Global backlash grows against Trump’s immigration order

A global backlash against U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration curbs gathered strength on Sunday as several countries including long-standing American allies criticized the measures as discriminatory and divisive.

Governments from London and Berlin to Jakarta and Tehran spoke out against Trump’s order to put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily ban travelers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries. He said the move would help protect Americans from terrorism.

In Germany – which has taken in large numbers of people fleeing the Syrian civil war – Chancellor Angela Merkel said the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for the measures and “does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion”, her spokesman said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country welcomed those fleeing war and persecution, even as Canadian airlines said they would turn back U.S.-bound passengers to comply with an immigration ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” he tweeted.

A Muslim Community in Virginia Feels the Heat of Extremists’ Sins

It was a Friday Prayer like any other at the Islamic Center of Fredericksburg until the warning came from the imam. Less than a week after the Orlando, Fla., nightclub massacre by an American-born Muslim, and after Donald J. Trump’s renewed call to bar Muslims from entering the United States, Imam Hilal Shah told his congregation to stay vigilant for violence against their families and community.
“We’re fearful of a backlash,” Imam Shah called out through the speakers as he mentioned other attacks by Muslim extremists in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif. “Anytime an event takes place such as what happened in France, such as what happened in San Bernardino, such as in Orlando, we as a Muslim community feel scared.”

School Board Member Resigns Over Anti-Muslim Facebook Posts

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. — A New Jersey school board member resigned Friday after backlash over posts she made on Facebook disparaging Muslims.

Gladys Gryskiewicz resigned from the Elmwood Park school board, citing concerns about the safety of her family, The Record reported .

Gryskiewicz posted on Facebook earlier this year that Muslims should stay “in your desserts (sic) and follow your religion in your own countries.”

M&S apologises after Muslim assistant refused to sell customer alcohol

December 23, 2013

 

Marks & Spencer has apologised after a Muslim member of staff refused to sell a customer alcohol. “The issue arose after an unnamed customer at a London store was “taken aback” when an “extremely apologetic” Muslim checkout worker asked them to wait for another till to become available.

The customer told the newspaper: “I had one bottle of champagne, and the lady, who was wearing a headscarf, was very apologetic but said she could not serve me. She told me to wait until another member of staff was available. I was taken aback. I was a bit surprised. I’ve never come across that before.”

Drinking alcohol is forbidden in Islam, and some Muslims refuse to handle it. M&S said its policy applied to staff of all religions, not just Islam. The spokeswoman said: “Where we have an employee whose religious beliefs restrict food or drink they can handle, we work closely with our members of staff to place them in suitable role, such as in our clothing department or bakery in foods.

The case highlighted differences among retailers on whether religious staff should have to carry out certain jobs, the Telegraph said. Sainsbury’s guidelines say there is no reason why staff who do not drink alcohol or eat pork on religious grounds cannot handle them, the newspaper reported, while Tesco said it made “no sense” for staff that refused to touch items for religious reasons to work on a till. Muslim employees at Asda do not have to work on tills if they object to handling alcohol, while Morrisons said it would “respect and work around anyone’s wishes not to handle specific products for religious or cultural reasons”, the Telegraph said.

 

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/23/marks-and-spencer-muslim-alcohol

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/10533728/MandS-faces-furious-backlash-from-customers-over-Muslim-policy.html

Selfridges faces backlash after giving EDL leader Tommy Robinson free steak lunch

Department store Selfridges has courted controversy again after giving leader of the English defence League Tommy Robinson a free steak to apologise after a member of staff refused to serve them. The menswear employee was temporarily suspended for violating company policy after refusing to serve Robinson’s friend. Robinson, a convicted criminal who leads anti-Islam protests across the country, was in the Oxford Street store with his friend who was looking to purchase a pair of jeans.

