Australian law inadequate to protect Muslims from hate crimes

Nadine Osman

Australian law is inadequate to fully protect Muslims from hate crimes, according to a report by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The report, released on November 5, 2015, shows that protection of Muslims under the Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act is “limited” because “religious identity” is not covered under the act while Australian Jews and Sikhs – are covered because the Federal Court has accepted they have a common “ethnic origin” and can thus be protected under the Act.

The Court has determined that Jewish people constitute an ethnic group due to their shared customs, beliefs, traditions and characteristics derived from a common history and identity.

Legal and ethnic affairs experts are calling on the Federal Government to investigate how to better protect Australia’s Muslim community from discrimination.

The report finds that discrimination against Muslims has escalated since the Lindt Cafe siege on December 15, 2014, during which lone gunman Man Haron Monis killed two hostages at the end of a 16-hour standoff.

Director of Law Reform and Social Justice at the Australian National University, Professor Simon Rice, said that changing Act legislation alone won’t make a difference.

“Reliance on law alone is very limited. The law has to be given effect to by lawyers and courts and tribunals who understand it and pursue its spirit.

“It has to be backed up by mechanisms like the Human Rights Commission, which would have to be properly funded to promote and investigate those sort of complaints,” he argued.

“It would have to be supported by an extensive education and awareness campaign. And in my view most importantly, it has to be supported by leadership, by a public commitment from our leaders and commentators to address a wrong like this.”

The basis of his argument being that “a law is sterile unless it’s actually widely publicly supported.”

Vegas mosque defaced with bacon

(Photo: CCTV Capture)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Police in Nevada are considering opening a hate crime investigation after a man defaced a mosque early December 27, 2015.

Surveillance footage from a camera directly outside the Masjid-e-Tawheed in Las Vegas captured an unidentified man appearing to wrap strips of raw bacon around the handles of the mosque’s doors around 3:00 am.

A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police confirmed no arrests had been made.

“I hope that in his conscience, in his heart, he feels ashamed of what he did,” said Rokai Yusufzai, a founding member of the mosque.

The surveillance video that caught the Nevada incident also shows the attacker stuffing several strips of raw bacon into his mouth.

The incident is just the latest in a series of acts of vandalism against mosques in which attackers have used pork products.

Earlier in December, horrified congregants found a severed hog’s head outside their mosque in Philadelphia. And Muslims in California were recently forced to clean bacon from the parking lot of the Manteca Islamic Centre near San Francisco.

Hate crimes in West Midlands shot up after Paris attacks

Aishah Ali

Hate crimes in the West Midlands with a racial element and hate offences with a religious strand dramatically increased following the Paris terror attacks.

West Midlands police recorded 127 hate crimes, a 30 percent rise, in the two weeks after the Paris atHate crimes in the West Midlands with a racial element and hate offences with a religious strand dramatically increased following the Paris terror attacks.tacks on November 13 last year. Moreover, hate offences with a ‘religious strand’ dramatically increased by 50 percent from November 14 to 27.

The figures also revealed that hate crimes which were specifically directed against Islam sharply escalated over 50 percent in the two weeks after Paris terror attacks.

Commenting about the figures, Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson told the Express and Star: “I am committed to tackling hate crime and bringing hidden crimes out into the open.”

He added that he will consider the possibility of launching a hate crime helpline: “My Victims Commission includes representatives from Stop Hate UK and I am looking into the feasibility of operating a hate crime helpline across the region.

“There are also 188 third-party reporting centres across the West Midlands where people can report the crimes if they don’t want to go to the police.”

In November 2015, Express & Star had received over 1,300 reports about crimes at places of worship in the West Midlands. The crimes included arson and criminal damage, theft and violence against individuals.

GCSE and A-Levels exams will not be fitted around Ramadan

Elham Asaad Buaras

The body representing the seven largest exam boards in the UK, has robustly denied media reports that this summer’s GCSE and A-Levels exams will be moved to accommodate Muslim students fasting during Ramadan.

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) said contrary to reports from some media outlets, including the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Telegraph, the GCSE and A-Levels timetables will not be changed to assist fasting Muslim pupils.

The JCQ said there had been a “clear misunderstanding in some parts of the media” over the exam schedule after it announced that the timetable had taken Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, into account. And the timing of Ramadan had been considered in the same way as other events – such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June 2012 – and that the timetable was not open to change.

On January 6, some media outlets suggested the timetable was still in flux as a result of the discussions held between the exam boards, the exam regulator Ofqual and Muslim leaders, which appears to have raised concerns that crucial exam dates could change.

