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By Islamic Human Rights Commission

Military connections take far right terror threat to a new level

Last month arrest of four soldiers suspected of being associated with a far right terror group should alert authorities to the real threat posed by their acolytes, argues Faisal Bodi There’s an unnerving irony in the capture by police of four serving soldiers suspected of being members of a banned far right organisation. For all the column inches and airtime devoted to the threat of domestic “jihadism”, not to mention the disproportionate official response to it, the arrests were an official acknowledgement that the threat of terrorism from the far right is just as real, and perhaps even greater. The squaddies were apprehended for their alleged association with National Action, a white supremacist neo-Nazi group whose raison d’etre appears to be to prepare white society for a coming existential battle to save Britain from alien races. Its hate-filled anti-Muslim, antisemitic and xenophobic rhetoric has already inspired sickening violence on our streets. In January 2015, a far right fanatic shouting “white power” set upon 24 year-old Sikh dentist Dr Sarandev Bhambra with a claw hammer and machete as he shopped in a branch of Tesco in Mold, north Wales. Just a few hours earlier Zack Davies had posted an image of himself in a balaclava with a large knife and the flag of NA. Police investigations later revealed he had built up online relationships with members of the group. Following the murder of Jo Cox in 2016 by far right extremist Thomas Mair, NA extolled his “sacrifice” saying that the Labour MP “would have filled Yorkshire with more subhumans.” It adopted, as a slogan, the only statement Mair made in court,“Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”. Although NA was listed as a

proscribed group later that year and 22 suspected members/associates arrested in 2017, the busting of a possible cabal in the armed forces raises worrying questions about the capability and reach of the far right as well as the official response to it. The latest arrests are not of wannabe white warriors or lone-wolf copycats, dangerous as they might be. They are of hardened men trained to kill in the normal course of duty and whose threat therefore is magnified many times over. Indeed it is hard to avoid the conclusion that NA stands to become a more disciplined, organised and violent force as a result of military involvement. The success of the far right in infiltrating the armed forces might also point to a deliberate strategy. The online Huffington Post claimed on Wednesday that it was aware of attempts by a former NA member to join the Army and Territorial Army, a claim that went unanswered by the Ministry of Defence. While four arrests cannot tell us too much about the extent of far right penetration into the armed forces - three are believed to be from a single regiment - they should neverthelesss alert authorities to the possibility that there are many more terrorist sympathisers and activists in our barracks driven by a violent xenophobia that would certainly compromise their ability to carry out overseas missions and maybe even the security of the British public at home. Certainly it should be enough to force the Ministry of Defence to launch an urgent probe. Hope not Hate, an anti-facism watchdog that has followed NA describes it as the most sophisticated of all far right terror groups. Last August senior researcher Joe Mulhall

said: “This is a group that has tried to kill people. This is a group that has a number of people in prison, leaders in prison. This is a group that is training. This has to be taken extremely seriously. This is an extremely dangerous organisation that fetishes violence. “It is not just that they just talk about it, this is a group that venerates people that engage in violence, they train for violence... there is no question.” Terrorism statistics also suggest that far right extremism as a whole is on the march. A report last year by a consortium of thinktanks led by Royal United Services Institute found that between the start of 2000 and the end of 2014 terrorist attacks by right-wing extremists acting alone accounted for 33% of all attacks while 38% were religiously inspired. It concluded: “The media, and consequently public attention, is largely focused on violent Islamist extremists; while this may reflect the broader threat, it is at odds with that from lone-actor terrorism. The research also found that rightwing extremists were responsible for substantially more fatalities.” More worrying is the fact that 40% of lone-wolf right-wing extremists “were uncovered by an element of chance, as part of an investigation into other offences or because the perpetrator accidentally detonated a device, drawing attention to his or her activities. Although chance was also evident in some examples of religiously inspired terrorism, overall 88% of interventions were intelligence-led, suggesting a clear disparity.” When the far right’s poison has infected the military it is wishful thinking to assume that all our other national institutions are safe.

Write to: Editor, PI Media, c/o PKWA, Off Manor Way, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 7BX or email: info@pi-media.co.uk - www.pi-media.co.uk


Muslim Death Tax

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Muslims across the UK face a ticking financial time bomb in the form of punitive burial fees being imposed on upon them by their respective councils. This worrying development came after Kirklees Council postponed the hiking of burial fees to nearly £4000 per individual after a backlash from the Muslim community in Batley, Dewsbury and Huddersfield. The council last month invited concerned individuals and groups to attend the cabinet meeting and to deliver deputations in response to the council’s proposals. It appears that the council had attempted to railroad the rises through on the premise that consultations had allegedly been conducted with affected communities across the area. The leader of the council during the cabinet meeting admitted that he did not know why the public had not been consulted on this matter and would duly investigate why a consultation had not taken place. It appears that senior cabinet members had no inkling about its own officers carrying out an invisible consultation connected to the proposed hiking of burial fees! The leader of Kirklees Council argued that the local authority was under no statutory obligation to provide burial space or facilities and in order to understand this point we need to go to the statute books to find that the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 (LACO 1977) underlines this point. However, if any local authority chooses to manage cemeteries then the legislation above provides detailed guidance on this matter. The law also states that any local authority would have to dispose of a dead corpse if public health was

duly put at risk. Throughout the session, leader of the council repeatedly emphasized the point made above in an apparent move to justify the proposed hikes. We also learned that the council was also attempting to justify inflation busting rises on the basis that private providers in and out of Kirklees were taking income away from the council for cremations and burials. To defuse a volatile situation, the leader of the council with a hint of sarcasm alluded to the fact that democracy was working with so many people turning up at Huddersfield Town Hall. Representatives from the NKMBC, IMWS, PKWA and Huddersfield Burial Council gave withering and damning responses to the council’s proposals from a number of perspectives. The representatives argued that the council had failed to consult with the main stakeholders and the general public across the area. Other objections made centred upon funeral poverty in that many people would struggle to find the monies to pay for burials. One representative argued that people will have to book a flight to India or Pakistan and die there to avoid punitive burial fees. Another local community stalwart made a rather innovative statement arguing that the council should slash the number of councillors per ward to keep down the cost of burial fees going forward. Overall, all groups who attended the meeting were of the view that these charges were excessive and over and above the rate of inflation. The council also came under fire for not carrying out a Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) from several quarters and some

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complained that this information was being withheld from the public. Only this week, local press outlets and groups expressed outrage that the crematorium in Huddersfield had a huge backlog of cremations to conduct due to faulty furnaces that had not been repaired for 15 years. It seems that the council had put off repairs for a considerable period of time and the Kirklees council tax payer faces a bill of £1.5 million to replace the furnace. Many in the Muslim community are of the view that the council want to hammer Muslims in the pocket to pay for the upgrade and repair existing facilities in order to subsidise cremations. It seems that Kirklees Council grossly underestimated the strength of feeling expressed by the public on this occasion and have agreed to put on hold the rises until a consultation takes place. The council it seems is quite fond of referring to council tax payers as ‘consumers’. If that is the case then Kirklees Council has no idea whatsoever of running a proper business let alone a local government body. No business lets its crematorium facilities turn to ashes over a period of 15 years and then try to impose a ‘stealth death tax’ on Muslims in the Kirklees region. If the council claims it runs a viable business then it should set competitive charges to attract business rather than scam ordinary people who have little savings. By claiming that the council had conducted an ‘invisible consultation’ this in itself shows utter contempt and total disrespect to the people it is supposed to look out for. One hopes that the council do conduct a consultation in a fair and amicable manner allowing people to express their views over this issue going forward and use them in a constructive manner going forward. The council should also engage with local stakeholders in a positive way to find solutions that will allow them to become free from local authority involvement by identifying plots of land on which burials can take place. This is line with the fact that many communities face the stark possibility of running out of land in the not too distant future for burials which is a pressing issue that concerns everyone.


