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The Guardian view on Modi’s 100 days: trashing lives and the constitution | Editorial

13 September, 2019 - 18:25
The Indian prime minister is being feted in the west. But he is arbitrarily curbing the human rights and civil liberties of minorities on a vast scale

This week India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, clocked up 100 days in office in his second term. Mr Modi has chosen to govern much as he did his first term – as a rightwing populist on behalf of the majority Hindu population at the expense of the rights of minorities, especially Muslims, in his vast country. He dominates his nation’s politics: in May he became the first prime minister since 1971 to win majorities in parliament in back-to-back elections. He also dominates his Bharatiya Janata party, with a third of voters who supported the ruling coalition saying they would have voted for another party if Mr Modi had not been leader. Yet he has ruled rashly and in his party’s narrow interest, keeping the electorate aroused with nationalist delusions that only he can protect India from its rival, Pakistan, and the majority community from “fifth columnists”.

India risks becoming an ethnic democracy with an implied two-tiered citizenship. It is not one yet. However, in deed Mr Modi gives the impression that this is desirable. This month almost 2 million people living in Assam, a state in north-eastern India, have been left at risk of statelessness because they cannot prove they arrived there before Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan in March 1971 in special courts that, says Amnesty, are “shoddy and lackadaisical”. No one is sure how many Indians who have been declared “foreigners” are Muslims. The evidence suggests many are. Mr Modi’s right-hand man called them “infiltrators” and “termites”, who ought to be thrown “into the Bay of Bengal”.

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The Guardian view on Pope Francis: a voice in the wilderness | Editorial

9 September, 2019 - 18:44
No other spiritual leader is speaking out so clearly for the poor and for the environment in the developing world

Pope Francis has been visiting two of the poorest countries in the world, but on the way he took a moment to attack his enemies in the richest. Handed a book by the French journalist Nicolas Senèze, which recounts the efforts of a rightwing American clique to force him out of office, he described it as “a bomb”, and said that it was “an honour when the Americans attack me”. There was no mistaking the depth of the split within the world’s largest and most important Christian church.

In the developed world, and especially in Europe and North America, organised Christianity is collapsing, particularly among the young. This is as true of the Catholic church as of any other. In this country its numbers are maintained by immigration, and its morale, at least in part, by a policy of avoiding largely empty churches by using only enough to keep them full; in the US, lapsed Catholics are numbered in tens of millions. In all these countries, religious affiliation falls with every generation and there is no end to the process in sight.

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Say a prayer: the Muslim woman who photographed Bradford's last synagogue

8 September, 2019 - 15:00

Nudrat Afza, a single mother who can’t afford her own camera, talks us through her new show – of poignant shots capturing the last 45 Jewish worshippers in the city’s only remaining synagogue

The last UK census, which took place in 2011, found that there were just 299 Jews left in Bradford, a tiny number for a city that became home to so many German Jews in the 19th century that the warehouse district they created is still called Little Germany. The Muslim population, meanwhile, hit 129,041 the same year.

The city’s synagogue, a grade II-listed building, almost shut down in 2013, unable to afford roof repairs – until the Muslim community raised funds to cover costs. A £103,000 lottery grant followed, enabling full repairs, but the number of worshippers has stuck stubbornly at just 45 – with occasional newcomers balancing out the deaths of elderly worshippers.

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Court rejects NHS trust bid to stop Muslim family representing sick girl

5 September, 2019 - 16:37

Barts NHS trust criticised for bringing Islamic religious beliefs into life support case

An NHS trust has been criticised for arguing that the family of a seriously ill five-year-old girl are incapable of acting in her best interests because of their Islamic religious beliefs.

The parents of Tafida Raqeeb, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in February and is on a life-support machine, want to fly her to Italy for treatment against the judgment of doctors at the Royal London hospital.

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Man considering legal action after Starbucks employee labels drink 'Isis'

1 September, 2019 - 22:10

Niquel Johnson said when he ordered at a Philadelphia store he gave his Islamic name, Aziz

A Philadelphia man has said he is considering legal action against Starbucks after an employee asked for his name to label his drink but ended up writing the title of the Islamic State.

Niquel Johnson, 40, told the Washington Post that when he ordered his drinks last week he gave his Islamic name, Aziz, as he had done in the same store “countless” times before. This time, the three drinks he ordered all came back labelled “Isis”.

Related: Coffee shop racism: where America's racial divisions are exposed

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Houston: Islamic group hosts Sanders and Castro and braces for rightwing rally

31 August, 2019 - 14:00

In Texas, the Islamic Society of North America’s annual convention expects anti-fascist counter-protests

In Houston, an annual Islamic convention hosting presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro is bracing for an armed far-right protest and a counter-demonstration.

