Are students justified in banning the sale of newspapers on campus?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 January, 2017 - 11:27

Four speakers to debate the student union motions in some universities to prevent the Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Sun being sold

Expect fireworks next Tuesday during a panel discussion at City, University of London when four people debate whether campus campaigns against the sale of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express are justified.

On the panel will be Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World who spent five years as editor of the Sunday People; Tom Slater, deputy editor of Spiked Online; Liz Gerard, the former Times night editor who runs the excellent SubScribe blog; and Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain. It will be chaired by a City, University of London student, Ghazzala Zubair.

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Malcolm Turnbull says Australia must put 'safety first' when asked about burqa ban

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 January, 2017 - 07:41

Prime minister refuses to be drawn on cabinet reshuffle after report suggests Greg Hunt to become health minister

Malcolm Turnbull said there were certain environments in which people’s faces shouldn’t be covered when asked about a call to ban the burqa in public buildings – but he insists it is a matter of “safety first” and is unrelated to religion.

The comments came in an interview with 4BC Radio in which Turnbull also refused to be drawn about an imminent cabinet reshuffle, after a report suggested Greg Hunt was in the box seat to become the health minister.

Related: Malcolm Turnbull holds out hope for TPP despite Trump's opposition

Related: Turnbull says One Nation’s medicinal cannabis amnesty 'irresponsible'

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Leaving the MSA: Keeping a Community Mindset

Muslim Matters - 17 January, 2017 - 05:03

By Khawaja Ahmed

Leaving the MSA can be a daunting yet inevitable step for many. It’s part of the package of leaving college and entering the post grad world: things aren’t going to be same anymore. Graduation opens doors to a world of unknowns where few things are left as structured as our education system. Once the seal of graduation from the campus is given, so is a seal from the MSA– but this one is a hindrance rather than a boost. The label implies this person has finished their duty to the community and is no longer required to be active in the community. They become tertiary and forgotten, a mentality that is many times internalized and leads to inactivity on the alumni’s end. This is detrimental to the larger community and the individual.

There is no stage in a person’s life where they cannot benefit the community or turn their Islam a private affair. In my previous article I mentioned two trajectories one can take after graduation, and I only explored the first. One point of concern from this last article was establishing the reasons as to why one would give back, so before jumping in how to give back, I want to establish a mindset that would make this possible. There are many reasons for maintaining involvement at some level with the larger community. The ones I will focus on fall under two categories; (1) preserving the practice of communal Islam and (2) investing in the community. As Muslims who have gone through MSA for however many number of years, we should see the impact of both of these categories. Neither of these should be omitted from one’s life at any point. Exiting the MSA does not mean one forgets the building blocks from the last four years, but rather works to integrate those blocks in the new phase of life. Once out of college, we must work to develop the community around ourselves just as we put in effort developing the MSA. The first step to take is creating a mindset of why this work should be carried on outside the college framework, for this there are two main steps; ensuring Islam is practiced as a community and then understanding the various needs of a communal body of Muslims and what role they play in serving it.

Community Building

One needs to firmly acknowledge that Islam is meant to be practiced as a larger community before identifying the needs of the community in relation to where they fit in. We must examine and understand the reasons as to why it is foundational before jumping into the how to be involved. During our MSA years the communal practices of Islam is many times done as part of the social fabric of the club, allowing one to avoid the spiritual pitfalls of acting as a singular unit. Though this is very beneficial for the college framework, it allows one take for granted that this sort of Islam-centric community.

Upon leaving college, it becomes apparent this is not the norm and the foundations need reevaluating. Islam was never meant to be a religion of solidarity; indeed, among the earliest revelations to Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was Surah Muddathir in which Allah commands “O you who is wrapped. Rise and warn. And proclaim the greatness of your lord” (74:1-3). This is sent in the early Makkan period where followers were still small but it is clear that it is pushing him to spread the message further, beyond the inner circle. Referring to him as the “wrapped one” is a reminder the shock has worn off from the initial interaction and now it is time for him to preach Islam openly. Since preaching Islam came after, as a command, learning and prayer, Islam cannot function without the community. In terms of spirituality and religious ritual the five daily prayers are held in congregation and its highly encouraged to go to the masjid for them. On a daily schedule there is meant to be numerous interactions with other Muslims, making isolation an unwanted experience.

