UK soldier Ryan McGee admits making nail bomb

Loon Watch - 7 October, 2014 - 21:09


A serving soldier from Manchester charged with a terror offence has admitted making a nail bomb.

Ryan McGee, 19, was serving with the 5th Battalion The Rifles when he was detained in December at an Army base in Germany after the discovery of a suspicious device at a Salford house.

He also admitted a separate charge at the Old Bailey of possessing a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook on bombs.

McGee, of Mellor Street, Eccles, was bailed ahead of sentencing in November.

The Anarchist Cookbook includes instructions for the manufacture of explosives as well as for home-manufacturing of drugs.

McGee admitted possession of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terror and making explosives contrary to the Explosives Substance Act by making an Improvised Explosive Device.

BBC News, 3 October 2014

Update:  See “Salford soldier pleads guilty to making nail bomb and having bomb-making manual The Anarchist Cookbook”, Manchester Evening News, 3 October 2014

Update 2:  See “Teenage soldier who made nail bomb and owned terror handbook dressed in Klu Klux Klan costume for Facebook photo”, Daily Mirror, 4 October 2014

France: Muslim school targeted with racist graffiti

Loon Watch - 7 October, 2014 - 21:01


via. Islamophobia-Watch

Trouve Ta Mosquée reports that a Muslim school at La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin in north-central France has been targeted by racists. On Sunday two swastikas and the slogan “sale raton” (“dirty rat”) were found sprayed on the front gate.

The attack immediately followed a decision by the mayor of La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin to order the school’s closure. Trouve Ta Mosquée argues that the mayor’s decision – which would appear to have been unlawful, and motivated by hostility to the Islamic character of the institution – gave the green light to the far right to target the school.

La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin graffiti (2)

La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin graffiti (3)

Scalia says beards aren't a big enough deal for the supreme court. So why do we regulate them at all? | Ruthan Robson

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 October, 2014 - 20:37

The governments determination to control personal grooming has implications beyond one prisoners religious rights

The highest court in the United States spent 45 minutes on Tuesday morning considering legal arguments about a half-an-inch of facial hair. Some might say there are more important issues before the justices. Even Justice Scalia expressed some pique that the issue was even before the court. But we trivialize the ubiquitous regulation of grooming and dress at our peril whether or not they occur in prisons, and whether or not they involve religious practices.

In Holt (Muhammad) v Hobbs, the US supreme court has to decide whether the ban on facial hair for incarcerated individuals in the state of Arkansas violates the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) passed by Congress in 2000. That law provides says governments cant impose a substantial burden on a religious exercise of someone in prison unless they have a compelling interest and are using the least restrictive means to achieve their goals. The statute sets an exceedingly high standard, and it seems unlikely that the Arkansas Department of Corrections will be able to meet it, if Tuesdays oral arguments are any indication.

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Beard rules draw supreme court justices' mockery in religious rights case

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 October, 2014 - 20:31

Jokes and banter about security combs and arbitrary rules fill surreal hearing about prisoners religious rights to grow beards

Opinion: Scalia says beards are no big deal. So why regulate?

Prison rules governing the length of facial hair were ridiculed in the supreme court on Tuesday as justices grappled with the question of whether Muslim inmates should be allowed a religious exemption to grow beards.

In often surreal exchanges between sceptical justices and lawyers, the question of whether Arkansas convict Gregory Holt should be allowed to keep his half-inch long beard proved less a test of religious freedom than of judicial patience.

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The Top Ten Mistakes Potential Home-buyers Make When Purchasing A Home

Muslim Matters - 7 October, 2014 - 17:05

For most people, purchasing a home is the largest financial transaction that they'll ever make. The purchase decision is without a doubt, one that must be made with careful thought and attention to detail. A potential homebuyer has many things to consider when purchasing a home. A Muslim homebuyer has the added concern of finding Sharia -Compliant financing. With the help of our Guidance Residential Account Executives, who have decades of experience working in the home-finance and residential real estate industries, we've compiled a list of the top ten mistakes homebuyers tend to make.

Learn more about how Guidance can help you with your home purchase or refinance.


Choosing the right professional for one of the most expensive purchases of your lifetime is essential. With the ease of access to tools like Google and Zillow unfortunately many people think they know it all. Don't fall into this trap! You need to have an expert who has your best interest in mind, since the listing agent is representing the seller(s).

