The Guardian World news: Islam

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Like many gay Muslim people, I have no faith in Pride | Amrou Al-Kadhi

19 June, 2018 - 09:19

The London march is being hollowed out by corporations, and its militant secularism excludes people of faith

Throughout June – London Pride month – corporations around the city will boast of their allegiance to the LGBT community. Walk into a Wagamama, and rainbow flags are intended to show solidarity with LGBT citizens. Barclays, Pride in London’s main sponsor, declares its support in the guise of a temporary rainbow filter on its website logo. What udon noodles and contactless payment have ever done to end homophobia will forever remain a mystery.

On the surface, London Pride celebrates the city as a place of LGBT equality. But this external display of inclusion belies a core that is routed in exclusion. Once a political protest, Pride has been commodified into a business arena cashing in on “the pink pound”. It’s hard to think of a major corporation that doesn’t have a float at the parade, with everyone from PlayStation to Costa broadcasting their dedication to LGBT customers. The relationship between gay equality and good business even dominates Pride in London’s blog forum.

Let’s pull our attention to how LGBT rights intersect with the struggles of other minorities

Related: Stonewall withdraws from Pride in London over 'lack of diversity'

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Muslims in Australia at a crossroads, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says

16 June, 2018 - 05:12

In a new essay, senator says challenges facing immigrants must be dealt with ‘head on’

The government frontbencher Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says Muslims in Australia face prejudice as they arrive at the same “crossroads moment” faced by preceding waves of immigrants.

The minister for international development has used a contribution to a compilation rebooting Robert Menzies’ “forgotten people” speech and essays to reflect on the challenges Muslim Australians face, and to emphasise the importance of open dialogue inside and outside the community.

Related: Why do I want my teenage Muslim boys to fast in Ramadan? | Emily Richardson

As Liberals, we believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all people

Related: Are women the real 'forgotten people' of the Liberal party? | Katharine Murphy

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'A month to help those in need': Ramadan relief around the world

14 June, 2018 - 15:27

While Ramadan calls for fasting during daylight hours, eating is also vital. In some countries, though, food is more expensive during the holy month – and in conflict-hit areas it can be scarce at the best of times. Islamic Relief has a special Ramadan distribution scheme that reaches hundreds of thousands of people

  • All photographs by Islamic Relief

For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is an important month for fasting and prayer. But it is also a time for family and friends to break their fasts together and, of course, celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

Islamic Relief has a special Ramadan distribution, and this year the NGO is distributing more than 200,000 food parcels to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in 35 countries around the world.

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Breaking bread, piercing prejudice: how a Ramadan meal united faiths | Amrit Dhillon

14 June, 2018 - 11:56

Concerned about the portrayal of Muslims in India, author Nazia Erum hosted a multi-faith dinner in New Delhi to lay a few misconceptions to rest

At a dinner in a Delhi home on Sunday, guests around the table were asked to write down one stereotype that they – Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus – had about one another. The purpose? Breaking prejudices while breaking bread together.

The interfaith meal was prompted by the hosts’ desire to address preconceptions about Muslims, whom they feel have been targeted under Narendra Modi’s government.

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Why do I want my teenage Muslim boys to fast in Ramadan? | Emily Richardson

14 June, 2018 - 07:39

Living in regional Australia, it’s not easy to get into the spirit of Islam’s holiest month. But my kids have embraced its hidden benefits

Like most teenage boys, my sons love to eat. Most nights, my 15-year-old polishes off two large servings of dinner before heading directly to the fridge in search of more food.

So as a Muslim kid, how does he – and his younger brother – cope with not eating all day during Ramadan, the month when Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset? And what is the point of it for them?

Related: Eid al-Fitr around the world – in pictures

The Arabic word for fasting is “sawm”, which means “to refrain” – a skill I want my teenage boys to be proficient in

Related: Muslims on Ramadan: ‘Fasting is really about mind over matter'

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How seven World Cup squads have prepared during Ramadan

13 June, 2018 - 20:51

Fasting during daylight hours is obligatory during the Muslim festival, and the seven teams in Russia from largely Islamic nations have found various ways of tackling the issue

As World Cup 2018 begins in Russia, the Muslim festival of Ramadan is ending around the world. With fasting during daylight hours obligatory for all adults, Ramadan provides challenges for seven nations taking part in the World Cup with majority or large Muslim populations. Here is how the squads from each country have responded.

Related: Football while fasting: life in the Ramadan Midnight League | Nick Miller

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Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar sacked over anti-Islam tweet

13 June, 2018 - 14:37

Dubai hotel ends contract with chef who tweeted that Islam had ‘terrorised’ Hindus for 2,000 years

A Dubai hotel has terminated its contract with the Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar after he tweeted that followers of Islam had “terrorised” Hindus for 2,000 years.

