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September 2016

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I COMMENT

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www.pi-media.co.uk I September 2016

By Islamic Human Rights Commission

French ‘Gitmo’ would undermine the rights and freedoms of all

The proposal is also another worrying indication of the knee-jerk lurch to the right in France The creation of a Guantanamo Bay style detention facility to house French terrorism suspects is a retrograde step whose very thought should strike fear and horror into citizens. The idea, mooted by George Fenech, a Republican MP and the chairman of the French parliamentary investigative commission on

terrorism, to ‘incarcerate radicalised people’ flies in the face of all civilised norms. The failure of the American Guantanamo to achieve any positive results and only serve to oppress often innocent people by bypassing due process should be a stark lesson about the dangers of such draconian policies. In the years since its establishment in 2002 Guantanamo has become a byword for state-

sanctioned abuse and if anything has fuelled political grievances against the west. The proposal is also another worrying indication of the knee-jerk lurch to the right in France following a recent spate of terrorist attacks claimed by or in sympathy with IS. History has shown that the abdication of civil rights and liberties under the pretext of security usually ends up curtailing the freedoms of all people.

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UK ups funding for nuclear security www.pi-media.co.uk

I September 2016

The UK government is allocating additional funding to protect the country’s nuclear power plants against potential terror attacks, according to a report. The money being spent on the armed police force tasked to protect 14 nuclear power stations in Britain has almost tripled since the July 7, 2005 bombings in London which killed 52 people and injured over 700, The Independent reported. The funding going to the nuclear authority has increased by 55 percent since 2010. The government increased the budget of the force, which consists of more than “1,000 highly trained” officers, at a time when other forces have experienced drastic cuts. The specialist service, which also guards the transportation of nuclear

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matter that could potentially be weaponized, saw a six-percent rise in its funding in the last year alone. The force includes firearms experts, dog handlers, marine and road escort teams and is administered by the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA). “There was a capability and capacity uplift in response to security assessments undertaken by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, the Site Licence Companies who operate civil nuclear sites and other government agencies, as well as a government reassessment of risk and postulated threats to civil nuclear sites,” read a statement from the CNPA. The official terror threat level for the UK’s power plants is currently at “severe,” which means such an

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attack is highly likely. However, officials insist that the steady increase in funding is not in response to a specific threat. Earlier this year, the ONR, which holds sway over nuclear security, warned of the increasing threat of attacks on British operational reactors. Meanwhile, the UK government is considering signing a deal with China to construct a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

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Govt secrecy in renditions prosecution challenged 4

I UK NEWS

The UK government’s refusal to answer questions about political interference in a decision not to bring charges over British complicity in renditions has been challenged by international human rights group Reprieve. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in June 2016 that it would not bring any charges in Operation Lydd, a police investigation into the UK Government’s role in the 2004 kidnap and rendition to torture of two families, including a pregnant woman and children aged 6 to 12. This was despite finding that a senior British intelligence official was involved in the operation and had – to a limited extent – sought political approval for it. The CPS took two years to consider the original police investigation which produced a 28,000 page file. Now Britain’s Information Commissioner will review the

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government’s refusal of a freedom of information request about possible political interference in the CPS investigation. Reprieve asked if the Cabinet Office contacted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about Operation Lydd. The Cabinet Office, which coordinates intelligence, refused to confirm or deny if it had discussed Operation Lydd with the CPS. By contrast, the Foreign Office was able to deny having had any meetings with the

I September 2016

CPS. The Cabinet Office’s defensive answer raised suspicions of possible political interference. Therefore, Reprieve wrote to the Information Commissioner asking her to review the Cabinet Office’s response. The al-Saadi and Belhaj families were kidnapped, forced onto planes and flown to Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya in a joint MI6-CIA operation in March 2004. Sami al Saadi and AbdulHakim Belhaj were both prominent Gaddafi opponents who had been living with their families in exile, and suffered years of torture after their forcible return. The UK Government has never denied its role in the operation, but has also refused to either acknowledge it or apologize to the families who were kidnapped.


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I September 2016

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Manchester travel firm ordered to pay £34,000 to Hajj pilgrims

Tameside Council Trading standards took action against Ashton Hajj and Umra Ltd – which traded as Ashton Travel – after receiving over 40 complaints about the firm, which based in Oldham Road, Ashton Under Lyne. Customers – many using their life savings – had paid thousands of pounds to travel on a Hajj Pilgrimage, only to be told days before they were due to depart that they had not been allocated a Visa and they were unable to travel. Over 230 people are known to have been affected although more victims could yet come forward. Ashton Hajj and Umra Limited

pleaded guilty at Minshull Street Crown Court to trading with a lack of professional diligence. The court fined the company £6700 with £5000 costs and ordered it to pay £34,300 in compensation. Pilgrims were not told by the company that there was a possibility that they may not be able to obtain Visas. It is estimated that the pilgrims involved in this case lost in excess of £600000 - although this figure may increase, depending if there are more victims yet to come forward. All of the victims had paid cash which had been forwarded to airlines and hotels in Saudi Arabia.

In sentencing, his Honour Judge Lever said “an aggravating feature of the offence was that the defendants had been issued with a written warning in 2012 and so were on formal notice as to the catastrophe and loss caused to the general public by not putting customers in the picture.” The convictions follow a complex and comprehensive two-year investigation by Tameside Business Compliance Trading Standards. Tameside Council Executive Member Cllr Allison Gwynne, who is responsible for public protection, said: “The financial and emotional consequences for Pilgrims were huge as all Muslims are required to make this trip once in their lifetime. Many of the victims had used their life savings to cover the costs. “They had put their faith in the company to act professionally and make all the necessary arrangements – only to be told days before they were due to go that they could not travel. “Our officers worked hard to investigate the company and take robust action against its unfair trading practices so that victims could seek recompense. “Anybody who feels that they have been the victim of an unfair trading practice by a Hajj Travel Agent should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or their local Trading Standards Department.” www.pi-media.co.uk

Birmingham mosque’s food bank for the homeless A soup kitchen that was installed temporarily over the the 2015 Christmas and New Year season has now become a permanent installation at Birmingham Mosque in the UK. Birmingham has one of the worst rates for homelessness in the country with an estimated 2,500 people either homeless or living in temporary accommodation. It took £2,000 and 15 volunteers to run

the soup kitchen during the holiday week, when most charities and foundations were closed. Sponsorship from a local chartiy, the Anzal Begum Foundation, the mosque has now acquired a permanent Port-a-Cabin from which they can run a soup kitchen all year round. After Christmas, the Birminghambased foundation, set up by Begum’s family in the memory of her

visionary local activism alleviating poverty, got in touch to ask how they could help. The mosque committee decided they needed a unit for storing food products and a place where people would feel comfortable, and hit on the idea of a Port-A-Cabin in the grounds. The permanent goods and food bank was officially opened on Thursday with a ribbon cutting from Lord Mayor Carl Rice.


