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Muslims who felt Scotland was “tolerant and friendly” targeted at airports
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Muslims are believed to be specifically and disproportionately targeted during airport security checks in Scotland, according to a Durham University’s research. Research carried out in Edinburgh focused on Muslim immigrants and d by Certifie
Scottish-born Muslims who felt Scotland was a “tolerant, friendly and inclusive place”, but were concerned about being treated as a “suspect community” in airports. The study, titled “Visible Muslimness in Scotland: Between Discrimination and
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Integration”, also incorporated a survey of other studies focused on Glasgow and the rest of Scotland. It suggests that the disproportionate targeting of Muslim travelers is undermining the integration of Muslim immigrants into Scottish society. Continued on page 3
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By Bella Sankey
Director of Policy @ Liberty
The real crisis in Calais
The PM called them a ‘swarm’ and in the media they have been variously described as ‘an organised mob’, ‘tragic human flotsam’ and an ‘unstoppable flood’. They are the migrants in Calais, living with disease, death and the disinterest of the public for their plight. They are fleeing war, genocide, tyranny and exploitation in the hope they find a better life for their families. They don’t want to take what is yours – they just want somewhere safe for them and their children. For that, they risk their lives climbing on lorries and walking on train tracks, living in ‘the jungle’ where crime, rape and violence are a daily interruption. This is the real crisis; vast sums are spent on militarisation and securitisation of borders while asylum seekers die crossing them and a refugee camp develops on the doorsteps of some of the richest nations on earth. Over the last decade, politicians across our continent have jostled to be the toughest on immigration, legal or otherwise. Refugees and migrants, regardless of why they might be leaving their homeland, are the new pariahs. The UK has always taken in the desperate – from Huguenots, German Jews, Soviets and East African Asians. Then as now, all the same arguments were made – it was too expensive, we didn’t have the
room. But we did what was right and our country has been all the better for it. It is a sad state of affairs that today our Government’s response seems to veer from pandering to xenophobia to pitiful denial – rather than honouring our proud tradition of providing sanctuary for those in need. Rather than focusing resources on developing resettlement strategies the Government has announced it will: > Send sniffer dogs and fences. > Slash asylum support payments and withdraw automatic support for families whose claims are refused but who for legitimate reasons cannot return home – amounting to enforced destitution. > Seize the wages of irregular migrants – pushing people further off the radar and into the arms of modern slave masters. > Press ahead with costly plans to outsource immigration control to landlords despite evidence from the pilot scheme in the West Midlands showing it has prevented British citizens who cannot afford passports from accessing the rental market. > Extend the sanction for landlords who fail to comply to 5 years imprisonment and give them summary eviction powers which even the National Landlords Association is raising the alarm about.
This is only part of a collective failure of courage and compassion in Government – today’s politicians have also conspired to whip up distrust, suspicion, division and – incredulously – jealousy of asylum seekers, seeking praise in xenophobic sections of the press and beyond. Feeding lies that those in Calais are all economic migrants or are here because they’ve heard of our benefits system. The evidence shows this is nonsense. In fact the developing world hosts the vast majority of the world’s refugees. And in any event, asylum applications are just a fraction of the net migration figure – which stood at 318 000 in 2014. It is also true – but not often said – that the number of asylum seekers applying for refuge in Britain is much lower than many other EU countries. In 2014 The UK received 31,400 asylum applications. This was less than Germany (166,800), France (63,100), Italy (56,300) and Sweden (81,300) and well below the UK peak in 2003 of 84,130. The UK receives below the EU average for asylum applications per head of the population. The level of asylum applications ebbs and flows depending on war and persecution around the globe but is not affected by gimmicky domestic policies which harm asylum seekers and British citizens alike. It is hard not to see the dehumanisation of these desperate people as part of a wider, and worrying, trend. The Government’s plans to scrap our HRA and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, undermining the universality of human rights, is another indicator. So at home they propose that those in power should decide when and to whom rights protections apply and elsewhere human beings in need are treated like animals, to be contained, controlled and forgotten about. We will not be part of this ugly ideology, devoid of empathy and basic humanity – and neither should you. We all deserve safe haven, and in UK, we have a duty to provide it.
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Muslims who felt Scotland was “tolerant and friendly” targeted at airports
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In Case Y o Missed It u
continued from front page
“Contact with police and security officers at airports constitutes the main area of concern for Scottish Muslims,” said Durham University’s Dr Stefano Bonino in the report. “Most of Edinburgh’s Muslims had either themselves experienced, or had relatives and/or friends who were subjected to perceived disproportionate targeting or harsh treatment, when leaving from or arriving at Scottish airports. For the most part, respondents argued that this was the result of the ethnic and religious profiling that the police and security officers allegedly use to target people of seemingly Muslim appearance,” he added. Dr Bonino argues that power
provided under the Terrorism Act 2000 is used to justify targeting people of Muslim appearence. “The airport checks have resulted in Muslim men feeling as though the perception of them as inherently suspicious has become normalised,” he said. Edinburgh Airport officials refute such claims. “We work hard to make sure that all of its passengers have a good experience when travelling through Edinburgh Airport. Diversity training is a core part of security officer training to ensure all are treated with respect and understanding. Local imams and leaders of the Muslim community have visited the airport
to view our security processes and discuss any concerns as part of an ongoing dialogue in improving our service for all,” Edinburgh Airport spokesperson said. Scotland is home to around 100,000 Muslims, who make up 1.7% of total population.
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British honeymooner drowns in Dubai hotel tragedy
A 28-year-old British man holidaying in Dubai on his honeymoon has drowned in a hotel swimming pool. Mohammad Majid Malik, from Luton, England was on the last day of his trip to the emirate with his new wife Maira Shahid when he got into difficulty and drowned, according to Gulf News. In a statement to the newspaper, a spokesperson for Jebel Ali Beach Hotel said: “The unfortunate incident occurred when the guest and his
wife entered a swimming pool at approximately 1.15am (August 15). The guest quickly got into difficulties having ventured into the deep end of the pool while his wife remained in the shallow end. “We were alerted to the situation by his wife calling for help and two members of the resort team rushed to the guest’s aid removing him from the pool and immediately commencing CPR activities. This was then continued by the
nurse who arrived on the scene minutes later. Upon arrival, the ambulance crew then took over CPR but sadly it was announced that the guest had died on his arrival at the hospital,” the statement said. “We have extended our full support and co-operation to all the authorities involved and the case has been closed. We will also remain at the bereaved family’s disposal.” The Luton News Herald & Post reported that Malik, a mortgage advisor, had been out for dinner and shopping with his wife when he decided to go for a stroll. Maira Shahid told an inquest in Luton that it was the first time the couple had gone to the pool during their stay at the hotel. They were paddling in the pool when Malik decided to go for a swim, which was when he got into difficulties. The inquest was told that Malik was pronounced dead at hospital around 35 minutes later.
