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US Drone Strikes Kill 28 Unknown People For Every Intended Target, new Reprieve report reveals

Loon Watch - 24 November, 2014 - 21:06

Pakistan Drones

US drone strikes kill 28 unknown people for every intended target, new Reprieve report reveals.

Reprieve

US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan have killed as many as 1,147 unknown people in failed attempts to kill 41 named individuals, a report by human rights charity Reprieve has found.

The report looks at deaths resulting from US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan between November 2002 and November 2014. It identifies 41 men who appeared to have been killed multiple times – drawing into question the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the covert drone programme is ‘precise.’

While the US drone programme is shrouded in secrecy, security sources regularly brief the media on the names of those suspected militants targeted or killed in the strikes. Frequently, those individuals are reported to have been targeted or killed on multiple occasions.

Reprieve’s assessment is the first to provide an estimate of the number of people – including in some cases children – who are killed each time the US apparently attempts to assassinate a ‘high value target.’ Due to the US Government’s refusal to publish any information relating to the programme, or the ‘Kill List’ said to determine its targets, the analysis is limited to existing, publicly-available data from media reports and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

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Pig’s Remains Dumped At Mosque in Perth Suburb of Southern River

Loon Watch - 24 November, 2014 - 20:35

Perth_Mosque_Ibrahim

via. ABC, By Graeme Powell

Imam Shabir, a spokesman for the Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Mosque in Southern River, said the remains were thrown at the building some time this morning.

“I think it’s common knowledge that [a] pig is something that is not consumable under Islamic law, and so [it was thrown] seemingly as an expression of hatred from certain elements within the society,” he said.

“Within the community they seem to want to express a hatred by throwing this animal at the door of the mosque.”

Imam Shabir said dumping the remains was a despicable act.

“We want to give consideration to this fact, and I think the Australian people should take consideration of this, that pig, while it’s not consumable under Islamic law, brutality against any animal is something which is strictly forbidden in Islam,” he said.

“I think we have to take cognisance of this fact – that the brutality … whatever has happened to it, is certainly something despicable.

“It is something which is unacceptable. Normal human behaviour would not accept this.”

The mosque, on Leslie Street, was previously targeted by vandals during construction prior to its opening in June.

Imam Shabir said the mosque recently held an open day so members of the public could visit and learn more about the Islamic faith.

“There’s been an effort in this regard and it makes us feel disappointed that what we would consider to be an open day which was highly successful [is followed by this] a few weeks later. The consequence in this way it makes us feel disappointed,” he said.

“It doesn’t dampen our spirits and it doesn’t dampen our morale in the concerted efforts that we are making to open the doors of the mosque and to open the doors of Islam for the broader community. It hasn’t dampened our spirits in any way.”

The Honoured | Part Two | Sh. Ahsan Hanif

Muslim Matters - 24 November, 2014 - 15:12

In part one of this article, we looked at the five times that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions the honoured in the Qur'ān, and how they are two of the creations of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The first is the angels and the second is the believers who will enter Paradise. In part two, we will look at some of the ways we can ensure that the angels supplicate for us.

The following simple good deeds enable the angels to supplicate for you by the permission of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). We often take small deeds for granted, not realising the immense good Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has placed within them. Perchance, through these deeds Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will make us from among the honoured on the Day of Judgement.

Those Eligible for the Angels Supplications1. Purifying Oneself

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said in the ḥadīth of ʻAbdullāh ibn ʻAbbās raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her), “Purify these bodies may Allah purify you. There is no person who sleeps in a state of ritual purity except that an angel sleeps alongside him. He does not turn throughout the night except that the angel says, 'O Allah forgive Your slave for he slept in a state of ritual purity.”[1] Thus, the simple deed of performing wuḍū before sleeping is a means of mercy and having an angel by your side as you sleep.

2. The Prayer

There are many aspects of the prayer, and in particular the congregational prayer, that bring about the supplications of the angels, and more importantly of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) . It is these small deeds which are often ignored and neglected that can make the difference.

The first of these acts is to arrive slightly early for the prayer at the mosque and wait. Abū Hurayrah raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)  said, “One of you does not sit waiting for the prayer except that he is counted as being in the prayer, so long as he does not break his ablution. The angels supplicate for him saying, 'O Allah, forgive him. O Allah, have mercy upon him.'”[2]

As you wait, try your utmost to find a space in the first row. Do not just laze around at the sides or the back of the prayer hall allowing others to precede you in good. The famous scholar, Ibn Ḥibbān collected on the authority of Al-Barā' ibn ʻĀzib raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah and His angels supplicate[3] for those who pray in the first row.”[4]

In the first row or any row, fill the spaces to the right of the imām before the left. A number of ḥadīth books record the narration of our mother, ʻĀ'ishah raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah and His angels supplicate for those who stand on the right side of the row.”[5] It was also mentioned by the Companions that they used to prefer to stand to the right of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in their rows behind him.[6]

Then, once the iqāmah is called and people stand for the prayer, straighten the rows and more importantly fill in the gaps. If there is a space in the row ahead of you, hasten to fill it. If during the prayer someone leaves the prayer and a gap emerges in front of you, fill it. ʻĀ'ishah raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah and His angels supplicate for those who connect the rows.”[7]

After the prayer concludes, remain seated for a while making your adhkār. Unless you need to leave do not be in a hurry to rush off. Imām Aḥmad (rahimahu) reported that the illustrious Companion, ʻAlī raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “If a person stays in his place after the prayer, the angels supplicate for him. Their supplication is, 'O Allah forgive him. O Allah, have mercy upon him.”[8]

In addition to all of the above, praying Fajr and ʻAṣr in congregation is extremely virtuous. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said in the ḥadīth narrated by Abū Hurayrah raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her), “The angels of the day and the angels of the night meet at the Fajr and ʻAṣr prayers. They meet at the Fajr prayer and the angels of the night ascend, while the angels of the day remain. They then meet at the ʻAṣr prayer, and the angels of the day ascend while the angels of the night remain. Their Lord asks them, 'How did you leave my slaves?' They reply, 'We came to them and they were praying and we left them and they were praying, so forgive them on the Day of Judgement.”[9]

