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Islamophobia Brief

Muslim quits UKIP after online racism

A senior member of Leicester’s UKIP branch has quit claiming he had suffered online racial abuse at the hands of another party supporter. Ismail Patel complained to UKIP bosses about messages he had received on Facebook after making a comment about the crisis in Gaza.

The 26-year-old said party officials did not take action against the alleged offender so he decided to leave and join George Galloway’s Respect party. UKIP has said it was unable to substantiate his complaint with the evidence he initially provided – two screen shots – and had asked him for further information that would prove a UKIP member was responsible.

Police investigating graffiti at Vaughan mosque

York Regional Police are investigating after hateful graffiti was found at a mosque in Vaughan on July 20 . The messages were found spray-painted on the sidewalk outside the Jaffari Islamic Centre on Bathurst Street near Rutherford Road att around 7 p.m. police said.

One of the messages read “Arab go home,” while another referred to the conflict in Gaza. Police say they are now investigating the incident as a hate crime and are going through surveillance footage to try and gather more information. “We don’t know what time this actually occurred,” said Const. Laura Nicolle.

Islamism is the Nazism of our time, says Swedish politician

Sweden Democrats’ leader Jimmie Åkesson, has said “Islamism is the Nazism and Communism of our time,” as he launch the party’s push towards the general election in September.

Furthermore Åkesson said that he demanded that all aid to organizations and associations related to “Islamism” should be stopped, and directed his ire to the handful of Swedish citizens reported to be fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Britain First founder quits over mosque invasions

[How Britain First triumphantly announced its mosque invasions earlier this year]

 

Elham Asaad Buaras

The founder of Britain First, James Dowson, has resigned from the far-right group over its “provocative and counterproductive” mosque invasions.

Dowson, a former BNP member, announced his departure on July 27.

While Britain First blamed “media pressure” and family issues for the decision and said he would be missed “enormously” in a saccharine post. Dowson publicly shamed the group’s tactics as “unacceptable and unchristian”.

The 49-year-old said: “Most of the Muslims in this country are fine.

“They are worried about extremists the same as us. So going into their mosques and stirring them up and provoking them is political madness and a bit rude.”

Britain First posts triumphant videos of the so-called “invasions” on its website and Facebook page, where its paramilitary-style arm is seen confronting imams and worshipers.

The “invasion” of East London Mosque in May which is how Britain First described the incident on their Facebook page – ended after a local Community Support Officer had noticed three middle aged men and woman had parked illegally outside the mosque in Whitechapel Road, the four had run a red light as they fled.

In Bradford, the groups staged the protests outside 10 mosques, handing out bibles and urging worshipers to renounce Islam, as well as visiting the Keighley home of the Mayor Khadim Hussain.
The group also organises “Christian patrols” in ethnically diverse areas and has been known to hand out Bibles to Muslims.

The invasions are run by another Britain First leader, Paul Golding, who came in from criticism from his former ally.

Dowson said: “No matter how many times I told him [Golding] I did not want decent Muslims intimidated, he just continued doing it.

“I have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard I tried, you cannot escape from the fact that the group is being overrun with racists and extremists.

“I think he is fooling himself and lots of people that Britain First is a Christian group. Sadly, it has just become a violent front for people abusing the Bible.”

Muslim leaders have called for greater protection of places of worship following the mosque “invasions” in England and Scotland.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said Britain First had “violated a place of worship” and had “left many members of the community angered and disappointed with the inability of the Government and the authorities to curtail this type of thuggish behaviour.”

In a statement to The Muslim News the Muslim Council of Britain urged “the authorities and the Government to urgently reassure our communities that action will be taken to safeguard our places of worship as, up until this time, there has not been any form of public condemnation of this extreme behaviour which threatens the peace in our communities.”

Police officers to appear in court over assault on severely autistic Muslim man

Family of autistic man allegedly beaten by Beds officers doubt impartiality of probe[

[Severely autistic Faruk Ali, 33, was helping refuse collectors outside his home in Luton when according to witnesses two officers assaulted him]

Elham Asaad Buaras

Two Bedfordshire Police officers are to appear in court in connection with an alleged unprovoked assault on a severely autistic man.

Faruk Ali, 33, who also has learning difficulties, was helping refuse collectors outside his home in Whitby Road, Luton, on February 20 when, according to his family and witnesses, two officers assaulted him.

Christopher Thomas, 33, will face a charge of racially aggravated assault against Ali. Christopher Pitts, 39, and Thomas both face charges of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office.

They are due to appear at Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court on September 1.

His sister Husna Begum has described how she was woken by banging noises and the sound of him screaming ‘no’ on the morning of February 20 this year. She said she jumped out of bed and saw a man dragging him across the floor and punching him. The alleged attack was also witnessed by neighbours.

Leicestershire Police carried out the investigation for the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Prosecutor John Locke said: “It is alleged that Mr Faruk Ali…was assaulted on 20 February 2014 by PC Thomas and that this assault was racially aggravated. It is also alleged that PC Thomas and PC Pitts have perverted the course of public justice and committed misconduct in public office.

