Month: October 2014

The poppy hijab that defies the extremists: British Muslims urged to wear headscarf as symbol of remembrance

British Muslims are being urged to wear a new ‘Poppy Hijab’ – as a challenge to extremist groups who ‘spout hatred’ about the Armed Forces.

The scarf is backed by mainstream Muslim groups including the Islamic Society of Britain and profits from its sale will be donated to the Poppy Appeal.

The scarf, which costs £22, will be launched tomorrow to mark 100 years since the first Muslim soldier was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the WW1.

Ella Abubaker Farooq, 24 (left), Rukea Azougaye, 25 and Taslima Chowdhury, 21 (right) from London show off the new 'Poppy Hijab' in several styles 

Ella Abubaker Farooq, 24 (left), Rukea Azougaye, 25 and Taslima Chowdhury, 21 (right) from London show off the new ‘Poppy Hijab’ in several styles

Khudadad Khan, a machine gunner in an Indian colonial regiment, fought on the Western front during WW1 in support of the British Expeditionary Force.

Sughra Ahmed, President of the Islamic Society of Great Britain, said he wanted to take attention away from the ‘angry minority’ of extremists who spout hatred.

Three years ago, a group calling itself ‘Muslims Against Crusades’ sparked outrage when it burned a poppy on Remembrance Sunday

Mr Ahmed said: ‘Thousands of British Muslims already wear a poppy in November. This is just another way for them to show they remember those who gave their lives for their country.

‘It’s also a way for ordinary Muslim citizens to take some attention away from extremists who seem to grab the headlines.

‘This symbol of quiet remembrance is the face of everyday British Islam – not the angry minority who spout hatred and offend everyone.

‘We’re launching this today as it’s exactly 100 years since the first Muslim soldier was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery – Khudadad Khan from Pakistan, who was fighting for Britain on the Western Front in the First World War.’

Sughra Ahmed, President of the Islamic Society of Great Britain, said he wanted to divert attention from an 'angry minority' of extremists who in the past have burned poppies on Remembrance Sunday (pictured)

Sughra Ahmed, President of the Islamic Society of Great Britain, said he wanted to divert attention from an ‘angry minority’ of extremists who in the past have burned poppies on Remembrance Sunday (pictured)

Khan was a member of the 129th Baluchis regiment fighting near in Belgium.

On 31st October, 1914, at Hollebeke, Sepoy Khudadad carried on firing the gun on his own, after the five other men of his gun detachment were killed.

Despite having been wounded, he fought on long enough to hold off an enemy advance until Indian and British reinforcements arrived. He was awarded the highest military award for gallantry by King George V in December that year.

More than 400,000 Muslim soldiers fought for Britain in World War 1.

Think tank British Future is promoting the scarf as part of efforts to remind the public about the role of Commonwealth soldiers in British military history.

Sunder Katwala, the British Future’s Director of Integration said: ‘Remembrance brings Britain together each November – and has a special resonance as we all mark the centenary of the First World War.

‘The armies that fought a century ago look more like the Britain of 2014 than that of 1914. Yet few people realise that 400,000 Muslims fought for Britain in the First World War.

‘Many British Muslims won’t know this, while most Britons are surprised at the scale of the Muslim contribution to the Commonwealth effort.’

The scarf was designed by a Muslim fashion designer, Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq, a 24-year-old student at the University of the Arts in London.

She said: ‘I hope the poppy headscarf gives Muslim women a new way to mark Remembrance Day and to help raise money for the Poppy Appeal. It’s a simple way to say you’re proudly British and proudly Muslim.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2813500/The-poppy-hijab-defies-extremists-British-Muslims-urged-wear-headscarf-symbol-remembrance.html#ixzz3Haq7hCYw

The former UK foreign minister: We worked with the Islamist terrorists hoping to oust Assad

The former British foreign secretary, William Hague, admitted that his country’s secret service (MI6) had used hardline terrorist groups such as ISIS in an attempt to topple the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

A conservative politician, Mr. Hague acknowledged that over past three years , the western intelligence bodies sought to overthrow the Syrian regime by any means, including arming the most fanatic militants.

