Amnesty International on the distress of calling yourself Muslim

29 April 2012

According to an Amnesty International report released this week, Muslims in Europe face discrimination on grounds of religion or belief in employment and education. After analyzing the situation of those who profess this religion in Belgium, Spain, France, Netherlands and Switzerland, the NGO said that the opinion polls reflect “fear, mistrust and negative opinions about Muslims and Islamic culture.” ‘Go to your country’ “The most common phrase we hear is’ go to your country.” I’m tired and I do not answer … it does not enter the head of many that I’m not a foreign, I’m Spanish, Basque “complains Jennifer Chamizo, now 25 years old and who embraced Islam (expression that Muslims prefer to the word ‘convert’) when she was 20.

Amnesty International collected a study that sets the number of Muslims in Spain on about 2.3% of the population. Many of the enquired people acknowledged having to hide at work that they are Muslims. Sources familiar with the Muslim community in Madrid say that, with rare exceptions, those who go to mosques to make the ‘Shahada’ never do it accompanied by their family, despite being a very important event for them. “Many believe that Spain is tolerant, I also thought so, but when you’re the different one, you understand, and feel, that there is still a lot of rejection,” says Habiba. 37% of the Spanish believe it is acceptable to expel a student from school simply because she is wearing headscarves and the same percentage said to have supported protests against the construction of Muslim places of worship, according to the AI report.

Amnesty Reports on Discrimination Against Muslims in the Netherlands

24 April 2012


A new report by Amnesty International reveals that Muslims face discrimination in the Netherlands and other European countries. The report notes that Muslims face particular discrimination in education and on the job market, and addresses the pending ban on the burqa on the grounds of public safety. Also addressing discrimination in Spain, Switzerland, Belgium and France, the report adds that governments should dispel misconceptions about their Muslim population, though also stressing that criticism of Islam within the bounds of freedom of speech is not the same as ‘specific discriminatory patterns’ against Muslims.

Amnesty International: “European Muslims are discriminated against”

April 24, 2012

 Amnesty International reports that European countries discriminate against Muslims who show their faith publically. This is especially visible in places of education and at various workplaces. The report focused on Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Amnesty urges those governments to do more on prevention of prejudices about Islam. The organization is particularly critical of the countries which had banned face veils (niqab) and the religious symbols in their schools.

Laws against veils, mosques fuel anti-Muslim prejudice, says Amnesty International

News Agencies – April 24, 2012


European laws on headscarves and veils are actually fuelling anti-Muslim prejudice, says Amnesty International in a new report. Extremist political movements targeting Muslim practices for criticism have enjoyed a rise in several European countries — as witnessed by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s surprisingly strong showing in presidential elections this week.


In that climate, the recently released Amnesty report lists a raft of examples of discrimination against Muslims from Spain to the Netherlands and Turkey, spurred on by laws viewed as anti-Islam. The report, titled “Choice and Prejudice,” pays special attention to national laws or local rules against wearing headscarves or face-covering Islamic veils. France and Belgium ban them outright, as do some towns in Spain and elsewhere.


The human rights group spoke to Muslims who have had trouble getting jobs or had to change schools because of discrimination over their head coverings. The report says Spain and Switzerland, in particular, don’t have strong enough laws against discrimination. Switzerland has banned the construction of new minarets.

“They kill Christians and call us racist”

The Egyptian government has asked the Italian state and the International community to prevent racial and religious discrimination and hatred against Arab and Muslim immigrants and minorities.

This journalist calls Egypt’s accusation of being a racist country unacceptable.

The journalist, accuses Egypt of butchering minorities in its territory. Egypt, he points out, is on Amnesty International’s black list for human rights violations, armed rejections at borders, tortures employed by the State Security Intelligence and forced repatriations. Egypt, as it asks for tolerance and protection for minorities, must recall that it killed eight Christians at Christmas and built a fence to prevent Palestinians from restocking primary goods.

Italians, he concludes, cannot accept criticisms from an inhumane government.

Federal government aquiring Illinois prison for 100 Guantanamo detainees

In its efforts to close Guantanamo, the federal government is aquring a portion of the Thompson Correctional Center, a supermax prison in northwestern Illinois, to house 100 detainees. The Obama Administration promised Illinois Governor Quinn the detainees will have no interaction with other inmates.

