Review of the Year December 2015: Outrage over Donald Trump Muslim comments

Donald Trump

A petition calling for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump to be banned from entering the UK gathered more than 400,000 signatures.

The petition on Parliament’s e-petition website was posted in response to Mr Trump’s call for a “total” stop on Muslims entering the United States.

Chancellor George Osborne criticised Mr Trump’s comments but rejected calls for him to be banned from the UK.
Any petition with more than 100,000 signatures is automatically considered for debate in Parliament.

Mr Trump is seeking the Republican nomination for next year’s US presidential election.

PREVENT boycott

Meanwhile, the Muslim community’s ongoing disaffection with the government’s PREVENT counter-terrorism strategy became more evident.

Waltham Forest Council of Mosques (WFCOM), which represents up to 70,000 Muslims, vowed to boycott the PREVENT programme after accusing the policy of criminalising Islam and targeting the Muslim community.

It was the first time a council of mosques in the UK had issued such a boycott, and it will be seen as an embarrassing blow to the government’s attempt to involve the Muslim community in the fight against “Islamist extremism”.

The WFCOM statement said PREVENT is “an ill-conceived and flawed policy. It is racist, and overtly targets members of the Muslim faith. This has been demonstrated by organisations who are collecting data on referrals to the Channel programme. At the time of its implementation in the guise of the BRIT project, we gave no credence to it, or any sense of affiliation, for its roll out.

“When a local authority decides to enact a programme that will have the potency to alienate a huge part of their constituency, democratically they must do an Equality Impact assessment. We are yet to see this and whether it exists. Surely there must be some governance mechanisms in place, as there is clear evidence of its pernicious racist targeting of very young Muslim children. Where is the accountability?”

Muslim Brotherhood

Also in December a government review found that membership of, association with or influence by the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered as a possible indicator of extremism. However, the organisation will not be banned in the UK.

In a statement to parliament David Cameron said the worldwide Islamic movement was “deliberately opaque, and habitually secretive.”

He said the Brotherhood desired political unification in a Caliphate under Sharia law and to this day “characterises Western societies and liberal Muslims as decadent and immoral.”

He continued: “Parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism. Both as an ideology and as a network it has been a rite of passage for some individuals and groups who have gone on to engage in violence and terrorism.

Mohamed Morsi was overthrown via a military coup led by Abdel Fata al-Sisi in 2013
Mohamed Morsi was overthrown via a military coup led by Abdel Fata al-Sisi in 2013

The Brotherhood, the Middle East’s oldest Islamist movement and long Egypt’s main political opposition, said the review was neither fair nor based on credible evidence.

The group, which says it is committed to peaceful activism, said the British position suggested it backed the military’s overthrow of Morsi who was democratically elected president after the 2011 uprising.

The head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Foreign Relations desk, Yehia Hamed, said: “The Muslim Brotherhood does not accept the findings outlined in the Prime Minister’s statement. We do not accept that these conclusions can be based on credible evidence.

“The Muslim Brotherhood engaged in an open and honest way with Sir John Jenkin’s review. It was hoped that the British government would seek to reciprocate that engagement. It is now clear that the Prime Minister did not intend to carry out a fair review into the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Hajj stampede

On the international scene, the Associated Press reported that at least 2,411 pilgrims were killed in the hajj stampede in Mina in September – triple the number that Saudi Arabia has acknowledged.

AP based the number on state media reports and officials’ comments from 36 countries that sent citizens to the hajj. AP said that hundreds of pilgrims remain missing.

Even though Saudi promised a quick and thorough investigation following the international outcry over the incident, state media has not mentioned the investigation into the disaster for nearly two months.

Authorities said the crush and stampede occurred when two waves of pilgrims converged on a narrow road, suffocating or trampling to death those caught in the disaster.

Iran was most affected by the disaster, with 464 Iranian pilgrims killed. Mali said it lost 305 people, while Nigeria lost 274 and 190 pilgrims from Egypt were killed.

Iran has accused the Saudi authorities of gross mismanagement and has said the deaths were entirely preventable.

Brunei “best Muslim country to live in”

Also in December, the United Nations Human Development Index for 2015 reported that Brunei is the best Muslim country to live in while Niger is the worst.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a measure of basic human developments within 188 countries, released by the UN in its annual Human Development Report.

Brunei is one of the richest countries in the world
Brunei is one of the richest countries in the world

It uses three categories of human development (categorised as a long and healthy lifestyle, access to knowledge and decent standard of living) to assess the long-term progress of nations.

Norway came top of the list and the higher rankings were generally dominated by European, Oceanian and North American countries. Many Muslim nations appeared at the lower end of the list.

Brunei was placed 31st on the list and was classified as having a “Very High Human Development” rating.

Located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Brunei gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1984. Economic growth during the 1990s and 2000s, with the GDP increasing 56% from 1999 to 2008, transformed Brunei into an industrialised country.

It has developed wealth from extensive petroleum and natural gas fields. and according to the International Monetary Fund, Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity.

The IMF estimated, in 2011, that Brunei was one of two countries with a public debt at 0% of the national GDP. And Forbes ranks Brunei as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum and natural gas fields.

Katie Hopkins

And finally, in the 5Pillars’ comment pages Dilly Hussain said that Katie Hopkins’ hatred for Islam and Muslims is well-known, but her latest column in response to a Muslim family from Walthamstow who were stopped from entering the US was beyond a joke.

He wrote: “On the 15th December 2015, a Muslim family of eleven, including four young children were refused permission to board a flight from Gatwick Airport to Los Angeles because a US official objected to their travel to their country…

“However, as the family were Pakistani Ms Hopkins believed it was reasonable to attack them based on their racial background. Is it really a crime for two Muslim men to travel abroad with children without their wives?

“According to Ms Hopkins, the simple answer is yes. Based on her preconceived Islamophobic misconceptions, Ms Hopkins thinks the wives of both Mr Mahmood and his brother were not allowed to travel because their religious faith ordered them to leave their wives behind while they went on a trip of a lifetime.

“This is despite Mr Mahmood having publicly told the BBC that a last minute decision was made for neither his wife nor his brother’s wife to fly out with them because one of their children was taken ill.”

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