Muslim girl terrified to return to school after classmate beats her, rips off hijab

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling out a north metro middle school for what it calls a “lack of response” following an alleged incident where a Muslim girl’s hijab was pulled off.

The girl had her headscarf forcibly removed by another student and thrown to the ground at school Nov. 11, according to a press release from the organization.

Once the girl’s hijab was on the ground, her classmate pulled her hair so that it fell down in front of other classmates, the release states.

The girl has not returned to Northdale Middle School, where she feels unsafe, according to the release.

The girl’s family reports that the incident happened Friday at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids, CAIR-MN says, adding that the school didn’t respond until Tuesday.

‘Cut beard or leave’: French high school student told his beard is ‘sign of radicalization’

A student of a French high school was threatened with expulsion after he refused to comply with the headmaster’s demand to shave his beard, which the headmaster considered a “sign of radicalization.”

“You cut it or you leave,” the headmaster reportedly told the student. The head teacher also reportedly claimed that the student’s beard is an apparent “sign of radicalization.”

When the headmaster first asked the student to shave or shorten his facial hair, the young man, 21, explained that he had been cultivating his beard for two years for religious reasons.

“The Prophet [Muhammed] was wearing one. It is something important to me,” the student, who wanted to remain unidentified out of fear of “being stigmatized even more.”

He also added that the head teacher’s “threats put pressure” on him and he “ended up” writing a letter to inform him that he was leaving the school. According to Le Parisien, the student has not attended school since October 13.

“He [the headmaster] gave me a few days for reflection to see if I change my mind and shave [the beard]… but I will not!” the student said. The student, who is a son of an atheist and a non-practicing Muslim, also admitted that he used to miss classes to go to Friday prayers, and said that he avoided shaking hands with his schoolmates for reasons of “decency.”

He also said that he used to wear harem pants – a sort of clothing common among Muslims – but stopped wearing them at headmaster’s request, as he agreed that it could be a religious sign. However, he still defends his right to sport a beard.

“I am not the only one with a beard, both among students and teachers,” he said. In the meantime, the young man received support from his classmates. “It looks like it was the parents who complained to the headmaster. Everything is mixed up!” one girl said.

The incident took place in the Parisian northern suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, where some of the terrorists, who were involved in the Paris attacks in November 2015, were living.

 

 

Supreme Court Agrees to Weigh Arkansas Inmate’s Right to Grow a Beard

February 28, 2014

 

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether prison officials in Arkansas may prohibit inmates from growing beards in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The policy was challenged by Gregory H. Holt, who is serving a life sentence for burglary and domestic battery. Mr. Holt said his Muslim faith required him to grow a beard.

The state’s policy allows trimmed mustaches, along with quarter-inch beards for those with dermatological problems. Prison officials said the ban on other facial hair was needed to promote “health and hygiene,” to minimize “opportunities for disguise” and to help prevent the concealment of contraband.

Mr. Holt sued under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal law that requires prison officials to show that policies that burden religious practices advance a compelling penological interest and use the least restrictive means to do so. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in St. Louis, ruled in June that the justifications offered by the officials satisfied that standard.

Mr. Holt filed a handwritten petition in September asking the justices to hear his case, Holt v. Hobbs, No. 13-6827, pointing out that other courts had struck down policies banning beards in prisons. In an interim order in November, the Supreme Court ordered that Mr. Holt be allowed to grow a half-inch beard.

 

NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/us/supreme-court-agrees-to-weigh-arkansas-inmates-right-to-grow-a-beard.html?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults%230&version=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry714%23%2Fmuslim%2F30days%2Fallresults%2F1%2Fallauthors%2Fnewest%2F&_r=0

A Muslim daughter’s role in preparing her mother for burial – by Momtaz Begum-Hossain

October 25, 2013

I saw a wooden coffin, I answered the phone call to tell us that Umma, as we called our mother in Bengali, had left us, and later that same night saw her lying still like a ragdoll in the hospital ward. The burial was almost immediate. Within hours I was at the register office recording Umma’s death to get the certificate we needed to release her body. At home, my sisters were collating every teacup and saucer she had ever bought, for the well-wishers who were flooding our house with prayers.

We knew about the concept of heaven and hell and were warned that when a parent dies, their children’s prayers are the most important ones. Although a whole village in Bangladesh spent three days reading prayers for Umma, ours would have most impact.

