The Guardian World news: Islam

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Unesco adopts controversial resolution on Jerusalem holy sites

26 October, 2016 - 14:32

Israel claims document on Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount complex, listing Palestinian complaints over Israeli actions, deletes Jewish ties to sites

Unesco, the UN’s world heritage organisation, has adopted a controversial resolution that criticises Israeli actions around the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem’s Old City – with Israel claiming it deletes Jewish ties to holy sites.

The final version of the resolution – which has sparked furious claims and counter-claims – passed easily on Wednesday after Israel pressed for a secret vote. Despite containing some softening of language following Israeli protests over a previous version, Israel continued to denounce the text.

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The Art of the Qur’an – landmark exhibit shows holy book as text and work of art

24 October, 2016 - 18:18

First major exhibit on the Qur’an in the US, at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in Washington, displays manuscripts over a period of almost a millennium

The last significant survey of Islam’s holy book in the west was held at the British Museum in London in 1976. Into that void comes the first major exhibit on the Qur’an in the United States, The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, at the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC. On display are more than 60 richly decorated manuscripts that span nearly a millennium, cover a vast area of the Islamic world and encompass an array of styles and formats, from simple sheets of parchment to large bound tomes.

The exhibit offers “an unparalleled view of some of the greatest [Islamic] calligraphy, illumination and binding”, said museum director Julian Raby. “Above all, we convey the sense of how artists from north Africa to Afghanistan found different ways to honor the same sacred text of Islam.”

Related: Artist Sophia Al-Maria: 'People hate Islam, but they're titillated by it too'

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Fears battle for Mosul could open new front in wider Sunni-Shia conflict

24 October, 2016 - 12:36

Confusion and denial over Turkey’s role in battle against Isis reflects Iraqi anxiety over predominantly Sunni country’s intentions

The risk that military operations to expel Islamic State terrorists from Mosul in northern Iraq could morph into a new frontline in the wider conflict between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam has intensified with Turkey’s disputed entry into the fray.

Binali Yıldırım, Turkey’s prime minister, confirmed reports that Turkish troops based in the contested Bashiqa area outside Mosul were firing on Isis positions with artillery, tanks and howitzers. Yıldırım said the bombardment followed a request from Kurdish peshmerga forces.

Related: Turkish and Kurdish soldiers join forces to gain advantage in Mosul push

Related: ‘We usually cry when we watch the news’: anguish of Iraq’s Yazidi families

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From the US army to al-Shabaab: the man who wanted to live under sharia law

24 October, 2016 - 11:00

Craig Baxam left the military to practice Islam in Somalia but ended up imprisoned for murky terrorism-related charges, a case that exposes the conflict between religious fundamentalism and the US national security apparatus

Craig Baxam was lost. He thought he was in a town in northern Kenya called Marareme, though really he didn’t have a clue. He then got on a bus headed to Garissa, towards the Somali border, but was puzzled by the way the other passengers referred to it as “Arara”.

Baxam was far from home, spoke no local language and knew little about the region he was traveling through. If he were successful in reaching southern Somalia, his destination, things would almost certainly get worse for him: the war-torn country, where he planned to live according to his faith, remains one of the most inhospitable and perilous on Earth.

Related: Somalia: one man’s terrorist is another man’s carpenter

As a mother, it bothers me that I lent my son to the army and they didn’t give him back to me

Baxam saw himself dying in Somalia. It might be from malaria or from being hit by a rocket. Only Allah could know. Baxam never intended to return from Somalia, he was ‘looking for dying with a gun in my hand’. He would be happy to die defending Islam; being mowed down or hit with a cruise missile. If someone dies defending Islam, they are guaranteed a place in Jannah [paradise].

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Sir Sigmund Sternberg obituary

23 October, 2016 - 17:39
Businessman and philanthropist who founded the Three Faiths Forum, a dialogue group of Christians, Muslims and Jews

Sir Sigmund Sternberg, who has died aged 95, was one of Anglo-Jewry’s most active members, present at seemingly any important communal occasion – a banquet addressed by the chief rabbi, a meeting called in honour of an Israeli prime minister, or, most likely of all, representing Britain’s Jews at an interfaith occasion.

At almost every appearance, the decorations he wore seemed to multiply: because of his work for inter-faith relations, he was constantly being presented with medals, from countries ranging from Argentina to Ukraine.

