The Guardian World news: Islam

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Unity gives Jerusalem a prayer: Jews, Muslims and Christians join for worship

24 September, 2016 - 07:00

Eight religious leaders brought their congregations together for eight days in one room. It was a dangerous move

In a small building in the foreboding shadow of Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum looked upon a crowd sitting attentively before her. “We have had a long way to go to prepare for this evening,” she said with a soft smile. “Today we all do something very brave.”

Related: Want peace between Israel and Palestine? The Iran Deal is a good guide | Wardah Khalid

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Bill Shorten: Turnbull must be clear he is not on side of people ‘doing Isis’s work’

23 September, 2016 - 07:15

Labor leader says far right is repeating comments by ‘crazy fundamentalists’ in Syria about Islam being incompatible with western values

Bill Shorten says Malcolm Turnbull needs to make it clear he is not on the side of people intent on “doing Daesh’s dirty work” in Australia.

The opposition leader told reporters on Friday that Islamic State’s “crazy fundamentalists” in northern Iraq and Syria regularly made arguments Islam was incompatible with western democratic liberal values, “and now in Australia we have got people who are doing Daesh’s dirty work by repeating the same allegations, except from the far right”.

Related: Race discrimination commissioner criticises Pauline Hanson for stoking division

Related: Pauline Hanson says 49% support for ban on Muslim immigration is too low

Related: Muslim immigration poll result due to poor leadership, says Tanya Plibersek

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From tin sheds to temples: the past, present and potential of the Australian mosque

22 September, 2016 - 22:18

Mosques have crucial roles to play in overcoming fears about Islam and supporting progressive values within the faith

I presented a slide of an Afghan cameleer’s mosque to a conference of art historians last year, noting that this was Australia’s most distinctive contribution to Islamic architecture. Some of them laughed.

It was, after all, little more than a corrugated iron shed, stained and dented, a humble outback structure that serves its purpose and makes no claims to magnificence. Our “Afghan” mosques – made by skilled cameleers and traders from Afghanistan and beyond – are unique to Australia and they are remarkable. But should these 19th and early 20th-century regional buildings define our concept of a typically Australian mosque today?

Related: Bendigo mosque: high court throws out request to hear appeal

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Code of race ethics proposed for parliament to counter rise of One Nation

22 September, 2016 - 21:00

Exclusive: Labor weighs plan to invite parliamentarians to sign up to a set of principles respecting diversity and truthfulness

Labor is preparing to launch a proposal to invite all federal parliamentarians to sign up to a code of race ethics, echoing an initiative advanced by the ALP and the Australian Democrats during the period Pauline Hanson was last in parliament.

The code is yet to clear Labor’s caucus processes, but the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has told Guardian Australia it would be an important gesture for the 45th parliament. “It would send a message about what sort of parliament we want to be,” he said.

Related: We can't eradicate racism but telling its targets to grin and bear it isn't good enough | Tim Soutphommasane

There’s a real danger that we are normalising what might otherwise be unacceptable ideas

Related: The debate about 18C doesn't have to be a left-right slanging match | Gay Alcorn

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Pauline Hanson says 49% support for ban on Muslim immigration is too low

22 September, 2016 - 12:30

‘People would have been in fear to answer the question,’ One Nation senator says of Essential poll, and claims actual figure would have been much higher

Pauline Hanson says she doesn’t believe that 49% of voters support a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia.

“I’ll tell you something, I believe it’s a lot higher than that,” she told Sky News on Thursday.

Related: Race discrimination commissioner criticises Pauline Hanson for stoking division

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Muslim immigration poll result due to poor leadership, says Tanya Plibersek

22 September, 2016 - 01:42

Deputy Labor leader says results, which show 49% of Australians want to ban Muslim immigration, indicates Australian leaders not doing enough to foster cohesion

A poll showing almost half of Australians surveyed want to ban Muslim immigration shows Australian leaders have not done enough to foster cohesion, the Labor deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek, has said.

The poll comes a week after One Nation senator Pauline Hanson’s first speech in the Senate, in which she reiterated her call for such a ban and has sparked a debate about the best way to tackle rising anti-immigration sentiment in Australia.

Related: To fight racism, we need to craft a better 'we' To fight racism, we need to craft a better 'we' and ditch the 'us' and 'them' | Tim Hollo

Related: We can't eradicate racism but telling its targets to grin and bear it isn't good enough | Tim Soutphommasane

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Hans Teeuwen: 'I mock Islam … but I make it funny'

21 September, 2016 - 07:00

On stage, the absurdist Dutch comedian is all fairytales and silly songs. Off it, he’s a deadly serious – and controversial – political campaigner. He talks fun, failure and freedom of speech

It’s been six years since Hans Teeuwen last performed in the UK, which is a long time to wait for one of the most exciting comedians in the world. Since he left, vowing to pursue his other life as a lounge singer, we fans have fed on scraps – such as his out-of-the-blue contribution to the row earlier this year around German comic Jan Böhmermann’s prosecution for insulting President Erdoğan of Turkey. In an interview with Dutch TV, Teeuwen claimed – without a flicker of irony – to have had sex with Erdoğan while the latter was working as a “boy whore” in an Istanbul brothel.

