CAIRO – The Hollywood biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings” has been banned in Egypt and Morocco over historical inaccuracies and “depicting Allah”, sparking controversy in the North African Muslim countries.
“This totally contradicts proven historical facts,” the Egyptian culture minister, Gaber Asfour, was quoted by Agence France Presse (AFP).
“It is a Zionist film.
“It gives a Zionist view of history and contains historical inaccuracies and that’s why we have decided to ban it.”
According to Asfour, the film that claims that “Moses and the Jews built the pyramids” is rife with mistakes.
The decision to ban the movie followed a meeting of a committee that comprises the head of the supreme council for culture, Mohammed Afifi, the head of the censorship committee and two history professors.
A Nigerian court last Friday said the Lagos local government had acted correctly in banning Muslim headscarves (hijab) at public schools, a ruling that drew the ire of the city’s Muslim community, which has vowed to appeal the decision.
“The prohibition of the wearing of hijab over school uniforms within and outside the premises of public schools was not discriminatory,” Justice Modupe Onyeabor of a Lagos high court ruled on Friday.
The Qatar women’s basketball team has forfeited a match at the Asian Games on Wednesday after being refused permission to wear the hijab.
The players were asked, in accordance with International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules, to remove their Islamic headscarves in order to play against Mongolia.
By: Ruqayyah Dawood
In the Name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful
A Muslim Sisters’ Response to the Campaign of Dr Taj Hargey to Ban the Burka in Britain
As a British female revert to Islam, I am yet again offended by a man trying to impose his beliefs about what he thinks is best for me, what I should wear and how I should practice my chosen faith.
By: Umar Farooq
Chinese authorities have imposed restrictions on Uighur Muslims during the month of Ramadan, banning government employees and school children from fasting, in what rights groups say has become an annual attempt at systematically erasing the region’s Islamic identity.
Chinese authorities have justified the ban on fasting by saying it is meant to protect the health of students, and restrictions on religious practices by government officials are meant to ensure the state does not support any particular faith.
Yet in Kashgar, in Xinjiang province, China’s westernmost city, close to the border with Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, Uighur Muslims say the restrictions have backfired. Not only have locals become more observant of Islamic practices, but many have found ways to flaunt Chinese laws restricting everything from who may attend the mosque, to which copies of the Quran are read.
“That is Mao ZeDong,” said Omar, a taxi driver, pointing to a 24m-tall statue of the founder of the People’s Republic of China, as he navigates his taxi through traffic across People’s Square. “He brought all the Chinese here,” he added, out of earshot of the soldiers lining up across the street.
A few minutes later, the soldiers pile into trucks and move to the city’s commercial centre down the road, where police frisk shoppers at the entrance to a shopping mall. Across Kashgar, security forces have been deployed to thwart potential attacks by Uighur militants seeking to wrestle control of Xinjiang province from Beijing.
Home to some of China’s largest deposits of oil, natural gas, and coal, Xinjiang has a majority Muslim Uighur population – a Turkic ethnic group with a language and culture closer to Central Asia. Before the region was absorbed into the People’s Republic of China in 1949, almost everyone here was Uighur, but the numbers have have since declined, dropping to below half by the year 2000, as tens of millions of Han Chinese – the majority population of mainland China – were encouraged to settle here by the government.
That demographic shift, which accelerated in the 1990s as Beijing began to develop Xinjiang, combined with Chinese laws restricting Islamic practices by Uighurs and the 1997 execution of 30 Uighur separatists by Chinese authorities, triggered a wave of violence by militants that has left hundreds of people dead, mostly civilians.
Last month, a suicide bomber killed 39 people in the provincial capitol of Urumqi, and police claimed to have killed 13 men who attempted to ram an explosives-laden vehicle into their office near Kashgar.
The deadly violence – including an attack by knife-wielding men at a train station in Kuming that killed 29 in March – has sparked a massive crackdown by Beijing, with authorities announcing the convictions of more than 400 people across Xinjiang. Last Wednesday, Kashgar authorities announced 113 people had been sentenced for crimes, including supporting terrorism and inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination.
“The government says every Uighur, if they have a beard or wear a hijab, they are a terrorist,” said Abdul Majid, who owns a mobile phone shop near People’s Square. He says the last time tensions were this high was in 2009, after 184 people died in clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese in Urumqi.
‘All these problems started after September 11′
A world away from Kashgar’s commercial centre lies the city’s heart: a nearly 2,000-year-old Uighur quarter that is currently being rebuilt, literally brick by brick, by mostly Han Chinese migrant workers. Kashgar’s ancient mosques are being restored and the homes in the old city re-imagined with hints of Central Asian architecture and with help from the Chinese government. It’s part of a programme that authorities say is aimed at making the area earthquake-resistant.
But not everyone is happy about the renovations.
“If Allah wants to kill us, he will send an earthquake, and he will kill us,” said Hajji Abdul Razzak, a silk merchant who has chosen not to have his home in the old city rebuilt. “A lot of people have left, and just put their houses out to rent.”
Around the corner from Kashgar’s 572-year-old Id Kah Mosque, a large notice board implores Uighurs to adopt modern attire. One half of the board is covered in pictures depicting traditional Uighurs, women in colourful dresses and flowing hair and clean-shaven men. The other half shows rows of men with beards and women in headscarves or face-covering veils, all with a red X over them.
“All these problems started after September 11th,” said Abdul Razzak. “The Pakistan border [with China] was completely sealed, and when it opened a few years later, these Uighurs from Pakistan and Afghanistan came. They are doing all these [bombings], but we are being oppressed.”