Dutch filmmakers make documentary about IS victims

© Long Road Ahead
© Long Road Ahead

The young Dutch filmmaker Paul Voors (21) travelled together with three other young filmmakers to the North of Iraq to film victims of the Islamic State (IS). “Once you return home and try to sleep you finally realize what you have actually seen.”

The documentary “Long road ahead” by Felix Govers (20), Pauls Voors (21), Laurens van de Geer (20), and Stephan Valkenier (27) tells the story of four IS victims in Iraq. Poignant was especially the 15 years old Yezidi girl that was kidnapped, beaten, and raped by IS. “The girl wanted to commit suicide,” Voors tells. “She changed her mind when she heard men from the IS laugh about yezidis who did. She did not want to grant them the pleasure.”

Paul’s mother worked at the charity organization Dorcas and would travel frequently to Iraq. The stories he heard from his mother were so terrible that it motivated him to do something about the situation. The four filmmakers were guided in Northern Iraq by Dorcas. “It was safer to travel under their protection but we made the film independently.”

“One of the things I found most striking was to see how the yezidis live there,” Voors tells. “The environment stinks and their living spaces are demarcated by canvas.” A refugee had showed Voors a tape they brought with them when they ran. “It showed a wedding party of several months earlier. Everyone looked gorgeous. Now they were like drifters. The women looked much older and their gaze was exhausted and hopeless.”

The men hope their documentary will attract attention to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Voors: “The past couple of months the amount of Iraqis that are in need has risen to more then eight million people. I hope that people realize that we have much riches in the Netherlands. It doesn’t hurt to share some of that.”

Watch the trailer here:

https://vimeo.com/129705999

Ramadan tent project

July 25, 2014

Student volunteers have been organising an inter-faith charity project in London during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan for the second year running. The Ramadan tent invites the public to join Muslims breaking their fast at sunset every day. Organisers say the aim is to provide opportunities for young Muslims to meet people from London’s diverse communities. The Ramadan Tent Project is based at Malet Street Gardens in central London.

Briton sentenced to life in prison for drug smuggling

March 18, 2014

 

Khadija Shah, a 26-year-old British woman of Pakistani descent, was sentenced to life in prison in Pakistan on Tuesday after being convicted of trying to smuggle 63 kilograms of heroin out of the country. According to reports, Shah was arrested at the Islamabad airport in May 2012 after the heroin was discovered in several suitcases in her possession. She has claimed that she was carrying the cases for someone else and was unaware of their contents. Her lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, said they would appeal the conviction — given by the Special Narcotics Court in Rawalpindi — next week.

Maya Foa, the director of legal charity Reprieve’s Death Penalty team, said the conviction was “a terrible outcome” for Shah and her baby girl, who was born in prison; Shah was six-months pregnant at the time she was arrested. Foa urged the British government to “ensure that Khadija gets the urgent assistance she needs to appeal her sentence so that her baby doesn’t grow up behind bars.” A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said they were aware of the case and providing Shah and her family with “consular assistance.”

 

Source: http://tribune.com.pk/story/684256/british-pakistani-woman-given-life-sentence-for-drug-smuggling/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AAfPak%20Daily%20Brief&utm_campaign=South%20Asia%20Daily%20Brief%203-19-14

RNC chairman calls for official to step down over anti-Muslim, anti-gay posts

January 24, 2014

 

A Michigan member of the Republican National Committee rejected calls to resign Friday after making anti-gay and anti-Muslim remarks.

Dave Agema said he’s made mistakes but pledged to continue to “honor the trust and fulfill the responsibilities to those in the Michigan Republican Party that elected me.” On Jan. 17, Agema published a Facebook post saying, “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?” Earlier in the week, he linked to an article about a anti-propaganda law in Russia, saying “Read their law. Common sense in Russia.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) made oblique references to Agema’s comments in a Martin Luther King Jr. speech he gave last week, calling for “civility and respect.” The Michigan Catholic Conference also released a statement Friday calling for civility: “In all things political, in present times, there must be a renewed focus on charity.”

He issued a statement hours after RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Michigan Party Chairman Bobby Schostak called for his resignation.

“For the good of the party, we believe Dave Agema should resign,” Preibus and Schostak said in a joint statement. Last March, Agema posted an article on Facebook with an unsubstantiated claim that gays account for half the murders in large cities. In December, he told Berrien County Republicans that his experience as an American Airlines pilot made him familiar with efforts by gays to get health insurance coverage because of the ravages of AIDS. He also came under fire from the Council on American-Islamic Relations for a Facebook posting this month questioning Muslims’ commitment to charity.
Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/01/24/dave-agema-faces-additional-pressure-from-gop-party-leaders-to-step-down/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/michigan-gop-official-rejects-calls-to-resign/2014/01/24/316c3340-855c-11e3-a273-6ffd9cf9f4ba_story.html

UK Childline Report: increase in racist and Islamophobic bullying among children and teens

Childline, a charity organization that offers services to children and teenagers, has released a report documenting various issues facing young people in the UK. Among the problems that they face are racist and Islamophobic bullying, which are on the rise.

Full report: Childline Report: Can I Tell You Something?

Childline website: http://www.childline.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx

Racist bullying: Far-right agenda on immigration ‘being taken into classrooms’

January 8, 2014

 

The number of children seeking help for racist bullying increased sharply last year, as campaigners warn that the heated public debate about immigration is souring race relations in the classroom. More than 1,400 children and young people contacted ChildLine for counselling about racist bullying in 2013, up 69 per cent on the previous 12 months. Islamophobia is a particular issue in schools, according to the charity, with young Muslims reporting that they are being called “terrorists” and “bombers” by classmates.

