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Shaker Aamer Coming Home

Issue: 90

October 2015

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US govt announced that Shaker Aamer will finally be released from Guantánamo Bay after 13 years of detention and torture. Shaker will be transferred to the UK, where his wife and four children are d by Certifie

waiting for his return. This is fantastic news for Shaker, his family, and the thousands of people who have fought for his release but it comes 13 years too late. The US authorities have only just

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given notice to Congress, so that means that without robust intervention Shaker and his family have to wait until October 25th at the earliest for their reunion. Reprieve a human rights org said “We are calling on the UK to demand Continued on page 3

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By Islamic Human Rights Commission

Charity giving classed as “income” by the gov

IHRC Legal is looking into challenging a decision made by the Home Office that could see a destitute man who has lived and worked in the UK for the past 35 years forced to leave the country. The client was referred to IHRC Legal by a charity that is also currently providing him with financial support. He is living on a £35 a week contributory pension but receives no income other than this. Alone with no family, the charity have been supporting him with his housing and living costs. The paltry pension he receives offers no relief for the health issues he is currently dealing with in his old age, it does not pay for his rent and it barely covers the cost of

food. The application to the Home Office has been made by IHRC Legal to allow him to remain in the UK. A request was also put through for the fees for the application to be waived as the client has no means by which to pay them. However the Home Office declined to waive the fees, claiming that the emergency support received from the charity means he cannot be considered destitute. The Home Office are treating charitable handouts as though it is an income. The decision can only be seen as perverse. There has been a recent rise in the use of food banks and charities as a result of the increasing cuts in welfare leading to a growth in the number of those left destitute.

The UK government is abdicating its moral obligation to help those who are destitute by passing the responsibility onto charities with the expectation that those stricken individuals – such as IHRC Legal’s client – will be taken care of. This is another clear example that the David Cameron’s government does not feel it has any responsibility towards those who are destitute. IHRC Legal is currently looking at challenging the decision. IHRC Legal offers a bespoke UK Immigration law consultancy service and is regulated by the UK government regulator, Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) at Level 3, which is the highest level possible.

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


Shaker Aamer Coming Home

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I October 2015

Continued from front page

that President Obama send Shaker home tomorrow, so that Shaker’s family do not have to endure yet more agony, uncertain every time a phone rings.” “British politicians may talk about our ‘robust and effective systems to deal with suspected terrorists’ but Shaker is not and never has been a terrorist.” “He has never been charged with a crime or had a trial. He has been cleared for release by the Americans themselves for 8 years.” “I hope the authorities will understand that he has been tortured and abused for more than a decade,

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and what he wants most is to be left alone with his family to start rebuilding his life.” “Thank you to everyone who has stood with Shaker and fought for his release. We hope that he will be back in the UK with his family as soon as possible, and will continue to update you on his release.” Shaker Aamer was taken, hooded and shackled, to the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay on the same day his youngest child was born – a child he has still never met, touched, or even seen. Reprieve began representing Shaker, and he was cleared for release in 2007. PI News have been working hard

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alongsde the family and many others in pressing the release of Shaker. PI News spoke to Saeed Siddique father in law of Shaker who was delighted to hear the news of Shaer release but he said that until he sees his son in law face to face in his home in London then he will believe for real that he is finally home.

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I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

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Ofcom finds Fox news in breach over UK “Muslim only areas” comments The UK’s broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, has found Fox News Channel in breach of it’s broadcasting code after the channel called the UK’s second city, Birmingham, a Muslimonly city. Ofcom was alerted to the alarming comments broadcast on Justice with Jeanine Pirro back in January 2015, by concerned viewers, after guest Steve Emersen said; “So in Britain there are not just ‘no-go zones’ there are actually cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where nonMuslims just simply don’t go in. In parts of London there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim religious attire. So there’s a situation that Western Europe is not dealing with.” Obviously, those statements were entirely inflammatory, and indeed offensive to the people of Birmingham in the UK, the country’s second city.

And rather than challenging the assessment at the time on the air, Pirro allowed the comments to stand, and went further to continue to discuss the subject. It did infact, only take Fox News a week to retract and issue an appology, which Pirro saying on 18th January’s broadcast; “On this programme a guest made a serious factual error that we wrongly let stand unchallenged and uncorrected. The guest asserted that the city of Birmingham, England, is totally Muslim and it is a place where non-Muslims don’t go. Both are incorrect. The most recent census data, which is from 2011, indicates that 22% of the population of Birmingham identifies themselves as Muslim. Also we could find no credible source that indicates Birmingham is a so called ‘no-go zone’. We deeply regret these errors and apologise to the people of Birmingham, our viewers, and all that

have been offended.” That was followed up by a further apology on Fox Report Weekend by Julie Banderas who also re-iterated Fox News’ “deep regret”. That said, once Ofcom contacted Fox News regarding the issue, Fox News responded that it hadn’t breached Rule 2.2 of the UK’s broadcasting code, and that the comments were covered under ECHR’s “Freedom of Expression”. It also said that Ofcom would find it “difficult to support” it’s assessment that the statements were “materially misleading”. Ofcom found however that; “In Ofcom’s view it was clearly misleading for the Programme to have stated categorically that Paris contained ‘no-go zones’ and that Birmingham was ‘totally Muslim’ and a city ‘where non-Muslims simply don’t go in’.” Ultimately, Ofcom found Fox News in Breach of Rule 2.2.