The London-based chef, who is associated with the Rang Mahal restaurant in Dubai as well as five others in the UK and Spain, had been reacting to an episode of the US TV programme Quantico.

Related: Bollywood star apologises over Hindu terror plot row

pic.twitter.com/KRBFr44n0y

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‘Islamo-hooligan’ Médine performing at the Bataclan is a gift to extremists | Cécile Guerin

12 June, 2018 - 15:23
Putting the controversial Muslim rapper on stage at the scene of a terrorist attack plays into the hands of the French far-right

Since the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo three years ago, the debate about censorship and the limits of freedom of speech has rumbled on in France. It took a new turn this week with the revelation that the controversial rapper Médine will perform two shows in October at the Bataclan concert hall, where gunmen killed 90 people on 13 November 2015.

The 35-year French-Algerian Muslim, who describes himself as an “Islamo-racaille” (which can be loosely translated as “Islamo-hooligan”), is known for his provocative songs about Islam and France’s brand of secularism (laïcité). The controversy stems from his 2005 album Jihad, the Greatest Battle Is Against Oneself, which includes calls to “crucify secularists like in Golgotha” and statements such as: “I launch fatwas on the heads of idiots”.

Aucun Français ne peut accepter que ce type aille déverser ses saloperies sur le lieu même du carnage du #Bataclan.
La complaisance ou pire, l’incitation au fondamentalisme islamiste, ça suffit ! MLP #PasDeMédineAuBataclan pic.twitter.com/Xqu4JLwz6t

Related: The far right is rising, and Britain is dangerously complacent about it | Ellie Mae O’Hagan

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Highly skilled migrants still face deportation despite Sajid Javid promise

11 June, 2018 - 18:07

Home secretary had said policy refusing leave to remain over tax errors would be paused

Highly skilled migrants are still being dragged through the courts under threat of deportation from the UK for making minor and legal amendments to their taxes, despite a government promise that cases would be paused.

Opposition MPs have said the continuation of the process “smacks of a government department unjustly and incorrectly misusing a draconian power” and “shamelessly ruining innocent people’s lives”.

Related: At least 1,000 highly skilled migrants wrongly face deportation, experts reveal

Related: Sajid Javid plans 'fairer, more compassionate' immigration system

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Hospice staff ‘trained to report dying patients as part of terror strategy’

11 June, 2018 - 17:21

NHS whistleblower says dementia sufferers also monitored as part of Prevent

Doctors and nurses are being trained to monitor terminally ill people and dementia patients and their visitors for signs of radicalisation as part of the government’s Prevent scheme, the Guardian has learned.

A senior NHS whistleblower who works on the programme said that its operations in the health system were so indiscriminate that she had carried out the training in hospices and said that she knew of other trainers who had operated in dementia wards.

Related: Sajid Javid’s counter-terrorism plans risk Britain’s freedom | Simon Jenkins

Related: Mosques launch anti-radicalisation scheme as alternative to Prevent

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Denmark swings right on immigration – and Muslims feel besieged

10 June, 2018 - 10:00
After a burqa ban, hardline rhetoric has entered the mainstream. In one coastal town, attitudes seem increasingly polarised

“It’s a lovely place,” says Jens Kramer, as he gazes across the harbour from his seat outside the wooden shed that serves as Holbæk’s boat club. “But I think people here are becoming more and more hostile to foreigners and I’m not proud of it. It’s not the Holbæk I love.”

Kramer is not alone in thinking that the tone of Denmark’s immigration debate has changed. In recent years, the rise of the rightwing anti-migrant Danish People’s party has led to previously radical positions becoming mainstream. And the country’s Muslim population in particular feels under siege. Earlier this month Danish MPs passed a law that, in effect, bans the burqa. It imposes a penalty of 10,000 kroner (£1,200) for repeat offenders.

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Grenfell one year on: the mosque manager who took in survivors

10 June, 2018 - 09:30

Abdurahman Sayed’s Al-Manaar mosque became an emergency support centre in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire

• The reverend who opened his church

It is a 20-minute walk from Grenfell Tower to the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage centre run by Abdurahman Sayed. The mosque became a central source of emergency support on the night of 14 June and has continued to help survivors. Sayed, a benevolent and softly spoken man, remembers: “I was at home – I live in east London – and it was around 5am when I got a text from a colleague stating there was a fire. I said we must open our door, welcome anyone, regardless of faith or gender.” Sayed had no idea of the fire’s scale. He thought everything would be resolved in no time.

