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Committee: No to Catholic La Liga clubs The Islamic over Cordoba Mosque open up Egypt Caliphate
Are Your Children Safe?
The Muslim community once again came under the spotlight last month when it was revealed that officials across the United Kingdom working under the much maligned and controversial framework called PREVENT have forcibly attempted to take children away from their parents using the Extremism Risk Guidance
also known as (ERG 22+). Very few Muslims across the United Kingdom are aware of ERG 22+ let alone the guidance it entails and more importantly the implications it has for them in the grand scheme of things. ERG 22+ was developed after a study was conducted by prison service psychologists on twenty convicted
offenders in prison who were deemed to have had a relationship with the Islamic faith. Furthermore, after the study was completed, psychologists identified twenty-two risk factors for establishing whether individuals were exposed to groups advocating terror or if they posed a credible security risk to the public. Continued on page 3
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By Dr Irfan Raja
British-Pakistani volunteer, campaigner and writer
The Idea of New Pakistan: Youth and Minorities PART TWO
The real challenge ahead for the PTI’s government is to reach out those unprivileged, uneducated and unemployed youths in remote areas. Whilst at the same time it has to find out the needs and expectations of youths in Universities before it take serious steps to meetexpectations that include: Education, Employment and EngagementPM list of promises include “The youth will be provided interest-free loans” and “Will renovate sports grounds and recreational spaces for activities” really good but not their core demands. A report titled:Unleashing the Potential of a Young Pakistanunearth some disturbing facts on lack of education and unemployment opportunities to young people that can change the fate of the nations. Drawing on Adil Najam and Faisal Bari’s report that has revealed cheerful as well as alarming news about Pakistani youth, Asma Kundi warns: This youth bulge will critically impact Pakistan as a country if not dealt with appropriately, depending on how
the country invests in the youth by providing them with quality education, employment and meaningful engagement opportunities. There are some hard decisions to make for instance this government must put a cap on rehiring of all sorts of retired people from all departments and institutions. To be honest, after all it’s our collective responsibility towards the betterment of our youth isn’t it? Surely, those thousands if not millions who had already enjoyed after retirement benefits including smart pensions, valuable plots for housing, free medical should be considerate of the jobless young individuals- Think about youth think about janoon! As a popular slogan says Give Change a Chance- So remember your slogan #tabdeelipti #changepti so go for it give a chance to young people and put some restrictions on after retirement jobs. This may sounds unpleasant but it’s the only answer to put thousands of unemployed young people in jobs. Another challenge for the PTI’s
government is to bridge the gap between foreign born Pakistani youth and those born and bred in Pakistan. This is critical because at any stage if those living abroad may choose to come back probably if the government offers them comparative incentives that will boost our social, economic and political standing in the world. Pakistan can learn from the experiences of Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad government in Malaysia that made the best use of its foreign based experts and professional force under Returning Expert Programme in five major sectors including oil, gas and energy, healthcare, financial and professional services. On youth affairs, policies recently enacted by Turkey is another best example to follow. At present many young PhD’s are interested to return to Pakistan taking benefit of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan’s scheme Interim Place of Fresh PhDs but that should be revisited to eradicate any unnecessary hurdles and delays in processing applications. It would be beneficial to extend this offer to all those foreign born Pakistanis whether British, Americans or elsewhere. This would also foster social integration among Pakistani at home and abroad and help minimize the social and cultural gap between youths. Last year, I attended a seminar organisedby Common Purpose that aimed to train Pakistani diaspora leaders, to build their capacity to contribute to Pakistan and to the diaspora community in the UK. Organisations like Common Purpose are there to engage and work with to utilisePakistani youth potential both at home and in abroad.
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Are Your Children Safe? www.pi-media.co.uk
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Continued from front page
Harrowing stories of parents desperately trying to stop the authorities from forcibly removing their children allegedly at risk of extremism are now becoming the norm rather than the exception. It should be said that parents and their children targeted by the authorities have suffered a great deal by being randomly visited at home and being subjected to invasive questioning effectively being put on trial under the circumstances. Furthermore, the use of secret evidence gathered by the authorities on children that has been presented in family courts has left families facing an uphill battle when attempting to challenge the accuracy of the information and the manner in which it has been gathered. The effects of this highly secretive programme have left many Muslim families severely traumatised and on the verge of mental breakdowns leaving them with no one to turn to for counselling and rehabilitation. The authorities using ERG 22+ is highly disturbing especially when dealing with young children considering that it was born out of an experiment involving convicted offenders in prison.Do the authorities now attest to the view that young Muslims have a predisposition to extremism from birth? Only the authorities have the answers to this pertinent questionthat many Muslim families seek in earnest. The situation Muslim families find themselves in today is a highly precarious one considering recent
experiences described earlier are to go by. It seems that the authorities have taken a rather draconian step with ERG 22+ with the end goal of criminalising and policing Muslim thought. The film ‘Minority Report’ starring Tom Cruise was released in 2002 with a storyline involving PreCrime, a law enforcement body that takes into custody criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called ‘precogs’. Fast forward to 2018, we find many parallels between the storyline in the film and the many lived experiences of Muslim families in the United Kingdom.It is not too difficult to see that Muslim children are ripe for experiment using the parameters of ‘pre-criminal space’ which opens the possibility of a potential surge in cases in the days, months and years to come. There is also the potential for the scope of ERG 22+ to be widened where there is a strong probability that all Muslim children may well be routinely screened for extremist tendencies before they reach adulthood all in the name of the fight against extremism, radicalisation and terrorism. Having digested this rather complex myriad of information, we need to ask ourselves where does this leave Muslim families with children? Many parents will no doubt encourage their children not to discuss politics and their faith inside and outside the home and today this the reality in many homes up and down the land.
