June 26, 2014
Nigerian pop singer Adokiye has caused a social media storm by offering her virginity to Islamic militants Boko Haram in exchange for the return of hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls. A total of 276 girls were taken from the largely Christian north-eastern town of Chibok by the rebels, led by Abubakar Shekau, in April. The majority of the schoolchildren remain missing, despite international pressure for their safe return – including the celebrity-endorsed #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign backed by Michelle Obama and David Cameron, among others.
However, the 23-year-old musician and actress from the country’s Imo State, who is also a UN Ambassador of Peace, took the protest to the next extreme. “It is just unfair. They are too young. I wish I could offer myself in exchange. They are between 12 and 15 year old girls for Christ sake. I am older and more experienced. Even if 10 to 12 men have to take me every night, I don’t care. Just release these girls and let them go back to their parents.” she told Nigerian publication Vanguard.
Her comments received a mixed reaction via social media. Some fans praised her offer as “brave” and branded her a “hero”: Others, however, interpreted her bold statement as an opportunistic publicity stunt.
January 15, 2014
Students and women’s groups have written an open letter to the UN to condemn gender segregation at British universities. Writing to the UN’s special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, the signatories are hoping to build pressure on UK universities to ban segregation of any kind.
They write: “Gender segregation reinforces negative views about women, undermines their right to participate in public life on equal terms with men and disproportionately impedes women from ethnic and religious minorities, whose rights to education and gender equality are already imperilled.”
The letter appeared on the LSE student union page on Tuesday, and has been signed by various people including Chris Moos, the secretary of LSE’s Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society, and Nahla Mahmoud, the spokesperson for the council of ex-Muslims of Britain.
Mr Moos, who was recently involved in a freedom of expression battle with LSE, believes that any type of segregation should be fought and that the UN pressure would help public discussion.
Universities UK and the Federation of Islamic Students Societies were both targets in the open letter. Last December, UUK said in a report that “Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination”, but later clarified their position, saying: “[UUK] agrees entirely with the prime minister that universities should not enforce gender segregation on audiences at the request of guest speakers”.
FOISS were mentioned as their guidelines recommend societies “maintain segregation between brothers and sisters, keeping interactions between them at a minimum”.
A march has also been planned which will take place on March 8th.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/student-and-womens-groups-write-open-letter-to-un-condemning-gender-segregation-in-uk-universities-9061327.html
With his track record as a member of the political arm of a banned terrorist organisation, Mian Shahzib is unlikely to ever be given a visa to enter Britain. But that does not stop the jovial 33-year-old from giving British children religious instruction every day from the comfort of his home in Pakistan. He spends hours each night sitting under a fluorescent light in the courtyard of a small mosque in Lahore, peering into a laptop as children first from the Middle East, then Europe and North America spend half an hour after school talking to him over a faltering Skype line. The fact that a hardcore Islamist and long-term follower of the UN-proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) has daily access to children in the west is likely to fuel concerns about religious radicals spreading their message. The organisation is on the UN’s list of sanctioned organisations because of its alleged association with al-Qaida and is considered a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.
Shahzib’s website, Easy Qur’an Memorising, makes no mention of his history and is one of hundreds of such online companies, some of which advertise on satellite channels broadcasting to the Pakistani diaspora. They are part of a little-known outsourcing boom fuelled by parents of Pakistani origin turning to Qur’an teachers in Pakistan.
The Guardian was told of other online tutors with radical backgrounds or who are members of extreme or sectarian organisations, but it is impossible to know how widespread the phenomenon is in a completely unregulated industry.
Sultan Chaudri, the owner of Faiz-e-Quran, said his company is at pains to scrutinise all 13 teachers who work for him to ensure radicals are not employed. “All the problems we are seeing in Pakistan and Afghanistan is because these young children get sent to madrasas where no one knows what sort of education they are getting or what kind of indoctrination is taking place.” Outsourced Qur’an teaching started about six years ago and there are now a handful of big players. Although there are no reliable figures on how many children around the world are being taught by Pakistan-based teachers everyone seems to think it is growing fast.
May 29 2013
Dutch television show Altijd Wat has broadcast a poll stating that almost 75% of Dutch Muslims consider youth travelling to Syria to fight against Assad’s regime to be heroes. The show’s publicity states “In general, Dutch Muslims consider the Syria fighters to be doing what the UN is failing to do, which is battling president Assad’s regime”.
By contrast, “70% of the native Dutch population say they are not heroes”, according to ANP.
