Man who called train passenger ‘terrorist’ & ‘bomber’ handed suspended sentence

Tony Browning, 33, activated a Metro emergency brake and subjected a bemused Sudanese man to a disgraceful ordeal in which he branded him a bomber (Photo: Northumbria Police)

Nadine Osman

A man from Sunderland who activated a Metro emergency brake after branding an innocent passenger an ISIS terrorist in March has been given a 9 month suspended prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court after admitting racially aggravated harassment.

Tony Browning subjected the bemused victim to a disgraceful ordeal in which he branded him a bomber, ordered him to get off the train and threatened to hit him in front of passengers.

The 33-year-old fairground worker pressed an emergency stop button at Gateshead Stadium in Tyne and Wear as he made wild claims about the man having a knife or a needle.

The court heard Browning’s tirade of abuse happened on the Metro after it departed from Monument, Newcastle, in March.

Police were called and the Sudanese victim, who spoke little English, was handcuffed after he answered every question with “yes”, including when asked if he had a knife.

However a search of the 25-year-old and the carriage revealed he was unarmed.

Judge Amanda Rippon told Browning: “You abused a young man on a Metro train in this city, who was doing no more than minding his own business, travelling as he was entitled to. You abused him not just generally, but racially, making reference to the colour of his skin, calling him a terrorist, accusing him of having a weapon and frightening him. This debacle was seen by other members of the public and it no doubt distressed them as well.”

She added, “You were calling him a smack head, a terrorist and telling him to get off the train, telling him you were going to hit him. The poor complainant ended up being handcuffed for a short time while police searched for a weapon you said he had, which he never did.”

Prosecutor Neil Pallister said the victim was unclear about what Browning was shouting when he approached him but knew he was swearing. Pallister said Browning “walked up and down the train, shouting” while other shocked passengers looked on.

One witness said Browning also shouted abuse at black passengers before he pressed the emergency brake at Gateshead Stadium. The court heard the victim now feels frightened to use public transport and worries about a similar situation happening again.

Aer Lingus removes man abusing Muslim passengers

Nadine Osman

Aer Lingus cabin crew were praised of their handling of a man who was verbal abusing Muslim passengers, it has emerged.

The man who was targeting the Muslim passengers was removed from a flight from Dublin to Berlin on October 23.

“Before taking off, a passenger showed abusive behaviour against two other Muslim passengers,” wrote another passenger, Khalid Wafiq Kamel, on Aer Lingus’s Facebook page (see below). “The crew reacted promptly to stop him, and the offending passenger was removed from the flight.”

In a statement to The Muslim News Aer Lingus said its crew “are fully trained to deal with disruptive incidents that may arise on board our aircraft, and do so according to our operating procedures.”

Kamel, who is of Egyptian descent said the crew’s reaction “made my day,” adding: “As a Muslim, I felt safe and respected being in Ireland and on Aer Lingus. As one of the crew said, ‘We are all Equal’.”

Over 11,000 people had liked Kamel’s Facebook post as we publish, with the vast majority of comments reacting positively to his sentiment.

“Well done Aer Lingus,” said Theresa Corcoran, who replied to his post. “There is no place for racial hate in Ireland.”

“I have been here is this beautiful country for 15 years,” said another, Syed Ahmed. “I have so much love and respect for the Irish people the way I have been treated fairly in this country regardless of colour, race or religion.”

“We’re so sorry to hear that this took place, but we’re glad that the crew handled the situation well,” Aer Lingus’s social media team replied.

Muslim teaching assistant suing school for race discrimination over 9/11 video

Suriyah Bi, 24, was dismissed from the Heartlands Academy, when she raised concerns about 9/11 footage of people jumping to their deaths being shown to 11-year-old special needs children (Photo: Creative Commons)

Nadine Osman

A 24-year old teaching assistant who was sacked by a Birmingham school for objecting to 11-year-old special needs children being shown graphic footage of the 9/11 attacks has turned down a compensation offer from the school and has vowed to fight the case in court.

Suriyah Bi, an Oxford University graduate, was dismissed from the Heartlands Academy, when she raised concerns about the footage of people jumping to their deaths.

Bi felt it was inappropriate for her class to see footage of the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

According to Bi, the class teacher had to log-in to her personal YouTube account to override the site’s age-appropriate warning, which said the video titled Can you imagine how bad it must be up there? was unsuitable for under-18s.

The following day, Bi raised the issue, along with several other unrelated concerns. Just over an hour later she was dismissed.

The school has offered Bi £11,000 in compensation for loss of earnings, 15 months after she was first dismissed.

But Bi has rejected the payout and is seeking an apology and is prepared to take the case to a full employment tribunal in December.

She said: “I raised what I felt was a valid concern. This video was incredibly graphic – bodies were falling from the building and there were close-up shots. It was not appropriate.”

Bi, who is studying for a PhD in human geography, was dismissed from the school on September 23, 2015, less than 2 weeks after she started the job. Bi later discovered that the staff had raised concerns about her background and questioned whether she should work in schools again.

A safeguarding checklist filled out three days after her dismissal obtained by The Guardian, said Bi had raised concerns about the footage only because it offended her as a Muslim.

Bi said: “That is simply not true. What happened on 9/11 was a crime and I as a Muslim do not agree with it. To even suggest that I only raised this because of my religion is deeply offensive. My only concern was for the children, their vulnerability and an attempt at safeguarding them.”

The same document also mentioned Bi’s position as head girl at Saltley School and questioned her suitability as a teaching assistant. The school was implicated in the “Trojan Horse” affair in 2013.

Bi said: “I was made to feel like an extremist because I wanted to protect these children. I was studying at Oxford during the ‘Trojan Horse’ affair. To imply that I may have been involved just shows the level of prejudice I have experienced from management at the academy.”

