Police treat Edinburgh Central Mosque fire as hate crime

Elham Asaad Buaras

The front door of the Edinburgh Central Mosque, in Potterow, Scotland, sustained minor fire damage after an object was thrown at the building at about 2.10am on Sunday September 19.

No one was hurt but a small bush in the garden was also damaged.

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime and are now searching for a man in connection with the incident.

He is described as a white male, in his early thirties, with very short hair. He was wearing a short-sleeved black top with a white emblem on the front and dark trousers.

Shortly before the incident, he was spotted speaking to a group of women in George Square and these witnesses are being urged to come forward.

Detective Inspector John Kavanagh, from Police Scotland, said: “Fortunately, no-one was injured as a result of this incident but the consequences could have been far worse had the fire taken hold and spread. I would ask that anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity around the mosque, or within the Potterrow area, contacts police immediately.”

In a statement a spokesperson for Edinburgh Central Mosque played down the incident insisting that, “At this early stage, the indications are that it is an isolated incident from a suspect with no known links to any far-right groups. The Police have reassured us and the wider community that there remains no persistent threat and that their checks to safeguard all religious communities remain firmly in place. The mosque’s activities continue as normal.”

Weymouth kebab shop targeted by racists

Nadine Osman

A fast-food shop owner of Turkish decent has spoken of his shock after his shop in Weymouth, south-west England, was defaced with a Swastika last month.

Hidden Gem Kebab House in Littlemoor Shopping Centre, was targeted in broad daylight in what police believe to be a racially aggravated attack.

Gem Ciftlik, 41, said: “It happened in the middle of the day just before we were due to open. I was in the back of the store at the time. It is just so upsetting. It has affected me morally and has really affected my business. People don’t want to come to the shop with that outside the front.”

A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of racially/religiously aggravated criminal damage and is currently helping police with their enquiries.

Ciftlik moved to England as a student 16 years ago and has lived in Weymouth for the past eight years.

This is not the first time he has experienced an allegedly racially-motivated incident in the area.

He added: “We had a kebab shop in Weymouth town centre for three years and I was racially attacked every other day. I gave up that business and moved to Littlemoor because of that.”

Ciftlik was previously the victim of a violent attack when he ran a takeaway in Bradford upon Avon, Wiltshire, in 2007, leaving him with a broken nose and broken eye sockets.
Cliftik said he no longer feels safe in the area and fears his children will be targeted on the street.

His wife Victoria Ciftlik, 29, originally from Somerset, said: “I’m really worried. We started over, we have only been open three months and this is the second alleged incident in that time.

“I often have to go to the store and work until 5am so I can face the customers whilst he works with his back turned, and we have a six-week old baby at home.”

Police were called immediately after the incident and were able to view footage from the Hidden Gem Kebab House’s eight CCTV cameras.

Armed anti-Muslim militia storm council meeting over mosque plan

Elham Asaad Buaras

Thirty members of an armed far-right militia stormed a council meeting discussing plans to build a Muslim cemetery, mosque and school in a small town in Georgia, US on September 13.

The militia forced the meeting, which was due to lift a ban on new places of worship in Newton County, to be cancelled following growing security concerns over their presence.

Several members of the so-called right-wing Georgia Security Force III% (GSF) posted a video on the weekend showing them trespassing onto the site of the proposed cemetery and mosque school. One GSF member climbed a tree to hang an American flag on the property where the mosque would be built.

The group, led by local resident Chris Hill, is now under investigation from Homeland Security and local law enforcement.

Newton County manager Lloyd Kerr said the group were “exhibiting harassing or violent behavior”, adding: “Unfortunately, in today’s society, uncivil threats or intentions must be taken seriously.”

Members of the Newton County community have largely been divided over the mosque proposal. Four of five Newton commissioners have publicly pledged to allow the moratorium to expire, allowing the planned mosque and cemetery project to proceed.

One protester Jim Stachowiak told an audience of reporters: “It’s a declaration of war against United States of America. Their ultimate goal is to impose Sharia law.”

Philip Morris added: “The Koran is nothing but hate speech.”

Hill, the gang’s leader, who calls himself a “commanding officer” of the militia, added: “We’re not here to intimidate. You’re just seeing two different rights being exercised at the same time.”

Another counter-protester Linda Allen added: “There’s nothing American about this. These people live in this country; they are US citizens or looking to be US citizens. They are granted the rights and privileges of any citizen who lives here and there’s nothing to keep them from wanting to live here and wanting to build their places of worship. As a Christian it’s just wrong.”

The local Georgia Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-GA) said local leaders “shouldn’t allow themselves to be bullied into canceling a public meeting.”

In a statement to The Muslim News CAIR-GA Executive Director, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, said, “The anti-Muslim extremists who have slandered, harassed and threatened Newton County’s commissioners over the past week do not represent the people of Newton County, who are as warm and welcoming as other Georgians.”

Mitchell added: “Although we understand why several Newton County commissioners were concerned about their own safety, governments cannot and should not let such fears prevent them from holding a vote, much less a meeting. Every day, American Muslims stand up to the threats of bigoted extremists. Government officials should be brave enough to do the same.”

Parisian restaurateur refuses to serve Muslims

Jean-Baptiste Devreux (L) confronted by lo cal Muslims (Photo: Creative Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Michelinstarred restaurant in the suburbs of Paris has been accused of Islamophobia after its chef was filmed refusing to serve Muslim customers, arguing “All Muslims are terrorists”.

The YouTube clip posted on August 28 shows two Muslim women being refused service at Le Cenacle.

The chef Jean-Baptiste Devreux was filmed telling the women: “The terrorists are Muslim and all Muslims are terrorists… They recently killed a priest. This is a secular country and I have a right to an opinion… I don’t want people like you here. Full stop.”

The women replied they “do not wish to be served by a racist.”

He finally tells them to “get out”, to which they reply: “Don’t worry, we’re leaving”.

The chef has now been interviewed by police on suspicion of enacting “racial discrimination” and the Minister for Families, Children And Women’s Rights, Laurence Rossignol, said that she had asked Dilcra – a government anti-racism body – to investigate, describing the behaviour as “intolerable”.

Devreux told the local media: “I spoke out of turn and I apologise. I have a friend who died in the Bataclan attacks and wrongly mixed everything up. I do not truly believe the things I said, my comments did not reflect what I really think.”

