Virginia’s Eloquent Lawsuit Brilliantly Connects the Muslim Ban to Segregation

On Friday, a federal judge allowed Virginia to intervene in ongoing litigation over Donald Trump’s Muslim ban in order to protect Virginians who might be detained, deported, or denied re-entry under the executive order.  The state’s complaint eloquently explains why the ban infringes upon immigrants’ due process and equal protection rights while violating The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. However, the most striking section arrives at the end when the state invokes Justice John Marshall Harlan’s famous dissent from the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson:

This is a monumental case involving a monumental abuse of Executive Power. So it is worth remembering another monumental case, Plessy v. Ferguson, that enshrined in American law—for more than a half century—the approval of government-mandated racial segregation. The majority in Plessy reasoned that government-mandated segregation “does not discriminate against either race, but prescribes a rule applicable alike to white and colored citizens.” We admire the first Justice Harlan for putting the lie to that claim: “Every one knows” what was being justified, he said. The same is true here.

Muslim women kicked out of US cafe accused of ‘civilizational jihad’ by lawyer

Soondus Ahmed and other plantiffs and attorneys representing the women hold a press conference in Laguna Beach. A group of Muslim women who claim in a lawsuit they were kicked out of a California restaurant for wearing headscarfs have been accused of “civilizational jihad” by a lawyer for the restaurant, which has launched a countersuit.

The seven women, six of whom were wearing hijabs, were kicked out of Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach in April.

They claim that they were targeted for ejection because of their hijabs, though the cafe denies that, claiming that they were violating a policy which limited seating time to 45 minutes, and have also claimed that there were other women wearing headscarves present who were not thrown out.

David Yerushalmi, the lawyer representing Urth Caffe, said that one of the owners of the cafe, Jilla Berkman, is also a Muslim.

He said that the discrimination suit was “an extortion”, called the women’s lawyers “ambulance-chasers”, and said that he planned to bring a suit against both the plaintiffs and their legal team for malicious prosecution. The countersuit that he has brought in this case, however, is for trespassing.

Yerushalmi is a controversial figure, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a non-profit advocacy group which collates information on hate groups and extremists, as an “anti-Muslim activist who is a leading proponent of the idea that the United States is threatened by the imposition of Muslim religious law, known as Shariah”.

“Ideally, he would outlaw Islam and deport its adherents altogether,” the SPLC’s profile of Yerushalmi adds.

Asked about the SPLC’s characterization of him, Yerushalmi said that he “represents a lot of Muslims”.

“I represent Muslim Americans, running from jihad and seeking asylum. If you want to say I’m an anti-jihad lawyer, you’re 100% right,” he continued. “Am I anti-Sharia? Yes, I am. Am I anti-Muslim? Not if he doesn’t have a gun in his hand shooting at me.”

Yerushalmi alleged that the suit against Urth Caffe was part of a wider “civilizational jihad” waged by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) which aims, he said, “to weaken western civilization”.

“Urth Caffe has decided to hire a lawyer who has made a career out of crusading against Muslims in America,” said Mohammad Tajsar, a lawyer representing the seven women. “Their decision to hire this particular gentleman frankly makes our case. It demonstrates that this organization has no regard for the very Muslim clientele that it claims it caters to.”

Tajsar said he was “dumbstruck” by the allegations made by Yerushalmi, and also noted that the legal filing – the countersuit for trespass – doesn’t attempt to legally assert the claims of abuse of lawsuit that Yerushalmi has made publicly against him and his clients.

“They haven’t countersued for abuse of process,” Tajsar said. “They have alleged abuse of process, but not filed for that, and the reason why is that it would be incorrect and patently frivolous. There’s a lot of bluster and attempts to paint our clients as politically-motivated without any basis in fact.”

Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Los Angeles branch of CAIR, said that, contrary to Yerushalmi’s allegations, his organization was not involved with the case against Urth Caffe.

“I’m not privy to the details of the case, of their claim, and I would hope that a fair trial would allow us to know what happened,” he said. “But if anyone had any doubts about what happened on that day, those doubts are eliminated by the fact that the owners of Urth Caffe decided to retain David Yerushalmi.”