“I carefully reviewed all the evidence provided to me by Leicestershire Police and was satisfied in accordance with the code for Crown Prosecutors that there was sufficient evidence and that it was in the public interest to charge these two officers with these offences.”

Astonishingly his family says the attack in February was the second time that Ali was left “bruised and battered” after an encounter with the police.

According to the family, Faruk, who has the mental capacity of a 5 year-old, was first ill-treated by police in 2011.

Ali’s brother Kodor told The Muslim News only media interest in the latest incident has prevented the alleged assault from being “brushed under the carpet” like the 2011 incident.

NHS therapist denies bullying Muslim colleague


Victoria Wasteney, NHS worker taken to disciplinary over giving a Muslim colleague a Bible

Huda Abbas

A NHS employee has denied allegations she bullied her fellow Muslim colleague on her religious beliefs in June last year.

In February this year, an internal disciplinary found head of occupational therapy at the East London NHS, Victoria Wasteney, guilty of three charges of misconduct.

The occupational therapist was questioned about an incident where she gave her Muslim colleague a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.

She was found guilty of harassment when she had prayed with her and when she invited the woman to her church.

The complaints led to Wasteney being suspended on full pay for nine months. She had to accept a final written warning at work which will remain on her records for 12 months, and disciplinary actions were taken to prevent Wasteney from discussing faith at work.

Wasteney did not accept the repercussions and is taking legal actions against the NHS. She believed that the NHS was demonstrating a pro-Muslim bias due to political correctness. She emphasised that she made friends with the Muslim and had innocent conversations with her about faith. She stated that she took caution when discussing her Christian faith with her to ensure that she did not appear to be preaching.

Wasteney, from Essex, accused the company of stifling ordinary conversations about religious beliefs.
She was asked about her motives behind giving the woman the book. “It certainly wasn’t an attempt to convert her to Christianity, a friend had recommended it to me…I hadn’t read it. I still haven’t,” she said.

When the woman went on sick leave, Wasteney recommended a book about a Muslim converting that they had discussed at work.

Regarding the incident where they prayed together, the 37-year old claimed that her Muslim colleague came into her office in tears over health problems; Wasteney says she told her to draw on her faith, before they prayed together. “I said to her that she had strong faith and she should draw on that faith,” said Wasteney. “I said ‘Pray!’ She told me she could not pray, so I replied ‘Maybe I can pray for you?’ And she said ‘OK’.

Wasteney claims she invited the colleague to a number of church events after she showed an interest in the work they do against human trafficking.

Representing Wasteney Christian Legal Centre, Chief Executive Andrea Williams said the case demonstrated that “the NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian”.
A spokesman for East London NHS Foundation Trust refused to comment.

Katie Hopkins shares her unwanted opinion again on Ramadan

Jennifer G Andrade

Katie Hopkins offends Muslims with a series of Islamophobic tweets about Ramadan. Although she is known for her controversy Hopkins appears to have gone too far with her latest Twitter rant.

The 39-year-old former reality TV star, columnist and apprentice wannabe, tweeted on the first day of Ramadan on June 29, “Ramadan typically brings a spike in violence in the Middle East. I get grumpy when I don’t eat – but I don’t blow things up. Religion of peace?”

But she didn’t stop there, the mother of three then went to compare Ramadan to the trendy 5:2 diet saying: “if we take 5:2 as a basic idea, what is the ratio of Ramadan? 18:6? ”

Needless to say, Twitter users were quick to react, “Katie Hopkins. Islam is no Religion on Peace you say? I’m tempted to insult you, but falter because it’s Ramadan. You mentioned peace?”
Another added: “Oh dear how could I’ve not expected Katie Hopkins to make a ridiculous comment on Ramadan.”

Hopkins then went on attacking Islam, by posting a picture of a cake, captioning the picture with “Here we are my friends enjoying Ramadan. Another juicy cake for you.”

It wasn’t long before Hopkins was hit with more insults “You should start fasting as well!!!!! It will help you reduce the double chin.”

Another comment said: “Sometimes your opinions are on point but can you please just let people have their own beliefs without being unnecessarily rude.”

The TV personality seems rather amused by all the hatred she was attracting, “Angry people, please crack on with your diets and stop asking Allah to forgive me. I am beyond redemption.” She tweeted on June 30.

Hopkins then thanked her ‘fans’ for all their support, “Thank You for all your terribly kind support today-as ever. Sometimes it takes a woman to man up and tell it how it is.”

But there was no sign of an apology from Hopkins. In fact, she continued to insult Muslims.
A day later on July 1 asking her followers, “I am told there is a special place for me in hell. Can I just check – does it have free wifi?”

It’s not the first time Hopkins spouted bigoted opinions. In May she was forced to deny she was a racist when she dubbed “travellers” and “gypsies”, as “ferrel humans[sic]” (yes, she misspelt feral) that “we have no duty to”.

She also went on to lambast schools for introducing cultural assemblies to educate children about the traveller lifestyle and threw in a few source less figures about taxpayers’ money and how much of it we’re probably not haemorrhaging over their existence.

