Islamophobia and ignorance rife in Scottish schools, says new report

Nadine Osman

New research released earlier this month has revealed a large portion Muslims pupils in Scottish schools have experienced Islamophobia and or ignorance.

A study of pupils from different religions and races found Muslims are regularly being branded “Pakis” and “terrorists”, the terms were also directed at other groups including Sikhs and Somalis.

Even young Eastern Europeans had been called “Pakis”.

The research, by academics from the universities of Newcastle, St Andrews and Edinburgh, also found school staff lacked an understanding of the religious background of pupils.

In one case, catering staff at a Catholic secondary in Glasgow asked a boy from a Catholic Indian family why he was eating during the fast of Ramadan despite the fact he regularly attended mass at the school.

Professor of Social Ggeography at Newcastle University, Peter Hopkins, called for better training of school staff and more lessons on Islamophobia and other forms of racism.

He said: “A lot of the young people felt the Asian community was seen to be one community and that they were all seen as Muslims and Pakistani.

“There was a lack of understanding that the ‘Asian community’ is quite diverse and includes Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Catholics as well as people who aren’t religious.”

Hopkins said he had been surprised the racist insult “Paki” was used against all the different groups in the study, including those from Eastern Europe.

He also said it was clear abuse was related to major political events such as the spread of IS in Syria and Iraq, the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in London in 2013 and the 9/11 attacks.

Some pupils said they had a clear idea of who to report incidents of racism to, such as a guidance teacher, and that their school would deal effectively with the issue.

Hopkins said: “Some of the pupils talked about teachers assuming they were Muslim. It wasn’t nasty. It was a lazy assumption.

“There was a Catholic Indian boy in a Catholic school in Glasgow who was assumed to be Muslim by some staff which perplexed him because he went to mass at the school.

“He was asked to tell the class about what it was like to be a Muslim and had to tell them he was a Catholic. He was also asked about why he wasn’t fasting during Ramadan.”

The Muslim Council of Scotland backed the call for more training for teachers and a raising of awareness amongst pupils.

Mazhar Khan, a Council spokesman, said: “Certain sections of the media and politicians continue to irresponsibly play on terms such as “immigrants” and “Muslims” almost interchangeably and as threatening to our society. The negative impact this rhetoric has at all levels of society includes children and we would expect schools to take this research extremely seriously and do more to challenge and dispel stereotypes and hatred. ”

Man who threw Turkish pensioner’s walking frame in Islamophobic attack jailed

Elham Asaad Buars

A 25 year-old man who threw a Turkish pensioner’s walking frame during a shocking three minute Islamophobic and xenophobic rant on a bus has been jailed for 16 weeks and ordered to pay £320 in court costs on November 5.

Kashif Samuels admitted a racially aggravated public order offence last month. Samuels was travelling towards Tottenham, north London, with his two-year-old daughter on October 15, when he began to hurl abuse at the Muslim man sat across the aisle from him on the 149 service.

The video posted on Youtube shows Samuel making several lewd references to his victim’s family and religion, he also accuses the pensioner of coming to this country for “free benefits”.

Samuels tells the pensioner to “go back to your own country” before shouting: “I’ll put a pig’s c*** in your mouth – what’s Allah going to say about that?”

The clip ends as he tells passengers to “vote UKIP” before grabbing the pensioner’s Zimmer frame and throwing it down the road.

He handed himself in to the police when he saw the video online and was sentenced at Highbury Magistrates’ Court in north London.

Samuels shouted: “You’re talking in a different language but nobody knows what you’re saying. Go back to Turkey if you talk that sh*t. Oh no you can’t because sh*t gets blown up in Turkey. That’s why you’re here mate – free benefits and a walker. Well your walker is going to go flying when this bus stops mate.”

As the bus pulls up to a stop, Samuels continues to threaten the pensioner and asks: “What are you going to do? Nothing.”

Prosecutor Michael Mallon said: “Having referred to the footage it speaks for itself. The victim was not able to be traced.

“It is clear however, and he accepted in interview, that the victim was vulnerable. He was an elderly Turkish gentleman.

“There are a number of aggravating features to this matter. Namely that Mr Samuels was there with his two-year old daughter in a pram.

“This was committed while he was on bail for the first matter. There are a large number of other individuals on the bus.

“It is telling, in my submission, they didn’t intervene given the amount of aggression, there was a very real fear they could come to harm.

“The victim was vulnerable and had a Zimmer frame. Mr Samuel decided to end the incident by throwing the Zimmer frame off the bus.”

In sentencing, Panel Chair, Melvyn Bryant, said: “This was a vulnerable victim, it was a prolonged incident, you had your child present with you, there were other persons present on a bus which is a public place, and you were also on bail.

“However it becomes worse. You targeted someone who is Turkish and Muslim and you throw his Zimmer frame through the door.”

After owning up to the vile rant, Samuels claimed he “lost it” when the pensioner refused to move his Zimmer frame from the push-chair area on the bus.

He said: “That is not the person I want my daughter to see growing up as her father.

“She is going to look at that video [online] one day and I can only hope she looks at it and says ‘that is not the man I know’.

“I will only be honest with her and say I lost my temper and said disgusting things. I would never want to hear that out of her mouth.

“I don’t want to be that person and I want to make a change from today.”

He said many of his Muslim friends were horrified by what he had done and called him up to complain about his “monstrous and disgusting” behaviour. The 25-year-old said: “I can only stand up and apologise for my own actions. I want to apologise to everyone who was affected. I genuinely mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, Gerallt Evans, said: “Kashif Samuels used abusive anti-Muslim and racist language against the victim and caused distress and alarm to the other passengers on the bus.

