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Found 68 results

  1. KARACHI: Pakistan Mulsim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said on Wednesday that he is on a mission to unite the Muslim League factions in the greater interest of the country. Hussain, a former prime minister, arrived in Karachi today. Addressing the media at the airport, Hussain said those crying conspiracy should now disclose who is conspiring against them. He informed that he has not scheduled a meeting with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. In reply to a question, Hussain said as of now has made no contact with former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Answering another question regarding allying with Pakistan Peoples Party supremo Asif Ali Zardari in the previous elections, he said alliances are formed and broken [at will].
  2. Rehana Khursheed Hashmi, 75, migrated from India with her family in 1960 and whose relatives live in India, goes through a family photo album at her residence in Karachi KARACHI/NEW DELHI: As Pakistan and India prepare to celebrate 70 years of independence from Britain next week, thousands of families in the nuclear-armed neighbours remain divided by a border that strained diplomatic ties make harder to cross. Pakistan and India have fought three wars since 1947, and relations remain tense, particularly when it comes to Indian occupied Kashmir. "The people who have migrated are not able to come to India, nor can we go there freely," said Asif Fehmi, a resident of a New Delhi neighbourhood where thousands of Muslim families divided by Partition have blood ties over the border. "We can't meet them freely, and there was a time when we couldn't talk to them freely." Rehana Khursheed Hashmi, 75 (2nd L) prepares pan (beetle leaf) while sitting with her grandsons and daughter in-law at her residence in Karachi Fehmi's family was among the millions of people whose lives were disrupted in 1947, after departing British colonial administrators ordered the creation of two countries - one mostly Muslim and one majority Hindu. A mass migration followed, marred by violence and bloodshed, as about 15 million Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, fearing discrimination, swapped countries in a political upheaval that cost more than a million lives. Many survivors of the bloodshed found themselves separated from family on the other side of a hastily drawn-up border. "I was unable to understand what Partition was, because I was not old enough," said Rehana Hashmi, 75, whose family migrated from India to Pakistan's southern city of Karachi in 1960. "My brother told me that India and Pakistan had emerged." The move to Pakistan, when Hashmi's father retired from a career in India's railways, left behind many close relatives, but they kept in touch. Rehana Khursheed Hashmi stands at the entrance of her house as her five year-old grandson Faraz Hashmi plays in Karachi When Hashmi's husband, Khurshid, died in 1990, bringing to a close a 26-year-long marriage, his first cousin, Asif Fehmi, sought a Pakistani visa to attend the funeral. "I knew some people in the Pakistan embassy," said Fehmi. "I finally got the visa, but when I reached there, it was already over. So, at a time when we should have been there, we weren't." For the Hashmis and the Fehmis, as for thousands of other families, the quarreling has meant fewer visits across the border.
  3. Israeli security forces stand by as Palestinian worshippers gather to pray in the old city of Jerusalem on July 26, 2017. Photo: AFP JERUSALEM: A top Muslim official said Thursday worshippers should maintain a boycott of a sensitive Jerusalem holy site until an inspection has been completed after Israel removed more new security installations overnight. Sheikh Omar Kiswani, director of the Al-Aqsa mosque, joined Palestinian celebrations outside the compound in the early hours of Thursday after Israel removed the installations. He was lifted onto the shoulders of joyous Palestinians and given a microphone, then said: "Don´t rush my brothers to enter. "Do not enter until after there is confirmation from the technical committee," he said, referring to a committee of Muslim officials inspecting the mosque compound, which is also holy to Jews. A meeting was expected to be held on Thursday morning and a decision may be announced afterwards. A tense standoff has been underway between Israel and Muslim worshippers at the holy site despite the removal of metal detectors on Tuesday, with concerns of major unrest later this week if no resolution is found. Newly installed railings and scaffolding where cameras were previously mounted had also been removed early on Thursday from at least one main entrance to the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, an AFP journalist reported. The compound encompasses the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The crowds grew larger overnight, with some holding up a large Palestinian flag outside Jerusalem´s Old City. Israel installed the new security measures after an attack nearby that killed two policemen on July 14. Muslims have refused to enter the site and have prayed in the streets outside for more than a week after Israel installed the new security measures. Palestinians view the move as Israel asserting further control over the site. Israeli authorities said the metal detectors were needed because the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the site and emerged from it to attack the officers. Deadly unrest has erupted since the new measures were introduced, with clashes breaking out around the compound and in the occupied West Bank, leaving five Palestinians dead. A Palestinian also broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank last week and stabbed four Israelis, killing three of them.
