pi News and Sport News Featured Sport UK turned blind eye to Shahid Afridi to quit Life after CIA torture: says MP Death after World Cup £1 Counter-terror strategy is ‘costing charities millions’ Issue: 82 January 2015 International aid charities are struggling to use their donations for frontline services due to stricter counter-terrorism legislation causing banks to shut down accounts in an effort to reduce their overall risk. The warning comes in a new report by the cross-party think tank Demos, which argues that new regulations could be ‘costing charities millions’ in aid funding due to additional compliance costs and money being tied up in domestic accounts due to blocked transfers. It coincides with the current review of the Protection of Charities Bill and just a few weeks before the government’s terrorism legislation reviewer, David Anderson QC, is due to publish his latest review of the operation of the government’s terrorist asset-freezing legislation. The Demos investigation is led by Tom Keatinge, an expert with several years’ experience in the field of finance and banking regulation, who conducted dozens of interviews with high-level Approved by continued on page 3 d by Certifie BRITISH MIDDLE EAST follow us on fb pimedia LIBRARY PRESS CORP follow us on Twitter pimedianews follow us on You Tube PI TV News & Sport Reaching 215,000 readers across the UK* www.pi-media.co.uk *Survey conducted October 2012 2 I Editorial thePassion www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 By Isabella Sankey Director of Policy at Liberty UK role in CIA torture - only a judge-led inquiry will do Last month the extent and brutality of CIA kidnap and torture was revealed. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, having been heavily redacted, contains no details of the UK’s involvement in CIA practises. America now knows the truth, whereas we on the other side of the ‘special relationship’ remain in the dark. Liberty first called for an independent inquiry into the UK’s involvement in 2005. We are still waiting almost a decade later. Responding to the CIA report, the Prime Minister said: “In Britain we have had the Gibson Inquiry and that inquiry has now produced a series of questions that the Intelligence and Security Committee will look at but I am satisfied that our system is dealing with all of these issues.” But in 2010 David Cameron said “I do not think for a moment that we should believe that the ISC should be doing this piece of work. For public confidence, and for independence from parliament, party and government, it is right to have a judge-led inquiry.” Leaving aside all of the rhetoric, the Gibson Inquiry was flawed; a secret internal review with the Government in control. The ISC lacks the independence and power to investigate fully; the very same committee wrongfully reported that there was no evidence of UK involvement in extraordinary rendition back in 2007. We now know, however, that our forces handed over individuals in Iraq to US authorities, who then illegally rendered them to Afghanistan and held them in inhuman conditions. In short, the system by which we are “dealing with all of these issues” is unacceptable. We know that the UK was complicit in kidnapping and torture, but we do not know to what extent – and nobody has been held to account. Only a judicial inquiry will have the required level of independence and transparency by which the Prime Minister can begin to restore the UK’s reputation for respect for human rights and the rule of law. Until our Government establishes a proper investigation, cover-up and official impunity will persist. Victims deserve their day in court and the British public deserve better. There can be no compromise with torture. Write to: Editor, PI Media, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: [email protected] - www.pi-media.co.uk - mob: 07506 466 385 Counter-terror strategy is ‘costing charities millions’ www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 NEWS I3 Continued from front page figures in government and the banking and charity sectors to pinpoint the root causes preventing money getting to where donors intended, and how to address them. The report cites figures showing the UK has over 160,000 registered charities, with total reported turnover in excess of £63 billion per annum. According to official figures approximately 20% (£740 million) of the government’s bilateral assistance funds distributed by the Department for International Development are channelled through NGOs. The Uncharitable Behaviour report recognises the challenges posed by the threat of terrorist activity, but proposes a number of measures to help the government and organisations ease the obstacles they place on their activities. It recommends: - Consideration should be given to introducing a form of ‘kite-marking’ that recognises strong governance standards in the NGO sector. - Banks should consider the promotional benefits of ‘reputation return’ by working more closely with NGOs to find solutions to the challenges they face, allowing banks the opportunity to emphasise their ‘partnerships’ with the NGO sector. - Smaller charities should seek to reduce duplicated administration costs by looking to merge with similar organisations in their sector (such as the recent merger of Prostate Cancer Research Foundation, Prostate Action and Prostate Cancer UK). - Banks should co-ordinate their engagement with NGO umbrella groups, with the help of the BBA, to ensure a productive dialogue on financial restrictions and charitable activity. - Many NGOs should improve their professionalism to re-establish trust with the banking sector. This includes classifying money transmission as a critical element when planning programmes and engaging with banks. - Finally, the government must show leadership in addressing the issue of counter-terror finance legislation’s impact on NGOs’ financial access, to prevent decisions being made by banks on commercial grounds alone. David Anderson QC, appointed by the government as its independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said: “There are acute concerns within the charitable sector regarding banks withdrawing or curtailing services to NGOs. I welcome any report that seeks to address these concerns.” UK turned blind eye to CIA torture: says MP 4 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Former shadow home secretary David Davis says the UK government turned a blind eye to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s torture of suspects and operated a secret policy of complicity in the practice. Davis, a senior Conservative MP said in a letter posted on the Conservative Home website that the UK’s national interest was damaged www.pi-media.co.uk by the government’s complicity. “We may not have engaged in torture ourselves, but time and time again we have turned a blind eye,” said Davis, adding, “There is now little doubt that the government operated a secret policy of complicity in torture in the years after 9/11.” The veteran lawmaker said that the UK participated in the I January 2015 CIA’s rendition program, in which suspects were apprehended and extra-judicially transferred from one country to another in order to employ torture for the purpose of interrogation. Davis described the CIA’s interrogation methods as barbaric, adding that the UK’s failure to stand up to torture “casts a dark shadow over us all.” In addition, Davis criticized London for seeking to have Britain’s role in the CIA program censored from a US Senate report that was published. US Senate investigators concluded in the report that the program was highly mismanaged, poorly conducted and characterized by abuses far more widespread than the CIA previously conveyed to lawmakers. The US Senate report also said the interrogation techniques used by the CIA were an “ineffective means of acquiring accurate intelligence or gaining detainee cooperation.” UK PM urged to honour 2010 torture inquiry pledge Human rights groups urged David Cameron to honour his 2010 pledge to hold an independent, judge-led inquiry into allegations of British complicity in the US torture and rendition programme. In a letter sent to Downing Street, the organisations argue that the publication of a damning report by the Senate select committee on intelligence earlier this month has highlighted not only the horrors of the CIA’s torture programme, but also “the UK’s failure as a country to put our own house in order.” In December 2013 the government reneged on its pledge of an independent, judge-led inquiry and announced that the task would instead be passed to the Parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC). The NGOs have previously said that they were “deeply disappointed” by this decision, as the ISC “has neither the powers nor the independence necessary to get to the truth.” Executive director of legal action charity Reprieve Clare Algar said: “The Senate’s report on CIA torture has exposed the horrors of the programme. Yet we have still not had a clear answer on the involvement of the UK government in this shameful episode. That is why we need a fully independent inquiry, with the powers it needs to get to the truth. “Sadly, the proposed ISC inquiry — as the Prime Minister once said himself — is not up to the job. Four years ago, the government promised an independent, judge-led inquiry; one year ago, it U-turned on that promise. We are urging the Prime Minister to think again, and honour his original promise.” The letter is signed by the AIRE Centre, Amnesty International UK, Cage, Freedom from Torture, Justice, Liberty, Redress, Reprieve and Rights Watch UK. www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 ADVERTORIAL I5 6 I www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 ADVERTORIAL Mujtaba Biryani Rice (In Arabic, it means “The Chosen One”) India’s Longest & Finest Biryani Rice Mujtaba Biryani Rice is steamed or par-boiled then dried, which locks in that beautiful aromatic ﬂavours and ensures separation of each grain, cooked to perfection. 