Coach carrying pilgrims from Blackburn crashes near Makkah

Hajj pilgrims on a trip organised by a Blackburn firm have been injured in a coach crash near the city of Makkah. The driver of the coach, who was not a British national, was killed in the incident. The company, based in Whalley New Road, said that passengers had suffered minor injuries, with

most already travelling on to the next destination and some being kept in hospital overnight for observation, while the Foreign Office was sending a team to the area to help those who had been injured. The crash happened in Rabegh, 55 miles north Jeddah. A Foreign Office spokesman

said: “We are aware of an accident involving a bus carrying British pilgrims on their way to Medina. “We are liaising with Saudi authorities and a team from the British Consulate in Jeddah are on their way to the area to provide assistance to the individuals.” www.pi-media.co.uk


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UN sanctions four British IS members

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Four Britons linked to ISIL have been landed with an international travel ban as part of a crackdown on U.K. citizens traveling to Syria. Two men and two women have been added to a United Nations list that means their bank accounts and other assets will be frozen worldwide. The group of four include Omar Hussain and Sally-Anne Jones, both from southern England, who have used social media to recruit others to join ISIL. Other names on the list are Aqsa

Mahmood, thought to be a lead fighter in a female ISIL brigade, and Nasser Muthana, who is suspected of appearing in videos showing beheadings. A spokeswoman for U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said the measure was designed to deter other Britons from travelling to Iraq and Syria to join ISIL. The spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that we will do all we can to stop British citizens from going to

fight for ISIL and that foreign fighters should face consequences for their actions. “As well as the domestic measures we have introduced, such as the power to seize passports, these sanctions are a powerful tool – freezing an individual’s assets and imposing a global travel ban on them. “It also sends a clear deterrent message to those thinking of going to fight for ISIL. We will continue to consider whether more individuals should be subjected to these sanctions.” The United Nations sanctions regime was originally set up to target members of al-Qaida but has since been extended to ISIL fighters. Inclusion on the list is subject to approval by a sanctions committee. It is the first time since 2006 that Britain has applied to put its own citizens on the list. Further U.K. nationals are expected to be submitted to the list in the coming weeks.

Britain is to send dozens of troops to Somalia and possibly South Sudan to train soldiers and boost security in the region, Downing Street said. Around 70 troops will go to Somalia, where the Al-Qaedaaffiliated Shebab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu protected by 22,000 African Union troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Up to 300 may also be deployed in South Sudan, where an internationally-brokered ceasefire deal was agreed in August, the

eighth such agreement since civil war broke out in 2013. Prime Minister David Cameron is set to confirm the move at the UN General Assembly in New York. The British troops will help with training and logistics support, a spokesman for Cameron told a regular briefing of journalists. “This is not about putting boots on the ground, sending in combat troops,” the spokesman said. As well as improving security, the move is also intended to help stem migration from the two countries to Britain, officials said.

“There’s the right thing to do, there’s the moral responsibility... but there’s also a strong rationale for doing it in terms of what is good for both security in the region and our own security,” the Downing Street spokesman said. Conservative leader Cameron has argued that improving stability in countries hit by unrest could reduce immigration to Britain. Downing Street said it was not yet clear when the troops would be deployed or how long they would remain. www.pi-media.co.uk

Britain to send troops to Somalia for training


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30,000 to welcome arms dealers in London www.pi-media.co.uk

LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS

In Case You Missed It

DSEI is coming to London’s ExCeL arena and is bringing with it 30,000 attendees to inspect the wares of 1,500 arms dealers reports The Indpendent. The UK capital will become the focal point of the global arms trade, in an exhibition which in 2013 attracted guests from such

countries as Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam - all listed as human rights priority countries by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. A petition has been set up by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and Global Justice Now to

be presented to Prime Minister David Cameron, calling for the arms fair to be shut down. Currently there are 10,000 signatures on the petition which states: David Cameron has said Britain will fulfil its ‘moral responsibilities’ to refugees and that he ‘wants peace in the Middle East’. Let’s tell him to put his words into action and shut down the arms fair. The UK should be making #refugeeswelcome, not arms dealers. #stopDSEI. It is evident that with the recent refugee crisis and in particular with this exhibition that the message seems fairly clear - you’re more welcome in this country if we think you’ll buy our weapons. Speaking to i100.co.uk, Andrew Smith of CAAT said: DSEI brings some of the most repressive regimes in the world together with some of the biggest arms companies. The government is turning away refugees fleeing from some of the worst war zones at the same time as it is welcoming arms dealers from around the world to an event that will fuel more war and conflict.

Tony Blair could be questioned for ‘trying to save Gaddafi’

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair could be summoned before MPs to face allegations he offered to help rescue Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 NATO-led military campaign against Libya. Blair supposedly contacted the PM’s office saying that the then Libyan leader wanted to “cut a deal” with Britain, but Cameron did not take up the offer. Former Foreign and Defense Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said Blair should be questioned by MPs over the claim. “There is no reason at all why [MPs] shouldn’t pursue it,” he said. He also added that despite Blair being “entirely reasonable” by

passing the Gaddafi’s message, UK was not the one to negotiate since it was an international military operation. “The actual rising against him was not initiated by Britain or the United States. So any deal that Gaddafi wanted to do really was not a matter for the British government or the American government,” he said. Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Stephen Gethins said the claims raised serious questions about Blair’s links to the Gaddafi regime. “People will be appalled that a former prime minister saw fit to lobby on behalf of a dictator,” Gethins, who is also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said.

Foreign Affairs Committee chair Crispin Blunt said the committee would like to know about the infamous “deal in the desert” made between Blair and Gaddafi in 2004, in which the Libyan dictator allegedly agreed to renounce terrorism in exchange for lucrative oil contracts. The claims emerged in a new biography, titled Cameron at 10, by Sir Anthony Seldon, who has also written biographies of previous Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John Major. The biography includes claims that former Chief of the Defense Staff Lord Richards of Herstmonceux considered Cameron’s campaign to oust Gaddafi “half-baked.”

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Attorney general refuses to say whether UK has ‘blanket’ drone policy In Case You Missed It

The Attorney General has refused to say whether the government has a ‘blanket’ or ‘case-by-case’ policy on carrying out targeted killings in countries with whom the UK is not at war. Jeremy Wright was answering questions from MPs on the Justice Select Committee, who questioned him over the UK’s adoption of a USstyle drone programme, as recently announced by the Prime Minister. However, Mr Wright refused to give further details on the nature of

the legal advice he had provided to the Government. Asked by Richard Arkless MP, “is the advice that you’ve delivered to the Government in relation to these drone strikes, will that be conducted on a case by case basis or are you giving them blanket authority to do this again if the circumstances arise?” he responded, “That’s another nice try…but I can’t I’m afraid go into the detail of the advice that I gave.” The Attorney General also said there was a need to rethink what

“imminence” means in relation to self-defence. Commenting, Kat Craig, legal director at the human rights charity Reprieve said: “It is alarming that the Attorney General does not feel the need to tell MPs or the public even the most broad details about the UK’s kill policy. All we currently know, is that the Prime Minister thinks he can authorise the killing of anyone, anywhere, without any parliamentary or judicial oversight. The UK appears to be going down the US route of a counter-productive, secret drone war which does more harm than good. “When even US generals are warning that the drone programme causes more problems than it solves, it beggars belief that the British Government is adopting the model in full. We need a real debate, and for that we need the Government to come clean about this policy.”

