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Issue: 67 - www.pi-media.co.uk - Oct 2013
... Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is a largely unknown piece of legislation that has been described by many experts and human rights groups as being the most chilling and formidable weapon the UK government has at its disposal in respect of the questioning of UK and foreign nationals on the mainland...
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By Dr Abdul B Shaikh
Lecturer in Islamic Studies @ Leeds University and Deputy Editor of PI Magazine
The Face Coverings (Prohibition) Bill 2014 In recent days the media circus has inevitably descended upon UK Muslims once again in the form of the debate surrounding the adornment of the niqaab (face veil). Whilst it is not my intention to wade into the debate around cultural or religious requirements and obligations in respect of adorning the face veil on this occasion, but it is to create awareness concerning a bill currently going through parliament that could have huge ramifications on society in respect of the prohibition of all types of face coverings in public. The Face Coverings (Prohibition) Bill 2014 was presented to parliament in the form of a Private Members Bill on the 24th June 2013. The Conservative Mr Phillip Hollobone MP widely regarded as being the leading architect behind the bill backed by a number of his parliamentary colleagues are motivated by a desire to see all face coverings being banned from the public sphere within the UK with certain exemptions such as health and safety cited amongst others Hollobone articulated his argument by declaring that the primary motivating factor behind the bill stemmed from a meeting he had with a Muslim female constituent whose face was concealed during weekly surgery in his constituency. He had argued that he did not feel comfortable speaking to a constituent whose face he could not physically see. The bill at present has gone through the first stage where no debate took place. It is envisaged
that the second reading of the bill will take place on the 28th of February 2014 in the House of Commons. If we analyse the potential impact of the bill, it is not surprising to see that it is the Muslim community and in particular Muslim women who adorn the niqaab are the ones that are being systematically targeted in comparison to other individuals and communities that reside in the UK. Indeed, the chilling prospect of this bill becoming law will send shivers down the spines of those who at this moment in time venture out of their homes and frequent public places wearing the niqaab without the fear of being arrested for committing a criminal offence. However, there is a realistic prospect that if the bill did indeed become law then Muslim women up and down the country who adorn the niqaab will no longer be able to do so. One can only begin to envisage a situation where a Muslim women close to home could be charged with committing a criminal offence simply wearing a niqaab when shopping or even visiting the doctors surgery. Indeed, we only have to look at neighbouring France to witness the very impact of the ban on the veil that has undoubtedly affected the Muslim community in recent years. The only positive news emanating from this bill is the fact that Muslim women will still have the freedom to adorn the face veil in private environments such as the family home and private establishments. In light of this bill and the
potential impact it could have on Muslim communities were it to become law in the UK there needs to be a sensible debate amongst Muslim religious and community leaders and policymakers at the heart of government in order to take the heat out of this situation. There is no doubt that the UK is the most tolerant and diverse country in the whole world when it comes to human rights and Muslims as well as others can go about their daily lives without fear and persecution. Muslims in the UK are rather passive when it comes to lobbying and making a persuasive argument in the defence of freedom of religious expression. However, the time has come for Muslims in the UK to actively get involved in this debate lobbying their local MPâ€™s and government ministers by writing letters and sending emails expressing concern over the potential implications of this bill were it to become law. We cannot as Muslims leave it to the few to defend causes that affect the community and have an obligation to get involved in the political process. If we standstill and let events pass then do not be surprised that certain individuals will turn their attention to seeking to prohibit the adornment of the veil (hijaab), the beard and Islamic dress in due course. Let us hope that common sense prevails and that the UK still remains the most diverse and tolerant country in the world in respect of cultural and religious freedoms.
Write to: Editor, PI Media, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: firstname.lastname@example.org - www.pi-media.co.uk - mob: 07506 466 385 This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qurâ€™an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -
Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not necessarily of Passion Islam.
UK urges banks to introduce sharia finance
I October 2013
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Britain is demanding its banks to introduce services compliant with the Islamic law in a bid to make London the major western player in an international Islamic finance sector expected to be worth $2.6 trillion by 2017. The objective is putting up a challenge to Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, which are currently two key hubs of Islamic banking in a bid to boost London’s status in the world of financial services. “We want to be the leading (Islamic) finance sector outside of the Muslim world,” deputy mayor of London Edward Lister said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur. Britain established its Islamic finance task force in
March with the participation of several ministers and banking industry heavyweights as well as top executives from Gatehouse Bank and Oakstone Merchant Bank Ltd. The move, aimed at facilitating Islamic financial business, was a prelude to London’s hosting of the World Islamic Economic Forum in October. “The task force has just started and its aim is to make it easier for banks in London to have Islamic products, which is still quite a new concept to any of them,” Lister said. There are currently 22 financial institutions active in Britain, including five fully sharia-compliant banks.
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Terrorism arrests and charging rates rise
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I October 2013
The number of people arrested for suspected terror-related offences in England, Scotland and Wales rose last year, while the rate of charges increased to record levels. Statistics released by the Home Office showed 249 people were arrested for terrorism offences in 2012/13, up 21 per cent from 206 in 2011/12. This compares to 125 in 2010/11 and a peak of 284 in 2005/06, with an average of 210 in the last decade.