Harrowing and disturbing experiences of Muslim families in relation to ERG 22+ will lead to self-censorship amongst Muslims themselves and there are many potential dangers that may emanate from this situation. Self-censorship inevitably does more harm than good;therefore,we have a duty to allow people to speak freely within reason without the threat of prosecution or imprisonment. Challenging unpalatable views in a robust fashion out in the open is a far better proposition than people choosing to silence themselves or being silenced in the process. The UK is the leading place in the world as far as freedom of speech and press freedoms are concerned and the last thing we want is a dictatorship rather than a democracy. The real danger society faces in the near future are from people holding radical and extremist views retreating behind closed doors and lying beneath thePREVENT radar. Self-censorship and the criminalisation of Muslim thought has the potential to fuel radicalisation and terrorism and create a new generation of extremists who pose a risk to wider society in the near future. None of us want to see another generation of children being radicalised simply because of the experiences they had in their childhood. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us including the authorities to work together rather than be at odds with another in the fight against terror.
Exhibition on Muslims’ role in first World War opens 4
I UK NEWS
A new exhibition on Hammersmith’s riverside called Singularity of Peace highlights the often forgotten role of Muslims during the First World War, as the centenary of the armistice approaches. The exhibition runs at the Riverside Building in Manbre Road until 4 October, with part of the show giving a free platform to 100 emerging artists. Up to three million Muslims contributed to the Allied cause in the war, as soldiers and labourers, drawn from across Africa, India, the Far East, Middle East, Russia and the USA. Luc Ferrier, a 54-year-old Belgian researcher and founder of the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation,
has urged artists from all cultures and faiths to contribute. “It was previously estimated that less than half a million Muslim soldiers participated in the conflict, but new research puts the figure closer to three million,” he said. “With the simultaneous rise of the Far Right and Muslim extremism, and at a time when Europe and much of the world is besieged with conflict, we believe our exhibition has the potential to build new bridges, mend broken ones and open new dialogues.” The exhibition, organised with HF ArtsFest and the charity Uthink, has two parts. The first gives artists under 30 a chance to display work via the website Singularity of Peace.
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The second draws on Luc Ferrier’s book, The Unknown Fallen, to document the role of forgotten soldiers in the bloody conflict. Ferrier began his research seven years ago after stumbling upon his grandfather’s war journal. The trail took him to 19 countries, unearthing a total of 850,000 letters and reports telling the tale of Muslims’ part in the war. Muslim graves appear in many of the war cemeteries which dot northern France; the headstones distinguishable from others as they tilt eastwards towards Mecca. H&F Council Deputy Leader Cllr Sue Fennimore, said she hoped that as many residents as possible would get to the exhibition. “This show recognises the contribution made by so many Muslim soldiers in the First World War, and as the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict approaches it makes it all the more important to mark their largely overlooked role,” she said. Hammersmith is the first location in a worldwide tour planned around Luc’s new book. The exhibition at the Riverside Building, Manbre Wharf, Manbre Road, W6, is free, and is open daily until 4 October from 10am-5.30pm. www.pi-media.co.uk
Preston Halal meat firm fail food inspection Ribbleton meat producer Punjab Meat Traders LTD have admitted in court they have not been meeting food safety standards.
The company refused to allow a food inspector entry into their establishment, leading to the beginning of a prosecution by hygiene authorities. Punjab Meat Traders admitted that on the 30th of January they intentionally obstructed a person acting in the execution of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England)
Regulations, which were introduced in 2013. The firm pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a remedial action notice which had been served in October 2017. Sentencing is expected to happen later this year.
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More white suspects than Asians in latest terror arrests
Home Office statistics show a total of 351 arrests where there was a suspicion of terrorism-related activity in the 12 months to the end of June. Anti-terror police have arrested more white suspects than people of Asian appearance in a year for the first time in more than a decade, figures reveal. Home Office statistics show a total of 351 arrests where there was a suspicion of terrorism-related activity in the 12 months to the end
of June. Of those, 133 were white and 129 were recorded as Asian ethnic appearance. Arrests of white suspects accounted for 38% of terrorist-related arrests in the latest period – an increase of four percentage points on the previous year.The proportion who were of Asian appearance fell by seven points to 37%. The Home Office report said: “This was the first time, since the
year ending June 2005, that the proportion of white people arrested has exceeded the proportion of Asian people arrested.” The figures, which cover the use of anti-terrorism powers in Britain, showed that 234 arrests were registered in the “international” category. This covers suspected activity linked to or motivated by terrorist groups based outside the UK, such as Islamic State. Seventy-five were logged in the domestic bracket, which relates to cases where there is no connection to either Northern Ireland or international terrorism. Further breakdowns are not given but this section would include arrests relating to suspected far-right activity. The total number of arrests fell by more than a fifth (22%) year-on-year, but police stressed this did not mean the threat has reduced. Officers said the fall was mainly due to a spike in arrests following terrorist incidents in the previous reporting year. www.pi-media.co.uk
Bradford conference explores obesity in British Muslims Born in Bradford (BiB) hosted a conference which looked at why British Muslims suffer from chronic diseases and childhood obesity at a higher rate than the wider population. The event, held at the University of Bradford last month attracted leading researchers from across the UK. The academics, clinicians and representatives from the British Muslim community discussed and debated the reasons for health inequalities and explored the roles of low levels of physical activity, diet, migration, deprivation, gender stereotypes and even myths have
on people’s wellbeing. Professor John Wright, Director of Bradford Institute for Health research, where the BiB project is based, said: “British Muslims face major health threats from diabetes and heart disease. “In Born in Bradford we have shown that this risks starts in early life. “Religious settings provide a key setting for health promotion for these children and our work with mosques has demonstrated how we can develop culturally sensitive approaches to healthy living.” The conference was organised in partnership with the Muslims
in Britain Research Network and University of Bradford. The conference found out about the latest news from BiB, the UK’s largest medical study of its kind, which is tracking the health of 13,500 children growing up in the city. The project looks at why some children stay healthy while others get ill and what helps children do well at school. BiB is also exploring how mosques and madrassa in Bradford can be used for preventing childhood obesity and general health promotion. www.pi-media.co.uk
