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Rochdale’s Muslim Community Say They Face ‘Unprecedented and Unacceptable’ Racism

20 November, 2014 - 19:34

Neeli_Mosque

Manchester Evening News

Members of the Muslim community say they are facing ‘unprecedented and unacceptable’ racism in Rochdale – and are calling on all parts of society to take a stand against Islamophobia.

A group of local leaders have come together to speak out about the rise in violence and discrimination they say Asian people have been subjected to following the town’s grooming scandal.

They say the ‘excessive’ focus on the ethnicity and religion of non-white sex offenders has led to the ‘stigmatisation’ of their community – meaning that Islamophobia is now an ‘acceptable norm’.

The group, a coalition of local leaders under the name of Rochdale Muslim Community, say they now want to work with people in the town to eradicate the hatred.

In a statement passed to the M.E.N., they said: “It has become evident to anyone that follows events in the media that Islam is being portrayed negatively and that Muslims living in Britain are bearing the brunt of discrimination and violence.

“There is little doubt that this has resulted in not only the community feeling vilified but could potentially breakdown social cohesion within society. Irresponsible comments from senior local and national politicians are aiding the negative portrayal of the Muslim community.

“Time and time again some politicians and the media have attempted to equate issues such as grooming and the Muslim community as being one and the same.

“It is only natural that this sort of misinformation will stigmatise the whole of the Muslim community. This has meant that casual xenophobia towards Muslims has now become an acceptable norm.”

Their stand comes after a group of Asian taxi drivers went on strike in Heywood after their boss revealed his firm, Car 2000, would supply a white cabbie on demand. The drivers described how their cars had regularly been attacked or vandalised following the town’s grooming scandal.

In 2012, nine men from Rochdale were jailed for grooming girls and sharing them around the north west for sex.

But the coalition of the town’s Muslims said, while the paedophile gang was often refereed to as ‘Asian’, the ethnicity and religion of sex offenders such as Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall and former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith has never been mentioned – even though they too used positions of trust to abuse young children.

The group’s statement added: “Unfortunately, we are now facing a situation where a disdain of the Muslim community is something which is deemed acceptable.

“We do not wish to go back to a situation where discrimination against minorities becomes the norm. We believe that all segments of society have a duty to stand up against Islamophobia in all of its guises no matter how subtle or apparent.

Read the rest…

China Targets ‘Wild Imams’ In Mass Public Sentencing

19 November, 2014 - 18:54

Imam calls on Muslim Uighurs for their afternoon prayer with home-made iron loudspeaker on roof of Kuqa Mosque second biggest mosque in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

(Reuters)China has jailed almost two dozen people including “wild imams” who preach illegally in the western region of Xinjiang where the government says Islamists are waging a violent campaign for a separate state, Chinese media reported on Tuesday.

The 22 suspects were sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to 16 years at a mass public sentencing in Xinjiang on Monday, the state-controlled China News Service reported.

As well as the imams, or Muslim religious leaders, those sentenced included religious leaders who engaged in religious activities after being sacked, as well as those who broke the law while at their posts, it said.

Others were accused of inciting ethnic hatred, using superstition to destroy the law, and picking quarrels and provoking trouble, it said.

Xinjiang is home to a mostly Muslim minority group known as Uighurs.

China has vowed to crack down on religious extremism, which it blames for a string of violent attacks this year in Xinjiang and elsewhere. Exiles and activists say Chinese controls on the religion and culture of the Uighur people is more a cause of the violence than well-organized militant groups.

Read the rest…

 

National Front Try To Disrupt Islamic Society Peaceful March in Newport

17 November, 2014 - 23:39

Newport-Ashura-procession

via. IslamophobiaWatch

Members of far-right party the National Front tried to disrupt a peaceful march of more than 500 Muslims from across Wales in Newport today.

The annual march, organised by the Islamic Society of Wales, commemorates the anniversary of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, Imam Hussain, who was martyred more than 1,300 years ago.

The 32nd march to be held in Newport should have taken place last Sunday – the 10th day in the Muslim calendar – but was put back so the city’s Muslims could join in the Remembrance Sunday services.

But yesterday afternoon police stepped in when anti-Muslim protestors attempted to disrupt the peaceful march. As the hundreds of men, women and children walked along Commercial Street, two men carrying National Front flags attempted to enter the crowd from a side street.

They were joined by six more protestors who held up British and Welsh flags and shouted abuse including, “These are our streets” and “Muslims, burn in hell”.

Officers from Gwent Police and private security firms formed a barrier around the men. Two of the men were later seen in the Red Lion pub on Stow Hill, shouting abuse from inside while police blocked the entrance.

Fuelling Islamophobia in the US

17 November, 2014 - 23:33

Khaled_Beydoun

(h/t:Saqib Ahmed)

via. AlJazeera English

By Khaled A Beydoun

The United Arab Emirates designated two Muslim-American civil rights groups – the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society – among the 83 institutions included in its new terrorist group list. The designations were announced on the state’s official news agency on November 15, marking a nefarious precedent where a government of a Muslim-majority state has designated a Muslim-American institution as a “terrorist organisation”.

While the classification of both organisations as terrorist groups is alarming, the allegation against CAIR is particularly concerning. The advocacy organisation based out of Washington, DC, which encompasses 28 chapters across the United States, has stood as a vital and vocal opponent of state-sponsored discrimination against Muslim-Americans. In addition, CAIR – principally through its chapters – has carried forward unapologetic initiatives aimed at eroding Islamophobia and defending Muslim-American individuals and institutions during the post-9/11 era.

Regional politics, not CAIR’s work stateside, moved the UAE to designate the civil rights organisation a terrorist group. More specifically, hearsay tying CAIR with the Muslim Brotherhood, a political nemesis of the UAE, is believed to be the principal catalyst behind the designation.

