Breakup songs and voicing F-words | Brief letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 March, 2019 - 16:10
Language discoveries | Islamophobia | Europe’s beaches | Emotional music

The idea that the speech sounds “f” and “v” are related to eating soft food (Scientists’ jaw-dropping finding: how soft food helped us voice F-words, 15 March) becomes tricky to maintain when you consider the origins of those sounds in various languages. For example, the modern Greek “f” and “v” come from an earlier aspirated “p” and non-aspirated “b”, whereas the late Latin and modern Italian “v” comes from a classical Latin “w”-like sound, both coexisting with “b”. I don’t think you can put that down to a sudden liking for porridge among Mediterranean peoples.
Michael Bulley
Chalon-sur-Saône, France

• In view of the mass killing at a mosque in New Zealand by a rightwing gunman, maybe the chairman of the Conservative party should consider taking action over the Tory party member, photographed with Boris Johnson in 2015, who recently wrote that he was “going through a few magazines the other day down at the local mosque … then the rifle jammed” (Tory chairman accused of being selective on Islamophobia, 12 March)?
Christopher Clayton
Waverton, Cheshire

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UK Muslim leaders urge protection for mosques after Christchurch

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 March, 2019 - 15:22

Islamophobia warning comes as UK police step up patrols after New Zealand terror attack

Muslim leaders in the UK have called on the government to redouble its efforts to ensure the country’s mosques are protected in the wake of the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, as they said worshippers attending Friday prayers would be doing so in the face of “unabated Islamophobia”.

The warning came as British police stepped up patrols in Muslim areas and around places of worship in direct response to the terrorist attack, in which at least 49 people were killed and 48 injured.

Related: The Islamophobia that led to the Christchurch shooting must be confronted | HA Hellyer

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Good manners won’t save us from hate

Indigo Jo Blogs - 13 March, 2019 - 17:22

Yesterday a Muslim YouTuber who goes by the Scottish Revert Teacher published a video saying that Muslims really were not really doing enough to improve the image of Islam in terms of the way they behave when going about their business and that if we were all our own best character witnesses, if we were helping our neighbours, smiling to people when we meet them, bringing them soup when they were sick and if our mosque leaders were taking the initiative in engaging with non-Muslims in their local community, the far-right’s message would be irrelevant. I think this is the wrong message, because it ignores the history both of Islam and of racism in this country. Prejudice exists independently of the character of the people who are the focus of it.

If we look at the Sira or the biography of the Prophet, sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, we see that he was known as al-Amin or the most trustworthy by his community in Mecca and was looked to to settle disputes between people. He was involved in the Hilf al-Fudool which was an agreement to secure justice for those with no powerful tribal friends, a number of whose members never became Muslim. Some of the same Meccan tribesmen said that they never accused him of being a liar and that they called him al-Amin, but they simply did not believe in this message he was spreading. Yet they still violently abused him, his family and those of his followers who did not have powerful friends while they were still living in Mecca until they were forced to emigrate, and after they did, they attempted to undermine the new community first by appealing to their Ethiopian hosts, then by using military force. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that these are people who are blind and deaf to truth, and the same is true of those who hate us in this day and age.

She also misunderstands racism by imagining that if we were just a bit more friendly towards others on a daily basis, those others would not recognise the things the Far Right say about us. The truth is that racism occurs for all manner of reasons unrelated to people’s manners or character. Many people will have friends of another race or religion but still believe that there are lots of Muslims they do not know who are not like those they do know. Some people will even campaign to stop their neighbours being deported when they are claiming asylum, but then vote for a party which boasts of taking a tough line on immigration and passes laws which split families up for that reason. If you live in a diverse neighbourhood then your neighbours are already less likely to be prejudiced against you because they already know that you are the same as them, that you go about your business, take your children to school, go to your job and so on; the people most likely to be prejudiced are those who live in separate neighbourhoods in divided towns or who live in a mostly white provincial town and rarely meet a Muslim, or indeed any member of any minority. They are more likely to believe what a right-wing tabloid or a far-right agitator like Stephen Yaxley-Lennon say, because all they know is what they have heard, not what they have seen. In addition, there have been many occasions in history where people turned against their neighbours when the forces of hate gained the upper hand: many of those murdered or raped in Bosnia and Rwanda were attacked by people they had thought were their friends.

