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The Observer view on the radicalisation of young British Muslims | Observer editorial

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 January, 2016 - 00:08
Stop playing party politics – it is vital that we find a solution

How do we combat the radicalisation of young Muslims ? This debate is a political minefield, but, like it or not, it is one that ministers have to wade into: 800 Britons have gone to Syria to fight or support Isis since 2012 – and that is probably a conservative estimate; a further 600 have been caught trying to enter . The prime minister attracted much criticism last week for his announcement that Muslim women must learn English or face deportation as part of measures to combat radicalisation. Some of the criticism was fair, but too much has been unnecessarily kneejerk.

The debate risks being party politicised: those who see it as an opportunity to undermine support for an ethnically diverse Britain; others who see it as an opportunity to lambast what they see as an illiberal government unfairly targeting groups of citizens.

Radicalisation is too sensitive an area to deal in simplistic political briefing and soundbites.

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PSA: If You’re White, Don’t Drink And Watch Fox News!

Loon Watch - 22 January, 2016 - 22:39

white_dude_watching_fox_terrorism

By Emperor

This just in! White Americans should be aware, drinking and watching Fox News is a toxic combination that may cause you to transform into a white supremacist terrorist seeking to perpetrate violence against minorities.

Take the recent example of John David Weissinger. Maybe he had a bit of hate in him, maybe he lost his job or his wife cheated on him. We’re told he suffers from anxiety and depression. He also enjoyed a brew or two or, well, lets say a lot more than two. Apparently, as his lawyer tells it, after binge watching Fox News for a week straight he decided to threaten the CAIR chapters in San Diego and Washington.

Malowney said Weissinger has problems with alcohol, anxiety and depression and had just finished watching a week of Fox News coverage on the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris when he threatened the CAIR offices.

“He barks when he’s drunk,” Malowney told the judge. “He was reeling from depression and anxiety.”

A female employee at CAIR’s Kearny Mesa office testified during a preliminary hearing last April that she came to work the morning of Jan. 15, 2015, and listened to a threatening voicemail left by Weissinger.

“In no way did we deserve the terror that Mr. Weissinger waged on us,” the employee, identified as Jane Doe, said in a recorded statement played in court Tuesday. “Domestic terrorism is unacceptable and must be stopped.”

This isn’t the first time a Fox News watcher has gone loony. Remember Randy Linn? He was the guy who said, “I only know what I hear on Fox News,” then one day drank 45 beers, and decided to burn down a mosque in Toledo, Ohio.

Prosecutors said Linn drove about two hours from his home to suburban Toledo on Sept. 30 and broke into the mosque where he poured gasoline on the rug and lit it on fire.

He estimated that he had drunk 45 beers over several hours before he decided to drive to Ohio.

Linn had several firearms in his car and carried a gun into the mosque, which was empty at the time.

The fanatical Islamophobic hate against CAIR has been going on for years and sadly it hasn’t only been the usual online suspects and celebrity Islamophobes. The hatemongers have included elected public officials who give succor to conspiracies about the group, as well as presidential candidates such as Ben Carson.

So please, please don’t drink and watch Fox News!

Donald Trump is making it harder to defeat extremists, says David Cameron

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 January, 2016 - 22:27

Prime minister says Republican presidential frontrunner is making a ‘fundamental mistake’ in blaming all Muslims for the ideology of a minority

US presidential hopeful Donald Trump is making it more difficult to confront and defeat extremists by making the “fundamental mistake” of trying to blame all Muslims for the ideology of a minority, David Cameron has said.

Trump, who is vying to win the Republican nomination, sparked widespread anger after he demanded a block on Muslims entering the US and claimed parts of London were so radicalised police were “afraid for their own lives”.

Related: 'I. Don't. Care': Trump brushes off horrified reaction to his Muslim ban

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Beaten For Speaking Arabic on Philadelphia Street

Loon Watch - 22 January, 2016 - 18:00

Amine Aouam (Facebook)

Amine Aouam (Facebook)

via. Rawstory

David Edwards 21 Jan 2016 at 14:08 ET

A Muslim immigrant said that he was beaten for speaking his native tongue while walking down a street in Philadelphia.

Amine Aouam, 34, told Metro that he was walking home after getting a drink with a friend on Saturday night when he encountered “a group of five or six white people.”

He recalled that one of the women in the group seemed to be staring at them while they spoke a Moroccan dialect of Arabic.

