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Extremist Israeli minister makes provocative visit to al-Aqsa mosque

18 July, 2024 - 20:16

Itamar Ben-Gvir, who seeks to disrupt ceasefire talks, makes video at contested holy site in Jerusalem

Israel’s extremist national security minister has visited the holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem, recording a video saying he went to pray, in a provocative move as he seeks to disrupt ceasefire talks.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist and champion of the settler movement, recorded footage at al-Aqsa mosque compound, also known as the Temple Mount, a site holy to Muslims and Jews.

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Israeli minister Itamar Ben-Gvir makes provocative visit to al-Aqsa compound – video

18 July, 2024 - 18:52

Israel’s extremist national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has visited the holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem, the al-Aqsa compound, in a provocative move as he seeks to disrupt ceasefire talks. Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist and scion of the settler movement, recorded footage at the compound, also known to Jews as the Temple Mount. Visits by Israeli ministers to the site or incursions by Israeli security forces have proved to be a trigger for protests and violence in the past. Under an existing agreement called the status quo, Muslims are allowed to pray on the site whereas people from other faith communities can only visit

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Extremist Israeli minister makes provocative visit to holy Muslim site

18 July, 2024 - 17:25

Itamar Ben-Gvir, who seeks to disrupt ceasefire talks, makes video at al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem

Israel’s extremist national security minister has visited the holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem, recording a video saying he went to pray, in a provocative move as he seeks to disrupt ceasefire talks.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist and champion of the settler movement, recorded footage at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, also known as the Temple Mount, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews.

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WA Labor multicultural group in revolt over treatment of Fatima Payman

17 July, 2024 - 16:00

Exclusive: Two officeholders quit, with one claiming the party has ‘become a spineless jellyfish’

Labor’s multicultural branch in Western Australia is in upheaval, with two officeholders quitting the party in protest at the treatment of Fatima Payman.

Guardian Australia can reveal that the branch’s treasurer and vice-president have resigned, with one claiming the party had “become a spineless jellyfish” that “throws its own under the bus at the drop of a hat”.

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Labor ‘clearly afraid’ of backlash after taking Islamic community for granted, Muslim Votes Matter says

16 July, 2024 - 16:00

Exclusive: Muslim voters are ‘grossly underrepresented at all levels of government’, Ghaith Krayem says

One of the new organisations seeking to mobilise Australian Muslims at the next federal election has hit back at “almost farcical” attempts to discredit the movement, insisting the Labor government is “clearly afraid”.

Ghaith Krayem, a spokesperson for Muslim Votes Matter, said despite criticism from major party politicians and media, the movement was an “inclusive initiative that hopes to uplift representation for minority groups across the country”.

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Trump’s running mate says UK could be ‘first Islamist country’ with nuclear weapons

16 July, 2024 - 08:55

JD Vance’s criticism of Labour comes after David Lammy tried to build bridges with vice-presidential nominee

Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick, JD Vance, said the UK could become the first “truly Islamist country that will get a nuclear weapon” after Labour won the election, it can be revealed.

Vance, the junior senator of Ohio and author of the memoir Hillbilly Elegy, was speaking at a conference for US Conservatives when he made the comments.

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Muslims aren’t single-issue voters. Gaza was a lightning rod for their disaffection | Kenan Malik

14 July, 2024 - 08:00

A drift from Labour has been as much about domestic issues as sectarian politics

Should we celebrate or fear the “Muslim vote”? The success of independent candidates running on pro-Palestinian tickets, four of whom were elected, overturning huge Labour majorities, has led to a debate about the role of Muslims in British politics.

On the one side are radical Islamic groups, including the Muslim Vote (TMV), a coalition of organisations seeking to maximise Muslim electoral impact. “Through the grace of the Almighty,” it proclaimed after the election, Muslims had sent “the main political parties a message” that “in Muslim-heavy areas your majorities will be under threat”.

Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 250 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at observer.letters@observer.co.uk

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Robert Irwin obituary

10 July, 2024 - 17:33

Author, scholar and historian who enjoyed success with his 1983 novel The Arabian Nightmare

To readers of fiction Robert Irwin, who has died aged 77, was known as the author of a series of historical and fantastical novels, 10 in total, beginning with The Arabian Nightmare (1983). This book was already written in the late 1970s when its author, then in his early 30s, attended the writing course at Morley College in London. But it was at Morley that Irwin met Eric Lane, a fellow aspiring novelist, who would go on to found Dedalus Press and publish The Arabian Nightmare as one of Dedalus’s first three books.

The venture was not an immediate success. “There was great excitement when Hatchards in Piccadilly had sold a copy of The Arabian Nightmare,” Lane said, “but unfortunately it was later found out of position in the bookshop.” Persistence brought the book to the attention of reviewers, however, including Hilary Bailey of the Guardian, who called it “constantly entertaining”.

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Who are the grassroots Muslim groups with an eye on Labor seats?

8 July, 2024 - 16:00

Pro-Palestine campaigners say they will back candidates at the next federal election but they are not the only religious groups hoping to influence voters

The Albanese government’s response to the conflict in Gaza will come under fire when self-described “grassroots” campaigns target dissatisfied voters in numerous key electorates at the next federal election.

Senator Fatima Payman’s dramatic exit from Labor to the crossbench last week over disagreement on when and how to recognise Palestinian statehood has sparked fresh debate about the electoral impact of the issue.