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A number of British lawmakers have signed a petition, demanding the release of a UK citizen held in the notorious US military prison in Guantanamo Bay. In an open letter published in the Daily Mail, they also called the detainee Shaker Aamer’s continued detention “shocking.” The campaign, called ‘We Stand with Shaker’ urged Prime Minister David Cameron to “pick up the phone to [US] President [Barack] Obama, and bring Shaker Aamer home.” Aamer is a Saudi Arabian national with residency in Britain. “What the US would like to do with Mr Aamer is irrelevant, as the British government has a nonnegotiable responsibility to secure the return of Mr Aamer, given his status as a legal British resident,” the letter read. It went on to say: “We can find no reason why, given the special relationship between our two countries, the PM cannot call President Obama and tell him that Mr Aamer must be returned to the UK as swiftly as possible.” This is while Gordon Duff, the senior editor of Veterans Today, has told Press TV’s UK Desk that he does not “think the British government has ever taken a role of confronting the US about Guantanamo. They have as many secrets involved in the rendition program as anyone else.” Duff said: “We get almost no Britain’s Guantanamo detainee is accused of having worked for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and that he was a key recruiter in Britain, and supporter of the militant group. Aamer was captured in Afghanistan in December 2001 and was transferred to Guantanamo in February 2002. Meanwhile, the UK MPs’ petition said Aamer had been cleared for release twice by US authorities, in 2007 and 2009, but this had never gone ahead and that there may be plans to deport him to Saudi Arabia. “From there, Mr Aamer would be unable to talk about the torture and abuse he has witnessed and personally experienced during his long imprisonment,” it said. The petition comes after the release of a damning US Senate report into the CIA’s torture of the socalled terror suspects. UK Govt unaware of identities of Brits facing execution in Pakistan Questions have been raised over whether the UK Government is aware of the number and identity of British citizens on death row in Pakistan, in the wake of the re-start of executions in the country in the past fortnight. On 19 December, Pakistan abandoned a moratorium on executions which had been in place for several years, in response to the terrorist atrocities in Peshawar. However, concerns have been raised by the UN and NGOs including the legal charity Reprieve that many of those now facing hangings had no connection with the Peshawar massacre or with terrorism at all. They include a significant number of British citizens who are on death row in Pakistan following conviction for non-violent drugs offences. Research by Reprieve has found that the Pakistani authorities list six British nationals – five men and one woman – as being under sentence of death for alleged drugs offences. However, contact with the Foreign Office (FCO) has suggested that they are aware of the identity of just one of those individuals. www.pi-media.co.uk 8 I ADVERTORIAL www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS I9 Nurseries ‘must understand risk of radicalisation’ Terror bill In Case You Missed It The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill seeks to place a duty on the education sector, along with other authorities such as the police, to ‘have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.’ A consultation is now open on the accompanying draft guidance, which sets out the scope of this duty and other responsibilities associated with it. Under the guidance, all registered early years childcare providers and maintained nursery schools ‘should demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the risk of radicalisation in their area, institution or body. This risk will vary greatly and can change rapidly…. Whilst the type and scale of activity … will vary, all specified authorities will need to give due consideration to it.’ The strategy puts the onus on those in leadership positions, such as nursery owners and managers, to ensure all staff ‘understand the risk of radicalisation’, ‘build the capabilities to deal with it’, ‘communicate and promote the importance of the duty’, and ensure staff ‘implement the duty effectively.’ The move is part of the Prevent strategy, first published in 2011, to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. This duty follows changes made earlier this year to rules around funded places. Settings which fail to demonstrate ‘fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs’ will not receive local authority funding. The consultation runs until noon on Friday 30 January 2015 and can be accessed at www.gov. uk/government/consultations/ prevent-duty Govt withdraws grants to Muslim charities Two Muslim charities have lost their government grants following allegations of links to Islamic extremist activities, in UK. Birmingham based ‘Islamic Help’ and the London based Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) protested the government’s decision, after the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) revoked their grants The government informed the charities it did not want to support groups “linked to individuals who fuel hatred, division and violence.” In a written statement, DCLG Minister Eric Pickles said Islamic Help invited “an individual with extremist views” to speak at one of its public events, while the MCF – an umbrella organization for the UK’s Muslim charities – had “failed to reassure us that they have robust measures in place to investigate and challenge their members.” The decision could affect a number of Muslim charities across the country, particularly those working with groups in Syria and Iraq. The DCLG has declined to name the “extremist speaker” involved with Islamic Help. A spokesman for the charity said the speaker did not have a formal connection with them. Islamic Help is known for its outreach programs in areas including Palestine, Syria and the Central African Republic. It told the BBC its events were designed to raise money for its humanitarian work, not providing a political platform to speakers. The group is set to lose around £7,000, a spokesperson for the group claimed. Both Islamic Help and the MCF received government grants through DCLG’s Faith Minorities in Action project, which was launched by the department last year, in conjunction with the Extremism Taskforce. The scheme was introduced to encourage interfaith initiatives and to counter extremist activities in the UK. However, the DCLG said the MCF was not meeting the targets of the scheme, and not monitoring the activities of its members closely enough. The MCF hit back at the government’s claim, saying the termination of the Faith Minorities in Action project would cease ‘vital work’ in building bridges between communities. “The MCF is extremely disappointed at the decision by the Department for Communities and Local Government to discontinue its support for the Faith Minorities in Action project,” an MCF spokesperson told RT. “The MCF is committed to creating an integrated Muslim charitable network in the UK and to building partnerships which have been a key part of its work since its inception. We reject the basis on which this funding decision has been made.” 10 I ADVERTORIAL www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS I 11 The number of Britons choosing Islam doubled in the past decade The number of Britons choosing to become Muslims has nearly doubled in the past decade, with one of the most comprehensive attempts to estimate how many people have embraced Islam, according to news source the Independent. While previous estimates placed the number of Muslim converts between 14,000 and 25,000 an inter- faith think tank estimates the real figures could be as high as 100,000 with nearly 5,000 converts each year nationally. A poll by Faith Matters, surveyed converts living in Britain and broke down what proportion of Muslim converts there were living in London. The researchers polled mosques with results showing 1,400 conversions in the capital and when extropolated this meant approximately 5,200 people converting to Islam each year – figures that were comparible with French and German