 

Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, filmed himself challenging the shop assistant who reportedly refused to help Robinson’s friend, saying “f**k off, I am not serving you” after asking if he was with the EDL leader. Robinson said he assumed the shop assistant was a Muslim as he “had Mo on his name tag”.

 

A spokesman said anyone was welcome to shop in the store “regardless of political opinion”. To apologise, Selfridges gave Robinson and his friend a three course meal at the store’s in-house Hix Restaurant, Champagne and Caviar Bar, which included a prawn cocktail starter, steak and chips, finished off by chocolate cake and ice cream.

 

Robinson has insisted his friend is not associated with the far-right group.

 

The decision to give Robinson and his friend a free meal was met with wide spread criticism on Twitter, with many threatening to boycott the store.

 

The truth about the ‘wave of attacks on Muslims’ after Woolwich murder

Fiyaz Mughal runs a project called Tell Mama, which receives £214,000 a year from the Government to monitor anti-Muslim attacks in Britain. In the wake of Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder, he has been understandably busy.

 

The media, especially the BBC, have accepted the claims without question. A presenter on Radio 4’s influential Today programme stated that attacks on Muslims were now “on a very serious scale”.

 

Talk of a “massive anti-Muslim backlash” has become routine. And it is that figure issued by Tell Mama – of, to date, 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” since the Woolwich murder – which has formed the basis of nearly all this reporting.

The unending “cycle of violence” against Muslims, the unprecedented “wave of attacks” against them from strangers in the street, the “underlying Islamophobia in our society” – all turn out to be yet more things we thought we knew about Woolwich that are not really supported by the evidence.

 

Although the service says its caseworkers “carefully handle each report as it comes in, to determine whether it can be verified and justified as an anti-Muslim incident”, Mr Mughal admitted that a further 35 of the 212 post-Woolwich incidents, or 16 per cent, had yet to be verified. He justified publishing the figure, however, saying he expected that all but a handful of incidents would be verified.

 

Fewer than one in 12 of the 212 “incidents” reported to Tell Mama since Woolwich – 17 cases (8 per cent) – involved individuals being physically targeted. Six people had things thrown at them, said Mr Mughal, and most of the other 11 cases were attempts to pull off the hijab or other items of Islamic dress.

 

Perhaps the most serious manifestation of anti-Muslim feeling after the killing was a number of attacks on mosques. These are believed to total 11, though here again evidence for a “wave of violence” is lacking. With only two exceptions, a mosque in Grimsby into which firebombs were thrown and another one in Essex where a man entered with a knife, all the incidents were relatively minor, such as window-breaking or graffiti.

 

According to the Charity Commission, there are between 1,100 and 1,500 mosques in the UK, so the number attacked is less than 1 per cent.

 

What the data broadly show, in short, is that Drummer Rigby’s killers have failed. The breakdown in community relations has not come. There has been a rise in incidents, but it appears to be very short-term, overwhelmingly non-violent and even then almost entirely at the lower end of the scale.

 

Yet this is not a message the Islamophobia industry wants heard, now or ever. Two months before the Woolwich killing, Tell Mama was already claiming that anti-Muslim incidents were “rising”, on the basis of reports made to its service. But at that point it had only been going for a year, so it had no previous figures to compare.

 

What evidence there is simply does not support the claims. There is anti-Muslim hatred in Britain, and it is disgraceful. But nearly all the evidence shows it is diminishing. In 2009 there were 368 anti-Muslim crimes in London; in 2012, there were 337. In the first 11 weeks of 2013, there were 64 crimes, equating at that point to 303 across the year, though the Woolwich attack will drive that up.

 

Broader political developments suggest a country increasingly at ease with Muslims. In 2009 the main anti-Islamic party, the BNP, had 55 councillors. Now it has two. The number of Muslim MPs doubled at the last election, some elected for entirely non-Muslim seats such as Bromsgrove, Gillingham, or Stratford-upon-Avon with no backlash whatever.

