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Progressive Muslims, Jews and Christians must stand together for LGBT rights | Michael Segalov

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 April, 2019 - 10:00
Reporting of the Parkfield school protests has focused on the Muslim community, but homophobia is rife in all faith groups

Struggling to come to terms with being gay as a child is by no means an experience unique to those who grow up religious. For as long as being straight remains the dominant sexuality (and, despite the best efforts of the “homosexual agenda”, it looks like that’ll forever be the case), being gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or queer still means working out what it means to be something other, something different; a journey of self-acceptance we all embark on if we can.

If you happen to be born into one of the Abrahamic religions, however, you are presented with a unique obstacle on that path. You’re not just dealing with friends, family, and a society that continues to be far from accepting, but have the added complication of God – who hasn’t traditionally been understood to be the greatest of queer allies – to contend with too.

Related: The culture war over ‘LGBT lessons’ is based on distortion. Here are the facts | Janeen Hayat

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Secular lobby advocates equality as religious leaders weigh in on election

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 April, 2019 - 23:15

Campaign aims to remind candidates that majority of Australians don’t want religion to dictate social policy

The tussle between secularism and religious freedom will enter the federal election fray this week.

The National Secular Lobby is launching a campaign aimed at jolting a complacent secular majority to consider the impact of religious exemptions and privileges that are flying under the radar.

Related: Greens propose supporting Labor climate policy in environment deal

Related: Political parties' postal vote mailouts spark concerns voters could be misled

Related: Josh Frydenberg on back foot over Adani at Kooyong election forum

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The Great British School Swap review – racial harmony? It's child's play

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 April, 2019 - 22:00

Pupils from Asian and white-majority areas are put into a classroom together in a well-intentioned social experiment that fails to get to the root of prejudice

Amina, a brown-skinned, teenage, Muslim pupil from Saltley academy, a secondary school in a predominantly brown-skinned Muslim area of Birmingham, thinks white people have different accents. “They’re like: ‘Ew, yew fucking plonkah!’” Her friends, of similar ethnic and religious heritage, think white people have “really messy houses”, they “don’t give a shit” and have “alcohol bottles everywhere”. They “have their feet up watching TV with a bowl of popcorn on the sofa”. There also seems to be a consensus that white people go to “naked beaches” a lot.

White-skinned Lucas from Tamworth Enterprise, a secondary school in a predominantly white area of Birmingham a few miles away, thinks Muslims “worship a god called Allah and their prophet is Muhammad Ali”. He is doing better than Lauren, who thinks Islam may be a country, and Dan, who reckons Mecca is a YouTuber. They and their friends think Muslims wear burqas, smell of curry, shop at Primark and can be “horrible and nasty people”.

She is clearly wrestling with herself and the received wisdom with which she has grown up

Related: School Swap – The Class Divide review: reality TV that’s light on the reality

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Facebook allowed violent posts by man charged with Ilhan Omar death threat

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 April, 2019 - 14:28

Site took no action to remove posts by Patrick Carlineo alluding to violence against Muslims and US officials, until Guardian review

Facebook allowed a man charged with threatening to kill congresswoman Ilhan Omar to post violent and racist content for years, and took no action to remove his posts when he was arrested.

Patrick Carlineo, of upstate New York, posted several entries to his Facebook page alluding to violence against Muslims and US officials including former president Barack Obama, a Guardian review found.

A photograph of a white man pointing a shotgun directly to the camera, together with the caption: “HOW TO WINK AT A MUSLIM”.

A graphic featuring a large photograph of a bullet, with text noting that American revolutionaries shot their British occupiers. Carlineo added, in his own words, that Obama was damaging the US and people had “better wake up and do something”.

A post about Obama and Eric Holder, then the US attorney general, in which Carlineo stated: “Hope you end up like the Kennedys”. John F Kennedy and one of his brothers, attorney general Robert F Kennedy, were both assassinated.

A meme that attacked “dictator Obama” for allegedly trashing the US constitution. The post included text that asked: “Is it time to remove the enemy by force?” Carlineo added in his own words: “It’s time”. This post was removed by Facebook after an inquiry by the Guardian.