Colin Hart, of Christian Concern was quoted asking, “How can you start changing the rules for everybody just to accommodate those particular pupils who are Muslims, who are in a minority? ”

But the JCQ said: “There has been a clear misunderstanding in some parts of the media as to how the GCSE and A-Level timetable is set and the impact religious events, such as Ramadan, Easter and Passover, have on it. It is important to note that the timetable for 2016 was drafted over a year ago, is published and won’t be changing.

“Each year the timetable is reviewed to ensure it meets the current needs of students, schools and colleges. This review includes a consultation and considers comments from a wide range of stakeholders including schools, colleges and religious groups. However, each year there are only minimal changes.

“In such a large, complex system where there are a large number of candidates taking examinations and a diverse range of subjects available, it is not always possible to meet each and every request. Exam boards will always aim to be as fair as possible to all. If a small change can be made for any one group that does not impact negatively on most students, it will, quite rightly, be considered – but these are made before the timetable is published.”

The beginning of Ramadan falls on June 7, in the latter part of the summer exam season.

After discussions, the exam boards decided to make minor adjustments to the timetable, which included moving some popular exams to before the start of Ramadan and holding others in the mornings, to avoid penalising pupils who were fasting during daylight hours.

Popular exams in UK are to be rescheduled to avoid Ramadan

Comparisons of the 2015 and 2016 timetables show the changes have been minor, and in some cases the advent of Ramadan had no obvious effect on timings.

In 2016 Ramadan is scheduled to run from June 7 to July 5, overlapping with the summer exam season in May and June.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has accused some newspapers of running misleading and “hysteric headlines” to tarnish Muslim communities on an issue affecting a pluralist society.

A spokesman for MCB told The Muslim News, “Some newspapers have once again led with front pages with hysteric headlines on Muslims, this time with the charge that all ‘Pupils face exam shake-up to accommodate fasting Muslims’. ”

“In fact, there is no ‘shake-up’ or talk of radically changing exam timetable to fit the lives of fasting pupils. It is reasonable that the JCQ reviews the timetable to ensure it meets the needs of all children, including Muslims. It is appropriate that small changes that can easily accommodate the requirements of any group should be considered, especially where that does not impact negatively on most students. ”

“We live in a pluralist society where reasonable accommodations are always made all the time. This is no different. It is disturbing that some media outlets have chosen to use this reasonable accommodation as another means of tarring Muslim communities.”

CCTV shows Muslim centre set ablaze in Scotland

Nadine Osman

CCTV footage of a deliberate fire set in a Muslim cultural centre in Scotland was released by police earlier this month.

The blaze occurred at Bishopbriggs Cultural Centre in Auchinairn Road in the East Dunbartonshire town at about 2.15am on November 17, 2015.

No-one was injured but thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to the building. Police are treating the arson as a hate crime.

Police Scotland said the fire was set deliberately and have now released CCTV footage showing a man entering with a torch, pouring a flammable substance on the floor of a number of rooms and then lighting it

He is around 5ft 10ins and was wearing a blue tracksuit, a hat with a luminous band at the back, and dark shoes. He was carrying a JD Sports draw-string bag over his shoulder and had a scarf over his face.

It was said at the time the blaze may have been set in response to the terror attacks in Paris just four days earlier and police called on Scotland to unite against such retaliation.

Detective Constable Stephen Cooke said: “This was a deliberate and dangerous act which has caused extensive damage to the centre.”

Bishopbriggs Cultural Centre Secretary, Shafiq Sharif, said: “I was shocked when I found out this happened.

“My family have been living in Bishopbriggs for the past 57 years and we have never had any problem like this before. I’m really saddened and hope the police can solve this matter.”

Former Sun editor says white people shouldn’t be searched at ports

Elham Asaad Buaras

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, 67, has claimed that airport security should not search white people, because they are “not the terrorists”.

Writing in the Sun about a recent stopover in Dubai, MacKenzie, who is white, says he didn’t understand why airport security personnel “wasted their time” searching him.

If the security guard had just had “a quick glance” he would have known “I was not going to be a terrorist”, MacKenzie argues.

Only Muslims from the Middle East and Africa should be searched at the airport, the journalist writes, apparently supporting racial profiling.

“Racial profiling is an uncomfortable subject but everybody knows – especially the nervous employees at Dubai airport – that if a bomb is to be smuggled on to a plane it will be carried on by a Muslim from the Middle East or Africa.”

Stopping “law-abiding, non-violent white people” at airports is foolish, he adds.

“They know who they are looking for. I am not one of them. And neither are you,” MacKenzie concludes, calling on the Dubai airport to change its procedure.

Writing in the Sun, the Top Gear host railed against “bleeding-heart liberals” who wanted airport staff to search people of all religions, rather than just “high risk” passengers.

