Student, Universities and Guns

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The sequence of the title usually means bloodshed and tragedy such as the columbine massacre.

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This case is more shocking and surprisingly  makes sense why the fees have gone up. Several Universities in London were found  to be connection with investments in Arm firms. We reported about  Comic Reliefs scandal last month and how it was involved in really unethical enterprises.

Ten of the London’s Universities have holdings in defence companies. Does that then mean that student are indirectly financing defence companies ? could this be the reason why the pay rises for Vice Chancellors for  have gone up to  £ 22 thousand a year? while the regular staff only received one percent. A peculiar situation. Are Vice -Chancellor turning into investment bankers ?

“profit from death”. Imperial College has most invested in the industry, with direct holdings in four defence manufacturers totalling £3.9m.

It has £1.75m worth of shares in General Electric, which supplies “systems and technologies” for combat aircraft, military transport, helicopters and drones. It has a £922,000 stake in Inmarsat, a self-proclaimed “valued and trusted partner of the US defense community”, and £489,000 of holdings in Texas Instruments, which produces technologies for “critical aerospace and military applications”.

The college also has £753,000 invested in Rolls Royce, a producer of engines for military aircraft and drones whose largest customer is the US Department of Defense.

The University of London (UoL) owns 161,000 shares – worth £698,000 at the time of writing – in BAE Systems. The arms giant produces drones, torpedoes, artillery and Typhoon fighter jets. In addition, the university has 10,000 shares in United Technologies Corporation, who make missile guidance and actuation systems. At the time of writing, these were valued at £685,000.

The Institute of Education (IoE) has stakes in the same two defence companies. Its 44,300 shares in BAE Systems are worth £192,000, and its 3,000 shares in United Technologies are worth £205,000.

University College London (UCL) has 22,752 shares in United Technologies, worth around £1.54m, despite divesting from arms companies in 2009. It agreed to dispose of the last of its defence investments, a £440,000 stake in the arms company Cobham, after pressure from campaign group DisarmUCL.

Sir Malcolm Grant, UCL’s provost at the time, explained the change in policy by saying: “I want to satisfy committee and council that, while we are getting a good return on investment, we are not making the world a worse place.”

Through investment funds, King’s College London (KCL) and London Southbank University have holdings in General Electric of £97,000 and £1,600 respectively. The London School of Economics (LSE) has an indirect stake in the company and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has a direct investment, but neither revealed the value of these holdings.

“Universities are directly benefiting the arms trade… they profit from death”

– Holly-Rae Smith, Campaign Against Arms Trade

The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) has a £74,000 stake in the aerospace and defence industry through one fund. It also has £6,400 invested in Transdigm, which produces monitoring and sensor systems for military aircraft, through another fund.

Queen Mary has a financial stake, the size of which was not disclosed, in Texas Instruments.

Heythrop College did not respond to London Student’s request to release its investment portfolio, while the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) declined to do so because it “would, or would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of ICR or any third party.” The Royal Veterinary College could not provide details of its portfolio because they were switching funds.

Holly-Rae Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said it was wrong for universities to invest in arms companies because “they profit from death”. She added that by investing, “Universities are directly benefiting the arms trade.”

She also complained: “Quite often, students have no say in what their university invests in. It’s quite secretive. Student’s tuition fees end up invested in companies they consider unethical.”

Smith explained it was sometimes difficult to even get universities to consider divesting from arms companies, claiming: “I emailed UCL several times about its ethical investment policy. They just won’t reply.”

Imperial College refused to comment on its £3.9m holdings in arms manufacturers.

Asked whether UoL’s investments in BAE Systems and United Technologies were ethical, a university spokesperson declined to respond either way, instead choosing to say they were “acceptable”.

The spokesperson pointed out that both companies “are involved in the production of a wide range of products outside those associated with defence”. They added: “The university recognises that there is an ethical dimension to any investment portfolio, but has to balance this against the likely financial return”.