Police forces to release data on stop and search powers Police forces will provide detailed data on their use of stop and search powers. Residents will be able to see figures for the number of stops and their outcomes. A total of 40 forces, including British Transport Police, will give
information including the ethnicity and age of those stopped, on a monthly basis. The data, released on summary pages on the police.uk website, will also cover the time of day stops are made. Figures will be published
In Case You Missed It
alongside maps that allow the public to see where stop and searches took place, which are already provided by 25 forces. The move is part of a drive by the Government to increase transparency over the controversial tactics.
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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
81 year old Muslim man killed whilst going for prayers In Case You Missed It
The “heartbroken” family of an 81year-old man who died after he was assaulted on his way to a mosque in Rotherham have paid tribute to “a loving husband, caring father and grandfather”. Mushin Ahmed was seriously assaulted in an area just off Fitzwilliam Road in the town on early hours of August 10 and he died in hospital more than a week later. Detectives are treating the incident as a hate crime. In a statement issued through South Yorkshire Police, Mr
Ahmed’s family said: “The family is heartbroken to have lost such a loving husband, caring father and grandfather, who was also a gentle and charitable man. “Mushin was an affable person who smiled and spoke to everyone. Well known throughout the town, he worked hard all his life, held high values and brought his family up with the same moral standards. “Thank you to everyone for your prayers, support and offers of help. The expressions of grief and sadness as well as the flowers are
greatly appreciated. Thank you to the police and staff of Rotherham District General Hospital who worked tirelessly on his behalf.” Detective Chief Inspector Zaf Ali said: “Mr Ahmed was dressed in traditional clothing on his way to the mosque when he was attacked, which is one possible motive for the attack upon him. “However, the investigation is still at an early stage. “I also appeal to the local community for help in identifying the movements of Mr Ahmed prior to the incident. “Were you in the area of Doncaster Road area close to the junction of Mowbray Street or Fitzwilliam Road, which is at the Herringthorpe end of Rotherham, in the early hours of Monday 10 August? Did you see a group of males hanging around the area, did you drive or walk past them? “If anyone has any information relating to the attack on Mr Ahmed, no matter how trivial it may seem to you, please contact us.” Two men have appeared in court in connection with the assault. A further two men were arrested and bailed pending further inquiries.
UK families threaten lawsuit over Iraq war inquiry delay
The families of British troops killed in the Iraq war vowed legal action against the long-delayed inquiry into the conflict unless it publishes its findings by the year’s end. The Chilcot inquiry was expected to take a year to report when it was announced by the government six years ago. It is looking at the decisions made in the run-up to the start of the war in 2003 and Britain’s involvement. Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron criticised the delay to the probe, led by former civil servant John Chilcot, saying he wanted to
see a timetable for publication. The delay is linked to a process in which individuals such as former prime minister Tony Blair, who led Britain into the conflict, are given the chance to respond to criticism of them in the report. A total of 179 British soldiers died in the conflict in Iraq between 2003 and 2010. Matthew Jury, the lawyer representing the families, said there had been “outrageous delays” so far and voiced concern that these could be “interminable”. “The families are not content to
simply wait forever for the inquiry to give a publication date and if Sir John does not impose... a deadline for publication, then we’ll be seeking judicial redress,” Jury told BBC radio. Reg Keys, whose son Tom served in the British army and was killed in Iraq in 2003, said he thought the probe was skewed in favour of establishment figures rather than bereaved families. Chilcot insisted that his probe was making “significant progress” but could not give a timetable for publication. www.pi-media.co.uk
I September 2015
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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Home Affairs committee to consider UK links to executions The Chair of Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee has announced plans to “look again” at the issue of whether UK funding for counternarcotics operations contributes to increased numbers of executions overseas. A statement on the website of Keith Vaz MP responds to concerns raised by human rights organisation Reprieve and reported by The Guardian under the headline ‘Britain’s £13m overseas war on drugs could be helping fund executions.’ The statement says that Mr Vaz “shares the concerns that have been raised about the UK’s financial and operational support for overseas drug operations,” adding that he will “recommend when the Home Affairs Select Committee next meets later in September that they look again” at the issue. It also states that Mr Vaz “will shortly be writing to the Home Secretary to ask her a number of questions on this subject.” Reprieve has previously warned that the UK’s support for counternarcotics operations in countries which impose the death penalty for non-violent drugs offences is leading to increased numbers of death sentences. Britain has provided millions of pounds worth of support to such programmes in Pakistan, which
has executed over 200 people since December 2014. However, ministers have refused to provide a clear answer on what measures, if any, have been taken to ensure that public money does not contribute to the execution of those accused of drugs offences. Reprieve is particularly concerned over the funding provided to Pakistan’s Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), which has listed the number of death sentences secured on its website as an ‘achievement.’ Reprieve has also raised concerns over the widespread use of torture to extract ‘confessions’ by police and security forces in Pakistan – which may result in innocents being sent to the gallows. Commenting, Maya Foa,
Director of the Death Penalty Team at Reprieve said: “Hundreds of vulnerable mules and innocent scapegoats are being executed or languishing on death row in countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is utterly unacceptable that the British government is contributing to this situation, by propping up abusive police forces who openly boast about sentencing people to death. Keith Vaz’s commitment to ‘look again’ at the issue of UK support for executions for drug offences overseas is most welcome. The Home Affairs Committee should now commit to a full inquiry into the lethal consequences of this disastrous policy, and finally bring an end to Britain’s shameful complicity in capital punishment.”
religious initiatives that aim to serve the communities around”. He told Al Jazeera’s Mohammad Amin that the mosque hosts a number of activities that target both Muslims and non-Muslims, adding that “Muslims should have a role in social integration”. The homeless are finding the social security they lack on the streets, Ishiya, a volunteer at the mosque, told Al Jazeera. She said that the organisers are looking to provide better meals, and
with more regularity once they have additional resources. According to the UK government figure, there were almost 28,000 homeless applications recieved in 2015, of which about 13,500 households were accepted as homeless. Each year about 185,000 adults in England report that they experienced homelessness, according to charity group Crisis UK.