“They believe that … a hook-handed imam with fire in his heart and hatred in his eyes is just as likely to whip up anti-western sentiment as Joanna Lumley,” Clarkson said.

But these thoughts could be contradicted by some recent cases, such as a 45-year-old Ukrainian national – thought to be white and Christian – who hijacked a plane and told cabin staff he had placed a bomb on board in 2014, although security found no sign of this when they diverted the aircraft.

Other white figures, such as ‘Jihadi Bride’ Sally Jones and ‘white widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite, both young women, are prominent members of Daesh and Al-Shabab respectively.

In 2011, a white Kazakh man, aged 48 was overpowered by cabin crew on a flight from Paris to Rome, after he drew out a knife and demanded the plane divert to Libya.

Philip Baum, an aviation expert and Managing Director of Green Light Limited, a security company, argues that profiling works but should never be conducted on the basis of race, religion or skin colour: “Effective profiling is based on the analysis of the appearance and behaviour of a passenger and an inspection of the traveler’s itinerary and passport.”

In 2010, Baum was on a panel of seven aviation experts who blogged for The New York Times about whether racial profiling works. All agreed it was ineffective, with one noting: “Focus on one particular ethnicity or country of origin, and the terrorists will recruit from somewhere else.”

Other research – covering the period before the rise of Daesh- suggests that the threat from Muslim extremists can be exaggerated in some areas. More than 90 per cent of all terrorist attacks on US Soil between 1980 and 2005 were carried out by non-Muslims, according to the FBI.

Six per cent were carried out by “Islamist” extremists, compared to 42 per cent from people of Latino origins, 24 per cent from left wing extremists and 7 per cent by Jewish extremists.

Pig’s head found close to Islamophobic graffiti in Hounslow

Elham Asaad Buaras

The Metropolitan Police are investigating after a pig’s head was allegedly found yards from some Islamophobic graffiti on a pavement in west London on December 17, 2015.

‘Muslims are terrorists’ was found etched onto the pavement in Bath Road, Hounslow.

Another message, which originally read ‘Muslims hate us’, was reportedly changed to read ‘Muslims hate racists’. Ed Driscoll, a friend of a nearby resident, said he was “horrified” by the graffiti.

He said: “It’s obviously disturbing to think there are people who are looking to pick on innocent victims like this.”

A Metropolitan Police Service spokesman said: “Enquiries are ongoing and no arrests have been made.” The Met spokesman added officers had been made aware of a pig’s head being found nearby and enquiries were being made to establish the circumstances surrounding the find.

Landmark settlement in NYPD surveillance of New York Muslims

Imam Hamid Hassan Raza, the lead plaintiff in Raza v City of New York. (Photo: ACLU)

Nadine Osman

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has agreed to a series of operational reforms as part of a settlement of two lawsuits over illegal surveillance of Muslims following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Under the settlement reached on January 7, the NYPD has also agreed to strengthen safeguards against launching investigations and conducting surveillance against Muslims based on their faith.

The settlement was announced in Raza versus City of New York, a lawsuit on behalf of three Muslims, two mosques, and a Muslim non-profit organisation, who alleged they were swept up in the NYPD’s dragnet surveillance of Muslims.

The Union American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the CLEAR project at CUNY School of Law, filed the suit in 2013. The lawsuit argued that the NYPD mapped Muslim communities and institutions, sent officers and informants into mosques to monitor innocent imams and congregants, and used other invasive means to spy on Muslims.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, imposes safeguards to ensure police investigations are in line with the Constitution including the reinstallation of an independent regulator that will monitor their counter-terrorism operations.

ACLU National Security Project Director, Hine Shamsi, said, “The settlement is a win for New York Muslims and for all New Yorkers, who have a right to be free from discriminatory police surveillance and to practice their religion without stigma or fear.”

She added that the “settlement puts much needed constraints on law enforcement’s discriminatory and unjustified surveillance of Muslims.”

The settlement ends two of three civil-rights lawsuits filed by groups and Muslims after a series of articles in 2011 by the Associated Press reported that intelligence-unit officers infiltrated mosques and student groups in New York and New Jersey in racial and religious profiling.

The NYPD has never admitted illegal surveillance of Muslims and makes no admission in the settlement that it acted improperly. Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Unit, John Miller, said, “What we get is guiding principles. What we don’t lose is flexibility.”

The new guidelines emulate those designed by the US Attorney General and used by federal authorities during counterterrorism probes.

The revelations about surveillance of mosques and student groups led to distrust of the police in the Muslim community and became a campaign issue for Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2013.

The settlement doesn’t affect a separate case in New Jersey that was initially thrown out from federal court in Newark but later reinstated. In that case, 11 people have accused the NYPD of crossing state lines to gather evidence based on their ethnicity or religion.