survey research results. The report also noted how converts were portrayed by the media and noted that more than 62% of news articles made mention of converts and in particular made references to terrorism and extremism. Many who convert face immense challenges with loss of family and friends, adapting to new environments, having to abandon family traditions that are against Islam and the lonliness that this can bring and many other factors that many Muslims born into the faith don’t necessarily need to deal with. With almost 2.7 million Muslims living in Britain, the number of converts increasing means more Islamic represenation within the country. UK police using bail to stop protests’ A recent report says police forces in the United Kingdom have been using pre-charge bail to silence protest movements in Britain. According to figures obtained by The Guardian, around 85 percent of those barred from protesting when bailed were not charged with a crime. “Bail is becoming an instrument that is being used by people without recourse to the judicial process. It is to essentially punish protesters and curb their right to demonstrate,” leading human rights law firm Bindmans’ Rachel Harger said. The data, collected using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), suggest that the Metropolitan Police have banned around 500 people since 2008, with about only 15 ever having been charged. At least 732 people have also been banned by police forces in England and Wales since 2008, with none having been charged. The Defend the Right to Protest said that the recent rise in the use of pre-charge bail against protesters was tied to the mass arrests and stringent conditions placed on demonstrations by police forces. Under UK police bail rules, when a defendant is bailed without charge, he is allowed to leave the police station, usually under certain restrictions. The defendant is given a date to return to the police station. Police usually carry out their investigations during this time period to decide whether the defendant will be charged when he returns. 12 I ADVERTORIAL www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 PAY DIRECT INTO OUR ACCOUNT Account Name: World Charity Organisation Bank: Lloyds TSB Account no: 23710360 Sort Code: 30-90-57 UK to send “hundreds” of military personnel to Iraq www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 The U.K. is to send “the very low hundreds” military personnel to Iraq to train Kurdish and Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the country’s defense secretary has said. In an exclusive, Michael Fallon told the Daily Telegraph that military trainers would be sent there next LOCAL / WORLD NEWS month to work at four “safe areas” with one in Kurdish region and the other three others close to capital Baghdad. In addition to 50 British troops who are already in Iraq training local forces, Fallon noted that a small team of combat-ready soldiers will also be sent to defend the military I 13 training personnel the coming up month. Underscoring that combatready troops are not going to be taking part in defeating against ISIL but to defend the British personnel if necessary, he added that “The trainers themselves will have to be protected but the training areas are not where the fighting is. They are in safe areas but obviously there’s always a small element of force protection.” Fallon also noted that British position will focus onto the training apart from air strikes: “Our role now, apart from the air strikes, is increasingly going to be on training. Particularly, a key skill we are going to be helping with is counter-IED, particularly vehicle explosive devices which the Iraqi army hasn’t come across for some time, they don’t know how to handle, they haven’t got the kit or the bomb disposal people to deal with it. We have not finalised numbers yet - obviously we have got a lot of kit back from Afghanistan that we can make available - but we are talking very low hundreds.” EU court rejects UK bid to opt out of benefits deal with Turkey Britain could be forced to pay benefits to more Turkish migrants and their families after losing yet another EU court case, the Daily Mail reported. The UK had argued it should be allowed to opt out of an agreement giving workers from Turkey the same benefit rights as those from the EU. It took the European Commission to court in a last-ditch attempt to get out of the deal. But in a ruling quietly announced, according to the report, Britain lost the case and was told by judges at Europe’s highest court it could not Contact: opt out. It means any Turks who are allowed to come to Britain to work will be able to claim benefits for themselves and their families as well as building up pensions, which they could then transfer back to their home countries if they retire there. Editorial Team on email: [email protected] EU court takes Hamas off terrorist organisations list 14 I WORLD NEWS The European Union’s second highest court annulled the bloc’s decision to keep Hamas on a list of terrorist organisations, but temporarily maintained the measures for a period of three months or until an appeal was closed. The General Court of the European Union said the contested measures were not based on an examination of Hamas’s acts but on imputations derived from the media and the Internet. The court said it was nevertheless maintaining the effects of the www.pi-media.co.uk measures in order to ensure that any possible future freezing of funds would be effective. ‘’In today’s judgment, the General Court finds that the contested measures are based not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities, but on factual imputations derived from the press and the internet,’ the EU court said in a press release. ’The Court annuls the contested measures while temporarily maintaining the effects of those measures in order to ensure the I January 2015 effectiveness of any possible future freezing of funds,” the court added. “The effects of the measures are maintained for a period of three months, or, if an appeal is brought before the Court of Justice, until this appeal is closed.’’ Several European diplomats received instructions to be ready for the possibility that the Luxemburgbased court would remove Hamas from the European terror list, Israel’s Channel 10 earlier reported, quoting unnamed European diplomats as having said. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that his group “looks forward to seeing the European Union removing it from the terror list to correct the political mistake committed by the decision to include it.” “The inclusion of Hamas in the terror list was a big mistake that was unfair for the Palestinian people,” Abu Zuhri told The Anadolu Agency. “Hamas is a Palestinian resistance movement and its activity is limited to resisting the [Israeli] occupation, which is a right enshrined in all international laws,” he added. Rights groups wants US special prosecutor on torture U.S. civil rights groups called on the U.S. Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the CIA’s use of torture and other extreme measures during interrogations. The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA included significant new information about the nature of tactics, the decisions that led to their use and the number of prisoners involved. Administration officials have said the Justice Department has no plans to reopen its investigation into the conduct of CIA interrogators toward detainees captured after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. But the groups said the report’s findings warranted a fresh criminal investigation. “We believe the failure to conduct a comprehensive criminal investigation would contribute to the notion that torture remains a permissible policy option for future administrations; undermine the ability of the United States to advocate for human rights abroad; and compromise Americans’ faith in the rule of law at home,” the groups wrote. International human rights monitors and politicians, including United Nations figures, have also called for criminal investigations of U.S. officials implicated in the CIA’s harsh interrogations. The summary, compiled by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the CIA employed “brutal” interrogation techniques including the use of nudity, waterboarding, sleep deprivation for as long as 180 hours, and “rectal hydration.” It said lawmakers and the White House were misled by the agency about the effectiveness and the extent of the brutality of the techniques. It also said a special prosecutor must be permitted access to the files from a 2009 Justice Department investigation that examined alleged law violations by the CIA while interrogating terror suspects at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and at a secret prison in Afghanistan in 2002. That inquiry ended in 2012 without bringing criminal charges. www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 WORLD NEWS I 15 Palestinian president signs up to join international criminal court www.pi-media.co.uk The president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has made the long-expected move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mahmoud