  4. A woman poses in a Nike hijab being developed for Muslim women athletes, in an undated photo released by the company March 8, 2017. Vivienne Balla/Nike/Handout via REUTERS BEIRUT: The hijab ? one of the most visible signs of Islamic culture ? is going mainstream with advertisers, media giants, and fashion firms promoting images of the traditional headscarf in ever more ways. Last week, Apple previewed 12 new emoji characters to be launched later this year, one of a woman wearing a hijab. Hijab emoji ? one of the several new ones that Apple debuted last week. Image courtesy: Huffington Post via Apple Major fashion brands from American Eagle to Nike are creating hijabs, while hijab-wearing models have started gracing Western catwalks and the covers of top fashion magazines. Many Muslim women cover their heads in public with the hijab as a sign of modesty, although some critics see it as a sign of female oppression. But there is one thing most can agree on: when it comes to the hijab, there is money to be made. Muslim girls in hijabs walk past a man, as he shouts and gives a 'thumbs down' at activists (not pictured) protesting outside Trump Tower against the US Supreme Court decision to revive parts of a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries in Manhattan, New York, US, June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky "In terms of the bottom line ? absolutely they're (young Muslims) good for business? it's a huge market and they are incredibly brand savvy, so they want to spend their money," said Shelina Janmohamed, vice-president of Ogilvy Noor, a consultancy offering advice on how to build brands that appeal to Muslim audiences. Nike announced it is using its prowess in the sports and leisure market to launch a breathable mesh hijab in spring 2018, becoming the first major sports apparel maker to offer a traditional Islamic head scarf designed for competition. Widi Rahmawati (L) and Firdda Kurnia, members of the metal Hijab band Voice of Baceprot, perform during a school's farewell event in Garut, Indonesia, May 15, 2017. Picture taken May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Yuddy Cahyataken May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Yuddy Cahya2 In June, Vogue Arabia featured on its cover the first hijabi model to walk the international runway, Somali-American Halima Aden, who gained international attention last year when she wore a hijab and burkini during the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. "Every little girl deserves to see a role model that's dressed like her, resembles her, or even has the same characteristics as her," Aden said in a video on her Instagram account. A woman wears a union jack hijab in St Ann's Square in Manchester, Britain, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls1 Western advertising Hijabs have also become more visible in Western advertising campaigns for popular retailers like H&M and Gap. "Brands especially are in a very strategic and potent position to propel that social good, to change the attitudes of society, and really push us forward and take us to that next step," Amani al-Khatahtbeh, founder of online publication MuslimGirl.com, said by phone from New York. People look at a market stall selling the hijab in east London, Britain January 20, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo In Nigeria, a medical student has become an Instagram sensation for posting images of a hijab-wearing Barbie, describing hers as a "modest doll" ? unlike the traditional version. And mothers in Pittsburgh have started making and selling hijabs for Barbies in a bid to make play more inclusive. However, al-Khatahtbeh warned of the potential for the young Muslim market to be exploited just for profit without any effort to promote acceptance and integration. Women wearing US flag hijabs are pictured during an 'I am Muslim Too' rally in Times Square, Manhattan, New York, US, February 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri "It can easily become exploitative by profiting off of communities that are being targeted right now, or it could be a moment that we turn into a very, very empowering one," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Emojis and fashion Frustrated she could not find an image to represent her and her friends on her iPhone keypad, Saudi teenager, Rayouf Alhumedhi, started an online campaign, the Hijab Emoji Project. An audience member wears an American flag hijab during US President Donald Trump's address to the Joint Session of Congress in Washington, US, February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst She proposed the idea of the emoji last year to coding consortium Unicode that manages the development of new emojis, Alhumedhi said on her campaign's website, helping to prompt Apple to create its hijab-wearing emoji. "It's only really in the last 18 to 24 months ? perhaps three years ? that bigger mainstream brands have started to realise that young Muslim consumers are really an exciting opportunity," said Janmohamed of Ogilvy Noor. Halima Eden. Image courtesy: Cosmopolitan A global Islamic economy report conducted by Thomson Reuters showed that in 2015, revenues from "modest fashion" bought by Muslim women was were estimated at $44 billion, with designers Dolce & Gabbana, Uniqlo and Burberry entering the industry. Janmohamed, author of the memoir Love in a Headscarf, sees young hijabi representation in the digital communications and fashion space a step forward for tolerance. A Muslim woman in hijab is seen amid activists as they make their way to the Women's March in opposition to the agenda and rhetoric of President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, US, on January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif "It feels particularly empowering for young people to see themselves represented. So today, I think it is the least that consumers expect and anyone that doesn't do it is actually falling behind." ?via Thomson Reuters Foundation
  5. On one hand where some people are fighting against each other in the name of religion and fueling the Hindu-Muslim conflict, Alam Ara is setting an example that the whole nation needs to learn from and at the same time feel ashamed of as well. For the past 17 years, this woman from Varanasi has been carving Shiv Lingams for a living and believes that there are no Hindus or Muslims in the country, everyone is a Hindustani. She believes that this divide is a waste of time and we don't think anyone could have said it as easily as her. “Making Shiv Lingams is a god-gifted art and we make it with love,” Ara told ANI. UP: Varanasi's Alam Ara making Shiva Lingam for the last 17 years to earn a living, says "this is god-gifted art, we make it with love" pic.twitter.com/bIJZvvWGoe — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) 22 July 2017 Ara further said that this is her source of income; when it comes to art there are no Hindus or Muslims. We only hope that more people realize that art knows no religious boundaries and religion should never come in the way of work or love for something. Ye humari rozi hai...Hindu-Muslim se kuch nahi hota hai. Hum Hindustani hain: Varanasi's Alam Ara on making Shiva Lingam for 17 years pic.twitter.com/aASkM4nkW3 — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) 22 July 2017 “Hindu-Muslim se kuch nahi hota hai. Hum Hindustani hain,” she told ANI and we couldn't agree any less with her. While the feeling of solidarity is losing its sheen with each passing day, it's people like Alam Ara who help us restore our faith in unity.
  6. Cosplayers prepare for a cosplay event at a mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin JAKARTA: After donning a blue Cinderella dress, Sind Yanti carefully arranges her pale yellow "hijab", or traditional headscarf, into folds that resemble hair. "Wearing a hijab should not be a barrier for anything. We are free to be creative," said the 24-year-old Indonesian designer after posting selfies of her latest "cosplay" outfit. She is among a growing number of young Muslim women in Southeast Asia who are taking part in "hijab" costume play, finding creative ways to incorporate the head covering into colourful fantasy costumes. Yanti's fashions are inspired by Disney and Japanese anime characters, with artful hijab designs that resemble wigs or hoods. She can express herself while preserving the Islamic requirement of modest dress for women, Yanti said. Her made-to-order designs cost between 250,000 rupiah ($18.79) and 500,000 rupiah each. The fashion play is also popular in neighbouring Muslim-majority Malaysia, where young people dressed as superheroes, warriors, and princesses flocked to a cosplay show in Kuala Lumpur, the capital. Among them was 20-year-old film student Nursyamimi Minhalia, who wore a black hijab cut to form a fringe with two buns on either side. She did not include the hijab when she began cosplaying in 2012 but was later inspired by others wearing the headscarf. "It's quite challenging. Usually, I pick a character that covers most of my body, so it's easier for me to wear it in the 'Muslimah' style," Minhalia said, employing the Arabic term for Muslim women. Costumed roleplay, which can feature revealing outfits and elaborate hair styles, has long been part of the fan culture linked to anime and comics. Hijab cosplay is a new phenomenon that appears to be growing in appeal among the wider Muslim community. Sharifah Maznah Syed Mohd, 48, whose son is an avid cosplayer, said the role-playing hobby was acceptable as long as participants stuck within religious boundaries. Yanti says hijab cosplay has helped her stay true to her faith even while enjoying the cosplay experience. "If I took off my hijab just because of cosplay, I'd feel sorry for myself," she added. "It would feel like there is a conflict inside my heart."