While many aimed abuse at Hopkins yet again, one Twitter user had a more effective approach, writing: “Muslims should continue to focus on our prayers. Ramadan is our time to perfect our faith. Let’s not get distracted. Pray for Katie Hopkins.”

Tory candidate removed from party after sharing BNP anti-mosque poster on Facebook


Tory candidate Roger Hogg lost his party membership earlier this month, after re-posting an anti-Islam image by the BNP on his Facebook page

Gehan Bashumailah

Former Maidstone Conservative Council candidate Roger Hogg lost his party membership earlier this month, after re-posting an image by the BNP on his Facebook page. The post featured a picture of a mosque with a red line through it captioned ‘No more mosques. SHARE and LIKE if you agree’.

The message accompanying the image read: ‘Do we have enough Mosques in our country now? How can it be legal to not allow women to enter the front door of the Mosque? Is there any other building in the country that could even think of getting away with such anti-women bigotry and discrimination? These are very real, logical questions, please do contribute. ’

The post provoked an immediate protest from local Liberal Democrats who asked Chair of Maidstone and the Weald Conservatives, John Wilson, to remove Hogg as a candidate and review his membership of the party. But Hogg insists he is “entirely innocent! I did not post this. My Facebook has been hacked!”

He said, “I told John Wilson I didn’t know anything about it. I am not a racist. I’m a kind, generous, helping person.”

He said he immediately removed the offensive page from his account and had since contacted both Facebook and the police to report the hacking.

Wilson however, voiced his disappointment and confirmed that the Maidstone & The Weald Conservative Association has suspended Hogg.

In the removed post, Hogg declared that he would never stand for election again and that, “All party’s are w*****s. ”

He signed off by saying, “…looks like Maidstone High Street is going to UKIP.”

Denmark may enact French niqab ban


Founder of the Danish People’s Party Merete Kjærsgaard may push for niqab ban in Denmark

Jennifer G Andrade

A burqa or niqab ban may find its way from France to Denmark following an important judicial decision at the European Court of Human Rights on July 1.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of France’s prohibition of face veils. Now, several legal experts have told the Danish daily Berlingsker that a similar ban could be enacted not only in Denmark but also in Norway and Austria.

Sten Schaumburg-Müller, Law Professor at Aarhus University agreed that the French example can be adopted by Denmark. “It’s obvious that a ban specifically targeting burqas would be hopeless but a ban similar to France’s prohibiting the covering of the face in public could be established here.”
Head of think-tank Justitia, Jacob Mchangama, also believes the French law could be recycled on Danish ground.

“The defining element in the French legislation is that it is targeted at specific religions, but instead the motivation is to ensure social cohesion and interaction between citizens,” he said.
The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP) said they want to see a similar ban in place.
DPP,Founder, Pia Merete Kjærsgaard, said a face-covering ban should be introduced.

“I think it’s obvious. It simply doesn’t work that women go around completely covered and that people cannot see their facial expressions or see who is standing in front of them,” said Kjærsgaard.
“[A ban] would send the signal that we do not accept parallel societies and isolation. We see [the burqa] as a rejection of Danish society. It is a sign that one wishes to distance themselves from the rest of society,” said DPP MP Martin Henriksen.

If Kjærsgaard takes the proposed ban to parliament, it will be the third time the DF has proposed a burqa ban, as two similar laws were considered in 2004 and 2009, none of these were passed.

However, although the DPP and the Social Democrats have welcomed the idea of the ban the Liberal Party, which is the senior partner in Denmark’s coalition Government, rejects the idea of legislating about citizens clothing, provided they are not employed in a public function.

Liberal Party, MP, Peter Christensen, said, “It’s going too far if we start legislating on what sort of clothes people can and cannot wear. The burqa and covered faces should not be allowed if you work with people in the public sector, but that is where we draw the line.”

Besides France only two other European countries – Belgium and the Netherlands – have passed bans targeting Muslim face veils.

Four-in-ten Americans say Islam encourages violence

Four-in-ten Americans say the Islam is more likely to encourage violence
Elham Asaad Buaras

Roughly four-in-ten Americans say Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence among its believers, according to Pew Research Center Study poll released on June 26.

Beyond Red vs Blue: The Political Typology concluded some difference towards Islam based on the participants political and social values.

Pollsters found that 78% of Solid Liberals (defined as liberal across-the-board), along with 65% of the Next Generation Left (under 40s, liberal on social issues), reject the idea that Islam is more violent than other religions.

By contrast, about 72% Steadfast Conservatives (older, white, socially and politically conservative) say Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence.

Opinion is less one-sided among other typology groups. 56% of Business Conservatives (pro Wall Street and pro-immigration) say Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence. Hard-Pressed Skeptics (financial pressed and pessimistic) are divided 44% say Islam does encourage violence more, 41% say it does not.

And while more among both the Young Outsiders (conservative views on government not on social issues) and the Faith and Family Left (racially diverse and religious) say Islam is no more likely to encourage violence than other religions, 36% in both of these groups say it is.