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Trump continues attack on Ilhan Omar with 'hate statements' accusation

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 April, 2019 - 17:19

Trump singled out Nancy Pelosi for defending the congresswoman, who has received death threats following his tweets

Donald Trump escalated his attack on congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Monday, saying she was “out of control” and criticizing Democrats for coming to her defense.

Related: To those who lost loved ones on 9/11, Ilhan Omar is simply not worth such outrage | Alissa Torres

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UK-based TV station fined for anti-Ahmadi Muslim hate speech

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 April, 2019 - 14:09

Guest on Urdu-language Channel 44 show made serious allegations, says Ofcom

A UK-based TV station has been fined £75,000 by Ofcom after broadcasting hate speech about the Ahmadi community, amid growing fears that the religious group is facing persecution.

Channel 44, an Urdu-language current affairs satellite channel, broadcast two episodes of a discussion programme featuring a guest who “made repeated, serious and unsubstantiated allegations about members of the Ahmadiyya community”, the broadcasting watchdog said.

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Assange should be nobody’s hero

Indigo Jo Blogs - 14 April, 2019 - 23:07
 Embajada" around it. Two people are holding cameras pointing at Assange from the left side of the balcony.Julian Assange, 2012

Now that Julian Assange has finally been evicted from his refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, a whole lot of his old admirers seem to have taken a trip back down memory lane to 2011 when he leaked all the American diplomatic cables and briefly made himself a hero, to some. He was shortly afterwards accused of rape by two women in Sweden, leading to an extradition request which was assumed to be a cover for an American extradition demand even though, at the time, there was none. Friends including Vanessa Redgrave put up bail money for him (money bail is unusual in the UK) while he fought the arrest warrant; in an attempt to skip bail, he secured ‘asylum’ from Ecuador and, unable to leave the UK, took refuge in their embassy. Details of the rape accusations were made public and clearly indicated that this was a non-consensual sexual act (or at least that they gave consent to one thing and got quite another), and certain people, notably George Galloway, tarnished their reputation forever by defending him, in his case claiming that the women alleging rape were already “in the sex game”. (Contrary to some of the memories being shared on social media, it was not only men defending him back then; besides Redgrave, Naomi Wolf called for his accusers to be named while the Guardian published two letters from representatives of Women Against Rape, claiming the arrest warrant was politically motivated.) The people defending him have conveniently forgotten that this is only a fraction of his offending, and that most of it involves his conduct as head of WikiLeaks itself.

To put it simply, he began betraying his sources, and some of his sources were in a very vulnerable position. After the redacted versions of the 2011 cables were published, to much applause, he published the cables in full, in an easily searchable form, exposing informants in a number of countries, many of them dictatorships with powerful or unaccountable police forces to danger, including disappearance and torture. He published personal details about pro-democracy activists in Belarus, the last remnant of Communist dictatorship in Europe, which resulted in a number of them disappearing; he published the names of male and female rape victims; when asked about Afghans identified as assisting the American and British forces in their country and the risks to their safety, he responded that they were informants and if they were killed, they had it coming. He is closely associated with Israel Shamir, a Russian anti-Semite who admires both Putin and Lukashenko, the dictator of Belarus; he refused to publish a cache of material that could have exposed Russian corruption and international interference as well as the 2016 Panama papers.

It is depressing to see Muslims fall over themselves to excuse this immoral individual who is really no friend of Muslims; we also see figures on the Left make excuses for him when he is no friend of theirs either. This is not someone who has been on the side of good, despite some flaws, and been persecuted by a powerful establishment. Such people exist, but he is not one of them. He is someone who did something we agreed with many years ago, and has since shown that he has no morals to speak of, that he believes he is above the rules that constrain everyone else’s behaviour. Even before the 2011 leaks, we knew that the Iraq war was without sanction in international law, that it was a war of unprovoked aggression, that it was motivated by personal grievances on Bush’s part and drew on a well of hatred among the American people and in their media following the 9/11 attacks; that its result was a disaster was already well-known. Whatever the truth of the rape accusation, he is a scoundrel and an anti-American or anti-British scoundrel is no less a scoundrel than one who is against anything else. If he had gone to Sweden to answer the rape accusations and been convicted, he might well have received a sentence considerably shorter than the time he spent holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, making a nuisance of himself to his hosts, as we now know, and serving the interests of Vladimir Putin and tyrants the world over. He is a criminal, even if the people demanding his arrest are not seeking justice for the people he has hurt the most.