Abbas signed the documents necessary for Palestine to join 20 international organizations, including the ICC. The move would enable PA to take action against Israel for committing war crimes against the Palestinian people. The United State and Israel swiftly reacted to the move with the US State Department spokesman, Edgar Vasquez, calling it “counterproductive.” Abbas’ decision is believed to be closely related to the outcome of the UN Security Council meeting in which the body failed to pass a resolution requiring Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian lands captured in 1967. The ICC has the legal authority to prosecute individuals for war crimes, something that Israelis have been repeatedly accused of over the massacre of Palestinians. Israel waged a massive war on the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza strip in July 2014, killing thousands of civilians including women and children for almost 51 consecutive days in what was described by international observers as a blatant crime against humanity. On October 8, Palestine secured an observer status at the ICC. The position was granted to Palestine at the summit meeting of the 122 ICC member states in New York. The ICC can prosecute individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since 1 July 2002, when the Rome statute came into force. Bangladesh ex-minister gets death sentence for war crimes A former Bangladeshi minister has been sentenced to death after being found guilty of war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971. Syed Mohammad Kaiser was found guilty of 14 of the 16 charges against him by the International Crimes Tribunal -- a domestic court. Kaiser was a former leader of the Jatiya Party, which is now in coalition with the ruling Awami League party. The death penalty was awarded for seven of the charges against Kaiser, who was a leader of the Muslim League during the 1971 war for independence from Pakistan. The tribunal has previously handed down 13 verdicts, seven of which were against current leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islamic party, two against former members of the party and the other two from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Five of the Jamaat-e-Islami leaders were given death sentences, with the first execution, of Abdul Quader Mollah, carried out in December 2013. Another leader, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, is awaiting execution after his final appeal was rejected in November. The International Crimes Tribunal was set up in 2009 in Bangladesh to investigate and prosecute suspects who committed crimes against humanity - including killings, rape and the destruction of entire villages - in 1971 and who collaborated with the then Pakistan army. According to Bangladesh’s official figures, there were 3 million people killed during the war. Some international observers and human rights groups have criticized the tribunal, claiming not all suspects were given fair trials. 16 I WORLD NEWS ww.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 UN keeping trapped CAR Muslims from leaving: HRW Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the United Nations peacekeepers are collaborating with the Central African Republic (CAR) in order to prevent hundreds of Muslims trapped in the country’s western region from leaving. According to the international rights group, 1,750 Muslims, mostly ethnic Peuhl herders, have been trapped in Yaloke, Carnot, and Boda since late 2013 and early 2014, after fleeing attacks by Christian militiamen. The HRW said that the interim government of CAR was preventing the trapped Muslims living in poor conditions from leaving the country for fear of being accused of ethnic cleansing. “Those trapped in some of the enclaves face a grim choice: leave and face possible attack from antiBalaka fighters, or stay and die from hunger and disease,” Africa researcher with HRW, Lewis Mudge, said. “While there are good reasons to ensure that the country’s Muslim population does not diminish further, under the current circumstances, the government’s policy of no evacuations is absolutely indefensible.” The group has also quoted witnesses as saying that UN peacekeepers had pulled Muslims attempting to leave the western region from their trucks. Authorities said at least 20 people had been killed in recent violence between armed groups after Christian militiamen launched an attack on members of the Muslim Seleka group in Bambri. The Central African Republic descended into chaos December of last year, when Christian armed groups launched coordinated attacks against the Seleka group, which had toppled the government in March 2013. On December 5, 2013, France invaded its former colony after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution giving the African Union (AU) and France the go-ahead to send troops to the country. Despite the presence of some 8,000 UN and 2,000 French peacekeepers in CAR, the conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced about a million people, has not been resolved. Rights groups have in a few occasions reported that Muslims in the war-torn country “are being butchered” at the hands of the Christians. Syrian nursery turns into orphanage A kindergarten in the northern province of Idlib has turned into an orphanage after becoming home to tens of children who lost one or both of their parents in Syria’s civil war. Rawdat Al-Jinan kindergarten in the town of Salqin has basic facilities, but nevertheless, it provides orphans with education and other needs. “My father was killed in a regime strike in Aleppo,” Mohamed Khair Al-Janoudi, one of the orphans at the kindergarten told The Anadolu Agency. “He was a salesman and did not belong to any opposition party.” Five orphan brothers whose father belonged to the Free Syrian Army also live at the facility. Their father was killed as he returned from a meeting with group members. Jamil Mosaitah, the kindergarten’s manager, said the facility was turned into an orphanage by a relief organization. Thousands of Syrian children have been killed by Assad regime forces, while others lost their parents and had no choice but to quit school and become breadwinners for their families. Opposition forces, in March 2011, began protests to topple President Bashar Al-Assad, a struggle that turned into a civil war in July of that year after regime forces violently suppressed protests. More than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began, according to UN figures published last August. Amnesty International said more than 10 million people have been forced out of their homes; at least four million of them have become refugees, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. AA www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 WORLD NEWS I 17 Austrian Muslims accuse government of rights violations Austria’s Muslim organizations said the government violated the rights of an estimated 600,000 Muslims in the country after officials sent a proposed law, dubbed the “Islamic Bill,” to parliament without first consulting the Muslim community. “The government has sent the bill to parliament without considering our viewpoint,” Mouddar Khouja, founder of Austrian Muslims Initiative, said at a press conference. Khouja said Muslims are considered second class citizens in Austria and the government does not take into account the existing laws on religious freedoms and UN laws on freedom of religion and belief. According to the bill, employing preachers from abroad would be prohibited. Imams would instead be trained at Austrian universities. Currently, some 300 imams work in the country, including 65 Turkish preachers. The proposed legislation also contains a new overseas funding ban. “This bill is not a security or police law,” Khouja said. “About 600,000 Muslims and future generations are concerned.” “It is unacceptable that the government sent the bill to parliament without consulting the Muslim community,” Austria Turkish Islamic Union President Fatih Karadas said. At the press conference, attendees said they collected 200,000 signatures that will be submitted to the parliament, a move backed by many Muslim organizations. Islam has been an official religion in Austria since 1912. The Islam law, known as Islam Gesetz, was introduced by Austria’s last emperor, Franz Josef, after the AustroHungarian Empire annexed BosniaHerzegovina. Danish parliament approves dual citizenship law In Case You Missed It The Danish parliament approved a long-awaited bill to allow dual citizenship in Denmark after Danes made a sustained demand for it at home and abroad. The bill was approved with no major opposition with 89 Danish parliamentarians voting yes and 19 opting no. The no votes came mainly from the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party and the Conservative People’s Party. The law will enter into force on Sept. 1, 2015 and allow dual citizenship for Danes abroad and non-Danes at home. Danes who lost their citizenship after acquiring another will now immediately regain their Danish citizenship. It will be valid for citizens aged 18 and above. The new law also states that wherever a child is born from a Danish parent, he or she will automatically get Danish citizenship. The old law prohibited Danes with foreign citizenship to take part in elections. Expats living in Denmark will have to meet existing requirements for acquiring Danish citizenship, including a permanent residency permit and passing a naturalization test on Danish society, culture and history, according to “The Local,” a Danish digital media. However, foreigners in Denmark who were earlier required to renounce their original citizenship before applying for a Danish citizenship are now entitled to reapply for the citizenship of their country of origin. Social-liberal Member of Parliament, Zenia Stampe, had last year called for a review of Denmark’s stance on dual citizenship. According to Anne Marie Dalgaard, Danes Worldwide secretary-general, the largest immigrant group in Denmark is the 20,000 Danes who choose to return every year after acquiring a foreign citizenship. The politically independent organization, Danes Worldwide, has been representing Danes living abroad since 1919. Until now, Denmark has been one of the last EU countries including Austria, Norway and the Netherlands whose governments continue to restrict dual citizenship. 