The Guardian World news: Islam

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Austria approves headscarf ban in primary schools

16 May, 2019 - 01:24

Law refers to ‘ideologically or religiously influenced clothing’ but Sikh and Jewish headwear not affected

Austrian MPs on Wednesday approved a law aimed at banning the headscarf in primary schools, a measure proposed by the ruling right-wing government.

The text refers to any “ideologically or religiously influenced clothing which is associated with the covering of the head”.

Related: Austrian full-face veil ban condemned as a failure by police

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Yes, Islamophobia is a type of racism. Here’s why | Wes Streeting

15 May, 2019 - 16:22
Contrary to myth, the definition I helped devise isn’t a threat to free speech. Theresa May’s government must adopt it

On 15 March, a gunman walked into the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand and opened fire. During the course of his killing spree there, and at the Linwood Islamic Centre, 51 people were slaughtered in their place of worship for no other reason than their killer had decided that their faith meant that they deserved to die.

Hatred against Muslims does not begin with the sound of gunfire breaking through the peaceful calm of a place of prayer. It begins with simple prejudice in our schools, our workplaces and our communities. More than 20 years since the Runnymede Trust published its seminal report, Islamophobia: a challenge for us all, it is on the rise.

Related: Government criticised for rejecting definition of Islamophobia

Related: Racism in political parties reflects pervasive prejudice in Brexit Britain | Rachel Shabi

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Film based on Christchurch mosque shooting in the works

15 May, 2019 - 13:09

Hello, Brother – named after a victim’s last words – was announced at Cannes film festival by Egyptian director Moez Masoud

A film about the Christchurch mosque shootings, in which 51 people died, is to be directed by Egyptian film-maker and academic Moez Masoud.

According to Variety the film’s title will be Hello, Brother, the words spoken by 71-year-old victim Hati Mohammed Daoud Nabi, who opened the door to the gunman of Al Noor mosque, where 42 people died. The central characters are “a family facing death and destruction in Afghanistan who escape with their lives”.

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Fasts and late-night protein shakes: how Muslim athletes compete during Ramadan

15 May, 2019 - 09:18

The holy month began at the start of May this year. While some athletes find blending exercise and fasting tough, others say it helps them focus

For the better part of eight seasons, Hamza Abdullah played defensive back in the NFL. In each one of those seasons, thanks to the vagaries of the lunar calendar (which is roughly 10 or 11 days shorter than the solar year), the Muslim holy month of Ramadan fell either during the season or during training camp. Abdullah is a devout Muslim, which means he gives up both food and water during the sunlight hours of Ramadan. This was not an easy thing for a professional athlete to deal with, particularly during the sweaty grind of August pre-season training or the concentrated intensity of a three-hour game.

But in a way, this personal deprivation also became an opportunity for both Hamza and his brother Husain, who played defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings. Ramadan provided an opening for the Abdullahs to share their knowledge of a religion that is often misunderstood in America. And it’s also how Hamza Abdullah inadvertently convinced one of his teammates to stop eating bacon.

Related: Football while fasting: life in the Ramadan Midnight League | Nick Miller

Related: Ramadan: ‘It will be a test but the peace you get is beautiful’

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Louis Farrakhan denies antisemitism – then refers to 'Satanic Jews'

11 May, 2019 - 13:52
  • Nation of Islam leader speaks in Chicago after Facebook ban
  • Christian and Jewish leaders in city condemn invitation

In a speech denying allegations of antisemitism, misogyny and homophobia after Facebook banned him from the social media platform, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan referred to “Satanic Jews”.

Related: Facebook bans Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and other far-right figures

Related: Netflix won't stream Louis Farrakhan film after 'internal miscommunication'

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Gun fired outside east London mosque during Ramadan prayers

10 May, 2019 - 03:09

Police say shot came from blank-firing handgun and have ruled out terrorism after incident at Ilford mosque

The Metropolitan police have launched an investigation after a shot was fired outside a London mosque during prayers for Ramadan.

Police said there were no injuries, and they believe the shot came from a blank-firing handgun, and significantly, they were not treating it as a terrorist incident.

The single shot was fired outside a mosque in Ilford in east London at 10.45pm.