However, members of the local Muslim community have called for a boycott of the restaurant.

The CCIF (Committee Against Islamophobia in France) has issued a statement of support for the two women and pledged to give “emotional and legal support” to them.

Tensions in France escalated last month amidst the so called burkini ban. The ban, initiated by a number of towns, prohibited modest swimwear worn by some women on the beach, particularly Muslim women.

France’s highest court ruled the ban is “seriously and clearly illegal”. However, right-wing politicians have pledged to keep the ban by passing legislation at central government level.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy called the burkini swimwear “a provocation” and claimed France’s “identity is under threat”. He is currently running for re-election in 2017 and has pledged to introduce a nation-wide burkini ban if successful.


Palestinian thrown out of integration programme in Germany for wearing hijab

Nadine Osman

A Palestinian refugee in Germany has been fired from an internship at her local town hall after she refused to remove her hijab. The town’s mayor told the woman, who has not been named under German privacy laws, she could not wear the headscarf, as Government workers had to be seen to be neutral.

But the decision has been controversial, with critics saying it has no basis in German law. The 48-year-old won an internship at Luckenwalde town hall under a special programme to help refugees integrate in German society.

But when she turned up to her first day at work, she was confronted by the town’s mayor, Elizabeth Herzog von der Heide.

“We told her that a neutrality requirement applies here,” said von der Heide. “Religious symbols have no place in our Government. We also do not allow crucifixes on the walls.”

The mayor asked the intern to remove the headscarf, but she refused. “She said she could only do that when no men were present,” von der Heide said. “So she had to finish her internship.”

Complaints about Channel 4 News presenter wearing hijab rejected

Ofcom rejected 17 complaints about Fatima Manji presenting coverage of the terror attack in Nice in July  (Photo: Screengrab)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Ofcom rejected 17 complaints about a hijab wearing journalist on TV while presenting coverage of the terror attack in Nice in July. The broadcasting watchdog ruled out an investigation into whether Channel 4 choosing Fatima Manji to present the news was inappropriate.

Kelvin MacKenzie, who attacked the decision by Channel 4 News in his Sun column and called on readers to complain to the media regulator, did not in fact end up lodging a complaint himself.

MacKenzie wrote: “Was it done to stick one in the eye of the ordinary viewer who looks at the hijab as a sign of the slavery of Muslim women by a male-dominated and clearly violent religion?”

“I will be looking at making a formal complaint to Ofcom under the section of the broadcasting code which deals with impartiality.

“Since the question of religious motivation was central to the coverage of the Nice attack, I would ask whether it is appropriate for a newsreader to wear religious attire that could undermine the viewers’ perception of impartiality.”

But MacKenzie, whose column sparked 1,900 complaints to press watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), did not make a complaint himself.

Channel 4 had previously called the piece “completely unacceptable, and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred”.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “It is wrong to suggest that a qualified journalist should be barred from reporting on a particular story or present on a specific day because of their faith. Fatima Manji is an award-winning journalist. We are proud that she is part of our team and will receive, as ever, our full support in the wake of his comments.”

A spokesman for Ofcom confirmed: “We received a small number of complaints that it was inappropriate for a presenter wearing a hijab to present a report on the attack in Nice.

“We won’t be taking the matter forward for investigation. The selection of a presenter is an editorial matter for the broadcaster, and the way in which the presenter chose to dress in this case did not raise any issues under our rules”.

Sun columnist slammed for arguing Hijab wearing anchorwoman should not report terror attacks

Man arrested for assault on pregnant Muslim woman who lost her baby

Elham Asaad Buaras

A man from Milton Keynes has been arrested in connection with a racially and religiously aggravated assault on a pregnant Muslim woman, who was wearing a head scarf, that led to the death of her unborn baby. Thames Valley police said the arrest was made on September 14.

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police told The Muslim News: “At around 9.40pm on Saturday 6 August, the victim a 34 year-old woman, was in the Co-op on Water Eaton Road, Bletchley when she was approached by a man who directed racial remarks at her.

“The offender followed the woman to her car and then assaulted a second victim, a 40-year-old man, by hitting him over the head with a bag of ice and a bottle. The offender then kicked the first victim in the torso causing her to fall to the floor. The first victim was pregnant and as a result of the assault she lost her baby.”

The victim was rushed to Milton Keynes General Hospital for treatment and she was later discharged.

However, they could not save her baby who died because of the brutal attack. PC Richard Armitage said: “This racially aggravated assault had absolutely devastating consequences for the victim, who lost her baby as a result of the attack. Our thoughts are with her and her family at this incredibly difficult and sad time.”

In a statement to The Muslim News Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Harun Khan, said, “As a father of three young daughters, I am completely shocked and saddened to hear of such a horrific and cowardly attack on a vulnerable woman in our society today. My thoughts and prayers are with both the victims, especially for the lady who has now just lost a child as a result of hatred and xenophobia.”

“We need strong action now from the authorities to show that they are taking all hate crimes seriously, including Islamophobia, which findings show has increased in recent times, especially post Brexit”.

A hijabi un-veiled

Aasiya Versi

What was a normal weekend city break turned out to have a little bit of a bizarre ending. We were on our way back to London on Sunday, September 11 evening, happy and tired after a long day of walking about the brilliant city of Rome. At the Rome airport, we went through the security, crossed through the metal detectors when the two officials nodded, smiled and asked me to step aside.

I thought it was strange that the security officials were interested in me as I hadn’t beeped as I went through the metal detectors. I turn around to pick up my bags from the belt, when a taller lady motioned me to a smaller enclosed area. At this point I got a little nervous as my husband had passed through the security without being stopped and I was left alone with the security woman in a small room.

She then asked me to take off my hijab.

She said that it was something that they have to do.

At this point I asked if I had beeped unknowingly, she replied, “No, we check everyone with the head covering.”

I told her that I have never been asked to take my hijab off at airports.

In the past, some security officers have patted on the head, but never have I been asked to take off the hijab.

I asked her how long had they this policy had been in place for? She said since 2012. However, I know of at least two relatives of mine who have been to Rome but have not been asked to remove their hijab.

