Ex-cons 3 times more likely to get a job than applicants with Arabic names

Elham Asaad Buaras

A new report has found that job applicants with violent criminal records are 3.5 times more likely to be employed than those with Arabic names in the Netherlands.

Researchers sent out 520 applications for a 20-year-old male for low-skilled work in the construction, technical and logistics sector, the Volkskrant reports. The profiles were submitted with a mix of ‘obviously Dutch’ and ‘Arabic-sounding’ surnames and various degrees of criminal record, from a clean slate to sexual offences.

32% of applications that used a Dutch surname and no criminal record were successful, compared to just 9% of similar applications in a foreign name. The proportion was roughly similar for those with criminal records.

Applicants with a violent past and a Dutch name stood a better chance than those with an Arabic name but no history of violence. “I don’t want to generalise because it’s a sample that we took in 2013, but it’s certainly alarming,” said Chantal van den Berg.

Labour market economist Dr Stijn Baert of the University of Ghent, said the findings supported earlier research in Flanders that indicated employers were more likely to dismiss applications from people with a minority ethnic background or a disability than those with violent convictions.

He said anonymous applications would be a step in the right direction, but cautioned that the measure might be less effective in stamping out discrimination than its supporters believe. “At the second stage you’re no longer anonymous and at the first stage it rules out the possibility of positive discrimination.”

Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Lodewijk Asscher, called the findings “utterly disgusting”, adding “You must judge all people on what they can do and not on their origin.”

Man arrested after Muslim mum punched in front of her children

Naveen Gharyal

A man has been arrested after a mother was allegedly racially abused in front of her two children on June 11. Unemployed Davion Kelly, 31, from Handsworth appeared before Birmingham magistrates charged on June 17 with three counts of causing racially or religiously aggravated alarm or distress and four counts of assault.

Kelly is accused of punching 31-year-old Muslim woman in the face in Heathfield Road, in Lozells at 2.30pm.The victim was reportedly sat in her car with her two young children and was waiting for traffic lights to change when she was approached and assaulted.

It is claimed the woman was then “racially abused” through the open window before the man threw water over her.

Police probe after Muslim mother is punched in the face in ‘horrific racist attack’ in Birmingham
Police said a man from Handsworth was arrested at 6.30pm on Thursday on suspicion of racially aggravated assault.

East Handsworth Councillor, Waseem Zaffer, told The Muslim News that it was an Islamophobic attack as the attacker said “You Muslim..”.

The Labour councillor visited the victim after the incident and said she was in a “state of shock”.
He said: “It’s a horrific attack. It happened in front of her two young children. She is a Muslim. It was an Islamophobic attack”.

Superintendent Mat Shaer from Birmingham Police said: “We will not tolerate any report of hate crime, these crimes are committed by a small minority of people and are not representative of wider communities”.

“There can never be any excuse for hate crime and I would encourage anyone who is a victim of hate to report it to police on 101 or online at www.report-it.org.uk. Clearly, 999 should be used if a crime is in progress or offenders are at the scene”.

Racist gang ask 13-year-old ‘are you a P**i?’ before assaulting him

Nadine Osman

A 13-year-old of Syrian descent was repeatedly and viciously kicked in the head by a gang of older teens during a brutal race hate attack that left him hospitalised in North Manchester General Hospital. Police are investigating the incident as a racially aggravated assault, which took place in Plant Hill Park, Blackley, on the evening of June 24. The child suffered severe swelling to the right side of his face, with a bruise on his cheek and lip.

Six youths, all white, reportedly circled their young victim in a north Manchester park before asking ‘Are you a P***?’ then battering him. The victim eventually managed to get to a friend’s house nearby and adults there alerted his parents.

In an interview with Manchester Evening News, the boy’s father said, “My son had gone to play there with two white friends. Then a group of kids have gathered around him. One has asked ‘Are you a P***?’. Before he could answer he was pushed to the ground and they started kicking him in the head. He managed to put his arms around his head for some protection. They kept kicking him until two of them broke it up realising they had gone too far. His two friends ran off because they were so scared. But one of them was knocking on doors trying to get help.”

He added, “There were no other injuries on his body – just his head. I think they intended to kill him. I don’t understand the culture behind this. The attackers must have been brought up in homes based on hatred. It is despicable what they did to him. My aim is for the perpetrators to be identified and charges brought against them.”

His father added the council needs to improve security including adding CCTV in the park. “The park is for the community not for gangs. I have lived in this country for 20 years. My son was born here. We have received a card and flowers from neighbours. We are part of this community. They are sad, sick people who have done this.”

The child’s mother said: “He is shaking and remains in pain. He has gone very quiet and does not want to talk about it. He is normally a very friendly boy.”

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “Hate crime will not be tolerated on the streets of Greater Manchester and it is important that people report any incidents so that they can be investigated.”

Muslim students harassed during Polish Holocaust trip

Elham Asaad Buaras

Group of German Muslim pupils say they were threatened with a knife, spat on and ejected from a shop during a Holocaust study trip in Poland last month, German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk reports.

The Muslim majority group of 20 students from Theodor Heuss Community School in Berlin had visited World War II concentration camps in Treblinka and Maidanek but it was in the city of Lublin that they say locals subjected to a very hostile environment.

Their teacher Sabeth Schmidthals said, “These are very active students they go against the popular belief that youngsters or Muslim students are not interested in this topic.”

Sheida Nur, one of four girls wearing hijab, said: “I was spat on by a man in the street who then ran away.” She added that one police officer idly stood by during the abuse.

One of the boys in the group said, “We saw the policemen grinning. Then a Polish man explained that the police would not want to help us.”

