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British Muslims urge IS captors to 'see the errors of their ways'

More than 100 Muslim leaders from across the UK have signed an open letter calling for the release of British aid worker Alan Henning.

The letter, printed in The Independent, is also supported by the Muslim Council of Britain which represents more than 500 Muslim organisations:

We, the undersigned British Muslim Imams, organisations and individuals, wish to express our horror and revulsion at the senseless murder of David Haines and the threat to the life of our fellow British citizen, Alan Henning ...

We plead with those holding Alan Henning to see the errors of their ways. To embrace the word of the Quran and accept that what they are now doing constitutes the worst condemnable sin.

– open letter

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British Muslim and Jewish leaders unite over Gaza

Palestinians in Gaza celebrate after the ceasefire was announced. Credit: Khatib Abed Rahim/ABACA

Muslim and Jewish leaders in the UK have issued an unprecedented joint statement, calling on both faiths to "export peace" to Gaza.

The Muslim Council of Britain and the Board of Deputies of British Jews made the joint call an open-ended truce was agreed in the Middle East.

Both Israel and Hamas have claimed victory following the recent conflict, which is thought to have claimed the lives of 2,143 Palestinians and 70 Israelis.

The MCB and the BoD said they condemned the civilian casualties and hoped for "lasting peace", while also stating Muslims and Jews should "get to know one another".

The death of every civilian is a tragedy, and every effort should be taken to minimise such losses. The targeting of civilians is completely unacceptable and against our religious traditions. We pray for a speedy end to the current conflict and for a lasting peace for all.

– Muslim Council of Britain and Board of Deputies of British Jews

Christians 'forced to hide their beliefs in public'

British Christians are being forced to hide their faith because of "an aggressive form of secularism" in workplaces and public bodies, according to former attorney general Dominic Grieve.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve. Credit: Pa

He told The Telegraph: “Some of the cases which have come to light of employers being disciplined or sacked for simply trying to talk about their faith in the workplace I find quite extraordinary."

He added: "I worry that there are attempts to push faith out of the public space. Clearly it happens at a level of local power. You can watch institutions or organisations do it or watch it happen at a local government level. In my view it’s very undesirable.

“The sanitisation will lead to people of faith excluding themselves from the public space and being excluded."

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Ipswich: Reformed jihadist pleads with British Muslims not to join sectarian violence

Muhammad Manwar Ali. Credit: ITV News Anglia

An Islamic scholar from Ipswich, who once fought as a jihadist, is pleading with British Muslims not to join the sectarian violence in the Middle East.

Muhammad Manwar Ali fought in Afghanistan, Syria and Burma in the 1980s, but says the Islamic State and the use of jihad today is extreme and the violence is inhuman and evil.

"Don't go to the Syria, Iraq conflict positions - don't go there.

Your heart cries, your heart bleeds and you feel emotional or sad.

Pray. Trust god that he has the affairs in his hands, he never supports injustice and falsehood. Our job is to be good and kind, wherever we are."

– Muhammad Manwar Ali

Pope shuns luxury in South Korea with small car

Pope Francis has surprised South Koreans during his visit to the country by shunning an expensive luxury car to travel in a compact car instead.

After arriving at the airport he climbed into the backseat of a a Kia Soul - the manufacturer's second smallest model.

Pope Francis has refused to use a bullet-proof "popemobile" like his predecessors in favour of low-key cars.

His choice of car has received wide coverage in South Korea, where ostentatious shows of wealth usually represent a person's status.

Pope Francis urges UN chief to respond to Iraq crisis

Pope Francis has urged the head of the United Nations to respond to the "heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities" in Iraq.

In a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, he said:

I write to you, Mr Secretary General, and place before you the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq.

– Pope Francis

The pontiff, who is on a visit to South Korea, has been commenting on the Iraq crisis on Twitter in recent days, and has called on Muslim religious leaders to condemn the actions of Islamic State militants.

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