Your real estate agent should be is equipped with all the modern tools and technology, should have the knowledge of the local communities, ability to write proper contracts, negotiate on your behalf and most importantly hold your hand and walk you through every single step of your transaction. A good real estate professional will protect his/her client from potential issues that could arise from appraisals, inspections, and financing contingencies. Your real estate agent's credentials are of utmost importance! It is a good idea to interview a few real estate agents before moving forward with one. Interview questions, such as the following can help you make the best decision for you and your family: 1) How many homes have you sold in the last year 2) How many clients are you currently working with and 3) Where have most of your clients purchased a home.


When looking for a home, the customer may not be fully aware of the characteristics of different areas. Start making a list of 'Make or Break Deals' for you in a home and those characteristics that are 'Icing on the Cake,' this will help narrow down your search list. Some common factors to consider include: School districts, ease of access, type of home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and Masjids.

When purchasing a home, also consider the expenses associated with the type of home you are purchasing. These expenses may be Homeowner Association Fees (HOA), Condo Fees, and insurance. Also, consider how long you plan on staying in the home because this will make an impact on your return on investment amount. You should ask yourself: “Are home prices in this area rising or declining?” “Do I plan to stay here for 5 or 10 years?” If you plan on residing in your home for a significant amount of time, consider improvements that are being made near your neighborhood, i.e. new developments or a new metro being built. These will (usually) positively impact your home value when you sell your home.

If you aren't familiar with where you want to buy, we recommend asking your local real estate agent to show you 5-7 properties in different neighborhoods so you can familiarize yourself with the kind of house your money can buy in different areas, you can then start narrowing down your search.


Don't forget about your real estate taxes! Property taxes can be a big game changer for a potential home buyers ability to qualify for financing. Even if you plan on paying your taxes separately from your mortgage, your monthly taxes will still be taken into consideration when you are applying for financing. Make sure to ask about the home's property taxes early on in the process!


Some homebuyers tend to think that a home inspection is the same thing as an appraisal, and decide to skip out on ordering a home inspection. They are 2 different reports with 2 different purposes. The purpose of the appraisal is to give a market valuation of the home, while the purpose of a home inspection is to find out if there are any, hidden or apparent, defects in the home. Make sure to hire a licensed and reputable inspector who will explain things while going through the inspection!


It is vital that your purchase contract has an appraisal contingency clause that will allow you to back out of the contract and receive a refund of your earnest money deposit if the appraisal comes in lower than the sales price. It can actually be the cause of renegotiating the sales price and saving you some money! If the difference between the sales price and the appraised value of the home is significant you have strong grounds to argue that the seller of the home is overvaluing the home. If the seller is eager to sell the home then you as a home purchaser would be in a strong position to renegotiate the sales price.

On the flip side, if you and your family love the home and are willing to pay above market value for it, than the appraisal contingency does not have to kill the deal! Keep in mind, in a very competitive market or if you have a large down payment, it isn't uncommon for buyers to waive the appraisal in order to make their offer more competitive.


Unless unable to, a potential homebuyer should always try to make a significant down payment. The mark that every homebuyer should aim to reach is 20%. A 20% down payment will give the homebuyer the best rate and give them significant equity right from the start of their mortgage.

On the flip side, you also want to consider the profit rate in Sharia-Compliant Home Financing. Sometimes first time home buyers will want to save up 20% down, but at the expense of a higher profit rate. This ultimately will work against your original purpose of saving money. Consider all your options and speak to your local Guidance Residential specialist to determine the best option for you.


One of the main criteria needed in order to receive any type of financing is to have good credit. Anybody who is thinking about buying a home will have to be mindful of their credit standing as it will play a major role in their qualification. It is important to remember that building credit does not have to be through paying interest. A potential homebuyer can build their credit through applying for secure credit cards, 0% car loans, and making sure bills are always paid on time!


It can be very tempting for business owners or self-employed individuals to claim every expense under the sun in order to lower their taxable income. Unfortunately, that means that there's less money entering their pockets in the form of profits at the end of the year. When applying for financing, your gross income is irrelevant. What banks will consider is your profits, or your net income.


Finance in general is a field that can seem intimidating and confusing. Unfortunately, financial literacy is not as prevalent in the United States as it should be. The Muslim community, being a part of the broader society is affected by this issue. It is important that you work with a financial institution that you trust, and are aware of all the ramifications of the type of financing that you choose. There are many important differences between Sharia-Compliant or Islamic Financing and conventional financing. The first and most important difference is the fact that Islamic Financing is not based on a system of borrowing and lending. Islamic Financing is nearly always asset-backed financing. Sharia-Compliant Financing can provide protections not available in conventional financing. Learn more here.