A year on, female French victims of Islamophobic attacks await justice

A year on French women await justice

[No arrests have been made on a series of Islamophobic assaults on French Muslim women last year including the case of 17 year old Rabia who was repeatedly punched in the face]

Sara Asaria

After two brutal beatings of young French Muslim women in the summer of 2013, one leading to the victim’s miscarriage, French police officials remain complacent to cite Islamophobia as a motive behind these hate crimes. No arrests have been made in relation to the attacks that occurred in the space of two weeks, in Argenteuil, near Paris.

Leila O, a 21-year-old, then four-month pregnant, was confronted by two men on June 13 2013 and described being beaten, her hijab being forcibly removed and her hair being cut by the attackers. Two days later, she suffered a miscarriage, though the police refused to confirm that this was in any way linked to the attack.

Two weeks earlier on May 20, 2013, 17-year-old Rabia was physically and verbally abused by two men, who knocked her to the ground and called her a “dirty Arab” and a “dirty Muslim”. She was left with bruises on the mouth, face and elbows.

The attacks, which took place in Argenteuil, were followed by citizen protests and letters of support from current Prime Minister, Manuel Valls. However, no arrests have been made and many are angered by the Government’s reluctance to address these and similar increasing instances of Islamophobia against women.

Project Manager of the Islamophobia Monitoring and Action Network, Elsa Ray, told The Muslim News that the French police forces continue to demonstrate apathy in addressing the growing trend of Islamophobia attacks on women: “The police investigation has not been moving forward. The investigation is poor compared to the seriousness of the attacks and the consequences on the victims. The perpetrators were well described by the victims, yet the police have not found them yet.”

The police have been further criticised for the lack of support shown towards the victims, allegedly suspecting them of falsifying their statements and exaggerating the extent of their injuries. French law does not recognise Islamophobia as a crime in its own right. However, a 2014 study by the Collectif Contre L’Islamaphobie en France (CCIF) found that reports of acts of Islamophobia continue to rise in France, with women being the primary victims.

9/11 memorial museum board member honoured by anti-Islam hate group

[ACT! announced Debra Burlingame will be honoured at its national conference dinner gala]

Elham Asaad Buaras

News that an anti-Islam hate group the Congress For Truth (ACT!) for America is to honour 9/11 Memorial Museum Board Member has cemented accusations that the museum is taking an extreme right-wing turn.

On June 24 ACT! announced Debra Burlingame, 46, will be honoured on September 11 at its national conference dinner gala.

Burlingame, sister of Charles Burlingame, the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, has made a series of anti-Islam comments in the past and many questioned her growing influence on direction of the Memorial Museum.

ACT! praised Burlingame’s work as “co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, a group of 9/11 victims’ relatives who called the Ground Zero Mosque, ‘a gross insult to the memory of those who were killed on that terrible day.’”

The association between Burlingame and ACT! escalates what many critics have called the museum’s increasing right-wing affiliation.

Just weeks before the museum’s opening, tensions arose over the inclusion of an Islamophobic video in the exhibit which directly linked Islam with the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center.
Among those to protest is Talat Hamdani whose son Mohammad Salman Hamdani was killed as he entered the World Trade Centre in an attempt to help the trapped victims.

Writing in The Daily Beast Dean Obeidallah, an American comedian of Italian and Palestinian descent, said his research on Burlingame “garnered Burlingame troubling results to say the least.”

“In 2010, she issued a press release denouncing President Obama’s support of the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’. That place of worship, she claimed, would spread Sharia law across the United States, leading to the ‘subjugation of all free people, including secular Muslims who come to this country fleeing that medieval ideology, which destroys lives and crushes the human spirit.’”

He added: “Burlingame also recently wrote a letter attacking the Liam Neeson film Non-Stop because the hijacker in the film is a military combat veteran and ‘worse, the flight’s quiet hero who comes to the aid of the protagonist, thereby saving the day, is a Muslim doctor.’ These are just a small sample of the type of statements Burlingame has made.”

ACT! for America was founded by anti-Muslim speaker Brigitte Gabriel who claims an American Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen” and that Islam is the “real enemy.”

She once told the Australian Jewish News: “Every practising Muslim is a radical Muslim.”
She also claimed that “Islamo-fascism is a politically-correct word … it’s the vehicle for Islam … Islam is the problem.”

The New York Times stated: “[Gabriel] presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practise the religion.”

UKIP candidate in Islamophobic tweet row

TWEET
Sara Asaria

A former youth member of UKIP has been condemned both by his party and the public following a stream of Islamophobic and sexist tweets.

James Elgar, 19, published a series of controversial tweets, including ‘#ThingsAsianBoysDo groom and rape underage white girls, stab and rob innocent old white people, bomb innocent white people #EctEctEct [sic]” and ‘There is [sic] no women in the CBB final? That’s because they are all in the kitchen where they belong…”.

In April 2013, he published the following tweet in response to the Boston bombings: “So there are Muslims cheering and celebrating the Boston Bombings today…really, really sums them up. #scum”.
Defending his son, Mark Elgar told journalists, “He is the least sexist and racist person you could ever meet…Last night he came home at 10.30pm with a curry.”