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UK mass spying regime violated human rights - ECHR
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In Case You Missed It
The UK government’s mass surveillance program known as “Big Brother” violated human rights and had “no real safeguards,” the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has said in a landmark ruling. Ruling in the case, which was brought by a group of journalists and rights activists, Europe’s top rights court in Strasbourg, France, said the interception of journalistic material also violated the right to freedom of information. The ECHR judges voted by five to two that the mass trawling for information violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing the right to privacy, ruling that the safeguards
governing the selection of the data were “inadequate”. “While the Court was satisfied that the intelligence services of the United Kingdom take their (European human rights) Convention obligations seriously and are not abusing their powers, it found that there was inadequate independent oversight of the selection and search processes involved in the operation,” the court said in a statement. However, the European court also ruled that sharing information gained with foreign governments did not break any codes. The UK surveillance program was revealed by American whistleblower Edward Snowden as part of his
sensational leaks on US and British spying practices. Snowden revealed that US and UK intelligence services had been collecting bulk data, including telephone calls, messages and internet communication, whether or not people were suspected of a crime. Since the legal challenge began, Britain has been forced to reform its surveillance laws, and the government claims that there is new legislation that contains more privacy protections. Civil liberties campaigners who brought the case hailed the judgment as a landmark victory against the mass surveillance that governments have defended as an important tool in fighting terrorism. Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, a British civil liberties and privacy campaigning organization, said the ruling “vindicates Mr. Snowden’s courageous whistleblowing.” “Under the guise of counterterrorism, the UK has adopted the most authoritarian surveillance regime of any Western state, corroding democracy itself and the rights of the British public,” Carlo said in a statement. “This judgment is a vital step towards protecting millions of law-abiding citizens from unjustified intrusion.”
Barking Mosque wins Award Al Madina mosque, Barking has won an award at the prestigious Global Donors Forum, during which it showcased its voluntary and community work. The Global Donors Forum (GDF) is the biennial convening of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP), which brings together influential individuals, foundations and socially responsible corporations dedicated to charitable causes. The aim of the forum was to bring together groups from the charitable sector, government and business leaders and grant makers to offer insights on how to deal with pressing
global challenges, including global warming and extremism. The forum took place between September 10-12th at the British Museum. It was the only mosque to participate at the event, highlighting its voluntary work and far-reaching impact in areas such as youth services, outreach, women’s empowerment and sports engagement as part of its innovative community empowerment programme. The programme helps to empower communities through a range of prevention and intervention measures dealing directly with the social, cultural,
political and economic realities that lead individuals and communities to become disempowered and feeling alienated. This includes dealing with various forms of extremism, from religious extremism to nationalist populism as well as global warming. This is done through using targeted and outcome specific interventions to help develop leadership within the local community in order to achieve positive and sustainable social change. The mosque was also recognised in the Legacy of Philanthropy Awards at the forum for its forward thinking approach to civic engagement. www.pi-media.co.uk
Muhammad among top 10 baby names in UK 10
I UK NEWS
Muhammad has become one of the most used named for new born babies in the UK, a new report shows. The newest report by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) published over the weekend showed that Muhammad had become the 10th most popular word for baby boys in capital London and a number of other major cities last year. This indicates a huge rise in popularity since 2007, when it ranked only 38 on the list. The name was given to around 3,700 babies last
year compared to just a little over 1,800 a decade before. It must be noted that, when combined with its other spellings, such as Mohammad, Muhammed and Mohammed, the name of Islam’s prophet becomes the single most used name for new born boys in the UK. The ONS documented this in 2015, when Muhammad was the 12th most popular name given to baby boys while Mohammed and Mohammad were in the top 100 as well – standing at 29 and 68
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respectively. Muhammed stood just outside the top 100, at 121. The reason the ONS data does not combine the different forms is because names with similar spelling variations such as Sophia, Sophie and Sofia will jump to the top of the lists and distort the real usage. According to previous ONS reports, the increasing size of the Muslim community in England and Wales as well as the dominance of the name among Muslim communities are among the main reasons for Muhammad’s growing popularity. An increasing diversity in names for baby boys also allowed the top Islamic name to climb the charts at unrivaled pace. Interestingly, the ONS believes that the rise of popular sports figures such as late boxing legend Muhammad Ali and the British distance runner Mohammad (Mo) Farah and Mo Salah also contributed to the trend. In Northern Ireland James was the most popular name for boys while Muhammad was the highest climbing. www.pi-media.co.uk
Pakistan Kashmir Welfare Association from Batley celebrates 20 years in the community
Last month, Pakistan & Kashmir Welfare Association welcomed friends, partners and dignitaries to join in the celebrations for their 28th anniversary as a charity and to mark 20 years since the current PKWA community centre first opened its doors in Batley, West Yorkshire. During their history the PKWA has supported countless individuals in a variety of ways. The charity was established to challenge discrimination and to tackle the various social, health, economic, and employment challenges which beset the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities in the 1990s. Over the years the organisation has
fulfilled its mission in a number of innovative ways, both by challenging mainstream institutions to do better, and later by delivering front line health, social and educational services from their own purpose built community centre – as well as offering a friendly and accessible space where people from all faiths and communities can meet and develop grassroots solutions to the problems faced across the local area and beyond. The celebration event was attended by well over 300 people from across the district, including grateful service users and appreciative partners, as well as
the mayors of both Rochdale and Oldham, who were both very keen to observe the best practice in grassroots, user-led community development, as epitomised by the PKWA model. A number of speakers gave moving and passionate speeches congratulating the PKWA and wishing the organisation continued success in its efforts to improves the lives of all local people. The event culminated in the presentation of the now celebrated and eagerly anticipated PKWA awards for outstanding achievements by local individuals. www.pi-media.co.uk