18 I WORLD NEWS www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 Afghan Taliban decry “biased” U.N. report on civilian casualties Afghanistan’s Taliban accused the United Nations of “enmity and political motives” in reporting that three-quarters of a recordhigh number of civilians killed and wounded this year were victims of the insurgents. Denouncing a U.N. report as “biased and unfounded”, the fighters accused U.N. investigators of intentionally skewing statistics to blame the Taliban. The United Nations said that for a second year, insurgents were responsible for about 75 percent of civilians killed, with the toll reaching a new high of 3,188 through November, more than for any other full year since it began tracking numbers. The Taliban said in a statement emailed to journalists the assertion was false. “Civilian casualties in the current Swiss in favour of burqa ban - survey A great majority of Swiss population is in favour of a ban on burqa in public areas worn by Muslim women, according to Swiss media. A recent opinion poll in Switzerland has found that over 60% of people who participated in the survey said that burqa must be banned in public spaces. The German and Frenchspeaking parts of the country are ready to vote for a ban on the garment, Swiss media reported. A member from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party is planning to launch a campaign in 2015 for a referendum on banning the burqa. In 2013, a two-third of people in Italian-speaking Ticino in the country’s south voted “Yes” on a public ban, however, the decision is still waiting for an approval by federal authorities. www.pi-media.co.uk war are mainly caused by the heavy blind U.S. air bombardments,” the militants said, citing disputed reports that a U.S. air strike killed several school children. They also asserted that Afghan army, police and militias indiscriminately kill civilians and slammed the United Nations for classifying government officials who were assassinated as civilians - the Taliban consider all Afghan government workers legitimate targets. The United Nations called on all sides of the war to work to limit civilian deaths and injuries. German mosque vandalized with swastikas and racist graffiti A half-built mosque in the northwestern German town of Dormagen has been spray painted with swastikas and racist slogans. The act of vandalism comes as anti-Islamic demonstrations continue to grow across Germany. The attack on the mosque has coincided with the rise of the controversial “anti-Islamization” PEGIDA movement in Germany. The group has been holding demonstrations in cities throughout the country. Head of Neuss district police, Hans-Jürgen Petrauschke said he was horrified by the racially motivated crime. There is “no place for the spread of xenophobia or the glorification of the Nazi past” in the Rhein-Kreis Neuss area,” he told reporters. State security from Düsseldorf have begun an investigation into the crime and have also announced an reward of 1,500 euros ($1,833) for information leading to the arrest of the vandals. I January 2015 WORLD NEWS I 19 EU home to secret US torture centres: European Parliament www.pi-media.co.uk Members of the European Parliament say the EU has conspired with the United States to commit acts of terror by providing it with secret torture centre. A US senate committee revealed a report last week, saying EU members including Poland, Romania and Lithuania were home to secret CIA interrogation centers following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. According to the report, waterboarding, rectal feeding and chaining people to walls were among the torture techniques used against detainees by the CIA. “The problem is that there are Fascist MEPs that defend the practice of torture. The problem is that they are wearing a jacket and a tie and they are considered democrats. The problem is that in this chamber, some of these MEPs, collaborated with the CIA on the rendition of prisoners that were about to be tortured. That is the problem,” a Spanish MEP, Pablo Iglesias, said. Rendition by the US effectively means that a terror suspect is kidnapped without arrest or trial and then taken to a detention center, the fate that many EU citizens met. “The story is not finished. It’s only begun. These are our citizens, EU citizens. They are languishing in prison, they have been tortured repeatedly. We want them back and we should be representing them,” a British MEP, Claude Moraes, said. Analysts argue that US secret agents should not be afforded international impunity. In a statement, the European Commission has said it is concerned that 136 prisoners are still being held in the Guantanamo prison and many of those prisoners have not even been brought to trial. Campaigners say the closest US ally, the EU, continues to purposely ignore Washington’s breaches of numerous international laws. Security experts also believe that it is very likely that the US still has secret interrogation centers inside EU countries. US Muslim groups in gov’t talks to overturn UAE’s terror list ruling The largest US-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation has met with US government officials in a bid to overturn a ruling by the UAE to add it to a list of terrorist groups. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement that its representatives met with US government officials about the recent move to add CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS) to the blacklist. In a joint statement, CAIR and MAS said: “The Council on AmericanIslamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) met with senior US government officials regarding the UAE’s recent inclusion of the two legally-operating organisations on a list of groups it considers to be terrorist entities. “The two American Muslim organisations and the US government pledged to work together to achieve a positive solution to the UAE designations. “A State Department spokesman rejected the designations two days after the list was issued and affirmed that department officials meet regularly with representatives of CAIR and MAS.” CAIR launched a protest after being classed as a terrorist organisation on a new list issued by the UAE. The list also includes high profile names such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front and ISIL. In response to criticism, a senior UAE official said groups placed on the list can appeal against the designation if their “approach has changed”. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on his Twitter account the law included clauses giving “organisations the availability to appeal through evidence and via the courts to have their names eliminated from the list”. CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organisation. It said in the statement that its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. www.pi-media.co.uk 20I ADVERTORIAL www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 WORLD NEWS I 21 Brotherhood leader’s military trial set for January 11 In Case You Missed It Egypt’s military prosecution has scheduled the trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 311 group members and supporters to January 11. “The trial for Badie and the 311 others has been set for January 11 in [Ismailia over the arson of the Ismailia courts complex,” a military source told The Anadolu Agency. Last month, Ismailia’s public prosecutor referred the case to a military trial over charges of committing riots and violence on August 14, 2013, after the police dispersed major sit-ins in Rabaa alAdawiyah and al-Nahda squares in Cairo and Giza. They are also being charged with attacking Ismailia’s court complex and setting the building ablaze. The military prosecution included to the list of charges rioting and committing violent acts against police and military forces, which led to the death of ten people. “The referral of Badie and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders to a military court is the first of its