The Department, which officials say uses a series of tools including informants and undercover officers to gather information after receiving tips of potential illegal activity, has said officers didn’t act on any information gathered during the surveillance.

The Handschu rules were created in 1985 as part of a consent decree settling a 1971 case involving a group of Communist radicals who claimed the NYD spied on them and violated their rights.

Following the September 11, 2001, the guidelines were relaxed, despite opposition from some of the plaintiffs in the settlement, after the NYPD successfully argued that it needed more leeway to authorise investigations and detect terrorists.

The civilian attorney monitoring surveillance was removed, and discretion to open and close investigations was in the hands of the department’s head of intelligence.

Under the guidelines, the attorney, who will be appointed by the mayor in consultation with the police commissioner, will serve as a third party-monitor at the monthly meetings of counterterrorism officials. The return of an outside attorney appears to satisfy a request by plaintiffs for a court-appointed monitor.

Also as part of the settlement, the NYPD agreed to take down a controversial report titled “Radical of the West” from its website. Critics argued that it justified discriminatory surveillance of Muslims.

The Department also agreed to put in writing new timetables for investigations. Under the old guidelines, the NYPD had no duration for full investigations and a two-year ceiling on preliminary investigations.

Preliminary investigations will no longer exceed 18 months and full investigations 3 years and probes into suspected terrorist activities won’t extend beyond 5 years, with some exceptions. All of these time limits can be prolonged at the discretion of the Deputy Commissioner of intelligence.

In a statement The Muslim News the Muslim Advocates and the Centre for Constitutional Rights which is litigating a similar, ongoing challenge against the de Blasio Administration on behalf of Muslims in New Jersey, said the “settlement is important in light of escalating anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes in the US, but at the same time we hope Mayor de Blasio will be more vocal about why the Department was simply wrong to engage in religious profiling of the Muslim community in the first place. We hope he will also come to the right side of history in our case on behalf of Muslims in New Jersey who were similarly subject to blanket, suspicion-less surveillance by the NYPD. ”

“As a historic court ruling in our case reminded the de Blasio Administration in October, we have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during World War II. We must ensure the same mistakes are not repeated. ”

Imam’s visa to US revoked at the airport without reason

Ajmal Masroor

This is my account of a recent experience of unfairness and injustice that I faced at the hands of the US embassy, which, without notice or explanation, revoked my B-1/B-2 Business Visa. I would like to inform you so that you feel motivated to also share your story especially if you have faced the same at the hands of the US immigration. It is with this in my mind I have also launched a website called www.flyingwhilemuslim.org.uk to log all your travel troubles to and from the US.

On December 17, 2015, I was scheduled to travel from London to New York. I am an imam, and I had been invited to lead Friday prayers at one of the leading mosques in New York City.

During my trip, I was also planning to deliver several lectures and to see friends and family who live in America. I arrived at Heathrow airport in good time, scanned my boarding pass through the first departure gates, completed the hand luggage and body security checks and proceeded to the assigned gate for the Virgin Atlantic flight.

I queued up, and when it was my turn I handed over my passport for the final checks. At this stage my passport would normally flag up a further security alert and I would be taken to the side for another round of checks. I have learned to expect this for every flight to the US.

However, this time I was approach by a man who claimed to be from the US Embassy and wanted to talk to me. He took my passport, opened it, checked the US visa page and then asked me some frivolous questions. He tapped a few numbers on his blackberry and said to me: “I am afraid you cannot travel on this flight, your visa has been revoked.”

I asked him why and he said he was only a messenger. He had no answer and said I should contact the Embassy. However, he wanted to be 100% sure so he said he would make a few phone calls and be back. He left me on the side and proceeded to make the phone calls. He came back and said: “You cannot travel on this flight.”

I asked him why and he said: “You must have done something wrong.” Then he walked away with a smirk on his face. He was cold, calculated and unhelpful.

I felt insulted, humiliated and angry. I couldn’t understand why my valid Business Visa had been revoked and why I had not been informed about it before arriving at the airport? Why prevent me from boarding a plane and give me no reason? This was extremely disturbing.

While I stood there visibly shaken, I witnessed the same man stop only Muslim looking passengers and interrogate them. The messenger had turned into an interrogator.

In the mean time I made a phone call to the US Embassy to speak to a contact I had spoken to before, regarding the Global Traveler Program. At the suggestion of US Embassy staff, I had applied to the program to make my travel to the US easier.

The Embassy staff told me that the matter would be further explored and someone would be in touch with me.