Girl, 5, Latest Prevent Victim 8

I UK NEWS

EXCLUSIVE

Continued from front page

A mum from a West Yorkshire mill town was left shocked and bewildered after discovering that her 5 year old daughter was questioned by Prevent officers. The mother speaking on anonymity told PI magazine, “I was horrified when my daughter told me what had happened at school that two people, one male and one female started asking her questions” “I asked my daughter what were they asking, she said they wanted to know did I pray at home and did my mum and dad pray and I should not listen to my parents and should not believe in Allah’’. The mum said she lives an austere life with her husband and cannot believe why someone would put her daughter under the spotlight. She said she has been visited by Prevent Officers and they were concerned about friends on her Facebook account who she is not very familiar with but who tag her in posts made on the social media platform. The Facebook account the mum claims is primarily used for business and friend requests have been accepted on the basis that these individuals are potential customers. The above account along with others is symptomatic of the war that has been declared on the Muslim community since the inception of Prevent in 2005. Prevent has to all intents and purposes has been described as toxic by academics, journalists and some politicians in recent times and indeed in essence become a dirty word. Prevent was set up under the last Labour government headed by the then former Prime Minister Tony Blair

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in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings that rocked London. The Prevent policy under former Communities Secretary Hazel Blears initially set out to address the problems posed by radicalisation, extremism and terrorism on home and foreign soil. However, in recent times, the Prevent policy in reality has been radically transformed and evolved into a mass surveillance programme focussing on every minute aspect of the lives of individuals belonging to the Muslim community. PI Investigative team has been contacted by a number of whistleblowers in West Yorkshire in recent days claiming that ethnic minority and Muslim employees working for local authorities across the region have been monitoring prominent individuals in the Muslim community at the behest of senior council officials through a variety of means. These employees have been asked to gather intelligence on individuals through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp in return for enhanced job security which is quite poignant especially in light of the deep cuts that local authorities have faced year on year since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. The level of detailed scrutiny applied at the Muslim community in recent times has left many Muslims feeling anxious and bewildered at the prospect of being viewed as the ‘enemy’ or the ‘fifth column’ in many quarters in the UK. Most Muslims are deeply religious and conservative and consider themselves as law abiding individuals who want the best for themselves and their families. Indeed, there is no anecdotal evidence to suggest that most Muslims condone or support extreme jihadist ideologies promoted by groups such as IS or even AlQaeda.

I September 2016

Prevent has become a toxic policy namely due to its failure to engage with the entire Muslim community. The practitioners of this maligned policy have marginalised and demonised the vast majority of Muslims through its policy of targeting Muslims in respect of the way they practice the Islamic faith. The incubators that fuel radicalisation, extremism and terrorism will be not extinguished without winning the hearts and minds of British Muslims. In recent days, the Home Affairs Select Committee has suggested that Prevent should undergo a makeover and proposed that it be replaced by the term ENGAGE. However, critics have pointed out that a cosmetic makeover will not result in facilitating meaningful progress in combating the triple entente namely, radicalisation, terrorism and extremism. The HASC has scored an own goal by being fixated with superficial change and have failed to propose, deliver and implement radical change that will consign Prevent to the dustbin of history. One will argue that the Prevent policy that is allegedly combating extremism and terrorism is not working and should be scrapped immediately and replaced by a programme that engages in a positive manner with the British Muslim community. The government also needs to engage with credible voices within the Muslim diaspora and not be swayed by those groups and individuals whose primary aim is facilitating personal financial enrichment through the medium of peddling deceit about the problems facing Muslims in the UK. Nevertheless, all Muslims agree that they have and are willing to play a positive role in British society and at the same time fight the scourge of extremism and terrorism affecting societies at home and abroad.


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UK unveils plans to tackle “extremism” in prisons www.pi-media.co.uk

The UK government unveiled plans to tackle extremism in prisons, including banning offensive literature and removing inmates from worship if they promote beliefs deemed against “fundamental British values”. The justice ministry said extremism in prisons was a growing threat which needed to be treated as an “urgent priority”. “For the highest risk terrorists

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and radicalisers, the government will use all the measures at its disposal, including separation from the mainstream prison population, to contain their risk and prevent the spread of poisonous ideologies. “Extremists cannot be allowed to prey on the vulnerable,” the ministry said in a response accompanying the review on extremism in prisons. New measures to be brought

in include greater vetting of prison chaplains and tighter controls on worship. A total of eight measures will be introduced, including a review of staff training and the removal of literature considered extremist and offensive. The government said it had additionally created a new department -- the Security, Order and Counter Terrorism Directorate -which will be in charge of developing the plan to counter extremism in prisons. The new plans follow a review commissioned by the former justice minister, Michael Gove, which saw a team visit more than 60 prisons in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Spain. Gove’s successor, Elizabeth Truss, threw her support behind the overhaul. In their review, researchers said some prison imams faced intimidation , while inmates were confronted with “aggressive encouragement” to convert to Islam.

British lawyers call on Egypt to release tortured Irish student An eminent group of British lawyers has called on Egypt’s government to release an Irish student who faces the death penalty in a mass trial. In a report published today, the Bar Human Rights Committee called for “the immediate transfer” of 20-year old Ibrahim Halawa to his home country, Ireland, and said that Egypt’s treatment of him “constitutes a serious breach of international law.” Ibrahim, a student from Dublin, was among hundreds of people arrested three years ago today in Cairo, as the Egyptian army broke up protests. He faces the death penalty in a mass trial with 493 others, and is being tried in an adult court despite having 17 at the time of his arrest. The proceedings have been repeatedly postponed over three years, during which time Ibrahim has

reported frequent torture. In their report, the BHRC members say they are “gravely concerned” at Egypt’s treatment of Ibrahim. Kirsty Brimelow, QC, chairwoman of the Committee, said that “each of the individual aspects of Ibrahim Halawa’s case” involved a breach of international law by Egypt. She said: “He has been subjected to several years of pre-trial detention, violently assaulted by the Egyptian police and denied access to a lawyer or a fair trial”, and added: “During part of this period, Mr Halawa was a child. [His] urgent release is required.” International law places strict limits on pre-trial detention. However, the trial of the 494 has been postponed 14 times – most recently on 29 June. At that hearing, the judge

postponed the proceedings until 2 October 2016, and indicated that he now plans to consider video evidence for the first time. The video evidence has been available since the start of the trial in September 2013. Egypt’s system of mass trials has seen thousands of death sentences handed down to protestors, journalists and opposition activists since 2013, and has been condemned by the UN, the US and UK, and Egyptian rights groups. UK Foreign Office said that its “growing concern” over the human rights situation in Egypt had led to a “step-change” in its approach to the country. Ministers said they had recently urged the UN Human Rights Council to pay close attention to Egypt.