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I WORLD NEWS
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Committee opposed to Catholic ownership of Cordoba Mosque
Amid a simmering disagreement over the rights of the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain, a committee recruited by the local city council of Cordoba opposed its ownership by the Catholic Church. The site was an ancient Muslim place of worship which was converted to a Catholic cathedral. The committee, headed by Federico Mayor Zaragoza, a former director of UNESCO, was tasked with determining whether the place should be in public ownership or remain under the Catholic Church. The mosque, a landmark
reflecting the religious history of Cordoba, was built in 786 by Muslim ruler Abd al-Rahman I and was expanded over the years. When Christian rule returned in 1236, it was converted to a Catholic church, and despite opposition by Muslims, it was registered under the ownership of the Catholic diocese in 2006. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the mosque should not be registered to any church or other organizations, an earlier report by experts has stated. The latest report says the case
should be taken to the Constitutional Court in order to cancel its registration to the church and return it to public ownership, saying the 2006 decision has no legal validity. It adds that the situation is “unjust” and “against the interests of Cordobans”. In 2013, thousands signed a petition, calling on local authorities to manage the site instead of the diocese, to preserve the place as a cultural heritage site. The row over the status of the mosque/cathedral further escalated when Muslims were banned from performing prayers and scuffles broke out in 2010 when a group of Muslims tried to pray inside. The place, one of the outstanding legacies of Muslim rule in Spain’s Andalusia region, has long been among world’s biggest mosques in terms of the surface it covers, after a mosque in the sacred city of Mecca and Istanbul’s Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque). It is only among a few Muslim places of worship preserved in its entirety in Western Europe. Sprawling over an area of 24,000 square meters, the mosque’s interior fascinates visitors with hundreds of delicately decorated columns made of marble, onyx and granite and with red and white arches.
The so-called “Salvini Decree” also stipulates six criteria based on which asylum seekers can be awarded humanitarian protection, a provisional status and a lower level of asylum based on Italian rather than international law. Among the criteria was urgent medical need or whether the applicant was the victim of a natural disaster, according to Salvini. The Italian minister further said those seeking refugee status would have their requests suspended if they were “considered socially dangerous or convicted in the first instance” of crimes, while their
applications were processed. Salvini claimed that the decree streamlined the rules for processing asylum requests and brought Italy into line with other EU countries. Italy’s parliament has 60 days to vote the bill into law. The controversial bill has been heavily criticized by members of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement which governs in coalition with Salvini’s far-right League. Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister, has adopted a hard-line stance on immigration and refugees since the coalition came to power in June.
Italy government adopts hard-line anti-refugee decree
In a highly controversial move, Italy’s government has issued a hard-line security decree that will make it easier to expel refugees and strip them of Italian citizenship. Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on his Facebook page that the Italian council of ministers had unanimously approved of the plan. The new bill is “a step forward to make Italy safer,” he said, adding that it would help Italy “be stronger in the fight against the mafia and [people] smugglers, reduce the costs of excessive immigration … and give the police greater powers.”
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French Far-Right group plotted poison attacks on Muslims
A far-right group broken up by French police this summer was discussing plans to attack Muslims by poisoning halal food, according to police interview transcripts secured by a French newspaper. Thirteen people were arrested in June and July after an undercover police operation targeted the Operational Forces Action group (OFA), a small vigilante group dedicated to fighting the “Islamic peril”, according to media reports. Four of those held were reportedly linked to victims or those caught up in the coordinated
series of terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 that left 137 people dead. Other suspects were from middle-class backgrounds, or had police and military backgrounds, according to the transcripts secured by Le Monde and published. The AFO – a small and littleknown group - planned to respond to further extremist attacks in France by retaliating at a number of locations, according to a document recovered from the home of one of the suspects. Plans included using a syringe to poison halal food in Muslim-
populated areas, targeting imams identified by group members as fundamentalists and attacking mosques and bookshops with homemade grenades. The suspects claimed the plans were ideas that were never going to be carried out, according to Le Monde. Members of the group were said, however, to have reconnoitred Paris supermarkets and were planning to test poisons on animals in August. One suspect was accused of buying material to turn into homemade explosives. The group, which had more than 100 members, was allegedly led by a 64-year-old former police officer and they used code names from historical French figures. The ex-officer was known as Richelieu, after a 17th century cardinal. The arrests were carried out across France, including the island of Corsica and within the Paris suburbs. Those arrested, aged between 32 and 69, included women. Four people remain in custody. One member of the AFO, a 62year-old mathematician code-named Fermat claimed the group was not fundamentalist and did not advocate violence.
Swiss press paints Muslims in negative light In Case You Missed It
Most Swiss newspaper articles on Muslims convey a negative story, according to a recent study. Since 2015, more than half (54%) of all articles in Switzerland’s leading newspapers on the religious minority group have been about radicalization and terrorism. By contrast, topics such as successful integration and everyday life received marginal reporting with just 2% of all article covering each of these areas. The Federal Commission against Racism says it will continue to work
with the media, which can influence public perception with its choice of editorial subjects. The “Quality of reporting on Muslims in Switzerland” study, carried out by the University of Zurich, analyzed print and online articles on Muslims from 18 newspapers across all language regions between 2009 and mid2017. It found a growing proportion of articles that demonstrated a gap between Muslims and the general population, particularly following
terrorist attacks around the world. In 55% of articles about Muslims, there was no opportunity for representatives to have a direct say in the story. However, the tone of articles varied according to the journal. Some 84% of articles in the weekly Weltwoche magazine were deemed to have generated distance between Muslims and the Swiss population, a percentage that falls to 63% in SonntagsBlick, 59% in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and 31% in Le Temps.