“There are 1.2 million attorneys in America, and for them to choose the most hateful, the most bigoted attorney, tells a lot about the values that Urth Caffe’s owners hold,” he added.

British Muslim school children getting abuse following Paris Attacks

Muslim pupils across Britain are suffering a backlash of bullying and abuse following the Charlie Hebdo massacre amid a broad rise in Islamophobia in schools, which the Government is failing to tackle, campaigners have told The Independent. (Photo: Don McPhee/The Guardian)
Muslim pupils across Britain are suffering a backlash of bullying and abuse following the Charlie Hebdo massacre amid a broad rise in Islamophobia in schools, which the Government is failing to tackle, campaigners have told The Independent. (Photo: Don McPhee/The Guardian)

Muslim pupils across Britain are suffering a backlash of bullying and abuse following the Charlie Hebdo massacre amid a broad rise in Islamophobia in schools, which the Government is failing to tackle, campaigners have told The Independent.

The sole UK charity monitoring anti-Muslim hate crime said it had recorded a “significant” increase in incidents in schools in the wake of the killings in Paris with both parents and teachers reporting verbal and physical attacks against Muslim students.

Teachers unions and anti-racism groups told The Independent they have recorded an increase in Islamophobic incidents in schools with the 400,000 Muslim pupils in British schools increasingly likely to be taunted as “terrorists”, “paedophiles” or “immigrants”. The NASUWT, the teaching union, said the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment is causing “uncertainty and fear” in schools.

Tell MAMA, which monitors anti-Muslim hate crime in Britain, said it had logged 112 reports of physical and verbal violence in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings, including nine incidents which related specifically to schools in locations from West Yorkshire to East Sussex.

The organisation, which was recommended by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles last week in a letter subsequently criticised by Muslim groups for appearing to ask Muslims to prove their British identity, said it had been repeatedly rebuffed by a “short-sighted” Department for Education (DfE) in efforts to seek its support in offering training for schools in how to deal with Islamophobia.

Boris Johnson says radicalisation should be treated as child abuse

March 2, 2014

 

Muslim children who are at risk of being “radicalised” by their parents should be taken into care, according to the London mayor Boris Johnson. Defining young people being “taught crazy stuff” at home as effectively child abuse, Mr Johnson said the efforts of counter-terrorism officers and social care workers were being hampered by “what I am obliged to call political correctness”.

He said the law needed to be changed so that children who are “being turned into potential killers or suicide bombers” can be taken away from their parents, “for their own safety and for the safety of the public”.

Mr Johnson wrote: “The most important question [after the murder of Lee Rigby] is how we prevent other young men, and women, from succumbing to that awful virus: the contagion of radical Islamic extremism. Paedophilia, Female Genital Mutilation, Islamic radicalisation – to some extent, at some stage, we have tiptoed round them all for fear of offending this or that minority. It is children who have suffered.”

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/boris-johnson-muslim-children-being-taught-crazy-stuff-at-home-should-be-taken-into-care-9165308.html

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/03/boris-johnson-radicalisation-child-abuse

Report calls for female genital mutilation to be treated as child abuse

November 3, 2013

 

Thousands of girls in danger of genital mutilation are being failed by the health and justice systems, a coalition of health professionals has warned in a report that recommends aggressive steps to eradicate the practice in the UK. Female genital mutilation (FGM) should be treated the same as any other kind of child abuse and evidence of it must be reported to the police, according to the report. Janet Fyle, a policy adviser of the Royal College of Midwives and one of the report’s authors, said that just as it was inconceivable that a health worker would not report evidence of child abuse to the police, it should be equally important to report evidence of FGM.

According to the report more than 66,000 women in England and Wales have undergone FGM and more than 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of it. Despite its regular occurrence, FGM has not resulted in a prosecution in Britain, whereas in France there have been about 100.

