Ramadan: how will longer daylight hours affect your fast?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 June, 2016 - 09:34

With the news that Muslims in the UK face a challenging Ramadan with long summer days ahead we’d like to hear your experiences

Ramadan this year is expected to be challenging for Muslims living in the northern atmosphere with long summer days creating the shortest possible window for breaking their daily fast. The Islamic holy month straddles the summer equinox this year meaning early dawns and late sunsets.

“We had a taste of this last year, but this year it’s even more challenging,” said Ibrahim Mogra, assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain. “But this is all part and parcel of the experience, and most Muslims take it in their stride. Maybe a few more will take advantage of the exemptions available to the elderly, frail and those on medication.”

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Christian murdered in latest Bangladesh attack

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 June, 2016 - 16:21

Isis claims attack on man after Sunday prayers; hours earlier, wife of senior anti-terrorism officer is murdered in the street

A Christian was knifed to death after Sunday prayers near a church in northwest Bangladesh in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

Police said unidentified attackers murdered the 65-year-old in the village of Bonpara, home to one of the oldest Christian communities in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. “Sunil Gomes was hacked to death at his grocery store just near a church at Bonpara village,” said Shafiqul Islam, deputy police chief of Natore district.

Related: 'Anyone could become a target’: wave of Islamist killings hits Bangladesh

Related: ‘Is Bangladesh turning fundamentalist?’ – and other questions I no longer wish to answer

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Fasting for Ramadan won’t be easy as mayor of London – it’s the coffee I’ll miss the most | Sadiq Khan

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 June, 2016 - 16:00

As mayor of London, the Islamic holy month provides an opportunity to break bread and build bridges between communities

Is it really that bold to be the first Muslim mayor and be unafraid to be Muslim? I don’t call myself a Muslim politician; I’m not a Muslim spokesperson or leader, and it’s important to clarify that because otherwise you’re defined solely by your faith. We all have multiple identities – I’m a Londoner, a son and a father – and City Hall isn’t a pulpit. But, as Ramadan starts, I’m aware that it’s a great opportunity to do things in the community and break down the mystique and suspicion around the religion. If you’re someone who doesn’t have Muslim friends and your only experience of Islam is what you see on the news – the angry man with a beard doing or saying something terrible – then you may inadvertently associate that with Islam and think that is what it’s all about. So, I’m making it a priority this month to get out there and build bridges by hosting Ramadan meals around the city at synagogues, churches and mosques.

Related: Ramadan: a guide to the Islamic holy month

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Muhammad Ali knew he had a job to do on this planet – inspire people

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 June, 2016 - 15:59

Ali came to symbolise unapologetic resistance and provided a radical template for what constitutes black achievement

“In life, there’s the beginning and the end,” John Carlos, the black American Olympic medalist who raised his fist in a black power salute from the podium of the 1968 Olympic games, told me. “The beginning don’t matter. The end don’t matter. All that matters is what you do in between – whether you’re prepared to do what it takes to make change. There has to be physical and material sacrifice. When all the dust settles and we’re getting ready to play down for the ninth inning, the greatest reward is to know that you did your job when you were here on the planet.”

As tributes have poured in this weekend from world leaders and sporting figures, boxing fans and political activists following Muhammad Ali’s death, it’s clear that, from beginning to end, he understood he had a job to do while he was on the planet – inspire people.

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European churches say growing flock of Muslim refugees are converting

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 June, 2016 - 15:01

Anecdotal evidence suggests rising pattern of Muslims becoming Christians, with some churches conducting mass baptisms

A growing number of Muslim refugees in Europe are converting to Christianity, according to churches, which have conducted mass baptisms in some places.

Reliable data on conversions is not available but anecdotal evidence suggests a pattern of rising church attendance by Muslims who have fled conflict, repression and economic hardship in countries across the Middle East and central Asia.

Maybe, I thought, Islam was a religion that began with violence

Related: Converts or not, letting them in is the Christian thing to do | Giles Fraser

Related: Where in the world is the worst place to be a Christian?

Related: 'Love has no religion': priests and pastors reach out to refugees

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Shunned by white America, how Muhammad Ali found his voice on campus tour

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 June, 2016 - 13:00

The years after Ali refused to be drafted into the war were among his most formative, helping him discover allies he never knew he had

Time had sanitized the past. Portraits of Muhammad Ali’s activism in the wake of his death at 74 on Friday paint a picture of a fighter who helped change American culture with his refusal to be drafted into the US military but cannot explain how dire his situation actually was in 1967.

Related: Louisville remembers a beloved neighbor, poet and singer called Muhammad Ali

Related: 'The Greatest. Period': Barack Obama leads tributes to Muhammad Ali

Ali wanted to be guided – as independent and eccentric as he wanted to be. He attached himself to leaders

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Boko Haram extremists kill dozens of soldiers in Niger military base

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 June, 2016 - 02:21

Attackers kill 30 Niger soldiers and two from Nigeria dead, and at least 67 other soldiers wounded

Hundreds of Boko Haram extremists attacked a military post in Niger near the country’s border with Nigeria, killing at least 32 soldiers, Niger’s defense ministry said on Saturday.