Some Call it Biased News - We Call it Real News
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Afghanistan, Pakistan agree to work together for peace
Afghanistan and Pakistan on agreed to hold tripartite conference with China as part of a peace process, an official said. Sibghatullah Ahmadi, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told journalists in Kabul the agreement was reached in meetings among the top Afghan officials and the visiting Foreign minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Without specifying a date, the spokesman said the meeting would take place “soon,” and the two sides have also agreed upon joint efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table, and hold a conference of the
religious scholars. “The new government in Pakistan seems inclined towards peace and stability in Afghanistan and mutual cooperation”, he added. Qureshi landed in Kabul in the morning on his first trip abroad in a move signifying the importance Islamabad attaches to Afghanistan. He met Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, in the afternoon at Arg (presidential palace). During the meeting, the two sides discussed security, peace and stability in the region, counterterrorism and Afghanistan-Pakistan
Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, according to a statement issued by Ghani’s office. Ghani emphasized the importance of the action plan, saying the plan was comprehensive and its effectiveness will be observed when it is implemented. The meeting also discussed Pakistan’s support for Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, the statement added. In 2015, Pakistan hosted the maiden direct talks between the Taliban and a senior member of the Afghan government, but the announcement of the Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Omar’s death resulted in these talks meeting a dead end. Qureshi told Pakistan’s Geo News on Saturday both the countries decided to strengthen contacts and further the reconciliation process. “We have come here for the betterment of the people of both countries and we will have to deal with mutual challenges together,” he added. The Taliban in Afghanistan rejected a second ceasefire offer by the Ghani administration last month insisting upon exit of foreign troops and direct talks with the U.S.
Israeli troops kill another Palestinian on Gaza border A Palestinian was killed and dozens other wounded when Israeli forces opened fire during a protest near the Gaza border, officials in Gaza said. Gaza’s Health Ministry said one
Palestinian was shot dead and 20 others wounded. The man killed belonged to a group that tries to distract Israeli soldiers with burning tires and firecrackers, medical officials
said. Since Gazans began holding weekly border protests on March 30, the Israeli army has killed 184 Palestinians and wounded thousands.
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Palestine lauds Paraguay’s embassy move www.pi-media.co.uk
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In Case You Missed It
Palestine praised Paraguay’s “courageous” decision to move its embassy from occupied Jerusalem al-Quds back to Tel Aviv, saying it will “immediately” open its own embassy in the Latin American state after the Israeli regime shut its mission there in a show of anger. In a surprise announcement, Paraguay’s Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni said his country had reversed a decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds. Paraguay was one of the two states – the other one being Guatemala—that followed in the footsteps of the US in its muchcriticized policy shift on the situation of the Palestinian city under Israeli occupation. The decision was originally taken some three months ago under the
former Paraguayan administration without consultations with thenpresident-elect Mario Abdo. Abdo said the decision was not backed by any legitimate arguments. The Palestinians said the latest “diplomatic achievement” was the fruit of lobbying efforts by their officials. The Paraguayan U-turn came about two weeks after Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki held talks with Abdo. “Minister Maliki exerted a big effort during his meeting with the new president who instructed his foreign minister to arrange the issue,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, Press TV reported. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas celebrated as “courageous” the reversal, which will be a setback to the momentum Israel had hoped to build after the
US moved its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds in May as part of President Donald Trump’s so-called Middle East peace efforts. “This courageous move by the Paraguay government is an example for all countries in facing Israeli greed and attempts by the American administration to impose it on the world when it moved its embassy to Jerusalem [al-Quds] in the so-called deal of the century,” he said. Abbas said Paraguay’s move “was the result of the wise and vigorous Palestinian diplomatic efforts to explain the dangers of the transfer of embassies to Jerusalem [al-Quds].” The Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah also thanked Paraguay for its decision. “We express our deep gratitude to Paraguay and the Paraguayan leadership for its wise decision to withdraw its embassy from the occupied city of Jerusalem [al-Quds] which comes in respect to the rights of the Palestinian people international law UN resolutions,” his office said in a statement. Paraguay’s decision came after Colombia became the final South American country to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state. Angered by Paraguay’s move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the closure of the regime’s embassy in the Latin American country, saying Asuncion’s decision cast a shadow over bilateral relations.
Program preparing Muslim spiritual leaders to give emergency support in Swiss hospitals The Swiss Center for Islam and Society announced the start of a training program that will prepare Muslim spiritual leaders to give emergency support in hospitals, at care-homes or after an accident. The need for qualified Muslim chaplains in public institutions has been felt for several years in Zurich. To fill this gap, the Swiss Center
for Islam and Society said it was offering a continuing education course – set up jointly with the canton. The course “Chaplaincy and accompaniment in an interreligious context” also has the backing of Zurich’s two official churches and an umbrella body grouping Muslim organizations.
The aim is to train six women and six men, qualified in Islamic theology or Islamic studies, to accompany Muslim patients in distress or at the end of life. Future Muslim chaplains will undergo security clearance and intern in public institutions, such as hospitals. www.pi-media.co.uk
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www.pi-media.co.uk I October 2018
Amnesty demands China reveal fate of ethnic Muslims
Amnesty International is demanding China account for as many as one million ethnic Muslims the group says have been arbitrarily detained in the remote western Xinjiang region. In a report released, the human rights watchdog says the region’s Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups have been the targets of “an intensifying government campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination, and forced cultural assimilation.” Beijing began a campaign in April 2017 to arrest Uighurs accused of holding extremist sentiments and send them to re-education camps. Amnesty says “open or even private displays of religious or cultural affiliation,” including wearing a beard, veil or headscarf, regular
prayer or possessing written material about Islam or Uighur culture can be considered extremist. “The Chinese government must not be allowed to continue this vicious campaign against ethnic minorities” in Xinjiang, said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty’s East Asia director. “Hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart by this massive crackdown,” he continued. “They are desperate to know what has happened to their loved ones and it is time the Chinese authorities give them answers. Beijing says Xinjiang is facing a serious threat from Islamist militants who plot attacks and stir up tensions among the mostly-Muslim Uighur minority against the ethnic Han Chinese majority.