London mosque offers help and hot meals to homeless A mosque in London has opened its doors for the city’s homeless, providing the invisible population with hot meals and psychological support once a week. Around 20 people carrying bags and backpacks gathered in Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, amid the presence of social workers available to listen to their worries and hopes. Mohammad Ali, the deputy director of the Mosque, said that the project “is part of several inter-
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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Over 90k sign UK online petition calling for Israeli PM’s arrest
More than 90,000 people have signed a petition on the website of the British Parliament, calling on the government to arrest Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes against Palestinians when he visits London this month. The online petition, which went viral on August 7, demands the apprehension of Israel’s 65-year-old chairman of the Likud party upon arrival in London. The arrest petition is for
Netanyahu’s involvement in the massacre of thousands of Palestinians during the summer 2014 Israeli onslaught against the blockaded Gaza Strip. The petition collected 90,062 signatures so far at the time of going to press. “Under international law, he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the UK for the massacre of over 2,000 civilians in 2014,” the petition says, referring to the Israeli prime minister’s scheduled
September visit. After 10,000 signatures, the British government must respond to the petition, and after 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the parliament. The deadline for signing the petition is February 7, 2016. Meanwhile, the British government has responded by saying, “Under UK and international law, visiting heads of foreign governments, such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, have immunity from legal process, and cannot be arrested or detained.” Israel started its military campaign against Gaza in early July 2014. The offensive ended on August 26, 2014, with a truce that went into effect following indirect negotiations between representatives from Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and the Israeli regime in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, lost their lives in the Israeli attacks. Over 11,100 others were also injured. www.pi-media.co.uk
First Islamic nursery Want to for Scotland opens Advertise call us in Glasgow 07506 466 385
Scotland’s first Islamic nursery opened last month in Glasgow. Little Wonders opened in Govanhill with 28 places available for children aged two to five years old. The Cathcart Road facility promises to educate youngsters with “an Islamic ethos”. The nursery claims it will carry out “activities and play that will help support children to gain an understanding of Islam, as well as developing thier learning at the same time so they are ready for their next journey educationally and spiritually.”
The founder of the new nursery is Zoheeb Iqbal, who also set up the Alfalaah Academy in nearby Calder Street. The move comes two years after the Glasgow Community Education Association (GCEA) bought Abbotsford House, in the Gorbals, with plans to rename the B-listed Victorian building The Islamic Institute. Glasgow’s South Side already has the Qalam Academy, in Pollokshields, run by the independent Islamic Educational Institute.
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India scholars launch ‘Quran for all’ mobile van www.pi-media.co.uk
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Promoting the peaceful message of the Quran across the country, a renowned Indian Muslim scholar has flagged off a new van which offers digital versions of the Muslims’ Holy Book in different languages to people regardless of their faith. “It is incumbent upon every Muslim to reach out to every citizen with the message of Allah as the holy book was not meant exclusively for Muslims alone,” Sartaj Ahmad of Satya Sandesh Foundation (SSF) told Greater Kashmir. The new mobile van was
officially launched by noted Islamic scholar and General Secretary All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani. The state-of-the-art with facility for downloading the Holy Quran in different languages was launched from the premises of Siraj ul Uloom seminary at Nawab Bazar in Shahere-Khaas. The ceremony was attended by a galaxy of Indian Muslim scholars, including Maulana Syed Bilal Hassan Nadvi from Lucknow, Mufti Abdul Rashid, Rector Darul Uloom Bilaliya,
Maulana Syed Arshid Hussain Nadvi, Maulana Sana ullah of HPVT, Mufti Sultan of Siraj ul Uloom, Sartaj Ahmad and Shahid Shameem of SSF and Quran Institute Kanpur and students of different seminaries. “When the True Message Foundation Kashmir came up with a proposal for launching the vehicle jointly, I was reluctant keeping in view the Muslim majority status of the state,” Shahid Shameem, a member of SSF foundation said. “But after coming over here, he saw the community divided and afflicted with schisms which forced him to change his opinion. Hardly any hotel or guest house here has provisions for offering Namaz [prayer] by guests. “They even lack Qibla markings in rooms where as almost all major hotels in and outside the country have facilities for Muslim guests to offer Sallah,” Shameem said. Discussing duties of Muslims towards Qur’an, Maulana Syed Bilal Hassan Nadvi lauded the organisers for launching the vehicle which will move from place-to-place with Islamic scholars on board who will be interacting with people from all faiths including tourists, replying their queries.
US pushes anti-extremism program despite backlash The US government continues to promote a program to counter domestic violent extremism despite complaints that it targets Muslim Americans and is a waste of US taxpayer dollars, an Islamic advocacy group said in a press release. President Barack Obama’s administration has neglected to respond to the Islamic community’s complaints, including the fact that the CVE exclusively targets Muslim Americans and is a waste of public
resources. “The government has decided to prioritize CVE [Countering Violent Extremism], a program proven to be ineffective, with no support from the community it is directed towards, and major civil rights implications,” Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Public Affairs Coordinator Haroon Manjlai said. On July 15, 2015, a US congressional committee approved a proposal to set up a $40-million office
devoted to countering extremism within the Department of Homeland Security. The proposal comes as US officials warn of probable ISILinspired attacks, as well as a rise in right-wing extremism similar to the June 17 killing of nine African Americans by an alleged white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina.
UN envoy banned from meeting Rohingya Muslims 14
The visiting UN special rapporteur on Myanmar has been barred from meeting the country’s longpersecuted Rohingya Muslims. Yanghee Lee was visiting the Southeast Asian nation to assess its human rights situation ahead Myanmar’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for November 8. She complained of serious disruptions marring the trip, including the authorities’ preventing her from visiting the Rakhine state, where the Rohingyas live.
