UK churches 'alert, not alarmed' after Catholic priest is killed in France

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 July, 2016 - 15:01

Places of worship stay open but are advised to review security and increase vigilance after death of Father Jacques Hamel

Churches in the UK will remain open to all despite the murder of a Catholic priest during morning prayers in northern France on Tuesday.

Anti-terrorism police have warned churches to be on alert, while saying they have no specific intelligence relating to attacks on Christians in the UK.

Related: French priest’s killer was freed from jail despite aiming to join jihadis

I think we are going to review our security in the presbytery and church over next few days. #staysafe

Related: Murder of French priest opens a new frontier for Catholic church

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Artist Sophia Al-Maria: 'People hate Islam, but they're titillated by it too'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 July, 2016 - 08:00

As her first solo show opens in New York, the Qatari-American artist talks about Gulf pop culture, gross veil fetishes – and why she’s not playing the ‘native informant’

Towards the end of Black Friday, the film that forms the centrepiece of her show at the Whitney in New York, Sophia Al-Maria tells the story of the time she and her sister were riding the escalators in a mall in Doha. She notices a guy she took algebra with in high school a few steps ahead of her, hanging out with a group of his own friends. She doesn’t call out, because she knows he won’t recognise her. She is wearing her abaya, her hair covered, and the guy from algebra is a US serviceman on his day off. The classroom they sat in together is more than 7,000 miles away in the Pacific Northwest. Rather than shatter the glass wall that keeps her two lives separate, she simply carries on shopping.

In the Gulf ​I'd have access to Indian, Chinese, European stuff. In the US, it was the same TLC song on repeat

Evil is born … not in the dark satanic mills of the 19th century but the bright fluorescent malls of the 21st

Much of the work was filmed with a drone in a yet-to-be-opened mall in Doha. 'It's a nightmare sermon. A bad trip'

Related: Women film-makers dominate Jarman award shortlist for 2016

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Australia's grand mufti denounces murder of French priest by Isis

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 July, 2016 - 05:27

Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed calls Islamic State ‘an evil organisation’ that has betrayed the Islamic faith

The grand mufti of Australia has condemned the murder of a French priest in Normandy who was killed in an attack linked to supporters of Islamic State.

The priest had his throat slit after being forced to kneel, and his two attackers filmed the attack described by the French president, François Hollande, as an act of murder.

Related: France in shock again after Isis murder of priest in Normandy

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Channel 5 removes Fireman Sam episode showing character stepping on Qur'an

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 July, 2016 - 23:48

TV network apologises for incident and cuts ties with animation studio, which it blames for mistake

An episode of Fireman Sam in which a character appeared to tread on a page from the Qur’an has been removed from Channel 5’s streaming site, the TV network said.

Related: Iceland repeals blasphemy ban after Pirate party campaign

Have no idea what went through the producers' minds when they thought this was a good idea #baffled

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Man charged with threatening to burn down largest mosque in Boston

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 July, 2016 - 22:37

Patrick Keogan’s alleged post on Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center’s Facebook page depicted mosque in flames day after Paris attacks in November

A Massachusetts man was arrested and charged on Tuesday with threatening to burn down Boston’s largest mosque and with making other threats online against Muslims.

Patrick Keogan, a 44-year-old resident of the Boston suburb of Winchester, was charged with making a criminal threat over the internet and with being a convicted felon illegally in possession of ammunition, federal prosecutors said.

Related: US counter-terrorism chief criticizes anti-Muslim political rhetoric

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Up to 150 men and women detained at party in Iran

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 July, 2016 - 18:59

Morality police swoop on festivities near Tehran as crackdown on socialising of men and women grows during summer months

Up to 150 people have been detained in Iran after the morality police raided what has been described as a mixed-gender party near Tehran.

In the sweltering heat and as people spend more time outside, the authorities tighten their grip on social norms, cracking down on activities deemed un-Islamic.

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It’s Not Mother’s or Father’s Day but… Imam Omar Suleiman

Muslim Matters - 25 July, 2016 - 18:18

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” This is a quote I first heard in 3rd grade. I remember the day very well. My teacher, Mrs. Smith, said it to my father as he brought me to school and updated her on the status of my mother (may Allah have mercy on her) as she was in an unresponsive coma.

