British Muslim school children getting abuse following Paris Attacks

Muslim pupils across Britain are suffering a backlash of bullying and abuse following the Charlie Hebdo massacre amid a broad rise in Islamophobia in schools, which the Government is failing to tackle, campaigners have told The Independent. (Photo: Don McPhee/The Guardian)
Muslim pupils across Britain are suffering a backlash of bullying and abuse following the Charlie Hebdo massacre amid a broad rise in Islamophobia in schools, which the Government is failing to tackle, campaigners have told The Independent. (Photo: Don McPhee/The Guardian)

Muslim pupils across Britain are suffering a backlash of bullying and abuse following the Charlie Hebdo massacre amid a broad rise in Islamophobia in schools, which the Government is failing to tackle, campaigners have told The Independent.

The sole UK charity monitoring anti-Muslim hate crime said it had recorded a “significant” increase in incidents in schools in the wake of the killings in Paris with both parents and teachers reporting verbal and physical attacks against Muslim students.

Teachers unions and anti-racism groups told The Independent they have recorded an increase in Islamophobic incidents in schools with the 400,000 Muslim pupils in British schools increasingly likely to be taunted as “terrorists”, “paedophiles” or “immigrants”. The NASUWT, the teaching union, said the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment is causing “uncertainty and fear” in schools.

Tell MAMA, which monitors anti-Muslim hate crime in Britain, said it had logged 112 reports of physical and verbal violence in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings, including nine incidents which related specifically to schools in locations from West Yorkshire to East Sussex.

The organisation, which was recommended by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles last week in a letter subsequently criticised by Muslim groups for appearing to ask Muslims to prove their British identity, said it had been repeatedly rebuffed by a “short-sighted” Department for Education (DfE) in efforts to seek its support in offering training for schools in how to deal with Islamophobia.

Boris Johnson says radicalisation should be treated as child abuse

March 2, 2014

 

Muslim children who are at risk of being “radicalised” by their parents should be taken into care, according to the London mayor Boris Johnson. Defining young people being “taught crazy stuff” at home as effectively child abuse, Mr Johnson said the efforts of counter-terrorism officers and social care workers were being hampered by “what I am obliged to call political correctness”.

He said the law needed to be changed so that children who are “being turned into potential killers or suicide bombers” can be taken away from their parents, “for their own safety and for the safety of the public”.

Mr Johnson wrote: “The most important question [after the murder of Lee Rigby] is how we prevent other young men, and women, from succumbing to that awful virus: the contagion of radical Islamic extremism. Paedophilia, Female Genital Mutilation, Islamic radicalisation – to some extent, at some stage, we have tiptoed round them all for fear of offending this or that minority. It is children who have suffered.”

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/boris-johnson-muslim-children-being-taught-crazy-stuff-at-home-should-be-taken-into-care-9165308.html

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/03/boris-johnson-radicalisation-child-abuse

Katy Perry accused of ‘portraying blasphemy’ with Dark Horse video

February 28, 2014

 

An online petition demanding Katy Perry’s Dark Horse video be taken off YouTube has attracted about 65,000 signatures. According to the petitioners at Change.org, the video is guilty of “portraying blasphemy”, because of the video’s use of a pendant reportedly inscribed with the word Allah.

Katy Perry’s Dark Horse clip, which premiered on 20 February, has already attracted more than 30 million views. A phantasmagorical riff on Egyptian mythology, it features Perry as a magical queen who transforms suitors into sand. One of these suitors, a man wearing an “Allah” pendant is struck by lightning and disintegrates into sand.

“At 01:15 into the video … a man is shown being burned whilst wearing a pendant (also burned) forming the word ‘Allah’, which is the Arabic word for God,” wrote the man who launched the petition, Shazad Iqbal, from Bradford. “Blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an [opponent] of [Allah]) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames. People from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world [will agree], using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.”

“The fact that Islam didn’t even exist in ancient Egypt is what really confuses me, Why [did] they [feel] the need to have anything to do with Islam in this video?” added a signatory from High Wycombe.

