The Guardian World news: Islam

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Egypt blocks YouTube over film denigrating prophet Muhammad

27 May, 2018 - 01:53

Court ruling ends years-long appeals process over film that sparked deadly anti-US riots

Egypt’s top administrative court ordered authorities to block video-sharing website YouTube for a month over a film denigrating Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

The ruling on Saturday ends a years-long appeals process over the 2012 amateurish film, Innocence of Muslims, which depicts the prophet Muhammad as a buffoon and a paedophile.

Related: Egyptian pop singer sent to prison for video that 'incited debauchery'

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Ed Husain: from Islamist radical … to champion of liberal Muslims

26 May, 2018 - 21:30

The British writer explains why his new book calls for a battle for the moderate and inclusive soul of Islam

The house of Islam is on fire and its Muslim arsonists must be expelled. So comes the provocation from Ed Husain, self-proclaimed former Islamist radical, who puts much of the blame for Isis, Syria, Hamas and beyond on Saudi-sponsored Salafism and the export of Wahhabism across the world. “We can’t blame the rest of the global neighbourhood for the fire we’ve lit in our own home,” he says, in an empty Brick Lane cafe on the first morning of Ramadan.

Through writing his new book, an attempt at condensing a global history of Islam, Husain arrives at the logical, albeit frequently observed, conclusion that the spread of this rigid, literalist interpretation of Islam “rejected by the vast majority of Muslims and imposed on them” is the biggest threat to the religion. The solution? To defeat the ideology.

We can’t blame the rest of the global neighbourhood for the fire we’ve lit in our own home

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US liberal Islamophobia is rising – and more insidious than rightwing bigotry | Khaled A Beydoun

26 May, 2018 - 17:00

We must not ignore the spread of leftists who preach that Islam is inimical to liberal values

“When will Muslims step up and reform Islam?” asked the self-identified “progressive and intersectional” college student, following a presentation of my book, American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear, at New York University.

The student wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and a colorful assortment of pins and patches on his camouflage backpack calling for “equality now” and claiming that “The future is female”. The young man, by way of verbal admission and the myriad of political statements he proudly wore, was a political progressive. And indeed, a representative of a swelling population of leftists who embrace progressive principles yet see Islam as inimical to liberal values and in conflict with American identity.

Related: Let’s be clear: Muslims are neither good nor bad. We’re just human | Farah Elahi

For liberal Islamophobes, much like their rightwing counterparts, 'Muslims are the quintessentially illiberal subjects'

Related: The fight for the right to be a Muslim in America

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Is Ramadan easier in Nigeria than New York? | Bim Adewunmi

26 May, 2018 - 06:00

Back when we lived in Nigeria, the rules were simple and the daylight hours of the fasting month remained (almost) constant

It’s that time of year again. Thanks to the vagaries of a lunar calendar, Ramadan 2018 is upon us a little earlier.

When I lived in Nigeria, the rules were simple and the daylight hours of the fasting month remained (almost) constant. Day 1 was not that dissimilar to Day 15 or even Day 26, year in, year out; our position just north of the equator served to bring a reliable sameness to the holy month. Day followed night in a strict schedule which is, as a teen, exactly what you crave after a day of fasting.

Related: I dream of a TV drama about my own schooldays | Bim Adewunmi

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Danish politician says Muslims stay off work during Ramadan

21 May, 2018 - 22:19

Critics scorn Inger Støjberg’s ‘completely absurd idea’ that daylight fasting is dangerous

A Danish government minister has asserted that Muslims should not work during Ramadan because the month-long daylight fasting period poses safety hazards in some professions and makes the practice “dangerous for us all.”

The integration minister, Inger Støjberg, an immigration hardliner in Denmark’s centre-right government, questioned in a blog post on Monday how “commanding observance to a 1,400-year-old pillar of Islam” was compatible with modern labour markets.