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I September 2016

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UK should continue collecting bulk data: Government review

Britain’s spy agencies should continue using surveillance powers to collect large amounts of data from emails, the UK government’s reviewer of terror legislation says. The report, which was published by terror laws watchdog David Anderson QC, assesses the operational case for four of the powers in the Investigatory Powers (IP) Bill currently going through Parliament. MI5, MI6 and GCHQ use bulk capabilities, including bulk

interception, bulk acquisition, bulk equipment interference and bulk personal datasets. The capabilities have a “clear operational purpose,” said Anderson, who serves as the government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. He said that bulk powers “play an important part in identifying, understanding and averting threats in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and further afield.” British Prime Minister Theresa

May, who ordered the review when she was home secretary, welcomed the findings, claiming that the report showed how the powers are of “crucial importance.” “These powers often provide the only means by which our agencies are able to protect the British public from the most serious threats that we face. It is vital that we retain them, while ensuring their use is subject to robust safeguards and world-leading oversight which are enshrined in the IP Bill,” May said in a statement. Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham also welcomed the review, calling on May to “accept the report in its entirety and deliver on the separate concessions extracted by Labour in” the House of Commons. Meanwhile, Joanna Cherry, a British MP, criticized the report and said that Britain was already collecting bulk data without any justifiable reason. “We shouldn’t be too congratulatory of the (IP) bill as we have now gone further than any other Western democracy.”

Politicians in the United Kingdom helped fuel a sharp spike in hate crimes against minority groups in the weeks before and after the Brexit vote on June 23, a UN body says. “Divisive” and “anti-immigrant” rhetoric by UK politicians during the EU referendum resulted in the outbreak of xenophobia and intimidation against ethnic minorities, said the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in its latest report. “Many politicians and prominent political figures not only failed to condemn it but also created and entrenched prejudices, thereby emboldening individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate towards ethnic or ethno-religious minority

communities and people who are visibly different,” the report said. UK police saw an increase of 42 percent in hate crime claims in the weeks before and after the polling day, with some 3,198 filed between June 16 and 30. Last month, 6,193 hate crimes and incidents were reported to police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from mid-June to mid-July. “The committee remains concerned that despite the recent increase in the reporting of hate crimes, the problem of underreporting persists, and the gap between reported cases and successful prosecution remains significant,” the CERD report said. “As a result, a large number of racist hate crimes seem to go

unpunished,” it added. David Isaac, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, confirmed the report, saying, “We support the UN’s recommendations for effective investigation and prosecution of all acts of racist hate crime and wide-ranging action better to deter and punish perpetrators.” Muslims living in Britain have also suffered an increase in hate crimes amid Brexit. According to statistics by Metropolitan Police, Muslims in London faced a 70-percent increase in Islamophobic attacks in one year. In the June 23 referendum, about 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU, while roughly 48 percent of the people voted to stay.

UK politicians fuelled rise in hate crimes - UN


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I September 2016

Muslim women, the most economically disadvantaged

A new report has found that Muslim women are the most economically disadvantaged group in Britain, blighted by the highest level of unemployment compared to other religious and ethnic groups in the country. Muslims, who make up 4.8% of the population of England and Wales, are more than two times likely to be unemployed compared to the general population. Women

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make up 65% of economic inactive Muslims, compared to 59% across all religions, says the report released by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee, a cross-party group of British lawmakers. The report also found that traditional family practices affected Muslim women’s job prospects; 44% of all economically inactive Muslim women were not in work because they were looking after the home,

compared to a national average of 16%. The report says Muslim women looking for work or in employment also face a “triple penalty” of being a woman, part of an ethnic minority and being Muslim. It said Muslim women suffered the “impact of Islamophobia” on women’s job prospects, facing discrimination due to their beliefs, culture or clothing. “We heard evidence that stereotypical views of Muslim women can act as a barrier to work,” the Committee Chair and Conservative Member of Parliament Maria Miller said in a statement. “The data suggests that in communities these patterns are shifting across generations but we remain concerned that this shift is happening too slowly and that not all Muslim women are being treated equally.” The committee called on the government to roll out a plan to tackle these inequalities by the end of 2016. They also called for “nameblind recruitment” for all employers, following studies that suggest people with white-sounding names are more likely to get interviews.

7,000 anti-Islam messages posted on Twitter in July

Nearly 7,000 Islamophobic tweets were posted in English every day in the month of July in response to terrorist attacks and the failed coup attempt in Turkey, research has found. The Centre for the Analysis for Social Media at London-based think-tank Demos said there were “significant spikes in the use of antiIslamic language on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of news events, particularly terrorist attacks.” In a report published last month, Demos said nearly a quarter of a

million English-language tweets were sent from around the world in July, an average of 6,943 per day. “This is the highest monthly average since measurements began at the end of February,” the report said. “However, the rate of anti-Islamic activity on Twitter significantly changed over the month. Twitter is, in general, a real-time, reactive and event-specific platform, and most of the anti-Islamic activity identified was likewise linked to an event that had recently happened.”

Almost 22,200 Islamophobic tweets were posted after the terror truck attack in the French city of Nice on July 14, generating the largest spike of the month. A further 10,610 Islamophobic tweets were sent on July 17 after a coup attempted by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces failed, the report added. Demos said the number of Islamophobic tweets posted to Twitter has been increasing month-on-month since April this year. www.pi-media.co.uk


Local leaders slam UK over Syrian child refugees

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I September 2016

U.K. local municipality leaders are criticizing Whitehall for failing to help child refugees stranded in the notorious French camp known as the Jungle. On a visit to the sprawling migrant camp in the port city of Calais, the local politicians said that only a handful of lone refugee children had

UK NEWS

been brought to the U.K. since the government promised to accept more of them. The politicians, representing municipalities in London and southeast England, were in France to hold talks with Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart on how local authorities can work together to tackle the refugee

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crisis. Britain bowed to pressure from charities and opposition parties in January and agreed to accept unaccompanied children from Syria and other conflict areas into the country. Britain had previously refused to accept further refugees, saying it is the world’s second-largest provider of funds to countries bordering Syria and had already pledged to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. But more than 100 children are still stranded in the Calais Jungle despite having “legitimate grounds” such as family connections for claiming asylum in the U.K., according to the Local Government Association (LGA), a body representing municipalities. Municipalities are responsible in the U.K. for the costs of caring for unaccompanied children. The LGA said there are over more than 4,000 lone children being cared for by municipalities in Britain.

Muslims taken off plane after false accusation Three British Muslim siblings were ordered off a plane in London while on a flight with EasyJet airlines on their way to vacation in Italy because two passengers saw Arabic text on their phones, one of the siblings said in a Facebook post. Sakina Dharas, 24, her sister Maryam, 19, and their brother Ali, 21, were on board EasyJet flight from London’s Stansted Airport to the Italian city of Naples on August 17, when they were ordered off the plane and met by British intelligence agents and heavily armed police right outside the plane. The two passengers had apparently reported them as possible members of the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorist group. Sakina wrote in a Facebook post that the incident took place at 5:00 a.m. local time. “Honestly at this point, my mind freezes,” she wrote

of how she felt after being escorted down the plane. “We begin to descend the steps, and as we do, are met with the first question, initiating this bizarre and incredulous episode. ‘Do you speak English?’ Mind laughter. ‘We only speak English, officer. We were born and bred in England.’” An officer told them that “a passenger on your flight has claimed that you three are members of ISIS” because they “saw you with Arabic or praise be to Allah on your phone,” she quoted the officer as saying. The interrogation lasted for more than an hour as the three siblings explained that they did not even speak Arabic and in fact were of Indian descent. Any Arabic on their phones was part of an app that includes verses from Islam’s holy book Quran, Sakina told Al-Jazeera.