A spokesperson from UKIP publically shamed the candidate: “These sorts of comments and images are utterly deplorable. Mr Elgar would appear to be a young man who still has plenty of growing up to do. Our inquiries reveal that his UKIP membership in fact lapsed on January 1, 2014 and we shall not accept any renewal application from him.”

Despite the criticism, Elgar was still permitted to run as the UKIP candidate for his constituency, Egham Hytheward, though failed to secure a seat in the May 21st local elections.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister finally apologises for Islamophobic comment

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson (centre) has finally made a public apology to the Muslim community at the Islamic Center in Belfast

 

Elham Asaad Buaras

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson has made a public apology over controversial remarks about Islam a week after he made them.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader sparked a storm of criticism after publicly backing the evangelical protestant preacher, Pastor James McConnell, who on May 18 attacked Islam as a “doctrine spawned in hell” and said he did not trust Muslims.

McConnell branded Islam a heathen doctrine; “People say there are good Muslims in Britain – that may be so – but I don’t trust them,” said the pastor. “Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell.”

On May 25, Robinson said he too would not trust Muslims for spiritual guidance but would trust them to “go down the shops”.

The DUP leader finally made a public apology a week later, on June 3. Speaking to the media after a meeting with members of Belfast Islamic Centre, he said: “I apologise if anything I said has caused them hurt and I can see that in many cases it has.

“I apologised to them face to face, personally, man to man the way it should be done. The very last thing that I would have ever in my mind would be to cause anyone hurt or distress or to insult them and I make that publicly clear as well in the clearest possible terms.”

“I cannot spend the rest of my life apologising but what I can do is spend the rest of my life building the united community that I believe we want in Northern Ireland.”

A spokesman for the centre Dr Raied Al-Wazzan said: “We accepted the apology in private and for us that was a sincere apology and we accepted it.”

However, Dr Al-Wazzan told The Muslim News that some member of Northern Ireland’s Muslim community were initially “not happy with accepting the apology in private at first meeting with First Minister on May 29, but they changed their mind after he apologised in public and also publicly supported building a new Islamic Cultural centre in Belfast.”

Critics say Robinson had dragged his feet in apologising he initially went on to say his original remarks had been “misinterpreted and given a meaning that was never intended”.

He also rationalised that claiming not to trust a section of society was not a hate crime, equating his comments to people “who say they don’t trust politicians.”

A DUP spokesman told The Muslim News, “Robinson outlined his views and made it clear that there was never any intention on his part to offend or cause distress to anyone.”

Canadian Muslims to sue PM and spokesman over terrorism slur

Canadian Muslims to sue Prime Minister over terrorism slur
The National Council of Canadian Muslims has filed defamation law suit against Prime Minister Stephen Harper (left) and his spokes man, Jason Mac Donald

 

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Canadian Muslim civil rights group has filed a defamation lawsuit against the country’s Prime Minister.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) announced on May 26 that it launched the suit after Prime Minister Stephen Harper failed to apologise for linking it with the Palestinian group Hamas, outlawed as terror group in Canada back in 2002.

Also named in the suit is Harper’s spokesman, Jason MacDonald.

In January, NCCM asked Harper to reconsider allowing Rabbi Daniel Korobkin of Toronto to be part of an official delegation to Israel. The group claimed Korobkin, a Toronto Rabbi, had spoken warmly of two prominent anti-Islam activists, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

MacDonald responded by saying: “We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas.”

NCCM Executive Director, Ihsaan Gardee, called MacDonald’s statement a “false accusation.”

In a statement to The Muslim News, Gardee said, “On January 28, the NCCM held a news conference on Parliament Hill announcing that it had initiated a libel notice against the Prime Minister’s Office for defamation. Unfortunately, the statement remains on the public record and no retraction was made.”

“This false accusation against the NCCM is of the most serious kind imaginable and was made in an attempt to discredit the NCCM and undermine its ability to conduct its public work. In order to uphold its good name, the NCCM has no choice but to issue a Statement of Claim for defamation against Mr MacDonald and the Prime Minister,” said Gardee.

“As a long-standing Canadian organization, the NCCM has an exemplary public record including participating in major commissions of public inquiry, intervening in landmark cases at the Supreme Court of Canada, and working with security agencies to promote public safety. We are confident the NCCM will obtain a judgment that upholds its good name and reputation,” added Gardee.

Jeff Saikaley, lawyer for NCCM, said. “The Prime Minister’s Office could try to prove ties to Hamas, in which case they’d have to bring evidence.”

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the suit.

9/11 Memorial Museum perpetuates Islamophobia

US President Barack Obama seen here with the First Lady Michelle Obama, fomer Mayor of New York , Michael Bloomberg and fomer Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton at the opening of the 9/11 museum in May called the venue ‘a sacred place of healing’ but critics argue a film shown in the museum conflates Islam with the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center.

 

Mehdi Jawad

A film shown at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York launch last month has faced heavy criticism for condemning Islam as the reason for the terrorist attack.