“I said to her in Arabic, ‘Good evening,’ which is ‘Masaa al-Khair,’” he explained. “She said ‘What?’ and I said, ‘I just said ‘Good evening.’ Then I walked. And the guy next to her was like ‘Stop this sh*t!’”

Youssef Amarouch, who was walking with Aouam, had a clearer recollection.

“Take that sh*t you said and shove it up in your ass,” Amarouch remembered the man saying.

Amarouch said that while Aouam was speaking to one of the men, another man “sucker-punched him from behind,” according to Metro.

“The guy came from his side and just punched him so bad. The first part of his body that hit the ground was his head,” Amarouch noted. “The whole thing happened in 10 seconds.”

The next thing Aouam remembered was waking up in the hospital.

Since the attack, Aouam has been forced to miss classes at Temple University, where he is a full-time student. And he hasn’t been able to return to his valet job at the Bellevue Hotel due to follow-up CAT scans and MRIs.

“To be honest, the only bad thing that happened to me in this case is my heart is so broken now,”

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Chess is gloriously rebellious. Maybe that’s what Saudi Arabia’s mufti fears | Stephen Moss

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 January, 2016 - 12:19
Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh says it’s a waste of time. But the game is a parallel realm in which geometry replaces mess, and kings can be toppled

The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, does not like chess. “It is a waste of time and an opportunity to squander money,” he declared on his popular (if somewhat leadenly titled) TV show With His Eminence the Mufti. “It causes enmity and hatred between people.” Unlike religion, of course.

He made this declaration a couple of years ago, but the news seems to have travelled slowly and has only made headlines this week, perhaps because a chess tournament is being held in Mecca and someone was keen to cause trouble. It worked: contrary to some reports, the mufti doesn’t have the power to ban chess, but he can influence opinion. And being branded un-Islamic – he says the game contravenes the Qur’an – is an unpleasant accusation in Saudi Arabia.

Related: Chess forbidden in Islam, rules Saudi mufti, but issue not black and white

People who devote themselves to chess have to some extent rejected the “real” world

Related: Why chess is really an extreme sport | Stephen Moss

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A Perennial Problem: Is Islam the Only Valid Path to God?

Muslim Matters - 22 January, 2016 - 07:49

Is Islam (the religion and way of life the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ came with) the only path to God? Does the Qur'an extend the validity of religions beyond Islam; to any who believe in God and act rightly? Or does the Qur'an insist that Islam is the exclusive and only path to God? And what of the idea that some have culled from their personal reading of the Qur'an that at the heart of the world's major religions and faiths, there is an essential unity of truth? This, Islam and the idea of salvic exclusivity, is our topic for discussion.

Our discussion concerning the above delicate and, in our current time, controversial questions are addressed through the following points:

1. The Qur'an is categorical when it says: He who seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he shall be among the losers. [3:85] Elsewhere it states: The [true] religion in Allah's sight is Islam. [3:19] Whatever other verses may be marshalled in this issue, these two must surely lie at its heart.

2. Turning to the words of the Prophet ﷺ, we find him informing: “By Him in whose Hand is the life of Muhammad! Anyone from this nation, be they a Jew or a Christian, who hears of me and dies without believing in what I have come with, shall be among the inhabitants of Hell.”1 Fleshing out the hadith's theological implications, imam al-Nawawi said: 'It contains [a proof] that all religions have now been abrogated by the prophethood of our Prophet ﷺ. Also, in its explicit meaning is a proof that those to whom the call of Islam does not reach, are excused.'2

3. Not only has the religion of Islam that the Prophet ﷺ was sent with superseded all previously revealed heavenly teachings, this last dispensation or “version” of Islam is a universal one too. The Qur'an says: Say: 'O Mankind! Truly I am the Messenger of Allah to you all.' [7:158]  Al-Ghazali said in his magesterial Ihya 'Ulum al-Din – “Revival of the Religious Sciences”: 'Allah sent the Qurayshi unlettered Prophet Muhammad ﷺ with His divinely-inspired Message to the entire world: to Arabs and non-Arabs, jinn and mankind. The Prophet's Sacred Law has abrogated and superceded all earlier revealed laws, except those provisions in them that the [new] Sacred Law has reconfirmed.'3