After she had checked me – which was a quick 40 second check – she said I could put on my hijab. She pointed to a mirror that I hadn’t noticed and said I could use it to put on my hijab again. She then asked me what the head covering was called in English. I said hijab or headscarf would work equally well. She waited patiently while I put my scarf on again and was on my way.

In the course of the whole process, I never felt threatened but did feel singled out. I do not believe that “security” was the reason behind my unveiling. I believe the reason was simply because I am a Muslim woman, and that, is a very dangerous precedent.

Suspected Islamic Centre arsonist faces life in prison

Elham Asaad Buaras

A 32-year-old messianic Jew arrested for the arson attack on an Islamic centre in Florida is facing at least 30 years in prison as a repeat offender, officials said. Joseph Michael Schreiber is accused of setting ablaze the Fort Pierce Islamic Center on the night of September 11.

Schreiber was arrested and charged on September 14 with second-degree arson that was upgraded to a first degree felony that includes “hate crime enhancement”.

Michael D’Alonzo, an FBI agent cooperating with the sheriff’s office, said at a press conference that the agency was looking into potential “civil rights violations” to charge the suspect on a federal level, including a hate crime.

Schreiber was arrested after tips from the public, including members of the Muslim community, matched surveillance footage that was earlier released by the sheriff’s office.

A search of the suspect’s house revealed evidence that linked him to the crime, including the motorcycle the suspect in the video was seen riding.

In July Schreiber posted a Facebook message which said that for the US to experience peace and security, it “should consider all forms of Islam as radical, the truth is that there is no such a thing as radical Islamic extremism…all Islam is radical.”

Other sources of content on Schreiber’s Facebook page include the World Zionist Organization, the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA, the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party Britain First and Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner.

According to Schreiber’s Facebook page, he is also a fan of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, IDF Women, the Israeli American Council of Florida and the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America.

On June 17, Schreiber posted 11 videos from the The Israel Project, a right-wing anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim organisation. One of the The Israel Project videos shows President Bill Clinton accusing Palestinians of deliberately inducing Israel to kill them. Another video claims Iran wants to commit genocide against millions of Israeli Jews.

The sheriff’s office shared a video that showed a “lone individual either of white or Hispanic ancestry” disembark from a Harley Davidson-style motorcycle and enter the mosque complex made up of several buildings, some of them wooden, just before midnight. He then started a fire near the center of the complex using a bottle of fluid he carried with him.

A Rebuilding the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce campaign launched on crowd sourcing website LaunchGood.com had already raised more than $22,000 of a $50,000 funding goal in two days.

The Fort Pierce Islamic Center came to national attention after Omar Mateen, who frequented the mosque, allegedly killed 49 victims and wounded dozens at a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12.

Chair of the Arizona chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations, Imraan Siddiqi, blamed individuals and organisations exploiting anti-Muslim hate would eventually lead to violent attacks on Muslims.

“This can be looked at as the output of the well-funded Islamophobia industry – where according to CAIR, nearly $206 million was funneled into just 33 hate groups,” said Siddiqi. “There is definitely an overlap in far-right, pro-Israel groups espousing and promoting Islamophobic rhetoric, which can lead to hate crimes like these,” he added.

Bollywood star Shah Rukh stopped at US airport for third time

Nadine Osman

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan expressed his disappointment at being “detained” by US authorities at Los Angeles International Airport on August 11. It is unclear why he was detained, or for how long.

In 2012, Khan was detained for 90 minutes at the White Plains airport near New York.

In 2009, he was stopped for two hours at Newark airport. He was released after India’s embassy intervened. The experience prompted the 50 year-old to tweet to his 20 million followers that although he fully respects, “security with the way the world is, but to be detained at US immigration every damn time really really sucks.”

The US Ambassador to India, Rich Verma, apologised for the detention tweeting,“Sorry for the trouble at LAX @iamsrk. We are working to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Your work inspires millions, including in the US.”

To which Khan responded, “No trouble sir, respect the protocol & not expecting 2 b above it. It’s just a tad inconvenient. Thx for ur concern.”

Although there was no comment from immigration officials, the US State Department’s Assistant Secretary on South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal, tweeted to Khan, saying she was “sorry for the hassle”, adding that US diplomats also face this situation.

Some Indians wondered why one of Bollywood’s biggest stars is routinely detained at US airports. An Indian Government minister said at the time that this “policy of detention and apology by the US cannot continue”.

US customs and border protection authorities later expressed “profound” apologies for the incident. Khan had later made light of the incident and joked about it. “Whenever I start feeling arrogant about myself, I always take a trip to America. The immigration guys kick the star out of stardom,” he told a gathering of students at Yale University.

‘Burkini’ pool party cancelled after organisers receive death threats

Nadine Osman

A ‘burkini’ swimming pool party in Pennes-Mirabeau, South France, was cancelled after the organisers received death threats.

A joint decision was made to call off the event in an effort to “calm the situation” and preserve public order after a heated reaction from residents.

However, the local mayor Michel Amiel announced he intended to prohibit the event “on the grounds it is likely to cause public disorder”.

The event was organized for September 10 as an opportunity for women to swim in private for eight hours while wearing covered swimming costume.

The party organisers Smile 13 announced in a facebook post: “It’s with astonishment and regret that we have noted the extent of this controversy. The situation has become surreal, from insults, incessant journalist requests, and death threats to members of the team. ”

The statement continued, “Our group is an open and tolerant one, including women from different backgrounds regardless of their religious and clothing choices.”

Amiel announced he had discussed the proposed party with the Speed Water Park venue with regards to the “extreme ideological positions” he believed Smile 13 were taking.

Smile 13 confirmed one of its members had been sent an envelope containing bullets, and condemned those who had sought to threaten the event. The group wrote a lengthy Facebook post criticising the “narrow-minded polemicists and politicians” who had attacked the party, before appearing to delete its Facebook account.

Smile 13 added it planned to take legal action against those who had sent the death threats.

Muslims who refused to become FBI informants appeal no-fly list

Elham Asaad Buaras

Three American Muslims who were placed No Fly List by the FBI in retaliation for their refusal to become informants appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit against the FBI on July 29.

The No Fly List was created by the US Government’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) after the September 11, 2001 attacks.  In June a top lawmaker revealed to the Washington Times that the FBI list contains about 81,000 names, but fewer than 1,000 of those are “US persons”.