The man with the weapon entered the mosque on the High Road in Seven Kings, but was “ushered out” by those inside, according to police. A shot was then heard.

The incident comes after 51 people were killed in the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand and nearly two years after a terrorist attacked worshippers close to the Finsbury Park mosque in north London, killing one person.

Related: Finsbury Park mosque worshippers shocked by New Zealand terror attack

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Tommy Robinson's offer of MEP salary rejected by charities

10 May, 2019 - 00:01

Women’s groups say pledge to donate hypothetical earnings to victims of grooming is insulting

Tommy Robinson’s pledge to donate his hypothetical European parliament salary to child victims of sexual grooming has been criticised as “an insult to survivors of abuse” by women’s groups who said he was “no ally for the children he claims to stand up for”.

More than 40 women and charities including the End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition declared in a letter to voters and community leaders in the north-west that they would not accept money from the English Defence League founder, criticising Robinson for “factually incorrect messages about grooming”.

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Britain used to ask Muslims to move here. What happened to us? | Diana Darke

9 May, 2019 - 06:00
Arabic-speaking ‘recruitment’ videos the British government made in the 1960s show a more tolerant nation than today’s hostile environment

In the current climate of Islamophobia, I wonder how many British people are aware of a series of films made in the early 1960s, which were expressly designed to encourage people from Arab countries to come to Britain to work or study. The four films, all in Arabic, were made on behalf of the Foreign Office, and all begin with a mosque skyline and melodic chants of “Allahu Akbar”, the start of the Muslim call to prayer. They are unapologetically religious, eager to show Arabic-speaking Muslims how welcoming Britain is, how Islamic institutions exist in Britain to cater to their cultural and religious traditions, as a friendly home from home.

Related: Nearly 900 stateless children forced to pay UK citizenship fees

Related: Third of Britons believe Islam threatens British way of life, says report

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Asia Bibi begins new life in Canada – but her ordeal may not be over

8 May, 2019 - 11:04

Islamic extremists vow to pursue Christian acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan

Asia Bibi has arrived in Canada hoping to start a new life after her years on death row. But although there is huge relief among campaigners for religious freedom that she is out of Pakistan, her ordeal may not be over.

Islamic extremists have pledged to pursue the Christian woman and kill her for the act of blasphemy of which she was accused and later acquitted. Bibi may spend the rest of her days looking over her shoulder in fear of an international assassin.

Related: Asia Bibi arrives in Canada after leaving Pakistan

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Asia Bibi arrives in Canada after leaving Pakistan

8 May, 2019 - 07:57

Christian woman freed last year after spending eight years on death row for blasphemy

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy before she was freed last year, has flown to Canada where she has reunited with her family, her lawyer has said.

“It is a big day,” Saiful Malook told the Guardian. “Asia Bibi has left Pakistan and reached Canada. She has reunited with her family. Justice has been dispensed.”

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Revealed: new evidence of China's mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang

7 May, 2019 - 02:00

Guardian and Bellingcat investigation finds more than two dozen Islamic religious sites partly or completely demolished since 2016

Around this time of the year, the edge of the Taklamakan desert in far western China should be overflowing with people. For decades, every spring thousands of Uighur Muslims would converge on the Imam Asim shrine, a group of buildings and fences surrounding a small mud tomb believed to contain the remains of a holy warrior from the eighth century.

Pilgrims from across the Hotan oasis would come seeking healing, fertility, and absolution, trekking through the sand in the footsteps of those ahead of them. It was one of the largest shrine festivals in the region. People left offerings and tied pieces of cloth to branches, markers of their prayers.

Related: China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority – podcast

Related: Bulldozing mosques: the latest tactic in China’s war against Uighur culture | Rachel Harris

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Saatchi Gallery covers up artworks after Muslim visitors' complaints

5 May, 2019 - 17:15

Paintings by SKU deemed blasphemous for combining Islamic text with nude images

A leading contemporary art gallery covered up works featuring an Islamic declaration of faith after complaints from Muslim visitors who said the artworks were blasphemous.

