The Guardian World news: Islam

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Updated: 2 hours 33 min ago

Europe wrote the book on demonising refugees, long before Trump read it | Piro Rexhepi

6 hours 46 min ago

We’re told that Donald Trump is uniquely hardline in his anti-Muslim rhetoric. In fact, Europe’s draconian attitudes have helped to legitimise his approach

It has become an article of faith among liberals that Donald Trump is the world’s biggest enemy to refugees and Muslims, while the EU somehow offers them a safe harbour. After all, with the words “We can do it” Angela Merkel invited a million Syrian refugees into Germany, while Trump’s travel ban has slammed shut America’s door to some of the world’s most vulnerable displaced people. In today’s liberal mindset, it is Brexit that has stirred up hostility against migrants, while the EU is a bulwark of civilised values, protecting refugees from the threat of a resurgent far right.

Related: Home Office agrees to review asylum claims of child refugees in France

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Moonlight's Mahershala Ali: anti-Islam prejudice 'not a shock' if you have grown up black

16 hours 56 min ago

Oscar-nominated Muslim actor reveals additional discrimination he has faced since converting to Islam in 1999

The actor Mahershala Ali, whose performance in the widely acclaimed Moonlight has made him a favourite for the best supporting actor Academy award, has spoken out about the discrimination he has experienced as an African American and a Muslim.

Ali said he found out that he was on an FBI watchlist after 9/11 and that, as a black man, anti-Islam prejudice “does not feel like a shock”.

Related: Why I love Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali

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The Guardian view on Trump’s Sweden: another country | Editorial

20 February, 2017 - 19:20
Like the rest of western Europe, Sweden is dealing with economic and demographic issues. But whatever misguided US conservatives think, the Nordic nation is not a battlefront in a clash of civilisations

For most of the last 30 years, Sweden has been one of the most welcoming countries in the world for refugees. Other countries have taken in more as a proportion of their population, but they have been immediately adjacent to war zones, where the demands of charity and humanity can’t be ducked. Nowhere in Europe approaches Sweden’s record. Until the entire system was overwhelmed last winter, and the brakes slammed on hard, the country took its humanitarian obligations very seriously. In 2015 more than one in six of the inhabitants of Sweden had been born abroad. In that year 162,877 people claimed asylum in Sweden, which led to a complete reversal of the old policy, and a fierce clampdown at the border. Last year only 29,000 applied for asylum; so far this year, fewer than 2,000 have. A demographic transformation has gone hand in hand with the breakdown of the old political and industrial model that had made Sweden appear one of the safest and most secure countries in the long boom after the second world war.

Jobs are now far less secure, and the economy has much less use for unskilled young men of any religion or ethnicity. A rapid growth in inequality has left the city centres sleek, prosperous, and largely white, while the satellite towns around them are places of high unemployment where often immigrants and their descendants are largely concentrated. This recent change overlays longer-term trends. Sweden’s overall crime rate has fallen since 2005, but in recent decades there has been a substantial rise in violent crime, especially involving weapons. The murder rate in Sweden is now a fifth of that in the United States; guns are used in nearly a third of all murders. Experts rightly fret over the use of explosives and hand grenades in attacks. This a scandal. For a European social democratic country to remind us of American levels of violence and insecurity is deeply shocking. But that is not why some Americans are shocked. For a large proportion of the ill-informed and bigoted, including President Trump and some of his advisers, the problem in Sweden is not that it has developed American-style social problems, but that it is too Muslim. This may be too subtle an analysis. Perhaps the Fox News demographic thinks that in both cases the problem is the presence of black people, whether you call them “Muslims” or not.

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Islamic State has gained a foothold in Pakistan – and the government allowed it | William Dalrymple

20 February, 2017 - 17:55
The Sehwan bombing is a result of the Saudi-funded fundamentalism that has taken a grip in the country

Last week, only three days after a suicide bomb went off in Lahore, an Islamic State supporter struck a crowd of Sufi dancers celebrating in the great Pakistani shrine of Sehwan Sharif. The attack, which killed almost 90, showed the ability of radical Islamists to silence moderate and tolerant voices in the Islamic world.

The attack also alarmingly demonstrated the ever-wider reach of Isis and the ease with which it can now strike within Pakistan. Isis now appears to equal the Taliban as a serious threat to this nuclear-armed country.

Since the 1970s, Saudi oil wealth has been used to spread such intolerant beliefs across the globe

Related: Saudi Arabia and Egypt are excluded from Trump's ban. Why? | Aryeh Neier

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Council investigates Oldham headteacher's claims of threats

19 February, 2017 - 21:17

Department for Education says inquiry has nothing to do with extremism and should not be referred to as a ‘Trojan horse’ case

An investigation has been launched after a headteacher claimed she had been forced to work from home and that her position at an Oldham school had been made untenable by alleged threats and verbal abuse.