An MI5 agent asked them about every detail of their lives, their parents, where they live and work and asked them to go through every single page on their passports and explain why they had visited those places. “What are my rights? We would only have been allowed back on the plane if there wasn’t a shred of doubt on their part, so someone must be the liar here, in which case, why were those passengers not removed for wasting police time, LYING, making false allegations and racial profiling?” Sakina wrote on Facebook. She added that in fact her brother who has white skin and blue eyes was not “accused by the two (passengers), only myself and my hijab clad sister, because they conveniently didn’t realize he was with us.”


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I September 2016

First Muslim woman elected lawmaker in Minnesota, US

American Muslim Ilhan Omar made history last month by becoming the first Somali-American lawmaker in the United States after winning the Democratic primary election in Minnesota House District 60B. “Tonight we made history,” Omar told the crowd, Star Tribune reported. “Tonight marks the beginning of the future of our district, a new era of representation. Tonight is about the power of you.” The victory followed a fierce election battle with Rep. Phyllis

Kahn, a historic figure in her own right who is tied to the longestserving legislator in state history. Winning a DFL primary for a state House seat based in Minneapolis, 33-year-old Omar was born in Somalia before she fled to the US to escape civil war. She stayed for four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before ultimately moving to the SomaliAmerican neighborhood of CedarRiverside, where she has lived for nearly two decades and is currently

director of policy initiatives at Women Organizing Women. She choked up as she thanked her father, husband and children and her late grandfather, whom she credited for teaching her about representative democracy. “It is with tremendous gratitude that I accept the nomination. I pledge to represent you with integrity and humility,” she said, promising to be a progressive champion. Voters said they believed Omar could deliver change, with many of them driven to the polls by concerns for jobless young people. “We need leaders who can change our community,” Hassan Abdi, 25, who voted for the first time, said. “Too many young people are going around with no jobs,” the resident of Cedar-Riverside, who works for UPS, added. Abdi, originally from Somalia, also said he has rallied behind Omar for cultural reasons. “In my home country, men have the power,” he said. “This is an opportunity to show that women can do what a man can do.”

Germany may strip citizenship of foreign fighters

German Interior Minister has proposed a new security package that would speed up deportation of foreign nationals who “endanger public security” and enable authorities to revoke German citizenship of dual nationals who joined extrem groups abroad. Speaking at a press conference in Berlin, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said new proposals include increasing number of personnel at police and intelligence services, further strengthening preventive measures and introducing a tougher approach against extremists. “I would like to further toughen residence rules with regards to foreigners who committed crime and those foreigners who pose threat to

public security in Germany,” he said, adding that instruments of detention and forced deportation would be implemented in a more decisive manner in future. De Maiziere said, as part of the new security package, he also proposed stripping of German citizenship of dual nationals, who fight for extremist groups abroad. He expressed hope that these proposals would win the support of both his Christian Democratic bloc and its coalition partner Social Democrats, and will be adopted by the parliament within this legislative period. While Germany’s Interior Minister vowed to take tougher measures in the wake of recent attacks, he turned

down controversial proposals made by his party fellows, which called for a ban on full-face veil for women and ending dual citizenship rights for immigrants. The controversial proposals made by Christian Democrat interior ministers from several German states will be discussed at a meeting in Berlin. Germany took in 1.1 million refugees last year and most of them were Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans who fled wars and conflicts. The numbers have put a strain on local authorities and led to antirefugee sentiments, triggered by the propaganda of far-right and populist parties, which exploited fears from religious extremist/ groups.


Canada police allow officers to wear hijab www.pi-media.co.uk

I September 2016

Canada’s police force has announced that its Muslim officers can wear hijab as part of a drive to encourage more Muslim recruitment. The government said that officers working for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) can wear hijab, a rare addition to the symbolic uniform of the force. “The commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently approved this addition to

WORLD NEWS

the uniform,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s spokesman, Scott Bardsley, said, adding, “This is intended to better reflect the diversity in our communities and encourage more Muslim women to consider the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a career option.” Local newspapers said three types of hijabwere tested before one was selected as suitable for police work, saying the garment did not

Outrage after Google maps erases Palestine

Thousands have signed a petition urging Google to reinstate Palestine on the maps service after the worlds most used search engine came under heavy criticism following its decision to remove Palestine from its Google Maps application. If you try to search for ‘Palestine’ in the app, the will redirect you to either Gaza or Jerusalem instead of showing the entire country with its name. Over 150,000 signatories have signeda Change.org petition entitled “Google: Put Palestine on your maps” as of Monday, accusing Google Maps of “making itself complicit in the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine” either

on purpose or inadvertently. The petition, drafted by Zak Martin, slams the omission of the UN non-member observer state’s name on the map as a “grievous insult” to Palestinians. The group demanded Google reverse its move from July 25 when it removed Palestine’s name completely from its map application by designating all Palestinian territories as Israel. The journalists argued the controversial decision which is“contrary to all international norms and conventions” denies the Palestinians “right to homeland” and merely “designed to falsify history and geography.”

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encumber officers. Montreal daily La Presse said some 30 officers had asked for a relaxing of the rules for religious or cultural reasons over the past two years. It said in some cases, the officers had also wanted to grow beards to conform to Islamic rules. The uniform of the RCMP officers, deemed as iconic and symbolic for the Canadians, has undergone only minor changes since it was introduced in 1800s. Reports say the policy was quietly enacted earlier this year and no officers had yet asked to wear hijab. However, the Mounties hope the changes to the uniform could boost recruiting of Muslim women as it has been the case in Toronto and Edmonton. Officials said similar policies have also been adopted in Britain, Sweden and Norway, as well as some US states.

Malaysian Darul Quran to be upgraded to University

Effort is being made to upgrade Darul Quran, a religious institution under Malaysia’s Islamic Development Department (Jakim), into a university college, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom. Malaysian Darul Quran to Be Upgraded to University College He said various initiatives had been made, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia and a degree program with Al-Azhar University in Egypt. “Although the decision to upgrade it to a university college status has yet to be finalized, efforts are being made towards it,” he told reporters after Darul Quran’s golden jubilee celebration and convocation ceremony.