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I October 2017

Young UK Muslims face social mobility barriers – Report

A new report by the Social Mobility Commission (SMC) has found that young Muslims living in the UK are facing enormous social mobility challenges. Analysing barriers to improved social mobility for young Muslims in education and employment, the

report states that young people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi experience the greatest economic disadvantages of any faith group in UK society, despite more likely to succeed in education and go on to university than other groups of the same age.

Social mobility challenges faced by young Muslims reveals that 19.8 per cent of the Muslim population, aged between 16-74, are in full-time employment, compared to 34.9 per cent of the overall population, with 18 per cent of Muslim women of the same age bracket economically inactive, compared with six per cent of the overall population. The report recommends that the Department for Education should put in place a careers strategy that promotes informed and inclusive choices by pupils, free from stereotypical assumptions, and that business bodies should promote greater awareness and take-up of good unconscious bias, diversity, religious literacy and cultural competence training by employers. Alan Milburn, chair of the SMC, said: “This report paints a disturbing picture of the challenges they face to making greater social progress.� www.pi-media.co.uk


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Cage director to appeal after court decision in crucial privacy case

Anti-torture advocate and International Director of CAGE Muhammad Rabbani will appeal a magistrate court’s decision that found him guilty in a landmark privacy case. Mr Rabbani was ordered to pay court costs of £620 and was granted a conditional discharge of 12 months. The judgement follows an incident where Mr Rabbani was stopped and searched in November at London Heathrow. He cited client confidentiality as a reason to refuse the police access to

his devices. In relation to this point, both judge and prosecution accepted that Mr Rabbani was of good character and worthy of belief. Schedule 7 gives police at borders unfettered access to individuals’ digital worlds, even when there is no suspicion of a crime. This is a violation of the rule of law. Moreover, statistics show that these digital strip searches overwhelmingly target Muslims, although they have broader implications for all those who carry

confidential information. Muhammad Rabbani, International Director of CAGE, said: “I will be appealing this decision. In reality, Schedule 7 discriminates and the result indicates that our only option is to change the law. This judgement confirms that a person can fall foul of Terrorism laws for protecting client confidentiality. The principle of presumption of innocence, the principle of client confidentiality and the principle of personal privacy are all too important to surrender even with the threat of conviction. Maintaining the trust of the torture survivor is key to holding the perpetrators of his torture to account. CAGE will continue to seek accountability and due process, with the confidence that our community and our supporters are behind us.” Gareth Peirce, solicitor, said: “This is a mockery of the concept of due process – the exercise of a principled, rational, truthful, justifiable concern that legitimate confidential obligations should be respected is transformed instead into a strict liability criminal offence. The idea that there is access to any protection is nonsensical.”

UK to support development of global Islamic finance industry Senior policy makers from around the world have met in London to discuss cross-border cooperation to boost the global Islamic finance industry. The annual meeting of the Global Islamic Finance and Investment Group (GIFIG) forms a key part of the UK’s commitment to support the development of the industry globally and ensure that London remains the largest Islamic finance market outside of the Muslim world. Sharia-compliant finance has seen significant growth over the last decade, with the value of

the industry more than doubling between 2008 and 2015 and there are now over 100,000 Islamic finance retail customers in the UK. The meeting was co-chaired by Mark Field, minister of state for Asia and the Pacific, and Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the Treasury. “The UK is recognised as the leading western centre for Islamic finance, and I want us to play a big part in the future of the sector,” said Mr Barclay. “London is the most globally connected financial centre, providing

a nexus of expertise in financial, professional and supporting services. “And with our strong links with other outward-looking economies, including those with significant Muslim populations, we are ideally placed to play a central role.” This year’s meeting of the GIFIG looked at areas where countries with an interest in Islamic finance could work better together to support the development of the industry and discussed the regulatory challenges and synergies between Islamic and other areas of finance.


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British criminal justice system racially biased: Labour MP

Britain’s criminal justice system is racially biased against black and minority-ethnic suspects, a new report by a British MP shows. The report by Labour MP David Lammy indicates that discrimination against BAME communities, which include Black, Asian, and minority ethnics, is even worse than in the US where African Americans and other people of color suffer the same problem. “My conclusion is that BAME individuals still face bias, including

overt discrimination, in parts of the justice system,” the MP said in his highly critical report written at the request of former prime minister David Cameron. According to Lammy, there was “greater disproportionality” in the number of black people in prisons in England and Wales than in the US. Black people constitute 3% of Britain’s population and 12% of the prison population, while this is 13% and 35% respectively in the US. The report also highlights the

fact that problems of covert and unconscious or implicit bias are becoming rifer in the country. For instance, Lammy noted when the word “gang” is used rather than “group” in discussions about crime, “it can be used to signal ethnicity rather than to describe the links between a group of suspects.” Commissioned in January 2016 by Cameron, the review has also been supported by his successor, Theresa May. According to a Ministry of Justice analysis chosen by Lammy, young black people are nine times more likely to be imprisoned than their white peers in England and Wales. As a result of this discrimination, the MP said, BAME defendants have a deep mistrust of the justice system. “They see the system in terms of ‘them and us’,” Lammy said, adding, “Many do not trust the promises made to them by their own solicitors, let alone officers in a police station warning them to admit guilt.” In August, official figures released by Scotland Yard showed that the Metropolitan Police had used force against a disproportionately large number of black people in London between May and July. www.pi-media.co.uk

Hate crime at the cemetery A Muslim cemetary has been vandalised in Sleaford whihc is now being treated by Lincolnshire police as hate crime. Sleaford Town Council has revealed that graffiti was daubed on two signs and others were vandalised at the town’s cemetery between September 19 and 20. Clerk to Sleaford Town Council, Kevin Martin, said the vandalism was found by cemetery staff when they arrived for work. He said: “Two of the five signs directing visitors to the Muslim Burial area had undecipherable

graffiti on and physical attempts had been made to remove the signs from three other posts including the removal of nuts and bolts. “As the signs are some distance apart whoever carried out the offence would have had to walk around the cemetery grounds. Tanweer Ahmed from the Islamic Association of Lincoln said he could not understand why anyone would target a grave. He said: “It’s sad to see things like that clearly, but whether it’s Muslims in Sleaford or Lincoln, we all work together.

