Muslim employee sues Irish supermarket chain for unfair dismissal

A Muslim convert sues her previous employer, Dunnes Stores, a major Irish supermarket chain, for unfair dismissal. The Latvian-born woman converted to Islam after having worked for Dunnes Stores. When she started wearing the headscarf subsequent to her conversion she was told by the local store manager that “she couldn’t come to work wearing the hijab”. After not returning to work, Dunnes Stores dismissed her. The hearing of her case is currently underway.

Tennessee mosque receives final occupancy permit, was subject of 2-year legal battle

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A Tennessee mosque has received its final approval after a nearly two-year legal battle to prevent it from opening.

Islamic Center of Murfreesboro board chairman Essam Fathy said Thursday he was relieved and happy the mosque has its permanent occupancy permit.

Since construction was approved in May 2010, the mosque has been targeted by vandalism, arson and a bomb threat.

A group of neighbors sued Rutherford County to try to stop construction. Among other things, they claimed that local Muslims were compelled by their religion to try to overthrow the U.S. Constitution and replace it with Islamic law.

That claim was dismissed, but construction approvals were voided briefly for other reasons before a federal judge last month cleared the way for the mosque to open.

Gardell: Breivik is not a mystery

June 4, 2012

 

Mass murderer Breivik is no mystery – are the words of History of Religion Professor Mattias Gardell (Uppsala University). Gardell was a witness called for by Breivik’s defense team on Monday (June 4). Breivik could also tell what formed him into a terrorist. The Swedish Professor (Gardell) analyzed Breivik’s over 1500-long manifesto. It mainly consists out of large chunks of text collected from various extreme right-wing and anti-Muslim forums and internet sites. Gardell was summoned as an expert witness who argued that Breivik’s ideas are shared by many people. “If they are to be incarcerated for (psychiatric) treatment, then you (the authorities) will have to build a very large care facility”, he said.

 

In the first psychiatric examination before the trial Breivik was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. These findings were primarily built on the assumption that he had delusionary images that the Islamic world is on the verge of taking over Europe. The psychiatrists also pointed out that Breivik had created new concepts, out of which national Darwinism  is prominent in his manifesto. These claims were dismissed by Gardell.

 

“It seems that they (psychiatrists) did not bother with making a web search of words such as cultural Marxism and national Darwinism. You would get a massive amount of hits,” Gardell said after the testimony. According to the Professor, Breivik is at his ideological core a fascist, who had built his ideology from ideas such as islamophobia, antifeminism, cultural conservative nationalism, and even white-power ideology. “Breivik is no mystery”, he said during the proceedings.

 

This analysis has been used by the defense team to demonstrate that Breivik is mentally sane, and therefore should be sentenced to prison and not psychiatric care. “If my expert opinion would contribute to sentencing (Breivik) to the hardest punishment mandated by the law, I would not lose any sleep over it”, Gardell comments.

 

The mass murderer himself was completely calm during Gardell’s presentation. One of the jurors even played a computer game during the proceedings, which was broadcasted by a TV-camera. Many of the defense’s witnesses have declined to appear in court. For that reason Breivik received extra time to present his personal experiences which had added to his hatred of Muslims. As a seven years old boy Breivik remembers getting his bicycle damaged by his friend’s father. Later his negative experiences were dominated by fights with Pakistani and Albanian gangs during the night life in downtown Oslo. Many of his accounts could not be verified.

 

Breivik had also mentioned that his political views were formed by the age of 15 when he had noticed that the media did not care much for the (social) problems he had seen. Breivik has a theory about why he had come to find himself in this situation of being accused of terrorism. He argued that his honor, as well the honor of the Norwegian people is vital to his worldview. “There are not many Norwegians who share this feeling.”

Signed: Peter Wallberg/TT

Why Islamophobia Must Fail – The Case of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the latest victim of an intricate web of half-truths and outright lies woven for political profit and as part of a broad, well funded, Islamophobia network. The Congresswoman was slated to be the keynote speaker at an April 21 event for the group EMERGE USA , but backed off after a scathing blog post by Joe Kaufman , who happens to be running for a Congressional seat for Florida’s District 20.

EMERGE USA is a non-profit committed to empowering minorities through increased civic engagement and education about the political process. The organization has strong roots in the community and has been publicly supported by one of Florida’s senior statesmen, former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, an expert on terrorism and intelligence. However, the fact that EMERGE USA was founded and is run by Muslims seems to be the proverbial bee in Kaufman’s bonnet. Ultimately, Kaufman’s Glen Beck-esque acrobatics in trying to link EMERGE USA board members and staff to “questionable” organizations and associations can be easily dismissed because of factual errors and deliberate obfuscation.

While the influence of the Islamophobia network on right-wing politicians is more visible, the pressure it exerts on progressives is more troubling. Left-leaning politicians are also vulnerable to manipulation, as can be seen in Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s case. The Congresswoman is not the first Democrat to distance herself from a Muslim organization after being attacked by Islamophobes. To American Muslims who are mostly progressive in their politics, abandonment by Democratic politicians feels like betrayal.