An IoE spokesperson said the institute “has a responsible investment policy” which “does not specifically exclude investments in companies which produce armaments.”

A UCL spokesperson referred London Student to its investment policy, whose “guiding principle… is to generate funds”. The policy states that the university would not invest in a business deemed unethical by its Ethical Investment Review Committee provided doing so does not “run the risk of significant detriment to UCL’s investment capital fund”.

A KCL spokesperson pointed out that, while the university has indirect holdings, it “has no direct investments in Aerospace or Defence companies.”

An LSE spokesperson said “The School is concerned to conduct investment management in a socially responsible and ethical manner”. SOAS said it avoided investing in companies whose military-related exposure exceeds 10% of turnover.

A RAM spokesperson said while the academy “may have a small indirect exposure to companies involved in the manufacture of armaments”, it “has a carefully thought out ethical investment policy”.

London Southbank University declined to comment.

A Queen Mary spokesperson said the university’s portfolio “has to meet the criteria of our ethical investment policy,” and added: “Investment in Texas Instruments reflects just 0.6 per cent of our entire investment portfolio.”

which critics argue “profit from death”. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act suggest their combined stake in the controversial industry exceeds £7.4m.

Imperial College has most invested in the industry, with direct holdings in four defence manufacturers totalling £3.9m.

It has £1.75m worth of shares in General Electric, which supplies “systems and technologies” for combat aircraft, military transport, helicopters and drones. It has a £922,000 stake in Inmarsat, a self-proclaimed “valued and trusted partner of the US defense community”, and £489,000 of holdings in Texas Instruments, which produces technologies for “critical aerospace and military applications”.

The college also has £753,000 invested in Rolls Royce, a producer of engines for military aircraft and drones whose largest customer is the US Department of Defense.

The University of London (UoL) owns 161,000 shares – worth £698,000 at the time of writing – in BAE Systems. The arms giant produces drones, torpedoes, artillery and Typhoon fighter jets. In addition, the university has 10,000 shares in United Technologies Corporation, who make missile guidance and actuation systems. At the time of writing, these were valued at £685,000.

The Institute of Education (IoE) has stakes in the same two defence companies. Its 44,300 shares in BAE Systems are worth £192,000, and its 3,000 shares in United Technologies are worth £205,000.

University College London (UCL) has 22,752 shares in United Technologies, worth around £1.54m, despite divesting from arms companies in 2009. It agreed to dispose of the last of its defence investments, a £440,000 stake in the arms company Cobham, after pressure from campaign group DisarmUCL.

Sir Malcolm Grant, UCL’s provost at the time, explained the change in policy by saying: “I want to satisfy committee and council that, while we are getting a good return on investment, we are not making the world a worse place.”

Through investment funds, King’s College London (KCL) and London Southbank University have holdings in General Electric of £97,000 and £1,600 respectively. The London School of Economics (LSE) has an indirect stake in the company and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has a direct investment, but neither revealed the value of these holdings.

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Black and Noble

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This is going to be a good thing during the Black History month. I urge everyone to attend it onlineUpcoming event : Black and Noble – A study of important black figures in Islamic history

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Featuring :

Sh. Omar Suleiman | Imam Khalid Griggs | Ust. Nouman Ali Khan

What is this class about?

There is a misconception amongst many Muslims that Bilal Ibn Rabah (ra) was the only black companion. We will study the biographies of those men and women who were from the most noble of society and of the most noble of generations, the first three generations of Islam. We’ll look at the obstacles they faced and how they became the leaders of the Ummah. We’ll also examine how their marriages and personal struggles were impacted by the racism that was so prominent in Pre-Islamic Arab society. We will then study contemporary Black Muslim history with an emphasis on Malcolm X (ra) and what he means to all Muslims.

Why we’re doing it:

To educate Muslims about their history so that we can have greater appreciation for the contributions of our predecessors as well as the practical ways Islam battled racism from its inception.

Class Schedule:

Session 1:
Ust. Nouman Ali Khan – “Verily the most noble of you in the sight of Allah are the most pious amongst you.”