The list has been criticised on civil liberties grounds, due to ethnic, religious, economic, political and racial discrimination. It has also raised concerns about privacy and government secrecy.

FBI agents told Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah, and Naveed Shinwari their named would be removed from the list if they agreed to serve as spies in Muslim communities – not because the Government suspected involvement in crime, but simply because the Bureau was interested in collecting information on American Muslims.

Last summer, only days before the first major court hearing in their case, the men received letters from the TSC confirming their removal from the list and effectively conceding what  they never posed a security threat of and that the FBI only listed them to coerce them into spying on their faith community.

Later, the judge dismissed their claims to seek damages for the harm they suffered as a result of being placed on the list.

As a result of their placement on the No Fly List the trio were unable to see wives, children, sick parents, and elderly grandparents overseas for years. They lost jobs, were stigmatised within their communities, and suffered severe financial and emotional distress.

In a statement to The Muslim News the Senior Managing Attorney for the Center for the Constitutional Rights, Shayana Kadidal, said: “Unless there are consequences for constitutional violations, there is nothing to prevent them from recurring in the future.”

“Though our lawsuit forced the Government to undo our clients’ abusive placement on the No-Fly List, removing people from the list alone cannot repair the harms they suffer while on it.”

Prior to lawsuits challenging the No-Fly List, the Government operated the list in near-total secrecy and never told people why they were on it or gave them a chance to dispute their placement. Despite some reforms made under the pressure of litigation, the procedures governing who is placed on the list and how to challenge their placement remain gravely deficient, and the lack of transparency and accountability still leaves the No-Fly List, and other watch lists, ripe for abuse.

“FBI agents target vulnerable American Muslims on a regular basis, including those with financial, immigration, or criminal issues,” said CLEAR Staff Attorney Naz Ahmad. “Because our clients had none of those vulnerabilities, FBI agents had to create one before they could exploit it.”

In dismissing the case, the district court reasoned that even if the federal agents had violated the Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 currently does not afford a damages remedy for the specific type of religious and speech retaliation the men suffered. However, most other courts have ruled that it does, and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel agreed in a published opinion in 1994.”

Another list maintained by the FBI, dubbed the “TSA selectee list” because it triggers higher scrutiny but doesn’t ban flying, has some 28,000 records, of which fewer than 1,700 are Americans.

Mosque arson attack raises fears while French PM threatens freedom of worship

Mohammad Mahdi Karim

Alarms have been raised as the fears of anti-Muslim attacks in France have intensified in the wake of an arson attack on a mosque, located in Muret, a suburb of the French town Toulouse.

In a call for unity, the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, claimed the extremists were trying to “set the French people against each other and attack religion in order to start a war of religions.”

However, the socialist French leader warned that, “if Islam doesn’t help the Republic to fight those who challenge public freedoms, it will get harder for the Republic to guarantee this freedom of worship.”

Police opened an ‘arson inquiry’ after French firefighters battled a blaze that was instigated with feverous Islamophobic sentiments following the brutal murder of the elderly priest by two teenagers.

The fire was started in the early hours of the morning at the construction site of the mosque, and the attacks appeared to be deliberate according to local French police. “Elements let us imagine that the fire can be deliberate,” the prosecutor Pierre-Yves Couilleau told the French newspaper Le Parisian on July 27. No one was hurt.

The project was due to be completed by 2017. The roofs and doors were damaged as police saw traces of burglary around the area. Christophe Borgel, MP of Haute-Garonne “strongly condemned the crime against a Muslim place of worship” and assured the leaders of the mosque “all his solidarity”.

The fire came a week after Father Jacques Hamel was murdered allegedly by Daesh extremists. The Normandy town of Saint Etienne du Rouvray was in shock following the murder of the elderly priest who ‘was selfless and generous.’

Hundreds gathered at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray’s Yahia Mosque, including three Catholic priests, for a minute’s silence to honour slain priest Jacques Hamel. Strong bonds already existed in this small community. The Catholic Church donated the land on which the Yahia Mosque stands. The new priest in charge of the parish Father Auguste Moanda told worshippers to strengthen those bonds.

Francois Clavairoly, head of the French Protestant Federation, who held talks with President Hollande and other religious leaders said: “It is obvious that posting security outside every place of worship in this country is absolutely inconceivable.”

France’s Government has been lobbied by the centre-Right Republicans to up security by calling for more extremists to be detained following the attacks in France. The socialist Government has also been criticised for failing to act on its intelligence with reports that the missing suspect of the Normandy church attacks was notified as a threat the previous week.

The centre of attention has now come to helping the 2,200 mosques and 54,000 churches in France keep safe. Security has been notably increased at the Basilica of Saint-Denis, a church situated next to Muslim estates in Northern Paris, is where many former French Monarchs are buried.

France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim population with more than 5 million in a population of around 66 million.

Dalil Boubakeur, the leader of the Grand Mosque in Paris, said the attack was a “blasphemous sacrilege which goes against all the teachings of our religion”.

This was the second time that the same mosque was set ablaze following a previous suspected arson attack in 2012. Mosques have long been the targets of many attacks following the fatal attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris in January of 2015. In response to the attacks 3,000 places of worship including synagogues, churches and mosques increased security.

Since then hate crimes have tripled with over 400 reports of attacks, criminal damage and harassment in 2015.

Nursery nurse who called toddler a terrorist struck off

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Scottish nursery nurse who racially abused a toddler and called another a “terrorist” was struck off last month.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) ruled that Nikki Alexander was guilty of misconduct in June and July 2015 while working for the Busy Bees nursery in Edinburgh.
She was accused of swearing at children and causing one to hit their head.

The Body said Alexander had displayed “a pattern of concerning behaviour” which put children at risk.

On June 29, 2015, Alexander placed a child who was under the age of two “at risk of harm” by grabbing their arm and pulling on it, causing them to fall backward and bang their head.

The following month she was said to have shouted and sworn at several toddlers, calling one of them “bomber” and a “terrorist”, saying words to the effect of “go away and bomb somewhere else” and “go away you terrorist”.