Of those arrested, 42 per cent were charged, an increase of two per cent compared to the previous year, with 35 per cent of the charges brought for terror-related offences. Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which was controversially used to stop Brazilian national David Miranda at Heathrow last month, was used to stop 56,257 people in 2012/13, a 12 per cent fall compared to the previous 12 months. Stop and searches under
Schedule 7 by the Metropolitan Police Service fell by 29 per cent, from 818 in 2011/12 to 582 last year, while the arrest rate from the searches rose two per cent to 5.5 per cent. The vast majority of people (93 per cent) arrested for terrorism offences were male, with 47 per cent of arrested people aged under 30. Four in five people arrested were stopped for suspected international terrorism. Eleven per cent were arrested for domestic terrorrelated offences and seven per cent classified as associated with Northern Ireland-related terrorism. Just under half (1,198 people) of those arrested were either British citizens or declared dual nationality. Algeria (152), Pakistan (125), Iraq (115), Afghanistan (74) and Iran (63) were the most common nationalities of foreign suspects, while 37 per cent of people arrested for terrorismrelated offences were of Asian ethnic appearance, compared to 29 per cent white, 11 per cent black and 22 per cent other.
Continued from front page Have you been stopped at the airport? Ever wondered why you have been singled out? Been embarrassed when your name has been announced at the point of departure? These are just some of many questions that Muslims have asked themselves for many years when leaving and returning back to British airports and ports. Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is a largely unknown piece of legislation that has been described by many experts and human rights groups as being the most chilling and formidable weapon the UK government has at its disposal in
respect of the questioning of UK and foreign nationals on the mainland. Next time you travel overseas it is imperative that you do not fall foul of Schedule 7 when stopped at the airport or port when attempting to leave the country. Remember the following before you travel Under the schedule, UK police can stop, examine and search passengers at ports, airports and international rail terminals. There is no requirement for an officer to have a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is involved with terrorism before they are stopped. A passenger can be held for questioning for up to nine hours
and those detained must “give the examining officer any information in his possession which the officer requests”. Any property seized must be returned after seven days, but data from mobile phones and laptops may be downloaded and retained by the police for longer. Those detained are compelled to answer questions from the police and must not “obstruct” or “frustrate” any police searches. If someone fails to co-operate they are deemed to have committed a criminal offence and could face up to three months in prison, a fine or both.
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UK to run secret monitoring station in Middle East
I October 2013
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Britain runs a secret monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept large numbers of telephone calls, emails and internet traffic that it shares with intelligence agencies in the United States, the Independent newspaper has reported. The station is part of a 1 billion pound global eavesdropping project run by Britain to intercept digital communications, the paper said, citing leaked documents from former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden’s leaks have sparked a global surveillance scandal that has pitted US President Barack Obama against the Kremlin and prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron’s advisers to demand the return of secrets from the Guardian newspaper. The London-based Independent, which did not say how it obtained the information from the Snowden documents, said the British had tapped into the underwater fibreoptic cables which pass through the Middle East. Britain’s foreign ministry and a spokesman for Britain’s eavesdropping agency GCHQ declined comment. Data gleaned from the monitoring station, whose exact location the Independent said it would not reveal, is then passed onto GCHQ in Cheltenham, England, and shared with the US National Security Agency. A network of worldwide cables pass from Britain and the United
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States through the Mediterranean, running via the Suez canal linking India and the Far East, according to a map from fibre-optic cable providers, Alcatel-Lucent
In the Middle East, underwater cables from the sea link into a number of points on land including Tel Aviv, Athens, Istanbul, Cyprus and several Egyptian cities.