“These people who have done the vandalism are just trying to create problems for us. “We are grateful that Lincolnshire police are looking at these issues.” “I am quite upset about this to be honest - I feel sad. People have also taken to the town council’s Facebook page to show their disgust. Emma Sinclair wrote: “Too sad for words.” If anyone has any information regarding this incident they are asked to contact Lincolnshire Police quoting case number 17000403974.


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I UK NEWS

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I October 2017

Britain announces ban on military training in Myanmar

The British Ministry of Defence will “stop all defense engagement and training of the Burmese military” until it ends its security crackdown against the Muslim Rohingya minority, the Prime Minister said. More than 310,000 people have fled to Bangladesh in recent weeks and more are trapped on the border, amid reports of extrajudicial killings and burning of entire villages. The UN’s most senior human

rights official described Myanmar’s actions as a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was criticized for describing Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader and the Nobel Peace Prize-winner, as “one of the most inspiring figures of our age”, despite the violence. And, in Canada, May appeared flat-footed when Justin Trudeau, the

Canadian Prime Minister, revealed he had personally spoken with San Suu Kyi, to urge her to pull back. Now the UK will end what No 10 called “educational training” of Myanmar’s troops, stressing the Ministry of Defence was not engaged in combat training. Speaking at the United Nations in New York, May told Sky News: “We are very concerned about what’s happening to the Rohingya people in Burma. The military action against them must stop. “We’ve seen too many vulnerable people having to flee for their lives. Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese government need to make it very clear that the military action should stop. “The British government is announcing today that we are going to stop all defence engagement and training of the Burmese military by the Ministry of Defence until this issue is resolved.” Downing Street was unable to provide any detail of the extent of the UK’s current level of military training in the country. May has not spoken personally with San Suu Kyi, but her spokesman said Johnson had done so “on a number of occasions”.

Online jihadist content attracts more clicks in Britain than any other country in Europe Analysts found Islamic State (IS) is still pumping out vast volumes of internet propaganda despite coming under intense military pressure in Iraq and Syria. Experts say the group produces around 100 pieces of new content in an average week - but this is a conservative estimate. The in-depth study by think tank Policy Exchange says tens of thousands of users access jihadist material online from all over the globe. Researchers found the UK was the fifth most frequent location from which content was accessed

- after Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia and Iraq - and registered the largest number of clicks in Europe. Concerns over the availability of terrorist material such as execution videos and bomb-making instructions on the internet have intensified after Britain was targeted by its fifth terror attack of the year. The 131-page assessment finds that the decline of IS - also known as ISIS or Daesh - in the online space has been “significantly overstated”. It says: “For at least a year, the production of content has continued

despite the death of key figures, loss of territory and ongoing fighting.” Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube have set up the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to spearhead efforts to clamp down on extremist content. Twitter says terrorist content has no place on the platform. Figures published by the microblogging site show 636,248 accounts were suspended in total between August 2015 and December 2016 for the promotion of terrorism.


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Drone strike hits tribal areas as US-Pakistan tensions rise

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A US drone strike last month killed three men in the tribal area of Kurram, which lies on the border with Afghanistan, according to government and security officials as well as tribal sources. The attack is the first since President Trump announced his new strategy for Afghanistan in a speech. In it he vowed to “no longer be

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silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations”, sparking concerns the drone war in the country may escalate. Strike is reported to have hit a compound belonging to Maulvi Mohib, who sources in the Afghan Taliban have said is affiliated with the Haqqani Network. The Haqqani Network are believed to be behind

numerous attacks in Afghanistan, including the devastating truck bomb that hit Kabul on May 31. The strike was the fifth to have taken place this year. Strikes resumed in Pakistan in March, nearly two months after President Trump came into office, following a nine-month hiatus. They have been sporadic since their resumption, with the strike before the latest one hitting in midJune. All but one of the strikes have hit Pakistan’s tribal areas. On June 13, however, a strike was reported to have taken place in Hangu, located in the so-called settled areas of Pakistan. The strike was only the third outside the tribal areas in 429 strikes since 2004. It angered Pakistan’s military chief, who shortly after called on the US to share “actionable intelligence” with Islamabad and warned that unilateral actions, such as drone strikes, were “counterproductive”. Tensions between the US and Pakistan have been escalating in recent months, as the US administration has been exploring ways to hardens its approach towards Pakistan. The US is said to be eyeing up several measures – including expanding the drone programme.

Palestine voted into global police network Interpol Palestine has been accepted as a full member of the global policing network Interpol, the organization confirmed, despite heavy opposition from Israel. After delays to the vote, Palestine was voted in by more than 75 percent of member states at the organization’s general assembly in China, according to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s diplomatic wing. “Israel’s hysteria over Palestine’s

Interpol membership is simply based on the fact that they don’t accept Palestinian statehood,” PLO negotiations spokesman Xavier Abu Eid tweeted. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that they and other countries had delayed the vote after complaining about irregularities. “We continue to struggle,” the statement said, highlighting Israel’s attempts to block membership for Palestine.

A previous attempt to join Interpol was thwarted during the previous general assembly in Indonesia, when the body decided to postpone any vote on accepting new members. The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel was worried Palestine’s membership could mean issuing warrants against Israeli citizens. The Solomon Islands was also voted in as a new member of Interpol.


EU report reveals antiMuslim discrimination

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I October 2017

Discrimination against Muslims in Europe has become a “recurring experience”, the EU said. A report from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency found that although 76 percent Muslims felt a strong attachment to the country they lived in, a significant proportion felt discriminated against. The study found that 17 percent of Muslim respondents felt discriminated against on grounds of their religion or religious belief in the five years leading up to the research. In 2008, the figure was 10 percent. The agency’s director, Michael O’Flaherty, said the results showed Muslims were integrated into

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European societies. “However, every incident of discrimination and hate crime hampers their inclusion and reduces their chances of finding employment,” he said. “We risk alienating individuals and their communities, with potentially perilous consequences.” Muslims who felt discriminated against said it “happened, on average, at least five times a year, which shows that discrimination is a recurring experience,” the report said. The agency said Muslims had faced discrimination in “one or more areas of daily life” such as

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employment, education, housing, healthcare and when using public or private services. The study also revealed that almost 40 percent of Muslim women who wore a headscarf or niqab in public were harassed, compared to 23 percent of women who did not wear such clothing. Of Muslim men wearing traditional or religious clothing stopped by police, nearly half thought they had been stopped because of their clothing, the report said. The report was published on the same day that Austria’s interior ministry announced a ban on facial veils in public, which will come into effect on Oct. 1. The agency said the survey of 10,527 people who identified themselves as Muslims was conducted in 15 EU member states. “I’m especially concerned about the challenges faced by Muslim women in Europe,” European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova said.

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2,100 bodies excavated in Mosul Since July, over 2,000 bodies have been excavated in the western part of Mosul, after the city was cleared from ISIL in June, an Iraqi official said. The civil defense official of Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, Saad Hamid, said that more than 2,100 civilian bodies were found under the ruins. Hamid said that during their work

the team faced “lack of equipment and various security problems such as ISIL members firing from hide outs, bunkers, tunnels or basements”. There are still nearly 400 to 500 bodies which need to be removed from the ruins which could take up to two months to finish the work, Hamid added.