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Hate crimes against Muslims soar in London The number of hate crimes against Muslims in London has risen by almost three quarters in a year, according to police figures, with women who wear Hijab particularly vulnerable. There were 816 Islamophobic offences recorded across the city in the 12 months up to July this year, compared with 478 for the previous 12 months. The overall rise was just over 70%, the police said, but some boroughs reported figures more than double those of last year. In Merton, the figure rose by 262%, from eight to 29, while in Richmond-upon-Thames nine crimes were reported, compared with just one for the previous year.

Fiyaz Mughal, from Tell Mama, an organisation that monitors Islamophobic incidents, said about 60% of victims were women who wear a headscarf or hijab. The Met attributed the increase part to a willingness of victims to report crime and an awareness of police staff in being able to identify those particular offences. The force said events around the world and holy days can also influence a rise in hate crime incidents as more officers are on patrol and victims may be more likely to report crime. Commander Mak Chishty said: “We will not tolerate hate crime and take positive action to investigate all allegations, support victims and

arrest offenders. Victims of hate crime must be assured that they will be taken seriously by the police. We have more than 900 specialist officers across London working in our community safety units who are dedicated to investigating hate crime. “We are always seeking ways to increase reporting and work with a number of third-party reporting sites, such as the CST, so that victims who feel unable to approach police direct can report crime to non-police organisations and individuals. Victims of hate crime can in addition now report online on the Met’s website. “No one should suffer in silence, so please report hate crime to us as soon as possible so we can act.”


‘Women in hijabs more likely to be attacked’

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in London have gone up by 70%t over the past year. Reported incidents ranged from cyber-bullying and assaults to extreme violence. Mughal pointed to the beheadings by ISIL in Iraq and Syria as well as the refugee crisis in Europe as being linked to the rise in Islamophobic attacks.

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Muslim women wearing hijabs or headscarves are far more likely to fall victim to hate crimes amid alarming rise in Islamophobic attacks, according to monitoring groups in the United Kingdom. Attacks on Muslim women may range from verbal abuse to violent assaults, including assailants tearing off niqabs or veils, or threatening to burn them with lighter fluid, the Times of India reported. As many as 60% of Islamophobia

victims were women, said Fiyaz Mughal, director of UK-based Tell Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks (MAMA), that monitors Islamophobic attacks. The newspaper said this report comes in the wake of a shocking video of an unprovoked violent attack on a hijab-wearing UK teenager while walking down the street. This also comes as latest Scotland Yard figures show that Islamophobic crimes against Muslims

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Sleaford mayor opens new Muslim prayer hall Sleaford The ‘first step’ has been completed in establishing a permanent prayer hall for Muslims to worship in the Sleaford area, in England. Refurbishments have just been completed on a disused building on Station Road, to become the Sleaford Islamic Centre. A warehouse to the rear has planning permission to be converted into a larger prayer hall as funds are gathered, leaving the smaller building for educational or office use. Up till now the town’s muslim community had met for prayers in St Denys’ Church Hall and Vicar of Sleaford the Rev Philip Johnson was among the guests at the grand

opening. After prayers, members of Sleaford Town Council and North Kesteven District Council looked on as the Mayor of Sleaford Coun Garry Titmus cut the ribbon. Imam for Sleaford and Muslim communities across the county, Muhammed Sadek Gangat, said: “It is one step, a great step, but we have a long way to go. This place will be a centre for the community and not just Muslims. We want everyone to be able to use this place. The support has been overwhelming and very pleasing.” School visits and other groups

wishing to learn more are welcomed. Trained builder Turon Miah coordinated the project and said they hoped to have funds to start work on the larger building next year. He said: “This will not be big enough very soon, but now we have somewhere to pray.” He and fellow member of the project, Noureddine Belazia, thanked the local authorities for their help and guidance, explaining the whole community has been supportive, drawing together Muslims from different cultures, languages and ethnic backgrounds. Mr Miah said: “A lot of people sacrificed time and effort to get this far.”


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Canadian govt loses appeal to ban niqab

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The Canadian government lost its appeal to ban the niqab, meaning the faces of Muslim women can be covered when they’re sworn in as new Canadian citizens. The three justices of the Federal Court of Appeal, rather than delay a decision to a later date, ruled from the bench so that the plaintiff could take her citizenship oath and vote in the Oct. 19 federal election, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Canada enacted the niqab ban in 2011 and Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that covering the face while taking the oath of citizenship is

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“not how we do things here”. He reiterated his argument for the ban earlier this year. “It is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment when they are committing to join the Canadian family,” Harper said, as reported by Vice News. But while Zunera Ishaq, a devout Muslim who moved to Ontario from Pakistan in 2008 to join her husband, agreed to remove the niqab for the written part of her citizenship test, she refused to remove it in public at the official citizenship swearing in ceremony. She argued it violated her

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religious beliefs. A lawsuit was filed and the law was struck down, but the government appealed. Judge Keith Boswell said the government ban goes against the Citizenship Act that guarantees religious freedom. He said it is contrary to the act “if the policy requires candidates to violate or renounce a basic tenant of their religion.” During the half-day hearing, the government reversed its course and said it never meant to make it mandatory for women to remove the face covering at citizenship ceremonies, which left the court and Ishaq’s lawyers “scratching their heads,” CTV News reported. Outside court, Ishaq said she did not understand why the appeal moved forward if the government did not make the ban on the niqab mandatory. “If it’s not mandatory, I would simply say, why they are fighting for it?” CTV reported. “Just let me go.” Maryls Edwardh, one of Ishaq’s lawyers, said her client would soon attend a citizenship ceremony. www.pi-media.co.uk