Killing drone protest held in wales A protest gathering was held in Wales at the entrance to Parc Aberporth, where the UK’s army is developing its ‘remote killing machines’ or drones. The gathering organized by ‘Drones Network Cymru’ and several other campaigns groups was held as a wake-up call for the British government to live up to its international obligations and lower its contribution to the worldwide war machines, which kill indiscriminately. The impacts drones have had on civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were
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highlighted by a representative of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Movingly, others read out the names of some of the hundreds of children already deliberately killed by drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and now in Syria. The then UK government established Parc Aberporth in 2003-4 as a testing site for drones, at a cost to the taxpayer of over £21 million. Initially, it promised to create at least 1,000 jobs, but the site managed to employ only 50 people with three quarters of the business units left empty. PTV
I October 2013
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Charity Commission to get tough on late accounts www.pi-media.co.uk
I October 2013
The Charity Commission will take stronger action against charities that fail to file their accounts on time, according to Sam Younger, the regulator’s chief executive. Speaking at a Westminster Social Policy Forum on charity law and regulation in London, Younger told Third Sector that the commission would be “dramatically stepping up” the action it takes against charities that fail to file their accounts on time. His comments follow the government’s response to reports from the Public Administration Select Committee and Lord Hodgson, which approved plans to allow the commission to fine charities that
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failed to file accounts on time. Younger said the commission would be taking more action to identify and deal with incidences of abuse and trustee dishonesty in charities, after criticism over the way it had dealt with particular cases, although he did not mention any specific organisations. The regulator has come under fire this year for its handling of the tax-avoidance vehicle the Cup Trust, which raised £176m in private donations but spent only £55,000 on charitable activities in two years. Younger said: “Our experience tells us that defaulting on accounts is often associated with
mismanagement and dishonesty.” He said the use of a red banner to highlight late-filing charities on the register had gone some way to reducing the problem. “But I’m not convinced we’ve done enough so far to deal with trustees who persistently file late,” he said. “Those who are wilfully negligent or worse may have something to hide. So we are stepping up our approach to those cases. Younger called on the public and donors not to give to charities that had failed to file on time. “My message to the public and corporate and government donors is: don’t give to charities that have not filed their accounts with us,” he said. He also called for the commission to be given the power to disqualify trustees it suspected of wrongdoing. “A power to disqualify trustees is essential, we believe, for us to be a modern, effective regulator,” Younger said. When it carries out investigations into charities, Younger said the commission would no longer always give trustees the “benefit of the doubt”, allowing them to resolve issues on their own. “We will be getting tougher with charities, particularly once they are under investigation and tightening up on these points,” he said. By Abi Rimmer
Asian Girls ‘Hidden Target Of Sex Abuse Gangs’ AFP reported that the sexual abuse of British girls of South Asian origin is going unreported because authorities tend to focus on gangs that target white youngsters, according to a study released. Although there has been a series of high-profile British court cases in which men of South Asian heritage were convicted of sexually exploiting vulnerable white girls, authorities are failing to spot cases in which men target girls from their own ethnic group, the Muslim Women’s Network UK said.
Asian girls are reluctant to report sexual abuse to the police because they fear that they will not be believed or that they will bring dishonour to their families, according to the group, which advises the British government on issues facing Muslim women. The Muslim Women’s Network said it had uncovered 35 cases in which young Asians had been sexually exploited. Most of the victims said their abusers were men from the same ethnic group
I October 2013
Health Authorities say Flu vaccines halal
I October 2013
Public Health England (PHE) has defended the use of vaccinations that contain pork gelatin, saying they should be acceptable for Muslims.The statement came as a response to criticisms that followed the realization that flu shots administered as part of an immunization program in schools in Leicestershire contained a small amount of pork gelatin. The vaccination program is part of a pilot scheme offered by National Health Service (NHS) England aimed at students aged 4-10 in the Leicestershire and Rutland region. Administered nasally, the Fluenz vaccine is designed to protect against influenza and is currently
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available to the 70,000 children in the pilot area. Concerns were raised when parents found out that the vaccinations contained traces of protein from pork gelatin. Consuming pork is against the religious and ethical beliefs of some pupils and their families, including Muslim communities and those who adhere to a strict vegetarian diet. PHE, the authority responsible for the pilot scheme, has defended the use of small amounts of pork gelatin in the vaccines and claim that despite these traces, Fluenz vaccines are halal. Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at PHE, told Zaman
newspaper, “In 2001, the World Health Organization consulted with over 100 Muslim scholars and confirmed that the gelatin used is considered halal and there is no religious reason not to receive the vaccination.” However, some parents of Muslim children who attend schools that received the vaccination claim that the scheme showed a lack of sensitivity because pupils were not informed of the vaccinations’ ingredients beforehand. Parents of vegetarian pupils at the schools who took part in the trial vaccination scheme have also voiced concerns about the animal products used in the flu vaccines, which goes against the ethics of a strict vegetarian diet. Health authorities have apologized for not informing parents that the vaccinations contained pork gelatin before the pilot program was set up, explaining that it is not normal practice to list all ingredients that may be present in a vaccine in very small quantities. Fluenz is currently the only live flu vaccine available and so far trial programs suggest it is the most effective flu vaccine for children.
UK rally in support of Jordanian Saudi Arabia prisoners in Israeli jail donates $200
British activists stagea a protest in London to draw public attention to the plight of Jordanian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The demonstration, which was organized by the Innovative Minds (inminds) campaign group, was held in front of the Royal Jordanian Airlines office in Hammersmith, West London. Protesters condemn the Jordanian government’s complicity in the fate of Jordanian hunger strikers in Israeli detention centers. 5 out of 26 Palestinian political prisoners with Jordanian citizenship
began refusing food on May 2 in protest to their treatment by Israeli authorities. But after 100 days, 4 of them suspended their hunger strike following the prison service’s agreement to allow family visits for the first time. Alaa Hammad is the only Jordanian prisoner who is still on hunger strike and suffers deteriorating health conditions. Earlier last month, British campaigners staged a protest in solidarity with the prisoners outside the Jordan International Bank in Knightsbridge.
million to Palestinian
Saudi Arabia will donate $200 million to Palestinian municipal councils, Saudi media reported. Saudi Minister of Municipal Affairs Mansour Ibn Mitib announced the funding at the inauguration of the 13th congress of the Organization of Islamic Cities and Capitals in Mecca, the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh reported.