 

Woolwich murder sparks anti-Muslim backlash

There has been a large increase in anti-Muslim incidents since the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, an inter-faith charity has said. Faith Matters, which runs a helpline, said they had received 162 calls since Wednesday’s attack, up from a daily average of six. A number of people have been charged after allegedly offensive comments were made on social media websites. Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters, said the nature of the incidents ranged from attacks against mosques, graffiti, the pulling off of Muslim women’s headscarves and more general name calling and abuse. He told BBC Radio Five Live: “What’s really concerning is the spread of these incidents. They’re coming in from right across the country. Captain Afzal Amin, a former army officer, warned against associating the actions of the attackers with British Muslims. “Secondly, some of them are quite aggressive very focused, very aggressive attacks. “And thirdly, there also seems to be significant online activity… suggesting co-ordination of incidents and attacks against institutions or places where Muslims congregate.”

Glenn Beck: Michele Bachmann Under Investigation Because She’s Against Radical Islam

Glenn Beck suggested Tuesday that the ethics investigation into the erstwhile presidential campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is retribution for the congresswoman’s outspoken crusade against what she has called the threat of radical Islam.

 

“We have been sold to radical Islam,” Beck said matter-of-factly on his Internet show. “It has infiltrated and we have documented it.”

 

Beck continued, claiming that radical Islam is so powerful it affected the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics, which, according to a Daily Beast report, is questioning former Bachmann staffers regarding “allegations of improper transfer of funds and under-the-table payments actions by Bachmann’s presidential campaign.”

 

Bachmann drew widespread criticism last year for spearheading a campaign alleging that high-profile aides in President Barack Obama’s administration had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Other Republican representatives and conservative pundits, including Beck, backed the discredited claims.

 

But Beck suggested there were other reasons for a supposed radical Islamic-linked backlash against Bachmann. According to him, she’d demonstrated her clarity on what was “going on” because she’d asked the State Department for answers on why it was sending Somali refugees to her district.

 

Annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention takes place in Toronto

News Agencies – December 19, 2012

 

Thousands of Muslims from across North America gathered in Toronto from December 21 through December 23 for the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention. “The conference has always been about uniting and joining hands with scholars, journalists, academics, representatives from other faiths, and artists to promote messages of peace and tolerance,” RIS spokeswoman Farhia Ahmed told OnIslam.net.

Themed “Divine Light for Living Right: The Light of Prophetic Guidance in the Midst of Modern Darkness”, the convention is organized and managed by approximately 400 young Canadian volunteers. It brings a galaxy of prominent Muslim scholars including Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, Karen Armstrong and Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Islamic studies professor at George Washington University. Also attending are the Grand Mufti of Bosnia Mustafa Cerić, scholar Habib Ali Al-Jifri, Swiss professor Tariq Ramadan, Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled, Dr. Aisha al-Adawiyya; Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury; Yasmin Mogahed and Edina Lekovic.

Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention was first launched in 2003 by Muslim youth to tackle the backlash on Islam and Muslims after the 9/11 and to build a bridge of understanding with non-Muslims. Last year, over 20,000 people attended the event and for the first time tickets were sold out by the second day of the 3-day program.

 

Farrakhan inspires crowd at Bowie State

Nearly two decades after the Million Man March, Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, is still challenging African Americans to take responsibility for their lives.

“I am the change that I am looking for. Don’t look for someone else to make changes for you,” said Farrakhan during a 90-minute discussion Friday night at Bowie State University where he talked about several topics including the presidential race, gay relationships, colorism and the possible white backlash if President Obama is reelected.

He acknowledged supportive whites, but also noted the rise in racially charged rhetoric and voting suppression tactics.

While Farrakhan is considered a polarizing figure because of comments he has made about Jews, whites and gays he enjoys hero status among many in the black community. In October 1995, he convened the historic Million Man March where black men from across the country filled the Mall from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument, vowing to take responsibility for their lives, their families and their communities.