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  • Morocco 'bans the sale and production of the burka'

    Afghan women wait to cast their ballot at a polling station dressed in blue and white burkasTwo women wearing the niqab walk on the beach in CasablancaImage copyrightAFPImage captionMorocco has not made any official announcement on the policy

    Morocco has banned the sale, production and import of the burka, according to local reports.

    Letters announcing the ban were sent out on Monday, giving businesses 48 hours to get rid of their stock, the reports stated.

    There was no official announcement from the government, but unnamed officials told outlets the decision was made due to "security concerns".

    It is unclear if Morocco is now intending to ban the garment outright.

    A high-ranking interior ministry official confirmed the ban to the Le360 news site, adding that "bandits have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes".

    The burka, which covers the entire face and body, is not widely worn in Morocco, with most women favouring the hijab, which does not shroud the face.

    Women in Salafist circles, and in more conservative regions in the north, are more likely to wear the niqab, which leaves the area around the eyes uncovered.

    The decision has split opinion in the North African kingdom, led by King Mohammed VI, who favours a moderate version of Islam.

    Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionThe burka is not popular in Morocco. Pictured: Women in Afghanistan wearing burkas

    Hammad Kabbaj, a preacher barred from standing in parliamentary elections in October over his alleged ties to "extremism", denounced the ban as "unacceptable", mocking the "Morocco of freedom and human rights" which "considers the wearing of the Western swimsuit on the beaches an untouchable right".

    Meanwhile, the Northern Moroccan National Observatory for Human Development said it considered the measure an "arbitrary decision that is an indirect violation of women's freedom of expression and wearing what reflects their identities or their religious, political or social beliefs".

    But Nouzha Skalli, a former family and social development minister, welcomed the ban as "an important step in the fight against religious extremism".

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    AT THE BEGINNING of December, The Intercept reported on eight major American technology firms unwilling to state on the record that they would not help the Trump administration create a national Muslim registry. Since then, 22 different advocacy groups petitioned those companies to respond —today, Facebook breaks its silence.

    The following statement was issued to The Intercept by a Facebook spokesperson:

    “No one has asked us to build a Muslim registry, and of course we would not do so.”

    The statement comes the day after another Facebook rep accidentally emailed BuzzFeed News, dismissing the question of the Muslim registry as a “straw man.” This now makes Facebook and Twitter the only two companies willing to say they will not help build an unconstitutional, draconian list of Muslims. If any of the rest would like to join, we encourage you to do so.

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  • Somalia ranked 4th among countries whose people are kind to strangers -Report

    Somalia has been ranked 4th among countries whose people are kind to strangers despite years of conflict, terrorist attacks and general unrest. The latest finding by CAF World Giving Index 2016 states that more people than ever are carrying out random acts of kindness towards strangers.

    The CAF World Giving Index measures the average percentage of people in each country who donate money, volunteer or help a stranger. This year, 140 countries were surveyed. Interesting enough, of the global top10, four countries are of the fragile states index; They are ranked as follows

    1. Iraq 81%
    2. Libya 79%
    3. Kuwait 78%
    4. Somalia 77%
    5. United Arab Emirates 75%
    6. Malawi 74%
    7. Botswana 73%
    8. Sierra Leone 73%
    9. United States of America 73%
    10. Saudi Arabia 73%

    While we might expect a collective crisis to bring out the worst in people – think opportunistic collaborators or war-time looters – it seems that most people rally round and support others. “It appears that increasingly fragile civil societies, coupled with greater need among the population, encourages more people to be responsive out of sheer necessity,” the CAF report argues, World Economic Forum reports



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  • Muslim fashion designer makes history with hijab collection at New York Fashion Week


    Anniesa Hasibuan's collection featured silk hijabs in ivory, peach and grey silk

    A Muslim fashion designer has made history as the first ever designer to feature hijabs in every outfit on a New York Fashion Week catwalk.

    Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan, 30, delighted crowds with her Spring Summer ’17 collection D’Jakarta. Models wore flowing trousers and skirts in silk, lace and chiffon in an array of pastel colours. One stand-out garment included an intricate gold lace dress, featuring metallic embroidery at the bust and a fringed lace train.