The SSSC’s conduct subcommittee said: “Abusive behaviour by a social service worker, such as calling service users names, swearing at them, shouting at them and pulling them in a way to cause them to fall, is a breach of trust and confidence for social service users. Grabbing a service user by the arm and pulling them in such a way that made them fall over and bang their head constitutes physically abusive behaviour towards a young child, putting the child at risk of physical and emotional harm.

“Using discriminatory language is demeaning and devaluing towards the child and caused, or was likely to cause, embarrassment, humiliation and distress for the child.

“It is behaviour which put a service user at risk of emotional and psychological harm and is behaviour that is incompatible with the behaviour expected of a person registered with SSSC.”

Hate Crime Action plan fails to address Islamophobia

Ala Abbas

Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has launched the Hate Crime Action Plan which calls on communities across Britain to “come together and stand united against those who use hate to divide us.”

Under the plan, which was launched on July 26, there will be a new assessment of the level of racist, religious and homophobic bullying going on in schools and a new programme to equip teachers to “facilitate conversations” when terrorist incidents happen at home and abroad. The new measures will also address the high incidence of hate crimes on public transport.

The Home Office will “launch a £2.4m scheme for protective security measures at vulnerable faith institutions” according to the Hate Crime Action plan. “New funding will be made available for the security of all faith establishments, including mosques.” The Jewish community get special allocation to protect their community. There will be a “commitment to the security of independent and state-aided Jewish faith schools, synagogues and other Jewish community sites with £13.4m of funding in 2016/17.”

No specific funds have been allocated to mosques and Muslim community sites, despite the number of hate crimes over the past year being disproportionately aimed at Muslims. According to the Metropolitan Police, Islamophobic hate crimes rose by 43 per cent in the last 12 months.

It is impossible to know the exact figures because of the problem of under-reporting. Islamophobic hate crime has seen the biggest percentage increase over the last 12 months compared to any other crime in the capital. The third highest percentage increase occurred in “racist and religious” hate crime, a category that can also include Islamophobic attacks.

This was acknowledged in a report by True Vision in February this year which found that race and religion are often interlinked when it comes to anti-Muslim hate speech.

Despite the huge spike in Islamophobic incidents over the past year, police action on hate crime has gone down. Official data from the Crown Prosecution Service has shown a 10 per cent decrease in police referrals of hate crime for charging in 2015/16.

According to a study of 40 police forces in England and Wales by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the total numbers of reported hate crimes soared by 20% over the past year (from 50,288 to 60,225), with 34 out of the 40 forces recording a rise in offences. Despite this increase, fewer cases have been dealt with than in the previous year. Just 27% of hate crimes recorded by police resulted in an outcome such as a charge, summons, caution or restorative justice in 2015/16, compared with 35% the year before.

When it comes to Islamophobic abuse online, there is a targeted campaign by mainly far-right groups. Imran Awan, a researcher at Birmingham City University, examined 100 different Facebook pages, posts and comments between January 2013 and November 2014 and uncovered nearly 500 instances of anti-Muslim hate speech.

The report entitled ‘lslamophobia on Social Media: A Qualitative Analysis of Facebook’s Walls of Hate’ identified “5 walls of Islamophobic hate” directed at Muslims online, which included seeing Muslims as terrorists and rapists, depicting Muslim women as threats to national security and suggesting all Muslims should be deported. The study also found that the pejorative terms “Muzrats, Paki, Peado, Rapists, Dirty, Scum and Filthy” were among the 20 most commonly used to describe Muslims during online tirades.

This abuse was intensified and triggered by events in the news. According to Awan, “the worry is that these online groups and communities will use this support to foster an offline extremist counter-narrative”.

Islamophobia rampant on Facebook, concludes academic study

Elham Asaad Buaras

Muslim women are a security threat and all Muslims should be deported: that’s the most commonly held anti-Muslim views posted on Facebook, according to a new study published last month.

The Birmingham City University study titled Islamophobia Online: Inside Facebook’s Walls of Hate, unearthed nearly 500 instances of anti-Muslim hate speech in 100 Facebook pages, posts and comments.

Among the 20 most commonly used words to describe Muslims during online tirades are pejorative terms like ‘Muzrats’, ‘Paki’, ‘peado’, ‘rapists’, ‘dirty’, ‘scum’ and ‘filthy’.

As part of the study on Facebook and Islamophobia (conducted between 2013 and 2014), researchers trawled for references to ‘Muslims and Woolwich’, ‘Muslims and Islam’, ‘Muslims and Extremism’, and ‘Muslims and Terrorism’, with the results covering dozens of pages of far-right groups including Britain First, the English Brotherhood and the English Defence League.

Associate Professor at BCU, Dr Imran Awan, who conducted the research found that there were five recurring ways in which Muslims were portrayed during abuse – which he defines as ‘the five walls of Islamophobic hate’.

Among these categories the most frequent abuse depicted Muslim women as security threats due to their clothing (76 instances), followed by the belief that Muslims should be deported (62 instances).

The view of Muslims as terrorists was the third most common (58 instances), with a war with Muslims (53 instances) and Muslims as rapists (45 instances) being the next most often repeated comments.

The analysis revealed that the appalling comments intensified following high profile events such as the Rotherham abuse case, the Trojan Horse scandal and the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby.

These events also triggered an increase in abuse across the globe with the US and Australia seeing a large increase in inflammatory comments posted on pages like Ban Islam in Australia and Ban Islam in America during the aftermath.

Men were found to be much more likely to post abuse with 80 per cent of all comments coming from male users of the site.

The report comes in the wake of Facebook signing up to a new European Union code of conduct which commits it to review and remove online hate speech from its European sites within 24 hours.

Speaking to The Muslim News, Dr Awan who in 2014 conducted an extensive study of Twitter, said, “The aim of this study was to understand the nature of Islamophobia on Facebook and therefore to create a better awareness of the rise of online hate on social media.”

“Social media has been used to target all types of people which includes anti-Semitism, homophobia, gender based misogynistic abuse and so forth.  Islamophobia is also a part of this wider trend of online hate.”

He added that although “Facebook has acknowledged it must do more however its current policy needs to be re-examined with a look at how hateful messages are taken down and also the implications of changing its community guidelines to include racial and religious bigotry.”

He added that distinguishing between offensive yet legal and illegal hate speech “is a major issue because not everything on Facebook is necessarily illegal because of the CPS strict threshold and therefore some of the abuse did not fall into this category.”