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German town shuts Palestinian children’s exhibition 16

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In Case You Missed It

An exhibition that showed Palestinian children’s drawings has been shut down in Heidelberg despite the same event having no controversies while it was held in major German cities like Munich, Bonn and Stuttgart. The Palestinian exhibition portraying life and destruction in Gaza was canceled by authorities in the German town of Heidelberg over “crossing a political red line.” The organizers have expressed fury about the move. It was canceled shortly before it was due to start on August 10, RNZ

newspaper reported. Titled”Experiences, Fears and Dreams – Children in Palestine,” the event was to host drawings from two rehabilitation centers based in Gaza and Ramallah. Some of the pieces showed explosions, burning cities and soldiers with assault rifles. A pro-Palestinian group “Palästina/Nahost-Initiative” put the pictures up on August 5 but after attending the center the week after discovered that the pictures were taken down. Agnes Bennhold, representing the groups, said she was “outraged” by

the move, given that the organization did not receive any written statement with the reasons for the cancellation. On request of the RNZ, the Heidelberg’s authorities admitted that the cancellation was due to “political” concerns. “The exhibition included statements regarding the Middle East conflict, which the city is not sharing. Since the city is committed to neutrality, staging an exhibition with such a highly political content in the city’s accommodations was not possible,” the city stated to the media outlet. Furthermore, the clarification for the cancellation was issued on August 12. “A red line was crossed as one of the pictures contained the words in Arabic: Jihad, Freedom, Jerusalem, Arabic, Yes,” the city’s spokesperson said as quoted by RNZ. The official added that the words were also translated into German. The word jihad is misunderstood and in mainstream media it is tied to terrorist organizations, however its exact translation reads as”striving for something.” For the majority of Muslims around the world, it is viewed as a way to reform oneself and improve themselves.

Singapore Muslim leaders call for all Islamic teachers to be registered Certification will give assurance to community that it is getting guidance from qualified religious teachers. Muslim leaders have called for a scheme that endorses religious teachers to be made stricter, amid the spread of extremist ideology on the Internet that has led to the radicalization of some Singaporeans. They want all asatizah to be registered with the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS), started in 2005 to help Muslim Singaporeans

assess and recognize qualified religious teachers. About 20 community and religious leaders asked for the scheme to be made mandatory at a closed-door dialogue with Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim and Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, where they discussed issues such as the economy and the threat of terrorism. Their call comes a day after the government announced the detention

this month of two Singaporeans who planned to travel to Syria to fight with terror group Daesh (ISIL or ISIS). Since January last year, eight citizens have been detained under the Internal Security Act for terror activities, and five were placed on Restriction Orders. Many of them had been radicalized through the extremist teachings of foreign preachers they came across online. www.pi-media.co.uk

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Hajj stoning ritual to be shortened after 2015’s deadly stampede

A stoning ritual which led to the deaths of about 2,300 people during last year’s hajj will be more tightly controlled during next month’s pilgrimage, Saudi newspapers reported. The period during which pilgrims can perform the Jamarat ritual will

be reduced by 12 hours, the Saudi Gazette reported. The symbolic stoning of the devil will be performed as usual over three days beginning September 11 at Mina, about five kilometres (three miles) east of Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site.

But this year there will be no stoning allowed from 6:00 to 10:30 am on the first day, from 2:00 to 6:00 pm on the second day and from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm on the final day, the hajj ministry said. “This procedure will enable the pilgrims to throw stones easily and will prevent any stampede that may result from overcrowding,” the Saudi Gazette quoted ministry undersecretary Hussain al-Sharif as saying. He did not elaborate on how the new time restrictions would reduce the potential for overcrowding. The stampede was the worst disaster in hajj history. It occurred outside the fivestorey Jamarat Bridge, a structure resembling a huge parking garage which hosts the stoning ritual and cost more than $1 billion to build. It is almost one kilometre (more than half a mile) long and allows 300,000 pilgrims an hour to carry out the ritual. www.pi-media.co.uk

Smart logo to ensure authenticity of Halal food in Dubai In Case You Missed It

All halal food products sold in Dubai will soon have to carry a smart logo that will help consumers verify the authenticity of their halal accreditation using a mobile application. Dubai Municipality signed an agreement with SICPA, a Swiss company that will provide the smart logo to companies producing halal food products and a mobile app for consumers to verify the halal certification of these products, Halal Focus reported. Hussain Nasser Lootah, directorgeneral of Dubai Municipality, said the smart logo will be implemented in the market within six months. SICPA will launch the mobile app for the consumers and the inspection device for inspectors after the implementation of the smart logo in

the market. Ameenah Ahmad Mohammad, director of Dubai Accreditation Centre under the municipality, said the plan is to digitize the UAE National Halal Mark so that the information encoded in the logo can be read by using the mobile app. “Now, even if the halal mark is there, you can’t be sure if the product was really certified. Sometimes, some companies can cheat. They can put the label without getting accreditation… Using the app, consumers can scan the smart logo and retrieve all information related to the product such as the country of origin of the product and the authenticity of the halal certification it has received.” She said all companies producing halal food products will have to now

apply for the smart logo of the UAE National Halal Mark that can be digitally read. “Only this company [SICPA] can provide it. In the future, if the logo can’t be digitally read, it will not be considered original accreditation,” said Mohammad. According to the official, authorities in the UAE are trying to have only one logo [the UAE National Halal Mark] for all halal products in the country. “If there are products with accreditation from anywhere else, they should also get this logo,” said Mohammad. By scanning the smart logo, food inspectors will be able to trace the history of the product without referring to paperwork.

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300,000 Muslims, only six official Mosques in Hong Kong

Friday and dozens of Muslim men are kneeling in prayer inside an austere unit on the ground floor of the dilapidated Kai Tak Mansion in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. Next door to shuttered shops in the back alley, what was once a car repair workshop is now a makeshift mosque for more than 70 Muslim households living in the building, which will be torn down in November. Yiu Kam-wing, the building’s manager, says residents of South Asian descent started moving into the 60-year-old building two decades ago.

“As the building will soon be demolished, all the leases are short term. So a 500 sq ft flat costs just HK$4,000 a month. Muslim worshippers have been using the former garage as a mosque for many years,” he says. The prayer room in Kai Tak Mansion is one of many stopgap religious facilities that have sprouted across Hong Kong to cater to a growing Muslim population faced with apparent official apathy to the community’s needs. According to government statistics, there were 100,000 Muslim

residents in 2006, a number which has risen to 300,000 today. Half of these are Indonesians, who account for much of the growth in the Muslim population; more domestic helpers from the country have come to the city in the past decade. Ethnic Chinese Muslims account for 40,000 and there are 30,000 Pakistanis. The remainder are smaller populations from various other countries. Although there is estimated to be one church for every 700 Christians in Hong Kong, the Muslim community must make do with just six official mosques – four on Hong Kong Island and two in Kowloon. Qamar Z. Minhas, chairman of the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong, which oversees the six mosques, says only three are widely used and get very crowded. These are in Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai and Central. “The one in Chai Wan is too far away,” he says. Devotees are required to attend noon prayers, and Chai Wan is too distant for many working Muslims. “And the Stanley one is in a restricted area.” The mosque at Stanley Prison was built for Muslim prison guards in British colonial times. “The sixth is a temporary structure [built in 2013] in Yau Ma Tei,” which can accommodate only about 300 worshippers.