Of course, it’s true that many people have been attracted to Islam by the characters of its most righteous people — Khwaja Moinuddeen Chishti, the anniversary of whose death is today, is a good example as his influence led to many conversions in India and is still felt to this day. It’s true that we do not have such luminaries as that in our community nowadays. But let us not fool ourselves; it is not the fault of a Muslim who does not smile or is rude to someone on the bus that there are far-right hoodlums threatening Muslims and tabloids spewing hate on a regular basis. There are some people who simply hate religion altogether and some who want theirs to be dominant; some people want Britain to be “white again”. There are some who see profit in spreading falsehood and some who make a career out of exploiting it. We also have Muslims who make their living airing the community’s dirty linen, and some of them add extra dirt before they put it on the line.

I am not saying you cannot make a difference to others’ perceptions of us by being friendly with others you meet on a daily basis. But your impact is going to be limited because there are a lot more ignorant people out there and some well-placed people who do not want to see Muslims get on in this country, at least not on anyone’s terms but theirs (i.e. without giving up our religion in all but name). Muslims are not to blame for the hatred the far right stokes; they themselves are.

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Anish Kapoor: 'If I was a young Muslim, would I feel angry enough to join Isis? I would at least think about it'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 13 March, 2019 - 15:11

Britain has gone through the looking glass and the artist’s new show follows it into the abyss. He talks about the upsurge in racism, fighting for Shamima Begum – and his clash with France’s president

At 7.30 on the morning after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Anish Kapoor left his London flat for an appointment with his analyst. On the street, he heard two men talking. “Bet he doesn’t even speak English,” said one. “I turned around and they were talking about me. I was so furious.”

Sir Anish Mikhail Kapoor, CBE, RA, the 65-year-old, Turner prize-winning, Mumbai-born British-Indian artist, who has lived in London since the early 1970s and (though this is hardly the point) speaks better English than most of his countrymen, had woken up in a new land. “Since then permission has been given for difference, rather than being celebrated, to be undermined.”

I asked the French president to speak out against the destruction of culture. He said you must do it. Pathetic shit

Anish Kapoor’s exhibition opens at Pitzhanger Manor, London, on 16 March.

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Xinjiang detention camps may be phased out, governor suggests

The Guardian World news: Islam - 13 March, 2019 - 05:50

Top Uighur official says there will be fewer and fewer students at centres thought to house a million people

Top officials in Xinjiang have hinted that the system of internment centres used to hold a million Muslim minorities may one day be phased out.

Researchers say huge numbers of people, mostly Uighurs, are being held in detention and re-education camps in the far western territory as part of a huge security crackdown in the name of counter terrorism efforts.

Related: 'If you enter a camp, you never come out': inside China's war on Islam

Related: Chinese surveillance company tracking 2.5m Xinjiang residents

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Tucker Carlson: Fox host under fire again over resurfaced racist comments

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 March, 2019 - 15:36

Remarks made when Carlson was a guest on a shock jock radio show, which he was a regular guest on from 2006 to 2011

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is under fire for the second time in as many days for remarks he made years ago as a guest on a shock jock radio program – this time for a barrage of racist language about the people of Iraq.

“I just have zero sympathy for them or their culture. A culture where people just don’t use toilet paper or forks,” he said of the nation in a 2006 appearance on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show, in audio rediscovered by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters. “They can just shut the fuck up and obey, is my view.”

Related: Tucker Carlson refuses to apologize after sexist remarks resurface

It’s never going to be a civilized country because the people aren’t civilized

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My complaints of Tory Islamophobia were ignored, so I had to resign | Ajay Jagota

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 March, 2019 - 14:39
The party I was proud of seemed to want to brush my case under the carpet. What is that if not institutional racism?

In January I took the heart-wrenching decision to resign as chair of South Shields Conservative Association. It was a difficult moment. My parents came to Britain from India in the 50s. My father worked as a coalminer for 40 years. I was born here and we were a typical “working-class family”. My father has been a Labour supporter all his life like so many first-generation immigrants, so it was a surprise to both my parents when I joined the Conservative party.

But they were so proud when I was elected chairman of my local association. I have always been so grateful for the opportunities made available to me here, and I often reflect on how my life might have turned out had my father not embarked his arduous journey to these shores.

Related: Tory chairman accused of repeatedly ignoring racism complaints

Related: The Tories’ Islamophobia will not be stopped from within | Fiyaz Mughal

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Iranian couple arrested after public marriage proposal goes viral

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 March, 2019 - 15:29

Police say pair offended Islamic society with proposal in Arak shopping mall

A young Iranian couple have been arrested after a marriage proposal in public that was captured on a video clip that went viral on social media. The police say the pair offended Islamic mores on public decency but were later released on bail.

The video, which spread on social media on Friday, shows the young man standing in a heart-shaped ring of flower petals next to colourful balloons in a shopping mall in the central Iranian city of Arak.