kind since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi,” a lawyer with Morsi’s defense team told The Anadolu Agency. “They were referred to a military court retroactively, which is legally unusual,” he added. The case was referred to a military court in line with a decree issued by Egyptian President AbdelFattah al-Sisi in October tasking the army with guarding public facilities and vital state institutions for two years, during which these facilities would be treated as military facilities. People accused of attacking or blocking the operation of these facilities would, thereupon, be referred to military courts. Under the decree, incidents that occurred before the law was issued can still be subject to it as long as the prosecutor general did not decide on them. International rights watchdog Human Rights Watch warned in November that such decree risks “militarizing” the prosecution of protesters and political dissidents. The HRW insisted that military courts, which operate under the mantle of the Defense Ministry, typically deny defendants’ rights accorded by civilian courts, including the right to be informed of the charges against them and the rights to access a lawyer and to be brought promptly before a judge following arrest. Syria to Gaza: death to death awaits refugees Palestinians who sought refuge in Syria, and who ultimately returned to Gaza are having a difficult time as a result of Israel’s recent attacks and blockades. Iman el-Havrani left two years ago with her family and is having an incredibly difficult time. Expecting twins, and her husband being a security guard at a government hospital, says that she has not received her salary for five months, and that the rent for their home has been unpaid and are forced to look for another property. Getting by on welfare and handouts from charity organisations Havrani said that they are expecting a far more difficult time. “we know what pain tastes like. We survived two Israel attacks in 2012 and 2014. In the last attack my brother Abdullah was martyred. We ran from death to death”. Havrani has accused the Department of Social Welfare and the UNRWA from failing to protect them. Escaping the war to Gaza with her family, another Gaza citizen Abdullah el-Biltaci said that while working as a civil engineer in Syria, he said he was working as a labourer in Gaza, saying that, “They made problems with my diploma”. After the war began, fearing for his childrens lives, Biltaci said that they were told that Palestinians living standards were better in Gaza, “But once we arrived we were faced with a different situation. I had done my masters, and now I someone who is looking for work, carrying bricks. My diploma became a problem here. Those who provide employment didnt want someone who was more educated than them”. Staying in a home provided by other good samaritans, Biltaci said that their first home was bombed, and during the attacks, a shrapnel had hit him and he was now seeking medical treatment at hospital however didn’t have the money to get to the hospital. With those from Syria seeking refuge in Gaza, the Palestinan Situation Control Committee Chairman Atif el-Ammavi said that they faced serious problems and that the Employment Department couldn’t provide their unemployment benefits for five months. In the most recent attacks, Ammawi stated that 60 families who arrived from Syria were severely disadvantaged and that 12 of their homes had been completely destroyed. 22 I SPORT www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 British Asian Rugby Association celebrates 10 years The British Asian Rugby Association (BARA) recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a reception at the House of Commons. Established in 2004 by dual code international and Kick It Out ambassador Ikram Butt (England Rugby League and Pakistan Rugby Union), BARA has been a force for good in terms of promoting community cohesion across the UK through both codes of the oval ball game. The House of Commons event, made possible through the sponsorship of Greg Mulholland MP, featured a host of keynote speakers including former professional footballer and Football Association anti-racism champion Paul Elliott CBE and Mark Pawsey MP, Chair of the Commons and Lords Rugby Club. In addition Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence against women and girls, was present to talk about the White Ribbon Campaign that was recently adopted as a cause by BARA. National Sport England board member Hanif Malik of the Leedsbased Hamara centre and Qari Asim MBE, Imam at Leeds Makkah Mosque also delivered speeches. Ikram Butt commented: “We’ve come a very long way in the past decade with many effective initiatives and projects delivered within communities across the nation that seek to build bridges and cement community relations through sport. “Both codes of rugby represent excellent vehicles for promoting social progress and I would like to put on record my hearth felt thanks to each and every individual and organisation that has supported our efforts since 2004 especially Greg Mulholland MP whose support made this event possible. “Now, more than ever, we need to promote positive messages about anti-racism, discrimination and domestic violence and BARA will continue to keep banging the drum for progressive initiatives such as these. “I look forward to BARA celebrating 20 years of success in 2024!” added Ikram who was the first player of Asian heritage to represent England at either code of rugby and starred for Leeds, Featherstone Rovers and London Broncos. He went on to play for Pakistan’s rugby union team and is widely recognised as one of the most influential British Asian role models after picking up a number of awards for his work with BARA. The House of Commons event was supported by Stradbrokes Solicitors, Lincoln Arthur, Malik Halls student accommodation, the Hamara Centre in Leeds, the British Asian Trust and AIS accountants. Afridi to quit after World Cup Pakistani all-rounder The 34-yearold Shahid Afridi announced he would retire from one-day cricket after next year’s World Cup but continue to play Twenty20 until 2016. “I will retire from one-day cricket after the World Cup,” Afridi told a press conference. “I wanted to leave on the peak. I think it’s the right time to leave so that my place goes to a youngster and there are very talented players in Pakistan.” Australia and New Zealand will co-host the World Cup from February 14 to March 29. The swashbuckling batsman hit the fastest one-day hundred off just 36 balls in only his second match, against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996, a record which New Zealand’s Corey Anderson broke earlier this year. Anderson made a 35-ball hundred against the West Indies. Afridi holds the record for most sixes in one-day internationals with 342, and is the only player to have hit more than 400 sixes across all three formats of the game. He has hit 49 sixes in Twenty20 cricket and 52 before his retirement from Tests in 2010. As a leg-break bowler he has 391 wickets in 389 one-day internationals. His tally of wickets in Twenty20 cricket stands at 81. “My journey has seen many ups and downs but now I am feeling satisfied that I am leaving on my own terms,” Afridi said. “People don’t know, but international cricket is tense all the time,” said Afridi, whose ambition is to complete 8,000 runs and 400 wickets. He currently has 7,870 runs in one-day cricket. “I want to win the World Twenty20 in India in 2016 before quitting international cricket,” said Afridi. Afridi led Pakistan to the World Cup semifinal in 2011 before being removed after he fell out with thenPakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt and coach Waqar Younis. www.pi-media.co.uk SPORT I 23 I January 2015 Asian soccer head wants ‘illegal Israel practices’ stopped In Case You Missed It The head of Asian soccer declared his commitment to tackling the “illegal Israeli practices” hindering Palestinian soccer, adding that he expects measures to come in the new year after talks with FIFA President Sepp Blatter. AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Blatter both voiced their displeasure after Israeli army forces stormed the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) headquarters in Jerusalem. PFA head Jibril Al Rajoub called on FIFA to sanction Israel and show them “the red card” after the incident, which he said followed the blocking of Palestinian players from leaving to play in international tournaments. The trio met in Morocco along with Union of Arab National Olympic Committees President Prince Talal bin Bader Al Saud, with Shaikh Salman confident measures would come against former Asian Football Confederation members Israel by May. “Mr. Blatter showed a significant understanding of the suffering of football in Palestine due to the illegal Israeli practices which are against all international charters and conventions,” the Bahraini said in a statement after the meeting. “This subject will be raised at the next meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee and we are confident that the next stage will see steps taken to support football in Palestine, and give guarantees to stop