The Altijd Wat program is based on research by Motivaction, a research firm based in the Netherlands. Motivaction conducted an poll measuring opinions about the civil war in Syria and Dutch Muslims who travel to Syria to fight (“Syrie-gangers”) The opinion poll canvassed 370 Dutch Muslim and 570 ethnic Dutch individuals for their opinions.
The poll found a great difference in opinions between Dutch Muslims who tended to believe that those traveling to Syria were in accordance with the UN call to act, while ethnic Dutch respondents had much less strong feelings about the war.
Other conclusions in the research include:
-Dutch Muslims are more concerned about events in Syria and want the Assad regime to end as soon as possible.
-The majority of Dutch Muslims approve of the Dutch fight alongside Muslims in Syria; most ethnic Dutch are not in favour.
-Most Dutch Muslims support providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey.
-Dutch Muslims are more likely than ethnic Dutch to support the provision of weapons to insurgents.
-Ethnic Dutch are more strictly against Muslims traveling to Syria than Dutch Muslims.
-Ethnic Dutch feel recruiters should be punished.
31 January 2013
The agreement between Real Madrid Foundation and the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) to open sport schools in Gaza offers “the children some sense of normalcy after the last military offensive on Gaza,” according to this organism.
The project, oriented to 500 children from seven schools in Gaza, “seeks to promote teamwork, gender equality and leadership. Through football, not only they learn the basic skills of the sport but also improve their ability to cope with everyday life, “UNRWA said in a statement.
This past November, when the project was launched “many children in the Gaza Strip were excited and this news made them feel their idols Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Marcelo, Kaka, Benzema and Sergio Ramos a bit closer. ”
In total, and in the future it is expected that 10,000 Palestinian refugee children will participate in the Real Madrid sport schools in Gaza and in the West Bank.
The Turkish community of Germany has appealed to the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe with a protest against the poster campaign initiated by the German Ministry of Interior. In the press release, the poster campaign against the radicalization of young Muslims has been described as “discriminating and humiliating”.
While raising no objections against the warning of radicalization, the representative of the Turkish community Kenan Kolat criticized the stigmatizing nature of the campaign. According to him, it would strengthen prejudices against young Muslims.
A Libyan born naturalized Irish citizen has been taken off a list of the UN Security Council imposing sanctions on suspected al-Qaeda supporters. The individual has tried for three years to clear his name from the list. No reasons for removing him from it were given.
The UN Security Council list of al-Qaeda supporters imposes sanctions on those mentioned, including a travel ban, a freeze of assets and a weapons embargo.
Described as a “close associate” of Osama bin Laden, he has been accused of providing logistical and financial support to al-Qaeda cells in Europe and other alleged terrorist organisations. The individual himself has denied all charges.
News Agencies – January 13, 2012
A Sikh man in France has won the backing of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in his fight over religious headgear. It said France was violating Sikhs’ religious freedom by forcing them to remove their turbans when having photos taken for passports and ID cards. Ranjit Singh, 76, said he had turned to the UN because he found the French policy disrespectful and unnecessary.
Sikhs in France have been fighting a long battle over the turban. In 2004 France passed a law banning religious signs in schools. This included turbans and Muslim headscarves.
In 2008 the European Court of Human Rights dismissed an appeal on grounds of security.
It said that whilst Shingara Singh’s religious rights had been infringed, France was justified to ban the turban on the driver’s licence photo because the turban posed a security risk of fraud and falsification. That is when Ranjit Singh decided to file a case to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC). It has now judged that a turban does not pose a risk to security.
Toronto Star – November 21, 2011
This opinion piece by Payam Akhavan, Professor of International Law at McGill University, a former UN war crimes prosecutor, and founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre suggests that Canada is the haven of choice for the Islamic Republic’s inner circle.
He says it is ironic that while Ahmadinejad condemns “western imperialism,” his inner circle has quietly established itself in Canada to enjoy ill-gotten fortunes with impunity. A recent example is the former head of Iran’s Melli and Sepah Banks, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, who acquired Canadian citizenship under questionable circumstances and then fled this October to his multi-million-dollar Toronto mansion following a $2.6 billion embezzlement scandal in Iran. Akhavan suggests that their presence may benefit the economy, but is clearly a security threat.
17 November 2011
Three unnamed Dutch Moroccans have filed a complaint against the Netherlands on the grounds that the state has not protected them against incitements to hatred instigated by anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders. The three have taken their case to the UN commission for human rights. Last year Wilders was taken to court for discrimination and inciting hatred but was acquitted after the public prosecution department called for charges to be dropped. A ruling from the UN human rights commission ruling, which can take years, is not legally binding.