“I am also disappointed that requested meetings and visits were not granted or suddenly changed or cancelled at the last minute without prior notice,” the official noted and said, “This unfortunately hampers my ability to fulfill my mandate.” Lee noted that the Muslims have been told they cannot vote in the polls. “This is an issue that must be seen against the backdrop of institutionalized discrimination against the Muslim population in Rakhine.”
Surge in Islamophobic Incidents in Belgium: Report 185 Islamophobic incidents were reported in Belgium, the CCIB (Belgium’s pro-Islamist group and anti-Islamophobia association) announced in its first annual report. The phenomenon is steadily rising, having shot up by 94 percent since 2011, the association makes clear, basing its comments on figures issued by the CIEC (Belgium’s anti-discrimination and equal opportunities commission), The Brussels Times reported. Last year, the CIEC opened 260 new cases of Islamophobic discrimination and expressions of hatred against Muslims. Among these, 55 were clearly identified as criminal offences or inciting racial hatred, in breach of relevant legislation, the CIEC reported last March. Of the remaining 205, 130 related to Islamophobia, without however constituting a criminal offence, adds the CCIB, which has requested that the CIEC provide further clarification. Le CIEC defines Islamophobia as
“hatred of Islam and Muslims or suspected Muslims,” and not simply the fear of Islam, its website says. In 2014, 185 cases of Islamophobia were reported in Belgium, compared to 95 in 2011, 115 in 2012 and 139 in 2013, pointed out the CCIB. “In Belgium from 2011 to 2013, there were at least two Islamophobic incidents every week, of which at least one was clearly a breach of anti-discrimination legislation. In 2014 there were at least three Islamophobic incidents a week, an average of one every 2 days” highlights the NPO which was set up almost a year ago. Yet “the authorities are not aware of the scale of the phenomenon and its impact on social cohesion and civil liberties,” it believes. The association is calling for governments to officially recognize hatred of Islam as an attack on human rights, to provide accurate figures, and to rule against the ban on headscarves within universities.
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The visit was Lee’s third trip to Myanmar since being appointed to the position by the United Nations. During her last visit in January, comments about the persecution of the Rohingyas occasioned a stinging response from the government, which accused her of bias and infringing on state sovereignty. Rohingya Muslims account for about five percent of Myanmar’s population of nearly 60 million. The Myanmar government has been repeatedly criticized by human rights groups for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslims. According to the UN, the Rohingyas are one of the world’s most persecuted communities. Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims have been killed and wounded in months of increased sectarian violence in Myanmar. Thousands of others have been forced to flee their homes.
New mosque planned in Uzbekistan’s capital
The Uzbek capital city of Tashkent will have a new mosque one year after the inauguration of the city’s Minor Mosque. The new Muslim place of worship will be built in Mirza Oluqbeig district of the capital, AKI press reported. The Muslims Board of Uzbekistan (MBU) has allocated a plot of land in the district for building the mosque. Once completed, it will accommodate up to 2000 worshippers. Islam is the dominant religion in Uzbekistan, as Muslims constitute 90 percent of the population. www.pi-media.co.uk
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Nigeria to Include Islamic studies in curriculum 16
Nigerian Muslims have hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s recommendation of adding Islamic books to public secondary schools’ curriculum, adding that such isolated step would not end what they described as longstanding and systemic decimation against Islamic studies in government-funded schools. “Much as that may be a step in the right direction, there is need for
more action. You would be shocked if you know how many schools don’t have Islamic Studies teachers in Lagos State, for example,” Muslim Teachers Association of Nigeria (MUTAN) told OnIslam.net in an exclusive reaction to Buhari asking federal schools to include two books by a renown late jurist Bashir Sambo in secondary school curriculum. “At times you find only one teacher taking the subject in a
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complex of four schools. “Islamic Religious Studies (IRS) teachers aren’t being recruited. The pool of teachers employed by former Governor Lateef Jakande (1983) are retiring without any replacement. So there’s need for recruitment of teachers of IRS by states,” Muslim Teachers Association added. At an event recently held in northwestern Kano state, President Buhari, a Sunni Muslim, urged public schools to consider including the Islamic studies for secondary schools by the late Justice Sambo in their curriculum. He said such books had become essential in the face of declining moral and religious values in the country. Disu Kamor, executive chairman at the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) Nigeria, said the president’s step represents a powerful step in the right direction for teaching of religious values in public schools but he said this falls short of what is required to bridge the gap already created over the years.
Muslim scholars prepare call for action on climate change Islamic scholars and religious leaders are preparing a call for action on climate change that will say it’s the religious duty of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to fight global warming. The declaration which was made in Istanbul during a two-day meeting in the Turkish city coordinated by three religious-environmental groups, according to Climate Action Network, a network of non-governmental organizations, Bloomberg reported. “Islam teaches us: ‘Man is simply a steward holding whatever is on Earth in trust,’” Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, Uganda’s grand mufti, said in a statement e-mailed by CAN. “Therefore man should ensure that we do everything possible to
protect for this and future generations in order to leave this world a better place than we found it.” A growing list of religious leaders have made interventions on climate change to spell out the moral imperative to reduce manmade greenhouse-gas pollution and prevent the worst effects of climate change. The declaration called for action in madrassas and mosques around the world to emphasize the role Islam can play in combating climate change, according to CAN’s statement. It also called on the richest nations to drastically reduce emissions and help support the
people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising seas, more intense storms and more prolonged droughts. The groups who co-ordinated the symposium in Istanbul were the charities Islamic Relief Worldwide and the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, and GreenFaith, an interfaith coalition of religious groups working to protect the environment.