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Channel 4 presenter says hijab ruling means it's 'open season' on Muslims

20 October, 2016 - 14:59

Newsreader Fatima Manji condemns decision by press regulator Ipso as ‘fundamentally flawed’ in appeal

The presenter Fatima Manji has questioned whether the press regulator will ever prohibit hate speech on the grounds of religion after it cleared the Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie over his criticism of the Channel 4 News for letting her report on the Nice terror attacks in a hijab.

In an unsuccessful appeal against the ruling of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), she said its decision was “fundamentally flawed” and legitimised discrimination.

Related: Why Ipso was correct: freedom of expression means the freedom to offend

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Prevent is failing. Any effective strategy must include Muslim communities | Miqdaad Versi

20 October, 2016 - 14:48

Treating all Muslims with suspicion has made Prevent a toxic brand. A grassroots-led programme would be more effective at countering terrorism

There is no doubt that the threat from international terrorism is real and that it requires proportionate and evidence-based strategies to confront it. Muslims in particular are affected twice over: not only as victims of the international attacks, but also by the anxiety that families may be torn apart as a minority fall prey to the lure of terrorist propaganda. But, as the Muslim Council of Britain has said today, the potency of that propaganda must be challenged by affirming that the best way to tackle violent extremists is to demonstrate that British Muslims are part and parcel of British life.

Related: Instead of fighting terror, Prevent is creating a climate of fear | Amrit Singh

Related: Treating Muslim children as terror suspects does not make Britain safer | Homa Khaleeli

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'Talaq' and the battle to ban the three words that grant India's Muslim men instant divorce

20 October, 2016 - 05:36

India’s supreme court may declare unconstitutional a practice that allows men to end marriages with the triple utterance of the word talaq

Talaq, talaq, talaq: for more than a decade Arshiya feared the words like some dark incantation.

When she caught her husband talking online to other women, he would snarl at her: “If you interfere too much in my life, I’ll give you talaq.”

Related: Blue-eyed tea-seller becomes social media sensation in India and Pakistan

Related: India's comic-book superheroine trains her powers on acid attacks

The Qur’an nowhere has any mention of triple talaq.

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Muslim Council of Britain to set up alternative counter-terror scheme

19 October, 2016 - 22:07

Mosque-centred strategy to start next year in challenge to Home Office’s unpopular Prevent programme

British Muslims are planning to set up their own programme to stop people becoming terrorists in a direct challenge to the government’s controversial Prevent scheme, the Guardian has learned.

The plans are being masterminded by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), representing 500 charities, schools and mosques, which plans to start the Muslim-run counter-radicalisation scheme next year.

Related: Human rights group condemns Prevent anti-radicalisation strategy

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Muslim women's group inundated with hate mail after endorsing Hillary Clinton

19 October, 2016 - 17:32
  • Drudge Report link titled ‘Hijab for Hillary’ inspires threatening bigots
  • American Muslim Women Pac was founded after recent party conventions

A post on the aggregator site Drudge Report sparked a cascade of hate mail and phone calls to the American Muslim Women political action committee (Pac) on Tuesday.

Mirriam Seddiq, a criminal defense attorney and the founder of the group, woke up to an email with a link to a site that sold ammunition covered in pork.

Yesterday we got hoaxed, so let's return to the basics: Unhinged Islamophobia.

Related: What's it like being a Muslim during the US presidential elections?

There are only 10 of these shirts available so get them while they last.

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Why Ipso was correct: freedom of expression means the freedom to offend

19 October, 2016 - 17:08

Kelvin MacKenzie’s column about Fatima Manji wearing a hijab was hateful, but Channel 4 News should not have complained to the press regulator

When the row blew up over Kelvin MacKenzie’s column in the Sun about Fatima Manji wearing a hijab while presenting Channel 4 News, I said he was wrong.

Wrong because his criticism was hateful and offensive and vulgar. But that’s the price we must pay for freedom of expression (a point made endlessly in the aftermath of the massacre of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists).

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Kelvin MacKenzie ‘entitled’ to attack Channel 4 News over hijab, says watchdog

19 October, 2016 - 14:03

Ipso rejects complaint that the Sun columnist was guilty of discrimination by attacking Channel 4 over presenter’s attire when reporting Nice attack

Kelvin MacKenzie has been cleared by the press regulator over his attack on Fatima Manji, the Channel 4 News presenter, for wearing a hijab while reporting on the Nice terror attacks.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) has rejected a complaint against the Sun columnist, and former editor, that he was guilty of discrimination and harassment.

