Study finds British Muslim schools’ uniforms policy often require girls to wear the hijab

The National Secular Society found that 59 out of the 142 Islamic schools that accept girls have a compulsory hijab policy. Hijab refers to Islamic standards of modesty, but is being used in the articles summarised below specifically to refer to the hair-covering practice of girls. Three of the schools which require hijab receive state funding. The National Secular Society opposed these school polices and say it is duty of the British government to protect the liberty of these students.

The organisation wrote a letter raising concerns about this issue. The letter is co-signed by feminists from “Muslim backgrounds, ” including activist Sara Khan and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

The Bradford Council for Mosques responded to this finding saying that wearing the hijab should not be compulsory for school uniforms. Spokesman Ishriaq Ahmed said, “People should have choices without the fear of being criticised…No child should be forced to do anything.”

The controversy over required hijab in dress codes follows closely after a controversy over allowing girls to wear hijab. The Sunday Times surveyed primary schools in England and found that 20% of primary schools “allow the hijab” in their uniform policies.

Gina Khan, a Birmingham children’s rights advocate, criticised the policy, saying, “Schools…need to support Muslim girls to have free choices, not to be set apart from other children.”

On the other side, Toby Howard, the Bishop of Bradford and an inter-faith leader, said, “this is a matter of religious identity not sexualisation.” The concern about sexualisation arises from the practice of starting to wear a headscarf post-puberty. But Howard noted that is not necessarily the case, as girls may choose to where the headscarf to “look like their mums.”

British Muslim responses to Barcelona terrorist attack

After terrorist attacks in the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Cambrils, British Muslims have responded in various ways. Independent British Muslim journalist, Abbas Nasir, noted that Barcelona was attacked despite its previous strong opposition to the Iraq war. For him, this indicates that terrorism is not about the West but about “spiritually defunct” individual Jihadis.

Leading Britain’s Conversation radio host, Maajid Nawaz, compared the Spanish terrorist attacks to the Charlottesville’s white supremacist violence. He said that people “don’t want to challenge neo-Nazi ideology and yet every time there’s a jihadist those on the far-right do want to talk about ideology.”

Farrukh Younus, the article’s author, decries U.S. President Trump’s false story about General Pershing deterring terrorism by shooting perpetrators with pigs blood. Younus writes, “It is a sad day when the President of the United States needs to understand that pigs are not a ‘Muslim-kryptonite.'”

Younus suggests that Muslims should be naturally against terrorism. As terrorism contradicts “Prophet Muhammad’s own design for city living: a place where people of all faith, can live together in peace.”

He also notes that Las Ramblas, the name of the road on which the terrorist attack occurred, has an Arabic origin meaning “river bed that is dry.” Following on this, he writes, “these terrorists who casually took innocent lives, harming others, have an empty, dry soul, devoid of the spirit that gives life beauty, meaning or purpose.”

Muslim leaders condemn London Bridge terror attacks

Various Muslim leaders have condemned the London Bridge terror attacks. The Muslim Council of Britain said the nature of the atrocity and its timing during Ramadan proved the attackers “respect neither life nor faith.”

The Muslim Council of Britain said the nature of the atrocity and its timing during Ramadan proved the attackers “respect neither life nor faith.”

East London Mosque & London Muslim Center in Tower Hamlets also issued a statement, “such acts of mindless violence can never be justified.”

The CEO of the British Muslim charity, Muslim Aid, Jehangir Malik said, “As British Muslims and members of other faiths or non, our staff are united in our disgust and condemnation for the perpetrators of the recent utterly tragic events in London Bridge and Manchester.”

The Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he was “grieving” for victims and offered messages of resilience for which he was attacked on Twitter by U.S. President Donald Trump.

There was also a public vigil organised by the Ahmaddiya Muslim community on London Bridge. Dozens of Muslims were present at the solemn event. Imam Abdul Quddus Arif said, “we are greatly troubled by this situation; we simply cannot tolerate innocents being killed or harmed.”

New theatre production looking at Muslim conversion

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About 5,000 people in the UK convert to Islam every year, the majority of whom are women. It is a religious and cultural choice still largely treated with suspicion, but a new play opening at London’s Tricycle Theatre is aimed at shedding light on the journey of conversion and British perceptions of Islam as a whole.

Multitudes is the debut work of John Hollingworth, an actor who has appeared in productions at the National Theatre, the Old Vic and the Tricycle, and is set in his hometown of Bradford, West Yorkshire, just after the forthcoming general election.

With characters ranging from a British tutor who converts to Islam and a moderate British Muslim councillor, to a teenage girl who has become radicalised and wants to join the Islamic caliphate, it is a play that grapples with varied and often ignored facets of the Muslim experience in modern Britain.

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.

British Muslim Organizations Condemn Charlie Habdo Terror [Collected Press Releases]

Muslim Council of Britain

Paris Murders are a Greater Insult to Islam:

The Muslim Council of Britain reiterated its condemnation of the barbarous murder of journalists at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.  The attack has been condemned by Muslims in France, in Europe and around the world. In France,  the French Muslim Council (CFCM) has said: “This extremely grave barbaric action is also an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press.”