Birmingham MP Liam Byrne has called for the Education Secretary to investigate the case. He added: “At every step, an unaccountable academy giant has tried to shut down and smother Suriyah Bi’s voice – and then try to have her blacklisted. Yet Suriyah’s only ‘crime’ was speaking up for children.”

The case is due to start on December 5.

Polish men jailed for pelting mosque worshipper with bacon

Mateusz Pawlikowski (left) and Piotr Czak-Zukowski were each sentenced to eight months in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Nadine Osman

Two Polish men who hurled abuse and pelted a worshipper with rashers of bacon at a mosque in north London were jailed on November 1.

Mateusz Pawlikowski, 22, and Piotr Czak-Zukowski, 28, threw the meat inside the Al-Rahman Mosque in Camden, London, as worshippers got ready for evening prayers at about 7pm on October 2.

The pair, who hurled expletives at one man before throwing rashers of bacon at him and onto the floor at his feet, was each sentenced to eight months in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court.

The court heard how distressed worshippers immediately alerted police to the incident.
The pair fled the scene but officers tracked them down and arrested them the following afternoon.

When officers searched Czak-Zukowski they found an empty packet of bacon in his pocket.

Pawlikowski and Czak-Zukowski, both from north London, each pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage and a racial and religious public order offence at an earlier hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

They were remanded in custody until their sentencing over fears for their safety if they were bailed.

Speaking after the sentencing, DC Tracey McMath, from the Camden community safety unit, said: “The defendants showed a complete disregard for the faith and belief of others in this callous and highly offensive incident; and I hope their convictions highlight that we will not tolerate hate crime in any of its forms.

“I know this incident has had a significant impact on the community and commend the victims for speaking up. Hate crime is often a hidden crime and it is essential we stand together with policing partners, colleagues and groups to investigate all such allegations, support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Huddersfield man calls takeaway staff Al-Qa’ida terrorists

Nadine Osman

A man accused takeaway staff of being Al-Qa’ida terrorists has pleaded guilty to two charges of using racially-aggravated threatening behaviour last month.

Kirklees Magistrates’ Court heard that Marvin Birch walked into a takeaway on Market Street in Milnsbridge, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, on September 19.

Prosecutor Bill Astin said that the 35-year-old demanded a lift but staff replied that they were very busy and there was a taxi rank around the corner.

He told the Huddersfield court: “He became aggressive, shouting and swearing and saying: “You f*****g Al-Qa’ida”.

“He was asked to leave, he called them P****s and a member of staff called police. The defendant was heard calling them Al-Qa’ida terrorists and called a police officer a white b*****d.”

Sonia Kidd, mitigating, said that her client, “understands that his language was inappropriate. He’s mixed-race himself, been subject to racism before and accepts what he did was wrong.”

District Judge Michael Fanning fined Birch, of Brunswick Street in Heckmondwike, a total of £400.

He must also pay £85 court costs and £30 victim surcharge. Slamming his behaviour as “stupid” Judge Fanning told him: “You have an Afro-Caribbean father and you’re not a racist.

“It begs the question why on this occasion you’ve treated people in this way. You spoke extremely offensive, derogatory terms to an Asian member of the community.”

Anti-terrorism posters likened to Nazi propaganda withdrawn

The Advertising Standards Authority said it had received complaints about the above poster which has since been removed

Elham Asaad Buaras

Anti-terrorism posters which sparked a racism row have been withdrawn earlier this month.The posters part of the British Transport Police’s new campaign to stop terror threats on the rail network were slammed for allegedly using anti-Semitic and racist imagery.

The Advertising Standards Authority said it had received 13 complaints by November 8. Passengers complained that the posters echoed those used to advertise a so-called degenerate art exhibition the Eternal Jew in Nazi Germany in 1937.

The artwork showed a suspicious-looking bearded man in the foreground and a woman behind him, with the caption: “See it. Say it. Sorted. Are they wearing a big coat to hide something?”

Chair of the Museum of Immigration and Diversity in East London, Susie Symes, said, “For anybody who is old enough to remember them or who’s studied them of who has ever seen images from the Nazi era, this is the same imagery,” she said.

“I’m sure these must have been completely unintentional, I don’t think they knew what they were doing.

“But the fact is it’s exactly classic. There’s two things. One is the imagery. The dark, large nosed, threatening stranger. And the contrast with the young white, innocent young woman and the dark skinned bulky man.

“And also the use of language, of ‘they’. It’s demonising a particular group.” The force has since decided to remove the posters after admitting they had caused “upset”.

Assistant Chief Constable Alun Thomas said: “The images on each of the posters in this campaign were specially created in order to avoid using photographs of any specific individuals or groups.

“However, we are aware that one particular image has caused considerable distress due to its similarities with offensive historic propaganda. It is highly regrettable that this image, and its connotations, were overlooked during the development of this campaign.

“We recognise and understand the upset that has been caused by this. We and our campaign partners have listened to the feedback we have received and this poster has now been withdrawn.”

He added: “There are clearly lessons for us to learn with regards to quality assurance and better audience research in any future campaigns.”

Britain First deputy fined for abusing Muslim mum in front of her children

Carrying a large crucifix Jayda Fransen is seen confronting Muslim woman during ‘Christian patrol’ in Bury Park High Street in Luton earlier this year. (Photo Britain First / IG).

Elham Asaad Buaras

The deputy leader of Britain First has been found guilty of religiously-aggravated harassment after hurling abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab on November 2.

Jayda Fransen, 30, from London, was fined £1,0000 for shouting at Sumayyah Sharpe in front of her four young children during a “Christian patrol” of Bury Park in Luton in January this year.

Fransen admitted telling Sharpe that Muslim men force women to cover up to avoid being raped “because they cannot control their sexual urges”.

She added: “That’s why they are coming into my country raping women across the continent.”