The perils of flying while Muslim

With the number of Muslim passengers being kicked off flights sky rocketing for the most ludicrous reasons, this syndrome is dubbed “flying while Muslim” or in some cases, flying while looking Muslim. The Muslim News looks back at just some of the jaw-dropping, bizarre and absurd explanations Muslim passengers have been given for their ordeals.

August 3, 2016 | Miami Airport, USA

PROFILED: Voice of America journalist and a government worker

Removed from an… American Airlines flight to Washington for.. DISCUSSING A DELAY | Niala Mohammad and her friend had been grounded for about five hours in Miami, they and other passengers were not allowed to buy food or drink. Her friend and a white male passenger seated behind her started talking about the delay. A flight attendant approached her friend and said: “If you have a problem, you can get off the plane.” He also accused her of “instigating” objections from others and threatened to remove her from the plane.

The friend took a picture of the flight attendant to try and ID him as he was not wearing a badge and did not give them his name. They were then told that taking a picture was a federal offence and were asked to delete the picture. A customer relations rep came on board and asked the two women to follow her off the plane, where they were greeted by armed air marshals. They told the women that the male flight attendant had felt threatened by them.

The male passenger they had talked to on board the plane was not asked to leave.Niala Mohammad said: “Although we were encouraged to document the incident to AA customer relations, we still experienced insult and embarrassment as two minority Muslim-American women…For being such a “threat” to an AA attendant, it’s telling that the Miami-Dade police officers joked with us and posed for a picture with the “pretty harmless airplane menaces.”



July 26, 2016 | Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris

PROFILED: American couple of Pakistani decent returning from an anniversary trip

Removed from a… Delta Air Lines flight to Cincinnati for.. SWEATING, WEARING A SCARF AND USING A PHONE | Nazia Ali had finished sending a text message to her parents and was putting on her headphones when a crew member approached her and her husband, Faisal. The flight crew member had complained to the pilot that she was uncomfortable with the couple. The woman was wearing a head scarf and using a phone, and the man was sweating, she allegedly told the pilot.
The couple, who have three young children under the age of five, were removed from that flight and booked into a hotel by the airline overnight. The children were being looked after by the couple’s parents. The couple was interrogated again by a US customs agent at the airport the next day. When Faisal asked what they had done wrong, the agent said: “You have done nothing wrong, unfortunately this is the way the world is right now. It is Delta’s word against yours.”


July 25, 2016 | Doncaster Airport, UK

PROFILED: A Muslim NHS worker from Leeds

Quizzed by police for.. READING A BOOK ON SYRIAN CULTURE | Faizah Shaheen, who helps prevent teenage mental health patients from becoming radicalised, was returning from her honeymoon in Turkey when she was stopped by police. The 27-year-old was pulled over because a fortnight earlier a cabin crew member from a Thomson Airways flight had reported her for having a suspicious book. Police questioned her for 15 minutes under anti-terror laws and told her the suspicions related to the holiday book she had been reading – Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, an award-winning book comprised of short stories, poems, songs, cartoons and photos from Syrian authors and artists.
Faizah Shaheen said: “I fight for different causes and then to be victimised and experience this first-hand made me realise how bad it is. Instead of reminiscing about our honeymoon I am left talking about this experience. ”


June 15, 2016 | Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, USA

PROFILED: White non-Muslim bearded male

Removed from an… Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle for.. BEING BEARDED/UNFIT TO FLY | Mark French alleges he was informed that he was unfit to board his flight as his beard sparked a complaint from another passenger who claimed to find him “Arabic and scary”. He says he was approached by security in a waiting area and was told he would not be able to board his flight. French claims that he was told he was “unfit to fly” until he was clean shaven despite his beard appearing to be little more than stubble. – Alaska Airlines denies these allegations and insists that French was loud and disruptive in the boarding area, which was why he was deemed unfit to fly.


May 4, 2016 | Philadelphia Airport, USA

PROFILED: 40 year old Italian Ivy League professor

Removed from an… American Airline flight to New York for.. DOING MATH | Guido Menzio, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, was working on a math equation while waiting for the plane to take off. But a passenger somehow mistook the equation for Arabic or some sort of code for a terrorist attack. The woman, initially told a flight attendant that she was feeling too ill to travel but when they escorted her off the plane, the woman told the crew she had actually been feeling suspicious of Menzio and wanted to be booked on another flight, but it was Menzio who was escorted off the plane. He was informed that his seatmate had suspected he was a terrorist specifically bringing up his “cryptic” notes in the unrecognisable script.
Guido Menzio said: “What might prevent an epidemic of paranoia? It is hard not to recognize in this incident, the ethos of Trump’s voting base.”


April 6, 2016 | LAX Airport, Los Angeles, USA

PROFILED: 26 year old college student of Iraqi origin

Removed from a… Southwest Airlines flight to Oakland for.. TALKING IN ARABIC | Prior to takeoff, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi had called his uncle in Baghdad to tell him about a function he attended the previous evening, featuring UN, Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. He and his uncle shared a customary inshallah, [God willing]. According to Southwest Airlines a nearby passenger overheard the conversation and felt alarmed by his “potentially threatening comments”.

The woman told staff that she heard him say “Shahid,” meaning martyr. He was approached by an Arabic-speaking employee who asked him why he was speaking the language on the plane, and escorted him out to security personnel at the gate. Three FBI agents took him to a private room where they questioned him about his family, particularly his father, Khalid, a former diplomat who had been killed by Saddam Hussein’s the regime.
Khairuldeen Makhzoomi said:


April, 2016 | Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport, Rome, Italy

PROFILED: British man of Eritrean descent

Removed from an… easyJet flight to Gatwick because.. A PASSENGER “DIDN’T FEEL SAFE” | Meghary Yemane-Tesfagiorgis was in his seat awaiting take-off, when the captain had explained they were delayed for 20 minutes because of a fault with luggage, so when a cabin crew member asked if anyone called Yemane-Tesfagiorgis was on board, he assumed it had something to do with the luggage.

But when he came forward, he was greeted by Italian armed police who marched him to the airport’s station where they interrogated him for more than 15 hours. Officers told him a woman had felt threatened by his presence on the plane.Meghary Yemane-Tesfagiorgis said: “They [easyJet] have apologised to me on a few occasions but it’s not about me and easyJet. It is way bigger than that.”


