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Kavanagh says there is a ‘Muslim problem’ in the UK

‘The Sun’ has a history of peddling hatred towards Muslims Grooming affects all communities in the UK NOT just Muslims

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By Gracie Bradley

Advocacy and Policy Officer @ Liberty

The Grenfell Tower fire: The hostile environment laid bare

The hostile environment is just one part of the web of contempt and systematic failure that preceded the Grenfell fire and came to characterise much of the immediate response to it. The urgent needs of many survivors include adequate mental health support and permanent, suitable, local housing near family and established support networks. And – crucially – residents must have a meaningful voice in a wide-ranging independent inquiry that they trust to answer their questions. In the wake of a disaster like Grenfell, no one should have had to call for an immigration amnesty. Everyone should have been able to access public services without fear, whatever their immigration status.

The Grenfell Tower fire claimed the lives of at least 80 people and destroyed the homes of hundreds more. Scores of families now face an agonising wait for the forensic examination of the site to conclude, as a criminal investigation progresses and the terms of an independent inquiry are set. In the aftermath, we heard concerning reports that undocumented survivors and those with pending applications to stay in the UK were not accessing the public services they urgently needed. It was a searing indictment of our society – our NHS was no longer a safe place for people seeking care. It took the Home Office three long weeks to publish a trap dressed up as an amnesty – a paltry 12month reprieve from immigration enforcement. One year for traumatised undocumented survivors to rebuild their lives from scratch before facing the full force of border control again. A hostile environment for survivors The fire laid bare the brutality of the Government-sanctioned “hostile environment” they live with, which

turns doctors, teachers, social workers and police into border guards. This policy is the rationale behind a raft of data-sharing arrangements which see personal details like home addresses shared with immigration enforcement teams by organisations we expect to respect our privacy – like schools and hospitals. New laws have forced landlords – under threat of a fine or even a prison sentence – to check a person’s immigration status before renting to them. These ‘right to rent’ checks amount to state-sanctioned racism. By asking landlords to fulfil the role of immigration officers, they give cover for discriminatory decisions in an already unequal rental market. The measure pushes undocumented families into the shadow housing market, where they have no bargaining power when asking landlords to remedy issues with unsafe or unsuitable housing. Why fix a broken lock or clear a blocked fire escape when you know your tenants have nowhere else to go? If they make too much of a fuss, you can always call the Home Office.

Everyday risk And that should be the case for everyone every day. In reality, undocumented people in this country – parents, colleagues, trusted friends, many of whom arrived here lawfully and have lived here for years – weigh up the risk of detention and removal every time they send their child to school, report a crime or visit the doctor. The Government’s obsession with border control is doing untold damage to the relationships of trust that public services so carefully cultivate. It is creating a climate of unchecked discrimination against anyone who looks or sounds foreign. We talk about human rights because that’s what they are – rights that you hold by virtue of being human, regardless of your income, your ethnicity or your immigration status. Today the Government has undocumented people in its sights – but who knows who they might single out tomorrow? The challenges faced by undocumented survivors of the Grenfell fire are a reflection of a hostile environment constructed in this country by successive governments.

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


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Pastor Niemöller (1892-1984) is perhaps best remembered for the quotation: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me Pastor Niemoller’s quote is very poignant in the context of the systematic marginalisation of Muslims in the UK and the following words sum up the reality the community faces going forward. ‘They are coming for the Muslims and I did not speak out because I was not a Muslim. Then they came for the Muslims and I spoke out but to no avail In the end when they finish with us there will be no one left to tell the tale’ Hard hitting words have the effect to tell the reality of the strategy employed by the Islamophobia industry spearheaded by the media both sides of the Atlantic that strives for the systematic destruction of the Islamic faith in its current form at all levels. In order to destroy an ideology, it is imperative that one attacks the foundation that underpins it using covert and overt means. Trevor Kavanagh’s comments in the Sun referring to the ‘Muslim problem’ last month is indicative of this agenda and is part of a long running campaign the UK media including The Sun has been engaged in attacking Muslims and Islam under false pretexts since 9/11. It should be said that the Muslim way of life has been under systematic attack from all quarters for the last sixteen years in the United Kingdom. Before we engage in critiquing Kavanagh’s ‘false hypothesis’, we need to understand the very nature of the arguments made in the Sun newspaper on the 16th of August 2017. Kavanagh claimed that he was

drawing attention to the predatory behaviour of ‘Muslim men’ towards white women after the verdicts were read about from the Newcastle grooming case and hence used the phrase ‘Muslim Problem’ to maximise publicity which contributed to the ensuing furore we have recently seen in the public domain. However, on closer inspection we see that he (Kavanagh) used this phrase to demonise the entire Muslim community which is hardly surprising in that the publication has promoted a rather hostile rightwing agenda against minorities that includes Muslims in the United Kingdom for a number of years. Thus, it is quite ironic that the Sun uses this phrase as if the Muslims are the majority in this country despite only numbering less than 5% of the total population! We need to ask Kavanagh the question that why does The Sun not make a song and dance about each and every convicted criminal involved in grooming on an individual or group level and time and time again deliberately chooses to focus its coverage on convicted criminals from ethnic minorities on the front page as to speak. The disproportionate attention given by the publication in question is down to several reasons. The reasons why Kavanagh and the Sun fail to focus their attention on grooming cases involving the native indigenous population is because they do not want to antagonise their own readership and would rather highlight grooming cases involving members belonging to ethnic minority constituencies to give it kudos as being the champion of the white working class. Selling papers and perpetuating a divide between people in this country is the philosophy that the publication sadly thrives upon. The Sun one might add is very much the lead protagonist in the vilification of Islam in this country and has a long track record in this rather dastardly business. We should remember that making money is the sole motivation for media outlets thus subjectivity is allowed to override

the measure of objectivity in their respective reporting of news in the United Kingdom. In our view, Kavanagh’s incendiary language was used to maintain the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims and added fuel to the Islamophobic fire raging across the country where countless Muslims live in fear of violence and intimidation on a daily basis. The article penned by Kavanagh is undoubtedly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pushing the idea that the Muslims are the ‘fifth column’, that they are not part of British society and the faith and culture of British Muslims is not compatible with Anglo-Saxon (British) values. Muslims should note that they have become the bogeyman for British society and it is justified to slander, libel, defame and even attack them because no one will say anything and it is acceptable to do so in a supposedly 21st century liberal, tolerant and pluralistic United Kingdom. It is no wonder that certain individuals flock to right wing nationalist groups on the back of reading repugnant articles like the one we are currently discussing published by hostile public facing media outlets in the UK, Europe and the United States of America. Mr Kavanagh needs to understand that the Islamic faith and religious texts do not in any way sanction or even provide justification for heinous acts such as grooming, paedophilia and child sex exploitation. No imam in this country or community leader sanctions let alone condones this type of behaviour under any circumstances. No sane Muslim man or woman condones these heinous and despicable acts. Before the rightwing xenophobic elements of the press and society descend upon us for daring to open our mouths, we will go on record in this publication and categorically state that there is a small minority within the Muslim community who are engaged in grooming vulnerable girls and it is imperative that they are brought to