Ethiopians look to interest-free banking Ethiopia’s Muslim community is only just beginning to use InterestFree Banking (IFB), according to a Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) official said. In an exclusive interview, Ephrem Mekuriya, CBE’s corporate communications head, said that IFB only began in earnest in Ethiopia – a country where Muslims account for nearly 40 percent of the population – last October. “Many people in the country shy away from banking services due to the interest attached on money savings,” he said. He noted that, currently, there were only about 20 million bank

account holders in Ethiopia, where the total population is estimated at some 95 million. “This number can be substantially increased now that IFB has been introduced,” he said. “Figures registered since the introduction of IFB show a positive trend.” He went on to say that, from October of last year to June 2015, total investments under IFB had reached 100 million birr (roughly $4.8 million) with total deposits reaching 60 million birr (roughly $2.9 million). During the same period, he noted, the number of account holders using IFB, which is now being provided at commercial banks throughout

the country, had reached more than 105,000. “These account holders have already deposited 1.5 billion Birr in only one year,” Ephrem noted. Globally, Islamic – i.e., noninterest-bearing – bank accounts account for some $3 trillion, and the number is growing at between 15 and 25 percent annually. More than 300 financial institutions in numerous countries – including Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia and Brunei – currently provide Islamic banking services.


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U.S. government officials have blocked the release of 116 pages of defense lawyers’ notes detailing the torture that Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah says he experienced in CIA custody, defense lawyers said. The treatment of Zubaydah, who lost one eye and was waterboarded 83 times in a single month while held by the CIA, according to government documents, has been the focus of speculation for years. “We submitted 116 pages in 10 separate submissions,” Joe Margulies, Zubaydah’s lead defense lawyer, told Reuters. “The government declared all of it classified.” Margulies and lawyers for other detainees said that the decision showed that the Obama administration plans to continue declaring detainees’ accounts of their own torture classified. A Central

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Intelligence Agency spokesperson declined to comment. After the release of a U.S. Senate report on CIA torture in December, the government loosened its classification rules and released 27 pages of interview notes compiled by lawyers for detainee Majid Khan in which he described his torture. Khan, a Guantanamo detainee turned government cooperating witness, said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his “private parts” - none of which was described in the Senate report. Khan said that guards, some of whom smelled of alcohol, also threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks and leather belts. “The CIA has apparently changed its mind about allowing detainees to talk about their torture,” said Wells

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Dixon, Khan’s lawyer. CIA and White House officials opposed releasing the Senate report, but Senator Dianne Feinstein, who then chaired the Intelligence Committee, made public its 480-page executive summary. A month after the report’s release, government lawyers said in a January 2015 court filing that the CIA had issued new classification rules that permitted the release of “general allegations of torture,” and “information regarding the conditions of confinement.” But they said the names of CIA employees or contractors could not be released. Nor the locations of the secret “black” sites where detainees were held around the world after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Margulies said the 116 pages of notes he submitted for clearance were limited to Zubayda’s description of his torture and did not include prohibited information. Margulies said he followed “the rule to the letter” and accused the CIA of trying “guarantee that Abu Zubaydah never discloses what was done to him.” Zubaydah, a 44-year-old Saudi national, has been held in Guantanamo for nine years and not been charged with a crime.

Muslims and Jews outraged by French school

A school in central France has provoked outrage for making Muslim and Jewish pupils wear a red disc around their necks at lunchtime so canteen staff would not serve them pork. The Piedalloues primary school in Auxerre, in Burgundy, gave red discs to non-pork eating pupils and yellow discs to those who do not eat meat. Eighteen of the school’s 1,500 pupils were made to wear the discs. They were withdrawn after protests by angry parents and community leaders, who said they were reminiscent of the yellow stars Jews were forced to wear under the Nazi

occupation. “It’s revolting. It reminds you of the darkest times,” said a local councillor, Malika Ounès. “Practices like this are not acceptable. No one has the right to impose this on children.” Christian Sautier, director of communications in the mayor’s office, said it was “an isolated, clumsy and unfortunate initiative” that lasted only one day. He said it had been put into effect by canteen staff without informing local authorities, who ended it immediately. “When we learned about it, we fell out of our chairs,” Mr Sautier said,

adding that the mayor had ordered an investigation. Serving schoolchildren alternative meals without pork is a sensitive issue in France. The far-Right Front National opposes the practice. Its leader, Marine Le Pen, ignited controversy last year by trying to force school canteens in towns where the party won local elections to stop offering non-pork options. In March, the former centre-Right president, Nicolas Sarkozy, said he too opposed pork-free options in schools, a view that was quickly disavowed by several prominent figures in his party, The Republicans.


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US Muslims hope new billboards reclaim Islam’s message In Case You Missed It

Dozens of billboards with Muslim themes are sprouting nationwide, proclaiming what organizers say is the true message of Islam and its prophet, Muhammad [PBUH]: peace and justice, not extremism. The New York-based Islamic Circle of North America has erected 100 billboards over the summer that feature statements such as: “Muhammad [PBUH] believed in peace, social justice, women’s rights” and “Muhammad [PBUH] always

taught love, not hate; peace, not violence.” Also listed are a website and a phone number people can call for more information. They are in cities including Boston; New York; Phoenix; San Diego; El Paso and Austin, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Cleveland; Las Vegas; Milwaukee; North Bergen, New Jersey; Portland, Oregon; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Denver; and Calgary, Alberta. The group’s president, Naeem

Baig, said the idea for the campaign arose after January attacks in Paris by militants on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store killed 17 people, plus the three attackers, Associated Press reported. The perpetrators wrongfully understood the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH], Baig said, and the American Muslim community wanted to reclaim the message. As for whether the campaign would face a tougher audience in Boston, with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings still fresh in many people’s minds, Baig said: “That’s the whole point of the campaign; there are extremists in all communities.” “As a Muslims, it hurts me when I see someone abusing my faith, abusing the teachings of the prophet,” Baig said. He sees those who resort to violence “as people who are lost, who have no direction in their life, people who have their own challenges in their life, who are using faith as an excuse.”