4. Over the past eight decades or so a view has arisen which alleges that Islam affirms the validity of other religions, denying or failing to mention that they have long since been abrogated. Recourse has been taken to the following passage to justify the claim:Those who believe [in the Qur'an], the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabaeans; whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does what is right, shall be rewarded by their Lord; no fear will come upon them, nor shall they grieve. [2:62] This verse, it's claimed, extends the validity of religions beyond just Islam, and the possibility of salvation beyond just Muslims, to whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day. The error of such a claim can be gauged from the next three points:

5. Apart from ignoring the above proof-texts to the contrary, this view stands against Islamic orthodoxy which states, as per imam al-Nawawi: 'One who does not consider a person who follows a religion besides Islam – like a Christian – to be a disbeliever, or doubts that such a person is a disbeliever, or deems their religion to still be valid, is himself a disbeliever – even if, along with this, he manifests Islam and believes in it.'4Such, then, is the enormity of the error and the magnitude of its misguidance. Qadi 'Iyad affirmed a consensus about this, saying that: 'there is a consensus (ijma') about the disbelief of one who does not consider as disbelievers the Christians, Jews and all those who part from the religion of the Muslims; or hesitates about their disbelief, or doubts it.'5

6. How then should the above verse [2:62] be read? Scholars of tafsir, along with their belief that the Qur'an's message now supersedes all previous heavenly teachings, offer these interpretations for the above verse: [i] It is said to refer to those seekers of truth who believed in the imminent arrival of the final Prophet – like Habib al-Najjar, Qays b. Sa'adah, Waraqah b. Nawfal, Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl, Bahirah the Monk, Salman al-Farsi and Abu Dharr al-Ghiffari. Some of them reached the Prophet ﷺ and accepted Islam at his hand. Others didn't reach him, but are nonetheless included among those who believe in Allah and the Last Day. [ii] It refers to the believers of previous nations, following the prophets of their respective times. [iii] It's claimed to refer to those Jews and Christians who, prior to accepting Islam in the time of the Prophet ﷺ, followed the unaltered teachings of Moses and Jesus; peace be upon them both. [iv] A few say it refers to the hypocrites; which is somewhat odd.6 Whatever the correct intent of this passage is, the view which extends salvation unrestrictedly, to include even those who deny the Prophet Muhammad's prophethood ﷺ, is conspicuous by its absence in the classical tafsir literature.

7. Ibn Kathir helps put the above verse into context with his customary hermeneutics; he explains: 'The faith of the Jews was that of those who adhered to the Torah and the way of Moses, peace be upon him, until the arrival of Jesus. With the advent of Jesus, those who followed the Torah and the Mosaic Laws, not leaving them to follow Jesus, were doomed. The faith of the Christians was that of whoever adhered to the Gospel and to the teaching of Jesus. They were believers and their faith valid till the advent of Muhammad ﷺ. Those who rejected Muhammad ﷺ, by not leaving the Gospel and Jesus' way are doomed … This doesn't conflict with what 'Ali b. Abi Talha relates from Ibn 'Abbas that: Those who believe [in the Qur'an], the Jews, the Christians, and Sabaeans; whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day was followed by Allah revealing: He who seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Afterlife he will be among the losers. For what Ibn 'Abbas is simply informing is that no path is acceptable from anyone, nor any deed, unless it conforms to the shari'ah of Muhammad ﷺ now that he has been sent. Prior to this, anyone who followed the particular prophet of his time was upon right guidance and the path of salvation.'7

8. In the above light, philosophies that speak of the “Essential Unity of Religions”, or “Perennialism”, are disbelief (kufr). The metaphysics of these philosophies is such that they insist the world's major faiths: Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity, like Islam, all contain at their heart a core set of esoteric truths, despite them differing immensely in their external appearance, forms and practices – and even in many of their beliefs. They also believe that these major religions, again like Islam, still retain their validity even today. The metaphor used to describe the Unity of Religions is that of a bicycle wheel. The spokes represent the different religions; the hub symbolises God, the Supreme Being, the Transcendent Reality. Just as the spokes come closer to each other as they near the hub, so too, as each path comes closer to the One Reality, it comes closer to all other paths. Now as appealing as it sounds to some, it can never pass for authoritative, orthodox Quranic teachings – as has been shown.

