Category Archives: Education

Chai With My Bhai – Student Loans

I know Imran ibn Mansur is not everyone’s cup of tea, however this angle of looking at the intention of the loan company is really a killer point on the whole student loan debate which has been ongoing for the past few years in the UK

BBC – Salford Police Officer’s Facebook Rant Investigated

I am none too happy with the Police on this blog, there are some good ones I’ve met, and quite a few who were either lying or in denial about the dhulm / oppression their fellow officers do when in uniform, especially towards Muslims.

But sometimes we blame the Police unjustly for many social ills, often they are just ordinary people, trying to help the community in an imperfect way, with plenty of common sense but held down by a system which seems to lack all common sense and decency.

So try and have a little sympathy for the poor copper who is now going to have to pay the price for speaking a bit of truth to the parents of teenage delinquents in Salford.

Link to BBC news original article – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-39887357

BBC – Salford Police Officer’s Facebook Rant Investigated

Good Morning everyone. An update on what's occurred in the area over the past 24hrs or so. It would be very quiet if it wasn't for one thing..or several "things".................. Kids/Yoofs/Yobs/Delinquents (cross out which one). There was a call to Heron Drive, Irlam to youths sitting or jumping on vehicles. The youths had gone home to mummy when officers arrived and no damage was found. There was a report of drunken youths on the fields at Sandy Lane, Irlam. Again, they had made off back to mummy, probably claiming that they had been doing their science project homework at a mates. How to get alcohol out of £3.60 dinner money.

A world-weary police officer who posted a tirade about “stoned youths” on a force Facebook page has landed himself in trouble.

The fed-up bobby laid into anti-social teenagers, parents, and community support officers in the message.

It appeared on the GMP Irlam and Cadishead page on 7 May, prompting a complaint from a teacher, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Greater Manchester Police’s Salford branch said it is investigating.

Ch Insp Glenn Jones said: “We have launched an internal investigation after we received a report of an inappropriate post on a GMP Facebook account.

“Officers and staff are expected to uphold the standards of behaviour in all of their duties including on social media.”

The post has since been deleted.

Police officer’s rant in full

“Good Morning everyone.

“An update on what’s occurred in the area over the past 24hrs or so. It would be very quiet if it wasn’t for one thing…or several “things”

“Kids/Yoofs/Yobs/Delinquents (cross out which one).

“There was a call to Heron Drive, Irlam to youths sitting or jumping on vehicles. The youths had gone home to mummy when officers arrived and no damage was found.

“There was a report of drunken youths on the fields at Sandy Lane, Irlam. Again, they had made off back to mummy, probably claiming that they had been doing their science project homework at a mates. How to get alcohol out of £3.60 dinner money.

“Please try and find out what your little Keanu or Beyonce are doing at night. If they’re drinking or smoking weed, there will be signs. If they are, they will no doubt be causing mither in the street.

“Youths were throwing stones at residents houses and residents themselves, from the railway viaduct over Roseway Avenue, Cadishead.

“And finally, there was a call to Tesco at Woodrow Way, Irlam. Security called to report one man and his dog at the Cashpoint machines.

“Many cashpoint areas have points where you can leave deposits for the bank. They did so…. Defecating at the cashpoint… Not the dog…. The man.We have a description (Of the man- not the deposit) and CCTV of the incident. The dog is entirely innocent… Wonder if it’s a shih-tzu?

“Only me in today as the PCSO’s don’t work on Sunday’s. They have the day off to play with their crayons and Lego.

“Take care and lock your kids up till school time on Monday.”

Mohammad Hoblos – Loving the Dunya

“Today look at our lives, myself included, we’re in love with this world. All of my efforts and all of thikr and all of my stress and everything I do is for this world, and deen… Deen gets the scraps.”
Mohammad Hoblos,
Khutbah for Masjid At Taqwa, 05/05/2017

https://soundcloud.com/masjidattaqwa/loving-the-dunya…

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward the brother Mohammad Hoblos for this storming Khutbah he did last week at Masjid At Taqwa and all his other efforts, ameen.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also reward the uncles at the Masjid who inviting him in and all their efforts in proactively promoting the deen, ameen.

This was a reminder we all need desperately to hear and everyone should have a listen.