Palestinians life worse now than before - Oxfam
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On the 20th anniversary of the Oslo peace accords, Oxfam International said life for millions of Palestinians is worse now than it was 20 years ago, as the government of Israel has expanded its settlements in the occupied territory and increased its control over Palestinian land and lives. Oxfam, an international aid agency, said in a press release, “Since 1993, Israel has doubled the number of settlers from 260,000 to over 520,000 and expanded the area controlled by settlements to over 42 percent of Palestinian land. A system of checkpoints and other restrictions on Palestinian movement and trade
has divided families and decimated the economy”. The agency warned a similar pattern is already emerging during the current peace talks. In the past six weeks, Israel has approved the construction of at least 3,600 more settlement homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and demolished at least 36 Palestinian homes. In the past 20 years, Israel has demolished 15,000 Palestinian buildings, including homes, water systems and agricultural facilities. “The hope that the Oslo process brought has come crashing down with two decades of obstruction and broken promises. While parties
I October 2013
are negotiating peace, actions on the ground are making the lives of Palestinian civilians in particular ever more difficult, and jeopardizing the chance of reaching a solution. A peace process naturally calls for give and take from all parties, but it is Palestinian civilians who have overwhelmingly paid the cost,” said Nishant Pandey, head of Oxfam in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel. Actions over past 20 years have impeded the Palestinian economy to a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The Gaza economy alone has lost around $76 million annually as up to 35 percent of its agricultural land is prevented from being cultivated, and the government of Israel has reduced the waters available to Palestinian fishermen from the 20 nautical miles agreed at Oslo to just six nautical miles today. Exports from Gaza have dropped by 97 percent since the economic blockade was put in place in 2007.
Mosque to be built in Slovenia after 45 years www.pi-media.co.uk
I October 2013
people. Muslim groups, however, say around 80,000 Muslims reside in the country. According to a 2002 census, Islam is the second largest religion in the country after Catholicism. PTV
Slovenia has finally given the green light to the construction of the European country’s first mosque, nearly 45 years after the initial request to build it was made. Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek laid the foundation stone for what will be the first mosque in his country. Bratusek described the construction of the mosque as a “symbolic victory against all forms of religious intolerance,” adding that Europe will not be as culturally rich without Islam. Nearly 10,000 people are said to be present at the ceremony in the capital, Ljubljana. The building of the mosque is planned to start in November 2013
and should be finished by the end of autumn 2016. The project, which includes a Muslim cultural center, will cost 12 million euros ($16 million), 70 percent of which will be funded by Qatar. The first request to construct a mosque in the Southeast European country was filed in 1969. The project faced difficulty in recent years over land issue. Opponents of building the mosque in the country also twice tried to stop the project, once in 2004 and again in 2009, by demanding a referendum. The constitutional court denied both requests. Some 47,000 Muslims live in Slovenia which is home to two million
1,200-Yearold Quran discovered in Bodrum A 1,200 year-old handwritten Quran has been found in the basement of a mosque in the Aegean resort town of Bodrum. The imam Yüksel Kılıçaslan found the holy Quran and some tafsir (the interpretation of the Quran) books which was being kept in a prayer rug and immediately reported Bodrum’s Mufti Emin Arık. After a series of examinations by historians, it has been confirmed that the Quran dated back more than a thousand year. The manuscripts were handed in the officials from The Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning and Underwater Archaeology Museum. - World Bulletin
Palestinian boy killed by Israeli forces A Palestinian boy has died of his injuries in a hospital shortly after being shot by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Islam Al-Tubasi, 19, was shot on during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops who stormed the refugee camp. According to witnesses, the Israeli troops raided a house belong to Al-Tubasi family amid gunfire and seriously injured Islam. The Israeli forces then transferred him to an Israeli hospital, where he
died of injuries. One more Palestinian was also injured in the incident. Witnesses also said that Israeli forces raided several houses in the camp and made some arrests before leaving. It was the fourth deadly attack Israel conducted in Palestiniancontrolled areas in West Bank since July. The Israeli military often raids Palestinian houses in the West Bank to arrest activists and civilians, mostly without any charges.
On August 31, a Palestinian teenager, Karim Sobhi Abu Sbeih, died of wounds he had sustained during an attack by Israeli troops on the Jenin camp. On August 26, Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinians in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the West Bank and wounded dozens of residents mostly by live rounds. The shooting occurred after dozens of Israeli troops attacked the refugee camp, north of East al-Quds (Jerusalem), to arrest a former Palestinian political prisoner.
Abu Dhabi to invest $5bn in Russia
Abu Dhabi plans to invest $5 billion in Russian infrastructure in a venture to be set up with the country’s statebacked private equity fund, aimed at funding toll roads, ports and airports, the Kremlin and the Russian fund told Reuters news agency. Moves to improve infrastructure, some of which has changed little since Soviet times, are considered vital by investors to modernise Russia and make its economy more competitive. President Vladimir Putin unveiled a $13 billion investment plan to build new roads and railways at an economic forum in St Petersburg in June. “We believe we can deliver attractive returns investing in Russian infrastructure,” said Kirill Dmitriev,
chief executive of the state-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund. Dmitriev expects investments in projects to start next year and that it will take five to seven years for the funds to be invested. The accord with Abu Dhabi is expected to be signed during talks between Putin and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Kremlin said in a statement. The emirate’s finance department will co-invest in the joint venture together with the RDIF. The RDIF will co-invest in each project, although is not disclosing by how much. The announcement comes months after the RDIF set up a $2 billion fund with Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development to fund projects in Russia.
