As an American Muslim, Donald Trump doesn’t scare me. He inspires me to vote | Moustafa Bayoumi

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 May, 2016 - 16:52
The Republican nominee’s campaign traffics in threats, including Islamophobia. But the US is a diverse society now – and mobilising to oppose radical haters

So now we know. Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States. Considering the Islamophobia of Trump’s campaign up until now, some terrible months lie ahead for Muslim Americans. But I won’t be intimidated by Trump. In fact, this is an exciting turn of events.

Trump was never alone in his Islamophobia, and most of the other Republican candidates for president of the United States had also expressed alarmist ideas regarding Muslim Americans. Ted Cruz called on police to patrol “Muslim neighbourhoods”. Ben Carson stated that a Muslim would “have to reject the tenets of Islam” before becoming president. Chris Christie said that the United States should not admit any new Syrian refugees, not even “orphans under the age of five”.

Related: Sadiq Khan: I don't want exemption from 'ignorant' Trump's Muslim ban

Related: Donald Trump's kryptonite: millions of active – and furious – Latino voters | Sabrina Vourvoulias

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Citadel military college bans prospective Muslim student from wearing headscarf

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 May, 2016 - 16:38

South Carolina institution official cites school policy of having cadets look similar as its president says ‘uniformity is cornerstone’ of program

The Citadel military college has decided a newly accepted Muslim student cannot wear her traditional Muslim headscarf if she enrolls.

The South Carolina school announced Tuesday that commandant of cadets Geno Paluso decided that allowing the student to wear the head covering, known as a hijab, wouldn’t be consistent with the school’s policy of having cadets look similar.

Related: West Point 'black power' photo a 'tempest in a teapot', experts say

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Police apologise for 'Allahu Akbar' use in mock Manchester attack

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 May, 2016 - 14:05

Greater Manchester police say it was unacceptable to use religious phrase immediately before fake suicide bombing

Greater Manchester police have apologised after a fake suicide bomber shouted “Allahu Akbar” during a simulated terrorist attack at one of the UK’s biggest shopping centres.

More than 800 volunteers took part in the training exercise at the Trafford Centre in Manchester on Monday night. The mock attack, which took five months to plan, was designed to be similar to the marauding-style Paris and Brussels atrocities.

Please provide an explanation @gmpolice @RSutcliffeACC @amandacomms why the terrorist in #CTexercise was #Muslim and shouted Allah Akhbar.

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Who really “made Islam a hot topic”?

Indigo Jo Blogs - 10 May, 2016 - 13:27

A Mail on Sunday headline reading "On Thursday, are we really going to hand the world's greatest city to a Labour party that thinks terrorists are its friends?". There is a picture of a bombed-out London bus from the 2005 bombings.There has been an article published on the Daily Beast, the American news website that owns Newsweek, by Maajid Nawaz, explaining to their American audience the “real reason” why Islam was made an issue of during the recent mayoral campaign. It’s not just that the Tories used a consultant that is notorious for running racist campaigns that appeal to the worst in middle-class white provincials and suburbanites; no, it’s all down to “Islamists” and their friends on the “Regressive Left” in the Labour party and the liberal British media, who hold Muslims to “lower expectations” than others, and the “Populist Right” such as Donald Trump’s Republicans. He brings up things that were never mentioned in the recent campaign, such as the fact that he once shared platforms with people linked to extremists or who expressed unpopular opinions and that third parties told Muslim voters in Tooting not to vote for an “Ahmadi” Lib Dem candidate.

As someone who has been a Muslim since 1998, and used to make regular visits to mosques in Tooting and elsewhere in south London (I lived in Croydon until 2001), I can say that it’s difficult for Muslims not to come into contact with the people that Nawaz labels as “extremists”, and this was more true before 2001 than it is now because things were much more open, people were much less fearful and some groups held different positions to those they hold today. Many people would disagree with, for example, al-Muhajiroun’s policies on Muslims voting, but they did not intimidate anyone into not voting and the functions they put on (one of which I attended in 2000 or so) were social events where Muslims networked, and were not fraught or intimidating. Al-Muhajiroun changed their position in 2004 to an explicitly Salafi-Jihadi one and their tactics of holding disruptive demonstrations (including at other Muslim groups’ demos, such as those by CagePrisoners) started in earnest then. Some of the press reporting about the 2005 election campaign in Tooting (which Khan won) suggests that they were involved in some of the disruption.