Huck Magazine – ‘You Get Me?’

Interesting article and photography, and I very much agree there is a crisis in masculinity in the UK Muslim community.
 

Dad Brings Home a Stranger To Our Home

A while ago, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger…he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league. ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The. stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home… Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished.

He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. Categorically, he destroyed all the moral values, ethics, love, time for each other and other good qualities we had in our family…..whilst adding some unnoticeable quantity of positive stuff also, which any way we would have had even without him……

His name?…. .. .

We just call him ‘TV.’

5Pillars – CAGE Declines Invitation To Conference Organised By Prevent-Funded Group

CAGE’s Asim Qureishi

 

Taken from the 5Pillars news website – http://5pillarsuk.com/2017/01/04/cage-declines-invitation-to-conference-organised-by-prevent-funded-group/

Asim Qureshi, of the advocacy group CAGE, writes an open letter to Imams Online declining an invitation to appear at an upcoming conference organised by the group which was recently exposed as having received Prevent funding.

The Imams Online Digital Summit in partnership with Google will take place at Google HQ in London on the 11th January 2017.

Speakers include Shaykh Imtiyaz Damiel of the Abu Hanifah Foundation, Mufti Abdur Rahman Mangera of the Rayyan Institute, journalist Remona Aly, Dr Bilal Hassam of British Muslim TV, Imam Qari Muhammad Asim of Leeds Makkah Mosque, Nick Pickles of Twitter UK, Karim Palant of Facebook, Naomi Gummer of Google UK, Shaukat Warraich of Faith Associates, Dr Shiraz Maher, Matt Collins, Director – Prevent Delivery Unit, Akeela Ahmed, Advisor Cross Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred, Professor Tahir Abbas, Senior Research Fellow – RUSI, Imam Adam Kelwick and Ustadha Khola Hasan.

The following is an abridged version of a letter to one of the organisers that Asim Qureshi published on his Facebook page:

Dear brother Adam Kelwick,

Assalaamualaykum

Jazakallahkhayr for your invitation to join you at the Imams Online Digital Summit at the Google HQ in London. I appreciate you trying to engage with those who take a principled stance, conceptually and practically, against Prevent. My colleague Moazzam Begg met you in the past and mentioned how supportive you were of our work – barakallahfeek…

It is important to acknowledge from the beginning, that CAGE is unwilling to lend support to policies that harm the civil liberties or human rights of a single individual – not matter how distasteful the person may be. This is how rights work: they are either for all, or for none.

Our principled stance against Prevent is not simply situated in our current critique of its ‘science’ and modalities – but rather it comes from learning about the joint experiences of our forebears. When we speak to colleagues who fought for black civil rights in America, they warn us that Prevent/CVE sounds exactly like the US government’s COINTELPRO programme (please read Arun Kundnani’s book ‘The Muslims are Coming’). Our colleagues in South Africa are constantly making their own links between Prevent/CVE and Apartheid – they say that everything that we are seeing in the UK was done to them. The list of historical violations goes on. We find ourselves standing up for a cause that many stood up for previously, and like them, we do not take the excessive castigation of the state or the media as a sign that we are losing the argument – rather it is a sign of their weakness that they only ever rely on ad hominem attacks, rather than engaging directly with the concerns we raise.

imams-online-digital-conference

Dear brother Adam – please understand that the issue with Prevent is not just about a few bad cases here and there, it is about the entire structure from its epistemology to its implementation. Experts from around the world (all of whom are involved in social justice movements with no links to the security industry) tell us that Prevent is wrong in its science. As someone with a legal background myself, the notion that you can have a statutory superstructure that is implemented to operate in a pre-crime space by making public sector workers and the charity sector into the eyes and ears of the state is beyond wrong. You know full well how this becomes a mandate for everyday bigotry to manifest itself on a nationwide level. The government tells us that in 2015, 4000 referrals were made to Channel, 2000 of whom were Muslim – an indicator for them that the policy is evenhanded. Let us be real: that is 2000 out of 3 million Muslims, as opposed to 2000 out of 57 million non-Muslims. A simple calculation will tell us that it means a Muslim is 20 times more likely to be referred to Channel for deradicalisation than a non-Muslim. The degree of policy, legislation and securitisation is completely disproportionate to the threat.

