Sports should be free from political and religious influence

Sports should be free from political and religious influence

By Khadija Khan   It was heart-warming for many of us to hear the World Cup-winning Irish-born captain Eoin Morgen’s remarks, “We had Allah with us as well”. The captain used the opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion that epitomises the men’s English cricket team as the winners of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. He added: “I spoke to Adil (Rashid); he said Allah was definitely with us. I said we had the rub of the green.” Muslims tend to give all credit of their success to Allah, therefore…

The Parkfield school controversy was all about homophobia

The Parkfield school controversy was all about homophobia

By Saima Baig   The only reason to tell children that having two mommies or two daddies in a family is ‘not appropriate’ is if you are a homophobe. Talking about safe and healthy relationships, without considering the gender of the parents, is not something that should ever be considered unsuitable.   However, this is exactly what happened in Birmingham, UK, when Parkfield Community School introduced the No Outsiders programme, the brainchild of its assistant head Teacher Andrew Moffat.  Issues addressed include gender and gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, disability…

British authorities are not equipped to deal with jihadis returning from ISIS

British authorities are not equipped to deal with jihadis returning from ISIS

By Khadija Khan   In 2004 the British government secured the release of Jamal Udeen al-Harith from Guantanamo Bay, after strenuous diplomacy with the Americans who had captured him in Pakistan, where he was believed to be an al-Qaeda operative. Al-Harith carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2017 after joining ISIS. He was born Ronald Fiddler and raised in Manchester, UK, and was reportedly radicalised in the local mosque. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government reportedly lobbied “intensely” for his release from Guantanamo Bay and he was given £1…

Shamima Begum was a minor when she travelled to Syria but she must face the consequences of her actions

Shamima Begum was a minor when she travelled to Syria but she must face the consequences of her actions

By Tehmina Kazi   Of all the reprehensible things said by jihadi bride Shamima Begum in her notorious Times interview, what sticks out the most is her callous indifference to seeing “severed heads in bins” in ISIS territory, “because they were enemies of Islam.” In a follow-up interview with Sky News, she admitted that she knew of this aspect of ISIS’ practice even before she left for Syria in 2015 as a 15-year-old, alongside her school friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana.  In her own words on beheading, “from what…

Shamima Begum, the ‘Jihadi Bride’ and the moral dilemma we face

Shamima Begum, the ‘Jihadi Bride’ and the moral dilemma we face

By Saima Baig There are an estimated 400 British nationals (there could be more), who left for Syria to join the Islamic State caliphate. Some have died, some are in refugee camps and there is no information about the rest. Here is the dilemma. What do we do when some of them want to come back to the UK? The Islamic State are some of the most barbaric psychopaths to exist on this planet, who have committed extremely heinous crimes since they launched their “caliphate” in 2014. All those who…

The case of Syrian refugee Jamal and bullying in British schools

The case of Syrian refugee Jamal and bullying in British schools

By Khadija Khan A bitter reality: British children feel unsafe in their schools. They become targets of bullying in one way or another. The education system lacks the teeth to rescue these children from the suffering they face, despite knowing the negative and, often, lifelong impact on them. A recent incident that has caught everyone’s attention is one that took place in Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, where a teenage boy’s despicable demonstration of power over a vulnerable, Syrian boy soon drew media attention and caused uproar amongst…

The UK needs to legalise cannabis

The UK needs to legalise cannabis

By Saima Baig In the last few weeks or so, a fracas has unfolded in the UK media. Charlotte Caldwell, from Northern Ireland, had cannabis oil which was confiscated at Heathrow Airport, because it contains a psychoactive substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the psychoactive element in marijuana), high concentrations of which are illegal in the UK. The reason she had the oil was that her son Billy suffers from severe epilepsy and a doctor in Northern Ireland had prescribed it for him in 2017 – the first time someone was…

Making children fast in Ramadan demonstrates intolerant practices have made space in Muslim societies

Making children fast in Ramadan demonstrates intolerant practices have made space in Muslim societies

By Khadija Khan   It’s a sorry state of affairs that a large number of Muslims (both in the west and east) have become so consumed with extremist propaganda that they choose to blindly follow the craziest interpretations of religion. Women and children, however, become the greatest victim of this kind of extremism as they are required to obey the toughest conditions, even if that means physical or psychological harm to them. Inhumane activities such as the oppression of women, forced conformity with the fanatic rituals by adults and children,…

The Al-Hijrah School ruling was a demonstration of powerful women in action

The Al-Hijrah School ruling was a demonstration of powerful women in action

By Amina Lone Women are often the first victims of extremism whether it is in policing what they wear, where they go, how they live or as victims of domestic violence.  Society looks, but we don’t see. We hear, but we don’t listen. Like campaigning for a new crossing on a dangerous road, an accident(s) has to happen before we act. At a time when sexual abuse allegations against establishment figures like Harvey Weinstein and others finally come to the fore, quietly in the background, a landmark decision was made…

The morality of the faith and faithless

The morality of the faith and faithless

By Amina Lone   Women and equality rights campaigners nervously await the High Court judgement in the gender segregation case: Ofsted v the Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham. Firmly opening up Parveen’s (Pandora’s) faith and education box again, I predict these types of cases will increase. Educational environments, primary right through to university campuses, are a key battleground for Islamist propaganda. Conversations revert back and forth, in the hope of the faith and faithless finding common ground. The most obvious manifestation of dysfunctionality — complete gender segregation — masked multiple levels…