US strike targets Taliban as Afghan troops mount Kunduz counterattack

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 September, 2015 - 09:46

US airstrike hits Taliban position on outskirts of city that was overrun by militants on Monday

The US military has launched an airstrike to aid Afghan government forces in a counteroffensive against Taliban fighters who on Monday captured large parts of Kunduz, a strategic provincial capital in the country’s north.

“The Taliban are being pushed back. In a few hours the city will be free from their hands,” said Dowlat Waziri, deputy spokesman for the defence ministry. He said the army had sent reinforcements from neighbouring Kabul and Balkh provinces, including special forces.

Related: Taliban capture key Afghan provincial capital Kunduz

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Handling Painful Moments with Grace

Muslim Matters - 29 September, 2015 - 03:14

By Sayeda Habib

Life is uncertain. We don't know what any day will bring, but one thing that human beings have a lot of is resilience. We CAN bounce back from anything– even a crisis situation. We know as Muslims, that challenges will come, and that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will only give us what we can handle.

We can often make sense of events such as death, disease, or a natural disaster. We know that these are acts of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

2_155 2_156 2_157

And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the patient, Who says, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”: They are those on whom (descend) Blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)

But what about things that sometimes don't make sense? What if someone we care for hurts us, or disappoints us. Being let down can be one of the most difficult experiences of life.

Things such as infidelity, having a friend break your trust, gossip, or being let down in your expectations can be exceedingly painful. We aren't usually taught skills to handle these situations, so if you feel overwhelmed or unequipped to deal with the pain, you are not alone.

We are all unique individuals and deal with things in our own way. However, the first few moments can be critical for us. So, here are a few tips on how to get through those initial challenging moments.


Take a breath

The first response to this type of situation is shock, then pain and anger. Responding in anger may cause you to say or do things you may later regret. Remove yourself from the situation and take a time out. Cool off then decide, is it worth it?

 Seek help

You may have lots of friends and family to talk to, but they may not have the skills to help you through. If you are feeling angry with someone close to you, sharing it with others may complicate matters in the future. Seek help from a friend or a professional who can be objective about the situation. You may be feeling vulnerable at this time and everyone may not provide you with the understanding or empathy you need which can lead you to feel misunderstood and even more hurt. Find someone who will listen, without wanting to fix things for you therefore allowing you to explore your own solutions.


Feel the feelings

Please do not expect yourself to get over this almost immediately. The body has its own speed of releasing emotions during a painful situation. Feel the waves of emotions that come up. Ask those around you to let you do this and just be supportive. Feeling things through is the quickest way of healing them. If you bury them, they are sure to come up later in the form of disease.


Eat well

Your body may be in fight/flight for some time. A shock puts our body in this state automatically in order to deal with the threat it feels. This is the time to take vitamin C, and a good range of other vitamins. Fight/flight encourages us to eat sugar and high-carb meals. Aim to avoid those and go for well-cooked meals, with lots of vegetables thrown in.

Pamper yourself

Nurturing yourself in times of stress is essential. Do some exercise, and also find some time to relax. Take short breaks and do something different. It will help to shift your perspective

Expect that this will take time

We live in an age of instant gratification. This also raises the expectations we have for ourselves. Don't expect yourself to be “over it” in an instant. Your emotions will take time to release and your body will take time to heal. Give yourself the room to be and take one day at a time.


Get closure

Take a few days and let your emotions settle, and then find a way to put the event behind you. Write all what remains to be said in a letter to the person concerned, and then tear it up. This process is cathartic and helps put the situation in the past. Make sure you intend to put it in the past. Do not read or save the letter; just let it go.

Be optimistic

Difficult circumstances often present us with an opportunity for growth. Ask yourself “what's the opportunity here?” Allow yourself to figure out how you can make the best of this challenging time. Use this experience to ask yourself how you might develop even more strength, patience and resilience in you.