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Continued from page 3

justice and thus face the full force of the law. It would be rather naïve and foolish of any community including our own bury their heads in the sand and continue to deny the existence of the problem despite it blatantly staring at us in the face. Furthermore, it is also erroneous to argue that grooming is exclusively an ‘Asian, Indian, Pakistani or even a white problem’. Labour’s former Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Sarah Champion MP claim that grooming was a ‘Pakistani problem’ was a poor and pathetic attempt to blame a minority group for these crimes especially when most people belonging to that community condemns these acts in an outright fashion. Champion it seems must have been suffering from political amnesia at the time forgetting that the people she unashamedly attacked voted for her party at the last election and sent her colleagues to parliament for

another five years. Come the next election, we might find that the British Pakistani community might reconsider voting for Champion’s Labour Party but that might be wishful thinking on my part. Grooming is an issue that affects all communities and is not synonymous with any race, creed or colour. Unfortunately, perverted individuals live in towns, cities across the nation and better education is needed in homes, schools, madrassahs and colleges with the aim of changing mindsets and attitudes towards women in society. Women and especially young girls are not ‘cheap meat’ or ‘sluts’ that make themselves available to be subjected to such depraved behaviour. Greater understanding of the important role women play is imperative in the fight to combat the scourge of grooming cases. Greater

work is required in pinpointing and understanding the reasons why certain boys develop such attitudes from an early age and strategies are required to stop lives being destroyed in the process going forward. Progress will only be made in this fight when people from all races come together to find a way to eradicate this problem rather than engaging in the ‘blame game’. As far as The Sun and Kavanagh are concerned, we call upon everyone in this country to boycott the publication in question. Muslim newsagents that stock The Sun should reconsider their position on selling a publication that is making money on a regular basis by peddling extreme xenophobia and venomous hatred on the backs of the most disadvantaged, vulnerable and deprived in this country. Remember no publication can survive in this financial climate when the money tap runs dry.

Half of Britons think Islam is ‘threat to West,’ More than half of Britons believe Islam “poses a threat to the West,” despite the UK becoming more tolerant and open overall, a new study has claimed. Following recent terrorist incidents in Westminster, Manchester and London’s Borough Market, 42 percent of people say they now have less trust for Muslims in Britain, while 52 percent believe Islam poses a threat, the Populus poll published by campaign group Hope not Hate shows.

The figures also reveal that a quarter of English people think Islam is a “dangerous religion that incites violence.” Older people are more likely to express Islamophobic views, the poll finds, “painting a worrying set of views” which Hope not Hate said would require “significant effort” to address. The increase in negative attitudes towards Muslims comes despite an overall improvement in attitudes among Britons towards different

groups in society. The report found that two-fifths of the population have a liberal outlook, compared to 22 percent six years ago. It found responses to Brexit had left Britain more divided, with attitudes towards race and faith becoming increasingly polarized since the last poll in 2011. But the survey saw more positive views towards immigration since Brexit, with more than half of respondents saying they believe immigration is good for the country.


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Muslim Imams to form national council in UK

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I September 2017

British imams are planning to set up their first national council to issue religious rulings and form a united voice on issues such as terrorism, Islamophobia, gay rights and climate change. It will be the first central religious authority for British Muslims, delivering edicts on Islamic doctrine and providing a national voice on social issues, the Times reports. It would clearly state that “regressive cultural practices” such as forced marriages and “honor

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killings” have no place in Islam or British society. It will also have a voice on issues that affect the Muslim community such as climate change, mental health and obesity. Unlike the Church of England, there is no hierarchical structure to Islam in Britain, as most mosques operate independently. According to Qari Asim, chief imam of the Makkah Mosque in Leeds, many are crying out for leadership. “There’s a lack of an authoritative

public voice to speak out on issues such as terrorism and Islamophobia,” he said. He added that young Muslims “want to see more clarity.” He told the newspaper that imams from groups such as the British Muslim Forum and Imams Online were discussing setting up a theological group of senior imams to deal with “interpretational issues.” Imams from different denominations would be nominated to this board by their mosques. “The board must also champion and be proactive on issues that affect the Muslim community as much as the remainder of the community, for example climate change and taboo issues such as mental health and obesity.” The board could insist that gay Muslims “should not be persecuted or ostracized,” he added. Existing bodies such as the Muslim Council of Britain and the dormant Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board are umbrella bodies and do not rule on religious doctrine.

who he had not met before, had complained about the length of airport security queues as the plane taxied on the runway. Mr Khan told the London Evening Standard: “I totally innocently said ‘there’s been more security since 9/11’, then asked the stewardess ‘I bet your job has changed since 9/11’, but she looked stunned.” The plane was turned around and taxied back the terminal where he was led off by police officers. Mr Khan said: “I was racially and religiously profiled. It was a complete overreaction to completely innocent and harmless comments. I know this would not have happened if I was a white man in his 60s who had done the same thing.

He said he was not formally interviewed by police, who accepted there had been a “misunderstanding”. Mr Khan was denied a refund on his £560 ticket and was forced to spend £817 on flights with another airline. He has since been battling for compensation and his solicitors recently submitted a final claim for £5,000 plus legal costs. Mr Khan said he would sue in the county court for breach of contract and racial discrimination if the airline did not meet the demand. A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said “Our team has been in regular contact with Mr Khan and his lawyers, and we have offered to refund his flights.” www.pi-media.co.uk

Muslim man sues Virgin after being ordered off flight A Muslim man is suing an airline over claims he was marched off a plane by police after “innocently” mentioning 9/11. Mohammad Khan, from north London, alleged Virgin Atlantic staff “racially and religiously profiled” him over a “harmless” conversation with a flight stewardess and another passenger. The 26-year-old said he was escorted off his flight from London Heathrow to Atlanta, Georgia, following a “massive overaction” by cabin crew. The Middlesex University graduate was travelling to the US for an interview for a business internship in Medellin, Colombia. He said another passenger,


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UK special forces to join Trump’s Afghanistan troop surge: Report

UK troops from the Special Air Service (SAS), a special forces unit of the British Army, are gearing up to return to Afghanistan as part of US President Donald Trump’s new strategy to boost troop levels in the war-torn country, according to a new report. Senior sources within the British military say Prime Minister Theresa May is ready to authorize a “significant uptick” in SAS activities in Afghanistan in order to step up the fight against Taliban and other extremist groups wreaking havoc in the country, The Sunday Times reported. Aside from SAS, operatives from the Special Boat Service have been playing a key role in a “scoping

exercise” to determine the type of equipment that could be sent to Afghanistan. Although the White House has yet to make an official request, the British government expects to hear from the Pentagon about the Trump administration’s plans to increase troop levels soon. “The special forces are clearly a key element of our military capability in this kind of operation,” said a senior Whitehall official. British drones and aircraft might also be deployed to Afghanistan, the report added. British military chiefs have obtained “compelling information from credible

human intelligence sources” that show Afghanistan might quickly succumb to the Taliban if US troops leave the country. The United Kingdom is planning to send more troops to Afghanistan. The intelligence has been reportedly produced by members of the UK Defense Human Intelligence Unit — a secret army unit that runs agents in war zones. Trump said that he would prolong the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan, which he once described as a “complete waste” of time and resources. Trump, who had previously called for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, argued that his “original instinct was to pull out,” but that he was convinced by his national security team to take on the Taliban militants. The new policy reflects a significant shift in his approach to Afghanistan since taking office. UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon hailed Trump’s announcement. He has already discussed Britain’s capabilities with his American counterpart, James Mattis. The United States -- under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. www.pi-media.co.uk

British Police Suspect 40 Neo-Nazis of Plotting Anti-Muslim Terror Acts British police are investigating about 40 people belonging to the neoNazi movement on suspicion they could be preparing terrorist attacks targeting Muslims, local media reported, citing police intelligence sources. According to The Sunday Times, most of the suspects live in Yorkshire. Their activity is likely to become more active after Labour lawmaker

Jo Cox was murdered in June 2016 by a suspected neo-Nazi. The suspects are under investigation for “proactively plotting” of the attacks by familiarizing themselves with the Islamic institutions and community representatives, the newspaper said. “The far-right extremists … do their research, they identify vulnerable targets and then they

make a move. ... We’re anticipating more problems and attacks by neoNazis,” a well-informed source said. In December 2016, National Action, a UK neo-Nazi group which welcomed the murder of Cox, was outlawed in the country. Cox’s murderer, Thomas Mair, was found guilty in November 2016. Earlier media reports in November indicated that Nazi-related materials were found in his home.