Nawaz claims that there is a “left-wing bigotry of low expectations that holds Muslims to lesser, illiberal standards”. In another Daily Beast article linked off that one, he names the Guardian as a host for such attitudes. I’ve read the Guardian for years and most of their coverage of Islam is through a white liberal lens and there is a shortage of identifably Muslim contributors. When, for example, Nawaaz’s friend Usama Hasan was made unwelcome in the mosque he believed he would inherit the imamate of by dynastic succession for expressing a belief in human Darwinian evolution, the Guardian treated him as a wronged, brave dissenter. But the truth is that it is not a question of holding Muslims to lesser standards but of accepting that others’ standards are different, and don’t regard our standards as necessarily higher than theirs.

Picture of a high wall, on the left side of which children appear to be playing in a school playground in its shadow. On the right is a factory, houses and some sports fields.In places Nawaz appears to be relying on the ignorance of his foreign readership. I do not recognise his description of London as a “torn city”. This is not Belfast, or even Glasgow. It’s a place where, with the exception of some of the outer suburbs, people of different races and creeds live, work, study and travel together. People by and large keep themselves to themselves and do not strike up random conversations on the street or train — it’s not one big village or happy family — but they do know each other enough not to be afraid. The exceptions, and the places where Goldsmith did best, were in the white-dominated outer suburbs where people don’t see people of other cultures on a daily basis — they don’t, for example, have numerous perfectly civil encounters with Muslim women in hijab at college or on the train — and might perhaps be more susceptible to fear-based propaganda. This is how it is with racism in general; the more people actually meet those of other cultures or ethnicities, the less prejudiced they tend to be towards them. The outer suburbs tend to be the areas that vote Tory anyway, but the fear campaign did not make any inroads and, as London had elected a Tory mayor twice, actually lost them votes.

But in any case, the reason the Tories thought a fear-based campaign focussing on Khan’s background would work has nothing to do with the “regressive Left” and very much to do with the media, particularly (but not only) the right-wing press, which has drip-fed the public a series of stories about Muslims as terrorists, Muslims demanding one type of “special treatment” or other, Muslims trying to censor others’ free speech, Muslims simply doing things differently from others (e.g. having separate seating for men and women at events) with this being presented as a threat or as a scandal that it’s even allowed, and so on. Outrage is regularly manufactured about such matters that in fact threaten the life or liberty of nobody, and which are replicated in some other religious and even secular spaces (e.g. schools of other faiths and none, feminist conferences), with MPs joining in the frenzy.

 Give Us Full Sharia Law".The idea that every Londoner (let alone anyone else) is continually confronted by any kind of Muslim threat, or irritated by Muslim behaviour or obstructed by praying Muslims as they go about their business is laughable. People think Muslims are trouble because the papers tell them, and the ones who meet us every day won’t fall for fearmongering (and lies — we shouldn’t forget that the British mass-market tabloid press has a record of publishing malicious and fabricated stories) whereas those who only read about us in the papers probably will.

Bigotry is only to be blamed on the bigot, and the stirring of it only on the stirrer. We cannot blame Muslims, Islamists, the anti-racist left who do not demand humiliating renunciations of whole tracts of their religion, or anyone else for the Tory campaign against Sadiq Khan except the Tory party itself. It miscalculated, as it had a candidate who was fairly well-liked, who had been trying to build bridges with the Muslim community and has Muslim family connections, and faced a Labour candidate who was distrusted by his own community because he had taken a pro-Israel and anti-BDS stance, had attacked Muslim rights groups and made scaremongering remarks about Muslims and extremism to the press. He is considered almost as much an Uncle Tom as Maajid Nawaz is. The Tories had an open goal, and failed to take advantage of it because they thought that after decades of abuse from them and their propaganda press towards all their favourite targets, such as Muslims, a few smears targeting his religion and his human rights work before he became an MP would do the trick. What there is to celebrate is not that we have our “first Muslim mayor”; it’s that a racist negative campaign backfired spectacularly.