Related: Danish government proposes ban on full-face veils

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Sheffield's lord mayor might be a 'zaddy' but he's serious about change | Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

21 May, 2018 - 13:33

Suave and sexy Magid Magid knows how to utilise humour in the internet age of celebrity, but by being himself he can inspire others

The new lord mayor of Sheffield, Magid Magid, announced his tenure to the world on Twitter in a font only marginally better than comic sans. At his mayor-making ceremony, Darth Vader’s Imperial March from Star Wars played over the speakers, followed by the Superman theme tune as invitees made their way to the seats. And thanks to his suave, unofficial inaugural photographs – showing him squatting on a marble staircase in the Sheffield town hall, clad in his livery collar and Dr. Martens – he has been pronounced a “zaddy” (a sexy, fashionable man who could be your “daddy”.

He reflects the realities of most young black and brown people from working-class backgrounds

Related: We Greens aren’t uniting with Labour: small parties must stand firm | Jonathan Bartley and Caroline Lucas

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Far-right activists who invaded mass would be charged with terrorism if Muslim, rector says

21 May, 2018 - 08:01

Father Rod Bower says his church was probably targeted over support for refugees and inclusive stance towards Muslims

The rector of Gosford Anglican church has said a group of far right activists who marched into a service carrying a whip and a toy sword would be charged with terrorism if they were Muslim.

Father Rod Bower, who was leading the Saturday evening mass, said the church was probably targeted over its vocal support for refugees and its inclusive stance towards Muslims.

Related: Far-right protesters interrupt Anglican service clothed in mock Islamic dress

Christianist #Terrorists traumatized our 6pm congregation last night through violence and intimidation. What have we become? #Auspol @abcsydney

The #Holocaust is what happens when #Christians give into #nationalism . Full reflection here: #Auspol

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Iraq: anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s bloc confirmed as election winners

19 May, 2018 - 02:09
  • Sitting PM in third place with pro-Iran figure in second
  • Protracted negotiations to form government expected

A political bloc led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a long-time adversary of the US who also opposes Iranian influence in Iraq, has been confirmed as the winner of the country’s parliamentary election, the electoral commission said on Saturday.

Sadr himself cannot become prime minister as he did not run in the election, though his bloc’s victory puts him in a position to have a strong say in negotiations. His Sairoon electoral list captured 54 parliamentary seats.

Related: Iraq's shock election result may be turning point for Iran

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What do you say to a four-year-old white supremacist?

17 May, 2018 - 11:00

A child’s uncensored racist commentary is a harsh reminder that while society has moved forward, the book on discrimination isn’t closed yet

I try to be sympathetic, although not accommodating, to the fact that entire generations of Americans were explicitly taught white skin is superior. But it’s difficult to be sympathetic when those beliefs are expressed by a four-year-old.

It was Friday night, 22 February 2015. My friend Nuha (a Sudanese American) and I (an Egyptian American) walked into a restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi. Both of us are different shades of non-white. The scene could have taken place anywhere in America.

Related: Islamophobia is real. Stop the obsession with semantics | Miqdaad Versi

Related: North Carolina shooting victims remembered for their 'amazing spirit'

You cannot not speak up when someone who’s only been in this world for four years thinks he’s more valuable than you

The most powerful and regenerating sources of hate are the ones that people of color cannot touch, let alone fight

Related: I investigated my own family for their history of lynching

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All hail Ms Marvel, a young, female Muslim superhero for our times | Coco Khan

17 May, 2018 - 08:00

At long last, Hollywood is planning a blockbuster film in which a Muslim will not be a threat but a kickass heroine

When news circulated on Tuesday that Marvel was going to bring a Pakistani-American 16-year-old girl, Kamala Khan (aka Ms Marvel), into its much-loved cinema universe, I was pleased on a number of counts. I was pleased for myself, to now have a reference for when people ask me how to spell my name, other than “like Genghis”. I was pleased for all my Pakistani actor friends who finally have parts to audition for that aren’t “wife of terrorist No 3” (a speaking part, no less, with three-dimensional lines saying something more than “I love Allah” or “shall I make dinner?”).

But mainly I was pleased for the world, because the world needs this movie. For far too long Muslims have been portrayed with suspicion, a threat, much-maligned and misunderstood. Now, finally, a Muslim is the heroine in a mainstream, going-to-be-watched-by-millions blockbuster. And a Muslim girl for that matter, a demographic often silenced; spoken about and not spoken to, and battling not only Islamophobia, but misogyny from outside their community and within.

