Regional News

    UK’s first Islamic Guidance Document on Adoption and Fostering launched at the House of Commons

    The very first Islamic Guidance Document on Adoption and Fostering was launched at the House of Commons on 21 March. The report was commissioned by the UK charity Penny Appeal, who are actively involved in recruiting Muslim carers and adopters.

    The Islamic Guidance document research which included the involvement of leading UK scholars, Community leaders and sector professionals, underlined the communal obligation to care for vulnerable children in the care system. This clear position is then expanded via six main themes which will help answer and explain some of the cultural barriers that Muslim adopters and carers may face with this new emphasis on the obligation of the community to engage positively in this area.

    The six themes stated in the document include:

    • The emphasis in Islam on caring for orphans (definition and status)
    • Definition of fostering and adoption in Islam (In the UK and terminology).
    • Preservation of a child’s identity (preservation of lineage).
    • Managing familial relationships with a child who is not biologically related (including marriage and inheritance issues).
    • Formation of parent-child relationships (non-biological breastfeeding).
    • Cross-religious placement (Looking after non-Muslim children).

    Ten recommendations have also been made for Muslim Communities and their leaders in the UK, some include:

    • If you’re are able too, become adopters or foster carer (in the tradition of the Prophet) to act as a role models to the communities.
    • Invite sector professionals or Islamic scholars who are involved in this work to mosques and local community centres
    • Ensure children in care, their adoptive or foster parents, and professionals who work with them, feel welcome and supported in mosques and community centres, regardless of their gender, race, culture or any other demographics.

    The six main themes and full document published by Penny Appeal has come about through bespoke symposia and extensive consultation, expert witness statements and research.

    Imam Dr Abdullah Hasan who has been involved in the development and conclusions of the guidance documents is part of a list of 100 UK leading Imams, community leaders and social care professionals who have put their names to endorse the findings and recommendations of the guidance document, Imam Hasan  says: Caring for vulnerable children is of course encouraged by all faiths and societies and bringing together a cross section of Muslim scholars and leaders to hear the witness testimonies of those in care and those working with those in care, was a humbling experience. Our faith and humanity require us to act and this is what the guidance document is designed to promote.

    Penny Appeal CEO Aamer Naeem who launched the guidance said: “The clarity on the communal obligation upon the community to address the disparity of carers to children in care is a major shift in understanding of the problem. It takes it from voluntary to compulsory. Penny Appeal has a referral service where potential adopters and foster carers can get advice and we assess suitability in order to ensure those passed on to appropriate authorities and agencies are more likely to be successfully matched with a child. As important as this clarity is, the process of getting the opinion was equally as exciting and we will now be adopting it again to look at other areas of development and humanitarian work.

    Penny Appeal has also commissioned additional research through the Centre for Trust Peace and social relations at Coventry University which was led by Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, research fellow in faith and peaceful relations at Coventry University.

    In conclusion, The Guidance document aims to comprehensively clarify commonly misunderstood topics regarding faith teachings and will make it clear that caring for orphans and vulnerable children in the Islamic tradition is a praiseworthy endeavour and, in some situations a necessity. The document will provide solutions for prospective carers, Muslim communities and care providers.

     

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    Muslims In Yorkshire Targeted by Neo-Nazi Terrorists

    By MO BHANA

    It has been revealed, the security services are helping police in far-right hotspots where extremist groups are planning atrocities

    About 40 neo-Nazis are being investigated by police amid fears that they are plotting terrorist attacks against Muslims in Yorkshire.

    The extremists are understood to be operating in “far-right hotspots” principally in Yorkshire, with Leeds, Dewsbury and Batley, said to be most affected.

    The neo-Nazis being investigated are “proactively plotting” by familiarising themselves with Islamic institutions and community representatives.

    This compared with those who carry out hate crimes against Muslims ­simply in response to Islamist terrorist attacks.

    In the modern parlance, this is part of the phenomenon known as the “alt-right” whilst pseudo sympathetic commentators refer to this so-called phenomenon as “a backlash to PC culture” whilst many of us say it how it is: neofascism.