I understand that you have concerns with Prevent, and I very much appreciate you expressing them publicly. I think the two points you made in your Facebook post are well made and need to be teased out further. However, going back to who we as communities choose to work with, it does remain surprising that you would still choose to associate with the event at Google.

Google is not some evil entity set out to systematically harm Muslims and Islam, but when we consider who it works with on the issue of CVE, its perspective becomes all too transparent for communities. They are not simply a neutral venue devoid of politics, but rather have thrown in their lot with a specific narrative of counter-terrorism – one rooted in the epistemology of Prevent/CVE. The issue of whether the event is funded by Prevent becomes meaningless, as in this case if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Google Ideas, recently re-named “Jigsaw”, and the Google Next Foundation have partnered in the past with the Quilliam Foundation (in particular Maajid Nawaz), and supported their work to formulate their own CVE programme known as “Against Violent Extremism” (AVE). AVE is managed by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD). Aside from ISD’s worrying links to prominent US neo-conservatives linked to what the Center for American Progress calls the “Islamophobia Network”, senior members of ISD who specifically work on Prevent/CVE issues have come from the Quilliam Foundation (Erin Saltman and Rashad Ali). In the case of Rashad Ali, he has worked for the Henry Jackson Society in the past. The programmes that they have worked on together enunciate Prevent-speak completely, and so they are not neutral voices in this field, but rather regurgitate that there is a significant threat, a narrative that is fear-based and hearkens to a security state.

This is not about non-engagement with the government. CAGE has engaged in multiple forums with them on many occasions, and will continue to seek to do so. This is about how we engage with the politics of those with whom we would not normally partner, such as neo-conservative think tanks. It is worrying that with everything social justice movements have been through, some Muslims still feel it is appropriate to do so. It is perhaps more disconcerting that Ulama would choose to work with such organisations and programmes once neo-conservative links and connections have surfaced.

From what you have mentioned in your post on FaceBook, I think it is genuinely incredible that you are looking to challenge media misrepresentations of Muslims, but make little mention of how this is often led by government narratives on ‘extremism’ such as David Cameron’s Munich speech promoting “muscular liberalism” as a panacea to problems within Muslim communities…

The Imams Online event ultimately does not provide a neutral platform for debate and discussion. A number of those who are involved have some link to Prevent/CVE, or the national security structure of the UK. For that reason, I will refuse your invitation to attend. The people in the room are for the most part not policy makers, they are individuals and organisations who are playing a role in furthering the notion of pre-crime prevention within the parameters of a discredited framework, a position that we find to be wholly unconscionable.

adam-kelwick
Adam Kelwick,

When Imams Online was launched, a number of scholars reached out to me concerned at the response to a question by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. When asked about the sources of funding for the organisation, he mentioned – and this is paraphrased – that government funding should not mean that there are issues with the project. It is important to acknowledge that this is a problem – whether it is Faith Associates or Imams Online – as communities seeking to engage with those speaking in their name, need to know that, as a matter of perception and fact, there are no conflicts of interest. Shaykh Hamza’s unwise words at the recent RIS conference are indicative of how when our scholars speak on matters from a perspective that does not take into account victim/survivor communities, the damage can be great.

Dialogue is not an issue for us at CAGE – we know it is necessary – especially when speaking to our own community. We would welcome sitting with you to discuss what meaningful conference might look like, but cannot engage where the terms of reference are based on the structural and epistemic violence of the state. Hence why the IO conference is not one where simply asking a question or challenging from the floor will produce any real dialogue.

I urge us, as a community, to listen to the voices of the disenfranchised. To seek the betterment of our situation, we need to think about the rights of all, and put into place structures within our own communities that help to engender trust. We cannot do this while the shadow of government funding and its false epistemology hangs in the air.

I appreciate the time you have taken to read this.

Jazakallamullahkhayr, wasalaamualaykum

Asim

Tim Wise – Pathology of White Privilege

This is it… this is the video that finally helped me ‘get it’ when it came to the subject of white privilege a few years ago.

I know Tim Wise has done other later talks in more recent years, continues to address issues of race and inequality from a white perspective but this for me is my favourite, most powerful speech of his I’ve listened to. Maybe as it affected me so much.