Visually-impaired Quran memorizers honored in Gaza

A ceremony was held Monday in Gaza city to honor visually-impaired Quran memorizers of the Gaza Strip. Visually-Impaired Gaza Quran Memorizers Honored According to sawapalsawa. com website, the Dar-ol-Quran and Sunnah of Gaza organized the event at al-Amal Charity Institute. Those honored were visuallyimpaired children and teenagers who have managed to memorize the

Quran in part or entirely. A number of them had taken part in a Quran education camp titled Nahw al-Noor and also participated in a competition on memorization of Surah Ale Imran. Addressing the ceremony, Abdul Rahman al-Jamal, head of the Dar-ol-Quran and Sunnah of Gaza praised the Quran memorizers and urged them to remain steadfast on the path of the Quran.

He also thanked the Palestinian education ministry for its support for the Dar-ol-Quran and Sunnah. Also speaking at the event was Nader Bashir, head of Palestine Alumni Association for the Blind, who call on the Dar-ol-Quran and Sunnah to organize annual Quran competitions for the visually-impaired to help promote Quran learning and memorization among them. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Muslim world urged to raise voice against desecration of Mosques in Kashmir

Jama’at-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir condemned the incidents of desecration of mosques by the Indian government forces, appealing the Muslim world to raise voice against it. “In the past few days, it has come to fore that during the nocturnal raids, these forces do enter the mosques with unclean shoes and ransack the goods lying therein and break windows and doors also. “In Marwel Pulwama, Sharshali Pampore, Aluchi-Bagh Srinagar, Bandipora, Pohu Pulwama and other some villages, these sacred houses have been deliberately dishonored just to hurt the sentiments of billions

of Muslims living across the world,” the religio-political organization said in a statement. It said the mosques are sacred centers where a human being is taught to safeguard human dignity, honor, equality, and brotherhood. “No human being is even allowed to enter any Masjid unclean or raise any hue and cry therein. So, there is no question of anybody entering there with the intention to cause any damage or desecrate it,” Jama’at said. It said those dishonoring the mosques “are in reality the enemies of Muslims and Islam”.

“Such elements are, in fact, the enemies of human dignity itself. It is very sorrowful that some force’s personnel who have Muslim names also indulge in this heinous act,” it said, appealing all Islamic parties and Muslim bodies to raise an “effective voice” against the desecration of mosques. Jama’at also expressed anguish over the forces’ “inhumane act” of forces targeting an 8-year-old boy, Junaid, with pellets at Nawab-Bazar. Meanwhile, a delegation of Jama’at visited the bereaved family of slain young scholar Shabir Ahmad Mangoo of Sharshali Khrew and expressed solidarity with them, it said.

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Czech PM says no to ‘large Muslim community’ Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that he does not want a “large Muslim community” and that each EU member should be able to choose how many migrants to accept. “We don’t have a large Muslim community here,” Sobotka said of the estimated 10,000 to 20,000 Muslims who live in the Central European country of 10.5 million people. “And to be honest, we don’t want a large Muslim community to form here, given the problems we’re seeing,” Sobotka told the Pravo daily. Sobotka spoke ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to

Prague, saying their “views diverge” on how to solve Europe’s migrant crisis. Merkel has urged countries to take in a greater share of refugees, while the Czech Republic staunchly opposes the contested EU quota system devised to distribute refugees across the bloc. “I’ve been convinced since the start of the migration debate that the member states need to have sovereignty regarding the choice of the number of refugees (to welcome),” Sobotka said. “It’s the national governments that ultimately have to ensure people’s security.” The leftist premier however

cautioned against casting refugees as terrorists. “It’s not possible to put an equal sign between refugees and terrorists. But at the same time, it’s not possible to have the same approach as Germany last year, namely to authorize the influx of a huge number of people without any oversight,” he said. Merkel also met with Czech President Milos Zeman, who earlier this month said he opposed taking in any migrants at all. He recently described Merkel’s migration policy – which saw Germany take in 1.1 million migrants and refugees last year – as “absurd”.


Hajj 20I FEATURED - WORLD NEWS

The advent of the month of Shawwāl brings with it the remembrance of Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām and his memorable hajj. All over the world, those who are fortunate make preparations for this great spiritual experience. Hajj is from the five pillars of Islām and is fard upon every sane and mature believer who possesses the means to perform hajj. Almighty mentions in the Glorious Qur’ān: “…As a right of Almighty, it is obligatory on the people to perform hajj of the House – on everyone who has the ability to manage (his) way to it.” (3:97) The Prophet sallAlmightyu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “Islām is founded on five (pillars): bearing witness that there is no deity except Almighty and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Almighty, establishing salāh, paying zakāh, performing hajj and fasting in the month of Ramadān.” (Al-Bukhārī) In another hadīth, he said: “O people! Indeed Almighty, the Mighty, the Exalted has made hajj obligatory upon you; therefore perform hajj.” (Ahmad) Virtues of Hajj The Prophet sallAlmightyu ‘alayhi wasallam has mentioned many virtues of hajj, encouraging the believers to fulfil this obligation: “The performers of hajj and ‘umrah are deputations of Almighty. If they call Him, He answers them; and if they seek His forgiveness, He forgives them.” (Ibn Mājah) “There is no reward for an accepted hajj except Jannah.” (AlBukhārī, Muslim) “Whoever performs hajj for the sake of pleasing Almighty, and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, shall return from it free from sin as the day on which his mother gave birth to him.” (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim) The performer of hajj becomes so pure that even that person is forgiven for whom he seeks forgiveness.

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The Prophet sall Almightyu ‘alayhi wasallam said: “When you meet a Hajī (on his way home), then greet him, shake hands with him and ask him to beg forgiveness of Almighty on your behalf before he enters his home, for his prayer for forgiveness is accepted since he is forgiven by Almighty.” (Ahmad) Warnings for Non-performance of Hajj The Prophet sallAlmightyu ‘alayhi wasallam has also warned those who do not fulfil this obligation despite it becoming obligatory upon them: “He who possesses enough provisions which will suffice for him to reach the House of Almighty, and he does not perform hajj, then there is no care whether he dies as a Jew or a Christian.” (At-Tirmidhī) Hajj is fard upon every sane, adult and healthy Muslim, when he has sufficient wealth to enable him to travel to and from the Ka‘bah. This will apply when the wealth required to take him is in excess of his needs (such as house, transport, clothing, etc.). He also needs to have sufficient wealth to leave behind for the needs of those who are dependent on him. Furthermore, the journey needs to be a safe one and a woman needs to be travelling with a mahram. As can be understood from the great virtues and stern warnings above, a person upon whom hajj is fard should endeavour to perform hajj at the earliest possible opportunity – this year. The Prophet sallAlmightyu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “The one who intends to go for hajj should hurry; for sometimes he can get ill, his conveyance can go