Fransen denied the words were intended to be offensive. She was also fined £200 for wearing a ‘political uniform’ at the time.

District Judge Carolyn Mellanby fined her a total of almost £2,000 after adding £620 in costs and a £100 victim surcharge at Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Court.
Mellanby said she believed the group had gone to the area “looking for trouble”.

“I have no doubt the words used towards her [Ms Sharpe], in her expression, represented everything against her and what she believes in,” she said.

“In other words, offensive, insulting, abusive and, in my judgement, intended to cause offence and alarm and distress to her religion.”

The court heard how around 20 Britain First members took part in the event at Bury Park, distributing branded newspapers which had a front page reading “World War Three has begun – Islam against the world”.

Sharpe, who was shopping with her kids, refused a newspaper from the extremist group.
Giving evidence Sharpe said at this point that Fransen crossed the road and confronted her.
Sharpe told the court: “She came across, shouting at me, saying ‘Why are you covered?’, and she said that quite a few times. I told her it was my choice that I cover.

“I then turned to the camera and I said, ‘Film me, I’m British, I’m a British Muslim. It’s my choice to wear this clothing and it’s my right’.”

In video footage shown in court, Fransen was seen brandishing a white cross as she told Sharpe that Muslim men made women cover themselves so that they were not raped.
Following the incident, Sharpe said she had to go home and explain the meaning of the word rape to her young children.

She also told the court her four-year-old son was now scared to leave the house in case they ran into the group.

After the verdict was read, a Britain First supporter was arrested on suspicion of common assault allegedly attacking a journalist.

Islamophobic hate crimes up almost 70 percent in US

Nadine Osman

Islamophobic hate crimes increased by a whopping 67 percent in the United States in 2015 according to the latest figures released by the FBI on November 14. The increase is part of an overall 7 percent hike in hate crimes across the country last year.

Of the 7,121 victims identified in the report, nearly 20 percent were targeted because of a religious bias, the FBI said in its hate crimes report. That is the second-highest motivation for offenders behind race or ethnicity.

Islamophobia made up the second highest religious bias at 22 percent of the total, behind antisemitism that accounted for more than half. In total, 2015 saw 257 anti-Muslim incidents that targeted 307 individuals.

That is the highest number since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations Government Affairs Director, Robert McCaw, said in a statement that it noticed, “a sharp jump in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide last year. This unprecedented increase in bigotry of all kinds must be repudiated in the strongest terms possible by all our nation’s leaders, beginning with President-elect Donald Trump.”

On several occasions during the election cycle, Trump targeted Muslims, most controversially calling for a ban on entry that he later eased.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit that combats hate crimes, said it has tracked 315 cases of “hateful harassment and intimidation” since Election Day alone.

Teen dragged into car park by 4 men who tried to force her to drink alcohol

Nadine Osman

Police in Bolton are investigating after reports that four men believed to be of Eastern European descent dragged a 17-year-old Muslim girl into an alleyway and tried to force her to drink what was thought to be alcohol on November 11.

The shocking incident is said to have happened as the young woman was making her way from college to the madrasah [religious school] on Derby Street.

She was near to the junction of Derby Street and High Street when a man with light coloured hair and sporting a black baseball cap approached her and dragged her into a nearby car park.

She saw three other men waiting in the car park. The men then allegedly tried to make her drink from a Coca-cola bottle which the girl suspected contained alcohol. Fortunately a young man who witnessed the scene intervened and helped her escape.

The Bolton Council of Mosques (BMC) has issued advice to all local mosques, calling on people to be vigilant.

BMC Secretary, Imteyaz Ali, who is liaising with the girl’s family, told The Muslim News that the parents told him that their daughter was “shaken up”, “has lost confidence”, “she is broken and she is asking ‘Why am I not allowed to walk the streets without fear of being attacked?’”

The parents of the girl said they were “devastated”. “They expected their child to walk freely in our streets,” said Ali.

Ali added that “this sort of behaviour is not acceptable in the community.”

BMC has been in regular contact with the police and have been assured the force has increased its presence in the area.

Police have issued a description of the man who initially approached the young woman.
He is believed to be in his early 20s and is 5ft 6 inches tall and slim.

Detective Sergeant Dean Purtill, of Greater Manchester Police’s Bolton borough, said: “I understand that this incident will cause concern in the local community and officers are working to find the men responsible. The girl was obviously extremely distressed by the ordeal and I would urge anyone who was in the area at the time or has information that can help our investigation to come forward.”

Anybody with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Teacher who posted Islamophobic comments struck off

Nicholas Hall, 53, a teacher at a college in Leicester who posted Islamophobic comments on social media has been struck of

Nadine Osman

A religious education teacher who posted Islamophobic comments on social media and attended a march organised by the far-right group Britain First was struck off on October 26.

Nicholas Hall, 53, who taught in Soar Valley College in Leicester since 2001, admitted he had attended a march on one or more occasions, and also admitted posting a number of intolerant messages.

Hall admitted a series of other matters, including allowing pupils to watch an 18-certificate film, accessing pornography on a school laptop, failing to take appropriate action when a pupil acknowledged taking drugs, and working as a security guard while on sick leave.

National College for Teaching and Leadership panel concluded that he was guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” and “conduct which may bring the profession into disrepute”.

It also found that he had breached his responsibility not to undermine “fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law… and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”, and that his conduct had violated the rights of pupils.

Hall is thought to be the first teacher to be struck off because of his association with Britain First.

The professional conduct panel ordered that Hall be banned indefinitely from teaching in any school, sixth-form college or other children’s establishment in England. He has a right of appeal to the high court.

The panel decided there was evidence that he had attended a number of rightwing events and that he had shown “vehement intolerance” towards people of other faiths.