    It has been strange to see the disturbing internet subculture I’ve followed for so long enter the mainstream. The executive chairman of one of its most popular media outlets, Breitbart, has been appointed Donald Trump’s chief of strategy, and their UK bureau chief was among the first Brits to have a meeting with the president-elect.

    Addressing the rise of the alt-right and Donald Trump, author and columnist, Maajid Nawaaz, explains the parallels between the movement and that of Daesh, who prey on vulnerable young Muslims.

    “They feed into each other and so there is a danger and if there is a danger that young under thirties, young white men are being influenced by white nationalists online and in these chat forums. Just like ISIS recruits and influences people on these chat forums.”

    “If there is this danger then we have to understand it in similar terms and we have to respond to it in similar terms. That means looking at the ideology that is promoted.”

    “That means understanding the identity crisis that leads to radicalisation. That means looking at the charismatic recruiters such as Richard Spencer, who by the way by all accounts is an incredibly smooth operator, looking at those charismatic recruiters and finally looking at any sense of grievance whether real or perceived that these young white working-class men may have.

    “Sense of grievance identity crisis charismatic recruiters and ideological indoctrination, those four factors that cause radicalisation applies whether to Islamist extremism or as in this case to the radicalisation of young white men who are advocating as Richard Spencer is doing so for ethnic redistribution. Whatever the heck that means.”

    Police intelligence sources believe the threat from the far right has increased over the past year, since the murder of the Batley and Spen’s Labour MP, Jo Cox by a neo-Nazi. Thomas Mair.

    The white supremacist who killed Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire, in June last year was not known to police. He was jailed for life.

    Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin says standing up against hate is paramount in this day and age. She commended her two members of staff, Fazila Aswat and Sandra, who stood up to Mair whilst he attacked Jo Cox.

    “Fazila and Sandra were absolutely heroic, they stood up to him (Mair) at what was a very difficult time.

    “Jo’s family have responded by leading the way in being very dignified and justice has been served.

    “We should all follow Jo’s vision and remember her work as opposed to how she died.”

    The investigation of far-right ex­tremists was stepped up by police after a terrorist attack in June near the ­Finsbury Park mosque in north London, in which one Muslim man died and 11 were injured.

    Home Office figures show 48 people were arrested for domestic terrorism, which covers far-right extremism, in the year to March. This is a fivefold increase on the 10 arrested for the same offences in the previous 12 months.

    The North East Counter Terrorism Unit, which covers Yorkshire and is understood to be receiving tactical ­support from MI5, said: “Over the past year or so, there have been indications the threat from extreme right-wing [individuals] could be increasing . . . UK counterterrorism policing is alive to this.”

    National Action, a neo-Nazi group which celebrated Cox’s murder, was ­proscribed as a terrorist group by the Home Office in December. It is not believed that any of its members are being investigated.

    In certain regions, such as the ­Midlands, Yorkshire and south Wales, neo-Nazis account for a quarter of cases handled by Prevent, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism.

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    Local community donates £500 to local charity

    By MO BHANA

    Batley based IMWS has made a donation of £500 to a local charity that provides care
    for the terminally ill.

    Kirkwood hospice, based in Kirklees, is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. It was set up after David Stocks read a review about _Going Gently_, a play about two men who are dying of cancer in a drab hospital, afraid and alone.

    Mr Stocks was so moved by the play, he penned a letter to the Huddersfield Examiner saying there is a need for a hospice in
    Huddersfield, and asking if anyone would be interested in setting one up.

    As it turned out, people were interested; £10,000 was raised within three months.

    Kirkwood provides specialist care to patients who suffer from life limiting illnesses, and their carers free of charge, such as symptom management and psychological support.

    The Chair of IMWS, Saied Laher, presented the cheque to CEO of Kirkwood Hospice, Michael Crowther, at a celebration event held at the University of Huddersfield.

    Saied Laher said, “Donations and gifts represent a significant proportion of Kirkwood Hospice income, which helps the hospice to continue to provide specialist palliative care for the terminally ill in Kirklees.