I October 2013
Muhammad tops Milan for Business names The most popular name for small business owners in Milan is now Mohammed, taking the first place over traditional Italian names for the first time, according to a study published. The study by the chamber of commerce of Italy’s commercial capital found 1,595 Mohammeds in the companies list for 2012 compared to 1,383 instances of business owners called Giuseppe. Third-placed was Marco with 1,131 small businesses registered by people with that name and Maria came in fourth with 1,095 while Ahmed got 615. Milan has a total of 34,278 companies — around 12 percent of the total — that are either foreign or owned by people born abroad, the study said. These immigrant-owned companies operate mainly in the services sector including restaurants, as well as in manufacturing, trade and construction. Their “life expectancy” is on average nine months higher than those owned by native Italians.
Al Jazeera take legal action to protect journalists Al Jazeera has taken legal action to protect its journalists in Egypt following the arrest and detention of “a large number” of reporters by security services. The Middle East-based broadcaster has called in London law firm Carter-Ruck to take action against what it claims is a “sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation” orchestrated by the Egyptian government. Al Jazeera claims that a number of its journalists in Egypt have been arrested “either without charge or on spurious and politically motivated charges” since the overthrow of
President Mohamed Morsi by the military in July. Besides the arrests, Al Jazeera claims that Egyptian authorities have jammed its transmissions and shut down offices and other facilities. The network has instructed Carter-Ruck to take action in the international courts and present the case to the UN. An Al Jazeera spokesman said: “Al Jazeera cannot permit this situation to continue. The right of journalists to report freely in situations of this kind is protected by international law and is reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution
1738 (2006). However, the new regime in Egypt has disregarded this fundamental right and seems determined to silence all independent journalism and reporting in the country, leaving only the voices of its own state-controlled media to be heard. “Al Jazeera has instructed its lawyers to take all steps necessary worldwide to ensure that its journalists can operate freely in the country, without fear of arbitrary arrest, assault, jamming or other forms of harassment and intimidation. By Gavriel Hollander
Saudi hajj pilgrims without toilet facilities
I October 2013
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Camps in Saudi Arabia designed to accommodate up to 25,000 Islamic pilgrims have been handed over to local service companies without basic facilities such as toilets and kitchens, it was reported. Al-Sharq newspaper quoted the head of the national committee for hajj and umrah Osama Al-Filali as saying that these firms only had 15 days remaining to install these facilities, and that they were required to provide adequate services. “The companies had to make up for many shortages in the past, but this year some of the camps do not even have toilets and kitchens,” AlFilali said told the newspaper, adding that service companies would be made to bear the expense.
Al-Filali rejected the suggestion that local pilgrim firms had hiked prices to increase their profits, saying that price rises were due to higher costs. Another official was quoted as saying by the newspaper that the lack of facilities at pilgrim camps would not be a major issue, as authorities had installed a large number of public toilets in the kingdom’s holy sites. Able-bodied Muslims are required to make the pilgrimage to Islamic holy sites Makkah and Medinah at least once during their lifetime. Every year, millions of Muslims flock to Saudi Arabia to undertake these pilgrimages. By Daniel Shane
French Muslim, Christian scholars to meet The biennial meeting of Muslim and Christian scholars in France will be held on Wednesday, October 9. According to bienpublic website, the city of Dijon in Burgundy area will host the biennial event. It aims to strengthen relations between the scholars of the two faiths and serves as a venue for them to exchange views. The theme of this year’s meeting,
scheduled to be held at Saint Bernadette Hall in Dijon is “Islamophobia and Christianophobia”. There will be a question-andanswer session at the end of the meeting, which is to be attended by prominent figures from the two faiths. Islam is the second largest religion in France after Christianity. Around six million Muslims live in the West European Country.