“Not only did he shout and swear at the victim but also threw the victim’s walking frame from the bus when it came to a halt.

“This appalling outburst was caught on camera by a public-spirited fellow passenger and left Samuels no choice but to plead guilty.

“Hate crime of any kind will not be tolerated in London.

“Members of the public should be able to travel on the city’s transport network without fear of violence, abuse or harassment and we will continue to work with our police partners to bring those that commit these crimes to justice.”

Mother filmed branding woman an “Isis b*tch” in Islamophobic rant walks free

Elham Asaad Buaras

A 36-year-old woman who called a pregnant Muslim woman an “Isis b*tch” in an Islamophobic tirade on a bus has been spared jail.On November 13 Simone Joseph received a 16 week jail sentence, suspended for 18 months. She was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation and £180 in court costs, as well as 60 hours of unpaid work.

Joseph hurled expletives at her 34-year-old victim on a route 206 bus as it travelled through north-west London.

The mother of three hurled abuse at the hijab wearing woman and her mother as passengers looked on, and her two-year-old daughter sat in a buggy. The incident was film and posted on facebook on October 13.

Joseph who lives Willesden Green, London, handed herself to the police after the video went viral and was picked up and broadcast by media outlets all over the world.

She admitted racially and religiously aggravated behaviour on October 19 at Hendon Magistrates court.

She addressed the magistrates through tears after the sentence was read out, saying: “I just want to say thank you very much.”

She covered her head and face with two scarves as she rushed from the courtroom and hugged family and friends.

Peter Lock, prosecuting, said: “The victim has been named as a 34-year-old Italian citizen who now lives in Morocco. Every person on that bus was a victim.”

The court heard that Joseph, who has no previous convictions but last year received a fixed penalty notice for a public order offence, would rely on financial support from family and friends to pay the compensation fee.

Tony Meisels, defending, told the court how Joseph’s brother converted to Islam in 2009 and she had several Muslim family members and friends.

He said: “This was a disgusting and unjustified incident. She is really ashamed of what happened. She wishes to apologise to the victim and the wider community. She is still trying to understand what happened. She is not trying to excuse it. She did not go out that day to abuse anyone.”

He continued: “She is from an immigrant community. Furthermore she has many family members that are Muslim.”

British Muslims targeted in aftermath of Paris attacks

Elham Asaad Buaras

Police have reported a spike in hate crimes against Muslims across the UK following the terror attacks in Paris on November 13.

One of the most serious incidents involved the owner of a takeaway restaurant in Fife, Scotland, who was attacked by a gang who repeatedly mentioned the Paris attacks as they kicked him in the head.
Mohammed Khalid was seriously injured and required hospital treatment after a gang of 15 men assaulted him at his restaurant in Methil.

Khalid, 53, and his wife were in the process of shutting the Caspian Fast Food restaurant in the early hours on November 15 morning when he was attacked.

The men abused Khalid and his wife, shouting anti-Muslim slurs about ISIS in relation to the terrorist attacks in Paris. He received serious eye injuries during the attack and was admitted to hospital. Khalid’s wife sustained minor injuries in the incident.

Police are working to identify the remaining attackers. Khalid’s daughter, Shama, uploaded CCTV footage from outside of the restaurant to YouTube, in the hope of identifying some of the attackers.

“My parents have lived and worked in Fife for over 25 years and have never dealt with anything like this. Mum was saying that we have been here long before these boys were even born. Dad is a well known member of the community, and is very much respected. They are still recovering from the shock of the incident, it’s difficult to see them upset that this happened in a place they spent most their lives,” she said.

In London, a girl wearing a hijab was abused on a subway train. Fellow passenger Ashley Powys wrote on Facebook how he intervened to save the girl as they traveled between Oxford Circus and Brixton in central London on November 14. “I got on the train as normal and sat opposite a young girl wearing a hijab,” he said. “She smiled at me as I sat down and nothing else was said. Just behind me, another guy got on the train and stood at the connecting door of the tube and began to stare at this girl.”

Powys said the man verbally abused the girl, calling her a “terrorist”, “scum” and referring to the Paris attacks. The 22-year-old said he pushed the man away and then comforted the girl until she reached her stop. A British Transport Police spokesman said police were aware of social media reports of a “hate crime” on the line. “We treat all such incidents extremely seriously,” he said.

In Scotland, a Muslim cultural center in Bishopbriggs, 4 miles north of Glasgow, was targeted in a firebomb attack early November 17 morning. “The fire is being treated as willful and a joint investigation between Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is now underway,” said Chief Inspector Craig Smith, a local police commander.

General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), Grahame Smith, said, “While the police are still investigating the exact nature of this incident, the STUC has been saddened to note a rise in community tensions after the attack in Paris on Friday night.

“Scotland’s Muslim community cannot, and should not, be held responsible for the despicable acts of extremists here, across Europe or in Syria. At this time it is important that we continue to pursue our values of peace and tolerance, and show that Scotland is a welcoming and warm nation where everyone’s human rights are respected.”

On the same day a petrol bomb was thrown through the window of Muslim man and his wife in Ballykeel, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Amin and Margaret Ibrahim were uninjured.

“They all think that Muslims are the same but they’re not,” Margaret Ibrahim said.

“I just feel so angry that somebody would do that to innocent people. I’m really afraid to live here anymore with my family.”