Not all Islamic financing options are created equal. When seeking home financing a homebuyer should consider whether the mode of financing they are choosing is non-recourse or allows the financier to take recourse against the homebuyer's personal assets. A potential home buyer also needs to consider whether this form of financing will allow them to refinance or restructure their contract. Another important consideration to make is whether the Islamic financial institution will take any risks along with the homebuyer.

Learn more about how Guidance can help you with your home purchase or refinance.

Thank you to our contributors: Shabeer S., Omar J., Sami K., Abdessamad M., Salah E., Mohamed H., Riffat L. 

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Australia: Man to face court after intimidating, assaulting two Muslim women in Newcastle

Loon Watch - 7 October, 2014 - 01:00


Newcastle Herald

A MAN will face court on Tuesday after allegedly abusing two Muslim women and assaulting a witness in Newcastle on Monday night.

Newcastle City police arrested a man, 27, after a woman and her mother were driving on Smith Street about 7pm.

It is alleged the man approached the car when it stopped in traffic and began yelling abusive comments before punching the driver’s side mirror.

Police said the alleged derogatory comments were based on the religion of the two women, who were wearing hijabs.

The 26-year-old woman was able to drive a short distance to get away from the man, but it is alleged he followed and continued to threaten the women.

Six people nearby intervened in the incident and went to the aid of the women.

Police will allege the man punched a witness before fleeing the scene.

The women in the car were shaken but not hurt, police said.

Investigators attended and the 27-year-old was arrested a short distance from the scene.

Police said that while the attack was specifically aimed at the alleged victims’ religion, it was opportunistic rather than planned.

The man was refused bail and will face Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday on charges of intimidation, assault, larceny and malicious damage.

Muslim woman thrown off moving train in Australia

Loon Watch - 7 October, 2014 - 00:50


Hate crimes in Australia appear to be increasing since the government has announced new “counter-terrorism” measures.

In a separate incident a young woman witnessed three elderly Muslim women being threatened on a Melbourne train by an enraged White train passenger who was hurling abuse and attempting to smash the windows of the train.

World Bulletin

A 26-year-old Muslim woman suffered injuries after being racially abused, assaulted and thrown off a moving train in Australia’s Melbourne last week, in an alarming Islamophobic attack.

Detective Senior Constable Michael Potter was quoted by 9News on Monday saying the attack had a “massive effect” on the victim, calling it “totally unacceptable.”

The victim had her head bashed into the wall of the train a number times by an unknown woman who was shouting abuse before being pushed off the train, a Victorian police spokesperson told the Daily Mail.

Prominent Australian Muslims say their community is being unfairly targeted by law enforcement and threatened by right-wing groups, as the government’s tough new policies aimed at combating ‘radicals’ threaten to create a backlash.

Authorities are on high alert since massive counter-terrorism raids last week thwarted what the government said was a plot by the ISIL militant group to publicly behead a random member of the public.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is seeking broad new security powers and policing has been tightened in public places such as Parliament House, sporting events and airports.

Abbott insists the measures are not meant to target Muslims, but Sydney-based criminal defence attorney Adam Houda says it is already clear that they have resulted in racial profiling.

He gave as one example three bearded Muslim men detained in Sydney at a rugby game after a spectator told police they were using their mobile phones “suspiciously”.

“The objective facts are they were pin-pointed because of their appearance,” Houda told Reuters. “If they were spoken to because they were playing with their phones, well then that’s just ridiculous.”

Local Muslim leaders privately say racial tensions could spiral quickly out of control. In 2005, brawls between locals from the largely white Cronulla neighbourhood and Lebanese Muslim youths from the western Sydney area at the centre of the current security crackdown quickly degenerated into days of bloody riots involving thousands of people.

Australia’s Grand Mufti, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, said he was considering legal action after a senior imam was detained for more than two hours, causing him to miss his flight to Saudi Arabia for the annual Haj pilgrimage.

“It is totally unacceptable for any Australian citizen, let alone a senior member of ANIC to be subjected to this seemingly random yet profiled manner causing severe stress and unwanted inconvenience,” he said in a statement, referring to the Australian National Council of Imams.

