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Curtis Cheng's son calls for end to political 'scapegoating' of Muslims

19 August, 2018 - 22:52

Son of murdered police accountant says the actions of individuals ‘cannot be attributed to an entire group of people’

The son of murdered New South Wale police accountant Curtis Cheng has called for an end to political “scapegoating” of Muslims in Australia following last week’s speech by senator Fraser Anning calling for a ban on Muslim immigration.

Alpha Cheng’s father was shot in cold blood by a 15-year-old Muslim boy, Farhard Jabar, outside the NSW police headquarters in Parramatta in 2015. Two others were jailed for planning the attack and supplying the weapon.

Related: Fraser Anning and Bob Katter's anti-Muslim cry is about comfort, not survival | Yassir Morsi

Related: White supremacy was the mainstay of Australian federation. Little has changed | Paul Daley

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In the Cape Town enclave that survived apartheid, the new enemy is gentrification

19 August, 2018 - 07:59
Picturesque Bo-Kaap was for decades the home of Muslim residents. Now, as some cash in on soaring house prices, others want to hold on to their history

Sunday morning in Cape Town. Two days of rain have washed the dust from the air. Table Mountain is etched against a clear blue southern winter sky. Seagulls wheel on an ocean breeze. In the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of the city, the famous painted houses shine postcard perfect. Children play on cobbled streets. Men in prayer caps watch, deep in conversation, prayer beads clicking.

Yet the apparent calm is misleading. In recent weeks angry young men have burned tyres in the streets of Bo-Kaap. There have been marches and demonstrations. The immediate spark for the anger? Plans to build hotels, luxury apartments and shops. The deeper cause? Fear that gentrification will destroy the community.

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Labour suspends ex-MP over remarks on antisemitism row

18 August, 2018 - 21:00

Scot Jim Sheridan accused Jewish community of colluding with ‘Blairite plotters’

Labour has suspended a former MP who accused the Jewish community of colluding with “Blairite plotters” to damage the party, as a poll for the Observer found that more than a third of voters believe that the party is prejudiced against British Jews.

Jim Sheridan, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North until 2015, was suspended after apparently writing in a Facebook post that has since been removed: “For all my adult life I have had the utmost respect and empathy for the Jewish community and their historic suffering. No longer, due to what they and their Blairite plotters are doing to my party and the long-suffering people of Britain who need a radical Labour government.”

Related: It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to take on his critics with a major speech. Here’s what he should say | Gary Younge

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Muslim women call for more equality in running UK mosques

18 August, 2018 - 13:00
Activists challenge lack of prayer spaces and exclusion from management roles

Muslim women in Scotland are campaigning to be given more equal facilities for praying and to be involved in running mosques.

Scottish Mosques For All was set up to highlight the importance of including women in decision-making. More than a quarter of mosques in the UK have no facilities for women and, in the remainder, access is often restricted and the space they are given inadequate.

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Hajj 'nap pods' being introduced for pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

18 August, 2018 - 06:06

The sleep stations – based on Japan’s famous capsule hotels – will offer clean sheets and air-conditioning

Saudi Arabia plans to introduce sleep pods, reminiscent of Japan’s famed capsule hotels, in the western city of Mina in the coming days, as an estimated two million Muslims gather for the six-day hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Related: Saudi Arabia to open border with Qatar to let pilgrims attend hajj

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Muslim couple denied Swiss citizenship over handshake refusal

18 August, 2018 - 01:47

Couple also ‘showed great difficulty in answering questions asked by people of the opposite sex’

The Swiss city of Lausanne has blocked a Muslim couple’s bid to become Swiss nationals over their refusal to shake hands with members of the opposite sex.

The municipality said it refused to grant the couple’s citizenship application over their lack of respect for gender equality, Lausanne mayor Gregoire Junod said.

Related: Swiss ruling overturns Muslim pupils' handshake exemption

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Manchester police investigate arena bomber's links to imam

16 August, 2018 - 19:45

Salman Abedi attended mosque where sermon was given about mujahideen

Police in Manchester are investigating claims that an imam at a British mosque attended by the arena bomber delivered a sermon advocating armed jihad six months before the attack.

Greater Manchester police (GMP) said they had been passed footage from the BBC purporting to show an imam at Didsbury mosque praising mujahideen fighting abroad – a term commonly used for Islamist guerrilla fighters.