Man publicly proposes to woman at shopping mall in Arak, central #Iran
Both arrested for "marriage proposal in contradiction to islamic rituals... based on decadent Western culture," then released on bail

Related: Woman arrested in Iran over Instagram video of her dancing

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Surge in prosecutions of British jihadists 'may never happen' – DPP

The Guardian World news: Islam - 11 March, 2019 - 14:19

Expectation that there could be hundreds of Syria returnees in court has not been realised

An expected surge in the number of prosecutions of jihadist fighters returning home from Syria has failed to materialise and may never happen, according to the director of public prosecutions (DPP).

Max Hill QC, who was formerly the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said the expectation that there could be hundreds of cases going through UK courts after the collapse of the Islamic State “caliphate” had not been realised.

Related: Shamima Begum will not be allowed here, says Bangladesh

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Halal holiday bookings soar as Muslims opt for the Med

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 March, 2019 - 21:14

Tourism industry wakes up to the rapidly growing earning potential of the Islamic economy

It’s a magnet for sun-deprived tourists from northern Europe, drawn to its long sandy beaches, pretty coves and ancient sites. Along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, holidaymakers down exotic cocktails and ice-cold beers between dips in the sparkling Mediterranean and snoozing on the sun-lounger.

But an increasing number of hotels in and around Antalya are turning away from the traditional resort fare of booze and bare flesh in order to attract a new and growing clientele: Muslim tourists.

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There is never a reason for bigotry at the school gates | Kenan Malik

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 March, 2019 - 06:00

When parents force a school to cancel lessons on diversity the social contract has broken down

A flatbed truck is parked, festooned with a large sign reading “Stop! No Outsiders”. A man with a megaphone is whipping up a crowd, who cheer him and chant, “Shame, shame, shame.” A Tommy Robinson event spewing hatred about Muslims? No. It’s Muslim parents protesting about a school teaching about gay relationships.

No Outsiders is the name of a package of lessons at Parkfield community school in Birmingham on social diversity, including LGBT issues. Some parents at the largely Muslim school have taken exception, arguing that gay relationships are forbidden in Islam, and that the school should not teach values at odds with their religious beliefs.

Related: Birmingham school stops LGBT lessons after parents protest

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Neither oppressed nor trailblazing, Muslim women need to be heard | Raifa Rafiq

The Guardian World news: Islam - 8 March, 2019 - 16:40
The representation of us in media and politics is too often decided by others – but we can speak for ourselves

The politics of the Muslim woman remains wrapped up in “debate”. The oppressed-terrorist-bride complex is rampant within our societal infrastructures – and it’s still deeply ingrained in the consciousness of the supposedly reasonable “man on the Clapham omnibus”. Are we now, though, seeing any visible difference in the representation of Muslim women within mainstream media and politics? I’m inclined to think not.

Her identity is still up for discussion by others: if she is perceived to be oppressed, then the secular, white British media must highlight the oppressive nature of her religion and save her from it; if she is on the terrorist-bride-Shamima-Begum side of the scale, she must be reminded that she is not an actual citizen of this country and resides here at the mercy of public and political opinion.

Any visual indicator of ‘Muslimness’ is now argued to have no place in contemporary society

Related: Long before Shamima Begum, Muslim women were already targets | Shelina Janmohamed

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The Tories’ Islamophobia will not be stopped from within | Fiyaz Mughal

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 March, 2019 - 14:29
Anti-Muslim hate has flourished in sections of the party. Help from outside is the only way to root it out

The news that 14 Conservative members were suspended this week, alongside the reinstatement of Peter Lamb, a Conservative council candidate in Harlow (who then resigned on Tuesday), demonstrates that the party has a significant amount of work to do to counter anti-Muslim hate. Lamb had previously tweeted: “Islam [is] like alcoholism. The first step to recovery is to admit that you have a problem.” Yet he was reintroduced into the party to be a council candidate.

Sadly, as the founder and former director of the hate-crime reporting project Tell Mama, I know that views such as these have been picked up and circulated among groups that vehemently dislike Muslims. There has been a steady drip of cases of anti-Muslim bigotry in statements made by party members and councillors. Serving Conservative councillors such as Hashim Bhatti have talked about a deeper problem within the party, and the chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum, Mohammed Amin, said that the party has failed to take action against anti-Muslim bigotry.

Related: The Tories’ response to raging Islamophobia? Turn a blind eye | Miqdaad Versi

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Tory chairman accused of repeatedly ignoring racism complaints

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 March, 2019 - 14:03

Brandon Lewis failed to investigate claim councillor was called an orangutan, party members say

The Conservative party chairman, Brandon Lewis, has been accused of ignoring repeated pleas by Tory members to investigate alleged racist and Islamophobic incidents, including a claim that a white senior party official referred to an Asian councillor as an orangutan.