FGM is carried out in Africa and the Middle East by Muslims and non-Muslims. It predates Islam and is not called for in the Qur’an although it mostly occurs in countries that became Islamic. In countries such as Somalia and Egypt more than 90% of women have undergone some kind of FGM but it is also common in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali and Sierra Leone. Although FGM has been outlawed in the UK since 1985, migrants from countries where FGM is common have continued the practice here or by taking girls to their home countries for it to be performed. Since 2003, Britons can be prosecuted for acts of FGM abroad.

The report recommends that health workers identify girls at risk and treat them as if they were at risk of child abuse. Girls at risk are defined as girls born to a woman who has undergone FGM or a child who lives closely with someone who has. The report clearly emphasises the importance of an individual’s safety over the respect for religious and racial sensibilities, a point welcomed by Shaista Gohir, the chairwoman of the Muslim Women’s Network.

Sarian Karim, a 36-year-old community worker from Peckham, south London, who suffered FGM as an 11-year-old in Sierra Leone, welcomed the report. “FGM is a normal thing for us. We don’t know it is against the law, but I know that it damages girls and leaves them scarred for life – mentally and physically. “It is very important that everyone knows that FGM is illegal. We suffer from a lot of complications [because of the procedure]. “We want those people who work in schools to have guidelines and be able to inform, prepare and protect children.”

 

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/04/uk-mutilation-girls-report

Sermons preached in mosques will do nothing to prevent child sex abuse in south Asian communities

Last Friday, Muslim leaders across the country united in openly condemning instances of child grooming and trafficking gangs within their communities. Organised by the non-profit group Together Against Grooming (TAG) and supported by the Muslim Council of Britain, a sermon delivered in around 500 mosques highlighted both the “moral depravity” and Quranic condemnation of such acts, which have no place in the Islamic faith.

There is no doubt that the intentions of the lectures were amicable, particularly in light of recent cases involving grooming gangs in Oxford and Rochdale. Yet in attempting to disassociate the wider Muslim community from such deplorable acts, they may have instead found themselves contributing to the toxic narrative often espoused by anti-Islamic groups such as the English Defence League, who argue that paedophilia and abuse are inherent within the religion. Further, while the gesture may have been widely praised by the media, it will have achieved little in getting to the roots of the problem, or preventing further such cases.

 

That’s largely because the relationship between Islam and grooming gangs is spurious at best. Some may argue that while these men were far from pious, Muslim leaders have a civic duty to address these issues. Where mosques are integral parts of local communities, they should play an active part in addressing issues that affect wider society. But we shouldn’t simply place pressure onto mosques and imams, for in reality they can do little but continue stating the obvious: that such acts are abhorrent and impermissible. In fact, a more effective way of tackling the epidemic of grooming gangs lies in encouraging the quieter voices within Asian communities – residents, community groups and local business owners – to speak out. Victims of abuse often find themselves at the mercy of the perpetrators, who are empowered simply because those around them are more than willing to keep quiet and look the other way. In fact, their silence highlights a far more complex cultural issue – notably the cult of shame and honour that forms the basis of social organisation within many South Asian communities. Indeed, it is not just the young victims of abuse that these grooming gangs were exploiting, but also the sensitivities of their cultural heritage.

 

The truth is that beyond the names of the perpetrators, Islam has little to do with these crimes. The real problem instead lies with cultural taboos and a hesitance by traditional communities to engage with such sensitive topics, which is readily exploited by criminal groups. The result of this continued silence is more victims of abuse and further hostility toward the majority of law abiding Muslims.

 

Muslims unite to condemn ‘extreme depravity’ of child grooming in first UK-wide single sermon

Imams across Britain will today deliver a sermon denouncing the practice of grooming following a series of sexual abuse cases involving Muslims. The religious speech, which will be read out in 500 mosques, opens with a reading from the Koran that prohibits “sexual indecency, wickedness and oppression of others” and continues to urge congregations to report suspected cases of child abuse. It is reportedly the first time a single sermon will be delivered in unison across the UK and is organised by campaign group Together Against Grooming with the support of the Muslim Council and Islamic Society of Britain.

 

The effort comes after the convictions of Muslim men in a string of cases including those in Rochdale, Derby and Oxford, where five men were yesterday sentenced to life in prison for their involvement in a sex abuse gang. Others involved in the sermon’s broadcast at midday prayers today have been keen to ensure sexual abuse is not disproportionately linked to Asian Muslim men.