Comments he made on social media included “What a sick religion Islam is” and “We will leave them alone when the plague of Islam is [eradicated] from our planet.”

In its report, the professional conduct panel said: “The panel believes that such an attitude is completely incongruous with Hall’s role as a teacher, but particularly his role as an RE teacher of the college.”

Furthermore, the panel had seen no sign that Hall felt any remorse for his actions.
Following the decision, Hall said he had no comment to make other than that he had “moved on” since losing his job.

Julie Robinson, the Principal at Soar Valley College, said: “Hall no longer works at the school and has not done so for some time. As soon as we became aware of any concerns regarding conduct, immediate appropriate actions were taken. This included referral to the misconduct panel, which has resulted in the recent outcome.”

Hate crimes rise across US following Trump’s victory

In the immediate aftermath of the presidential election, there has been a spate of hate crimes across the United States, most of which have referenced the new president-elect or one of his campaign slogans.

The following incidents have been collated by The Muslim News since the morning of the election results.

November 8 

Bar, Santa Monica, California: A Canadian film producer was assaulted after watching the election results at a bar. When he left the bar, he was walking through an alley when he was attacked by a group of men – one of whom smashed a bottle over his head. He fell back, his head smashing against the concrete, causing him to black out.

Victim Statement: Chris Ball – “People started launching homophobic slurs at me from afar. They were saying things like, ‘We got a new president you f**king f**gots’, I got into it, but I didn’t want to provoke them. When I came to, I remember waking up and wiping the blood from my eyes. I called some friends, they picked me up and I went right to the hospital.”

November 9

Fayetteville Street, Durham, North Carolina: The day after Trump’s victory, someone painted ‘Black lives don’t matter and neither does your votes’ on the street wall.

Broad and Wharton streets, South Philadelphia: Swastikas and racist graffiti referencing Trump and Nazi Germany were spray-painted on a South Philadelphia storefront and elsewhere. The graffiti was spotted at Broad and Wharton streets a day after the presidential election.

Wellsville, Allegany County, New York: Softball dugout in Island Park in Wellsville was defaced with the words ‘Make America White Again,’ accompanied by a large swastika. The graffiti was discovered this morning and the police were called. The park is located near Wellsville High School and the town’s central business district.

Location unknown (reported Facebook)

Victim Statement:  Maha Abdul Gawad  – “My first racist encounter after our new joke of a president, as I am at Wallmart [sic] today, a woman came up to me and pulled my Hijab off and said ‘this is not allowed anymore, so go hang yourself with it around your neck not on your head.’ I am traumatized.”

Location unknown (reported Twitter)
Victim Statement: @Palestixian – “Guys, a trump supporter tried pulling off my hijab. This is not a joke anymore, all non-whites have become targets. Stay safe. ”

November 10

Manhattan, New York: A woman from Queens was harassed by a white couple on a bus for wearing a hijab. Some strangers started to defend her, and they started fighting, she said. The woman then came closer and tried to pull the hijab from her head. The victim immediately got off the bus, and walked home.

Victim Statement: Fariha Nizam, 19. – “I was crying incessantly, looking away, but they did not stop. They started yelling at me and telling me to take off the disgusting piece of cloth on my head, saying that it wasn’t allowed anymore. I’ve been taking [that bus] forever: for high school, for college, for work I’ve always been taking that bus and nothing has ever happened to me before. ”

November 11

Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa: ‘You can all go home now, we don’t want nig**rs and terrorists here #trump’, said a note left at a Sudanese-Muslim family’s home. The police declined to come to the house to take photos or record a statement. Iowa City Police Chief Bill Campbell later branded the police reaction “unacceptable”.  Police confirmed a 911 call at 12:37 a.m. and that an officer returned the call a few minutes later, but did not go to the house.

Victim Statement: Amar Samel said a police officer told him “‘Take it (the note) down and throw it away. There’s really nothing I can do’”, he added, “I did not believe what I was seeing. I live in a peaceful city, a liberal city that is accepting of diversity. This is a consequence of what their leader said before the election”. Muna Abdalla, his wife added, “It’s scary, too”

Schools, Colleges and Universities

November 9 

NYU Tandon School of Engineering, New York: Muslim students found ‘Trump’ scrawled on the door of their prayer room.

Victim Statement: “We awoke to a chilling wakeup call. And as we open our eyes and start to move and organize in the face of these new realities, we ask for your support.”

El Camino Real High School, LA, California: A teen was verbally attacked outside of her school for being a Muslim and it was the first of two assaults she endured the day after the election. The second incident happened when she was walking to class: a male student allegedly came up behind her and tried to rip off her head scarf.

Victim Statement: Mariam Nomair, 16, – “We’re getting attacked for no reason. I’ve done nothing wrong…and I don’t understand why I’m being attacked because of it. He like grabbed me by my bun and my hijab and tried to pull it off. He was like, ‘You shouldn’t be wearing that, you towel head. You’re not American. This isn’t America. This isn’t what America stands for.’”

Shasta High School, Shasta County, California: A  student handed out deportation letters to students of many different ethnicities, according to Jim Cloney the school district Superintendent. Cloney added the school will not tolerate this behaviour. However, it was not clear what actions the school has taken, if any, to discipline the student.

Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose, California: A substitute PE teacher was fired after a student recorded him taunting Latino sixth graders about the election of Trump, telling them their parents were going to be deported. The teacher was recorded saying, “If you were born here, then your parents got to go. Then they will leave you behind, and you will be in foster care.” When one child asked how Trump would find them, the teacher replied, “I have your phone numbers, your address, your mama’s address, your daddy’s address. It’s all in the system, sweetie.”