Related: Bridget Christie on Hans Teeuwen: 'the gold standard of comedy'

Now is not the time to mellow. It’s much more a time for a rebellion against political correctness

To tell morally uplifting stories is far less fun than to rebel against taboos

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We can't eradicate racism but telling its targets to grin and bear it isn't good enough | Tim Soutphommasane

21 September, 2016 - 01:30

Australia’s values of civility and tolerance are being tested by anti-Muslim rhetoric in parliament – and society’s response will be crucial

Debates about racism in Australia are always contentious, more so when they involve political representatives, but the public should be forthright in speaking out against appeals to fear.

Australians should resist attempts to divide the country according to race or religion. It’s only right to expect political representatives to set the tone for society.

Related: Comprehending Pauline is not the challenge. Engaging constructively with Hansonism is | Katharine Murphy

Related: Meeting Pauline Hanson's voters: silent screamers find their voice

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Race discrimination commissioner criticises Pauline Hanson for stoking division

20 September, 2016 - 21:06

Exclusive: Tim Soutphommasane enters debate as Essential releases poll showing 49% of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration

The race discrimination commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, says Pauline Hanson is stoking division and appealing to xenophobia as new polling suggests 49% of Australians support One Nation’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration.

Following Hanson’s first speech in the Senate last week, in which she declared that Australia was in danger of being “swamped” by Muslims and reiterated her call for a ban on Muslim immigration, Soutphommasane was expected to use the opportunity of a forum at the Australian National University to urge Australians to resist politicians’ attempts to divide the community according to race or religion.

Related: When we walked out on Pauline Hanson, we were reaching out to decent Australians| Richard Di Natale

Related: If you want a response from the Muslim community, first understand it | Mostafa Rachwani

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Muslims in bombing suspect's city safeguard community from backlash

20 September, 2016 - 18:06

Local leaders in Elizabeth, New Jersey, assembled to express concerns and secure mosques amid rise in violence against Muslims: ‘People will hate us regardless’

When he heard on Monday morning that the man suspected of being responsible for a bombing in Chelsea was a Muslim from Elizabeth, New Jersey, Nawaz Sheikh knew the local community needed to act.

Sheikh, the president of the Muslim Community Center of Union County, picked up the phone and called Hassen Abdellah, the president of Elizabeth’s Dar ul-Islam mosque, to discuss how to respond.

This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first. #trump2016 pic.twitter.com/9fHwog7ssN

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After the New York bomb, Muslim Americans are braced for a backlash | Faiza Patel

20 September, 2016 - 01:06

Anti-Muslim sentiment, stoked by toxic political rhetoric, is already high. In the coming days, innocent Americans will be targeted simply because of their faith

Terrorism has strained traditional American notions of individual responsibility. While such attacks fortunately remain rare in our country (data shows that out of 14,000 murders in the United States, a few dozen per year are motivated by religious or political ideologies of any persuasion), violence by a Muslim is often attributed to the entire American Muslim community. Sometimes, it is accompanied by calls for sending them home or clamping down on them in various ways. Even before police identified Ahmad Khan Rahami as the person suspected of setting off the bomb that exploded in New York on Saturday night, social media was awash with anti-Muslim slurs and threats. A twitter campaign launched to support Muslims was hijacked to spread fear and hatred instead.

Already reeling from the divisive and bitter rhetoric that has marked the current presidential campaign, Muslim Americans are bracing for the backlash. My own Facebook page is flooded with warnings not to leave home and tips for staying safe if one does venture out, especially directed to those of us who look “Muslim” – like the two young Brooklyn mothers in headscarves who were attacked earlier this month while out walking their infants in strollers. Their fears are hardly misplaced. According to a recent analysis by California State University, a compilation of official hate crime data from 20 states shows that in 2015 anti-Islam incidents increased by 78.2% and anti-Arab incidents jumped by 219%, “the most precipitous rise since 2001”. Another study shows that mosques have been attacked at rates not seen since the 2010 controversy over building an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero.

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Don't confuse Islamic faith with terrorism, says Nice attack survivor

19 September, 2016 - 18:45

Yasmine Bouzegan Marzouk lost three family members in the truck attack in July and spoke at a national ceremony in tribute to French victims of terrorist attacks

A young French Muslim woman who lost three family members in the 14 July jihadi attack on Nice made an impassioned plea on Monday not to confuse the Islamic faith with terrorism.

Yasmine Bouzegan Marzouk, 21, told a national ceremony in tribute to the French victims of terror attacks that they were carried out by “barbarians who do not follow the law, faith or religion”.