Related: Police chief rebukes BBC over Manchester bombing documentary

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Boris Johnson and the burqa both causing concern | Letters

16 August, 2018 - 17:41
Readers respond to Guardian articles by Matthew d’Ancona, Emine Saner and Polly Toynbee

Two cheers for Matthew d’Ancona’s spirited and precise nailing of the clear and present danger represented by Boris Johnson’s targeted attack on Muslim women (Boris Johnson has created a moment more divisive than ‘rivers of blood’, 13 August). His comparison with the impact and consequences of Enoch Powell’s speech is both apposite and timely. Further, Mr d’Ancona is right to point out that the rise and rise of social media makes Johnson’s dog-whistling even more dangerous than Powell’s.

But Johnson’s intervention did not appear in social media first but as a column in the Daily Telegraph – within days of resigning his cabinet position, and against the rules laid out by parliament’s advisory committee on business appointments. Since then the paper has made Johnson’s column the main driver of its news.

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'Food-deprived, pulling all-nighters': A-levels during Ramadan

16 August, 2018 - 13:45

Pupils at at Tauheedul Islam school in Blackburn on how they juggled fasting and exams

It was a tough exam season for this year’s A-level cohort, who sweated in airless assembly halls during the hottest summer in decades. Arguably, it was even tougher for the students of Tauheedul Islam girls’ high school in Blackburn, who also had Ramadan to contend with.

This year’s month of fasting coincided with the exam period, prompting some girls to stay up late feasting after sundown and others to set their alarms for 2.30am for a very early breakfast. “All our exams were in Ramadan and it was so hot,” said Sara Ziglam, 19, who got As in Arabic and psychology and Bs in biology and chemistry: “We were food-deprived, pulling all-nighters.”

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Two Birmingham mosques attacked with catapults

16 August, 2018 - 09:58

Armed police deployed after attacks on Muslim places of worship in Small Heath area

Armed police have been deployed after catapult attacks on two Birmingham mosques.

Officers were called to the Masjid Qamarul Islam mosque on Fosbrooke Road, Small Heath, at about 10pm on Wednesday and the Al-hijrah mosque on Hob Moor Road 20 minutes later.

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EU concerned over detention of human rights lawyer in Iran

15 August, 2018 - 18:23

Nasrin Sotoudeh faces charges such as espionage as Tehran continues to stifle dissent

The European Union has expressed serious concerns about the continuing detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who is serving a five-year jail sentence.

Sotoudeh was arrested in June amid a crackdown on defence lawyers representing cases deemed sensitive to the country’s national security.

Related: 'Desperate to find a way out': Iran edges towards precipice

Related: Iran urged by UN to respect environment activists after wildlife campaigner death

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Australian party leader hails speech calling for 'final solution' on Muslim migration

15 August, 2018 - 10:04

Politicians unite in condemnation of Fraser Anning’s speech, but his party leader Bob Katter says he backs him ‘1000%’

Bob Katter, the veteran Queensland political maverick, has lauded an inflammatory speech by his Senate representative, Fraser Anning, declaring the contribution “absolutely magnificent” and “everything that this country should be doing”.

As political leaders moved in lock-step to condemn Anning’s speech – which praised the White Australia policy, called for an end to Muslim migration, and invoked the term “final solution” – Katter, the leader of Katter’s Australia party, struck a starkly different note, declaring the speech had his “1,000% support”.

Straight from Goebbels’s handbook from Nazi Germany.

Related: Australian senator calls for 'final solution to immigration problem'

Related: Fraser Anning speech 'straight from Goebbels' handbook', says Pauline Hanson

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The origins of genocide lie in permissive bias and discrimination | Alex Ryvchin

15 August, 2018 - 07:11

The words Fraser Anning reserved for the Muslim community were once directed at Jews who had survived the Holocaust

There is much to find objectionable in Senator Fraser Anning’s first speech to the Australian Senate. The baffling, deplorable invocation of Nazi genocide by referring to immigration as a “problem” requiring a “final solution”, is particularly striking. But we mustn’t allow this conspicuous statement to prevent us from seeing the real animus and the real purpose of the speech. It is a call for a return to a darker time of policy-making on the basis of national origin, skin colour, and religion.

Anning fails to comprehend what it is that makes our country great and what it is that is truly worth protecting.

Related: MPs widely condemn Fraser Anning's 'final solution' speech

Related: The Coalition has been playing with fire on race, and this is their inferno | Katharine Murphy

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Classical scholars turn backs on Boris Johnson over burqa comments

14 August, 2018 - 19:18

Education charity Classics for All distances itself from high-profile supporter

The Ides of March may be long past but Boris Johnson has found himself, like Julius Caesar, under attack from an unusual direction – in Johnson’s case, the nation’s classical scholars.

Following his incendiary remarks about Muslim women wearing the burqa, Johnson has found his position on a charity promoting the study of classics under threat, after several members threatened to cut their ties if Johnson’s were not.