A Virgin Atlantic staff member came over to me and apologised for the inconvenience, saying it was not the airline’s decision. They have no say over these matters and they were not amused by what was going on, but they would be happy to show me the way to the exit gates. The airline staff looked unhappy at the behaviour of the US Embassy staff.
I left the airport extremely upset.

I immediately made this information public through Facebook and Twitter. I was contacted by BBC London Radio to talk about it, as they were closely tracking US behaviour towards Muslim visitors. This was followed by a TV interview for the BBC London News the next day. At this stage, all I wanted was to hear from the Embassy.

I received a phone call from someone by the name of Geoff from the US Embassy on December 18, around midday, requesting me to go to the Embassy. He suggested that we should talk and sort things out. He even said we should be able to fix things. I accepted his invitation to attend two days later.

When I arrived at the Embassy on Monday December 21 at 10am, a man ushered me in and took me to a room in the basement. Two more men were waiting for me in the room. They all sat down behind a table and I sat down on a revolving chair.

They told me that this was my turn to tell them my side of the story. Perhaps I could tell them the reasons why I think my visa could have been revoked. That was astonishing to me! I was invited by the Embassy to put things right, yet I was being accused of something that was not being made clear and I was expected to say things.

What “things”? I was unaware of any reason why my visa could have been revoked.

I was sharp with my words and told the officers what I thought of their attitude. I have done nothing wrong. I have never been found guilty in any court in any part of the world. I have never been involved in any extremist activities, and in fact I am living with a death threat from an extremist group for speaking out against extremism. I have remained the same all my life, with my views and my practice of Islam – always balanced, moderate and calling for inner and outer peace.

I told them that I found their method totally unacceptable. Surely if they had decided to revoke my visa they would have done that long ago. Why leave it until the last minute? Why humiliate me at the airport? Why not inform me in advance so I could have cancelled my trip and my hosts in the US could have made alternative arrangements?

I asked them what information they had about the reasons behind the revocation of my visa. They did not give me any clear answer apart from asking: “Do you know a man by the name of ‘X’?” They pronounced the name very badly so I asked them to spell it for me. I replied that I did not know a man by that name; I do not have any friends by that name, nor any relatives. However, it is possible this person’s name appears on my Facebook friends, followers and fans list. As a public figure, I have over 27,000 people following my social media feeds.

I told them that unless they had something clearly showing what I had done wrong, this was making no sense. I did not do anything wrong. I have never called for anything violent or against the law. Whoever this person is had nothing to do with me. They need to provide proof of any connection and wrongdoing.

They told me that they would do further investigations and might or might not come back to me. The only way I could find out whether I can travel to the US was by making a fresh application for a visa.

I told the officers that I was not that desperate to go to the US. Since they revoked my visa, let them explain why they have done this and then I may re-consider my options. In fact, the US Embassy should give me a clear answer with reasons why my visa was revoked. I did tell them that an apology and compensation for my pain and loss would be the most civilized thing for them to do.

I asked the officers their names, but they refused to give them to me. I asked the officers to give me some idea about whom I should contact and they refused to do that too. I asked the officers what was the purpose of this meeting and they said: “It was to hear your side of the story, anything more than that is above our pay grade.”

I left the room feeling my time was wasted. I was not any clearer or wiser about why they had revoked my visa nor what course of action I should pursue from this point on.

I believe this was a grave injustice on me and must be put right. I also believe many others are affected by this policy and it must be changed. I would like to request you to not suffer in silence. We should stand together against all type of prejudice.

If you have been stopped at the airport by US officials, refused to board flight to the US, please email us your experiences to info@muslimnews.co.uk

Ajmal Masroor, Imam and Chief Communications Officer, Alchemiya Media Limited

Islamophobic crimes in London soar by 170 per cent

Elham Asaad Buaras

Islamophobic hate crimes in London have soared by 171 per cent in November following the Paris attacks, new Metropolitan Police figures have revealed.

In the 12 months to November 2015, the number of Islamophobic crimes recorded was 818 – 63.9 per cent higher than the 499 crimes recorded in the year to November 2014.

In the month of November alone, there were 163 Islamophobic offences recorded compared to just 60 in November 2014. The Paris attacks took place on November 13, 2015.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman told The Muslim News: “We are acutely aware that all areas of hate crime are still under reported and we are encouraged that more people feel confident to report racial and religious hate crimes, regardless if this is direct to Police or via a third party or online.

“The Met is committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms and we have long since recognised the impact of hate crime on communities and victims of hate crime must be assured that they will be taken seriously by the police.

Man attempts to hit women Islamophobic attack

Nadine Osman

On January 3, police announced they were investigating an Islamophobic incident in London in which a man allegedly spat at and made Islamophobic remarks towards a woman.