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World's oldest library reopens in Fez: 'You can hurt us, but you can't hurt the books'

19 September, 2016 - 07:00

After years of restoration, the ninth-century Qarawiyyin library in north-eastern Morocco is finally set to reopen – with strict security and a new underground canal system to protect its most prized manuscripts

The caretaker stares at the wrought iron door and its four ancient locks with a gleam in his eyes. Outside, the Moroccan sun shines down upon the ornate coloured tiles of Khizanat al-Qarawiyyin, located in the old medina of Fez. This, it is widely believed, is the oldest library in the world – and soon it will be open to the general public again.

“It was like healing wounds,” says Aziza Chaouni, a Fez native and the architect tasked with restoring the great library.

I hope that the people from Fez will use the space like a second home

Related: An insider's guide to Fez: Ceramics, courtyards and Macbook decals

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Islamist militants reportedly free Norwegian hostage in Philippines

18 September, 2016 - 00:32

Kjartan Sekkingstad was abducted in September 2015, alongside a Filipina woman, who has already been freed, and two Canadians who were beheaded

A Norwegian held hostage by a notorious kidnapping-for-ransom gang in the strife-torn southern Philippines was released Saturday after a year in captivity and will soon be handed over to authorities, officials said.

Kjartan Sekkingstad was abducted by Abu Sayyaf from a high-end tourist resort in September 2015, alongside a Filipina woman, who has already been freed, and two Canadian men who were later beheaded by the Islamist militant group.

Related: Canadian tourists among four abducted by gunmen at Philippines resort

Related: Canadian hostage beheaded by Islamist militants in Philippines

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Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party hires former adviser to Donald Trump

17 September, 2016 - 02:09

Hanson reiterates comments from her factually-incorrect maiden speech when she said Australia was at risk of being ‘swamped by Muslims’

Senator Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has hired a former economic adviser to the US Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

Hanson’s chief-of-staff, James Ashby, told a community forum in the central-Queensland town of Rockhampton on Friday night: “... on the economic side on things, tomorrow there’ll be a front-page announcement, from what I understand”.

Related: Meeting Pauline Hanson's voters: silent screamers find their voice

Related: Pauline Hanson calls for immigration ban: 'Go back to where you came from'

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Former Manchester United steward jailed for life for imam murder

16 September, 2016 - 16:28

Mohammed Syeedy convicted of being the getaway driver for killing of Jalal Uddin in Isis-inspired Rochdale attack

A former Manchester United steward has been jailed for a minimum of 24 years for the Islamic State-inspired murder of a “gentle, well-respected” former imam in Rochdale.

Mohammed Syeedy, 21, was found guilty of helping to kill Jalal Uddin because the 71-year-old practised a form of Islamic spiritual healing considered to be “black magic” by some extremists.

Related: Rochdale Muslims fear fervour of youth spilling into hate and violence

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Rochdale Muslims fear fervour of youth spilling into hate and violence

16 September, 2016 - 16:10

The murder of a respected imam highlights the dangerous emergence of a radical and intolerant attitude towards religion

Community leaders paint a bleak picture for young Muslims living in the borough of Rochdale on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. They have grave concerns that Muslim youth are increasingly turning to anti-western sentiment and extreme interpretations of Islam.

In recent months the peace in the narrow streets sitting in the shadow of the impressive Jalalia Jaame mosque has been shattered.

Related: Former Manchester United steward guilty of murdering imam

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If you want a response from the Muslim community, first understand it | Mostafa Rachwani

16 September, 2016 - 04:04

Pauline Hanson isn’t the first to lament the silence of the Muslim community. But why should we participate in a discussion that reduces us to a caricature?

In the days and months following Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in the Senate, there will be request upon request made for the Australian “Muslim community” to respond.

From the outside looking in, such a request seems harmless, even justified. Hanson did, after all, dedicate a large majority of her address to Muslims and Islam, so it appears to be rather logical to seek a response from said community.

Related: Pauline Hanson calls for immigration ban: 'Go back to where you came from'

Related: Agenda 21 is conspiracy theory. But don't dismiss Malcolm Roberts as a harmless kook | Jason Wilson

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The Guardian view on interfaith marriage: a human right | Editorial

15 September, 2016 - 19:46
Fundamentalists around the world believe that people – particularly women – should not be allowed to marry outside their faith. They must be resisted

Romeo and Juliet is in some ways the most subversive of all Shakespeare’s plays. The plot seems hackneyed to us now, but that is because of the immense revolution in perspective that separates us from Shakespeare’s day. We believe marriage is something that is made by the relationship between two individuals, not their families, their tribes, or their religious authorities. All these outsiders are involved in the relationship, and their traditions and their habits of thought will of course affect it. But none has the right of veto over it. Consenting adults must choose, wisely or unwisely, to marry whom they will.

There are still many societies and parts of many religions where the attitudes of the Montagues and the Capulets are entirely comprehensible. In the old patriarchal order men were not free to marry against the interests of their family and women were very much less free: they were treated as property.

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