Another girl was expelled from a shopping mall for speaking Farsi in a phone call to her brother. “They came up to me and asked me to leave. They said I was disturbing the people. I asked why. Just because I was talking in Farsi and I was a foreigner? They said ‘yes’.”

Another girl had an encounter with a woman who “came at us yelling ‘go away’. She then poured her drink on me and my camera.”

In a market, the hijab-wearing girls were turned away from a stall where they tried to buy water. In another incident, one of the girls was threatened by a man with a knife. “I thought he wanted to ask me something, but then I ran straight back to the hotel.”

The Poland trip was organised by the German Holocaust memorial body, the House of the Wannsee Conference aka Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz (GHWK).

The educational institute have voiced their concern in the wake of the allegations and say they are awaiting the feedback an investigation by the Polish Human Rights Commission.

GHWK Director, Dr Hans-Christian Jasch, told The Muslim News his organisation will continue organising trips to Poland, insisting they will “need to coordinate more intensively with our partners there and reassess the particular situation of groups.”

He added, “I’m especially shocked that this happened to youngsters in our care on this trip – indeed, on a trip dedicated to studying this very topic [racism]. Of course that’s particularly sad.”

The Polish prosecutor’s office confirmed that the number of hate crimes against Muslims had doubled from 2015 to 2016. Poland’s conservative government refuses to take in Muslim refugees claiming they would not fit in a majority Christian Catholic society.

During the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015, Education Secretary, Jaroslav Gowin, said, “every (…) people have the right to protect itself from extinction”.

Islamic Centre set alight hours after Manchester attack

Well-wishers left messages on the walls of Jamia Qasmia Zahidia Islamic Centre following an arson attack on May 23  (Photo: Anti-Islamaphobia ‘Love Bomb’/Facebook)

Harun Nasrullah

Arsonists have burnt down a door at an Islamic centre in Greater Manchester just hours after 22 people lost their lives in a terror attack at Manchester Arena.

The door at Jamia Qasmia Zahidia Islamic Centre on Villa Road, Oldham, was set alight at around 3 am on May 23.

Imam Mohammad Saddiq, 60, said: “Somebody has started a fire through our letterbox. The door is completely burnt down. A member of the public was walking past and called the fire brigade. Thankfully nobody was inside at the time.”

He added, “We have no idea why somebody would target us. We are a religious and educational centre. I’ve been involved her for three years and never dealt with anything like this.”

One of the worshippers at the mosque, Hamad Mukhtar Irfani, thanked one of the many well wishers.

“Many thanks to Becky for her kind words at this time. This has helped to restore our faith in humanity. In difficult times it is sometimes tragedies and atrocities that unite us and make us stronger to prevail over evil.”

Irfani told the people to be calm. “Please can I request all not to retaliate and come together as one community in these difficult times. Please do not leave any inappropriate comments.”

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is treating the incident as a hate crime and has released CCTV of a suspect approaching the centre’s front door before setting fire to it. The clip shows large flames before a man runs away from the mosque.

GMP Detective Inspector, Ian Harratt, said: “In the wake of the atrocities that happened at the Manchester Arena, this man thought it was acceptable to deface and set fire to a local mosque. This behaviour will not be tolerated.”

He voiced solidarity with Greater Manchester’s Muslim community insisting, “We are standing shoulder to shoulder with the community in Oldham and all the people who treasure this mosque as a place of worship. We have been working with people in the local community and the council to make sure that people realise there is zero tolerance around vindictive acts of this nature.”

Police are looking for a white man, wearing light trousers and a lightly padded jacket. They say he was carrying a bottle of accelerant and had a BMX bike with him.

A week after the arson attack a group of well-wishers left good will messages on the Islamic Centre’s walls using heart-shaped post-it notes.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes significantly spike following UK terror attacks

Islamic Centre in south London spray painted  (Photo: facebook)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Police forces across the UK are issuing hate crime awareness advice urging victims to report incidents after reporting significant spikes in Islamophobic attacks following the Manchester Arena and London Bridge terror attacks on May 22 and June 3 respectively.

Greater Manchester Police has revealed a significant rise in hate crimes following the terror attack on May 22. The force said the number of such reports had doubled to 56 on May 24, from the 28 reported on May 22.

Muslim leaders claim more crimes are not reported because people are “scared to talk”. Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “We’ve seen an increase in hate incidents since the bomb from 28 on Monday, which is our normal average a day, through to 56 on Wednesday.”

Both South Yorkshire Police and Essex Police have reported an increase in the reporting of hate crimes since the Manchester terror attack.

Bedfordshire Police said it had experienced a number of hate crime incidents over the London Bridge attacks. Sergeant James Hart, hate crime lead for Bedfordshire Police, said: “Sadly we are aware that following incidents such as the tragic attack in London there can be an increase in hate crime within our communities.”

In the Capital, figures released by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, showed a fivefold increase in Islamophobic attacks since the atrocity at London Bridge and a 40% increase in racist incidents, compared with the daily average this year.

The Mayor has called on all Londoners to report hate crimes of any kind to the police. “If you witness a hate crime please report it to the police. If you commit a hate crime, you face arrest.”

“Just as the police will do everything possible to root out extremism from our city, so we will take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime,” he added.

According to figures the increase in recorded Islamophobic incidents in London after the London Bridge attacks is greater than it was after the 2013 murder of Lee Rigby and after the 2015 massacre in Paris.

As of June 1 the Metropolitan Police have confirmed they made 25 arrests for Islamophobic offences and have increased the number of officers on the streets and in communities since the London terror attack. “We have to reassure local people that they are able to go about their daily lives in peace and without fear of harassment or intimidation. Dedicated ward officers have also made contact with their local places of worship to encourage them to report hate crimes and to reassure those who congregate there that the police will take these crimes seriously.”