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Turkey to open its first embassy in Paraguay Turkey will open its first embassy in the South American country of Paraguay, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. “Turkey has completed necessary legal procedures to open its embassy in Asuncion and designated Armagan Inci Ersoy as our first ambassador,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Paraguay is also expected to finalize necessary procedures soon,” the statement added. According to the statement, Turkey aims “to increase our contacts and cooperation with Paraguay in the framework of our outreach policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean region.” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut
Cavusoglu and his Paraguayan counterpart Luis Alberto Castiglioni met in New York this weekend on the sidelines of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly. “The mutual political will for promoting relations was confirmed during the meeting,” the statement added. www.pi-media.co.uk
Yemeni children starve as prices soar
I October 2018
In Case You Missed It
More than five million children risk famine in war-torn Yemen as food and fuel prices soar, Save the Children, warning an entire generation may face death and “starvation on an unprecedented scale”.”Millions of children don’t know when or if their next meal will come,” said Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of
Save the Children International. “This war risks killing an entire generation of Yemen’s children who face multiple threats, from bombs to hunger to preventable diseases like cholera.” The already dire humanitarian situation is being exacerbated by the battle for the lifeline port of Hodeida,
which is threatening to disrupt what little aid is trickling into the country. Located on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, the city is controlled by the rebels and blockaded by Saudi Arabia and its allies. Having already identified four million children at risk of starvation, Save The Children warned Wednesday another million could now face famine as the Hodeida battle escalates. “In one hospital I visited in north Yemen, the babies were too weak to cry, their bodies exhausted by hunger,” said Thorning-Schmidt. Food prices in some parts of the country have doubled in just a few days, and the non-governmental organisation said families faced impossible choices on whether to pay to take a baby to hospital at the expense of feeding the rest of the family. A total of 5.2 million children across Yemen are now at risk of starvation, according to the Britainbased NGO.
Pakistan to give citizenship to some Afghans, Bengalis
Pakistan’s new premier Imran Khan has vowed to give citizenship to some Afghan refugees and Bengali immigrants, officials confirmed, granting rights to many who have lived in the country for decades. Pakistan, one of the world’s largest refugee-hosting nations, is home to roughly 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, some of whom have lived in the country since fleeing the Soviet invasion of 1979. There are also roughly a quarter of a million Bengalis, many of whom arrived during Pakistan’s civil war in 1971, when East Pakistan broke away to declare independence and
become Bangladesh. Khan, who visited Karachi, told a fundraising dinner that his government would take steps to grant nationality to those who had been there longest. “And those Afghans whose children have grown older here, who were born in Pakistan, they would also be issued the passports and ID cards,” he continued. “When you are born in America, you get the American passport. It is the practice in every country in the world, so why not here? How cruel it is for them.” However he also noted that
Bengali immigrants and Afghan refugees have created an “underclass” in Karachi that has helped fuel street crime in the megacity of more than 20 million people. Officials confirmed Khan’s comments and said a draft policy would have to be prepared for cabinet before legislation could be written and debated in parliament. Pakistanis have long viewed Afghan refugees in particular suspiciously, with police accusing them of harassment and extortion. Many say they have overstayed their welcome.
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www.pi-media.co.uk I October 2018
Court orders recognition of Muslim marriages in South Africa
A South African court ruled that Islamic law marriages must be recognized by the state to give women more protection in case of divorce. The ruling is “an enormous victory,” activists say. South Africa is failing its constitutional obligations by not recognizing traditional marriage between Muslims, a court ruled. The country views couples wedded under Sharia law as unmarried. South Africa recognizes “customary marriage” but only for “indigenous African peoples.” This
lack of oversight means that Muslim men and women cannot demand legal protection in case of divorce, including alimony claims. After years of debate, a group called Woman’s Legal Center (WLC) took the matter to court, arguing that Muslim women’s right to equality was being violated. The group demanded that the state pass new legislation or include couples married under Muslim religious rites into the current common law. The Western Cape High Court said the officials’ conduct was
“invalid” according to the constitution. “The president and Cabinet, together with Parliament, are directed to rectify the failure within 24 months of the date of this order as contemplated.” The legislative branch is now expected to pass new legislation. According to South Africa’s News24 outlet, even if no new laws are passed in the next two years, the court ruled all Muslim marriages should be subject to the current divorce act after the deadline expires. WLC attorney Charlene May said the ruling was an “enormous victory for Muslim women in this country.” “The judgement has the potential to impact on thousands of women in the country who practice and live their faith and who are walking around without protection,” she was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. The court also ordered the president and the ministers of justice and home affairs to pay the costs expended by the Women’s Legal Center Trust. Between 1.5 and 1.9 percent of South Africa’s 55 million residents are Muslim, most of them immigrants from South Asia and North Africa.
Number of converted Muslims increases in Norway In Case You Missed It
The number of converted Muslims in Norway increased to at least 3,000 in the recent years, a researcher at Oslo University’s Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages said. Norway’s leading Verdens Gang newspaper reported that the number of Norwegians choosing to become Muslim since 1990s have increased. The report said the number of converted Muslims in the country during 1990s were around 500 while
this number has reached around 3,000 in the recent years. Noting that previously Norwegian women used to convert to Islam as a result of marrying Muslim men, Vogt said: “This trend has now changed drastically. Now, women are choosing Islam after reading and researching about Islam.” Monica Salmouk, a converted Muslim, told the newspaper that she chose Islam 4 years ago after researching and reading number of
books about the religion. Salmouk said she visited the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) mosque in Greenland, Oslo and chose to adopt Islam as her religion. Solva Nabila Sexelin, a 42year old Norwegian, also said she decided to convert to Islam after being inspired by the Muslim asylum seekers which she has been helping out. www.pi-media.co.uk
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Turkey, Germany vow to boost economic ties
I October 2018
Turkey and Germany pledged to forge closer economic and strategic ties following a high-level meeting of their finance, economy and energy ministers in Berlin. Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said the two countries shared the same positions on many global political and economic issues, and their differences on a number of issues
were not an obstacle for a closer relationship. “We have entered a new period in our bilateral relations. We want to further enhance our ties by adopting a sincere and constructive approach, by taking strategic steps” he said. “I firmly believe that in the coming days, Turkey and Germany will take stronger steps towards strategic cooperation,” he stressed.