The incidents both took place on November 23. The first occurred at around 9:50am on a route 259 bus on Seven Sisters Road, which joins Holloway with south Tottenham. A man verbally abused a fellow passenger.

According to a spokesperson for the Met Police: “Passengers on the bus intervened after the man, who made Islamophobic remarks to the woman, advanced towards her raising his hand as though he was going to hit her. The bus driver stopped the bus and ordered the man off.”

In a subsequent incident, police were called to a further scene on Seven Sisters Road: “Whereby a 38-year-old man matching the description of the suspect in the first incident allegedly spat at a woman after he had racially abused her and made Islamophobic remarks,” according to a police spokesperson.

The man was arrested on suspicion of religiously and racially aggravated public order offences.

A spokesperson for the Met Police said that the man has been bailed pending further inquiries.

Muslim woman led out of Trump rally, seeks Trump explanation

Nadine Osman

A Muslim woman who was removed from Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign event in South Carolina after standing in silent protest following one of the his controversial immigration comments, says she is awaiting a response from the Republican front-runner.

Rose Hamid said she was heckled by the crowd at Winthrop University in Rock Hill and escorted away by security guards despite merely standing in protest.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has issued a call to the campaign of the GOP contender to apologise over Hamid’s treatment at the event o January 8. Hamid said she hadn’t received any response.

“I would like to hear what Trump has to say about it, I’d like to hear because if they say that it was because we were disrupting things, then I would like him to show evidence of where the disruption came, because the disruption didn’t come from me. It came from his followers because they saw me,” said Hamid.

Trump defended his proposal insisting he drew attention to radical terrorism, which he described as “a very deep-seated problem that we have in this country and throughout the world.” He made similar comments later in Iowa.

The flight attendant said there were no problems as she waited in line to enter and hear Trump speak. In fact, she said, one woman came up to her and said she was glad to see her at the rally.

“I didn’t get a bad vibe from anyone,” Hamid said. “The people I made personal contact with were very pleasant.”

Hamid said the mood shifted once the rally began, adding the spotlight began to shift to her.

“My intention was to stand up when he said something that was offensive, not just for Muslims but for anyone,” she said.

It was when Hamid stood up that she said people around her began to chant “Trump, Trump, Trump.” She said organisers had told the audience that if they saw anyone attempting to disrupt his speech, they were to begin chanting to point where the protester was located.

People behind her began chanting, she said, and Trump soon acknowledged the chant. At that point, Hamid said she and a fellow protester were asked to leave.

Then, she said came the verbal taunts from the audience. One man yelled at her to get out, while another asked, “Do you have a bomb. Do you have a bomb?,” Hamid said. “And I said “No, do you have a bomb? ’”

Hamid said security officials didn’t touch her as they led her out, adding, “I was glad that nobody got physical and did anything scary.”

Muslims are America’s new black men, says Samuel L Jackson

Samuel L Jackson says that Muslims are the new Blacks of America because of how they are being unfairly persecuted – (Creative Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Actor Samuel L Jackson has claimed that Muslims are the new blacks of America because of how they are being unfairly persecuted.

Jackson, 67, said that the recent attacks in Paris and California meant that people saw it as a “legitimate reason” to fear Muslims.

The Pulp Fiction star said that he had hoped the San Bernardino, California attacks were carried out by some “crazy white dude” because they had damaged the perception of Muslims.

Jackson spoke out as high profile incidents of Muslims being targeted in the US and the UK made headlines this month.

Attacks on American mosques are on the rise and leading Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a ban on all Muslims coming to the US.

Jackson said: “I can’t even tell you how much I really wanted (San Bernardino) to just be another, you know, crazy white dude, and not really some Muslims, because it’s like: ‘Oh, s***. It’s here’. But now? It’s like they have a legitimate reason now to look at your Muslim neighbour, friend, whatever in another way. And they become the new young black men. ”

Muslim woman punched and kicked in bus attack

Elham Asaad Buaras

Police are looking for two women accused of punching and kicking a Muslim woman wearing a hijab during a violent Islamophobic attack on board a London bus.

Officers released CCTV photographs of two female suspects on December 16, who were believed to be in their twenties, following the attack on October 28.

Fellow bus passengers said the woman, in her 40s, was subjected to a torrent of racist and Islamophobic abuse, before she was punched in the head and kicked off the bus as it travelled through Southwark in south London.

They then continued to hurl abuse at her as she lay on the pavement, close to Elephant and Castle tube station.

Police were called to the scene, and the woman, who was badly shaken by the attack, was then taken to hospital for treatment.

“Officers were called at approximately 20.10 on 28 October to reports of a woman being subject to racial and Islamophobic abuse on a route 63 bus on London Road, Southwark,’ said a spokesman from the Metropolitan Police. ‘The bus was travelling from Kings Cross to Peckham.