San Jose State University, San Jose, California: A sophomore psychology student was walking back to her car when someone grabbed her hijab from behind and yanked it backward. She struggled to breathe as the man pulled hard at her head scarf. The attack lasted just a few seconds. Altun fought back by leaning forward, and when her attacker let go she fell hard to her knees. The man did not say a word, she said. Dooa Abdel-Rahman, President of San Jose State’s Muslim Student Association, said, “Some of them actually did decide to take off the scarf and some of the parents were concerned with their children. So they either told them to stay home or to take off their scarf ”.

Victim Statement: Esra Altun, 19, – “I was trying to gasp for air, I couldn’t say or do anything. I was paralyzed. This is my home and I want my rights protected. I want other people’s rights protected. And I want to live safely. That’s all I want”.

Maple Grove Senior High School, Maple Grove, Minnesota: Police and officials at Maple Grove Senior High say have launched an investigation into racist, pro-Donald Trump graffiti. The photos of the graffiti in the bathroom include the words ‘#gobacktoafrica’, ‘#whitesonly’ and ‘#whiteamerica’. It also included the pro-Trump messages ‘Trump Train’ and ‘Make America Great Again’. Maple Grove Police that they have launched an investigation. “This type of behavior is highly offensive, will not be tolerated and does not reflect the views of the Maple Grove community,” read a statement released to the media.

Dewitt Junior High School, DeWitt, Michigan: Officials and parents are looking for answers following reports that students at DeWitt Junior High School formed a human wall to block minority students from getting to their destinations in the morning. Corina Gonzalez says her 12-year-old daughter – who is Hispanic – was stopped from going to her locker by a group of boys who told her to go back to her country and that they were going to “make America great again.” The incident is just one of what appears to be a handful of racially-motivated confrontations that happened at the school the morning after the presidential election.

November 11

Dacula High School, Gwinnett County, Dacula, Georgia: A Muslim teacher said she was left a note telling her her headscarf is no longer allowed and she should hang herself with it. The note read ‘Why don’t you tie it around your neck & hang yourself with it’ and was signed ‘America!’. She said she was shocked and disturbed but told the students she was happy to speak with them if there were questions about her hijab.

Victim Statement: Mairah Teli, 24, – “I feel children feel safe making comments that are racist or sexist because of him [Trump]. We are living in a time when there is a lot of disagreement, a lot of conflict. It’s important to teach them how to disagree (respectfully). Spreading hate isn’t going to ‘make America great again’”

November 12 

Reed College, Portland, Oregon: College administrators said they were taken aback after hateful, threatening messages were discovered on the school’s library walls.

Vandals wrote ‘the white man is back in power you f**ing f****ts’, ‘Fuck all you liberal N***ers’, drew swastikas and scrawled notes with abusive language.


 Compiled by Elham Asaad Buaras

© The Muslim News 2016

Reading goalkeeper subjected to Islamophobic chants

Nadine Osman

A Group of Reading FC fans who hurled racist and Islamophobic abuse at their Omani goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi on October 25 have had their season tickets suspended by the club.

Social media reports suggested that a section of the fans shouted ‘ISIS’ at the 34- year old during their 2-0 defeat away to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in London.

Twitter user Daniel Holloway said that, “Ali Al-Habsi you know, he made Paris explode Ali Al-Habsi in goal, he’s ISIS you know” was sung on the grounds.

Reading FC announced that it had worked with both Thames Valley Police and Arsenal Football Club to identify the people that were involved, and those in question were ejected from the stadium and will now face an official investigation.

They have since been banned from attending any Reading FC games home or away this season pending the outcome of the investigation.

In a statement to The Muslim News club spokesman said: “Reading Football Club were made aware of an isolated but allegedly extreme incident of foul and abusive behaviour from a small number of individuals who were amongst the away supporters at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.”

“Those in question were ejected from Arsenal’s stadium during the course of our EFL Cup tie against the Gunners and the club have worked closely with Arsenal Football Club and Thames Valley Police to identify those accused of serious allegations.”

“Each of the individuals has been informed by Reading Football Club that their Season Tickets at Madejski Stadium have been suspended with immediate effect, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. During the course of this investigation, these individuals will not be welcome at Madejski Stadium nor will they be permitted to purchase tickets to any of our away fixtures. ”

“As the vast majority of our fans understand, behaviour of the nature which has been alleged is entirely unacceptable and not welcome in football or within our community. It is also not what this football club expects of its supporters. ”

Fatima Manji slams IPSO regulator for condoning “hate speech”

Ala Abbas

Channel 4 News Presenter Fatima Manji has spoken out against the press regulator, Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), after it cleared the former Editor of The Sun Newspaper, Kelvin MacKenzie, of religious discrimination. The decision to clear MacKenzie on October 19 was “fundamentally flawed” and “frightening”, according to Manji.

IPSO received 1,700 complaints from the public after Mackenzie wrote an article criticising the decision of Channel 4 to use a Muslim reporter to cover the Nice terror attacks in July this year. Manji and ITN also complained to the Watchdog claiming the article breached the Editors’ Code on the grounds of discrimination, harassment and accuracy.

In its ruling, IPSO said: “The article did not include a prejudicial or pejorative reference to the complainant on the grounds of religion” adding that “he [Mackenzie] was entitled to express his view that, in the context of a terrorist act which had been carried out ostensibly in the name of Islam, it was inappropriate for a person wearing Islamic dress to present coverage of the story.”


In her appeal letter, Manji said that Mackenzie’s original article was “akin to hate speech and incitement against an individual”. She said “pundits called radio stations to talk about my being lynched in support of Mr MacKenzie.”

She wrote: “[MacKenzie’s] report was a devastating personal attack on me, highly prejudicial and pejorative, designed to cause me significant distress by linking me to terror. It is clearly prejudicial and pejorative to link me to the murder of 84 people because I happen to be a Muslim and wear a hijab. Not only that, it prejudicially and inaccurately links me to a terrorist attack, which the vast majority of Muslims (including myself) believe to be absolutely abhorrent and against the teachings of Islamic principles. Indeed many of the victims of this attack were Muslims themselves, including a woman who like me was named Fatima and also wore a headscarf.”