The 6-minute-film, “The Rise of al Qaeda” described the attackers as “Islamist jihadists”.
“The film ignorantly implies a religion, rather than a group of criminals, was to blame for the September 11 attacks,” said, Board Member of Council on American-Islamic Relations, Zead Ramadan.
Leading the critic is Rockwood Human Rights and National Security Reform Fellow, Talat Hamdani. The Pakistani-born American previously campaigned for her son’s remembrance as a 9/11 hero.

Mohammad Salman Hamdani, a trained emergency technician who had served as a cadet with the New York City Police Department, was killed as he entered the World Trade Centre in an attempt to help the trapped victims of the attacks. But his heroism was diminished by a New York Post article the following month: “Missing – Or Hiding? – Mystery Of NYPD Cadet From Pakistan.”

The article cast Hamdani as a suspect in the 9/11 attacks and his name was left off both the NYPD’s official 9/11 memorial and the list of 441 first responders on the National September 11 Memorial in lower Manhattan.

“I was fighting for my son’s name but now I am fighting for the community,”Talat Hamdani told The Muslim News. Criticising the management of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, she said: “There are fifty board members, yet not a single Muslim is on the board. That speaks volumes by itself about their perspective. People of all faith, race and ethnicity died that day. Therefore, the museum needs to represent that. Many Muslims also died that day and the museum does not focus on this fact.”

She continued, “Let the 9/11 Museum not divide us, but be the commencement of healing the nation.”
Talat has received the support of several interfaith organisations and religious leaders, who argue that the museum’s video encourages visitors to conflate terrorism with Islam. A spokesperson from The New York Disaster Interfaith Services said: “The video may very well leave viewers with the impression that all Muslims bear some collective guilt or responsibility for the actions of al Qaeda, or even misinterpret its content to justify bigotry or even violence toward Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim.”

Executive Director of Interfaith Centre of New York, Rev Chloe Breyer, explained that the film perpetuates an attitude of “who to blame” for the attacks that is directed towards Islam. “It is critical that the film not use terminology in a context… that could suggest collective responsibility of Muslims and Islam for September 1.” Chief Executive of the New York Disaster Interfaith Network, Peter Gudaitis, said the film was “reckless” in its lack of distinction between mainstream Islam and Al Qa’ida.

In response to mounting criticism, museum officials say the video “does not purport to be a film about Islam or in any way generalise that Muslims are terrorists.” They also note that the film does not use the term “Islamic terrorism” and describes the 9/11 terrorists as “fringe elements.”

Debra Burlingame, one of the 11 members of the museum’s program board, has previously been accused of perpetuating Islamophobia.

The sister of Charles Burlingame, the pilot of the American Airlines planes that was crashed into the Pentagon on September 11 2001, publically denounced President Obama’s support of the Ground Zero community centre in 2010. She claimed the centre would impose Shari’ah law across the US and cause the “subjugation of all free people, including secular Muslims who come to this country fleeing that medieval ideology, which destroys lives and crushes the human spirit.”

Report exposes anti-Muslim hate online

Report exposes anti-Muslim hate online

Elham Asaad Buaras

A leading American advocacy group has exposed the rise of online anti-Muslim sites and produced a report to help American Muslims counter the “rapid” rise of Islamophobic material online.

In its report Muslim Advocates (MA) explains the law and corporate policies that regulate content on the internet with the aim of “empowering individuals with the tools necessary to effectively respond to hate online.”

In a statement to The Muslim News MA Staff Attorney and lead author of ‘Click Here to End Hate: Anti-Muslim Bigotry Online & How to Take Action’ Madihha Ahussain, said:  “Online bigotry towards American Muslims continues to be a serious issue, particularly in the last few years where we’ve seen hate groups, anti-Muslim proponents, and public officials use various social media platforms to spread hate.”

“Their voices are amplified on the internet and help create a space for the American public to echo these sentiments of hate and engage in acts of violence against an entire group or community.  People often think that there is nothing they can do to respond, but the reality is that their voices can be a powerful antidote to hate speech.”

Using anti-Muslim blogger Pamella Gellar to illustrate the level of support garnered using the internet, MA said Gellar, who was barred from entering the UK in 2013 for her hate speeches, had 19 thousand followers on Facebook in June 2013 a year later she has over 78 thousand.

Click Here to End Hate not only gives examples of offensive online content, but also sheds light on the legal considerations surrounding hate speech and what social media companies are doing about it.  The report also serves as a guide for individuals who want to push back with reporting mechanisms built into social media platforms and by engaging in counter speech.

Negative views on Muslims in EU

Muslims negative views in EU

Abdul Adil

Many people in the seven European Union nations surveyed express negative views about minority groups in their country, according to Pew Research published on May 12. In particular, negative attitudes toward Roma (sometimes also known as Gypsies) are common, while many also give Muslims unfavourable ratings. Negative attitudes toward Jews are less pervasive. Negative sentiments about all three groups are consistently more common among people on the ideological right.

At least half of those surveyed in Italy, Greece and Poland say they have a negative opinion of the Muslims who live in their country. Public opinion is divided on this question in Spain, while in Germany and the UK a majority says they have positive views of Muslims. The most favourable ratings are registered in France (72% favourable), which among the seven nations surveyed has the highest percentage of Muslims in the national population.