Ibrahim said it was not the first time they had been the target of anti-Islam harassment. “It’s Islamophobia,” he said. “We get hassled all the time.”

Supt Ryan Henderson said: “The criminals who carried out this attack are ignorant, intolerant and dangerous people. Their hateful views and intolerance have manifested themselves in a dangerous attack on an innocent family.”

Supt Henderson said the petrol bomb attack was “out of step” with the area’s multicultural community. “I am disgusted by this attack and I know that the vast majority of Ballymena people will react in a similar way,” he said.

Islamophobic attacks in US : Post-Paris terror attacks

Islamophobic attacks in US : Post-Paris terror attacks

Nov 17: 43-year-old Seminole man was arrested by the FBI on after allegedly threatening to firebomb a mosque and shoot children in the head in St. Petersburg. In one message, Schnitzler said he was calling in reference to the Paris attacks, and warned that he was going to go to the Islamic center and “firebomb you and shoot whoever is there.”

Nov 17: a 26-year-old Clayton Alexander Cansler was arrested near Houston, Texas, for allegedly saying he would “shoot up a mosque” to avenge the Paris attacks. He allegedly wrote to a friend that he would shoot up mosques and uploaded a picture to Facebook of an assault rifle and ammunition. The Bible verse from Joshua 1:9 that allegedly accompanied the photo of the weapons states: “Be strong and courages. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Nov 15: Baitul Aman Mosque in Meriden, Connecticut was shot at when they arrived for evening prayer on Sunday

Nov 15: A Muslim student at UConn Connecticut found the words “killed Paris” written under his dorm room name tag.

Nov 15: Florida officials are investigating phone threats made against mosques in Tampa Bay Times reported. The FBI is looking into voice-mails that threatened to firebomb and shoot members of a Muslim congregation in St. Petersburg. A second Florida mosque had received similar threats.

Media uses doctored photo to wrongly ID Sikh-Canadian as Paris terrorist

Elham Asaad Buaras

A young Canadian Sikh man spoke of his fears after media outlets used a doctored Selfie depicting him as one of the Paris terrorist attackers.

Many of those using the photograph of Veerender Jubbal, including journalists, failed to realise the viral image had been photoshopped.

Jubbal’s original Selfie shows him in a bathroom, wearing his turban, an important part of the Sikh religion.

The altered image shows him wearing a vest with what appears to be explosives and his iPad has been made to look like a Qur’an.

Jubbal has asked for people to tell him about any publications which are still using the photoshopped image to suggest he is a “terrorist”.

And some mainstream newspapers even repeated the smear, including the front page of the Spanish daily, La Razón and the Italian network SkyTG24’s also tweeted the photoshopped image to its 1.98million followers.

La Razón apologised for its mistake. But in a series of tweets, Jubbal explained the damage to his reputation had already been done.

Jubbal is now worried about the fake image, which has been seen by people all over the world, could put his life at risk, forcing him to tweet: “This whole thing puts me in a bad position in the sense, where I could be harmed and/or hurt due to this. This is libel from news, and TV.”

Several European outlets picked up the image, and it even made its way onto the some unofficial social media channel ISIS used to claim responsibility for the Paris violence, according to CBC News.

Viral video of British Muslims celebrating Paris terror attacks proven fake

Nadine Osman

A video allegedly showing Muslims in London celebrating in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, which left 129 people dead, is fake.

The Facebook video titled Muslims around the world celebrate the Islamic victory in Paris France, shows a large group of Muslim men cheering and waving Pakistani flags outside Tooting Broadway station in London.

The voice of a news reader can be heard over the cheering, describing scenes of violence.

It has since been revealed the footage actually shows British Pakistanis celebrating a cricket victory during the 20/20 games in 2009.

The video, which appears to have originated from a personal Facebook account around November 14, was shared by a series of far-right blogs and websites, generating 458,000 views in a matter of hours.

It has since been removed from both Facebook and Youtube.

A further image, showing a Muslim man standing on a French flag with his fist raised in the air has also been circulated across social media over the last few days.

This has also been confirmed as fake, with a Google search revealing the image is two years old and bears no relation to the Paris attacks.

Ontario mosque set alight, Muslim woman assaulted by men in Toronto

Nadine Osman

Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, assured Canadian Muslim that the Government would work hard to find those responsible for setting fire to a central Ontario mosque on November 14. Two days later on November 16 a Muslim woman was assaulted by two men in Toronto.

The brother of the victim says she’s been traumatized and “scarred for life” by what happened.

The man, who didn’t want to be identified, said his sister was punched in the stomach and face, called “a terrorist” and was told to go back home.

According to the police, the incident took place at 3pm in the Flemingdon Park area, and investigators are treating the attack as a hate crime.

The woman reported she was jumped from behind and beaten by two males while on her way to pick up her children from school.

The two men pulled her hijab aggressively and took her cellphone and some money before fleeing, police said.

Supt Mark Barkley called the attack “horrendous.”

“This is a peaceful, innocent family that has done nothing and they were attacked. We’re going to get to the bottom of this and make sure these people are apprehended.”

The Masjid Al-Salaam mosque, located in a quiet residential area of Peterborough, is the only mosque for about 1,000 Muslims who live in the area; about 50 families regularly attend services, as many as 300 on Fridays.

Police say that just after 11 pm a window at the mosque was broken and an accelerant was placed in the building. Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire quickly. No one was inside at the time, but it happened hours after a gathering at the mosque to celebrate the birth of a baby.