She added: “There is also no consideration that the publication of this column led to fears about my physical safety in general given the current climate of Islamophobia and the risk that my being depicted next to the words ‘terror’ could lead to unwarranted attention or even abuse on the streets. Indeed my family and employer took precautions to ensure my safety in the days following the publication of this column.”

In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Manji said IPSO had given a “green light for newspapers to attack minorities and Muslims in particular. To know … that it is effectively open season on minorities…is frightening.”

Section 12 of the Editor’s Code of Practice states: “The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s, race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.”

Channel 4 News Editor, Ben de Pear, said he was “dismayed” by the IPSO ruling, which has cleared Kelvin MacKenzie of any wrongdoing. He said: “His inflammatory comments on Fatima Manji’s professional status, which were widely condemned, and his attempts to equate the wearing of a hijab with support for terrorism, have no place in a properly informed and tolerant society. At Channel 4 News we employ reporters based on their journalistic skills, not their ethnicity. We see no reason why a Muslim journalist should be prevented from covering any story and Fatima will continue to report and present the news on the issues of the day with impartiality and depth.”

In his original article, MacKenzie questioned whether a Muslim woman should report on an attack carried out by another Muslim: “Was it done to stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male- dominated and clearly violent religion?”

In response to the ruling, Channel 4 News anchor, Jon Snow, tweeted: “IPSO proves itself as toothless a press regulator as its forbear the PCC. Its ruling on Fatima Manji sanctions religious and racial abuse.”

Fatima Manji added: “Many will question when would IPSO ever find a breach of the clause prohibiting prejudicial references to an individual’s religion.”




Student “living in fear” after having hijab ripped off

Nadine Osman

Police are searching for two men who ripped off a woman’s hijab in what they called a “religiously motivated crime” on Tottenham High Road, London on September 28.

The 21-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the incident has left her wary of men in public.

The first suspect is described as white, aged in his late 20s or early 30s, with blond or ginger shaved hair and stubble. He was approximately 5ft6, wearing a burgundy hooded top and carrying a Tesco bag in his right hand.

The second suspect is described as having a “Mediterranean” appearance, aged in his late 20s or early 30s, clean shaven with spiky hair. He was wearing a grey hoodie.

The young psychology student was walking with a friend when the men grabbed her from behind before one ripped off the hijab.

In an interview with the Standard she described how the men flanked her on either side as she waited to cross the busy road outside the College of Haringey.

She said: “I started feeling trapped and knew something was wrong so I asked him ‘what’s going on?’ and he started pointing at my hijab. The other guy, who I couldn’t see, came from behind and grabbed it shouting in broken English ‘you look more beautiful without it’.”

She added, “I was so shocked and distressed that it took me a while to realise it was happening.”

She said she had never before felt unsafe wearing the hijab, but now it was “always in the back of my mind.”

She said: “He was clearly Islamophobic and didn’t want me to be wearing it.”

Both men fled when she began to call the police. She said, “I was shocked and then got angry I started shouting at him saying ‘how can you do that?’. I don’t think he thought I was going to stand up for myself.”

The Goldsmiths University student also spoke of how pedestrians failed to come to her aid, “It was a busy high street but not one person tried to stop him. Not one person came to check if I was okay, if we needed help, nothing.”

She added: “I don’t feel safe on the streets, I’m more cautious than I have ever been – especially around men. I have to get to university and go to the library and get on with my life but it’ll always in the back of my mind.”

“My hijab is my religious faith, it’s my identity, it’s who I am. For him to come and pull it off it saddens me. It’s 2016 and people are still hating each other because of their faith and choices.”

Tottenham MP David Lammy MP called the attack “unacceptable and intolerable” and urged any witnesses to contact the police.

Detective Constable Ben Cousin of Haringey Community Safety Unit said: “This was a shocking attack in broad daylight in the middle of a busy street.  Racially and religiously motivated crimes will not be tolerated I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this attack to contact police.”


Teens arrested over racist assault posted online


Elham Asaad Buaras

Two 13-year-olds have been arrested in connection with the racist assault on an Asian schoolboy that was posted online with the words, “Smash a P*ki”.

Anti-racism campaigners described the attack in which took place in wooded area between Bughtlin Park and Stuart Park in the Drum Brae area of Edinburgh on September 13, as “despicable” and “vicious.”


Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with what police are calling a racist assault on an Asian schoolboy that was posted online with the words, “Smash a P*ki” (Photo: Twitter)


The 45 seconds video shows the boy pleading, “Leave me, please, please, please” as two attackers batter him to the ground while other boys look on and cheer.

One boy says: “That’s shan [wrong]” but another replies: “No it’s not. It’s funny as f***.”

The victim is repeatedly punched in the head before a second boy runs in to help drag him to the floor.

Both boys strike the victim as he tries to protect his head. He manages to get up, but is hauled to the ground again and suffers another hail of punches and kicks, for which he had to be hospitalised. Both the victim and the attackers were in school uniform.

The clip appears to have been shot by a boy on a mobile phone. It was posted on Twitter and tagged with the names of two boys and the words “smash a P*ki”.

The footage was apparently deleted but another Twitter user saved and reposted it and called the attackers “scum”. He asked: “Why would you post a video of your mates beating up someone of an ethnic minority and then delete it?”

Other people on Twitter condemned the attackers. One wrote, “Honestly disgusting” and another added, “Cowardly vermin.”

The video shows another boy also apparently using a mobile phone to record the assault.

Police said: “A 13-year-old boy attended Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with minor injuries. Two boys, both 13, were charged in connection with the assault. Inquiries are ongoing in relation to a social media post connected to the incident.