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Pakistani breast milk bank closes after Islamic clerics withdraw approval

8 July, 2024 - 08:00

Doctors deplore decision and point to country’s high neonatal mortality rate as bank, which opened in June, forced to close without taking a single deposit

When he heard a hospital in Karachi was setting up a milk bank for babies, the news was a “huge relief” to Mohammad Munawwar.

With his wife very sick and their premature son Ayan in hospital, the 52-year-old father had had to collect milk five or six times a day from different female relatives who were breastfeeding their own babies.

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Independent Muslim who beat Labour in Leicester says victory was not ‘sectarian’

6 July, 2024 - 18:07

Shockat Adam says he is not a single-issue MP, but will fight on NHS and housing as well as Gaza

The man who pulled off a shock victory at the general election by ousting shadow cabinet member Jonathan Ashworth has criticised claims that the wave of strong showings by independent Muslim candidates represents the rise of “sectarian” voting.

Shockat Adam, an optometrist, caused a huge upset by beating Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general and a familiar face in Labour’s election campaign, to become the new MP for Leicester South.

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Could the WhatsApp election hurt Labour at the polls?

2 July, 2024 - 10:00

In some constituencies – often with large Muslim populations – a parallel viral campaign focuses on emotive issues such as Gaza that rarely feature in national coverage

When Keir Starmer was interviewed for the Sun’s YouTube live stream last week, only about 10,000 people tuned in to watch him pledge to get tough on illegal immigration.

Under pressure to prove he would speed up deportations, the Labour leader singled out one example in particular: “At the moment people coming from countries like Bangladesh are not being removed because they’re not being processed.”

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Albanese stands by Fatima Payman’s suspension over Palestine ‘stunt’

1 July, 2024 - 06:54

Greens motion that Labor senator crossed floor to support was designed to put her in a difficult position, PM says after her appearance on ABC Insiders

Anthony Albanese has accused the Labor senator Fatima Payman of disrupting and undermining the government by vowing to repeat her vote for a Greens motions on Palestine, which he derided as a “stunt” and “indulgence”.

The prime minister suspended Payman indefinitely from Labor’s caucus on Sunday after an interview with ABC’s Insiders in which the Western Australian senator said she would again cross the floor if faced with another Senate motion to recognise the state of Palestine.

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‘Here I found respect for who I am’: the French citizens who choose to leave

27 June, 2024 - 16:34

Scores of highly qualified French citizens from Muslim backgrounds have left the country in recent years

Even as she climbed up the corporate ladder in France, Ophélie Rizki’s after-work routine remained unchanged. Each evening as she got into her car to drive home, she would make a beeline for her headscarf, feeling herself slowly becoming whole again as she covered her hair.

She had never been explicitly told that she couldn’t wear her hijab at work, nor had she asked. But as politicians in France continued to spar over headscarves, two decades after parliament voted to ban them in school, she worried about the impact that choosing to keep her hair covered would have on her career. “You don’t ask the question, you know it’s not something you can do,” she said.

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ICC convicts Timbuktu jihadist police chief of war crimes

26 June, 2024 - 17:57

Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was also found guilty of crimes against humanity committed in Mali

The international criminal court (ICC) has convicted a jihadist police chief of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during a reign of terror in the Malian city of Timbuktu.

Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, 46, was found guilty of crimes including torture and outrages upon personal dignity.

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Labor will not expel Fatima Payman for crossing floor to support Palestine motion

26 June, 2024 - 02:03

Deputy PM says now is ‘not the time to be going around expelling people’ as he calls for social cohesion across Australia

The deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, has ruled out expelling the Labor senator Fatima Payman or any other form of punishment for her decision to cross the floor and vote in favour of recognising Palestinian statehood.

On Wednesday Marles said “there’s not going to be any expulsion or anything of that kind” for Payman, who is the first federal Labor parliamentarian to cross the floor since 2005.

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At least 1,300 hajj pilgrims died during extreme heat, Saudi Arabia says

23 June, 2024 - 21:05

Riyadh says more than four-fifths did not have permit to make pilgrimage to Mecca, where temperatures hit 51.8C

At least 1,300 people have died during the hajj pilgrimage, which took place during intense heat, Saudi Arabia has said, adding that most of the deceased did not have official permits.

“Regrettably, the number of mortalities reached 1,301, with 83% being unauthorised to perform hajj and having walked long distances under direct sunlight, without adequate shelter or comfort,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

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Egypt to prosecute travel agents for ‘fraudulent’ hajj trips

22 June, 2024 - 16:55

PM orders 16 companies to be stripped of licences amid hundreds of deaths, many attributed to extreme heat

The Egyptian prime minister, Mostafa Madbouly, has ordered 16 tourism companies to be stripped of their licences and referred their managers to the public prosecutor’s office for illegally facilitating pilgrims’ travel to Mecca, the cabinet has said.

The order came after various countries reported more than 1,100 deaths, many attributed to high heat, during this year’s hajj.

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‘They’re trying to divide us’: Muslims in France voice fears over rise of far right

21 June, 2024 - 17:48

People in Lyon say country at dangerous juncture in snap elections after National Rally’s EU parliamentary gains

They marched through the narrow streets of Lyon’s medieval old town, about three dozen of them, emboldened after the French far-right gains in the European elections. Masks covering their faces, they wound past the hidden passageways that provided cover for the resistance during the second world war, chanting: “We are fucking Nazis” and “Islam out of Europe”.

For some in this French city, last week’s far-right demonstration, captured on video, was a chilling reminder of just how much is at stake in the snap parliamentary elections that could see the French far-right lead government.

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