Lewis, a key ally of Theresa May, wrote to party officers earlier this month to reassure them that he would “continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination, intimidating behaviour or abuse”.

Related: Crisis? What crisis? Senior Tories shrug off Islamophobia warning

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Rushdie urged to withdraw Satanic Verses and 'end suffering' - archive, 7 March 1989

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 March, 2019 - 05:30

7 March 1989 Chairman of the Islamic Society for Religious tolerance in the UK asks Salman Rushdie to withdraw his book

Dismissing ‘fellow-writers, who are supporting you to the last drop of their ink,’ one of the earliest Muslim campaigners against The Satanic Verses asked Mr Salman Rushdie last night to ‘end the suffering’ and withdraw the book.

Related: 1989: The Satanic Verses

Related: Looking back at Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses

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Tories are prejudiced against Islam, says council candidate

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 March, 2019 - 21:30

Amir Sadjady told to ‘suck it up’ and stop complaining after alleging discrimination

A Muslim Conservative who was told to stop complaining that he had been discriminated against after he failed to become a councillor says his experiences led him to conclude the party was “prejudiced against Islam”.

Amir Sadjady, a small business owner, said he was the victim of “passive aggressive discrimination” when he was not selected last year for a winnable seat in two west London boroughs, and wanted to speak out in the hope the party would reform.

Related: Crisis? What crisis? Senior Tories shrug off Islamophobia warning

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Crisis? What crisis? Senior Tories shrug off Islamophobia warning

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 March, 2019 - 19:25

Conservatives largely silent as Lady Warsi says party is institutionally anti-Muslim

Conservative MPs did not seem too concerned as Lady Warsi sounded the alarm that their party was institutionally riven with Islamophobia.

“I don’t really believe we have that big a problem,” said one former minister, who seemed surprised to be asked about the issue.

Related: Forgive and forget Zac Goldsmith’s racist campaign? No chance | Owen Jones

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Steps the Labour party must now take in antisemitism row | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 March, 2019 - 17:43
Readers respond to the ongoing controversy about alleged antisemitism within the Labour party

When my father, the son of a rabbi, went in the 1930s to Oxford University from Edinburgh, he encountered antisemitism for the first time. It was sometimes overt; more often implicit (The unanswered question: why do antisemites think Labour is the party for them?, 4 March). From the time he arrived in Scotland a century ago, my grandfather worked hard and successfully to break down barriers and establish a role in the wider Scottish community. He believed – as did my father and as do I – that a dual identity as Scot and Jew was not only possible but beneficial, for individuals and for society generally.

It is heartbreaking to see the re-emergence of hostility to Jewish identity. It has no doubt been latent for decades, but that leading public figures, through silence and ineptitude if not active encouragement, should now be endorsing the vilification of Jewish life and individuals is appalling. That this endorsement is emanating from a political party that my parents, I and my children have supported all our lives is distressing beyond measure. That it is clearly linked to wider hostility to all forms of difference makes it all the more disturbing and dangerous.

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The Tories are tough on Islamophobia? What a joke | Jonathan Freedland

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 March, 2019 - 12:16
They talk about decisive action, but anti-Muslim prejudice in the Conservative party goes right to the top

Conservatives are doubtless congratulating themselves for acting swiftly and decisively, following the suspension of 14 party members for allegedly making Islamophobic comments online – including calls to “get rid of all mosques” and to “turf all Muslims out of public office”. Tories will similarly point to yesterday’s resignation from the party of a local council candidate in Harlow as evidence that they are getting a grip. Peter Lamb – who in 2015 tweeted: “Islam [is] like alcoholism. The first step to recovery is admit you have a problem” – was suspended over that, and yet as picked once again to contest the local elections in May. Now he is gone.

The Conservative top brass will hope that voters will see these moves as proof that the Tories have zero tolerance for racism in their ranks, drawing an implied contrast with Labour and its ongoing travails over antisemitism. And yet, the departure of these low-level activists serves only to draw attention to the Islamophobia exhibited by much more senior Tory figures, anti-Muslim prejudice that has gone entirely unpunished.

Related: Tories suspend 14 members over alleged Islamophobia

Related: Sayeeda Warsi calls for inquiry into Islamophobia within Tory party

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Tories suspend 14 members over alleged Islamophobia

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 March, 2019 - 17:01

Conservative party responds to collection of abusive remarks found on social media

The Conservative party has suspended 14 members for allegedly making Islamophobic comments after a string of abusive posts were uncovered on social media.

The party was responding to racist and abusive remarks that were discovered and collected online by the @matesjacob Twitter account, and made by people who had said or indicated they were members of the party.

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