There may be times where isolation is warranted, such as for intense spiritual renewal or study; however, it should not be the norm nor end goal. In regards to being distant from the community, Muhammad (SAW) warns against it by saying, “The wolf only eats the lone sheep” (Imaam Dawood) in referring to his nation. A Muslim is weak by him/herself to the temptations of shaytaan and the nafs, and the proper way to avoid this is to surround oneself with those who keep Allah close. It can be seen that both textual and tradition promote a sense of community is recommended and encouraged.

With the importance of communal Islam established, we move to creating the second pillar of the mindset to develop and sustain the functions of the body. This has more outward effects and will be dealt with as the mechanisms for sustaining the first reason. A common misconception is that MSA provides the bulk work or end all means to social and community work since that is for college students and that age group. This is an issue since it absolves Muslims of giving back to the larger Ummah after a certain age and stunts the growth of Muslims who were active in MSA as they lack a place to take the skills they developed.

What benefit is there in having students take part in this four year process of learning valuable skills for serve a community and then not use them afterwards? The idea of an Ummah expands beyond the four years of college, a setting where it can be convenient and fun to be part of a community of Muslims. There is a world outside of various institutions to tackle the needs of the communities which need people to be active in them. From masajid to third spaces, the need for active Muslims does not diminish, but rather the roles that they play will certainly change after college. It is in answering these needs that our community will grow and give purpose to its members.

Another issue with keeping the mindset of community work for only college students is overlooking personal enrichment. By tying community work to an activist mindset, Muslims fail to acknowledge community exists outside these parameters. The functions of a community are not restricted to what college students prioritize. Just as any community out there, Muslims face a slew of challenges and these change depending on one’s surroundings. Holistic communities deal with issues from domestic violence, to economic woes and cultural identity. It is here, in serving the community, where one finds their speciality of niche in serving the community.

The Sahabah did not stop giving after their youth ended nor did they all give back in the same way. Each person has a different set of talents and skills that can help in bettering the community. Attending rallies for social justice causes are not the end all to all community work. Needs of people stretch far beyond the echoing chants to alter policy, they can range from educational classes and food banks to just having a place to belong. Muslims should strive to set up institutions that fit the needs of their localities, for they were not placed in that area to only benefit themselves. Since giving back is essential, it is compulsory for them to make the Prophetic tradition a reality.

Islam is a communal faith and cannot be practiced in its entirety by oneself, to properly manifest Islam as a way of life one needs to ensure the sense of community is passed from the college scene to other stages of life. The Prophetic tradition cannot be restricted to one’s own relationship with Allah without sacrificing parts of Islam. It is also naive to assume one will be fine without the support of a larger Muslim community. Suggestions outlined above were just that, outlines of ways to be involved. Addressing the issue of how to be involved is a separate topic in itself. Before getting into the how, it is important to have a grasp of why so as to maximize the potency of the involvement.


Edited by Engie Salama

Written with Omar Elsayed

The post Leaving the MSA: Keeping a Community Mindset appeared first on

Pauline Hanson denies using taxpayer money for One Nation's Queensland campaign

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 January, 2017 - 22:50

One Nation leader says all of her travel in the state is as a federal senator and vows to ban the burqa if her party wins power in the Queensland election

Pauline Hanson has denied using taxpayer dollars to campaign in Queensland for her One Nation candidates, saying all of her travel in the state is done as a federal senator.

She has also vowed to ban the burqa in all Queensland government buildings, saying she wants Queensland to “lead the way” with banning the Muslim attire in Australia.

Related: Coalition hits new low and Greens trail One Nation in poll showing Centrelink anger

Related: 'Would you believe it?' Pauline Hanson says she was invited to Trump inauguration

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FBI's pre-election sweep of Muslim Americans raises surveillance fears

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 January, 2017 - 12:00

Council of American Islamic Relations received about 100 reports of FBI agents visiting homes before Trump’s win, asking about personal details and al-Qaida

On the Friday afternoon before the presidential election, Ahmed was at home with his family in Texas, when he heard a knock at the door. He answered in an undershirt and shorts, and found two men who were dressed casually. It was the FBI.

Ahmed, a doctor, who says he’s never even had a parking ticket, was at first surprised and then scared.