Image source: Snapperjack. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) 2.0 licence.

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Ilhan Omar: White House escalates Trump attack over 9/11 comment

The Guardian World news: Islam - 14 April, 2019 - 18:09

The White House escalated its assault on the Muslim American congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Sunday, after Donald Trump repeatedly tweeted video footage of September 11 and accused Omar of downplaying the terror attacks.

Related: Ilhan Omar: how Democrats responded to Trump's 9/11 attack

I think that it’s a good thing that the president is calling her out

This is about the fact that she looks a certain way, she is a woman of color, she happens to be of the Muslim faith

Related: Yemeni bodegas boycott New York Post over attacks on Ilhan Omar

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Muslim leaders should not serve Israeli propaganda

Indigo Jo Blogs - 13 April, 2019 - 00:08
A South Asian imam with a large black beard, wearing a brown turban with a white shawl around his upper chest, lays a wreath of red and white flowers in front of a monument to "the memory of the six million men, women and children who perished" (in the Holocaust). A line of nine or ten people, mostly men, including other imams stand behind him against a wall of large stones. A fire stands behind him with a jagged 'finger' pointing up out of it.An imam lays flowers at Yad Vashem

For a long while, Israeli sympathisers have been trying to nurture a generation of Muslim leaders and influencers who might try to sway Muslim opinion towards, as they see it, a more ‘balanced’ view of Israel than what Muslims in the west have, which mainly consists of stories about Israeli oppression of Palestinians on the West Bank, their bombings of civilian targets in Gaza and increasing intolerance of Arab citizens of Israel itself. In the USA, this has taken the form of the “Muslim Leadership Initiative”; more recently, an outfit called Journey2Jerusalem took a ‘delegation’ of Muslim imams from the UK on an all-expenses-paid tour of Israel and the West Bank, meeting local Muslims both within Israel and in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as Christian and Jewish leaders. They also visited Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial, the Western Wall in Jerusalem and “villages on the Gaza border”. The group included Dr Musharraf Hussain al-Azhari, the chief executive of the Karimia Institute in Nottinghamshire, armed forces chaplain Asim Hafiz, “Shaykh Ghulam Rabbani, considered one of the world’s most eminent scholars” and Shaykh Mohammad Asrar who “heads the largest mosque in Leeds”.

The tour, as reported in Jewish News (whose website is part of the Times of Israel website), began in Akko (Acre in English; neither that nor the Arabic name, Akka, are given in the report) where the local chief rabbi told them that “there is no need for a legal limitation on noise from muezzin (the Muslim call to prayer) in Israel – unlike the UK – because noise levels are determined by local religious leaders is discussion and dialogue”, as if they deserved a medal for not stopping the Muslims that managed to hang on in Israel after 1948 from issuing the call to prayer in their own city. Muslims do not give the call to prayer in public in much of the UK because we are a minority; in places where the numbers are strong, the call is issued on some occasions such as for Friday prayer.

The article claims that they visited Al-Aqsa and “prayed with large Muslim congregations after being shown around by an imam whose role is to look after mosques in the south of the country”. Most of us know that in fact access to Al-Aqsa is restricted and that Muslims are prevented from coming to pray there on Friday from surrounding Arab towns, and also that Arabs are being driven out of East Jerusalem by Israeli residency and building permit laws. So, this is something of a showpiece for Israel’s “tolerance” while mosques, Muslim graveyards and other sites are destroyed elsewhere in Israel (most recently the mosque in Safed turned into a wine bar, of all things). It goes on:

Speaking to i24 News, Hafiz said: “To come here and actually see that people are going about their daily lives, and people from the Jewish community do interact with the Muslim community here, the Arab community, is absolutely fascinating.”