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I UK NEWS

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Muslims in Bradford receive letters threatening acid attacks and to kill

Muslim residents in Bradford have been sent letters including threats to launch acid attacks and “kill scum Muslims”. Police have launched a hate crime investigation into the campaign, which follows a series of malicious letters sent to mosques elsewhere in the UK. Letters seen by the Guardian included an image of a sword and the St George’s flag with the slogan “kill scum Muslims”, followed by a threat on women who wear full-face veils reading: “We are now going to do acid attacks on anyone who

wears the funny black masks around your square & Bradford & other places.” Another threatened to kill men of grooming white girls, in the wake of intense public debate over the sexual exploitation and abuse in Newcastle, Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxford. The anonymous letters were received in Hanover Square, Bradford, after being delivered by second-class post with a Lancashire postmark. Their arrival came days before a planned demonstration by the far-

right English Defence League (EDL). Organisers said march, through Keighley and Bradford, will “protest against militant Islam”, with the group calling itself a “non-racist organisation”. After acid attacks on Muslims, Islamophobes are terrifying people by throwing water on them West Yorkshire Police said an investigation had opened into the letters received in Hanover Square. “The incident is being treated as a hate crime and being taken extremely seriously,” a spokesperson added. “A thorough investigation has been launched and officers are working with the local community and partners to identify and prosecute those responsible for this despicable crime. “We understand the impact hate crime and hate incidents can have on our communities and on individuals, and crimes of this nature will not be tolerated. “Additional patrols have been deployed to the area following this report and police are working with local leaders to reassure residents, and to trace those responsible.” Counter-terror police are hunting a suspected far-right extremist behind a separate campaign of hate mail and suspicious packages sent to mosques and political targets in the UK and US. - Independent

the treatment of animals in halal abattoirs after secret filming showed workers hacking and sawing at sheeps’ throats with firms facing allegations of animal cruelty. Such footage reignited the debate over whether animals should be stunned before they are killed for meat. British law prohibits the slaughtering of animals unless they have been stunned, but there are exemptions for Jewish and Muslim producers.

Michael Gove hopes the plan will play down fears that Brexit will lead to a watering-down of British food standards with the arrival of products like US-style chlorine-washed chicken. British Veterinary Association President Gudrun Ravetz added: “Mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses will provide an essential tool in fostering a culture of compassion that could help safeguard animal welfare. www.pi-media.co.uk

Slaughterhouses in England to be forced to install CCTV All slaughterhouses in England will be forced to install CCTV under Government plans to crackdown on cruelty amid concerns about the mistreatment of animals at some halal abattoirs. Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has proposed that CCTV will be required in all areas where live animals are present with official vets given unrestricted access to the footage. It comes after charities and Tory MPs raised concerns about


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UNICEF calls for urgent protection of Syrian children

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Six and a half years of war in Syria has inflicted untold suffering on the country’s children, a senior United Nations official has said, urging parties to the conflict to stop the violence and live up to their legal obligations to children. “The impact of war on children across Syria is staggering”, said Fran Equiza, the UN Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Representative in Syria. Ongoing and heavy fighting has displaced thousands of families from Raqqa city and Deir-ez-Zor. “I have just completed a visit

to the camps in Areesha, Ein Issa and Mabrouka where I met with displaced children and oversaw UNICEF’s lifesaving efforts on the ground,” continued Ms Equiza. “I am overwhelmed by the profoundly traumatising experiences these children have been through. They have endured brutal violence, lost friends and family members,” she said, adding “They are terrified, yet hopeful.” The UNICEF representative relayed that an 11-year old displaced girl who fled Raqqa told her,

Africa’s humanitarian crises have continued to worsen in 2017, said a report released by the United Nations ahead of the World Humanitarian Day. “Twenty million Africans have been displaced from their homes and 44 million are acutely food insecure,” the report stated. It said the population displacement crisis has reached record levels with over 20 million Africans now officially registered as refugees, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. Almost 75 percent of the

continent’s displaced persons were from 5 countries; namely the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan -- the countries that are experiencing conflicts. “While global attention has focused on refugees, almost twothirds of Africa’s dislocated population are internally displaced,” it said. The number of internally displaced people --12.7 million -- represent a 65 percent increase since 2013. “More than 44 million Africans are estimated to be at a crisis or

“Before we used to play, but then the darkness came.” According to reports UNICEF is receiving from inside Raqqa city, several thousand children continue to be trapped – caught in the direct line of fire. With no access for humanitarian agencies, the city is completely cut off from lifesaving assistance. As the conflict further intensifies, children and families have little or no safe water, while food supplies are running out fast. Moreover, trapped children increasingly risk death and injury. “Children and families who wish to leave Raqqa city must be allowed to do so in safety and in dignity,” he stressed, adding: “Parties to the conflict must protect them and facilitate safe passage for civilians to move to safety.” Ms Equiza emphasised that “parties to the conflict must stop the violence all over Syria and live up to their legal obligations to children.” “All children in Syria, regardless of their location or their families’ affiliation must be protected at all times”, she concluded.

Africa’s humanitarian crises worsen: UN

emergency level of food insecurity. Parts of Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan are at risk of famine,” the report revealed. It further stated that 51 humanitarian workers have been killed last year in the Central African Republic, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan. The report listed the top ten countries in terms of population displacement; Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Burundi, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast.


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‘Triple Talaq’ divorce Law banned by Indian court

A Muslim quick divorce law has been ruled “unconstitutional” by India’s Supreme Court. Muslim women have argued that the law, which allows men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq” three times, violates their right to equality. They have been left destitute by husbands divorcing them through “triple talaq”, including by Skype and WhatsApp.

Three of the five judges hearing a case questioning the legality of the law ruled it was unconstitutional, effectively ending its legal practice. The court’s verdict was marred by confusion initially, with the senior judge, the chief justice of India, announcing that his opinion was to suspend the practice and ask the government to come up with a new law within six months. He was overruled by the

three judges who said it was unconstitutional. Debate over the law has pitted an unlikely coalition of Muslim women, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Hindu nationalist party which wanted the law quashed, against some Muslim groups which say the state has no right to interfere in religious matters. Some fear that the Hindu majority is trying to counter Islamic influence in society. India allows religious institutions to govern matters of personal law - marriage, divorce and property inheritance - through civil codes designed to protect the independence of religious communities, including of minority Muslims.

