On the 21st of April 2019, Easter Sunday, multiple explosions rocked the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, leaving over 200 dead and hundreds wounded.
For the Muslim community in particular, the events of 21/4 mark a watershed moment for Muslim identity and representation in Sri Lanka. Almost overnight, being a Muslim has become an accusation as well as a religious affiliation.
However, this difference is somewhat ambiguous and poorly understood, and thus poses many challenges to the development of identity and representation of the Muslim community by themselves and others. The first challenge is that as a result of this historical understanding , most Muslims in Sri Lanka classif y themselves as the descendants of Arabs or ‘Moors,’35 despite its postcolonial derogatory overtones.36 Due to the fact Arab migrants were Muslims, the concepts of faith and ethnicity became fused over time, so a racial link became a religious link, thereby ascribing a racial homogeneity to a community perceived as such: the “Sri Lankan Muslim.”
Sunday 21 July 2019, 2:00PM – 4:00PM
London Muslim Centre
82-92 Whitechapel Road
London E1 1JQ
THE SINGLE GREATEST ATROCITY IN EUROPE SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR…
Flames of hatred in the heart of Europe. This years marks the 24th anniversary commemoration of the worst atrocities on Eu- ropean soil since the Second World War that took place in Srebrenica, Bosnia.
24th Anniversary Commemoration. The single greatist atrocity in Europe since the Second War World.
DRAWING ON BEST PRACTICES FROM ACROSS EUROPE
Globally, there is an alarming proliferation and intensification of Islamophobia and it increasingly permeates a range of spheres. Islamophobia affects (but is not restricted to) policy and legal measures, media and also verbal and physical violence against Muslims, perceived Muslims, and Islamic spaces.
Islamophobic narratives frame Muslims and Islam as the “other”, they are seen to be carriers of violent threat, demographic threat, a cultural and moral threat, an economic threat, a threat to sexual freedoms and gender equality, and a threat to national peace and security.
THE HUMAN CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR
The conflict in Yemen started in March 2015, in the Middle East’s poorest country. After four years of ground operations and aerial bombing, what is the status of the war now? Have the aims of any of the belligerents been achieved? Given the heavy toll on civilians, has the loss of life been justified?
The overall death toll from fighting, famine, and shortages of health care caused by the war is hard to verify, even more so the proportion of civilian and child deaths. Certainly it seems the case that between 2015 and 2019, more than 15,000 people have died directly from the conflict,1 perhaps over half were civilians. According to UN agencies,. Save the Children reports that 85,000 children have died as a result of the war, mostly from malnutrition and the resultant wave of deaths from sickness. Up to another 4 million children are suffering from malnutrition according to UN reports.2 There have been more than 2 million cases of cholera3 and more than 5000 related deaths.4 Yemen today has one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world.5
*The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China is home to some 12 million indigenous Turkic speaking Muslims, primarily Uyghurs but also smaller numbers of Kazakhs and others. It is now one of the most heavily policed areas in the world. Inhabitants are controlled and monitored to an extraordinary degree and detained in extraordinary numbers. These extreme policies are justified by the claim that China is fighting Islamic radicalisation and extremism.
The Cordoba Foundation
15 March 2019
**NEW ZEALAND TERROR ATTACKS, WARNINGS OF THE DANGERS OF ISLAMOPHOBIA IGNORED**
The Cordoba Foundation joins Muslims worldwide and all fair-minded people of the world in condemning the heinous attack on 2 mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand as worshipers were preparing to observe the weekly Friday prayers.
Since the details of the attack began to unfold, it has now become confirmed that the assailants were white supremacists and far-right nationalists, who shockingly displayed their intentions as well as their act of depraved barbarity openly and publicly for all to witness.
The Cordoba Foundation has warned over several years of the rapidly rising tide of Islamophobia, along with the gradually but steadily rising threshold of what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to Western Muslims. While those far-right terrorists might have been the actual killers, but it was an environment of acceptability and increasing justification endorsed by mainstream elements within politics, society and the media, that laid the ground for this bloodbath to be carried out.