Of course, rabbis, imams and priests interact with each other in Jerusalem as they do anywhere else there are mixed communities. The same happens in a lot of Muslim countries as well as in the UK. That does not change the power dynamic in Israeli and Palestinian society: that Arab residency in East Jerusalem is restricted and Jewish settlements there and in the West Bank are expanding; that Palestinians are harassed by settlers and soldiers and their business obstructed by checkpoints; that Israel has built a wall which cuts into the West Bank to link settlements and cut off Palestinians’ access to their own land and to other Palestinian towns and villages; that Israel restricts the Palestinians’ water supply; that Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens have no say in the government which rules their lives. Religious leaders having friendly chats do not change the fact that there is oppression.

All of the imams mentioned come from one particular school of thought whose leaders have a recent history of promoting the idea that they are the peaceful, spiritual side of Islam while other Muslims promote violence and segregation (in fact, they are also known to be the most staunch supporters of Pakistan’s blasphemy law and many of them will defend not only that law, and some of the well-documented unjust imprisonments that have resulted, but also the murder of people who oppose it). This sect is also notorious for the extremely harsh condemnations they issue towards Muslims who disagree with them, which have included proclamations that certain scholars are outside Islam, which also impugns the standing of those who follow them and those whose chains of transmission come through them. To illustrate this, I remember once entering a south London curry house to find the TV on, showing a shaikh shouting in Urdu, and I asked for them to turn it down, or off, as it was disturbing me while I was trying to read and eat my dinner. A man told me who the shaikh was, a name I recognised (not one of the men who went on this trip), and said he was “very tolerant of other faiths” — yet they are often extremely harsh towards other Muslims such as so-called Wahhabis (which in their usage does not mean what it means when most Muslims use it).

So, let nobody be in any doubt, even if you can find a group of imams to tour Israel and admire all the co-existence and ‘tolerance’, know that the rest of us are not deceived, that we do not accept the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, the destruction of Muslim sites in the Holy Land and the oppression of our brothers and sisters there and we will continue to expose their propaganda for what it is. We do not respect a Muslim ‘leader’ who is not loyal to the Muslim community and who throws it under the bus for the sake of sectarian point-scoring or political advantage.

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The legacy of the Amritsar massacre lives on in India’s general elections | Amrit Wilson

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 April, 2019 - 08:00
A century on, the colonial policies that led to the killing of 1,000 people are playing out in a dangerously polarised election

On 13 April 1919, the day of the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi, British soldiers fired indiscriminately on unarmed men, women and children attending a peaceful public meeting in a walled park called Jallianwala Bagh, in Amritsar, Punjab. An estimated 1,000 people were killed and many more injured as they were shot in cold blood, even as they tried to escape.

In the years that have followed, those British politicians who have spoken of the massacre at all have portrayed it as a “monstrous” exception to the otherwise benign rule of the British Raj – arrogantly dismissing Britain’s long and bloody record of colonial repression in India. British descriptions of colonial history are rife with such convenient denials and reframings. Even that pivotal conflict India’s first war of independence, which started in 1857 and lasted two and a half years, was dubbed “the mutiny” and is still described as such in British history books.

Related: Theresa May expresses 'regret' for 1919 Amritsar massacre

Related: In India’s election race, Modi is not the strongman the world assumes | Ruchir Sharma

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China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 April, 2019 - 06:00

Smartphones and the internet gave the Uighurs a sense of their own identity – but now the Chinese state is using technology to strip them of it.

By Darren Byler

In mid-2017, Alim, a Uighur man in his 20s, returned to China from studying abroad. As soon as he landed back in the country, he was pulled off the plane by police officers. He was told his trip abroad meant that he was now under suspicion of being “unsafe”. The police administered what they call a “health check”, which involved collecting several types of biometric data, including DNA, blood type, fingerprints, voice recordings and face scans – a process that all adults in the Uighur autonomous region of Xinjiang, in north-west China, are expected to undergo.

After his “health check”, Alim was transported to one of the hundreds of detention centres that dot north-west China. These centres have become an important part of what Xi Jinping’s government calls the “people’s war on terror”, a campaign launched in 2014, which focuses on Xinjiang, a region with a population of roughly 25 million people, just under half of whom are Uighur Muslims. As part of this campaign, the Chinese government has come to treat almost all expressions of Uighur Islamic faith as signs of potential religious extremism and ethnic separatism. Since 2017 alone, more than 1 million Turkic Muslims, including Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and others, have moved through detention centres.