While the music video has not been pulled in its entirety, the pendant has been cut so that only a plain gold chain can now be seen. It remains unclear whether YouTube edited the video or was told to by the singer’s record company as both parties have yet to comment.

Dark Horse is currently at number six on the UK singles chart and more than 37 million people have viewed the video on YouTube since it was uploaded on 20 February.

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/katy-perry-causes-offence-by-burning-allah-pendant-in-dark-horse-music-video-9153998.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/katy-perry-takes-break-from-offending-muslims-to-deliver-friends-baby-its-been-a-miracle-day-9157332.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/katy-perry-dark-horse-music-video-edited-after-causing-muslims-offence-9159660.html

 

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/feb/26/katy-perry-petition-islam-blasphemy-allah-dark-horse-video

Lee Rigby murderers sentenced to life in prison

February 26, 2014

 

The two religious fanatics who murdered Lee Rigby screamed a final act of defiance in court on Wednesday as they fought with guards and were dragged from the dock prior to receiving a whole-life and life sentence respectively for their killing of the 25-year-old soldier. In dramatic scenes Michael Adebolajo shouted “Allahu Akbar” meaning “God is the Greatest” before being told he would die behind bars while Michael Adebowale joined the outburst, saying that “Britain and America would never be safe”. The pair were restrained and wrestled to the ground before being taken down to the cells. Their cries had been retaliation to the judge’s conclusion that their barbaric act had been a “betrayal of Islam”.

The judge said the 29-year-old Adebolajo had “no prospect of rehabilitation” as he handed him the ultimate sentence available. 22-year-old Adebowale’s defence team said a whole-life sentence would have been “inhuman” and he was given a life sentence to serve a minimum of 45 years – saved from a whole-life tariff because of his age.

Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch made a PR error in the wake of the sentencing of Lee Rigby’s killers. Mensch tweeted: “One of the aims of #LeeRigby’s murderers was to stir up religious hatred and we must not allow them to succeed in their aim. #Islam #Peace” and trying to convince her followers she was in touch with British Muslims she tweeted:

“When I think of British Muslims I think of @Mo_Farah @SayeedaWarsi @RaheemJKassam @SunnyHundal @YasminQureshiMP &c not these fools #LeeRigby”

However Sunny Hundal was born to Sikh parents of Indian origin and despite having a beard, is not Muslim. He tweeted back at her “Erm, I’m not Muslim Louise. Parents are Sikh”. After Twitter users criticised her for her mistake, Mensch argued: “I’ve thought he was Muslim for ages. Based on his politics, tweets.” However this spawned the hashtag #tweetlikeamuslim with users tweeting things like “Crikey that’s a nice minaret”, whilst others tweeted “I’m not Muslim Louise.”

Sunny Hundal told The Independent that he is not a Muslim and that he plans to tweet like a Sikh from now on.

 

The Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10662836/Lee-Rigby-murderers-sentenced-to-life-in-prison.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10663351/Lee-Rigby-his-killers.html

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/feb/26/lee-rigby-killers-michael-adebolajo-adebowale-whole-life-ruling

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/lee-rigby-murder-michael-adebolajo-and-michael-adebowale-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-9155196.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/louise-mensch-thinks-the-real-face-of-british-islam-is-a-man-of-sikh-heritage-9156788.html

Mohammad Asghar case: 28,000 people sign a petition calling for the release of the mentally ill Scot on death row in Pakistan

February 20, 2014

 

More than 28,000 people have backed a petition calling for the release of a mentally ill Scottish man sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy. Demands for Mohammad Asghar to be freed on humanitarian grounds have intensified since The Independent published an open letter today from politicians, academics, human rights campaigners and Islamic scholars appealing for clemency.

Mr Asghar, who has a history of mental illness and is thought to be a paranoid schizophrenic, had been detained under the Mental Health Act in 2010 shortly before he flew to Pakistan. Once there he became caught up in a dispute with a tenant who went to the police with letters written by Mr Asghar in which he claimed to be the Prophet Mohamed.