3. Charity & Fasting

One of the ways to attain the blessings of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the supplications of the angels is to spend a small amount in charity every day. Abū Hurayrah raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) said that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) stated, “A day does not rise upon the slaves except that two angels descend. One of them says, 'O Allah, give the one who spends more. The other says, 'O Allah, give the one who withholds misery.'”[10]

Similarly for those who fast to eat the pre-dawn meal (suḥūr) is blessed. Imām Ibn Ḥibbān reports that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah and His angels supplicate for those who make suḥūr.”[11]

4. Being in the Service of Others

Serving others and helping them is an easy yet effective way of achieving Allah's blessings and mercy. We often have needs and wants or sorrows and griefs, and for all of this we ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for His assistance. An additional way to do this, is to actually supplicate for our brothers and sisters in their absence. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “The supplication of the Muslim for his absent brother is answered. There is an angel appointed to it. Every time he supplicates for his brother with good, the angel says, 'Āmīn, and may you have the same.'”[12]

Another good deed that is often neglected is visiting the sick. ʻAlī raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her) narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “A Muslim does not visit his brother except that Allah sends seventy thousand angels who supplicate for him, whichever hour of the day it is until the evening, or whichever hour of the evening it is until morning.”[13]

The angels also supplicate for those who teach others what is good and beneficial. In the ḥadīth of Abū Umāmah al-Bāhilī raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her), the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah, His angels, the inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth, including the ant in its hole and the fish supplicate for those who teach others good.”[14]

The above are just some of the good deeds by which we attain the supplication of the angels, most of them are easily performed and not very time consuming. Yet at the same time there are other actions that incur the curse of the angels. It would be too lengthy to discuss these in detail here. However they include cursing the Companions, not being forgiven in the month of Ramadan, one whose parents are alive and they do not manage to save themselves from the Fire, hearing the name of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and not sending salutations upon him and the one who draws a weapon against another Muslim.

I ask Allah, the Most High, with His Beautiful Names and Lofty Attributes to make us and our families from among the honoured.

 

 

 

[1] Ṭabarānī in Al-Awsaṭ, vol. 1, p.408.
[2] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 276.
[3] There are a number of opinions as to what Allah's supplications refer to. Some scholars stated that it refers to Allah mentioning that individual in this highest companionship. Other said it is the mercy of Allah or His blessings. Yet others said it refers to Allah purifying that person. The supplication of the angels is explained as being an actual duʻā' or the angels seeking forgiveness for that person.
[4] Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān, no. 2157.
[5] Sunan Abū Dāwūd, no. 672 and Sunan Ibn Mājah, no. 991.
[6] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 709.
[7] Sunan Ibn Mājah, no, 981.
[8] Musnad Aḥmad, no. 1218.
[9] Musnad Aḥmad, no. 9140.
[10] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no. 1442 and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 1010.
[11] Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān, no. 3467.
[12] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 2733.
[13] Musnad Aḥmad, no. 754.
[14] Jāmiʻ al-Tirmidhī, no. 2825.

The post The Honoured | Part Two | Sh. Ahsan Hanif appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy files appeal

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 November, 2014 - 12:31
Asia Bibi was found guilty of insulting the prophet Muhammad four years ago after incident in June 2009

A Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy has filed an appeal in the country’s top court , her final legal recourse after being found guilty of insulting the prophet Muhammad four years ago.

A high court in Lahore confirmed the death sentence of Asia Bibi last month, dashing hopes the conviction might be quashed or commuted to a jail term. She has been on death row since November 2010 after being convicted of blasphemy during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water.

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Palestinians are not just irrational haters

Indigo Jo Blogs - 24 November, 2014 - 10:00

Avraham GoldbergLast Tuesday, two Palestinians attacked a synagogue in Jerusalem, killing four rabbis and a Druze Israeli policeman. It was revealed that several of the rabbis killed were immigrants from Britain and the USA; one of them, Avraham Goldberg, had previously been a rabbi in north London. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility, but Israeli police believed the two men acted alone. The Israeli police delayed releasing the men’s bodies to their families as a supposed deterrent to others, and also demolished their family’s homes, as is now standard practice (which satisfies Israeli desire for collective punishment, although it never seems to have acted as a deterrent).

I heard Michelle Hirschfield, a cousin of the Avraham Goldberg, interviewed on BBC London radio the morning after the massacre. She claimed that her cousin was a man who was not judgemental of others and wanted peace. She also claimed that the men served as janitors at the synagogue and that “you’re not dealing with rational people”. She claimed that Goldberg had moved to Israel because he believed in the idea of Israel as a home for the Jews, because he had a decision to make as his children had grown up and left home, and had a job that he could do as well in Israel as in London. The host did not challenge her in any way, and this was an adult who had lost an adult cousin who lived in another country, not a grieving widow or bereaved mother.

How can anyone who ‘loves peace’ move from a country where there is peace, and where Jews are safe, to a country which is essentially a war zone and where the ‘security’ Jews enjoy is achieved at the expense of oppression of the displaced native population? (At the time, the IRA were still active, but they did not target Jews and posed nothing like the threat suicide bombers did in Israel at that time.) It’s true that there was a peace process going on at the time, but Jerusalem was not open to negotiation; Israeli military officers would talk to Jewish student groups in other countries, including the UK, and proclaim that Jerusalem would remain Israel’s eternal, undivided capital, something Goldberg would undoubtedly have heard in synagogues and Jewish newspapers in the UK. Zionists want ‘peace’ only in the sense that they want the Palestinians to give up their resistance, or be crushed. They do not want peaceful coexistence on equal terms.

Along with the “not rational people” remark on BBC London, this is what Hirschfield said to Sky News (her BBC interview ran similarly):

“He was worried about the situation there. He could not understand the mindset of people who had no value for life, life meant so little.

“How does one deal with people who do not value life? How can a mother say ‘I have 14 children, I want them all to be martyrs to kill a Jew’. It’s a terrible, terrible situation.

“I don’t think animals kill for the sake of killing, like these people do. He would believe that people could live side by side.”