  7. A British Muslim MP, Afzal Khan believes his election following the Manchester bombing sends a "powerful message" to those terrorists and bigots attempting to divide society. Khan won the election on a Labour ticket and praised the people of his home city for responding with solidarity, compassion and the "determination" to defeat those who threaten their way of life. Suicide bomber Salman Abedi targeted Manchester Arena after a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more. Khan recalled the events of May 22 while making his maiden speech in the Commons. He also spoke of his life before entering Parliament and about his police officer. Addressing the House of Commons, Khan said: "In May, the city I love was the victim of a terrible attack - 22 adults and children were killed and over 100 people injured attending a concert at Manchester Arena". "It was an act of pure evil. Faced with this tragedy, the people of Manchester responded in the only way they know how - with solidarity, with compassion, and with the determination that those who seek to endanger our way of life will not succeed." The MP added that the attack in the arena led to an increase in hate crimes and termed the development unfortunate. "Yet, just a few weeks later, the people of Manchester elected me, a Muslim. "I cannot think of a more powerful message to the terrorists and bigots that their attempts to divide us will never succeed." Later in his speech, Khan said his journey to Parliament was "not the typical one". Khan added that he was born in Pakistan and came to the UK when he was adopted out of poverty as a child. "Since then, Manchester has been my home for nearly 40 years. I often tell people while I was born in Pakistan, I was made in Manchester. "I left school with no qualifications and at 16 went straight to work as a labourer in a cotton mill. "Later, I became a bus driver and then a police officer," the Labour MP said.
  8. Bosnian Muslim women offers prayers near the caskets of 71 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. -AFP SREBRENICA: Thousands gathered in Srebrenica on Tuesday to mark the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, Europe´s worst atrocity since World War II, with some relatives of the victims giving their loved ones a proper burial for the first time. The remains of 71 victims of the bloodshed, which has been ruled genocide by international courts, were laid to rest in a joint funeral at a memorial cemetery in Potocari, near Srebrenica. They included a 33-year-old woman and seven people who were under 18 when they were killed. Adela Efendic said she had come to "finally say goodbye" to her father Senaid, who was 35 when he was killed. "His remains were found nine years ago in a common grave, but only a few bones," the 22-year-old said, her head covered with a violet veil and tears streaming down her cheeks. "We were waiting, hoping to find more, but nothing turned up... We decided to bury him now so his bones find peace," said Efendic, who was just 20 days old when her father died. "I have only one photo of him, a small one, like for an ID card. But my mother told me a lot about him... it allows me to imagine him." Bosnian Serb forces captured the eastern Bosnian town, a UN-protected enclave at the time, on July 11, 1995, five months before the end of Bosnia´s inter-ethnic war. In the following days they summarily killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys. ´Know where their bones are´ Fata Omerovic regularly attends the commemorations at Potocari, where she already buried her two sons and husband. "We know at least where their bones are," whispered the 65-year-old woman, who has only one daughter left, while caressing the three white gravestones. "We come here, pray, look at gravestones... It´s more difficult for those who didn´t find their children and husbands." So far the remains of 6,429 Srebrenica victims have been buried at the memorial site and 233 in other cemeteries, according to Bosnia´s institute of missing people. The remains of more than 1,000 other victims have yet to be located. The victims were found in about 80 mass graves, the last of which was discovered in December 2015. Among the identified victims were 22 women and about 440 children less than 18 years old when they were killed, according to the institute. In 2016, a UN tribunal found Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic guilty of genocide over his role in the atrocity and sentenced him to 40 years in prison. Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian Serb wartime military chief, is awaiting a verdict by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in November. ´Horrible crime´ Bosnian Serbs and Belgrade refuse to acknowledge the Srebrenica massacre as an act of genocide, despite urgings from a handful of Serbian opposition leaders and prominent human rights organisations. On Tuesday, the Muslim member of Bosnia´s tripartite presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, urged "Serbian people and its... elites to accept the truth and stop denying the genocide." It will be a "step towards a genuine reconciliation and better future for all of us," he said at the commemoration. But Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who was a close ally of ultranationalist Serbian leader Vojislav Seselj during the war, has said their words "do not oblige the state". Vucic, who did not attend the ceremony, told Serbian broadcaster Happy TV on Monday that a "horrible crime was committed" in Srebrenica while also pointing to crimes committed against ethnic Serbs during Croatia´s 1990s war, as well as killings committed during World War II. During a visit by Vucic to the 2015 anniversary of the massacre, a mob of people throwing stones chased him away. In Belgrade, a banner was hoisted in front of the Serbian parliament with photos of some of 3,000 Serbian soldiers and civilians killed in the Srebrenica area by Muslim forces during the war. "The families of slaughtered Serbian victims want justice!," the banner read. Across the street, in the park facing the Serbian presidency building, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights was to hold a vigil later Tuesday to commemorate victims of the Srebrenica massacre. The 1992-1995 war between Bosnia´s Croats, Muslims and Serbs claimed some 100,000 lives and left almost half of its four million inhabitants homeless. It also split the country into two semi-independent entities, the Serb-run Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation. Srebrenica, where Muslims were once the majority, has remained in the Serb-run half.