Although distant geopolitical concerns are behind the UAE designating CAIR as a terrorist organisation, what impact will the classification have on the advocacy group, its civil rights mission, and collaterally, Muslim-Americans at large? The ramifications are not only acute, but also extensive.

A widening ‘gulf’

Centuries old stereotypes, still embedded in the American imagination, conflate Muslims – regardless of their nationality or locale – as one and the same. Therefore, Muslim Americans – the overwhelming majority of whom have no connection to the UAE – are consistently lumped up with the prevailing stereotypes attributed to the people of the oil-rich state: endless wealth, modern slavery, and conspicuous expression of religious conservativism cloaking commercial insatiability.

Yet, the differences between Muslims in monarchical Gulf States and Muslim-America are as ample, and extensive, as the differences between Dubai and Detroit – their respective hubs.

The recent designation of CAIR as a terrorist organisation not only provides further evidence that Muslims are anything but a monolith, but also manifests a widening political and interests’ gulf between Muslims in the UAE and Muslim-Americans.

Since 9/11, the UAE has expressed only passing concern for the civil liberties crackdown experienced by Muslim-Americans. This apathy may be a surprise to everyone in the US aside from Muslim-Americans, who can point to the dehumanisation of Muslim migrant workers within the Gulf region to highlight how religious affinity is seldom a source of apathy.

With heightening state and societal animosity toward Islam in the US, particularly with the recent emergence of ISIL, the UAE’s designation of CAIR as “terrorists” shifts their state stance from apathy toward full-fledged assault. The designation has two considerable effects: first, it endorses specific allegations from right-wing US groups that CAIR colludes with terrorist networks; and second, functions as testimony, from a native state informant, deepening the stereotype that critical Muslim-American civil rights organisations are subversive and anti-American.

Abetting Islamophobia

CAIR is not designated a terrorist group within the US. However, the organisation and its leadership have fended off allegations of direct or indirect links with state-designated terrorist groups for many years. The allegations, although legally tenuous, curried public perception that CAIR itself had terrorist affiliations. This led to increased government surveillance of its Executive Director, Nihad Awad, FBI probing of CAIR chapters and community outreach work, monitoring of Muslim-Americans seeking their counsel, and intensified slander from right-wing political leaders and media pundits.

By classifying CAIR as a terrorist organisation, among the likes of ISIL, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram, the move will embolden Islamophobic elements to pronounce their hateful rhetoric, and expedite draconian policies against Muslim-Americans.

Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of CAIR’s Greater Los Angeles chapter, echoes that the designation will “fuel Islamophobia, and undermine the safety and well being of Muslim communities [in the United States] around the world”.

Furthermore, the UAE designation will further complicate CAIR’s ability to carry forward advocacy work protecting Muslim-Americans. Instead of marshaling manpower and resources to handling hate crimes cases, public workshops, and other direly needed initiatives, the designation will compel the organisation and its staff to respond to its placement on the terrorist list, and collaterally, deal with the barrage of political and private hate that is sure to follow.

Read the rest of the article…

 

Pig’s Head At Blackpool Mosque: Four Face Jail

17 November, 2014 - 22:47

Blackpool-Gazette-front-page

Is it a shocking attack? Perhaps, but there have been many such incidences and to myself is not that surprising. Is it insulting? Perhaps since the intent was malicious but how long is it going to take for the Islamophobic dolts who continue to commit such acts to realize that Muslims aren’t going to melt at the sight of a pig, they just can’t eat them.

via. IslamophobiaWatch

A pig’s head was left in the grounds of a mosque in a “shocking” and “insulting” attack.

The offence, which took place just two days after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby by Islamic extremists, “sent a shiver” down the spine of a volunteer at Blackpool Central Mosque, Preston Crown Court heard.

But today the mosque’s Imam, Ashfaq Patel, called on the judge in the case not to jail the four men who 
admitted religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress. He said: “I don’t think they should be put behind bars.”

However, a judge warned the four Fylde coast men they could potentially face up to two years in prison.

Blackpool Gazette, 15 November 2014

Read the full report here.

Islamophobia Doesn’t Only Harm Muslims

15 November, 2014 - 23:14

emirates

It’s well known that Islamophobia effects non-Muslims as well, it hurts those who are perceived to be Muslims or friendly to Muslims, this includes: Sikhs, Hindus, Arab Christians, Turkish Atheists, Norwegian teenagers and others.

It also effects economic relationships, remember the Dubai Ports controversy? Now in Australia, after a concerted Islamophobic controversy, a South Australian company is set to lose its contract with an airline giant.

The Advertiser

Fleurieu Milk Company, and other South Australian food and drink manufacturers such as Vili’s and Coopers, have been targeted by Facebook pages like Halal Choices and Boycott Halal in Australia for their decision to pursue the certification. Halal is a term used by Muslims meaning the food has been prepared or slaughtered according to ­Islamic law.

Fleurieu Milk Company sales and marketing manager Nick Hutchinson said the decision to drop the halal certification would mean the Myponga-based dairy would lose a yoghurt supply deal with Emirates worth around $50,000 a year.

Mr Hutchinson said the decision was regrettable, but that the company had decided the possible damage to its brand outweighed the benefits of being halal certified.

“We’ve copped a pasting online,” he said.

“We saw the barrage of comments on these sites and the calls to boycott our products and decided it wasn’t worth it. I suppose we’ve given in to a vocal minority.

“It is important for people to realise that being a business owner in Australia can be challenging. In order to remain financially viable companies are forced to look to expand into new markets. Fleurieu Milk had the opportunity to supply Emirates airlines given they became halal approved. We decided the $1000 annual fee was worth it and proceeded.”

The anti-halal sites make a number of claims about the certification, including that it is essentially a religious tax that forces up the price of food, that it is cruel to slaughtered animals and that money could be used to fund Islamist terrorists overseas. The sites encourage consumers to boycott any products displaying the halal accreditation symbol.