This is the same rhetoric we hear all the time from Zionists about Palestinian terrorists: that they are senseless killers who just live to kill Jews. They make no distinction between Palestinian hatred of their Jewish oppressors, and white European hatred of a Jewish minority. There is no considering the fact that Palestinians are being systematically squeezed out of east Jerusalem, that their homeland is full of illegal Jewish settlements, that those settlements monopolise the water supply, that Palestinians are subject to curfews for the ‘safety’ of these fanatical settlers, that there are checkpoints everywhere, that Palestinians living in towns 20 miles away cannot travel across their own country without passing through several and being humiliated, that Palestinians are harassed and abused by soldiers, that their houses are invaded by soldiers for use in killing Palestinians, that they kill and imprison children for throwing stones. None of this occurs to Israelis and their friends overseas. They insist that it is all just senseless hatred and murder.

The BBC should not be allowing this kind of nonsense to be spewed across the airwaves; it should be left to the Zionist blogosphere. While I have no issue with condemning the attack, which was unprovoked and against defenceless, elderly individuals, I would also like to hear supporters of Israel condemn the abuses I detailed in the last paragraph, much of which we do not hear about, as well as the terrorism waged by those who set up their state and its intelligence forces before and after its establishment. But of course, they will not. Theirs are vital for security; the Palestinians’ attacks are without context, senseless and racist.

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British fear of Islamists and Saudi fears about atheists are two sides of the same coin | Brian Whitaker

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 November, 2014 - 09:00
Young people want to know about jihadism – and it’s better that they inquire about it openly, in schools, than elsewhere

“Extremism in whatever form it takes has no place in our society, especially not in our schools,” the London diocesan board for schools said last week, referring to a Church of England school where sixth-formers had set up an Islamic society without approval from teachers or governors. Making use of the school’s virtual learning centre, the Islamic society had reportedly made a YouTube video and held meetings addressed by radical preachers.

In Saudi Arabia there are similar concerns about “extremist” ideas taking hold in the minds of the young. Newspaper articles agonise about this much as they do in Britain, though in Saudi Arabia the ideology they fear is atheism.

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The Guardian view on Ofsted’s reports: exam results are not the only measure of a school’s success | Editorial

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 November, 2014 - 06:00
Making sure schools fit their students for the society they will live in is part of the inspector’s job

If the idea of replacing the studiously divisive Michael Gove as education secretary with the soothing approach of Nicky Morgan was to take Britain’s schools out of the headlines, the prime minister will need another stratagem. Barely a week passes without some manifestation of how society’s wider problems are playing out in the classroom.

Last week, a clutch of Ofsted inspections prompted debate about the role of schools in equipping students to make a positive contribution to modern Britain. Raising its assessment of Market Rasen primary school in Lincolnshire from “satisfactory” to “good”, Ofsted urged the school to improve more by addressing the “lack of first-hand experience of the diverse make up of modern British society” offered to students. Predictably, this drew criticism from critics who said the school was being traduced for being “too white”. Ofsted held the line and was right to do so.

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N.J. rabbi: Arabs in Israel ‘must be vanquished’

Loon Watch - 23 November, 2014 - 19:24

Rabbi_Steven_Pruzansky

By Ben Sales, JTA

The rabbi of a major modern Orthodox synagogue in New Jersey has written a blog post that calls for Israel to collectively punish Arab Israelis and Palestinians until they realize “they have no future in the land of Israel.”

In the post, written Friday and titled “Dealing with Savages,” Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck offers suggestions that range from destroying whole Palestinian towns to uprooting the Dome of the Rock.

“There is a war for the land of Israel that is being waged, and the Arabs who dwell in the land of Israel are the enemy in that war and must be vanquished,” Pruzansky writes.

The post has since been deleted, but it’s cached here.

Pruzansky refers to “the Arab-Muslim animals that span the globe chopping, hacking and merrily decapitating,” and then writes, “At a certain point, the unrestrained behavior of unruly animals becomes the fault of the zookeeper, not the animals.”

So what should Israel do? According to Pruzansky, essentially end civil and human rights for many Arab Israelis and Palestinians. Beyond killing all terrorists and demolishing their extended families’ homes, Pruzansky says Israel should destroy entire Arab villages if more than one terrorist comes from them. All the residents of those villages, he writes, should be expelled.

He also writes that rioters and stone-throwers should be shot with live ammunition, and that reporters should be barred from these scenes and have their cameras confiscated.

Pruzansky says Arabs should be barred from the Temple Mount for at least six months, and muses that “perhaps the day will come in the near future when the mosque and the dome can be uplifted intact and reset in Saudi Arabia, Syria or wherever it is wanted.”

Pruzansky writes that Palestinians and Arab Israelis as a whole are Israel’s enemy — “and that enemy rides our buses, shops in our malls, drives on our roads and lives just two miles from us.” (“Us” apparently doesn’t include Pruzansky himself, who leads a congregation 5,000 miles from Jerusalem.)

This isn’t the first time Pruzansky has made the news for his views. Earlier this month, he compared The New York Jewish Week to Der Sturmer, a Nazi newspaper. Pruzansky’s congregation, Bnai Yeshurun, has about 800 member families, according to its website, and has been led by Pruzansky for more than 20 years.

Near the end of his post, Pruzansky wonders why Israelis haven’t come to the same conclusions he has. It’s an “enduring enigma,” he says.

Israelis across the political spectrum support safeguarding the state’s democratic character. Most have consistently backed a Palestinian state. But it bears noting that almost all of those who oppose Palestinian statehood still don’t speak anything close to Pruzansky’s language.

A telling example: Naftali Bennett, who leads the furthest-right party in Knesset and strongly opposes a Palestinian state, came out quickly and vehemently last week against an Israeli city’s ban on Arab construction workers. “99.9 percent” are nonviolent, he said, and Israel should not discriminate based on race or religion.

Kenya claims 100 al-Shabaab killed in response to Mandera massacre

The Guardian World news: Islam - 23 November, 2014 - 19:08
Kenya’s vice-president, William Ruto, says troops also destroyed Islamists’ camp and lorries after massacre of bus passengers

Kenya has said its troops have killed dozens of al-Shabaab Islamists in raids inside Somalia after the execution of 28 non-Muslim people on a Kenyan bus.