 

Some of many Islamophobic incidents post-Manchester and London terror attacks

MAY 27, GREATER MANCHESTER: A driver was flagged down by two white men who had a flat tyre, then set upon with a glass bottle and called a ‘terrorist’. Shiraz Khan, 30, was wearing a prayer cap. When he slowed down to look, they attacked him with a glass bottle, leaving him with injuries as he lifted his hand to protect his face and then blacked out. “While I was looking at it one of the guys said ‘We’re only joking. You’re a terrorist bomber’ and tried to smash a bottle over my face.”

MAY 27, TORQUAY: Three men hurled stones and abusive language at worshippers at the Torbay Islamic Centre in Avenue Road at 3:30 am. Police are treating the incident as a suspected hate crime.

JUNE 4, MERSEYSIDE: Two men have been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after posting separate videos on social media threatening to kill Muslims and P****. A 39-year-old man from Mossley Hill was arrested for posting a video of himself brandishing a machete while wearing a fake grenade. A second 39-year-old man, from Kirkby, was arrested in connection with a separate video. The video shows the man making racist comments about Asian people, anti-Semitic remarks and abuse aimed at people who defend Muslims. He also promises to “to take every Muslim out of Knowsley”.

JUNE 4, SOUTH LONDON: Sutton police are investigating a religiously aggravated criminal damage on an Islamic Centre in south London after vandals spray painted ‘Terrorise your own country’ and ‘Go away’ on the building

JUNE 4, LUTON: A man was knocked unconscious by a group of men in Beadlow Road and branded a terrorist at approximately 11.30pm. The man required hospital treatment but was not seriously injured. No-one has been arrested and police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident to contact them.

JUNE 8, PETERBOROUGH: A woman travelling with her 3-year-old daughter was pushed to the ground and her hijab ripped off and thrown at her in an assault that police are treating as a religiously aggravated hate crime. The assault took place at 10.15pm on James Avenue, Fengate. The male offender is described as white, tall, of medium build and wearing a black hooded top with the head pulled up.

To report any Islamophobic incident to The Muslim News please telephone 0208 863 8586 or email info@muslimnews.co.uk. All cases will be treated with the utmost confidence.

Hopkins ‘immediately’ leaves LBC radio after calling for ‘final solution’

 

Elham Asaad Buaras

MailOnline columnist Katie Hopkins, 42, has left Leading London’s Conversation (LBC) Radio on May 26. A spokesperson for LBC Radio confirmed: “LBC and Katie Hopkins have agreed that Katie will leave LBC effective immediately.”

The London-based station refused to confirm or deny that Hopkins had been sacked, or give details of the severance. Asked for further details, a spokesman said: “That’s all we’re saying.” However the former Apprentice TV star hinted she was sacked telling Fox News that “generally” there is a “silencing” of people with right-wing views.”

It comes just days after the Hopkins tweeted remarks in the wake of the Manchester terror attack.

She wrote: “22 dead – number rising. Schofield. Don’t you even dare. Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution. [sic] #Machester.”

Hopkins quickly deleted the tweet, changing “final” to “true”. Hopkins responded to queries about the revision, claiming: “I stand by my tweet. I find the typo disrespectful to the survivors of Manchester.”

Hopkins was also reported to the police for the comment. A spokesman for the Met Police confirmed a complaint had been received and that the allegation was being reviewed and assessed by specialist officers.

Last month Hopkins was reported to the police after remarks she made in the wake of the arrest of a man in Whitehall on suspicion of plotting a terror attack. She was accused of a hate crime after tweeting: “Explosion in France, shooting at a German hospital, knife attack in London. And Ramadan has not yet begun. Without food these sods get nasty.”

On April 17 2015, Hopkins wrote a column in The Sun in which she compared migrants to “cockroaches” and “feral humans” and said they were “spreading like the norovirus”. She wrote that gunships should be used to stop migrants from crossing the Mediterranean. Her remarks were condemned by the UN High Commission for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein who urged the UK to “curb incitement to hatred” by its “tabloid newspapers”.

He stated that Hopkins used “language very similar to that employed by Rwanda’s Kangura newspaper and Radio Mille Collines during the run up to the 1994 genocide. He also noted that both media were subsequently convicted by an international tribunal of public incitement to commit genocide. Amid a spike in violence between Palestinians and Israelis in 2014, Hopkins courted controversy by describing Palestinians as “dirty rodents”.

“2 state solution my arse. Filthy rodents burrowing beneath Israel. Time to restart the bombing campaign,” she wrote on Twitter.

The tweet led to calls for her prosecution for inciting racial hatred. While such tirades are well in keeping with the Hopkins brand, lawyers at the time said that this particular tweet had a chance of leading to a successful prosecution.

Second German soldier arrested over far-right plot to kill politicians in terror attack

Elham Asaad Buaras

Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office (FPO) confirmed on May 9 that a second German soldier was arrested in connection with a “false flag” far-right terror attack to be blamed on refugees in the country. Maximilian T, 27, was arrested on suspicion of helping fellow suspects lieutenant Franco A and student Mathias F in planning an attack which would have targeted a senior left-wing politician or a public figure.

It is thought the attack by a neo-Nazi group in the German army is intended to influence the Government’s migration and refugee policy. The Defense Ministry had informed Parliament last month it was investigating 275 suspected right-wing extremists in its ranks. The plot was exposed with the arrest of a lieutenant, Franco A, a suspected far-right extremist, in February after police discovered the lieutenant had been living a double life for more than a year as a Syrian refugee under a fake name.

His friend Mathias F, at Illkirch-Graffenstaden barracks in France, was detained for allegedly covering for the Franco’s absences as he periodically returned to Bavaria to continue the ruse. FPO’ Spokeswoman, Frauke Köehler, said the suspects were believed to have been planning a major terror attack which would have been linked to his fake identity as a Syrian refugee.“The three suspects wanted to direct suspicion at asylum seekers living in Germany after the attack,” said Köehler.