Related: Black Panther to become first film shown in Saudi Arabian cinemas in 35 years

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Khurshid Drabu obituary

16 May, 2018 - 17:50
Britain’s first Muslim judge who worked hard to promote interfaith understanding

Khurshid Drabu, who has died aged 72, was Britain’s first Muslim judge, holding senior posts on immigration and asylum tribunals between 2000 and 2016. He was among those who helped to found the Muslim Council of Britain, the largest cross-sectarian umbrella body of mosques and related organisations in the UK.

However, it was also important to him that his work should extend to the wider community, as an adviser to the Ministry of Defence; as a trustee of the Joseph Foundation, promoting interfaith understanding between Muslims and Jews; as a member of the Mental Health Review tribunal; and as a magistrate.

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Islamophobia is real. Stop the obsession with semantics | Miqdaad Versi

15 May, 2018 - 14:02
The idea that those who engage in Islamophobia or deny its existence should be driving our word choice is ludicrous

“Islamophobia is a fiction to shut down debate,” railed Melanie Phillips in The Times. Phillips’ lament was a doubling down of her appearance on BBC Sunday Politics earlier in the week where she dismissed Islamophobia by complaining that “any criticism of the Muslim community is considered Islamophobic”.

Others have also challenged the use of the term. Defending his bigotry, the far-right activist Tommy Robinson declared: “I’m not talking about Muslims, I’m talking about Islam.” Once again, we see Islamophobia being dismissed by deploying “straw man” arguments that refer to a shutting down of debate.

Thank you @DawnHFoster for standing up to Melanie Phillips' disgusting semantic excuses for #Islamophobia on @daily_politics. People use the same excuse for anti-semitism and it is appalling in both cases.

Related: Islamophobia not an issue in the British press? You’ve got to be kidding | Miqdaad Versi

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Restless in exile: the outsider art of Nasim Nasr

15 May, 2018 - 04:00

Caught between east and west, the Iranian-born Sydney-based artist interrogates the different ways women can be invisible in plain sight

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Within days of arriving in Australia, Iranian-born Nasim Nasr was taken by her friends to a nude beach. South Australia’s Maslin beach is a famed tourist attraction, but Nasr was startled to see signs forbidding any clothing whatsoever.

“Big signs, with crosses in them: no clothes allowed,” Nasr tells Guardian Australia. She draws an X in the air. She knew what she had to do: duck back home to grab a chador and camera. The resulting black and white images show her in full flight – running towards the water fully clothed, the black cloak catching the wind behind her.

Related: Muslim and fabulous: how the internet changed fashion for Aussie hijabistas | Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Related: Bill Henson: 'How do you suggest the whole world in a hand?'

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The Guardian view on Gaza shootings: stop killing unarmed civilians | Editorial

14 May, 2018 - 18:28
Channelling a reckless Donald Trump, Israeli ministers appear to have adopted a dangerous mindset: to destroy the national aspirations of the Palestinians by military force

It is inexcusable for soldiers of a military, especially those under democratic civilian control, to shoot and kill protesters, almost all of whom were unarmed, and who pose no credible threat. Yet at the boundary between Gaza and Israel today Israeli soldiers seem to have done just that. It should make Israelis quail that demonstrators were sprayed with live ammunition with apparent impunity. There were dozens of deaths and hundreds of maimings among the Palestinians who had marched to the border to make a point about their right to return to their ancestral homes. Israel’s army evinced no shame in committing what looks like a war crime. These are serious accusations. Yet they were greeted with little more than a shrug. By blockading Gaza, Israel imprisoned 2 million people behind barbed wire and military towers. Israel treated the violence as a jailer might a prison riot: a tragic fault of the inmates.

This is a dangerous mindset for Israelis to embrace. Yet they have done so because the extreme right in Israel, and most of the present government ministers, nurture the idea that Israel can, through its vastly superior military force, end the national aspirations of the Palestinians. These politicians take succour from US president Donald Trump, who has made good on his promise to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Today Mr Trump’s ambassador, who gave money to Jewish far-right groups in Israel, opened his nation’s new embassy in Jerusalem. This is a reckless and provocative step that will harm the prospects for peace. Like the issue of refugees, settlements and borders, the status of Jerusalem is unfinished business. No state is internationally recognised as having sovereignty over Jerusalem. Its status was meant to be determined through negotiations.