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New plans to keep a register of students who pray regularly in Sydney schools have drawn sharp criticism from Muslims and civil rights groups, saying the new plans threaten marginalizing the Muslim community as well as denying the student’s “safe spaces” to interrogate their views. “We can’t look away from the fact this is real. I’m not going to say it’s a joke, there is a realness to it. But we need to be very sensible about the way we address it. We can’t generalize and tar everyone with the same brush,” Lakemba MP Jihad Dib told The Guardian Australia. “This audit, potentially, if it just
looks to audit one particular group, then it also seeks to isolate that group [and] even further marginalize them, and that pushes kids further away.” Troubles started after a New South Wales public school has floated plans to keep a register of students who pray together during breaks. On the school’s own initiative, a letter was sent to parents at Marsden High school which cited a “federal government requirement” that a register of attendance be taken during prayer meetings and informal prayer groups. The NSW premier, Mike Baird,
Malaysia plans to set up Quran university Malaysia’s Terengganu State plans to set up a Quran university as there is no such university in the country yet. State Education, Science, Technology and Special Tasks Committee chairman, Ghazali Taib said some of the basics were already there in the state for the setting up of the university. “We already have the Institut Darul Quran (IQ) which is in the process of being upgraded into a university college,” he told Bernama. Ghazali said the idea of setting
up a Quran university in Terengganu came from Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh when he was Terenganu Chief Minister. He said the opportunity was there as suitable locations were available, such as Taman Ilmu in Tembila, Besut, because a large piece of land was needed with adequate infrastructure and facilities to set up the university. He added that he would be meeting Idris soon to further discuss the establishment of the proposed Quran University.
said auditing prayer groups, most of which are run by approved clerics, was an “appropriate step to ensure … extra sensitivity to movement, words [and] actions that we may see that might be appropriate to report and take action against”. Principals have also been issued with a memo outlining their obligations to report extremist behavior. The president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Stephen Blanks, said the prospect of children having to register to practice their religion during school was “thoroughly alarming”. “Of course the department should know what is going on in terms of religious activities within schools,” he said. “But that does not extend to keeping a record of students who attend religious meetings, and must be done in a way that is sensitive to all people’s freedom to practice whatever religion they choose.”
Beirut host World Mosque day
A conference was held in the Lebanese capital of Beirutlast month on the occasion of the World Mosque Day. August 21 marked the anniversary of the 1969 Al-Aqsa Mosque fire set by the Zionists. The day is titled World Mosque Day in remembrance of the event. The Beirut conference aimed at condemning the Zionist regime’s atrocities and its desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque. The event also aimed to express solidarity with the Palestinians living in the holy city of Quds. The al-Quds International Institutes organized the conference.
Texas government official suggests bombing muslims 18
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Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has posted a Facebook photo suggesting bombing of “the Muslim world” with nuclear weapons. The Facebook photo posted shows a mushroom cloud rising up through the air after the explosion of an atomic bomb with a text saying “Japan has been at peace with the US since August 9, 1945. It’s time we made peace with the Muslim world”. On August 6, 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and three days later another atomic bomb on Nagasaki during World War II, killing at least
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129,000 civilians and prompting Japan’s unconditional surrender. Miller’s Facebook photo was removed sometime on Monday morning but it has received more than 300 comments. He is now under harsh criticism but has not apologized for posting the controversial photo. His office has not responded to requests for comment. Texas-Official-Suggests-BombingMuslims-with-Nuclear-Weapons Todd Smith, the Republican’s campaign spokesman, said that, “We’re not going to apologize for the
Romania’s mosque sparks anti-muslim backlash
Plans to construct a new mosque in the Romanian capital of Bucharest have led to anti-Muslim backlash, with many voices opposing the construction of the only place of worship for Muslims in what is deemed as a test of the country’s religious tolerance. “It is my right, as a Romanian citizen, to get land where I can build a place of worship in the capital,” Mufti Murat Iusuf, leader of Romania’s approximately 64,000 Muslims, told the Washington Times. “It also benefits the Romanian state, which can control the religious activity inside. If this project will bring any harm to Romanian citizens, we will withdraw it.” Plans for the Turkey-funded
mosque were revealed last month after Romanian officials signed a deal with the Romanian mufti’s office to build a mosque for 1,000 worshippers, an Islamic library and a community center, on 37,000 square feet of city-owned land in northern Bucharest. The land is being provided for the project for free, with Turkey financing the construction. The government’s support for the mosque has sparked an unexpected anti-Muslim backlash in this formerly communist country. The announcement has stirred intense resentment and unease in a country that was a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor to Turkey, for five centuries until 1800s.
posts that show up on our Facebook page.” Smith said about 18 people have access to the campaign account. “I don’t know who did it, but I’m not going to start a witch hunt to find out who did.” Texas Democrats released a statement condemning Miller’s post. “It is unacceptable for Republican Sid Miller to be promoting such disgusting rhetoric. Sadly, this kind of racist, xenophobic hate speech qualifies you for higher office with Republicans’ Tea Party fringe base,” said Manny Garcia, Texas Democratic Party’s deputy executive director. “We hope Sid Miller shows some respect for Texans and the responsibility of holding state office and issues an apology,” he added. In January, Miller said that he could not sleep at night for the fear of the United States becoming a “Muslim country.” During the Texas Public Policy Foundation forum, he raised the issue, asking, “Are we doing enough?”
Protests in German refugee shelter over desecration of Quran
At least 10 people were injured in protests at a refugee shelter in central Germany over a torn copy of Quran, police said. Protests began after about 20 refugees in the overcrowded shelter went in pursuit of another resident accusing him of ripping pages out of a copy of the Muslim Holy Book, local police said. Police intervention prompted the protesters to turn their anger on the security forces, the Daily Star reported. About 50 people began throwing stones at the officers, leaving at least 10 people injured, including three police.
Bosnians deny youth radicalization claims
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Amid series of media reports spreading misconceptions about Bosnian Muslim youth, young Muslims have denounced claims that their villages have become a hotbed for recruiting ISIL members, asserting that they reject the deviated teachings by the militant group. “It’s the law of the strongest. The media have the right to say whatever they want about us and we cannot do anything about that. They call us terrorists to tarnish the image of Islam,” Edis, a resident of Gornja
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Maoca, told Gulf News in frustration. He then used quotes from the Quran: “Produce your proof if you are truthful. But where is their proof? As soon as the tension goes down in the country, they try to increase it again.” Edis is one of the few residents in the Bosnian village of Gornja Maoca who accepted to speak to media men after losing faith in journalists. His village, like small communities spread across Bosnia, have been at the centre of a string of controversies in the national and international
media, claiming that they serve as recruiting grounds for terrorists. The latest bout came in July 2015, when the British Daily Mirror alleged that Ošve village ‘has been used for Daesh (ISIL) training camps and could be a base for devastating terror attacks on the West.’ “We think Daesh has deviated from mainstream Islam,” he says in a mixture of Arabic, Bosnian and English. “There are hundreds of isolated villages like Maoca in Bosnia, there is nothing special about us, really,” another Gornja Maoca resident who wished to remain unanimous revealed. The claim was also denied in 2014 by the Mufti of Sarajevo at the entrance of Sarajevo’s 15th century bazaar. “The issue of radicalism in Bosnia is often blown out of proportion and used for political purposes to portray Bosnia as a threat to Europe and a breeding ground for terrorism,” he said. “They make a very limited phenomenon appear much bigger than it actually is,” he said.
