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In the Cape Town enclave that survived apartheid, the new enemy is gentrification

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 August, 2018 - 07:59
Picturesque Bo-Kaap was for decades the home of Muslim residents. Now, as some cash in on soaring house prices, others want to hold on to their history

Sunday morning in Cape Town. Two days of rain have washed the dust from the air. Table Mountain is etched against a clear blue southern winter sky. Seagulls wheel on an ocean breeze. In the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of the city, the famous painted houses shine postcard perfect. Children play on cobbled streets. Men in prayer caps watch, deep in conversation, prayer beads clicking.

Yet the apparent calm is misleading. In recent weeks angry young men have burned tyres in the streets of Bo-Kaap. There have been marches and demonstrations. The immediate spark for the anger? Plans to build hotels, luxury apartments and shops. The deeper cause? Fear that gentrification will destroy the community.

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Labour suspends ex-MP over remarks on antisemitism row

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 August, 2018 - 21:00

Scot Jim Sheridan accused Jewish community of colluding with ‘Blairite plotters’

Labour has suspended a former MP who accused the Jewish community of colluding with “Blairite plotters” to damage the party, as a poll for the Observer found that more than a third of voters believe that the party is prejudiced against British Jews.

Jim Sheridan, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North until 2015, was suspended after apparently writing in a Facebook post that has since been removed: “For all my adult life I have had the utmost respect and empathy for the Jewish community and their historic suffering. No longer, due to what they and their Blairite plotters are doing to my party and the long-suffering people of Britain who need a radical Labour government.”

Related: It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to take on his critics with a major speech. Here’s what he should say | Gary Younge

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Muslim women call for more equality in running UK mosques

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 August, 2018 - 13:00
Activists challenge lack of prayer spaces and exclusion from management roles

Muslim women in Scotland are campaigning to be given more equal facilities for praying and to be involved in running mosques.

Scottish Mosques For All was set up to highlight the importance of including women in decision-making. More than a quarter of mosques in the UK have no facilities for women and, in the remainder, access is often restricted and the space they are given inadequate.

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Hajj 'nap pods' being introduced for pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 August, 2018 - 06:06

The sleep stations – based on Japan’s famous capsule hotels – will offer clean sheets and air-conditioning


Saudi Arabia plans to introduce sleep pods, reminiscent of Japan’s famed capsule hotels, in the western city of Mina in the coming days, as an estimated two million Muslims gather for the six-day hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Related: Saudi Arabia to open border with Qatar to let pilgrims attend hajj

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Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship over handshake refusal

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 August, 2018 - 01:47

Couple also ‘showed great difficulty in answering questions asked by people of the opposite sex’

The Swiss city of Lausanne has blocked a Muslim couple’s bid to become Swiss nationals over their refusal to shake hands with members of the opposite sex.

The municipality said it refused to grant the couple’s citizenship application over their lack of respect for gender equality, Lausanne mayor Gregoire Junod said.

Related: Swiss ruling overturns Muslim pupils' handshake exemption

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Why did I just lose 25 followers?

Indigo Jo Blogs - 17 August, 2018 - 13:41

A male linnet, a small brown bird with a patch of red on its breast, sitting on a twig.The other day I logged onto an unfollower tracker and discovered that I’d lost 19 followers, which is rather unusual (I often lose a few over the average week, often suspended accounts — which are not named — or people who had followed me expecting me to follow back, then unfollowed when I did not, and sometimes people who had unfollowed because of a disagreement or blocked me). I checked who the unfollowers were and many of them were names I recognised from years ago: two in particular belonged to one person who has used various accounts and blogs over the years to blog particular aspects of her experience of spinal cord injury; others were just people who had fallen off Twitter and not bothered to close their accounts. I posted to both Twitter and Facebook asking why this had all happened and got a reply to the effect that people had just found better things to do with their lives than tweet or had pruned their social circle to get rid of the dead wood. But judging by which accounts these were, this could not have been the case.

A lot of people lost a large number of followers at the same time and a lot of people are asking why — some obviously think they annoyed someone or that a whole bunch of people have decided they don’t want them in their lives anymore. No. Twitter, for some reason, removed a whole bunch of moribund accounts from your followers list but for some reason did not just suspend them, which is what you might expect them to do. They really need to inform their users when they do something like this, as it may coincide with an argument, relationship break-up or some other event and some people have mental health problems that make them sensitive to these sorts of things. A lot of people think it’s ‘sad’ to use an unfollower tracker but in this case knowing who unfollowed me and being able to tell others is quite useful.

(And this would be a good place to announce that I am trying to get off Twitter and migrate to the open-source social media platform Mastodon. This is because, apart from the well-documented problems of Twitter suspending people for no real reason while allowing Nazis to prosper unchecked, they have also decided to cripple third-party Twitter clients such as Tweetbot and Tweetings which offered a straightforward chronological timeline rather than Twitter’s ‘curated’ one with numerous interpolations. I can be found as ij@knzk.me and you can join any Mastodon server and follow me. My Twitter account is, however, going to remain active for the foreseeable future.)

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Manchester police investigate arena bomber's links to imam

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 August, 2018 - 19:45

Salman Abedi attended mosque where sermon was given about mujahideen

Police in Manchester are investigating claims that an imam at a British mosque attended by the arena bomber delivered a sermon advocating armed jihad six months before the attack.

Greater Manchester police (GMP) said they had been passed footage from the BBC purporting to show an imam at Didsbury mosque praising mujahideen fighting abroad – a term commonly used for Islamist guerrilla fighters.

