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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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  • Taiwan: Muslims treated as equals in Taiwan, says Imam

     

    By Mehmet Ozturk

     

    TAIPEI, Taiwan (AA): The Imam of Taipei’s Grand Mosque has claimed that Muslims are treated as equals in the small self-ruled island nation, although he says they lack the numbers to get financial support.

    In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Ibrahim Gao said that the around 200,000 Muslims in Taiwan were free to practice as they pleased.

    “Members of every religion can freely conduct their own activities under the constitutional and legal framework,” he said.

    He highlighted the equality of the Taiwanese system, but complained about the lack of financial support from the government saying those who practiced Islam represented a “tiny minority of the [overall] population” of 23 million.

    Of the country’s 200,000 Muslims, only half are locals, said Gao, with the rest migrants who arrived in the country for reasons of employment.

    As they don’t live as one community, “they are politically weak,” he said.

    The imam also raised the issue of the lack of Muslim presence in parliament and state institutions.

    The Taipei Grand Mosque is the largest and most famous among Taiwan’s seven mosques.

    Its role in local society, however, is greater than in many other Muslim societies as Taiwan’s schools do not offer religious education, be it Muslim, Christian, or Buddhist.

    “It is the parents who are responsible for children’s religious education,” Gao said, adding that they also organize educational activities at mosques.

    [Photo: Taiwan Taipei Grand mosque Muslims. Photorapher: Aexcoon/Creative Commons]

    source- http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/far-east/taiwan-muslims-treated-equals-taiwan-says-imam/

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  • MUSLIM SCHOOL CLOSED|

     

    A SCHOOL for Muslim girls has been ordered to close down after a former pupil claimed students were being taught extremist beliefs,

    Jamia Al-Hudaa Residential College for Girls in Nottingham is set to close its doors after being accused of teaching strict sharia-style rules to schoolkids, it has been claimed.according to reports.

    – who says she was expelled in 2011 for owning a disposable camera – said: “At least four girls accused of being lesbians were expelled during my time. Teachers and pupils discussed it openly.”

    “It felt like everything was banned.”

    Ofsted noted that pupils lacked “opportunity to learn and make progress and receive effective preparation for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in British society”.

    Since then the Department for Education has ordered the school to shut its residential operation.

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  • 100,000 people convert to Islam every year in USA-What Drives People to Convert to Islam

     