Minority congressional Republican leader John Boehner claims that two pieces of legislation must be passed at Congress before any transfer can occur, and that Republican leaders will attempt to block the bills. These bills would challenge current law stating the detainees cannot be brought to American soil unless they are prosecuted here.

As many as several dozen will be imprisoned indefinitely–deemed ineligible for prosecution but too dangerous to be released. Lawyers for inmates in this category have filed habeas corpus petitions challenging this status.

Critics are concerned that should the petitions succeed, terrorists could potentially be released into the free world in America. The Obama Administration addressed this by assuring the detainees would either be brought to trial or moved overseas.

Amnesty International is equally critical, claiming that the detainees have not been charged with criminal activity, and that the only change occurring to resolve the Guantanamo situation is location.

There are about 210 detainees in Guantanamo. Obama has transferred 30 to other countries, with hopes to send 100 more overseas.

Officials say they plan to prosecute 40 of the remaining individuals in military or civilan courts.

Ireland: Handshake costs Muslim volunteer prize

A Muslim asylum seeker in Ireland has been denied an award for his volunteer work after asking organizers that he not shake the hand of the woman presenting the award. Instead, the judges at the National Consultive Committee on Racism and Inter-culturalism decided that someone else should receive the award. The man, Alinoor Ahmed Sheikh, is a Somali Muslim based in a asylum hostel in Tralee, was to receive an award for his efforts to raise funds for Amnesty International. Sheikh said that he received assurance from the organizers that his request be respected; but five minutes before the announcement of the prize, his name was crossed out and the prize was instead given to an absent volunteer.

Gitmo ex-detainee visits Belfast

Former Guant_namo detainee Murat Kurnaz launched his powerful book ‘Five Years of My Life: an Innocent Man in Guant_namo’ at an Amnesty International event in the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival last week in Belfast. Readings from the book were followed by a question and answer session chaired by Amnesty International programme director, Patrick Corrigan. Patrick Corrigan said: “Murat Kurnaz has a powerful story to tell: illegal detention, prisoner abuse, solitary confinement in Guant_namo Bay. His personal story is the story of the so-called _war on terror’of the last seven years. It is one of the compelling stories of our time.” Murat Kurnaz was born in Bremen, Germany, in 1982, into a family of Turkish immigrants. After his marriage in 2001, Murat Kurnaz became an increasingly devout Muslim. Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA, he went to Pakistan, telling his mother he wanted to “see and live the Qur’an”. Muslim Weekly-> [Concord Monitor->

Ex-Islamists start moderate Think Tank

Two former Islamists are to launch a Muslim thinktank aimed at improving relations with the west by challenging extremist ideologies. The Quilliam Foundation believes Muslims should shake off the “cultural baggage of the Indian subcontinent” and the “political burdens of the Arab world”. Its director is Maajid Nawaz, 30, who was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International after being jailed in Egypt for membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Since returning to London he has written pamphlets criticising the party. His deputy is Ed Husain, 32, the author of The Islamist, which details his youth in east London moving through radical groups including Hizb ut-Tahrir. The policy institute, to be launched next month, is named after Shaikh William Henry Abdullah Quilliam, an English solicitor and convert, who founded the UK’s first mosque in Liverpool at the end of the 19th century. Nawaz insists the foundation is independent. “[The money has come] mainly from Middle Eastern businessmen and Muslims who are concerned about how Islam is being abused.” Owen Bowcott and Riazat Butt reports.

Human rights court sides with terror suspect in deportation dispute

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy would violate its obligations under the European Convention of Human rights if it deports Nassim Saadi, a Tunisian terror suspect from Italy, citing the very real risk of torture if he were to return to his home country. Human rights group Amnesty International applauded the ruling, as a landmark ruling on the absolute prohibition of torture, inhuman, and otherwise degrading treatment. Italian authorities sought to deport Saadi to Tunisia under the Pisanu Law which was urgently adopted to combat terrorism. Italian authorities argued that Saadi posed a security risk to the country. In 2005, Nassim was among five Tunisians acquitted by Italian courts of charges of helping to plan terrorist attacks and recruiting militants; however, he was found guilty of forgery and criminal conspiracy, and sentenced to 4.5 years in jail. Italy has unsuccessfully tried to report Saadi since 2006. In reference to reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which both describe the indignity of Tunisian jails, the court said Saadi would face ill-treatment if he were to be sent back. Concerning the prospect that Saadi might pose a threat to the community, the court stated that this did not diminish in any way the risk that he might suffer harm if deported.