In June, the Iraqi army retook the northern city of Mosul, regional capital of Nineveh province, from the terrorist group after a nine-month campaign. In August, ISIL was driven from Nineveh’s Tal Afar district following a week long army operation. www.pi-media.co.uk


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I WORLD NEWS

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I October 2017

US Military distributes highly offensive leaflets in Afghanistan

The US military apologized for dropping leaflets into Afghanistan that featured an image of a dog holding a flag of the Taliban militant group. Dogs are considered unclear in Islam and their imagery is consequently viewed as offensive. While it is not haram to touch a dog, Muslims believe that a body part or clothing that comes into contact with a dog’s saliva should be washed. The military dropped the leaflets, designed to call on Afghans to

cooperate with the military against the militant group, in Parwan Province. The Taliban flag bears a passage from the Quran. There are now fears of protests against the propaganda images, according to Shah Wali Shahid, deputy governor of the province. “Local people are very upset with this incident, and they want the perpetrators brought to justice,” Shahid told the Associated Press. The US military was quick to

apologize after the uproar. Major General James Linder released a statement that said “the design of the leaflets mistakenly contained an image highly offensive to both Muslims and the religion of Islam.” “I sincerely apologize. We have the deepest respect for Islam and our Muslim partners worldwide. There is no excuse for this mistake.” He said the military would review its procedures to determine why the incident happened and why such imagery was used. US President Donald Trump last month outlined a new strategy of troop expansion in the country purportedly in a bid to defeat the Daesh militant group (ISIS or ISIL), remnants of Al-Qaeda and the yearslong insurgency of the Taliban. “The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable,” he said. “A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and AlQaeda, would instantly fill.” In response to Trump’s announcement, the Taliban warned the US that until every American soldier left Afghanistan, it would make the country the “graveyard for the American empire.”

president,” Halimah, a Hijab-wearing Muslim woman, said in a speech at the elections department office, Reuters reported. “I’m a president for everyone.” Halimah’s experience as house speaker automatically qualified her under the nomination rules. Of the four other applicants, two were not Malays and two were not given certificates of eligibility, the elections department said earlier this week. The last Malay to hold the presidency was Yusof Ishak,

whose image adorns the country’s banknotes. Yusof was president between 1965 and 1970, the first years of Singapore’s independence following a short-lived union with neighboring Malaysia, but executive power lay with Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s first prime minister. The separation of Singapore from Malaysia gave ethnic Malays a clear majority in Malaysia, while ethnic Chinese formed the majority in independent Singapore. www.pi-media.co.uk

Muslim woman becomes Singapore’s president

Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament, was declared elected as Singapore’s first woman president, after the returning officer announced she was the sole candidate to qualify for the contest. Aiming to strengthen a sense of inclusivity in the multicultural citystate, Singapore had decreed the presidency, a largely ceremonial post, would be reserved for candidates from the minority Malay community this time. “Although this is a reserved election, I’m not a reserved


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Turks underrepresented in new German parliament

Following election, German leader Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc will not have a single lawmaker with a Turkish background, despite there being a three-million strong Turkish community in the country. A total of 14 lawmakers with Turkish roots will take their seats in Germany’s new parliament, accounting for just 1.9 percent of the 709-member body. Cemile Yusuf had been the only CDU lawmaker with Turkish heritage in the previous parliament but failed to be returned in this election which saw losses for Merkel’s Christian Democrat CDU/CSU bloc and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Martin Schulz. The SPD, which decided to assume the role of the main opposition after a record election defeat, has drawn the largest

number of lawmakers from the Turkish community. The coalition government’s integration minister, 50-year-old Aydan Ozoguz, was re-elected together with SPD colleagues Metin Hakverdi, Cansel Kiziltepe, Mahmut Ozdemir and Gulistan Yuksel. Thirty-two-year old Elvan Korkmaz, a young female SPD politician from North RhineWestphalia, was elected for the first time to Bundestag. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU, which was the largest party is expected to lead the next coalition government, will have no Turkish lawmaker among its ranks. The liberal Free Democrats (FDP), the likely future coalition partner of Merkel’s conservatives, also has no ethnic-Turkish

lawmakers. Germany’s Greens, which advocate liberal integration policies, has the second largest number of ethnic-Turkish MPs after the Social Democrats. Co-chair, Cem Ozdemir, was re-elected together with experienced lawmaker Ekin Deligoz. Two other successful female candidates -- Canan Bayram from Berlin and Filiz Polat from Hannover -- will also be among the new faces in this Bundestag. Thirty-four-year old Danyal Bayaz was also elected to the Bundestag for the first time. The socialist Left Party, which is often criticized by Turkish officials for not denouncing PKK terrorism, managed to elect three lawmakers with close ties to the immigrant Kurdish population. Sevim Dagdelen was re-elected while Gokay Akbulut and Evrim Sommer entered parliament for the first time. Germany’s Turkish community had been represented by 11 ethnicTurkish lawmakers in the previous parliament, which had a total of 631 representatives. The Turkish Community in Germany (TGD) association ahead of the elections called on political parties to take measures, including setting quotas, to increase the representation of citizens with an immigrant background in the Bundestag. www.pi-media.co.uk

Adhan recited at Spanish palace for 1st time in 500 years A video of a Syrian man reciting the Islamic call to prayer, the adhan, in Spain’s historic Alhambra Palace has been making the rounds on social media. In the video shared by Mouaz AlNass, a Saudi-born Islamic musician of Syrian descent, Al-Nass can be seen calling the adhan inside the palace. The palace, which was built by Muslim rulers in the 1330s, had not

witnessed the Islamic call to prayer in nearly five centuries. Al-Nass recited the full Islamic call to prayer in the palace and fortress complex, which is located in Granada, taking spectators aback with his performance, with many of them reaching for their phones to take photos and videos. Why? He felt that the walls had missed “hearing the call to Allah,” Al-Nass told Ilmfeed.

Alhambra Palace, known as Qalat Al-Hamra in Arabic in reference to its reddish walls,was built as a military fortress by Muslim rulers of Granada towards the end of the Muslim rule of Spain in the 1330s. Since Al-Nass first posted his video it has garnered over one million views and over 25,000 shares on Facebook, with comments pouring in.


Sweden’s first Muslim party hopes to make way into Parliament 16

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With the percentage of Muslims in Sweden having grown exponentially over the past several decades, it’s been only a matter of time for the first Muslim party, Jasin, to emerge in the Nordic country’s political spectrum. Jasin, Sweden’s first Muslim party, has recently applied for registration and is making no secret of its

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ambition to enter parliament as soon as the next general election in 2018. Jasin says it is open to “all people with a foreign background” and seeks to spread Islam. It says it respects Swedish law and aims to improve the country, eliminate poverty and crime, and combat racism and discrimination, Sputnik reported.

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According to Nya Tider, in its application Jasin said it intend to keep within the Quran, follow Shia imams and Sharia laws and will be welcoming of Sunnis as well. In addition to practicing Islam as a “divine, logical and knowledgeable” religion, Jasin seeks to disseminate “the true side of Islam,” which it says has been forgotten and is portrayed as a belligerent religion. On its website, Jasin condemned all forms of extremism and racism. The Jasin Group Association, which is behind the eponymous party, has its headquarters in Malmö and Lund. Jasin is currently in the process of gathering signatures and has over 450 of the 1,500 needed for a party to be formally registered.