Related: 'Tip of the iceberg': what a Nazi salute video says about Orange county

Patrick Strickland is a freelance reporter and author

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With hajj under threat, it's time Muslims joined the climate movement

30 August, 2019 - 08:00

Scientists say global heating could endanger pilgrims as soon as next summer. This must be our call to action

According to research published last week by US scientists, hajj is set to become a danger zone. As soon as next year, they say, summer days in Mecca could exceed the “extreme danger” heat-stress threshold. The news comes just weeks after over 2 million people completed their journey of a lifetime. The environmental threat to the holy pilgrimage is a panic button for British Muslims like me, signaling that the climate crisis is endangering an age-old sacred rite.

Hajj is a pillar of Islam that I’ve yet to undertake, and the physical endurance required will only become more gruelling in coming decades – scientists predict that heat and humidity levels during hajj will exceed the extreme danger threshold 20% of the time from 2045 and 2053, and 42% of the time between 2079 and 2086.

Too often 'saving the planet' is seen as something for the rich, a kind of green elitism

Related: My film is bridging cultural divides. This gives me hope in such polarised times | Sarfraz Manzoor

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China: A New World Order review – are we conniving with a genocidal dictatorship?

29 August, 2019 - 22:00

This documentary dared to do what politicians the world over would not, asking tough questions of Xi Jinping’s hardline rule

The drink Mihrigul Tursun’s captors offered her was strangely cloudy. It resembled, she said, water after washing rice. After drinking it, the young mother recalled in China: A New World Order (BBC Two), her period stopped. “It didn’t come back until five months after I left prison. So my period stopped seven months in total. Now it’s back, but it’s abnormal.”

We never learned why Tursun was detained – along with an estimated one million other Uighurs of Xinjiang province, in what the authorities euphemistically call re-education centres – but we heard clearly her claims of being tortured. “They cut off my hair and electrocuted my head,” Tursun said. “I couldn’t stand it any more. I can only say please just kill me.”

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Leaked emails show Ukip leader comparing Muslims to Nazis

22 August, 2019 - 14:04

Richard Braine accused of stoking tensions after also saying there are no ‘moderate Muslims’

Richard Braine, the new Ukip leader, has been accused of whipping up religious tensions and anti-Muslim prejudice after leaked emails showed he argued that people should no more want Muslims to settle in their country than Nazis.

Braine, who won the leadership after a campaign in which he expressed anti-Islam views, also suggested that non-Muslims needed to help Muslims to “cast out their demon” and argued there was no such thing as “moderate Muslims”.

(November 5, 2010)  Nigel Farage

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I wrote a sketch about Muslims at airport security. Guess what happened next | Aatif Nawaz

21 August, 2019 - 13:23
Being stopped in airports happens all too often to people like me. Why must we pay the price for widespread prejudice?

I know it’s coming – the double-take at my face, the auxiliary taps on the keyboard, the indiscreet scribble on my boarding pass. I find myself thinking a familiar thought: thank God I came early.

On what seemed like a packed flight from London to Los Angeles – I was the only person pulled aside for “random additional security screening”.

Pushed and prodded, it can be difficult to remain patient and go the extra mile to be compliant

Related: Where is the outrage about the Tory party’s Islamophobia? | Owen Jones

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The myth of Eurabia: how a far-right conspiracy theory went mainstream

16 August, 2019 - 06:00

Once an obscure idea confined to the darker corners of the internet, the anti-Islam ideology is now visible in the everyday politics of the west. How did this happen? By Andrew Brown

In July 2011, a quiet European capital was shaken by a terrorist car bomb, followed by confused reports suggesting many deaths. When the first news of the murders came through, one small group of online commentators reacted immediately, even though the media had cautiously declined to identify the attackers. They knew at once what had happened – and who was to blame.

“This was inevitable,” explained one of the anonymous commenters. And it was just the beginning: “Only a matter of time before other European nations get a taste of their multicultural tolerance that they’ve been cooking for decades.”

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India’s illegal power grab is turning Kashmir into a colony | Mirza Waheed

14 August, 2019 - 17:47

Narendra Modi’s nationalist takeover runs roughshod over Kashmir’s special status and its people’s rights

I haven’t been able to hear the voices of my parents for more than a week now. We usually talk or exchange messages a few times during the day, mostly about their creeping health issues or about my children’s latest antics here in London. But now, not a peep. It’s because, like all Kashmiris, they’re under siege, experiencing the worst crackdown in three decades, imposed by the Indian government as it revoked the region’s autonomy by abrogating article 370 of the constitution.

Related: Why Modi’s Kashmir coup threatens India’s democracy

Related: 'Our hearts are on fire': Kashmir spends Eid al-Adha in lockdown

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'I will always be racially profiled': new NUS president on Islamophobia

11 August, 2019 - 16:26

Zamzam Ibrahim calls for the government’s Prevent strategy to be scrapped

The new president of the National Union of Students (NUS) has called for the government’s Prevent anti-radicalisation strategy to be scrapped and has urged universities to do more to tackle the black attainment gap and racism on campus.

In her first interview since taking up office last month, Zamzam Ibrahim said she had seen the impact of Prevent in universities first-hand, with events being cancelled and students being referred because of membership of the Palestinian or Islamic societies.