April 13, 2016 | Chicago O’Hare Airport, USA

PROFILED: American woman of Somali origin

Removed from a… Southwest Airlines airline to Seattle for.. SWITCHING SEATS | Hakima Abdulle was told to disembark the plane after she asked the man next to her whether she could move to the aisle seat, and he had agreed. A flight attendant then approached her and said they were not allowed to swap seats, despite the airline’s policy of unassigned seating. Abdulle asked why she could not switch.

The flight attendant asked her to get off the plane. When police asked the flight attendant at the gate if there was any reason why Abdulle had been taken off the plane, she replied “no” and that she “did not feel comfortable” with the passenger. Abdulle was rebooked on a flight to Seattle several hours later.


March 26, 2016 | Vienna Airport, Austria

PROFILED: UK-based Iraqi scientist


Removed from an… easyJet flight to Gatwick for… TEXTING IN ARABIC | Hasan Dewachi, 32, was kicked off his flight because a passenger suspected he was a terrorist when she saw him texting in Arabic. Dewachi, who has lived in the UK for six years and is studying for a master’s degree in biochemistry, was texting his wife about his journey when he was approached by a cabin crew and told to disembark.

He was questioned and had his phone confiscated for examination, he was later cleared but the flight had already left without him, the married father-of-two was abandoned at the airport without a flight and without a phone.Hasan Dewachi said: “I feel racially discriminated against. It is as if they have forgotten I am not only a customer but a human being as well.”


March 20, 2016 | Chicago O’Hare Airport, USA

PROFILED: Muslim American family of Arab decent

Removed from a… United Airlines flight to Washington for… FLIGHT SAFETY (NO ELABORATION) | Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley, her husband and three young children were about to take off when the pilot asked them to get off the aircraft. The family had enquired earlier whether the air stewardess could provide five-point harness safety seats for their children. Two videos filmed by Shebley show the air stewardess and then the pilot asking the family to leave. Shebley asked the pilot whether it was a “discriminatory” decision.

The pilot replied it was a “flight safety issue” but were not given any details. Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley said: “Shame on you ‪United Airlines‬ for profiling my family for no reason other than how we look and kicking us off the plane for “safety flight issues” on our flight to DC for the kids spring break. My three kids are too young to have experienced this.”


March 8, 2016 | Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta Airport, USA


Removed from a… Delta Air Lines flight to Toronto for… USING THE TOILET | Despite being a Delta Platinum Elite member and approved by the US Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program, which expedites low-risk air passengers through security procedures, Syed Muhammad Abbace Ayleya was escorted off the flight and told little more than that his use of the airplane toilet was “doubtful”.

The airplane left the gate, but then returned to the gate about five minutes later. A Delta employee boarded the plane and escorted Ayleya back to the terminal, where he was met by two officers. He was only told that “the crew was doubtful about the way you were using the restroom”. Syed Muhammad Abbace Ayleya is suing Delta Air.


February 25, 2016 | London Luton Airport, UK

PROFILED: 40 year old Christian, Nigerian-born Briton mistaken for Muslim

Removed from an.. easyJet flight to Amsterdam for… RECEIVING A PRAYER MESSAGE | Pastor Laolu Opebiyi, was using WhatsApp to arrange a prayer call session with friends, as the flight was waiting to take off . But he was pulled off the flight by two firearms officers after a fellow passenger read the message over his shoulder and alerted cabin crew, who raised the alarm with police.It is thought the man misread the name of Opebiyi’s prayer group “ISI men” – which stands for “iron sharpens iron” from a Bible quote – as Isis.

The business analyst was taken into questioning by police and quizzed about his Christian faith and where he attends church.Laolu Opebiyi said: “Someone felt I was a terrorist because they saw the word ‘prayer’ on my phone and now I stand in uncertainty about my freedom of movement in and out of the United Kingdom”.

February 5, 2016 | Manchester Airport, UK

PROFILED: British charity worker and anti-extremism campaigner

Removed from a.. Thomson Airway flight to Marrakech for… NO REASON GIVEN | Ahmed Ali, 39, was about to fly with his pregnant wife for a belated honeymoon when he was told by a flight attendant that he had to disembark from the plane.

He was then taken by officers from Greater Manchester Police and questioned under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act. Ali said he will be making official complaints to the airline and the police about the incident which he says the incident caused his wife to have panic attacks.

January 2, 2016 | Athens Airport, Greece

PROFILED: Two Israeli Arabs

Removed from an.. Aegean Airlines flight to Tel Aviv for.. BEING ARAB | Israeli passengers forced the cabin crew to remove two Israeli Arabs from the flight before allowing it to take off. The Jewish Israeli passengers decided that the two Israeli Arab passengers on the flight constituted a security risk. After bringing their concern to the attention of the crew, they prevented the flight from taking off by standing in the aisles. The two Israeli Arabs finally acceded to crew requests that they disembark, in return for a hotel room and compensation.


December 6, 2015 | Charlotte Douglas Airport, N. Carolina, USA

PROFILED: American Muslim

Removed from an.. American Airline flight to Detroit because… A FLIGHT ATTENDANT FELT UNCOMFORTABLE | Mohamed Ahmed Radwan had boarded when a flight attendant used the loud speaker to say “Mohamed Ahmed, Seat 25-A: I will be watching you” when he asked her why she singled him out, she reportedly responded that he was being “too sensitive”. When he then reported the incident to another cabin crew member, he was told he must leave the plane as he had made her feel “uncomfortable”.


November 24, 2015 | Newark Liberty Airport, New Jersey, USA

PROFILED: Contributing editor at The New Inquiry

Removed from a.. United Airlines flight to Istanbul for… BEING THE ONLY VISIBLE MUSLIM | On the flight of about 200 passengers, 30-year-old Kameelah Rasheed explained that the only thing to single her out was that she was ’the only visible Muslim person’ on board due to her hijab.Initially she was allowed on flight after undergoing security checks and questioning by customs officers. However, she was forced to leave before the plane could take off and was interrogated by an FBI agent for over two hours.Kameelah Rasheed said: “It was an attempt to humiliate and ostracise me.”