The rise in children needing help for xenophobic bullying coincides with rising political hostility to immigration – especially in the lead-up to this month’s lifting of restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians entering the UK.

In 2011, just 802 children approached the charity seeking help for racist bullying.

Sue Minto, head of ChildLine, said: “There’s so much more of a focus in the news at the moment about immigrants… it’s a real discussion topic and children aren’t immune to the conversations that happen around them. Some children are being told, even if they’re UK born, to pack your bags and go back where you belong. It is very worrying, it’s a big increase. This past year, it really seems to be something children and young people are suffering with.”

The charity’s report found that the majority of the racist bullying affecting children was happening at school and many of those calling ChildLine for counselling say teachers ignore the situation or make it worse with clumsy interventions.

James Kingett, of the charity Show Racism The Red Card (SRTRC) which seeks to combat racism, said: “We work with around 50,000 young people every year and issues around Islamophobia have been very prevalent over the past 12 to 18 months. That idea that all Muslims are terrorists or bombers is a particular problem. We’re getting that from kids with no Muslim classmates through to those in diverse schools with many Muslims.”

Some actions taken by the school made things worse, some children said. For example, racist bullying being discussed in assembly simply advertised it and led to increased abusive behaviour. While girls are ordinarily more likely to approach ChildLine about bullying, more boys get in touch about racist abuse. Of the calls and online counselling sessions, 52 per cent involved boys, 32 per cent girls and 16 per cent were gender unknown.

Mr Kingett said that although the rise in racist bullying complaints was worrying, it at least indicated that children were prepared to seek help about their problems.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/racist-bullying-farright-agenda-on-immigration-being-taken-into-classrooms-9045148.html

BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25639839

Muslim mothers should be trained in computing ‘to help to spot radicalisation’

January 6, 2013

 

The mothers of Muslims should be trained in basic computing skills so they can spot online radicalisation of their children, a report says.

The study of 350 Muslim women, conducted between last June and October, found that 92 per cent did not understand the term “online radicalisation”, nor that their children could be radicalised online. It said three-quarters of all mothers surveyed had seen or heard their children accessing Islamic lectures, yet 90 per cent were unaware of their content.

“We believe that mothers are trusted anchors within many homes which means, if equipped with the right skills, they have a unique capacity to safeguard their children against internet radicalisation,” the report from women’s charity JAN Trust concluded.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/muslim-mothers-should-be-trained-in-computing-to-help-to-spot-radicalisation-9040289.html

British Guantanamo Bay inmate Shaker Aamer speaks from prison cell for first time on US TV show

November 19, 2013

 

The last British prisoner being held at Guantanamo Bay has spoken from his prison cell for the first time. Shaker Aamer, who has been incarcerated at the US military prison since 2002, spoke to CBS’s 60 Minutes show.

Shouting from his cell he said: “Tell the world the truth … Please, we are tired. Either you leave us to die in peace – or either tell the world the truth. Open up the place. Let the world come and visit. Let the world hear what’s happening. “Please colonel, act with us like a human being, not like slaves.”

Mr Aamer, one of 164 prisoners at Guantanamo, has been held for 11 years without charge and is accused of being a close associate of Osama bin Laden, which he denies. He has been cleared for transfer by both the Bush and Obama administrations, according to Reprieve, the legal charity and human rights group which is representing him.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron raised Mr Aamer’s case with President Barack Obama at a G8 summit and the British government has repeatedly stated that it wants him returned to the UK. Despite having British residency and a British wife and four children living in Battersea, London, US authorities have repeatedly threatened to send him back to Saudi Arabia, his birthplace, against his wishes.

Mr Aamer was detained in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001 after he went to the country to carry out voluntary work for an Islamic charity, Reprieve said. It is alleged that he was tortured at the Bagram Air Force base while being questioned by US forces and in February 2010 it emerged that the Metropolitan police was investigating allegations of MI5 complicity in his torture.

“The Deputy Prime Minister went on to raise Mr Aamer’s case with Vice-President Biden in September. We are confident that the US government understands the seriousness of the UK’s request for Mr Aamer’s release. Although he admitted that “Any decision regarding Mr Aamer’s release ultimately remains in the hands of the United States government. We continue to monitor Mr Aamer’s welfare through engagement with the US authorities.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/british-guantanamo-bay-inmate-shaker-aamer-speaks-from-prison-cell-for-first-time-on-us-tv-show-8949925.html

Westminster University students ‘furious’ after controversial Islamic preacher booked for charity dinner talk

November 14, 2013

 

National Charity Week began in controversy after Westminster Islamic Society (ISOC) asked an anti-gay and anti-Semitic Muslim scholar to give a speech to over 300 students. ISOC had originally arranged for the moderate Wasim Kempson to come in as a guest speaker, but students were left confused after the controversial figure Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad replaced Kempson less than 24 hours before the dinner.

Al-Haddad’s views on many subjects are outspoken to say the least. In a recent article published online with his name underneath it, entitled “Standing up against homosexuality and LGBTs”, the words “the scourge of homosexuality” are used, which is referred to as a “criminal act”.

During his speech the Sheikh revealed that he had been “invited to Westminster many times” before going on to talk about how “privileged” he had felt by his welcome.

While many students were left up in arms about the last-minute swap, the student union claims that ISOC “passed all requirements” and that “all relevant processes were followed” in Al-Haddad’s invitation.

A statement was later released which read: “UWSU as an organisation does not endorse or support any views expressed by external speakers, neither does it seek to prevent freedom of speech.”

The Islamic Society at the University of Westminster could not be reached for comment.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/westminster-university-students-furious-after-controversial-islamic-preacher-booked-for-charity-dinner-talk-8939980.html