9. Asserting that such Perennialist philosophy is clear disbelief (kufr) does not amount to an accusation that each specific individual who holds such a belief is necessarily an unbeliever (kafir) – as is well attested to in mainstream Sunni theology. The maxim in this matter runs as follows: laysa kullu man waqa'a fi'l-kufr sara kafir – 'Not everyone who falls into disbelief, becomes a disbeliever.' The shari'ah upholds the distinction between a general charge of disbelief (takfir 'amm), and the charge of disbelief upon a specific individual (takfir mu'ayyan). Ibn Taymiyyah said: 'They have not given proper consideration that making takfir has conditions (shurut) and impediments (mawani') that must be actualised if it is to be applied to a specific individual. Because a general declaration of takfir doesn't imply takfir on a specific individual – until conditions are fulfilled and impediments lifted.'8

10. The Perennialist Philosophy (religio perennis) was first propagated in the late 1930s. It was Frithjof Schuon who would bring this idea to its fruition. Among those who came under Schuon's influence were those like Martin Lings, Gai Eaton and Seyyed Hossein Nasr (the first two also being converts to Islam). Such Muslims who, through a hugely errant ta'wil or interpretation that misled them into perennialism, are part of a highly learned body of authors and academics who offer some of the finest critiques of modernity from a traditional perspective, and profoundest spiritual expositions of Islam to modern beleaguered hearts and minds. That their writings have, by Allah's grace, brought so many Westerners into the fold of Islam is beyond doubt. Perennial beliefs aside, their writings are a reminder that to hold to a simple faith without much intellectual and spiritual content is no longer possible in our modern world. For the spirit of our times asks questions, questions for the most part hostile to faith, which demands answers. And those answers can only come from informed and thoughtful faith; from adequate familiarity with modernity's philosophical underpinnings; and from reflective study, introspection and meditation.

11. Interestingly, the late Martin Lings wrote in The Eleventh Hour about the theory of man's evolution that if it is indeed true, why didn't God tell believers about it to begin with, or at least gradually bring them into it? Why did He allow religion after religion to repeat the same old ways of thinking, and prevent prophet after prophet from ever divulging its true nature? Yet He allowed a mere non-prophet to discern its reality and propogate it in defiance of all spiritual authorities of the time.9 And yet a similar line of argument can equally apply to the belief in perennialism. For using the same rhyme and reason one could ask: Why didn't Allah tell believers about this to begin with, or wean them steadily onto it? Why did Allah allow prophet after prophet to repeat the same ways of thinking, or prevent them from disclosing its true nature? And yet, we are to believe, He allowed a mere non-prophet to arrive at this great existential truth, propagating it in disregard to a scholarly consensus of the past sages and present-day spiritual authorities. The point being is that if Islam's religious authorities all deemed the belief to be kufr, on what basis should Perennialism be accepted?

12. What of those to whom the message of Islam has not been conveyed, or they have heard about Islam and the Prophet, but in a distorted form? Here the Qur'an presents a far wider, ecumenical scope: Nor do We punish until We have sent a Messenger. [17:15] Also: Whenever a fresh host is cast into it [Hell], its keepers ask them: 'Did a warner never come to you?' They will say: 'Yes, a warner came to us; but we denied.' [67:8-9] The idea ofbulugh al-da'wah, “conveyance of the message,” therefore, is vital in this issue; typified by the words of imam al-Nawawi (which have already preceded in point 2) that 'those to whom the call of Islam does not reach are excused.'

13. Some to whom the message of Islam is communicated refuse to believe in it out of wilful rejection (juhud) of it or because of belying (takdhib) it. Others, however, choose not to hear the message, but instead turn away from it (i'radan 'anha) out of arrogance or prejudice against it, or hostility towards it – in some cases doing so knowing it is the truth: And they rejected them [Allah's signs], although they inwardly recognised them, through injustice and arrogance. [27:14] Now it's quite possible that many non-Muslims today fall into this predicament, in that some of them are capable of discerning the revealed truths of Islam. But whether out of not desiring to forsake familiar habits; or losing their standing among people; having contempt for Muslims; arrogant prejudice against them; or just out of sheer folly and misguidance, many turn away from even considering the Qur'an. Unless there are other factors to mitigate this kufr of theirs, such people will have no excuse on Judgement Day.10