There was no independent confirmation on Sunday of the strikes in response to Saturday’s attack by the al-Qaida-linked group near Mandera, a north-eastern town near the Kenyan-Somali border.

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MuslimKidsMatter | When Parents Go to Hajj

Muslim Matters - 23 November, 2014 - 17:43

When Parents Go to Hajj…

by Nur Kose, Nura F, and Safiyyah Ghori

with additional content from Sabriya Zaman, Samiyah Ali Khan, and Sakinah F.

Every year, millions of Muslims around the world gather to Mecca for Hajj.  Many men and women complete the sacred rituals that Muslims have been doing for hundreds, even thousands of years.  During Hajj season, people around the world watch the daily tawaafs around the ka'bah on TV and on the Internet, observing the Hajjis fulfill the pilgrimage of a lifetime.  People wonder about the Hajjis' stories, their trips, how long their journeys will be, and how they feel in such a sacred place.  What many observers don't realize or consider, however, are the stories of the children left behind at home.

Some girls have collaborated together and have compiled some stories and experiences of Hajjis' kids on the homefront.  Kids from all around the United States share what it was like for them to be at home while their parents were off at Hajj.

Parent Replacements

Finding someone to take the place of one's parents can be a difficult job.  Most parents rely on other family members to take care of their young ones, whether at their own homes or at their family members' houses. Upon talking with various children whose parents went off to Hajj within the past few years, we realized that mostly, grandparents come to take the place of parents.  One family of kids, however, stayed without any adults at all except for a college student who was living with them at the time.  Fatimah, a then two-year-old, went to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in another state when her parents traveled to Hajj last year.  Her grandmother came along, as well, to help take care of her.

Challenges the Kids Faced

Nura and her siblings from Texas initially thought that three weeks without their parents would be lots of fun. They looked forward to no restrictions and doing as they pleased.  However, as they soon came to realize, life without their parents would be a lot more than simply all fun and games. Even with the knowledge that a college student was staying in her parents' room upstairs, Nura felt like she and her siblings did most of the work. The college student stayed upstairs most of the time, making a lot of peculiar sounds that the kids preferred not to investigate.

Kids who are generally accustomed to everyday routine and habits they formed living with their parents must learn to adjust to new caretakers and possibly a new environment.  If their caretaker is someone they know well, it is easier for the kids to adjust. Often, however, many kids have not been separated from their parents before and may have separation anxiety, especially when they are young.

Even for older kids and teens, being without parents is difficult. Arranging rides to get to different masjid events and even Eid prayer can be a challenge. Kids quickly realize that, even with a capable caretaker, life without parents, even for a short amount of time, can be really difficult.

Sabriya from Pennsylvania found it very difficult to be without her parents when they went to Hajj a few years ago.  “I missed my parents so, so much. There isn't only one thing that I missed about them, I missed everything about them, their whole essence!”  Besides simply missing her parents, Sabriya also faced a few other challenges.  “I don't know why, but I felt like if my grandparents were to pick me up [from school], they would get lost in my school! Thankfully though, my grandpa knew where he was going and successfully found me.”  Sabriya also felt bad about asking friends over to her house because she didn't want to make extra work for her grandmother.

Challenges the Caretakers Faced

Caretakers take on a huge responsibility when they agree to take care of kids for such a long period of time.  Substituting as one's parents can be very difficult, especially for someone who hasn't taken care of younger children for years.  Additionally, caretakers are often not fully accustomed to the kids' daily habits and although they try their best, some children just don't feel at home. Toddlers and younger children are especially difficult because they often become cranky when they are upset without their parents.

Many toddlers do not understand why their parents are gone and feel abandoned for a while as well.  Although she had lots of cousins to play with her when her parents went to Hajj, two-year-old Fatimah was very confused when she didn't see her parents anywhere.  Even after she realized they had left, she assumed they would be returning the next day.  “When it was time to sleep, she spent half the night crying for her mom,” Fatimah's oldest cousin Nur remembers.  “The next day, although she was her cheerful self again, playing and having fun with the rest of us, it was evident that she expected her parents to be back right away.  We couldn't really explain the entire state of things, she being only two.  Being the busy family we were, the doorbell rang a few times that day.  Some people came to visit my grandmother while others came to drop something off.  Every time the doorbell rang, Fatimah's eyes lit up, she stopped whatever she was doing and excitedly ran towards the front door, exclaiming, “Mama!  Baba!”  We felt so bad for her every time she realized it was someone else, her entire body drooping with disappointment and her eyes ready to overflow with tears any moment.”  To distract her from the temporary loss of her parents, they often relied on paint and play-dough which were the causes of many messes over the next few days.

Not all kids whose parents went to Hajj had as many caretakers as Fatimah had.  Nur remembers how her family divided up the challenge of taking care of the toddler.  “Each of us had our role, official or unofficial in taking care of Fatimah. Fatimah quickly became a prize student in our homeschool and all the kids took turns teaching her. My mom and grandmother fed her. My sister and I helped dress her every morning and evening. I gave her a shower every few days.  And my mom, grandmother, and I embarked on a difficult task, that of potty training her.”

Eid Without Parents

Having Eid without their parents is also very upsetting for many kids. For many, it is their first Eid without their parents and exceptionally difficult to enjoy.  In fact, this is often the most difficult aspect of the entire Hajj experience for the kids left at home.  Samiyah, a teenaged girl in Delaware remarks that because her grandmother couldn't drive her to Eid prayer, she and her brother had to go to school on Eid day.  “Me and my brother were stuck going to school on Eid! No Eid prayer, no parties, and no gifts whatsoever. But my grandmother being the best grandmother ever got us pizza and donuts as a surprise.”  Nura, a teenager in Texas claims there was nothing very enjoyable about her Eid day. “Eid day wasn't very exciting either, because we spent most of the time at home with a friend of my brother's, and a house we did nothing at but eat.”