Slovakia bans muslim migrants from entering the country Slovakia says it will only accept Christians when it takes in Syrian refugees under an EU relocation scheme. The country is due to receive 200 people from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece under the EU plan to resettle 40,000 new arrivals. Slovakia’s interior ministry has said it will turn away Muslims because they will struggle to fit in if they have nowhere to worship, British Daily Express reported. Spokesperson Ivan Metik said:
“We could take 800 Muslims but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?” On the other hand, EU officials hit back at the Slovakian plans and one source revealed that they could be open to legal challenges. A European Commission spokesman said: “We act here in the spirit of the treaty, which prevents any form of discrimination.” EU Commission spokeswoman Annika Breithard said she could
not comment directly on the Slovak statement, but stressed that EU states were banned from any form of discrimination. Meanwhile Babar Baloch, Central Europe spokesman for the UNHCR, said: “Resettlement is greatly needed for many refugees who are at extreme risk among the world’s most vulnerable groups. “We encourage governments to take an inclusive approach while considering refugees for resettlement and should not base their selection on discrimination.”
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DAMAGE TO PROPERTY
West Yorkshire Police now recognise that some victims of hate crime are targeted because of their religion ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY FORM OF HATE DIRECTED AT YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR RELIGION, REPORT IT TO THE POLICE, IMMEDIATELY. TELL THEM IT’S AN ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIME WHEN YOU CALL.
DON’T ALLOW HATE TO WIN
REPORT IT TO THE POLICE
If you experience any form of Islamophobia, report it to the police. It is crucial that you report any kind of hate, whether it is physical, damage to property, graffiti or verbal abuse.
of British Muslims surveyed by the British Crime Survey had experienced Islamophobia.
IN AN EMERGENCY CALL: 999
HATE CRIME HELPLINE: �
Where can I find out more? Email: email@example.com or Call (0113) 2773330
MCSF MUSLIM COMMUNITY
SAFETY FORUM (Serving West Yorkshire)
Building Bridges is a project developed by the Hamara Centre (www.hamara.org.uk), funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (www.jrct.org.uk) to address Islamophobia across Leeds.
Muslims complain over Columbus police hijab ban www.pi-media.co.uk
I September 2015
A leading US Muslim advocacy group has filed a complaint over the Columbus Police Division’s refusal to allow women officers to wear hijab, calling the decision a discriminatory one. “CAIR-Ohio brings this complaint to end the discriminatory ban on the hiring of Muslim women who wear a religious headscarf by Columbus Division of Police,” Romin Iqbal, a Staff Attorney in the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, wrote in a complaint filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and cited in a statement sent to OnIslam.net. “The ban by Columbus Division of Police on hiring Muslim women who wear their religiously mandated headscarf discriminates against religious Muslim women who want to join the Columbus police force, and is a violation of Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code under which employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation for sincerely held religious belief of employees and prospective employees.” The complaint followed a decision in which the Columbus police department refused to hire Muslim women officers who wear hijab. CAIR-Ohio filed the complaint after Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman recently told the Columbus
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Dispatch that he supports the hijab ban. “When officers go out into the community, they should be identified as Columbus police officers, not Muslim police officers, not Christian police officers, not Jewish police officers, not Hindus, Baptists or anything else,” Coleman told The Columbus Dispatch. Police Chief Kim Jacobs was quoted warning against hijab-wearing officers “turning anyone off” and stating, “If it’s a head scarf next week, it might be a burqa the next week.”
In March, 2015 a Muslim American woman recruit at the Columbus Police Academy was forced to drop out after that Columbus Police refused to grant her a religious accommodation for her hijab. The Dispatch wrote a story in April about Ismahan Isse, a SomaliAmerican woman who left the police academy in March because of the head-scarf ban. Isse has said she would like to return to the academy but her head covering is an important part of her religion and identity.
US man convicted of plotting to kill Muslims A New York man was convicted of plotting to kill Muslims with a mobile X-ray device by a jury that rejected his lawyer’s argument that he was entrapped by the FBI. Jurors deliberated for two hours before finding Glendon Scott Crawford guilty of attempting to produce a deadly radiological device, conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and distributing information about weapons of mass destruction. Crawford, an industrial mechanic at General Electric in Schenectady, could face 25 years to life in prison.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 15 at the federal court in Albany. Defense attorney Kevin Luibrand said they will file a notice of appeal after the sentencing. “They had 60 hours of undercover materials, which made it very difficult to mount an effective defense,” he said. The 51-year-old Crawford has been jailed since his arrest two years ago. Investigators began tracking Crawford in 2012 after he approached two local Jewish groups with his technological idea for how
they could defeat their enemies. They also learned Crawford sought support for the device in 2013 from a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard in North Carolina, who was an FBI informant. That was something the agents and undercover investigators didn’t initially know about, he said. According to the prosecutor, Crawford’s tireless pursuit of the plan drove the investigation. The evidence showed he was “cold, calculated” and “committed.” He was not “cartoonish” or “a goofy simpleton,” as the defense suggested, the prosecutor said.