It was Ramadan and at the mosque they had laid in supplies of water and dates for breaking their fast each evening. Sayed drove directly to the mosque, loaded his car with the dates, water and a few clothes, and headed towards the tower. He found Ladbroke Grove cordoned off. It was not until later, with the help of two police officers (“we have a good relationship with them”), that he was escorted through the checkpoints to deposit his offerings at the Methodist church. He was on automatic pilot; it was too early to think. He could clearly see that the building was shrouded in smoke yet in a situation of such severity he could think only about how to give comfort to survivors.

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Pro-Tory Facebook group filled with Islamophobic abuse

9 June, 2018 - 22:00

Angry Rees-Mogg says he was signed up without consent

A controversial pro-Conservative Facebook group has been exposed as containing Islamophobic, homophobic and racist comments about public figures including Sadiq Khan, Diane Abbott and anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

Comments include demands to “expel the London mayor” and “send back” immigrants, while another post states that “Islam should be banned”. There are also homophobic remarks about Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, posted after she announced that she was pregnant.

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Football while fasting: life in the Ramadan Midnight League | Nick Miller

9 June, 2018 - 14:00

An idea to help people who might not otherwise feel able to play during Ramadan is gathering momentum in Birmingham

Just after 10pm on a warm Friday evening Obayed Hussain stands outside the Aston Villa academy building, the North Stand of Villa Park looming behind him. He is wearing a white jubbah, the traditional robe worn by Muslim men. Just before going inside he removes it to reveal a Birmingham FA tracksuit underneath.

A bit more than an hour later the first of around 100 or so people, mostly young men, arrive to play and watch football, which they will do until around 2am. It is not the most obvious time for recreational sport but this is the Ramadan Midnight League. Conceived by Obayed and executed with the help of Villa and the local and national FAs, this is an initiative designed to help those who might not otherwise feel able to play during their Ramadan fast.

Related: Transfer window 2018 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

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Turkey condemns Austria's 'racist' move to close mosques

8 June, 2018 - 11:11

President’s spokesman attacks plan to shut seven mosques and expel up to 60 imams

Turkey’s presidential spokesman has lambasted Austria’s decision to expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and shut seven mosques as an “anti-Islam” and “racist” move.

“Austria’s decision to close down seven mosques and deport imams with a lame excuse is a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in this country,” İbrahim Kalın said after Vienna announced the move in a crackdown on “political Islam”.

Related: Can Europe’s new xenophobes reshape the continent?

Related: 'It's been looming over us for decades': Austrian voters on the far-right

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All eyes on Ramzan Kadyrov as Chechnya hosts Egypt in World Cup

7 June, 2018 - 15:05

Chechen leader is step closer to political goal of being Putin’s link to Middle East with arrival of Egyptian team

The Tunisians were first to visit, followed by the Iranians, and then the Saudis. But it was the Egyptians, led by the Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah, who snatched up the dubious grand prize: a World Cup training base in Chechnya.

Once devastated by civil war, Chechnya is now the focus of intense international scrutiny over its crackdown on political opponents and gay people in this region in Russia’s North Caucasus.

Related: The darker side of Grozny's push to be the Dubai of the North Caucasus

Related: We must get justice for gay and bisexual men murdered in Chechnya | Letters

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Preaching against plastic: Indonesia's religious leaders join fight to cut waste

7 June, 2018 - 01:26

Nation’s two largest Islamic organisations will call on network of 100 million followers to reduce plastic waste and reuse bags


Indonesia, one of the world’s biggest marine polluters, has decided to get religious – literally – about reducing plastic waste.

Related: Antarctica: plastic contamination reaches Earth's last wilderness

Related: Man begins six-month swim through 'Great Pacific garbage patch'

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Bernard Lewis obituary

6 June, 2018 - 15:37
Controversial historian of the Middle East and expert on Islam who was an influential adviser to the Bush administration

Both erudite and controversial, the scholar Bernard Lewis, who has died aged 101, conveyed the complexity of the Middle East with supreme confidence. His general books on Muslim-Christian relations over the centuries introduced students to a field that now defines the centre of international debate.

In 2003 he was consulted by the Bush administration, though recommended the encouragement of revolution in the north of Iraq rather than invasion. British-born, he had been based in the US since the 1970s and became a familiar commentator on American TV after 9/11.

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Man arrested over fires at mosque and Sikh temple in Leeds

6 June, 2018 - 13:10

Police say fires are linked and being treated as arson and hate crimes

A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a mosque and a Sikh temple in Leeds were set on fire, in what police have described as linked hate crimes.

The 42-year-old was arrested at an address in the city on Tuesday night after fires were started at the front doors of two buildings early that morning.

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