As is the case with attitudes toward Roma, views about Muslims are tied to ideology. While 47% of Germans on the political right give Muslims an unfavourable rating, just 20% on the left do so. The gap between left and right is also more than 20 percentage points in France, Italy and Greece. And significant differences are found in Spain and the UK as well.

Attitudes are also linked to age, with negative sentiments more pervasive among older respondents. In Spain, about half of those age 50 and older (51%) give Muslims in their country an unfavourable rating; only a third of people under age 30 say the same. Significant differences between people 50 and older and 18- to 29-year-olds are also found in France (a gap of 12 percentage points), Germany (13 points), Italy (12 points) and the UK (9 points).

Two people convicted of throwing bacon into Edinburgh mosque

Elham Asaad Buaras

A teenage girl and a man have been found guilty on May 2 of throwing bacon into Edinburgh Central Mosque. Chelsea Lambie, 18, from Paisley, and 38-year-old Douglas Cruikshank, from Galashiels in the Borders, carried out the early morning attack in January last year.

Cruikshank originally denied the charge, but changed his plea after prosecutors dropped their claim that the pair’s actions were racially aggravated. A jury took just over an hour to return a majority verdict on Lambie, who was found guilty of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause fear and alarm.

The five-day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Lambie admitted that she was a member of the anti-Muslim far-right group the Scottish Defence League.

The attack on the mosque took place just two weeks after she was fined at Paisley Sheriff Court for launching a vicious racist tirade on a shopkeeper in the town.

She was just 16 when she called Shafqat Mahmood a “Paki b******” and told him to “go back to his own country.”

When the startled shopkeeper went back inside, Lambie followed him and continued to hurl abuse his way. She also pushed Mahmood and warned him he would get his throat cut.

Even when Mahmood threatened to call the police, Lambie paid no heed as she called him a “black b*****d”, lashed out at him and tried to kick him.

She also pushed a lottery machine from the counter, causing it to crash to the floor, before fleeing. During that court hearing, her defence solicitor said Lambie had been “horrified” when she read statements outlining her behaviour.

She always denied taking part in the mosque attack, insisting she had been at her boyfriend’s house in Gorebridge the whole time. But police found damning text messages on a Blackberry mobile phone they recovered from Lambie. One sent from the phone on the day of the attack read: “Going to invade a mosque, because we can go where we want.”

And after the phone received a message asking “What you do last night?”, a reply was sent reading: “Went to the mosque in Edinburgh and wrapped bacon round the door handles, opened the door and threw it in ha ha ha.”

Lambie denied sending the messages, telling the court that she had left her phone on the living room table, adding: “I let everyone in the house use it. It’s a contract phone, free for everything.”

The jury were also shown CCTV footage from a Scotmid in Nicolson Street – a short distance from the mosque – and heard that two men and a woman bought two packets of bacon from the branch at 5.55am on January 31 last year.

Just after 6am that day, security guard Usman Mahmood, 34, found the meat hanging from the mosque window and wrapped around the door handle. Giving evidence he told the court that it “hurt my feelings to have this meat in my sacred place”.

A third accused – Wayne Stilwel from Gorebridge – was sent to jail for ten months in August last year after he admitted attaching the bacon to the handles of the main door at the mosque. Sentence on Lambie and Cruikshank was deferred Sheriff Alastair Noble until May 23 for background reports.

German court reinforces school’s niqab ban

Home Affairs Correspondent

A court in the German state of Bavaria has banned a pupil from wearing a face veil (niqab) during lessons, rejecting her argument that she had a constitutional right to do so.

The 18-year-old had been shut out of lessons at a state run vocational college near Regensburg for refusing to remove her niqab.

She argued that the ban was a contravention of her constitutional right to religious expression. The Bavarian administrative court rejected her complaint in a ruling on April 22, on the basis that the school’s demand to remove the veil for lessons did not represent an illegal restriction of her rights.

The wearing of the face-covering during teaching periods, the court wrote in a statement, prevented essential non-verbal communication between teachers and pupils.

Judges found that the right of the state to educate took priority over the pupil’s right to religious expression. “Open communication during teaching is based not only on the spoken word, but also on non-verbal elements such as facial expressions, gestures and other body language,” the court said.

If these elements of communication are missing, the ruling stated, teachers could no longer properly fulfil their job.

Protect mosques, Muslim leaders urge authorities

BF

Elham Asaad Buaras

Muslim leaders have called for greater protection of places of worship following the latest in a series of  mosque “invasions” in England and Scotland by an anti-Muslim group earlier this month.

The “invasion” of East London Mosque on May 19 – which is how Britain First (BF), described the incident on their Facebook page – ended after a local Community Support Officer had noticed three middle aged men and woman had parked illegally outside the mosque in Whitechapel Road, the four had run a red light as they fled.

Metropolitan Police said no arrests have been made in the latest incident.

Led by Paul Golding, former BNP Councillor  BF staged similar “invasions” at mosques in Bradford and Scotland.

