The Guardian World news: Islam

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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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