Packed away in a suitcase in my parents’ bedroom was the white shroud that Umma was to be buried in. It had been washed in holy water from Mecca, for when the time came. She had been so busy talking about death and reminding us where to find the fabric that she never had a chance to explain to me and my three sisters that as her daughters we had duties after her death. In Islam it is a daughter’s duty to wash her mother and prepare her for the afterlife; boys attend to deceased fathers. Having never attended a funeral, I didn’t know what this involved. I soon discovered it wasn’t an elaborate bathe, but a wash down with sponges, towels, buckets of water and the bar of soap from my carrier bag.

There were two elder women in charge who directed us where and how to clean her. Umma was so devoted to her religion that I sensed she would be proud her daughters were taking part in such a symbolic ritual. As her limbs were lifted and we took it in turns to scrub her, it seemed as if her expressions were changing. She was a puppet, being moved, bent over, turned from side to side. I didn’t know it was possible to get this close to a dead person, let alone share in the most intimate experience their body would ever go through. She was washed an odd number of times. I can’t remember which number we settled on, just that the procedure was repeated until we were tired.

Afterwards she was dried with towels and scented with rose water. The room was suffused with the fragrance of Turkish delight, though she never wore perfume. Her beauty regime consisted of applying hair oil and moisturiser. I never saw her wear makeup and she had the smallest wardrobe of anyone I’ve ever known; just a handful of saris and blouses and petticoats she had made herself. Just as she had led a modest life, so it was for her funeral. Umma’s hair was combed and plaited and her body wrapped in the white fabric that Ubba, my father, had brought back from Mecca. When she was wrapped and laid to rest we anointed her with more rose water. We took her to a newly opened Muslim burial ground, she was buried there and her spot was marked with a hand-painted a plaque with my mother’s name and dates of birth and death.

Not everyone has a chance to say goodbye properly to someone they love, but I did more than that.

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/oct/26/muslim-daughter-mother-burial

‘Why it is so important for us to wear the veil’

Amongst the 1.4 million Muslim women in Britain, Shalina Litt is one of a tiny minority who choose to cover their face entirely. This choice has come under intense scrutiny over the last few days, after a judge ruled that a 22-year-old woman from Hackney, East London, could not wear the full veil while being cross-examined in court. So when Birmingham community worker Shalina steps out in her niqab, she has come to expect the worst. “It gets a really bad reaction,” the 34 year-old mother of two says. “I’ve had glass kicked at me and when you drive people are extra aggressive. They will roll down their window to shout at you and at times like this when hatred of covered-up women becomes most heated you find that people are very aggressive,”

 

Unlike some who wear the niqab, Shalina does not feel obliged to keep it on at all non-family occasions. She explains: “Nobody is forcing me to do it and I can lift it up at any time. When I see my elderly white neighbour, I make sure I lift it up and show her my face. I actually find it cooler to wear on a hot day, but if it’s uncomfortable or I’ve got a cold and I’m bunged up, I’m not going to wear it. It’s a religious choice. Shalina, who has two young children, says she would be happy for her daughter to wear a veil, but that it would be her choice. “It’s a very liberating and empowering experience. I’m not oppressed by ageism, sexism or racism because nobody can see.”

 

Julie Siddiqi, executive director of the Islamic Society of Britain, who converted to Islam in 1995, believes the niqab is unnecessary but worries that there has been an overreaction to it. “It’s pathetic that some people are presenting this as a national issue”, she said. “This is a few thousand women and we need to keep that in perspective.

 

Rabiha Hannan, co-editor of Islam and the Veil, a book which examines Muslim women’s use of face and hair covering, believes that people’s fears about those wearing niqabs and burqas need to be addressed.

NYC man sentenced to 13 years for lying about his plans to join al-Qaida

NEW YORK — An American citizen was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday for lying to the FBI about his attempts to wage violent jihad against U.S. forces by joining the Taliban or al-Qaida.

Prosecutors in federal court in Brooklyn had sought the maximum 21 years behind bars for Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, arguing that he was following a proven formula of other would-be, homegrown terrorists who succeeded in aligning themselves with extremist groups by traveling to Pakistan’s tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

 

 

But U.S. District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano imposed the lesser term after suggesting the defendant proved too immature and inept to pull it off.