  9. Music director AR Rahman smiles while speaking to a reporter upon his arrival on the green carpet for an event. Photo: AFP/file LONDON: As he celebrates 25 years in the music industry, the Oscar and Grammy-winning Indian musician AR Rahman says his religious beliefs have helped define and shape his career. Rahman, who converted to Islam in his 20s, is in London with a show called "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow". He told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that his interpretation of the Muslim faith meant living a life that was simple and in which humility was key. "Islam is an ocean, you know, it has different sects. More than 70. So I follow the Sufi kind of philosophy which is about love," Rahman said. "I am what I am because of the philosophy I'm following, my family is following. And of course, many things are happening, and I feel it's mostly political." The 50-year-old artist, who has won two Oscars, two Grammys and a Golden Globe, has over 160 film soundtracks to his name, including the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire and Bollywood films like Lagaan and Taal. He sings, writes songs, plays instruments and composes music and has teamed up with other global artists including Mick Jagger, Sarah Brightman and the Pussycat Dolls. Rahman said his latest tour, which kicks off at Wembley SSE Arena in London on July 8, will take his fans on a journey through his music for the last quarter of a century. The softly spoken artist, who nevertheless has a powerful stage presence, said he still had more to achieve and hoped music would help bring more people together. "If you take an orchestra, you have the underprivileged and the privileged, playing together. We have different races playing together. We have different religions playing together. But one sound comes out," he said. "You work towards one harmony."
  10. In what seems to be another case of embarrassment for the government of India, a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh resorted to wearing a burqa to conceal his identity as he was scared of being lynched. According to a news report published in the Indian media, travelers at the Agra railway station alerted Government Railway Police (GRP) after observing suspicious movements of a burqa-clad individual. The police immediately detained him. The man identified as Nazmul Hassan, an assistant engineer in Aligarh's Kasimpur power station, told the GRP that he wanted to hide his identity as he was scared of being lynched for being a Muslim man, reported Times of India. The man told police officials that he had to frequently travel to Delhi to take care of an ailing cousin and had accidentally pushed a man while alighting at the Aligarh railway station last week. According to him, the man insulted him and his religion in full public view and threatened him openly, as others joined in, that they would not allow him to live in the city. "I had read about Junaid's killing in a train in Ballabhgarh a few days ago. I was scared for my life after the threat, but couldn't avoid traveling. So I thought of wearing a burqa," he told cops. Senior sub-inspector (GRP), who is one of the investigating officers in the case, said, "We found nothing suspicious in his statement to police. Different agencies verified that his act of wearing burqa was born out of his fear following the incident that occurred with him at the railway station last week". "When Hassan was handed over to the GRP, he was crying and shaking and kept repeating that he is a simple man who has never done anything wrong," said police. A Muslim teenager, Junaid, was stabbed to death while his brothers, Hashim and Sakir-- were injured by a mob which also allegedly hurled slurs against them onboard the Delhi-Mathura passenger train between Ballabgarh and Mathura stations.
  11. An international passenger arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport after the US Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration's emergency request to put its travel ban into effect later in the week pending further judicial review. File photo: Reuters Visa applicants from six Muslim-majority countries must have a close family relationship to a US individual or formal ties to a US entity to be admitted to the United States under guidance distributed by the US State Department on Wednesday. The guidance defined a close familial relationship as being a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling, including step siblings and other step family relations, according to a copy of a cable distributed to all US diplomatic posts and seen by Reuters. Narrowed travel ban could sow confusion in US and abroad, experts say The Supreme Court agreed to decide the legality of Trump order in its next term, which begins in October The cable, first reported by the Associated Press, said close family "does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other 'extended' family members." It also specified that any relationship with a US entity "must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the E.O.," a reference to US President Donald Trump's March 6 executive order temporarily barring most US travel by citizens of six nations. The cable provides advice to US consular officers on how to interpret Monday's Supreme Court ruling that allowed parts of the executive order, which had been blocked by the courts, to be implemented while the highest US court considers the matter.
  12. India is a land where communal harmony disrupts the peace of the nation and other times, some beautiful examples warm our hearts and instils our faith in humanity. It's Eid today and the celebrations are not just limited to our Muslim brethren. © Twitter Atif Anwar stood at the India gate with a blindfold over his eyes with a message that garnered a lot of attention. He quoted a very simple requested to break his ‘roza' with his Hindu brothers. © Facebook The video that records this social experiment is proof that humanity and love overcomes any evil that any political or religious boundaries may portray. The video is now going viral and why not, it's a wonderful lesson in communal harmony for all of us.
  13. LONDON: At least six people were injured on Sunday after a car mounted a pavement outside a sports center in the northern English city of Newcastle, but the incident is not believed to be terrorism-related, police said on Sunday. Local media said hundreds of people were celebrating Eid, which marks the end of Islam's holy month of Ramadan, at the sports center and that two children were among the casualties. "On Sunday June 25, at approximately 9:14 a.m. Northumbria Police received reports that a vehicle had collided with pedestrians outside of Westgate Sports Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne," the police said in a statement. "Police enquiries are ongoing to establish exactly what happened but, at this time, it is not believed to be a terror incident." Police said a 42-year-old woman had been detained and was in custody.
  14. Photo: File Indian police Saturday said one person has been arrested after a mob stabbed a Muslim teenager to death on suspicion of carrying beef, an offence in many parts of the Hindu-majority country. Cows are revered by Hindus and slaughtering them as well as possession or consumption of beef is banned in most Indian states, with some imposing life sentences for breaking the law. Junaid Khan, 15, was travelling from New Delhi on Friday with three of his brothers when a fight erupted over seats. Between 15 and 20 men pulled out knives and set upon the brothers while making anti-Muslim comments and insisting one of the packets they were carrying contained beef. While Khan was stabbed to death, his brother Shakir sustained injuries on the throat, chest and hands, police said. "The fight started over seats. We are looking into the matter and we have arrested one of the accused who is a 35-year-old old man from (northern state of) Haryana," Ajay Kumar, a government railway police official told AFP. Khan´s brother Hassem told reporters the mob ignored their repeated pleas that they were not carrying any beef. "They were pointing at a packet which had food and saying we should not be allowed to sit since we were carrying beef," Haseem said. The incident is the latest such attack by Hindu vigilantes in India, where there have been a spate of assaults against Muslims and low-caste Dalits. In the last two years, nearly a dozen Muslim men have been killed across the country on suspicion of eating beef or smuggling cows. Critics say vigilantes have been emboldened by the election in 2014 of Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party. Last year Modi criticised the cow protection vigilantes and urged a crackdown against groups using religion as a cover for committing crimes.
