At Averroès Muslim High School in Lille “we feel betrayed and humiliated”

Averroès high school says it has nothing to hide. Former teacher Soufiane Zitouni accused certain students of “cultural anti-Semitism” and others of harboring Islamist tendencies. Following the accusations, the school’s director opened its doors to Metro News.

Even as two inspectors of the academy of Lille came to verify that the school continued to respect its contract with the state, the students appeared carefree and enjoyed themselves in the hallways.

“This inspection, we asked for it,” said the school’s assistant director Eric Dufour. “It’s important that the truth be established.”

“Soufiane Zitouni never told us what he told the media,” stated a current teacher. “We don’t understand his attitude.” Even students were shocked. “We feel betrayed and humiliated,” said Zainab, a first-year student. “How could he say he spent five challenging months here?” His friend Sondos added, “It’s hypocritical on his part. He was always smiling. And why would he talk about his experience? Are we in a zoo?”

Dufour admitted he had one encounter during which the teacher complained. “When I asked him the names of his students who held tendentious beliefs, he refused to specify and left without us being able to take the necessary measures,” he said.

For the moment, the high school affirms its intention to press charges for defamation. The teacher, who confirmed having resigned from his post, is on sick leave until February 21. The classes are now taught by Stephen Urani, who says he is “happy and enthusiastic” to be at Averroès.

Piccardo Denounces those who are wrong about Imam

August 12, 2013

“The words uttered years ago by Shaikh Riyad Al Bustanji have been shamefully distorted and manipulated” said Davide Piccardo, the coordinator of the Islamic associations of Milan, discussing the recent stance of the Jewish community against the participation of the Municipality of Milan in Ramadan, due to Imam Al Bustanj’s presence. Imam Al Bustanj “has never” says Piccardo “praised hatred, much less to the martyrdom of children. We have begun a legal proceeding against those responsible for spreading these words citing that these comments support defamation and incitement to racial and religious hatred.”

The participation of the imam in Ramadan festivities in Milan has incited a lot of controversy, including the spokesman of the main synagogue in Milan asking that politicians demand the resignation of the Piccardo, who responded with the letter.

Mass. pair sues New York Post over Marathon bombing portrayal

A Massachusetts teenager and his 24-year-old friend filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Post Wednesday in Boston, accusing the tabloid of falsely portraying them as suspects in the deadly Marathon bombings by plastering their photograph on the front page under the headline, “Bag Men.”

The lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court said the photographs and articles published three days after the bombings made it appear that FBI agents were pursuing Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi, avid runners watching the Marathon. That evening, authorities released photographs of the suspected bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

In the complaint, lawyers for Barhoum, a 16-year-old Revere High School student, and Zaimi, a part-time college student from Malden who also works full time, accused the New York Post of libel, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy. They are seeking damages, including unspecified monetary compensation.

“The front page would lead a reasonable reader to believe that plaintiffs had bombs in their bags, that they were involved in causing the Boston Marathon bombing,” according to the court complaint. The lawsuit asserts the newspaper subjected the friends to “scorn, hatred, ridicule, or contempt in the minds of a considerable and respectable segment of the community.”

Forced and Arranged Marriages in Germany: Between Elucidation and Scandalising Distortion

4 December 2010
Filiz Sütcü, a lawyer of Turkish origin, has carried out academic research into the subject of forced and arranged marriages. In an interview with Qantara, she criticises the media’s sensational treatment of the issue and explains that public debate is usually more about cultural and religious defamation.

Swiss Oppose UN Resolution on Minaret Ban

Several Muslim and African states have proposed to denounce bans against minaret construction as ‘Islamophobic’ as part of a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on religious defamation. According to Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raphaël Saborit, “in principle Switzerland disagrees with the concept of a resolution devoted to the defamation of religion,” as religious freedom ought to protect individual rights to practise one’s own religion, and not the religion itself.

“The Hard Core of Islamophobia Is Racist”: Interview with Heiner Bielefeldt

The Catholic theologian and philosopher Heiner Bielefeldt talks in this interview about legitimate criticism of religion on the one hand and racist Islamophobia on the other hand. Bielefeldt claims that as long Islam is in line with the German Basic Law – and theologically figures out how to do so – there should be no conflict within the German society. Criticism may be uttered in a robust, even satirical way, but the limit is reached when the discussion comes to a point of simple defamation and marginalization.

Heiner Bielefeldt is the former director of the state-funded German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin. In September 2009, he assumed the very first German chair for Human Rights and Human Rights Policy at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. On this subject he has already published, among other things, a book entitled “Muslime im säkularen Rechtsstaat – Integrationschancen durch Religionsfreiheit” (Muslims in the Secular State Governed by the Rule of Law: Opportunities for Integration through Religious Freedom).

Wilders loses bid to stop his pending trial for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims

Far-right lawmaker and filmmaker Geert Wilders has lost a legal bid to stop his pending trial for inciting hatred ad discrimination against Muslims. “The Attorney-General is of the opinion that there are no grounds” for a further appeal, the Dutch Supreme Court said in a statement. Lawyers for Wilders sought to overturn a ruling but the Amsterdam appeals court that he should be prosecuted for a series of public anti-Muslim sentiments – and in particular, for comparing Islam to Nazism. The appeals court judgment followed numerous complaints form citizens over the prosecution service’s initial refusal to press charges against Wilders. Wilder, 45, is the maker of a 17-minute film, Fitna, which has been called “offensively anti-Islamic” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Canadian Islamic Congress President: “We’ve been victimized”

Mohamed Elmasry, a professor of microchip design and national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, takes issue with the treatment of Islam in Canada’s weekly news magazine publication, Maclean’s Magazine.

After considering how to best respond, whether with a criminal complaint or a civil case, Elmasry and the CIC decided on a quasi-judicial compromise by focusing on human rights commissions. All three of their complaints have been rejected. He claims, “The first point that I did learn from this exercise is that Islamophobia is alive and well in Canada, in the media and also in politics. In all of this, we’ve been victimized.” Elmasry adds that Canadian law is deficient because it lacks the concept of “group defamation” which would enable tribunals to uphold complaints such as his.

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UN rights council passes Islamic resolution on religious defamation

The top United Nations rights body passes a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned with the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it. The European Union claimed the text was one-sided, however, because it focused primarily on Islam. Over the opposition of Europe and Canada, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted the resolution with a 21-10 vote. EU diplomats said they were concerned with a trend to use religious anti-defamation laws to limit free speech.

Yemen urges Dutch government to ban anti-Quran film

Yemeni Minister of Endowments and Religious Guidance Hamour al-Hitar has formally demanded that the Dutch government ban an inflammatory anti-Quran film. Al-Hitar has discussed the issue with ambassador of the Netherlands Harry Buikema, and called for the exertion and coordination of international efforts to prevent the defamation of religion in order to avoid tense situations.