November 7, 2013
One million British Muslims support wearing a poppy to mark Remembrance Day, showing just how marginal the views of “anti-poppy” extremists like Anjem Choudary are, writes Steve Ballinger.
Figures from the latest Ethnic Minority British Election Survey (EMBES), in an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) study published by the Oxford University Press, show that over half of Pakistanis and 46% of Bangladeshis in Britain say that they wear the poppy to mark Remembrance Day.
Using figures from the 2011 Census in England and Wales, British Future calculates that these findings equate to approximately 800,000 poppy wearers from these two communities alone, who make up two-thirds of Britain’s 2.7 million Muslims. This figure grows to over a million once the remainder of Britain’s Muslim community is considered, based on the EMBES study’s findings on poppy wearing among African, Indian and other British ethnic minority communities.
The figures show just how marginal the views of extremists like Anjem Choudary really are, with significant numbers of British Muslims supporting the wearing of poppies as an act of remembrance at this time of year.
The figures come as Muslim leaders joined Imams and the London Faith Forum this week to urge more British Muslims to wear poppies and support Remembrance Day.
They want to drown out the marginal views of extremists like Choudary, who in a statement this week said that those who sell poppies today will “burn in hellfire tomorrow.”
British Future: http://www.britishfuture.org/articles/news/million-british-muslims-reject-extremists-on-poppy-wearing/
Tackling FGM in the UK: Intercollegiate recommendations for identifying, recording and reporting
RCM, RCN, RCOG, Equality Now, UNITE (2013) Tackling
FGM in the UK: Intercollegiate Recommendations for
identifying, recording, and reporting. London: Royal
College of Midwives.
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: http://www.rcog.org.uk/news/intercollegiate-group-draws-ground-breaking-recommendations-tackling-female-genital-mutilation
November 3, 2013
Thousands of girls in danger of genital mutilation are being failed by the health and justice systems, a coalition of health professionals has warned in a report that recommends aggressive steps to eradicate the practice in the UK. Female genital mutilation (FGM) should be treated the same as any other kind of child abuse and evidence of it must be reported to the police, according to the report. Janet Fyle, a policy adviser of the Royal College of Midwives and one of the report’s authors, said that just as it was inconceivable that a health worker would not report evidence of child abuse to the police, it should be equally important to report evidence of FGM.
According to the report more than 66,000 women in England and Wales have undergone FGM and more than 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of it. Despite its regular occurrence, FGM has not resulted in a prosecution in Britain, whereas in France there have been about 100.
FGM is carried out in Africa and the Middle East by Muslims and non-Muslims. It predates Islam and is not called for in the Qur’an although it mostly occurs in countries that became Islamic. In countries such as Somalia and Egypt more than 90% of women have undergone some kind of FGM but it is also common in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali and Sierra Leone. Although FGM has been outlawed in the UK since 1985, migrants from countries where FGM is common have continued the practice here or by taking girls to their home countries for it to be performed. Since 2003, Britons can be prosecuted for acts of FGM abroad.
The report recommends that health workers identify girls at risk and treat them as if they were at risk of child abuse. Girls at risk are defined as girls born to a woman who has undergone FGM or a child who lives closely with someone who has. The report clearly emphasises the importance of an individual’s safety over the respect for religious and racial sensibilities, a point welcomed by Shaista Gohir, the chairwoman of the Muslim Women’s Network.
Sarian Karim, a 36-year-old community worker from Peckham, south London, who suffered FGM as an 11-year-old in Sierra Leone, welcomed the report. “FGM is a normal thing for us. We don’t know it is against the law, but I know that it damages girls and leaves them scarred for life – mentally and physically. “It is very important that everyone knows that FGM is illegal. We suffer from a lot of complications [because of the procedure]. “We want those people who work in schools to have guidelines and be able to inform, prepare and protect children.”
The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/04/uk-mutilation-girls-report
October 15, 2013
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has released a fourth report on the Netherlands. The third cycle of the report was released in 2008, and this most recent report covers the situation until March 2013.
With respect to Muslims, the ECRI notes that while discriminatory incidents against Muslims appear to have decreased, reported offences against individuals of Moroccan heritage have increased, and online discriminatory statements largely concern Muslims (and Jews). The ECRI further called on Dutch authorities to oppose manifestation of anti-Muslim sentiment in politics and to “refrain from promoting debate on policies that have as their main objective the polarization of Dutch society around issues of relevance to Muslim communities”.
Full ECRI report: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/country-by-country/netherlands/NLD-CbC-IV-2013-039-ENG.pdf
The National Report strikes again.
The satirical website, which is less obviously satirical than the Onion (and some would say far less funny) fooled Fox News host Anna Kooimaninto believing its fake story that President Barack Obama was using personal funds to keep a Muslim museum open during the government shutdown.
Of course this juxtaposed perfectly against a story of veterans being denied entry into the World War II memorial, which was probably the National Report’s goal all along.
LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO – The ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR), and the law firm of Mayer Brown today released a 70-page report exposing a covert government program called the “Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program” (CARRP), which was created in 2008 to make it all but impossible for many Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian individuals to become American citizens, or otherwise obtain legal residency or asylum status.
The government program was meant to screen immigrants for national security concerns has blacklisted some Muslims and put their U.S. citizenship applications on hold for years, civil liberties advocates said Wednesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said in a report that the previously undisclosed program instructs federal immigration officers to find ways to deny applications that have been deemed a national security concern. For example, they flag discrepancies in a petition or claim they didn’t receive sufficient information from the immigrant.
The criteria used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to blacklist immigrants are overly broad and include traveling through regions where there is terrorist activity, the report said.