  15. WASHINGTON: The memorial of 17-year-old Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen, who was abducted and murdered after leaving a mosque in Virginia, was vandalised on Wednesday morning in Washington DC, reported Fox 5. According to DC Fire department, the memorial on Dupont Memorial Fountain on Connecticut Avenue was set on fire. The fire was later extinguished by fire fighters. Jonathon Soloman of South Carolina was arrested in connection with the fire, said DC police. The United States Park Police said it did not appear that Soloman was intentionally setting fire to items from Nabra's memorial as he was setting several items from the park on fire. Soloman was charged with vandalism. Nabra was attacked earlier in June after she and several of her friends walking outside a mosque got into a dispute with a motorist in the community of Sterling. The teen was reported missing by her friends who scattered during the attack and could not find her afterwards. Her body was later found dumped in a pond. During the search for the missing teen, authorities stopped a motorist "driving suspiciously in the area" and arrested the driver, later identified as Darwin Martinez Torres, 22. Police obtained a murder warrant that charges Torres for her death The number of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States jumped 57 percent in 2016 to 2,213, up from 1,409 in 2015, the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group said in a report last month. While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump's stunning rise in last year's presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump's focus on militant groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
  16. People gather to attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque, close to the scene of a van attack in Finsbury Park, north London. Photo: AFP LONDON: Londoners bearing flowers and messages of solidarity gathered Monday at the spot where a man ploughed a van into Muslims leaving prayers at a mosque, the fourth terror strike in Britain in four months. Eleven people were injured in the attack, which took place early Monday near Finsbury Park mosque, north London, raising fears of retaliation against Muslims after recent assaults by extremists. One elderly man, who had collapsed just before the incident, was pronounced dead at the scene, but it is not yet known whether his death was directly linked to the van assault. Among the roughly 100 people at the vigil, some carried signs reading "United Against All Terror". "One of the things that all these terrorists share is a perverse ideology that wants to fuel division and divide our communities. We?re not going to let them," said Mayor Sadiq Khan, speaking after prayers at the Muslim Welfare House on Monday evening. Flowers were left at the scene where hours earlier the 47-year-old van driver was pinned down by locals and shielded from violence by an imam, before being detained by police. The driver was later arrested on suspicion of "the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder", the police said. The suspect was identified by British media as Darren Osborne, a father of four who lived in the Welsh capital Cardiff. As police searched a property, five residents speaking to journalists from the Press Association news agency identified images of the arrested man as their neighbour, Osborne. Security Minister Ben Wallace told BBC radio that the suspect was "not known to us". Stepped-up police presence London police chief Cressida Dick said the incident was "quite clearly an attack on Muslims" and promised a stepped-up police presence near mosques as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close. Witness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP the van "drove at people" and that some of the victims were carried for several metres along the road. "He was shouting: ?I want to kill all Muslims?," another witness, Khalid Amin, told BBC television. The Finsbury Park Mosque said the van "deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late evening prayers" at the mosque and the nearby Muslim Welfare House shortly after midnight. Eleven people were hurt, all Muslims, with nine requiring hospital treatment. Two were in a very serious condition, police said. One Algerian man was among those injured, the north African country said. Locals pinned down the driver and the imam of the Muslim Welfare House stepped in to stop him receiving a mob beating. France and Germany quickly condemned the attack. US President Donald Trump?s daughter Ivanka expressed solidarity with the worshippers in a tweet but her father has so far not commented. Community in shock Prime Minister Theresa May, who was heavily criticised for failing to meet survivors of a devastating fire in a London tower block last week, visited Finsbury Park Mosque where she met local faith leaders. May condemned the assault as "sickening", saying Britain?s determination to fight "terrorism, extremism and hatred... must be the same, whoever is responsible". The use of a vehicle to mow down pedestrians drew horrifying parallels with this month?s London Bridge attack. In that incident, three men slammed a van into pedestrians before embarking on a stabbing spree -- an attack claimed by Daesh. In March London was hit with another car and knife rampage, that one near parliament. It was also claimed by Daesh. This time the attacker deliberately targeted Muslims, according to the police. After the London Bridge attack, the mayor?s office reported a 40-percent increase in racist incidents in the capital and a five-fold increase in anti-Muslim incidents. Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, described the attack as "cowardly". "Our community is in shock," he said, urging people attending prayers to remain vigilant. ?Extraordinary city? It was the third major incident in the capital this month, after the London Bridge attack and last week?s devastating fire in the Grenfell Tower block, in which 79 people are thought to have died. "This is an extraordinary city of extraordinary people," May said outside Downing Street after chairing an emergency government meeting. "Diverse, welcoming, vibrant, compassionate, confident and determined never to give in to hate." Last month, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert in Britain?s third city of Manchester, killing 22 people, many of them children. The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a notorious hub for radical extremists but has changed markedly in recent years under new management. Its former imam, Abu Hamza, was jailed for life in New York on terrorism charges in 2015. Despite the change in leadership and the focus on bolstering inter-faith relations, the mosque reported it had received a string of threatening emails and letters in the wake of the Paris attacks.