A US clothing retailer fashion mogul has been found guilty of violating the religious rights of a Muslim employee who was fired for refusing to remove her hijab, a federal judge has ruled. “We’re living in America; it’s such a melting pot of diversity with so many different types of people,” Hani Khan, a former employee at Hollister store in San Mateo, California, was quoted by San Francisco Mercury News. “That’s why I’ve taken this case so publicly, so that they realize what they did was wrong and what they continue to do is wrong.” The court ruling issued last month came to end troubles Khan has been facing over the past three years. Hired for work at an Abercrombie & Fitch store in California in October 2009, store managers told her that her hijab would not be in conflict with Abercrombie’s “look policy,” as long as she wore it in company colors. Her dilema started when a district manager visited the store followed by a request by a company official to stop wearing the hijab. She refused and was suspended, and a week later was fired. In 2010, US authorities sued the company for discrimination over the incident. Various
Going to Mecca
I October 2013
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the Hajj. The pilgrims walk with heads bare and feet in sandals; they call to Allah; they kiss or point to the Black Stone, as the Prophet did. Arriving at Mecca, they surge round the Ka’aba, shave their heads and travel to Mount Arafat. Finally, though their bodies are tired and aching, their spirits are uplifted, knowing that with thousands of others they have performed the sacred pilgrimage. Na’Ima B Robert is descended from Scottish Highlanders on her father’s side and the Zulu people on her mother’s side. She divides her time between London and Cairo and dreams of living on a farm with her own horses. Until then, she is happy to be a mum to her four children
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How to get the best out of University
I October 2013
The arrival of September heralds the beginning of the new academic year for students embarking upon the higher education train. Many students will be thrilled at the prospect of entering a new phase of their lives and will either be attending a higher education institution away from home which entails an entirely new experience altogether or some will opt for home comforts and enrol on a degree programme closer to home. The world of higher education it has to be said is a challenging and inspiring one for all those connected with it. For many years, the UK was at the pinnacle of the world’s higher education system and students from all across the world came and even today come to these shores to receive the finest education one can obtain. The new academic year will see students being taught subjects containing innovative world class research taught by many of the finest and leading professors in the world of higher education. Recently, the coalition government has put its weight behind the ‘excellence in teaching’ agenda in the HE sector in order to raise standards and deliver a world class education that is beneficial to the student of today.
However, today’s student has to understand the dynamic of independent learning quickly in order to survive in the world of higher education. Independent learning is an essential pre-requisite for studies at undergraduate level as it entails students having to learn with minimal supervision from the tutor. This type of learning is radically different to that of school or further education (FE) college where the student’s progress is closely monitored and where more support is readily available. One was always reminded during my studies many years ago that students are at university to read for their degree. Initially, one was rather bemused by such a statement but looking back in time one appreciates that reading academic works broadens the mind and exposes it to fresh ideas and opinions. It is important that students do as much reading as possible rather than turn up to lectures and expect the tutor to do their work for them! Remember that today’s student is required to pay 9k fees a year in order to receive a world class education which is a far cry to the days where students paid no fees and received a generous maintenance grant! Employers are increasingly
looking at personal transferrable skills (PTS) when it comes to the business of recruiting fresh graduates during annual job fairs and recruitment events. Therefore, it is important that students embarking on their studies develop skills such as time management, meeting deadlines and planning and organising their research. The student that can master these skills will put themselves in a far superior position when applying for jobs at the end of their studies. It is imperative that students enhance their CV’s further during their studies by engaging in a variety of activities, such as volunteering for third sector and voluntary groups, joining university societies and getting all too valuable work experience by obtaining a parttime job. After all, the student that has developed an outstanding CV is giving themselves a far better chance at landing a job, especially in light of intense competition in an age of ever shrinking opportunities that is undoubtedly the consequence of globalisation. Finally, the advice to all students is to enjoy this new experience and get stuck into university life as the years will go by very quickly. Remember, this is a once in a lifetime unique experience that will stay with you for the rest of your lives. By Dr Abdul Basit Sheikh Lecturer at Leeds University Deputy Editor of PI Magazine
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Manchester United seal UAE bank deal
Emirates NBD, the UAE’s biggest bank, has signed a five-year partnership with Manchester United Football Club, it has been reported in arabian business. The agreement will see the Dubai-based lender become the football club’s exclusive financial partner in the UAE and will allow it to offer branded credit cards. Emirates NBD joins a line-up of international sponsors associated with the club, which includes Aon, Nike, Chevrolet, Bulova, DHL, Epson, Santander, Maybank, Standard Bank and Danamon. “As one of the most popular sports in the world, football instantly touches the hearts of millions. Working with one of the giants of this beautiful game offers us an important platform to connect emotionally to the millions of fans,” said Suvo Sarkar, general manager of retail banking at Emirates NBD. “As the leading bank in the region, Emirates NBD is delighted
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to partner with a global brand like Manchester United; a household name in the UAE with a huge residential fan base. This partnership provides the perfect stage for the launch of a card which will enable fans to connect further with one of the most exciting brands in world football,” he added. Holders of the new Emirates NBD Manchester United MasterCard Credit and Prepaid Cardholders will also get a chance to win
official Manchester United signed memorabilia and 60 fully paid trips every season to watch the team play at Old Trafford. The deal comes just weeks after Spanish rival FC Barcelona signed a three-year deal with UAE lender United Arab Bank (UAB). UAB CEO Paul Trowbridge said the deal offered UAB a chance to tap into the football club’s 500,000-strong fan base in the UAE. “We’re excited about this alliance,” he added.