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “Nothing justifies the taking of life. Those who have killed in the name of our religion today claim to be avenging the insults made against Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace. But nothing is more immoral, offensive and insulting against our beloved Prophet than such a callous act of murder.  Our thoughts, prayers and solidarity go to  the families of the victims and the people of France.

Naturally, and unfortunately discussion will now fall on the right to intentionally publish hurtful material that denigrates religious figures and traditions. But however offended we may be, the ultimate denigration of our faith comes from these murderers who have unjustifiably taken life.

In the coming weeks Muslims will face the test of having to justify themselves and their place in Western society. As Muslims we are ever mindful of our Lord’s injunction to convey our true faith with wisdom and beautiful words. Indeed in the noble Qur’an we are told: ‘The true servants of the Merciful are those who walk humbly on the earth and when the ignorant address them they say: Peace.’

In addition, while Muslims must engage with fellow citizens in a spirit of dialogue and friendship, we must all come together to seek unity and defy the terrorists whose only aim is to divide us. The best defence against closed minds is for a truly open society, welcoming of all.”


 

Association of British Muslim Students

The Association of British Muslims calls for Europe to Confront Violence and Protect Freedom.

The Association of British Muslims (AoBM) strongly condemns the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has killed at least 13 people according to the news reports. Our thoughts are with the victims of this terror attack and the families affected at this difficult time.

At AoBM, we have maintained our differences with the editorial policies of Charlie Hebdo. We always have had questions about the judgement (but not the right) of publishing images which are predictably deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. However, at the same time we stand in support of freedom of expression and believe that there is no justification whatsoever, to take lives of people who we disagree with while exercising this right.

We note that the Quran instructs its believers to argue with the challengers in ways that are best and most gracious. The attacks in Paris symbolise nothing close to these Koranic instructions but instead represent a distortion of faith which is forgiving and open to debate.

AoBM also takes this opportunity to condemn the bomb attack in Yemen which killed at least 40 people. AoBM stands in solidarity with the people of France and Yemen and seek justice for the victims as well as the perpetrators of the attacks.

Zahid Ali AkbarHuman Rights Director, The Association of British Muslims
Paul Salahuddin ArmstrongCo-Director, The Association of British Muslims
Mohammed AbbasiCo-Director, The Association of British Muslims


Muslim Association of Britain Statement

Muslim Association of Britain expresses its total condemnation of the senseless and brutal killing of 12 French people including two police officers at the offices of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ newspapers in Paris.

MAB is shocked by the tragedy and deplores this unwarranted violence. MAB would like to state that whilst it is well-known that this controversial newspaper has previously published provocative cartoons of the Prophet (may peace be upon him), there can never be any justification for this criminal act.

MAB also believes that while the hunt for the offenders continues it would be unhelpful to make undue speculations about the circumstances surrounding this incident. It would even be more harmful if this incident would be used by extremists to increase Islamophobic attacks or rhetoric against Muslims in France, and Europe in General.

Omer El-Hamdoon, MAB President commented: “It is suffice to say this is an extremely sad day for the French and we support the British Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons that this is a ‘barbaric’ attack which he described as an attack on freedom.”

 

UK Muslims welcome the homeless in Christmas

A British Muslim has invited the needy and homeless to enjoy Christmas day for free in his restaurant in the British town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.

“I’m Muslim, I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I’m open on Christmas Day, to celebrate and help someone else’s religious festival,” Usman Majid, the owner of The Grill restaurant on Buckingham Street.

However, food was not the only service offered during the day. Currently, the staff are handing out clothes and are hoping to offer haircuts to all of those who have nowhere to go on Christmas day.

Usman also told us donations for it have been amazing.

“It’s cold, it’s bitter outside and we have a nice warm place, a nice warm meal, new clothes and a haircut if we can do it,” Majid said.

“We’re not saying we’re going to change your life, that’s unrealistic, it’s not going to happen, but for 8 or 9 hours I can affect your Christmas Day,” he added.

‘Radicalisation risk’ at six Muslim private schools, says Ofsted

The debate over “British values” came to the fore in the wake of the “Trojan horse” affairs, and the realization that hundreds of British Muslim men – and some women – had become radicalised enough to join extremists in Iraq and Syria. The government has stressed “fundamental British values” must be taught and encouraged in schools. To this end, secular and humanist campaigners have welcomed an increase in inspections, saying that for too long the UK has allowed religious communities to “enforce their own values and traditions” on children.

But the school that has been recently inspected said that during a two-day inspection in October, Ofsted asked pupils “vaguely worded questions which produced vague responses”. “To make sweeping generalisations on the basis of their response is utterly unprofessional,” it said in a statement.

Suggestions that children were not protected from extremist views were “completely unfounded”, it said, adding that Ofsted’s findings regarding the role of women did not “reflect the school’s attitude”. The school said it was “natural” for an Islamic school to have a “primary ethos” based on Islam, but that did not mean it taught children that other faiths and traditions were “antithetical to Islamic teachings”.

The six private schools are all in Tower Hamlets, where the council said it had no jurisdiction over teaching and standards at independent faith schools and that its powers were limited to offering training and advice to schools.