French mayors wants only Christian refugees

French mayors refused this week to take in Syrian and African refugees who practice Islam, a stance condemned as “dreadful” by many, as the country received the first patch of refugees. “You don’t sort (refugees) on the basis of religion. The right to asylum is a universal right,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also condemned the two mayors. “I really don’t understand this distinction. I condemn it and I think it’s dreadful,” Cazeneuve told France 2 television.

“A whole series of minorities are being persecuted in the situation in Syria,” he said. “Christians from the Middle East must be welcomed but there are also Muslims and other minorities who are persecuted with the same degree of barbarity.” France, he said, “must be prepared to take in all those who are persecuted regardless of their religion and their background.” These condemnations followed comments by the mayor of the central town of Roanne, Yves Nicolin, last Monday saying he was prepared to resettle “a dozen families, providing they are Christian refugees

who are persecuted in Syria by Daesh (ISIL) for being Christians.” Similar comments were echoed by Damien Meslot, the mayor of Belfort in eastern France, who said he would only consider taking in Christian families from Iraq and Syria because “they are the most persecuted”. Both mayors are from the centreright, which is in opposition nationally. Following pressures, France’s President Francois Hollande has agreed to take in 24,000 refugees over the next two years, with roughly 200 refugees expected. www.pi-media.co.uk


India govt billboard sparks muslim outrage www.pi-media.co.uk

I October 2015

WORLD NEWS

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A Muslim leader in India has warned of communal unrest after a state government claimed the Quran discourages eating beef, the latest contentious effort to protect cows in the Hindu-majority country. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat has erected billboards with an alleged Quranic verse saying eating beef causes disease, together with an Islamic symbol of a crescent moon and

star. Hardline Hindu groups have long pushed for a national ban on the slaughter of cows, which they consider sacred. But moves to protect cows have intensified since Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power after general elections last May. Several states have introduced a ban on slaughtering the animals and selling their flesh, a move that critics

say discriminates against Muslims and other religious minorities who rely on the cheap meat for protein. Shabbir Alam from the main mosque in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city said the billboards were an insult to Islam because no such verse existed. “Such hoardings can spark violence and disturb the peace between the two communities,” the mufti told AFP. “Anything which is not from the Quran and publicized as part of the Holy Book is an insult to Islam. I strongly condemn this act of the Gujarat government.” Vallabh Kathiria, chairman of the Gujarat government’s cow protection board, defended the posters put up around the state’s main city of Ahmedabad, saying he was quoting Islamic and other religious leaders. India’s western Maharashtra state this year toughened a beef ban, which criminalizes even possession of the meat. Mumbai banned the slaughter and sale of meat for four days, following demands from the strictly vegetarian Jain community.

In a new violation of occupied Palestinian lands in Al-Quds (Occupied Jerusalem), Israel has confiscated parts of historical Bab alRahmeh cemetery along the eastern wall of Al-Aqsa mosque which has been in use for more than 1,000 years. “For years Israel has been confiscating land which belongs to the cemetery to use it for touristic routes,” Mustafa Abu Zahra, who heads a committee maintaining Islamic cemeteries in occupied East Jerusalem, told Ma’an news agency “Today, the (Israeli) occupation wants to designate new borders for the Islamic cemetery, but its borders and walls were made hundreds of years ago.” He added that the Israeli authorities “claimed they were putting a court decision into effect,” but he

said that they had given no evidence of a court ruling backing their action. Abu Zahra said that there are graves lying in the land that was seized, adding that the land belongs to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Endowment, which also oversees the adjoining Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam. The Israeli moves started two weeks ago when Israeli forces set up barbed wire fence around a 7,000 square meter stretch of land next to the Bab al-Rahma cemetery belonging to the al-Husseini and alAnsari families. Bab al-Rahma, meaning Door of Compassion, runs along the eastern wall of Jerusalem’s Old City and has been in use for more than 1,000 years. It is considered one of occupied East Jerusalem’s most important

historical Islamic properties. Israel occupied the holy city in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions. Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of the city, including systematic demolition of their homes and building settlements. Al-Quds is home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam’s third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the ArabIsraeli conflict. There are more than 164 Jewish settlements in the West Bank, eating up more than 40 percent of the occupied West Bank. The international community considers all settlements on the occupied land illegal.

Israel seizes old Muslim cemetery next to Al-Aqsa


40% crimes in Spain linked to Islamophobia

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I WORLD NEWS

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

immigrants, according to an Interior Ministry’s report published in the Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS. The report pointed out that most of the Islamophobia-related crimes were recorded in the capital Madrid, as well as other cities including Malaga, Barcelona and Albacete. EL PAÍS reported that racist assaults accounted for 31 percent of the hate crimes in Spain, citing the case filed by two Moroccan immigrants on February 5, in Albacete, against their Spanish neighbour who used derogatory terms to describe them.

Spain’s Interior Ministry revealed that 40 percent of xenophobic crimes which Spanish police investigated are linked to Islamophobia, especially in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack in France last January.

The most common victims of xenophobia-related crimes and Islamophobia in Spain are particularly Moroccan immigrants, as they are the most numerous Muslim community in the country – numbering more than 800,000

Saudi to end Hajj quota cut in 2016

As the expansions of the Grand Mosque are about to be completed, Saudi Hajj Ministry announced that pilgrim quotas for each country will increase starting from next hajj season, stressing that 2015 will witness the last cut in the number of pilgrims. “Starting from next Hajj season, the number of pilgrims will increase to 5 million and then to 30 million in the coming five years,” the minister was quoted as saying to a local publication, Arab News reported. The number of people from different nationalities permitted to perform the hajj has been decreased for years over safety reasons due to construction work to expand the space of the Grand Mosque.