    Each model wore a hijab in gold, pale pink or dove grey silk. It is believed to be the first time a New York Fashion Week catwalk show has featured hijabs on every model. Ms Hasibuan also made history as the first Indonesian designer to be featured at the fashion week and says her designs were inspired by her home city of Jakarta, where she also has a boutique.

    The show consisted of 48 different looks, of which 10 were evening gowns and 38 were ready-to-wear pieces. 

    Following the show, Ms Hasibuan took to the runway, where she received a standing ovation from the audience.


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  • She attended a Donald Trump rally and later became a Muslim


    SHAFAQNA- “It was Trump’s hateful rhetoric that led me a year ago to pick up the Quran (I hadn’t read since studying comparative religions at university) and study it closely.”

    According to rahyafte, Time after time, we are made to realise how Allah is truly the best of planners. Donald Trump and his supporters over the last year have made their Islamophobic sentiments well known to the masses, but what they would have never imagined is an American, attending Trump’s rally, would end up embracing Islam.
    Lisa A. Shanklin wrote a heartfelt Facebook post on the day Donald Trump became president, the post has gone viral.
    Urge to read the Qur’ān:

    “It was Trump’s hateful rhetoric that led me a year ago to pick up the Quran (I hadn’t read since studying comparative religions at university) and study it closely.”

    Getting to know and listening to Muslims was the second key:

    “This led me to begin interacting with Muslims, and eventually to embracing Islam for myself. For that I am so thankful.”

    As a Muslim woman, she wasn’t going to shy away from donning the Hijab, in fact she will proudly profess her Muslim identity:

    “I have now decided that on Inauguration Day: January 20, 2017; I will begin wearing hijab in public at all times.”

    I will PROUDLY wear hijab and I will call people out on their bigotry of all kinds privately and publicly!”

    Such inspiring stories are to be found at every event which deemed to be bad. Yes, Islamophobic rhetoric continues to haunt us all, but always know there’s a shining light at some corner. May Allah continue to guide those who are sincerely looking for the truth.

    “They plan, and Allah plans. Surely, Allah is the best of planners.”

    (Quran 8:30)

    It was the Qur’ān that guided her and many others. Get a free copy of the English translated Qur’ān or read it online.

    Source -  http://en.shafaqna.com/news/39307

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  • First Muslim woman to wear hijab with military uniform settles in at Norwich


     Despite being the first woman allowed to wear a Muslim headscarf beneath her military uniform at the nation's oldest private military college, Sana Hamze says she doesn't feel like a pioneer. Her focus is on learning details of life as a "rook" at Vermont's Norwich University, in the school's Corps of Cadets and not running afoul of the many rules and customs new students are required to master.

    As do all aspiring members of the corps, she's learned to walk at the side of the pathways, make square corners when turning, line up before eating and sleep when she is told. Like her freshman classmates, she yearns for the time when her class is "recognized" and they become official members of the Corps of Cadets and the rook restrictions end.

    But the uniform for the 18-year-old student from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a little different. Unlike other female members of the corps, Hamze wears her Muslim hijab, or head covering, beneath.

    As part of her effort to fulfill her lifelong dream of continuing her family's legacy of military and public service while staying true to her devout religious beliefs, she asked for a uniform accommodation to wear the hijab when she was applying to colleges earlier this year. Norwich, one of the nation's six senior military colleges, agreed to make the accommodation.

    "I don't really see it as me changing the world or changing the U.S., even," she said during an interview on the Norwich parade ground. "I just kind of see it as the school allowing an American student to practice her faith while also training to be an officer in the Navy."

    Hamze's great-grandmother was in the Air Force and two of her grandparents met while serving in the Navy in Puerto Rico. Her father is a police officer in Florida.

    Hamze said that she has been subject to hostile stares and comments while wearing her hijab in public, but never at Norwich, where she is not the first Muslim to attend the school, or in Vermont. The hostility to her faith hasn't made her bitter or curbed her dream of serving her country.

    "It doesn't scare me because I know what I'm doing is not to harm anyone," she said. "I know what I'm doing is to actually protect the country. I'm joining the task force that protects this country."

    Hamze's college plans made headlines this spring when The Citadel — the Charleston, South Carolina, military college she had hoped to attend — refused to change its uniform policy to accommodate her hijab. Norwich was quick to agree to make the accommodation, which will also apply to Jewish men who wish to wear a yarmulke along with their uniforms.