Mr Hutchinson said he believed the anti-halal sites were wrong in targeting Australian food producers.

“Other company’s make tens of millions of dollars through being halal certified and cannot walk away like we have,” Mr Hutchinson said. “These business owners are true-blue Aussies bringing a lot of international dollars back into the local economy and would prefer not to pay the certification fee as well.

“The question must be asked: what is worse – paying the $1000 fee or making hundreds of employees around SA redundant?

“People will argue for both sides, but what we want people to ask themselves is ‘are you directing your anger in the right direction?’ Do these business owners, in our case the local farmers, deserve this or should you be petitioning above them to stop the fee having to be paid?”

Iconic pie and pastry manufacturer Vili’s confirmed the company had also been the target of the anti-halal group, but said it had no plans to bend to pressure from “hate mail and ignorant comments”.

A spokesman for Vili’s said the company had been halal certified since 1997, and that it had helped the company grow both in Australia and overseas.

“From a purely economic viewpoint, halal certification brings a lot of money into Australia,” the spokesman said.

“Vili’s also tries to be an ­inclusive company. We have no plans to change anything.” The spokesman said while he would never tell the Fleurieu Milk Company how to run its business, he hoped that the company “isn’t being influenced unnecessarily”.

“When you look at these sites you get the impression that a lot of the comments are written in the same voice and probably come from the same source,” he said. “A lot of it is very similar, suggesting that these sites might not be as strong as they say they are.”

PHOTOS: W. Bank Mosque, Qurans Set On Fire In Suspected Hate Crime

14 November, 2014 - 23:44

W_Bank_Qurans_Burned

via. +972

Speaking to +972, one local resident noted that this was not the first time settlers have set a mosque on fire. The man added that investigations into such incidents by Israeli authorities have brought no justice.

“This is a direct continuation of Israeli policy at Al Aqsa [Mosque],” the resident of Al Mughayir said. “Every mosque is in danger from the settlers.”

Last month a mosque in the village of Aqraba was set alight in a similar attack.

Palestinian police and firefighters were on the scene.

Israeli media reported that Israeli police had not arrived at the scene to investigate due to clashes taking place nearby.

In northern Israel overnight Tuesday a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a centuries-old synagogue in the Palestinian town of Shfar’am (Shefa-’Amr). The flames did not penetrate the building.

A man inspects a Quran damaged in a suspected arson hate crime against a mosque in the West Bank village of Al Mughayir, November 12, 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Local officials and Palestinian police stand in a mosque damaged in a suspected arson hate crime in the West Bank village of Al Mughayir, November 12, 2014. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Human rights organization Yesh Din this week released a data sheet on Israeli police failures in investigating crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

According to this data, in 2005-2014, a mere 7.4 percent of investigation files led to indictments of Israeli civilians suspected of attacking Palestinians and their property, reflecting a decline of approximately one percent in the rate of such indictments.

Over the past nine years, according to their data, only 7.4 percent of investigations “led to indictments of Israeli civilians suspected of attacking Palestinians and their property.”

In the past two years, following a spate of higher-than-usual settler attacks against Palestinians, the government ordered the creation of a special police investigatory unit dealing exclusively with what Israel describes as “nationalistic crimes.”

Since the creation of the Nationalistic Crimes Unit in the West Bank, “the failure rate of the Israel Police in properly investigating ideological offenses against Palestinians has in fact worsened,” according to Yesh Din.

In 2013-2014, a statement by Yesh Din said, that nearly 90 percent of police investigations in the past two years were closed without indictment due to what the organization terms “investigative failures.”

Read the entire article…

Read more: ‘Settler violence: It comes with the territory’

Germany’s new right: The unholy alliance of neo-Nazis and football hooligans

13 November, 2014 - 14:29

Hooligan-Demo gegen Salafisten

Der Spiegel says the riots by a united front of Neo-Nazis and Football hooligans was unexpected but is it really? The rise of violent Islamophobia amongst these two groups has been well documented and should’ve hinted at a possible hate alliance. (h/t: IslamophobiaWatch)

Hours after their coup, the rabble rousers were still reveling in their unexpected success. One hooligan going by the nom de guerre “Bo Ne,” happily posted: “We made it into the news around the entire world. Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Spain, France — first goal achieved!”

It was a view shared by almost everyone in the four closed forums belonging to the group called Hooligans gegen Salafisten (Hooligans against Salafists). With more than 3,000 members, the network is a loose association of neo-Nazis, nationalists and football rowdies — and their posts made it clear that they didn’t think they were being monitored. One regretted not having brought an axe to the demonstration to “destroy all of Islam.” Bo Ne and others, however, were totally satisfied. Germany, he wrote, has now seen “what it means to deceive a people for 70 years.”

And: “Cologne was just the beginning.”

The rally took place on the last weekend in October and saw almost 5,000 demonstrators, right-wing extremists and football hooligans march through Cologne, many of them clearly looking for trouble. Riled up by the right-wing rock band Kategorie C (which sings lyrics like: “Today they are slitting the throats of sheep and cows, tomorrow it may be Christian children”), they filled the Cologne city center with their hate. Tourists and passersby got out of their way.

By the time the march came to an end, 49 police officers had been injured, a police van had been flipped over and plenty of other property had been damaged. Cologne police quickly assembled a special investigative unit made up of 36 officers. State prosecutors say that 32 suspects have now been identified and fully 72 investigations have been opened.

Unexpected Phenomenon

But questions abound as to how such a thing could have happened. And fear about what comes next is also widespread. Almost as soon as the violence in Cologne had come to an end, dates for further demonstrations elsewhere in Germany began circulating.

The phenomenon is an unexpected one. Thousands of hooligans appear to have left their football clubs of choice behind in favor of uniting against a common enemy: the presumed danger of Islam. In addition, they have joined forces with neo-Nazis and other racists. Nobody, it would seem, thought that such an unholy alliance was possible.

