comprehensive media crackdown is not working as far as the Israeli government because of the active presence of alternative media outlets. Also David Patrikarakos argued that “military supremacy” is not sufficient to fight Palestinians who have the “ability to shape public perceptions and war narrative”. Patrikarakos noted the ever increasing use of social media platforms for Palestinians means that “more tragedy; more outrage” and thisis earning Palestinians sympathy in the Western world. This year’s “Great March of Return” videos, images and live podcasts aired from the Gaza-Israel border had captured the heinous crimes of the Israeli Army that moved millions of people of all faiths and none across the world. The Israeli army shooting of Yasser Murtaja, an on-ground photographer wearing a press sign is yet another horrible example of media control. A CAMERA analyst GileadIni examined the mainstream western and American media coverage of the Gaza March and concluded that NPR reporters used a particular language to brand

the protest as riot and presented protestors as “terrorists” and Hamas supporters. Among many critics and writers TareqBaconi had branded the Gaza March as a “wake-up call to the world”. Daniel Estrin noted that the, “Israeli officials argue that content on Palestinian sites, some with millions of followers, is driving the current violence”. The above lists of illustrations are enough to understand why “for young Palestinians, social media is the leading source of news” because “social media reflects reality, not creates it”. In brief, strong evidence supports the argument that new media is “changing the narrative on Palestine” and it is very apparent on social networking sites especially on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn and Instagram. Take for instance, an example from England where political activists, campaigners, academics and university students all use new media platforms to raise awareness, protest and campaign for the Palestinians cause. Long before the Labour Party had the adopted IHRA antisemitism definition in full following a long

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media trial of Jeremy Corbyn, who it should be said has always advocated for the rights of oppressed including the Palestinians for that matter. Many trade unionists, activists, campaigners and writers of the Stop the War Coalition and other organisations including John Rees and Lindsey German have also taken on this issue on the social media front. The point is that racism, discrimination and ill-treatment of human beings in any form is sick and it should irrespective of whether it against Jews, Christians, Muslims or any other religious communities. The danger is that if we do not address this now we will be handing over to our next generation a rather conflicting world. So what’s next? Will the British public tolerate such discrimination against the Palestinians? A powerful nation like Israel may well gain control over the social or new media sites. However, it must also remember the Arab Spring in its neighboring countries that was strongly driven by the New Media and such waves can begin anytime soon. www.pi-media.co.uk

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The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 31

The Qurra (reciters) again were instrumental in causing chaos and mayhem between the forces of Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan. Both forces accused one another of breaking their promise not to attack one another unbeknown to them that the third party (the Qurra) were the instigators. Fierce fighting broke out between the two forces where both the Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan had close encounters with death on the battlefield. Men on both sides fought with conviction and displayed such valour and were prepared to fight to the death as each camp believed they firmly stood upon the truth. It is said that Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib lost approximately 25,000 troops whereas Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi

Sufyan forces lost 45,000 men on the battlefield. Ali Ibn Abi Talib it is said was a highly disciplined in the battlefield and allowed his opponent to make the first move which he duly did. Furthermore, he showed utmost respect for the dead and those injured and refrained from taking excessive measures in the heat of the battle. In the heat of the disputation between the forces, Ali Ibn Ali Talib sent a message to his opponent Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan that he wanted to fight him one to one on the battlefield arguing whoever one would be the ruler outright. The implication being here is that if the contest took place between the two individuals in question then the blood of the Muslims would be spared in the process. Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan was duly caught of guard

and declined to fight Ali Ibn Abi Talib as he was aware of the formidable combat skills the latter possessed and knew that if he were to engage in a fight then he would be signing his own death warrant in the process. The loss of life was a terrible spectacle for those present over three days of intense fighting. However, the battle between the forces took an unexpected turn when Ibn Lahiya who could not see the sight of such carnage came forward on his horse with the copy of the Qur’an hanging from its ears signalling the view that arbitration and not conflict would settle this matter once and for all. Some of the soldiers are said to have hung the pages of the Qur’an in an attempt to stop the madness of war and to spare the death of innocent women and children.


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