15 May 2013
The town council in Radstock, Somerset, voted not to fly St George’s flag on the town’s civic flag pole because the flag’s association with the crusades and the “hijacking” of the cross of St George by far right organizations may make it an offensive symbol to local Muslims. Instead, the council decided to purchase a Union Jack and to design a flag specifically for Radstock. Eleanor Jackson, a Labour councilor, has called for dropping the flag for 20 years.
Many, including Nasima Begum, spokeswoman for the Muslim Council of Britain, disagree with the decision made by the council. Said Ms. Begum, “St George needs to take his rightful place as a national symbol of inclusivity rather than a symbol of hatred.” Similarly, the vice-president of the Royal Society of St George labeled the decision “nonsense.”
In April, a multi-faith coalition issued a call to “reclaim” St George from far right organizations, arguing that St George has no place in extremist right wing politics. In acknowledging the association of St George’s Flag with right wing extremist groups, the Radstock town council has angered many who argue that St George, having lived before the advent of Islam, should not be associated at all with anti-Muslim politics.
The ban of wearing burqa and niqab continues at local level in the Spanish Town Councils. On the one side the Town Council of Tàrrega has decided not to ban the
wearing of burqa and niqab in the public spaces and on the other side the city hall of Lleida has decided to ban it. In the meantime some Muslims organizations and
associations like Watani in LLeida are preparing legal actions to stop this type of initiatives.
The Party for Catalonia [Partit per Catalunya] has submitted a motion to the Cervera Town Council (in the province of Lleida) in order to declare the town free of mosques.
According to those who submitted the motion, mosques are not like other religions’ places of worship because they have a political nature and aim to spread Islam.
There is currently only one mosque in the town.
Coín Town Council (in the province of Malaga, Andalusia), led by a coalition formed by the Socialist and Andalusian Party, is the first municipality outside of Catalonia to instate a ban on the burqa and niqab. According to a member of the Council, there are at least three cases of women wearing the burqa whose husbands do not allow them to leave their homes.
Next Friday (28 May) Lleida’s (Catalonia) town Council will discuss a motion submitted by the Catalonian nationalist party “Convergència i Unió” (CIU) on the banning of full-covering Islamic veils such as the burqa and the niqab in public.
Lleida’s Mayor Àngel Ros (Socialist Party) was the first to propose such a ban, because, according to him, the burqa and the niqab violate women rights. Now, he is prepared to support the motion submitted by CIU.
The socialist Minister of Labour and Immigration, Celestino Corbacho, has already said that he supports such a ban in the civil service. He also said that full-covering garments go against equality between men and women.
Barcelona’s Town Council also voted on a motion presented by the Popular Party to ban the burqa in public. The motion was not approved. Instead, the Council has asked its law department for a report on whether the ban is legal or not.
The Official Bulletin of the Autonomous Region of Murcia (p. 12542) publishes that Lorca’s Town Council has ceded a plot of land to the local Muslim community for building a new mosque. The mosque will be located at Tiata (an outlying district of the town). The Muslim community in Lorca has seen several of its former prayer halls closed after complaints presented by the neighbours. In 2007, following the closure of one of these prayer halls the community started to pray outdoors as a public protest, to which the City Hall answered with a permit to pray in a premise of public property.
La Verdad de Murcia, March 12, 2010