We can all overcome any challenge, though we will need to be compassionate with ourselves through the process. These tips are meant to give you a starting point when you are dealing with tremendous pain and stress. My best wishes for the journey.

Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is good for him” Sahih Muslim.



Sayeda Habib is a life coach who empowers Muslims to life a more fulfilling life. She is the author of “Discover the best in you: life coaching for Muslims.” To find out more log on to or email

Hajj crush: Saudi Arabia issues over 1,000 images suggesting death-toll rise

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 September, 2015 - 17:15

Authorities in India and Pakistan say photographs of dead released to diplomats for identification mean hundreds more killed than originally thought

Saudi Arabia has given foreign diplomats over 1,000 photographs of the dead from last week’s hajj crush and stampede, Indian and Pakistani authorities said, in an indication of a significantly higher death toll than previously offered by the kingdom.

Saudi officials could not be immediately reached for comment about the discrepancy surrounding the death toll of the disaster in Mina.

Related: The Guardian view on the hajj deaths: a test for the regime | Editorial

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A Nuclear Power Confronting Slingshots, Israeli Hypocrisy Finds an Ally in The NY Times

Israel, The New York Times tells us, has vowed to crack down on violence in Jerusalem, allowing the use of live fire against Palestinians who take to “rock throwing and firebombing,” expanding the rules of engagement and lengthening sentences for such crimes.

In a story titled “Israel Acts to Combat Violence in Jerusalem,” Isabel Kershner quotes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who calls such Palestinian weaponry “deadly and murderous objects,” which have been “thrown without response and without being thwarted.”

It is noteworthy that Netanyahu, responsible for bombing and strafing the 1.8 million residents of Gaza, can say these words without a hint of irony. It is also striking that the Times can report his utterances without pointing out the full context here—the lopsided nature of the conflict.

In fact, it is the Palestinians who face a deadly enemy: Israel possesses armored vehicles, automatic rifles, drones, rockets, fighter jets, smart bombs and sophisticated surveillance equipment, all of them more “deadly and murderous” than Palestinian rocks. As the only nuclear power in the Middle East, Israel also has a stockpile of up to 300 nuclear weapons, which can be launched by air, land or sea.

Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank have nothing more than stones, firecrackers, kitchen knives and homemade firebombs. The mortality figures reflect this disparity: Since the beginning of this year Israeli forces have killed more than 25 Palestinians in the West Bank (settlers have killed at least another three), while Palestinians are responsible for the deaths of four Israelis within the West Bank and Israel combined.

Yet the Times strains to make Israelis appear as the victims, giving voice to the claims of Netanyahu, playing down Palestinian deaths and hyping Israeli casualties. A recent headline declared, “Jewish Man Dies As Rocks Pelt His Car in East Jerusalem,” suggesting that the driver was stoned to death. In fact, he had a heart attack, lost control of his car and ran into a light pole. The Times story cites only one object hitting the car.

By contrast, the paper gives a bland and ambiguous title to the story of a young Palestinian woman who died from a barrage of Israeli bullets last week as she tried to cross a checkpoint in Hebron. This news appears under the title, “2 Are Killed in West Bank as Jewish and Muslim Holidays Approach.”

Readers find no hint of the bloody assault on 18-year-old Hadeel Al Hashlamoun in this headline, and the Times has also failed to report that Amnesty International termed her killing a “extrajudicial execution” and called for a “prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations” into her death.

Firsthand accounts say that an Israeli soldier shot Al Hashlamoun in the leg, and when she lay motionless on the ground, approached her and fired several more shots into her abdomen. Witnesses add that soldiers refused to let a Palestinian ambulance approach her and left her to bleed for about half an hour before allowing an Israeli ambulance to arrive and take her away. Video footage also shows a soldier grabbing her by a foot as she lay bleeding on the ground and dragging her out of camera sight.