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Outrage over actor Rahama Sadau's hug highlights Nigeria's divisions

19 October, 2016 - 06:00

An actor’s brief embrace in a rap video has caused outrage in the country’s Muslim north. Meanwhile in the Christian south, films show middle-aged women chasing affairs and students seducing teachers

She is a hugely popular actor. He is a hugely popular rapper. But when Rahama Sadau and ClassiQ briefly touched in a music video released this month in northern Nigeria, their fleeting embrace set off a storm of controversy that has revealed the deep divides in the country.

Sadau, 22, found herself lambasted by conservative commentators and banned from working in the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria.

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UK's Prevent counter-radicalisation policy 'badly flawed'

19 October, 2016 - 00:01

Justice Initiative report says viewing radical Islam as precursor to terrorism risks human rights and is counterproductive

The British government’s key counter-radicalisation policy is badly flawed, potentially counterproductive and risks trampling on the basic rights of young Muslims, a new study has concluded.

Following a nine-month examination of the programme known as Prevent, the Open Society Justice Initiative has recommended a major government rethink, particularly on its use in the education and health systems.

Related: Instead of fighting terror, Prevent is creating a climate of fear | Amrit Singh

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Quebec renews burqa ban debate in parliament

18 October, 2016 - 22:17

Bill aims to provide a framework for religious accommodation requests and would ban anyone wearing a face covering from receiving public services

A bitter debate over identity, religion and tolerance has resumed in the Canadian province of Quebec, as parliamentary hearings begin on proposed legislation that would ban anyone wearing a face covering from receiving public services in the province.

The bill, tabled by the provincial Liberals last year, aims to address the issue of state neutrality and provide a framework for religious accommodation requests.

Related: Justin Trudeau rules out burkini ban in Canada

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Arabic billboard mocks Donald Trump's fear of Muslims

18 October, 2016 - 09:35

Highway billboard near Dearborn, Michigan, says ‘Donald Trump can’t read this, but he is scared of it’

A billboard has appeared alongside a Michigan highway mocking Donald Trump and his xenophobic rhetoric about Muslims and immigration.

The advert, placed on Interstate 94 near Dearborn, says in white Arabic text on a black background: “Donald Trump can’t read this, but he is scared of it.”

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Aceh flogs 13 young people for breaking its strict Islamic laws

17 October, 2016 - 15:15

Six couples who broke sharia laws on intimacy among those punished as floggings in Indonesian province become more frequent

A young woman screamed in pain as she was caned in front of a jeering crowd in Aceh, Indonesia, the latest person to be punished after being found guilty of breaking the province’s strict Islamic laws.

Aceh is the only province in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes sharia law. People face floggings for a range of offences – from gambling to drinking alcohol and gay sex.

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How Britain’s young Muslims are tapping into a £2 trillion market

16 October, 2016 - 00:04

From mint mojitos in Birmingham to scented oils in London, Generation M’s entrepreneurs are catering for an affluent group ignored by the big brands

By mid-evening, the Artisan dessert restaurant in Ladypool Road, Birmingham, is crowded. People squash up on its green and pink velvet banquettes to drink mint mojitos or raspberry spice mocktails and sample an array of elaborate cakes and puddings.

Opened last year by Ali Imdad, a Great British Bake Off contestant in 2013, and his business partner Vakas Mohammed, Artisan has become a sought-out destination for couples and friends to meet after dinner. “A lot of Muslims won’t go to a bar or a club, but going out for mocktails and dessert is a good alternative,” said Imdad.

Related: Meet Generation M: the young, affluent Muslims changing the world

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High court overturns lifetime bans for Trojan horse teachers

13 October, 2016 - 19:54

Judge cites ‘serious procedural impropriety’ in major setback for DfE over handling of Park View school allegations

The high court has thrown out the lifetime bans imposed by the Department for Education on two teachers caught up in the Trojan horse controversy.

The decision is a latest setback for the DfE in its handling of allegations of Islamic influence at Park View secondary school in Birmingham dating back to 2014, and may hinder disciplinary hearings against others still under way.

Related: Trojan horse school case based on misinformation, tribunal told

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