Men like my dad are rare. My mom fought through diseases, strokes, partial deafness, cancer, and so much more throughout my childhood. Throughout that process, I watched my dad demonstrate what it means to be a devoted husband. He stood by her side, literally carried her around the house at times, never made her feel like a burden, and was the anchor of our home.

I remember the “suggestions” being made to my dad during that time period by uncles who claimed they were looking out for him. I cringed but held my silence as they thought I didn't know what they were saying. They spoke of my mom as if she was damaged goods and my dad needed to be “happy.” But to him, happiness was in my mom still being able to smile despite the many close calls. It was in us having as normal of a childhood as possible, considering that our mom who showed us limitless love was unable to do things that other moms could do.

This to me didn't just teach me to respect my father more, but the faith that he had to keep him going. My dad was and, still is, an important man in the community. He sat on the masjid board, helped found an Islamic school for which he served as chairman for a decade, gave khutbahs, represented the Palestinian cause in debates, participated in interfaith dialogues, participated in local politics, and so much more. Not to mention, he had a lofty academy career as a distinguished tenured Professor of Chemistry, an admirable laboratory, serious research credentials, and impressive inventions and publications. But with all of that, he was always dedicated to my mom and us. Due to his unique circumstances and my mother's health, he would have to come home and still do plenty of work. But he never complained or showed an ounce of ingratitude. My mom was not a charity case to him, she was his queen. She was his wife who married him when he was a broke graduate student (sorry dad :-) ), and she was the mother of his children.

We all know how much Allah honors mothers in the Qur'an, as did the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) through the Sunnah. But do we only attribute that honor to the wombs that bore us? What about the mothers who gave us our own children? The mothers who gave us our sadaqa jariya (continuous charity) and most precious investment. The mothers who literally flirted with death in labor while giving birth to our children. Imagine if someone gave you a million-dollar investment with your name on it. How would you treat that person? Yet still we find the nerve to show cruelty to the women that have given us investments in our names that will far outlive us. Not only that, they refine those investments for us by teaching them the religion and upright character that they may grow to supplicate for their parents and pass on this legacy that we've inherited from our messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

There is a reason that the Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) mentioned of the many favors of Khadijah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) to him that “she bore my children.” Fatima raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her), Al Hassan raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), Al Hussein raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), the Mahdi that will eventually come that is of their descendants, etc. All of that is a favor of Khadijah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)  and he did not fail to acknowledge that. So when Allah chides the ungrateful child who dares even to say “uff” to his mother or roll his eyes at her, what then of the man that antagonizes and belittles the women who gave him his own children.

So thank you mom for being the most loving mother that a child could ask for. Even though you were physically limited for most of my childhood, your overwhelming love and compassion made up for all of that.

Thank you dad for teaching me how to be a husband and father. Your example of unconditional devotion gave me no excuse to fail. When I questioned my faith, I was brought back partly due the amazing demonstration of it that I saw in you. Thank you for never failing to remind me to do the same with my own family

Thank you my lovely wife for being an incredible companion, my greatest supporter, and the mother of my two children. Without you, they literally wouldn't exist. And without you, they would not be the lovely children that they are today.

And yes, I'm pretty sure my dad loves my wife, who has become a daughter to him, more than me. And for good reason :-)

It's not mothers or fathers day, but make sure you thank all of the mothers and fathers in your life today.

Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes, and make us an example for the righteous. Forgive our parents as they raised us when we were young, and forgive us and help us as we raise our young ones. Ameen

Treating Muslim children as terror suspects does not make Britain safer | Homa Khaleeli

The Guardian World news: Islam - 25 July, 2016 - 13:59
The government must rethink its divisive Prevent strategy. It’s forcing teachers to be suspicious of free expression and creating a culture of suspicion

In the last year, there has been growing unease around the government’s Prevent strategy. The UN special rapporteur, along with human rights groups and the government’s own independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, have voiced serious concerns. MPs and peers from the joint select committee on human rights have also called for an independent review.