This is raw violence with “deadly and murderous” arms, but the Times and Netanyahu do not find the word “violence” appropriate here. They reserve its use for Palestinians who throw rocks and firecrackers, never applying it to the atrocities of Israeli security forces. The irony and hypocrisy in this discourse seem to elude them entirely.

In a story that appeared online yesterday, the Times reports that four Palestinian youths have been arrested for throwing rocks at the car of the man who died after crashing in East Jerusalem. This news is in striking contrast to the latest, disturbing developments in the case of three Palestinian family members who died in an arson attack.

When news broke of the fire that killed a toddler in the West Bank village of Duma and led to the later deaths of his mother and father, the Times quoted the reactions of Israeli politicians at length and described Jewish Israeli “soul searching” over the deaths. The paper also noted that some extremist settlers had been arrested but that no one accused of the Duma arson was in custody.

The Times ran several stories immediately after the arson attack, reporting that Netanyahu vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice, but after running a brief article when the mother died earlier this month, the newspaper has been silent, even though there is news to tell: Israeli officials know who committed the crime but do not plan to arrest them.

Israeli media have reported that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon admitted that the names of the suspects are known but the defense establishment has not arrested anyone “to avoid revealing intelligence sources in court.”

So we have the quick arrest of four youths suspected of throwing rocks and (perhaps) indirectly causing the death of an Israeli driver, while those responsible for burning and killing three innocent Palestinians go free. The remarks by Ya’alon add even more irony to Netanyahu’s complaint that rock throwing occurs “without response and without being thwarted.”

The Times has shown itself to be tone deaf to such dissonance in the Israeli narrative. Far from analyzing or commenting on the hypocrisy of vilifying rock throwers, it has worked to support this deliberate distortion of the reality in Palestine.

So in the Times we find silence concerning official complicity in settler crimes, efforts to portray Israelis as victims and a refusal to state the obvious: Killing civilians with the world’s most sophisticated weapons ranks high on the scale of violence, far above the efforts of Palestinian youth who face armored soldiers and tanks with slingshots and stones.

Barbara Erickson

Filed under: Israel vs Slingshots Tagged: Duma, Hadeel Al Ashlamoun, Israel, Jerusalem, New York Times, Palestine, Rock throwing, West Bank

How the hijab – and H&M – are reshaping mainstream British culture | Remona Aly

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 September, 2015 - 16:07
Hijab-wearers are appearing everywhere from fashion chains to the Great British Bake Off – it’s a celebration of the diversity Britain and good news for ordinary Muslims

Muslim women in hijabs are becoming increasingly visible in the public domain, whether appearing in EastEnders, Android ads, or The Great British Bake Off. Twenty years ago, when I began wearing my headscarf, “hijabis” were a rare sight, but now this contentious yet innocuous piece of cloth is shaping the face of mainstream pop culture.

The latest move comes from within the world of fashion, with global clothing giant H&M featuring its first ever Muslim model in a hijab. Mariah Idrissi, a 23-year-old who lives in London, stars in the 30-second video, alongside a boxer with a prosthetic leg, a man in drag, and a guy wearing socks with sandals – all united under the avowal: “There are no rules in fashion.”

When I began to wear a headscarf, one friend split no hairs, telling me I was bending to ‘male enslavement'

Women have been punched, kicked, spat at and had lit cigarettes thrown at them, even when with their children

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Prevent will discourage the very students who can help fight extremism | Hicham Yezza

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 September, 2015 - 14:47
The government’s corrosive counter-terrorism initiative means Muslims at universities and schools will disengage from the topic for fear of suspicion

It’s the stuff of farce. A Muslim postgraduate student of counter-terrorism, spotted reading a textbook entitled Terrorism Studies in the library, is accused by his own university of being a terrorist; while a 14-year-old Muslim schoolboy, having taken part in a French class discussion on environmental activism – l’ecoterrorisme – is asked whether he was is “affiliated” with Islamic State.

