“Qatar-strophe”

Current Affairs

Following the release of a statement by Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin al-Thani, supposedly insinuating a support for terror and “Iranian-backed terrorists groups” (1) across the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and 5 other gulf states have severed ties with Qatar. Officials have been given 48 hours to leave, with Qatari nationals given 14 days to leave the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Following this, Emirates and Etihad airlines, in addition to others, have suspended flights to and from Doha. The reasons behind this ex-communications of sorts is the accusation that Qatar run the risk of “destabilising” (2) the region.

Approximately 40% of food imports for Qatar are from Saudi Arabia, leaving Qatar incredibly vulnerable and essentially, stranded. It seems almost too coincidental that this break comes about following Donald Trump’s trip to Riyadh last month, with many calling this move a bold risk and political statement, resulting from the US strengthening its alliance with Saudi Arabia.

Ultimately, one cannot ignore the ongoing conflict between the Shi’ite and Sunni muslims, predominately between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It was only in 2015 that, of the 769 pilgrims, over 400 (3) Iranians were killed in a stampede in Mina, during the pilgrimage of Hajj – matters were exacerbated following Saudi’s intentional, initial belittling of the accurate number of casualties. A crisis of this scale only fuelled the fire of conflict of power between Iran and Saudi Arabia, fundamentally as a result of both following two different branches of Islam.

Severing ties with Qatar following a supposedly “hacked” (4) statement by the Qatari emir is a dramatic move, resulting in isolating the gulf country. On twitter, reports are already emerging of stores in Doha suffering from empty shelves and a progressively worsening rise in food/water shortages across stores. All of this extensive action being based on an alleged conspiring with Iran and supporting extremism.

Muslim countries are essentially expected to stand united against extremism: conflicts such as this create vacuums for terrorist organisations to infiltrate, going against President Trump’s very reason for visiting Saudi Arabia. Innocent civilians will be stranded in the Middle East, utterly helpless in the face of this ex-communication. It appears there is much more behind Saudi Arabia’s decision to break off alliances with Qatar than the media are aware of. The collateral damage will be extensive following this, but, to world leaders it’s more of a matter of political alliances than humanity and the well-being of mankind.

(1) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-40155829 
(2) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-40155829
(3) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-saudi-arabia-murdering-pilgrims-hajj-stampede-a7228466.html
(4) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/05/world/middleeast/qatar-saudi-arabia-egypt-bahrain-united-arab-emirates.html?_r=0

Featured Image: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20140510-saudi-arabia-and-the-uae-accept-the-status-quo-and-qatar-provides-a-face-saving-concession/

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Eid Mubarak!

Current Affairs

To all my Muslim friends and family around the world, Eid Mubarak! (A day late, I apologise, as I spent the entire day with family)

This year, Eid was particularly special for me; for one, my entire family spent it together for the first time in years, due to different mosques in different boroughs choosing to celebrate Eid a day after it’s announced by Saudi. I am still yet to understand why. Thus, this year, it was fantastic to spend the entire day with loved ones and not spread it over two days.

Secondly, this year more so than previously, I am reminded of how special family is, and how fortunate I am to be able to spend this year celebrating with them. I am constantly in awe of how exceptionally wonderful my parents are –  I truly feel so blessed to be surrounded by such love. I’m happiest when I’m with them. The events of Baghdad hang heavy in the air for many Muslims celebrating Eid around the world, and I can’t help but feel slightly guilty for enjoying it as much as I did today, knowing there are families around the world who’ve lost so much, so many at the hands of terror. Today allowed me to appreciate that life is unpredictable, and we ought to cherish our time on this earth with the people we love, who help us strive to be better versions of ourselves.

The war on Islam is ongoing, with ISIS claiming more Muslim lives than any other. During this holy month of Ramadan, we witnessed a terror attack on such a great scale, no comparison can be made with relation to lives lost. It’s believed to be one of the deadliest attacks on Iraq. What more can be said to emphasise the severity of this situation? One of the five pillars of Islam is Zakat – charity. I urge as many of you as possible to donate to charities which help cities like Baghdad recover, or at least begin the recovery process.