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Jewish converts to Islam among scores of Israelis fighting with IS

A report has said that two formerly Jewish converts to Islam are among dozens of Israelis who have traveled to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State group, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported, citing the Shin Bet security service. The network said it had procured a list of 20 Israelis believed to have joined the group, which included two immigrants from the former Soviet Union -- a 28-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man. They both immigrated to Israel as Jews and converted to Islam before departing

Israel. Another person on the list was an Israeli Arab who served in the Israeli military, the report said. The list was compiled amid an initiative by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to revoke the citizenship of Israelis who threaten national security even if they are outside of Israel’s borders. The report was the first to say Israeli converts had been among those joining the terror group. In March it was revealed that an Israeli convert to Islam who immigrated from Belarus had been arrested

on suspicion of attempting to travel to Syria for that reason.network, based in the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan, has long been thought to have ties to Pakistan’s shadowy military establishment. Led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is also the Taliban’s deputy leader, they have carried out numerous operations deep in the heart of Kabul, and have been blamed by Afghanistan for a devastating truck bombing that killed more than 150 people in the capital in May.


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US to limit visas from nations that refuse deportees In Case You Missed It

The Donald Trump administration is preparing to bring visa restrictions against four countries refusing to take back their deported citizens from the U.S., the State Department announced. They also confirmed that they

had received notification from the Department of Homeland Security regarding a visa restriction process. “When we receive such notification, the law requires a suspension of visa issuance,” the State Department told Anadolu

Agency. “We follow a standard process to implement a visa suspension as expeditiously as possible in the manner the Secretary (Rex Tillerson) determines most appropriate under the circumstances to achieve the desired goal.” In a response to a question about which countries would be affected, the State Department declined to elaborate, saying internal discussions with, and official notification to affected countries is still in process. However, U.S. media claims that Cambodia, Eritrea, Guinea and Sierra Leone are the countries, which will soon be subject to sanctions. However, it would only target government officials and their families, not all visas. The State Department confirmed the claim, saying that visa restrictions would not affect other consular services provided, including the determination of applications from individuals not covered by the restriction. It added that information would be available about the terms of the visa suspension, when the process is completed, but didn’t clarify when.

poverty, unemployment, corruption and a lack of public services as the main problems now confronting Iraq. Describing the new party as “democratic with conservative leanings”, the parliament leader asserted: “We are taking the first step on a long road that will bring us together to serve our people, society and homeland.” He added: “The comprehensive reform process sought by the Iraqi people requires a serious reading of the political arena and the

aspirations of the Iraqi people.” Al-Jubouri, who has served as parliament speaker since mid-2014, is also a former leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a component of the Union of Iraqi Forces, which is considered the largest Sunni bloc in parliament. The new party’s launch comes amid preparations for Iraqi provincial elections slated for September and parliamentary polls scheduled for next year. www.pi-media.co.uk

Iraqi parliament speaker unveils new political party

The launch of a new political party headed by Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri was announced on Friday in capital Baghdad. At a press conference, al-Jubouri said the new party -- dubbed the Civil Rally for Reform -- would seek to “develop effective policies aimed at finding real solutions to the political, economic and social problems facing the Iraqi state and people”. Al-Jubouri cited terrorism, displacement, unbridled emigration,


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Stripping Palestinians of residency a war crime: HRW

Human Rights Watch warned that stripping some 15,000 Palestinians of their right to live in Jerusalem alQuds since 1967 could amount to a “war crime.” “Israel claims to treat [occupied] Jerusalem as a unified city, but the reality is effectively one set of rules for Jews and another for Palestinians,” said the international right group’s Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, in a report. From June 5 to 10, 1967, the Six-Day War was fought between the Israeli regime on one side and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on the other. At the end of that war, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, and parts of the Golan Heights. Israel later withdrew from Gaza

but laid a siege on it. The war and Israel’s ensuing land seizure displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians, Press TV reported. Since then, 14,595 Palestinians have had their residence status revoked, a move which effectively stops them from remaining in the city of their birth, said Whitson. “Residency revocations often effectively force Palestinians from [occupied] east Jerusalem, who are protected by virtue of Israel’s occupation under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to leave the territory they live in,”she added. Israel is required to withdraw from all the territories seized in the war under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, adopted

months after the Six-Day War, in November 1967; but the Tel Aviv regime has been in non-compliance of that piece of international law ever since. “Deportation or forced transfers of any part of the population of an occupied territory could amount to war crimes,” she noted. The report came just a few days after an Israeli court decided to revoke the citizenship of a young Arab-Israeli man over his purported involvement in an attackagainst Israeli troops in the northern occupied territories two years ago. HRW’s director for the occupied Palestinian territories, Omar Shakir, said that revoking Zayoud’s nationality “would render him stateless, in violation of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law”. About 1.4 million Arab Israelis, making up some 18 percent of Israel’s population, live within the occupied territories. They are the descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land even after the creation of the Zionist regimein 1948. The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into alAqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015. More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

Islamic primary school targeted by extremists in Netherlands A Muslim children’s school in the Netherlands had its doors chained and locked by an anti-immigrant group, its principal said. PEGIDA claimed responsibility for the incident at the Islamic primary school in Leiden. The first day of the new academic term for primary schools in the Netherlands.

“After such an event, we do not feel safe,” Gulsum Dogan, principal of Er Riseleh School said, adding that it was the first such incident in the school’s 24 years. PEGIDA, a far-right anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant movement, shared images of the stunt on its social media accounts. Leaflets left at the school’s

entrance called on Dutch people to “oppose Islamic education”. The group also carried out a stunt at an under-construction Dutch mosque last month. It hung threatening and anti-Muslim posters on a fence surrounding the construction site of the Selimiye Mosque, work on which began in December 2016.


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Germany, Egypt reach agreement to slow down flow of refugees

Germany and Egypt have agreed on a plan to reduce the flow of refugees and asylum seekers to Europe, as part of Berlin’s wider push to curb the stream of illegal and unchecked immigration to the European country, the refugees’ ideal destination. The agreement was reached during a meeting of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in Berlin, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert announced in a statement. Seibert added that according to the new accord, Berlin would provide Cairo with more resources to run training programs to assist Egyptian

people in finding better jobs, and more funds for them to study in the European country. The statement further said that Germany would also help Cairo to improve conditions of facilities designated for Syrian refugees and other displaced people in Egypt, adding that both countries further agreed to work more closely to mount crackdown on human traffickers, who bring desperate refugees into Europe through perilous Mediterranean routes. Over a million refugees and asylum seekers crossed into Germany in 2015 and most of them stayed in the country. Far-right

Lotte Department Store, South Korea’s leading retailer, said it will open prayer rooms for Muslims at its store in Seoul this week as it steps up efforts to attract more tourists from the Middle East and Southeast Asian countries. The department store operator said they will open a 49.6 square meter room, separated for men and women, at its store in Jamsil, west of Seoul. The room will have copies of the Quran, the religious text of Islam, and foot baths.