Welcome to the world of Prevent duty, the latest government initiative – in force since June – ostensibly aimed at stopping pupils from becoming extremists of all stripes; but which many see as another ill-thought-out addition to the litany of miscalculation and distrust between official Britain and its beleaguered Muslim community.

Related: 'You worry they could take your kids': is the Prevent strategy in schools demonising Muslim children?

On the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, hard-earned liberties are being stripped away at an alarming rate

Related: #IStandWithAhmed shows why we mustn’t rush to increase counter-terror powers | Gaby Hinsliff

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Controversial Muhammad biopic selected by Iran for Oscars contention

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 September, 2015 - 14:22

Muhammad: The Messenger of God, the most expensive movie yet made in Iran, has been chosen by the country to be put forward for the 2016 Academy Awards

Muhammad: The Messenger of God, a blockbuster about the birth of Islam, has been selected by Iran as its contender for the forthcoming Oscars.

Related: Muhammad: Messenger of God review – evocative account of Islam’s gestation

Related: AR Rahman responds to Muhammad: Messenger of God fatwa

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The Guardian view on the hajj deaths: a test for the regime | Editorial

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 September, 2015 - 20:06
Saudi Arabia’s legitimacy rests on its guardianship of the holy places, but can it keep them safe?

When Ibn Saud’s troops seized control of Mecca in 1924, he issued a resounding proclamation pledging to care properly for the holy places and to improve conditions for pilgrims, conditions which had allegedly deteriorated under the previous Hashemite rulers. His assumption of that duty was never fully or clearly accepted across the whole Muslim world, in spite of conferences at which a reluctant acquiescence was extracted from representatives of some countries. But it nevertheless became, and remains, the most important source of legitimacy for a Saudi state riven internally by both political and religious divisions and never popular in a region where most regimes have very different views from those prevailing in Riyadh. Effective guardianship of the holy places became one of the two pillars holding up the unlikely Saudi state, the other being the vast oil reserves soon to be discovered.

That is why last week’s disaster in the Mina valley near Mecca, in which as many as 1,000 hajj pilgrims may have perished, is more than a tragedy. It is unavoidably also a political event which could have large consequences. Nor is it the first such calamity. There was a similar if smaller incident in 2006 and a worse one in 1990. This year’s terrible accident followed another earlier in the month when a crane fell on worshippers at the Grand Mosque. It will lead some to raise the issue of whether Saudi Arabia is, in the technical sense, a modern state capable of using its wealth to ensure high standards of safety and competence, or whether it is so dysfunctional that error and misjudgment are inevitable. This is certainly what its main rival, Iran, is charging.

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Counter-extremism law and liberal values | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 September, 2015 - 20:04

Having just read the piece by Jonathan Dimbleby discussing the proposed anti-terrorism legislation where he propagates the notion that the laws being suggested are an attack on one of our “most fundamental of principles” (For freedom of speech, these are troubling times, 21 September), I have to say to him and all those who follow his line of reasoning that they are wrong.

The proposed laws are to protect our fundamental principles of freedom – freedom of speech, freedom to believe in whichever religion (or none at all), and most importantly our right to life.

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Ben Carson says Muslim president would have to 'subjugate' beliefs

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 September, 2015 - 16:25
  • Neurosurgeon: Muslims must ‘subjugate beliefs to our constitution’
  • Carson now one point behind Trump in Republican presidential polls

The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Sunday marked his surge to within one percentage point of the frontrunner Donald Trump with a return to his controversial comments about whether a Muslim could become US president.

Related: For a teen aspiring to be president, being Muslim is a hurdle in post-9/11 America

Related: Ben Carson says no Muslim should ever become US president

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No, meat is not murder (and other reflections on Corbyn)

Indigo Jo Blogs - 27 September, 2015 - 13:08

Picture of Kerry McCarthy, a white woman with a rounded face and shoulder-length hair wearing a black jumper with a "tweet for Labour" badge.Last week it was revealed (or we were reminded) that the new shadow cabinet member for agriculture and the environment, Kerry McCarthy, was a vegan who gave an interview with the vegan magazine Viva!Life, published March 2015, in which she called for meat-eating to be treated like smoking, with public campaigns to encourage people to stop eating it, because of its environmental impact. She said, “Progress on animal welfare is being made at the EU level and I feel it is best left to those campaigning groups working there but in the end it comes down to not eating meat and dairy. … The constant challenging of the environmental impact of livestock farming is making me more and more militant, not least that CAP [common agricultural policy] payments are available for grouse shooting, controlling buzzards and forestry”.