The Department for Education is working with Oldham council to investigate allegations made by Trish O’Donnell, head of Clarksfield primary school, that she feared for her safety after a string of alleged incidents that she labelled a “Trojan horse” plot to make her quit.

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One converted to Islam, the other went to far-right rallies: a modern tale of two brothers

19 February, 2017 - 00:05

They were party animals from the Midlands. Now a TV series explores the lives of Abdul and Lee

In their youth, brothers Shaun and Lee did what they describe as the usual things: “getting wrecked” – drink, drugs, clubbing, gambling. “The party was always at our house, put it that way. And I was the host,” said Shaun.

But Shaun has since become Abdul, a convert to Islam whose life is governed by his devotion to Allah and the strict demands of his faith. Meanwhile, Lee travelled around the country to anti-Muslim rallies organised by the English Defence League. The brothers have taken starkly different directions. But Abdul told the Observer: “I know Lee loves me and I love him.”

Related: 'We want you to know you're not alone': why I went to visit a mosque

I knew he had some sort of secret, but I thought he was gay or something.

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Pope appears to back anti-Trump protests in letter condemning populism

17 February, 2017 - 12:01

Pontiff tells activists he supports their fight against ‘gutting of democracies’ in letter that appears to take aim at US president

Pope Francis has offered his unequivocal support to grassroots organisers and activists who are fighting for social justice, migrants, and environmentalism, saying he “reaffirms” their choice to fight against tyranny amid a “gutting of democracies”.

“As Christians and all people of good will, it is for us to live and act at this moment. It is a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanisation which would then be hard to reverse,” the pontiff wrote in a letter that was read to organisers this week.

Related: Pope Francis appears to back tribal land rights in Dakota Access pipeline fight

Related: Pope Francis appears to criticize Trump's Mexico border wall plan

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Barnaby Joyce warns anti-Islamic statements could harm trade deals

16 February, 2017 - 19:13

Joyce asks for caution because Indonesia and Saudi Arabia ‘are the biggest buyers of our wheat and our cattle’

Barnaby Joyce talks to Gabrielle Chan and Katharine Murphy – Australian politics live podcast

Barnaby Joyce has warned that anti-Islamic statements could harm Australian trade deals and declared that he would give instructions not to preference Pauline Hanson’s party before the Liberal party in federal seats.

In an interview to mark his first year as National party leader, Joyce said that, as agriculture minister, he had to deal with a lot of Islamic countries that buy billions of dollars’ worth of Australian exports.

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

Related: Moving pesticide agency to Barnaby Joyce's electorate could cost $193m a year

I don’t think [Labor] are the worst people to run the country.

Related: It's goodbye to the Nationals unless they become a genuine country party | Michael Hogan

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Stoke byelection: Lib Dems alert police over text urging Muslims to vote Labour

16 February, 2017 - 14:23

Labour says it doesn’t know who sent the text suggesting voters could go to hell if they helped elect Ukip’s Paul Nuttall

The Lib Dems have alerted the police after messages sent to some Muslim voters in Stoke-on-Trent suggested they could go to hell if they failed to vote Labour to keep out Ukip’s Paul Nuttall.

The anonymous message, distributed locally to some in the Muslim community by text and Whatsapp, called for people to vote Labour so as not to help “enemies of Islam”.

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Trump’s dangerous delusions about Islam | Christopher de Bellaigue

16 February, 2017 - 06:00

The president and his advisers paint Muslims as enemies of modernity. The neglected history of an age of Middle Eastern liberalism proves them wrong

In the aftermath of the attacks of 11 September 2001, amid the grief and rage that followed the toppling of the World Trade Center, President George W Bush did not declare war on Islam. “These acts of violence against innocents,” he told Americans in the week after 3,000 people were killed by Muslim terrorists, “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.” The war that Bush went on to declare soon thereafter was not against a religion, but against “terror” – and within that baggy term, he focused on al-Qaida, “a fringe movement”, in Bush’s words, “that perverts the peaceful teaching of Islam”.

Bush’s tact may have been caused by a short-term desire to rein in attacks on American Muslims (and others mistaken for them, such as Sikhs) in the wake of 9/11. But it also served the longer view of the president and his advisers, who believed that the Muslim world, much like everywhere else, was capable of being improved by exposure to democracy, free market capitalism and individual freedoms. In this regard, Bush’s views were in line with the then-influential “end of history” thesis proposed by the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama in 1989. With the end of the cold war, Fukuyama argued, it was only a matter of time before western liberal democracy was recognised everywhere as the best form of government. By the turn of the century, the belief that we were witnessing “the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to western liberalism” was never more widely shared, and it lay behind one of Bush’s professed goals in invading Afghanistan and Iraq: to shepherd the Muslim world towards the universal ideology of liberalism.