Czech clubs fined for fans’ anti-Islam banners 22I
Two clubs in the top Czech division have been fined by the country’s football federation for anti-Islam messages held up by their fans. The federation’s disciplinary
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committee said in a statement it fined champion Viktoria Plzen and Jablonec 100,000 koruna ($4,110) each, ESPN FS reported. In a match against Bohemians
Pakistan tour dates to UK unveiled The England and Wales Cricket Board has called for fans to replicate their fervent Ashes support next summer after announcing the 2016 international schedule. The England side begin with Sri Lanka’s Test trip to Headingley on May 19 and end with a Natwest T20 against Pakistan on September 7. England supporters were in fine voice throughout the summer, frequently earning praise from captain Alastair Cook for helping the side get on top of Australia. The Lions sealed a series win at the Yorkshire venue in 2014 and return on May 19 after threeday warm-ups at Essex and Leicestershire. Sri Lanka then head north to Emirates Durham before rounding up the three-match Investec series at Lord’s. The subsequent Royal London one-day games take place between June 21 and July 2, with day/nighters at Trent Bridge, Edgbaston and the
Kia Oval, early starts at Bristol and Cardiff and a tour-ending T20 at the Ageas Bowl. Pakistan touch down on June 29 and their first Lord’s Test since the spot-fixing controversy of 2010 begins on July 14 following tour matches at Somerset and Sussex. They will also play Tests at Emirates Old Trafford, Edgbaston and the Kia Oval. The international campaign concludes with five more ODIs between August 24 and September 4 and a T20 in Manchester three days later. There may be some disappointment that England will not play a Test at Trent Bridge following their Stuart Broad-inspired Asheswinning display this year, but that decision was in four years ago. That is when the ECB’s Major Match Group determined the split of games between 2012 and 2016, and it has subsequently been awarded fixtures for the 2017-19 period.
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Prague 1905, Jablonec fans unveiled a huge poster with a female figure called “Europe” kicking a pig wearing a turban. Police also have been investigating the case. Plzen fans displayed a similar anti-Islam poster in a match against Slavia Prague. The Czech Republic, which has a population of more than 10 million people, is home to around 15,000 Muslims. In 2004, Prague acknowledged Islam as an official religion, giving Muslims rights on equal footing to Christians and Jews.
RFL launch probe into racist behaviour
The RFL have begun an investigation into alleged racist behaviour by fans during Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ home game against Bradford Bulls last month. Wildcats had already launched their own probe following claims of disorder among spectators. An RFL spokesman confirmed an investigation has begun into alleged offensive chanting by some fans. The club had earlier issued a statement saying they were working with the police, RFL and steward supplier Radius to get to the bottom of what happened on the terraces. Wildcats chairman Michael Carter said the club will cooperate fully with the RFL’s inquiry and he stressed offensive behaviour will not be tolerated. “If we do find instances of fans having been guilty of disorder, they will be banned,” Carter said. “We are not having it.” Carter said the allegations relate to a small number of fans and he added: “The overwhelming majority of both sets of supporters mixed freely on the day and created an excellent atmosphere.”
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Palestine activists to protest at Israel v Wales EU qualifier Pro-Palestine activists say they have organized a protest against Tel Aviv during an EU soccer qualifier between Israel and Wales. The match is to be held at Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday, September 6. Labour Party leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn is one of the high-profile figures expected to take part in the protest. The protest has been organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. It is mainly aimed at raising awareness of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian footballers as well as Tel Aviv’s atrocities against the Palestinian people. The Israeli regime is accused of treating Palestinians as second-class citizens, denying them basic rights such as freedom of movement. A London-based political commentator believes Israel has already been a loser in the court of public opinion. “Since the (Israeli) onslaught on Gaza last summer, I think public opinion has become more aware of the atrocities committed by Israel. I think social media and internet have played a major role in raising
awareness of this issue because of course the mainstream media simply doesn’t deliver the information. But now obviously, the Western public opinion is made aware of the suffering of the Palestinians,” Hafsa Kara-Mustafa told Press TV’s. The planned protest comes against the backdrop of a petition launched by British activists who call for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his planned September visit to London. The petition has already been gaining ground with the number of petitioners calling for Netanyahu’s arrest has now almost reached the
80,000 mark. It was launched earlier this month and was posted on the government’s website. Activists say under international law, Netanyahu must be arrested for war crimes against Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip last year. They want the British government to arrest Netanyahu upon arrival in the UK for an official visit next month. The British government says certain officials have legal immunity and cannot be arrested or detained. However, if the number of signatories reaches 100,000, a parliament debate must be opened.
Chelsea football fans attack Muslim woman
A female Muslim was physically and verbally attacked after a football game in Wembley. A female Muslim was the victim of an assault that took place against her after an Arsenal and Chelsea game at Wembley. The mother was sitting at a bus-stop in Wembley Central accompanied by her 16 year old and 7 year old daughters. At one point,
Chelsea fans walked by her and then assaulted her with what she believed was an umbrella or a football flag that had been rolled up. She was hit with the item and she stood up shouting as to why she was being assaulted. The assault stopped and another Chelsea fan responded by swearing at her and he then verbally abused the women, shouting that she was
‘bomber’. The fans walked off leaving the mother in pain and with her daughters in significant distress. The assault was severe enough for the Muslim female to have to take pain-killers. Police are working with the woman to investigate those responsible. The story was also shared with Muslim complaint service who will take up the complain with Chelsea.