In Bradford, the groups staged the protests outside 10 mosques, handing out bibles and urging worshippers to renounce Islam, as well as visiting the Keighley home of the Mayor Khadim Hussain.

In a statement on their facebook page the group vowed the incident will be “the first of many”.

“The Yorkshire brigade is finally here and has ‘blooded’ itself in the most heavily Muslim town in Yorkshire,” said the group in their facebook page.

True to their word they deployed identical tactics in Scotland when on May 11 they “invaded” Glasgow Central Mosque and a mosque in Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, wearing  matching flat caps and green jackets embossed with the party logo, which features a crown.

“The initial approach of the group felt very intimidating, hostile and threatening, and they asked to speak to the imam in a raised voice,”  said Cumbernauld mosque trustee, Azhar Dim.

“The event occurred out of the blue and shocked some of the worshippers present. However, when the imam appeared they spoke calmly, and the situation became calmer.

“The leader presented the imam with some leaflets on ‘grooming’ and a bible and spoke very calmly, before leaving shortly after,” Dim added.

In the most recent incident BF members entered East London Mosque, wearing their shoes and trampling on prayer surfaces.

An eyewitness said: “They walked across the lobby where people pray, ignored a sign requesting people to take off their shoes, but didn’t walk into the prayer room. They went to the mosque reception and asked to speak to the Imam, who wasn’t there.”

On January 31 the group attempted to stage an impromptu protest outside the East London Mosque by unfolding a banner and taking pictures.

In a statement to The Muslim News East London Mosque said, “Members of the public are welcome to attend the mosque and, with a booking, take a tour of the facilities .”

East London Mosque spokesman, Salman Farsi, insisted the group is using the grooming issue as a guise to attack the Muslims. “If they were so concerned about grooming, we saw the sentencing of ten people in October for grooming. They weren’t of the Muslim community. I would question their intentions.”

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said BF had “violated a place of worship” and had  “left many members of the community angered and disappointed with the inability of the Government and the authorities to curtail this type of thuggish behaviour.”

In a statement to The Muslim News MCB  urged “the authorities and the Government to urgently reassure our communities that action will be taken to safeguard our places of worship as, up until this time, there has not been any form of public condemnation of this extreme behaviour which threatens the peace in our communities.”

Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, condemned “the fear and intimidation” caused by “the deliberate and provocative actions of thugs”.

He said, “Everyone has the right to feel safe in the place where they worship, free from discrimination and prejudice.”

Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway who instigated a meeting between Pickles and Bradford MPs urged anyone who saw the group in action to call the police.

He said in a statement: “This is crucial because these idiots are promising to return to cause more trouble.”

In a statement to The Muslim News  a spokesman for Bradford Council of Mosques said the council had met with key representatives at all the affected mosques.

“We have also highlighted the community’s feelings to all the relevant agencies locally and have been liaising with the press and media who have been reporting the incident.”

They also urged for the law to be changed “if current legislation does not allow for the defence of places of worship.”

Canadian Muslim student suing for defamation over Charter debate

Canadian Muslim student suing for defamation over Charter debate

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Canadian Muslim woman is suing two people and a web site because she claims they said defamatory things about her after she appeared on a TV show to defend her right to wear the hijab.
Dalila Awada, 24, alleges the defendants posted defamatory material about her after she spoke against a charter that would have banned religious garb on public servant on a popular Quebec talk show Tout le monde en parle last September.

In her lawsuit, filed in Quebec Superior Court earlier this month, Sociology student Awada claims one of the defendants Philippe Magnan posted a series of videos and messages on social media sites and his own blog accusing her of infiltrating a women’s federation to support the niqab.

The video says she associates with groups that she says she has no links to, such as the World Islamic League, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Canadian Islamic Congress.

After the video appeared online, Louise Mailloux, an anti-religion CEGEP professor who compares male circumcision and baptism to rape, sent out numerous emails containing erroneous information about Awada, the lawsuit claims.

It also claims that the website Vigile.net published several pejorative articles about Awada that she says paints her as a manipulator working for Muslim fundamentalists.

Awada said the unsubstantiated video has led to her receiving several hate-messages via email and Facebook page. In a second video, Awada claims her image is used in a way that suggests she’s associated with stoning, decapitation and cutting off hands. Another suggests she is infiltrating the separatist party Québec solidaire.

‘By posting defamatory and erroneous information about her over a period of six months, the defendants tried to ruin Awada’s reputation and created hate toward her,’ the lawsuit claims.

From October 2013 on, she was bombarded with hateful messages from people convinced that she was a terrorist. Her student email inbox filled to capacity in one day and she lost many friends, the suit says.

As a result, Awada claims, she suffers from insomnia, heart palpitations and headaches. She feels constantly stressed, waiting for the next damaging article to surface. She became depressed and had to drop out of school last semester.

In her lawsuit, Awada says she will donate any money she receives from the case to the Fondation paroles de femmes, a non-profit organization that promotes and defends Quebec women who speak out publicly in support of interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue and against intimidation and harassment.

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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