In a statement to The Muslim News a spokesman for Peterborough Police confirmed they are treating the arson as a hate crime adding, “Offences such as this, committed in relation to a place of worship are taken very seriously and the Police Service will make every attempt to determine who is responsible.”

Trudeau who was sworn in as Prime Minister on November 4, said he was “deeply disturbed” by the incident, adding that Canada “will not abide innocent and peaceful citizens being targeted by acts of vandalism and intolerance.”

He added: “The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have shocked peace-loving people in all countries around the world. We must remain focused on those responsible for the atrocities committed in France. It is equally important for Canadians to understand that Muslims around the world are also being persecuted regularly by these violent extremists. We are in this together.

“To the families who attend the mosque for prayer every week, the Government of Canada and our law enforcement agencies will protect your rights and make every effort to apprehend any perpetrator. I hope your mosque will be open for prayer again very soon.”

Mosque officials said the building suffered heavy smoke damage inside, with little damage evident outside and damage is estimated at $80,000.

The President of the mosque, Kenzu Abdellah, said the building was used to celebrate the birth of a child just 30 minutes before someone set the fire.“The Muslim community has a very good relationship with the Peterborough community,” he said.

Abdella said people had been “really amazing” in the wake of the mosque fire but added that Muslims in Canada worry they could be painted with a violent, extremist brush.

“Some people may misunderstand what’s happening in other parts of the world and try to link that with Muslims here,” Abdella said. “That is really unfortunate because any time violence happens in any part of the world, Canadian Muslims like any other Canadians are offended by it and they condemn it.”

Members of the community have already started a campaign to raise money to repair the damage to the mosque. Just three hours after launching, it had raised close to $8,000 towards the $80,000 goal.

Pensioner charged with attempted murder over Bakerloo line platform shove

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Japanese pensioner has been charged with attempted murder after a Muslim woman was allegedly pushed into the path of a Tube train.

Yoshiyuki Shinohara, 81, of no fixed abode, was charged with attempted murder, at Westminster Magistrate’s Court on November 12.

Police were called to Piccadilly Circus station just before 4.10pm on November 10, after the alleged incident unfolded on one of the station’s Bakerloo line platforms.

The female victim suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment to grazes to her face.

British Transport Police and police attended the scene on one of the station’s Bakerloo line platforms, and arrested a man on suspicion of attempted murder.

He was taken to a London police station and remains in custody.

The woman miraculously escaped with minor injuries and was treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital for further treatment to grazes to her face.

Director of Enforcement and On-street Operations at Transport for London, Steve Burton, said: “This type of shocking incident is extremely rare.

“Our staff acted quickly to assist the woman and other customers at the scene, and we are working closely with the police as they carry out their investigation.”

Zara fires staff for barring hijab wearing woman following social media outrage

Nadine Osman

Spanish retailer giant Zara was forced to fire two employees from a Parisian branch on November 18 after social media outrage over a woman being denied entry for wearing a hijab.

It is unclear when the incident took place but the clip was uploaded on November 14, a day after the Paris terror attacks.

The 26 seconds video immediately prompted Muslims and civil right campaigners around the world to call for a boycott of the clothes shop, the hashag #boycottZara quickly trended on twitter.

“This is not okay. Share this with all your followers and encourage them to boycott Zara. #REPOST #boycottZara.” tweeted Wisconsin, USA based Asmaa.

Texas based Tara said, “#BoycottZARA Since no one should be stopped from entering merely because they wear a hijab. Stop the discrimination and stop Islamophobia. ”

In Bradford, England, Muhammad Ali tweeted “#BoycottZARA seems Zara don’t like Muslim’s money cause they choose to cover-up”.

In a statement Zara said: “We would like to sincerely apologise for what has happened. Our Country Head in France has personally contacted this customer to apologise for the incident and to express our utter disagreement with such actions, which are completely opposite to the principles of our Company. Both the security staff and the store manager have been sanctioned. Once again, we are deeply sorry about this.”

“Respect for diversity is the fundamental pillar on which Inditex (Zara’s parent company) was founded, with more than 140,000 employees worldwide representing a rich multitude of cultures and religions,” Zara said in a statement.

Meanwhile Jean-Jacques Salaun, head of Zara’s French stores, said, “This type of mentality is unheard of at Zara and there have never been instructions given out to act this way.”

Salaun said he offered the woman a full apology as soon as he heard about the incident.

Salaun said a security guard at the store in Plaisir, west of Paris, asked the woman to remove her headscarf. When the woman refused, she was not allowed to enter.

In the video, the staff member is heard telling the unidentified woman that people whose heads are covered with caps, hats, beanies, hoods and hooded veils can’t enter the store.

The woman is heard asking him if she can’t enter store wearing a hiab.

The man responds, “If things change, they’ll change but I don’t make the rules.”

Muslim group lifts boycott of police over ‘scapegoating’ post Rotherham child sex exploitation scandal

Nadine Osman

An umbrella Muslim group in Yorkshire has ended its two day boycott of South Yorkshire Police over claims the forces “scapegoating” of local Muslims over the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal had led to spike in Islamophobic crimes.

The boycott was lifted on October 28 after the Rotherham Muslim Community Alliance (RMCA) and the police agreed on a proposal “to detail their strategy to tackle all forms of hate crimes (not only those that target British Muslims)…and make a commitment to involve community groups and organisations on whom the crimes impact within all stages of the process.”