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Sadiq Khan: I don't want exemption from 'ignorant' Trump's Muslim ban

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 May, 2016 - 10:25

London mayor says presidential hopeful’s policy to ban Muslims from entering the US ‘isn’t just about me’

Sadiq Khan, the new mayor of London, has rebuffed Donald Trump’s suggestion that he could be an exception to Trump’s proposed policy to ban all Muslims from travelling to the United States.

Khan, the capital’s first Muslim mayor, said the call by the presumptive Republicannominee for president for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US was something that directly affected those closest to him, and said making an exception for him was not the answer.

Related: Donald Trump: ban all Muslims entering US

Son of a Pakistani bus driver, champion of workers' rights and human rights, and now Mayor of London. Congrats, @SadiqKhan. -H

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Hotline blab: the latest way to Muslim identity from the inside and out | Mostafa Rachwani

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 May, 2016 - 05:55

I won’t be advising the Muslim community to use a new hotline set up for parents who fear their children are being radicalised

The attorney general’s department, tasked with “countering violent extremism”, often comes up with ideas that objectively seem sound, but in the context of growing and rampant Islamophobia, are actually rather daft.

Take the recent announcement that they will be establishing a hotline for parents who fear their children are being “radicalised”. They say it will “… help families and other frontline workers such as teachers and community leaders to seek help for young people at risk of online grooming by terrorists.”

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Latino Muslims at country's first Spanish-speaking mosque: 'Islam changed my life'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 9 May, 2016 - 16:31

As converts gather in Houston for the Centro Islámico’s first Cinco de Mayo, they reflect on a unique identity: ‘We change our religion, not our culture’

Alfonso Flores looked relieved.

Standing at the front of the prayer hall, the 29-year-old dental technician accepted hugs and handshakes from other members of the Centro Islámico, America’s first Spanish-language mosque, which opened in January. Flores had just taken the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith, at the mosque’s first-ever Cinco de Mayo celebration on Saturday, where community members with roots in Colombia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba and other countries served halal variations of their traditional foods, while celebrating their shared identity as Muslims.

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Pakistan criticised for censoring article about Muslim women and sex

The Guardian World news: Islam - 9 May, 2016 - 15:41

Journalist Mona Eltahawy says decision to ban column reveals extent of state’s desire to control bodies of Muslim women

A feminist writer has criticised Pakistan for censoring an article on Muslim women and sex, saying the ban exposed the extent of the country’s discrimination against women.

Mona Eltahawy, an award-winning Egyptian-American journalist and campaigner for women’s rights, wrote an opinion column, “Sex talk for Muslim women”, that was published by the International New York Times on Friday.

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Would-be senator Angry Anderson says he feels Australia's 'pain'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 9 May, 2016 - 09:00

Self-described ‘baddest boy’ in the country stands under banner of anti-Islam Australian Liberty Alliance

Time has mellowed Angry Anderson. “I feel pain in this country,” the former Rose Tattoo frontman told the dozen or so people gathered at a north Sydney golf club on Monday. “I feel anxiety, frustration, anger.”

The self-described “baddest boy in Australia” was launching his latest Senate foray, this one with the Australian Liberty Alliance, the political wing of a cluster of groups opposed to halal certification and the “Islamisation” of the west.

Related: Geert Wilders tells Australia to abandon multiculturalism or end up like the EU

Who said he’s the most popular?

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What Sadiq Khan's election means to British Muslims

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 May, 2016 - 15:57

As London’s first Muslim mayor takes office, we hear from followers of Islam about its significance to their communities

The appointment of a new mayor of London was always going to be a historic moment, but the announcement that it would be Sadiq Khan – the first Muslim to take on the job – had even more significance.

It is a victory that, according to Khan himself, sends a strong message to all “the haters in Iraq and in Syria”, showing that the city is a beacon of tolerance and respect.