Last summer, the government’s counterterrorism policy became a legal duty in schools and nurseries and for childcare providers. With just a few hours of training, a host of public sector workers were now expected to spot people who might be vulnerable to radicalisation, and refer them to the government’s deradicalisation programme, Channel.

Critics point out that it allows the government to label any views they disagree with as a sign of extremism.

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Eric Abetz praises article urging rethink on 'open borders to Muslim migration'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 25 July, 2016 - 05:45

Tasmanian Liberal senator describes article written by staff member as ‘great’ as the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, denounces it

Senator Eric Abetz has applauded an article written by one of his staff calling for an “open-border approach to Muslim migration” to be reconsidered.

The shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, was critical, saying the comments amounted to supporting calls for a crackdown on Muslim immigration.

Related: Zed Seselja rejects Sonia Kruger's call to ban Muslim immigration

A great article from a member of my staff on why we need an open and frank discussion on the future of immigration.

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On Shariah Law: Tolerance is the Law of the Land

altmuslim - 24 July, 2016 - 19:38
By Fatina Abdrabboh I teach a course at a law school on Islamic Law, familiar to some as sharia. Yes, I teach sharia to American law students. In fact, the country’s leading law schools are increasingly offering this course alongside others meant to equip American law students with the cultural skills of a global world. In my class, we [Read More...]

George Brandis warns against assuming all attacks are terrorism after Munich shooting

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 July, 2016 - 03:15

Attorney general says it is too early to be definitive about gunman’s motives after search fails to find Islamist-related material

The attorney general, George Brandis, is urging calm after the Munich mass shooting, saying the word “terrorism” should not be used too loosely.

He said it was too early to be definitive about the motives of the German gunman, especially when a search of the man’s home did not find any Islamist-related material, or any other political, religious or ideological material.

Related: George Christensen says Munich shooting validates 'admittedly incorrect' remarks

Related: ‘Strange and withdrawn’: what drove Ali Sonboly to launch Munich massacre?

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George Christensen says Munich shooting validates 'admittedly incorrect' remarks

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 July, 2016 - 02:30

MP shares post from website named ‘Jihadiwatch’ while pointing to unfounded claims Ali Sonboly was motivated by Islam

George Christensen has pointed to unfounded claims the Munich shooter was motivated by Islam to claim vindication of his own incorrect claims an incident at a Sydney police station was a radical Islamist terrorist attack.

The federal MP for the Queensland seat of Dawson on Saturday shared a blogpost that said the 18-year-old behind a mass shooting in Germany was an Iranian Muslim and that this explained his motivation.

Related: George Christensen threatens to vote against Coalition's superannuation changes

Related: George Christensen retracts 'radical Islamists' claim over Merrylands incident

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Is Cosa Nostra now selling deadly assault weapons to Islamist terrorist groups?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 July, 2016 - 00:08
British counter-terrorism officials fear signs point to an ever-closer relationship between organised criminals and Islamists

A huge gun-running operation masterminded by the Sicilian mafia is being investigated by senior police officers for potential links to “terrorist activity across Europe and beyond”.

Anti-mafia prosecutors in Catania are investigating the possibility that Cosa Nostra is supplying assault weapons to organised crime syndicates from north Africa and firearms into the hands of extremists in western Europe.

Organised criminals are increasingly open to trading with extremists, complicating the battle against terrorism

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Apricot kernels

Indigo Jo Blogs - 23 July, 2016 - 18:54

Image of white apricot flowersEarlier today I was browsing the mentions of Kate Granger, the doctor best known for setting up the “Hello, my name is…” campaign aimed at encouraging doctors, nurses and other health professionals to introduce themselves to patients when they meet them, and who is in a hospice with terminal cancer at the time of this writing, and I came across a series of tweets from someone trying to sell her apricot kernels (organic Himalayan ones, no less) which she claimed had cured an old friend who had stomach and lung cancer that had spread despite surgery (a bit of “spiritual healing” helped also). I didn’t see any responses from Kate (who is clearly too ill to tweet much) or her husband (who is too busy caring and making the most ot his last few days with her), but I do believe this nonsense deserves a response because Dr Granger is obviously not the only person with this disease and there will be other targets for these cranks.