It appears the Western media only cares about terrorism claiming lives if the victims are Westerners. Muslim lives are worth much less comparatively, in their eyes, hence the substantial lack of media outcry against such an act of atrocity. The Baghdad bombing should serve as a shocking reminder to the ignorant that ISIS do not represent Islam in the slightest if they’re killing fellow Muslims –  they are not Muslims and lost the right to call themselves so when they decided to commit acts of senseless murder in the name of a religion they so clearly subverted.

Conclusively, I ask as many of you as possible to keep Iraq in your prayers. We cannot fathom what they’re experiencing, having to bury their loved ones, children and families on a day where the rest of the world is celebrating the end of a holy month. But we stand in solidarity against the Islamic State militants, and their fight against Muslims. Shia or Sunni, a Muslim is a Muslim. We are all one and equal in the eyes of God, and what matters the most is how we live our lives –  NOT how others live theirs. May God give those who lost their lives a peaceful resting, and those who’ve lost loved ones any kind of comfort to ease their pain.

God is not a creator of evil; evil is manmade.

A

#Brexit

Current Affairs

“Filthy immigrants”

“Go back to where you came from”

Paki

Above are a few examples of insults being thrown around recklessly by the ignorant, in the wake of the Brexit result. It appears the only thing to come out of the EU referendum so far is a sense of freedom for people to express racist, ignorant and bigoted views on “immigrants” who are actually working their absolute hardest just like the rest of us, with as much right to be in the United Kingdom as their neighbour.

From the responses on social media and the news, it seems as if many who voted didn’t fully understand what they were voting for; it’s my view that voters used this referendum as a platform on which they could attack and politically protest the government. However, in doing so, they have sabotaged the future of many generations, including mine. One person being interviewed on Sky News told a reporter she wanted a tighter control on immigration and she would be voting to leave the EU in hope that this would take place; when asked more on the subject of the referendum, she admitted she had no knowledge of what an actual referendum was. This lack of knowledge during the referendum is exactly what has led to the sorry state of affairs in the UK now.

Interestingly, many who voted to leave believed that in doing so, “immigrants” would be deported back to “where they came from” which contributes to the notion that those who voted to leave, with that mindset, were clearly either heavily misinformed or delusional. Or perhaps both. Yes, the leave camp’s (only) argument was to clamp down on uncontrollable immigration. But what was not mentioned by the remain camp in enough detail were the ramifications of leaving the EU. The substantial effect it would have on our economy, trade and society. Brexit, in my opinion, has now isolated us from the other countries, making us appear far more vulnerable. The referendum promoted the United Kingdom as a democracy, which was undisputed prior to Cameron calling for a public vote, but now makes us look pathetic, especially with Scotland standing firmly against our decision.

Furthermore, the indisputable surge in racist attacks towards considered “not British” is wholly unacceptable and a terrifying reminder of the past we thought we had overcome. My parents grew up with sickening racism on a daily basis and firmly believed, following the riots, in that extent of racism being well and truly over. The fact that it has returned has angered so many nationwide. From shouting abuse at women in hijabs, to hurling racial abuse at someone of ethnic minority on public transport, this level of ignorance will not be tolerated. I’m seeing an unacceptable number of people sitting or standing around uncomfortably whilst abuse is being shouted at British citizens, solely due to their skin colour. Racism has become a kind of taboo –  if it’s not mentioned, it’s not happening. Majority of people who’ve come to Britain from countries like Poland (repeatedly referred to by bigots, who claim are ‘stealing’ their jobs) are working alongside the rest of us to earn a living. They have just as much right to be here. Those who are ignorant enough to hurl racist abuse have less of a right to live in the UK, because a vast majority of them are unemployed. Why are they unemployed? Not because “immigrants are taking all the jobs” but because they’re too lazy to earn their way in life –  instead relying on benefits and reproducing offspring in order to abuse the benefit system.

Another sticking point has been the leave camp’s stance on refugees coming into Britain. Someone told me that refugees were taking everyone’s jobs and as a result, they are not welcome into Britain. I’m struggling to see what wrong can come of allowing war-torn victims into a country, where they can make a living for themselves and provide safety above all else for their families. The West are responsible for the wars in these countries, so it wouldn’t it be hypocritical for us to turn them away? They come here to escape danger, not “steal” jobs. I had an interesting conversation with a group of friends, of which you can see below – refugees should not be looked at as any less than us. They’ve endured the worst anyone can experience, yet are shunned by ignorant members of society  for choosing to escape rather than die.