“The planned attack was intended to be interpreted by the population as a radical Islamist terrorist attack by a recognised refugee. Especially with regard to the ongoing public discussion over immigration and refugee policy, an alleged terrorist attack by a registered asylum seeker would have attracted particular attention and contributed to the sense of threat.”

She confirmed the names of former President Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas were on a list of potential targets prepared by the suspects.

Franco A first caught the attention of the authorities when he tried to hide a pistol in a restroom at Vienna International Airport in Austria.  At that time, he was briefly arrested but later released by the Austrian authorities. During searches at the suspects’ apartments, last month police found 1,000 rounds of ammunition from army stocks.

Far-right extremist charged with murder

Far-right extremist Jeremy Christian, entered the courtroom, screaming “Get out if you don’t like free speech” inset Ricky Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche who he’s accused of stabbing to death (Photo: KGW-TV)

Elham Asaad Buaras

The man accused of killing two men who tried to protect teenagers from his Islamophobic and racist harassment on a train in Portland, Oregon, US, was charged with murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon and hate crime on May 30.

Jeremy Christian, 35, who did not enter a plea entered the courtroom, screaming: “Get out if you don’t like free speech. You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism. You hear me? Die. Leave this country if you hate our freedom – death to Antifa!”

At approximately 4:30 pm on May 26, Christian allegedly fatally stabbed two men and injured a third on a MAX Light Rail train, after he was confronted for “yelling a gamut of anti-Muslim and anti-everything slurs”.

According to Portland police report, Christian shouted “hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions.” He screamed “he was a taxpayer, that coloured people were ruining the city, and he had First Amendment rights”.

Christian rants were so loud that the train operator demanded the person creating the disturbance exit the train immediately. Christian, however, continued directing his tirade at an unnamed 17-year-old Muslim girl who was wearing a hijab, and her non-Muslim black friend Destinee Mangum,16.

The man told the girls to “to go back to Saudi Arabia”; to get out of “his country”; that they were “nothing and they should kill themselves” and “that Muslims should die”.

Fearful, the pair moved to the back of the train only to be followed by Christian. It was then that father of four Ricky Best, 53, economics graduate, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, attempted to form a barrier between Christian and the girls.

According to a witness, Namkai-Meche told Christian: “Please get off this train” and someone gave him “a slight push or shove” in an attempt to move him away, to which he responded, “Touch me again, or I’m going to kill you.”

Christian then allegedly fatally stabbed Best and Namkai-Meche, also injuring Fletcher. All three men were slashed in the neck. Best died at the scene while Namkai-Meche died at a hospital shortly after the attack. Christian fled the station and was filmed taunting police before he was arrested.

Police are investigating Christian’s potentially extremist ideologies. The suspect appeared at a free speech rally in Portland in April, making racist remarks and the Nazi salute. He came to the rally wearing a Revolutionary War-era flag and armed with a baseball bat that was confiscated by the police.

Police had to separate Christian from others as he shouted and swore at them declaring he was a “nihilist” and the rally was “my safe place”.

Christian posted anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi material on his Facebook page as well as memes attacking anti-fascist activists. He declared that if the President was “the next Hitler”, he would “join the SS”.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler condemned the current political climate and the “spewing” of bigotry, adding that the “victims were all attacked because they did the right things. Their acts showed selflessness and should serve as an inspiration to us all, The killer will face justice.”

President Donald Trump delayed commenting on the attack, leading to public pressure on him to do so. In an open letter to Trump on social media Asha Deliverance, the mother of Namkai-Meche, urged the President to condemn acts of violence, which result directly from hate speech.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also demanded the President condemns the attacks. Its National Executive Director, Nihad Awad, said Trump “must speak out personally against the rising tide of Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and racism in our nation that he has provoked through his numerous statements, policies and appointments that have negatively impacted minority communities”.

Trump belatedly condemned the attack on May 29 three days after the killings. “The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them,” tweeted Trump.

Hundreds of people gathered near the Hollywood Transit Station on May 27 for a candlelight vigil to honour the victims. By May 29 three crowd-funding campaigns set up to benefit the victims’ families collectively raised $1 million, $600,000 of which was raised by Muslim NGOs the Muslim Education Trust and CelebrateMercy.

Beards, veils banned in Muslim Xinjiang, Muslim students returning from abroad arrested

Meng Yihua

The last few months have seen further increases in oppressive policies in China’s Muslim Xinjiang province. In the new legislation, effective April 1, China introduced restrictions on “abnormal” beards and wearing veils in public for the Muslim residents of Xinjiang, a supposedly autonomous region in Northwest China.

In the same document, children names that “exaggerated religious fervour” were also banned, as was marrying using only religious procedures. Certain cities within Xinjiang had already banned wearing veils and growing beards, but the new legislation appeared to standardise the regulations across the region. In addition, new regulations stipulate that all Uyghur students studying abroad must return home, where upon arrival, they faced arrest without trial.

The document failed to provide any justification for the prohibitions, and also lacked a definition of the term “abnormal”, but the China Daily later stated that the banning of long beards was because they are “deemed to promote extremism”.

Earlier this year, the compulsory installation of satellite-tracking devices was ordered on all drivers in Xinjiang, as cars are seen as a “frequently chosen vehicle to conduct terrorist attacks”. Prior to that, Uyghur residents were forced to surrender their passports and travel documents to local police stations, having to submit applications if they wished to utilise them for travel purposes.

Human rights groups maintain that the policies constitute a gross violation of human rights, including freedom of movement, and freedom of expression, but the Chinese Government insists that the legal as well as religious rights of the Uyghurs are fully protected, and denies any rights’ abuse.