Lotte said it is the first time for a local retailer to designate a prayer room for Muslim tourists. The retailer is also planning to certify Muslim-friendly restaurants at its stores in Jamsil and Myeongdong in downtown Seoul to meet different demands from the Muslim population. In 2016, some 980,000 Muslim tourists visited South Korea, up 33 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the Korea Tourism Organization. Local retailers have been ramping

nationalist sentiments intensified in Germany after a series of attacks involving refugees. The flow of refugees into Germany only subsided in March 2016, when Merkel led a European Union agreement with Turkey to send back refugees sailing from Turkish shores to Greece. Estimates say around a million refugees, mainly from Syria and Iraq, arrived in Germany over the last two years. The majority of refugees now take the more dangerous route from North Africa to Italy through the Mediterranean. In crisis-hit Libya, smugglers operate with relative ease, but many refugees and asylum seekers also sail from Egypt to Italy. According to figures provided by the International Organization for Migration, some 121,000 refugees and asylum seekers have arrived in Europe by sea this year. Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees. Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in those regions, thus forcing more people to flee their homes. www.pi-media.co.uk

Korean leading store sets up prayer room

up efforts to diversify their tourist portfolio to overcome the sharp decline in the number of Chinese visitors in the face of a diplomatic row over the deployment of a US antimissile system there. In June, the number of Chinese tourists in South Korea plunged 66.4 percent compared to the same period last year, marking the fourth straight month of decline after Beijing banned the sale of group tour packages in mid-March. www.pi-media.co.uk


Israel plans to change Jerusalem al-Quds demographic make-up www.pi-media.co.uk

I September 2017

Israel plans to establish a new Jewish neighborhood in the city of Jerusalem al-Quds and to increase police presence in the city, a report says. Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, accompanied by the Israeli police chief, took a tour of the city during which he visited Jewish districts in the occupied city, Palestine news agency reported. The visit also included a provocative storming of the yards of al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Israel’s

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channel 7, which revealed that Erdan has a plan for the city, composed of two parts. According to the report, the first part of the plan involves the deployment of 1,250 new policemen to Jerusalem al-Quds and the installation of thousands of cameras there, including in the Old City. The new measures also include granting pay hikes to policemen working in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

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The other part of the plan would be the establishment of a Jewish neighborhood in the city, it added. During his visit, Erdan reportedly claimed Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds Tel Aviv has tried to change the demographic make-up of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city. The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015. More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in tensions since the beginning of October 2015. www.pi-media.co.uk

Quebec City Muslims finally get a cemetery

The mayor of Quebec City held a news conference to announce that the Muslim community will buy a piece of land and be able to bury their dead close to the city’s main mosque. This is a relief for the community which endured the recent rejection of plans to set up a cemetery in a small town southwest of Quebec City. People living near the proposed

site were allowed to vote on the plan in a referendum and rejected it by 19 to 16. The Muslim community of Quebec City has been looking for a cemetery site for two decades and until now have had to either bury their loved ones in Montreal or in their countries of origin. The urgency to find something closer intensified after a gunman attacked the mosque last January and killed

six men and injured 19 others. The new cemetery will be near the Notre-Dame-de-Belmont cemetery. The parcel of land is 5,700 square meters and will cost the community $270,000. “Many Muslim families in Quebec City will no longer have to endure the sorrow of the remoteness of their deceased,” said Boufeldja Benabdallah, the QICC’s interim coordinator for the cemetery project.


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Woman wins $85,000 settlement after Los Angeles Officer removed her hijab In Case You Missed It

A US Muslim woman has won $85,000 in damages from the City of Long Beach after her religious head scarf was forcibly removed by a police officer in 2015, according to a release from the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which filed the federal lawsuit on her behalf. Kirsty Powell, who was 33 years old at the time, was a passenger in a vehicle when it was pulled over by Long Beach police on May 5, 2015. During the stop, police found three outstanding misdemeanor warrants, resulting in her arrest. When she was being booked her hijab was removed and placed in a property bag, the Long Beach Police Department said

previously. According to Powell, her hijab was forcibly removed by a male officer in view of other male officers and dozens of inmates. “She was forced to spend the entire night exposed in custody and described the experience as deeply traumatizing,” CAIR-LA stated in the release sent out today. Powell had made several requests for a female officer to search her, CAIR-LA stated previously. Officers informed her she was not allowed to wear a hijab and that they were allowed to touch a woman. Her outstanding warrants have been since cleared. “We commend Kirsty Powell

for choosing to defend her right to religious freedom and taking action,” said CAIR-LA Civil Rights Attorney Marwa Rifahie in a statement. “In addition to compensating Kirsty for the humiliation and distress she suffered, this decision also prompted a city-wide policy change by the Long Beach Police Department to ban the practice of forcible removal of the hijab for female arrestees in custody.” The Long Beach City Council voted on Tuesday to approve the settlement, according to CAIR-LA, which also stated that the LBPD amended its policy in November, after the suit was filed, to accommodate religious head coverings for persons in custody. “Long Beach did the right thing by admitting that stripping Kirsty’s hijab stripped her of her religious freedom,” stated co-counsel Carey Shenkman, a constitutional lawyer based in New York. “I hope more cities follow this example by adopting policies to ensure the constitutional rights of Muslims are protected.” San Bernardino and Orange counties have both adopted policies protecting religious headwear in detention following similar lawsuits settled in 2018 and 2013, respectively, according to CAIR-LA. www.pi-media.co.uk

Alameda community outraged over anti-Islamic hate flyers A message of hate posted on flyers throughout the city of Alameda, California, had police on high alert and residents of the East Bay community. The flyer features an Islamic woman and a swastika and comes less than a few weeks after a

synagogue was vandalized. Dozens of people gathered at the Islamic Center for a rally. Neighbours rallied at the Islamic center, some carrying signs in response to the recent words and actions. “Everyone is outraged, scared,”

said Carla Lopez. “I want to stand up against it. We don’t want hate here. We’re diverse, and we like being diverse.” Alameda police were still trying to identify those responsible for the incident. www.pi-media.co.uk


Racist hit Islamic cemetery in US

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Days before the bombing at the Bloomington Islamic Center, Al Maghfirah cemetery board members discovered vandalism inside the state’s first-ever cemetery exclusively being created for members of the Islamic faith. “Holes with a sledgehammer,” Al Maghfirah Cemetery Association board member Hyder Aziz pointed out as he gave 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS a tour of the damage. “This should be a place of security and peace.” Aziz discovered the vandalism and destruction when he brought the

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architect in to start making plans. “One of the threats says, ‘Leave or you’re dead,’” he said of the graffiti. Leaders in the Muslim community are asking that the incident be investigated as a hate crime. It took years to acquire the land, and with an estimated $50,000 of damage, it will take even longer for the location to become a sacred place for Minnesota’s Muslim community. “All cemeteries should be respected,” Hassan Mohamud, Imam of Da’wah Mosque and local

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community leader, said. “In Islam, even at the time of the war, the places no one can touch are the cemetery places.” Mohamud said there are two especially sacred places in the Islamic religion, a mosque and a cemetery. Both of which have been at the center of targeted attacks this month. “We want to be good neighbors. That’s what’s important,” said Aziz. “I think, I hope, these guys, whoever did this, they will eventually change their minds.” The name of the cemetery, Al Maghfirah, is fitting. It means ‘forgiveness’. “For every one person with bad intentions, there are a hundred people with good intentions. So we have to really look for the best,” Aziz said. Local law enforcement is involved in this investigation. They took the sledgehammer left behind as evidence. Aziz hopes to be able to get the cemetery repaired and ready to open in about 12 months. However, purchasing the land and building the cemetery is a collective effort by the Muslim community and, right now, there is no insurance to cover the damages. www.pi-media.co.uk

1.7 million Muslims in Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage The number of Muslim pilgrims to have arrived in Saudi Arabia -- from all over the world -- to perform this year’s Hajj pilgrimage now stands at 1,723,793, the Saudi authorities said. “The number of pilgrims to have arrived [to Saudi Arabia] by air

reached 1,620,592, while 88,374 had arrived by land and another 14,827 by sea,” Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate for Passports tweeted. The number of arrivals is fast approaching the roughly 1.9 million Muslims who visited the kingdom last year for the 2016 Hajj pilgrimage,

according to official figures. Over the course of the last month, hundreds of thousands of Muslims have converged on Saudi Arabia from all over the world to perform this year’s pilgrimage, which all Muslims are obligated to do at least once in their lifetimes.