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India’s first Islamic art gallery to be openned in Hyderabad Islamic Art Gallery, said to be the first-of-its-kind in India, is coming up at Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad soon. Culture of Hyderabad known as Deccani Tehzeeb is the traditional cultural lifestyle of the Hyderabadi Muslims, and characterizes distinct linguistic and cultural traditions of North and South India, which meet and mingle in the city and erstwhile kingdom. The progress of the art gallery is underway and work on the

designated hall has been completed, according to Salar Jung Museum authorities. All Islamic-related art objects will be showcased in the Islamic Art Gallery and a special team of experts will be brought in to do the final selection of collectibles that will be showcased in the unique gallery, the authorities said. The gallery will have a collection of over 2,500 artifacts including manuscripts, an Islamic Jade collection, arms and ammunition,

textiles, rare copies of the Holy, prayer rugs, ceramics and rosaries, to mention a few. No museum in the country has such a gallery and it will be the third Islamic Art gallery in the entire world after the ones at the British Museum and Victoria Albert Museum in London, the Museum authorities say. The main purpose of setting up this gallery is to put everything about Islamic Art under one roof. The gallery will be opened by the end of this year or next year.


Michigan doctor campaigning to become first Muslim US Governor www.pi-media.co.uk

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Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a 32-year-old liberal doctor in Detroit, Michigan, is mounting a surprisingly robust bid to become the first Muslim governor of the US. Democratic leaders are stunned by the sudden emergence of the former Rhodes scholar, who served as Detroit public health director, in the primary field after he quickly raised $1 million. He is one of four viable Democrats and, for now, three Republicans in a race that his party considers a must-win to re-establish itself after eight years of GOP control of state government.

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Michigan has one of the largest Arab populations outside the Middle East, but is it ready to elect a Muslim as chief executive? El-Sayed says yes, though he insists the election will be about his qualifications and grassroots movement. “I think folks are looking for something fresh, new, exciting, competent. And we offer that,” said the self-assured El-Sayed, who emphasizes his work in rebuilding Detroit’s health department after the city’s bankruptcy. Political insiders are not sure about the religious complexities but are impressed by his fundraising.

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“No one expected El-Sayed to raise that kind of money — no one,” said pollster Ed Sarpolus. The governor’s race in 2018 is wide open with Republican incumbent Rick Snyder, a former business executive, leaving after two terms. Before Republicans swept to power in 2010, Democrats held the governor’s office and one house of the Legislature. The diverse Democratic field includes front-runner Gretchen Whitmer, a former legislative leader who has raised $1.5 million and has secured labor union support; Shri Thanedar, an immigrant entrepreneur from India who has given his campaign $3.3 million but remains largely unknown for now; and Bill Cobbs, an African-American former Xerox executive who has not collected much money. One voter whom El-Sayed has won over is Sonique Watson, a 26year-old professional blogger from Detroit who said she felt “a spark” because he is approachable and seems more like a passionate public servant than a politician. “All Abdul has to do is speak. He caught me just speaking,” Watson said. www.pi-media.co.uk

Quran park taking shape in Dubai

Work is progressing on the 64 hectares Quran Park in Al Khawaneej, Dubai. The property is being developed by Dubai Municipality. Hussain Nasser Lootah, directorgeneral of Dubai Municipality, carried out a tour of Quran Park to inspect the progress. When the park opens, it will feature exhibits explaining the meaning behind many of the stories

told in the Holy Book. The Dubai Municipality shared a video on Instagram. The park’s gardens will showcase the scientific and medical benefits of plants mentioned in the Quran. Features of the park include a Dhs100m ($27 million USD) cave and glass house. The Cave of Miracles will illustrate some of the book’s most

remarkable events using interactive technology. The glass house will display and sell greenery mentioned in the Quran. Quran Park will also have an Islamic garden, a large greenhouse, a desert garden and an area modelled after the Andalusian gardens of southern Spain. An opening date has yet to be announced.


Trump’s new Muslim ban order part of ‘ugly white supremacist agenda’

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the United States’ largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said that the latest version of President Trump’s “Muslim ban” executive order signed Sunday evening is just one part of the administration’s “ugly white supremacist agenda.” CAIR said the new order places restrictions on travel to the United States from eight countries and comes as the previous ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries was set to expire. Trump kept restrictions on five of the six Muslim-majority nations – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen– and added new restrictions

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on visitors from Chad, North Korea and Venezuela. In a statement reacting to the new Muslim ban, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “With this latest iteration of the discriminatory and unconstitutional Muslim ban, coupled with the race-baiting of professional athletes exercising their First Amendment rights and a reluctance to condemn neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, President Trump once again demonstrates that his views and policies are part of a white supremacist agenda. “This ugly agenda is nothing new. This is a man who was sued for refusing to rent to African-Americans, who called for the death penalty for

five African-American and Hispanic young people falsely accused of rape, who was once quoted as objecting to having AfricanAmericans ‘counting my money,’ who retweeted racist and anti-Semitic material, who called for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,’ who called Mexican immigrants ‘rapists,’ and who said a judge’s Mexican heritage made him unfit to preside over a case. “This is also a man who rose to national infamy by leading the ‘birther’ movement, which falsely claimed President Obama was not born in this country. “Perhaps the truest indicator of the president’s white supremacist agenda is the fact that he is embraced by racists, Islamophobes, neo-Nazis, and bigots of all stripes who see his views as reflecting their own. “Ten months after his election, instead of promoting the values that lifted up this nation, Donald Trump is still trying to divide Americans. “These hard truths must now be faced by all Americans, who -- as individuals -- need to decide if they are on the side of traditional American aspirations of religious and racial inclusion, or if they envision a ‘Trump’ America in which members of only one group dominate and reap the benefits of citizenship.”

small mosque and private-run Muslim primary school, they have been seeking to expand the centre since September last year. According to the plans, the group is proposing to build a new community, cultural and educational campus, which will comprise of the mosque,

a community centre and a primary school. The proposed community centre would include a sports hall with changing rooms, a restaurant, a barber shop, a halal food shop, meeting rooms, and an outdoor all-weather pitch.

Plans for Ireland largest Mosque A Muslim group has submitted plans to build what would be one of Ireland’s largest mosques. The Shuhada Foundation of Ireland finalized its application to construct a three-story mosque and community centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Currently the foundation has a


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US Muslim group condemns swastikas, racist graffiti found at Maryland University

Swastikas and racist graffiti discovered on a building at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus drew condemnation from the the United States’ largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. The swastikas and offensive graffiti were discovered last month in the Plant Sciences Building of the flagship campus of the University System of Maryland, campus police said. It marks the latest in a series of hate incidents on the campus, where

prosecutors allege a UM student with ties to white supremacist groups killed black Bowie State University student Richard Collins. Hate-filled images and slurs have been found repeatedly on the campus in recent months amid an unprecedented, nationwide spike in hate incidents targeting America Muslims nationwide since President Donald Trump took office, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said.