The minister added that hajj visas will be granted only through a unified electronic system after coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “As for internal pilgrims, the ministry also established an electronic system which allows citizens and residents to file applications requesting permits … through the hajj service provider of his choice, and to select the service segments he wants and pay electronically the value of the services provided,” the minster added. The announcement came a few days after the death of at least 107 pilgrims in the crash of a huge crane in the Grand Mosque in Makkah. www.pi-media.co.uk

ISESCO welcomes decision to raise Palestinian flag over UN The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) commended the resolution voted by the United Nations General Assembly in favor of raising the flag of Palestine at the UN headquarters in New York. ISESCO stated that this resolution reflects the sound legal position concerning the cause of the Palestinian people and their legitimate right to establish their independent State on their national territory, the ISESCO’s website reported. By the same token, ISESCO called on the world states which recognized the State of Palestine to continue their efforts to put an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and enable the Palestinian people to determine their destiny and live in peace within their independent state with Al-Quds Asharif as its capital.


I October 2015

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32 Nations slam Bahrain’s human rights record

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A group of 32 nations expressed misgivings over the human rights situation in Bahrain, urging the Persian Gulf kingdom to respect people’s right to freedom of speech. In a letter read out to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the 32 governments said, “…the human rights situation in Bahrain remains an issue of serious concern” to them. The letter, which was read out by Swiss Ambassador to the UN Alexandre Fasel, regretted the fact that the Bahraini government had failed to provide enough guarantees for a fair trial of prisoners, while it slammed the detention of minors who took part in demonstrations, Press TV reported. “We are concerned there is

insufficient accountability for human rights violations,” said the letter, which was also signed by the United States, a close ally of Manama. Bahrain has been gripped by an uprising since 2011 when people began to take to the streets to demand more freedom and more of a say in the closed ruling system. The demonstrators later demanded the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa regime. Nearly a hundred have died in protests or under custody while hundreds more are also behind bars for taking part in peaceful demonstrations. The letter criticized the government for its intolerance of people’s peaceful rallies, saying such gatherings should not be met with

Egyptian scholars call for change in how Hajj is run

A number of senior Egyptian scholars have joined many others in the Muslim world who have called for a change in the management and running of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. It came following a deadly crane collapse in the holy city of Makkah and then the stampede. On September 11, a large construction crane toppled over during a violent rainstorm in Makkah and crashed into the Masjid al-Haram (the Grand Mosque), killing at least 107 pilgrims and wounding 238 others.

Some Egyptian figures and scholars have underlined that this was not the first such incident happening during Hajj rituals and, given the management of Hajj by the Saudi political and religious authorities, is not likely to be the last one. They underlined that Saudi officials should acknowledge their failure to properly hold the annual Hajj and take immediate and decisive measures to prevent such incidents from happening again. www.pi-media.co.uk

harassment. “We are concerned about reports of harassment and imprisonment of persons exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and of peaceful assembly and association, including human rights defenders,” the letter said, urging the government “to appropriately address all reports of torture and ill-treatment of detainees and ensure full investigation and prosecution of these cases.” The statement also called on Manama to agree to a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture for a probe into repeated cases of mistreatment in the regime’s prisons. The UN investigator was denied one such visit in 2013. Bahraini officials reacted to the letter, saying the smaller number of signatories compared to last year’s 47 proves a recognition of the kingdom’s efforts in improving the human rights situation. Rights advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Watch, slammed some governments, including Italy and Spain, for their lack of support to the statement, saying they “put politics before rights.”

Australia guide for Muslim travelers

Tourism Australia and HalalTrip, a booking website and guide for Muslim travellers, have launched a new guide for Muslim tourists in Australia. The 68-page guide showcases Australia’s various attractions and places of interest and provide detailed information on where facilities such as halal food places and prayer rooms can be found The guide is in English and can be downloaded for free at www.halaltrip.com Islam in Australia is a minority religious affiliation. Nearly 500,000 Muslims live in this country, making up some 3 percent of the total population.


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Building Bridges

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


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I October 2015

WORLD NEWS I 21

GOP candidate: No US Muslim president

In a fresh anti-Muslim rant, the Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said that he does not believe a Muslim should be president, sparking fresh criticism on the GOP politics towards the American Muslim community. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” the retired neurosurgeon told NBC news. Responding to a question on “Meet the Press,” Carson said that Islam isn’t consistent with the Constitution. He added that president’s faith should matter depending on what that faith is. “If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter,” he clarified. When asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim candidate for Congress, the devout Christian said: “Congress is a different story, but it

depends on who that Muslim is and what they’re policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.” On the other hand, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump played down his anti-Muslim rhetoric, saying that he may consider appointing a Muslim to his cabinet if elected. “I love the Muslims. I think they’re great people,” Trump told CNN on Sunday, September 20. Trump was answering a question about whether Muslims pose a danger to the country. His pro-Muslim comments came a few days after sparking a controversy when he failed to correct a supporter who called US President Barack Obama a Muslim. The supporter also asked the American business magnate how he plans to “get rid of” Muslims in the country. “We’re going to be looking at

Edmonton’s Muslim community urges Canada to open doors to more refugees Edmonton Muslims calling on the federal government to allow more Syrian refugees into Canada launched an awareness campaign at the Al-Rashid Mosque. “The idea here is to collect as many names and take those names to our government and let them know that as Canadians, we’ve always been humanitarian and want to see more done from our government,” said organizer Aumer Assaf. The Islamic Family and Social Services along with the Edmonton

Mennonite Centre have already welcomed 24 refugees from Syria, said spokesman Ayub Umergy. About 140 others should soon be arriving in Edmonton and Calgary, he said. Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011. In the past four years, more than 200,000 people have died in Syria overwhelmingly civilians– and around 4 million Syrian people are now refugees in other countries. Another 7.6 million are displaced inside Syria.

a lot of different things,” Trump responded. “You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening.” Defending why he chose not to correct the supporter, the real estate mogul wrote on Twitter: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so! “If I would have challenged the man, the media would have accused me of interfering with that man’s right of free speech. A no win situation!” During his a question-andanswer session with Iowa students, Trump was asked whether he would consider putting a Muslim in his Cabinet if elected in 2016. “Oh, absolutely,” Trump responded. “No problem with that.” Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims. An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.