    Muslims believe however, that the Islamic religion is different in this context. One may argue that similar to other faiths there are aspects of it which are not completely demonstrable by reason but on the other hand, the Quranic text, which is Allah’s words addressing the humanity at large, uses intellectual reason, critical thinking, and the process of reflection as a means to not only reinforce the faith of the believers but also to call non-believers to ponder about the authenticity of Islam as the way of life for the humanity at large. Although no religious beliefs can be fully based on logic and reasoning, Islam and Quran provide more than enough examples and an opportunity to examine the truth and the soundness of its message through the lens of empirical evidence and knowledge.
    No one (Muslim or otherwise) would argue that critical thinking and reflection can be a major catalyst for changing of ones life. Critical thinking has been used by many to improve their lives simply because a critical thinker asks probing questions about a situation, collects as much information as possible, reflects on the ideas collected and generated in context of the information available, keeps an open and unbiased mind and carefully scrutinizes assumptions and seeks alternatives.
    This is the reason therefore that new Muslim converts would attribute the use of intelligent reasoning, reflection and critical thinking when explaining their journey to Islam. Such people cut through the hysteria created by some in the media to view Islam from a critical lens and following the truth thus comes naturally to them as part of this process. How else can one explain the increase in conversions with the increase of anti-Islam rhetoric? How else can one explain that more non-Muslim preachers have been converting to Islam than ever before? Although as Muslims we believe that the guidance (hidaya) comes only from Allah, the use of a person’s God-gifted intellectual reasoning has a very powerful role to play in Muslim converts making that destiny changing decision. And once converted, they rarely go back to their old faiths simply because a faith whose foundations are built on logic and reason is much less likely to be shaken down than one which builds simply upon a set of rites and sacraments.
    Some of the reasons attributed by people who convert to Islam are listed below. We can see that most of these reasons can only be attributed to the process of critical thinking and intellectual reflection.
    Eloquence of Quran’s language – The uniqueness and beauty of Quran’s text has been marveled by the best of Arab linguists and scholars from the days it was revealed until today. The more knowledgeable people are in the language, the more they appreciate the wonders of the textual fluency of the Quran.
    Overwhelming scientific evidence and proofs – The Quran, revealed more than 1400 years ago has numerous scientific facts that are being validated by science only in this era.
    Divine wisdom behind various social issues – The Quran provides a solution to numerous social issues, a deviation from which has known to cause societal chaos at all levels.
    Arguments rooted in intellectual reasoning – Quran is the only known religious text that challenges mankind to think, reflect and ponder over the creation at large, social issues, God’s existence, and more. Quran in many instances challenges people to reflect and think on their own rather than heeding to the lose talk of those whose criticism is based on baseless foundations.
    A confident assertion of a supreme being – Quran is the only known religious book that has a confident assertion of a supreme being on all issues ranging from the creation of the universe to social issues.
    Divine Text – Quran’s language and prose is very different from the language in the hadith (Porphet’s sayings) thus proving that Quran is not the “imagination” or words of Prophet Muhammad, as many doubters have alleged in the past and do so even today.
    Quran’s challenge to people on thinking and reflection
    The Quran on numerous occasions challenges humanity at large to think, reflect and ponder over their affairs. Here is some of what the Quran states:
    Thus do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, laws, etc.) in detail for the people who reflect. (Yunus, Chapter #10, Verse #24)
    Do they not think deeply (in their ownselves) about themselves (how Allah created them from nothing, and similarly He will resurrect them)? Allah has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny the Meeting with their Lord. (Ar-Room, Chapter #30, Verse #8)
    He it is Who has appointed for you the night that you may rest therein, and the day to make things visible (to you). Verily, in this are Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) for a people who listen (i.e. those who think deeply). (Yunus, Chapter #10, Verse #67)
    Does man think that he will be left Suda (neglected without being punished or rewarded for the obligatory duties enjoined by his Lord (Allah) on him)? (Al-Qiyama, Chapter #75, Verse #36)
    Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us? (Al-Mumenoon, Chapter #23, Verse #115)
    To the rejecters of truth the Quran states: Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are only like cattle; nay, they are even farther astray from the Path. (i.e. even worst than cattle). (Al-Furqan, Chapter #25, Verse #44)
    Do they not reflect? There is no madness in their companion (Muhammad). He is but a plain warner. (Al-Araf, Chapter #7, Verse #184)
    Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect . (Al-Hashr, Chapter #59, Verse #21)
    When studying the many cases of new Muslim converts, we see that engaging in critical thinking and intellectual reasoning have led people to change their non-Islamic faiths – the same faiths that earlier supposedly could have moved mountains, get diluted by the voices of reason easily heard in the roots of Islam. A mere process of thinking and reflection brings so much to the limelight that otherwise remains veiled by distractions and forces of the anti-Islam pundits. Those who are bent to see only the negative, fail to see the light of truth and instead engage in a never ending superficial analysis to unsuccessfully prove their misguided philosophies.
    There are many statistics in the media that highlight the phenomenal rate at which people are converting to Islam. Although, the authenticity of all these sources has not been validated for the purpose of this post, some of them include the following:
    According to ”The Almanac Book of Facts”, the population increased 137% within the past decade, Christianity increased 46%, while Islam increased 235%.
    100,000 people per year in America alone, are converting to Islam. For every 1 male convert to Islam, 4 females convert to Islam
    TV Report: 4000 Germans Convert To ISLAM Each Year
    About 25000 people convert to Islam every year in the UK alone
    …many more examples exist.
    What about Muslims?
    If voices of reason embedded in the teachings of Islam are causing non-Muslims to revert to Islam in droves, why is it that so many Muslims usually born into the religion fail to fully follow and thus enjoy the teachings of the religion? The fact is that it is this lack of critical thinking and reflection even on some Muslims part that is forcing Muslims to have a substandard way of life. Islam and its teachings hold the promise of a fulfilling and peaceful life for all. Yet, Muslims continue to ignore the basics and get mired in social and moral issues causing unnecessary pain and suffering on themselves and their families. The fact is that only if they could think and reflect on the teachings of their own religion, they can escape the many problems and challenges that face them.
    The message
    To non-Muslims who have only scratched the surface about learning Islam and who may be getting distracted by those who are the wrong torch bearers of this religion and also distracted by the biased voices in the media, the message is simple – try to view the teachings of Islam with a critical lens and you may be able to see more reason than you may not have thought was present. To Muslims, the message is that sometimes we do not appreciate the teachings of our own religion simply because we never think and grow beyond the few religious practices in operating our lives. A focused effort to learn, think and reflect more will help us get closer to the religious teachings in ways that can drastically improve our lives.-
    note : data based on 2013 reports