Related: Police chief rebukes BBC over Manchester bombing documentary

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Boris Johnson and the burqa both causing concern | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 August, 2018 - 17:41
Readers respond to Guardian articles by Matthew d’Ancona, Emine Saner and Polly Toynbee

Two cheers for Matthew d’Ancona’s spirited and precise nailing of the clear and present danger represented by Boris Johnson’s targeted attack on Muslim women (Boris Johnson has created a moment more divisive than ‘rivers of blood’, 13 August). His comparison with the impact and consequences of Enoch Powell’s speech is both apposite and timely. Further, Mr d’Ancona is right to point out that the rise and rise of social media makes Johnson’s dog-whistling even more dangerous than Powell’s.

But Johnson’s intervention did not appear in social media first but as a column in the Daily Telegraph – within days of resigning his cabinet position, and against the rules laid out by parliament’s advisory committee on business appointments. Since then the paper has made Johnson’s column the main driver of its news.

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'Food-deprived, pulling all-nighters': A-levels during Ramadan

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 August, 2018 - 13:45

Pupils at at Tauheedul Islam school in Blackburn on how they juggled fasting and exams

It was a tough exam season for this year’s A-level cohort, who sweated in airless assembly halls during the hottest summer in decades. Arguably, it was even tougher for the students of Tauheedul Islam girls’ high school in Blackburn, who also had Ramadan to contend with.

This year’s month of fasting coincided with the exam period, prompting some girls to stay up late feasting after sundown and others to set their alarms for 2.30am for a very early breakfast. “All our exams were in Ramadan and it was so hot,” said Sara Ziglam, 19, who got As in Arabic and psychology and Bs in biology and chemistry: “We were food-deprived, pulling all-nighters.”

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EU concerned over detention of human rights lawyer in Iran

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 August, 2018 - 18:23

Nasrin Sotoudeh faces charges such as espionage as Tehran continues to stifle dissent

The European Union has expressed serious concerns about the continuing detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who is serving a five-year jail sentence.

Sotoudeh was arrested in June amid a crackdown on defence lawyers representing cases deemed sensitive to the country’s national security.

Related: 'Desperate to find a way out': Iran edges towards precipice

Related: Iran urged by UN to respect environment activists after wildlife campaigner death

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Who wears the burqa?

Indigo Jo Blogs - 15 August, 2018 - 15:13

A woman walking along a mud road wearing a blue full-length burqa which covers the whole of her body from head to foot. There are bushes behind her and mountains in the background.In an earlier entry I discussed the unhelpful ‘defence’ of niqaab that only a few thousand women wear the garment. However, a side argument is that only a few hundred wear the burqa, the garment best known from Afghanistan which covers the whole body including the eyes and face. I saw Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain make this argument on Twitter this morning. I find this a very dubious claim. I would imagine that the number wearing the Afghan burqa in the UK is closer to zero, if not actually zero. The burqa is a garment specific to rural Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan; only a minority of British Asian Muslims are Pashtun. The garment is not widely available here, it is not the Sunnah, and it is not practical. The niqaab is widely available both in shops and online and is practical in the sense that it can easily be flipped up when the wearer needs to show her face (there is also a layer that can cover the eyes which can also be flipped up or down; if you see a woman with her whole face covered, this is probably also a niqaab).

There is another garment called the burqa; this is worn in the United Arab Emirates and covers parts of the face. It consists of a cloth veil stretched over a metal frame. There are parts of London where there are lots of Muslims from wealthy parts of the Gulf and I’ve walked around those places very frequently; I’ve never seen an Emirati burqa either.

Also, the Evening Standard website yesterday published a piece about a study which claimed that British Asians received worse treatment after terrorist attacks: some 40% of British Asian Muslims said they experienced a “rise in negative treatment” and 26% of Sikhs, and just under a third said people had been abusive to them while 11% said they had been excluded from events. The picture they use to illustrate the report is of a woman in niqaab, and stock images of women in black niqaabs have been used to illustrate reports of ‘trouble’ involving Muslims for years (whether it’s terrorism, the spread of “radical ideologies” or whatever discontent of any kind). This insistence on linking niqaab to extremism of any sort is part of what generates hatred towards Muslim women in particular and the number of women wearing it declined after media campaigns targeted at it, not immediately after major terrorist attacks.

The impact on Sikhs has been widely observed both here and in the United States; Muslims in some parts of the world wear turbans and pictures of well-known terrorists wearing them have appeared in the media often. I have come across Muslims who wear a certain type of turban, but the majority of people who wear them in western countries (albeit a different style without a cap underneath) are Sikhs and there have been many violent attacks on Sikhs by people who mistook them for Muslims.

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Australian party leader hails speech calling for 'final solution' on Muslim migration

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 August, 2018 - 10:04

Politicians unite in condemnation of Fraser Anning’s speech, but his party leader Bob Katter says he backs him ‘1000%’

Bob Katter, the veteran Queensland political maverick, has lauded an inflammatory speech by his Senate representative, Fraser Anning, declaring the contribution “absolutely magnificent” and “everything that this country should be doing”.

As political leaders moved in lock-step to condemn Anning’s speech – which praised the White Australia policy, called for an end to Muslim migration, and invoked the term “final solution” – Katter, the leader of Katter’s Australia party, struck a starkly different note, declaring the speech had his “1,000% support”.

Straight from Goebbels’s handbook from Nazi Germany.

Related: Australian senator calls for 'final solution to immigration problem'

Related: Fraser Anning speech 'straight from Goebbels' handbook', says Pauline Hanson

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