I had a look on Wikipedia for basic facts on apricot kernels. It seems there are two types, bitter and sweet, and the sweet type (grown in Europe and central Asia) are used in cooking oil and as a substitute for almond flavour, while the bitter type is the one thought to be a cure for cancer. The bitter type has a high concentration of amygdalin, a chemical which when ingested causes cyanide poisoning (the sweet type has a much smaller concentration); a pack of the bitter kernels, at one point marketed in health-food shops as a snack, contained at least double the adult lethal dose. As for curing cancer, in 2011 the Cochrane Collaboration (which specialises in meta-analyses, or analyses of groups of clinical trials) concluded that the claims for amygdalin or a synthetic derivative, laetrile “are not currently supported by sound clinical data” and that in light of the risk of cyanide poisoning from oral ingestion, “the risk–benefit balance of laetrile or amygdalin as a treatment for cancer is … unambiguously negative”. They recommended that no further research be conducted into the substances on ethical grounds.

The response from the amygdalin advocates was, predictably, to indulge in conspiracy theories and I’m sure some people will dismiss me as a “sheeple” (not sure what the singular of that is) for accepting “establishment” or “big pharma” science as fact. Readers might consider, however, that if this substance really was a cure for cancer, “big pharma” could have capitalised on it because even if they couldn’t patent it, they could have found more efficient ways to extract it from apricot kernels than small-scale activist producers could — and they could have developed and patented some derivative. They could have found ways to grow it here rather than import it from India or Nepal. They already derive medicines from plants, everything from aspirin from willow bark to the chemo drug vincristine derived from the Madagascar periwinkle, so why anyone thinks they would miss a chance to exploit a chemical found in a common fruit (and in other members of the same family) is beyond me. In countries like the UK where there is a public health system and chemotherapy drugs are funded by the state, it stands to reason that they would not pay for them if fruit seeds did the job better.

It’s obviously why people promote this junk. They don’t like big drug companies, they know that people don’t like taking drugs that make them sick and would use an alternative if one were available, and that people especially do not like allowing their children to be made dreadfully sick, and they prey on this desperation. They often present their ‘cures’ as gentler than the drugs ‘peddled’ by the big companies and the NHS, but in truth they are often poisonous, as with these seeds, or otherwise harmful, as (for example) with the bleach or anti-hormone agents marketed as cures for autism. If you’ve got a friend with a serious or chronic illness and you’ve heard of something that sounds like a miracle cure, think twice before recommending it to them. They’ve probably heard it all before (many, many times, and if the condition is a very visible one, likely from strangers on trains and the like) and if it were as simple as eating a few seeds, they’d have found this out from other people with their condition (yes, they have forums for these things). I know you don’t want your friend to suffer, but if they cease treatment because someone convinced them to try an alternative remedy instead, they could die. It’s happened many times.

It was Kate’s wish to raise £250,000 for her local cancer centre in Leeds before she died. That goal has been exceeded, but the JustGiving page is still open. She has also asked for donations to be made to St Gemma’s Hospice, also in Leeds, where she is being cared for currently. You may also like to donate to a hospice in your area, such as Royal Trinity Hospice in south London.

Image source: Wikimedia, sourced from Marco Almbauer; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

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Repercussions of the Sun’s hijab attack | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2016 - 18:32

In Peterborough there are many secondary schools rated good by Ofsted. One is a large multicultural school with a high proportion of British Pakistani-heritage pupils. It encourages students to value education and strongly promotes diversity, creativity, ambition and a “can-do” attitude. One of the school’s alumni is Fatima Manji, the Channel 4 reporter attacked by the Sun’s Kelvin MacKenzie for wearing a hijab while reporting on the dreadful Nice attack (Anger at column on Muslim TV presenter, 20 July).

Fatima is a perfect example of the minority ethnic aspiration we are trying to encourage, graduating as she has to become a national broadcaster via school, university, and local journalism. So many members of ethnic minorities are criticised for not integrating or adhering to so-called British values. Mr MacKenzie’s views will make some from ethnic minorities angry and may make others give up trying, thus creating even more members of the disillusioned and alienated underclass that we should be eliminating, and that newspapers like the Sun are so quick to criticise.
Toby Wood

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