Kamaal_Ahmad_-_How_the_fuck_can_you_claim_you_re_not_a_racist_when___Kamaal_Ahmad_-_How_the_fuck_can_you_claim_you_re_not_a_racist_when___Kamaal_Ahmad_-_How_the_fuck_can_you_claim_you_re_not_a_racist_when___

It’s been a week since we voted, and the state of Britain is already laughable. “We want our country back” – it never left. Of course, we must respect the voters, and in all honesty we cannot solely blame the leave voters, but certainly the leaders of the camps for not providing enough information to begin with. However, the racist and bigoted attitudes of a certain (older) demographic of voters will not be tolerated or accepted.

The EU referendum was never about deporting “foreigners”, it was about the detachment from EU legislations and controlling immigration. Instead, it has been subverted into a free pass for racist attitudes to be voiced. This comes as a result of ignorance. Thankfully, the ignorant appear to be the minority.

Let’s keep it that way.

A

NB: I’ve said it before, but just to clarify I am NOT a current affairs writer, I simply write my opinion on current affairs around the world. If anything I’ve said isn’t correct, politically or in any sense for that matter, I apologise but it’s not my intention to write objectively. 

Featured Imagehttp://www.cbc.ca/news/world/brexit-parliament-cameron-merkel-corbyn-1.3655607

Further Reading

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-36646979

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2016/jun/30/racism-brexit-eu-referendum-video

Brock Turner: Convicted Rapist

Current Affairs

I stand completely horrified and at a loss of words at the recent decision made in prosecuting “aspiring athlete” Brock Turner, a student at Stanford University, who raped a student whilst she was unconscious. His conviction was an embarrassing six month sentence in prison, of which he may only serve half. 3 months in prison for raping a girl because she wasn’t conscious to stop him.

I’ve read multiple reports justifying the (lack of) conviction of the rapist, Turner, with one being it’s legally not classified as “rape” as she was unconscious and therefore couldn’t NOT give consent… The absurdity of this makes my head hurt. If this is the case, serious changes ought to be made to the legal system whereby we concentrate on the legal definition of “rape” to include denying a woman the right to consent. What’s furthermore worrying is the fact that this is being used as an excuse to justify such a ridiculously lenient sentence. Yes, Turner had no prior criminal convictions, and he may have had good character references but the fact remains, he is still and always will be a rapist now. Another justification by the Judge, Aaron Persky, for a short sentence was because prison would severely impact the rapist¹. Judge, I think that’s what we’re all hoping for –  a severe impact on a rapist who took the choice of consent from a girl so he could engage in sexual intercourse with her.

The real issue at the forefront of most minds is the correlation between race and prison sentence, and the privilege that comes with being wealthy and white in America. Apparently, it puts you above the law. Aaron Persky, and Dan Turner, father of Brock Turner, have both set out the example that rape is okay – if you’re white. A girl will now face the rest of her life knowing that justice has not been served for a crime against her; that her right to say no was stripped from her, and the perpetrator shall not pay the price, because he’s too delicate. We must ask ourselves what would be different had the athlete been black, Middle Eastern or South Asian? A tougher prison sentence, for one. No remorse, either, I imagine. Judge Persky has brushed a rape of an unconscious woman under the carpet by labelling it as a “drunken mistake” which suffices as mitigating circumstances and thus results in virtually no prison time. What an abhorrent example this sets for our generation, and the future.

I do not care that Brock Turner was an aspiring athlete. That’ll never change what he’s done to his victim; she may never recover from his attack. Turner’s father wrote a letter to the judge which sickened majority of the population; he showed an utter disregard for his son’s attack and instead attempted to draw significant attention to Turner’s character. It’s concerning to see someone show almost no remorse for his son’s actions in comparison to the apparent trauma his son is now enduring. You cannot blame “party culture” for Turner’s rape, either; it was Brock Turner’s choice to commit a sexual attack on a vulnerable woman. He took advantage of her and he must serve his time accordingly.