For other families, Eid was still enjoyable even with parents off at Hajj.  Fatimah got to enjoy tons of Eid gifts from all of her cousins and had lots of fun going to many Eid parties.  Twelve-year-old Sabriya missed her parents but was still able to enjoy Eid.  “I woke up and I wanted to say Eid Mubarak to my parents, but they weren't there. They were at Hajj. I knew that I should not be sad [because] of their absence, but happy that they were doing the special, life changing pilgrimage. So I put on a happy face and went to Eid prayer with my family. Honestly, I forgot I was so sad after a while because, come on! It's Eid!”  Sabriya had lots of fun visiting friends and family.

Long Separation

Children find it very hard to adjust to life without their parents in what seems like the longest weeks of their lives. The average amount of time parents leave their kids when they go to Hajj is around three weeks.  One couple, however, went for an entire month, while another was gone for a shorter time period of two weeks. Whatever the length, kids will think even one day without their parents is strange.  The first few days are usually the toughest for all parties involved.

More Responsibility

Older siblings often have to take on much more responsibility when their parents are gone, even with substitute caretakers.  As Safiyyah and her sisters from Maryland soon came to realize, they would have to get themselves ready for school while their grandparents took care of their energetic younger brothers.  “The plan was that my grandparents would come to our house and take care of us for those three weeks. As we later learned, this meant that we had to get up and make sure everyone was ready for school on time without any prompting. We also had to make sure that all of our homework was done on time and that we prayed on time without being told.”  Safiyyah also quickly realized that she and her siblings would often have to entertain themselves without the usual daily events their parents would take them to.  With six siblings in the house, finding activities to occupy everyone at home was a challenge.

As the eldest sister of her family, Samiyah realized that she would have more responsibilities than usual during her parents' absence.  “I had a few extra chores to do around the house, more than usual which definitely wasn't something I enjoyed.”  She also wasn't able to go anywhere except school during the entire month her parents were gone.

Nura's older sister was in charge of making sure the lights were on outside at night, and the doors were locked. She had to make sure everyone did their jobs of washing dishes, cleaning the house, and cooking. It was her responsibility to call people for rides. From her experience, she says, “We rely on our parents for so many things, but you don't realize how much responsibility it is until you experience it yourself.”

Positive Memories

Although staying at home when parents go off to Hajj poses many challenges for the kids, there are many positive experiences that the kids get to enjoy, even with their parents across the country. Nura from Texas invited one of her friends over for a baking day once. Another time, she went for Jumuah on the Friday after Eid and hung out at the masjid's playground with her siblings and the college student she stayed with.  They all were so hungry that they decided to have ice cream at the only ice cream place in town. They couldn't go home because their usual ride was at work. Nura was so desperately hungry that she actually took a piece of wrapped cheese she discovered on the grass and ate it. It was actually worth it! When the ride came, Nura went shopping with her siblings, and since it was October at the time, Halloween candy was all over the place. Nura's younger brother suggested buying a bag of candy, and since no parents were around to set off tirades about cavities and prices, the bag of candy was purchased! They remembered these memorable random experiences even months later. Nura tells of another hilarious memory she experienced in her parents' absence.

“An event I must not forget while my parents were at Hajj was one of the enjoyable things about being without them. It was a normal (well, not really normal) Saturday afternoon. I have no idea what we were doing, but my younger brother brought everyone's attention to a black widow spider that had been hanging around the shoe place for a while. We decided to kill it. First we sprayed it with something to freeze it on the wall, and then we trapped it there with a yogurt container. One of us slid a piece of paper under the container. Then we put all that jazz into a giant Ziploc bag…[W]e were screaming the whole time, and wondering why the college student upstairs was paying no attention to us. The Ziploc bag somehow ended up outside. That was one of the memorable things about those three weeks without my parents, and I still wonder how the college student did not hear us. ”

Samiyah and her siblings enjoyed positive memories, as well, as they bonded with their grandmother more than they ever had before, particularly on Eid day when they enjoyed pizza and doughnuts together.  Safiyyah and her siblings had a lot of fun at the airport while dropping their parents off.  “It was very cool to see all the planes and people who were going to different parts of the world.”

Connecting with Parents

It's not so easy to connect with people from overseas, but there's always a way to greet one's parents at Hajj and ask them how everything is going. Nura video chatted with her parents two times while they were gone, and called them on Eid day.  They were doing great, but sounded awfully tired and looked even worse. However, by the stories told by her mother much later, Nura could tell her mother had a great time with the humorous, silly, and awesome members of her Hajji group.

Because of the time difference, other kids were not always able to communicate often with their parents.  Fatimah was only able to talk to her parents on the phone once.  And then she was too shy to say much.  When the rest of the family video chatted with her parents, Fatimah was usually asleep.

After Parents' Return

Once parents return from Hajj, everything doesn't go back to normal right away.  There is lots of fun, of course, reuniting with each other, getting gifts from Mecca and celebrating Eid again a few days late.  However, readjusting to the everyday life before Hajj can also be difficult, especially for younger kids who had gotten used to new adjustments and habits.  When their parents come back, young children often act rebellious as payback for their parents' absence. They may also take time to warm up again.

After the Hajj experience, younger kids can ironically get even more attached to their parents than before, making sure not to let their parents out of their sight again.  When two-year-old Fatimah's parents returned from Hajj, she was careful to stay close to her mom always after that.  The next time she visited her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Delaware, she started crying when her mother was in the other room.  When her dad and uncle went out for a few hours, she assumed that they had gone to Hajj and said, “Baba went to Hajj!”

Two young girls whose parents performed Hajj last year found it strange and frightening to live without their parents, and found it harder to warm up to their mother again once she returned. Two of Safiyyah's younger brothers wouldn't leave their parents even to go to the bathroom. The older children weren't able to simply give up their responsibilities once their parents returned.  After the long Hajj experience, Hajjis are usually jetlagged and tired.  Many develop illnesses and have to rest before resuming care of their children.  During the time after her parents' return, Nura and her siblings continued to do the work they had been doing before because their parents were sick.  Fatimah's parents were also sick when they returned from Hajj, and they were not able to continue potty-training her.