14. As for those who have heard about Islam, but in a distorted form, I'll suffice with what imam al-Ghazali wrote about the matter: 'In fact, I would say that, Allah willing, most of the Byzantine Christians and the Turks of this age will be included in Allah's mercy. I'm referring here to those who live in the farthest regions of Byzantium and Anatolia who have not come into contact with the message. These people are of three groups: [i] A party who have never so much as heard the name 'Muhammad' ﷺ. They are excused. [ii] A party who knew his name, character and miracles he wrought; who lived in lands adjacent to the lands of Islam and thus came into contact with Muslims. These are blaspheming unbelievers. [iii] A third party who fall between the two. These people knew the name 'Muhammad' ﷺ, but nothing of his character or his qualities. Instead, all they heard since childhood is that a liar and imposter called 'Muhammad' claimed to be a prophet; just as our children have heard that an arch-liar and deceiver called al-Muqaffa' claimed Allah sent him [as a prophet] and then challenged people to disprove his claim. This party, in my opinion, is like the first party. For even though they've heard his name, they heard the opposite of what his true qualities were. And this does not provide enough incentive for them to investigate [his true status].'11

15. That some non-Muslims will be excused for their disbelief in the Hereafter doesn't mean that they are not judged as disbelievers in this world. All who have not declared the Two Testimonies of Faith, the shahadah, are non-Muslims; disbelievers. Some are actively hostile against Islam and Muslims; most are not. While it behoves a believer to wisely and sincerely seek to guide into faith those who disbelieve, it does not befit a believer to blur the distinction between faith (iman) and disbelief (kufr). Al-Ghazali gives us this rule of thumb: 'Disbelief is to reject the Prophet ﷺ in whatever he came with, while faith is to affirm as true all that he came with. Therefore the Jew and the Christian are disbelievers due to their rejection of the Prophet.'12

16. As for the honourific distinctions given to the Jews and Christans in the Qur'an, in that they are referred to as People of the Book (ahl al-kitab), their chaste womenfolk are lawful to marry, and their ritually-slaughtered meat may be eaten, then this in no way excludes them from being a category of disbelievers. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi wrote, citing al-Qaffal, that 'although the ahl al-kitab have acquired the virtue in this world of [us] being able to marry their women and eat their slaughtered meat. Yet this does not set them apart from the idolators in matters of the Afterlife, in terms of rewards and chastisements.'13

To wrap up the discussion: The Qur'an insists that every prophet came with a core set of universal truths centred around Allah's Oneness (tawhid). The Qur'an says: We have sent to every nation a Messenger [proclaiming]: 'Worship Allah and shun false gods.' [16:36] It is possible, therefore, for Buddhism and Hinduism to have been, in the ancient past, divinely-revealed. Yet it is equally true that the Qur'an insists of previously-revealed religions and their scriptures that they have long suffered alteration and corruption at the hands of men, and that whatever revealed truths were once present in them have long since been forgotten, changed, compromised or overshadowed by corrupted and idolatrous beliefs and practices. So while the world's major faiths do show similarities with Islam, this does not prove their essential unity with it as they currently exist. For they haven't only been altered, but have also been abrogated and superceded by what was revealed to the final Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This is why: He who seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers. Now whether such an explanation is passionate or dispassionate, narrow and unecumenical, or born of a “madrasah mentality,” it is the unanimous belief of Islam's eminent sages, jurists and theologians. It is, in other words, the Quranic truth.

That said, I think it befitting to close with these words from Shaykh Bin Bayyah, one of contemporary Islam's most revered and learned jurists: 'Of course, a devotional life in this world should be lived in peaceful co-existence with others.'14 O Allah! Bless us with iman and aman – with faith and security; and make us of benefit to Islam and to humanity, and not a harm or a hindrance to them. ameen.

1. Muslim, no.240.

2. Sharh Sahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1995), 2:162.

3. Ihya 'Ulum al-Din (Beirut: Dar al-Ma'rifah, 2004), 1:120.

4. Rawdat al-Talibin (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 2003), 7:290. Its like is seen in  al-Buhuti, Kashshaf al-Qina' (Beirut: 'Alam al-Kutub, 1983), 6:170.

5. Qadi 'Iyad, al-Shifa' (Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, 2002), 450.

6. Cf. al-Baghawi, Ma'alim al-Tanzil (Riyadh: Dar Taybah, 2010), 1:57; Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 2002), 65.

7. Tafsir Qur'an al-'Azim (Beirut: Dar al-Ma'rifah, 1986), 1:107.

8.  Majmu' Fatawa (Riyadh: Dar 'Alam al-Kutub, 1991), 12:487-8. Also see the article on this blog: Takfir: Its Dangers & Rules.