The ACLU learned about the program through records requests after detecting a pattern in cases of Muslim immigrants whose applications to become American citizens had languished.
“It is essentially creating this secret criteria for obtaining naturalization and immigration benefits that has never been disclosed to the public and Congress hasn’t approved,” said Jennie Pasquarella, an ACLU staff attorney and the author of the report.
Under the program, immigration officers determine whether a case poses a national security concern and confer with the appropriate law enforcement agency that has information about the immigrant. Officers then conduct additional research and put many cases on hold for long periods of time. Most applications are eventually denied, as the program states that officers are not allowed to approve such cases without additional review, the report said.
21 June 2013
The Andalusian Observatory presented at the library of the Central Mosque of Abu-Bakr in Madrid, the Annual General Education Report Annex (2012), the 2012 Report on Islamophobia incidents in Spain and the Special Report on Islamophobia incidents.
Annual General Education Report Conclusions:
- The Muslims students represent approximately 3% of the total of students in Spain;
- 35% of the Muslim students are Spanish and 65% are immigrants (50% Moroccan and 15% of other nationality);
- 95% of the Muslim students does not have religious classes at school;
- 90% of the Islamic Religious teachers are unemployed.
The 2012 Report on Islamophobia incidents conclusions:
- The Spanish society in general accepts the Muslim presence, while a remaining percentage (which varies according to different places), does not accept it.
- The opening of Mosques, in some localities, is involved in polemics, obstacles and Islamophobic opposition and hostility.
The 2012 Special Report on Islamophobia incidents conclusions:
- Muslims related concepts are still used in an abusive and indiscriminate way by the media.
- Negative stereotypes (public disorder, ideological extremism, problems of coexistence, violence, terrorism, etc) disseminated by political platforms, and amplified by the media, are causing fear in the Spanish population.
- The State needs to be more active in the normalization of religion and also in promoting greater social cohesion.
- The report gives descriptions of islamophobic incidents in Spain
In 2003 the ‘Andalusian Observatory’ was born as an autonomous body of the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain. It is a non-profit ‘institution for observation and monitoring of the situation of Muslim citizen and Islamophobia in Spain “.
Abercrombie & Fitch is having a hard time proving in court that the Muslim headscarf worn by an employee who was fired in 2010 hurt the clothing company’s sales, Law360 reports.
On Tuesday, when a federal judge in California pressed attorney Mark Knueve, who is representing Abercrombie, if he or any of his witnesses had financial records to show the woman’s hijab hurt sales, Knueve said he didn’t.
“A defendant says we’re harmed but provides no real evidence?” Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers retorted, according to the report. “And you want me to grant summary judgment [in your favor]?”
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) originally sued Abercrombie in 2011 on behalf of Hani Khan, the Muslim woman who says she was fired from a Hollister store in a California mall in 2010 because she wore a hijab to work. (Abercrombie owns Hollister.)
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Khan was wearing the religious garment when she interviewed for the job in October 2009 and during the first four months she worked at the San Mateo, Calif., clothing store.
Yet in February 2010, when a visiting district manager saw her wearing it and spoke with one of the store’s human resources employees, they decided the headscarf violated the store’s controversial “Look Policy,” which critics have said is usually interpreted to mean white, muscular and thin.
On Wednesday, Abercrombie spokesman Mackenzie Bruce told The Huffington Post the company does not discriminate based on religion and that it grants religious accommodations, including for hijabs, when such accommodations are considered “reasonable.”
This isn’t the first time Abercrombie has been in trouble over this issue. In 2009 the clothing store was found guilty of discrimination and ordered to pay $20,000 to a 19-year-old Muslim college student who was refused a job because her hijab violated the store’s “Look Policy.”
With tensions very high as a result of the murder that took place in Woolwich on Wednesday 22 May, the Muslim Council of Britain issues the following advice to mosques, associations and British Muslims. We hope these messages are imparted throughout the country:
Advice for mosques and associations
1. You are not alone
Reach out to police authorities for liaison, and to other faith communities and civil society organisations for solidarity. Open up your mosques, and invite neighbours and the wider community to your mosque and events. Show the true message of Islam.
2. Do a risk assessment
See what the risk is to your buildings, communities and neighbours. Invite the police and local authority to your mosque to see what can be done to enhance protection.
3. Secure your buildings
Make sure your mosques and buildings are equipped with alarms and camera systems, ideally connected to the local police and emergency services. In making your mosques welcoming, make sure the area outside is cleared of rubbish, which also enhances security.
4. Report threats early
Keep a record of and report threats straight away to the police. Do not be tempted to touch suspicious items or confront threatening behaviour. Keep a record of any threatening emails or calls, and encourage communities to report this.
According to a report published earlier this week, the vast majority of Muslims living in Switzerland are well integrated into society. The report found that Muslim religious affiliation does not pose a problem to Muslims’ everyday lives and rarely generates conflicts. The report focused on the situation of Muslims in Switzerland, and was developed by several federal agencies. Experts estimate that 350,000 to 400,000 Muslims live in Switzerland, of which about a third have Swiss nationality. Many are descendants of immigrants. The vast majority of Muslim immigrants come from the Western Balkans and Turkey.
No Islamic community is homogeneous: In Switzerland, there is not a homogenous Islamic community, but rather many different communities, which are distinguished mainly by the ethnic, national and linguistic diversity. Typically, these individual communities are not connected to each other.
For many Muslims, religious affiliation is not the main feature of their identity. Only small portion of them (between 12 and 15%) practice their faith, for example by attending a mosque regularly. Muslims from the Western Balkans, in particular, often incorporate Islam into their daily lives. At the same time, the report said the people of Islamic faith feel doubly discriminated against, both as foreign nationals and as Muslims.