Sessions 2,3,4:
Sh. Omar Suleiman – The early scholars and companions

Sessions 5,6:
Imam Khalid Griggs– Malcolm X and contemporary Black Muslim history

by: Islamic Learning Foundation – Texas
February 16, 2014
10:00 am – 5:30 pm (CT)
Onsite: Islamic Center of Irving
Online: www.ilmflix.com

 

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Are you Ready to Re-Connect ?

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Ayesha a 18 year old Activist from Middlesbrough is the brain child behind the project “Disconnected” and  LiL Ayesh Production. She studies Childhood at University and is in the process of becoming a fitness instructor. She currently works NUR Fitness where she caters for women and children. The Middlesbrough activist  has clearly a busy lifestyle and is far away from slowing down the pace.

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The best example for that is the “Disconnected”  project. It reflects the problems many teenagers experience. The Project targets at teenagers, from the  age of 13-16 and specified for Sisters.  Ayesha says that brothers also could benefit from the project regardless of the fact her main target are women.  The Project Itself has a more spiritual approach and focuses on filling the holes in the engine that pumps just more than gallons of blood.

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The Heart or the soul in today’s society is vulnerable to many things. Well people may debate whether the soul exist, but knowing  that Britain is one of the leading countries in Europe where people commit suicide, another question arises what the factors is for this self-destructive trend among the public.  Ayesha realises a lot that can be  done in the age we live. There is a lot more possible due to the technology. She says ” The whole project is based on the heart,  its condition and it’s connection with Allah especially through salah. It’s going to tackle the struggles teenagers go through like zina, free mixing and music. The 18-year-old understands that Youngsters will not understand it if you simply tell them that it is forbidden, rather she wants to show how these things do affect them and the consequences of it .The  first year student  started wearing the Niqab and praises Allah (  سبحانه و تعالى   )  for it .

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She says she got involved with the Dawah while being at College  She says ”  I would say I started getting involved in the da’wah whilst in my first year at college. I went to an art college, majority of the students were non-Muslims, I was studying graphic design among 40 to 50 other people and I was the only Muslim student. I found it difficult at first as I really stood out among the non-Muslims as I wore the hijab and abaya and I would say it was in college when I found my real identity and became who I am

After her second year of College she underwent An IERA dawah course and ever started from there to build up her experience in the Dawah scene. She joined IDC North East (Islamic Diversity Centre) they do lectures for non-Muslims, social initiatives, school workshops. She says what really helped was the good company around her and inspirational figures like Imran Ibn Mansur or also known as The Dawah Man.

Its admiring knowing that there so many young souls out there striving the better the society. In Ayesha instance where does she get her energy from she says beautifully “What drives me is doing anything which means I’m struggling for the sake of Allah, it’s just that feeling of struggling for the sake of Allah that’s what drives me, there’s nothing like it. From my experience when I was in college there’s no struggle like giving da’wah. I want to be able to die upon tawheed being able to say the shahadah, and I know it’s not going to come easy, so just doing anything I possibly can until then”

“Disconnected”  will be launched soon.  And there is certainly  more in store from LiL Ayesh Productions.

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A pearl in its shell.

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February the 1st is a wonderful opportunity for many women across the globe. Why?
Because its world Hijab day. It’s a chance to understand the concept of the Hijab. For Muslim women that have not yet embraced the Hijab, and for Non-Muslims alike this day will be a great opportunity to experience what it actually feels like to wear the Hijab. It will also help people to understand the scrutiny Muslim Women often have to deal with whilst covering their beauty solely to please their Lord.

Living in towns and cities where people are not so familiar with the Hijab often seems really daunting for many girls who wish to starting wearing the Hijab. They fear the abuse they may have to suffer simply because many people do not understand the concept of the Hijab. However, we cannot blame the ignorance of the people without teaching them first. The media and other aspects of society play a major role in distorting the real meaning of the Hijab!