In the same way that ISIS kills its adversaries, far-right nationalists butchered Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh and a racist murderer killed black church-goers in Charlottesville, North Carolina. To see each as separate or different than the other would be to do a huge disservice to the victims of terrorism, discrimination and racism all over the world.
The Cordoba Foundation reiterates its message that all forms of prejudice must be eradicated, and today, the scourge of Islamophobia is seeing rapid increase in reach, depth and substance, which threatens the stability and security of all of society. It is therefore incumbent upon the government to ensure that all its citizens, regardless of race, colour or creed, are safe, equal and respected.
Notes to editors:
1. New Zealand terror attack solidarity meeting held today at the London Muslim Centre – https://www.facebook.com/eastlondonmosque/videos/2213182888774279?sfns=mo
Friday sermon by Imam Muhammad Mahmoud about the terror attacks — https:// www.facebook.comeastlondonmosque/videos/2098756003718329?sfns=mo
2. National protest against racism and Islamophobia 16 March 2019 – http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/wp-content2015/uploads/2019/01/SUtR-demo-2019-3mm-bld.pdf
3. Media enquiries:
Cultures in Dialogue
The Cordoba Foundation
4 March, 2019
The Sun chooses scandal over human rights
In an article published on the 28th of February titled: “Corbyn ally Emily Thornbury gives talk to extremist-linked Muslim Brotherhood group”, The Sun chose to stir scandal rather than cover the plight of the Uyghurs — victims of large-scale human rights violations of our time.
The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) is deeply disturbed that an event it had hosted at the London Muslim Centre on 13 February, in which numerous prominent speakers spoke of the tragic plight of almost a million Uyghur Chinese Muslims, drove The Sun to conjure a story without even mentioning the topic of the event itself.
With reportedly a million Uyghurs being held in concentration camps and subject to torture under the pretext of ‘re-education’, TCF held this event to highlight the crimes being committed by one of the UK’s major trading partners, China. Having reached out to all the major political parties, Emily Thornbury of the Labour Party and Alistair Charmichael of the Liberal Democrats responded positively, with Ms Thornbury kindly managing to attend and give a few minutes’ address. For this, she should be congratulated, especially that her speech touched on the most important issues pertaining to this case.
To taint the entire event and the topic at hand and abuse the victims of this crime by slinging mud in the direction of TCF and its CEO, is cheap. The readers of The Sun deserve far better. The Cordoba Foundation absolutely and completely refutes the charge of extremism and leaves its own track record and that of its Founder to speak for themselves. Countering extremism at every turn, promoting democracy and human rights around the world and advocating peaceful and collaborative co-existence, have been the unfailing pursuit of TCF, whilst Altikriti is renowned for successfully – often at his own safety — negotiating the release of numerous hostages in various conflict zones, including Christian Peacemakers in Iraq.
The accusation that TCF is somehow a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, made initially by David Cameron in 2009, is both laughable and tiresome. TCF has repeatedly reached out to the former Prime Minister challenging him either to provide evidence to the claim or to repeat the charge outside of Parliamentary privilege, to which he has never afforded the courtesy of a reply. As far as Foundation is concerned, it is a false charge which Cameron made to score political points at the time and has failed repeatedly to substantiate. In similar vein, a number of dictatorships have over the years levied false charges of extremism against The Cordoba Foundation seeking to undermine its work and tarnish it negatively. It is interesting to see The Sun corroborate and repeat the claims made by states and regimes which are renowned for the most gross human rights violations, absence of freedoms and authoritarian systems.
The plight of the China’s Uyghur Muslims is a tragic case of cultural and religious cleansing which is taking place under our watch. The Sun’s story is pathetic, riddled with lies and distracts from one of the most heinous crimes of our time.
Notes to editors:
1. Media and other queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Uyghur event video: https://youtu.be/O9slvfplEqA
3. For further information about Uyghurs, see the latest edition of iNSIGHTS, titled “China’s mass detentions and incarceration of Uyghur Muslims” written by Dr Rachel Harris.
Download the file here.