“Officers attended and spoke to a woman in her forties who was injured as a result of being punched in the head and kicked off the bus by two female suspects.

“The suspects were heard by the victim and witnesses shouting racist and Islamophobic abuse at the victim before and after the attack.”

At the time of the attack, eye-witnesses had spoken of the incident on social media, including Antonia Bance, head of campaigns at the Trades Union Congress

Police are also keen to trace other passengers on board the bus, as it is believed they may have filmed the incident, or taken photographs on their mobile phones.

Antonia Bance, head of campaigns at the Trades Union Congress, wrote on Twitter: “Just witnessed a hate crime at the Elephant [and Castle].

“Muslim woman in hijab kicked backwards off a bus to the floor. “This isn’t b***** Africa,” they said.

“Others heard anti-Muslim abuse. Some tried to hold them but they ran.”

Amputee soldier’s anti-Islamophobia post goes viral

Nadime Osman

A British soldier who had his leg blown off by a bomb while serving in Iraq has taken the internet by storm after his Facebook post attacking Islamophobia went viral.

Chris Herbert, who served in the British Army in Basra, Iraq, lost his right leg when a bomb went off next to his Land Rover in 2007.

Herbert, who was 19 when he suffered the life-changing injury, took to Facebook after complaining that he was “getting frustrated” with people expecting him to be racist after losing his leg.

In 341 facebook post Herbert eloquently told Islamophobes to: “Get a grip of your lives, hug your family and get back to work.”

The post has been shared nearly 125,000 times and has been hugely popular on social media.

“Yes. A Muslim man blew me up, and I lost my leg,” he wrote. “A Muslim man also lost his arm that day wearing a British Uniform.

“A Muslim medic was in the helicopter that took me from the field. A Muslim surgeon performed the surgery that saved my life.

“A Muslim nurse was part of the team that helped me when I returned to the UK.

“A Muslim Healthcare Assistant was part of the team that sorted out my day to day needs in rehabilitation when I was learning to walk.

“A Muslim taxi driver gave me a free ride the first time I went for a beer with my dad after I came home.

“A Muslim doctor offered my dad comfort and advice in a pub, when he didn’t know how to deal with my medicines and side effects.”

Student punched in broad daylight

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Muslim teenager wearing a hijab was brutally punched in the face in Birmingham city centre on November 23 in what is thought to be an Islamophobic attack.

Choudhury, 18, who did not want her first name published, said she had been left shocked after the assault which happened as she was walking along New Street.

Her attacker, who was wearing a grey hooded top, came up to her and punched her in the street.

Police have appealed for witnesses to the attack, which happened at 7.30am and said they were treating it as a ‘hate crime’.

Chaudary, who is a student, said the experience has left her too scared to walk through the city centre by herself.

“I feel shocked and really scared that someone could attack you for no reason. I don’t feel safe at all now,” she said.

“I was walking to the train station to meet some friends when someone shoved me from behind. When I turned around he punched me in the face and then just went off.”

She added; “I was really upset afterwards. I can only think it was because he saw my hijab as he didn’t take my bag or anything. I’ve lived in Birmingham all my life and I’ve never experienced something like this before.”

The student suffered bruising but said the emotional impact has been more difficult to deal with than her physical injuries.

She fears Muslims are being increasingly targeted because of the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month.

She explained: “It’s made life harder for innocent Muslims. We don’t want people to be killed – that’s not our religion. Our religion is all about peace. My parents are so scared that they’re telling me to take my hijab off. My mum’s telling me to wear a hat instead.”

West Midlands Police confirmed they were investigating the attack.

Former Australian PM says West should ‘proclaim superiority over Islam’

Elham Buaras

Tony Abbott has sparked accusations he is trying to “Trumpify” Australia after he insisted not all cultures are equal and urged the West to proclaim its superiority over Islam.

Writing in column for the Sydney Daily Telegraph on December 9, Abbott, urged the West to “be ready to proclaim the clear superiority of our culture to one that justifies killing people in the name of God.”

“We can’t remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam,” wrote the former Prime Minister who was ousted by Malcolm Turnbull in a Liberal Party election coup in September.

Labour opposition frontbencher Ed Husic slammed Abbott for his “effort to Trumpify Australian politics”, after US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump courted controversy by calling for Muslims to be barred from entering the country.

“What are these guys going on about, other than what I see as a broader effort to Trumpify Australian politics by bringing in the extreme elements of conservative discussion within the US political system to Australian shores?” asked Husic.

Abbott, who briefly trained as a priest before entering politics and was once dubbed the “Mad Monk”, added that Australians should stop being “apologetic about the values that have made our country as free, fair and prosperous as any on Earth.”