The agreed proposal also states that Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings and Muhbeen Hussain representing RMCA and the British Muslim Youth will jointly request a meeting with Home Secretary, Theresa May, “to make her aware of the impact of both hate crimes and the repeat far right marches to Rotherham and ask for a commitment to ending the intimidation Muslims in Rotherham face.”

The proposal also addresses far-right marches in Rotherham as well as an independent inquiry into ‘policing tactics’ used during a march in Rotherham on September 5.

“The PCC to set up a panel involving community groups to consider the way in which demonstrations are policed along the lines of the panel of the PCC for Greater Manchester,” reads the proposal.

Labour MP Champion said; “South Yorkshire Police acknowledge that hate crimes are increasing in Rotherham. However, when I speak to my constituents they are not even reporting the crimes they endure and they don’t believe the police take them seriously.”

“It is completely unacceptable that my constituents, many of whom are third generation Rotherham, are too scared to go into town because of the abuse they face because they are a British Muslim. No one should feel a hostage in their own home because of their faith or ethnicity.”

In announcing its boycott of the police RMCA had claimed that since the publication of the Alexis Jay report last year, South Yorkshire Police has “deflected their own failures” by alleging political correctness had barred them from properly investigating the crimes years ago.

RMCA accused the police of peddling “ a pernicious lie that: historically they failed to act of allegations of CSE [Child Sexual Exploitation], because they were afraid of being branded ‘racist.’ This is a grotesque re-writing of history; something that we will no longer sit back and allow to take seed.”

They had also accused the police of saying “one thing when speaking to a Muslim audience, yet when speaking to a different audience, the Muslim community is simply cannon fodder.”

The Alexis Jay report found at least 1,400 children were subjected to atrocious sexual abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, with girls as young as 11 raped, trafficked, abducted and abused predominantly by men of Pakistani-heritage.

The Muslim Community of Rotherham say Muslims have been demonised since the report’s publication, adding “the entire Muslim community has been tarred with the same brush.”

“There is a perception in the minds of many ordinary people that all Muslims are now potential child abusers, or that they have been involved in some sort of cover-up,” say the group. ”

RMCA defended the “bold step” of boycotting the police adding that, “many [people] felt that the British Muslim Youth took a bold step when it led the very first UK Muslim led demonstration against CSE. Just as that bold step allowed us to stand with the victims of CSE to highlight the injustice done to those victims, we believe that this bold step has highlighted anti-Muslim hate crimes.”

Sturgeon pays tribute to victims of Paris terrorist attacks at Glasgow mosque

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – President of Glasgow Central Mosque Maqbool Rasul (FM’s right) – Secretary of Glasgow Central Mosque Nabeel Sheikh (FM’s left) (Photo: Creative Commons)

Ahmed J Versi

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, observed one minute silence at Glasgow Central Mosque on November 16 to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

“The minute silence that has been observed in Scotland and across Europe is a clear indication that we all stand in solidarity with France and are thinking of that proud nation at this moment.

“We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to the people of France and all those affected, and we are doing everything possible to provide support for those caught up in this barbaric act,” she said.
She added that there was no place for hate crimes in Scotland alluding to the Islamophobic attacks against Muslims. Sturgeon warned that there was no place for “bigotry and prejudice” in Scotland and that any hate crime in the wake of the tragedy was “totally unacceptable”.

“There is absolutely no place for bigotry and prejudice in Scotland and this Government is clear that any form of hate crime is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in 21st century Scotland,” Sturgeon said.

She urged people “not to let these terrorists win by dividing us and driving a wedge between the multi-cultural societies in Scotland We are stronger when united and that is one of our strengths.”
Sturgeon praised Scotland’s Muslims as a “valued and integral part of our society.”

“The terrorists want to destroy us, they want to see our way of life destroyed and an important rebuke to them is to say ‘we are going to stay united and continue to value the same freedoms and way of life that we always have done’,” the First Minister said.

General Secretary of the Mosque, Nabil Shaikh, told The Muslim News, “For Nicola Sturgeon to be here at Glasgow Central Mosque – the only leader in Europe to stand shoulder to shoulder with our community – is a very strong statement to those committing atrocities that it is nothing to do with Islam and Muslims. And that Scotland will not accept divisions these people want to create amongst us.”

Shaikh added that Islamophobic attacks have increased in Scotland after the Paris attacks. “Muslim community shares double burden. Most importantly we feel the hurt of the victims in Paris and everywhere else where innocent people are killed. On top of that we face Islamophobic attacks.”

As the refugees were going to Scotland the next day, she said Scotland should welcome them and “show that we are a country of compassion and acceptance. These people are fleeing the terror of ISIS (Daesh), that’s why as a community and in co-operation with other countries we have a part to play in dealing with the refugee crisis.”

Justice Secretary, Michael Matheson, and Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf, spoke to leaders from the Mosque about how communities across Scotland can come together in solidarity against the scourge of terrorism

Young woman’s hijab ripped off in Melbourne library

Fatema Almussawi

An Australian Muslim woman, 21, was viciously attacked at Swanston Street, outside Melbourne State Library, Melbourne, on October 22.

The crime appears to be an Islamophobic attack although the male attacker who managed to escape the scene was unable to be identified. The perpetrator fled after allegedly punching the victim repeatedly twice and attempted to rip off her hijab.

The perpetrator involved was described by witnesses as having a strong build with tattoos on his arm and chest and was topless at the time of the attack.

A Muslim teenager rushed to the young woman’s aid upon witnessing the assault. The 16-year-old boy was reportedly threatened by the attacker after trying to drag the young woman away from him. As the young boy was attempting to usher the young woman to safety the assailant allegedly pulled out a knife which was ‘thrust in the boys’ face.