And yes… I know he is a non-Muslim, and will occasionally say things as a Muslims we will not agree with but on the subject of racial inequalities, white privilege and the massive problems built up into modern day societies around  these issues he speaks the truth and we should respect that.

What is Wrong With the Millennial Generation?

Millennials… For those a little bit older it’s hard not to just rip into them on a daily basis. We can’t of-course as we’d hurt their feelings too much…

Anyway, here in a short video is a better way of talking to the millennials out there explaining just what is wrong with their generation.

Coolnessofhind – SCHOOL USES PREVENT TO THREATEN MUSLIM PARENT WHO REQUESTED PUPIL REMOVAL FROM CHRISTMAS ASSEMBLY

Christmas, it seems is another issue which annually crops up to force the “Muslim Question”, whilst curiously obviating the uncomfortable issue of religious rights to hold, and by implication exclude particular beliefs and practices. Of course, this discriminatory focus on Muslims (the Jewish minority, for instance, are comparatively absent from this discourse) has consequences. Over a week ago, it was reported that a Muslim woman in Australia was subjected to a brutal verbal and physical attack after she replied “happy holidays” to the attacker’s “merry Christmas”. Incidentally, I doubt Louise Casey would regarding uttering “merry Christmas” as a sign of vulnerability to “extremism” and consequently, “violent extremism”.

There are milder but still manifestly detrimental consequences here in Britain too.  Last year, Police Commander Mak Chishty moronically stated that children who regarded Christmas as religiously prohibited were subscribing to an “Islamist” view.  They were therefore not “moderate”. As I highlighted at that time, this absurd notion was discriminatory as other religious groups, such as orthodox Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom regard Christmas as deriving from pagan customs, held similar views, but were not tarnished with the rhetoric of securitisation.  It seems however, that this dangerously irresponsible statement is seeing some manifestation in the education context.

My sources have heard from parents that teachers have been overly keen to get Muslim children involved in Christmas celebrations.  Until recently, however, I have not been able to obtain any hard evidence to corroborate this anecdotal evidence.  My sources have now forwarded startling information in the form of a letter which disturbingly issues a PREVENT-based threat to a Muslim parent for effectively requesting that his child be removed from the school Christmas assembly.  The assembly entails singing the Christmas carol called a “Silent Night”, a poem written by the priest Joseph Mohr in 1816. Part of the poem includes the following:

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the
 dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

My sources in London state that the distraught father, who does not speak English as his first language, simply stated that he did not want his child to join in with Silent Night, as it is for Christians. This however, has been interpreted “intolerance” and therefore contrary to “British values”.

The letter, signed by the head teacher, states that,

“I am writing to you to express my disappointment about the tone of your conversations a number of staff (sic), where I believe you expressed views that do not match the vision and values of the school. As you know we are by law required to uphold out statutory duty to promote British values…”

After citing Department for Education guidance which is irrelevant to the specific case of withdrawing children from religious assemblies, the head teacher highlights the “British value” of “mutual tolerance and respect”.  Noting that assemblies of different faiths are also conducted, the letter continues,

“I believe your comments, which you have now made on more than one occasion in front of others, about Christmas celebrations being for ‘people like us’, by which I believe you to mean teachers and others of a different faith than yours does not show what the statutory guidance terms as:

“An acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated.

The head teacher then iterates various celebrations of different faiths and then states that there is an expectation that “all children… take part in these events whatever the religion they practise out of school in the same way I expect all staff to.”

The head teacher follows this with the threat:

“It is one thing to disagree but quite another to make assumptions about others. This type of behaviour shows, what appears to be, such blatant intolerance of other people’s belief that should this happen again I will have no other alternative but to refer the matter to the authorities. 

Attention for further information is drawn to the “PREVENT Strategy”.

My sources state that the “expressed views” which the head teacher is taking an issue with includes the removal of the child from the Christmas assembly. This is corroborated by the head teachers “expectation” that all children partake in “these events”.

The father feels he is unable to have his child removed.