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In Case You Missed It

Germany banned the country’s main online platform for far-left activists and militants after anticapitalist protesters rioted during a G20 summit in Hamburg. The site, linksunten-indymedia. org, has allowed anonymous users to, for example, announce demonstrations or blockades of neo-Nazi rallies, but also to celebrate

violence against police or to share instructions on making molotov cocktails. De Maiziere has warned repeatedly that police and security services must crack down on far-left and anarchist groups just as they do against far-right organisations. The ban of the site, and a search of premises in the western

university city of Freiburg near the French border, comes a month before national elections in which Chancellor Angela Merkel will seek a fourth term. Police searched five separate locations and confiscated knives, batons and slingshots, but no arrests were made. Germany’s domestic security service says in its annual report that the website launched in 2009 has become the main platform on which militant far-left groups posted claims of responsibility for acts of vandalism and violence. It was also a major platform for activists who organised rallies, protests and blockades during the Group of 20 summit hosted by the northern port city of Hamburg in early July. The global summit that brought together US President Donald Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and other leaders was marred by mass protests, sit-in blockades and street clashes where anarchist mobs battled riot police, torched cars and looted shops.

Racists target Mosques across Spain In Case You Missed It

Vandals attacked a Spanish mosque with racist graffiti – the latest in a spate of Islamophobic assaults in the country since terror attack in Barcelona. The Seville Mosque Foundation’s center was targeted with anti-Muslim hate speech, such as ‘Killers, you’re going to pay’, and another one that used a slur for North Africans. The graffiti, which was discovered also included threats to behead Muslims with machetes. At the same time a mosque in Granada was attacked with flares by a gang of people in a horrific racist attack. Shocking footage of the Granada

attack shows children and families fleeing in terror as orange smoke filled the area, and around a dozen people chant racist slogans. Around a dozen people descended on the mosque, holding a banner that said ‘Whoever finances this mosque, finances terrorism’ while spitting racist epithets. Right-wing group Hogar Social has been accused of carrying out the attack, and were reportedly driven away by police officers. Jalid Nieto, a spokesman for the mosque, said he had reported the gang to the police – and called it a ‘hate crime’.

He added: ‘They are taking advantage of Thursday’s terror attack, which pains us and has left us devastated, to try to make ideological capital. ‘People should understand that Muslims, just like any other person, can be victims of the injustice of the individuals behind Thursday’s attacks.’ Nieto also accused the racists of ‘taking advantage of the horrible incidents in Catalonia’ to further their message of hate. None of the gang have as yet been identified. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Mandela Grandson urges Pretoria to cut off ties with Tel Aviv

The grandson of South African antiapartheid revolutionary and politician, Nelson Mandela, called on South Africa’s government to expel the Israeli ambassador to Pretoria and sever all diplomatic and business relations with the Tel Aviv regime. Mandla Mandela, who is a member of parliament for the ruling African National Congress (ANC), urged ANC caucus in legislature to pressure the government to send Arthur Lenk out of the country, and recall South Africa’s Ambassador to Israel Sisa Ngombane, and cut all ties, Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported. “History calls upon us to take similar measures to those taken by

freedom, justice and peace loving communities that supported the global anti-apartheid movement against the brutal and illegitimate South African regime,” he said. Mandela also praised the decision made by a group of ANC lawmakers to turn down an Israeli delegation’s request to meet, according to Press TV. “Parliament has stayed true to Nelson Mandela’s commitment to stand by the Palestinian cause until Palestine is free,’’ he said in a statement. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) also welcomed the measure. “Cosatu joins solidarity

organizations, human rights bodies and other groups in welcoming the decision by the parliament of South Africa to turn down a request to meet with a visiting delegation from Israel,” the group said in a statement. Most South Africans have historically supported the Palestinians due to similarities between the Israeli occupation and South Africa’s apartheid era. Mandela said in 1997 that “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in 2002 that his trip to Palestine had reminded him “so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.” The Israeli regime on the one side and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on the other fought the Six-Day War on June 5-10, 1967. At the end of that war, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, and parts of the Golan Heights. Israel later withdrew from Gaza but has kept the coastal enclave under a crippling siege since 2007. Palestinian authorities want the resolution of the conflict with Tel Aviv based on the so-called two-state solution along pre-1967 boundaries, but Israeli officials have so far refused the call.

Swiss to vote if Halal, Kosher meat should be banned The Swiss Parliament is to vote on whether to ban the import of kosher and halal meat in the country amid criticism from Jewish leaders. The piece of legislation was introduced in June and would make it illegal to bring any meat into the country which was slaughtered in a manner deemed to be inhumane. It would include both halal and kosher meat because the animal is conscious when they are slaughtered. Herbert Winter, president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish

Communities, told the Jewish Chronicle the bill would ‘be a massive limitation on the religious freedoms of Jews’ in Switzerland, the Daily Mail reported. Last year, the population of Switzerland was 8.37million, of which 17,500 were Jewish and around 450,000 Muslims. The act of religious slaughter in the neutral country has been banned since 1893, but at the moment the import of such products is legal despite a number of attempts to block it.

Despite the religious element to the vote, with Muslims eating halal and Jews eating kosher meats, the main point of contention appears to be the effect it would have on Swiss cuisine. According to the Tages Anzeiger newspaper, the strongest opposition to the bill has come from those against it effectively banning foie gras and goose liver pâté, which is popular in Switzerland. No date has been set for the vote. www.pi-media.co.uk


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Professional Asians in football numbers very low says charity

British black footballers have doubled in the Premier League where as British Asian numbers are still consistently low says a sports charity Sporting Equals has announced a continuation of their strategic partnership with the UK Asian Football Championships. This comes in light of a new study showing that British black players have doubled since 1992 and the numbers of British Asians has remained consistently low. The UK Asian Football Championships, now in its nineteenth

year has raised the profile of Asians in football says the charity. The championships are organised by the Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association (SEMSA) and in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Rangers Football Club and Celtic Football Club. Preliminary games will be played on 1 and 2 September and the final on 3 September at Ibrox. Arun Kang CEO Sporting Equals commenting on the partnership said; “Sporting Equals are once again

supporting the UK Asian Football Championships because the issue of the lack of British Asians in professional football has not gone away, in fact, the numbers are as low as they were two decades ago. “British Asians have been established in Britain for over half a century and are prominent in other elite sports like cricket and boxing. “However, football has not been able to make the same impact. There are over four million British Asians and football is the most popular participation sport but there have been only 5-10 British Asian professional footballers out of approximately 3000 players in recent years. “It seems these players become invisible to the footballing bodies when transitioning into professional football. When it comes to coaching at elite level too it is worrying. “There is no Asian breakdown but the number of BAME coaches at UEFA B and above level is less than 9%. This is extremely disappointing and the football authorities need to examine whether they have the right infrastructure helping them to increase the British Asian numbers in professional football.” www.pi-media.co.uk

Abu Dhabi firm buys major stake in Spanish La Liga side Manchester City’s parent company have bought a major share in promoted Spanish La Liga side Girona, it was announced. The 44.3 percent stake purchased by the City Football Group matches the share in the Catalan club held by the Girona Football Group, a company owned by Pere Guardiola, the brother of

Pep Guardiola who is the coach of the Premier League giants. “City Football Group and Girona Football Group are the majority shareholders, and the new owners have set themselves the objective of maintaining, consolidating and expanding Girona to permanently establish itself in La Liga,” said a statement.