missing or some other obstacle may arise (which will hinder him from travelling).” (Ahmad) Misconceptions and Lame Excuses Many people delay the performance of hajj due to misconceptions which become lame excuses for not performing hajj. Inshā’Almighty, I wish to clarify a few of these misunderstandings, so that those who find themselves in these situations can repent and make preparations immediately. • Many people have enough wealth for them to go for hajj, but they wait to accrue enough wealth so that their spouse can also accompany them. If the husband has enough wealth then he should go for hajj immediately. And if the wife has enough wealth, and she has other mahārim with whom she can go for hajj, then she should go immediately too. The Sharī‘ah does not give either permission to postpone the hajj and wait for the other. • Many people think that it is necessary that they make arrangements for their parents to perform hajj before they do. This too is incorrect in light of the Sharī‘ah. Undoubtedly, to make one’s parents perform hajj is a great virtue and honour; however, if hajj is not fard on them, but it is fard upon the children, then they should not concern themselves with their parents’ hajj at this moment and fulfil their own obligation. It is possible that in the children waiting for the parents - or in the case of the husband waiting for the wife or vice versa - the one upon whom hajj is fard passes away and is questioned by Almighty ta‘ālā for its


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non-fulfilment. • Others delay embarking on the journey until certain worldly tasks have been completed. Remember! The targets of the world will never end. If it is one worldly target that is the excuse this year, then it will be another next year. The Prophet sallAlmightyu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “No servant leaves hajj for some worldly objective but that he will see the people returning from hajj before his worldly objective is fulfilled.” (At-Tabrānī) Therefore, one should put aside any worldly goals he has in mind and fulfil the obligation of Almighty first. It is also noteworthy to remember that it is from the ploys of Shaytān that he will never say, ‘Don’t perform hajj’, rather, he will make you defer its performance, year after year, until it’s too late. • Similarly, many delay their hajj because of this hadīth: “He who performs forty salāh in my masjid in such a way that he does not miss a single salāh, then Almighty prescribes his freedom from the Fire of Jahannam, freedom from punishment and freedom from hypocrisy.” (Ahmad) Many think that it is necessary to perform forty salāh in Al-Masjid An-Nabawī, and some have the desire and greed for this virtue, so they delay their performance of hajj as they cannot spare enough time or money to stay in Al-Madīnah for the duration of forty salāh. Hajj is for five days only, and it becomes fard upon that person who can only afford to go for the minimum time. The inability to travel to AlMadīnah will not be a valid excuse not to perform hajj. Of course, after reaching so close to the blessed city of Al-Madīnah, one should endeavour to at least spend a day in the blessed city and visit Al-Masjid An-Nabawī, and present himself in the Court of Rasūlullāh sallAlmightyu ‘alayhi wasallam. • Some believe that if their children have reached a

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marriageable age and are not yet married, then the parents cannot perform hajj until the children are married. This too has no basis whatsoever in the Sharī‘ah. • Some delay in travelling as they have small children at home. Once hajj becomes fard, they should seek suitable relatives, friends, etc. who can look after their children whilst they go for hajj; and they need not travel for long due to their circumstance and situation. • Some delay their hajj as they think it is better to perform it in their old age closer to their death! This is a fallacy as they have no guarantee for how long they will live, and this idea is in complete contrast to the command of the Prophet sallAlmightyu ‘alayhi wasallam to perform hajj at the earliest opportunity. • Some delay performing the hajj as they only obtain a set number of days off work, and they postpone their journey hoping that they may get more days off next year and can spend more time in the Al-Haramayn. This too is not a valid Shar‘ī reason to postpone the hajj. They should go and spend whatever time they have available and absolve themselves of the obligation of hajj. • Some delay the hajj, as they cannot afford to buy gifts for people, thus deferring their obligation until they have enough money that they can buy gifts for their loved and dear ones. This again is not a valid Shar‘ī excuse. • Some delay in going for hajj as they cannot afford the ‘five star’, ‘deluxe’ or ‘golden’ package. From a Shar‘ī point of view, as soon as they can afford the cheapest most basic package, hajj becomes fard upon them. • Others can afford a package, but as the package includes a hotel which is far from the Al-Haram, they are not able to read all five salāh in Al-Haram. This does not justify delaying the hajj. Remember, as long

as the five days of hajj are part of the package, hajj will be fard upon them. • Some do not go for hajj on the pretext that they are not yet ready to change their lives. Such a thought is from Shaytān. Do we think the same when it comes to reading salāh or paying zakāh? And if this is the case, then change your life, for it is obligatory anyway! Moreover, inshā’Almighty, through the barakah of hajj, the life will change for the better. Some go to the other extreme and have resolved to change their lives, but make comments such as, ‘My Īmān is not yet strong enough and I need to build on my Īmān.’ This thought too is from Shaytān. Hajj is a very important fundamental which helps to make one’s Īmān stronger. Shaykh Muftī ‘Abdur Rahīm Lājpūrī rahimahullāh mentions with regards the permissible reasons for postponing hajj: The following are reasons for which hajj may be postponed: • Becoming bankrupt. • Fear of a tyrannical leader. • Being imprisoned. • An unsafe journey. • Illness because of which the person cannot travel. • For a woman not to have a mahram or husband to accompany her. • For a woman to be sitting in her ‘iddah. He further states that although these factors justify postponing hajj; however, it will be compulsory to proceed with the journey as soon as they no longer exist. Therefore, it is my heartfelt plea to those upon whom hajj is fard, that they embark on this blessed journey this very year. They should have trust in Almighty ta‘ālā for all their affairs and fulfil this obligation. May Almighty remove all difficulties and hurdles that anyone may have and make hajj easy for one and all. Āmīn. By Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

If you have a Question regarding this topic or any other featured articles we have covered please email us at info@pi-media.co.uk and we will forward it onto our team of Scholars to answer.


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Celtic fans raise more than £50000 for Palestinian charities

Celtic fans have far exceeded their initial target of raising £15,000 for Palestinian charities in an attempt to match an impending Uefa fine for displaying Palestinian flags at a match against an Israeli team. European football’s governing body slapped the team with a fine after hundreds of fans displayed the Palestinian flags during their 5-2 home victory against Hapoel Be’er

Sheva in a Champions League qualifier. The Green Brigade group of supporters set up a crowdfunding appeal on the gofundme website to match the fine. Donations passed £50,000. The fans are raising money for Medical Aid Palestine, which delivers health and medical care to those “worst affected by conflict, occupation

and displacement,” and the Lajee Centre, a cultural and sports project for children in Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem. The appeal reads: “At the Champions League match with Hapoel Be’er Sheva on 17 August 2016, the Green Brigade and fans throughout Celtic Park flew the flag for Palestine. This act of solidarity has earned Celtic respect and acclaim throughout the world. It has also attracted a disciplinary charge from Uefa, which deems the Palestinian flag to be an ‘illicit banner’. “In response to this petty and politically partisan act by European football’s governing body, we are determined to make a positive contribution to the game and today launch a campaign to #matchthefinef orpalestine.” The statement said the money raised would help buy football kit and equipment to enable the refugee camp to have a team, which would be called Aida Celtic, in the Bethlehem youth league.