History and origin of Eid-ul-Adha
Two of the most important Islamic holidays of the year are Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ulAdha. While the former marks the end of the long fasting month of Ramadan, Eid-ulAdha marks the end of Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city Mecca. It’s customary for every able Muslim (as prescribed in the Five Pillars of Islam) to go on a Hajj at least once during his lifetime. Also popularly known as the Festival of Sacrifice, this Muslim holiday Eid-ul-Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham’s unselfish act of sacrificing his own son Ishmael to the One God, Allah. The history behind Eid-ul-
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Adha follows the story of the faithful Abraham, who was instructed by Allah in a dream to raise the foundations of Kaaba, a black stone, the most sacred Muslim shrine in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), which the Muslims face during their prayers (salat). Immediately responding to the Lord’s call, Abraham set off for Mecca along with his wife and son, Ishmael. At that time, Mecca was a desolate and barren desert and Abraham had to face a lot of hardships. However, he supplicated Allah’s commands uncomplaining. In a divine dream, he also saw himself sacrificing his
son Ishmael for Allah’s sake. When he told this to Ishmael, the latter immediately asked his father to carry out Lord’s commands without faltering and assured that he was completely ready to give up his life for God. But miraculously enough, when Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, Allah spared the boy’s life and replaced him with a lamb. And this is what Abraham ultimately sacrificed. To commemorate this outstanding act of sacrifice (qurbani) by Prophet Abraham, people sacrifice a lamb, goat, ram or any other animal on Eid-ul-Adha and give the meat
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to friends, neighbors, relatives and the needy. People who are away from the holy pilgrimage, Hajj, also carry out this traditional sacrifice. Hence Eidul-Adha is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice or the Day of Sacrifice. Eid-ul-Adha begins from the 10th day of the 12th Islamic month Dhul-Hijjah. But the date of Eid-ul-Adha depends on the visibility of the moon each year. Eid-ul-Adha is known by different names in different parts of the world. For instance, Eid-ul-Adha is known by the name Hari Raya Aidiladha in south-east Asia. In Singapore, the local name for Eid-ul-Adha is Hari Raya Haji and in Malaysia, people refer to this festival as Id al-Adha and has made it a national holiday there. Indians know Eid-ul-Adha as Id al-Adha or Idu’z Zuha. And in Bangladesh, Eid-ul-Adha is known as Eidul-Azha or sometimes even Id al-Adha. But whatever the name, the celebratory spirit of Eid-ul-Adha runs high among Muslims all over the world, the geographical variations notwithstanding. What does Eid al-Adha commemorate? During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham. The Qur’an describes Abraham as follows: “Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the
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righteous.” (Qur’an 16:120-121) One of Abraham’s main trials was to face the command of Allah to kill his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah’s will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his “sacrifice” had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all others that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God. Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day? During the celebration of Eid alAdha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith. Allah has given us power over animals and allowed us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life. Muslims slaughter animals in the same way throughout the year. By saying the name of Allah at the time of slaughter, we are reminded that life is sacred. The meat from the sacrifice of Eid al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of
our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others. It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations: “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37) The symbolism is in the attitude - a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Each of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us. A true Muslim, one who submits his or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us. What else do Muslims do to celebrate the holiday? On the first morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Prayers are followed by visits with family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter.
Finding the One!
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As a pretend statistician, I’ll say it’s statistically proven that females are more prone to being caught up in idealistic romantic notions of love especially since we tend to be more emotional beings and brainwashed by fairytales of damsel’s in distress and the knight in shining armour hype. Naturally, as a young girl, I had far too many self-edited fairytale re-runs constantly playing in my head. My excitement was always in anticipation of when my prince would romantically woo me, with me being obviously unaware, just as it was in those fables. Truth be told, I was always aware that those fables were indeed far from reality, so nothing surprised me and every person seemed fairly predictable. But even so, I hoped for a miracle - someone original to sweep me off my feet. And then I was approached…I was given the longest love letter, ever. I was flattered that Someone had taken the time to write to me and was most definitely intrigued. But - I didn’t really know Him. So I thought, at least let me, hear Him out, after all, there was a great amount of effort put into this letter. In all honesty, it was quite entertaining. The letter reflected warmth, beauty, bravery, it was so inspiring. It was like a dream sometimes where good battled and won over evil. There were heroes overcoming their weaknesses, there were love stories (my favourite) and other stuff, but really, the whole thing was about me. I knew this because my name was written all over the place. I was totally in tuned with the Author and was taken aback at how He knew so much about me. Everyday I got presents from Him too. Now, I’m not the type to get bought over, but these gifts were too nice to return to sender, if you know
what I mean. So, I’d read portions of His letter everyday...and to be honest, gifts aside, He really started growing on me and the more I’d read His letter, the more attached I became to Him. Even though I didn’t meet Him yet, I really started to like Him. The more I read, the more love I felt . He seemed to tick all the right boxes; He was knowledgeable, spoke about every topic relevant from animals to society and its challenges. He always made me feel so special by making reference to me, all the time. He would go on and on about how He would do anything for me… I just had to ask. So that was nice. He got me thinking. I mean this was it. It’s the moment we wait for our whole lives. The magic moment that reroutes your future in a simple decision. But as my eyes got bigger, I’d keep reading things in this letter, that I wasn’t sure I was ready to hear. There was a commitment, yes indeed a BIG one! I was at a crossroad. Take Him or wait for someone else. The decision, however, was clear and there was no real choice to be made. It was more like a one way street than a crossroad. He promised to listen to me, when everyone failed to understand me. He’d appreciate my humour, understand my emotions and my demeanour. He promised to never break His promises. Could I really believe Him? He said this whole world and everything in it was nothing compared to me. His words kept on taking my breath away. He seemed so perfect and I felt so honoured and fortunate. I realised I found the One! As the letter began to conclude, He then beautifully and eloquently said… “Qul huwa laahu Ahad” (Say: He is Almighty, the One.) (Quraan 112:1)
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This love letter was the Qur’aan, obviously, and the perfect One indeed is. ..Almighty, THE GREAT. You see, before I wrongly assumed this craving for love and understanding needed feeding from a human. And while being fully aware of humans and their flaws and predictabilities, I never saw the One who was always there. I realised it was Almighty that was always will be my first and true love. The point is that we all have this insatiable gap that needs feeding and we’re always craving to feel complete. It’s an unsettling feeling knowing something’s missing. And until we begin to realise that it can only be filled with accepting Almighty’s love, we’ll forever be searching for temporary fixes that promise no certainty. Without any judgement, it’s understandable in our modern life age to blindly hunt for short-lived reliefs to numb the nagging aching in our chests – after all, we’ve been coached since young to seek out quick fixes. But it’s no reason to your life’s betterment to insist on this sort of addictive cycle. We don’t have to wait until we all eventually reach the moment of ‘Heeeelp! My cup runneth over!’. It’d be a good idea to nicely sit your sub-conscious down for a no-nonsense one-on-one family meeting, and make it realise that so long as it goes on autopilot in search of completion in anything or anyone outside of yourself, it and you will always feel unfulfilled and super sucky. Being consistently strong in a new way of thinking, trains your sub-conscious to new automatic patterns. Look for permanent freedom - not temporary relief peeps. Another point to note is to avoid placing the unrealistic expectation of finding perfection in a partner. Everything we’ve been conditioned to look for in a spouse, is in Almighty in perfection, so rely on Him alone to see to your needs, and share your joys with your spouse. Almighty is indeed the Only True Love, He is First and Last, His Love is a beginning without an end, His promises are all true, all we need to do is Love Him and love for His Sake and when every other Love dims the Love of Almighty will still shine bright! By Sister Taaiebah Ebrahim
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