The attack in Bosso on Friday left 30 Niger soldiers and two soldiers from Nigeria dead, the ministry said in a statement, adding that at least 67 other soldiers were wounded.

Related: Buhari's crackdown in Nigeria fails to stamp out Boko Haram

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From the Vietnam war to Islam – the key chapters in Ali’s life

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 June, 2016 - 00:05

Wherever the great dramas, triumphs and tragedies of a generation were, there was Muhammad Ali

Cassius Clay, as he was then, was not so much a fighter for peace as a peaceable fighter who needed a reason to fight – and Vietnam was not that reason. He might have feared he could serve in Vietnam when registered 1-A for the draft in 1962, but thought little of it. He was, as Muhammad Ali, reclassified in 1964 as mentally unfit for duty when he failed an IQ test.

Related: The Thrilla in Manila - in pictures

Related: Drama in Bahama: Muhammad Ali v Trevor Berbick - in pictures

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Muhammad Ali taught me to be proud of my skin and Muslim faith | Omar Musa

The Guardian World news: Islam - 4 June, 2016 - 23:57

Just by being himself, the black boxer changed the life of a confused, spectacled half-Asian, half-white kid on the other side of the world

Once, when I was a child growing up in Australia, I got teased by another kid because I had brown skin. The kid told me my skin was the same colour as shit. I went home in tears and, for the only time in my life, I said to my parents that I wished I wasn’t brown.

My parents sat me down and told me to be proud of my skin and of being Muslim, even if other people put you down for it. I don’t know if it was connected but soon afterwards my dad began to show me tapes of a charismatic, handsome black boxer from America, a proto rapper who spat rhymes and cracked jokes, who drove a pink Cadillac, who stood up for his people and his convictions, all the while dancing on the canvas like no one before and no one to come.

Related: Muhammad Ali: fighter, joker, magician, religious disciple, preacher

Related: Omar Musa, Australia's star slam poet, brings 'in-betweener' perspective to US

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An ode to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, by Ammar AlShukry

Muslim Matters - 4 June, 2016 - 17:35

He was too young, too brash, too fast, too pretty.

Too hateful, too playful, too charming, too witty,

With too many quotes to mention, too many images seared into our collective memory,

There was him standing over Liston in '65, daring him to get back up ,

Or him being held back the year before screaming to anyone who would listen that he shook up, the world…

Or the punch that he didn't take, as Foreman was falling to the ground on a magical African night,

Or hands trembling but never wavering as he lit the Olympic torch in Atlanta,
There was his smile, and his glare,

There was the shuffle of his feet too fast to see,

And the twinkling of his eyes before reciting a poem,

His battles in the ring made him a legendary icon,

But his battles outside made him a global hero… of the type that is so rare,

That their flames have to stay lit for multiple generations,

To kindle decades of imaginations.

In part to show a nation that idolizes champions by their jewelry,

That the greatest champion is the champion of the people,

With a conscious unwilling to conform, and impossible to buy,

Impossible to break, though courts of law and public opinion would try,

The one who would defy their greed, their war and their assumptions,

And refuses to be an athlete palatable for mass consumption,

And so throw him in jail, strip him of his title and his wealth,

And all he does is become greater.

And show the world how a young man rumbles,

All he does is show how to be proud in your religion,

And beautiful in your skin tone..

All he does is show people that the greatest battles are the ones we fight

For truth, equality, justice and peace,

And those are the ones worth giving everything for.

He paired his name with the greatest of all time, to share a portion of his light,

Ascend a portion of his height,

And a faith in God that fueled his fight..

I've heard that when a beautiful soul dies the angels call them,

By their best titles, the one that they held most dear,

And so I hope today the angels of my Lord say,

“The champ is here.”

The Intercept: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was “Appropriate” Use of Force

Loon Watch - 3 June, 2016 - 19:25


By Jeremey Scahill, via. The Intercept

An internal defense department investigation into one of the most notorious night raids conducted by special operations forces in Afghanistan — in which seven civilians were killed, including two pregnant women — determined that all the U.S. soldiers involved had followed the rules of engagement. As a result, the soldiers faced no disciplinary measures, according to hundreds of pages of Defense Department documents obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act. In the aftermath of the raid, Adm. William McRaven, at the time the commander of the elite Joint Special Operations Command, took responsibility for the operation. The documents made no unredacted mention of JSOC.

Although two children were shot during the raid and multiple witnesses and Afghan investigators alleged that U.S. soldiers dug bullets out of the body of at least one of the dead pregnant women, Defense Department investigators concluded that “the amount of force utilized was necessary, proportional and applied at appropriate time.” The investigation did acknowledge that “tactical mistakes” were made.

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