Turkey to build Crimea’s largest mosque Turkey is going to fully finance the construction of Crimea’s largest mosque, Crimea’s Grand Mufti said. Crimea Autonomous Republic’s Grand Mufti Emir Ali Ablayev said that the Russian administration approved the project, which they had been trying to implement for 10 years, from before Crimea joined the Russian Federation. The mosque will be constructed in Crimea’s capital, which Crimean Tatars refer to as “Akmescit,” while Russians call it “Simferopol.” “The worship venue will be built in an area of 2,500 square meters (26,909 square feet), 5,000 Muslims will be able to worship at the same time.” and it be called “The Friday Mosque.”


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SPORT

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

Palestine FA slams Fifa decision to move Saudi Arabia match

Palestinian football’s governing body has said it is “impossible” to accept Fifa’s decision that it must play a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia on neutral territory. The fixture, set for October 13, had been scheduled to take place in the West Bank, but Saudi Arabia on September 23 demanded that it be played on neutral ground. The teams met each other in Jeddah in June, with the Saudis winning 3-2. That match was actually supposed to be played in Palestine but Saudi Arabia had refused to travel to the West Bank, citing undefined

“exceptional circumstances”. Palestine agreed to the switch but had requested that the return fixture, originally scheduled to be played in Jeddah, be hosted by Palestine instead, thus essentially reversing the home and away fixtures. Palestinian FA officials said the Saudi decision could have been due to reluctance to pass through Israeli checkpoints on their way to the game. Saudi media said Fifa had agreed to transfer the October match to neutral territory. Following the Fifa decision,

Palestinian FA chief Jibril Rajoub said: “Depriving Palestine of the right to play at home is a dangerous precedent and impossible to accept under any conditions.” The Palestinian national team played a World Cup qualifier at home for the first time on September 8, holding the UAE to a goalless draw at the Faisal Husseini stadium in Al Ram. The World Cup organising committee’s decision does not say where the game against Saudi Arabia will be played or explain either the reason for the decision or the Saudi FA’s objection to playing in the West Bank. Israel controls all access to the Palestinian territories, and Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic relations with them. Cited by the Palestinian FA, Rajoub said he would lobby internationally to have the Fifa decision revoked. But Fifa in its decision said the ruling is “final and binding”. Rajoub, who had at one point sought to have Israel suspended from Fifa over its restrictions on the movement of Palestinian players, has said that hosting the UAE showed that “Palestine exists and that Palestinians have the right to live in their own independent state”.

Sania becomes first Muslim woman tennis player to be ranked World No 1 in doubles Women’s doubles top seeds Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis defeated fourth seeded Casey Dellacqua and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 6-3 to claim the US Open title. The Indo-Swiss pair took only 69 minutes to conquer the AustralianKazakh pair at the Arthur Ashe stadium. It was Sania and Martina’s second women’s doubles Grand Slam title together after winning the Wimbledon earlier this year and they played with supreme confidence to

win the tournament without dropping a set. It was Sania’s fifth success at the Majors (two women’s doubles and three mixed doubles crowns). Sania’s partnership with Martina has helped her become the first Indian women’s player to be ranked World No. 1 in the doubles rankings. The final was Sania’s first in the category here at US Open. She won the mixed doubles title last year with Brazilian Bruno Soares here. For Martina, the tournament turned out to be a memorable won

as she lifted her second trophy at the Flushing Meadows this year, after bagging the mixed doubles crown with another Indian, Leander Paes. It was also her fifth Grand Slam title this year, and 20th of her career across all three disciplines (five singles, 11 doubles and four mixed doubles). The Swiss now just the third active player to have 20 major trophies (after Serena Willams’ 36 and Venus Williams’ 22) www.pi-media.co.uk


Dubai, Sharjah welcome Pakistan Super League www.pi-media.co.uk

SPORT I 23

I October 2015

Cricket officials in Dubai and Sharjah have welcomed the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to host the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in their stadiums from February 4 to 24 next year. The PCB, who had initially decided to host the event in Qatar, released an official statement from Lahore announcing that Dubai

International Cricket Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Stadium would host all the league’s 24 matches over a 21-day period. The Dubai stadium has been a popular venue for Pakistan’s Twenty20 matches and has hosted the highest number of T20 internationals in the world. It will now host many of the PSL’s top matches.

The PSL, which will offer up to $1m (Dh3.67 million) in prize money, will be graced by big-name players including Kevin Pietersen, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Luke Wright, Shakib Al Hassan, Lasith Malinga, Sunil Narine, and Angelo Mathews. Each of the five franchises — Quetta, Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore and Islamabad — will be able to draft players and coaches within a budget of $1m. The teams will comprise the top T20 players from the world, with the latest tally of foreign player signing consents standing at an impressive 132. The players will be selected through a draft process in December. There is also a pool of top coaches from which franchise owners will be able to choose. The PSL has already floated tenders for broadcasters and producers. This will be followed by a tendering process for sponsorships in the middle of October

British football clubs pledge refugee help British clubs playing in the Champions League and Europa League have agreed to donate ticket money from games towards funds for Europe’s refugee crisis. The European Club Association has asked clubs to donate one euro from each ticket sold for their first home match. Manchester United and Celtic became the latest British clubs to confirm they were taking part. “It is important football reflects the feelings of its communities,” said United vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell added: “From Glasgow we have watched in horror as this crisis has unfolded. “Clearly we are not able to comprehend what these people, in their thousands and of all ages, are going through, but we feel compelled to help in any way we can.”

The campaign, called 90 Minutes for Hope, is based on an initial idea from Portuguese side Porto and backed by the ECA, the independent body which represents clubs at European level. Europe has been struggling to cope with the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees, the majority fleeing the conflict in Syria, over the past few weeks. The ECA said the donations will be transferred to one or more “experienced and respected organisation(s)” to distribute to the refugees. No decision has been made about which organisation will receive the funds. “We cannot close our eyes to the dramatic scenes currently taking place throughout Europe,” said the ECA, which represents 220 clubs across 53 nations.