The council said it has been working with UM’s a recently appointed task force formed last week in response to the latest hate incidents, “to create a more inclusive and safe learning environment for all students.” “Despite measures by campus administration to promote tolerance, this latest display of racist symbols and messages is yet another indicator of a campus environment that is increasingly hostile toward many minority students,” said the council’s Maryland Outreach manager, Zainab Chaudry. UM formed the Joint President/ Senate Inclusion & Respect Task Force, with faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students and alumni, to build tolerance and combat hate incidents. Daniel Falvey, chairman of the University Senate, said the task force “provides an opportunity for the various constituencies on our campus to be engaged in the process and ensures that the task force will have the support and authority to recommend measures that will chart a path towards a campus culture intolerant of hate.” www.pi-media.co.uk

Rare Quran on display in Abu Dhabi A collection of rare precious Quran manuscripts are on display in an exhibition titled “Hajj; A Travel in Memories” in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. According to emaratalyoum.com, Saif Saeed Ghobash, the director general of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said that the exhibition started on September 20 and will end on March 19, 2018. More than 180 artworks and historical heritage items featuring the

Hajj pilgrimage will be presented at the exhibit, he added. Ghobash said that the rare pieces have been collected from 15 institutes from different countries as well as personal collections. Spiritual evolution of Hajj pilgrimage in different periods will be introduced at the exhibition along with historical documentaries, maps and photos. A part of the exhibition will be featuring works on religious beliefs,

Islamic rituals and the Holy Quran, he added. A collection of rare and precious Quran copies and some pages of the Blue Quran, dating back to the 4th century A.H., will be exhibited in this part. The Blue Quran is a late 9thto early 10th-century Fatimid Tunisian Quran manuscript in Kufic calligraphy, probably created in North Africa for the Great Mosque (Mosque of Uqba) of Qairawan.


Israeli settlement activities go on despite security council resolution: UN 20I WORLD NEWS

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In Case You Missed It

The UN said that Israel’s settlement activities are continuing “at a high rate,” despite demands by the Security Council for the Tel Aviv regime to end its expansions. “Israel’s illegal settlement activities have continued at a high rate, a consistent pattern over the

course of the year,” said the UN envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov, Press TV reported. “Israeli officials continue to use provocative rhetoric in support of expansion,” which is “is making the two-state solution increasingly unattainable,” he added.

Mladenov made the remarks after an unnamed Israeli official told reporters that plans for the construction of 2,000 new settler units in the occupied West Bank are expected to be approved. About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. A UN Security Council resolution passed last year condemned all Israeli settlement construction on the occupied Palestinian territories.The landmark Resolution 2334, passed on December 23, 2016, called the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds a “flagrant violation of international law.” The resolution also called on Israel to stop all such construction. www.pi-media.co.uk

Quran verses found on hotel slippers in Malaysia Social media has been abuzz following a photo, depicting verses of the Quran and shahadah (profession of one’s belief in Islam) found tucked inside the inner layer of hotel slippers used by a hotel in Sitiawan, Perak, went viral and subsequently triggering a wave of anguish amongst Malaysians. The majority of netizens expressed their anger and disappointment over the lack of responsibility projected by the hotel management, after the incident was shared on Facebook by a local entertainment news site and gained

hundreds of shares in less than an hour. Some have even deduced that this was a heinous attempt to incite religious hatred amongst Malaysians. “We should always respect one another, regardless of religion as we are walking on the same earth created by the same God, but differ in terms of beliefs. We do not have to point fingers at one another. “The reason behind this misdeed is obvious, they are irresponsible and have no respect for other people’s beliefs. Do not blame

religion as religion is too holy to be blamed,” a comment on social media said. To understand the situation better, Malaysian Digest got in touch with the hotel supervisor, who would like to be known as Sundrem and confirmed that the unfortunate incident did occur. He relayed that the hotel did not receive any complaints from any hotel guests and that he was only informed of the incident after the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIP) inspected the premises. www.pi-media.co.uk


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UN warns of desperate situation of Rohingya Muslims, risk of deterioration In Case You Missed It

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees warned that the situation of the Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh was desperate and could worsen if humanitarian aid for them was not increased. The exodus of Rohingyas began on Aug. 25, after the Myanmar army launched an offensive in Rakhine state following an attack by Rohingya rebels on multiple government posts.

“Their situation remains desperate, and we risk a dramatic deterioration if aid is not rapidly stepped up,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in a press conference in Dhaka. He said that the situation of the Rohingyas had still not been stabilized and more humanitarian aid was required to prevent conditions from worsening.

After visiting the Kutupalong Rohingya camp in the Cox’s Bazar district, in southeastern Bangladesh, Grandi said he met deeply traumatized people who were faced with enormous difficulties. “They had seen villages burned down, families shot or hacked to death, women and girls brutalized. Many of the refugees said they would like to go home, but that needs an end to violence,” he said. “Solutions to this crisis lie within Myanmar,” Grandi said. He then stated that all Rohingyas in Bangladesh were refugees, all though not all of them enjoy official refugee status. “They fled from discrimination, persecution, violence, conflict – these are all causes which qualify somebody who flees from them as refugees,” Grandi said. According to UN estimates, around 436,000 members of the Muslim minority Rohingya community have arrived in Bangladesh over the last one month since the crisis began. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas could be taking place in Myanmar.

Quran schools to be launched in Egypt’s major Mosques Egypt’s Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Minister Mohamed Mukhtar Goma said the ministry plans to launch Quran schools in all of the country’s major mosques. Speaking in televised program, he said one of the planned Quran schools will be opened in the Jama Mosque in Cairo. He said the ministry pays for the costs of establishing the schools in mosques.

According to Goma, the imams of the mosques and Quran instructors will be in charge of the schools. Quranic education in these schools will be totally free of charge, he noted. The minister went on to say that those selected to teach in these schools ought to be memorizers of the entire Quran and have no affiliation to extremist groups. Egypt is a country in North Africa

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with a population of around 96 million. Muslims account for around 90 percent of the country’s total population. Quranic activities are very common in the Muslim-majority Arab country and many of the Muslim world’s top Qaris in the past and present have been Egyptian. www.pi-media.co.uk

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New rules in cricket: Players can be sent off!

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Mumbai. Committee chairman Mike Brearley and colleagues including his fellow former Test captain Ricky Ponting made it clear that the introduction of a red-card system for “threatening an umpire, physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator, or any other act of violence on the field of play” is specifically targeted at addressing increasingly poor standards of behaviour in recreational cricket, rather than at the professional level. It will, however, apply in all international and professional domestic matches.