The new April legislation failed to clarify how the regulations would be enforced, but in the last week of April, the authorities published a separate document entitled ‘Naming Rules for Ethnic Minorities’, which included a list of banned ‘Islamic’ baby names. Any babies with such “overly religious” names as those that appear in the list will have no access to Government healthcare or education.

Human Rights Watch said the new stream of regulations were restricting freedoms “in the name of countering ‘extremism’”, and described the latest prohibition on baby names as “absurd”.

James Leibold, a researcher on China’s Uyghurs from Australia’s Le Trobe University, says that to deny China has a terrorist problem would be ’foolish’, but that the threat of ’radical Islam’ has been exaggerated by the Communist Party. Rights groups around the world are unanimous in their agreement that the Government’s overly repressive policies do nothing in the way of solving the ethnic tensions and violence that they admit is evident in Xinjiang.

Reports emerged this month of further shocking demands on Uyghurs; new regulations stipulated that all Uyghur students studying abroad must return home, where upon arrival, they faced arrest without trial. Uyghur students in Egypt, Japan and Turkey seem to have been worst affected, with an estimated 3,000 students from universities in Egypt being arrested by authorities upon arrival at the airport in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital city. Students that refuse to return are threatened with the imprisonment of their parents and families. Sources obtained from some students indicate that they were ordered to return by May 1.

Treating all Uyghurs as convicted criminals will indeed be difficult for China to justify in the face of growing allegations of human rights’ abuses by international organisations. Meanwhile, the authorities can only expect tensions to rise further.

The Uyghurs are a group of ethnically-Central Asian Muslims who were the predominant group in China’s northwest Xinjiang province. In recent decades, the Uyghur’s majority has been diluted by the Chinese Government’s large-scale resettlement of Han Chinese into the region. Xinjiang, a key region rich in resources, coupled with her majority Muslim population was a concern for the Government, leading to the implementation of a series of discriminatory policies to repress the religious and cultural freedoms of the Uyghurs, in turn causing many to respond with violence.

Basketball governing body changes rules to allow hijab

Asma Elbadawi from Bradford (left) and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir from Springfield, Massachusetts both successfully campaigned for Basketball’s governing body to change its rules on head gear (Photo: Creative Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Basketball’s governing body has changed its rules on headgear, in a move that will allow players to wear the hijab during matches. Previous International Basketball Federation (Fiba) rules had banned the headdress over what it said was a safety issue.

The Qatar women’s team withdrew from the 2014 Asian Games after being denied permission to wear the hijab. The New rules were ratified that will take effect from October 1.
Among the players affected by the band is Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir from Springfield, Massachusetts, who was sidelined for almost four years.

Abdul-Qaadir, who holds Massachusetts scoring record for high school players both male and female, went on to a successful college career at Indiana State and the University of Memphis.

After graduating, she wanted to turn pro and play in Europe but she was unable to pursue this dream as her hijab violated Fiba’s uniform rule. Abdul-Qaadir started an online campaign called Muslim Girls Hoop Too that reached as far as the White House – she met former President Barack Obama twice as a result of her activism.

She reacted to the news on Twitter, saying “the glass ceiling has been shattered, and the sky is the limit.”

Bradford-based basketball player, Asma Elbadawi, also started campaigning to overturn the hijab ban in July last year. Elbadawi welcomed the decision as a “huge step” adding, “Basketball is one of the fastest growing sports, so there is a large demographic of talent to tap into. The fact that there is no longer a ban in place to prevent or exclude players from certain backgrounds from making it to the pros means we are about to witness the game transform on and off the court ”

She told The Muslim News it was only a matter of time before Fiba followed the example of “other sport governing bodies have already relaxed their rules regarding religious attire.”

“There will be scope to further inspire future generations as they will see players who look like them and can relate to their struggles. It’s important for children to see an athlete that looks like them and faced similar struggles as they will in order to make it. As this says to the young girl and boy, you can do it too,” said Elbadawi.

In a statement to The Muslim News Fiba said its “first-ever Mid-Term Congress, which is bringing together representatives from 139 National Federations, on Thursday [May 4] unanimously ratified the Fiba Central Board’s decision for a new rule that will allow players to wear headgear.”

“The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries – which called for the head and/or entire body being covered – were incompatible with previous headgear rules,” the statement added.

It was feared that head coverings could fall off during the game and potentially pose a risk to players.

Under the new rule, headgear must meet certain criteria to be allowed in competition, including that it “does not cover any part of the face entirely or partially”, it is “not dangerous to the player wearing it or other players” and it does not have “parts extruding from its surface”.

Fiba began a revision process of its headgear rule in September 2014, with exceptions being granted at the national level as part of a two-year testing period.

Hopkins slammed over sick Ramadan tweet

Nadine Osman

LBC presenter Katie Hopkins has been accused of a hate crime after a tweet in the wake of the arrest of a suspected Westminster terrorist yards from Downing Street. In her tweet on April 27, the Mail Online columnist appeared to suggest that a series of terror incidents were all linked to Ramadan.

Hopkins tweeted: “Explosion in France, shooting at a German hospital, knife attack in London. And Ramadan has not yet begun. Without food these sods get nasty.”

London Metropolitan Police confirmed a complaint about a tweet had been received and “the allegation will be reviewed and assessed by specialist officers.”

The tweet appears to reference an explosion at a McDonald’s in Grenoble, France; police shooting a man at a hospital in Berlin; and the arrest of a man on suspicion of preparing an act of terrorism in Westminster, London.

Damian Isherwood from Westhoughton tweeted back and copied in the Metropolitan Police.
“I’m reporting you for a hate crime as your hateful tweets towards people of Muslim faith will incite racial violence,” Isherwood wrote.

