Some schools cancel Christmas performances: League Sends Letter

December 17, 2013

 

“Reports received from some schools in Turin show that performances of a classic children’s Christmas play will not be organized or there will be a play but without any reference to the Nativity and the Catholic religion, to avoid offending the growing number of Muslims who attend local schools. In all cases, individual headmasters make this decision.

“If this report is confirmed it would be a very serious matter” said the Northern League’s Roberto Carbonero in a letter to the City’s schools. “It is not acceptable to favor uncontrolled immigration over our citizens, our children, who now must give up their own traditions and their own culture. In our schools we should not be ashamed of the Catholic base of our society and our history.”

 

La Repubblica: http://torino.repubblica.it/dettaglio-news/19:29/4441798

Quotidiano Piemontese: http://www.quotidianopiemontese.it/2013/12/18/nelle-scuole-di-torino-niente-recite-di-natale-per-rispetto-dei-musulmani/#_

Historical Events and Spaces of Hate: Hate Crimes against Arabs and Muslims in Post-9/11 America

Ilir Disha, James C. Cavendish and Ryan D. King

Social Problems
Vol. 58, No. 1 (February 2011), pp. 21-46
(article consists of 26 pages)

Abstract:
This research investigates variation in hate crime offending against Arabs and Muslims across U.S. counties in the months before and after September 11, 2001. Four questions are of particular interest. First, what were the determinants of anti-Arab and Muslim hate crimes prior to 9/11? Second, in what social contexts were Arabs and Muslims at greatest risk of victimization? Third, to what extent did hate crimes against these groups increase after the terrorist attacks? And last, did the predictors of hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims change appreciably after 9/11? Findings show that hate crimes targeting Arabs and Muslims increased dramatically in the months following 9/11, although the structural determinants and geographic concentration of these crimes remained largely consistent after the attacks. Negative binomial regression results further suggest that counties with larger concentrations of Arabs and Muslims have higher incidents of such hate crimes, which likely reflects the availability of targets for this type of offending. At the same time, the likelihood of victimization for a given Arab or Muslim person is lowest in counties where the percent Arab or percent Muslim is highest, in line with a power-differential perspective on discrimination and intergroup violence. The findings imply that terrorist attacks may indeed incite retaliation and set off a wave of hate crime offending, but the location of these crimes is likely to remain consistent after a galvanizing event.

Politiken journalists reject prophet drawing apology

The Danish newspaper Politiken, which has around 200 staff members, on February 26 apologized for offending Muslims with the 2008 reprint but did not apologize for reprinting the cartoon.

Thirty-eight staff members of Politiken issued a letter on Saturday March 6 saying they are against the newspaper’s apology for offending Muslims by reprinting a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-shaped turban.

In a letter published in the newspaper, the editorial staff said “Politiken has nothing to apologize for.”

“The settlement gives the impression that we regret our journalism, something there is no basis for whatsoever,” they wrote, saying democratic journalism entails “describing reality as precisely as possible and to encourage social debate.” They also said they fear the settlement could interfere with their editorial freedom.

Danish newspaper apologizes for offending Muslims with the printing of Muhammad cartoons

Politiken newspaper, one of 11 Danish newspapers that reprinted the Mohammed cartoons, has issued an apology to eight Muslim organizations for offending Muslims – allegedly to avoid a lawsuit. The settlement reached between the paper and the organizations does not, however, apologize for the printing of the cartoons, nor prevent the paper from reprinting them in the future. The eight organizations who reached the agreement with Politiken are based in Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Australia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Palestine. Together they represent 94,923 descendents of the Prophet Mohammed.

In August last year, the groups’ Saudi lawyer, Faisal Yamani, requested that Politiken and 10 other newspapers remove the images from their websites and issue apologies along with a promise that the images, or similar ones, will never be printed again. Politiken is the only one of the 11 newspapers who has agreed on a settlement. Yamani says that within the next weeks the eight Muslim organizations will announce what kind of legal actions they will now take against the ten newspapers who haven’t agreed on a settlement.

Jyllands-Posten newspaper initially published the drawings in 2005, but following the murder plot in 2008 against one of the cartoonists, Kurt Westergaard, 11 major Danish newspapers reprinted them as a symbol of solidarity. Politiken, which had initially been critical of the cartoons, chose to reprint Westergaard’s drawing and an editorial comment that said Jyllands-Posten deserved unconditional solidarity when it is threatened with terror. However, Politiken’s statement today said the decision to reprint the drawing of a man with a bomb in his turban was never intended as a “statement of editorial opinion or value, but merely as part of the newspaper’s news coverage”. The apology stated that it was “never Politiken’s intention to offend Muslims in Denmark or elsewhere. We apologize to anyone who was offended by our decision to reprint the cartoon drawing”.

Politiken’s editor-in-chief, Tøger Seidenfaden, says he is hoping the agreement will help improve relations between Denmark and the Muslim world and that “other acts of dialogue and reconciliation may follow”. But the move has been derided by other newspapers, cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and leading politicians. Other newspapers which reprinted the cartoon, including Berlingske Tidende, Kristeligt Dagblad and the original publisher Jyllands-Posten, refused to enter into the same agreement with the organizations. Jyllands-Posten editor, Jørn Mikkelsen, called it a “sad day for Danish media, for freedom of speech and for Politiken”. In 2006 Jyllands-Posten apologized for upsetting some Muslims with the cartoons, but Mikkelsen believes that Politiken’s apology crosses the line as it was made as part of a deal. Meanwhile, Westergaard accused the Politiken of giving up on freedom of speech and said they had given into the fear of terror. However, professor in rhetoric at University of Copenhagen, Christian Kock says that Jyllands-Posten apology from 2006 and Politiken’s apology are more or less similar. None of them apologizes for printing the cartoons. They apologize for offending Muslims by doing it. The difference is that Politikens apology is part of a settlement with Muslim organizations.