Germany to reduce number of troops in Iraq Germany will reduce the number of troops stationed in northern Iraq, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said. Speaking to reporters during a visit to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, Ursula von der Leyen said Germany was considering to reduce troops from around 150 to around 100. Following the military victory against Daesh, the German troops will now focus on stabilization efforts, military health services and
training of the local Peshmerga forces, von der Leyen said. Germany has been an active partner of the international coalition against Daesh since 2015, and has deployed nearly 150 troops in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, to train local forces there. Over the same period, Germany has sent more than 30 shipments of weapons (weighing more than 2,000 tons in total) to the local forces fighting the Daesh terrorist group.
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Albayrak made the remarks at a joint news conference with German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier following their meeting in Berlin. Turkey’s Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Sonmez also attended the meeting. Albayrak said during the meeting that they also reviewed preparations for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s official visit to Berlin next week. “I believe that following this important visit of our president to Germany, we will achieve very positive results -- not only in terms of Turkey-Germany relations, but also in terms of Turkey-European Union relations,” he said. Erdogan is scheduled to pay a key visit to Berlin on Sept. 28-29, which would be his first official visit to Germany since 2014. www.pi-media.co.uk
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Akram and Azharuddin on mission to unearth new T10 talent In Case You Missed It
The T10 League that won the hearts of cricket lovers last year is now out to win over talented young cricketers. They have appointed two legends of the game — Pakistan’s Wasim Akram and India’s Mohammad Azharuddin as directors of their Talent Hunt programme along with Vijay Dutt Vyas, the owner of Rajputs team, in the role of Global T10 League Talent Hunt director. Akram will be on a mission to hunt talented cricketers in Pakistan while Azharuddin will do the same in India. Replying to a query from Gulf News on how he was scouted as
a youngster, Akram said: “I was spotted by Javed Miandad and came into the Pakistan team where I realised that my skipper and now Prime Minister Imran Khan knew me by name. So similarly I will be on a hunt for 12 talented players from Pakistan. It is a tough task as there is so much talent in Pakistan but I will try my best.” Azharuddin wants to unearth talented players who deserve exposure. “I always felt there are many youngsters who are talented but were not lucky enough to play at the highest level,” he said. “This hunt
will be for those who were unlucky. I will be very happy if I can find a few because at the end of the day cricket should succeed.” Vyas said that it will be the first time a league will embark on a mission to spot talent. Shaji Ul Mulk, chairman of the T10 League said: “The appointment of Azharuddin and Akram is a beginning of a new journey for the global T10 cricket movement and we are very excited to make the announcement. The global talent hunt is designed to unearth the unsung heros from the cricketing world, especially India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who do not get the opportunity to play cricket and the exposure that they deserve.” Parvez Khan, the T10 league board member as well as the media and marketing head of the event, added: “This programme will help those selected get a job in the UAE and be able to display their cricketing skills at international level. The owners of T10 league are owners of companies like Danube and Pacific Ventures and we will try and find them jobs.” The second edition of the T10 league will be held from November 23 to to December 2 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Kuwaiti businessman to buy Charlton Athletic - reports Kuwaiti businessman and former Nottingham Forest FC owner Fawwaz Al Hasawi intends to buy a British football club, most likely League One team Charlton Athletic, according to the Kuwait Times. Citing informed sources, the newspaper reported that Al Hasawi – who owned Nottingham Forest between 2012 and its sale to Greek shipping magnate Evangelos Marinakis in 2017 – plans to buy the
club, which was founded in 1905 and plays in southeast London. Last month Al Hasawi was pictured at The Valley, Charlton Athletic’s 27,000-seat stadium, alongside Lieven de Turck, who works for the club’s current owner, Belgian billionaire businessman Roland Duchâtelet. Charlton currently sits in the middle of the League One table, with fans regularly protesting against
Duchâtelet and calling for the club to be sold. Duchâtelet, for his part, recently told a Belgian magazine that buying the club was “a mistake” and confirming his intention to sell it. “The football business doesn’t suit me. Too irrational,” he said. “If you want to lose real money, buy a football club.” www.pi-media.co.uk
La Liga clubs open up Egypt football academy www.pi-media.co.uk
I October 2018
La Liga presented its first football academy in Egypt, which aims to bring new talent to Spanish clubs and guide them on a similar path as Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. The new academy has been up and running for just one week and has already enrolled 75 students,
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the director general of La Liga in the Middle East and North Africa, Fernando Sanz, told EFE. “Egypt is a big country, with a passion for soccer,” Sanz explained. “That’s why we’ve opened (an academy) here, in order to give young people the tools they need to play in the Spanish league.”