Related: 'If you enter a camp, you never come out': inside China's war on Islam

Related: ‘We’re a people destroyed’: why Uighur Muslims across China are living in fear

Related: Inside China's audacious global propaganda campaign

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The parent protests that stopped LGBT equality lessons – podcast

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 April, 2019 - 03:00

A bitter row between a Birmingham primary school and its mostly Muslim parents over the teaching of LGBT equality has led to street protests and the suspension of the lessons. The Guardian’s Nazia Parveen traces the origins of the dispute and where it has led. Plus: Hannah Devlin on the first ever image of the silhouette of a black hole

A row over the teaching of LGBT equality at Parkfield community school in Birmingham has resulted in lessons being suspended and protests spreading across the city and into other areas.

This week the education secretary, Damian Hinds, said it was right that parents were consulted and involved in developing how schools deliver relationships education, but insisted “what is taught, and how, is ultimately a decision for the school”.

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Media are reluctant to label far-right attackers as terrorists, study says

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 April, 2019 - 06:00

Global research finds violent Islamists are three times more likely to be called terrorists

Violent Islamist extremists are three times more likely than far-right attackers to be described as terrorists in the media, according to an overview of more than 200,000 news articles and broadcast transcripts.

The research found Islamist attacks were linked to terrorism in 78% of news reports about the incidents, whereas those from the far right who carried out violent attacks were only identified as terrorists 24% of the time.

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More than one kind of hate

Indigo Jo Blogs - 9 April, 2019 - 21:56
A large array of bunches of flowers lying on the ground and against a wall on the left. A white woman dressed in a black suit kneels down to lay another bunch on the ground, as a balding white man stands with a Canon SLR camera to take a picture of her.New Zealand’s governor-general Patsy Reddy laying flowers at the Christchurch botanical gardens after the massacre.

Last Wednesday there was a joint article by Mehdi Hasan and Jonathan Freedland, both well-known journalists and columnist (the latter a Guardian regular), on the “common enemy” Jews and Muslims both have in white supremacism at a time when both communities have been the victim of violent, murderous attacks by white supremacists in Pittsburgh and Christchurch in particular. Often, white supremacists subscribe to a theory of a “white genocide” in which Jews conspire to bring ‘others’, such as Muslims, into white western countries to ‘replace’ the local population by outbreeding or interbreeding with the native, i.e. white, population (although whites are, of course, not native to USA and New Zealand). The article acknowledges a history of antagonism between the two communities, including Muslim fondness for conspiracy theories about Jews, ISIS-inspired terrorism in France and right-wing Jewish support for Islamophobic politics in the USA, but:

Fascism, however, is back with a vengeance. The growing and lethal threat to life and limb for Muslims and Jews is now coming not from the far left but from an emboldened and violent far right. In the US, in 2018, every single one of the 50 extremist-related murders was linked to the far right, according to the Anti-Defamation League. In the UK, according to the Home Office, between 2017 and 2018 the number of white suspects arrested for terror offences outstripped those of any other ethnic group – the first time in more than a decade. In Germany, official figures suggest that nine out of 10 antisemitic crimes in 2017 were perpetrated by members of far-right or neo-Nazi groups.

Should we be surprised? White supremacists are on the march. They see Islam as incompatible with western life. We reject that claim wholeheartedly. Jews too were long told their faith had no place in western society: they were wrong about Judaism and they are wrong about Islam.

There is one important oversight in this article, however. The sort of white supremacism embraced by the Pittsburgh and Christchurch mass murderers is not the only kind. There are two broad categories: the ‘German’ category, which embraces the notion of an “Aryan race” which is natively European and which anathematises Jews, and the ‘English’ category which defines whiteness more or less by appearance and prizes European or Western culture and the command of a northern European language, preferably English, above anything else. These people will often talk of “Judeo-Christian values”, often in opposition to Islam; of the virtues of democracy as long as it produces governments they like (hence the support for dictators in countries like Egypt, which are conveniently used to portray them as less civilised than America, Europe or Israel); Jews are a fundamental part of the fabric of western civilisation. Although Muslims have been cast as the enemy since the end of the Cold War, and it is no longer acceptable to openly denigrate Black people, white society and its establishment makes no secret of the fact that it does not really accept them.