The Saatchi Gallery in west London hosted an exhibition of new material by the artist SKU featuring a variety of works. However, it decided to cover up two paintings that incorporated the text of the shahada, one of the five pillars of Islam, in Arabic script juxtaposed with images of nude women in the style of the US flag.

Related: Eyewitness: Saatchi Gallery, London

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Australians accepting of migrants but negative towards Islam, poll finds

3 May, 2019 - 23:00

New wide-ranging YouGov data gives insight into the Australian identity

Lovers of regulation, supporters of same-sex couples and very liberal when it comes to abortion – this is how a sample of a thousand Australians perceive themselves.

Australia is a country that accepts gay couples, hates the big banks, considers second-generation migrants “Australian”, but the majority feel negatively towards Islam.

Related: Almost half of Australians believe immigration should be reduced, poll finds

The project is a new annual survey of global attitudes in 23 of the world's biggest countries, covering almost 5 billion people.

Related: What is the Guardian YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project?

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Woman says she was barred from Italian gym because of veil

3 May, 2019 - 16:34

Council pledges support for 28-year-old, who says owner told her: ‘My gym, my rules’

An Italian city council has promised its full support to a woman who says she was excluded from a gym because she was wearing a veil.

The episode was revealed by the city council of Mirandola, near Modena, to whom the 28-year-old Italian woman had reported the incident.

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Persecution driving Christians out of Middle East – report

2 May, 2019 - 22:00

Millions uprooted from homes, says UK-commissioned report, with many jailed and killed

Pervasive persecution of Christians, sometimes amounting to genocide, is ongoing in parts of the Middle East, and has prompted an exodus in the past two decades, according to a report commissioned by the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Millions of Christians in the region have been uprooted from their homes, and many have been killed, kidnapped, imprisoned and discriminated against, the report finds. It also highlights discrimination across south-east Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and in east Asia – often driven by state authoritarianism.

Related: As the Sri Lanka attacks show, Christians worldwide face serious persecution | Giles Fraser

Related: The government’s olive branch to Christians is tinged with hypocrisy | Afua Hirsch

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Matteo Salvini: vote for nationalists to stop European caliphate

2 May, 2019 - 18:24

Italy’s deputy PM says far right must make European election gains to prevent ‘sad ending’

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s most powerful politician, has said Europe will become an “Islamic caliphate” unless nationalist parties make gains in the European elections later this month.

Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister and leader of the League party, is trying to form a coalition of nationalist and far-right forces ahead of the elections and was speaking in Budapest during a visit to his ideological soulmate Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian prime minister.

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Sudan: what future for the country’s Islamists?

2 May, 2019 - 09:22

Islamist parties that supported the Bashir regime are now facing challenges

As members of Sudan’s Islamist Popular Congress party arrived for a meeting in Khartoum one Saturday afternoon, they were greeted by abuse from groups of young protesters and chants of “no to Islamists”.

In the scuffles that followed, both sides threw stones. Dozens were injured and more than a hundred were arrested.

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Halima Aden becomes first model to wear a burkini in Sports Illustrated

30 April, 2019 - 05:09

Born in a Kenyan refugee camp, the Muslim Somali-American model returned to her birth country for historic photoshoot

Somali-American model Halima Aden has become the first Muslim model to appear in Sports Illustrated magazine wearing a hijab and burkini. She appeared in the swimsuit edition, out in May, wearing a number of different colourful burkinis.

The model told the BBC: “Young girls who wear a hijab should have women they look up to in any and every industry.

Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings... can stand together and be celebrated. Thank you so much @si_swimsuit & the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity.

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'Mawanella was the start': Sri Lankan town reels from bombing links

26 April, 2019 - 12:22

Faith leaders say local youths were radicalised by extremist preacher Mohammed Zahran Hashim

It was crude stuff: young men armed with hammers, arriving on motorbikes in the middle of the night. At four sites in Mawanella, a central Sri Lankan town, they hacked at Buddhist statues, lopping off parts of their faces and hands.

In the aftermath of the desecration on 26 December 2018, police and local politicians were more concerned with defusing the anger of the Buddhist community and preventing religious riots of the kind that had rocked the nearby city of Digana eight months before.

Related: Sri Lanka attacks: president says civil war inquiries left country vulnerable

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