Rise in anti-Muslim attacks after Woolwich soldier killing

Muslim leaders have accused far-right extremists of trying to capitalise on the “sick and barbaric” murder of Lee Rigby to fuel racial hatred. A group of supporters of the English Defence League gathered at the scene of the brutal killing of a soldier in Woolwich, they marked a wider pattern of anti-Muslim feeling across the UK, according to monitoring groups. The EDL grouped at Woolwich Arsenal station near the scene of the murder on Wednesday and pelted police with bottles. Their leader, Tommy Robinson, stated: “They’re chopping our soldiers’ heads off. This is Islam. That’s what we’ve seen today.

Islamophobic hate crimes are running at more than 10 times their usual rate, with more than 140 reported to a government-backed hotline in the 48 hours since the Woolwich killing. Tell Mama (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), a London based group that monitors anti-Muslim hatred, spent the evening logging any incidents of Islamaphobia that occurred in reaction to events in Woolwich. It documented 38 reports of anti-Muslim incidents – most of them online and eight at a street level. In its first year of operation (to March 2013) Tell Mama recorded 632 incidents in total, averaging at about 12 a week. Tell Mama said the latest incidents involved, at their worst, threats to kill but largely low-level abuse – spitting, negative comments about Muslims and one incident in which a woman was threatened with violence. However some report attacks on mosques, assaults, racial abuse and anti-Muslim graffiti. An improvised petrol bomb was thrown at a mosque in Milton Keynes during Friday prayers, while attacks have also been reported in Gillingham, Braintree, Bolton and Cambridge.

The British National Party leader, Nick Griffin, who visited Woolwich yesterday, provoked widespread disgust for tweeting that the alleged killers should be wrapped in “pig skin” and shot again. The English Defence League, which has said the killing shows Britain is “at war” with Islamic extremism, will stage a march today in Newcastle, where it will protest over plans to open an Islamic school. It is also planning a demonstration in central London on Monday. Amid heavy security, Mr Griffin visited the site of the killing following a series of provocative tweets in which he claimed the attack was the result of “mass immigration”.

Far-right websites are linking the murder to population growth among ethnic minorities, while a number of social networking sites also carried messages calling for Muslim sites to be attacked. The “True British Patriots” Facebook page carried calls for mosques to be burned down. The official website of the National Front party berates “Muslim scum”.

Imams to preach against grooming of girls for sex

Imams across Britain will give simultaneous sermons condemning sexual grooming next month, as part of a grass-roots Muslim campaign to tackle the problem of abuse. The co-ordinated event on 28 June will follow a conference organised by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to discuss ways of preventing further cases of abuse after seven men – all Muslim – were convicted this week for the grooming and sex trafficking of girls as young as 11 in Oxford. The case is one of several in recent years in which gangs of men, predominantly from a Pakistani Muslim background, have groomed young girls for sex. Julie Siddiqi, executive director of the Islamic Society of Britain, was one of the first Muslim figures to speak out on the issue. She said that although children were exploited in all communities, “the number of street-grooming convictions in the past few years involving Omars, Ahmeds and Faisals means the time has come for action. But if there are patterns emerging – and I think there are – of people from a certain background engaging in this type of activity, then that can’t be ignored either. I’m not saying all Pakistani men are prone to this, or Islam says that; of course that’s nonsense. But if we ignore these patterns we’re going to do an injustice against the victims.” A separate MCB conference, on 20 June, will include speakers from child protection and the police. It will be attended by senior Muslim clerics from around the country. A spokeswoman for the MCB said: “All communities should be tackling this and we’re doing our part to address this.”