A red-card penalty is set to be introduced into the Laws of Cricket for the first time. The MCC, custodian of the laws, will receive a recommendation from its world cricket committee to give umpires the power to send off a player in the most extreme cases of

on-field breaches of discipline. The move, which will apply to all levels of competition from Test to village green, is expected to come into effect as of next October. It was announced in a press release issued by the world cricket committee, following its meeting in

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Syrian refugee camp in Jordan gets full-size soccer pitch The head of European soccer’s governing body and Jordan’s Prince Ali inaugurated a full-size soccer pitch in the kingdom’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, part of efforts to bring a sense of normalcy to those faced with open-ended exile. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin kicked a ball around with Syrian children who joyfully ran onto the facility’s artificial grass after the ribbon-cutting. “I love football because it helps us fill our spare time,” said Marah Khalil, a 14-year-old girl from southern Syria’s Daraa province. “It’s better to take our negative energy out with something positive like football.” About 80,000 Syrians live in

caravans in northeast Jordan’s Zaatari camp which was established in 2012, a year after the outbreak of the Syria conflict. With Syria’s civil war in its seventh year and many areas of the country devastated by fighting, refugees don’t know when they might be able to go home. In the meantime, Zaatari’s infrastructure has evolved. A job center opened last month and a solar power plant is under construction. The pitch was funded in part by UEFA’s Foundation for Children and Jordan’s Asian Football Development Project, but organizers did not say how much it cost. The playing field is regulation size, but the facility lacks the other

attributes of a stadium, such as a roof and seats for spectators. About 4,500 children and young men and women are benefiting from the field, officials said. Ceferin said the pitch is evidence that soccer “can help change the world.” Former French national team player Christian Karembeu said after the ceremony that “with sports we can at least try to eradicate some trauma” of Syria’s civil war. The top representative of the UN refugee agency in Jordan, Stefano Severe, said new installations in the camp are meant to ease the lives of the refugees, “but also prepare them for eventual return to Syria. www.pi-media.co.uk


World football legends play exhibition match in Basra www.pi-media.co.uk

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A team of footballing legends including Spain’s Michel Salgado and Inter Milan defender Marco Materazzi beat an Iraqi side 5-4 in an exhibition match in Basra last month. Some 65,000 football-starved spectators in Iraq, which in 2013 became subject to a FIFA ban because of continuing violence, filled

the stadium for the game. The visitors included Argentine Hernan Crespo, Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids, Brazilians Zico and Rivaldo and Portuguese player Deco. Former Real Madrid right-back Salgado said he hoped the match would help people forget for at least

90 minutes “their hard conditions of life”. In the crowded stands amid a sea of Iraqi flags, spectators urged on an Iraqi side that was unable to withstand attacks from players such as the Netherlands’ Patrick Kluivert who hammered home a hat-trick. Around 3,000 members of the security forces were mobilised for the game in the southern port city and Iraqi football stronghold, officials said. In 2013, FIFA banned Iraq from hosting international matches after the death of a football coach killed by security forces and jihadist attacks on venues broadcasting games. The ban was lifted in May, but conditional on the holding of matches in just three stadiums in Iraq, one of which was Basra. “This is a historic day for our city,” said 20-year-old match-goer Mohammed Jaafar. For those wanting to see the team of international superstars, Iraq’s sports ministry reduced the original ticket price of 25,000 Iraqi dinars (about $20) to 10,000 dinars to ensure a full house.

support has enabled forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad to gain an upper hand in the country’s sixyear conflict. Qualification would be a striking achievement for a squad that can’t play at home due to the war and whose members are vetted by the government. Associated Press reported that while the national team is made up of government-approved supporters, at least one player - striker Firas al-

Khatib - was an opposition activist during a period of exile. “This dream will certainly come true and we will reach the World Cup,” said one man interviewed by Syrian television in Latakia. Syria has played its “home” qualification games in Malaysia, a blow for Assad who’s attempting to portray life in territory controlled by his government as returning toward normalcy. www.pi-media.co.uk

War-torn Syria keep historic football dream alive War-torn Syria kept its chances of a first-ever soccer World Cup finals qualification alive after an injury time goal earned it a draw with Iran. Finishing third in its group means Syria now faces a home and away series next month against Australia. If it eventually emerges as the winner, it would enter an intercontinental playoff in November. It took a 93rd-minute goal in Tehran to secure a 2-2 tie with Iran, one of two nations whose

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The Impact of the Syrian Civil War

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Six years on and Syria today is still beset by the ravages of war. The conflict between the government of Bashar al-Assad and the opposition which began in the spring of 2011, coupled with the rise and fall of the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) have undoubtedly contributed towards the refugee crisis that has engulfed Europe in recent years. More than 250,000 lives have been claimed by the conflict and forced more than 11 million civilians—half of the country’s population—from their homes, sparking the worst refugee crisis since World War II. But in the Middle East, the third world war has begun in earnest as the crisis in the Middle East has plunged the region into crisis with conflicts raging from Yemen to Syria that began after the ill-fated Arab Spring in 2011.

Targeting Civilians As a result of the war in Syria, civilians were targeted from the outset. In 2011, more than 117,000 have been detained or disappeared, the vast majority by government forces, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Torture and ill-treatment are rampant in detention facilities and thousands have died in captivity. The Islamic State (also known as ISIS), and the former Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, which changed its name to Jabhat Fath al-Sham, were responsible for systematic and widespread violations, including targeting civilians with artillery, kidnappings, and executions. Non-state armed groups opposing the government also carried out serious abuses including indiscriminate attacks against civilians, using child soldiers, kidnapping, unlawfully blocking humanitarian aid, and torture. ISIS reportedly used mustard gas in an attack on areas held by armed

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opposition groups in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The death toll from the conflict as of February 2016 was 470,000. Moreover, Human Rights Watch documented several attacks on homes, medical facilities and the killing 58 civilians from Idlib and Aleppo. In Hama the government forces used at least 13 types of internationally banned cluster munitions in over 400 attacks on opposition-held areas killing and injuring civilians, including children in the process. On the other side, government forces also continued using toxic chemicals in several barrel bomb attacks in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Syrian government helicopters dropped barrel bombs with toxic chemicals on residential neighborhoods in opposition-controlled parts of Aleppo city on August 10 and September 6. Syria was also complicit in using two chemical weapons outlawed under UN sanctions.

Displacement Crisis Due to the war, millions of people are being forced from their homes by violence and persecution every year. Relentless airstrikes, shelling, and widespread and systematic arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, torture, and forced disappearances have exacerbated a displacement crisis, both internally and externally. But the situation in Syria has become very difficult as the war has resulted in many citizens fleeing the country as an estimated 6.6 million people are now displaced within the country and 4.8 million have sought refuge beyond Syria’s borders living under the constant threat of violence. Those who remain inside Syria face increasingly dire circumstances and bombs have destroyed countless hospitals, schools and homes

and today, five million people lack adequate food, water and medicine. The vast majority of Syrian refugees (95 percent) have fled to neighboring Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. But others have sought political asylum in Europe and the continent has absorbed many of the immigrants. The plight of the immigrants is precarious as most work in the black economy in these countries and are living in relative poverty. In late 2014, an estimated 7.6 million people were internally displaced and 3.7 million Syrians have left the country since the conflict began. During 2014, more than one million Syrians were registered as refugees in neighboring countries. The Syrian conflict has put enormous pressure on neighboring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. But in the same year Lebanon with about 4.8 million of population hosted more than one million Syrian refugees. Turkey is also in a similar situation with about one and a half million of registered refugees on its territory and in Jordan five hundred thousand registered refugees reside there today. In year 2015, Lebanon has imposed visa-like restrictions for Syrians seeking entry and maintains stringent residency renewal regulations, negatively impacting refugees’ freedom of movement, access to education, and access to healthcare. During the year, Jordanian border authorities blocked entry of migrants and asylum seekers along the eastern stretch of its border with Syria, except for a period in the early summer when it allowed 20,000 to enter for security screening. After the attack by ISIS on the Rukban crossing, Jordan closed its borders and blocked humanitarian assistance to nearly 70,000 Syrians