Learning about their parents' experiences, however, is lots of fun.  Safiyyah marveled at her parents' descriptions of their Hajj.  “They talk about the crowds and how everything stops at salah time and how amazing it is to hear the athan in the streets.”  All of this makes Safiyyah eager to perform Hajj, as well.

When Nura went to pick up her parents from the airport, it was wonderful and strange at the same time. At home, the kids helped their parents unpack, and discovered lots of strange and unique souvenirs, like two enormous bottles of ZamZam water, little packages of dates, and strange-but-delicious Arab sweets. Among the gifts Nura's parents brought were beautiful abayas with matching hijabs, fancy thawbs, and hats to go with them.

An additional strange part about reuniting with one's parents occurs after the dads shave their heads.  When Nura video-chatted her parents, she was surprised to see her dad's shiny bald head. Her first reaction was, “Whoa” and then it became, “Oh yeah, I forgot you're supposed to shave your head.” Still, throughout the whole video chat, she could not take her eyes off her dad's head. Later, at a girls' halaqa gathering, Nura remembers telling her friends, “My dad is, like, totally bald.”

Lessons Learned

Kids left behind when their parents are off to Hajj usually learn important life lessons.  After such a big event and long absence from their parents, they realize the importance of their parents.  Many kids also learn how to be a lot more independent and to take care of themselves more than they had before.

Since she was supposedly freer without her parents around, Nura left her Algebra I alone for just a while. She soon realized the hard way that she should not have left those days alone, and ended up finishing her Algebra I near the end of May. That was not fun, considering Algebra I was really challenging for her!

Nura also came to appreciate her parents more after the experience.  “Life wasn't very exciting without Mom and Dad. I had nothing to blog about in their absence, except for their absence. That Eid was the first one I'd ever spent without Mom and Dad. I'm not hoping for an Eid like that again. Obviously, this experience was Allah showing me how important my parents are.”

Samiyah learned that she “could be more independent and didn't need my parents around all of the time.”

Advice to Other Kids

Many of the kids had their own pieces of advice to give to others whose parents will be going off to Hajj in the near future.

“When your parents leave, you are so overwhelmed with boredom that even interesting, fun things become dull and gray and all you even want to do most of the time is sleep and wish your parents were home,” Safiyyah says.  “I was really bored while my parents were gone. I didn't think I would be, but I was, and it was terrible!” Nura says. Samiyah from Delaware agrees.  “My advice to kids whose parents are at Hajj is that they shouldn't think about their parents all the time…Another thing that makes it better is having someone who's the next best thing after your parents around to keep an eye on you and your siblings.”

The unspoken advice of toddlers is definitely to keep an eye on your parents all the time.  Otherwise, they might just decide to escape from you for a few weeks…

 

Have your parents gone to Hajj before?  What was it like for you?  Tell us by commenting below!

The post MuslimKidsMatter | When Parents Go to Hajj appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

US air strikes in Syria driving anti-Assad groups to support Isis

The Guardian World news: Islam - 23 November, 2014 - 14:13
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army and several Islamic military groups say Isis is gaining allies or truces due to US bombings

US air strikes in Syria are encouraging anti-regime fighters to forge alliances with or even defect to Islamic State (Isis), according to a series of interviews conducted by the Guardian.

Fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamic military groups are joining forces with Isis, which has gained control of swaths of Syria and Iraq and has beheaded six western hostages in the past few months.

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I’m a professional driver, and I’m not a knucklehead

Indigo Jo Blogs - 23 November, 2014 - 09:09

Last week Mark Reckless, who had stood down as a Tory MP in the Rochester and Strood constituency in Kent and re-stood for UKIP, won the by-election with 42.1% of the vote on a 50.6% turnout. Remarkable in this election was the poor showing for the Liberal Democrats, who scored only 349 votes (0.9%, down 15.5% from 2010) and lost their deposit. During the campaign, the Labour MP Emily Thornberry, who had been Shadow Attorney General, tweeted a picture of a house festooned with St George’s Cross flags with a white Ford Transit van parked outside, simply captioned “Image from #Rochester”, which allegedly made Labour leader Ed Miliband “incandescent” because it gave the impression that Labour were full of metropolitan snobs who looked down on “real” working-class people they expected to vote for them. The Sun and the Daily Mail both made front-page stories of the tweet, the former headlining “Only Here for the Sneer” and printing a picture of the owner of the van, now covered in Sun mastheads, along with his ‘manifesto’; the Daily Mail’s headline this morning said “Labour row deepens over snob MP”. The idea that this man’s views and behaviour actually represent working-class men (let alone women) are not being seriously questioned, at least in the mainstream media.

First, there are a couple of other blog entries which take apart the ‘working-class outrage’ this tweet supposedly generated: Claire Bolderson demonstrates that the ‘storm’ really was “a twitter storm in a tea-cup” whipped up by the media, while A Very Public Sociologist notes that ‘White Van Dan’ is in fact a car dealer, suggesting that his ‘manifesto’ reflects the insecurity of his occupation (rather than years of reading the Sun), but that most people in fact despise displays of patriotism. The Sun likes to position itself as the ‘true’ voice of the white working-class (although they don’t emphasise the white bit) while the Mail openly claims to speak for the middle-class and equates purchases with votes. The Sun equates criticism of Dan’s kind of vulgarity with snobbery, and as with right-wingers who fake a common touch in the USA, love to attack members of the “left-wing metropolitan elite” and claim that they really represent ordinary working people, despite it being known that they actually call them plebs among themselves.