9. Lings, The Eleventh Hour (Cambridge: Archetype, 2002), 28.

10. See: Bin Bayyah, What of Those to Whom Islam Does Not Reach?

11. Al-Ghazali, Faysal al-Tafriqah (Damascus: 1993), 84.

12. ibid., 25.

13. Al-Razi, Mafatih al-Ghayb (Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1981), 11:151, on Qur'an 5:5.

14. Bin Bayyah, What of Those to Whom Islam Does Not Reach?

Cameron and Muslim women: a new twist on an old colonial story | Madeleine Bunting

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 January, 2016 - 07:00

The prime minister’s intervention implies he bears the white man’s burden to ‘save’ the brown woman

Before David Cameron launched himself this week into a critique of the English language skills of Muslim women in the UK, he would have done well to take a tour of Tate Britain’s exhibition Artist and Empire. It’s a deeply unsettling reminder of a past that the British have made an art of half-forgetting.

This is painting by the square metre: huge canvases to demonstrate the struggle and the glory of British expansionary militarism. It’s a reminder that spreading that pink across the globe was a brutally violent process. But it was the undercurrent of erotic thrill to empire that is even more disturbing. Imperial maps are bordered by large-breasted maidens holding cornucopia brimming with exotic fruits for the conqueror. One portrait of a coy, bare-breasted woman was that of a hostage imprisoned by James Cook in his cabin as part of negotiations with a recalcitrant indigenous people in the Pacific. Empire offered an abundance of available women; in contrast the imperialists’ womenfolk are dressed and presented in domestic settings, safely established under male control as wives and daughters.

Related: David Cameron needs to look beyond the veil | Remona Aly

Related: Cameron 'stigmatising Muslim women' with English language policy

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Who Speaks for Islam in America?

altmuslim - 22 January, 2016 - 00:31
By Khurram Dara Who speaks for Islam in America? After tragedies like the ones that occurred in Paris and San Bernardino, the dearth of central leadership in Muslim America has become increasingly apparent. While a host of Muslim organizations, communities and thought-leaders routinely condemn violence committed in the name of Islam, their voices are often [Read More...]

David Cameron will support Muslim women – but only when it suits his scaremongering narrative

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 January, 2016 - 16:02

The prime minister’s new language-learning scheme implies a link between a lack of English and extremism, simultaneously casting Muslim women as suppressed victims and dangerous outsiders

David Cameron this week announced a £20m language fund particularly targeted at British Muslim women. The Prime Minister claimed that some 190,000 British Muslim women, or 22%, speak little or no English, and suggested that a minority of men were promoting “backward attitudes” and exerting “damaging control” over their female relatives.

But while Cameron’s commitment to funding for English language classes was welcomed in many quarters (particularly in light of previous £45m cuts to the Esol budget), he also drew unnecessary and unclear links between the English language skills of Muslim women and extremism, as well as appearing to threaten that migrants who failed to reach a particular standard of English may not be allowed to remain in the UK.

Whilst we welcome the additional funding pledged today by the Prime Minister for English language support for Muslim women, we do not agree with the assertion that there is a link between a lack of English and extremism. David Cameron is conflating these two issues and is further isolating the very same group of people that he is trying to reach and assist.

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Lancashire police criticise BBC over 'terrorist house' story

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 January, 2016 - 15:56

Force says BBC story was inaccurate and has damaged community relations with the police

Police have criticised the BBC for publishing a story that claimed a spelling error led to a 10-year-old Muslim boy being investigated over terror allegations, and warned the press of the impact it could have on community relations.

On Wednesday, the BBC reported that a boy who attends a Lancashire primary school was interviewed by police after he had written that he lived in a “terrorist house”. His family claimed this was a spelling mistake and he meant to say he lived in a “terraced house”.

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Tying of pig's head to Islamic school gates treated as hate crime

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 January, 2016 - 15:45

Police say Madani academy incident in Portsmouth is isolated but will not be tolerated

The tying of a severed pig’s head to the gates of an Islamic school is being treated by police as a hate crime.

The head was found attached with cable ties to the gates of the Madani academy in Nutfield Place, Portsmouth, at 8.30am on Thursday. Police believe it was placed there the previous evening, between 5.40pm and 6pm.

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