Canada: Hate crimes against Muslims increase by 60%

By Barry Ellsworth


TRENTON, Ont. (AA): Hate crimes against Muslims have increased 60 percent, according to the latest figures released Tuesday by Statistics Canada.

There were 159 incidents in 20ǯ, a significant jump from 99 the previous year, the agency said on its website.

The numbers have been steadily increasing and are up 253 percent since 2012, although overall instances of police-recorded hate crimes were down 3.8 percent in 2015 to 1,362 from 1,424 in 2012.

Khalid Elgazzar, board vice chairman of the National Council of Canadian Muslims and an Ottawa-based lawyer, termed 2015 as a “difficult year.

Two terrorist attacks in France fed anti-Muslim flames in Canada, while former Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2015 made an election issue out of the right of a Muslim woman to wear a veil at citizenship ceremonies.

“The Canadian Muslim community bore the brunt of sinister political rhetoric surrounding the federal election which painted Muslims as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers as well as being anti-women,” Elgazzar said at a press conference in Ottawa.

But the number of hate crimes was probably higher.

“The number of hate crimes in this release likely undercuts the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all crimes are reported to police,” Statistics Canada said.

Eglazzar said the incidents are under reported because some Muslims do not believe police will take action and are afraid of being further victimized.

But Muslims were not the only target, or even the largest target.

Statistics Canada figures show the largest number of hate crimes were against blacks, with 224 incidents in 2015. Jews were next with 178 incidents reported and sexual orientation hate crimes stood at 141.

Others targeted included members of various religions.

But Muslim hate crimes were the only ones to show an increase in 2015.

And the number of violent incidents included in hate crimes – assault, threat and criminal harassment – was also up, at 38 percent, an increase of 15 percent compared to the previous year.

[Photo: People gather in front of the Toronto municipality building to attend the inaugural of the open public event named “Fast in the 6” for mass Iftar dinner during the Muslims’ holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Toronto, Canada on June 10, 2017. Photographer: Seyit Aydoğan/AA]

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Bangladesh: Landslides kill dozens in SE Bangladesh

By Sorwar Alam


ANKARA (AA): More than 60 people have been killed in landslides triggered by torrential rain in southeastern Bangladesh, local media reported Tuesday.

The hilly districts of Rangamati, Bandarband and Chittagong were among the most affected areas.

The Dhaka-based Daily Star reported that 23 people were killed in Chittagong, 35 in Rangamati and seven in Bandarban.

The fatalities included women and children.

Also on Tuesday, four army officials were killed and 10 injured due to a landslide in Rangamati, said a statement by the Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Bangladesh Armed Forces.

The team was clearing debris from a landslide in Manikchhari area, when another landslide occurred, Director ISPR Lt. Col. Rashedul Hasan told daily Dhaka Tribune.

Bangladesh experienced heavy downpour on Monday because of a depression formed in the Bay of Bengal.

[Archive photo: Flooding after 1991 cyclone in Bangladesh. Photo by Staff Sergeant Val Gempis/USAF/Commons Wikimedia]

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UK urges Gulf nations to de-escalate tensions

LONDON (AA): British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Monday urged the Gulf nations to de-escalate ongoing regional tensions through dialogue.

The foreign secretary’s call for dialogue came following a meeting with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in London.

Johnson will also meet his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week, a government statement said.

He urged Sheikh Mohammed to “engage with neighbours on their concerns and do more to address support for extremist groups, building on the steps already taken,” it said.

“I have urged all sides to refrain from any further escalation and to engage in mediation efforts. In that regard I pay tribute to the work of the Emir of Kuwait,” Johnson said after the meeting.

Johnson urged Qatar to “take seriously their neighbors’ concerns.”

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

“Qatar is a partner of the UK in the fight against terrorism but they urgently need to do more to address support for extremist groups, building on the steps they have already taken to tackle funding to those groups,” he said.

Johnson said he was also concerned by some of the strong actions taken by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain against Qatar, asking urged them to ease the blockade.

“I call on all states to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and to find a rapid resolution through mediation,” he said.

“In all meetings, the foreign secretary will urge his counterparts to take immediate steps to de-escalate the current tensions and find a rapid resolution through mediation,” the statement said.

Johnson will also “express the UK’s concern that collective action by the other Gulf states is having an adverse impact on the lives of ordinary people in Qatar,” it added.

Meanwhile the Arab League has denied plans to discuss the political crisis in the Gulf during a scheduled meeting on Monday.

The pan-Arab body is set to meet in Cairo at the level of permanent delegates to discuss the growing Israeli presence in Africa.