The papers, oddly, turned to the Countryside Alliance, an organisation representing the hunting lobby rather than farmers as such, for a response. They called her ideas “verging on the cranky” and would only “make it more difficult for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to reconnect with rural Britain”. Sadly, these words are more relevant than we might think, because where Labour has rural support, it tends to be in upland areas of Wales and northern England which are best suited to livestock farming (especially sheep) on hills, rather than the intensive crop growing found in lowland regions like Lincolnshire, which are Tory heartlands which only returned Labour MPs in the early Blair years. It’s preposterous to compare meat to tobacco; tobacco is a pure waste of time and money, which is addictive without yielding a high, produces foul smells, damages the user’s health and endangers that of those around them. Meat is food; to most people it tastes pleasant; it’s been a standard part of the human diet from the beginning, it converts material inedible to humans (like grass) to something edible, and is a source of needed iron and protein, especially for children. It turns out that Corbyn did not even know about McCarthy’s views before appointing her, which if it does not reflect poor judgement, certainly shows he has limited choices.

I didn’t get a vote in the leadership election because I let my membership lapse in 1995 and never renewed it because I did not like what Blair was doing to the party (not just in terms of policy, but also things like crushing dissent in organisations like student unions, which I first became aware of when I went to university that year). I’ve lived in New Malden since 2001, an area the party has been content to leave to the Liberal Democrats to oppose the Tories, which meant there seemed little point joining a party I could not vote for in my constituency and vote for without risking letting a Tory in. I also didn’t rejoin because Labour do not tolerate public dissent; if you publicly express support for another candidate, they expel you. I still voted for Ed Davey in 2015. However, it is clear to me that Jeremy Corbyn won because the other three candidates were uninspiring and did not offer any change from the status quo, some of them parroting Tory rhetoric about aspiration and “wealth creators” while taking their core vote for granted. Corbyn won a landslide, even when the £3 supporters were taken out of the picture. A lot of people perhaps wish there was a more credible candidate than Corbyn who had the backbone to challenge the Tory political and press narrative on such things as “economic competency”, but the New Labour machine had made sure that there wasn’t.

There has been a lot of over-analysing of Labour’s defeat in 2015, particularly from New Labourites who crow that Labour lost because it diverged from their policies, and others are accusing Labour members of harbouring the “delusions of the defeated” and failing to face up to the “real reasons” Labour lost. The Liberal Democrats also do not accept that their behaviour while in coalition was a major reason why they lost, and Tim Farron last week refused to rule out another Tory coalition, claiming that there was “nothing grubby or unprincipled about wanting to win, nothing noble about defeat”. The Liberal Democrats did not ‘win’ the 2010 election; they lost seats and came third, and got into office by means of a back-room deal. The coalition was not the only reason why they lost such a huge number of seats, but it was a very important one. And they deserved to lose.

The over-analysing of Labour’s defeat is as much the product of trauma as might account for some of the rush to the Left. The scale of the defeat is being exaggerated: it wasn’t 1983 all over again and except in Scotland, it wasn’t a rout. It is a common trait of defeated people to think they were defeated because they were not, on a very deep level, more like the victors, rather than because of other factors. In the case of a military force, this can often mean superior weaponry and discipline, rather than a religious difference, but it is not unknown for the defeated nation to imagine that “their gods were conquered” or otherwise that their core beliefs are discredited. Labour’s core beliefs were not discredited by last May’s election defeat. Labour did not win because the Tories were not doing too badly, as they were in 1997. They were not mired in scandal, they were not openly divided, and there was no crisis. Those are the reasons governing parties lose elections. This is the chief reason why Labour lost in 2010: there was an economic crisis which discredited Brown’s (essentially right-wing) economic policies (such as deregulating the banks), and the man himself reeked of frustrated entitlement (something that should have disqualified him from the job on its own) and the parallels with John Major from 1992-7 were too obvious.

