January 26, 2014
The first Muslim woman to qualify as an FA-approved football agent, Shehneela Ahmed, has announced that she is on a mission to open up the sport to more female players and people from ethnic minorities. Her sentiments exactly. The daughter of Pakistani immigrants, Ms Ahmed, 42, who moved from Rochdale to London after graduating from Staffordshire University and also works as a duty solicitor, said: “This will have a big impact on my career as I intend to promote more people from the Asian background to encourage their children to take part in the sports industry.”
“After spending all day dealing with criminals, footballers are a doddle,” Ms Ahmed explained. Ms Ahmed, who received her license in September added: “I’ve had clients approach me, from players, managers and clubs, and I’ve had some really good feedback so far.”
With only eight of the 4,000 players in the Football League of Asian descent, you find Ms Ahmed is not resting on her laurels. “I want to prove to ethnic minorities and females that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything,” she said.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/i/page-3-profile-shehneela-ahmed-football-agent-9073254.html
January 7, 2014
A science teacher from a Bolton school who was highly regarded by his pupils has been arrested on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism in Syria. Jamshed Javeed, who lives in Manchester and teaches at Sharples High School, was arrested by a regional counter-terrorism unit on 22 December, according to police.
It is understood that Mr Javeed, who is from Levenshulme, had not travelled to Syria, but was alleged to have been preparing to do so. Parents were sent a letter from the school’s headmistress. It said: “Mr Javeed, who is one of our science teachers, was arrested and is on bail, but not charged, as part of an investigation into concerns around possible travelling to Syria for reasons as yet unknown. I want to reassure you that there is no suggestion that Mr Javeed’s alleged activities have involved anyone at the school or the school itself.”
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “The investigation focuses on concerns over an individual travelling to Syria for purposes that are as yet unknown, but are believed to potentially involve terrorism. There is nothing to suggest that any of the wider community in Manchester has been under threat.”
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/bolton-science-teacher-arrested-by-counterterrorism-officers-over-syria-links-9045061.html
January 6, 2013
The mothers of Muslims should be trained in basic computing skills so they can spot online radicalisation of their children, a report says.
The study of 350 Muslim women, conducted between last June and October, found that 92 per cent did not understand the term “online radicalisation”, nor that their children could be radicalised online. It said three-quarters of all mothers surveyed had seen or heard their children accessing Islamic lectures, yet 90 per cent were unaware of their content.
“We believe that mothers are trusted anchors within many homes which means, if equipped with the right skills, they have a unique capacity to safeguard their children against internet radicalisation,” the report from women’s charity JAN Trust concluded.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/muslim-mothers-should-be-trained-in-computing-to-help-to-spot-radicalisation-9040289.html
December 22, 2013
David Cameron has written to the mother of a British doctor who died in custody in Syria, describing his death as “a sickening and appalling tragedy”. Dr Abbas Khan, 32, was on the verge of being released when his family were told of his death this week. His relatives have said he was the victim of a political murder, but the Syrian government have called his death suicide. His body was flown back to the UK today and will undergo a post-mortem examination. In a letter dated December 20, the Prime Minister told his mother, Fatima Khan, that he and his wife Samantha were “so very sorry” to hear of her son’s death.
He branded the regime’s treatment of Dr Khan “despicable” and claimed it was “utterly unacceptable” that the UK was not able to support him.
The orthopaedic surgeon from London was captured in November 2012 in the ancient city of Aleppo after travelling from Turkey to help victims of hospital bombings. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it transported his body from Damascus to the Lebanese capital Beirut, where it was received by his mother Fatima Khan and British officials.
Mrs Khan, who has “110%” refuted claims that he committed suicide, broke down in tears when the coffin arrived. Mrs Khan has categorically denied claims made by Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad that he had killed himself. In the last few days the family revealed a letter in which the doctor expressed his optimism at being released, and his hopes of being home in time for Christmas.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/david-cameron-describes-death-of-dr-abbas-khan-in-syrian-prison-as-sickening-as-doctors-body-is-flown-back-to-uk-9020741.html
The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/22/abbas-khan-body-flown-uk
December 21, 2013
Following talks in Tripoli with Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan, David Cameron said officers from the Dumfries and Galloway force had been granted permission to travel to the country. “I am delighted that the Dumfries and Galloway Police team will be able to visit your country to look into the issues around the Lockerbie bombing,” he told a joint news conference.
Although police investigating the murder of WPc Yvonne Fletcher – who was killed by shots fired from the Libyan People’s Bureau in London in 1984 – have visited three times since the revolution in 2011, similar access had not previously been given to the Lockerbie team. The only person to have been convicted of the attack, Libyan agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, died last year of prostate cancer, having been released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds after serving eight years of a life sentence.
Dumfries and Galloway Police want to investigate whether anyone else was involved in the attack, while the families of some of the victims remain convinced that it was nothing to do with Megrahi and he was an innocent man.
Two hundred and seventy people died when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on December 21 1988 – including all 259 people on board and 11 town residents – in what remains the UK’s worst terrorist atrocity.
In December last year, the Libyan administration said it was preparing to release all files relating to the bombing.
