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

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

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

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

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

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’

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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Iran's Syria project: pushing population shifts to increase influence

13 January, 2017 - 13:23

Iran seeks arch of control from Tehran to Israel’s border by moving Shia communities into areas where Sunnis have fled or been forced out

In the valleys between Damascus and Lebanon, where whole communities had abandoned their lives to war, a change is taking place. For the first time since the conflict broke out, people are starting to return.

But the people settling in are not the same as those who fled during the past six years.

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Yuna on hijab style: 'I feel like the world is catching up'

11 January, 2017 - 12:16

The Malaysian pop star talks about moving to LA at 24, her mother’s style and how her refusal to compromise on modesty led to success as the face of Uniqlo

“When I started out, people were like: ‘Oh just take it off, it’s no big deal.’ But I like wearing a headscarf,” says Yunalis Mat Zara’ai, better known as Yuna, the Malaysian-born pop star who is the face of Uniqlo’s first hijab line in the UK.

“Muslim girls, we love fashion! Whether we wear the hijab or not – it’s our choice – and it’s time the industry took note. Finally, fashion stores are open to that idea,” says the 30-year-old, who has bossed the US Billboard charts as well as those in south-east Asia.

Related: D&G’s hijab range is aimed at people like me – so why do I feel excluded? | Ruqaiya Haris

Related: London show reflects global boom in Islamic fashion

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ECHR: Swiss Muslim girls must attend mixed-sex swimming lessons

10 January, 2017 - 12:24

Swiss authorities did not violate right to freedom of religion in rejecting parents’ request for exemption, court rules

Switzerland has won a case at the European court of human rights over its insistence that Muslim parents send their children to mixed-sex school swimming lessons.

The Strasbourg-based court ruled that Swiss authorities had not violated the right to freedom of religion by insisting that two Muslim parents send their daughters to mixed-sex swimming lessons.

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Whitbread restaurant chain sorry over pork found in beef lasagne

10 January, 2017 - 09:50

Group served almost 250,000 affected dishes despite staff saying they raised the issue with management

The restaurant chain Whitbread has apologised after it was found to be serving “beef lasagne” in which more than a third of the meat content was actually pork.

The Sun reported that almost 250,000 of the affected dishes were sold over three months at scores of the company’s outlets including Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Whitbread Inn.

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Muslim leaders call on Islamic body to step aside to save Sydney's Malek Fahd ​​school

9 January, 2017 - 03:06

But Australian Federation of Islamic Councils spokesman Keysar Trad says ‘we have the best interests of the school at heart’

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils’ financial mismanagement, governance failings, and self-interest has jeopardised the future of Australia’s largest Islamic school and its 2,500 students, leading figures from Australia’s Muslim community have alleged in an open letter.

AFIC should immediately terminate its agreements with Sydney’s Malek Fahd Islamic school so that the school can continue to operate, the letter, signed by nearly 40 prominent members of Australia’s Muslim community, says.

Related: Sydney's Malek Fahd Islamic school loses all federal funding

AFIC is operating as an undemocratic boys’ club with flagrant disregard for the wellbeing of Australian Muslims.

Related: Malek Fahd school accused of unexplained payments to Islamic body and staff

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Real Housewives of Isis: 'They want Muslims to be offended, but we aren’t'

6 January, 2017 - 16:33

BBC2 sketch has been criticised as ‘morally bankrupt’ but many say satire is British tradition and can help fight terrorism

As 23-year-old student Zarina watches Real Housewives of Isis on a phone amid the bustle of Whitechapel market in the east end of London, she puts her hand to her mouth and gasps before bursting into laughter.

On the screen a hijab-wearing character models a suicide vest for her fellow jihadi wives. “What do you think?” she asks. “Ahmed surprised me with it yesterday.” The pal reacts by excitedly posting a picture on Instagram, saying: “Hashtag OMG. Hashtag Jihadi Jane. Hashtag death to the west, ISIS emoji.”

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Charlie Hebdo journalist quits after magazine 'goes soft'

6 January, 2017 - 15:31

Zineb El Rhazoui claims weekly hit by Paris attacks is bowing to Islamic extremists and no longer daring to draw Muhammad

One of Charlie Hebdo’s most outspoken journalists has said she is leaving the French satirical magazine because it has gone soft on Islamic extremism.

Zineb El Rhazoui accused the weekly of bowing to Islamic extremists and no longer daring to draw the prophet Muhammad.