The teen later said that these types of attacks are ‘heart-breaking’ and “people need to be strong and stand up for what’s right.”The father of the boy reported the incident to the Islamophobia Register Australia to seek out help for the young woman.

The Islamophobia Register stated that the police were summoned to the scene of the crime and an ambulance then took the young woman to hospital.Victoria Police affirmed that the female victim was examined by paramedics at the scene after the incident took place.

The attacker is still yet to be found.

Secretary of the Islamic Council of Victoria, Kuranda Seyfi Seyit, shared his thoughts on the incident in an interview with The Muslim News. “It was quite disturbing. It was clear that this was an unprovoked assault, and we can only assume that the offender targeted this woman because she is a Muslim identified by her headscarf.”

The young teen who intervened commented that he fears the attack will have a negative impact on Australia’s Muslim community. “I just hate that this victim, her family and other Muslim youth will be scared to go into the city again even though it’s an amazing place,” he said. He also commented on the members of the public who have spoken out in support of the victim. “I’m so happy to see the true Australian people stand up to help the victims and Muslim community affected throughout these horrifying attacks.”

Syeit suggested preventative measures that can be considered to tackle the issue of these rising attacks. “We need to do more in educating the public about Islam and to breakdown the negative stereotypes about Muslims which usually stem from foreign conflicts abroad that have no relevance to average law-abiding Muslim Australians.”

He also suggested that politicians should condemn “Islamophobic movements that have been prominent in the past year, targeting Islam and demonizing Muslims.” And that hate crimes should be treated differently from other incidents in order to “send a strong message to would-be attackers that the full force of the law will come down on anyone who commits acts of violence based on religious.”

Syeit also said that the rise in these kinds of incidences is influenced by “the lack of leadership and the Government’s inability to address the problem proactively and promptly.”

“The Government has in fact added to the negative stereotypes by making inflammatory comments or being silent on acts of Islamophobia calling it ‘free speech,” he added.

Republican presidential candidate reiterates opposition to a Muslim president

Elham Asaad Buaras

Republican presidential candidate Dr Ben Carson continued airing his opposition to a Muslim becoming US president, a view which embroiled him in a row with America’s largest Muslim civil rights group who branded his opinion unconstitutional.

In an interview with ABC on September 27, Carson, a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, said Muslim Americans would have to “subjugate” their faith before being elected.


Referring to criticism of his previous remark that he “would not advocate” a Muslim president, the retired 64 year-old neurosurgeon said: “I said anybody, doesn’t matter what their religious background, if they accept American values and principles and are willing to subjugate their religious beliefs to our constitution, I have no problem with them.”

Asked by ABC host Martha Raddatz about his comments on Muslims and the presidency, Carson said: “What we should be talking about is Islam, and the tenets of Islam, and where do they come from?

“They come from Sharia. They come from the Qur’an. They come from, you know, the life works and examples of Muhammad. They come from the fatwas, which is the writings of scholars.

“You know, and if you go back and you look at – what I would like for somebody to show me is an improved Islamic text that opposes Sharia. Let me see – if you can show me that, I will begin to alter my thinking on this.

“But right now, when you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our constitution, why in fact would you take that chance?”

Carson’s views had led to a war of words with the Council on American-Islamic Relations – (CAIR) after its Executive Director Nihad Awad, called on him to withdraw from the race for expressing an opinion in violation of Article VI of the constitution which rules: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The first amendment to the constitution also rules: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Carson retaliated by starting a petition calling for CAIR to lose its charitable tax exempt status.

Carson argued that by demanding he drop out of the race CAIR had “brazenly violated IRS rules prohibiting tax-exempt nonprofits like CAIR to intervene in a political campaign on behalf of – or in opposition to – a candidate.”

Communications Ddirector for CAIR, Ibrahim Hooper, hit back arguing the organisation did not violate “any IRS regulation in that we did not ’participate in’ or ’intervene in’ any political campaign. We, as mandated by our mission as a civil rights organization, merely expressed the opinion of our community that a candidate whose views violate Article VI of the Constitution is unfit for public office.”

CAIR also accused Carson of using, “a federal government agency to silence his critics”.

Hooper also asked “if that tactic would be used to suppress First Amendment freedoms should he become president.”

French Muslims four times less likely to get a job interview than Catholics

Elham Asaad Buaras

According to a think tank study published on October 9 a practising Muslim man is four times less likely to get a job interview in France than a Catholic counterpart.

The research was carried out by the Montaigne Institute which sent out thousands of CVs to job adverts using fictional names and backgrounds.

Men who identified as practising Muslims had a 4.7 percent chance of being asked for a job interview, compared to 17.9 percent of practicing Catholics and 15.8 of practicing Jews.

Catholics were twice as likely as Muslims to get a call back for a job interview.

The study was carried out by Marie-Anne Valfort, a senior lecturer at Sorbonne University in Paris, who sent 6,231 responses to job adverts between 2013 and 2014.

All of her candidates were Lebanese, born in Beirut in 1988 with the last name Haddad.

Valfort used the names Dov and Esther for Jews, Michel and Nathalie for Catholics, and Mohammed and Samira for Muslims.

They were also listed as having attended faith schools and religious scout groups.

“It probably under-estimates the level of discrimination: all studies show that discrimination is present at each step of recruitment,” said Valfort.

Valfort also created a “non-religious” set of candidates to see how that affected the results.