German-style white supremacism — Nazism — is a small fringe sect in the English-speaking world. It has never been able to secure a bridgehead in mainstream politics on its own terms; it instead uses coded language and exploits fears about immigration. Its main function is to serve as a justification for accepting the mainstream Right’s policies on these matters, for fear of giving the racialist Far Right a boost. In the Blair years, it was “we have to get tough on immigration or the BNP will win more seats on councils and may even win seats in Parliament”; these days, it’s “we mustn’t slack off on Brexit, or this populist uprising will gain momentum” (the more excitable ones threaten a civil war if the demands of the Brexiteers are not met). Quite apart from the fact that both Britain and America were once at war with Nazi Germany and for two generations, a “war hero” meant someone who had served in that war, and they included people who were not liberal on race at home (and even segregationists in the US), Nazi race theories are actually quite foreign to the mindset of the English-speaking world, much as are the overtly authoritarian aspects of fascism. Who are considered “people like us” are judged by appearance and culture, not by a ‘scientific’ race theory. (In the US, a Nazi can cause a lot more damage than here because the Second Amendment has resulted in people having easy access to automatic weapons. But they are still fringe.)

Judaism and Islam have common features, such as religious slaughtering and male circumcision, which are the focus of some external disapproval and we support each other in keeping those legal. My belief is that if it were not for the presence of Jews in the UK, the first of these would not be legal and the second would be under serious threat; both have been either outlawed or threatened with a ban in parts of Europe, where the numbers of Jews is in many places much lower as a result of different waves of persecution and genocide (the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal; the Holocaust in northern Europe). The British Far Right, in the form of the British National Party and the National Front before it, going back to the Blackshirts of the 1930s, has been both anti-Semitic and hostile to immigrants although in the early 2000s, the BNP tried to play down its anti-Semitic heritage to court Jews with an Islamophobic programme (though without much success). The French National Front has also tried to bury its past anti-Semitism because anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred is more fashionable. Both have expelled their former leaders (John Tyndall and Jean-Marie Le Pen).

However, both Britain and America both have ‘indigenous’ traditional forms of racist right-wing politics and white supremacism that shun anti-Semitism, promote Zionism and leave no need for Nazism even if there were a taste for it. Some of the worst racism I have seen expressed towards Muslims and Arabs has been on blogs frequented by Jewish Zionists and Neoconservatives, some of the language barely distinguishable from that used by Nazis (e.g. referring to Palestinians as sub-human, in some cases justifying it with single examples of Palestinian wrongdoing), advocating torture, using racially derogatory language including some of their own invention (e.g. Palestinians as ‘Palis’). In the past couple of years the political leaders which have shown characteristics of fascism have embraced hatred of Muslims and overt support for Israel: Trump, Bolsonaro, Modi (and politicians of both left and right boast of their relations with the last, conveniently overlooking that a pogrom against the Muslim minority took place on his watch when he was a state governor, and that while he has been prime minister of India, lynchings of Muslims have become a regular occurrence in many parts of the country). Many of us Muslims have a distinct sense that prejudice against Muslims and Jews are not considered morally equivalent, something expressed openly by Melanie Phillips on national TV a few months ago: that anti-Semitism was a “unique derangement” while Islamophobia was merely a cover for “legitimate criticism of the Muslim community”. Legitimate criticism of the Jewish community is, to her, a contradiction in terms. And even the political centre and centre-left indulges in it: look at how Dr Mohammad Abu Salha, who lost two of his children in a hate attack in 2015, was asked twice by members of the US Congress (both Democrats, both Black) to justify his religion and ‘prove’ that it does not incite hatred of Jews when testifying at a Congressional hearing into hate-based violence and white supremacism.

So, let’s not pretend that Muslims and Jews face the same threat in present western society. Jews are accepted as part of the fabric of society and are present at all levels in politics and the media; Muslims are not. Hatred and contempt for Muslims is expressed by senior politicians and peddled in the media, both openly and in the form of bias and malicious stories; anti-Semitism is condemned most sanctimoniously, often from the same pages. The old anti-Semitic far right is fading in most places; it is being replaced by barely concealed, and in some places open, hostility to Muslims which identifies Israel as an ally and in which there are some prominent Jewish participants. There is more than one type of white supremacism and the type which is as hostile to Jews as it is to Muslims is one of the least significant, even if if is able to carry out atrocities from time to time. Another type is normalised, mainstream and in some parts of the world, in charge.