Isis, Iraq and terrorism laws Australian national security interactive timeline

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 October, 2014 - 23:21

Weve collated all the major events, government announcements and legislation into this interactive timeline to give context to the governments actions on national security in Australia. You can filter the timeline by clicking on the coloured categories in the menu, or expand all timeline entries using the plus button. The timeline will be updated periodically as an ongoing resource

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Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca epidemic-free, says Saudi Arabia

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 October, 2014 - 12:29
Health chief hired thousands of health workers to protect pilgrims from Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus

The annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, which drew 2 million Muslims from around the world, has been epidemic-free, Saudi Arabias acting health minister has said.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, home to Islams holiest sites, engaged thousands of health workers to make sure pilgrims were protected from two deadly viruses, Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (Mers-CoV).

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I know, I know, hijab makes you beautiful

Muslimah Media Watch - 6 October, 2014 - 11:01
When I was 19 years old and just exiting from the rebellious teenage years, I stepped out of the house with my hijabi sister. I was newly de-jabbed (the first tentative attempt of many), and feeling awkward and – for lack of a better description – naked. My neighbour happened to step out at the [Read More...]

Ben Affleck: Bill Maher and Sam Harris 'gross' and 'racist' in views of Islam

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 October, 2014 - 10:34

The actor has won praise on social media for accusing both men of religious stereotyping while discussing Islam with them on Mahers HBO talk show

Ben Affleck has won praise for accusing TV host Bill Maher and author Sam Harris for what he called gross and racist depictions of Islam during a televised debate.

Appearing on HBO talk show Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night, Affleck reacted furiously to claims by Maher that Islam manifested as the only religion that acts like the mafia and which would fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book.

Here I thought Ben Affleck couldn't be any cooler and then he slams Bill Maher's gross generalizations of Islam while promoting GONE GIRL.

Love this & go Ben! RT @HuffingtonPost: Watch Ben Affleck and Bill Maher fiercly debate over radical Islam

Bill Maher offered Muslims an Eid gift last night by demonizing Muslims but Thankfully Ben Affleck was on panel:

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The niqab makes me feel liberated, and no law will stop me from wearing it | Semaa Abdulwali

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 October, 2014 - 06:47

When we meet, I choose what you see. You deal with my mind and personality. I wasnt forced to wear the niqab, and forcing me to take it off would be oppression

Ive always been the sort of person who loved to experiment, but I never expected that wearing the niqab would be something Id try.

I felt conflicted before I began to wear it a few months ago. I am aware of the negative perceptions of the niqab, and thought it could change my life drastically. Would it be hard at university, where I study medical science? The majority of the students arent Muslim. I wondered whether I would have to be out of sight, out of mind, most of the time.

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3 Marriage Models We Need to Rethink

Muslim Matters - 6 October, 2014 - 06:45

We've all read those articles, “50 Ways to Make Your Husband/Wife Happy”, “7 Ways to a Great Marriage”, “11 Ways to Survive Marriage and Not Get Bored to Death”.  We've had our elders hand us pearls of wisdom (and unsolicited advice), had our peers tell us how being married really is (“for realz, bro”), and we've been to seminars that teach us the fiqh of love while others teach us the fiqh of staying together for the sake of the kids.

So instead of reinventing the marriage wheel, I'm going to point out some the weaknesses of the “marriage models” we all hold dear. Be prepared to get a little uncomfortable; maybe you've been struggling all this time to implement them and what I'm going to tell you will invalidate your efforts.  Nothing can invalidate your efforts; whatever effort you put in has, inshā'Allāh, brought you and your spouse some benefit.  Consider my insights instead as a way to keep your marital compass meticulously aligned.  Also of note, these models apply to healthy/normal marriages that are not abusive, physically or emotionally. If you feel you are in an abusive situation, it is important to immediately seek professional help and intervention.

Here comes the list.


Marriage Model Number 1

“I'll meet your needs and you meet mine” (i.e. the Islamic golden hit, “Rights and Responsibilities of Husbands and Wives” halaqa/seminar/khutbah).


This model has its value for sure.  From it we get a shari' understanding of marriage: who provides what to whom, what behavior encroaches on our spouse's “rights”, what behavior is considered sinful, what we can expect from them, etc.  All important information, no doubt.  After all, the sharī'ah should be the foundation of our marriages.

Beyond that, this model wants us to understand that our partner is different from us and we have to learn to love them through their “love language” i.e. “meet their needs” with an understanding of what those needs actually are.  We usually really get focused on gender here; men want sex, women want emotional connection, right? (I'm joking; both men and women want both of these things).  This model tells us that we need to meet our spouse's needs to keep them happy/fulfilled/satisfied (and married to us LOL).