  17. Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, Virginia, charged with the murder of a 17-year-old American Muslim girl is shown in this Fairfax County Police Department photo released in Fairfax, Virginia, US, June 19, 2017. Courtesy Fairfax County Police Dept./Handout via REUTERS WASHINGTON: A teenage Muslim girl killed by a bat-wielding motorist near a Virginia mosque was an apparent victim of "road rage" and her death is not being investigated as a hate crime, police said on Monday. Nabra Hassanen, 17, was attacked early on Sunday in Sterling, Virginia, about 50 kilometres west of Washington, after attending late-night prayers for the holy month of Ramazan, when many Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, has been arrested and charged with murder in the incident that began with a road dispute with a boy on a bicycle who was among a group of teenagers that included Hassanen, Fairfax County police spokeswoman Julie Parker said. "It appears that the suspect became so enraged over this traffic argument that it escalated into deadly violence," she told a news conference. Parker said there was no indication the attack near the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque was motivated by race or religion. Police said there was no sign that Martinez used racial slurs during the attack. Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, expressed solidarity with the Muslim centre and said a prayer vigil would be held on Wednesday at a high school. "With regard to this case, I am confident justice will be served," she said at the news conference. The attack took place about 3:40 AM as up to 15 teenagers, who had attended prayer services at the mosque, were returning from a fast-food restaurant, Parker said. Some of the teenagers were on the road and Martinez began arguing with the boy on a bicycle as he was driving in his car, Parker said. Martinez chased the youths into a parking lot, emerged from his car with a baseball bat, and struck Hassanen, she said. He loaded Hassanen into his car and dumped her in a pond in neighbouring Loudoun County, Parker said. A search team recovered the body on Sunday, and an autopsy showed she had suffered blunt force trauma to the upper body, she added. The Washington Post reported that Hassanen and her friends were dressed in abayas, the robe-like dress worn by some Muslim women, prompting fears the victim was targeted because she was Muslim. Police arrested Martinez about 90 minutes after the assault and a judge ordered that he remain jailed without bail, officials said. He has been assigned a public defender.
  18. VIRGINIA: A 17-year-old American Muslim girl was beaten and abducted after leaving a mosque in Virginia on Sunday by a man who police later arrested on suspicion of murder after her body was found dumped in a pond, authorities said. The attack spurred an outpouring of grief and horror in a Muslim community that has been gathering to pray at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque about 30 miles outside Washington in observance of the last 10 days of Ramadan. The attack happened early on Sunday after the victim and several friends walking outside the mosque got into a dispute with a motorist in the community of Sterling, the Fairfax County Police Department said in a statement. At one point, the motorist got out of his car and assaulted the girl, police said. The teen was reported missing by her friends who scattered during the attack and could not find her afterwards, touching off an hours-long search by authorities in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. At around 3pm, the remains of a female believed to be the teen victim were found in a pond in Sterling, police said. During the search for the missing teen, authorities stopped a motorist "driving suspiciously in the area" and arrested the driver, later identified as identified as Darwin Martinez Torres, 22. Police obtained a murder warrant that charges Torres for her death, the Fairfax County Police Department said. A police spokeswoman told reporters the attack followed some sort of dispute between the man and the girls, and authorities had not ruled out hate as a motivation for the attack. The number of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States jumped 57 percent in 2016 to 2,213, up from 1,409 in 2015, the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group said in a report last month. While the group had been seeing a rise in anti-Muslim incidents prior to Donald Trump's stunning rise in last year's presidential primaries and November election victory, it said the acceleration in bias incidents was due in part to Trump's focus on militant groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric. In an incident in London on Monday, a van ploughed into worshippers leaving a mosque, killing at least one person and injuring several in what Britain's largest Muslim organisation said was a deliberate act of Islamophobia. Isra Chaker, a person who said in a Facebook post that she was close to a family friend of the victim in the Virginia incident, said the driver came out with a baseball bat and began swinging it at the girls, Chaker said. "She then went missing (presumably kidnapped/moved by the suspect) and was found dead this afternoon," Chaker said. An online fundraiser for the girl's family had raised $61,606 by Sunday evening. Police said a medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to confirm the victim's identity and cause of death, though detectives believe the body found in the pond was the missing girl.
  19. From left to right: Moheeb, 11, Shahrazad, 8, Saif, 11, and Enan, 10. Photo: Mic There has been a surge in Islamophobia in the United States recently. Even the children are being targeted and called ?terrorists? in their schools. However, this has not resulted in any concrete action by the authorities. Mic interviewed four school-going Muslim children, who are based in New York, to ask about their experience in the classroom. The participants included 11-year-old Moheeb, 8-year-old Shahrazad, 10-year-old Enan and 11-year-old Saif. The children do not know anything about US President Donald Trump except that he is the president and wants to ban Muslim. However, this does not bode well for Shahrazad. "I have family in Yemen," Shahrazad said. "[They] can't come if Donald Trump makes another ban. When I pray, I ask God to help America and Yemen." Despite their lack of the awareness of the political situation, the children are fed up constant bullying by their classmates and lack of response from schools? administration. Moheeb recalled that two of his classmates have called him a ?terrorist?. He even complained to his principals and teachers but no action was taken. Now, he prefers ignoring the bullying. "I feel mad, because I don't think [students and teachers] understand how I feel," Moheeb said. "I sometimes ignore [the bullying]. If I cry about it, they'll do [it] more." Surge in anti-Muslim bullying About 42 percent of Muslims families have reportedly faced anti-Muslim bullying, according to a study by Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. To make matters worse, one in every four reported the incident came from teachers or other school officials. Courtesy: ISPU Muslim families most likely to be bullied Another survey revealed that Muslim Families are most likely to be bullied in US. The data showed that about 57% Muslim families have never faced bullying as opposed to 75% Jewish families, 94% Catholic families, 80% Protestant families, 99% non-affiliated and 90% general public. Courtesy: ISPU Respondents included people who have children who attend K-12 public school
  20. Norway has put forth a plan to ban the Muslim full-face veil - AFP OSLO: The Norwegian government on Monday proposed a bill to ban the full-face Muslim veil in all schools, from nurseries to universities, saying it hinders communication between students and teachers. Norway's ruling coalition of conservative and anti-immigration rightwing parties had promised the ban last year, targeting the full-face veil called the niqab as well as burqas, balaclavas and masks. "We do not want clothes covering the face in nurseries, schools and universities," Minister of Education and Research Torbjorn Roe Isaksen said in a statement. "These clothes prevent good communication, which is important for students to receive a good education," he added. Norwegian authorities will consult over the coming months with those who could be affected by the draft law. Norwegian media reported the government can count on the support of most parties, saying the bill was expected to pass in the spring of 2018. Local authorities in Norway already have the power to ban the veil in schools, however, there is no uniform national policy. At this stage, the bill does not lay out consequences for disregarding the proposed law. The full-face veil is rather uncommon in Norway, even more so in schools, but the issue comes intermittently back into political debates. The Islamic Council, an umbrella organisation representing Muslims, hired a communication manager wearing a niqab, which sparked a heated discussion earlier this year. Legislative elections will take place on September 11 in the Nordic country. "Clothes covering the face, like the niqab and the burqa, have no place in Norwegian schools. It is a fundamental value to be able to communicate with each other," Per Sandberg, interim minister of immigration and integration, said.