The former Real Madrid and Malaga player asserted that La Liga is the “most followed” football league in Egypt. He added that students would learn the unique Spanish style of play, which depends on possession and short passes, at the academy located in the suburb of New Cairo, east of the capital. La Liga has similar academies in the UAE, India, Indonesia and the United States, and is currently planning to inaugurate an academy in Jordan. Currently nominated for FIFA’s best men’s player award, Salah is known for his humble beginnings in a small village in the Nile Delta, and made his European debut with Swiss club FC Basel after playing in Egypt’s top league. Forty percent of Egypt’s 100 million people are under the age of 18, the country’s state statistics agency reported in 2017. www.pi-media.co.uk
between Liverpool and Everton last season. Competitors of the Egyptians were Gareth Bale with a Champions League goal, Russian Cherishev
with his goal in the World Cup, and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal at Juventus in the Champions League. www.pi-media.co.uk
Mohammed Salah wins FIFA best goal award The most beautiful goal of the year, the price “Puskas” went to Muslim player Mohammed Salah. The Egyptian player scored an extraordinary goal in the derby
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www.pi-media.co.uk I October 2018
From Our Middle East Editor Miral Alashry
Russia, Turkey, Iran dismiss ceasefire for Syria’s Idlib
The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia on Friday 7 September failed to agree on a ceasefire that would forestall a Syrian government offensive in the rebel-held Idlib province, The move, at a stormy summit in Tehran, left the three countries to paper over their differences through a broadly worded joint statement calling for all sides to back a political settlement to end Syria’s civil war. The United Nations fears any decisive military offensive could cause a humanitarian catastrophe involving tens of thousands of civilians. The outcome of the summit led to warnings from the West that Russia was pushing Syria towards the edge of an abyss, while US officials
claimed it had evidence that the Syrian government was preparing to use chemical weapons. At a closing press conference in Tehran, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, key foreign players in Syria’s war, agreed in a final statement that there could be no military solution to the conflict and it could only end through a negotiated political process. Putin said a ceasefire would be pointless as it would not involve Islamist militant groups it deems terrorists who were not present at the talks, therefore no such commitment could be made. President Rouhani said Syria must regain control over all its territory.
Today, Idlib is the insurgents’ only remaining major stronghold and many have said that this government offensive could be the war’s last decisive battle. Tehran and Moscow have been instrumental in helping helped Assad turn the course of the war against an array of opponents ranging from Western-backed rebels to ISIS , whilst Turkey is a leading opposition supporter and has troops in the country and the war undoubtedly has killed more than half a million people and forced 11 million to flee their homes. Erdogan said resorting to methods that would disregard civilian lives would “play into the hands of terrorists. “Any assault, whatever the reason for it, will inevitably lead to
I October 2018
a catastrophe, killings and a major human tragedy. “If the world turns a blind eye to the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people to further the regime’s interests, we will neither watch from the sidelines nor participate in such a game,” We never want to see Idlib to turn into a lake of blood. We have to find a rational way out in Idlib that could meet our security concerns.” The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, urged Putin to allow more time for efforts to separate UN-designated terrorists from the rest of the population of Idlib. Crisis in Idlib and the Battle for Survival Millions of desperate Syrians are trapped in Idlib, facing starvation and death. The world must save them as we know 3.5 million refugees live in the Idlib region, the final enclave holding out against the regime of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Almost half of them have been displaced from other towns recaptured by the Syrian
government, such as Homs, Aleppo and Ghouta, and have nowhere left to escape within Syria since the start of the war in 2011. Iran’s Rouhani said the battle in Syria would continue until rebels were pushed out of the whole country, especially in Idlib. He declared that the ‘’fight against terrorism in Idlib is an indispensable part of the mission to return peace and stability to Syria’’. However, this fight should not harm civilians and lead to a ‘scorched-earth’ policy. John Ging, the UN’s senior humanitarian official, said: “Idlib has the potential to create a humanitarian emergency and we know that Turkey shares the Russian aim of removing the jihadists, and would like them to hand their weapons over to the Free Syrian Army’’. Moreover, Russia claims the brutality and breadth of the terrorist groups means that they dominate 80% of the population that want peace, and there are 10,000 UNdesignated terrorists in the region. Thus, the dangers are profound that any battle for Idlib could and would be a horrific and bloody battle.
“...The United Nations fears any decisive military offensive could cause a humanitarian catastrophe involving tens of thousands of civilians.”
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I October 2018
The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context
The battle that ensued between the forces of Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Aishah, Talha and Zubayr became known as the Battle of the Camel. The treacherous actions of the Qurra created great upheaval and led to a catastrophic situation due to the amount of unnecessary bloodshed that had been caused. It should be said that the Battle of Camel was a contest that pitted two parties together unaware of the part played by the third party namely the Qurra. The Battle of the Camel lasted a short duration where Ali Ibn Abi Talib enjoyed the upper hand due to the sheer numerical advantage as well as heavy firepower that allowed him to swiftly rout his opponents. Aishah who was the first female Muslim leader to lead a battalion into battle was also defeated on the battlefield and soon surrendered to
the forces of Ali Ibn Abi Talib. The Caliph showed his magnanimity and refused to exact retribution towards Aishah despite her opposition on the battlefield. Aishah was thus allowed to retire in Madinah and the Battle of the Camel was the last time she had appeared in a public role. Ali Ibn Abi Talib was aware that Mu’awiyahIbn Abi Sufyaan was refusing to give him allegiance (bayah) as caliph due to the former arguing that the latter was rather ineffective in terms of attempting to bring the murders of Uthman to justice. Ali Ibn Abi Talib demanded that Mu’awiyahgive allegiance despite the fact that he could not hunt down and deliver the murderers of Uthman. This toxic situation led to Ali Ibn Abi Talib to take his forces from Iraq to the banks of the Euphrates
near the city of Raqqa, Syria. It is in Raqqa, Syria that the forces of Ali Ibn Abi Talib numbering 80,000 troops and Mu’awiyahnumbering 120,000 camped out for 100 days where only ongoing negotiations stopped conflict breaking out into the open. However, the curse of the Qurra struck again who had cleverly disguised themselves amongst the Rashidun (Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s) battalions had started the fighting. Again, we must add that both camps did not have a strong desire to fight one another as both were concerned about the possible fragmentation of the Muslim community in the long term. The Qurra again was instrumental in creating disunity and the heavy losses that ensued on the battlefield. www.pi-media.co.uk
I October 2018
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