    Source — http://teesrijungenglish.com/special/100000-people-convert-to-islam-every-year-in-usa-what-drives-people-to-convert-to-islam/

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  • What's the fastest growing religion in Australia?

     

     

    Australia’s Muslim population continues its above-average growth since the 1970s, The world’s population of Muslim people set to grow at twice the rate of the total population, fasting and other spiritual practices during the month of Ramadan are becoming more significant events around the globe. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and is predicted to rival Christianity in terms of global population by 2050. 

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  • Chinese Muslim cycles for four months to Makkah for Hajj

     

    A Muslim man from China cycled for four months to make his way to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.

    Mohammed reportedly left his home in Xinjiang, in northwest China, and cycled 5,070 miles before arriving in the Saudi city of Taif, where he received a special welcome by the local cycling club.

    Following a brief stay in the city, he was accompanied by members of the Taif Cycling Club to Makkah, Saudi news site Sabq reported.

    “We were the first cycling club in Saudi Arabia to welcome the Chinese rider and we look forward to other clubs reaching out to him and introducing him to their cities,” Nayef Al Rawas, the head of the Taif club told Sabq.

    On Saturday, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) said that 14,500 Chinese Muslims would perform Hajj this year.

    China has by Friday sent 37 charter flights to carry Chinese Muslims for Hajj, and a total of 11,000 Chinese pilgrims have already arrived in Makkah, Xinhua News Agency said.

    Despite very difficult challenges, the idea of cycling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah had often been taken up by Muslims, mainly from Asia.

    In May 2014, a group of Malaysians rode their bicycles from Kuala Lumpur to Madina.

    The 12 men left from the Malaysian capital and made their way on eight motorbikes and a small van across 12 countries with stops in 53 cities.

     

     
     
     
    Sources

    Gulf News and IlmFeed

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  • Nigerian Pastor Converts to Islam, Turns Church into Mosque

     

    Rabat – Founder and leader of Apata Adu­ra Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Ekute, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, the former Pastor Adekunle Afolabi attributed his conversion to Islam to a divine message he received from a strange man in white in his dreams.

    After practicing Christianity for over 25 years, the 45-year-old man, now known as Alfa Abubakar Afolabi, is convinced that Islam is “the only religion that leads to heaven.”

    “I was preparing for the anniversary when I started having dreams that eventually led to my conversion,” the former pastor said.

    “At first in the dreams, I noticed my members were sitting on the floor in the church and some of them were covering their heads. I also saw that people were washing their hands and feet before entering the church just like it is done in Islam,” he added.

    When the former pastor converted to Islam, about 150 of his congregation abandoned his church, and his decision was met with different reactions.

    While some of his family relatives and friends respected his decision, the former pastor said that his wife was among those who opposed his choice.

    “The only person who at the time opposed it was my wife, be­cause she was a Christian when I married her.”

    However, many others who “have always known me to be truthful with whatever I’m doing,” respect him, adding that they “also respect my decision, so there hasn’t been any cause for alarm.”

    The church, which used to be a Christian place of worship, has started to receive many Muslims looking for a good place to perform daily prayers.

     

    Source—  http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/08/164897/nigerian-pastor-converts-to-islam-turns-church-into-mosque/

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