What were the top British Muslim news stories of 2020?

Covid-19

2020 was a year when coronavirus dominated the headlines, with Muslims suffering disproportionately from it and being targeted because of it. It was also a year when Islamophobia in Labour was finally called out, with the party moving firmly within the Zionist camp.

Here are some of the highlights and lowlights from the past year:

MUSLIMS AFFECTED DISPROPORTIONATELY BY COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic was the year’s biggest story and Muslims have suffered disproportionately from it.

A report by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Together in Tribulation: British Muslims and the COVID-19 pandemic, says Muslims have suffered the highest COVID-19 mortality rates by faith group, the suspension of mosque activities, mental health repercussions, and have been negatively portrayed in media reporting of the pandemic.`

On the other hand, the report says Muslims have showed the strength of their resolve, resilience and community spirit in the way in which they played their part in the national effort against the virus.

From a large representation in key worker industries including healthcare, education, transport and food production, to setting up over 100 community support groups delivering food and medicines to those in need, the MCB says British Muslim have “embodied the Islamic principle of acting in service to others to the fullest extent.”

SHUKRI ABDI DROWNING RULED ‘ACCIDENTAL DEATH’

In December a coroner ruled that the drowning of Bury schoolgirl Shukri Abdi in 2019 was an “accidental death.”

Coroner Joanne Kearsley found that another girl who was with her in the River Irwell when she drowned (who we can only identify as “Child One”) had no intention to harm her.

Describing in detail the events of the day she died, Kearsley said that Shukri would have gone to an athletics lesson after school and then straight home had she not been subject to peer pressure to go to a waterpark by two girls known as Child One and Child Two.

But Joanne Kearsley concluded that Child One had no intention of killing Shukri but she did prompt the crisis which ultimately led to her death. She said Child One was naive and it was ill-considered to try to teach Shukri to swim. It was a serious error of judgement but she did not mean to cause her harm.

ISLAMOPHOBIA IN THE LABOUR PARTY 

A report in November by the Labour Muslim Network found huge levels of dissatisfaction and distrust in the Labour Party by its own Muslim members and supporters.

The report found that 46% of Muslim members and supporters believe the Labour Party does not represent the Muslim community effectively, whereas only 29% feel that it does.

The survey also found that 59% of Muslim members and supporters do not feel “well represented by the leadership of the Labour Party.” And 55% said they do not “trust the leadership of the Labour Party to tackle Islamophobia effectively.”

Labour Muslim Netwiork chair Afzal Khan MP said: “Shockingly, the key findings from this report highlight the disconnect between Labour and its Muslim members, with 56% holding the view that the shadow cabinet team does not represent the Muslim community effectively and 55% do not trust the leadership to tackle Islamophobia effectively. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that our Muslim membership is being well represented and we must take swift action to tackle Islamophobia within our own ranks.”

MUSLIM SCHOOLS CONTINUE THEIR SUCCESS STORY

In January a Muslim girls school in Blackburn topped new league tables issued by the government to track improvement in pupils’ progress in English secondary schools.

Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School (TIGHS) in Blackburn, which has 120 pupils, scored highest on a measure plotting above expected improvement from the end of primary school to results in GCSEs.

Six other Muslim schools came in the top 20 nationally on the same list –  Eden Boys’ School in Birmingham, Eden Girls’ School in Coventry, Preston Muslim Girls High School, Eden Girls’ School in Waltham Forest, Eden Girls’ School in Slough and Bolton Muslim Girls School.

JEHANGIR MALIK LEAVES MUSLIM AID

In April the CEO of Muslim Aid, Jehangir Malik, left the organisation months after an internal investigation was launched into allegations of mismanagement and malpractice at the charity.

The investigation was completed and delivered to management only, but it is not clear if Malik’s departure was directly linked to the report.

The charity said that during his time at Muslim Aid Mr Malik implemented a new system of corporate governance and increased organisational capacity to deliver aid. He also oversaw the deployment of frontline support in countries including Somalia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen. And the charity played a prominent role in the relief effort following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London in 2017 and continues to do so.

At the beginning of this year Muslim Aid commissioned an independent investigation into allegations of mismanagement and malpractice at the charity after a letter of no-confidence in Malik, backed by dozens of staff, was sent to the Charity Commission.

The letter demanded that Malik and the Board of Trustees immediately step down for the good of the organisation.

MAN WHO STABBED LONDON CENTRAL MOSQUE IMAM JAILED 

A man who stabbed an imam at London Central Mosque has been jailed for seven years.

Daniel Horton, who worshipped at the mosque, admitted attacking Raafat Maglad as he led prayers on February 20 this year.

Horton had previously pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to causing grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article.

The 30-year-old was jailed for a minimum of seven years and will serve another four years on extended licence after he is released.

Mr Maglad was treated in hospital for his injuries, which included a 0.6in (1.5cm) injury to his neck. The 70-year-old muezzin returned to the mosque in Regent’s Park for Friday prayers less than 24 hours after the attack.

Detective Constable Daniel Jones, the investigating officer from Central West CID, said: “I’d like to thank the worshippers who heroically detained Horton on that day, which possibly prevented him from causing further harm.  I’d also like to thank the victim for his courage and cooperation throughout the investigation. We may never know why Horton chose to viciously attack his victim, but there is never an acceptable excuse or reason for the use of violence.”

MAINSTREAM MEDIA COVERAGE BIASED AGAINST MUSLIMS

In August the Muslim Council of Britain’s Centre for Media Monitoring found that mainstream media coverage of terrorism differs according to whom the perpetrator is – with terrorism more likely to be associated with Muslims and Islam than with far-right activists or white supremacists.

In a report “How The British Media Reports Terrorism” the CfMM found that the terms “terrorist,” “terrorism” or “terror” were used with the terms “Islam” or “Muslim” almost nine times more than when the perpetrator was identified with the terms “far-right,” “neo-Nazi” or “white supremacist.”

CfMM analysed over 230,000 articles published in 31 national online media outlets to show the inconsistencies in the coverage of terrorist attacks, depending on the background of the perpetrator.

Rizwana Hamid, Director of the Centre for Media Monitoring, said: “Whilst there now appears to be a recognition of the importance of consistency and the scale of the far-right threat amongst the broadcasters, and most of the press, there is still a long way to go.

“Inconsistencies remain, with a disproportionate focus on Muslims. Worst of all, headlines using religious terms such as ‘Allahu Akbar’ imply that religion is always the motivator, ignoring other factors such as criminal history and mental health issues which may be at play, and which are often mentioned when the perpetrator is not Muslim.”

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