Shehadeh, 23, appeared in court with his long hair pulled back in a ponytail. He spoke only briefly, telling the judge a letter he had written asking for leniency expressed his position.

His outlook on jihad “has matured over time,” he wrote. “Jihad and terrorism are not synonymous, they are conflicting in my view.” The letter portrayed a failed attempt to get to Pakistan as “an impulsive move” by a misguided young man.

You May Now Kiss the Computer Screen

Internet Marriages on Rise in Some Immigrant Communities

With a red embroidered veil draped over her dark hair, Punam Chowdhury held her breath last month as her fiancé said the words that would make them husband and wife. After she echoed them, they were married. Guests erupted in applause; the bride and groom traded bashful smiles.

 

Normally one of the most intimate moments two people can share, the marriage had taken place from opposite ends of the globe over the video chat program Skype, with Ms. Chowdhury, an American citizen, in a mosque in Jackson Heights, Queens, and her new husband, Tanvir Ahmmed, in his living room with a Shariah judge in his native Bangladesh.

Their courtship, like so many others, had taken place almost entirely over the Internet — they had met in person only once, years earlier, in passing. But in a twist that underscores technology’s ability to upend traditional notions about romance, people are not just finding their match online, but also saying “I do” there.

The practice of proxy marriage is particularly widespread in Islamic countries where the Koran has long been interpreted to explicitly endorse it.

“After all these advancements in technology and all kinds of telecommunication tools, scholars came to the conclusion that it is acceptable,” said the imam Shamsi Ali, of the Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens.

“Skype is making it easier,” he added. “These days you have Google Hangout, too.”

The public perception about the Muslims in Spain has improved

19 September 2012

 

Spanish society has shown in the past year an increased public acceptance of Muslims and Islam, but still sees “a significant percentage” of rejection revelead against manifestations of Islam such as mosques and the hijab, as revealed by the Annual Andalusian Observatory Report of 2011, which coincides with the celebration of the 1,300 years of the official arrival of Islam in the Iberian Peninsula.

Among the “irrational stereotypes” that, according to the report, are still seen in Spanish society, is the belief that Muslim women who cover their hair are forced by Muslim men, that all Muslim men are “despots” who have “subjugated” their wives; that those who profess Islam are required by the Quran to “perpetuate inequality and violence” or that Islam imposes requirements and prohibitions like “capital punishment without fair trials.” Given this, the report makes clear that Muslims represent a quarter of the humanity and therefore these beliefs “can not be true”.
This, as specified, creates “an opinion that is generally Islamophobic”.

Judge sentences Polish couple for attacking two Headscarved women

16 August 2012

Drunken polish immigrant Beata Jopek and her partner Maciej Matysniak assaulted two Muslim women on a train from Leeds to Sheffield. After verbal attack, the couple pulled at Miss Ibrahim’s hair and the scarf came off.

Judge has given Beata Jopek a three-month jail term suspended for 12 months and 120 hours of unpaid community work and Macieej Matysniak was given a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work.

Interview with Feridun Zaimoglu: ”Germany is Making Itself a Laughing Stock”

Circumcision is a stipulation of the Prophet and therefore non-negotiable. In an interview with Eren Güvercin, Feridun Zaimoglu makes a resolute plea for the impunity of this Jewish and Muslim ritual

As a German Muslim who – in your own words – was brought up by his parents in “Prussian-Ottoman” fashion, you were certainly circumcised as a child, as prescribed by Islam. Were you traumatised by the experience?

Feridun Zaimoglu: The day before the circumcision, my mother took me by the hand and walked with me through the streets of our neighbourhood. I was dressed in a white prince outfit. Children ran past and touched me. Young women and older ladies smiled at me, stroked my cheeks and hair. They were neither encouraging me to be brave, nor spurring me on. They were beaming, and I regarded them with awe. I received small gifts: a bag of marbles, handkerchiefs perfumed with violets, a comb and shoelaces.

The next day, towards evening, the circumciser came. He spoke to me as though I was a small adult. I sat on a chair, and an uncle from my mother’s side of the family stood on my left. An uncle from my father’s side of the family was standing to my right – he offered reassuring words to my mother, who was standing in the doorway. It happened very quickly; before I noticed anything I was in my mother’s arms. Relatives and friends clapped and cried out: “It’s all done now – praise be to God!” I had been transformed from an uncircumcised boy into a circumcised Muslim.