This is a watershed moment in which the disengaged and cynical among us have to accept that we have one of the world’s fairest societies. I voted for him as I am looking for a return to centrism. The world is becoming increasingly polarised and that is a scary prospect for people like me who have dual heritage. I am a proud Londoner born and bred and at the same time I care about my Pakistani heritage and live my life – in business, with my neighbours and family – following the values of Islam. None of this is in conflict and London is an example to the rest of the world of tolerance and respect. I don’t care about the colour, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion of any politician. All I care is that they care and want to serve not rule over us.

The next mayor will have their work cut out for them. London needs to start caring about it’s people more, and working out how to help give them a better life. I’ve seen many neighbours of decades feel that they have no choice but to leave as the economic pressure of this city is relentless.

Islam should never have been on the agenda in this campaign, as Zac Goldsmith’s faith was never mentioned. Faith should not matter, diversity is essential. We should focus on politics and Khan won because of his policies, not his faith. I hope during his time as mayor Khan lives up to his word on housing, and transport. I hope he unites London. This should be his legacy, not the fact that he is Muslim – that is insignificant.

I don’t think that my life will change dramatically because of Sadiq Khan becoming mayor; some people’s views about Muslims will not change overnight. I am hoping that the ignorant and ill-informed, however, will now think twice before commenting.

To me the first Muslim mayor means that in mature democracies there is no room for identifying a human on grounds of faith, race or ethnicity. I hope that Khan will improve race relations, and keep London moving by cutting down transport fares, as well as help tackle the housing crisis. I would like Khan to approach British Muslims with positive thinking and formulate a policy to educate the police authorities, teaching them not to consider all Muslims as terrorists by default.

London and its pluralism means it is a beacon of hope for the world. I voted for Khan; I am the son of immigrants and from a council estate myself. Self-made and with compassion, he represents a view of modern caring capitalism that London can represent if we can address our inequality problem. I hope the mayor will achieve what he said he would, and provide hope and unity. I want him to be a mayor for all Londoners.

It’s a very proud moment for Muslims in the UK and the world. It shows that there is still trust among world citizens in Islam and Muslims. That “we” are as normal as anyone else. Khan’s attitude throughout his campaign has been phenomenal – he never gave up and kept pursuing his dream. I hope he is able to do a fantastic job for London and its citizens by continuing to make it into a leading world-class city where everyone and anyone feels welcome.

I think it will definitely help on Monday morning when I will be having the daily recap of world events with my non-Muslim colleague. I will be able to proudly point out that such a prestige position has finally been occupied by a Muslim – who is a much nearer representation of myself and my communities than others who are currently making the news.

I didn’t put him as a first vote as I don’t think he fully represents the general Muslim feeling in the city, and in such a toxic campaign – where he was seemingly attacked for being a Muslim – I didn’t get the impression that he felt proud of his faith. His comments questioning whether women should remain veiled when interacting with public service providers were particularly disappointing. However, he was the better of the two frontrunners.

From a purely Muslim perspective, I would like to see him tackle the rising level of Islamophobia that we have seen in recent times, particularly on public transport where mainly women have been targeted. There is a huge sense of fear among Muslim women now, particularly those wearing hijab/niqab and so it needs to be addressed.

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'This is our moment': Tooting Muslims laud Sadiq Khan victory

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 May, 2016 - 00:48

People on new mayor’s home turf say election result is a reflection of London’s diversity and tolerance

Surrounded by heavily embroidered and sequinned dresses and shalwar kameez in Saiqa, an upmarket boutique in Tooting, south London, Aisha critically eyed her reflection in a full-length mirror. The stunning three-layered dress she had tried on needed a little alteration – a pinch here and a shortening there – she and the designer Saiqa Majeed agreed.

Although absorbed in choosing an outfit for a special occasion, Aisha was quick to celebrate Sadiq Khan’s anticipated victory in the London mayoral election. “The United States has had Obama, and this is our moment. It’s amazing that London is about to get its first Muslim mayor,” she said.

Related: Global press reaction to Sadiq Khan a mix of curiosity and ignorance

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