Metropolitan Police commented several times in the conversation sparked by the tweet.
“Hi, pls DM us so we can take some further details,” police said. Another woman called Jennifer added: “Please do something about this woman. There is a line between free speech and hate speech.”

Met Police again invited her to make a complaint: “Hi Jennifer, pls DM us so we can take some further details. Thanks.”

The reality TV personality responded by accusing those making complaints of wasting police time. “Well done sir,” she wrote to Isherwood. “I am certain the police do not have anything more pressing to attend to. Why not start a petition as well?”

The Metropolitan Police said: “As is routine, the allegation will be reviewed and assessed by specialist officers.”

Muslims ordered off flight after passengers complained they were making gestures

Nadine Osman

Two Muslim men were ordered off a plane in Adnan Menderes Airport in İzmir, Turkey, and made to go back through security after passengers complained that they were “making gestures” to each other.

The Manchester-bound flight was delayed by 90 minutes on May 10, as the unnamed men were hauled off the Thomas Cook plane and taken back to the terminal to re-do security checks. Two female passengers told cabin crew that they saw the men “skipping security scanners” and signalling to each other while on the plane.

When they were eventually given the all clear they were allowed back on the flight. However, their accusers refused to fly with them and chose to return to the terminal. Fellow passengers described the incident as “an embarrassment”.

One, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Two innocent Muslim men were marched off the plane and searched as two English ladies refused to fly with them on the plane. The result was a delay for everyone and the men flew, while the women were left behind.”

A spokesman for Thomas Cook Airlines, said: “Two customers on this flight were asked to go through security a second time as a precaution after unverified concerns were raised that the initial airport security check had missed them out. We’d like to thank these two customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience.”

New York teacher fired for ripping off child’s hijab

Elham Asaad Buaras

A substitute teacher lost his job in a New York elementary school after forcibly removing a hijab from an 8-year-old student in class, according to media reports. Oghenetega Edah, 31, who worked as a substitute teacher at Bennington School in the Bronx told Safa Alzockary to remove her hijab after she reportedly misbehaved in class on May 2, according to police sources.

Edah then ripped the hijab off Alzockary’s head, causing irritation to her eye, police said.
The child was taken to Jacobi Medical Centre where a doctor said there was no permanent damage to her eye.

New York City Education Department spokesman Michael Aciman said behavior of Edah’s conduct “unacceptable”. “This individual was removed from the school immediately and his employment has been terminated,” Aciman said in the statement.

“This alleged behaviour is completely unacceptable,” he added.

But Safa, whose twin sister and older brother also attend Bennington School, was traumatised by the teacher’s alleged actions. “It was scary,” Safa told the New York Daily News. Safa’s dad Mohamed Alzockary, a grocery worker who emigrated from Yemen, was shocked by what his daughter said happened in school. “I didn’t expect a teacher to do that to a child,” Alzockary said. “She’s OK right now.”

Police are also investigating Edah but say they have not arrested him

Canadian Imam receives death threat

Nadine Osman

An imam in Canada has received a death threat and calls for the Dar-Al Tawheed Islamic Centre near Toronto to be burned down.

Imam Ibrahim Hindy said he received an email threatening his life on April 14, the email included an image of a lynching.

Hindy is a member of a school board’s multi-faith group in Mississauga, a city just outside of Toronto.

Last month, a board meeting was the focus of a violent demonstration against a school allowing Muslim students to pray on Fridays. Pages of the Qur’an were torn and strewn on the floor by one man during the meeting.

Hindy has spoken out to defend the school board but he said he never expected he would be the target of such hate.

“I never imagined that it would take off and that people would attack me with such vitriol,” he said.

“People started attacking me online and from there I received a death threat in my email address. They were also on social media, people talking explicitly about burning down the mosque where I work at,” added Hindy.

Hindy said he contacted police, who promised patrols around the mosque. A spokesman for Peel Regional Police said that police are investigating the incident.

Peel Regional Police Constable Harinder Sohi said, “We are treating this incident very seriously and have allocated the appropriate resources which include increased patrols at the Islamic Centre.”

Following the violent outbreak at the school board meeting in March, rules were enacted to safeguard staff and students. Attendees must now sign-in, provide identification and agree to be recorded on video, school board officials said.

Schoolgirls trigger Islamophobic attack on a mother and daughter

Paul Anderson and Joanna Farrer were found guilty of racially aggravated assault (Photo: Metropolitan police)

Nadine Osman

A 12-year-old girl launched a brutal Islamophobic attack on a Muslim mother and her daughter that left one of her victims too scared to leave her house. The schoolgirl, who is now 13, and cannot be identified and her accomplices Paul Anderson, 37, and Joanna Farrer, 38, were found guilty of racially aggravated assault after targeting their victims in Eltham Hill, south-east London on April 13.

A fight broke out after the youngster abused and swore at the 42-year-old Muslim mother, who was waiting for her 23-year-old daughter to collect her at 8 pm on May 5 last year. When her daughter confronted the child, she launched a tirade of racial abuse and kicked the woman in the stomach – pulling her hair.

She then grabbed hold of her top and ripped it before punching the victim in the face.The injured woman backed away and called the police, but the teen soon returned with
Anderson, Farrer and another unidentified woman.

Anderson punched the mother in the face, causing her to fall to the ground – while one of the women tried to rip away her headscarf. He then turned on the daughter – hitting her on the nose and kicking repeatedly once she fell on the ground.

The vicious attack only ended after the desperate mother managed to flag down a passing ambulance causing the thugs to flee.

The suspects were identified with the help of a taxi driver who witnessed the assault. Following the trial at Woolwich Crown Court, Anderson, from Brockley, and Farrer, from Eltham, and the girl, were found guilty of two counts of religiously aggravated actual bodily harm.