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'I am really shy': introducing Phoenix, the world’s first hijab-wearing champion wrestler

7 August, 2019 - 03:36

Malaysia’s Nor Diana, 19, says she becomes transformed in the ring, ready to take on her opponent – and conservative Islamic critics

Nor Diana can remember vividly the first time she stepped out to make her wrestling debut. Outside the ropes she had always been a quiet and studious hijab-wearing Malaysian woman, but here in the ring, dressed in black leather embossed with flames and as the crowd roared, she suddenly felt like a fire burst from inside her: here she was Phoenix.

Nor, who last month won Malaysia’s biggest wrestling tournament – defeating four men for the title – cuts an unlikely figure for a pro wrestler. A 19-year-old who is just 152cm (5ft) tall and weighs 43kg (94lbs), she speaks softly as she sits in her training centre in the town of Puchong, close to Kuala Lumpur, dressed in her hijab, wide glasses and floral baju kurung, traditional Malaysian dress.

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BBC apologises after presenter calls Muslim prayer sign 'IS salute'

5 August, 2019 - 19:58

Broadcaster makes last-minute edit to Stacey Dooley documentary before it airs on BBC One

The BBC has apologised and amended a Panorama documentary presented by Stacey Dooley after she inadvertently described a Muslim prayer sign as a terrorist salute.

Stacey Meets the IS Brides, which is due to be shown on BBC One on Monday night, features the presenter travelling to camps in Syria to meet women who left their own countries to join Islamic State.

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What induces men to imitate the Christchurch massacre? | Jeff Sparrow

5 August, 2019 - 02:47

After Christchurch and El Paso we need an open discussion – without euphemisms and evasions – about what fascism is and how it works

“In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto.”

That’s how the man accused of shooting at least 20 people in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, began the document he posted on 8chan.

Related: 175 people killed worldwide in last eight years in white nationalist-linked attacks

(July 22, 2011)  Utøya island and in Oslo, Norway

Related: 8chan: the far-right website linked to the rise in hate crimes

Related: Eco-fascism is undergoing a revival in the fetid culture of the extreme right | Jason Wilson

Jeff Sparrow’s forthcoming book Fascists Among Us: Online Hate and the Christchurch massacre is published by Scribe.

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Dutch 'burqa ban' rendered largely unworkable on first day

1 August, 2019 - 10:30

Police and transport companies have signalled unwillingness to enforce face covering ban

The Netherlands’ so-called burqa ban has been rendered largely unworkable on its first day in law after both the police and Dutch transport companies signalled an unwillingness to enforce it.

Under the terms of the Partial Ban on Face-Covering Clothing Act, the wearing of ski masks, full-face helmets, balaclavas, niqabs and burqas is prohibited in public buildings including schools and hospitals and on public transport.

Related: Why I will defy France's 'burqa law'

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A blessing in disguise? Bendigo at peace with its mosque after years of far-right protest

30 July, 2019 - 05:53

Locals lament how the mosque saga dented Bendigo’s pride as it became an ‘unfortunate backdrop’ to right-wing extremism

When it comes to building places of worship, Bendigo has always played the long game.

Lunchtime bells ring out from the imposing gothic-style Catholic cathedral on a hill overlooking the central Victorian city of more than 150,000 residents. Excavation work for the Sacred Heart cathedral began in 1896, but the tower and spire weren’t finished until 1977.

Related: Far-right extremist and convicted racist Blair Cottrell fails in supreme court appeal bid

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The world knows what is happening to the Uighurs. Why has it been so slow to act?

27 July, 2019 - 01:00

A reluctance to offend China and an information blackout has meant the persecution of the ethnic minority has gone under the radar. But pressure for change is building

On Wednesday, Sadam Abdusalam went to Australia’s federal Parliament House for the first time and spent almost 12 hours meeting politicians – meetings he has spent almost two years hoping for – in which he pleaded for their help to bring his wife and nearly two-year-old son home.

Last week Abdusalam’s story was broadcast on Four Corners, detailing how his wife and son are trapped in China because they are Uighurs – ethnic minority Muslims.

Related: The world needs to pressure China over the plight of the Uighurs | Peter Irwin

China is blueprinting a way of eradicating Muslim identity from a population.

Related: Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people

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Faith leaders urge Boris Johnson to commit to offering refugees sanctuary

26 July, 2019 - 11:38

Open letter to prime minister says UK should accept at least 10,000 refugees each year

More than 100 faith leaders have written to Boris Johnson, asking him to commit his government to offering refugees a sanctuary in the UK.

The signatories to the open letter include more than 20 Church of England bishops, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, 33 rabbis, the director of the Hindu Council, the founder of City Sikhs, the archbishop of Wales, the primus of the Scottish Episcopal church, and leaders from the Quakers, Methodists, United Reformed church, the Salvation Army, Buddhists and Zoroastrians.

Related: Campaigners renew calls for UK to accept 10,000 child refugees

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