New Labour also fail to appreciate that their behaviour in and out of office cost them votes. Like the Lib Dems, they prefer to simply blame the voters for costing them an election. The facts are that Blair won a landslide in 1997 and a respectable victory in 2001, then won by the skin of his teeth in 2005 and the remains of his movement lost in 2010. He lost support because he dragged this country into an unwinnable war because he was unwilling to say no to a powerful, angry man, and because he upset a large body of voters who care about civil liberties and social justice with such acts as agreeing to an extradition treaty with the USA that offered UK citizens no protection, and curtailing individuals’ rights (often on spurious grounds) with control orders. They then told us that we had to agree to it or we would get a Tory government, and see how we liked that. They were like the pigs in Animal Farm: give us what we want or “Jones will come back”. They also failed to keep their working-class vote on side by, for example, re-investing in run-down areas of the north, which is why that has been threatened by UKIP. They also lost ethnic votes, especially young Muslims, and it also caused vote-rigging scandals.

New Labour seem to be clinging to their strategy of targeting the same “C2” swing voters they targeted successfully in 1997 and forgetting that they cannot take all their other voters for granted. This has been stated openly in the media on a number of occasions: that your core vote will vote for you anyway, so there’s no point pitching your campaign to them. More recent evidence is that the core vote is leaking to UKIP because of fears of immigration, especially eastern European immigration, which has been bolstered by continual suggestions in the media that British workers are lazy and stupid (these kinds of sneers are circulated on social media too; a good example being the meme “if all you’ve got is two GCSE’s and an STI, a foreign doctor doesn’t threaten your job”). Immigration could be accommodated with less impact on native people’s jobs and living standards if politicians required business to invest in native talent, but they don’t, because that would be interfering with the market. (An example that affects me personally is the requirement for two years’ entitlement before being even considered for many truck driving jobs, which gets them more favourable insurance premiums; they could not do this if they did not have a ready supply of foreign drivers who do meet that requirement.)

Another major cause of why Labour were at a disadvantage is the press. To point this out is to invite accusations of whining that the rules of the game aren’t fair, but the fact is that the press is a moneyed interest in its own right, and is biased against notions of social justice because it is owned by rich people, and because harsh, easy answers sell papers to people who do not have the time (and have not been encouraged at any time since they were at school or college, if even then) to sit down and think about things, and calmness, rationality and compassion don’t. We then find the BBC following the same agenda set by the commercial press, largely out of fear of being branded a “liberal elite” institution existing on involuntary public subscription. Labour have to stop pretending it can win clean against a Tory party that plays dirty, attacking the funding it gets from its union base. The papers are part of the Tories’ corporate base; they are a powerful tool for propaganda because they have access to newsstands and bulk distribution, and they present propaganda, prominently, as news and fact. They must be curbed. No semblance of progress is achievable when public opinion is formed by these unaccountable and amoral corporate papers and when elected governments are cowed by them.

New Labour, in any case, has not even defended its own legacy. It allows the press to portray the last Labour government as one of spendthrift socialism, which it never was. It hollowed out the party so that there was no credible successor to Tony Blair who could have won the 2010 election. This is why none of the three uninspiring functionary politicians who stood in the last leadership election came within a mile of defeating Corbyn. Like many, I’m worried that he might have too little support from his fellow Labour MPs (as shown in his choice of environment spokesperson) and that his message will be rejected by the electorate, but the party will give him a couple of years to prove himself, or choose someone else, but he will have the benefit of an energised activist base who will get out and campaign for him in a way that fewer of them would have done for Burnham or Kendall. Hopefully other Labour politicians will realise that you cannot expect people who joined the party believing in social justice to put in time and effort campaigning for someone who just wants power and offers little more than a change of colour.