Now, I actually know a woman who sometimes posts British or English flags in her window, and she’s a Muslim with mild learning difficulties and certainly not a UKIP supporter, so this picture may not actually prove that the inhabitant is a reactionary knuckle-dragger and I’m glad this by-election was not in my friend’s constituency. However, as someone who drives for a living (I passed my class 1 HGV test in September, but have been driving smaller goods vehicles since 2000), I am sick of the assumption that people in jobs that do not require a degree must be reactionary idiots who read a newspaper that feeds them a diet of gossip, soft porn and bigotry and believe everything that paper tells them. I am also sick of the assumption that we lack critical thinking and all subscribe to their politics, of blaming outsiders, Gypsies or Irish travellers, benefit claimants, single mothers or whoever their chosen hate figure may be this week, rather than people in power, the super-rich and the press that serves their interests. Let’s also not imagine that real hard-working people don’t have the time for fussy intellectual arguments or big ideas. Wrong. My job often means I don’t have the time or the energy to write much anymore, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have the time to think. I also despise the ‘snob’ jibe which is used whenever there is perceived criticism of low-brow culture or vulgarity, whether it relates to culture, politics or food. Usually it is the taunt of bullies who tell people not to get “above themselves”, but really they fear someone getting above them. However, in this case it is the tabloids protecting the debased culture they sell. Perish the thought that anyone might desire something better.

(A number of years ago, while working as a van driver for a tool hire company, I stopped at one of their outlets where I heard the desk staff, who had a tabloid on display, voice some bigoted attitudes that were straight out of that paper. I mentioned this in an email to Jon Gaunt, then the presenter of the BBC London morning show, who I think was talking about a student union which had voted to stop selling the Sun in their shop, and referred to the paper as the “Scum” and a “low-rent rag”. He read this out, then a later caller said I must be a snob who looks down on van drivers.)

A common complaint on social media of the left-wing media response is that there are too many middle-class white males commenting on the voting choices of working-class whites, and blaming them for voting UKIP. My response is that the type of white working-class people who choose to vote for a bigoted and reactionary party are not people with a cognitive deficiency, or uneducated illiterates, but adults who choose not to think critically and to vote for a party that uses them to serve the interests of the rich. A number of years ago Lynsey Hanley wrote in the Guardian that there was a tendency to celebrate the political activities of the white working class when it served left-wing goals by calling it “resistance”, but to blame everyone but them when they voted BNP, attributing it to “a cry of distress”, thus denying them agency. The rise of UKIP is nothing other than a repeat of the American trend in which working-class white voters outside major industrial areas vote for parties that go against their economic interests because they affirm their identity while claiming to be “people like them”, when they are anything but, and care nothing for their interests. UKIP plan to leave not only the EU but also the European Economic Area, which would leave Britain economically isolated, unable to sell goods competitively to our nearest neighbours, thus destroying jobs, and turn the areas around seaports (of which there are four in Kent) into giant car and truck parks. Farage is known to personally support moving to an American-style insurance-based healthcare ‘system’, despite that system leaving millions of Americans without access to care. UKIP plan to scrap the Human Rights Act, the nearest thing Britain has to the constitutional bills of rights other modern democracies have, something which would lose any aspiring politician an election in any other democratic country. (They do propose a “British bill of rights”, but say nothing about constitutional reform, so it would be statute like any other, and could be overridden by simple Parliamentary vote.)

So, it was wrong of Emily Thornberry to make assumptions about the man behind those flags (indeed, that it was a man at all), and mocking local people rather indicates that Labour did not hope to win the seat, but it’s also wrong for Labour to pander to right-wing bigotry and unthinking “common sense” politics that are dictated by the tabloids. They will never win votes from people like this without engaging with and challenging their beliefs, or ceasing to be a Labour party in any meaningful sense. Britain is part of Europe, and we cannot imagine that trade links with the USA or the Commonwealth, all of which are thousands of miles away, are any substitute for close links with our neighbours which start 26 miles from our shores. Human Rights protect everyone, not just troublemakers and foreign criminals. The welfare state is an investment in our own futures, so we do not end up in the gutter if our employer’s main customer or supplier goes bust, not merely money people who work pay to those who don’t. And so on. Labour should stop being cowardly, have faith in the people they want to vote for them, and challenge senseless tabloid politics. Not all people who drive for a living are tabloid-reading bigots, and working-class white people are capable of critical thinking.

Possibly Related Posts:


Witchcraft-obsessed GOP county chair: Muslims must accept Jesus or leave the United States

Loon Watch - 21 November, 2014 - 22:33

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Was this man a raving Islamophobe before he found Geller and Spencer or was his nutty, fringe and warped version of Christianity triggered by his association with Geller and Spencer‘s SIOA? As important is the question of how in heck this guy ever came to be the chairman of a county Republican Party? I wondered if Big Stone County was in Michele Bachmann‘s neck of the woods, as that would explain a lot but it is not! Hopefully, the nearby Islamic Center of Willmar and its congregants will not be targeted because of this officials hate speech.

Raw Story

The chairman of a county Republican Party in Minnesota who believes that big government is actually a form of satanic “witchcraft” is not backing down from controversial comments he posted on his Facebook page about Muslims.

Big Stone County Republican chairman Jack Whitley said he opposed waterboarding terrorists because he believed that Muslim “parasites” should be killed.

“I am opposed to waterboarding muslim terrorists because it is a waste of resources,” he wrote Wednesday on Facebook “They are muslims, they are terrorist, we know where they are from, we know where their buddies are, we know where thier mosque’s are, we know millions of these parasites travel to Mecca every year and when…FRAG ‘EM! Simplicity. I love when it all comes together!”

The comments were first reported by the Bluestem Prairie blog.

Whitley said Thursday that he would not apologize for his remarks. He said Muslims should either convert to Christianity or leave the United States.

“This is where I’m making my stand,” he wrote in another Facebook post. “Muslims inTwin Cities Area are calling for me to apologize for a comment I made on facebook about them being. parasites and we need to frag them .I will not apologize and I will not compromise .They either need to repent except Jesus Chist or leave the country .Any Muslims or group of Muslims who do not stand against Jihad Muslim terrorist are consider part and parcel with the Muslim terrorist. I was just contacted by a reporter from the Minnespolis Star Tribune who will be writing a article on their blog site if you care to follow this story.Bravery is contagious , I am not a coward are you? If Muslims think they can come to this country and dictate anything that makes them terrorist ! Lets see if your love for God and country,patriotism,extends any further than your finger tips on the keyboard. If you want to consider this a call to arms,then so be it .”

Whitley told the StarTribune that he didn’t like Muslims because Islam was a violent religion.