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A lesson from history for Jews and Muslims | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 April, 2019 - 18:28
The faiths must acknowledge their differences, writes Zaki Cooper, as Charles Harris identifies a key text of the far right

Muslims and Jews face a common enemy on the far right, and have other shared elements to draw on (Muslims and Jews must stand together against the common threat: white supremacists, 4 April). Inspiration can be taken from the coexistence that flourished between those faiths in the middle ages in Spain. There are also substantial theological similarities between them. The Jewish figure Maimonides, who lived in Spain and Egypt and died in 1204, was a particular admirer of Islam. Today, observant Jews and Muslims find common ground in prayer, dietary restrictions and charitable obligations.

At the same time, we must be careful not to overstate the similarities. Any relationship, including those between our faiths, needs to be founded on honesty: accentuating commonalities but also acknowledging differences. Notwithstanding friendships between many Muslims and Jews, there is antagonism, suspicion and tension between our communities. At this delicate time, we should remind ourselves of the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in his essay No Religion Is an Island: “We must choose between interfaith and inter-nihilism.”
Zaki Cooper
Trustee, Council of Christians and Jews

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

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 April, 2019 - 16:12

The levelling of ancient sites in Xinjiang, alongside mass detention, is part of an attempt to destroy an entire society

Ten years ago, I started researching Islam among the Uighurs. I spent my summers travelling around the Xinjiang region in western China. I took long bus journeys through the desert to Kashgar, Yarkand and Kucha, slept on brick beds in family homes in remote villages, stopped off at Sufi shrines, and visited many, many mosques. My husband was working with me, and we dragged our kids along for the ride. The kids were quite small and not at all interested in our boring interviews with imams, and I bribed them with treats. I have a lot of photos of them sitting in the dust outside mosques, faces smeared with ice-cream, playing on their iPads.

Related: Xinjiang crackdown must continue, top China leader says

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‘It’s dangerous to go out now’: young, gay and scared in Brunei

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 April, 2019 - 23:25

Draconian new laws have spread unease rather than outright panic in a population that is used to finding ways around legislation

A day after it became legally possible to be stoned to death for having gay sex in Brunei, 21-year-old Zain* got a bitter taste of the new reality.

Walking down the street in skinny jeans and high-heeled boots, a flamboyant anomaly in the conservative sultanate, the university student became a target.

Related: The Guardian view on Brunei and stoning: don’t leave it to celebrities to act | Editorial

Related: RAF and Royal Navy urged to cut ties to sultan of Brunei over anti-gay law

The laws might give them a reason to crack down on people who are not loyal to the throne

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As the credits roll on Algeria’s dictator, a timely reminder of why history must not be repeated

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 April, 2019 - 18:10

The screening of a 1966 film about their country’s bitter colonial conflict has seen Algerians unite in peaceful protest

More than half a century since it was released – and promptly banned by French authorities – The Battle of Algiers, depicting the bloody struggle for Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, still has the power to shock.

On Friday night, the black-and-white, 1966 film relating Algerian anti-colonial guerrilla warfare and its brutal repression by the French military was screened in Paris. London-based musical activists Asian Dub Foundation (ADF) performed a live soundtrack.

People don't want Islamists. We have turned the page on that

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'We would never put that image on page 1': how we covered Christchurch

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 April, 2019 - 08:00

From first whispers to horrified aftermath, this was a story which required a fast, careful response. Here our editors and writers explain how we covered the Christchurch shootings

On Friday 15 March, 50 people were shot dead and 48 injured in attacks targeting Muslims at two mosques during Friday prayers in Christchurch. It was the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history. Across the Guardian’s three main offices – in London, Sydney and New York – we ensured our coverage of the shooting, its aftermath and the global reaction continued around the clock. Here, some of the Guardian’s key journalists and editors remember how they reported on the unfolding atrocity.

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