Related: Boris Johnson or the burqa? It’s a false choice – both dehumanise Muslim women | Polly Toynbee

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‘It has made us unsafe’: Muslim women on fear and abuse after Boris Johnson’s burqa remarks

14 August, 2018 - 17:34

Since the former foreign secretary likened women in niqabs to ‘letterboxes’ and ‘bank robbers’, there has been an increase in reports of anti-Muslim abuse. How does it feel to be victimised because of your dress?

‘Oh, there goes a letterbox.’ On Saturday, while Sidrah Sajad was out shopping in Manchester, where she lives, she heard a man – middle-aged, white – say this to a companion as she walked past. “I turned around and said: ‘Excuse me,’ and they just walked off,” she says. She was in a rush that day, but usually – because abuse happens fairly regularly – she likes to confront it. “I’m the sort of person who will engage. If someone is saying such negative comments, I like to approach them and give them the opportunity to talk to me, say: ‘Why would you say something like that?’” How did she feel? She sighs. “You know what, it’s ignorance. That person is not educated. Part of British values is trying to respect and embrace the norms of all the faiths. Even if we don’t understand it, we honour common ground. Every individual has a choice to live their life the way they want to, and we should respect that.”

It is just over a week since the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson likened women who wear the niqab – the face veil – to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” in a column for the Daily Telegraph. Johnson said he was against a ban but his comments, whether throwaway or carefully calculated – including that the burqa and niqab were “odd” and “oppressive” – have had real-life consequences for many British Muslims. Women have spoken of feeling vulnerable, and some have been abused. The anti-Muslim hate-crime monitoring group Tell Mama has reported a spike in abuse against Muslim women since Johnson’s column appeared. In the week before the column was published, five women reported incidents against them (all were wearing the hijab, and none wore the niqab). In the week after the column, 14 women wearing the hijab and seven who wore the niqab reported abuse to the organisation.

Related: Boris Johnson’s burqa comments fuel violent crime against Muslim women | Dal Babu

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Australian senator calls for 'final solution to immigration problem'

14 August, 2018 - 10:50

Crossbencher Fraser Anning widely condemned for speech praising white Australia policy and pushing for plebiscite on Muslim immigration

An Australian crossbench senator has invoked the term “the final solution” in an inflammatory speech calling for a plebiscite asking voters whether they want to end all immigration by Muslims and non-English speaking people “from the third world”.

Fraser Anning, formerly of the far-right Pauline Hanson One Nation party, and now a member of the Katter’s Australia party, used his maiden speech in the Senate to call for “a plebiscite to allow the Australian people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the third world, and particularly whether they want any Muslims”.

Related: Fraser Anning urges vote on ending Muslim immigration – politics live

Related: Blaming a rising population is easy. Finding solutions is hard but it can be done | Greg Jericho

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Beijing blasts 'anti-China forces' for claim of million Uighurs in prison camps

14 August, 2018 - 06:01

Foreign minister claims residents of Xinjiang are ‘living in peace and happiness’ after UN panel hears reports of secret internment camp

Anti-China forces are behind criticism of policies in the far western region of Xinjiang, the Chinese foreign ministry has claimed, after a UN panel aired accusations that one million ethnic Uighurs may be held in internment camps.

China has said Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tension between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.

Related: China denies violating minority rights amid detention claims

Any defamatory rumours are futile

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Boris Johnson or the burqa? It’s a false choice – both dehumanise Muslim women | Polly Toynbee

14 August, 2018 - 06:00

Racism is a virus that can be easily released by politicians who stoop low. But we can’t ignore how religions treat women

So, what is the good liberal to do? What is the good humanist to say? Boris Johnson’s anti-Muslim “jokes” were not a dog whistle, but a foghorn beckoning racists to his Steve Bannon-assisted leadership cause. But in the maelstrom he has deliberately caused, the risk is that liberals are silenced on criticising religion, Islam in particular. Are you for the niqab or for Boris’s racism? That’s a preposterous choice.

Related: Boris Johnson must face full inquiry, Muslim leaders tell May

Related: Boris Johnson is leveraging hatred and racism in his desire for power | Rupa Huq

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Muslim leaders urge May to launch inquiry into Tory party Islamophobia

13 August, 2018 - 19:48

Muslim Council of Britain tells PM to act after Boris Johnson’s ‘dehumanising’ comments

The Muslim Council of Britain has urged Theresa May to launch an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party after several MPs supported “dehumanising comments” made by Boris Johnson.

Related: Boris Johnson is leveraging hatred and racism in his desire for power | Rupa Huq

Related: Equality watchdog attacks Boris Johnson's 'inflammatory' remarks

Related: Journalists must fight for facts – and ignore Boris Johnson’s tea party | Suzanne Moore

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