When Mohammed said he belonged to a secular association, he almost doubled his chances of getting a job interview compared with the Mohammed who identified as a practising Muslim.

Interestingly, Catholics halved their chances if they identified as secular instead of religious.

“It’s likely that an attachment to Catholicism is seen by recruiters as a sign that a man is more disciplined,” the study said.

Her next question was whether the discrimination still held true for exceptionally gifted candidates.

She created profiles with excellent school results, skills and experience.

This removed discrimination when it came to women, with Jews and Muslims doing just as well as Catholics.

But for men, it actually made things worse: a gifted Catholic man was five times more likely to get an interview than a gifted Muslim, and 1.5 times more likely than a Jew.

France’s biggest Muslim advocacy group which records Islamophobia in the country welcomed the study but say they are unsurprised by Valfort’s findings.

“Islamophobia has become an acceptable form of racism which is met with total impunity,” said Yasser Louati, spokesman for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF).

He told The Muslim News 69% of all reported Islamophobic incidents in France involve a form of discrimination.

“Discrimination is a deeply rooted practice in French society and this study, which is not the only on the topic, confirms the findings of the CCIF that being perceived as Muslim in France is enough to exclude you from the rest of society.”

Greek mosque vandalised

Elham Asaad Buaras

A mosque in Greece’s Western Thrace region has been vandalised. The Yeni mosque in Komotini, a town of 50,000 people, including many Muslims, was attacked on October 9 and the doors to the building were daubed with the words “Turks out”.

Greece has seen a rise in attacks on Muslims and Jews in recent years, coinciding with the rise of the far-right Golden Dawn party, which entered parliament in 2012.
In April, a fire at Komotini’s largest mosque damaged the entrance and roof.
In October last year, attackers placed a severed pig’s head outside an Islamic studies centre in Athens and painted anti-Muslim slogans on the building.

Western Thrace has a significant Muslim community. It was a part of Ottoman Empire before coming under Bulgarian and then Greek control around the time of World War I.

Man hands himself in to police after Islamophobia bus video is released

Elham Asaad Buaras

A 25-year-old man has handed himself in to police on October 19 after video footage emerged that appeared to show a man screaming Islamophobic abuse at a Turkish pensioner, and then seeming to throw his walking frame out on to the pavement.

The video emerged days after another incident where mother-of-three Simone Joseph was caught on camera Islamophobically abusing a pregnant Muslim woman on a bus in Brent. Joseph, 36, pleaded guilty to causing racially aggravated distress after the footage went viral online.

The incident involving the Turkish pensioner, the passenger, who had a young child with him, appears to shout at the pensioner: “Go back to Turkey.”

The video also appeared to show obscene remarks about the victim’s daughter, wife and sister during a five-minute tirade on a packed bus in Tottenham, north London, with a significant ethnic Turkish population, on October 17.

“This video footage – which includes racist and Islamophobic abuse – has been brought to the attention of the [police],” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

The three-minute-long video, which appeared on the 5Pillars website, showed the assailant shouting at a man on the bus.

“Nobody understands you! Go back to Turkey and talk that s…That’s why you are here! F… free benefits on a walker,” the suspect is heard saying.

The video then shows the man throwing the walker – seemingly belonging to the victim – from the bus before leaving the bus with a child’s buggy.

The news of incident comes on the same day a woman pleaded guilty at court to another Islamophobic incident on a London bus on October 13.

In a statement to The Muslim News a spokesman for Metropolitan police confirmed Joseph “pleaded guilty to causing racially/religiously aggravated intentional harassment/alarm/distress, contrary to section 31(1)(b) and (4) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 on October 19.”

Joseph, called Muslim Hanane Yakoubi, an “Isis bi#ch” and told her to “go back to your f@cking country” while travelling with her two-year-old child on a London bus.

Yakoubi, who Joseph threatened to “kick in the uterus”’, said she was struggling to sleep following the incident, and added that “I cannot take medication because I am pregnant… I do not know how to ask for help because I do not speak the language.”

The mother-of-three, handed herself in after footage of the incident, which was posted to Facebook by Mico Abrigo, went viral, and pleaded guilty to the charge at Hendon Magistrates Court .

She will now appear at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on November 13 for sentencing.

French councils refuse to accept Muslim refugees

Nadine Osman

A number of councils in France have refused to accept any of the 24,000 Muslim Syrian refugees the President had agreed to accept over the next two years, with one town claiming they “cut off boss’s heads”.

Two mayors declared they only wanted to accept Christian refugees to keep out terrorists.

Referring to the June incident when Yassin Salhi decapitated his boss, a memo, unanimously approved by Charvieu-Chavagneux Council on September 9 said the town only wanted to accept Christian refugees because they “wouldn’t proceed to cut off the heads of their bosses.”

The Council’s text went even further declaring that “Christian refugees will not put others in danger, they would not attack trains armed with Kalashnikovs and would not gun down journalists in an editorial meeting,” referring to the recent foiled attack by a gunman on a train, and to the massacre at the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in January.

The text also evoked a “war of civilization” and the “arrival en masse of jihadists on French territory”.

Others have also expressed reluctance to accept refugees – a process which remains voluntary, so far at least.

National Front Leader, Marine Le Pen, vowed that none of the 11 towns run by her party would take in any refugees.

She claimed they were unequipped, but the suspicion is that anti-Islam sentiment may also lie behind the stance of a party seen by critics as being deeply Islamophobic and racist.

Even ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been stoking fears talking of the “risk of the disintegration of French society” due to the influx of refugees and migrants.