Image source: Wikipedia, originally by Paul Simpson. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licence.

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Two teenagers held on suspicion of arson after London mosque fire

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 September, 2015 - 12:52

Boys aged 14 and 16 detained by police after fire tore through Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden on Saturday

Two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire engulfed part of a south London mosque said to be the largest in western Europe.

Seventy firefighters battled the blaze at at the Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden on Saturday afternoon, which London fire brigade said had hit admininstrative buildings and not the main prayer room.

Related: Firefighters tackle blaze at south London mosque

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Shazia Mirza review – scattergun thinking defuses the shock tactics

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 September, 2015 - 12:26

Tricycle, London
There are laughs to be had in Mirza’s passionate, taboo-busting comedy but she’s let down by duff puns and an aversion to logical argument

Shazia Mirza dislikes performing to Guardian readers, because we analyse silently, she says, rather than laugh. Well, I like a laugh, and there are a few here, but – at the risk of sounding over-analytical – arguments put forward by comedy still have to make sense.

Mirza’s bracingly outspoken new set has made a splash by addressing the flight of British schoolgirls to Islamic State. She weighs right in on the issue, with the confidence that comes from closely identifying with those teenagers and the devilment of a comic who can’t resist flouting supposed taboos. By the end, she’s made a passionate point forcefully – but there’s scattergun thinking en route.

Related: Shazia Mirza: 'Look at me – Isis would stone me to death'

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Saudi Arabia should apologise for Hajj deaths

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 September, 2015 - 09:07

Iranian supreme leader calls on Saudis to accept responsibility for deadly stampede where the number of pilgrims killed could exceed 1,000

Iran’s supreme leader has said Saudi Arabia should apologise for a crush outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca that killed 769 worshippers performing the annual hajj pilgrimage, Khamenei’s website said on Sunday.

“This issue will not be forgotten and the nations will pursue it seriously,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. “Instead of accusing this and that, the Saudis should accept the responsibility and apologise to the Muslims and the victims’ families.”

Related: Hajj pilgrimage stampede: a visual guide to the fatal crush near Mecca

Related: Saudi Arabia under pressure to improve safety at Mecca after fatal hajj crush

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The readers’ editor on… Islam and the media | Stephen Pritchard

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 September, 2015 - 00:04
British Muslims feel they are too often associated with extremism, with little attention paid to their positive contribution to society

With the tragedy of last week’s hajj stampede, Pope Francis entering the climate change debate in the US and the archbishop of Canterbury considering loosening the ties of the worldwide Anglican communion, religion is never far from the news – but just how literate is the press when it comes to discussing matters of faith?

“The media’s coverage of religion is a bit like covering football from the point of view of hooliganism and never really watching the game,” said Michael Wakelin, former head of religion and ethics at the BBC, at a fascinating, though occasionally depressing day of discussion held in London recently on Islam and its treatment in British broadcasting and newspapers. After years of conflict in Afghanistan and the Middle East, Muslims in Britain feel that they are too often associated with the crimes of extremists while too little attention is paid to the positive contribution they make to civic life or to the peaceful aims of their faith.

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Iran's president uses UN speech to call for investigation into hajj stampede

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 September, 2015 - 17:40

Hassan Rouhani demands review of what caused the crush that killed more than 750 after Saudi Arabia’s top cleric reportedly absolves officials of blame

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani used a major United Nations speech on Saturday to demand an investigation into a crush that killed more than 750 people at the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

His remarks came after Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric, the grand mufti, appeared to absolve the authorities of blame for the stampede at Mecca.

Related: Hajj pilgrimage stampede: a visual guide to the fatal crush near Mecca

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