“I don’t really see much of Islam being peaceful at all,” he said. “Don’t come into this country, infiltrating this country with your terrorist activities and terrorist agendas and call it a ‘holy war.”

He also explained to the StarTribune that he doesn’t believe Muslims deserve First Amendment rights.

“Your association with those in your religion who have those terrorist activities, and your unwillingness to call them on the carpet for it? No, you no longer have the right to practice that religion if it infringes on the peace and the tranquility of this nation and the people around you. That nullifies your constitutional right to practice your freedom of religion.”

On his Facebook page, Whitley has expressed concern about witchcraft and Satanism.

“An oversized government will always be an immoral government, creating entities where none are needed, to virtually control every aspect of the lives of its citizens, for the ‘greater good’, thereby creating rebels of the ones who will not bow to these corrupt entities. This is also known as witchcraft.”

He said that Hollywood, the NFL, the NBA, televangelists, the Christian music industry, the health industry, and academics were all part of the “government of Satan,” which he claimed had infiltrated the Christian church.

“American Christians or should I say ‘Westernized Christians’ are absolutely caught in the trap that satan has laid for them, and they dont even know it because it feels so good,” he said in another post about the movie Noah.

Whitley also expressed his opposition to the “feminization and homosexualization of the church” in his Facebook writings, and said he didn’t donate money to missionaries “unless they prove to me they stand against abortion and homo’s.”

Parliament Report: 88 pct of German Mosque Attacks Unsolved

Loon Watch - 21 November, 2014 - 22:00

Mevlana-Mosque-arson

via. IslamophobiaWatch

A report released by Parliament’s Human Rights Commission following the burning of three mosques in Germany in August has reached interesting conclusions in its study of Islamophobia in Germany, revealing that the vast majority of perpetrators of such crimes have gone unpunished.

Human Rights Commission President Ayhan Sefer Üstün reported on the comprehensive research carried out in Germany. The parliamentary report states that of the 297 attacks on mosques from 2001 to the present day, 244 (88 percent) of the crimes’ suspects or perpetrators have not been captured. According to the report, “A large portion of these attacks on mosques remain unpunished … opening the way for fear, worry and insecurity among members of the Muslim population.”

The Human Rights Commission, which has previously done research and prepared important reports on the problems of Turks residing in various European countries, decided to carry out the most recent research about attacks on mosques after three mosques were attacked on Aug. 11 and 19 in the German cities of Berlin and Bielefeld.

The commission, preparing its report with the help of the Turkish community and in the light of meetings with officials of the German government, found shocking evidence in its inquiry into the mosque attacks in.

The report cites figures published by the German government, noting that in the 13-year period from 2001 to 2014 there were 297 attacks on Muslim places of worship. It further notes that in 88 percent of these cases, those alleged to have performed the crime were not arrested. According to the same data, while the monthly average until 2011 was one or two attacks, in more recent years this rate has risen to three a month.

Read the rest…

Families Suspect Hate Crime After Muslim Cemetery Vandalized

Loon Watch - 21 November, 2014 - 21:21

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Only Muslim headstones in the cemetery were targeted by vandals leading family members to suspect a hate crime was involved.

(SEATTLE, WA, 11/21/14) — The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) today called on law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism targeting a Muslim cemetery as a possible hate crime.

Headstones bearing the Islamic star and crescent and Arabic inscriptions were vandalized earlier this week at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington State’s cemetery near Maltby, Wash. Community members say the Christian section of the cemetery was not vandalized.

“Because the perpetrators of this desecration appear to have targeted only the Muslim graves, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this troubling incident as a possible hate crime,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari.

Pictures from Bosnajci.net

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‘Radicalisation risk’ at six Muslim schools in London

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 November, 2014 - 19:36
Ofsted orders east London schools to change or face closure amid concerns that pupils are not being taught British values

Six independent Muslim faith schools in London’s East End must make urgent changes or be forced to close, the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, said after Ofsted inspectors faulted them for failing to promote British values and safeguard their pupils.

According to analysis by Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s chief inspector, six private schools in Tower Hamlets “focused intensively on developing Islamic knowledge and understanding at the expense of other important areas of the curriculum”, ignoring creative subjects such as music and art.

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The Ofsted report about my former school is way off the mark | Harun Asif

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 November, 2014 - 19:31
The Jamiatul Ummah Islamic faith school in Tower Hamlets has been condemned as inadequate – but I did OK after going there

I left the Jamiatul Ummah school in 2011. When I saw the headlines saying that my former school and other independent Muslim faith schools in Tower Hamlets were vulnerable to “extremist influences and radicalisation”, my first thought was that Ofsted couldn’t be more off the mark .

This latest inspection has labelled my former school “inadequate”, despite the previous inspection three years ago finding that it was outstanding. Five other independent Muslim schools in the area have suffered the same fate. The principal of Jamiatul Ummah, Sheikh Madani, is having all of his material analysed and all the khutbas (Friday sermons) are being scrutinised. I just don’t know how schools function under that kind of pressure.

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Islamist cleric allowed to preach in London while on bail

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 November, 2014 - 17:28
Judge Howard Riddle orders that Anjem Choudary and other terror suspects’ religious freedom must be respected

Radical Islamist cleric Anjem Choudary must be allowed to preach on the streets of London even though he is on police bail over suspected terror offences, a judge has ruled.

Choudary, 47, and six Islamist associates, were given new bail terms at Westminster magistrates court in relation to encouraging terrorism and being members of a proscribed group.

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'A patient was killed and staff were beaten trying to protect him'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 November, 2014 - 13:10

Delphine Chedorge, MSF’s head of mission, talks about the challenges of delivering medical aid in Central African Republic

Since the ousting of President Bozize in March 2013, Central African Republic has been more unstable than ever. A Séléka Muslim rebel coalition seized power, leading to killings and lootings met by revenge attacks from the anti-balaka (anti-machete) Christian militia. The country is experiencing widespread sectarian violence and the UN warned that “seeds of genocide” were being sown against Muslims. An African-led and French-backed peacekeeping force known as MISCA was taken over by the UN in September.

What is it like working in a country experiencing conflict?

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