I October 2017 stranded at the border, except for one delivery of aid lowered from a crane in early August. Turkish border authorities, likewise, continue to push back refugees. In March and April, Turkish border guards killed five Syrian asylum seekers including a child and smugglers trying to enter the country. The situation now changed In February 2016 the Syrian Centre for Policy Research claimed the figure was as high as 470,000. The situation has changed in April 2016 the UN special envoy in Syria, Stefan de Mistura, put the figure around 400,000 according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). There are 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, of which 5.8 million are children, 6.3 million Syrians who are internally displaced of which 2.4 million are children. Syrians now constitute the largest refugee population in the world. In June 2017, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said he was aware of the presence of around 5.06 million registered refugees in the region. Two million Syrian refugees were registered by the UNHCR in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, 2.97 million registered by the government of Turkey and more than 30,000 registered in North Africa. From April 2011 to March 2017 over than 937,718 asylum applications were made by Syrians in Europe according to UNHCR,. Migration crisis in European countries In the United States in 2014, there are approximately 86,000 immigrants accounting for 0.2 percent of the nation’s 42.4 million immigrants. Though the population remains a small one, its growth occurred largely after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 abolished the national-origins quota system and opened the door to Syrians seeking safety from war and persecution, as well as education and employment opportunities and family reunification. In November 20, 2015, the United States resettled 2,261 Syrian refugees in 36 states. California, Texas, and Michigan were the top resettlement states for Syrians, drawing close to one-third

I 25 separated children (those separated from their parents and/or other family members) as well as other vulnerable children such as child carers and those facing the risk of child labour, child marriage or other forms of neglect, abuse or exploitation. The UK has pledged to resettle up to 3000 individuals over the lifetime of this parliament, the majority of whom will be children from the MENA region. It will be open to all at risk groups and nationalities within the region, with the best interests of the child at the heart of the scheme. The UNHCR are fully supportive of the launch of this new initiative and the UK’s commitment to assist vulnerable refugee children at risk through further resettlement efforts which uphold the principles of child protection. Oxfam along with Amnesty International, the Refugee Council and the British Red Cross is calling for action to ensure refugee families are no longer forced to live apart or to risk their lives. The UK government and aid agencies have put forward many recommendations that include the following: • Amend the UK Immigration Rules by expanding which ‘family members’ qualify for claiming asylum in the UK through the family reunion policy to include: young adults who were dependant on the family unit prior to flight, parents, siblings, inlaws and any dependent relative. • Allow an expanded group of extended family members, including adult siblings, aunts and uncles, and grandparents to sponsor child relatives to join them in the UK under refugee family reunion policies, where it is deemed in the child’s best interests. • Allow children found to be in need of international protection in the UK to bring family members to the country under the refugee family reunion policy. • Reintroduce legal aid for refugee family reunion. • Allow British citizens to sponsor family members who have been forcibly displaced or are at risk in their home country, under the same terms as set out in refugee family reunion policy. FEATURED

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of all Syrian refugees. Beyond the refugee resettlement program, Syrian nationals who are physically present in the United States or who arrive at a U.S. port of entry can apply for asylum status. An increasing number of Syrians received asylum status in recent years: the number rose from 60 in fiscal year (FY) 2011 to 364 in FY 2012, and more than doubled to 811 in FY 2013. UK Support for Syria As the UK government prepares to review its immigration policy in advance of Brexit, it is crucial that it recognizes that this vast crisis facing refugees will continue unless the UK plays its full part in international efforts to address the issue. In September 2015 Richard Harrington was appointed as a joint Home Office/ Department for International Development/ Department for Communities and Local Government Minister for Syrian refugees. He was tasked with coordinating the VPRP in the UK and the provision of Government support to Syrian refugees in the region. A ministerial group on Syrian refugees, chaired by the Home Secretary was also established to aid the decisionmaking process. It is said that this programme will take in 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. According to the Region conference, held in London on the 4th of February, raised over US$12 billion, half of which was for 2016. Countries attending UNHCR’s Geneva Conference on the 3rd of March failed to commit to more than a modest increase in resettlement places for refugees. The lengthy procedures and limited number of resettlement places, coupled with dwindling aid resources and restrictions on access to the European Union by land, led many Syrian refugees to choose to attempt to enter the EU by sea. In October 2016, states had pledged to resettle 224,694 Syrian refugees. The “children at risk” resettlement scheme on 21 April 2016 the Government announced it would work with the UNHCR to resettle children and adult refugees from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. ‘Children at Risk’ as defined by the UNHCR. This broad category encompasses unaccompanied children and

By Miral Alashry Assistant Professor Canadian international college ( CIC) Department of Journalism


The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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I October 2017

Part 17

“Once the sword is unsheathed among my followers, it will not be sheathed until the Last Day.” This quote from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasizes the principles Uthman Ibn Affan (RA) lived by during his lifetime in that he preferred to use the virtues of kindness and generosity to resolve disputes rather than resorting to violence. Such was the mark of a man who served the Muslim community with utmost distinction despite the state facing pressing internal and external challenges. In terms of the economy of the state under Uthman ibn Affan (RA), several policies were implemented to ensure that it was on a secure financial footing. The caliph ordered his officials to enact stringent fiscal policies with prudence being at the centre of the economic blueprint going forward.

Fiscal stability could only be secured once revenues coming into the coffers were plentiful and outward expenditure was controlled in a manner thus to avoid the spectre of bankruptcy. Uthman Ibn Affan followed in the footsteps of his predecessors and carried on raising revenue via taxation and the collection of duties levied on exports and imports coming into and going out of the state. Also, the caliph ensured that those who were rightfully entitled to state provisions indeed received necessities such as food, clothing and shelter as well as monthly stipends for those who were living in poverty such as widows and orphans. The rights of the Jews and Christians (ahl al-dhimmah) were also upheld in line with the Qur’an and the Prophetic tradition. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had ordained the protection of

religious minorities in return for the payment of a levy known as Jizya and Uthman ibn Affan (RA) like his predecessors ensured the continuation of these policies. Maintaining an growing and efficient economy was not easy by any stretch of the imagination and Uthman ibn Affan was very conscious of this issue. In order to build a successful and thriving economy it had to have the blueprint of honesty at its very heart. Therefore, the state appointed revenue collectors (Kharaj) who were heavily vetted and screened prior to their appointment and this measure was implemented with a sense of urgency in order to root out those people who may be lured by potential greed or corruption going forward. The last thing the state needed was corrupt revenue collectors siphoning off money that was destined for the state coffers.


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I October 2017

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PI Magazine October 2017  

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