Anderson was jailed for three years and four months and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to the victims. Farrer will be sentenced on April 21, while the schoolgirl will be sentenced at Bromley Youth Court on a date to be set.

In a statement to The Muslim News Detective Inspector Melanie Pressley, of Greenwich Community Safety Unit, said the “brutal and completely unnecessary attack” would have continued had one of the victims not flag down an ambulance.

She added, “I am delighted we have been able to secure these convictions due to an excellent investigation by Detective Constable Nwosu and show that hate crime will not be tolerated in our community and we will seek out and bring offenders before the courts. It is shocking that the instigator of this attack was just 12 years old and I hope having a conviction to her name at such a young age will be a wake-up call and encourage her to change her ways.”

Bangladeshi and Pakistani women suffer multiple discrimination

Amira Al-Hooti

Several factors come into play when it comes to the pay gap. Where gender is concerned, ethnicity is also a significant factor, with Bangladeshi and Pakistani women in the UK suffering from the ‘largest aggregate (i.e. including full-time and part-time workers) gender pay gap at 26.2%’ according to Fawcett Society.

“This analysis reveals a complex picture of gender pay gap inequality. Black African women have been largely left behind, and in terms of closing the pay gap, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are today only where White British women were in the 1990s,” said Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, Sam Smethers.

This highlights how the status of an individual’s identity can determine their inferiority in the workplace where they may face multiple discrimination. This may be particularly common amongst Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim women who wear the hijab, which is a visible representation of their faith.

Despite this, the report found that some women from certain ethnic groups have made progress in that they have reversed the pay gap, now earning more than men of the same ethnic background as them. This was found amongst the Black Caribbean, Chinese and Irish women.

Sociologists Barron and Norris theorised what is known as the dual labour market. One of these markets known as the primary labour market is made up of people from higher social class backgrounds, usually men of British white backgrounds, and those who acquire high levels of qualifications, compared to the secondary labour market which typically composes of those of lower class backgrounds, women and ethnic minorities. The difference between being in one of these labour markets compared to the other is simple: being in the primary labour market would mean you can enjoy higher pay, increased benefits and better conditions, compared to lower pay and less secure jobs in the secondary labour market. The pair of sociologists concluded that ethnic minorities are overrepresented in the secondary labour market.

On the other hand, sociologist Charles Murray argues that it is not possible for a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities to form the secondary labour market, as that they do not attempt to enter the labour market.

However, the pay gap is not the only concern. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent organisation, determined to eradicate poverty in the UK in aim for a ‘prosperous UK’ where ‘everyone can thrive and contribute’, analysed statistics from the 2001 and 2011 England and Wales censuses. They found that ‘In terms of unemployment, the overwhelming picture is one of continuing ethnic minority disadvantage compared with the White British majority group’.

 

Xinjiang drivers to be tracked or face being refused to fill up fuel

Meng Yihua

China has mandated all cars in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang to install Government-issued tracking devices, in attempts to “ensure social security and safety and promote social stability and harmony”, as stated on the Bayingolin Government website.

On February 19, officials in Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture convened to discuss policies as part of the Government’s nationwide stability maintenance programme. This is the latest in a series of hard-line surveillance measures, after years of violent episodes across Xinjiang, which the Government blames on “Islamic militants”. Rights groups and international observers, however, insist that the blame for the violence and unrest should be laid at the Government’s feet itself. In recent years, Uyghur Muslims have complained about discriminatory measures against their religion and culture, including night-time police raids on Uyghur households, restrictions against Islamic practices, such as fasting during Ramadan and even forbidding them to keep beards. Moreover, in 2015 Uyghur shopkeepers were urged to sell alcohol and cigarettes, or face being shut down.

Dr James Leibold, a Xinjiang expert at La Trobe University in Melbourne, has described this as an increasing transformation of the region into a police state.

The new policy orders all drivers to install Beidou – a satellite navigation system developed in China, at a cost to them of 90RMB annually (approximately £10), and they have until June 30 to comply. Anyone who fails to comply by the end of June will be turned away from petrol stations, and will also be unable to sell their car on the second-hand market.

The official justification given by the state-run Global Times newspaper is that this programme will be able to help car owners locate their vehicles quickly if they are stolen by terrorists. The Bayingolin Government’s Weibo channel said that the order stems from the reality that cars are the primary mode of transport for terrorists, as well as a “frequently chosen tool to conduct terrorist attacks”.

This new measure is planned to be rolled out across the whole of Xinjiang, starting with Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, home to approximately 1.2million people. Despite the name implying that Mongolians comprise a significant proportion, they are in fact only 3% of the population, with 59% of them Han and approximately 35% Uyghur, according to official statistics.

The Bayingolin Prefecture said the aim was “comprehensive supervision” of all of the one to two million vehicles in the region, and that the aim was “to prevent theft, but also primarily to maintain stability”. A police official was quoted saying that it was so that drivers “can be tracked wherever they go”.

Chen Quanguo who previously oversaw the Tibetan Autonomous Region, which also suffers from ongoing issues relating to ethnic tensions, was appointed as the new party chief for Xinjiang last year, and he has attempted to initiate many of the more hard-line policies since his appointment. Last year saw a 30,000 increase in the number of police officers in Xinjiang; in June, Xinjiang residents were ordered to provide samples of their DNA when applying for travel documents, and authorities have also been investing in facial recognition technology to monitor citizens’ movements.

In the second half of February, Chinese security forces staged large-scale rallies in cities with significant Uyghur populations, such as Hotan, as well as Xinjiang’s capital – Urumqi, as demonstrations of force. Thousands of paramilitary units and police offers were paraded through city streets, as well as dozens of armoured vehicles. One rally in Urumqi involved at least 10,000 security officers and hundreds of vehicles.