Opposition leaders Helle Thorning-Schmidt of the Social Democrats and Villy Søvndal of the Socialist People’s Party called the move outrageous and said deals should not be done involving freedom of speech. Not all politicians are deriding Politiken. Leader of Danish Social-Liberal Party Margrethe Vestager thinks Politiken acts courageously by choosing dialogue rather than confrontation. Also the Danish imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen praises Politiken for the apology. He doesn’t think the agreement is a threat against freedom of speech: “Politiken doesn’t apologize for printing the cartoons. They apologize for having offended some by doing it” Wahid Pedersen says.

Dutch man sentenced to community service for offending Muslims

A 60 year old from Nieuwegein (Utrecht) was sentenced for insulting Muslims Friday. The court in Utrecht gave him forty hours of community service and two weeks suspended sentence, Trouw reports. The man was also charged for threatening a member of the Amersfoort city council.

In February 2009 the man turned his back on the Muslim woman who attempted to serve him at a pharmacy. He said he thought it was revolting to look at ‘them’, referring to Muslims, public prosecutors claimed. The court decided that ‘offending a group based on religion’ had been demonstrated in this case.

Encyclopaedia of Islamic Civilisation and Religion

This is a book mostly based on Islamic research in the seats of Islamic learning in the United Kingdom. Professor Netton of the University of Leeds has accomplished a difficult job with great caution, allowing into the volume an enormous amount of information without being controversial, which is another way of saying that he has presented the work without offending an increasingly narrow-minded, bigoted and divided Muslim community.

Book Review by Khaled Ahmed (Daily Times, Pakistan) available here

Italy takes al Qaeda’s Pope threat seriously

Security officials in Italy are treating Osama’ bin Laden’s new accusations against Pope Benedict very seriously. An interior minister spokesperson said that security and anti-terrorism officials plan to meet and examine the taped message, in which the Al Qaeda leader said that offending cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were part of a new crusade involving the Pope. The accusations are absolutely unfounded said the pope’s chief spokesperson, Reverend Federico Lombardi. While Bin Laden did not specify any action or target, Italian security is concerned, the Vatican has no plans for altering security that is already in place for public events leading up to Easter.

Mohammed the mole digs author into a risky hole

A British children’s author who named a mole Mohammed to promote multiculturalism has renamed it Morgan for fear of offending Muslims. Kes Gray, a former advertising executive, first decided on his gesture of cross-cultural solidarity after meeting Muslims in Egypt. The character, Mohammed the Mole, appeared in Who’s Poorly Too, an illustrated children’s book, which also included Dipak Dalmatian and Pedro Penguin, in an effort to be inclusive. Chris Gourlay reports.

BBC report damns its ‘culture of bias’

THE BBC is institutionally biased, an official report will conclude this week. The year-long investigation, commissioned by the BBC, has found the corporation particularly partial in its treatment of single-issue politics such as climate change, poverty, race and religion. It concludes that the bias has extended across drama, comedy and entertainment, with the corporation pandering to politically motivated celebrities and trendy causes. (…) Criticisms highlighted from the seminar include: A senior BBC reporter attacking the corporation for giving no moral weight to America. Executives admitting they would broadcast images of a Bible being thrown away – but not the Koran for fear of offending Muslims. The BBC deliberately championing multiculturalism and ethnic minorities, while betraying an anticountryside bias. Mary Fitzpatrick, the BBC’s diversity czar, told the seminar Muslim women newsreaders should be allowed to wear the hijab, or headscarf, on screen. Fitzpatrick spoke out after criticism over Fiona Bruce’s decision to wear a necklace with a cross while reading the news.

Toning Down the “Reconquista”

Spanish villages are toning down traditional fiestas in which revelers blow up dummies representing the Prophet Mohammed for fear of offending Muslims, the newspaper El Pais reported on Monday. One eastern Spanish village, Bocairent, decided to abandon the custom of packing the head of a dummy representing Mohammed with fireworks after seeing the angry response by Muslims to a Danish newspaper’s publication last year of cartoons of him. El Pais found that several other villages in the Valencia region had also modified similar fiestas this year. It carried out the investigation after a Berlin opera house decided last week to cancel performances of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” because the production included a scene depicting Mohammed’s severed head. Bocairent’s mayor, Antonio Valdes, said blowing up the Mohammed dummy was offensive. “It just wasn’t necessary, and, as it could hurt some people’s feelings, we decided not to do it,” he said. The village may not have blown up the wood-and-cardboard Mohammed dummy this year — but it still threw it off a castle wall at the fiesta’s climax in February. Villages all over Spain hold annual festivals to commemorate the “Reconquista,” the reconquest of Spain by Christians from the Moors, which was completed in 1492 after more than 700 years of Muslim rule in much of the country. Spain is now once again home to a growing number of Muslims, mainly Moroccan immigrants, who villagers feel might be offended by some of their traditional celebrations.