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Deadly attack on South African mosque has ‘hallmarks of Islamic State'

11 May, 2018 - 17:25

One killed and two critically wounded in knife and petrol bomb assault on Shia worshippers near Durban

South African police searching for three men who stabbed worshippers at a mosque near Durban have said the attackers’ motive was unknown but “elements of extremism” were involved.

One Muslim leader said the mosque was targeted because it was a Shia place of worship that had received previous threats, exposing deep tension between the Shia and Sunni population.

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First mosque opens on Outer Hebrides in time for Ramadan

11 May, 2018 - 15:54

Money raised worldwide to convert building in Stornaway before start of holy month

The first mosque in the Outer Hebrides has opened before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan next week, after a herculean effort by supporters in the UK and worldwide.

Members of the tiny Muslim population of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis invited local people of all faiths and none to celebrate the mosque’s opening after Friday prayers. Food set out on tables included celebratory cakes provided by the Hebridean Biscuit Company and a box of samosas sent from Leeds.

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Muslim and fabulous: how the internet changed fashion for Aussie hijabistas

11 May, 2018 - 03:27

For Yassmin Abdel-Magied, clothes shopping used to be a nightmare. Those days are over

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Clothes shopping as a teenager was a nightmare for me. There were the usual teen concerns about body image, budget, and whether my booty would fit in my jeans (booty hadn’t hit the mainstream in the early 2000s). But there was also the additional challenge that uniquely faced young Muslimahs (Muslim women) like me: almost nothing in stores was suitable for my hijabi needs.

This was before the days of online shopping, so my choices were disastrously limited to the local mall. Days were spent layering long-sleeved skivvies under short-sleeve tees, tights under dresses with thigh-high slits, and singlets under blouses with deep-Vs. These sartorial decisions might have been just about survivable in a cold European climate, but they were not built for Brisbane’s humid summers.

Seeing other young Muslim women take up space and look fabulous was empowering in the most unexpected way.

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A Sudanese teenager killed her rapist, and Muslim women are fighting for her life | Yassmin Abdel-Magied

10 May, 2018 - 16:52
Islam is often blamed for violence towards ‘oppressed women’. The case of Noura Hussein, who is sentenced to death, shows otherwise

Violence against women does not discriminate. One in three women across the globe experience physical or sexual violence in their lives, regardless of race, age or income. Intimate partner violence is the most common form, with physical violence occurring to as many as two out of three women who have ever been in an intimate partnership.

This is not news, and yet, the difference in how this violence is discussed is stark, depending on where and by whom it has been perpetrated. When the violence occurs in majority Muslim countries, pundits are quick to blame Islam itself, instead of noticing the army of Muslim women who are fighting for their rights within the faith, and defending women – and themselves – at all costs.

Related: Teenager who killed husband after he raped her is sentenced to death in Sudan

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Sunday Telegraph pays damages to mosque chief over Corbyn article

9 May, 2018 - 18:51

Story falsely portrayed Mohammed Kozbar as supporter of violent extremism in attempt to criticise Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

The Sunday Telegraph has paid “substantial damages” to the general secretary of Finsbury Park mosque after it falsely portrayed him as a supporter of violent lslamist extremism as part of a botched attempt to criticise the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

In March 2016 the newspaper published an article headlined: “Corbyn and the mosque leader who blames the UK for Isil.” The story tried to connect the Labour leader to extremist views allegedly held by Mohammed Kozbar, who runs the mosque in Corbyn’s Islington North constituency and is also vice-chair of the Muslim Association of Britain.

Mohammed Kozbar, Chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque, with faith and community leaders. Together, our community will get through this tragedy.

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Jakarta court rejects attempt by Hizb ut-Tahrir to reverse its ban

7 May, 2018 - 13:48

State court in Indonesian capital upholds decision last year to outlaw Islamic group

A legal attempt by the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir to overturn a decision that saw it outlawed in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country has been rejected by an Indonesian court.

Reading the verdict at Jakarta state administrative court, the head judge, Tri Cahya Indra Permana, said the lawsuit was “rejected in full”.

Related: 'Extremist is the secular word for heretic': the Hizb ut-Tahrir leader who insists on his right to speak

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