Labour Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, called the remarks “entirely counterproductive”.
“Inflammatory language undermines efforts to build social cohesion, mutual respect and has the potential to harm the efforts of national security agencies to keep Australians safe,” he said in a statement.

Women bear the brunt of Islamophobia in the Netherlands

Elham Asaad Buaras

Muslim women bore the brunt of Islamophobic violence in the Netherlands this year, according to findings by an independent monitoring group.

Meld Islamofobie [Report Islamophobia] presented its first half-yearly report (covering January to June) on November 27.

The findings are parallel with research conducted elsewhere in Western Europe that reveals that Muslim women bear the brunt of Islamophoic abuse.

From January to June, Report Islamophobia registered 89 reports of verbal and physical abuse, including slurs, beatings, and an attempted kidnapping.

90 percent of the victims were hijab wearing women. In the vast majority of cases the attacker was a white male. In one third of all cases physical violence was used against the victim.

In most cases, victims did not report to the police due to lack of confidence in convictions or out of fear of reprisals. In some cases, the police tried to dissuade victims of verbal and physical abuse from submitting a formal police report.

Only 39 percent of the victims subjected to physical assault reached out to the police to file a report. The report also reveals that most Islamophobic incidents in the Netherlands took place in broad daylight in public spaces (87 percent): on the street, in supermarkets, at gas stations and on public transportation. Witnesses are frequently present (in 71 percent of cases).

However, in 80 percent of the attacks no one intervened. The victim was usually alone (67 percent). In 11 cases, the victim was accompanied by minors.

Report Islamophobia was established by a group of Muslim researchers and professionals when they noticed a spike in Islamophoic abuse after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in January.

They primarily used their Facebook profile to gather and verify reports and to create a solidarity and mutual support network. Islamophoic incidents have not previously been registered systematically in the Netherlands.

Meld Islamofobie say they have seen a spike in Islamophobic violence since the terrors attacks in Paris on November 13. The group say by November 27, they received 22 reports of abuse, and new incidents continue to be reported daily.

Muslim teenager held for 13 hours at Heathrow

Nadime Osman

A Muslim teenager who was detained at Heathrow Airport for 13 hours after flying into the UK believes she was “judged” because of her faith.

Ayan Mohamud, an US national arrived at Heathrow Airport last month said she “wasn’t expecting to be interrogated or held in a room for hours”.

The 18 year-old left the US for the first time, to visit family in Leicester.

The UK Border Agency said the checks were for immigration purposes.

Keith Vaz, Leicester East MP, said he would be raising her case in his capacity as Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Mohamud told the BBC she was warned by her father that she could be questioned at the UK border.

“[But it] hit me that I was being judged based on what I was wearing on my head. I felt that I was detained because I’m Muslim,” she explained.

“After the Paris incident happened, [Border Force] feel that everyone wearing a scarf needs to be checked thoroughly.

“I felt it was inhuman for them to treat me that way.”

Her aunt Jawaahir Daahir, who lives in Leicester, described her niece’s ordeal as “a terrible, distressful unimaginable experience for her and for our family”.

“She didn’t commit any crime except being a Muslim girl with a headscarf,” she said.

“People shouldn’t be discriminated against, Muslim or non-Muslim, they should be all checked.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “To ensure the correct decisions are reached it is sometimes necessary for Border Force to detain passengers while checks are carried out to ensure they qualify for entry to the UK.

“The passenger was given leave to enter the UK as soon as officers were able to make further inquiries, including in the United States.”

Racist women who urinated in front of praying Muslim family spared jail

Elham Asaad Buaras

Two Plymouth women who urinated in front of a Muslim family in a park while shouting racist abuse have walked free from Plymouth Crown Court on November 27.

Natalie Richardson, 32, and Claire Farrell, 36, squatted in front of a Syrian family and their own children and urinated while drunkenly hurling racist abuse.

The prosecution described how the Syrian couple, both practising Muslims, had been having a picnic in Central Park on August 16 with their 10-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter.
Drunken Richardson and Farrell pulled down their underwear and squatted within metres of the Syrians while shouting racist abuse.

Richardson even pushed a bystander in the chest when he tried to intervene in the incident on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
Richardson and Farrell were with five young children at the time.
Despite describing their behaviour as “disgusting”, a judge imposed only suspended sentences.

Recorder John Trevaskis said: “Nobody in civilised society could see your behaviour in any way justified or acceptable, not in the multi-cultural society in which we live. I describe it as disgusting.”

Richardson had pleaded guilty to religiously-aggravated threatening and abusive behaviour on August 16. Farrell had denied the charges.

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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