The value of the agreement was not disclosed but Spanish media claimed the club’s new shareholders bought the stake previously owned by French company TVSE Futbol. The new agreement, which has already received the green light of the Spanish Sports Ministry, allows Girona to loan five players from Manchester City this season.

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Bangladesh seal historic first Test win against Australia www.pi-media.co.uk

I September 2017

Bangladesh registered their first-ever win over Australia in Test cricket, beating Steve Smith’s men by 20 runs in a thrilling match in Dhaka. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan took 5-85 to help the hosts dismiss Australia for 244 shortly into the second session on the fourth day. David Warner top-scored with 112 for the tourists, who were chasing a victory target of 265 after dismissing the hosts for 221 in their second innings. Shakib lived up to his billing as the world’s number one Test all-

rounder, finishing with a match haul of 10 wickets with his left-arm spin and making 84 in Bangladesh’s firstinnings total of 260. Australia - who are touring Bangladesh for the first time in more than a decade - are currently ranked fourth to Bangladesh’s lowly ninth in ICC Test rankings. They appeared to be coasting towards their fifth consecutive Test win over the minnows when Warner and Smith resumed the day on 109 for two. Warner, who was unbeaten on

75 overnight, reached his 19th Test century off 121 balls with two runs off spinner Taijul Islam. But Shakib brought Bangladesh back into the game, dismissing both Warner and Smith (37) to put pressure on the tourists. Pat Cummins hit a valiant 33 not out after Shakib bowled Glenn Maxwell (14) off the first ball of the second session, leaving Australia tottering on 199-8. Cummins hit three fours and two sixes to bring his side achingly close to a win, but Shakib’s spin partner Taijul brought the curtain down on the innings with his dismissal of Josh Hazlewood for nought. Hazlewood, who was already nursing an injury, has been ruled out of the second and final Test of the series. Australia have not played a Test in Bangladesh since Ricky Ponting’s team visited in 2006, six years after Bangladesh were granted Test status. They were due to play two Tests in the country in October 2015 but the tour was cancelled amid security fears after a wave of attacks by Islamist extremists in the Muslimmajority nation. The second Test will be played in Chittagong from September 4-8.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was named UEFA Europa League Player of the Season 2016-17, beating teammates Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the prize, European soccer’s governing body announced in Monaco. Pogba, who rejoined United from Juventus last year, started all 15

games and scored three times in Europe’s second-tier competition to help United lift the trophy for the first time in May. “I am very happy to be the first one to win the UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award,” the 24-year-old said in a statement. “Hopefully, the new season will be as successful as the last one for

both me and my club. Thank you so much.” The winner of the inaugural prize was chosen by a panel of 48 coaches of the clubs that participated in the Europa League group stage last season and 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group. www.pi-media.co.uk

Pogba wins UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award


Libya’s Political Landscape post Qadhaffi

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Developments in post-Qadhafi Libya during transitional period from July 2012 to May 2014 focused on legitimizing claims to power by rival factions. From May 2014 until the present day has been characterized by tension and violence among loose political-military coalitions. The multifaceted conflict that has been taking place is best described as involving factions within one group fighting one another as well as rival violent Islamist extremist groups.

The Conflict and Negotiations, in Libya In May 2014, Libya was immersed in chaotic conflict and negotiations commenced involving a group of current and former military officers led by retired General Khalifa Haftar. Haftar launched a military campaign against Islamist groups which had not been authorized by the national government. He had earlier announced his intention to lead a military takeover of government. Secondly, Haftar wanted to control the country by campaign as an attempt to illegitimately reassert his control and enjoy the same privileges afforded to former regime officials that were aligned with foreign countries. There are many countries also like Qatar, Turkey, and Sudan who back Islamist and non-Islamist western Libyabased adversaries. At present, there is conflict between two rival governments affiliated with the GNC in Tripoli and HOR in Tobruk, respectively. The United States, the United Nations, and other international parties recognized the authority of the HOR government through late 2015, but in practice remained engaged with all parties in the pursuit of reconciliation. In December 2015, the repositioning of locally organized political councils and militias in response to GNA according to U.N.-

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facilitated Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) was signed in Skhirat, Morocco, In addition, In January 2016, the conflict is continuing with HOR leaders and General Khalifa Haftar blocking the wider body from endorsing the GNA’s proposed cabinet through a required procedural vote and constitutional amendment process. HOR members are aligned with General Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya and their leader Aqilah Issa Saleh appointed General Haftar as military commander in March 2015 after the movement voted to create the position.

Haftar’s first step in Libya Haftar saw himself as the legitimate leader of Libya’s armed forces ’and he rejected the current GNA Presidency Council in September 2016 Pro-Haftar forces have largely consolidated security control over much of northeastern Libya, and moved to take control of important oil infrastructure sites in the Sirte basin. A number of other countries are diametrically opposed to against Haftar and some western Libya-based GNA supporters have called for the exclusion of General Haftar from a security role in any future government. On the other hand, some former GNC members and some militia forces formerly aligned with the “Libya Dawn” grouping have announced their support for the GNA and have stepped forward to defend the GNA Presidency Council’s limited presence in Tripoli. Western backed Libya-based GNA had a desire to recapture the city of Sirte from the Islamic State organization. in 2016, Haftar’s opponents retook some central Libyan oil facilities from his forces in March 2017 as part of their campaign to reenter Benghazi and challenged Haftar directly for the first time. There are some pro-GNA militia forces in western

Libya and their forces that have battled with U.S. military support and may now seek an enhanced security role for themselves setting up a confrontation with the so called Islamic state in the near future.

Libyan Oil Reserves Since 2011 revolution and the conflict between the government and Islamic state, has taken a severe toll on the country’s economy and weakened its fiscal and reserve positions. Libya faced large budget deficits from 2011 to 2014, the deficit was low prior to that Post 2015, (49% of GDP in 2015), the deficit has been high and World Bank/International Monetary Fund statistics suggest that foreign exchange reserves have fallen precipitously from their high point of $124 billion in 2012. In December 2016, Libya’s government was then operating at a 70% budget deficit, although an expansion of oil production was providing some muchneeded financial resources despite the instability in Libya and the Arab region and the absence of a national unity government. The budget shortfalls were caused by lower oil production in light of the fact that oil and natural gas sales supply 97% of the government’s fiscal revenue. As of August 2016, due to the internal conflict, the country was only producing 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) out of an overall capacity of 1.6 million bpd. Production expanded in late 2016 and early 2017 to approximately 700,000 barrels per day. Due to the ensuing instability and the theft of gas and oil in the region has led to a decline in the price of the dollar and the decline in the price of oil. The repercussions of the crisis In December 2016, due to the crisis and the ensuing economic meltdown