But Robert Forrester, secretary of the Justice for Megrahi campaign group, which wants an independent inquiry to look again at the conviction, dismissed the prospect of further investigations. “As far as I am concerned, the conviction was a gross miscarriage of justice and the efforts the police and Crown Office are making to locate other Libyans who may have colluded in the bringing down of Pan Am flight 103 amounts to little more than eye-wash,” he said.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/independentplus/indyplus-more-lockerbie-bombing-police-to-visit-libya-for-first-time-9020156.html
November 25, 2013
A sixth British jihadist has reportedly been killed fighting in Syria. The death of the man was first reported on the jihadist Twitter account @Zhoof21 yesterday afternoon. He has been named as Abu Naseebah al-Britani by Shiraz Maher, head of outreach at Kings College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR). Charles Lister, an analyst at Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, added that he is believed to have been killed fighting for the al-Qa’ida linked ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams) in Deir Atiyah, north of Damascus.
MI5 estimates suggest that 200-300 Britons have travelled to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, some of which have joined forces influenced by Islamic extremism. The reports have raised concerns that the men may pose a threat to UK security when they return home after their part in the war is over.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/sixth-british-jihadist-reportedly-killed-in-syria-8962600.html
November 28, 2013
Britain’s mainstream banks may be reluctant to lend these days, but a Kuwait-backed Islamic bank is to become one of Britain’s biggest residential landlords with a plan to build 6,600 rental homes and gain from the shortage in decent housing stock. It promises to be one of the biggest privately run home building projects ever. Shariah-compliant Gatehouse Bank hopes to gain from the big shift in the country’s housing market away from buying to renting, as mortgages have become more scarce and unaffordable and prices have risen out of the grasp of many families. Gatehouse already has a £1bn property portfolio across the UK and US.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/islamic-gatehouse-bank-to-aid-uk-housing-crisis-8971137.html
November 29, 2013
One of the alleged killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby handed a letter explaining his attack to the woman who stroked the body of the fallen soldier in a final gesture of humanity, the court heard. Michael Adebolajo’s letter, scribbled on two pieces of lined A4 paper, was addressed to “my beloved children” and railed against the country’s political leaders. It says that “carnage” in Britain is a result of “oppression in our towns”. He handed the letter to Amanda Donnelly Martin, who was kneeling by the body of the dead soldier, before he charged at police and was shot and injured, the court heard.
The letter says fighting Allah’s enemies “is an obligation”. It goes on: “Do not spend your days in endless dispute with the cowardly and foolish if [that] will delay you meeting Allah’s enemies on the battlefield. Sometimes the cowardly and foolish could be those dearest to you, so be prepared to turn away from them.”
It adds: “If you find yourself curious as to why carnage is reaching your own towns, then know it is simply retaliation for your oppression in our towns. Mr Adebolajo made a number of comments after he was shot by police and was detained. “I am a Muslim extremist, this may be the only chance you meet one,” he told officers, the court heard.
Mr Adebolajo – a British citizen born in Lewisham – also said that “your people” had gone to Afghanistan where they had “raped and killed our women”.
“I am seeking retribution, I wouldn’t stoop so low as to rape and kill women,” he told them, the court heard. “I thank the person who shot me, because it is what Allah would have wanted. I love Allah more than my children.”
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/lee-rigby-murder-accused-man-michael-adebolajo-tried-to-justify-woolwich-attack-in-a-scrawled-note-8973940.html
November 21, 2013
Four British nationals have died while fighting for a rebel extremist group against the forces of president Bashar al-Assad in Syria, reports say. Their deaths highlight the increasing international scale of the conflict, and come amid fears of the threat posed by extremists returning to the UK once their part in the war is over.
Security officials and experts say there is a real danger that the Islamists will look to pass on the skills and experience learned in Syria, radicalising and training up more recruits back in Britain. Among the four British fighters killed in recent months was Mohammed el-Araj, 23, from Ladbroke Grove in West London, according to reports. He died while his group in the al-Nusra front, a rebel force linked to al-Qa’ida, was attempting to ambush Assad’s troops in August. He reportedly went by the name “Abu Khalid”, and appears armed with an AK-47 and dressed in rebel uniform in photographs taken in Syria.
Security concerns over what might happen if fighters like Araj survive the conflict and are allowed to re-enter the UK were raised last month when two men who had returned from Syria were arrested on suspicion of hatching a terrorist plot.
The Foreign Office said it was looking into the report that four British nationals had been killed in recent weeks in the conflict.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/four-british-nationals-killed-fighting-alongside-alqaida-in-syria-8953596.html
The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10464423/Four-British-jihadists-killed-fighting-for-al-Qaeda-in-Syria.html
November 14, 2013
National Charity Week began in controversy after Westminster Islamic Society (ISOC) asked an anti-gay and anti-Semitic Muslim scholar to give a speech to over 300 students. ISOC had originally arranged for the moderate Wasim Kempson to come in as a guest speaker, but students were left confused after the controversial figure Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad replaced Kempson less than 24 hours before the dinner.
Al-Haddad’s views on many subjects are outspoken to say the least. In a recent article published online with his name underneath it, entitled “Standing up against homosexuality and LGBTs”, the words “the scourge of homosexuality” are used, which is referred to as a “criminal act”.
During his speech the Sheikh revealed that he had been “invited to Westminster many times” before going on to talk about how “privileged” he had felt by his welcome.
While many students were left up in arms about the last-minute swap, the student union claims that ISOC “passed all requirements” and that “all relevant processes were followed” in Al-Haddad’s invitation.
A statement was later released which read: “UWSU as an organisation does not endorse or support any views expressed by external speakers, neither does it seek to prevent freedom of speech.”
The Islamic Society at the University of Westminster could not be reached for comment.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/westminster-university-students-furious-after-controversial-islamic-preacher-booked-for-charity-dinner-talk-8939980.html