Political reaction was prompt. Lorenz Caffier, the interior minister of the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, quickly placed the issue on the agenda for the next meeting of state interior ministers. His counterpart from Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, demanded the creation of a special police task force. Meanwhile, representatives of football clubs around the country expressed shock and dismay at the violence on display in Cologne.

Yet despite the hurried reactions, the phenomenon is one that has been developing for some time now. Since February of 2012, security officials have had solid evidence that traditionally adversarial hooligan groups were establishing ties and drifting to the right-wing fringe. That month, the Borussenfront — a group of right-wing rowdies that had its apex in the 1980s — invited representatives of other hooligan groups to a “cross-club exchange” in a farmhouse in the Rhineland.

Members of 17 “firms,” as they call themselves in imitation of their British counterparts, came to the gathering from across the country, many of them aging veterans of past battles. They drank plenty of beer and reminisced — a kind of class reunion for thugs.

Read the rest of the article…

Caroline Fourest fined €6000 for defaming young Muslim victim of racist attack

12 November, 2014 - 14:26

Rabia-B.-2

Islamophobe Caroline Fourest claims to be a “Feminist” but it appears her feminism is of the Neo-colonialist variety.

via. IslamophobiaWatch

Saphir News has reported that Caroline Fourest – the French “left-wing” Islamophobe who wrote Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan – has been successfully sued for defamation over comments she made in June last year on the radio station France Culture.

Fourest was responding to the attacks on two Muslim women in Argenteuil, one of whom lost her baby after being kicked in the stomach by her assailants. This followed an earlier incident in which a 17-year-old woman named Rabia Bentot (pictured) was punched and kicked by racists, who also tore off her headscarf while shouting “dirty Arab” and “dirty Muslim”

Instead of Fourest declaring her outrage at the assaults, and her solidarity with the victims, this self-styled feminist expressed scepticism about the women’s accounts.

Fourest claimed that Rabia Bentot was being manipulated by her father and by the Coordination contre le Racisme et l’Islamophobie, assisted by what Fourest described as the “communalist” website Oumma.com, and she suggested that the story of an attack might well have been fabricated. Even if an assault did take place, Fourest asserted, the police had not excluded the possibility that Rabia was the victim of violence by her own family, who could have beaten her up as punishment for living too free a lifestyle.

Needless to say, Fourest offered no evidence whatsoever to back up these disgraceful slurs.

The Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France comments that for someone who claims to be a feminist Fourest is very selective in her indignation, especially when it comes to Muslim women who wear hijab. The CCIF notes that trying to discredit the testimony of women victims of violence is a well-known phenomenon, and has been vigorously denounced by feminist organisations.

Rabia Bentot sued Fourest for defamation, and last week the Grand Instance Court in Paris ruled in Rabia’s favour. Fourest was fined €6000, half of which was to be paid in damages with the remainder to cover the plaintiff’s legal costs. Fourest has announced that she will be appealing the verdict.

 

France: Attack On Strasbourg Mosque Condemned

11 November, 2014 - 20:23

Strasbourg_Mosque_France

i24News

A fire at the entrance to the Grand Mosque of Strasbourg was quickly extinguished overnight Saturday. The attack, which took place at the entrance to one of the main mosques in France caused only minor cosmetic damage.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has decried the arson attack and has vowed to pursue those responsible for this “odious act,” an official statement said Monday.

The statement continued on to say that Cazeneuve “reaffirms his commitment to protect the places of worship of all religions from such outrageous acts and attacks which target them, and also to fight against all expressions of hatred and intolerance,” adding that “such acts went against the core values of the French Republic.”

The president of the Grand Mosque, Ali El Jarroudi condemned “with the greatest firmness this odious act” and said that a complaint had been lodged with the police, adding that there were images of an individual lighting the fires which he had handed to the police..

In a statement to AFP, Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory against Islamophobia, said that he feels “anger and disgust at those who want to create tensions between communities.”

The Mayor of Strasbourg Roland Ries, expressed his “outrage” against “acts which, as isolated they are, affect the serenity of cohabitation between religions and tradition of understanding and ‘openness’ of the city.

The President of the Union of mosques in France (UMF), Mohammed Moussaoui, also condemned “in the strongest force” the attack, calling on the “Muslims of France to be vigilant and calm in the face of these acts.”

The incident did not disrupt the Great Mosque musical program which took place Sunday which included hosting the London Zemel Choir, a Jewish choir chosen as part of a religious music festival which took place in Strasbourg.

(with AFP)

Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Accelerated

11 November, 2014 - 02:45

A camp for Rohingya, an ethnic minority, on the outskirts of Sittwe, in Rakhine State. Rohingya, who are mostly Muslim, are accused of being Bangladeshi migrants and face discrimination and violence at the hands of the Buddhist majority. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes or the country to escape bloodshed. Tomas Munita for The New York Times

A camp for Rohingya, an ethnic minority, on the outskirts of Sittwe, in Rakhine State. Rohingya, who are mostly Muslim, are accused of being Bangladeshi migrants and face discrimination and violence at the hands of the Buddhist majority. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes or the country to escape bloodshed. Tomas Munita for The New York Times

There is a lot of suffering across the world but the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar is one of the worst cases of state sanctioned brutality and persecution anywhere. Over the past two years, the Rohingya have been visited by one attack after another:

Massacres such as Buddhists killing 9 Muslim pilgrims, 36 school children and their teachers butchered in front of local police. Myanmar saw the near complete destruction of the Muslim quarter in the city of Kyaukpyu. Human rights groups have reported on the systematic killing and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, where the Rohingya Muslim population is herded into concentration campsMosques, Muslim homes, and orphanages across torched in arson attacks. Numerous  internet sites are replete with Islamophobic dehumanization messages about Islam and Muslims spread by the extremist movement ‘969.’ Myanmar is where the “symbol of Democracy,” the Noble Peace Prize winning Suu Kyi not only says she won’t speak out for the persecuted Rohingya but denies their existence. Myanmar’s government has given official backing to the violent, extremist 969 movement. Ministers in the Myanmar government have backed discriminatory legislation that would limit Rohingya women to two children. Local officials have severely restricted humanitarian aid to Rohingya concentration camps and the rest of Rakhine State, where tuberculosis, waterborne illnesses and malnutrition are endemic.