Somalia will not sever ties with Qatar as the Gulf state becomes increasingly isolated from its nieghbors, a senior Somali diplomat has told Anadolu Agency.

“Somalia has taken a neutral position,” Abdi Halane Hirsi, spokesman and cultural attache at the Somali embassy in Pretoria, said. “We shall not end ties with either Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Our Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling for dialogue to resolve this issue.

Hirsi denied media reports suggesting Saudi Arabia had withheld $50 million in aid it earlier pledged to the Horn of Africa country until it cuts ties with Qatar.

[Archive Photo: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photographer: Issam Rimawi/AA]

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UK PM May under fire over DUP vote deal

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal


LONDON (AA);  As Brexit negotiations between the U.K. and the EU loom, an imminent voting deal between Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives and 10 lawmakers from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are casting a shadow over the hard-reached 1998 peace deal in Northern Ireland.

According to the Belfast Agreement, which largely ended decades of violence between Irish Catholic nationalists and pro-British Protestant unionists, the government in London must maintain a neutral stance between the opposing sides.

However, after losing its parliamentary majority in last Thursday’s general election, the Conservative Party is now in talks for a so-called confidence and supply deal to act as a minority government backed by Northern Ireland’s DUP.

The northern leader of the DUP’s Sinn Fein opponents, Michelle O’Neill, recently said any deal between the Conservatives and the DUP will not last.

“This new arrangement between the DUP and the Tories will be transitory and will end in tears,” she said during a speech in Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second city.

“But it will be the people of the north who will have to pay the price for the DUP’s support for Brexit and for cuts.”

Sinn Fein returned seven lawmakers in Thursday’s general election but the party, because of its belief in a united Ireland, has never taken its seats in Westminster.

Party President Gerry Adams claimed a referendum on uniting the U.K. region with the Republic of Ireland is now “inevitable”.

“One thing we can say for certainty; there is going to be a referendum on Irish unity,” he added.

– Polarization

The 1998 multiparty deal stipulated there would be “rigorous impartiality” from London on any disputes in Northern Ireland.

However, the DUP’s nascent deal with the Conservatives has prompted concerns over how the central U.K. government will be able to act as an honest broker in an administration propped up by 10 unionist lawmakers.

Northern Ireland is dominated by two main parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein. Both parties wiped out smaller rivals on Thursday, reflecting increasing polarization between Northern Ireland’s two communities.

The local power-sharing administration collapsed earlier this year amid a Sinn Fein walkout caused by a multi-million-pound energy-scheme scandal and repeated clashes with the DUP over recognition of the Irish language, Troubles legacy issues and other disagreements.

A snap Northern Ireland election in March was ordered by the U.K.’s Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire and saw Sinn Fein and the DUP returned as the largest parties from their respective communities.

The U.K. government has said June 29 is the deadline for finalizing talks to form a new Northern Ireland administration. Discussions will resume on Monday with representatives of the five main local parties.

Meanwhile, outgoing Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny called Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday, seeking assurances that “nothing should happen to put the Good Friday Agreement at risk”.

May and Kenny had “confirmed their joint commitment to restoring the Northern Ireland executive as soon as possible,” a U.K. government spokesman said.

€œThe prime minister reiterated that the government™s approach and objectives in the forthcoming talks to re-establish the Northern Ireland executive remained unchanged,” the statement added.

– Largest unionist party

The DUP was founded in 1971 by hardline Protestant politician and clergyman Ian Paisley. For years it opposed any role for the Irish government in Northern Ireland and all peace deals between unionists and nationalists, including the Good Friday Agreement.

It later rose in strength to eclipse more moderate unionist rivals and is now the largest pro-British party in Northern Ireland, drawing support from many working-class Protestants and featuring a strong evangelical Christian base.

However, for a British government to be beholden to unionist lawmakers sets a dangerous precedent, according to some commentators.

Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff for Tony Blair’s Labour government, which helped broker the 1998 peace deal, appealed to the Conservatives not to strike a deal with the unionists.

“As the main concern of the proposed DUP deal by the Conservatives is the impartiality of the central government in matters between the two sides of Northern Ireland, I spent 10 years doing the Northern Ireland peace negotiations… I really would appeal to the government not to go down this path,” he told the broadcaster Sky News.

“[In] 19Ȼ, a Tory secretary of state said Britain would be neutral in Northern Ireland — not take the side of the unionists, not take the side of the nationalists.â€

On social issues too, the DUP is facing opposition from voters in Britain, who are being confronted with the regional party’s highly conservative worldview for the first time.