    Norwich, located in the town of Northfield, about 10 miles south of the Vermont capital of Montpelier, is the nation's oldest private military college. Last spring, it hosted a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Reserve Officers Training Program.

    Of its total on-campus student body of about 2,250, about two-thirds of students are in the Corps of Cadets, its military program, while the rest are civilians who don't participate in military training.

    Ali Shahidy, a Muslim senior civilian student at Norwich from Afghanistan, said he had met Hamze and attended a religious service with her at a nearby mosque, but did not know her well. Nevertheless, he thinks she's a leader even if she doesn't see herself that way.

    "I am definitely sure there will be students in the future like her (and) it will encourage other Muslim students who have the ambition to serve their country in the military yet are concerned about their look and their hijab," he said.

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  • Police Scotland approves hijab as official uniform to boost number of Muslim women joining force


    Police Scotland has announced that the hijab will become part of its official uniform as it aims to create a more diverse force.

    The force said they hope the move will “encourage women from Muslim communities, who may previously not have seen policing as a career option, to reconsider”.

    In the past, Muslim police officers in Scotland were allowed to wear the hijab, but only once it was approved by senior staff members.

    The Metropolitan Police introduced the hijab as an optional part of the force’s official uniform in 2001 as part of a similar drive to recruit a more diverse mix of officers.

    In a statement, chief constable Phil Gormley said: “I am delighted to make this announcement and welcome the support from both the Muslim community, and the wider community, as well as police officers and staff. 

    “Like many other employers, especially in the public sector, we are working towards ensuring our service is representative of the communities we serve. I hope that this addition to our uniform options will contribute to making our staff mix more diverse and adds to the life skills, experiences and personal qualities that our officers and staff bring to policing the communities of Scotland.”

    The announcement was welcomed by the Scottish Police Muslim Association (SPMA), a group that aims to build links between Muslim communities in Scotland and the police.

    Fahad Bashir, chair of the SPMA said: “This is a positive step in the right direction, and I am delighted that Police Scotland is taking productive steps in order to ensure that our organisation is seen to be inclusive and represents the diverse communities that we serve across Scotland.  

    “No doubt this will encourage more women from Muslim and minority ethnic backgrounds to join Police Scotland.” 

    Police Scotland’s diversity drive follows statistics from the Scottish Police Authority released earlier this year which showed just 127, (2.6 per cent) of the 4,809 applications to join the force were from people with ethnic backgrounds. 

    The report said: “If the black and minority ethnic groups (BME) national average of 4 per cent is to be met within the organisation, an additional 650 BME recruits are required across all areas of the business.

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  • Meet The Muslim Woman Running For State Legislature In Minnesota


    Ilhan Omar is a former refugee, a Somali-American activist, and a proud Democrat.

    On November 8, the 33-year-old is poised to become one of the few Muslim women ever elected to a state legislature in the country.

    Omar is on the path towards winning a spot on the Minnesota State Legislature, after defeating a 44-year incumbent during the state’s primary election. Her Republican opponent in the heavily Democratic House District 60B suspended his campaign in August

    Born in Mogadishu, Omar was forced to flee her home when she was about eight years old, after war broke out in Somalia. Her family lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for several years. She was 12 years old when she arrived in in the United States, soon becoming part of a wave of Somalis who settled in Minnesota during the 1990s. Her political conscience was awakened when she was 14, after she began attending local Democratic caucus meetings with her grandfather and acting as his translator.

    Omar worked in community health and then as a senior policy aide for a Minneapolis City Council member before deciding to run for Minnesota’s state House of Representatives herself. 

    The Huffington Post caught up with Omar to talk about her remarkable story, her activism, and her faith.

    This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. 

    The Huffington Post: What was life like for you when you first arrived in America? 

    When I first arrived in the country, I really didn’t speak much of the language. I knew two words coming here, and they were “Hello” and “Shut up.” I had a lot of challenges starting school and my dad says I would come home every day crying and feeling bad about the problems I was having with some of the kids. And he would tell me to work hard on learning the language. As soon as you can communicate with people, then you’re able to build friendships, then the otherness of being an immigrant, being Muslim, East African, black, would disappear because you can talk to them and they’ll see you for who you are. 