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reserves were down to $45 billion in late 2016, from their 2013 level of $108 billion. According to UNSMIL, the decline is still continuing but continued fighting over oil infrastructure leads some observers to warn of a continued risk of budgetary collapse. Moreover, there are rivalries among leaders of national institutions such as the Central Bank and the National Oil Company. The United States has a strong role in moving this conflict in order to take advantage of oil reserves. But, the United States and other supporters of the People’s Army’s chairmanship confessed that the Tripolibased firm was legitimate that took effect in May 2016. Private and secured assets were found in the Central Bank of Casablanca branch, prompting the US government to warn against actions not sanctioned by the rich National Army Presidency that had the potential to undermine confidence between Libyan consumers and international business partners. The prospect for increased oil production from Libya has been clouded by intermittent conflict between the victory of pro-GNA forces over IS forces in Sirte, Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) forces under the leadership of Ibrahim Jadhran asserted control over key terminals in the area in 2013, in March 2014. Jadhran reached an agreement with GNA officials in July 2016 to allow GNA-approved exports from terminals under PFG control in exchange for unspecified concessions. In August and early September 2016, LNA forces moved westward from Benghazi in a bid to assert control over local municipalities and, on September 11, launched an operation to take control of oil terminals at Zuwaytina, Es Sidr/Sidra, Ras Lanuf, and Marsa al Burayqah. This conflict resulted UN intervention in important resolutions on September 12, the governments of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom called for “all military forces that have moved into the oil crescent to withdraw immediately, without preconditions” The LNA and HOR governments rejected the statement and joined some other Libyans in describing it as interfering in Libyan affairs. GNA Prime Ministerdesignate Al Sarraj issued a statement rejecting foreign military intervention, calling for dialogue, and seeking an end to provocative actions. If Libyans prove unwilling or unable to reach a compromise third parties, including may face challenging choices about how to respond based on what happened in Benghazi when

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the Defense Brigades took temporary control of facilities at Es Sidr and Ras Lanuf. The U.N. Security Council extended the mandate for member states to assist in preventing oil exports that are not authorized by the GNA through July 2017 and requested that the latter notify the Council “as soon as it exercises sole and effective oversight over the National Oil Corporation, the Central Bank of Libya, and the Libyan Investment Authority.” It remains to be seen whether or when such a notification may be possible, and whether or how third parties might act to constrain or allow oil exports from Libya under various political circumstances. Evolution of the Islamic State in Libya In September 2015, The Islamic State exerted its control in Sirte, a small Libyan city, along a stretch of surrounding coastline. As pressure from the anti-Islamic State coalition in Iraq and Syria has intensified, IS is expanding quickly in Libya, and controlled Derna, Benghazi, and Sabratha. Moreover, Libya also lacks many of the attributes that the Islamic State has exploited in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State’s slowing momentum, its inability to expand, and the differences between the Iraqi/Syrian and Libyan landscape all beg the question of just how feasible it would be for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to shift to Libya. In the immediate aftermath of Libya’s full-blown civil war broke out in 2014, a multitude of jihadi organizations to emerge. The Islamic State was expanding elsewhere in Libya, most notably in the central coastal city of Sirte, which it controlled by June 2015. It also managed to gain a foothold in some neighborhoods in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, as well as secure an outpost in the western city of Sabratha. The Islamic State’s ideology and methods, however, provoked a backlash from other jihadi organizations in Derna, and in June 2015, a group of jihadis united under the Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna and launched a campaign against the Islamic State that ultimately led to its withdrawal from the city. More recently, a combination of forces under the leadership of General Khalifa Haftar with alleged support from French Special Forces drove the Islamic State from some neighborhoods in Benghazi and a U.S. airstrike followed by a Libyan militia offensive squeezed the Islamic State in Sabratha, although assessing the size of the Islamic State in Libya is difficult at present. When the group first appeared in Libya in December 2014, the movement

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only comprised of fewer than 800 fighters. In February 2015, there were between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters. By November 2015, the Islamic State in Libya had 2,000 to 3,000 fighters. But by January 2016, some U.S. assessments suggested that it had grown to between 5,000 and 6,000 fighters. But the report from French sources believe that the group is much stronger, with as many as 12,000 members. Even at the upper end of the range, the Islamic State in Libya still has fewer fighters than the most conservative estimates of the number of fighters in Iraq and Syria, which is around 18,000. Thus, the average assessment of the number of Islamic State fighters in Libya is roughly 40 % of the average of fighters in Iraq and Syria. This is in a country four times the size of Iraq (and three times the size of Iraq and Syria combined). In mid-2015. By early 2016, senior U.S. officials estimated that the group’s strength had grown to as many as 6,000 personnel across the country, amongst a larger community of Libyan Salafi-jihadist activists and militia members. On May 19, 2016, the U.S. State Department announced the designation of the Islamic State’s branch in Libya as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity under Executive Order 13224. In March 2017, U.S. AFRICOM Commander General Waldhauser described IS forces in Libya as scattered and seeking to regroup as a matter of urgency. He also said that U.S. military support for anti-IS fighters would continue and emphasized the importance of political reconciliation as a prerequisite for lasting security. At the end, the security situation in Libya is highly volatile. This affects the Middle East to all intents and purposes. That is the problem faced by state organizations and foreign powers. Obama’s administration notified Congress of plans to support the GNA with more robust counterterrorism measures in 2016. Trump’s administration has yet to articulate a detailed Libya policy. Libya is among the countries identified in a 2017 Executive Order restricting the entry of nationals of certain countries to the United States with some exceptions. Political consensus among Libyans remains elusive, and insecurity may continue to preclude the return to Libya to the international fold. By Miral Alashry Assistant Professor Canadian international college ( CIC) Department of Journalism


The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context

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Part 16

Uthman Ibn Affan became Caliph (khalifah) and amir ul-mumineen) leader of the faithful in 644 AD in tragic circumstances. Umar Ibn al-Khattab’s assassination at the hands of Piruz Nahravand created great turmoil and strife in the Muslim community. There has been much speculation as to why Umar Ibn al-Khattab was assassinated. Historical sources attest to the fact that Piruz was incensed that the Caliph’s forces had defeated the once mighty Sassanid empire in Persia. The Persians were highly aggrieved at the fact that they faced an uncertain future at the hands of a foreign occupying power. This matter was further compounded by the fact that Piruz had complained on several occasions that he was being taxed unfairly by his master Mughirah for his work. Piruz was an accomplished expert in constructing windmills and was unhappy that he was being left with little substantial return for his effort. It is said that Umar Ibn al-Khattab once enquired about the work Piruz was involved in and the latter

replied by saying ‘I will make you a windmill by which the whole world will remember’. Historians tell us that many Persians were brought over to Madinah as slaves of many became Muslims. However, things took a turn for the worse when on the 31st of October 644 AD, Piruz came to the Masjid al-Nabawi and attacked Umar Ibn al-Khattab who was incidentally leading the early morning prayer (Fajr) leaving him fatally wounded having been subjected to a horrific attack. Three day later on the 3rd of November 644 AD, Umar Ibn alKhattab had passed away and the Muslim world mourned the loss of one of the greatest leaders mankind had witnessed. It is said that Piruz attempted to flee in earnest amongst the departing contingent of worshippers but realised that he was at risk of being caught and made the snap decision to slash himself and committed suicide in the process. Upon the death of Umar Ibn al-Khattab, Ubaidullah who was the youngest son of the slain caliph came to the conclusion that the Persian contingent in Madinah was

complicit in the planning and the murder of his father. Suspicion was further enhanced by the testimonies of Abdul Rahman Ibn Abu Bakr and Abdul Rahman Ibn Awf that they had seen Piruz Jaffina and Hurmuzan acting in a suspicious manner and that they had in their possession the knife that was used to murder Umar Ibn al-Khattab. By this time, Ubaidullah took steps to avenge the murder of his father and killed Jaffina, Hurmuzan and the daughter of Piruz. Ubaidullah’s actions led to the election of the next caliph being delayed as the decision had to be made in relation to what action would be taken against him. However, Uthman Ibn Affan was duly elected as the new Caliph after the remaining companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) after much deliberation. Ubaidullah was released by the authorities and spared execution and in turn blood monies were paid to the victims’ families in order to spare the community of experiencing an execution after the death of the caliph.


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