An online petition posted shortly after the deal’s announcement on Saturday read: âTheresa May said there will NOT be a coalition of chaos.”

It then cited a list of DUP positions outside the British mainstream: anti-gay rights, in favor of teaching creationism in schools, anti-abortion and calling for a return of the death penalty.

By Sunday lunchtime the petition had been signed by more than ᕊ,000 people.

– Donation

Media attention has also focused on the source of an enormous donation made to the DUP in the run up to the June 2016 Brexit referendum which saw the U.K. decide to leave the EU.

A report in The Irish Times newspaper claimed a four-page DUP Leave advertisement in U.K. newspapers cost a staggering £282,000 ($360,000), paid out of a donation of £425,622 ($542,400) by a group called the Constitutional Research Council, headed by a Scottish conservative activist called Richard Cook.

This body has no apparent legal status or membership list, prompting queries as to how it could fund the DUP’s huge advertising move.

The Irish Times article said the DUP did not reveal information on the large donation until February as Northern Irish political parties are governed by different funding rules to those in the rest of the U.K.

Party leader Arlene Foster later confirmed to the BBC that the Constitutional Research Council donated the money; party officials later said this explanation was enough and that they did not need to know the source of council’s income.

The DUP has also drawn criticism over its perceived antipathy to Muslims. Former party leader Peter Robinson, who stood down in 20ǯ, came under fire for standing by Belfast pastor James McConnell, who openly attacked Islam during a controversial sermon in 2014.

The evangelical Christian cleric provoked outrage when he described Islam as “heathen”, “satanic” and “a doctrine spawned in hell”.

McConnell said he did not trust Muslims. He apologized after charges were brought against him. He was acquitted in court after a judge found his remarks did not amount to being “grossly” offensive under the law.

Robinson compounded the controversy when, in a later interview he said: “I wouldn’t trust Muslims devoted to Sharia law, but I would trust them to go down to the shops for me.”

Questions are also swirling around senior DUP figures’ involvement with quasi-paramilitary groups, particularly in the 1980s, such as Ulster Resistance.

[Photo: DUP Leader Arlene Foster. Photo by Northern Ireland Office/Creative Commons]

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Palestine: Israeli soldiers kill one Palestinian, injure 10 in Gaza

Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip, Khan Younis, (IMEMC News): Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, one Palestinian and injured at least ten others, after the army attacked dozens of Palestinian protesters, in Palestinian lands, near the border fence east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Medical sources at the Indonesian Hospital, in nearby Beit Lahia city, said the Palestinian, identified as Aa’ed Khamis Jom’a, ȃ, was shot with a live round in the head.

They added that the soldiers also shot and injured ten other Palestinians with live fire.

Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, fired dozens of live rounds and gas bombs at the protesters, who were marching near the border fence, and added that the army also used drones.

It is worth mentioning that the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, issued a statement mourning Jom’a as one of its members. There have been no armed clashes during the Israeli attack, and none of the protesters, including the slain Palestinian, carried weapons.

Furthermore, the soldiers shot one Palestinian with a live round in his leg, after attacking protesters in Palestinian lands, eat of the Shejaâeyya neighborhood, in the eastern part of Gaza city.

The wounded young man was moved to the Shifa Medical Center, west of Gaza city.

Also, the soldiers, stationed in the Nahal Oz military base, across the fence, fired gas bombs into Palestinian lands, causing dozens of residents to suffer the severe effects of teargas inhalation.

Three Palestinians were also shot with live Israeli army fire, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, and were moved to the Al-Aqsa hospital, in Deir al-Balah.

Furthermore, the soldiers attacked protesters east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the besieged coastal region.

Eight Palestinians were killed — including three children â and another 580 injured by Israeli gunfire in the occupied Palestinian territories in May, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said in a report issued Thursday.

According to the same report, a total of 34 Palestinians — including nine children and one woman — were killed by Israeli gunfire since the beginning of 2017.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Aa’ed Khamis Jom’a, 35, was shot with a live round in the head by Isreli soldiers in North Gaza Strip on 9 June 2017. photo by]

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Saudi Arabia bans books by al-Qaradawi

By Ramazan Turgut


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AA): Saudi Arabian education minister Sunday urged the removal of the books by the chairman International Union of Muslim Scholars from education areas.

The statement issued by Saudi Arabian Education Ministry under the signature of minister Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al-Issa said all books by Yousef al-Qaradawi, the chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, should “immediately” be pulled off from schools, universities and libraries.

The publication of the so called books were also banned from now on, the statement added.