While Obama has made some mealy-mouthed criticisms of the Myanmar government, not much has changed on the ground, and the desire/need for US companies to invest in Myanmar continues apace. When money is involved morality usually goes out the window.

Recently, the New York Times’ Jane Perlez had a heartbreaking report on the worsening ethnic cleansing situation. The title of their article: Myanmar Policy’s Message to Muslims: Get Out

SITTWE, Myanmar — The Myanmar government has given the estimated one million Rohingya people in this coastal region of the country a dispiriting choice: Prove your family has lived here for more than 60 years and qualify for second-class citizenship, or be placed in camps and face deportation.

The policy, accompanied by a wave of decrees and legislation, has made life for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority, ever more desperate, spurring the biggest flow of Rohingya refugees since a major exodus two years ago.

The crisis has become an embarrassment to the White House ahead of a scheduled visit by President Obama to Myanmar next week. The administration considers Myanmar a foreign-policy success story in Asia but is worried that renewed conflict between Buddhist extremists, who are given a free hand by the government, and the Rohingya could derail the already rocky transition from military rule to democratic reform.

Mr. Obama called President Thein Sein of Myanmar last week, urging him to address the “tensions and humanitarian situation in Rakhine State,” the White House said.

In his most public appeal to the government yet, Mr. Obama asked the Myanmar leader to revise the anti-Rohingya policies, specifically the resettlement plan. Myanmar must “support the civil and political rights of the Rohingya population,” he said.

The Rohingya have faced discrimination for decades. They have been denied citizenship and evicted from their homes, their land has been confiscated, and they have been attacked by the military. After one such attack in 1978, some 200,000 fled to Bangladesh.

The latest flare-up began with an outbreak of sectarian rioting in 2012, in which hundreds of Rohingya were killed and dozens of their villages burned to the ground by radical Buddhists. Since then, close to 100,000 have fled the country, and more than 100,000 have been confined to squalid camps, forbidden to leave.

As conditions in the camps have deteriorated, international pressure has mounted on the government to find a humane solution. Instead, the government appears to be accelerating a strategy that human rights groups have described as ethnic cleansing.

For many Rohingya, the new policy, called the Rakhine Action Plan, represents a kind of final humiliation, said Mohamed Saeed, a community organizer in a camp on the edge of Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State.

“People really fear this plan,” he said. “Our community is getting less and less. This is where they want us — out.”

Many Rohingya came to Myanmar in the 19th century when the British ruled all of what is now India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. But the government’s demand for proof of residence since 1948 is too onerous for many, who either do not have the paperwork or fall short of the six-decade requirement, human rights advocates say.

Those who can prove their residence qualify only for naturalized citizenship, which carries fewer rights than full citizenship and can be revoked. Moreover, they would be classified as “Bengali,” rather than Rohingya, suggesting that they are immigrants from Bangladesh and leaving open the possibility of deportation.

Under the plan, those Rohingya who cannot meet the standards for naturalized citizenship or refuse to accept the Bengali designation would be placed in camps before being deported.

Human Rights Watch described the plan as “nothing less than a blueprint for permanent segregation and statelessness.”

The government asked the United Nations refugee agency to participate in the resettlement, but the agency refused, a spokesman said.

The Rakhine Action Plan is but one element of a host of policies and tactics aimed at marginalizing the Rohingya. This year, in line with the government’s position that they are foreigners, the Rohingya were prevented from participating in the national census.

Legislation introduced in Parliament two months ago, and expected to pass, would bar Rohingya from voting in next year’s election. Parliament is also considering a bill that would ban interfaith marriage, a measure human rights advocates say is designed to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment.

The policies come on top of an increasingly dire situation in Rohingya camps and villages. In the camps around Sittwe, where about 140,000 Rohingya live, health services are virtually nonexistent.

The main medical provider, Doctors Without Borders, the international nonprofit group, was chased out six months ago and has not been able to return.

In the villages around Maungdaw, a Rohingya-dominated town near the border with Bangladesh, there has been a sudden increase in the arrests of young Rohingya men and boys, United Nations officials and human rights advocates said.

The Border Guard Police arrested more than 100 Rohingya on charges of holding illegal gatherings and over refusals to participate in the action plan. Chris Lewa, the director of the Arakan Project, said the arrests were part of a campaign to force the men to leave the country.

For many, the high-risk boat trips to Thailand en route to Malaysia, a Muslim country that quietly tolerates the refugees, begin at a gray sandy beach at Ohn Taw Shi, a fishing village fringed by coconut trees on the outskirts of a camp for the displaced.

On a recent day, a froth of waves lapped the shore, a few open wooden boats lay untended, waiting for use at night. The police slept in the afternoon heat in a wooden shack about 500 yards away.

A smuggler, Chan Thet Maung, a cellphone hooked to his pants and earplugs dangling from his neck, said that when the wooden boats were filled with Rohingya, they sailed north for about five hours to connect with larger vessels. There, in waters off the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, multideck boats sometimes idle for days or weeks, manned by armed and often brutal crews, waiting for a full complement of passengers bound for Thailand, the United Nations refugee agency said in an internal report.

The annual smuggling season, which begins in early October when the monsoon season ends, got off to a fast start, the smuggler said. The police wanted $2,000 — $100 for each of the 20 passengers — for a recent boatload, but the smugglers had offered slightly less, he said.