“Officers remain committed to thoroughly investigating any and all reports of hate crime.”

Chair of Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council, Foysol Choudhury, said: “We strongly condemn this vicious and vile attack crime and would like to convey our sympathy to the victim. Our sympathy also goes to the victim’s family and friends. The school these boys attend should take measures to prevent other pupils getting involved in such shocking behaviour.”

Scottish Conservative Justice spokesman, Douglas Ross, described the attack as “despicable” adding it was “clearly racially motivated”.

“There’s no place for this kind of violence in Scotland and such incidents must be dealt with severely,” he adds.

Tennessee mother lobbies for removal of studies on Islam from curriculum

Michelle Edmisten from Sullivan County that Bluff City Middle School violated her daughter’s “personal religious beliefs” by teaching her about Islam (L), some of the questions pupils were asked to answer in the Tennessee based school (Photo: Creative Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

A mother in the United States has launched a campaign against the textbooks used in her local Tennessee school district after her daughter was taught about Islam.

As part of the 7th grade (US equivalent of Year 8) social studies, students in Bluff City Middle School were asked a series of basic questions about Islam that include listing the five pillars of Islam and naming Islam’s holy book.

Though the questions are uncontroversial, Michelle Edmisten from Sullivan County is adamant that the school violated her daughter’s “personal religious beliefs” by giving her a zero for refusing the work.

“Those are zeroes that we proudly took and we will not compromise,” said Edmisten.

Edmisten demanded that the Sullivan County Board of Education in Blountville, Tennessee remove the textbook at a school board meeting on October 3.

“It is time as parents, teachers and administrators we stand up and take back our families, our schools and our country,” Edmisten said.

“I would like to see parents, Christians, veterans, anyone that’s anyone, stand up for this fight,” she said.

“How can I, as a Christian, say that I have these values? And I want to instill these values in my daughter, but then say it’s okay, go ahead and do it.”

Edmisten was the only parent to speak about the issue.

Edmisten added that she has contacted a lawyer but that all she wants is the right of a parent to opt their child out of religious history “set in stone.” She said current policy leaves the decision up to individual teachers.

The school board explained the process for replacing textbooks would have to meet state standards. According to the state board of education’s website, those standards include educating students about Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism in 6th grade, and Islam in 7th grade, “including Islam’s historical connections to Judaism and Christianity.”

The National Council for Social Studies (NCSS), a professional organisation that supports social studies teachers and programmes, called the study of religions an “essential” part of the curriculum.

A spokesman for the NCSS told The Muslim News, “Knowledge about religions is not only a characteristic of an educated person but is necessary for effective and engaged citizenship in a diverse nation and world. Religious literacy dispels stereotypes, promotes cross-cultural understanding and encourages respect for the rights of others to religious liberty.”

UK should make significant changes to tackle hate crime

Ala Abbas

Big changes in law and policy, such as a new press regulator, are some of the recommendations which have come from a new report by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). The report, published on October 4, found the British justice system is ignoring race as a motivation in many attacks.

The report expressed concerns that hate crime is going unpunished. It points to the fact that “there is no data available on the application of enhanced sentencing and the racially-motivated aspects of cases are often filtered out by the police, Crown Prosecution Service or judiciary or dropped through the process of accepting guilty pleas.”

When it came to the role of the mainstream media in perpetuating prejudice, the report stated that “in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight” due to the recent increase in Daesh attacks, “fuelling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety.” A recent study by Teeside University suggests that where the media stresses the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, “the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.”

ECRI strongly recommends that the authorities find a way to establish an independent press regulator according to the recommendations set out in the Leveson Report. It recommends more rigorous training for journalists to ensure better compliance with ethical standards.

The report argues in favour of broadening the definition of hate crime to include different forms of hate speech. Hate crime is defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as “hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.” ECRI goes further in its definition of hate crime by including “harassment, insult, negative stereotyping” and “stigmatization”.

Dr Imran Awan, a criminologist at Birmingham City University, said that social media sites had a responsibility to enforce stricter standards of behaviour. He said, “The report shows that there were quite a number of instances that the police did not follow up, or that social media sites did not follow up proactively.”

He argued that “the police are not prosecuting because they’re unsure what the law is, and they’re worried that some of this might just be abuse online as opposed to hate speech.”

The report also recommends that the authorities improve the Equality Act by introducing the obligation to suppress public financing of organisations or political parties which promote racism and the possibility of dissolution of such organisations.

According to the Home Office, 52,528 hate motivated criminal offences were reported in 2014-2015. Of these, 82% belonged to the category of race hate crime. The category with the largest increase was religious hate crime, which rose by 43% compared to 2013-2014.

If the official statistics are compared to those gathered by the Crime Survey for England and Wales, a face-to-face victimisation survey in which people aged 16 and over are asked about their experiences of crime in the past 12 months, then only about one in four hate-motivated offences is recorded by the police. This may indicate deficiencies in police recording of hate-motivated offences. The report does note, however, that the increase in hate crime incidents can be “attributed partially to improvements in police recording.”

Mosque and congress centre bombed in Germany

The entrance of the Fatih Camii mosque is damaged in Dresden, Germany two bombs exploded in front of the mosque and a convention centre. (Photo: New Europe)

Nadine Osman

Bomb attacks hit a mosque and a convention centre in the eastern German city of Dresden on September 26.

No one was injured in the explosions in a city that has become a hotspot for far-right protests and hate crimes following a major influx of migrants and refugees into Germany.

The imam, his wife and two sons were in the Fatih Camii mosque at the time of the blast. Police said they found the remains of homemade explosives at both crime scenes.

“Although no one has so far claimed responsibility, we must assume that there was a xenophobic motive,” Horst Kretschmar, the Dresden police chief, said.