Mr Bequelin, the East Asia Director for Amnesty International, said that the Beidou installation policy was an “indiscriminate, quasi-totalitarian” measure that would generate a deep resentment and in turn become “a real time bomb for China”.

 

Muslim Africans face discrimination in Germany, says UN panel

Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent Ricardo Sunga (Photo Evan Schneider/UN)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Muslims of African descent face discrimination, Afrophobia and racial profiling in Germany, but their ordeal remains largely invisible to the wider society, a UNs expert panel reported on February 27 at the end of its first fact-finding visit to the country.

“Muslims of African descent are facing increasingly difficult times in the enjoyment of their rights due to increased Islamophobia and Afrophobia,” said Ricardo Sunga, who chairs the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. While praising Germany’s promotion of human rights and diversity, Sunga expressed concern over widespread problems faced by Africans and said Muslim Africans often become victims of discrimination in the workplace or in schools.

Referring to discrimination against Muslim women due to their Muslim dress (hijab) Sunga said, “Muslim women of African descent face further discrimination when it comes to access to the labour market,” he said.

“Many Muslim students of African descent describe their experiences in school as traumatic as they experience not only anti-Black racism but also anti-Muslim racism,” he also added. The UN’s expert group visited Germany last month to monitor the human rights situation of people of African descent in Germany, whose population estimated at 800,000.

He also explained that institutional racism and racist stereotyping by the criminal justice system has led to a failure to effectively investigate and prosecute perpetrators of racist violence, racial profiling and hate crimes against people of African descent.

“The repeated denial that racial profiling does not exist in Germany by police authorities and the lack of an independent complaint mechanism at federal and state level fosters impunity,” said Sunga. The panel visited Berlin, Dessau, Dresden, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Hamburg from February 20 to 27, to gain first-hand knowledge on discriminatory practices affecting people of African descent in Germany.

“There is a serious lack of ethnicity-based disaggregated data, and an incomplete understanding of history, which obscure the magnitude of structural and institutional racism people of African descent face,” Sunga said.

During the eight-day mission, the human rights experts engaged with representatives of the German Federal and State authorities, representatives of national and provincial human rights institutions and civil society. The delegation welcomed ongoing efforts by the administration to address racial discrimination faced by people of African descent.

The Working group will present a report containing its findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2017.

Companies can ban employees from wearing the hijab, rules the European Court of Justice

Nadine Osman

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that employers can ban Muslim employees from wearing the headscarf (hijab), but only if they bar all other religious and political symbols.

The landmark ruling came amid legal disputes in Belgium and France over the right for Muslim women to wear the hijab at work. Two employees in Belgium and France had brought the case to the ECJ after being dismissed for refusing to remove their hijab.

The Belgian woman, Samira Achbita, had been working as a receptionist for G4S Secure Solutions, which has a general ban on wearing visible religious symbols, while the French claimant Asma Bougnaoui, an IT consultant was told to remove her hijab after a client complained.

Announcing its verdict on March 14 the ECJ ruled that employers prohibiting, “the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination. However, in the absence of such a rule, the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the employer’s services provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered an occupational requirement that could rule out discrimination.”

The G4S dispute, which started in 2006, was based on an “unwritten rule” banning employees wearing signs of their political or religious beliefs, but the company’s workplace regulations were updated after Achbita started wearing a hijab.

Although they apply to all religions, the ECJ said it was “not inconceivable” that such rules could be deemed discriminatory for indirectly targeting Islam over other religions.

Bougnaoui a design engineer for Micropole, was asked to stop wearing her hijab to maintain neutrality after a client’s complaint but refused and was dismissed.

The ECJ referred the case back to the French Court of Cassation to establish whether the move was a “genuine and determining occupational requirement” and whether there were any formal rules in place that meet non-discrimination requirements.

The court’s advocate general recommended that companies should be allowed to prohibit hijab as long as a general ban on other symbols was in place last year.

Their advice in the French case was that a rule banning employees from wearing religious symbols when in contact with customers was discrimination, particularly when it only applied to the hijab.

The court’s ruling has been widely slammed by Muslim and human right groups across Europe. France’s anti-Islamophobia group Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF) called the verdict an “economic and social death sentence” on Muslim women who are “already widely discriminated during the recruitment phase.” A spokesman for CCIF said the court sent “the worst message to tens of millions of European Muslims, at a time when the rhetoric of terrorists on all sides seeks to spread the idea of a divide between Europe and Muslims.”

That sentiment was echoed by the Muslim Council of Britain who branded the ECJ’s ruling “sad day for justice and equality”. In a statement to The Muslim News a spokesman for the council said, “At a time when populism and bigotry are at an all-time high, we fear that this ruling will serve as a green light to those wishing to normalise discrimination against faith communities. Many will be worried that this action will prevent Muslim women who choose to wear the scarf from securing jobs. And it sends a message that we cannot accept a plural society that recognises and celebrates religious differences. This is a backward step which people of all faiths and none should speak out against.”

Amnesty International “urged nations states to react against the decision”, which gives “greater leeway to employers to discriminate against women and men on the grounds of religious belief”.

Samina Ansari, CEO of Amina Scottish National Muslim Women’s Organisation stated: “Annually we work with over 500 Muslim women through our employability projects in Glasgow and Dundee, and are aware of the precedent and negative impact that such a ruling will have on further penalising and denying Muslim women that wear hijab, from aspiring to or accessing employment opportunities, climbing up the career ladder or continuing in specific roles. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right that is promoted in the West, and yet to restrict this very freedom, of wearing the hijab, you are oppressing women that are active citizens, integrated and contributing to society, fuelling the continued undermining of this already discriminated community group”.

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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