Killing of Iraqi Woman in San Diego Draws Global Condemnation Online

The death of an Iraqi immigrant in San Diego on Saturday, an apparent victim of a hate crime, provoked a wave of outraged comments from bloggers who compared the killing to the shooting of an unarmed Florida teenager last month. The woman, Shaima Alawadi, died three days after her daughter discovered her body in a pool of blood inside their home alongside a note that said, “go back to your country, you terrorist.”

On Twitter, where her death became the most-discussed topic worldwide within hours, bloggers and journalists traced a connection between the headscarf the pious mother of five wore and the hooded sweatshirt 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fl.

A police spokesman told The Union-Tribune that the family told investigators a similar note was found outside the house earlier this month, but Ms. Alawadi had dismissed it as a prank and did not report it to the authorities.
The spokesman, Lt. Mark Coit, said: “A hate crime is one of the possibilities and we will be looking at that. We don’t want to focus on one issue and miss something else.”

A Group to Counter Anti-Islam Sentiment

As anti-Muslim rhetoric rises locally and nationally — some of it fueled by the presidential campaign — a group of Chicago-area Muslims is battling back, using tactics including a television ad campaign and public forums against bigotry.

Gain Peace, an Islamic outreach organization based in Chicago, spent $40,000 in December to counter negative portrayals and produce two television ads intended to promote Islam as a just faith. The spots, which will run through March in the Chicago area on Fox, CNN and TNT, depict friendly Muslim students and professionals and display a phone number and a Web site for more information.

In the presidential race, both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have depicted Islamic Shariah law as a potential threat to United States sovereignty. One of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisers, Walid Phares, regularly warns that Muslims aim to take over American institutions and impose Shariah, a legal code based mainly on the Koran that can involve punishments like cutting off the hands of a thief.

Mr. Ahmed, of Gain Peace, dismissed any connection between Islamic Circle and terrorism. “There is always a link people try to make,” he said. “But there is no proof.”

Mr. Redfield, of the University of Illinois at Springfield, said he thought the Muslim groups were smart to combat anti-Muslim rhetoric. “In politics, if you don’t define yourself someone else will,” he said. “They have to be proactive in terms of trying to neutralize ignorance and willful manipulation of negative opinion.”
Islamic Circle hopes to distribute the television ads nationwide.

Dutch Immigration Minister Calls to Eliminate Term ‘Allochtoon’

31 January 2012

 

Immigration minister Geerd Leers has called for elimination of the term allochtoon, a designation connoting “non-native” and widely  \applied in popular use to describe non-western immigrants (particularly from Turkey and Morocco) and their children, up to third generation. Leers commented in a magazine interview, “I want people born in the Netherlands to be called Dutch, plain and simple… I can understand why people who give themselves 100% to society ask themselves why they are being dismissed in such a derogatory way.” Telegraaf reports that Leers’ position is notable, contrasting that of the PVV party in alliance with the minority cabinet, which aims to broaden the scope of the term.

15 Muslims arrested in NY amusement park clash over headscarves set to have charges dismissed

RYE, N.Y. — Fifteen Muslims arrested after an amusement park scuffle in the New York City suburbs are set to have charges against them dismissed.

A Rye Town Court judge told the defendants on Tuesday that their cases will be dropped if they stay out of trouble for two months.

The disturbance at Playland Park began after Muslim women were told they couldn’t wear religious headscarves on some rides.

The women were among about 3,000 Muslims at the park on Aug. 30. They were celebrating the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. Officials say Playland bans baseball caps, eyeglasses and other headgear on several fast rides.

UN Human Rights Decision Backs French Sikhs

News Agencies – January 13, 2012

A Sikh man in France has won the backing of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in his fight over religious headgear. It said France was violating Sikhs’ religious freedom by forcing them to remove their turbans when having photos taken for passports and ID cards. Ranjit Singh, 76, said he had turned to the UN because he found the French policy disrespectful and unnecessary.

Sikhs in France have been fighting a long battle over the turban. In 2004 France passed a law banning religious signs in schools. This included turbans and Muslim headscarves.

In 2008 the European Court of Human Rights dismissed an appeal on grounds of security.

It said that whilst Shingara Singh’s religious rights had been infringed, France was justified to ban the turban on the driver’s licence photo because the turban posed a security risk of fraud and falsification. That is when Ranjit Singh decided to file a case to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC). It has now judged that a turban does not pose a risk to security.

Court Dismissed Claim Made by Muslim Soldier

04./05.10.2011

On Tuesday, the administrative Court in Minden dismissed the claim made by a former Muslim soldier, who filed a lawsuit against the German army, as considered his early release from service to be unlawful. The 28-year old claimant, Sascha B., had joined the military in 2006 and converted to Islam during his service time. The army released Sascha B. in the spring of 2010, after he had publicly praised Sharia law as the best way to organize society. Previous to this incident, B.’s religiosity had caused problems, when he refused to trim his beard (which led to a disciplinary punishment) and to teach a young recruit how to use his rifle, as he wanted to prevent him from shooting Muslims in case he was ordered to serve in Afghanistan. The army released Sascha B. two weeks prior to the regular end of his service, as they were concerned about the possible Islamist threat he posed. B., however, based his claim on his right to religious freedom. Yet, the Court decided his release was justified and lawful, considering B.’s behavior.