The trip was aborted, but another attempt would be made soon, he said.

Local officials abet the smuggling trips, according to Matthew Smith, the director of Fortify Rights, an organization that studies ethnic groups in Myanmar.

“The regional trafficking and smuggling begins with the complicity of Myanmar authorities,” he said. “We’ve documented Myanmar police and armed forces taking payments as high as seven million kyat in return for a boat’s passage to sea.” Seven million kyat is about $7,000.

In some cases, the Myanmar Navy escorted boats filled with fleeing Rohingya and operated by criminal gangs out to international waters, Mr. Smith said.

Read the rest of the article…

Also Read:

Atrocities against Rohingya: Money Extortion and Arbitrary Imprisonment

Man Who Targeted Calgary Skyscraper Pleads Guilty To Explosives Offences

10 November, 2014 - 20:58

n-BANTREL-TOWER-large570

It seems like he had a grudge against the government but you can bet your bottom dollar this would’ve been treated as terrorism if he were Muslim, if not by the authorities then a sizable chunk of the population.

CBC

A Calgary man who once worked in military intelligence has pleaded guilty to firearms and explosives charges, after police found evidence suggesting he was planning an attack on a downtown Calgary skyscraper that houses a Veteran Affairs Canada office.

The 45-year-old man, who can only be referred to as GG under a court-ordered publication ban, had undergone a preliminary psychiatric exam and was fit to stand trial, but pleaded guilty Thursday in a Calgary courtroom. He will be sentenced in the new year.

Crown prosecutor Doug Simpson told CBC News that a terrorism charge was considered but never laid.

GG was arrested last January after he was found with weapons, explosives and detailed building plans, apparently targeting the Veterans Affairs office on the seventh floor of the Bantrel Tower, at 700 Sixth Avenue S.W.

According to court documents, GG joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2008, and had been working in military intelligence, but three years later, he went on long-term disability.

For at least a year before his arrest last January, GG had been at odds with Veterans Affairs over compensation for health-care costs, after he claimed he received an H1N1 flu shot while in the military that he alleged led to him being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

RCMP were called by GG’s wife, whose name also can’t be released under the publication ban, on Jan. 8, 2014, at 5:47 p.m. after she suspected that her husband was possibly suicidal.

She told police that GG was a former member of the military and that he had taken a rifle with him when he left their home.

After a search of several hours, police found GG on his parents’ acreage near Springbank just west of Calgary. He was sleeping in a utility trailer and dressed in camouflage pants. Police found a duffle bag beside him that contained a loaded .40-calibre HK semi-automatic handgun.

GG told officers he intended to commit suicide. He was arrested under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital for treatment.

Guns, explosives found

Officers also found several items inside GG’s car, including a loaded semi-automatic rifle, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, night vision binoculars, gun powder, bear spray and smoke grenades. They also found eight jugs of chemicals — including ammonia, bleach, muriatic acid and chlorine — in two suitcases. Wires from a battery were running in the direction of the suitcases, but were not attached to them.

Police were also unable to identify substances found in smaller containers.

A corporal with the RCMP explosives unit said that as part of his work following GG’s arrest, he constructed a pipe bomb using materials found in GG’s car. The corporal detonated the pipe bomb, and said it would have been extremely dangerous to the public.

In-depth plans

Police also seized several items in GG’s possession, including six videos (Some taken by GG in November and December 2013 at the Bantrel Tower) and a few photographs from his cellphone. A copy of a typed plan and building information on the Bantrel Tower were also found on GG’s laptop.

The plan contained notes by GG that he made during reconnaissance of the Bantrel Tower, and the Crown said the notes referred to a plan made in the fall of 2013 “to attack the office of Veterans Affairs in the Bantrel Tower Building.”

One part of the plan was labelled as a “risk assessment,” while another had the title “Walking around the building with IR camera on identifying.” There are references to steps to be taken on certain floors of the building.

GG also had a copy the Bantrel Tower building specifications, including exits, entrances and office locations.

Read the rest…

Quebec City mosques targeted by anti-Muslim posters

10 November, 2014 - 20:40

quebec-city-mosques-anti-muslim

Three Quebec City mosques were targeted by anti-Muslim messages over the weekend. (Radio-Canada)

CBC

Three Quebec City mosques were the target of xenophobic messages over the weekend.

Signs reading “Islam hors de chez moi” — Islam out of my country — were posted on each of the mosques’ front doors.

A mosque in the Limoilou neighbourhood, the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec City in Ste-Foy and the capital city mosque in Quebec City proper were targeted.

A group named Québec Identitaire seemingly has taken credit for the posters.

The group’s name was written on the posters.

Khalil​ Bahji, who has been attending the Limoilou mosque since 2007, said he and his fellow congregation members are saddened by the attack.

He said the members of the surrounding community are also disappointed, adding that they have been supportive in the past.

We thought about moving to another place when our lease was about to end, Bahji told CBC Daybreak on Monday.

He told host Mike Finnerty that a member of the community approached members of the mosque and asked why they wanted to leave and whether the neighbours had done anything to make them feel unwelcome.

“This action doesn’t reflect the real opinion of the people who surround the mosque,” Bahji said.

An administrator at another mosque said they have handed over a security tape to police showing two people putting up signs on their door.

The administrator told Radio-Canada that he believed they were isolated incidents and that he wasn’t worried, shrugging it off as an unfortunate incident of cultural ignorance.

Former Britain First Member, Matthew Lester, Denounces Group And Visits Mosque To Apologise

10 November, 2014 - 20:28

Matthew_Lionheart_Britain_First

Some good news, hearts and minds can truly change. Now lets hope he doesn’t go and join the Tommy Robinson Quilliam circus.

via. Huffington Post

A former member of Britain First has denounced the organisation and visited a mosque to apologise to the Muslim community he says they demonise.