“ After ISIS overrun large Iraqi towns in early and mid-July, our relation with Iraqi rebels began to deteriorate but still we maintain our contacts with the moderate faction within ISIS,” Said the British perspicacious politician on Tuesday.

Referring to ISIS abominable war crimes especially those against the western citizens, William Hague added that his ministry could not continue its routine contacts with the so-called Islamic State due to increasing public aversion against the ISIS insurgents in Europe and United States.

“I firmly believe that the best strategy to cope with spelling sectarian and ethnic violence in the Middle-East is to target the al-Qaeda-affiliate rebels in Iraq , while in the same time fostering the moderate Islamic militias notably al-Nusra Front, in the neighboring Syria,” RT cited the former British minster as saying.

http://awdnews.com/top-news/10086-the-former-uk-foreign-minister-we-worked-with-the-islamist-terrorists-hoping-to-oust-assad.html

Cambridge politics graduate who was massive fan of the Twilight saga disappears after her jihadist husband is banned from the UK for joining ISIS in Syria

A Cambridge graduate who loves the Twilight saga has vanished after her jihadi husband was banned from returning to Britain for joining ISIS.

English teacher Iimaan Ismail, 22, was arrested after her husband Nur Hassan fled to Syria to fight with extremists but she has not been seen since her release.

Ms Ismail, who studied Politics, Psychology and Sociology at Cambridge after achieving two A* and one A at A-Level, allegedly hid her husband’s disappearance for six months.

She had been teaching English at Chorlton High School in Manchester but quit and has not been seen since.

A police source also said that the bright young Briton showed ‘wilful blindness’ over who husband’s extremist ideology, which she also kept from his family.

Nur Hassan’s decision to flee Britain to fight for ISIS was only revealed when he sent a message to his brother Nasib, 15, a keen footballer who had played for Manchester United’s academy sides.

Nur’s father Idris, 50, who fled Somalia and came to Britain via Finland in 2005 has pledged to ‘kill’ the people who radicalised his son.

But despite marrying an extremist, the Oxbridge graduate worked at weekends and holidays for Waterstones in its teenage fiction department, winning part-time Bookseller of the Year in 2010.

A keen online reviewer of books, she revealed in her five-star review of the first Twilight book that she read the whole saga in just five days.

She said she ‘drove my family and friends up the wall’ such was her obsession and said lovers ‘Bella and Edward’s journey is fascinating and unforgettable’.

Star pupil: Iimaan Ismail, 22, is believed to have studied at Homerton College in Cambridge, having gained A*s  and As at A-Level

Star pupil: Iimaan Ismail, 22, is believed to have studied at Homerton College in Cambridge, having gained A*s  and As at A-Level

Social media: Ms Ismael says on her Facebook account she is married to terror suspect Nur Hassan, but has not posted anything since July

Social media: Ms Ismael says on her Facebook account she is married to terror suspect Nur Hassan, but has not posted anything since July

Bookworm: The Cambridge graduate won Waterstones' part-time bookseller of the year award in 2010 and was a keen reviewer of books online, including this expressing her love for the Twilight saga   

Bookworm: The Cambridge graduate won Waterstones’ part-time bookseller of the year award in 2010 and wa a keen reviewer of books online, including this expressing her love for the Twilight saga

Her Facebook profile also reveals she is a fan of hit TV shows Criminal Minds and Come Dine With Me and her favourite restaurant is a Manchester burger bar.

In court: Jamshed Javeed admitted two terror charges this week and had intended to travel to Syria with Nur Hassan but his family confiscated his passport and belongings

Her Twitter account reveals how she kept in touch with friends from home and Cambridge, discussing films like Titanic.