  21. Firdda Kurnia, leader of the metal band Voice of Baceprot, performs during a school's farewell event in Garut, Indonesia, May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Yuddy Cahya3 GARUT: Heads covered in headscarves, the three members of the Indonesian band VoB ("Voice of Baceprot" or "Noisy Voice") do not look like your typical heavy-metal group. Formed in 2014, the band of teenagers met at school in Indonesia's most populous province of West Java and use their music to combat the stereotype of Muslim women as submissive or voiceless. "Wearing a hijab should not be a barrier to the group's pursuit of its dream of being heavy metal stars," said Firdda Kurnia, 16, who sings and plays the guitar. "I think gender equality should be supported because I feel I am still exploring my creativity, while at the same time, not diminishing my obligations as a Muslim woman," she added. Recently Invited to perform at another school's graduation ceremony, the trio quickly had fans dancing and headbanging at the front of the stage. "I don't see anything wrong with it," said one fan who attended, Teti Putriwulandari Sari. "This also relates to human rights. If a Muslim girl has [the] talent to play the drums or a guitar, should she not be allowed?" she inquired rhetorically. geo_embedgallery Besides covering classics by groups such as Metallica and Slipknot, the band perform their own songs on issues like the state of education in Indonesia. Muslims make up nearly 90 percent of a population of 250 million, the vast majority practising a moderate form of Islam, although there are some conservative strongholds. Not everyone in the town of Garut, where the band was formed, feels the community is ready for them or that their music is appropriate for performance. "It is unusual to see a group of hijab-wearing girls playing metal music or even women shouting," said Muhammad Sholeh, a teacher at the town's Cipari Islamic boarding school, adding that religious pop music was popular with many young Muslims. "But we're talking about metal here, which is loud." An official of a top clerical body said that although the group might trigger a culture clash in a conservative area, he did not feel it broke any Islamic values. "I see this as part of the creativity of teenagers," added Nur Khamim Djuremi, secretary general of the Islamic Art and Culture Division of Indonesia's Ulema Council.
  22. Indian meat traders plan to take the government to court over new rules banning the trading of cattle including buffalo for slaughter, calling it a move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration to hurt the business run mainly by Muslims. The environment ministry said this week that animal markets will only be able to trade in cattle meant for agricultural purposes, the biggest blow yet for meat suppliers facing several reverses under Modi's three-year old Hindu nationalist government. The slaughter of cows, considered holy in Hinduism, is banned in most Indian states and laws on the issue have become more stringent over the past few years. Muslims, who make up 14 percent of India's 1.3 billion people, dominate the Indian meat industry. Muslim man dies after attack by cow vigilantes in India Pehlu Khan, 55, died in hospital late Monday, two days after a mob attacked his cattle truck on a highway in Alwar in the western state of Rajasthan Mob in India kills two Muslims over suspected cow theft Two Muslim men have died after they were attacked by Indian villagers India is the biggest seller of buffalo meat in the world, with exports of more than $4 billion a year to countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Egypt. But that could change following the government's May 23 notification regarding changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, made public on Friday. It requires owners to declare that cattle have not "been brought to market for sale for slaughter" and for market committees to verify that the buyer is an "agriculturist by seeing the relevant revenue document". The new rules define cattle as bulls, cows, buffalo, steers, heifers, calves and camels. "The business is dead," said Aqil Qureshi, president of the Delhi Buffalo Traders' Welfare Association who runs a slaughterhouse outside the city and sells hides to leather companies. "We will take legal help, we will hit the streets. Who does not fight for their livelihood?" The environment ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the regulation was to protect "animals from cruelty and not to regulate the existing trade in cattle for slaughter houses". Animals for slaughter will have to be bought from farmers directly, it said. Abdul Faheem Qureshi, a lawyer in the southern city of Hyderabad and head of the All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee, said direct buying was "not always practical" and that he was drafting a court appeal after meeting with many of his "shocked" trader clients. Al Faheem Meatex, an exporter in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said buying buffalo directly from farmers was likely to raise costs, given stringent norms on cattle transportation. "It will raise costs for us but what else can we do?" the company said. "We will see if we can get some relief from the court." Qureshi said the new law would only embolden cow vigilantism groups. Muslims have been assaulted by Hindu hardliners over the past few years on suspicion of eating beef or illegally transporting cattle. GVL Narasimha Rao, a spokesman for Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, had no immediate comment. Government spokesman Frank Noronha did not respond to requests for comment.