The clashist view denies the possibility of a sustained and fruitful engagement between the lands of Islam and modernity

Revolutionaries in Iran and Turkey curtailed the powers of their hereditary rulers and set up parliamentary democracies

We already know what Trump’s reaction to the next atrocity will be: 'I told you so'

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Anatomy of a sell out: why Isis targets scholars for their engagement | Mostafa Rachwani

16 February, 2017 - 04:46

Calling them ‘sell outs’, Isis has called for the killing of three Australian imams. Until Muslims can change the terms of engagement with state structures, we’ll continue to be labelled as such from across the political spectrum

I’ve been called many things in my time working for the Muslim community in Sydney, but there is a recurring name that has stuck: “sell out”. Although often associated with musical acts that move from indie niche to mainstream success, abandoning their fans and values in the meantime, it has come to mean something slightly different to Muslims.

To Muslims, selling out refers to making a compromise on your beliefs and is often associated with engagement with power structures. On the surface, this logic is based on the idea that engagement with these structures, especially in the west, can never be genuine and can never be on Muslim terms.

Related: Turnbull on Shorten: 'biggest glass jaw in Australian politics' – politics live

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

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Anti-Muslim hate groups nearly triple in US since last year, report finds

15 February, 2017 - 21:00

Southern Poverty Law Center credited rise in racist and far-right groups to Donald Trump’s ‘incendiary rhetoric’ and his senior staff of ‘anti-Muslim ideologues’

The number of organized anti-Muslim hate groups in America nearly tripled last year, from 34 to more than 100, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-leaning non-profit that tracks extremist groups.

The center credited the “incendiary rhetoric” of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign with fueling the rise in anti-Muslim hate, along with anger over terror attacks like the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last June.

Related: Steve Bannon's Islamophobic film script just one example of anti-Muslim views

Related: How Richard Spencer's home town weathered a neo-Nazi 'troll storm'

Related: Wife and stepson charged in murder of Ku Klux Klan leader in Missouri

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Jakarta governor election a 'litmus test' of Indonesian Islam

14 February, 2017 - 06:00

Incumbent Ahok, a Christian from the ethnic Chinese minority, fights to retain office after a campaign charged with racial and religious intolerance

Millions of Jakarta residents will go to the polls on Wednesday in a vote that is being seen as a “litmus test” of Indonesian Islam.

In the capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, the incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki Purnama Tjahaja, better known as Ahok, is battling to retain his seat.

Related: Battle for Indonesia's largest city: all you need to know about elections in Jakarta

Related: Jakarta's violent identity crisis: behind the vilification of Chinese-Indonesians

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Q&A: Jacqui Lambie and Yassmin Abdel-Magied in heated clash over Islam and sharia law

13 February, 2017 - 20:10

Host Tony Jones intervenes in argument over Donald Trump-style ban on Muslim immigration

Jacqui Lambie told a Muslim youth leader to “stop playing the victim” in a heated clash on Q&A over the Tasmanian senator’s backing of a Donald Trump-style ban on Muslim immigration.

Lambie’s exchange with Youth Without Borders founder and Sudanese-born engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied descended into a shouting match on Monday night, prompting the host of the ABC talk show, Tony Jones, to intervene.

Related: Malcolm Turnbull refuses to denounce Trump's travel ban

.@JacquiLambie think ditching The Nationals will bite them. @yassmin_a says One Nation policies are unbelievable #QandA

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

Related: Cory Bernardi and George Christensen to speak at $150-a-head dinner for anti-Islam group

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Switzerland votes on third-generation immigrants' citizenship rights

12 February, 2017 - 10:07

Debate on easing of passport path for grandchildren of migrants has been marred by far-right SVP stoking Islamophobia

Switzerland has begun voting on whether to make it easier for third-generation immigrants to become citizens, after a campaign tainted by anti-Muslim messages and charges of religious prejudice.

Sunday’s vote is one of four reserved annually for plebiscites on subjects that affect federal as well as local laws and institutions.

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Vandals target display of multifaith artworks at Gloucester Cathedral

12 February, 2017 - 00:04
Artist hits out at Islamophobia after exhibition on various religions sparks death threats and accusations of blasphemy

Controversial artworks on display at Gloucester Cathedral in an exhibition celebrating a spectrum of religious beliefs have been stolen and vandalised.

The art show, Faith, put together by portrait artist Russell Haines, was at the centre of an international row last month when Christian groups heavily criticised the use of Islamic images and the reciting of a Muslim prayer inside the historic cathedral buildings.

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Ross Cameron defends claim New South Wales Liberal party is 'basically a gay club'

10 February, 2017 - 06:31

New South Wales Liberal party distances itself from homophobic comments made at anti-Islamic event in Sydney

The New South Wales Liberal party has distanced itself from homophobic comments reportedly made by the former MP and Sky News commentator Ross Cameron, who described the party as “basically a gay club” at an anti-Islamic event in Sydney on Thursday night, according to a Fairfax Media report.

“I don’t mind that they are gay, I just wish, like Hadrian, they would build a wall,” Cameron told a meeting of the far-right Q society, Fairfax reported.

Related: Cory Bernardi and George Christensen to speak at $150-a-head dinner for anti-Islam group

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