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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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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Anwar Ibrahim Free Again To Pursue Reform Agenda

Inayat's Corner - 16 May, 2018 - 20:22

Today’s release of the Malaysian political leader Anwar Ibrahim is a welcome day for all those who wish to see greater freedom, democracy and reform in the Muslim world.

Anwar was imprisoned on trumped up charges back in 1998 for challenging cronyism and corrupt practices in Malaysia. At a time when too many Islamic groups were (and sadly still are) overly focussed on the issue of Hudood penalties (the criminal code in Islam), Anwar urged people to rather turn their attention to the question of good governance and ensuring greater freedoms in society.

He argued that it is the very lack of freedom in many Muslim countries and the resulting dearth of vibrant discussion and debate on key religious and political issues that has strengthened conservative and retrograde interpretations of Islam. Encouraging greater freedoms and allowing multiple interpretations of Islam to be debated is essential to facilitate much needed creativity in addressing the challenges facing Muslim societies. Without this freedom, creativity is stifled and creativity is key to making progress.

At the end of 2001 I was invited (as part of the MCB) to a gathering of a hundred or so Muslims by the late Dr Zaki Badawi at a posh central London hotel where the guest of honour was Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was Prime Minister of Malaysia at that time and had just a couple of years earlier instigated the character assassination and imprisonment of Anwar. As soon as we were allowed to ask questions I made a dash to the microphone and asked how Dr Mahathir could possibly justify the unjust treatment of Anwar. A recalcitrant Dr Mahathir insisted that Anwar had engaged in criminal behaviour and his punishment was justified.

To Muslims of my generation, Anwar was a true hero and inspiration. He had been the leader of an Islamic student organisation, ABIM, in his youth and had made the transition into government where he became a rising star and was widely tipped to become the next Prime Minister of his country.

Anwar has suffered tremendously for his reformist stance which makes seeing him go free today all the more beautiful and moving. As the presenter in the video below of an Anwar Ibrahim talk on Islam and Democracy says, a person who stands firm on a principle and is prepared to suffer for it can end up moving a nation and indeed the world.

 

Khurshid Drabu obituary

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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. pic.twitter.com/aI4daec4hs

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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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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Andrew Gilligan – the World’s Worst Journalist

Inayat's Corner - 9 May, 2018 - 19:45

Is there a working journalist with a more woeful record for getting it wrong and writing lies than Andrew Gilligan?

Today, the Sunday Telegraph accepted that Gilligan had written a defamatory story concerning the general secretary of the Finsbury Park mosque, Mohammed Kozbar, and had falsely portrayed him as being a supporter of Muslim extremism. The article, published in March 2016, was headlined “Corbyn and the mosque leader who blames the UK for Isil” so no prizes for guessing whose political career Gilligan was also hoping to trash at the same time. The Sunday Telegraph has removed the article from its website and been forced to pay substantial damages to Mr Kozbar while now admitting that “in fact, Mr Kozbar has never ‘blamed the UK for ISIL’”.

But, of course, this is not the first time that Gilligan has been caught out writing inflammatory rubbish. Just last August 2017, the Sunday Telegraph was again forced to apologise and pay damages after another Gilligan story fell apart after publication. This time it was forced to pay £20,000 in damages and apologise to Haras Ahmed for falsely accusing him of being an “Islamist activist” who was allegedly seeking to undermine the government’s Prevent strategy – a strategy that has many critics within the UK Muslim communities. The paper accepted that “whilst he is critical of the Prevent strategy (elements of which he believes are highly discriminatory), he does not support Islamist extremists and is in no way himself an extremist.”

And the year before that, in 2016, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph apologised to Mujibul Islam, a businessman in Tower Hamlets, following a series of Gilligan articles about him which the Telegraph accepted “suggested that Mr Islam was a willing beneficiary of…corruption”. The Telegraph papers accepted that the allegations were “untrue” and once again had to pay damages.

Gilligan now works for the Sunday Times. Interestingly, in February 2017, Gilligan wrote a story for his latest employers about a new so-called “Trojan Horse” plot by Muslims, including Nasim Ashraf and Hafizan Zaman, to takeover a state school in Oldham. The very next day the Daily Telegraph – Gilligan’s former employers – followed up on Gilligan’s exclusive story and wrote up a similar story. You can guess what happened…the Daily Telegraph was forced to accept that the allegations “were unfounded” and apologised and paid damages to the Muslims they had accused. You would have thought that the Telegraph papers would have learned to steer well clear of a Gilligan “story”.

And what happened to Gilligan’s original Sunday Times story? Well, if you click on this link it currently says “This article is the subject of a legal complaint from Mr Nasim Ashraf and Mrs Hafizan Zaman.” I don’t fancy the paper’s chances. Do you?

Could it be that the Sunday Times is now regretting employing the world’s worst journalist?

On the other hand, perhaps the Murdoch-owned paper believes that publishing inflammatory articles about Muslims is an essential part of its mission as a right-wing rabble-rousing newspaper.

Sunday Telegraph pays damages to mosque chief over Corbyn article

The Guardian World news: Islam - 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. pic.twitter.com/wECXutQxyt

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