Afghanistan wins first international football title
Afghanistan won its first international trophy in football beating India 2-0 in the South Asian Football Federation Championship. The Afghans, who were a founding member of the Asian Football Confederation in 1954,
have a long football history but only recently re-emerged on the world scene after decades of war and insurgency. When the Taliban ruled from 1996-2001, they severely restricted sports and football stadiums were used to stage executions of those who ran afoul of the Islamist movement’s harsh laws. Afghanistan has never played at the World Cup, or even at the Asian Cup. But the country has been getting better in recent years, rising up the FIFA rankings to No. 139 on the latest list. The win over India avenged the team’s loss in the SAFF Championship final two years ago. India beat the Afghans 4-0 in the 2011 championship match. Afghans began playing football about 90 years ago, and the
country’s national federation was founded in 1922. Afghanistan joined FIFA in 1948. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, football gained a strong following in the country, but it nearly died out during the 10-year Soviet occupation from 1979 to 1989 and the civil war that followed from 1992 to 1996. The football team’s success has been a point of unity in a country riven by ethnic divisions, with Afghans of all backgrounds praying for victory. AP
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Local community benefit from professional Tennis coaching
Ravensthorpe community centre and 20:20 Foundation is working together with the tennis foundation to provide a series of pilot interventions aimed at attracting participants from disadvantaged areas. The initial 4 week pilot projects were ran through a number of existing projects including Crow nest Park Dewsbury, The interventions provided new weekly tennis sessions within a doorstep sport setting. Tennis foundation helped to provide the funding required to run the sessions (facilities/coaches), equipment where required and assistance in sourcing coaches for the sessions. The key focus of the sessions was to provide opportunities for individuals within disadvantaged areas to learn new skills and have fun playing tennis with friends; with sessions delivered by qualified coaches who were chosen because
of their interest and empathy with the target BME market. The pilot projects were able to attract participants who are traditionally hard to engage (including NEETs, Women’s, girls and Families) and local feedback has been Positive. Through the attendance a reward scheme was established whereby individuals (volunteers and participants) were able to attend Wimbledon and for some it was there first experience of attending a live sporting event. The Tennis Foundation had made 12 tickets available for the third day of Wimbledon and all the participants went on to see the “then to be” Wimbledon champion in his 2nd match on court.
Aussie Muslim cricketer removes beer logo on shirt It was a victory for Australian Muslim cricket player Fawad Ahmed, who has been allowed to not wear the sponsorship logo of beer brand VB because of his faith’s ban on alcohol. The Aussie cricket team wear the sponsorship logo of beer brand VB. Cricket Australia agreed to Pakistanborn Ahmed’s request after he had “expressed discomfort” with wearing the logo. “Fawad expressed discomfort with the conflict this created for him, due to his religious beliefs,” said Mike McKenna, Cricket Australia’s executive general manager for operations. “Cricket Australia and
Carlton United Breweries (CUB) are respectful of Fawad’s personal beliefs and have agreed with his request to wear an unbranded shirt. “CUB have been a long-standing partner of Australian cricket for more than 17 years and Fawad was thankful for their understanding of his personal situation,” McKenna added, in comments reported by AFP news agency. Meanwhile, South African batsman Hashim Amla, also a Muslim, is another player in a similar situation and has been permitted not to wear the logo of Cricket South Africa sponsor Castle, a beer company, on his kit. AFP
Hashim Vali who is an attendee to the tennis session commented on how he would forever hold on to the fond memories of Murray Mount and the year he actually saw the new British champion. Please watch this space for further development and projects supported by the Tennis foundation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for future activities and events
Ancient Istanbul Turkey
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The ancient capital of the world’s most powerful kingdoms: Roman, Byzantine and the Ottomans and the present times thrilling summer destination, Istanbul is a living piece of history, culture and art which spells out the glorious past of all those who compete to hold this fascinated and beautiful city. A well-documented past shows that Constantinople was besieged by Muslims in 674AD and was administered by the Umayyads and Abbasids until the Ottomans finally took over in 1453 AD. What is more exciting about Istanbul is one never gets tired of seeing it, every time it’s pacific and adoring breeze offer you extra charm and liking. Something similar happens to me when I learnt that IAMCR (International Association of Media and Communication Research) is organising a conference in Istanbul’s newly and modern Kadir Has University, which stands only a few meters away from the Golden Horn. It is surrounded by famous and historic neighbourhoods that include: Cibali, name after a soldier who first entered through settlement walls and Unkapani port. From this point one
may also walk to Bosporus where East meets the West and also the Black Sea shake hands with the Sea of Marmara. Although, I approached both the organisers and the Turkish visa consulate quite late but finally Ryan Air takes me to Sabiah Gokcen airport. Back in November 2002, I came to Istanbul to cover elections for a Pakistani newspaper Daily Pakistan when the city was decorated with sky-high portraits of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s. Being no stranger to Istanbul having visited the city a number of years ago nothing could have prepared me for what was in store this time whilst coming through Ataturk Airport. On my arrival, I was pleasantly dumbstruck by the changing face of Istanbul, having being reduced to a spectator looking through the coach window. I could not but notice cranes, laborers and fabulous buildings dominating the Istanbul skyline. Having been a spectator to an interesting round of talks in our department as to whether the EU will admit predominately Muslim Turkey into the ‘club’ and if so what role will