But there are pitfalls.  Firstly, centering our marriage on meeting each other's needs often makes us two very needy people.  That's not very attractive.  Often times we end up getting whiny, passive-aggressive, angry, crabby, etc. that our “needs” are not being met; and all we can do is hope to punish this person with our relationship belly-aching until they finally hear loud and clear, “Hey, you're doing a lousy job meeting my needs!”

When was the last time you felt attracted to someone who did that to you?  When was the last time someone nagged you or yelled at you and you felt like you wanted to connect with them intimately (emotionally or sexually)?  Probably never.  Yet without realizing it this is how we are “working” to get the results we want in our marriages.

Another pitfall in this model is score-keeping.  We withhold love/sex/affection/help because we feel like the “score” is out of balance.  To complicate matters further, each spouse has their own personal scoreboard of the marriage that's completely left to their own biased umpire-ship.  Spouses withhold giving (or they do it without a lot of annoyed sighing) when they believe or perceive their spouse is doing too much taking without putting the same effort back in. Here's an example:


Husband thinking: Didn't I take her out to dinner, and now she's going to say she's too tired? (husband +1, wife -1)

Wife thinking: The evening was lousy because he put it together last-minute even though I reminded him for a week to make a reservation at a nice place. (wife +1, husband -1)


Another mistake we make in the religious crowd with this model is we boil down our marriage to a cookie-cutter-one-size-fits-all theoretical needs-meeting fiqh dilemma.  “Ya shaykh, whose takes precedence in making her happy, my mom or my wife?”  How many times have we heard this question, and we all know the answer.  Many years ago my husband asked Shaykh Yaser Birjas, “Shaykh, if I have to choose to make one happy, who do I choose, my mom or my wife?”  The shaykh gave a very wise answer: you have to make both happy (you won't believe how far that advice has gotten my husband today).

In other words, we can't get hung up on a hard and fast fiqhi answer, because it often ends up with someone being the “winner” and someone else being the “loser.”  Like the shaykh said, we need to create more win-win situations.  Our marriages cannot be sliced and diced to fit compartmentally into a fatwa.  We may be doing the “right” thing, but our spouse may be building up resentment that will harm us both later on.  We need to be a little more creative and practical.

To sum up, the major issue with this model is that ultimately needs-meeting keeps us “other” focused rather than self-focused; our behavior “waits” on our spouse's and we try to conjure it out of them in all the wrong ways.  If we want to try to change our marriages for the better, we must start by changing ourselves, because changing yourself is the easiest, fastest, and most dependable method of change there is.

If our marriage isn't too great, we had something to do with it.  We all co-created our marriages and there are definitely things we all can do to become better spouses.  As Muslims we should view our “half” of the marriage as ultimately a commitment to Allah, not to an individual.  We fulfill a promise we made before Allah to be a husband/wife and if that promise is too heavy, we should get help. One day we will be accountable for only ourselves before Allah for our marriage, so the only one we should think about “keeping score” with is Allah.  We don't want to “lose points” with our Lord just because our spouse is.  Being an adult means we act as we do on our own principles and taqwa, not as a reaction to someone else's behavior.  Believe it or not when we act out of principle, our spouse will begrudgingly respect us, and may even make their own changes for the better.

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Muslims call for stricter hate crime laws to go with national security powers

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 October, 2014 - 06:28

Queensland Muslim groups want increased penalties for hate crimes linked to the introduction of national security legislation

The Queensland Muslim community has called for a lower threshold for arrest and increased penalties for people convicted of hate crimes that can be linked to the introduction of national security legislation.

A submission to a parliamentary committee endorsed by a large number of groups and individuals underlines how the current debate has inflamed racial and religious tension, with Muslims the main target.

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My faith has been hijacked by extremists. After Alan Hennings murder, we must reclaim it | Sara Khan

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 October, 2014 - 00:06
Could the senseless killing of Alan Henning lead to a watershed moment, a chance for a new narrative of hope?

How to respond to the inhumane, senseless and unjust murder of Alan Henning? Hoping against hope, I desperately wished that Alan would be reunited with his family. But at the brutal hands of Islamic State (Isis), his murder was sadly inevitable. There was no mercy. There was no compassion. Yet the news, even if expected, was heartbreaking.

Despite it being the weekend of Eid, I decided not to celebrate the festivities; instead, as I read my Eid prayers, I will pray for Alan and his family. This was the same Alan who selflessly sacrificed celebrating Christmas with his family to help the people of Syria.

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