Fortunately, however, world Hijab day is here and so is Internchange to explain the importance of the Hijab in Islam. What is the Hijab? And what are the overall benefits of acting out this command – not only for women but for the wider society?

Islam has two sources for guidance and rulings: first, the final revelation, the Quran which is the revealed words of Allah and secondly, the ways of Muhammad (saw), the final Prophet sent as a mercy to mankind.

Allah says;
‘O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) over their bodies (when outdoors). That will be better that they should be known (as respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’[33:59]

Allah also says;
‘And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc) and not to show off their adornment except what must (ordinarily) appear thereof…’ [24:31]
It is important to understand that there are two aspects of the Hijab. The external and the internal. The headscarf is not the only aspect of the overall Hijab rather, good manners and appropriate speech are equally important.

Allah says;
‘….be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy or evil desire for adultery, etc) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honorable manner…’ [33:32]
The external aspect of the Hijab is the complete covering of the hair and the body. It protects the beauty of the woman, and more importantly it fulfills the command of Allah which is highly rewarding and pleasing to him.

Islam views women as precious beings in society that should not be exposed for the advantages of men. They are the like of pearls but within its shells, or, like sparkling diamond in a safe. Would you let anyway into your safe? Ideally, out of extreme cautiousness, we would not even wish to show the safe let alone have the diamond be gazed upon lest a person attempts to steal it from us.

However, Islam sees women far more superior and precious than a pearl or a diamond cut and so women need protection and security. In simple terms, this safe for the diamond is like the Hijab of the Muslim woman. Islam solves the problem of sexual exploitation and mistreatment of women. The Hijab gives women the empowerment to be treated as a person that ought to be respected and understood not for her level of attractiveness but rather for her intelligence and integrity.230979_131378843606894_131009900310455_222091_3338834_n

Often forgotten is the fact that looking at the clothing of women as recently as 70 years ago, we see clothing very similar to that of the Hijab. These active and hard-working Western women were not inhibited by their clothing which consisted of long, full dresses and various types of head coverings. Therefore, the Hijab is not interfering with the activities of daily life, rather it is a source of liberation and freedom from the shackles of society’s media driven fashion industry.

The Hijab, if applied correctly will completely remove women from the enslavement of society’s expectations to the true submission and enslavement to Allah alone, as he is the one who brought us into existence and therefore he is the only one worthy of being worshipped.

So grasp this opportunity and Let Internchange know about  your very first Hijab experience.

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Daily updates: From the ground in Syria

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We all have troubled mind when thinking about the Muslims lands. Especially the countries that are war torn and in turmoil. We as one Ummah have the same concerns and we want to be informed what really takes place in our countries. The urge to understand the conflict and then to make intelligent decisions. Being certain  where the information comes from is gold in a situation where it might be the only currency to pay for bread. Syria for instance proves this dilemma. Mohammed Ibn Al baraa( Allah swt  bless, reward and protect him) traveled to Syria for humanitarian work on the ground. While being in Syria and witnessing the events, Mohammed realizes that the conventional media is  creating a counter productive narrative for the Muslim across the globe. Mohammed post start to gain relevance on his personal  face book page as clarity emerged in the  opaque  situation.

It takes someone  a lot of courage and Emaan to leave your safety nets and comfort zone to travel thousands of miles to help your brothers and sisters in Al Sham. Mohammed (may Allah swt protect him) Made that decision.  Brother Mohammed agreed to work in collaboration with Interchange to deliver  authentic updates from a believer for the believers. Internchange will have daily updates on what takes place in Syria. Analysis, reports, ongoing projects and his personal lesson he encounters in the blessed land. One factor whilst following  the events in Syria we tend to neglect is from where we obtain the information.There are many stakeholders with their own agendas. As the  noble Qur’an states

O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.(49:6)

We of course do not know what the hearts bear, however for a Muslim we go with the apparent. Please do comment in the comment section how you feel and how we can improve with this Inscha Allah.

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