  23. Two men were stabbed to death in the US city of Portland on Friday when they tried to stop their attacker from harassing two women because they appeared to be Muslim, police said. The incident unfolded on a commuter train hours before the start of Ramadan when most of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims observe a religious fast. The attack began shortly before 4:30pm when a man started yelling ethnic and religious slurs towards two women who appeared to be Muslim on a MAX train at the Hollywood Transit Station, the Portland Police Department said in a statement. Three men who intervened were stabbed, two fatally. The attacker was arrested shortly after he got off the train, police said, adding that the women left the scene before police could interview them. "In the midst of his ranting and raving, some people approached him and appeared to try to intervene with his behavior and some of the people that he was yelling at," Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson said during a news conference aired by local news outlets. "They were attacked viciously by the suspect," he added. In a statement responding to Friday's attack, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that anti-Muslim incidents increased by more than 50 percent in the United States from 2015 to 2016 due in part to President Donald Trump's focus on militant Islamist groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric. "President Trump must speak out personally against the rising tide of Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and racism in our nation that he has provoked through his numerous statements, policies and appointments that have negatively impacted minority communities," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. The administration says that while it strongly opposes extremist militants, it has no quarrel with Islam. Following the attack, police said one of the men died at the scene while another died at a hospital. The third man was treated for non-life threatening injuries. "These were folks just riding the train and unfortunately got caught up in this," he said. Witnesses told police that the two young women were possibly Muslim. One wore a hijab. Portland police did not identify the suspect or the victims.
  24. The Manchester attacks shook the world but humanity exists in various forms whenever brutality tries to overpower it. The photograph of a Sikh cab driver in Manchester went viral after someone tweeted about how he made his taxi a ‘free taxi’ to help anyone who needed it once hell broke loose in Manchester. While many Sikh and Muslim taxi drivers did the same, Cosmopolitan contacted the man who shared the image and asked if they could use it. © Twitter However, they pissed off many people on Twitter after they reportedly called him a ‘Muslim’ taxi driver even after knowing the facts. The publication took down the tweet but the damage was already done. © Twitter People were not mad about the mistaken identity but the fact that they had contacted the person, yet they misled the readers. @Cosmopolitan You need to change this ASAP. This man is Sikh. You are misinforming MILLIONS. pic.twitter.com/Tp7ohIryTl — SikhPressAssociation (@SikhPA) May 23, 2017 @Cosmopolitan He's a Sikh, not a Muslim. Please do your job better! — Amrita Bhinder (@amritabhinder) May 23, 2017 Their ignorance infuriated a lot of people on the internet and the publication was called out for pushing a political agenda as well. @Cosmopolitan You are just pushing a lefts agenda this man is NOT Muslim — Ava (@itsmeavaz) May 23, 2017 Hey @Cosmopolitan - why did you describe this guy as a Muslim when you knew he was a Sikh? pic.twitter.com/zm7kRRQaCJ — Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 23, 2017 @Cosmopolitan DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT! — Madhu Menon (@madmanweb) May 23, 2017 Humanity is no doubt the greatest religion known to mankind and while it does not matter who helped people in need, being a renowned name in the media, if you choose to identify someone with their religion, then one should consider the sensitivity of the issue and how it can cause a stir. We hope that they’ve learned their lesson!
  25. Indonesian comedian Sakdiyah Maruf performing at a bar in Jakarta. Photo: courtesy AFP JAKARTA: Wearing a red hijab and all-encompassing gown, Sakdiyah Maruf, cuts an unusual figure in a dark, smokey Jakarta bar as she reels off taboo-breaking jokes to laughter from a rapt audience. She is a rare character in Indonesia -- a female Muslim stand-up using humour to challenge prejudice against women and rising intolerance. Despite resistance from those who believe a woman´s place is not on stage cracking jokes, even within her own family, the 34-year-old has forged ahead and is winning fans at home and abroad. In the country with the world´s biggest Muslim population, she does not shy away from sensitive subjects. Maruf jokes about how women were not allowed to attend public events in the small, conservative community on Java Island where she grew up, and that she is seeking to be more progressive. Maruf uses humour to challenge prejudice against women and rising intolerance. Photo: courtesy AFP For the slight, unassuming lady, comedy is a playful form of resistance to a creeping conservatism she believes is eroding the rights of women in her homeland. Indonesia has long been praised for its inclusive brand of Islam but this reputation has been tarnished by a rise in attacks on minorities and the growing influence of a vocal hardline fringe. The comedian sees an alarming trend of "more rigid and conservative practices of religion" which she believes tend to marginalise women, and is particularly concerned about issues including early marriage and domestic violence. For Maruf, humour is the perfect weapon to tackle such trends. "The message can be very aggressive but it can be delivered in a very subtle way," she told AFP. "You speak to people´s hearts instead of only their minds." Indonesian comedian Sakdiyah Maruf performing at a bar in Jakarta. Photo: courtesy AFP ´Are you for real?´ Maruf comes from a traditional family in the provincial Javanese town of Pekalongan, an unlikely background for a witty, worldy-wise stand-up. She became interested in comedy at an early age by watching US sitcoms such as Roseanne and Full House, a love that she carried with her to university, where she started performing stand-up in 2009. Depending on the audience she will either perform in English -- which she studied at university -- or the main Indonesian language of Bahasa. Sakdiyah Maruf still has a day job working as an interpreter at conferences, but regularly performs in comedy clubs and nights in Jakarta, where she lives. In the early days, the comic would lie to her parents when she performed at university or headed into Jakarta for shows, believing they would disapprove, but as she became successful it was far harder to conceal the truth. She says she has managed to reach a kind of uneasy truce with her family. "We have disagreements sometimes, but they are cool with it," she explained. In 2015, Maruf was awarded the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent. Photo: courtesy AFP But the greatest resistance has come from conservatives who don´t think Muslim women should be comedians at all. "One woman came up to me after a show and said ´are you for real, are you wearing this hijab for real?´," she recalled. Still, Maruf has not been put off and her irreverent brand of humour has won her fans outside Indonesia. In 2015 she was awarded the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent established by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and last year took part in a BBC-run global stand-up jam. Maruf remains confident that Indonesia will remain a tolerant country -- not least because a devout Muslim woman like herself can still get up on stage and crack jokes. She said: "If you can write ´Indonesian conservative Muslim female stand-up´ in one sentence, why be so pessimistic?"