Secretary General of the Union of French MosquesMohammed Mraizika denounced the “dangerous” stance of the mayors.

“These mayors are irresponsible and their words are dangerous especially in the context of this crisis, which is very difficult,” he said

“Whether refugees are Muslim or from another religion we have a duty to stand together and face up to this human tragedy,” he said.

Mraiziki said Charvieu-Chavagneux Council was pouring “oil on the fire. They don’t think about the consequences of their words.”

“Each time there is a statement like this, we notice a steep rise in Islamophobia and racism in France. It’s dangerous,” he said.

Syrian refugees p1, Editorial p2

No Muslim refugees, say Hungarian and Slovakian leaders

Nadia Osman and Oliver Boulton

Hungary joined Slovakia in saying it did not want to accept Muslim refugees.

Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, said that his country did not want to accept Muslim refugees, as he defended his tough approach to border control on the frontline of Europe’s migration crisis.

Orbán spoke in Brussels at meetings between EU leaders after images of a drowned Syrian child on a Turkish beach grabbed world attention and said that it was not a moral argument for opening Europe’s doors.

In a later news conference, Orbán said the history of Ottoman rule meant Hungarians would not accept large-scale Muslim immigration, a point made earlier by neighbouring Slovakia.

“We don’t want to, and I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country,” Orbán said.

“We do not like the consequences of having a large number of Muslim communities that we see in other countries, and I do not see any reason for anyone else to force us to create ways of living together in Hungary that we do not want to see. That is a historical experience for us.”

He went further in an opinion piece in Germany’s Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, writing: “Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots. Or is it not already and in itself alarming that Europe’s Christian culture is barely in a position to uphold Europe’s own Christian values?

“Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders.”

Slovakia has also said that it will not accept Muslim asylum seekers, as it prepares to take in 200 Syrian refugees as part of EU relocation scheme.

The statements come after last month EU member states agreed to take 32,000 asylum seekers into their borders. The scheme is a response to the growing migrant crisis in Europe.

Amid this crisis, Ivan Metik, a Slovakian interior ministry spokesman, told the BBC, “We could take 800 Muslims but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?”

The Slovakian Government said it plans to ask the migrants their religion on arrival.

The European Commission expressed its displeasure at the Slovakian plans. “We act here in the spirit of the treaty, which prevents any form of discrimination,” Annika Breidthardt, a spokesman, said.

Orbán also rejected criticism of the razor-wire fence he has thrown up along the EU’s external frontier with Serbia.

Orbán met European Council President, Donald Tusk, who appealed for greater European solidarity and more help for refugees.

Tusk took issue with remarks Orbán made in Allgemeine Zeitung.

“For a Christian,” Tusk said, “it shouldn’t matter what race, religion or nationality the person in need represents.”

In the UK, leader of the euro skeptic right wing party UKIP shared the concerns of the Slovakians and Hungarians about the influx of people from Muslim countries.

Nigel Farage insisted that the UK too could not afford to show too much compassion.

“The EU’s compassion…could be a very real threat to our safety,” he said.

He said he shared the concerns of some Eastern European countries about the influx of people from Muslim countries.

“A lot of these Eastern European countries with very strong Roman Catholic churches and traditions are very concerned about the number of Muslim people [coming here]…My concern is that Isis have actually said that they will use the migrant wave to flood Europe with half a million of their fighters…Even if it’s only 500 I’m very worried about that.”

Islamophobic poster displayed on pub window removed

Oliver Boulton

On August 20 a shocked customer had just sat down for lunch at the JD Weatherspoon’s pub, The Moon on the Square, Feltham, when he and his Muslim colleague noticed an Islamophobic poster.

The 28 year-old regular to the pub, who first saw the poster, said: “I was absolutely disturbed to see this vile poster on display in my local pub, let alone the biggest pub chain in the UK.”

The Islamophobic poster, which was displayed on the pub notice board, was a mimic of World War one British propaganda artwork. It depicts the protagonist of the British war recruitment campaign, Lord Kitchener, pointing out at the onlooker.

The poster, which was signed by ‘The Infidel Brotherhood,’ read: ‘‘Then we have a simple solution for you.‘Get the f*** out of our countries and go back to the monstrous s**tholes you came from. ‘You can live under Muslim rule there and enjoy it as much as you like.’

Reacting to the incident, an employee from The Moon on the Square, told The Muslim News, “It is not a racist pub, and is only one person’s view.”

A spokesperson for the nearby Hounslow Islamic Integration Community Centre, Minja Omar, told The Muslim News that there have been other Islamophobic incidents in the area, and that “the Muslim community is constantly targeted and isolated.”

In reaction to this latest episode, Minja said: “People are horrified; there is a sense of threat against the safety of families living in the area.”

The customer, who had gone to the pub for lunch added: “It is disgraceful that JD Wetherspoon pubs are allowing this anti-Muslim propaganda to be displayed – I’d hate for any Muslim to think all British people are racists because of this.”

The poster has been removed and a spokesman for JD Weatherspoon’s said: “A poster was displayed on the notice board at The Moon on the Square, by a customer at the pub, without the knowledge of the pub staff.

“As soon as this came to light, staff immediately removed the discriminatory material.

“The customer notice board, which is regularly checked and monitored by staff, has now been completely cleared of all material, whatever the content.

“The Moon on the Square is a community pub, proud of its diverse customer base, and has always been fully committed to operating in a non-discriminatory way.”
At present there is no ongoing police investigation.

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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