A further chilling aspect to the Stanford Rape Case is the Turners’ quick decision to hire private investigators and the most expensive lawyers in order to save Turner’s reputation. For a rapist to take the stand and claim he believed his victim was “enjoying” being raped by him, and his desperate attempt to appear “confused” instead of a rapist makes us all shudder in simultaneous disgust and disbelief. Dan Turner even commented on Twitter, saying his son now suffers from “anxiety and depression.” That’s the least he deserves for this crime. There appears to be not a single expression of remorse or guilt by the rapist; a girl can now no longer live her life the way she planned because her future was snatched from her by a boy who will serve only three months in prison for it.

It’s horrifying that cases such as this are common worldwide; I can only pray the victim finds peace within herself and with life. However, I hope she takes some solace in knowing that men and women worldwide are publicly condemning the conviction. She represents the countless victims of sexual assault and rape, who’ve been silenced by the justice system. We are with you, and we will always fight for you. Henceforth, this case will be defined and dominated by people worldwide fighting for justice for people who have suffered at the hands of rapists and sexual predators. We have no interest in Brock Turner’s life pre-rape: by God’s grace, he’ll be stripped of all his privileges and future aspirations.

We all want justice – for you.

The victim’s statement can be found here: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/stanford-rape-case-brock-turner-victims-statement-a7074246.html

Sources:

¹http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/06/father-stanford-university-student-brock-turner-sexual-assault-statement

Featured image: http://www.vox.com/2016/6/10/11904740/brock-turner-stanford-assault-pastor-letter

Does Media Bias Against Muslims Feed Into Radicalisation?

Current Affairs

I can’t even say “as of recently” because this is an ongoing issue, and has been for some time: bias against Muslims in the western media. I voiced my opinion on how I, as a Pakistani girl, felt attacked by various, biased, news broadcasters; the above interlinking of anger at the bias and radicalisation was the response I received, from someone who worked in the industry.

Now I’m not exactly well-informed in what goes through one’s mind when they decide to fight for the Jihad but this suggestion of subjective bias in the media being a reason behind  radicalisation is almost hilarious. Instead of accepting responsibility for unfair media coverage, they deflect furthermore blame. The heavy focus on average Muslims fleeing the country to fight for groups like Islamic State places most Muslims under the spotlight and heavy scrutiny. Since 9/11, Muslims have been categorically associated with terrorism. Anyone wearing a hijab, burqa or with brown skin is instantly given an awkward side-glance. People wearing niqabs are racially abused in public. The media’s stance on, or rather, against, Muslims is adding fuel to an increasingly widespread fire.

To create a correlation between Muslims feeling attacked by the media and terrorism is possibly the highest level of ignorance I have ever come across. That’s saying something, what with ignorant, uneducated comments are on the rise with a biased media reporting unfairly on current affairs worldwide, involving terrorism and more specifically, Islamic State. There are a fair few newspapers who incite racial hatred with their headlines and focus on the ethnicity of key figures in a story. For example, the Daily Mail is notoriously well-known for focussing on “Muslim” immigrants or “Muslim youths” being involved in crime, when the ethnicity or faith is not necessary to the crime at all. This representation and blatant categorisation of Muslims being criminals, job-takers and rapists is what is creating an increasing uproar amongst the Muslim communities. This uproar is not radicalisation, it is defiance and anger at being treated unfairly. Poor media coverage of Islam is not turning us into radicals. Let me make that very, very clear.

Broadcasters such as the BBC thrive on sensationalist headlines but go out of their way to attempt to prove their lack of bias; sadly, in doing so, they make themselves look even more stupid. More often than not, I find myself having to write posts like this to justify a Muslim, such as myself, being completely thrown and disgusted by outright bigotry. Sadiq Khan is our new mayor of London; I, for one, voted for him and for many Pakistani Brits across London it is much more than a political achievement. It’s a step forward for us as a multi-cultural community to accept a Pakistani man leading our city, much to the disappointment of Islamophobic bigots.

I do not blame every white person for the acts of the KKK. Should I? Should I label all white citizens of London as racists? No, because I am educated. Reporting on events by drawing attention to their faith first is uneducated. Finally, assuming that terrorists represent Islam and Islamic teachings is uneducated, too.

I am a Muslim; I am defiant in my faith and beliefs. That doesn’t make me a radical.

Anisah

In the Face of Ignorance

Original Writing

It’s inevitable that we will be defined by all we’ve achieved and overcome; what we fought against and refused to remain silenced for.