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I'm a slacker Muslim. But Donald Trump has us atheists nervous | Sohaila Abdulali

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 January, 2017 - 12:00

Amid talk of Muslim registries, many of us are being dragged into the fray, whether we believe or not

On a recent return to New York after a short trip to India, I waltzed through immigration with my nice blue US passport. It says “Abdulali” but nobody seemed to care. Will that be different next time I come back home?

The incoming administration has previously proposed a Muslim registry. I’m not from one of the so-called “high-risk countries”, but the name Abdulali suddenly feels like Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter – am I now supposed to justify myself every time I come home? Will I feel the old familiar pre-citizenship nerves and do my best to grovel and look harmless when the officer appraises me before I escape thankfully to baggage claim? What about my Pakistani cousins who might want to visit?

Related: Reporting while Muslim: how I covered the US presidential election | Sabrina Siddiqui

Related: Registry used to track Arabs and Muslims dismantled by Obama administration

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Muslim cleric accused of performing forced marriage of child bride sacked

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 January, 2017 - 06:55

Imam Ibrahim Omerdic stood down after being charged with conduct that caused a minor to enter into a forced marriage

A Melbourne Muslim cleric accused of performing the forced marriage of a child bride has been sacked.

Imam Ibrahim Omerdic, 61, is charged with conduct that caused a minor to enter into a forced marriage at Noble Park on September 29 last year.

Related: Melbourne Muslim cleric charged over forced marriage of child

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Bahrain executes three men in first death sentences since 2010

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 January, 2017 - 12:43

UK urged to loosen ties with Gulf nation as protesters claim confession of three Shia Muslims was extracted under torture

Britain is facing fresh calls to loosen its ties with Bahrain after three Shia Muslim men convicted of killing an Emirati police officer and two Bahraini policemen in a 2014 bomb attack were executed.

Related: Bahrain torture ‘ignored’ by UK-funded monitor

#Bahrain executed Abbas al-Samea, Ali al-Singace, Sami Mushaima. Torture, unfair trial + flimsy evidence: these are extrajudicial killings

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Bishop 'distressed' by row following Qur'an reading at cathedral

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 January, 2017 - 10:59

David Chillingworth of Scottish Episcopal Church says he regrets widespread abuse received by St Mary’s Cathedral

The leader of the Scottish Anglican church has said he was “deeply distressed” at the “widespread offence” caused by a reading from the Qur’an at a service to mark the feast of the Epiphany at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow.

Related: Prayer around the world – in pictures

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Omar Saif Ghobash: ‘These rock star clerics on Twitter need to reach out’

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 January, 2017 - 09:30
With Letters to a Young Muslim, written with his own sons in mind, the UAE ambassador to Russia suggests a new way to view Islam

Omar Saif Ghobash is the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Russia. He studied law at Oxford University. In 1977, when he was six, his father, Saif Ghobash, the UAE’s first foreign minister, was shot dead at Abu Dhabi international airport by a young terrorist whose target was a Syrian minister with whom Ghobash was travelling. In his father’s memory Omar has established a prize for Arabic literary translation, and is a sponsor of the Arab Booker prize. He is on the advisory body of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London. His book Letters to a Young Muslim, published this month, confronts the broader education of children in Islam, and proposes a more open and free-thinking model. He wrote the book with his own sons, Saif, aged 16, and Abdullah, 12, in mind.

What do your boys make of the book?
My younger son is enjoying it. My older son, for whom the book was really written and to whom it is directed in my mind – well, I like his reaction. He has read a couple of chapters, but at the moment he is not reading it. I am fine with that. I really don’t want to burden him with my own projections. He is free to read it whenever he wants, but I don’t want to pressure him if he is not ready for it just now.

We need to tell young Muslims they can raise the flag of Islam without running about in the desert in flip-flops with a gun

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Stonehenge, and the A303, really need that tunnel

Indigo Jo Blogs - 13 January, 2017 - 22:26

A picture of Stonehenge, a collection of standing stones, some with stone lintels on top, on a plain with a path leading behind it to a car park.Stonehenge Tunnel plan finalised by government — BBC News

So, the government have finally agreed on plans to build a tunnel to the south of the ancient stone circle, Stonehenge, outside Amesbury in Wiltshire. The site is currently one of several bottlenecks on a major route from London to the south west of England, a two-lane stretch in between two sections of good-quality dual carriageway, one of which links to the M3 motorway from London; however, a lot of the delays are caused by people slowing down to look at the stones as they drive past. The scheme will also include a by-pass around the village of Winterbourne Stoke, also affected by the slow and heavy traffic along the A303.