“We, the European clubs, understand that our work goes well beyond what we achieve on the pitch and are naturally committed to engaging in social causes and giving back to society.” Arsenal contributed £1 from every ticket sold for Saturday’s Premier League game against Stoke to a charity helping child refugees. Players in German football’s top two divisions wore shirts carrying messages supporting refugees. However, supporters of some leading European clubs have voiced their opposition to the ECA’s proposal. A fans’ group of Polish club Lech Poznan said it did “not agree” with the move, while supporters of Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv raised a banner with the message “Refugees not welcome” in their game against Kiryat Shmona.


Four Great Women 24I FEATURED

Anâs Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu reports that Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “From among the women of the world who have reached perfection and who are worthy of following are (the following four):Miryam the daughter of Imrân; Khadija daughter of Khuwailid; Fatima daughter of

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

Muhammad and Asiyah wife of Fir’aun” (Tirmidhi) The scholars of hadîth are of the view that this statement was made before Aisha Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha reached the position of excellence whereupon Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “The virtue of Aisha

Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha over all the women of the world is like the virtue of tharîd [a meat dish] over all other food.” The hadîth however refers to four women who acquired perfection in faith and character by virtue of their devotion, patience, toil and morality.


I October 2015 Their lives radiated with piety, trust, patience and gratitude. Their lives serve as beacons of guidance for all believers, especially in times of hardship, difficulty and struggle.

FEATURED I 25

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Maryam: The Daughter of Imrân Maryam Alayhas-Salâm spent her young days in total seclusion within the precincts of Baitul Muqaddas. She devoted her life to prayer and worship of the Almighty. Although unmarried she miraculously gave birth to Isa Alayhis- Salâm. She was accused of adultery and chastised for bringing disrepute to the family name. Who would have believed her innocence when she came to her people as a spinster with a child in hand, and how could she exonerate herself from the charge of adultery? Just how could an unmarried woman convince her people that this was no ordinary birth… nor was this an ordinary child? The Holy Qur’ân says: “So she came to her people carrying the child with her.” They said:” O Miryam you have indeed done an amazing thing” … she pointed to him- they exclaimed: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” But He (the child) said: “I am the servant of Allâh who has given me the Book and made me a Prophet.” (19:27-30) The breast suckling child spoke and vindicated his mother from the accusation of infidelity. When she gave her life to Allâh, Allâh gave her a child that protected her integrity even whilst he was in the cradle. Khadija Daughter of Khuwailid She was extremely wise, intelligent, gentle, and influential called Tahira [chaste and pure] even in the era of ignorance. She was exceptionally wealthy and a prosperous business woman. She married Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam at the age of fifty while he was twenty five. She provided the moral, financial, and emotional support for Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam when he was blessed with Nubuwat. When Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam first saw Jibra’îl Alayhis-Salâm in the cave of Hira, he was terrified and feared for his life. He ran down the mountain trembling and crying: “Cover me up! Cover me up!” It was Khadija Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha who consoled him; she was his pillar of support;

she believed in him when everyone else doubted him. She served as his refuge, consoled him, supported him and cared for him when he was alone, confused and terrified. She stood by him when everyone else shunned him. Khadija Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha rallied to the call of Islam, she gave a home to Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam, she was his first confidant, and tower of strength. Fatima Daughter of Muhammad Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam would often say: “Fatima is of my flesh, he who angers her, angers me” (Bukhari & Muslim) Fatimah Radhi-Allâhu ‘anhu was the youngest child of Nabî Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam and the only child who survived him. Hers was a life of extreme poverty and struggle. She constantly saw her father being mistreated, insulted and humiliated by the disbelievers. One day, when she was barely ten years old, she accompanied her father to the Masjid al-Haram. He stood in the place known as al-Hijr facing the Kabah and began to pray. Fatimah stood at his side. A group of Quraysh gathered around him. They included Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, the Prophet’s uncle, Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, and Shaybah and Utbah. Abu Jahl, the ringleader, asked: “Which of you can bring the entrails of a slaughtered animal and throw it on Muhammad?” Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt, one of the vilest of the lot, volunteered and hurried off. He returned with the obnoxious filth and threw it on the shoulders of the Prophet while he was still prostrating. Imagine the feelings of Fatimah as she saw her father being humiliated in this manner. She went up to her father and removed the filth and then stood firmly and angrily before the group of Quraish thugs and lashed out against them. Such scenes of vicious opposition and harassment against her father and the early Muslims were witnessed by the young Fatimah almost everyday. She did not meekly stand aside but joined in the struggle in defence of her father and his noble mission. Asiyah wife of Fir’aun “And for those who have faith Allâh has set forth a parable in the (story) of Fir’aun’s wife when she prayed: O

my sustainer! Build for me a mansion in paradise by You and save me from Fir’aun and his doings and save me from all evil doing people.” When the magicians fell into sajdah and declared their faith in Allâh and accepted Mûsa AlayhisSalâm as the Nabî of Allâh – the wife of Fir’aun also declared her faith. Fir’aun began punishing her by pegging her to the ground and exposing her to the midday sun. Whenever he turned away from her the angels would give her shade with their wings. He then gave her a choice: ‘Either retract from your belief or be prepared to be crushed by a huge boulder.’ She chose to be crushed. As she was placed onto the ground she raised her sight towards the sky –she saw her place in Jannah and prayed: “O my sustainer! Build for me a mansion in paradise by You and save me from Fir’aun and his doings and save me from all evil doing people. As she said this, her rûh left her body and the boulder then crushed her lifeless body. These four women changed the course of human history, through their perseverance, faith and courage. Miryam Alayhas-Salâm life was characterized by piety, chastity and faith, Khadija Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha neither succumbed to the trappings of wealth, nor to power and fame, Fatima Radhi-Allâhu ‘anha made sabr in the face of unending hardships and was crowned the ‘leader of all women in Jannah’, whilst the wife of Fir’aun chose faith over royalty. These were women distinguished by sabr who found the true friendship of Allâh through their unfailing steadfastness in the face of grinding sacrifices. May Almighty grant us the taufîq to emulate the beautiful conduct of these icons of virtue, humility and courage.

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