Mohammed Farah: First Brit athlete to win three Olympic track golds Imperious distance runner Mo Farah said he was thrilled to make history after becoming the first British athlete to win three Olympic track golds after defending his 10,000m title. Farah was clipped by American training partner Galen Rupp on lap 10 of the 25-lap race, tumbling to the track but quickly getting back to his feet. “When I fell I thought the dream was over, I dug deep,” said Farah, who has now racked up eight successive wins in the 5,000 or 10,000m at a world championships or Olympics since 2011. “Galen is a good sportsman. Sometimes things happen. It’s so easy to blame people, but things are out of your control. I’ve got such a long stride, I don’t blame him. He tried to help me out,” he said.

“The race still had a long way to go, so was saying to myself ‘don’t panic’.” “I promised my eldest daughter Rihanna a medal so I couldn’t let her down. “That’s why I was so emotional at the end, it almost went.” Farah was guided back into his rhythm by Rupp, biding his time until there were two laps to go. While Kenyan Paul Tanui bolted after the bell had rung for the last lap, Farahkept him in sight and a surge saw him race through for a historic defence of his title. Ethiopian Tamirat Tola claimed bronze. Should Farah also defend his 5,000m title, he would become the first athlete since Finland’s Lasse Viren in 1976 to retain two Olympic distance titles.

“Over the last four years, I’m sure people have been watching me win the worlds and come back. I’ve got a target on my back,” said Farah, who was born in war-torm Somalia before moving to neighbouring Djibouti and then Britain at the age of eight. “It feels amazing, incredible to win medals for my country. “This is what I’ve been training for. It’s nice to able to make history and make my nation proud. For the 5,000m I just have to recover now, get through the heat and see what happens. “I’m more of a guy who wins medals rather than runs fast times. One of the things that keeps me going is winning medals for my country and making my nation proud.” www.pi-media.co.uk


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I September 2016

Pakistan rise completes journey from isolation to triumph In Case You Missed It

Cricket-obsessed Pakistanis were celebrating their national team’s “incredible journey” to the top of the Test rankings after a turbulent seven years in which it was forced to play home matches on neutral venues. Pakistan supplanted India to become the world’s No. 1 Test side after India’s final Test against the West Indies ended in a rain-hit draw at Port of Spain. It capped a remarkable rise under captain Misbahul Haq’s leadership for a team that was nearly thrown out of the international arena over a spot-fixing scandal on its tour of England in 2010. Pakistan has also been forced to play its home matches in the United Arab Emirates since an armed attack

on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009, a significant disadvantage. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan branded the rise “historic.” “The ascension to the top of the ICC Test rankings culminates an incredible journey for Pakistan cricket,” he said. “This is a historic moment in our rich Test cricket history and the credit for this great achievement goes not only to this team but to all the players, coaches and support staff members who have represented Pakistan in recent years.” In the last two years, Pakistan has beaten Australia and England at “home”, drawn with New Zealand, and earned impressive away series

wins in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh before the 2-2 draw against the English gave the world notice of its class. “For us, the number one ranking is not a destination but part of a journey,” Misbah added. “Our longterm objective and strategy is to remain competitive, continue to challenge the top sides with good cricket and once again become the most followed side like the Pakistan teams of yesteryear.” New coach Mickey Arthur stressed that the work was just beginning. “It’s a fantastic achievement and a lot of people deserve the credit for that, but the top of them all will be the players who have worked hard and been outstanding,” said Arthur, who coached Pakistan to a 2-2 draw in the four-Test series against England. “I am just the lucky coach who has been with the team now but others have done wonderfully well,” he added, singling out his predecessor Waqar Younis. “People may say that its easier to get there than to remain there so we need to keep that momentum, and improve in one-dayers.” The ICC will present a special trophy to Pakistan in honor of the achievement. If Pakistan remains No. 1 until the April 1, 2017 cut-off date, it will also receive a much-needed $1 million prize money.

Ibtihaj Muhammad becomes first US Hijabi to step on Olympic podium

The women of the US saber squad had not been pleased by their performances in the individual competition at these 2016 Summer Games, but they broke through with Ibtihaj Muhammad becoming the first American in a hijab to step on the Olympic podium. After the US fell short of the medal rounds earlier in the week, veteran Mariel Zagunis predicted that, for the team event, “I think we’re all going to be really fired up.”

Zagunis was right as the US defeated Italy, 45-30, to win bronze. Russia won gold and Ukraine took silver. The podium finish put a happy ending to one of the biggest stories in Rio de Janeiro —Muhammad becoming the first US Olympian competing in the headscarf worn by Muslim women. Muhammad had become the focus of media reports in recent months, speaking out, determined

to break through the stereotypes surrounding women in her religion. “We are just so blessed and thankful that we made it,” she said on Saturday. “I’ll never forget this moment ever.” “I’m just really happy that we ended today on a win with a really great performance,” said Zagunis.”I’m glad we’re not going home empty-handed.” Dagmara Wozniak and Monica Aksamit rounded out the US team.


The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 6

The first caliph Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (632-634) on accepting the position of Caliph declared in his speech to the Muslim community. ‘’I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right. Sincere regard for truth is loyalty and disregard for truth is treachery. The weak amongst you shall be strong with me until I have secured his rights, if God wills; and the strong amongst you shall be weak with me until I have wrested from him the rights of others, if God wills. Obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger. But if I disobey God and His Messenger, you owe me no obedience. Arise for your prayer, God have mercy upon you’’. Abu- Bakr al-Siddiq wasted no time laying down the marker in terms of his vision for the entire Muslim community. The spirit of justice, compassion, respect, integrity and tolerance

was at the heart of his governance and in keeping with the prophetic tradition. However, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq faced many pressing challenges posed by external and internal forces which will discuss in due course. Undoubtedly, the biggest challenge Abu Bakr al-Siddiq faced during his reign was posed by a significant minority of Muslims who refused to give allegiance to him. This stance was based on the notion that they had submitted to the Prophet Muhammad and that those conditions no longer applied after his death. A number of dissenters came to prominence such as Tulayhah, Sajah and Musaylamah declared themselves to be prophets with a divine message. These individuals sowed a great deal of discord and strife amongst the Muslim community. Musaylamah along with Sajah

were renowned magicians and hence performed rituals that convinced a number of individuals that they were indeed prophets. Islamic tradition reliably informs us that the Prophet Muhammad according to the Quran makes it abundantly clear that no prophets would come after him as he was the seal of all the prophets (Khatam un-nabiyeen). Abu Bakr ordered his troops to go to war immediately on the first day of his reign in response to the apostasy crisis engulfing the Arabian Peninsula. The situation was so grave that even Madinah the nerve centre of the early Islamic State was at risk of being swept away by the tide of dissension. The fight back against the forces of apostasy began in earnest and several tribes within Madinah and on the outskirts were duly subdued with them re-accepting Islam and surrendering in the process.


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