The online petition to David Cameron and Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, urges them to “intervene in the strongest possible terms to help save the life of a vulnerable British man”. The letter’s signatories raised concerns about the failing health of the 70-year-old grandfather and urged the Pakistani President, Mamnoon Hussain, to intervene stating: “We respectfully urge you to consider using your discretionary powers as President to pardon Mr Asghar and to allow him to be released from jail so he can receive his treatment and be reunited with his loving family.”

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mohammad-asghar-case-28000-people-sign-a-petition-calling-for-the-release-of-the-mentally-ill-scot-on-death-row-in-pakistan-9142349.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/mohammad-asghar-case-an-open-letter-to-pakistan-president-mamnoon-hussain-9139630.html

Mars One encourages Muslims to join red planet mission despite ‘Fatwa’

February 21, 2014

 

A fatwa issued by Gulf imams has ruled it is un-Islamic to promote or be involved in a one-way trip to the Red Planet. According to reports in the Khaleej Times, a fatwa committee under the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the UAE prohibits Muslims from being involved in such a journey as it would pose “a real risk to life” and is tantamount to suicide.

The Mars One mission aims to establish a permanent human settlement on the red planet. Crews of four will depart every two years from 2024 following an initial unmanned mission in 2018. The mission would use a worldwide reality television show to raise the estimated $6bn required to send the team to Mars and give them a chance of survival. The company behind the Mars One mission has said that Muslims should sign up for a trip to the red planet, following reports of a Fatwa against it being issued.

“Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Koran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful,” the committee, chaired by Professor Dr Farooq Hamada, said.

Volunteers were invited to apply for a ticket to Mars last year at a price of less than £30. The Mars One website states: “In a 1000 years, everyone on Earth will still remember who the first humans on Mars were. More than 200,000 men and women from around the world responded to the first call for astronauts.”

However, Mars One, a non-profit organisation that proposes to send four people to the red planet in 2022, has responded to the reports stating that the “Muslim world has for centuries had a rich tradition of exploration”. In a statement to the Telegraph, Mars One claimed the Koran “encourages Muslims to go out and see the signs of God’s creation in the ‘heavens and the earth’. The most influential example of this was the Moroccan Muslim traveller, Ibn Battuta, who from 1325 to 1355 travelled 73,000 miles, visiting the equivalent of 44 modern countries,” Mars One stated. “The mission to Mars is a road that has never been walked before, even though the first settlers will be walking in the footsteps of Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, Neil Armstrong, or any of the other great explorers in history.”

 

The Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/gulf-imams-issue-fatwa-warning-muslims-not-to-live-on-mars-as-it-would-pose-a-real-risk-to-life-9141631.html 

The Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/unitedarabemirates/10649939/Muslims-warned-in-Fatwa-not-to-live-on-Mars.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/unitedarabemirates/10654014/Mars-One-encourages-Muslims-to-join-red-planet-mission-despite-Fatwa.html

Last British Guantanamo prisoner pens powerful letter on twelfth anniversary of detention


February 14, 2014

 

The last remaining British prisoner held in Guantanamo Bay has penned a powerful letter to mark Valentine’s Day – the twelfth anniversary of his detention. Shaker Aamer has been held without charge or trial since his arrest in Afghanistan in November 2001. He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay on 14 February 2002 where has been held since – despite being cleared for release by the Bush administration in 2007 and again by the Obama administration in 2009.

Conveying the desperation felt by prisoners at the US military run camp in Cuba, he wrote: “How do I feel with another year of my life gone unjustly and another year started? Truly, I feel numb. I can’t even think about it. Years are passing like months and months like weeks. Weeks pass like days and days like hours. Hours feel like minutes, minutes seconds, and seconds pass like years. And it goes around in a strange circle that makes no sense. It all takes an age, and yet an age of my life seems to pass too fast. On and on and on. Shaker Aamer with two of his children before his arrest Shaker Aamer with two of his children before his arrest

Mr Aamer, who is currently on hunger strike, added: “I feel lonely and lost. Not knowing my future is the worst torture. I am living just to die. I am confused about everything and everyone. It is not enough for them to leave us alone with all this pain we are suffering. It is not enough for us to live only with our memories, which bring more pain.”