    That idea of working to build bridges and relationships stayed with me when I started high school. I had the language ability, but I was confused with the problem a lot of students had, who didn’t see themselves as a family, but saw themselves as a separate entity from each other.

    There were tensions between American-born blacks, the African-born blacks, the new immigrants, Latinos, Native Americans, Arab Muslims, East African Muslims. You put a diverse group of kids together without creating programming to build relationships for them, then you’ll have racial and cultural clashes. I knew that we had to work towards creating a cohesive community for ourselves, just to make it easier to survive through high school. It was about finding students who saw themselves as also bridge builders and working with the leaders in the school, the principal, others. We created an atmosphere where we eat together, we do retreats, have mediation set up so we can talk about our issues before it got violent. It made my remaining years of high school a very safe, rewarding experience.

    I think it sort of sharpened my desire to continue to work in building bridges and working towards collaborative efforts, figuring out our commonalities so we’re able to tackle persistent issues and learning that not one person has a solution, but as a community, collaboratively, we could figure out a solution. 

    How did your faith help you during that time?

    I think my faith as a Muslim is very important. One of the core values is that you are always trying to build consensus. So when it comes to figuring out if something is permissible or not in Islam, it’s usually a discussion and people have to come to a consensus in order for something to be approved. So this idea of consensus building was innate in me and in the faith I was born to, in the culture I was born to. These ideas were driven by my upbringing and the ideology that I grew up with. 



    How does your faith inspire your political activism now? 

    I think a big part of my faith teachings is to work together towards equality, that we’re all created equal and under the eyes of God, we all have a right to freedom and to access our rights equally. From that premise, I work for equality and I work to make sure our systems are just for all of us. 

    I work for equality and I work to make sure our systems are just for all of us.

    What do you think some of your challenges will be? 

    I think the biggest challenge for me is going to be that I serve a very diverse district. And so making sure to continue that consensus building, so we don’t approach our issues with a particular lens. I’m working on behalf of a particular community, but I’m also working on behalf of the rest of us. Approaching policy making that kind of way will be a challenge because that’s not what most people expect, being the first East African Somali Muslim woman to serve in the legislature, there are a lot of people who are there to further the narrative that I’m here for a particular group. I’m an uplighting voice for people share my identity, but I’m also someone working on behalf of everyone. 

    I’ve seen Muslims organizing around the election, campaigning to get the vote out. What do you think has awakened this political consciousness?

    This is not like any other election cycle where you can sit on the sidelines and say this isn’t jiving with me, but it is one that our existence and wellbeing depends on us voting and making the right choice. That’s why a lot of people are doing this heavy mobilization, we’re finally waking up like the rest of this country to the realization that this can go horribly wrong. 

     I think that this is the first time in my lifetime and probably in our nation’s history where we have a candidate who is running and gaining popularity by using fear and Islamophobia to incite people to vote. I think we are seeing the side effects of that kind of rhetoric, with all of the hateful attacks and hate crimes that have gone up, and reports of hate against against children, against men who could be perceived as Muslim. I think it’s really important for us to remember this is just as a candidate. If we have someone like that working as our president, what will our life be? We have to make sure that we are not part of our demise, that we help set a different trajectory for what our history in the U.S. is going to be.



    What’s your biggest hope for your career as a politician?

    I hope my election proves that we can actually run in areas where not everyone who lives there looks like us or has a shared identity with us. It isn’t a majority Muslim community that is influencing my election. We’re actually a minority in my district. Oftentimes, when it comes to minorities and women, we are only encouraged to run when the demographics are in our favor and discouraged when the demographics are not. I hope my candidacy would allow people to have the boldness to encourage people who don’t fit into that particular demographic to seek office. And to believe in their message and to believe in the good will of the people to select someone they believe shares their vision and not necessarily their identity. 

    What would you say to a young Muslim woman right now who is thinking about getting involved in politics?

    Just do it. Believe in yourself, believe in your community. Believe in the message that you are bringing forth. Remember that you’re fighting for the people and expect that they’ll have your back.

    Source- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ilhan-omar_us_5807a089e4b0b994d4c31f19?utm_hp_ref=islam

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