the Israeli violations. “Palestine is an important member of the Asian Football Confederation and we will not spare any effort in supporting the PFA, and will work together to stop the Israeli plans to hinder the development of Palestinian football, which has achieved tremendous success of late despite all the difficulties and obstacles.” Several FIFA meetings are scheduled to take place in March but the next executive committee meeting of soccer’s world governing body will take place in Zurich in May. Palestine, who became FIFA members in 1998, will compete in their first Asian Cup next month, with Al Rajoub unsure whether all their squad will be allowed to travel to Australia for the Group D matches against holders Japan, former winners Iraq and fellow West Asians Jordan. Al Rajoub said that his side, ranked 113th by FIFA, had been without six players for the Challenge Cup in the Maldives after Israeli forces blocked their departure. However, Palestine, who were named National Team of the Year by the AFC last month, managed to win the now defunct tournament to qualify for the 16-team Asian Cup. Alcohol firms shouldn’t sponsor sports: UK doctors Leading British doctors have demanded a ban to prevent alcohol companies from sponsoring sports clubs and events, claiming it encourages underage drinking. A group of leading British doctors, nurses, Accident and Emergency (A&E) specialists, and public health campaigners made the demand in a recent joint letter written to The Guardian. They urged UK ministers and lawmakers to ban multimillion-pound deals, which call for players to wear shirts with drinking brands printed on them. “Importantly, evidence shows that exposure to alcohol advertising leads young people to drink more and to drink at an earlier age,” the letter said. They say that such advertisements and sponsorships have become as commonplace “as advertising for cereal or soap powder.” “Shouldn’t our national sports be inspiring our children to lead healthy and positive lifestyles? It would be considered outrageous if high-profile teams like Everton or Celtic were to become brand ambassadors for tobacco, and so why is it acceptable for alcohol?” the letter added. The doctors also complained that self-regulation of alcohol advertising was not working “when it allows drink brands to dominate sporting events that attract children and adults,” and creates unconscious associations between sports and alcohol brands. Meanwhile, the UK government says it is content with the alcohol sponsorship Code of Portman, saying it has promoted responsible alcohol sponsorship agreements in the country. France, Russia, Ukraine, and Norway have already imposed such bans, while Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Republic of Ireland are considering such moves. www.pi-media.co.uk I FEATURED I January 2015 Lives in crisis: “conflict and education” 24 There is a hidden crisis in countries in the world where people are affected by conflict as it has an enormous impact on children’s ability to access education denying them the basic rights to attend school. They have no advocate and no voice to give them this right. The situation is worse for girls. For example, there is some of the most intense fighting in South Sudan. Many girls are either denied of an education or have never completed an education and some girls have become mothers of eight, nine or ten children but cannot read or write. We need to do something which will provide girls the chance to stay in school and complete their education, especially in poor remote areas. Girls as young as 11 year olds are offered marriage and these girls are determined to marry as culture and society dictates but this has a detrimental effect on the future of their life as they have no prospect of employment and are financially www.pi-media.co.uk dependent on the husband for the rest of their lives. Charities need to work on projects which provide a pillar of support for these girls and appoint mentors so these girls can see the bigger picture of life and marry when they truly ready. The crisis of schooling is not localised to South Sudan but the current situation in Syria has displaced young children – before the war nearly every child had a primary education. As many as 22% of the 22,000 state schools are unusable for education purposes. Consequently, conflict impacts millions of children in the short term and effects their future for years to come. Where there are conflicts, children are more likely to form themselves into gangs, be attracted and recruited by armies, and take part in sexual violence and so on. When these conflicts end, funding rarely restores the situation. Charities need to help here. To curtail this, the UN needs to play a larger role in bringing an end to the destruction of schools and education centres and their use by armed forces, armies and government during a countries conflict. Parents are afraid as one child said, “…they were hitting schools. Many children died so we got scared and stopped going to school. No children would go to school, it was too dangerous,” Saba, 13, year old in Syria. Improve Tuition is seeking to partner with some reputable world charities who can organise internet support in these countries so online tutoring classes in maths, English and science can be offered through tutors and teachers outside these conflict countries. If you are a charity and you are more interested in partnering with Improve Tuition in conflicted affected countries then why not contact us. By Mr G H Dabhad Educational Journalist www.ImproveTuition.org The Realm after Death (Barzakh) www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 It is the belief (‘Aqeedah) of deen that after death, mankind will enter a realm before the day of resurrection, which is known as Aalam-e-Barzakh. There are many sects in Islam who claim to be Muslims but do not believe in Aalam-e-Barzakh.’ This is a grave misunderstanding on behalf of these people. Death is the ultimate reality that no human can escape. It awes people and challenges all of their false claims of deviant beliefs. It puts an end to their hopes for prosperity and success in this life. Once there, they have no way of returning to this life. Almighty say’s in the noble Qur’aan: “Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Almighty), he say’s, “My lord! Send me back. Perhaps I may do good in that which I have left behind,” Indeed no! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is a Barzakh until the day when they are raised up.” The discussion regarding AlBarzakh is only based on authentic text from Almighty’s book and his messengers Sunnah. It has been mentioned in the Qur’aan and has been established by numerous Ahaadeeth. Al-Barzakh has two states. A person will either be punished in this realm, which is known, as “Azhaabul- FEATURED Qabr” or he will receive the blessings and bounties of Almighty due to his faith and good deeds, this is known as “Tan’eemu Ahlit-Taa’ah Fil Qabr.” Majority of the books on six Aqeedah only mention the former state and suffice on that. This is due to the fact that the narration regarding six Azhaabul-Qabr exceeds the narrations regarding Tan’eemu Ahlit-Taa’ah Fil Qabr. Also, due to the fact that there are more people who will be punished in the grave than those who shall receive bounties. It is reported in an very lengthy Hadeeth reported by Ahmed and Abu Dawood on the authority of Al-Baraa Bin Azhib, that they (the companions) when out with Almighty’s messenger to the funeral of a man from the Ansaar. They reached the location of the grave before it was dug. The messenger of Almighty sat down facing the Qibla; and they sat around him quietly, as if afraid to disturb birds standing on their heads. He held in his hand, a stick with which he was moving the earth, raising and lowering his eyes three times. He said to them (two or three times), “seek refuge in Almighty from the punishment of the grave.” Then he said (three times), “oh! Almighty I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave.” I 25 From this Hadeeth, we can see that the prophet himself seeked refuge from the punishment of the grave. No human being will be speared from the squeeze of the grave. However, the following Hadeeth indicates that it is not the same degree of severity for all people; some it would be Sa’ad bin Mu’az; however, he was squeezed once then released.” (Narrated by AtTabrani in Al-Kabir). However those who will receive the bounties and the mercy of Almighty will truly be in the gardens of bliss. Although it is apparent that the best protection against punishment in the grave is to carry the truth belief in Almighty and avoid the major sins. There are specific things that are mentioned in the Ahaadeeth that protect a person from the punishment of the grave. These things are as follows: Martyrdom on the battlefield (At-Tirmizhi), standing guard in the way of Almighty (Muslim), death caused by abdomen disease (AtTirmizhi), reciting suratul Mulk (AlHakim), Dying on Friday (Ahmed and At-Tirmizhi). Before the two above mentioned, it states that the person will be approached by Munkar and Nakeer. By Maulana Afikul Islam 26 I I FEATURED www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 