Related: Charlie Hebdo puts broken-down Angela Merkel on cover of first German edition

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The Isis campaign against Iraq’s Shia Muslims is not politics. It’s genocide | Ranj Alaaldin

5 January, 2017 - 15:29
Until the west acknowledges the true nature of the jihadis’ atrocities, good governance and stability in the region will always be out of reach

The carnage in Iraq continues. Yet another terrorist attack took place today in Baghdad, the latest in a series of such atrocities that have hit the capital and other parts of the country over the past week. Isis is undergoing a losing battle in Mosul, its last remaining stronghold in Iraq, and it is expected to lose control of the city in the coming months. However, it still has a deadly capacity to carry out terrorist acts. Even without its so-called caliphate, Isis will continue to undermine stability in the country.

Related: Baghdad car bomb leaves at least 24 dead

Related: Donald Trump: 'We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes'

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Shirin Neshat’s best photograph: an Iranian woman with a gun in her hair

5 January, 2017 - 09:33

‘We often think of women with an Islamic background as being passive and submissive to men, but here they are empowered by bearing arms’

This is my friend and muse, an artist called Arita Shahrzad. When it comes to capturing nuance and sadness, she has the perfect lips and eyes. I don’t actually take the pictures I produce. I’ve used photography for a long time, but I’m not technically trained. My role is more conceptual. I do the composition, the framing, the post-production and calligraphy. I’ve also posed in several pictures. It’s not like I get a cameraman in to do it all.

This image of Arita is taken from my Women of Allah series. It explored martyrdom in relation to women in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I’m fascinated by how martyrdom was encouraged and institutionalised during the 1979 revolution. It has deep political ramifications, but I also wanted to explore the psychological effects of martyrdom. These Iranians were caught between self-sacrifice, devotion, love of god – and cruelty, violence and death. We often think of women with an Islamic background as being passive and submissive to men, but here they were really empowered by bearing arms.

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Sydney's Malek Fahd Islamic school loses all federal funding

5 January, 2017 - 04:42

Administrative appeals tribunal rules school was run for profit and backs education department’s decision to withdraw funding

Australia’s largest Islamic school should no longer be allowed to receive federal funding, the administrative appeals tribunal has ruled.

It means the school in Sydney’s west may be forced to close.

Related: Malek Fahd Islamic school wins reprieve as funding withdrawal delayed

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Pakistani activist fears he will be killed like his father over blasphemy

3 January, 2017 - 17:34

Fatwa issued against Shaan Taseer for allegedly insulting Islam six years after his governor father died in similar controversy

A Pakistani rights activist whose politician father was assassinated in 2011 for supposedly insulting Islam says he fears the same fate after a hardline religious group issued a fatwa demanding his execution and the police launched an investigation into allegations he had committed blasphemy.

Shaan Taseer said the Sunni Tehreek, a grouping of clerics drawn from the Barelvi movement, was “gunning for my blood and provoking people to take my life” over a Christmas video he posted on social media in which he criticised Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Related: How to commit blasphemy in Pakistan

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The Reina atrocity shows how deeply Islamic fanaticism has taken hold in Turkey | Elif Shafak

3 January, 2017 - 16:54
My country has been in the grip of intolerance, culminating in the New Year’s Eve massacre. Hopes that Turkey could be a model for the Muslim world have died

Last year was one of incessant tension and sorrow for Turkey. A series of deadly terror attacks left the entire country fearful, traumatised. There were public funerals in almost every town, but even grief can’t unite a society as polarised as ours.

Related: Istanbul nightclub attack caps off dreadful year for Turkey

A group of students produced an inflatable Santa Claus, which they first circumcised and then stabbed multiple times

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

2 January, 2017 - 07:12

Conservative Liberal parliamentarians to appear at dinner hosted by Q Society to raise funds to defend a defamation case brought by a halal certifier

Conservative Liberal party members George Christensen and Cory Bernardi will be drawcard speakers at a $150-a-head dinner next month to help raise funds for an anti-Islam organisation to defend a defamation case brought by a halal certifier.

The dinner will be held in Melbourne on 10 February, with the cost of the tickets including a “sparkling welcome, a variety of fine finger food and a generous serve of free speech”.

Related: Anti-halal campaigner sued over claims Islamic certification supports terrorism

Related: George Christensen on poverty, priesthood and a flirtation with One Nation

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