Matthew Lester, 25, joined the group six months ago to protest radical preachers such as Anjem Choudry but soon became disillusioned with the group.

He told the Huffington Post: “I thought it was for the people but found out it was more about publicity. Basically it was publicity stunts more than getting anything done and tackling issues.

Read the rest…

Debate: “Islam’s War On Christianity”

10 November, 2014 - 01:32

TVO_Islam_Christianity

TVO discussion on Islamophobe Michael Coren’s ridiculous new book, “Hatred: Islam’s War On Christianity.” Coren was supported by contributor to the Toronto Sun, Farzana Hassan and opposed by Muslim scholars Mohammed Fadel and Imam Shabir Ally.

At times the discussion is infuriating because of Coren’s attempts to cut-off the other panelists but overall interesting with quite some important nuanced points and facts brought up by Fadel and Ally.

//

United Kingdom: Man Gets Light Sentence For Assault on Niqabi, Muslim Woman Attacked For Wearing Hijab

6 November, 2014 - 19:27

Emiliano_Saanchez_Hate_Crime

via. 5Pillarz

Emiliano Sanchez, 59, confronted Shirin Akter outside a Lidl store and asked her: “Why are you wearing this? This is not the Quran and it is not allowed in this country.”

The Spaniard then pulled off her niqab and minutes later said to a Lidl worker: “Did you see that Pakii? I told her to take that thing off her head.”

At Glasgow Sheriff Court last Friday, Sanchez admitted harassing Shirin and acting in a racially aggravated manner towards her in the city last November.

Sheriff Alayne Swanson said the offence was “serious enough” for Sanchez to be jailed but instead ordered him to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.

The 32-year-old mother-of-one Shirin, said: “He should have been sent to jail.

“The fact that he wasn’t sends out the wrong message to people.

“Racism is something which shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere.

“I was left scared to go out with my six-year-old daughter and was living in fear of being attacked again.

“I was afraid every time I went out that it could happen again – it’s not the way people should have to live.

“I was very upset after the attack. I had a full face veil with just my eyes showing. It is important to me because it is my religious faith and I feel comfortable in public with it on.”

Standing up to bullies can lead to hate crimes.

5Pillarz

Maryam, 19, was confronted by a group of white girls at Piccadilly Gardens on Tuesday after expressing her disgust at the way they were treating a beggar.

As a result, she was subjected to a torrent of racial and physical abuse by the gang, which left her in tears.

The gang shouted: “Go back to your country you f*cking terrorist Paki, I will bomb your face off.”

Then they slapped her face, before pulling her hijab off and kicking her on the left side on the hips.

“What bothered me was what she said. The words hit me more than the physical attacks,” Maryam said.

“You know when you hear these things being said and you get really upset that people are saying these things, but try having someone screaming it to your face.

“I felt weak. I feel horrible from shock I started crying. My friend, from the shock stood there didn’t know what she was doing.”

The group of girls had initially hit out at a hijabi beggar, telling her to ‘go back to your own country’ and ‘if I went to your country and begged for money I would get kidnapped and killed’.

Maryam said: “Maybe it wasn’t my business because I knew I was getting myself into trouble, but then I thought if I don’t stand up against these people, who will? Will they ever learn?

“I can’t keep seeing people get verbally abused. It was a disgusting scene and I hope, I really hope no one ever goes through this.

“I did go to the police station and filled a report and a statement and there’s 0.1% chance they will find these girls but I did the right thing.

“Yes I got verbally and physically abused but if it meant to stand up for what’s right, I will go through that pain again and again and again.”

Jody Hice: Elected To Congress Despite Believing Islam Doesn’t Deserve First Amendment Protection

6 November, 2014 - 19:16

I think Hice wants us to know he really, really, really loves 'Murica.

I think Hice wants us to know he really, really, really loves ‘Murica.

Daily Beast

JODY HICE

Republican Jody Hice romped home in a safe rural Georgia congressional district last night. The congressman-elect is on the record saying that Islam is not a religion that deserves the protection of the First Amendment. He also has warned that Satan is infiltrating society and that there is a gay blueprint to dominate America via sodomizing “your sons.”

Yet Hice does have some surprisingly progressive views, such as his belief that women should be allowed to run for office. This is provided that they get permission from their husbands first.

ISIS says Islam justifies slavery – what does Islamic law say?

6 November, 2014 - 18:56

Bernard_Freaman

By Professor Bernard Freamon, CNN

In the past few months, the world has witnessed horrific accounts of the enslavement of thousands of innocent Yazidis and other religious minorities by ISIS partisans in Iraq and Syria.

In a recent article in its online English-language magazine, ISIS ideologues offered legal justifications for the enslavement of these non-Muslim non-combatants, stating that “enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah or Islamic law.”

The article argues, based on a variety of Shariah sources, that ISIS partisans have a religious duty to kill or enslave members of the Yazidi community as part of their struggle [jihad] against their enemies.

This argument is plainly wrong, hypocritical and astonishingly ahistorical, relying on male fantasies inspired by stories from the days of imperial Islam.

It is also an affront to right-thinking Muslims everywhere and a criminal perversion of Islamic law, particularly its primary source, the Glorious Quran.

Jurists around the world acknowledge that there is now a universal consensus recognizing an irrefutable human right to be free from slavery and slave-trading.

This right, like the rights to be free from genocide, torture, racial discrimination and piracy, has become a bedrock principle of human affairs. ISIS seeks to remove Islamic jurisprudence from this universal consensus by citing Quranic verses that recognize the existence of chattel slavery.

Citation to Quranic verses on chattel slavery at first blush seems to make this point because the Quran, like other religious texts, accepted the existence of chattel slavery as a fact of life at the time of its revelation.

It is also true, however, that the Quran established an entirely new ethic on the issue of slavery and ISIS’s selective use of certain Quranic texts to justify contemporary chattel slavery ignores this fact.