German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere said the attack was “all the more scandalous” because it happened on the eve of the 10th annual meeting of the German Islam Conference.

Police linked the explosion at the congress centre to celebrations in Dresden marking the 26th anniversary of German unification.

About 300 worshippers regularly attend prayers at the Fatih Camii mosque, which lies a short distance from Dresden’s historic centre.

The explosion at the mosque was detonated at 7:53pm. The force of the blast pushed the front door of the building inwards and left the building covered with soot, police said.

The explosion at the convention centre, about 2km from the Fatih Camii mosque on the River Elbe, which runs through Dresden, occurred about half an hour later.

The heat caused by the explosion at the centre destroyed the side of a decorative glass cube in an open area in the congress building and resulted in parts of the building being evacuated.

Ferhat Aytaç , an engineer from Riesa who regularly attends prayers at the mosque, told The Muslim News the double bombings comes as no surprise.

“It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. For the last few years politicians and far-right groups have been whipping up anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment in Dresden.”

Dresden is the birthplace of the anti-Muslim anti-immigration Pegida street movement, short for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident.

Saxony state premier Stanislaw Tillich called the “cowardly” bombings an “attack on freedom of religion and on the values of an enlightened society” that could easily have claimed lives.

British gymnast mocks Islam as he jokes about “60 virgins”

(Photo: Creative Commons)

Nadine Osman

Olympic gymnast Louis Smith has been forced to apologies for disrespectfully mocking Islam on social media after the British Gymnastics Association announced he may face “suspension or expulsion” over his conduct.

Four-time Olympic medallist has been slammed for sharing a video of himself pretending to pray with a friend during a friend’s wedding party earlier this month.

The footage, which also features fellow gymnast Luke Carson, sees Smiths’ friend shouting “Allahu Akbar”. The clip goes on to show Smith laughing and holding onto a drink while Carson rips a hanging rug off the wall.

A female friend then joins, and Smith yelling sounds as his friends pretend to pray in the background.

Louis then beings an indecipherable rant that starts with “60 virgins…. ”

When the female friend tells the pair their actions “are not funny,” Smith responds: “Yes, it is!”

Fans rushed to social media to condemn the star over the clip, with one saying: “Are we watching the sad slow demise of Louis Smith?”

Following the backlash, retired gymnast Carson fired back and claimed it was nothing more than a joke. He said: “It was a three-minute video of us just fooling around.”

Smith, who won pommel horse silver at Rio 2016, later said he was “deeply sorry” for his “thoughtless actions”.

British Gymnastics said: “We will be investigating the behaviour’s reported.”

In a statement, the governing body added: “Members who break our code of conduct can face suspension or expulsion from our organisation.”

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) welcomed British Gymnastics decision to investigate Smith.

MCB Deputy Secretary General, Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, told The Muslim News, “I commend British Gymnastics for speaking out against this behaviour. We are heartened by their clear statement where they do not condone the mocking of any faith or religion.”

He adds, “This behaviour by leading and decorated sportspeople is sadly a confirmation of how Islamophobia has become acceptable. It is therefore heartening that British Gymnastics has resolved to take swift and decisive action. The supposed apology that has been issued by the two men falls well short of addressing the hurt caused against Muslims. We hope they reflect upon their actions and realise the need for people to follow their faith with dignity.”

On October 10, Smith issued another apology this time on his Instagram, in which he claimed he’d learnt a “valuable life lesson”.

He wrote in a post: “I am deeply sorry for the recent video you may have seen. I am not defending myself, what I did was wrong. I want to say sorry for the deep offense I have caused and to my family who have also been affected by my thoughtless actions.”

He added, “I recognise the severity of my mistake and hope it can be used as an example of how important it is to respect others at all times. I have learnt a valuable life lesson and I wholeheartedly apologise.”

Conservatives in Canada block motion denouncing Islamophobia

Nadine Osman

Conservative MPs in Canada have blocked a petition based motion denouncing Islamophobia on October 5.

New Democratic Party Leader, Thomas Mulcair, who proposed the motion, expressed his profound disappointment.

The online petition, initiated by President of the Canadian Muslim Forum, Samer Majzoub and sponsored by the Federal Liberal MP, Frank Bayliss, called upon the House of Commons to recognise that “extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and (condemn) all forms of Islamophobia.”

Mulcair attempted to introduce the motion in Parliament maintaining that, “It is a non-partisan petition signed by more than 66,000 Canadians. Following discussions with all parties in the House, I believe you would find consent, Mr Speaker, for the following that the House joins more than 66,000 Canadian supporters of House of Commons petition e-411 in condemning all forms of Islamophobia,” said Mulcair in the House.

Speaker Geoff Regan asked if Mulcair had unanimous consent to move the motion – which was met by a chorus of ‘no’ responses from the Conservative bench.

Mulcair slammed the Conservatives insisting, “There is really no excuse to block an attempt to have Parliament denounce Islamophobia in all its forms.”

“We must actively fight hate perpetrated against the Muslim community. Just as we must stand against hate perpetrated against any group of people on the basis of their religion, race, sexual orientation or gender identity,” added Mulcair.

Majzoub, the initiator of the petition, expressed his sadness at seeing Conservative MPs stand against inclusion.

“[It is] really encouraging, in a way, discrimination and bigotry against Canadian youth and Canadian women, men and children. To see someone standing up or refusing to have a condemnation of an agreed-upon discrimination, it is beyond the speculation of the imagination,” he said.

“Do I go and speak to my kids who were born in Quebec, in Canada, to tell them some of your representatives accept that you are being targeted, they are being discriminated, they are being attacked on the streets physically and verbally? They are being bashed… Because of your religious background or your culture. It is sad. It is outrageous,” he said.

Majzoub said he planned to come back with an even larger petition to make sure Islamophobia is denounced.

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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