a rejuvenated buoyant nation play in the Middle East and Europe. For many scholars, perhaps the attitude of EU towards Turkey reminds us of the spectre of Islamophobia. Without doubt, Turkey has emerged as growing economic and military power in the Gulf and Europe with its economy growing faster than Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Greece’s economies combined. The irony being that it was these very nations that were staunchly and resolutely opposed to Turkey’s accession to the EU. In the last 10 years, Turkey’s charismatic leader Erdoğan’ has put the nation on the path of economic propsperity through his dynamic policies and it is hardly surprising to find that the nation is ranked as having the 16th largest economy in the world. I couldn’t escape of my past memories when in 2002 I exchanged Turkish Lira and paid for little things in thousands but now Turkey’s currency is amazingly strong compared to those times. In an hour long coach journey, I arrived at the old part of the city and getting ready for my final destination in Sultanahmet where I booked a
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hotel so that I could have a spiritual overhaul by staying nearby Blue Mosque, (Sultan Ahmet Camii) a place that attracts and grabs everyone attention regardless of their beliefs. While walking to board a taxi I noticed children from around the world were singing at a roadside staged event ‘Istanbul meetings of the world cultures and youth’ I stood to watch their performance that gave me a feeling of having a juicy bite of a cold pineapple. Sultanahmet is the centre of historic remains dates back to sixth century, encapsulating Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule. It holds explicit memories of the past from the magnificent piece of art in the form of the Blue Mosque through to the amazing Hagia Sofia museum in Sultanahmet square. This square can be reach by tram or even by walking, one obtains a close view of many other historic shines, mosques, water wells and other buildings of classic grandeur. The centre is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, souvenirs shops whilst the giant gardens attract the visitors’ attention and activities are a plenty where people are busy engaged in displaying their artistic flair and playing with instruments of various natures. These recitalist love travellers who rely on these activities to supplement their livelihood and like anywhere else the natives are more inclined towards foreign travellers because they bring in much needed and welcome income. Throughout Sultanahmet the migrant workers often sell leading branded perfumes at a pittance and yes unsurprisingly it is all counterfeit. By the time, I checked in it was almost 6pm, I decided to take a quick shower and I rushed to catch the Maghrib prayer at the Blue Mosque. The moment I entered this great mosque I couldn’t halt my emotions and within seconds it seemed to me that my soul starts getting its diet. When it comes to manners, presentation and style, Turks have no competitor. The lebas (dress) of Imam, the way of making dua (prayer) and Azan (they have a special chabutra/place within a mosque) are all unique. Here I met a Saudi businessman,
who told me that he comes every year to Istanbul to blue mosque and especially to the Eyup Sultan mosque, located in Eyup Sultan and is a resting place of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) great companion Hazzrat Abu-Ayyub AlAnsari. While sitting in the mosque, I looked deep into my spiritual feelings and realise that the Blue mosque also holds the unique character of its establisher; Sultan Ahmet, who was more of a saint than a ruler. I was thinking how many people may have embraced Islam just after visiting this mosque, Very quickly, I got the answer as after the Isha prayer, few visitors from the Balkan nations surrounded the Imam and were passionate to know more about the Sultan and the mosque. He described how every year several people who come to visit here ended up adopting Islam as their faith. To the casual observer, it may appear as an emotive conversation but it is grounded in reality that can be personally experienced and not heard of or seen on screens. Perhaps, it is fair to say that the fragrance of Sultan’s Ahmet’s righteous and truly just nature is ever present even today. The amount of tranquillity and peace of mind filled my heart and lifted the burden somewhat. The next five days at the IAMCR conference besides debating, sharing and discussing series of
interesting topics with scholars, journalist and activists from around the globe, I took time off to visit Eyup Sultan mosque and shrine, a place where contentment, spiritual fluffiness escalates and Eman rises after every salah. People who visit the shrine bring sweets and other traditional food and distribute it amongst the tourists. Outside the mosque, I pictured a little child who posed like Sultan Ahmet and realised that people of honour and commitment never die but are immortal. Every day was full of adventure and I managed to even visit Istanbul’s stunning mosques: Bayezid, Suleymaniye and Eyyup Sultan. I enjoyed my time in this great city and particular was struck by the wonderful hospitality at the Hagia Sofia museum where the IAMCR participants were served with traditional Turkish cuisine, drink and music. The wonderful hospitality was even extended to a visit to the historic archives where I read that a passage stating that whilst the Europeans were busy expelling the Jews it was none other than the Ottoman Sultan who give them refuge and whilst the potato famine ravaged the Irish peoples it was again the Ottoman Sultan who came to their aid. By Irfan Raja Freelance Journalist
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emailbox - comments I am a regular reader of your publication and the news placed in the magazine keeps me updated of what i might have missed, very good read, may Almighty reward you for your efforts. Rohan Devon
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Enjoyed reading the article in the passion column in the September 2013 issue by Abdul B Sheikh, I think the point he made in the article really reflect the situation we are at not only in Egypt but also across the ummah, i pray for our brothers and sisters who are oppressed and may they find peace.
Nice layout design of the magazine, good balance news articles, well done to everyone involved in the project.
Andrew Farz South London
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Received your hard copy in post jzk.