But she also was in a relationship with Nur Hassan, who was from the same part of central Manchester as her.

Her husband, who will be extradited to his native Finland if he tries to get back to Britain, was mentioned in a terror case at Woolwich Crown Court this week.

Manchester Science teacher Jamshed Javeed admitted he had intended to travel to Syria with Nur Hassan but his family confiscated his passport and belongings.

The court heard: ‘He was unable to travel with Nur Hassan because his family had taken and hidden his passport.’

Yesterday it emerged a young mother who loved the TV show The Only Way is Essex has run away to Syria with her baby son after becoming obsessed with extremist propaganda she found online.

Tareena Shakil, 25 – a one-time Spice Girls fan, school prefect and Girl Guide – was so fascinated with the ITV reality show that she travelled 150 miles to buy clothes at a shop run by one of its stars.

Yesterday her parents said she was wearing items she bought there when she set off for Syria, lying to her family that she was taking her 14-month-old son on holiday to Spain.

In terrifying messages home, she told them ‘so many people died’ when they ‘got shot at the border’ but that she and her son Zaheem made it because she ‘ran across’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2812222/Cambridge-politics-graduate-disappears-teaching-job-Manchester-jihadist-husband-banned-UK-travelling-Syria-join-ISIS.html#ixzz3HXQf6V00

Terror suspect, 21, arrested in east London on suspicion of helping would-be jihadist travel to Syria

A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences in a dawn raid in east London.

The suspect was held in Hackney, north east London, on suspicion of assisting another to commit acts of terrorism by travelling abroad.

Police are now searching the property where he was arrested and he is being questioned at a police station in central London.

Britain's top policeman has warned of increasing numbers of people leaving Britain to fight with ISIS. File photo

A 21-year-old man from Hackney, north east London is being held on suspicion of helping another travel abroad in an investigation believed to be linked to Isis militants in Syria (pictured). File photo

It is understood that the arrest is linked to Syria, where hundreds of would-be jihadis have travelled to fight alongside extremists group ISIS.

Counter-terrorism experts in the UK have expressed increasing concern about what will happen if a slew of militarised fighters decide to return home.

A police spokesman said: ‘A 21-year-old man was arrested at around 06:00 on Wednesday, 29 October, at a residential address in Hackney.

‘He was arrested on suspicion of assisting another to commit acts of terrorism, or to engage in any conduct for the committing of such acts, by facilitating another to travel abroad, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.

‘Police are searching the residential address in Hackney. The man has been taken to a central London police station where he remains in custody.’

It comes after a 32-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were arrested by anti-terror police in two unconnected probes also linked to Syria last week.

The arrest comes after a raid in Bedford (pictured) last week, which was also linked to Syria

The arrest comes after a raid in Bedford (pictured) last week, which was also linked to Syria

Police search a property in Bedford last week as part of a series of raids investigating Syria-related terror

Trial of imam accused of conducting hundreds of sham marriages and laundering £1.8million collapses because Home Office officials didn’t get round to reading case files

A trial of an imam accused of conducting almost 600 sham marriages has collapsed – after prosecutors accused the Home Office of not completing vital paperwork.

Mohammed Mattar, 63, was due to stand trial two weeks ago over claims he conducted the ceremonies at an Islamic centre in Bayswater, west London.

But prosecutors said they were forced to offer no evidence after Home Office investigators failed to disclose vital information before a court time limit.

Accused: A trial of an imam accused of conducting almost 600 sham marriages at an Islamic centre in west London (believed to be the one above) has collapsed after an alleged bungle by the Home Office

Accused: A trial of an imam accused of conducting almost 600 sham marriages at an Islamic centre in west London (believed to be the one above) has collapsed after an alleged bungle by the Home Office

Mattar, of West Hampstead, north west London, had denied conspiring to facilitate a breach of UK immigration law between January 1, 2008 and July 12, 2012.