May 29, 2016 | Chicago, USA

PROFILED: Director of Interfaith Engagement and associate chaplain at North-western University

Altercation in a Washington bound United Airlines after… a MUSLIM PASSANGER WAS WAS DENIED AN UNOPENED SODA CAN BECAUSE SHE COULD USE IT ‘AS A WEAPON’ | When Tahera Ahmed requested a soft drink she was handed an opened one. She asked for an unopened can for hygienic reasons but was falsely informed by a flight attendant that it is against United Airlines policy to give people unopened canned beverages.

When Ahmed confronted the flight attendant with the fact that the man seated next to her was handed an unopened can of beer the attendant said ‘It’s because you would use it as a weapon.’” Ahmad said she then asked the other passengers, “Did you all just witness this discrimination?” and she claims another passenger muttered “you Muslim” and told her to “shut the f**k up”.

Tahera Ahmed said: “This isn’t about me and a soda can, it’s about systemic injustice that is perpetuated throughout our community.”

If you or anyone you know as been subject to racial or religious profiling please contact: info@muslimnews.co.uk | or call 44+(0)20 8863 8586 (office hours UK time) | +44 (0) 7768341325 (all other times) – Compiled by Elham Asaad Buaras – (c) The Muslim News 2016

Japan’s Supreme Court upholds blanket surveillance of Muslims

Turkish Mosque at Yoyogi Uehara in Tokyo (Photo: Emrank/Creative Commons)

Nadine Osman

Japan’s Supreme Court has upheld the Government’s blanket surveillance of the country’s 15,000 Muslim community.

The court struck down the second appeal by Japanese Muslim plaintiffs against what they perceive as an unconstitutional invasion of their privacy and freedom of religion.

A 2010 leak of 114 police files revealed nationwide surveillance of Japanese Muslims. The files revealed that mosques, halal restaurants and Islam-related organisations across Tokyo, were being monitored.

Within a few weeks of the leak, the data had been downloaded 10,000 times in 20 different countries from a file-sharing website.

A group of 17 Japanese Muslims, mostly from Middle Eastern and North African countries, decided to sue the Japanese Government for infringing on their constitutional rights. Among the plaintiffs is Muslim convert Mohamed Fujita.

Fujita told Al Jazeera: “They made us terrorist suspects; we never did anything wrong – on the contrary.”

The Supreme Court finally dismissed the case after two appeals on May 31.The plaintiffs were awarded ¥90 million ($880,000) as compensation due to violation of their privacy by the leak.

However, the presiding judges did not make a judgment on police profiling and surveillance tactics which a lower court had upheld as “necessary and inevitable” to guard against international terrorism.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Junko Hayashi said: “We were told we don’t have a constitutional case, We’re still trying to figure out how it is not constitutional.”

Whistleblower Edward Snowden said Muslims in Japan “are more likely to be targeted… despite not having any criminal activities or associations or anything like that in their background, simply because people are afraid.”

On July 13 a Muslim association in the city of Shizuoka confirmed it has received threats of physical harm following a terrorist attack earlier this month in Bangladesh, in which 20 hostages including Japanese and Italians were killed.

An official of the Shizuoka Muslim Association said it had received four handwritten letters in Japanese stating, “I feel sorry for the Japanese and Italians in Bangladesh” and “Be careful from now on because I will beat you with a bat from behind!”

The letters are believed to have been written by the same person, the official said.The Association requested local police to strengthen patrols around the building where it is based.

Muslim doctor shot and stabbed outside mosque

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Muslim man on his way to morning prayers was shot and stabbed outside a mosque in Houston, Texas, on July 4.

Spokesperson for the Madrasah Islamiah Masjid Noor mosque near Bellaire, Mohammed Imaduddin, said the victim was a doctor, who had parked along the street before walking towards the mosque for the morning prayers.

Witnesses said the victim was approached by three masked men on foot before being stabbed without warning.One of the individuals pulled out a gun and shot him, before the three attackers fled from the scene.

“It is very scary right now given the current political climate,” said Imaduddin, adding that there were children outside at the time of the incident.

“From what I hear, this is the third incident this week in the Houston area involving a Muslim getting shot. This is a community place, we have kids that come here, we have people young and old come here.”

Investigators say the doctor was shot twice, and will remain in ICU for 24 hours, but is expected to survive his injuries.  There is no known motive known for the attack.

The incident comes the day after another Muslim man was beaten up outside a mosque in Florida.

Muslim girls’ Swiss citizenship denied for refusing to swim with boys

Elham Asaad Buaras

Swiss authorities rejected the naturalization application of two Muslim girls who refused to take school swimming lessons because boys were present. The 12 and 14 year-olds who live in Basel, had applied for Swiss citizenship several months ago, but their request was denied on June 28.

The girls said their religion prevents them from participating in compulsory swimming lessons with males in the pool at the same time. Their naturalization application was rejected because the sisters did not comply with the school curriculum, Basel authorities said.

President of the naturalization committee, Stefan Wehrle, said, “Whoever doesn’t fulfill these conditions violates the law and therefore cannot be naturalized.”

Under Swiss rules naturalization can be denied citizenship, even if the applicants are employed, have lived in the Switzerland for long durations and are fluent in one of the national languages – German, French or Italian.

Local councils make initial decisions on naturalization applications. If they decide a candidate is not an upstanding member of the community, the application will be denied and not forwarded to canton (state) and federal authorities for further processing.

In April, members of an immigrant family in the Basel area were denied citizenship because they wore sweatpants around town and did not greet passersby – a sure sign that they were not sufficiently assimilated, the naturalization board claimed.

Another recent case sparked widespread outrage in Switzerland when two Muslim brothers refused to shake hands with their female teacher, also citing religious restrictions. Shaking hands with a teacher is a common practice in Swiss schools.

After that incident was widely publicized, authorities suspended the naturalization request from the boys’ father, an imam at the Basel mosque.The swimming case involving the two girls is the first to deny naturalization applications for not complying with a school program, setting precedence for future cases, Wehrle said.

In 2012, a family was fined $1,500 for forbidding their daughters to participate in swimming classes. The matter eventually ended up in the Supreme Court, which ruled that no dispensations from swimming lessons should be made on religious grounds.


[Photo: Mosque of the Olten Turkish cultural association at Wangen bei Olten. By Nadf Public Domain]

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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