    “I think it is important to support local charities and I feel that it is important for IMWS to work with Kirkwood Hospice. We have agreed to raise awareness of the range of care they provide which is open to all the residents of Kirklees”

    Michael Crowther, Chief Executive at Kirkwood Hospice, said: “We were absolutely delighted and humbled to receive a donation from the Indian Muslim Welfare Society during the period of Ramadan.

    “Kirkwood is celebrating 30 years of care in Kirklees this year and we are aiming to reach more of our community than ever before. The generosity and support of local groups such as the Indian Muslim Welfare Society is vital in helping us to reach those who may need our support but don’t yet know how we can help.

    “This donation will make a real difference at Kirkwood, helping us to continue providing the very best care for people with life-limiting illnesses, as well as support for their carers, families and loved ones.”

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    Enterprising British Indians shine at prestigious awards

    It was a night that everybody was waiting for. Yes, you got that right. We are talking about the covetous British Indian Awards 2017.

    Acknowledging excellence in business and various other professional endeavours, the fifth annual edition of the Awards night saw the industrious and successful British Indian community rubbing shoulders with the industry elite.

    The glitzy event, celebrating the achievements of the British Indian community, organised by Oceanic Consulting was held at The Athena in Leicester on June 14.

    Rising Star Award, Jatin Patel

    Hosted by the eloquent Kamlesh Purohit, assistant editor at BBC Radio Leicester, the black tie event saw the 200-odd guests having a good time meeting and interacting with prosperous people from all walks of life.

    Welcoming talented individuals and businessmen on stage, Purohit acknowledged their achievements, much to their delight, especially their inspiring and brilliant entrepreneurship and focus on quality and service.

    The awardees are a true reflection of high standard as the winners are chosen based on a vote by the British public.

    Irfan Younis, CEO of Oceanic Consulting, said: “We are honoured and delighted to have such great finalists and winners representing the British Indian community and enhancing its reputation nationally and internationally.

    “These were the fifth annual British Indian Awards. They are a true reflection of British Indian talent in the country and we want to make sure that the hard work of those deserving professionals doesn’t go unnoticed.

    “We were very happy to welcome the guests and celebrate with them. Congratulations to all finalists and winners!”

    Oceanic Consulting is Britain's largest ethnic consulting and promotions organisation. It holds various world class events throughout major cities across Scotland and England.

    The awards supported the Well Foundation – a charity providing clean safe drinking water – which raised £500 at the glamorous event.

    The full list of winners:
    Best in Creative Industries
    -Sunrise Radio (Bradford)
    Best in Civil & Third Sector Services
    -Councillor Manjula Sood MBE (Leicester)
    Best in Science & Technology  -Dr Premila Nalini Webster (Oxford)
    Rising Star Award -Jatin Patel (London)
    Best in Medical  -Dr Gaggandeep Singh Alg (London)
    Best in Media -Anjula Singh (London)
    Best in Legal Services -Jas Kalsi (London)
    Best in Education  -Avtar Singh Purewal OBE (Wetherby)
    Best in Accounting -Sumit Agarwal (London)
    Indian Spirit in the Community  -Jeevan Chagger (Birmingham)
    Professional in Business -Dr Sameer Patel (London)
    Best Charity/Community Initiative  -Guru Nanak Nam Ladies Jatha (Birmingham)
    Corporate Leaders  -Sue Kukadia (London)
    Arts & Cultural Awareness  -BritAsia TV (Birmingham)
    Best Entertainer -Professor Ustad Sital Singh Sitara MBE (London)
    Best SME Business -Kapture 8 (Birmingham)
    Family Business of the Year -HKS Holdings Ltd (Leicester)
    Leaders in Finance -Kalpana Shah (London)
    Best Indian Business in the UK -TJC (The Jewellery Channel) (London)
    Young Achiever of the Year -Rubeena Kaur Mehat (Coventry)
    Businesswoman of the Year -Barinder Hothi (Bracknell, Berkshire)
    Businessman of the Year -Jojar Dhinsa (London)
    Business of the Year -Wholesale LED Lights (Leicester)
    UK Companies in India  -Fever Tree Drinks (PLC) (London)
    Entrepreneur of the Year -Hema Patel (Leicester/London)

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    Remembering Batley’s finest: Jo Cox

    By MO BHANA

    The first time I met Jo Cox was outside Dark Lane Masjid in Batley

    She was a relatively unknown politician to me at the time. However, she seemed unflustered by the amount of Asian/Muslim men walking out after Friday prayers.