It was said he conducted 580 marriages between EU-resident women and non-EU men to help them win the right to stay permanently in Britain.

The alleged ceremonies were said to have taken place at the Dar Al Dawa Islamic Centre in Westbourne Grove.

Old images show an Islamic bookshop of the same name, but it has since closed down.

The Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case on September 18 after it had ‘no choice’ but to offer no evidence to a pre-trial hearing.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2812466/Trial-imam-accused-conducting-hundreds-sham-marriages-laundering-1-8million-collapses-Home-Office-officials-didn-t-round-reading-case-files.html#ixzz3HXJDcuH8

Portsmouth Muslim leaders condemn Islamic State

Muslim leaders from mosques in Portsmouth have come together to try to stop more young men from the city travelling to fight in Syria.

Four Portsmouth men have been killed after joining Islamic State (IS).

On Sunday, a faith leader blamed social media and the internet for “radicalising” them.

The mosques, along with the city council and police, have jointly signed a statement urging people in the city not to join the IS group.

They said: “We are united in our condemnation of hatred, violence and racism. We are united in our condemnation of the group known as the Islamic State.

Mehdi Hassan
News of Mehdi Hassan’s death emerged on Twitter on Friday

“It is not a humanitarian cause they would be joining, it is a violent and terrible regime. Such acts of violence are barbaric and inhumane. There is absolutely no basis in Islam for these acts.”

On Friday, a photograph of the body of Mehdi Hassan, 19, emerged on Twitter – he was the fourth Portsmouth man to have been killed in Syria.

He had travelled to the country with four friends in October 2013.

Mamunur Roshid, 24, and Hamidur Rahman, 25, have both died while Mashudur Choudhury, 31, returned to UK after a few weeks and became the first person in the UK to be convicted of terrorist offences in connection with the conflict in Syria.

Assad Uzzaman, 25, is still believed to be in the country.

Ifthekar Jaman, 23, left the UK separately in May last year but was reported dead in December.

Two brothers of Mr Jaman have recently been charged with terrorism offences.

The statement has been signed by: Liakoth Ali Mufti, Muslim Academy, Abdul Jalil, chairman of Jami Mosque, Mohammed Ahmed, president of Central Mosque, Salim Rahman, director of Madani Academy, David Williams, chief executive of Portsmouth City Council, Supt Will Schofield and Ch Insp Alison Heydari, both from Hampshire Constabulary.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-29800590

Birmingham mother ‘takes baby son to Syria’

Counter terrorism police are investigating reports a Birmingham mother has travelled to Syria to support Islamic State (IS) militants.

Tareena Shakil, 25, from Sparkbrook, who went missing on Friday, is believed to have her one-year-old son with her.

“We have since been working to establish the woman’s whereabouts and that she is safe and well,” a West Midlands Police spokeswoman said.

One line of police inquiry is that she travelled to Syria via Turkey.

The spokeswoman said the Counter Terrorism Unit was assisting police in Birmingham “given the possibility the young woman may have travelled to Syria”.

The child has also been reported missing and was “believed to be with her”, she added.

‘Public interest’

Britain’s most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has said at least five Britons are travelling to Iraq and Syria to join IS every week.

An estimated 500 are already fighting with the group.

News of Ms Shakil’s disappearance comes as it was revealed the Home Secretary Theresa May has confiscated or refused to issue 21 British passports so far this year under laws designed to fight terrorism and other crime.

The Royal Prerogative power, introduced in April 2013, allows the government to withdraw passports on a number of grounds, including to prevent Britons travelling abroad to fight.

In reply to a written parliamentary question, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire told the Commons: “From 1 January to 30 September 2014, the Royal Prerogative power to withdraw or refuse a British Passport has been exercised 21 times on public interest grounds.”

Mr Brokenshire also said more than 100 people had been arrested in Britain this year on suspicion of terrorist offences related to Syria.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-29807284