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UK turned blind eye to Shahid Afridi to quit Life after
CIA torture: says MP
after World Cup
strategy is
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
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
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
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I Editorial
thePassion 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
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] - - mob: 07506 466 385
Counter-terror strategy is
‘costing charities millions’
I January 2015
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
We are urging the Prime Minister
to think again, and honour his original
The letter is signed by the AIRE
Centre, Amnesty International UK,
Cage, Freedom from Torture, Justice,
Liberty, Redress, Reprieve and
Rights Watch UK.
I January 2015
I I January 2015
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UK MPs demand release
of British detainee at Gitmo
I January 2015
news [out of Britain as it] has a very
secretive government and no public
press whatsoever. Britain is heavily
involved and has been from the
beginning not only in the rendition
program but Britain’s internal politics
has been involved in large scale
“These stories are continually
being deflected and ignored and not
leading to the truth that Britain has a
totally penetrated and utterly corrupt
government,” he went on to say.
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.
I January 2015
I January 2015
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
A consultation is now open on the
accompanying draft guidance, which
sets out the scope of this duty and
other responsibilities associated with
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
I January 2015
I January 2015
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
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
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
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
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
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.
I January 2015
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UK to send “hundreds” of
military personnel to Iraq
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
month to work at four “safe areas”
with one in Kurdish region and the
other three others close to capital
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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
It said lawmakers and the
White House were misled by the
agency about the effectiveness
and the extent of the brutality of the
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.
I January 2015
I 15
Palestinian president signs
up to join international
criminal court
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
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
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.
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
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
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
“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,
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I January 2015
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
The proposed legislation also
contains a new overseas funding
“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
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
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
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.
I WORLD NEWS 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
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
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
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
I January 2015
EU home to secret US torture
centres: European Parliament
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
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
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
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.
20I ADVERTORIAL I January 2015
I January 2015
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
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
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
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
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
I SPORT 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
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
“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
“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
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 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.
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
They urged UK ministers and
lawmakers to ban multimillion-pound
deals, which call for players to wear
shirts with drinking brands printed on
“Importantly, evidence shows that
exposure to alcohol advertising leads
young people to drink more and to
drink at an earlier age,” the letter
They say that such
advertisements and sponsorships
have become as commonplace
“as advertising for cereal or soap
“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.
I January 2015
Lives in crisis: “conflict
and education”
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
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
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
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
The Realm after
Death (Barzakh)
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
Al-Barzakh has two states. A
person will either be punished in this
realm, which is known, as “Azhaabul-
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
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
Before the two above mentioned,
it states that the person will be
approached by Munkar and Nakeer.
By Maulana Afikul Islam
I January 2015
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
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
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
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
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.
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
1. On what they spent their life,
2. In what pursuits they passed
their youth,
3. From where did they earn
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)
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
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
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
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
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