 

British Muslims Condemn Anti-Muslim Bigotry Printed in the Daily Mail

February 22, 2014

 

Leading British Muslim and interfaith organisations today wrote to Paul Dacre, the Editor of the Daily Mail condemning an article by columnist Richard Littlejohn that deployed hateful Muslim stereotypes. The column purports to criticise an individual but instead uses slurs commonly found in racist and far-right websites to make its point.

Entitled “Jolly Jihadi’s Outing to Legoland”, the article satirises a community event that is to be held at the theme park, organised through a private group booking. Mr Littlejohn uses hateful tropes to fill his article. Mr Littlejohn jokes that the group, which will in real life have parents and children in attendance, will travel to Legoland in a coach “…packed with explosives stops in Parliament Square. As Big Ben strikes ten, driver will blow himself up”.

As a result of Mr Littlejohn’s article, far-right groups are threatening to turn up at Legoland, thus causing distress to the children present.

The letter is signed by a cross-section of British Muslims. It is in no way a defence of the views attributed to the person Mr Littlejohn criticises, but rather a challenge to our media not to accept such hateful language in our discourse.

 

The letter reads:

Dear Mr Dacre,

We write to express our condemnation of a recent article published by Richard Littlejohn in your newspaper. Entitled “Jolly Jihadi’s Outing to Legoland”, Mr Littlejohn deploys the most hateful stereotypes of Muslims to attack an individual.

Our condemnation is not about the attacks on Mr Haitham al-Haddad: he is perfectly capable of responding to the accusations put to him if minded to do so. Many of us may well disagree with the views attributed to him. Rather, we are speaking out at the insidious and hateful tropes Mr Littlejohn uses for his argument.

Mr Littlejohn may think he is humorous, satirical in fact. But there is nothing funny about inciting hatred. The language he deploys is exactly the same as those used by racists and the far-right. One needs only to peruse the comments below his article online to see the hatred against Muslims Mr Littlejohn has generated.

Would you allow similar hateful stereotypes to be used when writing about other faith or race communities?

Mr Littlejohn may suggest his words of hatred are directed at one figure rather than mainstream Muslims. This is a poor excuse. He accuses one figure of using hate speech by deploying hate speech himself.

As a cross section of Britain’s Muslim community, along with many of our fellow Britons, we state clearly and loudly that Mr Littlejohn’s article is the worst form of bigotry. This goes beyond causing offence. Your newspaper has published an incitement to hate Muslims.

So, we urge you, in the interests of decency and fairplay, to retract Mr Littlejohn’s article and to issue an apology not just to British Muslims, but to your readers and the great British public at large.

Yours,

 

 

Farooq Murad,

Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

 

Fiyaz Mughal,

Founder and Director, Faith Matters and Tell Mama

 

Julian Bond

Director, Christian Muslim Forum

 

Steven Derby,

Director, Interfaith Matters

 

Ali Qureshi

Secretary General, Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO)

 

Maulana Sarfraz Madni,

Chairman, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board

 

Ameena Blake,

Vice-President, Muslim Association of Britain

 

Ali Master,

Council of European Jamaats (COEJ)

 

Saleha Islam

Chief Executive, Muslim Youth Helpline

 

Sufyan G Ismail,

Trustee, Engage

 

Mazhar Khan

Executive Board Member, Muslim Council of Scotland

 

Saleem Kidwai OBE,

Secretary General, Muslim Council of Wales

 

Mohammed Aslam-Ijaz,

General Secretary, Council of Mosques, South London and Southern Counties

 

Abdul Hamid Qureshi

Chair, Lancashire Council of Mosques

 

Ufuk Secgin

Chairman, London Islamic Culture and Recreation Society (LICARS)

 

Ahmed Khelloufi

Executive Director, Muslim Welfare House (London)

 

Mohammed Kozbar

British Muslim Initiative and Finsbury Park Mosque

 

Sheikh Hojjat Ramzy

Chair, Iqra Institute, Oxford

 

Shifa Shahab

Federation of Muslim Organisations Leicestershire

 

Muhammad Jinani

Young Muslim Organisation UK

 

Dr Mohammed Idrees

General Secretary, UK Islamic Mission

 

Ajmal Masroor

London Imam and Director of Barefoot Institute

 

Yusuf Al Khoei

Al-Khoei Foundation

 

Moulana Shahid Raza,

Founding Trustee, British Muslim Forum

 

Sir Iqbal Sacranie

Balham Mosque & Tooting Islamic Centre

 

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari

Author and Commentator

 

Talha Ahmad

Head of Media, Dawatul Islam UK & Eire

 

Yousuf Bhailok

Trustee /Chair. ‘Al Jamiah Al Islamiyah Darul Uloom Lancashire

 

Rashid Brora

General Secretary, Southampton Medina Mosque Trust Ltd

 

Unaiza Malik

Muslim Women’s Association

 

Muhammad Habibur-Rahman

Chairman, East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre

 

Dilowar Khan

President, Islamic Forum of Europe

 

 

The Muslim Council of Britain: http://www.mcb.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2463:pr-template&catid=40:press-release