Oxford sex abuse: ‘Victorian’ misogyny is evident in all cultures which emphasise female purity

The distressing details of the Oxford child abuse case raise echoes of a similar case last year, involving the grooming of children for sex in Rochdale. In both, under-age white girls were the victims. All or most of the perpetrators were Asian men. The girls were from vulnerable backgrounds, including local authority care homes. Drugs, alcohol and violence were used to coerce the girls – and in both cases other men paid to use the girls for sex. The greatest difference lay in the motivation of the two groups of abusers, according to Mohammed Shafiq, of the Ramadan Foundation, a Muslim youth organisation, who was one of the first Asian community leaders to acknowledge that a disproportionate number of the men involved in on-street grooming were British Pakistanis. “The Rochdale abusers were taxi drivers and takeaway workers using the girls for quick sex. When they took money from other men to have sex with the girls the amounts were around £20-£30 a time,” “Oxford is much more to do with money. The men exploiting the girls were charging others £200-£600 a time and bringing eight to 10 men a day into hotels and restrooms. It was much more organised.” Police, social workers, academics and children’s charity workers all agree that most abusers are white and most child sex exploitation happens in the home. Journalist Allison Pearson wrote a blistering blog post in the Telegraph condemning the police, social services, and legal system’s fear of being seen as racist, which meant hundreds of girls were betrayed by the very mechanisms that were meant to protect them. What is really to blame, it is more generally suggested, is an oversensitivity by police and social workers terrified of being accused of racism. “Sensitivities over race should not be allowed to take precedence over children’s safety,” editorials have pontificated, as if anyone could seriously hold the opposite view. All this is accompanied by sanctimonious assurances that no one is suggesting that all Asians, Pakistanis or Muslims should be tarred with the same smeary brush. But much of the coverage subliminally invites exactly that. Statistics have been trotted out supposedly to substantiate this. Yet academics seriously studying the phenomenon say that figures have been used selectively to create certainties where none exist. She called Pakistani Muslim culture a “Victorian” society where men are taught that women have no value and can be used as sex objects, especially white girls, who, because of their greater freedom as compared to Pakistani Muslim girls, are freely available to be used and abused by these Asian men. It’s fairly obvious from the discussions on this issue that while Islam is not a race, “Islam” is being used as a euphemism or shorthand for Asian men from Muslim countries. Why not admit that there is an element of misogyny in all religions and cultures that emphasise sexual purity in women and divide girls into “good” and “bad” categories? For example, American Mormon kidnap survivor Elizabeth Smart recently told the press that abstinence classes – a hallmark of American Christian culture which is popular in some British circles – taught her that being raped made her no more worthwhile than a “chewed up piece of gum”. Perhaps the only thing that distinguishes these particular criminals from non-Muslim, non-Asian paedophiles is their modus operandi of working in gangs to systematically groom girls on the street. Other paedophiles have different setups: chatting from the safety and anonymity of their homes, for example, exchanging child pornography through hidden servers on the Internet, or worming their way into the hearts of their mothers and grandmothers before attacking them in their homes. So the rabble-rousing demand that all Muslims in the UK should “integrate” while at the same time demonising them as “other”, using the Oxford sex ring criminals – who would be regarded as scum in Pakistan – as representative of all Pakistani Muslim men is an object lesson in false equivalence. All of this confounds the lazy stereotypes about sex and race peddled by those in search of a sensationalist headline. The truth is not just more complicated but less conducive to reinforcing readers’ prejudices. Opportunity is as likely a factor as race here. Young vulnerable girls gravitate to a night-time economy where the taxi drivers and takeaway workers they encounter are more likely to be Asian. So why not headlines about “Taxi Sex Gangs”? Throughout our contemporary epidemic of child sex abuse, occupation seems just as significant a factor – as the wave of accusations against 1970s televisions celebrities, soap stars, music teachers, care workers and Catholic priests shows. The truth is that sexual predation is about power and its abuse by people in positions of authority. Culpability for the failure to combat it is often to be laid at the door of institutions more anxious to protect their reputations than concerned to protect the innocence of a child. There is another danger in peddling stereotypes. It diverts attention from the wider areas in which we should all be vigilant. The Oxford case raises a wide range of issues about the assumptions and systems of social workers, nine out of 10 of whom knew the girls were being groomed for sex by men who gave them drugs. It requires scrutiny of police procedures and the management of care homes. It should ask questions of the owners of the guesthouses in which the abuse took place, and of parents and of the public, for we all have a duty to ask questions about dubious-looking relationships.