    However, there was something about this unknown woman that was very endearing.

    She was introduced to one of the most respected Imam’s in Batley, Jo’s little frame made her way up to him in a very stateswoman, yet genuine manner and she introduced herself.

    “Don’t worry about your son, he’ll be fine tomorrow,” said Jo, assuring the sheikh that his eldest son’s wedding day would go according to plan and not to worry.

    They spoke and exchanged pleasantries and the rest of the congregation acknowledged our fellow local girl made good and we were on our way.

    Even though that was the only time I had met her, from what everyone said, Jo had an air of serene detachment about her, when it came to local residents, she seemed to understand the idiosyncrasies surrounding life in Batley.

    No job seemed beneath her, thus why everyone liked her. One resident from the Warwick Road area, Mohammed Pandor, explained how Jo took time out to visit his house, and somehow manage to communicate with his mother and gran who have a limited grasp of English.

    “The back wall in the garden needed some work and the council were useless, so we called Jo, who came over to the house, which we didn’t expect her to do.

    "She was chatting away with my mum and gran, who tried speaking with her in broken English and yet she somehow understood them” said Mohammed.

    “I was scratching my head, I couldn’t believe what was happening as she seemed to be able to communicate with them.

    “In between the conversation my gran would break into Gujarati and talk about how nice she was and Jo just looked back with a loving smile, she was one of a kind.”

    Andy Bottomley, a sales manager from Gomersal is adamant that Batley will never get an MP, as loving and caring as Jo ever again.

    “There was nothing fake about her, she was amazing, would never, ever talk down to anyone,” said Andy.

    “I’m a salesman and I know a genuine person when I see them and Jo was Batley through and through.”

    When news of her death filtered through, it was surreal; Jo’s passing was mourned by the people of Batley – many tears were shed by people from an array of backgrounds.

    Local historian Malcolm Haigh was present when the funeral cortege slowly drove through Batley town centre.

    “People from different backgrounds, kids, community leaders, friends and families all were there because they wanted to say goodbye to someone who worked tirelessly for the town.”

    My wife told me about a vigil held in Batley market place a few days after Jo’s death, the centre was packed with people as Imam’s, vicars and school children all gave heart moving speeches.

    After the event, my 4-year-old started crying, and as my wife and my eldest son began a 5-minute walk home, Jo’s sister was on hand to wipe his tears: “Don’t cry little one,” she said with a loving smile.

    I left a bouquet of flowers in Birstall market place close to where Jo lost her life, a police officer lifted a cordon to let us in and I quickly left the flowers as the assembled photographers were not taking no for an answer in relation to taking photographs of us.

    The police officer told us to look out for journalists who were looking to speak to us; we politely declined and headed home.

    A few weeks ago, I finally met a member of Jo’ family at the Huddersfield Town F.C boardroom - Kym. She was a guest of owner Dean Hoyle and his wife, Janet.

    As Kym was about to leave after the match, I spoke with her for a while, a genuinely lovely woman like Jo.

    It was surreal meeting her because she was re-assuring me as opposed to the other way round.

    “Don’t think about it too much, it honestly does not help,” said Kym.

    We spoke for a while and I’m delighted to see that she is working alongside Huddersfield Town F.C.

    Indeed, Jo’s family and friends have organised the great get together a community event on 16-18 June, in ­honour of Jo.

    The Great Get Together will be a huge demonstration of British public spirit as more than 100,000 events are being organised over the weekend up and down the country.

    Communities are being asked to come together and hold street parties, fetes and football matches on what will be the first anniversary of Jo’s death.

    As the Great Get Together will fall in Ramadan this year, rest assured Batley’s diverse community will be standing shoulder to shoulder with each other.

    I will always remember the funeral cortege with Jo’s husband and children being driven past the Masjid where I first met her. Little did I know that it would end in such a way.

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