He also captured some of the alleged mistreatment and humiliation the 160 current inmates suffer in the prison. He describes how ‘the National Anthem is playing so loudly’ at his time of writing and how a fellow inmate consistently misses his legal call because of the full body search he is threated with by the guards. Shaker Aamer: ‘I may have to die. I hope not. I want to see my family again’

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/last-british-guantanamo-prisoner-pens-powerful-letter-on-twelfth-anniversary-of-detention-9129745.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/shaker-aamer-i-may-have-to-die-i-hope-not-i-want-to-see-my-family-again-8581966.html

Troubled Islamic free school in Derby to close its secondary school

February 9, 2014

 

A troubled free school is to stop teaching pupils of secondary school age from September. Schools Minister Lord Nash, the man responsible for free schools and academies, announced that the Al-Madinah free school in Derby would close its secondary school because of the poor quality of teaching.

In a letter to Barry Day, the new chairman of the trust which runs the school, he said: “I am particularly concerned at the poor quality of secondary teaching and the lack of breadth in the secondary curriculum. I have come to the conclusion that it would simply not be in the interests of parents or pupils at the secondary school to continue to fund provision which has failed them in the manner now apparent.”

The Al-Madinah school opened in September 2012 but there were later claims that it was imposing strict Islamic practices such as forcing women to wear headscarves.

Ofsted [the education standards watchdog] judged that Al-Madinah is completely dysfunctional and ordered a temporary closure on health and safety grounds as adequate checks on staff had not been carried out.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/troubled-derby-free-school-to-close-its-secondary-school-9115056.html

Second British pensioner faces blasphemy charges in Pakistan for reading from Koran in public

January 31, 2014

 

The family of a second British man facing blasphemy charges in Pakistan said yesterday that he is entirely innocent and called for more to be done to allow him to return to the UK. Masud Ahmad, 72, is currently on bail in Lahore after he was allegedly tricked into publicly reading from the Koran – an act which is forbidden for members of the minority Ahmadi sect to which he belongs. He now faces three years in jail. Mr Ahmad had been released from prison on bail and was now in secure accommodation pending trial although it was not known when the case would be heard and he faced a long and uncertain wait.

Following his arrest in November more than 600 people protested outside the police station. Under Pakistan law it is an offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim. Each year dozens of members of the sect are charged with breaching religious laws whilst they and other minorities are also at risk of outbreaks of sectarian violence in the country if they are deemed to have committed blasphemy.

The quietly-spoken widower was arrested after he was recorded on a mobile phone reading from the Koran by two men posing as patients. Amnesty International said he was maliciously targeted because of his religion.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We will continue to provide consular assistance to both Mr Ahmad and his family.”

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/second-british-pensioner-faces-blasphemy-charges-in-pakistan-for-reading-from-koran-in-public-9099929.html

Lee Rigby killer Michael Adebolajo launches appeal against conviction

January 30, 2014

 

One of the two men found guilty of murdering off-duty British soldier Lee Rigby, has lodged an application to appeal against his conviction, the Judicial Office confirmed today. Adebolajo, 29, from Romford, east London, said during the trial that he was a “soldier of Allah” and that the killing was an act of war. He and his co-defendant Michael Adebowale, 22, from Greenwich, south-east London, are currently awaiting sentencing.

The men were cleared of the attempted murder of a police officer, and had previously admitted possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. Mr Justice Sweeney said he will sentence the pair after a key Court of Appeal ruling on the use of whole-life jail terms. A date for the appeal judgment has not been announced following a recent hearing before a panel of five leading judges, headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/rigby-killer-michael-adebolajo-launches-appeal-against-conviction-9095667.html