Late on Thursday, a joint statement by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE accused 59 individuals and Ǭ charity organizations in Qatar of being “linked to terror”. The list included al-Qaradawi, and Abdullah bin Khalid, a former interior minister of Qatar.

Qatar hit back on Friday in a Foreign Ministry statement which described the accusations as “baseless” and “slanderous”.

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in cutting ties with Qatar last week.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were the first to sever all diplomatic ties with Qatar, citing national security concerns.

The countries have blocked Qatar from their airspace and request.

[Photo: Yousef al-Qaradawi. His books banned in Saudi Arabia. Photo by Creative Commons]


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Iraq: Multiple suicide attacks leave dozens dead

By Haydar Hadi

BAGHDAD (AA)  At least 30 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in the city of Hillah in Iraq’s central Babil province on Friday, according to local security sources.

The attack occurred at a market in Hillah’s Al-Musayyib district, where a bomber blew herself up, killing 30 and injuring 35. Security forces said the attacker managed to hid the explosive under her full-body veil.

In a separate attack the same day, at least two Iraqi police personnel were killed — and another three injured — when another suicide bomber targeted their patrol vehicle in southern Baghdad.

And at least four people were reportedly injured earlier Friday in the southern city of Karbala in a third suicide attack in one of the city’s main public squares.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s spate of bombings, but the Iraqi authorities typically blame such attacks on the Daesh terrorist group, which overran much of the country in mid-2014.

he attack follows Isis’ bombing of a Baghdad ice cream parlour last month that left 25 civilians dead.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Archive photo: People gather around the incident site as security forces cordon the area after a road-side parked car-bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq on May 30, 2017. Photographer: Visam Ziyad Muhammed/AA]


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Iceland: Muslims fast for 22 hours during Ramadan

By Hasan Esen


REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AA): Short nights closer to the North Pole means that some Muslims in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik are fasting for nearly 22 hours during Ramadan, according to a local imam.

The north Atlantic island has around 1,500 Muslim residents and those observing Ramadan begin fasting at around 2 a.m. local time and do not sit down to their evening iftar meal until around midnight.

“Although the hours are long, the Muslims here do not feel it because they come together here,” Abdul-Aziz Ulvani, the imam at the Islamic Foundation of Iceland, said Friday.

“We are like family. They come in at early hours. We recite the Quran, have iftar and observe Tarawih prayers together.

“The first three days are most difficult. Then everything turns back to normal.”

Some Muslim scholars say Muslims in places like Iceland can follow a nearest Muslim country and follow their timings as 22 hours of fasting is too long.

Muslims in UK fast for 19 hours.

[Map of Iceland by Max Naylor/Public Domain]

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Exclusive: UK: Muslim MPs prominent in Labour resurgence

London, (The Muslim News):

The number of Muslim MPs elected to Parliament has risen to another record of ǯ, boosted by the sudden and unexpected resurgence in support for Labour under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

The rise saw an average increase of more than 6 per cent in votes for each of the successful candidates, which included 12 of the previous 13 incumbents being returned as well as three new faces winning for the first time.

The high turnout included 12 Muslim Labour MPs being elected, up from nine in 2015. All three Muslim Conservatives retained their seats also with increased majorities as well.

Hopes that the Liberal Democrats would succeed in having their first Muslim MP elected failed to materialise, while north of the border in Scotland, the only Muslim MP, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, lost her seat amid significant collapse in support for the SNP.


Afzal Khan* (Labour) – Manchester Gorton
Faisal Rashid* (Labour) – Warrington South
Imran Hussain (Labour) – Bradford East
Khalid Mahmood (Labour) – Birmingham Perry Barr
Mohammad Yasin* (Labour) – Bedford
Naz Shah (Labour) – Bradford West
Nusrat Ghani (Conservative) – Wealden
Rehman Chishti (Conservative) – Gillingham Rainham
Rosena Allin-Khan (Labour) – Tooting
Rupa Huq (Labour) – Ealing Central Acton
Rushanara Ali (Labour) – Bethnal Green and Bow
Sajid Javid (Conservative) – Bromsgrove
Shabana Mahmood (Labour) – Birmingham Ladywood
Tulip Siddiq (Labour) – Hampstead Kilburn
Yasmin Qureshi (Labour) – Bolton South East

Note: Comprehensive coverage of the general election and analyses will be available in the next issue of The Muslim News

[Photo: Freshmen Muslim MPs (L-R) Manchester Gorton MP, Afzal Khan, Bedford MP, Mohammad Yasin and Warrington South MP, Faisal Rashid]

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Caste Battles Threaten India’s Grand Hindu Coalition

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