Parents have a right, enshrined in School Standards and Frameworks Act 1998, section 71, to withdraw their children from religious education lessons as well as acts of collective worship at all schools. Furthermore, parents are not obligated to give a reason why.  This is not exactly controversial. There are Jewish schools where Christmas is banned, and even wrapping of Hanukah presents in paper which represents the Christmas tradition is prohibited. Last year parents at a school in Devon protested over the school taking their children to the mosque, based on their negative perceptions of Islam. Whilst their reasons are questionable, having their children removed is completely in concert with their rights as parents. Would the head teacher threaten these Jewish and Christian parents with a PREVENT referral for exemplifying “blatant intolerance”?  Acceptance and tolerance of different faiths does not mean having beliefs of different religions forced down children. How many orthodox Jewish parents are willing to let their children sing a poem declaring the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, as the Son of God? On the contrary, this is a violation of parental rights and coerced indoctrination.

And coercion is a quality intrinsic to PREVENT, which demands mental configuration to the state-defined beliefs.  The broken and blunt predictive toolthat is PREVENT is being used as a weapon of intimidation to bully parents into compliance by seemingly zealous head teachers.

It is yet another demonstration of just how deeply problematic the PREVENT Duty is.


Note: I have, for the moment, deliberately withheld information on the school and the head teacher.  This may change provided consent is obtained from the source.

Islam Q&A – Riba-Based Student Loans

Assalaamu Alaykum,

It seems strange that this fatwah even has to be posted, but due to the fitnah in the west, and specifically in the UK in regards to the official government run student loan schemes and whether they are permissible or not, I am glad somebody as reputable as Sheikh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid and Islam Q&A have been able to address this issue.

This is not to denigrate Sheikh Hatham al Haddad, his followers on Islam21C or anyone else who holds the opposite viewpoint. I said before others are being unfair and unjust towards him and overly harsh in their refutations of his errant opinions but when someone makes a mistake, it is important the truth of the matter is clarified.

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Gingerbeardman

Link back to original fatwah on Islam Q&A https://islamqa.info/en/249369

Original Question:

I have a question regarding interest. Firstly I would like to make it known that all my family is Muslim and we currently reside in Western Europe. I currently am a first year University student , in my country there is something called the Maintenance loan , which is a loan that can be taken not for the sake of the tuition fees of the university but to support a student in general while studying. This loan is entirely based on interest and ican be very desirable as it has very low interest rates and must also not be paid back till one finds themselves in a stable job hence maybe 10+years. I myself glory be to Allah have no need to take this loan as I am financially stable and have grants from the university itself. However my father has told me that I should take the full amount of this loan as it has very low interest rates. I have told him I do not need this money however he wants it for his personal gain and business endeavours. I know the great risk of interest and that it is very harmful. My question is what should I do in this scenario, would sin fall onto me?

Praise be to Allah

It is not permissible for you to take this loan, no matter how low the interest rate, because Allah has forbidden contracts that involve riba, whether the riba is great or small, even if it is only one dirham, and He has warned the one who consumes it and the one who pays it of punishment, wrath and curses. So beware lest you be one of them.

“Those who eat Ribâ (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitân (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: “Trading is only like Ribâ (usury),” whereas Allâh has permitted trading and forbidden Ribâ (usury). So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Ribâ (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allâh (to judge); but whoever returns [to Ribâ (usury)], such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein.

Allâh will destroy Ribâ (usury) and will give increase for Sadaqât (deeds of charity, alms, etc.) And Allâh likes not the disbelievers, sinners.

Truly those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât, they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

O you who believe! Fear Allâh and give up what remains (due to you) from Ribâ (usury) (from now onward), if you are (really) believers.

And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allâh and His Messenger but if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly (by asking more than your capital sums), and you shall not be dealt with unjustly (by receiving less than your capital sums).

And if the debtor is in a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay, but if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know.

And fear the Day when you shall be brought back to Allâh. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly”

[al-Baqarah 2:275-281].

The Prophet of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) cursed the one who consumes riba and the one who pays it. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5962).

It is not permissible for you to obey your father in that, because the rights of Allah and obedience to Him take precedence over the rights of the father and obedience to him. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There is no obedience if it involves disobedience towards Allah; obedience is only in that which is right and proper.” Narrated by Muslim (1840).

For more information, please see the answers to questions no. 181723 and 96613.

And Allah knows best.

Islam Q&A