In the face of ignorance, racism and undeniable hatred, it’s virtually impossible to remain quiet.

I will not be silenced by those who believe themselves to be superior and untouchable.

 

Racism: in 2015, in life, in general

Current Affairs, Original Writing

It’s sad to even contemplate that racism is still rife, and I’m noticing it now more than ever.

Living in the countryside, I understood the compromise I was going to have to make everyday; 90% of the citizens in my town are over the age of 40 and definitely not accustomed to seeing brown faces, let’s say. The pushing past me on the roads, pushing in front of me on public transport and the weird looks every single day is something I’ve just had to ignore if I wanted a peaceful life. To a variable extent, I have ignored it and made the most of my wonderful new home and the great views on my doorstep. Every now and then I’ll get a little sassy if someone is explicitly racist but so far, I haven’t had a showdown.

Recently, and interestingly more so after the Paris Attacks of 2015, racism has suddenly escalated to a frighteningly all time high; threats of violence, Trump’s Nazi-like approach to Muslims living in the USA, attacks on the Muslim community etc are never front page news but viral on the internet with people doing nothing about it other than re-posting and sharing the articles. We’re treated like third class citizens primarily due to the ideologies of less than 1% of the Muslim population, because a large majority of ignorant people in the world choose pick what they believe to be true rather than looking at facts and statistics. In other words, they’re blinded by their own racist views to even contemplate the possibility that, hey would you look at that, maybe every single brown person on this planet isn’t a terrorist.

The most frustrating aspect of this is how much I’ve noticed these discriminatory attitudes and been a victim of them at work. I thought working in London would be a walk in the park, with cultural and educated people coming into the store each day but annoyingly, it’s quite the opposite. Customers literally throw clothes at me if they don’t want or need them, even someone I work with racially insulted me and my grandparents, simply because of my skin colour, claiming we’re “stealing all [their] jobs.” It appalls me that these attitudes still exist and are something Muslims must grow accustomed to. No matter how much I have accomplished and achieved in my 19 years on this planet, one look at my skin colour has me judged as inferior to an ignorant and uneducated citizen.

I think it’s high time Muslims, and other ethnic minorities targeted by racism, should stand their ground against discrimination. There’s no excuse for it, and there never was; it was blindly ignored as no one wanted to be the minority standing up against the majority.

This is our country as much as yours. Yes, some of us are not the same colour as you. Yes, some of us are more educated and successful than you.

Get over it.

A x

Road Rage (Off the Roads)

Current Affairs, Original Writing

It’s Christmas this week. Holy guacamole.

As I’m working right up until Christmas Eve, I most likely won’t be able to post closer to the big day (and my dad’s birthday which funnily enough falls on Christmas day!)

It’s a shame Christmas has become more of a commercial holiday and less of a festive period in which families come together. People are becoming increasingly angry and stressed in supermarkets and stores, as if there’s a possibility that the number of turkeys, crackers and sprouts might suddenly diminish into non-existence and we’ll be left with nothing on our table for Christmas lunch/dinner. (or ‘tea’ for you Northerners, hm) The vicious attitude of shoppers in the run up to the big day is simply incomprehensible. Getting angry with staff because they don’t have something in stock, or they can’t find something is beyond stupid. People shoving and pushing each other to get to products, using their shopping bags as weapons to get pass one another on pavements etc. It’s carnage. But for what reason? Greed and selfishness sets the foundation for most attitudes stated above.

It’s worth remembering that there are countless children, men and women who’ll be spending Christmas alone in war torn, poverty stricken countries with no presents under a tree or a turkey on the table. They don’t even have clean clothes to wear on a daily basis, a luxury we take for granted.

I hate to be cliche, but I’m trying to provide the ‘gift of giving’ this Christmas by sending a card to an orphan who tragically lost her family; ultimately, I don’t want her to feel lonely – I know it’s not a huge deal but it’s a gesture and I’m hoping it’ll go a long way for her. The prospect of spending a period like this alone is something I daren’t begin to think about but is a reality for so many across the world, and it’s heartbreaking to accept that vulnerable people will be on their own during a time where so many of us take for granted what we have around us.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, but please keep our vulnerable  war-children and victims in your hearts.

A x