LIFE AFTER DEATH Death Billions of human beings have walked on the surface of this earth. They all belonged to different nations and cultures. A few of them made history, for which they were remembered, whereas others were never to be mentioned again. Although each one was personally different from every other, their habits, thinking and tastes were different and they all had two things in common. First, they were all delivered from their mothers womb and secondly, they all tasted death. What is death? Death is when the soul is separated from the body; it receives reward and punishment and the separation of the soul from the body means loss of power of the soul over the body. The soul uses the body in its works; it catches by the hand, hears by the ears, sees by the eyes and acquires the knowledge of all things. Every soul shall taste death Almighty has said in the Qur’aan: “Every soul will taste death.” From this verse we know that death is such a thing that you can’t escape from even if you are in a house, which is built with metal walls, and has a massive padlock. Death will not only come when hair and the beard turn white, but it can come at any time, even when you are a baby, or an old person or a teenager or of middle age. Even if you are a king, a Prime Minister or a leader of one of the tribes. Death also came to the Prophet and to the companions of the Prophet , so if death can come to such great personalities, who are we to be so unmindful of it? Merits of the Remembrance of Death Know, O dear brothers, that the man, who is engrossed in the world and cheated by its charming coquetries, is unmindful of the remembrance of death. He does not remember death and when he is reminded of it, he does not like it. Almighty has said regarding such a man: “The deaths from which you flee away will meet you. Thereafter you will be led to the Knower of the world seen and unseen. You will then be informed of what you did.” Three categories of mankind Mankind is divided into three categories: (1) One who is addicted to the world, (2) One who is repentant, (3) One who has surrendered to Almighty. 1. The man who is addicted to the world does not remember death. He hates death and lives far away from the remembrance of Almighty. 2. The man who is repentant remembers death and fears it. He does not often like death because he fears to die before he makes sincere repentance or he purifies his soul from corrupt deeds and he does not think bad of meeting with death and Almighty because he is not fully prepared for it, but he is always busy in preparation to meet it. 3. The God-Addicted man always remembers death, as he likes to meet with his beloved. The loner cannot forget to meet with his beloved. This person loves to meet with death to save himself from the world of sin. For such a person the Prophet has said: “Death is a gift for the believer.” The reason is that the world is a prison for a believer as he lives here in difficulties. Death gives him relief from these difficulties. Once the Prophet came out towards the mosque. On the way he found some of the Sahâbâh engaged in jokes and telling stories. He said to them: “Remember death! Beware by the One in whose hand lies my life, if you had known what I know, you would have laughed little and wept more.” Thinking of death Know O’ brothers that death is terrible because people are unmindful of death. The person who does remember death does not think of it with his whole heart. The mode of thinking of death is to free your mind from all thoughts and only put his mind on death. Be like the one who embarks on dangerous sea voyage. When the thought of death fills his mind and becomes one shadow, his worldly happiness decreases and his heart breaks. The best method of thinking of death is to remember the death of friends, family and neighbours, their bodies buried under the ground and their conditions in the graves. How their beautiful faces have become food for worms and insects! How their wives have become widows and their children orphans! How stricken by extreme poverty, they are passing their days miserably one by one! Think how death overtook them suddenly without any notice and warning! How unprepared they were for death and the hereafter! So O’ brothers! Remember death as often as you can in the 24 hours of your daily life and make this your habit. It could be your turn next then your friends, family and neighbours will place you under the ground. Start now before if it is too late! The living and the dead From the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) it becomes clear that after the demise of a person we apparently take him/her to be lifeless, but that person remains alive, although his/her life is different from our lives. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said that the act of breaking a bone of the dead body causes the deceased as much pain as is felt by a living person. When a person dies, he/ she is consigned from this world to Barzakh. Regardless of the fact whether the dead body is laid in the grave or cremated, the demised retains power of understanding and comprehension. The life in the grave: Barzakh Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said that when the corpse is put in the bier and the people carry the dead body to the graveyard, if the deceased is a pious person, he/she requests them to carry him/her as fast as they can and if the deceased is a wrong-doer, he/ she curses the wretchedness in store for him/her and asks where he/she is being led to. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is also reported to have said that except human beings everything else hears the cries of the dead body. If a person were to hear the cries of the dead body, they would faint. The interval between death and the Day of Resurrection is called Barzakh. www.pi-media.co.uk I January 2015 Where next ? Although such descriptions as ultimate destruction of the material worlds are mentioned in the Holy Quraan, yet there is also a separate chapter on the Day of Resurrection, which is named by the same. These are short verses, full of eloquence, admirably unfolding the true picture of the Day of Judgement. Qiyamah: Doomsday On the Day of Qiyamah, the feet of the human being will not be able to move till he/she is questioned about five matters (and gives a reasonable account): 1. On what they spent their life, 2. In what pursuits they passed their youth, 3. From where did they earn wealth, 4. On what they spent it, 5. How much they acted upon the knowledge they required. Almighty states in the Holy Qur’aan: I swear by the Day of Resurrection; and I swear by the self reproaching person (a believer.does man (a disbeliver) think that We shall not assemble his bones? Yes, we are able to put together in perfect order the tips of his fingers. Nay! man denies reserruction and Reckoning. So he desires to continue commiting I 27 ye would not be returned unto Us (for account)?” (Surah Al-Mominoon:115) PUBLIC NOTICE sins. He asks: “When will be this Day of Resurrection? So, when the sight is dazed, and the moon will be eclipsed, and sun and moon are united(by going one into the other or folded up or deprived of their light etc). On that day man will cry: Where (is the refuge) to flee!” No! there is no refuge! Unto your Lord alone will be the place of rest that Day. On that day man will be informed of what he sent forward (of his eivil or good deeds), and what he left behind (of his good or evil traditions). Nay! Man will be a witness against himself [as his body parts (skin, hands, legs etc.) will speak about his deeds] Though he may put forth his excuses (to cover his evil deeds). (Surah Al-Qiyamah:1-15) In favour of the day of qiyamah The Holy Qur’aan has put forward excellent topics in favour of the Day of Resurrection. It states that the creation of the universe and the world we live in becomes meaningless if there is no conception of the final responsibility and if there is no difference between the rewards of those who lead a chaste life and those who do otherwise in this world. Almighty states in the holy Qur’aan: “ So do you think that We created you but, for naught, and that A unique difference The Holy Quraan states clearly relating belief that Almighty is just and His justice demands that there must be difference between the rewards of those who do good deeds and that punishment must be emended to those who live an evil life. Since it is not always necessary that good deeds are attended by good results in this life, it is necessary that somehow and somewhere man should get full reward for his good deeds and should be punished for his evil deeds. Almighty says: “Shall We treat those who believe and do good deeds of righteousness, the same as those who spread corruption (do mischief) on earth? Shall We treat those who guard against evil (pious), the same as those who turn aside from the right (wicked)? (Surah Saad:28) Another simile stated in the Holy Quraan is that of the dried land which comes to life after a few showers. It stands to reason that Lord Almighty who has created the entire universe can certainly recreate it if He so desires.
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