Stonehenge is not the only famous landmark to fade from public view as a result of a bypass. When I was a child, we went to Portsmouth for the day, and the main road there, until 2011, ran past a formation called the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a “natural amphitheatre” overlooking Hindhead Common in Surrey. On the way out, you drove out of the village of Milford, along one of the A3’s many “silly little bits of dual carriageway”, as my Mum called them (all now either by-passed or linked together), which soon ended, the road climbing for several miles through thick woods which then opened to show this dramatic hollow on the right-hand side. As an adult when I started driving lorries, I relished trips to Portsmouth because — despite the inevitable traffic jams — I got a glimpse of the Devil’s Punch Bowl. That ended when the Hindhead Tunnel was opened in 2011 (there was a serious proposal to simply by-pass it through the common, but the landmarks’s Site of Special Scientific Interest status, as well as public opposition, scuppered that plan) and the original road was mostly removed. The upshot is that you can explore and see all the areas of the landscape in peace now, but few people get to see it on their way past and so it is probably less well-known now than it was until 2011.

Stonehenge had no such effect on me; we stopped there once on the way back from Devon, and I remember being bored to tears, especially as I had not been expecting to stop anywhere other than perhaps a service station. I still find it rather underwhelming, but those who want to enjoy the stones will be able to do so in peace once the passing traffic has been re-routed underground, while those who just need to get to and from the south-west will be able to do so without getting stuck behind farm tractors or people slowing down to have a look at the stones — although, it has to be said, the traffic delays have eased considerably since the A344, which ran to the north of Stonehenge, was demolished (people wanting to visit Stonehenge now have to turn off at the roundabout to the west and approach it from the Salisbury-Devizes road). I suspect they will rebuild that, and remove the existing A303 (or at least whatever of it isn’t required for farm access).

Building the tunnel will be good for Stonehenge. Not only will the noise of the passing traffic be gone; the pollution it emits, which no doubt has discoloured the stones as traffic pollution once discoloured Buckingham Palace in London, will also disappear. A place doesn’t have to be right on a major highway for people to appreciate it; when we went to the Lake District or North Wales on holiday, we would stop at Stratford or Ironbridge on the way there or back, neither of which are right by the motorway, and Stratford has prospered since being taken off the A34 trunk road from Birmingham to Southampton, which used to choke it with heavy goods traffic. Stonehenge is still quite well-known, people know what it looks like, and people who are interested and have time will still visit it.

I’m not in favour of building huge new roads for the sake of it, but there are places where they need to get built, because bottlenecks cause not only inconvenience but also extra pollution. The Hindhead tunnel needed to get built, the Tonbridge-Pembury upgrade on the A21 (in progress) needed to get built, and so does this. Stonehenge will be all the better for it, and I’ll be admiring the scenery further down.

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Montana: One-man Protest With Rifle Outside Montana Mosque

Loon Watch - 13 January, 2017 - 19:37 | Great Falls, Montana

(h/t: Frank S.)

By Jennifer Cruz,

A one-man protest Monday outside of a mosque in Bozeman, Montana, led to a brief lockdown at a nearby school until police determined the protester wasn’t a threat.

The protester, who was not shy about showing his face but did not want to he identified, showed up at the Islamic Center of Bozeman that morning carrying an American flag with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

“I’m responding to the message of hate that’s being shown here,” he told reporters.

But the gun the protester was carrying prompted a response from the police department. Authorities said the man was compliant and, although he wasn’t breaking any laws by doing so, agreed to put his rifle away.

He continued the protest while carrying an American flag and by the afternoon, a counter-protester, Andy Boyd, could also be found outside of the place of worship. Boyd said he was there to show support for the country’s religious freedom, a right which he said the nation was founded upon.

Then, a little later, a woman who said she was a Muslim, walked out to the snow-covered sidewalk and offered the protester a cup of coffee. The woman said the protester had every right to do what he was doing and there was no reason for them to fear one another. But the woman said she was glad to see the man put the rifle away, citing the close proximity to the school, which she said made people nervous.

The woman said there has been Muslims in the Bozeman area since the 70’s and there has never before been a problem.

“Most of us just want a place to pray in peace,” she said.


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