First, consistent with the new ethic, the emphasis in all of the revelations on slavery is on the emancipation of slaves, not on their capture or the continuation of the institution of slavery. (See, for example, verses 2:177, 4:25, 4:92, 5:89, 14:31, 24:33, 58:3, 90:1-12.)

There is not one single verse suggesting that the practice should continue. Further, the Quran makes no mention of slave-markets or slave-trading and it repeatedly exhorts believers to free their slaves as an exemplification of their piety and belief in God.

Perhaps the best example of this emancipatory ethic is chapter 90, which is explicitly addressed to the Prophet Muhammad. It posits that there are two roads one can take in life and that the “high road” is the one that leads the righteous human being to free slaves.

The Prophet followed this exhortation, exhibiting a great solicitude for the material and spiritual condition of the slaves in the society around him. His example inspired his companions to emancipate thousands of slaves and, in an oft-quoted statement, he remarked that he would meet the man who “sells a free man as a slave and devours his price” on Judgment Day.

This is an explicit condemnation of trafficking in free human beings.

It is true that there are reported examples from the Prophet’s life that describe him as giving and receiving slaves and he even used slavery as a tool of conquest in war.

He freed all of his individually owned slaves and the wartime circumstances in those reports were very unique, involving specific people who engaged in war or treachery against him.

There is only one Quranic verse, 47:4, that authorizes capture of prisoners of war and it does not permit slavery, ordering military commanders to either free the prisoners gratis or hold them for ransom.

Enslaving a prisoner of war is therefore arguably illegal and certainly enslaving a non-combatant is likewise an Islamic crime.

Many forget that, for hundreds of years, Muslim imperialists and slave-traders illegally raided non-combatant villages in Eastern Europe, West Africa, East Africa, India and Southeast Asia, plundering, pillaging and capturing and raping women and children with impunity under pretextual jihads.

It seems that the ISIS ideologues want to revive this shameful legacy.

Traditionalist interpreters conclude that slavery is lawful in Islam simply because there is Quranic legislation regulating it, suggesting an implied permission.

Even the traditionalists must acknowledge, however, that all of the Quranic verses on slavery arise in contexts that overwhelmingly encourage emancipation.

Why is this? It is because the Quranic intendment contemplated a gradual disappearance of chattel slavery.

This is exactly what has happened in history. ISIS refers to the disappearance of chattel slavery in the Muslim world as an “abandonment” of the Shariah.

This is wrong. Rather, the verses contemplate the advent of a slavery-free society through the vehicle of emancipation.

Read the rest of the article…

Shots fired at mosque in Southern California

5 November, 2014 - 19:04

Islamic-Society-of-the-Coachella-Valley

UPI

COACHELLA, Calif., Nov. 4 (UPI) – No one was injured early Tuesday morning when shots were fired at a mosque in Southern California.

Coachella police said the incident is being treated as a potential hate crime. There were people in the building when the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley mosque was hit.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Captain Andrew Shouse said at least five shots were fired, including one that struck a Toyota parked in front of the mosque.

A man who was in the mosque at the time told the Desert Sun there were four worshipers praying.

Salah Salah, a member of the board, said the mosque was founded 16 years ago in Coachella, an agricultural center 130 miles east of Los Angeles. It now has about 90 members.

“Somebody drunk? Something crazy? Nothing ever happened here before,” Salah said. “We are concerned about our safety, our security.”

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, said the shooting should be taken seriously.

“Any time shots are fired at a house of worship, the FBI should offer its resources to local authorities to help determine whether or not there was a bias motive for the attack,” Ayloush said. “Our nation’s leaders also need to speak out against the growing level of anti-Muslim sentiment that can lead to such incidents.”

Fanatic Beheads Teen “Witch” After Watching Christian Videos

5 November, 2014 - 19:00

Isaiah Marin

Isaiah Marin

Another instance of online radicalization? This won’t get as much attention since the perpetrator is not a Muslim. Would it be right to declare this an act inspired by Christianity? Should all Christians now be under the microscope of suspicion?

These are rhetorical questions. There is no doubt that these are the actions of an extremist individual whose actions don’t represent the large majority of peaceful Christians. (h/t: Arman)

What if they were Muslim?

The RawStory

A “religious zealot” in Oklahoma nearly beheaded an acquaintance in a brutal slaying after watching Christian videos, police said.

Isaiah Marin was playing cards Wednesday afternoon with his brother and the victim, 19-year-old Jacob Crockett, at an apartment in Stillwater.

Police said the 21-year-old Marin was watching online videos “related to his Christian beliefs and the Book of Matthew” before he picked up a sword and began swinging it around.

His brother told him to be careful, and then he told police that Marin stabbed Crockett in the chest.

Marin’s brother said the suspect had argued with Crockett in the past because the victim and his brother, Jesse, “were practicing witchcraft and Isaiah had strong Christian beliefs.”

Samuel Marin fled from the apartment, police said, and his brother ran after him and promised to explain why he had killed the teen in letters from jail.

Police said Isaiah Marin called 911 and confessed that he had “murdered someone,” before rambling about magic and sacrifices.

“I hacked them to death with a machete,” Marin told dispatchers.

Police found Marin walking along a state highway, covered in blood and carrying a long knife.

Marin said he had fantasized about killing four or five people, including Crockett, police said.

Investigators said Crockett, who was the son of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer, had been nearly decapitated in the attack.

Jesse Crockett, the victim’s brother, said Marin was a “heavy drug user” and “religious zealot.”

Police said the case had no religious implications and was not related to recent beheadings by Islamic extremists — including an attack by a Muslim convert at an Oklahoma food plant.

Marin, a student at Northern Oklahoma College who intended to transfer to Oklahoma State University, was charged with first-degree murder and remains held without bail.

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